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, November 08, 2006

Is Eternal Security an Optional Component of the Gospel?

Eternal life is appropriated the moment we believe in Jesus Christ, the moment we exercise saving faith.

What specifically qualifies as saving faith? What is it exactly that we are believing about Jesus? If I were to say to some stray person, "believe in me" (without saying much of anything else), they would be rightly perplexed: there was no content expressed in the context of my request that revealed to this person exactly what I had in mind, the content upon which to rest their faith in.

"believe in me" is shorthand for "believe such and such about me"

Imagine me saying "believe in Jesus". What do I mean? Regard Jesus as an historical person? Consider the answers to my prayers certain? Trust that He was fully man/fully God? Believe that He died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose again from the dead?

"Believe in Jesus" is an ambiguous statement until the clarity of the content by consideration of context is determined.

Pertinent point:
Catholics (in person and in official doctrine) believe that Jesus was God, died on the cross for the sins of the world, and that He rose again from the dead, but most evangelical theologians do not consider them saved.

Why?

Here is my answer: "Catholics have not believed Christ's promise wherein He guarantees eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him for it"

They have not trusted Christ solely FOR THE PURPOSE of their eternal well-being.

Saving faith in Christ is not ambiguous, it has specific content. What we are to trust Christ for is:

the guaranteed present possesion of eternal life and the guaranteed prospect of resurrection

in short:

our guaranteed eternal well being.

If what someone is "believing" in Jesus for is not "guaranteed eternal security" then what is the purpose of their faith? Are they saved by grace after all that they can do? Is perseverance in faithfulness and obedience required? What are they believing in Christ for? If it is not for eternal security than WHAT KIND OF SALVATION IS IT?

For the Arminian, what is the content of their faith? Are they beliving in Him for salvation? If so, then for salvation from what, or what kind of salvation? If there is a possiblity that one can go to hell, this is no objective deliverance at all!

Christ asks us to believe something very specific about Him: that He guarantees one's eternal wellbeing when they take Him at His word concerning such.

I ask one more time, can anyone answer please:

If someone is believing in Christ for anything else but "eternal security", what exactly are they believing in Him for? A possible deliverance after all they can do? A could-be entrance into the kingdom if they persevere in obedience? A hope-so, cross your fingers, conditional salvation? What then would be the conditional aspect? I can only think of 2 things: 1) the fickleness of the Savior, or 2) the works of the 'believer'

Does Christ ellicit faith into Himself under the premise of anything BUT eternal security?

If someone doesn't have to understand that the reason he is to believe in Christ is for an eternal salvation, why would he want to believe in Jesus (as a necessary step in his climb to heaven?) What would he be believing about Jesus (that He will save him after all that he can do)?

Please examine the flow of thought and words of these Scriptures carefully:

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might still perish, but at least has eternal life for the time being." (Jn 3:16)

Is this a saving understanding of this verse?

"And I give them eternal life, and they might still perish; and someone might snatch them out of My hand." (Jn 10:28)

Is a hope-so confidence about going to heaven good enough?

Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." (Jn 4:10)

Does it really matter if you know what the gift is?

Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; and whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him might thirst again; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life, well, maybe." (John 4:13-14)

Could it really be said that the woman believed Jesus if she reinterpreted His words in this manner?

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (Jn 11:25-26)

Does it really make any difference if you “believe this”?

Can you believe Jesus or believe in Jesus in the manner He describes without believing “this”? And what is “this,” but that the believer is guaranteed eternal life?

41 Comments:

Blogger Gojira said...

I will respond to you on my own blog Friday.

See you then.

Gojira

November 08, 2006 4:02 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Absolutely right, Antonio. Bang on.

November 09, 2006 7:29 AM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

The death, burial and resurrection of our Lord is not something Catholics see as the focus of their theology. It is only something they are mentally familiar with as a historical fact. They also have the saints and Mary along with many other Pagan relics to hope in so in reality they don't believe in the finished work of the cross.

It the reason why Mel Gibson made a big movie so focused on the cross and sorrow yet not even seeing Jesus come out of the tomb. They kneel there at the cross trying to have sympathy for Christ and beating their breasts trying to submit to the Lordship of Christ and please him by feeling sympathetic for him...but they are unable to hear the words "Today you will be with me in paradise"

Christ does not want our symathy. He wants us to trust Him alone for our salvation.

Opening up the power behind the death, burial and resurrection of our blessed Lord should lead the soul to trust. It is a good thing. Not something to seem to cast a shade on as being suspicious. The death burial and resurrection of our Lord is our hope and is the substance that gives us grace and victory over death and hell. I get concerned in these debates that we try to parse it away from grace and somehow view it as being something that inhibits us from seeing grace. I think that is unhealthy.

Remember Piper said that gratitude for the cross can Idolatry. We really need to be careful with how we handle the finished work of Christ.

Again Catholics have perverted their understanding by traditions. In the same way that some Charasmatics have perverted the understanding of the Holy Spirit and whipped that doctrine to death and out of true biblical understanding so too have Catholics perverted the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord.

In fact they really don't believe in the finished work of the cross let alone the resurrection. They kneel at the cross and at the stations of the cross weeping over their sin and desperately trying to submit and surrender to Christ and they cannot see that all one needs do is but believe that *IT IS FINISHED* and He is risen and their certainty of eternal life rests there as He has raised from the tomb putting sin to death forever.

But they continue to kneel at the cross and beat their breasts in sorrow thinking God wants their sympathy which only leads to self pity and self sympathy and not faith.

November 09, 2006 3:16 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Hi Brian,

That was an awesome post!

Gojira

November 09, 2006 3:48 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Hi Gojira.

Thanks and may the Lord be with you all...blessings,

Brian

November 09, 2006 6:52 PM  
Anonymous danny said...

I'm with Matthew. Another excellent post Antonio.

Danny

November 09, 2006 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Bud said...

Antonio;

I like the new look of your blog.

Assurance is the essence of faith. This is true by definition because faith is, as Hebrews 11:1 states, the state of being certain that a thing is true. Believing that Jesus will give me eternal life necessarily entails being certain of that fact. No certainty = no faith.

That is howthe doctrine was advanced by certain British Calvinists as early as 1570. Unfortunately, they made an, um, interesting mistake. "If I am no longer certain that I am saved, does that mean I am no longer believing? Does that mean therefore that either (a) I never believed and thus was never regenerate or (b) I have ceased believing and thus am no longer regenerate?"

The point of all that is to say this: I think we necessarily complicate the discussion when we use the term "eternal security" rather than terms like certainty or assurance that flow from the definition of faith itself.

What I am struggling to say (and the struggle is because I have not yet fully articulated my thoughts to my own satisfaction) is that in my mind at least "eternal security" references a theological construct rather than the simpler connotations of faith - certainty or assurance.

And while I happen to adhere to the doctrine of eternal security, it introduces concepts such as the sealing of the Holy Spirit, particular theories of the Atonement, election and a host of other intersecting doctrines which comprise the doctrine of eternal security.

But I don't think we want to hold that one must ascribe to these doctrines as the essence of the gospel. So for example the passage in Romans 8:29-39, a key passage on the doctrine of eternal security, purposely leaves out any discussion of sanctification, leading to particular views about that doctrine. This is part and parcel of the doctrine of eternal security.

The bottom line is I think that the discussion should be "Is Assurance an optional component of the Gospel?" rather than the term eternal security. It's all about definitions, of course.

November 09, 2006 9:29 PM  
Anonymous danny said...

Good thoughts Brian

Danny

November 09, 2006 9:50 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Bud, can you have genuine assurance while admitting the possibility that you might lose your salvation?

November 10, 2006 1:34 AM  
Anonymous Bud said...

DF,

No, of course not.

I wonder if you missed the point of my post. I am suggesting that we should be speaking about assurance as that is denoted in the word "faith" but introducing "eternal security" implies embracing a doctrinal construct which includes numerous elements over which there may be disagreement.

Assurance is not an optional component of the gospel because it is implicit in faith. Eternal security is essential as well, as long as we are careful with the definition.

If by "eternal security" we are referencing a fully developed doctrine then we introduce problems.

What if one believes in corporate rather than personal election? What if one believes the penal satisfaction rather than some other theory of the atonement? Would you aver that because they don't have the correct doctrine (in your view, let's say) of eternal security, therefore they do not believe the gospel?

This is a discussion I wish that the wider universe of FG advocates would have! It's great stuff.

November 10, 2006 4:35 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"What if one believes in corporate rather than personal election? What if one believes the penal satisfaction rather than some other theory of the atonement?"

None of those issues are intrinsically connected with trust in Christ for eternal life.

I do not see how one can separate assurance from belief in eternal security.

If one is assured of being saved forever, surely one believes that one is eternall secure?

It may be that the person who has assurance has not thought through the Biblical texts and theological issues that lead to belief in eternal security, but she surely believes in it, otherwise she would not have true assurance.

Or am I missing something here?

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

November 10, 2006 5:16 AM  
Blogger Pastor Jim said...

"Christ asks us to believe something very specific about Him: that He guarantees one's eternal wellbeing when they take Him at His word concerning such."


You say, "'believe in me' is shorthand for 'believe such and such about me.'" Have you ever played a sport, antonio? I don't want to oversimplify everlasting life, but it is rather simple.

Let's say you play football. Your coach pleads with you all year long, "Believe in me!!! Believe in my system!!! I promise you we will win next week if you just believe what I am coaching you will work. You have to stop them on defense, and you have to move the ball on offense. We have to take control of the game from the kick-off!!!" The game comes. Everybody on the team believes whole-heartedly in the system, in the coach, and that they will win the game. The team takes the field, the ball is kicked in the air, and they all just stand there. No one moves. They are not DOING the "works" (stop the other team, and play solid offense) the coach has told them to do, they are just BELIEVING in him. They don't realize that believing is pro-active. They actually have to act on their beliefs. Belief alone will not win the game (salvation). They actually have to try to win the game and use the tools their coach has given them.

God has given us a gameplan like the coach did his team. God has told us we must...

1) hear the word (John 5:24)
2) believe the word (John 3:16)
3) repent of our sins (Mark 6:12)
4) confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9,10)
5) be baptized (Mark 16:16)

He told us this will give us eternal life with Him in Heaven. Are we to FOLLOW His gameplan, or are we to just BELIEVE that if we follow it we will go to Heaven???

November 10, 2006 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Legume said...

Pastor Jim,

Please exposit Romans 10:9-10 in its broader context (Romans 9-11), including the numerous OT references. I am specifically interested in how you interpret "believing unto righteousness" and "confessing unto salvation". I have never heard a good explanation for using these verses in the manner that you did.

Looking forward to your response,

Kevin

November 10, 2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bud,

thanks for your observations. To tell you the honest truth, I was thinking along the lines of certainty/assurance today in relation to this post.

That concept has alot of what I am talking about and they are related with eternal security.

But what I feel you are doing is mixing the definition of faith with the content of faith.

It is abundantly clear that an Arminian is certain of something, IOW, they are, in all actuality, believing something, therefore are certain of something.

Now what are they believing? I'll tell you what I think: They are certain that final salvation is a synergy of faith in Christ and perseverance in faithfulness and obedience. They are absolutely exercising genuine faith! They are certain that salvation is through faith in Christ PLUS perseverance. Lordship Doctrine inevitably and logically ends here as well.

"Eternal Security" is the content of our certainty, our faith. We are believing (and thus certain) that Christ has eternally saved us. We are certain (and thus believe) that we are eternally secure.

faith = certainty
saving faith = certainty of one's eternal well being through faith alone in Jesus Christ

The content of saving faith is not the death and resurrection, not the deity of Christ, AS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL AND IMPORTANT AS THEY ARE TO OUR SALVATION!

Saving faith is taking Christ at His word wherein He guarantees the eternal well-being of all who simply believe Him to do so. Taking Christ at His word is certainty of one's eternal salvation, no matter what. Its a done deal, nothing can abrogate it.

I hope this clears things up.

Antonio

November 10, 2006 1:17 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Antonio,

I have posted a reply to your blog article.

http://gojirasstompingground.blogspot.com/2006/11/disagreeing-with-free-gracer.html

Gojira

November 10, 2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger Pastor Jim said...

Kevin, tell me where you got the quotes "believing unto righteousness" and "confessing unto salvation."

November 10, 2006 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Legume said...

Pastor Jim,

I got them from a verse you referenced.

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:10 NKJV)

Kevin

November 10, 2006 9:44 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio, as you know, this is one of the few areas where we disagree in our understanding.

1st John 5 says:

4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Why must we add a doctrinal understanding on an eternal perspective to this? Why is it necessary to believe more than this?

Logically how do you reconcile verse 13 with your understanding of the content of saving faith? If belief in the name of Christ is requisite for the knowledge of eternal life then how can the knowledge of eternal life be requisite for belief in Christ?

Other than this erroneous fallacy you’re an okay guy! (grin) In all sincerity you’re a wonderful brother and a gifted teacher. I very much appreciate your contributions both here and in the ministry. May God continue to bless your efforts.

BTW congrats on the great new look!

November 11, 2006 2:19 AM  
Blogger Pastor Jim said...

Kevin, you ask "I am specifically interested in how you interpret 'believing unto righteousness' and 'confessing unto salvation.'"

I think these are pretty good interpetations...

"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (NIV)

"for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (NASB)

November 11, 2006 4:24 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey,

What does "belief into the name of Christ" mean?

Isn't that a bit ambiguous? If that concept does not have specific content, then men and women will not have an objective criterion wherewith to know exactly how to be saved.

Douglas Mabry, so that is who Gojira is! Lol, good to hear from you. Why didn't you say it was you to begin with?

I would be happy to come over and read your entry.

Antonio

November 11, 2006 8:30 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

All,

no one has taken the challenge to answer

1) the questions of this post
2) respond to the Scriptures that specifically set forth the content of faith, IOW, one's eternal wellbeing.

If someone does not understand that salvation is eternal, a once-for-all DEFINITIVE salvation, what are the options?

Flow chart:

Either they believe it is a definitive eternal salvation by faith alone in Jesus or not

If definitive and eternal, then only can be by faith alone into Christ (free gift, free grace)

If not definitevely eternal, then it must be conditional on something OTHER than faith alone into Christ (If it is not a once and for all done deal resulting in an eternal salvation, then there must necessarily be other conditions, not a immediate appropriation of eternal life by the simple exercise of faith)

what are the options?

1) a perseverance in faith
2) a perseverance in obedience
3) keep from sinning mortal sins
4) a combination of the above

In the flow chart I came up with two absolutes:

Either one believes that it is eternal, or one believes that it is conditional

What of the one who is not sure if it is eternal or conditional (like the Arminian and Calvinistic schemes)? He has FAILED to believe, for faith = certainty ONE WAY OR THE OTHER

Christ says:

1) You will never hunger
2) You will never thirst
3) You will never perish
4) You will never come into judgement
5) You can never be plucked from His hands
6) You will never die, into eternity
7) You will be resurrected

How can one say one believes Christ when he is fundamentally denying His salvific promise?

Antonio

November 11, 2006 8:45 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Never doubt one thing, Antonio: I love ya brother! We might go at like like cats and dogs sometime, but I love ya!

I had to quite posting on that one forum where I met you. What was the name of that place? I can't even remember anymore. It got boring after you left.

Anyway, even though I am a Calvinist, well, I hold to TULE because of you. I guess that makes me a four pointer with a twist. Gee, thanks alot man! Just kidding.

Oh, Robbie said hey. He is busy writing up something for some guy named Marty.

November 11, 2006 11:30 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Pastor Jim,

Is your affiliation with the Church of Christ denomination?

Just curious.

"He told us this will give us eternal life with Him in Heaven. Are we to FOLLOW His gameplan, or are we to just BELIEVE that if we follow it we will go to Heaven???"

Hmmmm....your first sentence implies that you don't think we receive eternal life now. Regardless, how are you doing in following that game plan?

November 11, 2006 11:38 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Douglas,

it was called CHRISTIANFORUMS.com

good times.

some of my work over there became some blog articles.

Thanks for the appreciation.

I will have to link to your blog if you are going to continue in the blogging world.

Antonio

November 12, 2006 9:09 AM  
Blogger JayBird's Joint said...

Jesus died for ALL sins (Hebrews 10:10-12,14). If it is possible for us to lose our salvation, then there must have been at least one sin that he did not to die for...
We know at which point we become saved, (don't we all remember a point in time?) The question is at what point do we become unsaved?
(Hebrews 13:5)...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

November 12, 2006 10:37 AM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Yep, Antonio, those were great times.

Yeah, I will be continuing with the blog. I have some things about Mariology that I want to post. There is also something that I want to post in defense of Free Grace theology. You guys are falsly accused of being antinomian, usually in a theological sense, but sometimes in a practical sense. I want to address that and why I personally think it is a false charge. I also want to post a companion post to yours regarding the bema judgement as it relates to Colossians. I also want to take on the enormously false views posted here by some guy named "theophile" (I hope I spelled that correctly.) So I have a full plate for awhile. I also have an idea that I would adore for you to guest blog on. Actually, it's two ideas I would absolutely love for you to guest blog on. I'll get your email from Robbie and lay those two ideas out. I'll go ahead and tell you a little about one of the topics. It has to do with one certain verse about baptism. I think the Free Grace position could do wonders for how that verse is constructed and for what it says.

Anyway, I plan to keep on blogging. Hopefully, I can get some of the Catholics from CARM to come over and interact with some of the posts I have planned about Catholicism. I am thinking of doing a series on answering Keatings charges as laid out in his book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" and another book of his. In those regards I am going to be extra heavy on justification by faith ****ALONE**** and emphasizing the eternal security of the believer. I would also like to take on the views of the Church of Christ denom. They, for various reasons I won't get into right here, are ten times more rabid than Catholicism. So yeah, I intend to keep on blogging. I do not intend to keep debating the Free Grace position on the one issue we are at right now. If I ever learn how to put links on my blog I intend to link to you as a helpful site.

November 12, 2006 11:48 AM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Antonio,

I agree with Gojira's critique on this. You've made eternal security synonymous with the gospel; which is to me placing a condition on the gospel that the free offer of the gospel does not require. Eternal security or assurance is a component of sanctification not justification--in other words it is an issue that only a "believer" who has been justified will be concerned with--this presupposes that this particular person is in fact a believer in the first place. This would be "second order orthodoxy" not "first order"=God sent His Son into the world to die as an atonement for sin, and God raised Him from the dead, so that anyone who places faith in Him receives the free gift of salvation. (definition taken from Dr. Rex Koivisto, "One Lord, One Faith"). To say that if a person does not affirm eternal security at the point of justification is not saved, to me does exactly the thing you don't want to--place an unwarranted condition on the Absolutely Free offer of salvation--in other words you're condemning people to hell just because they are ignorant of a nuance and implication of their already appropriated salvation.

November 12, 2006 2:54 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby,

Your thinking on this is sort of a double standard, and let me show you how.

What does it mean to "place your faith in Him"?

Is that not ambiguous unless there is a context to it?

Please correct me if I am wrong. Your import of what it means to believe in Jesus (saving faith):

1) That He is God
2) That He died a substitutionary death
3) That He arose bodily from the dead

Even with these three points you need to further add at least one more point

4) one must trust Him for salvation (at this point I would ask, well what kind of salvation, but it seems not to matter in your gospel presentation)

So there we have at least 4 points that are imported into your idea of saving faith.

Are you not front-loading the gospel? You are requiring one to have a Christological understanding about Jesus but you do not insist what they are to believe into Jesus for (iow, the definitive present possession of eternal security)?

I have but one point in my understanding of saving faith:

1) Jesus Christ is the Guarantor (IOW, He guarantees) of eternal life to all who simply believe Him to do so.

In the gospel of John, which is the only gospel with an express, written purpose of evangelism, Jesus Christ makes it clear that the only gift that He offers is eternal life, whereby one will never thirst, never perish, never hunger, never come into judgment, never die into eternity, has the present possession of eternal life, will be resurrected, cannot be plucked out of His hand, etc.

He promises eternal security. Either we believe Him or not.

If you do not preach his promise you have failed to present His offer of the free gift of eternal life.

If one does not believe Jesus' promise, he has not believed into Jesus salvifically.

Am I in the unenviable position of advocating that saving faith is taking Christ at His word concerning His promise? That saving faith is certainty that one is eternally secure no matter what? That saving faith is believing one to have a guaranteed eternal well-being based upon the promise of Christ?

It is simple, there are merely 3 components to the saving proposition that I have noted above:

1) Jesus Christ (The promiser, provider, Guarantor)
2) Eternal life (the free gift that is offered)
3) Faith in Christ for the stated and offered gift.

Jesus Christ guarantees the definitive appropriation of eternal life, eternal well-being, eternal security, to the one who simply believes Him to do so.

Object : Jesus Christ
Content/purpose : eternal well-being
Passive instrument of reception: faith

I fail to understand everyone's problem with this. It is the simplest expression in the world. Far simpler than the Lordship gospel. It is the irreducible minimum, yet I have been charged with frontloading.

Faith in Christ is meaningless unless it has a content/purpose. The content/purpose of saving faith is eternal well-being, eternal life.

Antonio

November 12, 2006 6:01 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Antonio,

we had this discussion before, remember my post on the "Presupposition of the Gospel"--maybe you don't.

I never said the 3 components that you listed for me are essential to understand for the appropriation of the gospel. In fact if you'll note the only element of appropriation I think that is necessary for salvation is "belief" in Jesus Christ--those other elements that you listed for me are the presuppositions or assumptions that allow Jesus to make a Free Offer of eternal life.

Another issue I have with you, or your doctrine, is that you seem to imply that "eternal life" is a "what" that someone gets. From my read of the gospel of John, and the rest of the NT, eternal life is a "who"--it's a person, none other than Jesus Christ (see Jn 17:3). As Doug already pointed out, eternal life is relational and qualitative, you seem to imply that it is quantitative or some "set" of chronological space that a person has been "guranteed" to have forever. This is a wrong emphasis . . . since again the gospel and eternal life are defined as relational realites, first.

Again eternal security is a second order reflection by an person upon the appropriation of eternal life. For clarification, you're not saying that a person has to subjectively assured of salvation at some level in order for them to actually appropriate it, are you?

November 12, 2006 6:36 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

We must take God at his word this is so true Antonio. I am glad you ground this out. We are also believing in Him. That is the only area that makes me nervous where you seem to have the tendency to parse in two what God lays down as one.

"You have magnified your word and your name" the Psalmist says or as the New American Standard says "according to your word" of course the NKJV and KJV are warranted in saying "Above all" but I am glad that you are hammering home taking God at his word, because he exalted his word so that his promise and garuntee would be believed. I do believe we charter into shaky territory outside of that...of course I do believe Satan assaults with doubts on all fronts after on is saved, but you are correct in saying that we must stress taking God at his word in the Gospel presentation and that this must be believed.

God bless you. He is worthy to be believed in, just please consider that we are not warranted to parse him from the message. According to what I've seen Jodie post on Zane Hodges I don't think he does either.

November 12, 2006 7:28 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio I've attempted to reply to your questions on my site. I would appreciate your critique as always.

November 12, 2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby,

in an old thread you wrote this:
----------
Are you saying you believe someone can come to saving faith in Christ, apart from recognition that they are a sinner (Rom. 3:23; John 8:30ff), and apart from recognizing that Jesus paid the penalty that they deserved to pay (Rom. 6:24), and apart from recognizing that Jesus is LORD (God), and was raised from the dead on their behalf (Rom. 10:9,10)?
----------
You obviously would answer in the negative.

You demand, in each and every case, that someone understand those 3 points that I have enumerated in my last post. Now if you were to say that it is possible that someone could believe in Jesus for eternal life apart from those three, but the mmajor majority of the times it is a logical necessity, then I would agree.

But your insistence that those three items be acknowledged for saving faith provides the basis for me to say that you are front-loading the gospel with more information than Christ Himself requires.

You ask:
----------
For clarification, you're not saying that a person has to subjectively assured of salvation at some level in order for them to actually appropriate it, are you?
----------
No. But unless someone is objectively assured of eternal security at the moment of faith, he has not believed Christ in His promise.

Bobby states:
----------
In fact if you'll note the only element of appropriation I think that is necessary for salvation is "belief" in Jesus Christ
----------
Can somebody tell me what the ambiguous phrase "belief in Jesus Christ" means? Without a content/purpose, it is meaningless. What import do you give to "faith in Jesus Christ"? What does it mean?

I have told you what faith in Jesus Christ is. It is taking Jesus at His word in His gospel promise: John 3:16 "will never perish," "has everlasting life". John 5:24 "has eternal life," "will not come into judgment," "has passed from death unto life" etc.!

Jesus makes a promise and asks us to believe that promise. Saving faith, then, is taking Christ at His word concerning His promise, yea, His guarantee to secure someone's eternal well-being when they believe Him to do so.

What is the content of "faith in Christ" if it is not what I have just mentioned?

Antonio

November 12, 2006 7:57 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey,

I will come over in the next few days to comment. The next few days are quite busy for me!

God bless you!

Antonio

November 12, 2006 7:59 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Antonio said:

You demand, in each and every case, that someone understand those 3 points that I have enumerated in my last post. Now if you were to say that it is possible that someone could believe in Jesus for eternal life apart from those three, but the mmajor majority of the times it is a logical necessity, then I would agree.

What I said, in my "Presupposition of the Gospel" article (which I've lost ;( is that you would never get the kind of offer of salvation w/o those things which you "enumerated"; in other words those points about "who" Jesus is, and "what" He did to secure eternal life (in Him) are the presupposition of the gospel offer (so indeed they are implicitly tied to the gospel offer in that sense). If a person truly trusts in Jesus for eternal everlasting life, then they received the kind of everlasting life that was presupposed by His death, burial, and resurrection (so yes I stand by the quote you give of me, in the sense of my qualification here).

I'm not saying that when a person comes to appropriate salvation that they have to sign some sort of doctrinal statement--but if they truly have appropriated eternal life in Christ, then it is presupposed by the Jesus who died, was buried, and rose again to secure that eternal life for them (cf. Mt. 20:28; Mk 10:45; etc.).

And I still think your "eternal life"/"eternal security" language is an equivocation. Eternal Life is "who" we have union with (Jesus); eternal security is "what" we have as a consequence of the gospel---in other words they are distinct---so much so, that if someone, i.e. an Arminian, does not affirm eternal security this does not mean they aren't saved--it just means they live a miserable spiritual life (i.e. they are misguided).

November 12, 2006 10:16 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......

Antonio: "you are front-loading the gospel with more information than Christ Himself requires."

Concerning His deity, Jesus says quite plainly in John 8, "For if you do not believe that I AM you will die in your sins." It would appear that you are contradicting the very thing that Christ Himself said.

November 13, 2006 6:28 AM  
Blogger Solifidian said...

Gojira,

You seem to understand John 8:24 in a way that John Calvin apparently did not. See below how I am understanding Calvin in his commentary. The words in the brackets are my own:

[ Quote of Calvin on John 8:24]
If you do not believe that I am: For there is no other way for lost men to recover salvation, but to betake themselves to Christ. The phrase, that I am, is emphatic; for, in order to make the meaning complete, we must supply all that the Scripture ascribes to the [the office of the] Messiah, and all that it bids us expect from him [i.e., the Messiah]. But the sum and substance [of what is to be expected of the Messiah] is -- the restoration of the Church, the commencement of which is the light of faith, from which proceed righteousness and a new life. Some of the ancient writers have deduced from this passage the Divine essence of Christ; but that is a mistake, for he speaks of his office [of Messiah] towards us. [Calvin here seems to argue that the expression “I am” is better understood as “I am the Messiah” rather than “I am God.”]
[End Quote – emphasis mine]

If I have understood Calvin correctly, he does not understand this passage to say that a comprehension of Christ’s Deity is necessary for salvation, but rather an acceptance of the truth that He is the Messiah. This interpretaion would be in line with the necessary content of saving faith as Antonio understands it, i.e., a person must believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the One who guarantees their eternal well-being.

Perhaps Calvin does indeed argue elsewhere that an understanding of Christ's Deity is necessary for saving faith, but he apparently does not do so based on John 8:24.

November 13, 2006 2:09 PM  
Blogger Gojira said...

Hey Solifidian!

You don't know this, but I have read you for quite sometime now. If I ever figured out how to do it -- or better, talk my wife into doing it for me -- I am going to link to you. I absolutely love how you do your blog.

Anyway, about Calvin. Calvin held to quite a few things that we don't today. You will find in his writings that he held to, for example, the perpetual virginity of Mary. Part of the answer (and this isn't the full answer by any means) that we don't hold to that and he did is because we have a better understanding of Heõs Hou than he did. You will also find in some of his writings the fact that he had no idea of the Granville Sharp rule. So the reason that most people would disagree with him on his exposition of the passage is really neither here nor there. In fact, many Calvinist disagree with Calvin on a few things. An example might be his views on Communion or someother issue. Or with his exposition of John 8:24.

Having said that, here is where and why I would disagree with Calvin. He is most likely reading into the greek text the word "he" which is absent from the greek text. It is usually supplied in that sentence structure to make the passage flow more easily. Now of course, I know that in the section would quoted from Calvin that he didn't use that word either. Yet compared with some of his other writings that "he" was understood, which is how Calvin arrived at "I Am (he) as pointing to what he termed the "office" of Messiah.

Now here is where I disagree with him. The same phrase is repeated twice here. Once in verse 24 and the next in verse 58. The first time it is said, the response he gets is one of bewilderment. You can imagine what they would have thought: "No way, huh uh, I couldn't have heard that correctly -- a common Jewish man using the covenant name of God and using it for himself!" But how do we know that it was Jesus' intent to identify Himself as deity here? It is spelled out for us in verse 58. "Before Abraham was, I AM!" The Jews action in verse 59 shows that they knew He was claiming deity -- they were ready to stone Him right then and there! Make no mistake about it, Jesus said that if one doesn't believe in Him as the I AM, then they shall die in their sins.

Well, what about Antonio's charge (and it is a good charge) that Catholics believe that and most people say they aren't saved. To save time, I would point you to my site where I answered that. Well, I will go ahead and put my foot in my mouth here with a few words. Catholics, for the most part, have no idea what the gospel is. If you were to line up ten of them and ask what they thought the gospel to be, you would likely get about four different answers. (by the way, I know, because I have done this on a couple Catholic forums) The two most common answers as to what they think the gospel is: The Eucharist and obedience to the church. Salvation is to be accomplished by your cooperation in partaking of the sacraments. Their idea of faith is not a trust or confidence in Christ, but is an intellectual assent (mental agreement) which I would submit is waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy from being what the Bible talks about and describes. I find it sad that many in the FG movement have adopted this idea of faith as being only mental assent. I don't say that to pick a fight, nor do I say it to be mean. Most of them get this faulty notion from Gordon Clark, himself an extremist and border line hyper Calvinist.

Hmmmmmm this idea of faith as only sometype of mental assent would be a good idea for me to stick my foot in my mouth by writing a blog article on.

Oh, by the way, please feel free to come over to the Stomping Ground and stomp some.

Gojira

November 13, 2006 3:28 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Gojirah, posting links on a blog is simple. Just go into the blog template and find the html for the links (near the bottom), on your 'edit me' and Google News.

Delete the url for Google News and 'edit me' and insert the required link. Then insert the title of the link you want where Google News and 'Edit me' were.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

November 14, 2006 3:23 AM  
Blogger Gojira said...

You DA MAN, Matthew! Thank you.

November 14, 2006 8:53 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Antonio,

Interesting conversation, but this is where it becomes dangerous to preach anything other than Jesus.

What I find fascinating is that when you look at Peter, he was clearly an unlearned man, unable to hold his own in a discussion like this. Yet, he was so bold in his preaching that when he did, 3000 people were added to "the church." Notice it is not "churches," but "church." We divide ourselves by what we decide we want to believe. And then we wonder why we are not as effective as the early New Testament Church.

November 16, 2006 7:52 PM  
Blogger keeping the faith said...

Can I just make a comment, if that's ok?
Bhedr said at the beginning of this debate
Quote:..They kneel there at the cross trying to have sympathy for Christ and beating their breasts trying to submit to the Lordship of Christ and please him by feeling sympathetic for him...but they are unable to hear the words "Today you will be with me in paradise"

Christ does not want our sympathy. He wants us to trust Him alone for our salvation.
---------------------------
Yes we as believers must put our trust completely in Christ for our Salvation. It is only through His shed blood that we are redeemed, but we should maybe take heed from the sympathetic catholic, or from the person who sits at the foot of the cross and cries 'tears' of thankfulness for the pain and suffering that the Lord had to endure for my sake.
When as believers did we last sit and openly shed a tear taking the bread and wine, realising how much He (Christ) had done for us...
Today we sit as if with cold hearts.We should take maybe a bit of an example from some and humble ourselves before Him. also regarding eternal security and being assured of Gods promises, not all of us can live every minute of every day without small doubts. This does not mean we are not saved.
'And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.'Mark9:24


There is a man in Heaven, the God Man, who knows our frailties and sympathises WITH US.

March 27, 2009 3:20 PM  

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