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Salvation and Repentance

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by PamelaK, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    Ed,

    Like all words in any language, they have different meanings in different contexts. In my opinion METAMELOMAI can mean to "change your mind," and it can refer to "regret." When Judas tossed those coins in the temple, he didn't "repent"... he regreted that he had handed over Jesus - because he was an innocent man. Doesn't say that he had a change of heart. I truly believe that, prophecy nonwithstanding, of course, if Judas had turned to Christ he could have been saved.

    But I think he is in general correct. METANOIA usually does refer to sin. Look at some specific instances and it comes out - probably about 2/3 are clear on it, with some others questionable.

    By the "root fallacy" (I didn't coin that - you'll find it in many Greek grammars.) Here's something from the BGreek archives:

    http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/archives/96-08/1309.html
    The point is simply that we should not simply take the root meaning of a word, such as occurs from breaking it down (META - NOEW) and thenputting those 2 ideas together to form the basic meaning.

    My issue is not with this, but with the assumption, due to the English, that we are not saved by trusting in Christ's death alone.

    Ed,

    You're right that often sin is not mentioned. But that does not mean that it is not critical for a person to recognize that he is a sinner. The very definition of faith - a reliance on God - requires it. If i think I've got my act together, am I going to rely on God? No. Biblical repentance - in the context of "salvation" (gaining eternal life) is a rrecognition that I am a sinner and need help - a Savior. Why was Jesus sent? Wasn't it to save us from our sins?

    I see Peter'sresponse when he recognized just who Jesus was:
    When Peter recognized who Jesus was, his reaction was that he was a sinner. I must come to Christ as a sinner. I can't come, giving anything to Him. He does it all. Acknowledging that I am a sinner is just part of coming to Him in His strength - based on His work.

    Now I acknowledge that the gospel is really all about just who Jesus Christ is. We need to focus on that. WHen we focus on the sin or the person, we end up trying to earn our way to heaven, and essentially rejecting the gospel. It's good news. My point is simply that I have talked to many people who have said that they just didn't think they were living all that bad lives. Revelation 3:17 - which I posted before.

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit, fortheirs is the kingdom of heaven."

    According to Ephesians 2:8, 9 God's plan for salvation is one in which people cannot boast.

    Ed,

    #4. Though I don't think that many would consider them realistic questions. My point is simply that you will not, can not trust in Christ without a repentant attitude brought about by recognmition of your state.

    FA
     
  2. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea Active Member

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    Faith alone wrote,

    We are NOT saved by trusting in Christ's death alone, and Scriptures have been posted in this thread that absolutely and incontrovertibly prove that, but your posts suggest that you believe only the Scriptures that you like, which apparently are very few, and ignore the rest of them.

    As for the Greek word μετάνοια, can you post even one verse in the entire Bible where non-effectual repentance is sanctioned by God?

    There is no forgiveness of sins without effectual repentance:

    Luke 24:45. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
    46. and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,
    47. and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (NASB, 1995)

    And there is no salvation without forgiveness of sins.

    Is anyone so foolish as to believe that one can be forgiven of sins that one is continuing to commit!

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    We are NOT saved by trusting in Christ's death alone, and Scriptures have been posted in this thread that absolutely and incontrovertibly prove that, but your posts suggest that you believe only the Scriptures that you like, which apparently are very few, and ignore the rest of them. </font>[/QUOTE]Craig,

    In other threads on more than one occasion you have shown a tendency to be critical of others and downright rude. Hence I do not really desire to carry on a conversation. I do not see how it can be edifying. I only desire to carry on conversations which can be upbuilding.

    Just as you did not repeat those verses posted earlier regarding more than faith being required, you can check out previous posts I've made regarding repentance or faith alone if you wish to pursue this - in a respectful manner. As it is, I'm not all that interested.

    Craig,

    All you've done here is list a few verses about the necessity of repentance, disregarding my position that repentance is a necessary precursor to faith. I have not posted that we can be saved with an ineffectual repentance. Perhaps you should go back and read some of my interactions with Ed. I have specifically said that unless someone genuinely repents - which is not a reference to turning from sin, but to genuinely having a change of mind and recognizing your sinful state - he will not believe the gospel. Otherwise, that person will be relying on his own efforts to try to save himself, instead of that which God has provided. Repentance reflects an attitude of recognizing your spiritual state and needs.

    I did say that a person may genuinely repent, yet not fully follow through on it, reflecting on past New Year's resolutions of my own. To say that if I had genuinely repented I would fully follow through is ridiculous IMO and ignores how easy it is for the human spirit to end up going down a wrong path.

    Hope that helps clarify.

    FA
     
  4. webdog

    webdog Active Member
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    webdog - do you see that Strongs has the same idea - that of a change of mind? The focus of that definition is in the attitude and mind, not in the actions, which is the result.

    Man can respond to the work of the Holy Sirit in his life - drawing him. You're taking a Refomed position of the necessity of being regenerated first IOT repent or believe. I call it devine enabling - regeneration occurs as a result of faith, as I see it in scripture. That's why God can exhort us to believe - to respond.

    We're getting closer. I see the Spirit drawing us and showing us, convicting us of the need for a Savior - but not changing our heart - exactly. I see us as having the capability to seek the truth, as as we do the result will be a changed heart which is seeking truth even more. IOW, I see man involved in it as well as God.

    But if you're Reformed, then we probably won't get much closer than that.

    Thx,

    FA
    </font>[/QUOTE]FA, I am not reformed. I don't like to put labels on theological stances. I am neither calvinist nor arminian. I probably fall then under the free grace position. Where did you get that I take a stance that one must be regenerated before they believe? This is putting the cart before the horse.
    I agree...but notice "afterwards". One can't have a change of mind unless God draws them. I believe John 12:32 when it says God draws all men. This change of mind, or true repentance of sin, cannot happen though, without putting Christ as the Lord of your life. Salvation is a gift...you either accept it or reject it. This is faith. If repentance was required to accept the gift, the gift is no longer a gift, as repentance (turning from sin, asking forgiveness) would be a work which merited salvation, or resulted in it. I keep going back to the thief on the cross. He only recognized that Jesus was who He said He was and cried out to Him.
     
  5. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    I agree. I am "free grace," which is neither Arminian nor Reformed.

    You had said, "The Holy Spirit draws us, changes our heart, and shows us the need for a Saviour." I took that to be a Reformed position... but yeah, it's pretty similar to how I would express it.

    FA
     
  6. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea Active Member

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    Faith alone write,
    Perhaps we do not understand each other. I sounds to me as though you are saying that one must repent in order to have faith, and that, therefore, the repentance, even though it may be only a state of mind, is effectual. Is that your position?

    When I use the expression, "effectual repentance," I am writing of something very different. I am writing of repentance that is effectual in bringing about the cessation of sin. I do not know of a single instance in the Bible where repentance is spoken of that was not effectual in bringing about the cessation of sin. And I do not know of a single instance in the Bible where repentance was necessary for one to have faith. It most certainly was not my personal experience. I had faith in God long before I knew anything at all about what the Bible teaches or what Jesus did for us, and I did not believe there was any such thing as sin, and I certainly had not repented of it.

    My theological background is mostly limited to early Christian theology, Roman Catholic theology, the theology of the Reformers, Wesleyan theology, and the theology of prominent Baptist theologians. There are many contemporary theologies that have evolved or been introduced in the last several decades, and there are a number on them which I have not studied. The teaching that you are presenting in your posts appears to be one of these, and I am trying to understand precisely what you believe and what the basis of your beliefs is.

    I have found some of your statements shocking, to say the least, and perhaps I over reacted. If that is the case, please accept my apologies and I will try harder to be respectful of you in my posts.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. StraightAndNarrow

    StraightAndNarrow Active Member

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    So basically, you're making a statement about grammar and not theology. OK.
     
  8. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    Faith alone write,
    Yes. But I imagine our understanding of what constitutes repentance is different. And thank you for your graciousness. [​IMG]

    Since you've obviously re-read some of my previous posts on repentance, I don't think you'll be too surprised by how I am going to respond here. A genuine repentance will result in a different attitude towards sin, and there will be a change, I agree. But how to quantify it? And I do not agree that a turning from sin is how we are saved.

    By effectual repentance I am referring to a genuine change of the mind and heart. IMO it is not possible to come to Christ nor to trust in Him (depend on Him alone for salvation) unless there has been such a change in the seeker. Ed doesn't quite agree with me there, nor do most FGers, saying that he does not see where the Bible teaches that our faith in Christ has anything to do with our reaction to our personal sin. (I'm expressing this in my own words... sorry if this does not represent your position, Ed.) You are objecting for a similar reason, yet requiring repentance toward sin IOT gain eternal life (to be justified).

    When we look at a young child who has trusted in Christ, the tendency is to say that a repentant attitude was not necessary, but I think it definitely is. In John 16:8ff Jesus spoke of the Spirit convicting the world of sin. ("...because they do not believe in Me") As I see the drawing process in John 6, it is a recognition of just who Jesus is. And 6:45 says that this drawing occurs as a result of God's Word. Now when we recognize just who Jesus is, what will be our response? I maintain that it will be as Peter who, when Christ caused their nets to become full to breaking, fell on his face and said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man." IMO that is the attitude, the repentant attitude, needed for biblical faith to germinate.

    When Jesus was speaking to the woman at the well, He asked her to bring her husband, then He would give her that living water. Why such a request? She was ready to receive the free gift. By showing that he knew all about her he convinced her that He was the Messiah/Christ. Yet why this particular request? Because that caused her to recognize her sin and admit that she needed to deal with it - that she needed to be saved. I think that she went at noon for water to avoid those who would ridicule her... yet she never really admitted, faced-up-to, her sin.

    Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be "born from above." Nicodemus, as most Jews, thought he would gain a high position in the kingdom based on his works. Jesus made it clear to him that entrance into the kingdom depended on his faith alone. So when a person comes to Christ it is based on his faith alone. But we must acknowledge what brought the person to the place where he sees his need and desires to trust in Christ in the first place. One who has the attitude of Revel. 3:17, "I am rich, I have prospered and I need nothing," simply does not see his need for a Savior, and will not trust in Christ.

    There are many examples in scripture where Jesus healed someone who was recognized as a sinner and told them to "go and sin no more." (Of the type sin they were involved in.) All of these point out that they were sinners, and their forgiveness of sins was more important than the physical healing. In 1 Thess. 1:5 Paul says that his gospel came with full conviction. IMO when we share the gospel it should convict people of their sins and their need to be saved.

    So I will say that in the context of being convicted of sin, which is its most common context IMO, the course of action will be to confess our sin (agree with God that we are sinners) and genuine repentance will result in turning from it - to one degree or another. But we gain eternal life not as a result of repenting of our sin or of truning from it - that was all paid for by Christ's death. We gain eternal life by faith - alone. Any other attitude is a reliance upon our own efforts.

    I think I'm rambling now, so I'll just stop there.

    I'm surprised that you find any of them "shocking." I did attempt to support them logically and with scripture. And I have no doubt that my view regarding the gospel may need some tweaking. But what concerns me is that so many Christians see repentance as turning from sin, and see no contradiction between telling someone OTOH that they must trust in Christ, and then OTOtherH that they must at the same time turn from their sin.

    Repentance is involved with the mind. Forgiveness of sins is often tied to it in the NT. That's not surprising because it is more often used regarding Christians than unbelievers.

    I've read many positions on "repentance." I then look at the lexicons and compare what has been said, and I see a misuse of the term, to some degree. I also see some views on the gospel essentially the same as my own - "faith alone." Yet the people who espouse them often treat repentance as simply a change of mind about Christ. Well, IMO it is used in the NT mostly about sin.

    I'm rambling again. My position is as my user name - "faith alone in Christ alone." That is the motto of a group called "free grace." There are many Baptists with that soteriological position, and some posting on this thread with that position.

    It has been around at least since the reformation, yet growing in popularity in the past 50 years. Chafer, Ryrie, Z. Hodges and Radmacher are a few with that position. I do not align fully with any of them, so if you are familiar with their stance, you probably recognize that I handle things a bit differently... mainly regarding repentance. Most in that camp see repentance as not relevant to the gospel. I agree with them that we are saved by faith alone, but cannot ignore the several verses in Luke (14 times, though he uses faith/believe about twice as often) that "repentance"/"repent" is used.

    In 2 Timothy 2 Paul says that they must "...instruct [their] opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance to come to know the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil's trap, having been captured by him to do his will."

    Most FGers would not view this text as I do. This text above describes how repentance is necessary IOT recognize the truth. And we do not really choose to believe something, do we? I cannot choose to believe that Pi is approximately = 3.1415927... I must become convinced of that, then I believe it. I can tell myself that something is true, but if I am not genuienely convinced of it, I will not believe it. Now I realize that "trust" is a little different aspect of PISTIS/PISTEUW. But we will not trust in something that we consider to be a sham.

    Why would Jesus refer to "repentance and forgiveness of sins" being preached in Luke's description of the great commission if repentance has nothing to do with the gospel?

    So a recognition that Jesus has died for my sin, and a realization that I am a sinner and deserve spiritual death may bring about trust in Christ. Repentance is what the Spirit brings about in people - confronting them with their sinful state, but it is their response of faith that saves them.

    Most FGers say that repentance may or may not be present when someone trusts in Christ. IMO it is always there, in varying degrees. I could be wrong, as Ed sites. But at this time, it enables me to reconcile those verses in Luke with the fact that repentance is never mentioned in John's gospel, though "believe" (mainly in a participial form) is used 98 times.

    Hope that makes things a bit more clear. You are right that as I see it, repentance is not how we are saved - we are saved by faith alone. But without a repentant mindset brought about by the drawing of the Spirit we will not trust in Him. I am surprised that more people who do not hold to faith alone have not made similar arguments.

    But the result of a "repentance = turn from sin" soteriology is to turn salvation into our works. Romans 11:6 says that it is either grace or it is works. A little works makes grace no longer grace.

    I have heard JI Packer refer to a "free gift that costs everything." According to Paul, such a grace is no longer grace. As I see it that is just plain ridiculous and patently illogical. My reaction is, "make up your mind." Why doesn't he just admit that he doesn't really believe salvation is a gift at all? He's playing word games. Uh, what am I supposed to do, then, when witnessing? Am I supposed to give him a list of things he must no longer do, oh, and a list of things he must start doing now? We are not saved by any such nonsense. We are "born from above" - we become a child of God - by faith. John 1:12, 13 is very clear on that. John 3:14-17 gives an illustration of Christ on the cross compared to the snake on that pole in the wildreness. The person who was bitten by a poisonous snake need only look at the snake on the pole. His faith, which led him to go to that pole, saved him. We have been bitten by sin, and are dying. A look is not any sort of work. It expresses simple unadulterated faith.

    Our faith is credited to our account as righteousness, not our repentance or our repentance and our faith, or our works and our faith... Yes, repentance has a critical part in our coming to trust in Christ. But salvation is a gift. When one trusts in Christ he becomes a new creation. He is changed. So we will see differences in how he lives... but let's not get the cart in front of the horse. (Ephesians 2:8-10 makes the order clear.)

    Thx,

    FA
     
  9. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    That last post was so long that no one will likely read all of it. :D Below is a quote I once saved... I'm no longer sure who said it. [​IMG] But I find it expresses my position on repentance very closely:

    I can only say, "amen."

    FA
     
  10. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea Active Member

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    Faith alone,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to explain to me what you believe and why you believe as you do. My personal theology is pretty much in line with mainstream historical theology as it has been taught through the centuries, and therefore I disagree with almost everything that you believe.

    From my perspective, the root cause of your beliefs being different is that you have a very different view of both “faith” and” “grace” than we find in mainstream historical theology, and when you read these words in the Bible and in books about the Bible written by writers in the mainstream, you read into these words concepts that are different than the concepts the writers themselves wished to convey in their use of these words. Also from my perspective, you are confused by Paul’s use of the word “works,” not adequately understanding that he is usually using the word in a Jewish sense rather than in the very different sense that Jesus and his brother James used the word.

    If you would like to discuss this in further detail, I am agreeable to it, but I don’t want to go into a lot of detail in this post since you may not be interested in such a discussion.

    Again, thank you very much for taking the time to explain to me what you believe and why you believe as you do, and for presenting it in a non-confrontational manner.

    CBTS

    [​IMG]
     
  11. PamelaK

    PamelaK New Member

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    Thank you to all who have responded to my OP on this thread. My internet has been down almost since I posted, so I'll try to catch up with everything in the next couple days and share my thoughts.
    Again, thanks to all who commented and I'll look forward to seeing any additional posts as well as they may come up....
     
  12. StraightAndNarrow

    StraightAndNarrow Active Member

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    I don't agree with this statement. Of course, a born-again Christian will sin but they will be led back to following their Master.

    Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    Returning to the flesh as our master puts us at risk of the second death.

    2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
    2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
    2Pe 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

    That should help you understand this a bit better.
     
  13. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    Craig,

    Thank you for your gracious reply.

    Well, I do not agree with this, FYI. I take a very straightforward view of both faith and grace. It is based on lexicons and a contextual reading, with a view to understanding what the original writers intended to convey to their readers. I assume that words have a wide field of meaning, which reminds me not to be too adament about their meaning in a particular context.

    But I do agree that the assumptions that we both bring to the table here are quite different. It is always good to have clear idea of what someone from a different theological stance than your own thinks, and to try to see things from their perspective.

    I do recognize that Paul sometimes used works to specifically refer to the works of the law. But he also made it quite clear that works are works - an attempt by the person to gain a righteous standing before God through their own efforts. In Romans 4 he made it clear that both Abraham and David gained their justification based on faith, and not as a result of works. Paul mentions the law often in his writings regarding the "circumcision" because they assumed that by the works of the law, by trying to follow the law (which is not possible, of course, to do so without fault) would not gain them righteousness. (And we cannot ignore the law when reading Romans, I agree.) But his point is that they needed to trust in God's provided righteousness - His imputed righteousness which is by faith. But Paul is clear in Ephesians 2 that we are saved by grace through faith, and not as a result of works. And Paul only mentions the law once in that letter.

    My position is not all that disparate from a traditional Baptist position on faith and grace. IMO yours is the one that is not a traditional position, FWIW.

    But this thread is about repentance and salvation. And it really doesn't matter whether or not one of those posting here is not following some "mainstream" position or not... what does God's Word say? Now I have tried to take a very reasonable, balanced position regarding repentance, and it appears that it is not my view of repentance that you react to here so much as how I view the position of works and faith in it all.

    Most have taken a position on repentance that is either "turn from sin," which is just not lexically valid in general, or "a change of mind," which is usually following the root too much. I have investigated, right or wrong, how repentance is used by several different authors in the NT and considered as well that it is not used in John's gospel at all or in much of Paul's writings.

    I see repentance as a preparation of the heart to respond to the gospel. My position is neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian position (as yours). But I am comfortable with it, and it aligns with Baptist theology quite closely I believe. But whether it does or not doesn't really concern me too much. I am confident that it is a biblical approach to repentance.

    Perhaps you'd like to share your own view on the meaning of repentance and how it relates to salvation, rather than just critiqueing the position that others take here, which is mainly what you have done, from what I can tell. I am interested in how you view this, genuinely.

    FA
     
  14. Faith alone

    Faith alone New Member

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    I don't agree with this statement. Of course, a born-again Christian will sin but they will be led back to following their Master.

    Mat 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    Returning to the flesh as our master puts us at risk of the second death.

    2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
    2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
    2Pe 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

    That should help you understand this a bit better. </font>[/QUOTE]StraightAndNarrow,

    You don't agree that it helps clarify? [​IMG] (Couldn't resist.)

    My point is simply that repentance, lexically, does not have to do with the actions that follow it but refer to what is going on in the mind, attitude and heart. Any action which takes place without such a change is empty. The issue I have is with trying to qualify repentance based on the results - the works which naturally follow it.

    Someone may genuinely intend to follow through with a change in heart about some sin. But the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked... who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). Should repentance be followed by works? of course. Is God interested in those works? Of course, again. Are the actions which follow a repentant attitude a reflection on the genuineness of the repentance? Yes, usually. But I go back to Jeremiah. Our heart is deceitful. And we as humans often do a poor job of evaluating such things, which is why I qualified it with "usually" - that's from a human perspective. And I think that needs to be said. God is his Master. He stands and falls before Him, not you or I.

    I think it would be helpful if you explained how you are applying those scriptures you quoted, rather than just listing them. I do not see how they apply to this thread or to how you disagree with me. BTW, we all "return to the flesh" at one time or another. All of us. We all struggle with sin, and the way to defeat it is not by trying to sin less but by appropriating what God has to offer us to help us in this struggle - His grace. I recommend a neat little book called, Grace Walk by Steve McVey. What you are describing can lead to a legalistic approach to the Christian walk - one that does not avail ourselves of what God has provided. We need to let Christ live His life through us. Will that result in following through on our resolutions? Yes. Will we sometimes fall? Guaranteed. Because it is not by our own efforts alone that we can do so. We must appropriate the strength that He gives. Anything else is fleshly effort and hence weak and unable to bring about godliness:
    You seem to think that I feel that it is OK to walk in the flesh rather than the Spirit... far from that, and I was very careful not to imply that. When we try to live for Christ in our own strength, that is still walking in the flesh. Though our intents are good, we often fail. Let's walk in the Spirit. If we do, we won't carry out the desires of the flesh. (Gal. 5:16)

    But our eternal salvation - our justification - is not based on works. It is based soley on the finished work of Christ on the cross. To say that more is required is to laugh in the face of God and to demean what He has done in our behalf. And in addition we must rest in that assurance if we are going to be able to consistently rely upon Him to walk the walk. To require works as well results in walking in the flesh. What I am talking about is the following:
    As I see it you appear to be saying that we should rely upon our own strength, upon our own fleshly best efforts, to live for Christ. Uh uh - doesn't work. Many unbelievers, who do not have our resources, strive to do just the same. How is that any different than what they are doing? They cannot succeed. How can you? Is that not what Paul is saying below?
    I insist on one: keeping the horse before the cart - repentant attitude 1st - which takes place in the mind/heart, and two: recognizing that there will indeed be works which follow genuine repentance - cannot help but happen. But that's looking at things from a human perspective. So then, three: in reality it is difficult for us to recognize the genuineness of a repentant attitude in a person's heart judging it by his actions. God is his Master - He certainly knows. That is my point, and I don't think my quick little description earlier made that clear.

    FA
     
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