[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)

Friday, February 29, 2008

How Do You Spell Repentance?

by Rose

Remember that old commercial - "How do you spell relief?" (I think the answer in that commercial was R-O-L-A-I-D-S, which is an anacid, in case you didn't know). Well, this could bring your stomach to a knot, but I don't want to talk about indigestion. :~)

This word "repentance" - everyone means something different by it. So far as I can tell, here are several of the meanings that people (that means you and me, just ordinary folk) attach to this word:

1. Stopping sin, ceasing from all known sinful actions
2. Stopping sin, ceasing from some certain sinful actions

3. Willingness or desire to stop all known sin
4. Feeling sorrow over all known sin
5. Changing the mind about all known sin, hating it instead of loving it

6. Calling out to God in the helplessness of sin's consequence
7. Changing the mind about God/Jesus from an unsaved faithless mindset to faith in Christ for one's delieverance from sin's consequence
8. Changing the mind about who God/Jesus is in regards to oneself

So, there is a gamut of meaning and I may be missing some shades. This is a problem word. You see confusion amongst people as to whether or not this thing "repentance" is a "required" part of saving faith. Funnily enough, I think the way the word "repentance" is used by some can be a synonym for faith.... and by others for works.... all in the same word!

If you define "repentance" as # 7 or #8 then it could easily be said that "repentance" is intrinsicly the same as "believing in Jesus," even #6, whether you are LS or FG. But if you define "repentance" as #3-#5 then there is all kinds of debate as to whether this is a necessary component of saving faith -or if it is- Christian growth. #1 and #2 are obviously (to me anyway) works commendable by God.

How utterly confusing. I think we should just insert a clearer meaning word in our conversations in place of the word "repentance." Then there could be meaningful conversation about whether or not this is a part of conversion.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lou Martuneac (AKA Mr. Fly Guy) is threatening me :)

by the Sock Puppet

In an email entitled "Fair Warning" Lou Martuneac (aka Mr. Fly Guy) tonight wrote me this email. I do not solicit his emails and do not desire them. I reserve the right to post every one he sends me from this day forward. To this email I have this response: "Is this Lou guy for real?"


In regard to your Sock Puppet play as fg me- you did it, tried to cover it up and are living a lie about it.

I'll let the Scriptures do their convicting work. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me," (Ps. 66:18). As long as you keep up this lie your prayers are hindered.

Furthermore, and I know you have seen this, anytime I reference you at any blog I am going to reference you this way? "Antonio da Rosa (aka Sock Puppet: fg me)." And with a link to my Sock Puppet article.

I am always quick to forgive and have long since forgiven you for posing as fg me. You have, however, continued to behave in a childish, sinful way by evading your bad behavior.

Once you do the mature thing by acknowledging what you did and apologize without excuse or qualification I will cease tagging your name and linking to your Sock Puppet: fg me. This is going to follow you just like your plagiarism episode did last year.


PS: This is how Rachel charged you at the end of your charade.

Even when we asked if FG Me was you and gave you the chance to come clean, you dodged and avoided the question, using vague terms that gave the appearance of denial that you were FG Me, but didn't really answer the question. Then when Lou asked you directly, you played the coward and ran away.

I challenge you to post the truth about what happened here. Admit to being FG Me and admit to trying to hide that fact. Acknowledge your deception and apologize for it, no excuses. Stop acting childish and do the mature thing - own up to what you've done. This is the only right thing to do.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Serious Misnomer

by Rose

In all of the discussion lately swirling around about the content of saving faith, I have noticed a phrase that keeps popping up: “disobedient brethren.” Now, just in case you may not be aware, let me brief you: Lou Martuneac uses this phrase in referring to some folks who hold a different understanding than he does as to the content of saving faith. He has a list of names of these disobedient brethren: Hodges, Wilkin, da Rosa (I don’t think he includes Myers anymore), Matthew. (I don’t think he knows Matthew’s surname.) The list seems very slightly fluid, (sometimes a name appearing one week and gone the next) but there is a firm core.

Both Lou and the group he opposes would probably both say that saving faith is “believing in Christ.” However, Antonio and Matthew allow for a very skeletal “requirement” of understanding who Christ is. Personally, I am not comfortable with how skeletal an understanding they think a convert may have of Jesus. I have discussed this at length with these brethren. I don’t see it their way. Yet, I don’t feel they are “disobedient.” In fact, I would say that there are being obedient to what they are convinced about and they have found their persuasion in the Bible. They argue for their position from the Bible.

There are certain views on Biblical concepts that I am convinced about. If someone else holds fast to his way of seeing these, who is to decide who is the disobedient one? This is a dilemna. Now, let me be clear, we are talking about brethren. So I am referring in this post to people that I am convinced are believers. To be sure of this, I do have certain truths that I must be sure the person is committed to or I would not count him a brother.

I am thinking right now of a wonderful man who just left our church because he could not go along with our dispensational statement of faith any longer, having been convinced of Covenant theology. I would never call him a disobedient brother! He has to be true to his convictions. I respect him. Something was spelled out in our doctrinal statement and he could not agree with it. This is a good indication that one may need to find a different congregation that one agrees with.

On the other hand, there has to be room for acceptable Christian disagreement, especially when we get into views about theory and scenario.

For example, in our church, there is no clear statement on the Calvinist thingy. Calvinists and non-Calvinists can both agree to the statement of faith, the way it is worded. I have been in discussions with my former pastor about predestination and the like. I have been very adamant that I do not view the Scriptures (that he sees as clearly teaching Calvinim) in the same way he does. He had given me leeway to be faithful to that which I hold. Wouldn’t it be awful if a pastor were to brand me a “disobedient sister” because I do not see what he sees about this "doctrinal nuance" ...about this disputable matter?? This would be quite ironic. While being faithful to what I think the Bible teaches, I would be branded “disobedient” for that.

In our personal friendships which are not in a church setting, I think the room for these disagreements can be a lot larger. But again, who is to decide who is disobedient and who is not?

I do realize that I could be accused of being irresolute for saying all of this, but I think if someone is able to defend their view from the Bible, and they are fully convinced that the Bible teaches what they are saying, having studied the Bible, then calling them disobedient is a serious misnomer. A contraire, they would be disobedient to the Scriptures if they were to just give in to Christian peer pressure to abandon what they see the Bible teaching… in favor of going along with what the rest of the brethren that are opposing them hold to.

Anyways, I did a search on the word disobedient and disobedience and it seems to me that it is always used in connection with someone who is a rebel against Christ, (an unbeliever) or a Christian living in blatant, bold and unapologetic sin or a Christian teaching others to live in blatant, bold and unapologetic sin. I don’t think Matthew or Antonio are disobedient brethren.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pleasently Surprised in the Pounds

by Matthew

Readers may be aware that I attend a church that is Calvinistic and Lordship Salvation in orientation.

Today, the junior pastor was preaching on the Parable of the Pounds in Luke 19. I was waiting to hear him tell us that the third and wicked servant was an hypocritical professor and to metapmorphose the passage into a gospel (?) appeal based on this warning. However, I was very pleasently surpised when he declared that the wicked servant was in fact truly regenerate. He then declared that it was possible for a true believer not do any works.

Naturally, I agree with him about this, but I am at quite a loss to know how he would reconcile this surprise assertion with his views on James chapter 2, his recent preaching on the epistles of John and his tendency to confuse faith and discipleship.

After the service, I told him how pleasently surpised I was. He explained that he did not think the Parable of the Pounds was the same as the Parable of the Talents. I did not deal with this point, as it would have meant getting into an interesting conversation about the Outer Darkness. Anyway, I felt very good after hearing this sermon.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Balance of Power!

by David Wyatt

I was just visiting a brother's blog & was blessed so much by a passage in the Book of Job! You know, I was just thinking about how the Bible, God's Holy Word, is so balanced! When we need to have our attitude's adjusted, we can turn to a text somewhere in Proverbs, or James, & get just what we need, though we probably won't want to hear it! Or, maybe we're weary from the battles in the Christian life & turn to possibly the Psalms, Jeremiah or maybe my personal favorite, 2 Corinthians, & find just the soothing spiritual balm we so desperately need. I know my own heart enough to know, & also I've done it enough to know that I am so easily headed to being unbalanced! I get on a certain issue & I run it to extreme to the detriment to others. Yes, I realize that there are times when certain issues or doctrines need to be given more attention, but I am referring to the fact that we all need the whole counsel of God. maybe I'm the only one that gets off-balance in my faith, but I doubt that. We can all use the powerfully balanced Word of God to feed our hungry spirits, because as Jesus said, His words are spirit & that are life! Y'all may not have needed this & can therefore skip on past it, but it has been helpful to me just to post it & I trust it will help you too! May the Lord bless you as you serve Him!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Confusing "Good News"

Has anyone ever seen this:
Two Ways to Live

It is an online evangelistic presentation. I was reading through it on Tuesday and I found myself nodding in agreement with much of it. Page five had this:

What’s more, when we are pardoned through Jesus’ death, we can be quite sure that when Jesus does return to judge, we will be acceptable to him. The risen Jesus will give us eternal life, not because we have earned it, but because he has died in our place.
I wondered if whoever put this together really meant to say "the Risen Jesus will give us eternal life." Do they think it is all future... or do they understand that at the time of the the new birth we actually begin eternal life? I was giving the benefit of the doubt and hoping that they viewed it the same way as I. Then I clicked onto page 6.

Box 6

What is this?
God's New Way:
1. Submit to Jesus as our ruler and
2. Rely on Jesus' death and ressurection

1. Forgiven by God
2. Given eternal life
Have I "submitted" to Jesus as my ruler? Wow - when I consider that as a condition for receiving eternal life, I find it very confusing and unbiblical. First of all, it is not a clearly defined thing. Now, we can argue about the content of saving faith all we want, but at the end of the day, all of we FGers would agree that it is faith - belief - trust - in Christ alone that saves. But... what part of faith does "submit" play? That to me is an action - a willingness to take action at the very least. So this is saying that unless I "submit"... I cannot receive this gift? I was thinking that if I were unsaved I would be very confused as to what has to happen for me to be alright with God. As a Christian of 21 years I also know the impracticality of this - I have not fully submitted to Christ - who has? I am trying to, but I have not arrived. So, according to this presentation, I cannot be sure to have the result promised - eternal life.

I saw that there was more to the presentation, so I continued, hoping that it would become clearer to the reader. It ended with 3 STEPS:

1. Talk to God

2. Submit to Jesus
You’ll need to get rid of old rebellious habits (like greed, anger, selfishness, and so on) and start some new ones that please God (like generosity, kindness, love and patience). This second step will go on for the rest of your life...

3. Keep trusting
The third thing you have to do is also ongoing.

So there you "have" it? (Or not.) These things spoken of are great instruction for a Christian, but it is never clear when one becomes a Christian through this presentation. There is a kind of "sinner's prayer" on step 1 under the 3 STEPS, but no clear indication that one can know one is right with God upon placing faith in Christ. There is no indication in this presentation when a person actually is saved. Is it after one has completed all three steps? From the verbiage, I would say that it clearly implies that one cannot know he is OK with the Lord until he has finished that which he must do which is ONGOING and FOR THE REST OF [HIS] LIFE...

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Monday, February 18, 2008

A Sermon on Genesis 32:1-7

by Matthew

I preached this yesterday:

Genesis 32
1: And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
2: And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
3: And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
4: And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:
5: And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.
6: And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
7: Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;

This short incident occurs to Jacob at a crucial point in his life. He has just left his uncle Laban who shamelessly exploited him and is now heading back to the land of promise, with some trepidation knowing that his brother is waiting there for him, possibly intent on killing him.

Yet at this rather stressful moment, he meets a host of angels. We are not given any details about this encounter. We are not told what they look like. We are not told how many angels he met. We are not told if they spoke to him. Yet he met them. He did not just see them, but they came very close to him.

I would say a word on angels. As Christians we believe in angels. A lot of unbelievers scoff at the idea of angels. They say you cannot believe in things like that. Yet the Bible tells us that there are angels. Perhaps you are here tonight and you don’t believe the Bible. I am sure that there are people here who would be happy to talk to you afterwards about some of the reasons why we believe that the Bible is reliable.

There are other people who get obsessed with angels. If you go to most bookshops you will find lots of crazy books about angels. Those things are of the Occult. They are of Satan and they will mess you up. The Bible warns us not to worship angels. The Bible says nothing about everybody having a guardian angel. If you try talking to your 'guardian angel' you don't know who you might be speaking to.

Sadly there are some Christians who have no interest in angels. They believe in them, but they don’t think it is a very important subject. If you are one of those Christians, I would really encourage you to do a study of the Scriptures on the subject of angels. The Bible might not tell us everything we might like to know about angels, but it does tell us quite a lot. We can learn a lot about God by reading what the Bible says about angels.

Let me tell you a fact about angels in the Bible. Which two books of the Bible feature angels the most? Genesis and Revelation. The beginning and the end.

When God made the world, the angels sang out in praise. When God pours His judgment out upon this sinful world, angels will be involved. We read in Revelation about the angels who bear the seals, trumpets and bowls.

The angels are celestial witnesses of God’s dealings with this world. God rules a vast kingdom of angels in the heavens. Glorious beings of enormous power. Yet these beings are interested in us. We are told in 1 Peter that the Gospel is about things that the angels desire to look into.

Our Lord said that there is rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents. If you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him, angels will rejoice at your conversion. There will be rejoicing in heaven if you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is another reason why the angels have an interest in the salvation of men and women. The apostle Paul says ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels?’ It is God’s purpose to put mankind in charge of both heaven and earth. This is realised in Christ and those who are in Him. Those Christians who have faithfully served their saviour will constitute a kind of heavenly aristocracy that will govern the angels. The angels look forward to the establishment of this new government in heaven. If you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, you have the opportunity to be among those who will govern heaven and earth. It is God’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. God will do wonderful things for those who turn to Him and to the Saviour Jesus Christ.

Knowing about angels should be an encouragement to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jacob was a man who was particularly prone to fear and doubt. Therefore God gave him three angelic appearances to encourage him. The first was at Bethel, when he left his parents to go to live with Laban. There he saw a stairway to heaven, with angels ascending and descending on it. The second was this one. And the third was at Peniel, before he met Esau again. At Peniel he wrestled with a man who was in fact the Angel of the Lord.

There is another incident in the Bible where a vision of angels is given as an encouragement. It occurs in 2 Kings. Elisha and his servant are surrounded by an army of Assyrians. The servant is in a terrible panic and he cries “O Man of God, what are we going to do?” But Elisha is perfectly calm. “Calm down, my son. For those that are for us are more than those that are against him.” I imagine he gives a weary sigh before praying “Lord, open his eyes that he may see.” And then the servant sees that they are surrounded by many chariots and fire. It is an amazing incident. What is amazing about it is not so much the vision of angels that the servant was given, but that Elisha did not need a vision to know that he was under the protection of angels. He had great faith.

You might think that like Elisha’s servant, Jacob would have been re-assured by his encounter with the angels. You might expect that he would think to himself “Okay, it is possible that Esau might still be planning on killing me, but I will be fine because God is on my side. His angels are there to protect me and they are more than those that are against me.”

Sadly, that is not the case. Despite being encouraged by seeing the angels of God, Jacob immediately starts scheming about how he is going to protect his family and himself from Esau. He puts his trust in his own cleverness and not in God. And then he finds out that Esau is on his way with four hundred men. This puts Jacob in a real panic. When he finally meets Esau he grovels before him in a quite unbecoming manner.

It is understandable that the thought of meeting four hundred men lead by a man with a grudge against him must have been a little worrying. But he had just met a host of angels. We are not told how many angels he met, but there may well have been four hundred of them. Even if there were not, angels are greater in might and power. Therefore Jacob should not have been afraid and distressed as it said he was here.

God’s people mess up. Christians fail sometimes. Christians get anxious and distressed about things. Christians can forget to do things that they ought to do. Christians can struggle with addictive habits like smoking.

Maybe you are not a Christian. Maybe you think that Christians are hypocritical. Maybe you have been disappointed by how some Christians live.

Christians are sinners. They need God’s forgiveness just like everybody else. The difference is that they have come to find that forgiveness.

You can know that forgiveness through Jesus Christ. He shed his blood for sinners that they might be cleansed from their sins and He rose from the dead that they might be justified and accepted in the sight of God.

Maybe you are a Christian who is troubled by your own lack of faith. You worry about things. You feel such fear. Perhaps you wonder if you are really born-again. Perhaps you think to yourself “If I am really saved I would have a stronger faith.”

If that is you, look at the life of Jacob. His life was marked by failure and a lack of faith. Yet God did not give up on him. God gave him no less that three appearances of angels to encourage him and yet he still kept displaying a lack of faith. Yet God continued to work through Jacob. God’s promises to Jacob were unconditional. He was to be the father of the nation of Israel. He was to be the ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ. At his deathbed, we find him prophesying, speaking the Words of God.

Do not be fear that you are not a true believer because you fail sometimes. We have a sinful nature that tries to resist God’s working in our lives. It should not be a surprise that sometimes we fail to live the victorious life to which we are called to.

If you have turned to the Lord Jesus Christ you are eternally secure in Him. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ for eternal life, you possess eternal life. You shall never be lost. Do not be fearful.

Jacob named the place Mahanaim. This means two camps. The one camp was Jacob’s camp, with all his family and servants. The other camp was God’s. God’s angels had left heaven and dwelt temporarily on earth.

A camp is made up of tents or tabernacles. There is a lot of significance to tabernacles in the Bible. The Israelites celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. They celebrated the time when their people dwelt in tents. In one of those tents dwelt the Ark of the Covenant. The very presence of God was manifested in that tabernacle. The glory of God was made known in the tabernacle and later in the temple.

Later in history, God became man. The Son came from heaven to earth and dwelt in flesh. At the Transfiguration, God’s glory was displayed in the person of Christ. Peter spoke about building three tabernacles. He did not know what he was saying, but he showed that the feast of tabernacles was being fulfilled in Christ. That God was dwelling in a tabernacle of flesh.

We read in Revelation that in the end, God will make His tabernacle with man. In the New Heavens and the New Earth, the whole universe will be filled with the glory of God. Jacob saw two camps, his camp and God’s camp. Yet in the end there will be only one camp. God will dwell with man. Heaven and Earth shall be brought together.

If you are in Christ you will see the establishment of this heavenly kingdom. If you have eternal life through Jesus Christ, you will dwell forever in the presence of God.

Turn unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and you will be with Him forever. You can forever know His love and His goodness.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer uses Refined (Consistent) Free Grace Theology phraseology Part 3

by Antonio da Rosa

At the foundation of Consistent Free Grace theology, we have great men of God who provided for us gems of theological precision and consistency in embryonic form. Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder and first president of Dallas Theological Seminary, was a profound Christian writer who provided the groundwork for todays Free Grace theology.

Many in Christendom wish to state that the issue between God and man in evangelism is sin. Therefore they stipulate that one must understand and assent to the fact that they are sinners liable to be thrown into the lake of fire for the just cause of condemnation due to their transgressions, or else they cannot be saved. This is yet another stipulation that is added to their individual checklists for evangelism.

L.S. Chafer was quoted last time (Dr. Chafer uses Consistent Free Grace Theology phraseology Part 2) saying these things:
"...when the Spirit is said to approach the unsaved to convince them of sin, He is not said to make them conscious or ashamed of their personal transgressions."

"That men are not now condemned primarily because of the sins which Christ has borne is finally stated in 2 Corinthians 5:14, 19 R.V.: 'We thus judge, that if one died for all, therefore all died'; 'God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses.'"

"[The] evidence recorded against them at that judgment seat: their names are not written in the Lamb's book of life."

Sin is not the issue between God and man. Why? Jesus died for the sins of the world in their entirety! He, Himself, is the propitiation for the sins of the world. He is the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. Sin has been taken out of the way.

Imagine you were my neighbor; we have houses neighboring each other. But between our houses is a wall a mile high and a thousand miles long and 50 yards thick. Me, being the benevolent fellow that I am, wish, with great desire, to have you over to my house for fellowship and participation. But I cannot have you over because of the wall! Therefore, at great expense I have the entire wall removed, every single piece of rubble, ever pebble, until the way is clearly and openly smoothed out. What is left for you to do to have fellowship with me in my house? You must respond to my invitation. Since the wall has been down I have been doing my best to woo you to come to my house. But because the wall has come down does not mean you automatically are at my house! The wall was the barrier between me and you and there no longer remains a barrier to my unconditional acceptance of you. All that remains is responding to the invitation.

The lost are sinners. Yes they are. Yet their sin does not keep them from God. What is keeping them from God?

John has said "Unless you are born again you cannot enter the kingdom of God" and "Those whose names are not written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire."

The lost do not have life! The word of God states that one must have life to be in God's kingdom, and this life is received by faith in Jesus, who is able to perform that which He promises, as an absolutely free gift.

So. In the limited aspect of the acceptance of the lost, sin is not an issue between man and God. Therefore, it is inconsistent to require that men and women repent as a condition for everlasting life. Why? Sin is not an issue regarding one's eternal destiny. LIFE is. (Let alone the fact that there is not even one verse in the whole of the bible that conditions the reception of everlasting life, eternal salvation, or justification upon one's repentance.)

L.S. Chafer is one of the most important progenitors of the Free Grace theology movement. Let us listen to Chafer on the subject of repentance:

It is an error to require repentance as a preliminary act preceding and separate from believing...

In presenting the gospel to [people in this age] there are one hundred and fifteen passages at least wherein the word "believe" is used alone and apart from every other condition as the only way of salvation. In addition to this there are upwards of thirty-five passages wherein its synonym "faith" is used....

That repentance is not saving is evidenced in the case of Judas, who repented and yet went to perdition.

The good news of the Gospel does not invite men to any sorrow whatsoever, or works of repentance... it invites them to find immediate "joy and peace in believing."

Repentance... should not now be required, as a separate act, apart from saving faith.

Moreover, no Scripture requires confession of sin as a condition of salvation in this age... The unsaved must come to God by faith.

Salvation: God's Marvelous Work of Grace, by Lewis Sperry Chafer

These portions of scripture [passages that condition eternal life solely on believing, faith] totaling about 150 in all, include practically all that the New Testament declares on the matter of the human responsiblity in salvation; yet each one of these texts omits any reference to repentance as a separate act. This fact, easily verified, cannot but bear enormous weight with any candid mind. In like manner, the Gospel by John, which is written to present Christ as the object of faith unto eternal life, does not once employ the word repentance... When the Apostle Paul and his companion, Silas, made reply to the jailer concerning what he should do to be saved, they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). This reply, it is evident, fails to recognize the necessity of repentance in addition to believing. From this overwhelming mass of irrefutable evidence, it is clear that the New Testament does not impose repentance upon the unsaved as a condition for salvation. The gospel of John with its direct words from the lips of Christ, the Epistle to the Romans with its exhaustive treatment of the theme in question, the Apostle Paul, and the whole array of 150 New Testament passages which are the total of the divine instruction, are incomplete and misleading if repentance must be accorded a place [along with] believing. No thoughtful person would attempt to defend such a notion against such odds, and those who have thus undertaken doubtless have done so without weighing the evidence or considering the untenable position which thy assume.

Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3

In all fairness, Chafer believes that repentance, when he believes it may be in a soteriological passage, is nothing more than a synonym for belief. He would regard it as a change of mind from unbelief in Jesus to belief in Jesus for everlasting life, nothing more.

But as you see, many, including some who have ties to Free Grace theology (such as Lou Martuneac) make a huge deal out of "repentance" being necessary for eternal life. They view it as a concommitant condition along with faith, required for the reception of everlasting life. For them it is a separate condition, with a significantly different definition than that from Chafer.

Chafer was well on his way to developing Consistent Free Grace Theology. He did not regard repentance as a condition for everlasting life, unless one viewed it as a simple synonym for faith, nothing more. He shows from the available evidence that repentance is not a condition for everlasting life in addition to faith, that faith alone is the only condition.

And as such, he was a man well beyond his time. I thank the Lord for such men as L.S. Chafer.

Antonio da Rosa

PS: I do not want to give the impression that sin is never the issue between God and man. It surely is an issue between them, just never in the sense of one's acceptance by God. Sin is an issue between God and the unbeliever and God and the believer in the sense that these people are subject to God's temporal wrath for their sin. The remedy for this is repentance.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord

by Matthew

Genesis 32
24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peni'el for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

31 And as he passed over Penu'el the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day; because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

In this passage we find Jacob wrestling with a man who he comes to find is God in angelic form (Hosea calls him 'the angel').

Some commentators suggest that this story represents Jacob wrestling with God through prayer. While this seems an edifying thought and Jacob does pray in this passage, the career of Jacob can in no way be characterised by fervent prayer. We find rather that he was characterised by a severe lack of faith in God's provision and his habit was to trust in his own cunning.

It rather seems that the struggle with the angel represents the struggle of his sinful flesh against God. Every believer has two natures; a new nature that is created in Christ to be submitted to God and the old fleshly nature that wars and strives against the Spirit of God. The old nature cannot be in submission to God's ways. In the story of Jacob this conflict between flesh and Spirit is especially apparent.

In Galatians 5 we see the different results of these two natures:

16 ¶ This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Too often as believers we resist God and try to live the life we want to lead in the flesh.

Yet God has ways of bringing us to see the weakness of the flesh. The angel of the Lord wounded Jacob. Likewise the apostle Paul was given his thorn in the flesh.

We read in Hebrews 12:

6 for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9 Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Too often when preachers give sermons on this passage they give comfort to Christians in their suffering without making a clear connection between chastening and sin. Not all suffering is due to sin. Sometimes we go through many trials without understanding why. However, when we suffer in the flesh, we must be willing to ask the question "Is this the Lord's discipline?"

We must not miss the amazing fact about this passage that God in angelic form allowed Himself to be overcome by Jacob. The God of the universe entered a struggle with a mere man and allowed him to prevail. The Lord might have obliterated Jacob, but he did not.

This is the wonderful truth of free-will that is resisted by so many theologians. So often the rallying call from Reformed theology is the Sovereignty of God. Yet this so easily minimizes the truth that God has allowed man to determine his course. God has delegated sovereignty to man to go in the direction he chooses. God has entered a two-way relationship with mankind and given men and women the power to reject Him.

Only a petty dictator needs to dominate all things to be in control. God has and will to continue to establish His sovereignty by giving men and women the freedom to determine their own plan. No matter what power is assailed against Him, God will prevail. The victory belongs to the Lord.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Is Receiving Christ Passive?

by Rose
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1)
Believing and receiving are what give men the right to be children of God. Men are charged with “not receiving” Him. Contra wise, one does not will oneself to be born again. This verse is such a wonderful marriage of divine sovereignty and human freedom. People can receive Him or “not receive Him,” but don’t take any credit for being born again because it is all of God. Both sides of the coin are presented here.
In verse 12, “but as many as received Him” uses the Greek word below:

lambanō (lam-ban'-o)
to take - accept, + be amazed, assay, attain, bring, X when I call, catch, come on (X unto), + forget, have, hold, obtain, receive (X after), take (away, up).

In verse 12, the word for “faith” is this Greek word:

pisteuō (pist-yoo'-o)
to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.


Some have said that this is passive, like “receiving a blow to the head.” Does that sound passive? Not to me. When people are being born again, they actively welcome Him and what they are hearing of Him into their knowledge. This dispels –for me- any idea that someone would receive eternal life from Christ while rejecting great truths about Him. Receiving and rejecting are contrasted here. Some welcomed Him, some rejected Him. “Receive” is put in contrast to “received him not.” Is “received him not” also passive? Not. The Jewish leaders in large part rejected Him, “received Him not.” They were accountable for this active rejection.

I think the idea that “received Him” in verse 12 is passive, like receiving a blow to the head, actually has a lot in common with the Calvinist idea of regeneration preceding faith and the lopsided view of divine sovereignty that non-Calvinists eschew. :~)

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Can men and women become gods?

by Matthew

An elderly gentleman at my church once said to me, in a voice that suggested that he was about to say something really shocking:

You know, there is a chorus that we sing that I don't agree with. That one with the line 'Among the gods there is none like you.' Well, there are no other gods, are there?

This man can perhaps be forgiven for not knowing that the line he found objectionable was a quotation from Psalm 86:

8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord;
neither are there any works like unto thy works.

I will pass over the question of what is meant by gods in that psalm and quote Psalm 82:

1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty;
he judgeth among the gods.

2 How long will ye judge unjustly,
and accept the persons of the wicked?

3 Defend the poor and fatherless:
do justice to the afflicted and needy.

4 Deliver the poor and needy:
rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

5 They know not, neither will they understand;
they walk on in darkness:
all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

6 I have said, Ye are gods;
and all of you are children of the Most High.

7 But ye shall die like men,
and fall like one of the princes.

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth:
for thou shalt inherit all nations.

This psalm is vitally important in considering the broad use of the term 'god' in the Bible.

G.H. Pember took the view that there are two different uses of the term god in this psalm.

He wrote:

The gods of the second line are angels- in this case, of course, fallen angels- so he called as being agents of God... A similar use of the term may be found in the ninety-seventh Psalm, in quoting from which Paul renders the clause, "Worship Him all ye gods," by "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Earth's Earliest Ages, p.41

Why are angels here called gods? I would suggest it is because they are created to reflect the awesome glory of God, because of their celestial location and because they constiture an hierarchy which exercises authority int he spiritual realm. It is also significant that though they are called gods, they are not meant to be objects of worship. I have argued on this blog that it is the purpose of God to bring men and women, of both the church and the faithful of the OLd Testament into that position of reflecting God's glory and exercising authority in heavenly places. It is the purpose of God to replace the fractured and fallen hierarchy of angelic beings that governed the original creation with a new hierarchy of gods, taken from among the sons and daughters of Adam.

It is significant that our Lord Jesus defended His right to call Himself the 'Son of God' with reference to this Psalm. Thus, His quotation of the Psalm is not a statement of His deity (which is clearly taught in other places), but rather a claim to be a deified created being. Though the Lord Jesus Christ is eternally the Son, the second member of the Trinity, His human nature being of created matter is brough into a relationship of being deified. His flesh is transfigured and transformed so as to reflect divine glory. It is as a man that our Lord has ascended into glory and sat down with all majesty and power in the heavenly realms. There as an human being, the Lord Jesus is recognised by the Father as heir of all things.

The believer is thus, through the new birth, brought into membership of a new divinized amd deified humanity. The Christian shares in the divine life and through faith she can recognise her divine union with Christ and thus access to the power for spiritual living. At the rapture, her union with the Trinune God is realized physically in her body and soul being transformed to be wholly heavenly in character, as are the bodies of angels. The only question then is whether she has attained to the right of heirship in the new hierachy of celestial humanity. This depends upon her service in the sphere of the kingdom of heaven. Those that have laboured most faithfully will receive a marvellous position at the top of the celestial hierarchy, those that have sowed sparingly will reap sparingly and will thus receive a humbler position. Those that forsake the calling of God will fail to inherit the kingdom and the privileges of heirs altogether.

The chief end of man is to become a god, that is one of the Sons of the Most High and to receive all the privileges of this position, namely having all things subject to him. Are you going to be among those who inherit such a great salvation?