Unregenerate "Christians"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC δοῦλος, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. JonC

    JonC
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    It seems to me that there are professing Christians who may be under the delusion that they are saved but are not because they adhere to their own righteousness and will for salvation. They may possess a cognitive acceptance of the gospel but are in reality unregenerate. They acknowledge Christ as Lord and are active in the body of Christ - but their works are unrighteous because they come from an unregenerate heart (ultimately they are self-serving and a form of self-righteousness). In this manner, it would be impossible for us to separate the wheat from the tares because by outward appearances the tares look like wheat (sometimes more so).

    This has absolutely NOTHING to do with Lordship Theology or "Easy Believeism" as both (as I see it) could fall into the category of tares.

    This is why I view the passage in such a manner (but am open to suggestions/correction):

    Matthew 7:15-20 speaks of being judged by one’s fruit. Verse 21 continues by stating that not everyone who calls Jesus Lord is saved as they do not do the will of the Father. Likewise, although they acknowledge Him as Lord and prophesy in His name and perform miracles, they are not saved. He never knew them (this is not a loss of salvation). Verse 21 indicates to me that acknowledging Jesus as Lord and being a part of the body of Christ is the mark of a believer - however verse 22-23 indicates that some who have these qualities are not saved. Verse 24-27 is linked to the previous verses. Here two houses are built on very different foundations. I view the house built on the rock as those who repent of their own salvation and believe in Christ. The house built upon the sand are those who build upon their own righteousness.

    Part of my reasoning is that I view “repent and believe in the gospel” to mean more than repenting of one’s sins and cognitively accepting the gospel message. Were this the case, the verse should read “repent and obey.” I believe it means to repent of our own righteousness (our nature) and putting our faith in Christ.

    The question, then, is can people believe that they are saved and manifest the outward acts of a believer without actually being saved (are there really tares among the wheat that grow together until harvest)?



    Disclaimer - I really don’t care about the Cal/non-Cal debate as much has been written over time and I sincerely do not believe that anyone here has something valuable to add that has not been previously stated (except perhaps in examining different views which is not the topic of this thread). I apologize if my question is so boring that it must devolve into such a debate. :(
     
  2. Winman

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    Well, all I can say is that the persons in Matthew 7, the Pharisee in Luke 18, and the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 all boasted of their works. This is what convinced them they were saved, when none of them were.

    Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    Luk 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
    10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
    11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
    12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

    Mat 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

    Seems pretty obvious to me, why do you look beyond what scripture plainly says?
     
  3. JonC

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    It is not so obvious to me that their works convinced them that they were saved. Instead, I view the passage as their desire for salvation on their own terms - not exactly the works that they have done. If so, then this is a danger of "easy believeism" as well as a works based salvation. Neither gets to the heart of the problem or the meaning of "repent and believe."

    So I see those things mentioned (acknowledging Christ as Lord, bearing spiritual fruit) as fruits that are produced by a regenerated spirit - but not the cause of salvation.
     
    #3 JonC, Nov 3, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2013
  4. Winman

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    Luke 18 is clear that Jesus was speaking of persons who trusted they were righteous and despised others. The Pharisee boasted of his pure life and good works and considered himself much better than the publican.

    The publican is the perfect example of "easy believism". He made no boast whatsoever of being righteous or doing good works. He confessed he was a wicked sinner and threw himself completely on God's mercy. Jesus said he went away justifed or saved. This parable shows what saving faith is, it is to repent or turn from the belief that one is righteous, confessing one is a sinner undeserving of salvation, and to commit or trust oneself completely to the mercy of God and depend upon God alone to save us.

    Jesus has promised any person who comes to him for mercy in dependence he will in no wise cast out.

    I suppose there are some folks who say the sinner's prayer because a preacher puts pressure on them, but from my experience it is almost impossible to get someone to say the sinner's prayer that does not want to.

    When I got saved, no one had to urge me to pray to Jesus and ask for forgiveness, I was afraid to leave the church without getting my salvation settled. I almost RAN down to the alter, I was not leaving until I KNEW I was saved.

    That was 50 years ago, and I am STILL a believer, and I know many others who said the simple sinner's prayer years ago that are still believers too.

    I am not saved because I do good works. If I had to depend on my works I would be a goner for sure. No, I am saved because Jesus is faithful to keep his promise, I came to him, and he promised he would in no wise cast me out. :thumbsup:
     
  5. InTheLight

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    What is with the constant questioning of whether or not someone is saved?
     
  6. JonC

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    I didn't realize others have posted this...otherwise I'd have gone there.

    I listened to a sermon a couple of weeks ago on Matthew 7:13-27. The pastor indicated that the things in verse 22 (acknowledgment of Christ as Lord and producing fruit) are things that both authentic Christians and inauthentic Christians share (a lack of these indicates an unsaved person, but the presence of these does not indicate salvation). He concluded that there are those who base salvation on their own righteousness - they want to be saved but on their own terms. Anyway, I decided to study the passage but through that it might be a good idea to find out how others viewed it as well (which was, apparently, a mistake beyond anything I had imagined).
     
  7. JonC

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    I don't have a link, but the sermon was "authentic christianity" by Tim Keller.
     
  8. Winman

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  9. JonC

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  10. Herald

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    From a pastoral perspective I am looking at whether a professed believer bears fruit. Matthew 5:16 states that believers are to let their light shine before men. Ephesians 2:10 states that God created us [believers] for good works. When fruit is lacking it is a sign that something is wrong. It does not mean a person is not a Christian. They may be going through a difficult time or engaged in some sin. They only way of knowing is to be involved in their lives.
     
  11. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  12. InTheLight

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    From the OP:

    They acknowledge Christ as Lord and are active in the body of Christ -

    Is this not bearing fruit?
     
  13. JonC

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    It is bearing fruit - but the question is what kind of fruit. I know of pastors, and know one pastor, who was saved after years of being a pastor. From all appearances they exhibited fruit that I would have taken as evidence of salvation - but which was in reality fruit of their own righteousness.

    I agree with those here who said that a lack of evidence is not evidence to the contrary.
     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    There's fruit, and then there's fruit. These passages speak of fruit. By that, I mean fruit as the result of loving and serving Christ. There is evidence in this fruit of salvation. Is there evidence in, say, the gift a few years ago of Bill and Melinda Gates of $31 billion to the charitable foundation of Warren Buffet? I think not. True, the Gates' don't profess Christ, but those who do, and still perform good works without other attributes of salvation being evident, or who express salvation in terms for what they have done, are not fooling anyone, in my opinion. I don't think they can slip through life without others, particularly authentic Christians, suspecting they may not know the full truth of the gospel.

    It's interesting, because our pastor spoke of a very similar situation in his sermon yesterday. I'll put up the video link when they put it our church website.
     
  15. JonC

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    I am grateful for all of your comments and suggestions in regard to this topic. I agree with you, Winman, that the passage in Luke 18 deals with the Pharisee’s view of salvation by works. But I think that it falls short and is too narrow a picture of doing the will of God. But certainly a works based salvation is no salvation at all - instead it is a type of self-salvation. Herald does point out an important element of judging by works - and as I reflect on my own life I can see times when I have been unfruitful (actually, a long period of time) but I don’t think that this time reflected a state of being lost. I think that thisnumberdisconnected touched more on my concern.

    I know that a quote (although falsely attributed to Billy Graham) stated a belief that 75% (some go up to 90%) of congregations are composed of unconverted Christians. But Dr. Kennedy and Tozer have indicated that they believe a substantial portion of congregations are composed of unconverted Christians.

    This is my focus on these passages (at the time being and as I continue studying). I believe that there are some who believe but that belief is not saving faith. My worry is that churches may be complicit in fortifying this delusion - either through “easy believism” or a works based salvation.

    My understanding is that to be saved we repent of our righteousness and believe the gospel. By this I mean abandoning our will and putting our faith in the will of God through Christ. I guess for me the question is why I do the things I do. Is it out of love for Christ and Christ working through me or is it my own attempt at righteousness. While this all sounds good to me on paper, it is difficult for me to tell in practice.
     
  16. preacher4truth

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    True, and I take it you believe in evidence of regeneration/salvation. I am happy about that as around here it is actually preached against, and that there is no evidence needed.

    Now, what about being apostate, do these 'professing believers' have evidence as well?
     
  17. thisnumbersdisconnected

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  18. saturneptune

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    I see everyone's Holy Spirit detector is going full blast tonight.
     
  19. JonC

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    Thank you for posting this. I agree with the pastor, our works are not only about moral evil or moral good but instead about a passionate life to be obedient to Jesus or not. He notes that it is false notion that what one knows about Jesus determines everything about you; it is not about knowing but about believing and belief is rooted in commitment - giving one’s self over to Christ. That, IMHO, is the difference between doing one’s own will and doing the will of God.
     
  20. JonC

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    Please explain.
     

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