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].

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Good News of God's Grace

…the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them
(Acts 16:10)

First the bad news…

We can't make it to heaven on our own; no one is good enough to meet God’s perfect standard. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned, and all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Did you know that’s what He requires, perfection (Matthew 5:48)? It’s true. Now come on, admit it, you aren’t perfect, you may be better than a lot of people, but are you as good as God? Left to ourselves, we all will die without God, and that is bad news, indeed. However, that isn’t the end of the story.

Now for the good news…

God had a plan all along; he knew what he was doing. He would show his mercy and grace to a people he would call out for himself. He would send his own son, to die for those people’s sins, and give those called out people the righteousness they needed, the righteousness of his own son, Jesus. Jesus executed that plan; he came to earth and lived a perfectly righteous life, and allowed himself to die for our sins. He was a righteous man, the only righteous man ever, paying the penalty due us. His death meant that God would grant us mercy. His life meant God would give us grace. You see the mercy is God forgiving our sins because Jesus paid the penalty with his death, and the grace is God giving us a righteous standing based on Christ’s perfect life. God accounts our sin to Jesus’ account, and Jesus’ righteousness to our account. This great exchange is explained to us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – he who knew no sin (that’s Jesus) became sin for us (he paid the penalty) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (through his perfect life we meet God’s standard). God had spoken of this plan before Jesus was even born (Isaiah 53:6), and he proved that this sacrifice and this way was what he planned all along by raising Jesus from the dead (Romans 1:4 / 4:25).

Now we obviously didn't deserve it, but that’s grace, my friend (1 John 4:9-10). God draws us to Him in a way that he knows we will respond to if we are one of his, and God gives this gift to us freely. All God asks us to do is believe (John 3:16 / Romans 10:9). When we accept Jesus sacrificial death to forgive our sins, the bible calls this being justified by faith (Romans 5:1), and God counts Christ’s righteousness as our own. But there’s more, because God also leads us into a more holy life, where we learn to truly seek after and please God, and God ensures that we will make it to heaven. Because God didn’t leave us to ourselves, when we die we will be with God, and that is good news, indeed. If you will believe, you’ll make it to heaven, and that’s the end of the story.

Labels: ,

70 Comments:

Blogger Even So... said...

Let's start the weekend off right here at Bluecollar by celebrating God's abundant grace!

October 04, 2007 10:07 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

J.D.
Again, welcome and that is a great concise gospel presentation.

October 04, 2007 10:22 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

We need to tell the bad news, or there's no good news.

How about repentance? Don't we need to repent and believe?
And perhaps 'counting the cost' wouldn't be a bad idea.

October 04, 2007 11:17 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Yes, better count the cost or else we might think eternal life is a free gift!

October 05, 2007 8:40 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
Do you think there was any cost for Christ on the cross of Calvary?

Do you believe that a person can claim faith, yet willfully deny Christ and discipleship for an entire lifetime in direct conflict with Biblical teachings?

Do you Matthew?

Life continues after gift of saving faith Matthew. What does the Bible say it looks like?

October 05, 2007 8:57 AM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"Yes, better count the cost or else we might think eternal life is a free gift!"

Good old Matthew.

Jazzy has the good questions.

The reason I thought of counting the cost was because I'm reading JC Ryle's 'Holiness', and I'm in the chapter Titled: 'Count the Cost'.
His teaching on this charge by Christ our Lord is outstanding.

I believe JD's post is excellent BTW. Short and sweet, and to the point.
If we covered everything in ever post, then every post would be a book.

October 05, 2007 9:38 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Wayne, our Lord paid an awful cost for our salvation.

To talk about us having to pay a cost for our justification cheapens our Lord's work.

October 05, 2007 10:01 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
I agree totally on justification, but to deny the power of the Holy Spirit in sanctification cheapens and insults the work and power of the 3rd person of the trinity.
All three persons of the trinity are of equal power and eternity.

Do you believe it is an error to deny the power of the Holy Spirit and thus cheapen his work?

October 05, 2007 10:24 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

"Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
- Matthew 16:24-25

"And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."
-Matthew 10:38

"And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire."
- Matthew 18:8-9

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
"Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
"So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."
- Luke 14:26-30, 33

October 05, 2007 10:32 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Uh,oh, Susan, now we'll be treated to the idea that the call to discipleship and the call to salvation are separate.

October 05, 2007 10:49 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

I'm simply noting that these verses denote a cost to following Christ. And I don't see salvation as separate from following Christ.

October 05, 2007 11:07 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Matthew, do you really believe that is what Don meant when we spoke of counting the cost?

I can't speak for Don, but I certainly didn't get that from his remarks.

Jesus told those who were following him that they couldn't be his disciples because they weren't willing to take up their cross and follow him. He drew a clear line in the sand between unrepentant, unregenerate adherence and true discipleship. He didn't tell people do this that you may become my disciples, rather Christ said, if you do not do this you are not my disciples. He wasn't suggesting that counting the cost was some synergistic effort on man's part that instigates or in some way contributes to God's grace. I don't think Don was suggesting that either - but what Christ meant I think was to show these unrepentant adherers that they there were -not- his disciples, even though they followed him around.

There were in that crowd however, some who -had- renounced all. and these were those whom Christ referred to as His disciples. I can't stress it enough though that it wasn't that these took up their cross daily "in order to" become followers of Christ, rather it demonstrated that they -were- genuinely following Christ, because they weren't following other things.

It should be obvious, but let me state it anyway - those who follow Christ do so by following Christ. Those who claim to follow Christ but in practice follow their own paths - these are not followers, but flakes.

I am persuaded that Don understands it that way too. That we cannot follow Christ and at the same time follow anything else - Christ called his followers to a radical, exclusive walk - not a back and forth flip-flop, nor one whereby we don't follow Christ at all, but hang around with those who do.

A faith that is nothing more than an unrepentant adherence that rest solely in the hope that because one is clinging to the one whom he at the same time is not following - is by no means one of the flock.

There are immature believers, but there are no dead believers. There is no such thing as a Christian who is not a disciple. What flummery! There are weak Christians, yes, but they are struggling to be strong Christians, either through good doctrine or poor doctrine.

October 05, 2007 11:10 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

A couple of points:

1)No where in scripture does justifying faith happen without repentance also being evident. IOW, repentance always shows in the life of the believer. So, I say, nowhere in scripture do we see an unrepentant believer.

2) Let's look at Christ's accomplishments and their effects on the believer - Because of Christ's cross-work Paul was entrusted with a message that would "open eyes,turn people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins... " Acts 26:18-20. The Father has "conveyed us into His Son's kingdom" where there is redemption (being bought back from Satan's dark rule)and forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:12-14. Also Romans 6 teaches that we were once slaves of sin, but now, because of Christ's accomplishments on the cross, we are slaves of righteousness and of God.

Because of Christ's cross-work, His telling people to repent, through those servants of His who preach His word accurately, is like His having commanded that man to stretch forth his crippled hand, and when he has done so it is whole. And so it is when one is commanded to repent. His life will straighten out because of the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ as a result of His cross-work.

Justification is not the whole of the picture. Conformity to Christ is. This conformity, though not automatic, is inevitable, and begins at the moment of regeneration; hence the need to preach repentance to the unsaved. Christ is the One to be looked at for salvation. The world has rejected its Maker and His Christ. The world has thrown off God's rule in their lives. See the second Psalm. Faith and repentance result in the believer being brought into the Kingdom of God, and away from the rule of Satan.

October 05, 2007 11:29 AM

 
Blogger Even So... said...

Don thank you, good question, I appreciate your clear vision in such things…

Matthew, thank you for being consistent with what you believe, ready to go to it…

Yes I knew this post would draw fire between friends, now let’s all make sure we exercise some grace, that is what we are celebrating, isn’t it?

That all being said, repentance is implied, surely...look at the text of the post...

But there’s more, because God also leads us into a more holy life, where we learn to truly seek after and please God, and God ensures that we will make it to heaven.

Perseverance of the saints...and it isn’t drawing back, but drawing near…

Repentance is implied in the post, even as the word is not mentioned (ala John's gospel!) I meant it to be implied, it should be obvious that to turn to the Lord we must turn from saving ourselves, not repentance meaning I have to turn to God and do all He wants me to do, we don’t even know what that is at first except that we are sinners who need a savior and we trust Jesus to save us based on His atoning work. So it is not cleaning myself up, but repentance in that I turn to God trusting that He did the works for me. Then He begins to clean up what He has set apart; we are simultaneously justified yet sinful. Our lives will show an increasing repentance, we cannot possible know of everything we need to repent of, every little sin we don’t even know is a sin, right at the moment of conversion, lets say. But we do know we need to repent of ourselves, we turn to God, and He leads us into greater repentance, where we see ourselves increasingly as distant from what Christ truly is, and even as we seem less and less, and He seems more and more, the Cross gets bigger and bigger in our lives, as it meets us at our point of confessed weakness. Wee are actually sinning less, but we aren’t sinless, and we struggle to be sanctified in this life even as we are trusting that Jesus has become sanctification for us (1 Corinthians 1:30). True Christians seek progressive sanctification, even as they know they have received definitive sanctification. The post says as much in so few words.

Instead of going into biblical categories with a heavy hand and strictly biblical nomenclature, we use this as a brief Gospel presentation suited for any occasion. It can open things up, as we see this meta as an object lesson. Thank you all. The follow up level of discussion would depend on whom we are talking to or perhaps the other believers we are discussing with, as we have in this meta.

BTW, has anyone seen or realized that all “5 points” are in the post?

I love Jesus and I love you all. Thank God for His amazing grace, else we couldn’t or wouldn’t even have these discussions. May faithful fruit abound to each of you.

Carry on, in His grace and for His glory...

October 05, 2007 11:59 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Wayne

"Do you believe it is an error to deny the power of the Holy Spirit and thus cheapen his work?"

Yes.

October 05, 2007 12:32 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, what is the difference between a thing being automatic and a thing being inevitable?

October 05, 2007 12:33 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Daniel, there is a cost to discepleship, no doubts about that.

But there is no cost to eternal life, that is a gift.

October 05, 2007 12:35 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I hope you guys do not get fed up of my coming here and giving the same old arguments on the same old issue.

I dare say I might get fed up if somebody did that on my blog.

God Bless

Matthew

October 05, 2007 12:37 PM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

this is the best way I have seen repentance explained...it's a bit long

Many understand the term
“repentance” to mean “turning from sin.” This is not the Biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word “repent” means to "change your mind." The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” The full Biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.

What, then, is the connection between repentance and salvation? The Book of Acts seems to especially focus on repentance in regards to salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). To repent, in relation to salvation, is to change your mind in regards to Jesus Christ. In Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), he concludes with a call for the people to repent (Acts 2:38). Repent from what? Peter is calling the people who rejected Jesus (Acts 2:36) to change their minds about Him, to recognize that He is indeed “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter is calling the people to change their minds from rejection of Christ as the Messiah, to faith in Him as both Messiah and Savior.

Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection, or repentance from ignorance or disinterest – it is a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ, to faith in Christ.

It is crucially important that we understand repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation. No one can repent and come to God unless God pulls that person to Him (John 6:44). Acts 5:31 and 11:18 indicate that repentance is something God gives – it is only possible because of His grace. No one can repent unless God grants repentance. All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God's drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. God's longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), as does His kindness (Romans 2:4).

While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. It is impossible to truly and fully change your mind without that causing a change in action. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. That is why John the Baptist called people to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). A person who has truly repented from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ will give evidence of a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:19-23; James 2:14-26). Repentance, properly defined, is necessary for salvation. Biblical repentance is changing your mind about Jesus Christ and turning to God in faith for salvation (Acts 3:19). Turning from sin is not the definition of repentance, but it is one of the results of genuine, faith-based repentance towards the Lord Jesus Christ.

October 05, 2007 12:39 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"Christ called his followers to a radical, exclusive walk" -Daniel

Yep. That's what I believe.

If I am unbeliever, and I'm sitting on the grassy hill where the Lord is teaching God's Word, and I hear Jesus cry out: "If you don't hate your family and even your own life, then you are not worthy to be My disciple".

What would be my reaction?

October 05, 2007 1:05 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"Mark, what is the difference between a thing being automatic and a thing being inevitable?"

Inevitable because, as the New Covenant would have it, we have a new nature, a nature that desires the things of God. Amoung those things of God are:

1)fellowship with His people

2)time spent in His word

3)time spent in prayer

These are the ways we have a part in our own sanctification. They inevitably take place in the regenerate person's life, but are not automatic.

Matthew, you will ALWAYS be welcome here, friend.

Please say "hi" to Rose for me. I gahter she is on some kind of trip from home these days.

October 05, 2007 1:22 PM

 
Blogger Rileysowner said...

Oh, I wish I had time to read the comments more completely, but since I don't I will resist responding to them because I will not have taken the time to understand them well enough.

J.D. I very much liked this post, but (you knew that was coming didn't you) I have one concern. At the end you wrote, "All God asks us to do is believe."

Now don't get me wrong, I agree with that statement, and have probably said it myself. However, I have become more and more aware that many unbelievers hear that and think that it means that faith is what we DO to gain salvation. Thus, they twist faith into a work, albeit, one they think is easier than keeping the commandments of God.

My question is how can we state the truth that we are saved through faith while at the same time using words that help to avoid just that sort of misunderstanding?

October 05, 2007 2:42 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Matthew,
I concur with Mark that you are welcome. You seem to always keep your cool and are kind even in the face of hissing. I like that.
wayne

October 05, 2007 4:24 PM

 
Blogger Even So... said...

Hey pastor Jim (Riley's owner)...yeah, I'm hearing you, you'll have toi check out my commetn in this meta for my answer, a person who is lead to believe will be lead to follow, and I say in terms that anyone can understand, perhaps not as nuanced as I would like on this blog's level, but how about in a conversational encounter? This wouldn't be all that would happen, of course, and well, think about it...

October 05, 2007 4:30 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Matthew,

I hope you never tire of coming here.

You exhibit a great patience in talking things through despite "opposition" or views differing from your own.

I enjoy your presence here very much, and I hope you always feel welcome here, even when we disagree.

October 05, 2007 7:29 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Mark:

Salvation and Discipleship are two separate and distinct doctrines.

Calling for an upfront "whole-hearted commitment" to the position and good works (Eph. 2:10) expected of a born again disciple as a requirement for the reception of salvation is a works based message.


LM

October 05, 2007 9:39 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Jazzy:

You asked Matthew, “Do you believe that a person can claim faith, yet willfully deny Christ and discipleship for an entire lifetime in direct conflict with Biblical teachings?”

Matthew, along with Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, Jeremy Myers and Antonio da Rosa are advocates of the so-called “Crossless” gospel. The problem their doctrine presents occurs before conversion and discipleship of the believer.

They believe a lost man can consciously reject and deny the Deity of Jesus Christ, but by believing in the promise of eternal life, can still be born again.

According to these men, a sinner’s rejection of the Deity of Christ is a matter that should be, “put on the back burner,” and in no way hinders him from being born again.


LM

October 05, 2007 10:04 PM

 
Blogger Only Look said...

I believe that repentance will flow from believing and meeting Christ at Calvary in seeing how our sins cost Christ and receiving life freely from him. Coming to faith in my Lord will have an effect on my life and my whole attitude about sin and how it affected the Saviour. Some of the free gracers are dangerously trying to tell us that we can meet God somewhere other than at the cross. We all have to come by way of the cross or we have come into contact with the wrong God or are making no contact at all. This is dangerous theology now these men challenging believers to find where the scripture says we must meet Christ at the cross. Its all over the Bible. This is why Abel had to slay the lamb and offer a blood sacrifice. Cain tried to make contact with God and God would not receive him because he couldnt understand that someone had to die for his sin. This is dangerous thelogy some of these free gracers challenging us to come up with scripture that supports us having to meet Christ at the cross. I am deeply grieved about this.

He is the gift. He spilled His blood to redeem us. If we dont believe in this vital truth then indeed there is no power unto repentance and I can see why men would falsy embrace a gospel that takes no affect in producing a change of heart.

October 06, 2007 12:18 AM

 
Blogger Only Look said...

BTW Lou, I don't know much about the dirt war that has been going on, but I do want you to know that I am glad you are out there. Perhaps the Lord has sovereignly used all of this to bring this to a head. I would never have thought that they would have come out with a denial of the knowledge of the cross being necessary for salvation. It is troubling and even going to the point of asking others to prove where the scriptures show that one must know about the cross to be saved. The whole Bibles focus pointed to the cross. It is why God had to slay an animal and clothe Adam and Eve and why he made the promise of her seed triumphing over the serpent and why the serpent was put on the staff and held up for all to see. I fear they have crossed the line. I can no longer be supportive of the direction they are taking us. This is very bad news and that they continue to justify it somehow.

October 06, 2007 12:40 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

It is troubling and even going to the point of asking others to prove where the scriptures show that one must know about the cross to be saved.

In my view, this is part of the problem I see with continually referencing only one book of the Bible (John's gospel) to hang everything about receiving eternal life on that one book.

Likewise, to set aside or downplay discipleship, sanctification, repentance, etc from the picture - to focus only on one's own receipt of eternal life - is skewed, and dangerous I think. It reduces the gospel to some kind of free ticket.

Finally, I don't see salvation as separate from following Christ. They may not be exactly the same thing, but they're not unconnected either.

October 06, 2007 7:57 AM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Finally, I don't see salvation as separate from following Christ. They may not be exactly the same thing, but they're not unconnected either.

Ah, the twain seem to be synergistically woven into the eternal tapestry of biblical soteriology. Amen my sister!

October 06, 2007 8:32 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Lou, do the following verses take place in an evangelical setting or no...

Mark 8:34-38 - 34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

-or-

Matthew 11:27-29 - 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

October 06, 2007 10:37 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Only:

You wrote, “BTW Lou, I don't know much about the dirt war that has been going on, but I do want you to know that I am glad you are out there. Perhaps the Lord has sovereignly used all of this to bring this to a head. I would never have thought that they would have come out with a denial of the knowledge of the cross being necessary for salvation. It is troubling and even going to the point of asking others to prove where the scriptures show that one must know about the cross to be saved...I fear they have crossed the line. I can no longer be supportive of the direction they are taking us. This is very bad news and that they continue to justify it somehow.”

A couple of thoughts for you:

1) “Dirt war” is not how I’d describe it. Maybe “Turf war,” because the ground to be defended is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His deity. The Grace Evangelical Society (Hodges, Wilkin and Myers) has assaulted not only the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, but His Deity as well. They personally believe in these things, but practically deny them in evangelism.

2) “…ring this to a head…they would have come out with a denial…” They have been teaching these strange twists for years. I knew they had totally eliminated repentance from the conversion experience, but only after I began reading more deeply did I discover just how far they have departed from the faith once delivered (Jude 3). Full disclosure of what they believe has come forth and now they have essentially gone into hiding with it. Just try to get Wilkin or Myers to answer any question about it and you will get nothing from them. Last month Wilkin deleted everything on the subject from his GES blog to keep it out of the public eye.

3) “I can no longer be supportive of the direction they are taking us.”
You are one among a rapidly growing number of people who have come to see where the GES is and where they are headed. I can assure you that they are not done yet, and will continue to slip into even deeper heresy. The GES is losing membership, support and key venues are now refusing to have Wilkin come to speak where he once had open access. The teaching of Hodges and Wilkin is desperately wrong, it is a departure from orthodoxy and many are coming to recognize it as such. IMO, the GES is going to shrink into a small handful of their false teachers and those who have been deceived and had their conscience seared by these egregious errors.

4) “ This is very bad news and that they continue to justify it somehow.
The good news is that their false teaching has been exposed and they are being called to give an account. They justify their teaching by going deeper. They have to continually twist and skew the plain sense of many passages to keep their position glued together.

Finally, the GES does NOT represent the Free Grace community. At one time it did speak for many in the FG camp, but not any more. The men in GES and their apologists, especially da Rosa, are either delusional or dishonest if they state that they are the mainstream and/or mouthpiece for the FG movement. When you read anything by da Rosa or Jeremy Myers and they use the term “Free Grace,” remember they are presenting GES theology, NOT Free Grace theology. Many have departed the GES for more sound doctrinal ground. The Free Grace Alliance (FGA) came into being partly because of the downward doctrinal spiral of the GES.

If you visit my blog there are many articles that deal with the teaching of Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin and the GES. If I recall correctly, Blue Collar has recommend my site for this issue.


LM

October 06, 2007 10:56 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Mark,
Good verses to show that there is only one group of redeemed sinners and they are disciples. Eph. 2:8-10 also very concisely shows this connection. Romans chapter 8 shows that a non-disciple Christian is myth.

Lou's belief in a synergistic regeneration is also at odds with the reformed view of monergistic regeneration and I am sure that leads to some different views.

October 06, 2007 11:20 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Jazzy:

I am at odds with the idea that regeneration (conversion) precedes faith.

That is an extra-biblical position that flows from Calvinistic presuppositions.

More later, I am at work.

LM

October 06, 2007 11:49 AM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Susan,

I understand what you are trying to say dear sister and I greatly appreciate you and your love of Israel. Still the emphasis should be on us receiving from God at the cross. We cannot minimize this. Lou pointed out to me that often the Lordships empahsis appears to be live and look, but in truth it is LOOK and live. That is a good and excellent synopsis I think. Also the uniqueness of Johns gospel should not be played down. Its emphasis is on the intimacy with Christ and coming into contact with HIM and it unlocks the secret to everything in John 15. Also the whole Bible pressures us to this truth of Belief in Him being the key to everything. The purpose of Scripture is to pressure us into the point of seeing that it is only faith in His promise that delivers us.

"But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." John 3:21

Repentance breaks forth from the blood that flows from Calvary so we must believe and repent. Receive from him a free gift and be given the power to live in the resurrection life. We musnt confuse these things. I think the Lordships do indeed do this.

Grace in the greek means charity. Charity for beggars. It must always remain that. Costly to Christ but free to us. Discipleship then becomes expensive and costly to us and only a person who has there foundation laid in Christ can build on Him. It is clear in Scripture that some will be unsuccessful in this and yet be saved by fire. We musnt confuse this.

Discipleship also needs truth to build on so Sprouls coment was good but sometimes even Sproul gets confused with himself in other areas that I have read him. Discipleship is a hard life. It is about servanthood. Not about coffee and donuts with the computer and enjoying books. These are good things in there place, but discipleship is about yeilding to his resurrection life daily and laying down our rights to ourselves constantly and walking in the spirit often in prayer and fasting doing the work of the Lord at high intensity. Lorships and free gracers I think can often become like the munchkins dancing around with Dorothy saying follow the yellow brick road but never stepping out and taking this hard life but only singing and talking about it. A true disciple in my opinion would be someone like Joni Earicksons husband, or as my wife and her mother are doing right now taking care of my father in law who is dying. It is an incredibly hard road that we grow on. That kind of life. The hard road that Jesus walked and there is great blessing in it the more we yeild up our lives and we will be rewarded the more we build here, but never confuse discipleship with salvation. You can preach discipleship to help the lost see how desperately short they fall so that they see their need but never confuse the two as you have done here sister.
Remember and see that Jesus would at times give people their requests of healing and delievering them and then would tell them to go on their way that there faith had made them whole and sometimes they would say, "We want to follow you" or would just follow them, but some also went home and back to their lives and rejoiced at how God had helped them.

Love in Christ,

Brian

October 06, 2007 11:51 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Lou, compare the following verses:

1 John 2:29

29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

-and-

1 John 5:1
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

Note that those who practice righteousness are born of Him, in the first verse; and that those who believe in Him are born of Him. Both verses teach that the results are from having been born or begotten of Him.

October 06, 2007 12:03 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Yes Bluey but the bible also says that we are begotten by the word and that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Truly God has the power to regenerate at will but he has chosen to beget us by the word. This is so crucial brother because Eve took Satan at his word instead of taking God at his word and that is where it all starts or undoes itself. Belief or unbelief.

love you brother,

Brian

October 06, 2007 1:23 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

My friend Evangelist John VanGelderen wrote,

Is it “look and live” or “live and look?” Is it “Look unto Me, and be ye saved” (Is. 45:22) or “Be ye saved, and look unto Me?” Is it “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47, cf. John 3:15, 16, 36; 5:24) or “He who hath everlasting life believeth on Me?” Did Paul say to the Philippian jailer “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) or “Thou shalt be saved, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?”

Does regeneration precede faith? If regeneration precedes faith, then accepting Jesus Christ as sovereign Lord becomes meaningless and a pointless debate. We do not accept what has already been given to us.


LM

October 06, 2007 2:11 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"Receive from him a free gift and be given the power to live in the resurrection life. We musnt confuse these things. I think the Lordships do indeed do this."

I don't.

"Is it “Look unto Me, and be ye saved” (Is. 45:22) or “Be ye saved, and look unto Me?”

It's: "Unless you're born again, you can't even see the kingdom of God."

"Marvel not that I said, You must be born from above. The wind blows where it wills you can nt tell where it comes from or goes: so is every one that is BORN of the Spirit."

The Spirit comes to a dead spirit, and makes it alive, and this once dead spirit now cries out to God for mercy, repents of his sins, and becomes a new creation in Christ.

It's 100% purely God and His grace.

He has mercy on whom He decides to. We don't decide to have God's mercy for ourselves.

October 06, 2007 2:28 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Don:

You wrote, "The Spirit comes to a dead spirit, and makes it alive, and this once dead spirit now cries out to God for mercy, repents of his sins, and becomes a new creation in Christ."

If, as you believe, regeneration precedes faith, and therefore he has been "made alive" born again, how can he become a "new creation" when he already is one?


LM

October 06, 2007 4:34 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Lou said……………
Does regeneration precede faith? If regeneration precedes faith, then accepting Jesus Christ as sovereign Lord becomes meaningless and a pointless debate. We do not accept what has already been given to us.

Lou, with all due respect, if human beings are dead in sin as Scripture teaches, then God’s mercy to provide salvation to many is far from being meaningless. It is the amazing grace that saves sinners by giving them a new heart and a new desire to come to the throne of grace. It is the divine mercy without which no one would be saved. MEANINGLESS, hardly.

October 06, 2007 5:01 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"how can he become a "new creation" when he already is one?"

He's not already one becoming one.

We are dead. God makes us alive. That's how it happens. God does it.

The repentance, faith, confessing, godly sorrow, hating our sins, loving His forgiveness, falling before Him and crying for mercy, or simply saying, "God have mercy on me, I'm a sinner will all be considered part of our salvation, and it's really us doing all this, but we would never, never have come to Christ, unless the Father had opened our hearts, and regenerated us.
He gets 100% of all the glory.
And we can say we came to christ, but it was only by His grace. We repented of our sins, but it was His grace. I hated my blasphemies and pride, and saw Jesus as precious, and it was only by His grace.

I understand where you are coming from, but i think we need to start where the Scriptures teach that we are DEAD, and could never believe, because we don't want to.

".. who were dead [living corpses] in trespasses and sins" Eph. 2:1

"the natural man [unregenerate] receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14

Not only does he not know; he CANNOT know.

Have a great Lord's day.

October 06, 2007 5:08 PM

 
Blogger Only Look said...

Hey guys and God bless you all. I like Lou and his focus on Belief and the cross and know without a shadow of a doubt that we all must start there at the cross and call men to believe and be saved. Never mix your soteriology in with the gospel call. GESrs and Lorshipers are confusing the gospel call. Lou is right to challenge this on both sides. Look and be saved. Start with the Saviour not with our understanding of regeneration and election. I know some of you are not confused but you may be confusing others and not be realizing it. Try to step back and look objectively at this. We all get impassioned about truth and that is good, but we must be careful to lead men to understanding at the doorway that we all must walk through to be saved.

THE CROSS!!!!

I appreciate you all.

October 06, 2007 5:38 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

doing "honey-do" projects now. will be back later.

Mark

October 06, 2007 5:59 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Don:

It's: "Unless you're born again, you can't even see the kingdom of God.”

That is the problem with regeneration before faith. You have them born again before they call upon the name of the Lord. That is inconsistent with the Scriptures.

It is a position that comes from the presuppositions of Calvinism’s Total Inability. I believe the Bible teaches Total Depravity (Jer 17:9). Calvinism goes beyond Scriptural bounds into Total Inability. John 16:7-ff answers this.


LM

October 06, 2007 7:35 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

if human beings are dead in sin as Scripture teaches, then God’s mercy to provide (regenerated before faith) salvation to many is far from being meaningless. It is the amazing (irresistible)grace that saves sinners by giving them a new heart(regenerated before faith) and a new desire to come to the throne of grace. It is the divine (regeneration before faith) mercy without which no one would be saved. MEANINGLESS, hardly.

Bottom line, you have the lost man born again, converted, regenerated, saved first; then calling upon the name of the Lord.

I appreciate your desire to uphold the sovereignty of God, but at the same time you dismiss the free will of man. Both are truths found in the Bible, not competing truths.

Out of time for now, but John 16:7-ff answers many of the questions here. The convicting and convincing work of the Holy Spirit.


LM

October 06, 2007 7:36 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

For weekend reading please view Impossible Decision


LM

October 06, 2007 7:39 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"You have them born again before they call upon the name of the Lord."

Amen.

And if you read my comment again, then you will see that you haven't represented me correctly.

Lou, there's no way a natural man, who is dead in sin will call upon the Lord. Impossible, according to the Holy Writ. That's Calvinism, Total Depravity, and BIBLICAL.

And I could do some "Rabbi Stacking", but I won't.

October 06, 2007 8:24 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Lou,
Evidently you have used quotes from Don and me without distinguishing. This response is to your quoting me and adding your words in bold.

Lou said..........
Bottom line, you have the lost man born again, converted, regenerated, saved first; then calling upon the name of the Lord.

Lou please do not put words into my mouth. Being born again (quickened) does come first and is the same thing as regeneration (not two separate events). Such a person is then spiritually alive and able to to call on the LORD (John 6:37, 6:44 & 6:65 and Eph. 2:4-5) in faith and repentance (conversion). This quite different than your statement at the beginning of this comment.

October 06, 2007 10:26 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Jazzy:

You wrote, “Lou please do not put words into my mouth. Being born again (quickened) does come first and is the same thing as regeneration (not two separate events). Such a person is then spiritually alive and able to to call on the LORD (John 6:37, 6:44 & 6:65 and Eph. 2:4-5) in faith and repentance (conversion).”

I did distinguish between you and Don and replied separately to each of you.

I added meaning so the casual reader can understand that you are speaking of regeneration, the instant in time when a man is born again, which is conversion. Or should I understand you to mean the lost man is first regenerated, born again, and after he has been born again he will be converted? If that is your meaning, then it seems you are suggesting regeneration before faith in a temporal sense.

Regeneration occurs in an instantaneous moment of time when a lost person is born again. There is no second step that makes a lost man more born again and more saved, more born into the family of God, more converted than when he was regenerated.

Your system has lost men regenerated and born again, before faith, before they “call on the Lord.” Then you see them spiritually alive so that they then can “call on the Lord.” Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved;” right? Why do you have a man that has been regenerated, born again, saved already calling upon the name of the Lord?

The John 6 passages and Eph. 2 have nothing to do with “call on the Lord;” why do you cite them in that context? If I may qualify my question: Other than a possible suggestion of Calvinism’s Irresistible Grace; why do you cite them since they do not pertain to calling upon the name of the Lord, faith or repentance?

I think my fiend’s contrast is a good acid test. My friend wrote, Is it “look and live” or “live and look?” Is it “Look unto Me, and be ye saved” (Is. 45:22) or “Be ye saved, and look unto Me?” Is it “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47, cf. John 3:15, 16, 36; 5:24) or “He who hath everlasting life believeth on Me?” Did Paul say to the Philippian jailer “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) or “Thou shalt be saved, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?”

In each case above, both interpretations of the passages cannot be right; can they?

You have staked out a position that says regeneration, salvation, being born again precedes faith.

Choosing from just one example above, which is it? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) or “Thou shalt be saved, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?”

I choose the former, which is how the passage appears in the Bible.


LM

October 07, 2007 12:13 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

I understand that Reformed theology teaches man is totally depraved. So do I. Their thinking goes beyond this to a position of Total Inability.

Many Calvinists teach that lost men cannot respond to the Gospel until he is regenerated, and regeneration precedes salvation/conversion, and can precede salvation by months.

I have personally read two Calvinists at another blog who believe infants, even unborn infants can be regenerated and years later will follow with some expression of faith and repentance. I trust that is not the mainstream among Calvinists. IMO, however, the Calvinist who may reject infant regeneration cannot tell these two men they are wrong with out compromising their own regeneration before faith teaching.

QUESTION: Would you men in this thread, who are Reformed in your theology, be willing to state here that infant regeneration is wrong and an extreme you would categorically reject?

The Bible teaches that lost man cannot respond to the Gospel until the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces him-

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged,” (John 16:8-11).

LM

October 07, 2007 8:51 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Lou, it is written,

John 3 - 3 - In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

"born of water and the Spirit." is my focus. Water through scripture signifies both the word, and the Person of the Holy Spirit. And since the Holy Spirit is mentioned in this verse already then I believe "water" here is the mention of the word. The Holy Spirit *ALWAYS* acts in conjunction with His word in bringing about a person's regeneration - never apart from it.

For examples:

Romans 10:17 - So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

1 Cor. 1:21 - 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

2 Thess. 2:13-14 - 13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

James 1:18 - 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

1 Peter 1:23 - 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

And that God the Holy Spirit communicates the new life to us, there is -

Titus 3:3-7 - 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Again, the Holy Spirit *NEVER* acts without His word in bringing about regeneration.

October 07, 2007 11:26 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Lou,
Lou said………………….
The Bible teaches that lost man cannot respond to the Gospel until the Holy Spirit convicts and convinces him-

Exactly. That is exactly the reformed view. When you add this fact to the fact that all (100%) that are called by God the Holy Spirit come to saving faith, (Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.) then the only conclusion is that this is an effectual call that is only given to the elect or else everyone would be saved. Therefore, the external call is made effective by the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, and those and only those respond in faith.

I think you have just affirmed sovereign election and I don’t understand why you are kicking against the goads?

October 07, 2007 12:29 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"I think you have just affirmed sovereign election and I don’t understand why you are kicking against the goads?"

Two men hear the good news. God has forgiven you, and he has given His own blood to save you from eternal hell.

Now it's up to you to "accept" what you want, hell for ever, or heaven forever.

What do you think these two men would "accept"?
It's a no brainer! Heaven of course.

But guess what, one didn't "accept" God's gift of eternal life, and one did.
What's the difference in the two?
And why would anyone ever not "accept' eternal life?

How do you explain this Lou?

October 07, 2007 2:11 PM

 
Blogger Bhedr said...

Infant Baptism is heresy. I will always take the redeemed view over the reformed view although I am still thankful for the reformation and believed God used it.

October 07, 2007 3:12 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

To All:

I’ll do a short series in this thread to addres some of Mark, Don and Jazzy's issues, and then I have to move on. Book revision and some new articles in the works.

Earlier I asked this question.

Would you men in this thread, who are Reformed in your theology, be willing to state here that infant regeneration is wrong and an extreme you would categorically reject?

Unless I missed it, none of the Reformed men in this thread have answered it.

This is not a question on infant baptism. We all agree that is false teaching.

Virtually every Calvinist I know believes regeneration (being born again) precedes faith. You men have attested to that here. Some men in Calvinism believe infants; even unborn infants, still in the womb, can be and are regenerated.

Mark: Don, Jazzy: Do you accept that teaching or categorically reject it?

Please advise.

Thanks,


LM

October 08, 2007 10:28 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

I can assure all readers I do not affirm Calvinism’s interpretation of election. Their teaching is known as “Unconditional Election.”

The use of “predestination” to Heaven or Hell is not taught in the Bible. The Calvinist will say God predestines to Heaven, but he stops short of predestined the rest to Hell (Double-Predestination).

One Calvinist I have dealt with (from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary) says God takes an active role in bringing the elect to salvation (through irresistible grace). As for the rest, God is passive toward, takes no interest in them and essentially abandons them on the road to Hell.

The word (some form of) “predestination” appears in only two chapters of Scripture: Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5, 11.

You will note that there is no reference in these four verses to either Heaven or Hell, but to Christlikeness eventually. Nowhere are we told in Scripture that God predestinated one man to be saved and another to be lost…Predestination means that some day all the redeemed shall become just like the Lord Jesus…God has predestined you to be fully conformed to the image of His Son.” (Dr. H. A. Ironside: Full Assurance, pp. 93-94.)


Predestination is the exercise of divine sovereignty in the accomplishment of God's ultimate purpose…What must be borne in mind is the fact that predestination is not God's predetermining from past ages who should and who should not be saved. Scripture does not teach this view. What it does teach is that this doctrine of predestination concerns the future of believers.” (Dr. Herbert Lockyear: All the Doctrines of the Bible, p. 153.)

Dr. M. R. Vincent, an authority on biblical languages wrote, “…neither here nor elsewhere in the New Testament is there any warrant for the revolting doctrine that God has predestined a definite number of mankind to eternal life, and the rest to eternal destruction.” (Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. IV, p. 16.)


LM

October 08, 2007 10:39 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

In the matter of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will and/or his responsibility to say that there is a balance at the center would not be appropriate. Both divine sovereignty and human responsibility are truths found in the Word of God. They are not competing truths they are truths! They are truths that cannot be reconciled.

Our finite minds cannot comprehend every truth found in the Word of God. Once you try to reconcile these doctrines you are going to go off into a theological ditch and quite possibly land in the quagmire of heresy. Only in the mind of our infinite God can these two truths be reconciled
. (Me: In Defense of the Gospel.)


LM

October 08, 2007 10:49 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Lou, my 10/7/07 11:26 AM comment more than answers your question. With all due respect, please don't make me feel like I'm dealing with a Wilkinite here - that unless I give you an answer that you like then I haven't answered at all. That is a Wilkinite type of taunt and is unacceptable on this blog.

The Holy Spirit ALWAYS acts in conjuntion with His word (the preached gospel) when regenerating an individual, NEVER apart from it.

I guess that would be a way of saying that the unborn cannot be regenerated - though then we have David saying that one day he would go to be with his departed infant, that one born from his adultry.

You place a lot of weight on the the belief held by some Calvinists that regeneration can happen months in advance of salvation. Were you hoping I believed that way too so that you had a straw man to play with here? Well, I do not believe that way; and if you had actually read my above comments you would have discovered that for yourself. Read the comments here from now on BEFORE you "participate" in the comments thread.

October 08, 2007 10:53 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Dear Reformed Men:

This was the other question I asked that seems to have been overlooked.

Is it “look and live” or “live and look?” Is it “Look unto Me, and be ye saved” (Is. 45:22) or “Be ye saved, and look unto Me?” Is it “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47, cf. John 3:15, 16, 36; 5:24) or “He who hath everlasting life believeth on Me?” Did Paul say to the Philippian jailer “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) or “Thou shalt be saved, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?”

In each case above, both interpretations of the passages cannot be right; can they?

You have staked out a position that says regeneration, salvation, being born again precedes faith.

Choosing from just one example above, which is it? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) or “Thou shalt be saved, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?”


LM

October 08, 2007 10:54 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Mark:

Sorry, my apology. I do not want to give the impression I am doing what Antonio da Rosa does to threads. He rountinely gets himself banned and reprimanded for that stuff.

There have been many notes directed to me (from you, Don and Jazzy)and I am trying to hit all of them in a short series. And laying out my position in regard to what has, in part, been attributed to me by Don and Jazzy. Thats all.

OK, I re-read your 11:26am reply. I appreciate the commets, but IMO it did not specifically answer my question, which you have now done so.

BTW, Not an attempt at a Straw Man. There are Reformed men who teach the infant side of regeneration. I have personally interacted with them at other sites. I thought it was a fair question.

Again, apologies for seeming to do a da Rosa here.


Lou

October 08, 2007 11:06 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

In John 6 we have Jesus saying that the Holy Spirit gives life. After what He had taught in this chapter 5 thousand people departed, saying, "who can understand". Well 10 of the eleven stayed with Him, Peter saying, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life". It is apparent here that the Spirit had given life to these ten alone and not (at least at this time) to Judas or the 5 thousand who heard Him.

It is "believe and be saved". One breaths because they are alive - they are alive because they breath. One believes because they are alive - they are alive because they believe.

The predestination to Christlikeness has been God's plan from the beginning. The "whom He foreknew" is personal, individuals are in mind here. Those foreknown to be conformed to Christ have been predestined to eternal life. See Romans 8:28-30.

October 08, 2007 11:14 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Lou,
You seem to ask a lot of questions, while you ignore them yourself.

I asked you a question about a statement you made that confirmed unconditional election. If you made the statement in error, then say so and I will understand. If it was not in error then please explain how it could mean anything other than sovereign election?

As to your question about belief: it is very simply to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. I do not see how you somehow think this denies unconditional election. The gospel call goes out to everyone and everyone who believes will be saved. None of these verses that are cited to refute Calvinism even addresses the subject of man's ability. They are neutral. They give the external call of God.

October 08, 2007 11:20 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"mark pierson said...
Lou, compare the following verses:

1 John 2:29

29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

-and-

1 John 5:1
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

Note that those who practice righteousness are born of Him, in the first verse; and that those who believe in Him are born of Him. Both verses teach that the results are from having been born or begotten of Him.

October 06, 2007 12:03 PM

October 08, 2007 11:29 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Lou,
O.K. I see you are going to address this later.

BTW, one more question on your infant regeneration thinking. Jesus said that unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven. If infant regeneration cannot happen, wouldn't that mean that no infants would be saved?

Let me state that I do not hold to paedo-baptism. However, if salvation requires a new nature as Jesus said, he could certainly provide it to an infant that he knew was going to soon die just as easily as he does it to adults who are dead in sin.

Let me state again that I strongly believe in justification by faith alone and affirm believers baptism only. However, although I cannot prove it through Scripture, I believe all infants are saved by God's mercy. Since salvation is not by human will, I believe God can do it any way he chooses.

October 08, 2007 11:36 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Dear Reformed Men:

We are never going to agree on the teaching of Calvinism. The debate has been going on for centuries and will not be settled this side of Heaven.

Thus far, primarily from Jazzy, we have seen the circle logic of Calvinism. Jazzy, you have introduced Total Inability (the extra-biblical view of Total Depravity); then Irresistible Grace; the latest Unconditional Election. If we keep up you will, have to introduce the Limited Atonement.

This is a link I use at my site for interested readers. The Dangers of Reformed Theology This lays out many of the concerns and answers to what men like I believe are the doctrinal and practical missteps in Calvinism.

There is a balance between the two extremes of Lordship Salvation and the Crossless Gospel.

LS flows from Calvinistic presuppositions, the Crossless gospel flows from, all I can describe as, an increasingly twisted view of the Scriptures originating with Zane Hodges.

Is it “look and live” or “live and look?” Is it “Look unto Me, and be ye saved” (Is. 45:22) or “Be ye saved, and look unto Me?” Is it “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47, cf. John 3:15, 16, 36; 5:24) or “He who hath everlasting life believeth on Me?” Did Paul say to the Philippian jailer “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) or “Thou shalt be saved, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?”

In each case above, both interpretations of the passages cannot be right; can they?


LM

October 08, 2007 12:06 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"This was the other question I asked that seems to have been overlooked."

I thought I answered that one.

I guess it may be a little difficult for you to dialouge with three at once, so I'll step out and leave it to Mark & Jazzy to explain how God has mercy on whom He wills. It's got nothing to do with our exertion or wills. Rom. 9:16

October 08, 2007 12:13 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Lou, it is not toatl inability as in not able; but as in not willing. See Romans 8:7 - Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

This is totla depravity as spelled out by Spurgeon, and that view which I hold. Man is too in love with his sins to be interested in the things of God. See John 3:19-20 - 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Man is also quite interesed in not retaining God in his knowledge, Romans 1:28-32 - 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Man Hates God, and loves sin.

October 08, 2007 12:49 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Also, Lou, the Holy Spirit communicates the benefits of Christ's cross-work to the believer, no? The gift of faith being one of those benefits. As I said earlier,... Let's look at Christ's accomplishments and their effects on the believer - Because of Christ's cross-work Paul was entrusted with a message that would "open eyes,turn people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins... " Acts 26:18-20. The Father has "conveyed us into His Son's kingdom" where there is redemption (being bought back from Satan's dark rule)and forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:12-14. Also Romans 6 teaches that we were once slaves of sin, but now, because of Christ's accomplishments on the cross, we are slaves of righteousness and of God.

Because of Christ's cross-work, His telling people to repent, through those servants of His who preach His word accurately, is like His having commanded that man to stretch forth his crippled hand, and when he has done so it is whole. And so it is when one is commanded to repent. His life will straighten out because of the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ as a result of His cross-work.

Justification is not the whole of the picture. Conformity to Christ is. This conformity, though not automatic, is inevitable, and begins at the moment of regeneration; hence the need to preach repentance to the unsaved. Christ is the One to be looked at for salvation. The world has rejected its Maker and His Christ. The world has thrown off God's rule in their lives. See the second Psalm. Faith and repentance result in the believer being brought into the Kingdom of God, and away from the rule of Satan.

Welcome to synergism!

October 08, 2007 1:23 PM

 

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