Sanctification, the blood, forgiven, imputed righteousness and salvation

I recently posted comments from Peter concerning our salvation and how he doesn’t relate salvation to the believer in any way as taught in Christianity.  Christianity teaches that, at a minimal, believers are saved at conversion.  Others say that they were saved, are being saved and will be saved.  Peter says none of this concerning our salvation.  Instead in the first chapter of I Peter we find him talking about a coming salvation and how we are receiving not the beginning of our faith but the end of our faith concerning our salvation.  In Peter’s eyes, we were born again into a living hope with an inheritance kept for us in heaven.

Unfortunately, Robert like so many believers think my position of the timing of salvation, means that I teach forgiveness by the blood of Christ and His imputed righteousness is not instantaneous at conversion.  Instead because of this understanding of the church, it is implied that I teach this, although nowhere have I ever taught this.  Simply because they can not separate those things from salvation.  They have not seen in scripture where there is a group of people who were imputed righteousness by God and most of them still died in their sins.

I further advocate that believers will not find any teaching coming either from Peter or any other writers of the New Testament about three tenses of salvation. Continue reading

The Holy Spirit and the hope of salvation

Many feel that the deposit of the Holy Spirit is the shoe in that they have received their salvation.  Ignoring the scriptural teaching discussed in yesterdays post “Salvation the hope”.  We so stubbornly want to posses what scripture teaches we have to live our lives out till the end in order to make our hope sure.

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.[1]

Speaking of the hope, scripture teaches us we have this hope through the washing rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit. 

he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.[2]

Is God suffering from duplicity in His word when He mixes saved with the hope of eternal life in the same group of verses?  Certainly not, for our God is a God that calls things that are not as if they were, not things that are as if they were not.  So we can be confident we have hope of salvation but God can see the finished work long before it is done.

After being included in Christ through our faith in the word of truth, we as believers are set apart by the Holy Spirit which serves as a seal.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,[3]

The purpose of this seal is to mark us for the day of redemption.  The day Christ comes back to bring us our salvation.  This is why it is so important to not grieve the Holy Spirit.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.[4]

On the contrary we are to guard this good deposit with the help of the Holy Spirit.  For there is a difference between those who guard the deposit of the Holy Spirit and those who grieve the Holy Spirit.

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.[5]

The one who after believing the message of our gospel and received the deposit of the Holy Spirit and yes even the power of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, will die in their sins if they fall away.  There is no guarantee that the deposit will bring us to the day of our redemption if we break the seal by falling away from the faith our hope.  It is not the Holy Spirit who breaks faith with us, but us with Him when we fall away into disobedience.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.[6]

So it is not impossible for someone who has been given the washing or renewal and rebirth by the Holy Spirit to grieve Him so as to offend Him and loose all hope of salvation.  This is why we are instructed not to believe in vain.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.[7]

We have to hold firmly to what we have in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and this to the end, in order to make our hope sure, or we will have believed and fellowshipped with the Holy Spirit in vain.

[1] Hebrews 6:11

[2] Titus 3:5-7

[3] Ephesians 1:3

[4] Ephesians 4:30

[5] 2 Timothy 1:14

[6] Hebrews 6:4-6

[7] 1 Corinthians 15:2

Salvation the hope

Nearly every believer in Jesus says they are saved.  They completely ignore that our New Testament speaks of God calling things that are not as if they were.  When confronted by this, we say not in our gospel you don’t.

If Paul was so certain of the fact of the believer’s salvation, why did he tell the believer to put on the hope of salvation for their spiritual armor?

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,[1]

Why would Paul speak of a hope of salvation to a believer?  If these believers had salvation there would be no need for hoping would there?  I mean really, who hopes for what he has?  Paul even taught nobody hopes for what he has.

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.[2]

Wait for it!  We wait for it.  Then it must not mean that those who are waiting and looking for the return of Jesus to bring them their salvation, are hoping for Him to save them physically only.  It must mean what Paul says, that our salvation is a hope.

Peter even agrees that our salvation is but a hope.  For he too says we have been birthed into hope.  This hope comes to us through the resurrection of Christ.  Peter further says that by our faith we are shielded by God’s power until guess what?  Until the coming of salvation, not a tense of salvation, physical salvation but salvation to be revealed in the last time.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.[3]

Have we forgotten that Jesus is our salvation?  That He is to be revealed in all His glory at His coming.  Have we forgotten the testimony of Simeon?  Jesus is our salvation that is to be revealed in the day of His coming.

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,[4]

The scriptural teaching of our salvation being a hope that we wait for patiently until the coming of the one who is to bring us our salvation, is agreed to by the writers of Hebrews.

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.[5]

We all know Christ bore our sins when He came the first time, how is it nearly all of us have somehow missed the teaching in scripture that we as believers have a coming hope of salvation at Christ return?  Oh I know how this happened.  We ignore the other scriptural teaching that God calls things that are not as if they were when scripture speaks of our hope of salvation as a done deal.

Could this hope of salvation to come to us at Christ return be the reason why scripture over and over again uses certain words?  You know like deposit, guaranteed, assurance and heirs.  All words that imply something hoped for, longed for, yet not quite possessed by the one doing the hoping.

Because of this hope we are urged not to receive the grace of God in vain. 

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.[6]

[1] 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9

[2] Romans 8:24-25

[3] 1 Peter 1:3-5

[4] Luke 2:30

[5] Hebrews 9:28

[6] 2 Corinthians 6:1

Forsake not the fellowship

Have I forsaken the fellowship? I have a confession.  I have not attended a local church for about seven years now.  Before this I was a youth pastor for about four years and helped in youth ministry for about another three years.  This doesn’t include my own time spent in my own youth group from the age of sixteen and my two years at Bible College.

Yet with this background I have not even the slightest desire to attend a local church.  So, have I forsake the fellowship?  Have I not kept the instruction from scripture that says we are not to forsake coming together as believers?

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,[1]

I can not tell you how many times I have had this quoted to me or something very similar to it since I have stopped going to the local church.  But the question still remains, have I violated this instruction?  Have I stopped coming together with believers, since I do not do it at a local church?

Even though I meet with my family and other believers for worship and the study of scripture, I am sure there are those who think this is insufficient to count as meeting together with other believers.

It is assumed by those that tell me to get back into fellowship with other believers, that it needs to happen within a church.  Mostly because they feel that is where the believers gather.  The more believers that gather, the more fellowship can happen, the more I keep this instruction in scripture.

But if this is true, that the larger the gathering the more the command is kept to keep the fellowship, then are not those in small churches not as obedient to keep the instruction as those in larger churches.  How about those in mega churches, are they the ones who uphold this instruction better than all of us?  If after all, the larger the gathering of believers the more fellowship can take place, right?

I know I have taken it too far.  The point to be made is, I need to get involved in a local body of believers, in the minds of many, in order to keep the instruction of not forsaking the fellowship.

But is it I who has taken it too far or is it those who preach not forsaken the fellowship who have taken it too far?  I can not find in scripture where I am instructed that the local church is the fellowship I need to seek out.  Nor is it the mega church.  I can find nothing in scripture that speaks of what I am to consider fellowship, oh except for this one.

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”[2]

Well, well, well I guess the minimal number of keeping the instruction of not forsaking the fellowship would be two.  Whew, was I getting worried.  I guess all those who run around telling individuals like me to quit forsaking the fellowship, have not considered what Jesus has said.  It takes two and even up to three sometimes to come together for Jesus to be in their midst.

You have heard it said.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.[3]

But we say.

“Again, I tell you that if the local church on earth agrees about anything it ask for, it will be done for it by my Father in heaven.

Apparently the Father does not consider the local body any more affective in fellowship, prayer and impacting this old world, as he does the two or three that have Christ in their midst.

How about this for a turn around?  We the groups of two or three have just as much calling and ear of the Father to change the world let alone to have our lives impacted by Christ. 

Step aside big boys and let the little guys change the world.  WE HAVE WASTED ENOUGH TIME BEING MANIPULATED BY YOU ALREADY!

[1] Hebrews 10:25a

[2] Mathew 18:20

[3] Matthew 18:19

Illegitimate Children of the first and second Adam

There is a line of thinking in many churches that man does not have a free will.  We the elect are subject to irresistible grace.  But we never had the chance to reject God, since it is impossible for the elect to reject Him. 

Funny thing though, some of those who teach we have no free will state that Adam by his own free will sinned.  Speaking of Adam and the fall of man they state,

But when he was in honor he did not understand it^21 and did not recognize his excellence. But he subjected himself willingly to sin and consequently to death and the curse, lending his ear to the word of the devil. [1]

So is it that only Adam had free will or does this include Eve as well, since she took the first bite?  How is it that these teachers who advocate we have no free will state that Adam had free will?  What gives?

I know that as a sinner, being lost in my sins, I was related to the first Adam.

And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.[2]

So once again I find teaching proceeding out of the mouth of man that contradicts what I read in my Bible.  Not only this, these men contradict themselves by stating the first Adam had free will and we his offspring don’t.

The scripture goes on to say that now as believers we bear the likeness of Christ.  So is it that only the lost have no free will or is it the saved as well?  If we the saved have no free will either, than what likeness do we share with Christ?

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”[3]

We see that Jesus exercised His free will when He laid His life down. 

So now we have the confession from teaches of the “no free will’ doctrine, that the first Adam had free will.  I suppose they would agree that Jesus the second Adam has free will.  So now what, are we as past relations to the first Adam and now relations to Christ the second Adam illegitimate children, since we have no free will?  If we have no free will is there a third Adam we should get to know and call our spiritual kindred?

[1] Beltic Confession Article 14

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:49

[3] John 10:17-18

Free will or Free nil

In Yesterdays post “Be good, be good Johnny” I discussed the nature of man.  I asked if a sinful man who is so totally depraved if he can do any act of good?  The conclusion was that a sinful man can do good even though he is evil.  Keeping in mind of course, that all of the righteous man’s good deeds are as filthy rags. 

So an evil man doing good is not to his credit, rather to show that an evil man on his own can make the good choice to see and respond to God.  That he is not so totally depraved as some would want us to think.  These men advocate man has no free will and God forces on His elect an irresistible grace, because man can not make that choice for himself.

Let’s look at a phrase I have had the privilege to study from Irishanglican who is helpful in my understanding of what some others have concluded. 

“Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man’s free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is “given him from heaven.”[1]

These men reject that man has any free will to choose or reject God.  They reject that a man can make the good decision (Be good, be good Johnny) on their own.  Now since they teach that man can not choose or reject God, they have come up with other notions as well.  These being, God predestines some men to hell and others to grace.  Consequently they assume God is more abusive to men than the cast system found in India.  Where a man is born into a status and can never have any upward mobility to better himself. 

They also say the elect can not reject God because His grace is irresistible.  Consequently it would have to follow, since His grace is irresistible, that those predestined for hell never get the opportunity to say yea or nay to this grace.  But this is not what we see in scripture.

There is a lot of rejecting of God in scripture and scripture says so.  Don’t we all know this verse, even those of us who reject man’s free will to choose or reject God?

(Mark 12:10 NIV)  Haven’t you read this scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone ;[2]

Or how about the testimony of men who rejected God’s purpose for themselves?

But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.[3]

Would God be just if He held accountable the generation that asked for His Son’s death and for their rejection of the Messiah if they never had Him offered? 

And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.[4]

If they never had the opportunity to reject God (free will) how can they be guilty of rejecting him?  Yet we see in scripture Jesus saying this generation in their choice (free will) will reject Him.  There is a reason that they will be accountable, its called their choice.

But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.[5]

If you still struggle with man having a free will to choose God or reject Him, would it prove the point if scripture simple came out and said, “refused to obey?”  Why look, it does.

“But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.[6]

Who refuses what has never been offered.  If these men were condemned to hell since they were not of the elect who have irresistible grace, how can they resist a grace that was not ever offered to them?  How can they refuse to obey if they never could do good outside of Christ?  But these men refused God in their hearts!

Somebody somewhere has been doing a lot of rejecting of God’s purpose for themselves.  Somebody in scripture has been doing a lot of refusing to obey as well.  Somebody somewhere had as lot of free will and in their hearts refuse or accept God, not the Free nil that some men advocate.

[1] Beltic Confessions Article 14

[2] Mark 12:10

[3] Luke 7:30

[4] Matthew 23:35

[5] Luke 17:25

[6] Acts 7:39

Be good, be good Johnny

Can Johnny ever be good?  If Johnny is born again everyone would say, yes Johnny can be good.  But what if Johnny was still lost in his sin?  Can Johnny be good then?

What is it in theologians heads that make them say Johnny can never be good if he is not born again? 

Can Jesus ever be good?  All of us would say yes, but for some theologians Jesus is not very well behaved.  In fact He is hard to control.

Jesus seems to forget to teach in accordance with some theologians teachings.  For instance Jesus isn’t very good when he disagrees with those who have theology degrees. 

Theologians teach Johnny can never be good if he is lost in his sin.  Jesus says the theologians are not very good at theology when they teach this.

Jesus says even evil Johnny does good by giving good things to his children.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him![1]

Oh how bad has this Jesus been?  Now be good Jesus, be good.  But Jesus does not pay attention to theologians, for he only does bad again.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?[2]

Can Johnny be good if he is lost in his sin?  Is a man lost in his sin if he observes the Law to obtain his own righteousness?  Why yes he is.  But can Johnny be good by observing the Law, or is the Law to the lost a sin too?

What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”[3]

Certainly the observance of the Law does not do evil but good.  Even to those who transgress the Law, the Law is not sin.  So then the law is good and the commandment is good and righteous things are done even by the lost who try to obtain their own righteousness from the Law.

It is good, not a sin to observe do not murder?  It is good, not a sin to observe do not covet?  It is a good, not a sin to observe do not steal?  Even if done for the wrong reasons it is good, not a sin?

So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.[4]

So can Johnny be good?  Can a lost Johnny do good?  Yes our Lord Jesus says he can, who is not so good for some theologians and Paul, Christ’s Apostle, is not so good to these same theologians.  For they teach a lost Johnny can do good apart from the saving knowledge of Christ.

It is bad theologians who teach Johnny can never be good if he is not a Christian.  Yet scripture teaches that many a good Johnny needs a savior too.

What do you think?  Do you think Johnny can be good?  Or do you believe in the total depravity of man?  Do you think a lost man has no good in him or do you think in your own experiences and the words of Jesus and Paul, that a good man who is lost still can die in his sins?  Or is it only the lost man who is evil in all things that he does that can die in his sins?

[1] Matthew 7:11

[2] Matthew 5:46

[3] Romans 7:7

[4] Romans 7:12