#989 Grace

October 16, 2015

thinking over feeling

The New Testament plainly states we are saved by grace through faith in the person and work of Christ, and that salvation is not of human works or works of righteousness which we have done. If, however, having put our trust in the person and work of Christ, we can lose our salvation by what we do or do not do, then in the final analysis, we are saved by works. This is contrary to the theology of the New Testament (cf. also Rom. 4:1-5; 11:6; Rev. 21:6; 21:17).

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so no one may boast.

 

Titus 3:5 he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit,

 

What Sin Approach

 

This approach asks the question, “ What sin causes a person to lose his salvation?” Sin, any sin falls short of the perfect holiness of God. Every person, regardless of his maturity or relationship with the Lord, is far from perfect by God’s standard. We all have something in our lives which falls short of God’s glory, i.e., some sin though it may be unknown.

 

1 John 1:8-10 If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.

 

Where, then, do we draw the line? Those who believe we can lose our salvation categorize sin as though God overlooks some sins while He judges others. It becomes a matter of degrees and the question arises, how bad must we become before we lose our salvation? Which sin does us in? People often categorize sin into various levels, but their categories are usually out of touch with God’s perspective.

 

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans,feet that are swift to run to evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies,and a person who spreads discord among family members.

 

Problem Passages

 

What about those passages that are often taken to mean the believer can lose his salvation? For this study, we cannot deal with all these passages. Generally, however, we can show that none of these passages teach we can lose our salvation if the immediate context and the context of the entire New Testament is considered, or if the principle of the analogy of the faith is considered.

 

THE ANALOGY OF THE FAITH

 

The analogy of the faith is a hermeneutical principle which says unclear passages should be understood in the light of clear ones, not vice versa. It is my conviction that those who believe we can lose our salvation, or who teach Lordship salvation, violate this principle.

 

They violate this principle in two ways:

 

(1) They base their understanding of the Gospel on a few difficult or unclear passages rather than the many very clear ones.

 

(2) They overthrow the correct interpretation of clear passages by understanding them in the light of their faulty views of the unclear or more difficult passages of Scripture.

 

CATEGORIES OF DIFFICULT PASSAGES

 

The problem passages (those used to teach believers can lose their salvation, or used to teach that they were never really saved or they would never do such and such) in reality fall into one or more of the following categories and do not deal with the issue of eternal salvation:

 

(1) Passages that deal with the Bema (the Judgment Seat of Christ) and are thus warning believers against the potential loss of rewards—rather than the loss or lack of salvation.

 

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. 14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. 26 So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. 27 Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified.

 

(2) Passages that warn against the severity of God’s discipline in this life when believers refuse to respond to His grace.

 

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.

 

Hebrews 6:1-6 Therefore we must progress beyond the elementary instructions about Christ and move on to maturity, not laying this foundation again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, 2 teaching about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this is what we intend to do, if God permits. 4 For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 tasted the good word of God and the miracles of the coming age, 6 and then have committed apostasy, to renew them again to repentance, since they are crucifying the Son of God for themselves all over again and holding him up to contempt.

 

Hebrews 10:23-31 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near. 26 For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us, 27 but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume God’s enemies. 28 Someone who rejected the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt for the Son of God, and profanes the blood of the covenant that made him holy, and insults the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know the one who said, “ Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” and again, “ The Lord will judge his people.”

 

(3) Passages that portray the nature of who we are as God’s children, and that which must, therefore, characterize us as children of God. This includes passages that portray the nature and condition of unbelievers as a motivation to godly living or living like the people we have become positionally in Christ. These passages do not threaten us with the loss of salvation nor do they call us to question our salvation. They challenge us to live like the people we are in Christ. For instance, compare Ephesians 5:1-12.

 

1 Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children 2 and live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. 3 But among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints. 4 Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting—all of which are out of character—but rather thanksgiving. 5 For you can be confident of this one thing: that no person who is immoral, impure, or greedy (such a person is an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them, 8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light— 9 for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention

 

THE ARGUMENT OF 1 JOHN 3:6F.

 

1 John 3:6-10 Everyone who resides in him does not sin; everyone who sins has neither seen him nor known him. 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous. 3:8 The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil. 3:9 Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin, because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God. 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed: Everyone who does not practice righteousness—the one who does not love his fellow Christian—is not of God.

 

First John 3:6 occurs in a section where John is giving reasons why believers should not sin. Here he gives one reason after another not to question our salvation but to motivate believers to walk in the light. Does 1 John 3:6b mean the abiding believer, the one who clings to Christ, actually never sins? Such an idea would contradict 1 John 1:8 and 10 and 5:16. Because of our weakness and lack of perfection in this life, even abiding believers sin. So what does John mean?

 

As an illustration, let’s say a young child steals a pack of gum at the supermarket. When the mother finds out, she says, “the members of this family do not steal. Do you understand that?” Does that make sense? One of them had just done that very thing. What was this mother saying? She was saying that stealing was against the moral standards of their family, and therefore, the little boy had to learn this lesson and refrain from ever doing it again. She wasn’t saying she had gone around and checked and found that none of the members of the family had ever stolen. She was pointing out the standards of their family as a motivation to her son.

 

John is simply telling us, this is the standard, that we do not sin, and we need to get with the plan. He is not denying that believers sin or that they can fall into the pattern of sinning. To drive this concept home even more, this verse is followed by more reasons and illustrations against sin in the lives of believers.

 

Another statement for motivation is in verse 9: “Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin, because God’s seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God.” It is not saying believers are incapable of sinning. This would contradict the verses mentioned above.

 

Most take this verse to mean that John is saying Christians cannot sin or will not sin habitually. Is this what John is saying? No. I do not believe this is his point. “Practices” is a misleading translation. If that was John’s point, the Greek prasso, which John uses in the verses below, could have expressed that more clearly.

 

John 3:20 For everyone who does ( prasso) evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed.

 

John 5:29 and will come out—the ones who have done what is good to the resurrection resulting in life, and the ones who have done ( prasso) what is evil to the resurrection resulting in condemnation.

 

So, what is John saying? The word “cannot” does not always mean incapable. It can also mean unwilling. The following New Testament passages illustrates this:

 

Luke 11:5-7 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine has stopped here while on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 Then he will reply from inside, ‘Do not bother me. The door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.’

 

Luke 14:20 Another said, ‘I just got married, and I cannot come.’

 

Mark 1:45 But as the man went out he began to announce it publicly and spread the story widely, so that Jesus was no longer able to enter any town openly but stayed outside in remote places. Still they kept coming to him from everywhere.

 

Mark 6:3-5 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” And so they took offense at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own house.” 5 He was not able to do a miracle there, except to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.

 

1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

 

First John 3 is saying we must be unwilling to sin because we were born of God’s nature. This is much like Romans 6:1-10 which follows the declaration of 5:20-21.

 

Let’s say a doctor tells a smoker with throat problems, “You cannot smoke again.” This doesn’t mean the person is incapable of smoking but that he must not because of the physical consequences to his body.

 

It is clear from the life of King David, who is called a man after God’s own heart, that believers can and do fall into serious sin and for long periods of time. For believers in Christ (with all that they have in Christ) to live under sin’s reign like the unbelieving world is an illogical and contradictory position. It carries with it very serious consequences including the possibility of the sin unto death as God’s divine discipline to stop the pattern of sinning.

 

1 Corinthians 11:27-32 For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few are dead. 31 But if we examined ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world.

 

1 John 5:16-17 If anyone sees his fellow Christian committing a sin not resulting in death, he should ask, and God will grant life to the person who commits a sin not resulting in death. There is a sin resulting in death. I do not say that he should ask about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, but there is sin not resulting in death.

 

I always debate about making these shorter, but it is almost impossible in order to cover the topic adequately, thank you for being patient and supportive in your prayers.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

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