Things New & Old

Ancient truths revealed in the Scriptures are often forgotten, disbelieved or distorted, and therefore lost in the passage of time. Such ancient truths when rediscovered and relearned are 'new' additions to the treasury of ancient truths. Christ showed many new things to the disciples, things prophesied by the prophets of old but hijacked and perverted by the elders and their traditions, but which Christ reclaimed and returned to His people.

There are things both new and old here. "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things"
2Ti 2:7.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Saving faith

Saving Faith

Luke 7:50" And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace also in Luke 18:40 "42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee" Based on your understanding of theology are the salvations under consideration eternal? Secondly were the salvations illustrated here by grace? Right division is critical to right understanding!


A brother wrote the above post on "Saving faith", and some exchanges took place.
If you wish to read the complete exchanges, you can find them here. 

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The Old School Baptists summarized their understanding of “saving faith” thus:

Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love. ( Romans 3:28; Galatians 5:6; James 2:17, 22, 26 ) 
[If faith is a gift, then all other saving graces worked in a child of God are also gifts. However, the Scriptures DO NOT speak like that. Faith as a gift is a misguided, but popular notion. Faith is a saving grace WORKED by the Spirit of God in the hearts of God's children, those regenerated elect. - sing]

The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened. (2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 2:8; Romans 10:14, 17; Luke 17:5; 1 Peter 2:2; Acts 20:32 )

By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself, and also apprehendeth an excellency therein above all other writings and all things in the world, as it bears forth the glory of God in his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his workings and operations: and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth thus believed; and also acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come; but the principal acts of saving faith have immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, and resting upon him alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.  (Acts 24:14; Psalms 27:7-10; Psalms 119:72; 2 Timothy 1:12; John 14:14; Isaiah 66:2; Hebrews 11:13; John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:20; Acts 15:11 )

[The term "saving faith" is used to distinguish it from "historical faith"; saving faith is an effect/fruit of the eternal salvation already bestowed freely by God's grace; saving faith receives and rests in Jesus Christ and His righteousness as the sole ground of one's salvation. Historical faith also believes that there was such a Jewish man named Jesus who lived in the first century. -- sing]

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Sing
"Thy faith hath saved thee... Thy faith hath saved thee..."
Contrast these with these: "by grace ye are saved. ... by grace are ye saved.. ."
Biblical distinction is the essence of sound theology.

Robert
So they were not saved by grace very interesting perspective! :(

Sing
If you wish to draw that conclusion from the PLAIN Scriptures I presented to you, then that is your liberty. Only remember, I did not make such conclusion.

Robert
Your post seems to imply that!

Sing
My post makes the biblical distinction between grace withOUT works in eternal salvation and grace conditioned on works in temporal salvation.
Biblical distinction is the essence of sound theology.

Robert
Sing can you demonstrate from Scripture that faith is a work?

Sing
Man's act of believing is WORK, his action. Read Christ's own reply to those who inquired what works God requires of them.John 6:28- 29.

28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?28Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”29Jesus answered and said unto them,This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Robert
Under consideration Ephesians 2:8 is what kind of salvation either eternal or temporal. Entrance into the Kingdom for a gentile just like Abraham in Romans 4, is justification in the conscience faith in God's faithfulness. Is not a work of man that saves in time that is exactly what Paul is teaching in Romans 4. works are when we use faith and DO something with it like James teaches in James 2:17, true faith trusts God and does something, but faith that justifies the conscience only trusts like Abraham did and it is not a work, as Paul stated in Romans and is repeating in Ephesians 2:8-10. Somehow you imagine that point of view is "Calvinistic" you may be right if I said that is how the creature was eternally saved and that is quite the opposite of what I am saying. Faith is verse 8 of Ephesian 2 is NOT a work.

[If faith in Eph 2:8 is NOT work, then it can’t be the believing act of man! If it is not a work, then the salvation spoken of CANNOT be temporal salvation. Temporal salvation is conditioned upon God’s children working out their OWN salvation through their work of obeying the Father’s will.  Phi 2:12 --- sing]

Sing
Man's act of believing is WORK, his action. Read Christ's own reply to those who inquired what works God requires of them.
John 6: 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

They wish to know the work$ God requires of them... Christ points them to the first and foremost work (singular) God requires them to do, THAT IS, believe on Him whom God hath sent, even Christ Himself.

Stephan L
Believing is the manifestation of faith and faith is a gift of God. If it is a gift It can't be a work...so in the passage you quoted the people to whom Jesus was speaking where not born again and couldn't believe see verse 36. They weren't among the people given to Him as He said in verse 37.

Sing
Believing in Jesus Christ is an activity of man, therefore his works.

You chose to believe that those death in trespasses and sins are capable of desiring to do the works of God. I choose to believe otherwise, that is, only God's children can have such desire.

Stephan L
Their desires was not sincere see verse 36, Jesus is saying "But I said unto you, that he also have seen me, and believe not."! The desire or the will is not sufficient in Romans 9 v 16 we read " so then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." The reaction of those Jews proved that there weren't children of God verse 41,42,52,66. I even guess that those people are the same in John 8 from verse 13 to 59. In verse 44 Jesus is calling them children of the devil!...

Sing
You claim to know more than Christ himself. Christ took their inquiry as sincere, and answered accordingly. You are even implying that the Omniscient Jesus would tell those hypocrites, insincere pretenders - still dead in their trespasses and sins - to do the impossible - to believe on Him!
I would leave alone a man with such view of Jesus Christ.
Good bye, sir.

Stephan L
You said those people were children of God and sincere in their request, now you say they are pretenders hypocrites death in sins and trespasses...I don't understand. Good bye man.

Sing
I' m just describing them in the way you wanted - you said they are no less than children of the devil – to show you the absurdity and foolishness of your idea!

Robert
Sing, said this earlier actually biblical quote "29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." notice Christ did not say this is the work you must do? He said this is the work of God not the work God expects of you! There is a difference.

Sing
Robert, please tell, what were the men inquiring, and did Jesus answer their question. Thank you.

Robert
They were asking about the working the works of God this was a question to the prior statement in verse 27 they DID not understand. Jesus was contrasting laboring for literal bread and that meat or food which is knowing Christ that allows us to have that life by experience. That response of Christ was perfectly in line with this is the work of God, The design, purpose and plan is of God alone to the intent His people might believe and rest in Christ without working for that rest.

Sing
Brother Robert, just read these words from the KJV... the question of those inquirer:
"What works shall WE DO, that we might WORK the works of God?"
Is it that hard to ascertain what their inquiry was?

Robert
Sing they were asking about what Jesus had said in the previous verse.

The work of God ie the design purpose and plan is of God that they believe just as Abraham did, that is not a work.

Are you teaching that Paul contradicted Jesus? Paul said trust God for righteousness was NOT a work and yet you say Jesus says it is?

Sing
Jesus Christ said...  LABOUR LABOUR LABOUR... WORK WORK WORK...

So, the men wanted to know what works they should do.
What are the workS that God require them to do?

Robert
Paul was using Abraham as an example BEFORE Moses was given the law.
Okay so you are saying Paul was wrong in Romans 4, I now understand! :)
The Labor and work Jesus is contrasting is the seeking not the believing. Read the context.

Sing
Paul was using Abraham as an example to teach the Gentiles believers who were affected by Judaizers that Abraham simply believed - AND did not observe the ceremonial laws BECAUSE there were no ceremonial laws YET - to EXPERIENCE the blessedness of the justification by God's free grace.

Apostle Paul's point: there is NO NEED to observe the ceremonial laws - Abraham is the classic example.
There is no need of you to draw PERVERSE conclusions on my behalf. ;-)

Sing
"The Labor and work Jesus is contrasting is the seeking not the believing.  Read the context."
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I think it is quite desperate to make the distinction! Labour is work, and work is some form of labour.

Christ's own word:
"This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."

They LABOURED - went to great length - to seek for Jesus because of their belly, and not for who He is, the Son of God.

Seek him as the Son of God, the One God has sent, that's the work they should be doing... this work is meat that endures unto everlasting life... even when the belly has rotted.

Robert
Right. The seeking He was not contrasting Laboring with believing.

Robert
Let's be real clear I am NOT talking about getting eternally saved I am talking about getting saved from a bad or guilty conscience by faith in the finished work of Christ the promised seed, this is not work Romans 4.

Sing
Don't worry, I'm not so unfair to insinuate, and impute such horrid things to you. If I did, I would have stated it in plain words! ;-)

It is NOT about getting saved from a bad or guilty conscience by faith!!! IT IS about EXPERIENCING, by faith, the blessedness of the justified state by God's free grace.... THAT IS the subject.

QUESTION: What did our father Abraham find, Rom 4:1.

ANSWER: The blessedness was experienced by Abraham through faith in the promised seed, WITHOUT the works of the ceremonial law. 4:9

Robert
1 Peter 3:21, it certainly is being saved from a guilty conscience, and the fear of death etc. I think your remark about is unjustified. :(

Sing
You were at Rom 4! Whatever happened!
How is my remark about what is unjustified?

Robert
:) lol. Sing, the unjustified remark is as follows "It is NOT about getting saved from a bad or guilty conscience by faith!!!" as if this is not experiencing the initial aspect of our justified state , You contrast made my remark appear irrelevant. That was unjustified that is what I meant!

Sing
Your remark was made in the context of Romans 4.
No bad or evil conscience there. So, quite out of place.

Robert
Sing, I brought your post over here because I find no fault is what you say: http://things-new-and-old.blogspot.com/.../three-distinct... That is not where our disagreement ls, it is whether the salvation in verse 8 of Ephesians 2 is temporal, us...See more

Things New and Old: Three Distinct Sets of Contrast in the Biblical Doctrine of Justification
THINGS-NEW-AND-OLD.BLOGSPOT.COM|BY SING LAU

Sing
Then you have not understood the implications of the three sets of distinction!

Robert
:) okay!  Romans 4:4 defines work it is the expectation of payment due because of your efforts. As opposed to simply trusting what has been done for you. There is a world of difference between trusting the finished work of Christ and doing anything expecting a paycheck. I suggest you reconsider your position my brother. So used to fighting Calvinist's and arminians you can't even consider the war has been fought with the wrong weapons and now you are fighting the wrong opponent ! ;)

Sing
In Romans 4, apostle Paul is dealing with the HOW a child of God experiences the blessedness of his justified state by God's free grace - is it through the WORK of obeying the ceremonial laws, or through simply believing in the Lord Jesus Christ? How was it with Abraham? What was his experience?

Judaizers were a thorn in the eyes of the infant church from the very beginning.

Three sets of distinction:
1. Obedience of Christ to the law vs. dead man's own obedience to the law : LEGAL justification

2. God's free and sovereign act vs. dead man's act : VITAL justification

3. God's children work of believing in Christ vs. their works of keeping the ceremonial laws : EXPERIENTIAL justification.


GOOD NIGHT.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Saved by grace through faith – whose, and what faith?



Eph 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith"

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."

Introduction:
a. In life, some statements are often stated and repeated as though the truths of the statements are obvious and universally agreed. The passage for our study and instruction today is one such statement. This is a very popular passage, and often quoted to acknowledge and affirm the glorious truth that salvation is by the free and sovereign grace of God ALONE. However, its meaning and truth are often missed, and worse twisted, and sincere people end up believing lies and remain ignorant of the truth stated. So, let me direct your attention to this passage and consider what is plainly stated here.

Don't switch off your mind just because what I am going to say does not conform to what you have always been told, and have always believed, and perhaps have repeated endless times to others. If after hearing what I have presented to you, you are convinced that you cannot agree with me, that is fine! All I ask is, show me a better interpretation. I am still learning, and want to learn. I will most certainly and humbly consider what you have to say.

1. Common misunderstandings about eternal salvation by grace alone
Please take note of TWO VERY COMMON and POPULAR but erroneous ideas concerning this passage:

Firstly, that the gift of God spoken of here is 'faith.'
The gift spoken of here is the salvation by God's free grace. The 'gift' is that which is by the God's free grace, and that which is by God's free grace in the passage is undoubtedly the salvation spoken of. A gift is something that comes to us from WITHOUT, something bestowed to us. But the faith that enables our act of believing and resting in Christ is a spiritual grace worked by the Spirit of Christ from WITHIN us. I assume this is a given that there is no dispute about this basic point.

In the sense that the grace of faith is worked WITHIN God's children by the indwelling Spirit, in that sense faith is not our own. However, it would be most misleading to say that faith is the gift. If that was true, then every saving grace worked by the Spirit of God (Gal 5:22) in a redeemed man would  be a gift too. That's quite unscriptural and erroneous manner of speaking. No one can deny that believing and resting is Christ are activities of those who are already SAVED by God, already possessing the salvation freely bestowed, i.e. by grace. The salvation spoken of is NOT IN ANY WAY through the believing act of man.

As a result of seeing 'faith' as the gift, it is commonly and consistently believed, among the Arminians as well as the 'reformed' folks, that those (still NOT saved, i.e. still dead in trespasses and sins) who are given this gift of faith then must exercise that gift of faith to believe and receive Christ in order to receive salvation from God. That is what they mean by their notion, "faith is the instrumental means of salvation."

No, the gift spoken of is the eternal salvation in Jesus Christ, and it is bestowed by God's free grace. And believing in Jesus Christ is the effect or fruit of that gift of salvation by grace. Romans 5:15-18 speaks of the gift of righteousness, justification of life, i.e. eternal salvation. Roman 6:23 speaks of God's gift ­ of eternal life, i.e. eternal salvation. Jas 1:17 reads, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” A gift is something that comes from WITHOUT, bestowed freely to a recipient.

Think for a moment the serious implications of this common error, i.e. faith is the gift. It necessarily teaches: (1) that God gives the gift of faith to those who are not yet saved – i.e. still unjustified, condemned, and dead in trespasses and sins; (2) that such are able utilize that gift of faith to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved. But these are just foolish notions.

Those who are not YET saved, i.e. unjustified and unregenerated by God's grace are still dead in their sin. How could a spiritually dead man utilize a spiritual gift to appropriate salvation for himself? Have you ever try giving a good gift, e.g. life-giving concoction, to a dead man and persuade the dead man to make use of that good gift to benefit himself. Wouldn't that be like a cruel wicked man mocking at the dead???

Secondly, that the faith spoken of here is the believer's faith in Jesus Christ.
In the nature of the case, this can't possibly be true. Just look carefully at what has been said in the verses 1-5 about the spiritual condition of those are saved by grace through faith. Faith cannot possibly come from those in such spiritual condition - sons of disobedience, children of wrath, dead in trespasses. Salvation by grace must come to them first; they must first be made children of obedience, children of grace and alive in righteousness by the free grace of God before they can manifest any faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation by God's free grace CANNOT be through the faith of the believer. It must be through the faith of SOMEONE ELSE. Sadly, most believers are acquainted with the faith of the believer only. They are completely ignorant of the faith of Jesus Christ. They even scorned at the very idea of the faith OF Jesus Christ in their salvation.

The whole idea of believer's faith is imposed upon the passage; it is a man-centred idea read into the passage. It is a fable! Eternal salvation is NOT through the believer's faith in - in - in Jesus Christ. Eternal salvation is through the faith of - of - of Jesus Christ.

The vast difference between the two must be noted carefully if we are to know the truth concerning our salvation by God’s free grace. Biblical distinction is the essence of sound theology. Since we do believe in verbal inspiration of Scriptures, we need to note the distinction carefully. We will look at the passages of Scripture that vindicate and affirm the truth just stated.

Eternal salvation that comes to the condemned spiritually dead sinners by God's free grace is through the faith of - of - of Jesus Christ. Eternal salvation is not by God’s free grace through an act of man, not even his believing in Christ. If that were so, it is no longer by God's free grace; at best it would be grace conditioned or dependent on something man can do, and must do.

The believer's faith in Jesus Christ is one of the many graces (worked in the children of God by the indwelling Spirit of God) that results from the gift of eternal salvation freely bestowed. The effect of eternal salvation cannot possibly be the instrumental means to obtain the same salvation. As noted before, the believer's faith in Jesus Christ is a work of the indwelling Spirit as a result of eternal salvation - justification, regeneration and adoption - by God's free grace. The indwelling Spirit works many other graces in a child of God. It is only a saved person who can believe in Jesus Christ ­ because a saved person is indwelt by the Spirit of God, and the Spirit works faith in him so that he can believe. 1Cor 1:18, 2:12-14. Gal:5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith..." and Eph 5:9 "For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth."


2. The Simple Truth of Salvation by Grace
a. The simple truth is: eternal salvation is the gift of God through the faith OF - OF - OF Jesus Christ. The faith of Christ speaks of His FAITHFULNESS / FIDELITY in believing, submission and obedience to all the will of God His Father in His office as the Redeemer and Saviour of His people. The faith of Christ ALONE secured the righteousness for the elect who do not have righteousness of their own but who were deservedly under the just and righteous condemnation of death because of their sins.

The word faith, pistis has two basic meanings... check here:
http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4102&t=KJV

I. conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it
a. relating to God: the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ

b. relating to Christ: a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God

c. the religious beliefs of Christians

d. belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same

II. fidelity, faithfulness
a. the character of one who can be relied on

Most are acquainted with the various aspects of the first meaning, and only that. Very few are aware of the second biblical usage that speaks of the character of fidelity/faithfulness of a person.

Our eternal salvation by God's free grace is EVIDENCED or MANIFESTED by our believing IN - IN - IN Jesus Christ. This is a world of difference from the erroneous idea that God's free gift of eternal salvation to us is through our faith IN - IN - IN Jesus Christ. If eternal salvation is conditioned upon our belief in Jesus Christ - i.e. if God give us eternal salvation because we believe in Jesus Christ, THEN we who believe do have some reason to boast, it is our believing that constitutes the decisive factor in securing our eternal salvation; i.e. it is salvation through our act of believing!

In any case, our believing on Christ is described as work. "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" John 6:18-29. If salvation is through our act of believing, then it is through our own works, according to the words of Jesus Christ. However, it is so plain that believing is a work that ONLY the children of God can perform. Children of God are those already justified, regenerated and adopted, and indwelt by the Spirit of God. Life must precede the activities of that life; spiritual life precedes the spiritual activities of a man.

b. Consider this passage. Galatians 2:16 says "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF - OF - OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN - IN - IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF - OF - OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified". [the old KJB has 'by the faith OF Jesus Christ,’ nearly ALL others translations have 'by faith IN Jesus Christ.' In the NASB for example, they translate as "faith in", but in the footnotes they admit "literally faith of." See also (Rom 3:22, Gal 2:16, 2:20, 3:22, Eph 3:12, Phil 3:9...)]

Anyone with elementary knowledge of English would know that there is a vast difference between the two - 'the faith OF Jesus Christ' and a believer’s ‘faith IN Jesus Christ." The former declares a glorious truth concerning the character of Christ; the latter describes a act of man relating to Christ!!!

Your justification before God - to have your deserved and righteous condemnation removed from you and be declared righteous by God - is either by your own righteousness or through the righteousness of a substitute. Righteousness is the absolute prerequisite in justification. 'NO righteousness, no justification' is the holy and righteous and exact demand of God's justice. Without righteousness, condemnation must remains, justly and righteously; there can be no just nor righteous acquittal.

The righteousness absolutely needed for your justification before God is either by your own faithfulness in keeping God's law perfectly, or through Christ's faithfulness in keeping God's law perfectly. It is either by your own works of obeying the law completely and perfectly, OR by Christ's works of obeying the law completely and perfectly. The faith of Jesus Christ speaks of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ in keeping God's law completely and perfectly, thus securing the indispensable righteousness which is necessary for the justification and salvation of His people.

c. Your justification is NOT by or through the instrument of your own faith, i.e. your act of receiving and resting in Christ Jesus. You must be justified and saved by God first before you have the life and ability to believe in Jesus Christ. Your believing in Jesus Christ is A CONSEQUENCE and AN EVIDENCE of God having effectually called you out of your native state of sin and death to grace and salvation; i.e. justified you (removed your condemnation, and imputed Christ's righteousness to your account), regenerated you (removed your spiritual death by giving you eternal life), and adopted you (bring you, a former alien, into His family and gives you His Spirit to dwell in you, and who works the fruit  of the Spirit WITHIN you.) That is why you are able to believe in Jesus Christ. That is why anyone is able to believe in Jesus Christ.

Spiritual life is the basic prerequisite to spiritual activities. Eternal life is the gift of God. Believing is an activity, and evidence of eternal life, since the Scriptures declare copiously, whoever believes has eternal life. It is just like the obvious statement - everyone who breathes has life. Many misguided minds insist - 'you must breathe in order to get life' without realizing that such a statement implied that a person without life can breathe to have life. This is a fable and fiction. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2Tim 4:3-4.

3. The Imputation of Christ's righteousness
a. Here is another passage which affirms the same truth. "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" Romans 3:21-22

The subject here is the righteousness of God. In the long passage from Rom 1:18-3:18, Apostle Paul proves and demonstrates conclusively and beyond dispute that no man has ANY righteousness of his own, and therefore all stand justly guilty and condemned before the righteous and thrice holy God.

This becomes obvious from the outlines of the first 4 chapters of Romans. In Rom 1:18-3:20 - Apostle Paul proves and concludes beyond any shadow of doubt that man has no righteousness of his own, without excuse and guilty before God.

In 3:21-31 where the phrase 'by faith of Jesus Christ' occurs: Apostle Paul speaks of God's provision of righteousness. God's provision of this righteousness is by the faith of Jesus Christ, i.e. this righteousness is secured by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ in His complete and perfect obedience to the law of God- in His perfect and sinless life of righteousness, and His blood (His atoning death). Christ kept the law that His people has broken. This righteousness of God secured by Jesus Christ at the cross, is APPLIED freely by God's grace - VITAL/PERSONAL justification is by the free grace of God... APPLIED while each elect was still in a state of condemnation and death, not when he believes.

In 4:1-12 Apostle Paul is NOT speaking of how an ungodly condemned (unjustified) man may become justified before God. This is a common mistake of the 'Reformed' as well as the ‘Arminian’ folks. Apostle Paul speaks of how a man already justified by God's free grace may experience the blessedness of this free grace justification. It is by faith in the promised seed, Christ. In this matter, the principle is: 'But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.' The blessedness of one’s justification by God’s free grace is experienced, NOT through his works of obedience, but his believing in Christ alone. Abraham was the classic proof of this truth.

With this background, the righteousness of God's own provision through the faith of God is announced. And by God's free grace, this righteousness is imputed at the cross, and applied unto all and upon all them that believe - THAT IS, all them that believe do so because this righteousness of God has been imputed, and applied to them by free grace when they were still ungodly and dead in sin. Until a man is called to eternal salvation, made alive together with Christ in effectual calling and the Spirit dwelling in us, there would be no possibility of him ever believing in Christ.

Salvation is first bestowed to us by God's free grace, and not conditioned upon anything we have to do, because being spiritually dead were were utterly unable to meet any condition whatsoever! All the condition of eternal salvation have been met, and perfectly and completely met, by Jesus Christ: his believing, submitting to, and obeying all the will of the Father in His capacity as the redeemer of His people - even the faith of Christ!!!

There is a world of difference between the "faith of Jesus Christ' (Rom 3:22 ) which provided the righteousness in the legal and personal justification of the elect, and 'his faith' (a believer's act of believing, Rom 4:5) experiential and evidential justification. Sadly, the faith of Jesus Christ is no longer in the thinking and beliefs of VERY many modern Christians, among the Arminian as well as the so called ‘reformed’ folks.

b. Salvation requires perfect and complete righteousness. Of their own, God's elect has no righteousness whatsoever. The righteousness indispensable for their salvation is provided by God alone, through the faith of Jesus Christ, i.e. by the faithfulness of Christ in rendering perfect obedience to the whole law of God for His people. And all them that believe do so ONLY BECAUSE the condemnation of death has been removed and this righteousness of life has been imputed, and applied to them, freely by God's grace, i.e. justified and regenerated and adopted.

Justified 'by faith of Jesus Christ' is the same as "justified ... through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," (Romans 3:24) because that redemption is secured by the 'faith of Jesus Christ' - through His believing in, submission and obedience to all the will of God His Father in His office as the Redeemer and Saviour of His people.

All these passages speak of the faith of Jesus Christ
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” John 6:38-9; "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" - John 17:4; "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost," Joh 19:30; "He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done" Matt 26:42; and "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” Php 2:8.

c. It is a frightening thing to think that so many are deluded and are being deceived that they have perverted the biblical teaching on the faith of Jesus Christ in their eternal salvation into their own faith in Jesus Christ in their eternal salvation. The former is the gospel, the good news; the latter is the subtle lies of the devil, and many true children of God as deceived and misled. Most if not all the modern translation of the Scriptures have obliterated the biblical truth of the faith OF Jesus Christ in the salvation of His people. Christ-alone salvation has been replaced by Christ-and-me salvation. Though they still mouth 'salvation is by grace through faith' they have denied eternal salvation by grace because their put their OWN act of faith into the equation of the salvation by God’s free grace.

Conclusion
God's children ought to believe the exact truth of how God saved them. To believe incorrectly is to believe lies, and we dishonor and insult him. We are not saved through believing; we are saved by God's free grace while dead in sin, while utterly incapable of believing We are saved to believe the truth, and the ministry of the word is divinely intended toward that end.

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." Jer 6:16.

Let there be no reader who say, "we will continue to walk in the new ways." May the Lord grant us eyes to see the difference between the old paths and the new paths!

Amen.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Foreknowledge, not the same as Omniscience

Taken from a slow train meandering along this gorgeous gorge.
A train was bulleting across the bridge in the background.

Foreknowledge is not the same as Omniscience.
Let sound bytes bite the dust.

Biblical distinction is the essence of sound theology.

Can you distinguish the two? Do you know the vast difference? Let's learn it, it will make us wise unto salvation, instructing us in the truth of our salvation by God's free grace in Jesus Christ.

"And Adam knew his wife..."
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by Elder Matt Jordan

FOREKNOWLEDGE, NOT SAME AS OMNISCIENCE

"You only have I known of all the families of the earth..." Amos 3:2a

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate..." Romans 8:29a

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..." 1 Pet. 1:2a

"And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Mt. 7:23

Theologians like to talk about the fact that God is both omniscient (omni=all; science=knowledge) and prescient (pre=before; science=knowledge). He knows everything about everything, and he knows it in advance. Nothing ever surprises the Lord or catches him off guard. He doesn't have to take continuing education classes in order to remain current on the latest findings or trends.

It always troubles me, however, when people confuse the verb "to foreknow" with the prescience of God. Prescience is an attribute, i.e. something God "is," but foreknowledge is an action, i.e. something God "does." Prescience speaks of his prior knowledge of facts and events, but foreknowledge concerns people: "For whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate..."

I suspect the confusion arises from the tendency to define the root "to know" in cognitive, or intellectual, terms. Indeed, "knowledge" generally refers to the idea of "intelligent thought" or "mental awareness." But in the Bible the verb "to know" may also (and, in fact, it frequently does) refer to what we might call "relational knowledge." When Adam "knew" his wife and she conceived (Gen. 5:2), it is obvious to any thinking person that such knowledge involved more than something purely academic or cognitive.

It is in that sense that God could say to Israel, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Am. 3:2). Does he mean that he was unaware the Babylonians, Egyptians and Assyrians existed? No, God knows all things, for he is omniscient. He means, however, that Israel had been marked out as his special covenant people in relational terms. Likewise, Christ's sentence to the wicked in the last day will highlight the fact that they had never been brought into covenant relationship with him: "Depart from me...for I never knew you" (Mt. 7:23). Of course, He knows about them--everything there is to know about them--but He never loved them as His own, covenant children.

"Foreknowledge" then means "fore-loved." Because God loved a people before time began, He chose them to be His own: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..." (1 Pet. 1:2), and He predestinated them to finally be made like His only begotten Son: "For whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29).

Why is it so important to distinguish between God's covenant act of foreknowing a people and God's incommunicable attribute of knowing all events and circumstances in advance? It is important because it negates the popular interpretation in religious circles that interprets "foreknowledge" to mean that God looked down through time and saw those who would choose Him, so He chose them. The individual who takes this position of "foreseen faith" fails to understand the difference between foreknowledge and omniscience.

Bethel Primitive Baptist Church