Justification by Faith

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Christopher, Apr 30, 2002.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher
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    "Our faith is imperfect and unsteady, and if justification be founded on our faith, then it would have a changeable and unsteady foundation, and would therefore be imperfect justification. When a man is justified he cannot be MORE JUSTIFIED. It is like the words "round," "square," "infinite," etc.; it admits of no comparison, but is perfect and complete; or not at all." --James Oliphant
     
  2. Ray Berrian

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  3. Sularis

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    I think I'll reiterate Ray

    First the foundation of our salvation is Christ

    NOT faith

    Faith is the means whereby we access that salvation and from then on the spiritual power of God and the Holy Spirit. And yes our faith does waver - so our access and application of the power of the Holy Spirit does waver and sometimes fail since no one is constantly healing, prophesying, speaking in tongues, using spiritual gifts- but that in no way means our salvation has run away from us and gone into hiding. By no means our salvation having been released by our initial wall breaking faith; is constantly surrounding us, and the Holy Spirit is constantly trying to change us.
     
  4. Helen

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    Here's a picture I used for my teen groups in years past -- see what you think of it:

    First of all, you can 'believe' or 'believe in' something, but it means nothing if you don't follow through. For instance, if I say I believe a certain chair will support me but refuse to sit in that chair, by 'belief' means nothing. But if I go over and sit in the chair, then my belief was put into action by means of faith.

    To get from belief to action, you need faith. Faith in God is something God gives you. It is a bridge build by Christ between God and man. With the faith Christ gives you, you can go from belief to action. The bridge is a two-way bridge, also. "We are saved by grace, through faith." The same faith that allows you to act on your belief in God is the faith that God uses to 'transport' His saving grace and love and mercy and forgiveness to you.

    That is why James said that faith without works is dead. If the bridge is given to you and you refuse to walk it, it is the same as the servant who buried his talent of gold. Faith will grow if you use it. Walking in obedience to Christ is walking on the bridge of faith. And it shows your love for Him.

    We talked about this a lot of times with different groups and different teens had some wonderful insights. It got a lot more Scriptural and detailed than the above, but it was a fun start for some terrific Bible studies.
     
  5. Ray Berrian

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    Sularis,

    "First the foundation of our salvation is Christ." I agree. That is why I said, 'He is our Rock;' {Matt. 16:18c} Also, I Corinthians 3:11 . . .

    Thanks, I go a lot out of what you said.

    Tonight, I am going to annoint a woman who has cancer of the lung. A fine Christian woman. My wife will attend me on the visit. [James 5:14-15] Please, offer up a prayer for this troubled sister in Christ. Also, pray for me; I need all of them that I can get.

    Dr. Berrian
     
  6. Dualhunter

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    5:17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away32—look, what is new33 has come!34 – 2 Corinthians 5:17 NET

    If a person claims to have faith but has not changed at all, how is such a person a new creation? A person who doesn't really have faith in Christ is not a new creation and so his or her claimed faith is dead. A person who has become a new creation in Christ by grace through faith, has been changed by God, and so a person who has been justied by grace through faith will show evidence of this change (though not always as much as we'd like). Should this change be non-existent, the person claiming to have faith does not have faith. There is no quota or check-list of works that have to be done to attain or maintain salvation. A person who is justified by faith apart from works, is a new creation in Christ and hence such a person's works reflect that. If a person never changed the slightest bit, they are not a new creation. If a person has shown evidence of change but his or her works rarely reflect a change, the person may or may not have faith, God knows whether such a person really has accepted Christ or not. However people in such a condition should examine themselves to see if they are in the faith or not. Salvation is by grace through faith, not by works but we are to do good works:

    2:8 For by grace you are saved19 through faith,20 and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 2:9 it is not of works, so that no one can boast.21 2:10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.22 - Ephesians 2:8-10 NET

    [ May 01, 2002, 05:02 PM: Message edited by: Dualhunter ]
     
  7. Ray Berrian

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    Helen,

    'Faith in God is something that God give you. It is a bridge built by Christ between God and man.' It sounds really spiritual but is not true. For something of this magnitude I need a lot of Scripture verses.

    Grace is of God; [Eph. 2:8-9] faith is man's response to the offer of salvation. [Heb. 4:2; John 5:40]

    Grace is all of God; faith is a persons response to the conviction and drawing of the Holy Spirit.

    I will gladly agree with you that God the Spirit builds our spiritual life and His Providence in our lives insures that we will be more and more like Him. [Rom. 8:29b] ' . . . conformed to the Image
    of His Son.'

    Dr. Berrian
     
  8. Ray Berrian

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    Dualhunter,

    I think everything you offered in your post is correct.

    If people are depending on a system of theology to get them to Heaven, they might be on the outs and not the ins. The resurrected and ascended Christ is the only Person who can save us. Without Him we really are lost!

    Dr. Berrian
     
  9. Sularis

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    Faith - a topic Ive written so many handwrtten pages on (single spaced, double sided) 8'x11'. I'll have to see if I can dig em up.

    Too many people like to follow a more "Electionist" style of thinking and believe that God gives them the faith to be saved.

    That is an error

    God does three things in regards to salvation:
    1. He sent His Son to die and atone for our sins
    2. He removes our tendency towards sin on our wills - through His Word and testimony concerning Him. This can occur through MAINLY through the gospel; but it can occur when we survey creation and are "moved" to consider it. Both these tasks fall within the purview of the Holy Spirit
    3. He reacts to our response and OUR PERSONAL faith

    It is the regeneration and the provision of "evidence" of God's existence and nature; that is action of God. This occurs for all men; even the elect. Although in the case of the elect, God is far, far more direct and straightforward as we understand it. So that to deny God in those cases would be outright suicide, or ignorance

    The faith that is given unto man is a Spiritual Gift designed either for the accomplishment of a specific purpose be it: miracles, evangelism, discipling, or just simply to provide a good witness in the face of death. The gift may be permanent, long term, or even short term. There is no limit on it, save that it complete its purpose. This faith is supplemental unto our own. It is the Holy Spirit reaching down into our faith picking out the impurities put into it by our daily life, and removing them; and as needed adding to it. While the gift itself MAY be temporary (those cessationists confusing me at times), one is ALWAYS changed by it and left far different then when the experience began.

    When Jesus comes again will He find faith on earth? Or will He find a whole bunch of people with IOU's from the Holy Spirit for certain amounts of faith?
     
  10. Ray Berrian

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    No one in the Christian life get the Holy Spirit, and I say it respectfully, by 'bits and pieces.' If you invite Christ into your life you have also the Father and the Person of the Holy Spirit within your life. All Three Persons of the Divine Being are Persons. I welcome more of His Presence every day.

    Dr. Berrian
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    Just before we are justified by God forever from our sins the Holy Spirit has been working in the lives of sinners to bring us to a time of reflection and faith.

    To discriminate between the Effectual Call and the General Call-- has already the seeds sown making God a Divine Being of partiality. The soon to be elect are drawn with the Effectual Call, but the non-elect are given a less potent or defective call named the General Call. Would this even make sense to sinners? I have an idea, in spite of their alleged total depravity, they have a more elevated view of God than Reformed Christians.

    Dr. Berrian
     
  12. Sularis

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    I agree the Holy Spirit is at salvation entirely within us. WE can gain no more, or lose even a little.

    It is our faith, our life, our actions - that either enable the Spirit to work in an ever increasing fashion, or hinder Him.

    But in the case of Spiritual Gifts - they are BOTH given to us at time of salvation; and in times of need as determined by God. And in those cases the Holy Spirit in awesome power, sets aside the barrier of sin in our lives, and gives us full access to His power, which we would normally have if we didnt keep doing those small sins after salvation.

    There are no 2 call systems. There is no 2-tier Christianity.

    And I posted what I describe as effectual call in another thread. I'll describe it here IF really necessary
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    This is most interesting. No one gets the Holy Spirit by bits and pieces. If you have him, you have all three persons. And you welcome more of his presence every day.

    So if you don't get him by bits and pieces, then why are you welcoming more of his presence everyday? This seems just another page from the compartmentalized theology of "Dr." Berrian who seems unable or unwilling to put it all together. :confused:

    Then you continue with the bit about the God of election being a God of partiality when you have shown that to be incorrect. God is not partial to those who have the sense or the faith to choose him. It is your view of God that makes God partiality. I say with Paul that God is no respecter of persons. He elects of his own free will, not out of respect for the individual himself and the individual's "ability" to choose.

    [ May 02, 2002, 07:07 PM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  14. Ray Berrian

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    Pastor Larry,

    Thanks for you response.

    I believe the Bible teaches that when we are saved we are regenerated, baptized into the Holy Spirit, in dwelled by Him, anointed by Him, and sealed by Him.

    The Apostle Paul in writing the Ephesian church reminds the saints not to ‘ . . . be drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.' [Ephesians 5:18] I believe the above designations in paragraph one, remain, if a Christian backslides, but to remain filled with the Spirit demands my obedience and continued love of the Lord. Theologically, this may be marginal as you have said, but it is my way of asking God [Romans 8:26] to fill me daily with His Spirit; it is my way of keeping close to Him.

    Christians at times ‘grieve and or quench the Holy Spirit.'

    Lewis Sperry Chafer says in Volume VI p. 124, ‘The filling depends on personal adjustment. Because of this dependence upon adjustments human weakness may be manifested and thus the experience of the filling with the Spirit may not be secured at all, while in other cases the filling may be characterized as partial, variable, or complete. No imperfect filling with the Spirit is satisfactory to God, for He commands all Christians without any allowance to be filled with the Spirit. [Eph. 5:18] . . . . The Spirit indwells without necessarily engendering an experience; but the filling is directed unto love, joy, peace, and the full measure of life and service.

    Vol. VI page 174-175 ‘To be filled with the Spirit is to have the Spirit fulfilling all that He came into the heart to do . . . . The implication is that this ministry, quite unlike the others, depends upon human cooperation and adjustment . . . . the filling of the Spirit depends on human faithfulness, that not all believers are so yielded to God as to be filled, that is the source of all right Christian experience, and that it is the sufficient force behind all Christian life and service.

    Also, he says, ‘The Spirit's filling is not a receiving of the Holy Spirit since that was accomplished as a part of salvation, nor is it a receiving of more of the Spirit. He is a Person and no person is subject to subdivision.' I think this was your point.

    Do you agree with Dr. Chafer?

    My regards,

    Dr. Berrian
     
  15. Ray Berrian

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    Pastor Larry,

    YOU SAID, ‘GOD IS NOT IMPARTIAL TO THOSE WHO HAVE THE SENSE OR THE FAITH TO CHOOSE HIM.'

    Everyone has the sense to choose Christ unless they are mentally limited.

    YOU SAID, ‘GOD IS NOT IMPARTIAL BECAUSE HE CHOOSES OF HIS OWN FREE WILL.'

    That is the whole point, if He elects some He already has infringed into that realm of impartiality. First, He is partial toward the majority who we know will be lost and secondly, He is biased toward His favored ones, the elect.

    It is our contention that He died on the Cross for all sinners. [I Tim. 2:6] When God said, ‘For God so loved the world, He did not mean the cosmos that you and I are standing on. His love was for the people who walk on this cosmos/earth.

    Dr. Berrian
     
  16. Ray Berrian

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    Pastor Larry,

    He does have respect for His creation or He would not have died to save lost humanity. He does respect a person's will to choose. If a person does not choose Christ, he is not a chosen, elect person.

    He does not respect His right to elect people of His own free will because this is not His Divine plan. This is called learned error.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Berrian
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    I have no problem with what Chafer has said here (though I disagree with some of his theology on this general issue). If you are talking about filling of the Spirit however, you are not talking about getting more or less of the Spirit. You are talking about submission to his control and obedience. Filled with the Spirit by another name is walking in the Spirit (Gal 5). When we are filled the Spirit we are not getting more of him or his presence.

    On partiality, man does not have the sense to choose God. We have rehearsed the verses many times that say that man is totally depraved, deceived, not seeking God, totally turned aside, and dead in trespasses and sins. Unsaved man is rejecting God of his own free will. God’s only foray into “free will” is when he regenerates the will of the elect so that they will choose him of their own free will. Christ plainly said that some COULD not come to him because the Father had not given it to them. This is an issue of ability.

    Your scheme of salvation makes God partial towards those who have the sense to choose him and follow through with it. Scripture simply disagrees with this because it removes salvation from the will of man (John 1:12; 1 Cor 1).

    However, since you continue to misdefine “free will” asserting an ability to choose something contrary to a being’s nature, you will continue to pursue this line of thinking. Only when the nature of man is understood will a proper soteriology be reached. You want to call it learned error; Paul called it grace. I like his term better.
     
  18. Ray Berrian

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    Pastor Larry,

    I received your post and message. Thank God that salvation is all of the Lord because I would not measure up to His very high standards of holiness. I am thankful that He keeps me by His indwelling Holy Spirit. Praise be to God!
     

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