Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers: Part 1

Jay’s and Todd’s Answers to Mac’s Questions

by Mac Deaver

T  F 1. You say that the statement “Obedience to Christ is a type of work (Jno.6:29; Heb.5:8, 9; Eph.2:10) is not precise enough to answer either true or false. You claim that there is “sharp distinction” between (1) obedient acts done in order to receive salvation and (2) obedient acts done because one already has salvation. Yes, and we can agree if “salvation” refers to the salvation from past sins granted when one becomes a Christian! However, are you willing to claim that there is a sharp distinction between (1) obedience in order to become a Christian and (2) obedience in order to remain a faithful one? Where does that sharp distinction appear? When we say that we must continue to obey we are not saying that (1) one must continue to obey in order to contribute to his initial salvation or conversion (and you realize this), but we are saying that (2) one must continue to obey in order to maintain his righteous standing before God or to maintain his salvation in Christ. We are to “work out” our own salvation (Phil.2:12), and that is obedience (Heb.5:8, 9). The statement was precise enough. You failed to deal with because you would have to admit, as the Scriptures show, that there is work to be done to contribute to the “ongoingness” of salvation.

You suggest two situations involving works: (1) works done to receive salvation (of which there are none), and (2) works done because salvation has been received but which works could not have contributed to that initial condition. However, even though the second category of works could not, of course, produce the initial conversion, it must contribute to the maintenance of that conversion (unless “once saved-always saved” doctrine is true). The Bible teaches that the works we do because we are sons of God do contribute to our righteous standing before God. You admit in your answer to question #13 that saving faith includes obedience!

Todd and Jay say that they (1) do not believe in the doctrine of once saved-always saved, but then they (2) deny that works done by Christians have anything to do with their salvation. This is outright self-contradiction! Why? It is so because, per their view, the failure of a Christian to work out his own salvation could not damn his soul. They may not believe in once saved-always saved doctrine, but the view for which they are currently contending implies that doctrine nonetheless!

In your speculation over John 6:29 you wind up concluding that there is only one work that saves and it isn’t really a work at all. You say that Jesus used the word “work” but Paul shows us that Jesus didn’t mean it! My!

If obedience entails a kind of “work,” and obedience is required for salvation, then a kind of “work” is required for salvation. Your guesswork about John 6:29 cannot offset plain New Testament requirement that there is a sense in which we must work out our salvation (Phil.2:12). Your failure to understand Paul contributes to your failure to understand James. Ephesians 2:8-10 you claim says that salvation is not of works-period. You are exactly wrong. It is not of works of the law and it is not of works of merit, but if obedience necessarily entails a work, then salvation entails that work. The works in verse 10 are those in which those saved from past sin (Christians) are to walk, thus indicating that these works are contributory not to previous conversion but to the maintenance of their righteous standing before God.

Titus 3:5 is a discussion of initial obedience, and not a reference to obedience required of Christians. The salvation of Titus 3:5 excludes works of righteousness because before conversion, the sinner is not producing any righteousness. He is living in sin. Verses 5 and 6 clearly show that the salvation referred to is that whereby one leaves the world of sin.

When Todd says, “To sum up, assuming we’re talking about “works” in the usual, Pauline sense, Dad’s question could be ether True or False, depending on whether he means obedience to Christ in meeting the conditions of salvation (faith, repentance, baptism) or other works of obedience,” it merely states a confusion. This reminds me of a debate opponent I had years ago who answered every True-False question both True and False. On a given question, he had circled both the T and the F and then explained his answers by provided two scenarios both of which meant the question was false. But, he still wouldn’t answer it False.

Now, since you tell us in your discussion of John 6:29 that faith is the only thing necessary to salvation, per Jesus (You say that Jesus identifies the one “work” necessary as faith), is faith and that it is not, according to Paul, a “work” at all, my first True-False question would be “false.” Then, since you take the position that all acts required of saints are because of their salvation rather than in order to receive salvation, that would make the first True-False question False.  So, why didn’t you answer it “false”? Of course, the Bible teaches that obedience is necessary initially and continually (11 Thess.1:8, 9; Gal.5:7; Heb.5:8, 9). Where does Hebrews 5:8, 9 apply? It applies either to (1) initial salvation or (2) continuing salvation or (3) neither or (4) both. We say both!  As far as I can yet understand Todd and Jay, they are attacking the concept of continuing obedience as a contribution to one’s continuing state of salvation. This is what is alarming. And they do this while at the same time admitting obedience is essential, at least “imperfect obedience” (their answer to my question #2). Per their view, “imperfect obedience” saves us, but continuing obedience (this would entail improved obedience or “more perfect obedience,” (given the way they are arguing) has nothing to do with the continuing salvation. This is a very unique doctrine!

T  F  2. Regarding obedience to Christ being essential to salvation, Todd and Jay say that such is true but that “perfect obedience” is not essential. Of course, they need to wrestle with what they are claiming. I would at this juncture raise the question: Exactly how is imperfect obedience distinguishable from disobedience. If a man imperfectly repents, does he repent or not? Can a man maintain faithfulness to God while imperfectly walking in the light? If he is in the light, he is in the light. I do not quibble over human weakness. We all have already admitted such. Can a man perfectly believe? Can he perfectly repent? Can he perfectly make the good confession? Can he perfectly or absolutely correctly be baptized? Can he perfectly or correctly walk in truth?

But in order for Jay and Todd to claim the essentiality of obedience on the one hand, but say that it is imperfect obedience, they need to tell us exactly how imperfect obedience is distinguishable from non-obedience or from dis-obedience. Exactly what is “imperfect obedience”? Be careful, men, in your clarification, or you will wind up explicitly denying the essentiality of obedience altogether. You are already explicitly claiming that by “partial” obedience a sinner becomes a Christian, and that improved obedience later has nothing whatever to do with that Christian’s maintaining his faithfulness before God. This is strange stuff!

The fact is that Saul’s partial or “imperfect” obedience was taken by God to be disobedience, and Saul lost the kingdom over it! Please read carefully 1 Samuel 15:10-23). Jay and Todd need to clarify for us how it is that this example of partial obedience does not apply to the concept of conversion for which they are contending.

T  F  3. We all agree that it is possible to practice pure religion.

T  F  4. As to whether or not one can practice pure religion out of harmony with pure doctrine, we are told that the answer is “true” but only if we mean that one can practice pure religion “with an imperfect understanding of church polity, worship, and the Millennium.” However, in answer to our question #10, Jay and Todd admit that “The subscription to at least some doctrinal errors entails loss of eternal salvation to those who subscribe to them” (and they cite Gal.1:6-9 and 1 John 2:22-23). The second passage they cite is in reference to the deity of Christ. The first one, however, entails the embracing of any doctrine which undermines the exclusive nature of the gospel of Christ (cf. Gal.2:1-5). According to Jay and Todd one can practice pure religion…with an imperfect understanding of “church polity, worship, and the Millennium.” According to Jay and Todd no false doctrine on church polity, or worship, or the millennium would necessarily entail one’s having given up pure doctrine. So, the apostasy that developed in the second century over church organization which eventuated into the Roman Catholic Church did not, in itself, involved damning doctrinal heresy! And, according to Jay and Todd, no doctrine that changes or “corrupts” pure worship practice can entail damning heresy! How then, we ask, is the concept of apostasy applicable to history?

T  F  5.  Jay and Todd admit that we can practice pure religion without spot, but they claim that this “spotlessness” does not entail doctrinal perfection or living sinless lives. But it does mean that “we can be truly penitent and forgiven for all sins where we’ve fallen short of perfection.” But their idea of a penitent life, in the light of their answer to #4 allows for doctrinal corruption to the extent of worship corruption and organizational corruption. Are they implying, unintentionally, that the whole idea of “restorationism” is misguided and that the restoration movement back to first century Christianity was a colossal conceptual mistake? It seems so.

T  F  6. We all agree that there is no N.T. passage that promises eternal salvation to the sons of disobedience.

T  F  7. We all agree that sons of obedience are faithful Christians.

T  F  8. As to whether or not worship authorized by Christ must be in truth, our opponents say “True,” but that “ ‘Truth’  does not refer to having a perfect understanding of church polity and worship.” Did we say anything about church polity (organization)? No. Now the question does have to do with worship. They say that our understanding of worship doctrine does not have to be perfect. Our response: But if our worship practice is “in truth,” it would have to be in harmony with doctrinal accuracy. Doesn’t  “truth” mean it must be accurate? Evidently, here they are trying to leave room for worship that is not accurate (“in truth”). The very concept of “truth” has to do with informational accuracy! A proposition can not be true and not true in the same sense at the same time (cf. law of contradiction). How can worship be in truth and in error at the same time? If we can worship in error and it be in truth at the same time, then there is no distinction between truth and error. Let us be clear: grace cannot be extended apart from truth. If our opponents think otherwise, let them come out and explicitly say so, and provide the passage which so teaches.

T  F  9. They admit that no New Testament passage teaches that unauthorized worship is acceptable or pleasing to God. However, they say that they disagree with us over how one determines what is authorized. Just here, if they think they have discovered some new hermeneutical principle by which Bible authority can be accessed, let them give it! They do say, “No one is suggesting that actual error in worship is pleasing to God-only that it, like other sins, is forgiven if the worshipper has been saved and continues in submissive faith.” So, here they claim that “sincerity” is the guarantor of continuing salvation. Truth has been jettisoned. Obedience has been forsaken. All that is left is for brethren to be sincere in what they are doing, and God accepts such. And even though it is not pleasing or acceptable, it is forgiven and without repentance and the cessation of unacceptable and non-please behavior!  What convenient doctrine! Truth is attacked. While Jay and Todd have not (and would not) claim that a sinner’s sincerity alone will save him, they do apply the concept of “sincerity alone” to a saint, and say that a sincere saint (after all, that is what is meant by a saint’s having a submissive faith, isn’t it?) is all right with God regardless what he does. Let them deny it.

T  F  10. Here Jay and Todd admit that the subscription to at least some doctrinal errors entails loss of eternal salvation to those who subscribe to them. They cite Galatians 1:6-9 and 1 John 2:22-23. And there is no way to restrict the application of Galatians 1:6-9 to the denial of the deity of Christ. That passage applies to any situation where the exclusive nature of the gospel (not simply biographical material about Jesus) is surrendered. So, they admit here that the embracing of some doctrinal error can damn the soul of the saint. Since they realize that the New Testament teaching is plain that some doctrinal heresy damns the soul, they have to admit it, but then in the way that they redefine “repentance” (to allow the continuation of some sin uninterruptedly; in Romans 6:1 Paul said we must not continue in sin that grace may abound while Jay and Todd say that we must allow for it) and “obedience” (to mean “partial” or “incomplete” obedience which in 1 Samuel 15:10-23 is the same as “disobedience”), and the way that they, unintentionally, assault the biblical doctrine of knowledge (by holding that our knowledge finitude entails inaccuracy, and the way that they argue for worship “in truth” that allows it to be at the same time in “some error,” they wind up in self-conflict and in overall undermining of the gospel in whose behalf they are now trying to argue.

T  F  11. My statement was: According to Hebrews 11, the faith that saves is a submissive faith which has not yet obeyed but that plans on obeying in the future. Instead of squarely facing the point and answering the question, they evade it. They say, “It is a vague question. Not yet obeyed what? The acts of obedience mentioned in this chapter did not save anyone. The writer is quite clear that they were saved by faith (v.2). The faith motivated their obedience and their obedience evidenced their faith, but their salvation came by faith.” Now, consider this confusion carefully:

They refuse to explicitly admit that “submissive faith” but which is not yet obedient faith will yet save. They will not claim that (1) a submissive but not yet obedient faith saves, and they will not claim that (2) a submissive but not yet obedient faith will not save. If they believe the first point, they should have answered True, and if they believe the second point, they should have answered False. Where’s the problem? Come on, fellows. It is not vague. You just do not want to have to squarely face the statement. They suggest that they do not know what I mean by “obey” by saying, “Not yet obeyed what?” The statement is based on Hebrews 11, and the “obeying what” entails the various assignments given to the people who are commended for their faith. Read verse 4, 7, 8, 17, etc. Faith entails trusting promises, believing facts, and obeying imperatives. There is no place in Hebrews 11 for the divine commendation of anyone’s faith who, when given an assignment, refused to obey. And Todd and Jay know that before we arrive at Hebrews 11 and the illustrations that show we are justified by faith, the writer had already informed us that the saved are saved by obedience (5:8, 9).

When Todd says that the acts of obedience in Hebrews 11 did not save anyone, then he is admitting that a dead faith would have provided the same results as a living faith! That is, he is implying that a non-obedient faith is just as effective as an obedient one! This is the implication.

(1) “The acts of obedience mentioned in this chapter did not save anyone. The writer is quite clear that they were saved by faith (v.2).”

(2) Thus, faith that does not obey saves. (Thus, the faith by which they were saved could have been non-obedient faith or dead faith). The obedience, then per                     Jay and Todd, was coincidental but not essential!

Dear reader, can you see how that Todd and Jay are attacking the very concept of obedience. They, in effect, are claiming that non-obedient faith saves (But, Heb.5:8, 9!).

Now, Jay and Todd present us a brief discussion of Abram to justify their concept of faith’s saving quality. They refer to Genesis 15:6 and Rom.4:2, 3 and Ephesians 2:8, 9. Romans 4 is a discussion of Abraham’s being saved without being involved in the works of the law of Moses. Verses 10ff show this. Paul cannot in Romans 4 be attempting to prove that Abraham was justified without obeying God! (cf. Heb.11:8). James teaches us that Genesis 15:6 was a prophecy! I have already made this point. Todd and Jay are not dealing with it. Genesis 15:6 was fulfilled, according to James, when Abraham obeyed God by attempting to kill his son as ordered (Jas.2:20-23).Thus, the works of Romans 4 are not works of obedience to God’s assignments. The works of Romans 4 are the works of the law of Moses or any other system whereby one can earn or merit salvation. When Jay and Todd say that “it would be a gross distortion of Hebrews and Genesis to suggest that Abraham earned his salvation by works,” we agree. No one can “earn” his salvation given the sin in every person’s life (cf. Luke 17:10). The works of Ephesians 2:8, 9 are like those of Titus 3:5. Only God can save us in the ultimate sense. Only God can provide the history and stipulate the conditions necessary to salvation. The works in verse 10 are those acts which Christians are obligated to do.

T  F  12. Jay and Todd agree with us that a disobedient faith will not save. But here they are inconsistent with the way they have treated Hebrews 11. And in answer to question #2, they claim that imperfect obedience saves without telling us in what way imperfect obedience differs from disobedience.

T  F  13. The True-False question is: According to New Testament teaching, saving faith is a submissive faith which submission excludes obedience. Jay and Todd answer False. So, now they contradict their answer in question #11 when they said “The acts of obedience mentioned in this chapter (Hebrews 11, MD) did not save anyone.” Here, they admit that saving faith includes obedience. So, while to question #11 they tried to avoid having to say that obedience is necessary to salvation, here they admit it. This is another case of self-contradiction. Notice:

(1) Obedience doesn’t save anyone.

(2) It is false to say that saving faith excludes obedience.

Dear reader, it is hard to argue with men who take both sides of the issue!

T  F  14. Todd and Jay here admit that Abraham was, according to James 2, justified by an obedient faith. This comes after their denial that Abraham or anyone else described in Hebrews 11 was justified by obedience. Too, note that they admit that James teaches that Abraham was justified by “obedient faith” when James says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?” (v.21). Look at it carefully. According to Todd and Jay, Abraham was justified by works! Do you see some confusion?

T  F  15. My statement was: If Paul declares that Abraham was not justified by works and if James declares that Abraham was justified by works, then we know that Paul and James were referring to two different categories or classifications of works. They answer False.

Then, in an effort to bolster their answer, they suggest that it “is more likely that” Paul and James used the concept of justification in different senses (Notice, that this is only a suggestion). They claim that Paul uses the term “justified” for the “act in which God declares a sinner righteous” and James uses it as a demonstration. Their “explanation” completely disregards the fact that James says that Genesis 15:6 was a prophecy! They do not admit what James has clearly stated. Furthermore, if Paul’s use of the term “justified” is for the “act” in which God declares the sinner righteous, then either

(1) the act is an act of obedience (This would mean that an obedient faith saves) or

(2) the act is a mere mental act and without further obedience (This would mean that “faith only” saves). Is this where Jay and Todd will land?

They say, “Paul and James would both agree that we are declared righteous by faith, not by works. And they would both agree that a faith that saves will always evidence itself in good works.” Can you believe it? If we cannot determine what they both would say by what they have, in fact, said, how would we determine it? I will not rely on the guessing of Jay and Todd. Look again at what Jay and Todd have said:

(1) “Paul and James would both agree that we are declared righteous by faith, not by works.” But, James says, “Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith” (Jas.2:24).

(2) “And they would both agree that a faith that saves will always evidence itself in good works.” But James does not say that the faith that justifies will in the future demonstrate its already having saved quality by demonstration through works, but he does say rather that the faith that justifies does so by good works. Todd and Jay do not have the liberty to rewrite the text in order to justify their position on an exaggerated grace.

Todd and Jay say, “Works don’t save the individual. Rather, saving faith necessarily produces good works, and so the absence of good works means an absence of faith or penitence.”  Now notice:

(1) Works don’t save; but

(2) The absence of good works means an absence of faith that saves.

Can you not see, dear reader, that if the absence of good works implies the absence of the faith that saves, then the faith that saves cannot save in the absence of good works! Todd and Jay have simply created a confusion:

Faith                           good works                                        salvation

Faith                           absence of good works                      no salvation

Absence of good works implies

No saving faith          and                                                       no salvation

ay’s and Todd’s Answers to Mac’s Questions

T F 1. You say that the statement “Obedience to Christ is a type of work (Jno.6:29; Heb.5:8, 9; Eph.2:10) is not precise enough to answer either true or false. You claim that there is “sharp distinction” between (1) obedient acts done in order to receive salvation and (2) obedient acts done because one already has salvation. Yes, and we can agree if “salvation” refers to the salvation from past sins granted when one becomes a Christian! However, are you willing to claim that there is a sharp distinction between (1) obedience in order to become a Christian and (2) obedience in order to remain a faithful one? Where does that sharp distinction appear? When we say that we must continue to obey we are not saying that (1) one must continue to obey in order to contribute to his initial salvation or conversion (and you realize this), but we are saying that (2) one must continue to obey in order to maintain his righteous standing before God or to maintain his salvation in Christ. We are to “work out” our own salvation (Phil.2:12), and that is obedience (Heb.5:8, 9). The statement was precise enough. You failed to deal with because you would have to admit, as the Scriptures show, that there is work to be done to contribute to the “ongoingness” of salvation.

You suggest two situations involving works: (1) works done to receive salvation (of which there are none), and (2) works done because salvation has been received but which works could not have contributed to that initial condition. However, even though the second category of works could not, of course, produce the initial conversion, it must contribute to the maintenance of that conversion (unless “once saved-always saved” doctrine is true). The Bible teaches that the works we do because we are sons of God do contribute to our righteous standing before God. You admit in your answer to question #13 that saving faith includes obedience!

Todd and Jay say that they (1) do not believe in the doctrine of once saved-always saved, but then they (2) deny that works done by Christians have anything to do with their salvation. This is outright self-contradiction! Why? It is so because, per their view, the failure of a Christian to work out his own salvation could not damn his soul. They may not believe in once saved-always saved doctrine, but the view for which they are currently contending implies that doctrine nonetheless!

In your speculation over John 6:29 you wind up concluding that there is only one work that saves and it isn’t really a work at all. You say that Jesus used the word “work” but Paul shows us that Jesus didn’t mean it! My!

If obedience entails a kind of “work,” and obedience is required for salvation, then a kind of “work” is required for salvation. Your guesswork about John 6:29 cannot offset plain New Testament requirement that there is a sense in which we must work out our salvation (Phil.2:12). Your failure to understand Paul contributes to your failure to understand James. Ephesians 2:8-10 you claim says that salvation is not of works-period. You are exactly wrong. It is not of works of the law and it is not of works of merit, but if obedience necessarily entails a work, then salvation entails that work. The works in verse 10 are those in which those saved from past sin (Christians) are to walk, thus indicating that these works are contributory not to previous conversion but to the maintenance of their righteous standing before God.

Titus 3:5 is a discussion of initial obedience, and not a reference to obedience required of Christians. The salvation of Titus 3:5 excludes works of righteousness because before conversion, the sinner is not producing any righteousness. He is living in sin. Verses 5 and 6 clearly show that the salvation referred to is that whereby one leaves the world of sin.

When Todd says, “To sum up, assuming we’re talking about “works” in the usual, Pauline sense, Dad’s question could be ether True or False, depending on whether he means obedience to Christ in meeting the conditions of salvation (faith, repentance, baptism) or other works of obedience,” it merely states a confusion. This reminds me of a debate opponent I had years ago who answered every True-False question both True and False. On a given question, he had circled both the T and the F and then explained his answers by provided two scenarios both of which meant the question was false. But, he still wouldn’t answer it False.

Now, since you tell us in your discussion of John 6:29 that faith is the only thing necessary to salvation, per Jesus (You say that Jesus identifies the one “work” necessary as faith), is faith and that it is not, according to Paul, a “work” at all, my first True-False question would be “false.” Then, since you take the position that all acts required of saints are because of their salvation rather than in order to receive salvation, that would make the first True-False question False. So, why didn’t you answer it “false”? Of course, the Bible teaches that obedience is necessary initially and continually (11 Thess.1:8, 9; Gal.5:7; Heb.5:8, 9). Where does Hebrews 5:8, 9 apply? It applies either to (1) initial salvation or (2) continuing salvation or (3) neither or (4) both. We say both! As far as I can yet understand Todd and Jay, they are attacking the concept of continuing obedience as a contribution to one’s continuing state of salvation. This is what is alarming. And they do this while at the same time admitting obedience is essential, at least “imperfect obedience” (their answer to my question #2). Per their view, “imperfect obedience” saves us, but continuing obedience (this would entail improved obedience or “more perfect obedience,” (given the way they are arguing) has nothing to do with the continuing salvation. This is a very unique doctrine!

T F 2. Regarding obedience to Christ being essential to salvation, Todd and Jay say that such is true but that “perfect obedience” is not essential. Of course, they need to wrestle with what they are claiming. I would at this juncture raise the question: Exactly how is imperfect obedience distinguishable from disobedience. If a man imperfectly repents, does he repent or not? Can a man maintain faithfulness to God while imperfectly walking in the light? If he is in the light, he is in the light. I do not quibble over human weakness. We all have already admitted such. Can a man perfectly believe? Can he perfectly repent? Can he perfectly make the good confession? Can he perfectly or absolutely correctly be baptized? Can he perfectly or correctly walk in truth?

But in order for Jay and Todd to claim the essentiality of obedience on the one hand, but say that it is imperfect obedience, they need to tell us exactly how imperfect obedience is distinguishable from non-obedience or from dis-obedience. Exactly what is “imperfect obedience”? Be careful, men, in your clarification, or you will wind up explicitly denying the essentiality of obedience altogether. You are already explicitly claiming that by “partial” obedience a sinner becomes a Christian, and that improved obedience later has nothing whatever to do with that Christian’s maintaining his faithfulness before God. This is strange stuff!

The fact is that Saul’s partial or “imperfect” obedience was taken by God to be disobedience, and Saul lost the kingdom over it! Please read carefully 1 Samuel 15:10-23). Jay and Todd need to clarify for us how it is that this example of partial obedience does not apply to the concept of conversion for which they are contending.

T F 3. We all agree that it is possible to practice pure religion.

T F 4. As to whether or not one can practice pure religion out of harmony with pure doctrine, we are told that the answer is “true” but only if we mean that one can practice pure religion “with an imperfect understanding of church polity, worship, and the Millennium.” However, in answer to our question #10, Jay and Todd admit that “The subscription to at least some doctrinal errors entails loss of eternal salvation to those who subscribe to them” (and they cite Gal.1:6-9 and 1 John 2:22-23). The second passage they cite is in reference to the deity of Christ. The first one, however, entails the embracing of any doctrine which undermines the exclusive nature of the gospel of Christ (cf. Gal.2:1-5). According to Jay and Todd one can practice pure religion…with an imperfect understanding of “church polity, worship, and the Millennium.” According to Jay and Todd no false doctrine on church polity, or worship, or the millennium would necessarily entail one’s having given up pure doctrine. So, the apostasy that developed in the second century over church organization which eventuated into the Roman Catholic Church did not, in itself, involved damning doctrinal heresy! And, according to Jay and Todd, no doctrine that changes or “corrupts” pure worship practice can entail damning heresy! How then, we ask, is the concept of apostasy applicable to history?

T F 5. Jay and Todd admit that we can practice pure religion without spot, but they claim that this “spotlessness” does not entail doctrinal perfection or living sinless lives. But it does mean that “we can be truly penitent and forgiven for all sins where we’ve fallen short of perfection.” But their idea of a penitent life, in the light of their answer to #4 allows for doctrinal corruption to the extent of worship corruption and organizational corruption. Are they implying, unintentionally, that the whole idea of “restorationism” is misguided and that the restoration movement back to first century Christianity was a colossal conceptual mistake? It seems so.

T F 6. We all agree that there is no N.T. passage that promises eternal salvation to the sons of disobedience.

T F 7. We all agree that sons of obedience are faithful Christians.

T F 8. As to whether or not worship authorized by Christ must be in truth, our opponents say “True,” but that “ ‘Truth’ does not refer to having a perfect understanding of church polity and worship.” Did we say anything about church polity (organization)? No. Now the question does have to do with worship. They say that our understanding of worship doctrine does not have to be perfect. Our response: But if our worship practice is “in truth,” it would have to be in harmony with doctrinal accuracy. Doesn’t “truth” mean it must be accurate? Evidently, here they are trying to leave room for worship that is not accurate (“in truth”). The very concept of “truth” has to do with informational accuracy! A proposition can not be true and not true in the same sense at the same time (cf. law of contradiction). How can worship be in truth and in error at the same time? If we can worship in error and it be in truth at the same time, then there is no distinction between truth and error. Let us be clear: grace cannot be extended apart from truth. If our opponents think otherwise, let them come out and explicitly say so, and provide the passage which so teaches.

T F 9. They admit that no New Testament passage teaches that unauthorized worship is acceptable or pleasing to God. However, they say that they disagree with us over how one determines what is authorized. Just here, if they think they have discovered some new hermeneutical principle by which Bible authority can be accessed, let them give it! They do say, “No one is suggesting that actual error in worship is pleasing to God-only that it, like other sins, is forgiven if the worshipper has been saved and continues in submissive faith.” So, here they claim that “sincerity” is the guarantor of continuing salvation. Truth has been jettisoned. Obedience has been forsaken. All that is left is for brethren to be sincere in what they are doing, and God accepts such. And even though it is not pleasing or acceptable, it is forgiven and without repentance and the cessation of unacceptable and non-please behavior! What convenient doctrine! Truth is attacked. While Jay and Todd have not (and would not) claim that a sinner’s sincerity alone will save him, they do apply the concept of “sincerity alone” to a saint, and say that a sincere saint (after all, that is what is meant by a saint’s having a submissive faith, isn’t it?) is all right with God regardless what he does. Let them deny it.

T F 10. Here Jay and Todd admit that the subscription to at least some doctrinal errors entails loss of eternal salvation to those who subscribe to them. They cite Galatians 1:6-9 and 1 John 2:22-23. And there is no way to restrict the application of Galatians 1:6-9 to the denial of the deity of Christ. That passage applies to any situation where the exclusive nature of the gospel (not simply biographical material about Jesus) is surrendered. So, they admit here that the embracing of some doctrinal error can damn the soul of the saint. Since they realize that the New Testament teaching is plain that some doctrinal heresy damns the soul, they have to admit it, but then in the way that they redefine “repentance” (to allow the continuation of some sin uninterruptedly; in Romans 6:1 Paul said we must not continue in sin that grace may abound while Jay and Todd say that we must allow for it) and “obedience” (to mean “partial” or “incomplete” obedience which in 1 Samuel 15:10-23 is the same as “disobedience”), and the way that they, unintentionally, assault the biblical doctrine of knowledge (by holding that our knowledge finitude entails inaccuracy, and the way that they argue for worship “in truth” that allows it to be at the same time in “some error,” they wind up in self-conflict and in overall undermining of the gospel in whose behalf they are now trying to argue.

T F 11. My statement was: According to Hebrews 11, the faith that saves is a submissive faith which has not yet obeyed but that plans on obeying in the future. Instead of squarely facing the point and answering the question, they evade it. They say, “It is a vague question. Not yet obeyed what? The acts of obedience mentioned in this chapter did not save anyone. The writer is quite clear that they were saved by faith (v.2). The faith motivated their obedience and their obedience evidenced their faith, but their salvation came by faith.” Now, consider this confusion carefully:

They refuse to explicitly admit that “submissive faith” but which is not yet obedient faith will yet save. They will not claim that (1) a submissive but not yet obedient faith saves, and they will not claim that (2) a submissive but not yet obedient faith will not save. If they believe the first point, they should have answered True, and if they believe the second point, they should have answered False. Where’s the problem? Come on, fellows. It is not vague. You just do not want to have to squarely face the statement. They suggest that they do not know what I mean by “obey” by saying, “Not yet obeyed what?” The statement is based on Hebrews 11, and the “obeying what” entails the various assignments given to the people who are commended for their faith. Read verse 4, 7, 8, 17, etc. Faith entails trusting promises, believing facts, and obeying imperatives. There is no place in Hebrews 11 for the divine commendation of anyone’s faith who, when given an assignment, refused to obey. And Todd and Jay know that before we arrive at Hebrews 11 and the illustrations that show we are justified by faith, the writer had already informed us that the saved are saved by obedience (5:8, 9).

When Todd says that the acts of obedience in Hebrews 11 did not save anyone, then he is admitting that a dead faith would have provided the same results as a living faith! That is, he is implying that a non-obedient faith is just as effective as an obedient one! This is the implication.

(1) “The acts of obedience mentioned in this chapter did not save anyone. The writer is quite clear that they were saved by faith (v.2).”

(2) Thus, faith that does not obey saves. (Thus, the faith by which they were saved could have been non-obedient faith or dead faith). The obedience, then per Jay and Todd, was coincidental but not essential!

Dear reader, can you see how that Todd and Jay are attacking the very concept of obedience. They, in effect, are claiming that non-obedient faith saves (But, Heb.5:8, 9!).

Now, Jay and Todd present us a brief discussion of Abram to justify their concept of faith’s saving quality. They refer to Genesis 15:6 and Rom.4:2, 3 and Ephesians 2:8, 9. Romans 4 is a discussion of Abraham’s being saved without being involved in the works of the law of Moses. Verses 10ff show this. Paul cannot in Romans 4 be attempting to prove that Abraham was justified without obeying God! (cf. Heb.11:8). James teaches us that Genesis 15:6 was a prophecy! I have already made this point. Todd and Jay are not dealing with it. Genesis 15:6 was fulfilled, according to James, when Abraham obeyed God by attempting to kill his son as ordered (Jas.2:20-23).Thus, the works of Romans 4 are not works of obedience to God’s assignments. The works of Romans 4 are the works of the law of Moses or any other system whereby one can earn or merit salvation. When Jay and Todd say that “it would be a gross distortion of Hebrews and Genesis to suggest that Abraham earned his salvation by works,” we agree. No one can “earn” his salvation given the sin in every person’s life (cf. Luke 17:10). The works of Ephesians 2:8, 9 are like those of Titus 3:5. Only God can save us in the ultimate sense. Only God can provide the history and stipulate the conditions necessary to salvation. The works in verse 10 are those acts which Christians are obligated to do.

T F 12. Jay and Todd agree with us that a disobedient faith will not save. But here they are inconsistent with the way they have treated Hebrews 11. And in answer to question #2, they claim that imperfect obedience saves without telling us in what way imperfect obedience differs from disobedience.

T F 13. The True-False question is: According to New Testament teaching, saving faith is a submissive faith which submission excludes obedience. Jay and Todd answer False. So, now they contradict their answer in question #11 when they said “The acts of obedience mentioned in this chapter (Hebrews 11, MD) did not save anyone.” Here, they admit that saving faith includes obedience. So, while to question #11 they tried to avoid having to say that obedience is necessary to salvation, here they admit it. This is another case of self-contradiction. Notice:

(1) Obedience doesn’t save anyone.

(2) It is false to say that saving faith excludes obedience.

Dear reader, it is hard to argue with men who take both sides of the issue!

T F 14. Todd and Jay here admit that Abraham was, according to James 2, justified by an obedient faith. This comes after their denial that Abraham or anyone else described in Hebrews 11 was justified by obedience. Too, note that they admit that James teaches that Abraham was justified by “obedient faith” when James says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?” (v.21). Look at it carefully. According to Todd and Jay, Abraham was justified by works! Do you see some confusion?

T F 15. My statement was: If Paul declares that Abraham was not justified by works and if James declares that Abraham was justified by works, then we know that Paul and James were referring to two different categories or classifications of works. They answer False.

Then, in an effort to bolster their answer, they suggest that it “is more likely that” Paul and James used the concept of justification in different senses (Notice, that this is only a suggestion). They claim that Paul uses the term “justified” for the “act in which God declares a sinner righteous” and James uses it as a demonstration. Their “explanation” completely disregards the fact that James says that Genesis 15:6 was a prophecy! They do not admit what James has clearly stated. Furthermore, if Paul’s use of the term “justified” is for the “act” in which God declares the sinner righteous, then either

(1) the act is an act of obedience (This would mean that an obedient faith saves) or

(2) the act is a mere mental act and without further obedience (This would mean that “faith only” saves). Is this where Jay and Todd will land?

They say, “Paul and James would both agree that we are declared righteous by faith, not by works. And they would both agree that a faith that saves will always evidence itself in good works.” Can you believe it? If we cannot determine what they both would say by what they have, in fact, said, how would we determine it? I will not rely on the guessing of Jay and Todd. Look again at what Jay and Todd have said:

(1) “Paul and James would both agree that we are declared righteous by faith, not by works.” But, James says, “Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith” (Jas.2:24).

(2) “And they would both agree that a faith that saves will always evidence itself in good works.” But James does not say that the faith that justifies will in the future demonstrate its already having saved quality by demonstration through works, but he does say rather that the faith that justifies does so by good works. Todd and Jay do not have the liberty to rewrite the text in order to justify their position on an exaggerated grace.

Todd and Jay say, “Works don’t save the individual. Rather, saving faith necessarily produces good works, and so the absence of good works means an absence of faith or penitence.” Now notice:

(1) Works don’t save; but

(2) The absence of good works means an absence of faith that saves.

Can you not see, dear reader, that if the absence of good works implies the absence of the faith that saves, then the faith that saves cannot save in the absence of good works! Todd and Jay have simply created a confusion:

Faith good works salvation

Faith absence of good works no salvation

Absence of good works implies

No saving faith and no salvation

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198 Comments on “Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers: Part 1”

  1. Jeff B. Says:

    Why conservatives just don’t get it:

    1. They can’t/won’t see that advocating faith as the saving factor does NOT mean that “progressives” are okay with disobedience. Most of Mac’s above post is arguing against the position that “rebellion/disobedience is okay,” and no one in this debate has taken that position.

    2. They can’t/won’t see that their position requires perfection, which is an impossible standard. Mac writes: “Can a man perfectly believe? Can he perfectly repent? Can he perfectly make the good confession? Can he perfectly or absolutely correctly be baptized? Can he perfectly or correctly walk in truth?” No, no,no, no, and no! Nothing that we do is done perfectly because our sin stains all of it! It is only made perfect by Christ!

    “Exactly how is imperfect obedience distinguishable from disobedience.” Really?!? I have a hard time believing that Mac really can’t answer this question. If I tell my daughter to put the dishes away, and she mistakenly puts the fork with the spoons, she has been imperfectly obedient. If she says “No, I won’t do what you told me to do” she’s being disobedient. The two are distinguished by intention, devotion, allegiance, and, yes, sincerity.

    3. They can’t/wont leave the pejorative implications and motive-judgments out of a discussion. Ex: “Come on, fellows. It is not vague. You just do not want to have to squarely face the statement.”

    Now my take: The Bible teaches that we are saved by faith. Period. The Bible clearly connects our volition and our actions to our salvation as well. These two truths are in tension with each other, as is much of Christian doctrine. However, as people of faith, we are able to live with the tension because we know that where our ability to understand stops, our faith in God begins. God and his ways are bigger than our ability to understand. My inability to reason through something that I see the Bible teaching does not make me question its truth, it just reinforces the fact that I am finite and the matters about which I ponder are infinite. So I live by faith, and I live in obedience, and I trust God to work out the details. Must we really fill in all the blanks?

  2. Alan Says:

    Mac, your tone is dismaying. I’m not going to address the substance, leaving that for Jay and Todd. But I feel compelled to address the manner of your argument. Here are a few illustrations:

    You failed to deal with because you would have to admit, as the Scriptures show, that there is work to be done to contribute to the “ongoingness” of salvation.

    Here you ascribe motives to Todd and Jay’s beliefs. You cannot possibly know their motives. You ought to give them the benefit of the doubt, that they are sincerely trying to please God and to understand his Word.

    In your speculation over John 6:29…

    That is a pejorative comment that has no place in dialog between Christians.

    Your guesswork about John 6:29…

    Another pejorative comment.

    Your failure to understand Paul contributes to your failure to understand James. Ephesians 2:8-10 you claim says that salvation is not of works-period. You are exactly wrong.

    This borders on arrogance. You strongly disagree but you are fallible. You may be the one who is wrong.

    This reminds me of a debate opponent I had years ago

    An ad hominem argument…

    They say, “Paul and James would both agree that we are declared righteous by faith, not by works. And they would both agree that a faith that saves will always evidence itself in good works.” Can you believe it? If we cannot determine what they both would say by what they have, in fact, said, how would we determine it? I will not rely on the guessing of Jay and Todd.

    and

    Todd and Jay do not have the liberty to rewrite the text in order to justify their position on an exaggerated grace.

    Ridiculing your opponent does not strengthen your argument. You come across as hostile (despite the fact that one of these men is your son.) It appears you are not listening to them, not trying to understand what they are saying. Instead you present a caricature of their position, and ridicule it. You speak to the “dear reader” whom you do not know, but you ridicule the men you do know, with whom you are discussing these matters. Your case would be stronger without those types of remarks. Ridicule is not persuasive.

    Dear reader, it is hard to argue with men who take both sides of the issue!

    I think you should try harder to understand what they are saying before you respond.

    I make these comments because I think the manner in which we carry on these discussions is crucial. With the right manner, the discussions can be constructive. With the wrong manner, they can be destructive and divisive. I humbly offer these observations for your consideration.

  3. J. T. Says:

    Jeff,
    Thanks for your insightful observations on this post. Your remarks are also applicable to parts 2, 3, & 4.

  4. J. T. Says:

    Mac,
    When Paul taught the grace of God, those who disagreed with him argued, “Let us continue in sin that grace may abound” and “Let us do evil that good may come.”

    Your objections to Jay and Todd seem, to me, to border on the same arguments, which suggests that you also may misunderstand Paul’s teaching on grace.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I think Mac’s destructive and divisive words proved James 3:8-10 “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

  6. Weldon Says:

    Exactly. There seems to be a false dichotomy running through Mac’s response: Either you have to get everything right to stay saved, or you can do whatever you want and stay saved. (Essentially Gnosticism.)

    The latter, however, is a straw man that totally misrepresents Jay and Todd’s position.


  7. There is a lot to digest here, and as others have said, I will leave most of that to Jay and Todd.

    However, one major point got my attention. Right at the end, Mac connects good works as evidence of faith. That’s a point with which no one should disagree.

    The problem is who gets to evaluate what constitutes good works and thus is evidence of faith. Some acts may seem to obviously be good works, but the Text says that it’s the heart that matters — and only God can judge the heart.

    My most significant issue with “conservatives” is what seems to me as an excessive need to judge the motives, heart and soul of others.

  8. Rob Woodfin Says:

    If one were planning to teach a class on the Ad Hominem and Straw Man debate techniques, he would find no greater source of examples than the critical writings of the ultra-conservative Church of Christ, be they the editor-bishops who still put ink on paper or the more techno-savvy ones who use websites to vilify their progressive (“apostate”) brethren.

    If you happened to follow the discussions between Al Maxey and Darrell Broking a few months ago, you saw this illustrated thoroughly. Al, like Jay and Todd, went to great lengths to lay out his propositions, but rarely did Darrell ever respond directly. Almost the entire time he bounced from insults to accusations to diatribes about issues not even remotely on point.

    There is plenty of nutritious honey in the beehive that is our fellowship. Those fortunate enough to hear Randy Harris, Patrick Mead and others at Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration this week can attest to that. Unfortunate, though, that many missed hearing these speakers because of their fear, not of the honey bees, but of the wasps in their home congregations who would have swarmed them at the mere mention of taking a group to hear these liberal lecturers.

  9. Randall Says:

    Alan,
    Thanks for making the point and providing so many examples. I wish there was a genuine desire to understand the other person rather than “win” the debate.
    Randall

  10. laymond Says:

    Alan, the tongue lashing you gave Mac for “Ridiculing your opponent” might apply to you as well, go look in a mirror and repeat what you said to him, and see just how Christian it sounds, it might sound a little bit hypocritical.

  11. Alan S. Says:

    laymond,

    Alan gave specific examples where he thought Mac’s response was poor. If you will criticize Alan, you should do the same and give specific examples.

    God bless

  12. Dusty Chris Says:

    When I read Mac’s response, I feel like I am reading a legal brief, that everything must be black and white, yes or no, true or false, right or wrong. It seems that faith, love, godliness, etc. must be turned into debatable, talking points. I guess strict religious adherants need this fine-tuned, letter of the law, “cross your t’s thing” to know they are saved (if they can ever know). My spiritual beliefs are not quantifiable. To me following God isn’t letter perfect, black and white. Being a Christian means loving and trusting God, following Jesus, and listening for the Holy Spirit…there’s an elegance to faith.

    Reading Mac’s “religious legal brief” made my head (and heart) hurt. Thank God there is more to being a Christian than just rules and religious adherence.


  13. I continue to maintain that we are speaking (at least) two different languages here, especially in the use of the words “work” or “works.”

    What we do to glorify God as followers of Christ are His works, not ours. The good He does through us is to His glory, not ours. Every asset used to achieve them can only be what He gives to us.

    We need to stop trying to take credit for God’s work in and through us, and give Him glory and honor and thanks for them, “lest any man should boast.”

    That’s how we need to define “works” – HIS works.

  14. laymond Says:

    Keith,said “stop trying to take credit for God’s work”

    Keith, was Jesus taking credit for God’s work ? Jn:17:4: I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

    If so why was he rewarded for doing that work?

    If we arm and supply a solder and send him to battle, why would we give him a medal, for simply doing what we told him to do.
    I believe we can carry this “work, no work” thing to extremes.

  15. Richard Says:

    Greetings from sunny California,

    I am now just finding the time time look at some of this stuff.

    How would our thinking change if we properly put the gospels up to the cross under the last years of the Mosaic covenant. And, to understand that everything written was given by the Son of the Living God to God’s lost people–who are no longer in covenant with God.

    It is ok it seems that we have been taught to take the whole New Testament and use it as we wish to make our points–well, that is what most of us do..but a good rule of thumb would be to get it as given to the audience first before taking it and using it for one’s own ends.

    We should go back to the Jerusalem council and carefully consider what they bound and what they did not bind on the Gentiles–then and today

    Richard

  16. dell kimberly Says:

    Good point!


  17. Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13 – God created us in Jesus for good works; He works in us to His purpose. 1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1 – We are God’s fellow workers, as was Timothy 1 Thessalonians 3:2. 1 Corinthians 15:10 – It was God’s grace at work in Paul, not Paul himself.

    John 5:17 – God is at work; Jesus is at work. Would you be willing to say that John 17:4 precludes God working through Jesus?

    You and I disagree about Jesus’ pre-creation relationship with God and I see no point in pressing it further. (Though it’s odd that you left out verse 5: “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”)

  18. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Gentlemen: I have read only some of the discussions about faith and works. It “drains” me to read some of the conclusions. I would not dare to spend countless hours trying to convince a conservative Church of Christ leader. If you want to save lots of time, energy, and relationships, I encourage you to start at a very different theological point – original sin. After many years being out of the “church” (of Christ, of course)and aligning with Reformed Faith it finally struck me that the core problem is CofC believer we are born “neutral” and one day “decide” that be a Christian is a good idea…etc. Not so. We are “dead in our trespasses…and Christ made us alive. Believe me, brothers, this bridges over the endless arguments about “falling from grace.” If Christ sets you free – you are free indeed.” Think about it.

  19. Randall Says:

    The CofC that I have been exposed for nearly 60 years has shown me several perspectives. The most common one is to emphasize that we are made in the image of God and that means we are basically good. This perspective ignores or denies the effects of the fall. This perspective might be characterized by the statement sometimes heard in CofCs that “the Bible is a do it yourself manual for Christians.” God, in the Bible, tells you what to do, now we should go do it. The is pretty close to Pelagianism.

    The second one is to suggest that we are born neutral. God casts one vote for us and Satan casts one vote against us and we cast the deciding vote. Sound like a sermon you have heard at one time or another? Or perhaps God wrote a check with your name on it and now it is up to you to cash it. If you choose God than he will help you. This is semi-Pelagianism.

    There are a few that teach that the Bible shows that mankind is born corrupt as a result of Adam’s sin to such a degree that woman/man is unable to choose God by themselves, unaided by God – this is known as total depravity. Calvinists and classic Arminians believe in total depravity and they believe that God works in the lives of people to bring them to faith. Arminians believe this work of God can be received/accepted by a person as well as it can be rejected by the person.

    Calvinists believe that if God had it in his mind to save you then you will respond to his work in your life b/c he is able to accomplish whatever he desires to accomplish. He can not be ultimately frustrated by a mere man.

    Arminians would not phrase it that way and I think they would say that God delegated his sovereignty in the matter to man/woman. Jay has said that all four of the principles here are Arminian. I do not think he has deliberately misrepresented anyone. However, I do doubt that all four of them (perhaps any of them) believe in total depravity. Sometimes folks describe themselves as Arminian simply to contrast themselves from Calvinists.

    Calvinists believe man is saved by grace alone, through faith alone and to God alone be the glory. They do think people should be baptized and engage in every good work, but they do not believe that one who has come to faith (faithfulness) in Jesus wasn’t saved until she/he came up out of the water. Many of us to believe the Biblical norm was (and should be) to be immersed in water as soon as one recognizes they have come to faith in Jesus. We do understand that there are so many different teachings on baptism (even in the CofC) that new converts are confused and neglect the Biblical doctrine of baptism. Even in the CofC (and no one emphasizes baptism like we do) some people wait until their grandparents can be present to witness the event. Nowadays, few are baptized in the middle of the night if that is when they came to faith.

    No response to this comment is expected from anyone. It is just a comment in response to Glenn’s comment above.

    Peace to all,
    Randall

  20. Alan Says:

    I would simply add that it is not necessary to figure all that out in order to be saved. There are saved people on both sides of these issues.

  21. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Randall, That is the best, most concise, and complete explanation I have read in a long time, brother! And you’re attend the Church of Christ…? I noticed Alan’s comments following yours. I agree that it is “not necessary to figure it all out” – but when one comes to realize that it is God who saves the response is completely different than if one believes they had some part in making it happen. Security of the believer become a reality vs. beliveing one can lose his/her salvation. Alan, I encourage you to re-read Randall writing. God Bless!

  22. Randall Says:

    Glenn,
    You’re very kind, and yes I do attend a CofC and have most of life. Please keep in mind that I did have a part in my conversion. God worked in my life effectually to make me willing to come to him, but I did come to him. I was not brought into the kingdom kicking and screaming against my will. He made me willing and I came to him when he called, and he called me in a CofC. I couldn’t be held back because it was the most important thing to me. But it was the most important thing to me b/c he showed me that it was. As the saying goes, “he is no fool that gives up what he can not keep to gain that which he can not lose.”
    Peace,
    Randall

  23. Richard GF Says:

    Greetings from sunny Texas, home at last,

    When I read the responses to mac’s post I thought to myself, yep, nothing much is changing. Those who are liberals excuse me progressives–most of whom I am pretty sure have left the cofc–which says a lot about those who have.

    Mac’s post was right on but where it gets muddy for everyone is the expectations–and the comparisionsthat are made that are not apples to apples.

    The use of the musical instrument in man’s worship is sin–no one seems to want to define sin–so let me do so.

    It is doing something God said don’t do–It is not doing something God says to do–It is attempting to authorize anything–in this case IM in worship that is not authorized.

    Im in man’s worship to God is a SIN…why? Because it is an ACT OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS..

    When you then attempt to use an act of unrighteousness as a reason that does not constitute apostasy nor sin–you have deceived no one but yourselves.

    Now, don’t get me wrong–Mac is just as far out and just as wrong when He makes the erronious claims about MDR.

    Now more and more folks are looking at Mac’s position on MDR as the teaching and doctrine of demons\devils.

    If you want to get at the truth–then quite frankly both sides need to reassess things and when you define terms as apostasy in degrees, well lots of luck. And, the same appliesfor salvation–one is not cannot be more saved today than one was yesterday.

    Perhaps I missed the place where folks defined sin and I have read the really interesting detailed but not real biblical definitions of apostasy.

    Both sides are bringing their prejudices to the table and insisting on them being used–so you get a choir for each side–.

    And while one side is vigoriously denying once saved always saved..that is not what is coming across. In other words the claims are not matching the actual words–and that has been pointed out.

    Again one big reason for all of this is that both sides are insisting on using the Mosaic law as our guideline today–won’t work..but folks just keep on trying.

    Finally, for Mac and Phil and that group and for the other side–Go back to the council in acts– not something Mac wants to hear or do–but those folks knew that the law was not ever given to the Gentiles–yet Mac and Phil keep on trying to give it to us as gospel–yet it is a law that kills..

    If you use IM apply James 1:12-17 and if sin is continued in–you have apostasized out of the body of Christ.. Not hard to understand at all–unless we are more like the early Jews who twisted the law to their satisfaction and to their doom.

    Richard GF

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Richard – in this case IM in worship that is not authorized.

    When did God tell people instrumental music is no longer to be used?

    You are adding to God’s word by saying He said to “sing only” which is not in the Bible.

    Jesus said He desires mercy not sacrifice?

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Where does the Bible give you authority to have song leaders when you sing, to use song books when you sing, to have choirs, to have separate Sunday school classes, to use visual aids other than the Bible when teaching the Scriptures, all in which the church of Christ denominations use?

  26. Anonymous Says:

    And to say the Jews were doomed is a lie. Jesus came to save the Jews first and then the Gentiles. Jesus was a Jew, the disciples were Jews, Paul was Pharisee, we are told about the gospel of Jesus Christ by Jews who wrote the Bible. God has not cast away His people Romans Chapter 11.

  27. Jay Guin Says:

    RichardGF,

    You don’t say what your view of apostasy is. It seems to be that all sin leads to damnation. Surely, though, that can’t be right. So what, in your opinion, is the Biblical standard for when a saved person falls away?

  28. Richard GF Says:

    Richard GF, Greetings in Christ to one who uses no name,

    That is what i stated or so I thought. IM in worship is not authorized.
    The answer to your question is the word “new” A new heart, a new spirit and a new covenant. It does not include the use of IM in man’s worship.

    The big problem the Jews had was very similiar to that which I see here by those subscribing to the use of IM in worship.
    The Jews in the days of Jesus were as a nation LOST.
    Consider the purpose of the baptism of one John the Baptist. Those Jews who heard and were immersed in water in order to have their sins forgiven had their sacrifices once again accepted by God. Those who did not–still did not have their sacrifices accepted by God.

    Funny thing to the one who does not use his her name,
    I never said one word about sing…But thanks for bringing it up–Because that is what the texts we do have tell us to do.

    You have made a real big error here– you said
    Jesus said He desires mercy not sacrifice?

    Jesus said that to folks who were lost — not to Christians– However, if one would study the differences in the two covenants–one would or should pick up on the changes in the priesthood.
    Richard GF

  29. Richard GF Says:

    Richard GF to the one who chooses not to use one’sown name, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    you stated —
    And to say the Jews were doomed is a lie. Jesus came to save the Jews first and then the Gentiles. Jesus was a Jew, the disciples were Jews

    Let me try to grasp the idea that you are so unaware of God’s plan for redeeming all mankind that you make such a way out claim about the Jews. They were lost don’t you know BEFORE THE MESSIAH COULD COME…

    BTW–I am not picking on you because you are not alone most folks are in the same boat in understanding these things as you are proclaiming.

    Richard GF

  30. Richard GF Says:

    Jay, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    What is the result of sin? What happens to one who apostasizes? Is Sin committed when apostasy comes into play?
    A Christian sins daily but they are continiously washed away. The arguement here needs to center on when does sin win?

    James states it clearly—

    Jam 1:12 Blessed is ye man, that endureth tentation: for when he is tried, hee shall receiue the crowne of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that loue him.
    Jam 1:13 Let no man say when hee is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God can not bee tempted with euill, neither tempteth he any man.
    Jam 1:14 But euery man is tempted, when hee is drawen away by his owne concupiscence, and is entised.
    Jam 1:15 Then when lust hath conceiued, it bringeth foorth sinne, and sinne when it is finished, bringeth foorth death.
    Jam 1:16 Erre not, my deare brethren.
    Jam 1:17 Euery good giuing, and euery perfect gift is from aboue, and commeth downe from the Father of lights, with whome is no variablenes, neither shadow of turning.

    When sin what ever it is–consumes the person and thus takes control of that person–Sin wins and the person dies–becomes spiritually separated from
    God and is adopted back into father power of the law of sin and of death.

    Richard GF

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Rich GF,

    Read chapter Romans Chapter 11 and see what the Pharisee Jew Paul has to say to Gentiles about God and the Jews.

    Sorry Richard but you have given no case for your assumption about instrumental music.

    Richard said – The answer to your question is the word “new” A new heart, a new spirit and a new covenant. It does not include the use of IM in man’s worship.

    I believe the Spirit God gives us now is the same Spirit God gave in the Hebrew Scriptures.

    I believe when a person sings with music they are still singing from their hearts.

    We are told to sing psalms, psalms were written to be sung with music.

    When did God tell people instrumental music is no longer to be used, I can‘t find this in anywhere in the Bible?

    Where does the Bible give you authority to have song leaders when you sing, to use song books when you sing, to have choirs, to have separate Sunday school classes, to use visual aids other than the Bible when teaching the Scriptures, all in which the church of Christ denominations use?

    Richard said – You have made a real big error here– you said
    Jesus said He desires mercy not sacrifice?
    Jesus said that to folks who were lost — not to Christians– However, if one would study the differences in the two covenants–one would or should pick up on the changes in the priesthood.

    Really! And why did Jesus say that and what did He mean?

    Matthew 12:1-8
    At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

  32. Jay Guin Says:

    Richard GF,

    Then in what way do you think we disagree as to when a person apostasizes? It sounds to me like we’re saying the same thing.

  33. Richard GF Says:

    Richard GF, greetings to the one who does not choose to use their own name,

    This particular discourse in not per sec on the use non use of IM in worship.

    And, I am particularly immune to emotional responses because they go no where fast.

    the Use of IM in man’s worship is an act of unrighteousness–might help if you had a better grasp of that term.

    However, even if you did–you would not believe and that puts you in the same boat as the lost Jews in the days of Jesus.

    New believe it or not–means exactly that!

    You have problems in seeing where the New Covenant tells us not to use the IM in worship–it is in the same place where it says not to use beer in the Lord’s supper.

    Actually, the evidence is pretty substantial against its use simply because God did not authorize its use in the New covenant.

    The Jews were no different. They could not accept nor believe that When they offered up their sacrifices that God would not accept them.

    As a priest of the most high God–I am not authorized to use anything in my worship to God not found in the scriptures. The use ofIM is not authorized in scripture. You choose not to believe that.. I cannot help that.

    One thing that I have found that helps folks who are interested in learning more about covenants–is to take this test..

    Read mark 1:1 and ff and then ask yourself–what exactly is the good news that Jesus is preaching.

    Then compare that good news to the good news of Acts 2 and then see the differences in the good news of each gospel.

    Richard GF

  34. Richard GF Says:

    Jay, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    Jay, the progressives here chip away at the degrees–I do not. The Jews developed an elobarate system for what they could or could not do for work.

    Jay, I cannot read minds nor the hearts of men nor as I reflect upon it–do I ever want to.

    God says when the sins consumes–it kills. The progressives seem to want to dot every “i” and cross every “t” and like the Jews when one does that–yhou develop a system that is not God’s and when one begins to live according to that system–one begins to sin and if continued in leads to death.

    I choose to go with God. makes my life easier if that could be.

    Now, because the progressives proceed to give said examples–the conservatives don’t have a problem in seeing that is not going to work.

    You folks have talked passed each other all through the discussion on repentance and apostasy. Is it any wonder the comments against both sides are made. Each is playing to their crowd–not to the texts.

    Richard GF

  35. Jay Guin Says:

    Richard GF,

    I tell you I agree with you and you accuse me of legalism.

    I’m astonished.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    Richard said – the Use of IM in man’s worship is an act of unrighteousness–might help if you had a better grasp of that term.

    When did God tell people instrumental music is no longer to be used, I can‘t find this anywhere in the Bible?

    Richard said – However, even if you did–you would not believe and that puts you in the same boat as the lost Jews in the days of Jesus.

    The lost Jews in the days of Jesus were the Jews who would not believe He is the Messiah.

    Richard said – You have problems in seeing where the New Covenant tells us not to use the IM in worship–it is in the same place where it says not to use beer in the Lord’s supper.

    Actually we are told to drink fruit of the vine when the Lord’s Supper which we can use either grape juice or wine people are still drinking fruit of the vine when taking the Lord’s Supper. Same as people can either sing with or without music people are still singing.

    Richard said – As a priest of the most high God–I am not authorized to use anything in my worship to God not found in the scriptures. The use ofIM is not authorized in scripture. You choose not to believe that.. I cannot help that.

    Where does the NT give you authority to have song leaders when you sing, to use song books when you sing, to have choirs, to have separate Sunday school classes, to use visual aids other than the Bible when teaching the Scriptures, all in which the church of Christ denominations use?

  37. paden Says:

    hey jay im a member of the church of christ and im 15 years old. I see you got alot of stuff o the enternet and i was curiuos as to what the purpose of this blog is and where you go to church. Not the actual name but are you a member of the church of christ or some senomination and are you a preacher. I would just like to know more about this blog and you and your views.

  38. bondservant3 Says:

    Jay,

    I believe you to be a very nice person and a dedicated Christian. I would like to warn you of this person going by the name “paden”. He is a friend and supporter of Johnny Robertson a man who is warped out of his mind and is very divisive. I don’t believe paden is a 15 year old but to be one of Johnny’s men working for him from Texas. Please be careful with this guy.

    Here is the link to my blog that “paden” has commmented on, and it also discusses the irrational behaviors and dirty tactics of Johnny Robertson and his followers.

    http://bondservant3.wordpress.com/

    God Bless

  39. paden Says:

    lol what up bondservant why have you quit commenting on your own blog. Are you ready to give up your positions and face the truth.

    To let everyone know it i am 15 years old and to say im warped out of my mind is strange being as i just want to discuss the bible.

    Also i am not shawn paden from royce city as some of you like to call me.

    I find it funny no one believes im 15. I would just like to know why. Is it because i sound rely smart.

  40. bondservant3 Says:

    paden, you didn’t interpret what you read very well. I said Johnny is warped out of his mind, but of course most of his followers are too.

    Jay, these people cannot not have any kind of civilized rational discussion about the Bible. They use dirty tactics and try to cause people to stumble. Again please be careful.

  41. bondservant3 Says:

    Correction on typing.

    these people cannot have any kind of civilized rational discussion about the Bible.

  42. Alan Says:

    Richard,
    Can you be more specific about what constitutes instrumental music? For example, would you call this instrumental music?

    If we sang one of the old familar hymns in that style in worship, would it be sin? If we did so outside of worship, would it be sin? Why or why not?

  43. Jay Guin Says:

    paden,

    You are the same “paden” who is posting over at Bondservant’s blog, aren’t you?

    I think it would be helpful to resolve whether you are who you say you are. Please email me privately with the following information:

    Full name
    Home address
    Home congregation
    Home congregation’s preacher
    High school
    Your English teacher for the English class you most recently finished.

    My email is jfguin(at)comcast(dot)net

  44. Richard GF Says:

    Jay, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    Please accept my apology for astonishing you because that is not the intent.

    It is however a problem–I have read your posts or most of them here-And, it is somewhat true that my response was directed more at those who read these than you personally. I tend to do that on occassion.

    So let me try again. Progressives here are insisting that apostasy and or salvation seems to transpire in degrees.

    The problem is not in the statement but in the consequences of applying said statement.

    That is where we disagree Jay.

    Sin results in one being lost irregardless of the termology the application of apostasy or the degree of repentance.

    James 1:12-17 describes that point for us–

    These posts seem to be more about how many degrees or how many points one can lose prior to being considered lost.

    The conservatives here understand that–but the progressives has instituted such as the measurement and when anyone does that–one walks from the scriptures.

    This is exactly what the Jews did and yet even in doing so could not believe that they were in error.
    Yet they were and they died–lost until thier Messiah arrived…The nation had to be concluded in unbelief in order for the messiah to arrive. Part of God’s plan for redeeming all mankind.

    Then those who heard and obeyed the teaching first of John the Baptist with baptism and later by Jesus in His earthly ministry had their sacrifices once again accepted by God.

    Perhaps being more in the middle–I see the problems that each side present and again it is just me but you folks seem to just talk past one another.

    You folks need to take another stab at it–but this time– both need to have a more basic understanding of repentance–take it out of the new Covenant.

    What constituted apostasy in the Mosaic law is not identical in the New covenant–yet both involve men violating God’s laws.

    Richard GF

  45. Richard GF Says:

    Richard GF to Anonymous, greetings in Christ from rainy Texas,

    you asked…

    Where does the Bible give you authority to have song leaders when you sing, to use song books when you sing, to have choirs, to have separate Sunday school classes, to use visual aids other than the Bible when teaching the Scriptures, all in which the church of Christ denominations use?

    My observation–one should always be careful not to lump all churches of Christ in the same brand of doing things.

    I find it strange that you who seems to be a progressive would use a progressive concept and then paint it on us as something we all do. Most of us believe it or not do not use choirs.

    Listen, I am trying very hard here not to end up insulting you..
    OK–having said that–I have a lot of issues with you in asking these questions that you all ready know the response and the answer to.

    Now you tell me you don’t know–Ok–I would accept that and I will answer them. Otherwise this is a dead end street..Your responses are “to me” not well thought out nor rational.

    If that offends you–Please accept my apologies in advance–but then i have always had problems with folks who choose not to use their names..

    Richard GF

  46. Anonymous Says:

    Richard,

    God never reneged on His promise to Abraham’s seed and the twelve tribes of Israel. God came through for them and gave them the Messiah that had been promised to come for them. You obviously do not know Judaic prophesy and history.

  47. paden Says:

    i would but i dont have email. I am also talking on the knight shift blog and answering those against the church of christ.

    I will tell you though that where i attend does not currently have a full time preacher but we will next week when he arrives. The previus one moved few months ago.

    Tell me why you need to know whetther what i say or not is true then ill try to answere you some way.

    I might call in to johny tonight if i wish to comment on a topic and you can see there.

    heres the link to watch it live on the computer at 8:30 eastern time.

    http://cdn1.ustream.tv/swf/4/viewer.80.swf?cid=1/486774

  48. Jay Guin Says:

    paden,

    Gmail, Hotmail, and countless other free mail services are available on the internet. If you can read a blog, you can email.

    If you are lying about who you are, I am deeply concerned about your spiritual well being.

    The accusation has been made. If you wish to continue posting here, you need to answer my questions. I will not allow someone to post under false pretenses because the Bible teaches us to neither lie nor approve those who do so.

    On the other hand, if you are not lying, then bondservant owes you an apology.

    I am moderating your comments until you persuade me that you are who you say you are.

  49. bondservant3 Says:

    Jay,

    I said I don’t believe paden to be a 15 year old, I didn’t say I know for sure. Whether he is 15 or 25 he has said his church supports Johnny Robertson who harasses and stalks people. They even try to map people ID’s on the internet. Anyone who Johnny Robertson says is their enemy he and his followers even followers of his in other states will go to peoples homes, the church they attend, and even stalk them at stores harassing them.

    I am just wanting to try to help telling you to please be very careful with any of these people.

    God Bless

  50. Richard GF Says:

    Alan, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    The biblical example found way back when tells us about a trumphet–Not a trumphet frm the surrounding people but God gave them a new trumphet. We have no record of this being done by God in the New Covenant.

    God gave us the command to sing–and the instrument is the heart.

    While I found your video interesting–I would not believe nor practise such in my worship to God.

    Man has always always and let me repeat this, man has always always sought a way around the laws of God.

    The command to sing is not generic but specific–and I believe all should treat it as such.

    With the advent of the New Covenant–note that the word psalms in the New Covenant are found with other gifts from God.

    God gave the new church new songs–not songs from the book of psalms but most folks don’t catch that fact either.

    Richard GF

  51. Alan Says:

    While I found your video interesting–I would not believe nor practise such in my worship to God

    Why not?

    The command to sing is not generic but specific–and I believe all should treat it as such.

    But the context of the command to sing is not the Sunday assembly. It is in the context of being “very careful how you live” (Eph 5:15-20) and “whatever you do” (Col 3:16-17). Those passages aren’t talking about the Sunday assembly, but about life in general. So, do you hold that instrumental music is sinful outside the assembly? If not, why not?

  52. Rob Woodfin Says:

    Richard,

    Alan suggests that Paul is talking about worship as how we live rather than just what we do during the assembling of the saints together. I assume your opinion differs (please correct me if I’m wrong). But based on my assumption, I’d like to pursue your point from a different perspective.

    You may also object to the proposition that most lists of inference passages in the NT are largely non-answers which can be tilted based on personal preference. But let us focus on the one verse every IM sermon always saves as the best for last, the crescendo if you will, and look at what is actually authorized there. When Paul specifies to the Ephesians (5:19) the melody is to be made in the heart, we conclude that requires a capella singing. But take note, in this absolutely critical passage, otherwise enveloped by the deafening silence of NT scripture on the subject, our voice is no more authorized to have connection with the melody than any other “instrument.” By specifying the heart, the vocal chords were exempted (if you fairly apply the law of exclusion). Also note in this verse the command begins with the explanation that this is to be a speaking exercise (again, if you employ the literal and absolute CENI process of discerning scripture). Absurd? The Swiss reformist Zwingli adopted this view long before either Campbell ever shook a baby rattle.

    I love a capella singing. I believe the Lord loves a capella singing. But I also believe if He had actually concluded that there would be a recess from using the harp or other instruments, an edict complete with the consequence of eternal damnation for anyone caught plucking between Pentecost and Judgement Day, surely He would have been just a tad clearer about such a drastic rule change.

    If you think I’m trying to sell pianos, think again. The issue is not dragging instruments IN to the assembly, it is trying to persuade our brethren to stop throwing people OUT over this and the many other subordinate issues enlisted to whittle the ranks of Christianity down to the Church of Christ – Where We Meet directory.

    Isn’t it ironic the antithesis to unity is “disharmony.”

  53. Richard GF Says:

    Alan, greetings in Christ from rainy Texas,

    Where did most of the Jews of the world of the lst century worship?

    The first Christians were Jews…

    In the last 15 years of examining what the IM folks have to say–your argument has developed.

    Again, you are doing what the Jews of the first century did with the Mosaic law in order to get around the Mosaic law–without appearing to have violated the Mosaic law. It did not work.

    Ok, having reminded all of us of that–How do I say this kindly–I guess I will just pass and say this.

    Your understanding of Eph 5:19 could use some work, esp considering a broader context of the book itself.

    Funny thing though I do not believe for a second that the Epbesian church had your understanding of that verse.

    Have to take tribe to supper at Taco Bell.

    Richard GF

  54. Jay Guin Says:

    All,

    The best I can tell, paden is precisely who he represents himself to be. Therefore, he is no longer being moderated and is free to post. He is not part of Johnny Robertson’s congregation, although his home congregation does support Robertson’s ministry.

  55. Richard GF Says:

    Rob, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    you stated..

    You may also object to the proposition that most lists of inference passages in the NT are largely non-answers which can be tilted based on personal preference.

    My response–you are correct–God is not allowing personal preferences here or in Baptism but that has never stopped folks from engaging in such and ultimately paying a price for so doing.

    You folks are missing the whole focus here.

    [1] IN the New Covenant–the only command is “sing”. By that command–it pretty much eliminates any IM in man’sworship.

    [2]Your argument using the text is illogical and off target. It may will fit your idea of a way around..but we are not allowed to find ways around.

    All right–I am going to give it one shot and one only.

    A comparison should be made between Eph 5:19 and its parallel passage in Col 3:16.

    In these 2 passages the apostle is giving essentially the sameexhortation concerning the singing of praise. The participle translated “singing” {adontes} in Eph 5:19 is derivedfrom the verb “”ado”, which means to sing with the voice and has no reference to musical instruments.
    This same participle, “singing”{adontes} is also used in the parallel passage in Col 3:16.
    Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom and teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

    It is clear that Paul commands the Colossians to use 9nly their voice in singing with no reference to musical instruments.
    The verb “Psallo” is not used in Col 3:16 and this further confirms that its use in Eph 5:19 has reference to singing alone. How could Paul command the Colossians to sing with the voice only and then command the Ephians to sing with musical instruments? {really reaching for this idea with IM in man’s worship.}

    Did Paul command thel use of musical instruments in some churches and not in others???? It just cannot work folks. It will not float. Surely Paul meant to command all the churches to sing with the voice only–and while it does not seem important–history bears this out.

    One problem I see you facing and trying to resolve with your current application is that you cannot put a handly on the history of the word psallo.

    The history of translation confirms that Psallo i nthe NC means to “to sing” without musical instruments. This verb has been translated “to sing” by the vast majority of translators since the REformantion. In Eph 5:19, Psallo is an explanation of the verb “speaking” and anothe way in which the apostle expresses the command of “singing”

    Here is where progressives by their very nature mis understand the text.

    When Paul says we are to be “singing” and making melody with our hearts to the Lord” He means we are to sing not just outwardly with the lips, but inwardly, with the full faculties of our inner man.

    When you begin to set the heart against the vocal cords–you are way way off base.

    Problem is once you get there–getting back is next to impossible. One should always be careful of how we identify ourselves—being progressive automatically sets one up for failure.

    Sorry I cannot be more conformative.

    Again, let’s all try and learn from the failure of the Jews–They were lost–when their Messiah came and they had developed their own theology as to what the Messiah was going to do for them–didn’t work that way then or now.

    Richard GF

  56. Richard GF Says:

    Rob, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    I would add one more thing to my last post and I believe that will wrap it up for me.

    I understand that there are folks who are not getting it–cannot help them..

    Jesus spent His ministry attempting to bring the lost sheep ofthe house of Israel back to God by teaching the Mosaic law in contrast to their man made scribal laws.

    A small percentage did believe firt John the Baptist and more during the earthly Ministry of Jesus.
    And of course many more believed on Pentecost and afterward–yet taken together they are a small number in comparison to the whole.

    We still have the same problems–not much has changed. Men just refuse to believe that in the name of God they could be in error–More so with folks who want to go beyond and seek re assurance when they do so.

    Works while one is alive–quite another ending when one leaves this earth.

    You have a great life and keep studying.

    Richard GF

  57. Alan Says:

    Your understanding of Eph 5:19 could use some work, esp considering a broader context of the book itself.

    Funny thing though I do not believe for a second that the Epbesian church had your understanding of that verse.

    Ironically, I could say the same things to you, quite seriously and sincerely. A strong case can be built from the context of Ephesians that it is not talking about the Sunday assembly. I don’t see a shred of evidence to the contrary.

    To pull this back to the topic of this blog site… How do we resolve differences like this? What are the consequences of our disagreement for fellowship? Do we have to conclude that one of us is dishonest? Or that one of us has poor reading comprehension skills? Or is there some other conclusion?

  58. Anonymous Says:

    Richard GF,

    Where does the Greek translation of “psalmos – ψαλμός” say “sing only”? The Greek translation for “only” is “mono, monacha -μόνο, μονάχα”.

  59. Rob Woodfin Says:

    Keeping special days or not. Circumcising Christians or not. Eating meat sacrificed to idols or not. The list goes on. Nothing optional in NT times? No room for opinion or differences thereof? There are plenty of issues, including these perhaps, that (most of) today’s conservatives are willing to concede were/are optional matters simply because they have no contemporary stake or interest in them. Other issues were important just a relatively few years ago, head coverings being an example, that have since been allowed to drift from essential to optional (how is that possible in a strict restorationist environment?).

    Perhaps what we need is an experiment in contrarestorationism. The first objective? To decommission our first century Pharisaical certainty that we are right and everybody else is wrong … about everything. Then when we consider the folks who “are not getting it,” maybe we might be more inclined to avoid saying things like “cannot help them.”

    What about attempting to restore the life of Christ in our own daily walk. That was the aim of the NT churches we read about. They tried to reflect (copy) His life in their own. Instead of looking to The Source as they did, however, we opt to make copies of those imperfect copies, and only certain aspects at that, distilling “daily walk” down to a couple of hours sitting decently looking at the backs of orderly rows of heads. I doubt this formula would have turned the world upside down then; it certainly isn’t now.

    I sometimes wonder if we haven’t mistaken Matthew 7:14 for a challenge.

  60. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Honestly, I did not read all commentaries, I believe that Jeff and Jay are on the right track. One cannot improve on their salvation…they are no more saved at age 80 than when they were saved at age 13 or so…provided there was valid conversion (born again).

    As for the IM guys…you’re missing the point of worship. You are “majoring in the minor.”

  61. Richard GF Says:

    Alan, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    Your response is why I said only one try.

    You stated..
    To pull this back to the topic of this blog site… How do we resolve differences like this?

    My response–After doing bb’s for almost 20 years–If I want to change a person’s mind on MDR to illustrate that the traditional teaching is really the teaching of demons\devils–It is done by first of all doing it face to face. This medium literally sucks literally as far as communication and ensuring changes in the area of doctrine–most of the time.

    Now, what is the goal in the communication process?
    On this site with repentance and apostasy–if the goal was to change minds–mostly that will not fly far.

    Most of us have lost our objectively when it comes to studying our pet bible subjects.

    We take a doctrine and study it–We begin by taking both sides here which I consider extreme. But extreme does not really matter here.

    A man decides that IM in worship is ok–studies the scriptures through those colored lens.
    As time goes by discussing it with a non IM person–please note that both use the scriptures–but the IM person–has developed a wagon wheel rut theology. Now, I am not saying others have not. I am simply trying to answer the above original question–

    The IM person–develops the responses and then{both sides–having done this}simply engage in the same texts and the same arguments.

    This puts us in what is called a closed system. Nothing new in or out. It develops the following.

    Point with the wagon wheel rut theology is that you cannot any longer turn to the left, to the right and one cannot even back up. All one can do is go forward in the same rut again and again.

    This is extremely dangerous–because then one has no hesitation in engaging in scriptural combat to protect what they legimately believe the texts teach–so growth and learning is deader than a doornail.

    How do we resolve differences like this?

    We don’t with this mindset…which most don’t recognize at all. It is disguised under bible study.
    And the other person just doesn’t get it.

    If, on the other hand, one learns and decides that one does not have to “win” each and every discussion and one does not have to “win” and defining winning by beating the other guy.

    Remember the methodology used to win–is a closed system using wagonwheelrut theology and scriptural combat in order to do so–there are no winners.

    Jesus taught a stubborn and rebellious and lost people. He just told them the texts and then moved on. Many times He later explained his teaching to His followers–who often did not get it either.

    What are the consequences of our disagreement for fellowship?

    My response–the lost stay lost and the saved can often unintentionally endanger their own spiritual relationship with God.

    I do have an observation–The World and most of the denominational world could give squat what we in the churches of Christ teach–Our American constitution has doomed untold millions to hell..due to its influence in serving the Living God.

    However, what gets the “train moving” so to speak is the church of Christ unwillingness to separate from doctrine and to tell folks that they are lost.

    Even with the issue of IM–from the middle 1800’s forward and the resulting splits.. IM was an issue but the issue was AUTHORITY–not IM itself. It just became the “reason”.

    What are the consequences of our disagreement for fellowship?

    We stay separated…Take these two items: Repentance and Apostasy.

    You folks have not gotten in the same book let alone the same page.

    Note the responses for each side—this has turned out however well intentioned it was to begin with–with who can politely hit the other side with the biggest club.

    Both sides have arrived don’t you see and thus set aside the very basics of bible study.

    For example when I study with someone–I start where they are–not where I am.

    Folks that I study with are not interested so much in what I know–but in how they learn what I know.

    Going on..

    Do we have to conclude that one of us is dishonest? Or that one of us has poor reading comprehension skills? Or is there some other conclusion?

    My response..Wrong questions–but I have to quit–I have an emergency to take care of.

    Richard GF

  62. Alan Says:

    Richard, I hope your emergency works out ok.

    Your response is based on a faulty premise. We don’t have to come to agreement in order to have fellowship. That’s the point of Romans 14. Because of that faulty premise, you withhold fellowship from other Christians. That is a huge price to pay. Jesus said we needed to be one so that the world would believe. Because of the faulty premise, and the resulting faulty conclusion, we are not one, and therefore the world does not believe. That is working against the purposes of God, purposes he cares so much about that he sacrificed his only son.

  63. Rob Woodfin Says:

    In reading Richard’s response describing how the IM folks have have fallen into “rut theology,” I strained to see if he might possibly include himself in that scenario, but alas, the closest he could come was to throw in an impersonal “others.”

    I don’t mean to pick on Richard. And I know he feels not in the least threatened by a wretch like me. I realize his sincerity because I was once sincerely convinced myself that the old law had been replaced with a long series of new hoops to jump through. And boy was I proud of how well I had learned to jump. The Lord sure was lucky I signed up, no doubt about it.

    How often have you heard the comment in Bible class, “We know our friends in the denominations are sincere, they’re just sincerely wrong.” I have heard it for over a quarter of a century, and not once in that time have I ever heard the sentence constructed in anything but third person plural.

    And then there’s that most favorite verse, equally absent of first person consideration: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

  64. Richard GF Says:

    Alan, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    you said,
    Richard, I hope your emergency works out ok.

    My response–I ended up with a workable solution but I get these things about 8-10 times a week since I work with other people’s kiddo’s and adult human beings who would rather take their kids somewhere rather than work.

    You stated..
    Your response is based on a faulty premise. We don’t have to come to agreement in order to have fellowship.

    My response–No–not all all. Each church is responsible for itself and what it teaches\practices.

    And, this is one of the issues here in studying apostasy. Fellowship is based on how hmmm what is the term to use here–let’s try liberal and at the other end–ultra conservative.

    Both of those words accurately define the limits of fellowship and the ring of fellowship for the “liberals” is much greater than that of the “ultra Conservative”

    That is the reality–It is a problem of vision– and rightly so, the conservatives are concerned about the practices and doctrines of any other that does not follow the scriptures{sometimes for the ultra conservative–their particular view of scripture.

    Romans 14 is not an excuse for sin nor for apostasy and no, I did not say anything more than what I just said.

    you said
    That’s the point of Romans 14. Because of that faulty premise, you withhold fellowship from other Christians. That is a huge price to pay.

    My response again no–Folks cannot “walk together” unless they be in agreement.

    And, each of us can readily call to mind two or three such issues right now–study of covenants–the MDR issue and Im in man’s worship.

    However, each seems to believe that they are blessed with the truth–so the learning curve is negative.

    Now–
    Jesus said we needed to be one so that the world would believe. Because of the faulty premise, and the resulting faulty conclusion, we are not one, and therefore the world does not believe. That is working against the purposes of God, purposes he cares so much about that he sacrificed his only son

    My response–OK–but the unity has to be on God’s terms not ours.
    And, I very strongly disagree about why the world does not agree.

    Many years ago when I began studying the scriptures by covenants and not by Testaments–I discovered a lot of things.

    One of the things that give me pause is the untold millions of folks who have perished while God put His plan into operation.
    Also how human nature is very much in opposition to the nature of God. And that human nature for the most part is never happy with the laws of God.

    For instance, how many millions are going to be lost in America–simply because of our Constitution?

    No, the world is fallen and it is not getting better anytime soon.

    Christians cannot be alight in darkness unless they follow Christ on his terms. This termonolgy is alien to the thinking of many progressives..but nevertheless true.

    If the two groups want to have a bible discussion on repentance and apostasy–get back to biblical definitions–surely all could agree on that? right?

    Richard GF

  65. Alan Says:

    Richard wrote:

    My response again no–Folks cannot “walk together” unless they be in agreement.

    We don’t have to agree on everything in order to accept one another. Romans 14 does not allow that. We must accept people who disagree on certain aspects of Christian doctrine. We are commanded to do so. What this forum is discussing is which aspects.

  66. Richard GF Says:

    Alan, greetings in Christ from sunny Texas,

    Thank you for pointing out Romans 14 again.
    Progressives run that text into the earth expecting great things from it. Well, it does not work that way then or now.

    When folks want unity–I am all for it but it has to be on scripture.

    And, excuse me–but those texts read exactly the same way to all of us. The problem is that they are not as platable to each to the same degree.

    If you use IM in worship–apostasy occurs if one does not repent of the sin–and repent means to have a change of heart or of mind–not resititution as my more conservative brethren want.

    I think progressives understand this without appreciating it very much–There is a great need to respect the silence of the scriptures and to go with what sin is and is not.
    Since IM is not authorized–and the basic premise again in the splits is not over IM but over authority.

    In the beginning theprogressives won but over time you are losing and are still losing.

    Romans 14 is not the cure all for our division..

    While I can speak only for myself–I am not going to fellowship or worship with folks who use the IM. It is an act of unrighteousness–It is not an acceptable sacrifice as a prist of God to offer.
    I have enough endangement to my spiritual well being without having in my worship and my silence giving consent for it.

    But don’t worry, there are some churches of Christ who don’t remember their doctrine and will do as they want–you will have company.

    The conditions for fellowship with those who use the IM–is that they give it up.

    Since I do not forsee that happening for most of the folks who do so–Romans 14 is not helpful giving up IM is helpful.

    Richard GF

  67. Alan Says:

    Thank you for pointing out Romans 14 again.
    Progressives run that text into the earth expecting great things from it. Well, it does not work that way then or now.

    Romans 14 is inspired scripture. I am not ashamed to be using it. I do expect great things from it. Romans 14 contains direct commands about accepting one another. I think conservatives ignore those commands, to their own peril.

  68. Rob Woodfin Says:

    Alan,

    I had never been to sunny Texas, but after reading an autobiography of a man whose name I had seen sullied for years by the contenders, I decided it was time to venture west. I invited myself to go visit Leroy Garrett and hear him preach at his home congregation in Denton last spring. Afterward we had lunch together and he was gracious enough to spend the entire afternoon answering my questions.

    Since Leroy has witnessed a significant portion of Church of Christ history in his 90+ years and played a key role in helping point out the error of contentiousness, that afternoon was a gift I will always treasure.

    When we hear others say that “in the beginning the progressives won but over time you are losing,” it reminds me of Leroy. He could have had a much more comfortable life had he moved to the Disciples or some other circle of Christian fellowship. Yet he chose to remain on the “losing” side because he was convinced it did not have to be so. He did and does realize, as so many conservatives do not, that it isn’t just the progressives’ side of the boat that is sinking.

    For years I heard sermons about how “we don’t think we’re the only Christians, but we know denominationalism is wrong.” Then when “community” or “independent” or other non-denominational churches began to swell with the exodus from our ranks, a new term was invented: “pre-denominational.” How is it that the scripture reads “exactly the same way to all of us” and yet the most literal and conservative among us keep finding new ways to redraw the dividing line?

    In reading the opening of First Corinthians, has it ever crossed anyone else’s mind why Paul included the group “I am of Christ” in his rebuke? Perhaps I am reading scripture not exactly the same as others, but I suggest the apostle was pointing out to that group and ours that when we draw lines between ourselves and other followers of Christ, we are in error, no matter what we call ourselves.

  69. Richard GF Says:

    Alan, greetings in Christ from rainy Texas,

    Look, the conservatives use Romans 14–but not in the way that you want them to nor in the way that you understand it.

    Romans 14 is not the only text concernng how to live and work as Christians. There are clear and plain warnings of what happens when you allow Romans 14 cloud or override all other things.

    But you do reinforce my point…Those at your end of the scale..want to be accepted by those on the other end or in the middle and it is not going to happen.

    There are several dangers associated with Romans 14 not just the observation you make about coservatives.

    It is not the fact that scriptures are used but how they are used that makes us or breaks us with God.

    For the IM folks seeking affirmation from non users –even though the IM folks are willing to–Conservatives are not..They recognize the danger that many folks no longer pay any attention to.

    And, even our history points out the truth of this. Fact is, we in the churches of Christ are much better off when you guys stay on your side of the fence. You keep attempting to entice us to fall and some folks really resent that.

    I think the above gets close to portraying the thinking of the conservatives. So, throwing up Romans 14 is a quick trip to nowhere.

    Richard GF

  70. Alan Says:

    I think the above gets close to portraying the thinking of the conservatives. So, throwing up Romans 14 is a quick trip to nowhere.

    That is very sad, if true. It would mean that people love their inferences and opinions more than the actual unambiguous commands of God. It reminds me of Jehoiakim and his penknife.

  71. Richard GF Says:

    Alan, greetings in Christ from now sunny Texas,

    You are expected to say what you did..I don’t disagree but I gave you reality and why it is reality.

    You guys are not getting it. And, that is sad. Unity does not come at any price. It has to come on God’s terms..That is hard to take for folks who do not believe that God has a lot of “terms” in the New Covenant.

    No one has asked me per sec but there is a way for unity..but that is not going to happen anytime soon either unless we start getting creamed as Christians by the rest of the folks…

    Richard GF

    Ps..One can be so out there on either side that both sides lose.


  72. Alan,

    You said:

    If we sang one of the old familar hymns in that style in worship, would it be sin? If we did so outside of worship, would it be sin? Why or why not?

    Could you define what constitutes “in worship” and “outside of worship”? More importantly, could you define what “worship” is?

    Thanks!

    Ernie

  73. Alan Says:

    Ernie asked:

    Could you define what constitutes “in worship” and “outside of worship”? More importantly, could you define what “worship” is?

    Excellent question. Actually, in my comment above I was using the term “worship” in the way most of the conservatives here use it (referring to the Sunday assembly). However the scriptures don’t use the term that way. And the passages generally used by conservatives to prohibit IM in “worship” do not make any mention of the Sunday assembly.


  74. P.S. That was a really cool video. Reminds me of “Straight No Chaser – The 12 Days of Christmas”.

    http://www.clipser.com/watch_video.php?vid=61801

    That is the old version. There is a 2008 redux that has some new parts.

    Very entertaining!


  75. Actually, in my comment above I was using the term “worship” in the way most of the conservatives here use it (referring to the Sunday assembly).

    Yeah, I agree. That is not the correct understanding of “worship”.

    Excellent question.

    LOL. So are you going to answer it? 😀

  76. Alan Says:

    LOL. So are you going to answer it? 😀

    Well, it would be a pretty long comment. Instead I’ll give a link to my blog article where I attempted to answer it.


  77. Thanks Alan. There was a lot in that post I agree with. The only difficulty I had (difficulty, not disagreement) is that you were presenting a definition in contrast to an erroneous one.

    I’d like to present a more concise definition (and I’ll happily back it up with scripture if you disagree or need me to clarify further) according to what I believe the Bible teaches.

    As Jesus taught, WHERE we worship (location) is irrelevant under the New Testament (John 4).

    But what is worship? Worship is a type of action that requires three things to be considered worship:

    1. A target that the action is directed at. The correct target of worship is Jehovah God (Ex. 34:14; Matt. 4:10). Any other target and that type of worship is idol worship.

    2. Intent to worship. If I am doing some action and I do not intend to worship by that action, it isn’t worship. We see this from two different perspectives. If I am performing some action, singing, paying for some poor person’s meal, or even playing a piano, and I do not believe that I am worshiping nor do I intend to worship, them I am not. The other side is that when I’m expected to worship and its all outward going through the motions, God knows I’m not really worshiping Him. It just all outward appearance, which is, of course, the wrong way to do it.

    A couple of examples of action that isn’t intended as worship that some “conservatives” might have difficulties with is learning a new “church” song using a piano to get the notes right. I can do that just fine because there is no target and no intent to worship. I’m just learning the notes. The other example might be singing along with some Country song that uses instruments and maybe mentions God or some Biblical concept in it. Again, I’m singing a song (that happens to have mention of God or some Biblical concept) with the intent of being entertained and have no target for my action. It isn’t worship. Therefore it ain’t wrong.

    3. The last part of an action being worship, according to God, is that the action must be a specifically authorized action. We see this explicitly presented in the Old Testament (Lev. 10:1-2; Jer. 32:35) and by implication in the New Testament (Col. 3:16-17). I’m sure all here know the principle of authority (or “principle of silence” as some may refer to it). What it comes down to is that if our action is the one God said we should do to worship Him, He accepts that as worship. If it is worship according to our will, rather than His, it is vain worship (Matt. 15:9).

    True worship, then, is an action specifically authorized by God done with the intent to worship Jehovah God.

    A lack of intent means it isn’t worship. The wrong target or an unauthorized action is false worship.

    That’s how I understand worship, anyway. 🙂

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  78. Alan Says:

    I’d like to present a more concise definition (and I’ll happily back it up with scripture if you disagree or need me to clarify further) according to what I believe the Bible teaches.

    I’m ok with your defining how you use the word. How Jesus was using the word in John 4:24 is a very different question… and I think has a different answer.

    As Jesus taught, WHERE we worship (location) is irrelevant under the New Testament (John 4).

    In particular, worship is not confined to the Sunday assembly of Christians. Instead we are to do everything we do as worship (Col 3:17, Col 3:23, 1 Cor 10:31, Rom 12:1). That is a broader definition than your point #2. Biblically it includes everything we do. So, if your #3 is correct, then we cannot do anything (regardless of time, place, or context) that is not explicitly authorized in scripture. Otherwise we would be offering “vain worship.” So if I go to the grocery store (something not authorized in scriputre), am I worshipping in vain? Remember, “everything” I do is for the glory of God…as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God… That includes going to the grocery store.

    Of course that is absurd. If I can go to the grocery store, I can sing with instrumental accompaniment. The same principle applies.

  79. Rob Woodfin Says:

    I’m curious about the falling down passages in the New Testament. Aren’t those examples? Shouldn’t that be a sixth act of worship? At one time, perhaps, but it would no longer be expedient as the average age of our membership approaches AARP status?

    I know … I know. I should have rhetorically raised my hands and shouted UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN at the opening of my post to warn the readers of my own menacing status.

    🙂


  80. […] salvation by faith in the context of one already saved. Thus, in the dialogue at GraceConversation, Mac Deaver argues, Titus 3:5 is a discussion of initial obedience, and not a reference to obedience required of […]

  81. Dan Says:

    In James 2:14, we read of one who “says he has faith” but has no works. This is not genuine faith, but a bare profession of faith. So when James asks, “Can that faith save him?” he is saying nothing against genuine faith, but only against an “empty profession of faith.” James gives us the test for genuine faith: like the faith of Abraham, it results in works. The faith that James is condemning is not the faith that Paul is commending. Works are the fruit, by product and demonstrative evidence of genuine saving faith, not the instrumental means by which we receive eternal life. James DOES NOT teach that we are saved “by” works. His concern is to SHOW the reality of the faith “professed” by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith claimed (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. Show me your (alledged) faith without your works and I will SHOW you my (genuine) faith by my works (James 2:18). SHOW, not establish. We are saved by that kind of faith accompanied (confirmed, authenticated) by works. We are justified by faith but only by a true faith, a faith proved to be true if it is followed by good works. We are not doing good works to become saved, we are doing good works because we were already saved by an authentic faith in Jesus. Man is saved through faith and not by works (Romans 4:1-3; Ephesians 2:8-9); yet faith, if it is true, will be substantiated and confirmed by good works (James 2:14-26). What a genuine believer means by salvation through “faith alone” and what James means by “faith only” is NOT the same message. Don’t let the word “alone” fool you. While on the surface the idea of requiring works in addition to faith may sound noble, in essence it disqualifies faith. Here’s why: We receive eternal salvation by placing our faith (our trust, our reliance) in Christ Jesus alone to save us. To say that we must add works is to say that Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection is insufficient to secure our salvation, and what we really mean then, is that we lack the trust and reliance that He alone can eternally save us. This lack of confidence in Christ is the opposite of placing faith in Him. Either He paid the full price for our sins on the cross or He didn’t. To say that we must add works as a supplement in order to be redeemed, is to say that He didn’t pay the full price. And to say this, is to deny His saving power and remain lost. Man-made “Christian” religions that glorify man instead of God all without exception twist the Letter of James to prove they are teaching truth, when in fact their doctrine is a lie and a counterfeit gospel which cannot secure eternal salvation for anyone. For a person to have always trusted in a counterfeit gospel, regardless of what church they may be a member of, means they have never relied solely on Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the free gift of eternal life. In other words, they have never experienced being born of the Spirit of God, and if they die in this condition they will spend eternity lost without hope.

  82. Ernie Laurence, Jr. Says:

    Dan,

    James 2:24 – Ye see then how that by works a man is justified [saved], and not by faith only.

    The works Paul is talking about that cannot save us are works of the Old Mosaical Law.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  83. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    If James 2:24 teaches that we are saved “by works,” then how many works does it take? Which works must we add as a supplement to Christ’s finished work of redemption in order to help Him save us? In James 2:21, notice closely that James “does not say” that Abraham’s work of offering up Isaac resulted in God’s accounting Abraham as righteous. The accounting of Abraham’s faith as righteousness was made in Genesis 15:6, about 30 years “before” his work of offering up Isaac recorded in Genesis 22. The work of Abraham was essential, not because it had some kind of intrinsic merit to justify him in the (legal sense), but because it proved or manifested the genuineness of his faith. James says that Abraham was justified by his works, but this is ONLY IN THE DECLARATIVE SENSE. Notice that the in James 2:21, the NIV reads: Abraham was “considered” righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the alter. There is a difference between being ACCOUNTED as righteous on the basis of our faith (Romans 4:1-3) and being CONSIDERED righteous afterward on the basis of our works (James 2:21). You would be in error here my friend to say that Abraham was justified by his works in the legal sense (Ephesians 2:8,9). Compare Romans 4:2 (For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God) NOT JUSTIFIED BY WORKS with James 2:21, (Was not Abraham our father justified by works or “considered righteous” – NIV when he offered his son Isaac on the alter?) Now do we have a CONTRADICTION? If Paul and James are using the word “justified” in the same legal sense, then yes we have a contradiction. Paul and James do not contradict each other, they are just explaining saving faith from two different perspectives. You may try and argue that Paul is referring to “works of the law” in Romans 4:2 and James is referring to “good works” (not of the law) in James 2:21, but that would be in error because Abraham was BEFORE the law and sacrificing a human is not a work of the law. We must accept the truth that Paul is using the word “justified” in the LEGAL sense (Romans 4:1-3) and James is using the word “justified” in the DECLARATIVE sense (James 2:21)in order to properly harmonize scripture.

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  84. Dan,

    That’s a whole lot of typing to tell me that James 2:24 doesn’t say what I can read that it plainly does say…even in the NIV.

    Now, to directly answer your questions:

    ~~~~If James 2:24 teaches that we are saved “by works,” then how many works does it take?~~~~

    To initially be saved (to be put into the body of Christ) it takes 5.

    Hearing the gospel (Rom. 10:17).
    Believing the gospel (John 6:29).
    Confessing that belief (Rom. 10:9-10).
    Repenting of sins (2 Cor. 7:10).
    Water immersion (1 Pet. 3:21), though technically this is something done to you, submitting to it is still something one does, an action, a “work”.

    To stay saved, of course, takes a life time of effort (work) (Rom. 12:1).

    ~~~~Which works must we add as a supplement to Christ’s finished work of redemption in order to help Him save us?~~~~

    A disingenuous question loaded with denominational assumptions.

    ~~~~In James 2:21, notice closely that James “does not say” that Abraham’s work of offering up Isaac resulted in God’s accounting Abraham as righteous. The accounting of Abraham’s faith as righteousness was made in Genesis 15:6, about 30 years “before” his work of offering up Isaac recorded in Genesis 22.~~~~

    Faith is a work, too (John 6:29).

    ~~~~The work of Abraham was essential, not because it had some kind of intrinsic merit to justify him in the (legal sense)~~~~

    No one is arguing that works of “merit” on the part of men save. For you to suggest that we are means that 1)You have no clue what I actually believe and teach with regard to salvation by work, or 2) you are purposefully misrepresenting my position in order to win an argument.

    God has commanded works of obedience in order to receive His Grace in order to be saved (e.g. faith is required for Grace to work through in Eph. 2:8, though not the only thing). See also Romans 6, especially verses 16-18 (KJV not the Non-Inspired Version).

    ~~~~Notice that the in James 2:21, the NIV reads:~~~~

    I don’t accept the NIV as a useful translation so quoting specifically from it to make a point is not effective.

    ~~~~Abraham was “considered” righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the alter. There is a difference between being ACCOUNTED as righteous on the basis of our faith (Romans 4:1-3) and being CONSIDERED righteous afterward on the basis of our works (James 2:21).~~~~

    James 2:23 the word “imputed” is the same word in the Greek found in Romans 4:3 as “counted” so your argument is invalid.

    ~~~~You would be in error here my friend~~~~

    You are in error if you think we are friends. We are enemies because of the mutually exclusive doctrines we teach.

    ~~~~to say that Abraham was justified by his works in the legal sense…~~~~

    The Bible makes no distinction between your “legal sense” and “declarative sense”. The distinction is between justification by obedience to the law of Moses or by the law of Christ. The whole point Paul is trying to make in Romans 4 is that the great patriarch that the Jews looked to was not justified by the Law of Moses because he lived before it existed, yet God accounted him righteous because of his obedient faith (e.g. picking up everything and moving out of his father’s house and going on a journey without yet knowing the destination, which he believed God would eventually provide). You, like so very many in the denominational world have a milk-level of understanding of the point of Romans, which is the same as most of Paul’s letters: a contrast of Judaism to Christianity and why Gentiles did not need to submit to the Judiazers within the church trying to convince the Gentiles that they must submit to the law (of Moses) before they could become Christians.

    Abraham was justified by obedient faith outside of the law of Moses, and Paul explains that Christians, in that same sense, are justified by obedient faith outside of the law of Moses. I don’t need to “try” to do anything. That is one of the main points of the book of Romans and is established firmly in chapter 2.

    Finally, there is no contradiction between Paul and James because Paul is saying that men are not justified by works of the law of Moses of which James speaks nothing about. However, Paul does speak of justification by works:

    Rom. 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

    Rom. 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    Rom. 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey ; whether of sin unto death, or of OBEDIENCE –>unto<– righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBEYED from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being THEN made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

    Notice that it is at the point of obedience from the heart that form (or pattern) of doctrine laid out just prior (burial – i.e. water immersion) that we are set free from sin…not before or elsewise.

    And in many more verses does Paul speak of work, obedience, action, doing, etc. to obtain salvation by Grace.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  85. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    I did a whole lot of typing to show you that the harmony of Ephesians 2:8,9 and James 2:24 is seen in the differing ways that Paul and James use the term “justified.” Paul, when he uses the term, refers to the legal (judicial) act of God by which He accounts the sinner as righteous. James, however is using the term to describe those who would prove the genuineness of their faith by the works that they do. Notice that in Romans 5:1, Paul says, Therefore having been justified by FAITH we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, not faith “and works.” You did a whole lot of typing yourself to try and convince me that Ephesians 2:8,9 doesn’t say what I can read that it plainly does say…even in the NIV. James 2:24 does not say “saved by works.” If you read the context, you will notice that James is talking about someone who SAYS he has faith but has no works. Can THAT faith save him? (James 2:14). James is saying nothing against genuine faith, but only an “empty profession of faith.” Good works are the fruit, by product and demonstrative evidence of genuine saving faith, but not the instrumental means by which we receive eternal life. As I already explained to you before, James does not teach that we are saved “by” works. His concern is to SHOW the reality of the faith “professed” by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith “claimed” (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. Show me your (alledged) faith without your works and I will SHOW you my (genuine) faith by my works (James 2:18). SHOW, not establish. James is using the term “justified” to describe those who would prove the genuineness of their faith by the works that they do. In Matthew 12:37, Jesus uses the term “justified” in the same sense. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Of course, Jesus is not saying that we are not justified by faith in the legal sense (declared not guilty of our sins) until we say all the right words. Ephesians 2:8,9 does not say that we are saved through faith “plus by saying all the right words.” Our words justify our faith and demonstrate that it is genuine because our words reveal the state of our hearts. Words will appear to be evidences for, or against a man’s being in a state of grace and righteousness: thus for instance, a man that has spoken for Christ, and has freely confessed that all his hope of justification before God, and acceptance with him, is solely upon the account of the righteousness of Christ imputed; such a man will be “declared” a justified man according to the tenor of his own words: on the other hand, a man that has spoken hard speeches against Christ, and his righteousness; declaring he has no dependence on Him alone for salvation, expects no justification by it; he will be convinced of these ungodly sayings, and out of his own mouth will be condemned. Once we genuinely place our faith in Christ alone for salvation, we then receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:17; 15:8-9; Ephesians 1:13), we receive the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and we become new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have been changed. Praise God! Good works will then “demonstrate” that our faith is genuine. That is the sense in which James is saying that we are “justified by works” and not by the kind of faith that “remains alone” (solitary, unfruitful, barren). Simple.

    So you teach that the moment we are saved through faith, we are only “initially” saved? The Bible says that we are saved through FAITH (Ephesians 2:8) NOT temporarily saved. The Bible also says that whosoever BELIEVES shall receive ETERNAL life (John 3:16; 6:47; 11:25,26), NOT temporary life. We are put into the body of Christ through SPIRIT baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13), NOT water baptism. How does this happen? Ephesians 1:13 – IN HIM, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation –having also BELIEVED, you were SEALED IN HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE… For how long? “Unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). This is permanent, not temporary. 2 Corinthians 1:21,22 says: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, GUARANTEEING WHAT IS TO COME. AMEN! Hearing the gospel is a prerequisite to believing the gospel. Of course you must first hear the gospel (Romans 10:17) before you can believe the gospel and become saved (Romans 1:16). Repentance is a “change of mind” which already took place in the process of coming to believe the gospel. Repentance unto salvation actually precedes saving faith, it does not come after faith. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says that godly sorrow leads to repentance, but in of itself is not repentance. We confess that Jesus is Lord BY the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3) because we are already saved through faith, not as an additional requirement to become saved after we believe the gospel. Faith and confession are not two separate steps to salvation. They are chronologically together. Water baptism is an ordinance which follows saving faith and testifies to it (Acts 10:43-48), not an additional requirement to become saved after we believe the gospel. 1 Peter 3:21 says, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” The mere mechanical act of baptism does not literally save us, for Peter says, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 3:21 does not say that baptism saves us in “any sense” OTHER THAN AS A FIGURE. It is only a FIGURE of what saves us, not the reality. You ignored the rest of the verse.

    There are actually only THREE steps to salvation, not five. Hearing the Word and Repentance are the first two steps (Romans 10:17; Luke 13:3). Faith is the final step in receiving salvation (Romans 5:1). The next step “after” faith is salvation by works (Romans 4:4-5; Ephesians 2:8,9). Once we BELIEVE and are saved (John 3:16,18,36; Acts 10:43; 16:31; Romans 1:16), Hearing the Word and Repentance already took place in the process of coming to BELIEVE. No further steps of obedience are necessary to receive salvation after faith (Romans 5:1,2; Ephesians 2:8,9). Faith is the culminating act in receiving the FREE gift of eternal life. Why did you place repentance after confession? Romans 1:16 says that we are saved the moment that we believe the gospel (Romans 1:16). It does not say that we are still lost at the point of believing the gospel and still need to confess, repent and be water baptized to become saved. Christ’s finished work of redemption is allsufficient to save us and is the object of our faith (belief, trust, reliance) in receiving eternal life. This 5-6 step plan of salvation that you teach seems to be the result of poor semantics and flawed hermeneutics.

    Romans 12:1 does not teach that it takes a life time of effort (work) to stay saved. That is salvation “by works” no matter how much you try and sugar coat it. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who DOES NOT WORK but BELIEVES on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness (Romans 4:4-5). Romans 12:1 says that presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God is our “reasonable service,” not the means of keeping ourselves saved. You are reading your own preconceived ideas or theology into this verse. This demonstrates what you have really placed your faith and trust in for salvation. Not Christ alone, but “your works.” Works salvation is NO SALVATION AT ALL (Romans 4:4-6; Ephesians 2:8,9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). Why do you insist on trusting in a lifetime of works that you accomplish to save yourself and not solely in Christ’s finished work of redemption? Your hands are full of your works and you will not let go in order to take hold of Christ through FAITH. It’s called self righteousness. Please prayerfully consider this.

    When I asked, which works must we add as a supplement to Christ’s finished work of redemption in order to help Him save us, I was asking a legitimate question, but you said that my answer was “loaded with denominational assumptions.” That is a typical sales pitch of the restoration movement. You seem to be thoroughly indoctrinated into “restoration theology” and it will probably be very difficult to reach you with the truth, but there is always hope.

    In regards to John 6:29, believing is clearly not a work that merits our salvation. Through believing, we are completely trusting in “Another’s work,” (Christ’s finished work of redemption). Repenting is not a work that merits our salvation either. We must first repent “change our mind” before we can believe (trust in Christ’s finished work of redemption) to save us. Through repentance/faith, Christ is still the object of our complete trust in receiving salvation and He gets all the merit. Additional works of obedience which follow saving faith would add merit on our part to our salvation because then we would be saved through Christ’s finished work of redemption “plus these additional works of obedience.” Faith receives the free gift of eternal life. Additional works which follow receiving the free gift through faith “add to the free gift,” which in essence, adds to the finished work of Christ. You can’t have it both ways. Either Christ did it all or else we do some of it. Either salvation is a free gift received through faith or an obligation received by works. You simply cannot have it both ways.

    In regards to James 2:21, if Abraham was saved “on the basis of his works,” then there would be merit on his part (at least in part) for receiving salvation. I at one time had spent some time in the church of Christ, so I am not clueless to what you believe with regards to salvation by work. I understand how you are trying to “shoe horn” works “into salvation through faith.” You are trying to teach that we are saved on the basis of accomplishing a list of works after faith, but there is no merit for us in accomplishing these works, which is an oxymoron. I am not purposefully misrepresenting your position in order to win an argument. You can’t seem to distinguish between the work that is involved in the process of coming to saving faith and the work that we accomplish after we are saved through faith.

    In regards to Ephesians 2:8, faith is the “only thing mentioned in connection with being saved.” Ephesians 2:8 does not say that we are saved through faith “and works of obedience,” so it is through faith (rightly understood) alone “apart from additions or modifications. Again, you are reading your own preconceived ideas or theology into this verse. Faith (the act of trusting) in Christ “alone” for salvation and faith that remains “alone” in producing good works are two separate alones in connection with two different things. Faith is not these works. Saving faith is believing/trusting in Christ to save you through His finished work of redemption (Romans 1:16). The works which follow are the fruit, by product and demonstrative evidence of saving faith, but not the essence of saving faith. Romans 5:2 says that we have ACCESS by FAITH into GRACE… not faith “and works of obedience.” We could never be obedient enough to have access to God’s grace by our works. Our faith must rest in the perfect obedience of Christ (Romans 5:19), not our imperfect obedience. Romans 6 does not contradict Ephesians 2:8. Placing our faith in Christ alone for salvation and obeying the gospel are synonymous terms.

    I’ve had discussions with church of Christ ministers before who accept the NIV as a reliable translation, but you call it the Non-Inspired Version? Interesting. That’s alright. I don’t need to rely on the NIV to make my points. Other translations of the Bible make my point clear as well.

    In James 2:23 the word “imputed” is the same word in the Greek found in Romans 4:3. In James 2:23, the scripture was fulfilled in vindicating or demonstrating that Abraham believed God and was accounted as righteous. Abraham was “accounted as righteous” because of his faith (Genesis 15:6) long before he was “shown to be righteous” (James 2:18) afterward by offering up Isaac on the alter (Genesis 22). The faith of Abraham was “perfected” (not with an absolute perfection), but the sense is, that hereby his faith was declared to be sincere, true, and genuine, not in the sense of “accounting him as righteous” as well on the basis of his works, so your argument is invalid. You need to rightly divide the word of truth. In regards to calling me your enemy, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). I don’t consider you “the enemy,” just a “victim” of the enemy.

    Genesis 15:6 does not say that God accounted Abraham as righteous because of his “obedient” faith based on moving out of his father’s house and going on a journey without knowing the destination. The accounting of Abraham as righteous took place in Genesis 15:6 after God told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in heaven. And he BELIEVED in the Lord, and He accounted it (faith, not works) to him for righteousness. His works were the demonstration of his faith, not the means of his salvation. So you reject that the Bible makes a distinction between being justified in the “legal sense” and in a “declarative sense?” You say the distinction is between justification by obedience to the law of Moses or by the law of Christ? Which law was Abraham justified by previous to this? Galatians 6:2 reads: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” The Bible says that we are saved through FAITH (Ephesians 2:8), not through faith “plus bearing one another’s burdens.” Christians bear each others burdens because they are saved, not to become or stay saved. Your plan of salvation is neither Law nor Grace, but the restorationist distortion of BOTH. It does not meet the requirements of the Law and it does not receive the FREE GIFT of God’s Grace. You have an unholy mix of Law and Grace, but in reality have NEITHER Law nor Grace (Romans 11:6). It is no better than the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, and except your righteousness exceeds it, you will no wise enter into the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:30). You need Christ’s IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS which comes through FAITH, NOT WORKS (Romans 4:4-6). The Bible makes a clear distinction between being justified in the “legal sense” and in a “declarative sense.” In the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Greek word for justified “dikaiovw” #1344 is:

    1. to render righteous or such he ought to be
    2. to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
    3. to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be

    In the Bible the word “justified” is often used in the “legal” (judicial) sense. Paul often uses the word “justified” in this “legal” sense (Romans 3:24,28; 5:1; 5:9; 8:30 etc…).

    “To justify” is also used in a “declarative sense.” A person who tries to SHOW himself that he is in the right is said to be trying to “justify” himself
    (see Job 32:2; Luke 10:28,29; 16:14,15). James has this aspect of justification in mind. As we have seen, his concern is to show the reality of the faith
    professed by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith claimed (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine.

    God is said to have been “JUSTIFIED” (KJV) by those who were baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 7:29). This act pronounced or declared God to
    be righteous. It did not make him righteous. The basis or ground for the pronouncement was the fact that God IS righteous. Was God “justified” in
    the “legal” sense (accounted not guitly of His sins)? Notice that the NAS reads, “they acknowledged God’s justice,” in place of the word “justified.”
    This is the sense in which God was justified DECLARATIVE SENSE.

    In Job 32:2, “Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he
    “JUSTIFIED” (KJV) himself rather than God. Now did Job “justify” himself in the legal sense (account himself not guilty of his sins)? Elihu was angry
    that Job tried to “justify” (vindicate) himself rather than God. My point is crystal clear.

    In Luke 10:28-29, “And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to JUSTIFY himself, said to Jesus, “And
    who is my neighbor?” Did this Lawyer “justify” himself in the “legal” sense (account himself not guilty of his sins)? Something to really think about.

    In Luke 16:14-15, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those
    who JUSTIFY yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Did
    these Pharisees “justify” themselves in the “legal” sense (account themselves not guilty of their sins)? Only God can forgive sins. The Pharisees belief was
    that their own goodness (works) was what justified them. This is the very definition of “self-righteousness.” But, as Jesus explained, their righteousness was flawed, being an external appearance only. That might be enough to justify them before (deceived) men, but not before God, because He knew their hearts.

    Romans 4:3 does not say that Abraham was justified by “obedient” faith. It reads: For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” It does not say that his obedience (works) were credited to him as righteousness. So you admit that the works which Abraham accomplished were outside the law of Moses, so the works that Paul is describing in Romans 4:3 which Paul clearly states that Abraham was NOT justified by (in the legal sense) are the same works that James is describing in James 2:21 (which Abraham was justified by in the declarative sense). Paul explains that Christians are justified by faith in Romans 5:1. He does not say “obedient” faith (faith and works). We are saved through faith first (Ephesians 2:8,9) and then UNTO good works (Ephesians 2:10). Obedience (works) follow as the demonstrative evidence of our faith and SHOW that our faith is genuine (James 2:18). You have the tail wagging the dog. The cart before the horse. Saving faith is not hard to understand, it’s just hard for you to ACCEPT.

    When it comes to the MORAL aspect of the law, there is no distinction between works of the law and works of obedience. In James 2:15-16, the example of a “work” that James gives is: “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” To neglect such a brother or sister is to break the second great commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) as found written in the law of Moses (Leviticus 19:18). Paul simply says “works” in Ephesians 2:9 and James simply says “works” in James chapter 2. Paul could not have limited the concept of “works” to the Law of Moses. He presented the Patriarch Abraham as the primary witness to his doctrine. He wrote: What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found ? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say ? “Abraham BELIEVED God, and it (faith, not works) was accounted to him as righteousness” (many years before he offered up Isaac). Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who DOES NOT WORK, but BELIEVES in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is “credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:1-5). In this context “works” could not refer exclusively to obedience of the Torah, for Abraham lived many centuries before Moses. It is therefore wrong to force Paul’s concept of “works” exclusively to the Law of Moses. Clearly Paul applies the same principle to works in general. Of course Paul does not include faith in this same category (John 6:29; Ephesians 2:8,9).

    In Romans 1:5, Paul’s mission, as he perceived it, was to bring people to the point of saving faith, which faith, in turn, would motivate one to express and evidence that faith in obedience. This obedience flows from saving faith because we are saved, not to become saved. Although Paul can speak of people’s initial response of coming to faith in Christ as an act of obedience, in which he describes it as “obeying the gospel” (Romans 10:16), the purpose of Paul’s apostleship was not merely to bring people to conversion but also to bring about transformed lives that were consistently obedient to God. Notice that Paul said they HAVE (already) received grace and apostleship FOR or UNTO obedience to the faith. Just as in Ephesians 2:10, Paul said that we are created in Christ Jesus FOR or UNTO good works. We are clearly saved FOR good works, NOT by good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). In Romans 1:5, Paul did not say that they did not receive grace and apostleship until they produced “enough” obedience. We have access by FAITH into GRACE… (Romans 5:2) not faith “and obedience.” We are saved through faith first, then “unto” obedience (works).

    In regards to Romans 2:6-7, when Paul speaks here (and elsewhere) of works in connection with salvation, the works are always the result of, not the condition of, salvation. The context of Romans 2 relates to the judgment of God (see vs. 3). And when judgment is the subject, the stress is always on works as a manifestation of one’s faith (or lack thereof), not simply on the faith from which these works follow. So it is understandable that in this context Paul would stress the works that are a “manifestation” of the “faith by which one receives eternal life” (2:6-7). These verses give a description of a believer (Christian), not a requisite for salvation. Verses 8-9 gives a description of unbelievers.

    Christians are not slaves to sin, for they have been made free from sin and became servants of righteousness the moment they received the remission of sins and Christ’s imputed righteousness when they BELIEVED (Acts 10:43; Romans 3:24-26; 4:4-6). God has also transformed their hearts at conversion (Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17) and they are now new creations in Christ. People “obey” when they repent and believe the gospel, for these things are commanded. They therefore “obey” the gospel by choosing to believe the gospel before they obey the command to be baptized afterward. Is repentance an act of obedience? Is believing an act of obedience? Does the Bible say that we are saved when we BELIEVE? (John 3:16,18,36; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16). Do these acts come before water baptism? You don’t baptize unbelievers in order to make them believers.

    Romans 6:16-17 is not teaching salvation through water baptism. Again, you are reading your preconceived ideas or theology into these verses. Before they obeyed that form of doctrine by choosing to believe the gospel (Romans 1:16), they had been slaves to sin. Obeying that form of doctrine may have been “evidenced” by baptism and further obedience, but baptism was not the cause of being made free from sin. In 1 Peter 1:22 notice – Purified your souls in “obeying the truth” and notice in Acts 15:9 – “Purified their hearts by FAITH.” “Obeying the gospel” and “obeying that form of doctrine” in regards to receiving salvation is really a synonym for BELIEVING. Romans 6:3-4 is picturesque language. “A SYMBOL IS NOT THE REALITY, BUT THE PICTURE OF THE REALITY.” Water baptism is only a picture of this reality, not the cause. Before mentioning baptism in chapter 6, Paul had repeatedly emphasized that FAITH, not baptism is the instrumental cause of salvation/justification (Romans 1:16; 3:22-30; 4:4-6, 13; 5:1, 2). That is when the old man was put to death and united in the likeness of His death, which water baptism SYMBOLIZES and PICTURES.

    What works, obedience, action, doing etc. does Paul speak of in Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 5:2 in order to become saved? Saved through FAITH, NOT WORKS (Ephesians 2:8,9). We have access by FAITH into GRACE… (Romans 5:2). Paul NEVER speaks of additional works, obedience, action, doing etc. which follow saving faith as the means of obtaining salvation by Grace. Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 5:2 simply say FAITH “apart from additions or modifications.” So “working for” instead of “trusting solely in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of your salvation” is clearly the “object” of your faith in receiving salvation, but the Bible clearly says, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who DOES NOT WORK but BELIEVES on Him who justifies the ungodly, his FAITH is accounted for righteousness (Romans 4:4-5). AMEN! Are you ready to BELIEVE?

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  86. ~~~~I did a whole lot of typing to show you that the harmony of Ephesians 2:8,9 and James 2:24 is seen in the differing ways that Paul and James use the term “justified.”~~~~

    You have failed to convince me of this. I presented quite a bit of evidence from Paul that you are wrong, that he was speaking of justification by works of the Mosaical Law, whereas James was speaking of justification by works of the law of Christ, the “engrafted word”. You ignored that completely. Until you respond to everything I said directly, there is no point repeating myself.

    ~~~~You did a whole lot of typing yourself~~~~

    1) because I was replying to everything you said in specificity and you type a lot, 2) because you have a lot to unlearn. What kind of works is Paul talking about in Eph. 2:8? For a clue, keep reading through verse 15.

    ~~~~So you teach that the moment we are saved through faith, we are only “initially” saved?~~~~

    No. You did not understand what I was saying at all. When a person believes, they have the capacity to become children of God but are not children of God yet (John 1:12) another point you did not directly address. We are initially saved at our immersion into Christ (incidentally immersion is the only way the Bible says one gets into Christ. We do not “believe” into Christ.). Then we must continue to obey God to remain saved (Rev. 2:10 among many others). In 2 Tim. 4:7-8 Paul said that he fought, that he finished, that he kept and because of that he had a crown waiting on him after he was offered up for the cause of Christ. He did not say “I believed once and got saved and that’s all I needed to do to get a crown.” Paul’s message has always been that we work, that we must DO to be saved. And again, faith is a work (John 6:29).

    ~~~~There are actually only THREE steps to salvation, not five.~~~~

    So much for faith only. Now you’ve added hearing the Word and repentance, too. Your list is getting there. Keep reading.

    Incidentally hearing, repenting, and believing are all activities on our part, actions we take, works we do. So even you believe work is necessary for salvation. You’re only distinction is which works save.

    ~~~~Hearing the Word and Repentance are the first two steps (Romans 10:17; Luke 13:3). Faith is the final step in receiving salvation (Romans 5:1).~~~~

    So how does one repent without first believing the gospel which commands we repent?

    ~~~~Romans 12:1 does not teach that it takes a life time of effort (work) to stay saved. That is salvation “by works” no matter how much you try and sugar coat it.~~~~

    I’m not trying to sugar coat anything. I believe that salvation is by works on man’s part. Just not works of the OT as Paul clearly states over and over again, which you completely take out of context and misinterpret.

    ~~~~Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.~~~~

    What kind of work in this context?

    ~~~~In regards to John 6:29, believing is clearly not a work that merits our salvation.~~~~

    I’m not, nor have every been talking about works of merit. You still aren’t understanding me. At least you acknowledge that faith is a work. That is something. In acknowledging that faith is a work, you acknowledge implicitly that some form of work is necessary for salvation. Again, you’re getting there.

    ~~~~Either salvation is a free gift~~~~

    Salvation is never spoken of as a free gift in scripture.

    ~~~~received through faith or an obligation received by works. You simply cannot have it both ways.~~~~

    Neither is salvation something merited by man’s works. It is neither of the above. Salvation is the resulting state of God’s free gift, Grace, working through obedient faith. God has freely provided the means (Christ) and the pattern (the gospel) and told man to appropriate the means by following the pattern. We don’t EARN salvation in a free market type of concept by obeying the gospel. We simply accept God’s gift in the way that God said we must accept it. Because you have no idea what God’s Grace really is, you can’t understand this. Your whole misconception on works and justification and all of the other things you’ve been saying stem from an utter lack of understanding of what exactly God’s Grace is.

    ~~~~In regards to Ephesians 2:8, faith is the “only thing mentioned in connection with being saved.”~~~~

    And if Ephesians 2:8 were the only verse in the Bible, you might have a point.

    ~~~~I’ve had discussions with church of Christ ministers before who accept the NIV as a reliable translation, but you call it the Non-Inspired Version? Interesting. That’s alright. I don’t need to rely on the NIV to make my points. Other translations of the Bible make my point clear as well.~~~~

    Good, I appreciate that. It will make our conversation less tedious if we are using common ground from which to communicate. I’m not strictly KJV, but I am picky.

    ~~~~So you reject that the Bible makes a distinction between being justified in the “legal sense” and in a “declarative sense?” You say the distinction is between justification by obedience to the law of Moses or by the law of Christ? Which law was Abraham justified by previous to this?~~~~

    The point Paul was trying to make was that Abraham was justified outside of the law of Moses. That is the whole context of Romans 1-16. Abraham was justified by obedient faith looking forward to the coming of Christ according to the promise God had given him. So if anything he was justified by the Patriarchal Law given to him with a looking forward to the cross and the blood of Christ.

    ~~~~So you admit that the works which Abraham accomplished were outside the law of Moses~~~~

    Yes. That was Paul’s point in bringing him up.

    ~~~~so the works that Paul is describing in Romans 4:3…are the same works that James is describing in James 2:21…~~~~

    No. They are of the same type of works in the sense of being outside of the law of Moses. But Abraham’s works saved him according to the patriarchal law given to him directly by God with a looking forward to the coming Messiah. Works we do today save us according to the law of Christ looking back to the cross and God’s Grace already given to man in the 1st century (Christ and the gospel).

    ~~~~When it comes to the MORAL aspect of the law, there is no distinction between works of the law and works of obedience.~~~~

    Except for which law is being spoken of.

    ~~~~Is repentance an act of obedience? Is believing an act of obedience?~~~~

    Yes. Yes.

    ~~~~Does the Bible say that we are saved when we BELIEVE? (John 3:16,18,36; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16).~~~~

    No.

    ~~~~Do these acts come before water baptism?~~~~

    Yes. As the work of hearing comes before the work of believing.

    ~~~~You don’t baptize unbelievers in order to make them believers.~~~~

    I do. Those of the first century did. In fact, can you, by scripture, show many any other way “into Christ” than by immersion in water?

    ~~~~Romans 6:16-17 is not teaching salvation through water baptism. Again, you are reading your preconceived ideas or theology into these verses. Before they obeyed that form of doctrine by choosing to believe the gospel (Romans 1:16), they had been slaves to sin. Obeying that form of doctrine may have been “evidenced” by baptism and further obedience, but baptism was not the cause of being made free from sin.~~~~

    This is utterly out of context, Dan. The pattern, the form, is what Christ gave us with his death, burial, and resurrection. If we follow that pattern by being immersed in water, dying to our old man, and being raised in the likeness of his resurrection by coming up out of the water. You MUST read things in context. Do you deny that Christ is the pattern for us to follow, that Paul laid out that pattern in Romans 6:3f?

    ~~~~In 1 Peter 1:22 notice – Purified your souls in “obeying the truth” and notice in Acts 15:9 – “Purified their hearts by FAITH.” “Obeying the gospel” and “obeying that form of doctrine” in regards to receiving salvation is really a synonym for BELIEVING.~~~~

    At least you are now up to obedience as part of salvation. There is nothing left for me to teach you, young padawan, except that the obedience required is water immersion along with hearing, believing, repentance, and confession (which you already acknowledge).

    ~~~~“A SYMBOL IS NOT THE REALITY, BUT THE PICTURE OF THE REALITY.” Water baptism is only a picture of this reality, not the cause.~~~~

    Wrong. Water immersion IS symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is not ALSO symbolic of salvation. A Biblical symbol never symbolizes two different things. The symbol points to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and really affects salvation. It saves, just as Peter said it did.

    You have much more to respond to from my first post, but you are a lot closer than you were before we began this discussion. Keep it up. I’m proud of your progress. 🙂

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  87. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    You have failed to convince me that Paul limits “works” specifically to works of the Mosaical Law and James was speaking of justification by works of the law of Christ. You admit that Romans 4:3 and James 2:21 are describing the same type of works OUTSIDE the law of Moses later in your response. Where does James even mention the term “law of Christ?” Where does the Bible give a list of works that are described as “the law of Christ” and to receive salvation, we must do so by living up to the law of Christ? I already explained to you that in James 2:15-16, the example of a “work” that James gives is: “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” To neglect such a brother or sister is to break the second great commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) as found written in the law of Moses (Leviticus 19:18). YOU IGNORED THAT COMPLETELY. You did not present any convincing evidence from Paul that I was wrong. I did respond directly to your arguments in my last set of statements and that’s why it was so lengthy. Did you read all of it? When did you ever mention the “engrafted word” in your last response? Are you sure that you’re not confusing me with someone else that you are debating with? Why don’t you show me in scripture where James says that we are justified by works “of the law of Christ.”

    You have a lot to learn about salvation through faith. I have nothing to unlearn. Faith is not a list of works that make up the law of Christ. Saving faith is belief, trust, reliance in Christ alone for salvation. Paul often speaks of works of the law of Moses because the only way that we could be saved by works is to perfectly keep the law of Moses, yet you teach that we are saved by works through “imperfectly” keeping the law of Moses. You seem to believe that if Paul was only referring to works of the law of Moses in Ephesians 2:8, then it’s settled and we are saved by a list of works (contained in the law of Christ) that are separate from the moral aspect of the law of Moses. Here is your problem. How did Paul say that we are saved in Ephesians 2:8? Through FAITH. Paul did not say, “For by grace you have been saved through faith “and works.” In Ephesians 2:10, what kind of works was Paul talking about? Good works. He stated that we are created in Christ Jesus (which happens at the moment we are saved through faith) and then FOR or UNTO good works. There a difference between being saved “by” good works and FOR good works. Paul clearly states in Romans 4:1-3 that Abraham was NOT justified by works (which was before the law of Moses). In Romans 4:5, Paul said: But to him who “does not work” but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. FAITH is accounted as righteousness, not faith “and works.” In Titus 3:5, Paul affirmed that it is “not by works of righteousness” which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” Paul also stated that God saved us, and called us with a holy calling, “not according to our works,” but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Timothy 1:9) so it is not just works of the law of Moses but ANY works which follow saving faith. Either we perfectly kept the law and saved ourselves (which is impossible) or else Someone did it for us and we place our faith in Him and receive His imputed righteousness. There is no middle ground.

    How can I address the point that you are trying to make about John 1:12 when you did not previously mention it to me? You must be confusing me with someone else that you are debating with. You said in your last response that we are only “initially” saved after we complete your 5 step program and then we must keep working throughout our lifetime to remain saved. That is not a free gift received through faith but an obligation received by works. Now I would love to address your point that you are trying to make about John 1:12 (that you mentioned for the first time). You have perverted John 1:12 to support your salvation through faith “plus works” theology. John 1:12 teaches that we actually DO BECOME children of God through believing. The same message is found in Galatians 3:26, “For you ARE ALL the CHILDREN OF GOD through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” NOTHING is mentioned there about belief “only giving them the right to become” and then we actually do become children of God at some time later. I can’t believe your logic! We do not literally get into Christ through water baptism, but through Spirit baptism. For by one SPIRIT we were all baptized INTO one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). In Ephesians 1:13, we read: IN HIM, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation –having also BELIEVED, you were SEALED IN HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE… So as you can see, we do “believe” into Christ. In what sense are we (water) baptized “into Christ?” In the same sense that the Israelites were baptized “into Moses” (metaphorically) indicating their oneness, or solidarity, with him as their leader (1 Corinthians 10:2) just as through water baptism we indicate our oneness, or solidarity with Christ as our Savior. Now does 1 Corinthians 10:2 teach that the Israelites were water baptized “into the body of Moses?” Absolutely not. After we are saved through faith and Spirit baptized into the body of Christ, we are then (afterward) water baptized “into Christ” (Romans 6:3-4) just as the Israelites were baptized “into Moses” (1 Corinthians 10:2). Not literally water baptized into the body here, but “baptized into” in a “metaphorical sense” in regards to “identification.” You confuse water baptism (the picture) with Spirit baptism (the reality).

    For you to say that we must continue to “obey” God to remain saved is vague and could include ANY number of good works. Does Revelation 2:10 support your argument? If this verse teaches that we must be “faithful enough” in addition to placing our faith in Christ for salvation, then just how faithful would you have to be? This verse is meant to be an encouraging statement from the Lord to Christians at the church of Smyrna who were being persecuted, even to the point of death. Jesus was not telling these Christians that if they are not “faithful enough” in addition to having faith in Him that they will not receive eternal life. That is salvation by works! The Lord was telling them that they will receive the crown of life after death, be faithful, hang in there! Is the crown of life to be distinguished from the gift of eternal life received through faith? Is the crown of life something in addition for those who have received eternal life if they suffer for Him even unto death? At the judgment seat of Christ, we see that believers will receive “rewards” and “loss of rewards” (not salvation or loss of salvation) based on their “good works” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Salvation is based on faith in Christ, not works (Ephesians 2:8,9). All true believers will receive salvation, but not all believers will receive the same reward in heaven. In verse 15, notice “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (as one escaping through the flames). Just how “faithful” were these Christians whose work was BURNED UP, yet they will still be SAVED? There are four other crowns mentioned in scripture (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Peter 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:8). Crowns may be won or lost (Revelation 3:11). All believers will receive salvation but not all believers will receive the same reward. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul is referring to a victory crown (this is the meaning of Gk. stephanos, “crown,” and fits with verse 7). If this crown is understood as a reward for Paul’s perseverance, this would be in accord with a common theme in Paul’s epistles (1 Corinthians 3:14; Colossians 3:24) and in the NT more generally (Matthew 5:12, 46; 6:1–6, 16–18; 10:41–42; Hebrews 10:35; 11:26; 2 John 8). You make NO distinction between the gift of eternal life received through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and rewards in heaven for believers received by works (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). Paul did not say that this crown was the gift of eternal life. Again, you are reading your preconceived ideas or theology into these passages. Salvation is a free gift received through faith, not a reward that you work for and earn. Don’t forget what Paul said in Romans 4:5, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” Are you still determined to work for the free gift or are you ready to accept the free gift of eternal life through faith? Paul never said that we must work “for” our salvation, but we do work for rewards in heaven after we are saved through faith. Faith is the “work of God” by which we choose to believe in Christ for salvation (John 6:29).

    I don’t teach “faith only” as mentioned in James 2:24. I teach salvation through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8,9). What a genuine believer means by salvation through “faith (in Christ) alone” and what James means by “faith only” is NOT the same message. Don’t let the word “alone” fool you. I’m not “adding” hearing the word and repentance, because they PRECEDE saving faith. Hearing the Word and understanding that we are sinners who deserve hell and need Christ to save us (Romans 3:23; 6:23) precedes repentance “changing our mind” about our sinful position and need for Christ to save us and the new direction of this “change of mind” is faith in Christ alone for salvation. Your list is out of order and too long. Keep reading. You’ve heard the Word, now all you need to do is repent and believe the gospel. When will you BELIEVE?

    Hearing, repenting, and believing are works that are involved in coming to accept the free gift. If we don’t first hear, then we won’t know what to change our mind about and believe. The work involved in accepting the free gift of eternal life is distinct from and in a different category from works which follow saving faith. Hearing, repenting and believing are non meritorious. Once we believe, then we are saved (John 3:16; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16). If we must accomplish further works after we accept the free gift, then we are contributing to the gift, which then becomes meritorious on our part for accomplishing these further works.

    What gospel are you preaching? Mark 1:15 says to repent (first) and believe the gospel (second). We repent in the process of coming to believe the gospel by changing our mind and placing our faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation (Romans 1:16). You place repentance after faith. You would have to admit then that you have a faith that is no different from the faith of devils, and others who believed the facts about Christ “intellectually.” The only difference is you “add your works.” You have not experienced a DEEPER faith which actually “trusts in Christ alone for salvation.” This explains why you have so much faith in “water and works.” Your theory gives rise to the reversal of the scriptural order of repentance and faith in salvation. To the contrary we find the following verses: Matthew 21:32 – “You, when you had seen it, repented not afterward, that you might believe him.” Mark 1:15 – “Repent and believe the gospel.” Acts 20:21 – “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:25 – “If God will perhaps give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” A person cannot believe (trust) in Christ alone for salvation without repenting (changing his mind) in the process. Are you ready to repent and believe the gospel?

    So you admit that you believe that salvation is by works on man’s PART. So Christ saves us FOR THE MOST PART, but we contribute IN PART, is what you are really saying, but have somehow convinced yourself otherwise. So you limit Paul’s concept of works strictly to the OT law, which is the only way that we could be saved by works and you then create a new law of works (short of keeping the law) to save yourself? I don’t take what Paul says out of context. I know that Paul addresses the OT law many times, but he does not limit his concept of works to the OT law and the alternative that Paul clearly states over and over again which saves/justifies us is FAITH/BELIEF which you completely redefine to include your list of works. You seem to think that Christ came simply to replace the Law of Moses with His own commandments. And to obtain salvation, one must do so by living up to the commandments of Christ. Such is a righteousness which is by law, not the law of Moses, but a law nonetheless. But Paul writes: “If a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through FAITH in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who BELIEVE” (Galatians 3:21-22). Either perfectly keep the law of Moses and save yourself or place your faith in the One who did it for you. There is no new law of works to save yourself by.

    You asked what kind of works in the context of Romans 4:4, as if keeping the law of Moses is the only thing in view, and the alternative is a different list of works, yet the alternative to “doesn’t work” is BELIEVING in Him for salvation and FAITH, not works is accounted as righteousness (Romans 4:5). Why won’t you BELIEVE? You believe in your works.

    I understand you perfectly when you claim that you are not talking about works of merit, yet you include a list of works that if necessary for salvation would be works of merit on our part for accomplishing them and receiving eternal life. You still can’t seem to understand that you can’t have it both ways. Either Christ did it all or else we did some of it. Faith is a work by which we trust in Christ alone to save us. Through faith, we acknowledge that we are completely dependent on Him to save us through His finished work of redemption and Christ gets all the merit, but you want to “add a list of works to that you accomplish and contribute in part.” At best, you trust in Him “for the most part” but you also trust in what you accomplish “in part.” That is not completely trusting in “Christ alone” to save you. You have not placed your faith in Christ alone for salvation, which shows that you have not yet repented either. The form of work that is necessary for salvation is placing our faith in Christ alone to save us. You “add works” to salvation through faith so you are not getting there at all. I’ve already been there and I am still waiting for you to BELIEVE.

    You said that salvation is never spoken of as a free gift in scripture? I almost fell out of my chair when I read that! Romans 6:23 clearly says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NAS) AMEN! In Romans 5:18, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of life.” (KJV) Praise God! Ephesians 2:8 clearly reads that it is by grace that we have been saved through faith, and this is NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the GIFT of God. According to you, it is of yourself IN PART. How many gifts have you received in your lifetime that were not free? Do you work for free gifts at Christmas time? I can’t believe that you missed these verses! This demonstrates that you do not understand the Grace of God.

    You already said that salvation is received on man’s PART, yet there is no merit for us in accomplishing this list of works that you say we must accomplish “after” faith to receive eternal life, which is an oxymoron. Earlier you said that “salvation is never spoken of as a free gift in scripture,” yet now you are saying that “salvation is the resulting state of God’s free gift.” So which is it? You are contradicting yourself. You just keep digging your hole deeper. Romans 5:2 does not say Grace, working through “obedient” faith. Romans 5:2 says that we have access by FAITH into GRACE… It does not say that our faith must accomplish “enough” obedience first before it can save us. Obedience which follows faith is WORKS. When you say that we are saved by an “obedient faith,” the problem is that you make faith and obedience (works) which follows faith BOTH the instrumental means of receiving salvation. That is salvation by works, even if the works only play a part. Our faith must trust in Christ alone for salvation to save us, then the obedience follows as the fruit, by product and demonstrative evidence of our faith, but not as the means of our salvation. The gospel is a message of grace to be received through faith. It’s not a code of laws to be obeyed or a check list of good works to accomplish. It simply sets forth Christ crucified and risen as the Savior of all who believe (trust) in Him alone for salvation (Romans 1:16). You have “added additional requirements” (works) to believing the gospel and you are teaching a “different” gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). We OBEY the gospel by choosing to BELIEVE the gospel (Romans 10:16). Choosing to believe the gospel by trusting in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation is the act of obedience which saves us. Additional acts of obedience which follow saving faith are not a part of believing the gospel. God says that we accept His gift through FAITH, but you are blinded to this truth because you refuse to BELIEVE (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). You said that I can’t understand what God’s Grace really is because of my misconception on works and justification? That statement is the epitome of irony. Your arguments are sounding more and more ridiculous.

    Ephesians 2:8 says that we are saved through faith “apart from additions or modifications” but you want to turn that complete statement into an incomplete statement because it’s not the only verse in the Bible and then “patch it together” with other verses which you believe add works to salvation through faith to come up with your conclusions. Your jig saw puzzle method of interpretation does not accept any of the statements which God has made about salvation through FAITH/BELIEF. You are determined to add more.

    You say that Abraham was justifed by “Patriarchal Law” (which I don’t see mentioned in Romans). Looking forward to the cross and the blood of Christ is trusting in Jesus for salvation through faith, it’s not saving yourself by works. Romans 4:9 mentions that “faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.” Romans 4:3 says that “Abraham believed God, and it (faith, not works) was accounted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:13 says that the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law (the law was not yet established), but through the righteousness of faith. His obedience was a “demonstration” of his faith, but in of itself is not a list of works and nowhere in Romans do we see that it says, Abraham was justified by faith “and obedience,” simply faith. Faith may be an act of obedience, but faith, in of itself is not multiple acts of obedience (works) which follow faith. You completely ignored my statements that prove the term “justified” can be used in two different senses, so here is my argument again. Please don’t ignore it this time.

    In the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Greek word for justified “dikaiovw” #1344 is:

    1. to render righteous or such he ought to be
    2. to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
    3. to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be

    In the Bible the word “justified” is often used in the “legal” (judicial) sense. Paul often uses the word “justified” in this “legal” sense (Romans 3:24,28;
    5:1; 5:9; 8:30 etc…).

    “To justify” is also used in a “declarative sense.” A person who tries to show himself that he is in the right is said to be trying to “justify” himself
    (see Job 32:2; Luke 10:28,29; 16:14,15). James has this aspect of justification in mind. As we have seen, his concern is to show the reality of the faith
    professed by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith claimed (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine.

    In Matthew 12:37, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” This is because our words reveal the state of
    our hearts. Words will appear to be evidences for, or against a man’s being in a state of grace and righteousness: thus for instance, a man that has spoken
    for Christ, and has freely confessed that all his hope of justification before God, and acceptance with him, is solely upon the account of the righteousness
    of Christ imputed; such a man will be declared a justified man according to the tenor of his own words: on the other hand, a man that has spoken hard
    speeches against Christ, and his righteousness; declaring he has no dependence on it, expects no justification by it; he will be convinced of these ungodly
    sayings, and out of his own mouth will be condemned.

    God is said to have been “JUSTIFIED” (KJV) by those who were baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 7:29). This act pronounced or declared God to
    be righteous. It did not make him righteous. The basis or ground for the pronouncement was the fact that God IS righteous. Was God “justified” in
    the “legal” sense (accounted not guitly of His sins)? Notice that the NIV reads, “acknowledged that God’s way was right…” This is the sense in which
    God was justified DECLARATIVE SENSE. AMEN!

    In Job 32:2, “Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he
    “JUSTIFIED” (KJV) himself rather than God. Now did Job “justify” himself in the legal sense (account himself not guilty of his sins)? Elihu was angry
    that Job tried to “justify” (vindicate) himself rather than God. My point is crystal clear.

    In Luke 10:28-29, “And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to JUSTIFY himself, said to Jesus, “And
    who is my neighbor?” Did this Lawyer “justify” himself in the “legal” sense (account himself not guilty of his sins)? Something to really think about.

    In Luke 16:14-15, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those
    who JUSTIFY yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Did
    these Pharisees “justify” themselves in the “legal” sense (account themselves not guilty of their sins)? Only God can forgive sins. The Pharisees belief was
    that their own goodness was what justified them. This is the very definition of “self-righteousness.” But, as Jesus explained, their righteousness was flawed,
    being an external appearance only. That might be enough to justify them before (deceived) men, but not before God, because He knew their hearts.

    At least you admit that works which Abraham accomplished were outside the law of Moses. That’s a start. So which works outside the law of Moses did God account to Abraham as righteousness? Give me the list mentioned in Genesis 15:6. Where does the Bible say that we are saved today by works according to the law of Christ? You have created a middle ground plan of salvation. It does not meet the requirements of the law of Moses and it does not accept the free gift of eternal life through FAITH.

    I made a point that when it comes to the moral aspect of the law, there is no distinction between works of the law and works of obedience and you said, “except for which law is being spoken of.” What point were you trying to make? The point that I was making is that in James 2:15-16, the example of a “work” that James gives is: “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” To neglect such a brother or sister is to break the second great commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) as found written in the law of Moses (Leviticus 19:18). James does not say, “works of the law of Christ” as if Christ replaced the moral aspect of the law of Moses with His a new and different set of laws that we must accomplish to be justified by.

    You admit that repentance and believing are acts of obedience. Excellent. When I asked you, “Does the Bible say that we are saved when we BELIEVE?” (John 3:16,18,36; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16) and you said “NO” I fell out of my chair again! The Bible clearly states in each of these passages that I quoted that whosoever BELIEVES (receives eternal life, is not condemned, receives the remission of sins), yet you say NO. Quit fighting the truth and BELIEVE.

    So you admit that believing (trusting in Jesus for salvation) comes before baptism (good, keep coming). Now the Bible clearly says that we are saved when we BELIEVE (John 3:16,18,36; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16). Hearing comes before believing, yet the Bible does not say that we are saved through hearing “apart from believing.” The Bible says that whoever BELIEVES “apart from baptism” receives eternal life (John 1:12; 3:15,16,18; 36; 5:24; 6:29,40,47; 11:25,26; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16; 3:22-30; 4:4-6; 1 Corinthians 1:21 etc…). If water baptism was also required for salvation, God would not make statements in which He promises salvation to those who simply BELIEVE. We BELIEVE (trust in Christ as the only means of our salvation before, during and after the act of getting water baptized.

    1. The believer is a child of God (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26).

    2. The believer has eternal life (John 3:14-16; 6:47; 11:25,26).

    3. The believer is not condemned (John 3:18).

    4. The believer has passed from death to life (John 5:24).

    5. The believer has the remission of sins (Acts 10:43).

    6. The believer has the forgiveness of sins (Acts 13:39).

    7. The believer’s heart is purified (Acts 15:9).

    8. The believer is saved (Acts 16:31).

    9. The believer is made righteous (Romans 3:24-26; 4:4-6; 10:4).

    10. The believer will not have sin imputed to him (Romans 4:8).

    11. The believer is justified and has peace with God (Romans 5:1).

    12. The believer has God’s love in his heart (Romans 5:5; 1 John 4:7).

    13. The believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).

    14. The believer is born of God (1 John 5:1).

    15. The believer is indwelt by God (1 John 4:15).

    16. The believer overcomes the world (1 John 5:4,5).

    17. The believer is created in Christ Jesus for good works, not by good works (Ephesians 2:9,10).

    18. The believer knows that he has eternal life (1 John 5:13).

    So you baptize unbelievers in order to make them believers? What does the water magically make them believe that they were unable to believe prior to getting water baptized? If someone believes in Christ for salvation and drops dead of a heart attack before they have a chance to get baptized, they still BELIEVED. We literally get “into Christ through SPIRIT baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13), not water baptism. As I already explained to you in Ephesians 1:13, IN HIM, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation –having also BELIEVED, you were SEALED IN HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE. This is how we get “into the body of Christ” prior to getting water baptized (Acts 10:43-48; 11:17; 15:8-9). Romans 6:3-4 and Galatians 3:27 seem to confuse you into believing that water baptism literally places us into the body of Christ. As I already explained to you, that we are water baptized “into Christ” in the same sense that the Israelites were baptized “into Moses” in regards to “identification.” Notice in Galatians 3:27, that those who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Now for the word “enduo” (put on). This word also appears in Romans 13:14 where we read, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill it’s lusts.” This exhortation is not to a sinner, telling him to be baptized to “put on” Christ, but it is written to Christians. Evidently then, baptism is not the only way to “put on” Christ. To “put on” Christ is to conform to Him, imitate Him. So it is in baptism; we “put on” Christ, conforming to Him in the ordinance that declares Him to be our Savior. So if we must “put on” Christ to be saved through water baptism, apparently we are not saved yet. We must also “put on” Christ by making no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts (Romans 13:14). Right? Let’s be consistent. We are water baptized BECAUSE we are already children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26), not to become children of God. The verb in Greek translated “put on” has the meaning of putting on a badge or uniform of service like that of a soldier. According to Greek scholar A.T. Robertson: “This verb is common in the sense of putting on garments (literally and metaphorically as here). In I Thessalonians 5:8 Paul speaks of “putting on the breastplate of righteousness.” He does not here mean that one enters into Christ and so is saved by means of baptism after the teaching of the mystery religions, but just the opposite. We are justified by faith in Christ, not by circumcision or by baptism. But baptism was the public profession and pledge, the soldier’s sacramentum, oath of fealty to Christ, taking one’s stand with Christ, the symbolic picture of the change wrought by faith already (Romans 6:4-6).” The allusion is to putting off old clothes and putting on new ones, to enclosing onself in armor, etc. When a soldier puts on armor he is imitating his superiors and trainers, is revealing himself to be a soldier. One does not put on a uniform in order to become a soldier. Simply putting on a soldier’s uniform does not make one a soldier. Once he is made a soldier he is then able to wear the uniform that distinguishes or marks him as a soldier. Putting on a judge’s robe does not, in itself, make anyone a “judge.” But, one who has been made a judge is qualified to put on “judicial robes” and thus declare his qualifications. So too with being baptized the Christian puts on robes for which he has previously been qualified to wear. The putting on of Christian attire, spiritually speaking, is not what makes one a Christian, but one which becomes a token of it. If one puts on the clothes of a Christian, in water baptism, without first becoming a Christian, then he becomes an imposter, and is declaring, in baptism, to be what he is not. Confusing water baptism (the picture) with Spirit baptism (the reality) is the heart of your misunderstanding.

    For you to accuse me of not reading things in context is the epitome of irony. Romans 6:17 says “form of doctrine” not form of baptism. This verse does not say follow the pattern of Christ in baptism to save yourself. Buried with him by baptism” is obviously referring to the “likeness” set forth in baptism (vs. 5) — the reality that “our old man (sins) is crucified with Him” (Romans 6:6). Romans 6:4 uses the words “like as Christ” and Romans 6:5 says “in the likeness.” This shows that water baptism is a “likeness,” not the reality, a shadow, not the substance. Do you deny that previous to mentioning baptism in chapter 6, Paul had repeatedly emphasized that FAITH, not baptism is the instrumental cause of salvation/justification? (Romans 1:16; 3:22-30; 4:4-6, 13; 5:1, 2). You are reading your own wishful thinking into Romans 6:16-17 to support your water gospel.

    I always understood that choosing to believe the gospel by placing our faith in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation is an act of obedience which saves us. There is a difference between the obedience of believing the gospel and becoming saved and obedience which comes after salvation, namely baptism. Now I see that you place repentance before confession this time in your five step plan of salvation. As I aready explained before, we must first hear the Word before we can repent and believe the gospel and become saved. Confession is an expression of saving faith (1 Corinthians 12:13), not an additional requirement to become saved after we believe the gospel. Repentance is a change of mind which precedes believing the gospel (Acts 20:21), not an additional requirement to become saved after we believe the gospel. Water baptism is an ordinance which follows saving faith and testifies to it (Acts 10:43-48), not an additional requirement to become saved after we believe the gospel. Your five step plan of salvation is the result of poor semantics and flawed hermeneutics.

    When I stated that water baptism is only a picture of the reality, you said that I was wrong, yet you admit, and I quote: “Water immersion IS symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is not ALSO symbolic of salvation.” AMEN! You are almost there! Keep coming all the way. You went wrong when you said that this symbol really affects salvation. Water baptism manifests in ceremony that which really does procure remission of sins. It declares by a means of physical likeness that which redeems. It is the visible “likeness” (Romans 6:5) of the actual work of Christ, just as a photograph is the pictorial likeness of some individual, not the actual person. Similarly, baptism is called a “figure” (1 Peter 3:21). If an Old Testament ordinance were an “atonement,” yet only typically so, how can a New Testament ordinance, which is said to “remit sin,” literally do what the former ordinance could not do? IT CANNOT BE DENIED THAT CHRIST LITERALLY PUT AWAY SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF; THEREFORE, THIS CANNOT BE PERFORMED AGAIN BY AN “OBEDIENT” ACT OF MAN. If the Old Testament ordinance were only a typical atonement, it follows that the New Testament ordinance could be no more, and must be only a typical remission. It amazes how you can simply quote “part” of 1 Peter 3:21 and say that Peter simply said that baptism literally saves us and ignore the CONTEXT. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The context reveals that the subjects, the eight souls “saved,” were those in NOAH’S ARK. The eight people in the ark were “saved THROUGH water” as they were in the ark. THEY WERE NOT LITERALLY SAVED BY THE WATER, AS THE CONTEXT REVEALS. Heb. 11:7 is very clear on this point (…built an ark for the SAVING of his household). 1 Peter 3:21 does not say that baptism saves us in “any sense” OTHER THAN AS A FIGURE. It is the FIGURE of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ by which we are LITERALLY saved. In (vs. 20), Peter had just spoken about the ark; he goes on to say that there is a LIKE FIGURE, or a similar figure, which is baptism. The Greek word for “figure” is “antitupon.” Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, defines the word as “a corresponding type.” He says, “It is not a case of type and antitype but of two types, that in Genesis, the type, and baptism, the corresponding type.” (Vol. 2, page 96). Cremer’s Lexicon says the word signifies an “image or similitude.” Thayer’s Lexicon defines it as “a thing resembling another.” The flood symbolizes baptism and baptism symbolizes salvation. The flood was a figure of baptism in that in both instances the water that spoke of judgment (in the flood the death of the wicked, in baptism the death of Christ and the believer). Baptism is a symbol of salvation in that it depicts Christ’s death, burial and resurrections and our identification with Him in these experiences. In reality, believers are saved by what baptism symbolizes–Christ’s death and resurrection. Right after Peter says that baptism now saves us. (Conscious that his statement is liable to be misunderstood), Peter explains himself: Negatively, baptism does not save because water is applied to the body: “not the removal of the filth of the flesh.” Water can only cleanse the flesh outwardly; it does not cleanse the heart from sin. Positively, baptism saves because it follows a personal response to God as indicated by the phrase “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” It is that aspect of baptism (what is signified, “the answer of a good conscience toward God”) rather than the external rite (the sign, the application of water) that saves. The genitive in the Greek text is correctly translated as the pledge of a good conscience, not for a good conscience. It is a pledge made from a good conscience. Baptism is a pledge to God made from a good conscience. The symbol and the reality are so closely related that the symbol is sometimes used to refer to the reality and that seems to be what confuses many people. A FLOOD OF CONFUSION. So water baptism only saves the believer FIGURATIVELY. ***NOTE: The context of 1 Pet. 3:20,21 reveals that ONLY the righteous (Noah and his family) were DRY and therefore SAFE. In contrast, ONLY THE WICKED IN NOAH’S DAY CAME IN CONTACT WITH THE WATER AND THEY ALL PERISHED.

    In your final statement, you said that I have much more to respond to from your first post, but what exactly is that? Which statements did I not respond to? You also said, “you are a lot closer than you were before we began this discussion. Keep it up. I’m proud of your progress.” How am I a lot closer to agreeing with you than I was before we began this discussion? I still believe exactly what I believe before we began our discussion. Hopefully you are getting closer to accepting the truth than before. I will be very proud of you when you finally choose to BELIEVE.

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  88. ~~~~Hearing, repenting, and believing are works that are involved in coming to accept the free gift.~~~~

    In this one statement you have shown me that you understand the concept I am trying to get across to you. Your position is that the only work necessary to be saved is hearing, repenting, believing (and I think confessing, though you left it out of this particular list). You say these works are not of merit (earning salvation) but are works required to receive the free gift of Christ (we can argue about what that is later). The only difference between what you are saying and what I am saying with regard to being saved initially is that I add water immersion to the list. I have never taught that obedience in the form of water immersion is a meritorious work. It is a work, along with hearing the gospel, believing it, repenting of sins, confessing that faith in Christ, that is necessary for us to accept God’s gift, divine saving grace.

    I’m very happy that you understand me now and all this other silliness about works not being required for salvation can be dispensed with. We both believe works are necessary. The only discussion now is which ones.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  89. And incidentally I did respond to you with John 1:12, but it was in a different thread.

    https://graceconversation.com/2009/07/17/and-so-in-conclusion/#comment-4221

    Sorry for the confusion.

  90. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    You can’t seem to distinguish between work that is involved in accepting God’s gift and work which follows accepting God’s gift. You seem to think that just because hearing, repenting and believing are classified as work, then anything that is considered work is in the same category. Accepting God’s free gift of eternal life (which you previously claimed is not a free gift) is a completed transaction once we accept the free gift through faith. We confess BY the Holy Spirit as a consequence of accepting the free gift through faith, not as a means to accepting the free gift. Baptism testifies that we have accepted the free gift, not as a means to accepting the free gift. When someone hands you a free gift at Christmas time, you either accept the free gift or else you reject it. Once you accept it, you don’t accomplish anything further to accept it or keep it. You say thank you and testify that you like the gift. We accept God’s free gift by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), not through faith “plus some additional repentance after faith, confession and baptism. You place repentance “after” faith in receiving salvation and describe it as “repenting of sins” as if we must stop sinning as an additional requirement to become saved after faith. Your error is in the semantics. Repentance in salvation is a change of mind about our sinful position and need for Christ to save us and the new direction of this change of mind is faith in Christ alone for salvation. Repentance precedes accepting the free gift of eternal life through faith.

    I noticed that you still have not responded to the point that I made about the example of a work that James gives in James 2:15-16. “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” To neglect such a brother or sister is to break the second great commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) as found written in the law of Moses (Leviticus 19:18). James does not say, “works of the law of Christ” as if Christ replaced the moral aspect of the law of Moses with a new and different set of laws that we must accomplish in order to be justified.

    I also noticed that you still have not responded to the other point that I made about the term “justified” being used in a legal sense and in a declarative sense. In the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Greek word for justified “dikaiovw” #1344 is:

    1. to render righteous or such he ought to be
    2. to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
    3. to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be.

    Notice Ernie that there is a difference between “to render righteous” and “to show one to be righteous.” To reject this truth is to be dishonest.

    Thank you for pointing out this different thread of arguments that you previously presented that I did not receive. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I write a whole lot of just a little. You are thoroughly indoctrinated into “restoration theology” and refuse to see it any other way. Accepting the truth would simply be too devastating for you because you will have to admit that you were wrong. 1 Peter 3:21 does not plainly say that water baptism “literally” saves us because of what follows (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ… Where does the Bible say that we are saved by grace through water baptism? Where does the Bible say that whoever is NOT baptized will NOT be saved? NOWHERE in the Bible do we find the negative condition of baptism being taught (such as whoever is not baptized will be condemned) as we do with repentance (Luke 13:3) and faith (John 3:18,36). HHHMMMM… That is very strange if water baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. You seem to be absolutely obsessed with water baptism. You just can’t seem to place your faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of your salvation, so then you turn to “water and works” for help. For shame.

    We do not contact the blood of Christ in the waters of baptism. That is not Bible language. You are simply “parroting off” what your predecessors before you have taught. Water baptism is a symbol of salvation in that it depicts Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and our identification with Him in these experiences, but does not literally wash away our sins, only ceremonially. “Through His blood” (Colossians 1:14) is a reference not limited to the fluid as if the blood has saving properties in it’s chemistry and we contact it in the waters of baptism, but is an expression pointing to the totality of Christ’s atoning work as a sacrifice for sin. The word “cross” is used similarly to refer to the whole atoning work of Christ on the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18; Galatians 6:12,14; Ephesians 2:16). It’s the blood of Christ that has the power to remove sins, not water. Now if you can only come to understand that our sins are forgiven when we BELIEVE (Acts 10:43; Romans 3:24-26) BEFORE we are water baptized. The Bible teaches that we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9) and justified by faith (Romans 5:1). People who are saved and justified are not lost and still in need of having their sins literally washed away. Also, faith precedes water baptism. If we are saved and justified at the point of faith, then we don’t need to comply with any further conditions to have our sins forgiven and literally washed away. In Acts 10:43 we see that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM shall receive REMISSION OF SINS. What happened to baptism? In Romans 3:24-26, we see that: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare His righteousness for the REMISSION OF SINS that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which BELIEVES IN JESUS. What happened to baptism? *Hermeneutics.

    Noah was saved by the ark “through (via) water.” Water was not the literal means of their salvation, but the ark was. The ark is what both delivered and preserved them, the two aspects of “salvation.” Their “salvation” was typical of the salvation promised to the Christian. It pictured it. So also does Christian baptism picture salvation and reveal, symbolically, the gospel. I contend that the word “antitupon” identifies baptism as a figure. It is a figure of death, burial and resurrection. The NIV makes my point just fine. Your UNBELIEF is killing you (2 Corinthians 4:3,4) and is keeping you from understanding the truth (1 Corinthians 2:14). Both Noah’s baptism and Christian baptism are literal events that serve as types, examples, or illustrations of “salvation.” Both are types of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, which would be the “antitype.” Since they are both types of the same thing, they must have something similar to one another; that is, in regard to what they were designed to typify, they both are “like figures,” like each other, or “corresponding to” each other. God Spiritually joins us in marriage and with Christ in Spirit baptism. A man and a woman become united through their wedding vows and the ring symbolizes this. Just as we become united with Christ through faith and water baptism symbolizes this.

    Consider the following conversation:

    Q. Are you married?
    A. Yes, I am married; see, I’m wearing this ring.
    Q. What does the ring signify?
    A. It means that I gave my consent to my wife and, therefore, I am united to her.

    Strictly speaking, the husband is united to his wife because of the marriage vows rather than the ring. Yet since the latter is the sign of their union, it is natural to speak of the ring to mean the reality it represents. He is married because he wears a marriage ring. Compare this to a similar conversation about salvation:

    Q. Are you saved?
    A. Yes I am saved, see, I have been baptized.
    Q. What does baptism signify?
    A. It signifies that I have placed my faith in Christ for salvation and, therefore, I am united to Him.

    So, when Peter says that baptism saves us, he does not mean that it literally saves us in addition to faith in Christ; he means that baptism signifies our salvation by faith in Christ.

    Hebrews 11:7 clearly states what LITERALLY saved Noah and his family. They were saved THROUGH the water and literally BY the ARK. Without the ark, they would have drown in the water. So much for the water literally saving anybody. Hebrews 11:7 negates your interpretation of 1 Peter 3:20. Salvation through faith does not negate repentance because if we don’t repent “change our mind” we won’t believe and be saved. Confession is not an additional requirement to become saved after faith. Those who confess that Jesus is Lord do so BY the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3) because they are already saved through faith. Baptism testifies to saving faith (Acts 10:43-48), it is not an additional requirement to become saved after faith. Noah had already “found grace” (Genesis 6:8), was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), and “walked with God” BEFORE he built the ark. His obedience was a DEMONSTRATION of his faith, not the origin of it. Noah was already SPIRITUALLY saved through faith BEFORE he built the ark. Building the ark demonstrated and proved his faith and saved him and his family (physically) from drowning. The water destroyed every person on earth, except Noah and his family. It did not destroy sin and his family from sin. Did Noah and his family become sinless after the flood?

    The words “like figure” mean exactly what I know it means. The Greek word “antitupon,” according to W. E. Vine, in his “New Testament Words,” as used in I Peter 3: 21, is “an adjective, used as a noun,” and denotes, in the NT, “a corresponding type,” being “said of baptism.” “The circumstances of the flood, the ark and its occupants, formed a type, and baptism forms “a corresponding type,” each setting forth the spiritual realities of the death, burial, and resurrection of believers in their identification with Christ. It is not a case of type and antitype, but of two types, that in Genesis, the type, and baptism, the corresponding type.” This is exactly correct, not only from the Greek and the syntax, but also from the only other place where the same word is used, as in Hebrews 9: 24. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures (antitupa) of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Hebrews 9: 24 KJV) Notice how the Greek word “antitupa” (plural form) is used here to designate the “holy places made with hands,” being like figures or corresponding types, not antitypes. If the heavenly temple is the antitype (the thing to which the type points), or the “true,” then the earthly temples can only be corresponding types of it. Heaven is the “true,” that is, the heavenly temple is the antitype, the real thing. If “antitupon” or “antitupa” meant “antitype,” then we would have a tautology which says “which are antitypes of the antitype,” or “which are true of the true” or “real of the real.” Obviously the Greek word “antitupa” is set in opposition to the word “true.” Thus, since “true” and “antitype” are synonyms, antitupon cannot mean “antitype.” Peter is saying that Christian baptism has something in common with Noah’s baptism. What is that common feature? They are both types of the same thing! They are both types of salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection. Now it’s time for you to learn the meaning.

    The Bible clearly teaches in over 100 passages of scripture that we are saved through faith/belief “apart from additions or modifications.” You don’t need to add the word “alone” next to faith/belief in each of these passages to figure out that the words “faith/belief” STAND ALONE in these 100 plus passages in connection with receiving salvation. Do these passages say faith plus something else? NO! So then it’s faith (rightly understood) alone. The word “alone” in regards to salvation through faith in “Christ alone” conveys the message that Christ saves us through faith based on the merits of His finished work of redemption “alone,” not on the merits of our works. It is by faith alone (and not by the merits of our works) that we are justified on account of Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9); yet the faith that justifies is never alone (solitary, unfruitful, barren) if it is genuine (James 2:24). Simple! Too simple! The Bible clearly teaches this. We are saved the moment that we place our faith in “Christ alone” for salvation (Romans 3:22-30; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8). This does not equate to “faith only” as described in James 2:24. Having faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation means that you are believing (trusting) only in Jesus to save you. It means you are not placing your faith in anyone or anything else, not even in your own works, for your salvation. This does not mean that the kind of faith that saves us remains alone in the sense of producing good works. Dead faith doesn’t work but real and true living faith results in works. Salvation through faith “apart from works” means “apart from the merit of works” and not “apart from the presence of works.” Faith (in Christ) alone for salvation equates to “Christ alone” saves us. “Faith only” in James 2:24 equates to the kind of faith that “remains alone in producing good works” and demonstrates that it’s dead. Until you truly BELIEVE, you just won’t understand.

    At least you agree with my statement here: The word “confess” means to acknowledge or agree. It often involves what is expressed with the mouth or at least with the mind (not everyone can speak). A belief that is genuine is marked by confession. A confession that is true reflects saving faith. This confession is not just a simple acknowledgment that Jesus is the Son of God, but is a deep personal conviction, without reservation, that Jesus is that person’s Lord and Savior. AMEN! That’s a start. Romans 10:8-13 reads: But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart” —that is, the word of faith which we are preaching… For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME.” Confession with the mouth and belief in the heart refer to the believer’s outward and inward responses. Inward conviction finds outward expression, not as an additional requirement for salvation after faith but as an expression of saving faith. The reason that we will be saved “if” we confess is because we have faith and we have the Holy Spirit. That is the whole point. What about someone who is unable to speak? How can they “confess with their MOUTH?” Such a person would remain lost according to your interpretation of Romans 10:9,10. A person with genuine faith WILL confess, not must or else. It would be impossible to have saving faith and never confess or communicate your faith. Confession is inevitable if your faith is genuine. We immediately communicate our faith to God the moment we are saved through faith and to others as the opportunity arises. I confess Jesus all the time BECAUSE I’m saved, NOT to become saved. The night that I accepted the free gift of eternal life through faith and was saved, I immediately confessed Christ out loud to God and did not quit praising God for half the night, so confession is not an issue for me anyway. I face no problem with Romans 10:10. Faith and confession are not two separate steps to salvation. They are chronologically together. The person who confesses Jesus as Lord agrees with the Father’s declaration that Jesus is Lord. The moment that we place our faith in Christ alone for salvation, we also agree with the Father that Jesus is Lord. If your interpretation of Romans 10:9-10 is true, then we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord “in order to obtain” the Holy Spirit in contradiction to confessing that Jesus is Lord BY the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). Those who are unable to speak and cannot confess with their MOUTH would remain lost for failing to accomplish this so called “additional requirement” and salvation through faith would be a lie.

    You said, “I have no problem with your definition of confession. In fact, if you took out the first sentence, I would generally agree with everything you typed in this section.” That’s probably about as close as you’ll get to the truth.

    You also said, “The problem you face is that in Romans 10:10 Paul writes that confession is “unto salvation”. I can’t go to where I’m already at. No one asks for directions TO San Antonio when they are walking down the Riverwalk. – The problem you face is that we cannot confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord BY the Holy Spirit unless we have the Holy Spirit and are already saved through faith. Confession is not unto salvation because it’s an additional requirement to become saved after faith, but because of the faith behind the confession. If our faith is not genuine, then confession is futile.

    So you try and explain away 1 Corinthians 12:3 by teaching that the Holy Spirit operates through the Word of God only today and not by a physical, immediate indwelling? You are truly indoctrinated into Campbellism theology. The BIBLE teaches that a man is BORN OF [Greek: “EK” (out of)] God. In every instance where the SOURCE of the new birth is mentioned, the language is EK HIM, EK THE SPIRIT, EK GOD. It is therefore essential that the Holy Spirit work in conjunction with the Gospel, or the Word, as ADDITIONAL to the preaching. Campbellites deny such a work of the Holy Spirit, holding that there is nothing more than the Word in bringing about the new birth. In effect, they deny the very essence of regeneration, which is to be “born from above” (John 3:3). This error leads to their denial of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as taught by evangelical Christianity, and the denial of the security of the believer. They postulate everything upon man’s “obedience” to the letter of the Word, denying an accompanying work of the Holy Spirit. They represent evangelical Christianity as teaching the work of the Spirit “separate from” and “apart from” the Word, when in reality we teach the position as set forth by Paul. “For our gospel came not unto you IN WORD ONLY, but also in POWER, and in THE HOLY SPIRIT . . .”- I Thessalonians 1:5. “Lydia . . . whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul” – Acts 16:14. If there is no additional work, or influence, of the Holy Spirit, then this last verse, which says the Lord “opened her heart,” is superfluous. Obviously, while the WORD is the means of communicating that which is to be believed, the additional unseen work of the Holy Spirit is necessary for being “born from above.” Paul referred to his preaching as being “in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (I Corinthians 2:4). Is this not why, Campbellite preaching is so dead and relies so heavily upon human “logic” and “legalism?” The only explanation of this barren spirituality is the absence of the Holy Spirit. This likewise explains your lack of a proper understanding of the Word of God (I Corinthians 2:14). John 14:23 does not negate the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers (John 7:38-39; Acts 10:44-47; 11:17; Ephesians 1:13).

    Confession with the mouth and belief in the heart refer to the believer’s outward and inward responses. Inward conviction finds outward expression, not as a work for salvation but as an expression of saving faith. Without genuine faith, confession is futile no matter how many times you “lip service” confess. John 12:42 does not contradict my assertion. In John 12:42, we do not know the real condition of these “believing” rulers’ hearts (mere mental assent belief James 2:19) or (trust and reliance saving belief John 3:16), but we do know that they loved men’s praises (v. 43) more than God’s (Jn. 5:44). Their unwillingness to confess Christ throws some doubt on the complete genuineness of the faith of these men, but they may have only had a weak moment and failed to confess Christ in this isolated situation in front of the Pharisess, that does not mean that they did not confess Christ to others. The Apostle Peter at one point failed to confess Jesus before men (Jn. 18:17,25-27), but after the Holy Spirit was given, he was a different man who boldly confessed Him (Acts 4:8-13). We know that Peter was saved even though he had a weak moment and the same may be true for these Jewish rulers as well. Does the text specifically say that they were not saved or is that your preconceived belief? If the chief rulers truly believed (trusted in Christ for salvation) even though they had a weak moment, they are saved (John 3:16). If their lack of confession was the result of a lack of faith, then they are not saved (John 3:18,36). Later on, we see that Peter had another weak moment. Paul even had to rebuke Peter! Read about it in (Galatians 2:11-15). “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; or before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles..” Some public confession! Was Peter saved?

    1 Corinthians 12:13 is very simple to understand. It is “by” the Holy Spirit that we are baptized “into one body” (the body of Christ). At least you admit that the Holy Spirit immerses us into that one body, but then you say that what we are immersed into is not mentioned? The answer is ONE BODY (the body of Christ). Ephesians 5:23 and 1 John 5:8 do not support your water gospel. Now John 3:5 is often misunderstood by unbelievers. I did not make the same mistake that Nicodemus made, but you made the mistake of assuming that the “water” mentioned in this verse is water baptism. John 3:5 has often been misused as if being born again is somehow the direct result of water baptism. It is assumed, without any proof whatsoever, that “water” signifies baptism. If “water” is arbitrarily defined as baptism, then we could just as justifiably say, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living baptism” in John 7:38. If this sounds foolish, it is no more so than the idea that baptism is the source or the means of being born again. Jesus referred not to baptismal remission here but to the need for “cleansing.” Thus Jesus made reference to the spiritual washing or purification of the soul, accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at the moment of salvation (Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23). Notice in John 7:38-39, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of LIVING WATER. But this He spoke concerning the SPIRIT. *Did you see that? We also see this LIVING WATER in John 4:10,14. Water baptism is not the only “water” mentioned in Scripture. There is a “spiritual application” to water in Scripture as well. Simply reading this verse in context would give one no reason to assume Jesus was speaking of baptism, unless one was looking to read into the passage a “preconceived idea or theology.” To automatically read baptism into this verse simply because it mentions “water” is unwarranted. We should also not lose sight of the fact that when Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, the ordinance of Christian baptism was not yet in effect. This important inconsistency in interpreting Scripture is seen when one asks those who believe baptism is required for salvation why the thief on the cross did not need to be baptized to be saved. A common reply to that question is: “The thief on the cross was still under the Old Covenant and therefore not subject to this baptism. He was saved just like anyone else under the Old Covenant.” So, in essence, the same people who say the thief did not need to be baptized because he was “under the Old Covenant” will use John 3:5 as “proof” that baptism is necessary for salvation. They insist that Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he must be baptized to be saved, even though he too was under the Old Covenant. If the thief on the cross was saved without being baptized (because he was under the Old Covenant), why would Jesus tell Nicodemus (who was also under the Old Covenant) that he needed to be baptized?

    In regards to Romans 6:3-4 and 1 Corinthians 10:2, you completely missed the mark. The Israelites were “baptized into Moses” (metaphorically) indicating their oneness, or solidarity, with him as their leader “pledged their allegiance to Moses (1 Corinthians 10:2) just as through water baptism we indicate our oneness, or solidarity with Christ as our Savior “pledge our allegiance to Christ.” There is little dispute that being “baptized into Moses” signified the open allegiance and public identification of the people of God with Moses. Moses was formally recognized as the leader of the covenant people. Water baptism is only a PICTURE of being made free from the bondage of sin, NOT THE REALITY. Your perversion of type and antitype does not make your point. The word “baptized” in Scripture does not always refer to literal water baptism. It can refer to Spirit baptism and can even be used in a metaphorical sense as I already explained and also in (Luke 12:50) where Christ was referring to a baptism of suffering, namely (immersed into) His death. This was not accomplished through His water baptism. You would walk around mountains of grace in order to find water. I’ve been water baptized so it’s not an issue for me anyway. You seem to have more faith in baptism to save you than you do in Christ, which demonstrates that the object of your faith in receiving salvation is not “Christ alone.” Now if you have been water baptized without first becoming a Christian, then you become an imposter, and are declaring, in baptism, to be what you are not. Something to really think about.

    How can water baptism affect salvation when it’s merely a symbol of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection? Christ’s finished work of redemption is the means of our salvation, not water baptism. Water baptism is a picture of being buried with Him and raised to walk in newness of life. Christians are “buried with Him in baptism, in which we also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). Justification on account of union in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection is brought about “through faith” – and is properly symbolized by dipping the new believer in and out of the water. Water baptism not only symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, but also testifies to the fact that we have been saved through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Like it or not, those are the two realities. Again, “Buried with him by baptism” is obviously referring to the “likeness” set forth in baptism (vs. 5) — the reality that “our old man (sins) is crucified with Him” (Romans 6:6). Romans 6:4 uses the words “like as Christ” and Romans 6:5 says “in the likeness.” This shows that water baptism is a “likeness,” not the reality, a shadow, not the substance. AMEN! Yet you say, NO. At least you understand that water immersion is SYMBOLIC of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Now if you can only understand that water baptism SYMBOLIZES that we have been buried with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life. How can a symbol affect the reality? Baptism would have no meaning without Christ’s death; but Christ’s death would still have meaning, even if there were no baptism. In other words, Christ’s death is the substance and baptism is the shadow. Without the substance there would be no shadow. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is figured or cast (as a shadow) in the ordinance of water baptism. Water baptism manifests in ceremony that which really does procure remission of sins. It declares by a means of physical likeness that which redeems. It is the visible “likeness” (Romans 6:5) of the actual work of Christ, just as a photograph is the pictorial likeness of some individual, not the actual person. Similarly, baptism is called a “figure” (1 Peter 3:21). If an Old Testament ordinance were an “atonement,” yet only typically so, how can a New Testament ordinance, which is said to “remit sin,” literally do what the former ordinance could not do? IT CANNOT BE DENIED THAT CHRIST LITERALLY PUT AWAY SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF; THEREFORE, THIS CANNOT BE PERFORMED AGAIN BY AN “OBEDIENT” ACT OF MAN. If the Old Testament ordinance were only a typical atonement, it follows that the New Testament ordinance could be no more, and must be only a typical remission. AMEN! Keep reading this over and allow for some time for the truth to sink in.

    I don’t need to keep reading Romans 6. I have already read it many times before. Romans 6:16-18 says NOTHING about baptism. You are simply reading your preconceived ideas into this passage in order to accommodate your “watered down” gospel. Romans 6:17 says “form of doctrine” not form of baptism. Take off your restoration bifocals and read it again. We obey the command to BELIEVE the gospel (Romans 1:16; 10:16) by choosing to trust in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation, yet you trust in “the water.” You refuse to completely trust in Christ. You have added your supplement. We are immersed (not with physical water) but with the Holy Spirit (who is the Living Water – John 7:38-39) into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) the moment that we BELIEVE (Acts 11:17; 15:8-9; Ephesians 1:13). Are you ready to BELIEVE?

    You have no room to talk about gross misinterpretations. In regards to Ephesians 4:5, even though there are baptisms (plural – Hebrews 6:2), this one baptism could be Spirit baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13). Even if this “one baptism” is water baptism, it does not prove the necessity of water baptism for salvation. Paul is calling for unity and oneness of believers. In 1 Corinthians 1:12,13 notice that it says – Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? *ONE BAPTISM – In the name of of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not in the name of someone else. This passage does not teach that only water baptism or only Spirit baptism exists today. They are both still in effect today. Paul is not saying that Spirit baptism no longer exists in Ephesians 4:5, otherwise nobody would be baptized into the body of Christ. Paul is talking about the fact that there is only one body of Christ. If you go to the beginning of chapter 4, you see that he was trying to keep Christians from “factionizing.” In Ephesians 4:1-6 we read: I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. In other words, if you have been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit – it the same in one church as it is in any other. Yet, there are so many that will not “accept” baptism from another church. You must be baptized in “their church” for it to count. It is ironic that most of the people who reject baptism with the Holy Spirit as a separate experience from water baptism today, also reject everyone else’s water baptism! This is the “unity” that Paul was about. Paul was not all about starting his own baptism cult. Sound familiar? Again, the Bible clearly teaches in over 100 passages of scripture that we are saved through faith/belief (apart from additions or modifications). You don’t need to add the word “alone” next to faith/belief in each of these passages to figure out that the words “faith/belief” stand alone in these 100 plus passages in connection with receiving salvation. Do these passages say faith “plus something else?” NO! So then it’s faith (rightly understood) alone. I’ll point that out right back at you. Until you BELIEVE, you just won’t get it (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). When you hear a genuine believer say that we are saved by “faith alone,” they are not saying that we are saved by the “kind” of faith that “is alone” (barren of works – James 2:24). Saving faith results in good works, so it’s not alone in that sense but it’s the faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ part of the equation that “alone” saves you as the instrumental means. Good works are the fruit, by-product and demonstrative evidence of our faith, but they are not the instrumental means as well. The word “alone” in regards to salvation through faith in “Christ alone” conveys the message that Christ saves us through faith based on the merits of His finished work of redemption “alone,” not on the merits of our works. It is by faith alone (and not by the merits of our works) that we are justified on account of Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9); yet the faith that justifies is never alone (solitary, unfruitful, barren) if it is genuine (James 2:24). It’s so simple to understand that it’s hard for you to accept.

    In regards to Galatians 3:27, I am not teaching that salvation comes after immersion in water baptism at all and what I said about Galatians 3:27 makes perfect sense. You just don’t have ears to hear (1 Corinthians 2:14). The problem with your reasoning about “putting on Christ” in Galatians 3:27 is that in Romans 13:14, we read, “But PUT ON the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill it’s lusts.” This exhortation is not to a sinner, telling him to be baptized to “put on” Christ, but it is written to Christians. Evidently then, baptism is NOT THE ONLY WAY to “put on” Christ. To “put on” Christ is to conform to Him, imitate Him. So it is in baptism; we “put on” Christ, conforming to Him in the ordinance that declares Him to be our Savior. So if we must “put on” Christ to be saved through water baptism, apparently we are not saved yet. We must also “put on” Christ by making no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts (Romans 13:14). Right? Let’s be consistent. We receive Christ’s imputed righteousness the moment that we BELIEVE (Romans 4:5; Philippians 3:9) so at this point, in God’s eyes we are literally clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Afterward, we put on Christ in water baptism just as a soldier puts on on a soldier’s uniform, but simply putting on a uniform in of itself does not make one a soldier. The putting on of Christian attire, spiritually speaking, is not what makes one a Christian, but one which becomes a token of it. If one puts on the clothes of a Christian, in water baptism, without first becoming a Christian, then he becomes an imposter, and is declaring, in baptism, to be what he is not.

    So if God is saying that he ONLY gave the right or ability to BECOME sons of God to those who believe in John 1:12, what about Galatians 3:26? “For YOU ARE ALL sons of God THROUGH FAITH in Christ Jesus.” Absolutely nothing there about only having the ability or right to become sons of God through believing and then you actually do become at some time later. The kind of faith that “remains alone” in producing good works does not save us (James 2:24) because it demonstrates that it’s an “empty profession of faith” (James 2:14-18), not because the works are needed as a supplement to save us along with faith in Christ. In light of Galatians 3:26 and your misinterpretation of James 2:24, we actually DO BECOME sons of God when we BELIEVE. Praise God! When will you BELIEVE? Faith is the FINAL step for man in attaining salvation (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8,9). Hearing the gospel and repentance are the first two steps in the process of coming to believe the gospel. You just simply REFUSE to BELIEVE (Luke 8:12; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4) so then you go about distorting and perverting passages of scripture in an effort of “patching together” your so called gospel plan. I have shared more than enough information with you to lead you to the truth, but I see very little hope in reaching you with the truth and I’m really not interested in dragging out this endless discussion just for the sake of arguing.

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  91. Dan,

    First I want to say that I will eventually get to every one of the questions and concepts you have posted, but there are so many and your posts are so long that, in my experience at least, we would get lost in the deluge. So I’m holding my responses down to one point at a time. In retrospect, I should have only required you to respond to one concept and I apologize for asking more.

    ~~~~You can’t seem to distinguish between work that is involved in accepting God’s gift and work which follows accepting God’s gift.~~~~

    I understand completely what you are saying. For you, hearing, faith, and repentance is like the one at Christmas time reaching out and grasping in hand, the present offered to them. The beautifully wrapped package isn’t earned, but it cannot be aquired without the effort of reaching out and taking it from the one who gives it.

    The difference is, you stop at faith (and somehow repentance comes before you believe anything), whereas I believe that confession and immersion in water are part of that accepting process.

    But worse yet, you have no idea what the gift God has given us is. You think God’s gift IS salvation. Right?

    ~~~~You seem to think that just because hearing, repenting and believing are classified as work, then anything that is considered work is in the same category.~~~~

    Not at all. Works of merit, works of satan, works devised by mankind to try and save himself (as the Jews did – Romans 10:3)…none of these are in the same category.

    ~~~~Accepting God’s free gift of eternal life (which you previously claimed is not a free gift) is a completed transaction once we accept the free gift through faith.~~~~

    And this is the ultimate difference between us. Like so many, you do not know what Grace is. Grace is not salvation. Grace is what saves. Grace is the cause. Being saved is the effect. Read Eph. 2:8 and substitute the word “salvation” in for the word “grace” and see if the sentence makes sense. Before we talk about anything else, work, the medium of immersion, James or Romans, you must learn what God’s grace is. I will speak on no other concept from this point on until you do.

    What is Grace? What is the unmerited favor, the unearned gift that God gave to ALL mankind (Titus 2:11)?

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  92. I forgot to add “works of the Mosaical Law” to that list of works that do not save.

  93. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    When will you stop fighting the truth and BELIEVE?

    ~~~~~First I want to say that I will eventually get to every one of the questions and concepts you have posted, but there are so many and your posts are so long that, in my experience at least, we would get lost in the deluge. So I’m holding my responses down to one point at a time. In retrospect, I should have only required you to respond to one concept and I apologize for asking more.~~~~~

    One point at a time is fine. I don’t mean to type such long posts, but I wanted to thoroughly respond to all of your statements. I will try to keep it more brief.

    ~~~~~I understand completely what you are saying. For you, hearing, faith, and repentance is like the one at Christmas time reaching out and grasping in hand, the present offered to them. The beautifully wrapped package isn’t earned, but it cannot be aquired without the effort of reaching out and taking it from the one who gives it.~~~~~

    At Christmas time, we reach out and accept the gift that is offered to us or else we reject it. Someone else purchased the gift for us. To receive eternal life, we reach out and accept the gift through faith. Jesus purchased the gift for us. That’s not hard to understand, it’s just hard for you to ACCEPT. Effort in reaching out equates to accepting the gift, not contributing to or earning the gift. If we must do more than simply accept the gift, then it is no longer a gift.

    ~~~~~The difference is, you stop at faith (and somehow repentance comes before you believe anything), whereas I believe that confession and immersion in water are part of that accepting process.~~~~~

    I stop at faith because the Bible clearly teaches that we are saved the moment we place our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (Romans 3:22-30; 4:4-6; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8,9). These passages do not say faith “plus something further.” Faith is sufficient because the object of our faith is Jesus Christ and His finished work of redemption is allsufficient to save us. How can you accept something through confession and immersion in water? Our confession is the result of accepting the free gift through faith. Our baptism testifies to the fact that we have accepted the free gift through faith. The Greek word for “repent” is “metanoia” (noun) and “matanoeo” (verb) you see as defined in the Strongs #3340, 3341: to think differently or afterwards, reconsider. After thought, change of mind. In the context of Luke 13:3, Jesus challenged the people’s notion that they were morally superior to those who suffered in such catastrophes. He called all to repent or perish. For some people though, prior to coming to the end result of repentance in salvation (saving faith), they must change their minds about other specific things in order to get there. Repentance, metanoia, focuses on changing one’s mind about his previous concept of God (as in Acts 17:30) and disbelief in God or false beliefs (polytheism and idolatry) about God (see 1 Thessalonians 1:9). On the other hand, belief in Christ, as an expression of this change of mind, focuses on the new direction that change about God must ultimately take, namely, trusting God’s Son, Jesus Christ, alone for salvation. Repentance is necessary for salvation, because if we don’t change our mind about our sinful position and need for Christ to save us, we won’t believe the gospel and become saved (Romans 1:16). You place repentance “after” faith, which you seem to only understand faith as “mental assent” and then you tack on “repent of sin” as if we need to stop sinning as an additional requirement to become saved after faith. So where do you draw the line in the sand and say, I turned from “enough” sin and now I’m saved? You could never turn from enough sin to save yourself. You need to repent “change your mind” and trust in “Christ alone” for salvation and quit trusting in your accomplishments to contribute to saving yourself.

    ~~~~~But worse yet, you have no idea what the gift God has given us is. You think God’s gift IS salvation. Right?~~~~~

    Absolutely. You seem to believe that salvation is a reward only for those who are worthy enough to receive it. Romans 6:23 clearly says: “For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT (free gift NAS) of God IS ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.” To ignore that is to be dishonest. Romans 5:18 says: “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of life. Ephesians 2:8 says: “For by grace you have been SAVED through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the GIFT of God…” Salvation is clearly a GIFT. When will you accept the GIFT through FAITH?

    ~~~~~Not at all. Works of merit, works of satan, works devised by mankind to try and save himself (as the Jews did – Romans 10:3)…none of these are in the same category.~~~~~

    Any works which follow faith in Christ for salvation (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8) would be works of merit if we were still lost at the point of faith and needed to accomplish more in order to become saved. In Romans 10:3, the Jews were ignorant both of God’s inherent righteousness revealed in the law and the rest of the OT (which should have shown the Jews their own unrighteousness) and of the righteousness which comes from Him on the basis of FAITH (Romans 10:4). “Their own righteousness” was based on their conformity to God’s law and often to the less demanding standards of their own traditions (Mark 7:1-13). There are many people today who look to replace God’s righteousness through FAITH and establish their own righteousness by good works and these people today may also have “a zeal for God,” but it’s in vain without genuine saving faith in Christ alone for salvation. You have devised a list of works short of keeping the law to try and save yourself and you refuse to BELIEVE. Your plan of salvation does not meet the requirements of the Law and it does not receive the FREE GIFT of eternal life through FAITH.

    ~~~~~And this is the ultimate difference between us. Like so many, you do not know what Grace is. Grace is not salvation. Grace is what saves. Grace is the cause. Being saved is the effect. Read Eph. 2:8 and substitute the word “salvation” in for the word “grace” and see if the sentence makes sense. Before we talk about anything else, work, the medium of immersion, James or Romans, you must learn what God’s grace is. I will speak on no other concept from this point on until you do.~~~~~

    This is the ultimate difference between us. When did I ever say that grace is salvation? Grace is unmerited favor. We are saved by Grace (unmerited favor) through faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ alone, which means we are getting what we don’t deserve. Without Christ’s finished work of redemption, there is no Grace. I clearly understand what Grace is. Until you BELIEVE, you won’t truly understand what Grace is.

    ~~~~~What is Grace? What is the unmerited favor, the unearned gift that God gave to ALL mankind (Titus 2:11)?~~~~~

    Titus 2:11 says: “For the Grace (unmerited favor) of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…” This does not mean that all of mankind will be saved, but that salvation has been offered to all of mankind. This verse does not negate Romans 5:18; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8 and teach that salvation is not a gift. I am absolutely amazed to see how you can ignore these verses and try to use Titus 2:11 to teach otherwise. When will you BELIEVE?

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  94. ^^^^But worse yet, you have no idea what the gift God has given us is. You think God’s gift IS salvation. Right?^^^^

    ~~~~Absolutely. You seem to believe that salvation is a reward only for those who are worthy enough to receive it. Romans 6:23 clearly says: “For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT (free gift NAS) of God IS ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.” To ignore that is to be dishonest. Romans 5:18 says: “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of life. Ephesians 2:8 says: “For by grace you have been SAVED through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the GIFT of God…” Salvation is clearly a GIFT. When will you accept the GIFT through FAITH?~~~~

    No. I don’t believe salvation is a gift or a reward or anything akin to either. I also believe that eternal life and salvation are two distinct concepts. I believe eternal life is one of those blessings Christians receive in Christ, but they have to get into Christ first. To explain I have to ask another question. Do you believe in total hereditary depravity and/or original sin, or do you believe that from conception till the age of accountability infants and young children are sinless, such that if they die, they will go to Heaven?

    Furthermore, could you define the term salvation for me so that I know exactly what you mean by the term?

    ~~~~This is the ultimate difference between us. When did I ever say that grace is salvation? Grace is unmerited favor. We are saved by Grace (unmerited favor) through faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ alone, which means we are getting what we don’t deserve. Without Christ’s finished work of redemption, there is no Grace. I clearly understand what Grace is.~~~~

    So then tell me what Grace is. What is the unmerited favor from God that saves us?

    ^^^^What is Grace? What is the unmerited favor, the unearned gift that God gave to ALL mankind (Titus 2:11)?^^^^

    ~~~~Titus 2:11 says: “For the Grace (unmerited favor) of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men…” This does not mean that all of mankind will be saved, but that salvation has been offered to all of mankind. This verse does not negate Romans 5:18; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8 and teach that salvation is not a gift. I am absolutely amazed to see how you can ignore these verses and try to use Titus 2:11 to teach otherwise. When will you BELIEVE?~~~~

    Interesting response.

    You still did not answer the question. What is the unmerited favor? What is the unearned gift?

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  95. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    ~~~~No. I don’t believe salvation is a gift or a reward or anything akin to either. I also believe that eternal life and salvation are two distinct concepts. I believe eternal life is one of those blessings Christians receive in Christ, but they have to get into Christ first. To explain I have to ask another question. Do you believe in total hereditary depravity and/or original sin, or do you believe that from conception till the age of accountability infants and young children are sinless, such that if they die, they will go to Heaven?~~~~

    THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE (Romans 6:23). You don’t believe the Bible. Period. So according to you, if one receives eternal life, they have not received salvation? If we receive eternal life are we saved from hell? They are not two distinct concepts. I can’t believe your logic. Does Romans 6:23 refer to eternal life as just “another” blessing or as a GIFT? We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). A gift is freely given to those who ACCEPT it. You refuse to ACCEPT the GIFT of eternal life through FAITH. Why? Now how do we get into Christ? The Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) when we BELIEVE the gospel. Ephesians 1:13 – IN HIM, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation –having also BELIEVED, you were sealed IN HIM with the Holy Spirit of promise… We are water baptized afterwards (Acts 10:43-48). The idea that we are born without a sin nature is a restoration theory in which the church of Christ and the Mormons both teach. This is a false doctrine. Psalm 51:5 clearly states: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity (that is, from the womb) and IN SIN did my mother conceive me. We are born with a sin nature. This does not mean that infants and young children who die before reaching the age of accountability will automatically go to hell for having a sin nature. If it were not for Christ’s finished work of redemption, we would all go to hell. So what happens to babies when they die? What does the Bible say? The one passage that seems to identify with this topic more than any other is (2 Samuel 12:21-23). The context of these verses is that King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, with a resulting pregnancy. The prophet Nathan was sent by the Lord to inform David that because of his sin, the Lord would take the child in death. David responded to this by grieving, mourning, and praying for the child. But once the child was taken, David’s mourning ended. David’s servants were surprised to hear this. They said to King David, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” David’s response was, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” David’s response may indicate that those who cannot believe are safe in the Lord. David said that he could go to the child, but that he could not bring the child back to him. Also, and just as important, David seemed to be comforted over this. In other words, David seemed to be saying that he would see the child (in Heaven), though he could not bring him back. Although it is possible that God applies Christ’s payment for sin to those who are unable to believe, the Bible does not specifically say that He does this. Therefore, this is a subject about which we should not be adamant or dogmatic. Of this we are certain: God is loving, holy, merciful, just, and gracious. Whatever He does is always right and good.

    ~~~~Furthermore, could you define the term salvation for me so that I know exactly what you mean by the term?~~~~

    The term “salvation” can be used to describe deliverance and preservation from danger or of spiritual and eternal deliverance from sin and hell.

    ~~~~So then tell me what Grace is. What is the unmerited favor from God that saves us?~~~~

    I already told you that Grace is unmerited favor. It is by Grace (unmerited favor) that we are saved through faith in Christ. You make this out to be a lot more complicated than it really is.

    ~~~~You still did not answer the question. What is the unmerited favor? What is the unearned gift?~~~~

    I did answer the question, but you want to make this complicated. The unearned gift is ETERNAL LIFE (Romans 6:23). The fact that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ is by Grace (unmerited favor). If this is not the answer that you are looking for, then make your point and answer your own question. Now answer my question. IS THE GIFT OF GOD ETERNAL
    LIFE? (Romans 6:23). If we receive eternal life, does that mean we will be saved (salvation) from hell?
    When will you BELIEVE? I will be on vacation all this week so I will not be able to respond to any further comments that you may have at least until next weekend.

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  96. ~~~~Dan said:
    The unearned gift is ETERNAL LIFE.~~~~

    According to you, eternal life is Grace. According to Ephesians 2:8, Grace is the cause of salvation (the effect). By your own words you imply that eternal life and salvation are two distinct concepts since the cause cannot be the effect. You are, in essence, saying that man is saved by eternal life.

    Thank you for making all of my points for me.

    God’s saving Grace is not eternal life. Eternal life is defined as life unseparated from God due to sin. Those who have not reached an age where they are accountable for their actions cannot sin and therefore do not loose eternal life. Those who can and do sin, earn death. Any who follow the gospel plan of salvation and are saved receive eternal life as one of the many gifts God gives to those in Christ.

    So what is Grace? Grace has two parts: 1) Christ, 2) the New Testament.

    1. Christ – his prophecy fulfilling birth, perfect life, death, burial, and resurrection.
    2. The New Testament – the gospel plan of salvation, the pattern we can follow to receive and maintain our salvation.

    Neither of these were earned. Nothing we could have done could have required God to send His Son or the Gospel down to mankind. God could have let mankind die in his sins and He would be Just. But God sent both and with Christ as the means and the gospel as the pattern, the blueprint of salvation. If we follow the plan, we have access to the blood of Christ to be saved. That requires that we actually read the blueprint (hear the gospel), believe what it says to do (believe the gospel), and follow the pattern (obey the gospel). The end result, the effect of Grace working through obedient faith is salvation.

    An engineer who reads a plan and believes the plan will work but who never actually follows the blueprint accomplishes nothing.

    Salvation is the effect of Grace working through a specific kind of faith, obedient faith. Salvation is defined as a resultant state for the soul of an individual who was lost in sin, but who has been rescued from that state of being lost. Note that implicit in the definition of salvation is the idea of first being lost. An infant (like David’s son) was never lost and has no need of salvation.

    Do you still believe eternal life is the cause of salvation (the effect), or would you like to reconsider your words?

    Have a wonderful vacation.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  97. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    I did have a wonderful vacation. Thank you.

    The unearned gift is ETERNAL LIFE.~~~~ AMEN! The GIFT of God IS ETERNAL LIFE (Romans 6:23). Do you deny this?

    ~~~~According to you, eternal life is Grace. According to Ephesians 2:8, Grace is the cause of salvation (the effect). By your own words you imply that eternal life and salvation are two distinct concepts since the cause cannot be the effect. You are, in essence, saying that man is saved by eternal life.~~~~

    I never said that eternal life “is” Grace. I said that Grace “is unmerited favor.” It is by Grace (unmerited favor) that we receive eternal life as a gift through faith. Salvation is the GIFT of God brought to man by grace and is received through faith (Ephesians 2:8). That is not difficult to understand, just difficult for you to ACCEPT. Christ’s finished work of redemption is the cause of salvation and faith is the instrumental means by which we receive salvation. I never implied that eternal life and salvation are two distinct concepts. If we have received the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, then we have received salvation (are saved).

    ~~~~Thank you for making all of my points for me.~~~~

    Actually I made none of your points for you and I have no idea how you came up with these ridiculous accusations. How can I expect you to correctly interpret God’s Word when you can’t even correctly interpret my words?

    ~~~~God’s saving Grace is not eternal life. Eternal life is defined as life unseparated from God due to sin. Those who have not reached an age where they are accountable for their actions cannot sin and therefore do not loose eternal life. Those who can and do sin, earn death. Any who follow the gospel plan of salvation and are saved receive eternal life as one of the many gifts God gives to those in Christ.~~~~

    I know that God’s Grace is not eternal life. I know that Eternal life is life unseparated from God. Can you show me where the Bible says that those who die before reaching an age where they are accountable for their actions will automatically receive eternal life? Can you show me from the Bible where this age of accountability is? We have no clear cut scripture anywhere that specifically says all who die in infancy or as young children will automatically go to Heaven. Are you speaking where the Bible is silent?
    As I said before, this is a subject about which we should not be adamant or dogmatic. Of this we are certain: God is loving, holy, merciful, just, and gracious. Whatever He does is always right and good. One thing that is clear in scripture. Babies are born with a sin nature (Psalm 51:5). Do you deny this? Psalm 58:3 reads: “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” How can this be if they are not born with a sin nature? What about children that died, but if they would have been allowed to lived a full life would have completely rebelled against God? Should all children die before reaching an accountable age to assure they go to Heaven? According to your logic, abortion would be a good thing as all the babies who die while still in the womb would automatically go to Heaven. In a previous response, you said:

    ~~~~I don’t believe salvation is a gift or a reward or anything akin to either. I also believe that eternal life and salvation are two distinct concepts. I believe eternal life is one of those BLESSINGS.~~~~

    Yet here you said:

    ~~~~Any who follow the gospel plan of SALVATION and are SAVED receive ETERNAL LIFE as one of the many GIFTS God gives to those in Christ.~~~~

    First you say that eternal life and salvation are two distinct concepts and you refer to eternal life as a “blessing,” yet later you say that those who follow the plan of SALVATION are SAVED and receive ETERNAL LIFE, obviously making them the same concept and you refer to eternal life as a “gift.” So which is it?

    ~~~~So what is Grace? Grace has two parts: 1) Christ, 2) the New Testament.~~~~

    Grace is God’s unmerited favor. That is, grace is God doing for us that we do not deserve. Grace is God giving me what I do not deserve. Because of God’s grace, I have received eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ though I do not deserve it. It’s just that simple.

    ~~~~1. Christ – his prophecy fulfilling birth, perfect life, death, burial, and resurrection.
    2. The New Testament – the gospel plan of salvation, the pattern we can follow to receive and maintain our salvation.~~~~

    Grace is not defined as Christ and the New Testament. We receive Grace “from” the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:2) but it does not say here that Grace “is” the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace is mentioned throughout the New Testament but Grace is not the New Testament. You needed to distort Grace in order to accommodate your “gospel of works.” When it comes to the gospel plan of salvation, I noticed that you called it “the pattern we can follow to receive and maintain our salvation.” The gospel is a message of grace to be received through faith. It’s not a code of laws to be obeyed or a check list of good works to accomplish after faith in order to receive and maintain our salvation. It simply sets forth Christ crucified and risen as the Savior of all who BELIEVE (trust) in Him alone for salvation (Romans 1:16). How is salvation received? Through FAITH in Christ (Ephesians 2:8). How is our salvation maintained? By God. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 reads: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 1 Peter 1:5 reads: “Who are KEPT by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” You have no power to save yourself by works or maintain your salvation by works. That logic is the result of “self righteousness” and demonstrates your lack of completely trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation.

    ~~~~Neither of these were earned. Nothing we could have done could have required God to send His Son or the Gospel down to mankind. God could have let mankind die in his sins and He would be Just. But God sent both and with Christ as the means and the gospel as the pattern, the blueprint of salvation. If we follow the plan, we have access to the blood of Christ to be saved. That requires that we actually read the blueprint (hear the gospel), believe what it says to do (believe the gospel), and follow the pattern (obey the gospel). The end result, the effect of Grace working through obedient faith is salvation.~~~~

    The gift of eternal life is not earned. That is why the Bible says that we are saved by Grace through Faith (Ephesians 2:8). The plan is simple. Once we hear the gospel we must then choose to believe the gospel in order to become saved (Romans 1:16). You have obviously read the blueprint, but you have altered the blueprint and are following and obeying a “different” gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). How do we have access to the blood of Christ to be saved? Being justified FREELY by his GRACE through the REDEMPTION that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which BELIEVETH IN JESUS (Romans 3:24-26). This is in perfect harmony with Romans 5:2. We have ACCESS by Faith into Grace (Romans 5:2). Not faith plus additional works after faith. The redemption that is in Jesus Christ is allsufficient to save us. Quit trusting in yourself and trust solely in Jesus Christ to save you. When we choose to believe (trust) in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation, we have believed the gospel (Romans 1:16). Through this act of believing the gospel, we have obeyed the gospel. Those who refuse to believe the gospel by refusing to trust in Christ alone for salvation have not obeyed the gospel (Romans 10:16). When will you BELIEVE? Multiple acts of obedience which follow saving faith are not a part of believing the gospel. They are part of serving the Lord after we have already believed the gospel and became saved. Ephesians 2:8 does not say saved by grace “working through obedient” faith. Romans 5:2 does not say “obedient” faith. Faith is an act of obedience that receives the gift of eternal life and obedience (works) which follow as a result of saving faith are the fruit, by product and demonstrative evidence of our faith, but are not the essence of faith and are not the means by which we receive eternal life. You continue to put the cart before the horse.

    ~~~~An engineer who reads a plan and believes the plan will work but who never actually follows the blueprint accomplishes nothing.~~~~

    An unbeliever who reads the plan but never accepts the plan by placing their faith in Christ alone for salvation and then alters the blueprint to create their own plan accomplishes nothing.

    ~~~~Salvation is the effect of Grace working through a specific kind of faith, obedient faith. Salvation is defined as a resultant state for the soul of an individual who was lost in sin, but who has been rescued from that state of being lost. Note that implicit in the definition of salvation is the idea of first being lost. An infant (like David’s son) was never lost and has no need of salvation.~~~~

    This specific kind of faith is the kind of faith which TRUSTS IN CHRIST ALONE for salvation. When you say “obedient faith,” the problem is that you make faith and obedience (works) which follows faith BOTH the instrumental means of receiving salvation. What you are really saying is faith “and works” which equates to Christ’s finished work of redemption is insufficient to save us and we must add our works as a supplement in order to help Him save us. Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 5:2 simply say “faith.” You added the word “obedient” here in order to add your works to the equation. You just can’t let go of your works and take hold of Christ through faith. Your faith is in your works and not in Christ alone. We are created in Christ Jesus first the moment that we are saved through faith and then UNTO or FOR good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). You have it backwards.

    ~~~~Do you still believe eternal life is the cause of salvation (the effect), or would you like to reconsider your words?~~~~

    I never did believe or say that eternal life is the cause of salvation. I have no words to reconsider. You have twisted my words. Would you like to reconsider your words? Do you now admit that eternal life is a gift (Romans 6:23) and not just simply a blessing? If we receive eternal life, does that mean we are saved (salvation) from hell? Same concept? Now for the most important question. Are you ready to BELIEVE? (Romans 1:16).

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  98. ~~~~Dan said:
    AMEN! The GIFT of God IS ETERNAL LIFE (Romans 6:23). Do you deny this?~~~~

    I deny that Eternal Life is Grace, the gift of God that saves. I believe that Eternal life is A gift of God. I also believe that it is the gift of God in contrast to the wages of sin, which is death. Gotta keep those verses in context, Dan.

    ~~~~I never said that eternal life “is” Grace. I said that Grace “is unmerited favor.”~~~~

    Then why are you arguing so vehemently about Eternal Life? If Eternal Life is not Grace, then it is not the gift of God that saves man. Bringing it up is a moot point.

    So, if Eternal Life is not Grace, is not the unmerited favor that saves, is not the unearned gift that saves, what is? Telling me that Grace is an unmerited favor doesn’t tell me what the unmerited favor is.

    Is the unmerited favor (Grace) that saves Eternal Life? You said no.
    Is the unmerited favor (Grace) that saves Salvation? You said no.

    The unmerited favor, the unearned gift, the Grace of God that saves is ____________________?

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  99. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    ~~~~I deny that Eternal Life is Grace, the gift of God that saves. I believe that Eternal life is A gift of God. I also believe that it is the gift of God in contrast to the wages of sin, which is death. Gotta keep those verses in context, Dan.~~~~

    I also deny that Eternal Life is Grace. Eternal Life is life everlasting unseparated from God. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. The gift of God is Eternal Life. It’s Jesus Christ that saves. At least you acknowledge that Eternal Life is a gift of God. I have kept those verses in context. It’s you who has not.

    I never said that eternal life “is” Grace. I said that Grace “is unmerited favor.” – AMEN!

    ~~~~Then why are you arguing so vehemently about Eternal Life? If Eternal Life is not Grace, then it is not the gift of God that saves man. Bringing it up is a moot point.~~~~

    I am arguing in my defense against your accusation of me saying that Eternal Life is Grace. The gift of God is not what actually saves man. Jesus Christ saves man and as a result of being saved through faith in Jesus Christ we receive the gift of God which is Eternal Life. That is not difficult to understand.

    ~~~~So, if Eternal Life is not Grace, is not the unmerited favor that saves, is not the unearned gift that saves, what is? Telling me that Grace is an unmerited favor doesn’t tell me what the unmerited favor is.~~~~

    Unmerited favor “that saves?” Unearned gift “that saves?” Why is this so confusing for you? It is by Grace (God’s unmerited favor) that Jesus Christ saves us through faith and we receive the gift of Eternal Life. The unmerited favor is Grace. This is descriptive of the fact that receiving the gift of Eternal Life through faith is getting what we don’t deserve. You seem to be trying to identify Grace as a person, place or thing.

    ~~~~Is the unmerited favor (Grace) that saves Eternal Life? You said no.~~~~

    It is by unmerited favor (Grace) that we are saved through faith and receive the gift of Eternal Life.

    ~~~~Is the unmerited favor (Grace) that saves Salvation? You said no.~~~~

    It is by unmerited favor (Grace) that Jesus Christ saves us through faith and we receive the gift of Eternal Life. It is not by merited favor, not of ourselves.

    ~~~~The unmerited favor, the unearned gift, the Grace of God that saves is ____________________?~~~~

    The unmerited favor is Grace. The gift of God is Eternal Life and it is unearned. The Grace of God that saves is? There is no one answer for these three statements. You are mixing this all up. Jesus Christ saves us and it is by the (unmerited favor) Grace of God that we are saved, not by the merit of man. Jesus Christ is the means of our salvation. Faith is the instrumental means by which we receive the gift of Eternal Life. Receiving the gift of Eternal Life through faith in Jesus Christ is by God’s unmerited favor. Simple! If you are still confused then I probably can’t help you.

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  100. ~~~~Dan said:
    I also deny that Eternal Life is Grace.~~~~

    Good. I’m glad we are agreed. Eternal Life then has no place in our discussion on what Grace is.

    ~~~~The gift of God is not what actually saves man. Jesus Christ saves man~~~~

    Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    So, if Grace is the gift of God as Paul says in this passage, and “by grace are ye saved”, then we are saved by this particular gift of God.

    ~~~~The unmerited favor is Grace.~~~~

    That you keep repeating this makes my point to any and all who read this blog. Most people answer as you do, and like you, they have no clue what the specific unearned gift that is Grace actually is.

    The definition of Grace is unmerited favor or unearned gift. It might appear as such in a dictionary:

    grace (n.) – unmerited favor; unearned gift

    I’m not asking you for the definition of the word “Grace”. I’m asking you specifically what the gift that God gave us that saves us is.

    You touched on it when you said Jesus saves. You see, God did not have to send His Son. God would have remained perfectly, infinitely Just to end the Universe and condemn mankind to eternal punishment the moment Eve & Adam sinned. After that point, there is nothing we could have done to demand that God send His Son as a perfect sacrifice in place of our own selves. So Jesus coming to this earth, living a perfect life, dying on the cross, being buried for three days, rising from the grave, and then ascending into Heaven to become King over the Kingdom/Church of Christ and the teachings that He gave to us while here and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit IS the gift that saves.

    In short, Grace = Jesus + New Testament. We did not earn Jesus and could not. We did not earn the New Covenant and could not. Yet God gave them and by them we are saved.

    How does God save us through Jesus and the Word? Through a faith that is obedient to the pattern contained within the Word to access the blood of Jesus.

    Once again, Grace = the plan of salvation = Jesus + New Testament

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  101. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, You’ve got it all figured out…and you’ve missed the whole point.

    Your quote: “How does God save us through Jesus and the Word? Through a faith that is obedient to the pattern contained within the Word to access the blood of Jesus.”

    The gift is faith – faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ – p e r i o d.

    You have this “route” figured out to enhance or validate what Jesus finished (did you hear that – “It is finished”) on the cross. Our obedience is a heartfelt response to the love and faith we have for our Savior – NOT “complying” with the CofC “pattern” for getting oneself saved.

    Ernie, I don’t mean to sound sarcastic – but brother, you are trying too hard to make the gospel “according to Ernie.”

    To wit; “The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” My friend, the cross needs no supplements from man. If man failed when he was truly free in the garden – sinful man that we are cannot possible add one small jot or tittle to his salvation.


  102. ~~~~Glen said:
    The gift is faith…~~~~

    You said the gift is faith. I will reply to you as if you are taking Dan’s position and all of his arguments are his.

    Considering our disagreement, you cannot mean the system of faith that is the New Testament (Jude 3 – “the faith once and for all delivered to the saints”). Therefore you must be referring to individual faith as God’s gift that is saving Grace (I capitalize to distinguish). Grace = individual faith. But then when we do a logical substitution in these verses we get:

    Acts 18:27
    And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

    Galatians 1:6
    I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

    Titus 2:11
    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

    Especially this last one is a killer to your (and Dan’s) position because it says [if individual faith in God is Grace] that all men have individual faith. In fact, I challenge you to go through the entire NT and everywhere you find a reference to Grace substitute human individual faith and see if anything makes sense. Then try it by substituting Christ and the New Testament and see how well it works.

    Faith comes by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), not directly from God, and certainly not all men have faith (and according to your system of things, that means that all men are saved. You essentially imply a universalism type salvation, which is a contradiction of scripture). If individual faith comes through a medium, such as the Word, then it is the medium, the Word that is the gift that is Grace, which brings us back to my position.

    Paul establishes this in Gal. 1:6 by saying that they have been so soon removed from God’s saving Grace to another gospel. He is saying that God’s Grace is the gospel [the New Covenant] and they had changed to another gospel, or at least a perverted form of the gospel.

    You can assert that I’ve missed the point. You can claim I’m trying too hard. You can say whatever you want about me, but you cannot deny what I have said and you can not sustain your own points with scripture. Nowhere in the entire Bible does God ever say that a person is saved at the point of faith and by faith alone. It’s absurd concept.

    John 12:42
    Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

    These men believed. They did not confess (which Dan says is a flipside of the coin of faith). Were these men saved or not?

    My position has no contradictions. Yours is riddled with them. If you aren’t convinced of this, I will happily point them all out to you. Hope you are willing to read such a long post…

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  103. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I couldn’t help but notice you have quite a lengthy explanation for your position. Do you really believe the preaching of the gospel requires so many twists and turns to be effective?

    I would like to enter into some discourse, but first may we establish some basics? Are you of the opinion that man is born with a nature that is…neutral, good, or fallen?

    Put a little different way, do you believe that man is “dead in his trespasses” and “objects of wrath”before he is “made alive in Christ”?

    These are not “loaded” questions but an earnest attempt to start at the beginning…

    In Christ,

    Glenn

  104. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    ~~~~Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:~~~~

    Previously, you admitted that eternal life is “a” gift, but now you are saying that grace is THE gift of God in Ephesians 2:8 and salvation is not a gift? Is salvation earned? Romans 6:23 clearly states that THE GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE. So you deny that salvation is the gift of God in Ephesians 2:8? For you, Ephesians 2:8,9 should read: For by grace (and merited favor) are ye saved through faith (and works); and that IS of yourselves; it’s NOT the gift of God. Absolutely by certatin works (in part) so go ahead and boast in part (in part).

    ~~~~So, if Grace is the gift of God as Paul says in this passage, and “by grace are ye saved”, then we are saved by this particular gift of God.~~~~

    Paul did not say that grace is the gift of God in Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and this salvation is not of yourselves, this salvation is the gift of God, this salvation is not of works, lest any man should boast” (in this case the antecedent of the pronoun is identified as “salvation” which is the idea of the main verb “are ye saved”). SALVATION is the GIFT OF GOD brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” The gift is salvation; the receiving of that gift is through faith.

    ~~~~(The unmerited favor is Grace). That you keep repeating this makes my point to any and all who read this blog. Most people answer as you do, and like you, they have no clue what the specific unearned gift that is Grace actually is.~~~~

    Obviously, your point has NOT been made to Glen Dowling who responded to your blog by saying, “You’ve got it all figured out…and you’ve missed the whole point.” By me repeating that Grace is unmerited favor does not make your point at all. It’s actually you who is clueless to the fact that it is by God’s unmerited favor (Grace) that Jesus Christ saves us through faith and we receive the gift of Eternal Life. You don’t understand because you want to make receiving salvation “of yourself” in part so you attempt to “shoe horn” works into salvation through faith. This is why you are so confused about Grace, Faith and the gift of Eternal Life.

    ~~~~The definition of Grace is unmerited favor or unearned gift. It might appear as such in a dictionary: grace (n.) – unmerited favor; unearned gift~~~~

    In the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, we see that Grace is – to grant as a favor, gratituitiously, in kindness, pardon or rescue, freely give, the divine influence on the heart. I don’t see grace mentioned as THE unearned gift. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. The GIFT of God is Eternal Life/Salvation which is unearned through FAITH.

    ~~~~I’m not asking you for the definition of the word “Grace”. I’m asking you specifically what the gift that God gave us that saves us is.~~~~

    The gift of eternal life is not what actually saves us, but is what we receive when Jesus saves us through faith. We are not saved by grace through grace.

    ~~~~You touched on it when you said Jesus saves. You see, God did not have to send His Son. God would have remained perfectly, infinitely Just to end the Universe and condemn mankind to eternal punishment the moment Eve & Adam sinned. After that point, there is nothing we could have done to demand that God send His Son as a perfect sacrifice in place of our own selves. So Jesus coming to this earth, living a perfect life, dying on the cross, being buried for three days, rising from the grave, and then ascending into Heaven to become King over the Kingdom/Church of Christ and the teachings that He gave to us while here and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit IS the gift that saves.~~~~

    Even though it’s true that we didn’t deserve for God to send His Son and provide for us eternal life through the sinless perfect life and death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and to give us His Word, you are missing the point. Jesus Christ is the MEANS of our salvation and eternal life is the gift of God received through personal faith in Jesus Christ. I see now that you are determined to “downplay” eternal life as being the gift of God because you need to accommodate your false teaching of receiving salvation through faith “plus being obedient to the pattern contained within the Word” (works). Does Ephesians 2:8,9 say that we are saved through faith “and works?” Does Romans 6:23 say that the gift of God is grace?

    ~~~~In short, Grace = Jesus + New Testament.~~~~

    Actually, Grace = God’s unmerited favor. So to you, only the “offer” of salvation provided by Jesus Christ and God’s Word is a gift, but salvation itself is not a gift received through faith? If salvation is not a gift received through faith, then it’s an obligation received by works. Did you earn salvation? Apparently you believe that you did and will be found “worthy” to receive salvation “based on your accomplishments” and not solely on what Christ accomplished. Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is not hard to understand, it’s just hard for you to ACCEPT. It is tragic that your pride will not allow you to come to God. Your hands are full of your works and you will not let go in order to take hold of Christ through FAITH. This is a real shame!

    ~~~~We did not earn Jesus and could not. We did not earn the New Covenant and could not. Yet God gave them and by them we are saved.~~~~

    That’s true, yet we DID NOT EARN SALVATION either and that is the point of Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 6:23 that you missed.

    ~~~~How does God save us through Jesus and the Word? Through a faith that is obedient to the pattern contained within the Word to access the blood of Jesus.~~~~

    That is just another way of saying that we are saved “by works.” Your plan of salvation is neither Law nor Grace, but the Restorationist distortion of BOTH. It does not meet the requirements of the Law and it does not receive the FREE GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE through FAITH. It’s quite obvious that you have “mental assent” faith in Christ with “limited” trust and reliance in Christ to save you as your trust and reliance is also in water baptism and other good works to save you. That is not saving faith. Saving faith trusts 100% in Christ ALONE for salvation. Not Christ, plus something else.

    ~~~~Once again, Grace = the plan of salvation = Jesus + New Testament~~~~

    Once again, you limit God’s unmerited favor to simply “providing” the plan of salvation, but “receiving” salvation through faith is not by grace, but is an obligation received through “obedience to the pattern contained within the Word” (salvation by the merit of human works). Your true colors have been exposed.

    ~~~~The gift is faith…You said the gift is faith.~~~~

    I will allow Glen the opportunity to defend his position here.

    ~~~~Faith comes by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), not directly from God, and certainly not all men have faith (and according to your system of things, that means that all men are saved. You essentially imply a universalism type salvation, which is a contradiction of scripture). If individual faith comes through a medium, such as the Word, then it is the medium, the Word that is the gift that is Grace, which brings us back to my position.~~~~

    So the Word of God to you is simply “words?” You believe that through our human intelligence we figure out all the spiritual applications in the Word of God “apart” from God revealing the truth to us through divine intervention? John 6:44 reads: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. Verse 65 reads: And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” Although we are commanded to BELIEVE and will be held accountable for unbelief, saving faith is never exclusively a matter of human decision (John 6:44,65). Unless the Father draws us in and enables us, we would NEVER believe all by ourselves, although we must still choose to believe. Notice in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 that the gospel did not come to us in WORD ONLY, but also in POWER and in the HOLY SPIRIT… Praise God! 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 reads: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. There is more to the Word of God than just simply reading a novel.

    ~~~~Paul establishes this in Gal. 1:6 by saying that they have been so soon removed from God’s saving Grace to another gospel. He is saying that God’s Grace is the gospel [the New Covenant] and they had changed to another gospel, or at least a perverted form of the gospel.~~~~

    Paul is not saying that God’s Grace “is” the gospel. The gospel “is” the (good news) of “the death, burial and resurrection of Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). He is saying that the gospel is a message of grace to be received through faith. It’s not a code of laws to be obeyed or a check list of good works to accomplish after faith (another gospel). It simply sets forth Christ crucified and risen as the Savior of all who believe (trust) in Him alone for salvation (Romans 1:16). It amazes me to see how clueless you are that Galatians 1:6 applies directly to you. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that BELIEVES (Romans 1:16), yet you say, ” to everyone that “obeys the pattern contained within the Word” (salvation by works). This is a difference in style from the Judaizers, but same in substance. “Works based” false gospel.

    ~~~~You can assert that I’ve missed the point. You can claim I’m trying too hard. You can say whatever you want about me, but you cannot deny what I have said and you can not sustain your own points with scripture. Nowhere in the entire Bible does God ever say that a person is saved at the point of faith and by faith alone. It’s absurd concept.~~~~

    You have missed the point and it’s so ironic that you quoted Galatians 1:6. You are trying too hard to force scripture to conform to the theology of your church. I have clearly sustained my points with scripture. Many scriptures teach that a person is saved at the point of faith (Acts 26:18; Romans 3:22-30; 4:5,9,11,13; 5:1-2; 9:30; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9 etc…) not to mention all the passages that say we are saved at the point of “belief – used interchangeably with faith” (Luke 8:12; John 1:12; 3:15,16,18,36; 5:24; 6:29,40,47; 11:25,26; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16 etc…). There is a point at which we place our faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation and receive the gift of eternal life. Salvation is by faith (rightly understood) alone. The Bible clearly teaches in over 100 passages of scripture that we are saved through faith/belief “apart from additions or modifications.” You don’t need to add the word “alone” next to faith/belief in each of these passages to figure out that the words “faith/belief” stand alone in these 100 plus passages in connection with receiving salvation. Do these passages say faith plus something else? NO! So then it’s faith (in Christ) ALONE. Faith alone in this regard equates to CHRIST ALONE SAVE US, not that our faith remains alone in producing good works. As I explained to you before, the word “alone” in regards to salvation through faith in “Christ alone” conveys the message that Christ saves us through faith based on the merits of His finished work of redemption “alone,” not on the merits of our works. It is by faith alone (and not by the merits of our works) that we are justified on account of Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9); yet the faith that justifies is never alone (solitary, unfruitful, barren) if it is genuine (James 2:24). Simple! Faith (the act of trusting) in Christ “alone” for salvation and faith that remains “alone” in producing good works are two separate alones in connection with two different things. You just cannot figure this out because you DON’T BELIEVE (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). Nowhere does the Bible say that a person is saved by works. Good works are always the fruit, by product and demonstrative evidence of our saving faith, but never the means of our salvation. To say that Christ is an insufficient Savior and that we must add our works as a supplement to His finished work of redemption is order to help Him save us is an absurd concept which stems from pride and self righteousness.

    ~~~~John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: These men believed. They did not confess (which Dan says is a flipside of the coin of faith). Were these men saved or not?~~~~

    I said that confession is an expression of faith and that repentance and faith are two sides to the same coin. In John 12:42, we do not know the real condition of these “believing” rulers’ hearts (mere mental assent belief James 2:19) or (trust and reliance saving belief John 3:16), but we do know that they loved men’s praises (v. 43) more than God’s (Jn. 5:44). Their unwillingness to confess Christ throws some doubt on the complete genuineness of the faith of these men, but they may have only had a weak moment and failed to confess Christ in this isolated situation in front of the Pharisess. That does not mean that they did not confess Christ to others. The Apostle Peter at one point failed to confess Jesus before men (Jn. 18:17,25-27), but after the Holy Spirit was given, he was a different man who boldly confessed Him (Acts 4:8-13). We know that Peter was saved even though he had a weak moment and the same may be true for these Jewish rulers as well. Does the text specifically say that they were not saved or is that your pre-conceived belief? If the chief rulers truly believed (trusted in Christ for salvation) even though they had a weak moment, they are saved (John 3:16). If their lack of confession was the result of a lack of faith, then they are not saved (John 3:18,36). Later on, we see that Peter had another weak moment. Paul even had to rebuke Peter! Read about it in (Galatians 2:11-15). “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; or before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles..” Some public confession! Was Peter saved? Are you ready to BELIEVE?

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan

  105. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Dan and Ernie, “TMI”….Too much information, brothers! Way too much.

    Dan, You said, “Faith comes by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), not directly from God…” and I kindly disagree, brother.

    “The word of God is quick (alive) and powerful (Holy Spirit driven) and sharper (penetrating)than a two-edged sword…” Hebrews 4:12

    For years the CofC has basically taught- “read the Bible (like another book or recipe) and do what it says” – not recognizing the POWER ofword of God…”It does not return void without accomplishing the purpose for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11.

    Faith is God “making us alive in Christ.” We cannot do that alone – we are “dead men walking.

  106. Dan Says:

    Glen,

    ~~~~Dan and Ernie, “TMI”….Too much information, brothers! Way too much.~~~~

    Sorry about writing “too much information” Glen. I just like to thoroughly make my points.

    ~~~~Dan, You said, “Faith comes by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), not directly from God…” and I kindly disagree, brother.~~~~

    I didn’t say that faith comes by the Word of God as if we in our human intelligence read the words like any other words and come to saving faith all by ourselves. As you quoted, “The word of God is quick (alive) and powerful (Holy Spirit driven) and sharper (penetrating) than a two-edged sword…” Hebrews 4:12 – AMEN! Preach it brother! Faith comes directly from God through His Word, but I don’t believe that God forces us to believe either.

    ~~~~For years the CofC has basically taught- “read the Bible (like another book or recipe) and do what it says” – not recognizing the POWER ofword of God…”It does not return void without accomplishing the purpose for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11.~~~~

    AMEN!

    ~~~~Faith is God “making us alive in Christ.” We cannot do that alone – we are “dead men walking.~~~~

    AMEN! We cannot do that alone. As I said before, although we are commanded to BELIEVE and will be held accountable for unbelief, saving faith is never exclusively a matter of human decision (John 6:44,65). Unless the Father draws us in and enables us, we would NEVER believe all by ourselves. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 says that the gospel did not come to us in WORD ONLY but also in POWER and in the HOLY SPIRIT… Praise God!

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  107. ~~~~Glenn said,
    I would like to enter into some discourse, but first may we establish some basics? Are you of the opinion that man is born with a nature that is…neutral, good, or fallen?~~~~

    I believe that man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), that the guilt of sin is not transferred from parent to offspring, but that the soul that sins dies spiritually (Ezek. 18), therefore the child is conceived without sin, is born without sin, and lives through early childhood until the point where they are capable of being aware of the consequences of their actions and can be held accountable for them and then commits his first sin. I further believe that it is entirely possible for an individual to live their entire life and never choose sin, never die spiritually, to die physically without ever having sinned.

    I hope my answer was clear enough and thorough enough so that there is no question on where I stand on this matter.

    ~~~~Put a little different way, do you believe that man is “dead in his trespasses” and “objects of wrath”before he is “made alive in Christ”?~~~~

    I believe that any given human can be dead in his trespasses and objects of wrath if they choose to sin. I believe that such a man can only be made alive again in Christ. I do not believe that these phrases apply to all humans. They certainly do not apply to my 8 month old twins, Gwynevere and Kade.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  108. ~~~~Previously, you admitted that eternal life is “a” gift, but now you are saying that grace is THE gift of God in Ephesians 2:8~~~~

    That is correct. God gives man various gifts at various times. But the only gift that He has given that saves is the Grace spoken of in Ephesians 2:8, which I believe is the PLAN of salvation (Christ and the NT).

    ~~~~and salvation is not a gift?~~~~

    Correct. Salvation is not a gift. It is a resultant state that is the effect of Grace working through obedient faith (Grace is the cause).

    ~~~~Is salvation earned?~~~~

    No. Salvation is not and cannot be earned. But there are things a human must DO, ACTIONS a human must take, EFFORT that is required on man’s part to ACCEPT God’s Grace in order to be saved.

    ~~~~Romans 6:23 clearly states that THE GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE.~~~~

    Again, in context, this is in contrast to the wages of sin. Eternal life and Salvation are two distinct concepts. Eternal life is one of the gifts we receive when we enter that saved state. But children (like my twins) have eternal life now, but have no need of salvation because they have not sinned.

    ~~~~So you deny that salvation is the gift of God in Ephesians 2:8?~~~~

    Yes. The word “salvation [noun]” is not in Ephesians 2:8. “Saved” is a verb. “It” in the phrase “it is the gift of God” is a pronoun and must refer back to a noun. “It” refers back to “Grace”. So that Ephesians 2:8 reads “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [grace] is the gift of God:”

    ~~~~For you, Ephesians 2:8,9 should read: For by grace (and merited favor) are ye saved through faith (and works); and that IS of yourselves; it’s NOT the gift of God. Absolutely by certatin works (in part) so go ahead and boast in part (in part).~~~~

    Dan, don’t put words in my mouth to build a man of straw for you to beat. This is far from what I believe and teach. All you are doing here is demonstrating that you aren’t listening and have no idea what I actually believe.

    ~~~~Paul did not say that grace is the gift of God in Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and this salvation is not of yourselves, this salvation is the gift of God, this salvation is not of works, lest any man should boast” (in this case the antecedent of the pronoun is identified as “salvation” which is the idea of the main verb “are ye saved”). SALVATION is the GIFT OF GOD brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” The gift is salvation; the receiving of that gift is through faith.~~~~

    Don’t know what translation you are using but in the Greek “SAVED” is a verb. That you have to actually alter the text to make your point shows just how wrong you are. Paul is simply defining the term “Grace” as “an unmerited favor”, “a gift”. SAVED is what this gift does through faith.

    ~~~~In the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, we see that Grace is – to grant as a favor, gratituitiously, in kindness, pardon or rescue, freely give, the divine influence on the heart. I don’t see grace mentioned as THE unearned gift. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. The GIFT of God is Eternal Life/Salvation which is unearned through FAITH.~~~~

    That’s because you seem to have difficulty with basic grammar. IT is a pronoun. GRACE is a noun. SAVED is a verb. It’s not hard.

    ~~~~The gift of eternal life is not what actually saves us, but is what we receive when Jesus saves us through faith. We are not saved by grace through grace.~~~~

    Right. Eternal life is not the cause of “SAVED”. What, working through FAITH, is the cause of SAVED?

    ~~~~Even though it’s true that we didn’t deserve for God to send His Son and provide for us eternal life through the sinless perfect life and death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and to give us His Word, you are missing the point. Jesus Christ is the MEANS of our salvation~~~~

    Had you stopped right there, you would have had it. Had you stopped right there, I would believe that you understand what I am saying about Grace completely.

    ~~~~Does Ephesians 2:8,9 say that we are saved through faith “and works?”~~~~

    No, but the New Testament is more than one verse. Reading the entire NT one discovers that the type of faith required for salvation is an obedient faith. That without obedience (e.g. Romans 6:16-18), one is not set free from sin, nor remains that way (Rev. 2:10).

    ~~~~Does Romans 6:23 say that the gift of God is grace?~~~~

    No, but Grace is not in the context of Romans 6-7.

    ~~~~In short, Grace = Jesus + New Testament.~~~~

    More later, have to care for babies.

  109. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Dan, I think were are close in our understanding of faith and salvation. I agree that God does not “force” us to believe any more than you were forced to fall in love with your wife (then, girl friend). However, I believe he “enables” us through the gift of faith. Once we “see” the beauty of God’s gift… a thousand horses could not pull us away. Once,our eyes are opened, like Lydia or Saul -we believe, brother… do we believe!

    Consider John 6:64

    “Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

    The “drawing” and “enabling” are not weak attempts on God’s part to lure us in. His sheep know the Master’s voice and respond. We are drawn by the power of His love.

  110. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I believe the Bible clearly teaches that we are born with a fallen nature, not neutral, and not “good.”

    You say, “I further believe that it is entirely possible for an individual to live their entire life and never choose sin, never die spiritually, to die physically without ever having sinned.”

    That statement, brother, would cause most evangical pastors to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat – thinking someone concluded that from the Bible.

    Brother, if that were so, WHY did Jesus have to die to redeem his own? Consider what the word of God says about it: (my caps for emphasis)

    1. Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above ALL things,and desperately sick; who can understand it?

    2. Roman 3:23 “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

    I’m sure Gwynevere and Kade are precious in you sight… and in God’s. However, they need a Savior just as you and I do.

    My brother, observe what happens when they get a little older and don’t get their way…and throw a hugh tantrum. Then ask yourself, WHEN did we teach them to do that??


  111. First I need to continue my response to Dan, then I’ll respond to Glenn’s latest comments.

    ~~~~Actually, Grace = God’s unmerited favor. So to you, only the “offer” of salvation provided by Jesus Christ and God’s Word is a gift, but salvation itself is not a gift received through faith?~~~~

    That is correct.

    ~~~~If salvation is not a gift received through faith, then it’s an obligation received by works.~~~~

    This is a false dichotomy. A third option, which is the one I hold to, is that salvation is neither a gift nor an obligation. It is simply a result, an effect.

    However, I do believe works of obedience (which are different than works of merit), including believing in Jesus, are required by God to enter this state.

    ~~~~Did you earn salvation? Apparently you believe that you did and will be found “worthy” to receive salvation “based on your accomplishments” and not solely on what Christ accomplished.~~~~

    Wash, rinse, repeat. Again, there is a distinction between works of merit and works of obedience. Faith is one of those works, which you have already conceded. There is no difference in what we believe about what types of works/actions are required for salvation, only which ones in specific are required.

    The truly ironic thing is, water immersion is actually the only passive event of the 5. I study God’s Word. I believe. I confess. I repent. But someone else immerses me in water according to the Word (Eph. 5:26). So if anyone is trying to actively work their way into Christ, its you. But you cannot find anywhere that the Bible says we believe our way into Christ. I can find several passages that speak of being immersed into Christ, however.

    ~~~~Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is not hard to understand,~~~~

    It’s not hard for me to understand at all. I just reject that this is what the Bible teaches.

    ~~~~That is just another way of saying that we are saved “by works.” Your plan of salvation is neither Law nor Grace,~~~~

    Yes, that is exactly what it is, saved by works. I agree. But the plan of salvation IS a law. It is the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2), the law of liberty (James 1:25).

    ~~~~So the Word of God to you is simply “words?”~~~~

    Powerful ideas, concepts, truth, rational thought. And they are perfect having come from God not man. Therefore they are powerful (Rom. 1:16).

    ~~~~You believe that through our human intelligence we figure out all the spiritual applications in the Word of God~~~~

    Yes.

    ~~~~“apart” from God revealing the truth to us through divine intervention?~~~~

    No, this is stupid. God has already revealed all the truth to us through divine “intervention” (inspiration). The Bible interprets itself. But God did give man the capacity for reason, to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim. 2:15). God does not “reveal” anything more to man today. It was all once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) through the Apostles who were given all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). Any direct revelations you, and Joseph Smith, and Ellen G. White, and Mohammed have received are from demons or men.

    ~~~~John 6:44 reads: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;~~~~

    Correct. And God draws us by the good news of Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin (John 12:32), draws us by the gospel (Heb. 7:9; Gal. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:14).

    ~~~~Notice in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 that the gospel did not come to us in WORD ONLY, but also in POWER and in the HOLY SPIRIT.~~~~

    Yes, because during the first century they could not go down to Walmart and buy a Bible. Those who were inspired to write, those who preached the gospel, needed to have that power to prove that they were from God. The sole purpose of miracles was to confirm the Word of God. When it was completed and man could compare scripture with scripture, miracles ceased (1 Cor. 13:8f).

    So while the gospel did come with power, its already here now and no longer coming, therefore there is no more miraculous needed.

    ~~~~Paul is not saying that God’s Grace “is” the gospel.~~~~

    Yes. That is exactly what he is saying.

    ~~~~Many scriptures teach that a person is saved at the point of faith (Acts 26:18; Romans 3:22-30; 4:5,9,11,13; 5:1-2; 9:30; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9 etc…) not to mention all the passages that say we are saved at the point of “belief – used interchangeably with faith” (Luke 8:12; John 1:12; 3:15,16,18,36; 5:24; 6:29,40,47; 11:25,26; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31; Romans 1:16 etc…).~~~~

    Not one of these verses state that a person is saved “at the point of faith”. They teach that a person is saved by faith, and I agree. But there is more to what the Bible says. There are a number of things that we are saved by. The engrafted Word (James 1:21), the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9), faith, confession of that faith (Rom. 10:9-10), repentance (Luke 13:3), water immersion (1 Pet. 3:21). But none of these ALONE saves us. You have to take ALL of the Bible into account, not just one verse out of context. Just because a verse only speaks of faith in the context of salvation does not imply that only faith is required for salvation.

    ~~~In John 12:42, we do not know the real condition of these “believing” rulers’ hearts~~~~

    Yes we do. The inspired writer, John, told us. You can deny inspired writing if you want, but I’m going to believe what John wrote.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  112. ^^^^I further believe that it is entirely possible for an individual to live their entire life and never choose sin, never die spiritually, to die physically without ever having sinned.^^^^

    ~~~~That statement, brother, would cause most evangical pastors to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat – thinking someone concluded that from the Bible.~~~~

    So?

    ~~~~Brother~~~~

    We are not brothers. We are enemies.

    ~~~~if that were so, WHY did Jesus have to die to redeem his own?~~~~

    If all the world were sinless save one human, Christ would have had to die for that one human to be saved.

    ~~~~1. Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above ALL things,and desperately sick; who can understand it?~~~~

    Yes, and that is why I never let emotion lead in spiritual matters. My mind leads, reason governs emotion. Its all the feel-good, warm fuzzies that get everyone into trouble. But this verse does not teach that men are conceived guilty of sin.

    Incidentally, Jer. 17:10 might cause Dan some pause on this whole works discussion.

    ~~~~2. Roman 3:23 “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”~~~~

    …and if you had kept this in context like you should, you would see that the ALL of verse 23 refers to believers (Christians), all those who are being justified in Christ (vs. 22 and 24).

    ~~~~I’m sure Gwynevere and Kade are precious in you sight… and in God’s. However, they need a Savior just as you and I do.~~~~

    No, they don’t. They are of what the kingdom of God is made of (Matt. 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16). You would have me believe that the kingdom of God is made of depraved, sinful, lost beings. The Bible teaches that the kingdom of God, the church, is the body of the saved, the innocent, the righteous.

    ~~~~My brother, observe what happens when they get a little older and don’t get their way…and throw a hugh tantrum. Then ask yourself, WHEN did we teach them to do that??~~~~

    What does this have to do with anything we are talking about?

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  113. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, Reading your script, I believe you are a very good man – and a very sincere man. Gauging from the age of your twins, you also must be young- and that’s OK, the Bible even speaks to that and defends youth – especially, when youth speaks truth to the aged.

    It is obvious, you have been well “steeped” in Church of Christ doctrine, probably for a lifetime. Some of the best people I know are members of the CofC. I was for about 31 years until I realized that,theologically, I was on a “skate board on ice” – being taught I could lose my salavtion. (…another story, for another day)

    You have adopted a hair-splitting, “work of salvation” and a “work of obedience” concept which is interesting, but woefully unscriptural. Our obedience is a powerful and genuine response… to God… for his redeeming love and great salvation. What you are missing is – Salvation is of the LORD (…”it is not that of yourselves, lest any man boast”).

    You also hold to the CoC, “read it, and do it,” which implies it’s between you and the printed page – dening the working of the Holy Spirit.

    Have not understood the truth found in Hebrews 4:12:

    “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirt, of joins and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Observe the verbs -living, active, piercing, discerning) That is not new revelation – but it may be new conviction to the person reading.

    Brother, I am an active Gideon and we receive countless accounts, world-wide, of God working through the reading of scripture. It’s not because they “got smarter.” It’s because, like Saul, Lydia, Dan, Ernie, and Glenn, God open their heart.

    I hope you will loosen up a bit …and evaluate the “eternal life” you have…and realize, by the teachings of the CofC, it is really “provisional” at best – depending on you to do, X, Y, and Z.

    Yes, “Salvation is of the LORD.” That is why we praise, worship, and serve him gladly and joyfully! Because of what HE has done.

    God bless you and yours.

    Glenn

  114. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    ~~~~God gives man various gifts at various times. But the only gift that He has given that saves is the Grace spoken of in Ephesians 2:8, which I believe is the PLAN of salvation (Christ and the NT)~~~~

    Salvation is of divine origin. It is not anything that God was bound to arrange by the necessity of His nature. It is the result of His gracious will. Had it not been for His grace, salvation would never have come. “By grace are ye saved.” God’s grace rather than human merit is the source of the whole arrangement. Salvation is a gift received through faith in Christ; it is not earned.

    ~~~~Salvation is not a gift. It is a resultant state that is the effect of Grace working through obedient faith (Grace is the cause).~~~~

    That does not even make sense. If salvation is not a gift received through faith, then it is an obligation (that is of ourselves) and is received based on our works which follow faith. You can’t have it both ways. Either we are saved by trusting or else we are saved by trying. Either Christ did it all or else we did some of it. Ephesians 2:8 says that we are saved by grace (unmerited favor) through faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ alone for salvation. It says nothing about “grace working through obedient faith.” It’s Christ’s perfect obedience that saves us (Romans 5:19), not our imperfect obedience (Romans 3:23). This is where you “add works” to salvation through faith. Your trust and reliance in receiving salvation is not 100% in Christ, but is “also in your works.” Jesus Christ is the cause of our salvation. Faith is the instrumental means by which we receive salvation. Grace is the source of the whole arrangement. In 1 Timothy 1:2, we read: To Timothy, a true son in the faith: GRACE, mercy, and peace FROM God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. Titus 3:5 says: not by “works of righteousness” which equates to your statement “working through obedient faith” which we have done, but according to His MERCY He saved us… Is MERCY Jesus + the New Testament as well? Grace and mercy proceed from God. Every false religion puts the burden of salvation upon the individual. In other words, “salvation” is based upon “your performance.” If you live holy enough, do enough good things, observe all of these rituals and rules, then you might be able to be saved. The problem is – and Romans makes it crystal clear – that none of us can live up to those standards. We can’t save ourselves!

    ~~~~Salvation is not and cannot be earned. But there are things a human must DO, ACTIONS a human must take, EFFORT that is required on man’s part to ACCEPT God’s Grace in order to be saved.~~~~

    If salvation is not and cannot be earned, then it is a GIFT. John 4:10–the gift of God is everlasting life (compare verse 14). Romans 5:15,17–these verses speak of the gift of justification (righteousness) and life (compare verses 18,21). A human cannot work for the gift, but we must accept the gift. What are these actions and effort that is required on man’s part to accept God’s free gift of eternal life? Through hearing the Word (Romans 10:17), we come to understand our sinful position and need for Christ to save us (Romans 6:23). Then we must change our mind (Luke 13:3) and place our faith in Christ alone for salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9) These are the actions and effort involved on man’s part in receiving the gift of salvation. You are “trusting in your works” to save in addition to trusting in Christ to save you so you still need to repent “change your mind” about trusting in your works as a supplement to trusting in Christ and place your faith in “Christ alone” for salvation. Are you ready to BELIEVE?

    Romans 6:23 clearly states that THE GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE.~~~~Again, in context, this is in contrast to the wages of sin. Eternal life and Salvation are two distinct concepts. Eternal life is one of the gifts we receive when we enter that saved state. But children (like my twins) have eternal life now, but have no need of salvation because they have not sinned.~~~~

    The wages of sin is death (getting what we DO deserve) and grace is unmerited favor (getting what we DON’T deserve) the GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE through faith in Jesus Christ. If we have received the gift of eternal life, then we have received salvation. If we have received salvation, then we have received the gift of eternal life. They are not two distinct concepts. They would be two distinct concepts if we received the gift of eternal life but at the same time were NOT in a saved state, which is impossible. The scriptures do not teach that all children automatically have eternal life now and have no need of salvation and have no sin nature. Ezekiel 18 does not support your argument. Being born with a “sin nature” because of Adam is not the same thing as being born accountable for all the sins that our father commits. Ezekiel 18 does not negate – Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” and neither does it negate – Psalm 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Being born with a “sin nature” and being born accountable for all the sins that our father commits are two different things.

    ~~~~The word “salvation [noun]” is not in Ephesians 2:8. “Saved” is a verb. “It” in the phrase “it is the gift of God” is a pronoun and must refer back to a noun. “It” refers back to “Grace”. So that Ephesians 2:8 reads “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [grace] is the gift of God:”~~~~

    At first glance, that’s sounds like a good argument, but there is something that you missed. Both “grace” and “faith” are feminine nouns. “And this (that)” is neuter. To argue that it can’t refer to faith would also argue that it cannot refer to grace! It is also not true that a neuter pronoun cannot refer to a feminine or masculine noun, although this is usually the case. There are exceptions to this rule and Greek grammars give examples of it in scripture. The most natural reading would connect the neuter pronoun with the state of salvation, with one being God’s workmanship. Greek scholar A.T. Robertson says: For by grace (th gar cariti). Explanatory reason. “By the grace” already mentioned in verse Romans 5 and so with the article. Through faith (dia pistew). This phrase he adds in repeating what he said in verse Romans 5 to make it plainer. “Grace” is God’s part, “faith” ours. And that (kai touto). Neuter, not feminine tauth, and so refers not to pisti (feminine) or to cari (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that SALVATION does not have its source (ex umwn, out of you) in men, but from God. Besides, it is God’s GIFT (dwron) and not the result of our work. Why didn’t he use your argument to say that grace is exclusively THE gift in Ephesians 2:8 and salvation is NOT the gift? In the Amplified Bible we read; For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [SALVATION] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the GIFT of God. AMEN!

    For you, Ephesians 2:8,9 should read: For by grace (and merited favor) are ye saved through faith (and works); and that IS of yourselves; it’s NOT the gift of God. Absolutely by certatin works (in part) so go ahead and boast in part (in part).~~~~Dan, don’t put words in my mouth to build a man of straw for you to beat. This is far from what I believe and teach. All you are doing here is demonstrating that you aren’t listening and have no idea what I actually believe.~~~~

    Who has to put words in your mouth? You said that salvation is NOT a gift (which means that it’s earned) and is the effect of grace working through OBEDIENT faith, (which implies that we are saved based on our obedience “works” which follows faith) and makes salvation (of ourselves in part). Who has to build a straw man to beat? How can this be far from what you believe? What you are saying is not the same thing as what Ephesians 2:8,9 is saying. I have been listening to everything that you’ve said, but you are so mixed up into restoration theology that you don’t even seem to realize what you are saying. When I say that we are saved through FAITH, what do I mean? It’s not simply mere mental assent belief to the historical facts about Christ. It includes that, but it’s more. It’s a complete trust in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation (Romans 1:16). It’s one thing to believe that His death, burial and resurrection “happened” and it’s another thing to “trust solely in what happened to receive salvation.” If you are trusting in “water and works” to save you, then you are not trusting in Christ alone and do not have saving faith.

    ~~~~Don’t know what translation you are using but in the Greek “SAVED” is a verb. That you have to actually alter the text to make your point shows just how wrong you are. Paul is simply defining the term “Grace” as “an unmerited favor”, “a gift”. SAVED is what this gift does through faith.~~~~

    Did I say that “saved” is not a verb? Who is altering the text? Grace is “unmerited favor” (which is the source of the whole arrangement), but Salvation is THE gift of God that we receive through faith. It’s not hard to understand, just hard for you to ACCEPT. You have altered the text to make salvation “of yourself” (at least in part) and “not” the gift of God. You want to take credit for receiving salvation, but then you use sugar coated double talk to try and explain that you get no credit for your salvation and you were just following the Campbell’s soup recipe gospel plan of salvation. What a mess!

    ~~~~That’s because you seem to have difficulty with basic grammar. IT is a pronoun. GRACE is a noun. SAVED is a verb. It’s not hard.~~~~

    It’s all about you Ernie. You are just too smart to be wrong and the rest of us that disagree with you are just too ignorant to be right. You love that! I understand this basic grammar, but once again, you missed something. Both “grace” and “faith” are feminine nouns. “And this (that)” is neuter. To argue that it can’t refer to faith would also argue that it cannot refer to grace! It is also not true that a neuter pronoun cannot refer to a feminine or masculine noun, although this is usually the case. There are exceptions to this rule and Greek grammars give examples of it in scripture. The most natural reading would connect the neuter pronoun with the state of salvation, with one being God’s workmanship. Did A.T. Robertson have difficutly with basic grammar? It’s too bad that you can’t enlighten him. Salvation through faith is not hard, but you make it hard because you refuse to accept it as a GIFT.

    ~~~~Right. Eternal life is not the cause of “SAVED”. What, working through FAITH, is the cause of SAVED?~~~~

    Eternal life is what we receive the moment we are saved. Jesus Christ is the cause of saved. Faith is the instrumental means by which we become saved.

    ~~~~Had you stopped right there, you would have had it. Had you stopped right there, I would believe that you understand what I am saying about Grace completely.~~~~

    I understand what you are saying about grace and you are wrong. I can only show you the truth, but I can’t cause you to accept the truth.

    ~~~~No, but the New Testament is more than one verse.~~~~

    So Ephesians 2:8 is incorrect by simply saying that we are saved through FAITH “apart from additions or modifications” and what this verse is really saying is that we are saved through faith “and obedience” (works) which “follows faith” because of your misinterpretation of Romans 6:16-18? This is part of your jig saw method of interpretation in which you distort and pervert passages of scripture in an effort to “patch together” your so called gospel plan. Faith and obedience (works) which follow faith are not the same thing. Faith is the root and works which follow are the fruit of our salvation.

    ~~~~Reading the entire NT one discovers that the type of faith required for salvation is an obedient faith. That without obedience (e.g. Romans 6:16-18), one is not set free from sin, nor remains that way (Rev. 2:10).~~~

    The type of faith required for salvation is a faith that “trusts in Jesus Christ alone to receive it.” Placing our faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation is the act of obedience that sets us free from sin (Acts 10:43; Romans 3:24-26). Jesus Christ is the cause of us remaining that way (1 Corinthians 1:8-9; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Obedience which “follows” being set free from sin as a “result” of our faith is WORKS. You make NO distinction between faith and “works” which are a “by product” of faith, not the essence of faith. It’s like you infuse them together and make them both the instrumental means by which we receive salvation. This is a common error taught in various false religions and cults. Your trust and reliance to receive salvation and remain saved is in “your obedience” (works) and not in Jesus Christ alone. This is called “self righteousness.” You just can’t let go of your works in order to take hold of Christ through faith. You have misinterpreted Romans 6:16-18 and Revelation 2:10 and have negated Ephesians 2:8,9 through your misinterpretations.

    Does Romans 6:23 say that the gift of God is grace?~~~~No, but Grace is not in the context of Romans 6-7.~~~~

    So because grace in not mentioned in the context of Romans 6-7, the statement, “the GIFT of God is ETERNAL LIFE” in Romans 6:23 is meaningless? Your logic is just too far out in left field for me. I noticed that you sent me another response. I will reply to it as soon as I can. I’ve been working a lot and my time is getting limited, but there are some points that I need to mention. Beyond that, if you are still not grasping the truth, then I will probably just have to move on. Arguing with someone for an extended length of time after they have heard the truth and rejected it is a waste of time. It has been my pleasure to share the truth of God’s Word with you. Hopefully something that I have shared with you throughout all of these discussions will at least plant a seed that one day will be watered and lead you to the truth.

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan

  115. Dan Says:

    Glen,

    Sorry that I did not respond to you sooner. Regardless of what disagreements that we may have, you clearly demonstrated to me that you understand Christ is the allsufficient means of our salvation and your faith trusts completely in Him to receive salvation and for this, I am grateful! I am happy to call you my brother in Christ and not my enemy. Thank you for input my friend.

    In Christian Love,

    Dan

  116. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Thanks, Dan! I appreciate your kind words, brother. None of us will always agree. We may express the same basic beliefs with similar words having different connotations. I feel sure we agree on the basic truth – salvation is of the LORD.

    I’m concerned about Erie’s responses. His views are dogmatic, naive, unscriptural, and have trappings of a Pharisee. To claim someone could live their entire life and never sin – would mean they would not need a Savior. How misguided is that?

    Ernie, if you are reading this, I encourage you to confer with brothers (plural) you trust and express this interpretation. I believe you will get NO support. This particular interpretation, plain and simple, is baseless and heritical.

    God bless…


  117. ~~~~Glenn said:
    I’m concerned about Erie’s responses. His views are dogmatic, naive, unscriptural, and have trappings of a Pharisee.~~~~

    If the best you can do is call names, Glenn, I’ll simply cease to reply to you.

    ~~~~Salvation is of the LORD (…”it is not that of yourselves, lest any man boast”).~~~~

    You, like Dan, seem to be having difficulties with basic English. The noun “SALVATION” is not in Eph. 2:8. “SAVED” is a verb. Therefore no pronoun, regardless of gender, can refer back to it. In the phrase “IT is the gift of God” (KJV), the pronoun IT refers back to the subject of the sentence, which is GRACE. Paul is simply defining the term Grace. He is not actually stating what Grace is in this passage. He does that elsewhere (e.g. Gal. 1:6).

    ~~~~Ernie, if you are reading this, I encourage you to confer with brothers (plural) you trust and express this interpretation. I believe you will get NO support. This particular interpretation, plain and simple, is baseless and heritical.~~~~

    Why? My faith is not based on men no matter how I feel and think about them. My faith is based on scripture. I don’t really care about “support”. The very fact that I hold to this belief shows that I do not believe what I believe simply because I was raised that way. Accusations of that sort are stupid and a personal attack on my intelligence and free will as an individual.

    Glenn, if the best you have to offer this discussion is personal attacks and emotional points, then I’m not going to waste my time responding to you. If you want to talk scripture, as Dan is trying to do, then fine. Otherwise, I have too many diapers to change.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  118. ~~~~Salvation is of divine origin. It is not anything that God was bound to arrange by the necessity of His nature. It is the result of His gracious will. Had it not been for His grace, salvation would never have come. “By grace are ye saved.” God’s grace rather than human merit is the source of the whole arrangement.~~~~

    Agreed.

    ~~~~Salvation is a gift received through faith in Christ; it is not earned.~~~~

    I do not agree. Show me one passage in the entire NT where “salvation” is ever referred to as a gift. Remember “saved” is a verb and I define eternal life and salvation as two distinct concepts.

    ^^^^Salvation is not a gift. It is a resultant state that is the effect of Grace working through obedient faith (Grace is the cause).^^^^

    ~~~~That does not even make sense. If salvation is not a gift received through faith,~~~~

    Again we are back to saying that Grace = Salvation. Grace is the gift received through faith. Grace is the gift that saves through faith. Grace is the cause, faith is the means, “saved” is the effect.

    The rest of your paragraph is irrelevant because you still think Grace = Salvation.

    ~~~~Ephesians 2:8 says that we are saved by grace (unmerited favor) through faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ alone for salvation.~~~~

    Now you are adding to the Word of God, which is sinful. Ephesians 2:8 does NOT say we are saved by grace through faith “alone”. That you have to add to God’s Word to make your point does not convince me at all. It only makes you a sinner.

    ~~~~It says nothing about “grace working through obedient faith.”~~~~

    Ephesians 2:8 explicitly says that by Grace we are saved through faith. Other passages in the rest of the New Testament define what kind of faith is required. James 2, in particular, but almost every book in the Bible (including Paul’s letters) define the faith that saves as an obedient faith.

    You have to use the whole Bible, not just the verses that supposedly prove your point when isolated from any form of context.

    ~~~~Titus 3:5 says: not by “works of righteousness”~~~

    Again, context. Titus 2:11-12 says that the Grace of God has appeared to all men teaching us how to live. How does the Grace that brings salvation teach anything? You see, if the Grace of God includes the gospel message, then this makes perfect sense.

    I will speak no more on works until you understand what saving Grace is. There is no point.

    ~~~~Is MERCY Jesus + the New Testament as well?~~~~

    No. Mercy is not getting what is deserved. Grace is getting what is not deserved. The expression “according to his mercy he saved us” does not speak to the means or the method. Grace is what we are saved BY. We are saved ACCORDING to mercy in that God could have consigned us all to eternal punishment, but didn’t.

    ~~~~If salvation is not and cannot be earned, then it is a GIFT.~~~~

    No. This is a false dichotomy. There are some things that are neither earned nor a gift. They simply are an effect. You are STILL trying to say that salvation is Grace, the unearned gift. Read Ephesians 2:8 and substituted “salvation” for the word “grace”. “For by [salvation] are you saved through faith…”

    Are we saved by salvation, Dan? If not, why do you keep making this point?

    Grace is not salvation.
    Grace is not eternal life.
    Grace is not faith.

    You still have no idea what the unearned gift from God that saves us through faith is. I have told you and you still don’t get it.

    Normally people can identify something by all its properties. If I told you to guess an animal I’m going to describe, then I said this animal has four legs, flat feet, a short tail, grey skin, big ears, tusks, and a trunk, you could tell me specifically what animal I’m talking about. So instead of continuing to argue in circles with you, I’m just going to list all the Biblically defined properties of Grace:

    1. Grace saves us: (Eph. 2:8), justifies us: (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7)

    2. Grace can be continued in: (Acts 13:43)

    3. Grace can be given (1 Cor. 1:4)

    4. Grace can be received (2 Cor. 6:1)

    5. Grace can be followed like a plan (1 Cor. 3:10)

    6. Grace can be fallen from: (Gal. 5:4)

    7. Grace can make us free from sin: (Eph 2:5)

    8. Grace can be given for the purpose of preaching: (Eph. 3:8)

    9. Grace can be ministered unto hearers: (Eph. 4:29)

    10. Grace teaches us: (Titus 2:11-12)

    11. Grace can be sung: (Col. 3:16)

    12. Grace can be in our hearts: (Col. 3:16)

    13. Grace is the opponent of sin: (Romans 5:21)

    14. Grace is in Christ: (1 Tim. 1:14)

    15. Grace calls us: (2 Tim. 1:9)

    16. Grace was prophesied: (1 Peter 1:10)

    17. Grace is brought by revelation: (1 Peter 1:13)

    18. Grace calls men to Christ (Gal. 1:15)

    So, by looking at all of these properties, can we specifically identify what this unmerited favor that saves us is? I say yes.

    What say you?

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  119. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, the “brothers” to which I pointed you to are referenced in Ephesians 4:11 -“It was he (God) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers…”

    These men are gifted, called, and given to the church for the purpose of building it up through the faithful teaching of God’s word. Seeking other’s counsel is wise -being an intelligent… lone wolf in not.

    So you believe you have a “free will”…? How free is it?

    “But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved…” – Ephesians 2:4-5

    Do you believe spiritually “dead” men… have “free” wills…? How, and why, would we, being “dead in our trespasses, have the inclination OR ability to seek after God? (Salvation is of the LORD)

    Ernie, at your age, it is admirable that you are passionate about your faith. Guard against sounding arrogant; otherwise, you will come across as a defensive, loveless guy …rather than Christlike. There are already enough “clanging cymbals” out there now.

    “Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.: Proverbs 9:8

    Grace and peace to you!


  120. ~~~~Ernie, the “brothers” to which I pointed you to are referenced in Ephesians 4:11 -”It was he (God) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers…”~~~~

    Given that there are no more Apostles or prophets, the list is a bit shorter. Given that the church today is either riddled with liberal theologians like yourself or so weak that many of the adults do not know their books of the Bible, much less could they defend their way out of a paper bag, the list is even shorter. To which of the preachers and elders in the church today should I turn? The liberals? I despise liberalism and pluralism in all its forms: cultural, political, and religious. The anti’s? They bind where scripture does not bind. The ascetics? They know nothing except that somehow drinking alcohol, mixed swimming, dancing, and gambling are wrong…they are just another form of anti-ism.

    I have a few that I trust to be honest when it comes to studying with. We are of one mind, speaking the same thing (1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27; 2:2; etc.). So have no fear that I am a lone wolf.

    ~~~~So you believe you have a “free will”…? How free is it?~~~~

    According to the Law of Excluded Middle, a thing either has a property or it doesn’t. Therefore my will is either absolutely free or it is absolutely not free. There is no in between. My will is free. The entire purpose of man’s existence is to choose God or not God.

    ~~~~Do you believe spiritually “dead” men… have “free” wills…? How, and why, would we, being “dead in our trespasses, have the inclination OR ability to seek after God? (Salvation is of the LORD)~~~~

    Yes. Spiritually dead men have free will just as spiritually living men have free will. Else EVERYTHING is God’s choice and the responsibility of those who end in eternal punishment is His, not theirs. This makes God an unjust God. I serve a just God.

    The spiritually dead are given the ability to seek after God by the preaching of the Word (Romans 10:17; John 1:12; and an overwhelming host of other passages). This is why you and Dan and many other denominational people are lost, you do not understand what saving Grace IS and how it works. Those who hear the gospel and believe it have the power, the ability to become the children of God (John 1:12). It is the gospel that is God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16). It is the engrafted word that saves (James 1:21).

    The gospel (with Christ as the means) is the gift that God gave, that man did not and could not earn, that saves us, if we have the kind of faith that Abraham had, an obedient faith. When you and Dan ever come to actually correctly define saving Grace, your world will be turned upside down. Until then, there is no point in discussing anything else.

    ~~~~Ernie, at your age~~~~

    Glenn, you keep making assumptions about my age. You do realize what happens to those who assume things, right? You keep speaking out of two sides of your mouth. Out of one side you say age doesn’t matter, that the passion of youth is commendable. Yet you keep bringing up my age as if the poor little kid just doesn’t understand yet, that the wisdom of your advanced age will eventually set in and somehow I’ll just happen to agree with you because of it.

    Glenn, I’m 35 years old. I married late. I’m much older than Timothy was when Paul wrote those words to him. I’m even older than Christ when He gave his life for us on the cross. I’m less than 5 years short of half a normal Terran life-span. I was immersed into Christ 25 years ago, and an ardent apologist for 21.

    But you are right in one thing, my age is irrelevant. I’m not the standard, the scriptures are.

    Salvation is of the Lord. He is the source of it. But He has chosen the foolishness of the gospel and the death of Christ on the cross as the method by which man is saved. He requires men to do their part, to work, to obey that gospel plan in order to receive it. Not earn it. But accept it.

    But it is ultimately our choice.

    You and those like you imply a universal salvation or an unjust God, both of which are false doctrines.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  121. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, “Being quick to listen and slow to speak is not one of your “faults.” 🙂 And you seem to make assumptions as well.

    A liberal, I am not; much to the contrary. Maybe a “liberal” in the sense that I find CofC some doctrine inconsistent with scripture and hard to nail down between congregations.

    I was immersed in the CoC at age 12. Being a “good boy,” I felt I was “being good for nothing” – so I decided to be good in the name of Jesus Christ. It was, I believe, the drawing of the Father – but contained no repentance. I was “born again” around age thirty. A whole new life; a whole new perspective.

    At age 15, sitting on the back row listening to a CofC preacher teach one could “fall from grace’ left me discouraged, knowing my own black heart. I reasoned, “Why try, and at some distant age do something really stupid and lose it all?” It became apparent that receiving the gift of “eternal life,” in the CofC, is provisional, at best.

    There are many of solid theologians in other denominations. And yes, there is much liberalism which I hate as well. The issues revolve around more substantive teachings – the divinity of Jesus Christ, sinless life of Christ, resurrection, etc – but not instrumental music, immersion, and provisional salvation.

    OK, Ernie, your age is off the table, so leave your immature comments there as well.

    If “spiritually dead” men can respond like spiritually alive men can – WHY then …is it necessary for us to “be MADE alive” in Christ?

    My observation of many ardent CoC apologist is they “camp” on about a half-dozen or more scriptures and never venture to learn more. Everything they read supports their view; they become anti-everyone that is not CoC. They read books written by those of their own persuation relative to how wrong every other denomination is. It’s all from the CoC corner looking out.

    And finally, they forget(because they never knew) they were once hopeless sinners, lost, dead, and blind. Even their righteousness was “filthy rags.”

    Paul claims to be the “chief sinner” – but he is wrong – I am. But I know my sins are covered with the precious blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ. That is why I can praise his name and truly love him – with the love…he gave to me.

    Ernie, you are going to find it hard to be a humble man if you believe your obedience is “helping” you get to heaven. It’s not; it’s the blood of Jesus and NOTHING ELSE.

    Grace and Peace…to you and yours.

    Glenn


  122. ~~~~At age 15, sitting on the back row listening to a CofC preacher teach one could “fall from grace’~~~~

    It was a lesson on Gal. 5:4 was it?

    ~~~~There are many of solid theologians in other denominations.~~~~

    Like I said, you are a liberal. Out of your own “mouth” you condemn yourself.

    I have nothing other to discuss with you until you can define Grace from a scriptural standpoint, as I did for Dan.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  123. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie,

    Galatians 5:4 reads, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace.”

    The Galatian letter stands like a sentinel over the truth that salvation is the gift of God’s grace, unearned and undeserved, to be received by faith alone. Indeed, faith itself is God’s free gift.

    A bit of terminology:

    1. Justice = getting what you deserve.
    2. Mercy = not getting what you deserve.
    3. Grace = getting what you don’t deserve.

    The Galatians regarded Christ PLUS circumcision (work…”that of yourselves”) as necessary for salvation which is the same as denying the sufficiency of Christ’s death for salvation. (Similarly, the Churches of Christ regard Christ PLUS baptism as necessary for salvation). 😦

    They just don’t get it, Erie…. 🙂

    In fact, they borrow the phrase, “fall from grace” and misapply it… by teaching that a beleiver can lose their salvation!

    Consider: Jesus: “NO ONE will come to be EXCEPT the Father DRAWS them (do you hear that?)…and ALL the Father give me I will lose NOT ONE.” Do you hear that? It’s “good news” (i. e. Gospel)…NOT ONE!

    Eternal life is FOREVER…not here today…and gone tomorrow.

    If you will send me your definition of grace I will read it.

    Grace and Peace,

    Glenn

  124. Glenn Dowling Says:

    ~~~~There are many of solid theologians in other denominations.~~~~ (Glenn)

    Like I said, you are a liberal. Out of your own “mouth” you condemn yourself. (Ernie)

    Ernie, So you are saying….”Anyone who gives credence to theologians other than the Church of Christ are labeled, “liberal.” ??

    Try these:
    Charles Spurgeon, Reformed Baptist (known as the Prince of Preachers)
    John Piper, Baptist
    R. C. Sproul, Presbyterian, Reformed Faith
    D. James Kennedy – Presbyterian (authored Evangelism Explosion)
    Adrian Rogers, Baptist
    Billy Graham, Evangelist
    Tony Evans, Bible Church – Dallas, Texas
    Charles Stanley, Baptist

    Just trying to understand where your “standard.”


  125. ~~~~The Galatian letter stands like a sentinel over the truth that salvation is the gift of God’s grace, unearned and undeserved, to be received by faith alone. Indeed, faith itself is God’s free gift.~~~~

    So we have Grace = Faith = Salvation.

    Which makes Eph. 2:8 read as all of the following:

    For by faith have you been saved through faith…
    For by salvation have you been saved through faith…

    The former, and your statement concerning faith as a free gift contradict Romans 10:17 and Titus 2:11-12. Faith comes by hearing God’s word. Faith has not been given to all men. Unless you teach universalism.

    Grace is not faith. Grace is not salvation. And neither you nor Dan can cite one verse that states or implies that salvation is a gift.

    ~~~~1. Justice = getting what you deserve.
    2. Mercy = not getting what you deserve.
    3. Grace = getting what you don’t deserve.~~~~

    Agreed.

    ~~~~The Galatians regarded Christ PLUS circumcision (work…”that of yourselves”) as necessary for salvation~~~~

    Wrong. The Galatians were facing the Judaizers who were teaching this. Paul is teaching the Galatian congregations that if they believed these men, they would fall from Grace. It is a contrast between the OT and the NT, which is a pivotal point in most of Paul’s letters.

    ~~~~which is the same as denying the sufficiency of Christ’s death for salvation.~~~~

    Because physical circumcision was a commandment of the OT. Attempting to follow the OT is falling from Grace because Grace is the plan of salvation (Christ and the NT).

    ~~~~(Similarly, the Churches of Christ regard Christ PLUS baptism as necessary for salvation).~~~~

    Oh, as opposed to you and most every other denomination out there who regard Christ PLUS faith as necessary for salvation?

    ~~~~If you will send me your definition of grace I will read it.~~~~

    Grace = the PLAN of salvation (Christ + the gospel).

    Here are the properties of Grace (again):

    1. Grace saves us: (Eph. 2:8), justifies us: (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7)

    2. Grace can be continued in: (Acts 13:43)

    3. Grace can be given (1 Cor. 1:4)

    4. Grace can be received (2 Cor. 6:1)

    5. Grace can be followed like a plan (1 Cor. 3:10)

    6. Grace can be fallen from: (Gal. 5:4)

    7. Grace can make us free from sin: (Eph 2:5)

    8. Grace can be given for the purpose of preaching: (Eph. 3:8)

    9. Grace can be ministered unto hearers: (Eph. 4:29)

    10. Grace teaches us: (Titus 2:11-12)

    11. Grace can be sung: (Col. 3:16)

    12. Grace can be in our hearts: (Col. 3:16)

    13. Grace is the opponent of sin: (Romans 5:21)

    14. Grace is in Christ: (1 Tim. 1:14)

    15. Grace calls us: (2 Tim. 1:9)

    16. Grace was prophesied: (1 Peter 1:10)

    17. Grace is brought by revelation: (1 Peter 1:13)

    18. Grace calls men to Christ (Gal. 1:15)

    Two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. Here are those properties again:

    1. It saves us, justifies us: James 1:21; Gal. 2:16

    2. Can be continued in: John 8:31-32

    3. Can be given: John 17:14

    4. Can be received: James 1:21

    5. Can be followed like a plan: Romans 6:17

    6. Can be fallen from: 1 John 3:4

    7. Can make us free from sin: John 8:32; John 17:17

    8. Can be given for the purpose of preaching: 2 Timothy 4:2

    9. Can be ministered unto hearers: Romans 10:17

    10. Teaches us (doctrine): 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Col. 3:16

    11. Can be sung: 1 Cor. 14:15, Col. 3:16 (understand, teach)

    12. Can be in our hearts: Matt. 13:19; Heb. 8:10

    13. The opponent of sin: 1 John 3:4

    14. Is in Christ: Acts 24:24 (THE faith)

    15. Calls us: 2 Thess. 2:14

    16. Was prophesied: Jer. 31:33

    17. Is brought by revelation: Romans 1:16-17; Gal. 3:23

    18. Calls men to Christ 2 Thess. 2:14

    Under the Old Covenant there was no possibility for remission of sins since the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin (Heb. 10:4). Therefore, true salvation which is freedom from sin (Rom. 6:18), could not be had under the Old Covenant. Righteousness was put to the account of those who obeyed God, waiting for the time when the price of redemption was paid with a sacrifice that was perfect, that was so much more than the sacrifice of earthly animals.

    Grace is free. God sent Jesus the Anointed/Messiah/Christ to die as that perfect sacrifice. Nothing man could have done could demand God send such a sacrifice, nor is/was there anything that man could do to earn that sacrifice. God also revealed a pattern, a blueprint for man to follow whereby he could appropriate the redemptive price for himself and be saved. There was nothing man could have done to demand of God such a blueprint, nor is/was there anything that man could do to earn the revelation of that pattern. Together, the price and the pattern form the plan of salvation. That plan is free. That plan is God’s gift to man. That gift is Grace.

    Grace, that plan of salvation, saves us through our obedient faith. Grace is the cause. Faith is the medium. “Saved” is the effect.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  126. ~~~~Ernie, So you are saying….”Anyone who gives credence to theologians other than the Church of Christ are labeled, “liberal.” ??~~~~

    Any member (or former member) of the church of Christ who gives credence to anyone outside of the church of Christ is either woefully ignorant or a liberal. Do the denominations teach all heretical doctrine? No. But even rat poison is mostly healthy food.

    ~~~~Try these:
    Charles Spurgeon, Reformed Baptist (known as the Prince of Preachers)
    John Piper, Baptist
    R. C. Sproul, Presbyterian, Reformed Faith
    D. James Kennedy – Presbyterian (authored Evangelism Explosion)
    Adrian Rogers, Baptist
    Billy Graham, Evangelist
    Tony Evans, Bible Church – Dallas, Texas
    Charles Stanley, Baptist~~~~

    False teachers. Leaders in organizations who are not part of the body of Christ and are at best sincerely wrong. I have no interest in reading them to gain understanding of scripture because their understanding of scripture is wrong from the foundation. None of those gentlemen understand what Grace is, understand salvation, or even the very fundamentals of the gospel. If they did, they would not be part of denominations, man made divisions, when such is explicitly condemned throughout scripture.

    These men inherently accept the religion form of pluralism, denominationalism. “Let’s just agree to disagree” or “choose the church of your choice” or other such modern phrases are the battle call of these selfish men who think they know better than God.

    Take Billy Graham for example. I spoke to Dr. Thomas B. Warren before he died. Dr. Warren said he confronted Graham many years ago about immersion for salvation. Graham admitted its necessity but would not give up preaching faith only because of the money.

    ~~~~Just trying to understand where your “standard.”~~~~

    My standard is the scriptures and the scriptures alone. Perhaps you can see by some of the things that I believe and teach that it is NOT what other members of the church today believe and teach. If you can’t back your position from scripture, I have no interest in hearing what you have to say.

    YOU, Glenn, cannot back your position from scripture. You explicitly contradict not only a verse here and a verse there, but show a complete lack of understanding of the overall story of the New Testament. It shows in your utter lack of knowledge of what Grace is.

    Grace is not faith else all men would have faith and faith would be the teacher of righteousness rather than the Word (Titus 2:11-12; Rom. 10:17).

    Grace is not salvation else Eph. 2:8 would have salvation saving us through faith, would have the effect equal to the cause, which is illogical.

    Grace is and can only be the plan of salvation (Christ – means; gospel – method to access means). It is the only gift God gave that He did not have to give that saves. Nothing else. When you understand this, then you will understand where hearing, faith, repentance, confession, immersion in water, and living faithfully come in to all of this. Until then, you will remain lost and we will remain enemies (Eph. 6:10-17).

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  127. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, you come across as a reincarnation from the ’50’s. The “If you’re not a member of the Church of Christ you’re going to hell” bunch is a dying breed – thank God!

    How do you fit this into “Ernie’s blueprint” for salvation?
    ______

    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
    Romans 10:9-10

    Ernie, you have NO concept of original sin (as taught in scripture) and until you do you will parade this silly, self-exhaulting plan (blueprint)of salvation you have. Any salvation a person can lose means he can do someting to keep from losing it – and brother, that’s works!

    I suppose when you come riding into heaven on your celectial bike (like Lance Armstrong) you can raise your hands and say, “I did it!”

    Yeah, right.

    God have mercy…


  128. ~~~~But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
    Romans 10:9-10~~~~

    I don’t. I don’t use bad translations and paraphrases like the one you used.

    Do you have any direct response to what I posted on Grace like you asked?

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  129. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I have to wonder: Are your teachable OR are you so caught up in your OWN version of the gospel that nothing else is getting through?

    The “bad translations and paraphrases” (as you put it) quoted was the English Standard Version (ESV)- a highly regarded version – certainly NOT a paraphrase.
    I have to wonder if you know the difference…or is it because Romans 10:8-9 completely contradicts YOUR position.

    The following SIX translations(take your pick) are ALL among the BEST and most accepted translation: From the original King James Version…to the New Living Translation.

    WHATEVER translation YOU USE… will be amoung them.
    Each one states the SAME truth, pure and simple.

    King James Version (KJV): “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

    New International Version (NIV):
    But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[a] that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    New American Standard (NASV):
    But what does it say? “(A)THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

    New King James Version (NKJV):
    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    American Sandard Version (ASV)
    But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved:

    New Living Translation (NLT):
    In fact, it says,
    “The message is very close at hand;
    it is on your lips and in your heart.”
    And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: 9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    I’m sending six translations to illustrate to YOU and other readers – your closed-minded, out-of-hand, nonsensical, dismissing the truth taught in scripture.

    Either you have been woefully mistaught or you have been self-taught with the goal of proving what you already had decided should be the truth. Your position represents what Galatians terms “another gospel” – an anathema!

    May God have mercy….!


  130. ~~~~Ernie, I have to wonder: Are your teachable OR are you so caught up in your OWN version of the gospel that nothing else is getting through?~~~~

    I am 100% open to the scripture.

    I’m pretty close minded to those who refuse to answer my questions or my points directly.

    ~~~~The “bad translations and paraphrases” (as you put it) quoted was the English Standard Version (ESV)- a highly regarded version – certainly NOT a paraphrase.~~~~

    I checked the Greek phrasing and the ESV does not agree with it. And I don’t really care if it is a “highly regarded” version or not. The opinions of men are not my standard.

    ~~~~I have to wonder if you know the difference…or is it because Romans 10:8-9 completely contradicts YOUR position.~~~~

    It does not contradict my position, not like Gal. 5:4 and James 2 contradict yours. Romans 10:9-10 says that belief is UNTO righteousness and confession is UNTO salvation. They are steps along the path to being saved, just as John 1:12 says. Those who believe have the power TO BECOME children of God, but they are not children yet. Faith saves. Confession saves. Hearing the gospel saves. Repentance saves. Immersion saves. All are required for salvation. Immersion is the only one that actually gets us into Christ where all the spiritual blessings are. The rest are prerequisite works to immersion.

    You have not answered my question: How is Christ PLUS immersion any different than your Christ PLUS faith? Doesn’t sound like you believe in Christ alone after all.

    My beliefs nowhere contradict scripture. And you still have no idea what Grace is.

    I am happy using the KJV, the NKJV, and sometimes the ASV. The NIV is a Calvinist paraphrase and worthless. The NLT is worse. I don’t know enough about the NASV to say one way or the other, but I don’t automatically trust anything I don’t know.

    I do know that of the three acceptable translations, they all translate Rom. 10:10’s πιστεύεται εἰς δικαιοσύνην and ὁμολογεῖται εἰς σωτηρίαν as “belives UNTO righteousness” and “confesses UNTO salvation”, which teaches exactly what I believe and makes your belief a false doctrine. But you Baptist clones always did have problems with the word εἰς.

    ~~~~I’m sending six translations to illustrate to YOU and other readers – your closed-minded, out-of-hand, nonsensical, dismissing the truth taught in scripture.~~~~

    Yes, and if any of them are honest, they can keep reading to verse 10 of that passage and know that I’m right and you’re out of context…again. You still have no idea what Grace is.

    So that leaves you with two things to respond to that you haven’t.

    1. What is Grace (or do you have any scriptural reasons why my very detailed, very specific identification is wrong)?

    2. How is Christ PLUS water immersion different than Christ PLUS faith?

    We can talk about original sin and all that other stuff later.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  131. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, It’s not Christ PLUS faith; it’s faith in Christ alone.


  132. Okay, Obama. Rewording the question isn’t going to fool anyone. The fact remains that your doctrine is Christ’s perfect life according to the Mosaical Law, his death on the cross as a perfect sacrifice, his burial, and resurrection PLUS a man has to believe in what Christ did. If it is Christ alone, then faith is not required. If faith is required, then it is what Christ did PLUS faith (what man is required to do to appropriate what Christ did).

    Again, how is that substantially different than what I believe concerning Christ and immersion (and of course all the other things that God requires of man to appropriate the blood of Christ).

    And you still haven’t replied concerning my definition of Grace.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  133. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I believe you expressed an objection to name calling earlier.. 🙂

    Because you do not understand nor accept man is born with original sin (thus needs to be born again – spiritually) …it is highly doubtful that I can “get there…from here” with you. Further, you believe faith is a work; I believe it’s a gift.

    We cannot “conjure up” faith (as a work).

    For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves, it (faith) is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so thatno one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. – Ephesians 2:8-10

    I believe in man’s “free will” in that… man is able to freely chose …according to his nature. However, that nature is a fallen one; thus he has not the ability, nor inclination, to chose God. Man must be “made alive in Christ” thus, enabled by God.

    John 6:6
    He (Jesus) went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

    Left up to man…it would never happen.


  134. ~~~~Because you do not understand nor accept man is born with original sin (thus needs to be born again – spiritually)~~~~

    One does not have to be born (or conceived?) with original sin to die spiritually and have need to be born again (spiritually). The very idea that man is born AGAIN implies that man is born spiritually alive the first time. Else there would be no “re” in REborn, no “again” in born AGAIN.

    Original sin is a doctrine contradictory to Ezek. 18, and implies that Adam’s sin is greater than Christ’s sacrifice (Rom. 5), a point you have YET to address…mainly because those points are devastating to your case. But even without those passages contradicting the false doctrine of original sin, you have no passages in scripture that teach original sin or hereditary guilt anywhere. You only have bad translations crafted by those more interested in eisegesis interpretations than translations (aka NIV).

    ~~~~Further, you believe faith is a work;~~~~

    John 6:28-29 says it is a work.

    28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    ~~~~I believe it’s a gift. We cannot “conjure up” faith (as a work).~~~~

    You might not be able to, but I can, and I know a good number of others who have and do on a daily basis.

    ~~~~For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves, it (faith) is the gift of God;~~~~

    Again, basic grammar problems for you (mainly because that eisegesis keeps getting in the way).

    8τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ πίστεως: καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν, θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον:

    Grace is that which is not of ourselves, not faith. Grace is the gift of God, not faith. Grace is the cause. Faith is the medium. Saved is the effect. To say that Grace, the gift of God that saves, is faith makes Eph. 2:8 nonsensical. You would have it read:

    For by faith are you saved through faith.

    The rest of the passage you quoted belies your point. Grace was not given because of works man devised or did. Grace, the plan of salvation, Christ and the gospel, were given “while [Paul and the Christians at Rome] were yet sinners”. But God commands that we do good works, works according to that plan, to be saved.

    If no response, no work, nothing is required on man’s part then you have universalism or a God who shows partiality, both are contradictions to scripture. Any premise that implies a contradiction is false.

    ~~~~I believe in man’s “free will” in that… man is able to freely chose …according to his nature. However, that nature is a fallen one; thus he has not the ability, nor inclination, to chose God. Man must be “made alive in Christ” thus, enabled by God.~~~~

    None of this is supported in scripture anywhere.

    ~~~~John 6:6
    He (Jesus) went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”~~~~

    Not sure even what paraphrase this is, but your reference is likely a typo. The KJV John 6:6 reads:

    “And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.”

    Perhaps you meant John 6:44 or 65?

    44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

    Your word “enable” is the verb δεδομένον which means “to give” as in giving a gift. This further supports my claim. We could not come to Jesus unless he drew us, called us, unless God the Father gave us something to come to Jesus. We are called by the gospel (Gal 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:14), and it is by the gospel that faith comes (Rom. 10:17). The gift is the plan of salvation and with every verse you post (and attempt to twist with non-translations suited to your bias) you prove my point for me. Grace, God’s gift that saves, the cause of our salvation is Christ and His teachings, Christ and the gospel, the means and the method, the cause of salvation.

    Obedient faith (James 2; Eph. 2:8; etc.) is the medium through which that cause works. The effect is salvation.

    Every time you attempt to post scripture, it is going to work against you. Every time you attempt to post something on Grace, you are going to end up proving my point.

    You STILL have not responded directly to the points I’ve made defining what Grace is. You STILL cannot deny even one point I’ve made concerning the identity of Grace. At best you have pulled the idea that somehow “faith” is God’s gift out of somewhere and made Eph. 2:8 a nonsense sentence. “Faith saves through faith…”

    Grace is the plan of salvation. God demands that we follow the plan, that means we work. God demands that once we have saved that we continue to walk in the light (1 John 1:7), walking is working, light is the Word of God. Works are essential to salvation. Not because man is trying to earn salvation but because JEHOVAH GOD ALMIGHTY said its that way.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  135. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    So to you, only the “offer” of salvation provided by Jesus Christ and God’s Word is a gift, but salvation itself is not a gift received through faith? Your answer~~~~That is correct.~~~~

    That is absolutely incorrect, but there is no getting through to you (2 Corinthians 4:3,4).

    ~~~~This is a false dichotomy. A third option, which is the one I hold to, is that salvation is neither a gift nor an obligation. It is simply a result, an effect.~~~~

    Either Christ did it all and we receive salvation as a gift through faith or else we did some of it and we receive salvation as an obligation by works. There is no third option. For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [SALVATION] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the GIFT of God (Amplified Bible). You reject receiving salvation as a gift through faith because you want to help Jesus save you based on your accomplishments. This lack of confidence in Christ alone to save you is the opposite of placing faith in Him.

    ~~~~However, I do believe works of obedience (which are different than works of merit), including believing in Jesus, are required by God to enter this state.~~~~

    Works of obedience which “follow saving faith” would be works of merit if they were the instrumental means (along with faith) by which we received salvation. Works of obedience which “follow” believing in Jesus and receiving salvation are the fruit, by product and demonstrative evidence of our faith/belief, but they are not the essence of our faith/belief and they are not the instrumental means by which we receive salvation along with faith/belief. You continue to put the cart before the horse and teach salvation “by works.” Jesus Christ does not need our “works of obedience” which follow saving faith as a supplement to His finished work of redemption in order to help Him save us. He did it all! Praise God! We are saved FOR good works (Ephesians 2:10) NOT by good works. You have it backwards. You have the tail wagging the dog. The cart before the horse.

    ~~~~Wash, rinse, repeat. Again, there is a distinction between works of merit and works of obedience. Faith is one of those works, which you have already conceded. There is no difference in what we believe about what types of works/actions are required for salvation, only which ones in specific are required.~~~~

    It depends on which works of obedience that you are talking about. Hearing the Word, Repentance and Faith are works of obedience which are not works of merit. Hearing the Word and Repentance are involved in the process of coming to saving faith by accepting the free gift. Faith is the culminating act in receiving the gift. Christ gets all the merit. You seem to believe that faith is just “another” step in a series of more steps that must follow in order to receive salvation. As soon as you add more works of obedience “after” faith as additional requirements in order to receive salvation, then you add to the finished work of Christ. Faith is the culminating act in receiving salvation. There is a difference between accomplishing works of obedience in order to receive salvation and accomplishing works of obedience AFTER we are saved through faith. You mix it all together as a requirement for salvation. The difference in what we believe about what types of works/actions are required for salvation (which ones in specific are required) is the difference between salvation through faith and salvation through faith “plus works.”

    ~~~~The truly ironic thing is, water immersion is actually the only passive event of the 5. I study God’s Word. I believe. I confess. I repent. But someone else immerses me in water according to the Word (Eph. 5:26). So if anyone is trying to actively work their way into Christ, its you. But you cannot find anywhere that the Bible says we believe our way into Christ. I can find several passages that speak of being immersed into Christ, however.~~~~

    Water baptism is not completely passive. If it were, then we would not allow ourselves to be baptized at all and it would be forced upon us. Submitting to being baptized is a work of obedience which follows saving faith. You say that you “believe,” but the problem is that your “belief” is limited to “mental assent” belief in the historical facts about Christ and your belief falls short of “trusting in Christ alone for salvation.” Your belief trusts in your efforts to confess, do your best to turn away from sinning (as you define repentance) and get water baptized (plus work to remain saved) which is not saving belief. Ephesians 5:26 does not teach baptismal remission. Like Titus 3:5, there is a reference to “spiritual cleansing.” This is a reference to the spiritual washing or purification of the soul, accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at the moment of salvation (Ephesians 5:26; John 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23). Notice in John 7:38-39, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of LIVING WATER. But this He spoke concerning the SPIRIT. The Spirit is typified by water (John 7:38-39) and in Ephesians 5:26, the Word is evidently typified by water. The word “washing” in the Strong’s Greek Concordance with Vine’s Number 3067 (Loutron) “a bath, a laver” is used is used *metaphorically of the Word of God, as the instrument of spiritual cleansing,* Ephesians 5:26; and Titus 3:5, of the “washing of regeneration.” You’ll notice in that same definition that baptism is a “figure” of this reality, but not the cause. Remember, a symbol is not the reality but the picture of the reality.

    ~~~~I certainly am not trying to work my way into Christ, as you are. You can’t find anywhere that the Bible says we believe our way into Christ?~~~~

    I’m trying to work my way into Christ? LOL! That statement is the epitome of irony. We actually do believe our way into Christ. How does this happen? Ephesians 1:13 – IN HIM, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation –having also BELIEVED you were SEALED IN HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT of promise… Thus, when we believe the gospel, we believe into Christ. “And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believes on Him (eis-into-Him), may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40) “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that you believe on Him (eis-into-Him) whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on (eis, into) Me has having everlasting life (John 6:47). Baptism eis Christ, or into Christ is to be compared with “baptized (eis) into Moses.” If we understand the one we will understand the other. There is little dispute that being “baptized unto or into Moses” signified the open allegiance and public identification of the people of God with Moses. Being “baptized into Moses” did not put people “into” the body of Moses. After we are saved through faith and Spirit baptized into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13) we are then (afterward) water baptized into Christ just as the Israelites were baptized into Moses (1 Corinthians 10:2). Not literally water baptized into the body here, but “baptized into” in a “metaphorical sense” in regards to “identification.” You have a problem with confusing Spirit baptism and water baptism.

    ~~~~It’s not hard for me to understand at all. I just reject that this is what the Bible teaches.~~~~

    You reject salvation by grace through faith, not works. You refuse to accept that salvation is the gift of God received through faith in Ephesians 2:8, so you re-define grace and “shoe horn” works into faith to accommodate what you want to understand (salvation by works). This gives glory to man, not to God.

    That is just another way of saying that we are saved “by works.” Your plan of salvation is neither Law nor Grace,~~~~Yes, that is exactly what it is, saved by works. I agree. But the plan of salvation IS a law. It is the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2), the law of liberty (James 1:25).~~~~

    So you admit it! You teach salvation by works. Thank you for making my point. Your plan of salvation is neither Law nor Grace, but a Restorationist distortion of both. The “law of Christ” in a broad sense means the entire body of ethical teaching that Jesus gave and endorsed, but in a specific sense here in Galatians 6:2, it refers to bearing one another’s burdens, which if followed fully, will result in obeying the rest of God’s moral law (Romans 13:8-10). Galatians 3:27 asks, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. You seem to think that Christ came simply to replace the Law of Moses with His own commandments and to obtain salvation, one must do so by living up to the commandments of Christ. (Maybe because you self righteously believe that you have perfectly obeyed all of Christ’s moral laws and are worthy of Heaven). Placing our faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ (who did perfectly keep the law of Moses, died for our sins and rose from the dead) is the way to Heaven. When we BELIEVE (trust) solely in what He accomplished to save us, we receive His imputed righteousness (Romans 4:4-6). Nowhere does the Bible say that we are saved by grace through keeping the law of Christ. Salvation based on keeping His moral laws is not of grace, but becomes merited favor based on our performance. Salvation is received through faith, not through law keeping. Obeying the moral law gives the Christian freedom (liberty) to be what he was created for. We are saved “FOR” good works, NOT BY good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).

    So the Word of God to you is simply “words?” You said~~~~Powerful ideas, concepts, truth, rational thought. And they are perfect having come from God not man. Therefore they are powerful (Rom. 1:16).~~~~

    But not living? The Holy Spirit does not reveal the truth of God’s word to our spirit? The natural man has the Word of God all figured out by himself? If you can believe that then you can believe anything!

    You believe that through our human intelligence we figure out all the spiritual applications in the Word of God? You said~~~~Yes.~~~~

    But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). Paul states the inability of the mind of the flesh to receive the things of the Spirit of God. Certainly the initiative comes from God in which the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to accept the things of the Spirit of God. The rulers who executed Jesus did not understand what they were doing (Luke 23:34). Paul and the Corinthians would also have failed to understand Christ’s death apart from the Spirit revealing to them about its meaning. God’s Spirit bridges the chasm between the things of God and the human heart, enabling human beings to understand the message of the cross, which would otherwise be incomprehensible (1 Corinthians 1:18). Since the truth of God is of divine origin, it requires divine enablement to properly understand it.

    “apart” from God revealing the truth to us through divine intervention?~~~~No, this is stupid. God has already revealed all the truth to us through divine “intervention” (inspiration). The Bible interprets itself. But God did give man the capacity for reason, to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim. 2:15). God does not “reveal” anything more to man today. It was all once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) through the Apostles who were given all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). Any direct revelations you, and Joseph Smith, and Ellen G. White, and Mohammed have received are from demons or men.~~~~

    You misunderstood me here. God has already revealed all the truth to us through His inspired Word. There are no new revelations to add to His Word. God gave man the capacity to study and show ourselves approved unto God, but not apart from the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 we read: For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the NATURAL MAN does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. According to you, through our human intelligence (apart from the teaching of the Holy Spirit) we figure out all the spiritual applications in the Word of God. The natural man cannot accept the things of God; we need to have God’s Spirit. The Word is Spiritual and must be understood through the spirit. There is more involved in coming to saving faith in Christ and properly understanding God’s Word than just paper, ink and human intelligence. In Ephesians 1:17, we read: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. “Spirit of wisdom” refers to the Holy Spirit’s working in Christians to give them insights into God’s Word that the natural man cannot produce.

    ~~~~God draws us by the good news of Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin (John 12:32), draws us by the gospel (Heb. 7:9; Gal. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:14).~~~~

    In Romans 3:11-12 we read: “There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.” Nobody seeks after God all by themselves. God “draws” us, not simply through paper and ink, but through power. This drawing denotes an influence from God to accomplish the result as to incline the mind to come to Him and believe, but we are not forced. The same point is repeated in verse John 6:65. This word is used in the New Testament six times. Once it is applied to a compulsory drawing of Paul and Silas to the market-place, Acts 16:19. Twice it is used to denote the drawing of a net, John 21:6, John 21:11. Once to the drawing of a sword John 18:10; and once in a sense similar to its use here John 12:32; “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” In the conversion of the sinner God enlightens the mind John 6:45. Paper, ink and the natural man do not reach the desired goal. The approach of the soul to God is initiated by God. In John 16:8-9 we read: When he (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me. The Holy Spirit applies truth to the mind. While God inclines (John 6:44) and will have all the glory, man chooses to yield, as he is enabled (John 6:65) to and the obstacles are removed, and then he can choose to become a willing servant of God. You give credit to the natural man for accomplishing this all by himself. The impulse to faith comes from God. For it to be given or granted plainly shows that the Father’s “drawing” (John 6:44) was meant an internal and efficacious operation, for in recalling the statement here He says, it must be “given to a man to come” to Christ. The natural man by himself will not come.

    Notice in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 that the gospel did not come to us in WORD ONLY, but also in POWER and in the HOLY SPIRIT.~~~~Yes, because during the first century they could not go down to Walmart and buy a Bible. Those who were inspired to write, those who preached the gospel, needed to have that power to prove that they were from God. The sole purpose of miracles was to confirm the Word of God. When it was completed and man could compare scripture with scripture, miracles ceased (1 Cor. 13:8f).~~~~

    I was not simply talking about miracles accomplished in the sight of men that were done in power. In Romans 15:13, we read: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the “power” of the Holy Spirit. This hope is not simply conjured up by the natural man after reading God’s Word. Any hope the Christian has comes from God by the “power” of the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 goes on to say, “and with deep conviction.” This conviction also comes from the “power” of the Holy Spirit. The natural man does not conjure up this conviction apart from power of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 5:5 we read: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” The natural man does not conjure up agape love apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Paul is not saying that God’s Grace “is” the gospel. You said ~~~~Yes. That is exactly what he is saying.~~~~

    Grace is God’s unmerited favor. The gospel is the “good news” of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. God’s grace is the source of the whole arrangement, but that does not mean that grace “is” the gospel, but the gospel is certainly “of” God’s grace. Your list of verses on grace do not prove your point either. When will you BELIEVE? (Romans 1:16).

    ~~~~Not one of these verses state that a person is saved “at the point of faith”. They teach that a person is saved by faith, and I agree. But there is more to what the Bible says. There are a number of things that we are saved by. The engrafted Word (James 1:21), the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9), faith, confession of that faith (Rom. 10:9-10), repentance (Luke 13:3), water immersion (1 Pet. 3:21). But none of these ALONE saves us. You have to take ALL of the Bible into account, not just one verse out of context. Just because a verse only speaks of faith in the context of salvation does not imply that only faith is required for salvation.~~~~

    There is a point at which we place our faith in “Christ alone” for salvation and become saved. You can’t seem to grasp this deeper faith which “trusts in Christ alone for salvation.” Faith to you seems to be “mental assent” belief to the historical facts about Christ “infused” with works. As I explained to you from 1 Corinthians 2:14, the natural man cannot understand and will “add works” to the gospel of grace everytime. Salvation through faith (in Christ) alone does not negate God’s Word used to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and neither does it negate the blood of Christ. The word “alone” in regards to salvation through faith in “Christ alone” conveys the message that Christ saves us through faith based on the merits of His finished work of redemption “alone,” not on the merits of our works. The moment that we place our faith in Christ alone for salvation, before we accomplish any further works, we are saved. In regards to Romans 10:9-10, notice in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “…no one can say that JESUS IS LORD except BY the Holy Spirit (not in order to receive the Holy Spirit and become saved after faith). We are not still lost at the point of faith until some time later, after we publicly confess that Jesus is Lord. The reason that we will be saved IF we confess is because we have faith and we have the Holy Spirit. That is the whole point. What about someone who is unable to speak? How can they “confess with their MOUTH?” Such a person would remain lost according to your interpretation of Romans 10:9,10. It’s not the confession “in of itself” that saves you as an additional requirement after faith, it’s the faith behind the confession. Faith and confession are not two separate steps to salvation. They are chronologically together. Repentance is a “change of mind” which precedes saving faith, not an additional requirement to become saved after faith. In 1 Peter 3:21, water baptism only saves us as a “figure,” not literally. You cannot understand the truth because the gospel is HID from you (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). Christ ALONE saves us and when we place our faith in Him ALONE for salvation, we become saved. If a verse says that we are saved through faith “apart from additions or modifications” then we are saved through faith, not faith plus something after faith. If your faith is not in Christ ALONE for salvation, then your faith is mere “mental assent,” your repentance is attempted moral reformation, your confession is just “lip service” and your baptism was just a bath.

    In John 12:42, we do not know the real condition of these “believing” rulers’ hearts~~~~Yes we do. The inspired writer, John, told us. You can deny inspired writing if you want, but I’m going to believe what John wrote.~~~~

    Who is denying inspired writing? John did not specifically say that they were saved or not saved. He said they believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him. Was this an isolated temporary situation or an ongoing lack of confession not only to the Pharisees but to everyone? Their unwillingness to confess Christ throws some doubt on the complete genuineness of the faith of these men, but they may have only had a weak moment and failed to confess Christ in this situation in front of the Pharisess. That does not mean that they did not confess Christ to others. The Apostle Peter at one point failed to confess Jesus before men (John 18:17, 25-27), but after the Holy Spirit was given, he was a different man who boldly confessed Him (Acts 4:8-13). We know that Peter was saved even though he had a weak moment and the same may be true for these Jewish rulers as well. Does the text specifically say that they were not saved? If the chief rulers truly believed (trusted in Christ alone for salvation) even though they had a weak moment, they are saved (John 3:16). If their lack of confession was the result of a lack of faith, then they are not saved (John 3:18,36). Later on, we see that Peter had another weak moment. Paul even had to rebuke Peter! Read about it in (Galatians 2:11-15). “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; or before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles..” Some public confession! Was Peter saved? You are going to believe what you want to believe regardless of what John or any other inspired writer wrote.

    You mentioned Galatians 5:4 to try and prove that a genuine believer can lose their salvation. Notice that it says, “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ, you have fallen AWAY from grace” (NIV). Genuine believers DO NOT look to be justified by the law but by FAITH in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16). Those once exposed to the truth of the gospel, who then turn their backs on Christ and seek to be justified by the law only proves that their faith was never genuine (Luke 8:13,14; 1 John 2:19). Genuine believers through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by FAITH. You have fallen from grace simply means you have fallen away from your prior profession of belief in the gospel of grace. Those who fell from grace never actually embraced it whole heartedly. Notice that Paul nevers says that they “fell from salvation.” This is what we really need; we need a passage that says really saved people can lose their salvation. I John 2:19 sheds light on the Galatian apostates.
    “They went out from us, but they were not of us (did not truly or genuinely or full heartedly believe in the gospel of grace); for if they had been of us (had truly believed in the gospel of grace), they would no doubt have continued with us but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

    I noticed that you asked Glenn, ~~~~How is Christ PLUS water immersion different than Christ PLUS faith?~~~~

    It’s very different. It’s not Christ plus faith. It’s faith receives Christ. Baptism testifies to the fact that we have received Christ through faith and are saved. Through faith, we are completely trusting in “Another’s work,” (Christ’s finished work of redemption). Through faith, Christ is still the object of our complete trust in receiving salvation. Baptism is a work which follows saving faith and if it’s necessary for salvation, that would add merit on our part to our salvation because now we are saved by Christ’s finished work plus our baptism. This means that you are trusting in Christ plus your baptism to save you. It’s not about trusting in your faith to save you, it’s about your faith trusting in Christ alone to save you. If someone places their faith in Christ alone for salvation and then drops dead of a heart attack before getting water baptized, they still placed their faith in Christ alone for salvation and are saved. To say they would not be saved is to say that Christ’s finished work of redemption was insufficient to save them and water baptism was needed as a supplement in order to help save them. Before I placed my faith in Christ alone for salvation, my definition of faith was “obedience to Christ and not serving sin.” As an unbeliever, that was the only thing that I could comprehend (1 Corinthians 2:14) so I know where you are coming from. Been there, done that. Now that I BELIEVE, I understand that saving faith is belief, trust, reliance in Christ ALONE for salvation. I no longer confuse the essence of saving faith with the fruit, product of faith and demonstrative evidence of saving faith, which are good works that FOLLOW saving faith. Are you ready to BELIEVE?

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  136. ~~~~That is absolutely incorrect, but there is no getting through to you (2 Corinthians 4:3,4).~~~~

    Nuh uhn!

    ~~~~~Either Christ did it all and we receive salvation as a gift through faith or else we did some of it and we receive salvation as an obligation by works.~~~~

    Or Christ did all the work providing the means and the method by which to appropriate the means to salvation, then we appropriate those means by following the method (obedient faith). That’s why Paul said in Romans 6:16-18 that we were made free when we OBEYED FROM THE HEART that pattern of doctrine (immersion – vs. 3-5).

    ~~~~There is no third option. For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [SALVATION] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the GIFT of God (Amplified Bible).~~~~

    I reject the Amplified paraphrase. The noun “salvation” is not in Eph. 2:8, therefore neither “that” nor “it” refers back to “salvation”. Furthermore, “saved” is a verb and pronouns do not refer back to verbs. Learn English.

    ~~~~Works of obedience which “follow saving faith” would be works of merit if they were the instrumental means (along with faith) by which we received salvation.~~~~

    You’ll have to talk to James 2 about that. He said we are saved “not by faith only”. He’s inspired so Ima go with him.

    ~~~~It depends on which works of obedience that you are talking about. Hearing the Word, Repentance and Faith are works of obedience which are not works of merit.~~~~

    So, there are works of obedience required for salvation that are not works of merit. How is what you said here and what I’ve been saying about water immersion substantially different? There is only one more work in my list that yours. I agree with all of your works being required for salvation. Why then must you leave water immersion out?

    And just so you know, this admission is going to come back and haunt you for the duration of our conversation.

    ~~~~So you admit it! You teach salvation by works.~~~~

    Yes. Have from the beginning. That’s what we talked about in James 2. Where have you been? But then again, so do you. Remember when you talked about hearing, faith, and repentance as works of obedience necessary for salvation above?

    It’s not my fault you don’t understand that when Paul uses the phrase “the law” or refers to the law of works he is referring to the Old Testament.

    ^^^^Paul is not saying that God’s Grace “is” the gospel. You said ~~~~Yes. That is exactly what he is saying.~~~~^^^^

    ~~~~Grace is God’s unmerited favor.~~~~

    And as I defined from scripture, the unmerited favor was the plan of salvation, with Christ as the means and the gospel as the method. You haven’t responded to my post on that yet. Just saying that my list doesn’t prove my point is not enough. You have to explain why it is not enough. My post was logical and from scripture.

    When you actually deal with my definition of Grace (other than saying “nuh uhn”) directly I’ll cover these other topics. Until then, I maintain that Grace has specific properties and those specific properties are also assigned to Christ and the gospel together as the plan of salvation. An elephant by any other name…

    Your job is to actually SHOW how I am wrong, not just assert it.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  137. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, You’ve heard, “There are none so blind as those who refuse to see”? That, in my opinion, describes you.

    You, sir, have concocted the most unbelievable “ungospel” I’ve ever heard – purely heretical. You would make a great Catholic or Mormon.

    Step back, Ernie, take a deep breath and consider…you have several friends offering Biblical reasons and they all “bounce off” your iron-clad, self-created theology. Consider, friend… you have EVERYBODY… LOST…except the Church of Christ. That, is not only heretical but PARANOID.

    I do believe you are earnest and sincere; but sincerity is never a barometer of truth. You have the most contorted view of the gospel I’ve ever seen. It’s a “works” system masquerading as grace. IF…we could be saved by our obedience…behavior…then WHY did Christ have to die for our sins?

    You even claim that there are those who could live their whole life and never sin. Incredible…go get two others, whom you respect, to agree with you and I’ll buy you a steak dinner. Yes, I know – you don’t care what “other men” think, only scripture. That sounds noble and all…but you do not have the corner on the truth.

    My best take on your “theology” is that you decided how God’s plan “ought to be” then set out digging up and bending scripture to fit it – because it IS NOT THE GOSPEL, it’s not good news but a modified works system.

    Further,I admire your colleages for spending time trying to show your errors – but I’m convinced you’re not looking to change anything. You have lots of “knowledge” but, I feel, lack wisdom. You would do well to consider, God’s response to Job in 38:1 – “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?”

    Every Bible translation using any word that challenges your view is automaticlly termed a “paraphrase.” There is only one I know of, The Living Bible, published as a paraphrase.

    Erie, I wish I had time to organize this “diatribe” better but I do not think it would matter anyway. I have no interest in dialoging more, I feel it is a waste of valuable time and energy.

    Until the Holy Spirit reveals to you the mystery of the gospel (like Saul), I believe you will continue to exhault yourself and persecute Christians.

    There are so many souls who need to hear the good news of the gospel. The fields are white with harvest. I will be spending my time sharing the good news by making myself available for work in God’s Kingdom.

    I pray one day we may be able to communicate as true brothers in Christ.

    Grace and Peace, Glenn

    “Rebuke a wise man and he will love you, rebuke a fool and he will hate you.”


  138. The doctrines of men, Glenn, like yours, will never stand up to the light of scripture. I have answered from scripture. I have shown your contradictions and your out of context applications of singular verses.

    You are like every fallen member of the church I have ever faced, illogical, self serving, lazy, arrogant, and impossible to nail down on any statement. You are a viper, a wolf, and I will stand against you and your kind at every turn. In the words of Paul, may the Lord reward you according to your works (2 Tim 4:14).

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  139. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, Thanks for your mature and Godly reply – especially for confirming my observations. I hope your friends will take note. You need help.

    God Bless,

    Glenn


  140. Your welcome.

    Just to sum up each label:

    You are illogical – you refuse to answer questions directly, you change the questions then answer that so you don’t have to answer the actual question (like Obama), and you constantly imply contradictions and nonsense (e.g. grace = faith so faith saves through faith).

    You are self serving – you are more interested in making yourself feel good about yourself than obeying God. You speak from emotional positions rather than trying to defend your position from scripture.

    You are lazy – you want to take work out of the pattern God gave man so you don’t have to do anything or be responsible for anything. You want to make God responsible for everything so when you sin, when you fail, you can blame it on God because its God alone who saves and you have nothing to do with it. Just like ever Calvinist out there. A faith only salvation does not save. It’s explicitly written in James 2. Yet you deny it.

    You are impossible to nail down on any statement – I have yet to get you to answer a question straight. All I get are statements trying to appeal to peer pressure or vanity, a reference to a verse completely devoid of context, or fluff without scripture at all.

    You are a viper just like Jesus and John the Immerser called the Pharisees (Matt. 3:7; Matt. 23:33) because you are full of poison. You are a wolf pretending to be a sheep (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29), a false teacher so to be marked (Rom. 16:17) for your man made doctrines.

    And you can add to that list “spiritual coward” who runs away with a few useless parting shots when he is unable to actually defend his position.

    Every thing I have said to you is logical, scriptural, and purposeful. Your punishment will be worse in the end because you had truth, you had salvation within your grasp and you threw it in God’s face. You are a dog returned to his own vomit (Heb. 6:4-6; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

    Never come to a sword fight without a weapon, Glenn. You will lose every time.

    You disgust me. I can’t stand former members of the Lord’s church who have fallen willfully into liberalism. Repent, Glenn, return to your first love. Turn back to the light or eternity is going to be very, very painful.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  141. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, Your loveless, name calling hardly reflects the love of Christ or… Christian maturity. Your plan is baseless, rigid, and places restrictions on God’s capacity to save.

    How would you explain to someone in a prison camp they could not be saved without a tank of water to immerse them?

    How could you tell a sailor in a submarine that he was out of reach of salvation without a tank of water?

    How could you tell a trapped coal miner you are unable to offer the gospel due to lack of water?

    How could you explain to someone in freezing conditions they were out of reach of Christ’s saving blood because all the water was frozen.

    To someone on an airplane destined to crash they were outside the reach of the saving message of the gospel.

    You think these to be unreasonable? They’re real life situations which are “hampered” by your small view of God’s saving power.

    Ernie, you’ve got it all figured out according to you neat little plan – but it’s based on the wrong premise – that salvation depends on man. Salvation is of the Lord. When you finally see it you will break out in the most glorious “Praise the Lord” you’ve ever experienced!

    You say, that I don’t answer your questions? Do you answer mine? If man had the ability to live a sinless life – WHY would he need the blood of Christ?

    Your childish name calling is a pretty clear indication that you are frustrated because someone does not swallow your “theory.”

    Question: How many “Amens” are you getting from your brothers? All I’m seeing is disagreement with you.

    John the immerser?….WOW, that’s pretty catchy. Should I be on the lookout for the new “First Immerser Church”?

    Your comments belie your sign off, “Truth and Love.”
    You project neither.

    Grace and Peace,

    Glenn

    P. S. Did you ever take that deep breath I asked you to OR or you hold your breath and pouting? 🙂


  142. Glenn,

    I thought you were going to take your false doctrines and leave this “discussion”?

    ~~~~Ernie, Your loveless, name calling hardly reflects the love of Christ or… Christian maturity. Your plan is baseless, rigid, and places restrictions on God’s capacity to save.~~~~

    Love is sometimes harsh. I exhibit the same kind of agape love Christ, John the Immerser, and Paul showed to those who purposefully sought to tear down the church like you are doing. You don’t like it, you can repent or leave. I prefer the former, but I’ll settle for the latter, which you said you were going to do, but proving yet again you are at best inconsistent.

    ~~~~How would you explain to someone in a prison camp they could not be saved without a tank of water to immerse them?

    How could you tell a sailor in a submarine that he was out of reach of salvation without a tank of water?

    How could you tell a trapped coal miner you are unable to offer the gospel due to lack of water?

    How could you explain to someone in freezing conditions they were out of reach of Christ’s saving blood because all the water was frozen.

    To someone on an airplane destined to crash they were outside the reach of the saving message of the gospel.~~~~

    Total bleeding heart liberal.

    These are irrelevant situation ethics. What of the guy who has never heard the gospel and doesn’t have the opportunity to believe? Its the same question. God has provided means to salvation (grace). God has provided evidence of himself (Romans 1:18-20). He is Creator and has the right to have mercy or not on whom He pleases (Rom. 9:15, 18). They had opportunity before they entered the plain, prison, cold, etc. to obey the gospel.

    ~~~~Ernie, you’ve got it all figured out according to you neat little plan – but it’s based on the wrong premise – that salvation depends on man.~~~~

    You haven’t been listening at all, have you. God’s Grace is Christ and the gospel. What did man have to do with that? I’ve said over and over that Grace is the cause of salvation. Man had nothing to do with Grace. God chose to work THROUGH obedient faith, His choice, not ours. That’s where man comes in. Dan has already conceded that works of obedience are necessary to accept that gift, which results in salvation. He just has a shorter list of works than what the Bible does. And he’s not even a member of the church.

    ~~~~You say, that I don’t answer your questions? Do you answer mine? If man had the ability to live a sinless life – WHY would he need the blood of Christ?~~~~

    He wouldn’t if he died after living a sinless life…like Christ showed us how to do and God commands (1 Cor. 15:34; Eph. 4:26). Christ, as our example, was sinless. That is how God wants us to be. To say that a man MUST sin, that he cannot live life without sin, means that God is unjust because He commands that which is impossible for man. But Christ did it and in so doing showed us how. Not only that, but the law Christ was sinless under was the harder law.

    Think about just one sin: murder. Have you ever murdered anyone? No? How have you gone your whole life without murdering anyone? What about adultery? If you can go your whole life and not commit one specific sin, why not two? If you can go two, why not three? If you can go your whole life and never commit three specific sins, why not all of them…as Christ did?

    Christ didn’t die for the righteous. He died for sinners. If every person ever to live, past, present, and future, lived sinless lives and only one sinned, Christ would still needed to have died for that one.

    ~~~~Your childish name calling is a pretty clear indication that you are frustrated because someone does not swallow your “theory.”~~~~

    No. What angers me is former members of the church like you who work to corrupt the church from within. You are the worst kind of enemy the church faces today.

    ~~~~Question: How many “Amens” are you getting from your brothers? All I’m seeing is disagreement with you.~~~~

    Seriously? You are keeping some kind of score? This isn’t a game, Glenn. This is warfare. This is your eternal soul and the souls of all those who heed your words.

    ~~~~Your comments belie your sign off, “Truth and Love.” You project neither.~~~~

    Assert all you want, but Truth is in the scripture that I use to back my positions and that you don’t have to back yours. Love is not the feel good mushy stuff that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside about being wrong. The love I’m talking about is agape, the kind of love that led God to destroy nations when necessary, even the entire world save 8 souls. The kind of love that would wipe out thousands of His own people when they rebelled with Korah. The kind of love that ended an entire religion that HE established in AD 70 and fulfilled all the promises of destruction in Lev. 26 and Duet. 32. That struck men blind (Acts 13:11) and mute (Luke 1:20), that slew liars (Acts 5) to protect the church.

    It’s a kind of love that you and your kind fear to understand because it doesn’t make your kind feel and wonderful inside about your lazy religion, your false doctrines and your embrace of every warped form of Christianity out there. You paint a broad road and a wide gate to Heaven, but God has said that the gate is strait and the road narrow that leads into the Kingdom of God, the church, the body of the saved.

    You don’t like God’s kind of love, the kind of love I’m talking about in my salutation and exhibiting for the church in every word, because it’s the kind of love that bends you over the knee and tans your backside for the wrong you’ve been doing, but your faith is shallow and you cannot see God so you take out your weakness and your fear on me.

    So I’ve answered your questions with a straightforward answer that most people would need help misunderstanding. You know exactly where I stand and why. Answer my questions the same way or run away crying because I’m too harsh on you, the enemy of the church.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  143. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I notice you keep “railing” and maybe I feel the need to question you. Because the longer you preach the more the fallacies in your “theology” show and your personal anger comes to the surface.

    I can see you like the Christ that was “kicking down the tables of the money changers” in the temple…yes, that was righteous anger. You are not Christ; though you may be suffering from delusions of granduer, Erie.

    Because of your “strawman theology” you over react, throwing a tantrum, and put up a smoke screen to cover the gaps. Actually, Shakespeare said it pretty well, “Me thinks you protest too much. 🙂

    Ernie, Is your “salvation” EVER secure? How do you know WHEN or IF you’ve DONE enough OR have been OBEDIENT enough? And …what if you sin just before a car hits you and you die with an unconfessed sin?

    That kind of salvation is like a “skate board on ice” – one minute you’re up and fine; next minute you’ve fallen (not from grace – but from obedience). When my head hits the pillow at night and when I rise in the morning, I know where I will spend eternity. Do you KNOW where you will spend eternity?

    Please take comfort in God’s word – John 5:13:

    King James (KJV)
    “These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

    New American Standard (NASV)
    These things I have written to you who BELIEVE in the name of the Son of God, so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.

    Ernie, Neither of the above come from “paraphrases” and they don’t equivicate….read ’em good!

    …Sleep tight; and don’t let the bedbugs bite.:)

    Grace and Peace, Glenn


  144. ~~~~I can see you like the Christ that was “kicking down the tables of the money changers” in the temple…yes, that was righteous anger. You are not Christ;~~~~

    Just endeavoring to be Christ-like. Nothing wrong with righteous anger, so long as I don’t sin (Eph. 4:26).

    ~~~~Ernie, Is your “salvation” EVER secure?~~~~

    Of course.

    ~~~~How do you know WHEN or IF you’ve DONE enough OR have been OBEDIENT enough?~~~~

    I read my Bible and hold my life up to it as a mirror. Bible says to be initially save I must hear/study the gospel (Rom. 10:17; 2 Tim. 2:15), believe the gospel (Mark 16:15-16; Heb. 11:6; etc.), repent of my sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 2 Cor. 7:10), confess my faith in Christ to others (Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10), and obey from the heart that form of doctrine that is NT immersion (Rom. 6:3-5, 16-18), be immersed into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27), come into contact with the blood of Christ (1 John 5:8), have my sins remitted (Acts 2:38), am saved (1 Pet. 3:21).

    After that, I just walk in the light (1 John 1:7) and as long as I am set on following God’s will, any incidental sins are washed immediately, continually by the blood of Christ. If I turn to walk in darkness, like you have — say by embracing pluralism (denominationalism/ecumenicalism) or division as okay as you have (1 Cor. 1:10), or teaching man made doctrines (Matt. 15:9) such as a lazy, faith only salvation in direct contradiction to scripture IN CONTEXT (James 2) — then I am lost once more.

    ~~~~And …what if you sin just before a car hits you and you die with an unconfessed sin?~~~~

    You see, this is the misunderstanding that you and all your new Baptist clone friends have about Biblical salvation after being immersed into Christ. You think its about the momentary sin, the specific event. Like Jay and Todd in this very blog (and even the conservatives who tried to answer them and did such a poor job), you are stuck on the idea that one sin gets you kicked out of the church. You completely ignore 1 John 1 and what it actually teaches. If I’m walking in the light, if I’m heading in the right direction, and I “stumble” (and there is a reason that word is used), Christ is there to catch me. His blood CONTINUALLY cleanses me. So your little situation about the car wreck is a moot point. If I’m walking in the light and I stumble the moment before I die, the blood of Christ is still covering me. It’s when I turn my back on Christ, on His bride, like you have done, and am walking in darkness that I’m in trouble.

    For you and your ilk, you teach that it is impossible to turn and walk in darkness in DIRECT CONTRADICTION to 1 John 1. You teach that once a person’s name is written in the book of life (Phil. 4:3) it can never be blotted out, in DIRECT CONTRADICTION to Rev. 3:5; 22:19). You teach that once one is saved there is no need to fight the fight, finish the race (2 Tim. 4), to be faithful even to the point of death (Rev. 2:10). You don’t believe that you can fall from grace by seeking to be justified by the Old Law (Gal. 5:4) or any other means. I mean, shoot, once I’m saved, I might as well go live it up and have a good time, cause I can’t loose that salvation once God gave it to me. Your man-made doctrine implies that a life of debauchery is not only acceptable, its unavoidable. Do you, like all your Baptist buddies, think that even a person who is saved and walking in the light (for sake of argument, stick with me here) are still horrible, depraved sinners? Or do you, somehow, like me think that sinner and saint are mutually exclusive terms?

    ~~~Do you KNOW where you will spend eternity?~~~~

    Absolutely. I know at any given moment where I will spend eternity. If I’m ever in doubt, all I have to do is compare my life to the perfect mirror of the soul, the gospel of Christ, and see. If I’m walking in the light, I know I’m saved. If I’m walking in darkness, like you are, I’m lost. It’s not hard.

    ~~~~Please take comfort in God’s word – John 5:13~~~~

    I know the verse quite well. In point of fact, only those who believe as I do know for certain at any given time if they have eternal life (life unseparated from God because of sin). If you stick around and you address the point I made above about how your doctrine implies an unavoidable life of debauchery, you will also imply that a person can’t really ever know if they are saved. Every Eternal Security adherent I’ve spoken with ultimately ends up doing so.

    Now. I’ve once more answered every question (unless by accident I missed one, for which I apologize and will correct if brought to my attention) you asked me. You have still not responded directly to my definition of Grace from scripture.

    I await that answer.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  145. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I will eventually get around to responding to your definition of Grace from scripture. Incidentally, you are much better when you have a cool head. It does seem that… you “know more than you understand.” 🙂

    It pretty late and I will not get around to addressing all you say above. You do seem to “have it together” which is my biggest concern. You’ve got it all buttoned down in a neat system which I think does not represent the “whole counsel of God.”

    I am not Baptist; I have been an ordained elder in the conservative Presbyterian Church in America for thirty years. I’m pretty sure that will mean nothing to you; and it matter not to me if it doesn’t.

    “Denomination” is a four letter word with the Churches of Christ. I learned that drill many years ago. I despise liberalism in churches as much, or more, than you do. The only problem is, “liberal” to you means anyone outside the Churches of Christ. So sad. 😦

    The way you describe my faith has no similarity to the way I believe and live my life. I love the Lord as you do which is why I have difficulty understanding your condemning attitude – as if you can read another’s heart. To imply that a true Christian would flaunt his/her Christian liberty and view it as a license to sin is absurd.

    Ernie, I admire your passionate defense of your understanding of scripture. To do less would be unforgivable, unless you’re wrong. And I beleive you are wrong – very wrong. I believe you’ve missed something very basic; I’m trying to understand just where you left the trail. I’m guessing you were taught/coached from early childhood or you’ve studied under a older, dyed-in-the-wool Church of Christ teacher. Have you been to a Church of Christ college?

    Another question: have you ever seriously studied the book of Romans?

    “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
    For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
    Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 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 are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
    Romans 4:4-8

    Gotta go -it’s late.

    I fully intend to go over you definition of Grace.

    Grace and Peace,
    Glenn

  146. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    ~~~~Christ did all the work providing the means and the method by which to appropriate the means to salvation, then we appropriate those means by following the method (obedient faith). That’s why Paul said in Romans 6:16-18 that we were made free when we OBEYED FROM THE HEART that pattern of doctrine (immersion – vs. 3-5).~~~~

    Christ did all the work providing the means of our salvation through His finished work of redemption, then we appropriate those means by placing our faith in His finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation. Jesus Christ is the allsufficient means of our salvation and faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ alone for salvation is the instrumental means by which we receive salvation. You trust in your “imperfect” obedience to save you and not solely in His perfect obedience (Romans 5:19). People “obey” when they repent and believe the gospel, for these things are commanded. They therefore “obey” before they obey the command to be baptized. Is repentance an act of obedience? Is believing? Do these acts come before water baptism? Romans 6:18 does not say that they were set free from sin when they were immersed in water. Neither does Acts 10:43; 15:8-9; Romans 3:24-26). Further obedience which follows saving faith is the result of being set free from sin, not the cause. In regards to verses 3-5, the allusion is to the SYMBOLISM of baptism which was the OUTWARD SIGN of the separation. Before mentioning baptism in Romans chapter 6, Paul had repeatedly emphasized that FAITH, not baptism is the instrumental cause of salvation/justification (Romans 1:16; 3:22-30; 4:4-6, 13; 5:1, 2). That is when the old man was put to death and united in the likeness of His death, which water baptism SYMBOLIZES and PICTURES. Since the symbol can be used to refer to the reality, you end up confusing it with the reality.

    ~~~~I reject the Amplified paraphrase. The noun “salvation” is not in Eph. 2:8, therefore neither “that” nor “it” refers back to “salvation”. Furthermore, “saved” is a verb and pronouns do not refer back to verbs. Learn English.~~~~

    Of course you reject any translation of the Bible which proves you wrong. I already explained to you that both “grace” and “faith” are feminine nouns. “And this (that)” is neuter. To argue that it can’t refer to faith would also argue that it cannot refer to grace! It is also not true that a neuter pronoun cannot refer to a feminine or masculine noun, although this is usually the case. There are exceptions to this rule and Greek grammars give examples of it in scripture. The most natural reading would connect the neuter pronoun with the state of salvation, with one being God’s workmanship. Greek scholar AT Robertson comments: For by grace (th gar cariti). Explanatory reason. “By the grace” already mentioned in verse Romans 5 and so with the article. Through faith (dia pistewß). This phrase he adds in repeating what he said in verse Romans 5 to make it plainer. “”Grace” is God’s part, “faith” ours. And that (kai touto). Neuter, not feminine tauth, and so refers not to pistiß (feminine) or to cariß (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that SALVATION does not have its source (ex umwn, out of you) in men, but from God. Besides, it is God’s GIFT (dwron) and not the result of our work. (A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Comments on Ephesians 2:8). Learn the truth.

    ~~~~You’ll have to talk to James 2 about that. He said we are saved “not by faith only”. He’s inspired so Ima go with him.~~~~

    What does James mean by faith “ONLY?” Not genuine faith which trusts “only in Christ for salvation.” Allow me to show you exactly what James is talking about, again. In James 2:14, we read of one who “SAYS he has faith” but has no works. This is not genuine faith, but a “bare profession of faith.” So when James asks, “Can THAT faith save him?” he is saying nothing against genuine faith, but only against an “empty profession of faith.” James gives us the test for genuine faith: like the faith of Abraham, it results in works. The faith that James is condemning is not the faith that Paul is commending. Works are the demonstrative evidence of genuine saving faith, not the instrumental means by which we receive salvation. James DOES NOT teach that we are saved “by” works. His concern is to SHOW the reality of the faith “professed” by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith CLAIMED (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. SHOW me your (alledged) faith without your works and I will SHOW you my (genuine) faith by my works (James 2:18). SHOW, not establish. Big difference! James is inspired, but you continue to MISINTERPRET James. We are saved by that kind of faith accompanied (confirmed, authenticated) by works. We are justified by faith but only by a true faith, a faith proved to be true if it is followed by good works. We are not doing good works to become saved, we are doing good works because we were already saved by an authentic faith in Jesus which trusts in Him alone for salvation. Man is saved through faith and not by works (Romans 4:1-3; Ephesians 2:8-9); yet faith, if it is true, will be substantiated and confirmed by good works (James 2:14-26). To say that our faith must produce good works in order to become a living faith is like saying that a dead apple tree must produce apples in order to become a living tree. Our faith becomes alive the moment that we trust in Christ alone for salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9) and then we produce good works from our living faith (Ephesians 2:10). The source of the life in the faith is not the works; rather, the life in the faith is the source of the works. Faith is the root and works are the fruit of our salvation. I already explained to you previously that the Bible makes a clear distinction between being justified in the “legal sense” (Romans 4:2-3) and being justified in a “declarative sense” (James 2:21) and you continue to ignore this truth as you never did respond. In James 2:21, notice closely that James does not say that Abraham’s work of offering up Isaac resulted in God’s accounting Abraham as righteous. No! The accounting of Abraham’s faith as righteousness was made in Genesis 15:6, many years before his work of offering up Isaac recorded in Genesis 22. The work of Abraham did not have some kind of intrinsic merit to justify him in the (legal sense), rather it proved or manifested the genuineness of his faith.

    In the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Greek word for justified “dikaiovw” #1344 is:

    1. to render righteous or such he ought to be
    2. to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
    3. to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be

    In the Bible the word “justified” is often used in the “legal” (judicial) sense. Paul often uses the word “justified” in this “legal” sense (Romans 3:24,28; 5:1; 5:9; 8:30 etc…).

    “To justify” is also used in a “declarative sense.” A person who tries to SHOW himself that he is in the right is said to be trying to “justify” himself (see Job 32:2; Luke 10:28,29; 16:14,15). James has this aspect of justification in mind. As we have seen, his concern is to show the reality of the faith professed by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith claimed (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine.

    In Matthew 12:37, “For by your words you will be JUSTIFIED, and by your words you will be condemned.” This is because our words reveal the state of our hearts. Words will appear to be evidences for, or against a man’s being in a state of grace and righteousness: thus for instance, a man that has spoken for Christ, and has freely confessed that all his hope of justification before God, and acceptance with him, is solely upon the account of the righteousness of Christ imputed; such a man will be declared a justified man according to the tenor of his own words: on the other hand, a man that has spoken against Christ, and his righteousness; declaring he has no dependence on it, expects no justification by it; he will be convinced of these ungodly sayings, and out of his own mouth will be condemned. Of course this verse does not teach that we are not justified by faith “in the legal sense” until we say all the right words.

    God is said to have been “JUSTIFIED” (KJV) by those who were baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 7:29). This act pronounced or declared God to be righteous. It did not make him righteous. The basis or ground for the pronouncement was the fact that God IS righteous. Was God “justified” in the “legal” sense (accounted not guitly of His sins)? Notice that the NAS reads, “they acknowledged God’s justice,” in place of the word “justified.”
    This is the sense in which God was justified DECLARATIVE SENSE.

    In Job 32:2, “Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he “JUSTIFIED” (KJV) himself rather than God. Now did Job “justify” himself in the legal sense (account himself not guilty of his sins)? Elihu was angry that Job tried to “justify” (vindicate) himself rather than God. My point is crystal clear.

    In Luke 10:28-29, “And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to JUSTIFY himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Did this Lawyer “justify” himself in the “legal” sense (account himself not guilty of his sins)? Something to really think about.

    In Luke 16:14-15, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who JUSTIFY yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Did these Pharisees “justify” themselves in the “legal” sense (account themselves not guilty of their sins)? Only God can forgive sins. The Pharisees belief was that their own goodness (works) was what justified them. This is the very definition of “self-righteousness.” But, as Jesus explained, their righteousness was flawed, being an external appearance only. That might be enough to justify them before (deceived) men, but not before God, because He knew their hearts. You can run, but you cannot hide from this truth.

    ~~~~So, there are works of obedience required for salvation that are not works of merit. How is what you said here and what I’ve been saying about water immersion substantially different? There is only one more work in my list that yours. I agree with all of your works being required for salvation. Why then must you leave water immersion out?~~~~

    Hearing the Word, Repentance and Believing the gospel are works of obedience by which we receive the gift of salvation. There is no merit for us in accepting a gift. Of course we must first Hear the Word and Repent “change our mind” before we can Believe the gospel and become saved (Romans 1:16). Believing the gospel is the culminating act in receiving salvation. Baptism is substantially different because it FOLLOWS Believing the gospel and testifies to it (Acts 10:43-48) Faith is not baptism and faith precedes baptism and we are saved through faith. Faith receives the free gift and baptism would add to the free gift if it was necessary for salvation. The work of God is that we BELIEVE (John 6:29). Through repentance/faith, Christ is still the object of our complete trust in receiving salvation. Baptism is a work which follows faith and if it’s necessary for salvation, that would add merit on our part to our salvation because now we are saved through Christ’s finished work plus our baptism. I leave out water immersion because we are saved through faith in Christ’s finished work of redemption and His finished work of redemption is allsufficient to save us. We don’t need to add water baptism as a supplement to Christ’s finished work of redemption in order to help Him save us. He did it all.

    ~~~~Yes. Have from the beginning. That’s what we talked about in James 2. Where have you been? But then again, so do you. Remember when you talked about hearing, faith, and repentance as works of obedience necessary for salvation above?~~~~

    James does not teach salvation “by works.” His concern is to SHOW the reality of the faith professed by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith CLAIMED (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. If we have genuinely placed our faith (belief, trust, reliance) in “Christ alone” for salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9), then we have received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-47; 11:17; Ephesians 1:13), we have received the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and we have become new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have been changed. Praise God! If this is the case, then it will SHOW (James 2:18) in our lives by the good works that we accomplish and DEMONSTRATE (James 2:14) that our faith is genuine. Simple! There is a HUGE difference between being saved “by these works” and these works being the “demonstrative evidence” of “our faith by which we have already been saved before we accomplished these further works.” The natural man (1 Corinthians 2:14) cannot grasp this truth. Through hearing, repentance and faith we accept the free gift. These are works of obedience by which we receive the free gift but not works of obedience by which we add to the free gift and earn the gift in part after we receive it. Big difference! There is nothing here for me to be haunted about.

    ~~~~It’s not my fault you don’t understand that when Paul uses the phrase “the law” or refers to the law of works he is referring to the Old Testament.~~~~

    It’s not my fault that you don’t understand that James does not teach salvation by works. The only way that we could be saved by works is to perfectly obey “the law.” In contrast, we place our faith in the One who perfectly obeyed the law for us, died for our sins and rose from the dead. He did it all. You need to believe and receive (Romans 4:4-6), but you want to “add your works” to the equation. You just can’t trust in Christ alone to save you. When it comes to the MORAL aspect of the law, there is no distinction between works of the law and works of obedience which follow saving faith. In James 2:15-16, the example of a “work” that James gives is: “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” To neglect such a brother or sister is to break the second great commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) as found written in the law of Moses (Leviticus 19:18). Why didn’t James mention a list of works “not of the law” and say that we are actually saved by these works? Please notice the words used by James in chapter 2 verses 14 and 18, “CLAIMS” and “SHOW.” If we have truly been saved through faith, then it will SHOW by our works. We SHOW something by what we already have, not to receive what we don’t yet have.

    ~~~~And as I defined from scripture, the unmerited favor was the plan of salvation, with Christ as the means and the gospel as the method. You haven’t responded to my post on that yet. Just saying that my list doesn’t prove my point is not enough. You have to explain why it is not enough. My post was logical and from scripture.~~~~

    It doesn’t seem to matter what I prove. You will just ignore or explain away what I prove and move onto a new argument. Just quoting those scriptures does not prove your point. The burden of proof is on you to prove that these passages support your argument, not on me to prove that they don’t. The plan of salvation is that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead to provide for us eternal life and we receive the gift of eternal life when we choose to BELIEVE the gospel (Romans 1:16) by trusting in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation. Grace is God’s unmerited favor, which is the source of the whole arrangement. In regards to Romans 3:24, “justified by his grace” you imply that the unmerited favor is the plan of salvation. Greek scholar AT Robertson comments: By his grace (th autou cariti). Instrumental case of this wonderful word cari which so richly expresses Paul’s idea of SALVATION as God’s FREE GIFT. AMEN! In Titus 3:7, Being justified by his grace (dikaiwqente th ekeinou cariti). First aorist passive participle of dikaiow and instrumental case of cari AS IN ROMANS 3:24. Notice in Romans 5:15, “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, AND the gift “by” grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Notice the AND between the grace of God AND the gift “by” grace, not the gift “is” this grace. That is enough to prove why your point is incorrect. Your post may sound logical to you, since you are indoctrinated into restoration theology and you refuse to accept salvation as a free gift through faith and insist on receiving it as an obligation based on your works.

    ~~~~When you actually deal with my definition of Grace (other than saying “nuh uhn”) directly I’ll cover these other topics. Until then, I maintain that Grace has specific properties and those specific properties are also assigned to Christ and the gospel together as the plan of salvation. An elephant by any other name…~~~~

    I have been dealing with your definition of grace and you just don’t get it. I notice how you keep capitolizing the word “Grace” to imply that it’s defined as “Christ Himself” when it is not capitolized in the Bible. Both “grace” and “favor” in the King James Version are always a translation of the same Greek word, charis (khar’ece, Strong #5485). Its first definition in Strong’s Greek Lexicon is “graciousness,…of manner or act.” And it is of interest to note that Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary puts as its first definition of grace, “unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification.” So grace is favor, “unmerited favor.” Grace is, therefore, God’s unmerited favor – His goodness toward those who have no claim on, nor reason to expect, divine favor. The principal “manifestation” of God’s grace has been in the form of a gift. Salvation is “the gift of God.” Salvation is not our achievement, but it is a gift from God. We receive it through faith. That truth is made stronger by contrast. It is “not of ourselves” and “not of works.” Salvation is indeed the most extraordinary expression of God’s grace. If we take your method of defining grace, using your criteria, we could just as easily define “grace” as “love,” or as “faith,” etc., for these words also “fit” the description that you give of “grace.” Why don’t you just give us a Greek authority that defines “grace” as meaning “plan of salvation?” We see that grace means, “divine influence upon the soul,” “unmerited favor.” Why can’t we just leave it at that and accept the truth? Your gospel sounds similar to the Mormon gospel, “It is by grace that we are saved, AFTER ALL WE CAN DO…” In other words do all you can or else the Lord will not be able to save you. It’s a shame to see so much zeal wasted on UNBELIEF. There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12). I pray that you will quit fighting the truth and come to BELIEVE (John 3:16; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16).

    ~~~~Your job is to actually SHOW how I am wrong, not just assert it.~~~~

    I did already SHOW you many times how you are wrong about many things, but unfortunately the truth just keeps going right over your head (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). When will you BELIEVE?

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  147. ~~~~“Denomination” is a four letter word with the Churches of Christ. I learned that drill many years ago. I despise liberalism in churches as much, or more, than you do. The only problem is, “liberal” to you means anyone outside the Churches of Christ. So sad. :(~~~~

    No. Liberal to me is a specific set of properties among which are pluralism (ecumenicalism) and former members of the church who embrace it and/or denominationalism, as you have.

    But I do understand your position and perspective concerning liberalism within the larger sphere of the denominations.

    And yes, denominationalism is an abomination.

    ~~~~To imply that a true Christian would flaunt his/her Christian liberty and view it as a license to sin is absurd.~~~~

    It isn’t that this is necessarily what folks like you who hold to the doctrine do, most of you are sincere, do good to others, try your best not to sin people. But its what your doctrine implies and less mature individuals will see it and will use it as a license to sin. I am a high school physics teacher and have seen it first hand in a solid majority of my “Christian” students.

    ~~~~I’m guessing you were taught/coached from early childhood or you’ve studied under a older, dyed-in-the-wool Church of Christ teacher. Have you been to a Church of Christ college?~~~~

    My wife went to Freed, but I’ve got personal issues with our colleges and more-so with our preaching schools. They are getting too much of a diocese-type mentality about them and they brook no challenge (specifically with regard to Revelation…see my blog if you like: http://swordmasterpublications.blogspot.com).

    I think that you’ve noticed that I hold to some things that the church of Christ doesn’t necessarily teach. It comes from the weakness of the mid 20th century when their focus was getting them in the water and then they turned them loose. Matt. 28:19-20 says to teach them, immerse them, then teach them some more. That means even though many of the congregations have the basics, they don’t have a clue on some of the harder, deeper issues. Sadly, most lessons today in the churches I am more likely to worship with center around 4 main issues, which I call asceticism: don’t drink even a drop of alcohol, don’t mix swim, don’t dance, don’t gamble. I also don’t much like commentaries, though I do see their uses for others in limited circumstances. I’m even co-writing one on Revelation with one of my brothers.

    So no, what I believe doesn’t come from other men. What I believe comes from vast hours of personal study and discussions against people like you and Dan online, defending my own faith.

    ~~~~Another question: have you ever seriously studied the book of Romans?~~~~

    Absolutely. And I’ve never studied seriously under another teacher or by commentary. I’ve studied it in light of the Old Testament, verse by verse, word by word on my own in order to teach a Bible class my dad and I co-teach to our congregation. The backdrop for Romans is one that almost everyone misses, Paul’s constant fight against Judaizers and the persecution of the Jews against Christians. Most in the church just give Romans a cursory inspection, cherry picking verses based on whatever topic they are preaching on (misusing Romans 3:23 just like every one else more often than not). Romans needs to be studied within the larger context of the whole NT, the time period, the whole Bible, and as a letter, a complete composition, not in isolated bits.

    ~~~~“For if Abraham was justified by works…” Romans 4:4-8~~~~

    This is exactly what I’m talking about. You see this as works in general, but Paul is not referring to just any kind of work in the book of Romans. His backdrop is a comparison of the OT vs. the NT, Jew vs. Christian. That is the overarching theme of the book of Romans. The works Paul is referring to with regard to Abraham are works of the Old Mosaical Law. See, the Jews thought they were hot snot because they were: 1. descended from Abraham (which Gentiles were not) and 2. under this special law delivered only to them by Jehovah God. The Jews did not understand the purpose of the law of Moses, nor their purpose in existing as a nation. It was as a schoolmaster to bring the world to a full understanding of Christ. Once they crucified Him, their purpose in existing ended.

    But as for Abraham (their great patriarch), he lived before Moses and therefore was justified outside of the law of Moses (or simply The Law) as Paul puts it most of the time. The two things the Jews were most proud of conflicted with one another. But when we read of the type of faith Abraham was justified by, it was an obedient faith (James 2; Heb. 11; Genesis 12f). Nobody gets this so nobody gets the book of Romans. Chapters 1-4 really point out this theme and Chapters 10-11 hit it pretty good again. But the whole book must be read in light of that theme or anything can and has been interpreted from the cherry picking.

    ~~~~I fully intend to go over you definition of Grace.~~~~

    I await that response.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  148. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie,

    Salvation has ALWAYS been by “grace through faith. In the OT, faith looking forward to the coming sacrifice of the Messiah; in the NT faith looking back to Christ’s finished work.

    Ernie, Don’t mean to sound personal…but do you have many (any) close friends outside of your immediate family?

    Grace and Peace,

    Glennn


  149. ~~~~Christ did all the work providing the means of our salvation through His finished work of redemption,~~~~

    Yes. He is the one who earned salvation for sinners. His work was meritorious and it is how he could pay the debt he did not owe and we owed but could not pay. I agree.

    ~~~~then we appropriate those means by placing our faith in His finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation.~~~~

    There is no scripture that teaches this in the Bible.

    ~~~~Jesus Christ is the all sufficient means of our salvation and faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Christ alone for salvation is the instrumental means by which we receive salvation.~~~~

    Again, I agree with you on the Christ part of it. Christ and his teachings (the NT) are Grace, the means/cause of salvation. This is what I have been saying the entire time we’ve been talking.

    But limiting man’s effort to “faith only” is where you have no scripture to back up what you are teaching. Faith IS essential. One cannot please God or be saved without it (Heb. 11:6; Mark 16:15-16). But faith is not the only requirement from God for man to accept grace and be saved. You’ve already conceded that man needs to Hear the Gospel (or read it or whatever), believe it, and repent of their sins. I’m not sure exactly where you stand on confession as of yet. But with all of these in the list of things man must do to accept God’s grace, I am perplexed as to why the last work, immersion in water, is so difficult for you, especially in light of all that the Bible teaches about it.

    ~~~You trust in your “imperfect” obedience to save you~~~~

    You trust in obedience to save you, too. Except for one additional work of obedience in my list, how are we different?

    ~~~~People “obey” when they repent and believe the gospel, for these things are commanded. They therefore “obey” before they obey the command to be baptized. Is repentance an act of obedience? Is believing? Do these acts come before water baptism? Romans 6:18 does not say that they were set free from sin when they were immersed in water.~~~~

    What pattern could Paul be contextually referring to in Rom. 6 other than the pattern given by Christ as he spoke of just a few verses earlier at the beginning of the chapter:

    Rom. 6:3 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

    1. We are immersed into the death of Christ.
    2. We are buried like he was.
    3. Having been buried like he was, we rise to new life like he was raised.
    4. It is in immersion that our old man is crucified, the sinful self is destroyed.
    5. It is coming up out of that burial that we walk in newness of (spiritual) life.

    “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I life, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20

    When are we crucified with Christ? At immersion in water according to Romans 6:3-7. When are we set from from sin? When we obey from that heart that pattern. What pattern? The pattern of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Immersion is the only act that ties in our death to Christ’s death directly. Faith is parallel to Christ’s faith in God while living. It was the precursor to his death on the cross. Necessary, but alone it did not save man. The death of Christ on the cross, the shedding of his innocent blood, is ultimately what saved. It is the parallel to that which saves, which is what 1 Pet. 3:21 is all about.

    ~~~~Neither does Acts 10:43; 15:8-9; Romans 3:24-26).~~~~

    You still aren’t even bothering to try to understand what I’m saying. Once more, just because you list a verse that only has faith in them, does not mean that faith only saves. I could list a bunch of verses that only have immersion in them, but that does not mean that immersion alone saves. Else I would just go around dunking people in the nearest swimming pool/river/ocean. Faith is essential, yes. We both agree. But you deny the necessity to conform to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is only done in NT immersion.

    ~~~~Further obedience which follows saving faith is the result of being set free from sin, not the cause.~~~~

    This is not taught anywhere in scripture. It is a statement that also contradicts your teaching that works are not necessary for salvation.

    ~~~~In regards to verses 3-5, the allusion is to the SYMBOLISM of baptism which was the OUTWARD SIGN of the separation.~~~~

    Yes, you denominational folk are all about appearances (John 7:24). I have discussed Romans 6:3f quite thoroughly above and SHOWN there how wrong this statement of yours is.

    ~~~Before mentioning baptism in Romans chapter 6, Paul had repeatedly emphasized that FAITH, not baptism is the instrumental cause of salvation/justification (Romans 1:16; 3:22-30; 4:4-6, 13; 5:1, 2).~~~~

    No and an infinite amount of times no. Paul says nothing of the sort. Paul does mention faith…a lot. But he never speaks of faith as “the instrumental cause of salvation/justification”.

    Romans 1:16 – the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe it because if they believe what the gospel says, they will act on that belief to be saved. That’s why John 1:12 says that those who believe have the power TO BECOME sons of God. When they believe, they aren’t sons yet, but now they have the ability to become so.

    You cherry pick your verses and have no concept of how to use context. You, like Glenn, don’t have a clue about what the underlying message of the book of Romans is. Furthermore, you interpret it as if it was written to you in our time frame. Glen asked me above if I had every seriously studied the book of Romans. This is my response to both of you:

    ~~~~Glenn said:
    Another question: have you ever seriously studied the book of Romans?~~~~

    Absolutely. And I’ve never studied seriously under another teacher or by commentary. I’ve studied it in light of the Old Testament, verse by verse, word by word on my own in order to teach a Bible class my dad and I co-teach to our congregation. The backdrop for Romans is one that almost everyone misses, Paul’s constant fight against Judaizers and the persecution of the Jews against Christians. Most in the church just give Romans a cursory inspection, cherry picking verses based on whatever topic they are preaching on (misusing Romans 3:23 just like every one else more often than not). Romans needs to be studied within the larger context of the whole NT, the time period, the whole Bible, and as a letter, a complete composition, not in isolated bits.

    ~~~~Glenn quoted:
    “For if Abraham was justified by works…” Romans 4:4-8~~~~

    This is exactly what I’m talking about. You see this as works in general, but Paul is not referring to just any kind of work in the book of Romans. His backdrop is a comparison of the OT vs. the NT, Jew vs. Christian. That is the overarching theme of the book of Romans. The works Paul is referring to with regard to Abraham are works of the Old Mosaical Law. See, the Jews thought they were hot snot because they were: 1. descended from Abraham (which Gentiles were not) and 2. under this special law delivered only to them by Jehovah God. The Jews did not understand the purpose of the law of Moses, nor their purpose in existing as a nation. It was as a schoolmaster to bring the world to a full understanding of Christ. Once they crucified Him, their purpose in existing ended.

    But as for Abraham (their great patriarch), he lived before Moses and therefore was justified outside of the law of Moses (or simply The Law) as Paul puts it most of the time. The two things the Jews were most proud of conflicted with one another. But when we read of the type of faith Abraham was justified by, it was an obedient faith (James 2; Heb. 11; Genesis 12f). Nobody gets this so nobody gets the book of Romans. Chapters 1-4 really point out this theme and Chapters 10-11 hit it pretty good again. But the whole book must be read in light of that theme or anything can and has been interpreted from the cherry picking.

    ~~~~Dan said:
    That is when the old man was put to death and united in the likeness of His death~~~~

    This directly contradicts the explicit statements of Romans 6:3-7.

    ~~~~Of course you reject any translation of the Bible which proves you wrong.~~~~

    No. I reject any translation that doesn’t really translate. I read Greek just fine and the so-called translators of the Amplified Bible managed to intersperse their translation with a huge quantity of personal interpretation throughout, essentially adding to the scriptures.

    ~~~~I already explained to you that both “grace” and “faith” are feminine nouns. “And this (that)” is neuter. To argue that it can’t refer to faith would also argue that it cannot refer to grace!~~~~

    But its okay that a pronoun refers back to a verb?

    ~~~~It is also not true that a neuter pronoun cannot refer to a feminine or masculine noun, although this is usually the case. There are exceptions to this rule and Greek grammars give examples of it in scripture.~~~~

    Which resolves how both pronouns “that” and “it [is the gift of God]” refer back to Grace. Case closed.

    ~~~~The most natural reading would connect the neuter pronoun with the state of salvation,~~~~

    The most natural reading would be to have a pronoun refer back to a noun that doesn’t exist in the passage?

    ~~~~Greek scholar AT Robertson comments:~~~~

    Who is A.T. Robertson and why should I care what he says? I don’t argue against commentaries, Dan. It’s a waste of time.

    ~~~~What does James mean by faith “ONLY?” Not genuine faith which trusts “only in Christ for salvation.” Allow me to show you exactly what James is talking about, again. In James 2:14, we read of one who “SAYS he has faith” but has no works. This is not genuine faith, but a “bare profession of faith.” So when James asks, “Can THAT faith save him?” he is saying nothing against genuine faith, but only against an “empty profession of faith.” James gives us the test for genuine faith: like the faith of Abraham, it results in works. The faith that James is condemning is not the faith that Paul is commending.~~~~

    First off, let me commend you on finally using scripture to try and SHOW me your reasons rather than just asserting them. I definitely understand what you are saying, though I still don’t agree. But thank you for actually trying to reason from scripture. It’s way less frustrating for me.

    Now, as for what kind of faith, if this faith is just a mental assent that you are claiming, then the points James made in vs. 22-24 is nullified.

    “22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. ”

    We see that faith in conjunction with works is made perfect by those works. Its the same faith, but that faith is perfected (completed) by works.

    Verse 24, which is still the killer verse for you, is teaching that faith only does not justify, but faith (same faith spoken of since vs. 14) WITH works justifies. If the faith James is speaking of in this whole context is some kind of empty mental acknowledgment as you describe, then that empty mental acknowledgment WITH works of obedience justifies.

    That cannot be. James must be speaking of the same kind of faith throughout. The whole point of the passage is not to distinguish two different types of faith, but to distinguish between justification by faith alone (your doctrine) and faith plus works.

    Read any other way the context is destroyed.

    In fact, I believe that the demons have the same kind of faith in Jesus that potentially saves men. They not only mentally assent to who Jesus is (and even have publicly confessed it – Matt. 8:29), but they trust God, are absolutely convicted in fact, that He will fulfill all of His promises just as you or I, if not moreso. But they chose to willfully disobey, hence the purpose of 2:19.

    The definition you use for the word πίστις (pistis – faith) simply is not a valid one. It is a man made definition devised for the purpose of denying the whole point of James 2. I know of no one but the faith only crowd who would even conceive of using the term faith that way. When I say I have faith in someone in any context (acted upon or not) it is used the same way that πίστις is used throughout the scriptures.

    ~~~~Works are the demonstrative evidence of genuine saving faith, not the instrumental means by which we receive salvation.~~~~

    This is nowhere taught in scripture. No NT writer ever speaks of works as “demonstrative”, “symbolic of salvation” or other such terms. Instead, they speak in plain terms such as “baptism doth also now save us”, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness”. Paul explicitly says that the reason there is a crown of righteousness laid up for him is because he fought the fight, finished the course. He speaks nothing of these being symbolic of being saved. In fact, that passage in 2 Tim. 4 has no meaning if works are irrelevant to salvation. Rev. 2:10 has no meaning in light of your doctrine. You make void a good portion of the NT by your doctrine of “works are only a symbol”. Furthermore, you contradict your own admission that some works ARE in fact instrumental.

    ~~~~James DOES NOT teach that we are saved “by” works.~~~~

    Irrelevant now that you have admitted that there are some works that actually do save (hearing, believing, repenting). There is no more case for me to make here because you’ve already given up this premise explicitly.

    Now we are down to which works of obedience God requires for us to be saved (water immersion, finishing the course, or neither), and hearing your response to my scriptural identification of Grace.

    ~~~~Hearing the Word, Repentance and Believing the gospel are works of obedience by which we receive the gift of salvation. There is no merit for us in accepting a gift. Of course we must first Hear the Word and Repent “change our mind” before we can Believe the gospel and become saved (Romans 1:16). Believing the gospel is the culminating act in receiving salvation. Baptism is substantially different because it FOLLOWS Believing the gospel and testifies to it (Acts 10:43-48) Faith is not baptism and faith precedes baptism and we are saved through faith. Faith receives the free gift and baptism would add to the free gift if it was necessary for salvation. The work of God is that we BELIEVE (John 6:29). Through repentance/faith, Christ is still the object of our complete trust in receiving salvation. Baptism is a work which follows faith and if it’s necessary for salvation, that would add merit on our part to our salvation because now we are saved through Christ’s finished work plus our baptism. I leave out water immersion because we are saved through faith in Christ’s finished work of redemption and His finished work of redemption is allsufficient to save us. We don’t need to add water baptism as a supplement to Christ’s finished work of redemption in order to help Him save us. He did it all.~~~~

    This is nothing more than a circular argument. It boils down to “faith is the culminating work of obedience that saves because faith is the culminating work of obedience that saves”. You keep asserting what you have to prove.

    ~~~~It’s not my fault you don’t understand that when Paul uses the phrase “the law” or refers to the law of works he is referring to the Old Testament.~~~~

    ~~~~…we place our faith in the One who perfectly obeyed the law for us~~~~

    Which law did the One perfectly obey, Dan? Which law is “the law” in the context of your statement and in Paul’s letters, Dan?

    ~~~~…but you want to “add your works” to the equation.~~~~

    Now you are just flat out lying about my position. How can water immersion be MY work when it is found all over the NT (and typified throughout the OT)?

    ~~~~It doesn’t seem to matter what I prove. You will just ignore or explain away what I prove and move onto a new argument. Just quoting those scriptures does not prove your point. The burden of proof is on you to prove that these passages support your argument, not on me to prove that they don’t.~~~~

    This doesn’t even make sense. I made a specific argument that divine saving grace (of Eph. 2:8 fame) has specific properties. I then claimed that finding something else with those same exact properties would identify what God’s unmerited favor that saves us actually is. I then presented verses that identified Jesus and his teachings as having the same properties thus proving my premise. I see by our discussions that you are unfamiliar with formal debate. Once I have laid out such an argument your job IS to show where I am wrong.

    So far all you have said is “nuh uhn!” to my precise identification from scripture of what God’s Grace that saves actually is. Try harder. You did correctly above trying to use scripture to SHOW where I was wrong.

    ~~~~Grace is God’s unmerited favor~~~~

    Yes, but what is the favor?

    ~~~In regards to Romans 3:24, “justified by his grace” you imply that the unmerited favor is the plan of salvation. Greek scholar AT Robertson comments:~~~~

    Again, I don’t really care about what this Robertson guy says any more than you would care about what Dr. Thomas B. Warren might have to say about anything. There is no point in quoting this guy to me. I don’t accept him as authoritative in any way, and I refuse to debate against commentaries. If A.T. wants to come chat with me, then I’ll chat with him.

    ~~~~I notice how you keep capitolizing the word “Grace” to imply that it’s defined as “Christ Himself”~~~~

    No, I capitalize Grace to distinguish it as the divine saving grace of Eph. 2:8 rather than just general favor or blessings such as found in passages such as 1 Cor. 1:3 and other such salutations. When I capitalize Grace, I’m talking about the Grace that is the cause of salvation, not because I believe that particular grace is Christ. But I can see where you came up with that idea.

    ~~~~Both “grace” and “favor” in the King James Version are always a translation of the same Greek word, charis (khar’ece, Strong #5485).~~~~

    Yes. I know. I’m familiar with the word and the Greek. In many instances its just general favor, blessing, or perspective of someone. Same as saying “that’s my favorite student” or some such. I know what the definition of charis is. But what you have yet to understand is that the charis of Eph. 2:8 is a specific blessing, a gift given that was not earned that has the power to save (working through obedient faith). I’m not asking you for a definition of charis. I’m discussing what that specific blessing/gift/favor/present/etc. is.

    I give my relatives gifts at Christmas time or at birthdays. But they open them up and there is something specific in each package. God’s charis is that way. He gives humans charis. Each favor is different with different purposes. One of those packages He gave all mankind contained something specific in it that can save. It is the only gift that can do that. None of the other gifts can.

    I’m just telling you what’s inside the wrapping, in the package. And frankly, you already half agree with me, though you don’t really know it yet.

    What did God give to mankind that man could never earn, could not demand of God, could not have even conceived of without divine revelation, that saves man?

    The answer is: His Son.

    And part of that answer is what His Son taught us, either directly or through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the gospel message.

    No other gift from God answers that question.

    ~~~~If we take your method of defining grace, using your criteria, we could just as easily define “grace” as “love,” or as “faith,” etc., for these words also “fit” the description that you give of “grace.”~~~~

    No, they wouldn’t. God’s love is as general as His favor. Part of that love is expressed in His Son and the revealed word, but the whole concept of love is too general to fit.

    Faith doesn’t fit either because faith is a work of obedience on man’s part. It comes from another work of obedience on man’s part, hearing the gospel. So faith cannot be that specific gift from God that saves.

    ~~~~Why don’t you just give us a Greek authority that defines “grace” as meaning “plan of salvation?”~~~~

    1. Because I don’t think you understand the language without A.T. Robertson to tell you what to think.

    2. Because I’m not asking for a dictionary definition of the Greek word charis. I’m looking for a connotative definition, an identification of what that charis that saves is.

    That you ask this question of me tells me that you still don’t understand that question I’m asking you.

    ~~~~We see that grace means, “divine influence upon the soul,” “unmerited favor.” Why can’t we just leave it at that and accept the truth?~~~~

    Because there are other instances of charis that do not save. They are gifts/blessings that come to all, just or unjust (like rain), or they come to those who are already saved (like eternal life, fellowship with Christians, the joy of preaching the gospel to others and immersing them into Christ, etc.). None of those favors from God save. So that general definition does not answer the question I’m asking. I’m asking specifically about the saving gift.

    ~~~~Your gospel sounds similar to the Mormon gospel,~~~~

    Guilt by association is a logical fallacy. It has the same impact as saying your doctrine sounds a lot like the Muslim teachings. It’s based in emotion, has no practical value, and is pointless.

    So, to sum up:

    1. You admit that SOME works of obedience are REQUIRED to be saved.
    2. You need to study Romans correctly (and I’m thinking of taking a break from going in circles with you about grace and works to discuss Romans verse by verse from the beginning with you and Glenn).
    3. You still can’t correctly identify the grace that saves, though you do declare that Jesus alone saves, which is getting there. I’m interested to see what you do with James 1:21 and the engrafted word that is able to save and how that relates to the grace of Eph. 2:8.
    4. Instead of defending the gospel on your own, you are now quoting commentaries to me, showing me that you rely on the teachings of uninspired men to defend your belief rather than the Bible alone. It proves to me (if no one else) that your doctrines are the teachings of men (Matt. 15:9).

    Maybe I’ll start into Romans 1 by this weekend. Got a lot of work to do before Monday. We’ll see.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  150. Glenn said:
    Salvation has ALWAYS been by “grace through faith. In the OT, faith looking forward to the coming sacrifice of the Messiah; in the NT faith looking back to Christ’s finished work.

    I think you just made my point. Saved by grace (Christ) through obedient faith (either looking forward under the OT or back under the NT). Perhaps we are in agreement then on what God’s gift that saves actually is? I hope so.

    Ernie, Don’t mean to sound personal…but do you have many (any) close friends outside of your immediate family?

    I wonder how many people would take this question as absurdly rude and become extraordinarily “offended” (upset) by it? What relevance does it have to anything we are discussing?

    Whatever. I cannot be “offended” in that way by anything you say and don’t mind answering the question at all. I have quite a large number of friends in various circles (I’m a physics teacher, an author of fantasy/science fiction novels, I play D&D and some pick up ball games of various sorts, I went to college, and of course most of my friends are members of the church of Christ). I just don’t have any friends who are false teachers.

    You don’t see that side of me because you are a former member of the church who has turned his back on Christ’s church. The only side of me you get to see is the soldier in full armor (Eph. 6:10-18) full of wrath against those who would tear down the church.

    That you are 30+ year removed from being a part of our family and that you identify yourself no longer as a member of the church, but of the Presbyterian denomination has cooled my anger somewhat towards you. So long as you don’t claim to speak for the church of Christ when you speak, I promise to ease up on the expression of that anger towards you.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  151. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I’m glad we now seem to have some common ground regarding “salvation through grace.” More later… (it can’t possibly be that easy to get agreement from you). 🙂

    I agree my question relative to your “friends” as “extraordinarily rude” and could be offensive. It designed was to get you to THINK about how you were coming across – certainly not Christlike.

    It is amusing to think…when you get to heaven and all those Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Assembly of God folks, and some Catholics are there….You’ll be spending the first couple hundred years just going around apologizing for your misstatements.

    Maybe you should consider getting out of your little CoC “holy huddle” and enjoy the broader Christian community. There are “born again” people in all Christian churches.

    I believe I made it clear from the outset that I was a “church of Christ dropout” (thankfully); I never claim to be an advocate. I admit it took years for me to figure out the basic problem – the lack of understanding of the effects of the fall – original sin. And yes, we are free to chose but only according to our ability – physically alive and spiritually dead. Otherwise why would be have to be “born again” as Jesus said?

    Ephesians 2:1-5 (my CAPS for emphasis)

    “And you were DEAD in your trespasses and sins,
    in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them WE TOO ALL formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, AND WERE BY NATURE children of WRATH, even as the rest. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE WITH WHICH HE LOVED US, even when WE WERE DEAD in our transgressions, MADE US ALIVE together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

    Ernie, it was God’s love AND God taking the initiative – NOT OUR OBEDIENCE that resulted in our salvation. Your little formula for getting oneself saved does not “square” with scripture.

    Grace adn Peace,

    Glenn


  152. Glenn said:
    Otherwise why would be have to be “born again” as Jesus said?

    Because when someone does sin, it separates them from God, which is the nature of spiritual death. When you are born again, made into a new spiritual creature, you are given eternal life once more.

    Being spiritually dead doesn’t make you retarded or something. It didn’t change my capacity for thought or response to the gospel. My faith came by reading the Bible. The gospel convinced me that it was logical, true, and that if I did what it said, God would save me as He promised. Because I was convinced and trusted that God would do what He said, I acted. I confessed my faith to others, turned from my life of sin and towards God. All of this without being spiritually reborn.

    The gospel isn’t some magical red or blue pill. It is a collection of ideas, concepts, like Physics. The laws of the universe (also written by our Creator) are immutable, powerful (on the physical plane of existence), and discoverable for those willing to put the effort in. Like the gospel, some people choose to ignore the laws of the universe to their peril. Or, as they study the universe, they desire something so badly, that they make up their own teachings and try to pass those off as law to others (Macroevolution is a good example of this, monoism, abiogenesis, “the Big Bang”, and an old earth are others).

    When a man hears the gospel or picks it up and reads it, the faculties designed into him by the Creator allow him to read the information, understand it, and choose to accept it (faith) and act on it (works of obedience) or not. There is nothing more to it than that. Being spiritually dead or spiritually alive does not alter in any way the capacity of a person to respond to the teachings of the Word of God. Nor does the Bible teach that anywhere.

    And before you go there, allow me:

    1 Cor. 2:14 – But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    So many of you Calvinists use this verse to try and say that the “natural man” is the unregenerate sinner and then you teach that the unregenerate sinner is incapable of understanding the Word of God until the Holy Spirit comes down and flips some switch in you.

    1. This makes God a respecter of persons because not everyone gets the switch flipped (unless you are going to affirm universalism), and therefore a direct contradiction to explicit statements in scripture (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17 – also notice that God judges every man according to his works).

    2. This passage, in its immediate and remote context teaches nothing of the sort. It teaches the difference between our A) physical self, the self made of dust of the Earth, the self that is biologically, chemically, etc. like the animals and just as temporary, and B)spiritual self, the self that is made in the image of God, that is eternal in nature, that is the part of us capable of morality, that is truly what separates us from the animals. It is the same contrast shown in Romans 7 by Paul, who, being a Christian, still felt the conflict between his physical, temporal self and his spiritual, eternal self.

    Paul is writing in 1 Cor. 2:14 that it is not the physical part of man that understands moral, spiritual matters, it is the soul. A man without a soul is nothing more than an animal. My cat cannot discern the gospel. My body, my brain without my soul (even if alive and fully functional) cannot understand the gospel.

    For a look at this scientifically I recommend studying dualism. A good start is the book The Self and It’s Brain by Sir John Eccles. Eccles was an Australian neurophysiologist who proved through scientific methods the existence of the soul. It’s great stuff, if a bit heavy on the science.

    Glenn said:
    Ephesians 2:1-5 (my CAPS for emphasis)

    “And you were DEAD in your trespasses and sins,
    in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them WE TOO ALL formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, AND WERE BY NATURE children of WRATH, even as the rest. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE WITH WHICH HE LOVED US, even when WE WERE DEAD in our transgressions, MADE US ALIVE together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

    So the focus here, of course, is the phrase “were by nature children of wrath”. Natures can be taken on at any time under the right circumstances. Christ took on the nature of a man rather than of celestial angels (Heb. 2:16). When we obey the gospel, our nature changes. Conversely, when we reach that age where we are capable of sinning and choose to sin, we change our nature there, too. As a Christian, I may change my nature back to one of wrath by choosing to turn and walk in darkness again, which is the whole point of what Paul is saying in Eph. 2.

    Paul is in effect saying, “Ephesians, you used to be, by your very natures (with no statement about when they took on that nature), children of wrath. Now you are children of God, citizens in the kingdom of God. God has fulfilled and abolished the Old Law so don’t go and try to be justified by it as the Judiazers want, because you will just become what you once were.”

    Glenn said:
    Ernie, it was God’s love AND God taking the initiative – NOT OUR OBEDIENCE that resulted in our salvation.

    Then why isn’t everyone saved? Why do you imply that God is a respecter of persons?

    Glenn said:
    Your little formula for getting oneself saved does not “square” with scripture.

    It’s not my “little formula”. It’s God’s. He commanded us to hear the gospel. He commanded us to believe it. He commanded us to confess our faith in Christ to others. He commanded us to repent of our sins. He commanded us to be immersed in water. He is the one that said that’s when we conform to the death of Christ. He is the one that said its where we are changed into a new creature. He commanded us to live faithfully to receive the crown of life, to walk in the light and not turn back to walking in darkness. God commanded all of this. It’s His plan. Asserting it to be mine is willful misrepresentation…a.k.a. lying.

    None of this is from me. I would not have devised a plan like this. My plan would likely involve lightsabers or something.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  153. Dan Says:

    Ernie, I can see that by your unusually long response this last time and that you sent it at 1:52 am that you are absolutely obsessed with defending your misguided beliefs. ~~~Again, I agree with you on the Christ part of it. Christ and his teachings (the NT) are Grace, the means/cause of salvation. This is what I have been saying the entire time we’ve been talking.~~~ Christ and His teachings are “of” grace, but they are not “the” grace itself. Christ’s finished work of redemption is the means/cause of salvation. Grace is God’s unmerited favor and is the source of the whole arrangement. That is not what you have been saying. ~~~~But limiting man’s effort to “faith only” is where you have no scripture to back up what you are teaching. Faith IS essential. One cannot please God or be saved without it (Heb. 11:6; Mark 16:15-16). But faith is not the only requirement from God for man to accept grace and be saved. You’ve already conceded that man needs to Hear the Gospel (or read it or whatever), believe it, and repent of their sins. I’m not sure exactly where you stand on confession as of yet. But with all of these in the list of things man must do to accept God’s grace, I am perplexed as to why the last work, immersion in water, is so difficult for you, especially in light of all that the Bible teaches about it.~~~~ I don’t teach “faith only” as described in James 2:24. James is condemning an “empty profession of faith” which shows (James 2:18) by the lack of good works that this faith only claims (James 2:14) to be genuine, but is not. If we have genuinely placed our faith in “Christ alone” for salvation then we have received the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:17; 15:8-9; Ephesians 1:13), we have received the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and we have become new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have been changed! Good works will be the inevitable evidence in our lives that our faith is genuine and we have been changed. Does our faith produce good works in order to become a living faith or because it’s a living faith? Does an apple tree produce apples in order to become a living tree or because it’s a living tree? You need to quit putting the cart before the horse. We are saved through placing our faith in “Christ alone” for salvation (Ephesians 2:8) then we are created in Christ Jesus UNTO or FOR good works (Ephesians 2:10) AFTER we have already been saved (past tense) through faith (Ephesians 2:8). We have access by faith into grace (Romans 5:2). No other requirements are mentioned here “after” faith. Hearing the gospel and changing our mind about our sinful position and need for Christ alone to save us (repentance) “precedes” believing the gospel and becoming saved (Romans 1:16) so it does not negate salvation through faith in “Christ alone.” We confess that Jesus is Lord BY the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3), not as an additional requirement to become saved after faith. We already have saving faith and the Holy Spirit when we confess BY the Holy Spirit. That’s why we will be saved if we confess. These are not two separate steps to salvation, but chronologically together. I am perplexed that you can read over 100 passages of scripture which make it clear that we are saved through faith/belief “apart from additions or modifications” and still trust in being immersed in water to save you in addition to trusting in Christ to save you. Half a dozen verses on baptism which on the surface only appear to add baptism as an additional requirement for salvation would be in contradiction to these many passages on salvation through faith/belief. Faith is not baptism and faith precedes baptism and we are saved through faith. Christ’s finished work of redemption is the object of our faith in receiving salvation and if our faith in Him to save us is not good enough then what He accomplished to save us is not good enough. Water baptism is an ordinance which follows saving faith and testifies to it (Acts 10:43-48). I don’t know why that is so difficult for you to understand in light of all that the Bible teaches about salvation through faith/belief. The Bible does not say that we are saved by grace through water baptism or that we are justfied by water baptism or that whoever is NOT baptized will NOT be saved. ~~~~You trust in obedience to save you, too. Except for one additional work of obedience in my list, how are we different?~~~~ I do not trust in my imperfect obedience to save me. I trust in Christ’s perfect obedience to save me (Romans 5:19). Choosing to believe in Him as the only means of our salvation is an act of obedience on our part, but it is not the actual means of our salvation. It is the instrumental means by which we accept the free gift. You confuse obedience in choosing to trust in Him alone for salvation with obedience accomplished on our part after we have already believed and are saved. You have more than one additional work of obedience in your list. Turn from “enough” sins, remain faithful “enough,” keep His commandments “enough” etc… You are working for the gift and working to keep the gift. You simply refuse to accept the free gift through faith. I have accepted the free gift through faith. Additional works of obedience that I now accomplish are because I am saved, not to become or remain saved. You actually trust in these additional works to save you and not in “Christ alone.” We are VERY different. ~~~~What pattern could Paul be contextually referring to in Rom. 6 other than the pattern given by Christ as he spoke of just a few verses earlier at the beginning of the chapter:~~~~ It was more than just a few verses. I’m not sure what translation you are using to come up with the word “pattern” but most translations say “form of doctrine” or “form of teaching.” The complete Jewish Bible says “pattern” but nothing here spells out baptism and says that it’s the cause of being set free from sin. To the contrary, Acts 10:43 says that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM shall receive remission of sins. What happened to baptism? Belief AND baptism are two distinct things (Mark 16:16) and it’s the lack of BELIEF that causes condemnation, not the lack of baptism (Mark 16:16(b). In Romans 1:16, Paul says that we are saved when we BELIEVE the gospel, not when we are water baptized. Why would he contradict himself in Romans 6:17? He wouldn’t. In 2 Timothy 1:13, we read: Hold fast the “pattern” of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Is this pattern baptism? In Titus 2:7, we read: in all things showing yourself to be a “pattern” of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility. Good works (plural) which can’t refer to baptism (singular). Why do you ignore verses that make it clear that we are saved and receive the remission of sins through faith/belief (John 3:16; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16; 3:24-26) and build your doctrine on a passage that is obscure at best in proving your argument? ~~~~Rom. 6:3 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin.”~~~~ The reference is that Christ died for our sins and we openly declare this in baptism, professing faith in that death as our payment for sin. “Buried with him by baptism” is obviously referring to the “likeness” set forth in baptism (vs. 5) — the reality that “our old man (sins) is crucified with Him” (Romans 6:6). Romans 6:4 uses the words “like as Christ” and Romans 6:5 says “in the likeness.” This shows that water baptism is a “likeness,” not the reality, a shadow, not the substance. ~~~~1. We are immersed into the death of Christ.~~~~ In the “likeness” of His death. This shows that water baptism is a “likeness,” not the reality, a shadow, not the substance. ~~~~2. We are buried like he was.~~~~ Baptism is a symbol of salvation in that it depicts Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and our identification with Him in these experiences, but is not the reality. ~~~~3. Having been buried like he was, we rise to new life like he was raised.~~~~ Water baptism is only a picture, not the reality. Remember, “A SYMBOL IS NOT THE REALITY, BUT THE PICTURE OF THE REALITY.” Spirit baptism is the reality. ~~~~4. It is in immersion that our old man is crucified, the sinful self is destroyed.~~~~ Immersion is only the picture, not the reality. If one goes into the water, without first becoming a Christian, then he becomes an imposter, and is declaring, in baptism, to be what he is not. Baptism is like a marriage ceremony, like the receiving of rings as “tokens” of the covenant. Marriage, like baptism, is not what actually unites the hearts of two people, but is the formal acknowledgment of it. ~~~~5. It is coming up out of that burial that we walk in newness of (spiritual) life.~~~~ Water has no magical power within itself to change a person and cause them to walk in newness of life. You continue to confuse the symbol with the reality. ~~~~When are we crucified with Christ? At immersion in water according to Romans 6:3-7.~~~~ Galatians 5:24 reads: And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. This reality takes place before water baptism, not in the water. Water baptism is only a picture of this reality and testifies to it. We belong to Christ when we BELIEVE before water baptism. Whosoever BELIEVES has eternal life (John 3:14-16; 6:47; 11:25,26), is not condemned (John 3:18) has passed from death to life (John 5:24), has the remission of sins (Acts 10:43), heart is purified (Acts 15:9), is saved (Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8), is made righteous (Romans 3:24-26; 4:4-6; 10:4), is justified and has peace with God (Romans 5:1), is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), overcomes the world (1 John 5:4) all BEFORE water baptism. You are trying to accomplish in the water what should have already been accomplished through faith, but since your faith is flawed, you now turn to water to accomplish what the Holy Spirit would have accomplished if you would have BELIEVED. ~~~~When are we set from from sin? When we obey from that heart that pattern. What pattern? The pattern of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.~~~~ When we BELIEVE the gospel, we are set free from sin because receive the remission of sins and we have salvation (Acts 10:43; Romans 1:16). Romans 6:17 does not say that water baptism is this form of doctrine and neither does it say that it’s the cause of being set free from sin. Through water baptism, we are testifying that we have been set free from sin because of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. ~~~~Immersion is the only act that ties in our death to Christ’s death directly.~~~~ Water baptism is a symbol of salvation in that it depicts Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and our identification with Him in these experiences, but is not the means of our salvation. Paul says that all Christians are circumcised (even though one may not be physically circumcised) – meaning that they possess what circumcision signifies. Philippians 3:3 says: For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Romans 2:29 addresses circumcision of the heart. This is the reality. Abraham received the SIGN of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised (Romans 4:11). So there is a physical circumcision and a Spiritual circumcision just as there is physical water baptism and there is Spirit baptism. Using this kind of language, Paul can speak of the great reality of the believers’ spiritual union with Christ, and the benefits which flow from that union, in terms of water baptism, its SIGN. ~~~~Faith is parallel to Christ’s faith in God while living. It was the precursor to his death on the cross. Necessary, but alone it did not save man.~~~~ What faith did Christ need? He KNEW everthing. Jesus is God (John 10:30). That is a terrible parallel. Jesus had to live a sinless perfect life, die for our sins and rise from the dead to save mankind. He is the means of our salvation. We would have to live a sinless perfect life to save ourselves, but we have not, so we need to place our faith in the one who did it all for us in order to receive His imputed righteousness (Romans 4:4-6) and salvation. Faith in “Christ alone” is sufficient to save us because His finished work of redemption is allsufficient to save us. We don’t need to add baptism as a supplement to what He accomplished in order to help Him save us. He did it all! Water baptism testifies to the reality, but is not the cause of the reality. When will you accept the truth? ~~~~The death of Christ on the cross, the shedding of his innocent blood, is ultimately what saved.~~~~ Death, burial and resurrection. AMEN! It is the parallel to that which saves, which is what 1 Pet. 3:21 is all about. False. What you are really saying is that Christ’s finished work of redemption saves us “for the most part” but we must also help save ourselves “in part” in the waters of baptism. The Greek word “antitupon,” as used in I Peter 3: 21, is “an adjective, used as a noun,” and denotes, in the NT, “a corresponding type,” being “said of baptism.” “The circumstances of the flood, the ark and its occupants, formed a type, and baptism forms “a corresponding type,” each setting forth the spiritual realities of the death, burial, and resurrection of believers in their identification with Christ. It is not a case of type and antitype, but of two types, that in Genesis, the type, and baptism, the corresponding type.” Noah was saved by the ark “through (via) water.” Water was not the means of their salvation, but the ark. The ark is what both delivered and preserved them, the two aspects of “salvation.” Their “salvation” was typical of the salvation promised to the Christian. It pictured it. So also does Christian baptism picture salvation and reveal, symbolically, the gospel. The word “antitupon” identifies baptism as a figure. 1 Peter 3:21 does not say that baptism saves us in “any sense” other than as a figure. It is the figure of “the death, burial and resurrection of Christ by which we are literally saved.” ~~~~You still aren’t even bothering to try to understand what I’m saying. Once more, just because you list a verse that only has faith in them, does not mean that faith only saves. I could list a bunch of verses that only have immersion in them, but that does not mean that immersion alone saves. Else I would just go around dunking people in the nearest swimming pool/river/ocean. Faith is essential, yes. We both agree. But you deny the necessity to conform to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is only done in NT immersion.~~~~ I understand what you are saying and you just don’t get it. These verses in the Bible which say that we are saved through faith (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8) mean that we are saved the moment that we place our faith in Christ alone for salvation. The only way around the truth is to either take these verses which make it clear that we are saved through faith/belief “apart from additions or modifications” and turn them into “incomplete” statements and then “patch” them together with other verses in order to create your jig saw puzzle plan of salvation by faith plus works or else “shoe horn” this list of additional works into faith. Either method of interpretation would be erroneous. Where does the Bible say that we are saved by grace through water baptism? Where does the Bible say that we are justified by water baptism? Where does the Bible say that whoever is NOT baptized will NOT be saved. Faith is not baptism and faith precedes baptism and we are saved through faith. It’s just that simple. Too simple for you. You say that faith is essential but you have the wrong kind of faith which does not trust in Christ alone for salvation. I deny that Christ’s finished work of redemption is insufficient to save us and baptism is needed as a supplement in order to help Him save us. I’ve been water baptized, so it’s not an issue for me anyway, but I am certainly not trusting in the water to literally save me. I am trusting in Christ alone to save me. Your faith is in “water and works,” not Christ alone. ~~~~This is not taught anywhere in scripture. It is a statement that also contradicts your teaching that works are not necessary for salvation.~~~~ This is absolutely taught in scripture. We are saved through faith (first) and then we are created in Christ Jesus FOR good works (Ephesians 2:10). In Titus 2:14, we read: who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous FOR good works. In Acts 15:8-9, we see that God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles), for he purified their hearts by FAITH. Not faith and baptism or faith and works. Whosoever BELIEVES in Him shall receive REMISSION OF SINS (Acts 10:43). Good works then follow as a result of being set free from sin (saved), not as the cause. Our faith must be alive first in order to produce genuine good works just as an apple tree must be alive first in order to produce apples. So every work that you accomplish is a requisite for salvation? You just don’t get it. My statement does not contradict my teaching that hearing the Word, repentance and faith are necessary in order to accept the free gift of eternal life and become saved. The work involved there ACCEPTS the gift. No merit for us. That is a HUGE difference from being saved based on good works that we accomplish AFTER we are saved through faith. Until you truly come to BELIEVE, you just will not understand (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). Good works follow salvation…. It is God’s plan is that the true believer will obey the Lord and that means live for Him….living a godly life and doing good works. An unsaved man cannot do spiritual things because he does not have God’s Spirit and the new nature. (1 Corinthians 2:14). Ephesians 2:10 says, Believers are God’s workmanship. Until a person by faith receives Jesus Christ as their Savior they are not God’s workmanship which means “something that is made.” Believers are made by God…”created” meaning to “to fabricate or manufactor” to do good works. The verse is saying plainly good works are what the salvation by faith is to produce in one’s life. To say that these good works which follow saving are a part of becoming saved is putting the cart before the horse. ~~~~Yes, you denominational folk are all about appearances (John 7:24). I have discussed Romans 6:3f quite thoroughly above and SHOWN there how wrong this statement of yours is.~~~~ I actually attend a non-denominational Christian church so that “restoration sales pitch” does not apply to me. You did not learn this sales pitch from the Bible. You are simply “parroting off” what your predecessors before you have taught. You have shown me from Romans 6:3 how you confuse the symbol with the reality. I have already SHOWN you how your statement is wrong. We are literally Spirit baptized into Christ when we BELIEVE the gospel (Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13). We are then afterward water baptized “into Christ” just as the Israelites were baptized “into Moses” (1 Corinthians 10:2). Not literally water baptized into the body here, but “baptized into” in a “metaphorical sense” in reference to “identification.” The reference is that Christ died for our sins and we openly declare this in baptism, professing faith in that death as our payment for sin. The word “baptized” in scripture does not always refer to water baptism. It can refer to Spirit baptism (1 Corinthians 12:3) and can even be used in a metaphorical sense as I explained above and also in (Luke 12:50) where Christ was referring to a baptism of suffering, namely immersed into His death. You get into trouble here because you do not rightly divide the word of truth. ~~~No and an infinite amount of times no. Paul says nothing of the sort. Paul does mention faith…a lot. But he never speaks of faith as “the instrumental cause of salvation/justification”.~~~~ Yes and an infinite amount of times yes. Paul says everything of the sort. Paul absolutely mentions FAITH…a lot. What else does he mention in those same verses? Does Paul actually need to spell out the words “instrumental cause of salvation/justification” for you in order for you to figure out this truth? Is it that hard for you to understand or just ACCEPT? If Paul says that we are saved and justified through FAITH/BELIEF then FAITH/BELIEF is the instrumental cause of salvation/justification. Faith/belief is not baptism. It’s not hard. This is where you try to “shoe horn” baptism into the equation but it does not fit. Just accept the truth. ~~~~Romans 1:16 – the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe it because if they believe what the gospel says, they will act on that belief to be saved.~~~~ Romans 1:16 does not say to all who believe “and act on that belief” will be saved.” You are adding to God’s Word! To BELIEVE the gospel means to not only believe that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ “happened,” but to also “trust solely in what happened” as the only means of your salvation to become saved. You trust in works that you accomplish “acting on a belief” when you have not even established this belief. The natural man just cannot understand (1 Corinthians 2:14) and will add works to the gospel everytime! ~~~~That’s why John 1:12 says that those who believe have the power TO BECOME sons of God. When they believe, they aren’t sons yet, but now they have the ability to become so.~~~~ This is a gross misinterpretation of scripture here and it shows me just how desparate you have become to explain away salvation through FAITH/BELIEF. You have perverted John 1:12 to support your salvation through faith “plus works” theology. John 1:12 teaches that we actually DO BECOME children of God through believing. The same message is found in Galatians 3:26 – For you ARE ALL the CHILDREN OF GOD through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS. NOTHING there about belief “only giving them the right to become and we actually become children of God at some time later.” Romans 1:16 clearly states that when we believe the gospel we actually DO become saved, not just given the power to become saved and then we become saved later, after we do more. What does John 3:16,18,36; 6:40,47; 11:25,26 say happens when we BELIEVE? Why would John contradict himself in John 1:12? You are being just plain dishonest here in order to win your argument and support “your works” based false gospel. ~~~~You cherry pick your verses and have no concept of how to use context. You, like Glenn, don’t have a clue about what the underlying message of the book of Romans is. Furthermore, you interpret it as if it was written to you in our time frame. Glen asked me above if I had every seriously studied the book of Romans. This is my response to both of you:~~~~ Cherry pick? LOL! You distort and pervert passages of scripture in an effort to “patch together” your so called gospel plan. You cherry pick passages on baptism and try and make them fit into salvation through faith. Yes Ernie, nobody has a clue about anything except you. Greek scholars are ignorant and clueless and I guess that applies to me and Glenn as well according to you. It’s all about YOU Ernie. ~~~~But as for Abraham (their great patriarch), he lived before Moses and therefore was justified outside of the law of Moses (or simply The Law) as Paul puts it most of the time. The two things the Jews were most proud of conflicted with one another. But when we read of the type of faith Abraham was justified by, it was an obedient faith (James 2; Heb. 11; Genesis 12f). Nobody gets this so nobody gets the book of Romans. Chapters 1-4 really point out this theme and Chapters 10-11 hit it pretty good again. But the whole book must be read in light of that theme or anything can and has been interpreted from the cherry picking.~~~~ The only way to be saved by works is to perfectly keep the Law. Nobody has perfectly kept the Law so nobody is justified by the Law. What is the alternative? Salvation by works short of perfectly keeping the Law? NO! Salvation through FAITH. Abraham’s faith resulted in obedience and demonstrated that his faith was genuine, but Abraham was not saved based on his works, but on his FAITH. In Genesis 15:5, God said to Abraham, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he BELIEVED in the Lord, and He ACCOUNTED it (faith, not works) to him for righteousness. Nowhere does the Bible say that the works of Abraham were ACCOUNTED to him for righteousness. James 2 does not say this and neither does Hebrews 11 or Genesis 12. Genuine believers get this, but you don’t get this. In James 2:21, notice closely that James does not say that Abraham’s work of offering up Isaac resulted in God’s accounting Abraham as righteous. No! The accounting of Abraham’s faith as righteousness was made in Genesis 15:6, about 30 years before his work of offering up Isaac recorded in Genesis 22. The work of Abraham was essential, not because it had some kind of intrinsic merit to justify him in the (legal sense), but because it proved or manifested the genuineness of his faith (shown or considered to be righteous). Nowhere does the book of Romans say that we are saved based on our obedience (works) which follow saving faith. It consistently says that we are saved through FAITH/BELIEF “apart from additions or modifications.” You have cherry picked James 2, Hebrews 11 and Genesis 12 to reach your conclusion. When will you BELIEVE? ~~~~No. I reject any translation that doesn’t really translate. I read Greek just fine and the so-called translators of the Amplified Bible managed to intersperse their translation with a huge quantity of personal interpretation throughout, essentially adding to the scriptures.~~~~ How does the Amplified Bible add to the scriptures? I’m sure that the translators of Amplified Bible read Greek just fine and clearly understood the truth when they showed that SALVATION is the gift of God that is received by grace through faith. You have completely changed the meaning of Ephesians 2:8 with your personal interpretation that makes grace solely the gift and salvation not the gift. Salvation then becomes an obligation received by works and “is of ourselves.” It’s you who has added to the scriptures with your salvation through faith “plus works” interpretation of Ephesians 2:8. ~~~~But its okay that a pronoun refers back to a verb?~~~~ If Paul had wanted to refer to the idea contained in the main verb (the idea of being SAVED), then it would have been perfectly normal and appropriate for him to use the neuter gender. It would have been very natural for Paul to say, “For by grace ARE YE SAVED through faith and this thing that I’m talking about, namely salvation, is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God…” If Paul had wanted the pronoun to refer to the idea contained in the verb, the neuter form would be the one to use. Grace is not the gift here, it is the basis of the gift and faith is the means in which we accept this gift. Salvation, in this verse, is the gift. ~~~~Which resolves how both pronouns “that” and “it [is the gift of God]” refer back to Grace. Case closed.~~~~ Actually, the case is not closed. Faith and grace are grammatically feminine, and “that” and “it” are grammatically neuter, so “it” refers to salvation. Case closed. The Christian Courier is a journal dedicated to the study of religious doctrine, Christian evidences, and biblical ethics associated with the “churches of Christ.” Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. Here is what he has to say about Ephesians 2:8 – There is no specifically-stated antecedent for “gift” in this context. However, it is to be inferred. The gift is the salvation that is implied by the verb “saved.” “For by grace are you saved through faith; and this not of yourselves, it [the salvation] is gift of God.” Grammatically speaking, there is no agreement between “faith” and “gift.” Faith (pisteos) in the Greek Testament is a feminine form, while “gift” (doron)is neuter gender. The “gift” is not “faith.” Some have objected to this argument, contending that the Greek noun for “salvation” is also feminine, thus it cannot be the antecedent of “gift.” While it is true that the Greek noun, “salvation,” is a feminine form, the verbal construction found here, used in connection with a neuter pronoun (“this”) requires that the antecedent must also be neuter, thus, “salvation” [understood], not “faith.” Is the church of Christ divided on this? Even your own people don’t agree with you! You can read this article for yourself at: http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/716-is-faith-the-gift-of-ephesians-2-8 ~~~~The most natural reading would be to have a pronoun refer back to a noun that doesn’t exist in the passage?~~~~ It’s not about a neuter pronoun refering back to a noun that doesn’t exist in the passage. Faith and grace are feminine, so it refers to the act of being saved (salvation). ~~~~Who is A.T. Robertson and why should I care what he says? I don’t argue against commentaries, Dan. It’s a waste of time.~~~~ A.T. Robertson is a Greek scholar. Since you rely on human intelligence so much to interpret scripture, I just wanted to show you that he is only one of many Greek scholars who do not agree with you here in Ephesians 2:8. Why should I care what you say? You are simply a commentary. Why am I arguing with you? Am I wasting my time? ~~~~First off, let me commend you on finally using scripture to try and SHOW me your reasons rather than just asserting them. I definitely understand what you are saying, though I still don’t agree. But thank you for actually trying to reason from scripture. It’s way less frustrating for me.~~~~ Finally using scripture to show you my reasons rather than just asserting them? Where have you been? I have showed you several things from scripture to show you my reasons. In a previous statement, you said: “The Bible makes no distinction between being justified in a “legal sense” and a “declarative sense”. I SHOWED you FROM SCRIPTURE AT LEAST THREE TIMES that this is true and you still HAVE NOT RESPONDED. I clearly proved you wrong on this point and you need to acknowledge that you are wrong. If you can’t be honest with scripture and with yourself, then you cannot accept the truth and you are wasting my time. Would you like to read my argument again? Please don’t ignore this again. The Bible makes a clear distinction between being justified in the “legal sense” and in a “declarative sense.” In the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Greek word for justified “dikaiovw” #1344 is: 1. to render righteous or such he ought to be 2. to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered 3. to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be In the Bible the word “justified” is often used in the “legal” (judicial) sense. Paul often uses the word “justified” in this “legal” sense (Romans 3:24,28; 5:1; 5:9; 8:30 etc…). “To justify” is also used in a “declarative sense.” A person who tries to SHOW himself that he is in the right is said to be trying to “justify” himself (see Job 32:2; Luke 10:28,29; 16:14,15). James has this aspect of justification in mind. As we have seen, his concern is to show the reality of the faith professed by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith claimed (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. In Matthew 12:37, “For by your words you will be JUSTIFIED, and by your words you will be condemned.” Of course this does not teach that we are not justified “in the legal sense” by faith until we say all the right words. We are justified by our words because our words reveal the state of our hearts. Words will appear to be evidences for, or against a man’s being in a state of grace and righteousness: thus for instance, a man that has spoken for Christ, and has freely confessed that all his hope of justification before God, and acceptance with him, is solely upon the account of the righteousness of Christ imputed; such a man will be declared a justified man according to the tenor of his own words: on the other hand, a man that has spoken hard speeches against Christ, and his righteousness; declaring he has no dependence on it, expects no justification by it; he will be convinced of these ungodly sayings, and out of his own mouth will be condemned. God is said to have been “JUSTIFIED” (KJV) by those who were baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 7:29). This act pronounced or declared God to be righteous. It did not make him righteous. The basis or ground for the pronouncement was the fact that God IS righteous. Was God “justified” in the “legal” sense (accounted not guitly of His sins)? Notice that the NAS reads, “they acknowledged God’s justice,” in place of the word “justified.” This is the sense in which God was justified DECLARATIVE SENSE. Shown to be righteous. In Job 32:2, “Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he “JUSTIFIED” (KJV) himself rather than God. Now did Job “justify” himself in the legal sense (account himself not guilty of his sins)? Elihu was angry that Job tried to “justify” (vindicate) himself rather than God. My point is crystal clear. In Luke 10:28-29, “And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to JUSTIFY himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Did this Lawyer “justify” himself in the “legal” sense (account himself not guilty of his sins)? Something to really think about. In Luke 16:14-15, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who JUSTIFY yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Did these Pharisees “justify” themselves in the “legal” sense (account themselves not guilty of their sins)? Only God can forgive sins. The Pharisees belief was that their own goodness (works) was what justified them. This is the very definition of “self-righteousness.” But, as Jesus explained, their righteousness was flawed, being an external appearance only. That might be enough to justify them before (deceived) men, but not before God, because He knew their hearts. ~~~~Now, as for what kind of faith, if this faith is just a mental assent that you are claiming, then the points James made in vs. 22-24 is nullified.~~~~ Belief, trust, reliance in Christ’s finished work of redemption as the only means of our salvation (Romans 1:16; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8) goes beyond mere “mental assent” faith. This kind of faith is a complete trust in Christ alone for salvation, not just an intellectual acknowledgment to certain facts about Christ. In James 2:22-24, James is not arguing that we are saved by these works. James is using the term “justified” here to describe those who would prove the genuineness of their faith by the works that they do. Paul uses the term “justified” to refer to the legal (judicial) act of God by which He accounts the sinner as righteous. Paul and James are in perfect harmony. James 2:22-24 is not nullified, but Paul’s teaching (Romans 1:16; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8,9) is nullified by your misinterpretation of James 2. ~~~~“22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?~~~~ I can see where this verse would confuse you. In James 2:22, the faith of Abraham was “perfected” (not with an absolute perfection), but the sense is, that hereby his faith was declared to be sincere, unfeigned, true, and genuine. Abraham’s faith was “working”, and therefore not “dead”. Likewise, the fruit of a tree perfects the tree by proving the genuineness of the tree and by evidencing that it is a “good tree” (Matthew 7:16-20). The word “perfect” does not speak of sinless perfection here. Nor does it speak of finally being “justified,” or declared “not guilty” of one’s sins after a long life of good works. If that were true, the thief on the cross would have been in big trouble! The word “perfect” refers to a completion or end. The end of demonstrating or vindicating our faith is by good works, but we are saved through faith, not by the works that our faith produces. Faith is the root and good works are the fruit of our salvation. ~~~~23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.~~~~ In James 2:23, the scripture was fulfilled in vindicating or demonstrating that Abraham believed God and was accounted as righteous. Abraham was declared righteous because of his faith (Genesis 15:6) long before he offered up Isaac on the alter (Genesis 22). His faith was made perfect by his works in the sense of demonstrating the reality of his faith (James 2:21), not in the sense of accounting him as righteous (Romans 4:2-3). James uses Genesis 15:6 in a way that complements rather than contradicts Paul (Romans 4:1–9; Galatians 3:6), for he sees it as having been fulfilled (James 2:22) in Abraham’s offering of Isaac (Genesis 22), not established. James centers on Abraham’s act of obedience which SHOWS that his faith is genuine while Paul centers on God’s ACCOUNTING Abraham as righteousness through FAITH. Both James and Paul are right, each to illustrate a different point. ~~~~24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. ”~~~~ James seems at first to contradict Paul’s teaching that one is justified by faith (in the legal sense) “alone” apart from works (Romans 3:22-28; 5:1). For James, “faith only” means a bogus kind of faith, mere intellectual agreement without a genuine personal trust in Christ that results in producing good works in one’s life. Once again, Faith (the act of trusting) in Christ “alone” for salvation and faith that remains “alone” in producing good works are two separate alones in connection with two different things. What a genuine believer means by salvation through “faith (in Christ) alone” and what James means by “faith only” is NOT the same message. Don’t let the word “alone” fool you. In verse 24, James is not referring to “is made righteous,” but “is shown (vs. 18) to be righteous.” James is discussing the proof of faith, not the initial act of being accounted as righteous with God (Romans 4:2-3). ~~~~We see that faith in conjunction with works is made perfect by those works. Its the same faith, but that faith is perfected (completed) by works.~~~~ “Perfected” does not mean that his faith was unable to save him until he accomplished enough good works to save himself. Again, made perfect is not absolute perfection, but the sense is complete, and hereby his faith was declared to be sincere, unfeigned, true, and genuine. The end of demonstrating or vindicating our faith is by good works. If Abraham would have dropped dead of a heart attack before he had the chance to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22 and was SHOWN to be righteous, he was still ACCOUNTED as righteous for BELIEVING the Lord in Genesis 15:6. The reason that James made these statements in James 2 confirms this truth. A man who has not by faith been born again, had his sins forgiven and received eternal life and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit cannot do works that please the Lord. God says that “faith without works is dead” meaning that true faith will produce works. Works without true faith…is done in the flesh, not in the spirit. A person who is not born again does not have God’s Spirit and cannot do genuine “good” works. The flesh does not honor the Lord, only that which we do in the power and Spirit of God. Therefore good works which follow saving faith are not a part of receiving salvation, but they follow true salvation. ~~~~Verse 24, which is still the killer verse for you, is teaching that faith only does not justify, but faith (same faith spoken of since vs. 14) WITH works justifies. If the faith James is speaking of in this whole context is some kind of empty mental acknowledgment as you describe, then that empty mental acknowledgment WITH works of obedience justifies.~~~~ This is absolutely not a killer verse for me because what I mean by salvation through “faith (in Christ) alone” and what James means by “faith only” is NOT the same message. Faith (the act of trusting) in Christ “alone” for salvation and faith that remains “alone” in producing good works are two separate alones in connection with two different things. I am not saying that the kind of faith which saves us will remain alone in producing good works. I am in agreement with James, but at the same time, James is not saying that we are saved “by” works (which you believe). His concern is to SHOW the reality of the faith professed by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith CLAIMED (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. Paul and James do not contradict each other. They are just describing saving faith from two different perspectives. It’s really simple. Unfortunately, you misinterpret James and teach salvation “by works.” We are saved by that kind of faith accompanied (confirmed, authenticated) by works. We are justified by faith but only by a true faith, a faith proved to be true if it is followed by good works. We are not doing good works to become saved, we are doing good works because we were already saved by an authentic faith in Jesus. Man is saved through faith and not by works (Romans 4:1-3; Ephesians 2:8-9); yet faith, if it is true, will be substantiated and confirmed by good works (James 2:14-26). ~~~~That cannot be. James must be speaking of the same kind of faith throughout. The whole point of the passage is not to distinguish two different types of faith, but to distinguish between justification by faith alone (your doctrine) and faith plus works.~~~~ My doctrine equates to justification through faith in “Christ alone” (Ephesians 2:8,9) not through the kind of faith that remains alone in producing good works (James 2:14-24). James does not teach salvation through faith “plus works.” He is pointing to the evidence of our faith (James 2:14, 18), not the means of our salvation. Show me one verse in the Bible which says that we are saved through faith “and works.” Back when James lived, there were people CLAIMING to have faith, just like there are today. Unfortunately, there was no evidence in their lives that they were really saved. They had “faith” but rather than it being a real saving faith in the blood of Jesus Christ to cover their sin, it was a “dead faith” in their own religious works. There are those same people around today. Thus, one can say he has faith, but it is dead without works to back it up. If you say you are saved and continue to do things contrary to the commands and principles contained in the Word of God, then no one is going to believe you. Once we are genuinely saved by grace through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, our life will show it. We will have a love for God and will do works pleasing to Him (though not perfectly) according to His Word, the Holy Bible. Those works, however, do not gain us any more salvation or help us keep salvation. They are the result of accepting Christ and are the by product of our faith and salvation. ~~~~In fact, I believe that the demons have the same kind of faith in Jesus that potentially saves men. They not only mentally assent to who Jesus is (and even have publicly confessed it – Matt. 8:29), but they trust God, are absolutely convicted in fact, that He will fulfill all of His promises just as you or I, if not moreso. But they chose to willfully disobey, hence the purpose of 2:19.~~~~ In James 2:19, nobody is questioning the fact that the demons also “believe” that there is “one God” but where in this passage does it say that demons believe or trust in the Savior God sent for redemption? Scripture reveals that the only thing they trusted the Son of the most high God for when He was on earth dealing with them was their eventual sentence to the pit! The faith of demons is only “mental assent.” Their trust and reliance is in Satan, as demonstrated by their rebellion in heaven and continuous evil works. The word “believe” can describe “mere mental assent” (James 2:19) or also include “trust and reliance” (Acts 16:31). Saving belief is more than just an “intellectual acknowledgment” to the existence and historical facts about Christ. Saving belief is a complete trust in the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ as the only means of salvation (Romans 1:16). Big difference! The confession of the demons in Matthew 8:29 was a mere intellectual acknowledgment confession, not a deep personal conviction BY the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3) that Jesus is their personal Lord and Savior. ~~~~The definition you use for the word πίστις (pistis – faith) simply is not a valid one. It is a man made definition devised for the purpose of denying the whole point of James 2. I know of no one but the faith only crowd who would even conceive of using the term faith that way. When I say I have faith in someone in any context (acted upon or not) it is used the same way that πίστις is used throughout the scriptures.~~~~ Everything to you is a man made attempt to explain away your “works based” false gospel. The word translated faith is found in the Greek lexicon of the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and is defined as follows: #4102; pistis; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), *ESPECIALLY RELIANCE UPON CHRIST FOR SALVATION*; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:–assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity. The word translated believe is from the greek word pisteuō which means “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).” Your accusation is bogus! The word “believe” can describe mere mental assent (James 2:19) or also include trust and reliance (Acts 16:31). The Greek words for “pistis” and “pisteuo” are two forms of the same word. “Pistis” is the noun form, “pisteuo” is the verb form. Nothing in the root meaning of either word carries any concept of works. If you believe in Christ for salvation, then you are trusting in Him alone to save you. This belief should (and will to one degree or the other) result in actions appropriate to the belief – but the actions are NOT INHERENT in the belief. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Notice that it does not say that faith “is” baptism or that faith “is” a list of works or that faith “is” multiple acts of obedience. These things may be a “manifestation” of our faith but they are not the essence of faith. ~~~~This is nowhere taught in scripture. No NT writer ever speaks of works as “demonstrative”, “symbolic of salvation” or other such terms. Instead, they speak in plain terms such as “baptism doth also now save us”, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness”. Paul explicitly says that the reason there is a crown of righteousness laid up for him is because he fought the fight, finished the course. He speaks nothing of these being symbolic of being saved. In fact, that passage in 2 Tim. 4 has no meaning if works are irrelevant to salvation. Rev. 2:10 has no meaning in light of your doctrine. You make void a good portion of the NT by your doctrine of “works are only a symbol”. Furthermore, you contradict your own admission that some works ARE in fact instrumental.~~~~ This is absolutely taught in scripture. James says CLAIMS to have faith…SHOW me your faith by your works. James is talking about the “demonstrative evidence” of our faith here, not the means of our salvation. Do you actually need the words “demonstrative evidence” spelled out for you in James 2 in order to figure this out? It’s not hard. If Peter wanted to speak in plain terms about baptism, he would have simply said we are saved through baptism. He didn’t just say, “baptism doth also now save us” in 1 Peter 3:21. Read it all. You are cherry picking! He said, The “like figure” whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Why the extended explanation if Peter simply meant that water baptism literally saves us? Because it DOES NOT literally save us. The symbol and the reality are so closely related that the symbol is sometimes used to refer to the reality and that seems to be what is confusing you. A FLOOD OF CONFUSION. In 2 Timothy 2:4, receiving a crown of righteousness is not the same as receiving the free gift of salvation through faith. At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded (not saved) based on their good works. This comes down to how faithfully we served Christ after we were saved through faith (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Every believer who loves His appearing has a “crown of righteousness” waiting for them too. If Revelation 2:10 teaches that we must be “faithful enough” in addition to placing our faith in Christ for salvation, then just how faithful would you have to be? That is vague and could include ANY number of good works. You make void a good portion of the NT which clearly teaches that we are saved through FAITH/BELIEF “apart from the merit of our works” by your doctrine of “works are the means of our salvation.” At the judgment seat of Christ, we see that believers will receive “rewards” and “loss of rewards” (not salvation or loss of salvation) based on their “good works” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Salvation is based on faith in Christ, not works (Ephesians 2:8,9). All true believers will receive salvation, but not all believers will receive the same reward in heaven. In verse 15, notice “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (as one escaping through the flames). Just how “faithful” were these Christians whose work was BURNED UP, yet they will still be SAVED? There are other crowns mentioned in scripture (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Peter 5:4). Crowns may be won or lost (Revelation 3:11). All believers will receive salvation but not all believers will receive the same reward in heaven. The fact that faith is the instrumental means by which we accept the free gift of salvation does not contradict my position. You just can’t understand the difference between accepting the free gift through faith and obtaining the free gift based on all the good works that we accomplish. ~~~~Irrelevant now that you have admitted that there are some works that actually do save (hearing, believing, repenting). There is no more case for me to make here because you’ve already given up this premise explicitly.~~~~ There is nothing irrelevant here. I never said that hearing, repenting and believing are the actual MEANS of our salvation. I said that we must first hear the gospel and repent before we can believe the gospel and become saved. Believing the gospel is the “instrumental means” by which we RECEIVE (not earn) the free gift of salvation. Our work involved here is accepting the gift, not working for or contributing to the gift by the works that we accomplish. Big difference! Since you don’t BELIEVE, you remain blinded to this truth (2 Corinthians 4:3,4) and prove Paul’s point loud and clear in (1 Corinthians 2:14). ~~~~Now we are down to which works of obedience God requires for us to be saved (water immersion, finishing the course, or neither), and hearing your response to my scriptural identification of Grace.~~~~ Works of obedience that are involved in ACCEPTING the free gift. Accepting something is not working for it or contributing to it. Faith is the culminating act in receiving the free gift (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8,9). ~~~~This is nothing more than a circular argument. It boils down to “faith is the culminating work of obedience that saves because faith is the culminating work of obedience that saves”. You keep asserting what you have to prove.~~~~ I already proved it. Genuine believers know EXACTLY what I’m talking about, but unfortunately, I can’t prove anything to a blind man (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). Faith accepts the gift. Works which follow accepting the gift add to the gift and it is no longer a free gift that is “not of ourselves” but an obligation received by works that “is of ourselves” according to your plan. ~~~~It’s not my fault you don’t understand that when Paul uses the phrase “the law” or refers to the law of works he is referring to the Old Testament.~~~~ What does that have to do with anything? Perfectly keeping the law of Moses is the only way to save ourselves by works. That is, works would actually be the means of our salvation. We would earn salvation. ~~~~Which law did the One perfectly obey, Dan? Which law is “the law” in the context of your statement and in Paul’s letters, Dan?~~~~ The law of Moses. How does that prove your point about salvation by works “short of perfectly keeping the law of Moses? What is the alternative to being justified by the works of the law Ernie? FAITH in Jesus Christ who did perfectly keep the law for us. Notice that Paul DOES NOT SAY that we are justified by faith “and works.” This is what you so desparately want to believe that Paul is saying, but HE IS NOT. ~~~~Now you are just flat out lying about my position. How can water immersion be MY work when it is found all over the NT (and typified throughout the OT)?~~~~ In your delusional world of UNBELIEF, it’s possible for you to misunderstand and believe anything. I didn’t say that water immersion is your work “in the sense that you invented it.” Nobody forced you to get baptized. You submitted to the ordinance, so the work was accomplished because of you. Nobody else baptized theirself for you. I didn’t invent the idea of placing my faith in Christ alone for salvation, but I chose to place my faith in Christ alone for salvation, so it’s something that I chose to accomplish. I chose to believe. I did it. Nobody did it for me. Through the work of choosing to BELIEVE, I accepted the free gift. ~~~This doesn’t even make sense. I made a specific argument that divine saving grace (of Eph. 2:8 fame) has specific properties. I then claimed that finding something else with those same exact properties would identify what God’s unmerited favor that saves us actually is. I then presented verses that identified Jesus and his teachings as having the same properties thus proving my premise. I see by our discussions that you are unfamiliar with formal debate. Once I have laid out such an argument your job IS to show where I am wrong.~~~~ How can one separate the gospel, God’s grace, and the Word? It’s in the ensuing application of these ideas and how you extrapolate this out that devolves you into error. The “Word of the Lord” spoke into existence the physical universe that you and I live in. The “Word of the Lord” came to the prophets. The Word of the Lord, when you think about it, is eternal. Now, notice point number 10 in the list you sent me: “10. Teaches us doctrine: (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Col. 3:16). Look at the context of the verse which is being used to support the point regarding 2 Timothy 3. The list uses verses 16 and 17, but read verses 14 and 15 and think about the implications: “14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. “By whom, to whom, and when was this epistle written? We would probably agree by Paul in the 1st Century. Can we agree that the Holy Scriptures mentioned in the context is “Truth?” Now you have a dilemma. The NT Scriptures were not written at the time that Timothy was “a child.” This passage is clearly talking about the “Word/Truth/Grace” of God that was spoken under the Old Testament. Yet, those same Scriptures are able to make us “…wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Further, Galatians 3:8 says that, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” The gospel was proclaimed to Abraham in the Old Testament?!How do we reconcile all this? How can all this fit together without appearing contradictory? We can’t if we limit the concept of the Word/Truth/Grace to such a spiritually claustrophobic framework as you have done. As I already explained in Romans 5:15, “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, AND the gift “by” grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Notice the AND between the grace of God AND the gift “by” grace, not the gift “is” this grace. Romans 5:17 reads: For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace AND of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Notice once again the AND between grace AND the gift. Abundance of grace or abundance of the plan of salvation? Your theory does not fit. In Romans 6:1 we read: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? That God’s unmerited favor may abound or the plan of salvation may abound? In Romans 16:24 we read: The grace “of ” our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Not the grace “is” our Lord Jesus Christ. So it’s by God’s unmerited favor that we are saved through faith and Jesus is the means of our salvation. Grace is the source of the whole arrangement, not just the offer of salvation. Just because you can’t separate grace, Jesus and His teachings from this list does not mean that they are all three the exact same thing. Jesus makes us free from sin through His finished work of redemption and we come to faith by the Word and receive the gift of salvation and grace is the source of the whole arrangement. Your application is wrong. You make the gospel a confusing patchwork of carefully selected passages stitched together into something that does not line up with God’s grace. I do not need to be an expert in formal debate to understand the plan of salvation. You did not come up with that list and that reasoning all by yourself. Again, you are simply “parroting off” what your predecessors before you have taught. The church of Christ has influenced your doctrines as you are clearly indoctrinated into restoration theology. ~~~~So far all you have said is “nuh uhn!” to my precise identification from scripture of what God’s Grace that saves actually is. Try harder. You did correctly above trying to use scripture to SHOW where I was wrong.~~~~ You need to try harder to prove your point because it was not proven. It is by God’s grace that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ. It is not by grace that we are saved through grace. I showed you where you were wrong. You just showed me Campbellite smoke and mirrors. ~~~~Yes, but what is the favor?~~~~ – Saving us through faith. When will you BELIEVE? ~~~~Again, I don’t really care about what this Robertson guy says any more than you would care about what Dr. Thomas B. Warren might have to say about anything. There is no point in quoting this guy to me. I don’t accept him as authoritative in any way, and I refuse to debate against commentaries. If A.T. wants to come chat with me, then I’ll chat with him.~~~~ Well then I don’t really care about what you say. You are not authoritiative in any way and you are just a commentary as well. I guess all Greek scholarship is wrong and these men need to consult with you? Now, it so happens that the way of salvation by faith is so simple that it seems beneath the dignity of clever men. May God bring them to a knowledge of this truth: may they see that they cannot be saved except by giving up all idea of saving themselves; that they cannot be saved except they step right into Christ, for, until they get to the end of the creature, they will never get to the beginning of the Creator. ~~~~Yes. I know. I’m familiar with the word and the Greek. In many instances its just general favor, blessing, or perspective of someone. Same as saying “that’s my favorite student” or some such. I know what the definition of charis is. But what you have yet to understand is that the charis of Eph. 2:8 is a specific blessing, a gift given that was not earned that has the power to save (working through obedient faith). I’m not asking you for a definition of charis. I’m discussing what that specific blessing/gift/favor/present/etc. is.~~~~ Ephesians 2:8 does not say “obedient” faith. It simply says FAITH. The specific gift is salvation. Certain Greek scholars even describe the whole process of “salvation by grace through faith” as being the gift of God and not something that we can accomplish ourselves. In every respect, is not our own doing. Faith receives the gift and is clearly not included in “not of works.” There is no list of obedient works mentioned here along with faith, otherwise is would be “of ourselves” and not the gift of God. Again, Ephesians 2:8 does not say that we are saved by grace through grace. ~~~~I give my relatives gifts at Christmas time or at birthdays. But they open them up and there is something specific in each package. God’s charis is that way. He gives humans charis. Each favor is different with different purposes. One of those packages He gave all mankind contained something specific in it that can save. It is the only gift that can do that. None of the other gifts can.~~~~ I know what you are trying to say, but you are not looking at the whole picture. Only Jesus is the means of our salvation, but we are saved by grace through faith. This does not limit the unmerited favor to just the offer of Jesus. We receive salvation as a free gift through faith. If it’s through faith “plus works,” then salvation is no longer a gift. ~~~~I’m just telling you what’s inside the wrapping, in the package. And frankly, you already half agree with me, though you don’t really know it yet.~~~~ But how do we receive salvation? As a gift through faith or as an obligation by works? What does Ephesians 2:8 say? Is it of ourselves or is it not of ourselves? You are trying to make this complicated because you want to “add works that you accomplish” to salvation through faith so that you get credit as well for your salvation and not give Jesus Christ the full credit. Pride and self righteousness is blinding you from accepting the truth. ~~~~What did God give to mankind that man could never earn, could not demand of God, could not have even conceived of without divine revelation, that saves man? The answer is: His Son. And part of that answer is what His Son taught us, either directly or through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the gospel message. No other gift from God answers that question.~~~~ I’m not arguing that we deserve
  154. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    Here is the rest of my reply that did not fit into my latest response.

    I’m not arguing that we deserve Jesus. We don’t deserve Him. We don’t deserve the gospel message. You are stopping short of the big picture in Ephesians 2:8. We could never earn salvation. If you want to get technical, many things can be considered a gift. The Holy Spirit is a gift (John 4:10; 7:38-38; Acts 10:45), Prophecy (Romans 12:6), Healing, Tongues are gifts (1 Corinthians 12:28) etc… We didn’t deserve to be born. Isn’t life a gift? We didn’t earn it.

    ~~~~No, they wouldn’t. God’s love is as general as His favor. Part of that love is expressed in His Son and the revealed word, but the whole concept of love is too general to fit.~~~~

    I’m not saying that love fits exactly into the category of grace. You said that grace can be continued in (Acts 13:43), so can love (1 Timothy 2:15). You said that grace can be given (1 Corinthians 1:4), so can love (Romans 5:5). You said that grace was in Christ (1 Timothy 1:14) so is love, which is mentioned in the same verse. This does not mean that grace and love are the exact same thing.

    ~~~~Faith doesn’t fit either because faith is a work of obedience on man’s part. It comes from another work of obedience on man’s part, hearing the gospel. So faith cannot be that specific gift from God that saves.~~~~

    I’m not saying that faith is the gift that saves. Salvation is the gift that we receive through faith. Jesus is the means of our salvation. Salvation is not simply offered as a gift. It is also received as a gift through faith. You said that grace saves us (Ephesians 2:8), well so does faith (Ephesians 2:8). You said that grace justifies us: (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7), well so does faith (Romans 5:1) etc… Ephesians 2:8 is not describing a gift that saves, but a gift that we receive through faith. This does not mean that grace and faith are the exact same thing.

    ~~~~1. Because I don’t think you understand the language without A.T. Robertson to tell you what to think.~~~~

    I only showed you what A.T. Robertson said because you seem to think that you are the only one who understands grammar. A.T. Robertson is only one of many Greek scholars who does not agree with you.

    ~~~~2. Because I’m not asking for a dictionary definition of the Greek word charis. I’m looking for a connotative definition, an identification of what that charis that saves is.~~~~

    Jesus saves us, but He is not described as the gift in Ephesians 2:8. Salvation is the gift that we receive through faith in Ephesians 2:8.

    ~~~~Because there are other instances of charis that do not save. They are gifts/blessings that come to all, just or unjust (like rain), or they come to those who are already saved (like eternal life, fellowship with Christians, the joy of preaching the gospel to others and immersing them into Christ, etc.). None of those favors from God save. So that general definition does not answer the question I’m asking. I’m asking specifically about the saving gift.~~~~

    Other gifts and blessings may be made possible to receive because of God’s grace, but they are not the grace itself. You said that “immersing them into Christ” is a gift that does not save? Now you are contradicting yourself about your teaching on water baptism. Ephesians 2:8 is not describing a saving gift, but being saved as a gift through faith.

    ~~~~Guilt by association is a logical fallacy. It has the same impact as saying your doctrine sounds a lot like the Muslim teachings. It’s based in emotion, has no practical value, and is pointless.~~~~

    Actually it’s not a logical fallacy. I made a very good point. I recently had an Elder from a church of Christ ask me this question: “Do you have to obey every command of God to be saved?” Then he answered: “Yes sir, to the best of our abilities.” Is that salvation through faith or salvation through “the best of our abilities to obey God” (after all we can do?). It’s not about after all we can do, it’s about AFTER ALL THAT CHRIST DID to save us. What that Elder said and what you say is not salvation by grace through faith in what Christ accomplished to save us, but salvation by “merited favor” that is “of ourselves” through the best of our abilities to obey every command of God. What I have been saying has nothing to do with Muslim teachings. Where did you come up with, “it’s based on emotion?” Your point is ridiculous! So receiving salvation as a gift by grace through faith has no practical value for you and is pointless because you want to receive salvation based on your achievements and not solely based on what Christ accomplished. For shame!

    ~~~~So, to sum up: 1. You admit that SOME works of obedience are REQUIRED to be saved.~~~~

    Those works of obedience are required to ACCEPT THE FREE GIFT. They do not work for the gift or add to the gift. Works of obedience which follow saving faith “add” to the gift if they are the means of receiving salvation and bring merit to man which is not of grace.

    ~~~~2. You need to study Romans correctly (and I’m thinking of taking a break from going in circles with you about grace and works to discuss Romans verse by verse from the beginning with you and Glenn)~~~~

    That statement is the epitome of irony. We don’t need any lessons from you. Your plan of salvation is neither law nor grace but a distortion of both. You need to study Romans correctly with a new set of bifocals (1 Corinthians 2:10-14).

    ~~~~3. You still can’t correctly identify the grace that saves, though you do declare that Jesus alone saves, which is getting there. I’m interested to see what you do with James 1:21 and the engrafted word that is able to save and how that relates to the grace of Eph. 2:8.~~~~

    You still can’t correctly identify that salvation is received as a gift through faith. Ephesians 2:8 is not saying that Jesus is the grace that saves and salvation is “of ourselves” and is received by works. It is by grace that we are saved through faith in Jesus. How does James 1:21 support your case of making salvation not a gift received through faith? The engrafted word (the implanted message of the gospel) is able to save us when we BELIEVE (Romans 1:16). This relates to the grace of Ephesians 2:8 in the same way. Grace is the source of the whole arrangement.

    ~~~~4. Instead of defending the gospel on your own, you are now quoting commentaries to me, showing me that you rely on the teachings of uninspired men to defend your belief rather than the Bible alone. It proves to me (if no one else) that your doctrines are the teachings of men (Matt. 15:9).~~~~

    This is an unfair statement and shows me that you are willing to sink to any level just to win an argument. I’ve been defending the gospel on my own throughout our entire discussion. A.T. Robertson is not teaching his own commandments. In the context of Matthew 15:9, Jesus makes a clear distinction between the OT, which was the commandment of God, and the Pharisaic tradition, which consisted of merely human pronouncements. The Pharisees have made void the word of God with their traditions and rulings: anyone who broke a vow (human law) in order to help needy parents (God’s law) would have committed a serious transgression, according to the Pharisees. This has absolutely nothing to do with quoting A.T. Robertson who is merely explaining God’s Word, not adding to it with his own traditions.

    I noticed in one of your responses to Glenn that you insulted him by calling him illogical, self serving, lazy, a viper and a wolf. What was that supposed to accomplish? Do you really believe that he is going to take that to heart and listen to what you have to say? You sound like a bully. This is a spiritual battle, not a flesh and blood verbal boxing match. You also mentioned to him:

    ~~~~Being spiritually dead doesn’t make you retarded or something. It didn’t change my capacity for thought or response to the gospel. My faith came by reading the Bible. The gospel convinced me that it was logical, true, and that if I did what it said, God would save me as He promised. Because I was convinced and trusted that God would do what He said, I acted. I confessed my faith to others, turned from my life of sin and towards God. All of this without being spiritually reborn.~~~~

    Being spiritually dead does not mean that you cannot grasp the fact that God exists or understand historical facts found in the Bible or the existence of heaven and hell etc… It does however make you spiritually retarded in understanding the plan of salvation. The natural man will teach a “works based” false gospel everytime. Genuine Christians will all teach that we are saved by grace through faith, not works. Various false religions and cults will all teach salvation “by works” in one form or another. So what are these “things of the Spirit of God” which people can’t grasp without the Spirit? The context makes this pretty clear. Notice the word “folly” or “foolishness” in verse 1 Corinthians 2:14. Whatever “the things of the Spirit of God” are, they are foolishness to the natural man. 1 Corinthians 1:18 shows us what this is: “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.” The same thing in verses 23-24: “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” In other words, what the natural man can’t understand is the heart of the Christian message — the word of the cross. But the word of the cross is not just a simple statement that Christ died on the cross for our sins. The word of the cross is a radical indictment of human pride. It describes a way of salvation which according to 1 Cor. 1:29 has this purpose: “that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” Therefore, when Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:14 that “the things of the Spirit of God” are foolishness to the natural man, he means that the gospel of Christ crucified and all its devastating implications for natural human pride are simply foolishness to the natural man. The natural man wants to do it himself. A view of reality which aims to take away every ground of boasting from in man and put it all in Christ crucified is foolishness to humans in their natural state apart from the Holy Spirit. So the natural man is a person without the Holy Spirit and “the things of the Spirit of God” refers to the word of the cross and its devastating implications for human pride. Humility, not pride will change your capacity to respond to the gospel. The Holy Spirit can then in power and not by Word only reveal the truth of the gospel to you. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 we read – that from the beginning God chose us to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. What use is there for sanctification of the Spirit, if we can have this by the Word only? Your (natural man) human reasoning convinced you that this “other gospel” (Galatians 1:6-9) that you are teaching is logical and true. When we repent, we change our mind and believe the gospel. Turning from our old life of sin and towards God is the result of being born again, not the cause. All the attempted moral reformation in the world without saving faith in Christ will get you nowhere. You confuse the fruit of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20) with the essence of repentance (change of mind). You believe that you are a self saved man. This is the pride and self righteousness that is keeping you from responding to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and leading you to saving faith in Christ. Are you ready to repent and BELIEVE the gospel? I also see that you had some confusion about 1 John 1:7. You seem to interpret this verse as meaning that if we don’t walk in the light “enough” in addition to placing our faith in Christ for salvation that the blood of Christ will cease to cleanse us and we will lose our salvation. Of course, that is the only interpretation that the natural man can understand. First of all, genuine believers (Christians) are not in darkness, but are only in the light (2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:12,13). A genuine Christian walks habitually in the light (truth and holiness), not in darkness (falsehood and sin) because he is saved, not to become or remain saved. John shows us in verse 6 that if we SAY (claim) that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. In other words, we are not saved in the first place. One who walks in the light is manifesting his saved condition and the blood of Christ cleanses them from all sin. Those who do not walk in the light but claim to have fellowship with Him reveal that they are hypocrites.

    It’s been my pleasure to once again share the truth with you about the plan of salvation. If the truth is what you are looking for, then you will find it in what I have shared with you. If accommodating the theology of your church is the only thing that you are interested in, then you won’t find the truth no matter how many times that I share it with you. Continue to seek for the truth and God Bless. I will continue to pray for you.

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  155. I’ve decided that instead of regurgitating the same old arguments with Dan who is now just repeating himself over and over again, I’d present a verse by verse view of Romans one chapter at a time. This is not copied and pasted. It is me looking at each verse and typing my thoughts on it first hand.

    Romans 1
    1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

    Paul is the author. He is a servant of Jesus Christ as all faithful Christians are. He was called to be an Apostle by Jesus directly (Acts 9). Separated or made holy for the purpose of preaching the good news from God.

    2(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

    This good news, what is commonly called the gospel or the teachings of the New Testament were promised by the OT prophets. This promise was recorded by them in the OT scriptures.

    3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

    This good news is about God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of all Christians. Jesus was physically descended from king David of the Israelites.

    4And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

    Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God according to the prophecies when Christ was raised from the dead.

    5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

    Paul and others had received grace, the gospel message of Christ, and his office (an Apostle) so that among all nations there would be obedience to the faith. Uh, oh Dan, Glenn. Pay attention. Obedience is important. Paul said it in Romans.

    6Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

    Christians are the “called” of Jesus Christ. We know of course that it is the gospel itself that does the calling (2 Thess. 2:14; Rom. 10:17).

    7To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Paul is writing to the Christians in Rome and gives his general salutation.

    8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

    Paul is thankful to God through Christ (noting how we should pray – no one prays TO Jesus, one prays THROUGH Jesus who is our only intercessor to God).

    The faith of the Roman Christians was spoken of throughout the whole kosmos.

    9For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

    God knows that Paul always prays for the church at Rome.

    10Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

    His prayers include being able to come visit them.

    11For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

    An interesting verse. This church is already established. It contains faithful Christians. Yet they could not perform miracles (no direct indwelling of the Holy Spirit). Not only that, this congregation is obviously already founded, but still needed to be established. That is a necessary and essential distinction to make.

    12That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

    In establishing them he helps them grow so that they can comfort one another by the faith they would then share.

    13Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

    Paul has set in his mind to come to them before but was prevented from doing so. He wanted to come to them that he could have some success preaching the gospel like he’d had among other cities.

    14I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

    Paul feels he owes both the learned (Greeks) and unlearned (Barbarians), those with wisdom and without it.

    15So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

    What he owes is the preaching of the gospel. Note that he is ready to preach the gospel to even those who are Christians who are at Rome, even though they’ve already heard enough of it to become Christians. There is more to the gospel than just becoming a Christian. A teacher must then teach them to observe ALL things that Christ commanded after they have been immersed into Christ (Matt. 28:19).

    16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    Paul is not ashamed of the good news concerning Christ. It is God’s power UNTO salvation. This is an important phrase here. It would be silly for me to ask for directions unTO Austin if I am already in Austin. The gospel is powerful because it gives us directions on how to get to salvation. But only to those who believe it. If I don’t believe that the map is true, I’m not going to follow it. That is where faith comes in. I trust God’s Word. I trust the map He gave us.

    Paul here makes the first of many references to the Jews and non-Jews (Greeks). This was the command from Jesus (Acts 1:8) and prophesied by Isaiah (Isa. 2:3). It’s interesting because earlier he referred to the Greeks as the learned (in contrast to Barbarians). Now he contrasts them to the Jews, implying that the Jews are unlearned. He’ll revisit this comparison later in the letter.

    17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    The gospel reveals the righteousness of God. It is a revealed faith (the faith system, not the individual faith). Those who are just (righteous, law abiding) live according to that faith system (a phrase I will use to distinguish it from individual faith – don’t get all crazy on me here).

    18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    God’s wrath is revealed against those who do not live according to that faith system, who do evil things and who believe the truth but do not live by it.

    We’ll see in a bit that Paul is referring still to the two classes, Jew and Gentile.

    19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    Anything that is possible and permissible to know about God is evident to them because God showed it to them.

    20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    God showed the truth of Himself through His Creation (a typical argument by Creationists against the Atheist and against the argument about that lonely dude out in Africa or wherever that supposedly has never heard the gospel). Both God’s omnipotence and divinity are shown through Creation and none have any excuses why they haven’t sought God.

    21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    God is speaking here of those who knew God (the Jews). They did not glorify God nor did they thank Him for what He did for them. They BECAME vain in their imaginations, meaning that at one time they weren’t. This is parallel to the idea of becoming by nature children of wrath that I mentioned in a previous post. Their foolish heart was darkened implies that at one time it had been full of light (knowledge/truth). This is those who had hold of the truth but did not obey it.

    More on this as we progress through the letter.

    22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    This is the self-righteousness of the Jew. Note that they BECAME fools. Meaning that at one time they weren’t. Under righteous leaders like David and Solomon is an example of this.

    23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    How often do we see the Jews turning from Jehovah God to worship idols throughout the OT. If I can make something, I’m greater than that something. I would never be so foolish as to worship a thing I had made with my own hands. It is beyond me to understand how any human would do so.

    24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

    God does not force obedience. He let the Jews choose their path.

    25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

    This is what I said above. How could any man worship a thing he made with his own hands. These men, the Jews, who had essentially direct communication with God, who had amazing, miraculous things done for them time and again, still CHANGED the truth of God into a lie. This implies, of course, that at one time they worshipped the True and Living God.

    26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    God allowed them to choose evil desires. As they turned from the true God to false gods, so they turned from the true purpose of themselves to unnatural uses.

    27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

    Homosexuality is evil, sinful, unseemly, unnatural, erroneous, and so on. Homosexual advocates who claim to be Christians need to read these verses and get a clue.

    28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

    Again, retaining God implies that He started there then they didn’t keep Him there. Rejecting God led to all other kinds of sin (things which are not “convenient”, fit, appropriate, right).

    29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
    30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
    31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

    A list of sins which we will undoubtedly return to at some point in this study.

    32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    These men know the judgment of God. They’d seen it against Egypt, against Babylon, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks, and every wicked nation they encountered on the way from Egypt to Palestine, and every wicked nation they overthrew in the land God promised them. They KNEW! and still they rejected God and committed things worthy of death and had pleasure in doing them.

    It is important to understand the foundation of Paul’s letter here in his introduction, to understand the foundation that is a discussion of Jews and Gentiles with relationship to the gospel.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  156. Romans 2
    1Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

    That word therefore refers back to the previous context. It is a word showing that what comes next is a conclusion of the previous words.

    Paul is not saying that it is wrong to judge, period. He is saying that it is wrong for those caught up in those evil acts to judge others for doing the same things. Just like Matt. 7, it is a condemnation of hypocritical judging only.

    Also, it is important to reiterate that the main focus of these accusations are against the Jews (see chapter 1) who left God to worship idols.

    John 7:24 and 1 Cor. 6:2-3 among other passages teach that it is a Christians duty to judge others righteously (using the scriptures as the standard of judgment).

    2But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

    God’s judgment is according to His will, the truth, that which was prophesied in scripture. We see this judgment against the Israelites/Jews spoken in places like Lev. 26, Duet. 32, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and in fact almost the entire OT.

    3And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

    Paul speaks as if to the hypocritical judge, the Jews (e.g. the Pharisees). He warns them that they will not escape judgment (specifically the judgment against the nation, which was coming soon, that destroyed their capital, their temple, and ended them as a nation and a religion in AD 67-73.

    4Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

    Within this context, Paul is asking if those who rejected God for idols (the nation of Israel) despise God’s forbearance and longsuffering toward them. God wanted the Jews to repent and turn back to Him. He waited 40 years after they crucified His Son so that all those who would, converted to Christianity.

    5But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

    Remember, Paul is still speaking to this “oh man” that is representative of the Jews. Though he writing to the Romans, he is teaching them by writing to this hypothetical man, which is the Jews. He does this to set up some of the later topics he discusses in the letter. As in most of his letters, Paul is combating the influence of Judaizers in the church at Rome.

    But the Jews, specifically the leaders (king, high priest, Sanhedrin Council – sun, moon, and stars) did not repent. Instead, they harden set themselves up to fall when judgment came against Israel. We see this in verses like Acts 2:40; Matt. 23-25; and many passages where both Jesus and the apostles tried to preach to the Jews and warn them of their destruction if they did not repent (Luke 13:3).

    6Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

    God’s judgment against the Jews would be based on their deeds (good or bad) just as it always has been, just as it always will be for all men.

    Dan and Glenn, that word “deeds” is another word for “works” in case I was being too subtle. 🙂

    7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    Paul here teaches that those who continue in doing good (that’s more works, guys) with patience, they can look forward to glory, honor, immortality and yes, even eternal life. Essentially Paul IS saying that one must continue to remain faithful to go to Heaven, thus denying the Once Saved Always Saved doctrines.

    What kind of works? Works of obedience. Keep reading.

    8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

    Paul is essentially teaching two types of people here:

    1. Those who obey the truth and who will thus have eternal life.
    2. Everyone else who are those who obey unrighteousness. For this class, their end is wrath and the opposite of glory.

    9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

    Again, those that DO evil receive a horrible end. This phrase “the Jew first, and also of the Gentile” is because this is how the gospel was to be preached. The Jews had the first opportunity to obey the gospel, but ultimately there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile under the New Covenant. They either obey the New Law or they face God’s wrath.

    10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

    And how many think that Paul is against works of all kinds? How many times does Paul have to say things like this? To those who do good works, whether Jew or non-Jew, glory, honour, peace (eternal life, and all those other good things too).

    11For there is no respect of persons with God.

    God does not show partiality with regard to salvation towards any man based on nationality. This is especially important with regard to the Jews because of their history and their purpose. The Jews thought they were all that AND a bag of chips, but it was because they did not understand why God chose them, what He chose them for.

    12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

    Paul continues with the two types of people, Jew and non-Jew. Those who sinned without THE law are the Gentiles. Those who have sinned in THE law are the Jews. The only reference that fits here in the context of Jew and Gentile is the Old Mosaical Law.

    For the rest of this letter, when Paul refers to THE law without any kind of qualification, he is referring to the Old Mosaical Law. That and nothing else.

    13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

    Uh oh. More working to be justified.

    14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

    This is an important verse for establishing the premise that Paul is only referring to the Old Mosaical Law. This verse makes no sense if it is speaking of the concept of law in general. It MUST be speaking of the Old Law (prior to the cross of course).

    This verse is also important for showing that man is not inherently evil. The Gentiles, who in general did not have the law of Moses, still were created in the image of God. They still understood the basics of moral truth and abided by it. We see this in men like Jethro (Moses father in law), Abraham, Melchizadek, Noah, and Cornelius to name a few.

    15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

    The Gentiles understood moral truth which was contained within the Mosaical law. They had consciences as part of their human design and were able to judge one another based on this moral truth “without the law”.

    16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

    During the time before the cross, Gentiles could look forward to salvation at the cross just as the Jews did, by following the moral truth established at the Creation of the universe (Gen. 1-3). When Christ arrived, those Gentiles who had DONE righteousness (without the law of Moses) would then be saved. We sometimes refer to this as Christ’s blood flowing backwards from the cross.

    17Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

    Again, this has to be the law of Moses. No other reference makes any sense. The Jews thought they were better than anyone else because their national law came directly from God. They did not understand their purpose, why God had called them out to be a special people. Therefore the Jews boasted in their bloodline and their adherence to that old, flawed, law that ultimately could not save, only condemn.

    18And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

    The Jews should have known God’s will. They should have understood their purpose and realized who Christ was because they had the law of Moses to tell them. To the Gentile, they had no such specific knowledge. They only had their consciences as guides and whatever revelation God gave through their patriarchs.

    19And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

    The Jews viewed themselves as teachers of those who are ignorant of the pattern of knowledge, of truth in the Mosaical law, however…

    21Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

    They failed to learn the lessons of that law for themselves. What’s more, they actually considered themselves above the law of Moses (thou shalt not steal) because they stole from others (generally using their positions of authority).

    22Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?

    Again, more from the ten commandments identifying THE law as the Old Mosaical Law.

    23Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?

    These Jews then boasted about being masters of the Mosaical Law and strict adherents to it, but in truth they went beyond the law (e.g. Mark 7:11) and dishonored the one who gave them that law.

    24For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

    Those who were outside of the law of Moses looked at the Jews and saw them for what they were, hypocrites.

    25For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

    This is entirely reference to the law of Moses. It says that physical circumcision, which the Judiazers were making a big deal out of to the Gentile Christians (Acts 15:1-24; Gal. 2:3), is nothing if one did not live by the law of Moses (the only law to which circumcision pertained).

    26Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

    Logically then, those who were not under the law of Moses, the Gentiles, if they kept to the standard of moral truth contained in the law by conscience, their lack of physical circumcision was no barrier and it was as if they were circumcised.

    Paul is setting up a foundation here to talk about the way things are under the NT in contrast to the teachings of the Judiazers.

    27And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

    Then the Gentiles who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law of Moses by conscience, judge the Jews who are physically circumcised but do not keep the law of Moses.

    28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

    The real Jew, the real children of God, are not those who are only Jews physically. Those who are the true Israel, the true children of God, are those who obey God from the heart (Rom. 6:16-18), who worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Those who do not seek the praise of men, but the praise of God.

    Folks, if you don’t get the foundation laid out here in chapter 2, the Jew vs. Gentile, those who lived by the law of Moses and those who lived outside of it, then you will not understand the rest of the letter correctly. If you do not understand, or willfully reject this point, don’t bother reading further.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  157. Romans 3
    1What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?

    Since Paul has been talking about the Jews and physical circumcision and how they are not as important as the Jews consider them to be, Paul then asks this question.

    2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

    This is the ultimate purpose of the Jews. They have the advantage when it comes to the gospel because God spoke to them in a way that He did not speak to any other nation. Through the Old Law they had the knowledge of the coming Messiah and should have been ready to receive Him and full salvation (which one cannot have under the OT). The Jewish people were called out of the world to be a special people to be the vehicle for the coming of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that through his seed all the nations of the world would be blessed. They should have KNOWN.

    3For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

    Just because some (a majority) of the Jews did not believe what God told them in the OT did not make the faith system ineffectual. Regardless of the faith of the Jews, God still kept His promises. Through Abraham’s seed, the Messiah came, and all of the nations of the world were blessed by Him.

    4God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

    Paul answers his own question. Even if every single person were a liar, if every Jew lived without faith, God is still true to His word, His promises. God is righteous in what He has said (His promises) and when judged of men, no man can call God a liar (doesn’t keep his promises).

    5But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)

    Paul, speaking as one who does not reason from the scriptures, asks if by our not living a righteous life, we still show the righteousness of God, is God just then for taking vengeance on us? How fair is that?

    6God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

    Paul then responds to this silly question by pointing out that such reasoning is foolish because God, as Creator, must judge the world. God uses everything, evil and good, to His glory. Even Satan and his demons, by possessing others showed the power and glory of God through Christ and the Apostles who cast them out.

    7For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?

    If Paul is lying, but this caused the truth of God to be more fruitful, how is it fair that Paul is condemned a sinner? (He is making the often used argument that the ends justify the means in mock debate against himself.)

    8And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

    More of the same devil’s advocate reasoning here. Do the ends justify the means? Some had slandered Paul and other Christians by saying this is actually what they teach, when in fact they don’t.

    9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

    A VERY IMPORTANT VERSE!!!

    Paul, being a Jew (remember the question in 3:1), then asks if the Jew is better than the Gentile. He then says no. Paul has proved that both Jew and Gentile (two types of people) are under sin. This is not a reference to individuals, but to types/groups of people. You must pay attention to this or you will misinterpret the rest of the point Paul is making.

    10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes.

    This is a quote from several Psalms. Paul uses it to refer to both groups of people to show that neither is better than the other. That is the context of the passage. Taken out of its context one might conclude that every person on the planet for all time is a sinner, but that would be contradictory to a number of passages.

    1. Christ was righteous and does not fit any of this quote.

    2. There are a number of people to whom these verses do not apply that I know of personally, but more importantly that we read about in the NT.

    3. The point is that neither Jew nor Gentile (neither type of people) had the capacity to be justified because there was nothing in existence that could justify them once they were lost. Christ had to come before that could happen.

    If you take it beyond this context, you are shoving meaning into the passage that Paul did not intend.

    19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

    Here is the reference again to that Old Law and it sums up Paul’s point. The Mosaical Law ultimately taught the Jews (remember chapter 2) that they could not be justified by that law. We see this taught later in Romans 8:3 and again throughout the book of Hebrews (e.g. Heb. 10:1-4). Since a man could not be justified by the law of Moses, all of those who otherwise might have been justified by it were instead guilty. This point does not include those who did not need to be justified (infants, mentally retarded, never sinned – aka Christ) so does not address them. To say that it does apply to all men without qualification means that it applies to Christ. If it applies to Christ then he is guilty of sin. If Christ is guilty of sin, then our faith is in vain.

    20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

    The law of Moses only taught about sin and the need for salvation. It did not teach one how to be saved.

    21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

    Another key verse here. The law and the prophets, again this is a reference to the Old Testament. God’s righteousness is made visible to men outside of the law of Moses. The Old Testament (the law and the prophets), however, testified of the coming of this righteousness (which he speaks of below).

    Again, you must understand that “THE law” is a reference to the OT and, unqualified, is never used to refer to anything else in any of Paul’s letters. If you don’t get this, stop reading. There is no point in going on.

    22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

    This is what that righteousness that was made manifest is. It is the system of faith given by Jesus Christ, the gospel. Paul’s conclusion of this sub-point, the final answer to the question posed in verse 1, is a comparison of the Old Testament to the New Testament. Under the Old, there was only condemnation. Under the New, justification (not just declaration, but a real transition from sinful to sinless) through Christ.

    This righteousness is to all and on all who believe. This is Paul’s way of referring to Christians. (Yes Dan, I know that only the word believe is in this verse, but that does not mean only faith is what Paul is referring to. It is an appellation, not a statement of instruction.)

    Paul is introducing a third group of people into the discussion, a group that can include the other two groups, but makes any connection to those other two groups void. This group is “believers” otherwise known as Christians.

    23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

    This “all” applies back to “all them that believe” in context. It does not apply to all men of all types in all times. Paul is essentially saying that all Christians are by definition people who have sinned and were in need of salvation. He says more about this class in the next verse.

    If it applies to all men without qualification, then it also applies to Christ, and again, our faith is in vain.

    24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

    All them that believe are being (present perfect – continually being justified) justified freely by his grace (which I believe to be Christ and His teachings) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Thus, verse 23 cannot refer to all types of people for all time else together the verses teach universalism (that all men are saved and no one is going to be eternally damned). Many people read vs. 23 out of context, sadly, even in the church of Christ.

    25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

    God set Jesus to be the propitiation (appeasement of, or the fulfillment of a requirement). This is the grace part, the cause and effective source of salvation.

    Through faith. This is the the medium through which grace (Christ, the propitiation) works to affect salvation. Of course as I have affirmed repeatedly, a specific kind of faith is required, an obedient faith. Paul has already affirmed this earlier in the letter.

    In his blood – ultimately it is the blood of Christ that cleanses us. We’ll talk about this more as the letter progresses. When do we come into contact with the blood of Christ? This is the most important question because it IS the blood of Christ, specifically, that cleanses him.

    Essentially God is proved to be a keeper of His promises in that true forgiveness of sins has come in Christ.

    The forbearance is that God didn’t destroy the Jews (Numbers 14) or all of man (Genesis 6) when He would be perfectly just in doing so as the one who created them.

    26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

    This, I suppose, is Dan’s second form of justification, the declaration. But this declaration is in relationship to God who cannot be otherwise. God is shown to be just, a keeper of His promises through Abraham’s seed in Christ. He actively (not just a declaration, Dan) justifies, or makes righteous those who continually believe in Jesus. (an -eth on the end of a word in the KJV generally denotes present continual action).

    We’ll talk more about the kind of belief as Paul brings it up. But just because belief is the only thing stated in this one single verse, does not mean that faith is the only thing that makes one righteous. Paul has already affirmed this early with his talk of works and doing good, but he’ll talk more about it through the letter.

    27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

    Now, then, we get to one of those passages so many of you are so confused about. The Jews boasted about being given the law of Moses. We see it time and again throughout the gospel accounts and Acts. But Paul said that the new law, the law of faith, (note that it is still a law, and one must keep a law or be, by definition a sinner 1 John 3:4), the faith system delivered by Jesus made their boasting about the law of Moses, the law that required perfect keeping (works) to be justified, null and void.

    28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    His conclusion is that men are justified by the faith system given to us by Christ, not by the deeds of the Old Mosaical Law. Read in any other way, this verse is stripped out of its context and useless.

    29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

    Herein is the great mystery of how God would fulfill His promise to Abraham. God is not just the God of the Jews, but of both types of people, Jews and non-Jews. All men can be justified by the faith system Christ delivered. And they do so outside of (without recourse to) the law of Moses.

    Hence he concludes that the Judiazers are wrong to teach that one must be circumcised and follow the law of Moses FIRST before they can become a Christian.

    30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

    Both Jews and Gentiles are justified by means of, through the agency of the faith system, the new law.

    31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

    Do we then make the Mosaical Law void through this system of faith, the New Testament, the gospel? No, the New Testament establishes the truth of everything God promised and prophesied throughout the Old Testament. The New is the end reason for and the fulfillment of the Old. It is what the Old was bringing mankind to.

    Again, if you do not understand the idea that “THE law” without qualification is the law of Moses in the book of Romans, then stop. You won’t get the meaning of the rest of the letter.

    If you don’t see this contrast of Old Law/Testament vs. New Law/Testament, then stop. Paul is going to make a number of similar comparisons throughout the book and they all hinge on this pivotal point. The imperfection, shadow/type, and limitations of the Old vs. the perfection, reality/antitype, and full ability of the New is laid out in every other comparison made throughout the letter.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  158. Romans 4
    1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

    Paul here asks the question regarding Abraham, the physical ancestor of the Jews, and what he had found in relationship to this concept of justification and “the law”, the OT.

    2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

    Kept in context this goes back to Romans 3:27-28 which speaks of works according to the Old Law of Moses. If Abraham had been justified by these kinds of works, then he would have had something to boast about. But he didn’t, not before

    God. We’ll see more of this distinction in the coming verses.

    3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

    The scriptures (the old testament again) teach that Abraham believed God and God accounted it as righteousness. What kind of belief? The belief that demons had? No. The kind of faith called for in the New Testament, which is the

    point of bringing Abraham into this. It is the obedient faith. How can I prove this? I read about Abraham in the scriptures Paul is referring the Roman church to. Specifically Genesis 26:5 among others.

    In Genesis 15 God promises to give Abraham an heir from his own bowels. Abraham believes God. Why, because God told Abraham to leave Ur, to leave his father’s household, and go to a land that God would show him. Abraham believed God

    then and obeyed. God kept His promise. So when God makes another promise, Abraham, who has the right kind of faith, an obedient faith, believes that God will keep this promise too.

    Why then does it say that God accounted it as righteousness? Because no spiritual system of that time, including the Patriarchal System that Abraham was under, could actually save anyone. Only the blood of Christ could do that. But

    God, with an eternal perspective, could count those who obeyed Him like Abraham as righteous because God knew He would keep His promise to send the Messiah. God based Abraham’s righteousness on the saving grace to come, and Abraham’s

    specific kind of faith.

    4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

    Here is that contrast. Under the old law, to keep eternal life, you had to earn it by living perfectly before the law of Moses just as Christ did. Abraham’s reward was not reckoned based on that kind of work but a looking forward to

    the promised saving grace, the blessing of all nations through Abraham’s seed.

    5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

    Again the contrast from the other side. This isn’t about works according to the old law, working off debt or earning eternal life by living perfectly. It is about Abraham not working according to the law of Moses, which came much later

    after his death, but having that obedient faith accounted as righteousness.

    Just to reinforce the point, since I’m probably loosing you here. It cannot be general work that Paul speaks of here, because Jesus himself said that faith is a work (John 6:29). Paul can only be referring to the works spoken of in the

    overall context of the book so far.

    6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

    King David lived under the Old Testament and he understood its limitations. It could not make one righteous without someone living perfectly by it (as Christ did). David then explained how men who looked forward to the Messiah, who had

    an imputed righteousness, were blessed. More below.

    7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

    David could not have been talking about the Old Testement because the Old Testament could not forgive sins. He was talking about the future when the Messiah came and took away the sins of the world. That’s when true forgiveness came.

    Those Israelites/Jews who looked forward to this time by remaining obedient to the will of God, had their sins rolled forward to the cross every year. The sacrifice of the animals could not take their sins away. David is actually

    prophesying here of the coming of Jesus.

    8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

    But the man who remained faithful to God would rely on the fulfillment of God’s promises to eventually take away sin. Sin was not imputed to them, and righteousness was, even though at that point in time, they could not have them

    literally forgiven (because the OT could not forgive sins, only condemn). The very word “faithfulness” engenders the idea of obedience.

    9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

    Paul, using David’s words, describes Abraham’s promise asking the question: did this blessing come on the Jews only or on the Gentiles, too? It is a rhetorical question because God’s promise to Abraham was that all nations would be

    blessed through his seed, not just the Israelites (who did not even exist then).

    10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

    Paul then asks when Abraham was imputed as righteous by his faith, before or after he was circumcised. Genesis 15 is where he is imputed as righteous for his faith in God. He is not circumcised till Gen 17. Paul’s point then is that

    righteousness is outside of the law of Moses, even for Abraham. The Jews, who put their stock in being the decendants of Abraham but also in the keeping of the law, had a problem. Abraham, their great progenitor, was not under the law.

    11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might

    be imputed unto them also:

    Abraham received the sign of circumcision, a seal indicating the right type of faith which he had before he was circumcised. Therefore Abraham is called the father of those who believe, even if they weren’t circumcised. God’s blessing

    through Abraham came upon all nations therefore righteousness, looking forward to Christ, was imputed to all who were faithful to God before the cross.

    12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

    Here Paul again indicates that faith is a walk, an action, a doing. It is not a mental excercise only, but a way of life. To those who say it is all internal and requires no effort on the part of man, just look to Abraham. Read

    Hebrews 11 and see Abraham’s faith. Read Genesis 12-26. Pay special attention though to Genesis 26:5. Why did God bless Abraham? Because God considers righteous faith and obedience as inseparable. Faith alone is not enough.

    13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

    The promise given to Abraham and his seed through this obedient faith outside of and before the law of Moses which the Jews were so enamored with.

    14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

    Paul here begins to show the distinction between the law of Moses and the law of Christ (law of faith Rom. 3:27). They which are of the law are the Jews. If they are heirs by the law of Moses, then Abraham’s faith is made void since he

    lived outside of the law. If Abraham’s faith is made void, then the promise to him is made of no effect because the promise was made based on faith.

    15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

    The Mosaical law (“THE law”) only condemns, it does not save (move one from a state of being lost to sin, to not being lost to sin). Then Paul makes the declaration that without law, there is no transgression, echoing the statements

    found in 1 John 3:4. Those of you who believe we are not under any kind of spiritual law whatsoever, deny that anyone sins today since, according to your paradigm, there is no law to transgress. We are under a new and better law, one

    that CAN save based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

    16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

    Paul then shows how Abraham’s promise must be of Abraham’s kind of faith, that obedient faith, so that the inheritance might be by grace. Abraham looked forward to the fulfillment of the promise of God, that divine, saving grace. Grace

    was a promise to all mankind, not just those of “THE law” (the Israelites/Jews), but to all who have the same kind of faith as Abraham even if a non-Jew.

    17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

    The OT teaches that God told Abraham he was made a father of many nations (not just the one, the Jews, as they thought). Abraham believed God who raises the dead back to life, God who speaks of things that didn’t exist yet as though

    they did. That is to say, God revealed to Abraham the future of what must be. Christ and the new and better faith system.

    18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

    Abraham hoped beyond all expectations of mankind. He placed his hope in God instead, a hope that God would continue to fulfill His promises as He had done for Abraham so far.

    19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:

    Abraham’s faith was so strong that he did not even fear that God could not keep His promise to give him a son of his own flesh even though he and Sarah were well beyond the capacity to conceive children.

    20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

    Abraham did not falter in his faith as the Jews did in the wilderness (Heb. 3). His faith remained strong and He gave glory to God.

    21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

    Abraham was completely persuaded that whatever God promised God was able to do.

    22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

    Because of that strength of faith, God set Abraham’s account to righteous, looking forward to the blood of Christ to actually pay the account off.

    23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

    That righteousness was imputed to Abraham was not written in the Old Testament for Abraham’s sake (the Old Testament was not even begun to be written until well after Abraham’s death).

    24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

    It was written for instruction of everyone that has their debt paid by having that same kind of faith that Abraham had, an active faith that God, who raised Jesus our King from the dead, is able to fulfill His promises to us.

    25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

    A continued description of Christ and transition into the thoughts of chapter 5. Christ was sacrificed to pay the debt for the sins of Roman Christians (and by implication all who have that same kind of faith as Abraham). Christ was also raised for the justification of the same group of people. It is an important note here that Paul is saying that Christ’s death was not enough. It is through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that we are justified. We’ll see more on this in chapter 6.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  159. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie’s quote: “It is an important note here that Paul is saying that Christ’s death was not enough. It is through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that we are justified. We’ll see more on this in chapter 6.”

    Ernie…what you are “seeing” is heavily filtered (or tainted) by your (mistaught) biases. To say that Christ death “was not enough” is bunk…heresay would be more correct.

    Christ said, “It is finished” and God the Father, via the power of the Holy Spirit, raised Christ from the dead giving clear indication of his completed work and the Father’s acceptance. COMPLETED work…. Ernie!

    Have YOU NEVER WONDERED….why it takes you SO MANY WORDS …AND SO MUCH TIME…to explain your (Ernie’s) version of the gospel? I might add…which is NO GOSPEL at all but a modified(CofC) WORKS system?

    Ernie, my friend, you need to come out of your Church of Christ “cave” and breath some fresh air of the real gospel – the one that “sets one free…!”

    You recall, “If Christ sets you free…you are free indeed!

    Ernie, ole buddy, you are so much entangled in the bondage of “maintaining” your salvation…you really don’t have time to enjoy it. (Phariseeism maybe?)

    Glenn


  160. Ernie…what you are “seeing” is heavily filtered (or tainted) by your (mistaught) biases. To say that Christ death “was not enough” is bunk…heresay would be more correct.

    If this is true, it should be easy for you to actually show this rather than just assert it.

    Christ said, “It is finished” and God the Father, via the power of the Holy Spirit, raised Christ from the dead giving clear indication of his completed work and the Father’s acceptance. COMPLETED work…. Ernie!

    You just said pretty much the same thing I did. It was Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection that is the means of salvation. His death alone would not have accomplished all that was needed (read 1 Cor. 15).

    Have YOU NEVER WONDERED….why it takes you SO MANY WORDS …AND SO MUCH TIME…to explain your (Ernie’s) version of the gospel?

    No. Because 1) I’m writing a lot because I’m covering an entire book so of course it takes a lot of typing. That should be a no brainer. 2) I am not only covering what Paul teaches, but trying to help you unlearn your own error in the process. That takes the most work.

    The rest of your post is just useless assertions and personal attacks. I have no time or inclination to further respond to such. How about instead of wasting your time with that garbage, why don’t you try actually attempting to refute what I’ve said from scripture?

    Been a hectic week. Unless someone has something of import to post concerning what I’ve already posted, I’ll continue with Romans when I have time.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  161. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Erie, Recall Act 16:29-31:

    “And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    Now, my question is – were they “putting him on”?

    Had you been there would you have felt compelled to “correct” them with your Church of Christ doctrine?

    And yes, they were baptized the same hour – which is good and right. However, it did not improve, enhance, or magically seal/validate their salvation.

    What say you, sir?


  162. Sorry I did not answer this sooner. Been a crazy week. My brother got married on Thursday and I was helping move his furniture yesterday.

    Erie[sic], Recall Act 16:29-31…

    As with any one passage, it is simply wrong to treat that passage in an isolated passage as if that’s the only verse that matters. As I’ve said before, just because a passage only talks about faith with regard to salvation, doesn’t imply Faith Only.

    1. This was kind of like reverse prison ministry. The jailer had no doubt heard Paul and Silas preaching the gospel while they were in jail, else he would not have known to ask those two specifically anything. So Paul’s answer is not the sum total of everything the jailer and the other prisoners heard.

    2. The same question is asked in Acts 2:37 and Peter speaks of repentance and immersion. No doubt this is part of the gospel message that Paul preached to the jailer and his prisoners given that the jailer was then immersed as you admitted.

    So, no, I would not have to “correct” Paul. He taught that faith saves. So do I. He also taught, by implication of other NT scripture repentance and immersion save. So do I.

    Paul didn’t cherry pick verses ignoring the rest of scripture (e.g. 1 Pet. 3:21; Eph. 5:26; Romans 6;
    Acts 2:38) to preach a man made doctrine, a corrupt gospel. Neither do I.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  163. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, You want so much for it to be more complicated, man centered, (or man dependent) that you cannot accept the gospel in it’s pure form. The scripture says, “The preaching of the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing…” Certainly, you are not one of those but you seem to think it foolish that man can be save via the instruction Paul gave the jailer – believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. See Roman 10:9 as well.

    Did Paul mispeak or must we (everyone) “presume” Paul had said a lot more and this was only the capstone?

    Honestly, Ernie, do ever feel a bit “self-righteous.” I don’t but would find it hard to imagine that you don’t. The part you may not see is …once a person is “born again,” yes, “made alive in Christ” that person has a new nature and DESIRES to be baptised, read and study scripture, attend worship, evangelize, and live the best godly live they possible can through the power of the Holy Spirit abiding within them. But you want to make all this natural response a checklist or requirment.

    Question: At the conclusion of you wedding ceremonly, when the preacher said, “Ernie, you may kiss your bride,” did you say, “Is that required”…Do I have to?” Of course not! You did it because you loved your new bride and wanted show it.

    Put up your checklist, Ernie. “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!”


  164. Romans 5
    1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

    This conclusion is a segue into the next point. Christians, who have been justified by the same kind of faith as Abraham outside of the OT law, have peace with God. We have been reconciled to God and are no longer separated from Him by

    sin (Isa. 59:1-2-) which is spiritual death.

    2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    By Jesus Christ (vs. 1) we have access by the same kind of faith as Abraham into God’s grace wherein Christians stand. That grace is the gospel (Eph. 6:10-17; Romans 1:16), the power of God, wherein we stand. We rejoice in the hope of

    the glory of God, which is the hope of being with God in Heaven.

    3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

    Not only do Christians hope, but they gloried in the persecutions they faced for the cause of Christ, knowing that such trials teach patience.

    Their main persecution was at the hands of the Jews who did not convert to Christianity.

    4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

    Self explanatory. Christians suffered tribulations which made them patient in the expectation that Christ would deliver them. It gave them experience to endure whatever came their way to challenge their faith in God, and that

    experience increased their hope, made it a solid hope that kept them on the strait and narrow through all that they would face during this first century of the church’s existence.

    5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

    Christians felt no shame in keeping their faith because they knew of God’s love for them. That love which was in their hearts by the preaching of the gospel now written in their hearts (Heb. 8:10; 10:16) which was inspired by the Holy

    Ghost given to the first century church in the immediate physical sense.

    1. It is the gospel that teaches Christians and it is all sufficient.
    2. This was written to the Christians at Rome and does not apply directly to us in the same way.
    3. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in us in the same way as it did them (circa 1 Cor. 13:8-13; Acts 8:14-21). He dwells in us in the same way that Father and Son do, through our obedience (John 14:23)

    6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

    Strength here is speaking to Paul’s audience’s ability or power to save themselves (and by implication all others who had sinned and needed saving). However, in the correct time frame within Biblical prohpecies (such as Daniel 2),

    Christ came and died to save those that Paul was writing to (and again, by implication, all others that needed saving), doing what they could not do in and of themselves.

    7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

    Paul emphasizes what Christ did by highlighting the type of men other men might die for. One might give his life for another if they thought that other person worth dying for.

    8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    In contrast, Christ died while Paul and those at Rome were still sinners, enslaved to sin with no capacity for redemption. It is important to keep in mind Paul’s audience as he writes. Too many people automatically make the leap of

    implication to themselves and by extensino all other men, but that leads to assumption and then error. It cannot logically apply to us today since Christ came and died before we were ever conceived.

    9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

    Further caution for understanding who Paul is writing to. Those who he is speaking to are those he is speaking about. The Christians at Rome and Paul were being continually justified by the blood of Christ (see 1 John 1:7) and would be

    saved from the wrath to come. In the greater context of the NT, this wrath is the destruction of Judaism and the Jews as well as those whose lampstands are removed (Rev. 2-3), who are unprofitable servants (Matt. 25:24-30).

    10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    Through the death of Christ, those who had been enslaved to sin, became no longer separated from God by sin because by the death of Jesus, their sins were taken away. So, being reconciled to God we are continually saved by living the

    type of life that Christ showed us how to live.

    11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    Paul and the Roman Christians took joy in God for keeping His promise to Abraham in sending Jesus to die by which they became saved.

    12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    Now we get to an area where the Calvinists always get confused. Before Adam and Eve sinned, there was no sin in the world. This is interesting because Satan lied before Adam and Eve sinned which says something about Satan. When Adam

    and Eve sinned, spiritual death (not physical) that is to say separation from God (Isa. 59:1-2) entered the world. Spiritul death passed to all types of men (remember back to the first three chapters – that context still holds)

    because both those under the law of Moses (Jews) and those outside of the law of Moses (everyone else) had no means of salvation once they sinned. It is also important here that Paul does not write that death passed to all men because

    Adam sinned. He says that death passed upon all because all have sinned, associating spiritual death with only those sins committed by the individual. There is no such thing as inherited guilt of sin (Ezek. 18).

    So what about Adam, then? Adam introduced the propensity for sin into the world by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He changed the environment from one of peace and purity to one of pressure to sin. That is what we

    inherited from him. It is what David speaks of in Psalm 51 when he says that he was shapen in iniquity and his mother conceived him in sin. The sin is not David’s, the sin is the people around him in the world into which David was

    born. David chose to give into that pressure and sinned (with Bathsheba for example).

    13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

    Thus begins a long parenthetical statement of explanation of his last thought. He is going to continue with the contextual foundation he has already established. Until “the law”, the Law of Moses, sin was still in the world. However,

    sin cannot be added to the accounting sheet without any kind of law. It is important that we understand the word “imputed” here. This is not a simple declaration of sin, or some label, it is a reckoning of the ledger, a financial term.

    Sin is in the balance scales with nothing to pay the debt at this point, even outside the law of Moses.

    14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    Spiritual death (physical death is irrelevant to this context up to this point) ruled from Adam to Moses because there was no means to balance the scales, no payment for the debt. Even those who did not sin Adam’s sin, eating of the

    tree of knolwedge of good and evil, were guilty of sin, having made their own transgressions of God’s will (either under the Patriarchal laws or the Mosaical law). Adam, though, is a type pointing to Christ as the antitype.

    15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by

    one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace

    and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto

    justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

    This passage is where the Calvinists fall off understanding. Through Adam’s sin, many died spiritually. But whatever Adam did, Christ more than undead. The free gift, Christ (again, the definition of saving grace as I have constantly

    used it), is more powerful than Adam’s sin.

    Even if hereditary guilt were true up to this point, whatever Adam did, Christ undid it. For anyone to still be teaching hereditary guilt, sin nature, or whatever other man-made doctrine that is like to these, that person is teaching

    that Adam’s sin is more powerful than Christ’s blood. Since none of those man-made doctrines are actually true, its really a moot point, but it was worth pointing out.

    Herein Paul then proclaims that where men did not have the power to save themselves, Christ provided the means of salvation (that’s what grace is). Through his obedience to God, he 1) provided the means by which we can be saved, 2) the

    pattern for us to follow, a faithful life, without which we walk in darkness and die anew (1 John 1:6).

    20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

    When the Law of Moses entered, sins grew even more (because sin is transgression of law [1 John 3:4]). The Mosaical Law showed the world how much it needed the coming Messiah, that a man could not save himself once he sinned. The Law

    was the schoolmaster that brought us to Christ (Gal. 3:24-25). But where the Mosaical Law caused sin to abound (because there were more laws to transgress without means of cleansing), grace (Christ and his teachings, the new and better

    law) were more powerful in that grace can actually cleanse sin.

    21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

    So the conclusion of this section is:

    1. sin rules sinners, enslaves them, and the result is spiritual death.
    2. grace (Christ and the NT) rule through…uh, oh…righteousness (that is living right, obedient faith) unto eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord (the Christian’s ruler, their king, for Christians are a part of the kingdom of

    Christ which is the church of Christ).

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  165. …you seem to think it foolish that man can be save via the instruction Paul gave the jailer – believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. See Roman 10:9 as well.

    Your assumption is that what is recorded there in Acts 16 is all the instructions that Paul gave the jailer. If that were so, why then did the jailer get immersed? Was it just a random thought on his part? “I believe just as Paul taught. Now I think I’ll go completely submerge myself in water even though Paul didn’t say anything about water.”

    Cherry pickers always stop at verse 9. Keep reading through verse 10, in fact keep reading through verse 17 because it shows that salvation requires steps, a process, not just a singular event. Even Dan understood that, though he left out a couple of steps to the process.

    Verse 10 says that belief is UNTO righteousness, confession is UNTO salvation. If I’m in Austin, TX I don’t need to ask you directions for how to get TO Austin, TX. I’m already there. But if I’m in Taylor, TX, someone might tell me to get on Hwy 79, go west 16 or so miles, turn south on I35 and that leads [UN]TO Austin.

    Faith is definitely required for salvation and one cannot be saved without it. Nowhere, however, does the Bible ever teach that only faith is required. Those who think that it is are blind. Some, like you who has been taught the truth, are willfully blind.

    Did Paul mispeak or must we (everyone) “presume” Paul had said a lot more and this was only the capstone?

    Paul did not misspeak. Nor must anyone presume anything. That the jailer was immersed implies that more was taught (see above). I only infer what the Bible implies. Paul’s statement to the jailer is akin to Phillip’s statement to the Eunuch (Acts 8). Faith alone saved neither. Obedience in every part of the process including faith saves.

    Honestly, Ernie, do ever feel a bit “self-righteous.”

    No.

    The part you may not see is …once a person is “born again,” yes, “made alive in Christ” that person has a new nature and DESIRES to be baptised, read and study scripture, attend worship, evangelize, and live the best godly live they possible can through the power of the Holy Spirit abiding within them. But you want to make all this natural response a checklist or requirment.

    I’ve heard all this before, but not in scripture, not the way you stated it above. Romans 6 and John 3:3,5 are very clear about when we are reborn spiritually, made a new creature spiritually, and its when we are immersed.

    Furthermore, your personal attacks and emotional appeals have no effect on someone like me. I will continue to do what God said in the Bible and trust Him to keep His promises. You do whatever you want, including nothing at all, and see where that gets you.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  166. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, A few thoughts for your consideration:

    You say:
    “Your assumption is that what is recorded there in Acts 16 is all the instructions that Paul gave the jailer. If that were so, why then did the jailer get immersed?

    My comment: Here you took some “liberty” from a Church of Christ saying that is, “We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent….”

    Comment #2: I notice the Church of Christ always intreptes “obeying the gospel” as getting baptized, in particular. Do you recall when Paul made the statement, “I did NOT come to baptize but preach the gospel…”

    Last Question: Ernie, when you get to heaven, what percent will you attribute to YOURSELF – that is, how much “credit” will you get?

    For me – none. I was dead in my transgressions and was “made alive in Christ…”

    How about you, Ernie?


  167. You say:
    “Your assumption is that what is recorded there in Acts 16 is all the instructions that Paul gave the jailer. If that were so, why then did the jailer get immersed?

    My comment: Here you took some “liberty” from a Church of Christ saying that is, “We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent….”

    “Things implied” fall under the category of things the Bible speaks. For instance, the Bible does not explicitly state that there is only once church. It does however state that there is only one body and also that the body is the church. Implicitly, then, the Bible teaches that there is only one church.

    As I said in my prior response, it was implied that immersion was taught to the jailer and so my answer stands without adding anything to what the Bible says (speaking where the Bible is silent).

    Comment #2: I notice the Church of Christ always intreptes “obeying the gospel” as getting baptized, in particular. Do you recall when Paul made the statement, “I did NOT come to baptize but preach the gospel…”

    Actually obeying the gospel is everything from hearing through immersion…all five steps.

    But if you notice in that context, what Paul is referring to is immersing, the act of one person immersing another, not immersion being submerged in water to contact the blood of Christ and receive remission of sins. Again, context is important. Too many people at the Corinthian church were dividing over who they had been immersed by. Paul says that who immerses you is irrelevant and to stop dividing over it. Nothing in that context reduces the importance of or changes the purpose of NT immersion from being necessary for and the point of remission of sins.

    Last Question: Ernie, when you get to heaven, what percent will you attribute to YOURSELF – that is, how much “credit” will you get?

    None.

    For me – none. I was dead in my transgressions and was “made alive in Christ…”

    And then apparently left your first love (Rev. 2:4). So when were you made alive in Christ according to scripture (hint: Romans 6)?

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  168. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, Romans 6:3-5(immersion)is not the pinnacle or “crowning” event of one’s salvation… contrary to Church of Christ teaching. You learned it well though. 🙂

    Since there is ONE faith and ONE baptism – is it the baptism of the Holy Spirit OR immersion by the hand of man?

    You ascribe way too much credit to the act of immersion. There are countless situations where 2-3 feet of water is not possible. And that would restrict God’s great salvation.

    My friend, your “water tank” magic is not the controlling factor you claim in God’s glorious salvation by grace, through faith…and that not of yourselves, let any man boast.” Can you not see that?

    You say you get “no credit” for your salvation and that’s good – yet you outline five steps. And if YOU missed a step…? 😦

    Ernie, I’m glad you read Romans. It has shown many Church of Christ brothers God’s true plan.

    Compare these five steps to your five. This is the scriptural order of salvation from Romans 8:29-30:

    1. For whom he did FOREKNOW..
    2. ..he also did PREDESTINATE…
    3. …them he also CALLED…
    4. Them he also justified…
    5. Them he also glorified!

    As you read the above, notice the repeated use of “He” rather that “me” or “we.” When scripture says “Salvation is of the LORD” – it means…of the LORD.

    God bless. 🙂


  169. Ernie, Romans 6:3-5(immersion)is not the pinnacle or “crowning” event of one’s salvation… contrary to Church of Christ teaching. You learned it well though. 🙂

    Glenn, Romans 6:3-5(immersion) is the final step in the pattern given by God for man to follow, the point where man comes into contact with the blood of Christ (1 John 5:8), the point of initial salvation, which is what the church of Christ teaches. You failed to learn this.

    Since there is ONE faith and ONE baptism – is it the baptism of the Holy Spirit OR immersion by the hand of man?

    It is immersion in water according to the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God. Immersion IN the Holy Spirit only took place in two recorded (and one implied) places in scripture: Acts 2 and the Apostles, and Acts 10 with God showing acceptance of the Gentiles into the church. Immersion IN the Holy Spirit (rather than water) did not happen any other time. After that, immersion IN water BY the Spirit (according to the Holy Spirit inspired Word) was the one immersion by the time Paul wrote to the Ephesian congregation.

    You ascribe way too much credit to the act of immersion. There are countless situations where 2-3 feet of water is not possible. And that would restrict God’s great salvation.

    This is called situation ethics and I take no part in discussing them. God said “immersion doth also now save”. God said it. I obey. You do what you want.

    My friend, your “water tank” magic is not the controlling factor you claim in God’s glorious salvation by grace, through faith…and that not of yourselves, let any man boast.” Can you not see that?

    You still are misrepresenting my position. H2O has not intrinsic property to save. Immersion for the scriptural purpose God laid out is what saves. Not because I said so, but because God said so. Can you not see that?

    And you still have not laid hold on what saving Grace is or what type of faith Paul was writing about.

    You say you get “no credit” for your salvation and that’s good – yet you outline five steps. And if YOU missed a step…? 😦

    You outline one step, believe. If you missed a step?

    If I don’t obey God, I can look forward to eternal damnation. God said hear the gospel. God said believe the gospel. God said repent of my sins. God said confess my faith in Christ to others. God said be immersed in water into Christ to have my sins remitted. God said live a faithful life. I do what God says with the expectation that God will keep His promise if I obey Him.

    Compare these five steps to your five. This is the scriptural order of salvation from Romans 8:29-30:

    I note you have not addressed anything I’ve actually posted verse by verse in Romans yet…

    1. For whom he did FOREKNOW..
    2. ..he also did PREDESTINATE…
    3. …them he also CALLED…
    4. Them he also justified…
    5. Them he also glorified!

    This is speaking of the church collectively, not an individual, and as such, has no bearing on this discussion. God does not predestine individuals to salvation/justification. Every time you read about predestination or election, it is of the church. We, by free-will choice, choose to obey the pattern God set forth and then He adds us to the church under those conditions He specified.

    As you read the above, notice the repeated use of “He” rather that “me” or “we.” When scripture says “Salvation is of the LORD” – it means…of the LORD.

    That’s right. He devised the plan, He provided the means, that is what I’m trying to tell you Grace is. Obedient faith is the part God requires from man.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  170. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, You are attempting to bend scripture to what you want it to say. You are so wrong and so evasive.

    Example:

    Glenn says to Ernie, “You say you get “no credit” for your salvation and that’s good – yet you outline five steps. And if YOU missed a step…?

    Ernie replied: “You outline one step, believe. If you missed a step?”

    (Note:Ernie was evasive and never answered the question.)

    Here is Glenn’s answer to Ernie’s question:

    The answer comes from scritpure: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16:16

    Is that straight forward and clear enough, Ernie?

    Now, Ernie, for all to read…please answer my question which I will repeat so there is no confusion:

    “You say you get “no credit” for your salvation and that’s good – yet you outline five steps. And if YOU missed a step…?

    Yes, I’m talking about something Ernie MUST DO.


  171. Perhaps you didn’t finish reading my answer? My direct answer was:

    If I don’t obey God, I can look forward to eternal damnation.

    I then stated the steps God commands. So logically, if I do not obey even one step, God will not save me. I thought I was pretty clear.

    My first statement was just to show that you have steps too and that without your one step, you are just as lost under your paradigm as I am under the Biblical teaching of 5 steps.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  172. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, You are still “skirting” directly outlining your five-step plan of salvation. Your “obey” is packed with “steps” or things a person must DO to be saved – which are contrary to, “He that believes in his heart and confess with his mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord will be saved” and certainly with, “…that NOT of yourselves lest any man boast.”


  173. Yes, the steps are things a person must do to be saved. Two of those things are believe in his heart and confess with his mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. I just don’t limit myself to a few verses, but use them all. I also read passages like James 1:21 (the engrafted word saves), 2 Cor 7:10 (repentance is to salvation), and 1 Pet. 3:21 (baptism doth also now save).

    And no, none of this is OF myself. God designed the plan. God revealed it to man. It’s not from me at all and I have never said that it was. I just do what God says, and all of what God says, for the reasons God said to do it. You cannot say the same.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  174. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I commend you on your civility and kind spirit. I expect to fellowship with you one day in eternity; in the meantime it is quite likely we may never agree. 🙂

    The areas in which we differ are:

    1. I do the “five” salvation steps “because” I’m saved… you seem to do them “in order” to be saved.

    2. Original sin – I believe until the Holy Spirit regenerates us (i. e. “makes us alive in Christ”) we are “dead” and lost in our trespasses. (e. g.”looking unto Jesus, the author…of our faith.”)

    3. Security of the believer – I believe once a person receives the free gift of eternal life they cannot be lost; not even walk away. That would make it “provisional life” contingent upon their performance. (e. g. “looking unto Jesus, the author… and finisher of our faith.”)

    The Church of Christ teaches otherwise; that it is up to each to “maintain” their salvation. Whereas scripture teaches in Philippians 2:12b-13 “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”

    For that…and so much more, I can say Praise God from whom all blessings flow…!

    Grace and Peace,


  175. Ernie, I commend you on your civility and kind spirit. I expect to fellowship with you one day in eternity; in the meantime it is quite likely we may never agree. 🙂

    When I found out that you were just a member of a denomination rather than a liberal member of the church attempting to destroy it from within, my anger cooled.

    1. I do the “five” salvation steps “because” I’m saved… you seem to do them “in order” to be saved.

    So you hear the gospel and believe because you are already saved? I thought faith did the saving. Now I’m confused as to what you believe.

    2. Original sin – I believe until the Holy Spirit regenerates us (i. e. “makes us alive in Christ”) we are “dead” and lost in our trespasses. (e. g.”looking unto Jesus, the author…of our faith.”)

    I’m not sure what your statement has to do with “original sin” directly, though I see the point indirectly. Of course I don’t believe there is any scriptural support for hereditary guilt of sin and have shown passages that teach that it is not the case. Even if it were under the OT (which Ezek. 20 clearly states it isn’t), then whatever Adam did, Christ’s sacrifice more than undid (Romans 5). Those who believe in any kind of hereditary depravity or guilt of sin believe that Adam’s sin is greater than Christ’s sacrifice.

    Our spiritual regeneration/rebirth happens at our immersion in water into Christ (Romans 6; John 3:3,5).

    3. Security of the believer – I believe once a person receives the free gift of eternal life they cannot be lost; not even walk away. That would make it “provisional life” contingent upon their performance. (e. g. “looking unto Jesus, the author… and finisher of our faith.”)

    That’s because you don’t define eternal life scripturally and you ignore all the passages that speak of living faithfully or the consequences are spiritual death (e.g. James 5:19-20; Rev. 2:10; 1 John 1:6-7; etc.)

    The Church of Christ teaches otherwise; that it is up to each to “maintain” their salvation. Whereas scripture teaches in Philippians 2:12b-13 “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”

    How about this, instead of me constantly providing the context for the verses you keep cherry picking and then you ignore that and move on to the next verse out of context to try and defend your point, why don’t YOU provide the context of Philippians 2 and try to maintain the interpretation you’ve given within that context. If you can’t, then I’ll go ahead and help you out.

    But yeah, we disagree on all those points and I would say almost every doctrine in scripture except a very tiny few. When you finally understand the nature of saving Grace and “the law” Paul spoke of in Romans, the rest should start falling into line for you though.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  176. 1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

    Paul continues his thought concerning saving grace from the last chapter. His rhetorical question asks the assumption that many made from the idea that God’s grace (Christ and his teachings) are more powerful than sin (Adam’s and everyone’s). If Grace is so much more powerful, we should be able to just go out and sin as we please because Grace will cover it. This is the very implication of eternal security, that no matter what a person does after they have been saved, they cannot exit that saved state.

    2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    Paul answers the question by saying essentially “absolutely not!”. Those that are dead to sin should not live any longer in sin. It is important to note that Paul is not saying “cannot” live any longer therein. Its not about ability. 1 John 1:6 teaches that Christians can turn to walk in darkness again. James 5:19-20 says that brethren (Christians) can be in need of being saved from sin and spiritual death again. He is saying they should not live in sin.

    The other point is that Paul is speaking of continuing in sin, living in sin. This is the walking, the constant action. He is not denying that Christians ever sin again, or that they are incapable of sinning. Paul is saying that Christians, saved by the Grace of God, should not then turn around and go back to walk in darkness (a moot point for Calvinists).

    3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

    There is no other way for a human to get “into Jesus Christ”, into his body, the church, than through NT immersion. It is at the point of immersion that we are immersed into His death and come into contact with His blood. All of the other parts are essential and prerequisite to immersion (hearing, belief, repentance, confession), but it is the actual immersion that puts us into Christ, into the body of the save, into the church.

    4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    Paul then says that the conclusion of the point (in verse 3) is that we are buried with him by immersion into spiritual death (obviously our physical/natural self does not die when we are baptized). It is a burial, an immersion, so that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of God the Father, we are also resurrected, returned to life again, made a new creature, reborn. This is the spiritual rebirth by water Jesus spoke of in John 3:3,5.

    5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

    Our immersion is a figure or symbol of Christ’s death. It is not ALSO a figure or symbol of our salvation for symbols cannot point to two realities or have two meanings else they mean anything and nothing at all. Paul says NT immersion represents Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

    This is a conditional statement. IF we have been planted (immersed or buried as a seed), we shall be raised (a new life). The implication of the opposite is true as well: if you are not immersed, you are not raised to new life. This is the answer to the silly argument anti-immersion folks bring concerning Mark 16:16b. “It doesn’t say if you are not immersed you won’t be saved, it just says if you don’t believe.” The argument is inane to begin with because of the affirmative conditions of the first part of the verse (belief + immersion = saved), and since faith is a prerequisite of immersion, of course if you don’t believe, immersion doesn’t even come into the picture. But in Romans 6:5, Paul is considering only immersion and the negation of the premise that is a conditional statement says that if you are not immersed, you do not get saved.

    6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

    This is something the Christians at Rome knew. It is a basic teaching. In immersion, our old sinful self is crucified, destroyed, killed in order that we no longer serve sin. It no longer has dominion over us because now we have constant access to the blood of Christ.

    7For he that is dead is freed from sin.

    Much like marriage, till death do you part. Once death to sin comes, we are no longer bound to it according to God’s law and it does not rule our destiny any longer.

    8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

    Here is faith in what God said immersion does. If we believe that in immersion we are dead with Christ, and we believe that Christ was raised from the dead, we must also believe that rising up out of that watery grave, we are resurrected to new life. Those of you who don’t believe immersion actually does anything, don’t believe we are resurrected with Christ by implication.

    9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

    The church at Rome also knew that death had no power over Christ after He rose form the dead. Death could not hold Him.

    10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

    Christ only needed to die once to be the propitiation for all sins for all time. In His resurrection and new life Christ shows the power of God and His life is the Father’s.

    11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    So they, like Christ, died and death has no more dominion over him, the Christians at Rome had died to sin once and it had no more dominion over them. Now they live for God through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. This is the same as Galatians 2:20 where Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ, liveth in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

    12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

    Paul then admonishes them that since they are dead to sin and it has no more dominion over them, they were not to return to sin as a master once more. This verse has no meaning in the eternal security paradigm.

    13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

    Remember that Paul is talking to Christians. In dying to sin they were servants of God. Yet he admonishes them not to yield to sin (a command that can be followed). It is like Jesus telling the prostitute “go and sin no more”. We can mature as Christians to the point that we can fulfill this command.

    14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

    The law of Moses could only condemn. It had no means to actually justify once a person had sinned. Under the New Law, the gospel, the unearned gift that God gave to us, we can truly be free from sin. (Rom. 8:3; Heb. 10:1-4) Look especially at Heb. 10:1-4. The writer there also refers to “the law” and contexutally, again, we know that it must be the law of Moses. You MUST understand this point if you are to have any hope of understanding the book of Romans.

    15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

    The common eisegesis of this passage is to say that Christians are not under any law but under God’s favor. The true exogesis of this passage though is to understand that Paul is asking that since we are under a system now that can actually forgive sins instead of the old, flawed one that could not, should we just go ahead and sin because God will cover it? The Calvinist implicitly answers yes to this by teaching that there is nothing one can do to lose your salvation, that there are no eternal consequences for continuing to live in sin or turning back to a life of sin, to walk in darkness.

    Paul says God forbid.

    16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    A devastating verse to the idea of Once Saved Always Saved. Paul is talking TO Christians here. He tells them that whomever they, as Christians, yield themselves to obey, they are slaves to whom they obey. There are only two options. They, as Christians, can continue to obey God, willfully enslaved to righteousness, or they, as Christians, can yield themselves to sin again and die spiritually once more.

    Essentially Paul is saying that God requires our continued obedience, our continued walk in the light, if the blood of Christ is going to continually cleanse us. We must continue to obey to remain in that saved state. I didn’t come up with this, God did.

    This verse also implies free will on the part of the individual. We choose whom we serve else this verse and the rest like it have no meaning.

    17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
    18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

    Paul then thanks God because the Christians at Rome had been servants of sin, but they OBEYED. That’s work to you faith only people. They obeyed from the heart that form or pattern of doctrine that he just got finished talking about. ConFORMing to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. That is the template, the pattern we must follow.

    What happened when they obeyed? They were set free from sin at that moment (then) and became servants of righteousness. Not before, but when they obeyed.

    1. Tell me obedience to the gospel is not required for salvation from sin.
    2. Tell me how one obeys the command to be immersed in the Holy Spirit.

    19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

    Because of the limitations of mortal men, Paul is using terms they can understand. The relationship of slave to master is one they were likely personally familiar with, or at least culturally so. He tells them that as they had in the past yielded themselves to sin, now he commands them to yield to righteousness and purity. This command has no meaning if once they are saved they cannot be lost again.

    20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

    I’ve always liked the implication Paul draws from what he is teaching. If being free from sin made us servants of righteousness, being servants of sin makes us free from righteousness. A Christian CAN turn to walk in darkness (1 John 1:6) and die spiritually once mOre (James 5:19-20) and so loose their salvation.

    21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

    Paul then asks them what did they really have to show for the life of sinned they lived. Sin is the cause, spiritual death the only effect of consequence.

    22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

    Now that they have been made free from sin through their obedience (vs. 17-18 in context), they became servants of God. When? When they first had faith? No. Faith only enables one to become a child of God (John 1:12), it does not actually make one a child of God in and of itself. They became servants of God, children of God, when they did all that God commanded them to, to be saved. That culminates at the point of NT immersion. To deny this, is to deny Romans 6.

    When they became slaves to God by their free will choice, they had something of value to show for it, the immediate result of their faithful obedience to God’s grace is salvation. The end result (fruit), however, is God’s gift of everlasting life.

    23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Then he contrasts the two masters and what one receives from the master they choose to obey:

    1. They can choose sin as a master and earn spiritual death.
    2. They can choose the kind and loving master to obey, God, who gives His servants eternal life which is granted because Jesus Christ, our Lord and King, was raised from the dead to die no more.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  177. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie says, “If Grace is so much more powerful, we should be able to just go out and sin as we please because Grace will cover it. This is the very implication of eternal security, that no matter what a person does after they have been saved, they cannot exit that saved state.”

    Glenn says, Ernie, “…we should be able to just go out and sin as we please?” Do you really believe that a person who has been “born again,” one in whom Christ indwells by the Holy Spirit would…be “pleased” to sin?

    Come on, Ernie, think about – that would be a fake conversion! That is not a Christian liberty we have because we have a new nature. We have beem given a new heart…

    Grace is greater than sin!

    Question: So…which sin(s) in your life is Christ’s blood insufficent to cover?

    Earnest Ernie, you don’t have a full understanding and appreciation of the gospel, really.

  178. Dan Says:

    Glenn,

    I commend you on your efforts of trying to reach Ernie with the truth. You have made some very good points, but until Ernie is willing to honestly examine all the evidence in scripture without being so biased in his efforts to defend church of Christ doctrine, he will just continue to reject the truth. Having been raised by members of the church of Christ from infancy, Ernie is truly indoctrinated into the theology of his church to the point that he seems to be unreachable.

    It really amazed me to see how even after I proved to Ernie that the word “justified” in scripture can be used in a “legal sense” (Romans 3:24,28; 5:1; 5:9; 8:30 etc…) or in a “declarative sense” (Job 32:2; Matthew 12:37; Luke 7:29; 10:28,29; 16:14,15; James 2:14-24 etc…) he never did admit that he was wrong when he said, “the Bible makes no distinction between being justified in a “legal sense” and a “declarative sense.” He is in complete denial.

    I also proved to him that in James chapter 2, James “does not” teach that we are saved “by” works. His concern is to SHOW the reality of the faith professed by the individual (James 2:18) and demonstrate that the faith CLAIMED (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. SHOW me your (alledged) faith without your works and I will SHOW you my (genuine) faith by my works (James 2:18). SHOW, not establish, yet he refuses to admit that he is wrong here either. Ernie says that “faith and obedience are inseparable” to imply that we are saved by faith “and works” contrary to what Paul teaches in scripture (Romans 4:2-6; 5:1,2; Ephesians 2:8,9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). Nowhere does the Bible teach that we are saved by grace “through works” or faith “and works” or faith “and obedience,” yet this is what Ernie tries to force Romans 1:5 and Romans 6:16-18 to teach based on his biased opinion and not based on what these passages actually say.

    I was also truly amazed to see that after I proved to Ernie that “salvation” is “the gift of God” in Ephesians 2:8 (not grace) using grammar, Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, the Amplified Bible and even Wayne Jackson, who has written for and edited The Christian Courier (which is a journal dedicated to the study of religious doctrine associated with the churches of Christ since its inception in 1965), he still refuses to acknowledge that he is wrong here as well. Ernie will have to swallow a lot of pride in order to accept the truth. This may be very difficult for him.

    Since Ernie does not understand that salvation is a free gift received by God’s grace through faith, apart from works, he will not understand the eternal security of the believer either. I really don’t see much hope in reaching Ernie with the truth anytime soon, but hopefully what we share with him will a least plant a seed that one day will be watered and lead him to the truth.

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan

  179. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Thanks, Dan. I have come to believe the root theological problem in the Churh of Christ is definitely the lack of understanding of effects of “the fall” in Genesis. Everything changed – not just weeds started growing in our gardens and women started having labor pains. Otherwise, why would the “seed of woman” have to crush the head of the serpent”? Why couldn’t man just start “obeying” again and make things right with God?

    It took blood – perfect blood (death) to pay the penalty – and God paid (redeemed) his own and reconciled man to Himself. God did not leave it up to fickle man again!

    Ernie…are you listening…? 🙂 You, my friend, are still trying to reconcile yourself…to God.

    Adam’s sin has been imputed to every person and we are born with a fallen nature – “objects of wrath,” in fact (scripture). We must be, as Jesus instructed Nicodemous, “born again” – of the Spirit. Ephesians talks about “being made alive in Christ.”

    Ernie strongly implies that his “obedience” is saving him over the blood of Christ – the cross. That is dangerously wrong and self-righteous. Obedience is GOOD – but it DOES NOT save. it is, however, a GOOD indication of one saved.

    Given the above, Ernie seems to believe we go “tripping through life, hear the gospel and say, “That makes sense, I will join the church and become a Christian.” Then years later, have a bad day or week, feeling disappointed in God and in others, and/or being deceived…one decides, “That’s enough of that, I think I’ll quit being a Christian and go my own way.” So, now we can be “unborn again?…and go back to being dead? I don’t think so!

    God is the Author (initiator/instigator) and Finisher (completer/closer). Ernie is not, Dan is not, and Glenn is not. For if we were, in our inate sinful nature, we would never seek God…”none seek him, no not one.” Furthermore, if it was up to me to maintain my salvation, I would, like Paul, have to be gravely concerned that I may be the “chief sinner” which I am. I am also the “chief repenter.”

    When Christ said, “…and I will lose not one” – he meant it!

    Dan, thanks again, brother.

    Grace and Peace,


  180. Ernie says, “If Grace is so much more powerful, we should be able to just go out and sin as we please because Grace will cover it. This is the very implication of eternal security, that no matter what a person does after they have been saved, they cannot exit that saved state.”

    Glenn says, Ernie, “…we should be able to just go out and sin as we please?” Do you really believe that a person who has been “born again,” one in whom Christ indwells by the Holy Spirit would…be “pleased” to sin?

    Glenn, you have missed the entire point. Those who believe in Calvinism aren’t saved according to what God has said so answering your question is moot.

    I am not talking about what an individual Calvinist will do. I’m referring to the implication of the doctrine itself.

    Come on, Ernie, think about – that would be a fake conversion! That is not a Christian liberty we have because we have a new nature. We have beem given a new heart…

    And this is akin to saying a converted Calvinist can’t choose to sin after they have been saved. Do you really believe that a person who has been “born again,” one in whom Christ indwells by the Holy Spirit, would be “able” to sin?

    Grace is greater than sin!

    And yet because you don’t understand what Grace is, it has led you to all these false conclusions. Grace is greater because the gospel by the power of Christ’s blood can forgive sins, can save (James 1:21).

    Question: So…which sin(s) in your life is Christ’s blood insufficent to cover?

    You are still not understanding my position. It isn’t that there is a sin that Christ’s blood cannot cover (ability). But the sins that Christ’s blood won’t cover (authority) are those a person refuses to repent of (walking in darkness again).

    What do you think 1 John 1:6-7 teaches?

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  181. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    ~~~~It isn’t that there is a sin that Christ’s blood cannot cover (ability). But the sins that Christ’s blood won’t cover (authority) are those a person refuses to repent of (walking in darkness again). What do you think 1 John 1:6-7 teaches?~~~~

    1 John 1:6-7 does not teach that if those who are walking in the light choose to go back to walking in darkness “again,” they will lose their salvation if they refuse to repent. You are reading your own preconceived ideas into these verses. Genuine believers (Christians) are not in darkness, but are only in the light (2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:12,13). A genuine Christian walks habitually in the light (truth and holiness), not in darkness (falsehood and sin) because they are saved, not to become or remain saved.

    John shows us in verse 6 that if we SAY (claim) that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. In other words, we are not saved in the first place. Not once were walking in the light and then turned back to walking in darkness.

    One who walks in the light is manifesting his saved condition and the blood of Christ cleanses them from all sin. Those who do not walk in the light but claim to have fellowship with Him reveal that they are hypocrites. Walking in the light is the evidence of being saved, not the cause.

    Don’t forget James 2:14. If we say (claim) to have faith but have no works (to demonstrate our claim), we really don’t have genuine faith in the first place, yet good works are the evidence of our faith, not the cause of our salvation.

    As a Christian, if I temporarily fall into sin, my fellowship is strained, but I can’t consistently habitually live in sin. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:9). Praise God!

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  182. Dan,

    Thanks for talking to me instead of rudely talking about me as if I’m not here.

    1 John 1:6-7 does not teach that if those who are walking in the light choose to go back to walking in darkness “again,” they will lose their salvation if they refuse to repent. You are reading your own preconceived ideas into these verses. Genuine believers (Christians) are not in darkness, but are only in the light (2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:12,13). A genuine Christian walks habitually in the light (truth and holiness), not in darkness (falsehood and sin) because they are saved, not to become or remain saved.

    Problems with your interpretation, Dan:

    1. John’s audience is Christians. (we, we, we)
    2. John’s statements are conditional (If we walk, then the blood covers us) meaning that if the condition is not met, then the consequent is not true.
    3. Eph. 5:8 has the admonition to walk in the light, which is an irrelevant command if they are already walking in the light and cannot do anything else. None of those passages you site have the word “only” in them, but you seem to have major problems inserting that word all over the place.

    John shows us in verse 6 that if we SAY (claim) that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. In other words, we are not saved in the first place. Not once were walking in the light and then turned back to walking in darkness.

    Except that its the same “we” of verse 7. John’s audience is Christians. What your point here does is imply that one cannot know for certain if they are saved, but 1 John 5:13 teaches that we can know.

    Furthermore, James 5:19-20 says:

    Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

    James is talking to those he knows are brethren (Christians) by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit (unless you want to claim that the Holy Spirit doesn’t really know who are brethren). In speaking to these Christians he says:

    “if any of you” – (that is if any Christian)
    “do err from the truth” (go astray – which you can’t do if you are already astray)
    “and one convert him” – someone causes the Christian who went astray to repent
    “…he that converteth the sinner” – a Christian has become a sinner again
    “shall save a soul from death” – this Christian who has gone astray can have their SOUL saved from DEATH
    “and shall hide a multitude of sins” – these sins of this Christian who had gone astray were not being covered by the blood of Christ any longer, but once they had been turned back to the path of light, that large number of sins was covered (hid) once more.

    Don’t forget James 2:14. If we say (claim) to have faith but have no works (to demonstrate our claim), we really don’t have genuine faith in the first place, yet good works are the evidence of our faith, not the cause of our salvation.

    Yes, yes, you are all about the outward appearance. I know.

    As a Christian, if I temporarily fall into sin, my fellowship is strained, but I can’t consistently habitually live in sin. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:9). Praise God!

    Hmmm, so are you saying that according to this verse that from the moment you are a Christian you can’t sin at all? Interesting.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  183. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, I’ve considered…if it was possible to show you out of your (classic) Church of Christ position. I believe it is not. Your doctrine cannot be fixed – only replaced.

    All the tweaking Dan, myself, and others have tried only drives you deeper into your works/self-righteous system. You elevate you own performance (works) above the finished work of Jesus Christ.

    And you have no concept of the sustaining power of Jesus Christ to…”not lose one.” Therefore, any security in your salvation is tied directly to your performance. Thus, the “gift” you received when you were “dead in your trespasses” and an “object of wrath” would/could be “refused” by someone given the spiritual sight?

    Brother, wake up and turn the page!

    Are works important? Yes, they reveal the fruits of the Spirit and glorify the Son, if genuine. If done for self-justification, as you seem to teach, they are less than worthless. If truly done from the heart and not for for the “eyes of man” they have lasting worth.

    1 Corinthians 3:13-16: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work IS BURNED UP, he will suffer loss, though he himself WILL BE SAVED but only as through fire. (Apoligies for the caps) 🙂

    Again, your doctrine cannot be fixed – it must be replaced.


  184. [Opinions unsupported by scripture deleted for space and irrelevance.]

    1 Corinthians 3:13-16: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work IS BURNED UP, he will suffer loss, though he himself WILL BE SAVED but only as through fire.

    The foundation is the gospel. The work is the preaching of the gospel to others. This is not talking about our works in order to be saved, but a comparison of the different kinds of people the preacher preaches to. Contextually, it is at best tangential to our discussion on grace and works.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  185. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie says:

    “The foundation is the gospel. The work is the preaching of the gospel to others. This is not talking about our works in order to be saved, but a comparison of the different kinds of people the preacher preaches to. Contextually, it is at best tangential to our discussion on grace and works.”

    Glenn says:

    “Ernie, I know you can read (the above): “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is ….JESUS CHRIST! He is the cornerstone and we are the “living stones” of the church.

    Consider: “And he gave SOME (not all), apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

    You say, “The “work” is the preaching of the word”…but EVERYONE is not called to be an evangelist, Ernie.

    This is the WORK of God, that you BELIEVE in Him whom He has sent.”–John 6:29

    Ernie, “But WHAT does the word of God SAY? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);because, if you CONFESS with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one BELIEVES and is JUSTIFIED, and with the mouth one confesses and is SAVED.

    Ernie, If you COULD justify yourself by your WORKS…then what did Jesus’perfect life, death on the cross and resurrection accomlish?

    What is is about, “IT IS FINISHED” you don’t understand?

    Once again, your doctrine cannot be fixed – it must be replaced.

    Grace and Peace,


  186. “Ernie, I know you can read (the above): “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is ….JESUS CHRIST! He is the cornerstone and we are the “living stones” of the church.

    Glenn, I have no problems or disagreements with any verse you quoted. I believe them all. Jesus Christ, his life, his death, his burial, his resurrection, his teachings (the gospel) is the foundation on which the church, the NT temple is built. The stones of that building are Christians. The work Paul is talking about is building that building by preaching the gospel and converting others to be parts of the building.

    That passage, though is devastating to your Calvanistic position because it teaches that there are some who will be added to the church that will be destroyed (wood, hay, stubble) burned up (vs. 15), some will remain (vs. 14) and the one who did the building (the one preaching the gospel) will not be held accountable for those parts of the church that don’t last.

    Calvinism teaches that the wood, hay, and stubble were never even part of the building. Once again, the verse that you use does not support your case, it supports mine. So please, keep listing scripture instead of providing your opinion.

    This is the WORK of God, that you BELIEVE in Him whom He has sent.”–John 6:29

    At least you are finally acknowledging that work is required on our part to be saved.

    But part of the type of belief necessary to be saved (obedient belief) is preaching the gospel to others (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20)

    Ernie, If you COULD justify yourself by your WORKS…then what did Jesus’perfect life, death on the cross and resurrection accomlish?\\

    I don’t know if you are willfully trying to misrepresent me or if you just have a comprehension problem, but I am justified by the blood of Christ through my (obedient) faith (John 6:29). It is not a system I devised (of myself), and it is not a system that is rooted in self-righteousness as the Jews tried. It is a system that God revealed, that God commanded, that God said that if I followed He would save me. I followed it. He saved me. That’s it.

    You on the other hand are doing everything you can NOT to follow it by denying passages such as Acts 2:38; Romans 6; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:20-21 and others.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  187. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, with all due respect, brother, you continue trying to bend the word of God to fit…what YOU think it should be. You certainly “know” a lot more…than you understand.

    Question: Why…would ANYONE …get a “reward” for “saving” someone else?? Salvation is …OF THE LORD. Don’t you get that, Ernie?

    Christ said it well, “NO ONE will come to me EXCEPT the Father draws them…and ALL the Father gives me, I will lose NOT ONE.”How many will Christ lose, Ernie?

    How many instances last week did you “fall from grace.”


  188. I’m just reading the verses and believe what they say. If you want to respond specfically to that, great. If not, I don’t have time to waste on straw.

    Last week I fell from grace zero times. It’s not as easy as you believe I believe it is. Falling from grace requires turning your back on God to walk in darkness again. I haven’t done that in a long time.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  189. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, So you believe God is “NOT able” to keep you from falling?

    “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy…”Jude 1:25

    Ernie, Quoting (directly)from Galatians 3:3-4, “Let me ask you this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

    Ernie, Obviously, you are smart, earnest, and committed. I cannot help but wonder why it has not dawned on you that …for all that Christ did – it is still up to your efforts to finally be “perfected in the flesh,” – saved. That your gift of “eternal life” is really provisional, at best.

    Just curious, is Ernest Laurence Sr. an elder in the Church of Christ?

    Grace and Peace,

  190. Dan Says:

    Ernie,

    ~~~~Thanks for talking to me instead of rudely talking about me as if I’m not here.~~~~

    Sorry if I hurt your feelings. I was just telling it like it is. I clearly proved you wrong and you can’t admit that you are are wrong. At least I didn’t call you illogical, self serving, lazy, a viper and a wolf. This is what you called Glenn in a previous response. That was rude.

    ~~~~Problems with your interpretation, Dan: 1. John’s audience is Christians. (we, we, we)~~~~

    There are no problems with my interpretation. Even though John is addressing Christians, that does not mean that everyone in the audience must be a Christian. Having no fellowship with God, walking in darkness, not practicing the truth (verse 6) does not describe a Christian. John says that even though such people “claim” to have fellowship with God, they are liars. Their walking in darkness refuted such claims. A genuine Christian walks habitually in the light (truth and holiness), not in darkness (falsehood and sin). One who walks in the light is manifesting his saved condition and the blood of Christ cleanses them from all sin. John is exposing these wolves in sheep’s clothing. John is addressing Christians in 1 John 2:19 when he states, “They went out FROM US, but they were NOT OF US; for IF (notice the word if) they had been OF US (how would it have been demonstrated), they would have CONTINUED WITH US; but they went out that they might be MADE MANIFEST, that NONE OF THEM WERE OF US.” Just because John is writing to Christians does not mean that everyone who claims to be a Christian in the group really is. In 1 John 3:10, “In this the….children of the devil are MANIFEST: Whoever does not PRACTICE righteousness is not of God. See the contrast? Does not PRACTICE righteousness (1 John 3:10). Does not PRACTICE the truth (1 John 1:6). I’ve heard Pastors before address a congregation as, “good morning brothers and sisters in Christ.” Does this mean that every single person in that congregation on that particular Sunday morning must be a Christian? Man cannot see the heart and know for sure that every “professing” Christian really is a genuine Christian. John knows that there are imposters.

    ~~~~2. John’s statements are conditional (If we walk, then the blood covers us) meaning that if the condition is not met, then the consequent is not true.~~~~

    So you are saying that the blood does not cover us “until” we walk in the light “enough” after we are saved through faith? Acts 10:43 says that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM shall receive REMISSION OF SINS, but you say NO, not until you continue to walk in the light “enough” throughout your life, then the blood of Christ cleanses you from all sin and you become or remain saved. Genuine Christians are not in darkness, but are only in the light (2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:12,13). One who walks in the light is manifesting his saved condition and the blood of Christ cleanses them from all sin. We cannot even begin to walk in the light until we are in the light after we are saved through faith (Acts 26:18). You are confused by the word “if”. Notice that Colossians 1:23 says “if” indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard… You would naturally understand that to mean that faith + if = salvation. But actually, salvation is evidenced by continuing in the faith and not being moved from the hope held out in the gospel, not the cause. The people who fail to continue in the faith and lose hope in the gospel demonstrate that they “believed in vain” (did not truly believe) in the first place (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). This verse does not teach that we are saved now because of a future act after salvation. Present salvation cannot be based upon acts that come after salvation. Events after salvation can only prove or demonstrate the reality of what was assumed. Those who persevere have been saved. Those who do not persevere have not been saved. If one does not persevere (hold fast), then he was not made a partaker of Christ. If he perseveres, he was (in fact) previously made a partaker of Christ.

    ~~~~3. Eph. 5:8 has the admonition to walk in the light, which is an irrelevant command if they are already walking in the light and cannot do anything else. None of those passages you site have the word “only” in them, but you seem to have major problems inserting that word all over the place.~~~~

    Ephesians 5:8 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Notice that this verse does not say, “you were once in the light, but now you quit walking in the light and have returned to darkness.” It also does not say to walk as children of light or else! There is nothing wrong with Paul’s admonition to walk as children of light. This does not mean that they have not been walking as children of light at all. Christians do not perfectly walk as children of light, but at the same time it would be impossible for a Christian to “never” walk as a child of light if they are truly light in the Lord. None of these passages that you cite are adding additional requirements to become or remain saved. You seem to have major problems inserting “plus works” to salvation through faith all over the place. Once we place our faith in Christ as the “only” means of our salvation, we are saved (Ephesians 2:8,9). We are not saved by the “kind” of faith that “only” claims to be genuine, but demonstrates by the lack of good works that it’s not (James 2:14-24). *Perfect harmony.* In Titus 3:8 we see that those who have believed in God should be careful to “maintain good works.” These things are good and profitable to men. We see here an admonition to maintain good works. This does not mean these people have not maintained good works at all. Also, Titus 3:8 does not say to maintain good works in order to maintain your salvation either, as you would assume.

    ~~~~Except that its the same “we” of verse 7. John’s audience is Christians. What your point here does is imply that one cannot know for certain if they are saved, but 1 John 5:13 teaches that we can know.~~~~

    The “we” of verse 6 (those who say they have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, lie and do not practice the truth) are not the same “we” of verse 7 (who walk in the Light and have fellowship with one another, and receive cleansing us from all sin). According to you, since John is addressing Christians, everyone who is listening must be a genuine Christian and the “we” of verse 6 are Christians. My point does not imply that one cannot know for certain if they are saved. I know for certain that I BELIEVE and I KNOW for certain that I have eternal life (1 John 5:13). Praise God!

    ~~~~Furthermore, James 5:19-20 says: – Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James is talking to those he knows are brethren (Christians) by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit (unless you want to claim that the Holy Spirit doesn’t really know who are brethren). In speaking to these Christians he says:~~~~

    Interpreting this passage to mean that a genuine Christian can lose their salvation brings us to some pretty contradictory conclusions and some wild speculation. If this does mean you could lose your salvation by sinning, which sin(s)? Hebrews 6:4-6 reads, For [it is] IMPOSSIBLE for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame. If this passage is teaching that a genuine Christian can actually “lose their salvation,” (as you would teach) notice that it says it is IMPOSSIBLE to renew them again unto repentance. James 5:20 leaves open the possibility of converting the sinner from the error of his way. James 5:19,20 does not mention that there is no second chance for such a person, which you say is a Christian who lost his salvation, then repented and gained it back.

    ~~~~“if any of you” – (that is if any Christian)~~~~

    There are different interpretations to this passage of scripture. Your argument, of course, is that the one who did err from the truth is a genuine Christian who will lose his salvation if he is not converted from “the error of his way.” Notice how this “err from the truth” is not specifically mentioned which leads to a vague conclusion. Another argument is that this one who has err from the truth is a “professing” Christian, whose faith is not genuine and he will experience eternal death if he is not converted unto salvation. Yet another argument is that this one who has err from the truth is a genuine Christian who needs to be converted from “the error of his way” (not converted to salvation) or else experience premature physical death. This third interpretation supports the argument that the word soul (Gr psyche) may mean “life,” and that the clause would be taken as a warning that backsliding may end in physical death (1 John 5:16). Your interpretation of (James 5:19,20) is certainly not in harmony with (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-39). These other two interpretations are in harmony with the rest of scripture. The wanderer is either a “professing” Christian, whose faith is not genuine (Hebrews 6:4-8; 2 Peter 2:20-22), or a sinning Christian, who needs to be restored. For the former, the death spoken of in vs. 20 is the “second death” (Revelation 21:8); for the latter, it is physical death (1 Corinthians 11:29-32; 1 John 5:16).

    ~~~~“do err from the truth” (go astray – which you can’t do if you are already astray)~~~~

    A Christian can certainly err from the truth or be misled from the truth. This does not mean lose salvaltion. This person who is wandering from the “truth” could be demonstrating that his present conduct is no longer consistent with his former profession of faith. Maybe he is a Christian only in an outward sense. James and even ourselves can’t peek into heaven and see if this person’s name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
    Whether the “brethren” of James 5:19 are the writer’s brethren in the racial sense or in an evangelical sense is not agreed upon by all Christians. Whether he is speaking here of a backslidden Christian or a lost sinner is a question concerning which Christian’s differ. In either case, the passage is somewhat obscure and you never want to build a theology on obscure passages. You must always interpret the less clear passages in light of the clear ones. Paul in Ephesians makes it crystal clear that once we BELIEVE the gospel, we are sealed IN HIM UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). Notice it does not say that we are sealed until the day that we error from the truth. For those who don’t BELIEVE, the gospel is HID from them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). 2 Corinthians 1:21,22 reads: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, GUARANTEEING WHAT IS TO COME.” AMEN! An unbeliever does not understand this truth because he has not been sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit and became a new creation in Christ. The unbeliever is trying to understand spiritual truths using his natural fleshly mind (1 Corinthians 2:14). Unbelievers would automatically agree with your argument.

    ~~~~“and one convert him” – someone causes the Christian who went astray to repent “…he that converteth the sinner” – a Christian has become a sinner again~~~~

    Become a sinner again? At what point does a Christian never sin again? Convert does not mean convert someone to salvation all over again.

    ~~~~It occurs also in 1 Peter 4:8, where it clearly means the sins of others covered by love as a veil thrown over them. The saying appears also in Proverbs 10:12: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love hides all transgressions”~~~~

    Where love abounds, offenses are frequently overlooked and quickly forgotten. This is the sense in which sins are covered by love as a veil thrown over them. This does mean that our sins are not covered by the blood of Christ until we produce enough love.

    ~~~~“shall save a soul from death” – this Christian who has gone astray can have their SOUL saved from DEATH~~~~

    SOUL as you see here is translated from the greek word psyche. Psyche in the New Testament is often translated as life, but its meaning is in the totality of the self as a living, conscious person. It can mean both life and person. In Matthew 20:28 it says: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The word “life” in this verse was translated from the greek word “psyche”. We obviously know that Jesus Christ did not give up his eternal soul. From this, we can then think of this verse in this manner “he will save a life from death” or “he will save a person from death.” So your argument that this is truly a Christian that has gone astray and can have their soul saved from eternal death in the lake of fire is not in harmony with the rest of scripture and is inconclusive. The words “shall save” in James 5:20 is the same greek words translated for “shall save” in James 5:15: “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. James used this term “save” in James 5:15 to describe physical restoration from illness.

    ~~~~“and shall hide a multitude of sins” – these sins of this Christian who had gone astray were not being covered by the blood of Christ any longer, but once they had been turned back to the path of light, that large number of sins was covered (hid) once more.~~~~

    The word “cover” does not necessarily mean covered by the blood of Christ in scripture. 1 Peter 4:8 and Proverbs 10:12 are not using this word in the sense of being covered by the blood of Christ at conversion when we receive salvation. Love covers over sins. Love forgives again and again. Believers are both saints and sinners (Paul called himself the foremost of sinners in 1 Tim. 1:15, and James wrote to some of his readers in in 3:8, “cleanse your hands, you sinners”). Positionally, we are saints because we have received Christ’s imputed righteousness when we BELIEVED (Romans 4:4-6). Practically though, we are still sinners.

    ~~~~Yes, yes, you are all about the outward appearance. I know.~~~~

    No, I am all about SHOWING the reality of the faith “professed” by the individual (James 2:18) and DEMONSTRATING that the faith CLAIMED (James 2:14) by the individual is genuine. This is exactly what James is all about. You are all about salvation “by works.” You confuse the fruit of salvation (good works) with the root of salvation (faith in Christ alone for salvation).

    ~~~~Hmmm, so are you saying that according to this verse that from the moment you are a Christian you can’t sin at all? Interesting.~~~~

    That is absolutely NOT what I am saying. It’s interesting how you didn’t pay attention to what I said. 1 John 3:9 says “Whoever has been born of God does not sin,” (can’t consistently habitually live in sin). This does not mean that a Christian cannot sin at all. According to you, a Christian can consistently habitually live in sin and lose their salvation in contradiction to 1 John 3:9. A casual reading of 1 John 3:9 without understanding the Greek has lead some people to believe that John is saying that once we become born again, we never sin again. Your casual approach to reading 1 John 1:6-7 and James 5:19-20 has led you into the error of believing that salvation is by works and is also maintained by works.

    Glenn really summed it up when he said, “All the tweaking Dan, myself, and others have tried drives you deeper into your works/self-righteous system. You elevate your own performance (works) above the finished work of Jesus Christ. You are still trying to reconcile yourself…to God.” You have made some very good points brother Glenn!

    In Truth and in Love,

    Dan


  191. Ernie, So you believe God is “NOT able” to keep you from falling?

    God is omnipotent. If it is His will to keep a person from falling then He certainly has the ability. The point is HOW does He keep a person from falling and is that in spite of the choices the person makes.

    “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy…”Jude 1:25 [24 – ELJ]

    IN CONTEXT Jude 1:24 is about God keeping those who want to be kept. Vs. 20-21 has the admonition to “keep yourselves in the love of God” through prayer and constant study. Jude 1:24 does not contradict James 5:19-20.

    Ernie, Quoting (directly)from Galatians 3:3-4, “Let me ask you this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

    First off, this “Spirit” should be lower case. It’s a reference to having the spirit or mind of Christ or being focused on spiritual things rather than physical. This passage has nothing to do with a person having the Holy Spirit.

    Second, Galations 3 (and 4) are a microcosm of the book of Romans. “The law” is the law of Moses (as seen in vs. 24-25) and faith is a reference to being saved outside of the law of Moses. It is a specific kind of faith. You must keep things in proper context.

    Ernie, Obviously, you are smart, earnest, and committed. I cannot help but wonder why it has not dawned on you that …for all that Christ did – it is still up to your efforts to finally be “perfected in the flesh,” – saved. That your gift of “eternal life” is really provisional, at best.

    Lies, false doctrines don’t “dawn” on me. God said eternal life is conditional. God said that I must act to receive the gift of His Son’s sacrifice on the cross. I believe Him. That’s all there is to it.

    Just curious, is Ernest Laurence Sr. an elder in the Church of Christ?

    He is not at this time, but he was for a number of years.

    Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention in my last rebuttal, that passage that you keep referring to about Jesus not loosing any that the Father gave Him? That passage is John 6 and as usual, you have not provided any context so you interpret it within the Calvinist paradigm instead of the context it was in. Look at John 17. Those that the Father gave Jesus were the Apostles and in fact one of those that the Father gave Jesus was lost as prophesied, Judas.

    You must use context. That’s the main reason I’m going through the whole book of Romans, to give context to the original passages you and Dan made your arguments from.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  192. Glenn Dowling Says:

    Ernie, Interesting, I never mention Calvinism but you often do. I try to define my beliefs by what scripture says; you seem to define yours by what you don’t believe. Your use of the phrase “false doctrine” does nothing to validate your positions.

    If/when you get to heaven what percent of the “glory” will you ascribe to yourself… and how much to Jesus Christ? THINK ABOUT IT!

    Your Church of Christ theology is devoid of any understanding of a person’s state before they are saved.

    Ernie, until we are made “alive in Christ” we are DEAD….DEAD! How, my friend, do you suppose one can participate in that state?

    One of the most significant phrased in scripture (which you miss)is in Ephesians where it says, “But God being rich in mercy…..because of his great love…”

    It does not say, “But Erin, being godly and ….”

  193. Johnny Robertson Says:

    Jeff,All that SOUNDS really good, but it really said nothing! In the end you just as much as said that as long as we intended to put the forks in the right place, God is OK with the wrong place. Your feelings about your daughter and God’s plans for righteous living are two differing things. First forks and spoons do not add up to the results of covetous behavior amongst God’s children, and many other such hurtful acts that must be never mentioned among saints. Corruption of God’s ways are filled with consequence. Saul in 1 Sam 15 didn’t realize he was acting against a command that goes to God’s promises to punish enemies of truth even though several 100 years had passed. (Amelek Ex 17). If Saul would have obeyed then the message would have been clear to generations to come that God punishes those who curse Abraham’s seed. Such a “trivial” thing to some is Saul’s disobedience, but very important to the over all safety of God’s people to others who understand that behind God’s commands are his ways! We corrupt those ways and we corrupt our own chances for happiness here on earth. Why is it that all denominations and “progressives” want a rule book beyond the one that Jesus left. Stop asking for someone to lay out “what exactly God expects” and start trying to live by what he already wrote. Like we need another “confession.”

  194. Johnny Robertson Says:

    I know paden. He is an elder’s son in Texas. Why is it folks on here make so many false statements about me. You can’t prove any of the “stalking” statements you have made. Since 2004 I have baptized 4 denominational preachers. Another Pentecostal preacher obeyed Sat of last week as result of a debate with a former baptist preacher i baptized in 05. What do you all do besides try and figure out how to get grace to cover you while you sit at your computer and destroy hard work that i am trying to do out in the community. I can give plenty of denominational people names and addresses who uphold me even though they are afraid to go against their won families and obey the glorious gospel. I have planted 4 congregations here in Va since 99 and one fully self supporting another on target for 2015. My whole family is faithful and works right along side me and it is high time that falsehoods be challenged about the work I try to do. Look me up on facebook and see if you can keep up with my weekend work much less my daily activities. I love Jesus and it is my pleasure to seek his will, and stretch myself to braking point to be call least of the servants in this wonderful church of Christ. if you all are so dissatisfied with the brotherhood why don’t you just become Presbyterians since that is what all of you sound like. Get up and do something for the Lord and you will not feel so guilty and be trying to find a way to justify your don nothingness.

  195. Johnny Robertson Says:

    Dear Sirs,
    what gets me is that in our area where we once had a web site called answering the churchofchrist, (now they all quit), no one ever knew of any of ‘things” these “great lovers of Jesus” were doing. We always hear from them of their great love, but in actions, well it is much like “be warm and be filled” of James 2.
    If you have such great faith, and God’s grace is so wonderful, why don’t you show us something? Oh we can’t be against “showing our faith” now can we? Is James teaching us that we glorify ourselves when we SHOW our faith, by works? James 2:18) Oh they profess to appreciate God’s grace but in works they deny him … Tit 1:16) The whole two states area knows my name. Am I trying to prove myself worthy? No, I am just trying to be faithful! Loving Jesus brings fame my friends whether you seek it or not! Can you say Paul was trying to get glory when by Act 17: & Act 21:21 he is known everywhere? Some people love Jesus and HATE false teaching so much that their name is known and hated by hundreds. Their enemies come up with all kind of ways to bring accusations of wrong doing when in fact they are filled with all subtilty and mischief… (Act 13:10) themselves.
    I thank God for the gift of being hated by false teachers and being vilified by this website.
    I am referring to the back and forth surrounding young Paden in above post.


  196. […] Dad objects to this answer in his response: […]


  197. […] to try to clarify our view, and in doing so we’ll be addressing some of Dad’s points in his response to our answers to his True/False […]


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