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)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Unconditional Gift of God

A commenter on Unashamed of Grace had this to say concerning the position of Zane Hodges:

Zane has taken his thinking to its logical conclusion (ie. no conditions for salvation), and it is being shown for what it is, bankrupt!


In it this critic betrays his lack of understanding in both what Zane Hodges believes and what God’s gratuitous offer of eternal life entails. Let us take this opportunity to correct him.

There are two ways to look at conditionality in reference to eternal life: A) From the perspective of God, and B) from the perspective of the lost.

Imagine a Rescue Mission having a sign stating:

Tomorrow evening, supper will be served at 5PM. It is offered freely and will be available without condition.

This would be quite outstanding. Why? I have done some work at the Rescue Mission in San Diego. Their meals are indeed free, but they do come with a significant condition. For those who are not in their program, in order to receive the food, the Mission requires that you sit through a 45-minute sermon before you can be fed. If you fail to remain in the meeting hall for the whole time, you will not be admitted into the dining facility.

The sign in the imagined illustration above states that no such condition exists; so essentially the dinner is given unconditionally. In this scenario, the Mission does not require any conditions. They are presenting meals to anyone free from condition. Yet we must understand that this dinner offered unconditionally by the Rescue Mission is only unconditional from the perspective of the Mission itself. The Mission is not requiring anything of the recipients. If they (the recipients) want the dinner they may have the dinner without condition.

But from the perspective of the recipient of the dinner, he has to get himself to the Rescue Mission and receive the dinner. Therefore from the perspective of the beneficiary of the food, there are two enumerable conditions that must be met in order for him to possess the dinner that the Rescue Mission nonetheless offers him unconditionally. The one who desires the dinner must put himself in a position that will allow him to avail himself of the meal. Next, the recipient must actually receive the dinner into his hands.

There are lessons to be learned in the above illustration. Let us learn them by now comparing the story above to the doctrine of soteriology (salvation).

From God’s point of view, He offers the gift of eternal life Absolutely Free!, without condition.

1. There are no pre-salvation works to be done.
2. It is not required to make commitments to serve Him.
3. There is no prescribed condition to turn from one’s sins.
4. It is not stipulated that one must surrender his life to God.
5. There are no required tests to be passed; no mandated doctrines to be assented to.
6. Indeed, God does not require anything at the hands of the lost

The gift of everlasting life is just that: a gift, a gift given by grace. As such its offer is unconditional from God’s perspective.

Rev 22:17
Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely [Gk dorean = “as a gift,” “for nothing,” “not subject to a given condition”].

From man’s point of view, there is a general condition and a specific condition that both need to be met in order to avail himself of God’s unconditional offer of eternal life. The specific condition is that the man must receive eternal life in the way that God has revealed it to be done: by believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life. The general condition is that the man must place himself in the position to be able to fulfill the specific one:

1. He may have to strive to find out about God and Christ.
2. He will have to be open to the evidence of the gospel.
3. He will have to consider and deliberate upon the data he is exposed to

Let us put the pieces together. God is like the Rescue Mission that put out the above sign, offering a meal free of condition and cost, in that God offers eternal life on the same basis. The willing beneficiary of the meal is like the desirous recipient of eternal life in that they both need to position themselves into a place enabling them to receive the graciousness of their benefactor and then actually receive the benefit.

Regarding the San Diego Rescue Mission (the actual one I have associated with), they offer meals free of monetary charge, but require a commitment nonetheless, and is therefore conditional; they are demanding an action that if left undone would disqualify one from their offer. In this instance, there is nothing wrong with the San Diego Rescue Mission’s policy. I applaud it. If a hungry homeless man wishes to be fed it shouldn’t be too much to sit in on a gospel presentation as a requirement for food. It is also shrewd for the S.D.R.M. to require such, for many if not most of these people would never willingly subject themselves to the Word of God.

In the current controversy, the ‘Theological Legalism’ of the Checklist Evangelists operates in the same way as the San Diego Rescue Mission, in that, although they may offer a gift free of monetary payment and/or meritorious endeavor, they do require conditions which preclude it from being an unconditional offer received only through Free Grace.

When I used to be associated with the San Diego Rescue Mission, I often talked to some of the homeless people, who weren’t part of the program, outside of the shelter. Many of them, although hungry, did not want to expend the necessary resources in order to fulfill the conditions laid out by the S.D.R.M. in order to get the food. The conditions laid out by the Mission therefore had the potential to keep the Mission’s food out of the homeless person’s hand. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t charge the Mission with any wrongdoing here. I am only making a point. Furthermore, when I used to sit in on the sermons that preceded the meal I often used to see people get up and go out the door (and were not let back in). The conditions laid down by the Mission were too much for those individuals to bear at that moment. Again, in this instance, the conditions kept these individuals from receiving the benefit of the Mission’s conditional offer.

God’s offer to the lost is, in its very essence and core, an unconditional offer. Anytime men and women add conditions and requirements to God’s gratuitous offer of eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ they frustrate grace to one degree or another. We have been charged to clearly and accurately give to men the hope that is in the gospel, eternal life free of charge and condition. When we corrupt the gospel in any way we fail the One who entrusted it to us. And woe to us who presume to add to the words of God! Anytime this happens it is sin.

Those who impose conditions on the reception of eternal life are adding to the words of God on the matter. The Gift of God, eternal life, is essentially unconditional. This cannot be overemphasized! Christ, Himself, fulfilled all the conditions for making this everlasting benefit available apart from any imposed and God-mandated requirements on the lost.

The methods and Theological Legalism of the Checklist Evangelists, whereby they impose conditions upon God’s unconditional offer, could preclude the lost from everlasting life, keep assurance from the saved, and bring down the discipline of God upon those who advocate this position.

Rom 11:33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

"For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?"
"Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?"

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

The following is something that was written by my friend, WJC. It is a portion of an article that he wrote that will be showing up here soon.

We must carefully guard against creating a doctrine in which we apply and impose our human understanding and man made requirements upon God and on that basis presume to know how God is obliged to operate…. it would be far safer in light of the evidence to conclude that God closely and consistently guards the simplicity of the offer of eternal life – even in the post-cross era…. It may sound silly to have to say this but, in studying the scriptures, we must always be careful to recognize that God is free to act according to His gracious and merciful will - unconstrained by any human attempts to impose our own parameters.


God has been pleased to offer the gift of eternal life apart from any imposed conditions or requirements. This decision of His, based upon His unfathomable counsel, leaves us in awe. This resolution from God does not sit well with some and they doubt whether or not He has indeed determined to operate in this way. Questioning this dumbfounding consideration has led individuals to frustrate grace in varying degrees by introducing conditions into what is and shall always be unconditional.

2 Cor 9:15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

171 Comments:

Blogger Bobby Grow said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 27, 2008 5:02 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Antonio,

thanks for clarifying 'the way' of salvation for me, but I'm afraid you're mistaken on your understanding of the gratuitous nature of grace--i.e. ordo salutis (order of salvation).

But beyond that my position always has been that the only way an free offer of salvation can be truly offered is if the one making the offer is indeed, divine. I think you create a false dichotomy and engage in category mistakes, when you place a wedge between the 'objective' reality of salvation---i.e.that GOD alone can offer 'free' salvation---and the 'subjective' reality of salvation---i.e. that man's 'response' to salvation is typified by Jesus' response on the cross . . . "Father into thy hands I commit my spirit . . . ,".

Your false dichotomy comes in when you seem to divide the objective from the subjective, when the subjective is presupposed by the objective. The objective is the 'ontological' base from which the subjective--epistemological--side of salvation springs.

Your category mistake seems to be rooted in a confusion between these two inter-related realities. So that sometimes you want to emphasize the objective side (when responding to your detractors--i.e. to 'prove your orthodoxy'); and other times you want to emphasize the subjective side, and unconditionality of salvation (e.g. to assert your 'novel' and 'pure' view of salvation). Which brings us full circle, and back to my first comment on this thread.

Salvation is a holistic reality, and you seem to want to talk about it 'Nestorianly' or schizophrenically. That's why I think this whole issue is really a non-starter, because it 'starts' on 'un-sound' premises---as I just tried to highlight above.

You know that I disagree with Westminster Calvinism, but there are other streams of 'Reformed soteriology' (as I allude above @ Alvin) that emphasize the gratuitous nature and free offer of salvation; and I think much more consistently than Zane's 'Free Grace'.

The irony to me, Antonio, is that your view of grace and the'order of salvation' is mutually excluded and thus incompatible with your assertion and version of 'Free Grace salvation.

peace

September 27, 2008 5:03 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Antonio

Very good example!!!

It’s a crying shame what people do to God’s free gift, and they think what’s the big deal you’re just splitting hairs. I don’t think they realize the ones pushing this crossless gospel issue the hardest believe that repentance, surrender, confession all got to be part of receiving the free gift. They have to force the Scriptures to match their own experience. This is the way it was with me and all my children so that’s the way it has to be. I had to give up all my preconceived beliefs from inviting Jesus into my heart to if your really saved your life will prove it. And pushing that all on everyone else, just because it was tradition, walking an isle was another in the Baptist tradition. Pleading with the song "Just as I Am” over and over again, then wondering if you really got saved. Zane Hodges is the FIRST person I ever heard say clearly that the gift of eternal life was absolutely free. And then when I read that repentance was not a condition for eternal life, it’s something that I had never heard before. So I had to know for sure, I could stand by tradition, or I could study it out for myself and be a Berean. I studied it out and was fully convinced that the only condition for the gift of eternal life was simply to believe. This made me angry in a way because I had been lied too in the past. And I had pushed those lies and expectations on other people. I know for the most part these false teaching’s were done innocently. It was all given to you like a pakage plan, and all along I had not really believed it was free. I had believed in inviting Jesus in my heart as Lord and Savior! I had believed I was a sinner and Jesus died on the cross for me. I had believed that He paid for all my sin and I would go to heaven. But!!!!! When I read Zane Hodges book “Absolutely Free” I was amazed. . it really was free!!!

Antonio, if I had really believed it was a gift before why would I have been amazed?

Because I really didn’t believe it was a gift in the past as I thought I had. I had bought into the package plan. How many others are out there just like I was? Who if they really heard the truth as you have stated it in your example, would be amazed that it really is free!!!



alvin

September 27, 2008 5:52 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio,
I always learn from you. Thanks so much.

Alvin,
I was looking through some past articles on one of the other blogs and saw your testimony posted over a year ago. How it blessed my heart. You and your wife have been through a lot.
Just wanted you know that it was heart wrenching and worth reading.
HE alone makes life worth living.

God's best to you and your family,
Diane
:-)

September 27, 2008 6:50 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I can’t remember all that I shared, but life has brought many challenges into my life, and God has given me mercy and grace thus far.
Thanks again for all your kind words Diane, and I believe God uses you in peoples lives because you let His love shine through.
It’s plain to see not only is the Lord your salvation but He is your JOY!!!!
God Bless
alvin
P/s
The example that Antonio gave here was so clear and true. He really caught the tragedy that takes place when the unconditional Gift is not given as Jesus gave it, it just confirms in peoples minds "nothings free" as they walk out the door.
The theological legalist is scared to death of this message because he believes people will abuse it. But that is the chance God has taken by offering it freely, just like His love it can be abused. But just as His love it is given freely from the hand of God.
What else would we expect from the One who gave His life on the cross even for those who would hate Him!

Antonio has summed it up beautifully, and gave the appropriate verse:
2 Cor 9:15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

September 28, 2008 2:17 AM  
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Great post.

September 28, 2008 6:20 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

Thank you again for your kind words. I just appreciate so much your comments. They always help clarify a truth, and you also encourage me.
:-)

To all my friends....
I felt the desire to just share with you my feelings about the cross of Christ.
I marvel in it!!!
Each of the 8 signs were for the purpose of bringing an unbeliever to see that Jesus was the Christ, the giver of eternal life. But the cross is truly the greatest sign of all BECAUSE He suffered and died for me personally so that I could live with Him forever. He rose! WOW! It doesn't get any better than that!!! I marvel at that and will forever proclaim it. I would never be part of a church, or para-church organization that didn't marvel in the cross of Christ. There are no words to express my gratitude to Jesus for what He did for me on the cross of Calvary. He alone is to be praised for who He is and what He did!!! Yes!!! Always proclaim it loud and clear!!! AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

Why are so many of our friends getting so upset with us (GES, Zane Hodges, Antonio) when we all proclaim the cross and rejoice in it?!!! Why are so many getting upset with God's way of doing things? He's the one who said what we must believe to have eternal life. We're not just making it up. He recorded in His Word how we receive His gift. Believe in Him for it! That's what He said.... not me nor Zane nor Bob Wilkin nor Antonio nor Alvin nor WJC. Jesus said it. We're just telling people what He said as recorded in His Word.
So why are our free grace friends upset with us? I really wonder what's going on? I really do?

Diane

September 28, 2008 12:42 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Jon and Peggie
I forgot to thank you both for your encouragment. I really needed it at the time, I was ready to throw in the towel with the blogging. The short break helped, and my wife telling me "you need to go about it another way." ha! ha! She's always right!
I'm pretty single minded, kinda like a hound dog on a trail!

I just needed to get off that Calvinism trail, it makes me to crazy.

You all have been great examples for me, thank you!!!!

WJC, your last post on the group blog concerning the little children coming to Jesus was powerful!!!! The checklist theological legalist would tell the child they didn't know enough! I hope that opened their eyes to the truth that anyone can come to Jesus for His gift of life.
Thanks again for your support, happy blogging!

alvin

September 29, 2008 1:57 AM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Hi Antonio,

This is an interesting scenerio/analogy. It's interesting because there is this checklist that the recipient of the meal must do.

1. He must acknowledge that he needs the food.
2. He must turn from what he is currently doing and go to the rescue mission.
3. He must humble himself, express his dependence on the Rescue Mission.
4. He must receive the food, and for that food to do him any good, he must consume it. Or else he received it in vain.

Now, you don't have to tell a person who is in need of food to do these things. They will do them automatically. Of course, sometimes you'll have to remind them of some of these things. You might have to tell them that the food is at the Rescue Mission and that they'll have to turn from what they're doing to go get the food. Or you might have to tell them to stop relying on themselves or the dumpster for their provision and tell them to go to the Rescue Mission. But the heart of the message is this, "There's food at the Rescue Mission and if you're hungry, go and get it." And after they have received and consumed the meal, they have completed the checklist...they've acknowledge their need of food, turned from what they were doing, humbled themselves and expressed their dependence on the Rescue Mission and received and consumed the food.

So were there parameters for getting the food? No. But in order to get the food, these things will happen.

Even in Rev 22:17, God lays down a parameter, "the one who is thirsty". John 3:16 lays down the parameter of "whoever believes". Or how about John 5:44 "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from he one and only God?" The parameter being that they needed to seek the glory that is from God.

So I say, yes, you're absolutely right. The gospel call is a no-strings-attached offer. But there are things that the sinner must do. It's like getting to the rescue mission and realizing that you have to wait in a long line. "Nobody told me I had to wait," you might say. It's not a condition, so then you have every right to go to the front of the line, right? No, you have to wait your turn. Or what if there was a very small hole you had to crawl through to get to the other side where the food was. You might tell somebody, "make sure you bend down and crawl through the hole". Is that a precondition. Sure, I can have the food, but I have to crawl through this small hole. Nobody told me that.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

September 29, 2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin...
It's sooooooooooooooooooo good to have you back! Thanks to your wife for encouraging you that way!!!
:-)
My husband is not a blogger at all. Sometimes he wonders why I bother. But I tell him that it helps me think, learn, and I just enjoy the people I'm meeting. Actually, he's learning from you all, too, because I pass on a lot of the comments to him. He appreciates it too!
:-)

Ten Cent...
Nice to meet you. Your comments made me think of these verses.

John 12:42,43,46...
Nevertheless even among the rulers many BELIEVED IN HIM, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue;
vs. 46... I have come as a light into the world, that whoever BELIEVES IN ME should not abide in darkness.

John 2:23,24...
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many BELIEVED IN HIS NAME when they saw the SIGNS which He did.
But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men.

And the verses wjc brought to our attention...
Mt. 18:3-6...
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
BUT whoever causes one of these little ones who BELIEVE IN ME to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Diane

September 29, 2008 12:06 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

One other thought for Ten Cent...

Question...
Can a person who is living in adultery come to faith in Christ without repenting of that sin first (assuming he knows that what he's doing is adultery)?

September 29, 2008 12:13 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Ten Cent,

You miss the whole point of the illustration, probably in your hurry to find fault with me.

As the article states, there are two ways to look at conditionality: one from the perspective of God the other from the perspective of the desirous one.

From the standpoint of the recipient, he may have to do several things, as this article states: a specific and a general.

The general is that he needs to get located where the offer is being dispensed. The specific is that he must receive the benefit of the offer.

But from the standpoint of the fictional mission, the food is absolutely free without any conditions. It is free from condition and price available for the receiving.

Let us look at what you said:

1. He must acknowledge that he needs the food.

Why? He may not particularly need it. Yet the offer is still there for him to take regardless if he needed the food or not. He may come take the food even if he is not in need.

Before I was associated with the San Diego Rescue Mission, I would go to the sermons and eat the meal. I had food at home and didn't need the meal. I did so anyway.


2. He must turn from what he is currently doing and go to the rescue mission.

I don't agree with this. He may be reading a book, or twiddling his thumbs, or doing a crossword. He does not have to stop doing those things, he can bring them along!

Furthermore, I have already stipulated that the person in question must get in the right position to avail himself of the meal. This corresponds the the open nature of the mind to consider the evidence of the gospel and/or seek the evidence with an open mind.

It is not necessary from the standpoint of the recipient to turn from what he is currently doing unless what he is doing is cannot be done in the location where the food is. But in this case, he may go avail himself of the food and then return to what he was doing at the other location, still having received the benefit of the offer.

3. He must humble himself, express his dependence on the Rescue Mission.

Now you are just saying things that are silly. Many of the people who would come to the Rescue Mission did not humble themselves at all. They came and got the food in their pride. They certainly did not often "express [their] dependence on the Rescue Mission"! With the offer stipulated, they may come in any fashion.

According to the offer, a rich man, who doesn't need the food, or have any dependence upon the Rescue Mission may come receive the benefit of the Mission unconditinally.

There may be many different conditions needed to be fullfilled in order for one to become both positioned and inclined to avail himself of the unconditional benefit offered.

But each person's circumstances will be unique.

4. He must receive the food, and for that food to do him any good, he must consume it. Or else he received it in vain.

In order to avail himself of the unconditional offer, he must simply receive it, period. Once it is received, it is his POSSESSION. He may at this point do with it as he seems inclined.


The bottom line: God requires nothing of those who He offers eternal life. They may take it with no condition laid upon them by the mouth of God.

God does not require that men and women fulfill a plethora of pre-conditions. He leaves the responsibility to the lost to get themselves prepared and positioned in order to avail themselves of (IOW receive) the unconditional offer of Eternal life.

At anytime one argues that the responsibilities of the lost are actually God-mandated requirements, they have added to the Word of God; and there are dangers inherent in such activity.

No!

God offers eternal life free of charge or condition to anyone and everyone, periond.

Antonio

September 29, 2008 12:58 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Just as if I were to advertize a free exercise bike like this:

An exercise bike is available free of cost and condition @ 1234 Malibu Cyn Rd.

I have laid no conditions on the reception of the bike.

It is the responsibility of the recipient to come get it. ANd this he could do in a million ways:

have his wife pick it up
rent a truck
pay a service
stick in on a wagon and pull it home

There is only one common denomiator that is universal for all in the offer of eternal life. And that is believing in Jesus for eternal life is the God defined way on how someone receives that life.

Antonio

September 29, 2008 1:07 PM  
Blogger redeemthetime said...

Bobby, You wrote, "The irony to me, Antonio, is that your view of grace and the'order of salvation' is mutually excluded and thus incompatible with your assertion and version of 'Free Grace salvation."

Would you mind providing more detail regarding what you mean here? Thanks.

September 29, 2008 1:18 PM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Hi Diane,

It's nice to meet you.

You said: "Can a person who is living in adultery come to faith in Christ without repenting of that sin first (assuming he knows that what he's doing is adultery)?"

I Cor. 1:9 "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

Diane, why did these Corinthians go from adulterer to being washed and sanctified and justified? Paul says that's what they were (unrighteous), but now they are something different. There was a transformation. Faith in Christ produces an effect through the Holy Spirit. It changes lives.

I say that to say that I don't think that the person would have to physically go back to his apartment/house and break off the relationship and get his/her life in order and the put their faith in Christ. I do believe that at the point of faith, the process of repentance begins. The spirit will convict the believer of sin. If after the person claimed to believe in Christ, he or she did not show signs of repentance towards their adultery, then it would be time to confront them as a brother or sister in Christ.

So can they come to Christ without repenting first? That's not the question, it's can they come to Christ without repenting? No, coming to Christ is the first step in repenting.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

September 29, 2008 1:58 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Ten Cent,
(BTW.... I like that name.)
:-)

Thank you for replying to my question.
In 1 Cor. 1:9 the key word for me is "inherit." You've touched on one of those gyms for me......
*** Learning one truth opens up doors to other truths.***
By learning that the word "inheritance" doesn't have to equal "enter," it opened up the door to understand this verse to be referring to loss of rewards. It's true that those people were ONCE like that and now they're not. Praise God. Yes, when we are born again we are a new creation in Christ. He now lives in us through His Holy Spirit, and we have His power available to live for Him. BUT the context goes on to warn those people NOT to go back into those sins. That means that it's possible. There's much to loose if they go back into it, but it's not salvation. It's lose of rewards in the Kingdom of God.

Have you read the books that teach inheritance in that way?
Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, Jody Dillow, Charles Stanley, Erwin Lutzer, Tony Evans, Charlie Bing are just a few today who have taught it that way.

Understanding REPENTANCE differently than I use to understand it has also opened up other truths in the Bible for me. God just keeps doing that for me...... one new revelation after another. It's so NEAT!!! But I stress..... NOT NEW..... just new in my understanding.
When the light goes on in a person's mind that Jesus Christ offers eternal salvation free of charge to the one who believes in Him for it, he has it. That doesn't mean that at that moment he's thinking about what he will or will not do with his life. At that moment there's only one issue.... Jesus is the way, the only way to God. I believe.
NOW starts the rest of his life. Some immediately follow Christ in obedience. Some don't for a while. Some never do.
But they're still His child and He will deal with each one as a loving Heavenly Father deals with His children. God never forces His children to obey. But they will suffer the consequences of their actions if they don't and there will be much regret at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Thanks again for making me think.

Your friend in Christ,
Diane
:-)

September 29, 2008 2:32 PM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Antonio,

You said: "You miss the whole point of the illustration, probably in your hurry to find fault with me."

Please don't turn this into a personal attack. I don't scour the internet trying to figure out a way to point a finger at you. As much as you say I have missed the point of your post, you have missed the point of mine.

1. He must acknowledge that he needs the food.

Why? He may not particularly need it. Yet the offer is still there for him to take regardless if he needed the food or not. He may come take the food even if he is not in need.


Don't forget, this is a fictional mission. Everything that applies in the real world, doesn't necessarily follow here. I made this statement under the unstated reason that the mission exists--to supply food for those who need it. Which is what Christ says in Matthew 9:11-13, "When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?" But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. "But go and learn what this means: `I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.""

So he may not verbal acknowledge his need, but the simply fact that he goes to the rescue mission reveals that he knows he needs it. Otherwise, he wouldn't go.

2. He must turn from what he is currently doing and go to the rescue mission.

I don't agree with this. He may be reading a book, or twiddling his thumbs, or doing a crossword. He does not have to stop doing those things, he can bring them along!


Obviously, even if he brings his book or crossword or whatever, he will have to stop doing those things to reach out and take the plate/bowl of food. His attention and focus will no longer be on what he is doing but on what he is receiving. Especially if he is a "DESIROUS" one--one who wants the food.

3. He must humble himself, express his dependence on the Rescue Mission.

Now you are just saying things that are silly. Many of the people who would come to the Rescue Mission did not humble themselves at all.


When I say "express", I don't necessarily mean verbally. The act of coming to the Rescue Mission is a humble act because I'm acknowledging my poverty. I'm saying by my action that I cannot provide for myself what the Rescue Mission is willing to give to me. Which is why Jesus says in Matthew 19:23,24 "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Of course He says it's not impossible, it's just difficult. Why? Because the rich man doesn't see his poverty.

4. He must receive the food, and for that food to do him any good, he must consume it. Or else he received it in vain.

In order to avail himself of the unconditional offer, he must simply receive it, period. Once it is received, it is his POSSESSION. He may at this point do with it as he seems inclined.


John 6:53-56 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him."

Antonio, this is where you miss the boat, as it where. The offer is not just about having life after we die (eternal life). It's about having life in Christ. And the only way to have life is to feed on Christ. And just like the one who takes the food from the Rescue Mission and doesn't eat and dies of hunger, so too will the one die spiritually who beholds Christ, sees Him for who He is, yet does not partake.

And I fully agree with you in that God requires nothing of those who He offers eternal life. Just like God requires nothing of those to whom He gives physical life. Yet there are things we must do in order to receive that life. We must breathe, we must eat, etc. If eternal life is just one more trinket that I want to stuff in the suitcase of my spiritual journey, I will never get to my destination. But when I acknowledge that I can't get there on my own and that I need help and I go to the one who gives that help with out cost, freely, willingly, I will make there and I will make there with abundance.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

September 30, 2008 6:15 AM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Hi Diane,

You said: "Have you read the books that teach inheritance in that way?"

No, I have not read these books, however, I have heard/read the argument for that view of inheritance via Antonio and Matthew (Celestial Fundi). It's probably no surprise that I'm not in agreement with that view.

Colossians 1:12-14 "giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

So Diane, who qualifies us to share in the inheritance? Is it not the Father?

And how did He qualify us? By rescuing us from the domain of darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, right?

You said: "Some immediately follow Christ in obedience."

See, Diane, this is a fundamental difference between our views. You separate obedience out as if it's on the fringe and optional. Yet John says in 1 John 3:23 "This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. " And both Paul and Peter talk of obeying the Truth or obeying the Gospel. So faith in Christ is obedience. And without faith it is impossible to please him (Heb. 11:6). Just like in Antonio's example, the Rescue Mission, the one who wants the food has to obey what the Rescue Mission has told them to do--come and get it. So I would say that everyone who comes to Christ is immediately following Him in obedience. That doesn't mean that he is sinless. That's why Paul talks about the battle with sin.

You said: "God never forces His children to obey."

Luke 8:25 "And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, "Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?"

Did Christ force the winds and the water to obey Him or did they do that of their own accord?

You said: "But they will suffer the consequences of their actions if they don't and there will be much regret at the Judgment Seat of Christ."

Diane, do you rest in your own righteousness to assure you of having no regrets at the Judgment Seat or do you rest securely in the righteousness of Christ that He gives freely to all who believe?

In Christ,
Ten Cent

September 30, 2008 10:32 AM  
Blogger Clay said...

Ten Cent,

You wrote of Colossians 1:12-14:
Who qualifies us to share in the inheritance? Is it not the Father?

And how did He qualify us? By rescuing us from the domain of darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, right?


Yes, you are absolutely right. However, being qualified does not equate to receiving the inheritance-just to being qualified to receive it. We have been qualified to run the race, but how well we run determines our prize (inheritance).

On another note, just how much obedience does it take to have faith? Obedience to what?

Clay

September 30, 2008 12:21 PM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Hi Clay,

You said: "We have been qualified to run the race, but how well we run determines our prize (inheritance)."

Clay, how well are you running the race?

You said: "On another note, just how much obedience does it take to have faith?"

Obedience isn't quantified, you either obey or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are obeying Him. Thus, faith is obedience.

You said: "Obedience to what?"

Obedience to Christ, it's His command to believe.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

September 30, 2008 12:51 PM  
Blogger Clay said...

Ten Cent,

I'm running quite well by reckoning myself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus and acting accordingly in faith. Thank you very much... Arrogant, I'm sure some might say. But I assure you, it's the life of the Spirit within me who is doing all of the running and gets all the credit. The pauses, slips, and misteps along the way, that's all I can take credit for.

But do not misunderstand...my assurance of eternal life is not in any way tied to how well I'm running or not running, though my assurance of my reward and my inheritance definately is.

I understand now a little better about where you are coming from on the issue of faith and obedience. However, I'm still trying to get a better picture. Would you say that the faith required for eternal life is obedience to Christ's primary command to believe or to all of his commands? Regardless of how you answer that question, doesn't faith = obedience mean faith = a work?

Thanks,

Clay

September 30, 2008 3:54 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Ten Cent,

The word inheritance can mean enter, or it can mean reward. All believers inherit eternal life. But not all believers inherit certain blessings (rewards) which the context determines.

I would recommend that you read Zane Hodges' books beginning with "Absolutely Free." Then I would recommend "The Gospel Under Siege," and "Grace In Eclipse." If after reading those books you still disagree, I can recommend others such as "The Reign of the Servant Kings" by Joseph Dillow. I could go on and on naming great books.
:-)

I don't only consume Zane's books. I also consumed John MacArthur's books. Practically every page of his book... "The Gospel According To Jesus" is marked up. I do study what these men are saying. Actually I started out studying MacArthur's book. I was very upset after reading it. That's when I found this wonderful book, "Absolutely Free." The rest is history.

It is nice to meet you, and I wish you God's very best in your life.

A friend in Christ,
Diane
:-)

September 30, 2008 8:05 PM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Hi Clay,

You said: "But I assure you, it's the life of the Spirit within me who is doing all of the running and gets all the credit. The pauses, slips, and misteps along the way, that's all I can take credit for."

and

You said: "my assurance of eternal life is not in any way tied to how well I'm running or not running, though my assurance of my reward and my inheritance definately is."

Do you see the tension in these two statements? On one hand, you're telling me that how you are running the race is all up to the Spirit, He gets the credit. Then on the other hand, at Judgement Seat, you receive all the credit in the form of rewards for what the Spirit did through you.

You said: "Would you say that the faith required for eternal life is obedience to Christ's primary command to believe or to all of his commands? Regardless of how you answer that question, doesn't faith = obedience mean faith = a work?"

I would say that when you believe in Christ, you are in fact obeying Christ. And no, faith, then, doesn't become a work. That would be like saying that there is lettuce on my sandwich, so when I eat the sandwich, I'm eating the lettuce too. Therefore, lettuce is a sandwich. See the misuse of logic? Lettuce is still lettuce and a sandwich is still a sandwich.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

October 01, 2008 6:48 AM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Hi Diane,

Thanks for the kindness in your responses. It's appreciated and not overlooked. And thank you for the recommended reading.

Would you do me one more kindness and answer the question that I posed to you my last comment to you?

"Do you rest in your own righteousness to assure you of having no regrets at the Judgment Seat or do you rest securely in the righteousness of Christ that He gives freely to all who believe?"

It may seem that this a dig at your belief system and in one sense, it is. But one of the reasons I engage in these discussions is because a wrong view of our sanctification can have far reaching ramifications. Whether it's my view that's wrong or yours, that's what I'm attempting to route out.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

October 01, 2008 7:01 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Hi Antonio!

Ten Cent, could you please go over to my profile page and send me an email?

Mark

October 01, 2008 7:58 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Ten Cent,

Thank you for your gracious words again.

You asked me this....
"Do you rest in your own righteousness to assure you of having no regrets at the Judgment Seat or do you rest securely in the righteousness of Christ that He gives freely to all who believe?"

I don't rest in my own righteousness for anything. I rest in Jesus. Jesus set the rules. He says... that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life. I'm the receiver of that gift. It cost me nothing. It cost Jesus everything.
Now according to the way God ordained things, He has chosen to reward His children if they are faithful. If I perform a good deed in the flesh (bad attitude, wrong motives), that act produces nothing good at the JSC. The rewards that we get are for faithfulness. It's Him living through us. But He won't do that if we're not depending on Him. We must step out in faith and WORK (obey the Word) while all along depending on Him for the results. Whatever these rewards are, they're some kind of capacity to enjoy the Lord in a deeper, more intimate way forever. I would love to have some of those rewards. I love Him because He first loved me!!!

A GREAT BOOK on this subject is called....
"The Six Secrets of the Christian Life... (The Miracle of Walking with God)" by Zane Hodges. I HIGHLY recommend it!!!

Thank you.

Diane
:-)

October 01, 2008 9:39 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Diane, Hi!

I was just wondering: you said that you read John MacArthur's "The Gospel According To Jesus", and it seems you did not like the book.

Question: When you read the book what theological system to you subscribe to? (for example, were you covenant theology, classic dispensationalism, new covenant theology, or progressive dispensationalism?) Thanks for taking the time to respond to me.

Mark

October 01, 2008 9:59 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

The parameters are broader than knowing you’re thirsty, even if that is too strong you can take the living water if you simply desire to do so. The women at the well didn’t have to go out of her way to receive that living water, but Jesus met her where she was going to get water. This was simply about the giving and receiving of a gift. Jesus would have already given the living water to her if she would have known what the gift was, and who it was speaking to her. The only reason her five previous husbands and the one she was living with at the time was brought up was to bring her from just seeing Jesus as a Jew to seeing Him as the Christ. Jesus didn’t say “if you knew you were a sinner I would give you the living water,” because her sin was not the issue! Jesus was able to offer her that living water freely, because He would later pay for all her sin. And we must remember, to believe is a command but Jesus didn’t command her to take the living water He offered it as a gift she could freely take! And the living water is offered again in Rev 22:17 without any reference to sin or repentance. So Jesus offer is still open to whoever simply desires to take it freely!
(Scriptures that pertain)

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
And let him who hears say, “Come!”
And let him who thirsts come.
Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

The Greek tenses in John 4:10 would permit the following interpretation of the NKJV rendering:

“If you [now] knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink’, you would [already] have asked Him, and He would [already] have given you living water’.
Note: it had absolutely nothing to do with her sin, but simply with giving a gift that was free. . . Why? Because:
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

alvin

October 01, 2008 7:07 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Mark,

In answer to your question...

At the time I read John MacArthur's book, I didn't really think about what I was.... except I was saved. From my childhood through high school I attended a Christian Reformed Church. I was saved through the ministry of Youth For Christ while in high school.
I went to a Bible College for 2 years that was dispensational in it's teaching...
I then attended a very good grace oriented Bible Church at that time. But I never heard the term "free grace."

I loved listening to John MacArthur on the radio because of his emphasis upon holy living. I would order most all of his tapes, and we even supported him financially. After listening for years to him and loving him, one day I heard him say something like this.....
"You're not saved by just believing. You must repent, surrender and commit." I was shocked. He used the term "easy believism." I had never heard that term before. Then he named some men who were wrong on the gospel. Two of those men were Charles Ryrie and Lewis Sperry Chafer. I was so upset because this was coming from a Bible teacher who I had grown to love. How could this be? That started my journey on searching out everything I could find. But it NEVER made me doubt my salvation. I knew I was saved forever because of the simple promise of John 3:16.

During this time I found a book in a Christian Book Store by an author I never heard of before... "Absolutely Free" by Zane Hodges. Zane doesn't sell his books that way any more, but that's where I found mine. I consumed that book over and over and over. It was a breath of fresh air because it was so biblical. It was after I read that book that I read John MacArthur's book, "The Gospel According To Jesus." That book was taken from the series of messages I had been hearing on the radio.
I came to appreciate this author, Zane Hodges long before I ever knew who he was. His book helped me see clearly how all the pieces fit together in the Bible. It was incredible. I recognized that this author was a brilliant Bible teacher, and that was long before I ever met him. Later when I did get to hear him and meet him, I found him to be a very humble and gracious man. He's always been that way whenever I've been around him or spoken with him. I have the highest respect for him, and I know those people who are attacking him now as a heretic will answer to the Lord for that at the JSC.

I highly recommend ALL of Zane Hodges' writings!!! You won't be disappointed!!!

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

October 01, 2008 9:26 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Redeeming The Time,

let me get back to you at a later date by way of a post. I don't have the time at the moment to try and develop my assertion.

October 01, 2008 10:33 PM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Diane,
Thanks for your kind and gracious response!

Interesting what you said..."I went to a Bible College for 2 years that was dispensational in it's teaching...
I then attended a very good grace oriented Bible Church at that time.... Also,"Then he named some men who were wrong on the gospel. Two of those men were Charles Ryrie and Lewis Sperry Chafer."

That gives me a feel for what brand of dispensationalism you were involved in. Whatever system we subscribe to puts us on a trajectory that determines what books and authors will either resonate with us or repulse us.

MacArthur came upon the basis for "TGATJ" while studying for an exegetical presentation for the congregation. He determined not to follow dispensational presuppositions or any other presuppositions in the course of that study. Just a plain reading of the Word. This is why his "Lordship" findings rub classic dispensationalist's the wrong way; because they DO approach these things through presuppostional readings of the Word.

Thanks again,
Mark

October 02, 2008 4:14 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

The study that MacArthur was preparing for was the Gospel of Matthew.

October 02, 2008 4:17 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Mark, you said....

"That gives me a feel for what brand of dispensationalism you were involved in. Whatever system we subscribe to puts us on a trajectory that determines what books and authors will either resonate with us or repulse us."

My understanding of dispensations and other doctrinal truths were not set in concrete back in those days. I understood that Israel and the Church are not the same, but that's NOT what this issue was about for me. The one thing that was in concrete for me is that I was forever saved and my works would not change that.

This came to my mind this morning as I read your comments to me.
Back during the years I was first listening to John MacArthur and attending a very good grace Bible Church, I heard MacArthur teach that
1 John was written to give evidence of truly being saved. I was confused because my pastor taught it just the opposite, that is was evidence of being in fellowship. I respected both men at the time and didn't know who was right. I KNEW I was saved, but I wanted to understand the Bible and it sounded like MacArthur was right when I would listen to him. But then it sounded like my pastor was right when I would listen to him. I studied, and studied, and studied 1 John, but I just couldn't get to the place where I was sure what it was saying. I could have said.... "I choose to believe my pastor." But I don't do things that way. I want to see it for myself in scripture. I remember someone coming over to my house to help show me that it was about fellowship. But I still wasn't sure. I finally got to the place where I just cried out to the Lord and said....
"Lord, I don't know what this book is saying. I've tried to understand, but I don't know who's right. I'm not going to read this book anymore because it has no meaning for me. I don't know what it's saying. If you want me to read this book, You're going to have to give me understanding some way."
My prayer was not rebellion against God, but just being honest before Him. I didn't know what else to do.

Well, guess what! GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYER!!!! But I DIDN'T EVEN REALIZE THAT HE HAD DONE THAT until 10 years later. Yes, TEN YEARS!

Things continued to happen in my life as I posted in my previous comments to you. Then one day I was not only reading 1 John, but teaching it to some young ladies in a discipleship class. It dawned on me! I understand 1 John!!! I PERSONALLY see it..... not because I'm taking sides, but I, myself SEE IT!!!! I had no doubts that it was talking about fellowship. The book was putting forth evidences of being in fellowship with God. It was so clear.
It had NOTHING to do with being in a certain camp...... Reformed or dispensational camp. GOD showed me the answer because I genuinely sought it. God is faithful all the time!!! I asked, He answered.

I don't want you to think that I'm saying that I know everything about 1 John. I don't~!!! God's Word is inexhaustible. But I know that it's talking about fellowship. And He promises to give us answers if we seek Him. I give Him all the glory because I closed that book. He opened it in response to my prayer without me even knowing what He was doing. He is so ALIVE and so REAL and so GOOD and so FAITHFUL. There are no words to express my gratitude to Him for His love poured out upon me.

God's best to you today,
Diane
:-)

October 02, 2008 9:24 AM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Diane,
What of those of us who have wrestled with 1 John in God's presense and have come to different conlussions than you - that it (1 John) shows us family traits of those who are truely regenerate, 1 John 3:10?

October 02, 2008 9:54 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Mark,

All I can say in answer to your last question is....

God has been faithful to me.

Your friend,
Diane
:-)

October 02, 2008 10:18 AM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Hi Diane,

You said: "I would love to have some of those rewards. I love Him because He first loved me!!!"

James 1:12 "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

I think I can safely say that you have at least one crown coming, the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. I have no doubt that you love Him.

Let me encourage you, as the apostle Paul says, to excel still more. Yes, we must be about the Lord's work. But don't cling to that work as the means to your reward. Continue to cling to Christ.

Thanks for the discussion Diane. You've been more than gracious.

In Christ,
Ten Cent

October 02, 2008 10:54 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Mark,

One other thing I would like to say in regards to your question to me where you said....


"What of those of us who have wrestled with 1 John in God's presense and have come to different conlussions than you - that it (1 John) shows us family traits of those who are truely regenerate, 1 John 3:10?"

The best way I can answer that is to recommend you read Zane Hodges' commentary on 1 John. At least then you would have an understanding of how the pieces fit together. Thanks so much.

Diane
:-)

October 05, 2008 9:50 PM  
Blogger mark pierson said...

Diane,
I differ here in that I look at 1 John 5:13 as the purpose statement for that book. The plain reading of 1 John is such that that book is a look at the family traits of the regenerate believer versus those traits of the false teachers who were invading that gathering of believers with their early forms of ngosticism. The truely regenerate would show forth their love for the saints, victory over sin and such, whereas the false teachers, not having the Spirit, would show forth their unbroken slavery to sin.

Diane, I maintain that without the teachings of Hodges, Wilkins and Radmacher that nobody could conclude that 1 John is a book merely about fellowship. Dating from the reformation to the present where does the teachings of Hodges appear in church history?

October 06, 2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Mark,

We're just going to have to agree to disagree on this. I'm so glad that my eternal salvation is settled forever, and that I never have to wonder if I'll endure until the end to show that I'm a true believer. My confidence is not in Hodges, Wilkin, or Radmacher but in the promise of Jesus Christ to give me everlasting life by just believing in Him. It's settled in heaven, and nothing I will do in the future will change that fact!!!

BTW... You may remember that I said I was taught by my pastor that 1 John was about fellowship way back before I ever heard of those 3 men. It was during the time that I was listening to John MacArthur saying that 1 John was evidences of true salvation. I was so confused at that time. I didn't know what to believe. But God was faithful and showed me the truth. That assurance came not from men, but from God in His Word. God's Word is alive and powerful and does not return void. Even if Zane Hodges changed his mind and taught 1 John as being evidences for eternal life, I wouldn't change because God was faithful to show me the truth in answer to my prayer. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

I hope I don't sound like I'm fighting with you. I'm not. I know that you believe differently than me. We'll just have to part friends in our understanding of this wonderful, marvelous truth. And if you have already believed in Jesus for everlasting life (which I'm sure you have), then we'll have the joy of being with Him and serving Him forever. What a glorious day that will be!!!

I truly do wish you God's best in your life,

Your friend,
Diane
:-)

October 06, 2008 9:35 AM  
Blogger Ten Cent said...

Hi Diane,

I don't mean to use this as a "aha, gotcha" moment, but I did want to point out that what you say you believe about rewards is not necessarily what you believe.

You said, "And if you have already believed in Jesus for everlasting life (which I'm sure you have), then we'll have the joy of being with Him and serving Him forever. What a glorious day that will be!!!"

In your view, or rather in Hodges' view as I understand it, we don't have the assurance that we will have the joy of being with Him. Which is why I say that our view of sanctification has far reaching ramifications. To be accurate with your view, you would have to say that if you, Mark, have believed in Jesus for everlasting life, then you have the potential of the joy of being with Him and serving Him forever. And if you've obeyed Christ, then that will be a glorious day.

Do you see the disconnect when it comes to our theology and the practical implications?

In Christ,
Ten Cent

October 06, 2008 10:25 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Ten Cent,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify.

I do believe (as Zane Hodges does) that ALL believers will be with the Lord forever. They will be sinless and see as God sees. We all will see our sin in a way that we couldn't see it here on earth because our sin nature will be gone and we will be like Christ. God will wipe away all tears from our eyes and we will forever enjoy Him.

But that doesn't mean that we will all have the same position in the Kingdom of God. Some will rule and reign with Him. Some won't. There are lots of different rewards given for faithfulness. There are also loss of rewards that will bring great regret. I'm sure that's why He will be wiping away tears from our eyes. Whatever these rewards are, it will be some kind of capacity to enjoy Him deeper and closer throughout all eternity.
I heard one person put it something like this...

Even today in our earthly bodies some believers enjoy the Lord in a more intimate way than others because of their close walk with Him. That's an intimacy that we all can have as we abide in His Word, unveiled to His truth, and living obediently in light of His Word. He came to give life and to give it abundantly. WOW! Just think about that abundant life we can have when we go to be with Him!!! If we can experience that abundance here in this life, how much greater in the next!!! AWESOME!

So I do believe that ALL Christians will be with the Lord, happy, sinless, and serving Him throughout eternity. But our position in the Kingdom of God will be determined by the way we were faithful to Him here on earth. God will reward perfectly, and no one will be able to say to the Lord.... "You are unfair!"
God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Thanks Ten Cent for giving me the opportunity to clarify.

Hope your day will be filled with the joy of the Lord.

Your friend,
Diane
:-)

October 06, 2008 11:00 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby Grow has written a piece that has considerations stemming from the dialogue in this post, and from the one previous to this.

Please visit his blog and the article he wrote on FG.

Zane Hodges' Free Grace Theology Revisited

The following is a response I made to his post:

Hi Bobby.

you wrote:
----------
To be very honest, at face value I don't disagree with Antonio on the point of what it takes to appropriate salvation.
----------
I am glad!

You wrote:
----------
But, I do disagree with the idea that Jesus's incarnation and atoning cross work are not necessarily and integrally related, at a first order level, to an individual's appropriation of salvation.
----------
What would ever give you the idea that I disagree with you here? I wholeheartedly agree!

You continue:
----------
In fact, the offer of salvation, a free grace salvation, is presupposed by who Jesus is and what He objectively accomplished in his person at the cross. Whether or not a person at the point of appropriating salvation is cognizant of all the ramifications of who Jesus is, and what he did, in a sense, are moot.
----------
I agree with you!!!!
I agree with you!!!!

your fg friend,

Antonio

PS: Although I agree with your assessment of my position that theologically speaking one does not have to understand the death or resurrection of Christ for simple eternal life, I must insist that pragmatically speaking, I do not believe that anyone since the 1st century has been saved apart from some form of assent to this. Furthermore, such preaching is of the essential nature of our gospel presentations. I do not believe that anyone who hasn't seen first hand the miracles of Christ can come to faith in Him for eternal life apart from being persuaded that Jesus is able to precisely because of His passion.

Now the deity of Christ issue is a whole 'nother ball of wax.

October 06, 2008 7:49 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Antonio,

Always glad to see your new posted articles, but also your comments. I just read your comments on Bobby Grow's blog.
I had a question in regards to this statement you made.....

(Antonio to Bobby Grow)...
"Although I agree with your assessment of my position that theologically speaking one does not have to understand the death or resurrection of Christ for simple eternal life, I must insist that pragmatically speaking, I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT ANYONE SINCE THE 1 CENTURY HAS BEEN SAVED APART FROM SOME FORM OF ASSENT TO THIS."
(meaning some form of understanding about Christ death and resurrection... my emphasis... and also CAPS mine)

That's true for me too, except when it comes to children. You may have already read what I posted about my friend's 3 year old daughter on another blog. One of the young mom's in my discipleship class believes that her little 3 year old daughter is already saved. She's very smart for her age. Her mom said that she hasn't talked about the blood of Christ with her yet because she felt it was too gruesome for her to take in at her young age. Many will disagree with this mother doing it that way, but that's the way she chose to deal with her child. Her child KNOWS beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the only way to heaven. She knows that when a person dies, he moves out of his body and goes to live with Jesus if he has believed in Him as the only way to heaven. She knows about death because of the people who have died in our church. She also knows that some people don't believe in Him and go to the "bad" place when they die because they didn't believe in Jesus. She even understands that going to heaven is called eternal life with Jesus. She knows that believing in Him to take you to heaven is the only way you can go there. She'll grow in her understanding of her sinfulness and the shed blood, but for now she's happy that Jesus loves her, that the Bible is God's Word, and that Jesus is the only way to heaven. There's lots of things she knows about God, but she doesn't yet know about HOW Jesus provided for her salvation and WHY. She doesn't even yet comprehend her sinfulness. If you could talk with her you would see that confidence she has in Jesus to take her to heaven! In fact she gets real concerned for people who might not have believed in Jesus before they died.
This verse comes to mind in Matt. 19:14....
"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

A follow-up to this story. I just talked to this little girl's mom today again. She told me that she is now talking to her about sin, the cross, and the blood of Christ that was shed for her. Her little girl is still 3 and just accepts what her mom tells her as true. If she's got questions, she asks her mom. She just confidently takes it all in and doesn't doubt what her mom is telling her. But she knows Jesus saves her from going to the "bad" place someday. Her mom is convinced she's already saved, and when I see her and hear her, I believe she's saved also. Now she's starting to learn more about what Jesus did to be able to take her to heaven.

Some may disagree that this little girl could be saved without understanding that Christ died for her sins, shedding His blood for her, and then rising from the dead. Yet, she had no problem believing in Him before she heard this. Her mom told her that God sent His Son, Jesus into the world to give her a gift. It was eternal life with Him. She explained what that meant, and her little girl believed in Him. Jesus is the only way to go to heaven and live with God.

Antonio, how does this little girl fit into your thinking in regards to what you said in your P.S. to Bobby Grow?

Thanks so much for your wonderful blog and for the much help you give.

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

October 06, 2008 9:57 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

GOOD FOR THAT MOM!!!!
She kept it simple!!!
The child saw death, and her Mom told her how to have life!
Her sin is not the issue, or how Jesus was able to give her life by His death on the cross.
That is what the Gospel of John emphasis eternal life because the main issue is death.
Sin is just a fruit of the main problem, separation from God.
I have to respond to accidents on the road, and if someone is dying beside the highway, and I only have a few moments I’m going to share the gift of life, which Jesus offers freely.
If I have more time I will share HOW He was able to give them that life they now have if they believed.
Their coming to Jesus, and that's the main thing because He always gives life!

October 07, 2008 9:29 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

I always like it when your name pops up!
:-)

AMEN about Jesus giving life!!!

Diane
:-)

October 07, 2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I was in my first high speed pursuit this last Friday, and I looked down at my speedometer and it read 95mph, and the vehicle was still pulling away from me. He almost rolled it on the one corner. I’m pretty new to this line of work, but if I had someone dying like that man surely could have if he had rolled. I would tell him your dying but Jesus gives eternal life, all you have to do is believe in Him for His gift. One thing I’m not new at is praying for people on their deathbeds. I did a care center ministry for years, singing, reading the Scripture and praying with ones. I’ve told them they need to pray and invite Jesus into their hearts. One lady all full of cancer, she couldn’t even talk so I prayed for her. She just nodded her head yes! She died the next morning. Oh if I would have only knew the truth back then! I was sincere but sincerely wrong!!!
I know what one needs to believe to get to heaven, and that’s in Jesus for His gift of life they can take freely!!! I wont get it wrong next time!!!

blessings alvin

October 07, 2008 10:03 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin... you have a real tender heart for people to know the Lord. I'm sure He used you even back when you didn't give the clearest message because you didn't know how. But were you saved then? If so, I'm guessing that the Lord used you in spite of your lack of clarity. I think people get saved in churches that are not clear on the saving message... only because the Holy Spirit makes it clear to their heart that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They find themselves trusting in Him alone. God works in spite of us a lot of times. But once we've been taught the truth, we are held accountable to speak the truth. What do you think?

October 07, 2008 10:27 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin...

BTW.... I meant to tell you that one of my son's-in-laws is a police officer. Isn't that what you are? Actually he just got a new job as a U.S. Postal Inspector.

October 07, 2008 10:28 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

Yes, I'm a Ferderal police officer on the Hanford Reservation.
It's a joy to read your post because they always ring true and clear!!! And you deliver them with such a spirit of love and grace!!!
I thank the Lord your my sister in Christ!
And I'm learning from you to be more like Christ!
Thank you
goodnight, I have to get up in 3hr and 42minutes, but I'm not down yet . . .Ha!Ha! I'm switching from nights to days now and am having a hard time sleeping . . . goodnight

October 07, 2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin...
Thank you again for your kind words.

Federal Police Officer!!!
Thank you for your service.
I'm adding you to my list of police officers for prayer.

Hope you adjust quickly to days!

Your fg friend,
Diane
:-)

October 08, 2008 7:59 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

Thank you for your prayers, and putting me on your prayer list.

I happened to look back and see your question "was I saved then?" I would have missed your post if I hadn't went back to reread some of the post. I guess they don't get on the thread right away but have to come in the order they are received. I'll start looking at the number of comments so I don't miss one in the process. I'm sure I've missed peoples questions before.

I believe that assurance is of the essence of saving faith. I would not stake my eternal destiny on what I believed back then. I just remember when I read Zanes book "Absolutely Free" how amazed I was that for the first time I saw that eternal life was really free, and had nothing to do with discipleship. I never understood that fact before. Raised in the Baptist tradition I believed in the "doctrine" of eternal security. But how that played out in my mind involved my works. At twelve years of age at a bible camp while looking up into the sky at night my eternal destiny dawned upon me. I was a sinner and if I died that night I would go to hell. I new I needed a Saviour, and I believed that Jesus was that Saviour. But I linked being saved with walking an isle. So it wasn't until the next day when I went forward in a meeting, and prayed a prayer with a man that I "felt" saved. The joy lasted for maybe a few days and then was gone. When I was doing the care center ministry later in life was after I had had an experince with God and for the first time felt His presence with me. I was dramaticaly changed by this and everyone where I worked wanted to know what had happened. At that time I believed as in Ephesians 2:5,6 I was already seated with Christ in heaven. And firmly taught the doctrine of eternal security. But in my mind it was all intertwined with my following Christ if it was true. So the gift of eternal life was really not a free gift to me unless I followed. Back then I was clearly Lordship salvation, and what I believed contradicted a free gift that you could take freely.
So Diane I would not stake my eternal destiny on what I believed back then because of what I know to be true now.

alvin

October 10, 2008 1:37 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

Your experience is not much different than a lot of us. I know that "believing" means "knowing" something is true. To be born again we must believe (know is true) that Jesus has done exactly what He said..... given us LIFE forever with Him..... not hell, not condemnation, but LIFE.
A verse was going around in my mind last night as I tried to go to sleep. It was John 10:10b....
"I came that they may have LIFE, and have it abundantly."
I laid there thinking..... that's it!!! He says right there WHY He came.... to give life, and give it abundantly. Free Gift and rewards.
Free Gift....... LIFE (eternal - with God forever - His very life). It's mine by believing in Him for it.
Rewards....... LIFE abundant now AND in eternity..... as we abide in the LIGHT..... His truth..... His Word..... Himself. (Obedience required)

I don't know the exact moment I was saved. I only remember the time that the LIGHT went on for me. I understood for the first time WHY Jesus died for my sins. It was to give me EVERLASTING LIFE when I believed in Him for it. I know what all our friends on the other side's going to say....... SEE, you believed in the crossWORK of Christ. ABSOLUTELY!!! I will NEVER cease from praising Him for the suffering He went through for my personal salvation. BUT...... God used that "8th sign" to bring me to the place where I believed in Him alone for my eternal destiny.

BUT, guess what else? I, too needed the "assurance" that I was truly saved. So what did I do? I walked an aisle because someone saw me raise my hand at a YFC rally, tapped me on the shoulder, and went forward with them. I met with a counselor. She went through Bible verses with me. But it was John 3:16 that gave me the "assurance" that I was forever saved. He promised That settled it for me forever.

Now..... was I saved BEFORE I walked that aisle, before I said a prayer, before I met with the counselor? Only God knows the exact time, but I know for sure that my faith WASN'T in that walk, or the prayer, or the counselor. It was in Jesus for everlasting life just because HE promised to give it to me when I believe.

I once wrote Zane Hodges and asked him about this. I said something like...... Was I saved before I walked that aisle. After all, I needed assurance. He wrote back and said something like this..... (can't remember his exact words). The mind works very quickly, even before we have time to compose our words. I very well could have had that assurance (probably did) when the "light" first went on for me as to WHY He died for me. If I knew at that moment that I was saved apart from any works, then I past from death to life even before I had a chance to have questions after.
Only God knows the time. The important thing is....... I know NOW that I have everlasting life. Leave the time to God. It's not important.
I think Zane is absolutely right. We don't need to be concerned with WHEN we were saved, just that we are now.

The example I gave of that little 3 year old girl has been a good example for me to realize what message we need to get across.... especially to little children. They believe in Jesus as the only way to heaven. Then they easily come to understand all that He did for them to pay for their salvation. That's been an eye opener for me.

I have something else I want to bring up for you to think on.... and Antonio.... and others. But it'll have to be another time because I'm leaving to go out of town right now. But my questions going to deal with those people who want to have assurance, but can't seem to emotionally go there. I'll go more into that later.

I hope people aren't getting tired of all my words. I know that I'm commenting way too much. I don't mean to take over Antonio's blog. I just get so excited about these issues. Thanks again Antonio for making your blog available for these dialogues.

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

October 10, 2008 9:37 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I see clearly now what goofed me up was all the false teaching. The man-made systems like Calvinism and Lordship teachings. That’s why I love how this mother went about telling her child about how to get to heaven in a very natural way. The little child was presented with death right before the little child’s eyes and the mother told her how to have eternal life in Jesus. The mother gave the child the living water and she drank it in faith. Now the mother is explaining how Jesus was able to give the living water freely because of the cross. This is all very natural in simplicity of the child taking Jesus at His word.
And just as Zanes desert Island scenario John 6:43a,47 the man was believing in the right person for the right thing. Those words are saving words and always give life.
I believe allot of these people who have to get the cross in there don’t believe the gift is really free. They say it is but their theology contradicts it. It would be interesting to know how many of these same people don’t believe that Jesus took away the sin of the world. They believe the cross is only effective if one believes, and I believe that spins off of the L of Calvinism that Jesus only paid for the elects sin. That’s where we have a big advantage when it comes to our message. We know that every person we come into contact with that God genuinely loves them and has already provided for all their sin on the cross. We know that their sin is NOT the main issue but life is like that young mother knew.
Of course this is not a either or thing but we want to give as much evidence as we can for one to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the One who guarantees their eternal destiny.

And the Spirit and the bride say, “COME!”
And let him who hears say, “COME!”
And let him who thirsts come.
Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Rev 22:17

Even if you don’t know you’re a thirsty sinner like that little child, you can still take the living water if you desire freely, and that’s good news!

alvin

October 10, 2008 4:56 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin, you always have great points!!!
:-)

Antonio, and all my friends here at this blog.....
Here's the issue I said I wanted to bring to your attention in my last comment.....

I know someone who believes that Jesus is the only way to heaven apart from any works just by believing in Him. This person believes in eternal security. This friend will argue with others to defend this truth. YET..... she has what is called OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). She gets very scared and sometimes even has a hard time functioning because she doesn't "feel" assurance. She finds that she can't read free grace material that makes assurance the essence of saving faith because it gets her scared all over again. Because of that, I can't give her good articles to read. She doesn't know HOW to stop doubting and being afraid. She wants to have feelings of assurance, but can't seem to get there. She is on medication for this disorder.

So here's what I told her, and this is where I'd like some input from you, my friends.
I told her that you don't "work up" faith. "FAITH HAPPENS." It's not a decision or something you conjure up!!!!!
I believe this person IS SAVED. This person knows the truth, defends the truth, and wants to "feel" that assurance. I believe that there was a time when she had that assurance. But like I said in my last comment..... the mind works fast..... "Faith happens" even faster than we can get our words together to say a prayer. If I question her salvation based on her feelings, she will become almost panicked. That makes it worse.

I was told by a pastor that people with OCD need to just close their Bible at times and get their minds on other things.
I looked up OCD on the Internet, and I found this sentence...
"OCD causes people to experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that can prompt them to carry out repeated actions (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety produced by those thoughts."

How do you feel about someone like this?
How would you help my friend?

Thank you.

Diane

October 11, 2008 4:27 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

You said:
I know someone who believes that Jesus is the only way to heaven apart from any works just by believing in Him. This person believes in eternal security. This friend will argue with others to defend this truth.

She has fulfilled Jesus only condition and that is to believe in Him for eternal life. The fact that she is defending what she believes to be true shows that she is assured that it is true based on Jesus word alone. That is enough she doesn’t need to worry about a “feeling of assurance” because our feelings come and go. Our feelings can easily mess us all up even without having OCD. The only anchor is Christ and His promise, and it sounds to me that she is anchored on the solid Rock. Having friends as yourself to reinforce the “good news” will help assure her that what she has believed is true.
I went through something like this with my wife, she never could trust herself. She was never told she was loved when growing up. When her dad broke her foot in the door he told her she was stupid. And then her own brother had messed around with when she was real little. So she didn’t believe she was worth loving and surley couldn’t believe that God loved her, and when she heard Calvinism it just reinforced it. Our first child my wife had toxemia twice and almost died. We wanted more then one child but ended up having to have an abortion because she got toxemia again, and the doctor said she wouldn't probaly survive or the baby. Then we waited a year and the doctor said we could try again. The baby was six months along but then had no heart beat, we ended up going again for an abortion. The doctor said if she didn’t die from the bleeding in a half hour she could go home. Before I could get her home she went into shock. All these things reinforced that God hated her and she wasn’t one of the elect. When that idea gets into the mind of a person that hates themselves it’s almost impossible to get it out. She would beat herself in the face because she hated herself so bad.
I can’t even begin to tell you all the years and days and hours I spent trying to convince her that God loved her. She finally came to the place that she believed that God loved her in a mental ward she experienced a peace she told God He could take her. She was ready to die. That was a turning point to recovery. She finally believed that God loved her and that eternal life was a gift. I said I believed it too, but contradicted it by saying if you’re really saved you’ll do good works. She said she couldn’t do anything, if it was that way He would have to do it all. She didn’t trust herself so she was hoping that it was really true. It was her telling me over and over again that if she has to do anything she couldn’t do it. Then I got a hold of Zanes book “Absolutely Free” and I was amazed, it really was free. I was able then to tell her what she believed was true. You don’t have to do anything it’s a gift. She knew that’s the way it had to be! She knew she wasn’t capable of doing anything. And that sounds like where your friend is, and that’s enough!!! If she has a feeling of assurance that’s great, but if she hasn’t tell her not to worry about it just leave it all to the Lord. With these types of problems it’s a day by day struggle. My wife was back in a mental ward last year about this time, so these problems are real, but God has given us the grace one day at a time.
I don’t want anyone to think I don’t believe that God doesn’t work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Because I SEE Him working in my wife, and myself which brings assurance of His presence and verifies that were not only children of God but Sons and Daughters of God. That didn’t happen overnight but was a process by which God gave our dead bodies resurrection life so He could live through us. It’s when we finally stop trying to live the life, and let Him live it assurance of His presence comes, but He was there all along. If she gets the right teaching she will be able to let go and let God, and it sounds like her pastor is very understanding.


Your friend in Jesus
alvin

October 11, 2008 9:13 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Oh..... Alvin,

I am so sorry to hear about your wife's struggles and yours, too!!! But I am so glad to know that she has finally been able to realize just how much she is loved by God unconditionally. She's His wonderful creation, and He knew all about her before she was ever born. Your story explains some of the reasons you hate the teachings of Calvinism..... especially limited atonement.
Jesus died for EVERYBODY!!!! He's not a monster who creates people for the lake of fire. He came to redeem us ALL because He loves us all~!!! He is the propitiation not just for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world. AMEN!!!

Something you said really stood out to me. It was this......
"It was HER telling ME over and over again that if she has to do anything she couldn't do it."
WOW! After everything she went through in life, she was then the one to assure YOU that it was all God. Nothing she could do. That's incredible. That's the mercy and grace of God being poured out on one of His special children whom He loves with an everlasting love. Here she's the one struggling, and God uses her to speak to you. WOW! Amazing!!!! And then of course, God was faithful to you to bring you in contact with that wonderful book... "Absolutely Free."

Thank you for your comments in answer to my question about my friend with OCD. We can't conjure up "feelings" to give us the assurance that we are saved. It's God who gives us that assurance in a moment of time before we even ASK for it. Faith HAPPENS! And when we get scared and stop "feeling" that assurance, we need to just give it to God. Nothing in our "feelings" will keep us from being God's child once we believed, and believing HAPPENS. My friend with OCD is a believer!

Thank you, and God's best to you and your beloved wife.

Diane

October 12, 2008 1:56 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I probably said way more then I should have. I have never shared all that with anyone. I was in one of those moods where you spill all the beans . . .Ha!Ha! Thank you for being so gracious to me, and kind.

alvin

October 12, 2008 2:46 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

you said:

"It was HER telling ME over and over again that if she has to do anything she couldn't do it."
WOW! After everything she went through in life, she was then the one to assure YOU that it was all God. Nothing she could do.



Exactly right! Isn't that amazing!!! I remember where I was when I let go of my having to do works to "feel" saved, it was a decision that weighed heavily on me. I am a compulsive type person, very single minded. So thinking I had to do works if I was saved came natural to me. I was teaching Sunday school, leading youth group, and when I took my youth group to do an overnighter at the care center I met allot of very lonely people so started doing a care center ministry. I did all the preaching there for our church and filled in for the other churches. I was preaching in the streets to the youth. I was like an acholic but on works . . . Ha!Ha! And during all that time my wife was getting the short end of the stick.
Yes Diane I was convinced by my wife God had to do it all. It was hard for me to accept that. But I new my wife couldn't do anything so I knew she had to be right even though it went against everything I had been taught and felt.
Then just as you were asking God to show you the truth of 1 John, I was asking Him when I was saying this to my wife "I know eternal life is a gift but the bible makes it sound like it cost everything. If God doesn't show me I'll never understand." I said that out loud so she saw just how God led me to Zanes book that answered that very question. And explained to me the difference between eternal life which is a gift and dicipleship which cost everything. So after reading the book I explained it to my wife.
All I can say is PRAISE THE LORD!!!!
For giving me a wife that was completely helpless and knew it, and Zane Hodges a man that has dedicated himself totally to God and His word!

alvin

October 12, 2008 5:55 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

That is a remarkable testimony!!! I just love what you said here.....

"All I can say is PRAISE THE LORD!!!! For giving me a wife that was completely helpless and knew it, and Zane Hodges a man that has dedicated himself totally to God and His word!"

Alvin, that is an answer to your prayer just like God did for me in 1 John. That's the God we know and love. He is an awesome God!!!

For all of my friends out there who read this blog and call us the "crossless gospel" heretics, I want to ask you WHY you feel that way after reading what we say. Alvin's faith is in the One who loves him, suffered and died for him. My faith is in the One who loves me, and suffered and died for me. Antonio's faith is in the One who loves him, and suffered and died for him. WJC's faith is the same. Gary's (goe) is the same. So is Peggy's. So is Zane Hodges. So is Bob Wilkin. Don't you see what you're doing!!! You're not listening to us. We are the recipients of the crosswork of Christ. We praise Him for what He did for us. And we thank Him for His free gift of eternal life. We heard Him, and we opened our hands to receive His gift freely given when we simply believed in Him for it. We praise God for bringing us to the PLACE where our eyes were opened to who He is!!! The giver of eternal life.

We invite everybody to come that same way with open hands to receive a free gift.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

Rejoicing in the greatest gift ever given.....
Eternal life found in Jesus Christ alone,
Diane
:-)

October 12, 2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Alvin (& sister Diane!)
I look forward to talking all this over at the Feet of our wonderful Savior in Heaven one day! My prayers are with you & your dear wife.

Boy, a LOT of this resonates with me & I'll have to be in one of those "Alvin Bean-Spillin'" moods to share it all.
I just wanted to share that this reminds me of the great article from about 10 years back at GES by Irvin Overholtzer & the free gift of salvation. I have read it about 5 times through & just about cried every time. It reminds me of this discussion you had. Take care & God Bless.

October 13, 2008 9:45 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

David, Thank you for your very gracious words. You are always so kind. I, too, look forward to talking this all over with our wonderful Savior someday.
It's always a joy to hear from you.

All because of HIS wonderful grace,

Diane
:-)

October 13, 2008 10:03 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi David

Thanks for the kind words, and just as Diane has stated you are always kind and gracious in what you always say. I would say that’s what you and Diane have very much in common you both speak with love and grace and I love both of you!
David, I also am looking forward to that time when we are at Jesus feet because I have many questions floating around in my mind. You probably remember “One Night in a Little Montana Town” the true stories that I shared on the GES chat site. Those all happened before I read Zanes book “Absolutely Free” when I was amazed that the gift was really free. But even though I saw God do so many things in my life, I had to put all those experiences aside because I was not willing to stake my eternal destiny upon experiences no matter how compelling they were. Just as Cornelius was a God fearer, and God was working in his life he still needed to be born again. I would never base my eternal destiny on what I thought was true, but only on what I KNOW is true.
One of those true stories that still really amazes me is the one about being on the jury who found the man guilty for drug sales. He was huge man well over 300 pounds. Quite some time later after the trial God was dealing with me on some Scripture from the OT, I can’t remember what it was now. But I was doing jail ministry with the pastor of the local Baptist church. And we went into the jail to do bible study, I believe there was three of us. The first man took the first holding cell and did a study with them. Then the pastor and I went to the next holding cell but only one man wanted to do a study. I was waiting outside when I heard the pastor introduce himself to the man. Then they came out and the pastor started to introduce me when the man said “I know John he was one of the ones who put me in here.” It was the big man himself, and I was more then reluctant to go into a private cell with just him and the pastor. But I knew right then that what God was dealing with me about was just for that big man. The big man finally got out, but later on I found out he was in jail again for beating up his wife and he was asking to see me again. They ended up having to take him to the hospital because when he was hand cuffed he fell face first on the concrete sidewalk. When I saw him his face was very brusied, I told him “have you thought that maybe God’s trying to show you how your wife feels?” Later I received a letter from him telling me he believed that God had used me in his life, and he was going to try living God’s way. Amazing Grace!!!!
All glory to God who is full of love and Grace!!!!
alvin

October 14, 2008 8:48 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Alvin,

I most certainly do remember those articles & they were riveting! You are a good writer, & I could just see all those events happening in my mind as I read!

Yes, I also only trust in what I KNOW to be true through God's Word! Thank you for your kindness. I certainly appreciate it. God Bless you brother.

October 15, 2008 6:18 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Friends... forgive me, but this is going to be another one of those long ones.

I just read an article by a man who is with New Tribes Mission. He has reviewed Zane Hodges' article... "The Hydra's Other Head: Theological Legalism."
Let me say first that I love New Tribes Mission. I do not know this gentleman. I'm just responding to the article that he's written.

He states that Zane's so-called theological legalists would include Bible scholars such as Ryrie, and Lightner (although he says that Zane didn't name them). He says the most conservative dispensational commentators take the position that 1 Cor. 15:1-8 is the gospel to the unsaved. But then he points out that Zane thinks that portion of scripture is to the saved and that it's sanctification truth for the saved, not a gospel of salvation for the unsaved.

It sounds like he's saying that Zane has to be wrong because all these other commentators have always taught it differently. Is that the measuring stick we want to use? I don't. I want to use God's Word, and if I see something differently than I always thought (or was taught), then I just praise God for shining His light on that truth. Of course nobody should accept it UNLESS they see it for themselves. I studied it. I see it. Have these friends on the other side done that? I think maybe there is some resistance to that because of their biases. Zane isn't attacking men. He's being faithful to God by taking a close look at His Word with a fine tooth comb.

First of all, I don't think Zane's purpose in writing that article about theological legalism was to go after these good men whom are most likely his friends and men he respects. Perhaps that label could fit many of us at one time or another without us even knowing it. Jesus loves us anyway. There's lots of things we need to learn from the Lord, and I for one want to learn it. It doesn't matter if I learn it from Zane Hodges or Charles Ryrie. God has used both of these good men in my life for good. The key is to be open to seeing a truth WHEN God shines the light on that truth from His Word. It should never be a matter of...... oh, this theologian has ALWAYS taught it this way for 2000 years. Theologians (including Zane Hodges) are not above learning or being corrected anymore than you or I. Thankfully the Holy Spirit shines the light on areas in His Word to either correct us or reveal something new that we hadn't seen before. There's nothing shameful about that. He continues to do that throughout our lives, and I praise Him for it.

Who exactly is Zane identifying as theological legalists? Is it everybody who has asked people to believe in the finished work of Christ on the Cross and trust Him for eternal life? NO! Most of us came to faith in Jesus for eternal life when we believed in His finished work. When a person is confronted with the crosswork of Christ, of course WE WANT THEM TO BELIEVE THAT!!! It's that wonderful truth that brings them to the *PLACE* where they will believe in Jesus for everlasting life. BUT.... the ones who would be identified as theological legalists are the ones who would DENY that anyone could get saved WITHOUT believing in His crosswork FIRST. I'm glad that the Lord loved me enough to shine the light of this truth on me.

Zane Hodges is instructing us in a truth here that has been opened up to him by the Holy Spirit. He is sharing the fruits of his study with us. And he's being very direct with those in the free grace camp that have made it their goal to actually REJECT a truth that is in the Bible after being exposed to it by the light of His Word. I think those who he is labeling as Theological Legalist are those who are actually REJECTING the truth that believing in Jesus for eternal life is NOT ENOUGH. They are REQUIRING more than what the Bible requires. Is this not legalism? Most of us probably never thought about it until this debate about a "crossless gospel" came up. But when God shines the light on an issue, He expects us to be Bereans and examine the evidence. And my friends, the evidence will be found when it is examined in light of scripture. When God shines the light on a truth, and men REJECT it (because they're not being Bereans) by adding requirements that are not there, then they are theological legalist. That's what I THINK Zane is saying.

In my opinion New Tribes Mission is the best Mission out there. I love NTM. I support NTM missionaries. I use their material in discipleship and I teach my grandchildren "The Lamb!" by John Cross that I got off the NTM website. I love New Tribes because they are not Lordship Salvation. I love their Creation to Christ material. They get people to the PLACE where they believe in Jesus Christ for everlasting life. I'm all for that.
But the issue in this debate is that men are setting requirements that the gospel of John does not set. And John was written for the purpose of telling us what we must believe to have everlasting life. Paul agrees with John, and if our friends on the other side of this debate would see John correctly, then they would be able to see Paul correctly also. The issue here is not about what Christ did to provide for our salvation. We all know what that was. He suffered and died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He rose from the grave and lives for evermore. There are other requirements that were needed to provide for our salvation..... like being virgin born, sinless, becoming sin for us, shedding of blood, etc., etc. But making any of those truths a *requirement to be believed* is changing the requirement that God Himself set for receiving His free gift of eternal life. Our friends who are quarreling with Zane Hodges really have their quarrel with the God of the Bible.

If more is required, then this little 3 year old girl that I've shared with you is not saved. Her confidence is in Jesus alone to take her to heaven. She knows when she dies she will move out of her body and go be with Jesus. She knows He's the only one who can take her there. She knows that some people die and when they move out of their bodies they go to the "bad place" because they did not believe in Jesus for His gift. How do you answer this little girl in light of this verse..... "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Mt. 19:14)

One of my New Tribes missionary friends told me that they knew of a person in a tribe who came to faith in Jesus for eternal life by reading a genealogy!!! Now that's different! But if God revealed who His Son was through that genealogy (the giver of eternal life), then praise God that another soul past from death to life. I'm sure that person soon learned about the crosswork of Christ as he continued to learn the Bible.

Now HERE'S AN IMPORTANT POINT..... We are not saying that a person will believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life and REJECT His crosswork and resurrection. That would NEVER happen because salvation is a work of the Spirit of God. But it's possible that someone can come to faith ***FIRST*** BEFORE they understand HOW Jesus saved them, just like that little 3 year old girl did, and just like the apostles did. When they learn about His crosswork and resurrection they WILL rejoice to see how God provided for such a great gift.

Zane Hodges and GES have correctly pointed out a truth that God has shined HIS light on. There is some correcting going on for us, and I for one just want to say thank you to the Lord for showing me. Those accusing our friends (Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin) as heretics are mistaken. Dr. Radmacher himself does not believe that a person has to believe in substitutionary atonement BEFORE they are saved. Is he a heretic, too? I don't think anyone would want to accuse this good man of that.

What an important subject this is!!!! I thank the Lord that He continually shines His light on His truth, and as we walk in the light we can grow and learn and have sweet fellowship with our Savior.

Rejoicing in Him today,
Diane
:-)

October 15, 2008 2:35 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 15, 2008 6:31 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Diane,

You are a precious sister in the Lord. I am sure your kids & grandkids thank God every day for you, if not, they ought to.

I really like one thing you said. I'll quote you: "Now HERE'S AN IMPORTANT POINT..... We are not saying that a person will believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life and REJECT His crosswork and resurrection. That would NEVER happen because salvation is a work of the Spirit of God." I know there are folks that would brand me a "heretic-in-waiting" for even THINKING about this, but I want everyone to know I love my Savior & His crosswork for me, as I know you do too, Diane, & everyone on both "sides." I too want to be a Berean, & I appreciate you making this often forgotten point by those on the "crossless" "side" about it being a work of the Spirit of God! God Bless you.

October 15, 2008 6:33 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I think the example of the 3 year old child shows clearly that one can KNOW God by a single proposition, and that is by believing Jesus is the Christ.

When the child believes Jesus for eternal life, she has believed in Him as the Christ.

Most have believed more propositions about Jesus therefore having to process more, they either have been supplied with more information to believe or had to have more information to convince them He is the Christ.

The more propositions that have to be believed the more complex.

But the bottom line is to KNOW Jesus, and that is to have ETERNAL LIFE.

The 3 year old child KNOWS Him at that level.

And that is ALL that is required.

Jesus will not be able to say “I never knew you!”

"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them

October 15, 2008 9:58 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

David, I sure do appreciate your kind heart and your kind words. You are ALWAYS so gracious, and I truly appreciate you and love you in the Lord. Glad to know you're out there and being a Berean.
:-)

Alvin, I always know that you're going to say something in a way that sharpens me in my understanding.
You did it again. Thank you friend.

Diane
:-)

October 15, 2008 10:37 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

Thanks for your kind words! I agree with all you said about Zane. And I liked what you said here:

The key is to be open to seeing a truth WHEN God shines the light on that truth from His Word. It should never be a matter of...... oh, this theologian has ALWAYS taught it this way for 2000 years. Theologians (including Zane Hodges) are not above learning or being corrected anymore than you or I.

Amen!!!!

Who else do we know who had the courage to right a book called “Absolutely Free!” We know Zanes starting point is in the LIGHT! And he is simply interpreting Scripture in LIGHT of that fact!!! We know even at Zanes age he is open to God teaching him, he’s not set in concrete so God can’t move him.
Diane like you’ve said in the past “it all fits” and is in harmony with a gift you can take freely!

alvin

October 16, 2008 6:59 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Not only did Zane have the courage to write a book called “Absolutely Free” concerning the gift of life,
but
had the courage to speak what God has shown him concerning the
“living water.”

This is so clear,
and consistent I can’t see how anybody can’t see it.

Zane:

What could Jesus give the Samaritan women that would produce everlasting life?

The answer,
is surprisingly simple!

He could give her the fundamental truth
that He Himself was
“the Christ.”

Does this truth produce everlasting life?
You bet!

Listen again to the words of John 20:31
But these are written that you might
believe that Jesus is
the Christ the Son of God,
and that believing
you may have life
in
His
name.

The basic truth presented by the Gospel of John
that Jesus is the Christ
“IS”
precisely what this women needed to
hear.

To believe it was to have life
in
His name!

Thus,the truth itself was the
“source”
of everlasting life!

(emphasis mine)

I would ask has the water changed?

Revelation 22:17

The Spirit and the bride say,
“Come!”
And let him who hears say,
“Come!”
And let him who thirsts
come.
Whoever desires, let him take
the water of life
freely.
No!
The living water has NEVER changed.

1 John 5:1a
Whoever believes
that
Jesus
is
the Christ
is
Born of God

The living water has always been

“the Christ!”

Zane has simply been faithful in pointing this out.

October 19, 2008 7:51 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

I see it exactly as you do. You always say it so well~!!! Thank you for that!
:-)

To all my Friends...

Last night I was rereading over a comment made my "goe" (Gary) that was posted on Antonio's blog (Free Grace Theology) under Antonio's post....
"I am Alive and Kicking (and Praising the Lord!)"
It was posted on September 23, 2008 1:10 PM.... which is a very important date.... my youngest grandson's birthday!!!
:-) (OK, I had to throw that in!!!) :-)

Gary noticed that the sermons that are preached by Peter, Paul, Stephen, Apollos, etc., all proclaim what they thought was best suited for those who heard them preach. BUT there was always one common theme... JESUS IS THE CHRIST!!! He pointed out that it sounded just like John 20:31. So I checked his passages and hope you all will do the same......
John 2:36; 5:42; 7:51-52; 9:20-22; 17:3; 18:5; 18:28, 23.
He says that they did emphasize the reality of His resurrection based on the eyewitness testimony of themselves and others, but again, sounds like the 8th and greatest SIGN in the Gospel of John.
He noticed that there is NEVER any explicit attempt to explain the SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT in any sermon as it is recorded by Luke.
ISN'T THAT INTERESTING!!!!!
Every sermon seems designed to persuade the listeners of one essential truth... that Jesus is the Christ and gives forgiveness and eternal life to everyone who believes in Him. WOW! Check it out!!!

Then he pointed something else out that just fit the puzzle.
The EPISTLES are the ONLY PLACE in the N.T. that analyze and explain the meaning of His death... AND..... they were written to people who had ALREADY BELIEVED the saving message... that Jesus is the Christ who gives eternal life.
Gary also points out... If unbelievers are REQUIRED to understand and believe the SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT IN ORDER TO BE SAVED,........ WHY was it necessary for Paul to explain it to BELIEVERS in his epistles?

Regarding the book of Acts he says.....
Acts seems in complete harmony with the simplicity of the saving message of John's Gospel! God was even using SIGNS and miracles in Acts to persuade people that JESUS IS THE CHRIST. See Acts 28:30-31.
He pointed out that there is no checklist of required beliefs that are necessary other than what Jesus told Martha in John 11:25-27.

Here's something else that he points out...
Apart from the PROMISE of eternal life, Christ death and resurrection has NO MEANING OR PURPOSE for us.
JUST THINK ABOUT THAT!!!!!!!
It's the PROMISE of eternal life that makes His death and resurrection so wonderful~!!!!!
Even John 3:16 teaches this. That's why the specific and essential object of saving faith is JESUS and His PROMISE.....
THE "LIVING WATER."

There it is Alvin..... your favorite phrase..... LIVING WATER!!!!
:-)

If you haven't taken the time to check this out, I hope you will. It's just more of the pieces that fit to show us what is to be believed to have eternal life!!!
How exciting this all is!!!!! More and more of the picture is coming together as we study it out.
Some of these comments are just so helpful, and I think they may get lost in the pages of the blog, and that's why I wanted to reprint here what Gary said a while back!!!

Others have helped find the pieces that fit the picture..... Alvin, and WJC, and of course Antonio!!! These are just a few. I appreciate all of you who have helped me find the pieces. Thank you so much!!!

I'm so thankful for Antonio's posts, but also his comments. They are filled with gyms. Thank you so much Antonio!!!

Thank you again Gary for your great post of Sept 23rd. I hope all you Bereans will check out the evidence.

Thankful for Gary's insight,
Diane
:-)

October 19, 2008 10:00 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I remember reading Gary's post and then studying those verses. It was excellent!!! I read it again this morning and studied the verses. It made me anxious to hear more from Gary being he came up with that when he didn't have much time . . . WOW!!!
He was right on the money!!! All through Acts they are using the Old Testament Scriptures to prove that Jesus is the Christ, and once believed that water produces water. As Zane says it unlocks the inner fountain which springs up into eternal life. It's life in His name!
Diane thanks for reposting that it's a very good study.

Have a Great Day In the Lord!!!
alvin

October 20, 2008 9:13 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

CORRECTION...
Those passages listed above in my last post (on Gary's past comments) are from the book of Acts, not John. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

October 20, 2008 10:25 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

And here they are Diane:

Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Acts 7: 51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,
Acts 9: 20 Immediately he preached the Christ[a] in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. 21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 17: 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”
Acts 18: 5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 18: 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 28: 23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

October 20, 2008 11:03 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Diane I think were on the same wave link, that should be scary to you . .ha!ha!
I'm just happy I'm not a double carburator . . .that cracked me up when Bob said that.
alvin

October 20, 2008 11:11 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

ANOTHER CORRECTION!!!

I just received a message regarding another correction!
In Gary's comments that I've been referring to (above), please make this correction also.
The verse about the "signs and wonders" is Acts 14:3, not 28:30-31. Thank you.

Alvin,
I'm seeing your comments and loving it!!! I'll be responding soon. Just very busy at the moment and need time to get my thoughts together.
Keep the comments coming. I just can't get enough. The more pieces that fit, the more I rejoice in the Lord for shining His light on His truth!!!

I did receive an e-mail from Gary (goe) and he wanted to tell everyone hello and that he's looking forward to coming back. He says he's just very busy right now. He's excited about possibly taking ALL of this that we're talking about and organizing it. Wouldn't that be great!!! It would for me.

I hope there are many friends out there learning just like I am. We would all love to hear from you.

Antonio, this is your blog, and I sure don't mean to take it over. Please forgive me if I'm commenting too much (which I probably am). If you think I'm repeating myself too much, please feel free to delete me. I'll understand because I have the utmost respect for your judgment.

God's best to all of you,
Diane
:-)

October 20, 2008 2:04 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane,

Second thought it was dual-carburetors. I had to go back and listen again. Bob Wilkin sure has a great sense of humor.

Bob said: I was in Los Angeles a few years ago when two six or twelve point, I’m not sure these were pretty high-powered Calvinist they may have been dual-carburetors or something. But, any way these guys were discussing this issue and they were saying how they didn’t know where they were going when they died. But the elect all go to heaven they just weren’t sure if they were elect. So this guy calls up and says I know I’m elect. So they condescendingly say ok, how do you know that? He said well, Jesus said he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I believe in Jesus so I have everlasting life, only elect people have everlasting life so I’m elect. So they said oh yah that would be good if you knew you believed. The guy said I do know I believe. But they go yah but do you “REALLY" believe? He says what do you mean do I really believe, but of course I really believe.


Nothing worse then being dual-carburetors and not knowing where your going when you die!

October 20, 2008 3:58 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Ha-Ha!!! Dual-carburetors. Now that's funny!!! Sounds like something Bob would say. He's a great and fun guy to be around!!!
:-)

October 20, 2008 4:15 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin,
Thanks for typing out those verses from Gary. Isn't that an eye opener!!!
:-)

HEY EVERYONE..... WHY NOT START SAVING YOUR PENNIES AND COME TO THE NEXT GES CONFERENCE THE END OF MARCH. LOOKS LIKE IT'S GOING TO BE GOOD!!!
:-)

October 20, 2008 8:34 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Friends,
Here's a comment from a gentleman regarding young children and their salvation. It was posted recently on Antonio's Group blog under his article on Repentance. It was in response to my comment on this little 3 year old girl who I believe was born again BEFORE she understood the crosswork of Christ.
His comments are very interesting regarding the age of accountability, and I'm sure many would agree with him. I personally disagree. But I still am glad that he posted this because it made me do some thinking about the age of accountability and has sharpened me even more on my conviction that children ARE born again when they believe in Jesus alone for eternal life. Here is what he said....
--------------------------------------

Repentance is an act necessary for the morally responsible adult. An adult who is morally responsible (and BTW the Bible is written to morally responsible adults, not that children cannot learn from Scripture, but they are not the ones being addressed) must repent to be saved. For the morally responsible adult you cannot have faith without repentance.

A child who is not yet morally responsible (before the age of accountability) does not have a firm grasp on what sin is and is therefore not held to the same standard as an adult. A child can trust in Christ without repentance because their lack of moral understanding and accountability makes repentance essentially irrelevant for them. This is not the case for morally responsible adults.

We could extend this to the unborn or infants. If you believe that the unborn and infants do not need faith to be saved then you draw a similar distinction. God does not hold them accountable to beleive since faith is not possible for them. He saves them unconditionally. But God does not save that way with morally responsible adults. He saves them on the condition of repentance/faith. Hope that helps.

God Bless,
Saturday, October 18, 2008 10:29:00 AM

October 20, 2008 9:34 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Here is a little three year old girl who has been made aware of her need,
by seeing death.

Her mother believes and knows that Jesus invites
“whoever”
to come and take of the water of life freely.

Who are we to say to a child who thirsts for Jesus living water
“that they cannot take it?”

That’s like telling them their not old enough to thirst.


Revelation 22:17

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”

And let him who hears say, “Come!”

And let him who thirsts come.

Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.



This little three year old girl has “Come!”

Because she has heard Jesus invitation to “Come!”

Death had made her thirsty for that living water!

She is one of the “whoever” that desired to take it freely!

And when she drank (believed Jesus promise) the living water sprang-up into eternal life!!!!

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 9:42
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.


Just a word of warning: before I would tell a little child they were not old enough to come to Jesus I would be looking for a millstone for a necklace.



Psalm 36:7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
9 For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.



alvin

October 22, 2008 7:14 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin... AMEN!!!
:-)

October 22, 2008 8:31 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Diane and Alvin,

"At that time Jesus answered and said, 'I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to BABES. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight. All things have been delivered to me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." Matt. 11: 25-27

Gary

October 23, 2008 2:18 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Friends,

I've been reading lots of comments here AND on Antonio's group blog. It's so obvious to me that the ones who "get it" are the ones who grasp that eternal life is Really, Really, Really FREE!!! Those who don't grasp that awesome truth can't see that they've mixed works with grace, which makes it no longer grace. They can't agree with us because they honestly don't see it. They're blinded to that truth.
They can't comprehend coming to faith in Jesus for eternal life WITHOUT totally being willing to abandon all sin. They think it's impossible, but by thinking that way they have put a CONDITION on receiving the FREE gift of eternal life, and it is no longer grace, and salvation can't be received that way. Those who have NEVER come to Christ with simple faith in Him alone to save them PLUS NOTHING ELSE, are not saved.

I'm sure there are a lot of believers out there (truly born again) who are NOW blinded to that truth. But there WAS A TIME when they saw that truth. There was a moment (an instant) when FAITH HAPPENED for them and
***they simply believed that Jesus saved them.***

We all came to faith in Jesus for eternal life THE SAME WAY, believing in the SAME CONTENT. The light went on for us that He alone is the giver of eternal life, and we believed. Everyone who is saved believed that one truth to get saved. Even those who differ with us now.
We all got to that PLACE different ways, but we ALL got to that place.

--In the book of John, some got to that place by seeing the sign of Jesus turning the water into wine. They believed in Him as the Christ, the giver of eternal life. They went on LATER to learn HOW He provided for their salvation..... the crosswork of Christ and His resurrection on the 3rd day, and they rejoiced. NO believer REJECTS that truth when they learn of it because it is a work of the Spirit of God just as conversion is.
--Some came to faith in Jesus as the Christ (the giver of eternal life) when they saw the royal officer's son healed. Then later they rejoiced in the wonderful truth of HOW He provided for their salvation.
--Some came to faith when they saw the man at the pool of Bethesda healed.
--Some when they saw Him feed the multitude.
--Some when they saw Him walk on water through the storm.
--Some when they saw the healing of the man born blind.
--Some when they saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead.
--Some (MOST TODAY) when we heard that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sins and rose from the grave [THE GREATEST REASON TO BELIEVE].
--And some TODAY through learning other truths about Jesus.... like this little 3 year old girl who learned that God sent His Son Jesus to earth to give people a FREE gift. That gift is everlasting life with HIM to all who believe in Jesus alone to take them to Him. She calls it heaven. She knows that gift is called "eternal life" with God. She knows Jesus is the only One who can take her to live with God forever. She knows that people die and move out of their bodies to go live with God in His happy home if they believed in Jesus only to take them to Him. She knows that people who didn't believe in Jesus to take them to God's home move out of their bodies and go to the "bad place" where God doesn't live. She has complete confidence in Jesus alone to take her to heaven someday. She knows that being good or bad has nothing to do with receiving Jesus' free gift of eternal life. She knows that Jesus is the One who takes her to live with God and that there is no other way to get there except to believe in Jesus. She learned that FIRST and was born again. NOW she is learning what He did to make it possible for her to go to heaven. She's learning about the crosswork of Christ and his resurrection. She just calmly accepts it as true because she is ALREADY saved, and the Spirit of God makes that truth true to her because she ALREADY belongs to Him JUST LIKE HE DID WITH THOSE BELIEVERS IN JOHN.

Everyone of us who understand this issue about the "minimum content" to be believed to be saved also PREACH the cross and resurrection AND GLORY IN IT!!! NO saved person who comes to faith in Jesus is REJECTING the truth of His death and resurrection once they hear of it and learn about it, AND the importance of preaching it. We ALL preach it, love Christ for it, agree with Paul that if Christ hadn't risen from the dead our faith is vain. WE ALL AGREE!!! We preach the cross and resurrection. It's the greatest sign to bring lost people to the PLACE of believing in Him.

But WHY do so many of our friends want to deny the content that is to be believed to be saved just because we live AFTER the cross? The content hasn't changed. Why do we want to say it has?
***Why would we want to deny this little 3 year old girl the joy that is hers of knowing she has been born again? I don't understand that coming from Christians!!!

Oh, how I pray that our friends who do not "get it" would "get it!!!" It's AWESOME!!! God's gift is FREE, totally FREE, and there is no other way to receive His gift except to believe in Him for it. Works have NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH IT. At the MOMENT one finds themselves believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life, WORKS haven't even entered their mind. That comes later as we grow in Christ, and those who abide in the teachings of Christ will be the ones to grow into His likeness, receive the joy of their eternal life NOW and in eternity. It's called REWARDS. That's what the Bible teaches.

So I end with how I started.
Those who "get it" are the ones who grasp that eternal life is Really, Really, Really FREE!!!

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

October 30, 2008 3:20 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Amen and Amen Diane!!!!

alvin

October 30, 2008 6:32 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Diane,

What you write here is so good that I think I'm going to print it and tape it in the front cover my bible in case I ever start to get confused again and need a clear reminder of the truth. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it with us. You are always such a blessing!

Gary

November 01, 2008 9:28 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane



I just loved that Halloween tract you sent me!!! I printed it out, about 25 of them and rolled them into a scroll and tied them with a ribbon.

Here is something I sent to some of my co-workers today, six men and a lady. I’m sure the theological legalist wouldn’t like it, but I really don’t care. I can offer the living water just as Jesus did in John 4, and is offered again at the end of Revelation with no strings attached, that’s because it really, really is a gift!!!! Hey, and “WHOEVER” desires can take it freely!!! Even a little three year old girl!!!



All these people I e-mailed to are already familiar with the death and resurrection of Christ so I just as Zane was giving them the bulls-eye. Because just as you know the “theological legalist” are giving them the whole target as the bulls-eye. And many of them are hitting the target but missing the "narrow way" which IS the bulls eye “the Christ.” So therefore the churches are filled with disciples who have yet to believe! But they are orthodox disciples!!!!

alvin

November 01, 2008 7:16 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thank you Gary. You encourage me so much. Now if I could only learn to not be so wordy!!!
:-)
I'm so glad you found Antonio's blog. You've been a real blessing to me, and to many others here on this blog!!!

Alvin, you are another one who encourages me so much. Thank you for that. The one thing that bonds us all here together is Jesus, the One who offers a gift freely (no strings attached) to anyone who will take it by faith alone.
One thing I've learned and I teach it to my discipleship young moms....
Whenever you come upon a verse that looks like it's talking about heaven/hell, check to see if there are any works connected with it. If so, a flag should go up in your mind to alert you that this is NOT talking about heaven/hell.
It's talking about sanctification truth (discipleship).
Eternal life is absolutely FREE!!!

I told my husband tonight how special you all are to me because of your love for the wonderful free grace message that eternal life is FREE! FREE! FREE!
Found in Jesus Christ alone through faith.

I'm so glad I found all of you here. I consider you such good friends. I pray for you. I pray that God will use this blog for His honor and glory. I feel privileged to know you, and I share your comments with my husband who also is blessed by you all.

God is so good!!!

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

November 01, 2008 7:57 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I decided not to post that e-mail, it was pretty long and probably a little redundant.
I thank the Lord for my free grace brothers and sisters on these blogs, iron sharpens iron and you all help me to be more clear when I present the good news!!!

Praise the Lord He is SO VERY GOOD TO US!!!!

GOODNIGHT ALL

November 01, 2008 9:12 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin,

I say AMEN to everything Diane said about you. You've been a real blessing to me as well. I especially love your idea about the bullseye!

Gary

November 01, 2008 10:54 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Gary

Thats what I believe Zane was doing. He saw the problem in the church and evangelizing the lost. In shooting you have the sight picture, and the sight alignment. You can have the sight picture but if you dont have sight alignment it doesn't do you much good. Zane has refocused our sights on the main thing and that is the bulls-eye (the Christ)! And by doing that has brought eveything else into alignment. He hasn't left anything out, but has brought the bulls-eye (the Christ)into focus. All the others are doing is firing at the target and hoping they hit it. Jesus was the Master in being acurate giving ones the bulls-eye in the Gospel of John, and Zane realized we should be doing the same.

brother alvin

November 02, 2008 4:24 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin,

That is so EXCELLENT!!!!!
You are absolutely right about what Zane Hodges was trying to do.
Your bulls eye explanation is one of the best I've ever heard. You said it so well AGAIN..... even better this time, if that's possible.

I saved it, also, in my "SPECIAL, SPECIAL" files!

Thanks.

Diane
:-)

November 02, 2008 12:59 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin,

That is so EXCELLENT!!!!!
You are absolutely right about what Zane Hodges was trying to do.
Your bulls eye explanation is one of the best I've ever heard. You said it so well AGAIN..... even better this time, if that's possible.

I saved it, also, in my "SPECIAL, SPECIAL" files!

Thanks.

Diane
:-)

November 02, 2008 12:59 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

Thanks for the encouragement! Sometimes an analogy can be pushed to far as I think this one can. The more I thought on it, I think a bow and arrow in relations to the target would be better. . . ha!ha!
Because with a handgun your focus is on the front sight making the target a little blurred. But with the gun I thought about it this way. The rear sight would represent a sign, say the cross and resurrection. The front sight would represent "the Christ" which would be the focus. With the bulls-eye being the gift of eternal life. When the gospel is given properly it would always make the focus "the Christ" and when believed always brings eternal life the bulls-eye. As you can probably tell I've been thinking to much . . .ha!ha!
(eternal life)
Bulls-eye

focus --> The Christ <--

cross and resurrection
(the sign)

Sight alignment is in relation to the back sight to the front sight.
Sight picture is in relation to the front sight to the target.

The signs were for the purpose that people might believe that Jesus is the Christ.

With a child like the three year old girl, death is what it took to bring into focus the Christ for life.

I think I have an overactive brain . . .ha!ha!
have a good night
alvin

November 02, 2008 8:28 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Good morning Diane
Something kind of funny, my last month’s COP written test was on shooting. Some of the other things I had to know were aim-hold-squeeze and follow-through. Usually on test I try to come up with something to remember the answers by. Most of the time I use acronyms, in this case I thought of an analogy. Even follow-through would remind me of discipleship . . .ha!ha!
When you get old the memory isn't quite as sharp, but at least I'm not locking up my gun in my locker anymore so their not having to cut the lock off . . .ha!ha! that wasn't good . . . but I didn't have any excuse but forgetfulness. Now I got the routine down... hopefully!

Have a great day in the Lord!!!!

alvin

November 03, 2008 5:30 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

My son-in-law's going to love your illustration of the bulls-eye. He's a former police officer of about 16 years, then a Police Academy instructor, and now a US Postal Inspector. He'll know exactly what you're saying!

For me your illustration of the bulls-eye is EXCELLENT!!!
And I like the way you explained about the...
"sight picture, and the sight alignment."
You said....
"All the others are doing is firing at the target and hoping they hit it. Jesus was the Master in being accurate giving ones the bulls-eye in the Gospel of John."

We MUST make sure that our MESSAGE is pointed at the bulls-eye. That's what God expects of us. Then it's up to the Spirit of God. We can't save anyone. Only God can reveal light!!! And people will see the light if they want to according to the Bible. Our responsibility is to seek God, and we can do that because He is drawing all to Himself. If a person is seeking truth, then they will see the Light of the World. How exciting!!! But they will only see Him when they're focused on the target.

GREAT ILLUSTRATION!!!!

Diane
:-)

November 03, 2008 7:35 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane I’ll give you a little experiment. Sit in a chair in your living room and pick out a picture to look at. We will say the bulls-eye is the persons nose. Now just hold up your left hand and make a “V” with your index finger and middle finger. That will be your rear sight. Then with your right hand just raise your index finger and put it in front of your left hand. That will be your front sight. Now align your right hand index finger in the center of your “V” back sight. The front sight has to be centered in the middle of the back sight and has to also be level at the top. That’s sight alignment.

Then to get sight picture you aim the front sight at the bulls-eye keeping the sight alignment. And there you have it, your ready to fire. Your focus is on your front sight, so the picture should be a little blurred if it’s further away.

Oh yes I forgot you have to close one eye.

alvin

November 03, 2008 8:58 AM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin and Diane,

I'm glad to see that the "duel carburetors" are still discussing this subject of the "bullseye"! It really is a great analogy for explaining what the purpose of the Gospel of John is. Here is a way I have come to express it that kind of sums it up for me and I'd like to hear what both of you think about it. Here it is:

If a person knows that they have eternal life because they believe that Jesus is the Christ, they have understood and believed what God wants them to understand and believe ( the bullseye).

If a person says that they believe Jesus is the Christ, but they DO NOT know they have eternal life because they believe this, they HAVE NOT understood and believed what God wants them to understand and believe (they have missed the bullseye). For example, they might believe that more is necessary for eternal life (like persevering in good works or discipleship) than just believing that Jesus is the Christ.

Believers may express their faith in Christ in various ways, but the key is whether or not they know they have eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone. One believer might say it like this: "I know I have eternal life because I believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead." But how do they know they have eternal life by believing in Jesus death and resurrection? Just believing the facts of His death and resurrection do not tell us we have eternal life. The fact that they know they have eternal life shows that they have ALSO believed His PROMISE (the bullseye) because the promise is the only truth that communicates to us that we eternal life when we believe. So regardless of the various ways that believer's may express their faith, the key is always whether or not they know they have eternal life by faith alone in Jesus alone. This seems to be what Zane and Bob mean when they say that "assurance is of the essence of saving faith." Knowing you have eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone=believing Jesus' promise=believing that Jesus is the Christ=BULLSEYE. The essence of what it means to be "the Christ" is expressed in His promise of eternal life to every believer. Jn. 11:25-27.

What do you think? Do I need to tweak this some?

Gary

November 03, 2008 9:50 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

EXCELLENT!!!!!
VERY CLEAR!!!
Somebody had to clean up my mess...ha!ha!
Yes Gary that was very clear and nailed it!

I was discussing this with my car pool buddy on the way to work a couple of days ago. We get up about 3:30 and are off to work by 4:30. He was driving and I asked "what does it mean to believe in the Christ?" He came quickly back with "it means that I'm believing in Him as my Savior!" So I said "but Catholics believe that and are not saved!" So then I went on to explain what it meant to believe that Jesus is the Christ from 1 John 5:1 to John 20:31 and John 11:25-27 and throwing the women at the well in for good measure!
He said I already new that!
You just hit me to early in the morning, your all wound up, and I'm not even awake yet!
I said you better be awake your driving!
He was right he already knew,he reads these blogs quite often. I think we have been all programed to articulate the saving message that way. But since Zane has pointed out how Jesus evangelized and how the Gospel of John is the only book in the bible thats purpose is evangelization. We know we had the saving message wrong, and were following mans made up message from here and there and everywhere. No wonder so many are confused. Zane has taught me to be accurate just like Jesus was!!!
And Gary I believe your very accurate in what you've said!

The only time we have a problem with "faith alone in Christ alone" is with the Calvinist who would say he believes that, but adds works as something that MUST happen if one is truly elect. And so he cancels out any assurance Jesus promise would give. Having to wait till the end of his life to know that his faith wasn't just a spurious faith. But still he would say he believes by faith alone in Christ alone but contradicts what it means to believe in the Christ, the bulls-eye!

alvin

November 03, 2008 12:55 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin and Gary,

You both are so excellent in your illustrations. You are great teachers. Would you consider submitting a paper to GES for a workshop at their next conference the end of March, 2009 in Texas? They are calling for those papers now. Are you familiar with the workshops? They have maybe 3, 4, or 5 going on at the same time and people choose which one they want to go to. You both are so gifted in illustrations that you would definitely be a big plus for the conference. The same goes for Antonio.
ANTONIO..... would you teach a workshop? How wonderful that would be!!! The subject this year is just perfect for you all. Check it out at the GES blog.

Alvin, I tried your illustration. That is so neat!!! I'll have to share that with my policeman son-in-law.
:-)

And Gary, your last illustration was EXCELLENT!!! You are just teaching me so much!!! Thank you for that!!! SUPER GOOD!!!

I hope you ALL will think about the workshop idea!!!!!!!

BTW.... I've got my kids and grandkids staying here with us for a while until they get their own place to stay. They've been sailing around the Atlantic for the last 2 years. Because they're here, I don't get to use my computer as much. So if you don't hear from me, that's probably why.

You all are such a blessing to me!!!

Diane
:-)

November 03, 2008 7:03 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane, and Gary
Diane,
I think Gary's last post would make an EXCELLENT paper.


Gary,
I think your last post would be a EXCELLENT paper to send in. And if you can use anything I've said your more then welcome to it. I just think your able to articulate so clear! And I think your last post hit the bulls-eye!!!



alvin

November 05, 2008 3:57 AM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin,

I think it is too late for either of us to submit a paper because from what I see at the GES website, the deadline was June 30th. I'm not sure I'm qualified anyway. I think it would be better for me to just attend the conference and try to learn something! I do appreciate the kind words of you and Diane though. I hope we can all make it to the conference and meet one another. That would be a treat for me because I don't have opportunities for fellowship with other GES people where I live.

I agree with what you say about Calvinism. They can include works in their definition of "true, saving faith", yet deny they teach salvation by works by appealing to God's unconditional election and irresistible grace as the effectual cause of those works. In other words, we had no part in the works because God does everything for us! They call these works non-meritorious works as opposed to meritorious works. God only requires the non-meritorious kind of works from us for salvation! (This is also why there is little room for rewards and the judgement seat of Christ in their theology). The heart of their theology is a form of determinism which denies the reality of human free will. Our free will is just an illusion! It logically follows that our perseverance is guaranteed by God and inevitable for every "true believer." These man-made presuppositions so dominate their thinking and theology that they are forced to use a lot of eisegesis and convoluted interpretation of scripture wherever it contradicts their system. It is amusing to see them try and squeeze limited atonement out of verses such as 1 Jn 2:2 for example. It was once estimated by Origen that there are about 10,000 verses in scripture which teach the reality of human choice and freewill, yet the Calvinist cannot see it and doggedly denies it! The practical impact that Calvinism has on the assurance of the believer is the same as Arminianism--i.e. it makes it impossible for all but those who somehow manage to convince themselves that they measure up to some unspecified standard, and will continue to measure up until the end of life. I think only a few succeed in convincing themselves, and the rest either live in despair or drift into a kind of hopeful apathy concerning their assurance and relationship with God.
I understand the exasperation you expressed in another comment about getting in debates with Calvinists. No matter how bad the debate goes for them, they can always dismiss everything by falling back on their man-made and flawed understanding of God's sovereignty and irresistible grace. What makes it such a tragedy is that both Calvinism and Arminianism make assurance impossible, which makes gratitude impossible, which makes sincere love for God impossible, which in turn makes it impossible for the believer to grow and produce the very fruit which they supposedly need to have assurance! They are caught in a vicious circle of doubt, despair and unfruitfulness. Everything must be done for God out of fear, not the motives of peace, gratitude and love which God intended. The end result is that the whole process of spiritual growth is short-circuited at it's very foundation. While it may be mysterious and impossible to fully understand, God created us in His own image, and we have the capacity and responsibility of free will, defective though it is through sin. God respects this because it was His sovereign choice to make us this way. The biblical view of God's sovereignty is bigger than the Calvinist view, because God is big enough to allow our cooperation in His purposes without compromising His sovereignty. God did not want fellowship with spiritual robots, He wanted the fellowship of sacred creatures made in His own image. Without that, our love for Him is meaningless! I don't think I'm going to waste anymore time debating Calvinism unless it's with someone who is sincerely seeking answers and wants to find a way of escape from their bondage. Besides, for anyone who is really seeking answers, there are already things in print that will help them if they're really open. That's how I escaped, but it still took a considerable amount of time and study before I saw the light and was free.

Hope you and Diane have great day in the Lord!

Gary

November 05, 2008 12:04 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 05, 2008 10:06 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Gary very well said!!! The problem I seem to have with debating them is all the different flavors of Calvinism.

Hi Sanctification

I was excited to see what Awana had but your link didn't work? As Solomon said: "There's nothing new under the sun!"


alvin

November 06, 2008 4:31 AM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Gary,

You said, "What makes it such a tragedy is that both Calvinism and Arminianism make assurance impossible, which makes gratitude impossible, which makes sincere love for God impossible, which in turn makes it impossible for the believer to grow and produce the very fruit which they supposedly need to have assurance! They are caught in a vicious circle of doubt, despair and unfruitfulness. Everything must be done for God out of fear, not the motives of peace, gratitude and love which God intended." Such Biblical insight! God Bless you brother.

November 06, 2008 6:49 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 06, 2008 9:10 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 06, 2008 9:12 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Hi Alvin,

Sorry! The link didn't work, let me try again....

This is how it was explained to me, the "bullseye" called "The Gospel Wheel" by the AWANA program....

(All of a sudden I've become html illiterate. I think I figured out what I did wrong, finally!)

Thanks, Michele

November 06, 2008 9:15 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

You said:
--Some when they saw Him feed the multitude.
--Some when they saw Him walk on water through the storm.
--Some when they saw the healing of the man born blind.
--Some when they saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead.
--Some (MOST TODAY) when we heard that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sins and rose from the grave [THE GREATEST REASON TO BELIEVE].


I appreciate your opinion on this. I wonder this: what is the content of saving faith for pastor's kids who spend a deal of time learning but rejecting the Word and salvation?

For those who reject the gospel for many years beyond their obvious training in the scriptures, just knowing 1 Cor 15 is not enough. What if they do not put their faith in Jesus until something is Spiritually said to them in the story of the feeding of the five thousand? Or whatever. As you have pointed out.

I wonder for a PK (pastor's kid), once they receive the Spirit in salvation because of whatever caused reliance on Jesus Christ, does all of that training in the truth, kick in? For them, what once was only knowledge, now becomes consumed by faith and joy in salvation!

I need to publish this on my blog, but here is my opinion on free grace's contribution to the issue of both the Gospel and sanctification:

"The goal of Free Grace is to elevate faith to its proper position. Scriptural truths are not irrelevant, but faith is essential."

The AWANA Gospel Wheel puts 1 cor 15 in the center of the wheel as the bullseye. What is your reaction to this?

November 06, 2008 1:37 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Alvin,

You and Gary both have spent a good deal pointing out how salvation for children should serve as a model for understanding as we consider the content of saving faith. Thank you.

What do you think about 1 cor 15 being at the center of the bullseye? I don't think the "target" is about "what causes salvation" because "what causes salvation" is different for every individual.

However "what is presented for the sake of salvation" can have a measure of flexibility to it. And in that sense the AWANA gospel wheel is useful. It's not a harmful thing to put 1 cor 15 at the center of the target for what we want others to take faith upon, is it? I think you have been saying this too, right?

These people are astute enough to understand how a child puts trust in Jesus for any one facet of His person and work. I asked the AWANA commander at my church to tell me if this is also saying that without reliance on the facts of 1 cor 15, a child cannot be saved? He said, no. A child might be saved by one of the outer portions of truth, but the goal is to make sure they "make it" all the way to the center of the bullseye.

I think this makes a lot of sense!

Kev was saying that 1 cor 15 teaches us the "things of first importance." He also says that all of the doctrine of the church is founded upon these basic points about Christianity. If this is true, this explains why Paul also did not rest when evangelizing, till those who were listening, reached the center of the bullseye (in content): 1 cor 15.

I want to imagine for a sec: a man "stuck on an island" who was saved but subsequently knows no more revelation of the LORD beyond 1 cor 15. Could such a man build correct doctrines based on that, alone? Could a man walk and be sanctified by considering how "Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that He rose again on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he was seen..."?

I think the answer is yes:

- Knowing that sin was paid for at the cross, a man can know that He has fellowship with God by faith
- Knowing that Jesus was buried and then resurrected, means a man can know that death has been conquered and His Spirit is in control of our destiny.
- Knowing that Jesus has fellowship with men as a resurrected being.

or maybe I don't understand everything about the sanctificational significance of the "things of first importance," but I am fairly confident it is true nonetheless.

The value of 1 cor 15, if it has no other, is that these teachings of first importance are the things which form all other teachings of God and man, sin and sanctification. It provides a presentation of truth in perfect structure for understanding everything we need to know after being saved.

I don't know how well this jives, if it doesn't sound right, let me know.

Thanks for letting me talk about the gospel! Michele

November 06, 2008 1:50 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

I got caught up this term in a lackluster bible study which has us swimming all over the New Testament reading single passages alone to construct a better vision on the attributes of God. For instance, when we are scared, we go and read a single passage from 2 cor 1:3-4...

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

But some of us ladies are having a bit of trouble with this study because it is only a little bit helpful to read the "answers" rather than other things in the bible, such as Jesus' many parables, which show instead of telling us, how God is the comforter of our fears.

Do you see where I am going here?

I said to some of the ladies in my study, "There is a difference between DECLARATION and DEMONSTRATION. (They are confused a bit and I have to keep saying this repeatedly. A declaration is not really a demonstration.)

In the same way I am thinking this morning that just sharing 1 cor 15 as the message which would cause salvation, is limiting. I think people can be saved, as you have also said, just by hearing that message. I would never oppose 1 cor 15 from being preached! But I think that those concise declarations of the person and work of Christ is an accomplished statement of faith which is for many, borne by observing the DEMONSTRATIONs of Jesus' person, of Jesus' work. Those stories are where people are shown instead of told, and where trust in Christ's work, where trust in Christ's deity, is much more easy to generate.

So, once again, we have to ask these questions for the sake of persecution of the babes in Christ: once faith has been generated, once someone testifies that they have put their faith in Christ, do we really want to judge their confession as false (insufficient because of 1 cor 15)?

Thanks so much, Michele

November 06, 2008 2:11 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Michele,

Thanks for your questions. It makes me think and that's good for me.

I'm going to answer this quickly while I have a moment at my computer. My grandkids are here, so my time is limited now.
:-)

Regarding your question about pastor's kids spending a deal of time learning but rejecting the Word and salvation...

Pastors kids are no different than any other kids. They need to hear the truth, and then the light will go on for them and they will find themselves believing in Jesus for eternal life. But if the message is not clear, and there is works mixed in, they may grow up to never receive that truth and reject the faith of their parents.

There's only one truth to be believed that causes us to pass from death to life. It is this truth.....
Believe In Jesus Christ ALONE for eternal life.... no trust in works... only Him to eternally save.

Those WORDS may not be in our minds at that moment of conversion, but the CONCEPT is there. The moment we believe in Jesus, FAITH HAPPENS and we become a child of God.

There are lots of people who are still in the pre-evangelism stage of their lives. They are learning lots of truths about God from the Bible, but they haven't yet gotten to the PLACE where they know that Jesus has eternally saved them. That PLACE is the bulls-eye. There is only one bulls-eye as far as being born again.

Only God knows the heart. All I can do is give the message. I aim at the bulls-eye. People may start with a wider picture without first focusing in on the bulls-eye. That happened that way for most of us. But everyone who gets saved hits the bulls-eye at some time. That time is when they are born again. FAITH HAPPENS. The light of truth goes on for them and they understand that Jesus is the giver of eternal life. There is no other way to have it.... only to believe in Jesus for it.

What you are sharing with your friends is biblical truth. How wonderful that you're doing that. But people aren't saved until they they believe in Jesus ALONE for everlasting life.

I know that you've asked other questions. I really want to study your questions and do what I can to answer, but I'll have to wait until I have access to my computer again.... which should be soon. I wrote this quickly and probably did a bad job.

Thanks so much for your comments. You are a very nice person and I've enjoyed getting to know you through the blog.

Your friend in Christ,
Diane
:-)

November 06, 2008 3:25 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Hi Diane,

Thank you for the warm welcome. I think I remember your comments at my blog way back in the beginning when I was trying to keep track of names. Since then I have read many many of your comments here and have enjoyed not only their content but your hunger and pleasure in the Word of God. That's cool.

Are you saying that one must believe that Jesus gives eternal life in order to have eternal life (Wilkin's gospel)?

Looking forward to the next time you're around,
Michele

November 06, 2008 4:28 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Michele,

I actually found another moment to use my computer! YEA! My grandkids have taken a break!!!
:-)
Thank you for your kind words.

Michele, I appreciate your sincere questions. I really do!!!
My PASSION is to share with people that God has a GIFT to give them. It's free to those who want it. What is it? Eternal life. Eternal life is sometimes called everlasting life in the Bible. To have eternal life means to be eternally saved. It means you're going to heaven when you die to live with God forever because of Jesus. It means your eternal well-being is safe forever with God because of Jesus.

Jesus said in John 14:6...
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

So God sent His Son Jesus into the world to give people this wonderful free gift of eternal life. The only way you can have it is to believe in Him alone for it. There is no other way to have it.

Why would anyone believe in Him if they didn't have reason to believe? They wouldn't. They need reason to believe. The cross work of Christ and His resurrection is the greatest reason to believe. Now that we live after the cross, most of us come to believe in Him FOR HIS GIFT when we realize that we're sinners who are lost forever.... Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He rose from the grave proving that His death for our sins was sufficient. That reality brings many of us to the PLACE where we BELIEVE in Him FOR HIS GIFT of everlasting life.

But lots of people believe that Jesus was the Son of God who died for their sins and rose from the grave...... BUT they haven't yet received His GIFT. WHY? They haven't yet believed in Jesus as their only way to God. They are still trusting in something they can do to get there. Lots of people believe that Jesus died and DID HIS PART to save them, but they must do their PART, too. They just can't comprehend that they could be eternally saved by JUST believing in Him to save them.
But that's the ONLY WAY we can receive His gift that He came to give us. We can only be eternally saved by believing in Jesus for His gift of eternal life.

I do agree with Bob Wilkin on what we must believe to have eternal life only because that's what it says in John, and the rest of the Bible agrees with that. Paul says this in 1 Tim. 1:16.....
"However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him FOR everlasting life."

I'm going to post another comment following this one. It will be the Halloween brochure that I gave out to the kids along with candy Halloween night. It won't look pretty on the blog, but when I gave it out it was written in a different font, had a picture of 2
Trick or Treaters with pumpkins. I used different colors in the words..... orange, red, blue, green, etc., and rolled it up and tied a ribbon around it. But I wanted you to see the message that I wanted to give to the kids AND their parents. I love to look for opportunities to share the good news of eternal life found only in Jesus.

It's nice to hear from you Michele.

Your friend,
Diane
:-)

November 06, 2008 6:54 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

[Here is my Trick or Treat brochure that I gave out with candy on Halloween night. There was a picture at the top of 2 people with pumpkins.]

Trick or Treat
Welcome boys and girls to our house. I have some treats for you. I like to give out treats because I know kids like them.
I like pumpkins too. Do you know who made pumpkins?
God made pumpkins!
God made everything!
Did you know that God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to die on a cross for your sins (naughty things) and rise from the grave so that He could give you a free gift? This gift is better than candy. It’s better than a pumpkin, too.
This gift is everlasting life with God. Sometimes we call this going to heaven.
If you want this gift, you can have it. Just take it.
You may be asking……… HOW?
“Believe”
Believe in the One who is offering it to you. Jesus, the Son of God is the only ONE who can give you this gift. Believe in Him for it and you have it. There is no other way to get it. You can’t pay for it with your good works because it’s already been paid for. The only way to get the gift is to believe in Jesus ALONE for His gift of everlasting life. Once you believe in Him you can never give His gift back because it is eternal. That means you have it forever. You don’t wait until you die to get it. You get it the moment you believe. Jesus is the eternal ONE. When you have eternal (everlasting) life, you have Him.

If you have believed in Jesus Christ alone for His free gift of everlasting life, welcome to the family of God. You are now His child, and that will NEVER change!!! Enjoy His gift. It’s better than candy!!! It’s better than pumpkins!
Read these verses from God’s Word, The Bible, so you know what I said is true!

Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 5:8
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave is one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have eternal life.”
Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

November 06, 2008 6:59 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Michele
I really can’t say it any better then Diane has, I just loved her Tricker Treat tracts and handed out about twenty five of them. She gave the saving message in such a straight forward clear way, and by using the eighth sign the cross and resurrection to explain how "naughty children" can go to heaven was wonderful.



What do you think about 1 cor 15 being at the center of the bullseye?

The reason the bullseye analogy came to me is because I have to shoot good in order to qualify and keep my job. I’m tested by DOE every six months. I know that you can’t just shoot at the target and hope to do good, but you must focus and aim at the bullseye to be accurate. This same principal carries over into being accurate in what people MUST believe in order to be born again. We can have many things on the target, and hit those things all day but if we miss the bullseye as Gary said we have not believed what God want’s us to believe. If we had 1 Cor 15 as the bullseye we would not be giving people what Jesus gave to the women at the well that MUST be believed to be born again. Jesus told her she needed to know what the gift of God was and who it was that was speaking to her. We see this over and over in the only book in the bible that was written to people that they might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and believing may have life in His name (John 20:31). See Michele the life is not in His works but in His name. To believe in Jesus as the Christ is to have life in His name (John 20:31;1 John 5:1a). The living water that Jesus offers is the Knowledge of His person, that He is the Christ. And when drank in faith springs up into eternal life. Once believed a person will NEVER thirst again. Once believed a person will NEVER hunger again. Once believed a person will NEVER perish. Once believed a person will NEVER die spiritually. Once believed if a person dies physically they will live because He will resurrect their body. Once believed you have passed from death into life. That is what it means to believe in Jesus as the Christ, and everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (1 John 5:1a). This same living water is offered again at the end of the Bible in Revelation 22:17 and whosoever is invited to take of the water freely. There are no other conditions in partaking of the living water other then to believe in Jesus for eternal life. That is the essence of believing in Him as the Christ the One who guarantees your eternal destiny (John 3:16;5:24;6:35,37,40,47;11:25-27;20:31).
That is how people have always been born again. The ONLY difference now is that we must believe that JESUS is the Christ, but the water has always been given freely (Isa 55:1).

Michele as I have time I will try to answer some of the other questions you posed.
goodnight
alvin

November 06, 2008 8:23 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin...
I just have to say again how much I love your "bulls-eye" illustration!!!
EXCELLENT!!!

Gary...
I hope it works out for you and Alvin to be at the GES Conference next year. It really would be fun to all get together in person. I hope Antonio comes again. And anyone else reading this blog is welcome. We would love to meet you all. It's a wonderful conference, and the most gracious people you'll ever meet!!! Make reservations early and get a discount. You can check it out at the GES website...
www.faithalone.org

Michele, I would love to ask you some questions to see where you and I agree and where we disagree. Would that be OK?

In order to go to heaven you have to be born again. That means born into God's family. That happens only one way... by believing in Jesus Christ for His gift of everlasting life.
DO YOU AND I AGREE ON THAT?

There is a moment in time when we pass from death to life.... from being lost to being saved.
DO YOU AND I AGREE ON THAT?

God has a gift to give us and it is eternal life. DO YOU AND I AGREE ON THAT?

You receive the gift by faith in Jesus ALONE for it. DO YOU AND I AGREE ON THAT?

After receiving God's gift of eternal life we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We are a new creation in Christ. We now have Christ (via His Holy Spirit) living in us. DO YOU AND I AGREE ON THAT?

Now we begin our journey of growing in Him as we abide in His Word. DO YOU AND I AGREE ON THIS?

I just thought it might help me to know exactly where our disagreements might be. Thanks so much if you choose to answer. Have a good day tomorrow enjoying the One who loves you with an everlasting love.

Your friend,
Diane
:-)

November 06, 2008 9:35 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

Does Hodges teach the same as Wilkins? That one may only attain eternal life by believing in Jesus for eternal life?

Antonio... has said in spaces that regardless if one comprehends how Jesus is able to give eternal life, once that one puts his reliance in Jesus, eternal life is granted nonetheless. Is that accurate, or did I mistake this?

From what I (to this point) comprehend, the gospels of Wilkin and Hodges are very different.

Diane, you said:
But lots of people believe that Jesus was the Son of God who died for their sins and rose from the grave...... BUT they haven't yet received His GIFT. WHY? They haven't yet believed in Jesus as their only way to God. They are still trusting in something they can do to get there. Lots of people believe that Jesus died and DID HIS PART to save them....

I don't hear scriptures' invitations to put their trust in Jesus, including also within the invitations, warnings of "Jesus alone" or "purify yourselves of trust in self-efforts."

Essentially what you are telling me is that one must establish an understanding of faith vs works doctrine on the part of the person seeking salvation. While the effort is good I think that is a sanctificational issue that cannot be filtered in a preventative act of requiring knowledge that only Jesus gives eternal life.

You are right; Jesus did say that He is the way, the truth and the life, and none come except through Him. But isn't requiring people to know that only by knowing that Jesus gives eternal life (alone, I might add), as 'the way to attain it,' a persecuting act to those who believe something less informative about Jesus?

I would want to separate by-product from object of faith. I don't think I am familiar with any passages which say as Wilkin would, one must know Jesus gives eternal life, in order to receive eternal life. John 20:31 does not say that, does it?

As I said before, what kind of bullseye was being discussed before I interjected myself... was it the target of "what is believed" or is the target "getting people saved"?

(I was trying to speak upon the "what is believed" target when I entered.)

The information of 1 cor 15, or alternately the gospel of john, all hopefully produces a persuasion in the lost person to rely upon Jesus. In fact, all of the Word of God produces a persuasion of reliance upon Jesus. That's why the other facets of Jesus were

"The way, the truth and the life." He's more than just eternal life, He's everything.

You said:
Paul says this in 1 Tim. 1:16.....
"However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him FOR everlasting life."


Everlasting life is the most important decider ever made in a person's life. Right? Good works cannot compare to the movement from the realm of darkness to the realm of light.

I'd therefore say that if anyone would like to describe the important reason to believe on Jesus, they'd say "because it gives eternal life."

But just because the by-product is frequently described in scripture, when talking about believing in Jesus, that doesn't mean (so far in my mind) that it has become a requirement for salvation.

Could you give me a short version of what is speaking inclusion of 'Jesus granting of eternal life' into the gospel message? I have probably read many things here so just a refresher is what I am hoping you have the patience to provide, and I appreciate it.

:D Thanks Diane, I am looking forward to reading your next comment!

Michele

November 06, 2008 11:03 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

I imagined kids in my neighborhood reading that, and I really liked it. Thank you for sharing that, I enjoy reading gospel presentations made for children.

My favorite part:
Believe in Him for it and you have it. There is no other way to get it. You can’t pay for it with your good works because it’s already been paid for. The only way to get the gift is to believe in Jesus ALONE for His gift of everlasting life. Once you believe in Him you can never give His gift back because it is eternal.

:D
Michele

November 06, 2008 11:10 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane and Alvin,

I'd like to take this time to try and understand your ideas of a theological legalist.

Is a theological legalist someone who:

1) Adds more to the gospel than what the gospel is, as in the Galatian problem,

or

2) Someone who meticulously selects from the bible their own checklist of how salvation happens, to the exclusion of any other biblical constructions,

and how do you understand Hodges to define it?

Thanks, Michele

November 06, 2008 11:22 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane :D

Yes, this is okay...

In order to go to heaven you have to be born again. That means born into God's family. That happens only one way... by believing in Jesus Christ for His gift of everlasting life.

I agree; I would say it "by believing in Jesus Christ and therefore receive the gift of everlasting life."

There is a moment in time when we pass from death to life.... from being lost to being saved.

I agree!

God has a gift to give us and it is eternal life.

Yes.

You receive the gift by faith in Jesus ALONE for it.

Yes; I would say it, though, "receive the gift by faith in Jesus for it."

After receiving God's gift of eternal life we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We are a new creation in Christ. We now have Christ (via His Holy Spirit) living in us.

Yes.

Now we begin our journey of growing in Him as we abide in His Word.

Yes.

Thank you for asking, I always think that I should introduce all my orthodoxies before I start talking to people but I never get around to actually doing it like that.

- Michele

November 06, 2008 11:32 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Alvin,

Thank you for your answer. As you have more time please do reply to any questions or statements I'm making, if you see the need.

You said:
I know that you can’t just shoot at the target and hope to do good, but you must focus and aim at the bullseye to be accurate. This same principal carries over into being accurate in what people MUST believe in order to be born again. We can have many things on the target, and hit those things all day but if we miss the bullseye as Gary said we have not believed what God want’s us to believe.

Okay, so it sounds like my target of "content of beliefs" is not the target you were describing, "getting people saved."

Perhaps it would be helpful if I say that I don't believe that salvation happens with a specific quota of information about who Jesus is and what He did. It could be more or less than 1 Cor 15, more or less than the Wilkin' gospel. Some people need to have their sin burden removed. Some people are seeking a fellowship with God. It varies. And therefore so should the possibility of content of beliefs of saving faith.

Considering this, nailing it down to one thing for everyone is in my mind, not good. Though in the end, for those who came to Christ needing some less-than of all of 1 cor 15, the point is to get them believing 1 cor 15 anyway, as Paul labored, reasoning with the scriptures how Jesus is the Christ, who died for our sins.

That's why I see two different issues "What people are safe believing about Jesus" and "what causes salvation".

Why do I believe this? Because the goal is faith (persuasion, reliance) upon Jesus. Jesus is the center of the target for getting people saved. That's the "content" people need in order to have eternal life. It's also the target "content" for getting people sanctified. It's really simple. The content doesn't change after salvation.

If I were cornered into describing a "content of belief" that goes in the center with my nondescript "Jesus" as the center of the bullseye, I'd rather use the content of 1 cor 15. You might be able to tell people with your own words that eternal life is granted "alone" through faith in Jesus granting eternal life, but I believe the message of the cross is much more demonstrative to preach a "Jesus only" construct to the world (in salvation or sanctification).

The Word of God was made to achieve reliance upon Jesus. Faith is king. We know this; the entire New Testament is rich in this teaching. Real reliance in Jesus can happen without knowing or caring anything about eternal life on any individual basis.

That's what I believe, for now. Feel free to wrest carnage!!

:D Michele

November 06, 2008 11:59 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Michele,

I quickly looked at my e-mails and saw that you had made a lot of comments which I always love to see. I only wish I had time this morning to think on them and answer carefully and thoughtfully. I'm getting ready to leave so this will be just one quick response to just one of your post. I'll try and be more thoughtful later. But I like your questions, and wanted to answer at least one for now.

Here are your answers to my questions and my respons to your answers. (I wish I knew how to put things in italics like you do. I don't know how to do that on the blog!)

(me)... In order to go to heaven you have to be born again. That means born into God's family. That happens only one way... by believing in Jesus Christ for His gift of everlasting life.

(Michele)... I agree; I would say it "by believing in Jesus Christ and therefore receive the gift of everlasting life."

(My NEW reply)...
I THINK you're not comfortable with saying you must believe in Jesus FOR eternal life.... but just believe in Jesus and you HAVE eternal life. Am I right? I agree with you AS LONG as you understand that Jesus has given you eternal life. It's a gift from Him and nothing we do can contribute to that. You KNOW that you are forever saved. To believe in Jesus MEANS that you believe in Him to save you forever.
Are we speaking the same thing here?

(me)... There is a moment in time when we pass from death to life.... from being lost to being saved.

(Michele)... I agree!

(me)... God has a gift to give us and it is eternal life.

(Michele)... Yes.

(me)... You receive the gift by faith in Jesus ALONE for it.

(Michele)... Yes; I would say it, though, "receive the gift by faith in Jesus for it."

(My NEW reply)... That's great as long as you understand that to mean that only Jesus can give you the gift. The reason we put in the word "ALONE" is to emphasize that it's only Jesus who can give the gift. It's not our works. He ALONE is the giver of eternal life. But you don't have to use the word ALONE. Just understand that only HE can give it.

(me)... After receiving God's gift of eternal life we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We are a new creation in Christ. We now have Christ (via His Holy Spirit) living in us.

(Michele)... Yes.

(me)... Now we begin our journey of growing in Him as we abide in His Word.

(Michele)... Yes.

(Michele)... Thank you for asking, I always think that I should introduce all my orthodoxies before I start talking to people but I never get around to actually doing it like that.

(me)... It sounds like you and I are on the same page... just saying things a little different.

BTW.... I quickly saw that you asked if Hodges and Wilkin were saying different things. NO. They are in total agreement. I hope to get back to that later.
Maybe Antonio or one of our other friends will answer you on that.

It's really nice talking with you, Michele. Have a great day enjoying the Lord.

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)
P.S. I'm sending this quickly without checking it over. Sorry ahead of time for any mis-spelled words, etc.
:-)

November 07, 2008 9:07 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Michele

Just some more thought's.

Okay, so it sounds like my target of "content of beliefs" is not the target you were describing, "getting people saved."

I think we are just saying it in different ways. This is what I said:
We can have many things on the target, and hit those things all day but if we miss the bullseye as Gary said we have not believed what God want’s us to believe.

Michele there are many things on the target just as on the Awana target. Most people will be convinced by the cross and resurrection. And that is on the target. Jesus being the Son of God is on the target. All the Gospel (good news) is on the target. The rapture is good news. A person could even be convinced that they can believe the Bible by scientific evidence that is in the Bible. The Bereans were convinced by the Old Testament prophecies. Some people I've used Old Testament prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled to prove that the Bible is true. But none of this saves people in itself. What it does is get them ON the target, and once convinced that these things are true. What Jesus says that MUST be believed, the bulls-eye in order to receive His gift of eternal life. Jesus said to the women at the well "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to you give Me a drink"
She needed to know the gift, that one drink and she would NEVER thirst again. Just as Gary said: Jesus wants us to come to the place where we are beliving "faith alone in Christ alone." Until we are convinced that what Jesus gives is a gift, so nothing we can do or will do has anything to do with going to heaven we haven't hit the "bulls-eye." And that is the ONLY way a person can have assurance of their going to heaven is Jesus promise ALONE.
The essence of this is in a simple verse like John 3:16. Anyone who has believed Jesus in John 3:16 knows they will never perish and they have eternal life. If someone were to say " yes I believe John 3:16 but if I ever stopped believing I could perish." That shows clearly that they HAVE NOT believed John 3:16 because as John 5:24 clearly states the one believing has passed from death into life and will never come into a judgment that will determine whether they go to heaven or hell. Your performance has nothing to do with Jesus giving the gift of eternal life, anyone who desires can take of the water freely.
The ones in Galatians were eternally secure but had lost their assurance because they had bought into looking TO their works. They had began in faith but then turned to the law. Eternal security is how God sees us, assurance is how we see ourselves. And if it's not based totally upon Jesus promise we have much reason by looking at our lives to see our short comings because we are not perfect but sinners saved by grace. Just as Martha had declared "Yes Lord I believe that you are the Christ the Son of God, who is to come into the world. Martha had hit the "bulls-eye" she KNEW based on Jesus promise ALONE that if she died, He would resurrect her, and living she would never die because she had believed. She knew it had NOTHING to do with her following Jesus, because she had no way of knowing if she would fail in the future like Peter did. To believe that Jesus is the Christ is to have ALREADY received that living water that springs up into eternal life and to be born of God!!!
God want’s us to KNOW we are part of His family, and the ONLY way we can KNOW is if we have believed Jesus is the Christ.
This same principal I used with my wife, it wasn’t until she KNEW I unconditionally LOVED her did it free her up to freely love me in return without thought’s of trying to earn my love. It set her free!!! To love me freely!!! As a child she was NEVER told she was loved by her parents, and was always trying to win their approval, but always falling short.
And we can only have this kind of love through Christ who has accepted us just as we are!!!

alvin

November 07, 2008 11:13 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Correction

Eternal security is how God sees us, assurance is how we see ourselves.

should read this:

God sees EVERY bleiever as eternally secure. Assurance has to do with how we see ourself. We can NEVER lose our eternal security, but we can lose our assurance if we stop believing Jesus promise of eternal life.

John Niemela has covered this very good in one of his GES messages 2008. I went to the Washington Stae Regional Conference and met John, and Bob. One of the pictures they took of all the people I was giving John kinda of a hug. I was so disappointed when they left out that picture. Hey and I took my car-pool buddy there with me. We stayed at his parents house in Spokane and ate at the Longhorn Barbecue house it was a great time. We cruised over in my convertible with the top down. I don't have allot of hair but what I have the wind was whistling through . . .ha!ha!

November 07, 2008 12:10 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

Thanks; I myself vacillate thinking that we are saying the same thing, or not....

Alvin explained I think, some of the reasoning in a way that helps me differentiate.

Alvin said:
Jesus wants us to come to the place where we are beliving "faith alone in Christ alone."

That's what the cross illustrates, but salvation requires trust in Christ, not trust in Christ alone. If this gospel as you state above were the rule for salvation, then the book of Galatians would never had been written; nor would Paul have needed to stand up and oppose Peter. There would have been no council in Acts 15. And so forth. The truth of the matter is (in my mind), eternal life is guaranteed by faith, but assurance is not. I believe you can be saved yet not understand (or, become deceived about) the means by which you were saved (in Christ alone by faith alone).

Until we are convinced that what Jesus gives is a gift, so nothing we can do or will do has anything to do with going to heaven we haven't hit the "bulls-eye."

I appreciate... your evangelical core. (The message of being rid of self-effort in salvation.) Definitely this is a solid purpose behind free grace. Also appreciated. But here is what Jesus says about eternal life and "the Bullseye":

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of...

What do the "scriptures testify of"?

"...Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life."

Jesus is the center of the bullseye. Not a Jesus only Jesus in the center of the bullseye. That's the difference I see.

Salvation doesn't happen only in the Lutheran gospel alone. "Faith alone in Christ alone" is not inspired. Though I agree it is an accurate grasp of NT teachings.

Cases to illustrate:

Alvin said:
"Jesus said to the women at the well "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to you give Me a drink"
She needed to know the gift, that one drink and she would NEVER thirst again."


Yes but this may be a bad example for the sake of doctrine. "Everlasting" was something the woman was not able to attain, both in the covenant of marriage and in the covenant of salvation (through the Jews). Jesus had to show such a person that "everlasting" was possible now for her, because of Jesus.

You want to camp there, but if I were to camp I'd do so with John 9; the blind man. Jesus announced his intentions publicly to have God bring light in this man's blindness, and by hearing that and also through the obedience he demonstrates by washing as directed in the pool, we can see that this blind man has faith. The faith was nominal in knowledge, but effectual to make him a disciple. He didn't know diddily-squat! They argued and reasoned for a while! And when Jesus finally did gain his rapt and private attention, he only asked the man with restored sight to believe in the One standing before him. The John 9 man proves that any other "Educated" faith is certainly helpful, but not necessary.

I hear in the gospels over and over Jesus rewarding verbally the goal of His interactions in their presence: "Go your way; your faith has saved you." Not "your faith in me alone has saved you." "Faith alone" is a message of sanctification, unless there is some issue of reliance upon works with the lost person we are evangelizing. Really I don't think it is harmful to include faith/Christ "Alone" in the gospel. It's just that it should not be a rule, for salvation. Generally, faith should be acknowledged as saving, without being obligated to specify issues of self-efforts in every case.

We spend the rest of our time once saved, till death, learning to follow Jesus in "faith alone."

That's my construction, but maybe we can talk some more about other examples and stuff.

Alvin, I cannot believe you drove with your convertible top-down in the pacific northwest. That's bravery if ever there was!

Thanks a bunch! Michele

November 07, 2008 3:22 PM  
Blogger goe said...

David,

Thanks for your comment. Yes, I know this pattern of thinking pretty well, because I was trapped in it for many years. Finding the assurance of my salvation was impossible. I always felt like a dog chasing his tail. Assurance was always just out of reach because I was looking for it in the wrong place ( my own dedication, commitment, obedience, works etc.). Even though I believed all the "orthodox" doctrines of the bible, there was still one thing missing--the most important thing! That thing was the simple promise of Jesus Christ that whosoever believed (no works of any kind required or added) in Him HAS (present tense-the moment we believe) eternal life. When I finally understood what Jesus meant when He promised this, and believed it, I was at last sure of my salvation. Before, I was unable to see the simple and straightforward meaning of Jesus' promise because my Calvinistic presuppositions so dominated my thinking that I was blind and could not understand it. In Calvinism, all the focus is on "proving" or validating that your faith is "real" or "true" by the fruit of the Spirit. In Calvinism, there are so many qualifiers attached to the concept of faith that it becomes something incomprehensible and elusive-something you can never quite put your finger on. Faith itself is redefined in terms of works and obedience. In other words, in Calvinism, faith=faithfulness. I knew that no believer is perfect, but still thought that there was some measurable level of righteous living that would somehow prove my faith was real and give me assurance. The only problem is that the bible nowhere defines or speaks of any standard acceptable to God other than perfection, and I always knew I fell far short of this. Another stumbling block was the Calvinist's concept of God's "irresistible grace". This is the idea that if you are "truly" one of the elect, victory is inevitable and guaranteed by God. Again, perfection was not guaranteed of course, but some level of victory which is never specified or defined in scripture was supposedly unavoidable if one is "truly saved". Our free will is only an illusion, because it has been taken captive by God so that we will love and obey Him no matter the cost or suffering involved. It began to puzzle me, if this were true, as to why God allowed us to ever sin or disobey Him at all if His grace were so irresistible! If the sovereignty and power of God is the ONLY factor in our sanctification, then why is there ANY sin at all in our life? And if God does permit some sin and disobedience, where does He draw the line as to HOW MUCH He permits? And doesn't even a small allowance for sin prove that we do indeed still have free will and responsibility of choice?

As the years wore on I became increasingly skeptical of the fundamental premises of Calvinism because of all the inherent contradictions and inconsistencies with what I saw on practically every page of scripture. I saw that the possibility of serious failure is something that is continually warned about in scripture and is a possibility we face not only everyday, but every minute and second of our life after we have been regenerated and made a "new creation" in Christ. Of course, Calvinism tries to explain all the warnings and exhortations in scripture as God's appointed "means" of guaranteeing that which is supposedly already guaranteed! It is a fatalistic system of theological determinism which must ultimately deny the reality of human free will in order to be consistent with it's flawed understanding of God's sovereignty.

John Bunyan's autobiography, "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinner's", is a great case study in the emotional and spiritual turmoil which the theological labyrinth of Calvinism creates for the believer. Depending upon how it is presented, it can also be an insurmountable stumbling block to the salvation of an unbeliever as well. I believe there have been lot's of great Christians who were Calvinists, but only because they were not fully consistent with all the logical implications of Calvinism. In fact, it was only because of those inconsistencies that many were able to overcome it and prevent it from destroying them.

Anyway David, forgive me for rambling. I know probably none of this is anything you don't already know, but I tend to get wound up once I start discussing this subject, even though it grieves me to revisit it.

I've always enjoyed reading your comments as well as your graciousness.


Michele,

I'm glad you visited this thread because you ask good questions and make a lot of great observations about things. The questions you are asking reminded me of an article you wrote on your blog (yes, I read your blog quite a a bit!). It was your article on Aug. 29, 2008 called "Grace--i see grace".
You say a lot of good things, but what really caught my eye was your observation near the end about Abraham and how God made him a promise and he was justified by believing that specific promise from God. (Gen. 15 and Rom. 4). That's basically what Diane, Alvin and I mean when we are talking about hitting the "bullseye". This is also what Zane and Bob emphasize so much. As I explained to David above, for many years I would have been considered quite orthodox in my beliefs, yet I was a miserable and wretched person who thought that Jesus would only save me if I was faithful in persevering in good works till the end of life. That's what I thought His promise meant, so I was no different from any other unbeliever who thinks they are saved by good works. I was trying to trust in my good works and not in His free and gracious promise to me. I was blinded by my theology from correctly understanding His promise so it was also impossible for me to believe it. What I was believing was actually a contradiction of what He meant by His promises (such as Jn. 3:16, 5:24, 6:47, 11:25-27 etc.) The reason the Gospel of John places more emphasis on these promises than other books in the bible is because it's the only book written for the primary purpose of evangelism. John knows that it is the promise which must be believed. It is the promise that is the "living water" (Jn 4). Just as you observed and noted in your article, we must believe God's promise just like Abraham!

I was hesitant to try and answer any of your questions because Diane and Alvin are so good on this subject. But when I thought of what I had read in your article I couldn't resist jumping in. Hope you don't mind. God bless.

Gary

November 07, 2008 3:32 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

I tell you bro. Gary, you are a blessing to me my brother. I understand what you mean by getting started! This post will probable end up being a book! Thank you bro. Antonio for not throwing me out for running too long!
Back to this at hand bro. Gary. I remember a time in my Christian life, thank God I was already saved, when I was literally on the verge of a total emotional breakdown over a certain issue. I had heard preachers & especially evangelists say that if you could not remember the exact date of your conversion, or you were unwilling to make a public statement of your faith, then you probably were lost. Now, I know the Biblical answers to this, thanks to my Savior first of all (apologies to Fanny Crosby!) but also to Bob Wilkin & GES for helping me remember that salvation is by simple faith in Christ alone. Boy, that was liberating! I still wonder why it is so popular for evangelists to say things like this, but I believe bro. Hodges may have hit it when he made a statement about altars getting filled during times like this. I wish you all could check out a 142-page article about a true account of a church being split by an evangelist preaching strong Commitment Salvation during a "revival" & many saved people got "re-saved" & confusion abounded. I could give the link if anyone is interested. Simply amazing but boy did that bring back vivid memories. I have literally spent hours in Emergency Rooms in panic over these issues. My wife can tell you, & I am so thankful for her love & patience with me! Thank the Lord these memories are so far back that I almost forget the details now, but at the time it was life-&-death. Anyway, Michele, you are also a blessing to me. I really appreciate what you are saying as well. Diane, bro. Alvin, all of you!! You are breaths of fresh theological air to me!!!!!!!!!!!

November 07, 2008 5:11 PM  
Blogger goe said...

David,

I understand what you have been through David. I never had to go to the emergency room, but there were some who thought I needed to take anti-depressants! I even had a psychiatrist try and put me on them! I began going to church when I was 17 and in the first year I was the king of all aisle walkers. I must have walked the aisle about 10 times and prayed a hundred prayers of "total surrender". One of the first things I was taught was that the greek word for "believe" meant "total surrender and commitment". When I would read a verse like Jn. 3:16, I thought that's what "believe" meant. For many years, I read everything I could get my hands on trying to understand what this mysterious word "believe" meant in the koine greek. I even studied Greek for a time so I could see for myself. I made an amazing discovery after many years--when the bible uses the word "believe", it actually means the same thing we understand it to mean in the real world!! What a novel idea!! I realized I didn't need a PhD in theology to understand that word after all! While I began by walking the aisles, my desire to "prove" my sincerity and commitment gradually escalated to many other things. I slowly began to realize that this thing of "total surrender and commitment" was a never ending thing which no one can do. Other than Jesus Himself, there has never been a man who was totally committed to God. It took a long time for the truth of this to sink in though. It is amazing all the scriptures that men misinterpret and misapply in order to manipulate people into trying to serve and obey God through fear of not being saved. It was apparently that way in Jesus' day too.

But David, we can rejoice that today we know the truth don't we! It doesn't matter when we were saved, because TODAY we know that we are!! If we ever lose that assurance, we know where to find it again! Praise Jesus for what He did for us on the cross and His free gift of eternal life to everyone who simply believes His promise!! He paid for that promise with His own blood, so He sure enough means to keep it!!

Gary

November 07, 2008 7:00 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Gary, glad you stepped in brother! Since you have been visiting Michele’s site you are more clear on what she believes. And you have great things to say!

Hi David, it's always good to hear from you, and thanks for all the encouragement!!!

Hi Michele,

you said:

That's what the cross illustrates, but salvation requires trust in Christ, not trust in Christ alone.

Michele, I believe what your mixing is saving faith with the walk of faith. The first is a one time event you’re born again, the light comes on! And the walk of faith is something we do, and of course is conditional based on abiding. Our relationship with God is forever when we are born again, but we can lose are fellowship if we don’t abide in the truth and confess our sins.
The gospel (good news) is very broad which takes in not only saving faith but the walk of faith. The word gospel is NEVER used in the Gospel of John, and you will find nowhere in the bible where it states “he who believes the gospel has eternal life.” We know just as Paul said he was the pattern for all that would believe in Jesus FOR eternal life. The cross proves that Jesus is the Christ and that we can believe in Him FOR eternal life just as Paul said!! So the cross ONLY saves when one looks to Jesus lifted up as the Christ FOR the gift of eternal life. I believe we can all name many people who say they believe in the cross but have never believed in Jesus as the Christ the One who has guarateed their eternal destiny.
The person Jesus Christ, who offers the living water to whoever desires to take of it freely, may! Other words were not told by Jesus “if you come to Me you MUST take ALL of Me” meaning we have to be willing to give up our life before He will really give us the living water. Your insinuating a person can’t come to Jesus just for the gift He offers, it’s all or nothing. Michele it’s Jesus who is the One who has made the offer that we can take of the water freely if we desire without cost! He makes the rules not us. And He says “If you knew the gift of God and who it is who said to you give Me a drink, you would have asked and I would have given you living water. Michele do you think when Jesus asked the women at the well for a drink of water she wouldn’t have given it to Him unless He would become her slave? No! Jesus is talking about here simply the giving and receiving of a gift! Just as He had asked her for physical water, if she would ask Him, He would have already given the living water to her freely-without charge! It’s totally by grace, and is a gift freely given. The Christian life is based on this truth.

If this gospel as you state above were the rule for salvation, then the book of Galatians would never had been written; nor would Paul have needed to stand up and oppose Peter. There would have been no council in Acts 15. And so forth.

The Gospel that is being defended in Galatians is the gospel of grace which is not ONLY justification truth BUT sanctification truth (Gal 2:11-21) which has to do with the walk of faith also. The Galations had believed a different gospel which was NO gospel at all (Gal 1:6,7). They had turned away from the true gospel of grace and were “attempting” to be justified by law (Gal 5:4) which was by their works. These Galatians had entered by the narrow gate “faith alone in Christ alone” but were now trying to justify themselves by their works. This did not change the fact that they were sons of God (Gal 3:26) but by going back under the law they were no different then a slave (children Gal 4:1) not experiencing the freedom as sons of God (Gal 5:1).


The truth of the matter is (in my mind), eternal life is guaranteed by faith, but assurance is not.

Michele saving faith is being convinced just as Abraham was(Romans 4:21) that the promise of God is true! Anyone who has NEVER been convinced that Jesus promise is true is yet to believe. Assurance is of the essence of saving faith. John told those ones in 1 John he was writing to “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? (1 John 2:21,22a) To John to believe that Jesus is the Christ is saving truth (1 John 5:1a John 20:31). The Revisionist were attacking this truth: And this is the promise that He has promised us eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. (1 John 2:25,26). These believers in the church that John is writing to are in fellowship with God because they are abiding in the truth (1 John 2:24). What is at stake is if they start listening to the Revisionist they will lose their fellowship with God which is based upon abiding in the truth, so that it is by grace. John goes on to remind them of Jesus promise of eternal life in 1 John 5:11-13 that they can KNOW they have eternal life!

When a believer loses his or her assurance all they have to do is look again at Jesus promise. That is the ONLY solid ground of assurance of salvation, and that is the ONLY way we can KNOW we have eternal life!
alvin

November 07, 2008 7:26 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Michele,

I do appreciate your questions and comments. It sounds like you do not necessarily agree that a person is born again ***ONLY*** at the MOMENT it dawns on them that Jesus saved them.
Am I correct on that? Please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm just trying to understand what it is that we're all saying that you're having trouble understanding or agreeing with. I do appreciate your questions and want to TRY to clear up any confusion that we are causing you.

YOU SAID that a person has eternal life when he believes in Christ. That's the way you prefer to say it.
You don't like to say it like this.....
"A person has eternal life when they believe in Christ ALONE for IT."
QUESTION...... Could you please explain to me what the difference is in those two statements?

Do you believe that a person can believe in Christ without KNOWING that they are eternally saved?
That's the issue in this whole discussion.
***WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST?***

Let me give a silly illustration.
Believe in President Bush to keep the United States safe from another attack on the home land.
If you believe in President Bush, you are believing something specific about him in that statement. You are believing in him to keep us safe from another attack. You're not believing in him to give you a million dollars. You're believing in him for the very thing listed in that sentence.
That's a silly illustration, but it might help to understand what it means to believe in Christ.
John 3:16..... "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM shall NOT PERISH, but HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.."
You're believing in Him for everlasting life. You're believing in Him to keep you from perishing (hell).
All the way through John the phrase..... "to believe in Him," or "to believe in His Name" is to believe unto eternity. That's what the verses are saying. That's what Jesus was telling the woman at the well. That's why John was written.... to tell us HOW TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

So what Alvin was saying when he used the term "bulls-eye" was to believe something specific. Hit the target. Believe in Christ FOR eternal life. That's the saving content that one believes that causes them to pass from death to life.
When a person first believes, he may not be thinking in those words. BUT he understands that truth. When a person gets saved he is rejoicing BECAUSE he KNOWS he's going to heaven when he dies and not hell. A burden is lifted off of his shoulders. He's free to enjoy the Lord. He's free to not worry. He's FREE!!! And it's a GIFT received by faith in Jesus for it!!!

This is important. We're saved when we receive His gift. The only way to get the gift is to know what it is and believe what Jesus says regarding receiving it. All the way through JOHN believing in Him is associated with having eternal life. That's what we must believe in order to have the gift. In order to be saved we must believe in Jesus to save us. That means that our eternal destiny is SAFE with God forever because of Jesus.
That's why we rejoice when we first believe. We know where we're going. If we don't know that, then we haven't yet taken His gift. We haven't yet believed in Him. We're not YET saved.

People can believe a lot of true things about Jesus as recorded in the Bible. They can believe that He died on the cross for their sins and that He rose from the grave. But that has no meaning apart from understanding that He did that in order to give us a free gift..... eternal life with Him. People can even believe that Jesus loves them. And of course it's true that He does love them. But knowing that God loves you doesn't bring salvation. But it's still true. All those truths are preparing us to believe the saving message. And if we're responding to light (to truth), then God will give us more light until we come to the place where we believe in Him for eternal life. It's God the Holy Spirit who gets us to that PLACE when we respond to light (truth) along our pre-evangelism journey to the truth that saves.

Can I ask you a personal question? Please forgive me if I've assumed wrong. I read your testimony. It was really heart warming. You had an EXPERIENCE with God. And that experience changed you. I believe that it did. But experience is NEVER the place that we go to for absolute truth. Only God's Word can be trusted. Your experience may or may not have been the day of your salvation. It may have been still part of your pre-evangelism time. It MAY have been God working in you to bring you to the PLACE where you believed in Him for your eternal well-being (eternal life).... even if you didn't call it that. You were saved at the time you first believed in Jesus for everlasting life. No matter what words you used or what you did or didn't understand, you were saved at the moment God revealed to your heart that He ALONE was your eternal Savior. You may have had lots of questions, and you may not know that specific moment (as I do not know that specific moment for me). But God knows, and that's all that matters. And we know NOW that we know He alone saved us. We believe in Christ. The people who believe in Christ KNOW that they're going to heaven when they die. If they NEVER knew that for sure (that they would be with God forever.... safe in His care), then they have never believed. We don't need to be concerned when that was, only that we know NOW that we are saved.

I hope my questions, illustrations, assumptions, etc. were helpful. I hope I didn't sound unfriendly in any of it. I really appreciate your sincere questions, and this was only my attempt at trying to clarify whatever it is that is confusing you about what we're all saying.

I wish you only God's best in your life. He loves you with an everlasting love, and He is always and only good.

Your friend,
Diane
:-)

November 07, 2008 10:32 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

My friend Diane delivers the truth with such grace and love, she lets Jesus shine in a dark and dying world!!!
I can only learn from her example!!!
Jesus loved my wife through me, and then my wife blossomed and taught me His unconditional love!!!
God’s heart is to GREAT to phantom, He wept at Lazarus tomb even though He knew He would raise Lazarus from the grave. Jesus was touched by their sorrow, and earlier He said concerning Jerusalem “I would have gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not.” Jesus unconditional love and free gift of eternal life sound just to good to be true, but they are true! We should have known that all along by looking at the cross, He died for everyone even the ones who would reject Him, and that my friend is what unconditional love is all about. It’s not love that is conditioned upon what you do, but takes the initiative paying the price even for those ones who would spit in His face. We can’t grasp that kind of love,we can only receive it in child like faith.

November 08, 2008 3:26 AM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Gary,

If you're "the king of all aisle walkers..."

Ha!

Then meet the crown prince!!! It never did me much good, how 'bout you? I usually only felt that much WORSE when I inevitably failed again, foolishly thinking that THIS time, "I've REALLY surrendered it all!" Who gets the credit if I HAVE really made a "full surrender?" Maybe the Lord, but certainly I can sit beside Him & say, "Boy WE did it didn't we?" Blasphemy! Forgive me. I ramble. God Bless you dear brethren & sisterns!

November 08, 2008 5:24 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

David and Gary,
I find your stories so compelling and touching. I have not experienced such things myself, but I can imagine if one was taught such conditions, it would follow that one would struggle in such a way. What a tragedy if many Christians have to go through this unrest because of a skewed teaching on the true nature of grace. Grace is really freeing, not daunting like that. How awful! It's terrible and I am so sorry for your troubling. The way you explained it I can put myself in your place very well.

God bless you.

November 08, 2008 6:54 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

The name of this thread is "The Unconditional Gift of God" and that's just what the gift of God is unconditional, and given freely!

It’s been about six years now since I lost my job in the Plywood plant I worked in for 30yrs in Libby Montana. The lumber industry doesn’t give you much in way of retirement, and I was still fairly young at around 51 years of age. At that time though I felt like my life was ending, that’s all I ever knew was working in a Plywood plant. At the same time I lost my job my wife got colon cancer, and the water heater exploded in our trailer house bedroom. It seemed like everything that could go wrong was going wrong. I would fall to sleep every night in fear of the future, or if I even had one. Then I met a young black man from Africa online (he had a friend that had a computer that he could use for short times)who was losing his job and being evicted from his apartment. He wasn’t asking for money but I could tell he was in bad shape. We had been talking online for sometime, when he sent me an e-mail saying that his brother’s wife had gotten deathly ill but they had no money to take her to get her help. I took and sent him the money he needed to get her help. I felt the Lord wanted me to help this young man. So I took a percentage of my retirement that I was living on at the time and sent it to him. It was a few days before he got it by western union money order. But he was so excited to be able to stay in his house and have time to look for a new job. I received a picture of him and his family, and the new furniture he had bought for his apartment.
I was so disappointed in how he had used the money, but I had given it to him as a gift. I did voice my displeasure, and he ended up trading the furniture for things he needed to start his own barbershop. I told him that was all the money I was going to send him, so he needed to make good use out of it. Later I did send him more money because his grandmother was dying, and it was quite a distance away. She had not yet believed in Jesus for eternal life, as this young man had who had left the Catholic faith. So he was able to go and visit his grandmother in her last days, and tell her about Jesus gift of eternal life. The last I had spoken to the young black man he had his barbershop and was able to make a living. I say this to show that the gift of eternal life is really a gift that anyone can take freely if they so desire. Of course we know eternal life is Jesus Himself, when we receive His gift we have received Him. But just like that young man that I was so disappointed in for using the gift that I had given him and squandering it on furniture, none the less it was a gift!!! I’m sure Jesus is disappointed with allot of us who squander the gift He has given us by paying for it in His own blood! The Scripture tells us that some of us are going to be ashamed at His coming because we have squandered the great riches that He has bestowed upon us! But none the less He was willing to give it to us freely, even knowing we would disappoint Him. That’s what a gift is, no stings attached but one that can be taken freely. True love can be abused which makes for much wood hey and stubble. I would hope that we would be wise, and lay up treasure in heaven as Jesus calls us to do.
Some of you were probably thinking reading this, that young black man had just taken me. And maybe he did.

But unconditional love always looks to the interst of the other, and not what one will receive in return. That's what Jesus did on the cross, and has provided the answer to eternal death with the gift of eternal life that can be taken freely to anyone who desires!!!!

November 08, 2008 9:31 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane & Gary and Alvin,

I'm think there is a risk of having spoken beyond what I'm communicating so let me have a little time to listen some more, and see how you are speaking.

One thing I can know, the kind warmth here is real. I wonder where and why you've got it? Someone great once modeled it and now it has spread like wildfire! Thank you for making me feel welcome; I do.

Looking forward to catching up when I have another moment,
:D Michele

November 08, 2008 4:30 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

You ALL are just blessing me so much. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Gary and Alvin, I can't tell you how much your personal stories about your lives have blessed me. I don't think this is just another blog site. This site is being used for good by the Lord. I can say that because I am being blessed AND sharpened in the truth.

Everyone who's commenting.... Thank you! You mean more to me than you could ever know. I'm so glad God brought you to this place on the World Wide Web!!! Isn't our God AMAZING!!!

Rejoicing in Jesus and His way!!!
Diane
:-)

November 08, 2008 9:27 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Praise the Lord He is always so GOOD!!!!

I too have been blessed by all the sharing here!!! Thank you all!!!!

Maybe some of you saw the documentary on "The Town Left To Die" That was Libby Montana. Entire families are dying there from asbestos from the Zonolite mine that was there. We thought it was safe and put it in our gardens and on our baseball fields. None of my family was tested positive though . . .Praise the Lord for that!!!! Then when they closed the mill down that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. There was no longer any work there all the families were leaving or going back to school. I could have went to Missoula, and worked for the same Company as a Cat driver and Lathe trainee. In fact I got up to leave for my new job there, and it snowed that morning. I didn't have snow tires on the car. And I had only one car. My wife could hardly walk just out of surgery. So I throw up my hands and said I'm not going!!! The Lord had better plans for me. That mill in Missoula is now shut down. The Lord made a way for me to take my home with me and move to Moses Lake, Washington where I worked in a box plant. I had so many days to move before they would no longer pay for the moving of my trailer. And there was no one to buy it in Libby. Working in the box plant, before I left many people told me they believed God had sent me to them to share the message of eternal life. A mysterious letter came in the mail inviting me to a try out for Hanford Patrol, which I had NEVER put in for. They thought since I was an EX-Marine I was qualified to go through their police academy. There was a timely layoff at the box plant, so I asked to be laid off. My trailer sold to the first person that came to look at it. I told my wife after the interview "well I'm sure not going to get that job" she asked why? I told her one of the questions was "have you ever slept on the job?" I said not really. They asked would you like to elaborate on that a little more? I said, when my trainee would run the lathe I would have nothing to do but sit there, and some times I would doze off. They said but you did not lie down and sleep did you? I said no! Then it was off to the psychiatrist. I gave him my personal testimony, which normally would have disqualified me. But it just so happened that he was a believer and new just what I was talking about. You had to have perfect credit to get this job also, everything fell into place. So now I live a couple miles down the road from my only child, my daughter. So yes God has been very kind to me!!!
Sorry for being so long winded, I’ll let someone else talk for a change . . .ha!ha!
alvin

November 09, 2008 9:16 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Clarification

You notice I said “the message of eternal life.” I have yet to meet a person who has not heard about the cross and resurrection. But the problem I see is, there are so many false churches out their teaching Lordship salvation. Many people have tried church and have said “if that’s what it takes to get to heaven. . Thanks but no thanks!!!!
I clearly see what the problem IS the free gift has been mixed with discipleship making the gift not a gift at all but costing you everything if you want to get to heaven!
So I explain what has happened in these false churches concerning this confusion, and offer them the gift of eternal life as just what it is, a gift you can take freely!!!! To most of the ones I’ve spoken to, this truly is GOOD NEWS (gospel)!!!!
Don’t get me wrong though I always use the eighth sign the cross to show them WHY the gift can be so free, because that’s how Jesus paid for it!!!!

Off to church I go . . . hi O hi O
Alvin

P/S I’ll be quiet now!!!!

November 09, 2008 10:09 AM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Alvin,

I trust you had as good a church service as we did! Our pastor was preaching on end times events, & I was getting so excited, I almost felt like shouting as if I was at the NCAA Football National Championship game & the USC Gamecocks were winning!!

Diane, I agree with yo' sentiments.

Rosemeister,

Thank you for your understanding. It is hard, no impossible, to put into words the feelings I had when I was under such spiritual oppression, for lack of a better term. I am sure bro. Gary would agree. God Bless y'all real good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 09, 2008 12:06 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I’m sorry I think it’s almost impossible for me to stay silent for very long . . .ha!ha! I’m kind of a hyper old guy, and after rereading some of these post it just gets me all excited . . . . if you know what I mean!!! Gary’s post nailed Calvinism and it’s short comings!!!! Which can NEVER give assurance apart from looking at your works!!! Then David came in “the crown Prince” of isle walkers and verified what Gary had said to a tee!!!! WOW this is GREAT STUFF!!!! And then there is always Diane who puts the finishing touches with love and grace with allot of encouragement to spread around!!!
David, the message I heard today was on 1 Cor 13 the love chapter. And I had a chance to talk to the pastor about J.B. Hixons book, how the forward came about before the book was finished. Anyway my pastor believes the problem is a lack of love. I would say the problem is a lack of love and truth.

Thank you all again for fleshing out the truth that sets one FREE, and that is to KNOW you have ETERNAL LIFE!!!!!
because,
it really, Really, Really is a GIFT!!!!
alvin

November 09, 2008 1:38 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

You all just keep blessing me!
I understand your excitement Alvin. I too have it, and sounds like Gary has it and David, too! I'm sure others of you have it also.
:-) NEAT!

My excitement started way back when I first found Antonio's blog. Antonio, you've been kind-of quiet lately, letting us all talk, but we all learn so much from you when you speak. We appreciate you letting WJC post also. What a blessing he's been to me. Thank you for allowing us to learn from each other. I keep checking all the time to see if you've posted something new. I love hearing from you. You're the one who got us all talking. Thank you for that!!!
:-)

Alvin.... your personal stories always thrill me. God is taking good care of you and your family, and giving you the joy of sharing His good news. AWESOME!

David, it is exciting to think that the Lord's return may be soon. Someday we'll really be in His presence face to face. WOW!

Alvin.... I just wanted to comment on what your pastor said when you brought up J.B. Hixson's book. You said that your pastor believes the problem is a lack of love. Christians can be very unloving, and I know that has happened in this debate. But the actual ISSUE is not about a lack of love. It's about a lack of truth.... as you said. We need to be clear on the truth, and yet be loving. Let me say, Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin have not lacked in love EVER as far as I can tell. They've only been faithful to the truth of the Word as they see it. They can't compromise on something so important as this. But they have not attacked personalities. I find them very biblical, loving, and kind. They are both humble men with a teachable spirit. That's the way I see them. But your pastor is right that all Christians should be loving, and of course without compromising truth.

Looking joyfully for His return,
Diane
:-)

November 09, 2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger goe said...

We had a workday at my church yesterday (rake leaves, clean windows, maintenance, repairs, etc.) and I told my pastor about this blog and all the great people I had met here. He was standing there with a big smile taking it all in and then started asking lots of questions about blogs like he might like to join us himself! He is so busy all the time that he has never spent any time on blogs and doesn't know much about it. But he really thinks it is a great thing that believers from different parts of the country (and world) can have fellowship like we do! I think it's great too. I told him that I felt like I knew the people here better than most of the people in our church, and it's true, I do!. Sometimes it can be difficult to find enough time for blogging, but it is worthwhile and I always look forward to catching up with what everyone is doing and saying on the blogs I visit. I'm really grateful for all of you and the fellowship we have!

Alvin---I enjoyed hearing your experience about sending the money and how the Lord watched over you and provided for you. Considering the days in which we are living now, that's a great thing about our Lord that we all need to remember and keep our focus on. Your testimony is encouraging.

David---There are more people who have been traumatized by false teaching than we can even imagine! They are around us everyday, so we have such a great opportunity to try and help them don't we?! The "saving message'' really is good news for so many people like Alvin said. They are thirsty for the "living water" just like the woman at the well was! My pastor has been teaching on the last days some just as your pastor. It sure seems we are close doesn't it? So you're a Gamecock fan are you? My team is SO bad that I cannot bring myself to acknowledge or confess them this year. Maybe next year!! I do love college football though!

Rose--I wish you would come here more often! It's always good to hear from you! Thank you for your kindness and empathy. Those days are in the past--thank the Lord!

Diane-- I told my pastor about the gospel message for children you sent me and he wants to see it. I told him where you went to college and his eyes lit up! He started telling me what a great school it is!

Michele---Thanks for what you said. Come back sometime, when you feel like it. You are always welcome!

Antonio--Where are you brother? We miss you too!


Gary

November 09, 2008 2:42 PM  
Blogger goe said...

WJC--I didn't mean to leave you out. I wish you would join us more too. But I know how hard it sometimes to find the time. I know we all have so many responsibilities to take care of. I've always loved your comments wherever I find them though!

November 09, 2008 2:58 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Gary,

You are right. I love helping, or more accurately, letting the Lord use me to help those trapped in false teaching to see the truth & find liberty! Man I remember when I found it!

Bro, I am a Gamecock fan & proud of it! But, I know what you mean about bad teams! My pro team is teh Cincinnati Bengals, so 'nuff said! Yet I still keep rooting for them! Surely they can't be any worse next year than this year! So don't be ashamed of your team! Stick with 'em! They'll come back, & even if they don't at least you're not always under stress worrying that some team is going to knock them down a notch or two in the standings!
Take care & God Bless.

November 10, 2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Godd morning everyone!

It was quite the rollercoaster weekend for me I got food poisoning early friday morning, and thought I was going to have to go to the hospital but it passed so am much better now. We had to put to sleep our little kitty suckatache who was 14 years old on Sunday. She would greet me every morning, so I'm going to really miss her. I hope everthing is going well for you all. Thank you Michele for giving us such good questions and your kind spirit.
Well off to work i go!
have a great day in the Lord!!!

alvin

November 11, 2008 4:02 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin, I'm so sorry you got so ill this week-end and then having to put your kitty to sleep. Praying for you now that God will give you strength, and that He will lift you up from missing your pet. I think our pets are one of God's special treats to those he loves.

November 11, 2008 8:18 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Thank you Diane!!

Fourteen years ago my daughter went on a field trip with her class to the dog pound, and brought little sucky home. She wanted to suck on your finger all the time, and someone had burnt all her wiskers off. So she was in need of much love.

I think our pets are one of God's special treats to those he loves.

I agree!!! Animals can give so much love!!!

God put that love in His creation I believe to give us a little glimps of His own heart.

When you think about Jesus weeping over Martha's and Mary's sorrow even though Jesus knew He would raise Lazurus from the grave. Jesus felt thier pain!!! That was a window for us to see into Jesus heart! His GREAT love is way beyond our understanding. I think to limit His love just to some people is to miss completly His heart!

Keep letting your light shine Diane!!!
alvin

November 11, 2008 7:31 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin... You said it well~! God delights in giving His children things to enjoy!!! NEAT!

Diane
:-)

November 11, 2008 9:06 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin,

I understand your pain brother. I had a dear little Shelty for 12 yrs. Best friend and companion I've ever had--very special. I had to have her put to sleep on June 5, 2007 and I'm still grieving. Don't laugh, but I spent quite a bit of time doing study and research to see if there is any hint in scripture that animals might be resurrected to eternal life. She was so special to me I couldn't bear the thought of never seeing her again. Anyway, I understand that your grief is real, and so does the Lord. By the way, what do you think Rev. 5:13 means?

Gary

November 12, 2008 1:33 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Gary

Losing my cat just reminded me again how much death stinks!!! I believe we will see our animals once again. I know the Lord when He created them said they were good (Gen 1:25). I believe all the animals are special in His sight, not a bird falls to the ground without Him knowing because He cares for them(Matt 6:26). Everything that He has given life to has great value. Were told in Deut 14:21 Not to boil a young goat in it’s mother’s milk. If He can make a faithful donkey talk (Numbers 22:21-35), He can make a cat and dog sing praises to His name.

Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!” “So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you? And he said “No.”
And notice the angel would have killed Balaam but not his donkey:
The Angel of the Lord said: “The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would have killed you by now, and let her live.” Numbers 22:22-35
I always wondered though why if the firstborn of a donkey was not redeemed you had to break it’s neck? Any ideas?
Exodus 13:13

alvin

November 12, 2008 5:05 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Do you think it might have had something to do with the fact that God Himself would ride on a donkey's colt?
A donkey had to be redeemed by a lamb. Ex 13:13

November 12, 2008 7:54 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Great thought, bro. Alvin!!!!!!!!!!

November 13, 2008 8:48 AM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin,

I don't know the answer to the question about Ex. 13:13. Your idea about that is interesting. I have to admit I've never really considered that passage before. The story about Balaam and the donkey cracks me up. Now that is FUNNY! Regarding the issue of animals and eternal life, here's something that might be relevant: "because the creation itself ALSO will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the WHOLE creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." Rom. 8:21,22. See also Col. 1:15,16,20. Also 1 Cor. 2:9- maybe God will give us back a new, glorified, talking version of our beloved animals as a reward--do you think? My dog did something very mysterious and wonderful on the day she died. I can think of very few things that would give me as much joy as talking with her about that. Thanks Alvin, for reminding me of that talking donkey, because it has really triggered some new thoughts about what my dog did that day. I better not say anymore because someone might think I'm insane! Ha!

God bless you today.

Gary

November 13, 2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Gary
I looked up all your verses. And the last one really caught my attention:
But as it is written:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Cor 2:9

That reminded me of what Diane had said:
I think our pets are one of God's special treats to those he loves.

What a GREAT surprise that would be from God to us that have loved Him. I believe it would be just like God to do that because He is so good to us!!!

alvin

November 13, 2008 4:19 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Thanks David

I started reading through the OT again, and each time I've come to that verse I've wondered why just a donkey? Maybe I'm way off, but just thinking out loud...ha!ha! Something I learnt from Billy Graham concerning reading, one chapter from the OT, A Psalm and a Proverb, and one chapter from the NT. That's four chapters a day, I like the balance. I learnt more about the OT from J.V. Magee then anyone. I use to study his commentaries along with my daily reading. He sure had allot of insight into the symbolism in the OT. I gave all my commentaries away though, to a friend that was struggling with eternal security. I miss having them to reference.

God bless you David!!!!
alvin

November 13, 2008 5:39 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Great idy, bro. Alvin! You know, when I've read the Bible through, though I did not do it the way you said, I did read 3 OT chapters & 1 NT chapter per day, & of course I got through in less than a year.

You're right about Dr. McGee! Some of my most spiritually rich times have been just having my Bible & his commentaries & studying them together! He was a wonderful Bible teacher & I'm lookin' ferd to meeting him & you in Heaven, maybe even before for you!

November 13, 2008 6:56 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi All
I'm kind experimenting to see if I can do it. But HERE is an article by Zane Hodges on Regeneration and the New Covenant, and also touches on Dispensationalism.

November 13, 2008 7:03 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Gary

I think you really
HIT
the nail on the
HEAD
when you said this:

Is it not clear that those who believe and teach Lordship Salvation and the Reformed doctrine of perseverance are teaching a false gospel of works and misleading multitudes of unbelievers and believers into thinking that good works are a necessary condition for eternal life and entrance into God's kingdom? They cannot escape this charge by trying to attribute these good works to God's unconditional election and irresistible grace. The Catholic church tries to excuse themselves in a similar way by saying that the good works they teach are necessary for salvation are the result of God's "infused grace," and therefore His gift to us.

The Pharisee in Lk. 18:9-14 did the same. Note well what he said in his prayer to God: "God, I THANK YOU that I am not like other men..." While it might sound humble to thank God and give Him the credit for our supposed righteousness, Jesus apparently thought otherwise.

November 14, 2008 2:53 AM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin,

Yes, this is why it's always so frustrating and futile to get in debates with a Calvinist. They can continually make statements that clearly communicate the idea that works are a requirement or necessary condition for salvation, but as soon as anyone challenges them on this, they immediately run for cover behind the "sovereignty of God." That's when you start hearing things such as: "these good works are the FRUIT and not the ROOT, so how can you say I teach salvation by works?" Once they do this, the only way to continue the debate is to shift the focus to a completely different theological issue--God's sovereignty vs man's free will. If you are unwilling to enter that arena with them, they can again go back to making all of their statements that teach salvation by works. Of course, the victim in all this is the unsuspecting person who simply wants and needs a straightforward and clear answer to the question: "What must I do to be saved?" In this way, L/S creates a huge stumbling block that makes it impossible for that person to understand and believe the simple promise of eternal life and have the assurance of salvation that comes with it. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the same method of confusion and deception that Satan has been using from the very beginning in the garden of Eden---"has God said, 'he who believes in Me has eternal life'?" This is how you end up with a book such as "The Gospel According to Jesus"!!

Gary

November 14, 2008 5:42 AM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin,

Regarding the issue of God's sovereignty vs free will, are you familiar with "middle knowledge" that Zane refers to sometimes in his articles? It makes more sense than anything I've come across. But the whole debate about sovereignty vs free will is an infinitely vast theological wasteland that Calvinists always use as a refuge of last resort when all of their other convoluted arguments fail.

November 14, 2008 6:54 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Goe,

You described the fruitless debate about Calvinism as:
an infinitely vast theological wasteland

Good! You're right. "Well put" as the rabbi on Fiddler on the Roof would describe his own musings. :~)

Also - I think this sums up how I see the LS doctrine as well:

Of course, the victim in all this is the unsuspecting person who simply wants and needs a straightforward and clear answer to the question: "What must I do to be saved?" In this way, L/S creates a huge stumbling block that makes it impossible for that person to understand and believe the simple promise of eternal life and have the assurance of salvation that comes with it.

Exactly. Another thought "well put."

I only wish that these brothers could see how difficult this teaching makes it to get the gift before the recipient... and worse, how distorted it scrunches the clear message of salvation in Paul's epistles. I really love hearing the stories like yours and Dave's (free-grace believer) who came away from the LS movement. I pray for others that I know to see the same simplicity.

November 14, 2008 8:20 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

I do love reading this long conversation. Every day I read these comments. It is refreshing.

November 14, 2008 8:20 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Gary,

I saw you mention "middle knowledge" and wanted to drop a note. I agree with you that "middle knowledge" or Molinism "makes more sense than anything I've come across."

I don't know what Hodges might have said about it, but Molinism's biggest and most well-known proponents in modern times are William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga. I personally subscribe to Molinism, although I'm sure I don't agree with every detail of the way Craig or Plantinga views it. But I do think it is the best theory I've seen for resolving the tension between God's sovereignty and human free will without compromising or unnecessarily emphasizing either. Some people seem content to leave the tension unresolved, and if we must, we must. But if there is a biblical way to better understand and resolve the tension, then I'm all for it.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that there are some of us out here who are Molinists. Of course, the theory is not without criticism - I think even Matthew has criticized it to an extent. But I do think it would be very much worth your time (and that of anyone else's) to research it and consider adopting it.

November 14, 2008 1:08 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Rachel,

Thanks for the references. It's something I've wanted to learn more about for some time. Zane has only briefly discussed it a couple of times that I'm aware of, but he seemed to have a favorable view of it, although like you, he might not agree with all the specifics. I don't know. Like you said, it's an issue I'm sure no one has a complete handle on. I just believe, as you said, that any view of God's sovereignty that ends up denying human responsibility and free will just doesn't square with what I see in scripture. I tend to think that God is big enough to allow free will while at the same time not compromising His sovereignty. But exactly how He does this I'm sure only He completetly understands. Thanks for your comment. God bless.

Gary

November 14, 2008 3:09 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Rose,

Thanks for your comment. I pray the same thing as you Rose. If only. Dave and I (and many others) are proof that it can happen though!

Gary

November 14, 2008 3:14 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Gary

Sorry I didn’t tell you this morning that I was on my way to work.

Yes, I’m aware of Zane referring to “middle knowledge” in some of his writings, but I have not studied it out very much.

One such case: Matt 11 : 21Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

This verse clearly shows that Jesus could see another outcome for Tyre and Sidon that would have brought repentance, and like Nineveh delayed temporal judgment.

I appreaciate your strong stance against Calvinism. I also see it for what it is, but have not been able to articulate clearly without becoming offensive. I've also had a hard time keeping track of everyones different flavor of it. The subject has been very personal with me because of my wife in the past, so it's diffucult for me to keep my feelings out of it. I don't see any difference between L/S and Calvinism they both are a lie from Satan that attack the very promise of God. As you put so very clearly:
There is no doubt in my mind that this is the same method of confusion and deception that Satan has been using from the very beginning in the garden of Eden---"has God said, 'he who believes in Me has eternal life'?" This is how you end up with a book such as "The Gospel According to Jesus"!!

There is also absolutely no doubt in my mind either!!!!

goodnight
alvin

November 14, 2008 7:48 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

If you NEVER believed it was an "Unconditional Gift" you NEVER KNEW the GIFT of God!!!!

A person can say they believe that they are a lost sinner, but still not believe that Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

A person can say they believe that Jesus Christ is their only hope of salvation, but not believe that Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

A person can say they believe faith alone without works, just faith alone, believing that Jesus died for their sins and rose again was their only hope of salvation, but not believe that Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

A person can say they believe that they have to take Christ as their Lord as well as their Savior, but not believe that Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

A person can say they call on the name of the Lord as their Lord and Savior, but not believe that Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

A person can say they are fully convinced that what they believe is true, and say they have no confusion, but not believe that Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

A person can say they are fully convinced that what they believe makes perfect sense, but not believe that Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

A person can say they have taken Jesus yoke and are learning from Jesus, and have rest for their soul, but not believe Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

A person can say they have complete assurance, but not believe Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.


A person can say they have no doubts, but not believe Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.


A person can say I know so because Christ paid for my sins and is my Savior. He is my only hope of salvation, but not believe Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely.

They can say they believe ALL of this, and still believe SOMETHING that Jesus doesn’t give. If they have NEVER believed Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely they do not KNOW the gift of God like Jesus told the Samaratan women she HAD TO KNOW. First you MUST believe it IS a gift!!!

A five point dual carburetor can say all day it’s faith alone in Christ alone, but not believe Jesus gift of eternal life can be taken freely! Their L/S or Calvinistic beliefs make it impossible for them to KNOW, not until death will they KNOW they were a real tree and not a fake one with lots of pretty works. But then it will be to late.


A person does NOT have to know they are a sinner, or that Jesus is Lord, or take His yoke upon them, or call on His name, THEY DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING BUT BELIEVE HIS PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE!!!

And God does NOT have to give them the gift of faith so they MUST take it!!!!

They can take the living water of their own free-will IF they desire!!!

God invites them to take the water FREELY!!!!

It’s a GIFT!!!

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”

And let him who hears say, “Come!”

And let him who thirsts come.

Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. REV 22:17

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you (now) knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have (already) asked Him, and He would have (already) given you living water.” John 4:10

November 17, 2008 8:47 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Calvinist don’t want to be linked with the Catholic Church but that’s exactly where their roots go:

Nevertheless, the error of Calvin and the other Reformers was to postulate a reformation instead of a complete rejection of the Roman Catholic Church. The determinant is inadvertently stated by Schaff “All the Reformers were born, baptized, confirmed, and educated in the historic Catholic Church. They never doubted the validity of the Catholic ordinances, and rejected the idea of re-baptism. (Schaff, History, vol. 8, p.313.) emphasis mine

And just as Catholicism looks to their works Calvinism also looks to their works to prove they are the elect. The Catholic will not get to heaven apart from his works, and the Calvinist will not get to heaven apart from his works. They BOTH MUST HAVE WORKS!!!!
Neither believe in "THE UNCONDITIONAL GIFT of GOD."

alvin

P/S Ignorance is on the part of the one who denies these facts.

November 18, 2008 8:58 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

If what a person says and what he believes contradict, it doesn't matter what he says he believes!

November 18, 2008 4:39 PM  
Blogger goe said...

You've hit the bullseye again Alvin! I decided it was best to let you have the last word on the goins' on over there with the "blues". It's obvious you're a battle tested gunslinger!

Gary

November 22, 2008 10:32 AM  

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