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)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Jesus is the Guarantor of Eternal Life to the Believer in Him for It

No one who will respond to this message has ever seen Jesus. If Jesus was to dress normally for this culture and walk around the streets of New York City, which one of you could pick Him out? If He were lined up with 100 other Jewish people could you pick Him out? Out of 50? Out of 10? How would you know that you had the correct Jesus?

At least by sight, you could not determine the correct Jesus.

Let us say next that the correct real Jesus was pointed out to you. Then, let us ask the other 99 fellows what they “know” about Jesus, whom they have been standing next to. Out of that you get 99 varying beliefs. How many of those wrong beliefs about Jesus (He is standing right here in front of you) will it take before you are not believing in that Jesus in front of you? Is 1 misconception sufficient to disqualify your belief in the correct Jesus who has been standing in front of you? Does it take the whole 99 wrong beliefs?

If you had all these misconceptions about Jesus, yet the correct one was standing in front of you, and He said, “Most assuredly I say to you, if you have a moment of faith in Me I will then give you eternal life, I will guarantee your eternal well-being.” And you believe in the correct Jesus for it (He is standing there right in front of you and just made this promise and offer to you!), did your misconceptions about everything else about Him disqualify your faith in Him?

Why or why not?

What exactly must be known about Jesus before we believe on the correct Jesus?
What historical facts, what facts of personality, and what geographical or chronological facts need to be believed before we have in view the correct Jesus?

How much information is necessary to know in order to believe in the correct Jesus?

How many misconceptions about Him can one have before he truly is not believing in the correct Jesus?

Both the Mormons and the JW’s will say that Jesus was born of a virgin, was born in Bethlehem, grew in stature, was baptized by John the Baptist, tempted by Satan, ministered in Galilee and Judea, healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, caused the lame to walk, cleared the temple of the moneychangers, had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem a week before His death, was arrested by the Jews and condemned by Pilate, was hung on a cross and died.

What other man but the real true Jesus did these things? How is it that you can say that the Mormons and the JWs believe in a different Jesus? Both groups read the bible and the gospels. How does this information NOT limit their belief to the correct Jesus?

What conditions to “faith alone in Christ alone” must you add in order to make certain that your faith is in the correct Jesus?

Where does the Bible enumerate for us all the facts necessary for us to assent to in order to prevent us from believing on the incorrect Jesus?

I assert that any claim of more knowledge soteriologically necessary is arbitrary and unbiblical.

The crucial issue between us born-again Christians and a JW, or a Mormon, is not that they believe in a different Jesus, but do they trust in Him alone for their eternal well-being, or do their works contribute to it.

There is only ONE Jesus who is the Christ who offers eternal life based solely upon faith alone in Him. If you believe in the name of Jesus for this gift, you have believed in the correct Jesus and you have eternal life, regardless of the blindspots in your theology, or misconceptions about the Person of Christ.

The name of Jesus contains all who He truly is. And when you believe upon Him for eternal life, you are believing upon God in the flesh, the crucified and risen One, the one born of a virgin, tempted by Satan, etc., etc…

33 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

Antonio, let me be the first to welcome you back from your hiatus.

Have you changed your views, this seems like a softened stance on the various doctrines. Just kidding.

How would you know that you had the correct Jesus?

I would check for the scars on his hands. :)

Again, it's great to hear from you again.

God bless bro,
Jim

April 05, 2006 8:10 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Lets just hope the Jesus presented to a particular individual is the Jesus of the Bible, and not the Jesus of the JW's Morm's Arians, etc. There isn't just one Jesus, there's just one true Jesus, Jesus himself said there would be false Christs (Mt 24)--as did Paul (II Cor 11). I suppose the verification process would be to find out if the Jesus I believe in was the one who was the Man of Nazareth, and was the one spoken of in Gen 3:15, Gen 49:10; Deut 18:15; Is 53; etc.

Glad to see you back!

April 05, 2006 8:43 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Antonio, can I believe my eyes? A new post?

This is a really excellent one.

I totally agree.
The concept of a 'different Jesus' is very problematic and not really helpful.

I decided recently that I will stick to soteriology when evangelizing with cult followers, rather than to waste time debating their Christology.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

April 06, 2006 5:03 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Welcome back...

In my opinion, the only thing you must know about Jesus in order to have faith in Him, is that He paid for your sins. You can't just believe that He IS Jesus, or that He is God's Son. Your faith must be in the fact that He is your only way to heaven because He made the complete payment for you.

April 06, 2006 5:41 AM  
Blogger Pastor Jim said...

Here, my friends, is the exact reason you should not just pull a verse out of the Bible. You can make it prove anything you want it to. My Jesus wrote the entire Bible, not just a verse.

April 06, 2006 6:08 AM  
Blogger Todd said...

Pardon my Snarkyness but let's not forget that pastor Jim has a blog called What is the Truth, and that neither is he a pastor nor is his name really Jim, which to me is sort of an odd take on the 'truth' from the get-go. Greetings Antonio.

April 06, 2006 6:24 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio!
You have challenged my thinking here. I have, at times, tried to convict those in false religions of believing in the "wrong Jesus." I think Matthew's comment brought a lot of clarity to the ideas you've shared as well. (You two should get on a team blog or something).

I share the enthusiasm at seeing you posting again! Don't stay away too long this time.

April 06, 2006 8:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I'm going to forgo my normal arguments in lieu of my joy at seeing you post again. Welcome back you wonderful hard head! ;-)

April 06, 2006 9:46 AM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

Antonio,

This is a very intrigueing and helpful post.

I had never thought of this as you and Matthew see it.

I agree with you. I think that the different Christs of Matthew are different Saviors. There are new age Jesus Christs, the Christ Consciousness, who offer salvation for learning enlightenment and total acceptance that dismisses sin as a missunderstanding, ie he isn't a saviour from sin, there is no Hell etc.

But what you seem to be saying is the Jesus of John's Gospel presented himself as the Providor/Guarantor of eternal life.

He didn't even insist on His divinity to the Samaritan woman even though Samaritans apparently didn't beleive the Messiah was God. Although he invoked that more later when He was dealing with hardened people.

Great post.

God bless, brother !

April 06, 2006 7:54 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I think a "different Jesus" is an idiom. There is only one Jesus Christ.

I have posted about a similar thought process from a slightly different angle, here.

Basically, if you don't believe that Jesus is God (Christ) and your only salvation, then you are in trouble.

I don't want to say the rest is inconsequential (because it isn't) but I think if you boil it down to the absolute minimum the above covers it.

AMDG

April 06, 2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Let me be the 11th on to welcome you back from your hiatus.

It is not even necessary to read your post. Just knowing you're back is enough.

But I read it anyway.

We trust in His adequacy to effect our salvation, not our works or anything we can do.

As always...good post!

April 07, 2006 4:54 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Antonio writes, “The crucial issue between us born-again Christians and a JW, or a Mormon, is not that they believe in a different Jesus, but do they trust in Him alone for their eternal well-being, or do their works contribute to it . . . If you believe in the name of Jesus for this gift, you have believed in the correct Jesus and you have eternal life, regardless of the blindspots in your theology, or misconceptions about the Person of Christ.”

Leave it to me to be downright disagreeable here. Antonio, I have to say that this distinctively “free grace” post has dangerous implications. Although I have a lot of questions about this, and I don’t want to read too much into what you are saying, I will limit myself to two questions:

(1) How do you witness to a Mormon or JW? Do you allow them their concept of Jesus and move them to believe in “(h)im [heretical Jesus] alone for their eternal well-being”? You seem to have it backwards – which seems to be your point.

Matthew wrote, “I decided recently that I will stick to soteriology when evangelizing with cult followers, rather than to waste time debating their Christology.” How can you possibly discuss soteriology without Christology?

(2) Don’t you have to have an orthodox understanding of Jesus before you believe in Him? You attempt to cover yourself by saying, “If you believe in the name of Jesus for this gift, you have believed in the correct Jesus,” but this is a non sequitur. According to your evangelistic model, I can reject the Trinity (Jesus onlyism), believe in Jesus alone for eternal life, and be saved. Am I correct?

April 08, 2006 6:37 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

I think Jonathan brings up good points here!

April 08, 2006 10:17 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

When we say ‘Believe in Jesus for Eternal Life” there needs to be some content behind Who He is. I know a Hispanic named Jesus that works at a chocolate factory, is nominally Catholic, is not the Son of God and did not die for our sins. Will trusting in Him for eternal life save me from my sins? No. That is not the Jesus of the Bible. You can be wrong about some things in your Christology (who you think Jesus is) and still be saved. Yet there are certain elements of it one needs to believe in so that you can have eternal life.
1 Corinthians 15 makes it clear that the gospel includes the death and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel of John also stresses the facts of his death and resurrection for our sins, and that one needs to believe in Christ Deity (John 1:29, John 20, 20:31). So then, you need to believe that Jesus is God. The title Son of God is a title of Deity (John 20:31). You need to believe He is a Man: “and every spirit which does not confess that Jesus has come in the flesh is not of God and this is the spirit of the anti Christ” (1 John 4:3). He could not have died for our sins if He wasn not Man. You also need to believe He died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-6).
I can not believe in a demon named Jesus for eternal life. I need to believe in the Risen Lord Jesus Who died for my sins and rose again. Mormons trust in Jesus alone for eternal life and paradise. They base rewards and rulership rewards on their works. The Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus that can save you. It is Another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11). Just like adding works or submission to Christ Lordship is Another gospel.
You said “How many misconceptions about Him can one have before he truly is not believing in the correct Jesus?”
You can have many misconceptions, but not about the Risen Lord Jesus dying for our sins.

You said “What conditions to “faith alone in Christ alone” must you add in order to make certain that your faith is in the correct Jesus?” “Where does the Bible enumerate for us all the facts necessary for us to assent to in order to prevent us from believing on the incorrect Jesus?”
I have stated them above.
Again you stated: “The name of Jesus contains all who He truly is. And when you believe upon Him for eternal life, you are believing upon God in the flesh, the crucified and risen One, the one born of a virgin, tempted by Satan, etc., etc…”
Does the name of Jesus contain all that? Not unless you tell the person. Again, Jesus can be a Hispanic factory worker that worships Mary and does drugs. Believing in that “Jesus” will not save you. There needs to be some content behind the Name.

April 08, 2006 11:31 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

When we say ‘Believe in Jesus for Eternal Life” there needs to be some content behind Who He is. I know a Hispanic named Jesus that works at a chocolate factory, is nominally Catholic, is not the Son of God and did not die for our sins. Will trusting in Him for eternal life save me from my sins? No. That is not the Jesus of the Bible. You can be wrong about some things in your Christology (who you think Jesus is) and still be saved. Yet there are certain elements of it one needs to believe in so that you can have eternal life.
1 Corinthians 15 makes it clear that the gospel includes the death and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel of John also stresses the facts of his death and resurrection for our sins, and that one needs to believe in Christ Deity (John 1:29, John 20, 20:31). So then, you need to believe that Jesus is God. The title Son of God is a title of Deity and John says we need to believe He is the Son of God so that we can have life eternal (John 20:31). He could not have died for our sins if He was not Man. You need to believe He died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-6).
I can not believe in a demon named Jesus for eternal life. I need to believe in the Risen Lord Jesus Who died for my sins and rose again. Mormons trust in Jesus alone for eternal life and paradise. They base rewards and rulership rewards on their works. The Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus that can save you. It is Another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11). Just like adding works or submission to Christ Lordship is Another gospel.
You said “How many misconceptions about Him can one have before he truly is not believing in the correct Jesus?”
You can have many misconceptions, but not about Jesus dying for our sins.

You said “What conditions to “faith alone in Christ alone” must you add in order to make certain that your faith is in the correct Jesus?” “Where does the Bible enumerate for us all the facts necessary for us to assent to in order to prevent us from believing on the incorrect Jesus?”
I have stated them above.
Again you stated: “The name of Jesus contains all who He truly is. And when you believe upon Him for eternal life, you are believing upon God in the flesh, the crucified and risen One, the one born of a virgin, tempted by Satan, etc., etc…”
Does the name of Jesus contain all that? Not unless you tell the person. Again, Jesus can be a Hispanic factory worker that worships Mary and does drugs. Believing in that “Jesus” will not save you. There needs to be some content behind the Name.

April 08, 2006 6:20 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

To all:

For sake or argument, let us try to answer some of my poignant questions.

What EXACTLY must be known about Jesus before you can believe in the true one?

Give me the objective orthodox doctrinal breakdown.

Also

what misconceptions are fatal and which are not? Do you all have a perfect knowledge of Christology?

If you have a wrong understanding about Jesus, how is it you are NOT believing in ANOTHER and FALSE Jesus?

April 09, 2006 7:58 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

The Taylorite Exclusive Brethren beleive that they are justified by the merits of Christ's death and resurrection. They are confident that they have eternal life through Christ and not throught their own works. They also believe that God has chosen the elect
in Christ before the foundation of the world.

However, they deny that Christ has a human soul.

Do they believe in a different Jesus?

They also deny the eternal sonship of Christ. J.F. MacArthur also denied this for some time.

Did J.F. MacArthur believe in a different Jesus?

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

April 10, 2006 6:32 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

I have laid out the objective facts that must be believed in order for one to be saved. I have also given Scripture to prove it. To say that saving faith can be 'trusting in a 'Jesus' that did not die for our sins and is a demon' is grave error. That is not saving faith. Why is 1 Corinthians 15 not the gospel when Paul says it is? Why does John 20:31 say that believing in the deity of Christ is the way to obtain eternal life?

It is a straw man argument to say that "one who thinks you must believe Jesus died for your sins to be saved also thinks you have to know all the details about Christology". As I mentioned before, you can be wrong about a lot of things in your understanding of Who Jesus is, but you need to believe He died for your sins.

April 10, 2006 5:24 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Just so you all know where I am coming from. I am free grace in my beliefs. I believe you need to belive on Jesus alone for eternal life. Simply believing in His deity is not enough. One must place their trust in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life and not themselves. I am opposed to Lord ship theology. But at the very least, we should be careful to put some content to what we mean when we say 'Jesus'. I agree when witnessing to a cultist, it can be best to focus in on trusting Christ as Savior and not necessarily starting with other issues.

April 10, 2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Antonio:

What do you make of the statement by the apostle James, "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder"?

In what way would you say saving faith is different than what james is proposing here that demons possess?

April 11, 2006 1:39 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

To answer your question about the "content" of saving faith, I think you have inadvertantly overturned your own apple cart.

If saving faith has any content at all -- for example, the idea that Jesus existed or exists -- which someone may or may not know, and then may or may not reject after consideration, you are proposing that it is their knowledge which saves them at the starting point of their life with (as opposed to life in) Christ rather than Grace alone.

It would be significantly more consistent to say that God saves men in spite of their knowledge by a free act of grace, and some of them eventually "get it" by some secondary means, but even if they never "get it" the ones God saves are saved. To say that faith (consisting of knowledge set "X") warrants God's grace is a denial of the freeness of grace.

However, the problem with that more philosophically-consistent position is that it the wildly sub-biblical. Faith and Grace are unequivocally tied together by the Bible. Someone with faith that saves has grace; someone with grace expressly has faith. The question is only if faith comes by grace or if faith warrants grace.

As I understand the Free Grace position, faith warrants grace -- and there you get strung up by the fact that it has to be a faith with a certain typology to warrant grace. The classic reformed position is that grace precedes faith and precipitates faith -- all who receive grace receive faith -- and that this faith reforms the person from the inside out resulting in works.

I'd be interested to find out in what way faith does not warrant grace in the FG view. And since you're back, Antonio, you would be the guy to explain it to me.

:)

April 11, 2006 1:53 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

One must have some knowledge of the truth to be saved. You need to believe in Christ to be saved (Acts 16:31, John 3:16). How can one believe in something without any knowledge of it? Romans 15 mentions 'how can they believe in whom they have not heard?'. The implied answer is that they can not believe in Jesus if they have never heard of Him or have no knowledge of Him.
One needs to believe in Jesus and then they are saved (regenerated). How do you get saved before you believe? Isn't this reversing the order of about 100 verses in the NT. It is basic Christianity 101 to say faith precedes regeneration. Only a biased theological system would lead one to reverse this order. Some reformed people say that to believe in Christ is a works salvation. That is just silly. Ephesians 2:8-9 mentions how it can be through faith and not by works at the same time.

April 11, 2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Antonio,
Are you really back from hiatus? It doesn't seem like it.

Bill,
I find the reformed perspective that Centuri0n presents a little befuddling as well when you consider those 100 or so passages that you precisely cite. ;~)

I think the fact that faith may be a work according to their system is one of their weaker arguments and a secondary one.
Centuri0n says:

The question is only if faith comes by grace or if faith warrants grace.

I think he really gets to the heart of the matter, although "warrants" is a carefully chosen word, I think. Non-Calvinists would say that faith is the hand that receives the gift that grace offers (is it the non-cal or the Scripture?) Let me restate Centuri0n's question:

Is "believe and receive" something that we "do" or is it something that is "done for us"? (or "to" us)

The reason I put the word "do" in quotation marks, is because faith is a non-doing kinda thing in that faith and works are contrasted throughout the epistles of Paul, contrasted and linked, but contrasted nonetheless. Faith is the "non-work".

Interesting that you bring up Ephesians 2:8-9, I just
posted on that.

April 11, 2006 6:34 PM  
Blogger Modern Day Magi said...

The crux of the matter is, to be saved we must believe in the Gospel of Jeus Christ.
That is, we must have Faith in the Gospel.

What is the gospel though?

This is found succinctly in
1 Corinthians 15:2-4
"By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,"

They key here is not only that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again, but that it is all in accordance with the scriptures.

The whole world knows that Jesus existed, the difference is if you know He is God or just think he was some Jewish guy who was executed a while back. If you believe In Jesus but not in all of the scripture, you may think he was a prophet, you mat think he was a teacher, you may not believe in the trinity, you may think he got married and had some kids who went on to rule France etc. then you are in the troublesome situation of being one of the people described in Matthew 7:22-23.
"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

MDM

April 15, 2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

MDM, why is believing that Jesus is God essential to believing in His name for eternal life?

If I believe that Jesus was a prophet or an angel, have I believed in a different Jesus? I would believe in the Jesus in the pages of the Bible, depsite having a grossly distorted understanding of His person.

If you happened to believe by mistake that I was Antonio's son, would you believe in a different Matthew?

I do not think so. You would believe in the same Matthew that you have communicated to, you would simply have made a big error about who I was.

'A different Jesus' is a very abstract notion and very difficult to define.

It is the name of Jesus that we believe on for eternal life through His work, not His deity.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

April 15, 2006 4:13 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

April 16, 2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger Adam Cummings said...

You might find my new Resurrection Day post to be of some interest to you. Rose, the only Scripture that supports faith allowing grace is well... none, and I mean this with aldo respect. 2 Timothy 2:25, among others, clearly teaches this. How can a dead man believe in "faith" when all he does is hate God and all his ways (Rom. 8)? He can't; that's the answer. Regeneration, repentance, salvation, it's all given by God to His elect. We should be praising Him for this instead of complaining.

April 18, 2006 10:40 AM  
Blogger Adam Cummings said...

By the way, MacArthur, back when he denied eternal sonship (see his Hebrews commentary), was only trying to defend the divinity of Christ... just as he does today. That is the issue here. He wasn't holding to some off-base, heretical doctrine; it was a minor detail on which he has now simply changed his mind. To compare that with Mormons or anyone else is utterly ridiculous! God bless...

April 18, 2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Can the unregenerate man be aware that he hates God, Adam?

April 18, 2006 12:15 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Antonio!
Where ARE you?!

Adam,
What is "aldo" respect? I don't think I have ever been given such respect beofre. ;~)

Doesn't by grace, through faith imply that faith has something to do with this?

Romans 5:2
... through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.


Tell me how the grace of regeneration preceding faith lens views that one.

With all due respect, I didn't just pull my thoughts out of thin air. I respect that you don't either? BTW - your hat is on backwards. :~)

April 18, 2006 12:18 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

>It would be significantly more consistent to say that God saves men in spite of their knowledge by a free act of grace, and some of them eventually "get it" by some secondary means, but even if they never "get it" the ones God saves are saved<

Ummm....Why did Paul bother making the unknown God known on Mars Hill. Why didn't he just cut to the chase and sprinkle or babtising them or pray Covanental rites to pass on regeneration:-)

Just a little caracature for you to meditate on. I know I took it far but where indeed do you stop with this kind of logic. This is one reason I believe in regeneration bringing about faith,but also believe that man is accountable to have faith, but clearly am convinced that I do not wish to go anywhere near Calvins philosopies anymore.

"Jesus said, If you do not believe that I Am, You will perish in Your sin."

April 19, 2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Really Antonio and Centurion,

You guys seem to be close in agreement, but coming from differant angles.

This is a bit troubling to me.

April 19, 2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Do you hear that sound, Antonio? It is the sound of all your frinedly readers sitting at a long table banging their silverware on the tabletop demanding some post or comments from you.

May 01, 2006 8:54 PM  

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