[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Is a "Believer" Saved?

by Rose~

John 4
7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." …
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." … 25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." 26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." …

Jesus tells this woman what sin she has committed. He says he can give her living water if she asks. Does he tell her she must turn over a new leaf in order to receive the living water? No. He doesn’t even tell her that she must put the man out of her house that is not her husband. He simply tells her that she can ask and she will get this “water” that will quench her thirst – she will never have to seek for this water again. He then explains that the water is eternal life.

28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

John doesn’t say that she was converted. He doesn’t say that she went about preaching that Christ was offering eternal life. She told the townsfolk of her amazing encounter, including Christ’s miraculous knowledge of her living situation, and then, she asked a question: “Could this be the Christ?”

30They came out of the town and made their way toward him. … 39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers. 42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

This is quite amazing. The woman told the people about a conversation with a very unusual and giftedly insightful man, asked them a question, and then the conversion of many people happened. Verse 42 says that they heard him for themselves and they knew that He is the savior of the world. Verse 41 says they “became believers.” Are these people saved? Does the phrase “became believers” connote salvation? Are these "believers" recipients of eternal life? Are they set to escape condemnation? I have always assumed so. However, they didn’t have time to prove repentance. John doesn’t say they did anything, except hear ... and “become believers.” Are these people any better off than the demons of James 2:19?


  • Excellent point, Rose~.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 8:00:00 AM  

  • Of course, there is more to being saved than just receiving eternal life. There were other aspects of their salvation that would be dependant on their repentance from sin.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 8:02:00 AM  

  • Thank you for this clever, tongue in cheek question!

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 9:28:00 AM  

  • I'm fascinated with her argument and her testimony, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?".

    By Blogger Kc, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 11:07:00 AM  

  • so glad i rediscovered this blog.

    By Blogger Nunzia, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 11:41:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,
    Can you explain what you mean by your second comment?

    Bud Brown,
    I am glad you could see my tongue. I am more and more surprised lately that this has become so complicated for some.

    Isn't it neat? There is a song that Janet Paschal sings called "Come see this man." It is a beautiful passage of Scripture. I am also captivated by it. Sometimes asking a question is a good way to share the truth, as her argument and testimony show. ;~)

    Hi Nunzia!
    I am glad you came by as well. Welcome!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 12:23:00 PM  

  • Well, sanctifcation, deliverance from trial and inheritance of the kingdom of God are part of salvation, so no, a believer may not necessarilly be saved ultimately. Though certainly, a believer receives eternal life and justifcation.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 1:23:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Yes in every way!

    They are much better off than the demons Rose.

    The demons spoken of in James are indeed fallen angels; they thought they could follow the devil to a better heaven. They fell! They are now confirmed in their wickedness, but not yet in their final abode.

    They tremble at the name of Jesus knowing full well His awesome power and Godhead! Those who believed, that is put their full trust and confidence in Jesus before the cross, will one day be confirmed in holiness.

    Great post!
    brother John

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 1:53:00 PM  

  • One thing is for certain, if they truly believed, we know that their faith resulted in them doing good deeds (John 5:29), loving God (John 8:42), keeping His commandments (John 14:15), and following Christ (John 10:27). After all, the Gospel of John teaches that these are the marks of all who are true believers.

    By Blogger Matt Waymeyer, at Wednesday, March 29, 2006 9:20:00 PM  

  • John 5:29- Matt, what is the 'doing good here'? And have you ever done evil?

    John 8:42- Adoption as a position for the believer was not a reality while Christ was on earth. So what Jesus talks about here does not necessarilly correspond to the Christian experience of adoption.

    The contrast in that verse is between himself as coming from the Father and the Jews not coming from the Father. Their sinful nature is brought out in that verse.

    John 14:15- notice the 'if'. This verse does not say that loving Christ and keeping commandments is an inevitable result of faith.

    John 10:27, the sheep are the disciples and they certainly were following Jesus and heard His voice. This verse does not tell us anything about the results of faith in general.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:00:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I'll leave you to answer your own question on John 5:29 regarding what it means to do good deeds and evil deeds.

    Regarding John 8:42, I confess that I don't understand what you have written. God is not the Father of believers during Christ's earthly ministry? I don't think you could possibly mean that given the number of times that Jesus refers to God as "your Father." In John 8:42, Jesus says, "If God were your Father, you would love Me," which could hardly be clearer. Since all believers love Jesus according to John 8:42, it follows that they also obey His commandments (since John 14:15 says: "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments").

    Regarding John 10:27, you will have to clarify that as well. Do you mean that the "sheep" throughout John 10 are limited to the Twelve? Not following you here.

    By Blogger Matt Waymeyer, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:25:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    The demons mentioned in James 2:19 are not believers in the same sense as the Samaritans. In the whole context of that verse, they are not trusting in God at all, nor are they fruitful; they simply believe in His existence:

    "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-- and tremble!"
    (James 2:19)

    The Samaritans are believing in the true sense of coming to Him (vs 30), hearing Him and receiving His testimony (39), recognizing who He is (42), and inviting Him into their lives (40).

    Here's the counter-question I would like to ask you. Do we always need to spell out the need for repentance, etc, when we preach the gospel, or can we sometimes count on it that a true encounter with Jesus will quickly and naturally produce this effect anyway, as in the case of Zacchaeus? (Luke 19:2-9)

    Zacchzeus, in fact, is another interesting study. Jesus did not walk him through steps to ask if he would like to receive Him as his personal Lord and savior, etc, nor ask him to repeat a prayer. Instead it was much simpler.

    Jesus came to abide with him; Zacchaused heard with joy and called Him 'Lord'; and from there the whole situation itself speaks to Jesus of where this man's heart is at, including the fruit worthy of repentance that he then brings forth.

    So sometimes the Lord let's actions speak louder than words. And that may be closer to what James envisions in James 2:19

    By Blogger Cleopas, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 6:05:00 AM  

  • Thanks J. Wendell.

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for stopping by. I am pondering the passages you brought up. I am real busy right now, but I want to respond to you later. Thanks for coming by and trying to help.

    Same to you. I have to get back to you, but you have brought up some interesting points. Thanks as always!

    I'll be baaaaack!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 6:37:00 AM  

  • I notice there is the same Greek word used in both passages for 'believe'.

    Many 'believed' Jesus was the Messiah, but when He died did they continue to believe?
    Many 'believed' Jesus because of the miracles, did they 'believe' after the cross?
    Today there is a lot of 'belief' in Jesus, but is He glorified in the lives of the believers. I see a lot of 'belief' resulting in a 'social gospel', 'better living through Bible principles', 'Jesus died because God is love', and certainly there are unsaved in many cults that also 'believe'....
    I am reminded of Luke 13:24-30 and Matthew 7:21-23. I would say in both cases the people Jesus was speaking of 'believed' - but He didn't know them.

    Great questions Rose. I guess my feeling is that something more is required than just 'belief'.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 7:31:00 AM  

  • Matt, I just posted this on Moorhead's blog.

    John 8:42 adoption should result in us loving Christ. However, that we do not consistently act in this way shows that this is not inevitable.

    However, I do not think John 8:42 deals with Christian adoption, because that is an experience which comes though the completed work of Christ.

    These Jews were claiming to be sons of God by their Jewish inheritance, a quite different thing. Jesus is disproving this claim by demonstraitng their sin.

    In John 10:28, the primary reference is to those who had been drawn by the Father and chosen to follow Christ while he was on earth.

    The characteristics of a believer are identified as including following Christ. However, this is connected to hearing His voice. We may relate this to the Christian experience of walking in the Spirit.

    However, this text does not in any way rule out the possibility of a believer failing to 'hear His voice' or to follow Him, as I am sure your own experience would demonstrate.
    Jesus demonstrates that the Jews are not sheep, not on the basis of their works, but by their lack of belief.

    To use this to demonstrate a theological point about the nature of either saving faith or sanctification is to rip it from its context.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 8:24:00 AM  

  • Anon (please tell us who you are)

    Believing that Jesus existed is not enougth.

    Believing that Jesus is God is not enougth.

    We must beleive on Him for eternal life. That is, we must believe that through Him we receive eternal life as a present posession(John 3:36, 20:31). This is all that is required to receive the gift of eternal life.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 8:28:00 AM  

  • Cleopas, it is essential to make clear that repentance is needed in discipleship, however, to present repentance as a condition for receiving eternal life is to present a false gospel that may lead people into hell.

    Repentance may already be present in some of the unsaved and may lead them to see their need for Christ.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 8:33:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I have moved my half of the discussion over to Moorhead's blog as well. Thanks for the heads-up.


    Thanks. No need to respond if you don't have time. I know how busy schedules can be. In addition, sometimes it is better to work through various passages of Scripture slowly and carefully, without the pressure of having to post a public response to someone who has disagreed with you. I think this is one of the downsides of debates on the blogosphere. Send my greeting to your pastor. Not sure if he will remember me, but I met him back when he was at TMS and Placerita Baptist.

    By Blogger Matt Waymeyer, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 10:44:00 AM  

  • 'Jesus imputes his righteousness to us and that is the only way we can "rise to live."'

    Or rather we become the righteousness of God in Christ, Rose~. The Scriptures do not talk about the righteousness of Christ being imputed to us, but rather our being identified with the risen Christ in heaven.

    Anyway, Rose~ you have come down to the heart of it.

    Are works a condition for receiving eternal life?

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:45:00 AM  

  • Right, Df,
    What I meant was, any righteousness we may have is on account of Christ. I have always heard the words "imputed to us" when this justified, declared righteous state is described, but maybe that is a whole 'nother can 'o worms. ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:51:00 AM  

  • Oops,
    I pasted some scripture in where it didn't belong, so I had to repaste this comment. It belongs up above DF's comment above here.

    Hi Matt,
    I keep finding people in Blogdom who know Philip. It is too bad he hates the internet so much! He would probably have a great reunion with many friends and aquaintances. Phil J. is a good friend of his.

    I am glad you brought the verses up and I don't feel it is a burden to respond publicly. I find this venue very helpful to my thinking.

    I have been looking at those passages on and off for a couple of hours. I even thought of a few others that would seem to make the case for a salvation that brought works along. The bottom line is, though: works righteousness is not the overall teaching of the NT. Am I wrong?

    John 5:
    26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
    28"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

    Here, I see Jesus is laying down His authority. He is saying that it will be His palce to judge the good and the bad deeds of men. We read elsewhere in the Bible that there is none that doeth good ... no, not one. So ... does that mean that there will be no one who will will rise to live since there is none that does good?

    Obviously, from our knowledge of the gospel, the answer is no. Jesus imputes his righteousness to us and that is the only way we can "rise to live." Anything less and we will have to be judged ... if we are not found in the book of life ... but stand before God based on that which is written in the books - our deeds. (There is no place found for them.) But, you know that, I am certain!

    (I will post on the others in a moment)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:57:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    I do not present these verses from John as evidence for "works righteousness" (i.e., salvation by works), but rather as evidence of the teaching that works are an inevitable result of genuine salvation (i.e., salvation unto works). There is a big difference between a necessary condition and an inevitable result. One thing that has created difficulty in dialoging about these issues is that some FG people have refused to recognize this difference between the two. By the way, I am not pointing the finger at you in this.

    Rose, do you believe that "only those who do good" will be resurrected unto eternal life? You must, otherwise you would be denying the clear teaching of Scripture. The key question, then, is what it means to "do good." Incidentally, the verse from Romans 3 about no man doing good is a reference to unregenerate man. God changes the nature of the who believes in Christ, and His grace transforms his character (Titus 2:11-12).

    P.S. I wrote this comment in response to a comment you posted, but I now see that this comment has been deleted.

    By Blogger Matt Waymeyer, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:58:00 AM  

  • Wait a minute. Now the comment is back. Wow. How did you do that? Or am I hallucinating?

    I will probably have to leave it at this for now (no time). Thanks for the interaction, and I pray that your study of these passages will be helpful to you.

    By Blogger Matt Waymeyer, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:01:00 PM  

  • Matt,
    I hear you. You do not believe in works righteousness. I get confused between the tow: Works righteousness and inevitable works resulting from righteousness. I find it a little confusing.

    Will I fail to be resurrected unto eternal life, in spite of the fact that I am a born-again Christian, if I am not one of "only those who do good?"

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:06:00 PM  

  • All who are born again will both do good and be resurrected.

    We know that only those who do good will be resurrected (John 5:29), so the only question left to consider is what it means to do good.

    I will ask you again: Do you believe that only those who do good will be resurrected unto eternal life?

    By Blogger Matt Waymeyer, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:11:00 PM  

  • John 8:42
    39"Abraham is our father," they answered.
    "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. 40As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41You are doing the things your own father does."
    "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself."
    42Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

    A commentary: If God were your father = If you had anything of His moral image, as children have of their father's likeness ...

    I get the point of this very clearly. Context is key. These people were saying that God was their father, they were claiming Abraham as their father, all while they were rejecting the Messiah, the Son Of God.

    He confounds them that they are not children of God as they think they are, just because they are the leaders of Israel. Is he setting up a standard that we, as post resurrection believers, are to judge ourselves or one-another? No. He is not talking to us, but to those rejecting Him. We should not infer too much here.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:16:00 PM  

  • Only those who are justified and declared righteous will be resurrected.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:18:00 PM  

  • Matt,
    John 14:15
    15"If you love me, you will obey what I command."

    I think you brought this one up to follow the previous - if God were your Father, you would love Christ, if you love Christ, then you will obey what he commands. Therefore, if you are a child of God, you will definately obey what Christ commands. That is what you were getting at, right? If you don't love Christ or obey what He commands, you cannot be a child of God ... and you cannot be resurrected. Is that what you are proving?

    I am not a logician, but I think there is a name for this. Oh, I'll just say it in a midwestern mom way - I don't think that you can deduce what you have, by using those verses ... in the order that you did. It is a little tricksy, I think. :~)

    I love Jesus, by the way ... and I am not trying to get out of doing what He commands, just to be clear. I just want to see if there is something more that believers must have besides faith. IOW, can we trust the message of salvation by grace through faith alone that we have received, or must we fear ... if our works don't measure up? Do I look to Christ alone ... or to myself and my work?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:31:00 PM  

  • It seems like you are resistant to concede that only those who do good will be resurrected unto eternal life. In light of this, I think that any more discussion about this would be fruitless. Thanks for the interaction. And do say hello to Phillip for me. Sorry for the abruptness of my departure. Part of it is my schedule for the rest of the day.

    By Blogger Matt Waymeyer, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:36:00 PM  

  • Matt,
    If I were to concede, what would you say to me?

    You say:
    so the only question left to consider is what it means to do good.

    What does it mean to do good in your estimation?

    Are you still there? I am really curious.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:39:00 PM  

  • If doing good is a condition of receiving eternal life, then Jesus would specifiy what those good works included.

    This is clearly spelled out in John 6:29. This is the only work on which we can receive eternal life.

    Yes, believers are called to do good.

    However, it is a logical error to conclude that only those who do good enter the resurrection of life.

    Otherwise there would be no hope of deathbed conversions.

    The text says that 'those who have done good come forth unto the resurrection of life'. It does not say that those who have believed in Jesus Christ, but who have failed to do sufficent good will be damned.

    As for the second category, this hypothetically could include anyone. All have done evil and were it not for grace, we would all be condemned.

    Your interpretation of this text proves too much, Matt.

    The problem is that you are reading your doctrine of sanctification and regenration into a text that does not deal with that issue.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:50:00 PM  

  • Being good is perfectly keeping God's law and doing evil is transgressing God's will, Rose.

    Essentially Matt is trying to get his soteriology from a text that deals with the fact of eschatological judgment.

    A sound principle is to use the Scriptures that are easy to understand to interpret the Scriptures that are hard to understand.

    Matt is taking this difficult Scripture and using it to question the plain meaning of more straigtforward texts.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:57:00 PM  

  • There may be a genuine theological difference between salvation by works and salvation unto works, but in practical terms they are the same in their effect.

    Either way my salvation becomes dependant on my doing works.

    The Catholic says that God gives man the ability to do such good as will secure his salvation.

    The Calvinist says that God gives man the ability to do such good as results from salvation.

    Either way, assurance is destroyed because the believer is dependant upon his own actions to determine his final destiny.

    He is exhorted to examine himself in case his faith is only a false one.

    The Puritan view provides no solution to Luther's dilemma.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 1:09:00 PM  

  • Cleopas,
    Thanks for getting me to read about Zaccheus today. What a great event that was. I don't know if we CAN "count on it." We can hope that the convert will find God's best, but I know that it doesn't always happen that way.

    As far as action speaking louder than words - amen. Demonstrating love and faith is more effective than saying that it is there.

    But still, faith is the means of receiving Christ, even though no one can see the faith that is in a person's heart.

    Thanks for visiting here, Loren. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 5:21:00 PM  

  • Hi Eunice, ;~)
    Whatever the case, true faith in Christ is all that is necessary for salvation.

    "To him who works his wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." (Romans 4:4,5)

    What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness ... (Romans 4:1-5)

    Thanks for the visit, Eunice!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 5:26:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Great post!

    I love the woman at the well.

    I agree that the way Jesus doesn't dialogue about her need to deal with the sin in her life is telling. He brings it up but doesn't push repentance.

    I've wondered if maybe absolutely no one in the world knew her whole story except her. And that's why his telling her about the five husbands stunned her. And that's why she described it as telling her "everything" she had ever done,even though that sounds like overstatement. He knew the skeletons in the closet that no one else did.

    Hodges has pointed out that Samaritan theology thought the Messiah would be a prophet, while Jewish theology knew he would be divine. So another thing he didn't push was his divinity!

    The Hungry Inherit--the book I name my blog after--has a wonderful chapter on the woman at the well.

    God bless you, sister,


    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 7:15:00 PM  

  • About Matt Waymeyer's topic...

    I personally consider John 5:29 the hardest passage in John. So I agree with Matthew that is the wrong place to get one’s soteriology.

    In fact, this is a rare case where Hodges and Wilkin see it slightly differently. I think I’ll post on their views BTW. (Wilkin’s view is like Matthew’s) But first I’ll tell you my eccentric and probably iffy speculation.

    I wonder if what the Lord is really saying is that open-mindedness toward Christ’s Gospel, before conversion, is the “good” that leads to resurrection of life.

    The Holy Spirit inwardly woos us to care about Him even though naturally we don’t care.

    The context of the passage seems to me to support this. He says, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” I wonder if "honoring" is respecting him enough to be willing to consider His claims, i.e doing “good”, while doing “evil” is resisting the conviction of sin of the Holy Spirit and rejecting the claims of Christ.

    Good discussion,


    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 7:22:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Jodie. You're the best!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 7:59:00 PM  

  • Good idea about John 5:29, Jodie.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:43:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    I leave for a little while and you post such a great article.

    Very clear and to the point.

    I don't know. Did Matt Weymeyer concede to the premise of the post that neither repentance was preached nor needed in this pericope?

    I see that he failed to mention it and drove this whole discourse off of the main topic.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 31, 2006 2:53:00 PM  

  • Very good post, Rose.

    I think a simple answer to your question is:

    Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    By Blogger Redeemed, at Friday, March 31, 2006 7:16:00 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    You said:
    "to present repentance as a condition for receiving eternal life is to present a false gospel that may lead people into hell."

    I'm afraid this statement boggles my mind, or maybe I just don't understand the sense in which you mean it?

    Jesus outlined the gospel in Luke 24:46-48 (compare to 1 Cor 15:1-5 where the gospel is actually defined.) And in this context He said:

    "thus it was necessary . . . that repentance . . . should be preached . . ."

    Repentance is a necessary response to the gospel. To not repent of our sins would scarecly connect with God's message that Christ was crucified because of them. It frets against the very purpose, and seems not to acknowlede it. Our sins separated us from Him, so how can we draw near with no thought of repenting of them? No sense of remorse? Nothing?

    My only point, in my comment, was that sometimes the Holy Spirit beats us to this, and before we can even mention the need for repentance they have already started to repent on their own. In which case, perhaps we can view this element as complete and not need to re-hash it.

    Can you explain your perspective a little more clearly please?

    By Blogger Cleopas, at Friday, March 31, 2006 7:51:00 PM  

  • Eternal life is received by faith. It is purely a gift.

    Repentance is commanded of all believers and is necessary to secure the fullness of God's blessings that are entailed in the Gospel.

    Repentance involves a complete turning from sin which necessarilly involves works.

    If a person believes that they need to repent to receive Eternal life, they have believed a false gospel, because they denied the free offer of eternal life and made it dependant on their own actions. Such a gospel cannot save.

    I agree with you that people may repent without the need being pressed upon them, either before or after conversion.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, April 01, 2006 1:42:00 AM  

  • Thanks for dropping in, Sarah.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, April 01, 2006 1:43:00 AM  

  • Great to see you there, Antonio.

    Last time I looked, Matt had ceased debating on Moorhead's blog on the subject of Free Grace, but he may have come back.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, April 01, 2006 1:45:00 AM  

  • Antonio!
    Hello, there brother. Is it really you? I am honored that you would comment on the post as you did. I miss you!

    Matt decided not to discuss anymore with me because I wouldn't concede to the point, simply put, that only those who do good will rise to life. Maybe he felt that I deny the clear teaching of Scripture. I see it as a clear teaching that none of us measure of to the "do good" and thus, GRACE. Maybe he sees it that way, too. I am not sure because he left before he answered me on what he would tell me it menas to "do good." I really wanted to know.

    Antonio, don't stay away too long!
    Remember what Earl said: "You are providing a good service for the kingdom of God."

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, April 01, 2006 6:18:00 AM  

  • Redeemed Sarah,
    Thanks for reading ... thanks for commenting! I appreciate it.
    God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, April 01, 2006 6:19:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    you said,
    "If a person believes that they need to repent to receive Eternal life, they have believed a false gospel, because they denied the free offer of eternal life and made it dependant on their own actions."

    This sounds like good Calvinism, but I for one am ready to challenge some of Calvinism's key assumptions. Sometimes they are like slighly uneven stones near the foundation of a structure; but the higher we go in building on top of them, the more visibly things go out of plumb.

    Let's remember that John the Baptist commanded repentance in order to prepare the way for the Lord and to make His paths straight. Beforehand, not afterward; to prepare, not to support. And repentance itself is another gift of God, leading to eternal life:

    "When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."
    (Acts 11:18)

    In saying these things, I mean to target Calvinism and not any individual. But I have long suspected that too much of Calvinism is based on an extreme anti-work bias, even to the point of shutting out others truths to sustain this one, when they should be seeking a common ground.

    For example, the passage below touches on repentance, works, and eternal life in a direct cause-and-effect relationship:

    "But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God . . . but eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality . . ."
    (Rom 2:5-7)

    Specifically, I think Calvinism has long shut out the vital role of response to the gospel message, and that's all we're really talking about with subjects like repentance. To be consistent, if the need for repentance is a false gospel, why must one even believe the gospel at all? Would that not make their salvation dependent on themselves in some measure as well? (Rom 1:16) Or what about confessing Jesus as Lord? (Rom 10:9). Would not that equally 'deny the free offer of eternal life and made it dependant on their own actions'?

    Speaking of John the Baptist, I sometimes feel like a voice crying out in the wilderness when I talk to Calvinists on such issues. It is troubling to quote Jesus Himself and see that it appears to make no impact, because it doesn't connect with what they had already believed anyway. In this, I see a structure or a system more dear of heart than He, and it saddens my own heart to see it.

    I noticed that Matt Weymeyer made some points that were similar to mine . . . which also seemed to go answered. Hmm. Call us wrong, but please use the Bible to tell us so. For I am quickly reaching the point where Calvinistic tenants will not do as a substitute.

    Matthew, I've been trying to make this sound as respectful as possible but I'm afraid I'm not doing as well as I'd like, so please forgive me in making up the difference. You have a good, even temper which I admire in you, and perhaps I need you to meet me halfway on this.

    Yours in Christ,

    By Blogger Cleopas, at Saturday, April 01, 2006 2:17:00 PM  

  • Hey Antonio,

    Great to hear from you :)

    Let me ask something of you, do you know if a 'pericope' is the same as a 'heading' (kephalaia) in Greek rhetoric?

    God bless, you bro'



    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, April 02, 2006 8:34:00 PM  

  • Hi Jodie!

    I know I am late to this discussion between you and Matt W.

    He keeps insisting on doing good as stated in John 5:29 as a condition of eternal life. First I see that the word "deeds" has been inserted and not original. So that could mean that Jesus simple said doing good instead of doing good "deeds".

    I think the doing good here is the same as John 3:21. In other words practicing the truth and coming to the light to prove that our doing good is wrought(worked) in God only. The doing good is believing in the Christ alone for salvation.

    John 3:20 - Evil deeds are works of, so called, righeousness on our own and those who do them hate the Light(the grace of God) because their pride wants to count these deeds as worthy before God. This was Cain's problem also.

    So to do good in the context of John 5:29 is simply believing Jesus in 5:24. Many who insist other wise are still stumbling over the stumbling stone of Christ alone and are still on the broad road of works or good "deeds" for salvation or evidence thereof.

    So doing good is correct as Jesus said, but doing good is belief in Him alone and not anything else a person may think.

    Does that make sense?

    By Blogger Kris, at Monday, April 03, 2006 11:08:00 AM  

  • I'm sorry Rose and Jodie I mistated and should have said the debate between Rose and Matt W. instead of Jodie.

    Hi Rose, :):):)


    By Blogger Kris, at Monday, April 03, 2006 11:14:00 AM  

  • Hi Kris!
    No problem - Jodie and I are the two girls here - I am thrilled to be mistaken for such a sharp gal as her.

    You refer to the verse wherein Jesus says "This is the work of God, that you believe on him who He has sent." I wondered about that verse when pondering Matt's reference to John 5:29, but I think that "this is the work of God ... believe on Him who He has sent" is an irony. I think Jesus said that sort of as a play on words. Faith is not a work. I think it is contrasted with works. Faith is the non-work! So, that makes Jesus' statement more interesting, doesn't it? IMO, He is saying something like this: "here is the work - it is a 'non-work'"

    As I wrestled with this verse, what gave me clarity was thinking about Jesus' purpose in saying this - his audience. He was not telling them how to find escape from condemnation was He? They really weren't interested in knowing what His thoughts were on that esape, were they? They just wanted to stand in their own self-righteousness and, well, kill the Messiah.

    I understand what you are saying though, Faith in Christ is the only hope we have for eternal life - a sure and certain hope, not dependant on our selves!

    Thanks, Kris!
    Come back again.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, April 03, 2006 8:47:00 PM  

  • "IMO, He is saying something like this: "here is the work - it is a 'non-work'""

    Exactly Rose, I think you just summed up the reason many stumble over it.

    Thanks for your prayers also. I am determined not to repeat past failures, but I know that is not enough to carry it out.

    By Blogger Kris, at Tuesday, April 04, 2006 8:26:00 AM  

  • Let me add my amen! to what Kris and Rose have been saying here.



    Evil deeds are works of, so called, righeousness on our own and those who do them hate the Light (the grace of God) because their pride wants to count these deeds as worthy before God.



    Faith is not a work. I think it is contrasted with works. Faith is the non-work! So, that makes Jesus' statement more interesting, doesn't it? IMO, He is saying something like this: "here is the work - it is a 'non-work'"

    It's like Jesus was saying you're so eager to be vindicated by your good deeds, put this on your list of things to "do": do belief! Jesus commands us to do belief!

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Wednesday, April 05, 2006 2:39:00 PM  

  • Hey Rose,

    I'm very late to this discussion but I ran across this in my study of John and I thought it was interesting. It does not necessarily sway the discussion either way (in relation to the other Samaritans) but it does shed light on her.

    When the woman talks to here people she say "could this be the Messiah?" In the original she uses the Greek construction with meti which is used "in questions in which the questioner is in doubt concerning the answer."

    Her response to Christ is actually never made clear. I hope she came to saving faith but the way she asks the question indicates that she has in fact not "yet" believed.

    I just found that interesting.

    By Blogger Rich Ryan, at Thursday, April 06, 2006 6:02:00 AM  

  • Hi Rich, :~)
    It is so nice of you to come over and offer some thoughts.
    I also posted on this story on my own blog a couple of days after this post. I did a little more study into the verse and I looked up the Greek construction of the woman's question. I found tis:

    [not?] This is the Christ!

    Is that what you saw, too? It had the word for "not" in italics at the beginning of a statement.

    I also found this in a commentary I read:
    It is a question that makes a negative answer seem unlikely.

    That commentary said that with her reputation, this was the most appropriate way for her to state that she thought He was the Christ.

    What do you think? Can you shed any more light? Either way, thanks for your polite visit.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, April 06, 2006 8:13:00 AM  

  • Thanks Rose. Here's what I discerned from my study.

    The negative particle here is not the typical Greek word ou or me (long e). It is meti which according to BDAG's lexicon it is "a marker that invites a negative response to the question that it introduces." But it goes on to say, “,Also in questions in which the questioner is in doubt concerning the answer” and it ref 4:29 as the prime example.

    Carson (obviously not a FG guy ;o) but still one of the best over all commentaries on John says that the construction argues for lingering doubt in her mind. She was not yet convinced.

    So I think the negative translation at the beginning of the verse (by some translations) is a little misleading. John uses ou and me and ou me all the time in John and that would be very clear form in terms of negation but it is not used in this verse.

    She constructs the question and expects the Samaritans to say “No! This is not the Christ.” It suggests at a minimum that the issue was not resolved in her mind and she is seeking an answer. I think it is safe to say that she does not affirm belief or deny belief but is simply still searching.

    By Blogger Rich Ryan, at Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:31:00 AM  

  • Rich,
    Well, that is helpful. It is interesting that two commentaries would see her question in such different ways. Mine said it was a question that made a negative response seem unlikely and yours the opposite, I think. Either way - the funny thing is, I never really was trying to originally make the point that the woman received the living water or not in this post. I sort of left that up in the air. Then, on that "other" thread, ;~) I was so surprised when someone seemed so intent on questioning the woman herself.

    My real points on this post -and I would love to hear what you have to say about this - were:

    1. Christ didn't give a lot of conditions except,
    "if you knew the gift of God and who was speaking to you" and
    "if you ask", but actually, it seems that there was only one condition now that I think on it, because He says "If you knew the gift of God and who it was, you WOULD have asked" So, the second thing flowed from the first, right? In other words, knowing Him and His gift would cause the asking.
    Is it correct to say that He told her that the prerequisite for receiving the living water is knowing the gift of God and who it is that she is speaking with ... ?

    2. It says the townsfolk became believers. Were they children of God then?

    Thanks for talking with me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, April 06, 2006 12:16:00 PM  

  • rose,

    Pretty busy at the moment but I'll try to comment later. I'm in John 14 and have been teaching through it for 2 years. I have some thoughts on all of this, some of which I have shared on JM's blog, but it will take some time to unravel all of them. I'll try to stop by later and pick this up again.


    By Blogger Rich Ryan, at Thursday, April 06, 2006 2:00:00 PM  

  • Rich,
    I look forward to it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, April 07, 2006 8:06:00 AM  

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