Changing the debate


Henry,

I do not know how much you read my blog, but I have been very desirous to converse specifically with you about things I see in scripture.  I wish to address your comments in a more formal manner than just another comment upon comment that sometimes gets overlooked.  Especially concerning such important fundamental truths about the hope held out to us in the gospel.  I hope my addresses to your comments will stir a lot of contemplation and a study of scripture by those who observe this conversation between brothers.

I wish to say, I like your summary of where the crux of the matter is for those who put their hope in Jesus Christ.  For this truly is the heart of the matter. 

“So of course where we are at is that those who desire to be sheep need to take heed that they are not complacent lest they become a instead goat – or they are living as a goat whilst assuming that they are a sheep. I think this is the crux of the matter.”

Ironically this is just one way scripture points to the truth of what you are saying.  In other cases it speaks of fruit and trees, again in other places it comes out and plainly speaks of believing in vain or falling from grace, etc.  Sadly though one half of Christianity believes these truths are not for them, the other half is completely unaware of these truths.  Leaving only a small minority who understand the truth you elaborated on and who strive to live by it.

Concerning eternal security, I too agree that God has called all men everywhere to be saved.  The conversation that Christianity couches predestination and election in is something I wish to steer away from.  Not to ignore predestination and election but to converse about it from a different perspective of the gospel I see in scripture.  In order to do this I need to address your concerns that some of the readers who read my blog might think I am ignoring the distinctions between the two dispensations of the Old and New Testaments.

These distinctions are summed up by you in the following manner.

  1. The “means” of salvation under the Old Covenant differs under the New. Under the Old Covenant man had to abide by Laws written upon tablets of stone but under the New the Laws are written upon our hearts (the law of the Spirit).
  2. Under the Old covenant, man in general could not experience the “born again” experience which he is able to do under the New through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

To my limited understanding on this matter of separate dispensation, your summary is a good one.  What I say next may come as a surprise to you and others that read or stumble onto my blog, but I reject the teaching of separate dispensations as elaborated on in the examples above.  Similar to my desire to couch the conversation of election and predestination from a different perspective, I wish to also couch the conversation of dispensations from a different perspective.  In doing this, I will expounded on what I have desired to share with you for many months now.

While giving a summary of what I see scripture teaching, I will make links to the actual line upon line, scripture upon scripture post I have made concerning these summaries.  This way you will be able to read my line of thought concerning the scripture I have come to understand.

I do not see scripture teaching, as I have heard from the pulpit many times, the Old Testament had the Law and we have grace.  It is my opinion this idea is embodied in item one above.  I say this because, we rightly conclude that by the grace of God our sins our not held against us and we are now credited with a righteousness from God.  But we wrongly conclude that this grace, this imputed righteousness started in the book of Matthew.

Paul taught that starting with Abraham, God started imputing men His righteousness.  Not to him only but to all of his offspring as well, as an everlasting covenant.  The seal of this righteousness is circumcision.  We gentiles are now included in this righteousness through Christ who is our minister of circumcision as we are circumcised not by hand but receiving the circumcision of Christ.

Christ the minister of circumcision

Paul’s understanding of the righteousness of God which is given to men starting with Abraham, is the righteousness of God that is testified to by the writings of Moses and the prophets.  This is why Paul when writing to the Romans said that he is not ashamed of the gospel, a gospel found in the Law, a righteousness from God found in the Law, that the Law itself was not able to give.  This is why we find Paul still preaching the gospel he is not ashamed of from the Law of Moses and the Prophets in the last chapter of Acts.

Where oh where is righteousness found?

What did King David have to brag about?

Consequently I challenge the church’s understanding of the two dispensations of the two Testaments.  As the church states, they had the Law we have grace.  But Paul taught that they having the Law had the same grace and imputed righteousness we enjoy, as we put our faith in Christ.  Not because they are like us, rather because we are grafted into the promises given to Abraham.

Understanding this, I have to whole heartedly disagree that there is two different “means” of salvation, the Old Testament through the righteousness in observing the Law and us New Testament believers by grace.  Paul teaches us that the Jews rejected the righteousness of God and instead sought it in the Law.  Just because they made this error, doesn’t mean it was the gospel they had preached to them.

Concerning the gospel preached in the books of Moses, we understand plainly the shadows and types found in the Law itself.  But Paul doesn’t teach his gospel from this perspective like the writer of Hebrews does who said those at Mt. Sinai had the same gospel preached to them as we did to us.  Instead Paul’s gospel is established in the everlasting covenant God made with Abraham and all his descendants after him.

This is why even we gentiles are the children of Abraham and not the children Moses.  Even though the Law given at Mt. Sinai is our gospel as it is the shadow and type of Christ, Paul taught of the righteousness from God revealed in the writings of Moses not from the Law, but rather from what was promised to Abraham.

Gospel or not, that is the question

Why did God want to kill Moses?

The New Testament is not needed for salvation

Are we greater than Abraham?

Now concerning the Holy Spirit and those who have the Law written on their hearts.  It is true that David hid God’s word in His heart, but he still had to obey the Law.  Where now we are as dead to the Law as much as there is difference of Priesthood from the Levitical line and that of Christ.  One being in the nature of Aaron and Christ being in the likeness of Melchizedek.  As stated in the gospel, with the changing of the priesthood there is the change in the Law too.  One from the written ordinances of Moses now passing away, to now what is written in our hearts by the Spirit.  So this I agree with.

Removing things nailed to the cross

But the promise of the Holy Spirit in our lives is something tied to our being included in the one promise given to Abraham, by which we now share in through Christ.  This promise is imputed righteousness by which we receive the Holy Spirit.  But let us not forget that we cry the prayer of David, who was not without the Holy Spirit, when we sin and ask God not to take His Holy Spirit from us.

As for item number two in the dispensations of the Testaments, born again is a changed life is it not?  Do we not have repentance in both Testaments?  Do we not have the Holy Spirit convicting men of sin and judgment in both Testaments?  Is any man drawn to God outside of the Spirit of God drawing them?  Is there not repentance in both Testaments?  However, I grant you the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking of tongues and being endued with power from on high was not available to those before Christ sent the Holy Spirit back.  But how many believers today are born again without this supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit in their lives today?  Would not their born again experience be the same as those of the Old Testament who obeyed the gospel preached, starting with Abraham and confirmed in the written Law?  Isn’t this the reason for the hall of faith found in Hebrews?

So should believers couch the conversation of dispensationalism in the old manner of the Law verses grace?  Should we acquiesce they had the Law and we have grace?  Should we confess they had to try to earn their way by obeying the Law, but we get God’s grace in the form of imputed righteousness?  Is not the very definition of imputed righteousness not having your sins held against you?  Should we now say that of those of the Old Testament did not have our imputed righteousness?

Surely the testimony of our gospel is they had God’s grace to them in the covenant God made with Abraham with the seal of righteousness, this being circumcision.  Now we too get to participate with this imputed righteousness because we put our hope in Christ.

I would argue that the two dispensations are in the changing of the Law with the New Priest.  Not in the changing of the gospel.  The two dispensations are that they of the faith of Abraham are imperfect without Christ, but now with us are made perfect in their faith as Christ is now manifest as the sacrificial lamb.

Now to predestination and election.

We can see in scripture a people who were not just called but elected as the children of Abraham under an everlasting covenant made unto them by God, that they are imputed righteousness.  However, even as Paul says, many rejected this righteousness and sought it in the Law or simply fell due to sin and disbelief.  As Paul also says in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 speaking of those who were under the same baptism with Moses and ate the same spiritual meat along with the same the same spiritual drink as we do in confession and the Lord’s supper, for Paul says it was of Christ they partook.

Accountability to what gospel?

I believe as our examples we see a people elected and called in their election who do not attain to the promise, for they do not live as unto the promise.  So for us to couch election and calling as simply a foreknowledge of God, as to who the true sheep is as compared to the goat, I must assume, even though true to the omniscience of God, is in error to the actual teaching of election and calling.

As for predestination itself and the foreknowledge of God I believe God in His love has predestined all of mankind for salvation.  Is He not willing that none should parish?  Has He not by the grace of God tasted death for every man?  Has He not reconciled the whole world to Himself?  Is not the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world for the entire race of mankind?  And if this was done before scripture ever states “In the beginning God” did not God predestine all of mankind to be saved?

Has God really said

God’s love in precision

Hell is for children

The problem with our understanding of predestination comes from the Calvinist, who interpret predestination to be a forcing of His will on the benefactors of His grace.  Or us who say God foreknows who are going to be His and those He predestines.  I see in scripture a love so great that God gave up His Son for all mankind before He ever said, “Let there be light.”  In His great love for us, He predestined all mankind to be saved.  This is why the testimony is true concerning Him being the savior of the world.  The testimony is true when it says whosoever will.  It is predestined for all mankind to be saved since it appropriated before time and space that God would reconcile the whole world to Himself when Christ tasted death for every man before the foundation of the world.

Is God in the know about salvation

Thinking of such things makes my insides want to burst!  I am almost overwhelmed by it as I write it.  What a glorious gospel we have!

Now back to what we know from scripture.  Paul taught that circumcision is a seal in the flesh of God’s imputed righteousness.  But not all lived in this hope held out to them in the gospel.  They were all predestined by being part of mankind, they were elected by being part of Abraham’s offspring and they were all called by the gospel that was promised, a gospel that was announced to Abraham in advance and preached at Mt. Sinai.

Yet even in all of this, many died in their sins, even though they were predestined by the eternal sacrifice of Christ, even though they were imputed righteousness by the eternal covenant that God made with Abraham and them, even though they were called by the gospel that Paul preaches over and over again to us in the New Testament.

Back to what Paul said.  These things were written for our example.  So are all predestined going to be saved?  Are all elected going into heavenly glory?  Are all called going to inherit the kingdom of God?  Are confessions of Christ confessions of a true believer?

It isn’t for no light and transient reasons, men will say to Him on that day Lord, Lord.  Imagine all those who had the temple, the covenant, the sacrifices.  Now imagine us who understand the manifestation of Christ in the affairs of men and the promise of the Holy Spirit.

It isn’t for no simpleton reason that Jesus says many on the narrow path will not make it through the narrow gate.  Not many on the wide path, but many on the narrow path.

It isn’t for the unbeliever only, as the Calvinist teach, that we have warnings in scripture about falling away, coming up short and being a goat.

For we too have Christ slain for us before time began.  We being part of mankind have a work done for us that God ordained before the foundation of the world.  We have, like those in Israel, been predestined to be saved.  Now as being believers in Christ we are the children of Abraham and are the elect in the eternal covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants.  Because of the gospel we also share in the calling of God as we capitulate to the Holy Spirit’s continued prompting in our lives, by the power of the gospel.

But in all this do we have any more security than those who died in the desert?

The compete word of God? Paul verses James?

Are you worthy in a world of election

James an Paul on faith verses works

Abraham faith verses deeds

It isn’t the gospel of belief

Can we believe in God in vain?

Rockem Sockem Apostles

The way of the Lord is not just

James you are too extreme!

What would John the Baptist say today?

So how could I ever entertain the idea of talking about different dispensations of the Testaments, or having conversation about predestination, election and calling in the context of the churches understanding?  I can not.  They have become as foreign to me in my understanding of scripture as Paul’s detractors saying more sin brings more of God’s grace, so sin all the more so that God’s grace may abound all the more.

I have become blinded to the other gospel, I see no hope of ever going back and participating in conversations with them in the terms they are used to.  What I have come to understand of scripture is foreign to them and repulsive.  I have taken much abuse for what I believe and called many hurtful things.

This is why I want your honest thoughts about what I advocate the gospel teaches.  Why from you, because I respect what you have advocated for on your blog and I feel a bond with you.

For me the differences in my understanding of the gospel is part of the reason the church does not have the power of God confirming its teaching.  And itself is evidence again to how the church does not follow the gospel presented in scripture, and how the great falling away has already occurred.  I know you and I in many ways share this understanding of the church.  However, I hope you do not consider my comments as arrogant as others have, but again, I wish to discus this with you.  I have tried in vain to bounce my understanding of scripture off others to have iron sharpen iron, but I have found none patient enough or willing.  Nor do I wish to obligate you if you are not motivated.

7 thoughts on “Changing the debate

  1. Hi Dave,

    I welcome your offer for us to enter into deeper discourse concerning matters of the Gospel. I am honoured that you should approach me with respect to entering such a discussion with you and let me say that I do not think you are being arrogant at all. In my view if we cannot break “bread” in this way as brothers in Christ then what is the point? I too get frustrated when I share things whether on my blog or elsewhere and people shy away from it instead of engaging me – if even to say that I am wrong. We can have a civilised discussion even if we disagree but hopefully by having a discussion we can together come to the knowledge of truth. However, let us be patient towards one another and let us look at the issues portion by portion. If we try to eat too much “bread” all at once they we might not be able to swallow.

    In your post there are a number of different but interconnected issues so the first issue that I would like us to discuss is on the issue of the Two Covenants. I referred to the two covenants as two different dispensations but you contend that they are not so. But let me warn you though that when I use the term “dispensations” it does not mean that I subscribe to “dispensational theology” as I have not studied this or had it preached to me. I therefore try not to approach the scriptures with bias (particularly from previous learning) but try to allow the letter and the Spirit to reveal to me what they will.

    So why do I say that there are necessarily two dispensations on the road to Salvation? Well namely because we have Two Covenants (I do take cognisance of the fact that salvation and fellowship with God also existed before Abraham as per Enoch, Noah etc). Under the Old Covenant though, the Lord purposed to carve out a people for Himself who would be an ensign to the rest of mankind. This people, Israel, were to be the oracles of God and who were to set an example in righteousness for the nations round about them. Of course it would not be wrong to say that this was God’s sovereign will through His Grace. Israel of course were inheritors of God’s divine favour and hence why they were God’s chosen people. Under this Covenant however, Jesus had not yet gone to Calvary, the Holy Spirit had not been sent to “comfort” the church and there was no “regeneration” of the spirit of man (no born again experience). Under the Old Covenant therefore it was the Law (as opposed to the Spirit) that convicted man of sin. Repentance and remission were thus obtained through ritual sacrifices, and of course it was God’s Grace to forgive Israel of their sins through the “mechanisms” of these practices, which were mainly symbolic. These things were a shadow of the New Covenant which God promised in Abraham.

    In reference to the New Covenant therefore God promised to make Abraham the father of many nations. This promise we know was fulfilled in Christ when the promise of the Spirit [by faith] came to the Gentiles. Man thus was no longer circumcised in the flesh after the manner of Abraham but rather received the circumcision of the heart. It goes without saying therefore that the righteousness of God which was imputed to Abraham is the same righteousness that we who had been cut off without a hope (the wild olive tree) have been grafted into. The difference however is that the righteousness which was instructed by the Law is now instructed by the Spirit through the redemptive work of Christ on the Cross. Under the Old Covenant Christ was promised and hence the Old pointed the way to the New – under the New Christ was given. What the Old could not accomplish therefore [and this is significant] the New is able to accomplish. I would like to highlight a couple of verses from Hebrews 9 here although the whole chapter is worth reading:

    8The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that COULD NOT make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; [Emphasis added]

    We see from the verse that the Old Covenant with it’s ordinances and sacrifices could not make those who preformed them perfect. Similar in Heb 8:7-13 we learn that if the Old was faultless there would not be any need for the New and the Old which decays is now ready to vanish away.

    To sum up therefore, I contend that there has been TWO dispensations on the road to salvation – the first we called the Old Covenant which has now vanished away and the second which we call the New Covenant that was confirmed in the blood of Jesus Christ. If there aren’t two dispensations then we are saying that the Jews can continue to live under the Old Covenant (not recognizing it’s no more) and be saved. I think this is where the “works of the Law” are held as distinctly separate from “salvation of Grace” to say that the works of the Law cannot save you but only the Grace of God, which does not require works.

    Please let me know if you think that I have said anything unbiblical here! Once we have come to agreement then we can move to the next issue. I am trying to keep each discussion point brief so that it is more easily digested.

  2. Well done Henry, you made your point very well here, pointing to the fact that the grace is the same and the promised righteousness is the same, but how that grace and righteousness came to us is different by way of the Messiah. This is the point that allows Christians to lay claim to salvation now in this life, vesus a hope in a later salvation, the Law could not save, but showed a hope in salvation to come through the promised Messiah who could save. Now we have the Messiah, who saves, and by our faith in Him we are made righteous. Grace was in the Old, the salvation in the Messiah was preached in the Old, righteousness was given in the Old, so is this way Dave is correct that the gospel existed since the Old, but it is the reality of the New that we receive the promised Messiah, receive the promises promised to Abraham, and enter into the promised salvation the Messiah brings.

  3. GOSPEL OF GRACE was first seen in Eden when God accomplished the ‘covering’ of Adam/Eve’s nakedness (separation from God) through the shed BLOOD of the animal. BET YA….IT WAS A LAMB!!!! God plans are PERFECT. Eve’s being ‘beguiled’ and Adam’s joining her in death (separation from God) ….was the accomplishing of God’s plan for man to be ‘in our image.’ God pronounced the success of His perfect will when He said, ‘Behold, man is become as we, to know both good and evil.’ FREE WILL is now in place and God trusts man to ‘choose’ whom he will serve. GRACE is the heart of God which desires that ‘none perish but that all come to repentance.’ GRACE/GOSPEL are synonomous anad beyond the tainting of man. God confirmed in Romans chapter 1..that He ‘put it in their hearts to know’ so that man is ‘without excuse.’

  4. Henry,

    I have not forgotten you. I have so many irons in the fire, I am trying not to get burned. I hope to be back on schedule by the end of next week. I look forward to our continued conversation.

    glasseyedave

  5. Hi Dave,

    (Don’t worry! I fully understand and it is for similar reasons why I have not responded to your question on the three tenses of Calvinism.)

    To continue where I left off last time, I want to look at what you said with regards to modern theologians holding to the view that there has been a dispensation of “works” (the Law) and a dispensation of “Grace”. Let me state categorically that I personally do not subscribe to this view. Indeed I hold to the view that there is and have been two dispensations in regards to the promise made to Abraham. The word dispensation being used in this context refers to a “religious epoch” or period of time. Consequently the first covenant lasted for a particular period of time – in that time period only Israel could benefit from the first covenant because it was given to them only. The following verses of scripture demonstrate this fact:

    Eph 2
    12That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

    The second (or new) covenant was given to everybody therefore but first to the Jew and then to the Greek (or the Gentiles). In my view therefore the plan of salvation as embodied in the covenant promises made to Abraham was implemented in essence in two phases which I refer to as dispensations. Looking at Gal 3 and Rom 8 we see the duality of the plan of salvation:

    Gal 3
    23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

    Roms 8
    3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    In Rom 8:3 therefore we see that although we are no longer bound by the law, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us through Christ Jesus.

    Now let’s turn attention to the issue of “works versus Grace”. There are mainly two issues here which are sometimes often confused and I will look at these in turn. The first issue relates to the fact that in the early church Paul (and other Apostles) was faced with a problem whereby the Jews who had now become followers of Christ (Christians) sought to continue doing the “works of the Law” and as such believed Gentile Christians should do likewise. An example of this can be seen in Acts 21:21-25 where Paul had to make it clear that he did not give any instruction to the Gentiles who believed (or required them) to observe the customs and practices which came down from Moses. Paul had to deal with a similar problem in Gal 2:11-14 where he had to rebuke Peter for hypocrisy because Peter ate with the Gentiles but when circumcised Jews came among them he withdrew to “save face”. Paul therefore had to clarify in the following verse that man is not justified by the works of the Law but by the “new” faith that was given in Christ:

    Gal 2
    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. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

    The Jews therefore were making the Cross of Christ of none-effect by claiming that the works of the Law such as circumcision were still necessary. But these works as we have seen were not required particularly since the Law had been set aside by Christ death and resurrection.

    Now the other problem relating to “works vs Grace” relates to the problem faced by the early reformers like Martin Luther. By the time of the Reformation the Roman Church had established a religions system which suggested that a man had to do “good works” in order to “earn” his salvation. Piety was defined in terms of “good works” that were deemed necessary for one to earn his place in heaven. As a result, the Roman Church believed and taught “justification by works” instead of “justification by faith”, which Paul preached. Often times therefore, when the issue of “works vs Grace” is spoken of, the two different types of “works” (“works of the Law” and “good works”) are often conflated without any distinction made. As a result we arrive at a crossroads where we say that a man is justified only by Grace and there is no need for works. The following verses of Eph 2 define salvation by Grace:

    Eph 2
    5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    In contrast to the teachings of the Roman church of justification by works, Paul writing to the Ephesians makes it clear here that salvation is by grace through faith only and not of ourselves. In other words we cannot save ourselves simply by doing what is considered “good works” because if we have “good works” yet not faith in Christ we or still lost. Is it correct to say then that because we are saved by Grace then there is no need for good works? I think this is where the church today has missed an opportunity by its complacency in neglecting to do good works. The key terminology Paul used is that salvation is by Grace THROUGH FAITH. In James’ exposition on faith in James 2:26 he makes it abundantly clear that faith, if it has not works is DEAD and dead faith cannot obtain Grace. Good works are therefore necessary for our faith to come alive in Jesus Christ! Can we therefore continue to juxtapose “Grace” against “works”? No! For salvation is BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH and faith necessitates works otherwise it is dead. Here is what James said:

    James 2
    18Yea, 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. 19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:

    There we have it! Justification by faith is in fact the same as justification by works (in the perfection of faith)!

    The modern church to a large extent however would seem to have held on to the doctrine of “Grace alone” neglecting the fact that “good works” are necessary in the exercising of our faith. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why the power of God in confirming the gospel is not evident in most churches today.

  6. Pingback: The Gospel of Salvation – part 1 « Spirit of Discernment

  7. Robert,

    I think the question of whether we have salvation now or we hope for it later is an interesting one. My response here will answer from my point of view some of the questions Dave has directed at me as well.

    I think the point that Dave has been making has been largely missed. He is saying that God calls things that are not as though they were. In this sense he is saying that we do not yet possess our salvation as it is something we “hope” for even though God may call us “saved” in scripture.

    There are therefore several questions tied up in this issue and I will demonstrate:

    When is a man deemed to be saved? Is it at the altar call when he receives the sinners prayer? Is it when he receives the word and repent? Is it when he receives the Holy Spirit?

    Is it a question of once saved always saved? Can you lose your salvation? How about predestination and election? Were you saved because you were elected and predestined to be saved? WIll you go to heaven straight after you die because you believe you are saved now?

    So there is a plethora of issues tied up in the initial question of whether we have salvation now or we hope for it. I will try to keep my response brief though but hope that we can explore these issues over time.

    In my view I am in agreement with Dave that we have a hope of salvation in Christ and not that we possess it now, and I will explain what I mean. Please note that what I am saying here is not because I have been influenced by Dave but rather what scriptures have revealed to me. There is a certain deception in church today which says that a man is saved after he has taken the walk of repentance and baptism. In this regard the work is deemed to have finished and the believer is lead to believe, “that’s it!” But to be brief lets look at the following scripture:

    Heb 9:28
    So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

    The verse implies that salvation is accomplished when Christ appears the second time to those that await Him. Also look at Rom 8:23:

    23And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body. 24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

    We await the adoption which will make us sons of God. Verses 24-25 also points out that we live in hope for that which we have not yet seen. Indeed the whole passage is worth reading because it answers many of the questions I raised. Rom 13:11 offers another interesting insight in that our salvation is “nearer” than when we first believed. I will leave it here now but hope to continue this discourse.

Give me a piece of your mind, let me know what you thought.

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