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, December 05, 2007

So you're born again... But will you walk with Jesus in white? Part 1

Introduction
On every page of the New Testament you will find scriptures pertaining to the doctrine of rewards. It is therefore to be an important consideration in biblical theology and practical Christian experience! This doctrine cannot be overemphasized. It is the lost doctrine. There is no greater motivation unto godliness than the twin truths of rewards and accountability. God knows how to command our affections. He lays out before the Christian the prospects of intimate companionship with Jesus Christ in the ages to come, sharing the inheritance of the kingdom, and being co-glorified with Him who merited His particular messianic glory by obedience to the death on a cross. God knows that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21; Lk 12:34). God knows that a heart set on becoming a partaker of the superlative joys and bliss of the coming ages, won by Jesus Christ, and shared by those who are worthy, will pursue sanctification, and hold its confession stedfast and firm until the end. Such activities bring God glory.

When was the last time you saw Lordship Calvinists and Lordship Arminians discussing the great wealth of revelatory material relating to this grand topic? I personally have never read a treatise on rewards by anyone who is, in anyway, Lordship in leaning. Furthermore, there is a great dearth of understanding of the privileges, honors, and glories to be won by faithful, overcoming Christians, and the dire possibility of great punitive loss due to forfeiture at Christ’s second advent by some who consider themselves Free Grace (this is in part due to the inconsistency of their Free Grace position and in part due to their soft-Lordship tendencies). There is a broad and widespread ingnorance of this doctrine, the greatest of all inducements unto personal consecration.


Lordship Salvation handcuffs the Scriptures
Why are Lordship advocates completely missing the mark when it comes to expounding the prospect of the wealth to be won in the coming age and the scriptures warning of severe consequences for failure? Simply put, it is their faulty soteriology holding the Word of God prisoner. Throughout the New Testament we find multitudes of conditional structures guaranteeing various glories, honors, and priviledges to Christians upon fulfilling their provisions, and stipulating great loss for disobedience and unfaithfulness, but they completely gloss over them! Here is where the problem lies for these companion theologies:

Lordship Arminians (LA) consider the rewards of these passages as eternal salvation itself and the failure to fulfill the conditions as tantamount to loss of eternal life and sure damnation. Lordship Calvinists (LC) consider the rewards of these passages as eternal salvation as well, but for them, to attain these prizes one must be a true and genuine believer; failure only manifests the reprobate who had a temporary and spurious faith, not the faith of the elect. Therefore, those chosen by God for salvation are guaranteed to fulfill the provisions of these conditional statements. They are relentlessly and inevitably disposed to endure until the end. Make note that in both cases (LA and LC), failure means hell.

The errors of interpreting the warning passages by the LA and the LC, in a sense, compliment each other. They are both half right and half wrong, but in different parts. The LA correctly identify the intended recipients of these warnings as true Christians, but incorrectly identify the consequence as loss of salvation. The LC correctly understand that the true Christian cannot lose eternal life, but incorrectly comprehend the intended audience, supposing the warnings are only for professors who indeed are not possessors.

When one finds a consistent line of exposition and interpretation that allows him to take the words of Scripture at their face value, in other words, for what they literally say, without the inclusion of secondary assumptions and gratuitous importation, he has found exegetical gold. Such is the Eureka hermeneutics of consistent Free Grace theology. It is only the Free Grace advocate who sees that there are real prospects to be won or lost in the kingdom of the coming ages. They alone see salvation as free and rewards as costly. They alone perceive the sober realities of punitive loss at the coming of Christ. They alone consistently engage the texts with their prima facie reading.

It is a fairly sure sign that a line of exposition is correct when it enables numerous passages to be taken in the simple natural meaning of the terms employed. So long as we cannot accept the obvious sense of words and phrases, but must suppose them to mean something other than they say, we do well to question whether we yet understand them. When Keplar found that the theory of the elliptical orbits of the planets fitted all the known facts of their movements, he felt positive that he had reached the truth upon that matter. The same kind of assurance is gained when a given exposition of Scripture enables numerous and hitherto difficult passages to be understood in their plainest sense, and causes them to give an accordant teaching. (G. H. Lang, Firstborn Sons: Their Rights and Risks, p 117, italics his)


The interpretations of the LC and LA often must argue against the “simple natural meaning of the terms employed” in the scriptures. They will continually render passages meaningless by their ad hoc explanations of them which rely heavily on the inclusion of secondary assumptions not found in the texts. Any number of their doctrines could be falsified by accepting “the obvious sense of [the] words and phrases” of those passages which give their theologies the most trouble.

Lordship Salvation and those with certain Lordship tendencies have handcuffed the Scriptures! So long as the Bible, which is the Word of God, is not allowed to speak for itself, but rather must be understood in the light of the unquestioned traditional and centuries old interpretations handed down through the generations, the prospects for the systematization of a faithful and consistent biblical theology are sadly rendered unattainable.

Lordship theology has taken captive two of the most powerful incentives to godliness: the prospect of vast and sundry rewards and the possiblity of great failure with its grave consequences.


Man without a wedding gown (Matthew 22:1-14)
When a man is given eternal life, he is born into privilege. As the firstborn in the Semitic culture, so is the child of God: possessing of great inheritance possiblity. But as displayed in both Esau and Reuben, these rights can be forfeited by neglect and unfaithfulness. The firstborn sons were trained and capacitated for the responsibilities and privileges of heirship. Their childhood was a time of training for those things to come. In the absence of successful preparation or in the aftermath of great failure the position and rights would be lost.

When one is born into the family of God, he is transported into a new relationship of steward/servant with Christ as His Lord, as well as becoming the child of God. Coming with such responsibility is the high calling to co-glory with Christ – the glory of which He won by faithfully enduring the cross (see Phil 2:8-9; Heb 12:2), and of which He desires to share with His companions (Heb 3:14).

The parable of the Wedding Feast is a sober illustration of the rejection of Christ by the Jewish nation, the destruction of Jerusalem, the temporal and eternal destruction of those who reject the offer of entrance and inheritance in the kingdom, and the tragic loss of the superlative joys of co-glorification with Jesus Christ by a Christian who did not prepare himself for that privilege.

Correspondences of parabolic elements to spiritual realities:
King — God
Son — Jesus
Banquet — intimate, inner fellowship of Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God and the joys associated with it; made up of the companions of Jesus in the ruling aristocracy
Invited guests — the Jewish nation
Servants of the King — prophets, apostles, and evangelists
The city — Jerusalem
Those found in the highways — Gentile nations
Invitation — the upward call unto the prize of co-heirship and co-glory with Christ
King’s gaze at the wedding guests — The Bema; The Judment Seat of Christ
Wedding Garment — the preparation for conditional, superlative eternal glories consisting of a faithful and consecrated life, stedfast until the end
Bound hand and foot — restriction from the prerogatives and glory of co-ruling with Christ, and from the intimacy of Christ’s band of co-heirs
Outer Darkness, or better translated, “the darkness outside,” in other words outside the well lit-banqueting hall, still on the estate of the King — Removed from the joys and glories associated with those who are worthy of such by merit
Weeping and gnashing of teeth — An Oriental expression denoting sorrow (in this case, over lost privilege), remorse (over wasted opportunity), and inner anguish over such loss.

Interpretive Synopsis
God has joy prepared for the Son, likened to a lavish wedding banquet. In Him, God was fully pleased. Jesus, the Son, desires to share this glory with companions, as a bridegroom wishes to share the joy of his wedding with his guests. Israel was God’s chosen nation where the invitation to such joy and glory was first proclaimed by the prophets. These messengers were spitefully treated and many were put to death. In God’s wrath, Jerusalem and around one million of its Jewish inhabitants were destroyed in 70 A.D. by Roman armies. Starting through Peter and continuing through Paul this invitation to the glories of co-heirship with Christ has been preached to the Gentile nations. From such, a wide array of people (“both good and bad”) respond positively to the invitation, not in RSVP only, but fully prepared for privilege and glory at Christ’s coming. Singled out for our consideration is one who responded affirmatively to the call to glory with Christ yet arrived before Him unprepared. Such is restricted from the privileges of Christ’s intimate companions, and from co-ruling authorities and glory with Christ. The same, for a short while, will feel the sting of his bitter loss. Yet as we know with all grief cycles, there is a normal duration for such. Eventually all tears will be wiped away by God (Rev 21:4).

What is interesting in this picture is when the man without a wedding garment is confronted with his lack of preparation for the joy of this feast that he is speechless. This is quite expected. For when the unfaithful Christian, now sinless, is met with the judgment for his actions, he will experience the shame of knowing that such consequence is commensurate with his infidelity (he has no sin nature to rationalize or justify his past behaviors). He will not try to talk his way out of it, for he knows all too well that his life merited such. Without so much as a word, this man will “receive the things done in [his] body” which were “bad” (2 Cor 5:10).

But contrast this with the ‘Christian’ who didn’t enter through the narrow gate (Jesus alone) and didn’t do the will of the Father (believe in Jesus), but rather trusted in his works (Matt 7:22). This one will be anything but speechless: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” Do you feel the sincere despair in this man’s voice? He is not some conscious charlatan trying to dupe Jesus. He is all too serious. This one thus prevented from kingdom entrance is all too vocal while the Christian restricted from the superlative glories and honors of being co-heir with Christ has been silenced – much in the same way that someone is who has been confronted with his wrongdoing wherein he has hurt a loved one.

Is there any corroborating evidence to this interpretation? Can it be maintained that the wedding garment in this parable corresponds to the preparations that one takes in this life for the contingent glories of the next? The realities contained in the spiritual truth of this parable concern Christ’s kingdom which He will institute upon His second advent. We may expect to find some things worth noting in the book of Revelation. And, as a matter of fact, we do. But you will have to wait a couple of days to see them.

(to be continued....)

30 Comments:

Blogger Trent said...

I look forward to part 2!

December 05, 2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

What colour do you think non-overcomers will wear?

December 06, 2007 12:58 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"those who are worthy of such by merit"

I suppose this may be where we differ. I don't think we, the "Calvinist Lordship camp, handcuff the Bible.
But we do emphasize grace, faith and Christ to the uttermost, and ourselves to utterleast.
We would say we are not worthy by merit, but only by grace.

Will I have rewards in Heaven? It's difficult for me to say, "I have a lot of rewards in Heaven". I feel like I'm boasting in myself when I say that.

Has the Lord saved me, and worked in me to will and to do?
Yes He has. He is 24-7 working on me.

I know I am called to obey Christ, and to live by Faith through His grace and Spirit.

I do know for sure, One treasure that I will have, and that's Jesus Christ Himself.
He died for me, and cleansed me from all sin. I am now a co-heir with Him, and am His brother, and a son of His Father, who is my Father. And I am His friend, and He my Friend, though He is my Lord and God.

"If I died and went to hell, and Jesus was there, it would be Heaven. If I died and went to Heaven, and Jesus wasn't there, it would be hell."

Christ is the treasurs I long to behold. All the rewards He will grant is His sovereign decision, for He sees the motive of my heart, which I don't even know most the time. But to hear the words, "Well done", will be such a grand reward from the Savior, that this is surely an important truth to hide in ones heart, so that we are motivated.
Matthew 25 says that the Lord will say, "When I was all these things you helped Me". We will say, "We didn't see You, and help You Lord".
He will then say, when you did it to My brethern, you did it to Me.

"Then shall the King say, .. Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Matt. 25:34

One verse more I'll leave with you.

" ..Yea, I judge not mine own self.
For I know nothing by myself; yet I am not hereby justified: but He that judges me is the Lord.
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise from God." 1 Cor. 4:3-5

December 06, 2007 5:14 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

"Lordship theology has taken captive two of the most powerful incentives to godliness: the prospect of vast and sundry rewards and the possiblity of great failure with its grave consequences."

One does leave out here the New Covenent blessing of God the Holy Spirit moving us to walk in the fear of the Lord, Jeremiah 32:39-40; to walk in His ways, 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27. The Holy Spirit is a "prime-mover" in the Christian life, supplying the desires and the enablements to do God's will to an formerly spiritually dead person.

The Calvinist does acknowledge varying degrees of rewards. It springs from the parable of the sower. The good ground, the truely saved, bring forth fruit, some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty. They will be awarded accordingly at the Beema Seat.

Now, at that seen, will there be mourning as our lives are examined, complete with all of our short comings and sins? No. Why? Because we most certainly will see them from a glorified perspective, their horribleness and all; but at the same time we will see with even greater ability the glorious Savior and His wonderous accomplishments on the cross. We will be rejoicing with those more gloriously rewarded and, together with them praising the Savior, He Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood; and has made us a kingdom and priests to our God.

Yes, our gaze will be solely on Him.

Respectfully,
Mark

December 06, 2007 8:20 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

So Antonio, If you are the one that bears fruit a 100 fold, and I only 30, I would rejoice with you, and together we would fix our gaze back on the Savior.

December 06, 2007 8:26 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Jesus Christ is the LORD my Righteousness. Utterly empty and totally helpless, I cling to Him as my only hope of righteousness. He is my only hope.

December 06, 2007 8:30 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

In all probability the sins we commit as saints, well, we have already been convicted by the Holy Spirit of them and have confessed them with the resulting forgiveness and cleansing to follow, 1John 1:9.

At TJSOC we will see with even greater ability the beauty of His cross-work in the forgiveness of those sins.

December 06, 2007 10:50 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Trent, thanks for joining in. Yes, I have at least 2 more installments, maybe 3. So stay tuned.

Matthew, That is a good question. I don't know if I can answer that. Remember the scene with Jesus at His transfiguration? Here are the three references:

Matt 17:1-2

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
NKJV

Mark 9:3
3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
NKJV

Luke 9:29
29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.
NKJV

Jesus' robe was:

"white as the light"
"shining, exceedingly white, like snow"
"white and glistening"

I suppose that the overcomers will have robes that give off a energetic luminescence like unto Christ's.

For the subcomers, they will not have such robes. As to color (I prefer the spelling "color" as it is current and not archaic), I would have to do more study. My first guess is that the bible does not speak as to it.

Thanks for participating.

Antonio

PS: BTW are you doing something with that interview or are you waiting for more answers?

December 06, 2007 2:25 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Don,

Thanks for visiting. Your comments were pleasant and polite. I really appreciate them.

I thought you may like this very short article by Bob Wilkin on 1 Cor 4:5

1 Cor 4:5

I hope you stick around continue to consider the arguments for the position I hold.

Thanks again for reading.

Antonio

December 06, 2007 2:31 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Mark,

thanks for dropping by. It means alot to me.

You write:
----------
The Calvinist does acknowledge varying degrees of rewards. It springs from the parable of the sower. The good ground, the truely saved, bring forth fruit, some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty. They will be awarded accordingly at the Beema Seat.
----------
Do you think that it is possible that the differing amounts of fruit are actually due to the ability of each individual? Remember the parable of the talent:

Matt 25:15-18
15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
NKJV

The first two guys start out with differing amounts but both maximize their talent by increasing 100%. Later in the parable they both receive the same reward.

Anyway, just another persective.

Thanks for your participation,

Antonio

December 06, 2007 2:37 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Mark,

Jesus is Lord. He is our Master. He is the Housekeeper.

We are the stewards and servants. You do not believe that Jesus will have any choice words (at the very least) for the servants who did not prove as faithful as they could have been?

God gave us all that pertains to life and godliness and we have been blessed with all the spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. If we did not sacrifice for God as much as we should have, don't you think that this will come out and there will be some kind of consequence?

What does it mean in 2 Cor 5 when it says that we will receive what we have done in the body, whether good or bad?

Your friend,

Antonio

December 06, 2007 2:41 PM  
Blogger donsands said...

I'll be checking the Bob Wilkin teaching out.
Thanks.

December 06, 2007 5:55 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Antonio, hopefully they will not wear orange, or black and white stripes.

Henry Ford once said "Any colour as long as its black."

Some commentators on the temple furnishings says blue represents heaven, so maybe blue.

As regards the interview I would think it would be better to post part 1 if there were a couple more answers.

Then we can post part 2 later. Is that fine with you?

Every Blessing in Christ

Matt

December 07, 2007 12:18 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

>God gave us all that pertains to life and godliness and we have been blessed with all the spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. If we did not sacrifice for God as much as we should have, don't you think that this will come out and there will be some kind of consequence?<
=======
At this point we will be seeing things from a glorified perspective. In this life you and I are taught in scripture to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. In our glorified state the abt to do this will be greater because we are no longer in these sin-tainted and selfish mortal bodies with all their inclination for self seeking. As I said I will be rejoicing with you for your having been more gloriously rewarded because I would be loving you in unhindered fashion. Now, at the same time as this, we shall be able to see the glorious and wonderous crosswork of Christ for all its beauty. On this side of the grave we are taught to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith. Then, at that future time, we shall see Him face to face; and we shall be awed at the love, the grace and the mercy that was displayed on that old cross. At that time we will finally render Him the praise that is His due.
========
>What does it mean in 2 Cor 5 when it says that we will receive what we have done in the body, whether good or bad?<
=======
Several possibilties:

1)"the bad" not necessarily meaning bad in a moral sense, but inferrior quality. At this point a loss of reward takes place, the sin involved having been paid for at the cross. Therefore the question of divine displeasure was taken care of there.

2) For those of us who are not dispensational, the Judgement Seat of Christ is one and the same as the Great white Throne Judgement. Therefore the "bad" in view here is both our lost reward and the judgement of the unsaved.

Mark

December 07, 2007 4:43 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
Thank you for this post. You really do have a way of making us think. I appreciate the contrast in response you have pointed out between those who didn’t enter through the narrow gate and those without a wedding garment.

I also think you have NAILED it when you described how the LC and the LA handcuff the Scriptures on this issue.

I will be watching for your other posts.

December 07, 2007 7:57 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

thanks again for making me think...

December 07, 2007 8:01 AM  
Blogger donsands said...

"While our sins will not be considered as sins, all our deeds, both good and bad, will be considered."

I don't agree with this. Sins not considered sins?
Sin is sin. Being disobedient to the Lord will be judged. Every sin will be accounted for. God's wrath burns against all sin, and I think we take this way too lightly; I know I do.

The Gospel is that all my sin, not the part, but the whole has been nailed to the Cross. My sin is taken away as far as the East is from the West.
I am no longer a servant, but a son. No longer a slave, but a friend.
Jesus said there is no greater love than for a Man to die for His friends.
Jesus died for Araham, His friend. He laid down His life for the Apostles, His freinds.
And all who the Lord seeks and saves are His friends.
What an honor! To have a Friend in Jesus is something that is difficult to accept. he surely is our Lord and Savior, and God, but Friend too?

He will not be judging His friends, but He loves us, and died for every sin. He drank the cup of His Father's wrath to the last drop: The wrath I deserved, because of my sin.

So I disagree with Wilken's interpretation.
I don't need to be motivated to work hard in and of my self to be rewarded.
I love the Lord, because He first loved me, and by His grace, and through faith, I am able to do righteous things, which are for His glory, not mine.

However, He will give praise to all His saints and friends, though the praise belongs to His garce alone. Some 30, some 60, and some 100, and maybe some 10 fold. But as for the evil sin that we committed, it's gone; washed away in the precious blood of the Lamb, which just one drop is more precious than all the riches in the universe.

There's none good but God.

I know this is a far rabbit path from the parable. Sorry about that.

December 07, 2007 8:40 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

With all due respects we are seeing people operate from two different starting points here. While I can't answer for the LA position the LC position holds that there is NO such thing as a Christian who is not a disciple. See Matthew 28:19-20.

We are seeing people who operate from the Keswick model for sanctification versus the Reformed model. Never the two shall agree. They are wholly incompatible systems; and to judge final positions held by the other using our own model will always be fruitless. The arguments will always rage with people from both sides feeling they have nailed it.

The names through history who have considered the two positions, Keswick being introduced in 1875, have concluded that the positions are totally at odds with one another and NEVER will agree. The names Warfield, Machen, Poythress and Riddlebarger come to mind here.

Books from both sides will continue to be written, as well as position papers, each arguing from their own position, each advancing their own arguments, each extending their positions to logical conclusions, each claiming victory. Such is life, I guess.

As long as we operate from two different starting points there is no reason to continue discussion.

Rose, I was overly hard on you back in October on UoG blog. My anger got the best of me. I was wrong. I am sorry. I wish you the best.

December 07, 2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger Soldem said...

Hi Antonio,

-------------
You said:
Correspondences of parabolic elements to spiritual realities:
King — God
Son — Jesus
Banquet — intimate, inner fellowship of Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God and the joys associated with it; made up of the companions of Jesus in the ruling aristocracy
Invited guests — the Jewish nation
Servants of the King — prophets, apostles, and evangelists
The city — Jerusalem
Those found in the highways — Gentile nations
Invitation — the upward call unto the prize of co-heirship and co-glory with Christ
King’s gaze at the wedding guests — The Bema; The Judment Seat of Christ
Wedding Garment — the preparation for conditional, superlative eternal glories consisting of a faithful and consecrated life, stedfast until the end
Bound hand and foot — restriction from the prerogatives and glory of co-ruling with Christ, and from the intimacy of Christ’s band of co-heirs
Outer Darkness, or better translated, “the darkness outside,” in other words outside the well lit-banqueting hall, still on the estate of the King — Removed from the joys and glories associated with those who are worthy of such by merit
Weeping and gnashing of teeth — An Oriental expression denoting sorrow (in this case, over lost privilege), remorse (over wasted opportunity), and inner anguish over such loss.

---------------

Now, I'll tell you from the outset, that you have me thinking about these things. And that's good. But there's some things in your post that don't sit right with me. I've listed your correspondences above. You have the "invitation" as correlating not to the Gospel, but to "co-glory" for the believer. So the story would kind of go like this:

The Jewish nation has been invited to share in Christ's glory. God sent prophets, apostles, etc, to tell the Jewish nation that the time is now for them to share in Christ's glory, but they ignored the servants and mistreated them and killed them. So God gets mad and destroys the Jewish nation. Then He tells His prophets, apostles, etc to invite the Gentile nations to share in Christ's glory. The prophets, apostles, etc gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad. Then at the TJSOC, God takes one of the Gentiles and restricts him/her from sharing Christ's glory and intimacy (for eternity?) and removes him/her from the joy and glory because he/she didn't merit it. And so that person is sorrowful and remorseful and feeling inner anguish because they didn't get the joy and glory.

1. The first thing that sticks out to me is that the invitation is for sanctification and not justification. So the prophets, apostles, evangelists, are telling everyone (not just Christians) be faithful and consecrated so you can enjoy Christ. But if you don't DO these things, you cannot enjoy Christ. So are we just to assume that faith in Christ gains them entrance into feast? And if so, then is that the message of the evangelist, the invitation? Have faith in Christ, be faithful to Christ, consecrate your life and you can entrance into the "feast". And if that's not the message, the invitation, why was everybody "invited"? Should it not have been restricted to believers?

2. Then you have, at the feast, the King (God) looking at this hall full of wedding guests, and He notices ONE person who doesn't have on the wedding garments (unfaithful), so God deems him unfit for a close relationship with His Son. So, what the parable doesn't tell us is how much faithfulness is enough, how much consecration is enough? Either the bar is very low and this one unfortunate soul was completely unfaithful/unconsecrated and there were others at the feast who just made it in...by the skin of their teeth. Or the bar was set very high, and only one unfortunate soul was not faithful at some point and so was cast out of Christ's presence. So how good is good enough to enjoy the glories associated with intimacy with Christ?

I think those two points are enough to start the conversation.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

December 07, 2007 10:06 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Another point of difference I mentioned earlier when I said One does leave out here the New Covenent blessing of God the Holy Spirit moving us to walk in the fear of the Lord, Jeremiah 32:39-40; to walk in His ways, 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27. The Holy Spirit is a "prime-mover" in the Christian life, supplying the desires and the enablements to do God's will to an formerly spiritually dead person.

Am I wrong in believing that many a commenter here hold that the New Covenent is not for the "church age". This is key; and a point that I believe gives rise and sustains the Keswick system.

December 07, 2007 10:49 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matt,

I am sure Henry Ford said "color" as he was American.

Yeah, let me get on more questions...

Antonio

December 07, 2007 2:06 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Mark, I am looking for a quote from someone that I think is succinct to answer your last comment.

I will get it tomorrow.

Suffice it to say for the time being, I think that it is quite appropriate, to say the least, for the Lord to show dipleasure with those stewards of His who failed to meet their potential (and this in understatement). I am surprised that you will not at least stipulate to such.

I am very appreciative for your comments and hope that you will be challenged to think about things in greater depth by the comments here and the remaining posts in this series.

Tomorrow I will have the quote!

Antonio

December 07, 2007 2:12 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rose,

I appreciate the fact that you are a thinker, a reasoner.

I think where people get immediately turned off with the exposition I give here is when they equivocate between the parabolic feature and its spiritual correspondence.

Parables need first to be interpreted before they can be applied. "Outer darkness" in the parable is the area outside of the banqueting festivities. Therefore in spiritual correspondence it is a restriction from the particular messianic joy won by Christ in His obedience on the cross which He shares with overcomers.

When the parables are interpreted first, and the elements are kept in their respective realms, viz. parabolic feature versus the spiritual truth correspondences, the confusions and offenses are markedly reduced.

Antonio

December 07, 2007 2:19 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Mark,

Imagine investing a whole lot into a son. You gave him every advantage, every opportunity, every resource, every encouragement, every grace. And while he was under your care in your house, he screwed up royally: he rebelled, took advantage of you, disobeyed, brought shame to your family name, etc.

He has no excuse.

He is your child and you love him and completely forgive him.

But:

1) Will there not be any negative consequences for this child?

2) Will you shower him with privilege?

3) Will not he feel great remorse for his deeds when he comes to his senses?

4) If you do take privilege away, will he not feel the sting of such loss, especially if the privileges were of a desirably high value?

5) Will there not be admonishment and words of disappointment spoken to your child born into such privilege who has no excuse?

This child is still in your family, and you accept him unconditionally and have boundless forgiveness for him. But will he get away with his misdeeds, whereby he broke the covenants and rules of your house, with impugnity?

God forbid that He trifle with the unfaithfulness of His children and allow it to pass by unaccounted for.

Antonio

December 07, 2007 2:32 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Don,

Thanks for sticking around!

I have to admit that I see things much different than you. (as you probably already perceived, lol)

I believe we are servants by virtue of the fact that we are born again. We are also children of God for the same reason.

But we are only full grown sons of God, partaking of the inheritance, by merit.

Furthermore, Jesus says:

John 15:14
14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you
NKJV

The Lordship Calvinists can never take the conditional language of the New Testament (of which there are multitudes of passages) in the simple natural meaning of the terms employed. They must add secondary assumptions and use ad hoc interpretations that explain away the plain sense of the verses.

Jesus was telling His disciples, who were already born again (cf. John 2:11 with John 3:16, the disciples "believed in" Jesus), that they could only be His friend if they did what He commanded. In light of these facts, the Lordship Calvinist does not regard the conditional nature of Christ's comment. His exhortation (and implicit warning) is thus explained away. The plain sense is that saved people can nevertheless fail to be Jesus' friends, by failing to do whatever He commands.

The text is explicit and clear: only those who guard and keep the commandments of Christ are His friends.

I believe that we are servants/stewards of God (see for instance all of the parables of Christ talking about our stewardship (examples, the parables of the minas and talents).

1 Cor 4:1-2
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
NKJV

Paul was a servant of Christ. I, too am one! But as Paul states clearly: It is required that servants be found faithful. (At Christ's return, the question will be, will we be found faithful?)

I am also a slave of Christ, the same as the apostles' who conidered themselves "douloi".

As for what Bob said, imagine this being written or said by someone:

At the reckoning of a sport event and competition, everyone's data will be considered by the judges: their fidelity to the rules of the game and the results of their atheletic ability and achievement. At the end of the judging, each one's trophy will come from the judges.

You can see that in this context, everyone does not get a trophy, only those who met the standards imposed by the judges. The same with 1 Cor 4:5:

1 Cor 4:5
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.

Surely judgment and account for the "hidden things of darkness" and the counsel of the heart if it be bad is not worthy of praise! In this context, as in the illustration I give above, does not require one to understand that each and every believer will be praised.

Note in the parable of the minas that the servant who only was half-hearted in his service for his master does not receive praise as does the servant who was wholehearted, maximizing the master's capital by investment (see Luke 19:16-19).

Thanks again for your visit, and I would like to encourage you to continue to think on these things.

Antonio

December 07, 2007 3:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Ten Cent,

I have to say that I enjoyed reading your questions. They show that you are engaging my post.

Let me try to answer your questions:

#1) I believe that an Evangelist's job is not only to preach entrance into the kingdom but to preach inheritance there, to preach the contingent glories of the age to come. This may not all happen at the same time, but an evangelist's job is not done when there is a profession of faith made.

The upward call to co-glory with Christ, is of course, a broader in scope invitation than the one which calls people to believe in Jesus for everlasting life. For the purposes of the parable itself, this broad invitation is what is in view, and acceptance of it would presuppose acceptance of simple entrance into the kingdom.

The nation of Israel was invited to glories in the kingdom. The kingdom of God was to be theirs. But they refused to align themselves, in any way, with the Messiah. They would not believe in Him (for everlasting life) let alone submit themselves to His lordship and confess His name!

Let me illustrate this parable further. The man without a wedding garment can be likened to the Israelites who came up out of Egypt. They sacrificed the passover lamb and applied the blood to the doorposts. They ate the spiritual food, drank the spiritual drink, and drank from the spiritual rock, which was Christ (1 Cor 10:1-4). But with most of them God was not pleased and their corpses fell all over the wilderness.

You see, they made it out of the bondage of Egypt, delivered by the mighty hand of God. But they failed to inherit Canaan because of their disobedience.

#2 The parable takes one person into consideration to make the point, and the point is made using only one example. This does not preclude there being others! This one is marked out for illustration. This one man is merely representative of all those who will be unprepared at death or rapture.

This person is contrasted with those who rejected the invitation and were destroyed. The man without the wedding garment responded affirmatively to the invitation! He therefore is in the kingdom, but arrives unprepared. He is not allowed into the festivities because of his lack of preparation.

To answer your question about assessment, I have to tell you that there are many considerations found in the Bible, and unquestionably many more that we do not know. This may be a good study for me to write on in the future.

But let me cop out on this one in the following manner by quoting one verse:

Heb 3:14
For we have become companions of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end

There are many considerations, tencent, but the largest is stedfast confession of Christ until the end.

We will see more in the coming parts of this article.

Thanks for your participation!

Antonio

December 07, 2007 4:05 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

In your opinion, what will be the "punitive loss at the coming of Christ" for those Christians who preach a false gospel?

December 07, 2007 4:16 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan,

I must say that the basic and principle considerations that I am expounding in these articles concerning the Judgment Seat are faithfulness to Christ evidenced in a stedfast confession of Christ, even in the midst of troubles and persecution, a victorious endurance in the race, and holiness.

I am aware that Paul places those who preach false gospels, in the present, under a curse.

A thread taken from several passages is that we must be faithful in the little things, for if we are not, how can we be entrusted with the larger responsibilities?

A person who is not faithful with the good news of Christ will not be capacitated for the true riches.

"punitive" refers to consequence for offense or wrongdoing. There will be great losses for those who are not prepared for the day of reckoning before He, with whom "there is no creature hidden from His sight... all things [being] naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Heb 4:13) who "will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts" (1 Cor 4:5) so that "each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor 5:10).

Thanks for the visit,

Antonio

December 07, 2007 4:49 PM  
Blogger donsands said...

I surely agree that we need to obey our Lord. It's by faith that live, not works. And I'll show you my faith by my works.

I agree with Paul, who was a great servant of the Lord, who said, "I am what I am by the grace of Christ. I worked harder than all the Apostles, but NOT me, but the grace of Christ and God in me."
"For I am crucified with Christ yet I live, but NOT me, but Christ in me."

Evene the most minute righteous deed I accomplish is by grace, 100% grace through faith, and it's to the glory of His holy name, and His amazing grace; otherwise I would be able to boast, and God would have to thank me for helping Him do His will.

I think you say grace is what you believe in, but it looks more like you believe in works Antonio.
But I appreciate you allowing me to debate the Scriptures with you.

The thing about living by faith is that it is hard, and it takes blood, sweat, and tears. And even when I am unfaithful, which is often, I can be comforted that He is always faithful to His children, to love us, and discipline us, and to help us grow in His grace and knowledge. But here again it's grace, and grace on grace.

have a blessed Lord's Day in His grace and love. To God be all glory!

December 07, 2007 6:54 PM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

>Mark,

Imagine investing a whole lot into a son. You gave him every advantage, every opportunity, every resource, every encouragement, every grace. And while he was under your care in your house, he screwed up royally: he rebelled, took advantage of you, disobeyed, brought shame to your family name, etc.<
===========
I have such a son. He curses, has been implicated in a bomb-threat at his school, gives his teachers a rough time.......
=========
He has no excuse.

He is your child and you love him and completely forgive him.

But:

1) Will there not be any negative consequences for this child?
=======
Not if he repents, calling on the Lord. His coming to Christ would cause me to look at him as a clean slate, and I would have NO hindrance showering him in my love, love pent up for so many years.
=======
2) Will you shower him with privilege?

3) Will not he feel great remorse for his deeds when he comes to his senses?
=====
He will feel remorse, but from that point forward the situation would mirror image the prodical son. I can't wait for that to happen. Then he will see my love in its totality.
=======
4) If you do take privilege away, will he not feel the sting of such loss, especially if the privileges were of a desirably high value?
=====
If he comes to Christ I will be rejoicing with the angels.
======
5) Will there not be admonishment and words of disappointment spoken to your child born into such privilege who has no excuse?

This child is still in your family, and you accept him unconditionally and have boundless forgiveness for him. But will he get away with his misdeeds, whereby he broke the covenants and rules of your house, with impugnity?
========
ALL will be forgiven the day he comes to Christ. I will not hold ANYTHING against him. The father of the prodical would have nothing on me here.
========
God forbid that He trifle with the unfaithfulness of His children and allow it to pass by unaccounted for.
=======
It was accounted for at Calvary.

Mark

December 07, 2007 9:06 PM  

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