What does this verse mean?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Victorious, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Victorious

    Victorious
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    What does this verse mean to you? I expect various interpretations as my husband and I are vollying this one back and forth.

    "My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20 NASB)
     
  2. Winman

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    James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
    20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.


    Well, I think the first thing this verse implies is that sound and true doctrine can be known, and thus error and false doctrine can be identified. There is false doctrine that can lead a person to hell.

    Matt 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

    Luke 6:39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

    There are many false doctrines out there that will lead a person to hell. One of our jobs as Christians is to identify false doctrine and try to correct those who are being led astray. Some people willingly follow false doctrine, while others are simply deceived. Some folks are born into a household where they have been taught false doctrine from a child. This is very difficult especially, because these persons have been taught this false doctrine from their parents. It is very difficult for a person to believe that their parents who loves them and whom they trust would teach them something false.

    People are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

    Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

    There are really only two religions in the world, those who trust in themselves and their works, and those who trust in Christ for salvation. Faith and works cannot be mixed, a person is saved by trusting in the work of Jesus Christ only. Nothing can be added or subtracted from it.

    Notice in James 5:19 that this person is called a sinner. They may be religious, they may even claim the name of Christ, but they are following a false doctrine and are still in their sins. They need to be converted. So James is telling us to correct this person and give them sound doctrine, the gospel. And if this person believes they will be saved and all their sins forgiven.

    The scriptures have to be our authority when it comes to sound doctrine.
     
    #2 Winman, Jan 8, 2010
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  3. Victorious

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    So, just to clarify, this is a "professor" who once knew the truth (the scripture says he strayed from the truth) although not saved? The passage says he was among them.

    Some say he was already saved and would be lost if he wasn't receptive to coming back to the faith. Does anyone here believe this, I wonder?

    I lean toward "once saved, always saved" and my husband sees sufficient scriptural reason to believe one can lose their salvation (although he also understands my point of view.)

    Of course, Scripture is always our authority in sound doctrine. The problem is, there are differing views on interpretation among brethren. This is a lifelong learning process after all. It seems the more I think I know, the more humble I become, but I do know I've got "Christ crucified" down pretty good. :saint:
     
  4. Skandelon

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    Vic,

    I think the mistake we make on issues like this is attempting to apply a passage to a theological question that wasn't on the mind of the author when they wrote it.

    Both sides have their proof texts indicating that someone can or can't lose their salvation, but I don't believe that was the concern of the authors. They weren't attempting to write a Systematic Theology for educated seminarians. Instead, they were writing to the masses of mostly uneducated common folks. These people had seen others who appeared to come to Christ abandon their faith. They had come across false teachers and backsliders.

    How do you explain these things? "Those who have gone out from us were never really of us." This seems to be the best explanation with regard to your question, but there are other passages that are worth consideration as well.

    For example, what about the parable Jesus tells about the man who is forgiven a great debt but then refuses to forgive a small debt owed to him? Jesus says that the original forgiveness was revoked and the man was thrown into prison. Then the most frightening statement, "So it will be with your Father in Heaven."

    Now, that passage seems to indicate that if you have been forgiven by God, but you refuse to forgive others that you will lose your forgiveness, doesn't it?

    That warning seems to lose its meaning if you insist in a theological position that once a man is forgiven he will remain forgiven, doesn't it?

    Could it be that we undermine scripture by trying to force it into our theological constructs? Can't we just let scripture speak for itself and say, "Only God knows who is ultimately going to be saved and who is not, but we must heed his warnings and follow his teachings?" I just fear that sometimes our theological statements, like OSAS, give people a false sense of security and thus they fail to heed these types of warnings. Granted, maybe those who do fall away we not really saved, but maybe they think they are saved and thus teaching this only brings them confusion and false security.
     
    #4 Skandelon, Jan 8, 2010
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  5. David Michael Harris

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    I personally think this deals with 2 different types of people. The Christian who strays as oft we do. And also someone who is brought to Christ.

    Once saved always saved is probably true ( yet to find out ) but a very dangerous phrase for young Christians.
     
  6. Victorious

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    Good thing I'm not a young Christian. :tongue3:
     
  7. David Michael Harris

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    I think the phrase impacted on me when I got saved.

    Christianity is no bed of roses.

    Many warnings in the Bible.

    Putting your hand to the plow and looking back is one of the biggest.
     
  8. Victorious

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    Well, AMEN to that! (But there is no other life one can live that is so filled with purpose and joy :flower:)
     
  9. Victorious

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    No matter which side of the issue one is on, perseverance is the key. We all need to stay of the "Sanctification Road". That is the only way we can assure our hearts before Him.
     
  10. Winman

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    I believe in preservation of the saints, but there are verses in the scriptures that could be seen to argue a person can lose their salvation. A scripture that is difficult for me is Luke 8:13

    Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

    Jesus here speaks of those who believe "for a while", which seems to say a person can stop believing. That's a little scary. I have only met one person in my life who said they believed when they were young, but did not believe now.

    Many think in the parable of the sower that only the good ground was saved. I believe all but the wayside were saved. The stony ground and the thorny ground did spring to life, the wayside did not.

    I believe the parable of the sower is dealing with salvation and bearing fruit. The stony ground and the thorny ground are saved, but do not bear fruit.
     
  11. Victorious

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    But I think the key to this parable is the seed sown on GOOD soil. This is the only soil where the seed can flourish because the person recieves the Word as a TRUE believer. One whom the Father has already made the soil ready. As Jesus explained, He is the vine dresser.

    "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." (Luke 8:15 NASB)

    Who but one who has been "born again" has an honest and good heart?
     
  12. David Michael Harris

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    The Parable of the sower, should have its own forum here.

    For me there is only one person not saved there.

    We should start a thread on this.
     
  13. Winman

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    Yes, but the stony ground and the thorny ground sprang to life, that is clearly stated.

    Matt 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
    5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
    6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
    7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
    8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.


    The stony ground sprung up. This is life. And the thorny ground was choked, you cannot choke the dead.

    This is speaking of bearing fruit. The scriptures teach of our works as Christians being tested by fire. Those good works we do will remain, all else will be consumed.

    1 Cor 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
    12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
    13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
    14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
    15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.


    So, as Christians we are to bear fruit. I believe this means to show the fruits of the Spirit, but also speaks of witnessing. If we witness to folks and they receive Christ, we shall see them in heaven with us. As an apple tree bears more apple trees, a Christian should bear more Christians.

    But you see in verse 15, if we do not bear fruit, we shall still be saved. But we will suffer the loss of rewards (vs 14).
     
    #13 Winman, Jan 8, 2010
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  14. Victorious

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    My husband agees with you and I see your point, but we both see that other scripture can support both sides. We both realize that there are many things we won't know until we see through the mirror clearly. I am more saved than he is though.














    (JUST KIDDING! Sort of :saint:)
     
  15. Winman

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    See, in my opinion this is were you make an assumption. You are believing the doctrine of Total Depravity that says the unregenerate cannot have a good and honest heart. But the scriptures show the unregenerate can do good.

    Gen 4:6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
    7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.


    God himself said Cain could do well and he would be accepted. And notice also that God said sin would desire Cain, but that Cain would rule over sin.

    So, man is not totally enslaved by sin. Yes, we all have a sin nature that pulls us toward sin, but we also have the ability to resist and rule over sin. We can't claim like the old Flip Wilson routine "the Devil made me do it!". That is an excuse for a man not to take responsibility for his own actions. No, we can obey God if we chose to do so, the scriptures show that a multitude of times.

    Psa 34:12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
    13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
    14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
    15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
    16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.


    It is not reasonable for God to command us to do good if we are not able. And the scriptures say we are able.

    Deut 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
    12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
    13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
    14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.


    The doctine of Total Depravity is true in that man of himself will not do good. But the word of God has been in the world from the very beginning. Men have always had some revelation of God and are therefore responsible. This is why in Romans 1 it says man is without excuse.

    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
    19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
    20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:


    Notice in Deut 30 that it does not say a man has to be regenerated to do God's commands, it says "hear it". This is how we are enabled to do good, by hearing and believing God's word. If you can hear it, you can do it. Notice in verse 14 Moses tells the people that God's word is not hidden from them, it is very nigh, in their mouths and in their hearts that they can do and obey it.

    The scriptures never say unregenerate man cannot do good, they say the opposite. This is why we can justly be held accountable for our sins.
     
    #15 Winman, Jan 8, 2010
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  16. kyredneck

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    :applause: ........you may say it in jest, but, IMO, there's much truth in that statement! Being saved is being delivered and the more one trusts the Lord, the more delivered, or saved, one is.
     
  17. Marcia

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    I have known people who thought they were Christians and thought they were saved but realized later in life that they weren't. One was in church and very active in it but she realized something was missing. She talked like a Christian but it was an act, although she thought she was saved; the Lord eventually convicted her and showed her she wasn't saved. She did end up trusting the Lord and was saved.

    I myself thought I was a Christian when I was younger (early teens) because I did what was required and others seemed to think I was a Christian; but I was not saved at all (and eventually I rejected Christianity and went into Eastern religions and astrology until the Lord intervened and saved me).

    I also think of people who were once seemingly strong believers who became skeptics or went outside of Christianity to another faith. I have seen some of these come back to Christ and others have not. I think the ones who come back were saved to begin with, or maybe were not saved at all but got saved later. Others have not returned or never return and clearly were not and are not saved (yet).

    There is such a big gamut and only the Lord knows for sure which ones are His. And Jesus said that the wheat and tares will not be separated until the end times.
     
  18. Victorious

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    I don't say that men cannot do good. This is proven every day in our world by the unsaved. However the scriptures are clear that man is dead in trespasses and sins until God saves him and regenerates him to new life in Christ. The scriptures tell us that even the good deeds of unregenerate man is counted as filthy rags and the heart is wicked and deceitful! Even Jesus said "Why call me good? Only God is good."

    There is a great deal of difference between the works of a Christian to glorify God through good deeds and the good deeds of non-believer.

    "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:11-13 NASB)

    But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.
    (John 2:24-25 NASB)

    I agree with man's responsibility before God. I also know we have a will to choose right from wrong. Salvation is another matter. I would have to say scripture declares man's depravity - total? Well, in terms of the heart? Yes. We have a different view on depravity. The unregenerate does not have that "heart of flesh" and the Holy Spirit indwelling him so that those who see the good works of a Christian will glorify God. How do the good works of an atheist do this?
     
    #18 Victorious, Jan 8, 2010
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