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Free Grace theology?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Timtoolman, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. ascund

    ascund New Member

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    The past dozen posts between James_Newman, Faith Alone, and Benjamin have been refreshing! The Spirit of unity in seeking Christ's righteousness and the truths of God's sweet saving grace completely overcome the voices of dissention from those who embrace human-centered self-righteousness in other parts of this forum.

    May the LORD continue to work in and through us all to His glory as we seek to discover the depth, breadth, width and height of God's unfathomable Word.

    shālôm
    Lloyd
     
  2. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    James,

    Sorry to hear about the death... I hope that he/she was a believer & that the memorial service was (or will be) honoring to our Lord.

    I understand your position... you make some good points from 1 John. But you see, just because a person cries out, "Lord, Lord" does not mean he was saved. We become a child of God by believing in Jesus Christ, and no where does the text say that. So it is certainly reasonable to not assume that this person is saved.

    The only thing hinting that they are saved is because they claim to have "done good works in Your name." But IMO the whole point of this parable is that we cannot enter the kingdom - we cannot come to know Christ - through good works. We must do the will of the Father in that respect, and He has told us what work we must do per John 6:29 - believe in Him.

    Now the works listed in the parable are certainly things which would be rewardable at the BEMA seat of Christ, so that also leads me to believe that these are people who, just as the text says, never knew our Lord. Because Jesus says that the Father will not be impressed with those good works.

    Vs. 1 is a warning to "beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravaging wolves."... IOW, they're not what they appear to be. And in the same paragraph we read that a good tree produces good fruit and vice-versa.

    So if someone is trying to do good works IOT gain entrance into the kingdom then they're not going to succeed. They need to be changed, so that they are genuinely a good tree... then the natural result will be to produce good fruit.

    "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' (IOW, not all, but some who say "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom.) SOme take this as a plea by the person who wants to enter to be able to enter. It is, I suppose. But the plea is not based on the work of Christ in their behalf, but upon their own righteous deeds.

    Notice that they don't say when asked, "Why should I let you into My heaven," "Because I have trusted in Christ." They say, "Because I have done many food works." The apostle Paul would certainly have fit into this category. He was very zealous... but not saved until he faced Christ on the road to Damascus.

    But the clincher, which convinces me, is that Jesus says, "Depart from Me, I never knew you."

    Jesus is saying you have to be born again ("from above" actually) IOT enter the kingdom.

    And that is the position that almost all free-grace exegetes take on this passage... FWIW.

    Now WIlkin does say, as you suggested, that we do not look to people's works to see if they are saved. We should look to what they believe. I agree with that.

    1 John 5:11-13 tells us to have confidence (asurance) that if we have trusted in His Son that we have eternal life. Some take a tests of life view of 1 John - the reformed approach. I take the new-nature view of 1 John - the tests of fellowship approach.

    In Bible.org Bob Deffinbaugh says that the story of the house built upon sand or the rock is about some who try to build their lives upon sand - without obeying the Word. Now this could certainly apply to those who do know the Lord, as you suggest, but it can also apply to those who do not... who think all their good deeds will impress God.

    I found a recent newsletter article in which Bow Wilkin and Zane Hodges discuss this passage:
    FA
     
  3. James_Newman

    James_Newman New Member

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    I think Zane and Bob have gone the long way around Mt Sinai to prove that these men are unbelievers. They see that these men are not being judged with unbelievers, but try to make it seem as if these men were doing good works through the power of Satan, and equate this with Jannes and Jambres being able to counterfeit some of the miracles that Moses did. What did Jesus say about Satan casting out Satan? This is the kind of thinking that comes from rejecting the plain teaching of scripture. The answer to the question is in chapter 5.

    Matthew 5:18-20
    18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
    20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    The Pharisees had a habit of being meticulous in their keeping of the lesser commandments, like tithing and washing their hands and keeping the Sabbath. But the weightier commands were swept under the rug.

    Matthew 23:23
    23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

    They also did their works to be seen of men.

    Matthew 23:5-7
    5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
    6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
    7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

    Either of these reasons could easily explain Christ's words to those in Matthew 7:22. We may do works in Christ's name, but our motive is insincere. We may want the praise of men, rather than seeking after charity and the praise of God. Or we may be busying ourselves in the lesser matters (are we dressed properly, do we listen to the right type of music, do we give to the church faithfully) and be ignoring the weightier matters. Even prophesying and casting out devils, wonderful works though they may be, are not going to excuse a man from his duty to love God, to love his neighbor, to judge righteous judgment, to show mercy, and to exercise faith.

    1 Corinthians 13:1-3
    1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
    2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
    3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

    These issues sort themselves out when we recognize the difference between the free gift of eternal life and the reward of the kingdom. But in order to get rid of warnings to believers, Bob and Zane have to give them to someone else. The idea of the 'false professor' as it is taught with these passages is the invention of teachers who ignore these types of warnings to their own peril. Jesus is obviously talking to 'believers', as they point out:
    so in comes the 'false professor' to take the heat. How can we be sure that we are not this false professor? Does this not take away our absolute assurance, if now it is conditioned upon making sure we believe right?
     
  4. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    James,

    Well, they could be all wet. IMO their approach is the more natural interpretation.

    I think the point is that these people will say that they did good works. And people can do some good. The fact that they say that they did it in Christ's name is merely stating that they believe themselves to be seeking God - kinda like Saul before his conversion. He would certainly have said that he was doing good works in the name of the Messiah (not believing Jesus to be the Messiah.)

    Exactly. The point is that we would have to be perfect - our righteousness would have to exceed that of the scribes & Pharisees. He is not asying that we enter into the kingdom by doing good works, or by becoming righteousness - that would be righteousness by works, not imputed righteousness by faith in Christ's work in our behalf.

    so in comes the 'false professor' to take the heat. How can we be sure that we are not this false professor? Does this not take away our absolute assurance, if now it is conditioned upon making sure we believe right? </font>[/QUOTE]James,

    Yes, I agree. What was their actual motive? Christians can also get sucked up into such self-righteous efforts - to try to impress men. Paul said that "if I were still trying to please men I would not be a bond-servant of Christ."

    Point is that Jesus said, "I never knew you." Anyone else want to take a shot at this. I don't think I have anything else to say.

    Your strongest argument is that Jesus taught these parables, in general, to His disciples. But He also told them so that those who were sincerely seking the truth would be encouraged to do so.

    FA
     
  5. Benjamin

    Benjamin Well-Known Member
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    The men crying out, “Lord, Lord” SAID they were casting out devils, they were false prophets which makes them liars. Yeah, they would believe in Jesus, just like the Devil also believes but haven’t accepted in their hearts the truth that they will bow and trust that “all” is His, bought and paid for in full. The unbelievers (false prophets v15) in v 22 claiming “they” have done many wonderful works in Jesus’ name (been busy prophesying and telling what “they” have done) a wolf in sheep’s clothing, gathering from the wrong master, blowing their trumpets with claims of healings and powers before men. Liars in the heart, not trusting to be clothed of God.

    The way I see the context of the sermon on the mount in a nut shell: Our King of kings is speaking with authority about receiving Him and being blessed in His kingdom, the only way to be righteous, that ALL is of God, by God, for God, and how to walk in the light and what to watch out for.

    Jesus is referring to watching out for false teachers, prophets, throughout his sermon warning about them. He begins teaching blessings like, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” I only know of one way to be pure in your heart and see God. Blessed are they that are “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Christian justification) we are not perfect and there is ONLY one way to be justified that I know of. Men shall revile and persecute and say all manner of evil against you for my sake? (Wolves) Jesus said, rejoice and be glad when these men say all manner of evil against you for “His sake” because you know the truth, it is His kingdom, I would contend them saying all manner of evil would include, “look they committed a sin and say they are of God!” Jesus instructs us better, you are the salt, the light, let it shine before men, put it on a candlestick and it give light unto all that are in the house. He did not change the law, WHY? Because although we are justified (as God’s children) it’s not to taught to be an excuse to break the laws and we’re being told the unrighteous that aren’t “in the house” will persecute us for our sins as He just explained. (They will be in trouble when they come saying Lord, Lord look at what “we” have done because they still believe in the law,)

    (Mat 5:19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Jesus is teaching true belivers not to break the laws or teach men to do so, but to teach men to obey them, (first you drink the sweet milk of salvation and THEN you eat the meat) but either way we are clearly in the kingdom (justified as a trusting true believer) but the ones who teach men to do so (break the least of these commandments because of this freedom) will be the least; but nowhere here does it say they won’t enter the kingdom. Jesus is telling us how to walk in the light and warning against false prophets that teach works salvation from men.

    Jesus tells them the only way to the kingdom is by their righteousness exceeding the legalists who will be saying “all manner of evil” against them. He is further explaining by works of the law that these Scribes and Pharisees believe in are not the way to His kingdom and continues in His sermon to BASH these suckers along with telling His disciples how they should walk. No, it doesn’t mean we are allowed to continue doing evil, if that’s what FGers teach, but we should walk and teach others in the house to walk as the children of light.

    (Mat 5:20) For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    Jesus goes on to tell them how they should walk being in the light and the salt of the Earth setting an example to be (walk) like the children of their Father ; He already told them who would be in the kingdom and who would be “most” and now clarifies the commandments for them to do in that gracious love. Jesus tells them not to swear on God’s throne and that they can’t make one hair white or black, let your communications be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay (note: capitals first) WHY? It’s God’s, it’s paid for and He is a jealous God, the works and Glory are His, which brings us back to why the false prophets never where saved.

    (Mat 5:48) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    Jesus ain’t telling them they need to be perfect on their own merits but to walk as children of God, as “your” Father is perfect and His children are perfect. Would Jesus say He never knew a child of His Father?

    Jesus says, don’t sound a trumpet before men about your good works but to do these things in secret before God; it doesn’t matter what men judge of your works, do it in secret before God ( it’s worthless for your rewards to be seen of men) We’re told don’t lay up your treasures upon the Earth (Oh, Lord, Lord look at all the wonderful works we’ve done in your name!) Give me a break! These men did these things before other men, blowing their trumpets, MISSING the point that there righteousness only came as a child of God, not by “their” works.

    These L,L men are the kind that have the wrong master, think it’s their job to judge, blow their trumpets, their eye is not singular, they had no faith in Who will clothe them, they did not believe and are not a sheep but a wolf, they did not seek first the kingdom of God and the ONLY righteousness; Christ never knew them.

    How hypocritical for them to think “they” can take the mote out of another’s eye when they have this big beam of Earthly rewards thinking it gets them to the kingdom in their own eye.

    (Mat 7:6) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    The dogs like the Scribes and Pharisees that think they can EARN they’re way in the kingdom (it’s been paid in full) but they are trampling right over the pearls of the Glory of the Grace of God and persecute God’s children by judging their works on Earth as righteousness.

    No! I wouldn’t teach men to do whatever they want on Earth because of the gift of grace, it wasn’t free at all, God paid His only begotten that I should see the kingdom for my faith in that alone and Yes, God knows how to give good gifts to His children that ask if they seek and knock on the RIGHT door. The Word says the gate is narrow and that is WHY we are to watch for wolves and beware of the teaching of false prophets mentioned in the next verse Matthew 7:15 the same that are being spoke of in v 22.
     
  6. James_Newman

    James_Newman New Member

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    I didn't respond to your post earlier, Benjamin, because I wasn't sure that you held to the free grace position. You said:
    So I take this to say that you believe that a believer that doesn't bring forth good works is not saved (or that a believer can lose his salvation, which I don't think you are saying). I have always believed this kind of thinking to be completely contrary to free grace. If we conclude that a believer will have automatically have good works if he is really saved, then we are saying that a believer must have works to be saved. It doesn't really matter, practically speaking, if we say that the good works are the result of 'saving faith', or if we say salvation is only truly given to those who will do good works (Lordship?) the end result is the same. We end up looking at our works as assurance of salvation. Did I really believe? Better check my works.

    If I'm saved by grace through faith alone, how do I know for sure that I am saved? Because I have good works? No, I know for sure that I am saved because the Son of God paid the price for my sins on the cross. If I have no good works to speak of, does this change the fact that Jesus died for my sins?

    A wiser man than I once said that the way to truly tell if someone is saved is this. If, on Halloween when they go out tipping over outhouses, they check to see if someone is inside first, they are saved. Point is, a saved person is liable to do anything, I mean ANYTHING. There is no low too low for believers, and I can tell you from experience that a backslidden believer is twice as dangerous as an unbeliever. Any man that is looking to his works for any type of assurance or evidence of his salvation is bound to be let down by them. But the work of Christ on the cross will never fail.

    But the grace of God will continue to be tainted by our works if we do not separate the free gift of eternal salvation with the reward (for obedience) of the kingdom.

    Matthew 5:19
    19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Jesus is talking to believers about practical righteousness. If a man breaks one of the least commandments, and teaches men to do so, he shall be called least in the kingdom. My question to you would be, what happens if a man breaks one of the great commandments?
     
  7. Benjamin

    Benjamin Well-Known Member
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    I really don’t know exactly what “free grace” theology stands behind and figure like anything else there are many different views. I do have a little issue with the philosophy of the word “free” though, seems to cheapen the price.

    No, I don’t think proof of being saved has to do with how men judge works. (I think that could be saying alot about what the one judging another's salvation is basing their judgment on) I do think there are blessings to be stored in heaven. I think there may be a difference between being a believer that knows there is a God (even the devil believes that) and a believer that has truly accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Master of his life. I don’t think it’s that “easy” for a soul to say, Your will not mine, I am nothing, and to take on death of our spirit to be reborn in a new Spirit; that takes a lot of faith and a lot of love for God. As for how someone knows they are truly reborn I think it is something we know and believe in our heart and that we hope for.

    (Rom 8:24) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

    I think God is all about love, a love that we can only imagine the depth of, and what He wants from us is our love. I don’t look at my rag works as assurance of salvation, but trust in His grace. Out of love for Him I ask Him to be the Master of my life and guide me in righteousness, because I am nothing but a wretched sinner, I can’t be perfect and don’t deserve to be in a place like heaven but because of our Father’s gracious and glorious love I will be.

    Yes, I think not only did God send His Son to pay for our sins on the cross, but to show us how much He loves us, to give us a taste of what love truly is, and how much He wants us to not be in sin. How important it is to Him that we return that love in good works towards one another for Him?

    I would have to say I don’t know that mans heart and Matthew 7:1-3 along with:

    (Pro 22:20) Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,

    (Pro 22:21) That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

    (Pro 22:22) Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:

    (Pro 22:23) For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.


    The problem here is breaking or teaching men to break even the least of commandments because of this freedom of grace. That is not love for God. I think we need to prove the sincerity of our love and that will be our reward in heaven.

    [ October 21, 2005, 08:33 PM: Message edited by: Benjamin ]
     
  8. James_Newman

    James_Newman New Member

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    2 John 1:6
    6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

    Your absolutely right about loving God. If we do not walk after His commandments, we do not love God. But did Jesus only die to save those that love Him?

    Romans 5:8
    8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    John 3:16
    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.

    Christ's gift of eternal life is not conditioned upon us loving Him. I don't think we even can love him until we are saved. But after we are saved, we are commanded to love Him. Not for salvation, but He has promised to reward those that will take up their cross and follow Him.

    James 2:5
    5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

    Our reward in heaven is going to come down here with the Lord when He returns, in the form of His kingdom, and we will reign with Him if we are faithful.

    Revelation 22:12
    12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
     
  9. Benjamin

    Benjamin Well-Known Member
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    Well, I would say He died for all, although I would guess many around here would disagree with that.

    (Rom 5:18) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

    That is an interesting thought and I wouldn’t presume to understand the depth of God’s love in that He would love us first being sinners without us returning that love. I wonder if you can document that eternal life with Him isn’t conditioned on us loving Him back. If we believe and have faith in Him wouldn’t that come from love? Would He take a bride that didn’t love Him?

    (1Co 16:22) If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

    (Eph 6:24) Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

    The Word of the Lord has free course and can establish us and touch us to keep us from evil, but wouldn’t that be through our love?

    (2Th 3:4) And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.

    (2Th 3:5) And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God , and into the patient waiting for Christ.

    I mostly agree, but not so sure we can’t love Him before we are saved. Having faith in Him would come from hearing His word and love of that Word leads to belief.

    (Eph 3:17) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

    (Eph 3:18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

    (Eph 3:19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
     
  10. SeriousOne

    SeriousOne New Member

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    The book of Romans is clear. Salvation is all of grace through faith-see the story of Abraham--"Abraham believed and it was accounted to him as righteousness" [trusting in the Saviour]. And James is equally clear, true faith PRODUCES works, "Faith without works is dead."

    Salvation is all grace but real grace produces works, in fact Ephesians 2:10 tells us precisely that--we do works that GOD [in eternity past] designed for us to "walk in" [​IMG]
     
  11. SeriousOne

    SeriousOne New Member

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    OOPS sorry for the misquote above :( Corrected &gt;&gt; "Abraham believed GOD and it was accounted to him as righteousness."

    In that same long passage we see that Christ's righteousness is imputed (applied to) the one who has faith apart from works [​IMG]
     
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