Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Soteriological Affirmations Free Grace Theology

Jodie Sawyer opened up a can of worms in a comment on VeritasRedux Scroll Down for Jodie’s comments. In her remarks she discussed the minimum content of the gospel, that when believed, receives eternal life.

She next wrote a good article on it Content of the Offer of Eternal Life.

Having merely read her post once, and not studied it, I would say that I agree with her position.

What I want to do here is post some bare bones affirmations of my soteriology. There may be some or many that you do not agree with. I have written extensively on this position, and I would be more than happy to field your questions, clarify, or (less-so) read your obejections, which I could then comment on as well.

Here we go:

"...and that believing ye might have life through his name"

1) Christ's "name" is everything who He actually is. This "name" represents everything who He TRULY is. Fill in ALL true Christology here: Everything that the Bible reveals Jesus to truly be and have done and everything that Jesus truly is that is not revealed in the Bible.

2) It is by virtue of His "name" (everything that He truly is and has done) that we can have eternal life. It is who He is and what He has done that has qualified Him as the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it. It is His name that gives Him the authority and the ability to dispense eternal life.

3) Jesus is uniquely qualified to dispense eternal life by virtue of His name. On this authority He may dispense it to whomever He wishes. It is through His wisdom and council with God the Father that they have decided to dispense eternal life to those and only those who believe in Jesus for this gift.

John 1:12
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

Acts 4:12
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

1 John 3:23
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ

Matt 12:21
And in His name Gentiles will trust.

John 3:18
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God

Acts 10:43
To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.

4) To this one condition of appropriating the gift of eternal life (faith in Jesus for it) God has been pleased to add no other.

Gal 2:16; 3:2
…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…. This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Rom 4:5-6, 16
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness… Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure.

5) Shorthand for faith in Jesus is to believe that Jesus is the Christ (in the Johannine sense) which as to content is that as the Christ Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to all who simply believe in Him for it.

John 11:25-27
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
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You remember it, don’t you? “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26). Her reply is a declaration that she believes Him to be the Christ. Martha said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (11:27).

Notice here that to believe that Jesus is the Christ means to believe that He guarantees resurrection and eternal life to every believer. But now let us look at John 4. In that famous passage we have the Samaritans saying to the woman who had encountered Jesus, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

Observe that the common denominator to both passages is the term “Christ.” On Martha’s lips He is “the Christ, the Son of God,” and on the lips of the Samaritans He is “the Christ, the Savior of the world.” This is not an accidental or insignificant difference.

In Jewish prophecy and theology the promised Christ was also the Son of God—that is, He was to be a divine person. Recall the words of Isaiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6-7). But in Samaritan theology, the Messiah was thought of as a prophet and the woman at the well is led to faith through our Lord’s prophetic ability to know her life. Her words, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” (4:19) are a first step in the direction of recognizing Him as the Christ. There is no evidence that she or the other Samaritans understood the deity of our Lord.

But they did believe that he was the Christ. And John tells us in his first epistle that “whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (5:1)! A full theology of His person is not necessary to salvation. If we believe that Jesus is the One who guarantees our eternal destiny, we have believed all we absolutely have to believe in order to be saved.
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(Zane Hodges, How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1 Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 2000)

6) Believing that Jesus is the Christ (in the Johannine sense) is the only soteriologically necessary condition for eternal life.

7) Most people will not find this bare proposition persuasive. They will require more information and quite possible need some of their questions answered. This would be a logical necessity in order to persuade them that the salvific proposition is true.

John 20:30-31
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

8) Most people do not need every question that they may have answered before they are persuaded as to the truth of the salvific proposition. Answers to other questions or other information given may be sufficient to persuade one that the salvific proposition is true.

9) The assent to orthodox theology in general or Christology in specific, as important as this is to the regenerate believer, is no litmus test for assurance of one's soteriological salvation. The only basis for both the reception of eternal life and assurance of eternal life is believing in Jesus, who through His name, has given the promise to Guarantee eternal life to all who believe in Him for it.

10) Misconceptions are a part of life. It is impossible to clear up every misconception concerning theology and should not be attempted. The most spiritual man on earth at the present time without a doubt has some misconceptions concerning the real nature of theology.

11) Children have many misconceptions as well but as the Bible makes clear, only those who receive the kingdom of God as little children will enter.
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The theif on the cross said, “Lord, remember me”; and Jesus replied, “Today you shall be with Me in paradise.” After a life of crime, one of the three worst criminals in the nation – Barabbas had been released – this thief received assurance of Heaven.

He could hardly have known much about Jesus. He certainly had no notion of saving faith, let alone of the Trinity, the atonement, or the Second Advent. Yet, on the authority of Jesus, we know that he was saved… Surely entrance into Heaven does not require a degree from a theological seminary. The thief was saved in ignorance.”
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(Gordon H. Clark, Faith and Saving Faith, pg 16)

12) Misconceptions about the Person and work of Jesus Christ is peripheral to the salvific proposition as a soteriological necessity. Ignorance about Christological doctrine can prevent one from being persuaded as to the salvific proposition, but it will never prevent one from the reception of eternal life if one is persuaded as to the salvific proposition.

13) Misconceptions about Jesus do not necessitate such a one who may hold to them to be referring to a "different" Jesus. If a test to one's particular reference to an identity be that he not hold any misconceptions about this identity then specific reference to anyone would be made impossible. For what guarantee does one have that his conceptions about the person, that through his reference he intends to identify, are correct?

14) One fact about a reference could be all that is necessary to limit identity, though one fact may not be enough. There seem to be multiple facts in the salvific proposition and not just one. "Believe that Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it." Limit #1: the name of the reference is Jesus. Limit #2: the referent is a guarantor of something. Limit #3: the referent dispenses eternal life. Limit #4: this eternal life is dispensed on the basis of faith in the referent for the purpose of appropriating said eternal life.

There is only one Person in the universe who dispenses and guarantees eternal life to the believer in Him for it; the name of this referent is Jesus. This information satisfactorily identifies and limits reference to the true Jesus Christ.

The facts contained in the salvific proposition are of sufficient nature as to specifically limit the identity of its reference to the 2cd Person of the Trinity, God the Son, Jesus Christ.

15) Belief in Jesus Christ for anything else but the intended gift of eternal life will not necessarily be appropriated. The gift that Jesus guarantees in the salvific proposition is "eternal life" and not temporal deliverance, assured positive answer to prayer, or physical blessings. The faith in Jesus is for the purpose of appropriating the intended gift of eternal life.

15) The evangelist's endeavor is to get the potential convert to the point where he will entrust his eternal well-being to Jesus. It is to be used of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God to persuade such a one that Jesus guarantees his eternity. He does this by preaching the gospel message and other facts relating to Jesus, answering questions, etc. Our job in evangelism is to get the potential convert to believe in Jesus, the Guarantor of resurrection and eternal life to the believer in Him. Anything we do or say must point to Jesus and His promise to dispense eternal life to the mere believer in Him for it.

Antonio da Rosa
Lakeside, CA


Non Calvinist, Non Reformed
Soteriology
Free Grace Theology

17 Comments:

Blogger Joe said...

Very well said, my friend. I will read Jodie's post as well.

February 06, 2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Well-reasoned, Antonio.

God Bless

Matthew

February 06, 2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

At the risk of wasting my 5 questions, here are 2 for you:

(1) Are you considering taking up my 5 question challenge?

(2) In John 3:1-7, Jesus says that there is something that a man must do to see the kingdom of God. I'm wondering: if a man does this thing, is there any immediate, temporal, tangible results or benefits, or is there only the ultimate benefit of eternal salvation?

February 06, 2006 2:25 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Centurion,

I have emailed you twice. I would like information concerning your proposal.

Antonio

February 06, 2006 2:43 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

CenturiOn,

Sounds like a question regarding ordo salutis (order of salvation). I would argue God unilaterally initiates salvation (of course that leaves the question as to whom He initiates salvation with--to "whosoever will").

I would say instead of making a faulty dichotomy between temporal and eternal blessing, relative to salvation, we should look at it wholistically and qualitatively as Jesus does. He came to give us life abundantly both "now and not yet" (John 10:10b). We have received eternal life, and are growing in the knowledge of this as we cultivate intimacy with Jesus now--relational language seems to define "what" eternal life in fact is--according to Jn 17:3.

Since you dropped two of your questions out I thought I would give a response--look forward to hearing Antonio's and your's too, CenturiOn!

February 06, 2006 4:44 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Bobby:

It's not an ordo salutis question. For the sake of this question, it doesn't matter of Grace comes first and faith comes second, or vice versa: what matters is that something happens to a man which Jesus cals being "born again".

My question is about what the difference is after being "born again" -- that is, is there any? If so, what?

February 06, 2006 6:50 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Thnx for the clarification, CenturiOn, sorry for barging in on your discussion with Antonio ;).

You seem to be leading, which is a wonderful pedagogical device, in your question. Where are you leading too? Of course a change occurs after a person is reconciled to Christ. The New Covenant, II Cor 3, we receive a new heart, and are adopted into the family of Christ. Our new heart recognizes the voice of Christ (Jn 10; 14--16), we begin to reflect the moral attributes of the LORD (Gal 5:22-23), we are fully restored (by way of guarantee II Cor 5:5; 17) to the imago dei. We are brought into perichoretic union with Father, Son, and Spirit (I Cor 6:17; Jn 17, etc.) We experience the resurrection power of Christ (Col 1; Phil 3:9), our affections are set on things above--being captured by a love for Christ/rather than a love for self (II Cor 5:14; Col 3), we are privileged to suffer in Christ (Phil 1:30; 3:9; I Cor 2:2; II Cor 1:1-6; 4:10, etc.), we experience the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Heb 10:10).

Ultimately, we are given a heart of flesh replacing the heart of stone we were born with (Ez 36:24). The bondage of our affections become displaced and captured by a greater love of God (Rom 5:5ff).

Frank, what are you getting at, come on, open up here and be transparent, if you will :). Thank you for inviting a response, it is good to think about all that has changed since I've come to know Christ--I'm sure there is much more I haven't mentioned--like the hope of a new body and being present with the LORD (II Cor 5:1, 8; etc.)

February 06, 2006 8:33 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Very well stated as always and I am persuaded by the scripture that if any man would accept these things through faith that God, by His grace, will grant him eternal life.

February 07, 2006 9:50 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
Good post. I am glad you have clarified some more about your soteriology. (...but I see you have the blogger mafia after you).
;~)

in Samaritan theology, the Messiah was thought of as a prophet and the woman at the well is led to faith through our Lord’s prophetic ability to know her life.

I hadn't read this before. Thanks.

One more thing:
what kc said!

February 07, 2006 9:57 AM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

I'm glad I opened that can of worms, if this post is the result!

Very helpful

Despite its clarity I wonder:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name


If his name represents everything he is, don't we have to believe in that to become children of God.

If not I see a shaddow of similarity with implicit faith.

As you have time, Antonio. This may be another can of worms ... %)

February 07, 2006 2:08 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jodie,

I have been up since 1 am, two nights in a row, with less than 8 hours sleep in a 48 hour time period. I am going to take a nap soon, but I really want to understand your question. Will you please be more verbose with it? I don't understand what you are trying to say.

Antonio

February 07, 2006 2:15 PM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

John 1:12
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

If your first point is true~~that name refers to all Christology~~ than how can someone believe in 'it' as John 1:12 says, unless he knows all Christology.

I'm having trouble reconciling the rest of your post with your 1st point.

The exact way you define 'name' seems to make your 5th point~~that simply believing in Christ in the Johannine sense~~is sufficient.

The simplicity of believing in Jesus for eternal life seems to be at odds with John 1:12 IF you define 'name' to be all Christology.

February 07, 2006 4:52 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I understand now. Here is a cut and paste from my legions of writing on the matter:
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When you believe in the name of Jesus, you believe on One who is God, who has died and rose again, who was born of a virgin, who did walk on water, who ascended into heaven bodily, etc. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT AWARE, UNDERSTAND, OR BELIEVE THESE THINGS.My daughter believes in me as her "Dad". As her dad I work at a Costco warehouse where I am a merchandiser. She doesn't know what I do there. She doesn't understand. She may even believe that I own the whole store and run it myself!My daughter believes in me as her "Dad", as the one who provides for her, feeds her, clothes her, shelters her, etc. When she believes in me, she is believing in a man who is a merchant at a Costco, whether or not she knows what I do, have done, or has wild misconceptions about me.She has trusted me as her dad and I provide for her. The means by which I can provide for her is not the issue. The issue is whether or not she is going to trust me as her dad, trust me for her well-being, and I will provide for her, or is she going to doubt in me, and worry, and be anxious about where she is going to find her well-being.Jesus purchased a gift with His death and ratified it with his resurrection. He offers that gift freely to the one who entrusts his/her eternal well-being to Him. To understand how he is able to offer this gift and how He has the authority to do so will encourage trust in Him for the gift. But it is not NECESSARY to believe or know those things in order to receive the gift.

It was the point that someone trusts another person for something and doesn't necessarily need to know how that something is provided or what makes the person have the authority to bestow that certain something. It is a person offering a gift and another receiving it.
---------

I hope this now helps you.

When I believe in the name of Jesus, I am believing Him who is who He is, in all its ramifications, even though I may now very little (like a child or the thief on the cross) or even if I have misconceptions about who He is.

Antonio

February 07, 2006 5:20 PM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

Thanks!!

Five star answer, Antonio!

Lord bless,

Jodie

February 08, 2006 1:29 PM  
Blogger nothingnothingnothing said...

Antonio -

You say:

"Shorthand for faith in Jesus is to believe that Jesus is the Christ (in the Johannine sense) which as to content is that as the Christ Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to all who simply believe in Him for it."

Is it possible for someone to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the guarantor of their eternal life, but hate Him and have no desire to do what he says?

And I'm curious about the same thing that centuri0n is asking.

Is the Gospel more than just fire insurance?

Which, in fairness to you, you haven't come right out and said, but that's the conclusion that I can quickly come to as I read your posts.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

February 09, 2006 6:12 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Ten Cent, that you consider the saving work of Christ in providing sinners with eternal life as fire insurance says quite a lot about your attitude.

May you come to know the true nature of grace.

February 10, 2006 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matthew said...

Ten Cent, that you consider the saving work of Christ in providing sinners with eternal life as fire insurance says quite a lot about your attitude.

May you come to know the true nature of grace.


This is exactly my point. I don't consider it fire insurance, but that's how it's coming across in the Free Grace Theology as articulated by Antonio. It's so much more than just the assurance of eternal life, as important as that is. It's freedom from sin as well. It would seem that the view of FG is that repentance only matters if you want a better life in heaven. I have yet to see a good articulation of the relationship of repentance to the Christian in any of the posts that I have read so far.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

February 13, 2006 3:36 AM  

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