[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)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Faith does not always result in action

by Matthew

Back in 2002 and 2003, I was of the opinion that Britain and the United States should go to war against Iraq (Note to commenters- I do not want to get into the question of the rightness or the wrongness of the Iraq War in the comments, if you don't mind).

I believed that Saddam Hussein proabably had weapons of mass destruction and the West would be taking a big risk if they did not take out his military machine.

However, I did not join the army, the navy or the air force. I was very skinny and I have a minor disability, but I cannot say with certainty that I would have failed a medical test had I volunteered my service to Her Majesty's forces.

I had not the slightest thought of taking the king's shilling. A military life had no attraction for me. I was studying law and I did not want to break off my studies to go to war. I am sure if I had suggested joining up, my friends and family would have advised me against it.

I contributed absolutely nothing whatsoever to the allied efforts in the war against Iraq. The only thing I did as a result of my professed belief was to write one or two letters to the local paper in favour of war. I very much doubt that had I not written those letters to the Worcester News, Mr Blair and Mr Bush would have had second thoughts about going to war.

So, given that my belief had little effect on my behavour and did not result in my dedicating my life to service to my country, was it really sincere?

Yes, of course! I really did believe that war was necessary. I was convinced. I was persuaded. I trusted Blair and Bush in their conviction that war was necessary.Though rightly or wrongly, I had no intention of fighting for them.

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55 Comments:

  • Matthew, good points.

    You know how it is said that faith inevitably produces works, right?

    That statement can be falsified in a matter of a moment's thought.

    Has anyone, as a Christian, ever been confronted with doing a good work and failed to do it? If you did fail to work when such an opportunity to do one presented itself to your mind, then the statement that faith inevitably produces works is thus falsified.

    Such a statement would have to be reworked.

    If we thought about it, we could list literally dozens (I have the feeling that I am being very conservative here) of beliefs we have that never produce even one work!

    Your fg brother,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, December 08, 2007 1:51:00 PM  

  • Quite so.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, December 08, 2007 2:32:00 PM  

  • While I share your polictical conviction, I do find it hard to write essays encouraging other men to do something that I am not willing to do. Especially after watching them blow up next to me. I find it hard now to undertake that kind of work. An essay may prove to reflect resourceful intellectual knowledge, but in the end I dont think that it what made any differance in Blairs or Bushes decision or what inspired other men to fight in my place.

    I think in the end all those that are bleeding and dying for us right now would appreciate is thankfulness and gratitude. I am sure that resonates in your heart as you consider what these men are doing in your place.

    So it is with the cross. That is why an intellectual argument can remove it from the gospel and seem to have some sense of some kind, but be wrong in the end.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, December 08, 2007 5:40:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    You make a good observation.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, December 08, 2007 8:23:00 PM  

  • Hi Matthew
    I'm an Old Marine from the 1970's which was called the "Old Marine Corps." I joined on the buddy plan which only lasted through boot camp. Many of the ones in my platoon I'm sure died in Vietnam. One's right next to me were chosen to go but I was sent to California and Hawaii. Tough duty,,,LOL I don't think I ever gave it a thought that I could actually die when I joined, it only became real to me years later. I think many that take the free gift don't really think about running a race. They are just thinking they don't want to go to hell.
    I think many have an easier time at being a Christian because of their disposition or upbringing and don't understand for some it's a battle over sinful habits.

    blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, December 08, 2007 9:06:00 PM  

  • Hi Matthew

    Antonio brought to my attention Joseph Dillow's book "The Reign of the Servant Kings" he directed me to the chapter "The Partakers." Here is a little taste!

    We all bring a lot of emotional patterns into our Christian lives. This background includes genetic and environmental factors which, in part at least, determine what we are. It is therefore easier for some to live victoriously than others. It appears, however, that the issue is not success but faithfulness!
    1 Cor 4:1-2

    Some of us come from broken homes, alcoholic homes, or some of us have certain genetic predispositions to stress, anxiety, and other emotional difficulties that often make trusting God more difficult than for others. While Scripture never allows us to use these things as an excuse for disobedience, our great High Priest knows about these things and takes them into account now and surely will at the final reckoning. At that time many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. Just because a man struggles with persistant failure now does not mean he forfeits his reward; in fact, it means just the opposite. The fact that he stays in the struggle and returns to the battle is evident proof that he is one of the Partakers. Remember, David commited adultry and murder, and yet at the end of his life God said of him that he was a "man after God's own heart." Success is not the only issue; faithful perseverance, even after failure is!

    True words by Dillow!!! And of course he is speaking of the Metochoi not just ones who have taken of the living water freely who are Children and not yet living as sons!

    blessings alvin

    blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, December 08, 2007 9:26:00 PM  

  • Hey Alvin,

    I thought I directed you to chapter 23, negative judgment, especially the parts on the intent of the atonement.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, December 08, 2007 9:36:00 PM  

  • Hi Antonio

    I guess I have selective hearing! LOL I'll go to Chapter 23 now!

    thanks alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, December 08, 2007 10:11:00 PM  

  • Brian, I wish our troops every blessing and pray they may speedily return home.

    I do not know any more what to think about the Iraq War and I do not want to discuss it here.

    Rose, thanks.

    Alvin, I really like 'Reign of the Servant Kings.'

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, December 09, 2007 1:32:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You said>I wish our troops every blessing and pray they may speedily return home.<

    I am sure that some of them...even the ones that dont share your political convictions are appreciative that you consider the grave nature of them placing their very souls on the line for our defense. Some of them are burning in hell right now because of our desire of seing them go to war for us. I find it hard to laugh about such matters, but I am glad you are grateful. We must look to the cross as the serpent was lifted in the wilderness and the realization will continue to dawn on us of the hell that Jesus underwent in our place...more and more. I hope some of you will consider this.

    This is simply a biblical fact. We must be born again. It cannot happen unless we look to the cross where Jesus took sin upon himself and nailed the serpent to the cross. The sinful nature. We must tell people that Jesus loves them and showed it by dying for them. 1 John tells us that this is how we know what love is.

    Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again and then pointed to the brazen serpent. The fact of looking to the cross and trusting in what he did their in its entirety and simplicity is what re-births us. If we tell men it is all right for them not to necessarily have to believe in that, then we lead them away from the truth. It may seem good and innocent, but it is like laughing when considering that the men and women who died next to us are now burning in hell if they did not look to the cross.

    It was men in the Navy that I saw bleed and die in my Marine Corp pride that I have had a hard time getting out of my mind to this day. Please consider and be grateful in your hearts for what they have done and look to the cross where Jesus took upon himself our sin and misery in our place. May we pause and consider this to be something that transcends any impulses we may have to make a case for our theological positions.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Sunday, December 09, 2007 10:05:00 AM  

  • Brian,

    with all due respect

    You may point people to the cross.

    I am happy pointing them to Jesus.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, December 09, 2007 3:52:00 PM  

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    By Blogger Only Look, at Sunday, December 09, 2007 7:26:00 PM  

  • With all do respect....I chose a differant road than yours, but it is not to late to change your mind.

    "Jesus Christ and Him crucified"

    1 Corinthians 2:2

    Awake.

    There can only be one way and it must come by the same road the theif came. We can not get around that door. The God of the Bible meets you at the cross. Nowhere else. Do not be deceived by persuasive words that even the apostle Paul did not claim to use.

    1 Corinthians 2:4

    It is not to late to change your mind. Please stop minimizing the work of the cross. Please stop breaking the heart of God where His heart broke.

    bhedr

    By Blogger Only Look, at Sunday, December 09, 2007 7:30:00 PM  

  • Come By The Way Of The Cross

    There is no other way.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Sunday, December 09, 2007 7:54:00 PM  

  • Brian,

    Don't sow discord among brothers. The cross does not save. Jesus Christ does.

    I show the lost the cross along with many other things about Jesus.

    I point them to faith in Jesus, the one who says quite simply, "whoever believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47).

    Preach the cross, brother, as I do, but point men to faith in Jesus, for the cross doesn't dispense eternal life...

    Jesus of Nazareth does.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, December 09, 2007 8:23:00 PM  

  • Hi Matthew

    Only is the crosswork saving if it is believed in the way that one is believing in Jesus as "The Christ" the One who has saved them from all their sins!!! So eternal life would be implicit not explicit.
    So looking to Jesus lifted up as guarenteeing ones eternal destiny then one lives! Look and Live!!!
    But we know many look to the cross and are not saved (Catholics,Calvinist,Arminians)because they are not looking in faith believing that Jesus has saved them from their sins but think they still have to do something to save themselves. Persevereance of the saints would be one such work.

    blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, December 09, 2007 8:59:00 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    Sorry, this is a little off topic, but I need to address Alvin on his last comment.

    Alvin, you said, "But we know many look to the cross and are not saved (Catholics,Calvinist,Arminians)because they are not looking in faith believing that Jesus has saved them from their sins but think they still have to do something to save themselves."

    Let me repeat what Antonio said to Brian, "Don't sow discord among brothers." I believe you forgot to include Free Grace in that list with Catholics, Calvinist, Arminians. Your broad stroke is divisive, and should be reevaluated. I dare say that there are many who warm the pews/chairs of Free Grace churches who "believe that Jesus has saved them from their sins but think they still have to do something to save themselves".

    And I say this in love, unless you are able to discern the hearts of men, you might want to take look at that denominational log that's in your own eye.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Soldem, at Monday, December 10, 2007 11:33:00 AM  

  • Tencent,

    I think I would side with Alvin.

    Doctrine is not what saves: faith in Jesus apart from works does. And those who he listed are horribly confused and confusing on that point.

    That is my opinion, and I hope you don't take offense.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, December 10, 2007 11:55:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    No offense taken. Just trying to clarify matters. Alvin has made a sweeping accusation, essentially saying that there are many Catholics, Calvinists, Arminians, who are not saved because of what they believe.

    However, I have yet to meet a Calvinist who has said they believe in their works for their salvation. Or that they believe in anything other than Christ for their salvation. (I can't speak for Catholics or Arminians.) I know that not everyone who claims to be a Calvinist (or Catholic or Arminian) is saved/believes in Christ for their salvation. However, I also know that's true about those who claim to be Free Grace.

    But then you might say, yes they say that, but they believe in Perseverance of the Saints. So they're believing in their works to save them. To which I reply, how do you know their heart? How do you know what they're believing in for their salvation? They've told you (assuming that they've shared that information) that they believe in Christ and Christ alone, yet you stand (or Alvin stands) as judge and jury, condemning them to hell because of what you perceive to be their doctrine.

    Consider Eph. 4:29
    "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."

    I do not feel that Alvin's statement is "good for edification" and so it did not "give grace to those who hear." So I thought it necessary to point that out. His statement is not untrue. Yet, it's selective and would seem to be intended to be a jab at those particular groups. And would have been just as strong without listing any groups. Thus my call for reevaluation and not retraction.

    Does that make sense Antonio, or am I talking myself into a hole? Those types of comments are divisive, and are we not all united in Christ?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Soldem, at Monday, December 10, 2007 12:47:00 PM  

  • I agree with Ten Cent. Alvin's comment was unnecessary, at least for Calvinists. I have specifically said to Alvin that I am not relying on my works in ANY WAY for my salvation, that I do not consider my works/anything I've done as contributing in ANY WAY to my justification, it is ALL OF GRACE. Yet Alvin ignores my words and continues to condemn me to hell. Such condemnation is quite unnecessary and rather judgmental.

    Matthew, to the topic of this post... I do not think your analogy holds. You are comparing apples to oranges. The differences lie in what the Bible says occurs as a result of saving faith/belief in Jesus, versus what occurs as a result of your belief in the rightness of the Iraq war. Bush and Blair did not promise a permanent indwelling of themselves (and thus all their power to go to war) in the war believers. Bush and Blair did not promise death to the desire to stay at home and life to the desire to go to war for all the war believers. Bush and Blair did not say, "All those who believe in this war are brand new creatures! The old peaceful or lazy creatures are gone, all things are new!"

    You say that your view of the war did not cause you to enlist in the armed forces and fight. Yet, I am sure that your view did actually cause you to do something related. Perhaps it contributed to your voting in a certain way (on any number of issues), or maybe you expressed your opinion to others, maybe it influenced your opinion of various media sources and famous people, perhaps it caused you to pray for the situation, etc. Signing up to fight is only one way that your view could have affected you.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Monday, December 10, 2007 1:56:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    A couple more things. First, Bush and Blair did not ask all war believers to actually go and fight. Indeed, a good war outcome requires some to stay at home and keep working and paying taxes to maintain the economy and the "normal" environment of the country. This is certainly much different than the call of Christ on ALL believers to follow Him completely.

    Also, you said,

    "So, given that my belief had little effect on my behavour and did not result in my dedicating my life to service to my country, was it really sincere?"

    I don't know about others, but I am not claiming that a Christian must "dedicate their life of service" to God in order to truly be saved. The title of your article is "faith does not always result in action". Some kind of "action" is far different from "dedicating a life of service". As I've said before, I agree with Ryrie, that good works WILL come from true saving faith, "somewhere, sometime, somehow". But this does not necessarily mean that all true Christians will be Super Christians.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Monday, December 10, 2007 2:06:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Monday, December 10, 2007 2:08:00 PM  

  • Rachel,

    I am not going to answer to all of your post. Matthew is an intelligent and articulate man and is able clarify himself.

    I do wish to make a couple of statements in regards to this of yours:

    "I have specifically said to Alvin that I am not relying on my works in ANY WAY for my salvation, that I do not consider my works/anything I've done as contributing in ANY WAY to my justification, it is ALL OF GRACE."

    For the moment I want to dismiss the topic of justification. Lordship Calvinists do indeed frontload the saving message with works with their insistence that one: turn from sins, confess sins, surrender all, commit all, give your life to Jesus, etc... But that is not where I want to take this.

    I would like to talk about final salvation. Logically, it can be proved that if works are a necessary result of faith for which the believer is even partly responsible for then works are necessary for final salvation.

    Note the Calvinist John Piper:

    "...we must also own up to the fact that our final salvation is made contingent upon the subsequent obedience which comes from faith." (John Piper "TULIP: What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism...", pg 25)

    For instance, take marriage. Let us say that the law in the US was that you had to have a blood test. So one's decision to get married will inevitably and necessarily lead the couple to get a blood test. So getting a blood test is a result of a couple's decision to get married. But from the other perspective, that of marriage, it also becomes a condition for marriage! A result for which one is responsible is no different than a condition!

    Faith alone in Christ = final salvation in my soteriology

    faith in Christ = works = final salvation in your soteriology

    Without the works, there is no final salvation in your soteriology!

    The only way that this logic would fail is if you retort that the works that are produced in the believer's life are not at all his responsibility but only God's.

    But then you would be against the whole bible that enjoins Christians to be obedient. If God wrought through the Christian works apart from the Christian's responsibility, whereby God does the works through the Christian apart from the Christian's endeavor and will, then there would be no need for the literally hundreds of entreaties to the will for the Christian to obey the commandments of God.

    Looked at from the perspective of eternity, Rachel, without the condition of works being fulfilled, no one will be in heaven. And these works are not all God's responsibility. They are a cooperation between God and man. Therefore, there is a responsibility of the Christian to do works, for without the works, there is no heaven.

    This is nothing other than "bear or burn" theology.

    Bear no fruit, burn in hell.

    Otherwise known as works-contingent final salvation.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, December 10, 2007 2:17:00 PM  

  • The whole time Jesus walked the earth he was telling all that followed him...both Jews and Greeks, that except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone. They were looking for a temporal reign of some kind. A victory to emancipate their cause and Jesus was their hero, but he was pointing them to the cross because he had to put to death sin. It had to die. We have to reckon with Jesus as our sinbearer. Again...do not be decieved. The cross is not just some kind of thing we attach to a list of things to get people to believe in Jesus..it was the whole point that severed the very intention of the heart and broke us open to understand our need and how great our Saviour is.

    The whole world is looking for love and grace, but they cringe at the site of the cross because they have to reckon with how their sin cost Jesus so much. We must understand that it is there that our sin debt is paid in full. A blood sacrifice must be had and Jesus paid that sacrifice.

    All of the followers of Jesus scattered as their false hopes came to a crashing end at the cross and the cross is the fulcrum of eternitys message to our need of God. Jesus is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

    You sin must be delt with in completeness for you to be able to approach God and Jesus made that way for us. He is our Saviour and the cross is how he took our hand in one of his and his Fathers in the other and mediated the better covanent.

    You musnt dismiss the cross as some other means along with many others. It is the whole point of finding life in death.

    I am disheartened that I am accused of sowing discord when it clearly is you and that you will continue on in this manner with much support. It is tragic.
    Awake.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Monday, December 10, 2007 4:06:00 PM  

  • Brian,

    I found this part of your comment very good:

    A blood sacrifice must be had and Jesus paid that sacrifice.

    All of the followers of Jesus scattered as their false hopes came to a crashing end at the cross and the cross is the fulcrum of eternitys message to our need of God. Jesus is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

    You sin must be delt with in completeness for you to be able to approach God and Jesus made that way for us. He is our Saviour and the cross is how he took our hand in one of his and his Fathers in the other and mediated the better covanent.


    I couldn't agree more!

    Jesus didn't even tell his disciples about his death and resurrection until the third year of his ministry. At that point they did not even believe Him!

    Througout Jesus' ministry, He pointed to Himself as the object of faith, He pointed to Himself as the trustworthy and authoratative one who is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to whoever believes in Him.

    I proclaim the cross, both evangelistically and in discipleship. The cross is as you say, the fulcrum of history; Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world. He died for each of our sins, from the day of our birth until the day of our death.

    The cross is as important as you say. Yet even as it is as important as you say, it is not the object of saving faith. Without the cross there would be no eternal life, no eternal forgiveness, no justification. The cross is where payment was made for the gift Jesus offers. But it is just that: the payment!

    Because of Christ's death He may offer the gift of everlasting life to everyone. In God's sovereignty, He decided to impart the gift of everlasting life to all who simply believe in Jesus for it.

    The payment is done. All that is left is to receive that which it payed for: the free gift of everlasting life.

    How is that received?

    Not by assenting to doctrines!

    By trusting in Christ!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, December 10, 2007 4:53:00 PM  

  • Antonio it is like Chasing a ghost. I am calling it quits. You have stated in the past that a person can be saved without believing in the finished work of the cross as long as he is believing that Jesus is the author of His eternal life. We could go around in circles, but in the end the whole point is being explained His finished work and resting in what He has done just as much as who He is. That is what the Ethiopian Eunuch had to be explained to by Phillip.

    This is not healthy, this roundabout you do.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Monday, December 10, 2007 6:15:00 PM  

  • The funny thing is, Brian, that you are contributing to a round-about that you are speaking against.

    I am seeking to clarify for people what saves. Believing that Jesus Christ died on the cross for sins is not what saves. I believed this as a Catholic and was hellbound.

    Believing in Jesus, in other words, entrusting your eternal well-being into His hands is what saves.

    Confusion and complexity be gone! Soteriological doctrinal legalism be gone!

    The simple message of faith in Jesus is the saving message.

    No matter what I know or understand about Jesus, I know that He can be trusted with regards to my eternal well-being. He can be trusted! Simple faith in Him brings everlasting life.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, December 10, 2007 7:09:00 PM  

  • Rachel,

    What makes you say this?

    "As I've said before, I agree with Ryrie, that good works WILL come from true saving faith, "somewhere, sometime, somehow"."

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 1:04:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew/Antonio/Ten Cent/Rachel
    Ten Cent put what I had said then commented:

    Alvin, you said, "But we know many look to the cross and are not saved (Catholics,Calvinist,Arminians)because they are not looking in faith believing that Jesus has saved them from their sins but think they still have to do something to save themselves."

    Let me repeat what Antonio said to Brian, "Don't sow discord among brothers." I believe you forgot to include Free Grace in that list with Catholics, Calvinist, Arminians. Your broad stroke is divisive, and should be reevaluated.

    And I say this in love, unless you are able to discern the hearts of men, you might want to take look at that denominational log that's in your own eye.


    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    I said:

    I'm not trying to sow discord among brothers but brothers cannot include unbelievers and be silent. And it is wrong if you know something is true but keep quiet. I know there is saved people in all these different denominations but it's not because they were saved by that way, but because at sometime in their life they simply believed Jesus for His gift of eternal life. I don't think we would be having this discussion if I had left out Calvinism. Because I think we would all agree on the Catholic faith that if anyone is trusting in their way of salvation they aren't going to get there. My Mother-n-law died in her Catholic faith about a year ago, I could not convince her other wise. And also with Arminians, they believe they can lose their salvation so you know they are believing in their performance (works) to get there. I believe that the Calvinist who teach perseverance of the saints is no different as Antonio has so clearly stated. I don't say these things to be mean or jab someone, that is the last thing I won't to do. My point is a person who is believing that their faith must have works to get to heaven. They might have at one time believed simply in Jesus free gift and were saved and later were told that their faith had to have works to be true faith. So now when they give the message instead of just telling someone they can simply take the living water freely they add that your faith has to have works or it's not real. So the person ends up not believing it's a free gift.
    It's like my uncle who believes you can lose your salvation. And I tried talking to him about it. He told me what's the big deal I believed what you do at one time that it was totally free. If your right I'm saved anyway! Right? I said yes, but the problem now is your family and all the others you talk to, you aren't telling them that, but your giving them what you believe now which is a works-salvation which they can't be saved by. Should I have just kept my mouth shut and not sowed discourse? Or how about my Pastor who believes that you don't have to believe in eternal security (assurance being the essence of saving faith) to be saved. And he believes he can have fellowship with ones who believe they can lose it. So this comes out in his sermons. So the people in the Church don't think that it's a priority to tell their relatives that believe that way because they are going to heaven and are their fellow brothers. Do I keep quiet? Do I say nothing and keep the peace? What do I do? Let people believe in their works salvation and go to hell. Now the Calvinist would say what is the big deal? This is silly!!! The elect are going to get saved no matter what! So they don't see anything really hanging in the balance. I do!!! I believe having ears to hear is a choice we make. I honestly believe that Calvinist are believing something that cannot save. Whether they put works on the front or the back it's faith+works. Tell me where I'm going wrong?
    blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 7:23:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew

    Ten Cent you said:
    I dare say that there are many who warm the pews/chairs of Free Grace churches who "believe that Jesus has saved them from their sins but think they still have to do something to save themselves".
    I say: This is why what Antonio and GES is stressing is that we need to be clear on what a person "MUST" believe to be saved. I like what Bob Wilkin's ask people "Do you believe in Jesus? Most Americans would say yes! Jesus said in John 6:47 Most assuredly I tell you he who believes in Me has eternal life. What do you have? Oh I see what your saying but it's not that simple, see there is all kinds of other commands in the bible you have to keep in order to get to heaven. Oh! That shows they don't believe it! Because Jesus says "he who believes in Me has eternal life." They say they believe in Jesus but don't believe they have eternal life showing they do not believe Jesus.
    That's just how simple it is whoever believes in Jesus for eternal life know they have eternal life based solely on Jesus promise. If our Free Grace Churches were clear on the bulls eye you wouldn't have all the confusion on how one gets to heaven. What they end up doing is giving everything but the kitchen sink like "Lou" but forget to tell people what they MUST believe. It seems though to most of you this is a big waste of time and something that just sows discourse. That's because I believe you as of yet do not understand what really hangs in the balance!

    blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 7:25:00 AM  

  • Alvin is right.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 7:36:00 AM  

  • Alvin,

    "If our Free Grace Churches were clear on the bulls eye you wouldn't have all the confusion on how one gets to heaven. "

    This is exactly my point. This is why I said you left out Free Grace in your list of targets in your first comment. The accusations that you level at these groups are valid, but you've been selective in your groups and did not qualify your statement. The way your statement reads, you've essentially said that anyone who falls within those three groups are not saved.

    You said, "I know there is saved people in all these different denominations but it's not because they were saved by that way, but because at sometime in their life they simply believed Jesus for His gift of eternal life."

    I think we'd all agree, salvation is independent of denominational affiliation. Which is again, why I say you left out Free Grace from your list.

    You say that the way to have eternal life is to simply believe in Jesus for it. The Calvinist says that they believe in Jesus for it. You may not agree with the rest of their doctrine, however, are they not a brother/sister in Christ? Or do you stand in judgement? Are you ready to call them liars? Because that's what you did by that statement. Whether you intended to or not. And I really didn't think you intended to, which is why I said the statement needed to be reevaluated.

    There's nothing wrong with defending the Gospel, defending the Truth. Just be careful that you don't cut off an arm when you're wielding the sword.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Soldem, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 11:14:00 AM  

  • Ten Cent,

    The thing is, my friend, that Calvinists talk out of two sides of their mouth.

    On the one hand, they say it is by grace through faith (or really they say it is by sovereign imposition of grace resulting in faith).

    But on the other hand they contradict themselves with each point of their doctrine whereby they say that it takes

    on the front end:surrender to the lordship of Christ, giving up one's life, commiting all, repenting and turning from all sins

    and on the back end: perseverance in works, endurance until the end, faithful confession, and obedient works stemming from faith.

    You must own up to this fact as a Calvinist!

    "...we must also own up to the fact that our final salvation is made contingent upon the subsequent obedience which comes from faith." (John Piper "TULIP: What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism...", pg 25)

    So, excuse the non-calvinist for bringing the calvinist to account for his contradictory doctrine. Which side of the mouth are we to believe?

    the one that says they look to Christ alone in faith?

    or the one that says that a person must sumbit all, surrender all, commit all, repent of all sins, be obedient, and endure until the end?

    If you truly believe in the first, get rid of all the latter language and mumbo-jumbo.

    But since you all are adamant about the latter, the more consistent position would be to jettison the first.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 12:12:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    You said, "On the one hand, they say it is by grace through faith (or really they say it is by sovereign imposition of grace resulting in faith).

    But on the other hand they contradict themselves with each point of their doctrine whereby they say that it takes

    on the front end:surrender to the lordship of Christ, giving up one's life, commiting all, repenting and turning from all sins

    and on the back end: perseverance in works, endurance until the end, faithful confession, and obedient works stemming from faith."


    OK, so let me understand something. If a person who had told you that they believed in Christ for eternal salvation were to go off and live a life of sin and debauchery, you would not call into question their salvation. Yet someone tells you that they believe in Christ for eternal salvation, and you question their doctrine (which you don't understand, even though you say you do) and so then it's OK to question their faith, their eternal state? Now I'm confused. What am I to believe about your position? Have you become a fruit inspector, inspecting other people's fruit? No, of course you haven't, but that's what your comments amount to.

    BTW, John Piper is no more the spokesperson for what I believe personally than is Ryrie a spokesperson for what all dispensationalists believe. You quote these people as if that somehow gives you warrant to take shots at your BROTHERS and SISTERS in Christ. Which is what this particular debate is about, building up fellow believers and not tearing them down. Pointing out error is important, please don't miss the point of the original comment. The error that Alvin pointed out and desires to correct is not exclusive to the three groups that he targeted. And intentional or not, his comment did not prove to be a comment of unification, it sowed discord. It's the idea that if we push down the Calvinist, the Free Gracer will stand taller.

    Antonio, I have no doubt that your sincere desire is to see people put their trust in Christ. And I understand your zeal to protect the Truth. I even appreciate your posts that I might no consider to be right doctrine, because it makes me think and reevaluate. But mowing down a Brother or Sister in the name of Free Grace is no way to uphold and defend the Truth. It does nothing to further the Gospel.

    Alright, I'll step down off my soapbox now. And I hope, you, Alvin, don't think that I'm "leveling my guns" at you. That's not my intent. You also have an admirable zeal for the Truth. And I can appreciate that.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Soldem, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 1:01:00 PM  

  • Soldem, the key issue is assurance.

    If a person has never been certain that she posesses eternal life, she has never truly trusted in Christ.

    Some Arminians may have had assurance when they were converted and are truly saved, but their denial of eternal security is a denial of the Gospel.

    Thankfully, many Calvinists do have assurance that they posess eternal life. I leave it to them to explain how they reconcile that with their doctrine of Perserverance.

    Assurance of everlasting life in Christ is the essence of saving faith.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 1:25:00 PM  

  • You misrepresent the truth again here in bringing up the red herring of Romanism in comparison to your faulty understanding.

    You said>I am seeking to clarify for people what saves. Believing that Jesus Christ died on the cross for sins is not what saves. I believed this as a Catholic and was hellbound.<

    Romans believe that Jesus' death on the cross was not completely sufficient and a once for all sacrifice that pleased and satisfied the wrath of God. They believe other offerings must be made and other minor gods like Mary and the saints must be believed in as well.

    YOu need to stop using this faulty syllogism. It is not really a syllogism and is misleading and false.

    Those who believe their sins...past, present and future are nailed to the Cross in the Lord Jesus Christ are saved...entirely. Do not misrepresent the truth of the saving work of Christ at the cross anymore. I plead with you to change your mind and begin to see the importance of calling people to the true understanding of the cross instead of dismissing Christ's work there as being insufficient for our salvation and justification.

    You do not believe like I do. Please stop saying you do. There can only be one truth in the finished work of the cross and how that it is there that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ satisfied our sin debt in facing the wrath of God and is now risen having buried those sins 2000 years ago. Stop saying that calling men to understand and believe this truth is not sufficient and is not a proper understanding of the grace of God.

    I will contend for this truth with my dying breath instead of dismissing it as you do in adding it somehow to Romanism. They pervert the cross.

    Anytime we add to the work of the cross, we subtract from it. This is what you are doing. You may not think you are, but you are.

    I strongly encourage you to change your mind.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 3:34:00 PM  

  • If any of you think that believing that Christs saving work at the cross in paying for your sins is not enough then you are still in them and need to repent of whatever ideas you have formed and admit to Christ that His death at the cross is sufficient to be believed in to purchase you and give you new life.

    Arguing against this truth will condemn you to hell forever. Fear the Lord and accept His sacrifice on your behalf instead of arguing with Him. This is a dangerous area to argue with God on and very very shaky ground. The shakiest ground anyone in the world could possibly set themselves on.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 3:47:00 PM  

  • Brian,

    where is there a verse in the whole of the Bible that states that you receive everlasting life, justification, or eternal salvation by believing that Jesus died for your sins?

    If I were so inclined, I could give you major support from the bible stating that believing in Jesus is all that is necessary.

    Don't call men to understand theology, call them to place their faith in Jesus, the one who guarantees the eternal well being to all who simply believe in Him for it.

    There is a place for everything, Brian. The cross has its obvious place in evangelism and discipleship.

    But a place it doesn't hold is in the content of saving faith.

    Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, holds the sole place there.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 6:37:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    I see that you are a man of few words. :-)

    Are you asking me why I say that works will always follow faith? Or are you asking me why I said that Ryrie says that? And will my answer contribute to you addressing my objections to your analogy? If not, I'm happy to give my answer, but please also address my objections.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 7:12:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger knetknight, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 7:12:00 PM  

  • Antonio said: If I were so inclined, I could give you major support from the bible stating that believing in Jesus is all that is necessary.

    Please, do so incline yourself. Everything we've seen from your side so far fails the very standard of evidence you are foisting on Brian and others, but it's possible you've got something new so let's see it. Live up to your own standard first, that's all I'm asking here. I have asked before yet you (your side) have not yet produced a single vs that meets your own criteria.

    So, Antonio, where is there a verse in the whole of the Bible that you think states that you receive everlasting life solely by believing that Jesus gives you everlasting life?

    By Blogger knetknight, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 7:18:00 PM  

  • Your uncertain question?

    >where is there a verse in the whole of the Bible that states that you receive everlasting life, justification, or eternal salvation by believing that Jesus died for your sins?<

    The sure and complete answer that comes from God's Word:

    "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace."
    Ephesians 1:7

    It's all there in black and white. You cannot split who He is from what he has done. It is all in one verse. You have proven to me and convinced me to never read anything Zane Hodges or Wilkins puts out. I will steer clear of it in the future. It is dangerous theology. You are calling us to place faith in your theology. Not I. Stop following man and put your faith in Christ and his finished work on your behalf that he made known at the dawn of this world when he slew the innocent beasts to clothe Adam and Eve and promised the her seed would triumph over the one who enslaved them after they disobeyed. Satan and sin go together the same way Christ and the Cross triumphs over it.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 7:19:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    You said,

    "The only way that this logic would fail is if you retort that the works that are produced in the believer's life are not at all his responsibility but only God's."

    You are missing a key point. The works themselves ARE the responsibility of the believer. However, the ability to do the works is given to the believer by God. When a person is saved, God gives them a new nature, they become a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Unbelievers are spiritually dead, but believers have been made alive (Eph. 2:1-10). This new nature naturally does good works. That is all it can do. Now, the believer can choose to "feed" the flesh more than the Spirit/new nature, and this will likely be evident in his life. But a person who has been regenerated by God, made alive, made a new creature, given God's Spirit and power, and whose "old man" has passed away, will at some point choose good. There IS a struggle between the flesh and the Spirit, but a true believer will choose the Spirit at some point. This does not make my works a part of my final salvation in any way (and I couldn't care less what John Piper says, I've never even read anything he's written). The moment I was saved, my final salvation was secure, as was the fact that I would eventually do some kind of good works, not because God is "making" me do them, but because it is who I am now.

    I've given this analogy elsewhere, but it's akin to using a red crayon. Do the red markings of the crayon make the crayon red? Or are the markings simply evidence that the crayon is indeed red rather than blue? Because the crayon could be wrapped in blue paper, with the word "BLUE" written on it, and dipped in blue food coloring to appear blue. But when it marks red on the paper, do we say, "oh look, those red markings turned that blue crayon into a red one!" No, we say, "oh look, those are red markings, therefore that must actually be a red crayon, despite its appearances."

    Similarly, my good works do not turn me from a lost person into a saved person. They contribute NOTHING to turning me from the hell-bound path to the heaven-bound path. They are, however, an evidence for which path I am on. Now, good works are of course not the only evidence, nor are they always an appropriate evidence, because they can be deceiving. But one who has been born again, who has a new nature, indeed the very Spirit of God inside of them, will absolutely do some good works at some time in their life.

    You said,

    "For instance, take marriage. Let us say that the law in the US was that you had to have a blood test. So one's decision to get married will inevitably and necessarily lead the couple to get a blood test. So getting a blood test is a result of a couple's decision to get married. But from the other perspective, that of marriage, it also becomes a condition for marriage! A result for which one is responsible is no different than a condition!"

    Your analogy fails. Here is why. There is no law that says that you have to do good works to be saved (corresponding to your analogy that you have to have a blood test to get married). Getting a blood test was only a result because it was a condition. It was a condition first before it was a result. In my system, works are NOT a condition in any way. They ARE a result, but they are not a condition. You have failed to prove your assertion that "a result for which one is responsible is no different than a condition".

    You mention that "Calvinists" say that the lost must surrender all to Jesus, blah blah, to be saved. Do you mean "Lordship Salvationists"? I have noticed around here that Calvinists and LS seem to be connected. But I don't think I consider myself LS, yet I am closer to Calvinism than Arminianism. Even if I WAS LS, that would not be a result of my ties to Calvinism. So maybe your analogy works for others, but not for me. I do not require any works of people for them to be saved.

    You said,

    "Faith alone in Christ = final salvation in my soteriology

    faith in Christ = works = final salvation in your soteriology"


    Nope. More like:

    Faith alone in Christ = works AND final salvation (and a whole host of other things too!)

    You said,

    "Bear no fruit, burn in hell."

    Well, I don't think I buy the "burning" part. But beyond that, I would agree that if you don't bear fruit, you'll be in hell, but not because you didn't bear fruit. You'll be in hell because you didn't trust in Christ, which would have resulted in you bearing fruit. But the fruit itself is NOT a factor in the location of anyone's eternal destiny.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 8:38:00 PM  

  • Alvin,

    You said,

    "I honestly believe that Calvinist are believing something that cannot save."

    I understand what you are saying. You think that Calvinists believe in works salvation. The thing is, we (or at least I) have told you we don't. I have said several times that I am placing absolutely NO trust in my works to get me to heaven. There is NOTHING I can do, have done, or will ever do to enable me to live forever in the presence of God. So, the MOST you could charge me with is contradiction. But you cannot charge me with believing something that does not save. The simple fact is that I am not trusting in my works for salvation in ANY WAY, whether you think I am or not.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 8:53:00 PM  

  • Ten Cent,

    In an extremely odd turn of events, I find myself actually defending a comment of Antonio's! Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending his doctrine, but in this situation I happen to agree with him.

    You said to him,

    "If a person who had told you that they believed in Christ for eternal salvation were to go off and live a life of sin and debauchery, you would not call into question their salvation. Yet someone tells you that they believe in Christ for eternal salvation, and you question their doctrine (which you don't understand, even though you say you do) and so then it's OK to question their faith, their eternal state?"

    While I personally probably would "call into question" the true faith of a person living such a sinful lifestyle, I do see Antonio's point. It is not actions which determine one's salvation, it is what they believe. So if someone lives a sinful lifestyle, they may or may not be saved (and from Antonio's position, they definitely WOULD be saved as long as they still claimed to believe that Jesus could give them eternal life). But if someone says they are trusting their good works to get them to heaven, they are definitely NOT saved (the only exception being that they had at one time trusted in Christ alone apart from their works and are now just confused). So I think your criticism of Antonio's concern with what people are believing is unfounded. It is precisely what people believe that determines their eternal destiny, and is the very thing we should be concerned with (although of course we should always encourage people to follow all of the Bible's commands).

    By Blogger Rachel, at Tuesday, December 11, 2007 9:07:00 PM  

  • Rachel, your objections to my analogy are not made in a theological vacuum.

    You have raised them out of the context of a commitment to a theological system.

    By explaining why you take the position you do will reveal why you object to my analogy.

    You affirm that a believer will do works.

    But there could be a number of reasons why you think that.

    Personally, I like to deal with one argument at a time. It keeps things a lot simpler.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, December 12, 2007 12:52:00 AM  

  • Rachel,

    You said, "It is not actions which determine one's salvation, it is what they believe."

    Yes, I agree with this whole-heartedly. And I wasn't arguing for actions to determine belief. What I'm pointing out is that it's not just the Calvinist that appears to talk out of both sides of his mouth. He has said in the past that he wouldn't call into question someone's salvation who has professed belief in Christ for eternal life. Yet, the Calvinist professes belief in Christ for eternal life and they call into question his/her salvation.

    Which leads us to the broader issue. Denominations/labels don't determine one's salvation either. So instead of trying to fight against a particular group, wouldn't it be better to simply aim at the error? Which is what I believe Matthew is trying to do with this post. He believes that the error is believing that faith always results in action. So he's pointing that out and trying to fight against it, making his case. Then we all discuss it to see if it's right or not. I think it's beneficial, especially if we don't agree with him, to step back ask, "Is he right? Let's check it out."

    Which is why I said to Alvin that taking care of error is right and good, but to be careful not to cut off an arm when he's wielding the sword.

    Does that make sense, Rachel? Or maybe I'm the only one that understands what I'm saying. Maybe I shouldn't have even raised the issue.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Soldem, at Wednesday, December 12, 2007 5:44:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You said,

    "Personally, I like to deal with one argument at a time. It keeps things a lot simpler."

    Exactly. Me too. That is why I asked that you address my objections to your analogy first, then we could move on to other questions.

    You said,

    "By explaining why you take the position you do will reveal why you object to my analogy."

    Actually, the reason for my objections to your analogy is that I think your analogy fails to prove your point. Your point may in fact be correct, but the analogy you've given here fails to prove it so. And even if I had some other reason for objecting and you were able to find that reason, it would not eliminate my objections. My objections stand on their own, regardless of my reasons for giving them. I gave several reasons why your analogy fails to prove your point. My adherence (or lack thereof) to any particular doctrine is irrelevant to you either answering my objections or conceding that your analogy is inaccurate.

    So, as you said, let's deal with one argument at a time. You posted a statement, then used an analogy to try to prove it. I countered with some objections to your logic. You giving an answer to my objections (or conceding to them) would seem to be the next appropriate step.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Wednesday, December 12, 2007 12:18:00 PM  

  • Ten Cent,

    You said,

    "He has said in the past that he wouldn't call into question someone's salvation who has professed belief in Christ for eternal life. Yet, the Calvinist professes belief in Christ for eternal life and they call into question his/her salvation."

    Ah, now I see what you are saying. Yes, it makes sense. I think it is just fine that you brought it up.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Wednesday, December 12, 2007 12:20:00 PM  

  • Okay, Rachel. If you insist.

    "A couple more things. First, Bush and Blair did not ask all war believers to actually go and fight. Indeed, a good war outcome requires some to stay at home and keep working and paying taxes to maintain the economy and the "normal" environment of the country. This is certainly much different than the call of Christ on ALL believers to follow Him completely."

    True. But this is not really relevant.

    My point is that faith does not in itself involve action.

    "I don't know about others, but I am not claiming that a Christian must "dedicate their life of service" to God in order to truly be saved. The title of your article is "faith does not always result in action". Some kind of "action" is far different from "dedicating a life of service"."

    Again, very true. However, this does not disprove my point that action is not a necessary result of faith.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, December 13, 2007 1:00:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You said,

    "Again, very true. However, this does not disprove my point that action is not a necessary result of faith."

    I was not trying to disprove your point. I was simply showing that your analogy fails to prove your point. Of course, just because this particular analogy fails doesn't invalidate your point, and I acknowledged that (in my last post to you I said, "Your point may in fact be correct, but the analogy you've given here fails to prove it so."). All I was saying was that using this analogy to prove your point is comparing apples to oranges. You not signing up for the armed forces despite your belief in the rightness of the Iraq war does not prove your assertion that faith doesn't always result in action. That's all I am saying. I am not currently discussing whether or not faith actually does always result in action, but simply that your analogy fails to prove your claim.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:41:00 PM  

  • To be honest, I was not really drawing any kind of analogy between the Christian religion and belief in the necessity of war in Iraq.

    I am making a general point that faith does not always result in action.

    I do not see this post as an analogy as such.

    I should probably have made this point earlier.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, December 13, 2007 1:49:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    You said,

    "I do not see this post as an analogy as such."

    Odd. A couple posts ago, you said, "Rachel, your objections to my analogy are not made in a theological vacuum." And, "By explaining why you take the position you do will reveal why you object to my analogy."

    So it would seem that you at least used to think it was an analogy. And it sure seemed to me like an analogy. You made a "religious" claim ("faith does not always result in action"), one that has been discussed very recently on these blogs. In the article you gave an example of a time when you claimed to have some sort of faith that supposedly resulted in no action. Presumably you related this story to give an example of a time when a person had faith but that faith resulted in no action. Presumably you felt that such an example would prove that the "true faith always leads to works" people are wrong. Based on these points, I can't think of any better description of your article than an "analogy", and in fact I am sure that that is how most, if not all, your readers took it.

    You said,

    "I am making a general point that faith does not always result in action."

    Even if you could find an example where you had true faith in something or someone and it truly resulted in absolutely NO action whatsoever, not even a single thought that was different, it still would not prove that faith in Christ doesn't have to result in action. This is because faith in Christ results in God changing us into brand new creatures. We are given the Holy Spirit, very God residing within us. This and so much else is vastly different than simply being convinced of the rightness of some thought process or course of action.

    So I continue to maintain that a) your post was indeed an analogy; b) your analogy failed to prove your assertion; and c) even if you were able to find an analogy that proved your general point, it would not prove that it is possible for true faith in Christ to not be accompanied by some sort of action.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Thursday, December 13, 2007 6:45:00 PM  

  • Rachel

    "This is because faith in Christ results in God changing us into brand new creatures. We are given the Holy Spirit, very God residing within us. This and so much else is vastly different than simply being convinced of the rightness of some thought process or course of action."

    Thankyou for making this point.

    This clarfies where you are coming from. I was trying to get this out of you earlier.

    I would say that my post is not relevant to your assertion.

    You are arguing that faith in Christ results or is accompanied by regeneration and therefore should result in a change of behaviour at least to some extent.

    I agree that what I said in this post in no way refutes that position.

    This post was intended to address the argument of some that faith is by its nature accompanied by action. That is a rather different argument to what you are asserting here.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, December 14, 2007 12:55:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You said,

    "This post was intended to address the argument of some that faith is by its nature accompanied by action. That is a rather different argument to what you are asserting here."

    I don't know of anyone who suggests that "faith" (i.e. belief) in any ol' thing is always accompanied by action. But again, even if that was the point you were arguing against, your analogy still failed because you DID an action, you wrote some letters (and probably other things too, like voting, praying, etc.). So your analogy still fails.

    Beyond that though, Antonio was the first one to comment on this thread, and he commented specifically on the issue of faith in Christ inevitably resulting in good works. So it would seem that he assumed that was your point, and indeed you didn't say otherwise.

    Either way, I think I've made my point here. Your analogy in this article simply fails to prove your point, even if you are speaking of "faith" in general, but especially IRT faith in Christ.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Friday, December 14, 2007 8:48:00 AM  

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