Can we judge salvation?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by christianyouth, Dec 7, 2007.

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  1. christianyouth

    christianyouth
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    Most people who I run into say that it is not, so I have a challenge(not being combative) for those who believe that we cannot discern the difference between a saved person and a lost person : Produce a verse or verses that you think states that we cannot know if someone is saved. (I will be open to the rebuke of Scripture. Besides the wheat and the tares, I have not found any verse that suggests this.)



    For those who are undecided on this issue, here are some verses that say we can judge someones salvation by the lifestyle that they live:

    Matthew 7:13-20, Ephesians 5:5, Galatians 5:19-21, and many verses in 1 John. 1 John 2:3,4 is a good one, but many more.
     
  2. webdog

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    Where are we told to judge anybody's salvation but our own?

    I'm sure the "fruit inspectors" of Lot's day would have come to the conclusion he was lost.
     
  3. dan e.

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    Since these verses are actually describing the evidences of a believers/unbelievers, and not actually telling us to go find the tares...let me rephrase:

    Should we be judging someone's salvation that....say.....oh, walks out of a movie theater having just seen The Golden Compass (just a random example!)
     
    #3 dan e., Dec 7, 2007
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  4. Baptist Believer

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    How many verses do you need? If it is in one place, then that is good enough. The parable of the wheat and the tares is rather explicit regarding this issue.

    I think we can judge usually someone's discipleship toward Jesus by their fruit, but there are always exceptions... especially since we usually don't preach a complete gospel in Baptist churches anymore. We tend to reduce the gospel down to "getting saved" according to a very limited theology that effectively ignores the teachings of Jesus, presents Him as simply the Lamb of God expediently slain for the world (and not also the primary Teacher), and the only issue regarding the kingdom is a mental assent to penal substitutionary atonement.

    For a believer to grow and mature, consistently producing the fruit of the Spirit, is more of the exception than the rule in our current environment. Since so many of our so-called "spiritual" leaders display the works of the flesh dressed up as spirituality (think about Galatians 5:20 -> "...strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions..."), why should we expect the people in the pews to know better?
     
  5. standingfirminChrist

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    If those coming out of the theater are talking about how wonderful the movie was and how they enjoyed it, the Word of God declares the love of God is not in them.

    Can we judge differently than the Word of God has already judged and be correct?
     
  6. TCGreek

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    Are those verses you cited saying that we should go out and judge the merit of another's salvation?
     
  7. swaimj

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    The point of the parable of the wheat and the tares is that the two grow together and cannot be distinguised. The instruction is: leave them alone and let them grow together. When God judges at the end of time HE will judge correctly and determine what is true and what is false. Along with the story of Lot that Skypair mentioned, I am sure that none of the 11 disciples ever suspected what was in Judas' heart. To them, he was the ideal follower of Christ who never openly sought glory for himself (like James and John), who never overreacted (like Peter), who never expressed doubts (like Philip and Thomas). Only Jesus knew what was really in his heart. The scriptures you cite for testing for true conversion are for a person's own self-examination. My responsibility to you, if you profess Christ openly, is to love you as a brother even if I don't agree with you. If you stop professing Christ then I am to love you and seek to win you to Christ.
     
  8. dan e.

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    Oh goodness.....is that a paying job to listen in on feedback from the movie as they are walking out of the theater??! Sign me up!
     
  9. saturneptune

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    It is really quite simple. You do not know who is saved and who is not. You are not God. Outward actions may or may not be a reflection of the inner heart.
     
  10. mcdirector

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    Exactly.

    And we have to take into priesthood of the believer and ministry opportunities that one individual may not be able to fathom for another and that God forgives sin and a laundry list longer that we could put together.
     
  11. Joe

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    Amen.
    Yet we are commanded by Jesus to judge a righteous judgment, and we are to beware of false prophets. Matt 7:15 So we are to judge another's salvation to the extent of protecting our own.
    We also must judge another's salvation to fulfill the Great Commission. We need to discern who needs witnessing

    Edited to add: I didn't know MC was posting at the same time, and quoted you also
     
    #11 Joe, Dec 7, 2007
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  12. mcdirector

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    All this is true. BUT it is such a fine line between judging and becoming judgemental :D
     
  13. Brother Bob

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    I may think someone is not living a Christian life or that someone is, but when it comes to judging who is saved and who is not, I leave that up to God. It is God that sin was committed against, and it is God, who has to forgive. I can judge the outward appearance but cannot see in the heart of man.

    Rom 14:4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

    BBob,
     
  14. Alex Quackenbush

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    Each case you mentioned:
    1. Matthew 7:13-23 (interestingly the chapter begins with "Judge not lest you be judged).
    "By their fruits ye shall know them" per the context only teaches that we can know who FALSE PROPHETS are, not that we can know who is and isn't saved. The point is identifying FALSE teachers/prophets, not prescribing some system of detecting who is and isn't saved.

    Interestingly, they CAST OUT DEMONS in the name of God and PROPHESIED in His name and did MANY WONDERFUL WORKS (of course this is THEIR CLAIM, not necessarily the Lord saying it is so).

    2. Ephesians 5:1-8
    The most immediate problem here is verse 7 where BELIEVERS are warned not to be partakers with them. That immediately cancels out this as a MEASURING RULE to determine who is and isn't saved. Clearly BELIEVERS can be partakers with them or else it would not exist as a WARNING.

    And it is true, whoremongers and so on will not have "any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God". The use of these adjectives are describing what they are. Believers, on the other hand, are not described as this because we are made new, we are now described as "children of light".

    But it makes clear we can partake of these things and are told not to so to use such behavior as a tool to determine who is and isn't saved fails here since clearly believers can do this.

    3. Galatians 5:16-25
    Again, it makes clear believers can do the things that unbelievers do. Verse 16 commands us to "walk in the Spirit" (obviously addressing believers since unbelievers do not have the Spirit) and we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

    So it is clear we, as believers, can fulfill the lust of the flesh and imitate unbelievers who are fornicators and so on. Again then, as a prescription to determine who is and isn't a believer, this fails. You may be looking at a believer who is failing to "walk in the Spirit" and is fulfilling the lust of the flesh and in the erroneous belief their behavior is what identifies whether they are saved or not you wrongly judged them to not be saved when really you simply do not know.

    4. 1 John 2:1-6
    Problematic here is verse 3. It is not teaching that you and I can know who is or isn't saved but that we as individuals can know within ourselves that we know God because we are positive toward His Word. At no place is an outside evaluation of others being promoted but an internal examination.

    Also, verse 6 presents a problematic ALTERNATIVE. It says "He that saith he abideth in him, OUGHT himself also to walk, even as he walked". If you say you are in the military, you should act accordingly. If you say you are in Christ, you should (OUGHT) to act accordingly. This is not a guarantee that you will however, so in light of the alternative being recognized, that we won't necessarily do so but OUGHT TO, then a believer can quite clearly NOT walk in the light. So judging another's salvation based on walking in the light here, again cannot rightly be prescribed or accomplished.

    Forgoing any other arguments, the Bible is explicit regarding judging who is and isn't saved and that is strictly forbidden and only the mind of God is given the right and responsibility to make that determination.
     
  15. The Scribe

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    Matthew 7:16-21 (KJV)
    16: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.


    Matthew 12:34-37 (KJV)
    33: Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
    34: O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
    35: A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
    36: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
    37: For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.


    Luke 6:43-46 (KJV)
    43: For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    44: For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
    45: A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
    46: And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
     
  16. Joe

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    True....


    Is that a hint? :)
     
  17. mcdirector

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    Of course not! just an observation of the human condition.
     
  18. Joe

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    I believe you. Just making sure because of that thread about abandoning children where we disagreed ;) but such is life on a message board.


    So....If we do not judge in some way, how can we honor this verse? Imo, we can't

    2 Corinthians 6:14
    Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
     
  19. webdog

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    Spot on :thumbs:
     
  20. mcdirector

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    We are talking about judging salvation here. Not my place.

    I wouldn't hang around folks chosing to live in sin. I would confront them if they were in church, if they'd been a part of my life and they'd changed - see what happens, but the removal would be happening. I would be praying for a change of heart in the other's life.

    We use judgement with discernment for ministry opportunities - not to cut people off. How would we minister to the lost then?

    AND on that other thread -- you called it abandoning children, I was looking at education in a different environment - a temporary solution. While we didn't agree, we probably could agree that our families are different and we both love the Lord and would be looking for ways to help the other one in a difficult situation.
     
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