Belief, Obedience and Action

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin Marprelate, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    There seems to be a private war going on over on the thread I started on Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, so I thought I would start another one to develop the theme.

    I'd like to move on by suggesting that to believe in closely associated with action- doing something- and with obedience.

    Gen. 12:1. 'The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and you father's household and go to the land that I will show you."' There follow various promises concerning Abraham. In Hebrews 11:8 we read, 'By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive......' How would it have been if Abraham had said to himself, "I really believe that God wants me to leave Ur and go out into the wilderness. I really believe all the promises that He's made to me," and then stayed exactly where he was? What sort of faith would that have been? He believed, he obeyed and he acted. Almost all of the heroes of faith in Heb. 11 are people who went out and did something.

    If I were to announce on this board that all next week, Walmart are selling $10 bills for a dime each, and tell you, "Grab a load of dimes and hurry down to Walmart on Monday morning," what would be the evidence that you believe me? Surely it would be if you turned up at Walmart with a barrow-load of dime coins? Your belief in what I said would have been proved by your obedience in following my advice, and your action in changing your life savings into dimes. Alas, your faith would be sorely misplaced, but I hope you get the point. Hence we read in Rom. 16:26 of 'the obedience of (or 'to the') faith.'

    Now we read in Heb. 3:19, concerning the Israelites failure to enter the promised land that 'They could not enter in because of unbelief.' What does this mean? It means surely that these Israelites missed Caanan because of their failure to appropriate the promise of God.(Exod. 3:16-17). But there is more to it than that. In Deut. 1:26, Moses declares, "Nevertheless, you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God." So here we have a failure to believe, closely associated with disobedience and a lack of action.

    It is worth noting that the Greek word apeitheia is translated 'unbelief' in Heb. 4:6, and 'disobedience' in Eph. 2:2 & 5:6. Likewise the verb form apeitheo is translated 'did not believe' in Heb. 11:31, and 'do not obey' in 1 Peter 3:1; 4:17.

    Therefore it is quite wrong to suggest that one can be a 'believer' without a full-hearted (though not perfect in this life) obedience to God's word. "Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and not do what I say?"
     
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  2. Deacon

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    Is there any greyness in belief? It is a black and white issue, either you believe or you don't. Obedience on the other hand is a process of discovery, growth and discipline.
    I agree that they are linked - but by definition, once a person has believed they are a believer. Some will be more obedient that others. Our obedience in no way justifies us. The work was already performed in Christ; else the question: How much obedience is enough to insure my salvation?

    John Calvin writes: "God alone justifies; then we transfer this same function to Christ because he was given to us for righteousness. We compare faith to a kind of vessel; for unless we come empty and with the mouth of our soul open to seek Christ’s grace, we are not capable of receiving Christ. From this it is to be inferred that, in teaching that before his righteousness is received Christ is received in faith, we do not take the power of justifying away from Christ." Institutes, III. xiii. 5.

    My righteousness before the Father is in Christ, not in my own works of obedience.

    Rob
     
  3. Internet Theologian

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    BINGO! Part of the problem is that some attempt to cause 'the children of disobedience' to be converts in their system of belief. Once a person sets this precedence then all other Scriptures have to follow suit. There is no distinction then drawn in Scripture between the converted and unconverted where this is the actual intent of the passages. 1 John as an example and the texts of 1 Cor. 6:9ff and Galatians 5:19ff.

    Obedience is evidence of the work of grace and of being brought into the fold, John 10:27. Lack of obedience and following are evidence of one remaining unconverted. Some go as far as saying that in John 8:30 those who 'believed' were converted.

    Also Martin Marprelate my apologies for the other thread and continuing to dialog with one concerning repentance. Things got off track as I continued to try to answer questions. Again, I apologize to you here. Thank you.
     
  4. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    '
    Thank you, Rob. I agree almost entirely with your post. Our righteousness is indeed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Both our faith and our obedience will develop as we grow in the faith. Our obedience cannot justify us, but if there is no forsaking of sins, no true repentance, if there is no desire to follow the Saviour in His purity, righteousness and obedience, then our trust in Christ is a sham and far too shallow to save us. To be sure, we all fall short in many ways (James 3:2) but if there is one sin that we deliberately hold onto- if we say, "I want to be a Christian but I won't stop doing that"- that sin will be enough to damn us (Matt. 5:29-30; James 2:10). Yes, alas, we all fall into sin, but, 'if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness' (1 John 1:9), and He will progressively give us strength to overcome besetting sins.
     
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  5. kyredneck

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    3 For what if some were without faith? shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God?
    4 God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment. Ro 3

    13 if we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself. 2 Tim 2

    Even after all the wickedness Israel had done in the wilderness AFTER being redeemed with a strong hand from the House of Bondage (unbelief, disobedience, murmuring, idolatry, fornication, rebellion, etc.), and even with Balaam wanting so badly to curse Israel, God made Balaam to declare:

    He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob; Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: Jehovah his God is with him, And the shout of a king is among them. Nu 23:21
    (Blessed is the man to whom, the Lord will not reckon sin. Ro 4:8)

    AND, throughout all their wandering/chastening in the Wilderness He still yet gave them shade by day and light by night, He fed them manna, gave them water, their clothes never wore out, their feet didn't blister, etc., He was with them always even though He granted them no repentance to enter into His Rest. They wandered in the Wilderness for the rest of their lives when they could have spent it in the Land of Milk & Honey had they only believed that it was their's for the taking.

    Our God is a faithful God, even when we are not.
     
  6. Martin Marprelate

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    Amen! But neither does He deny Himself. Of those who would not enter the promised land in Numbers 13, NOT ONE of them survived to enter under Joshua.
    'So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest' (Psalm 95:11; Heb. 3:11).
     
  7. kyredneck

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    So what does 'His rest', the 'promised land', the 'land of milk & honey' signify to you in the type?
     
  8. JamesL

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    Surely the Promised Land was a type of entering heaven.

    Well, at least it is in the futile mind of the perverted works monger
     
  9. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    What James said. Caanan is a type of heaven. It signifies the 'better, that is, a heavenly country' to which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were journeying (Heb. 11:16).
     
  10. JamesL

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    I was being facetious and sarcastic.

    Canaan typifies the reward of the inheritance for faithful endurance. The faithless generation, even Moses, was not allowed to enter.

    Do you believe Moses is in hell?
     
  11. Martin Marprelate

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    I don't think that's anything to boast about, do you?

    This is your definition, not mine.
    Moses was not among those who refused to enter Caanan. Moses fell into sin on another occasion as all humans do, even saved ones. Moses is undoubtedly in heaven, but he stands as a warning that even among the saved, sins have consequences.

    Moses stands as a hero of faith (Heb. 11:24ff) because his faith was not a mere acquiescence to a proposition, but something that led him to obedience and to action, which is the point of the O.P. Thank you for bringing this up.
     
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  12. kyredneck

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    Zactly, thank you. Even Moses and Aaron entered not in because of unbelief.

    And Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed not in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them. Nu 20:12
     
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  13. kyredneck

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    Moses and Aaron were no different than the others.

    19 And we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief. Heb 3

    And Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed not in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them. Nu 20:12
     
  14. kyredneck

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    I followed what he was doing, you've done it, we all do it, use sarcasm and facetiousness to make a point. After the way you behaved on Jon's thread on the atonement you've absolutely no higher ground to be chiding ANYONE over anything.
     
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  15. Martin Marprelate

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    What I told James. Moses' sins were forgiven because he was saved by faith, that faith not being a mere dead thing (cf. James 2:20), but one that led him to obedience and action (Heb. 11:24).
     
  16. kyredneck

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    You say Canaan typifies heaven, Moses and Aaron were denied entrance into Canaan because of unbelief just as all the others.

    So you're saying that of an estimated 2 1/2 million souls that were redeemed from the House of Bondage, only three made into heaven? Joshua, Caleb, and Moses? All the rest went to hell?
     
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  17. Martin Marprelate

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    See my answer above.
     
  18. JamesL

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    Yes, the burden is on Martin to demonstrate exactly how Moses fell short of heaven, yet didn't fall short of heaven.
     
  19. kyredneck

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    Which is no answer. It's a contradiction just as James has pointed out.
     
  20. JamesL

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    I've said numerous times that Calvinists are nothing but Arminians in disguise. Seeing the same types, seeing the warnings the same, condemning the same people.

    It's ok, Martin. Let your Arminianism shine forth like a blazing sun.
     
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