[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)

Monday, March 19, 2007

What's the Interpretation? First in a Series

by Antonio da Rosa

I am proposing a new series. I am going to post a verse or two and pose a question that can only be answered by your interpretation of the text.

Please do not just answer the question. You must back up your answer with a well-thought out discourse. It doesn't need to be long or loaded with Greek, grammar, or what-have-you, but it must support your answer!

Tell us the reasons from context, your analogy of faith, logic, reasoning, and/or through corroborating verses why you consider your position to be true.

OK. The way in which this first attempt goes will determine whether or not if I will periodically continue to follow in this series.

Directions:

1) Read the verse
2) Answer the question
3) Support your answer by a well-reasoned discourse
----------
John 12:42-43
42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
NKJV
Question:
Do these rulers possess eternal life or not?

78 Comments:

  • Well,

    I was hoping that everyone would take a crack!

    I guess this type of series isn't gonna work...

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 1:11:00 PM  

  • You must be more patient, Antonio.

    The persons have eternal life.

    The Gospel of John consistently teaches that those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ have eternal life.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 2:03:00 PM  

  • Hey Matthew,

    Let me ask you a question:

    1) What do you mean by "consistently"? Is there room for exceptions in that statement?

    Thank you for your answer. I would appreciate if you felt happy to give us more information. What would you say to someone who questioned your assertion that every instance of John saying someone had faith resulted in eternal life, IOW, was saving faith?

    There seems to be evidence that these "rulers" were not saved...

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 2:42:00 PM  

  • It says in John 3:36 that 'he that believeth on the son hath everlasting life.'

    I see no statement in John to the contrary.

    Why should those men not have eternal life if they believed on Jesus?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 2:54:00 PM  

  • What's the verse where Jesus says "If you confess me not before men I will not confess you to my father?" If they truly "believed" at some point wouldn't they have wanted to "confess Jesus" and would still "loving the praise of men" mean they didn't quite get what "believed" really means?

    By Anonymous Betsy, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 4:23:00 PM  

  • They did later confess as some of them went and took Jesus down from the cross at a time when the disciples were cowering they were boldly asking for the body of Christ.

    Delayed reaction, but we all learn to overcome our fears by the Spirits power. Confession is not what saves you it is the faith but it is true that those who confess are saved. Thats the catch, God is not lying when he promises this in Romans chapter 10.

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 4:59:00 PM  

  • Betsy, you're thinking of Matthew 10:32-33.

    32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."

    Betsy, these two verses are not dealing with Kingdom entrance. Jesus is speaking to the twelve disciples in verese 1-31. If the disciples faithfully went throughout Israel preaching "the Kingdom is at hand" and confessing Jesus, Jesus would confess them before His father. Verses 32-33, however, apply not only to the twelve, but to us as well.

    Jesus confessing a believer before the Father is a REWARD issue. If Jesus confesses a believer to the Father, that means the believer is given the privilege of reigning with Jesus in the Kingdom. Jesus denying a believer before the Father means the believer is denied the privilege of reigning with Him. Look at 2 Tim 2:11-13:

    11 This is a faithful saying:

    For if we died with Him,
    We shall also live with Him.
    12 If we endure,
    We shall also reign with Him.
    If we deny Him,
    He also will deny us.
    13 If we are faithless,
    He remains faithful;
    He cannot deny Himself.

    This is what's known as a chiasmus. In this four-line chiasmus, we have an ABBA pattern. The first and last sayings are connected, and the middle two are connected. Though the first saying appears to be conditional, Paul is assuming it is a reality for every member of his audience. Don't be thrown off by the word "if". The statements that follow only have application to those who have died with Jesus (believed in Him for eternal life).

    The first line (A1) - "If we died with Him, we will live with Him." Anyone who has believed Jesus' promise to freely provide them with eternal life has indeed died with Him. Paul is confident this is true of his audience, so the following lines only have application to believers.

    The second line (B1) - "If we endure, we will reign with Him." This corresponds to Matthew 10:32. If you endure in both word and deed, you will reign with Him.

    The third line (B2) - "If we deny Him, He will deny us." Being denied by Jesus is the opposite of reigning with Him. This corresponds to Matthew 10:33. Remember, this statment only applies to those who have died with Jesus (believed in Him). They will live with Jesus, but they are denied the privilege of reigning with Him.

    The fourth line (A2) - "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." This corresponds to the first saying. Those who have died with Jesus, even if they become faithless, will still live with Jesus. Since those who have believed in Jesus are united with Him and guaranteed Kingdom entrance, they will live with Him, for Jesus cannot deny Himself. If Jesus doesn't allow them into the Kingdom, he would be denying Himself, and that is impossible.

    By Anonymous danny, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:17:00 PM  

  • Forgot to add this:

    While Jesus can deny a believer the reward of reigning with Him, He cannot deny a believer entrance into the Kingdom. If we died with Him, we will live with Him.

    By Anonymous danny, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 6:20:00 PM  

  • Hey Betsy,

    Thank you for your comment. You would then consider these rulers unsaved, correct?

    Can I ask you a question?

    From reading Matthew 10:32, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven." what do you think the specific content of what Christ confesses to the Father actually is?

    BRIAN:

    The verses in question say "Nevertheless... rulers MANY believed in Him."

    From what I can tell from the gospel accounts, we have Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea ONLY asking for the body of Christ. I surely can concieve of such an event as a bold confession of their faith in Christ, but it does not necessarily have to be so.

    Nevertheless, these are only TWO of the MANY rulers who "believed in Him". So what of the many rulers who did not confess Jesus, who nevertheless "believed in Him" but loved the praise of men more than the praise of God?

    One question: Would it be fair to infer from your comment that you consider that all who exercise genuine saving faith will at some time subsequent openly confess Him?

    Furthermore, Brian, may I infer from your comment that you believe that these rulers do indeed possess eternal life? You didn't follow the format for this exercise :)

    Thank you for participating.

    Danny,

    Interesting verses that you bring out.

    May I ask you what is your take on the verses and question at hand? You, too, have not followed the prescribed formula for commenting on this passage. Let's explore John 12:42, 43 a bit more. Thanks for your comments.



    Anyone else willing to answer the question and support your answer?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:48:00 PM  

  • Antonio I think this is a great series and I'll be happy to show my ignorance! ;-)

    I believe they have eternal life. Their conversion satisfies every scriptural requirement. If only God reveals the knowledge of Christ then grace is evident here otherwise they would not have known Christ (Mat. 16:17). The verse itself proclaims their faith and so both grace and faith are present (Eph. 2:8). The most convincing argument for their salvation still remains in God’s promise, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (Jn. 11:26 in part).

    By Blogger Kc, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:13:00 AM  

  • Antonio, I was "thinking out loud" when I posted earlier. I would tend to lean more toward the side of the rulers are saved. Let me think a little more about Matt 10:32. I'm enjoying your blog. Thanks for taking the time.

    Betsy

    By Anonymous Betsy, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 10:45:00 AM  

  • Rules, Rules, Rules...sorry Antonio:-)

    What I am trying to say is that confession bubbles out in some way. You guys believe that some fruit is born...remember Joy anon with the seed on hard ground that sprouts.

    I guess all I am saying is try to keep it a blessed thing rather that a legal thing.

    In other words sometimes it comes off like you guys are saying, "ok guy here is this laboratory room called believe."

    "What am I supposed to do in there!"

    "Be careful to do nothing...just think it and believe then you are ready to come into the confession laboratory room"

    "Oh Ok, what goes on in here?"

    "Well we have a man in there that you confess to and whenever you confess a lady will come out and give you a bag of M&M's"

    I'm just being a bit silly just to make you think.

    The text I will call to support what I am trying to say is John 4 and the woman at the well. It wasn't some mechanical thing. She believed and joy bounced into her heart and then she called out to all those around her, "Come see a man that told me everything about me, is this the Christ?"

    Thing is that in Romans 10 we are told the beauty of simply confessing Christ as Lord and believing in him as your saviour is a good thing...not some kind of mechanical thing to try to get just right. The theif on the cross confessed Christ as Lord and asked him to remember him. Jesus didn't break it down and say that he could not honor it because he might be trusting in works...it just flowed man. We gotta let it flow and get out of Gods way boo. I think in one sense with all of this mechanical talk and semantics we are inhibiting his work. That is my point.

    There is no doubt that many will confess Him as Lord but not believe in their heart...and I agree that it is faith that saves, but I am just saying that there are so many differant angles and ways when we mean well in defending the faith that we may actually be inhibiting the Lords work and not realize it.

    Romans 10 is a promise a blessed promise and it is there to burst like bubbles of light into the soul. WE start breaking it down and putting it in semantics then as in all theological discussions we make it void in a sense.

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:29:00 PM  

  • 1) I read the verse.

    2)They possess eternal life, yes I believe they do.

    3) Why?
    This is one of my favorite verses:

    John 11:
    25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

    Your verse says they believed in Him. My verse says whosoever believeth in Him shall never die. Is this not the definition of eternal life?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:38:00 PM  

  • Sorry this is so quick Antonio, but I think they're saved because they confessed to some extent in private otherwise John would not have known. The fact that they denied it to the Jewish leaders is not surprising. I deny Christ many times a day, every time I have an opportunity to share Him with others and don't take advantage of it(o.k. drama, but accurate to a degree).

    By Blogger Todd, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 2:31:00 PM  

  • Hey Betsy
    Thanks again for your comment. May I ask you another question?

    What is preventing you from certainty one way or another? What is the reason you are ambivalent to come out certainly that these rulers or saved or not? I am just trying to get into your thinking a little, wondering what issues and thoughts you may be grappling with.

    Hey Brian

    There are very practical reasons that we must grapple with the text in a semantical way (as you put it). I do not believe that there is anything inherently wrong with semantic consideration.

    Paul does exactly this with a portion of his Galatians argument:

    Gal 3:16
    16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.
    NKJV

    Wishy washy, fuzzy, and ambiguous communication is not helpful towards clarity of understanding. We must strive to be approved workman, and rightly divide the word of truth.

    I see where you are coming from. I see what you are trying to avoid. But I assure you. A proper understanding that comes through careful and considerate objectivity with scriptural texts goes far in the practical outworking of a grateful and spirited response to God's free grace.

    Dear Rose,

    Thanks for contributing. Can I ask you a question? What do you make of these rulers in the fact that they love the praise of men more than the praise of God? Are you prepared to say that men and women can receive eternal life and at the same time love the praise of men more than the praise of God?

    Hey Todd

    Thanks for your input. Let me follow up with these questions:

    You say:

    ----------
    I think they're saved because they confessed to some extent in private otherwise John would not have known.
    ----------

    Would it be safe to infer from your statement, "they're saved because they confessed" that you believe that confession is in some way necessary for eternal redemption?

    Can you conceive of any other way that John could have known that many rulers believed in Jesus without being told by them? (Remember Jesus explaining the private life of the widow in the story of the widow's mite?)

    In all that I have ever read in Christian literature, the universal understanding of "confession" is something public and before all men. Is it safe to infer that you have a different position on the phenomena of "confession"?

    Thank you all for your participation!

    Antonio

    PS: It would be great to get some Reformed people in here. Do any of the small handful of the Reformed readers of this blog have an opinion on this matter?

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 3:01:00 PM  

  • Hey Antonio,
    Would it be safe to infer from your statement, "they're saved because they confessed" that you believe that confession is in some way necessary for eternal redemption?

    I've got to give John the benefit of the doubt, he says they believed. I've got to figure he's not just throwing that important word around meaninglessly. I've got to figure he saw them demonstrate their belief in some way which he regarded as confessing from their heart. There would have to be numerous ways of confessing, afterall a mute person is not going to be able to confess with simply their mouth. So John says they believe, then they believe. He suggests that he had satisfactory evidence, even if it was heresay, I don't care. John seems to have been satisfied. John knows he was not granting them salvation by stating that they believed, he just felt from some indication that they did, and he told us. With the available information, they believed and could be saved.

    The confession part is just an outward expression of the heart, in the case of "believe in your heart and confess with your mouth", what if ones mouth doesn't work? I don't see anything else in scripture that requires the believer to do a formally prescribed confession with his mouth, nor what to say if he did, so I'm not going to go there. I don't think there is some deed we are required to do as a confession with our mouth because it would be too important for God not to have put in there somewhere.

    Can you conceive of any other way that John could have known that many rulers believed in Jesus without being told by them? (Remember Jesus explaining the private life of the widow in the story of the widow's mite?)

    I can.

    "In all that I have ever read in Christian literature, the universal understanding of "confession" is something public and before all men. Is it safe to infer that you have a different position on the phenomena of "confession"?"

    I agree. But as you know, Christian literature is not God's word, nor does it always reflect God's word. Usually the less God tells us about something, the more Christian literature feels it needs to tell us what God left out. That can be a little backwards.

    I do have a different position on confession. Of course the roman catholics have completely defiled the word and forced a meaning of it that is more narrow than it's larger definition.

    In all the texts of scripture where confessing is asked for it seems to me to be asking, 'to honestly make known'. And that one would do best with ones mouth. How, where, when? No commandments as to that part that I am aware of. He let's us improvise, what a great omnipotent Father, He knows our hearts and we can't fool Him.

    And then of course, I'm like Brian, it's not the confession that saves you anyway. People have been known to lie to temselves and others. So just confess to yourself, get your whole being to come to agreement in its core, and your good to go, because it's all only between Christ and you anyway. And then He's given us the Helper of His Spirit to teach us how to tell others. I'm sure there's some real nervous mute guy out there sitting in front of his computer who believes in Lordship Theology, but I would say to him that he's going to be alright with the Lord even if his mouth doesn't do what he wants it to.

    I also believe that unless something is firmly rooted, satan can steal it away, and/or it can die before it takes root, like in the parable of the sower. In other words, Christ may sound good to someone but they may not hear Him completely out. Let's face it, the fleshy mind is capable of all sorts of misunderstandings and self deception, and sometimes people fall prey to their cursed flesh not following through and taking something that they at first felt like recieving but did not. And it goes away, or is stolen away....or never was. Enough even to bring a Reformed person to the edge of tears.

    I'll bet we're not theological clones Antonio, but I'll bet we're close.

    By Blogger Todd, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:21:00 PM  

  • You need to contrast John 12:42-43 with what comes before in vv 39-40:

    "Therefore, they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

    He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
    Lest they should see with their eyes,
    Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
    So that I should heal them
    ."

    As an Arminian, those words can't be easy for you to read.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:16:00 PM  

  • Well I am glad you see where I am coming from. Remember also that some protested the cruxifiction at the trial among the sanhedran as well. I just believe life grows and also after Lazurus resurrection there was a rumble among the Pharisees and perhaps there were differances in opinions as well as body languages. There may be some merit to what Todd is saying in that John may have witnessed some things that became evident among them.

    Also I am not against these fine points but I do still think semantics can weigh in on a legal negative side and I guess by your confession back to me you see a bit of my point:-)

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:23:00 PM  

  • Hey Todd,

    I super appreciate your comments. Thanks again for your participation.

    I am really trying to get to know other people's positions, especially on verses like this one.

    Let me see if I have read you correctly:

    It seems that at times you consider faith and confession to by synonymous in some way, like when you say:

    ----------
    confessing from their heart
    ----------

    You seem to indicate, as well, that confession is the evidence and outcome of faith (although you haven't stated whether or not you believe it to be the necessary evidence and outcome of faith):

    ----------
    The confession part is just an outward expression of the heart
    ----------

    Am I reading you right so far?

    When push comes to shove, would I be wrong in saying that you believe one can be saved and never publicly confess Jesus?

    I say this because of these two quotes of yours:

    ----------
    1. I've got to give John the benefit of the doubt, he says they believed. I've got to figure he's not just throwing that important word around meaninglessly.

    2. And then of course, I'm like Brian, it's not the confession that saves you anyway.
    ----------

    May I ask you for what purpose(s) do you consider confessing Jesus to have?

    Thanks again for your participation. Your comments have been thoroughly appreciated!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:36:00 PM  

  • Jonathan,

    thank you for coming over!

    I wish that you would have taken a position on this verse! But let me see if I can read between the lines of your comment.

    You asked us to "contrast" between John's reference to Isaiah, in which he states "they could not believe", with the verse that I have asked us to consider which says:

    "Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him"

    Would I be correct to infer that because you asked us to "contrast" between those whoe could not believe and those who John says "believed in Him" that you would consider these rulers saved, even though it is said of them that "they did not confess Him" because "they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."?

    Jonathan. I am in suspense here! Please tell us clearly whether you believe these rulers possess eternal life or not.

    You also call me an Arminian. Under what definition of Arminian do I qualify for that label?

    One more thing before I let you go. You say that those words from Isaiah would be hard for me to read.

    Because of their willful disobedience and rebellion, wherewith the forsook the law of the LORD, God judicially hardened them, in other words, he has allowed them to continue in their obstinate behavior unabated. This is the context of which this passage is found in Isaiah 6:10.

    How do we reconcile the fact that they were already rebellious toward God [the Judeans], not wishing to hear with their ears or understand with their heart, and God hardening them?

    The answer is that it is a judicial hardening. This is not what many reformed people have thought of as total depravity.

    Do you get the picture here with the reformed understanding? God would be in fact hardening the hearts, defeaning the ears, and blinding the eyes of those who were already hardened, deaf, and blind, by virtue of their birth into total depravity!

    Why would God have to harden and blind and deafen those who were already hard and blind and deaf?

    Why do the Calvinists universally react to verses such as this with the idea that God is pleased to blind people unto their destruction for no other reason than His sovereignty? Why have they not explored other viable interpretations that do not disparage the nature and essence of God that their doctrine seems to do?

    Jonathan. Thank you again for your comments here. I look forward to you plainly declaring whether or not you believe these rulers possess eternal life or not.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 7:07:00 PM  

  • Todd and all:

    What do you make of the fact that the text says the rulers "did not confess Him" period, without any further qualifications? Is this not an apparant support that these rulers did not in any way, shape, or form confess Jesus? Or would someone be off base who contended such a thing?

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 7:10:00 PM  

  • Brian

    I do indeed see where you are coming from.

    I appreciate you brother!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 7:15:00 PM  

  • Hey Antonio, I wanted to give my exposition yesterday, but ended up answering Betsy's question! So here goes my reasoning for why these rulers do indeed possess eternal life.

    Let's look at some key verses in John before we proceed to John 12:42-43. I'm also going to have to make a stop at John 2:23-25 early on.

    John 1:12: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (NKJV)

    John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (NKJV)

    5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (NKJV)

    6:47: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (NKJV)

    These verses all have something in common - believing in Jesus results in the reception of eternal life. Those who believe in Jesus' name are called children of God in 1:12. That brings us to our first controversial passage.

    John 2:23-25: "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man."

    Here we have the same terminology from 1:12. 1:12 tells us that people receive Jesus and are called children of God when they "believe in His name." The expression occurs for the second time here in 2:23-25. However, because Jesus did not commit himself to these men who believed in Him, Calvinists assume that they had a "spurious" faith. Some would say that a belief based on signs is less-than-saving. The problem is that John 20:30-31 is very clear that faith based on signs is just as real and just as saving as the faith of those who have not seen Jesus nor the signs He performed.

    In fact, John 1:19-12:49 and 18:1-20:29 are the two sign sections of John's Gospel, where we see Jesus performing signs specifically so people would believe in Him for eternal life (20:30-31)!

    John 20:31 is not the purpose statement for the whole book, but it is the purpose statement of the two signs sections, 1:19-12:49 and 18:1-20:29.

    The next verse is John 3:16. Jesus makes it clear that those who believe in Him have everlasting life. 1:12 is clear that believing in His name is saving faith. 3:16 is clear that believing in Jesus results in eternal life. Why should 2:23-25 be an exception? It can't! These people believed in Jesus' name. Those people who believed in Jesus' name in 1:12 are clearly children of God. The same is true in 2:23.

    Now let's get to John 12:42-43, the verses in question.

    But let's look at it in its greater context.

    John 12:36-49:

    "36While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

    37But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

    38That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

    39Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

    40He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

    41These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

    42Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

    43For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

    44Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.

    45And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.

    46I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

    47And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

    48He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

    49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak." (NKJV)

    In verses 36, Jesus is calling for faith in Him, which would result in the crowd becoming children of light. Verse 37 tells us the Jews did not believe, despite all the signs Jesus did. Again, Jesus did signs so people would believe in Him for eternal life, so there is nothing wrong with faith based on signs. Yet these hardened Jews in verses 37-41 were unpersuaded by the signs, IN STARK CONTRAST to the group of 2:23-25, who indeed believed in Jesus' name because of the signs that he did! In verse 36, Jesus calls for people to believe in the light, and verse 37 indicates that the signs were done specifically so people would believe and become children of the light.

    So these Jews in verses 37-41 do not believe in Jesus. Yet in verse 42, one of the verses in question, we are told that many of the rulers believed in Him, IN STARK CONTRAST to the unbelieving group of v.37-41. John is making the point that despite the rejection of Jesus by those Jews, some of the rulers believed in Him.

    Remember, in verse 36, Jesus told them to believe in the light, so that they become children of light. Many of the Jews reject Him, and yet in verse 42, many of the rulers believed, and verse 36 is clear that believing results in becoming a child of the light.

    In light of 12:36, in light of John 1:12, 2:23-25, 3:16, 5:24, and 6:47, these rulers clearly have eternal life.

    Yet they would not confess Him. But Jesus has a few more words about believing in Him in 12:44-46:

    "Then Jesus cried out, 'When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness'" (NKJV).

    Stop right there. Many of these rulers had believed in Him. Despite their failure to confess Him, Jesus has some good things left over to say about their faith. He tells us that when a man believes in Him (as these rulers had done), they believe not only in Jesus, but in the One who sent Him. Remember John 5:24? That verse is clear that whoever believes in the One who sent Jesus has eternal life!

    5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (NKJV)

    Let's think about this. In John 12:36, Jesus tells the Jews that while He is there, they should believe in the light, so that they become children of the light without exception. In verses 37-41, the Jews do not believe in Him. They were already hardened, so God hardened them further. Yet in verses 42-43, many rulers come to believe in Him. They fail to confess him, because they love the praise of men more than the praise of God.

    Yet instead of bashing them, Jesus tells us that those who believe in Him (as the rulers had done) believe in the Father who sent Him, which according to John 5:24, results in the reception of eternal life. Of course, in 12:46, Jesus does not want the rulers to stay in darkness. If they stey in darkness and fail to confess Jesus, they can expect a loss of rewards.

    My exposition from yesterday on failing to confess Jesus:

    32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."
    These two verses have nothing to do with Kingdom entrance. Jesus is speaking to the twelve disciples in verese 1-31. If the disciples faithfully went throughout Israel preaching "the Kingdom is at hand" and confessing Jesus, Jesus would confess them before His father. Verses 32-33, however, apply not only to the twelve, but to us as well.

    Jesus confessing a believer before the Father is a REWARD issue. If Jesus confesses a believer to the Father, that means the believer is given the privilege of reigning with Jesus in the Kingdom. Jesus denying a believer before the Father means the believer is denied the privilege of reigning with Him. Look at 2 Tim 2:11-13:

    11 This is a faithful saying:

    For if we died with Him,
    We shall also live with Him.
    12 If we endure,
    We shall also reign with Him.
    If we deny Him,
    He also will deny us.
    13 If we are faithless,
    He remains faithful;
    He cannot deny Himself.

    This is what's known as a chiasmus. In this four-line chiasmus, we have an ABBA pattern. The first and last sayings are connected, and the middle two are connected. Though the first saying appears to be conditional, Paul is assuming it is a reality for every member of his audience. Don't be thrown off by the word "if". The statements that follow only have application to those who have died with Jesus (believed in Him for eternal life).

    The first line (A1) - "If we died with Him, we will live with Him." Anyone who has believed Jesus' promise to freely provide them with eternal life has indeed died with Him. Paul is confident this is true of his audience, so the following lines only have application to believers.

    The second line (B1) - "If we endure, we will reign with Him." This corresponds to Matthew 10:32. If you endure in both word and deed, you will reign with Him.

    The third line (B2) - "If we deny Him, He will deny us." Being denied by Jesus is the opposite of reigning with Him. This corresponds to Matthew 10:33. Remember, this statment only applies to those who have died with Jesus (believed in Him). They will live with Jesus, but they are denied the privilege of reigning with Him.

    The fourth line (A2) - "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." This corresponds to the first saying. Those who have died with Jesus, even if they become faithless, will still live with Jesus. Since those who have believed in Jesus are united with Him and guaranteed Kingdom entrance, they will live with Him, for Jesus cannot deny Himself. If Jesus doesn't allow them into the Kingdom, he would be denying Himself, and that is impossible.

    While Jesus can deny a believer the reward of reigning with Him, He cannot deny a believer entrance into the Kingdom. If we died with Him, we will live with Him.

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:12:00 PM  

  • The word starting verse 42 "Nevertheless" makes me want to go back and see what nevertheless is referring to. So we see in verse 37 even though they saw many signs they did not believe in Him. Also in verse 39 it says they could not believe because their eyes were blinded and their hearts were hardened. So we see that unbelief is being contrasted with belief in verse 42. So these Rulers were saved in John's sense of the word (John12:47). They had received the command of the Father they had everlasting life (John 12:50).
    But they did not confess Christ, so they were not saved in Paul's sense of the word saved found in Romans 10:9,13. There saved means more then just having eternal life, but also being delivered (saved) fromm their enemies and not having shame (Romans 10:11 cf.Isa 28:16). The rulers here in John 12 are saved but were not delivered from their shame of not confessing Christ openly,,,alvin

    By Anonymous alvin, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 10:05:00 PM  

  • Amen Alvin! You perfectly stated in one paragraph what I did in my long response. See you at the GES boards.

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 10:42:00 PM  

  • I believe when it says God hardens someone in scripture. It can also be said from there perspective that they hardened themself. I believe when God hardens a person He just gives them a little more of themselves as is stated in Romans 1:24,26,28.
    V.24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness,
    v.26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions,
    v.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge. God gave them over to a debased mind,
    alvin

    By Anonymous alvin, at Wednesday, March 21, 2007 11:13:00 PM  

  • Are you prepared to say that men and women can receive eternal life and at the same time love the praise of men more than the praise of God?

    Yes. "Fleeing to Chrsit" for eternal life and salvation does not mean immediately wanting God's praise. Such a person may not even know that they can truly get God's praise. They may only be aware that they are sinners and headed for death. These Pharisees were probably aware of their sinful condition and their need for the Messiah.

    Do you think these Pharisees could have "believed in Him as the Messiah of Israel ... but not believed in Him "for eternal life"?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 5:50:00 AM  

  • I think Rose makes a good point at the end of her last post. Mabye they believed in Jesus, but for the wrong reasons. mabye for him to overthrow rome and be their earthly king, or mabye after seeing the miracles they believed he could be their walking health insurance plan! There is just not enough information in these passages to know whether they believed Jesus for eternal life or not. If they did, then they are in heaven. We are saved by faith in Christ alone, not faith plus a good confession before men. Look at Peter! look at us! how many times have we failed to confess Christ when we should! If our eternal destiny depends even a little bit on on how well we do in our obedience, we are all TOAST!

    By Anonymous Michael Thompson, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 6:08:00 AM  

  • (1) Verses read

    (2) It is an improper question to ask.

    (3) We are not the judge of who has and who does not have eternal life. If we knew these leaders personally we would be obligated to hold them accountable for not confessing Christ before men because they are sinning in not doing so. Holding each other accountable is part of what it means to be in the body of believers. What we cannot do is determine who is and who isn't going to heaven because we are not the Judge.

    By Blogger jared, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 7:35:00 AM  

  • O.k. Antonio, thanks for the question.

    But first...doesn't Jonathan just lump all Jews together as hardened in his snippet of a comment, due to that passage by Isaiah? And then place an assumption on these Jewish leaders that they can't and therefore won't believe?

    Doesn't scripture show us that there is a portion of unhardened Jews? As well as God's own remnant of them?

    How does he account for all of the rest of the Jewish believers we find answering Christ's call in the N.T?

    And of course he commits the popular fallacy of auto labeling anyone who is a non-Calvinist by slurring them with a label that is equally as flawed as his man's label. Oh well, I'm sure it was a rough week at his blog not being able to find any disagreement on the cartoon of the James passage he posted. There are no christians who deny what James is saying is true. But there are many Christians, such as Jonathan, who insist on a narrow meaning of it that conflicts with other scripture.

    Here're your follow up questions Antonio:

    "Let me see if I have read you correctly:

    It seems that at times you consider faith and confession to by synonymous in some way, like when you say:

    ----------
    confessing from their heart
    ----------

    You seem to indicate, as well, that confession is the evidence and outcome of faith (although you haven't stated whether or not you believe it to be the necessary evidence and outcome of faith):

    ----------
    The confession part is just an outward expression of the heart
    ----------

    Am I reading you right so far?


    I don't think synonyms would be accurate, but confession and faith as inseparable, similar to grace and faith' as in 'by grace through faith'-for man, one won't work without the other.

    I could wax for a few paragraphs on my concept of confessing and how it is an honest and beautiful this or that, because I do feel that way. The fact is, that waxingis not going to satisfy every other confession honoring Christian out there. So confessing is merely opening your mouth and speaking. The confessionary can be lieing, or acting as the girl trailing the disciples confessing God who was rebuked. Confessing is no more than a means to an end which only the Lord knows the true substance of. Let people require this confessional and that confessional and they will be made covetous fools of time after time(wow, plenty of coffee for me this morning). Satan can easily step in and use outward confession for His own purposes. We must share James view that the tongue is 'the very world of iniquity' from which 'come both blessing and cursing'.

    I would encourage new believers to confess with their mouth to the Lord. Confessing to others encouraged but with discretion, judged under Christ's law of liberty(thank you James), and free from the yoke of confession others would put on us.

    Part of your quesion Antonio was reagrding this:
    I believe confession to be a necessary evidence and outcome of faith. It would bear fruit absolutely, although slight, in the form of a believer simply stating casually to another that they "are a Christian" because that would in fact be sharing the gospel and bearing fruit for Christ in a minimal but definate way.

    When push comes to shove, would
    be wrong in saying that you believe one can be saved and never publicly confess Jesus?

    I say this because of these two quotes of yours:

    ----------
    1. I've got to give John the benefit of the doubt, he says they believed. I've got to figure he's not just throwing that important word around meaninglessly.

    2. And then of course, I'm like Brian, it's not the confession that saves you anyway.

    ----------

    Yes, because it does not say confess publicly or otherwise.

    May I ask you for what purpose(s) do you consider confessing Jesus to have?

    Our purpose for doing it is foremost because He asks us to. His purpose is to gather in all who will come to His body.

    By Blogger Todd, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 7:36:00 AM  

  • Jared, if we cannot be sure that these persons are justified by faith, how can we be sure we are justified by faith?

    The Gospel of John teaches that 'he that believeth has everlasting life.' If these people may have believed but not posessed eternal life, does that not mean that faith is not sufficent for justification?

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 1:09:00 PM  

  • Hi Antonio,

    I haven't had a lot of interaction with you, but I'll take a crack at this. Even though the question is leading, I think the format and tone is much more preferable than the combative, all-out, frontal attacks I've seen in other posts. You seem to be inviting dialogue with intent to listen and I don't know about anyone else, but I appreciate it.

    To answer the questions:

    1. I've read them.
    2. I will agree with Jared, we don't know. Only God knows their hearts.
    3. I don't think I'll waste a lot of time worrying about whether or not they were saved. As you well know, faith in Christ is the only requirement for eternal life. However, their life is not representing their faith if they are not confessing Christ. It would not be a reason to judge them and seal their fate as an unbeliever, but it would be a reason to go to them in love, point out their error, and point them back to Christ.

    May not be quite the well-reasoned discourse you trying to get, but maybe it's a start.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 1:22:00 PM  

  • I'm surprised that people are saying that there isn't enough information. Did anyone read my exposition? Mike, you should know there is enough information to know that the rulers have life.

    In John 12:36, Jesus told the Jews that while they have the light, they should believe in the light so they become children of light. In verses 37-41, the Jews are left unpersuaded. BUT in verse 42, we are specifically told that many of the rulers BELIEVED in Him, in stark contrast to the people in v.37-41! Then in verse 44, Jesus says that whoever believes in Him believes in the Father who sent Him! Remember John 5:24. That verse specifically says that whoever believes in the One who sent Jesus HAS ETERNAL LIFE.

    In light of all this, the rulers have life. Jesus told the Jews do believe in the light, so they become children of light. In contrast to the unbelieving Jews, many of the rulers believe in Him. John said so. Then Jesus says that whoever believes in Him believes in the One who sent Him (12:44). John 5:24 says that is saving faith. These rulers have life.

    By Anonymous danny, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 2:00:00 PM  

  • dyspraxic fundamentalist,

    We know our own hearts and our position in the eyes of the Father. What does knowing my position have to do with knowing someone else's? How is knowing my own status congruent with being able to judge someone else's? The leaders in John 12:42-43 are believers and, thus, I am to consider them brothers. Does this mean I must also affirm their spiritual status? What would such affirmation accomplish, what would be the purpose? Would I, further, not be lying if I affirmed their satus before God when it actually isn't true? This is why we are called to judge actions and not hearts, for God judges the heart.

    I can say that based on their actions these leaders who believe are headed in the same direction as those who cry "Lord, Lord!" in the sermon on the mount, that is, they will be turned away by Jesus. Can I say, given the text, that they will be in heaven? I do not think so. Does this mean I can't know if I'm going to heaven? Again, I don't think so; I know my heart but I do not know the hearts of those leaders. Based on the text I would say their belief is not genuine and, assuming this does not change sometime later in their lives, they will not end up in heaven. If, however, their faith is genuine (an assessment that cannot be given based on the text) then, of course, they will end up in heaven.

    Danny,

    Every single Roman Catholic believes in Jesus, does that mean they are all saved? So does every Mormon and every Jehovah's Witness; are they saved as well? Judas believed in Jesus, was he saved? Demons believe in Jesus, are they saved? In light of your exposition it would seem so, but I think reality will show differently on some of these cases...

    By Blogger jared, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 2:58:00 PM  

  • Danny:

    That is quite a mouthful and alot to read. Alot going on in there. I think you bring a lot of good points out, things that ought to be thoughtfully considered. Thanks for your comments!

    Hey Alvin,

    Great to see you around! So you are saying that the "nevertheless" is an immediate context indicator of a contrast? Whereas the people of Israel would not believe in Him, nevertheless these rulers did believe in Him.

    We should all agree that eternal life comes through faith alone in Christ alone. What role do you think, if any, does existing presuppositions and assumptions play in interpreting this passage to mean that these rulers are anything but certainly saved?

    Thanks for your participation!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:05:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:10:00 PM  

  • Dear Rose,

    you write:
    ----------
    Do you think these Pharisees could have "believed in Him as the Messiah of Israel ... but not believed in Him "for eternal life"?
    ----------

    Examine once again Jesus' dialogue with Martha:

    John 11:25-27

    25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

    27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ
    NKJV

    In verse 25 & 26 Jesus asserts that He, as the Resurrection and the Life, guarantees certain things to the one who "believes in Me". He then asks Martha, "Do you believe this? [IOW, 'Do you believe what I have just said concerning myself and those who believe in Me?']"

    Martha's answer is not what one would expect, no? She says "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ."

    It seems for Martha (and John the writer of this gospel that claims to be evangelistic [John 20: 30,31]) that to believe that Jesus is the Christ (Hebrew = Messiah), is to believe that He guarantees eternal life to the believer in Him for it.

    Let me ask you a question. Can you provide any evidence, argument, or substantiation to an idea from the Gospel of John that when he says "believe in Him" that it is anything else but saving faith? Remember, John is the gospel of belief, where the verb "to believe" is used 98 times, most of which are in evangelistic texts.

    Another question,

    would there be any reason to assume that they did not believe in Him the same way as every other evangelistic passage in John presents it? If John says "whosover believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" and we read that John states that these rulers "believed in Him", what other than secondary assumptions and presuppositions brought to the text could steer us to the idea that we cannot know certainly if they possess eternal life or not?

    Thanks for continuing to hang around!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:22:00 PM  

  • Yes, I would say they were saved based on the contextual data.

    I would also say that Roman Catholics, Mormons, and J.Witnesses do not teach the gospel, that bringing demons up begs the question at hand, and that Judas was never a believer in the gospel sense, which would mean bringing up his name is another begging of the question.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:24:00 PM  

  • I can't think of much that hasn't already been said by the fine theologues here, but there is something I'd like to add, if I may. I believe there is a connection between the new believers in 2:23f & those here. Both are just that: new believers. They have not grown yet. We wouldn't expect a child in the physical sense to begin driving or operating heavy machinery right off the bat, so it is with these new believers in the spiritual realm. Also, even though John wrote this Gospel account & Luke wrote Acts, still they are a part of the same Bible & I believe Simon Magus should also be included in the mix from Acts 8. I believe there is tons of Biblical evidence that Simon was saved, & again, he was a brand new believer in a special situation. There was much spiritual "light" being shed around him, & the church was in its infancy as well, & just as Ananias & Sapphira were judged very severely though saved, just so is Simon. In fact, Simon is shown great mercy by the Lord in contradistinction to A & S! But, I believe that is because he was even younger in the Faith than A & S. That is my opinion as to why he was spared the stricter punishment, he was younger & had less responsibility, so he was shown mercy. So it is with these believing Pharisees. They are seen in their spiritual immaturity, by refusing to openly confess Christ, just as Simon was shown in his immaturity & fleshliness. So too with the new believers in 2:23f. Just so, I believe we have a great lesson shown to us here. If we want to be used by the Lord, then get to growing!! Yes, He can use a brand-new believer, but even more so a growing one!
    Oh, obviously I believe these Pharisees had eternal life because they had done what John tells us over & over must be done to have eternal life: believe in (on) Christ.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:33:00 PM  

  • Michael,

    As an advocate of Free Grace theology, I really appreciate this position of yours:

    ----------
    We are saved by faith in Christ alone, not faith plus a good confession before men. Look at Peter! look at us! how many times have we failed to confess Christ when we should! If our eternal destiny depends even a little bit on on how well we do in our obedience, we are all TOAST!
    ----------

    If you have a computer concordance, do a search in the gospel of John for the term 'believ*' (without the ' ') and tell me if you can find any reason at all to doubt that the expression "believed in Him" is anything but a universal statement of saving faith.

    Furthermore, it is interesting that John states that "rulers MANY believed in Him", implying a single-minded consistent belief in Him, not a hodge-podge of varying propositions.

    Thanks for your contributions, I am encouraged by your brave remarks about grace!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:35:00 PM  

  • Thanks bro Antonio,

    Here is a little more fodder for the little troth we are feeding on right now:-)

    (...Then the Pharisees responded to them "Are you fooled too?" Have any of the rulers believed in Him? Or any of the Pharisees? "But this crowd, which doesn't know the law is accursed!" John 7:47-49)

    Notice the law is the focus of their love and what is binding the group of Pharisees together.

    Guess who speaks up?

    (Nicodemus-the one who came to Him previously, being one of them-said to them..)John 7:50 kind of a tinee coming out of the closet...

    ("Our law doesn't judge a man before it hears from him and knows what he's doing does it?" John 7:51)

    hes getting ready to get a "better watch it!" with a little scripture to back it up...

    ("You aren't from Galilee too, are you?" they replied. "Search and see: no prophet arises from Galilee." John 7:52)

    Phew! Close call Nicodemus. be careful because you don't what to lose your important positon here....but he believed and was making a little confession that earned him a insulting Galilean shot from his group. Group fear to intimidate one back into falling in rank.

    They were arguing for Scripture and the written word and they had a good basis for their argument, but they weren't leaving enough room for some of the curve balls and other passages in scripture that often hedge us from being able to make our solid theological cases that we as well sometimes make.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 5:15:00 PM  

  • Jared, we've discussed this before. In the Gospel of John, believing in Him is a technical term for believing in Him FOR IRREVOCABLE ETERNAL LIFE, knowing that it is apart from works! Believing in Jesus means that people believe His promise to freely give them IRREVOCABLE eternal life (John 11:25-27).

    Jehova's witnesses and Mormons do not believe that eternal life in its entirety is free. Saving faith is being convinced that Jesus freely gives you eternal life NOW, realizing that works never have and never will have anything to do with it.

    I think many Calvinists and Arminians are still lost as well, as they seem to have never been confident that Jesus freely gives them eternal life at the moment of faith apart from works, apart from prayers, apart from commitment.

    When I was younger, I was dragged to Arminian and Charismatic churches. Instead of calling for people to believe in Jesus for the free gift of complete eternal life, they would ask people to pray a prayer, which usually involved some promise to obey. Nothing there about salvation by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

    Asking Jesus into your heart won't save. Committing your life to Him won't save. Forsaking all will not save. The only thing that saves is believing Jesus' promise to freely give you COMPLETE eternal NOW.

    By Anonymous danny, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 5:44:00 PM  

  • To all:

    will respond to you tomorrow.

    I need to get some winks!

    ;)

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 7:25:00 PM  

  • antonio stated:
    So you are saying that the "nevertheless" is an immediate context indicator of a contrast? alvin says yes!
    Whereas the people of Israel would not believe in Him, nevertheless these rulers did believe in Him.
    alvin says exactly right!

    We should all agree that eternal life comes through faith alone in Christ alone. What role do you think, if any, does existing presuppositions and assumptions play in interpreting this passage to mean that these rulers are anything but certainly saved? alvin said: That would be reading your own theology into it, instead of taking the Apostle John at his word. There is nothing here that contradicts a free gift. If a person thought that because they did not confess Christ they truly did not believe. I would question whether they really believe in a free gift that can be taken freely!
    alvin

    By Anonymous alvin, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 7:33:00 PM  

  • Antonio, because of the contrast that is made in the previous verses, I do believe that the Jewish leaders were true believers, despite their shortcomings.

    I call you Arminian because that is what most people would call you. Even contemporary works (the famous 4 view books) use these designations. However, it is popular now to be known as a Weslyian Arminian. I think you should embrace your heritage.
    ;-)

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Thursday, March 22, 2007 9:46:00 PM  

  • Let me say it again Jared,

    Catholics, Mormons, Jehova's Witnesses, many Calvinists, and many Arminians do not believe in Jesus. A person believes in Jesus when they become convinced that Jesus freely gives them complete eternal life AT THE MOMENT OF FAITH, as they realize that works will never save them, EVER. To believe in Jesus is to believe in Him for a maintenance-free eternal life that you receive now.

    I didn't make it clear enough in my exposition, but now you know what I meant when I used the term believe in Jesus.

    Demons are persuaded that Jesus freely gives humans eternal life, but they are not humans, Jesus did not die for them, so they can't have eternal life.

    James 2:18-19 addresses a belief in monotheism. Nowhere in my exposition did I mean to give the impression that such belief is saving. In order to be saved, a person must believe Jesus' promise to freely give them irrevocable eternal life.

    Judas followed Jesus, but he never believed in Him for eternal life. In John 13:10-11, eleven of the twelve were clean. Judas wasn't clean, because he had never believed in Jesus for the free, irrevocable gift of life.

    By Anonymous danny, at Friday, March 23, 2007 12:11:00 AM  

  • Amen to that Danny,,,alvin

    By Anonymous alvin, at Friday, March 23, 2007 1:14:00 AM  

  • Jared, the problem is that though we do not know much about these people, we do know that they believed on the Lord.

    You talk about knowing the heart? What does this mean? How does one know one's own heart, let alone other peoples?

    If those people believed yet might not have been saved, how can you be sure you are not lost, despite believing?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, March 23, 2007 3:27:00 AM  

  • Gojira and danny,

    Fantastic! Okay, so, which is it? Do we need to "believe in Him"? Or do we need to "believe in Him and believe that believing in Him guarantees eternal life"?

    Gojira,

    Does it matter that RC's, JW's and demons don't teach the gospel? Where is it written that one must teach the gospel (or even the right gospel) in order to receive salvation? I thought all that was required was "belief in Him". What does it mean to "be a believer in the gospel sense"? Does that mean believing something in addition to believing in Jesus? How do these issues "beg the question" when the question we're asking is about receiving eternal life? You say the leaders are saved because the text says they believed in Jesus and that is all Jesus requires. But, it can't just be any believing in Jesus because you note that Judas didn't believe "in the gospel sense", whatever that means. So, there is more to believing in Jesus than just believing?

    danny,

    Ah, so now we needn't just believe, but we must also be convinced in our belief? How does one become convinced? By believing? Well how does one believe; by being convinced? Jesus doesn't say anything about being convinced in John 11:25-26:

    - Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die, do you believe this?"

    I see a lot about believing in Jesus and what you get for that belief but absolutely nothing about needing to be certain of what you get before you can truly get it. Jesus does not say, "He who believes in Me, and is convinced that I will give them life, shall have life." So where does this extra bit about being convinced come from? Where in John's gospel does "Believe in Me" mean "Be convinced that I give irrevocable life"? In fact, if I'm not mistaken, I think John later records Jesus giving us the definition of eternal life, "that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." (John 17:3). Where in this passage does John (or Jesus) say anything about believing that Jesus gives eternal life freely? No where. You know why? Because we're supposed to believe in Him.

    I'm pretty sure that's what John (and Jesus) means when he records the words "Believe in Me". It's not about the gift, it's about the Giver. As far as the leaders in John 12:42-43 are concerned, where in the text does it say they were convinced of the promise of eternal life? And since the text doesn't say, how is it that you are so certain they have eternal life? You say that faith must be apart prayer and apart from commitment, apart from asking. What was it that Jesus began preaching in Galilee after John baptized Him? Something about "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15)

    When Jesus says "Follow Me" does that not seem to imply, perhaps, that we should follow Him rather than trying to figure out what a "faith apart from works, apart from prayers, apart from commitment" might even look like? Show me your faith apart from your works, apart from your prayers, apart from your commitment and I will show you my faith by my works, by my prayers and by my commitment. We are to live as Christians, not just believe that we are Christians.

    dyspraxic fundamentalist,

    Danny (and Gojira?) seems to believe that we can't just believe in Jesus but that we also must believe in His promise, do you agree? If so, again, how do we know that the leaders believed Jesus' promise? The text doesn't say, it just says they believed in Him. It also says that they loved the praise from men more than the praise from God. What did Jesus say about those who love the praise of men more than the praise of God? He says, "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44). As far as they are concerned, what does it matter if I believe they are saved or not anyway? Me believing that they are saved certainly won't save them, neither will my believing that they aren't saved condemn them.

    However, if I am to take their actions as representative of their faith, then it seems clear that their faith is not genuine. What is genuine faith? Paul says this is what he and the Apostles proclaimed: "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Rom. 10:9-10). Isn't this even what Jesus says (Matt. 10:32)? And what of the call to repentance before believing?

    The real issue here is that we are to be lights shining in the darkness that is the world, but if we are not shining then what sort of light are we? Jesus uses the example of salt. If salt has lost its saltiness, what good is it? He also uses the metaphor of trees/branches producing fruit. If a fig tree doesn't produce figs or a grape vine doesn't produce grapes, in what sense are they still considered fig trees and grape vines? They are good for nothing but starting fires if they aren't doing what their supposed to do.

    This is one way in which we know our hearts and put our hearts on display for others. The Holy Spirit testifying with our own spirit is another way of knowing our own hearts. Having our brothers and sisters hold us accountable is still another way of knowing our heart. So my knowledge of someone else's heart can only extend as far as their actions whereas my knowledge of my own heart can be much deeper. I can't experience another's spiritual life, I can only experience the results of it. I can experience my own spiritual life and know that I am saved. In other words, I cannot say for certain that one or another will end up in heaven, though I can say if the remain where they are that they will or will not. And I certainly know my own status before God but you (or anyone else) cannot say for certain that we will meet in heaven because you aren't the Judge. This is why my original answer is that this question is improper to ask about those leaders.

    By Blogger jared, at Friday, March 23, 2007 6:47:00 AM  

  • Jared, how do you know whether or not the Holy Spirit is testifying with your spirit?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, March 23, 2007 7:37:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    I was sorta playing devil's advocate a little with ya by asking that question. I affirm that if they believed He was their Messiah ... that meant they believed in Him in the sense that is necessary for personal salvation. I stand by my original comment.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, March 23, 2007 9:43:00 AM  

  • dyspraxic fundamentalist,

    The same way that Paul knew, through the presense of the Spirit evidenced in the knowledge I have of Him and from Him which I could not gain on my own. Through those good works manifested in and through me, those prepared beforehand that I do them. Through the receiving of grace by the preached word of God and through the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Through fellowship with other believers. Through peace and joy and hope that could come from no other source. This is what Jesus promised to His sheep, those whom the Father has given Him.

    By Blogger jared, at Friday, March 23, 2007 10:57:00 AM  

  • Jared, if the heart is deceitful and wicked, is it not possible that those certainties might not be delusions?

    They seem highly subjective tests.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, March 23, 2007 12:33:00 PM  

  • Jared said:

    "danny,

    Ah, so now we needn't just believe, but we must also be convinced in our belief? How does one become convinced? By believing? Well how does one believe; by being convinced? Jesus doesn't say anything about being convinced in John 11:25-26:

    - Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die, do you believe this?" (end quote).

    Danny says: Believing is being convinced. The definition of faith: To be convinced that something is true. Jesus asked Martha if she believes that whoever believes in Him will never die. She says she believes that He is the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world. In other words, yes, she believes that whoever (including herself) believes in Jesus will never die. She believes His promise, because she says Yes. Because He is the Christ, the Son of God, she knows Jesus will fulfill His promise. Both John 11:25-27 and 20:31 connect the phrase, "Christ, Son of God" with having life in His name. Since both passages connect eternal life with that phrase, to believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God is to believe His promise of eternal life is true.

    Jared said: "In fact, if I'm not mistaken, I think John later records Jesus giving us the definition of eternal life, "that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." (John 17:3). Where in this passage does John (or Jesus) say anything about believing that Jesus gives eternal life freely? No where. You know why? Because we're supposed to believe in Him." (end quote).

    Danny says: Jesus is talking about the abundant life in John 17:3. Eternal life is both static and dynamic. Jesus does not say anything about believing in Him in this passage. When Jesus says whoever believes in Him has eternal life, He is referring to eternal life in its static state. When he talks about eternal life being about knowing God, he is referring to dynamic eternal life, having it more abundantly (John 10:10, 1 John 2:4).

    Jared said: "I'm pretty sure that's what John (and Jesus) means when he records the words "Believe in Me". It's not about the gift, it's about the Giver. As far as the leaders in John 12:42-43 are concerned, where in the text does it say they were convinced of the promise of eternal life?" (end quote).

    Danny says: So you're saying that we need to believe in Jesus, The giver, and not in the gift? Then by your definition, Jehova's witnesses and Mormons are saved. They believe Jesus exists, and many of them do good works, fellowship with their own people, and so on.

    Think about it Jared. Jesus keeps telling people in the Gospel of John that whoever believes in Him HAS eternal life. The people who hear that and believe it are believing that He freely gives them eternal life! By the way, you can't separate the gift from the Person. Believing in Jesus is believing the proposition that he freely gives you irrevocable life. Read John 11:25-27 again. Read Romans 4:5. The person who does not work is obviously NOT working, but believing in Jesus for justification/life.

    Jared said: "When Jesus says "Follow Me" does that not seem to imply, perhaps, that we should follow Him rather than trying to figure out what a "faith apart from works, apart from prayers, apart from commitment" might even look like? Show me your faith apart from your works, apart from your prayers, apart from your commitment and I will show you my faith by my works, by my prayers and by my commitment. We are to live as Christians, not just believe that we are Christians. " (end quote)

    Danny says: The only people who can follow Jesus and produce legitimate good works are those who have believed in Him for the free, irrevocable gift of eternal life. Stop confusing salvation with discipleship. Only people who believe in Jesus for irrevocable life have the potential to be true disciples. But some saved people will fail in their walk. Only saved people can "Know God" in the "abundant" eternal life.

    Read my exposition on 2 Tim 2:11-13. Saved people can either reign with Jesus or be denied the privilege of reigning with Jesus. To Him who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness (Romans 4:5).

    The person believing in Jesus in Romans 4:5 is obviously aware that he can't do good works to be saved, because he is NOT working! He knows it is not by works, so He believes in Jesus to freely give Him justification/life.

    Jared said: "However, if I am to take their actions as representative of their faith, then it seems clear that their faith is not genuine. What is genuine faith? Paul says this is what he and the Apostles proclaimed: "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Rom. 10:9-10). Isn't this even what Jesus says (Matt. 10:32)? And what of the call to repentance before believing?" (end quote).

    Danny says: Hey Jared, did you notice that justification is distinct from "salvation" in Romans 10:10?

    Alvin summed it up perfectly:

    "But they did not confess Christ, so they were not saved in Paul's sense of the word saved found in Romans 10:9,13. There saved means more then just having eternal life, but also being delivered (saved) fromm their enemies and not having shame (Romans 10:11 cf.Isa 28:16). The rulers here in John 12 are saved but were not delivered from their shame of not confessing Christ openly,,,alvin"

    Danny says: Amen Alvin!

    Jared says: "The real issue here is that we are to be lights shining in the darkness that is the world, but if we are not shining then what sort of light are we? Jesus uses the example of salt. If salt has lost its saltiness, what good is it? He also uses the metaphor of trees/branches producing fruit. If a fig tree doesn't produce figs or a grape vine doesn't produce grapes, in what sense are they still considered fig trees and grape vines? They are good for nothing but starting fires if they aren't doing what their supposed to do." (end quote).

    Danny says: Re-read Matthew 7:15-23 and 12:33-37. The fruit refers to the words spoken by the people (12:33-37). The false prophets in Matthew 7:15-23 come as wolves in sheep's clothing and they have good works. By their fruit (their doctrine) you will know them. They try to work their way into the Kingdom. When Jesus says that not everyone who says to Him Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom, they respond in Matthew 7:22 by pointing to their works! Jared, these people looked like sheep and they did good works. Jesus does not deny they did these works, He denies knowing them. The will of the Father for Kingdom entrance is believing in the Son for eternal life (John 6:27-29). You will know false prophets by their fruit (doctrine). They teach salvation by works, because they tried to work their way into the Kingdom.

    Read John 6:27-29 for further proof that John and Jesus use the phrase believing in Jesus to mean believe in Him for eternal life.

    In John 6:27, Jesus tells the people to labor for the food that brings eternal life. In 6:28, they ask what works they should do, so that they do the work of God necessary for eternal life. In 6:29, Jesus responds, "This is the work of God, that You believe in Him whom He sent." Jesus led these people on with their works-mentality, and then dashed their works-mentality to pieces in John 6:29.

    Boom, Jared! In light of 6:27-28, Jesus' response in 6:29 means they should believe in Him for complete eternal life!

    By the way, Matthew 7:24-27 refers to both the saved and unsaved. In Matthew 5-7, Jesus has a lot to say about discipleship, but in 7:15-23, he focuses on unsaved false prophets. People who have believed Jesus' promise to freely give them eternal life, but who fail to progess in discipleship are like the foolish man. Unbelievers, like the false prophets, who try to work their way into the Kingdom, are also foolish men, for not "doing" the will of the Father- believing in Jesus for the absolutely-free, absolutely-irrevocable gift of eternal life.

    By Anonymous danny, at Friday, March 23, 2007 12:47:00 PM  

  • Jared,

    "Does it matter that RC's, JW's and demons don't teach the gospel?"

    First off, you have offered something of a misquote of me. I didn't say that demons don't teach the gospel. I will say this: Bringing in demons has absolutly nothing to do with a person placing faith in the gospel to receive salvation. But yes, I would kinda say that it does matter that the RC's do not preach the gospel, along with the Mormon's, along with the JW's. Or do you think salvation comes from a false gospel?

    "Where is it written that one must teach the gospel (or even the right gospel) in order to receive salvation?"

    Galations. If a false gospel could save, Paul was wasting his time. There is also the fact that the gospel is the power of God that brings salvation. Since the gospel is what brings salvation, and is referred to as the gospel of God, based on your question, would you please state how a false gospel that is not the power of God, nor the gospel He gave, could ever bring salvation?

    "I thought all that was required was "belief in Him"."

    Yes indeed. Or do you think unbelief in Him saves?

    "What does it mean to "be a believer in the gospel sense"? "

    That basically means that one is a believer in the good news of Christ. Or do you think that in His person and work He isn't a sufficient savior?

    "Does that mean believing something in addition to believing in Jesus?"

    Nope.

    "How do these issues "beg the question" when the question we're asking is about receiving eternal life?"

    If you notice, I said that you were begging the question on two things: demons and Judas. I would say that you are begging the question on demons, unless of course you can offer something from scripture that states demons are objects of God's saving grace. I say that you are begging the question on Judas unless you can offer something that states Judas actually believed in Christ. And of course what you offered, if any, would have to be reconciled with John 6:64, 70-71. It would appear that Judas was only out for Judas.

    "You say the leaders are saved because the text says they believed in Jesus and that is all Jesus requires."

    Yes. It is contrasted with those who rejected Christ. I have no qualms with justification by faith alone, Jared. Do you?

    "But, it can't just be any believing in Jesus because you note that Judas didn't believe "in the gospel sense"

    Fatih in Christ is not a mere intellectual assent, Jared. Faith in Christ means to have confidence in Him, that He is who He is and He can do what He has promisedby His death and resurrection. You stated, "whatever that means" in reference to where I wrote, "...the gospel sense." The first question that comes to mind after reading that is to ask if you know what the gospel is? The second question that occured to me was to ask if you thought the FV knew what the gospel is, or are they just mimicers of the Roman religion.

    "Danny (and Gojira?) seems to believe that we can't just believe in Jesus but that we also must believe in His promise, do you agree?"

    That is a fallicious statement. You can't seperate the promise from the one who gave it. Jesus is Himself the Resurrection and the Life. It is He who is the gift.

    And no, I am not a Free Gracer, that you for asking. ;-)

    By Blogger Gojira, at Friday, March 23, 2007 2:11:00 PM  

  • Danny said>Asking Jesus into your heart won't save.<

    Here again is where we often deny a truth in order to make a case for our position. Jesus said, "Ask and you shall receive."

    If anyone believes that promise asking forgiveness of their sins and receiving Christ into their heart...that prayer will be heard every time.

    Herein is partly why I spent a lifetime in confusion because points are always made off of denying other truths in order to make the point and we are all guilty of it.

    I get saved as a little six year old and with joy rejoice when I ask Christ into my heart as my mother relays to me and life bounces into my heart but then some adult later says you can't saved because you didn't get this and this just right and then the seed of doubt is sown and confusion comes. Jesus also said "Suffer the little children to come unto me and do not forbid them for such is the kingdom of God."

    THAT IS A PROMISE I believed as a little boy, but then someone else comes along and says you really werent sincere when you prayed that pray. Oh no. Anxiety again and then maybe I need to be as sincere as possible...then someone comes along and says...you are not trusting and then someone comes along and says you need to earnestly look into seeing whether you have been regenerated or make sure you have really repented or surrendered your will when later you discover they are struggling with whether they have truly surrendered their will or not. Or someone says "How can children be saved when these kids are so caught up and distracted with life instead of Christ...they must not really be saved!" while we are caught up and distracted like Martha ourselves and unwilling to sit at the feet of Jesus in intimacy with him, but rather shy from it and fill the void with endless debate and books. All of these things lead to anthropocentric reasonings when in reality God has promised that if you ask you shall receive and he loves the little children and he never leaves or forsakes them.

    I tell ya. All of us are either putting folks on shaky ground in these debates or we are leading a horse to water without letting him drink or in sincerity of earnest instead sowing seeds of doubt as an accuser without realizing it. It is really something to think about. We need to encourage people to Only Look To Christ and encourage them that Jesus simply said "Ask and ye shall receive!" or encourage them if they are believing His promise and taking God at his word then they are safe. At some point we all have to wonder at the warrant of doubting other peoples faith. God is the Judge and who shall lay a charge against Gods elect. It is just not healthy.

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Friday, March 23, 2007 3:24:00 PM  

  • That goes for all of us. We simply need to let Gods word flow and get out of the way so that God can communicate to the hearer without our special explitives that add to his word or seem to take from it. We need to let people have God.

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Friday, March 23, 2007 3:34:00 PM  

  • dyspraxic fundamentalist,

    I'm sorry you feel that way. These "tests" are not dubious at all. The heart that is set against God is wicked and deceitful above all things, the heart that has been renewed by God is not. Again, Paul's definition: believe in heart, confess with mouth. As far as Jesus' sheep are concerned, these certainties cannot be delusional.

    danny,

    You say "Only people who believe in Jesus for irrevocable life have the potential to be true disciples." Does this mean they also have potential to not be true disciples? And if they aren't true disciples, then do they still have irrevocable life because they believe in Jesus? Your definition of faith is not entirely correct or accurate. It is not simply or just "being convinced something is true." Such a definition makes the concepts of "weak faith", "strong faith", "growing faith", etc. unintelligible. Genuine faith is never alone.

    Gojira,

    You are preaching to the converted ;-)

    James uses the faith of demons as a comparison with those who have faith without works. I'd say this is a legitimate point to bring up when talking about salvation since it involves faith.

    If all that is required is faith in Jesus then yes, surely even a false gospel can save. I thought it wasn't the gospel that saved, rather that it was faith in Jesus that saved, am I mistaken? So, not only do we need to teach the right gospel, have faith in Jesus, repent, be baptised and born again; it seems that the list of things we should be doing keeps getting longer...

    You ask me if I know what the gospel is, yes I do (I even know the right gospel). You ask me if I think FV knows what the gospel is, I certainly think that those who advocate FV theology know what the gospel is, at least from what little I have actually read of their writings.

    I certainly agree with you that you can't separate the gift from the giver, but you most certainly can have a misplaced faith in the gift instead of the giver. Of course, genuine acceptance of the gift will bring about the correct perspective. For example, if you gave me an extravagant Xmas present and my response was to love the gift and not be thankful, or appreciative, then I have not genuinely accepted the gift. I have, instead, taken the gift for granted and dishonored the giver (you, in this instance). In other words, if the seed of the gospel doesn't fall on the right soil, it won't grow healthy and lasting plants.

    By Blogger jared, at Friday, March 23, 2007 4:59:00 PM  

  • Jared,

    Thanks you for coming by. I appreciate the considerable time you have been taking to comment here.

    You write:
    ----------
    It is an improper question to ask.
    ----------

    I don't believe it is improper, and let me tell you why. I believe that the Bible clearly and explicitly states what is required to receive eternal life.

    Now you and I may disagree on what the condition(s) for receiveing eternal life is (are). This is at the bottom of why I have chosen this verse to discuss.

    John has made a declaration as to these rulers faith in Jesus. He states that they "believed in Him". Now assuming that he is telling the truth, is believing in Jesus (in the sense that John presents it in his gospel) sufficient to receive the free gift of eternal life? Or are they lacking in something or somewhere (for instance, they are lacking in confessing Jesus)?

    You write:
    ----------
    If we knew these leaders personally we would be obligated to hold them accountable for not confessing Christ before men because they are sinning in not doing so.
    ----------
    It seems to me that, with what I have been reading of you (please correct me if I am wrong in inferring this), that you have your reservations if these men are saved, even though the text says they believed into (Greek = "eis", into) Jesus. Therefore, you suppose it is possible that these men either had an insufficient faith, or that faith into Christ is insufficient to bring eternal life (or you believe that John wasn't telling the truth, which I doubt you do).

    All this said, I believe you may rather probe this person to see if they have sufficiently met the condition(s) you believe there is (are) to receive eternal life.

    Please correct me if I am taking you wrong. I surely do not wish to put words into your mouth.

    Do you have your reservations that these rulers have sufficiently met the condition(s) for receiveing eternal life? If so, what from the immediate context, or the broader context of the gospel of John would lead you to believe so?

    You continue:
    ----------
    What we cannot do is determine who is and who isn't going to heaven because we are not the Judge.
    ----------
    I really need to ask you two questions:

    1) If John in his gospel quotes Jesus as saying, "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47) and later says that some rulers did exactly this, believed into Him, can we say that these rulers have eternal life based upon the fact that they met the condition that Jesus had set out for receiving His free gift? If no, why not?

    2) If you were to ask someone if they knew they were going to heaven, and they said yes, and then you asked them why they thought so, and they answered with what you believe concerning the condition(s) for the reception of eternal life, and you had no reason to doubt them, could you not then, in a sense, determine (IOW, reach the conclusion) that they were indeed headed for heaven?

    Thanks again for your participation!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 23, 2007 5:18:00 PM  

  • Todd:

    Thanks again for your participation. We have many parallels in our thoughts.

    You know what?

    We're not theological clones Todd, but we're close, lol!

    Ten Cent

    Thanks for your encouraging words and for your visit and participation.

    you write:
    ----------
    I will agree with Jared, we don't know. Only God knows their hearts.
    ----------

    Let me ask you the same questions that I asked Jared, if you don't mind:

    If John in his gospel quotes Jesus as saying, "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47) and later says that some rulers did exactly this, believed into Him, can we say that these certainly rulers have eternal life based upon the fact that they met the condition that Jesus had set out for receiving His free gift? If no, why not?

    You write:
    ----------
    but it would be a reason to go to them in love, point out their error, and point them back to Christ.
    ----------
    I agree with the first two, but have a problem with the last.

    We must go to them in love, point out to them their error, and also show them the consequences of not confessing Christ (temporal wrath, and loss at the judgement seat of Christ).

    We don't have to point them back to Christ, but point them to His commandments.

    I know, a bit of parsing of your words, and you may just have meant that, lol!

    Thanks again for your participation, and I look forward to your answers.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 23, 2007 5:44:00 PM  

  • Hey Gojira,

    I appreciate you dropping by! Thanks for your answer (albeit in brevity, lol).

    Can I ask you a question?

    Don't you think that such an affirmation as you have given, stating your belief that they are indeed saved, goes directly against the whole premise of Lordship Salvation?

    I mean:

    1) They did not confess Jesus!
    2) They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God!

    They were selfish and carnal, and uncommitted to the lordship of Christ!

    Thanks again for dropping by!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 23, 2007 5:52:00 PM  

  • "You are preaching to the converted ;-)"

    Well, then you shouldn't have posted to me then. :-)


    "If all that is required is faith in Jesus then yes, surely even a false gospel can save. I thought it wasn't the gospel that saved, rather that it was faith in Jesus that saved, am I mistaken?"

    Yes. On both accounts. I thought you said I was preaching to the converted? :-) (I am joking there, so you'll know.)

    1)Faith is not what saves anyone. That would be Christ.

    2)A false gospel would by definition have a false Christ.

    Just why do you think that God would deliver someone who held to a gospel that did not come from God? So tell me, Jared, do you think God saves those who express confidence is a so called spirit brother of Satan as the Mormons would say? Do you think that God saves those who rest in their works as the means for salvation? How about those who mix faith and works, with the works meriting more justification from God? All those are expressions of a false gospel that present a false Jesus. According to what you have stated, you should have no problem stating that those are your brothers.

    "So, not only do we need to teach the right gospel, have faith in Jesus, repent, be baptised and born again; it seems that the list of things we should be doing keeps getting longer..."

    Can you point to where I said anything about what you have listed other than the gospel and Christ? Do you for some reason think that it is in the power of the person to give themselves a spiritual rebirth? Where have I mentioned baptism as being part of the gospel? I can't find it anywhere. Where have I even mentioned repentance? You said the list is growing, well, can you please state exactly where I posted anything that grew it? Now you mention having the right gospel and faith in Christ. Again I ask, can you please sate how a false gospel or a false Jesus can possibly ever save someone? Do you for some reason think that faith is not the means to receive salvation? Based on your remarks, how could I conclude otherwise than to say that you give the appearance of having multiple ways to God? After all, you have certainly given the appearance that you would endorse a false gospel, a false Jesus as salvific, yet you haven't explained just how that can be.

    "(I even know the right gospel)"

    Well, AMEN! So what are you doing advocating the legitimacy of false gosples?

    "I certainly agree with you that you can't separate the gift from the giver, but you most certainly can have a misplaced faith in the gift instead of the giver."

    I have no problem affirming that. In fact, that is what I pretty much stated.

    "James uses the faith of demons as a comparison with those who have faith without works. I'd say this is a legitimate point to bring up when talking about salvation since it involves faith."

    I would certainly agree that James is talking about people who are claiming to have faith but that their actions show otherwise. However, James isn't preaching the gospel there either. That is, he isn't telling someone how to receive salvation. There is also the fact that, as the text points out, the demons tremble at even belief in monothiesm so it would appear that even demons are not without works. In fact, if you want to go that way, it should be pointed out that the demons obeyed Christ perfectly in what He told them to do, as can be seen in the gospels. What James is talking about, though, is about a man who claimed to have faith, yet was excusing his sin of not acting out of that faith with the example of the poor man. I have no problem with saying that works flow naturally from faith. I would disagree that works are part of faith. The works come because of faith. For example, take Noah. Whay did he build the ark? Because he had confidence that what God told him was what God was going to do. Had he not believed, he would have not built the ark. However, as I have said, James was not preaching the gospel in Ch.2. And of course, demons trembling at their belief in the unity of God has not one thing to do with a person receiving salvation.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Friday, March 23, 2007 5:58:00 PM  

  • Hey David Wyatt,

    I think that you are on to something. They are new Christians, and as such need to grow.

    But I think that in and of itself is insufficient to account for their lack of confessing Jesus (as in the case of the rulers) and not being trustworthy to be committed to (as in John 2).

    Wouldn't you agree that there are those who, after they have believed, go out and boldly confess Christ and submit themselves in discipleship to Him, immediately following (or endeavoring to follow) any and all commandments of His that they learn (and they are seeking to learn them!)?

    Let me ask you a question:

    What accounts for the total disparity between these rulers and, lets say, Saul (later Paul) in Acts 9:20? Maybe Saul isn't the best representative, but, you know what I mean!

    I totally agree with you about growth. I think that the whole idea of Christian growth is foreign and contrived to the theologies that state that we must be committed to Christ and His Lordship and to obedience on the front end of the gospel. I mean, how can you demand such things upfront and still believe that growth is necessary?

    To be fully committed to the Lord is to be mature! If we are told that we must be fully committed to the Lord for eternal life, then we must wait until we are mature to be sure of eternal life.

    Thanks again for your participation and I look forward to your answers!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 23, 2007 6:04:00 PM  

  • Hey Brian

    I think it is interesting that the Pharisees say that the people who believe in Jesus don't know the law, but then Nicodemus suggests that they either don't know the law, or are not willing to follow it.

    Great verses you are bringing up!

    Hey, I obviously don't have a problem with Nicodemus coyly standing up for Jesus. This does nothing to my "solid theological case". Have I said anything that would lead you to believe otherwise?

    ;)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 23, 2007 6:12:00 PM  

  • DOUG

    I posted right before you, addressing it to you. If you have overlooked it, please refer to it!

    Thanks,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 23, 2007 6:13:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    "Can I ask you a question?"

    You can ask me two questions if you like!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

    "Don't you think that such an affirmation as you have given, stating your belief that they are indeed saved, goes directly against the whole premise of Lordship Salvation?"

    The way some state it? Yes. The way others state it, no. Depends on the person.

    "1) They did not confess Jesus!
    2) They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God!"

    Very true. At that time, they did not openly confess Christ, and at that time they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. At that time. That doesn't establish if they remained that way. And of course, the Holy Spirit was not yet given either.

    "They were selfish and carnal, and uncommitted to the lordship of Christ!"

    Don't know if I would take it that far. As I am sure you would agree, anyone who would forsake their own way of salvation through theor own means of attaining it, to come before Christ alone, through the means of faith alone, has in fact submitted to His authority.

    "Thanks again for dropping by!"

    Thank you for having a place I could drop in at! :-)

    By Blogger Gojira, at Friday, March 23, 2007 6:14:00 PM  

  • Hey Jonathan Moorhead,

    you write:
    ----------
    Antonio, because of the contrast that is made in the previous verses, I do believe that the Jewish leaders were true believers, despite their shortcomings.
    ----------

    How do you reconcile your belief that these rulers had eternal life, who:

    1) did not confess Jesus
    2) loved the praise of men more than the praise of God

    with your belief in Lordship Salvation?

    If you wish, I could enumerate many reasons why your belief that they are saved goes against the very foundational tenets of Lordship Salvation. (But I don't think I'll have to).

    Thanks for clearly answering the question. Awaiting your reply with great anticipation!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 23, 2007 6:18:00 PM  

  • Gojira,

    One of the tenets of Lordship Salvation is a commitment on the front end, submission, confession, etc.

    "The minimum a person must give is all. I say, 'you must give it all. You cannot hold back even a fraction of a percentage of yourself. Every sin must be abandoned. Every false thought must be repudiated. You must be the Lord's entrely." (James Boice, Christ's Call to Discipleship, 114)

    To believe that these rulers are saved is to distance yourself from Lordship doctrine.

    MacArthur states this:

    "These people knew the truth about Christ, but never committed themselves to it. You've probably met people like that--they are intellectually convinced that Christ is who He claimed to be, but they're not willing to put their faith in Him. Why? Because they love the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43). They aren't willing to make the sacrifice."

    MacArthur considers these people unsaved precisely because it goes against all strains of Lordship Salvation thought.

    MacArthur states this in his Study Bible, page 1610:

    "...the leaders of Israel who believed in Him demonstrated inadequate, irresolute, even spurious faith."

    You state that to consider these people saved does not damage some wing of the Lordship Camp. What author who considers himself an advocate of Lordship Salvation would consider these rulers saved?

    I submit that to consider these people saved one cannot be faithful to Lordship Salvation. Either you would hold to two contradictory things, or you would disparage one over the other.

    Thanks again for your comments. I do, as always, value your straightforward and concise thoughts.

    By the way, your view on James 2, the way you forwarded it to Jared, is quite strong. I would have to say that it is to be commended!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, March 23, 2007 7:01:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    "that it is to be commended..."

    Thanks. :-) I think James 2 finds applicability with every church member.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Friday, March 23, 2007 8:09:00 PM  

  • "You state that to consider these people saved does not damage some wing of the Lordship Camp."

    Yes. Indeed. I would say that not all in that camp are after MacArthur. Horton (Reformed) surely isn't, yet he is branded as Lordship. Scott Clark isn't after that type of Lordship, yet He is Reformed, and would therefor be branded as Lordship. Ryrie, who is counted among the various ranks as being Free Grace might state the people in question were saved, yet he rejects Simon the Magican in Acts 8 as saved.H. Bonar (see his "Everlasting Righteousness," his volume on holiness, each available on line) would have held to the views of MacArthur, yet because he was Reformed he isn't treated as Free Grace by the Free Grace movement. You would certainly not find Rick Ritchie nor Rod Rosenbladt (see their essays in "Christ the Lord," a book you yourself have quoted from) in agreement with the views as expressed by MacArthur, yet neither of them are Free Grace. There is a lot of variety, as MacArthur is not the spokesperson for everyone whom the Free Grace movement would term Lordship, just as the views of Hodges and Wilken are not the sole views that make up Free Grace theology (examples: not all in the FG movement see faith as mental assent; not all in the FG movement see eternal security at the point of initial faith necessary). So there are indeed varieties.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Saturday, March 24, 2007 10:17:00 AM  

  • Bro. Antonio,

    I apologize for missing your response to me! I looked slam right over it! You raise some great points as always. Paul is a great example of immediately boldly standing for Christ. I must say that I do not know for certain what the answer is to that one. May I say that it MAY be the different makeup of personalities. That is why I am thankful that Commitment Salvation is not Biblical. If it were, then somehow we would all have to immediately become spiritually mature at salvation! I used to think that was what God demanded, until I began to grow some myself & see it wasn't so. Much of the NT is exhortation to grow!
    But back to your question. Why did these rulers in 12:42f not confess Christ openly? It seems obvious to me, since John so clearly makes the point, that they were out of God's will here. They were still letting their flesh control them at that point. It may well be John's slipping in a warning for us to avoid that, seeing what the sad end result is: we put our interests over God's! So, I guess my answer is that these rulers were reverting to letting the flesh control them, or maybe hadn't grown to the point of leaving spiritual babyhood. Weird answer maybe, but it seems to make some semblance of sense at this point to me at least! God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, March 24, 2007 11:44:00 AM  

  • Antonion asks, "How do you reconcile your belief that these rulers had eternal life, who:

    1) did not confess Jesus
    2) loved the praise of men more than the praise of God with your belief in Lordship Salvation?"

    I don't have to reconcile anything because my view does not contradict the so-called "Lordship" view. The men were saved just like Peter was saved after he denied Christ. If you go back and read "The Gospel According to Jesus" you will see that MacArthur over and over and over and over states that believers may backslide (some over a long period). LS does not teach that believers will be sinless angels after rebirth.

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at Saturday, March 24, 2007 4:13:00 PM  

  • Jonathan,

    I feel constrained to not let you get away with your contentions here.

    John MacArthur, in his original TGATJ states:

    "If the heart truly believes, the mouth will be eagerto confess."

    These rulers were anything but eager to confess.

    He continues:

    "The confession... is subsequent to the act of believing but inseparable from it."

    How can these men be believers in the Lordship Salvation sense if they were neither "eager to confess", nor did so subsequent to their faith which the confession must be "inseparable" from?

    John MacArthur continues:

    "But if we are true disciples, we will not purposely and in a calculated way keep our faith hidden"

    This is exactly what these rulers did:

    They purposely, and in a calculated way, kept their faith in Christ hidden for two reasons:

    1) They did not want to be put out of the synagogue
    2) They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God

    Furthermore, let us not gloss over rule #1, and an over-arching theme in the whole of all advocates of Lordship Salvation:

    Dedication, submission, and commitment of the life up front, in other words, front-loaded into the gospel message.

    These rulers from the moment they believed in Christ, deliberately and purposely did not confess Him, because they were afraid and because they were committed to themselves in a selfish way (loved the praise of men).

    Interesting, too, is the imperfect tense of the Greek verb used for the English "confess", which denotes a continuing failure to confess, as in the translation "were not confessing".

    MacArthur states this:

    "These people knew the truth about Christ, but never committed [which is the touchstone of Lordship theology] themselves to it. You've probably met people like that--they are intellectually convinced that Christ is who He claimed to be, but they're not willing to put their faith in Him. Why? Because they love the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43). They aren't willing to make the sacrifice."

    MacArthur considers these people unsaved precisely because it goes against all strains of Lordship Salvation thought.

    MacArthur states this in his Study Bible, page 1610:

    "...the leaders of Israel who believed in Him demonstrated inadequate, irresolute, even spurious faith."

    Do you know what's funny? In viewing D.A. Carson's commentary on the gospel of John, we read the same phrase verbatim (I wonder if John MacArthur was plagiarising Carson!):

    "The leaders [have a] inadequate, irresolute, even spurious faith"

    Carson continues:

    "They knew nothing of the powerful new birth that could make them children of God..."

    To consider these people as saved goes against the total of Lordship Salvation thought.

    These men were deliberate from the moment of faith in their refusal to confess Jesus. They did not submit to Christ's Lordship, but rather submitted to their own carnality and selfishness, loving the praise and approbation of man, and disregarding the praise of God.

    Lordship commentators agree: These men were not saved for the above reasons.

    Jonathan, I am glad that you see these rulers as born again. But I emphatically declare that you do so in spite of your deep dedication to Lordship theology.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, March 25, 2007 4:46:00 PM  

  • Antonio, thanks for your reply,

    You said: "If John in his gospel quotes Jesus as saying, "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47) and later says that some rulers did exactly this, believed into Him, can we say that these certainly rulers have eternal life based upon the fact that they met the condition that Jesus had set out for receiving His free gift? If no, why not?"

    Forgive me if I repeat some things that Jared may have already expressed. I haven't been able to carefully read through all the comments here. So you may have to cover some ground that you've already covered with him.

    Let me explain what I'm getting at with my statement that only God knows their hearts. First, I can ask you, do you know for certainty that I have believed in Christ, that I'm saved? You would probably answer that with a question, "Have you believed in Christ for eternal life?" And I would say, "yes". And then you would say with all confidence that you know that I have eternal life, that I'm saved. But do you? You're assuming that what I've told you is true, and rightfully so, because that's all you have to go on, what I tell you. Because you're not God and you don't know my heart. So on one hand, you can have certainty that if I believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life, that I will have it. On the other hand, YOU cannot be certain that I have believed and therefore, you cannot be certain that I have eternal life.

    We live in world of externals when it comes to our relationships with other people. That's why I would say that according to the evidence (their profession) we have no other outcome but to assume that they have believed and therefore, they have eternal life. And therefore, we should treat them and accept them as believers. However, I would not presume to know their hearts. Only God knows that.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at Monday, March 26, 2007 6:52:00 AM  

  • Hi again Antonio,

    I split up my response so it wouldn't be so long. And you get more comments that way too :)

    You said: "We don't have to point them back to Christ, but point them to His commandments."

    So you wouldn't point them back to the Gospel? We've determined that these are brothers in Christ on the basis of their profession. And then we see these brothers shrinking back from Christ, steeped in the sin of pride. But you would just point them back to Christ's commandments, with nothing more said.

    How about pointing them back to Christ who has paid the penalty for that sin of pride and who says that there is no more condemnation for them. Ask Him for forgiveness of that sin and it is freely given and it will never be brought up again. And then encourage them to go and sin no more in light of what Christ has done for us. And encourage them that Christ has given us who believe, the Holy Spirit to help us.

    Sometimes, I think you tend to go so far to separate Justification from Sanctification that you would have the Justified person be shackled again to the law. And even though there's no fear of that person losing his or her salvation, they have the weight of the commandments on their shoulders and they have to obey those commandments out of duty instead of delight in the Savior who freely gives us all things.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at Monday, March 26, 2007 6:55:00 AM  

  • Antonio - I read the verse and believe that this is a perfect example of inadequate, spurious faith.

    When I came to Christ I could not keep my mouth shut. I immediately told my parents - scaring my poor mom - my football and wrestling coaches, all those team mates and other classmates. I QUICKLY became a laughing stock amd was hated and mocked by all.

    All this came about because of my new nature. I was driven from the inside to tell all of Christ. I knew going in that I was going to be hated. It all came true, I was.

    Real faith works.

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Wednesday, March 28, 2007 4:07:00 AM  

  • Mark,

    thanks for your input.

    Did you know that Jonathan Moorhead in this comment meta said that they were "true believers"?

    I need to ask you why you think that they exercised a "spurious" faith. What support form the context or what have you, do you forward to bolster your claim?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, March 29, 2007 1:22:00 PM  

  • Antonio - Thanks for the easy tone.

    From my vantage point (non dispy) I do not draw a divide between Justification and the rest of the accomplishments of Christ's cross work. Are Justification and Sanctification separate? Yes. Do I believe in the RCC idea of infused righteousness whereby God infuses righteousness into us and works go hand in hand with faith for Justification? No. Justification is a legal (forensic) declaration. I am in Christ, and based on His cross work, through faith, I stand Justified before God. No works involved. None can be.

    However, where you and I disagree is on the New Covenant. I believe that Christ's cross work, His shed blood, the blood of the New Covenant that was shed for many for the remission of sins, also has other elements involved; namely God's Spirit being placed in us, causing us to walk in His ways; aheart of stone being replaced by a heart of flesh. See Ezek. 36.

    Geting back to the Holy Spirit here; I see the book of Hebrews talking about Christ offering Himself through the Eternal Spirit. At this point I see that the Holy Spirit's role is to apply ALL of the benefits of Christ's cross work to the believer, including the new creation mentioned in 2 Cor. 5:17.

    Now you see why I say in my other comment that I was driven from the inside to share Christ.

    Yes, I saw Jonathan's response. I disagree with him here. I hold that faith w/o works is dead (traditional rendering of James 2).

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Thursday, March 29, 2007 6:01:00 PM  

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