[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)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Why not Grace?

by Antonio da Rosa

People just cannot get themselves to agree with the premise that full pardon from God, entrance into heaven, and eternal life have absolutely nothing to do with their behavior whatsoever; that nothing they have done or can or will do in the future has any bearing on whether or not they end up in the kingdom of God (barring, of course, simple faith into Christ).

They cannot get themselves to understand that even a sinful, debased individual, nevertheless justified and covered by the blood of Jesus, can be in God's kingdom.

Deep down inside they believe, in a very real way, that behavior is intrinsically correllated with one's hope of heaven.

How did this happen?

Grace is a naughty word.

If it is true that your eternity can be absolutely secure no matter what your behavior is (past, present, or future), then you can get fire-insurance and live like the devil.

I happen to agree with the last statement. The RCC and Lordship Salvation, and Arminianism would all be on the same page and dissent against grace.

The person who lives like the devil, in RCC, Lordship Calvinism, and Lordship Arminianism, does not go to heaven. Works all have an integral part, one way or another, in one's final entrance into heaven.

The person who lives like the devil (who never the less has eternal life) in FG theology will lose his soul, both in time and for eternity, yet he will be in the kingdom.

41 Comments:

  • Good post.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, December 18, 2006 12:43:00 AM  

  • I agree. Hard to swallow for me but still is true. We see distinctions in people's behavior and question that they may be disqualified from Christ's gift by their filthy lives; God sees the filth in even the most sacntimonious of lives without distinction, and instead of justifiably disqualifying everyone, simply directs us to His Son, giving us power and knowledge through His Spirit which He then helps us learn to use.

    Though I believe there are people who come close to belief in Christ's application to mankind but fall away before fully embracing it, and may appear to be someone who has lost their salvation but has actually not, but rather has never believed in the offer of Christ. But that can turn into another whole deadend debate which I'd rather not give any time to.

    Todd

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, December 18, 2006 6:57:00 AM  

  • Put a comma after 'Though' at the top of the second paragraph for me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, December 18, 2006 7:00:00 AM  

  • What do you do with passages that speak of good works as an integral part of those who are genuinely saved (Ephesians 4 comes immediately to mind)?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, December 18, 2006 7:22:00 AM  

  • Jared,

    In my opinion,

    Very integral part of anyone who is saved. Doesn't require good works or certain behavior, though, to be saved, just says to me that they are asked of us to give us a part in the sanctification process, and how good works should even flow automatically from us, and in fact are necessary and important to the building up of the body of Christ which we are asked to serve.

    Good works are a responsibility as well as a free gift, that are there, created for us, and asked of us(implored) to walk in.

    The way it seems to read.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, December 18, 2006 8:11:00 AM  

  • I think we'll be very surprised by who we will find in heaven, as well as who we won't see there.

    *~*~*~*~*~*

    My husband was saved at 15. Following a period of being 'on fire' for God, he rebelled and ran from Him - for 25 years. God allowed him to do this for only as long as God allowed him to do this. :)

    God pursed him. God preserved him, and then God interrupted his life and stopped him from continuing. For the past 11 years, God has been in the process of completing the work he began all those years ago.

    Now, during that 25 years of rebellion, one might have thought my husband wasn't saved. God knew otherwise.

    BTW, I'm most defintely in the reformed camp. :)

    By Blogger Gayla, at Monday, December 18, 2006 11:26:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    I have never seen a post so ripe with error, conjecture, mischaracterizations, and unbiblical views.

    A distorted view of grace results in such views as these. I will not argue here, but I will do a post on grace in a week or so on my blog to refute some of these charges and errors. I will use Scripture references.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Monday, December 18, 2006 11:27:00 AM  

  • Oh, wanted to add: Grace is most assuredly not a naughty word. It is only by His grace that we are able to accomplish anything in this life!

    By Blogger Gayla, at Monday, December 18, 2006 11:31:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    I like what you say:" If grace cannot be abused, it is not grace." May we all strive to walk in the ways of the Lord, mindful that it is only by pure UNMERITED grace that we can walk at all. His free gift of salvation is truly something to be thankful for. Recognizig that it is indeed free should not cause us to abuse it, but to serve him with thankful hearts.

    I get your meaning, though, if we don't recognize how it could be abused and still be ours, then have we really recognized how free and gracious God's salvation really is?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, December 18, 2006 12:07:00 PM  

  • This post was originally a comment in the meta of my blog.

    To this comment, Jonathan Moorhead wrote:
    ----------
    Thanks Antonio. Could you please clarify your statement:

    "The person who lives like the devil (who never the less has eternal life) in FG theology will lose his soul, both in time and for eternity, yet he will be in the kingdom."

    Can you really "lose" your soul in heaven? Is this the weeping and gnashing of teeth part of "heaven"?
    ----------
    I thought it was an appropriate question. So I wrote:
    ----------
    I appreciate the questions. Let me tell you why:

    As long as you are asking questions, you are trying to get clarified for you the Free Grace position, not disseminating mischaracterizations.

    There is no "weeping and gnashing of teeth" part of heaven, as if it is an actual geographical place.

    'weeping and gnashing of teeth' is a figurative expression denoting remorse, sorrow, and anguish over one's wasted life that has now resulted in serious loss in the kingdom of God.

    The non-overcoming Christian will be judged by God's word. This word will figuratively cut him in two. Have you ever been confronted with a sin by someone you have hurt and it felt like you were cut in two? It is the same thing.

    Your sin nature will be gone, and there will be nothing (no rationalization, no justifications) to hinder the full weight of your shortcomings as a servant/steward. Shame, sorrow, remorse are all appropriate.

    But like with any tragedy, one, in the course of time, gets over, and deals with sorrow. And of course, at the ushering in of the eternal state, God wipes away every tear.

    Jonathan, one way I have seen the LS distort FG theology is by presenting FG interpretations of parabolic passages as literal, when indeed, the FG interpret them figuratively, corresponding the elements of the parable to truth.

    There is no 'outer darkness' geographical area in heaven. Sub-comers are not literally cut in two, or bound hand and foot.

    the term 'outer darkness' is better translated 'the darkness outside', IOW, outside the parabolic banquet hall where the overcomers are celebrating.

    I do believe that I have even seen you make this mistake in misrepresenting FG. We understand the parabolic passages parabolically and do wooden-literally equate them. The figures in the parable correspond to spiritual truth.

    Now to answer your question.

    From the time forward at regeneration, the Christian constructs a life. If he constructs it by taking heed to the words of Jesus, he will be saving his life (soul). When we create our life in time, we can construct it in such a way where its meaning and significance transects INTO eternity.

    Receving with meekness the implanted word, and being a doer of that word, will result in the abundant life, the saving of the life (soul) in time. It saves one from the temporal effects of spiritual impoverishment and consequences of sin.

    To lose one's soul (life) in eternity, is to forfeit the abundant life (vis-a-vis: the intimacy of being one of Christ's metachoi, co-ruling/reigning with Christ, attendant priviliges and honors).

    The salvation of the soul, in its eternal ramifications, refers to the abundant life which shall be the eternal experience of the believer whose faith stands the fiery tests.

    In other words, if believers are faithful in their earthly trials, not only will they experience the temporal satisfactions: joy, peace, significance, and meaning, they will obtain the abundant life forever!

    I appreciate this opportunity, Jonathan, to clarify my statements.

    Our behavior certainly has significant eternal repercussions. Just not in the realm of whether one enters the kingdom or not.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, December 18, 2006 2:02:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    (This is in reference to your reply to Jonothan)

    It reads as if you are saying that are two different types of salvation. One by faith alone which guarentees heaven, and one by works (obedience/ faithfulness) which would determine the quality (for lack of a better word) of our life there (that is, how intimately we experience Christ in eternity).

    By Blogger Gojira, at Monday, December 18, 2006 5:10:00 PM  

  • Doug,

    I would actually say that there are many different types of salvation. But yes, I believe in an eschatological salvation as well as a mere soteriological one.

    If one were to do a lexical/word study of “soteria” in the Septuagint and other Koine Greek they would find that it has a very broad range which can include things as healing, health, well-being (both spritual and physical), prosperity, good fortune, triumphant endurance, deliverances from the afflictions of earthly life, moral and personal welfare, rewards in an eschatological dimension, and lastly, deliverance from hell (which would be the least likely assumption of the Greek reader!).

    I don't know if your question was leading in some way, but please don't jump to conclusions concerning an eschatological 'salvation'. Such a concept does not impinge on Christ's 'atonement'.

    Maybe you were just clarifying. I don't know.

    I think you were perceptive to pick up on something I merely implied:

    Our intimacy with Christ now will, in some way, directly correspond to our intimacy with him in eternity.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, December 18, 2006 5:41:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    "Maybe you were just clarifying."

    That's all. Was just wondering. And thanks for the extended reply. I thought it was a well done post.

    Well, I'm off on my journey to find a Catholic to bug. I'm always on the lookout for a good Trad. So if I don't "talk" to ya until after Christmas, I hope you and your family have a blessed one....

    Well, wait a minute. A mutual friend shared something with me about you awhile back. I'm probably not remembering it correctly, but you were going to teach your daughter about the love of God, and you guys did what? Was it buy socks and fill them with goodies and give them to homeless people? I can't remember what he told me.

    Anyway, I thought it was cool.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Monday, December 18, 2006 6:23:00 PM  

  • Hey Antonio,

    Just curious, not seeking a debate. The things that you wrote...it would seem to me then (and I am not saying that I hold to this, I am just wondering if this is where it would lead), as applied to the discussion of James 2:24, that the Free Grace position could look at that verse and say that James is talking about more than one kind of justification. That is, the KJV and NKJV render monon there as only (*see note at the end of my post), and would thus be understood as "You see that a man is justified by works and not >only< by faith." That is, he would be referring to this "soul salvation" concept that you have been speaking about. Is that along the line of Free Grace train of thought?

    *"2:24 You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith."* World English Bible
    http://worldenglishbible.org/web/

    By Blogger Gojira, at Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:28:00 AM  

  • Never mind, Antonio. I found out the answer. I was right in my thinking. The FG position can hold to two disctinct types of justification based on James:

    "Abraham had two distinct justifications. James wants
    his readers to also have a second justification."

    http://www.chafer.edu/journal/back_issues/v7n2_1.pdf

    The quote came from the end of the arrticle. He gives his his summary reasioning there was well.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Tuesday, December 19, 2006 9:33:00 AM  

  • Antonio, can you explain this thought a little more clearly:

    The person who lives like the devil (who never the less has eternal life) in FG theology will lose his soul, both in time and for eternity, yet he will be in the kingdom.

    How can one have eternal life, and yet lose their soul? How can one be 'in the kingdom' and yet lose their soul?

    I guess I need explanation as to what 'lose your soul' means. Typically, when this is spoken of, it is spoken of as one going to hell. They lose their soul, they die forever. Yet you seem to suggest that one can live forever, one can be within the kingdom, and yet 'lose their soul'.

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Tuesday, December 19, 2006 10:24:00 AM  

  • Great Post, Antonio.

    Gojira, about the justification issue...

    Actually the two types of justification is the only way that verse can legitimately be read grammar-wise.

    I wouldn't blend it with the soul salvation idea however. The "other" justification which is under discussion -- and remember that word simply means called or counted righteous -- is by man not by God. We are counted righteous in our workplace by our virtue...
    acted out, not by our hidden faith. Abraham was counted righteous by the people who lived in that region because of how he behaved on Mt Moriah, which was witnessed by his servants who became the sources of information to his neighbors. Abraham became known as a frined of God. His neighbors called him a friend of God.

    Warmly in Christ,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, December 21, 2006 8:45:00 AM  

  • Jazzy,

    does a person's behavior have any bearing whatsoever on whether or not a person goes to heaven or hell?

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, December 21, 2006 4:35:00 PM  

  • Antonio,
    At the point of saving faith, salvation is assured so behavior has no present bearing, no future bearing and also had no bearing prior to faith. Now for your question....

    Does regeneration with power have any effect whatsoever on a person's behavior? (Eze 36:26, 2 Cor 5:17, Rom. 8) In short does grace change the person that is saved?

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Friday, December 22, 2006 1:16:00 PM  

  • Jazzycat, do you agree with the view that good works in the believer's life are inevitable, but not automatic?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 2:25:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    I am waiting for a response from Antonio on my question. I answered his and asked a legitimate follow up. I do not want to muddy the water until I hear his response. When I do I will respond to yours.
    Thanks,

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 7:49:00 AM  

  • I'm still waiting for understanding on how one can have eternal life and be in the kingdom, and yet lose their soul...

    Antonio???

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 4:32:00 PM  

  • Great thoughts, Jodie. Thank you for answering. That would really show where James talks about Rahab.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Saturday, December 23, 2006 6:25:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Tuesday, December 26, 2006 9:15:00 PM  

  • For the response to this post that I promised....Grace is living water

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Tuesday, December 26, 2006 9:22:00 PM  

  • Hi Adam,

    In an answer to your question, Antonio said this in the comments section of his December 12 post.

    Antonio: To lose one's soul (life) in eternity, is to forfeit the abundant life (vis-a-vis: the intimacy of being one of Christ's metachoi, co-ruling/reigning with Christ, attendant priviliges and honors).

    The salvation of the soul, in its eternal ramifications, refers to the abundant life which shall be the eternal experience of the believer whose faith stands the fiery tests. (end quote)

    Those who sow to the Spirit will reap an "abundant" eternal life (Gal 6:8-9).

    By Anonymous danny, at Tuesday, December 26, 2006 10:18:00 PM  

  • Since I couldn't italicize abundant, I put it in quotations.

    By Anonymous danny, at Tuesday, December 26, 2006 10:24:00 PM  

  • Danny, thank you.

    I would wonder, and I'd ask Antonio this if he'd respond, why the equivocation? Or is such equivocation used within Scripture? Does Scripture speak of two different kinds of 'life' after death? The 'eternal life' (whereby one lives forever) and the 'abundant life' (by this meaning intimacy with Christ and all).

    I could perhaps understand the idea of saying that 'soul' is synonymous with 'life'. As the believers of God will never die, their soul will live on and on. And the unbelievers will experience the second death, their soul will die for eternity.

    But to distinguish between having 'life' and 'abundant life' and then confusing this more by saying that one has 'life' but loses their 'soul' sounds remarkeably like the Dispy ploy to confuse by unnecessary terminology and then declare victory over the baffled...

    But I may be wrong, he may be using Scriptural terminology.

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 10:35:00 AM  

  • Hi again Adam,

    I know it seems like an equivocation at first glance. However, we also know that "eternal life" is not only a static entity. When the NT speaks of eternal life as a gift received immediately at the moment of faith (John 3:16, 5:24, 6:47, 11:25-27, 1 John 5:9-13), that is eternal life in its static form. However, when eternal life is presented as a future possession, we in FG see it as referring to an abundant experience of that life in the Millenial and Eternal states. The more you know God now, the closer you are in fellowship, the more you sow to the Spirit, the more abudant the eternal life that you reap (Gal 6:8-9). Verse 9 is key.

    And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

    Reaping eternal life in verses 8 and 9 are received by well-doing.

    Also, 1 Timothy 6:17-19 is a key passage:

    17Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

    18That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

    19Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

    If the rich are also rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, they will store up for themselves a good foundation in God's future kingdom, thus "laying hold" of eternal life.

    You said: But to distinguish between having 'life' and 'abundant life' and then confusing this more by saying that one has 'life' but loses their 'soul' sounds remarkeably like the Dispy ploy to confuse by unnecessary terminology and then declare victory over the baffled...

    But I may be wrong, he may be using Scriptural terminology. (end quote)

    I understand your concerns Adam, and I do enjoy your gracious spirit and willingness to communicate. Basically, one may have the gift of eternal life received by faith alone in Christ alone, but by sowing to the flesh, they fail to "lay hold" of eternal life, and thus lose the abundant life they could have had. Losing their souls is losing the abundant life they could have had. They are denied the privilege of reigning with Christ, while those who endure, reign with Him (2 Tim 2:11-13).

    And let's not forget John 10:10: he thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 11:14:00 AM  

  • Adam, in case I wasn't clear enough, "laying hold" of eternal life is something believers do now by sowing to the Spirit, which results in closer fellowship with God in the present, and abundant life in the future Kingdom.

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 11:27:00 AM  

  • This all comes from my being anal and having to have terms which are unequivocative.

    The FG position would be that when one believes through faith, by grace, they receive eternal life. This means they will not die for eternity, they will be in heaven with God.

    However, if one does not continue in the faith, or does not sow works in the Spirit, they will not receive an abundant life, or eternal life, or their soul.

    So if one believes, they will get eternal life, but if they do not do the good works, they will not 'lay hold' of eternal life, they will lose the eternal life.

    (I understand you are not saying they lose the eternal life as in they lose their salvation, but the 'eternal life' they lose is the 'abundant eternal life', they still have possession of the 'eternal life' meaning they are still justified.)

    I am tracking so far.

    'Eternal life' can be used in two different senses, one in the sense of being in heaven for eternity, being alive for eternity. And a second sense is the idea of an 'abundant life'. One's 'soul' is a descriptor of the 'abundant life'...

    Is this so?

    I guess I would then need to search the Scriptures for the mention of 'soul' and see if it is used in the sense of the first 'eternal life' or the second 'eternal life'. If it is used in the sense of the first, then Antonio (and perhaps FG adherers) would be using this term unScripturally. If it is used in the sense of the second definition, then it would be used accurately here...

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 3:47:00 PM  

  • Hi Adam!

    You said: 'Eternal life' can be used in two different senses, one in the sense of being in heaven for eternity, being alive for eternity. And a second sense is the idea of an 'abundant life'. One's 'soul' is a descriptor of the 'abundant life'...

    Is this so? (end quote)

    You got it Adam! I would say, however, that we will be on the New Earth for eternity. I think you will find evidence that the use of soul fits the second "eternal life". Check out Matthew 16:24-28.

    24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

    25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

    26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

    28Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

    Saving the soul (life) or losing the soul (life) in this passage is connected to taking up one's cross and following Jesus (v. 24-26), and to each man receiving reward according to his works (v. 27). Nothing here about eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone. It's about following Jesus and rewards. Adam, here's an excellent article by Bob Wilkin on Matthew 16:24-28.

    http://www.faithalone.org/news/y1992/92march2.html

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 4:10:00 PM  

  • Danny, I understand your interpretation of the 'soul/life' here being the 'abundant eternal life', and your idea that Jesus telling them to 'take up their cross to gain their soul' means He is talking about rewards, but I can also (as I hope you would make an honest self-diagnosis) can see how this interpretation can be based upon your FG position.

    Now, do not get me wrong, me to read it as describing eternal life (the non-abundant kind, just eternal life - not dying in hell) is probably based upon my LORDship position.

    SO! I think that we would both have to, to be honest, approach this passage and attempt to see what it is really saying without superimposing our beliefs.

    You said that there is no mention of the 'faith alone', and to this I agree. But is there anything that would undeniably point in the direction of the Freegrace interpretation as opposed to the LORDship interpretation? Or is it somewhat ambiguous and we must interpret based upon our positions (which we would both claim is based upon other Scripture).

    Do you understand what I am saying? I don't have time to digest the text, but I think it would be a good one to consider for later...

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 6:13:00 PM  

  • Adam, I'm enjoying our conversation. Again, your gracious spirit shines through.

    You said: SO! I think that we would both have to, to be honest, approach this passage and attempt to see what it is really saying without superimposing our beliefs.

    You said that there is no mention of the 'faith alone', and to this I agree. But is there anything that would undeniably point in the direction of the Freegrace interpretation as opposed to the LORDship interpretation? Or is it somewhat ambiguous and we must interpret based upon our positions (which we would both claim is based upon other Scripture). (end quote)

    Without a doubt, there are many passages that are ambiguous and in need of interpretation, which we usually interpret through our theological grid. I don't see anything ambigous in Matthew 16:24-28 however. But, I have honestly tried to look at passages like Matthew 16:24-28 through the eyes of Lordship, and I am not convinced. Taking up one's cross obviously involves doing work for the Lord, and we know that eternal salvation is not of works, not of ourselves. Yet following Christ involves a synergistic effort between man and God, wherein we deny ourselves. In the Galatians 6:8-9 passage, eternal life is reaped by sowing to the Spirit and by doing good, so obviously that isn't salvation by grace through faith. From the get-go in Galatians 1, he chides them for turning from the true gospel to a works-righteousness, and yet considers them brethren and redeemed (1:11, 3:13-15, 26, and so on).

    I'm sure you're aware of all the controversy surrounding James 1:21. Nobody in the debate bothered to mention 1:14-20. In verses 14 and 15, James talks about sin maturing and bringing forth death. In verse 18, James is certain that his readers are redeemed, as God has brought them forth by the word of truth, that they may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. In verse 21, he tells them to lay aside all filthiness to save their souls. They're redeemed, but they need to save their souls by laying aside all filthiness. In light of verse 18, verse 21 must refer to another kind of salvation. Eternal salvation is not of ourselves and comes by God's Grace alone, while salvation of the soul comes by us laying aside filthiness. This salvation comes from us complying with God, while eternal salvation is completely free. In James 5:20, he talks about saving a brother's soul from death. If people don't save their souls, they will not reap the abundant life.

    Again, I have tried to see these passages and many others from the Lordship side, but they leave me unconvinced. There is defitinely more than one nuance for words like salvation and soul.

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 7:29:00 PM  

  • Adam, I'm enjoying our conversation. Again, your gracious spirit shines through.

    You said: SO! I think that we would both have to, to be honest, approach this passage and attempt to see what it is really saying without superimposing our beliefs.

    You said that there is no mention of the 'faith alone', and to this I agree. But is there anything that would undeniably point in the direction of the Freegrace interpretation as opposed to the LORDship interpretation? Or is it somewhat ambiguous and we must interpret based upon our positions (which we would both claim is based upon other Scripture). (end quote)

    Without a doubt, there are many passages that are ambiguous and in need of interpretation, which we usually interpret through our theological grid. I don't see anything ambigous in Matthew 16:24-28 however. But, I have honestly tried to look at passages like Matthew 16:24-28 through the eyes of Lordship, and I am not convinced. Taking up one's cross obviously involves doing work for the Lord, and we know that eternal salvation is not of works, not of ourselves. Yet following Christ involves a synergistic effort between man and God, wherein we deny ourselves. In the Galatians 6:8-9 passage, eternal life is reaped by sowing to the Spirit and by doing good, so obviously that isn't salvation by grace through faith. From the get-go in Galatians 1, he chides them for turning from the true gospel to a works-righteousness, and yet considers them brethren and redeemed (1:11, 3:13-15, 26, and so on). They were saved, but Paul wanted them to reap a full experience of eternal life.

    I'm sure you're aware of all the controversy surrounding James 1:21. Nobody in the debate bothered to mention 1:14-20. In verses 14 and 15, James talks about sin maturing and bringing forth death. In verse 18, James is certain that his readers are redeemed, as God has brought them forth by the word of truth, that they may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. In verse 21, he tells them to lay aside all filthiness to save their souls. They're redeemed, but they need to save their souls by laying aside all filthiness. In light of verse 18, verse 21 must refer to another kind of salvation. Eternal salvation is not of ourselves and comes by God's Grace alone, while salvation of the soul comes by us laying aside filthiness. This salvation comes from us complying with God in obedience, while eternal salvation is completely free. In James 5:20, he talks about saving a brother's soul from death. If people don't save their souls, they will not reap the abundant life.

    Again, I have tried to see these passages and many others from the Lordship side and the Arminian side, but they leave me unconvinced. There is defitinely more than one nuance for words like salvation and soul. The FG position brings a consistency to the Scriptures that Lordship and Arminian teachings do not. Antonio's friend Marty Cauley was a strong Calvinist growing up who eventually shed his Calvinism in seminary, and is now a strong Free Grace proponent. A deeper study of Scripture and Greek brought him to FG.

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, December 27, 2006 7:37:00 PM  

  • Without a doubt, there are many passages that are ambiguous and in need of interpretation, which we usually interpret through our theological grid. I don't see anything ambigous in Matthew 16:24-28 however.

    I think the ambiguous part is that the passage only says 'life' (or soul, or eternal life), and doesn't really give clarification as to whether this is the 'eternal life', in the justification sense, or the 'abundant eternal life' (if these distinctions truly do occur).

    I'm tracking with you though so far.

    This is what I have so far. Or this is where my difficulty is.

    I have always understood 'salvation' to be understood in three different aspects. The past salvation (justification), the present salvation (sanctification) and the future (glorification). It has always annoyed me that FG advocates seem to hold on to the 'saved' (justified) through grace by faith alone, at the cost of ignoring the 'saved' (sanctified) through works or by works.

    I have found though that this is a belief of FG advocates, although a hidden belief. In efforts to maintain as pure as they can the idea of 'saved' (justified) through grace alone, they have chosen to not used 'saved' in any other way, or if they do they do it so quietly. :D

    Now then, I have always used, and heard used, 'life' in one way. When one is 'saved' (justified) they are given life. That is they do not die for eternity. They live forever.

    I have never seen it used in different aspects, or with different conotations.

    However, I think that it may be vital to the war between LORDships and Freegracers.

    If 'life' or 'eternal life' can be understood in two different ways, then it seems that the two sides would agree more than they would disagree.

    For both sides would believe that a person is 'saved' (justified) through grace alone by faith alone and is then given 'eternal life' (in that they live forever) because of this.

    But I think both sides would agree as well that a person is 'saved' (sanctified) from temporal calamaties through good works and this person is given 'an abundant life' (a more prosperous life in heaven) because of this.

    The problem comes, and the bickering arises, because FG advocates are normally hesitant to call the sanctification aspect of 'salvation' 'being 'saved'' and are confused when LORDship advocates say one is 'saved' through works.

    And likewise because the LORDship advocates are normally hesitant to call the 'abundant life' aspect of 'eternal life' 'eternal life' and are confused when FG advocates say that one can lose 'eternal life'.

    This makes so much sense now...

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Thursday, December 28, 2006 8:51:00 AM  

  • Hey Danny and Sofyst,

    good stuff!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, December 28, 2006 2:06:00 PM  

  • Hi Adam,

    You raise a lot of valid points. I think the reason many of my fellow FGers are afraid of using "saved" to refer to sanctification is because the Evangelical and Catholic worlds in general automatically think of eternal salvation when they hear the word "saved." But still, when FG talks about sanctification salvation, they tend to make sure people realize that such salvation is referring to being saved from physical death, merciless judgment/loss of reward at the Judgment Seat, etc. You're right on that both FG and LS see sanctification as being related to works, but the issue is whether sanctification is inevitable in the life of every believer. Since sanctification is the inevitable result of justification in LS, lack of good works become the criteria by which people judge themselves or others to see if they have "really believed." Obviously, we in FG believe perseverance is important, but we would say it is a natural, but not inevitable or steady result of justification.

    Also Adam, going back to the idea of ambiguous passages, you should know that I find the "outer darkness" passages to be ambiguous! I have no position as to what outer darkness is. There are at least 3 FG positions on outer darkness. There is the reward view that sees outer darkness as being outside the table where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are sitting, but still inside the Kingdom. There is the view that outer darkness is hell and therefore those consigned there simply didn't believe the Gospel. Then there is the Millenial Exclusion view that sees the three passages dealing with unfaithful believers who spend 1,000 years in Gehenna.

    I'll tell you why I'm not sure on the issue. Those who take the outer darkness to be within the Kingdom see a difference between Matthew 8:10-12 and Luke 13:28-29, which I still find hard to believe. They say the first passage deals with saved sons of the kingdom who are cast into the darkness outside the table where the patriarchs are sitting, while the second deals with lost people who are cast out of the Kingdom into hell. They see two different groups weeping and gnashing their teeth - a saved group and a lost group. The point is made that the Matthew 8:10-12 passage is about great faith vs. little faith, not great faith vs. no faith. They say that the darkness is outside the table (anaklinos - recline/sit at table) but still within the Kingdom in Matthew 8. They say that in Luke 13:28, there is no mention of the patriarchs at the table, but only of them in the Kingdom, with sitting at the table not being mentioned until the end of verse 29. I can see why they interpet it like that, but it still seems like quite a stretch to me. To me, both passages seem to be saying the same thing, and therefore I cannot readily accept the reward position. However, when Matthew 25:14-30 is taken together with Luke 19:11-27, you can make the case that outer darkness is a rewards issue. The Matthew 22:1-14 passage can easily be interpreted either way. You can make the case that the guest without the wedding garment didn't accept the robe of righteousness (gift of eternal life) and was therefore thrown into hell. Yet, by using Rev 19:7-9, people can argue that he is saved, but not rewarded, and sent to the darkness outside the feast. It gets so complicated, that I have no position on outer darkness. I'll just have to wait until Resurrection to see what outer darkness is!

    I also think that the popular FG view that inheriting the kingdom is different from entering is incorrect. Now I agree with the rest of FG that unfaithful Christians will not be posessors in the Kingdom, not receiving the reward of the inheritance (Col 3:23-25). Most equate inheriting the Kingdom with the reward of the inheritance, but that's incorrect. I take the higher calling view, still an FG view, of 1 Corinthians 6:8-11, Gal 5:21, and Eph 5:5. Most in FG see these passages as dealing with saved people losing the reward of the inheritance. I see no warning in these passages, however. The unrighteous who don't inherit are simply unbelievers, and Paul is exhorting believers not to act like them, because it is shameful for those who are washed, justified, sanctified to do so (and because if they do act like unbelievers, they will lose the reward of the inheritance, but this passage isn't dealing with that). In 1 Corinthians 5 and 6, we have believers acting like unbelievers. There was sexual sin, they were suing each other in front of the unrighteous (unbelievers). They were doing wrong (6:8), acting like unbelievers, who have no gift inheritance/entrance into the Kingdom of God (v. 9-10), but they were washed, justified, sanctified (v. 11) in distinction to the unrighteous (v. 9-10). The LS view that committing such sins for life without repenting proves that one is unsaved is insufficient. 1 Corinthians 5:11 makes it clear that Christians can commit similar sins to unbelievers without any mention of duration. And that's the whole point of chapters 5 and 6. Sinful Christians (1 Cor 5:11) were committing similar sins to unbelievers (6:9-10). The positionally righteous Corinthians (6:11) were being compared to unbelievers who have no inheritance in the Kingdom, and being reminded that they were washed. In essence, be practically who you are positionally. No warning in 1 Cor 6:8-11. 1 Cor 5:11 - believers. 1 Cor 6:9-10 - unbelievers.

    By Anonymous danny, at Thursday, December 28, 2006 2:14:00 PM  

  • (Repeat comment due to Antonio's failure to respond after I answered his question)
    Antonio,
    At the point of saving faith, salvation is assured so behavior has no present bearing, no future bearing and also had no bearing prior to faith. Now for your question....

    Does regeneration with power have any effect whatsoever on a person's behavior? (Eze 36:26, 2 Cor 5:17, Rom. 8) In short does grace change the person that is saved?

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Thursday, December 28, 2006 8:32:00 PM  

  • Danny, I want to discuss more with you about the 'darkness' and the kingdom. I haven't looked into the darkness much. Of all the doctrines I think my understanding on hell and hades and death is the weakest, but I am always open to learn. I likewise have a pretty solid understanding of the kingdom and firm beliefs in it (if you had to label me I would be a historical premillenialist or...GASP...a progressive dispensationalist - I trully almost cannot bring myself to calling myself that...dispy...gross!). But I wanted to discuss this first,

    You raise a lot of valid points. I think the reason many of my fellow FGers are afraid of using "saved" to refer to sanctification is because the Evangelical and Catholic worlds in general automatically think of eternal salvation when they hear the word "saved." But still, when FG talks about sanctification salvation, they tend to make sure people realize that such salvation is referring to being saved from physical death, merciless judgment/loss of reward at the Judgment Seat, etc.

    I think this is just an issue of using Scriptural terminology or not. ;) (jab-jab)

    You're right on that both FG and LS see sanctification as being related to works, but the issue is whether sanctification is inevitable in the life of every believer. Since sanctification is the inevitable result of justification in LS, lack of good works become the criteria by which people judge themselves or others to see if they have "really believed." Obviously, we in FG believe perseverance is important, but we would say it is a natural, but not inevitable or steady result of justification.

    And here I would not understand the issue with having a 'criteria' to judge oneself. Perhaps judging others can be faulted, and there the LS proponents are wrong, but looking to one's own life, I don't think, is a bad way to see whether their salvation is real or not.

    If you remember all the times in the Old Testament where God reminded the Israelites of what He DID do. Of how He DID save them from Egypt and DID lead them through the wilderness. This was only to give them assurance that since He DID those things, then He WILL do more things, and IS doing even more things. They are told to look back at their lives, and the work of God therein, to be assured of future works of God and to know of present works of God.

    Obviously, we in FG believe perseverance is important, but we would say it is a natural, but not inevitable or steady result of justification.

    I don't think that LS proponents would say that perserverance (more commonly known as preservation) is a inevitable or steady result of justification, but rather is of the Spirit's indwelling.

    The justification aspect is a legal aspect. It is God claiming that this person is justified. It does a heck of a lot of good in the long run, but that in and of itself doesn't do much in the practical sense.

    Being 'called' righteous is not as much as being 'made' righteous. The LS proponents would say that the preservation of the Saints is a result of the Spirit's indwelling (2 Ti. 1:4) and of us being the workmanship of God (He who began a good work is faithful to complete it).

    Also Paul's indication is that the faithful God who called us will sanctify us and keep us holy and blameless (1 Th 5:23-24) and the faithful LORD will strengthen and guard us from the evil one (2 Th 3:3).

    I have always wondered about the idea that a God who started to save a person and yet doesn't finish the job. Full blame cannot be placed upon the wayward Christian, it must be asked of why the faithful God who said He would sanctify His children and said He would guard and strengthen His children from the evil one and said He would finish the work He started and yet nevertheless does not.

    Look at it in the analogy of a child who is supposed to finish a task. Their parent tells them not to worry about. They assure them that they are going to be there the whole time helping them. They assure them that they will not let them quit the task and the task will be finished.

    And yet the child does not finish the task.

    We would of course say the child is non-determined and should have finished the task.

    But we would likewise raise an eyebrow to the parent that gave all that assurance and yet did not do what he said he would do.

    The farmer cannot blame entirely his unproductive crop for its unproductiveness. If he sits by idlely and doesn't water or feed or nurture it, then he is partly to blame for it dying.

    Sorry for the length, I'm longwinded.

    By Blogger nathaniel adam king, at Thursday, December 28, 2006 9:07:00 PM  

  • Jazzycat, I do wonder why Antonio seems to conveniently miss (if not ignore) pressing thoughts that are in opposition to his claims...makes one wonder...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, January 07, 2007 8:43:00 PM  

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