LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Monday, July 23, 2007

Is Jesus your Lord?


On various Christian blogs I have seen the term “Lordship Salvation” equated with Calvinism, Reformed doctrine, or the doctrines of grace – and by folks well familiar with the doctrines.

What I don’t understand – and perhaps this is my own lack of familiarity with the history of the term – is why equating Lordship with any doctrine is a bad thing.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why Christians would disdain it. It seems to be held in utter contempt by non-Calvinists.

Even in the days before I came to hear of or read the doctrines of grace, I wanted Jesus to be my Lord. Even before I understood what was going on in me and in my life – when I first bowed my knee before Him to beg forgiveness, repent, and be saved – I wanted Him to be my Lord, not just my Savior. It never occurred to me that there would be any other way to live – having Him as Savior but not Lord.

I have to wonder – why, oh why, would Lordship in any doctrine be considered a bad thing?

Does it not, in fact, promote and even endorse a lazy Christianity to suggest that He need not be one’s Lord?

I for one need Him to be my Lord.

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85 Comments:

Blogger Scribe said...

It seems like an attempt to broaden the sawdust trail by propagating a cheap grace that requires nothing of recipient.

July 23, 2007 7:59 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
They are so zealous to assert that works are not part of justification, that they deny the Holy Spirit successfully brings about sanctification. Scripture affirms in many places that the ministry of the Holy Spirit comes with power and is successful.

Romans 8:13-14 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (14)For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

July 23, 2007 8:10 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

What I can't understand is why any born-again Christian would not want Him to be Lord?

Because of this, it's difficult for me to even understand the disagreement, I suppose.

July 23, 2007 9:23 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

His or her personal Lord, I mean, with respect to the question of the born-again Christian in my comment immediately above.

He's obviously Lord of all, anyway. All authority on heaven and earth has already been given to Him.

July 23, 2007 9:25 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

What does it mean to believe that George Bush is your president?

July 24, 2007 4:51 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

What does it mean to believe that George Bush is your president?

Hmm..a "loaded" question...I fail to see how belief in the presidency of George Bush and giving mental assent to a list of biblical propositions of Christ is analogous.

Mental assent and submission to George Bush does not require spiritual transformation.

July 24, 2007 6:38 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I have to agree with Scribe here and add something else.

While "believing" (a better word for this analogy would be "knowing") that George Bush is president doesn't make it so - he is ipso facto anyway, there's more to my relationship with Jesus as Lord than with Bush as president.

As president, George Bush is technically my servant - as a civil servant to the nation.

As Lord, Jesus is the One whom I serve. Not only is the relationship reversed from the presidential analogy, but now it is upon me to live as He is my Lord, not just be so in name only - over heavens and earth, but also over my daily life.

And the relationship of a civil servant to a citizen is vastly different than that of a spiritual Savior and Lord to His subjects. Therein for me lies the heart of the matter - are we subjecting ourselves to His Lordship - His rightful Lording over our lives?

Why on earth, as born again men and women, freed from the bondage of the slavery of our sins, would we not choose to serve the Lord of heaven and earth?

I don't see anywhere in the NT (or OT for that matter) where for the believer obedience is optional.

July 24, 2007 8:47 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

If I believe that Jesus is Lord, I acknowledge a fact about Him. It is quite a different thing from submitting to Him.


But you guys say that believing is not enough anyway.

Susan,

"I don't see anywhere in the NT (or OT for that matter) where for the believer obedience is optional."

It is not optional and nobody who takes the Free Grace position would view it as optional.

Next topic?

July 24, 2007 8:50 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Matthew,

I didn't specifically point out Free Grace, but since you have...

The following is from Wikipedia under the reference "Lordship Salvation":

"The Free Grace view posits that salvation is a gift of divine grace whereby the recipient is declared righteous before God on account of Jesus' atonement and righteous life. Because this gift is bestowed irrespective of the past, present and future deeds of the individual (as most advocates of Lordship salvation believe), they believe the receiver of the gift cannot do anything to undo what God has done, even by sinning flagrantly and habitually without repentance. Thus, while the gift of salvation clearly results in a change of behavior, not all regenerate people remain faithful, and some even commit apostasy. Dr Robert Wilkin's Address on the topic of Apostasy) (Also, GES Website, July, 2007)

The italics are mine. I just can't believe that a true born-again Christian can sin flagrantly and habitually without repentance. I don't see it in Scripture.

But you guys say that believing is not enough anyway.

You know what, I don't think it is. Otherwise, Jesus could have told His disciples to "go and make converts of all the nations." He didn't. He told them to make disciples.

I suppose it depends on what one thinks "belief" is. If belief is intellectual assent that doesn't lead to a changed life, then no. It's not enough.

I can "believe" a plane will take me to Israel, but if I am reluctant to get on board, I really don't "believe." I can call myself a tennis player, but unless I set foot on a court, I'm not really a tennis player.

Belief will lead to a change in life. It's written all through the NT. And OT.

No need to rush ahead to the "next topic."

July 24, 2007 9:40 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

By the way, it seems to me in conversations I've read across the blogosphere that there are people in the Free Grace camp who do hold obedience as optional.

Certainly the quote by Wilkin shows it to be.

July 24, 2007 9:42 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
Well said!

July 24, 2007 10:23 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Simply stated: If you're "belief" does not entail action in accordance with that belief, then such a belief is a vacuous one. If your "faith" hasn't changed you, it hasn't saved you (progressive sanctification)

July 24, 2007 10:26 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Amen Susan!!

July 24, 2007 10:26 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Susan
"You know what, I don't think it is. Otherwise, Jesus could have told His disciples to "go and make converts of all the nations." He didn't. He told them to make disciples."

He said to make disciples. Absolutely.

He does not say 'make them disciples and then they will have eternal life.'

"I suppose it depends on what one thinks "belief" is. If belief is intellectual assent that doesn't lead to a changed life, then no. It's not enough."

You either believe a thing or you do not believe it. There are no degrees of belief.

"I can "believe" a plane will take me to Israel, but if I am reluctant to get on board, I really don't "believe." I can call myself a tennis player, but unless I set foot on a court, I'm not really a tennis player."

We receive eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. There is no extra action which is needed to secure eternal life.

"Belief will lead to a change in life. It's written all through the NT. And OT."

Where?

"Certainly the quote by Wilkin shows it to be."

Bob Wilkin believes no such thing.

Holding that eternal life does not depend upon obediance does not mean that one believes that a obediance is not an option.

You believe that a saved person may commit some sins.

Does that mean that you believe that committing some sins is optional?

July 24, 2007 10:28 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1st Cor. 6:9-11)

July 24, 2007 10:29 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

You either believe a thing or you do not believe it. There are no degrees of belief.

I think that there are.

I’m sure you’ve met people who say they believe something. And maybe they think they do.

But until they live as though they do, perhaps they don’t truly believe it.

We’re not here to judge who is saved and who isn’t by their profession, however there are obviously people who say they believe, but aren’t there plenty of folks out there who don’t live in true fear of God, as Scripture says we should do?

We receive eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. There is no extra action which is needed to secure eternal life.

Many people in the US, worldwide for that matter, say that they are Christian. Intellectually, they'll even say they believe Jesus was the Son of God. But do they live as they really believe this to be true? Do they know this from reading Scripture? Or were they just born in a Christian family or "know" this from culture, from Oprah's gospel, or other such sources? That doesn't make them Christian just by saying they believe.

July 24, 2007 10:41 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

"Belief will lead to a change in life. It's written all through the NT. And OT."

Where?

John 14:15: "If you love me [Jesus], you will obey what I command."

1 John 2:3-6: "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

1 John 3:6-9: "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.... Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil.... No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."

Romans 8:5-8: "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

Romans 6:1-2a: "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!"

James 2:14,17: "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? ...faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

July 24, 2007 10:42 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

"Certainly the quote by Wilkin shows it to be."

Bob Wilkin believes no such thing.

Then why did he write it?

July 24, 2007 10:42 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Holding that eternal life does not depend upon obediance does not mean that one believes that a obediance is not an option.

You're changing the discussion from Jesus being one's Lord to eternal life, which seems to be consistent in our conversations with you and especially those who hold to Free Grace.

Why should eternal life be the focus, rather than Christ as Lord?

July 24, 2007 10:44 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Does that mean that you believe that committing some sins is optional?

Not when one is walking in the Spirit, as Scripture plainly tells us to do.

July 24, 2007 10:46 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

You either believe a thing or you do not believe it. There are no degrees of belief.

Let me rephrase my answer here. You are correct - either one believes something or one does not. That is true. But many people say "I believe," but if their lives don't bear it out, then do they really believe? I don't think so.

That said, I'm not saying we are to judge the state of others' souls by their walks. Only God knows His plans for an individual's salvation.

I'm just saying that many people may claim to be Christian and say "I believe" and yet it is not truly so.

What I am asking in this post is why any born again Christian wouldn't want to serve Jesus as Lord?

Why focus on just a Savior and just eternal life? That is man-centered.

July 24, 2007 10:49 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

"Why focus on just a Savior and just eternal life? That is man-centered."

Amen, Susan.

I've often wondered why the emphasis on eternal life only. ??

Y'all have said everything I would have said. I'll just add that we need to keep in mind that salvation, sanctification - all of it - is brought about in our lives by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, solely by the grace of God.

He can interrupt our lives at any time, in any way, and it is He who gives us undersanding of the Scriptures, and it is He who humbles us to bow our knee to Christ as Lord.

July 24, 2007 11:08 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Y'all have said everything I would have said. I'll just add that we need to keep in mind that salvation, sanctification - all of it - is brought about in our lives by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, solely by the grace of God.

Gayla,
I absolutely agree. And that's a good point to bring up.
I think that these discussions are necessary to help shed light and that the Spirit can and does use us to bring about His work, but we need to remember our place. We are just servants. We do not bring anything about in and of ourselves.

July 24, 2007 11:30 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Why focus on just a Savior and just eternal life?

Another thought that comes to mind along this vein is that Scripture tells us to consider others as better than ourselves.

If we are to do even this, then why is the focus on self and what we receive (ie, eternal life) something other than selfish?

We are not to think of ourselves so much. It is man-centered to switch the focus from its rightful place - Jesus as Lord of our personal lives as well as of heaven and earth - to anything less.

July 24, 2007 11:32 AM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Another thought. Do we only have a passion for questing after more 'information?' Or do we truly desire to live out what the Scriptures say?

My stubborn, sin-bent will is very prideful and very self-centered. I beg God to intervene, to change me, to give me the ability to apply the Scriptures to my life and DO them. Like, letting my speech always be with grace, considering others more highly than myself, etc.

I desire to be obedient, and am crushed when I've not been. There's more to it than eternal life, a get out-of-hell-free card.

Just my humble opinion.

July 24, 2007 11:43 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

The trouble with English is that the New Testament wasn't written in it. John 3:16 says, "ουτως γαρ ηγαπησεν ο θεος τον κοσμον ωστε τον υιον τον μονογενη εδωκεν ινα πασ ο πιστευων εις αυτον μη αποληται αλλ εχη ζωην αιωνιον"

Note especially the phrase πιστευων εις αυτον - which is typically translated "believe in him" we see the preposition εις being used to modify the pronoun "him" (giving "him" the accusative case). What is interesting about that translation is it sort of massages the normal meaning of that preposition so that the translation flows better in the English. Had John wanted to actually say "Believe in him" he would have wrote "πιστευων εν αυτου" - where the pronoun "him" would have picked up an upsilon for the ending rather than a nu - (εν requires the genitive ending to mean "in").

But the preposition used in the text is not εν but εις - the meaning of which carries the notion of movement - "believing into Him" - is a more literal translation of the text - and if instead of trying to harmonize the Greek with modern day English idiom, we instead translate it literally and let the cards fall where they may - we may well come away with a more complete meaning of the underlaying text.

Believing into Jesus is not quite as thin an idea as simply believing "in" Jesus. Those who would distill faith to some single item, beginning with a thin understanding of this text - may well conclude that all faith is, is some intellectual decision about what is true. Perhaps more than a realization or an acknowledgment, but certainly whatever it is, it is entirely founded upon their own decision and determination - they believe with all their mind, for that is all that is brought into the process. They accept the truth of Christ with all the same vigor and depth that they accept that the sky is blue. Because to them faith is not something that puts you in someone, it is something you have in a vacuum.

But the same conclusions cannot be found of those who understand what it means to be believing "into" a person. When the text is understood as meaning as many as are believing into Christ as saved - that is, as many have entered into union with Christ through the only means given to man - trust - then the question is not so much about what belief is - for the answer is plain - belief is the means by which we enter into Christ. The argument then is not taking place in the shallow "if you believe you will do such and such" but rather belongs one step deeper - if the belief that you have puts you into Christ, you shall do such and such.

James makes it plain that there is an empty, impotent faith - a dead faith - a dead faith btw is a faith that has not entered into life - a faith that did not result in a union with Christ. It is not a faith that lacked intellectual assent - but it is a faith that lacked union with Christ.

Only those who are in Christ will be saved, only those are Christians. Believers who have have only an intellectual assent who continue to say in their heart - I will not have this man [Jesus] to rule over me - these are not Christians - they may think they are, they may form churches, read the bible, and pray - and do all the religious things that spiritually deceived hypocrites are inclined to sincerely do - but even though they be virgins, there is no oil in their lamp - and *that* is the problem.

Talking about what belief produces is pointless. Talk about what Christ produces. If Christ isn't producing anything in a person, that person ought to really examine himself and ask this question - do I serve the king, or not? If the answer is "not" then it may be time to rethink Christianity - if Christ can't produce a change in the life of a sinner when scripture teaches that Christ came to save us from our sin (as opposed to save us in our sin, or simply save us from sin's penalty) - that is, if Christ hasn't saved a person from sin - good gravy - why do they think they are a Christian??

July 24, 2007 11:50 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

A changed life and submission to Christ's lordship are the result of salvation, not a requirement for salvation, is this the way we should see it?

Cristina

July 24, 2007 12:55 PM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

I was an active part of this theological debate years ago when it first made its way onto the the evangelical platform and the shelves of the Christian bookstores. I was stunned then and I continue to be stunned that people still want to argue that recognizing the lordship of Jesus is some sort of addition to the gospel or a "work" that wounds the freeness of grace.

It is abundantly clear from scripture that intellectual belief is not the kind of belief that is required by the gospel or that results in salvation.

What is the gospel Jesus preached himself? "Repent and believe the good news." So is repentance an addition to the gospel? Is it sufficient to believe apart from repentance? If you preach belief without repentance are you preaching the whole gospel as Jesus did?

Jesus also said that not everyone who CALLS him Lord or names him as Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Why would that be? If these people believed that Jesus was both Messiah and lord enough to call him Lord, why wouldn't they enter the kingdom? Simply because belief in these things as facts is not the same as OWNING Christ as Lord.

Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to earth. Again, it is clear that he is the king of that kingdom. He invites people to come into his kingdom where he is king. Where is the difficulty? People who repent, believe, and are saved come into the kingdom of heaven where Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords! There is no discussion of people being citizens of the kingdom without having Christ as Lord!

If those who disagree with me want to know if I think people can be true Christians and still struggle with obeying Christ, the answer is yes. That is my own story and the story of every Christian I know. But if a person thinks to himself, "I can be a Christian and live any way I want to live regardless of the commands of Christ," then I would fear for his soul.

Repent and believe the gospel.

Dave

July 24, 2007 3:30 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

Dave just tole it like it is! Amen.

July 24, 2007 4:59 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Susan,

if you are truly interested in hearing what the FG believe about your question, you may find this brief article helpful, from the Grace Evangelical Society's website:

We Believe: Jesus is Lord

Antonio

July 24, 2007 6:38 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Actually, Antonio, this post wasn't about any theological system in particular, but as I noted:

"On various Christian blogs I have seen the term “Lordship Salvation” equated with Calvinism, Reformed doctrine, or the doctrines of grace – and by folks well familiar with the doctrines."

Most recently, in fact, it was used by somebody who won't identify with Free Grace, but is non-Calvinist. So I wasn't seeking the Free Grace position actually, but trying to understand rather why Lordship would be considered derogatory or a bad thing by such bloggers.

I see yourself use the term as if it's a bad thing. But I wasn't singling out Free Grace in general.

Thank you for your comment.

July 24, 2007 7:46 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

An interesting article, Antonio. I confess I had to shake my head when reading the opening premise:

"What does Lord mean?...

"A great deal can be determined about individuals and language groups by their vocabulary and by the frequency with which they use certain terms. For example, in the Athabaskan language ("Eskimo") there are a host of words for snow at various stages. A classical Greek lexicon will reveal the wealth of words that the Greeks had for dog and dog-related activities (chiefly hunting)."

I'm sorry, but I think the term Lord doesn't need various explanations and delineations about how many ways Alaskans have a word for "snow" to understand how Jesus is to be Lord over one's personal life.

Neither does one need all the ways in which Jesus is Lord - such as Lord of His Day, Lord in His Supper, Lord of Lords, Lord of the Sabbath.

And then there's this statement, listed at the end of all the ways Jesus is Lord (eg, "in His Dignity, in the Day, in the Sabbath, Lord and Master," etc.):

"If we have already accepted Him, our practical sanctification and future rewards will be largely determined by how soon and how deeply we submit to this Divine Master. However, these two aspects of Christ's Lordship should not be confused. If man has to be totally submitted (or even willing to be totally submissive) to Christ as "Absolute Boss," as a requisite for salvation, one wonders if there will be any at all to enter the kingdom."

It's hard to respect a system that equates a bondservant to Christ with making Jesus his or her "Absolute Boss."

Besides which, neither anywhere in this post or among the Reformed writers, contributors and commenters to this blog, is there allusion to Lordship as "a requisite to salvation."

July 24, 2007 7:56 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

"I'm sorry, but I think the term Lord doesn't need various explanations and delineations about how many ways Alaskans have a word for "snow" to understand how Jesus is to be Lord over one's personal life."

Okay, not only did I bust out laughing, but I heard the amen corner shout as well! Amen, sister! Amen!

July 24, 2007 8:37 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
I believe that new avatar has brought about a heightened level of discernment and skill in apologetics. To use an athletic analogy, you are in the zone!
wayne

July 24, 2007 10:18 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Yes Susan,

I believe that your apologetics has done much violence to Antonio's masculinity.

His captious statements seem quixotic in light of your germane rejoinder. Bravo Susan!

July 24, 2007 11:19 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Gayla

'I've often wondered why the emphasis on eternal life only. ??'

Because people need to be born again.

An unregenerate person cannot be sanctified.

Teaching an unregenerate person about the deeper things of God is pointless; their flesh cannot profit them.

They need to be born again; tthey need eternal life.

It is by trusting in Christ for His free gift of eternal life that a person is justified and redeemed and in Christ sanctified positionally.

Then they are able to live for God and walk in the Spirit.

But a person who has believed a different Gospel will not be regenerated and thus we ahve to be clear about what the Gospel is before we can talk about such topics as sanctification and discipleship.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

July 25, 2007 3:45 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Susan

John 14:15: "If you love me [Jesus], you will obey what I command."

This is about loving the Lord, not believing in Him.

1 John 2:3-6: "We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

Okay. All true, but there is nothing here about saving faith.

If we are not obeying the Lord we are not walking in Him and we are not truly in fellowship with Him.

This is not a question of posession of eternal life, but of life lived in fellowship with God.

The next one is from a questionable Bible translation:

6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

He that is born of God cannot sin and does not commit sin. That stuff about not continuing to sin is theological parphrase and not what is literally said here.

A difficult verse.

He that is born of God has a new nature that does not and cannot sin. However, he still has the old nature that desires to live in the flesh. When we sin, it is the work of our old nature and we show ourselves to be of the devil.

Susan, when you and I sin, we are of the devil and we acting contrary to our new heavenly nature.

Romans 8:5-8: "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

This is a warning not to live in the flesh.

Christians can and do live in the flesh and set their minds on the things of the flesh.

Christians who use pornography and that goes for a large number of Christian men are setting their minds on the flesh.

Christians who get drunk are setting their minds on the flesh.

We have an old nature that is hostile to God and does not want to submit to Him. That is why we need to reckon our old nature dead to sin; to appropriate their sanctification we have in Christ; to abide in Him.

To live after the flesh is death.

Sin leads to death. Any kind of sin can potentially lead one on a course of self destruction.

A Christian who continues to live after the flesh will die, either as a result of her sinful behaviour or through God's judgment of His children.


Romans 6:1-2a: "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!"

Amen!

But notice that Paul has to answer the question.

Paul does not reply:

"That is a silly question. No person who has true faith would do such a thing."

James 2:14,17: "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? ...faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

Have I ever discussed this passage with you before?

I am sure I must have done.

2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

Indeed. We have a new heavenly nature. We are in Christ and firmly linked with God's new creation.

However, we still have our old nature that seeks to reject God. That is why we fall into sin and the necessity of daily putting our flesh to death.

July 25, 2007 4:04 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Susan

"Why should eternal life be the focus, rather than Christ as Lord?""

We both believe that Jesus is Lord. We both believe that obediance is not optional.

Bob Wilkin also denies that obediance is optional. He holds that there are consequences for the disobediant Christian both in this world and the next.

Where we differ is on the question of what one must do to receive eternal life.

July 25, 2007 4:09 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"Not when one is walking in the Spirit, as Scripture plainly tells us to do."

That is my point. That sin is not an option. We are called to obey and we must not choose to opt out of it.

So I think it is very unhelpful to accuse Free Gracers of holding that obediance is an option.

July 25, 2007 4:11 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"What I am asking in this post is why any born again Christian wouldn't want to serve Jesus as Lord?"

Why would a born-again Christian want to do anything that displeases our Lord?

Yet we do.

Our flesh cannot please God and when we walk in our flesh we do not serve God.

July 25, 2007 4:13 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew, this is the heart of our disagreement here...

"He that is born of God has a new nature that does not and cannot sin. However, he still has the old nature that desires to live in the flesh. When we sin, it is the work of our old nature and we show ourselves to be of the devil."

Matthew, clearly you are teaching dualism here. The Christian IS NOT Dual-Natured.

When we consider 1 John 3:6 "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

Remember, in this letter John is showing his readers how to distinguish between the false teachers (in this case, those teaching an early form of gnoticism), and true believers.

In these verses John is clearly talking of two groups of people: regenerate versus unregenerate. The regenerate does not practice sin, does not sin, practices righteousness and so on.

Daniel from Canada answered your questions well much earlier in this very thread. True saving faith brings one into union with Christ; a union wherein Christ, And the Father, through God the Holy Spirit, does a work on that person in Christ, bringing them to conformity to Christ. Any person, claiming to be a Christian, in whose life no work of God is evident, has a false profession.

July 25, 2007 6:41 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew, clearly these two theological systems are not on the same playing field. It is like arguing with a Jehovah Witness. He uses adifferent translation of the Bible (New World Translation) with different renderings of John 1:1. As it happens, you are employing a different hermeneutic, some would say a new brand of Dispensationalism, and therefore you approach 1 John in an entirely different manner than anybody else on this blog. None of us can arrive at your positions due to the fact that we do not employ your hermeneutic.

July 25, 2007 6:48 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

What percentage of Christianity, including past generations, right up to the present, would hold to your renderings of 1 John as we see you present them here?

July 25, 2007 6:51 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Matthew,

'I've often wondered why the emphasis on eternal life only. ??'

Because people need to be born again...


I think what Gayla was asking - at least what I was asking - is why the conversation often seems to change with you from, for example, discussing the vital need for the Christian to submit to Jesus as his/her personal Lord - to what that person receives: eternal life.

Your emphasis is on what the Christian gets, not what the Christian sacrifices (his/her self, in submission to Jesus as Lord).

I think the NT is replete with admonitions on what sacrifice and suffering the Christian must do now that s/he is born again, and s/he is so at a very high price. We are no longer our own - and therefore, not being our own, we should not be focussing on the "free gift - absolutely free"!

I'm sorry - but the word that comes to mind when I hear "absolutely free" is "rubbish."

It's not free to God. It cost Him His Son.

It's not free to Christ. It cost Him His life.

It's not free to the Spirit. He's working daily throughout the millenia.

What's "absolutely free" about? The focus is on the receiver. What one "gets."

But it's also not free to the Christian - we are to deny ourselves and carry our cross unto death. To lose our lives so we may find it. Losing our lives and sacrificing ourselves is not "free." Jesus' parable about the man building the tower and counting the cost comes to mind.

If we continually hear a reductionist message of the gospel, there's little admonition or encouragement to the Christian on how to live once born again.

The Spirit will take care of the rebirthing. It's upon us to carry forth the good news AND to encourage the brethren to keep the faith, fight the good fight (including and especially that against the old man), walk in the Spirit, and serve Jesus as Lord.

July 25, 2007 9:01 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

John 14:15: "If you love me [Jesus], you will obey what I command."

This is about loving the Lord, not believing in Him.


And about obedience, which is part of our "reasonable service" if indeed his is our Lord and Master.

Okay. All true, but there is nothing here about saving faith.

If we are not obeying the Lord we are not walking in Him and we are not truly in fellowship with Him.

This is not a question of posession of eternal life, but of life lived in fellowship with God.


See, this is what I mean in my earlier comment. You keep moving the discussion from Lordship to "eternal life." It's like you want to hold out to the sinner some golden gift of what s/he'll get.

We don't need to rehash the presentation of the gospel message here, but I think that without a recognition of the sinner's own lack and need for a Savior, the fact that s/he is in rebellion to God and needs to beg His mercy on that person's soul to be reconciled through Christ and Christ alone, well, the message is so self-serving otherwise. And that can bring about a shallow faith - when the person continues to walk in what s/he hopes to keep getting and keep receiving on his/her end, without the due respect, submission and sacrifice to the One who gave him/her life and, to reconcile sinners to God, sacrificed His own.

July 25, 2007 9:12 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

So I think it is very unhelpful to accuse Free Gracers of holding that obediance is an option.

Likewise, it is unhelpful and a mixed message when Wilkin writes:

"the receiver of the gift cannot do anything to undo what God has done, even by sinning flagrantly and habitually without repentance."

I'll presume we can agree that what Wilkin describes here is not a life of obedience.

Don't you see how all of this talk, like what Wilkin writes, merely encourages Christians - especially immature Christians - that it's ok to live that way - in disobedience? Scripture does not speak thusly to the church body. It's quite counter to that.

Why speak to the flock only about what they get? Why say such things to the brethren like "well, you can't undo what God's doing in your life, even if you sin flagrantly and without repentence."

I'm sorry, but that isn't Scriptural. Jesus, John, Paul, and others preach repentance. Obedience. Lordship.

July 25, 2007 9:32 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew asserts that there is no difference between a carnal believer that produces no fruit or obedience and a believer who is obedient, has fruit, but sins and battles that sin. That is like thinking someone could be a true fan of the New York Yankees that never goes to games, never watches games on T.V., never reads about the team, or never talks about the team. Such a claim would be a false claim and the person making the claim would be a liar and a hypocrite.

A true fan of the Yankees may not watch all the games or read all the articles on the team, but his loyalty to the team will be visible. In a like manner a regenerated Christian may still sin, but the effects of being led by the Spirit will be visible. There will be obedience, repentance, and fruit. That is what James 2:14-26 and many other passages of Scripture describe.

Lordship is not about justification, it is about genuine sanctification without which no one will see the LORD. For Hodges, Wilkin, and other FGracers to deny the power of regeneration is to encourage unregenerate people to cling to a false hope.

July 25, 2007 10:25 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

For Hodges, Wilkin, and other FGracers to deny the power of regeneration is to encourage unregenerate people to cling to a false hope.

That is one of the big reasons why FG leaves such a sour taste in my mouth.

<shudder>

July 25, 2007 10:56 AM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

So Susan,

will you just please come out and say it?

Your beating around the bush is very tiresome.

Just come out and say what we all know you believe:

WORKS ARE NECESSARY FOR FINAL SALVATION

In order to finally end up with Christ, one needs to obey Christ with doing works.

Please just say it. I am tempted to make a collage of all the statements that you have made that indicate you believe in a works-salvation.

Antonio

July 25, 2007 3:00 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Matthew: "Gayla

'I've often wondered why the emphasis on eternal life only. ??'

Because people need to be born again.

An unregenerate person cannot be sanctified.

Teaching an unregenerate person about the deeper things of God is pointless; their flesh cannot profit them.

They need to be born again; tthey need eternal life.

It is by trusting in Christ for His free gift of eternal life that a person is justified and redeemed and in Christ sanctified positionally.

Then they are able to live for God and walk in the Spirit.

But a person who has believed a different Gospel will not be regenerated and thus we ahve to be clear about what the Gospel is before we can talk about such topics as sanctification and discipleship."


Matthew, I'm sorry, I missed this.

I don't disagree with what you've said at all. But from what I've read, there is quite a lot of emphasis placed on what seems to be the 'get out of hell free' aspect, and not so much teaching on sanctification, perseverance of the saints, etc.

It's just the way I see it, though.

July 25, 2007 3:13 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

OK.

That is it.

Does everyone here on this blog who contributes agree with Susan that salvation is not free?

If salvation costs the believer something, then it is not reckoned to him as grace but as debt.

COST PAYS FOR SOMETHING. Is that not a simple truism?

If salvation costs the life of the believer, that cost is paying for something, in other words, it is paying for salvation. Salvation costs the believer his life.

Oh, I am sure someone is going to come here and sophisticatedly patch together the paradox of salvation being free but costing you everything with the quant (and particularly nonsensical) explanations of Reformed and Lordship people. But to bring together 2 polar opposites (free and cost you everything) is the height of ridulousness that gets pawned off as something theologically astute when in reality it is absurd.

I have a real fear for those who maintain this false teaching. If this is all they have every believed, that salvation costs the person everything, then I am afraid that they have not received eternal life.

Furthermore, they teach others this same message. It is the blind leading the blind, and they shall both fall into the pit.

Salavation is FREE, ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Rev 22:17

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
NKJV

"If you knew the GIFT of God..." (Jn 4:10)

July 25, 2007 3:29 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

will you just please come out and say it?

Your beating around the bush is very tiresome.

Just come out and say what we all know you believe:

WORKS ARE NECESSARY FOR FINAL SALVATION


Antonio,

You never cease to make me laugh.
I suppose you would say the same to our Lord's brother James.

Our pastor in Sunday School this past week noted that there was a controversy in putting the book of James in the canon of Scripture. Our pastor was talking about this in the context of what the criteria were that were used for what books made it in the canon and what books weren't. (Actually, he gave our class a "pop quiz" to see what we've learned, where we are, and what he should teach us in the future. It was enlightening for me.)

ANYway, I had never heard of this controversy before, but I bring it up here because one of the criteria was that a book couldn't contradict some other writing recognized as Scripture. In this case, James' emphasis on works concerned some of the early church fathers that James’ writing may contradict that faith is by grace alone.

However, the book of James is in Scripture because it was recognized that the writings he made on works demonstrate that they are a natural outworking of one's saving faith. Without them, said faith is dead. They do not contradict that saving faith is a gift of God by His grace alone.

So Antonio, take it up with James, and therefore, with God, who breathed this Scripture through His servant our Lord's brother.

Finally, if you have to exhort me to "just come out and say it" in order to "make a collage of all the statements that you have made that indicate you believe in a works-salvation," think about it further. Wouldn't you not have to go through such calisthenics and jumping through hoops to try and force the issue if, in fact, I – and the other Reformed bloggers against whom you continually, repeatedly and ad nauseum make such accusations – if we actually said what you accuse us of?

In other words, if we actually believed that works = salvation, you wouldn’t have to go to such lengths to prove it. You would be able to prove it without trying to force it out of our mouths. Of course, you can always lift those words I just wrote (works = salvation) and take it out of context to prove your point. The media here in America do it all the time.

July 25, 2007 3:35 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Does everyone here on this blog who contributes agree with Susan that salvation is not free?

True to form, Antonio twists this to salvation. And never did I write "salvation isn't free."

These were my words, Antonio:

>>"I think the NT is replete with admonitions on what sacrifice and suffering the Christian must do now that s/he is born again, and s/he is so at a very high price. We are no longer our own - and therefore, not being our own, we should not be focussing on the "free gift."<<

This is the point - once one is born again. That means after salvation. The tactics you use to try and shift the argument's focus don't work. The point of this post - and my comments to Matthew - were on Lordship and the importance of serving Jesus as one's personal Lord.

You like to try to twist words to make an opponent's position fit your template. Are you sure you don't work in the media?

July 25, 2007 3:43 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

Antonio, the gift of salvation is absolutely free.

I have never maintained otherwise.

I hope this answers your charge.

July 25, 2007 4:08 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

"Does everyone here on this blog who contributes agree with Susan that salvation is not free?"

I can't find a place on here where she said it wasn't free. Your fallacy, though, is that you can't distinguish between the Salvation being free in that it costs the believer nothing to either "procure it" (make it available) or receive it, and the life in Christ that salvation brings, which can be a very hard life. But I really don't expect you to grap that for the simple reason you don't want to grasp that.

July 25, 2007 4:54 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

"You like to try to twist words to make an opponent's position fit your template."

Indeed. That is his staple. One thing is for sure, if Antonio can't make the square peg fit in the round hole, he will try to divert your attention long enough to see if the star shape will fit.

July 25, 2007 5:00 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Antonio,
Your hit and run tactics as well as your bailing out of debates have become very frustrating. The latest of several examples is where you never countered my explanation of Romans 8:14 in context on your own UOG blog with your own article. You attempt long home run passes that fail and then you punt. Now you come over here and demand that we affirm what you want to think we believe. My first reaction when I read your comment was to defend Susan, but after reading her and Gayla’s comment I see she (they) need no help.

Truth is what people affirm and not what other people spin it to mean, so cut, paste and post away. However, remember that I challenged you over one year ago to produce one piece of evidence from my 60+ Photo Meditations, on all the major doctrinal points, where I have affirmed anything other than grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is now a cold case and you have reported no evidence. Why? Because you can’t find anything you can even spin to look like works salvation.

BTW, I am planning a post on your stated position that a person can deny the triune God in favor of the false Muslim God Allah and still be saved as long as they believe that Jesus (a lesser god) guarantees their eternal life. That of course means they are denying the person and work of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who regenerates. If your claim of teaching theology in heaven is to be fulfilled, I would suggest that you show more respect to the holiness of God who has revealed his wrath against such ungodliness (Rom. 1:18).

July 25, 2007 5:19 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Antonio asks: "Does everyone here on this blog who contributes agree with Susan that salvation is not free?"

Antonio, your question includes the rather pregnant presumption that Susan believes that salvation is not free.

I am sure you have been corrected ad nauseum for these kinds of logical blunders, but just in case this is new to you, we call that sort of thing "begging the question" - and it is not a very good way to frame a question.

A more even handed way of asking the same question might have been to break it into two parts?

"Susan, do you believe that salvation is not free? Does anyone who contributes to this blog believe that salvation is not free?"

It is good to have an opinion, but not so good to ask questions that presume the correctness of our opinion - at least not when the topic being discussed stands in opposition to one's opinion.

It is obvious that Susan believes salvation is entirely free - she has expressed that sentiment many times and in many ways.

You say, "will you just please come out and say it"

I think the same ought to be put to you - you seem to think that Susan is lying about what she believes, or at the very least, that you are able to articulate it better than she is - why don't you just come out and say so?

July 25, 2007 5:25 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

petitio principii indeed Daniel...

Antonio,

For a man of such intellectual sway, you are given to an exorbitant amount of caprice.

July 25, 2007 6:59 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Ha...I'm the 60th comment--the point of no return... ;D

July 25, 2007 8:24 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

"Ha...I'm the 60th comment--the point of no return... ;D"

Oh brag about it, would ya! ;~)

July 25, 2007 8:29 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

You don't want to hang around those 6 numbers too long, Scribe.
Come awayyyy from the dark side.
Move into the 7s.....
The number of perfection...

July 25, 2007 11:11 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 26, 2007 7:06 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Are we there yet?

July 26, 2007 7:07 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Are we there yet?

July 26, 2007 7:07 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Are we there yet?

July 26, 2007 7:08 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Are we there yet?

July 26, 2007 7:08 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Are we there yet?

July 26, 2007 7:08 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Are we there yet?

July 26, 2007 7:08 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 26, 2007 7:08 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Ahh...7 the number of perfection. What a transcendental experience that was!

July 26, 2007 7:09 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

PERFECT!
You just made my morning, Scribe!
:-)

By the way, the string of "Are we there yet"s reminded me of driving with kids in the car.

July 26, 2007 7:56 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Capping out at 73? I think we can do better than that. In fact, you may only be reading this because you noticed that there was one more comment... ;-)

July 26, 2007 1:39 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Daniel,

Guilty as charged. Being in the "7"s is rather euphoric, I might add...

July 26, 2007 5:59 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Sooo...
Who's gonna hit 77?

July 26, 2007 6:35 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Ok,
here's the wind-up,
and the pitch.
I'm number 76...
and number 77 is......

July 26, 2007 7:52 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

me

July 26, 2007 8:41 PM

 
Blogger Gayla said...

I also wanted to add that due to Antonio's absence after asking us to, "come out and say it," I left him a comment on his own blog, asking if he was going to pop back in here. I've just been a wonderin' where he is.

July 26, 2007 9:10 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Gayla,
You're not holding your breath, are you?

July 27, 2007 10:10 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Gayla,
You're not holding your breath, are you?

July 27, 2007 10:10 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Is there an echo in here?

...in here...?

...in here...?

July 27, 2007 10:11 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Sorry Susan,

The echo effect is due to the massive restructuring of BC...given the fact that we are almost as large as a softball team! ;D

Can I have my jeresey in blue Mark?

July 27, 2007 10:21 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

No, don't hold your breath. Antonio punts a lot on 2nd down when his long pass play is unsuccessful!

July 27, 2007 10:30 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Punt and SCORE, Jazzy!
Hey, on those jerseys, can we put "the Bluecollar Clan"?
The photo may be too much to put on a jersey, but maybe we could use it on our baseball cards?
(ok, I've mixed sports here - with punt and score and softball and baseball, but I'm only the Koolaid girl, knitting on the sidelines of the court, um field, um arena...)
Koolaid, anyone?

July 27, 2007 10:33 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Um, I meant that YOU punt and score, Jazzy.
Isn't that a good thing?
Guess I'd better stay away from the sports allusions.
I'm not sure what I'm talking about (not that anyone could tell, right?).

July 27, 2007 10:35 AM

 

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