[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, August 30, 2008

RETRIBUTION FOR BELIEVERS (By Joey Faust)

(Note- not all Free Gracers agree with Joey Faust's Millennial Exclusion view, but it is a view that believers would do well to consider)

by Joey Faust

1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
6 That NO MAN go beyond and defraud HIS BROTHER in any matter: because that THE LORD IS THE AVENGER OF ALL SUCH, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.


The above Scriptures reveal that the Lord will meet some believers as an AVENGER. This clearly speaks of retribution. And we are warned that such terror may be experienced at the Judgment Seat of Christ when the Lord returns (2 Corinthians 5:9-11). Such plain truth is shunned or denied for certain philosophical or emotional reasons that will be evaluated in this article.

When believers come face to face with the Biblical warnings to believers in regard to the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Millennium it is natural for many to wonder WHY the Lord would punish at such times. The time for repentance for believers will be ended when the Lord returns and reigns in His Kingdom. Many therefore use this question as an objection:

"Why would God temporarily punish believers at the Judgment Seat? What good would it do? It will then be too late for repentance and reformation. All judgment upon believers is for repentance and reformation. Therefore, the view that God will punish unfaithful believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ and during the Millennium must be wrong, since there would be no reason left, at these times, for such punishment."

Of course, a faulty premise will result in a faulty conclusion. This objection assumes that reformation and prevention are the ONLY purposes of judgment in regard to believers. It entirely overlooks the fact that RETRIBUTION is a crucial purpose of judgment, even for the children of God - especially after previous warnings and chastenings have been despised and spurned. It is crucial that we do not allow modern, humanistic philosophy and psychology to influence our doctrinal views (Colossians 2:8). Humanism naturally recoils from all aspects of Divine retribution, in all its manifestations. Therefore, to rightly comprehend the Bible's teachings in regard to the Judgment Seat of Christ, all faulty, humanistic foundations must be rejected.

Before examining the Scriptures on the subject of retribution, it might be helpful to notice the changes that many have made (or desire to make) to the criminal justice system in America. These changes reflect a "new" way of thinking that has had profound effects upon the way the Scriptures are viewed and interpreted. We are living in an age that largely views retribution as archaic, rusty, and even savage. Criminals (especially women) are too often viewed as victims. (Even Judas is being "rehabilitated" as a victim!) They are seen as "sick," and therefore in need of "treatment" and rehabilitation. Increasingly, punishment is determined by judges based upon the perceived good it might or might not do to the criminal! This humanistic view is often called utilitarianism. It maintains that only the criminal's future matters. Both the real victim, and the very principle of justice itself, are often ignored in order to apologize to, excuse, and "treat" the criminal. There is a growing movement that believes that the duty of sentencing criminals should be totally removed from judges and placed into the hands of "doctors" and mental specialists (i.e. psychological quacks). Certainly, with such humanistic philosophies abounding, it is no wonder that we might have some trouble grasping the Biblical doctrine of retribution (especially when applied to the people of God).

Presbyterian minister James M. Orr (1838-1865) noticed the error of the modern view of punishment that was already gaining some ground in his day:

"The modern humanitarian spirit tends to exalt the reformatory and preventive ends of punishment, at the expense of the RETRIBUTIVE. That every effort should be put forth for the reformation of the criminal which the case admits of, we cordially allow. But the danger is, in these matters, that sentiment degenerate into sentimentalism. Crime DESERVES punishment, and on that ground alone, were there no other, ought to receive it. No theory can be satisfactory which loses sight of RETRIBUTION, and makes reformation and prevention the all in all." ("Pulpit Commentary," Deuteronomy 25)

Have not many modern Christians succumbed to this error in their views concerning the Judgment Seat of Christ? Certainly, the whole concept of punishment has been attacked in the state, in the home, and in the church; and this has greatly downgraded the views of many preachers in regard to the Judgment Seat of Christ for believers. First, the "modern humanitarian spirit" (which has its foundation in humanism) has made the very idea of punishment for unfaithful believers seem shocking, absurd and preposterous. My book, "The Rod: Will God Spare It," connects the modern rejection of the Judgment Seat of Christ (for God's children) with the humanistic rejection of Biblical discipline in the home. Many preachers who rightly resist the humanistic attacks upon the family, and upon Biblical discipline in the home, are nevertheless, unwittingly drunken with the same spirit when it comes to the Judgment Seat of Christ. With one side of their mouths they exhort fathers not to spare the rod; yet with the other side, they teach that GOD will automatically spare the rod at the Judgment Seat! Secondly, the "sentimentalism" of this modern humanism moves many to overlook RETRIBUTION as one of the chief purposes of judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ. When this crucial purpose is lost sight of, or forgotten, the Biblical-judgment warnings to believers are constricted and made to conform to the dictates of humanistic philosophy. In the same manner that our law courts are infected with a lackadaisical mentality ("What's done is done; what good would it do the criminal to punish him/her now?"), so are our pulpits often diseased with the same vain reasonings in regard to the warnings concerning the Judgment Seat of Christ!

William Powell Clark (in the 1920's), writes:

"The real reason underlying the refusal of some dear children of God to accept belief in the punishment of unfruitful believers - not eternal, but during the Millennial reign of Christ - is an inadequate sense of THE JUSTICE OF GOD. Acceptance of the belief in the temporary punishment of such Christians during the Millennial reign safeguards the eternal merits of Christ's atonement on the cross, and at the same time, preserves the absolute Justice of God."

Notice, this Christian judge had a clear view of the necessity of JUSTICE at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Clark believed that the adoption of humanistic thinking concerning retribution and justice was the underlying cause for the disbelief of many in regard to the Lord's warnings to unfaithful believers. If this was the case in the 1920's, how much more is this modern generation of Christians confused concerning God's retributive justice? Let us pray that we might see these concepts in a Biblical manner.

At the heart of retributive justice are the concepts of merit and desert. Justice REPAYS the guilty for his or her wrongs committed. Therefore, in answering the question of whether retribution plays a crucial part in the judgments unfaithful believers will receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we simply need to examine the Scriptures to see if such concepts are used in relation to believers. Upon doing so, we immediately find that retribution plays an important role at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Notice how contrary the following Scriptures are to the ungrounded view that states that RETRIBUTION (i.e. God's moral justice) must play no part in the judgments upon unfaithful believers WHEN THEY STAND BEFORE GOD'S TRIBUNAL:

Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
25 But HE THAT DOETH WRONG shall RECEIVE FOR THE WRONG which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that YE ALSO HAVE A MASTER IN HEAVEN.

The idea of "receiving for the wrong" is certainly that old, archaic, traditional view of justice! The context refers to believers. And notice that the Judgment Seat of Christ is not merely PARENTAL in nature. There are other pictures or backdrops in place. There is also the servant/master relationship that occurs so often in Biblical warnings to believers! While some in modern times might have trouble understanding retribution in the parental setting, none should have any trouble understanding it in the servant/master relationship often presented in the Bible:

Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Many wrongly decry the application of these Gospel warnings to believers (also see Luke 12:45-48, 19:22-26, Matthew 25:30, etc.). Many get on a high horse and proclaim, "We are not mere servants. We are sons!" For the moment, we will put aside the fact that fathers had the power of life and death over their sons in ancient times. We also will ignore the fact that in the Old Testament legislation, incorrigible sons who would not repent after they had been properly chastised, were to be slain (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Certainly, these are important types for the New Testament teaching on the Judgment Seat of Christ. But what is more important is the fact that the Epistles do not present "sonship" as the only picture or relationship between believers and the Lord! The Judgment Seat of Christ is largely presented to New Testament believers in the context of the servant/master relationship (as seen in Colossians 4:1). And in the context of this relationship, "mere retribution" plays an important role:

Ephesians 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to HIS OWN MASTER he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Again, Romans 14, like the Gospel warnings, presents future judgment in the context of a servant/master relationship (John 13:13). However, it even goes beyond this picture, since the very subject of a "judgment seat" reveals the throne of a magistrate:

John 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the JUDGMENT SEAT in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Acts 18:12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the JUDGMENT SEAT,

Acts 25:10 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's JUDGMENT SEAT, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die...

The fable that the Judgment Seat of Christ is only an awards banquet of some kind (usually argued by replacing the word "judgment" with "bema," though the preacher is speaking English!) is plainly exposed by the above Scriptures which use the same word for "judgment." At Caesar's "judgment seat" there was RETRIBUTION, even to death! And the Lord Jesus Christ, as King of Kings, has a higher, more terrible throne than any Caesar!:

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST; that every one may RECEIVE THE THINGS DONE in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the TERROR OF THE LORD, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.


It should be clear to all that the Lord's judgment throne is a throne of retribution for believers, and that we need to bring our doctrinal views in line with the Scriptures. Notice how the earthly ruler is called by God to render justice and retribution:

Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a REVENGER to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

If he is a REVENGER, then he is called to administer justice and retribution! And we have already seen that the New Testament presents God as a Master or Judge who will REPAY believers according to the deeds done in the body. The concepts of repaying and avenging are central to the concept of moral retribution!

With these thoughts in mind, notice another important Scripture:

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him that hath said, VENGEANCE BELONGETH UNTO ME, I WILL RECOMPENSE, saith the Lord. And again, THE LORD SHALL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


This passage presents the judgment upon believers (who do despite unto the Spirit of grace and refuse to repent) as "vengeance," and a "recompense." These are the same elements of retribution that we have seen presented elsewhere in relation to the judgment of believers:

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my REWARD is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just RECOMPENCE of reward;
3 How shall WE escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;


The upholding of moral justice is a crucial purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Millennial Kingdom. The Bible teaches that the coming age of justice (in contrast to this age of the Lord's longsuffering) will BEGIN with the judgment of the Lord's own household:

1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?


"...the coming millennial day of Justice, dominated by the Judgment Seat, has for its essential characteristic the recoil of works in JUDICIAL RETRIBUTION. 'For he that doeth wrong...'- the context is addressed solely to believers (Col. 3:25)."
(D.M. Panton, "The Judgment Seat of Christ")


What would it teach the nations of the Millennial age if there was no retribution at all for the unfaithful of the Lord's own household? What do people think of one who is strict with his neighbors but too soft with his own household? Did not Eli's softness concerning his own house provoke Israel to abhor the offering of the Lord? The Lord will uphold moral justice for the righteousness of the principle itself. But this just retribution (for those who did not seek mercy beforehand) will also demonstrate the righteousness of God to all nations, and even to the angels.

It is interesting that the majority of objectors to retribution at the Judgment Seat of Christ have no problem with positive rewards:

Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the RECOMPENCE of the reward.


Yet, the same moral justice that rewards good behavior must likewise punish bad behavior. The same error is seen in the many interpreters who take the promises of reward literally (i.e. Jesus will gird himself and serve the dining believer, Luke 12:37), yet refuse or spiritualize the warnings in the same context (12:39, 46-49).

The main objection offered against retribution at the Judgment Seat of Christ (for believers) is that since the Lord has already PAID for all sins (past, present and future), there is, therefore, no place or ground for ANY future retribution. However, this objection fails to leave any logical room for any chastisement at all, even in this life! Yet, the Bible teaches that believers may be judged for sins committed after regeneration (Acts 5:10, 1 Corinthians 11:29-32, 1 John 5:16, etc.). Therefore, the fact that Jesus has PAID for the sins of believers does not mean that there is no danger of any consequences for sins committed after salvation. In the type, David was forgiven of adultery and murder, but he still suffered some temporal consequences (2 Samuel 12:10-14). The smallest sin in the sight of the eternal God merits eternal torment; yet the Blood of Jesus has removed this penalty for every believer, for all sins (past, present and future). But the Lord's work on the Cross was never meant to bar the Father from administrating the affairs of His household! The merits of Christ place the sinner on new ground (as a son, servant, etc.). But this new ground is not without some severe accountability - even though there is no danger of eternal retribution.

The branch that obediently abides in the vine, is purged so it will bring forth more fruit (John 15:2). This is the only aspect of God's parental dealings that are admitted or taught by many preachers. However, this purging is for faithful, obedient believers! The Lord warns that the branch that does not abide in the Vine, will not be purged - it will be cut off (John 15:2,6). Some believers refuse the discipline that is meant for their growth in holiness. They faint under or despise the purging. Such discipline that is not endured in patience (giving God reverence by our subjection) can result in severe retribution, in this life, and at the Judgment Seat.

The very facts concerning the judgment of believers in this life reveal that the humanistic theory is in error. If retribution plays no part at all in the judgment of believers, and they can only be chastised for one purpose (i.e. provoking their repentance in this life), then how does one answer the fact that believers are sometimes killed by God for their sins (Acts 5:10, 1 Corinthians 11:29-32, 1 John 5:16, etc.)? Certainly, it is obvious that such a judgment leaves no room for repentance, reformation or rehabilitation in this life! It therefore follows that the theory that all judgment of believers is only for correction in this life is erroneous. Believers are often judged for the purpose of retribution; and any "correction" and instruction (at least in this life) is often for others who see the judgment:

Acts 5:10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon ALL THE CHURCH, and upon as many as heard these things.


Even the retribution that was often administered to Old Testament believers is used as a warning example to New Testament believers (1 Corinthians 10:11).

On the other hand, although moral retribution is an important purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ, I do not maintain that it is the only purpose. God is able (and He has every right) to use such judgments to accomplish ALL the purposes He intends to accomplish. The intent of this article is to demonstrate the error of binding the Lord to only one purpose of judgment concerning believers. RETRIBUTION ALONE is presented in the Scriptures as a crucial purpose for judging some believers during the Millennial Age. Disobedient, unrepentant believers (who seek no mercy beforehand in godly fear) must be punished on the grounds of moral justice alone. The prevalent ignorance of this well-established principle of criminal justice moves many modern judges to let repeat offenders escape proper prison-time. They reason, "What good would such an extended stay in prison do for the rapist or murderer? We cannot undo the crime. Let us therefore concentrate on helping the criminal." We must not use such humanistic, darkened reasonings when interpreting the warnings to believers!

http://www.kingdombaptist.org

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54 Comments:

  • Hi Matthew,

    Is this the view to which you hold?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:34:00 PM  

  • I am inclined towards Millennial Exclusion.

    Of course the Dillow/ Wilkin/ Hodges view of kingdom non-inheritance has a lot of merit as well.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:47:00 PM  

  • So, Matthew, what's your view of Justification?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 5:26:00 AM  

  • That through faith we receive are accepted eternally in Christ by the merits of His death and resurrection and receive the very divine life.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 6:56:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Are we "in Christ" upon faith in Him or is that another step in the Christian life in your view?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 8:05:00 AM  

  • The believer is in Christ through faith. This is the position of all believers.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 8:14:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    In light of the fact that you believe we are "in Christ" at the moment of faith, that it is the position of all believers, what do you do with 1 Cor. 1:30 in relation to the view of retribution for believers?

    "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption."

    Is Christ's holiness not enough for us? Or are we not fully in Christ?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 8:41:00 AM  

  • It gives us eternal security in Him. We can never be seperated from Christ.

    It does not, however, free us from the temporal consequences of sin, such as chastening.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 8:47:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the dialogue, Matthew.

    So, in your view, are there no eternal consequences for the sins of a believer?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 8:56:00 AM  

  • Hodges/ Wilkin/ Dillow seem to hold that unfaithful believers can eternally suffer a loss of status.

    This in their view would not be a denial of eternal enjoyment of fellowship with Christ, but loss of intimacy with Him and the privilege of reigning with Him.

    I think their view has merits and I can see that there probably will be inequality of status between believers in eternity, but I do think the Hodges/ Wilkin/ Dillow view of eternal loss of kingdom inheritance is problematic.

    As an alternative, the Millennial Exclusion view holds out the prospect of exclusion from the Millennial kingdom and temporary incarceration in hell for unfaithful believers.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:05:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    You said: "As an alternative, the Millennial Exclusion view holds out the prospect of exclusion from the Millennial kingdom and temporary incarceration in hell for unfaithful believers."

    How would this be different than the Roman view of purgatory? And where's the line between unfaithful and faithful?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:29:00 AM  

  • 'How would this be different than the Roman view of purgatory?'

    Purgatory may well be a corruption of a true doctrine.

    Roman Catholics do not believe in justification from works. Hence purgatory is seen as an extension of works salvation. It is in effect a continuation of the sacramental process of being made right with God. There is no actual guarantee of getting out. This is a quite diffeent idea.

    'And where's the line between unfaithful and faithful?'

    Repentance and perserverance.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:39:00 AM  

  • By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:45:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    You said:"Purgatory may well be a corruption of a true doctrine. "

    If there is a period of retribution, then isn't that tantamount to a double payment? Didn't Christ accomplish a full payment for our sin on the cross?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 10:14:00 AM  

  • And Matthew,

    "'And where's the line between unfaithful and faithful?'

    Repentance and perserverance."

    Do I just have to have a life marked by these characteristics or do have to repent and perservere at every point?

    And, we can't "earn" eternal salvation, I think we agree on that. But from your view, can we "earn" temporal salvation?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 10:19:00 AM  

  • 'If there is a period of retribution, then isn't that tantamount to a double payment? Didn't Christ accomplish a full payment for our sin on the cross?'

    Christ's death does not free us from the possibility of chastening before death, likewise it does not free us from consequences for disobediance, whether those consequences are understood in terms of loss of privilege or temporal banishment to hell.

    "And, we can't "earn" eternal salvation, I think we agree on that. But from your view, can we "earn" temporal salvation?"

    Salvation in its fulness depends on both faith and works. Though we receive the power to overcome through grace, by our position in Christ and our indwelling by the Holy Spirit.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 12:43:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    I can't agree with this idea - no way no how - that a Christian can, or will ever go to hell... for any amount of time.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, September 04, 2008 7:44:00 AM  

  • No?

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Thursday, September 04, 2008 7:50:00 AM  

  • I agree with Rose.

    By Blogger Earl, at Thursday, September 04, 2008 6:42:00 PM  

  • Given that you are Amillennial, Millennial Exclusion would not really be a theological option for you anyway.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 05, 2008 12:33:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    There's a difference between consequences and retribution. There are things that I would consider to be natural consequences, ie, you put your hand on the hot stove burner and your hand gets burnt. The burn was not retribution for placing your hand on the burner.

    Retribution would be that if the speed limit is 55 and you're going 75 and the police pull you over and write you a ticket. You've received the penalty that was due. You have to pay a fine.

    We're always going to have the painful memories of placing our hands on the hot burner, and the scares to show others to warn them not to touch it. We'll bare the consequences of our sin. And we will have the chastening hand of the Lord on us. When we wander, He'll prod us back into the fold.

    But where do you find room for God's mercy if we also still face the due penalty of our sin even though we are in Christ? If Christ has become our righteousness, holiness and redemption, then why would I bear the stripes? To me, that's like penalizing someone whose account has been cleared. And worse yet, it's like penalizing the one who has cleared the account.

    I'm not sure how you get around the double payment for sin with this view.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Friday, September 05, 2008 7:17:00 AM  

  • I think we need to be careful about overstretching the idea of 'payment' when it comes to Christ's substitutionary work.

    "But where do you find room for God's mercy if we also still face the due penalty of our sin even though we are in Christ?"

    God's mercy is seen in the fact that guilty sinners will spend eternity in the presence of God. What is a thousand years of punishment next to that grace?

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 05, 2008 11:27:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    What did Christ's substitutionary work accomplish if He did not pay for our sins?

    And if we had to pay for our sins during this 1000 year period, who would be in Christ's presence? It would be Him alone. Is it not James that says "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." Is it possible to sin in degrees? Is not all sin, any sin, punishable by death?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Friday, September 05, 2008 11:55:00 AM  

  • "What did Christ's substitutionary work accomplish if He did not pay for our sins?"

    Eternal life and acceptance with God for those who believe.

    "Is it not James that says "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." Is it possible to sin in degrees? Is not all sin, any sin, punishable by death?"

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and justice to forgive and the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all unrighteousness.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 05, 2008 12:46:00 PM  

  • Hi again, Matthew,

    Romans 4:5-8
    "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

    Let me ask you, at the moment of faith, the moment you believed in Christ, were your sins covered? Will the Lord still take them into account?

    and

    Is your righteous of faith or of works?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Friday, September 05, 2008 1:32:00 PM  

  • At the moment of faith, the believer receives eternal acceptance with God. Her sin is no longer an obstacle to acceptance with God and receiving eternal life.

    The covering of sins, as cited in that verse, is an Old Testament legal notion. It applies to the believer in a sense of analogy, rather than exact correspondence.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 05, 2008 1:52:00 PM  

  • Matthew, you can't separate forgiveness of sins from justification and the gift of eternal life. Romans 3:25 and 4:6-8, both in the context of Paul's treatise on justification, connect justification to forgiveness of sins. Acts 13:38-39, and many other passages make this same connection as well. Don't forget Matthew 26:28, where Jesus makes it clear that His Blood is for the forgiveness of sins.

    We may be able to separate judicial forgiveness from fellowship forgiveness, but we can't separate judicial forgiveness from justification/eternal life.

    Retribution for wrong that believers do will have to take place in the Kingdom. Faust and the other Millenial Exclusionists need to deal honestly with 1 Thessalonians 5:10. They already agree that the verse is saying that whether believers watch (morally alert) or sleep (morally asleep), they will live with Lord. However, when they say this is true only for the Eternal Kingdom, they completely rip the verse from its context.

    In context, Paul is trying to comfort the Thessalonians who were uncertain about the future. Paul assures them that they are not appointed to wrath, but to be delivered from the Day of the Lord, even if they sleep like unbelievers. Gregoreo and katheudo, the Greek words for watch and sleep in verses 6 and 7, are repeated here in verse 10. Paul is obviously thinking of a specific point in history, the Day of the Lord. And on that day, whether believers were found watching/sober (v. 6,10) or sleeping/drunk (v. 7, 10), they will live together with the Lord.

    Even if you take the view that the Day of the Lord is not a single day, all believers are delivered from it. Living together with Him means living together with Him. It does NOT mean that those who slept morally will have to wait 1,000 years.

    As to 1 John 1:9, the verse is most likely dealing with fellowship forgiveness, whereas 1 John 2:12 deals with judicial forgiveness that all believers already have from the moment of faith onward.

    By Blogger Danny, at Friday, September 05, 2008 2:18:00 PM  

  • Danny, I do believe that justification includes judicial forgiveness, but we have to consider carefully what is involved in judicial forgiveness. It is the provision of eternal acceptance in spite of sin.

    Retributive judgement concerns the conditional state of the believer after justification.

    "Faust and the other Millenial Exclusionists need to deal honestly with 1 Thessalonians 5:10. They already agree that the verse is saying that whether believers watch (morally alert) or sleep (morally asleep), they will live with Lord. However, when they say this is true only for the Eternal Kingdom, they completely rip the verse from its context."

    You know I actually agree with you about Faust having a problem there. I think that stems from his commitment to a partial rapture.

    I do think that all believers will be raptured and will be present with the Lord.

    However, I do not see that this needs to be understood spatially.

    Naturally millions of saints are not going to be in Christ's immediate company all the time. Rather, being with the Lord is a matter of consciousness of His presence.

    If temporal banishment to hell is a real possibility for the believer, I do not see that it is incompatible with being present with the Lord. In a glorified body, a believer may have a consciousness of the Lord's presence even in the lowest depths.

    I appreciate this is an unconventional way of looking at it, but I think it resolves some issues.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 05, 2008 2:45:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Danny, at Friday, September 05, 2008 4:42:00 PM  

  • Hey Matthew. Thanks for the clarification. When I posted the comment, I was under the impression that you had totally isolated any notion of forgiveness from eternal life. As you know, I already agree with you that total forgiveness doesn't excuse us from the Bema and loss of rulership/rewards. But I still take issue with Millenial Exclusion.

    You rightfully pointed out that millions of saints can't possibly be in the same exact location as Christ at all times. Still, I think it makes more sense for the phrase "live together with Him" to refer to believers living in the same sphere, if not exact location, as Christ. This sphere is the New Earth. If Jesus is in the New Jerusalem, and a glorified believer is in the New Switzerland, they still live together in the same sphere - the New Earth.

    If Hell is in a different sphere than the New Earth (I trust you agree with me on that), a glorified believer residing there, even if He is conscious of the Lord's presence, can't truly be said to live with Christ. If 1 Thessalonians 5:10 includes glorified believers in Hell who live with Jesus in the sense that they are conscious of His presence, then there's no real comfort in that verse and the following verse. Being in a different sphere from Christ doesn't count as living with Him.

    By Blogger Danny, at Friday, September 05, 2008 4:45:00 PM  

  • "If 1 Thessalonians 5:10 includes glorified believers in Hell who live with Jesus in the sense that they are conscious of His presence, then there's no real comfort in that verse and the following verse. Being in a different sphere from Christ doesn't count as living with Him."

    I am not so sure; we are already seated with Christ in heaven in a mystical sense. I think that position could be realised in a more absolute sense with the glorification of the believer, especially given the omipresence of the divine nature.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 05, 2008 5:06:00 PM  

  • Well Matthew, I still think you're pushing it. We'll just have to amiably disagree on this one. I will say, however, that Millenial Exclusion certainly poses a challenge to Arminians, and the Arminians who come across it do get stunned.

    By Blogger Danny, at Friday, September 05, 2008 5:15:00 PM  

  • Yeah.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 05, 2008 5:35:00 PM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    You said: "At the moment of faith, the believer receives eternal acceptance with God. Her sin is no longer an obstacle to acceptance with God and receiving eternal life.

    The covering of sins, as cited in that verse, is an Old Testament legal notion. It applies to the believer in a sense of analogy, rather than exact correspondence."


    This was in reference to Romans 4:5-8.

    So what is the "analogy" that you're referring to? And then in your system, is not possible to have a righteousness of works?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Monday, September 08, 2008 5:29:00 AM  

  • "So what is the "analogy" that you're referring to?"

    The notion of sins being covered is an analogical use of an OT idea.

    "And then in your system, is not possible to have a righteousness of works?"

    You must surely agree that there is a difference between righteous and unrighteous behaviour in the life of a believer?

    Experiential righteousness is just as meaningful a concept as positional righteousness (which we possess through Christ).

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Monday, September 08, 2008 7:36:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Romans 4 says "his faith is credited as righteousness". I don't believe I've ever seen a passage that says our works count towards our righteousness. I agree that we can do righteous acts. But is you sanctification based on your righteous acts or on Christ?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Monday, September 08, 2008 9:02:00 AM  

  • Ten Cent, I can't help thinking that we are talking about two different things.

    As regards sanctification, there are two aspects to this:

    1) Positional- all believers are set apart in Christ.

    2) Conditional- believers gradually become more conformed to the pattern in Christ in their conduct through the empowering of the Holy Ghost. Obviously this involves works, which we do through the gracious empowering of the Holy Spirit.

    Our works will ultimately be judged at the judgement seat of Christ, where we will receive rewards for good and bad behaviour (2 Cor 5:10).

    This judgment is not a question of eternal destiny, but position in the Millennium (Matthew 25:14-30) and for those believers who have been unfaithful int he service of their Lord, chastisement (Matt 25:30, 24:48-51).

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Tuesday, September 09, 2008 2:33:00 AM  

  • Yes Matthew, you are correct. We are talking about two different things. Well, to be more accurate, we're talking about the same thing in two different ways.

    You seem to "silo" the Christian life into these two categories. The first silo is the event of believing in Christ for eternal life. The second silo is the event and process of sanctification.

    You claim to have security in your eternal destination, heaven, where you'll eventually spend eternity. But if you hold to this idea of retribution for believers, it is impossible for you to have this same security in your sanctification. The way it stands today, you have no idea if you'll spend time in hell or not.

    But what Paul tells us is that Christ became for us righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

    1 Corinthians 1:30 "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption"

    But I guess He didn't become that for you. Or maybe you believe that He will become that for you, but first you must pay for your sins. Which is a curious thing for me. Because, which sins are you paying for? The sins since the time you came to Christ in faith. Only the sins for which you have not asked forgiveness? You must live a very anxious life if you live with this view in mind.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Tuesday, September 09, 2008 1:04:00 PM  

  • Christ is indeed sanctification for us.

    It is in Him that we have the power to overcome the world and sin. That is by moment by moment identification in Him and co-crucifitixtion with Him.

    There is still a process involved in this, because we are not all there yet. None of us are perfect in our Christian walk, so we need to work out our salvation.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 10, 2008 12:48:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You said, "It is in Him that we have the power to overcome the world and sin. That is by moment by moment identification in Him and co-crucifitixtion with Him."

    If our sanctification is only a potential, then so is our redemption. If you have no security of your sanctification, you have no security of your justification.

    1 John 5:1-5
    Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.


    Look at what John tells us. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. And later on, what does he say? Everyone born of God overcomes the world. John doesn't seem to be talking in possibilities, but rather in realities.

    And Paul doesn't say in 1 Cor that Christ can be our sanctification, he says that Christ became for us sanctification. And John explains what the victory is, it's not our works, it's our faith.

    I'm not saying that sanctification is not a process, because for us, it is. We grow in sanctification. But I can also say, with all certainty, that I am sanctified. Not because of who I am, or what I've done, but because of who Christ is and what He's done. It's my faith in Him that overcomes the world. It's my new birth that makes it so His commands are not burdensome.

    I don't trust in my works for my sanctification. I trust in Christ's work in me. And the promise is that through faith in Christ, we overcome the world.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 10, 2008 6:30:00 AM  

  • "I'm not saying that sanctification is not a process, because for us, it is. We grow in sanctification. But I can also say, with all certainty, that I am sanctified. Not because of who I am, or what I've done, but because of who Christ is and what He's done. It's my faith in Him that overcomes the world. It's my new birth that makes it so His commands are not burdensome."

    I agree. But I am sure you would agree with me that we must do works as part of our sanctification.

    James 2:17-20 is very clear that faith is not sufficent when alone. It must be accompanied by works.

    "And the promise is that through faith in Christ, we overcome the world."

    There is no promise in Scripture that all believers will overcome. Such a promise exists only in the dreams of theologians.

    "And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world."

    So you have never sinned since you were born again? For overcoming here is seen in terms of keeping commandments.

    That verse is not a promise that the believer will overcome the world. If it were, then believers would never sin.

    No, it describes the character of the new birth.

    The new birth places the believer in a new sphere and position whereby He is able to overcome.

    The first epistle of John teaches that the believer who hates His brother is in darkness (1 John 2:11) and he may sin unto death (1 John 5:16). This is contrary to the character of the new birth, which is perfect and free from sin (5:18) but it is real as a possibility.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 10, 2008 7:09:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You said, "There is no promise in Scripture that all believers will overcome. Such a promise exists only in the dreams of theologians."

    1 John 5:4,5 clearly states that those who are born of God overcome the world. So either all believers are not born of God, or all believers overcome the world. And verse 5 clearly attaches faith to the one who overcomes. And it most certainly does not attach our perfection or our works.

    You said, "But I am sure you would agree with me that we must do works as part of our sanctification."

    No, I do not agree. This is a fundamental difference between our views. Works become necessary, a requirement that must be completed for you to have sanctification. We are sanctified in Christ. Works are an outcome, the natural outflow of our union with Him. That's why 1 John 5:4 doesn't say that our victory that has overcome the world is our works.

    You said, "That verse is not a promise that the believer will overcome the world. If it were, then believers would never sin."

    If that verse is not a promise that the believer will overcome the world, the John 3:16 is not a promise of eternal life.

    And you'll notice that the verse doesn't say that we will never sin, it says we overcome the world. And it's not by works, it's by faith.

    You said, "No, it describes the character of the new birth.

    The new birth places the believer in a new sphere and position whereby He is able to overcome."


    Yes, you're right, it does describe the character of the new birth. And the character of the one who is born of God is that he overcomes the world. If it is left to a potential that could overcome the world or that we're able, but haven't overcome and there's a chance we won't, then the same can be said for eternal life. It is only a potential. Through faith, we have the ability to have eternal life, but we need to work for it and it's not secure. Which is a Roman notion.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 10, 2008 8:28:00 AM  

  • Did Peter overcome the world when He denied Christ three times?

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 10, 2008 9:03:00 AM  

  • Did Peter pay for that sin in hell after he died?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 10, 2008 9:43:00 AM  

  • No, he repented. When we confess our sin we are clenased from the stain to our relationship to God. That is not to say that all unconfessed sin will keep one out of the Millennial Kingdom, but the Bible has specific warnings about those sins that will merit judgment in the kingdom.

    Had Peter persisted in apostasy, he would have forfeited his kingdom inheritance.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 10, 2008 1:54:00 PM  

  • So then, Peter overcame the world. Was it because of his works? No, it was because of his faith in Christ which produced in him a heart of repentance.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 10, 2008 2:08:00 PM  

  • "So then, Peter overcame the world. Was it because of his works?"

    Peter overcame the world eventually, but he was not overcoming the world when he denied Christ.

    That tells us that whatever 1 John 5:4 means it does not mean that a believer overcomes the world all the time.

    Therefore, to treat it as a promise that the believer will overcome is quite wrong.

    Likewise the same chapter says:

    18 ΒΆ We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

    This is not a promise that the believer will never sin.

    "No, it was because of his faith in Christ which produced in him a heart of repentance."

    Had Peter no faith before he denied Christ?

    Peter's faith did not stop him from denying Christ. There is no reason for thinking that his faith automatically caused him to repent.

    You seem to have forgotten the teaching of James that faith without works is not sufficent.

    You say you have faith. All very well, but faith without works is dead.

    Faith does not save alone.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Friday, September 12, 2008 2:30:00 AM  

  • John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

    I know many people who have believed in Christ and have died. Therefore to treat John 3:16 as a promise is quite wrong.

    Do you see the absurdity of that logic? I John 5:4 is most definitely a promise. We may not view the promise the same, but it is a promise none-the-less.

    The promise is that everyone born of God overcomes the world. You even said that Peter overcame the world eventually. And what is it about a person that overcomes the world? Does he just muster up enough righteousness to overcome the world? No, it's our faith.

    It appears that in this view, as believers, we have righteousness without having righteousness, sanctification without having sanctification, and salvation without having salvation. Where's the security in that?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Friday, September 12, 2008 12:52:00 PM  

  • "I know many people who have believed in Christ and have died. Therefore to treat John 3:16 as a promise is quite wrong."

    What you are doing is interpreting the verse carefully.

    You have considered the possible meanings of the word 'perish' and you have considered similar verses in John's Gospel. Hence, you have rightly concluded that 'not perish' in John 3:16 does not entail never dying physically.

    Likewise we have to apply the same strategy to 1 John 5:4.

    Firstly, we must consider the fact that this statement is very similar to the statement 'he that is born of God sinneth not.'

    We ought to conclude that this is not a promise that the believer will never sin (if you say you have never sinned I can assure you that you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you).

    Secondly, the first epistle of Joh implies in several places that believers can fail to overcome the world. It speaks of believers who hate their brethren, who are ashamed at the coming of Christ and who sin unto death.

    We also find that the New Testament contains many warnings against falling away. We also see examples in Scripture of believers who have failed to overcome the world, such as the Corinthian believers who fell asleep.

    Thus, rather than treating this verse as a promise about individuals and thus ignore a good deal of the New Testament, we should regard it as describing the character of the new birth experience.

    "No, it's our faith."

    Faith without works is dead, as you well know.

    "We may not view the promise the same, but it is a promise none-the-less."

    So are you going to tell us whether 1 John 5:18 is a promise?

    Do those that that are born of God not sin?

    You need to be consistent in your hermeneutical method.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Saturday, September 13, 2008 8:01:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    1 John 5:1a
    "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God"

    I think we've already established this, but just to clarify...do we agree that all believers are born of God?

    1 John 5:4
    "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith."

    Does John not clearly state that whatever is born of God overcomes the world? And does he not clearly state that the victory, what has actually overcome the world is our faith?

    Would it not follow that if you are a believer than you have overcome the world? Yet, you put Peter in the camp of someone who was not an overcomer. And you equate sin with not overcoming. So, if as a believer, I sin, then I am not an overcomer. But what John says is that it's not about doing something for you to overcome the world, it's about you believing someone. Which makes sense. Because then my works are not my sanctification, Christ is, because I am in Christ.

    And then that makes sense of 1 John 5:18, "We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him." Because the promise is not that the believer won't sin, that's a stated fact, "we know..." The promise is that Christ, "He who was born of God", keeps us and the evil one does not touch him. How does this make sense of the fact that believers do not sin? Because we are in Christ. Now, I'm not so foolish as to say that we don't sin in this present world, but, as believers in Christ, our sins are covered.

    Look at Romans 2:5-8: "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger."

    Now, let's keep to your hermeneutic. Here's what we know. If we believe in Christ, we have eternal life. And we know that one day there will be a judgment. Paul tells us in this passage that God will give to each person according to what he has done. What does he give to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality? God gives them eternal life, doesn't He? And to those who are self-seeking, who reject the truth and follow evil? He gives them wrath an anger.

    Is there a middle ground? Wrath and anger for you believers for a time and then you'll get eternal life? Only one group gets eternal life, right?

    So then, is our destiny based on works? Do we have to be righteous in and of ourselves? No, but rather our eternal destiny is through faith in Christ. How does that happen? Paul just said that it's about those who hare doing good, seek glory, honor and immortality. It's because of what Paul says in Chapter 3:21-23, "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

    Which is why I say that if you hold this view of believers being punished in the next life for their sin, then I don't see how you get around believers being punished unjustly. Because our righteousness is not based on our works, it's through faith in Christ. So if I am punished for my sin after the judgement, God would be nullifying the justification He granted us through faith in His Son.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Monday, September 15, 2008 10:09:00 AM  

  • "I think we've already established this, but just to clarify...do we agree that all believers are born of God?"

    Yes.

    "Does John not clearly state that whatever is born of God overcomes the world?"

    Does he not also state that he that is born of God does not sin. Do you sin?

    "Would it not follow that if you are a believer than you have overcome the world?"

    Positionally, the believer has overcome the world. Throgh the new birth, she is delivered from Satan's power to destroy and is eternally secure. This does not of course mean, that she can temporarily forfeit the privileges in Christ and suffer punitive judgement.

    "Now, I'm not so foolish as to say that we don't sin in this present world, but, as believers in Christ, our sins are covered."

    You agree that when it says that the one who is born of God 'does not sin' does not mean that a believer never sins.

    Likewise, I maintain that when it says that the believer 'overcomes the world' does not mean that a believer always overcomes the world.

    The problem with your position is that you focus on one verse that appears to support your position, yet you ignore the countless warnings of the New Testament.

    In fact, you made not a single comment on the Scriptures that Joey Faust raised in this article. You just launched in with an exposition of your faulty theological presuppositions.

    "Is there a middle ground? Wrath and anger for you believers for a time and then you'll get eternal life? Only one group gets eternal life, right?"

    Eternal life is not a static thing. It is the knowledge and enjoyment of God.

    While all believers posess eternal life, not all believers experience the fulness of it.

    Believers who are lacking in peace and who are troubled by circumstances are not enjoying eternal life, though they posess it.

    Likewise, those believers who are excluded during the millennium will not enjoy eternal life in its fulness.

    "Because our righteousness is not based on our works, it's through faith in Christ. So if I am punished for my sin after the judgement, God would be nullifying the justification He granted us through faith in His Son."

    Christ has given us eternal life through His suffering, death and resurrection. Yet this does not remove the consequences for wilfull sin.

    As it says in Hebrews 10, 'if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sin.'

    Christ's sacrifice does not prevent one being judged for one's conduct after believing.

    Did Christ's death preven the Corinthian believers from suffering judgment for taking the Lord's supper unworthily?


    You have read the parable of the unforgiving servant, haven't you?

    The unforgiving servant had been forgiven his debt, yet the wrath of his lord fell upon him when he refused to forgive his fellow.

    Christ death places us in a new position, free from our position in the old Adam and accounted righteous. However, now that we are placed in that new position, we are accountable for what we do.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, September 17, 2008 4:18:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    "Does he not also state that he that is born of God does not sin. Do you sin?"

    We've established that believers still sin. What's in question is whether or not a believer will experience retribution for their sin.


    "Likewise, I maintain that when it says that the believer 'overcomes the world' does not mean that a believer always overcomes the world."

    But you are confusing what John is saying. He says that our faith HAS OVERCOME the world. It's done.

    "In fact, you made not a single comment on the Scriptures that Joey Faust raised in this article. You just launched in with an exposition of your faulty theological presuppositions."

    Point taken. You are correct, I have not engaged any of the Scriptures that Faust has raised. Do you want me to start in on those? This discussion could get long. But it must be hitting some hot buttons in both of us because we both continue to discuss it. And let me say, that if you weren't raising some questions in my mind with the points you're making, I wouldn't continue. So, thanks for staying with it.

    Lets look at 1 Thess. 4. The first passage that he brings to light. The claim he makes is that this text shows that "the Lord will meet some believers as an AVENGER. This clearly speaks of retribution."

    In the context, there's no reference to the time at which this will happen. And I see that an argument can be made that this "avenging" would take place while the believer is still on earth, if Paul is even referencing the believer. Because later on in the same chapter Paul talks about the dead in Christ rising first and then those who remain will meet them in the air, and says, "and so we shall always be with the Lord." What comfort would those words be if Paul wanted the Thessalonians to live in the fear of the retribution of the Lord after they died?

    The same can be said of the Colossians 3 passage. It does not reference the judgement seat. You would have to read your theology into that passage.

    Romans 14 does, however, reference the judgement seat. And it does say that each one of us will give an account of himself to God. And in light of that fact, we should not judge one another anymore, but rather determine not to put a stumbling block in a brother's way. But Paul never says what the result of that accounting will be. The payment for our sin in hell is absent from this passage.

    It's interesting what Paul says in verse 4 in reference to people judging. He says, "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."

    Did you catch that? Paul says that it's to his own master that he stands or falls. And then what does Paul say? "He will stand." How does Paul have such confidence that he will stand? Is it because of his works? No, it's because the Lord is able to make him stand.

    And then look at the end of this passage, verse, 23. What's the dividing line between righteousness and unrighteousness? Is it the fact that someone was eating something that they weren't supposed to eat? No, it was because his eating was not from faith. Faith is the dividing line. Whatever is not from faith is sin.

    I'll get back to you on 2 Cor. 5. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what to make of it. Form the initial reading and if I were to take the verse by itself, I would say, maybe you're right. But I get down to verse 17-21 and I can't believe that he means Christians will pay for their sin at the judgement seat.

    And I have yet to see one place in scripture that clearly links Christian to a period of time in hell to pay for his sins.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Wednesday, September 17, 2008 12:30:00 PM  

  • Ten Cent, thanks for the engagement.

    I raised some of the evidence for Millennial Exclusion in this post.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Thursday, September 18, 2008 3:19:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for the link. I read through the post. It's probably no surprise that I'm not convinced of M.Ex. I can most assuredly see the line of thought and I can see how one might come to those conclusions, but definitely not a rock-solid case.

    In light of these views, I'm curious as to what you do with Romans 2?

    "Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?"

    Who is Paul talking to? I tend to think it's a mix of believers and unbelievers. It's the church in Rome, but I don't think Paul was assuming they were all believers.

    "But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation."

    So as Paul views it, there's only two groups. One gets eternal life, the other gets wrath and indignation. And to each group, God rendered according to their deeds. So what is Paul saying? What do you think?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Thursday, September 18, 2008 10:30:00 AM  

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