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Why Lordship Salvation is not Biblical

with 175 comments

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of evangelism on the streets.  Because of this, I’ve been ordering tracts from different sources online.  As I’ve been reading the different tracts from many of the more “known” ministries that you can buy tracts from, I’ve noticed that many of them are not correct in their presentation of the gospel, especially as it relates to the definition of repentance.  In many circles, there has been a definite push and focus on the word “repentance.”  It’s often said that repentance is the missing key to much of the false gospel that is being presented today.  Obviously, repentance is a major issue, something that God requires and that is essential to saving faith.  But this begs the questions…just what exactly is biblical repentance?  Many of the gospel tracts that I’ve read specifically define repentance for the reader.  Many of them say things like repentance means “turning from all known sins,” “to forsake sin,” “to forsake sin completely,” “to die daily and carry your cross,” and other things along those lines.  But is that the biblical definition of repentance?  I’ve come to find out that repentance means many things to many people.  But the only thing that really matters when it comes to a discussion about repentance is how does the Bible define repentance in both definition and example?

REPENT & REPENTANCE

I’m certainly no Greek scholar, but a simple study of the Greek words for “repent” and “repentance” show that the definition of the words mean: change your mind, reconsider, or think differently.  Specifically, repentance means to change, or have your mind changed, about who God is and what He has said about Himself, about Jesus Christ, and about ourselves.  Repentance is something that happens in the mind and heart as we are convinced by God’s Spirit regarding the truths of the gospel.  It is not a commitment to reform our lives, a commitment to stop sinning, nor is it a commitment to completely surrender to God.  Often times, when repentance is mentioned in a gospel presentation, people confuse the fruits of repentance with repentance itself.  For instance, like I stated above, people tell men to repent and then define repentance as “turning from all known sin” or to “forsake all sin.”  However, when people do this as they present the gospel, they are putting the cart before the horse.  They are calling men to do something they are not able to do.  They are requiring faith plus works to be saved.  The question is, how can a man forsake all his sin when the scripture says that:

He who sins is a slave of sin.  (John 8:34)

And that we are not free from the bondage of sin until we are made a new creation in Jesus Christ:

Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.  (Rom 6:6-7)

Is a man required to forsake all his sins to receive salvation in Jesus Christ?  Must a man stop sinning in order to be saved?  The answer is no.  Nowhere in the Bible are men required to stop sinning in order to be saved.  (It’s clear from Romans 6:6-7 that we don’t even have power over sin until we’re born again.)  However, if you erroneously define repentance as a complete forsaking of sin, then you are telling men that they must do something in addition to having faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation.  This is a common gospel that many are preaching today; and I myself have preached it in error before.   Yet it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ but instead is a gospel that leaves men in hopelessness and in bondage.  How are you going to tell a man to stop sinning who is in bondage to his sin nature?  Again, many today when they preach the gospel are confusing repentance with the fruits of repentance.  (I’m going to speak more to this toward the end of this post.)

TWO MAIN CAMPS

As I began to notice just how many tracts that are sold are incorrect, I began to study repentance so I could understand it biblically.  This inevitably led to the study of people that hold to two different views on this subject.  One is called Lordship Salvation.  Probably the biggest spokesman for this camp today is John MacArthur.  There are many others as well who hold to this view who usually fall into the Calvinist camp.  On the other end of the spectrum, you have those who are in what is called the Free Grace camp.  This group has had spokesmen such as Charles Ryrie and Zane Hodges, and ministries like Grace Evangelical Society.  Like many systems of theology, I’ve found that both of these positions go to extremes that make them unbiblical.  With this post, I want to start, and mainly focus on Lordship salvation.

LORDSHIP SALVATION

Like I said above, one of the most vocal voices espousing Lordship Salvation today is John MacArthur.  In fact, he’s written a book promoting Lordship Salvation titled “The Gospel According to Jesus,” which I believe has been revised three times.  This book, as far as I can tell, is the book that has most propelled Lordship Salvation to its status as an accepted doctrine in our day.  It’s a doctrine that I disagree with and one that I believe perverts the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  So what is Lordship Salvation?  It carries the idea that for one to be saved, one must forsake all sin, be willing to carry one’s cross and die for Jesus, live a life of self-denial, and implicitly obey and fully surrender to the Lordship of Christ.  But instead of me trying to explain it alone, let me quote John MacArthur and others on this subject and then comment on their quotes.

Let me say again unequivocally that Jesus’ summons to deny self and follow him was an invitation to salvation, not….a second step of faith following salvation… Those who are not willing to lose their lives for Christ are not worthy of Him.  He wants disciples willing to forsake everything.  This calls for full-scale self-denial – even willingness to die for His sake if necessary.  (The cost of following Discipleship – The Gospel According to Jesus.)

Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to the cross…It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is.  And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the Lordship of Christ.  Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.  (1st version, The Gospel According to Jesus, pg. 140)

Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus at all cost.  Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms.  (1st Version, The Gospel According to Jesus, pg. 87)

Anyone who wants to come after Jesus into the Kingdom of God—anyone who wants to be a Christian—has to face three commands: 1) deny himself, 2) take up his cross daily, and 3) follow him.” (Hard to Believe, p. 6.)

So in John MacArthur’s first quote, he says that one must be willing to forsake everything and even be willing to die for Jesus to receive salvation.  Notice he is not saying that this is the attitude of believers after they have been saved; he is saying one must have this attitude in order to be saved in the first place.  In his second quote, John MacArthur says for a person to be saved, they must resolve to have implicit obedience and fully surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Again, he is not saying that this should and would be the attitude of those who have been saved, but it is the attitude one must have in order to be saved in the first place.  In MacArthur’s third quote, he says that saving faith is a “commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus at all cost.”  If someone doesn’t commit to leave all their sin, then they cannot be saved by Jesus Christ.  And lastly, in his book “Hard to Believe” MacArthur says that if anyone wants to be a Christian they HAVE to face three commands; deny himself, take up his cross, and follow him.  So these three things have to be addressed BEFORE one can be saved and become a child of God.  They are prerequisites to salvation; without which, if a man does not commit to, he cannot be saved and will die in his sins.  Now you’re probably thinking, “What’s wrong with what John MacArthur has said?  After all, a lot of these things are mentioned in the New Testament, both in the gospels and in the Epistles.”  The problem with what John MacArthur is saying is that he is making the fruit that FOLLOWS belief a requirement BEFORE one can be saved.  So according to Lordship Salvation, one must be willing to forsake everything, be willing to die for Jesus, resolve to have implicit obedience, fully surrender to the Lordship of Christ, commit to leave all sin, follow Jesus at all cost, AND have faith in what Jesus has done for us on the cross.  Lordship Salvation, in essence, requires a sinner to do what he is unable to do.  He must do and commit to do all these things in order to receive the salvation Jesus offers, even before he has the Spirit of God dwelling in him.  The salvation Jesus offers is no longer a free gift to be received; it is a gift to be meritoriously achieved (earned by merit).

Steve Lawson, another proponent of Lordship salvation, says it this way:

If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord  Jesus Christ.  There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God….I want to single you out in the midst of the crowd.  Have you taken up a cross in order to follow after Christ?  Have you recognized your own sinfulness, acknowledged that God’s judgment is true, have you acknowledged Christ’s right to rule your life?  Have you submitted to the Lordship of Christ?  Have you really come to the end of yourself?  Because Jesus does not begin until you end.”  (The Cost of Discipleship, It Will Cost You Everything, Resolved Conference, Feb. 2007)

So according to Steve Lawson, the free gift of God will cost you.  It will cost you total commitment.  Speaking to non-believers, in order to be saved, he says, “Have you taken up your cross, have you submitted to the Lordship of Christ, have you come to the end of yourself?”  He says Jesus won’t do anything until you’ve come to the end of yourself.  But is that the gospel that you see preached in the scriptures?  Did Paul walk around telling men that he has a free gift for them that they will have to purchase with their actions, or by coming to the end of themselves and picking up their cross?  (Again, I’m not talking about the lifestyle one should have after becoming a believer, as a result of true faith; I’m talking about what is required for one to be saved.)  No, this is not the gospel of the Bible.  The gospel in the Bible is a message about the person and work of Jesus Christ to atone for our sins.  It is a message that, if anyone believes, they will be saved by God on account of their faith.  Lordship Salvation teaches that you must have faith AND, faith AND, faith AND…  You must forsake, commit, fully surrender, etc., AND believe the gospel to be saved.  It places unbiblical emphasis on what you must do and focuses less on what Christ has done, when in fact the gospel is about what Christ has done, which is something we receive by faith and are saved.

I want to quote a few men who oppose Lordship Salvation to help show the error of this theology.  Most of these quotes come from a book I recently read called “In Defense of the Gospel,” by Lou Martuneac.  While I don’t agree with everything he says in his book, nor everything from every author he quotes below; I think, for the most part, he accurately shows the errors in both the Lordship Salvation and Free Grace positions.  Here are some quotes that help expose the error of Lordship Salvation:

RON SHEA

“In this view, eternal salvation is not dependent on the performance of a work, but only the promise of future works.  In the minds of those determined to adhere to salvation by works, this distinction supposedly allows the works of the law to be somehow added to the equation of salvation without annulling the doctrine of grace.  Paul’s Epistle to the Romans would disagree.  ‘For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is of none effect.’  The …expression ‘saving repentance’ is nothing more than a specific form or expression of Bilateral Contract Salvation… ‘a promise for a promise.’  The lost sinner ‘promises’ future obedience in exchange for God’s ‘promise’ of eternal life.  This errant understanding of the term ‘repentance’ is the most common and pervasive form of ‘Lordship Salvation’ taught within Christendom throughout the world.”  (Ron Shea, Repentance and Salvation in Scripture, Confusion Over Repentance, p.3)

J. VERNON MAGEE

(Jesus) is not putting down a condition of salvation but stating the position of those who are saved.  Lordship advocates, however, consider Luke 9:23-24 an evangelistic passage meant for the unsaved.  Lordship advocates believe “take up his cross daily” is a condition that must be committed to for the reception of salvation.  If this is a salvation invitation, the sinner is being asked to be willing to die for Jesus in order to be saved. “If this characterizes saving faith and is made a condition for salvation, as Lordship proponents insist, one must decide to place faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord through surrender everyday without fail.  Such an expectation is not found elsewhere in the Bible and makes both salvation and assurance impossible.   (In Defense of the Gospel, page 87)

LOU MARTUNEAC

Conditioning salvation upon man’s “unconditional surrender,” his commitment to or promises of obedience, is not the gospel.  This is the point upon which some who reject Lordship Salvation consider it the first cousin of Roman Catholicism’s sacramental works salvation.  When repentance is defined as “turning from sin” its basic nature is changed from what occurs in the heart and mind to an action.  A commitment to certain behavior expected of a Christian turns the gospel of grace on its head.  Salvation then is no longer “the gift of God” but instead a works based message that frustrates grace  (Eph. 2:8-9, Gal 2:21) (page 145, In Defense of the Gospel)

To them (Lordship advocates), the kind of faith that “does not save” is any faith that does not meet their Lordship definition of saving faith.  (page 152, In Defense of the Gospel)

Lordship Salvation, according to John MacArthur’s definition of saving faith, is a barter system  (page 155, In Defense of the Gospel)

Those who teach Lordship Salvation frontload faith with commitments to do the good works  (Eph. 2:10)…  (Page 167, In Defense of the Gospel)

Does the Lord call on the lost for a wholehearted commitment to obedient Christian living before He grants the gift of eternal life?  (page 257, In Defense of the Gospel)

As Lou accurately says, Lordship salvation frontloads faith with a commitment to do good works.  It becomes a barter system in which the non-believer commits to forsake all their sins, commits to carry their cross and die daily, and commits to fully surrender and to have complete obedience in order to be saved.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is no longer the free gift that God offers but is a costly gift that the unconverted sinner is unable to purchase.  What sinner can commit to do things that are possible only by having the Spirit of God dwell in them?  When people preach a Lordship Salvation gospel, they are not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ; they are preaching a different gospel that frustrates the grace of God.

FREE GRACE

On the other side of the spectrum, you have men like Charles Ryrie, Zane Hodges, and ministries like Grace Evangelical Society that promote what is called “Free Grace.”  This position arose out of a need to address the false gospel being promoted by Lordship Salvation advocates.  They understand that salvation is a free gift of God and does not require the unconverted to commit to promise or do certain works in order to be saved.  The lost are saved by believing the message of Jesus Christ and putting their faith in him for salvation (John 1:12).  Yet some in the free grace camp have also gone into an extreme that makes their gospel false as well.  They rightly say that a believer can be saved with faith, but they erroneously say that once a person is a believer they can be so their entire life even if they show absolutely zero fruit.  So in essence, they say a person can believe the facts about Jesus Christ and then live however they want to.  The so called believer can continue living a habitual life of fornication, lying, stealing, etc. (name your sin) until they die and still be saved.  It’s a false and powerless gospel that doesn’t have to actually produce good fruit and godliness in the lives of those who “believe.”

Lordship Salvation frontloads the gospel with works while Free Grace strips the gospel of its power.  They are both wrong, and neither represents the gospel of God and Jesus Christ.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

Since we are saved by our faith/belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ, it would be good to define the gospel of Jesus Christ.  You can find many different answers to explain exactly what the gospel is, but Paul defines it best, in its most basic and simplest form, in 1 Cor. 15:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:   (1Co 15:1-4)

Simply put, the gospel is the message that was prophesied in the scriptures and came to pass, about the death of Christ for our sins, about his burial, and his resurrection from the dead.  It is a message about what God has done to redeem and save all who will repent and believe in Jesus Christ.  It is not a message about how we must change our lives or commit to any works to be saved.  It is a message about what God has done for us in the death and resurrection of Christ from the dead for our salvation.  Beginning in Genesis chapter 3, God began prophesying of a savior that would come and save us from our sins.  In God’s perfect timing, just as he had prophesied, Christ Jesus came into the world to lay his life down for us.  The sinless Son of God became our substitute and satisfied the wrath of God for our sins.  He became a curse for us when he bore our sins in his body on the cross.  As the saying goes, “We owed a debt we could not pay, and He paid a debt He did not owe.”  After Christ had made satisfactory payment for our sins, he died and was buried.  Three days later, God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, giving proof to all that the sacrifice Jesus had made was acceptable to God.  Jesus was declared to be the son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4).  His mission was victorious and he defeated death and hell.  Our salvation, and the power to live a new life free from the bondage of sin, was made available to us through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.  God has done everything needed to provide salvation for anyone who will believe (trust) in Jesus Christ for their salvation.  There is nothing man can do to be saved apart from repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.  There is nothing man can add to the work of Jesus Christ to make him acceptable to God.  No commitment, no promising, no forsaking of anything adds to the work of Christ and makes anyone acceptable to God.  Only by putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ and in what he has done can a man be saved from the bondage of sin, from eternal damnation, and receive the gift of eternal life.

Being saved really is as simple as Jesus said it would be.  In John chapter three, Jesus speaks to a man named Nicodemus.  He tells Nicodemus that a man must be born again in order to see/enter into the kingdom of God.  He then proceeds to tell Nicodemus how a man may be born again.  Jesus says:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14-16)

If you read Numbers chapter 21, you’ll read the account of when the Israelites sinned against God by complaining to Moses about their living conditions in the desert.

And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.  (Num. 21:5-9)

Because of their sinful complaints that demonstrated their unbelief in God, God sent poisonous snakes into their camp.  These poisonous snakes were biting the Israelites, and many of them were dying.  The people realized their sin against God and asked Moses to pray to God so that he would take the snakes away.  It was then that God told Moses to make a brass snake and put it on a pole.  If anyone one was bitten by a poisonous snake, they could look at the snake on the pole and they would live.  They would be healed from the deadly poison that was in their body.  In essence, they would be saved.  There was no work to be performed; no commitment needed to be made.  They simply acknowledged that they had sinned and believed in the provision that God had provided.  These Israelites had repented (changed their mind about their sin and about God) and put their faith in God’s provision.  Their salvation was received by faith and required no bartering on the part of the Israelites.  Their salvation was a free gift from God received by faith.

This event in Israel’s history was a picture of the salvation that God would bring through Jesus Christ.  Man has sinned against God and is under a curse.  God has provided salvation by making Jesus a curse for us.  Like the cursed snake, Jesus became a curse for us when he bore our sins in his body and was crucified “on the tree.”  The Israelites were saved simply by acknowledging their sin and God’s righteousness (repenting) and by putting their faith in what God had said by looking to the cursed snake on the pole.  The same is true today.  When a sinner repents (changes their mind and agrees with God) and puts their faith in God’s provision, the death of Jesus Christ for their sins, that man is saved.  Salvation is a free gift from God.  It is not received by a commitment to do future good works.  It is not purchased by the sinner.  It is the free gift of God.  This is what Jesus was telling Nicodemus.  He was pointing out to Nicodemus the manner in which he would die, that he would become a curse, and that those who have faith and believe in Christ, like the Israelites who looked to God’s provision, would be saved.

God himself, in the New Testament, frequently calls the salvation he gives a “gift” and a “free gift.”

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.  (John 4:10) 

But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.  (Rom. 5:15-17) 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Rom. 6:23) 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Eph. 2:8)

It is quite clear that salvation is a free gift from God that is not purchased by any promise to do something for God.  There is nothing we can do or promise that makes us acceptable to God.  We are saved by receiving/believing what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

WHAT ABOUT REPENTANCE?

Repentance is most definitely part of the gospel.  In fact, when Paul was speaking to the elders in Ephesus, he said:

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  (Acts 20:20-21)

Paul said that he had preached to both Jews and Greeks “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.”  When Paul preached repentance, he did not preach “stop sinning” or to “forsake all your sin” or tell them they “must meet all the conditions of discipleship.”  Paul preached the gospel that he declared in 1 Corinthians 15.  He preached the message about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead for our salvation, as the scriptures had foretold.  Paul sought to preach the truth about God and the person of Jesus Christ so that those he preached to might “think differently” and “have their mind changed” by the Spirit of God towards the truth.  When you see Paul preaching in the Jewish synagogues, he is reasoning with the Jews from the scriptures so they will change their minds about the truth of the Messiah.  Paul, by his reasoning and by the Spirit of God, is trying to change the minds of his listeners, which would bring them to true repentance towards God.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,  (Acts 17:1-2) 

And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.  (Acts 18:4) 

And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.  (Acts 18:19) 

And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.  (Acts 24:25)

Paul reasoned with the Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism in the synagogue about the truth of Jesus Christ and the need for the forgiveness of their sins.  Again, Paul, by the word of God and the Spirit of God, was seeking to change their minds concerning the truth of Jesus Christ.  He was seeking to bring them to repentance.  Once someone is convinced of the truth, they can acknowledge their sin and God’s righteousness and place their faith in Jesus Christ.  True repentance and faith are always linked together.  But repentance, as it relates to the gospel and being saved, is not “forsaking ones sins” or “forsaking all sin” or even “fully submitting to the Lordship of Christ” (as MacArthur says).  It is to think differently and correctly regarding the truth about God, Jesus Christ, man, and our sin.

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST

So what does the scripture mean when it uses phrases like the “Lord” Jesus Christ?  Of course, Jesus certainly deserves the title of Lord, because that’s exactly what he is.  Here are two verses that specifically use the title of Lord when referring to Jesus in regards to believing unto salvation.

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  (Act 16:31) 

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  (Rom 10:9-10)

So the question is, does the calling of Jesus Lord in these verses mean that one must understand all the implication of what it means to completely follow Jesus as Lord?  Must one fully come to the understanding, as John MacArthur says, that Lordship denotes implicit obedience and a full surrender to Jesus Christ?  That nothing less than this qualifies as saving faith?  Must a non-believer make an upfront commitment to completely obey every aspect of Christian living?  OR, when Lord is used, is it a title of Christ that denotes his supreme authority?  Biblically, the word Lord denotes authority.  It is a title used of Christ, but it is a title that is also used of men (Gen 18:12, 1 Peter 3:6).  In its relation to Christ it denotes his supreme authority.  God has made Christ ruler over all.  He is both the Christ (anointed one) and Lord (the supreme ruler) as this verse says:

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Act 2:36) 

When the scriptures use the term Lord in relation to Christ, it is speaking of his position as the supreme authority in God’s kingdom, and specifically as God’s Son.  Albert Barnes says,

Here it means clearly that God had exalted him to be the king so long expected; and that he had given him dominion in the heavens, or, as we should say, made him ruler of all things. 

By calling Jesus Lord in these verses, it is not saying that one must understand every implication of what it means to call Jesus Lord.  Language like that is not used in the scriptures.  A person must believe in the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, who died for our sins, was buried, and raised from the dead (John 20:31).  It is their faith in Christ and his work that saves them.  While the unconverted will call Jesus “Lord”, and “call on the name of the Lord”, most do not understand the full implication of what it means (it’s not even a common word in our vocabulary today).  Depending on the work of God in a person at their conversion, and their knowledge of biblical truth, people will have different depths of understanding about what it means to follow Jesus as Lord.  Some have more of an understanding and some people have less of an understanding.   But people are not saved based on the depth of their understanding about what it means to follow Jesus as Lord.  They are saved by believing the gospel.  Believers learn what it means to follow Jesus as Lord as they read the scriptures and grow in the knowledge and grace of God.

Here’s what John Piper has correctly said on submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which directly conflicts with what MacArthur and Lawson have said:

Something may be real even when we don’t understand it fully or even use the right language to describe it. For example, is a person not ‘born again’ just because he has never heard the term ‘born again’ and does not relate to Jesus in those terms but only in terms of faith and forgiveness and atonement? No. A person is just as born again if he believes in Jesus, even if he has never heard of the word ‘regeneration’ or the term ‘born again.’ Many have been born again and saved through gospel tracts which say nothing about the term ‘rebirth.’ … [N]one of us yet understands the full implications of the lordship of Christ on our lives. I am struggling every day to know what the Lord is requiring of me in specific choices among good options. I am learning every day the extent of his lordly control of the world and his mysterious ways of fulfilling his promises as Lord of my life and my church. Submitting to the lordship of Christ is a lifelong activity. It must be renewed every day in many acts of trust and obedience. Submission to Christ’s lordship is not merely a once-for-all experience.”  Our submission to Christ is imperfect and progressive.

Due in part to some unhelpful rhetoric by proponents of lordship salvation, some have objected that it places sanctification before salvation. If people are to give up/turn from all of their sins before they are saved, then, in essence, they are to become sanctified before they are saved. This is something that no Christian has achieved in this life—not even Paul could claim such an achievement at the end of his life (Phil. 3:12)

Piper rightly says that believers grow in their understanding of what it means to submit to the Lordship of Christ as they grow in their relationship with Christ.

Christ having the title of Lord does imply that we are to obey him.  The obedience an unbeliever must have is to obey God in regards to repenting and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They must turn to Christ who is the Lord.  Yet they do not have to fully understand every implication of Christ’s Lordship in their lives in order to be saved.  Let me give you an example.  When I was saved, I simply believed that Jesus died for my sins and I asked him to save me.  I did not know what it meant to fully surrender my entire life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  I just knew that Jesus was God’s Son and that I needed to be forgiven.  I broke down under the realization of God’s love and I put my faith in Christ.  He saved me and put his Spirit inside me.  When I received the new birth, I had a greater understanding that Christ Jesus was Lord (God in the flesh, God’ Son, Divine).  There were some things that God helped me to immediately see that were sins.  By his grace I was delivered from them and was able to put them away.  However, even as a new believer, for a period of time, I lived in fornication with my girlfriend.  I wasn’t aware that this was wrong and no one told me.  However, as I grew in grace and read the scripture, my girlfriend (now my wife) and I both realized that what we were doing was wrong.  We then decided to move back home with our parents.  We had believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to save us, and now, as we were growing in our knowledge of him, he was showing us what it meant to follow him as Lord.  I did not begin to understand all the implications of “Lordship” until I was born again and until I started to read the word of God.  Fully submitting to the Lordship of Christ (as it relates to changing our lifestyle) is the result of being born again.  It is progressive and ever growing as we follow the Lord.  Again, when one is born again, they will understand that Jesus is God’s Son, that he is the Lord (supreme ruler/authority), one to be submitted to; but they will not fully understand the implications of Lordship until they belong to the Lord and have the Spirit of God in them.  When a man has been born again, they WILL want to follow Jesus as Lord and bring every area of their life in submission to him, even if they stumble at times.  It will be the result of salvation and not a pre-requisite for salvation.

So I ask the questions again, how can a non-believer forsake all their sin when they are in bondage to sin?  How can a non-believer completely submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas before they are saved, and as a requirement to be saved?  Is it the unbeliever’s promise to do these things that saves them?  Or is it genuine faith in what God has done through the Lord Jesus Christ to save us?

WHAT IF AN UNBELIEVER KNOWS, BUT WONT?

What if an unbeliever knows that certain things they do are sin and they are simply unwilling to give them up, but they want Jesus to save them?  Can they be saved?  No, they cannot.  They have not repented.  They have not change their mind and come to think rightly and agree with God.  In the bible the rich young ruler wanted eternal life but was not able to receive it.  Christ pointed out his sin but the young ruler was unwilling to turn this area of his life over to the Lord.  Christ gave this man the right knowledge about the idolatry in his heart, but the man was unwilling to repent and agree with God and turn this known, sinful area, over to the Lord.  He might have agreed with Jesus that his greed was sin, but he did not have true repentance that proves itself with fruit following.  However, even if the rich young ruler had turned from his greed and received eternal life by putting his faith in Jesus; there would be continual instances in which he would have to learn to submit to the Lordship of Christ as he grew in grace.  Just like we all do.

Now if an unbeliever recognizes their bondage to certain sins, but they feel powerless to give them up, they can come to Christ and be saved; that is, they are not desiring to hold on to them, they are asking Christ to free them from their sin.  They have faith in Christ but know they are in bondage.  If an unconverted man is in bondage to lust or drugs, he doesn’t have to forsake them to be saved.  He can confess his bondage and inability that he recognizes he has, and put his faith in Christ asking God to do in him what he cannot do.  If he believes the gospel and repents (in heart and mind) Christ will receive him and give him the power to do what he cannot in himself.  Christ helps those who can’t help themselves.  (Matt. 11:28-30, John 8:34-36)

MAKING SANCTIFICATION A PREREQUISITE FOR SALVATION

The bottom line with the Lordship Salvation gospel is that it makes the evidence of salvation, the sanctification of a believer, a requirement for salvation.  It puts the cart before the horse.  By defining repentance as a change in lifestyle, it requires this change of lifestyle, or the promise of changing one’s lifestyle, as a pre-requisite for salvation.  Salvation no longer becomes a gift but is something that must be purchased by changings one’s ways or by promising to do so in the future.  Salvation becomes a barter system in which man promises to God to do something, instead of simply believing and receiving what God has done for us in Christ.

When you falsely preach to a man that he must forsake all his sins and believe in Jesus Christ, you are requiring a man to do what he can’t do.  You are putting the cart before the horse.  This is exactly what Lordship Salvation does.  It requires the FRUIT OF REPENTACE before the repentance.

THE RIGHT ORDER

Look at what John the Baptist says about repentance:

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.   (Mat. 3:7-8)

John is telling these Pharisees and Sadducees that if they have repented they should bear/produce fruit that shows they have repented.  The repentance (change of mind and heart) comes first, and the fruit (the change of lifestyle) comes second.

The apostle Paul says the same thing:

but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.  (Acts 26:20)

Paul told the Gentiles to repent (change their mind) and turn (have faith) to God AND THEN show forth their repentance with their works, with their changed lifestyle.  Unlike the Lordship Salvation advocates, Paul keeps everything in the right order.  He does not require the unconverted to do or commit to do something they can’t.  He does not require the unconverted to do or commit to do something in exchange for salvation.  Paul preaches salvation as a free gift to those who will believe.

Paul again sums up our salvation and the order of things in the epistle to Titus:

who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.  (Titus 2:14)

Jesus first saves us from our sins, and then we do works that show our faith.  Sanctification follows salvation; it does not come before.

A FEW EXAMPLES FROM ACTS

As I mentioned above, Paul and the apostles kept things in the right order.  They preached Jesus Christ and him crucified.  They preached about a man that was resurrected from the dead, proving that he was approved by God to be the judge of the living and the dead.  They preached that if any man would repent and put their faith in Jesus, God would forgive his sins and give him eternal life.  Paul and the other apostles did not tell men that they must forsake all theirs sins, meet all the conditions of a disciple to be saved, or commit to full surrender and implicit obedience AS a conditon or prequiste to receiving salvation.

Ethiopian Eunuch:

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  (Acts 8:35-38)

In this passage, the Eunuch is reading from Isaiah 53.  Philip stays in this passage and preaches Christ to the Eunuch.  When the Eunuch asks if he can be baptized, Peter doesn’t say, “Do you commit to carry your cross daily, do you commit to forsake all your sins, do you commit to meet all the conditions of discipleship from this day forward?”  No, Philip does not ask him to do what is expected of those who are saved.  Peter tells the man, “If you believe in Jesus Christ with all your heart, you can be baptized.”  So he is telling the Eunuch that if he has faith in Jesus Christ, he can then do what believers do: be baptized.  Peter is telling him that his belief saves him and that he can be baptized, showing his genuine faith and repentance.

Cornelius:

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  (Acts 10:43-44)

Peter preaches the truth about Jesus Christ to Cornelius and his household.  He concludes by telling them that whoever believes in Jesus will have their sins forgiven.  It is evident that they believed, as the Holy Spirit was given to them.  Again, saved by faith.

The Jailer:

And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  (Acts 16:26-31)

Here is the clearest explanation to the question, “What must I (or any man) do to be saved?”  This jailer must have come under some conviction regarding the truth of Christ and the gospel.  He must have known why Paul was in prison and that these men were preaching that people needed to be saved through Jesus.  So after this miraculous event, the jailer asks what he must do to be saved.  Notice Paul doesn’t saying anything that the Lordship Salvation advocates say.  He simply tells him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will be saved.  He tells him to look to Christ, just like Jesus says to do in John 3 when talking about the snake on the pole.  He didn’t have to forsake all known sin to be saved or commit to do future works; he simply had to put his faith in Jesus Christ.  His faith in Jesus Christ, like all believers’ faith in Jesus Christ, then gave him the power to forsake his sins and to truly live for Jesus.

WHY LORDSHIP SALVATION(ISTS) GET IT BACKWARDS

So the question is why do those who preach a Lordship Salvation gospel get it backwards?  Why do they require of the unconverted what they cannot do?  Why do they lay on the unconverted conditions of discipleship that are directed towards believers?  There are probably many answers to these questions, but I think, from my own experience and from observing the preaching of others, that they do it in an effort to prevent false conversions.  We live in a day in which everyone says they are a Christian, regardless of the lifestyle they are living.  Many churches, like many of those in the Free Grace camp, teach a false gospel that says one can believe in Jesus and not show any fruit, a powerless, worthless gospel.  It seems in an effort to counter this doctrine that produces many false converts, people have swung to the other side of the spectrum and now require the unconverted to do, and commit to do, things that they cannot do apart from the indwelling power of God’s Spirit.  They add to the gospel of Jesus Christ in an effort to keep people from becoming a false convert.  In doing so, they pervert the true gospel of God’s grace and the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.  They do this largely because of their false understanding of repentance.  They confuse repentance with the fruit of repentance.  By doing so, they take away the free gift of God and make the narrow gate even narrower than Jesus made it.  In their zeal to keep from producing false converts, they, most likely unintentionally, make the gospel more about what the sinner must do in changing their actions and committing to change their actions, instead of simply receiving and believing what Jesus Christ has done for them.

AGAIN, WHAT THE ORDER SHOULD BE

Simple.  We should preach the gospel like the apostle Paul, like the apostle Peter, etc.  They presented the truth about Jesus Christ, reasoned with men from the scriptures, and called men to repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ to receive the free gift of God.  They didn’t call the lost to forsake everything to be saved, nor did they tell them to stop sinning, to forsake all their sins, or to meet the conditions of discipleship to be saved.  They simply told people the truth about Jesus Christ and implored men to repent and believe in Jesus.  They knew that genuine fruit would follow those who believe, that the work of sanctification would be evident in the lives of those who had real faith.  This passage shows the correct order:

Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.  (Acts 19:18-19)

The people became believers in Jesus Christ.  They simply received the message about what God had done for them in Jesus Christ.  They had a faith in Jesus.  Their genuine faith led them to confess their witchcraft and to burn their pagan books.  They did not have to do these things to be saved; they did these things because they were saved.  Lordship Salvation reverses the order and requires men to do these works in order to be saved, instead of them being the fruit of genuine conversion.

WHAT GOSPEL ARE YOU PREACHING?

Are you telling men that they must forsake all their sins, fully submit to the Lordship of Christ (even though they don’t understand all the implications of what that means), or meet all the conditions of discipleship before they can be saved?  Are you making salvation difficult and costly, demanding a price that the unconverted cannot pay?  Are you requiring the lost to do what only the saved can do, by the Spirit and power of God?  Are you making the narrow gate narrower than Jesus made it?  Are you laying burdens on men that neither you nor any other believer could do when you were unconverted?  In your zeal to prevent false conversions, are you preaching a gospel that adds to faith in Christ?  OR are you preaching the free gift of God that is received by faith through and in Jesus Christ?  Are you preaching the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, which is received by faith alone?  It makes a difference.  As I said before, “The gospel is a message to be received, not meritoriously achieved.”   The true preaching of the gospel should strip a man down and show him that there is nothing he can do to save himself.  No good works or commitment to do good works will save him.  God has already done everything needed for the salvation of anyone who will BELIEVE.  Salvation is a free gift to be received.  Don’t be so worried about making false converts that you end up preaching a gospel that is no gospel at all.  Preach the gospel as God’s free gift to be received by faith, and God will do the rest.

I’ll end by leaving you with an account of the conversion of Charles Spurgeon, a man who “looked” to Christ and was saved.

It is without doubt the best known conversion in the history of the Church. It was on a wintry Sunday, January 6 1850, his school being temporarily closed because of an outbreak of fever, that the 15 year-old Spurgeon found himself in Colchester and on his way to the local Congregational Chapel. But the snow and sleet intensified so that he turned down a side lane called Artillery Street and came to the Primitive Methodist Church. He was thus able incidentally to continue in his determination to visit every congregation in Colchester to find someone who would tell him where he might find relief from the condemnation of the law. His mother had also talked with him positively about this congregation. It is any port in a storm, and so the teenager entered this building for the first time to attend the morning service. There were no more than a dozen or fifteen people present: even the minister had failed to arrive because of the weather. It was the wrong church, the wrong congregation, the wrong weather and the wrong preacher. Into the pulpit climbed a thin-looking man, a shoemaker or tailor, Spurgeon was never to know anything about him. He announced his text as Isaiah 45:22, ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.’

Spurgeon says, “He had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed – by me, at any rate – except his text. I remember how he said, ‘My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pain. It ain’t liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just ‘Look!.’ Well, a man needn’t go to college to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look… A child can look. One who is almost an idiot can look. However weak, or however poor a man may be, he can look. And if he looks the promise is that he shall live.’ He went on in his broad Essex accent, ‘Many on ye are lookin’ to yourselves. But it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some say look to God, the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. It is Christ that speaks. I am in the garden in an agony, pouring out my soul unto death; I am on the tree, dying for sinners; look unto Me! I rise again. Look unto me! I ascend into heaven! Look unto me. I am sitting at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner look unto me! Look unto me! Some of ye say, “We must wait for the Spirit’s workin”‘. You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, “Look unto Me”.’

The preacher managed to spin that out for ten minutes and then, running out of anything fresh to say, looked at his congregation and picked on Spurgeon, “Young man, you look very miserable,” he said. “Well,” said Spurgeon, “I did look miserable, but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit about my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home.” The preacher went on, “and you always will be miserable – miserable in life and miserable in death – if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.” And then he shouted at the top of his voice as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but to look and live!” And I did look.”

“I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said – I did not take much notice of it – I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, ‘Look!’ what a charming word it seemed to me.

“Oh I could have looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which alone looks to him. O that somebody had told me this before, ‘Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.'”

Recounting his conversion another time he says:

“Now let me tell the story. It was on a day, never to be forgotten, when I first understood that salvation was in and through Another, that my salvation could not be of myself, but must be through One better and stronger than I. And I heard, and oh, what music it was! – that the Son of God had taken upon himself our human nature, and had, by his life and death, wrought out a perfect salvation, finished from top to bottom, which he was ready to give to every soul that was willing to have it and that salvation was all of grace from top to bottom, which he was ready to give to every soul that was willing to have it, and that salvation was all of grace from first to last, the free gift of God through his blessed Son, Jesus Christ.

“Then I had this vision – not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a Saviour Christ was, divine as well as human. I saw what sufferings were his, what a righteousness his was. Now I can never tell you how it was, but I no sooner saw whom I was to believe than I also did believe in one moment. I did take him as my Saviour. To my own humiliation, I must confess that I did it because I could not help it; I was shut up to it. That law-work, of which I told you, had hammered me into such a condition that, if there had been fifty other saviours, I could not have thought of them, I was driven to this One” (MTP, 1895, p.101-104).

AMEN

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————

***By mentioning men like John MacArthur and Steve Lawson, I am in no way implying that they are not believers.  I simply believe that by their adding works to faith in Jesus Christ, they are not preaching the gospel as we see it preached in the scriptures.  I’m sure the Lord uses these men in many ways, even though they are in error in this regard.  I know the Lord has used me and worked in me even when I have believed or preached things that turned out to be false.  The Lord is gracious and patient and loving with his people.

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Written by Sean Scott

December 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm

175 Responses

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  1. Hi Scott,
    You wrote: “So in essence, they say a person can believe the facts about Jesus Christ and then live however they want to. The so called believer can continue living a habitual life of fornication, lying, stealing, etc. (name your sin) until they die and still be saved. It’s a false and powerless gospel that doesn’t have to actually produce good fruit and godliness in the lives of those who “believe.”
    That’s certainly a horrible twisting of the gospel of grace! (I identify most closely with the Free Grace side of things…)
    What writers have you read who have made that assertion? I’m curious because this issue of the Free Grace folks “stripping the gospel of its power” has become the standard objection thrown out by the Lordship folks–but I haven’t found any of the FG leaders (such as Ryrie, Hodges, Wilkin, Bing, Radmacher, etc.) having anything to do with that defective understanding, and have noted they go to great lengths to distance themselves for it.
    But on the same note, I’ve yet to read or hear a Lordship person say, “Salvation can only be found in faith AND works!”, although that’s what the FB folks routinely accuse them of believing!
    I think that both sides routinely present their “opponent’s” views in the most extreme, unflattering light, and in a way that their proponents would never agree to! I appreciate your comments on this issue!
    Blessings, Ken

    Ken

    December 28, 2011 at 1:03 am

    • Hi Ken,

      Thanks for your comment. As far as the Free Grace camp, I made sure to mention that there are division within the camp. Not everyone holds to the views that Zane Hodges promoted. Call it Free Grace or not though, there are countless churches that preach that once someone has made a profession of faith, they are saved. Even if someone supposedly backslides the rest of the life into willful sin (someone totally void of love, or thougt of God), they will hold on to the “fact” that the person at one time or another “professed Christ”. Regarding the Lordship salvation camp, of course no one is ever going to say that they believe in faith PLUS something else. They won’t say those words directly but they will make statements that in reality say the same thing. John MacArthur says, “Anyone who wants to come after Jesus into the Kingdom of God—anyone who wants to be a Christian—has to face three commands: 1) deny himself, 2) take up his cross daily, and 3) follow him.” (Hard to Believe, p. 6.)”. It’s not just MacArthur either, I’ve heard other believers say things like this as well (I’ve been guilty of it in the past too). So let’s look at John MacArthur’s statement. For someone to “become” a Christian they must “first” settle the matter that they will deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Jesus. He says this is “required” for anyone who wants to be a Christian. The the gospel he is preaching is not one that requires faith alone in who Christ is and what he has done. He is requiring a person to commit upfront that they will meet the conditions of discipleship. It is their up front commitment plus their faith that saves them. If this doctrine was true, then the conditions of discipleship would have to be mentioned with every gospel presentation for people to be able to make this commitment. If these conditions are requirements, and they are not mentioned, then if someone believed in Jesus, they would have no assurance that these people were true converts if they hadn’t “faced these three commands”, as MacArthur says. So even though they don’t directly say they believe in faith PLUS, it’s evident from comments like this that they do.

      Hope that clarifies what I was saying.

      Sean Scott

      December 28, 2011 at 5:34 am

      • Hey Sean

        I’m a realy confused about what your saying. How are distingushing John MacArthurs statment to be mistreating Luke 9:23?
        Are your saying that it’ sinaproporate to present stuff like Luke 14:25-33 to someone who is not already born again. Is it that it somehow over complicate the simplicity of the gospel or that it would be adding works to salvation? I agree that people are saved without articulating any of these things and that its not nessacary to give some lengthy discourse or else. But it almost sounds like you disagree with these passages entirely, could you clarify how I’ve misunderstood you?

        Thanks
        Adam

        Adam

        December 31, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      • Hi Adam,

        It’s good to hear from you. And no, I’m not saying what you think I’m saying. Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I would never say that it’s inappropriate to mention any portion of scripture to anyone, unconverted or not. Everything, from cover to cover, is God’s word. And I’m certainly not saying that it’s inappropriate to mention specific discipleship verses such as those in Luke 9, Luke 14, Mark 8, Matt 10 etc. What I am saying is, is that it’s not someones up front knowledge of and commitment to these things that saves a man. In fact Jesus himself had men, called disciples, who turned away from him; men who were not born again (John 6). Disciples, yet not saved. Some might say that this happened “pre-cross” and it’s not the same today (that’s for another discussion); but either way, what I’m saying is that it’s not someones up front commitment to the discipleship passages that saves a man. Basically, it boils down to this: What is required of a man for him to receive the NEW BIRTH? Must a man “forsake all his sins” or/and be faced with the three discipleship commands, as MacArthur (and others) say, in order to be a Christian? Must every non-believer be faced with those issues and resolutely make up their mind regarding them before they can receive the New Birth? The obvious answer is no. For people to receive the new birth and be saved they must believe the GOSPEL. Paul defined the gospel, which we are to believe to be saved, in 1 Cor 15:1-4. It is the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures. That is the gospel one must believe in order to receive the New Birth, and this is exactly what you see being preached all through the book of Acts. If for people to be saved they must first forsake all their sins, and have an understanding of all the conditions of discipleship, and must have agreed to them, then everyone who preached in the book of Acts was a complete failure because they failed to mention the actual requirements for salvation. Of course that wasn’t the case, and we have to assume that those who walked and talked with Jesus understood, better than us, what he meant when he said to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

        Let me give you an example that I gave to another brother. Take the missionary David Brainard. If you read his testimony you find out that he had read the bible many times before he was actually converted. Having read the bible as he did, he probably had a fairly good idea of what it meant to follows Jesus as Lord. He was probably well aware of the passages on discipleship as well as all the exhortations in the Epistles that call for us to live our whole live for the Lord and his glory. But there are countless men who do not have this type of knowledge before they are saved. Some people have been soundly saved (received the New Birth) simply because they picked up a gospel tract and read about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and they put their faith in him. They had no knowledge of all that discipleship involves, and probably didn’t until they read through the bible. Yet, in both of these instances the people (David Brainard and people who get born again from tracts or preaching) were saved. They were saved not because of their up front knowledge and acceptance of everything that discipleship demands (or because they forsook all their sins), but they were saved because they put their faith in the Savior and the work he accomplished to atone for their sins.

        Now when I say they weren’t saved because of their knowledge of everything discipleship demands, I AM NOT saying that a non-believer could have an understanding those passage, knowing that they are the words of Christ, and willfully reject them and still come to Christ for salvation. If that was the case then the rich young ruler could have rejected Christ command and still have been saved and followed Christ. I tried to make that clear in my post.

        My contention, and I believe the bibles contention, with the Lordship salvation doctrine and its advocates is that it requires all who would come to Christ to make up front commitments or promises in exchange for salvation and requires men to have knowledge of the conditions of discipleship and have them settled, in order to receive salvation. That is simply not the case.

        To address the last sentence in your comment, I do not disagree with the discipleship passages. I completely agree with the passages in the Gospels and the similar passages in the Epistles. I’m simply addressing what is absolutely required for salvation (to receive the New Birth) and what is not.

        I hope that helps, if I still didn’t make it clear please let me know.

        Sean Scott

        January 1, 2012 at 5:16 am

  2. I have never liked tract thing…. when I speak with people I don’t have scheme in my head what to say… I try to be sensitive … to feel the person and the Spirit…. and to be truthful… I speak core of the Gospel but also application… depending on situation and person… trying to be simple… Gospel must be understandable to sweeper and to scholar…

    Nataša

    December 28, 2011 at 5:13 am

    • Hi Natasa,

      I think it’s possible to both listen to the Spirit of God AND have tracts if you choose to. I personally like gospel tracts. I can’t tell you how many wonderful conversations I’ve had with people simply because I gave them a gospel tract. Sometimes I give them out at the bus stops in town and talk to people about Christ. I’ve had people that I’ve given tracts to, after they sit down and read the tract, get up and come and find me so they can talk about it. The nice thing about tracts it that it gives people something they can take with them, something with the gospel, and for me, something that has a web address where they can read more. Also, I try to purchase tracts that are pocketable, and I would say that about 90% of the tracts I hand out get put in ones wallet or purse and are not thrown away. So, I like them. 🙂

      Sean Scott

      December 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

  3. Good thoughts, bro.

    Would you agree that heart repentance and believing from the heart are two inseparable sides of the same coin? As each cannot exist apart from the other.

    I think one thing you’re pointing out is that heart repentance has to be a step of faith. When a sinner truly repents he has to trust in Jesus for the victory.

    A counterfeit to this would be a “works-type repentance”, where a person has come under the law and has decided to try and earn their salvation thru perpetual ‘repentance’.

    ian vincent

    December 28, 2011 at 5:22 am

    • Hi Ian,

      Yea, I don’t think you can separate true repentance from true faith. In the scriptures, in regards to salvation, sometimes the word repent is used without the word faith/believe (Acts 2:38), and sometimes the word believe is used without the word repent (the gospel of John). Yet just because the word is not mentioned doesn’t mean it’s not there. They are definitely linked together.

      Sean Scott

      December 28, 2011 at 5:46 am

  4. Thanks bro.

    With me, it was a revelation of Jesus, and then i repented, when i saw who He is and heard His call. He melted my heart and caused me to repent.

    ian vincent

    December 28, 2011 at 9:58 am

  5. First of all, allow me to say what a delight it was for me to read this this morning. Oh, what joy filled my soul! That Jesus Christ, and He ALONE, was glorified by what was written here.

    You are absolutely correct in your 2 main assertions: faith precedes fruit; and fruit is evidence of salvation.

    Moreover, you explained it beautifully.

    I think that the problem is that men are not satisfied with the simplicity of the gospel: and therefore, desire to add to it; and their additions strip it off its power [a little leaven leavens the whole loaf].

    I might add that the consistent Pauline example was to rebuke perversions of the gospel message: so, you are in good company in your practice.

    What must we do?

    Lift up Christ, preaching and teaching BY FAITH with scriptural words and examples, even as Christ spent His life explaining the meaning of God’s commandments and how we are to live for God.

    We must speak of man’s sin, God’s righteousness, and the coming judgment, warning men everywhere of the need to repent (John 16:8).

    I especially enjoyed the verses you noted on the divine order of God concerning repentance and fruit.

    Repentance is faith in Christ’s atoning work alone, as the only means by which men may receive forgiveness of sins: and this faith implicitly acknowledges both personal sin and personal need for salvation.

    We see this in the following verse (Acts 20:21): “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Repentance toward God describes our acknowledgment that we have transgressed the Father’s first commandment [thou shalt have no other gods before me—Exodus 20:3], which is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength,” (Mark 12:30).

    Repentance toward God acknowledges the problem of man [our diseased, sinful condition].

    Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ acknowledges that faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross alone [and nothing else] is the sole remedy for our diseased and sinful condition.

    Now, what we most certainly SHOULD tell men is that God will give them power over sin, if they will believe by faith in Jesus Christ. He has that power. He will grant them that power. And they can overcome by that power.

    But first, they must believe.

    The drawing of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44) grants men the power to choose between life and death [for without His drawing, convicting work, they remain powerless to choose, as they are bound by Satan]: if they choose death, they are condemned—but not for loving wickedness—for rejecting Truth!

    All sinners love wickedness [for they are enemies of God in their minds through wicked works—Colossians 1:21]. They can do nothing else, being unregenerate sinners, as you have rightly declared, until they are freed by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Therefore, while the sins of lost souls are many, their principal transgression is their rejection of the Way of Truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

    It’s all about Jesus.

    These are most important things to consider, and I am thrilled that you have spent the time to draw other men to understanding concerning them. It always helps me to continually reflect on these things too [we are always growing in understanding, as you say].

    P.S. A scriptural tract is nothing more than a biblical excerpt; I love good tracts.

    P.P.S. A question for Ian [and Sean]: Ian, I agree with your heart-felt comments about the need to trust Christ for salvation. I have been thinking, of late, of how trust is implicit to faith. Where in the bible is this truth [how trust is implicit to faith] best revealed?

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm

  6. Thanks for taking the time to reply, Sean, and for a fair-handed post. The debate between the LS and the FG camps has included some of the nastiest, misinformed, mistranslated dialogue that I’ve heard in church matters–all the time when we all should be sharing the gospel of grace, as we best understand it. I’ve found that a fixation on either of these issues can really stunt a person’s spiritual growth, and, as importantly, can keep them on the side-lines of ministry; directing their passions and communication towards the perceived shortcoming of their fellow believer’s faith, instead of sharing Christ with the lost world around us! How cool, you’re using tracts, and sharing Christ! Thanks for the encouragement, brother! I’d prefer one, die-hard LS witnessing Christian to 10 FG’ers that don’t actively share their faith, and vice versa!

    Ken

    December 29, 2011 at 1:45 am

  7. PS

    I agree that what is often implied when preachers ask people to make Jesus Lord of their life is often a step in the direction of law and not grace.

    As has already been said, a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit will lead us into speaking the right word in every situation, as He knows what men need to hear.

    In that sense i wouldn’t, for myself, make a law that i don’t ever speak about repentance to the unconverted.

    When we are street preaching all kinds of people are likely to hear us, all at very different levels of understanding.

    Often, when i share with an individual i’ve found myself not mentioning repentance. Perhaps it’s cos we are waiting for the revelation and conviction to come, as like at Pentecost, when they asked Peter, what should we do to be saved? , meaning, that at that point they believed in Jesus, and then Peter told them they should repent.

    ian vincent

    December 29, 2011 at 2:05 am

    • Just to clarify what i was trying to say: Surely, the prmary issue first with an unbeliever is whether or not they will believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and then, after that, if he believes, to yield his life to Jesus.

      Unbelief concerning who Jesus is, is THE sin that excludes men from the reconciliation.

      If a person will not confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and chooses not to believe, then asking that person to repent of all their sins is premature.

      Of course, as has been said, both faith and repentance are inseperable. but there is an order in which God works.

      E.g. here in India, is the first issue that hindus should burn their idols, or that they should believe who Jesus is? Which comes first?

      ian vincent

      December 30, 2011 at 1:22 am

      • Re: Lou Martenuac

        quote: “When repentance is defined as “turning from sin” its basic nature is changed from what occurs in the heart and mind to an action. A commitment to certain behavior expected of a Christian turns the gospel of grace on its head. Salvation then is no longer “the gift of God” but instead a works based message that frustrates grace (Eph. 2:8-9, Gal 2:21) (page 145, In Defense of the Gospel)”
        unquote
        .

        .
        .
        .
        Lou is talking about people misunderstanding God’s call to repent.

        The command to “turn from our sins”” can be rightly understood as a turning of our heart, or wrongly understood as a call to be justifed by our works and law.

        Just cos many misunderstand the words of God it doesnt render them void.

        The onus is on us to explain it in a way that less people take it the wrong way, though many will regardless.

        ian vincent

        December 30, 2011 at 1:37 am

      • “Unbelief concerning who Jesus is, is THE sin that excludes men from the reconciliation.”

        In a nutshell.

        Mark and Vicki Finger

        December 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm

  8. Telling someone that they have to live a holy life in order to be saved is not grace, but works, and akin to Mormonism.

    Such witnessing will lead to increased bondage and self-righteousness, but not salvation.

    Only the gospel has power to save (Romans 1:16): we have to preach it as Christ and His apostles preached it, for any deviation from “saved by grace through faith” [in Christ’s finished work on the cross] will not profit the lost soul.

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 29, 2011 at 3:08 am

  9. From our standpoint, as witnesses, we simply need to be focused upon the Person of Christ, speaking by faith in Him. Of course, the more scripture we know, the more that the Holy Spirit will use. However, the anointing to witness powerfully comes solely from faith in the work of the cross through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 29, 2011 at 3:12 am

  10. Your article began by evaluating Gospel tracts. I am curious why you have never ordered any of ours including The Greatest Gift which is all Scripture and includes repentance, the resurrection and the righteousness needed for entry into heaven (www.pro-gospel.org). Those who desire to be saved need an understanding that they are being saved not only from the punishment of sin but also from the power of sin and ultimately from the presence of sin in glorification. Unfortunately most Gospel presentations only offer salvation from the punishment of sin which is an incomplete Gospel and explains why there are so many tares in the church.

    Mike Gendron

    December 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by. Actually I have been to store on your site, but its been a while. I think the reason that I did not order any was because there wasn’t an option to read the tracts on the site. I’m sure the tracts are probably great, but there’s not a way to read the content without actually ordering them (at least that I’m aware of). I guess I could have just ordered some, but by the time you place an order for a few packs of tracts and pay shipping the cost is going up and you don’t really have an idea what the tracts say. I have though given out your book titled “Preparing Catholics for Eternity”. I thought the book was excellent and especially useful when you’re dealing with die hard Catholics or even “nominal” Catholics who have been raised in the Catholic Church their whole life.

      Can I ask you a question about something you said?

      Those who desire to be saved need an understanding that they are being saved not only from the punishment of sin but also from the power of sin and ultimately from the presence of sin in glorification. Unfortunately most Gospel presentations only offer salvation from the punishment of sin which is an incomplete Gospel and explains why there are so many tares in the church.

      Do you really think that those who desire to be saved need/must have an understanding that they are being saved from sin’s power, and ultimately sin’s presence, and that if this is not mentioned that it’s an incomplete gospel? I know that when I preach the gospel (especially when I’m on the streets) I seldom, if ever, mention the fact that one day we will be completely set free from the presence of sin in glorification. Often times, but not all the time, I will mention the fact that as a result of being born again we will have power over sin and be set free from its bondage. I usually mention this when I’m talking to someone who appears to be a false convert, and especially to those who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc. But do you really think it’s an incomplete gospel if someone fails to mention this? I don’t see “deliverance from sin” being preached in any of the recorded sermons in the book of Acts. Paul mentions our deliverance from sins bondage in the book of Romans (and other Epistles), but the book of Romans was written and addressed to believer in Jesus Christ.

      I know that the resurrection of Christ from the dead most certainly gives us the power to live a new life. However, even when Christs resurrection from the dead is mentioned in preaching in Acts, it’s mentioned as a proof that the gospel is true, as proof of Gods has approved and ordained Christ as Savior and Lord, and proof that God will ultimately judge all men.

      Like I said, I’m not saying we’re not to mention the results of the new birth when we preach the gospel; I myself do it all the time. I’m just curious about your statement that says it’s an incomplete gospel if we don’t.

      Sean Scott

      December 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      • Sean,
        In Matthew 1:21 we read Jesus will save His people from their sins. That is the good news of the Gospel, to be saved and set free from the bondage of sin and the devil (2 Tim. 2:23-26) and to be forgiven from the punishment of sin. Why would you want to give only part of the good news?

        Mike Gendron

        December 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      • Hi Mike,

        Ironically, as your comment came through on my phone, I was telling a man on the street about Christ power to deliver him from the bondage of sin; that this is the power of the gospel and the result of the new birth. When I’m able to have a meaningful conversation with someone, individually or when preaching, I almost always speak of the results of faith. I speak of having our sins forgiven and being set free sins power. But I seldom mention final glorification and sins ultimate removal. Since I failed to tell this man about sins ultimate removal when we are glorified together with Christ, did I tell him an incomplete gospel?

        Matthew 1:21 does say that Jesus will save his people from their sins. It includes deliverance from sins power as well as deliverance from the guilt and punishment that sin brings.

        What I’m specifically questioning is your statement that says if deliverance from sins power and presence is not mentioned, then the gospel presentation was incomplete. If that is the case then Jesus did not give the Good News to Nicodemus in John 3. He failed to mention deliverance from sins power and presence. If that is the case then Peter did not preach the gospel in Acts 2, Acts 4, Acts 5:31; nor did Philip preach the gospel to the Eunuch in Acts 8, or Peter to Cornelius in Acts 10, or Paul in Acts 13. In none of these gospel presentations, by the first apostles and evangelist, was deliverance from sins power or presence mentioned. If these two subjects had to be mentioned, and we know they were not, then these apostles and evangelist are guilty of preaching an incomplete gospel.

        Paul defines the gospel for us in 1 Cor 15:

        Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
        (1Co 15:1-4)

        He failed to mention deliverance from sins power and presence. Is Paul giving us another incomplete gospel? I think Paul’s explaining what the gospel is.

        So again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t mention deliverance from sins power or presence. I think the more we can teach people the better. As I said, most of the time when I have meaningful conversations I do speak of the fruit of faith; deliverance from sins power. However, I would not say that because someone fails to mention deliverance from sins power and presence that they are presenting an incomplete gospel. If that is the case, then every gospel presentation in the New Testament is incomplete.

        Sean Scott

        December 30, 2011 at 12:23 am

      • Sean, As you know the great commission is to make disciples and we do this by teaching people the Word of Christ. We never know how much of God’s Word must be presented before God brings forth life. Jesus and the apostles shared the good news in different ways depending on the circumstances. When we tell people that Jesus saves people from their sins, we share more and more what this means as time permits and as the person’s interest is maintained. There is so much to share including reconciliation, redemption, deliverance, justification, the new birth, forgiveness, etc. God is the one who uses the imperishable seed of His Word to bring forth life. I keep sowing until the new birth takes place or people don’t want to hear anymore. Hope this helps.

        Mike Gendron

        December 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    • Ian,
      Do you think it dishonors the name of Jesus to misrepresent a brother in Christ by spreading lies on a blog? All of our newsletter are free to download and we have made many of our audio and video messages available for free. Our only constraint to making more of them available is time for our web master to make it happen. For 20 years we have never asked for donations or solicited support to sustain the ministry God has entrusted to us. Perhaps you know of a better way for us to maintain the ministry and trust God for His provision. Please let me know.
      Mike Gendron

      Mike Gendron

      December 31, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    • Look here and you will see they are all free. http://pro-gospel.org/newsletters

      Mike Gendron

      January 1, 2012 at 3:03 am

      • Mike, im sorry i didnt see that you also have some free stuff, my mistake.

        Where your site says, “Newsletter Subscription $20.00″, you should make a note below that it’s free, to avoid misunderstanding, as people are bound to think that you’re charging $20 for the newsletter.

        ian vincent

        January 1, 2012 at 8:38 am

  11. I’ve been studying and witnessing the gospel for a long time, and I’m still learning new things.

    So, I think these conversations among ‘counselors’ are profitable for the work of the kingdom.

    Thinking about your question, Sean, I would say that the core message of the gospel is this: that Christ died for our sins. Here are a couple of interesting quotes from Paul:

    For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2).

    But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23).

    The bookend truths of this core message are that 1) Christ lived a sinless life, for which cause, He was an acceptable sacrifice to God and 2) Christ rose from the dead, as evidence that the Father accepted His sacrifice and that He was the Son of God.

    The word will bear fruit of itself: it’s power does not originate from the character of the vessel preaching it, for which cause, Paul gave thanks that the gospel was even preached in contention [mockingly], according to Philippians 1:16.

    However, Peter and John, after enduring physical persecution, prayed for boldness in the preaching of the gospel, which is the supernatural aid of the Holy Spirit that is available to all who preach by faith (Acts 17:?).

    Faith is the important thing, as Paul attests in the following verse:

    And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    –1 Corinthians 2:3-5

    I believe Paul feared and trembled before God [he also wrote, “work out your salvation in fear and trembling before the Lord”]: this gospel must be preached by faith, and by faith specifically in Christ’s atoning work on the cross at Calvary.

    We know he preached by faith, and not natural ability, because of a couple of verses concerning him, elsewhere in the bible:

    “For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible,” (2 Corinthians 10:10).

    “And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker,” (Acts 14:12).

    Mercury [or Hermes] was known in the Greek’s mythology as the ‘herald of the gods.’

    No natural ability + faith = an effective witness.

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    • Paul was not skilled as a public speaker: “But though I be rude [unskillful] in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things,” (2 Corinthians 11:6).

      However, it did not matter, as he did nothing by his own strength: “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily,” (Colossians 1:29).

      His ability to minister in the Spirit increased AS HE OBEYED GOD:

      And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul INCREASED THE MORE IN STRENGTH, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

      –Acts 9:20-22

      Faith is the primary thing.

      Mark and Vicki Finger

      December 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm

  12. If a “grace-based” gospel is true, no need to be concern about the “Lordship salvation message” as partial of full repentance is not the issue, neither important. If however, the message of full surrender is true, the “grace gospel” may fall short in offering others, or oneself, entrance into the Kingdom of God.
    I am reminded of the two messages on either side of the Christ.
    Sinner no one’s message sounds very much like the grace gospel of today; “if he is the Christ, he will save himself and me”. Sinner no two, sounds like the true gospel to me: “I deserve to die and am prepared to do so”.
    After being given the “free gift of salvation”- internal life, it is prudent to depart from our old life which profits non. Accept the death penalty over the flesh as only dead people are justified from sin (Rom 6:7) I reveal a secret to you, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, hence depart from it through a willingness to die. With the Godly life in place, departure from the fleshly life becomes a prerequisite. Only those worthy to attain internal life, will be resurrected (Luke 20:35).

    Jacobus

    December 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    • Justification – a one time, instantaneous event.

      Sanctification – taking up our cross daily and following Jesus

      ian vincent

      December 31, 2011 at 2:11 am

  13. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    –Acts 16:31

    What is belief?

    According to John 3:16, belief is trusting in Christ’s sacrifice to save you.

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm

  14. Sean said: “Why Lordship Salvation is not Biblical”

    Before reading your article I though Lordship salvation was the teaching that we submit to Jesus as Lord after we say we believe the gospel. I had NO idea what these guys were actually teaching, that there is a long list of requirements that MUST be met along with believing in Christ. I do not believe it is another gospel to preach these requirements along with the gospel in some cases (such as you showed with the rich young ruler) but to make a systematic theology out stating these conditions must be preached with any gospel proclamation is clearly error and unbiblical as you have shown with scripture.

    I say all that because I can see why some might think you are promoting half a Gospel, though I feel you have cleared that up pretty well in the bolded section “WHAT IF AN UNBELIEVER KNOWS, BUT WONT?”. I just wanted to add a couple of comments.

    Sean said: “There are many others as well who hold to this view who usually fall into the Calvinist camp.”

    This is the most surprising to me, how anyone who claims to believe in the “5 points”, “doctrines of grace”, or” justification by faith alone” could ever support such a doctrine as lordship salvation. It is quite contradictory and this leaves me wondering what these guys are actually teaching. Most of the true brethren that I know that fall into this camp know both of these vital truths in the correct order.

    1) Salvation is by the merits of Christ and the new birth is through faith alone
    2) True faith produces fruits keeping with repentance

    I really have found the opposite of you – that most who hold to this type of “stop sinning then you can come to Jesus and be saved” doctrine are of the moral government theology camp, such as the heretical teachings that come out of open air outreach. Like I said though, I had no idea this is what MacArthur and company were preaching before I read your article so I won’t pretend to be an expert on it.

    Sean said: “Preach the gospel as God’s free gift to be received by faith, and God will do the rest.”

    Amen! I will only add not to ignore the means by which God does the rest. This is often through His saints and through the effectual call for professing believers to turn from known sins, pick up their cross, and follow after Christ. When talking to unbelievers of course these things do not bring someone into the new birth, but I don’t think we have to hide them from people either at the risk of putting the cart before the horse. On the other hand I don’t think we have to talk about them with every person we witness to or make them a requirement for salvation either.

    You gave some great examples of the pattern of preaching throughout the book of Acts. The person of Christ (the death and resurrection included) is the foundation and center of what we proclaim for sure. Here is where I may differ from you and some of other responses though (not sure). I don’t think it is another Gospel if the Holy Spirit leads me to tell an unbeliever to forsake their sin and follow Christ. I also don’t think I am preaching half a gospel if the Holy Spirit leads me to tell someone to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved – without ever mentioning self denial or turning from sin. Both cases are found in scripture.

    Either way I can point to a Biblical example to support what I am doing. I know by experience and sound teaching that faith (a gift of God) proceeds and then produces works (fruits or repentance). Yet I would probably sometimes be accused of preaching another Gospel by those in the free grace camp if I simple quote scripture in context.

    To support what I am saying, since you already mentioned the rich young ruler, here is another time where Jesus calls people to self denial (besides his existing disciples).

    Mark 8:34-36 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “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 and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

    And in somewhat of a contrast here is the simplicity of the gospel.

    John 6:28 -29 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

    I wouldn’t dare claim the Lord was preaching a gospel of works in once place and half a gospel in another. That is kind of what happens in discussions like this though. One guys hears the preacher (Jesus in this case) talking to the rich young ruler and says he is a legalist, and one guys hears the preacher talking about believe only and says the preacher is teaching half a gospel or cheap grace. We live in such a day of lies and confusion where we have to have our guards up and that can lead to false accusations and misunderstandings very easily on both sides.

    With all that, this is my conclusion and I think it is Biblical. There is a common theme throughout the gospels and Acts that you have shown, and is undeniable, where nothing is mentioned but child like faith to save – no “go sell all you have”, no” forsake everything” etc… just believe. That is the Gospel. Yet we also see in other places where someone be in accord with the Holy Spirit and someone in the free grace camp could start crying works, legalism, etc. I thought you took extra care in your writing to avoid extremes on both sides for the most part.

    Here is a couple of statements that I think are all true.

    It is great error to take what Jesus said to the rich young ruler or in Mark 8 and make it a requirement for preaching the gospel.

    It is also great error to take what Jesus in John 6:28 -29 and say it to the rich young ruler.

    There is error on both sides if not lead by the Holy Spirit.

    There is also a big difference between someone “not saying things in the right order” out of a pure heart and someone preaching it as a systematic theology such as lordship salvation.

    Those are my thoughts; I look forward to reading more of your response to other comments too.

    In Christ -Jim

    BTW – Just read your response to Adam – perfect brother. That is all I am trying to say above – but you put it so clearly. I am not sure anyone can refute what you are saying and I think it would be good for all to keep our eyes on Jesus and let life flow from there – not put the cart before the horse.

    fleebabylon

    January 1, 2012 at 6:55 am

    • Hey Jim,

      Good comments. You said

      but I don’t think we have to hide them from people either at the risk of putting the cart before the horse.

      I agree with you. I hope my post didn’t come across as saying that it would be wrong to mention the conditions/commands of discipleship or any other passage from the scriptures. In fact, I’ll often bring passages like those up, and passages in 1st John as well, when I feel that I’m dealing with someone who’s a false convert. The other day I was talking to a young man at the bus stop. He kinda had the gangster look, had a big silver cross necklace, was openly talking to his friend about “hooking’ up with girls, was playing gangster rap on his phone, and every other word coming out of his mouth was the F word. He said he was Christian and had been so for a long time. With guys like him I have no problem showing him from the scripture what the life a believer in Christ looks like. Maybe showing him passages on discipleship, passages from 1st John, passages on sin, etc; all with the hopes of undoing the false assurance that either he or someone else has given him. But I know that it won’t be this mans decision or commitment to the commands of discipleship that will save him. It will be his understanding, by God’s Spirit, of the Gospel. Repenting towards God and putting ones faith in Jesus Christ is doorway into the kingdom, it’s what brings about the New Birth. Jesus himself had people who were disciples, people who followed him in discipleship, who had not come to him to have life.

      “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (Joh 6:60-66)

      So you have men who are learning from Jesus, following him around, called disciples, but still did not believe. Again, the apostle John and the Holy Spirit calls them disciples but they still did not fully believe in Christ. Eventually these people fell away. It reminds me of stories I’ve heard of men who have gone to the mission field and then later abandoned their faith in Christ. By all appearances they were following Christ in discipleship but they had still never come to him that they might have life.

      What I’ve noticed in the gospels is that every time Jesus speaks on “coming after him” or “discipleship” (Matt 10, Mark 8, Luke 9, & Luke 14) he’s giving specific instructions to his disciples and sometimes to the crowds that have gathered around him, with his disciples, to hear what he’s saying. However, when you get to the book of Acts, in every recorded instance of gospel preaching, none of these passages are ever mentioned or brought up as pre-requisites to faith that men must first be faced with and agree to. I have no doubt that these truths were later taught by the apostles because Jesus said:

      “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat 28:19-20)

      Yet the discipleship passages were not included in what is and was considered the gospel message. What I believe the scriptures show is that the discipleship passages do and will ultimately characterize the life, attitude, and heart of believers, but that it also shows that one can begin to follow after Christ in discipleship and still not be saved. That whether one has knowledge of the conditions of discipleship or not, what ultimately saves a person is their belief in the gospel. It’s their belief in the Son of God, who was crucified and died for theirs sin, and rose from the grave, to provide them with forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Up front understanding and commitment to the commands of discipleship, as Lordship salvation advocates teach, is not a pre-requisite for one to receive the New Birth in Christ.

      You said:

      There is also a big difference between someone “not saying things in the right order” out of a pure heart and someone preaching it as a systematic theology such as lordship salvation.

      I totally agree. I think everyone has said things in a wrong way before, when they actually mean something else. I’ve been guilty of it for sure. Like you said, there is a difference between saying things out of order from a pure heart and someone preaching a systematic theology such as Lordship Salvation.

      Sean Scott

      January 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

  15. When we witness, we give utterance by faith, according to the leading of the Holy Spirit: it is those with understanding who are converted in the parable of the sower, so I always like to encourage people to be honest with me concerning their questions or objections, trying to make that a comfortable process for them.

    That way, I know where to go, what part of the word to appeal to: basically, we go as far as grace allows.

    Consequently, the purpose of this discussion is not to create laws for witnessing that must be followed in every situation, but to gain a better understanding of the truths that the gospel contains.

    Why is this important?

    In every way, it will increase our faith.

    Preaching the cross [explaining why Jesus died for our sins] usually leads to a robust discussion, including:

    1) God’s righteousness, as expressed through His commandments
    2) Man’s sin, as revealed by God’s higher, New Testament standard for righteousness: for example, he who
    looks upon a woman and lusts, has committed adultery with her already in his heart
    3) The coming judgment and command for men everywhere to repent by faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Between Sean and Jim, that was a good summation, I thought.

    Peace,

    Mark

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    January 1, 2012 at 7:52 am

    • Consequently, the purpose of this discussion is not to create laws for witnessing that must be followed in every situation, but to gain a better understanding of the truths that the gospel contains. .

      Amen.

      Why is this important?

      In every way, it will increase our faith.

      Preaching the cross [explaining why Jesus died for our sins] usually leads to a robust discussion, including:

      1) God’s righteousness, as expressed through His commandments
      2) Man’s sin, as revealed by God’s higher, New Testament standard for righteousness: for example, he who
      looks upon a woman and lusts, has committed adultery with her already in his heart
      3) The coming judgment and command for men everywhere to repent by faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

      and Amen. 🙂

      Sean Scott

      January 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

  16. I believe that the subjects of ‘Lordship Salvation’ and Repentance are two separate, yet related, topics.

    …………………………………………………………………………..

    I read this comment on another blog:

    quote

    Repentance actually comes after you have been forgiven…it comes with the realisation of how much God has fore-given…how much God has let go the right to just terms and repayment of the debt…not before it.

    unquote
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Was nearly going to reply to this for a couple of days, and during walks in the fields kept chewing it over, that is, this subject of repentance and forgiveness……..

    Some points:

    The atonement is not that God has forgiven the human race. God has not forgiven the human race, rather, thru His atonement He extends forgiveness and offers it to all the human race, and they are not one and the same thing.

    A person is not forgiven until they receive God’s forgiveness in Jesus.

    A sinner realizes God is extending forgiveness to him. Why do some receive and others not? b cos some love their sin more than Jesus.

    Therefore the message of God offering His forgiveness is not good news to the one who is not willing to repent.

    Willingness to repent is what ‘belief’ or faith hinges on.

    After plainly hearing the gospel, the person who is not willing to repent has chosen not to believe.

    ian vincent

    January 3, 2012 at 7:34 am

  17. Well written and balanced approach to your article. I understand your concern about something missing from many of the tracts that are promoted out there. I was looking for tracts to pass out last year and even got some old sample to look at from a Christian I work with. To me it seemed like whoever was publishing and distributing left things open purposely so that you would be dependent on whatever church that passed them out to finish whatever version of the Gospel they wanted to portray. I think many times it makes people dependent on the institution rather than Christ. BTW I ended up creating my own, showing the law as God’s standard and Christ’s fulfillment of it for us. I also defined the words sin and repent. But I used a dictionary definition of repent. They read as follows

    Sin: an offense against a moral law.

    Repent: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.

    The definitions may still serve the purpose, but you made me go back and re-look at the Greek and Hebrew words. And I do agree with your assessment of the Greek word metanoeo, Strong’s G3340. But I thought I would also add to the discussion with the Hebrew words nacham, (H5162) which essentially means to regret, be moved to pity or be sorry. I think this can also be part of true repentance for some. That when faced with our offenses towards God and His Holiness that we can truly be moved to grief or be sorry for what we have offended Him.

    As far as how you described Lordship Salvation when I read above, it sounds like something you would tell someone who is already saved when teaching about God’s sanctification.

    Thanks, God Bless, Al

    Al

    January 4, 2012 at 12:33 am

    • Thanks Al. I tried to be as clear as I could because I realized that it would be very easy to be misunderstood when discussing “why Lordship Salvation is not biblical.” Not sure that I was totally clear for everyone, but I hope the comments have helped to bring some clarity to what I was saying in my post.

      I appreciate you bringing up the Hebrew definition of repentance. Like you said “it certainly can be part of true repentance for some.” There are definitely cases in the scripture where people believed the gospel and, and at least with what is recorded, didn’t seem to show much visible sorrow or regret (Ethiopian Eunuch, Cornelius). But I think more often that not, when people repent and believe, there is a degree of sorrow for their sins and offences towards God. That was the case with me. When I repented and believed, I found myself deeply sorry and remorseful and in tears to God. But my sorrow and remorse soon left and I was filled with an overwhelming joy and love that comes from God.

      Sean Scott

      January 4, 2012 at 9:56 pm

  18. I wish these comments weren’t ‘nested’: it makes it harder for me to find new comments concerning older threads, sometimes.

    Belief leads to repentance; repentance doesn’t lead to belief.

    When the Holy Spirit draws a person, He gives sinners the ability to freely choose whether they will believe or reject the truth [for they are dead in their sins and under the power of Satan, having no freedom to choose, absent the Spirit’s intercession].

    Those who believe are saved and bear fruit.

    Biblical repentance IS believing [trusting] in Christ’s atonement for eternal life.

    Who agrees?

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    January 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    • He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God.
      (John 3:18-21)

      ,
      ,
      ,
      .
      .

      So, what is preventing certain men from believing is that they choose to love the darkness rather than come to the light. Therefore, it’s not a neat sequence of events, where first a man believes, and then after that he realizes he needs to repent.

      And those who love the darkness are called unbelievers, here, even if they profess to be Christians and to have faith.

      ian vincent

      January 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

      • It appears that faith produces repentance, simultaneously. There is no time gap between faith and repentance. Looking to Jesus for salvation implies looking away from everything else. Looking to, and looking away, being the same movement. The emphasis is on looking to Jesus, and the looking away from sin has to be the natural consequence of looking to Jesus.
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .

        .”..neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed…”

        Coming to the light will mean an exposure of a person’s sins. Therefore, coming to the light is synonymous with repentance.
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        The scripture above, John 3:18-21, would seem to be at odds with the popular belief that people keep away from God for fear of punishment, and bcos they judge His nature as being solely that of anger and retribution.

        People often use this as an excuse for their sin, as a self-justification. or a cloak to hide it

        These verses imply that everyone knows deep in their heart that God will accept them if they will repent, but seeing that they love their sin more than God, then they will seek to justify their position, in any way possible.

        False Christianity (babylon the great) provides a means for such people to keep their sin and yet outwardly appear righteous (Phariseeism).

        ian vincent

        January 7, 2012 at 5:09 am

      • Yes, Ian.

        What comes out to me when I read this thread is two-fold: speak by faith; follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

        Pretty simple!

        Peace, brothers

        Mark and Vicki Finger

        January 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

  19. Amen. May we yield to and wait for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in all things, and for Him to instruct us and help us to think soundly – our minds renewed by the Word as the Holy Spirit teaches us.

    When we use the word “repent” or “repentance” it is either understood rightly or wrongly.

    The right understanding is that it means to change our mind as in our attitude toward our sin, from a position of tolerating it, or even loving it, and making excuse for it, to a position of despising it and of being sincerely sorry for it – Godly sorrow which works repentance. It is the light which has exposed the darkness for what it is.

    The wrong understanding, or religious understanding, is that it means to sit down and make a calculation, and to make a deal with God, that if we will stop sinning then He will forgive us – if we keep our end of the bargain, He will keep His…. which is very wrong. It is trying to be justifed by our works and the law.

    What is trying to be saved by works if it is not to trust in one’s “repentance” ? Repentance can never be the object of our faith, what we trust in.

    So, perhaps our discussion is more over the nature of what repentance is.

    “Lordship salvation” speaks more of a calculation or a deal with God.

    On a related note: When we confess our sins as believers, it is a confession which rests upon the fact that we are saved and justifed, to begin with. It is the confession of a son, or child of God. It is confession and repentance from a position of sonship or justification.

    This throws a little light on what true repentance is. For when an unbeliever repents and believes the Gospel it is in the same order in which a believer repents and confesses his sins, if he sins. It’s not a different order.

    That is, with us believers, if we sin, confessing our sin is automatic. It’s not a work. It’s the same with all true faith, that repentance will be automatic and not a work.

    ian vincent

    January 8, 2012 at 12:32 am

    • The right understanding is that it means to change our mind as in our attitude toward our sin, from a position of tolerating it, or even loving it, and making excuse for it, to a position of despising it and of being sincerely sorry for it – Godly sorrow which works repentance. It is the light which has exposed the darkness for what it is.

      Amen. I know that when I first believed, the day I was born again, I was sorry for my sins. But even then, my understanding of sin was so shallow (I had not sat under years of biblical teaching before Christ saved me). With myself, and I think with all believers, we don’t really begin to fully grasp what sin is and how evil it is, until we are believers in Jesus Christ. Our repentance in this area grows as the Spirit of God shows us the reality of what sin is and how great an offense it is to God.

      The wrong understanding, or religious understanding, is that it means to sit down and make a calculation, and to make a deal with God, that if we will stop sinning then He will forgive us – if we keep our end of the bargain, He will keep His…. which is very wrong. It is trying to be justified by our works and the law.

      Yes, that is what I was trying to point out, and that is what you see promoted in a lot of tracts and what you hear in a lot preaching. People may be doing those things unintentionally but nevertheless it happens.

      So, perhaps our discussion is more over the nature of what repentance is.

      “Lordship salvation” speaks more of a calculation or a deal with God.

      I agree. When I started looking into and writing on this subject I started by looking at the nature of repentance. But once I better understood the nature of repentance I started examining why different people preach repentance in different ways, and what they mean by it. For me, this is what led to the examining of the Lordship Salvation doctrine. It’s in this doctrine that we often see the wrong definition of repentance promoted, which leads to a presentation of a distorted gospel.

      The whole study and discussion and been really beneficial to me because, as Mark said, it really helps in our understanding of the truths contained in the GOSPEL. Everything in the bible is truth, but not all of it is defined as the Gospel. Sometimes we say things are the Gospel when they are not the Gospel. They may be the results of the gospel, the fruit of the gospel, but they are not essential message that one must believe in order to be saved. Not that certain truths have to be hidden or not mentioned by any means. Usually, the more we can share the better. It’s just good to understand what the Gospel is and how freely God saves those who repent and believe it.

      Sean Scott

      January 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

  20. Sean:

    In the context of this original post, as it relates to witnessing, I think that what we should be emphasizing to the lost in terms of repentance is that ONLY faith in Christ gives man power over sin and freedom from the dominion of sin.

    I would have no problem describing to them what a life of repentance is, but I would want them to understand what I have written above, which is best exemplified in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Peace,

    Mark

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    January 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

  21. Most people don’t take interest to hear about gospal including me why?

    Anil barla

    February 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    • Anil, Are you interested to know the one true God who created the universe, and you, and to know why He created you?

      ian vincent

      February 29, 2012 at 12:07 am

      • And the moment your heart beats its last, and you breathe your last breath, will you find God “interesting” then? I would think He would become very interesting, right?

        ian vincent

        February 29, 2012 at 12:51 am

    • Hi Anil,

      Why is it that you do not take interest in the gospel? What do you know about Jesus Christ?

      IN Christ,

      Sean

      Sean Scott

      March 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    • Hello. I really enjoyed reading this as Lordship salvation is something I’ve struggled with myself. It’s like you said, I realized there was something wrong with both those who presented forsaking self as a requirement for salvation, and also with those who preach grace that doesn’t produce a change. I was really blessed by this, but there was one part I had an issue with where you said:

      “What if an unbeliever knows that certain things they do are sin and they are simply unwilling to give them up, but they want Jesus to save them? Can they be saved? No, they cannot. They have not repented.”

      I disagree with this, and I think you’re making the same mistake that you (rightly) accuse lordship salvationists of making. You’re basically saying that having a willingness to turn from known sins, is the prerequisite for salvation. The only difference between what you say, and what John Macarthur says is that you only apply it to known sins.

      I don’t believe that is scriptural. Nowhere in the bible do I see a willingness to change presented as necessary to receive salvation. If someone realizes that they’re guilty before God are willing to look to Jesus as their savior, isn’t that enough to save them? If they are willing to acknowledge those things as sin, but simply have no desire to change, why wouldn’t that still qualify as a saving faith? Why would a person who has not yet been born again even be willing to change? We’re saved on the basis of Jesus’ death and resurrection, not on the basis of our willingness to change.

      Note that we are talking about an unbeliever. If they’re saved then they should have a desire to change, and eventually with God’s help, be able to make that change. As a fruit though, not as a prerequisite.

      You then go on to compare it to the rich young ruler, but I think you missed the point of that story. The Rich young ruler came to Jesus on the basis of his good works “what good thing must I DO to be saved?” rather than the basis of God’s grace. He also had a false sense of self righteousness because he tells Jesus that he’s kept all the commandments from his youth (and we know that no one has kept all the commandments except Jesus.) I think His issue was not idolatry, but self righteousness, and if He had come to Jesus as a sinner in need of saving I have no doubt that Jesus would have accepted him

      I’m interested to hear your thoughts but overall I really enjoyed your article. God bless.

      Daniel Cartwright

      November 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

  22. Ironically, it was because of Scott’s original post that I realized that emphasizing the need to live a repentant life after salvation is foolish when speaking to someone that is not saved. It’s like expecting mature fruit from soil that has not yet received seed.

    To be saved, men must do 3 things: see their need for repentance, believe that Christ has power to forgive sin [on the basis of His atoning work], and then ask for God’s forgiveness.

    If this occurs, there will be a public profession of faith (Luke 6:45, 9:26).

    The proud must be saved with fear by presenting God’s commandments and warning them of the coming judgment (Jude 1:23).

    Those who are already humbled by their sinful condition may be saved with compassion by showing them how God has dominion over sin, not only to save, but to sanctify (Romans 6:14; Jude 1:22).

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    November 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

  23. We need to be careful not to make blanket statements and form a systematic theology that has to explain away portions of the word of God (like Calv/Arm or Free grace/Lordship, etc). Jesus is truth, His words are truth. Systematic theology is not truth. Below we find Jesus telling the whole crowd that they must do something if they want to be saved. This is not the NORM, so I would never form a systematic theology around it, but it is in scripture so to say it is error or pointless to tell someone they must do something is error in itself. Saving faith is not mental ascent, it is a living and powerful force that God has chosen to save men by. It can manifest itself in many ways from the “subtle” thief on the cross to the rich young ruler who had to make a choice to give up everything. We need to be careful to rightfully divide the word of truth and not rip it in half and wage each half in war against the other.

    in Christ -jim

    Mark 8:34-36 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “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 and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

    fleebabylon

    November 27, 2012 at 10:59 pm

  24. “If someone realizes that they’re guilty before God are willing to look to Jesus as their savior, isn’t that enough to save them? If they are willing to acknowledge those things as sin, but simply have no desire to change, why wouldn’t that still qualify as a saving faith? ”

    Mat 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

    The fault in your statement is in your use of the word salvation. Jesus came to save us from our sin, not so we can live in sin with no real love or devotion for Him and be saved from hell at the end. It sounds like you are describing a guy who wants to pull some kind of a scheme on God to avoid hell.

    fleebabylon

    November 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm

  25. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

    Should Paul have put a disclaimer in here warning not to speak these things if a lost person was around because that would be teaching works based salvation? No sir – we are starting debates and contentions where there is no need. We are talking about conversion, salvation, dying and being born again, the effectual regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

    We are not in need so much of the right formula based upon the word of God but the filling of the Holy Spirit who gives life to that word so that we can see true conversions. If lead by the Holy Spirit to tell someone that Jesus loves them and died for them then tell them that! If lead to tell someone that their is a cost to following Jesus then tell them to forsake all and follow Him, if lead to systematically go over the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus then go for it.

    Be sure that some poor believer who has a head full of systematic theology instead of a burning heart full of the Holy Spirit will tell you that you are doing it ‘wrong’ though.

    God bless all in Christ Jesus. -Jim

    fleebabylon

    November 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm

  26. Jim, I’m not sure you understood what I was saying. I wasn’t saying that we should never mention a changed life when talking to an unbeliever. Nor was I saying that we can receive salvation and experience no change. I agree with you that salvation, should ultimately result in our victory over sin. What I am saying though, is that the burden to change is not on the sinner, it is on Jesus to change them.

    Notice in the verse you brought up, that it is GRACE that teaches us to “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives.” Now what is grace? Grace is God’s free, undeserved, unmerited favor, through Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s when we receive grace as a free gift (not by giving things up or promising to give things up) that our hearts are changed in gratitude and we begin to live lives that honor God (he who is forgiven much loves much.)

    The bible makes it clear on multiple occasions that the only requirement for salvation is belief in Jesus and His perfect finished work. Call it mental assent, call it easy believism, call it whatever you want but it’s a simple faith that what Jesus has done is enough, that saves. Then as a FRUIT (not a prerequisite) our lives are transformed to honor God.

    I’m not talking about someone who wants to “pull one over” on God, I’m simply talking about someone who sees His need for Jesus and the forgiveness He offers, but is simply unwilling to give certain things up. I see no biblical reason that this person could not receive eternal life as the free gift that it is, without having to give anything up. And again, as a fruit of receiving God’s free gift, a heart change should take place.

    Salvation is receiving not giving. It’s by believing not following. It’s based on Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, not our self sacrifice. It’s by God’s promise to us, not our commitment to Him. When you place the costs of discipleship as demands for salvation, you compromise the the freeness of grace, and rob the gospel of it’s power.

    The Rich Young ruler came to Jesus with law and Jesus answered him with law. If He had come to Jesus saying “Jesus, I’m a greedy sinner, and I have an attachment to things, and I need you to save me” I think the outcome of the story would have been different. Instead He came to Jesus looking for another work to add to his resume and justify him before God, and Jesus answered him right where he fell short.

    Be blessed, Daniel.

    Daniel Cartwright

    November 28, 2012 at 1:45 am

    • Daniel said:

      Jim, I’m not sure you understood what I was saying. I wasn’t saying that we should never mention a changed life when talking to an unbeliever. Nor was I saying that we can receive salvation and experience no change. I agree with you that salvation, should ultimately result in our victory over sin. What I am saying though, is that the burden to change is not on the sinner, it is on Jesus to change them.

      Jim says:
      Yeah, I think we are talking about two slightly different things because it looks like we both understand scripture pretty close. I feel like we are entering into the area where people go beyond the plain word of God though and that can result in sort of needless debate (an extreme example being an argument over what color hair Jesus had). You have been most gracious in your posts so I would only want to clear up a few things.

      Daniel said:
      Notice in the verse you brought up, that it is GRACE that teaches us to “renounce

      Jim says:
      Amen, The grace of God is the root that has to be in place first – do not think that I am arguing that we should put the cart before the horse as some do! We can do nothing without God first doing something for us.

      Daniel said:
      The bible makes it clear on multiple occasions that the only requirement for salvation is belief in Jesus and His perfect finished work

      Jim says:
      Amen – no argument can be made against that, but what you didn’t mention is the times that conditions are put forth. While I agree with what you said, it is not the whole story. In many ways what we are talking about reminds me of the argument for baptismal regeneration or when the Holy Spirit comes. Some people say only after water baptism, some say when we believe, etc. Yet scripture shows God operating in all different ways. Some people receive the Holy Spirit when they believe (before they are baptized in water), some after. Yet people will pick one way and say that is it, that is the only way God moves?

      The same thing with the call for sinners to come to Christ. If Jesus called a crowd to Himself and said they must forsake everything and follow him how can anyone then turn and say that is wrong? (if I am read people wrong please forgive me). Again, we see see in some places “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”, other places we see “repent and believe”, another place we see “forsake everything and follow me”. The main theme of the NT message is believe, I am not making any argument against that. My argument is that it is error to make a blanket statement we can’t put conditions up front to people when Jesus is seen doing the very thing. Granted it is not done often, and usually with those who profess some form of godliness (most be in the US profess to be Christians) but IT IS DONE BY JESUS so what man can speak against it because it doesn’t fit good into his little doctrinal camp?

      Daniel said:

      Salvation is receiving not giving. It’s by believing not following. It’s based on Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, not our self sacrifice. It’s by God’s promise to us, not our commitment to Him. When you place the costs of discipleship as demands for salvation, you compromise the the freeness of grace, and rob the gospel of it’s power.

      Jim says:

      This is the one place we will have to part. Jesus said otherwise so I will have to believe Him instead of trying to twist what He said to fit a systematic theology. I quoted it above. The Gospel call can include conditions when lead by the Holy Spirit. God uses means to an end, and He can use a message of forsaking as a means to bring about the end of saving faith being birthed in a soul. Again, the Holy Spirit blows like the wind, not at the whims of our special formulas, the Holy Spirit is not bound by the walls of mens doctrinal camps.

      God bless you Daniel, I appreciate the talk. To have a real honest discussion on this though I think we would have to throw out the whole free grace / lordship debate since it seems like a false dichotomy to me and forces bad presuppositions into the argument.

      fleebabylon

      November 28, 2012 at 4:33 am

    • Hi Daniel,

      Sorry for the delayed reply. Thanks for your post on this subject. I do agree with much of what you’ve written, and think I’ve agreed with most of what you said in my original blog post. Here is where I disagree; you said:

      I’m not talking about someone who wants to “pull one over” on God, I’m simply talking about someone who sees His need for Jesus and the forgiveness He offers, but is simply unwilling to give certain things up. I see no biblical reason that this person could not receive eternal life as the free gift that it is, without having to give anything up.

      You say above that someone can “see their need for Jesus and their forgiveness but be unwilling to give up certain things”. I would argue that someone has not truly seen their need for Jesus if they are still unwilling to have the Lord take away from them some sin that is entirely offensive to God. It’s one thing for a person to say, “I can’t give up this sin, but if Jesus will take it away I will trust Him to do so”, and it’s another thing to say: “I want Jesus to give me eternal life but I want to, and will keep doing all the things that He hates”. Obviously the second person does not truly see their need for Christ, nor do they understand the grace of God.

      IN Christ,

      Sean

      Sean Scott

      November 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm

  27. Hey, I appreciate your response and by no means do I want to get into a frivolous argument. I do however, enjoy a good conversation when it comes to what I consider the absolute issues (such as eternal salvation/damnation.) So I will just respond to a few of the things you said in order to not rabbit trail this conversation.

    Jim:
    My argument is that it is error to make a blanket statement we can’t put conditions up front to people when Jesus is seen doing the very thing. Granted it is not done often, and usually with those who profess some form of godliness (most be in the US profess to be Christians) but IT IS DONE BY JESUS so what man can speak against it because it doesn’t fit good into his little doctrinal camp?

    Me:
    First I would like to point out that not everything Jesus said was necessarily eternal life. For example, in the common discipleship passages (like luke 9:23) Jesus says “whoever wishes to save their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for my sake and gospel’s will save it.” Now, nowhere in that statement did Jesus mention eternal life, and I find it just as likely that he was talking about our life in the here and now. i.e. “you can spend your life chasing things that will leave you empty, or spend it chasing Me who will fill you up”. Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinithians 3:15 that there are some who will live lives that aren’t worth much, and their works will be burned up, but the person themselves saved.

    The other issue I have is that if the costs Jesus put forth were salvation requirements, then why wasn’t that part of the gospel the apostles preached? Why did the apostles simply point to the finished work of Jesus rather than the cost of following Him? I believe it’s because they knew that only an emphasis on the finished work, would produce the type of dedicated followers that Jesus wants.

    We have to remember that Jesus said a lot of really hard things, but then He went and was crucified for the salvation of the world. Much of what He said was to bring people to a place where they would realize they couldn’t do it themselves and would have to fall upon God’s grace. If everything Jesus said were requirements for salvation then we ought to be preaching that people hack off their limbs to prevent themselves from sinning.

    Jim:
    “This is the one place we will have to part. Jesus said otherwise so I will have to believe Him instead of trying to twist what He said to fit a systematic theology.”

    Me:
    I’m not trying to twist anything. I’m just simply unwilling to compromise those verses that are clear about salvation is received through belief (John 3:14-17, 5:24, Acts 16:31, Romans 3:22, 10:4, 9-10, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.) I believe that the costs Jesus put forth are there for a reason, but I simply don’t believe that they were requirements for receiving eternal life, or else the apostles would have preached them as such.

    Jim:
    To have a real honest discussion on this though I think we would have to throw out the whole free grace / lordship debate since it seems like a false dichotomy to me and forces bad presuppositions into the argument.

    Me:
    I agree, I don’t think either side has it right. I simply believe in Christ and Him crucified as the means of salvation, and I don’t want to see the gospel complicated.

    Thanks for your thoughts, I truly do enjoy hearing other points of view, and I apologize if I come off as a scripture know it all, cause I certainly don’t know it all. It’s entirely possible that in a few years I could be agreeing with you. I look forward to your response.

    Daniel Cartwright

    November 28, 2012 at 8:33 am

    • Here is one instance of the apostles preaching to a group that they should take an action (turning from idols) to Jesus. This is not the normal NT pattern but it is not forbidden or promoting a works based salvation either. We also read similar in 1 Thessalonians 1:8

      Acts 14:11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

      Then the people cried out [not] “But Paul, we want our vain things and the living God. What you don’t know is that salvation is by faith… now please take your false works based gospel somewhere else so we can continue with our idol worship”.

      Again – I am just playing against the extremes here and to show that we do see a few cases where conditions are given by Christ and the apostles. I can’t find one example in scripture where an unrepentant person who refuses to turn from a known sin is declared saved though. Can you give me an example or are you basing your comment here on reason of deduction?

      “’simply talking about someone who sees His need for Jesus and the forgiveness He offers, but is simply unwilling to give certain things up. I see no biblical reason that this person could not receive eternal life as the free gift that it is, without having to give anything up.”

      God bless you in Christ -Jim

      fleebabylon

      November 29, 2012 at 1:28 am

  28. “You say above that someone can “see their need for Jesus and their forgiveness but be unwilling to give up certain things”. I would argue that someone has not truly seen their need for Jesus if they are still unwilling to have the Lord take away from them some sin that is entirely offensive to God. It’s one thing for a person to say, “I can’t give up this sin, but if Jesus will take it away I will trust Him to do so”, and it’s another thing to say: “I want Jesus to give me eternal life but I want to, and will keep doing all the things that He hates”. Obviously the second person does not truly see their need for Christ, nor do they understand the grace of God. ”

    Sean, in your second example, someone may think something like that before they’re saved because they can’t imagine their life without those sins, but after encountering the love and grace of God, I very much doubt they would continue feeling that way.

    I guess I would just have to ask you this: Does God save us on the basis of the offensive things we’re willing to give up, or does He save us on the basis of what Jesus did at Calvary?

    Jim, props cause your example did make me think. I guess in this case I would have to say that one cannot accept the truth of who Jesus is, without giving up false gods. I don’t think it’s humanly possible to both believe Jesus is the only true God, and simultaneously believe in false gods. It defies logic.

    I guess I would have to change my former statement, and say that the gospel does require we give up anything we think can justify us besides Jesus, such as works, or other gods.

    Going back to the rich young ruler though, this obviously wasn’t his problem. He wasn’t trusting money to get him to heaven in the place of Jesus. His problem was that he was looking to be justified by works, and this prevented him from receiving eternal life.

    Daniel Cartwright

    November 29, 2012 at 8:07 am

  29. “Sean, in your second example, someone may think something like that before they’re saved because they can’t imagine their life without those sins, but after encountering the love and grace of God, I very much doubt they would continue feeling that way.”

    Daniel,

    Since it looks like we are going to grind this one down to the point where we start asking how many angels can fit on the head of a pin I figured I’d put this one out there..

    Is it fair to say according to your understanding of scripture that a lost person could believe that Jesus is the Christ who died for their sins,while in their heart despising him and wishing God had sent a different savior that more appealed to them, and yet still be saved. This person would believe 100% they are justified only by Jesus but they hate the teachings of Jesus on money, divorce, forgiveness, etc, and only agree to believe in Jesus if they don’t have to follow His commands beyond simple belief in Him. They hate everything they know about Him but they believe He is their savior and that salvation comes by believing in Him.

    God bless -Jim

    fleebabylon

    December 1, 2012 at 4:45 am

  30. Know you 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.
    (1Cor 6:9-10)

    1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat.

    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, impurity, licentiousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousy, wrath, selfishness, divisions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of which I tell you beforehand, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    (Gal 5:19-21)

    ian vincent

    December 1, 2012 at 6:17 am

  31. “Is it fair to say according to your understanding of scripture that a lost person could believe that Jesus is the Christ who died for their sins,while in their heart despising him and wishing God had sent a different savior that more appealed to them, and yet still be saved. This person would believe 100% they are justified only by Jesus but they hate the teachings of Jesus on money, divorce, forgiveness, etc, and only agree to believe in Jesus if they don’t have to follow His commands beyond simple belief in Him. They hate everything they know about Him but they believe He is their savior and that salvation comes by believing in Him.”

    Jim, to be honest, I’m not sure. That is a very strange and extreme example and I’m not sure what would lead someone to feel that way. My purpose here isn’t to push grace to its very limit, I simply want to see the gospel brought back to it’s simplest point as defined by scripture, which is that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, and that we’re saved by believing it (1 Corinthians 15:1-5). I think theologians have done much to add on to the finished work of Christ, and I simply want to see those additions taken away.

    If I had to guess, according to your example, I would have to say that I see nothing in scripture that says how we feel about the teachings of Jesus has anything to do with our eligibility for salvation. So if that person humbles themselves to go against their own feelings, and still accept Christ as their savior; to realize that God’s not going to change the gospel for them or send a different savior for them, and that they need to be saved His way rather than the way they would prefer, then yes, I would have to believe that this person would be saved.

    I would also have to as that although they may have ill feelings towards the teachings of Jesus, they would still have to accept them as true because to be saved you have to accept Jesus as who He is (the truth.)

    However, as stated earlier, if it’s real, then a heart change should take place and they should begin to submit themselves to the teachings of Jesus as a fruit of having received Him.

    Again though, as that is a very extreme example, that’s just my best guess according to my current understanding of a saving faith as presented in scripture.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    • ” I simply want to see the gospel brought back to it’s simplest point as defined by scripture, which is that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, and that we’re saved by believing it ”

      Amen Daniel, I would only point out that we’re saved by beliving in a person. Salvation is a person. I am sure it is just a matter of wording but I mostly wanted to show in this thread that there is a difference between saving faith from demon faith seen in scripture. We have probably kicked this can down the road far enough for now and I trust we all agree it is impossible for us to bring forth fruit or truly live rightly until we are saved by the unmerited grace of God. We may disagree on how this looks/acts/works itself out at times and what the boundaries are in preaching to lost sinners, but know that I would never oppose your love for giving glory to the work of Christ instead of man – even if we disagree on some fine details of this.

      Here is a short video (maybe the best on youtube) called so great salvation. If you have a few minutes check it out sometime.

      -Jim

      fleebabylon

      December 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm

  32. Alright, thanks for the convo Jim, I always enjoy butting heads a little cause it does really make me think and examine my beliefs. I’ll be sure to take a look at that video. Blessings.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 2, 2012 at 1:29 am

  33. Just let me add that, whenever this subject comes up, when people are general and vague concerning what sin is, then it becomes a never-ending debate. If it is about “giving up things” then that could mean anything. It could mean anything from, do I have to go to church? do I have to cut my hair? do I have to give up smoking? do I have to give up my rap music?. etc.. before I can be saved? Obviously, no.

    Whereas, if it pertains to sins specifically identified in Scripture, like, Do I have to give up sleeping around before I can be saved? Do i have to give up lying and corruption before I can be saved? Quite obviously, NO.

    You would have to be willing to forsake, repent of these before your heart could have saving faith in Jesus. That is, the things which Scriptures says will cause a person to forfeit the Kingdom of God.

    Saving faith always results in a true repentance, otherwise, what kind of “faith” is it?

    And, the person who claims to believe in Jesus and does not repent of these things is a false convert.

    1 John 3 covers this quite comprehensively.

    ian vincent

    December 2, 2012 at 2:13 am

  34. Our faith is our righteousness

    Our faith is our righteousness, and therefore unbelief is unrighteousness.

    “Our faith is our righteousness” has two aspects:

    a) God declares us righteous by the merit of the death of His Son; that is He justifies us, brings us into right-standing with God, and,

    b) God makes us righteous people – gives us a right nature, a new creation, a new man, a new birth in Christ, and He sanctifies us progressively to conform us to the image of His Son.

    Therefore, faith is righteousness, and if faith is righteousness, it must produce righteousness.

    And therefore, unbelief is unrighteousness, and if unbelief is unrighteousness, it must produce unrighteousness.

    All sin is caused by unbelief and IS unbelief. All righteousness is caused by faith and IS faith. This is why faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin, are inseparable, for faith causes repentance just like the sun causes light. True faith causes righteousness to shine forth. True repentance IS faith. True faith is exclusively manifest in righteousness, and unbelief is always manifest in the works of unrighteousness, the works of darkness, for faith without works is dead, it is no faith at all, but a dead “faith” (James 2:20).

    Our faith, and what we do, is inseparable. Our faith, AND WHO WE ARE – OUR BEING, is inseparable.

    http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/our-faith-is-our-righteousness/

    ian vincent

    December 2, 2012 at 3:00 am

  35. Coming to the light will mean an exposure of a person’s sins. Therefore, coming to the light, coming to Jesus, is synonymous with repentance.

    ian vincent

    December 2, 2012 at 3:34 am

    • I was just reading that earlier today and seeing the same thing Ian.

      fleebabylon

      December 2, 2012 at 4:16 am

  36. Ian, Jesus is who’s going to give people the power to quit sleeping around, and quit lying. Telling someone to give these things up before they can be saved is telling them to do something that they don’t yet have the power to do. It’s like telling someone they have to clean themselves up before they can get in the shower. It makes no sense.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 2, 2012 at 4:37 am

    • You just tell them that those who practice such things do not inherit the Kingdom of God, lest they be deceived into thinking that you can practice such things AND be saved.

      ian vincent

      December 2, 2012 at 8:18 am

      • Ian, you’re assuming that it’s a foregone conclusion that “saved” and “inherit the kingdom” are precisely synonymous. Are you sure that those two ideas meant the same thing to the original authors and recipients as they do to you? An inheritance is not considered a gift, and actually carried some degree of requirement to receive it (such as fitness of the recipient, present relation to the family, age, etc.) so to assume that all passages that mention “inherit the kingdom” are de facto salvation from hell passages doesn’t make sense to me, or to many others who have questioned tenets of Lordship Salvation.
        Also, as Paul identified his readers as “the church” in Corinth, I assume that Paul genuinely believed he was writing to Christians, with no doubt concerning the fact of their regeneration. It wouldn’t have been very clear (or honest) if he had written the letter to Christians, but then went on to presume that some of them weren’t actually Christians, would it? If he truly believed that he was writing to non-regenerated pseudo-believers, why wouldn’t he have insisted on simply sharing the gospel with them, and calling them to faith in Christ, instead of discussing various moral/ethical infractions (that are the norm for unregenerate people?!) It makes more sense that “inherit the kingdom” is speaking of a future reward (that can be lost or damaged) when one is about to enter into the literal, physical kingdom that will appear in its fully realized form at the return of Jesus. That’s my take on it! Blessings, Ken

        Ken

        December 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm

  37. Ken, are you saying that Paul’s warning to the Corinthians, to professing Christians who continue in the sins listed, was to comfort them that, even though they will lose rewards, at least they won’t go to hell! They can be comforted to know that bcos they have confessed Jesus that no amount of sin can keep them from heaven! They could never throw away their salvation and exchange it for sin! Is that what Paul meant by warning them that if they practice those sins they will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Obviously not.

    2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are counterfeits?

    Copy and paste here a word search on “inherit” :

    Mat_5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

    Mat_19:29 And everyone that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

    Mat_25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    Mar_10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

    Luk_10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tested him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

    Luk_18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

    1Co_6:9 Know you 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,
    1Co_6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    1Co_15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.

    Gal_5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of which I tell you beforehand, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Heb_6:12 That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

    1Pe_3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but on the contrary blessing; knowing that you are unto this called, that you should inherit a blessing.

    Rev_21:7 He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    To clear up one thing about repentance: First, there is repentance ( a decision ) and then there is the fruit of repentance. If there is no fruit of repentance, then there was no repentance. The decision of repentance means to change ones mind about their sin : you no longer justify it, and you decide to forsake it, turn from it, by faith, trusting in God’s grace to help you. There has been a radical change in your view of your own sin.

    So, the real Jesus (the one in the Bible) comes to a man and calls him to repent and come to Him. This guy has only heard a false gospel, so he says to Jesus, “Look Jesus, this sounds like works to me, that you require me to repent of my evil before you will accept me. I was told you will accept me even without repenting of my evil? So I will make a deal with you: You accept me just as I am, while I fully intend to keep sinning against you and treading your blood under my feet,, and then, you slowly try and clean my life up. Ok?”

    Jesus says to Him: “So you say you want me AND your sins? Then you really don’t want me. You want a substitute for me, a counterfeit “jesus”, an idol.”

    ian vincent

    December 3, 2012 at 12:43 am

    • “To clear up one thing about repentance:”

      Ian, I must have been typing my post while you put this one up. Since I am not always a good writer – this post by Ian is what I intended to say.

      fleebabylon

      December 3, 2012 at 2:47 am

    • Well, Ian, I suppose a deluge of selected cross-references might be one way to advance one’s suppositions, but I think a responsible exegesis of the text at hand (in this case, 1 Cor 6) is the best place to start. As to your initial reply, “Ken, are you saying that Paul’s warning to the Corinthians, to professing Christians who continue in the sins listed, was to comfort them that, even though they will lose rewards, at least they won’t go to hell!”, I certainly did not write that, and highly doubt that Paul intended on comforting anyone who purposefully continued in sin. Did I write anything about hell? Did Paul, in that passage? It would certainly be a scandalous gospel that allowed people who persist in sin to enter heaven simply on the basis of an imperfect, spotty trust in Jesus alone!
      Since the passage you’ve cited, 1 Cor 6:9-11, rests squarely between two passages that speak of the moral conduct of believers (taking each other to court, 1-8, engaging in sexual immorality, 12-20), doesn’t it make sense that Paul’s writing would correspond to the rest of his comments in the very same chapter?
      Ian, I sense that you are fairly set in your convictions regarding this issue, and while I do not find your case to be compelling, I respect that you love your Lord, and have a desire that He find His church living a holy, faithful life, as do I. So perhaps it’s best to simply agree to disagree here. Blessings, brother!

      Ken

      December 3, 2012 at 4:25 am

  38. I want to say that I am now addressing professing believers (as opposed to what we can or can not present to a person prior to them professing faith in Christ) since ken has crossed the line into that realm.

    Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

    Because Jesus, we”believe” in you but just don’t want to serve you, and we have been warned about the heresy of lordship salvation and brought to the truth of free grace

    Today’s christendom makes up many such doctrines to defend themselves against the clear word of God and to explain away the lack of power, godliness, and true conversions. Look at the apostles clear language in all the epistles. He is warning the professing believers in Corinth that they will end up in hell if they continue living in and die in their current sins because continued, willful, unrepentant sin is a good sign that we have not been made new creations in Christ.

    These very warnings are meant as a means of grace for those who are true believers to be set free and walk in the reality that Christ died for. For true believers fallen into sin it is a sweet smelling aroma that humbles them and brings them to repentance and victory, for those that would use so called free-grace or other doctrine to justify themselves it will be the smell of eternal death. The notion in this thread that someone can believe in Jesus while hating and rejecting His judgments against their sins and demands on their life is not from God but is a lie from hell. Read John 8 and you will see a group of Jews who believed on Him and He tells them they do not truly belong to Him unless they accept/receive His word and continue in it. (John 8:30, 8:31, 8:43, 8:44).

    In the free grace camp it seems you can’t make the divide of saving faith from demon faith, wheat from tares, good fish from bad, sheep from goats, the wise virgin from the foolish, the faithful servant from the wicked, and so on… and then the entire word of God is twisted to fit this lack of separation. Do not be deceived though, according to the word of God (as opposed to the opinion of laodecian scholars) those who willfully continue in known sin:

    1) Are deceived and will reap destruction as oppose to everlasting life (Galatians 6:7-8)
    2) Are deceived and will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
    3) Are deceived children of the devil that have never seen or known Christ in saving faith (1 John 3:5-11)
    4) Will be cast into the lake of fire because they did not overcome through their professed faith (Revelation 21:6-8)

    Hebrews 10:26-39 is also a good read that addresses a general willful turning away from Christ and the certain fearful judgment of God and damnation that awaits such people.

    Thank God that He who begins a good work (by bringing us to saving faith) will complete it (by changing our hearts). Saving faith not only saves us from hell and makes us right in God’s sight through the blood of Jesus but it purifies and sanctifies us, teaching us to live Godly lives. God not only makes us good trees in theory but in reality, bringing forth good fruit in due season. That may look different in my life and yours compared to the thief on the cross who’s good fruit consisted of a simple confession, but it will bring forth good fruit… otherwise our professed faith is demon faith. There are many truths here that shiould not be separated:

    1) Practical sanctification is a process that works itself out different ways in each child of God
    2) This sanctification will happen though if you truly belong to God (sometimes God will discipline you as a child until you are trained by it to bring forth these fruits)
    3) We are not saved because of our sanctification but by grace through faith (the grace and faith that is ordained by God for our sanctification)

    I do not write to condemn any true saint and hope my words do not come across that way and I am not teaching sinless perfection, just practical sanctification. Jesus and the apostles never taught that someone who loved and planned to continue in their sin would be saved from Gods wrath without first having a change of heart though. Then that change of heart leads to outward change in due season. I’ll part with this Leonard Ravenhill quote:

    “If I was to ask you tonight if you were saved? Do you say ‘Yes, I am saved’. When? ‘Oh so and so preached, I got baptized and…’ Are you saved? What are you saved from, hell?
    Are you saved from bitterness?
    Are you saved from lust?
    Are you saved from cheating?
    Are you saved from lying?
    Are you saved from bad manners?
    Are you saved from rebellion against your parents?
    Come on, what are you saved from?”

    fleebabylon

    December 3, 2012 at 2:15 am

  39. “The decision of repentance means to change ones mind about their sin : you no longer justify it, and you decide to forsake it, turn from it, by faith, trusting in God’s grace to help you. There has been a radical change in your view of your own sin.”

    I do not see this anywhere in scripture. I would agree with the first part, no longer trying to justify sin. We can’t very well receive God’s grace for our sin when we aren’t willing to acknowledge it as what it is. As for deciding to forsake our sin, that’s God’s part. Ours is just to accept Jesus for who He is, and that what He’s done for us is enough to save us. What you described is not faith in Christ, it’s faith in self with a little bit of God’s help along the way. That’s not what the bible teaches.

    From the things you’ve posted, if God were to ask someone “why should I let you into heaven?” their answer should be “well I didn’t practice envy, murder, drunkenness, homosexuality, lies, fornication, immorality, etc.”

    That’s the wrong answer. The right answer is “because your son paid the price for me to get in.”

    “Do not be deceived though, according to the word of God (as opposed to the opinion of laodecian scholars) those who willfully continue in known sin:

    1) Are deceived and will reap destruction as oppose to everlasting life (Galatians 6:7-8)
    2) Are deceived and will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
    3) Are deceived children of the devil that have never seen or known Christ in saving faith (1 John 3:5-11)
    4) Will be cast into the lake of fire because they did not overcome through their professed faith (Revelation 21:6-8)”

    How about 5) are born again Christians who haven’t found their victory over sin yet.

    According to what you’re saying, only Christians walking in total victory are going to be saved. I’ve known good, God loving Christians, who have struggled with pornography after they were saved. Now, by God’s grace they got out, but do you think if they’d died in that state the blood of Jesus wouldn’t have been enough to justify them?

    What then do you do with Lot, who was declared righteous, but continually made unrighteous decisions?

    I believe Paul put those warnings there for a reason, so that if we find our lives full of those things, we can examine our relationship with God and see if it’s genuine or not, but not to create a new law by which we attempt to be justified. Many Christians have used these warnings to create a sense of self-righteousness, and to declare other Christians who still struggle with these things unsaved. It’s not right.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 3, 2012 at 6:20 am

  40. We cannot see our need for justification without awareness of personal sin.

    God’s goodness is revealed in this—that when we should rightly be destroyed—He makes a way for our escape.

    To understand His goodness, we must first possess knowledge of our personal sin and His righteous wrath against all ungodliness. Otherwise, His goodness [sacrificial death] makes no sense to us, and we will not appreciate it.

    This is why Jesus responded to the rich, young ruler with the commandments—to humble him and lead him to repentance—for he was consumed by pride [self-righteousness]. The proud despise the grace of God. Moreover, they will continually do so until they are humbled by an abiding conviction of their sinful condition, for which cause, they receive the law: “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet,” (Romans 7:7).

    Anytime anyone asks for God’s forgiveness, they are implicitly acknowledging their sinful condition before God.

    I think that Jim [Fleebabylon] is right. It is hard [even for people who have a relatively deep understanding of the word of God] to accurately summarize the word of God in the form of a systematic theology. There is no need to rewrite the Bible; the original version is best!

    Rather, we should let the words of God speak for [and clarify] themselves. I believe this is what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 2:13 when he wrote, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

    For example, after meditating upon Scott’s original post, I saw that emphasizing the need for repentance after salvation is not NECESSARY to be saved. However, as Jim rightly says, we cannot turn that fact into an excuse to ignore scriptural passages addressing the cost of discipleship, which Jesus was clearly communicating to lost souls : “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me,” (Mark 8:34).

    Responding to Christ’s challenge in Mark 8:34 requires believing that He is the Son of God: He is tempting them to faith, not asking for fruit prior to salvation or preaching a works-based salvation. [On the point of salvation by grace through faith, Jim, Daniel, and I are in agreement.]

    I also agree with Scott: we cannot love sin without hating righteousness. In the last days, the condemned are those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

    Jesus said this clearly concerning the love of earthly and spiritual riches: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” (Matthew 6:24).

    Repentance is this alone: faith in Christ—that He is the perfect [sinless] Lamb of God who gave His life in atonement for men’s sins—and has the power to forgive men’s sins and grant them eternal life.

    In Acts 14:11-dd, Paul and Barnabas are imploring the people to turn to faith in God. As Ian wrote earlier, the important thing is that people look to Jesus and see Him for Who He is.

    Bearing fruits worthy of repentance is not possible except by faith in Christ [that His blood alone has the power to justify men before God]: He is solitary doorway through which men may enter into the kingdom of God ().

    It is seeing Jesus for Who He is that resolves all these things.

    I agree with Ian that faith [righteousness] begets faith [righteousness]: and unbelief produces unrighteousness. Paul explained that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin,” (Romans 14:23).

    One thing is certain, dominion [power] over sin is only possible through faith in Christ, only granted to those who have had the law of sin and death transformed into the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, a living, breathing relationship with Him: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace,” (Romans 6:14).

    Ken, I really appreciate the spirit of your communications.

    Of course, we know that “inherit the kingdom of God” speaks specifically to salvation in 1 Corinthians 6 because the context makes it clear this is so:

    “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,” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

    I agree with all of Jim’s expressed comments on this point [and thanks, Jim, for the excellent, scriptural examples].

    Daniel, I think your last post simply represents a semantical misunderstanding between you and Jim. There is a difference between occasions of sin [which we all hate and regret] and living in a continual state of sin [because we love the sin]. In the first case, the believer is growing in obedience to Christ [there are other areas of his walk that are approved]. In the second case, obedience to the Holy Spirit has been replaced with a lust for sin.

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm

  41. Mark and Viki (not sure which on I’m talking to haha) I pretty much agree with everything you said. I don’t believe a person can receive grace for their sins, without first realizing they have sin. I also agree that the rich young ruler’s problem was self righteousness.

    As for the very last part where you talk about the Christian who “occassionally” sins, what constitutes occasional. Once a day, once a week, once a year? It’s kind of arbitrary. There are Christians who come into deep bondage to sin, where it does become a habitual thing because they simply don’t have (or at least feel they don’t have) the power to get out, and condemnation keeps them there.

    I saw a Joseph Prince clip, where they shared a testimony of a Christian man who came into deep bondage to pornography. He would look at adult websites twice a day. It wasn’t until he heard the message of grace that he was given power to break free. But here’s the thing: he had to receive the message of no condemnation while he was still in his sin, to break free from his sin.

    That’s why I’m not quick to call out habitual sinners as being unsaved, because it’s completely possible for a Christian to fall into deep, habitual bondage to sin. Then we, by misappropriating Paul’s warnings, help keep them there because we add to the condemnation that’s holding them there in bondage.

    You can hear the testimony in this video at 6:00, though the whole video is worth the watch and only about 9 minutes.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm

  42. Daniel said:

    “According to what you’re saying, only Christians walking in total victory are going to be saved. I’ve known good, God loving Christians, who have struggled with pornography after they were saved. Now, by God’s grace they got out, but do you think if they’d died in that state the blood of Jesus wouldn’t have been enough to justify them?”

    I never said that Daniel and sorry if I came across that way. I also agree with you point #5 you added if you reread me post, that is where the same warning is a means of grace to the true believer caught in sin but the smell of death to the false convert. On that note, I am going to do what I intended to do before, bow out of this conversation. There is a tension here for sure – on one hand you have a false grace theology that says that everyone who professes faith in Christ is saved even if they hate Jesus and bring forth rotten fruit their whole life. On the other hand you have what you thought I was saying (which again I never said) that if you are not walking in complete victory you are not saved. Of course you lean closer to one side and I the other but I trust neither of us holds to such an extreme heretical position.

    I can not speculate on what would happen if those you mentioned had died in that state of sin either. I can however warn, encourage, pray for, share my testimony with and love them. However, I can’t tell them to take comfort in their sin though. Here is my testimony of how God dealt with me on the issue of continued willful habitual unrepentant sin in my life (scroll down to ‘Please don’t send me to hell’ if you don’t want to read the whole thing). If you ever are near Detroit give me a shout and we can break bread and search the scriptures on this more face to face without the extra communication barrier the internet creates.

    http://fleebabylon.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/my-journey-out-of-babylon/

    Every good blessing to you in Christ Jesus friend and sorry if there was any undue offense (same to you Ken – Gods best to you in Christ Jesus).

    Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

    -Jim

    fleebabylon

    December 3, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    • No worries, brother! I’m glad we can start breaking down some walls that never should have built between brothers concerning this issue! If you ever find yourself in Portland, breakfast is on me!

      Ken

      December 4, 2012 at 1:33 am

    • edit

      ” but the smell of death to the false convert.” should read

      ” but the smell of death to the false convert who uses the grace of God a s a license to sin and has no desire to change despite the warnings of scripture”.

      fleebabylon

      December 4, 2012 at 1:41 am

  43. Daniel, as to the difference [or line] between occasions of sin and living in a continual state of sin, only God knows; let each man examine himself.

    In the Old Testament, God placed physical boundaries between the people and their sin:

    “And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether [it be] beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount,” (Exodus 19:12-13).

    Now, we have the greater witness and warning of the Holy Spirit.

    Peace,

    Mark

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

  44. Well then maybe it’s a line we better work on defining, because I’m tired of Christians saying things like “a Christian might occasionally sin, but shouldn’t willfully continue in sin” as if every sin isn’t an act of free will. It basically dumbs assurance of salvation down to “do you sin a little, or do you sin a lot?”

    If someone had thrown those warnings at that kid who’s testimony they read in the video, he probably would have been plummeted into worse condemnation and further into his porn addiction. At best he would have quit out of fear of condemnation, but it wouldn’t have lasted. Fortunately someone gave him teachings about grace, where he could learn who he was in Christ and be set free. That’s why I err so strongly on the side of grace.

    In the old testament Jesus hadn’t shed His blood for the remission of sins yet. The law always puts distance between us and God. Thank God the veil was torn, and sinful man can come into His presence on the basis of Jesus’ blood rather than performance. Thank God we’re on Mount Zion, not Mount Sinai.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm

  45. Ken, I found your reply to me dishonest. You avoided the issue, You made it very clear you believe that the warnings Paul gave re: not inheriting the Kingdom are not warnings re: forfeiting or being disqualified from salvation, but warnings about not inheriting rewards. Then you just fudged to get out of it, by mocking me and suggesting that only you do “exegesis”. I question such integrity.

    Daniel, It’s better to just to stick with the text, and lets discuss what the text says. Like, what 1 John 3 says about Christians not sinning. We are trying to discuss your assumptions and presuppositions, which is unprofitable and leads nowhere.

    ian vincent

    December 5, 2012 at 4:14 am

    • Hi Ian, “Dishonest” is a pretty heavy accusation to throw at someone you’ve never met. Yes, I disagree with your assumption that “inherit the kingdom” is limited to the actual salvation from hell, and not in consideration of a believer’s role and rewards in the kingdom of Christ, when it finally materializes on earth at His return, Therefore, I find your understanding of the term less than compelling, and so I do not believe it to be a proper interpretation of the text, as I’ve pointed out. As I’ve said, it appears that we are in disagreement about this issue. I would much rather we simply leave it at that, than engage in blogosphere polemics. This is not the way to do ministry, or honor Jesus, do you think? Let’s just give it a rest, and wait until the Day we are face to face with Truth Himself. I’m sure on that Day we’ll have many other things to resolve besides that who “got it right” today!

      Ken

      December 5, 2012 at 4:27 am

      • The context of 1 John 3 is obviously concerning those who sin as a lifestyle. That is a given, considering the subject of confessing sin, in the first chapter. So, like with the guy whom Joseph Prince referred to: ultimately it was shown that he was born of God bcos he could not continue in that lifestyle indefinitely: Or, he finally got born again after being a nominal Christian. But if that guy had defended his sin as a normal, healthy sexuality then he would never had repented, and thus shown he was not born of God. It is the fact that he repented which shows he has been born of God.

        Joseph Prince preaches grace and then goes and leeches money out of people. No fear of God.

        It’s not just the message of grace, it’s the message of the cross, which condemns sin, and reveals the wrath of God from heaven against unbelieving sinners, but then reveals God’s mercy extended to sinners. Only by knowing His righteous wrath against our sin can we rightly value the preciousness of the Blood of Christ and know His love.

        It’s how people accept the whole counsel of God, all of God’s word, which shows whats in them. Whenever they reject the passages about God’s wrath, and the warnings to believers, and say that they believe that God is ONLY loving and gracious and He would never do those things today, then we know they don’t believe in the Jesus of the Bible.

        ian vincent

        December 6, 2012 at 3:46 am

      • I never said “inherit the Kingdom” (in 1 Cor ) is limited only to people escaping hell, but it is a given that Paul meant that if anyone who does not inherit the Kingdom does not inherit eternal life and they go to hell. Paul was not offering comfort to unrepentant immoral people that they can be assured of heaven, only they will lose out on inheriting the rewards of heaven. (Don’t worry, i’ve ignored your mocking comments)

        ian vincent

        December 6, 2012 at 4:04 am

  46. Ian, I am sticking to the text. The text however, says a lot of things that must be taken into consideration. If I’m not mistaken, 1 John 3 says “no one who knows Christ sins” yet obviously all Christians sin. Please let me know when you encounter the sinless Christian. Paul even recounts his own struggle against sin in Romans 7, and in Romans 8 we read that he finds solace in that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. In fact, in VERY SAME text, we read “if we claim to have no sin we make God a liar” and in chapter 2 “if anyone does sin he has an advocate in Christ Jesus.”

    So obviously, we must take verses like “no one who knows Christ sins” in light of other verses like “where there is no law there is no transgression” and “it is no longer me who sins, but the sin in me.” In other words when we receive Christ as our savior, our sins are no longer accounted to us, so in light of that, no one who knows Christ sins.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 5, 2012 at 7:22 am

    • Hi Daniel,

      I wanted to comment on a couple things you said in your last comment:

      You said: “1 John 3 says “no one who knows Christ sins” yet obviously all Christians sin.”

      If I’m not mistaken, I’ve always thought that the NASB brought out the meaning of verse 8 better than other translations:

      1Jn 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

      It seems that this verse highlights a willful, persisting/practicing lifestyle of sin. In other words “bondage”.

      Also, you said: “In other words when we receive Christ as our savior, our sins are no longer accounted to us, so in light of that, no one who knows Christ sins.”

      If that is the case, that we “no longer sin” then why does God chastise and punish believers for sin and also call them adulteresses for their sin?

      1Co 11:30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
      1Co 11:31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.
      1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

      You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
      (Jas 4:4)

      Sean Scott

      December 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    • The context of 1 John 3 is obviously concerning those who sin as a lifestyle. That is a given, considering the subject of confessing sin, in the first chapter. So, like with the guy whom Joseph Prince referred to: ultimately it was shown that he was born of God bcos he could not continue in that lifestyle indefinitely: Or, he finally got born again after being a nominal Christian. But if that guy had defended his sin as a normal, healthy sexuality then he would never had repented, and thus shown he was not born of God. It is the fact that he repented which shows he has been born of God.

      Joseph Prince preaches grace and then goes and leeches money out of people. No fear of God.

      It’s not just the message of grace, it’s the message of the cross, which condemns sin, and reveals the wrath of God from heaven against unbelieving sinners, but then reveals God’s mercy extended to sinners. Only by knowing His righteous wrath against our sin can we rightly value the preciousness of the Blood of Christ and know His love.

      It’s how people accept the whole counsel of God, all of God’s word, which shows whats in them. Whenever they reject the passages about God’s wrath, and the warnings to believers, and say that they believe that God is ONLY loving and gracious and He would never do those things today, then we know they don’t believe in the Jesus of the Bible.

      ian vincent

      December 6, 2012 at 3:47 am

      • Yea Ian. I listened to a bunch of Joseph Prince youtube clips a while back. A few on grace were really good, UNTIL you saw just how one sided and off balanced he was. Not to mention that, like many of today’s preachers, everything they teach, say and write is for sale. Fleecing the flock. When you go to his website, what’s the first thing you see on his webpage?…”become a partner AND support the ministry”. Then of course, you can go to the store and buy individual sermons for $10 and music CD’s for $30. I guess grace isn’t really free! 😮 Can you imagine the Apostle Paul charging the churches a “love offering fee” to receive one of his letters? Of course not, but somehow people find the practice acceptable today.

        Sean Scott

        December 6, 2012 at 4:09 am

  47. Sean, 1 John 3:6 says “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.” That’s from the NASB.

    As for 1 Corinthians 11:30, I would like to quote the preceding verse “For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.”

    It says that they weren’t “discerning the Lord’s body,” Jesus’ body was broken for our healing (by His stripes we’re healed), so when you don’t discern communion as the Lord’s body, you don’t receive the physical healing he has for you. That’s why many were sick and falling asleep among them.

    As for the chastening, I grabbed this quote from Joseph Prince’s website that gives a good teaching on God’s chastening.

    “If Jesus has paid for our punishment, why does God still chasten us?

    When reading about the Lord’s chastening in Hebrews 12, it is important to understand that the book of Hebrews was written in Greek, and “chastening” is the Greek word paideuō, which means “to train children, to cause one to learn, or to be instructed or taught”. Hence, the Lord’s chastening is to be seen in the context of our heavenly Father teaching or disciplining His children.

    Now, we know we have a good heavenly Father who loves us very much (John 3:16). Jesus Himself shows how good our heavenly Father is when He asked in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” So, if earthly fathers do not teach or discipline their children with sickness, disease and poverty, then all the more, our heavenly Father will never teach us by punishing us with bad things.

    So how does God chasten, or train, His children? Hebrews 12:9–10 (KJV) explains, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.”

    These two verses make a comparison between “fathers of our flesh”, or our earthly fathers, and “Father of spirits”, our heavenly Father. “Fathers of our flesh” discipline our flesh, while “Father of spirits” disciplines us in our spirits, through His word. This means that as you read the Bible, or as you listen to God’s Word being preached, you are being trained, being taught by the Lord.

    The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that when God disciplines us, we know that we are sons, not illegitimate, that we are loved, and that we will live and profit (Hebrews 12:8–10). Chastening of the Lord, then, does not refer to God causing accidents or illness to happen to us, for if God disciplines you with death, sickness and disease, how will you “live” and where is the “profit”?”

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    • Hi Daniel,

      I was speaking about 1 John 3:8; which I mentioned in my comment. Those two verses have to be understood together. How do you understand 1 John 3:8 (NASB)? Also, if God doesn’t see our sin then why does he call his people adulterers and adultereses when they are “friends of the world”? Why expel the immoral brother in 1 Cor 5 when it’s not him that actually was sleeping with his father but the “sin in him” that was doing it?

      Also, the Joseph Prince article is just simply wrong. Joseph does not addressed the scriptures I brought up out of 1 Corinthians that Clearly speaks of the Lord’s chastisement that included believers being “weak, sick, and dying”. Your explanation for why they were sick and dying does not match the scripture, because the scriptures say they were this way because they did not judge themselves so they were judged by God.

      For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
      (1Co 11:29-32)

      Also, the book of Job (chapter 33) also speaks of God chastising men with sickness in order to bring them to repentance, to spare them from death. Joseph Princes’ reasoning is that if an earthly father wouldn’t chastise his son with sickness then why would a heavenly father. But I could try to use the same logic and say “well, I wouldn’t kill a liar, so God wouldn’t kill a liar”. However, we know that in Acts 5 God killed two individuals for lying. The real problem with Joseph’s article, besides his human reasoning, is that he doesn’t address the passages that most clearly deal with God’s chastisement.

      Sean Scott

      December 6, 2012 at 12:12 am

  48. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much worse punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done insult unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongs unto me, I will recompense, says the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
    (Heb 10:26-31)

    Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not arrogant, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also not spare you. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.
    (Rom 11:20-22)

    Paul exhorts us to consider well BOTH the goodness and severity of God. Money preachers (like JP) don’t ask people to consider the severity of God.

    You could say this to any true believer and they would agree with you: You are established in grace, justified by faith in Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit. Now, IF (God forbid) you went back to your old sins and got ensnared again in them, and could not get out again and could not repent cos you began to justify them (2 Peter 2:20) then you know that if God killed you in that condition and sent you to hell, then He would be perfectly fair, just, good and right to do so. Yes, amen. Any true believer believes this, and they do not take the grace of God in vain, or lightly.

    “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live sensibly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own, zealous of good works.”
    (Titus 2:11-14)

    ian vincent

    December 6, 2012 at 4:39 am

    • Yikes! Ian, I owe you an apology, for my comments have left you feeling mistreated, and I can see how you could very well have taken them that way, although I did not intend to insult you. It is certainly a good thing that honest, Bible believing Christians can disagree with each other and yet still honor one another at the same time!
      I hold to a Free Grace theology, obviously, and while I understand that taken to it’s extreme (as with all theological systems), it becomes absurd. I hope I have not done that, as it has brought me much freedom and spiritual growth in the 17 years that I have held to it. Free Grace simply asserts that a person is saved explicitly and solely through trust in Jesus’ promise to save all who believe in Him, and is not tied to a person’s sincerity, repentance, or subsequent experience of an improved, obedient life. These things are critical, and give much assurance, but they are not the elements of saving faith. They will grow a person’s faith, but will not save a person. (Again, I’m only expressing my beliefs, not what I think you or others ought to believe.)
      A Free Grace approach to 1 John asserts that the purpose of John in writing the book was not to provide a test of salvation, but a series of tests of the quality of one’s relationship to Jesus. I understand that your approach to the book is to assume that John’s uses of the present active verb is always limited to a description of a continuous act, ie, “continues sinning, as a lifestyle, etc. However, there are many other legitimate, even probable uses of the present active throughout the Bible that do not argue for continuous action, although they are in fact a present active verb. (cf. John 3:3 “verily, verily I say to you = “say” is a present tense, but does mean Jesus continued to “say”, Acts 9:34 “Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you.” = Jesus immediately healed the man, the healing was not an ongoing process, etc.) All Greek grammars delineate the various nuances of the present active verb–so by what rule of interpretation do we have the right to insist that only the interpretation that suits our theological predisposition is the one that MUST be the correct one?
      Likewise, I do not believe that the warnings in the book of Hebrews are given to provoke the reader into questioning the reality of his/her salvation, but to warn them of the certainty of judgment at the Bema seat of Christ–and the horrible possibility of losing ones rewards granted to him/her by Christ, but not the suggestion that one might lose his/her salvation, or that one might be confused as to whether they believe in Jesus or not (and are thus saved). That day of the judgment of our works in Christ should be a source of great concern to Christians, but it is often treated as a mere formality, or not considered at all. However, Paul (1 Cor 3:12-15, 9:27), Peter (1 Pet 5:1-4), and John (1 John 2:28) all lived their lives with great concern for that day. Personally, once I got my mind wrapped around the Bema judgment as a certainty I was motivated to obedience to the Lord in a way and to a depth that the fear of my faith not being “genuine, after all” had never motivated me toward.
      Well, I’ve written too much, but again, I apologize for offending you, Ian.
      Blessings, Ken
      PS. If you would like to research Free Grace theology, a good resource online is: http://www.freegracealliance.com/

      Ken

      December 6, 2012 at 6:15 am

      • Hi Ken,

        You said:

        Likewise, I do not believe that the warnings in the book of Hebrews are given to provoke the reader into questioning the reality of his/her salvation, but to warn them of the certainty of judgment at the Bema seat of Christ

        Can you show me how Hebrews teaches this….about the warnings being related to the Bema seat?

        Also, you said:

        A Free Grace approach to 1 John asserts that the purpose of John in writing the book was not to provide a test of salvation, but a series of tests of the quality of one’s relationship to Jesus.

        I would also like to know where you see this in 1 John. It seems that 1 John quite clearly tells us why it was written:

        These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1Jn 5:13)

        The book was written that we might know that we have eternal life, not that we might know the quality of our relationship to Jesus.

        Thanks,

        Sean

        Sean Scott

        December 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      • Hi Sean,

        Great questions, thank you for forcing me back to the text!

        Concerning Hebrews, my belief that the book is comprised of both encouragement ot persevere, and warnings of judgment for the failure to persevere is what leads me to the conclusion that the failure to persevere will result in shame and loss before the Bema seat. Although the writer does not use the word “bema,” I see the warning of judgment as exclusively related to that judgment, and not the Great White Throne judgement. Why? The writer urges his readers to move on from teaching concerning “eternal judgment,” That suggests to me that he is not concerned to go over that ground again. (6:1-3) However, he does refer to a coming judgment as his argument proceeds, (9:27, 10:27). Since he has stated his desire to leave behind the eternal judgment teaching, and move on towards “maturity” (6:1-2), I assume that he himself will form his argument according to that goal, maturity in the believer’s walk, and not the goal of further instruction regarding the issues of 6:1-3.

        I believe many have unduly attributed the warnings of Hebrews to be concerning eternal judgment, when the examples found in the book (all from the OT) are all accounts of temporal judgment, not eternal. Who claimed the right to transfer what is most logically understood sober warnings to Christians to not deny their Lord, having been saved, to the realm of “if you deny your Lord you will either lose your salvation (Armenian), OR, thus prove you never had it in the first place”? I realize we all interpret Scripture through the grid of our pre-suppositions, so while I don’t feel these interpreters are at all manipulative, dishonest, or deceived–I do feel they are more biased towards their theological convictions than they admit. (I know, we’ve ALL got to be wary of that!)

        Your comment, “The book was written that we might know that we have eternal life, not that we might know the quality of our relationship to Jesus,” reads to me, “This book was written to Christians so that they might know that they’re Christians, not so that they might evaluate and address the state of their relationship with Jesus, as Christians.” I understand that’s the take many, not all, have on this book. I just don’t see it that way anymore.

        As 1 John 5:13 says, “I write these things to you who believe…”, I assume that John really believes that his readers HAVE BELIEVED, and are therefore saved. (Since that’s what he says!) Since all who believe are indeed saved, according to many verses written by John (ie, John 3:16, 5:24, 1 John 5:10) it would be nonsensical for him to challenge or question the reality of their possession of eternal life, since he’s opens the whole verse by asserting that they have already met the criteria for such salvation! It would be like me saying to a group of husbands, “I’m saying this to you husbands so that you might know that you are really married.” Huh? If a man is a husband, he’s definitely married. However, I might say, “I’m writing to you husbands so that you may do a heart check on your marriage status. Not whether or not there is a ring on your finger and a framed license on your wall, but whether you are living your lives as men who have devoted yourselves to the love and care for your wives. Husbands, are you living as husbands?”

        So, to me, the most logical and straightforward approach to this issue is simply that John, and the writer to the Hebrews, believe they are writing to genuine, saved, believers who struggle with such issues as persistent sin and the need for a continued assurance of the quality of their faith–that they are truly experiencing an “eternal life” kind of walk with the Lord, and not muddying it up through unrepented sin.

        Besides that, do you stil struggle with believing you’re saved from hell, or have you moved beyond those initial, young-believer challenges? If you have moved on from those Heb 6.1ff challenges and issues, how does the book of 1 John remain relevant to you? Since you don’t struggle with the reality of your salvation, how does that book speak to you (or to me) any more? If you have grown to a mature, solid certainty of the state of your membership in God’s family, then the book of 1 John easily becomes a book for mere theological debate, or perhaps for warning other people about the state their souls, but isn’t really critical to we who have grown in assurance. However, if you hold that John wrote this book to provide an in-depth treatise on the various elements of a healthy relationship between the believer and his/her Lord, then the book is one that remains personally critical to the believer, for all of our lives! That’s been my experience with it, and remains so today.

        I know my beliefs don’t exactly square with many others on your blog, but rejoice in our common experience of having been saved by our loving Savior, and being granted the privilege of obeying Him!
        Blessings, Ken

        Ken

        December 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm

  49. Sean I see your point that 1 John 3:6 must be taken in the context of John 3:8. That simply proves that we must interpret all scripture in light of other scripture. It’s very easy to make a self based gospel that claims salvation on the basis of abstaining from sin, rather than on the basis of the cross, when you know the right verses.

    I understand pastor Prince’s article didn’t specifically address the verses you listed, but he did address many important aspects of God’s chastisement such as what the actual greek word meant. He also made a very good point that if God were to discipline us with sickness and death, we really couldn’t say with confidence that He’s a loving heavenly father. It would also seem odd to me that His son bore every sickness on the cross, and yet God would undermine that by sending believers sickness and death. It’s no wonder that most people think God’s out to punish them when we have teachings like this being perpetrated.

    How can we believe God for healing when we think He might be sending us sickness?

    How can we believe God for financial breakthrough when we think He could be sending us poverty?

    How can we believe God for forgiveness, when we think he’s still holding our sins against us?

    How can we look to God as the answer for our problems, when we think He might have sent them?

    How can we even have faith in God when we don’t even know if He’s on our side?

    How can we believe Hebrews 10:17 when we think god is remembering our sin?

    Ian, why do you accuse pastor Prince of being a “money preacher”? Have you ever actually taken the time to read or listen to his teachings, or are you just believing the lies that have been perpetrated by legalistic Christians?

    Joseph Prince, is simply a man who’s heart desire is to see Jesus and His finished work back at the center of the church. Many a person have been set free from drugs, pornography, and various other sins and addictions through his grace preaching. So maybe before you judge someone, you should actually look at the fruit of his ministry.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 6, 2012 at 7:36 am

    • It’s very easy to make a self based gospel that claims salvation on the basis of abstaining from sin, rather than on the basis of the cross, when you know the right verses.

      Yes, I agree, but no one is doing that. At the heart of what we are discussing is does the gospel actually have any power? When someone is regenerated does God actually do a work in them of freeing them from the bondage of sin or is salvation simply a “knowledge of Christ” and God leaves the person unchanged. I believe the scripture teaches that salvation is through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which leads to an actual experience with Christ called the “new birth”, in which the living Christ dwells in them by His Spirit making them a new creation. You previously stated that someone could want to be saved and still be unwilling to want to have certain sinful aspects of their life changed. So in other words you would say that a person who know’s adultery is wrong, could say, “I want Jesus to save me but I want to keep committing adultery”. That’s foolishness. A person like that does not understand the gospel or the grace of God. And when someone is born of God, through the new birth, sin’s power over their life is broken as Romans 6 and John 8 both teach. I’m not saying the believer is immediately and perfectly sanctified in the present experience, or that there aren’t area’s where they might struggle with some sin, but the general course of their life will be a deliverance from sin’s power and dominion. I do believe that believers can have area’s of sin where they struggle, but I do not believe they can have the attitude that you said one could have and still be saved.

      On to Prince…. You said:

      I understand pastor Prince’s article didn’t specifically address the verses you listed, but he did address many important aspects of God’s chastisement such as what the actual greek word meant. He also made a very good point that if God were to discipline us with sickness and death, we really couldn’t say with confidence that He’s a loving heavenly father.

      His understanding of chastisement is false. Joseph maintains that the Father disciplines us through His word. While God does correct us and train us through His word, the scriptures themselves – HIS WORD – the very thing He trains us with, teaches us that He sometimes chastises believer with sickness for their sin. 1 Cor 11 clearly teaches this:

      For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
      (1Co 11:29-32)

      It’s very easy to read the above passage and see what it means. These believers were JUDGED BY THE LORD. What was their judgement? The scripture plainly says, “they were weak, sick, and some were dying”. This passage of scripture also CLEARLY calls this judgment DISCIPLINE. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. How could Joseph Prince write and article on the Lord’s chastisement and discipline and not look at the one passage that CLEARLY gives us an example and explanation of what it is? How can you be a bible teacher and teach on a subject and not address the most glaring New Testament passage that speaks on the subject? Though I can’t judge his motives, it seems a little suspect that he would leave out a passage of scripture that teaches what the truth is, while he teaches something totally contrary to what God’s word teaches. This principle of God’s chastisement is not a new thing. God, who changes not, operated the same way in the Old Testament. Read this passage out of Job 33:

      For God may speak in one way, or in another, Yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds, Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction. In order to turn man from his deed, And conceal pride from man, He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword. “Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with strong pain in many of his bones, So that his life abhors bread, And his soul succulent food. His flesh wastes away from sight, And his bones stick out which once were not seen. Yes, his soul draws near the Pit, And his life to the executioners. “If there is a messenger for him, A mediator, one among a thousand, To show man His uprightness, Then He is gracious to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom’; His flesh shall be young like a child’s, He shall return to the days of his youth.
      (Job 33:14-25)

      This passage has so many similarities with the passage in Hebrews 12. God chastise men to correct them and kept them back from the PIT. He chastise them with sickness for the sins. When he is restored, his flesh is restored as well. In Hebrews 12, when a believer has learned from their chastisement, they are also healed:

      Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
      (Heb 12:12-13)

      (Here’s a short post I wrote on Hebrews 12 and chastisement: https://preachingjesus.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/ye-have-forgotten-have-you-forgotten/ )

      Let me go through each of the questions you posted:

      1.

      How can we believe God for healing when we think He might be sending us sickness?

      If God is chastising you for disobedience and willful sin, then you cannot expect healing till you have repented or made right whatever area God is dealing with you on. However, after you have learned from the chastisement, and been trained by it, you can expect healing and restoration.

      Heb 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
      Heb 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

      The problem is, is that believers are falsely taught that this God of grace would never do anything like this to His children, and that they can sin and not worry because they are under Grace. So when they are sick, they never examine their life (or the scriptures) to see if this has been brought on them because of their sin and disobedience. So pastors actually preach and teach this false message that hinders believers from actually experiencing healing, from learning from God’s correction, and from viewing God right.

      2.

      How can we believe God for financial breakthrough when we think He could be sending us poverty?

      Why should one expect a financial breakthrough if they are living in sin? Should the guy in 1 Cor 5, who was sleeping with his fathers wife, have expected a “financial breakthrough”? Our God, who does not change, clearly blessed or cursed His people in the Old Testament based upon their obedience or disobedience (Deu 28). Should they have said like you have said, “How can we trust God as a good Father and know He loves us if he might be sending on us all these evil things? How can we trust Him as a Father?” Clearly God loved His people even when He was judging them and chastising them for their sin and disobedience.

      3.

      How can we believe God for forgiveness, when we think he’s still holding our sins against us?

      When David sinned with Bathsheeba, he was forgiven when confession with repentance was made. YET he still had to suffer the consequences because of his sin. (Did the fact that David was chastised mean that God didn’t love Him? No, it was proof that God did.) Also, Was God holding the fornicators sin against him in 1 Cor 5? If God wasn’t, then why did Paul command the man to be expelled from the Church? Did Paul not understand grace?

      4.

      How can we look to God as the answer for our problems, when we think He might have sent them?

      If you have the testimony from God that you have a clean conscience, that there is nothing between you and God, then you can be sure that God is not chastising you. However, even when a believer walks in obedience to God, it doesn’t mean they won’t have problems, even problems or trials that were ordained by God for our benefit. You seem to be saying that God could not ordain problems and trials AND also be the way out or through the trial. This is false, and we know this because of Pauls thorn in the flesh. The thorn was given by God AND the answer to the thorn was also given by God. Both from God.

      And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
      (2Co 12:7-9)

      5.

      How can we even have faith in God when we don’t even know if He’s on our side?

      Even in chastisement, God is on our side. He chastise us to keep us back from the “pit”, to train us to walk in righteousness.

      Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction, That He may turn man aside from his conduct, And keep man from pride; He keeps back his soul from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol. (Job 33:16-18)

      For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. (Heb 12:10)

      6.

      How can we believe Hebrews 10:17 when we think god is remembering our sin?

      I think John Gill gives a good explanation of what this passage speaks to:

      And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. See Gill on Heb_8:10. The words are cited to a different purpose here than there; the principal thing for which they are cited here, is to observe God’s promise of non-remembrance of sin; which is no other than remission of sin, and which is not consistent with legal sacrifices, in which there is a remembrance of sin every year, Heb_10:3

      God seems to be primarily speaking of the remission of our sins as it relates to acceptance into the new covenant and pardon from the judgement and damnation to come. It is quite clear that God speaks to believers regarding their sin and rebellion that they might and do have after they have believed; such as the case in 1 Cor 11. As I pointed out earlier, which you never commented on, God also speak directly to the sin of His people when they “love the world”. He calls them adulterers and adulteresses. Now why would God call them that if He did not see their sin? Why would God have the immoral brother expelled for his sin in 1 Cor 5 if God did not see it?

      Daniel, while I myself would say I lean more to the free grace side (if we are using labels), I believe that you have a faulty view of God’s grace that is not supported by the whole of scripture on this subject. While some things Joseph Prince has said regarding grace have been good, he is WAY off base in his understanding of grace…. so much so that it is actually detrimental to God’s people.
      e
      You asked Ian how he could know that Joseph Prince is a money preacher? It’s not very hard to see. It’s clear from visiting his website that he doesn’t trust God for his finances, or maybe the finances for the church, but instead ask people for funds and sells the supposed messages that he gets from God to preach. The very first thing you see when you visit his site is “give me money, donate to my ministry, etc”. He/the church charge $10 for individual sermons. Can you imagine the apostle Paul charging for each of his sermons? Let’s look at the heart of Paul:

      What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. (1Co 9:18)

      Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge?
      (2Co 11:7)

      What instructions did Paul give us about his lifestyle?

      Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. (1Co 11:1)

      Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. (1Co 4:16)

      Paul imitated Christ and freely gave, we should too. If we have the word of life, the message of God’s grace that can set people free, how could we ever charge men for it, ESPECIALLY when we can offer it free so easily through the internet AS MANY ministries do???

      Lastly, you said:

      So maybe before you judge someone, you should actually look at the fruit of his ministry.

      I would say it’s better to look at the “whole man” and what he teaches. Even in Revelations when a church has something good in it, Jesus acknowledged it but then pointed out what they were doing that was false. He didn’t just look at the fruit..he looked at the whole picture.

      (sorry for the typo’s…just corrected some of them!)

      Sean Scott

      December 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      • I really do mean this in the best possible way, with no malice, only in truth.

        It really is hysterical reading Sean’s comments. By that, I mean, he tickles me in the way that he systematically [and simply, which is evidence of the Lord’s wisdom] addresses every false notion.

        The problem is that human reasoning falls far short of heavenly wisdom.

        We must believe the scriptures, as they are written [plainly].

        It also [to be baldly honest] evidences the difference between spending time learning from the Holy Spirit and getting most of our teaching from simply believing what ‘elite’ teachers tells us to believe: in fact, that is the whole trouble with many believers today; they are more likely to believe man than God.

        P.S. It is extraordinarily helpful for my walk to have access to believers like Ian and Sean. This is not a statement of approval concerning Sean and Ian; it is more like a testimony of the fruit that their ministry in the Lord Jesus has born in my life.

        May God get the glory,

        Mark

        Mark and Vicki Finger

        December 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      • As a P.S. to my previous comment:

        I spent a lot of time at one point in my Christian walk following after ‘God’s elite’ and learning from their feet: then, at one point, God said, “Why don’t you let me explain to you what these verses mean?”

        … and the journey has been different ever since.

        Also, the reason why there is even any [agreeable] dispute on the issue of chastisement is because few in the church teach any longer on the process God uses to bring saints to maturity in Christ: “… suffering according to the will of God,” [1 Peter 4:19].

        As I recall, the scriptures are clear that ONLY those who suffer with Christ [partake of His sufferings by taking up the yoke of His kingdom] will reign with Him [2 Timothy 2:12].

        Inconvenient verses for the “God came to improve the quality of your life” teaching contingent …

        Mark and Vicki Finger

        December 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

  50. I wrote this before reading some of the comments, so I may repeat some things said before: however, I view this over-lap as a form of confirmation; for the Bible is of no private interpretation [Galatians 1].

    1 John 3 contrasts the intrinsic, carnal nature of man [unrighteousness] and the new nature of the redeemed [righteousness], which is the difference between walking in darkness [the rule of the flesh] and walking in the light [the rule of the Spirit]:

    If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    1 John 1:6-7

    The points made seem simple:

    • There should be evidence of a changed lifestyle in professing believers
    • There should be continued confession of sin after salvation
    • The consequence of continued repentance and confession of sin after salvation is continued forgiveness of sin from God

    With this understanding, 1 John 3:6 makes sense:

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

    To abide in Christ is to walk by faith; and an ungodly lifestyle is evidence of a false conversion. The English Standard Version says it like this:

    No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

    –1 John 3:6

    This type of contrast between the flesh and the Spirit is a consistent, apostolic theme. For example, it is similar to what Paul does in 1 Corinthians 6 when he lists works of the flesh that are common to those who live in a continual state of sin (verses 9-10), as a contrast to those who now do the works of God (verse 11). In fact, in Galatians, Paul clearly contrasts the divine and carnal natures and provides examples of the kind of fruit that each state produces (Galatians 5:16-24). Finally, in Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul reminds the redeemed of their ungodly lifestyles in times past when the anti-christ spirit worked through them–and then contrasts that to our current state as regenerate believers—created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

    With this understanding, the following verses make sense:

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

    –1 John 3:6

    Those who know the Lord will not continue in their former, ungodly lifestyles—and habitual sins—for they have been delivered from the power of sin. The evidence of a changed [regenerate] life is the practice of righteousness. In this way, a man is justified both by his faith [foremost] and his works [secondarily], as James rightly taught, noting Abraham’s example (James 2:24). The point is this: faith produces spiritual works; and these works are evidence of our faith. The two [faith and works] are always found in conjunction with another:

    “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works,” (James 2:17-18).

    This truth [faith without works is dead] prevents ungodly men from claiming faith as a defense against their ungodly lifestyles. Moreover, it communicates the fact that God tempts men to righteousness, not sin, which promotes spiritual accountability and the practice of church discipline.

    Notice, James clearly teaches that God plants [quickens] His words in our heart [whether the gospel or any teaching revealed by the Spirit]—granting us the power to go beyond spiritual understanding—to spiritual knowledge [actual application of His teaching by faith]:

    Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

    –James 1:21-22

    If the ungodly are without excuse for their sin (Romans 1:20), how much more are we who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit without excuse?

    Pointedly, it is not enough to begin in faith, we must continue therein:

    If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    –John 8:31-32

    The apostolic texts all agree: we are not to create a permissive culture of sin within our assemblies, but rather to discipline unruly members (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:11; Galatians 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,13-15; Titus 3:9-11).

    Of course, we are not to seek after men’s destruction, ministering condemnation [for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God–James 1:19]. This is a wrong spirit:

    Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

    –Luke 9:54-56

    Rather, we should preach the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of God over the bondage of sin (Romans 6:14)—and if they will not repent, separate ourselves from them—while continuing to count them as a brother:

    And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

    –2 Thessalonians 3:14-15

    Notice, the warnings of God are not condemning, but loving [for they are designed to turn men from destruction]: if they are communicated in the same Spirit in which we received them.

    The deeper issue at work is that those struggling with sin must put their faith squarely and solely upon the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. [If Christ can save our soul, can He not free us from sin?]

    Once the enslaved see that it is the same faith that saved them that sets them free, they are able to break free–whether at once–or through a protracted but steadily improving struggle.

    There is no acceptable excuse for ignoring the warnings of the Holy Spirit and continuing in the practice of habitual sins, as Hebrews 10:26-29 makes clear:

    For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

    Where is the line between acceptance and rejection with God?—only the man who continually transgresses knows—for the Holy Spirit makes it plainly known to him.

    To believe otherwise, would be to count God as unjust.

    P.S. Regarding 1 Corinthians 11:30 and not discerning the Lord’s body:

    Who are these people who do not discern the Lord’s body?

    There are 2 groups that fit into this category:

    1. The unsaved—for these certainly eat and drink unworthily [as unjustified sinners]—and are guilty of the blood and body of the Lord Jesus, being yet condemned.
    2. Those who have turned grace into a license to sin, showing no reverence for the Lord Jesus, in that they treat that which is sacred as common: and this was evidenced by their selfishness [gluttony] and lack of love for their brethren.

    P.P.S. I really like this: “I really like this: “It’s not just the message of grace, it’s the message of the cross, which condemns sin, and reveals the wrath of God from heaven against unbelieving sinners, but then reveals God’s mercy extended to sinners. Only by knowing His righteous wrath against our sin can we rightly value the preciousness of the Blood of Christ and know His love.”

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm

  51. The point of 1 John 1:6-7 is that there will always be occasions of sin [which is entirely different than living in a continual state of habitual sin].

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

  52. “Yes, I agree, but no one is doing that. At the heart of what we are discussing is does the gospel actually have any power?”

    I never said that the gospel shouldn’t change a life or cause a person to bear good fruit. I was simply acknowledging the fact that there are true, fruit bearing Christians, who get deeply ensnared in a sin (such as pornography), to the point where it becomes habitual. So to say that no one who “continues is a sin” has assurance of salvation is not the whole council of God. In, fact, some (such as the man who’s testimony was in the video I posted) need to be reassured of their salvation and who they are in Christ to break free.

    “If God is chastising you for disobedience and willful sin, then you cannot expect healing till you have repented or made right whatever area God is dealing with you on.”

    “Why should one expect a financial breakthrough if they are living in sin? Should the guy in 1 Cor 5, who was sleeping with his fathers wife, have expected a “financial breakthrough”?””

    “If you have the testimony from God that you have a clean conscience, that there is nothing between you and God, then you can be sure that God is not chastising you.”

    Basically what I got out of these three quotes is that we can expect good from God not on the basis of the cross, but the basis of works.

    “Our God, who does not change, clearly blessed or cursed His people in the Old Testament based upon their obedience or disobedience”

    Our God didn’t change but the covenant did. It’s no longer based on our obedience but Jesus’ obedience. The new covenant is cut between Jesus and the father, with Jesus on our behalf. If God still treats us the same as He did under the law, then what did the cross accomplish? Did the cross change things or not?

    David and Bathsheeba also happened pre-cross. We’re not under that covenant anymore.

    “God seems to be primarily speaking of the remission of our sins as it relates to acceptance into the new covenant and pardon from the judgement and damnation to come.”

    To me it’s a pretty simple statement “their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” If God’s still keeping track of my sins that statement is not true and the blood of Jesus hasn’t done anything.

    As for why Paul would say to “expel the immoral brother” is so that he doesn’t corrupt others in the church. Another reason would also be so that he could hit rock bottom in his sin, and come out of it. Sin has it’s own consequences that aren’t judgment from God.

    “You asked Ian how he could know that Joseph Prince is a money preacher? It’s not very hard to see. It’s clear from visiting his website that he doesn’t trust God for his finances, or maybe the finances for the church, but instead ask people for funds and sells the supposed messages that he gets from God to preach”

    If it’s wrong to publish teachings, I guess Christians ought to boycott Christian bookstores. It doesn’t make you a “money preacher” to ask for donations to fun a world wide ministry, or to publish and sell teachings. There’s even a verse in 1 or 2 Timothy that if you’ve benefited spiritually from someone’s teachings, it’s fair that they benefit from your earthly goods.

    Obviously though, we have a fundamental disagreement on what grace is, and on the full implications of what Jesus’ shed blood has really done for us, and whether the cross actually changed anything or not. So I’ll let you have the last word, and I’ll read it, but I will respectfully bow out.

    Thanks again for the article.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    • In, fact, some (such as the man who’s testimony was in the video I posted) need to be reassured of their salvation and who they are in Christ to break free.

      Actually, what they need to be assured of is that IF they belong to Christ, then Christ HAS given them the power over sin and has set them free from it. The Lord is the one who gives assurance of salvation. But that example is entirely different from the scenario that you originally wrote about. You originally said that a man could be saved even if he did not want to give up (or be set free) from a lifestyle that He know’s God condemns. That statement is simply not true. As Jim pointed out earlier, no idolater could willfully want to stay in idolatry and at the same time be saved by Christ.

      You said:

      Basically what I got out of these three quotes is that we can expect good from God not on the basis of the cross, but the basis of works.

      Read this small sample of scriptures:

      HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. (Eph 6:2-3)

      But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. (1Co 11:31)

      Luk 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you.

      that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. (Mat 6:4)

      Jas 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

      Jas 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

      Yes, we received salvation based on the work of Jesus for us at the cross. As believers we can expect good from God because He is good, AND we can expect good from God because we obey; such as honoring parents, judging ourselves, giving, doing giving and praying in secret, drawing near to God, and humbling ourselves. Each of these scriptures says that if we do something – God will do something good for us; and that good is based on our works. And if we do evil we can expect our Father to chastise and discipline us, as the scriptures teach.

      Have you every noticed how Jesus judges each of the churches in Revelations; the churches who have been saved by grace? Here’s a rundown of each church:

      1. Ephesus: Rev 2:2 “I know your works,
      2. Smyrna: Rev 2:9 “I know your works,
      3. Pergamos: Rev 2:13 “I know your works,
      4. Thyatira: Rev 2:19 “I know your works
      5. Sardis: Rev 3:1 I know your works,
      6. Philadelpia: Rev 3:8 “I know your works.
      7. Laodociea: Rev 3:15 “I know your works

      It’s quite clear that God deals with His people, rewards them or chastises them, based on their works.. based on their obedience to His word or their disobedience to it. So yes, God saves people based on the work of Jesus Christ for us at the cross, and He does good and blesses His people according to their obedience and chastises them according to their disobedience. The scriptures quite clearly teach this.

      Also Daniel, you never addressed what I said about 1 Cor 11. The passage clearly showed that the sickness, weakness and death was a judgment from God and the scriptures say it was a form of discipline. Do you deny that? It’s right there, plain as day to see. If it doesn’t mean what it says can you tell me what it means verse by verse?

      You said:

      Our God didn’t change but the covenant did. It’s no longer based on our obedience but Jesus’ obedience. The new covenant is cut between Jesus and the father, with Jesus on our behalf. If God still treats us the same as He did under the law, then what did the cross accomplish? Did the cross change things or not?

      David and Bathsheeba also happened pre-cross. We’re not under that covenant anymore.

      The difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is that God would now write his laws in our hearts and minds and that He would dwell in us by His Spirit (we would be new creations with the bondage of sin broken). Old Testament saints were still saved by their faith in God, and not their perfect adherence to the law which was impossible.

      “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR HEARTS, AND IN THEIR MINDS I WILL WRITE THEM,” (Heb 10:16)

      As God has said: “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM. I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.” (2Co 6:16)

      Simply because we do not live under the Levitical does not mean that God never chastises His people for sin. The scriptures quite clearly teach that He does chastise His people for their sins. The Joseph Prince article says that God chastises His people with His word (written word). That makes no sense. So every believer who reads God’s word is chastise by him? The believers that the author of Hebrews was writing to, and other believers as well, did not have the New Testament words to read! So were they without chastisement and therefore illegitimate children?

      You said:

      Another reason would also be so that he could hit rock bottom in his sin, and come out of it. Sin has it’s own consequences that aren’t judgment from God.

      Actually it said that he was to be handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. Now imagine, God by His Spirit, is telling Paul to have this man (professing believer) to be handed over to Satan because of his sin. That is not just the natural consequence for sin. That is God actively turning a man over to the devil as a form of judgment for his ungodly life. And of course, God’s ultimate intention is good towards this man. God did this to bring the man to repentance, which is the same principle we see in 1 Cor 11 when God is judging the believers in Corinth for their ungodly behavior.

      You said:

      If it’s wrong to publish teachings, I guess Christians ought to boycott Christian bookstores. It doesn’t make you a “money preacher” to ask for donations to fun a world wide ministry, or to publish and sell teachings. There’s even a verse in 1 or 2 Timothy that if you’ve benefited spiritually from someone’s teachings, it’s fair that they benefit from your earthly goods.

      There are no examples in scripture of any man selling the truth in order to fund their ministry. Can you show me one? I can see where believers are encourage to support those who teach and preach, and where teachers and preachers are able to receive from the saints…. but I do not find one example of where teachers and preachers are to “sell the truth” and require a payment BEFORE they can receive the ministry. That’s entirely different.

      Lastly you said:

      Obviously though, we have a fundamental disagreement on what grace is, and on the full implications of what Jesus’ shed blood has really done for us, and whether the cross actually changed anything or not.

      Daniel, I don’t mean for this to sound disrespectful, please forgive me if it does, but the disagreement is not entirely about what grace is, but it’s about what the scriptures teach. You have not addressed the scriptures I posted from 1 Cor 11 and the ones that show the relation between Job 33 and Hebrews 12. I also hope that you’ll respond to the scriptures I’ve shared in this reply. It’s quite clear that God “does good” to His people based on their works – their obedience to His word. It’s also quite clear that He chastises and judges when they do the opposite. If what you are saying it true, that God does not bless or chastise His people based on their actions, then none of the above verses would be found in the bible.

      IN Christ,

      Sean

      Sean Scott

      December 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm

  53. I would also add, that JP has a FREE daily devotional posted from his Facebook page that I and many others have been blessed by.

    Daniel Cartwright

    December 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    • I would also add, that JP has a FREE daily devotional posted from his Facebook page that I and many others have been blessed by.

      That’s good I guess. Have you noticed though, that most of his youtube clips are small excerpts taken out of full messages? It advertising this is know as a “tease”. It’s enough to draw people in to purchase the full thing. What would be the motivation for wanting to charge people to hear God’s word? Is it because the love money or is it because they don’t trust God to meet their financial needs? If God has called someone to a ministry, won’t He fund it without the person having to sell the truth?

      Sean Scott

      December 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm

  54. It is precisely because we have the power of the cross at our disposal that accountability under the New Testament and Covenant is increased.

    Remember this? [from Sean]: “I’m not saying the believer is immediately and perfectly sanctified in the present experience, or that there aren’t area’s where they might struggle with some sin, but the general course of their life will be a deliverance from sin’s power and dominion.”

    The above is not a legalistic statement.

    Moreover, a New Testament believer cannot argue that they have no power [ability] to repent, unless they have no faith in the power of the cross to not only save, but also to sanctify. [This is not necessarily their fault; they actually never have been taught correctly.]

    How is the perfect power and strength of God and His cross best exemplified? Is it not in the evidence of a changed life?

    Is anyone arguing against this?

    Pointedly, a works-based consciousness would never argue FOR the power and ability of the cross to sanctify [transform] believers’ lives. Only a person with a FAITH-based conscience would do so.

    In fact, anyone who argues that Christ has not granted men the power to lead transformed lives is belittling the perfect work of the cross.

    “Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more” is not an argument against the power of cross to sanctify or for teaching grace as a license to sin: Paul dealt with this specifically when he said the following:

    “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:15-16).

    Now, look at the verse that precedes these two: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14).

    Knowing that men would preach grace absent the accountability and power of the cross, God specifically rebuked this teaching in that exact context.

    Interesting, eh?

    P.S. I am enjoying the conversation and finding it profitable. While I am being direct in my comments, I really appreciate how gracious everyone is being. Peace

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    December 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    • Amen Mark. That was well said.

      Sean Scott

      December 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm

  55. “If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord’s will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Do not suppose that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified by going to the worldlings and telling them that they may be saved at this moment by simply accepting Christ as their Savior, while they are wedded to their idols, and their hearts are still in love with sin. If I do so I tell them a lie, pervert the Gospel , insult Christ, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.” – C. H. Spurgeon

    fleebabylon

    February 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm

  56. Excellent quote by Spurgeon. Even in the ministry of the Lord Jesus you see Him actually turning away from many who said they believed in Him, when He perceived their hearts were not changed, and He would not commit Himself to them.

    “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,”
    (John 2:23-24)

    And, as Joseph Prince has been mentioned in this thread: people often quote him on Facebook. What i’ve noticed with his message is that salvation is the “hoop” you jump thru to get into the REAL business which is all about YOU getting all that you want in life, getting “favor”, “success”. The only limiting factor is your faith. If you build your faith the sky is the limit you can get everything you covet after. He says that just as you got saved by faith now, IF you have enough faith you can get everything you ever wanted in this life. It is anthropocentric – the gospel is twisted around to be all about YOU and your success and you getting what you want.

    And this is becoming the normal these days. Reminds me of Rick Warren’s PDL : Just jump thru the hoop, it’s quick and easy, will only take 5 mins of your time to accept Jesus, and then you can forget about Jesus and get into pursuing your selfish desires. Jesus is presented as a means to another end. It’s not really about Him, its all about you.

    Put Paul the Apostle alongside any of these and they would look like a joke.

    ian vincent

    February 7, 2013 at 2:17 am

  57. I really needed to hear someone [Ian] unapologetically speak the truth today.

    It was so encouraging to me.

    Thank you, Ian.

    As for the Joseph Prince video and the claim that the man could not break free of pornography until he no longer felt condemned: I don’t believe it.

    Our conscience condemns us [all people] when we sin, so that we have a natural witness that we are doing wrong. For the believer, we FEEL the grieving of the Holy Spirit [and we ourselves are grieved, unless we have become accustomed to the sin, which is dangerous ground].

    Most definitely, we condemn ourselves [for we know we are wrong]; Satan condemns us.

    This type of talk [a refusal to confront sin, as sin] is so much waffling and soap-operish drama [what Ian calls navel gazing]: moreover, it is not helpful to the one who offends.

    The people who speak the truth boldly and plainly are the ones who have helped me the most in life–who have encouraged me the most.

    Why? I WANT to be accountable to the truth.

    Now, we need to teach about the power of the cross to deliver, but sin is sin: and we need to call it out plainly for what it is.

    In the last days, it is bold, plain speaking of the truths of God that will deliver us from deception.

    Anything else IS deception.

    Peace,

    Mark

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    February 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm

  58. Is there anyone in the Bible that managed to clean up their flesh enough to please God? The carnal mind and the flesh are against God, as is recorded all through the Bible.

    tagzilla

    February 19, 2013 at 12:03 am

    • But that’s not how God does it. The gospel is never clean up your life first. When a person is truly believing in Jesus then they ARE repentant (otherwise they would just be a hypocrite) and then the Holy Spirit fills them and gives them power over sin and the flesh, to walk in the Spirit.

      ian vincent

      February 19, 2013 at 2:48 am

      • Im probably preaching to the choir (i hope) but its good to remember that Biblical repentance is a change of mind due to a change of heart – the changed heart must influence and change the mind. So its a position one takes concerning their past life, past sins, that they no longer justify or excuse it and they are committed to not continuing in them. Then, the position of repentance leads to the fruit of repentance. The fruit of repentance (what some may call “cleaning up your life”) is only the result, the effect and not the cause (cause and effect). No one whose life Christ has transformed has been transformed without Christ working repentance in them, and then consequently bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

        False conversion is a repentance-less “conversion” – the person has retained some justification or excuse for their sins, and therefore they have not repented before God. Like Peter said to Simon Magus “you are still in the bond of iniquity” even though he was a baptized church member. And this is too common in these days.

        ian vincent

        February 19, 2013 at 3:28 am

      • I don’t see any evidence in the Bible that the gospel involves cleaning up the flesh to please God. No one has ever been able to do it. The repentance is changing your mind about how God views righteousness, and that is to turn to God for salvation through faith and trust in what Christ did at Calvary. Trying to then “clean up the flesh” as a result of trusting what Christ did for you will only result in adding works to the gospel, which we are plainly told not to do.

        tagzilla

        February 25, 2013 at 7:24 pm

  59. Faith always leads to a course of action

    Faith, what you believe, always leads to a course of action, so much so that it’s hard to separate the faith or belief from the action when the action is the result of faith, which is what James said, that he will show us his faith by his works or actions (James 2:18). Meaning: You only know a person’s faith by their actions, not by their talk.

    Like it would be hard to separate the belief that you can walk from, actually, walking. We do according to what we believe – perfectly.

    Here’s some simple examples: You believe that it’s going to rain heavily today so you take an umbrella with you. You look before you cross the road bcos you believe there is a danger of being run over. You believe a storm, flood or fire is coming so you get away. You believe that a certain company is a good investment so you invest in it. You believe a certain car is the best so you buy it. You believe that it’s safe to fly with a certain airline so you go ahead and book your ticket.

    You believe that Jesus is the Son of God so you pray to Him, love, trust and obey Him. You believe that God hates and punishes sin so you repent. You believe there is a heaven and a hell, and the course of your life testifies to that belief.

    God has made man in such a way that everything he is hinges on what he believes. All a man consists of is what he believes. Unless of course he is a vegetable.

    ian vincent

    February 20, 2013 at 1:59 am

    • If you do a word search of repentance, repent, repented in the NT you will note that, from God’s perspective, the proof that people believe in Jesus is that they repent of their sins. God sends the Gospel and then He looks for repentance as the proof they believe. See: Luke 5:32, 10:13, 11:32, 15:7, 24:47, 2 Cor. 7:10, Matt. 9:13, Mark 2:17.

      True conversion, true salvation from sin is a matter of God working repentance in us: both the faith and the response of repentance is all His grace. Therefore to “believe” and not repent is a rejection of His grace.

      (these comments are from my blog posts)

      ian vincent

      February 20, 2013 at 2:28 am

      • True salvation, and the only salvation available, is to trust what Christ did for you at Calvary. He died for your sins and was resurrected for your justification if you believe and trust the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Repentance is turning to God for his offer of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of his Son. To add anything to what Christ did at Calvary constitutes works, and results in an accursed gospel that will not save anyone.

        tagzilla

        February 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm

  60. Tagzilla: we are not speaking of what men must do to be saved; we are speaking about the power of the cross to continue to work in the life of the believer AFTER salvation.

    Why are we saved? To what purpose?

    “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10).

    Once we receive salvation [by faith alone], how is the perfect power and strength of Christ’s atoning work best exemplified? Is it not in the evidence of a changed life?

    Pointedly, a works-based consciousness would never argue FOR the power and ability of the cross to sanctify [transform] BELIEVER’S lives. Only a person with a FAITH-based conscience would do so.

    In fact, anyone who argues that Christ has not granted men the power to lead transformed lives is belittling the perfect work of the cross.

    “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:15-16).

    Now, look at the verse that precedes these two: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14).

    THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST’S FINISHED WORK, we have power [the ability to live holy lives] over sin.

    Moreover, we are accountable to God for trusting in the power of His finished work to do so.

    That’s all that is being said …

    Peace,

    Mark

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    February 25, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    • Why are we saved? To what purpose?

      “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10).

      We (those that have trusted the gospel) will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of the deeds done in our lives one day. What will we be judged on? What good works can we do if the flesh is of no value to God?

      I submit that the answer is found in what Paul gave to Timothy. We are Ambassadors for Christ and are to share and further the gospel of Christ to others. 2 Timothy 2:15 exhorts us to “study” to show ourselves approved unto God, and to rightly divide the word of truth.

      We who have trusted the gospel have the mind of Christ now, not our own carnal mind. When we get the flesh out of the way, then the spirit can do it’s work in us.

      tagzilla

      February 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm

  61. What are meats or fruits worthy of repentance, which we are commanded to bear? (Luke 3:8)

    Holy Spirit inspired acts [such as studying to show ourselves approved].

    Tagzilla: you wrote, “When we get the flesh out of the way, then the spirit can do it’s work in us.”

    Well, how do we “get the flesh out of the way?”

    Only by faith in Christ AFTER salvation, faith in the power of His perfect, finished work on the cross at Calvary.

    This is the only acceptable way for the just [justified] to live: by faith in Christ (Romans 1:17; Hebrews 10:38).

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    February 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm

  62. It would be a silly argument to try and say that repentance equals salvation by works, and therefore repentance may or may not accompany salvation.. It’s impossible to trust Christ for salvation without repentance and indeed when He saves a man He causes a man to repent and believe the Gospel, it’s all His work. And that is why the NT never separates faith from repentance, as if it were possible for a person to have faith in Jesus Christ and remain unrepentant.

    ian vincent

    February 26, 2013 at 7:03 am

    • When the Lord Jesus preached “repent and believe” and someone was standing in the crowd and shouted back at Him, “No Lord, that’s not right, you only have to believe! Don’t mention repentance for that’s salvation by works, just mention faith.” …. perhaps the Lord Jesus would have explained to that person that repentance means to change your mind, it means to change what you believe, from unbelieving to believing, from unbelief to faith.

      ian vincent

      February 26, 2013 at 10:07 am

  63. Yes! That’s ALL repent means [belief/faith in Christ]–and all that is necessary to be saved.

    Then, once we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit [raised from death to life], we bear spiritual fruit for the Lord, doing the works of Christ.

    Where we find spiritual fruit, we will ALWAYS find spiritual works.

    How can I say I love my brother–and not act to reach out to him and spend time with him–or to provide aid or assistance in his time of need?

    “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; AND BRINGS FORTH FRUIT, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; Who also declared unto us YOUR LOVE IN THE SPIRIT. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, BEING FRUITFUL IN EVERY GOOD WORK, and increasing in the knowledge of God,” (Colossians 1:3-10).

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    February 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm

  64. tagzilla said:

    “To add anything to what Christ did at Calvary constitutes works, and results in an accursed gospel that will not save anyone.”

    Jim says:

    According to the way the free grace camp applies this truth:

    1) Jesus taught and accursed Gospel telling the woman adultery to leave her life of sin (John 8:10-11)

    2) John the Baptist taught an accursed Gospel when he commanded men to prove their repentance with actions(Luke 3:7-14)

    3) Barnabas taught an accursed Gospel when he commanded men to turn from idols to the living God (Acts 14:14-17)

    4) Paul taught an accursed Gospel when he commanded people to turn from their evil deeds to God (Acts 26:19-20)

    5) James taught an accursed Gospel when he said that works are the proof of a real faith (James 2:15-17)

    A true change of heart leads to true change of action. If a bad tree is made good it will bear good fruit in due season. If a person is saved by the grace of God they will begin to be sanctified by the grace of God. It is nor forbidden by scripture to put conditions up front to people as led by the Spirit, though it is not the normal means or a requirement, it is not forbidden either (as I showed in scripture earlier in this thread).

    The grace of God that saves works effectually (to use an old puritan word) in those whom it has saved. Maybe different in you than in me, but it does so none the less.

    Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

    Mark said:

    “Where we find spiritual fruit, we will ALWAYS find spiritual works.

    How can I say I love my brother–and not act to reach out to him and spend time with him–or to provide aid or assistance in his time of need?”

    AMEN! In Christ -Jim

    fleebabylon

    February 27, 2013 at 12:02 am

    • Paul’s reference in Galatians about an accursed gospel is anything other than the gospel of grace that was given to him to preach by the resurrected Christ. That gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and deals with salvation by Grace, through faith in what was done at Calvary. That Christ died for our sins, was buried, and resurrected for our justification without any workver on our part. Christ and the 12 would have had a very hard time preaching the death, burial, and resurrection with Christ standing in the midst of them preaching.

      tagzilla

      February 27, 2013 at 12:26 am

      • “without any work on our oart” ……. are you saying that repentance is “a work on our part” ? If so then you’ve not understood Biblical repentance. It is not a “work” or “works”. If it were “a work’ then all those who have repented are lost, cos they are trying to be saved by their works, and all those who don’t repent are saved, cos they are not trying to do any works.

        Ask any one who has been truly converted, when you believed on Jesus did you not repent? Or did you continue in your fornication and adultery, but with the peace and assurance that now you are under grace?

        ian vincent

        February 27, 2013 at 1:02 am

      • Tagzilla said:

        ” That gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and deals with salvation by Grace, through faith in what was done at Calvary.”

        Jim:

        I think the issue here might be you are defining salvation as “not going to hell when I die” as opposed to how it is defined in Titus. Jesus said good trees bear good fruit, John warned people that if they say they are good trees they should prove it with their actions. The fruit proves the tree, it does not make it a good tree, but it proves what kind it really is. It can even be a warning to a true believer when they find they are not bringing about good fruit. To claim works don’t matter is to contradict the word of God that says “faith without works is dead”. I will have to trust how James understood Christs words over how the carnal free grace camp interprets them to fill their pews.

        In Christ -Jim

        fleebabylon

        February 27, 2013 at 1:51 am

  65. 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

    18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[d] works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

    25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

    26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:14-26)

    Obviously James is not writing that we are saved by our works here, but they are a product or result of our faith. Verse 26 sums it up nicely.

    Al Nelson

    February 27, 2013 at 1:50 am

    • James isn’t writing to you, unless you are one of the 12 tribes of Israel. James 1:1

      We are justified by the faith of Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:16

      In the KJV.

      tagzilla

      February 27, 2013 at 1:56 am

      • “James isn’t writing to you, unless you are one of the 12 tribes of Israel. James 1:1”

        how about Johns entire first epistle.. who is that written to? If you have never hears it I highly recommend a 45 minute-ish message called “True and False Conversion” by Ray Comfort which can be downloaded for free, just google it.

        In Christ-Jim

        fleebabylon

        February 27, 2013 at 2:05 am

  66. PS – Tagzilla, no offense to you personally, and I am not saying that you are carnal free grace, I actually find myself fighting on your side of this often with people who I feel are being self righteous. On the best day of my Christian walk I would be damned apart from the blood of Jesus, please do not think I am saying something else. Only that there is a true turning in repentance, and not a feigned one. Mental ascent to the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is not faith. Demons “believe” those historical facts (though the smart atheists don’t). Saving faith is not mental ascent but the power of God. Titus describes that saving faith to us, at least gives a general outline.

    In Christ -Jim

    fleebabylon

    February 27, 2013 at 2:01 am

    • Saving faith is trusting what Christ did FOR YOU at Calvary. Period.

      tagzilla

      February 27, 2013 at 5:21 am

      • “Saving faith is trusting what Christ did FOR YOU at Calvary. Period.”

        You had me until the period. The apostles and Jesus himself thought it worth while to go well beyond the period and explain what saving faith is. The grace of God that saves… Paul wrote to Titus, that it teaches us. Jesus spent so much time teaching parables explaining that there are two types of people who profess faith in Him. Do you cross out that verse in your Bible after it says the grace of God and write PERIOD after those words instead?

        i do not deny one truth you have shared from scripture, but you can’d even address the verse in titus. Let me guess, that was written only to Titus and not to other people so it isn’t applicable to us…

        In Christ -Jim

        fleebabylon

        February 27, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    • PS – Tagzilla, no offense to you personally, and I am not saying that you are carnal free grace, I actually find myself fighting on your side of this often with people who I feel are being self righteous. On the best day of my Christian walk I would be damned apart from the blood of Jesus, please do not think I am saying something else. Only that there is a true turning in repentance, and not a feigned one. Mental ascent to the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is not faith. Demons “believe” those historical facts (though the smart atheists don’t). Saving faith is not mental ascent but the power of God. Titus describes that saving faith to us, at least gives a general outline.

      In Christ -Jim

      Amen, very well said. As you mentioned, in the book of Titus we see what the true grace of God does, it teaches, and it teaches these things:

      For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
      (Tit 2:11-12)

      Sean Scott

      February 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

  67. “James isn’t writing to you, unless you are one of the 12 tribes of Israel. James 1:1”

    James was simply acknowledging the gospel is FIRST to the Jew and then to the Greek (non-Jew). His letter is addressed to the Church which consisted of both Jews and Gentiles.

    To imply that Jewish believers in Christ are saved differently to Gentile believers in Christ would qualify for that “accursed” “gospel” Paul warns of in Gal, 1.

    ian vincent

    February 27, 2013 at 2:57 am

    • James wrote to the 12 tribes scattered abroad after the stoning of Stephen. There was NO saved by grace through faith, and not of works, for these believing Jews. How could there be when James 2 states that THEY had to have works as part of faith.

      Not so any of us. We are saved, and kept saved, solely by grace.

      tagzilla

      February 27, 2013 at 5:19 am

  68. There is a distinction between Jew and Gentile in the entire OT plus the first four books of the NT. There is a distinction made between Jew and Gentile AGAIN in Hebrews through Revelation. But there is NO distinction between Jew and Gentile in Romans through Philemon. Why? Because there is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile) in this dispensation of grace.

    tagzilla

    February 27, 2013 at 5:23 am

  69. Galatians 2:16 (KJV)

    16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    James 2:24 (KJV)

    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    Well, which are we justified by? The faith OF Jesus Christ or man’s works?

    For the 12 tribes scattered abroad, THEY had to have faith and works. For us in the dispensation of grace, we trust the faith OF Jesus Christ. Christ suffered, bled, died, and was resurrected FOR OUR justification. His faith ALONE is salvation, when we place our trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is EXACTLY what the Ephesian gentiles heard, believed, and trusted when they heard the gospel of their salvation, and we are exactly like those gentiles.

    tagzilla

    February 27, 2013 at 5:30 am

    • You a disservice to the Gospel by quoting and twisting the words into your own meaning. If you read further James says that faith without works is dead. So the point he has made is quite clear. Please quote Scripture in context.
      Now if we suppose that there are two Gospels, then the Gentile believer must discount the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. For Jesus only went to the Jew. But we should know better right? Jesus Himself proclaimed that nobody comes to the Father except through Me. Furthermore we read in Galations 2: 9
      and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

      Paul also wrote about the Gentile being grafted into Christ’s promise when he wrote in Romans 11: 16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

      Read the whole chapter. The Lord is not done with natural Israel, but they must come to Christ.

      Al Nelson

      February 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      • So again looking at Galations 2:9, James would naturally be adressing the 12 tribes scattered because he percieved it was especially his calling to reach out to the natural Jew first. But that does not mean he preached a different Gospel than Paul.

        Again if we the wild olive branch being grafted into the promise of Christ, there is one promise. Not two. Paul wasn’t preaching a different Gospel either. It was the same as James. Paul went to Jerusalem to see that he was preaching the same thing. Let’s look at Gal 2:1-10

        2 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

        6 But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

        The rest of Galations 2 Paul is correcting Peter who was in error trying to please the Jews rather than follow his faith.

        11 Now when Peter[a] had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

        14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you[b] compel Gentiles to live as Jews?[c] 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

        17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

        Al Nelson

        February 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      • The Jew or the Gentile today comes to God the same way. By faith in the shed blood of Christ for their sins, apart from works. The Jew or Gentile today who trusts Christ as their savior has the faith OF Christ as their justification. Not so what those people that James wrote had to do. James 1:1 is very clear about the intended audience of that epistle. The 12 tribes scattered abroad. These are the believing Jews who hit the road after the death of Stephen. The circumcision that Peter, James, and John preached to and agreed to go to in Galatians 2 after they and Paul met. P/J/J never went to the Gentiles with the gospel of grace. Paul did, and that gospel is our gospel for today

        tagzilla

        February 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      • Galatians 2:16 (KJV)

        16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

        But Al, your quote reads:

        16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith IN Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith IN Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

        Changing the faith OF Jesus Christ to IN effectively removes the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ from God’s word. Our faith is in the faith OF Christ. HIS faith went to Calvary for us. His faith endured to the end. God imputes the righteousness of Christ to us when we trust what Christ’s faith did. You need to get rid of whatever “bible” you have and start reading the inspired word of God for the English language … the KJV. Or else all sorts of confusion will continue to blind you.

        tagzilla

        February 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

  70. You can get as mad as you want about this, but Peter and Paul preached two different gospels to two different groups of people. Peter, James, and John to the circumcision, and Paul to the uncircumcision. The gospel given to Paul is our gospel for today. What is that gospel?

    1 Corinthians 15:1-4

    What is an accursed gospel, as Paul alludes to in Galatians 1?

    ANYTHING that perverts what was given to Paul to preach regarding that gospel. Paul even calls it MY gospel three times in his epistles. He even states in Romans 2:16 that God will judge the secrets of men according to “MY” gospel.

    Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and resurrected by God for your justification. Period. End of story. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and no one alive today or since Paul started preaching has been saved any other way.

    tagzilla

    February 27, 2013 at 5:36 am

    • You can get as mad as you want about this, but Peter and Paul preached two different gospels to two different groups of people.

      There is only one gospel that Jesus commissioned his apostles and disciples to preach. He did not commission the preaching of two gospels, but the preaching of the THE GOSPEL.

      And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
      (Mar 16:15)

      Sean Scott

      February 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      • mark Well, did they?

        And why would Paul thank God for not baptizing in 1 Corinthians 1 if he were preaching what Christ gave to the 11? Was Paul out of the will of the Lord when he said that?

        The 11 never preached 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 either. Christ never told them to go and preach that he died for the sins of Jew and Gentile alike, and that God resurrected Christ for their justification, as was given to Paul. You can search the words of the resurrected Christ all you want and you won’t find what he gave to Paul being given to the 11. The revelation of the mystery deals with why God chose Paul for a ministry different from what was given to Peter. Ephesians 1-4 and 1 Corinthians 2.

        The mystery revealed to Paul was hidden from BEFORE the foundation of the world. Hidden from Satan.

        tagzilla

        February 28, 2013 at 1:08 am

  71. It seems there’s a verse for every situation:

    As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

    –1 Timothy 1:3-7

    My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

    –James 3:1

    In a face-to-face assembly, there would [of course] be a necessary end to this attempt at confusion–else, we would foster division–and deception.

    Godly love is holy and just.

    Peace,

    Mark

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    February 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    • Amen Mark. I am bowing out again of this thread again for now.

      Gal 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
      Gal 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
      Gal 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
      Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
      Gal 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
      Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
      Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
      Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
      Gal 5:21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
      Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
      Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
      Gal 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
      Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
      Gal 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

      fleebabylon

      February 28, 2013 at 12:08 am

  72. Paul didn’t want to baptize much bcos, as such an important Apostle, people would tend to think that “Paul’s Baptism” had more virtue than Joe’s or Fred’s baptism, as they would today if Paul came back: immature or ignorant people would want to be baptized by him. And Paul’s point was that baptism does not impart virtue into a person, as important as the obedience of baptism is, so it is irrelevant who does the baptizing, and Paul wanted the church to understand that, lest Christ should not have the preeminence in all things.

    But Paul always made sure that believers were baptized. In the 1st century no one ever was considered a Christian unless they were willing to be baptized, for if they refuse Jesus command to be baptized then they are judging Him as a fool. .

    Tagzilla, you pride yourself in knowing the esoteric hidden secrets about grace, yet most of what you say is nonsense, thus proving that you don’t yet understand grace as you should.

    ian vincent

    February 28, 2013 at 4:03 am

    • Paul also circumcised Timothy, raised a young man from the dead, laid hands on 12 “certain” disciples so that they could receive the HS, and baptized, but he never once advocated water baptism or any of these other things in any of his epistles. He goes on to explain that “for BY one spirit” we who trust that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and resurrected for our justification are then sealed BY the holy spirit until the day of redemption. He taught Timothy, his son in the faith, all things that were delivered unto him so that Timothy could “hold fast the form of sound words” and be able to commit these things to “faithful men” and “teach others also.” Paul never instucted Timothy to water baptize. How could he, if Christ himself told him not to do it?

      We must rightly divide the word of truth, as 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to do, studying to show ourselves approved unto God (not man). The things that were committed to Paul are not the same things that were committed to Peter, James, and John and therein lies all of the confusion of the denominational church systems of the world today.

      Blessings to all who study.

      tagzilla

      February 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    • “Tagzilla, you pride yourself in knowing the esoteric hidden secrets about grace, yet most of what you say is nonsense, thus proving that you don’t yet understand grace as you should.”

      There is NOTHING that I glory in, except the cross of Christ. Can any of you say and believe the same thing, and truly mean it?

      tagzilla

      February 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      • i think we are in the presence of a one far superior to us all…. hush…. (I’m glad i don’t live in America)

        ian vincent

        March 2, 2013 at 1:50 am

  73. In Tag’s thinking, if a believer is baptized in water that somehow nullifies grace and puts them into the “salvation by works”.category, and this is why Paul supposedly did not want any believers to be baptized, lest they trust in their works. In the same convoluted reasoning Tag implies that if a person repents and believes they would not be under grace but under “salvation by works”: so the only way to know you are “glorying in the Cross” alone is to not repent and not get baptized.

    ian vincent

    March 2, 2013 at 2:08 am

    • And the idea that God requires Jews to be baptized and not Gentiles, where does that come from? Supposedly Christ is divided into two bodies. What good does it do to “glory in the cross” but on judgment day be found a liar?

      ian vincent

      March 2, 2013 at 2:16 am

      • Show me an example of a Gentile baptizing a Jew then. Or a Gentile baptizing another Gentile. You can’t.

        tagzilla

        March 2, 2013 at 5:12 am

    • Paul didn’t “supposedly” want believers to not be baptized, he thanked God that he didn’t baptize and told via the power of the Holy Spirit that he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the cross. What does that constitute? That Christ died FOR OUR sins, was buried, and resurrected for our justification if we believe and trust what was done for us at Calvary.

      What do you preach when you go and speak to people? I tell people that Christ died FOR THEM.

      tagzilla

      March 2, 2013 at 5:10 am

      • Tag (Keith),

        Paul didn’t “supposedly” want believers to not be baptized, he thanked God that he didn’t baptize and told via the power of the Holy Spirit that he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the cross.

        If you’ll read the entire chapter you’ll noticed that Paul did baptize people.

        The words of Jesus should be sufficient enough to end this debate.

        Go ye therefore, and teach

        all nations, baptizing them

        in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
        (Mat 28:19-20)

        And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
        (Mar 16:15-16)

        Jesus clearly told His followers to go into ALL the world and preach and baptize those who believe. He did not say only baptize the Jews. Why would you disobey the Lord Jesus Christ?

        If you’re going to continue to promote two (three, four, etc) Gospels, then it’s probably best for you to go to another site and do so. As for me, and most that I know who frequent here, they are going to continue to obey the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.

        Sean Scott

        March 2, 2013 at 5:37 am

      • Sean, Paul was not SENT to baptize, but to preach the cross. He was sent to preach the merits of the finished work of the cross for anyone who will trust in what that sacrifice accomplished. If you are going to go out and preach on the street to people, you will be held to the exact same standard of that gospel message. Galatians 2 (in a KJV) shows us who Paul went to preach to, and who P/J/J went to preach to after hearing what Paul told them about his ministry.

        Christ died FOR people’s sins. He was resurrected by God FOR their justification. Apart from any works that man could ever hope to do to add to the merits of what Christ accomplished for us.

        This will be my last post on your site. Good luck with your ministry.

        tagzilla

        March 2, 2013 at 11:08 am

  74. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)

    15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

    Are you preaching the gospel? Paul did. Timothy did. They weren’t ashamed of it either. Are you ashamed of the gospel of Christ:

    tagzilla

    March 2, 2013 at 5:16 am

  75. No one in the NT preached a “gospel of baptism” and no true Christian preaches such today, only cults and catholics etc preach that.

    True preaching is to preach the Cross, Christ and Him crucified, and only after people have truly repented and believed (repentance as the result of faith) and are saved by the grace of God, then show them Jesus’ command to be baptized.

    If they then gladly obey Jesus command to be baptized, even at great cost and persecution, then we can accept them into fellowship and the breaking of bread. This is how it was in the first century. This was instituted by God Himself.

    But if they make excuses as to why they won’t obey Jesus simple command, then we cannot accept their faith as sincere, yet.

    Even to debate the matter shows a lack of the fear of God: it’s putting Jesus on trial.

    Groups like The Salvation Army preach grace, preach the cross, but then refuse to baptize in water, thinking that if they did that it would somehow nullify grace, and they would no longer be glorying in the Cross or the Blood.

    This is superstition, twisted logic, a false dichotomy and a straw man argument – all rolled into one.

    The thinking is that some people trust in water baptism for salvation, so we better throw out water baptism, and then if anyone baptizes then we know they are preaching a false gospel of works.

    ian vincent

    March 4, 2013 at 3:31 am

  76. Matthew 18:27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’…So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

    Some wise men would rebuke Jesus for telling this parable and say “sorry Jesus, but the king released him and forgave him the dept PERIOD.” Such wisdom does not come from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not force men to place PERIODS where God himself has placed IF’s, AND’s, BUT’,s and THERFORE’s. Gods word and Holy Spirit expound and teach on the nature and practical outworking of grace, and dare I even say in some cases the practical conditions of grace*. Those who war against this are not speaking from the Holy Spirit. They may be speaking from a religious spirit, a spirit of error, or a spirit of systematic indoctrination, but they are not speaking from the Holy Spirit.

    In Christ -Jim

    *Any condition of grace does not negate the truth of salvation by faith through grace alone, but the rotten fruit shows us the tree is still rotten.

    fleebabylon

    March 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

  77. (Praying for Sean, he is not well)

    Indeed, just a quick word search of the word IF would reveal a lot. IF is a clause indicating a condition which has to be fulfilled. It reveals that the promises of God are conditional upon faith and not unconditional.

    Much of the Lord Jesus so-called “hard sayings” (like, unless a man forsakes all that he has he cannot be my disciple) are descriptive not prescriptive: a description of salvation and not a prescription to salvation. They describe the person of faith, and they also reveal to a person and test whether they have faith or not – they diagnose the human heart. They don’t prescribe a means to attain salvation.
    “Unless a man forsakes all that he has he cannot be my disciple…” This is a condition. Those who are saved do end up forsaking all that they have, they fulfil this condition. But they didn’t get saved by trying to forsake everything. There is cause and effect, and this is the effect not the cause, which is faith.

    I John says similar: “we know we have passed from death to life bcos we love the brethren”. Loving people is not a prescription to attaining salvation but it is a proof one is saved.

    ian vincent

    March 11, 2013 at 9:07 am

  78. Faith is the sole means by which justification is received. People will repent and believe in Christ at the same time, but it is the faith that receives justification, not the repentance.

    Curt

    July 3, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    • Jesus said “by their fruits you shall know them” – you will know whether their confession of faith in Jesus is genuine and that their faith is genuine, by their fruits. And this is so important today when so many unrepentant people claim to be justified by faith. You can listen to a homosexual eloquently teach on justification by faith and the grace of God and the finished work of Christ on the Cross. One thing he lacks, he refuses to repent, and therefore he does not truly believe from his heart. I heard a teaching the other day from a mega-church pastor and he was almost saying that it would be “works” to repent. He was making the unrepentant comfortable that whether they repent or not the grace of God will be sufficient.

      ian vincent

      July 6, 2013 at 12:24 am

      • The guy was Judah Smith. In his sermon he was acting out a scenario where a guy says to Jesus, “Lord I cant be free from my sins, only you can set me free. I admit i cant do it, but it is all in you, all in you, you paid it all, i can do nothing…..” it went on like that for some time. …..And i thought that after all that is said and done that Jesus would say to the guy, “yeah, that is all true, but, still, why don’t you repent?” So the guy repeats the same line to Jesus, “Lord I can’t do it, only you can do it, it has to be in your strength!”…. And Jesus says, “yes, but aren’t you using this as an alibi not to repent?”

        ian vincent

        July 6, 2013 at 3:51 am

  79. “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.” -Jesus

    fleebabylon

    July 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm

  80. Sean,
    I appreciated your stand on the Lordship of Christ. John Piper has an amazing book focusing on “Grace”. It’s encouraging to see men standing up for the truth of the Gospel of Christ. You presented your points with love and grace. It is obvious you love our Lord. Thank you. Christine.

    Christine

    February 7, 2015 at 2:12 pm

  81. Whew Sean you still out there?

    bnelms

    August 23, 2016 at 4:29 pm

  82. if an unbeliever knows that certain things they do are sin and they are simply unwilling to give them up but they want Jesus to save them they can be saved to teach otherwise is to teach work salvation and damnable heresy you are not saved because you teach work salvation and you also believe in the false doctrine of the Trinity which the Bible does not teach and I will not argue with you about that

    Tyler

    November 21, 2016 at 5:55 pm

  83. Sean Scott 1st Corinthians 3:15 and 2nd Timothy 2:13 prove that a Believer can have zero fruit their entire life and they are still saved you teach salvation by works and are just as guilty of lordship Salvation as John MacArthur and others you’re a false teacher

    Tyler

    June 19, 2017 at 2:32 am

  84. If an unbeliever recognizes their bondage to certain sins but they feel powerless to give them up they can come to Christ and be saved even if they desire to hold on to them to teach otherwise is to teach a false Gospel of Faith plus works your guilty of teaching lordship salvation

    Tyler

    December 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm


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