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  • What is Salvation?

    This post was originally from a Thread entitled, "Why did Jesus allow Noah to build the arc that saved him?" But, because it was off topic, I (Travis) eventually decided to move it, and many related posts to a new thread of it's own. This is that thread.

    Grace to you,

    Travis



    When the Lord sent me out to preach the gospel on the streets of New Orleans 5 years ago, not long after I began walking closely with Him, I was compelled to understand our salvation because, as someone called to preach the gospel, I had better understand it fully.

    So I have been diligently seeking His truth ever since and I have come to a pretty comprehensive understanding of how salvation works and I will try to succinctly share what the Lord has shown me here.

    Many people in modern Christianity view salvation as a dot in their past, a moment of repentance, belief, and understanding that brings them into right standing with Father God by believing in the work of Jesus on the cross. This is only partially correct.

    Salvation begins at that dot, and proceeds in a direct line towards and into eternity, as repentance isn't a one-time act, but an ongoing attitude of humility towards God and submission to Jesus' Lordship. In other words, salvation is a process, not a one-time occurrence in the believer's heart.

    Salvation in the New Testament is referred to in past, present, and future tenses. This is because there are three stages to our salvation in Christ: Justification, sanctification, and glorification. Make no mistake, every aspect is still centered on Christ and His glory, as it is His power working in and through us to bring these stages to completion.

    That being said, our salvation requires cooperation! Jesus is supremely humble, gentlemanly, He does not push His way into anyone's heart, but He will woo you and shepherd you into His flock. And, when you are in His flock, He will also chastise you like any good father would, to keep you in the flock.

    The dot where our salvation begins always starts with Christ's atoning work on the cross. This is why Jesus is referred to as the Cornerstone. You don't build a beautiful temple without beginning with a cornerstone. The cornerstone, if cut properly, will assure the rest of the building will be straight and the walls will be plumb. Of course, Jesus as the cornerstone is perfect, praise God!

    It is Christ who justifies us, nothing else can get us into right standing with the Father but what Jesus did. And once we believe, we are given, by His grace, full access to Father God in His throne room.

    This "justification" is crucial to understand and stand firm on by faith as every believer requires this righteousness. Having that faith should give us peace, joy, and boldness to go to Father God no matter how badly we've messed up or stumbled.

    Paul lays out the doctrine of justification, using a building as metaphor, in Christ alone as our chief cornerstone:

    Ephesians 2
    11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands- 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,3 but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

    You will note that Paul also speaks of the "apostles and prophets" here because our Lord Jesus chose to partner with the apostles and prophets to bring forth the epistles of the New Testament in order to teach the church and explain in greater depth Jesus' teachings.

    But the ideas are complex, and a great deal of revelatory understanding had to come forth and Jesus did this through the apostles/prophets writings so that we could understand better these stages of our salvation (justification, sanctification, glorification).

    The second stage, sanctification, is the ongoing work in us to change us into the likeness of Christ. The old saying that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree has a lot of truth. Children grow up to be a lot like their parents. Father God wants sons and daughters, and sons and daughters should be like their Father.

    This stage requires cooperation, as it is relational. How can one learn if they don't maintain a humble, repentant, workable attitude towards the One who teaches? This stage is what Jesus was talking about when He said "abide in Me." He used the metaphor of a plant growing because it's a perfect illustration. When we abide in Him, we will grow, mature, and bear fruit.

    This is the stage that brings much tension to believers, but if we understood our salvation in Christ better we would not freak out. Remember, it is Christ who justifies. God doesn't expect you to be perfect once you are justified, He expects you to be workable. If we are humble and repentant He will change and transform us.

    But how much fruit? Jesus said some would bear 30 fold, some 60 fold, and some 100 fold. Outside of this, however, the teachings all point to Father God's best for us.

    Look, a teacher doesn't start a school-year by telling the kids, "You can get a D in this class and you'll be passing. Don't worry, just skim by and you won't flunk."

    That would be crazy, right? Father God approaches it the same way. If you look at the New Testament teachings God lays out the plan for getting an A. This is why Paul said "run" your race.

    Do people "walk" their race? Yes. Are they saved? Yes. Is it as glorifying to God? Not as much as it could be, but there's grace. He loves us. We're His children. Does He want the best for us? Yes! That's why the teachings of the New Testament epistles point to the "A" plan God has for us.

    How, then, practically speaking, do we become sanctified? There are a number of references, and this list is not comprehensive, but there are some very clear examples.

    God taught His people in the Old Testament to carefully wash things in the natural. Jewish tradition took this to even greater lengths, but God ordained these things so that they may transfer them into the kind of spiritual washing that would be able to change their hearts after Messiah had come. Now, this spiritual washing takes place by being in His Word as much as they would practice washing themselves in their daily lives:

    Ephesians 5
    25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

    Spending time daily in His presence in our prayer closets will bring about change and sanctification. Often times we're like Peter when we experience His presence, and we say, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man." But Jesus is so gracious and merciful. He will take that plea and work a miracle of transformation in your heart. So it's by beholding His glory that we are changed:

    2 Corinthians
    2Cor 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

    Maintaining an attitude of obedience to His Word and His Spirit, of course, is crucial. Every believer should "practice" the righteousness we see we are called to in the the scriptures. This is why our ongoing humility and repentance is so important. Otherwise, how can the Teacher teach us?

    Romans 6
    I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

    The last stage is glorification, which will take place at the resurrection of the righteous. This, much like the first stage justification, is completed in an instant:

    1 Corinthians 15
    50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

    “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
    55 ​​​​​​​​“O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

    56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    It is at this point we are given our glorified bodies and we will no longer have this fallen flesh to deal with anymore. This is going to be awesome! I can't wait...


    So...

    Our salvation is a process:

    Justification (Christ's atoning work on the cross) ---> Sanctification (Christ's work ongoing work in the heart of the believer) ---> Glorification (God's final work in our physical form)

    It is the second phase in which God calls upon us to "build our ark," so to speak. Like a bride eagerly anticipating the Bridegroom, we prepare ourselves for the wedding:

    Revelation 19
    7 ​​​​​​​​Let us rejoice and exult ​​​​​​​and give him the glory, ​​​​​​​for the marriage of the Lamb has come, ​​​​​​​and his Bride has made herself ready; ​​​

    Since this sanctification stage is expressed by God in terms of relationship (Father/sons and daughters, Bridegroom/bride) we need not freak out. We just love Him and follow Him and trust Him. He will do the rest.
    Last edited by Travis; August 19, 2014, 10:05 PM. Reason: Added note
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  • #2
    Originally posted by AGTG
    This stage requires cooperation, as it is relational. How can one learn if they don't maintain a humble, repentant, workable attitude towards the One who teaches? This stage is what Jesus was talking about when He said "abide in Me." He used the metaphor of a plant growing because it's a perfect illustration. When we abide in Him, we will grow, mature, and bear fruit.

    This is the stage that brings much tension to believers, but if we understood our salvation in Christ better we would not freak out. Remember, it is Christ who justifies. God doesn't expect you to be perfect once you are justified, He expects you to be workable. If we are humble and repentant He will change and transform us.
    Hey Jeff, thanks for your comments and thoughts on this subject, I read through your whole post, and I am going to have to go read through it again soon.

    I do have a question for you, which is slightly related, maybe if it offshoots into a bunch more posts, we can start a new thread or something. But here is my question for you:
    Luke 13 NLT
    6 Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ 8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

    Why wasn't that tree bearing fruit? And why then was Jesus ready to cut it down?

    Actually, anyone please feel free to comment on this parable.

    Travis

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Travis
      Hey Jeff, thanks for your comments and thoughts on this subject, I read through your whole post, and I am going to have to go read through it again soon.

      I do have a question for you, which is slightly related, maybe if it offshoots into a bunch more posts, we can start a new thread or something. But here is my question for you:
      Luke 13 NLT
      6 Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. 7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ 8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

      Why wasn't that tree bearing fruit? And why then was Jesus ready to cut it down?

      Actually, anyone please feel free to comment on this parable.

      Travis
      Hi Travis and Jeff,

      Mark 11
      Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple Courts

      12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

      .....................

      19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

      20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

      2 Timothy 4:1-3
      New International Version (NIV)

      4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
      It is easier to see the lesson in this story of the fig tree. The tree had leaves but no fruit, so Jesus cursed it and it withered.

      One thing Jesus may be showing us is that we must have fruit IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON. We do not know when Jesus might come and we must be prepared whenever He comes.

      When Jesus came to this tree it had no fruit, so it was cursed and withered.


      Matthew 3:7-9
      New International Version (NIV)

      7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

      Matthew 3:10
      ◦New International Version
      The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.


      Matthew 7:14-16
      New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

      A Tree and Its Fruit

      15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

      Matthew 21
      38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

      40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

      41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

      42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:


      “‘The stone the builders rejected
      has become the cornerstone;
      the Lord has done this,
      and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

      43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
      SO WHAT IS THE FRUIT THAT JESUS IS LOOKING FOR THAT WE MUST HAVE

      THAT FRUIT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT


      Galatians 5

      Living Bible (TLB)


      5 So Christ has made us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get all tied up again in the chains of slavery to Jewish laws and ceremonies. 2 Listen to me, for this is serious: if you are counting on circumcision and keeping the Jewish laws to make you right with God, then Christ cannot save you. 3 I’ll say it again. Anyone trying to find favor with God by being circumcised must always obey every other Jewish law or perish. 4 Christ is useless to you if you are counting on clearing your debt to God by keeping those laws; you are lost from God’s grace.

      5 But we by the help of the Holy Spirit are counting on Christ’s death to clear away our sins and make us right with God. 6 And we to whom Christ has given eternal life don’t need to worry about whether we have been circumcised or not, or whether we are obeying the Jewish ceremonies or not; for all we need is faith working through love.

      7 You were getting along so well. Who has interfered with you to hold you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God who has done it, for he is the one who has called you to freedom in Christ. 9 But it takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others.

      10 I am trusting the Lord to bring you back to believing as I do about these things. God will deal with that person, whoever he is, who has been troubling and confusing you.

      11 Some people even say that I myself am preaching that circumcision and Jewish laws are necessary to the plan of salvation. Well, if I preached that, I would be persecuted no more—for that message doesn’t offend anyone. The fact that I am still being persecuted proves that I am still preaching salvation through faith in the cross of Christ alone.

      12 I only wish these teachers who want you to cut yourselves by being circumcised would cut themselves off from you and leave you alone![a]

      13 For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other. 14 For the whole Law can be summed up in this one command: “Love others as you love yourself.” 15 But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always critical and catty, watch out! Beware of ruining each other.

      16 I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. 17 For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures. 18 When you are guided by the Holy Spirit, you need no longer force yourself to obey Jewish laws.

      19 But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group—and there will be wrong doctrine, 21 envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

      22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws.

      24 Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there.

      25 If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Then we won’t need to look for honors and popularity, which lead to jealousy and hard feelings.
      Paul tells us what we must do for The Holy Spirit to come to live in us. Everyone without The Holy Spirit will be judged and condemned, for they are dead. Everyone with The Holy Spirit is born again and alive.

      No one will be saved, or have life, or have good fruit, without The Holy Spirit.

      Everyone who has the Holy Spirit will be alive, be saved, and have good fruit.


      To answer your question Travis; Jesus is not speaking of any natural tree here. He is simply using a fig tree as an illustration about the Kingdom of God. But we must have fruit ( the Holy Spirit) in season and out of season to be saved.

      Grace to you
      Lou Newton
      Bond servant of Jesus

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, the fig tree is pretty much a term Jesus exclusively used when referring to Israel in the gospels. Looking at the text, we may be able to surmise that the "Man" is a picture of Father God and the "Vine Dresser" is a picture of Jesus interceding on behalf of Israel.

        If these presumptions are correct, it would line up with the picture of Israel's dead religious system that could not bring forth fruit and the transition into the New Covenant where every believer is able to bear fruit because of the resurrection power of Christ within them.

        Even then, though, I believe that people can backslide into a reprobate state and end up dead and fruitless. It's not likely if someone is walking with Jesus in even the slightest, but it's possible. Hence all the warnings in the New Testament to abide, live, and grow in Christ.

        Why was Jesus ready to cut the tree down? Because He is God of the living, not of the dead:

        Matthew 22:32
        ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

        This is why Jesus literally cursed the fig tree:

        Matt 21:19
        And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Amen, Lou. I've been praying about "fruit" for a long time. The fruit of the Spirit is a key sign we are alive in Christ. There are other fruits, though, too.

          The fruit of righteousness which appears to me to refer to long-term change and transformation of our character into the likeness of Christ:

          Heb 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

          The fruit that comes forth when one grows in the knowledge of Christ:

          2Pet 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

          The fruit of our lips, which praise God:

          Heb 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

          The fruit of good works:

          Titus 3:14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

          The fruit of giving financially to help brethren in need:

          Phil. 4:16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.

          I'm dangerous with a digital concordance. ha ha ha
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          Comment


          • #6
            Hey Jeff,

            Originally posted by AGTG
            Even then, though, I believe that people can backslide into a reprobate state and end up dead and fruitless. It's not likely if someone is walking with Jesus in even the slightest, but it's possible. Hence all the warnings in the New Testament to abide, live, and grow in Christ.
            Matthew 18 ESV
            12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

            We are all prone to straying and being led astray, I don't think there is any argument there. To be reprobate is to no longer care one iota about God or what he thinks, Satan and his angels are reprobate, they will never repent and come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Never. But, is a sheep (it says a full grown sheep, not a lamb) who has strayed from the fold of God and been tricked and deceived by the devil the same as a reprobate? Will not God seek for that sheep and do whatever is necessary to bring him or her back to the fold safe and secure. Sometimes shepherds have to break that sheep's leg so it won't wander any more... but man, I would sure rather have a broken leg than be eaten by a pack of wolves.

            So, is it really in our own hands, in our own willpower to turn from God and become a reprobate, or is it in God's hands, and he is the one holding us and keeping us from falling away? I think it has to be one or the other. Which one do you think it really comes down to? Can God fail to keep one of his own? This is a pretty important question, I think.

            Why was Jesus ready to cut the tree down? Because He is God of the living, not of the dead:
            This begs the question though, what does it mean to be alive/living? Can we make ourselves to be living?


            These are things I have thought a lot about myself, I'm looking forward to your reply,

            Grace to you,

            Travis

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AGTG
              Well, the fig tree is pretty much a term Jesus exclusively used when referring to Israel in the gospels. Looking at the text, we may be able to surmise that the "Man" is a picture of Father God and the "Vine Dresser" is a picture of Jesus interceding on behalf of Israel.

              If these presumptions are correct, it would line up with the picture of Israel's dead religious system that could not bring forth fruit and the transition into the New Covenant where every believer is able to bear fruit because of the resurrection power of Christ within them.

              Even then, though, I believe that people can backslide into a reprobate state and end up dead and fruitless. It's not likely if someone is walking with Jesus in even the slightest, but it's possible. Hence all the warnings in the New Testament to abide, live, and grow in Christ.

              Why was Jesus ready to cut the tree down? Because He is God of the living, not of the dead:

              Matthew 22:32
              ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

              This is why Jesus literally cursed the fig tree:

              Matt 21:19
              And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
              Hi Jeff,

              Concerning your post above, I quote the following:

              Even then, though, I believe that people can backslide into a reprobate state and end up dead and fruitless. It's not likely if someone is walking with Jesus in even the slightest, but it's possible. Hence all the warnings in the New Testament to abide, live, and grow in Christ.
              I do not know if we disagree, or that I misread what you say.

              But I believe that anyone who gives their life to Jesus is held in His hand and NO ONE can removed them from His hand.

              John 10:25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
              31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
              If anyone has given their life to The Lord Jesus, then their life is no longer theirs. The Lord holds their life in His hands and no one ( that would include the one being held in the hand) can remove that person from His hand.

              Paul calls himself a slave to Christ, or a bond servant. A bond servant is one that can not leave. Even if he would try to leave, he would be prevented if the master had the power to do so. Of course our Master has all Power and Authority.

              If this was not true, I would certainly have been lost long ago. It is not up to us, but it is up to Jesus.

              Just wondering if you agree with this.

              Grace to you
              Lou Newton
              Bond servant of Jesus

              Comment


              • #8
                I think we all agree that salvation is a free gift from God. There is nothing that qualifies one for a relationship with Father God, but for the sacrifice Jesus made at the cross.

                That being said, I am sure we can all agree that there is a component of freewill at work in the believer that "appropriates" what Jesus did, otherwise we may presume one of two ideas which are not backed up by scripture: Universalism, which implies that everyone is saved whether they officially receive Christ as Lord, or Calvinism which presumes the believer has nothing to do with their salvation as it is only God who is active in the salvation of the believer.

                I am not going to address universalism whatsoever because I am sure none of us believe that whatsoever.

                There are some points of Calvinism in which I agree, such as the depravity of man, but I do not embrace their 5 points of doctrine as I believe the scripture deny some of them (arguing about Calvinism is my least favorite thing in the world, by the way).

                You guys don't appear to be staunch Calvinists to me, anyhow, but here is my defense of an Arminian type stance:

                As a general rule, God does not over-ride the freewill of His creation. Otherwise, He would not be in the kind of relationship with His creation which reflects His ideal of love (which is that one would willingly lay down their lives for another).

                There is an "elect" which were pre-ordained from the foundation of the world to walk out and fulfill His purposes, but that elect is a remnant, a minority. The first century church obviously had a number of elect that the good news would go forth and give the early church a foothold in the world. There is also an elect at the very end of the age which the book of Revelation speaks of. I can't really go into great depth on that, though, as I don't have the kind of understanding that would be able to speak on it. There may have been an elect down the ages, too. I'm not sure.

                All that being said, I believe Calvinism falls flat in its understanding of how repentance works in the life of a believer. And it is the people outside of the "elect" that what I call "relational repentance" is at work.

                The Bible offers a couple of clear examples of this "relational repentance" and I will try to show what I mean with those scriptures. Before I do that, allow me to point out what God's perfect will is for His creation:

                2Pet 3:9
                The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

                It's pretty clear that God doesn't want anyone to perish. It's His will that all should reach repentance.

                But we also know God doesn't want robots. The act of repentance, I think we can all agree, is an outgrowth of one's own. It starts in the heart, mind, and soul of the person. That being said, it is not completed by the believer because it is God who weighs the heart.

                You see, man seeks repentance, and God grants repentance. There are many examples of men seeking repentance in the Bible, but two examples clearly show the outcome:

                Hebrews 12:15-17
                15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

                Matthew 26:69-75
                69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

                These two examples show men "seeking" repentance. This seeking shows the freewill action of the men. Look again at Hebrews 12:15. The grace of God must be "obtained" by men. It's appropriated by an action of our freewill. That does not mean that every man receives it, though, as we can see in the two examples, because all of these things are matters of the heart, which only God can discern perfectly.

                Esau did not receive repentance, though he sought it. Peter did receive repentance when he sought it. God made the final decision, though, because it is God alone who "grants" repentance:

                2 Timothy 2:24-26
                24 And the Lord's servant4 must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

                God is the only one who can "grant" repentance. Men do not reach out and wrangle repentance from God's giving hand by their will. It is God's will, ultimately, that grants repentance to the humble heart that turns to Him for forgiveness. This is what I would call "relational repentance."

                Understanding this, we need to be careful not to misapply this truth in ways that fundamentally mis-characterize God. Knowing God is gracious, patient, steadfast in loving kindness, and eager to help us in our weakness should give us great assurance.

                It is only in extreme cases of hardness of heart and rebellion that one would forfeit the grace God extends. For example, the passage in Hebrews that usually sends chills down the spine of new believers is meant for those whom much has been given:

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

                There are 5 qualifiers that define who this kind of believer is, and it's indicates a very, very mature believer who should know better because they've walked very, very closely with God.

                1) being enlightened
                2) have tasted the heavenly gift
                3) have shared in the Holy Spirit
                4) have tasted the goodness of the Word of God
                5) have tasted the powers of the age to come

                I think we can agree believers who are very, very mature are also unlikely to reach this point. But, the warning stands because God is just and He wants to assure everyone reaches the finishing point of their race by His power.

                That scripture cannot be applied to the vast majority of believers. That would not be doctrinally sound.

                So this is what I believe God's Word clearly says about the matter.
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AGTG
                  I think we all agree that salvation is a free gift from God. There is nothing that qualifies one for a relationship with Father God, but for the sacrifice Jesus made at the cross.

                  That being said, I am sure we can all agree that there is a component of freewill at work in the believer that "appropriates" what Jesus did, otherwise we may presume one of two ideas which are not backed up by scripture: Universalism, which implies that everyone is saved whether they officially receive Christ as Lord, or Calvinism which presumes the believer has nothing to do with their salvation as it is only God who is active in the salvation of the believer.

                  I am not going to address universalism whatsoever because I am sure none of us believe that whatsoever.

                  There are some points of Calvinism in which I agree, such as the depravity of man, but I do not embrace their 5 points of doctrine as I believe the scripture deny some of them (arguing about Calvinism is my least favorite thing in the world, by the way).

                  You guys don't appear to be staunch Calvinists to me, anyhow, but here is my defense of an Arminian type stance:

                  As a general rule, God does not over-ride the freewill of His creation. Otherwise, He would not be in the kind of relationship with His creation which reflects His ideal of love (which is that one would willingly lay down their lives for another).

                  There is an "elect" which were pre-ordained from the foundation of the world to walk out and fulfill His purposes, but that elect is a remnant, a minority. The first century church obviously had a number of elect that the good news would go forth and give the early church a foothold in the world. There is also an elect at the very end of the age which the book of Revelation speaks of. I can't really go into great depth on that, though, as I don't have the kind of understanding that would be able to speak on it. There may have been an elect down the ages, too. I'm not sure.

                  All that being said, I believe Calvinism falls flat in its understanding of how repentance works in the life of a believer. And it is the people outside of the "elect" that what I call "relational repentance" is at work.

                  The Bible offers a couple of clear examples of this "relational repentance" and I will try to show what I mean with those scriptures. Before I do that, allow me to point out what God's perfect will is for His creation:

                  2Pet 3:9
                  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

                  It's pretty clear that God doesn't want anyone to perish. It's His will that all should reach repentance.

                  But we also know God doesn't want robots. The act of repentance, I think we can all agree, is an outgrowth of one's own. It starts in the heart, mind, and soul of the person. That being said, it is not completed by the believer because it is God who weighs the heart.

                  You see, man seeks repentance, and God grants repentance. There are many examples of men seeking repentance in the Bible, but two examples clearly show the outcome:

                  Hebrews 12:15-17
                  15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

                  Matthew 26:69-75
                  69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

                  These two examples show men "seeking" repentance. This seeking shows the freewill action of the men. Look again at Hebrews 12:15. The grace of God must be "obtained" by men. It's appropriated by an action of our freewill. That does not mean that every man receives it, though, as we can see in the two examples, because all of these things are matters of the heart, which only God can discern perfectly.

                  Esau did not receive repentance, though he sought it. Peter did receive repentance when he sought it. God made the final decision, though, because it is God alone who "grants" repentance:

                  2 Timothy 2:24-26
                  24 And the Lord's servant4 must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

                  God is the only one who can "grant" repentance. Men do not reach out and wrangle repentance from God's giving hand by their will. It is God's will, ultimately, that grants repentance to the humble heart that turns to Him for forgiveness. This is what I would call "relational repentance."

                  Understanding this, we need to be careful not to misapply this truth in ways that fundamentally mis-characterize God. Knowing God is gracious, patient, steadfast in loving kindness, and eager to help us in our weakness should give us great assurance.

                  It is only in extreme cases of hardness of heart and rebellion that one would forfeit the grace God extends. For example, the passage in Hebrews that usually sends chills down the spine of new believers is meant for those whom much has been given:

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

                  There are 5 qualifiers that define who this kind of believer is, and it's indicates a very, very mature believer who should know better because they've walked very, very closely with God.

                  1) being enlightened
                  2) have tasted the heavenly gift
                  3) have shared in the Holy Spirit
                  4) have tasted the goodness of the Word of God
                  5) have tasted the powers of the age to come

                  I think we can agree believers who are very, very mature are also unlikely to reach this point. But, the warning stands because God is just and He wants to assure everyone reaches the finishing point of their race by His power.

                  That scripture cannot be applied to the vast majority of believers. That would not be doctrinally sound.

                  So this is what I believe God's Word clearly says about the matter.
                  Hi Jeff,


                  I do not agree with Calvinism or the Arminian doctrine. I try to remain open to anyone no matter the group they belong to. But I also try not to follow any group or man, except for The Lord Jesus.

                  You have listed many scriptures, and I do not disagree with any scripture. But you have not responsed to the scripture that I quoted in my post:

                  John 10:25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
                  You seem to be saying that what Jesus says here is not true. If Jesus gives me eternal life, then do I possess eternal life or not. Is Jesus right in saying that if I give my life to Him, I can never perish.

                  Of course God gives all men free will. But I have given my free will to Him. I no longer claim my free will as mine.

                  Paul calls himself a bond servant of Jesus. Was Paul wrong in calling himself that. A man might be able to leave his human master. Because the master lacked the power to bring him back. But does Jesus lack any power. Has not all power and authority been given to Him.

                  Does our salvation depend on Jesus, once we give our lives to Him; OR does it depend on our being faithful.

                  But I have already confessed that I am a total sinner, and I can not be faithful.

                  If my salvation depends on me in the least thing, there is absolutely no hope for me. Because I will defiantly fail at whatever is required of me.

                  Does my salvation depend on my truthful confession of my sin. If it does there is no hope for me, because I am a lair and do not even know the truth. We all look in a foggy mirror.

                  I am a total sinner. The most righteous thing I have ever done, is filthy.

                  There is only one way that I can tell the truth.

                  That is when I confess to Jesus that I am a total lair and do not even know the truth. Right at that moment I walk into the light.

                  The Holy Scriptures do not fight a dueling banjo type battle. They are all true. If our view makes one true at the expense of another, then our view is wrong and we must adjust our view.

                  I think we agree on the above.

                  But what about the scriptures you listed:

                  Hebrews 12:15-17
                  15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
                  It is clear to me that Esau was never saved or never surrendered his life to The Lord. Even after he lost his blessing he never truly repented. He was sorry for the results, but did not surrender to The Lord. I have seen many shed tears, but only The Lord can judge their heart and know if they have truly surrendered to Him. How could Esau think he was right, and be so bitter about anything, on one hand, and also be confessing that he deserved eternal hell. We can also look at the fruit of Esau. His descendants hated Israel and still do. So I do not see this scripture as having anything to do with true Christians. For Esau never surrendered to The Lord.

                  Hebrews 6:4-8
                  4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
                  I look at this scripture and the one in John 10. For both to be true, it seems that the ones spoke of here never truly gave their life to Jesus. They never were "all in".

                  When I confessed my sin to My Creator, I begged Him to take my life and never give it back to me under any circumstances. He forgave me and then as a seal ( or guarantee) that he would keep His part, He gave me His Holy Spirit. I did not even know there was a Holy Spirit. I also did not know The Name of my Creator. But He did not hold my ignorance against me. I was "all in". I gave Him everything.

                  Since that day, close to 40 years ago, I have been so weak and so tired that I wanted to quit. But Jesus never let me quit. There is nothing that I am more thankful for than that.

                  I went through a time that lasted for about 7 years that was so tough for a weak and faithless being like me, that I thought I was lost. Or I thought I was dead, truly dead in the spirit.

                  Paul went through this same thing:

                  2 Cor 1
                  8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,
                  NOTICE THESE THINGS:

                  1 - I was under great pressure FAR beyond my ability to endure. I could not endure anymore than I could have swam across the ocean. I would have perished.

                  2 - I despaired even of life - I knew what life was, not in the flesh, but the spirit. I thought I was lost, Paul thought the same. Paul did not despair when his natural life was threatened, but he sang songs of praise instead.

                  3 - I, like Paul, felt the sentence of death in my heart. - the most inner part of my being is my spirit

                  4 - But this all took place so I would stop trusting in myself, and trust instead in God, who raises the dead.

                  Jonah was not able to trust God for him to go to Nineveh. He ran away instead. He bought a ticket to the coast of Spain, but God stopped him and took him to Nineveh instead.

                  Just the other day I let discouragement get to me. I feared I would fall away, for once on the road, I know where that road goes. I was worried that I did not have what it takes to finish the race. Anytime I get my eyes on myself, instead of The Lord, I am in trouble.

                  But the next a day, The Lord had several things take place. These things reminded me that it was true I did not have what it took to finish the race. But it did not depend on me, but it depended of The Lord Jesus.

                  I can remember when my son Isaac was very little. I can tell you for sure, that if he was not able to go any further to survive, I would pick him up and carry him. The only way he would have lost his life, would be if I had died first.

                  But Jesus is not weak like me.

                  Jesus proved that He loved me more than I love Isaac by shedding His blood on the cross. If I get weak, He carries me.

                  Jesus proved He is able to save me by raising Himself from the dead.


                  BTW, I do not believe there are, or ever was any elect that were favored above anyone else. God does not show favoritism.

                  I fully believe the elect are everyone that surrenders to The Lord Jesus and confesses their sin and gives their life to Him.

                  I do not follow Calvin or Arminianism. I do not have to choose either.

                  I am fully aware that my position can not be fully understood or within the reason of humans. But I have chosen to be believe that I am saved 100% by grace and grace alone because that is what the Holy Scriptures say.

                  I also choose to believe that God is not unfair or unjust. That He does not show favoritism to anyone.

                  Yes these beliefs seem to be at odds with human reason. But His ways are much higher than our ways and beyond our understanding.

                  Romans 11
                  32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
                  Doxology
                  33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
                  Grace to you

                  Lou Newton
                  Bond servant of Jesus

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Lou, I agree completely with you. Christianity is walked out the very same way it starts out: By faith in Christ and His resurrection power to uphold, carry, and empower.

                    Let me preface what I'm about to share. I've seen people preach that we can walk in and out of salvation in a moment. This is not Biblical. In no way do I believe that. That being said, we cannot ignore the warnings throughout the New Testament against legalism, against sin, and in regards to the battles we face with our flesh, the world, and Satan. Not because these things in and of themselves can "snatch" us out from God's hand, they cannot. But because these things can impact our freewill choices as we walk this earth. That's why we are warned about them.

                    Allow me to again preface that this is not something that real believers should fret about, as that fear can erode your faith and cause one to stumble. If you're heart is inclined toward Jesus whatsoever, you have nothing to worry about!

                    Even if you are struggling in sin and stuck in your flesh, the Lord accepts serving Him with your mind if you aren't walking this out by His Spirit. It's not a fun place to be, but better to be there than to become hard-hearted enough to walk out a lifestyle of sin gleefully, as that is deception that will lead to spiritual death. That is why Paul says in Romans 7 that when we are stuck in our flesh we should continue to "serve the law of God with our mind."

                    But it is in that wretchedness that we should be drawn back to "abide" in His Spirit so we are empowered to walk this out in the newness of life.

                    Like Travis suggested, in that wretched state the Good Shepherd is, in a sense, breaking our leg so that He may carry us on His shoulders and we can be so close to Him as to feel His very heartbeat of love towards us and learn never to not wander away from Him.

                    With all that said, allow me to establish a couple of points. Mind you, there are no contradictions in the Word of God. Everything taught and written reconciles beautifully. And even though the fundamental message of salvation is simple, the teachings on how to walk this out are rather complex. This is why Peter warns against people twisting what Paul taught to their destruction. Paul taught extensively about our sanctification. His use of the term "grace" or "charis" in the Greek has brought much confusion as the term is not singular. There are 4 fundamentally different ways in which the term is used in the New Testament, but I will save that teaching for the "Word Study" forum and post it when I get a chance (it's not something the Lord showed me, but something the Lord taught me through another brother).

                    Anyhow, simple truth #1: Our freewill remains as believers, and it is the only thing that can undermine our salvation (emphasis mine).

                    Romans 8
                    31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be8 against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.9 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

                    “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
                    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

                    37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

                    Before I point out verse 39, let's consider the arc of reasoning in Paul's teaching between Romans 7 and up through these last verses in Romans 8. It's a large arc, but it encompasses the two ways we can walk Christianity out: In our flesh, or by His Spirit.

                    If we try do to do this in our flesh, it's a miserable walk. We can do it, however, if we keep our head straight about sin. That's basically what Paul says in Romans 7. He's basically saying, "Look, if you're stuck in your flesh and struggling in some sin, don't freak out, but don't give in. Sin is destructive. Keep your head straight with God's truth about sin and call upon the power of Jesus to deliver you from this body of death and He will do it."

                    This is why Paul then segues into his teaching on walking in the Spirit. He then wraps up this arc by reminding us nothing, no power in the universe can stop you from following Jesus, except yourself.

                    So let's take a look at verse 39 again. Paul says something interesting there. The ESV renders part of it as "nor anything else in all creation." If you look at the original text, it says "nor any creature different."

                    Most people read all the wonderful promises of this passage and completely ignore this little warning. But if this passage really meant that absolutely "nothing" could ever keep you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, then why would it say "any other creature?"

                    So Paul is the first witness that with our freewill, we chose to remain in the love of God (Rom. 8:17). Jude is the second witness (emphasis mine):

                    Jude 1
                    But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

                    Is it really astonishing that we "chose" to remain in right relationship with God? Doesn't our salvation begin by believing and receiving Christ as our Savior? Choosing to believe is an act of our will, it's most certainly not a "work" that would justify. Only Jesus' righteousness can justify us and get us into the presence of Father God, get us into the Kingdom of God, get us into His Holy Spirit in the newness of life. And thank God for that! If it depended upon us, we would all be lost! All we do is say, "Amen!" to what Christ did on the cross for us.

                    I am going to continue, but I am going to start a new response as editing large posts can get cumbersome.
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Basic truth #2: Not everyone who believes continues on in the faith.

                      Jesus used the metaphor of a plant in His teachings about salvation because it's a perfect illustration of how salvation works. It's all about Jesus' resurrection life at work in, and through, the believer. In two of His teachings, he warned about the spiritual war we are in as believers. He warned about the casualties of this war in the Parable of the Sower.

                      Matthew 13
                      3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

                      Matthew 13
                      18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

                      This is a picture of 4 types of gospel hearers with a lesson on spiritual warfare for us to learn from (our battle is with our flesh, the world, and Satan):

                      The first hears, but is confused so Satan can easily snatch the message from them.

                      The second heard and receives the message with joy! This is an actual believer, but something within them (their flesh) doesn't allow the word of life to take root like it should and when they face difficulties and opposition to Christ's work in them, they fall away from the faith.

                      The third also heard and believed, but something outside of them (the world) destroys the word of life and they, too, fall away.

                      The last hearer overcomes the battles within and without by the power of the risen Christ in them and they bear fruit.

                      One encouraging thing to discern from this is that these battles, it appears, are very early on in one's walk with the Lord. If people get beyond these early stages of battle and begin to bear fruit, it's pretty much assured they will continue on in the faith.

                      Ironically enough, this week as I was listening to a Christian radio station I kept hearing a Voice of the Martyrs' commercial. It was about how civil authorities in Vietnam are persecuting believers. They developed a plan whereby they leave the mature believers alone and focus all their attention on newborn believers because that's the most effective way to keep people from the faith. It's almost as if Satan took his game-plan for attack from the Parable of the Sower in this government.

                      I have more, but I am going to start another post.
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here is the other teaching (emphasis mine):

                        John 15
                        1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

                        Abiding in Christ is a matter of freewill choice. Is it hard? NO! We just incline our heart and mind to His truth and say, "Amen!" to what He did on the cross and we "grow" like a plant would and bear fruit.

                        This brings me back to what I shared earlier about the "process" of salvation. It starts with justification by Jesus' atoning work on the cross whereby His righteousness is imputed to us with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (like a seed, we die and are born again in His life). It continues on in sanctification whereby we are changed and transformed by the washing of the Word and the power of His Holy Spirit (a picture of growing and bearing fruit). It is brought to completion through glorification by His creative hand.

                        Jesus starts this, continues it, and finishes it. All we do is believe and agree and watch what He does in and through us.

                        With all that being said, there are "works" to be done for every believer. God has ordained, from the foundation of the world, works that would bring forth 100 fold fruit "should" we walk in them (emphasis mine):

                        Ephesians 2
                        Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

                        Some believers bear fruit 30 fold, some 60 fold, and some 100 fold. The amount of fruit we bear has nothing to do with our salvation, it's merely a sign that we are "abiding" in Christ and that we have this life in us.

                        There are a number of ways I could have tried to explain this, but I prayed for the last day or so for the Lord to guide me to articulate what He has shown me effectively, as it's always good to try and be succinct with a teaching, and I trust He has answered that prayer.
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                        • #13
                          One final note on how we should teach about salvation:

                          Christ Jesus is the "Cornerstone" for a reason. Everything starts with Jesus' atoning work on the cross, as it's the only thing that can bring us into right relationship, and keep us in right relationship, with Father God.

                          Every believer needs to be taught this, and should not move beyond this, until they are fully persuaded that there is nothing else they can do to be saved.

                          If a believer is not assured in this, and they are taught more advanced doctrines, or try to figure other things out by reading the scriptures, they will waver in their faith. You don't go anywhere else with a disciple until they are founded firmly on this truth. It's where it all starts.

                          The New Testament talks about teaching as serious business, and for far too long Christians have taken lightly this "work." Consider these passages (emphasis mine):

                          2Tim 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.


                          Jas 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.


                          1Tim 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

                          The Lord showed me what Paul meant when he said one sows and another waters. The sowing is the evangelistic word of faith that is sown in the believer's heart (that Christ Jesus died for our sins, He is the Cornerstone). The "watering" is the growth that comes from sound, Biblical teaching that builds upon the the seed that was sown and brings forth growth and fruit.

                          This is why Paul crosses his metaphors in 1 Corinthians 3 (emphasis mine):

                          9 For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw- 13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

                          The foundation (read also as Cornerstone) is justification in Christ alone. The things that get built upon that are the teachings on sanctification which have to be done deftly and only when someone has already had their foundation laid because there will be confusion and people will begin to think they need to work for their salvation when, in fact, God works in and through us as we are being sanctified.
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                          • #14
                            And no, this is not stuff people have pushed upon me. These things I have learned by dilligently seeking His truth by studying His Word. By His grace alone have I been able to push into the texts with such zeal over the years. Whether you agree with me or not is up to you.

                            I love you all and have so much respect for you all. I have learned a lot from you, Lou, and I hope our differences can be eroded with truth, but if they remain I will not think any differently of you. I praise God for bringing you into my life.
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                            • #15
                              The Holy Scriptures are accurate an dependable

                              Originally posted by AGTG
                              Lou, I agree completely with you. Christianity is walked out the very same way it starts out: By faith in Christ and His resurrection power to uphold, carry, and empower.

                              Let me preface what I'm about to share. I've seen people preach that we can walk in and out of salvation in a moment. This is not Biblical. In no way do I believe that. That being said, we cannot ignore the warnings throughout the New Testament against legalism, against sin, and in regards to the battles we face with our flesh, the world, and Satan. Not because these things in and of themselves can "snatch" us out from God's hand, they cannot. But because these things can impact our freewill choices as we walk this earth. That's why we are warned about them.

                              Allow me to again preface that this is not something that real believers should fret about, as that fear can erode your faith and cause one to stumble. If you're heart is inclined toward Jesus whatsoever, you have nothing to worry about!

                              Even if you are struggling in sin and stuck in your flesh, the Lord accepts serving Him with your mind if you aren't walking this out by His Spirit. It's not a fun place to be, but better to be there than to become hard-hearted enough to walk out a lifestyle of sin gleefully, as that is deception that will lead to spiritual death. That is why Paul says in Romans 7 that when we are stuck in our flesh we should continue to "serve the law of God with our mind."

                              But it is in that wretchedness that we should be drawn back to "abide" in His Spirit so we are empowered to walk this out in the newness of life.

                              Like Travis suggested, in that wretched state the Good Shepherd is, in a sense, breaking our leg so that He may carry us on His shoulders and we can be so close to Him as to feel His very heartbeat of love towards us and learn never to not wander away from Him.

                              With all that said, allow me to establish a couple of points. Mind you, there are no contradictions in the Word of God. Everything taught and written reconciles beautifully. And even though the fundamental message of salvation is simple, the teachings on how to walk this out are rather complex. This is why Peter warns against people twisting what Paul taught to their destruction. Paul taught extensively about our sanctification. His use of the term "grace" or "charis" in the Greek has brought much confusion as the term is not singular. There are 4 fundamentally different ways in which the term is used in the New Testament, but I will save that teaching for the "Word Study" forum and post it when I get a chance (it's not something the Lord showed me, but something the Lord taught me through another brother).

                              Anyhow, simple truth #1: Our freewill remains as believers, and it is the only thing that can undermine our salvation (emphasis mine).

                              Romans 8
                              31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be8 against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.9 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

                              “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
                              we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

                              37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

                              Before I point out verse 39, let's consider the arc of reasoning in Paul's teaching between Romans 7 and up through these last verses in Romans 8. It's a large arc, but it encompasses the two ways we can walk Christianity out: In our flesh, or by His Spirit.

                              If we try do to do this in our flesh, it's a miserable walk. We can do it, however, if we keep our head straight about sin. That's basically what Paul says in Romans 7. He's basically saying, "Look, if you're stuck in your flesh and struggling in some sin, don't freak out, but don't give in. Sin is destructive. Keep your head straight with God's truth about sin and call upon the power of Jesus to deliver you from this body of death and He will do it."

                              This is why Paul then segues into his teaching on walking in the Spirit. He then wraps up this arc by reminding us nothing, no power in the universe can stop you from following Jesus, except yourself.

                              So let's take a look at verse 39 again. Paul says something interesting there. The ESV renders part of it as "nor anything else in all creation." If you look at the original text, it says "nor any creature different."

                              Most people read all the wonderful promises of this passage and completely ignore this little warning. But if this passage really meant that absolutely "nothing" could ever keep you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, then why would it say "any other creature?"

                              So Paul is the first witness that with our freewill, we chose to remain in the love of God (Rom. 8:17). Jude is the second witness (emphasis mine):

                              Jude 1
                              But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

                              Is it really astonishing that we "chose" to remain in right relationship with God? Doesn't our salvation begin by believing and receiving Christ as our Savior? Choosing to believe is an act of our will, it's most certainly not a "work" that would justify. Only Jesus' righteousness can justify us and get us into the presence of Father God, get us into the Kingdom of God, get us into His Holy Spirit in the newness of life. And thank God for that! If it depended upon us, we would all be lost! All we do is say, "Amen!" to what Christ did on the cross for us.

                              I am going to continue, but I am going to start a new response as editing large posts can get cumbersome.
                              Hi Jeff,

                              The Holy Scriptures are dependable and accurate. If one compares many English translations, and the original Greek, they will see that the language there is very clear.

                              The verse simply means what it says: "NOR ANY OTHER CREATURE".

                              There are only four Greek words in that verse and they are simple to translate.

                              Can you show me where someone has added or taken away from the original Greek in this passage.

                              Can you show me where the translation is wrong.

                              Either the Holy Scriptures are dependable or they are not.

                              If this passage does not mean what it says. What other passages also do not mean what they say.

                              WHO IS THE JUDGE

                              Is some other creature, even ourselves, the judge that will condemn, or not condemn us at the judgment.

                              Will angels or demons decide if we spend eternity with Jesus or Satan.

                              Will we ourselves decide if we spend eternity with Jesus or Satan.

                              OR DOES JESUS JUDGE IF WE SPEND ETERNITY WITH HIM OR SATAN.

                              Verses 31 through 35 say that God will NEVER condemn His elect.

                              If The Lord Jesus, who shed His blood for me, will never condemn me, then who would dare condemn me.

                              Not even Satan himself will dare stand and condemn any of us at the judgment.

                              SATAN ACCUSES US, BUT HE WILL NOT DARE CONDEMN US AT THE JUDGEMENT.

                              Grace to you
                              Lou Newton
                              Bond servant of Jesus

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