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, December 10, 2007

So you're born again... But will you walk with Jesus in white? Part 2

In our first installment we saw how easily the consistent Free Grace position fits the parabolic stucture of the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14). We also saw the superiority of such an interpretation, as it alone fits the data the best. Part two of this series seeks to corroborate the idea there are significant rewards to be won by preparation in this life, and great loss to be suffered in failure to do such. Will you walk with Jesus in white?

The Church of Sardis and the prospect of the white garment (Rev 3:4-5)
In the parable of the Wedding Feast, we have given the interpretation of the wedding garment as thus: “the preparation for conditional, superlative eternal glories consisting of a faithful and consecrated life, stedfast until the end.” Such an idea is found on the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ in His address to the church in Sardis.

You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.


We do not have here a picture of the free gift of eternal life and righteousness bestowed upon the Christian. Those in the church of Sardis have the potential to “walk with” Jesus (expressing intimate fellowship) clothed in “white garments” if they fulfill the conditions of “not defil[ing] their garments,” being victorious in their lives through works (“He who overcomes”: Gk = ‘nike,’ the victorious one), and being “worthy.” Such is not the language of imputed righteousness! It takes the hard works of keeping oneself unspotted, overcoming sin and evil, and exercising oneself unto rewardable integrity until the end in order to merit this superlative reward of being clothed in white and walking with Jesus.

Notice that the one who fulfills the conditions listed here will also have his name confessed before the Father and the holy angels. Of course, this is a tremendous reward! To be honored and receive glory before the Father and His angelic ministers by the Lord Jesus Christ! Such hearkens back to Jesus’ statements when He was on earth: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10:32-33). So many people understand these verses to mean that confessing Jesus before men is a condition for eternal salvation. But such are in grievous error! To proclaim this is to add works to the requirements for eternal life, thus fatally marring the saving message of Christ. Standing up for Christ and confessing His name can be a hard work. Hostilities often ensue with one’s identification with Jesus. But to those who endure such in a faithful confession come honor and glory in the presence of God the Father and His angels.

Corroboration for such an interpretation as this is found in the words of Paul to Timothy: “If we endure [in our confession of Christ] we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him [by failing to identify with Him and confess Him], He also will deny us [in this context, reigning with Him]” (2 Tim 2:12). These two conditional clauses are found in a chiastic literary structure, in which they are parallel to each other. On one hand, the Christian who confesses Jesus Christ will be honored and co-glorified with Christ. On the other, the Christian who denies Christ, by failing to identify with Him in a faithful confession, will be denied such privilege.

Thus, in the admonition of Jesus Christ to the church in Sardis, we see that the privilege of walking with Christ in intimacy, at a future time in His kingdom, is dependent upon preparing oneself for such, illustrated by an unsoiled, bright white garment, worn by virtue of the fact that one is an overcoming, and worthy Christian! Yet this is not the extent of this vital thread of revelatory material permeating John’s Apocalypse.


Admonition to the church in Laodicea to buy white garments (Rev 3:18)
Throughout my Christian years I have often heard that the man without a wedding gown in the parable of the Wedding Feast lacked the imputed righteousness of Christ, which is parabolically identified for us as the garment itself. But is that the best interpretation, or is it merely the one that fits our theology best, doing the least damage to it? It is the contention of this paper that the latter is the case.

Continuing on in our excursion through the book of Revelation, we touch down on Jesus Christ’s admonition to the lukewarm church in Laodicea. Thinking that they were rich, this church was actually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev 3:17). Jesus’ advice for them was given in the following manner:

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.


Whatever it means to “buy” from Jesus “white garments,” one thing can be certainly said: this language does not (and indeed cannot!) denote the free gift of eternal life that brings complete judicial justification and imputed righteousness. The answer to their lukewarm condition is to do works. The purchase price for the white garment has already been discussed above: being “worthy” of it by keeping from defilement and succeeding in victory over our spiritual enemies. In order to walk with Jesus in white, one must prepare for that honor, being capacitated for such by faithful endurance until death or rapture.

One cannot help but note the promise of Jesus Christ to the born again members of the church of Laodicea. (Are they saved? Of course. Jesus’ exhortation to them was not, “get saved” but, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.) “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev 3:21). The one who overcomes will “walk with” Jesus in “white” and “sit with” Him on His throne. Make note of the fact; thus far, that the language we are taking consideration of is that of merit and not of gift or imputation.


The twenty-four elders wearing victory wreaths (Gk: stephanos) and clothed in white robes (Rev 4:4)
As most know, the book of Revelation can be separated into three parts: 1) the things which John had seen, 2) the things which are, and 3) the things which will take place after this (Rev 1:19). At the beginning of the last section the readers become privy to a great heavenly scene. It is none other than the throne room of God. Round God’s throne are twenty-four other thrones, at which sat twenty-four elders (Rev 4:1-4). The text says:

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.


Who are these twenty-four elders? John Walvoord states, “Only the church which is raptured before chapter 4 is properly complete in heaven and eligible for reward at the judgment seat of Christ” (The Revelation of Jesus Christ p 106). As Rev 4:1 states, this begins the section of those things which are to come. They are not angels, as their song certainly shows in 5:9, “… You… have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (I am aware of the textual problem here. This is the Majority Text reading, which I always favor. But other factors corroborate this reading as we shall see).

This scene in heaven occurs in the future from the perspective of John’s writings. They occur subsequent to his time and prior to the Great Tribulation narratives which are to follow. Such considerations narrow the identity of these elders down to a representative collection of church age overcomers who have been raptured and rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

These elders are arrayed in the manner of those who overcome in their Christian testimonies until the end. They are clothed in white robes, which we have already determined are only granted to those who by the testimony of their lives are found worthy of such. It is by triumphant, victorious endurance in their confession for Christ that such honor is won. Furthermore, they are pictured wearing victory crowns (Gk: stephanos). This is indeed the crown that Paul himself strove for and should be a focus of our every endeavor:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown [Gk: stephanos]. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Cor 9:24-27)


Paul was under no illusion that he indeed would attain to this glory. Therefore, he exercised unto godliness, strictly disciplining himself so as not to forfeit the prize. Lastly, we note that these elders sat on thrones. The privilege to such has already been seen to be conditioned on the overcoming life that Paul sought to develop in himself and encourage in the church (cf 1 Cor 9-24-27 with Rev 3:21).

In Rev 4:4, the passage under consideration, we fast forward to the glory of the reigning servant kings who won their glory by participating in the sufferings of Christ. Reader, what is keeping you from aspiring to such?

(to be continued)

42 Comments:

Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Well argued.

December 11, 2007 1:16 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Sir, I must get ready for work, so short and sweet for now...

2 Timothy 2:12 describes an apostate, one whose profession through life was false. 1 John 5:4 states very clearly that "whatever is born of God overcomes the world", no ifs ands or buts. Verse 5 goes on to say, " Who is he who over comes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" - meaning all Christians.

That there are varying degrees of reward you'd be hard pressed to find a main stream Calvinist who would deny that.

Mark

December 11, 2007 10:34 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

As to the wedding feast parable in Matthew 22, the wedding garment most surely IS imputted righteousness. The Jews rejected the invitation, the invitation goes world wide. The garmentless one is that one w/o the righteousness of Christ; the lesson being that, though the invitation goes world wide there be one stipulation - you must come clothed in Christ's righteousness.

December 11, 2007 10:45 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

What lengths you must go to to separate practical sanctification, the on going work of God the Holy Spirit's work in the believer, purchased by Christ in His cross work, from the rest of God's salvation plan. Romans 6 clearly teaches that, because of His cross work, ALL Christians are slaves of God. All Christians are led by the Spirit. Romans 8:9-14.

December 11, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"Therefore I run [trecho] thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified."

" But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all:YET NOT I, but the GRACE of God which was with me." 1 Cor. 15;10

"So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that RUNS [trecho], but of God that shows mercy." Rom. 9:16

All our righteous deeds we do are from God who works in us to will and to do, and even run. It;s His grace. And He is faithful to make it happen from a new heart, a good soil, which produces fruit. Especially love, for if one does not love God and his neighbor then this same one is accursed.

God's grace finds us, saves us, and leads us home.

To God be the glory,
For great things He has done.

I also agree with Mark. Some rooted and grounded thoughts.

December 11, 2007 1:31 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Thanks you guys for showing up. I appreciate the comments once again. I don't have a whole lot of time at this moment, but let me point this out to you.

There is a wholesale failure on the part of Perseverance theology advocates to consider the great wealth of conditional statements throughout the scriptures. And also a serious misuderstanding of grace.

Don, you are not wrong to point out Christ working in us. Was it not Paul who said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"?

This is the quintescential (sp?) statement on grace. It views both sides of the equation. You see, you are so apt to say that the works we do are solely from God. This is gratuitous and unbalanced.

The verse does not say, "Christ will do all things through Him who works His works through me apart from my will".

It says, "I, Paul, can do all things [that are commanded of me, required of me] through Christ [and His grace] who strengthens me."

Grace is the power available to all Christians through the working and strength of Christ. It is up to the Christian to appropriate that grace and strength so that the Christian himself can "do all things."

Jesus does not drag anyone down the path of obedience.

Have you ever been confronted with a certain and recognizable opportunity to do good works yet failed to do them? OF COURSE! To say you haven't is to lie.

Where was Christ then? Why wasn't He working those works through you?

Because He doesn't drag anyone down the path of obedience.

You quoted:

" But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all:YET NOT I, but the GRACE of God which was with me." 1 Cor. 15;10

What this pictures is Paul laboring under the strength of Christ, the grace of God! But this took an act of Paul's will. God was not going to force Paul, just as He didn't force you to do the good works that you spurned after recognizing the opportunity to do them!

Paul, using the resources of Christ, the strength of Christ, the grace of God, was disciplining His body (it is the body, that dead thing, that is our MAIN HINDRANCE to doing the will of God EACH TIME it is presented to us by recognizing the opportunity!), bringing it into subjection, so that HE WOULD NOT BE DISQUALIFIED!

Paul was ever aware of the fact that his body, his flesh, was the main hindrance to doing the works of God. Therefore, he did what he could to suppress the body, so that he would do the works of God, using the strength of God.

Paul wanted the prize! Such takes both his will and the power of God! Paul stated that we had to reckon ourselves dead unto sin and stop presenting our members as instruments of unrighteousness. Why would he tell Christians to do something that Christ would automatically do?

Sanctification and thus winning the rewards, is a cooperation between God and man, whereby the man puts to death the members of his body, mortifies them, and relies upon God's grace, Christ's resurrection power, and His strength, to consecrate himself and do good deeds!

There is a wholesale misunderstanding of God's grace. It does not force. Grace is a resource that the disciple must use to live for Christ. The disciple is motivated to live for Christ and thus appropriate the grace of God through many things: gratitude for eternal life, motivation for the glories of the kingdom, and desire to avoid the temporal and eternal consequences for unfaithfulness, severe chastening and loss of privilege and honor.

Lordship Calvinists must open their eyes to the plethora of conditional statements given to Christians in the Bible. One must overcome and keep their garments unsoiled in order to be found WORTHY to walk with Jesus.

In the Calvinist theology, is it the right language to use when talking about the blessings salvation, that one is WORTHY of it?

Jesus says that those who did not soil their garments, but overcome, will walk with Him in white because they are WORTHY. If walking with Jesus in white is a simple blessing of being saved, how is it that it can be saif of those who will walk with Jesus in white

THAT THEY ARE WORTHY of such honor?

I thought noone was worthy of the blessings of salvation in Lordship Calvinist theology?

But here again we are met with a glaring contradiction.

Walking with Jesus in white will only be allowed to those who are worthy: those who believed in Jesus! Is not being worthy something to boast about?

There are so many conditional structures in the Bible that are wholesale dismissed by Lordship Calvinists because of their presuppositional adherence to Perseverance theology.

Mark, I am not forgetting your scriptures you bring up. I will answer them all later.

Antonio

December 11, 2007 2:19 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Excellent work taking this passage in context of itself and the rest of scripture. :)

December 11, 2007 4:47 PM  
Blogger donsands said...

"There is a wholesale misunderstanding of God's grace. It does not force."

Sure it does.

Paul says: "YET NOT I".

Why does he say this? Because God did it. His grace is His favor upon us.

If we have anything to do with our righteous deeds, then we can boast.
Grace through faith removes all boasting.
Not to mention everything we do is tainted with sin.
The only Human to do a righteous deed untainted was Christ.
he was perfect in His love and obedience. He lived and died for us.

The only thing that i can take credit for is my sin, which i do, and which the Lord has grciously paid for with His precious blood. And He has imputed Himself with my self-ceneteredness, and iniquity. And Jesus has imputed His righteousness to me.

He receives all the glory, praise and thanks. We receieve none. And that's a good thing! I love to give Christ all the glory in my inner man.
But my memebers want to be glorified and stroked. The flesh is wicked and longs for glory.
But the new man longs to glory in Christ alone.

We'll never see eye to eye here.

We have two different interpretations of grace.

I see grace as God in Christ. You see it as something we use for our own benefit.
God forbid that i would take any glory from Christ.

Have a blessed evening Antonio.

December 11, 2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

"Jesus does not drag anyone down the path of obedience.
=======
Correct. He gives us new desires, desire issuing forth from the new nature.
=======
Have you ever been confronted with a certain and recognizable opportunity to do good works yet failed to do them? OF COURSE! To say you haven't is to lie.
========
Paul did teach that the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish - Gal. 5:17. It is a fact of life, period. That is why some will yield 100, some 60, some 30, and shall be rewarded accordingly. But even a 30 yield is better than the 10 percent yield of the crops in that time - meaning all Christians WILL yield amazingly.
=======
Where was Christ then? Why wasn't He working those works through you?
=====
See answer above.
======
Because He doesn't drag anyone down the path of obedience.
=======
Correct. As Don pointed out, HE works in us to will... The desires come from Him. The energy comes from Him. The enablement comes from Him.

In short, all true Christians will over come. 1 John 5:4-5.

P.S. My internet provider is giving me many problems lately. It takes 20 years to load web sites. I will be changing internet providers soon, which probably means even more problems. So if it seems I'm not answering, chalk it up to my computer woes of late. I'll answer when things are functioning again.

December 12, 2007 4:40 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

>Walking with Jesus in white will only be allowed to those who are worthy:<
=========
He says these things to the Sardis church - that same church that He notes "but you are dead"... and "You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments...". This church was dead, faithless, dominated by false professors or, in other words, a church filled with empty professions. Only a few were still alive. They be the ones walking with Christ in white, as will ALL Christians. It is the "few names" that stand out in contrast to the rest of the church. Those are the only ones still alive. Those are the ones "worthy", as they are the only true Christians.

December 12, 2007 4:57 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Churches DO die. Look at those in your own city. Some of them, which are merely social gatherings today, may have rich, truely evangelical, soul winning pasts. Oh sure they still meet in the same building as their very vibrant ancestors; Even called by the same name; but something is missing, something or Some One. Over time heresies and liberal elder boards took their toll. Now there is no first love for Christ, no place for His word... Sardis has been revisited.

December 12, 2007 5:07 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

In those Sardis-like churches there are some who remain faithfull to Christ. These will walk with Christ in white, as opposed to their liberal church mates, who are not even saved.

December 12, 2007 5:11 AM  
Blogger jazzycat said...

Antonio,
You said.... Such is not the language of imputed righteousness! It takes the hard works of keeping oneself unspotted, overcoming sin and evil, and exercising oneself unto rewardable integrity until the end in order to merit this superlative reward of being clothed in white and walking with Jesus.

How is it possible to have a serious debate with you when you insist on painting a false picture of lordship sanctification?

My challenge to you of well over a year now is still unanswered. Show me in my devotionals, meditations and other writing where I assert there is any merit whatsoever in eternal life! Show me the proof! Back it up! The offer is good to all of your followers as well. Go to Jazzycat or Bluecollar and copy and paste the proof of your charge!

I was going to give this post of yours a serious read until I got to that false statement. I got no further.

December 13, 2007 6:29 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Mark, you say:

2 Timothy 2:12 describes an apostate, one whose profession through life was false.

Paul states:

"If we endure, we shall reign with Him. If we deny He will deny us."

First, this is a chiastic structure with two parallel lines. Let us do a little exegesis, huh?

Who is the "we" in the first line? It is Paul and Timothy! Conditionally, if they endure, they will reign with Christ.

Who is the "we" in the second, parallel line? You will be hard pressed to state that it is anyone other than, again, Paul and Timothy. But I am sure that you will have some contrived explanation why it isn't them.

You see, that condition applies to them too. If they deny Jesus in their confession and life, Jesus will deny them before the Father and the angels.

You write:

"whatever is born of God overcomes the world"

did you know that "whatever" is a neuter gender noun. It does not say, "WHOEVER" but whatever. This is talking about the sinless nature imparted to us when we were born again. This nature is INHERENTLY world-conquering.

You continue:
"Who is he who over comes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God"

Imagine I said this, Mark:

"Who is he who drives to the beach, but he who has a car."

Not everyone who has a car drives to the beach, but everyone who drives to the beach has a car.

Everyone who overcomes the world ALSO believes that Jesus is the Christ.

Furthermore, it is called illigitimate totality transfer to transfer one context into another. The context of this 1 John passage is faith.

Look at it a little more closely:

"and this is the victory that HAS [ALREADY] OVERCOME the WORLD - our faith" 5:4b

The world is a system hostile to God, and under the sway of Satan. Since the world's representatives, the antichrists, deny that Jesus is the Christ, it is a great victory to believe this truth and so be born again. With every instance of new birth, the satanically inspired world system suffers a significant defeat. (See Zane Hodges The Epistles of John pg 216 where credit for this resides).

But the context of Revelation is WORKS. It takes works to overcome in the Revelation context. And to import the identity of one context into the other is illegetimate totality transfer (see any exegetical fallacy book for more information).

I will comment more later!

Antonio

December 13, 2007 5:10 PM  
Blogger donsands said...

"If they deny Jesus in their confession and life, Jesus will deny them before the Father and the angels."

Amen.

"And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!" 2 Tim 4:18

"Now may the God of peace Himself sancitify you completely; ... He who calls you is FAITHFUL, who also will DO it." 1 Thes. 5:23-24

Our heavenly Father is faithful to work in all His children to will and to DO. And yet there will be blood, sweat, and tears for us as we walk in His grace by faith.

It's 100% grace that works in us; as Paul says: "YET NOT I".

Great is thy faithfulness! All glory to His name! All praise to His grace!

December 13, 2007 8:34 PM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

>Mark, you say:

2 Timothy 2:12 describes an apostate, one whose profession through life was false.

Paul states:

"If we endure, we shall reign with Him. If we deny He will deny us."

First, this is a chiastic structure with two parallel lines. Let us do a little exegesis, huh?

Who is the "we" in the first line? It is Paul and Timothy! Conditionally, if they endure, they will reign with Christ.

Who is the "we" in the second, parallel line? You will be hard pressed to state that it is anyone other than, again, Paul and Timothy. But I am sure that you will have some contrived explanation why it isn't them.<
===========
Others expert in chiastic structure beg to differ with you here. The argument being that the second "we" would be anybody professing faith at one point only to deny at later point. To think that 2 Timothy 2:12b "if we deny Him..." is talking about true believers is not an idea supported by scripture. Secondly, to think that God would show any kind of the same mercy to that one who has lost faith as He does to TRUE believers is wrong. See Hebrews 10:38. This View of yours stems from your erroneous concept of punctiliar faith. Another unscriptural concept. See Hebrews, chapter 11 for a proper definition of faith.
========
>You see, that condition applies to them too. If they deny Jesus in their confession and life, Jesus will deny them before the Father and the angels.

You write:

"whatever is born of God overcomes the world"

did you know that "whatever" is a neuter gender noun. It does not say, "WHOEVER" but whatever. This is talking about the sinless nature imparted to us when we were born again. This nature is INHERENTLY world-conquering.<
========
I've seen this explanation of yours before, for two years now. I've tried reading 1 John from that angle. Sorry, the sentence structure in chapter 5, yea throughout 1 John, does not support reading it in this fashion. To say, "This is talking about the sinless nature imparted to us when we were born again." is kind of a "duh" statement if read the way you suggest. To say that the sinless nature imparted to us does not sin... come on now?! What a pointless statement. Of Course the "sinless nature" would not sin, again, if read from your angle, and the meaning of that statement being what you say it is. What you are doing here is reintroducing dualism. 1 John's aim was to combat dualism, and that in the form of gnosticism. You seem to be forwarding a Christian dualism here. Ironic. And that was the very reason why 1 John was written, to combat dualism. Look again at chapter 3:10. The children of God and the children of the devil are in contrast throughout this letter so that the church John is writing to can identify false teachers; ones that were introducing the early forms of gnosticism, with its dualistic approach to Christianity, dividing the soul and body, the body being evil, and the soul being good.
==========
>You continue:
"Who is he who over comes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God"

Imagine I said this, Mark:

"Who is he who drives to the beach, but he who has a car."

Not everyone who has a car drives to the beach, but everyone who drives to the beach has a car.

Everyone who overcomes the world ALSO believes that Jesus is the Christ.<
=======
Look again, Antonio: "Who is he who over comes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" See chapter 2:12-14. ALL TRUE BELIEVERS WILL OVERCOME!!! "Who is he who overcomes... but he who believes". Your analogy here is born of your system, which naturally means its unscriptural, based again on punctiliar faith.
==========
Furthermore, it is called illigitimate totality transfer to transfer one context into another. The context of this 1 John passage is faith.
=========
Right, and the definition of saving faith is found in Hebrews chapter 11. It is an enduring, obedient, forward looking faith. Not that punctiliar dead thing you push.
=======
>Look at it a little more closely:

"and this is the victory that HAS [ALREADY] OVERCOME the WORLD - our faith" 5:4b

The world is a system hostile to God, and under the sway of Satan. Since the world's representatives, the antichrists, deny that Jesus is the Christ, it is a great victory to believe this truth and so be born again. With every instance of new birth, the satanically inspired world system suffers a significant defeat. (See Zane Hodges The Epistles of John pg 216 where credit for this resides).<
=========
"With every instance of new birth, the satanically inspired world system suffers a significant defeat." Not with the way that YOU define faith...
========
>But the context of Revelation is WORKS. It takes works to overcome in the Revelation context. And to import the identity of one context into the other is illegetimate totality transfer (see any exegetical fallacy book for more information).<
=========
Works done that issue forth from that new nature. ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS will overcome in Revelation, sir. Therefore ALL will wear white.

December 14, 2007 5:24 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Further more, as Unger points out, overcome in 1 John 5 speaks of continual victory, ongoing victory over the world.

December 14, 2007 6:14 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

As Don pointed out, "If they deny Jesus in their confession and life, Jesus will deny them before the Father and the angels."

The denial is one of continual, life pattern denial of Christ.

I know, I know, your system won't let you agree here.

December 14, 2007 6:17 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

The book of 1 John defines eternal life for us. Those who have WILL exhibit family traits - God's family traits, and they begin in 2:3 - 5:18. It is seen in those who keep His commandments, who walk as Jesus walked, love for the brethren, knowing God, overcoming the wicked one, being strong with God's word abiding in them, victory over continual habitual sin, etc.

Like it or not, the indwelling Holy Spirit is a very vibrant "prime-mover" in the true Christian's life. That's what we come away from 1 John with.

December 14, 2007 8:34 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, eternal life is a dynamic concept.

One can experience more of it; one can posess life in abundance.

Here we have the progressive aspect of sanctification.

1 John reveals how eternal life is lived and how that knowledge of God implicit in eternal life transforms one's life.

At the same time, the believer stilll posesses a fleshly nature that is in bondage to death and which cannot live this life. Thus, the conflict of the two natures is revealed.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

December 14, 2007 9:13 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew,

As I said the book of 1 John is a contrast between children of the devil and those of the Father. Those of the Father exhibit His traits, albeit not perfectly. Else, if this book were written as you suggest how then would the poor saints in that particular heresy infested church recognise the false from the genuine, which happens to be a main thrust of this book?

Getting ready to leave for work soon.

Mark

December 14, 2007 10:04 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

2 Cor 5:17. There is not enough evidence in the Bible to support the believer having two natures. 1 John cannot be looked at to support that concept. You either exhibit the Father's family traits mentioned above or you are not regenerated. The Holy Spirit is a potent prime-mover, sent to live in us with the view of forming Christ within.

December 14, 2007 10:10 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

See ya tomorrow.

Mark

December 14, 2007 10:12 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, have you read Zane Hodges' commentary on John's epistles?

It is a really good book.

God Bless

Matthew

December 14, 2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
You rightly point out that the language in these passages is not that of "by grace through faith." The terminology is that of merit and buying etc...

I hadn't zeroed in on that fact before. Thanks for bringing it up. I will look forward to your next article.

December 14, 2007 12:04 PM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew,

Since you are familiar with Blaising and Bock's "Progressive Dispensationalism" you are aware that they see in Eph. 2:11-19 that the New Covenant promised to Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:38-40; Ezekiel 36:25-27, etc. is now also available to the Gentiles. That of having God the Holy Spirit living inside and moving us to walk in God's ways. This is the parting of the ways in our systems - how we view the New Covenant. Where man failed under the old covenant God takes up with the "I wills" of the New Covenant. Christians, both Jews and Gentiles benefit from God's "I wills". Man failed under the Old, God triumphs in the New. The Church is now at the very appex of redemptive history this side of the eternal state. Men and women are now temples of God, indwelt by His Spirit, and walking (albeit faultingly)in His ways. He is now working in them to will and to do for His good pleasure. His Spirit, working in concert with His word, is bearing fruit in lives. New desires arrise from that heart of flesh spoken of in the New Cov. Christ-likeness is now the aim of the Christian life, thanks to the indwelling Holy Spirit. That contrite heart God desires is now a reality. We are now to show forth the praises of Him Who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We are now His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. The drive to be more like Christ is the product of the Spirit's indwelling. Living lives to the glory of Christ is what brings on the rewards. In short, we are saved to serve, the Father having crucified us with His Son, that our bodies of sin might be destroyed. Weare no longer slaves of sin, but slaves to God, and led by His Spirit.

Having been conveyed by the Father into His Son's kingdom, the Son now reigns over we His subjects by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We all will go on to rewards, some having yielded 100 fold, some 60, some 30 - yet ALL will be rewarded. It will be grace upon grace; God having been the One to have enabled, to have led and to have energised the saint all along; and that saint getting the rewards for what God had done through them.

Praise God!

December 14, 2007 9:30 PM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

I must work the entire weekend, and do many errands beside, meaning I will only be able to come back here only sparingly. I know you all disagree with me, but I want to be more peacable about than I've been.

I'll see y'all only here and there during the weekend.

Good night.

December 14, 2007 9:38 PM  
Blogger Dwight Schroot said...

Mark,

Are you arguing that when the writer of Second Timothy uses the expression "we," he is deliberately excluding himself from inclusion in the term? Don’t you think that would be a little unusual? To say that Scripture does not support the idea of a "true" believer denying the Lord is to argue in a circular fashion. If Paul was including himself in 2Timothy 2:12b (which the term "we" suggests), then I think it is safe to conclude that Scripture talks about the possibility of true believers denying the Lord (contra your understanding). Here is a link that explains the inclusive view:

http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=2112

December 17, 2007 9:41 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Dwight,

I am saying that "we" means all professors, both true and false. When considering that "without faith it is impossible to please Him", and "But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him" we cannot think that He will deal with those who believe in the manner the book of Hebrews, chapter 11 defines in the same way He would with those who draw back. That would be against His nature. He must be true to His nature. Matthew 10:33 is a promise that if one denies Him before men, He would deny that one before the Father. We aren't talking about slip-ups, as Peter did, we're talking about habitual, lifestyle denial.

Sorry, punctiliar faith is NOT Biblical, neither is it saving.

December 18, 2007 4:43 AM  
Blogger Dwight Schroot said...

Regardless of whether you define the term as “professors” or not, it is clear that Paul was including himself in the term “we.” Since he included himself in the term “we” as a professor, you are essentially arguing that Paul (the Apostle!) thought that it was possible that he himself could possibly deny the Lord and thereby demonstrate that he was not be born of God (according to your apparent understanding of this verse). Doesn’t it strike you as strange for you to be arguing that the Apostle Paul (who wrote much of the New Testament and argued vociferously in defense of his apostleship) would, in this text, allow for the possibility that he himself might not be born of God?

December 18, 2007 8:12 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

"as a professor, you are essentially arguing that Paul (the Apostle!) thought that it was possible that he himself could possibly deny the Lord and thereby demonstrate that he was not be born of God"

Um, no that's not quite right, Dwight. If you'll notice I said,that "we" means all professors, both true and false. In this case Paul and Timothy would be the true professors. There are professors who have had a true conversion (Paul and Timothy) and will go on to be preserved by the Lord, interceded for by Him, and finally taken home by Him, He having lost none of those whom the Father has given Him. Then there are those who fall away, testifying to the fact that they were never truely converted/regenerated in the first place.

December 18, 2007 10:12 AM  
Blogger Dwight Schroot said...

Paul includes himself in the "we"! You argue that the "we" includes both true and false professors, and clearly “true” professors is a subset of “true and false professors.” In that case the text could be understood, “If we [true and false professors, including myself Paul and Timothy who are true professors] deny Him, He also will deny us. This understanding of the text makes it clear that you believe that Paul (the Apostle!) thought that it was possible that he himself could deny the Lord and thereby demonstrate that he was not be born of God (based on your understanding of what it means to deny Him). Why would Paul include himself in the “we” if he did not consider denying Him a possibility for himself? So I guess I’ll ask you again, doesn’t it strike you as strange for you to be arguing that the Apostle Paul (who wrote much of the New Testament and argued vociferously in defense of his apostleship) would, in this text, allow for the possibility that he himself might not be born of God?

December 18, 2007 11:31 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

The proof is in the pudding. A truely regenerate person WILL NOT habitually deny Him. Peter lapsed, but went on to preach boldly, proving his regeneration. Those who deny Him habitually after having once professed Him prove they are of the devil.

You arguing for dualism here while I say that John makes it clear in verse 3:10 that this is how the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest. I believe that believing in Christ, right living, and doctrinal soundness are all products of the new birth. Obviously you do not. Hence we shall go 'round and 'round, to no avail.

Paul and Timothy could not deny Christ because that was not in their nature. On the other hand those not regenerate/converted will eventually go on to show their true colors; whether it is love for the world, the cost of discipleship when realized, etc., they will fall away. See the Parable of the sower, the first three soils.

P.S. I have a feeling you and I have been over this countless times over the past 2 years.

December 18, 2007 1:43 PM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

>This understanding of the text makes it clear that you believe that Paul (the Apostle!) thought that it was possible that he himself could deny the Lord and thereby demonstrate that he was not be born of God (based on your understanding of what it means to deny Him).<
=======
Please show me where I said that I believed that it was possible that Paul could deny the Lord, please,please...
============
Why would Paul include himself in the “we” if he did not consider denying Him a possibility for himself?
=======
As I said many times throughout this thread professors can be true or false. The truely regenerate are those who will never habitually deny the Lord. Their new nature has it that they desire to walk in a way that pleases Him.

You must look at the makup of those in the NT that turned their back on Christ. They lost interest in following Him, for one reason or the other. Their true colors (not being regenerate) shown through. They will go on to see the Lord deny them in judgement.
==========
So I guess I’ll ask you again, doesn’t it strike you as strange for you to be arguing that the Apostle Paul (who wrote much of the New Testament and argued vociferously in defense of his apostleship) would, in this text, allow for the possibility that he himself might not be born of God?
========
You argue just like somebody else I know; somebody that used to be a frind. I never argued that Paul, in this text, would allow for the possibility that he himself might not be born of God, never. Please show me where I did. You won't be able to. Misrepresenting your opponent's views is not honest, nor does it help your cause. I'm sure that you are a very nice and likable person. Please try to carry that over into discussions with those that you disagree with.

Friends?

December 18, 2007 5:47 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Mark,
I hope you don't mind my saying so, but your reasoning sounds a little circular. I can see what Dwight is getting at.

BTW, Mark, I think I heard that you have been adressing some "anonymous" posters as though they are me, but I can ASSURE you - I *am not* posting here... or anywhere else... as anyone else... except Rose~

Don't imagine a rose behind every thorn. ;~)

December 19, 2007 9:45 AM  
Blogger Dwight Schroot said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 19, 2007 9:48 AM  
Blogger Dwight Schroot said...

Mark, do you commonly use conditional sentences with “we” in the subject where you intend to exclude yourself from the condition of the sentence altogether? Can you appreciate how unusual the meaning of the text becomes with that understanding? Think about it. To paraphrase that understanding of 2 Timothy 2:12b, it would go something like this, “If we (and I don’t really mean to include myself when I say “we” because it is impossible for me to deny Him; I mean if all you false professors out there) deny Him, He will deny us (once again, I don’t really mean to include myself when I say “us”; I mean he will deny all you false professors).”

I am aware that you believe that a “truly regenerate person WILL NOT habitually deny Him.” What I would like to know is how you reconcile Paul’s use of the term “we” with your viewpoint. You already indicated that he included himself in the “we” when you suggested the term “we” means “true and false professors.” How is Paul’s inclusion of himself in the subject of the conditional sentence as one who had the potential of fulfilling the condition, i.e., as one who could deny the Lord (i.e., “If WE deny Him”) compatible with your view that he could not possibly deny the Lord? One does not include himself in a conditional sentence if the condition does not apply to him. If Paul was certain that he could not deny the Lord, the pronoun "you" would have been the appropriate term, i.e., "If YOU deny Him". Based on the usage of the term "we," why did Paul think the condition (i.e., denying the Lord) applied to him? Was he uncertain that he was born of God?

Furthermore, I see no reason why theological differences need to get in the way of a friendship.

December 19, 2007 10:40 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Dwight,

Think of it this way:

Christ has made promises to those whom he has saved; that He would lose none of those who look to Him.

however

He has also promised that He would deny before the Father those who deny Him.

Two promises to two groups of people. He will fulfill them both.

His character is such that He has no delight or pleasure in that soul who draws back.( Amp). Without faith it is impossible for one to please Him. Therefore we cannot believe that those having apostisized will stand among the redeemed.

Paul, knowing full well that professors of Christianity, the group itself, is comprised of true believers and false. (I believe soils 2 and 3 in the parable of the sower addresses false professors). And addressing that group, mentioned above, he and Timothy included, is stating here (verse 13) that He remaines faithfull (to His Character). So. to those who endure (all truely regenerate ones) we shall reign with Him. On the other hand those who deny Him (the false professors who finally show their true colors when love for the world or persecutions arise)they will see Christ honor His promise in Matthew 10:33. Again, all in accordance with His character.

December 19, 2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Rose,

You prolly didn't notice that I apologised to you on Antonio's first installment for mistreating you in October. Now I apologise for thinking Dwight was actually you. I was wrong for doing that. I am sorry.

December 19, 2007 10:59 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Long story short: This passage of scripture CANNOT be used to support the idea that apostates will one day stand among the redeemed. That would be against God's nature, and cause Him to not fulfill His promise to those who deny Him, as seen in Matthew 10:33.

December 19, 2007 11:51 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

To think that they would stems from the idea that there is a class of Christians that are carnal; which itself stems from Keswick Theology which basically strips the "born from above experience" of its power to produce God's intended results.

Peace!

December 19, 2007 11:55 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Mark,
No problem. Water under the bridge. Peace in 2008.

Hi Antonio.
Unless an argument between two or more of my kids, a dirty diaper, a hungry child, a spill, a phone call or something else interupts me, I will be reading your part 3 now.

December 29, 2007 9:43 AM  

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