Abstract faith??

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    Can a person believe the scriptures are true, that God is real, and acknowlege without any doubt that the gospel is true and yet all of this acknowlegment be abstract in regard to his own personal condition before God? In other words can a person believe all the essential truths and yet fail to have any personal assurance that he is the object of such redemptive love?

    We know this can be true concerning a person who is religious and does not believe the truths but is doctrinally deceived but can this be true of a person who is completely without doubts concerning all salvation truths and yet be without assurance that he is the object of God's redemptive love and forgiveness??? Can a person believe the gospel, believe the Bible is God's word, Believe the truths of salvation and yet be without personal assurance that such truths apply to him personally? What think Ye?
     
    #1 The Biblicist, Aug 23, 2013
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  2. salzer mtn

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    I think there are times when a true child of God doubts his own salvation. This will happen when a person begans to look inward instead of outward to the cross. Well I think I just mis-read the OP, Sorry.
     
    #2 salzer mtn, Aug 23, 2013
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  3. Crabtownboy

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    I believe that is possible. There are people who are convinced that God cannot or will not love them. This may stem from the guilt feelings of things done or not done, or it may stem from their not receiving love while they were growing up. It is a sad state.
     
  4. Van

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    The OP presents many mistaken views!

    1) Can a person believe scripture is true? Yes, of course! Unless total spiritual inability is true, which it is not.

    2) Can a person believe God is real and rewards those who seek Him? Yes, of course! Unless total spiritual inability is true, which it is not.

    3) Can a person "acknowledge" sincerely rather than hypocritically, that the gospel of Christ is true, and yet not be saved? Yes, of course. Unless total spiritual inability is true, which it is not.

    4) What determines a persons "condition before God" i.e. saved or unsaved? If God has credited the person's faith as righteousness (Romans 4:4-5/24) and set them apart in Christ, the sanctification by the Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13) then they are saved, born again, justified, and indwelt.

    5) Can a person believe all the right things, i.e. intellectual ascent, and not be saved? Yes, because it does not depend on the man that wills, but upon God who has mercy Romans 9:16. We are not saved by believing the right things, but by trusting in Christ, and being fully devoted to Christ, even if some of our views hit wide of the mark. Note the test is not whether we are exhaustive determinists, or free willers, but rather if we love the least of His, Matthew 25:37-40

    6) Assurance is not the same as salvation. In Matthew 7 we see folks who were assured they were saved, they had engaged in ministry and the like, but were not saved. At communion, we are to test ourselves and consider whether we are of the faith. If our heart does not condemn us, we sincerely know we love Jesus and are striving to serve only Him, and are not engaged in the practice of sin, we can have assurance we are saved.
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    Several years ago, a fellow church member and I were out visiting, and knocked on a door where three bachelor brothers lived.

    When they answered the door, we told them what we were doing and asked to come in. "Sure," one of the brothers said, "come on in and let's visit a while."

    After some small talk to get acquainted, my partner and I turned the conversation to spiritual things.

    I asked, "what do you think it takes for a man to come into a right relationship with God?" This question is aimed at determining if he has an understanding of what the Bible teaches about salvation.

    The young men answered, "Well, you have to realize that you are a sinner; you have to be sorry for your sinfulness, repent, and trust Jesus and his finished work on the cross for your salvation."

    Whoa! I frankly was expecting an answer about being good, doing the right thing, loving your neighbor, going to church, that sort of thing. But this young fellow nailed it.

    "Well," I asked," have you ever repented and trusted Jesus?"

    "Naw, I never have."

    "Uh, "would you like to?"

    "Naw, not right now. If I ever do I'll go down the street to the church on the corner and get it done."

    So, here were three guys who knew what the Bible says about salvation. They had a good understanding, but simply would not do it.

    My friend and I concluded our conversation soon, invited them to church, and left.

    So, what was missing here? Obviously, it was Holy Spirit conviction.

    I've wondered whatever happened to those boys. I never saw them again.
     
  6. The Biblicist

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    You make this assertion but then do not even point out one mistaken view much less "many"! You are building and fighting straw men that don't even exist in the OP. This question had no alterior motives about Calvinism. I was not setting anyone up for an ambush.

    This was not written from a Calvinistic or Arminian angle. I did not have any preassumptions or subvertive motives behind this question but your first three response make that assumption. If these are part of your charge of supposed "many" mistaken views then you need to reread the OP again because nothing of this sort was implied or stated in the OP.




    This has nothing NADA to do with my question. You are imagining alterior motives behind my question that are simply not there. I have not even addressed a person's condition BEFORE GOD. Wake up and read the OP for what it says not for what you imagine it says!!!!

    Finally, you address the OP somewhat while again straying off to your theological hatreds! Congratulations on your first somewhat attempt to address the OP! So a person can believe the truth of the gospel without doubts but yet be without confidence that Christ loved or died for him INDIVIDUALLY and PERSONALLY although he can easily believe it for ANYONE else.


    This does not address my OP. Those in Matthew 7 had assurance of salvation but not because they believed the truth. They had a faith plus works assurance which is a faith in a false gospel. My OP deals with a person who knows the truth of the gospel that it is soley by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ and entertains no doubts about the truth of salvation or the truth of God's word or the truth of God's existence and believes this with all his heart but simply does not see himself/herself as the recipient of God's redeeming love.
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    I think you probably addressed the question better than anyone else has yet to this point.

    A person who sees themselves as sinful and in need of forgiveness, and believes the Gospel provides all of that but yet cannot see himself/herself as the object of God's love and forgiveness in spite of the fact they know the gospel to be true.
     
  8. The Biblicist

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    Tom, you are close to my question. However, suppose the man said "yes I have, and I confess my sins but as I face God in prayer all I have is a greater sense of my sinfulness without any assurance that God personally loves me or has redeemed me." When you ask if there is some unconfessed sin in his life and he says "no, I confess my sins and forsake them but yet I cannot perceive myself as God's personal object of love and forgivness although that is what I want more than anything!"

    What counsel would you provide for him????
     
    #8 The Biblicist, Aug 23, 2013
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  9. Yeshua1

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    van ALWAYS take the chance to strike back against what he regards as "false teaching" calvinism!

    To your OP itself...

    sometimes I think people misunderstand just what the bible teaches on this area, andthey also at times have had negative comments and actions taken against them, so they get locked into a "works based" performance in order to keep the approval of God!
     
  10. clark thompson

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    Doubts happen, John the Baptist doubted Jesus as Christ while he was in prison even though before he was thrown in prison he said "behold the Christ".
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    I would say to him, "then I can't help you, because you have taken the position that God is a liar. He said if you would confess your sins, he is faithful and just to forgive your sin. You do not believe this. Accepting this truth comes by faith, and without faith, it's impossible to please God. I'm done."

    Now, the fact is that I'm not sure your scenario holds together. I certainly believe in Holy Spirit conviction of sin, and I'm not sure any lost person can confess and repent of sin without it. But I also hold that the Holy Spirit illuminates and regenerates; that saving faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and so is repentance.. I find it difficult to accept that the Holy Spirit will start His work in a lost person, but will not finish it.
     
  12. The Biblicist

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    Has he taken the position that God is a liar or that the problem lies with himself and not with God? Does he deny that God finishes what He has begun or does he doubt God has begun in him anything to finish? Does he doubt the truth or does he simply doubt the truth in respect to himself?

    I know this person. He has no doubts about the truth nor does he deny the truth or distort the truth but simply does not regard himself as the object of that truth even though he defends that truth. He even seems to rejoice in the truth. He tells me that he knows and understands and believes the truth but cannot experientially relate to it when he faces God in prayer. Instead he tells me that when he prays he feels like David when David said that his sins were continually before him. His attitude and life express Christlikeness in every other way. He is very humble person but without personal confidence that he is the object of God's redemptive love?

    I have tried everything I know but I have never really dealt with this kind of situation before in all my years of ministry. He simply seems to be without personal confidence that he is the object of God's redemptive love and that creates a misery factor inside of him as he expresses it.

    Have you ever dealt with this kind of situation? I suggested that it may be because in his childhood he was basically an orphan who never really experienced paternal love and has nothing to relate to and is seeking a feeling of assurance rather than simply accepting the facts by faith that he knows to be true.
     
    #12 The Biblicist, Aug 23, 2013
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  13. Winman

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    Is this person a fellow Calvinist? If he has been taught that God only loves some persons, and that God only elects some persons, then perhaps he believes he is one of the non-elect. Perhaps he believes that no matter how desperately he desires salvation that he is outside of God's love and acceptance.

    This is not a slam at Calvinism, it is an honest question. Is this person a fellow Calvinist like you?
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    He has never expressed any doctrinal issues as the difficulty. His problem seems to stem from a lack of ability to connect or identify with any kind of personal close relationship or acceptance in his own life. His life has been void of close personal relationships as he has a hard time opening up. He is friendly but distant in his relationships. I think it may stem from his early life as he had no parental love and was passed around from family to family and school to school never able to establish any kind of relationship or close friends but always the new guy at school and so withdrew behind protective barriers. I think he is simply unable to relate to a close personal relationship or see himself accepted and loved. His problem seems to be the lack of ability to identify with a "personal relationship" from his own emotional perspective.
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Thanks for adding some more detail about your friend. I can sense your frustration.

    I'm not sure I'd change anything I would have said to this young man. But this seems to be a situation where our best persuasive arguments are not enough.

    Actually, they'll never be enough without the work of the Holy Spirit. So, your friend goes to the top of the prayer list. The prayer is, of course, "Lord, open his eyes and open his heart."

    I'm reminded of the story of Lydia in Acts 16. Luke described her as a worshipper of God. He also described her as one whose heart the Lord opened to Paul's message.

    Paul's message, of course, was about Jesus. The point is, that even Lydia, a God-worshipper, could not understand and accept the gospel message until the Lord opened her heart.

    Let's pray that God will be merciful and do that for your friend.
     
  16. Iconoclast

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    The Biblicist

    Yes...a person can do this.If the person is an unbeliever...he or she can mental assent to the facts of scripture and the gospel, but having no Spirit given life and faith....never have these truths come with any saving power or efficacy.

    Some religious persons...speak of what "jesus' has done for them.When you listen however...they describe to you"jesus as a philosophy"...not Jesus as the living Lord...but rather jesus as a good idea, a philosophical alternative.


    If a person is a true believer there can be a loss of assurance for several reasons....not a loss of salvation, but a loss of the enjoyment of that salvation.
    1] It could be a lack of understanding and teaching

    2] it could be from unconfessed sin

    3] It could be from a satanic resistance and an effort to distract a believer from living from his position in Christ....like....you cannot be a forgiven sinner and live as you do, or act as you do

    4] it can be from a worldly disposition overtaking the persons life and time like weeds in a garden choking out the fruit.
    This is not saving faith....but a mere human trust.


    yes...for sure
    We cannot crush a bruised reed or one hand, however we should not give an assurance to a carnal professor.
     
  17. HankD

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    One can have doubts, especially babes in Christ (or the "mature" who wander from the Shepherd).

    It seems that we can have a kind of spiritual amnesia.

    John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.​

    Having Eternal Security is not all theology but practice plays a role as well.

    John 3
    19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
    20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
    21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
    22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
    23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
    24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.​

    We His sheep are often not wise. When we wander from the fold, we are doubting and miserable because we cannot see Him or the other sheep.

    Sooner or later He comes to rescue us.

    But when we walk close to Him and have the other sheep around us all is well with our souls.


    HankD
     
  18. Winman

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    Perhaps he is convinced that he is not one of the elect and that he is doomed to damnation. If he believes the scriptures then he knows that most people will not be saved.

    This is the problem with Calvinism and Reformed Theology, you cannot tell this person with certainty that Jesus loves him personally and personally died for him. Thus, no one can have real assurance.

    Telling him to believe is no use, because he may believe he is incapable of faith. This is the teaching. If he believes faith is a gift, he must wait and hope God gives him this miraculous gift. How will he know when he has this gift? And he knows he cannot work up this confidence from within himself.

    This fellow needs to hear for a certainty that God loves him and that Jesus died for him personally.

    You can do nothing for him.
     
  19. Yeshua1

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    We can experience really hard trials, that have caused some to have doubt/fear/anger towards God and what the bible promises towards the redemmed...

    can also be dealing with some internal sin issue...

    Can be under satanic assault, or even not allowing the bible to retrain how we ought to think and view ourselves!
     
  20. Yeshua1

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    If he was a calvinist, would not think like that at all, as non elect do not concern themselves with those kind of questions!
     

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