Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Various Thoughts Stemming from Zane Hodges' Poignant New Article

God has spoken in His word what He requires of men and women to do in order to receive the free gift of everlasting life. In His wisdom, He has determined to require men and women to trust in Jesus Christ for that gift. At anytime men and women add requirements to the one and only God-ordained condition of simple faith/trust in Jesus for the gift, they are imposing a form of:

LEGALISM.

When men and women add requirements of various doctrinal assents to the one requirement that God has given to men (faith alone in Christ alone) they are engaged in legalism.

The Bible never, ever asks the sinner to assent to doctrines in order to be saved. God simply asks men and women to trust His Son.

I stipulate and have always stipulated that men and women will have to assent to various things in order to be persuaded that Jesus guarantees their eternal well-being by faith. But there could potentially be infinitely different scenarios and variations of information that could get people to that point of faith in Christ. These considerations are the responsibility of the lost. Jesus says, "Strive to enter the narrow gate" (Lk 13:24). Obviously, in our evangelism, we have certain facts which are of 'first importance', that are the strongest testimonies unto the saving ability of Christ. But we must not confuse these things with the Biblically stated condition of faith alone in Christ alone.

If the Bible states that God has only required simple faith in Jesus for eternal life THEN anything added to that requirement will be LEGALISM.

Not all legalism is fatal (in the sense of preventing one from eternal life), but it should always be:

AVOIDED!

I have stipulated, and so does and has Zane that through the ministry of the Checklist Evangelists associated with the Free Grace movement people can and do get saved. Nevertheless, this does not negate the fact that they are legalists in the sense that:

IF SOMEONE DOES NOT ASSENT TO THEIR LAUNDRY LIST OF DOCTRINES, THEY CANNOT BE SAVED

EVEN

IF THESE PEOPLE TRULY ENTRUST THEIR ETERNAL DESTINIES INTO THE HANDS OF JESUS CHRIST.

This is just one of the problems that Theological Legalism can produce (not to mention problems with assurance and other things).

Every reader here would have to AGREE that anything added to what God requires man to do to receive everlasting life is LEGALISM.

They would also HAVE to agree that if it can be shown that God does not require (AS A GOD-MANDATED REQUIREMENT) the assent to sundry doctrines for the reception of eternal life that ANY INSISTING OF SUCH

WOULD

BE

LEGALISM.


Conclusion:

If God has only mandated that men and women ONLY believe in Jesus for eternal life (and ultimately leaves the individual responsible on how he can get to that point)

and

Man adds any FURTHER REQUIREMENTS as if they were from the MOUTH OF GOD

THEN

Such IS LEGALISM


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

Some say that eternal salvation is only for the orthodox.

Go have some discussions with your children as to the nature of Christ being fully God and fully man. Go ask them as to substitutionary atonement. (Indeed go ask them on any number of doctrines)

Let us see how orthodox they are on these points. Maybe you will find that salvation can be for the UNORTHODOX too!

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

It has been granted time and time again that a variety of things about Jesus will HAVE to be understood and assented to in order to bring one to the point of resting his eternal destiny upon Jesus by faith.

But this is different than saying that such things are REQUIRED as if from the MOUTH OF GOD.

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

The following is a syllogism that shows that it is not rhetoric, but simple truth, to label the position of the Checklist Evangelists as “theological legalism”

1) According to the Bible there is only one God-mandated requirement for the reception of everlasting life: simple faith in Jesus Christ for it
2) Anything added to the God-mandated requirement(s) for the reception of everlasting life is legalism
3) Checklist Evangelists add doctrinal requirements in ADDITION to faith alone in Christ alone

therefore

4) Tthe checklist evangelists are guilty of LEGALISM

Checklist Evangelists are masquerading as Free Gracers. Listen, Free Grace theology revolves around the fact that eternal life is ONLY RECEIVED as a free gift. Trusting in Christ receives the gift. It is a beggar having his hand out and a benefactor graciously imparting sustenance.

The activities of the checklist evangelists have the POTENTIAL to frustrate grace. It can be easily imagined that in scenarios of checklist evangelism the lost are asked to pass a pop-quiz before they are allowed to take the gift freely.

Can you see the difference between these two things:

1) Someone giving out a gift, period. Just ask and you have it.

2) Someone giving out a gift but requiring that you pass a test before you can ask and then have.

Free Grace theology is built around #1. Checklist evangelism can be guilty of #2.

6 Comments:

Blogger alvin said...

Matthew 16: 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.



Note: that rock is a revelation that Jesus is the Christ, and upon it is how the church is built.

John 4: 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”



(1)She needed to know the gift of God, which is eternal life. (2)She needed to know who it was speaking to her.

Jesus said if she new the gift and the giver she would ask, which is to believe. When He revealed to her that He was the Christ she had life in His name.

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.



John 1: 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:



The water hasn’t changed, it’s the knowledge of Jesus person that He is the Christ the One who gives eternal life to the one who believes in His name.



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.



1 Cor 10: 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink.

For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

alvin

September 24, 2008 8:43 PM  
Blogger wjc said...

But Alvin, - You haven't synthesized, homogenized and pasteurized enough ingredients for it to be safe to drink!!!

September 24, 2008 10:04 PM  
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

Legalism is REAL!

September 25, 2008 1:07 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thanks Antonio! You explained it so well.

I just posted part of what I'm going to post here over at your and Rose's group blog. But this was so heavily on my heart that I wanted to post it here, too.
I know I've been saying too much lately. I'll try to take a rest after this.....
No promises! :-)

There are millions of people in the world living in all different cultures. Who's to say that God doesn't reach one of them with the knowledge that He is the Christ, the Son of God, the giver of eternal life.... just like He's done in the past. Children come to my mind.

Here's one reason why it's important to understand EVERYTHING that God reveals to us in His Word.
***It opens up the rest of the Bible for understanding.***

In John, realizing what the saving message is, realizing what the 8 signs are for, opens up the meaning of the rest of the book. Understanding the saving content opens up the entire Bible for understanding. It opens up our understanding to Paul's teachings. It opens up understanding in a multitude of ways. This isn't just one little issue.

For example...
When I learned about the meaning of repentance, it opened up to me the book of Acts in a way that I never saw before. It was exciting!
When I learned about the "temporal" wrath of God, it opened up the meaning of the Bible in other places.
When I learned that the word "saved" could mean something different than saved from hell, it opened up other parts of the Bible for me.
Learning any truth opens up other truths in the Bible. My favorite phrase..... "The pieces fit."

My friends, it's fun to learn. It's so satisfying. And when God reveals a truth to us that may be "new" (only to us.... not new in His Word), it's because He's going to open up other truths. His Word is inexhaustible. We never get to where we know it all.

What Zane Hodges is teaching is not harming the free grace message. It's enlightening it. It's opening it up to see other great truths in His Word. It's showing us just how free His gift is!!!! It is so free!!!!

Again I have to publicly thank Zane Hodges for the way he has helped open up the truths of the Bible to me. One truth has led to me seeing other truths. I thank God for him. He's been faithful!

Thanks Antonio. I'm so glad I found you, and I'm praying for you.

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

September 27, 2008 1:29 PM  
Blogger Generic Christian Mystic said...

There is an overused phrase but it says it so well:

"Jesus-and"

Our innate religiosity and self-righteous self-love drives us to feel we need more than the simplicity of faith alone.

Saving faith requires a Savior that truly can save us.

This faith that saves is in:

"Jesus"

and ANY form of salvation adding to this simplicity becomes another gospel called:

"Jesus-and"

www.GenericChristianMystic.com

December 03, 2008 8:24 PM  
Blogger Generic Christian Mystic said...

Legalism, is the human mind's attempts to rectify grace with a sense of needing to "even the score" with God. When our minds can't get around grace and find its end or beginning, legalism is born. We think to understand it versus accept by faith, we need to erect access gates to God's grace. Legalists then stand there faithfully & hand notices out to believers, directing us to "door number 2" -- some paradigm or doctrine which has grace defined. Thus we miss God's grace, "door nuber 1" and waste our lives working out an incorrect salvation, a grace-less mess!

Paul states in the word, 2 Corinthians 10:5, that our cherished concepts, high thoughts, and favorite pre-set angles of approaching scripture are to be submitted before God's throne.

"overthrowing reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God, and leading captive every thought into the obedience of the Christ;"

This means very plainly that our own minds, every one of our thoughts, what we learned from the pulpit, from the seminary professor, from bible studies, from our parents, from close friends, on the web, in books, at conferences, in counseling sessions, from visions, dreams and the who she-bang -- all of it -- all of it -- yes, even that idea -- that one too -- even what granpa says -- ALL of it must be in submission to one thing.

What is that? How is this done?

God's Spirit gives us understanding, leading us into ALL truth. The word even says, we need not have anyone, any man/woman teach us. As He will open up truth from scripture, by revelation via the Living Word of Christ in us, we can come into an obedience to Christ, to His Spirit and THEN the knowledge of God is given. As we read, the word and rightly approach it via the supernatural wisdom of God's Spirit, then prayerfully and humbly before Him, we find the letters, the words come alive somehow. We are washed in the word, freed up from legalistic bondage, delivered from the fear of what others think.

If we approach the word with a legalistic mind, we find a legalistic God giving us rules to live by. If we approach the word with something to prove, we can usually prove anything we want to prove. It is a form of lawlessness approaching the scriptures this way. The letter of the Word used without the Spirit brings death, literally seen in our world and unseen in our souls. The word used incorrectly can bring death to our lives. Abuse of the word can drive men and women into madness and sorrow upon sorrow.

The word rightly and humbly approached, taught to us personally by the Spirit will change us, bringing His life deeper into us, sanctifying us and teaching us of Christ and the coming kingdom. And yes, the word used by the Spirit points us to a righteous way of death, a way of suffering, a way of obedience that brings into power the very same resurrection life Jesus tapped into when He was here as a man. Jesus asks us to die to ourselves, to enter into a fellowship with Him, a walk that He walked.

We cannot do it by our own fleshly, soulish, and strong-willed intellect. Believe me, I tried and tried, decade after decade, for over thirty years. The Lord finally broke my worship and idolatry of my mind, my intellectual strengths. He laid me low for seven years until I finally understood what Paul said,
"But surely I count also all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all, and count them to be filth, that I may gain Christ;" Philipians 3:8

We must lay aside ALL we are, ALL we know, ALL we are proud of having attained to, every citadel of dogma, every thought we rest in, lay it ALL down before Christ and count it as filth, that we might gain Him.

Paul was an intellectual, a deeply religious man, devoted, full of pride, full of dedication to a cause, defender of ancient, hallowed religion. But remember this, with all that revered Hebrew religion & the powerfully successful government of Rome, the Law and the Prophets, all the Jewish statutes & of that world's best educated minds -- they reasoned out their best solution before their God and then decided a best course of duty.

AND THEY KILLED THE LORD JESUS!

Paul, the great champion of intellect and religion, had innocent and Spirit-filled believers in Christ murdered, all in the name of the word, the holy word, the holy letter of the law! Can you see why incorrect use of the word, worship of the mind always brings death? Paul understood completely and he was moved by the Spirit to call all of it filth, refuse and dung -- when compared to knowing Christ.

This "hitting the RESET button" is what ALL of Christianity needs. It is time we realize that what we have invested our lives in, year by year, may actually be but gilded "wood, hay, and stubble" when we stand before the Lord Seat of Christ. He is not interested in the multi-faceted, polished, bronze-serpent offering of our wonderful harvest from our self-styled obedience. For such, is but the offering of Cain. The Lord looks for a life of sacrifice, the blood, sweat and tears of our lives, laid out day-by-day upon the altar before Him. Out of this death-to-self styled obedience, arises Christ-resurrection life and the fruit of this sacrifical life is a sweet fragrance and acceptable to Him. It is thus God working in us to bring fruits, works of righteousness. The tree of life in us then can bring forth good fruit.

May God bring His light about these things into your heart.

December 15, 2008 10:59 AM  

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