The act of receiving

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by npetreley, Feb 8, 2003.

  1. npetreley

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    I enjoyed doing Romans 8 so much I thought I'd tackle another Arminian premise: That the so-called "act" of receiving necessitates free will. This time let's look at John, chapter 1 verses 12-13.

    First, let's eliminate the possibility that "received" by itself tells you anything about will. There are several ways to receive things. If I offer you $100, you can choose to receive it of your own free will. If I deposit $100 into your bank account, you receive it without your will being involved. Indeed, you may even receive it without your knowledge. If I shove a $100 bill down your throat, you receive it against your will.

    So "to receive" something does not explicitly mean that the process involves free will. It does not necessarily mean it does not involve free will, either. So we have to turn back to John to see if we can find out if he clarifies what it means to receive in this case.

    Before I get to that, however, some of you may point out that the verse also says "those who believe in His name", and assert free will from that. But that's not the proof, that's the assumption. Arminians say we believe of our own free will, Calvinists say this faith is a gift from God. The latter is scriptural, which should be enough. But since it never seems to be enough for Arminians, let's keep going.

    Back to John and receive. If John left the matter at "as many as received Him", the question of free will would remain unanswered. But John does not leave it there. He goes on to say these things about those who received Him and believed in His name. Who are these people? They are those...

    So "those who received Him and believed in His name" were not born of blood.

    In one fell swoop John eliminates the notion that the Jews have a monopoly on salvation by blood.

    So "those who received Him and believed in His name" were not born of the will of the flesh.

    Boom. John eliminates the notion that we can earn salvation by works. Nothing we do in the flesh can make a difference.

    So "those who received Him and believed in His name" were not born of the will of man.

    This last one is the most compelling because the Arminian must either consider it redundant or ignore it. John already eliminated what the flesh can do in terms of good works, so the will of man cannot refer to what we can earn by our efforts. The only thing left is the plain meaning of the words -- the will of man. MAN'S WILL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW WE ARE BORN INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD.

    In case anyone might think this notion is an anomaly, notice how it echoes Romans 9:16 perfectly:

    Paul is saying exactly the same thing as John, save the part about blood (which makes sense, because Paul spent much of the earlier part of Romans eliminating that possibility). Salvation is not of man's will, nor is it of running (works), but of God who shows mercy.

    If this parallel is correct, then the rest of John's verse should be...

    And it is.

    Arminians claim free will based purely on inference. But any inference of free will that concludes "one must actively receive something" is not only contradicted by common sense, it is contradicted by clear, plain unambiguous language that requires no inferred meaning.
     
  2. Ray Berrian

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    Nepetreley,


    Your presupposition that faith is a gift of God is off the scope of Biblical documentation. Grace is the gift of God. [Ephesians 2:8]

    Faith is the response of trust in His Word. [John 3:16, 22; Romans 1:16; Galatians 2:16] Faith is the conduit that sends to us His grace. No work is involved in faith because it is merely trusting in the value of His Word and He is pleased with our response to His love.

    Romans 4:5 indicates that faith was not handed to the believer by Christ after He regenerates a person, but rather it is the person's faith, ' . . . his or her faith' is counted for righteousness.' We do not need a 'label' for God's way of dealing with human beings; but if you slander us for His plan into Divine grace, we gladly will use the words, 'free will.'

    Please, try to respond to my thoughts/sentences carefully. We are not interested in your recitation of the {Calvinistic} 'party line.'
     
  3. KenH

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    So, Ray, are you saying you generated your own faith response?
     
  4. npetreley

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    I'm not going to go through the whole argument again, since I've done it several times. But Ephesians 2:8 states that faith is the gift of God, regardless of what Black, White, Pink, Pinky, the Brain, or anyone else you quote has said.

    Feel free to disagree, but IMO any other interpretation abuses the grammar.

    I find it interesting, however, that you choose to focus on this side comment and ignore the main topic of the thread.
     
  5. Doubting Thomas

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    I can't speak for Arminians, but here's how I see John 1:12-13...

    "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to BECOME the children of God, even to those who believe on His name:.." John 1:12

    That's pretty self-explanatory--those that receive Christ are those to whom God gave the "right" (or authority) to BECOME the children of God. "Those who believe on His name" are the ones who "received Him", obviously.

    "who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:13

    The SOURCE and CAUSE of the new birth is not man but GOD--the One who gives the right (authority) to be children of God to those who believe. In other words, MAN RECEIVES and GOD REGENERATES. Or,to put it another way, GOD REGENERATES those MEN who RECEIVE Him. It is silly, therefore, to argue that regeneration precedes our receiving Him as both occur simultaneously.

    Regarding Romans 9:16, mercy is of God and it is on His terms. God will indeed "have mercy on whom He wills" (Rom 9:18). On WHOM does He WILL to have mercy? On those who LOVE HIM and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS (Deut 7:9; Neh 1:5; Dan 9:4; etc); those who FEAR HIM (Ps 103:11); and those who CONFESS and FORSAKE their sins (Prov 28:13). He will NOT have mercy on those that DON'T TURN TO HIM (Is 9:13-17), or on those who "LACK UNDERSTANDING" (Is 27:11). God has mercy on HIS TERMS, not ours.

    Isaiah 55:6-7 sums it up very well:
    "Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, AND HE WILL HAVE MERCY on him; and to our God, For He will abundantly pardon." God has mercy on those who REPENT. This is also consistent with Ezekiel 18:30-31: "REPENT, and TURN from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. CAST AWAY from you all the transgressions which you have committed, AND GET YOURSELVES A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT. For why should you die, O house of Israel?". "The new heart and new spirit" is given to those who repent, which brings us back to John 1:12-13.
     
  6. ScottEmerson

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    I agree with Doubting Thomas here. He does a great job at explicating John's words here.
     
  7. Yelsew

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    Npetreley,
    Which method does God use of all of these methods?
     
  8. Ray Berrian

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    Ken H & Nepetreley,

    A human being after hearing the Gospel and understanding his need of Christ, [John 16:8] is confronted with a decision [John 1:12] to either receive Jesus or to refuse His love [John 3:16]and grace. [Ephesians 2:8-9] The Bible does not say in Romans 4:3 that God regenerated Abraham, gave him His righteousness and that Abraham believed or had faith in Almighty God.

    My Bibe reads this way. 'Abraham first believed in God, secondly it was counted unto Abraham His righteousness.' [Romans 4:3] Verse five says that ' . . . his faith {that is the faith of Abraham} is counted for righteousness.'

    God is the one who ' . . . imputes righteousness'[Romans 4:6b] so salvation is not energized by a man or woman's faith in Jesus. Salvation is not of works [Ephesians 2:9 a,b] Faith and/or belief in Christ [Acts 16:31] is the requirement of God, [John 3:16] if regeneration is to happen in the heart of a sinner.

    Hearing the Gospel and believing is most vital if a person is to receive regeneration and not in some kind of alleged and mysterious, unsuspecting to the person Divine election.

    There is a true and Biblical election but in God's sovereignty He has included in His plan, the affirmation of the human being, before regeneration can take place.

    Incidentally, in my previous post under this title "The act of receiving" I did not quote any 'Pink or Pinky.' Under separate titles I have referred to a Dr. Arthur W. Pink author of "The Sovereignty of God" who happens to be a Calvinistic writer.

    When we all stand before Almighty God we had better have 'received Christ' [John 1:12]as a true and vital act of receiving, otherwise, we will be numbered with the goats [Revelation 20:15] which is the Great White Throne Judgment.
     
  9. Frogman

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    This is God's method, except it has a twist, the unwilling now are made willing...imagine that.

    Ps. 110.3


    Bro. Dallas
     
  10. npetreley

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    You are implying that believing came first, receiving came second, the right to become came third, and then they were transformed. But I suspect that is based solely on ignorance of the word "become" in the Greek, and the fact that you are disregarding the context, which is about salvation coming to the gentiles.

    The word translated "become" is ginomai, or more specifically in this case, genesqai. Here are some examples of the same exact form of the word in other verses. The word(s) in bold are genesqai:

    Philippians 1:13
    So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace...

    (implied: are become manifest)

    Acts 19:22
    "After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

    So if one wanted to try to express the tense fully, it would be just as correct, although very awkward in the English, to translate John 1:12 to read, "to them He gave the right to be or have been the children of God".

    The word "become" is much better, but not for the reason I think you have assumed. To translate it "to have been" or "to be" makes it sound as if as many as received Him were already children of God, but until then they didn't have the right to be the children of God. Obviously, that isn't what John is saying.

    So we need to look for why it is significant that these people would "become" the children of God. For that, you need the larger context.

    Notice the foundation laid by John. Jesus, was in the world (kosmos), and the world (kosmos) was made through Him, and the world (kosmos) did not know Him. Yes, this is the same word (kosmos) as in John 3:16 (God so loved the world). This all-inclusive world that God so loved did not know Him. All-inclusive. Nobody knew Him. Not the Jews. Not the gentiles. Nobody's free will was powerful enough to figure out who He was.

    Now here's where John lays down the reason for the word "become". John then says His own did not receive Him. Who are his own? Certainly not the "elect" from the perspective of Calvinism, or it makes no sense. It is obvious that John is referring to the Jews, and it becomes even more obvious as you continue reading.

    John then says, although His own (the Jews) did not receive Him, as many as DID receive Him (some combination of Jews and gentiles) he gave the right to become who the Jews presumed they were supposed to be by right of blood -- the children of God.

    This meaning becomes even more obvious when John hammers it home by saying these people who became the children of God were born again into this status not by blood (thus eliminating the notion that only the Jews could claim this status), or by the flesh (thus eliminating the notion that you gain this status by works), or by the will of man (thus eliminating the notion that anyone can "choose" this status).

    So your imaginations about regeneration (which is nowhere even hinted at in this passage) are meaningless, and totally unsupported by the word become.
     
  11. William C

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    Npetreley,

    I know you don't like me too much. And I know you really don't care for my viewpoint, so I gather from the fact you don't reply to my arguments any more...that hurts. :(

    But, have you looked at this text from my perspective and seen if that might be a possible interpretation as well?

    It is speaking about Christ on earth being rejected by His own, but being "received" by who.......hmmm......let's see.........could it be......... the APOSTLES!

    Yep, it was. Look at verse 14: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among US, and WE beheld His glory..."

    There are other acceptable "Arminian" renderings of this passage, but I could help throwing in one other possiblity--just because I know you love me sooo much. [​IMG]

    Bro. Bill
    (by the way I would love to hear your thoughts on my interpretation of Eph. 1 in my "START OVER" thread)
     
  12. Yelsew

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    We disagree!
     
  13. Harald

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    "...Faith and/or belief in Christ [Acts 16:31] is the requirement of God, [John 3:16] if regeneration is to happen in the heart of a sinner." (Ray Berrian)

    John 3:16 is misunderstood by most professors of Christianity. Some of it may relate to translations which can be interpreted this way or that way.

    I will take the much-quoted KJV as an example.

    Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    It is obvious that decisional regeneration heretics take the word "believeth" as a once-and-for-all "act of faith in Christ" ("decision for Jesus"). Moreover they take the word "have" to mean a once-and-for-all "receiving" of regeneration ("everlasting life"). But I think I have never seen an honest decisional regenerationist who would have showed what the underlying Greek text says, from which the KJV is translated. If he would his argument for decisional regeneration from this verse would be blown to pieces.

    First, the Greek does not say "hos an" ("whosoever", KJV) but pâs. In Rom. 10:13 are the two words "hos an", these the inspiring Spirit of God used to denote "whosoever" or "whoever". Pâs in John 3:16 is "every" or "each", it is a singular pronominal adjective.

    Secondly, the Greek verb rendered as "believeth" by the KJV is not an aorist verb, also known as a point action verb. It is pisteuôn, a present active participle. This means it is far from a point action. It is best rendered as "believing" or "believer". Even if one chooses to render it "believing" one must have in mind it is a present participle, which stresses ongoing action ("(continuously) believing"), or possibly a state of being ("believer".

    Thirdly, the Greek verb translated "have" is neither an aorist verb, but a present active subjunctive, echê. It is best rendered as "possess" with the -ing suffix. If the Holy Spirit had willed He could have inspired an aorist, thus stressing a point action, but He did not.
    Thus the verse may be literally rendered as follows:

    3:16 For in this manner God loved the world, so that the Son of His, the only begotten, He gave, in order that every one (continuously) believing in Him not should bring perdition to himself, but to the contrary should keep on possessing life eternal;

    The verb apolêtai is in fact in the middle voice, thus "...should bring perdition to himself" here, but "should perish" is the same thing. It should be evident to any prudent person that John 3:16 cannot be used to teach decisional regeneration. The grammar and syntax of the God-breathed original does not allow for such perverting of God's word.

    Harald
     
  14. Doubting Thomas

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    What are you talking about? Go back and read my paragraph. Where did you get the idea that I implied "believing came first" and "receiving came second"? I implied the two were the same. Where did I imply that the "right to become" and "they were transformed" were two different events? Again, I implied that both refer to regeneration.

    Again, on what do you base your "suspicions"--the fact that I disagree with you??? How do you know I was "disregarding the context"? Just because I did not mention verse 11 doesn't mean I was unaware of what John meant here. The fact that the "as many" in verse 12-13 refers to the Jews and Gentiles who received Him, and that "His own" refers to the Jews who did not, does nothing to weaken my point.

    Then you ASSUME too much.

    Obviously


    And where are YOUR "imaginations about regeneration" (ie that regeneration PRECEDES faith) hinted at in this passage? Nowhere, and that was the point of my response.

    Overall, however, you did a nice eisigesis of my respsonse.
     
  15. Harald

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    Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
    Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV)

    This is a passage which some religionists use to teach decisional regeneration or faith regeneration. They seem to understand that the "received" and the "believe" in v. 12 refer to the same thing, and that this "act of faith" or "decision for Christ", as they often call it, results in regeneration - "power to become the sons of God". They use v. 13 to support their theory that "born again" (cp. John 3:7 in the KJV) or regeneration is in view in v. 12. Well, a superficial reading of these verses might induce one to think such is the case. But, the whole counsel of God's revealed word does not support such a notion. Therefore this single passage cannot contradict it, but there must be harmony and indeed there is.

    The author of this Gospel is John, and wiser men have been of the opinion that he wrote it many decades after the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Thus the use of the past tense in v. 12 - "received", likewise in v. 11 - "came" and "received (not)". The New Testament clearly indicates that the "as many as" of v. 12 were people from among the Jews and from among Gentiles, that both people of the Jewish race and of Gentile nations became believers in Christ the Lord, and that by the grace of God. The word "received" is properly translated as it stands. It does not say "accepted". An accepting would have implied an offer, like "take it or leave it". But the NT knows nothing of an "offer" with respect to salvation and Christ. The Greek verb is elabon, and it is an aorist active, meaning the said receiving was a one time point action, and the recipient was active in the receiving. The receivers are not said to have received regeneration, but "Him", i.e. Christ Jesus. The word "received" does not in and of itself describe or define the manner of the reception, but the word signifies that something is given which is received, not accepted.

    The words "to them" refers to the said "as many as", and to these "He gave", not "He offered". "He" refers back to the "Him" who was "received". Christ "gave" or "granted" something "to them", and that which is said to have been given is "power to become the sons of God". The word exousian may also be rendered as "right" or "authority". A spiritual ability or energy or power is not in view, but a right or privilege or authority. The KJV says "sons", but the Greek says tekna, which is better translated as "children" or "offspring". The word "to become" does not refer to regeneration. It is genesthai, and it is noteworthy that it is in the middle voice as to its form. Lexically it is called a deponent middle, which means it is interpreted as though it was active. To me this word speaks of the fact that the "as many as" had an experience in past time when they experience-wise learnt and felt being adopted by God as His children. [Technically speaking the same became children/offspring of God when God begat (fathered) them from above, but they subjectively experienced it upon being brought forth by the Biblical Gospel wielded by the Holy Spirit, 1Thess.1:4-6, 9.]

    The last clause of v. 12 defines the "as many as" of the first clause of the verse. And who are they? Answer: "...those believing in His name". It is significant that the verb which the KJV translates "believe" is a present active participle. Thus it does not describe the same verbal action as that of the first verb ("received") in this verse. The "believe" of KJV might be interpreted as a point action verb (aorist), and thus it could have referred to the same thing as "received" (aorist). But the present active participle "pisteuousin" of the last clause describes believing as an ongoing action or a state. This is the sense of the present participle. Like as someone had asked John: "John, who are those that were given authority to become God's children?" And John answering: "(even/namely)...those (continuously) believing in His name". And if one asks what kind is this "believing" referred to I would say it is everything the New Testament says it is, nothing more and nothing less. It is no notional faith, or a mere believing the historical record of Christ and His work as described in the Bible, but something beyond human ability. It is no "simple faith", nor is it a "child-like trust" etc. It is a "believing in His name" with God-wrought works attending it, because that believing is the fruit of the Spirit of Christ indwelling God's true children.

    Verse 13 furthermore states a fact about the "as many as", the believers in Christ's name.

    "Who, not of bloods, and not on basis of [the] will of flesh, not even on basis of [the] will of a man, but to the contrary of God they were begotten."

    The same individuals were not begotten "of bloods" into life eternal. KJV says "blood", but the underlying word aimatôn is a plural noun, hence "bloods", meaning spiritual life does not come via the genes of mother and father at natural begetting. Secondly, the same people were not begotten into spiritual life "on the basis of ("of", KJV) the will of the flesh". This clause delivers a death blow to the heretical doctrine of decisional regeneration. The word "flesh" refers to unregenerate human nature, cp. John 3:6a. The word thelêmatos, translated "will", may likewise be rendered "the thing willed (of the flesh)". It is from thelêma, # 2307 (Strong's). Zodhiates says of it: "The suffix -ma indicates that it is the result of the will." {The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament} Thus, the word "will" here does not refer to the will as a faculty of soul, but to "a thing willed", cp. a "decision". The preposition ek is significant. In this context its meaning is "of" or "on basis of", denoting source or starting point etc. Meaning a fleshly decision did not initiate regeneration (or, begetting from above) or induce God to regenerate.

    Thirdly, the same group were not begotten again from above "on basis of ("of", KJV) the will of a man". Again the same noun "thelêmatos" - "will" or "thing willed". And the same preposition ek. And then there is the noun andros, "man", not referring to "human being"; anthropos, but to "a man" as distinguished from a woman. This third negation clause teaches that God does not regenerate humans in response to a man's wish or desire for Him to do so to others beside himself. Meaning even the godly apostle and preacher Paul, a man for sure, could in no way induce God to regenerate his Jewish kinsmen or his gentile hearers. Paul or John could have wished and desired all they wanted to, and could have prayed themselves all read and sweaty, but for all that God would not have regenerated anyone of their fellow men {cp. John Gill on John 1:13}. God Almighty is absolutely sovereign and independent when it comes to regenerating sinners, like a despot. This same clause also blows to pieces the Protestant heresy of baptismal regeneration, that a male "priest" can determine or appoint the moment of the new birth by attending to the sprinkling of an infant, which they call "the sacrament of baptism".

    Finally v. 13 states about the persons under consideration: "but to the contrary of God they were begotten". Again the same preposition ek, "of" being the proper rendering. God is THE source of the begetting from above of sinners, Him alone and no one else. The conjunction "all" (# 235, Strong's) in the last clause strongly indicates that the 3 sources refuted in the first part of v. 13 (bloods, carnal decision, a man's will) are not in the least to be considered when contemplating the fact of regeneration, but only God the Lord.

    These two verses do not specifically say that God's begetting again was simultaneous with the subjective action of "received" (v. 12). Nor does it indicate that the divine begetting was simultaneous to the "believe", because the verbal aspect is altogether another. Nor was the "believe" the same thing as the "received". Nor do these verses teach that the begetting again from above was subsequent to the "received", nor that it was simultaneous with the "gave He power to become the sons of God".

    But what it does teach is this. The fact of some from among both Jews and Gentiles having received Christ, to which persons He, the Messias, gave right to become children of God by subjective experience. These are further distinguished and defined as persons continuously believing in His name, and that believing "according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead" (Eph. 1:19b - 20a, KJV), and no "simple faith" or "child-like trust". A further fact stated about them is that they were persons begotten of God, and of Him alone, i.e. regenerate individuals. The passive voice of "begotten" bespeaks the fact of the objects of regeneration being altogether passive in the divine begetting. Furthermore the negations of v. 13 speaks the fact that unregenerate human willing and wanting and deciding etc. had nothing whatsoever to do with God's begetting into spiritual life. It was according to His sovereign will and good pleasure, having been sealed in eternity by an immutable decree. Amen.

    Harald
     
  16. romanbear

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    Hi Npetrely;A quote from you;
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    First, let's eliminate the possibility that "received" by itself tells you anything about will.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    My Reply;
    We know you would rather get rid of the word all together.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    A quote from you;
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    There are several ways to receive things.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    My reply;
    The only way to receive eternal life is through Jesus Christ.He doesn't force anything on us.
    Your explanation of received is definitely just your logic not real or true to God's word
    Romanbear
     
  17. Bible-belted

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    Romanbear,

    Sucha response is utterly withoutt merit. A thorough explanation was given in prpounding the case. What is your response?

    "Well.... that's just youropinion."

    A substantiated opinion based on an exposition of God's Word is worth more than an unsubstantiated opinion (a gratuitous and vacuous assertion really). Npetreley gave the first, you the second.
     
  18. Yelsew

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    It appears Romanbear is well versed in the scriptures too, and in his opinion, based on his understanding of scripture is that, npetrely's opinion of scripture is wrong.

    Nothing wrong with that!

    Carry on!
     
  19. Ray Berrian

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    {pistews} found in I Peter 1:5 'faith' (gen sg fem) apparently does not indicate a continuous action of belief. [Dr. William D. Mounce, "The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, p. 374 right column at the very bottom of the page] This word indicates that God keeps us on the basis of our first belief and trust in Him, otherwise, our salvation would rest on our perfect performance before Him.

    A true faith or belief in Jesus will produce 'fruit' and 'good works' which are involved in saving faith, which, however, do not contribute toward a human like salvation in the eyes of God, otherwise, we are working for or toward our final salvation in Heaven.

    I Peter 1:3 indicates that all Christians are 'begotten again' {John 3:3 'born again'} will be kept (I Peter 1:5) a Greek word meaning to garrison as with a sentinel, meaning that God will keep on saving us until our time of judgement before Him. This is a great blessing for us to know that only He can keep us safe for Heaven and everlasting life.

    In other words, because of our faith in Jesus,our trust in Christ or our belief in His saving benefits we are secure forever in His hands. [John 10:27-31] Dr. Bengel says, 'The inheritance is kept; the heirs are guarded.' Thanks be to God!

    God never says or indicates that we must keep up our 'works' in order to please Him in matters of our final salvation, otherwise, salvation comes by faith in Christ plus our human efforts. [Ephesians 2:9]

    Almighty God's basis of keeping us forever comes about because of our first believing, trusting, or having faith in Christ and His promises offered in His Word. For example: John 3:16.

    No one would question the fact that God does use, at times, the {aorist active tense} because He deeply wants us to continue to have faith in Him throughout all of our life time.

    The question always comes back to human beings--'Are you born again?' If you have a reliance on Jesus for your redemption, then you are saved and one of His elect.
     
  20. Bible-belted

    Bible-belted
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    Except that none of his undertsanding is substantiated with the scriptues. If you want him to carry on that way then be prepared to see your views be shot down even more regularly than is currently the case.
     

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