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)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

God's Forgiveness Part 2: A Working Thesis

The Working Thesis

In the last two installments of this series I made the announcement that I have come to a new conclusion on forgiveness, namely, that there is no sense in the Bible, anywhere, in which somone is forgiven of their future sins. Forgiveness is always a temporal, personal matter, where sin is “let go” for a purpose of repairing a relationship, and is granted with reference to sin already committed. When a believer in this dispensation receives the absolutely free gift of eternal life, a number of other blessings follow, an example being the “forgiveness of sins”. At this moment of initial salvation, every transgression and sin carried out, up to that point, is forgiven. Furthermore, the newly regenerate one, in light of the redemption provided through Christ’s death, is given the privilege, right, and opportunity to have any and all future sins forgiven simply through confession to the Father.


The Significance of the Forgiveness of Sins

In the dispensations past, men and women did not share in all of the superlative blessings that have been afforded to those living in the economy of Grace through the cross of Jesus Christ. The indwelling ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament period provide a stark contrast to anything available to the saints of all prior dispensations. Forgiveness of sins, on the other hand, is not something new to God’s people, in fact it is a blessing that runs throughout the entire Bible. Yet we must be made pefectly clear on this: the process through which individuals are forgiven has greatly changed between the Old and New Testaments due to Christ’s once and for all death for sin.

The Mosaic Law, for instance, had laws and ordinances regulating every aspect of life in Israel. A large portion of revelation within it concerned Israel’s relationship to God. Available within the Law was the provision for forgiveness, which was contained in many and varied offerings of sacrifice, the procedures for which being prescribed by God. The shedding of blood through animal sacrifice provided an atonement through which basis forgiveness could be given. The forgiveness granted was for sins already committed and for the purpose of temporal harmony and fellowship with God.

The New Testament heralds the shed blood of the cross of Christ and attempts to plumb the deep implications of it. Whereas in the Old Testament, the sacrifices were temporary, the death of Christ (the God-Man) was of infinite value. One of the many benefits of Christ’s death is that Jesus, Himself, stands in the presence of the Father as the ever present propitiation for our sins (1 Jn 2:2). Whenever a saint in this dispensation is in need of forgiveness in order to repair or continue temporal fellowship with God, he does not have to shed the blood of an animal. Jesus Christ has made the once-for-all sacrifice (Heb 7:27). The believer’s only need is to confess His sins to God because through the advocacy of the Son, whose presence forever reminds the Father of His perfect satisfaction in regards to sin, God is faithful to forgive and still remains righteous while doing so.

So in summary, the Old Testament saints had to continually offer their imperfect sacrifices so that sin may be covered. The Father looked upon those present offerings and could bestow forgiveness. Different is what the case is in the New Testament. Christ offered the perfect sacrifice, never to have to die again. The Father looks presently upon Jesus Christ, who offered Himself in the past, and grants forgiveness on that basis. The forgiveness sought in both of these situations is for sins already committed.

I am not relating to you things that you probably do not already know; I want to inform you that I am well aware at this point. But have you really thought through this material enough? It is quite apparant to me, that even though there are major distinctions between the Old and New Testaments with regard to how forgiveness of sins was obtained, there remains a consistent thread throughout the whole Bible: the forgiveness of sins is for saints within the sphere of time for the purpose of temporal fellowship with God. No matter where it is found within the Bible, forgiveness is an “in time” (temporal) benefit that does not extend beyond the present. It is the method through which the believer remains or returns to fellowship with his Creator (or with regard to initial salvation, forgiveness initiates fellowship), and it is a personal issue with God, not judicial.


Forgiveness is not an eternal consideration with God.

One of the problems (among many) that Free Grace advocates have with Lordship Salvation proponents is the way they import the idea of eternal salvation indiscriminately into a wide variety of passages. Whether it is in the areas of discipleship or temporal deliverances and consequences, they seem to read the bible disposed to understand almost everything with regards to the eternal. They have eternity on the brain!

But do we? Have we, in our passionate emphasis on soteriology, mistakingly supposed the forgiveness of sins to refer to and guarantee our eternal standing with God? Where did we get this from? (I do have some ideas I will share later). Is this a tradition that has been handed down to us and not arrived at through precise, hermeneutical care? In this series I will attempt to show that this is not a doctrine taught anywhere in the Bible.

Our Temporal Lives in Relation to God are of Great Importance to Him

The way we presently live in this world, in our relationship with God, is of great interest to Him. An impartial reading of the Old and New Testaments for the purpose of discerning the degree to which God is concerned with how one lives in the here-and-now in relation to Himself may surprise some of you. Certainly God has made provision for our eternal well-being, but it may not follow in your minds that He has precisely and especially done the same for our temporal life as well.

Maybe you think that I am going too far with my conclusions concerning your possible estimate of God’s consideration of our “in time” relationship to Him. Fair enough. Allow me the opportunity to access it through a series of questions. Have you ever considered that there are divisable blessings found within the salvation package we received upon believing in Christ for eternal life? Are these blessings clearly differentiated in your understanding, or do they overlap so much as to tend to blur the lines between them? Is “forgiveness of sins” just another way of describing “justification”? Do you realize that there are benefits provided for the believer that solely relate to our relationship to God now, able to be distinguished from those which are eternal? Wouldn’t it make sense that there would be? Let these questions sink in for a moment.

As a side, we have all heard Covenant Theologians blast Dispensationalists for advocating two methods of salvation and I have read the same charge in reverse (See Ryrie’s Dispensationalism, pgs 192-93 for both cases). Could these misunderstandings stem from confusing “forgiveness” with “regeneration”? People have often looked at the sacrificial system which was a basis for forgiveness in the Old Testament and erroneously supposed that in some way it was a means through which God eternally saved individuals of Israel. People have always possesed eternal life through faith alone (Jn 3:3-8; c.f. 3:16), but it is evident from the study of the Bible that forgiveness is conditioned on works (see Lev 4 and ff for OT saints, and c.f. Mt 6:14-15 w/ 1 Jn 1:9 for NT saints), both being certainly based upon sacrifice.


Category Error

As we have already noted in this article, Christ’s death has many benefits that the New Testament explores. I believe that we will spend eternity learning (and experiencing!) of all the blessings that have and will ever yet be showered upon us through the merits of the cross and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Eternal participation in the Kingdom of God, regeneration and eternal life, justification, resurrection, “the forgiveness of sins”, the ministries of the Holy Spirit, the prospect of riches in the ages to come, redemption, opportunity for co-heirship with Christ, the cleansing blood of Jesus as we walk in the light and other provisions for temporal fellowship with God... these are but a partial list of blessings established upon the foundation of the cross of Christ.

An act of charity may have many distinguishable benefits which can include a diversity of provisions each with their unique intents, senses, and purposes. One may think immediately of a last will produced to administer the property and resources of the recently deceased. Today’s legal environment can be utilized to manage one’s “estate” in a very detailed way. Trusts can be set up in a variety of manners, items and funds bequethed with stipulations and conditions, and property divided with specific intents, all with varying objectives. Such is precisely the case concerning the magnanimous deed performed by Jesus Christ on the cross. Resulting from it comes the manifold blessings contained only fractionally in the catalogue of the preceding paragraph.

Herein lies the relationship between these blessings: they all flow from the infinite value and merits of the cross of Christ. Since we should regard this statement as true, we shouldn’t be surprised to see distinguishable benefits, stemming from the death of the Son of God, being presented together in the text of Scripture, where authors like to heap blessing upon blessing! Yet it should not be automatically assumed by the wise interpreter that since the Biblical writers integrate these doctrines in their writings and sermons that they affirm equations between them, or consider them anything but able to be differentiated.

I have taken 3 classes in hermeneutics, two at the undergraduate level and one at the graduate. I have also taught the same class at the Associate’s degree level for a Bible College, called Equip Bible Institute. One of my professor’s, Dr. Garland Shinn, taught me a principle of interpretation based upon the doctrine of inscripturation. God gave man a wide range of vocabulary through which to articulate the glories and wonders of God. The writers of Scripture wrote “not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual [words]” (1 Cor 2:13; c.f 2 Tim 3:16 & 2 Pet 1:20-21). Dr. Shinn used to drive home the point that the Holy Spirit used precision in guiding the writers of Scripture in their word choices. Why did they use one word over another? Here he sums up my point, “Similarity is not identity. Distinguish between two things that are similar. Words and concepts are only identical if they are affirmed to be” (Dr. Garland H. Shinn, Practical Biblical Hermeneutics, Class Notes, 1997, emphasis his). Unless Scripture affirms two things to be identical, we may not.

Nowhere in the text of Scripture is “the forgiveness of sins” affirmed to be equated with justification. Since this is true, we must distinguish between them. The first distinguishing characteristic between these two doctrines is that forgiveness is a personal issue between God and man (or man and man) and justification is a judicial issue. This point is famously illustrated by the late Zane Hodges:

Suppose I go to court on charges of stealing someone’s car. The judge before whom I stand does not concern himself with the issue of forgiveness. As a judge, his only concern is with the question of guilt or innocence. He will either clear me or condemn me.

But suppose it was the judge’s car that I stole? As an individual he can choose to forgive me, or not to forgive me. But whether he does or not, the decision has nothing to do with his role as a judge. It is purely a personal matter between myself and him. [Zane C. Hodges, Harmony with God: A Fresh Look at Repentance, pg 72]


What Zane called this was a “category error” (ibid., pg 70), lumping two diperate doctrines into the same category. He continued, saying, “this is a serious mistake.”

“The Forgiveness of Sins” is stated traditionally to have two senses. One is the familiar sense illustrated throughout this article, being that of a personal issue between God and man. The second sense that this doctrine is stated to have has been termed, “judicial,” “forensic,” or “legal” forgiveness. This sense states that God has decreed the believer in His Son forgiven eternally of all sins, “past, present, and future” as a punctilliar act. Traditionally, this is described as a legal declaration, so similar, in fact, to justification, that the line is blurred between the two, and people actually identify one with the other.

Let it here be noted that there is no need for another legal declaration beside justification! Justification is complete and sufficient on its own to completely clear the believer of every charge of evil, giving him the very righteousness of God. Any sense of forgiveness that claims to be “judicial” is completely superfluous. When the one declared righteous by faith in Christ appears before God, he stands whole, completely cleared before His bar of justice, having God’s very life through regeneration. Furthermore, he is sinless, so forgiveness ceases to be necessary.

These two doctrines were never meant to be confused or blurred! Forgiveness, in no sense, has any legal aspect to it, nor is it ever given as an indulgence, granting forgiveness of future sins. Forgiveness of sins is not equatable with justification. Some have seen a significance of Paul pairing “the forgiveness of sins” with justification in Acts 13:38-39 that deserves closer inspection:

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.


---(through Jesus)---> one has the “forgiveness of sins” (Greek: dia)

(by Jesus)---> one is justified (Greek: en)

Clearly it is demonstrated that these two doctrines are distinguished! The need for forgiveness of sins, which is a continual must for the believer in this life comes ---( )---> through Jesus. Remember, He is our Advocate, ever standing before the Father as the propitiation of our sins. When we confess our sins, forgiveness comes through Him. Justification, on the other hand, is a one time act received ( )---> by Jesus. Both are blessings found in Christ, but both are to be differentiated.


The Law of Sufficient Reason

By way of conclusion, I wish to mention this law. It essentially states that one must not jump to conclusions, but base all conclusions on adequate grounds. As interpreters of the Bible, we must be cautious about making statements about doctrines of Scripture before being properly informed of the details surrounding them. Reader, has tradition taught you that forgiveness of sins can be “judicial” in the sense of a one time declaration, eternally forgiving all sins “past, present, and future”? Please stay with this study as we examine the biblical texts that concern “the forgiveness of sins” so that we might come to an informed conclusion on this matter. You should “know for yourself” and not rely upon implicit faith in tradition.


Introduction to the Next Installment of the Series

I am going to make a statement right now that I fully intend to prove in the course of this study: forgiveness of sins is clearly taught in the Bible as a temporal and personal issue concerning our “in-time” relationships, mostly in relation to God – and no single passage in the entirety of Scripture clearly teaches some other related sense, i.e. an eternal (or “past, present, and future”) forgiveness.

Thank you for your time in reading this article. Your comments are welcomed and appreciated!

Your Free Grace Theology Host,
Antonio G. da Rosa

39 Comments:

Blogger Matthew Celestis said...

Great thinking, Antonio.

I don't think people have taken the OT background material into consideration at all.

July 15, 2011 1:52 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matt, thanks for reading the article.

I believe that you are right. Forgiveness was never designed as a means of eternal well-being with God, as seen clearly in the O.T. It was to keep harmony with God in time. Eternal salvation, does not spring from forgiveness but has always come from regeneration, which John 3 states comes as a ministry of the Holy Spirit through faith.

Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and who is the propitiation for the sins of the world. Sin, as an issue between God an man, has been taken out of the way by Christ's death. It is no longer the barrier separating man. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their sins to them (2 Cor 5:19).

The basis for the condemnation of the unsaved is that their names are not written in the Book of Life. The central and overarchingly main issue between God and man is the possession of His life. The one who has God's life lives with God. The one who does not have His life does not live with God. It is as simple as that.

Sin, therefore, is thus taken off the table as an eternal consideration with God in respect to eternal salvation. It has been taken out of the way!

It now stands to reason that forgiveness was always and still remains an only temporal consideration and personal issue with God.

Antonio

July 15, 2011 2:46 PM  
Blogger David Bell said...

Antonio, this is interesting but I'm afraid you lost me with your connection of dia to linear action and en to punctiliar action.

July 15, 2011 4:44 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Dave,

I am sorry that you were "lost" ;)

In the context of Acts 13, the forgiveness of sins and justification are distinguished by their precise relationship to Jesus. The Greek preoposition "en" with the instrumental case, in this case "touto", represents direct agency, therefore justification "is by means of" Jesus. The Greek preposition "dia" with the genitive, in this case "toutou", represents instrumentality or indirect agency, and thus forgiveness of sins "comes through" Jesus. Two different relationships!

Prepositions mark the direction and relative position of the action, motion, or state expressed by the verb, helping them express more specifically their relation to substantives. The beneficiary of the action is "the one believing", the verb, the action being done to him, is "is justified" (present passive) and the position of this action is "by this One (Jesus)". It could illustrated this way:

(Jesus)---justifies--->(the one believing)

(This illustration had to be put in terms of active rather than passive, but it illustrates the point sufficiently)

en touto pas ho piseuon dikaioitai

literally means, "by means of this One, every the one believeing is justified"

Justification is a one time act, and this act has been done to us, passively. In reference to people already possessing eternal salvation, justification was a one time event that occurred in the past that has present and enduring (even everlasting) results (cf. aorist passive participle "dikaio" in Ro 5:1 with the present passive participle of "dikaio" in Ro 3:24).

Forgiveness of sins on the other hand is positionally related to Jesus in distinction to justification in this passage. Forgiveness comes through Jesus. This suggests a continual relationship (but doesn't prove it, but it doesn't have to in order to prove the point I made in the post).

I liken it to saying, "through mom you receive the wages of your allowance". This is not a one time dispensing, children do not recieve allowance only once in their lives, but usually weekly (at least my kids do, when we remember, haha). So to is the forgiveness of sins. Much like "through" the O.T. sactifices Israel had the forgiveness of sins, New Testament saints have forgiveness "through" Jesus Christ.

The point wasn't linear vs punctiliar, which wasn't being expressed. Those words denote the language of action, verbs, and their TYPE of action. Prepositions, on the other hand, express relative position of actions to substantives (nouns).

Furthermore, my point was that justification and forgiveness of sins cannot be equated using this verse because of the relative position of their distinguishable actions to Jesus, by demonstration of the preopositional structures.

But their prepositional structures are strongly consistent with my thesis and, simply are not with the traditional view.

Thanks for joining in on the comments!

Antonio

July 15, 2011 7:23 PM  
Blogger J Sawyer said...

Great series, Antonio. Really helpful, and much needed.

I agree with your thinking on this. You have clarified with this series some things that Hodges left a little vague in his discussions of this issue.

I think one idea that tends to route Christians away from the idea that forgiveness is personal and happens in real time is confusion about what stands in the way of people going to Heaven. Once we say it is sin as opposed to spiritual death that stands in the way of Heaven then forgiveness of past, present and future sin seems to present itself even though the idea that we need forgiveness of future sins is absurd on its face. Regarding Heaven justification is what we need, and its flip side eternal life.

Two other points, one being that when Hebrews speaks of the new and living "Way" he is speaking of the real time way of access we have to God through the finished work of Christ. His whole point is lost because we have eternity on the brain and think the "way" is the way of salvation broadly speaking. The confusion about Hebrews partly comes from the passage where the example of Jesus in suffering connects with our salvation into the Kingdom, meaning it can be greater, eternally so:

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 5:7-10)

Regarding the "way" terminology, maybe when the early Christian movement was called that it was a reference to this new way of access and/or new lifestyle based on the example of Jesus.

Final point is that in reading the Gospels the idea that every time Jesus says "your sins are forgiven" He is speaking of His listener's conversion is truly without warrant and creates much additional confusion. Isn't it more likely that a person that believes in miraculous healing already believes Him to be the Christ who can be trusted for His promise of life.

So you're thinking through this in detail is very helpful to me. Thank you!

July 16, 2011 2:16 PM  
Blogger David Bell said...

Antonio,

Thanks for the effort of your reply.

"The point wasn't linear vs punctiliar, which wasn't being expressed. Those words denote the language of action, verbs, and their TYPE of action. Prepositions, on the other hand, express relative position of actions to substantives (nouns)."

I know what you're saying about verbs and prepositions but it sounded to me like "linear vs. punctiliar" was the point, and that's why I said you lost me.

"Forgiveness comes through Jesus. This suggests a continual relationship"

I'm not sure how you get this without presupposing your conclusion. However, I'm not trying to make a big deal out of this passage and I don't equate forgiveness with justification although I do basically agree with some of the comments others made after your previous post. I'll keep reading your further posts with an open mind but I think it's going to be interesting how you handle some of the more crucial passages.

I hope you don't hold it against me if I'm a little skeptical that a great fan of Mr. Hodges such as yourself would take one of his concepts and examine it objectively rather than try to develop and prove it and find ways around the traditional interpretations.

But you have caught my interest and I'll try to stay with you.

David

July 16, 2011 4:49 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Jodie, thanks for the kind remarks.

I agree with you on your assessment about the confusion. Zane is helpful in Harmony with God where he states:
----------
...for most Christians, an unforgiven sin means a sin not paid for, and therefore it seems to follow that if all sin has been paid for, it should all be automatically forgiven. But this line of reasoning is deeply flawed and unbiblical.

Its first and foremost flaw is this: all sin IS paid for! But if that is true, forgiveness cannot be the remission of some unpaid penalty. In the same way, unforgiven sin cannot be sin for which we must pay as well as Christ. That would be double payment, and it would call into question the efficacy of the cross.
----------
[Zane Hodges, Harmony..., pg 71, emphasis his]

You wrote:
----------
when Hebrews speaks of the new and living "Way" he is speaking of the real time way of access we have to God through the finished work of Christ
----------
I will take a look at this a little closer. Hebrews has some strong statements that need to be looked at.

You write:
----------
Final point is that in reading the Gospels the idea that every time Jesus says "your sins are forgiven" He is speaking of His listener's conversion is truly without warrant and creates much additional confusion.
----------
We are going to look at a key text that will unlock the confusion of these passages, the Lord willing, in the next article.

Glad you are in for the ride! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, they are greatly appreciated!

Antonio

July 16, 2011 5:23 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

David,

Thanks for your first comment because others out there may have been thinking the same as you. Your comment gave me the opportunity to clear that confusion up. In all my great endeavoring to be precise and articulate, I often fail (as my wife reminds me of often! haha)

And thanks, too, for continuing to follow this series, as I appreciate your warm tone and open mind.

You had a response to a comment of mine. It went like this:
----------
"Forgiveness comes through Jesus. This suggests a continual relationship"

I'm not sure how you get this without presupposing your conclusion.
----------
Let me clarify my thinking here as well. Justification, as we all know, is a one time declaration that has eternal results in the believer. The relation of the act of justifying to Christ, in the context of Acts 13 is "by" Him. It stands to reason that if the "type" of forgiveness in this context is the "judicial" type, it would have the same relation, being a one time declaration of forgiveness, of "past, present, and future" sins. But it does not. This relationship stands in distinction to the relationship justifying has to Jesus. This "forgiveness of sins" comes through Jesus.

One thing that we will have to be faced with as we go through this study is presuppositions. I believe that the traditional understanding of this subject has come by way of illegitimate presuppositions and assumptions. I will endeavor to do my best in staying away from them, and I am glad that you and others are here to help keep me accountable.

When we are to consider 1 John 1:9 with 1 John 2:1-2, we are immediately struck by the apparant fact that forgivess of sins comes from the Father, through the advocacy of the Son, the propitiation of our sins, unto the confessing one.

I believe that in light of these things it is not a stretch to "suggest" that Acts 13:38 is highlighting the concept of forgiveness found in 1 John, a continual, albeit temporal, relationship.

Furthermore, as we shall see in the course of this study (as I stated at the end of this post),"no single passage in the entirety of Scripture clearly teaches some other related sense [of forgiveness], i.e. an eternal (or “past, present, and future”) forgiveness." If this truly is the case, as I believe it to be, it could be argued that it is the traditional understanding of this verse that has brought the presupposition.

To conclude, I assure you that I have put the time into the study of the texts. I did this before I put up one word on my blog. These three posts have been written having proved this thesis to myself (and thus being convinced), and not in the reverse order. I wished to distill some of my thoughts for the purpose of introduction and conclusion in these last articles. The reasoned arguments from the texts of scripture supporting my thesis will come in future installments.

David, thanks for being here. Your participation is greatly welcomed and appreciated. I also pardon your skepticism ;)

Antonio

July 16, 2011 6:17 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Antionio,

I must say this is an interesting series - not that I would agree with your conclusions but it has got me thinking at least, and it's always good to think about Scripture I think!

Anyway, I'd like to comment on what seems to be one of your main points, when you say:

"Nowhere in the text of Scripture is 'the forgiveness of sins' affirmed to be equated with justification. Since this is true, we must distinguish between them."

You addressed the passage in Acts 13, but I would like to see a little bit more extensive discussion of the exegesis of that passage than what you provided - maybe that is forthcoming? It would be helpful if you could quote some Greek scholars to support your interpretation of the passage.

After I read your article I immediately opened up my Bible to Romans chapter 4 - that's the passage about justification by faith alone evidenced from the Old Testament - anyway, I opened up my Bible to that passage and began reading. This is what I read (I added the caps):

"What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was JUSTIFIED by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was ACCOUNTED TO HIM for righteousness.' Now to him who works, the wages are not COUNTED as grace but as DEBT. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who JUSTIFIES the ungodly, his faith is ACCOUNTED for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God IMPUTES righteousness apart from works: 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are FORGIVEN, and whose sins are COVERED; blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not IMPUTE sin." (Romans 4:1-8)

Could you please explain to me Antonio how forgiveness of sins is not equated with justification in this passage? It seems to me from the text that forgiveness of sins is an integral part of justification. Furthermore, the language here is judicial. This seems to be a clear example in which forgiveness is used in the judicial and legal sense.

I would be very much interested to hear your thoughts and comments on this passage.

Thanks,

JP

July 17, 2011 7:59 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan,

Thanks for continuing along. Your participation is blessing me.

I am happy to discuss the text of Romans 4. Yet at the same time I am aware that you have only quoted a passage and said, "it seems to me from the text..." That does not sound like a rational argument, but mere opinion. Using the principles and laws of hermeneutical precision, could you please show us that there is an affirmation between forgiveness and justification here or in any other passage? Please share with the readers of Free Grace Theology Blog a rational, hermeneutical argument providing principled reasons on how this passage equates these two disparate doctrines.

You are a schooled man, smart, intelligent. Is it ok for me to suggest you do the same as you are expecting me to do? It is really easy to provide reference to scripture and assume a meaning for it. It is quite another thing to demonstrate one's assumptions in an articulate, logical, and hermeneutically precise fashion.

Certainly a burden of proof is encumbent upon me because I am laying out a new understanding of doctrine. But if we are going to get down to the nitty gritty, we are going to be talking about assumptions and presuppositions, about laws of reason and logic, and precision of observation. As with any study of the Bible, we cannot leave it at the superficial level, but must approach this subject methodically, with great care, with our powers of reason in gear. I believe that this must include your contributions also.

Let me see if we can hash some of this out. In the opening article I discussed a corollary to the "Law of Identity or Affirmation":

Similarity is not identity. Distinguish between two things that are similar. Words and concepts are only identical if they are affirmed to be

There are not alot of ways that concepts are equated in logic. In 1 John 3:4, the Scripture equates "sin" and "lawlessness" with the words (from the Greek) "the sin is the lawlessness". This is a statement of affirmation of identity between these two concepts.

(to be continued...)

July 18, 2011 12:26 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

What I would like from you is an argument from the text, using logical and hermeneutical principles, declaring why we should believe that the Apostle Paul is equating forgiveness with justification. The principle of the law of identity states we must distinguish between concepts unless they are affirmed to be identical. In this case, there are two different concepts (actually 3, atonement is here), the forgiveness of sins and justification. It would seem encumbant upon the interpreter who wishes to make an argument that these are identical doctrines to prove so from the text.

You wrote this:
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It seems to me from the text that forgiveness of sins is an integral part of justification.
----------
In the whole of Romans, this is the only reference to forgivess. It doesn't show up at all in the rest of Romans 3-5 (the justification area) or anywhere else. Furthermore, it is a concept absent from Galatians where he talks about justification. A single reference to forgiveness in all of Paul's disccusions of justification in his doctrinal material may not justify the designation of "integral". We will let the readers decide.

Sin in humans has two relationships to God: to God on a personal and relational level, and to God on a judicial level. In order for someone to be in fellowship with God, both of these areas need to be addressed. In Psalm 32, where Paul quotes this material from, David is "piling up" the blessings of the person who is in right relation with God. Let me paraphrase the three main points about sin that David (as quoted by Paul) is making: David's sins are "forgiven--out of sight--gone"! This is an impressive list of blessings! And remember, this is poetry.

forgiven -- blessed is the man who is forgiven

out of sight -- and whose sins are covered

gone -- and to the whom the Lord shall not impute sin

David and Paul are hardly equating forgiveness with justification. David is describing the blessedness of the man who is in harmony with God because of these 3 (actually 4, see below) distinguishable acts toward his sin ->forgiven--out of sight--gone!

Notice using your logic, we would have to equate 3 things and not 2, Jonathan. For sandwiched in between forgiveness and justification is atonement. Is atonement the same as justification? Is atonement the same as forgiveness? Did Paul equate atonement with justification in this passage?

(to be continued...)

July 18, 2011 12:26 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Furthermore, in the text of Psalm 32, David adds inner integrity to the list in 32:2b: "and in whose spirit there is no deceit". These items are NOT synonymous, my friend.

Psalm 32:1-2
Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

This is NOT the language of identity. These items are NOT synonymous.

Imagine I created this poem:

Blessed is the man whose teeth is straight, whose incisors have had braces.
Blessed is the man to whom the dentist does not send a bill, and in whose life there is a smile for everyone.

Then later on, a person, for the purpose of an article, stated:

"just as Antonio also describes the blessedness of the man whose dentist bill the insurance paid for:"

and then quoted my poem. In the material which the article writer took his quote from, the author (me) was, in poetic fashion, heaping the blessing upon blessing that he experienced from a relationship with a dentist. These things were distinguished in the original, and thus will be also in the quote. The other bonus material is for a context.

You have made assumptions, Jonathan, that you have yet to prove.

Paul was making a point about justification by including a statement of David found in a poem illustrating the blessedness of a man who is in complete harmony with God by virtue of several distinguishable facts -- forgiveness, sin covering, justification, and moral integrity. Because he included more of the poem then the single reference to justification, does not give us the liberty to now assert that these distinguishable concepts were equated by David and Paul.

This is the kind of observation and work that has to be done to the texts of this sort, the ones that have been assumed by many to be saying things that they really are not saying. Precise care must be given to our study and to our statements. I’ll expect more from you next time ;)

Thanks for your participation, and I welcome any follow up.

Your FG friend and host,
Antonio da Rosa

July 18, 2011 12:27 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

There is just one more thing that I wish to add here, (which I may include in a future article, heh). This is a quote of Zane Hodges from a personal email correspondence, dated Sept 9, 2006, and I believe it is very helpful in terms of viewing the two distinguishable needs (forgiveness and justification) present in the sinner. We need acquittal and forgiveness. These concepts cannot be inter-mingled.

"God is my Judge who justifies, but in terms of having personal harmony with Him I need His forgiveness as a PERSONAL God. A human judge on the bench might acquit me but still not want my fellowship (in most cases a Judge would have no interest in "fellowship" with the people before him)."

Antonio

July 18, 2011 1:08 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Antonio,

I thought you were familiar with the traditional understanding of forgiveness and therefore I did not see the need to repeat what others have said on the matter. I'm sure others have stated the case better than I ever will. Are you familiar with the traditional interpretation of forgiveness? Surely you have come across it in your studies on Romans 4. What do they say? I doubt I would disagree with them. I would be happy to "prove" my small assumption but I think it only fair if you will prove yours first - did you not state yours first? Then I will follow suit. But let me offer one point of clarification at this point if I may. I do not believe that forgiveness is exactly equated with justification, but I do believe, as I said, that forgiveness is an integral part of justification. So in this regard your argument that the two are not equated is rather beside the point. They do not have to be equated for what I am saying to be true. In other words, a legal and forensic sense of forgiveness does not require forgiveness to be equated with justification.

Thanks!

JP

July 18, 2011 8:28 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan,

As I have shown, you have made assumptions that cannot be proved in this text, namely, that forgiveness is equated, or integral, to justification. Because forgiveness is mentioned along with atonement, justification, and moral integrity, we cannot conclude that they thus are subsets or components one of the other. Such reasoning is erroneous, is non-sequitur -- it does not follow!

I am familiar with the traditional understanding, Jonathan. But I am afraid that we all may be so familiar with it as to be lulled into accepting it as true apart from using our critical thinking faculties. Precisely what from this text requires that we understand it from your perspective rather than mine?

In theology, when a particular theological position must be maintained by secondary assumptions, it is worthless. The ad hoc assumptions that must be introduced into this text (or any other!) of Scripture to support the idea that justification and forgiveness of sins are components one of the other render your theological understanding unfalsifiable because any data contrary to it will just simply be negated by the inclusion of your additional assumptions. Either we must show that this text or any other demands that we consider forgiveness to be a component of justification (with reasoned and hermeneutical precision) or we must abandon this insupportable understanding. There is no value in staying on a sinking ship.

I am under the impression that you really don't know what you believe in regards to this subject. On one hand you say, "Could you please explain to me Antonio how forgiveness of sins is not equated with justification in this passage?" (emphasis yours) and then you state, "I do not believe that forgiveness is exactly equated with justification". With due respect, I would suggest you find out exactly what you believe and why so that our conversation could be greatly facilitated.

Yet, at this juncture it is completely beside the point what you actually do believe, if whether or not you are arguing for an equation of the two doctrines or that one is a component of the other, for I have shown conclusively that there is no necessary relationship between justification and forgiveness (except the one that I have already stated in the OP, namely that they both are blessings stemming from the cross of Christ) in this context. To require that there be, I am afraid, will require one to move out of the realm of the provable through hermeneutical principles and move into the realm of eisegesis.

I assert that you have made no "small" assumption, Jonathan. I hope that this doesn't take us to an impasse. I was hoping that you could remain open-minded throughout this study. But if this verse is the "end all" and a hill you wish to die on, so be it.

I have given sufficient reason to discount any forced relation between forgiveness and justification in this context, and to place doubt on any other text that would need this text to support such an understanding in it.

There is no text, Jonathan, in the whole of Scripture that clearly and necessarily demands that we come to a theological understanding that there is a "legal" or "forensic" aspect to forgiveness, or that there is a sense that forgiveness is eternal, that our sins have been forgiven "past, present, and future". If you think otherwise, we are all ears. If this text is the best there is and that you got, then there is not much further that we can go.

sincerely,

Antonio

July 18, 2011 11:28 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Antonio,

Brother, I don't think either of us understands the others position. At least for my part that is why I was asking you for further explanation. If you don't want to do that, or if you are already so familiar with my position what can I say? I thought we were discussing your new insights on forgiveness. If you don't want to answer my few questions or repond to my points what am I to do? The only assumption that I see that I made was when I said that the text of Romans 4 SEEMS to say or indicate something. Look at the text. Look at the CONTEXT. If I made an assumption based on the context of the passage I am guilty as charged. But isn't that a valid hermanuetical principle? As the saying goes: CONTEXT IS KEY. I'm typing on my cell phone so you will have to bear with me, but I think these are important considerations.

Thanks,

JP

July 18, 2011 2:39 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jonathan,

I have responded to your point and answered your questions.

you asked:
-----------
Could you please explain to me Antonio how forgiveness of sins is not equated with justification in this passage?
----------
I did this in the 3 part comment, and my last comment.


You said:
----------
It seems to me from the text that forgiveness of sins is an integral part of justification. Furthermore, the language here is judicial. This seems to be a clear example in which forgiveness is used in the judicial and legal sense.
----------
I responded to these points in my 3 part comment and the last comment.

As for your request for more information about Acts 13, check my answers out via any grammar. I don't think that I am unclear on it. If you have taken any koine Greek, you have the resources to verify my statements. Zane Hodges was a Greek Professor, and he didn't make the same connection that you do in Acts 13.

If there are points or questions that I have failed to answer or comment on, please bring those things to my attention. I believe that I have been quite responsive to your comments.

Please show how the context demands your interpretation. Please use the principles of biblical interpretation and the laws of reason and logic to present an argument from this text supporting your position.

I understand the wishy washy nature of the traditional understanding -- some say it is the same as justification, others say it is like justififation. You seem to have taken both positions in this comment thread.

Again, if I haven't been compliant to answer and respond to your questions and points, please be so kind as to let me know as to which ones you refer.

Thanks for hanging in there.

Antonio

July 18, 2011 3:24 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hey Antonio,

There was some kind glitch and I was not able to post my last comment. I posted it on my blog in the article "The Two Aspects of Forgiveness". However, I'd like to continue the discussion here if possible. Do you have any idea what the problem was?

Thanks,

JP

July 18, 2011 9:36 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Jonathan,

I don't know. I noticed that you tried to post it like 10 times because of my email notifications.

Antonio

July 18, 2011 10:30 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

All:

I am taking the family on a camping trip this week to Newport Beach.

I will be back this weekend, hopefully with another article (maybe I can get some writing done there, but probably not!)

You guys have a great week!

Antonio

July 18, 2011 10:31 PM  
Blogger Ken White said...

Hey Antonio,

I haven't comented for awhile but am still following your thoughts. I wanted to make one comment about the tone of the discussion, and that is this, I think it would have been helpful if in your first post you had stated that you have studied out this view thoroughly and are absolutely convinced of it and ready to defend it. Though that may have sounded a bit strong, it would have prepared readers better for the discussion to follow. What your first post said was that you were on the verge of a new view, so I don't know what anyone else thought, but when I wrote back disagreeing with you it was from the perspective that you were still thinking this view out and asking for input. A couple of potential problems with the view came to my mind immediately and I threw them at you.

I will be the first to admit that I am not prepared to defend the "traditional" view of forgiveness in a debate, but that wasn't my intention in writing back to you. My intention was more to say, "Okay, but have you thought about this verse or that verse, 'cause they sure seem to say something else." I don't know where Jonathan is coming from and don't mean to speak for him, but I suspect that his comments may have come from that perspective as well.

Anyway, I have no particular attachment to the traditional view of forgiveness as it is not essential to my theology. If my understanding is wrong I would like to know. I do think you have dealt with Acts 13 well, but in my mind Acts 10 is by far the bigger issue, so I will be interested to see your thoughts on it. At this point I think you have presented a good working thesis and I realize that we need to give you time to show whether it fits the data or not, but along the way readers may still want to say, "Yeah but what about this verse."

I have wandered far from my original point, that it would have been good to know upfront that you were presenting conclusions rather than just ideas, but anyone who has been tracking with this does know that now, so I guess we can just proceed with looking at the data. Thanks for the time you have put into this and I hope you had a good trip with your family.

Ken

July 19, 2011 5:47 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Ken,

Thanks for your continued visiting and commenting.

I did a word study of aphesis and aphiemi before I wrote the first article and some other research. This study basically convinced me of my thesis, because, as brief as it was, there was no text that demanded that I understand forgiveness to be either judicial or a letting go of future, uncommitted sins. Yet, since that time I have been studying and thinking all of these things through. I haven't yet completely finished my studies, nevertheless, I am convinced already of my thesis. I hope that I didn't give the wrong impression to you at the outset. What I have really wanted is the kind of feedback that you and others have given, because I can't think of all of the arguments and passages that could bear on this subject. I really appreciate your comments. I haven't yet thought all the angles through, so therefore I am developing as I go. This is a work in progress and you all have been tremendously helpful in directing my studies.

I have had personal email correspondence with Jonathan Perreault over the course of this series and I just sent him an email to clarify any confusion that may have been generated by the title of my first article and the declaration in this comment thread that I had studied and been convinced before writing a word on this study.

Jonathan and I have a history together. We have talked on the phone several times and dialogued on several topics, both on my blog and his. I appreciate him very much, and I hope that I didn't give any other impression. He is a valued member of the Free Grace world. We disagree on several things, mind you, but he has always been there to keep me sharp, and I hope that I have had that effect on him as well.

Thanks again, Ken, for hanging around!

I just got back today from my vacation. It was a blast! It really was an awesome family vacation.

your fg brother,

Antonio

July 23, 2011 9:09 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio, Ken, Jonatha, and others who have commented here ....

It just warms my heart that you are all discussing this issue, and studying it out. I'm just sitting back and reading everything you all have to say... then checking it out in the scriptures. You're truly all appreciated. I love the way brothers and sisters in Christ love each other in this way.

Praying for you all.... and myself, too~!!! I need God's insight and protection as I think it all through.

Thankful for the family of God~!!!

Diane
:-)

July 24, 2011 1:09 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Antonio,

Thanks for the kind e-mail and gracious words!

I'm glad you had a great time on vacation with your family. I'm sure they are very blessed that you are a part of their lives.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your series on forgiveness and to the insights and feedback from the other bloggers as well.

Your Free Grace friend,

Jonathan

July 25, 2011 1:05 PM  
Blogger edcolley said...

Antonio, I am reading with interest your posts. There is certainly a need for forgiveness of sins of the believer or 1 John 1:9 is not understandable, as I see it.

I think an important question is: If my sins upon trusting Christ for salvation procured forgiveness of ALL my past sins (and only my past sins) at the point of conversion, then am I to experience some disfavor with God if I die with un-confessed sins? As a follow-up, isn't it quite possible and likely probable that all believers will die with some un-confessed sins. Does this lead the believer to despair and a fear of what is to come after death?

I am of the opinion that believers guilty of certain sins that remain un-confessed when they die will not do well at the judgement seat of Christ, but how far does this go? What of sins of ignorance? They, too, are sins though not, apparently, of the same magnitude of sins of presumption.

I am interested to read your response.

Ed Colley

August 01, 2011 2:33 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Ed,

When I first read Antonio's posts on forgiveness I had the same question as you! I think it's a good question and I'm also interested in how Antonio would respond.

JP

August 01, 2011 2:56 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Ed,

I think that you ask a very good question, and it is deserving of a good answer.

If you have Zane Hodges commentary on the Epistles of John, pulbished by the GES, I would refer you to the discussion of 1 John 1:7 on pgs 60-62.

Briefly, anyone who is not walking in fellowship with God ought not to assume that his assessment at the judgement seat of Christ will be completely favorouble. You seem to agree with that in your statements.

It should be noted, however, that as a benefit of Christ's cross a certain provision has been given to the believer, as addressed in 1 John 1:7; that of the continuous cleansing properties of the blood of Christ upon the believer who is walking in the light, who is living in participation with God.

Fellowship with God is not possible apart from this continual cleansing of the believer who is walking in the light, for we are all sinful and often oblivious of the wretchid condition we are actually in, and the unrighteousnesses and sins we commit. Walking in the light simply means living openly and honestly with what God reveals to you in the sphere of the light. The only sins that we must confess are those sins that are brought to our consciousness by the light. When we confess those sins, we are cleansed from all sins and unrighteousness (all of those things that we were not aware of, that were not brought to our consciousness by the light). Furthermore, as we walk in the light, we are continually cleansed from all of those unrighteous states of mind and action that are done throughout the day that we are not aware of.

Zane Hodges' book, Grace in Eclipse, is very helpful. If you don't have a copy of it, I strongly suggest you buy one and read it --- over and over! If you have a copy, re-read over the section called "Getting Ready to meet the Judge" in the chapter "Judged According to Works". In it, he emphasizes ways in which we can be ready for the judgment seat of Christ. We can get ready by showing mercy to others which will assure mercy for us on that day (Jas 2:13). "...the way to avoid the fear which that day could bring, is... to love! (pg 61, 3rd edition, see 1 John 4:17-18)

I hope that this answer has been somewhat helpful. Let me know if I can clarify anything.

I am currently trying to finish another project, but have not forgotten this one. I will be returning to this soon!

thanks for the comments!

Antonio

August 01, 2011 8:24 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thanks Antonio. This makes me want to get out those books again by Zane and reread them.

I will never forget how helpful it was when I read Zane's explanation of walking in the light. I can't remember if it was from his commentary in 1 John or if it was an answer to a question I had written and asked him. He said that we are not out of fellowship when we sin as long as we confess that sin that God has made us aware of by shining His light on it. As we abide in Christ, He makes us aware of our sins, and at that time we are to confess them. The sin that we confess is forgiven and He continues to cleanse us from ALL the on going sins that we're not even aware of yet. I remember him saying that if God showed us all our sin at one time, we wouldn't be able to bear it.

It was such a liberating truth when I realized I wasn't bouncing in and out of fellowship all the time.

The Christian who isn't abiding in Christ is also made aware of certain obvious sins. They are out of fellowship and need to repent. That's another subject matter.... the difference between confessing and repentance.
:-)

Thanks for reminding me of this great truth.

Diane
:-)

August 01, 2011 9:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Antonio,

I thought your answer to Ed was helpful, but maybe you could elaborate more? For instance, what about if a christian never recieves divine forgivess in the judicial sense, how is a Christian's unconfessed sin ever forgiven - or isn't it, in your view? Do you believe there will be unforgiven Christians at the bema judgment? Even if you don't believe in judicial forgiveness, you still believe in sin - how is this unconfessed sin ever removed? If you say that there will be a loss of reward that is fine, but I think that answer is somwhat beside the point because the penalty for sin is death (Rom.6:23), not eternal life with a loss of reward. How is the penalty for unconfessed sin ever paid?

Thanks,

JP

August 01, 2011 10:32 PM  
Blogger harrison said...

Thank you Antonio,
The differance between justification and forgivness can be seen from God requiring batism of the Jews of our Lord Jesus time before fellowshuip could begin.

August 04, 2011 5:36 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi, JP

You wrote:
----------
For instance, what about if a christian never recieves divine forgivess in the judicial sense, how is a Christian's unconfessed sin ever forgiven - or isn't it, in your view? Even if you don't believe in judicial forgiveness, you still believe in sin - how is this unconfessed sin ever removed?
----------
I do not think that there is any problem here. I do not have an exact word from the Lord, but I have some suggestions. The Bible just does not specifically answer this question of yours.

I would suggest this. In eternity, we are ushered into a new relationship with God outside of the parameters of conventional time (I say conventional time because there will be time, so to speak, in eternity in succession of events and so on). In eternity, regenerate people do not sin, so there is no use for forgiveness. They possess eternal life and the justification of that life. They have God's life and have been cleared of any and every charge of sin, judicially. Therefore, there is no real problem. If this is not sufficient, I have a few more suggestions.

At the judgment seat of Christ, we will have to give an account of our lives, which will include the possibility of unconfessed sin upon our death. Being sinless, we will be able to view that unconfessed sin in the same perspective as God sees it: in the utter sinfulness of it. Here one would agree (in one's sinlessness, with the inability to sinfully rationalize and justify behavior) with God that such was sin. This, in and of itself, is confession. And we know that God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins when we confess.

If this is not enough in your estimation for fellowship in eternity, I could make one more suggestion.

When Isaiah was caught up into the throne room of God, in Isaiah 6, a seraphim flew to him and touched a live coal from the altar to his lips and said, "...your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged" (Is 6:7). I suggest that this was an event before Christ presented His blood in the Most Holy Place in the true tabernacle in heaven (see Heb 8:2) where He obtained an eternal redemption (Heb 10:11-12). But the same idea could be translated into the present with Jesus being our Advocate and the propitiation of our sins. When we enter heaven, an act of God (similar somehow to the act of the seraphim above) through His initiative (like above) would forgive us of any unconfessed sins at the time of our entrance into His presence, for the sake and in the light of Christ's perfect sacrifice and propitiation.

I hope that this sheds some light into this apparant dilemma. There resides no real problem here whatsoever. I offer these three options as suggestions. But God being able to act in the accordance with the perfect, and all satisfying sacrifice of His Son on the cross, could provide that forgiveness in any number of ways. These have only been given as suggestions to show that there is no real problem here.

to be continued...

August 08, 2011 3:17 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

You finish:
----------
If you say that there will be a loss of reward that is fine, but I think that answer is somwhat beside the point because the penalty for sin is death (Rom.6:23), not eternal life with a loss of reward. How is the penalty for unconfessed sin ever paid?
----------
All sin was paid for on the cross of Christ, JP. Sin is able to be forgiven precisely because Jesus is the perfect Propitiation for our sins. When we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who is the propitiation for not only our sins, but for the sins of the entire world. Jesus stands in the presence of the Father ever to remind Him of His satisfaction in regard to sin. On account of Christ, God can forgive.

The unconfessed sin upon one's death, although unforgiven, is nevertheless paid for in the sense that God is completely satisfied in relation to it because of Christ's death. But the fact that it is paid for does not automatically confer forgiveness. These are disparite considerations.

The guarantee for our entrance into the presence of God upon death comes from the possession of eternal life. Sin does not play a part, for Jesus is the eternal Propitiation for our sins.

I hope this helps to show where I am coming from. Thanks for the comments.

Antonio

August 08, 2011 3:17 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Harrison,

That, my friend, is an extremely astute observation, and one which I must employ in this series. Thanks for reminding me of this fact, which is an obvious slam dunk. It can be abundantly shown that people have eternal life and justification without the forgiveness of sins in the book of Acts, whereby they are commanded to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins after being eternally saved.

Thanks for your comments and patronage.

I should be continuing this series shortly.

Antonio da Rosa

August 08, 2011 3:24 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Antonio,

Thank you for those explanations. I had a feeling you were going to say that unconfessed sin is a moot point in light of justification. Your other explanations were helpful in explaining that you don't believe there will be unforgiven saints in heaven. That was a concern I had, but I see now that you are not saying that. While I don't think that sin will be brought up at the bema judgment the way you suggest (and that's a whole different discussion), I do think there is some plausibility (at least for the sake of the argument) in the example of Isaiah that you cited.

Just to clarify a small point from my last comment, I understand that the penalty for sin was paid by Christ, I should have been more clear because I wasn't meaning to ask how sin's penalty is paid (in your view), but instead I was meaning to ask how that payment is APPLIED to the Christian who has unconfessed sin. I should have been more clear but your suggestions were helpful. Thank you.

JP

August 08, 2011 6:31 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Antonio,

I just read the passage in Isaiah that you cited. It seems that he confessed his sin before the angel forgave him. It appears that Isaiah confessed his sin in Isaiah 6:5, and then the angel forgave him in verses 6-7. So I'm not sure that is an example of unconfessed sin being forgiven. I suspect you will fall back on your suggestion #2, the one about confessing the sin at the judgment seat of Christ.

Thanks again,

JP

August 08, 2011 6:47 PM  
Blogger harrison said...

This idea that separation from regeneration (born from above, a new nature, a devine nature, and birth from the word of God) and forgiviness of sins came from men like you Antonio, as well as Hodges and Wilkin who have faithfully meditated on the Word of God.
Thank you!

August 11, 2011 7:26 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Harrison, THESE MEN that you mention have truly been used by God to open my eyes to see truths that are clearly in the Word of God. All the pieces fit.

This study on forgiveness -(temporal personal fellowship)- being distinct from regeneration (NEW BIRTH) is a wonderful study. I learned a lot as a Berean when I carefully studied Zane Hodges' teaching in "Harmony With God." Now Antonio's going farther, and I'm being a Berean with his teaching, too. God promises to give us understanding if we truly seek Him. It's a wonderful journey to be on.
:-)

August 11, 2011 9:23 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Antonio,

No one is denying that forgiveness is distinct from regeneration. That is not the point, as I see it. The point is that the Bible affirms judicial forgiveness, a truth that you seem unwilling to accept.

Thanks,

JP

August 11, 2011 3:20 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Wow.. Though I kind of was on the same page, I did not realize it. You did an awesome job of clarifying my own thoughts and stating why. By the way, I am in TX now. :( Sorry we never got together. I hope you are doing well, and if you travel this way, make sure you say Hi!

August 21, 2011 9:30 PM  

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