costly believism

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    There has been a debate throughout Christianity about the relation of works to salvation.

    1.Some say you must do good works(live holy and righteous lives, follow God's law) in order to merit your salvation.

    2.Some say you must do good works(live holy and righteous lives, follow God's law) in order to maintain your salvation.

    3.Some say you must do good works(live holy and righteous lives, follow God's law) in order to prove your salvation.

    4.Some say you must do good works(live holy and righteous lives, follow God's law) because God commands you to, and out of love for Christ that constrains you to.

    None of these positions say works are optional. Some though, the first three, say works are required either to merit,maintain or prove salvation.

    The 4th position would assert that Assurance of salvation is completely based on the same thing salvation is based on, -our faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save us from our sins.

    The other three positions see our assurance of salvation as based on our faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save us from our sins AND our works(that merit,maintain or prove our salvation.)

    So what is the cost we must preach to our church audience, what must they bring Christ in exchange for their eternal salvation?

    Those who believe in a costly salvation, will not usually come out and say what they really mean for fear of sounding like Catholics.

    But really, if I stand in pulpit, and tell people that Christ will save them from their sins, what cost must they count before coming to him for the free gift of salvation?

    We would agree that there is a cost of something in the New Testament that we are to count, but is it a cost of something we must bring in exchange for our eternal salvation?

    Could it be the cost of being like Christ, of following his example? Or is it the cost our of eternal salvation?

    We all would agree that Christ commanded us to be like him and follow his example. But did he command this effort to be like him as an exchange for our eternal salvation?

    What works does Christ demand in order for us to get the salvation he offers? And if a man must work for something, is it really a gift according to Romans 4:4-7?

    IFBReformer
    IFBReformer
     
  2. IfbReformer

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    I wanted to add one thing before anybody responds. I know many will come back and say that the works we do are not in our own strength, but in the power of the Lord.

    Regardless of the source of the strength to do the works though, they are still required - the difference is that some Christians believe they are required to merit, maintain or prove one's salvation - others believe they required out of love and obedience to our savior Jesus Christ but have nothing to do with our assurance of salvation in Christ and Christ alone.


    Even Catholics write about the special grace God grants us to do the good works God requires in relation to our salvation.


    IFBReformer
     
  3. av1611jim

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    IFB;
    There is another view. Forgive me if this derails the thread, OK?
    The cost of our discipleship is not for salvation, but the result of it. We will lose many things when we are born again, primarily friendships with the world. The "cost" is in suffering persecutions/tribulations as Jesus promised we would.

    It is true that "good works" are required. But again; they have nothing to do with our salvation in eternity. Our works are to be motivated by a desire for reward out of love for our Saviour. Christ spoke often of reward to His diciples. That reward is the opportunity to reign with Him during the coming Kingdom Age. Our works are also to be motivated out of fear of disobeying Christ. As children of God, we are to respect His rule over us much higher than of our own earthly fathers. It is no accident that Scripture gives us many comparisons to that relationship. A father is both loving, gentle and kind and also corrective, harsh and disciplinary.

    These two points have been taught to the church for centuries, but it is the latter which has been neglected in recent times.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  4. Scott J

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    There has to be evidence of salvation.

    If a person had no brain waves or respiration, we wouldn't "wonder" whether that person was alive or not.
     
  5. Scott J

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    Points 3 and 4 above plus a point 5... A changed nature leads to changed behavior.
     
  6. Lacy Evans

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    We might wonder, but that would be God's call. The only evidence of salvation is the evidence of the cross. Jesus paid the price. I believed it.


    I agree that it should. But I don't think that scripture anywhere indicates that a changed nature necessarily does lead to changed behavior. In other words we (saved folks) are often commanded, exhorted, reminded and compelled to do good works. Why tell us to, if changed behavior comes automatically?

    Lacy

    PS Brother Arlen Chitwood had a really easy way to see evidence of salvation. He says if a group of guys goes out to tip over outhouses, you can tell which ones of them are Christians because the Christians will look inside to see if the outhouse is occupied before they tip it over.

    Sounds about as good as anything I have heard.
     
  7. HankD

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    None of the four are correct IMO. So here is number my # 5 which IMO is the scriptural reason for good works.

    5) Good works has nothing to do with our personal merit, but has all to do with our purpose here on earth.

    Ephesians 2
    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    Romans 8
    29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    HankD
     
  8. IfbReformer

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    Scott,

    I do not disagree that true belief results in change. I have counseled with people who tell me they made a proffession of faith and saw no change whatsoever, and I would not lead that person to believe they are saved.

    Having said that, some people have more change than others and some people struggle with habitual sins. I will not counsel someone that because they have not been able to give a certain sin to the Lord that they are not saved. Has there been change in there life, has there been conviction of sins? These evidences of the new nature.

    But just because we have the new nature, and we do have victory of some sin in our lives, does not mean will have victory over all sins in our life - for who here can honestly say they have victory over all sin in their life - if they do I would call them a liar as John did.

    My issue here is resting my assurance of salvation on my works - if I can't lick this certain sin I must not be saved. I can't tell you how many people I have counseled with who actually have gotten resaved so many times because they were not able to get victory over certain sins.

    My assurance does not rest on Christs sacrifice, plus my victory over certain sins, it rest on Christ alone.

    Does this mean we stop battling or tell someone there ok with there sin? Of course not! We admonish them that God cannot fully bless them and he may even have to bring discipline on them to break them from that sin.

    But often times I have heard Lordship advocates from the pulpit motivating people to holiness through fear, fear of proving they are not saved because they do certain things or do do certain things.

    IFBReformer
     
  9. Scott J

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    I agree that it should. But I don't think that scripture anywhere indicates that a changed nature necessarily does lead to changed behavior.</font>[/QUOTE] I think Romans 8 and pretty much all of I John among others make this case pretty well.
    Ability and motivation are two parts of action.

    A bird that has everything needed for flight still needs to be motivated.

    Further, obedience is one of the criterion provided by Jesus for people to know His sheep. If He commands and we submit- that is an evidence of salvation.
     
  10. mcgyver

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    Originally posted by IFB Reformer:

    I have heard the same thing preached, and it breaks my heart.......

    My concept of Lordship is to be in submission to Christ. Not out of fear from what He might do, but out of love for what He has done.
     
  11. IfbReformer

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    Lacy,

    This is an excellant point! Most of the New Testament is exhortations to Christians(not unbelievers) to leave their sins and follow Christ. The epistles are filled with rebukes for Christians, not unbelievers, about such things as sexual immorality,greed,laziness and host of other things.

    If Christians just automatically did these things, there would be no need for such exhortation.

    Another passage that is often ignored in this talk is I Cor 3 where we see a believer being saved so as by fire, with no rewards.

    If all true believers will all live great lives for Christ, how is possible some will get no rewards but be saved anyway?

    This is not an excuse to live wrong, and God will discipline his own. But the fact is that it is clear that Bible shows and commands what we ought to be as Christians, but it also shows by its rebuke of Christians that many were not and are not today what they ought to be - regardless though they are saved by the blood of Christ alone and there assurance does not rest on there works plus Christ.

    IFBReformer
     
  12. Scott J

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    Before we go too far, I need to let you guys know that I agree with IFB's last post. Not all sins are defeated with equal ease. Some sins are lifelong struggles.

    This statement is primarily what I am saying: "I do not disagree that true belief results in change. I have counseled with people who tell me they made a proffession of faith and saw no change whatsoever, and I would not lead that person to believe they are saved." IFBReformer

    I would include superficial changes as well or someone who only "reforms" to a certain point.
     
  13. Gold Dragon

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    James seems to suggest that without changed behaviour, there was no changed nature.

     
  14. IfbReformer

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    Jim,

    I have heard variations of this my whole life, and believe me, I seek to please the Lord with my life and be a faithful disciple and I admonish those under my teaching to do so as well.

    This kinda of reminds me of the small print when you get something free. Maybe they have a special offer that you can get this free service for 30 days(but in the small print it tells you after the 30 days there is such and such a cost).

    I don't see such a concept of Salvation in the scriptures.

    We are saved freely by his grace, and we don't all build on that free foundation of salvation that Christ gives us the same way or the same amount.

    A costly discipleship SHOULD be the result of salvation for all believers, but the reality as we can see from the many rebukes and exhortations in the scriptures to Christians(not unbelievers) is that it is not.

    IFBReformer
     
  15. IfbReformer

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    James seems to suggest that without changed behaviour, there was no changed nature.

    </font>[/QUOTE]There are a couple of different view of what James is saying here, and believe me the Catholics love the epistle of James so we as Bible believers really need to study it to answer them.

    I hold to two possible views of James and I will ask God which is the right one when I get to heaven.

    In the King James it says "What doth it profit"
    where see "What use is it" or other translations read "What good is it" in James here.

    One valid view of the passage is that James is presenting what is seen as an unprofitable faith one that does not show itself in deeds to help others. He is not saying they people are not eternally saved if they do not help someone, but he is showing there faith is not profiting others, whether they be believers or unbelievers around them.

    Another valid view, is the "it has no works" view. In this view, James could be talking of eternal salvation here hinging on works, but he is speaking of those who show absolutely no evidence of their salvation, literally have no works. What about those who do some works? Who have some evidences?

    Also we must interpret James in light of the entire New Testament witness to Justification by faith alone.

    IFBReformer
     
  16. IfbReformer

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    Scott,

    What do you mean by "someone who only "reforms" to a certain point"? Could you give some real examples of this?

    IFBReformer
     
  17. IfbReformer

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    Actually Scott, I should have worded 4 a little differently as you really can't choose 3 and 4.

    Here is a better wording so you can see my point:

    4.Some say you must do good works(live holy and righteous lives, follow God's law) because God commands you to, and out of love for Christ that constrains you to, you DO NOT do works to merit, maintain or prove your salvation.

    A changed nature as we agree does lead to changed behavior, the arguments here are how much change and should we teach those under us to look to their Christ AND there works for assurance of salvation.


    IFBReformer
     
  18. Gold Dragon

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    Thanks for your thoughts IfbReformer.

    I think verse 17 saying that this faith is "dead", is much stronger language than simply the unprofitablity expressed of this view.

    I think I subscribe to this view but I'm a little unclear about how you are describing it.

    I recently presented my interpretation of this entire passage from 14-25 in another thread where I also tried to reconcile the centuries long debate between Catholics and Reformers on this issue.

    http://www.baptistboard.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/28/3135/7.html#000098
     
  19. Lacy Evans

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    Gold Dragon,

    You bring up an interesting, related topic. There is an apparant contradiction between James in 2:14-17 and Paul in Romans 11:6 and Eph 2:8,9. This gives us several choices.

    1) The Bible has contradictions.
    2) We have to pick a side and exclude the other side.
    3) We have to mix faith with works in one of the above (choice 1-4) ways.
    4) Something else.

    I believe that because there are no contradictions, because the Bible says both things, and because Faith cannot mix with works (Rom 11), that it must be somethingelse.

    Notice as I have said before we are often warned to be good, to do good works, etc. This proves that it is not automatic. I believe that John 3:16, Acts 16:31, etc. we are told how to be saved. Believe plus nothing. (Faith alone.)

    Then after we are saved, we must add works to our faith. (Faith plus works.)

    I believe that James' "dead faith" is referring to "brethren" who "have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ" (James 2:1, etc.) but refuse to add works to their faith. If we (Christians)disobey the New Testament, and then say we are OK because we "have faith", James says that this is "dead faith".

    James 1:12 tells us to endure so we can get a crown. James 1:15 says if we continue in our sin, it will bring forth death. 2:13 speaks of coming judgment on us and our need for mercy. 3:1 tell leaders they have greater responsibility and greater potential "condemnation". 5:7-9 gives us the context of this faith shown by works. It refers to the coming of the Lord and the immediate Judgment Seat of Christ. (Note: only Christians are present at the JSOC.)

    I believe our danger is not "losing our salvation" and certainly not the confusing notion that we must have works to "know we are saved". our danger is the REWARD we recieve for our works after faith. Was our faith "dead" or did it bear fruit?


    Choice #5. We are saved by faith alone. Now that we are saved (and actually have the power to do good works) we better fear God, get busy and not have "dead faith" because the Judgment Seat Of Christ is on all our appointment books.


    Lacy
    lacy
     
  20. Scott J

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    Scott,

    What do you mean by "someone who only "reforms" to a certain point"? Could you give some real examples of this?

    IFBReformer
    </font>[/QUOTE]Yes.

    A man is a drunk with a Christian wife who he actually loves a great deal. He sees his behavior destroying his wife right before his eyes. Determined to "do something", he joins AA, makes a profession of faith, and starts attending church... and that's it. He doesn't grow in Christ. He doesn't deal with all of the "little" habitual sins. But he never goes back to the bottle.

    You have some coincidental events that might be considered "evidence" of salvation but are not.


    A lady I know in her late 20's was recently saved. She had grown up in a Christian home, made a profession as a youngster, and had never done anything "really bad". Her problem was that the evidence for her salvation was superficial. It was self-imposed righteousness/reform. But outwardly, it seemed convincing.

    She attended church regularly even as her husband cheated on and then left her for another woman. She "testified". She sang in church. She helped teach Sunday School kids and VBS.

    I don't know what caused her turn around but according to my dad her whole spirit is different- not just actions but the attitude to go with it.
     

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