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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Are Works And Faith Inseparable?

Here Are Some Common Assertions:

"I am saved and I will always be saved no matter what I do."

"Once I am a child of God I will always be a child of God because God doesn’t cast out his children."

"I am one of the elect, I was predestined to be saved therefore I can't miss it no matter what!"

"All I have to do is receive from God, I don't have to do anything else."

These are sentiments that are commonly adorned by Christians in many circles. From these type of thoughts spring the age old debate over whether one can lose their salvation. Then there is another part to the argument, how is one justified, by faith or by works? Because there is so much ground to cover in a topic like this I will look into the possible synergistic relationship between faith and works, and the thought that one is only saved by faith without any works being present. I will try to avoid other non related topics if at all possible. I will try to limit myself to one facet of the question; Can faith and works be separated?

Was There A War Over Justification Between James & Paul?

These are two verses that deal specifically with the same individual:

James 2:21-24~“21-Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22-Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23-And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24-Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

Romans 4:1-3~“1-What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2-For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3-For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4-Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5-But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness”

What are we to make of this apparent contradiction where James says that Abraham was justified by works and not faith only and Paul says Abraham was justified by faith and not works in accounting Abraham righteous?

First we should note that there was no war between Paul and James over this issue or any other for that matter. Both were dealing with the issue to two different audiences for two entirely different purposes. The critic asserts, that the message be the same no matter what the audience if it’s the truth?

Let’s begin by looking at what these scriptures have in common:

1- They both quote the Old Testament in relationship to the issue: Gen. 15:6~“And he believed the Lord; and he counted to him for righteousness.” James even takes it a little further quoting the last part of 2 Chron. 20:7 when Jehoshaphat called Abraham God’s “friend”.

2- Faith is presented as an essential part of salvation

3- Both scriptures deal with justification and what it means to be justified.

4- They were both written to strengthen the believers in their respective missionary endeavors.

How are these scriptures distinguished from one another?

1- James was writing to Jewish believers primarily prior to 45 AD.

2- Paul was writing primarily to Gentile believers in Rome prior to his visit during his 3rd missionary journey in 68 AD.

3- James was encouraging believers that works accompanied faith and that they were inseparable. The aim was at the personal walk, practical actions and personal works.

4- Paul was writing to his audience to build their defense against Judaizers who required newly converting Christians to accept Jewish “works of the Law” as a method to obtain righteousness.

5- James deals the resultant actions that accompany life changing faith

6- Paul deals with the circumstance of faith at the moment of salvation.

As you can see these men approached the same subject emphasizing different aspects of the same scriptures. What is Justification that is in question?

Justification~In Christian theology, justification is God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous before God.

For the Gentile believer the message was clear that justification was by faith and they need not be entangled with anyone trying to convince them to exercise the “works of the law” in trying to obtain or solidify their salvation.

For the Jew having already believe in Jesus the message was clear that they were to continue in their good personal works and interactions towards one another. James had made known right before that the law (OT) was insufficient in and of itself because if one offended in one point one was guilty of all. (James 2:10)For James the resultant actions of faith were works whereby individuals were able to identify justification of life and of the spirit. Therefore the believers faith spoke through their actions and good works. For Paul the justification of God was instant and without assistance regardless of anyone’s ability to externally identify the work of God in the life of the believer at that moment. For both men good works in practical living were the accompaniment of such faith and justification. Paul specifically clears up any potential misunderstandings of his position regarding practical holiness and resultant work of sanctification in the life of the believer (see: Rom. 6:1-2) by saying that those who experienced the grace of salvation in Jesus could not live any longer in sin because we were now dead to sin.

Can Faith And Works Be Separated?


The bible speaks of faith in two distinct terms. 1- The daily practice of the believer and 2- the general and overall belief of the believer. One who walks by faith does so because they also have a faith belief. Although there is some intertwining, I am focusing on that practical or daily part of the faith walk.


If faith and works can be separated there are some inescapable consequences. What are they?

I will begin by saying that if faith can be separated from works (what one does because of what they believe) then salvation stands on one leg and that is the leg of either works or faith only. In the western world the idea of salvation through faith is a much more common notion because of the works of reformer Martin Luther. This notion of faith only salvation is termed Sola Fide(Latin: Faith Alone the only means in reference to justification) A scriptural text normally used to validate this doctrine is from the Pauline Epistle of Ephesians:

Ephes. 2:8-9~“8-For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: 9-Not of works, lest any man should boast”

Although there are a host of biblical passages that may set this notion on its ear, the argument most damaging to the Sola Fide position is that if we can truly separate faith from works then what is the real practical effect of faith? In practical terms it should be noted that those who continue to live and exercise faith should have additional responsibility to bear the experience of out faith publicly. Many however approach this in the opposite manner teaching that because there is nothing that one can do to be saved that there is also nothing one can do to become unsaved. A monergistic thesis such as that then reduces works to non essential or adjunct elements within the process of salvation affixing a desired but flexible standard of presentation to the world through the walk of the believer.

The question is then, is what does the gospel teach about the relationship of faith and works?

Clarification Of Works From The “Works Of The Law”

One point that should be clarified right away is that when we see the word “works” in the scripture we often think of things that we can do such as being good, nice, lending a helping hand etc. These are moral interactions and duties that all people that have relationship with Christ or not perform. Their works are commendable and are worthy of noting. I have thoroughly addressed that issue in my previous post on "Works, Do They Have Any Value With God?".

However there is another understanding of works that is essential for every bible reader approaching this subject. That is understanding the difference between personal works and the “Works Of The Law” or of sacrifice to wash away sins. It is at this point that I believe that many individuals get confused. How? We know that the scripture has said that the “works of the law” have been made of noneffect. ie: There is no sacrifice such as those of bulls, goats, sheep, oxen etc. that can be rendered to save souls:

Heb. 10:3-5~“3-But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4-For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5-Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6-In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.”

This understanding is especially important because of the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The mystery in this is that God’s acceptance of Temple sacrifice actually ended in approximately 30- 33 AD when Jesus died upon the cross. Remember what Jesus declared from the cross:

John 19:30~“30-When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

That declaration was the fulfillment of temple sacrifice and the system of the “works of the law”. From that moment on, there was no ceremony that anyone could do to make themselves acceptable with God as it pertained to the remission of sins. The Levitical priesthood and its mission was fulfilled. The mission of remitting sins through the blood of unblemished, first year animals was ended:

Heb. 9:11-14~“11-But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12-Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13-For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14-How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Within the Pauline Epistles Paul taught from this standpoint concerning the “works of the law” Many times within scripture and the gospels the word “works” signifies this process. In the NT the message is that these types of works cannot bring salvation as the finished work of Christ on the cross is superior and provides the sufficiency of salvation, reconciliation and peace with God.

Gal. 3:9-14~“9-So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10-For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11-But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12-And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13-Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14-That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Personal or Practical Works Of The Believer

With all of that said, it is at this point that many individuals miss the further message. The area of personal actions or “works” are clear in the gospels as being not only a authenticator of salvation, but also something that runs hand in hand along with how one is saved both before God and man. The gospel is clear about such personal actions:

Mt. 5:16~“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

In this very simple verse from one of the greatest messages that has ever been taught, (The Sermon On The Mount) Jesus used the example of a candle, used to light a home or the city at night, contrasting it to the actions, duties and behaviors of the believer. In this particular verse he is not speaking of "works of the law” but interpersonal works of action whereby the truth is represented. The part to note in this verse is that Jesus said that the works were done for the following reasons:

1- So that men could see.
2- So that the Father (God) would be ultimately glorified

John allows us to see that the light was actually Jesus himself being the life and the “light of men” (Jn. 1:4) In essence the light that we're supposed to let shine is Jesus himself through our lives. If we possess that light, by virtue of that, we also possess Jesus, and by virtue of that, good works were unavoidable consequence, process and part of that relationship in general. The point is that works carry a much closer relationship to salvation than many care to note or have noted in many Christian circles. Yet another scripture often hailed as the Christian Constitution of Faith, drives the point home even more closely:

Rom. 2:1-11~“1-Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. 2-But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3-And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4-Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5-But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6-Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7-To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8-But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9-Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10-But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11-For there is no respect of persons with God”

Then there is a response that is necessary and appropriate in the life of the believer in expectation of the righteous appearing of the Lord in the day of Judgement:

1 John 3:3~“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Of course this purification is in the expectation of Christ’s appearance (Second Return & Subsequent Judgement) and eventual conclusion of all things. Then there is the promise that without personal holiness that the Lord will not be seen in peace:

Heb. 12:14~“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

What may be controversial is that the reward and punishment will have its root in personal actions. Look at this:

Rev. 22: 11-14~“11-He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12- And behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13- I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14- Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

Now many claim that Rev. 22 refers to the judgement of the righteous for reward, and that the judgement for the unrighteous is contained in Revelation 20 1-15 that we dealt with in our previous post “Does the Bible Teach A Literal Hell?” While that hermeneutic may be true, we should note that it is not uncommon for apocalyptic literature to layer themes and use repetition to drive home the meaning of what is being communicated. Either way one cannot avoid the fact that even in the judgement of the unrighteous, individuals will be judged “according to their works” (Rev. 20:12)

What is telling in all of these type of judgements, a faith position is not in question. Only the works or actions of an individuals are called into question and judged.


"The Law" In Galations 5:18-24


18-But if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19-Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20-Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21-Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22-But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23-Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24-And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

Apostle Paul's writing to the Galations begins with an inclusio at verse 18 saying:

"But if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law"

He then lists 17 works of the flesh and says,"I tell you as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (v.21b) . He then names 9 characteristics that are indicitve of the "fruit of the Spirit" (v.22) and closes his inclusio saying "against such there is no law" (v.23)

Many theologians at this point claim that the "law" referenced is the "restraint" of the OT Law. Many assert that what is being declared is freedom from legalistic bondage of daily living. However the key is in what the chapter is talking about from the beginning. Paul begins Galations 5 talking about the "yoke of bondage". Scholars agree that this a reference to Judaism or the Levitical or ceremonial law for righteousness. It would therefore be inconsistent for Paul to switch to discuss a different aspect of the "law" at the end of chapter 5 without any notice.

With the understanding in mind that Paul is addressing the "works of the law" and Temple ceremonialism, the scripture comes to life explaining that if we are led of the Spirit we are not under the Levitical system any longer. The challenging part is the realization that he is actually saying that our deeds will keep us out of the Kingdom if we allow ourselves to live after the flesh. Nevertheless, Paul declares that what the Spirit produces within the life of the believer is evident and does not violate even the letter or intent of that law which is right relationship with God.

Treatment Of Matthew 25: 31- 46

In my previous post this was one of the most controversial and thought provoking verses:

Mt.25:31-46~ "31-When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32-And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33-And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34-Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35-For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36-Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37-Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38-When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39-Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40-And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41-Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42-For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43-I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44-Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45-Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46-And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

This verse describes the Son Of Man (the messianic title of Jesus referencing Daniel 7:14) sitting upon the throne of his glory (actions of God) and the King (of hosts). This verse is a clear reference to God in the "Day Of Judgement". In this scenario we see both “goats” and “sheep” They were judged in relationship to actions (works) towards two groups of people

1- “the least of these my brethern”
2- “one of the least of these”

Although I am not convinced that this scripture was limited to the treatment of the apostles in their missionary work and endeavors or solely limited to how one treats Israel, I render what scholar and internet apologist J.P. Holding says about this particular verse and agree with the fact that the concept of judgement within scripture is based upon a vastly different paradigm than it is within Western society :

“Who are the "brethren"? The poor, the sick, as the soft in heart suggest? No

Matthew 12:48~But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

The poor, the sick, and so on is not a group in a one to one identity with those who do God's will. Who are those who do God's will? In the above, it is clearly the disciples of Jesus. Matthew 25:31-46 is all about judgment based on how one treated the disciples of Christ. The passage needs to be read in light of these earlier ones:

Matthew 10:14-15~And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Matthew 10:40-42~He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

A disciple traveling to and fro with the word in the ancient world is very likely to be in the condition of those described in 25:31-46 -- sick, poorly clothed, and as Jesus predicts, in prison.

"Well, then, what about the atheist who treats Christians nicely? So he gets to heaven, according to this, right?"

If this passage were taken in strict isolation, and meant to be taken that way, and written in the context of an individualist society like ours, one might have a case for that odd individual getting a golden ticket, but it's not so simple. The parable of the sheep and the goats draws upon a certain paradigm found within Judaism of Jesus' day [Keener, Matthew commentary, 603f], which held that the nations (cf. 25:32) would be judged based upon how they treated Israel (4 Ezra 7:37), and the related concept encouraging repressed minorities that God will judge the world based on their treatment of them. In holding this it was never assumed that this was the sole and exclusive basis for judgment. The specific matter of treatment of Israel was isolated to make a point of its importance in context (and here, the context is the end of the age of the law and the beginning of the age of the Messiah; see here -- when the Gospel message would be brought to the Gentile world as a whole).

Moreover, the identification of Jesus with the disciples draws us even closer to the "faith" position. One's response to the disciple is the same as one's response to Jesus, and in a collectivist society, one would not assist a member of a divergent party in the way described unless one accepted and agreed with their message. As Malina and Rohrbaugh note (Social-Science commentary, 151) this parable draws the classic ancient distinction between "ingroup" and "outgroup". There would be no such thing as a "friendly pagan or atheist" who would have sympathy for the Christian.” ~ Courtesy J.P. Holding Tekton Apologetic Ministries Eblock Vol. 1 No. 4 "Please Excuse This Interruption" Bart. D. Ehrman’s “Jesus Interrupted” Pre-Empted

Summary:

“Works of the law” cannot justify one before God

Practical works are a natural outgrowth of saving faith and cannot truly be separated from saving faith.

Any faith that does not produce good works is unauthentic

Faith alone is specifically for the point of salvation but is ineffectual as a position in continued Christian living where there is no spiritual discipline.

Reward will be based on the works of the believer, not the faith of the believer.

The judgement of the wicked, which could include who some think are believers, will be based on their works, as what they express outwardly should be a natural outgrowth of their inward disposition.

I’ve tried to stay on point and deal with the question.

My Answer:

I do not believe that faith and works can be separated. Although I don’t believe that anyone can do anything to save themselves as Jesus has done that on the cross for all those who receive it. I do believe that where there are no good works, either salvation has been lost or never received. I’m not talking about ebbs and flows within the life of the believer, I’m talking about living out the faith unto God every day in daily practice.

What do you think?

Blessed!

111 comments:

  1. What do you think?

    I think as a Pre-Trib'er, I am influenced by that belief and see certain scripture in a different light, and that must color more than I thought.

    I loved your analogy here:

    I will begin by saying that if faith can be separated from works (what one does because of what they believe) then salvation stands on one leg and that is the leg of either works or faith only.

    As a wanna-be God-pleaser, I try to do things that I think He would want me to do, but yet, without faith, it is impossible to please Him.

    So where does that leave works? Abraham believe God and acted on that belief when he offered up Isaac. Rahab believed the promise given in God's name and acted on that promise.

    So was the word "works" badly choosen by James when making his point for this generation? When I look at his two examples, I can't see it any other way.

    "Ye see then how that by (faith put into action) a man is justified, and not by faith only."

    Would you agree? And what is the will of the Father?

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  2. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
    ~Matthew 7:21

    Another "will of the Father" verse. I would like to know if I am really off-base on this one, because I have an understanding of what the Father's will is, that also colors my interpretation of other scripture.

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  3. Pastor thanks for the post. I am one of those Christians who believe once saved always saved. I can't wrap my mind around anything else.

    As a Christian I can't see how I can work my self away from Christ. I don't see how that's possible.

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  4. Thank God the wheels are turning...I'll get back with some further thoughts.

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  5. I believe that the new birth brings good works. Those that don't show any change and produce fruit are not the real deal.

    However, I do believe that one can backslide for awhile and move away from the faith. But if they are the real deal they will return.

    Your statement:

    "I am one of the elect, I was predestined to be saved therefore I can't miss it no matter what!"

    May apply to some hyper-calvinists but I don't know ant Reformed Calvinists that believe that way.

    In fact I just got a new book about being born again by the Calvinist John Piper called "Finally Alive" and he doesn't teach that at all. In fact he demonstrates from the scripture that those who experience the new birth produce righteousness.

    1. Those who are born of God keep His commandments.

    1 John 2:3-4
    1 John 3:24

    2. Those who are born of God walk as Christ walked.

    1John 2:5-6

    3. Those who are born of God don't love the world

    1John 2:15

    4. Those who are born of God confess the Son and recieve (have) have him.

    1 John 2:23

    1 John 4:15

    1 John 5 :12

    5. Those who are born of God don't hate others but love them.

    1 John 2:9

    1 John 3:14

    1 John 4:7-8

    1 John 4:20

    6. Those born of God practice righteousness

    1 John 2:29

    7. Those born of God don't practice sinning.

    1 John 3:6

    1 John 3:9-10

    1 John 5:18

    8.Those who are born of God believe Jesus is the Christ.

    1 John 5:1

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  6. Laura,

    I think the problem here is understanding and differentiating between the "practice' of faith and the "belief" of faith. The word is the same in both instances pisteuo (that's from memory and you can corret me if I'm wrong)

    I believe that James was contrasting the belief whereas Paul was contrasting the practice...chew on that one for a minute.

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  7. I'm sorry, I messed that up...I said:
    I believe that James was contrasting the belief whereas Paul was contrasting the practice

    I mean that James was contrasting PRACTICE and Paul was contrasting BELIEF...The reason i say that is because Paul seems to be dealing with the moment of justification whereas James is dealing with how one carries out that practice or belief...

    Whew!

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  8. this savedbygrace crackpot is trying to fly under a new name called "forsure" I've got him covered...he's a clown!

    carry on good soldiers.

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  9. Cole,

    Isn't that the same as saying that works are a result of justification? I mean i know it's almost heretical to say that one can "work" to be saved but i still see, as you note that a persons 'works" can cause them to be lost also.

    From what I understand Augustine was the one who gave "faith only" understanding of salvation legs.

    has anyone studied that out?

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  10. Well, I think a person's works show wether or not they are born again. I'm not saying we never sin or mess up. But those who do who have been born again will repent and return. Augustine belived that we are saved by faith alone but that same faith will produce good works.

    The same faith that justifies is also the same faith that sanctifies.

    John Piper describes Augustine's story of being born again and being delivered from his addiction to sex. Augustine was born again and he never turned back to his old ways.

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  11. Just to add a little flavor to the argument at hand early church fathers Barnabas and Clemen Of Rome chimed in on this issue also. Here's what they said:

    "The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works" Barnabas(c.70-130, E) 1.148

    "He who keeps them will be glorified in the kingdom of god. However, he who chooses other things will be destroyed with his works." Barnabas(c.70-130, E)1.149

    "We are justified by our works, not by our words." Clement Of Rome (c.96, W)1.13

    Those are just a few, I'll render what may be more helpful, however back to the point, is there agreement that one can be lost by their works???

    That's what I see as I read this.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cole,

    You said this regarding those who fall away:"But those who do who have been born again will repent and return."

    I know this is slightly off topic but are you saying that everyone who falls away will repent or only those who repent will repent(hoep you see what I'm saying)

    I mean some say that those who have fallen away are the elect and will repent 100% of the time...I don't see it that way but I need a clarification on your statments...

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  13. I'm saying that those who fall away WHO ARE TRUELY BORN AGAIN will repent. Not everyone who falls away repents.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cole,

    I think you set forth a thought that I've heard from quite a few...The thought that those who were truely saved will be saved, to me this is akin to salvation of the elect, only the elect will respond and continue to respond to the gospel etc...

    Not to pick that issue too much in this post but...I see some formerally "really saved" folk that turn away and don't come back...

    At either rate, what I see is a persons works inhibiting them at later stages of development. I know the early Methodist church taught "sinless perfectionism" and that's not what I'm talking about but I see works taking a much greater role in salvation overall than it's been given credit...

    So good discussion...

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  15. I go along with 1 John 2:19 that says:

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

    Notice two things John says:

    1) Those who seemed to be born again and forsook the faith never were born again - They never were of us. "They went out from us, but they were not of us." In other words, the explanation is not that they lost their new birth. They never had it.

    2) Those who are truely born again (who are of "us") will persevere to the end in faith. Verse 19: "If they had been of us, they would have continued with us." The new birth is the cause of endurance, and endurance is the evidence of the new birth.

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  16. Cole,

    That was good! Fightin' words for our friends at DC but good nonetheless!

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  17. I wanted to look a little further at another church father's understanding of this subject:

    "The Lord did not abrogate the natural teachings of the Law, by which man is justified. For those who were justified by faith, and who please God, observed those teachings previous to the giving of the Law."Irenaeus (c.180,E/W)1.477

    I think this sheds probably one of the greatest insights on the topic...Ireaneus interpreted that those who receive Christ by faith already (at that moment) observe righteous works as their standard of living and practical service. In other words in his mind a saint could not be a saint and display unrighteous works no matter their confession...

    Now some may say I just want to see it that way, so please make a case to the contrary to show how you see it...

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  18. Pastor Burnett,

    Brother you are stirring up the pot. All I can say is Amen.

    I was not able to address your question last week.

    "What do you believe the scripture says about the eternality of hell for humans?"

    I believe according to the scriptures that Hell is somewhere in the middle of the earth and Hell is holding captive the souls of DISOBEDIENT, UNBELIEVING, UNREPENTANT, REPROBATE, and EVIL Human beings of all creeds, colors, and nationality.

    These souls will remain there until the the appointed time of fulfilling Revelation 20:

    11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
    12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. ****UH OH! There goes that word WORKS!**** Works here meaing the fruit or the thorns!

    13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. ***There goes that word again, Works!***

    14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Now, Verses 14 and 15 seem to imply annihilation and no longer to exist. Now remind you, the souls that are cast there, they have already been in torment, punishment, in HELL no telling how long. So the souls that perished starting with Cain to the flood to those that have rejected JESUS CHRIST, MESSIAH till now...Are in a literal Hell fire torment and are being tortured/punished WITH NO OFFER of REDEMPTION or REPENTANCE FOREVER! Amen.

    Now, there 2 KEY CONDITIONS to having your name written in the Book of Life. The LIFE(JESUS CHRIST's SPIRIT) must be in you and You must show FRUIT = Works(Righteous works, Obedient Works).

    To Be Con't.

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  19. Jjbrock,

    Thanks my sistah and I understand your sentiments...I don't want to place you on the spot or make you feel you need to give a "theological" answer but how do you reconcile the passages that say that individuals will be punished according to their works...

    For instance in the Galations passage I mentioned the scripture says that "they which do such things shall not inherit"...that seems to me to be an all inclusive statement. how does your view allow you to interpret that?

    Like I said, I'm not looking to embarass you or anything like that, and I won't try to hammer you for an answer but I was trying to get a handle on the thoughts centered around those sort of scriptures.

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  20. Part 2. This scripture Convinces me that we are saved by faith in CHRIST JESUS and CHRIST finished work on the Cross. That is our atonement and the blood of JESUS gets covered or exempt from "Plagues" or "Deaths" of this life and world system. The Israelite slaves Children were no more righteous than the Egyptians but they ATE the LAMB of GOD! And were covered under the BLOOD and they were spared! The Egyptians "COULD" have repented, but this Pharoah and the previous Pharaah when Moses was a babe did not know and refused to know Joseph(the history of why Egypt was blessed to begin with). Joseph was a type of CHRIST. Moses was a type of CHRIST. They were elected/chosen/ordained by YHVH(FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST) to be born in that time and season and by divine leading/promptings were SPARED. Israel the nation is like the Church are the elect(Chosen) to represent the Kingdom of GOD on the earth. It is nothing that either did that qualified them but election. Now TAKE NOTE, even though the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the chosen or elect. GOD stated in
    Numbers 15:15-16
    15One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.
    16One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you


    A NON-ISRAELITE could become part of the congregation of the LORD. Perfect examples were Rahab and Ruth. They were GENTILES or STRANGERS...they were not the ELECT! See Salvation is available for ALL MANKIND...always HAS BEEN! Where one gets off base is when they say that ONLY THE ELECT can be saved! That's HIGHMINDED heresy! Since the cross and the veil being torn in TWAIN, it is WHOSOEVER Will let him/her come!

    But here is the key, the Israelites & "Strangers joined to them" thru Moses KEPT the passover. That was what I call OBEDIENCE! That's why JESUS said, how can you call me LORD if you do not do what I say or do. If ye love me keep(OBEY) my commandments. A lot of "Christians" are Christian by confession but not BY PROFESSION(Works of Obedience). They are lips praise HIM but their hearts are FAR from HIM. Every believer has one of the four soil conditions of the heart. The FATHER, the Husbandman(Farmer) through the HOLY GHOST works on that heart day and night through Conviction, chastening, the preaching of the Word(the Word is the Sword of the Spirit). It is when that heart is broken(spiritually) and ADMITS GUILT before a HOLY GOD that JESUS can come in and take throne! Then the NEW LIFE, and A LITERAL RESURRECTION takes place. The Person passes from death to LIFE in HIM! Or Born again! That's why the preaching of the "INGRAFTED WORD" is A DO or DIE thing that must go forth until the end!

    Now here is one of hundreds of texts of Scripture that blows away eternal security or OSAS doctrine.
    WILLFUL disobedience CAN COST you everything even up to your very soul. "Remember Lot's wife." She perished with Sodom and Gomorrah because she LOOKED Back. JESUS said any one that looks back is not fit or worthy to enter into HIS KINGDOM.

    It is sobering and something to think about!

    Last Part to be continued.

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  21. Laura,

    you said: "So was the word "works" badly choosen by James when making his point for this generation?"

    Personally I think that James viewed "works" and held them closer to the vest than we think of today. We think of work in response to some action or interraction, I believe that James held that "work" was hand in hand with the action of what God had done...not synergism as the Catholics taught but par and parcel with.

    I think that's the dymanic of this particular blog. From his writings, I also feel that Paul believed the same and was directed of the Lord to say such. in addition, I think I've provided evidence that the early church fathers viewed it similarly.

    Our generation seems to have reverted to separating faith from works and has consequentely created a mess whereby people that basically deny God through their lives, live in sin, and don't change are basically still called "children of God" because they believed at one time.

    Now, that's what I've seen from the "once saved always saved" camp and I don't believe that's the right path.

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  22. Enochwalked,

    OOOOHHHHH YEA!

    You did it now for real...I'm looking at this:

    The Israelite slaves Children were no more righteous than the Egyptians but they ATE the LAMB of GOD! And were covered under the BLOOD and they were spared!

    Now the question is were they spared because of what they believed or what they did or did both belief and actions go hand in hand?

    You said:They were GENTILES or STRANGERS...they were not the ELECT! See Salvation is available for ALL MANKIND...always HAS BEEN! Where one gets off base is when they say that ONLY THE ELECT can be saved!

    Now that's a point! I feel that it is awfully difficult for one who holds to "election" to simply make an acception for Rahab...now some say that Rahab was "elect" also because of God's foreknowledge and that's where I agree that "election" should be based on, God and not man...Very good point.

    You said: But here is the key, the Israelites & "Strangers joined to them" thru Moses KEPT the passover.

    Now that's a DEEP topic, there's been a lot of study on the "strangers' part and who would actually be considered a stranger...

    Brother...this is fantastic! Great and thought provoking preaching.

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  23. For the reader:

    Now if you feel that your version or understanding of the truth is sacred, then the Dunamis Word may not be the place to post or read because I beleive that we're challenging and reviewing faith positions and examining what the bible teaches in a manner that may not be in agreement with denominations or even "round the corner" salvationists. By "round the corner" I mean those who gained thier understanding of God "round the corner"!-LOL

    (FYI-I won't quit my day job to go on the kings of comedy tour but anyway...)

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  24. Harvey,

    It comes from the once saved always saved Baptists and others but it doesn't come from the Reformed who believe in the perseverence of the saints. As I pointed out above John Piper, who is Reformed, demonstrates that those who are born again produce the fruits of righteousness and they will continue in the faith until the end. When they stumble and fall they repent and return.

    I believe in eternal security but I don't use that as an excuse to live an unrighteous life. Neither do the other Reformed believers I know. When I sin and backslide God convicts me and I return to Him.

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  25. Laura,

    Back to my analogy BEFORE we were so rudely interupted by the charlatan called savedbygrace,

    IF someone gives us a check that we didn't work for or earn and they give it to us because they just thought to do it (grace) us reaching out and receiving it is no place even close to work...The analogy of the check can't be thought of in light of sins being paid for because that has nothing to do with it.

    We're simply talking about corresponding actions...That's another way that I believe that faith and works go together...Jesus saved me by faith, me receiving what he did does not entail me doing his work over again. It's simply a response to what he has done but yet something that I must do...

    If I fail to receive the "check" so to speak, I can't fault anyone else but me for being broke...

    Aiight now...

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  26. Cole,

    Thank man you're adding a dynamic that needs to be added and also speaking to my understanding here...Now I have a question about this:"those who are born again produce the fruits of righteousness and they will continue in the faith until the end. When they stumble and fall they repent and return."

    What you're saying (If I understand this correctly) that those who fall will remain or be repentant...so there is none that can fall into bad works and remain there who truely had a relationship with Christ. What do you do with Heb. 6...once again like I said to JJbrock, I'm not trying to blast you, I'm seeking a better understanding as to how these things are reconciled...

    For the record i believe that it is possible for someone who has "tasted the heavenly gift" as Heb. 6 says to fall away and for them to ultimately be lost without restoration and 'doing their first work over" which is to love and serve God.

    So I understand perserverence for all them that want to perservere, but I'm having a hard time believing that that perserverence is based on fatalism or determinism.

    EXCELLENT! Thanks.

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  27. Cole,

    I guess you answer a portion of my question with what you said earlier:"I'm saying that those who fall away WHO ARE TRUELY BORN AGAIN will repent. Not everyone who falls away repents."

    So in essence the other part is do we believe that those "who have tasted the heavenly gift" can be people who are or never were saved? In fact how can one "tase the heavenly gift" and not be saved? it would seem that sinners would sincerely go for that one, they could experience the presence of God but yet remain in their sins...

    That hits the nail dead on the head.

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  28. Well, it's like I said above. Those who have tasted the heavenly gift and fall away and never return were never really born again to begin with. They had the appearance of being born again but they weren't the real deal. As 1 John 2:19 says:

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

    Again, notice two things John says:

    1) Those who seemed to be born again and forsook the faith never were born again - They never were of us. "They went out from us, but they were not of us." In other words, the explanation is not that they lost their new birth. They never had it.

    2) Those who are truely born again (who are of "us") will persevere to the end in faith. Verse 19: "If they had been of us, they would have continued with us." The new birth is the cause of endurance, and endurance is the evidence of the new birth.

    I think we would agree though that the fruit of righteousness is evidence of the new birth. As I stated above with the scriptual evidence to back it up:

    1. Those who are born of God keep His commandments.

    1 John 2:3-4
    1 John 3:24

    2. Those who are born of God walk as Christ walked.

    1 John 2:5-6

    3. Those who are born of God don't love the world

    1 John 2:15

    4. Those who are born of God confess the Son and recieve (have) have him.

    1 John 2:23

    1 John 4:15

    1 John 5 :12

    5. Those who are born of God don't hate others but love them.

    1 John 2:9

    1 John 3:14

    1 John 4:7-8

    1 John 4:20

    6. Those born of God practice righteousness

    1 John 2:29

    7. Those born of God don't practice sinning.

    1 John 3:6

    1 John 3:9-10

    1 John 5:18

    8.Those who are born of God believe Jesus is the Christ.

    1 John 5:1

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  29. Pastor Burnett,

    What is when one talks about "Saved" or "Being Saved" or "I am saved, sanctified, HOLY GHOST-filled, Fire-Baptized." Is not the better term CONVERTED?

    When one has tasted the heavenly gift, that means one has experienced becoming a new creation, old things(carnal man has passed away) and all things have become new(new life in CHRIST). Hebrews 6:4-6
    4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
    5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
    6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

    The theory here is that I heard from one theologian was Hebrews 6 is describing Jews who had became Christians after the day of Pentecost, they had repented, they had been baptized in JESUS NAME, and they had been filled with the HOLY GHOST. And when the old religious structure, the Babylonian Pharisees were torturing and imprisoning many of these "Believers in the way" or "new disciples", these Jewish or Hebrew Christians under threat of death or loss of position...i.e. losing their own life, being stoned...were offered the choice of RENOUNCING their faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST and making an oath to go back to Mosaic Covenant. This is what I believe is an example of "taking the Mark of the Beast." It is like renounce CHRIST and you shall live, save your head, save your temporal pleasures or be like the Hebrew boys and say, HE is able to deliver and IF HE does not deliver me, I will NEVER renounce JESUS CHRIST or bow to the image or take the Mark!

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  30. I'm glad Cole listed what those born of God do in such an easy to use way, so I can compare my post and thoughts to it in a sec.

    I believe every word in the Bible as God breathed, so I know that it's no mistake that there are a couple of very rigid, almost legalistic, yet wonderfully beautiful Books in the New Testament for us.

    My thoughts so far...
    If we only had the teachings of Paul to go on, we would know these undisputed facts:

    1. We are saved through Grace by faith.
    2. We are justified by faith.
    3. We are being sanctified by faith.

    Now I'm not Bible scholar, and I've never felt the need to study the Greek to see if there was something I was missing because I've always thought that the King James version did a stand-up job with the translation for 400 years.

    And it has been my experience that when someone pulls out a Greek Lexicon and wants to argue for interpretation, that it's on a point that involves either the necessity of works or salvation. I just go with the words on the page as translated.

    I explain this because "faith" means almost the same thing to me as "belief". So we are saved by Grace through belief, we are justified by belief and we are being sanctified by belief.

    Belief plus nothing.
    That's my stand.

    So why do we have the Books of 1 John and James with the legalistic undertones? We can't cop out and say they were talking to Jews and knew nothing of Paul's Gospel because if that was the case, God could have easily made sure those books weren't included.

    Picture what it would be like if they weren't for just a sec. It would be a whole 'nuther world. I think those Books are there to get us off our blessed assurance and move us into action.

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  31. (Still catching up)
    I agree with Cole here:

    1) Those who seemed to be born again and forsook the faith never were born again - They never were of us. "They went out from us, but they were not of us." In other words, the explanation is not that they lost their new birth. They never had it.

    I think that's clear in the writing.

    Galatians 5, the "shall not inherit"...We would have to throw out everything else that Paul said about our new life in Christ to believe that, for instance, if I have strife in my life, I just blew Heaven. Is there anyone else here that didn't inherit the kingdom because they allowed strife in their life at one time or another?

    This is just me talking - when I see a scripture that seems to be in contradiction to many other scriptures, I have to reconcile it because I believe every word of the Bible. Paul just told us in the beginning of the chapter our liberty in Christ. Those that walk after the Spirit. So no, I don't think he was talking about those that belong to Christ as being denied our inheritance.

    Just standin' in the liberty wherewith Christ made me free. :-)

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  32. Thanks for posting that Hebrews scripture.

    4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
    5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
    6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame

    Notice it says IF they fall away. It doesn't say they will.

    Again notice 1 John 2:19 says:

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

    Notice two things John says:

    1) Those who seemed to be born again and forsook the faith never were born again - They never were of us. "They went out from us, but they were not of us." In other words, the explanation is not that they lost their new birth. They never had it.

    2) Those who are truely born again (who are of "us") will persevere to the end in faith. Verse 19: "If they had been of us, they would have continued with us." The new birth is the cause of endurance, and endurance is the evidence of the new birth.

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  33. Laura,

    you said:"I think those Books are there to get us off our blessed assurance and move us into action."

    I think so too, so good thought.

    I think one thing that may be overlooked at times is that Paul was himself a practicing Jew before his conversion. Now I know he counted all things as "dung" so he could understand Christ's excellency, but I believe that through his writing we can see great hints of Judaism at times.

    One thing that he did was emphasize the doctrine of "faith" and exalted that to higher levels than had been heard previously under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and although he is known for a strong faith message his message is in no wise limited to that concept and at times he is Judaic, and what many call legalistic in his approach...

    Now Galations 5, as I've stated, poses a problem because his restriction on being able to enter is not limited to or restricted in any way and is more in tune with what we see in Matthew, John, and Revelation and also with the many sayings of Jesus that addressed "works" righteousness...

    Paul has been criticized for instituting another gospel other than that of Jesus, because of the parts of his "faith" message that are pointed out. There are some thing that the critic uses to assert those thoughts and those arguments and some of them are worth considering. Although I believe many assertions are unsuccessful in their attempts I still don't believe that Paul was teaching doctrine foriegn to the Apostles and James who were teaching before he was and became a believer.

    Historically there were no recorded conflicts over doctrinal items except for with Peter in Acts. It seems that Luke would have pointed out more significant doctrinal issues and since he also pointed out the contention with Barnabas Luke would not have likely hidden the truth, and certainly God wouldn't have inspired him to hide it.

    One thing I hope that is clear...from scripture works are a determining factor in eternal destiny to some extent whether that be for reward or eternal abode that's debateable, but we can see in every passage that has to do with judgement "works" were pointed out as being the primary factor or essential element in that judgement...

    I would like to believe that Faith needs nothing else, but I don't see it from a scriptural standpoint. My thoughts thankfully are not foreign to history as St. Augustine was the one who really opened the doors for "faith only" or "God only" type of justification...however biblically works have a more active role in the process of complete justification of the believer.

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  34. Believe me, I didn't say this topic was easy. There are graduate level classes on this very subject in many Christian education schools and seminaries.

    So good job...think it through and lets keep looking deeper.

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  35. Harvey,

    Works don't justify us before God. We are justfied by faith alone before God. But that justifying faith produced good works. The same faith that justifies also sanctifies.

    New Birth by grace
    Repentence
    Faith
    Justification
    Sanctification
    Glorification

    In that order.

    That's what I believe.

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  36. Cole,

    I understand your point, but you fail to address any issues especially that of James declaration...TSecondly, you don't address the early post apostolic father's thoughts on works and grace...

    I'm not saying that "works" is the only justifier, however they cannot be overlooked and I think we are challenged to leave what is an obtuse "faith only" concept as it pertains to salvation...

    Address ths scriptures, it's easy to say what you believe but it's incumbent upon you (and me) to address the scriptures in context to make a successful case.

    Now, I've done so and spent a great deal of hours doing it, imposing what we've been taught isn't good enough, there are too many exegetical problems.

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  37. Yeah, Harvey - you really have my mind-wheels turning on this most-personal issue.

    I totally agree that our works will be rewarded in Heaven. No works, no reward. I agree that if works weren't important, it wouldn't be mentioned by Christ and in Revalations.

    But I guess where I differ the most in my understanding is, that I can't do a single thing in and by myself but ACT on what He gives me. It might be argued that I can't even act on anything but that He gives me the strength and inclantion too.

    No, that's not true. I'm struggling with something right now and I know it's totally up to me to make the first move. So I take that back, but you get my drift, don't you?

    When I got to that place where I realized that every good thing I ever took credit for, and every good thing that is in me - HE put there, "works" flew out the window and my "walk" began.

    Does that make sense?

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  38. Ythe reason that this is important is that we are living in a time of complete moral failure and decay and may folk claiming to be Christians are only Christians in their confession and are hollering words like "grace" "faith", "elect",
    "eternal security" etc with no concept of living right claiming that everyone teaching, holding to and living a standard is living in bondage...That's a lie from hell...bondage is sin and living unrighteously.

    We must better determine what this grace actually produces within our lives and what our appropriate response to the cross is. In westernn culture works are too far away from faith, It's time to bring them back together like Jesus, Paul, Jonh, James to name a few taught clearly.

    Why because in EVERY scripture we can point to WORKS were a standard of our judgement...This is too important for us not to review although I know it's challenging...

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  39. Harvey, in your opinion, why did James use Rahab in his example of faith without works is dead? I mean, there were hundreds of choices of men who did great works - so why Rahab?

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  40. Harvey,

    The James scripture teaches that we are justified before men by our works. We are justified before God by faith alone. But it is a faith that is not alone in that it produces good works.

    True saving faith produces good works. Faith without works is dead.

    And we will persevere until the end if our faith is true for as Romans 8 says

    28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.


    It's an unbreakable chain.

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  41. Harvey said "The reason that this is important is that we are living in a time of complete moral failure and decay and may folk claiming to be Christians are only Christians in their confession and are hollering words like "grace" "faith", "elect",
    "eternal security" etc with no concept of living right claiming that everyone teaching, holding to and living a standard is living in bondage...That's a lie from hell...bondage is sin and living unrighteously."


    I know what you mean. Kind of the opposite, but I visited a very large denomination's board a few months back with some questions about their faith, and I was horrified at what I learned. I kept asking myself "are they even saved?" and many restless nights later, I decided to let God sort it out.

    Was savedbygrace more damaging than them because he wore the Christian label too? I don't know. All we can do is stand in the Truth of the Word. And there can only be ONE truth, so that's why this discussion is important.

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  42. Harvey,

    Faith in God's pardon, God's power (not my own power), and God's promises breaks the bondage of sin and opens the heart to love.

    Faith

    Hope

    Love

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  43. Laura,

    I hear ya...let's just assume for a minute that radical total deparavity is exists...I can't resond period on my own...however when God gives me the grace to, what happens?...I respond...

    I did a post on Regenerationhttp://dunamis2.wordpress.com/regeneration/ and Theologian R.C.Sproul teaches that regeration preceeds faith.

    It must under most theological consrtucts. Why? Man MUST respond, his response is a "work". NO it DOESN'T add to the grace of God but if he doesn't respond what is he dead???

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  44. Cole said "True saving faith produces good works. Faith without works is dead."

    That's the same way I see it. I love that you posted Romans 8, because I just thought of that one when I was posting about what I can't take credit for:

    "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son..."

    We can fight like hell against it, but if we are truly His, He is changing us more and more each day until the day we stand before Him. And that will be an AWESOME day when it's no longer a struggle.

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  45. Harvey said I did a post on Regenerationhttp://dunamis2.wordpress.com/regeneration/ and Theologian R.C.Sproul teaches that regeration preceeds faith.

    I've heard snippets on this teaching so I look forward to reading your post.

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  46. Cole,

    You said: The James scripture teaches that we are justified before men by our works.

    I would agree but I don't believe that's the exclusive context and I don't believe that we can limit it to that...BUT I understand.

    You said:We are justified before God by faith alone.

    I understand but there are good works that go hand in hand WITH that faith and judgement so there's a greater element here.

    You said:But it is a faith that is not alone in that it produces good works.

    Totally agreed!

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  47. Harvey,

    You said:

    "It must under most theological consrtucts. Why? Man MUST respond, his response is a "work". NO it DOESN'T add to the grace of God but if he doesn't respond what is he dead???"


    The Bible teaches that regeneration comes before faith. Grace comes then we repent and believe.

    Acts 18:27

    On arriving, he was a great help to those who BY GRACE HAD BELIEVED.

    1 jOHN 5:1

    Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD.

    As John Stott says on this verse:

    The combination of present tense (believes) and perfect tense [has been born] is important. It shows clearly that believing is the consequence, not the cause, of the new birth. Our present continuing activity of believing is the result, and therefore the evidence, of our past experience of new birth by which we became and remain God's children.

    Then in Acts 16:14 the Lord opened her (Lydia's) heart to respond to Paul's message.

    We are born of God.

    John 1:11-13

    He came to his own, and his own people did not recieve him. But to all who did recieve him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

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  48. Harvey said:
    The judgement of the wicked, which could include who some think are believers, will be based on their works, as what they express outwardly should be a natural outgrowth of their inward disposition.

    This would seem to imply that you believe that some unbelievers ("the wicked") will indeed be saved.

    (In truth, I'm rather puzzled as to your stance - I reached the limited of my patience like five paragraphs in and skipped to the summary, sorry)

    Cole said...
    1) Those who seemed to be born again and forsook the faith never were born again - They never were of us. "They went out from us, but they were not of us." In other words, the explanation is not that they lost their new birth. They never had it.

    This is contradictory to Hebrews 6:11 (iirc)

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  49. I read your post about regeneration. I'm a blunt speaker, so I'll put this as sweetly as I can. I don't think it's important to have a stance on. It's one of those "we know in part" things that's not primary to our walk or salvation.

    However, it does bring up more issues with once saved, always saved, just like this discussion. So I compliled my list of scripture that convinced me, without a doubt, that there is nothing we could do (or not do) to lose our salvation if one is truly saved:

    Jesus speaking:
    "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
    ~John 5:24

    I could stop right there with that one verse. Jesus is clear - if you hear His Word and believe God sent Him, you WILL have everlasting life, you WILL NOT come into condemnation, and you HAVE passed from death to life.

    Our salvation isn't some cosmic football that get's thrown back and forth from life to death based on our works, actions, or even turning our back on God. Jesus is clear here that once in, we're in!

    And I want to be clear in case you might be wondering, that you won't get any arugment from me that there are things we want to do AFTER we are saved, but even being transformed into something closer to His image takes time - the rest of our lives - and we're gonna screw up. A lot. Maybe even walk away for awhile. It's not an easy road most times.

    And before I forget, I want to add that we have no idea what all happens the moment we believe and accept Jesus into our hearts. No one can say that in a twinkling of an eye we are not redemned, justified and sanctified. Instead, we look at it as a process, giving ourselves a bit too much credit, I think, for the work of the Cross.

    "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
    That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
    ~Romans 5:20-21

    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    ~Romans 6:23

    "Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
    And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
    ~John 10:25-30

    "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
    ~2 Corinthians 1:21-22

    Ephesians 1:13 (borrowed from your regeneration post)
    "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory".


    "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
    But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
    All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
    ~John 6:35-37

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  50. "Cole said...
    1) Those who seemed to be born again and forsook the faith never were born again - They never were of us. "They went out from us, but they were not of us." In other words, the explanation is not that they lost their new birth. They never had it.

    This is contradictory to Hebrews 6:11 (iirc)"


    Hebrews 6:

    4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
    5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
    6 IF they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame

    Notice it says IF they shall fall away. It doesn't say they will.

    Nevertheless, it could also be refering to those who had a "said" faith and not a real faith. They went through all the motions but didn't have true saving faith. As the scripture says:

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

    1 John 2:19

    So there is no contradiction.

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  51. Cole,

    You said:"The Bible teaches that regeneration comes before faith. Grace comes then we repent and believe."

    That's technically incorect. I believe that the scripture says that the "grace which bringe the salvation has appeard to ALL men" (Titus 2:10) and in this sense his grace is upon even the sinner affording him/her and opportunity to be saved. At the very least that grace appears before salvation as a process to bring into salvation...to construct that grace begins AFTER salvation is far too late in my view. Now, we know that it is still there afterward but I only contend that grace has appeared far earlier than many of us contend.

    You also said:It shows clearly that believing is the consequence, not the cause, of the new birth.

    I think believing is a continuing consequence of the new birth but I will expand that in light of scripture:

    Acts 16:30-31~30-And brought them out and said Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31-And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house."

    Here the aiorst tense was used to indicate saved now and in the future. At any rate belief was not only the result of salvation it was the process of how salvation was gained.

    I think at times we can get locked into one mode and believe it follows a certain path at all times and that's not the case.

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  52. Laura,

    You said and quoted teh scripture:
    "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
    ~John 5:24

    You said:"I could stop right there with that one verse. Jesus is clear - if you hear His Word and believe God sent Him, you WILL have everlasting life, you WILL NOT come into condemnation, and you HAVE passed from death to life."

    Now, what about (in your opinion) someone like Nightmare (for instance)he has declared he doesn't need Jesus anymore neither will he be subject to his reign (that's a loose summary) He now believes in multiple gods and deities and believes the bible to be a myth based on his experience. Former believer one that probably served Christ and his church well...

    How is it that he will not be lost for his turning away from God? As I've stated before for a sinner to go to heaven against their will would be hell for them. How does God impose himself basically rewarding SIN while simultaneously condemning other to hell?

    It's this type of fundamentalism that need to be stoke out, because under your construct, the best thing for all of us to do is get saved and live irresponsibly, because we'll be ok because it's not based on what we can or can't do.

    That's not so good my sister.

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  53. Harvey,

    We are saved (justified) after we believe. But we are regenerated by grace before we believe as the scriture teaches:


    Acts 18:27

    On arriving, he was a great help to those who BY GRACE HAD BELIEVED.

    1 jOHN 5:1

    Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD.

    As John Stott says on this verse:

    The combination of present tense (believes) and perfect tense [has been born] is important. It shows clearly that believing is the consequence, not the cause, of the new birth. Our present continuing activity of believing is the result, and therefore the evidence, of our past experience of new birth by which we became and remain God's children.

    Then in Acts 16:14 the Lord opened her (Lydia's) heart to respond to Paul's message.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Cole,

    I heard the argument the first time and i don't believe it's a sound case, repeating it as if it's not read is not the idea, you need to formulate a new argument based on other evidences, You addressed non of my objections or conclusions based on alternate scripture.

    The only way to get to a good understanding is to engage. Like I said your thesis doesn not address what we see elsewhere, make a case supported by alternate evidence because what you're rendered DOESN'T seal the deal.

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  55. Harvey,

    I did respond to your verse. I agree that salvation(justification)
    comes after faith just as the scriptures teach. But as I pointed out above the scriptures also teach that grace comes before faith.

    Grace

    Repentance

    Faith

    Salvation (justification)

    Sanctification

    Glorification.

    In that order

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  56. Also Rom. 10:10 speaks to the issue,

    For with the heart man believeth UNTO righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made UNTO salvation.

    Now the argument that belief which, comes from the heart, arrives AFTER one is saved is incinsistent with scripture. Belief certainly continues after salvation but it also comes prior to it or else faith would not be cognitive as we wouldn't know what we are doing or why we're doing it.

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  57. Cole,

    You're RIGHT! I misread. I thought you said grace come AFTER salvation...My fault!!!

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  58. Nightmare,

    you said:This would seem to imply that you believe that some unbelievers ("the wicked") will indeed be saved.

    No implication intended for that assertion. The "wicked" will be lost for failure to turn, however some scriptures works have a greater weight upon them in relationship to both reward and eternal destiny than what many teachers have commonly set forth, I'm speaking from that standpoint.

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  59. Harvey said "It's this type of fundamentalism that need to be stoke out, because under your construct, the best thing for all of us to do is get saved and live irresponsibly, because we'll be ok because it's not based on what we can or can't do."

    Fundamentalism? I'm just reading the words on the page!
    "passed from life to death", "guaranteed", "sealed", "never perish" cannot be "snatched from My hand", "nowise cast out".

    With all respect, how are you going to spiritualize all this away or dismiss it simply because it doesn't fit your sense of justice, or whatever.

    If we know anything about God at all, we know that He is flawlessly faithful in His promises. They are the only thing in this world worth trusting because they're backed by something outside our fallen condition - God's perfect character.

    Now, we might not agree because we might see it as unfair. Here we are trying hard to save ourselves, and someone like Nightmare turns his back on God and lives a sinfilled life and is still saved.

    But let me ask you this - What will give Jesus more glory in the end? Breaking His promise and casting Nightmare into the lake of fire? Or keeping His promise, and washing him as white as snow?

    You say that, in essance, it's a license to sin. We didn't need a license to sin when we were unsaved! Nightmare is mad at God. We have all been there, I think, especially in our early walk. God is calling him back...We know that Jesus will leave the flock to go after that one missing sheep because Nightmare is precious in His eyes.

    But MAN says "he's out!" That's not what Jesus says, and even though it doesn't seem fair, it is Just and Perfect.

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  60. Pastor Burnett,

    I have been following the discussions. I agree with your commentary thus far 100%.

    I have learned personally from chastening, correction, and my own suffering from the LORD over the past 12 years since my initial conversion, that salvation is CONDITIONAL, NOT UN-conditional. I.e. If ye love ME, If, If, and more ifs to count. He that endureth to the end, shall be ....saved. Repent and go back to thy first works...If any man deny ME before men, I shall be ashamed of him before MY FATHER.
    If any man follows ME, let him deny .... Be ye holy, for I AM Holy...and here is the best one...Harden not your hearts....etc. etc. etc.

    Question to those that believe OSAS or Unconditional Eternal Security. How do you get around what the LORD JESUS CHRIST prophesied and Paul prophesied the Great Falling Away or Apostasy? Look up the Biblical definiton of Apostasy. Amen.

    In the OT days, Israel as the ELECT nation chosen, ordained, and blessed/favored by GOD...FELL AWAY from GOD as a whole. Only the remnant were spared. We don't stone people anymore(THANK GOD!) but the Church is commanded to put out the leaven because a little leaven(SIN) leavens the whole! The Church has a displine system to deal with brothers(Christians, Spirit-filled, no matter there level in HIM) who commit WILLFUL Sin! JESUS spoke on it and Paul confirmed it in Corinthians with the man that was sleeping with his mother-in-law. Paul said to treat that man as an enemy and turn him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that he might(a chance, not a guarantee) be saved.

    I used to be a spirit-filled fornicator in the Church until I had a great awakening(SPANKING is more like it!). I ran away from junk food christianity and started 9 years ago fellowship with saints(elders and mothers) that can through the Help of the HOLY GHOST SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU!

    I am thoroughly convinced the American Churches/organizations and TV ministries have preached and taught TOO MUCH on GRACE, the Love of GOD, and the Blessings(prosperity) that when someone preaches or rebukes America on the WRATH of GOD...the hearts of men are so hardened that they cannot receive it!

    Think about it and don't take my word for it, go to the Word for yourself! Amen.

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  61. This is the reason I won't teach once saved, always saved - We don't know what is in the heart of those who say they "once believed". When I use Nightmare as an example, I am basing that on what appears to me to be an honest confession of true belief stated by him on a previous discussion.

    I have heard many, MANY confessions of early so-called belief by atheists, as they blasphemed the name of God, lied about the Word and tried to take as many down with them as possible.

    Based on Nightmare's confession from the other discussion and his posts, I believe that he was truly saved. Most importantly, HE believes he was truly saved. In this rare instance, I think it's safe to use him in my examples.

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  62. Laura,

    I didn't mean to offend you AT ALL..I was only making mention of the fact that "once saved always saved" inadvertantly serves to reward "certain" sinners for their sins and explain ( as a failsafe) that those who leave Christ were never saved to begin with...Although that's a healthy debate as Cole has laid out, the bottom line is if we approach scipture in a wooden literal context (IN SOME INSTANCES) then we set up a system that doesn't quite pan out...

    So please don't be upset, I've enjoyed your commentary and it's been very insightful. And yes, I have my own beliefs like you and all those that read and post but that's not an inhibitor to the truth...

    We're good I hope!

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  63. Laura,

    You asked this:"But let me ask you this - What will give Jesus more glory in the end? Breaking His promise and casting Nightmare into the lake of fire? Or keeping His promise, and washing him as white as snow?"

    I wouldn't see God allowing Nightmare or anyone else to receive the reward for what they choose as "breaking his promise". There is no failure in God whether nightmare or anyone else goes to hell. The inadequacy is in us. HIS Will is that we be saved, but the choice remains and as Nightmare has said for himself, he (currently) wouldn't want heaven if it doesn't include whom he thinks should also be able to participate...we define those folk as sinners and we know it won't be the case that they share the eternal reward without repentance.

    I agree though we can judge prematurely, and I'm certainly not condemning anyone, I'm simply observing the way it is right now. That's all we can do.

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  64. Enochwalked,

    You said: "Question to those that believe OSAS or Unconditional Eternal Security. How do you get around what the LORD JESUS CHRIST prophesied and Paul prophesied the Great Falling Away or Apostasy? Look up the Biblical definiton of Apostasy. Amen."

    Absolutely CORRECT! "Fall away" from what? Humanity, personhood? No...this is falling away from Christ and what he has done for them.

    You're certainly on point, Western society has approached an eastern birthed religious system with the overall thought of irresponsibility and inaccountability for their actions. this was the greek mindset of religion and what nightmare at least has the nerve to describe...anarchy and unaccountability to any particular set of anything...We call responsible behavior legalism, and minimize the clear teachings that we will be judged by our "works". Our judgement is not ONE TIME mentioned as being by our faith...

    We know faith gets us at least to the parking lot but works gets us in the game and if we've worked ungodliness, we will receive the reward for that ungodliness, I don't care what confession we say we have. Like James was saying actions speak louder than words...

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  65. Hey Harvey,

    Here's the way I see it:

    The new birth happens as I am brought into contact with the living and abiding word, the gospel. The first effect of this new birth is that I see and recieve God and His Son and His work and His will as supremely beautiful and valuable. That's faith. This faith overcomes the world. It overcomes the enslaving power of the world to be my supreme treasure. Christ becomes my supreme Treasure.

    Faith breaks the enslaving power of the world's allurement. In that way faith leads me into obedience with freedom and joy. God and His will look beautiful to me and not burdensome. The new birth takes off the blinders and I see things for what they truely are and I am free to obey with joy.

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  66. I would first like to say that what Cole is saying is exactly the way I know it to be true. I'm not including this language in my posts because I don't want to lose focus on what I'm trying to get across. Just know that I believe, like him, that when we are truly born again, works follow.

    The clear teaching of Jesus about our blessed assurance cannot be ignored or swept under the rug. So if it doesn't conform with your beliefs, I have to ask "why?"

    And this is where we get into real disagreement because I'm a pre-trib'er. Matthew 24 and 25 cover the last days, all the way to His second coming. We won't be here - the Church being rapture before the Tribulation. So the sheep and the goats that Jesus is talking about are the unsaved and the christian martyrs, not His church which is in Heaven.

    Is there any other scripture you can give that contradicts the very words of Jesus I posted earlier?

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  67. Enoch Walked said "I have learned personally from chastening, correction, and my own suffering from the LORD over the past 12 years since my initial conversion, that salvation is CONDITIONAL, NOT UN-conditional."

    Once we believe, we receive the GIFT of salvation. Gifts don't come with strings and gifts can't be taken back (even in our judicial court system).
    "for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."
    ~Romans 11:29

    We all seem to have strong feelings about this, so let's get real - what does God's Word say?

    Jesus said:
    "passed from death unto life" (John 5:24)

    "I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:35-37)

    "shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:25-30)

    Is there any scripture that disputes the very words of Christ?

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  68. Laura,

    You used John 5:24 ~ "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

    You asked for a contradictory scripture and I don't believe that the scripture contradicts itself but I do believe that we can shed light and come to a more full understanding of what is being said...Basically this says that the believer HAS everlasting life and has passed from death (sin) to life...Let's see what else we can find:

    John 6:37 ~ “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."

    Now that's right on par with what you referenced above right?

    Then the Lord talks about those that abide in him...those are the ones who 1-believe on him (as referenced above)and 2- those who come to him that the Father has given to him (as referenced above)...I believe everyone will agree.

    But let's look at this:

    John 15:6 ~ "“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."

    Those who don't ABIDE are cast out. That's pretty simple. Most will say that's the sinner right?But who are those that abide? Lets see:

    1 John 3:24~ "Now hewho keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us."

    Those that "keep the commandments" (equivalent to obeying the word that has been birthed in their life) are those that "abide in him". Once again that's pretty simple. Those who don't obey his commandments (or keep, or do the "work") [that's a bad word as you said before] do not abide in him. Is that true? OK...

    Peter, who also walked with Jesus, draws a contrast and revelas those that work unrighteousness. He says that these men were "hellions" (my description of course) This is what he says:

    2 Pet. 2:12-14 "12-But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13-and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14-having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children."

    Later that same chapter he further describes who these people were:

    2 Pet. 2:20-22 ~ " 20-For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21-For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22-But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”"

    These are people who had known the commandment, escaped the world because of the work of Jesus, and TURNED from it...What do they receive? Whatever it is it's better for them to "never have known" than to have turned back.

    Tell me HOW will these people receive the reward of heaven when all they do with their works is subvert and undermine the kingdom? you know what? There is NO WAY possible that the Lord will reward them a righteous reward for their subversion...that would make God rewarding the backslidden sinner while sending the ordinary sinner to hell...God's justice IS NOT perverted.

    see part 2

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  69. Part 2

    In light of what Paul said in Galations 5:21..."they which DO such things shall not inherit the Kingdonm of God"...there is no way possible that a practicing sinner will go to heaven, I don't care how much he/she has confessed or said they have faith...It just DON'T work...

    Nobody "plucks" them out, but scripture demonstrates that they have CHOICE which God will not rescind the consequences of exercising the wrong choice. Like Enochwalked said, the scipture is CONDITIONAL...the contract is a bilateral contract in it's verbage but it is unilateral in it's establishment.

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  70. Laura,

    You also mentioned that Mt.25:31-46 doesn't apply to you because you'll have been raptured pre-trib, while I hope that's right because I will too, I'm preparing for the alternate of being here to see God make the difference between his children and the world, but that's yet another post...

    What I will say is this...you should expect to be a part of that judgement whether raptured or not because it's the only one we will experience...Why? The language of that passage sets the stage as I said to heretic savedbyapostasy, The phrase "Son of Man" denotes his Messianic office according to Daniel 7:14, "sitting upon the throne", represents Jesus (as God) sitting upon the throne of God making his final judgemnt...the phrase "king" denotes his superior authority over all flesh and heaven itself...That will have everything to do with you and me and whether that occurs on earth or in heaven NOBODY will be expemt...and in that passage the judgement is based upon "WORKS" not FAITH...

    J.P. dealt with it and he even agrees with the problem that that scripture presents. One thing is sure that the judgement was not according to western standards of judgement and the sheep and goats were separated by what they had done. Further there is no reason to think that the scripture was an insertion or interpolation.

    So there is a problem that is unescapable...and I don't see where faith and works are seperate categories of service as we deem it in our society...

    Are faith and works inseparable? NOPE and I haven't found scriptural proof of such yet.

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  71. Harvey said "John 6:37 ~ “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."

    Now that's right on par with what you referenced above right?
    Then the Lord talks about those that abide in him...those are the ones who 1-believe on him (as referenced above)and 2- those who come to him that the Father has given to him (as referenced above)...I believe everyone will agree.


    You lost me here. I don't see where Jesus then talks about abiding in Him in chapter 6 at all. I DO see where He says:

    28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

    29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    I asked you earlier what the will of the Father was. It's stated three times (this being one) that His will is for us to believe.
    Abraham believed. Rahab believed. The will of the Father does not change through Books or Chapters.

    So all I see is that you are skipping to John 15, the Vine and branches. I can't come to the same conclusions that you are, that the dead branches are "literally" believers being thrown into the fire.

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  72. A person does themselves an injustice by not reading the entire post. i know it's long and there's a lot of information but it is essential to understanding this topic and what the bible actually says.

    In this post I have presented, probably the most difficult scriptures to reconcile in Christianity.

    I have presented evidence of scripture itself, thoughts and writing of the post apostolic fathers specifically addressing the issues of works and righteousness/justification, and further explained that throught the NT works were ALWAYS a consideration in both judgement of the righteous and sinner...

    Now the believer can say that his/her judgement is ONLY for a reward, but we are still left with the idea that the believer's works follow them (Rev.14:13) and this:

    Rev.22:14~"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city

    We can talk about faith all day and what it does, but I agree with James, faith does nothing unless something is attached called works...that's how we know it's real faith.

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  73. Harvey said "Those that "keep the commandments" (equivalent to obeying the word that has been birthed in their life) are those that "abide in him". Once again that's pretty simple. Those who don't obey his commandments (or keep, or do the "work") [that's a bad word as you said before] do not abide in him. Is that true? OK... "

    Et, et, et!! We have a Bible difference here. So it's not OK. Let's look at the KJV:

    "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

    "Hereby" proceeds the declaration - "by the Spirit". Keeping His commandments is the given, not the way to know. I know many "good" people who keep God's commandments but have never accepted Christ.

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  74. Harvey said: "A person does themselves an injustice by not reading the entire post. i know it's long and there's a lot of information but it is essential to understanding this topic and what the bible actually says."

    I read the post through, and am answering in the way I thought would be clearest. I hope that you will give me this leeway because I am not as learned as you, and I'm A.D.D. , so breaking it up is a big help to me.

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  75. Laura,

    You said:"I can't come to the same conclusions that you are, that the dead branches are "literally" believers being thrown into the fire."

    That's NOT what I conclude at least in this scripture. I said this:

    Those who don't ABIDE are cast out. That's pretty simple. Most will say that's the sinner right? But who are those that abide? Lets see:

    1 John 3:24~ "Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us."

    Now you take the interpretation that the "work of God" is to believe, so when we see "work" the scripture is actually referencing belief or faith? Is that what you're saying?

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  76. Laura,

    you said:I hope that you will give me this leeway because I am not as learned as you, and I'm A.D.D. , so breaking it up is a big help to me.

    That has NOTHING to do with it...you're doing EXCELLENT and I can tell you have read the the post, so "learnedness" isn't a consideration, we're trying to get to the best possible relationship of faith and works and like I said this is a difficult subject.

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  77. Laura,

    You also said:Et, et, et!! We have a Bible difference here. So it's not OK. Let's look at the KJV:

    That's OK because this is the operative part of the scripture:

    "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.

    Those that "keep the commandments" are the ones that "dwelleth" in him...the "eth" meaning to continue to dwell...

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  78. Harvey said "Rev.22:14~"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city

    We can talk about faith all day and what it does, but I agree with James, faith does nothing unless something is attached called works...that's how we know it's real faith."


    It's only when we get to Heaven that we will know what the tree of life is, and who those people are that will be dwelling outside the gates of the new Jerusalem. Right now, we only know in part, right?

    Listen, I SO agree that works follow salvation. We are new creations in Christ, and the two go hand in hand. What I don't agree with is what is being put forth here that salvation is contingent upon works!

    For example - I am blessedly assured of my salvation. I know I can't lose it no matter what I do. So, what do I WANT to do? I want to please God. I have a hunger, a drive and the deepest desire to do what the Holy Spirit shows me.

    As a matter of fact, I'm dealing with something right now that might not seem like much to y'all, but it's killer to me. I'm addicted to Starbuck's frapachinos. I HAVE to have one every day. I'm skinny, so that's not a problem. But the ADDICTION is a problem, and the Spirit is dealing with me. My flesh is SCREAMING for it's daily intake of caffine and chocolate.

    A non-believer doesn't have anyone to answer to but themselves, right? Well you seem to think that just because my salvation is secure in my mind, that I don't feel like I have to answer to God. And I'm telling you that that's just not the case in the best way I know how - by using myself for an example.

    We aught not to be addicted to anything because we have the power of Almighty God dwelling on the inside of us (plus Paul said we shouldn't be addicted). And I hope I'm not being too shocking when I say that I believe what is sin to me may not be sin to you. God keeps changing me a little at a time, and it's a good thing because I would have hated for Him to have pointed everything out from the get-go!

    I hope this make sense.

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  79. Hey Harvey,

    I'll just say one more thing and then I'm finished. I think those who are born again want to do God's will. God changes their hearts by His grace and opens up their eyes to see His beauty and worth. We are born again when Christ becomes for us our Supreme Treasure. When He becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy. By beholding His glory we are transformed into His image and likeness. Like I said before I think it's possible for one of God's children to slip and fall. I know I have. But I also think that God always brings His children back to Himself by His grace. I think it was Paul who said "Lord I believe. Help my unbelief."

    I see faith as a confident trust. Saving faith is a confident trust in God. Trusting in God's pardon, God's promises, and God's power and not my own breaks the bondage of sin in my life and opens my heart to love. Faith working itself out through love. The sign that I love God is that I love others, especially other believers and that this sacrificial Christ-like love is what I most deeply desire to do as an expression of my love for the Father. Not that I never mess up. But when I mess up God by His grace always brings me back to Him.

    1 John 2:1 says:

    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

    In other words John does not assume that if you sin, you are not born again. He assumes that if you sin you have an advocate. I believe that those who are truely born again when they backslide they will eventually confess their sin and recieve cleansing. Their love for Christ is renewed and the sweetness of their relationship is recovered and the hatred of sin is restored and the joy of the Lord again becomes their strength.

    It has for me anyway.

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  80. "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.

    Yes, I agree. That's a natural.
    Jesus didn't say "Abide in me for salvation", and I think that's what you are trying to make Him say.

    I hate to keep using Nightmare as an example, but it won't hurt if he's reading. Let's say that Nightmare IS saved like I think he is. He is not abiding in Jesus right now, he is not keeping His commandment to love the LORD with all his heart.

    I accepted Nightmare's confession of faith as told by him to be geniune by the words he used. I have not known him to say or do what so many false-confessors do, and that is blaspheme the name of God, lie about the Word and try to take as many down with them as possible. A rare case, as I said.

    Could I be discerning the Holy Spirit inside him, knowing that he is "of the family", so to speak?

    "And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

    I wish I could ask Nightmare if he knows the Holy Spirit is inside him. (sorry for the side-track)

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  81. "Now you take the interpretation that the "work of God" is to believe, so when we see "work" the scripture is actually referencing belief or faith? Is that what you're saying?"

    Not necessarily - all in context, Harvey. I DO see James' "faith without works is dead" as being more about belief put into action by his two examples of Abraham and Rahab than what we, today, would call "works".

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  82. Back to your original thought:

    20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

    21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

    22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

    Harvey said "Tell me HOW will these people receive the reward of heaven when all they do with their works is subvert and undermine the kingdom?"

    These people heard the Good News and rejected the Good News. This is the verse that makes me leery of answering questions of the un-churched and unbelieving who think they are righteous enough for Heaven without Jesus because I know they will be responsible for that knowledge as soon as they reject it.

    I take it that you are reading it as they were once saved. I don't think I can agree that they were ever saved. I would say this was a contradictory verse if it said "they believed", but it only says they had "knowledge".

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  83. In light of what Paul said in Galations 5:21..."they which DO such things shall not inherit the Kingdonm of God"...there is no way possible that a practicing sinner will go to heaven, I don't care how much he/she has confessed or said they have faith...It just DON'T work...

    We are ALL sinners. (big smiley faces coming up) I guess you and I are in deep trouble according to Paul and your take on Galations 5 because we DID do strife in that other discussion last week. So that means we are headed down? (insert smiley faces here)

    How about a deep, cleansing breath of the One who died for us:

    "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

    That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

    For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

    Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

    So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

    But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
    ~Romans 8:1-9

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  84. That was beautiful, Cole.

    "Lord I believe. Help my unbelief."

    To lighten things up a bit - a warning not to pray for God to help you trust Him more. He will put in front of you a seemingly endless amount of things you have no control over and all you can do is trust.

    Do you see that one coming, lol? I never did...

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  85. Laura,

    It's not a SIN, to enjoy coffee of chocolate...it may be something that you don't want to do regularly but sin is a streatch...thoughts to the contrary is what "legalism" is...

    You said:What I don't agree with is what is being put forth here that salvation is contingent upon works

    That is a TOTAL INACCURACY of anything that I have said. I have said consistently that faith and works are inseperable...there is no work that can save you however, the scriptures intent was NEVER to make works less significant than faith. That's western societies view, however scripture, I believe, clearly teaches they are together and works will prohibit reward and determine eternal destiny. The scriptures taken in context affirm that idea.

    You said: I know I can't lose it no matter what I do.

    OK so become a full time liar...only problem is that a liar won't tarry in his sight right? In fact:

    Ps. 101:7-8 ~"7-He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. 8-I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD."

    I mean that's just one but look at the works of the flesh according to Galations 5:18-20 and then look at what Jesus says about them:

    Mt. 15:18-19~"18-But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19-For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

    There is no circumstance under which you can tell me that scripture validates SIN...That's ridiculous, no matter how you dress it up...I doesn't work...

    You said this:"Let's say that Nightmare IS saved like I think he is. He is not abiding in Jesus right now, he is not keeping His commandment to love the LORD with all his heart....I accepted Nightmare's confession of faith as told by him to be geniune by the words he used.

    This is what Nightmare said:I thank you for the sentiment Laura. Though I can't speak for the veracity of the once saved always saved idea, I can say I would find it highly odd (and amusing) would such be true. I would not wish, however, to be in a heaven that my friends (divine friends that is, ironically all my remaining human friends are xian) are not a part of. Nor would I wish to be party to the damnation of those who did not deserve such.July 28, 2009 2:35 AM (Does The Bible Teach A Literal Hell)

    Believe me, I'm not bashing my man, but there is NO HINT of Christianity or a relationship with God as we know it according to scripture. In fact there is NO HINT that even wants one. We can pray and wishfully think all we want but that's another story...

    So you accept his former confession as I do but to impose salvation on him is a fantasy...that's exactly what it is a fantasy.

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  86. Laura,

    you said:" wish I could ask Nightmare if he knows the Holy Spirit is inside him. (sorry for the side-track)"

    Laura you must be trying to work me here...there is NO WAY POSSIBLE that the Holy Spirit resides in someone who rejects them...The WORLD cannot receive him because it doesn't know him... read my post on Can a Christian Have a Demon? God doesn't share his residence that's utter confusion.

    Concerning 2 Peter 2:20-22 you said:I take it that you are reading it as they were once saved.

    Ahhh, YEA, that's what the scripture says.

    You said:I don't think I can agree that they were ever saved. I would say this was a contradictory verse if it said "they believed", but it only says they had "knowledge".

    Let's do this verse by verse because these people WERE saved at a pont in time:

    "20-For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

    Meaning they come to Christ...we all come through "knowledge" of him no matter how that knowledge comes, we must first believe that he is and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him...(Heb. 11:6)Further it's impossible to be in sin and be accounted as one who has "ESCAPED"...the language of the scripture is not that confused.

    they are again entangled in them and overcome,

    They REVERT..."AGAIN entangled" you can't revert if you've never left the first base...you can't be entangeled AGAIN if you've not been free at least once.

    the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.

    The state of reversion is WORSE that the first condition...Why? Now they also have the GUILT of turing to deal with in addition to their sins...

    21-For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

    They Knew it, TURNED from it and what was it? It was "the way of righteousness...and "the holy commandment that was delivered to them...There's a lot here but the word 'delivered" is the same word Paul uses in 2. Cor. 11:23, as in having "been received" from authority by the act of being transmitted carefully...There's a whole thesis on this so please take my word for it or see Richard Bauckham and "Jesus and The Eyewitnesses" for complete details, just know that's a highly important and significant word to determine authenticity of what was received and how they received it as well as how it was valued. Anyway, their turning leads to the proverb:

    22-But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”"

    They couldn't RETURN to vomit, IF they had never left it...It's really that simple...You wanting it to be more definitive, well it's pretty definitive...These were saved folk that TURNED and were worse devils because of their turning...NO WAY on god's earth or Heaven they would receive a heavenly reward...

    Absolutely not!

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  87. Laura,

    You said:"I guess you and I are in deep trouble according to Paul and your take on Galations 5 because we DID do strife in that other discussion last week. So that means we are headed down?"

    Naw sistah, we're good...defending the faith against charlatans like that is ALWAYS in order...we would have been in trouble for not saying something about that apostate heretic...4-real...so NO CONDEMNATION is upon us in the least bit-LOL!!!

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  88. It's not a SIN, to enjoy coffee of chocolate... but it is sin to me to HAVE to have it every day no matter what. When the Holy Spirit speaks to us about it, then you know it. Like I said, what may be sin to me doesn't make it sin to you too automatically.

    I thought it was funny in a sad way when I was visited that other board and they acted like the only sins were summed up in the 10 commandments plus one. I bet we would all fall over dead if we saw just exactly how far we fall short.

    Harvey said "That is a TOTAL INACCURACY of anything that I have said. I have said consistently that faith and works are inseperable...there is no work that can save you however, the scriptures intent was NEVER to make works less significant than faith."

    I'm sorry. I thought that you agreed with EnochWalks in that our salvation is conditional on, what seemed to be mostly, works. I apologize.

    You said: I know I can't lose it no matter what I do.

    OK so become a full time liar...only problem is that a liar won't tarry in his sight right?


    Harvey, I have the Holy Spirit living inside me, and I love God and Jesus - why in the world would I ever become a full-time liar!?

    I still think that you are looking at this as what is fair and not fair, and you are forgetting that we are new creations in Christ. While reading Cole's post, I could see clearly the contrasting difference in experience here:

    Does God want us to spend our days focused on sin?

    Or does God want us to spend our days focused on Him?

    I mean really! Who DOES want us to spend our days focused on sin? Can you guess? Who is it that condemns us on a regular basis? (not convicts us)

    I would never, ever, in my wildest imagination want to lie or practice lying because I love God and I want to please Him. I can't even fathom that lying is an option just because I'm born again!

    Have I caught myself lying? Yep. And I repented and moved on. The next time I was about to, I reminded myself and I didn't lie. Will I never lie again? I would hope that it becomes harder to lie, and easier to always tell the truth, so I can't say for sure. I'm a work in progress. :-)

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  89. "Believe me, I'm not bashing my man, but there is NO HINT of Christianity or a relationship with God as we know it according to scripture. In fact there is NO HINT that even wants one. We can pray and wishfully think all we want but that's another story...

    Ok, Harvey. I just see a lot of pain and someone who has been hurt very badly. God didn't hurt him, his expectations and not getting what he wanted was what hurt and I'm sure he feels like God cannot be trusted, which you and I know isn't true.

    Maybe it's because I have a sister that has the same story, and I am projecting what I see in her.

    IF Nightmare has a demon, then no, he's not saved. It is serious business to tell someone they have a demon when one doesn't know that for sure. I'll bow to your authority and stay out of it.

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  90. Laura,

    You said: "I'm sorry. I thought that you agreed with EnochWalks in that our salvation is conditional on, what seemed to be mostly, works. I apologize."

    I do agree with that and I said as much, but I think you missed his assertion. We both hold that salvation is by grace through faith however, evil works as many who confess do, lead to hell...that's the condition, one must follow ehat they believe, my only assertion is that those works work in tendem with the process of salvation, faith may grab first but work is right there with it and if works are evil, that doesn't mean salvation was unauthentic, that's the disconnect...

    Most OSAS believe that is a person falls away they never were saved...i don't believe that to be true, but that's also not the object of the post.

    My object is to show that scripture demonstrates that salvation is judged by works not faith...that doesn't compromise the role of faith it only reveals that works a greater part of the process than is currently taught...I think that's been proven in this post because it's been like speaking a foreign language to communicate that biblical truth.

    Simply put, we see Paul explaining the moment of conversion, but everywhere else including the gospels it explains what happens when you don't commit the right works...and in most passages that has to do with either eternal destiny or eternal reward or both.

    You said:"Does God want us to spend our days focused on sin?

    NO, but our lives must reflect HIM and we must know that we don't have the liberty to do what we wish and call it all Christ...Just in case you don't know, that's what they do now...Christ is only a means to an end and their sins are accommodated in tems like , "Once I'm saved I'm always saved" and that's NOT the case...

    Your WORKS will be a determinate factor in the judgement according to every known scripture in context. I know what people do and think they're saved...I've been a pastor for over 10 years and been preaching for over 25 and have seen it all...I speak and post from a different perspective and also one of experience...

    That's why I don't acquiest, because if I let let this garbage pass (sinful works and sins done under the name of Christ) I'll be held accountable.

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  91. Laura,

    Like I said, I don't bash the man, and I do like him, but the man worships idols and believes in other deities and states that he couldn't imagine a real heaven without them...if that's not demonic, what is it?

    It sure AIN'T the Holy Ghost!

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  92. Ok, this is the key verse:

    20-For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

    Harvey, churches are FULL of people who have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and have NEVER let Him into their hearts. Week after week they go, for whatever reason, and then eventually, they just stop going.
    I'm sure you know some.

    I'll just have to respectfully disagree on this one. I see no difference in the "knowledge" here than in the knowledge and shrinking back in Hebrews 10.

    If he meant belief, why didn't he say belief? If we are going to use this verse to contradict the very words of Jesus, I just have to respectfully disagree with your interpretation.

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  93. Laura,

    Nothing that I've said contradicts the words of Jesus on the subject. If you want to take John 5 literally as you do look at what is actually says:

    John 5:24 ~ "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me,

    Hear Jesus and believe on God the Father...There's no mention to believe on Jesus. That's what it literally says right? We know that faith belief or faith is in Jesus for salvation right???

    hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

    As I said we know this process happens when we believe on Jesus...

    My previous point was that only them that abide in him and that means to OBEY him, were the ones that would be saved...

    without faith that's impossible, but it is also impossible without works to some degree, whether that be in response or in deed along with the exercise of faith...

    I don't know of a person in the world who comes to church, doesn't get saved and is said to have "escaped the world" I've never seen one of those. I do see people who have said they're saved, sin habitually and claim that their faith will make it allright...that's an offense to God and it's not right.

    I'm not talking about you either, what you've shared is nothing compared to what I know exists in many places.

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  94. Harvey, would you look at that verses I posted and tell me what you think Jesus was saying when He said "nowise cast out" and "cannot be snatched out of My hand", and "passed from death to life"?

    Goodnight
    (all is good)

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  95. Laura said...
    Nightmare is mad at God.

    Heh. You think I'm mad now, you shouldda seen me a few years ago ;) I'm positively a house cat now.

    God is calling him back...

    Perhaps. Or perhaps it's just circumstance. Dunno.

    We know that Jesus will leave the flock to go after that one missing sheep because Nightmare is precious in His eyes.

    Y'know, a friend of mine just said something similar this last Sunday. Thing is, I don't buy it. Seems to me he don't care in the slightest.

    When I use Nightmare as an example, I am basing that on what appears to me to be an honest confession of true belief stated by him on a previous discussion....
    Based on Nightmare's confession from the other discussion and his posts, I believe that he was truly saved. Most importantly, HE believes he was truly saved. In this rare instance, I think it's safe to use him in my examples.


    Thank you Laura. Seriously. I'd hug you if I could. You have no idea how frustrating and infuriating it can be to tell people the truth of your past and have them go "oh no, you were never a Christian in the first place". I mean, one grows to expect it after a while but it gets SO old. Thank you.

    I wish I could ask Nightmare if he knows the Holy Spirit is inside him. (sorry for the side-track)

    Of course you can silly XD Ask whatever you please, I'll try to be as transparent as possible. In answer to this, I highly doubt it. This goes a tad into the occult (so forgive me Harvey if that is not desired), but every spirit has it's own signature - kinda a "taste" or "scent" and color (which is different for every person). The friend I mentioned, she has the holy spirit - the "scent" unmistakable as is the pearly white-faith bluish aura tinge. Me, I'm nothing like that. So, while it's theoretically possible that I could have said holy spirit (and it's concealing it's presence from me), that scenario is so improbable that it's not even on the map metaphorically speaking. Sorry if that disappoints.

    Ok, Harvey. I just see a lot of pain and someone who has been hurt very badly...and I'm sure he feels like God cannot be trusted

    In short, yes. If you wish, email me at nightmaredeus@mindless.com and I'll tell you the full story. In strictest confidence of course. I offer cause I like you Laura - a little kindness goes a long way with me.

    IF Nightmare has a demon, then no, he's not saved.

    Does that include servants? ;) Cause I'm certain I'm not possessed (even at a low grade level) in the sense you mean, for whatever that statement is worth. I wouldn't have it, and nor would my Lady Hekate (she can be remarkably protective).

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  96. District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...
    Believe me, I'm not bashing my man, but there is NO HINT of Christianity or a relationship with God as we know it according to scripture. In fact there is NO HINT that even wants one.

    In my present understanding, you are entirely correct. Oh, there's always curiosity - I've been trying to get a reliable direct read (from friends that have heard from him) on what your god's opinion of myself and my Lady are to no avail. But that's just curiosity - tis a problem I have.

    Ironically, my former apprentice (now a Christian btw) had a theory once that what I refer to as the Sacred (see below) may be another face, interpretation, or perception of the JudeoChristian god. IF that's the case, that could make me similar to those you mentioned in the other thread (someone who "recognizes the same thing and believes"). MAYBE. I doubt it though.

    Can a Christian Have a Demon?

    Haven't read the article yet (it's on my to do list), but I know from experience the answer is yes. My apprentice (at the time) and I performed the final exorcism ourselves (a rather ad hoc affair, but it worked so tis all that matters). Confidentially of the individual prevents me from saying more.

    Like I said, I don't bash the man, and I do like him,

    Why thank you! That is unexpected :D

    but the man worships idols

    For clarity's sake, worship is too strong a term. IMO worship involves mainly praise and obedience, definitely subordination. I worship none. I associate with with a number of deities (from multiple pantheons) as respected friends, and am very closely tied to the Greek goddess Hekate, but I would not call these relationships worship. The closest I come to worship is my reverence for what I refer to as the Sacred, which I conceive of as the sum total of all that exists and does not exist (in practical terms, think of it as similar to the Force, although both descriptions are woefully inadequate). Just noting.

    and states that he couldn't imagine a real heaven without them...

    As I told Laura, a little kindness goes a long way in my book. They've been kind to me, and helped when no one else would. Hence my statement. If that is demonic, so be it.

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  97. "Any faith that does not produce good works is unauthentic"

    I think this is true, but the problem we immediately run in to is this: What will works look like, and how many will you have? C.S. Lewis gives the example of two people walking by a dog, obviously abandoned, on a sidewalk. They both simply walk by without doing anything. Based on our perception, they both did no works.

    But, in reality, one was normally someone who would stop and give any living creature something to eat out of kindness, and the other one was a person who hated dogs from childhood, and normally kicked any dog he ran across. So in the one case, the "good work" is refraining from doing anything, while in the other, the "bad work" is refraining from doing anything.

    The problem with this entire concept of "if you are saved, you will have works" is not the theory, but the practice. For it invites judgment. If you are saved, you shouldn't smoke. If you are saved, you should give to the church, or a charity. If you are saved, you should.... And if you don't do these things, then you must not be saved.

    And here we run into Jesus' statement about judging--you should not judge another person's relationship with God, but rather worry about your own. So, IMHO, the entire problem is a non-starter, because while I might think works should accompany salvation, I don't know what those works should be for each person--God doesn't treat people uniformly, but rather more like a parent. And since I don't know what those works should look like, I don't consider it my place to judge whether someone is a Christian or not based on their works. In fact, I think it's quite dangerous to do so, possibly even a sin in and of itself.

    Russ

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  98. Nightmare,

    All I can say is WOW! That is a total T R I P!

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  99. Russ,

    I agree...judging one another based on works can be a dangerous things and many folks standards are subjective and some people are favored while others are not. I think the late 1800's Methodist church slipped into "sinless perfectionism" as a result of this type of varying standard...

    I believe I am talking more of personal standards of works or actions which I don't believe that the regenerate Christian can remain neutral in...But you offer a very good viewpoint and one that deserves some attention.

    How's things been over at the Pond? Last I saw you had some excellent material.

    Thanks.

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  100. District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...
    All I can say is WOW! That is a total T R I P!

    Heh, only the tip of the iceberg ;) Feel free to ask for clarification or expansion if you wish.

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  101. Laura,

    I haven't forgot about your last question to me, I'll get to it tomorrow, I've been extremely busy since our last discussion.

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  102. No problem, Harvey - it's been like that here too. We must be on the right track based on all the urgent busy-work that came up. The
    man in the black hat doesn't like to have his covers pulled. (winking smiley)

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  103. Laura.

    I wanted to finally get back to you regarding the statement and scripture you wanted me to examine.

    You asked:Harvey, would you look at that verses I posted and tell me what you think Jesus was saying when He said "nowise cast out" and "cannot be snatched out of My hand", and "passed from death to life"?"

    The verses and explainations are as follows:

    John 6:37-38~"37-All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38-For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."

    This verse specifically implies that there is an action in response to the call of God. Those who the Father giveth "cometh to me"...this implies works or at the very least a reasoned response. Secondly HE (Jesus) doesn't deny anyone that is sincere in their coming to him...so there is nothing in this verse damaging to the overall argument of the article.

    And

    John 5:24 ~"24-Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

    Once again a statement of fact...hearing + belief in God = everlasting life. This is a right now condition and result of belief. I think the problem is that when we see "everlsating" we may think "everlasting" even if it's against our will or our desires. That's inaccurate. That's a wooden and literal interpretation but I believe that avoids or doesn't take context into consideration especially as in what we know from other verses. So the "everlasting" is based on what we receive now and what we continue to receive with the assumption that we want it and continue to pursue it. What did Hosea say?

    Hosea 6:3~"3-Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."

    We will know IF we "follow on to know" this implies actions as stated. same with everlasting life...When I say this I'm talking more about the application of will as sin just doesn't sneek up on us suddenly...

    see pt. 2

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  104. Laura

    Pt. 2

    and

    John 6:37-40~"37-All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

    He (Jesus) won't cast anyone out like we said above. so this is consistent with what has been asserted.

    38-For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39-And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40-And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."

    The will of god is that everyone "which seeth the son" (understands and receives his message) might believe and be saved.

    1 John uses the same phrase "passed from death unto life' but connects it to the actions or works of loving "one another"

    1 John 3:14 ~ "14-We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."

    Then there's

    John 10:20-30~"28-And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29-My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30-I and my Father are one."

    Once again simply states that nobody can cause one to be lost as long as they wish to stay in his hand. The one in his hand can jump out if he wishes though.

    I'll do a study on free-will also, because I believe we can use a solid approach to that subject. that may help clear up some of these sort of issues.

    Nevertheless these scriptures provide assurance of salvation but the backdrop is that one would continue within the context of the word received.

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  105. Thanks, Harvey. I look forward to your blog on free will. I've heard bits and pieces over the years, but no real teaching, and abstract matters are hard to study on my own without an academic background such as yours.

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  106. Rev. Mack R. VellyAugust 30, 2009 at 10:06 PM

    Excellent article. I have long been a proponent of Wesleyan Arminianism though the seminary I attended is Calvinist and dispensationalist. It is a welcome change to see such a vital and integral tenet of the pentecostal/holiness movement being intelligently and biblically discussed.
    This discussion is also a refreshing reminder that our faith is required to bring forth fruit for faith without works is dead and that every tree brings forth fruit after its kind. I believe that if our U.S. monetary system, which is basically backed faith and institutions, is such a powerful motivator, so must our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and His life giving principles and promises motivate our actions.

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  107. This response was submitted at The Dunamis Word 2 on Is Reformed & Evangelical Theology Biblical Pt. 2. I thought that it made a much better response here and wanted to add it for reader consideration:

    Submitted on 2009/11/30 at 2:30pm

    Faith and Works haven’t been discarded in reformed circles as many have wrote concerning this. Your statement here is without suffficient ground or warrant. Dr. Norman Shepherd (formally from Westminster Seminary), John MacArthur in “The Gospel According to Jesus”, and his “Gospel According to the Apostles.” Earlier, J. Gresham Machen in “What is Faith?” Calvin himself dealt with this topic in his institutes;moreover, so did the Westminster Confession of Faith” Lastly Luther in his Commentary on Romans. This list is not meant to be exhaustive by any means, but to provide a starting point as the backbone of what Reformed Theology represents.

    In the Westminster Confession of Faith (hereby referred to as WCF) The larger catechism in Q. 76 asks, “What is repentance unto life?” A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace wrought in the heart of the sinner by the Spirit and the Word of God, whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, he so grieves for and hates his sins…purposing and endeavouring constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.” See II Cor. 7:11

    When you ask are works and faith inseperable, I believe you are contemplating the doctrines of Justification and Sanctification. See WCF Q.77 Wherin do justification and sanctification differ? A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former sin is pardoned in the other it is subdued….”

    Machen in What is Faith pg. 204 wrote “But if the faith regarded insufficient by James is different from the faith commended by Paul, so also the works commended by James are different from the works commended by James are different from the works regarded as inefficacious by Paul. Paul is speaking of the works of the law, he is speaking of works that are intended to acquire merit in order that God’s favor may be earned; James on the other hand is speaking of works like Abraham’s sacrifice of Issac that are the real result of faith and show that faith is real faith.”

    end pt. 1

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  108. Pt. 2

    The difference of works in reformed thinking is that they establish nor gain any merit in salvation. (This includes initial saving faith.) Pelagian, or semi-Pelagian thought emphasizes works as the basis for salvation. Consequently many falsely assume that the reformers tossed works altogether. Martin Luther flies in the face of this kind of thinking in his commentary of Romans in his introduction pg. 17
    “Faith, however is a divine work in us…Oh it is a living busy, active, mighty thing, this faith and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises, it has already done them. He gropes and looks about after faith and good works and knows neither what faith is nor what good works are….it is impossible to seperate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light fires. Beware therefore of your own false notions and of the idle talkers who would be wise enough to make decisions about faith and good works, and yet are the greatest fools. Pray God to work faith in yo; else you will remain forever without faith, whatever you think or do.”

    Calvin discussing James 2:21-22 (see MacArthur Faith Works pg. 92) wrote this “It appears that he is speaking of the manifestation, not of the imputation of righteousness, as if he had said, Those who are justified by ture faith prove their justification by obedience and good works…And as Paul contends that men are justified without the aid of works, so James will not allow any to be regarded as justified who are destitute of good works. Due attention to the scope will thus disentangle every doubt; for the error of our opponents lies chiefly in this, that they think James is defining the mode of justification, whereas his only object is to destroy the depraved security of those who vainly pretended faith as an excuse for the contempt of good works.Therefore let them twist the words of James as they may, they will never extract out of them more than the two propositions: That an empty phantom of faith does not justify, and taht the believer, not contented with such an imagination, manifests his justification with good works.”

    In addition it is absolutely essential to understand that justification is by faith alone. Works merely illustrate that truth. The WCF mentions that justification and sanctification are inseperable. I urge you kindly not to say this topic has been discarded by people of the Reformed Faith. This is a gross misunderstanding on your part. In response to it needing additional research, I can kindly assure you that a multitude of articles in Theological Journals like JETS, WTJ and practically every Puritan wrote on this topic. I hope you find this helpful.

    Respectfully Tom Michnay

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  109. Tom,

    Thanks for posting once again...What I see is a desire to have it both ways. On one hand works can't save (a sentiment to which I agree) however they also can't be discarded or minimized because eternal bliss or reward may just depend upon them to a certain degree. Now the debate is over who the "Goats" are in Mt. 25 as a "sinner" isn't expected to do or have any good works so why and how would they be judged according to their works? Secondly they would have already been separated not because they didn't do "Christian" things but because they didn't follow the Lord. But what I see in Reformed Theology is an equivocation on the issue to make faith and works have some sort of systemmatic appeal. There is much lacking however, which cannot be simplified by reading a few reformed theologians mental exercises and simply saying, "now take our word for it". That may well be what they say, but none of it squares with the rest of their doctrine and IF the teaching is effectual it is only effectual for them who are elect and predestined according to your view. So in essence, this is much greater than a pelagian/neopelagian argument (which NONE of my arguments resemble in the least bit) and I don't believe my any of my statements misrepresent what is traditionally and openly espoused and taught within reformed circles. So labeling doesn't help the argument, but an honest look at scripture might depending upon what you're willing to rethink and pray about.

    What I've stated and continue to state is that scripture does not support that works are simply overlooked and are only an afterthought of the Christian experience as is commonly expressed. They are more closely tied to the actual experience of salvation, but do not flow from the vessel receiving salvation, nevertheless are so important that Paul said that they which "do such things" will NOT inherit the kingdom. Works are repeatedly taught as determing factors of both God's blessings, rewards and eternal bliss. The same isn't said of faith. The scriptures are dramatically clear on the issue.

    So I know this may seem a little shocking and certainly does not fit reformed dogmas or systematic theological structures, BUT if our aim is to value the word of God and make it our only authority, we can't arbitrarily accept what we wish while discarding other parts that offer an equally as intense and clear message.

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  110. Another thought regarding this as I have said before:

    Paul said they that "do" such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal.5:21) now are we to interpret that those he was speaking of were solely the unregenerate? If that's the case what's the provision for the supposed regenerate who still "do' such things?

    What I am saying is this...if we apply that scripture excluseively to them that aren't saved, how can and do we feel justified in giving those who are supposed to be saved a pass at continued practice of unrighteousness, while still claiming and professing their faith?

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