Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Posts Tagged ‘perseverance of the saints’

Regeneration Does Precede Faith (I Was Wrong)

Posted by Job on March 22, 2013

In the past, I have vehemently criticized the doctrine that regeneration precedes faith. The reason for this was my ignorance. I took regeneration to be another word for conversion in that it had the exact same meaning.

However, regeneration only refers to passing from death to life. It is what happened in the natural sense when Lazarus and a number of unnamed characters were raised from the dead by those such as Jesus Christ, Elijah and Elisha. Those natural regenerations were types, or prefigurements, of the spiritual regeneration that happens when a sinner becomes a believer. We can include the resurrection of Jesus Christ as this sort of natural regeneration, as Jesus Christ’s physical existence went from being dead to alive. Obviously, being the sinless perfect and pre-existing God and Son of God, Jesus Christ needed no spiritual regeneration of any sort. This is in contrast with Lazarus, who not only experienced natural regeneration after being dead four days, but being one born into original sin and having sinned – as the soul that sinneth shall die as Lazarus did – he needed to receive spiritual regeneration also.

The subject of confusion: being regenerated, being born again, is only part of the salvation process. The actual conversion process happens after regeneration. Further, the effectual calling occurs before regeneration.

1. Effectual call: this is when God (the Holy Spirit) calls the sinner to salvation. It takes place when the sinner hears the gospel. (Note: the providence of God must place the sinner in position to hear the gospel first.)

2. Regeneration: this is when the Holy Spirit raises the sinner from the dead.

3. Conversion: this is when the sinner receives faith from the Holy Spirit, believes the gospel of Jesus Christ and hence fulfills John 3:16, Romans 10:8-9 etc.

The effectual calling cannot and will not happen unless one has first been chosen (elected by God the Father unto salvation from before the foundation of the world). The regeneration will not occur until one has been called. And salvation occurs after regeneration.

Why must regeneration precede faith? I am certain that you have heard that “dead men tell no tales.” Similarly, dead men cannot have faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). How can a dead man have assurance or conviction? A secular dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” How can a dead man have trust or confidence of any sort in anything, let alone a complete and total one in the unseen God? A dead man cannot even have wishy washy confidence in the casket that he is lying in. Why? Because he is dead. He doesn’t even know that he is in a casket. He has no feelings, thoughts or emotions.

This is not a contrivance of philosophy or idle speculation, but a truth clearly taught in scripture. Consider 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.” Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” But that is Paul’s doctrine, right? Well from the words of Jesus Christ in John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Now John 3:3 is key. Seeing the kingdom of God or entering the kingdom of God is always used by Jesus Christ to refer to salvation. Always. So, Jesus Christ explicitly states that one must be born again before that person can be saved. Again, when Jesus Christ said “except”, He was making a condition. So, the condition of being saved was being born again. Regeneration precedes conversion or salvation. And take a look at Ephesians 2:8, which says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God.” Regeneration precedes salvation. Salvation comes by faith. Thus, regeneration precedes faith. It is clearly, explicitly taught in scripture.

The doctrine of regeneration precedes faith is considered to be a Calvinist distinctive. However, many non-Calvinists believe so also without acknowledging or admitting it. Many non-Calvinists believe that God makes a change in the sinner that allows the sinner to make a choice to accept or reject him. Of course, the acceptance is a decision made through faith, and the rejection is a decision made through a lack of faith according to this doctrine. The non-Calvinist does not refer to this as regeneration, of course, because he recognizes that regeneration must necessarily result in salvation. So the non-Calvinist regards this as God’s merely opening the sinner’s eyes and hearts for the purposes of allowing him a free choice.

Problems with this doctrine are many. The Bible makes it clear that unsaved people are spiritually dead. So the person goes from spiritually dead to “sort of dead”, akin to the woman who says that she is “sort of pregnant”? Just as you are either pregnant or not, you are either dead or not … there is no in-between! Second, how can the “sort of dead/alive” person choose to believe and accept God on this basis in the absence of faith? Simple: he cannot. He cannot accept the gospel and believe without faith. And if God gives him faith, he will inevitably believe. There is no such thing as conditional, decision-based faith that is only activated on choice. So, for the sinner to choose God once God makes this choice possible requires the sinner to already have faith present within himself. And if this faith is present, he never was a sinner to begin with, and he was never spiritually dead to begin with. The Bible states that without faith it is impossible to please God. The converse would mean that those who have faith are already acceptable to God, meaning that they were righteous, justified, regenerate and converted already. Instead of being in a condition of original sin, this person would have had to have been inherently righteous already without having heard the gospel and without need of Jesus Christ. Moreover, if such a righteous person were to confess and repent of his sinful condition and state his need for Christ to be his savior, that person would be a liar!

The doctrine of regeneration coming after faith – or truthfully that regeneration and conversion are the same – is due to people being determined to believe that God must offer a man a free choice to accept or reject Him in order to be just and righteous. However, accepting God cannot be made in the absence of faith! The Bible is clear on this. Thus, denying that regeneration precedes faith is nothing more than an absolute determination to believe a lie.

This also solves the problem of those who fall away and confirms the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, or “once saved always saved.” Be not deceived: faith is not mere belief. Faith only comes by the Holy Spirit after the Holy Spirit regenerates you. And after conversion, the Holy Spirit seals you and keeps you in the faith. The Bible is clear on this. The Bible is also clear with the parable of the sower that it is possible to believe the gospel at one point but later renounce that belief. The Bible further states clearly that it is possible to believe the gospel, retain this belief but not bear fruit. The Bible further still states that it is possible to believe the gospel, do good works and bear fruit but not be obedient. These are the teachings of Jesus Christ, and Christ makes it clear that those people (the ones who renounce the gospel after believing at one point, those who believe but do not bear fruit, and those who believe and bear fruit but are disobedient) will be cast into the lake of fire! Why is this so? Because these people believed without receiving faith, and they did not receive faith because they are still unregenerate. You cannot have faith and be spiritually dead, but you can certainly believe and be spiritually dead. Hence, rejecting the truth that regeneration precedes faith is one of the reasons why many Christian denominations (Methodists and many Pentecostals for example) believe that it is possible to lose your salvation. The regeneration precedes faith doctrine provides both absolute proof that those who fall away were never saved to begin with, and provides absolute assurance that those who are truly saved will bear fruit, attain obedience and endure trials and tribulations until the end, even unto death!

So God will accept anyone who comes to Him through His Son, because those who come to God are those that God has called to do so. Is God calling you today? If so, repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. If you wish for more information on how to do so:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Graceworx: Is Salvation Forever?

Posted by Job on February 1, 2012


http://www.graceworx.com/podcast/video

Posted in Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Apostasy From The Faith: Is It For Real? By Graceworx

Posted by Job on January 27, 2012

http://www.graceworx.com/podcast/video

Posted in Christianity, devotional, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Elijah The Widow And Divine Election 1 Kings 17

Posted by Job on January 4, 2012

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, [a city] of Sidon, unto a woman [that was] a widow.

In Luke 4:26-27, our Lord and God Jesus Christ tells us that God sent Elijah to a Gentile widow woman as opposed to a member of His elect nation. When His fellow Jews were reminded of this fact, they became enraged at Jesus Christ and attempted to murder Him. The reason – or the context – was that Jesus Christ challenged their presumptuous attitude towards God and their standing with Him; an attitude that was due to their faithlessness. Israel had placed their trust in the intellectual knowledge that they were the children of Abraham, as opposed to spiritual revelation concerning God’s nature. Hence is the difference between mere belief – which followers of Jesus Christ in in Name only possess (see the goats of Matthew 25:31-46) – and saving faith. The former is artificial, is the product of human reason and emotion, and does not endure until the end. A great example of this is the case of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-24, who made a human response to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the miracles worked in His Name – the Bible text says that he believed and was baptized – but never experienced new birth, as the apostle Peter testified that his heart was not right and he needed to experience true repentance. (Opponents of the so-called Lordship Salvation doctrine need to take note of Simon Magus). The latter is given only by God, and it always produces true repentance and legitimate salvation from which none can fall away.

Hence we should not be surprised that God sent Elijah to this widow woman. For though Israel was God’s elect nation, not all of Israel was elected unto eternal salvation. An example of this is Judas Iscariot, a Jew whom the Bible explicitly states is eternally damned to hell fire. Further, it is also clearly plain from the Bible that those elected by God unto salvation are not limited to national Israel. This is true of both New Testament times and Old Testament times. The signs are there that God sent Elijah to this widow woman because she was an elect Gentile, and hence a true daughter of Abraham and part of spiritual Israel, Israel of God as described by Paul in Galatians 6:16.

First, consider that this woman knew of God’s nature. In 1 Kings 17:12, this woman swore by God using Yĕhovah ‘elohiym chay, meaning as YHWH lives. By giving an oath upon this divine attribute, she recognized the God of Israel as the living God. Now contrast this with Darius, the pagan king of Medo-Persia during the time of Daniel. He referred to the God of Israel as the living God in Daniel 6, but he did not use the divine name (instead he used a more generic term for deity), further Darius was a polytheist, meaning that he believed in other gods (as evident by Daniel 6:7). Note that the decree of Darius in Daniel 6:25-28 commanded that everyone worship the God of Daniel, but (despite the claims of VeggieTales) did not command that YHWH be worshiped exclusively. Worship of other deities was still allowed, and in a polytheistic nation like Medo-Persia, it was obviously going to happen. Yet this widow woman made no reference to other gods, including the false deities of her own country and people. Thus, the knowledge of God of this widow woman exceeded that of King Darius.

Second, this woman obeyed the commandments of God. She knew that Elijah was an Israelite, and suspected him to be a prophet. When Elijah told her to feed him first with her last portion of food, and then feed herself and her son, against all reason and human nature, she obeyed God’s prophet, and through that action obeyed God Himself. She did this obedience through faith, even though it was yet in a seed form. And again, contrast the faithful obedience of this Gentile woman to the faithless rebellion of national Israel (save for the faithful remnant reserved for God by God’s divine decree) and also of those who claim to be Christians but are not like the goats of Matthew 25:31-46.

Third, this woman was aware of her sin condition before God, and it vexed her to a condition of penitence. This is in contrast with the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and Essenes in the time of Jesus Christ, and of Christians who believe in Jesus Christ only through the power of their own flesh (again i.e. Simon Magus). We know this because when her son died, the first thing that she attributes this great calamity to was her own sin (1 Kings 17:18)! She did not blame God directly by accusing Him, or blame Him indirectly by attributing this tragedy to the unfairness of life, but she asked if God sent His prophet to her to bring about the death of her son as punishment for her sins! And in this, she did not deny being sinful, nor did she deny the propriety of God’s punishing her for her sins!

In all of Israel, was there anyone who had this type of knowledge of the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and how sin has its wages, which is death? And how could anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, have this awareness except by divine revelation? And be not deceived, the knowledge of one’s sinful condition that causes true repentance comes only by Holy Spirit conviction! The Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of his sin, gives the sinner the faith to believe the gospel, and then regenerates the sinner. We see in this narrative that this woman already knew of God and His nature, already knew of her sinfulness (and hence God’s holiness) and already knew of the dire consequences. Now we are beginning to see why God’s prophet was sent to this Gentile woman!

Finally, this woman sees the power of God, the revelation of God, through a miracle: the resurrection of her son. Now keep in mind: national Israel had seen the mighty works of God before and rebelled anyway, including virtually everyone who came out of Egypt. That generation perished in the desert because they lacked true God-given faith, and as a result fell away and tried to stone Moses and go back to Egypt! And in Elijah’s time, Israel SAW God miraculously expose and defeat the prophets of Baal, yet they (again save a remnant that God reserved to Himself, see Romans 11:4 and 1 Kings 19:18) soon began serving Baal again anyway! So where the non-elect have God revealed to them to no lasting positive effect (i.e. those who do not respond to the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ) because of their faithless condition, this woman responded by saying that Elijah is a prophet of God and that the word of the Lord in his mouth was true.

Please do not walk away believing that this woman merely attested that Elijah was a reliable fortune-teller and wonder-worker after the fashion of not a few pagans. This woman spoke “dabar Yĕhovah peh ’emeth.” Ignore peh which only refers to Elijah being God’s vessel. Instead, focus on dabar Yĕhovah ’emeth. This means “the word of God is truth.” Again, she explicitly stated YHWH, the divine Name, which refers to the Holy Trinity and not merely God the Father (as some, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult and the equally false modern Judaism religion, mistakenly believe). “Dabar” means “word.” As we know from John 1 – and the apostle directly translated “dabar” into “logos”, and we know this from his citation of Old Testament texts – “dabar Yĕhovah” means “the Word of God.” The Word of God is none other than Jesus Christ. Emeth means “truth.” Hence when this woman exclaimed  dabar Yĕhovah ’emeth she stated “the Word of God is truth”, or “Jesus Christ is truth.” Thus, this woman bore witness of Jesus Christ, a true personal witness that could have only come by the Holy Spirit, and this is so both the Old Testament and New Testament dispensations (for lack of a better term).

Do you doubt? Well, emeth does not only mean “truth” or “true.” It can also mean “faithful.” So, who is referred to in the Bible as “faithful and true”? Why Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:14 and19:11. This Gentile woman in essence referred to two of the Names of Jesus Christ given in the Holy Spirit-inspired scriptures: the Word of God and Faithful and True!

So, she knew of God and His attributes. She obeyed God because of this belief. She knew of God’s holiness and her sin, of the consequences of this sin, and was truly repentant because of it. And she believed in – and publicly testified of – Jesus Christ. The only thing that this woman lacked from the salvation process given in the New Testament was those things that had not yet come to pass (the incarnation and passion of Jesus Christ) and yet her words lacked even less than many conversion techniques and pitches common in evangelical Christianity today! Hence, this widow woman was an Old Testament saint. And it was to this Old Testament saint, whose status as such was by the election and predestination of God the Father from the foundation of the world, that God’s prophet was sent despite her not being a member of national Israel. And therefore this widow woman was an Old Testament example of the New Testament doctrine given in Romans 10:12-13, Galatians 3:28-29, and Colossians 3:11.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.

Be not deceived: though Elijah was not sent to a member of national Israel, he was definitely sent to a member of spiritual Israel. Whether Jew or Gentile, it is imperative that one must be a member of spiritual Israel so that one can reign forever with Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem and avoid the wrath certain to come to those who are not members of this spiritual nation. If you wish to join Israel of God but do not know how, please read:

The Three Step Salvation Plan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..

Posted in Bible, Calvinism, discernment, election, evangelical, evangelical christian, faith, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Judaism, predestination, Reformed, salvation, soteriology, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When Hannah Mother Of Samuel Prophesied Of Jesus Christ

Posted by Job on November 11, 2011

1 Samuel 2:1-10 reads:

And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. [There is] none holy as the LORD: for [there is] none beside thee: neither [is there] any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let [not] arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD [is] a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men [are] broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. [They that were] full have hired out themselves for bread; and [they that were] hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

This prayer of Hannah is fascinating in ways that are almost too many to count. I will focus on some things that struck me about it as it read this text this morning.

1. How God uses adversity to bring about His purposes in His elect. This was a time of spiritual crisis among God’s people, during the time of the Judges. In these days Eli was the high priest charged with service of the tabernacle, as were his sons Phinehas and Hophni. However, Phinehas and Hophni were exceedingly wicked, and Eli, though he went through the motions of being outwardly righteous, refused to act to stop his sons, and also was willing to personally benefit from their evil deeds. God does not leave His people without a shepherd, however, so it was his purpose to raise up new spiritual leadership; a special child chosen from before his birth and set apart for this purpose.

In order to bring this about, God selected a righteous man, Elkanah the son of Jeroham, and his righteous wife Hannah. God temporarily closed the womb of this righteous woman, and permitted Peninnah, the other wife of Elkanah and who was bearing children, to vex and torment Hannah over her condition. Now this is yet another occurrence of rivalries between wives that the Bible tells us occurs with polygamy, including to the point of a woman using her children to gain status in the eyes of her husband at the expense of the other wives. However, also remember that during this time, childbearing was associated with God’s blessing and favor being with a woman, so a barren woman was often presumed to be disfavored by God, perhaps due to some sinfulness on her part. When you consider the very strong language that the Bible uses concerning Peninnah’s treatment of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:6 – and her adversary vexed her sore, forasmuch as she upbraided her, because the Lord made her barren – it appears that some very strong accusations were involved, and should make one consider the charges against Job by his friends: that Job’s sins were the cause of his condition.

But rather than her trials and tribulations being evidence of her sinfulness or her not being smiled upon by God, they were instead evidence of the work that God desired to work both within and through her (James 1:2-4)! For God wanted to use the seed of Hannah and Elkanah to raise up new spiritual leadership. God wanted the child of Hannah and Elkanah to be given totally over to Him; to learn about God’s laws and ways to that this child would be able to use this knowledge to execute his leadership more effectively and perfectly. God allowed – or caused! – the affliction of His servant Hannah so that – in her grief – Hannah would make a prayer to the Lord that was acceptable to the Lord. Now of course, this prayer was not of Hannah, meaning of her own flesh and carnal nature, but came as she was carried along by the Holy Spirit. But the point is that the trials and tribulations that God saw fit to have Hannah experience plowed and tilled the ground of her heart, to create the conditions for her to be carried along by the Holy Spirit to make this prayer. She prayed for a man-child (for the spiritual leader had to be male) and dedicated the child to lifetime service to God (thereby renouncing parental or familial rights that were very important in that culture for legal, economic and social status reasons) in her prayer, including the vow that her child would be a Nazerite. Remember the Lord’s Prayer, where we are supposed to petition that God’s will in heaven be done on earth. It was the will of God in heaven for such a child as this to be born and dedicated to Him, so God created the conditions whereby this woman would pray for the birth of this child, and sacrificially offer up her son – and herself – as vessels for this divine service. That Hannah’s motivation may have been to remove her own reproach, take away the ability of her rival wife to torment and provoke her, and thereby gain the peace of her own mind is of little consequence. The main thing is that through her trials, she offered up a prayer that was acceptable to God because it was the will of God, and thus God granted what she requested. And it should be pointed out that by Hannah’s giving the child to God – as opposed to her desiring to hold onto the child herself for the purposes of getting back at her rival Peninnah, the natural thing to do – was evidence of this woman’s righteousness and Godly heart. So, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ that is currently enduring hardships, heartaches, persecution and tribulation, then do not despair but rejoice, because God will use these things to bring about His purposes in you as He did with Hannah! On the other hand, if you are mocker and persecutor of God’s people like Peninnah, well beware! Please note that the Biblical record treats Hannah much more favorably than Peninnah, and moreover just as the evil behavior of Peninnah was recorded for posterity, God is keeping inventory of our behavior in His book!

2. Let us not ignore the positive role and influence that Hannah’s husband, Elkanah played. Though many men did mistreat their barren wives in that day and time, Elkanah did the opposite: he comforted, elevated, loved and had compassion on her! Unlike Peninnah, 1 Samuel 1:5 hints that Elkanah knew that Hannah’s being barren was not any indictment against her value or character, but was of the Lord’s doing. So, rather than despising and rejecting his wife after the worldly manner that his wife took, Elkanah respected and submitted himself to the will of God – to the right and prerogative of God to make his wife barren – and instead loved his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). Rejecting his wife because God decreed her to be barren would have been akin to rejecting the decree of God, and thus rejecting God. But by honoring the will of God through loving his wife, Elkanah honored God. Now perhaps one can fault Elkanah for not intervening when Peninnah persecuted Hannah, but the Biblical evidence in such instances like Abraham dealing with Sarah and Hagar and Jacob dealing with Rachel and Leah leads one to believe that the custom of the day was for men to generally refrain themselves from disputes among their wives.

Elkanah did not merely behave righteously with his wife, but also with his son. Imagine if your wife has a son, and she tells you “No, this is not going to be your child to love, raise, be proud of and carry on your name. No, I am going to give this child – your child – to the church. You are not going to have anything to do with raising this child … you aren’t even going to SEE this child. Instead, I am giving him away.” Even in our modern culture, that would be a difficult, almost unthinkable thing to do: the equivalent of a wife deciding to give up the child – the husband’s child – for adoption. In that culture, where men had almost absolute rights over their wives and children, and where male children gave great honor and esteem to their fathers before society, it was even more pronounced. Yet Elkanah willingly gave up his fatherly rights and privileges and consented to the designs of his wife. Why? Because he knew that the child was the result of God’s blessing his barren wife! He knew that this child came as the result of God’s honoring his wife’s petition, and that this petition included Hannah’s promise to give the child to God’s service. So, just as Elkanah submitted himself to God’s will when his wife was barren, he did the same when his wife was fruitful. This means that Elkanah’s love and obedience to God was not conditional! Instead, he honored and obeyed God regardless of the circumstances. Whether the Lord giveth (allowing his wife to bear children) or the Lord taketh away (causing his wife to be barren), Elkanah honored – or blessed – the Name of the Lord! In this manner, Elkanah reminds us of Joseph, earthly father of Jesus Christ, when he submitted to God’s will in taking Mary as his wife and raising Jesus Christ as his adopted son. Both Elkanah and Joseph chose sacrificial giving over behaving selfishly according to the interests of their own flesh. The union of Hannah and Elkanah was definitely that of a believing, obedient, faithful man and spouse, and such things are blessed indeed. Blessed is the man who has a believing, righteous woman. Blessed is the woman who has a believing, righteous man. And blessed is the God who providently brings the two of them together for His service and to His glory! In this case, God brought together a holy husband and a holy wife for the purpose of producing a child that would lead His people.

3. The angel of the Lord told Joseph in Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus, or Joshua, or Yeshua, means “God saves.” In the opening of her prayer, Hannah rejoiced in her salvation by this same Jesus spoken of in Matthew 1:21. Let no doctrine or teacher deceive you concerning this fact. The Hebrew word used by Hannah was “yĕshuw`ah“, which means salvation by God. Later in this prayer, she states “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up” … a reference to death and resurrection by the will of God, just as the death and resurrection of God the Son Jesus Christ occurred according to the will of God the Father. Further: “He will keep the feet of his saints …” that is none other than a reference to the perseverance of the saints doctrine where Jesus Christ said concerning the redeemed that none could take them out of His hand (John 10:28-29). Instead, “the wicked shall be silent in darkness” which is exactly where the Lord Jesus Christ said that they would be cast (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). As for “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them” recall when our Lord said “the spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” in Luke 4:18? Also when Jesus Christ said “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” in the Beatitudes? Further, “The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth” is a summary of “the day of the judgment of the Lord” teachings both given by Jesus Christ and revealed to John in the apocalypse. Thus, this prayer of Hannah was packed with a startling amount of things that Jesus Christ would later teach. By the Holy Spirit, Hannah revealed some of the very things that Jesus Christ would preach many hundreds of years later. But that is not all.

“And he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed!” Keep in mind that this prayer of Hannah was given generations before Saul, generations before David, long before Israel asked for the king or the establishment of the monarchy. Yet here Hannah prophesies concerning the coming king – God’s king – whom she also calls God’s anointed! Christ, or Christos in Greek means the same as Hannah’s term mashiyach (Moshiach or Messiah) in Hebrew: anointed. In this prophecy song of praise, Hannah reveals Jesus Christ as king, savior, and Messiah. And again, as the monarchy had not been instituted and was not even on the horizon or thought process of the Hebrews at the time of the Judges, the context points to a UNIQUE king, savior and Messiah that God will pour out HIS strength upon and that God would uniquely empower, exalt and glorify to the point that through this king God the Father would subdue, rule and judge the entire earth. When one adds the reference to death and resurrection, the only major doctrine apparently absent in Hannah’s Messianic prophecy song is an explicit reference to Christ’s Sonship, and hence His divinity, whereby this anointed king of the latter verse would also provide the salvation of the Lord spoken of in the former verse. Yet by virtue of both being included in Hannah’s song – and one prominently in the beginning and the other prominently in the end, and please remember the nature of Hebrew poetry where ideas that are in the beginning and end of a poem go together, a type of parallelism or harmony – the concept of the divine Saviour and the Messianic king being one and the same is still contained within the prophecy even if it is not yet explicitly given at this point in progressive revelation.

It is amazing to read God’s Word and see how He used His handmaid Hannah to both bear the child Samuel that would lead His people in that time, but also to prophecy of Jesus Christ, who would save and lead His people for eternity! Thus Samuel, the child that Hannah had was the prefigure or the type of the child that Mary would later have. And this came after God created the circumstances for this event by making Hannah (temporarily) barren and having her suffer persecution in her own home for this condition, yet not leaving her alone during this time of affliction but providing her with a believing husband as her minister to comfort her and help her endure it (and view this in the context of the promise of God given to believers in 1 Corinthians 10:13 concerning God’s giving us the ability to bear trials).

The wisdom and might of God knows no end, and neither does His blessings! For these reasons and an infinite multitude of others, let us not be slack in giving God His due praise!

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Messianic Prophecy, Moshiach, prayer, prophecy, religion, Ruach Hakadosh, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Salvation Only Requires A Mustard Seed Of Faith!

Posted by Job on April 13, 2011

An old essay of mine on faith as it relates to salvation and Christian living used for an experiment of mine in using a text-to-voice translator for making videos for sharing sites. Any feedback is appreciated!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, faith, false doctrine, false teaching, Jesus Christ, Reformed, salvation, soteriology | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

What Shall Separate Us From The Love Of Jesus Christ By Dr. Iain Campbell

Posted by Job on January 1, 2011

Original sermon here.

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan Today!

Posted in Bible, Christianity, evangelism, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Will The Holy Spirit Be Taken From The Earth During The Great Tribulation?

Posted by Job on May 2, 2009

Many premillennial dispensational pastors teach that during the time of the great tribulation, the Holy Spirit leaves earth along with the church. Now consider this. As God is a spirit (John 4:24), the Holy Spirit is the presence of God. For God’s presence to be removed from the earth during the great tribulation or at any other times causes real problems, because God sustains and directs creation, which cannot operate without God’s presence and involvement. (The idea that God accomplished creation and left it to itself without His needing to operate, sustain, or otherwise be involved in it is theological liberalism at best and deism at worst.)

But apart from the larger question of precisely how creation will be sustained and operated for seven long years with God’s presence absent from it, there is the issue of salvation. Can anyone name a premillennial dispensationalist who denies that people will be saved during the tribulation? That would be very difficult, because Revelation does make reference to Christians that will be martyred after the time that according to this doctrine the church will have been raptured, and this is so for both the pre-tribulation and mid-tribulation rapture believers. First off, for this to even happen will mean that Jesus Christ’s promise concerning the Holy Spirit of John 14:16-18, that He will not leave us comfortless (meaning that the presence of God will never leave the church) would be broken. So … if John 14:16-18 can be violated, even for a time, then what secures John 3:16 and the other promises of God to the church? 

But again, back to salvation. The Bible explicitly teaches that the Holy Spirit is what accomplishes salvation. The Holy Spirit not only draws the sinner and convicts the sinner of unrighteousness, but the Holy Spirit actually accomplishes rebirth. This must be the case, for salvation is quite literally a miracle, and all miracles are the work of the Holy Spirit. No miracles cannot occur without the presence, moving and working of God. But if the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth, how can salvation occur? Who will draw sinners? Who will convict sinners of unrighteousness? Most important: who will perform the miraculous work of regeneration, of new birth? 

Recall what Jesus Christ told Nicodemus in John 3:5-8, which is that salvation, new birth, is impossible unless someone is born again, and born again can only occur by water and spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. But to repeat, if the Holy Spirit has been taken from the earth, how can the rebirth, the salvation that can only occur by the Holy Spirit occur?

There is only one explanation. It is the doctrine that salvation is not the work of the Holy Spirit, but rather of human decision, of free will. Now claiming that it is totally or completely free will is Pelagianism, or shall we say hyperArminianism. The mainstream orthodox free will doctrine is that the work of the Holy Spirit empowers a free will decision to accept or reject Jesus Christ. An extension of this is foreknowledge, which states that God from His timeless perspective knows in advance who will accept and reject Him, so He elects those who will – or in truth have already – elected Him, and places them in human history in situations where they will hear the gospel. (In other words, God loves us because we first loved Him.)

Now the free will doctrine which states that the job of the Holy Spirit is to empower human decision is necessary to reconcile decision soteriology with what the Bible actually says. However, we see that this really is merely a cover, an exterior. At the heart of this doctrine is that salvation is completely the work of human decision, and that the Holy Spirit is not necessary at all. That is why it is so easy for the very same free will Christians to declare that salvation is made possible by the Holy Spirit’s overcoming the effects of the fall long enough to empower man to make a free will choice to immediately turn around and assert that during the tribulation, the Holy Spirit is gone and yet people will still be saved!

This makes the work of the Holy Spirit to draw, convict, and actually accomplish new birth a mere technicality to free will salvation, an accessory if you will, that while very useful can be discarded if need be, such as during a crisis. And during the great crisis for humanity and creation that is the great tribulation, the presence of the Holy Spirit for those being saved is no more necessary than is the presence of a second lung or kidney. It is nice to have, but ultimately you can get along without it. After all, you still have the other lung or kidney, right? Well, it appears that with free will doctrine, one lung or kidney is God (the Holy Spirit) and the other lung or kidney is human initiative, human decision, human righteousness and self – worth, human works. It is interesting that in a crisis, God is the one which is declared to be superfluous, not truly necessary for life, and therefore sacrificed, while our human freedom, what is truly valued and important above all else, are the horns of the altar to which we hold fast to (see 1 Kings 2:27-34). Perhaps, then, life as a slave or in an authoritarian culture (please recall that Christianity was birthed in the authoritarian, fascist Roman Empire which had no respect for individual rights or freedoms except for that of a privileged few, and most early converts to the religion were noncitizens and slaves!) is better suited to creating a mindset conducive to Christianity than previously thought. After all, the Declaration of Independence was written by a deist, not a Christ.

According to all Biblical evidence including the words of Jesus Christ Himself, the idea that salvation can occur without the Holy Spirit is severe error, a rejection of a truth plainly taught in scripture, and also attributing the work of the Holy Spirit (salvation) to another, giving another credit for what God does. (However, it is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin, which Jesus Christ states is attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Giving the glory for the work of the Holy Spirit to man is a sin, but quite different than attributing salvation to being the work of Beelzebub.) So is the idea that the church will be left without its Comforter, the Holy Spirit. So, what does that mean for this doctrine? 

I suppose that the rapture doctrine itself can be salvaged for those who choose to adhere to it. However, one simply cannot claim that there will be no Christians afterwards, as the Bible clearly contradicts it … saints will be martyred during the tribulation according to Revelation and the Olivet discourses.  One also cannot claim that the “tribulation church” or the “tribulation saints” will be there without the Holy Spirit, as Jesus Christ said that such a thing would never happen. And one cannot claim that the “tribulation saints” will consist of a single person born again while the Holy Spirit is removed. 

So, the only way to salvage the rapture doctrine is to abandon the claim that the Holy Spirit will be taken from the Earth during the great tribulation, or at any other time that the church will be on the earth or that people will be added to the church. While this is certainly possible, the question must be asked  A) where this “the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth during the tribulation” doctrine came from and B) why it was embraced. Why did not these people, these great pastors, theologians, and eminent Bible scholars, simply ask: without the Holy Spirit how can anyone be saved and “how can any Christian endure daily life, let alone tribulation and martyrdom, without the ministry of the Comforter?”

Now the doctrines of God are supposed to be the head of all doctrines of Christianity and the focus of our faith. We are supposed to look at every doctrine and ask “How is God working in this? How does this glorify God? How does this accomplish God’s purposes? Where is God in this story”? That this “the Holy Spirit will be removed from the tribulation church” doctrine has been able to gain such unqualified support in huge swaths of evangelical Christianity shows that this is not the case. In it, God and His workings are not necessary to bring about conversion, to seal believers, to preserve them in the faith. Man is able to accomplish these things, to save himself, minister to himself, and persevere in the faith himself, without God’s help. Oh what a great, glorious, marvelous, fantastic, mighty to contemplate and behold, inherently virtuous thing this man must be! But if this was the case, then why did Adam, who knew not original sin, fall?

Instead, this shows that for so many premillennial dispensational Christians, the head of their doctrines are not the doctrines of God, but rather the doctrine of the rapture and the doctrine of human decision. Now the Gospel of John depicts the sin sacrifice of God’s own Word on the cross as the climaxing event of human history, the ultimate act of revelation and self – disclosure to creation. Premillennial dispensationalism, on the other hand, places the rapture of the church as the climax of human history, and the cross as merely being an event that leads to it. Why? Because the cross was about God, Jesus Christ. The rapture, meanwhile, us about the church. The cross is about people. Saved people, yes, but still people. The rapture is about US.

Which means, of course, that Christianity basically becomes about the desire to be raptured. Being raptured becomes our hope, our motivation, the main priority. And that explains so many of the strange actions in these last days. For example: our relationship with the Jews and Israel. The ingathering of Jews to Israel and the rebuilding of the temple is the main priority because of its importance to the rapture. So, Christians are required to deny the fact that Jesus Christ replaced Israel and fulfilled Israel’s mission in salvation and world events within Himself. Even further, Christians are required to pretend that modern Judaism is just another godless religion, no different from Islam, and pretend that there is any precious difference between a government and society  based around modern Judaism – a theocracy – and a similar Hindu or Muslim nation like India or Turkey. It has even reached the point where leading pastors can openly advocate dual covenant theology, that there a superior path to salvation for Christians and an inferior, harder, but still attainable and valid path of salvation for Jews, without causing a ripple of controversy. And it has reached the point where investing an incredible amount of resources to lending political and financial support to a theocracy who denies Christ and works to continue and further the denial of Christ by as many people as possible has taken priority over actually doing what Jesus Christ told us to do, which was the Great Commission. Again, where not one scripture can be honestly interpreted in a way that would command Christians to support the modern political state of Israel, the primary thing that Jesus Christ told us to do, evangelize, gets neglected. Why? Because evangelizing the world – the one thing that Jesus Christ actually said would bring about His return – is not as important as ingathering and protecting Jews in Israel, because obeying the commands of Jesus Christ has to take a backseat to getting raptured as soon as possible. So, given the choice between giving money to Israeli causes knowing full well that the Israeli charities forbid evangelizing Jews and also helping to rebuild the temple takes priority over obeying the commands of Jesus Christ by, say, making a concerted effort to evangelize the Palestinians. Why? Because though obeying God by evangelizing the Palestinians is nice and all, I would rather support the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (which adamantly opposes converting Jews to Christianity) and help breed heifers for the new temple (never mind that Hebrews stated that burnt offerings went away with Jesus Christ). Why? Because while obeying God is a good thing and all, supporting anti-missionary organizations and building a temple that rejects the work of Jesus Christ helps me by speeding up the rapture and getting me out of here faster, and pursuing my own interests takes priority over the commandments of God!

So, it is apparent: doctrines of man, and particularly of man’s inherent righteousness and ability to do good works apart from God, including pursue his own interests, and of the rapture,  which provides a doctrinal construct to pursue these things, are at the head of this particular strand of premillennial dispensationalism, and not the doctrines of God. So the question is: does this go as far as being another gospel? Is it another gospel?

This is a question that we must ask Reformed pastors who believe in the rapture as do Albert Pendarvis and John MacArthur. Such people state that salvation and perseverance of the saints are impossible without the Holy Spirit, that free will, human initiative, is impossible in these matters. If that is the case now, how can it be the case after the rapture? Reformed evangelical pastors emphasize grace. But how can the grace of God by which salvation and perseverance is only possible through the ministry of the Holy Spirit no longer be necessary after the rapture? Reformed evangelicals also assert sola scriptura. Well, can any sola scriptura Reformed evangelical who believes that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth and the tribulation church following the rapture show where it states or even implies in scripture where it is so? I dare say that the scriptures that Reformed evangelicals use to support cessationism, a doctrine about which I am very doubtful, make a much stronger case. 

Now my position is that the position that the church will be raptured, whether pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation (before the final bowl judgments) by itself is not. However, the position that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth during the great tribulation is another gospel, because it teaches that man can save himself and can persevere in the faith by himself without needing God to perform – or so much as even aid – either. That is a strong delusion, and from such a false gospel, I urgently beg, entreat, plead, and in the Name of Jesus Christ pray that you will turn away.

Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Once Saved Always Saved Thanks To Jesus Christ

Posted by Job on October 20, 2008

An excellent example of the incontrovertible Biblical truth of the doctrine “perseverance of the saints”, or rather “once saved always saved” is the verse John 17:11 contained within the high priestly prayer of Jesus Christ:

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 

Now please recall that a role of the priest is to stand before God as the people’s appointed intercessor and representative. So in this prayer, Jesus Christ stood before God the Father in the role that God the Father gave Him, as the elect lady’s (the church’s) vicar, and made a request of this same God the Father on our behalf.

What did He request? “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me!” Now keep us with respect to what? From poverty? No, for many Christians have been poor. As a matter of fact, many early Christians were known for their poverty and admired for their dignity and holiness in enduring it. Oppression? No, for the Bible says that our trials and tribulations are part of the process of God’s refining, reproving, purifying, and teaching us. Death? No, for a mere few years after this sermon was prayer was given we saw martyrdom beginning with Stephen.

Does it refer to schism? Why yes, it does! Jesus Christ was in fact praying that none should leave the church. However, let us not think of this in an earthly sense, or else the Protestant Reformation (or more accurately the separation of groups like the Particular Baptists from the state Reformed churches) would have violated this prayer. As a matter of fact, even Paul and Barnabas going their separate ways over John Mark in Acts can be interpreted as something of an apostolic schism by earthly standards.

But that is by earthly standards. The true church, the Body of Jesus Christ, which the Bible in various places calls a mystery, is a spiritual reality, not an earthly body or institution. So when God the Son prayed to God the Father (I will propose that without Trinity my argument does not work because Jesus Christ would have been praying to Himself or to some nonexistent entity), He was not asking that we be prohibited from leaving first Baptist church for second Presbyterian church. And by “that they be one” Jesus Christ did not mean to restrain us from criticizing any and every “judge not touch not mine (never) anointed and do my (false) prophet no harm” crackpot pulpit pimp sorcerer and heretic that defames the term Christian by calling himself one. 

Instead, when Jesus Christ was praying “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one” He was petitioning the Father that every born again Christian would remain in the true church, the spiritual universal church that He is the Head, Lord, Redeemer and Guarantor. Claiming that a person could lose his salvation would mean that either God the Father refused the prayer of Jesus Christ or He could not deliver on the request of Jesus Christ. Either way, it makes God fallible, which makes Him no God at all and our faith a lie. After all, if God cannot or will not honor the prayers of Jesus Christ, what makes God the Father honor His sacrifice on the cross? Further, since Jesus Christ is God, for God the Son to ask of God the Father only to have the latter refuse, then God is divided against Himself and again is not God at all.

But what of the exhortations that Christians should continue in the faith and endure till the end? They were just that: exhortations to holy and righteous Godly living, to not use the grace of God as a justification for lasciviousness. It is one of those apparent tensions or contradictions along the lines of “saved by faith alone and not works” and “faith without works is dead.” In other words, stumblingblocks that exist in the mind of those who choose not to believe, usually because of their insistence on making a thing of the spirit into a thing of this world. For how can a newly saved Christian know of the imperative not to abandon the faith and live holy unless he is told? How is he to learn true doctrine and practice and become spiritually mature unless he is taught by someone who knows these things? It is true that God seals the Christian and keeps Him in the faith. But why cannot or should not this same God use His preachers – and His Word – to tell Christians “stay in the faith” as part of the persevering process? 

To put it another way, salvation is not accomplished by men, but rather the work that Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. It is not the result of some individual human decision, but those that God predestines and elects. Yet, the fact that God requires humans to preach the gospel to other humans as part of this process – and the Bible specifically states that salvation will not happen unless this God ordained component is fulfilled – does not negate that salvation was started and finished by Jesus Christ. Such a thing as spontaneous combustion may exist, but there is no such thing as spontaneous regeneration. Another way of speaking, just as birth cannot happen unless a seed is provided (the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit in the case of Jesus Christ, human seed in all other cases), rebirth cannot happen unless a human plants the seed of the gospel. 

So if there is a mandated God ordained human role starting the race (a sinner hearing the gospel and becoming born again), what prevents there from being a God ordained human role in staying in the race until the end? Again, the evangelist’s telling the not yet born again member of the elect “repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ or perish in eternal flame” as the gospel message requires does not undo the fact that God has elected this person. In a similar fashion, the teacher’s telling the born again “you must stay in the race or perish” does not undo eternal security. Telling the truth in one area does not invalidate truth in another, and as a result the words of Jesus Christ and many other New Testament writers that promise eternal security are not contradicted by words of the same Jesus Christ and writers that speak of the need to persevere.

The best example: the parable of the sower. Jesus Christ spoke of the seeds that fell by the wayside, that fell in stony soil, that fell among the thorns, and that fell in good soil. According to those who preach that it is possible to lose one’s salvation, Jesus Christ’s own high priestly prayer contradicted what He stated mere months earlier regarding the people who would receive the gospel initially but then turn aside because of persecution or worldiness. The only way to harmonize that parable with Jesus Christ’s prayer is to conclude that rather than being born again Christians who failed to persevere, the plants that grew in the thorns and stony soil represent people who may have put their trust in religion, values, tradition, apostate Christianity, or some other form of godliness without the power thereof (or those who sought out the faith for the wrong reason, or those who were deceived, manipulated, or coerced into conversions) and as such were never born again. In that, the contrast is between both those two groups (the stony soil and the thorns) and those who fell by the wayside (meaning that they rejected the gospel out of hand) and those who received the gospel in good soil. Now please note that by implication both the first group (the wayside people who reject the gospel out of hand) and the last group (the good soil people who persevere in the faith) are the smallest. It appears that the bulk of the people are going to be in the middle two groups, people who hold onto some external form of Christianity for a time or even for all their lives. Indeed the road is narrow and the gate is strait! 

But never forget that what separates the seeds that produce plants that persevere and the seeds that do not is their landing in good soil, and what makes them good soil is their measure of faith given by the sovereign God. And the same faith given by the sovereign God that creates the good soil that results in true lasting salvation is the same one that will over time (rapidly in some, less rapidly in others) produce spiritual maturity and submission that leads to obedience and good works. The same faith that caused conversion in the first place will cause good soil Christians to heed the exhortation of preachers – as well as the exhortation in the Bible – to persevere. The same Holy Spirit that works the regeneration of Christians upon their hearing the gospel will work the perseverance and eternal security of those same Christians. Why? Because it is the same Holy Spirit which is working on the same ingredient: faith. And what is the object of this faith? What the resurrected Jesus Christ did on the cross. And to whose will and glory does this take place? God the Father, the same who sent the Son and on whose behalf the Holy Spirit speaks and bears witness. (Again, eternal security requires Trinity, which is no surprise because the Bible requires the same.)

So Christian, God the Son prayed to God the Father for your eternal security in John 11:17 and it was done. Believe it, receive it, and live it for doing any other including denying it is akin to claiming that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is in fact no God at all, for this would be a God in conflict with Himself and incapable of internal consistency of will, word and action or of keeping His promises.

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments »

God’s Decree of Election

Posted by Job on July 18, 2008

From Youtube user JesuitInfiltrator

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bible Verses On Predestination, Election, Perseverance Of The Saints, Limited Atonement, And Total Depravity

Posted by Job on July 9, 2008

Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance Of The Saints
Answering Common Objections

Posted in Bible, Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

The Prodigal Son Parable: Why Is The Brother That Stayed Called Unsaved?

Posted by Job on July 8, 2008

Consider the prodigal son parable, Luke 15:11-32. Why is it that the second brother, the one who left, considered to be unsaved? 

We agree that the father in the parable represents God, and that being with the father in his house represents being in God’s presence i.e. being saved, being in fellowship with the church, being in right standing with God, etc. So, in my opinion, the natural interpretation of the story is that when the son leaves, it represents a believer that temporarily backslides, and when he returns to his father’s house, it is restoration. The key point of that interpretation is that Jesus Christ said that the fellow “came to himself”, or came to his senses and recognized the direness of his plight, and recognized that his life could be saved only by returning to his father’s house, even if he returned to a lower position than he was before, a servant instead of a son. (Better to be an angel, which is the equivalent of a hired servant when compared to a born again human in the image of God, than in the lake of fire.) To me, that is an example of the perseverance of the saints, the Holy Spirit bringing a born again person who has sinned greatly to repentance. Now when the other brother gets angry at his father’s accepting the repentance of the sinning son, then it represents a believer that needs to be instructed against pride and self – righteousness and towards the meaning of forgiveness and grace. 

But in so many interpretations, including by preachers and theologians that I respect, it is presented as a salvation narrative. When the prodigal son is convicted of his sin and goes to his father’s house, he represents a sinner coming to God. That would be fine had the prodigal son started out in Babylon, which according to the doctrine of original sin he should have. But to suggest that he started out saved, in God’s house, and then departed upon sinning is Pelagianism!

And then there is the brother. If being with the father – with God – is associated with salvation, how can he be a sinner? Especially when you consider that even after he sinned by refusing to forgive his brother and by challenging the righteousness, holiness, justice, and will of his father (who again represents God!) rather than being cast into outer darkness, he receives only a mild rebuke! Indeed, rather than crushing this knave and grounding him to powder, God comforts, consoles, and reassures the other brother in the very midst of the other brother’s insolence! Not only that, he tells the other brother “everything that I have his yours!” 

Now I have heard some assert that God gave benefits to the other brother through common grace, the rain coming on the good as well as the evil. Not so. The other brother begins on equal footing in the presence of God with the prodigal brother, and that is where he remains after the prodigal brother repents and returns. And there is a difference between common grace and “all that I have always had is thine.” The size of it is sinners are not in God’s house, have no position to demand or expect things from God (as the other son was angry over God never honoring him by throwing him a party), and will never be in God’s presence except the day that they are judged and cast into the lake of fire.

Now some have claimed that the prodigal son represented the Christian accepting salvation through faith and grace where the other son represented the Jew who was trying to earn salvation through works and religion outside of Jesus Christ. Now to be honest, I believe that this notion originated with the extreme anti – Semitism of the early church, who after the apostles passed from the scene ejected the Jewish Christians from fellowship so that they would be unencumbered with going whoring after Greek and Roman pagan abominations that built until it became what we now call Roman Catholicism. Those people, especially the Alexandrian allegorists, claimed that every good character in the Bible represented the church and every bad character represented the Jews. So since they did this with Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, etc. it would have been no small thing to claim the same for the prodigal son and the other son. But Christians, freed from the influence of the allegorists, should have been able to read verse 31, where the father (representing God) says to the other son “And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” How does “son thou art ever with me” become “sinner headed for eternal damnation” in the eyes of anyone other than the raving anti – Semite hunting down reasons to reject the Jewish Yahwistic worldview under the basis that everything pertaining to the Jews – including Jewish religious thought – is evil and rejecting it in favor of Greek pagan worldview?

Does the prodigal son, then represent someone who lost his salvation? Can’t be. Hebrews 6:1-8 says that it is impossible. Also, please note that even when he was in Babylon, he was still a “son!” Both sons were born in God’s house. Meaning that they were both predestined, both of the elect, both partakers of the limited atonement and of particular grace.  And both sinned and needed to be forgiven. Whose sin was greater? Who cares? I have encountered many scathing condemnations of the elder brother, even among those who are constrained by “son thou art ever with me” in verse 31. Even when accounting for the fact that this is a parable, which means that the elder brother’s behavior in the story has real theological implications, PUT YOURSELF IN HIS SHOES!!! Even if the sin of the elder brother was great, his heart was wrong, and (since he represents people in the church) his understanding of Christianity was all wrong, so what? Who among US has that not been at some point in our Christian lives? Bottom line: the elder brother was just someone in need of rebuke, just like the APOSTLE Peter did concerning his first refusal to accept Gentiles as Christians, and his second refusal to accept Gentile Christians as being equal to Jewish Christians. The first rebuke from God came to Peter came directly in a vision, the second rebuke from God to Peter came through the Word of God as revealed to Peter by Paul. As Paul stated that there were serious consequences to Peter’s actions – he even led Barnabas astray along with many others, meaning that Peter not only sinned himself but suborned sin in this matter – the elder brother was no worse than Peter, and we are no greater than he!

That is something that we should think about as we consider the elder brother in the prodigal son story: at some point our lives we have all been him: hurt, wounded, disappointed, feeling forgotten or undervalued by God, puffed up in our own importance, proud of our own works, feeling that God or the people in our local church favor someone else above us unfairly, or sometimes just wrongheaded in our understanding of doctrine that causes us to live wrong and to butt our heads against the wall in futile frustration. But when that happens to us we should remember: we are still God’s sons, we are still in God’s house, all that is in God’s house is ours, AND WE WILL EVER BE WITH HIM. Why? Because of the unearned grace and love of God. Glory hallelujah and amen. 

If you wish to be in God’s house and be ever with Him, please follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Hebrews 6 And The Loss of Salvation

Posted by Job on December 25, 2007

Hebrews 6 and the Loss of Salvation

Posted in Calvinism, Christianity, salvation | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: