[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, October 15, 2007

He went away sad...

by Rose

I was reading about a book the other day that uses the story of the rich young ruler in evangelism.

(Luke 18:)18A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 19And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 20"You know the commandments, 'DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'" 21And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth." 22When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 23But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
I have my own thoughts on how this should be viewed evangelistically. Think about how this man approached the Lord. "What shall I do?" This is sinful man's quintessential problem, as far as I can tell. He is a filthy sinner but he thinks he can DO to gain God's favor. The guy did not see himself as having a problem, did he? He thought he was alright with God. “All these things I have kept from my youth.” This certainly does not seem like someone who knows they are lacking, yet he asked about “inheriting eternal life.”

Jesus tells him firstly, “Why do you call me good? There is none good but God.” I think that is a two-fold comment from the Lord. I think He is referring to His own Personage… and also trying to derail what He already knew was in this rich young ruler’s heart – pride in his own goodness and efforts. However, being that there is none good, Jesus found it simple to point out a lack in the man’s goodness.

The man went away sad. Why? Did Jesus give him good news? Not really. Jesus told him how he lacked. The man did not want to do what Jesus asked. The man did not ask Jesus for anything either, did he? He simply went away sad. I think a lot of people go away sad when they want to work their way to God’s favor without receiving His free gift. A message to the lost that tells them what they must commit or give up to receive the gift that Christ purchased, as recorded in the remainder of Luke's gospel, makes me sad too.

In the next few verses, Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to be handed over to the Gentiles, killed, and on the third day rise again. This is the awesome thing that He does so that He can make it possible for rich and poor alike to be saved and receive eternal life. Once they have this life, are regenerated, we have real examples of people giving up many things for Christ. It is possible with the Holy Spirit in one's inner being to do many things that would otherwise seem as impossible as a camel passing through a microspcopic opening, or a gate that is very small. ;~)
Now I do believe in the book that I referred to in the opening paragraph, the LS gospel is presented. IOW, this passage is viewed as the requirement for eternal life, for regeneration – give up, give up, commit, commit, and you can be saved, born again. What a travesty. I think if I were speaking about this passage to someone who did not know the Lord, I would use it to point out the problem of being self-righteous, and of not recognizing who Jesus is, of not asking for mercy, as the beggar at the end of the chapter did.


  • 39 “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
    43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, October 15, 2007 6:49:00 AM  

  • I see you have heard the one about the camel and the gate before as well.

    I must admit that the way Jesus responded to these inquiries about eternal life can be quite puzzling. But when we realize that he is indeed helping them understand their need for grace, his method becomes all the more insightful.

    Too often we throw the good news at the feet of unconvicted sinners who then wonder; "Why the senseless death of Christ on the cross?"

    That we cannot give up anything or change at all is really the key to understanding our need for Christ and His saving grace.

    I hope I somewhat caught the emphasis of your post.

    By Blogger Jim, at Monday, October 15, 2007 12:03:00 PM  

  • Great post Rose.

    "Who then can be saved?"
    If keeping the Law, as this young ruler had done, was neither evidence nor assurance of salvation then how can anyone be saved?

    "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God"
    I can't help but wonder how many people look for evidence and assurance where it is impossible to find. Do you think it is possible these have rejected the fellowship of believers in favor of the fellowship of those like the rich young ruler?

    As one of our dear brothers would say, "Only look to Christ".

    By Blogger Kc, at Monday, October 15, 2007 2:32:00 PM  

  • I agree with you Rose. I think what Jesus is doing is using the law lawfully, as Paul says, to convict the man of his sinfulness and helplessness. The Lordship people sometimes don't get this and come very close to saying that we need to keep the law to get into heaven.


    By Blogger Andrew, at Monday, October 15, 2007 2:38:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose
    If I remember the story right. On one of my MP3's from a previous GES Conference a pastor said that he was witnessing to a Church of Christ person. The person agreed to let him come over to his house to have a bible study with him later that week. The night he was going over to the man's house he noticed allot of cars parked around the house. Coming up to the door he realized he had been setup. The man's whole Church was there. He was introduced and then took a seat. The pastor then opened his bible up to the story of the "Rich Younger Ruler." He then began to read the story and when he was finished closed his bible. It was completely silent, you could hear a pin drop! The pastor then said "Go and do like wise!" Then the pastor got up and left.

    By Blogger alvin, at Monday, October 15, 2007 7:30:00 PM  

  • Good morning Rose!

    It might be better if you gave the actual quotes from this book you've read and indeed identify the author and book. (He is hardly ashamed of his views if he has gone into print with them.) It all seems a bit vague at the moment.

    Re: the case at hand i.e. the Rich Young Ruler. He lacked three things, although the Saviour made greater mention of "the one thing":

    1) He lacked knowledge of Christ's Deity. "Why callest thou me good? One is good, that is God" IOW: Do you not know the import of your own words? If I am truly good as you say, then I am God Incarnate, for He alone is good.

    2) He lacked knowledge of his own sinfulness. "All these things have I kept from my youth up…" Herein is a problem (as I see it) for all shades of FG folk i.e. such as frequent/contribute to this blog :-)

    [i] Why did Christ introduce this matter of His Deity to him? Some FGers would argue that ultimately (in the matter of salvation) it mattered not what views this young man held of Christ. This is an unnecessary cloudying of the waters. Here is the dream "contact", interested in inheriting eternal life and out comes a doctrinal hoop for him to jump through. All he had to do was just accept that Jesus gives eternal life and receive it and that's that until the discipling classes start again.. He is nearly there - this raising of unnecessary doctrine at this time can only be dismissed as unfortunate. LORDship salvation!

    [ii] Why did he need to know just how sinful he was? What has sin got to do with receiving eternal life? Another unnecessary diversion. As I see it, the FG position has nothing to do with the sinner as a sinner. Every other doctrine becomes subservient to the fundamental thought: "Do you want eternal life?" - "If so, trust Jesus." It is a bit like someone standing at a promotion stand in a shopping mall and offering free tickets for a super cruise on the Mediterranean. Only this cruise is a million times better. IOW: Does someone, in the FG view of the gospel, have to recognise that they are sinners to inherit eternal life? What if they don't? Is it enough to be so vague about the matter?

    3) He lacked the willingness to have God to be his God. His money proved to be his god - for the Lord was applying the First Commandment to him (rather than merely quoting it) and so he went away very sorrowful. Why did the Master Soul-winner go down this particular route? He did not ask any one else to give up their money (as far as I can see) and certainly we are not to conclude that, even had the young man given up his money, that he would have earned or bought eternal life. It is, and always will be, the gift of God (Romans 6:23). Had this young man given his money to the poor, followed Christ and received eternal life (not necessarily in that order) - had he room whereof to boast in his good works? No. Even if we do that which is expected of us, we are still and always will remain unprofitable servants.

    The faith that believes on Christ for eternal life (John 6:47) is a surrendered faith. It recognises that friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4) It does not produce mere outward reformation before coming to Christ, but it certainly brings inward and outward changes afterwards. Not overnight nor without constant use of the armour of God. Not in order to be justified, but because the soul is justified. For whom God justifies, he glorifies and sanctification is glory begun in the soul.

    Just a few thoughts from the Emerald Isle.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 1:27:00 AM  

  • Goodnight, in many cases, probably the majority, it will be necessary in evangelism to present the truths of our Lord's deity and the sinfulness of man.

    Consistent FGers deny that belief in the deity of Christ and human depravity are conditions of receiving eternal life, however, they maintain that in many, if not, most cases, they may be logically necessary to a person exercising saving faith.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 5:04:00 AM  

  • Jim,
    Yes, apparently there is/was a gate called "the eye of the needle" and in order for a camel to pass through it, it would have to be unloaded of all packings. I do not know the validity of this. Does anyone else?
    It *is* puzzling at times. I agree with you - He is helping them understand their need for grace. You definitley caught the emphasis. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting!

    Dear KC,
    Ya know, I was pondering this passage some more yesterday after I posted this and that verse jumped out at me. "Who then can be saved?" That really doesn't fit my predisposition (for years) toward this passage. (Kind of like "Why did you make me like this?" in Romans 9) If money is the problem and because he is rich he is having difficulty being saved, then that question doesn't really fit, does it? The poor disciples - all those who weren't so well off, would not be asking "Who then can be saved?" as if this wealth was a 'problem' for everyone! It is interesting when a verse you just pass over suddenly lights. I like the way you have explained the sentiments in that question.

    Thank you Andrew!
    It is good to see you around. You are wise beyond your years. "Using the law lawfully" - I think that is precisely what He is doing. The law administers death. This guy did not see that, but Jesus showed it to him. I would hope that he came back later, after his sadness became conviction and that he sought the Lord again with humility.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 5:27:00 AM  

  • Colin, while I agree with you in points 1 and 3, if what you propose in point 2 and in your conclusion is true then is it your contention that before a person can believe in Christ they must first know, believe and agree to be subject to the Apostle’s doctrine? Does a person need to know how and why they are in need of the Savior and be willing to subject themselves to Him before they can believe in Him?

    Rose I have always found those verses to be the point of this whole discorse.

    By Blogger Kc, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 5:32:00 AM  

  • Alvin,
    That is a very interesting story! Thank you for sharing that.

    Colin Maxwell,
    Can I tell you I am a bit dissapointed in your comment? :~)
    First of all, I did not read the book. I read about it and I got a breif overvoew about it from someone. I think it would be irresponsible for me to talk about the title and the author without having read it, so I just thought I would look at the passage and see how it sat with me for evangelism. What is wrong with that? Don't you agree that it would be wrong of me to mention a book I had not read? Also - your points - they are attacking things that are not in this post. Why? Don't you have anything to say about the content of my thoughts on this passage that I posted? I do not share some of the views you are referring to. (There - now I feel better for telling you of my dissapointment. :~) I hope you don't mind).
    I do like reading your comments. :~)

    Anyway, after all that I must say that I do not mean to censure this discussion. Carry on.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 5:36:00 AM  

  • Hello Matthew C.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 5:37:00 AM  

  • Whoa! Rose!

    Sorry to disappoint you with my post. :-(

    You write: Now I do believe in the book that I referred to in the opening paragraph, the LS gospel is presented. IOW, this passage is viewed as the requirement for eternal life, for regeneration – give up, give up, commit, commit, and you can be saved, born again. What a travesty. Did the original reviewer give any incriminating quotes to back up his charges? I know plenty of folk who would hold to what is called Lordship Salvation. None of us believe that anything the sinner does, whether in giving up his sins or yielding his heart in consecration to God contributes in the least iota to his salvation or justification. Therefore, it would be helpful to see what this particular author said. Perhaps he did overstep the mark and presented the gospel message wrongly? That can be easily done. But I cannot discern whether this has been the case without any quotes. The comments you make are in the context of the Lordship Salvation controversy. This controversy opens the post and likewise closes it. If the alternative to the LS view (stated correctly) is the FG position, then surely I am entitled to examine it. My comments keep very closely to the incident of the Rich Young Ruler.

    I know that you personally don't believe some of the errors raised in my comments. Hence, I wrote and emphasised that some FGer's do. The necessity of believing in the Deity is one such point. You and I agree of its importance. This passage is as good a place as any to raise the matter, since Christ Himself raised this matter. If ultimately it doesn't matter what views this man held of Christ's deity, why would Christ raise the matter here, especially when there were other issues to raise? I think we are of one mind in this.

    I am unsure of the second matter, hence I must ask: Do you, as a cautious FGer, believe that the overall FG movement strategy deals adequately with the fact that their evangelism contacts are sinners? i.e. Do they deal with them as sinners? Christ evidently dealt with this young man as a sinner. He didn't gloss over the fact but very painfully raised the matter and it proved effectively to be the rock on which this young man perished. He preferred his money rather than Christ. I know that others effectively narrow evangelism down to this point: "Do you want Eternal life? If so…only Jesus can give it you when you receive it." Anything else, if introduced by necessity to the great issue of the gospel becomes an added and basically unhelpful distraction. If this young man (in effect) had said to the Lord Jesus, "Look! I heard elsewhere that you said that I can have eternal life on an act of faith (John 6:47) I came here to make sure. I stand over my bit about keeping the commandments and I would rather that you kept your fingers off my wallet. I worked hard to get all that money! Let's keep to the Eternal life business. Can I have it now?" Do you think that the Lord would've "laid off" on the money part and gave him eternal life? I say "No" and I would say that, from your comments that this young man ought to have sought mercy (but didn't), you would agree with me. Perhaps some other FGer can answer then and declare that it is a precondition of eternal life that the seeker acknowledges himself to be a helpless sinners in need of mercy.

    So, to sum up, I agree with a lot of what you wrote. The reference to the LS controversy obviously threw me a bit, hence I wrote what I wrote, both to remove any misconceptions and to accurately state our position as it relates to the Rich Young Ruler.

    Another long post (sigh)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 6:33:00 AM  

  • Hello Colin,
    Well, I know people who are LS and that is what they say - you must commit your whole self to the Lord, make Him Lord of your life in every area, repent of every known sin, or you are not ready for salvation. If this is not you, then I am glad, because to me I can't see that as anything but a works salvation.

    You ask: Do you, as a cautious FGer, believe that the overall FG movement strategy deals adequately with the fact that their evangelism contacts are sinners

    I am not qualified to address this. I know Matthew says, (and it looks like you ignored his comment?) that it is prit near essential that you tell "contacts" of their sin, because it is practically a logical necessity.

    I have read a tract from the GES recetnly and it definitely addresses sin. I think the sin question is inherent in the discussion about eternal life. Needing life implies that there is death, present or future, in the hearer's mind.

    Let me say this: I think a lot of the things that you bring up - and I know you are not bringing them up originally - the FGers did - are theoretical. IOW, there are few, IF ANY, cases where this is going to be an issue.

    For example, as far as the person who would recieve eternal life from someone who is not eternal: this person does not exist, this is a person who is theoretical, IMO.

    Mainly I think children are the ones who may have these lacks in understanding. I do believe the Lord has grace toward them if they look to Him in simple faith.

    Just my thoughts.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 7:33:00 AM  

  • Kc: I am glad that you are in agreement with me on points 1 and 3, although I have worded it from a FG perspective (or at least some FGer's perspective) so please be careful on that one. It would not be the logical outcome of my position to say that our Lord was muddying the waters by introducing the doctrine of His deity etc.,

    In the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, it is only the sick who need the physician. I take this to mean that it is only those who actually see themselves as sick will actually go and seek healing. Obviously those who see it or not still need the healing if they are sick/dying, but it is those who actually recognise and accept the reality that they are sick who will actually go and sit in the doctor's waiting room or the out patients clinic (sometimes for hours). Someone will not seek salvation (in the Biblical sense of the word) if they are convinced that they not that sick or that they can heal themselves or that someone else (usually a false religion) can do the job.

    If someone who sees that they have a sin problem does not (no matter how imperfectly) submit to the authority of Scripture, then I cannot see how they can have saving faith in Christ since such faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17) The word preached cannot profit any one except it be mixed or united with faith in them that hear it (Hebrews 4:2)

    Matthew: Sorry for overlooking your comment. What circumstances do you see where it would not be necessary to insist on a belief in Christ's deity and the sinfulness of man etc.? Who can claim to be the exception to the rule?

    Rose: If someone - and it does happen - insists that they are not a sinner or that they are not a serious sinner ("an angel with dirty wings" as a preacher friend of mine described their self assessment) - would you consider encouraging them to, there and then, call upon the name of the Lord for salvation? I see here one who is spiritually a million miles away from the anxious concern and perception of (say) the Philippian jailer. If he (scenario coming here) absolutely insisted on being able to run his immoral businesses - would you still lead him to the place of decision or faith (or whichever you like to word it - I don't want the way we word it to be an issue here) On this last part, for the sake of accuracy, while I would not insist that he give up his immoral businesses in order to gain eternal life or contribute to getting it, yet I would let him know that he cannot be serious about being saved from his sin which is the salvation which Jesus brings (Matthew 1:21) if he wants to hold unto it as well. His actions and his lips are not in agreement and it is the actions that count. Whatever Lot's wife said it was her action that was judged. Would you lead our dear friend, Bugsy the Gangland Leader to the ultimate place of decision while he was determined to keep his (ahem) security firms and "girls" in employment?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 9:05:00 AM  

  • Goodnight
    "What circumstances do you see where it would not be necessary to insist on a belief in Christ's deity and the sinfulness of man etc.? Who can claim to be the exception to the rule?"

    It is hard to think of examples where one would knowingly not need to bring up those subjects. As you point out, how could one be sure of an exception?

    I think it depends a lot on the flow of the conversation. I think discussion with the followers of some cults on the deity of Christ can be pretty fruitless and so a different approach might be called for.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, October 16, 2007 11:34:00 AM  

  • "He is a filthy sinner but he thinks he can DO to gain God's favor"

    Hi Rose - Can you comment on this scripture. Paul seems to be referring to things believers can do to gain God's favor.

    Colossians 1:10 (New International Version)

    10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,..."

    Thank you.

    By Blogger Chris, at Wednesday, October 17, 2007 11:12:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Lou Martuneac, at Wednesday, October 17, 2007 5:07:00 PM  

  • Chris,
    Yes. Absolutely right.

    There are things that the believer can do to earn God's favour. This favour is manifested in a deeper knowledge and peace with God and in the age to come, posession of rewards and the privilege of co-ruling with Christ.

    However, a the present posession of eternal life is obtained simply by faith in Christ for that gift. It cannot be obtained by any works.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 3:11:00 AM  

  • Matthew: I wouldn't be happy with your wording that the Believer earns the favour of God. When we have done all that we are commanded to do, we are still unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10) Anything we get from God by way of assurance etc., is on the basis of sheer grace. Yet it must be observed that those Christians who are generally observed to be the more dedicated to the cause seem to enjoy the more privileges, so obviously this is something for every Christian to aim at. I don't think I could ever sit back in my better spiritual days and say: "Look what I have earned?" ehich is the logical implication of your words.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 5:18:00 AM  

  • Hi Chris!
    I am sorry to have taken so long to answer you.

    You say:
    Paul seems to be referring to things believers can do to gain God's favor.

    10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God..." (Colossians 1:10)

    Right. I would not say that people are never capable of pleasing God. What I would say is that people can't DO ENOUGH to make themselves acceptable to God in the first place. God has to do that part ... which He has done. Through Christ's work on the cross, taking our sins upon Himself and taking them away, He has the unique ability to justify us - to present us robed in righteousness to the Father. If we have Christ, through faith in Him and His work, God sees us just as if we were as spotless as Christ - the perfect man. This is the beauty of salvation. We can't do enough to rid oursleves of our problems with God, so He did it for us.

    After this, though, after we receive Christ, we are an adopted child. We can be naughty children.... or we can be obedient. Of course, being obedient begets favor, in at least one sense. If nothing else, it pleases God, and that is a favorable place to be - a child of God who is well-pleasing to his Father. When we please our earthly parents, while they may not want to favor us over our siblings, if we are more obedient than those siblings, we will certainly be closer and more comfortable with our parent. Our parent will be more trusting of us.

    Does that help?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 5:59:00 AM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    you ask:
    Would you lead our dear friend, Bugsy the Gangland Leader to the ultimate place of decision while he was determined to keep his (ahem) security firms and "girls" in employment?

    Well, Colin, ya know, I would have to be in that discussion to know how it would go. I think we can tell if someone is interested in being justified and right with God, can't we? If we have been talking about these things and they seem interested, despite their thinking that they don't want to give up x y or z sin or business, then why can't we go further toward receiving Christ? This is what happened with me. I could not have imagined as an unsaved 19 year old that I would ever want to be anything but a wild thing. I had no desire to change, none whatsoever. But the gospel of free acceptance with God was very appealing! I believed it. Guess what? After He came into my life, *then* I could imagine a life as something different than I had been.

    I think we are in danger of putting the cart before the horse when we think unregenerate sinners would even want to change. Some just don't, but they may have a sense of being seperated from God and a deep-rooted desire to believe and know Him, especially when they hear that He has extended His hand unconditionally. It is a beautiful thing!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 6:08:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Is Christ a Saviour then in some other way other than "from our sins"? (Matthew 1:21)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 9:11:00 AM  

  • What do you think, Colin?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 9:24:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Thank you and Matt, thank you.

    The apostles appear to be referring to something you can lose in these passages. In light of the Free Grace message, what in your view, are they referring to?

    2 John 1: 8 (King James Version)

    8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

    2 Peter 3:17 (New International Version)

    17Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

    Thank you.

    By Blogger Chris, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 9:28:00 AM  

  • Chris,
    In light of Bible study, I would say that the 1 John passage is a warning against the errors of those who taught that Jesus had not come in the flesh. He is saying that if they listen to these doctrines and do not continue in the true doctrine of Christ, they will not be such a wonderful church, will they? The apostle had worked to bring them to the truth and he was jealous that they stay on guard against that which is *not* truth, because the apostle would then lose a reward somehow.

    What is the opposite of the thing Peter warned of? He warned that they should be on guard so that they do not fall from their steadfstness, then he says "but":

    *but* grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity

    I would say that this is what I was mentioning earlier - growing in knowledge and reltionship/trust to the Lord. This is desirable. Falling into false teachings about Christ is not.

    Now, Chris, please interact with the many words I have said to you before you ask another question, OK? :~)
    I am busy and sometimes it is tedious just answering questions ... and then more questions. I would be happy to interact on anything you see in my answers that does not make sense to you. Or even if you tell me I am all washed up IYO, that would be fine too - then you can explain why. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 10:18:00 AM  

  • Yes, Rose, my questions go to the FG teaching that you can never lose eternal life once granted. These scriptures appear to be indicating that losing God's favor, (and presumably eternal life because after all, are you aware of any scriptures that assure eternal life without God's favor?) was a very real fear that John, Paul and others were warning Christians to stear clear of.

    By Blogger Chris, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 10:36:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Is Christ a Saviour then in some other way other than "from our sins"? (Matthew 1:21)
    By GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 9:11:00 AM

    What do you think, Colin?
    Thursday, October 18, 2007 9:24:00 AM

    I reply: Yes, I think he is. He is the "Saviour of all men" and that obviously in a way different from "those who believe" 1 Timothy 4:10)

    However, if salvation (from sin) is conditioned on faith (as we both agreed in another posting)then surely faith must receive Him as such? Surely, I cannot claim forgiveness for my sins if I have not received Christ as my Saviour from my sins?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 10:41:00 AM  

  • and have I ever said anything contrary to that? Or do you suppose that "receiving Him as saviour from my sins" means that I have to want to stop those sins?

    How does it look for a person who is still walking this earth to be "saved from their sins" Colin? How do you define this? How do you define being "saved from sin" in a past tense - in a way that is thoroughly realized right now?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 10:52:00 AM  

  • So Chris,
    Do you believe that a Christian can be saved/become a child of God and then later lose his position in Christ/lose his salvation?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 10:56:00 AM  

  • Rose,
    I like the FG message, but when I run across these scriptures, talking about losing what you worked for, and in Rev 20:12 being judged by your works, in Matt 24:13-14 enduring to the end, I have to know how the FG theology incorporates these scriptures into the greater body of scriptural understanding. We know that God's people, under the Law Covenant, lost their favored standing because of their denial of The Christ, so clearly you can lose God's favor, as this example and those I mentioned in scripture appear to be indicating, and as I mentioned previously, I am not aware of any instance in scripture where the promise of eternal life is extended to those who lose God's favor.

    Can you shed light on it for me?

    By Blogger Chris, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 11:16:00 AM  

  • Chris,
    I have some ideas for you, but I wish you would directly answer my question first. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 11:29:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose
    I must apologize for my poor memory! This is from Hal Haller:
    He sees in the scriptures a level of discipleship that he calls the completed disciple. He goes on to say whenever the issue of disciplship is required for salvation the debate is usually on the committed disciple level Luke 14. He goes on to say the completed disciple is usley not thought of as a level, but because of some work I did on the Rich Young Ruler I am convinced that this is discipleship that requires sinless perfection. This is discipleship that means following Christ, as Christ was a sinless leader so we pattern our lives completely after Him. You will recall that the Rich Young Ruler comes to Christ and wants to know what he can do to have eternal life and Jesus directs him to the law in order to keep the law. So Jesus enumerates several of the commandments and the Rich Young Ruler says “all them I have kept” from my youth up what lack I yet? Now the whole idea of lacking something demands COMPLETETION. So Christ says to him “if you will be perfect go sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow Me. Now notice all the imperatives there (go, sell, give, come, and follow). So the Rich Young Ruler went away sorrowful because he had great possessions. And what was Jesus trying to do? Well the young man thought that Jesus would accommodate him on this score, but Jesus applied the law and pushed him so far back in a corner that the Rich Young Ruler began to squirm. And that’s what happens when the legalist begins to talk about being good enough in order to earn eternal life. When you start using the law to push him back in a corner and he realizes he’s not good enough then he really gets upset.
    I remember one time a bible student and I went over to a house to talk to somebody who was a member of a particular denomination and practically his whole church showed up to confront me and the fellow student that I brought. I had no idea this was going to happen. But as we started the discussion I read from the Rich Young Ruler passage and I said this is what you need to do in order to have eternal life, you got to be perfect and then I closed my bible and sat down. You should have seen the looks of consternation on their faces of the people that were sitting there. There are two ways to get to heaven. One is be perfect, the other is let a perfect person take His righteousness and transfer it to your account so you can go to heaven on His righteousness not on your own. And that is why God does not except the righteousness we send up, He only excepts the righteousness that He sends down. And that righteousness is available free of charge through Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross.

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 11:41:00 AM  

  • Rose, sorry, I don't want to appear to be evading your question, so yes, I believe, based on my plain understandings of the Bible, that you can lose this gift. What I'm looking for is some commentary on these scriptures from folks who believe that once granted, eternal life can never be lost.

    By Blogger Chris, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 11:50:00 AM  

  • Alvin,
    So based on what you've said then, my question is, what does it mean to be righteous free of charge through Jesus Christ? Is it simple faith in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour? If so, how do the scriptures I've given to Rose, support that?

    By Blogger Chris, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 12:28:00 PM  

  • Hi Chris
    I was correcting a previous post that I made of a pastor’s story. Chris that is what a Pastor had said, but I believe he’s right.

    Sorry for just jumping in there Rose. I haven’t been following the posts, shame on me!
    Chris I’ll make some quick comments on the two verses you posted.
    Revelation 20:12 This is “The Great White Throne” which believers are not at (John 5:24). Notice sin as sin is not mentioned ONE time at this judgement. Why? Because (John 1:29b). Works are mentioned, and of course there is sin in their works. Many at this judgement think there works should get them into heaven (Lord, Lord didn’t we (Matt 7:22). So they will be given a fair hearing. Notice that in verse 15 that their not even cast into hell because of their works, but because they don’t have life.
    Matthew 24:13-14
    This is speaking of the tribulation, the church has already been raptured out. The “saved” it is talking about is the saving of their physical lives. If they endure to the end they will go into the Millennium in their physical bodies.

    Chris you also asked how do we get that free righteousness?
    2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD unto Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESSPASSES TO THEM, and has commited to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us, we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be SIN FOR US, THAT WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF God in Him.

    Chris, Jesus paid for ALL your sin from the day you were born to the day you die. So your sin as a barrier has been ALL taken care of! To be reconciled to God is for you to believe Jesus simple promise in verses like (John 3:16;5:24;6:47;11:25-27). Jesus offers the living water to all who believe Him for it (John 4:10). Once drank you will never thirst again (John 4:14)! The living water is the knowledge that Jesus is “The Christ” the One who guarantees your eternal destiny (John 20:31;11:25-27;1 John 5:1a). With faith it springs up into everlasting life (John 4:14)!

    Once a person has believed Jesus promise of eternal life they are a child of God and have these things in Christ:
    1 Cor 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became FOR US wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

    John 20:31b and that believing you may have LIFE IN HIS NAME.

    To believe in Jesus as “The Christ” the One who guarantees your eternal destiny produces everlasting life (John 4:14;20:31;11:25,26).

    When Jesus said to the women at the well “I who speak to you am He.” Jesus had given her that living water that springs up into everlasting life!

    Chris drink in faith and you will NEVER thirst again, on Jesus promise and He cannot lie!

    Blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, October 18, 2007 5:05:00 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose:

    Unless we are merely looking for a temporal salvation from the Lord Jesus - the kind which some people look for when their back is to the wall and they want (say) merely to merely healed from a particular ailment or delivered from money problems etc., then we are tied in to the salvation spoken of in Matthew 1:21 i.e. where Christ saves "His people from their sins" ( Matthew 1:21)

    We know from studying the Scriptures that this salvation comes in three distinct, though associated, stages.

    Justification: Whereby we are accounted righteous in the sight of God. This, for the Christian, is a past experience. It is a "one off" - a perfect act that cannot be added to nor diminished. Where the Scripture uses the past tense in our salvation, it is referring to this act.

    Sanctification: Whereby we are growing in holiness and conforming to the image of God's Son. This is an ongoing work of God's Spirit. This is where the Bible speaks of salvation being in the present tense i.e. 1 Corinthians 1:18 where the literal reading is: "...those of us who are being saved…" We know that sanctification is an ongoing work - it has its advances and then its declines etc., But it is clearly a part of the salvation spoke of in Matthew 1:21. We are not saved in sin or saved for (i.e. in order to enjoy) sin but saved from sin i.e. its power is being gradually broken in our lives, as we seek to live for our new Master i.e. the Lord Jesus.

    Glorification: Obviously yet future when we will be free, not only from sin's curse (justification) sin's chains (sanctification) but also from sin's company in Heaven. This future part is seen in Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. He had not evidently partaken of this salvation, or to be more accurate, this part of salvation. (The whole is put here for the part.) But it was nearer for Paul and it is nearer for us. Either death or the Lord's Return will usher it in and our 3 fold salvation will be complete.

    Pastoral/Evangelistic Application: Many people want to be saved from the curse of sin (to be blunt: Hell) but want to enjoy the pleasures of sin and still go to Heaven when they die. (Many get very vague about Heaven, but they definitely want to escape the idea of hell, or at least, escape the threatof hell hanging over them and ruining their joys.) But can we apply to Christ only for the parts of salvation which we want? Although we may divide "salvation package" up for the purposes of examination, yet it is always packaged as one salvation…a bit like the Trinity - One God in three Persons. If someone doesn't want to be saved from the chains of sin and wants to indulge their lusts to the full, can they really say that they have been saved, even from the things they want to be saved from? On what Scriptural warrant? Does God give them the "full package" whether they want it (i.e. the full package) or not? Not as I read my Bible.

    You ask: How does it look for a person who is still walking this earth to be "saved from their sins" Colin? Answer: Such a person (as indicated above) will speak about his justification being entirely by faith alone and completed. This enables him to speak confidently about going to Heaven at the appointed hour. He will not confess to being perfect in his daily life and will utilise the language of the latter part of Romans 7 as he becomes more aware of his daily battle against sin. He knows that he has not arrived yet, but by God's grace which he pleads in prayer and by the Spirit's help, he knows that he will gain the ground, but will never finally overcome until he reaches the "Golden Shore" either in death or at the Lord's return.

    You ask the question: Or do you suppose that "receiving Him as Saviour from my sins" means that I have to want to stop those sins? I'm glad that you included the word "want" here as it saves another paragraph. No one calls upon the sinner to give up their sins before they call upon the name of the Lord for salvation. But if the Spirit of God has been working and convicting them of their sins (John 16:8) then they will want to give them up and will be enabled to do so (or at least resist them) when the second part of the one salvation starts t o work after they have been justified. I suppose the crux of the matter is: Where in the Bible does it say that we can cherry pick and receive a mutilated salvation? The Rich Young Ruler did not want the sanctifying part of salvation and consequently the Saviour let him go away without satisfying his desire for eternal life.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, October 19, 2007 3:09:00 AM  

  • Colin,
    You had some really good things to say in there. Then I read this!:
    The Rich Young Ruler did not want the sanctifying part of salvation and consequently the Saviour let him go away without satisfying his desire for eternal life.

    Is that really how you see that story? WOW, it would almost seem like we are reading different Bibles. I don't see it like that at all.

    So - a rich man today who hears the gospel and wants Christ's offer of life and forgiveness - he must be willing to sell all that he has - because if he is not willing - it proves that he doesn't really want the sanctifying part of salvation, therefore, he can't really want salvation? Wow, I thought Christ's yoke was easy and light. Are you sure about that statement? I will allow you to retract it. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, October 19, 2007 6:09:00 AM  

  • That being said, I think your explanation of the "package of salvation" is perhaps the best, most reasonable articulation of the Reformed point of view I have ever read. (until your last sentence) :~) (even though I think there is a flaw with it)

    But can we apply to Christ only for the parts of salvation which we want? Although we may divide "salvation package" up for the purposes of examination, yet it is always packaged as one salvation…

    Always? How can you say this? Are you then saying that everytime in the Bible that the offer of eternal life is made... that it is tied into the question "do you want to be saved from your sinful lifestyle?" or some such question?
    Are you sure?
    I know you reference the passage "He will save His people from their sins" and that may well mean the "whole package" as you have explained it, but considering my question one sentence prior to this you read now, can you be sure that "it is always packaged as one salvation" to those hearers of the good news? I think we must agree that the answer is no.

    If someone doesn't want to be saved from the chains of sin and wants to indulge their lusts to the full, can they really say that they have been saved, even from the things they want to be saved from?

    If they have confidence in Jesus Christ - that He has accomplished salvation in spite of their current walk or mind, then they really can say that they have been saved. This knowledge should, and often does, aid in sanctification. Doubt never does - but produces a false-looks-like holiness.

    Salvation from hell doesn't depend on us, Colin. You say you agree with this, but then when you put thoughts out there like this, you inadvertanly make it seem to depend on us. (that being the observation of a lowly American housewife/mother/graphic designer who has no education in any Reformed seminary or Reformed higher institute of learning.) :~)

    Again, your explanation was the best I have read from those who espouse your point of view, even though I just pointed out what I think is the flaw in it.

    God bless you, brother.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, October 19, 2007 6:27:00 AM  

  • Chris,
    Thank you for your response. I appreciate the honesty and it is good to know right where we all are on these things.

    I agree with Alvin's thoughts on those two passages you brought up. DF has said some good things in regards to rewards. I do think that even though a Christian can be assured to escape condemnation of hell, we still must strive to please the Lord in our lives. It is what He desires of us. It is voluntary, and is a result of a relationship to Him and motivation to please Him and make our life worhtwhile in the big picture. Serving God must not be to gain heaven. This would be the opposite of what Paul taught:

    For by grace you have been saved through faith and that *not of yourselves* - it is the gift of God, not of works.... (Ephesians 2)

    Here is a verse that shows what is the basis for knowing that keeping salvation doesn't depend on my after-conversion self:

    If we are faithless,
    He remains faithful;
    He cannot deny Himself. (2 Tim. 2

    Now that chapter has a lot to say about how the Christian *ought* to be walking, but regardless, *He* remains faithful. We know what this means from reading Paul's other writings:

    He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus...(Phillipians 1)

    If Christ accomplished salvation for you... and you laid hold of Him by faith... He will take you all the way, Chris.

    Also - the very concept of "eternal life" or being "born again"
    think about it...
    If you have eternal life, then how can you lose it - that would not be very eternal would it?
    Or being born again: if you are born upon having faith, then do you die a second death right here on earth when you fall out of favor with God again? Then can you be born again .... again?

    Just some things to think about.

    Eternal life doesn't depend on us, Chris. Just like it says in Ephesians as I quoted above - it is the GIFT of God, not by human effort.

    May the Lord bless you.

    BTW, I looked at your blog. Some interesting stuff there - I agree with you about the futility of a third party candidate. May it never be!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, October 19, 2007 6:54:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    The Ruler's problem was not his money per se. There will be plenty of rich men in Heaven. There is no general precept given to anyone to sell what they have and give it all to the poor. The Ruler's problem was the greed which his abuse of his wealth brought him. That is where the sin lay. The reality is that he was not willing to be saved from his greed and subsequently (as said) the Saviour let him go away without satisfying his desire for eternal life. He did not want a Saviour from his sin. He wanted to maintain his greed (which had elevated his wealth to idolatry status) and therefore could not have eternal life.

    Christ's yoke is easy and light. It looks as if this young man held unto Satan's yoke of sin and greed which eventually brought him down to everlasting destruction. He paid to go to hell. Had he done what Christ told him to do, then he would have indicated that he wanted to be free (saved) from his sin and subsequently would have obtained that salvation. Not because he purchased it, or because he did anything worthy of salvation, but because we cannot hold unto our sins and have Christ at the same time. Being free from both the curse and chains of your sins is a very easy and light yoke to bear.

    So, Rose, I decline your gracious invite to retract my statement, but I also decline your application of what it means. Whatever the circumstances, if a soul does not want the sanctifying part of salvation and wants to hold unto his sins, then he cannot be saved until he comes to the place whereby he desires the whole package. A Saviour from Hell is only a shadow of the reality of a Saviour from Sin. Again. I ask, Where does the Bible say that we can cherry pick in the salvation package preached unto us?

    P/s I wrote the above in response to your first reply, but by the time I had come to post, you had added your second part. Gracious words and all. Let's take your reasoning here. It is true that there are places where the matter of eternal life is addressed, without any reference to anything else. Are we are liberty to divorce eternal life from the other parts of the salvation package? If so, then let us argue that (say) coming to Christ as required in Matthew 11:28 is different from believing in Him, since faith is not mentioned in that particular part. Of course, we all know that coming to Christ and taking the yoke is just another way of saying; "Exercise faith in me" How? Because we read the Bible as whole. Likewise, unless we have different (and lesser) offers being made to different people and some being offered considerably less than others (and I regard the idea that I can hold unto my sins [or rather: have them hold unto me] and be a Christian as a disaster!), then wherever any "part" of salvation is specifically mentioned, the "whole" is intended. Can I have Christ as the Son of Man, but not as the Son of God? No…we take the whole Christ.

    Salvation does not depend on us if we take Christ to be our Saviour from our sins. How can it? Can you be a sanctified person and hold unto your sins and cherish and defend them? Are you saving yourself (in that "no-no" way) when you seek to forsake them? Must I be charged with merit mongering when I seek to have them a thing of the past? Remember, we're not asking the sinner to forsake them in order to be saved i.e. forsake sin and then apply for salvation. We're saying to the sinner: "There is a salvation from sin there if you want it. It will mean that those sins (like greed) will not be tolerated. You can't forsake sin as long as you are unregenerate. But you can flee to Christ for this salvation and He will save you from the penalty of those very sins and give you power over them etc., This is what it means to be saved."

    Sigh! There's me thinking I had got away with a short post :-)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, October 19, 2007 7:20:00 AM  

  • Rose I hope you won’t mind me stepping in with a Q or 2.

    Colin if eternal life is granted to those that believe in Christ but a man must first repent of his sin before he can have eternal life then does he believe in his sin and repent of that before he believes in Christ?

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, October 19, 2007 3:19:00 PM  

  • Lou Martuneac:

    You have been politely asked to cease and desist posting on any of my blogs.

    You are not welcome here to post.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 12:53:00 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose!

    Good morning, kc: Your question is a somewhat ambiguous here. Do you mean Does he believe in his sin mean: He believes in the reality of his sin i.e. that it exists etc., or do you mean Does he believe while in the state of sin? Or do you mean that because he believes in Christ while in sin, then he needs to repent of that faith in Christ?

    While the sinner's faith and repentance will be far from perfect, yet seeing it is wrought in him by the Spirit of God, then it will be acceptable to God, notwithstanding any blemishes that it may have. The Spirit of God enables the sinner to bring a repenting faith and a faithful repentance. We may, I suppose, debate which gives rise to which, but I do not think that such should detain us here. The evidence that God has been at His saving work is a believing penitent crying out and saying; "God be merciful to me the sinner" (Luke 18:13) If was after this, that he "went down to his house justified" Any practical forsaking of sin must be on the basis of faith to be distinguishable from mere fleshly reformation and will therefore take place after the crying out unto God for mercy. Yet the sinner cannot come to Christ for mercy without the intention of forsaking sin. Indeed, such would not be given, for the Scripture is pretty clear on this: He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)

    Notice given: I'm in my last weekend here at home for a couple of weeks and computer access limited in my absence.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 1:31:00 AM  

  • Good morning Colin and thanks for your reply. I apologize as I can see how that question could be ambiguous. I will try to rephrase it.

    If eternal life is granted to those that believe in Christ but a man must first repent of his sin before he can have eternal life then does that mean he must repent of sin based on the knowledge of sin alone and not based his knowledge of Christ?

    I hope all goes well while you’re away.

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 2:55:00 AM  

  • Hi Kc:-

    Faith and repentance are like Siamese twins, joined at the hip. They are separate entities, yet come together. A true faith is repentant in its character, while true repentance is based on faith toward God i.e. "if I repent, God will forgive me for Christ's sake." Faith without repentance is just a barren belief and head knowledge and leads nowhere. Repentance without faith is just remorse and leads to despair. Paul could summarise his ministry as Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21) He joined the two together in his evangelism, because (as quoted above) He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
    I suggest that what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Regards.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 3:47:00 AM  

  • Colin thanks again and you know I very much appreciate the dialog.

    I believe that faith in Christ leads to repentance from sin but I am primarily concerned with the appropriation of God’s gift of eternal life. Would you say that the one who expects forgiveness for Christ’ sake has already believed in Christ? I think you can see my problem in adding repentance from sin as prerequisite to the gift of eternal life. If a man’s intent and expectation is based on his belief in Christ and those who believe in Christ have eternal life then repentance from sin would not be prerequisite but rather consequential to having received the gift of eternal life. If this were not so then wouldn’t there be a great conflict in the scripture?

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 5:16:00 AM  

  • Colin,
    Thank you for all your respectful interaction. I do appreciate your comments. I think we are reading the same Bible, just somewhat differently. I read your last comment to me. I think you may be reading a lot into the text on what was going on in the rich young ruler's mind. It just doesn't tell us all of that.

    Now, per your reasoning. I notice that the offer of justifaction/freedom from death is oft presented on the pages of the Bible. You say that this is not enough to claim that it is sufficient becuase the "rest of the story" is presented elsewhere in the Bible. Therefore, someone must be made aware of this "entire package" and be willing to receive it - or at least want it - before they can get the "get out of hell free" pass. (just a little humor there, I have seen people use that when describing the non-reformed gospel presentations).

    So, following your reasoning, I happen to see that Christ's salvation includes an escape from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin (the thing we are haggling over) and it also includes the translation of the body to a spiritual body at the rapture (or whatever the reformed equivalent of the rapture is, I am not sure). What if the hearer of the gospel isn't interested or desirous of the 'flying up to heaven out of the body' and the 'change in a twinkling of an eye'? Is he not then able to receive the deliverance from the penalty of sin, because he doean't want to experience the salvation from the "man of sin" - the antichrist? You see where I am coming from? Salvation may include a lot of consequences, but are all of those consequential things a part of that which must be activeley received by the hearer of the gospel, by the evangelee?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 6:09:00 AM  

  • Hi kc,

    I think you are separating what ought not to be separated. The characteristic of the faith that believes unto eternal life is penitent in nature. The "repentance unto life" (Acts 11:18) is so called, because it is united with faith. As you word it, you seem to present us with a saving faith that may or may not be penitent. I deny the existence of such a thing. A man may come into possession of a great faith concerning the reality of the Bible and the sufficiency of Christ to save Him etc., and even be minded to act positively upon His knowledge, but if he does not repent, then he will perish (Luke 13:5) and I take "perish" in Luke 13:5 to be a reference to hell. As in John 3:16.

    Perhaps you see a difference of order in there or you see the outworking of a delay between one and the other. I accept that not every new born babe can articulate their experience clearly and with definite, precise and sound Scriptural language. Sometimes things can be slow enough to get off the ground. I tend to judge the tree by the only way I can i.e. the fruit. If I see faith without repentance, then I am must hesitate to conclude that salvation is there. Likewise, if I see an outward profession of repentance, but no faith. Perhaps some more talking on the part of the mature Christian might be needed to encourage the outworking of these things. Fair enough. None of us are infallible. But I cannot settle for less than repentance and faith and say that is this the norm or the way it should be. I repeat again, He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13) This holy man of old, moved by the Holy Ghost, did not make any mistakes or bring himself into a great conflict with Scripture. Certainly, when we preach to sinners, we should be setting both repentance and faith forth, just lie the Lord Jesus did in Mark 1:15 when He said: Repent and believe the gospel."

    Thanks again for your interaction.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 8:02:00 AM  

  • Colin thanks again.

    My specific concern really is in evangelism. If my understanding is correct and it is only by the power of God through Jesus Christ that we can hope to turn from sin then when we would ask a man to first turn from sin before being empowered to do so we are asking the impossible. I think we should make it clear that he can only do so in Christ and that apart from Christ no one can even hope to turn from sin.

    What say ye brother? ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 8:38:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Since neither of us are told in the passage what was exactly on the mind of the Rich Young Ruler as he approached Christ, then maybe we are both reading into the passage what isn't there. In your original article, you write: I think He [Christ] is referring to His own Personage… and also trying to derail what He already knew was in this rich young ruler’s heart – pride in his own goodness and efforts. However, being that there is none good, Jesus found it simple to point out a lack in the man’s goodness. That may or may not be, although for all his own professed goodness and efforts, he still had to confess that something was lacking and that can hardly fuel his pride. This puts him in an entirely different league from (say) the Pharisee praying in the temple who did not see that he lacked anything at all.

    While the passage(s) do not word it as I am interpreting it, yet I am not putting something forward that can be easily dismissed from the passage itself. We all know how easily greed breeds in the human heart and that some of the wealthiest people are the greediest people etc., When all is said and done, he was called upon to part with his money and he would not do so, preferring to go away sorrowful and forget about eternal life. (As far as we can see from what is recorded.) I maintain that the problem lay in the greed of his heart, rather in the actual riches that he possessed. It is not the money that is the root of all evil, but the love of the money (1 Timothy 6:10).

    I can see clearly where you are coming from on, what I will call, the "complete salvation package." Basically, someone wants to cherry pick and take what they want. Do we have any Scripture where someone clearly cherry picked what suited them and is seen to leave the undesirable rest? If so, why did the young man, under discussion here, not do so? Why did he not just take the eternal life business on faith and push the rest to the side of the plate? It was never going to be easy for him to just write a few NT equivalent of large amount checks (American spelling for you) to a few charity organisations - why did the Saviour insist that he did so in order to enjoy eternal life? Surely (as I wrote above) this is an awful muddying of the water?

    In your scenario, you see someone interested in sins forgiven and victory over the sin that hitherto binds them. But they stop short at the rapture (which is the event in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 etc.,) "It sounds like a fairy tale! It's the stuff of wide eyed one-night-stand and barely illiterate Evangelists! No one takes that serious! Then, as far as I can see, they do not have saving faith. Here is a fundamental doctrine which they are actively refusing. What if they pick another doctrine to pooh pooh? Like the Trinity? Or the blood atonement? I am not denying that ground may have been made with these folk. Perhaps the Spirit of God is moving slowly in their lives. I certainly would not give them up as reprobates and ignore them. I'll do all that I can (under God) to nurture what is there and pray for them etc., but I cannot, with the NT in my hand, declare unto them that they have forgiveness of their sins or eternal life.

    Enjoying the discussion.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 8:49:00 AM  

  • Kc,

    It is only by the power of God that a man can believe on Jesus Christ to the saving of his soul. We believe through grace (Acts 11:27) So, when you ask a man in your evangelism to believe, you are asking him to do something which sin prevents him from doing, until he is empowered to do so by the Holy Spirit. When I preach repentance, I am not asking the man to reform his life ("Give up the women!" - Note the plural) in order to be saved, but I am asking him to declare his intention to forsake his sin. I tell him that he cannot do so in his own strength. He cannot do so, either before or without faith in Christ, but if he has no intention of doing so, then he rules himself of salvation. Whatever his initial interest, he will go away sorrowful because he wants salvation on his terms and he cannot have it. I agree therefore with your last statement: I think we should make it clear that he can only do so in Christ and that apart from Christ no one can even hope to turn from sin. If we are looking at a sin loving enquirer after eternal life, then we (and he) is going to be mightily disappointed. Until the goodness of the Lord leads him to repentance (Romans 2:4) he will perish as surely as until the power of God brings him to faith in Jesus Christ.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 9:00:00 AM  

  • All,
    Please comment on the practice of shunning as described in this passage of Matthew.

    Matthew 18

    15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

    16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

    17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    This man is described in vs 15 as a Brother, a fellow believer in Christ, yet the Gospel here is providing grounds for his ouster from the congregation. He is steadfast in his sin, so therefore the congregation has to put him out. Following this vs we read:

    18Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    This is a Brother, a fellow believer, yet it appears the free grace message does not apply to him.

    Please comment. Thank you.

    By Blogger Chris, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 9:59:00 AM  

  • Colin it seems we agree that the power to turn from sin can only be found in Christ and I know we agree that only by faith can we come to Christ. We might quibble over the minutia regarding exactly how it is we come to believe but I affirm that we cannot believe apart from the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the power of God unto salvation.

    If I may be so bold it would seem that your primary concern is that a man might profess faith in Christ, for whatever reason, apart from actually believing in Christ and that you believe you are responsible for “separating the wheat from the tares” so to speak. In order to accomplish this task you attempt to first judge his intent and then second his works. Am I totally off base here? I hope you know I mean no offense. I am trying to comprehend the diffence in our understanding on this.

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 10:19:00 AM  

  • Hi kc,

    The reference to the wheat and tares is perhaps unfortunate, in that in the parable where they are mentioned, they were to be left alone by human hands lest the wheat get taken up with the tares. Yet, even this parable does not relive us of our responsibility in faithfully proclaiming the gospel of Christ and making clear the way of salvation.

    We all draw a line in the sand somewhere between those who are truly in Christ and those who are not. Here is the rich young ruler. In many ways his situation is unique in that the command to him to sell all that he has is not replicated in any other part of the NT as a clear command to everyone to do likewise. One thing is clear (to me anyway) - his refusal to do so exposes the fact that he is still in an unrepentant state. His money is his god as shown by his failure to keep an application of the First Commandment. When push comes to shove, he is determined to hold unto his money, outwardly defy the Lord Jesus. His case may be replicated many times over in relation to other sins. Other scenarios: Here is a drug dealer. He wants eternal life but he openly declares that he will give never up his gangland empire, nor is he in the least sorry that he bullied or murdered his way to the illicit top. Here is a wicked woman who gets her sinful pleasures by luring married men away from their wives. She says that she wants eternal life, but sees nothing wrong with her deeds. Two consenting adults etc., Certainly there is no profession of repentance and no evidence of it either. Just as this rich young ruler had to forego eternal life because of his non repentance, likewise these, and any sinner, who refuse to repent.

    Perhaps there are very weak believers in the Assembly. They struggle with sins and many are their falls. But it is the mark of the child of God that he will seek the Lord again and again in repentance and faith. (Not to be justified, since that has been settled) but because when the Spirit of God works in the professing Christian, He works a work of repentance and faith. Failure to do so, leads us at the very least to put a question mark over their profession. We are not playing God here. We may be mistaken but God is not. However, the Lord has made it known that there is to be church discipline and that includes excommunication as a last resort.

    I appreciate your close questioning here (and Rose's too) I just hope that I am doing justice to the position that I think best represents the Bible view.

    Here's a question from this end: What mercy can one who refuses to confess and forsake their sin have? According to Proverbs 28:13 as quoted continuously above?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 1:21:00 PM  

  • Hey Chris. Matthew 18:15-35 doesn't have anything to do with eternal salvation. The unrepentant brother in Matthew 18:15-19 is to be thrown out of the congregation, but it has nothing to do with salvation. The man is eternally secure. So the Free Grace message still applies to him. He is still guaranteed to enter the Kingdom. Salvation isn't the topic here.

    Likewise, the wicked believer in 18:21-35, who is thrown into prison by God is also an eternally secure person. We in Free Grace don't question his salvation. In 18:21-35, we have a man who has his debt cancelled by the master (God), and instead of extending the same grace to a fellow believer who owes him money, he throws him into the prison. The master (God) sees this, and likewise throws the wicked believer into prison to give him a taste of his own medicine. Again, nothing about salvation.

    Chris, are you not familiar with the Free Grace view of rewards? Rewards are a huge part of NT theology. Just because you're irrevocably guaranteed a spot in God's Kingdom (at the point in time you are persuaded you have eternal life as a free gift through Christ), doesn't mean you can't be "thrown into prison", "consumed by fire", face "a punishment worse than death", because none of these phrases have anything to do with hell.

    Do you know that there is a difference between the gift of eternal life and the reward of eternal life? The gift of eternal life is freely given at the point you are convinced that you have eternal life through Christ, apart from works. Jesus' Death and Resurrection is the sole basis of salvation. The reward of eternal life refers to the abundant quality of that life that faithful believers will experience in the Kingdom when they are ruling with Christ. This is the reward of eternal life that believers are to lay hold of (1 Tim 6:12,19 and Galatians 6:8-9) by doing good. Unfaithful believers don't have the reward of eternal life, but they still have the gift of eternal life (guaranteed entrance into God's Kingdom).

    By Anonymous danny, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 2:22:00 PM  

  • Hello again, Chris,
    I am not a FGer, but I do agree with them on the point that our justification has nothing to do with our works. Our own "righteousness" is as filthy rags to God and so we desperately need Christ's perfect righteousness and His forgiveness or we will die in our sin.

    A true Christian will show fruits of repentance in his life after salvation, not because he is earning God's favor, but because God is working in him. He loves God and out of gratitude wants to please Him.
    In the visible church there are both wheat and tares. There are some church members who profess faith without actually possessing it. God alone knows who the true believers are. Even so, the church leadership is responsible, as far as humanly possible, to examine those who want to join the church, be baptized or admitted to the Lord's Table. The leaders have the authority and responsibility to carry out church discipline as well, but it is possible for them to make mistakes.

    About your Matthew 18 question, the passage explains the steps that should be taken to restore a brother or sister who is in sin. If all the steps are taken and the personal appeals do not work, the church becomes involved and they warn the person of his danger and encourage him to repent. If he continues to harden his heart and ignores all the warnings of the church, at some point the church leaders would conclude that he is not a true believer. His membership would be revoked and he would be excommunicated.

    That does not mean that a true believer can lose his salvation. It means that the person's profession of faith is in doubt since he will not repent of his sin. He is acting like an unbeliever, so he is assumed to be one.

    1 John 2:19
    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

    if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
    The person in question is no longer considered a brother or sister in Christ by the church. Hopefully it will cause the person to fear for their soul and to flee to Christ for mercy before it is too late.
    Hope that helps.
    ~VA Susan

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 8:59:00 PM  

  • Not so VA Susan. Just because we are to treat the unrepentant brother as an unbeliever does not mean we're supposed to doubt his salvation and actually consider him an unbeliever. Because he wants to act like an unbeliever, you are to treat him as one, but that's not the same thing as actually considering him an unbeliever. An unrepentant believer is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). That's the key. Paul doesn't consider unrepentant believers to be unbelievers. He considers them as believers, as evidenced by the fact that he says they are worse than unbelievers (1 Tim 5:8).

    When Paul uses the phrase, "anyone named a brother" in 1 Corinthians 5:11, the usage of the Greek word "named" always signifies that the person does indeed hold that title in the NT. Translations that say "anyone who calls himself a brother" or "the so-called" brother are being dishonest with the text. And the immoral brother in 5:5 would experience destruction so that his "spirit would be saved", which has NOTHING to do with eternal salvation. The destruction of his flesh would save his spiritual well-being at the Judgment Seat, which has nothing to do with entering the Kingdom. Faith in Jesus saves you from hell. The destruction of the flesh saves your spiritual well-being.

    As to the wheat and tares, the field is the world, not the church. A tare is anyone who hasn't believed that they have eternal life as a free gift through Christ. The wheat are those who have believed that they have eternal life as a free gift through Christ. You can't tell if people are saved or not by their lifestyle. A lot of moral church-goers are tares. And a lot of carnal church-goers are wheat. Just because someone is saved doesn't mean that God causes them persevere. Many believers in the NT didn't persevere. People who have believed that they have eternal life through Christ alone, and not by works, are wheat, regardless of lifestyle.

    As to your usage of 1 John 2:19, that verse is addressing false teachers who had entered the apostolic circle. "Us" is referring to the apostolic circle, not the entire Christian community - check the references to "we" and "us" in 1 John 1:1-4, to see who "us" is in 1 John 2:19.

    By Anonymous danny, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 10:33:00 PM  

  • VA Susan, let me add this. The field is the world, which includes the church. The tares in the world and church are those who haven't believed that they have eternal life as a free gift through Christ, and lifestyle has nothing to do with it. There are moral tares and immoral wheat. It's not about people proving their faith by their behavior. Faith doesn't lead to guaranteed perseverance. Some believers stop believing, others don't mature, and others persevere, anywhere from 30-fold to 100-fold (Matthew 13:1-9, Mark 4:1-9, Luke 8:4-14).

    By Anonymous danny, at Saturday, October 20, 2007 10:49:00 PM  

  • Colin let me first say that IMO you not only represent your understanding well but more importantly you exemplify the love and patience that we should all have toward one another in discussion.

    That being said you’ve brought up many things here and, if God permits, I hope that in time we can discuss each one. To be honest I am still trying to find the difference in our beliefs that would cause the difference in our understanding with respect to the necessity of repentance from sin in the appropriation of eternal life. I am presently thinking that it may be our varying perception on sin. Where you find that the young ruler fell short because of his greed in that he would not sell all and follow Christ I find he fell short of faith in that he did not acknowledge Christ as savior from the start but rather trusted in his own works. It seems to me he then tried to press the Lord to acknowledge that he had earned eternal life in keeping the law. The Lord had pity on him and called him to learn of Him, which he declined but even in this He did not leave him hopeless but declared that with God, all things are possible.

    All the examples you cite only remind me of myself. Even under conviction and miserable with the full knowledge I was a sinner and without God there was still not one sinful act that I could not justify in my own mind until after I knew the Truth, Jesus Christ. While the knowledge of my condition made me frantic for relief I was still a slave to sin. Even up to the very moment I believed in Christ Jesus I continued to reject His Church, His will and His ways. Only after I trusted in Him was my mind purged and all things became new.

    “Here's a question from this end: What mercy can one who refuses to confess and forsake their sin have? According to Proverbs 28:13 as quoted continuously above?”

    Fair enough. You have been most patient during my examination and I will do my best to respond in kind. ;-)

    I consider this verse parallel with 1st John 1:9. Where I suspect we might part is that I don’t consider this as pertaining to our election. Just as Abraham was not chosen because he repented of sin but because he believed God so it is with us who believe. It is not because we are sinless or less sinful that God grants us eternal life but because we believe the Holy Spirit testimony that the man Jesus is Christ the Savior, the Son of God. God saves us while we are yet sinners and it is then we are called to turn from sin and to do the good works prepared in Christ Jesus. Any man who would then fail to make his calling and election sure will suffer greatly in judgment.

    Brother I know you will be busy and if at any point you or Rose think it better we continue this elsewhere and/or latter you know I will be happy to oblige. I really do consider it a great blessing to be able to consider these things with you.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, October 21, 2007 2:47:00 AM  

  • Rose please forgive my straying from your topic once again but I think the question that Chris ask is an important one.

    Chris I understand this text to establish Church authority in all matters concerning fellowship between believers. Christ makes it clear that to disobey the ruling of the Church on these matters would result in serious consequences both here on earth and “in heaven” as indicated in the example found in 1st Cor. 5.

    This text does not authorize the Church to make determinations on the eternal destiny of anyone or on the quality of their service to the Lord. We are expressly forbidden to do so. That is an error of the Roman church. It should be noted that this action is a responsibility of the Church and this authority cannot be relegated to a select few. That notion is also an error established by the Roman church.

    If you would like to discuss this further with me I will be happy to continue at your place or mine or even by Email if you prefer. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, October 21, 2007 2:55:00 AM  

  • I have nothing to add to this discussion and much to learn from it, so for what it's worth, I'd just like to say thank you to everyone contributing. I'm gleaning helpful information to my practical walk as a Christian.

    Although I've skimmed most comments, I have thoroughly read a few (Colin's, kc's and danny's in particular). Most enlightening. And conducted in a respectful and gracious manner. I love it.

    Rose, excellent that posted this. You always seem to draw a conversation that gets folks going.

    Thank you all. And have a most blessed Lord's Day in fellowship and unity among brethren.

    By Blogger Susan, at Sunday, October 21, 2007 6:23:00 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose (and everyone else)

    Kc writes: Where you find that the young ruler fell short because of his greed in that he would not sell all and follow Christ I find he fell short of faith in that he did not acknowledge Christ as savior from the start but rather trusted in his own works. It seems to me he then tried to press the Lord to acknowledge that he had earned eternal life in keeping the law. The Lord had pity on him and called him to learn of Him, which he declined but even in this He did not leave him hopeless but declared that with God, all things are possible I don't think it that is necessarily an "either/or" situation here, but possibly both (or all. There is no record that he ever did come savingly to Christ, but that in itself does not allow us to be dogmatic one way or the other.

    You introduce the doctrine of election, which while doubtless important at any time, was not necessarily needful in this case. The matter at hand may be discussed without making recourse to it. It may be observed, as the Proverbs succintly states, that any who do not confess and forsake their sins will not find mercy. I think it may be said that when it comes to gospel mercy, those who do confess and forsake their sins and find mercy will be found to be the elect of God. That last statement is not an exclusively Calvinist statement.

    Anyway, I must bid farewell to this discussion for a while. I'll be away for a couple of weeks with (probably) limited internet use. I might be able to "pop in" and have a wee look, but finding a spare 30-45 minutes to give a long winded answer will be difficult.

    Enjoyed your chats.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, October 21, 2007 7:41:00 AM  

  • Colin the pleasure is mine though I should say it is not necessary to introduce Calvinism as election may be discussed without making recourse to it (hehe).

    Godspeed and I will withhold further reply until your return. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, October 21, 2007 10:50:00 AM  

  • kc writes: ...it is not necessary to introduce Calvinism as election may be discussed without making recourse to it (hehe).

    True. But everyone knows what you mean :-)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, October 21, 2007 12:50:00 PM  

  • Rose,
    I found this blog which goes along with this topic.

    And this is also relevant from one of Spurgeon's sermons.

    Humbling Ourselves Before God
    By C. H. Spurgeon
    From his sermon on 1 Peter 5:6

    ...I want you to sink so low that you cannot say anything good of yourself; nay, nor see an atom of goodness in yourself. When you look inside your heart and can see nothing but that which would condemn you; when you look at your life and see everything there that deserves wrath; then you are on the road to hope. Come before God a criminal, in the prison dress, with the rope about your neck. You will be saved, then. When you confess that you have nothing of your own but sin--when you acknowledge that you deserve to die, and to be cast away for ever--God in infinite pity will let you live through faith in Christ Jesus. Many years ago a certain prince visited the Spanish galleys, where a large number of convicts were confined, chained to their oars to toil on without relief;--I think nearly all of them condemned to a life sentence. Being a great prince, the King of Spain told him that he might in honor of his visit set free anyone of the galley-slaves he chose. He went down among them to choose his man. He said to one, "Man, how did you come here?" He replied that false witnesses swore away his character. "Ah!" said the prince and passed on. He went to the next who stated that he had done something that was wrong, certainly, but not very much, and that he never ought to have been condemned. "Ah!" said the prince, and again passed on. He went the round, and found that they were all good fellows--all convicted by mistake. At last he came to one who said, "You ask me why I came here. I am ashamed to say that I richly deserve it. I am guilty, I cannot say that I am not; and if I die at this oar, I thoroughly deserve the punishment. In fact, I think it a mercy that my life is spared me." The prince stopped and said, "It is a pity that such a bad fellow as you should be placed amongst such a number of innocent people. I will set you free." You smile at that; but let me make you smile again. My Lord Jesus Christ has come here at this time to set somebody free. He has come here at this time to pardon somebody's sins. You that have no sins shall have no pardon. You good people shall die in your sins. But, oh, you guilty ones, who humble yourselves under the hand of God my Master thinks that it is a pity that you should be among these self-righteous people. So come right away, and trust your Saviour, and obtain life eternal through His precious blood; and to Him shall be glory for ever and ever. Amen

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Wednesday, October 31, 2007 7:02:00 PM  

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