Grace through faith, works or a combination

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by freeatlast, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    When dealing with the issue of grace and works there is always the possibility of confusing the two or limiting one for the other. However neither need be if the heart of the listener is open to truth and the word of the speaker is of the Lord.

    While it is true that works do not save it is also true that works are the evidence of the new birth. We are saved by repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The repentance part is what is so lacking in the church today. Some I am afraid, in an attempt to keep grace pure, have taken the route to withhold the teaching of repentance in the salvation message and in doing so have corrupted the gospel message at its roots thus cutting off any hope of salvation for multitudes.

    Repentance does not mean that we have to first overcome certain sins in our own strength, but that we are turning to God with all our heart no matter what it may cost us. Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart. We find that the cost has been paid by Another, but our hearts are still surrendered in spirit.
    We are turning to God without limits in other words. We are ready to take that place which He has intended for us all along, both in exaltation as well as surrender. This is done in spirit and then when mixed with faith in the finished work of Christ as we place this heart of repentance on Him we enter into faith, and salvation occurs. The works that follow either confirm or deny that true salvation has taken root in the one who makes his or her confession of salvation.

    Keep in mind that once saved we are called to a life of holiness and the Holy Spirit will never allow any true believer to return to the practice of sin again. By practice it is meant the daily lifestyle of living without God in their life. We may fail at any moment in any given day, but that failing is not a day long practice. While I am sure that we have all listened to those who have claimed that they got saved and then returned to sin after some period of time and then later returned. The bible is clear that no one once saved can do that. If they leave they were never saved 1John 2:19 and if they are saved they cannot practice sin 1John 3:9. The practicing of sin is not about a time period, but rather about a character that has now been made new and cannot return to the old character. We did not change ourselves from a dog or pig into a new creature, but have been changed by the Spirit of God, and we have no ability to change ourselves back again since the work done in us was not of ourselves but of the Spirit.

    I am afraid that far too many have lost the understanding that the gate is narrow and the path straight, and have adopted a wide gate and a path that leads in all directions, with the end only leading the traveler of that road in a place of eternal torment. Yes they profess to hold Jesus as Savior, but they deny God as their Master as they live their daily lives in the flesh rather then the Spirit. Jesus said why call me Lord and do not what I say. In Romans it reads;

    Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
    Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.
    Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
    Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
    Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
    Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
    Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

    The verse 14 which reads "are led by the Spirit" is in the present tense denoting a continual action. In other words once this starts, and it starts at salvation, it never ends. The Spirit who leads on a daily bases, actually on a moment by moment bases, will never stop that leading. The idea is that He is not simply leading in kind, but that there is someone their who is following in action the leading that is being done. So once salvation takes place the true believer never goes back. The Lord asked of His twelve when many false followers were turning from Him, "Jhn 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? However the true believer knows in Who he has committed his trust. Jhn 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

    So we who have been converted not only are bound by the commands of God, but we seek diligently to keep them the best we know in our daily lives (flesh) and totally in our spirit (inward man, or heart), and when we fail we rush into His presence to seek the mercy and forgiveness that He so readily offers to all those who truly know Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. John says; My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
    We need to take great care in noticing that John says "IF" we sin, not WHEN we sin. God intends His children to live above sin and we need to strive with all our being to do this.

    The only way that is given to know that we are saved is that we are commandment keepers. 1Jo 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. Keep in mind that this is not sinless perfection, but a heart that has been changed from seeking ones own desires to seeking those of God thus making the person a commandment keeper in spirit as well as truth. We are sternly warned that there are those who claim a salvation that they do not have and are liars. 1Jo 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    So where do works play in the scheme of salvation. They are not what saves, but they are what follows the true convert. They are a requirement of the evidence of true saving faith. No true believer can stand against the things of God in their heart and their heart governs how they live. Paul warned the Corinthian church that they needed to test themselves to see if they were really saved.
    2Cr 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    This was put to them because of the amount of sin in the church even after several letters and much teachings on truth. It is one thing to strive and fail and another to disregard, and here Paul is dealing with the strong possibility of the later. The question that arises is how do we examine ourselves? The Spirit supplies the answer in verse 8;

    2Cr 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

    The "WE" is not speaking about Paul alone or certain elite Christians but about those who are in the "faith". We can do nothing against the truth, but for the Truth. True believers are on a different road and live different lives. Yes from time to time we fail and struggle, but we cannot practice sin nor can we stand against truth so our position with Christ is seen in our works (lives) because of the faith that has been granted us. So we are saved by grace through faith brought on by repentance towards God, and the salvation that results is lived out by obediance towards God commands.
     
  2. APuritanMindset

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  3. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    This post by freeatlast is an excellent example of the errors one can fall into when Scriptures are taken out of context and multitudes of Scriptures are totally ignored.
     
  4. gb93433

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    So someone comes forward and repents what does the average church do with that person?

    The one thing they usually don't so is to meet with that person personally for about two years teaching them to obey God and make more disciples.
     
  5. pinoybaptist

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    freeatlast said:
    I am sorry, but I beg to respectfully disagree. We are not saved (I presume you mean eternal salvation) by those two things. We are saved by the blood of the Lamb of Glory and of Calvary.

    Repentance towards God and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ are acts which only a regenerated heart can perform. It results in conversion and evidenced by a gracious life.

    It is something arrived at by correct doctrine and teaching, that is borne out by Paul's statement to the disciples in Acts 20:21 and by the writer to the Hebrews in Hebrews 6:1.

    Jeremiah 29:13 is not addressed to spiritually dead sinners, but to wayward, sinning people of God.

    Again, no.

    When God decided to save sinners, He entered into a covenant with Himself, and Himself only, meaning the Three who are One. Salvation is all about HIM and His mercy, and all OF Him. Remember what the Scripture said:

    For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.......But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6,8).

    The atonement for all whom God intended to save, is over, done, finished business, and applied already to all His children who will be quickened by the Spirit.

    Hebrews 9:12 says:

    I have no quarrel with the main gist of what you are saying, that the child of God ought to sanctify himself unto God.

    But, I feel we ought to teach salvation within its proper context. Purely of grace, and mercy from a compassionate and loving God, with no pre-requirements.
     
  6. R. J.

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    freeatlast said:

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We are saved by repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In agreement with Craig and Pinoy, we are saved by FAITH ALONE in the shed blood and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Repentance was necessary under the "Gospel of the Kingdom" during Christ's earthly ministry BUT NOT under the "Gospel of the Grace of God".

    Freeatlast, reaching back into the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke for your "repentance" doctrine is wrong division (see 2 Timothy 2:15). You won't find "repent" or "repentance" associated with salvation within the doctrines FOR the body of Christ.
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    Since there is only ONE Gospel (the "everlasting" Gospel) and people were saved in the OT, time of Christ, book of Acts, and today by the exact same Gospel, we must focus on that grace.

    Part 1 - God regenerates a heart (His choice, His will, His call)

    Part 2 - God gives repentance and faith to that heart

    Part 3 - That person, previously unable to either repent or have faith, now can do both and calls on the name of the Lord

    Now where exactly IS salvation? We see only part 3 open and manifest. But part 1 and 2 MUST have occured or 3 would not be possible.

    Much confusion comes when we focus only on part 3.
     
  8. Craigbythesea

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    No, we are saved by grace through faith. The atonement of Christ does not save us; it only reconciles us to God so that we can be saved.

    Eph. 2:8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
    9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
     
  9. Craigbythesea

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    This is very wrong.

    • Repentance toward God is NOT dependent upon regeneration. Very many people in the Old Testament repented, but they had not been regenerated.

    • Conversion is not subsequent to regeneration—regeneration is conversion!

    Acts 20: 20. "and how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,
    21. "testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Heb. 6:1. Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

    These verses do NOT bear out that anything is arrived at by correct doctrine and teaching. And neither does church history, for we find very many people being regenerated in spite of very wrong doctrine and teaching. And Peter’s view of the means of, and requirements for, salvation, are very different from yours:

    37. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?''
    38. Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    39. "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.''

    Repentance in the Old Testament is NOT preceded by regeneration, and it certainly is not in Acts 2:38. And as early as Matthew 3 we find:

    1. In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
    2. and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!''
    3. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: `Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.' ''

    John was NOT speaking here to those who had been regenerated.
     
  10. R. J.

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    Dr. Bob,

    Your three part lesson is profound. Thank you for confirming what my internet pastor just taught me. Here is a paraphrase of what he stated that corrects my previous post:

    "REPENTANCE is absolutely connected with the gospel of the grace of God by Paul's own statement(Acts 20:21). Faith alone does save, but there is repentance PREVIOUS to our belief, and AFTERWARDS which can be shown by works (Acts 26). The goodness of God LEADETH thee to repentance (Romans 2). Repenting is SIMPLY changing your mind about something. To get saved, YOU DO change your mind. You change it UNDER CONVICTION by the Holy Spirit, for He REPROVES of sin (John 16). He straightens you OUT about it. He SHOWS YOU that you are wrong, and you TURN ABOUT IN YOUR HEART. You believe the GOSPEL, and then are saved (Romans 10, Ephesians 1). You THEN can produce works OF REPENTANCE which show that you have faith. (Acts 26, Titus 3, Ephesians 2). They did in Acts 19."

    Your assessment that there is only one gospel which is the "everlasting gospel" is correct in PURPOSE but incorrect when considering CONTENT. The gospel preached during Christ's earthly ministry, the gospel of the kingdom, is quite different in CONTENT from Paul's gospel of the grace of God. An examination of WHAT is PREACHED FOR SALVATION reveals the difference.

    And, as far as any gospel being the "everlasting gospel", let's examine what the scriptures have to say concerning that gospel. Here is the ONLY place in the scriptures where the term, "everlasting gospel" is found:

    Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

    And the verse that follows states what is being preached:

    Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

    The CONTENT of that gospel differentiates it from both the "gospel of the kingdom" and the "gospel of the grace of God".
     
  11. Craigbythesea

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    You are again confusing the atonement of Christ with salvation. Without grace and faith, there is no salvation in spite of the atonement. I’m sorry, but your error is a very serious and grievous one.
     
  12. Craigbythesea

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    I do not find in the Scripture that God “gives” repentance. The Holy Spirit convicts one of sin both before and after regeneration. As I posted above, repentance is NOT dependent upon regeneration. And it is not dependent upon God’s grace or any other kind of divine enablement. Barbaric heathen people very frequently repent; it is not such a great feat that God’s help is required to do so. However, God may, at His discretion, give additional grace to overcome temptation. I have personally ministered to many people whose experiences in giving up alcohol, tobacco, sports, and other vices varied from extreme ease to extreme difficulty. (Most people seemed to need very generous portions of God’s grace to give up Monday Night Football, but I have personally witnessed barbaric heathen people give it up to have more family time).

    And most assuredly, salvation in NOT a prerequisite for either repentance or faith. There are many hundreds examples in the Old Testament where persons who were NOT saved excised both repentance and faith, and I personally did a whole lot of both before I knew who Jesus was.
     
  13. Craigbythesea

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    This guy must have read the Bible! I find that to be very refreshing! And he not only read it, he understood what it says! Remarkable!

    No, I am not being sarcastic. The pastor has his head screwed on straight.
     
  14. pinoybaptist

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    Regeneration is not conversion. By your own definitions you topple over. One defined repentance as a change of mind, is one born again by a change of mind ?

    John 1:13 speaks of those who received Christ as having done so because they were born from above by the will of God, and not by the will of the flesh, or of men.

    Conversion is a conscious that can lead from being unrepentant to repentant, regeneration is of the Holy Spirit, a one time act.

    Conversion is a series of events in a person's life. Peter was among those who received Christ and confessed him as Lord, yet Christ, in a moment of Peter's weakness said, 'when thou art converted' !

    Paul in his letter to his protege, Timothy, spoke of repentance as being from God, in 2 Timothy 2:25 he writes:

    To the Philippians he wrote:

    The unregenerated man will not repent a repentance that leadeth to Godly sorrow no matter how eloquent the preaching because he does not have God in him working to do and to will of God's good pleasure.

    He can convert and he can reform but his conversion and reformation will find no merit before God because it is outside of Christ, and the child of God is accepted of God only in the beloved. Indeed, these are they who will claim to have done mighty works in God's name but they will be called 'unknowns' in the last day.
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Repentance AND Faith

    Ministry of Paul by his own summary in Acts 20 included what? "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."

    Ministry of Paul toward those who can't handle truth? "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth"

    Writer of Hebrews moving on from the basics. What are those basics?? "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God"
     
  16. Craigbythesea

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    Repentance does not come from God; it is an action by man toward God. It may or may not be occasioned by an action of God. And all the theology in the world does not change the fact that repentance very often occurs prior to regeneration and is usually not followed by regeneration except in a Christian context.

    Acts 20:18. And when they had come to him, he said to them, "You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time,
    19. serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews;
    20. how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house,
    21. solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    But how about Acts 5:31?

    Acts 5:29. But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.
    30. "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.
    31. "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
    32. "And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."

    When read in the context of the history of the Jewish people and their relationship with God, I believe that it is clear that God raised up Jesus and exalted Him to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior to grant to the Jewish people an opportunity for repentance and subsequently the forgiveness of their sins, but the Jewish people as a whole rejected the opportunity. Had God actually granted to them repentance itself, the Jewish people would be a saved people.
     
  17. Sularis

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    I get to disagree with Dr. Bob - man I havent had that opportunity since good ol Mergel!

    Dr. Bob one quick question cause I gotta dash and actually make up a lesson plan for tonite

    Does God ever ask rhetorical questions?
     
  18. Dr. Bob

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    Say what? Where do we disagree, my frozen friend?

    And by implication, God is rhetorical when talking about faith or repentance?
     
  19. Sularis

    Sularis
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    Well Dr. Bob - I disagree with #2

    you've prolly read the odd post of mine - not that they are any literary masterpieces, but i try....

    you should know my view by now - but you get busy i understand

    Simply put fallen man has the ability to not sin - its very rarely if at all used - However they completely lack the ability to do good!

    Fallen man can repent and have faith in the wrong things and for the wrong reasons but they still possess the ability - its not until God calls do they gain the option or choice to choose God
     
  20. Craigbythesea

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    Yes, sin is an option for anyone, but so is doing good. Regeneration is NOT a prerequisite for doing good works out of a love for others. Calvin got hung up on the hyperbolic statements in Romans and became blinded to the world around him, including the Holy Scriptures, and led many others down the same path of Biblical ignorance and confusion.
     

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