Atonement: Two Stories

Here’s how I was taught the atonement in countless revival sermons:

God is our judge, and we stand before him with countless sins charged against us. His holiness is so far above our own that we can’t imagine how wicked we appear in his eyes. Therefore, we deserve nothing but condemnation and eternity in hell.

We stand before the bench, and God has heard the damning evidence against us. There is no defense. His gavel swings down, but just before he hammers his bench and pronounces sentence, Jesus comes forward — the judge’s own Son — and announces that he will accept our punishment for us.

The judge, moved by the son’s sacrifice and love, allows him to accept the punishment that we deserve — but only if we believe  …….

It doesn’t ring true. The emotional appeal is powerful, but it doesn’t seem quite right.

First, the story presupposes that God wants us damned and that only Jesus wants us rescued. The emphasis is entirely on God’s justice not his love, his grace, or his righteousness. And the scriptures do not really argue for justice — unless you mistranslate Rom 3:26 (see N. T. Wright’s Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision). It’s a forced conclusion, although long hallowed in Protestant theology.

It seems odd that such a fundamental doctrine —  that God’s justice drives the need for the crucifixion — is found in only this one verse.

Second, the story presupposes that killing Jesus instead of us is somehow just. Imagine that a real judge kills his own son to free someone else. That may be a peculiar form of mercy, but it’s not justice.

Third, why can’t God just forgive our sins? Why is a sacrifice necessary? Is there a cosmic law that sins may be forgiven only by sacrifice? by blood? If your own son sins against you, what sacrifice do you require? How much blood? And aren’t we supposed to forgive as God forgives?

(Eph 4:32 ESV)  32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

The Hebrews writer has often been quoted at this point in the argument, as saying that blood is essential to forgiveness.

(Heb 9:13-14 ESV) 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,  14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

(Heb 9:22-24 ESV)  22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

The Hebrews writer speaks of the blood being used to purify “heavenly things.” The reference is to the blood of the covenant, in which the blood was used to purify the Tabernacle and the people before the covenant was made with God. It was a purifying ritual.

How on earth might blood purify “heavenly things” that you’d think were already pure? By defeating spiritual powers? Maybe.

(Exo 24:5-8 ESV)  5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.  6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.  7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”  8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

The peace offering was not for forgiveness but an expression of gratitude.

“The ashes of a heifer” in Heb 9:13 refers to Num 19, the ritual for removing ceremonial uncleanness.

You have to figure that the author is more concerned with purification than propitiation (quenching the anger of a deity). And so, why say: “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins”? Is his point that Jesus had to die to satisfy the demands of the Law of Moses for an animal sacrifice? Or God’s demand for blood as a condition of forgiveness?

Certainly, Hebrews doesn’t support the law court model, but prefers a Mosaic sacrificial system metaphor in which even heavenly things must be purified by the blood of Jesus — which makes sense in terms of Christus Victor but otherwise is very hard to understand in anything but a purely, 100% poetical sense (that is, just for the sake of the metaphor).

So why is blood necessary for sins to be forgiven? God’s defeat of the powers makes good sense, and that required the cross, and hence blood. Is this the thought behind the image?

I just struggle with the bare statement that God only forgives when blood has been shed, as though there is a cosmic law higher than God imposing this requirement on him. Nor can I imagine God, in love, saying I will only forgive if you bring me blood.

Therefore, for the moment, and somewhat tentatively, I go with Christus Victor plus the learning of obedience on the cross. Both of these models make the cross essential without painting God as subject to the Law of Moses or some cosmic law demanding blood and yet, together, they require the cross in order for us to be forgiven.

I prefer to imagine God loving and omnipotent, not looking to damn us (clearly untrue) and not subject to rules that prevent his forgiving us if he wishes. I can forgive you for sinning against me without demanding blood. I can show mercy without forcing someone else to pay the price. Surely God can do the same — and that fits well with the Abrahamic covenant and the covenant made by God in which God himself promised to suffer the consequences of Abraham’s sin.

And so, instead imagine this scene:

God is our judge, and we stand before him with countless sins charged against us. His holiness is so far above our own that we can’t imagine how wicked we appear in his eyes. Therefore, we deserve nothing but condemnation and eternity in hell.

We stand before the bench, and God has heard the damning evidence against us. There is no defense. His gavel swings down, but just before he hammers his bench and pronounces sentence, God himself announces that he will accept our punishment for us.

He gives up heaven and bliss to become like us, to live as we live and suffer as we suffer. He knows that forgiving us is not nearly good enough. We have to be purged of sin and sinfulness both. He must both forgive and transform.

Therefore, he submits to the cross, defeating Satan and the powers, and also learning obedience. In learning obedience, he is enabled to enter our hearts and circumcise them, so that we become more and more like God himself in our ever-increasing obedient faithfulness.

Because God’s goal is not merely to forgive but also to transform, he is only willing to enter the hearts of those who pledge to be faithful, who open their hearts to becoming like his Son by the power of his Spirit. This is not a commercial or legal transaction, a mere trading of forgiveness for believing that the Son is part of the Godhead. This is an invitation to enter into an intensely personal relationship with the God of the universe, that requires a special kind of heart, a heart prepared to become like God’s faithful Son and like God in his faithfulness by committing to follow Jesus — to be faithful to him.

Therefore, Jesus had to die to take away our sins. He bore our sins because he paid the price that had to be paid for our sins to be forgiven. Without the powers being defeated and without God himself learning obedience, the relationship could not happen, God could not become Abba, and the Spirit could not transform us into obedience.

Thus, we see, God paid the price just as he promised Abraham. He suffered for our iniquities. Our guilt was removed by the cross, and so our consciences have been purified, just as Hebrews says.

It’s a working theory. I’m not sure it’s 100% complete, but it seems truer than “God can only forgive if human blood is shed.” In fact, human blood would never do the trick. Only the blood of God himself would be enough to defeat the powers and learn obedience.

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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103 Responses to Atonement: Two Stories

  1. Price says:

    Jay, I applaud the effort to walk through a difficult subject. Especially one that has been entrenched and taught a certain way for so long. It’s good that we can discuss without throwing stones.

    But, it’s beyond my little ole pea brain. I don’t see God being “subject” to any Law of Moses or cosmic law by requiring a penalty for sin. I see it as being subject to Himself..as the One who is Just. He was the one who established right from wrong. He is the one that gave each generation a choice. He is the one since Adam and Eve that required that consequences be paid for disobedience. I don’t see that as being subject to anything but Himself. Thus, the requirement that a penalty be paid is consistent with His whole interaction with man.

    It seems that Jesus paid a price for something that we did.. And, that the Great I Am allowed Him to do it. I don’t have to understand it entirely to appreciate that because of absolutely nothing that I did to save myself, I was saved by Grace through the trust and belief that Jesus paid the price for me.

  2. Alabama John says:

    God learned obedience to who or what? Himself?
    I’ve always thought we learn obedience to the higher power God.

    When we ask for forgiveness in prayer, because of Jesus, God forgives our sins and erases them out of the book.
    At judgment, I will have a BIG book, many pages, but when its opened, all the pages will have been written in many times and they will be awful looking with all the erasures.

  3. aBasnar says:

    An Evangelical scholar once summed up the satisfaction model (penal substitution) with the words: God is not merciful, He is just.

    If you think it through, that is it what it boils down to: Sin is not really forgiven, but paid for. But Forgiveness does not require a payment, in fact it is the opposite. Take this example of forgiveness in Mat 18:

    Mat 18:23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.
    Mat 18:24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
    Mat 18:25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.

    So it’s about a King and his debtors. It’s about settling accounts here – and one was so unable to pay back what he owed that the King was about to sell him and his family as slaves.

    Mat 18:26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’
    Mat 18:27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

    But now there’s something special about the King: He had pity and forgave. What about the debt? The debt has been cancelled – but no one stepped in to pay the debt instead of the servant. It’s been cancelled simply by the word and will of a merciful King.

    The story has a bitter end though, because the King expected the servant to be mercifuil as well, which he was not.

    Mat 18:32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
    Mat 18:33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’
    Mat 18:34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.

    We see by this, that forgiveness is not by penal substitution, but the the good will of a merciful God – and it is tied to a condition: We have to be merciful as well. Because sin has not been paid for, but simply forgiven, the forgiveness can be taken back again – given that grace is tied to a condition.

    The Penal Substitution Model cannot deal with this, because paid is paid, they assume. A payment is final, and therefore our sins will never ever be counted against us. But obviously, this is not how God understands His Grace.

    The price Jesus paid was not to quench God’s fury or to pay our debt, but to be a ransom fromthe consequences of sin. The wages or consequence of sin is death, and Satan hold us captive by the fear of death, enslaving us to sin. It’s a ransom paid to Satan (!) for our liberation. From whom else did God buy/purchase the church? To whom did He give His own (!) blood?.

    In His resurrection Christ triumphed over Satan and the powers of darkness, because death – the main power of Satan – could not hold the sinless One. That’s how Christ triumphed: By leading a sinless life that made it impossible for death to lock Him up. And how does this apply to us? By becoming one with His death and resurrection! Only by dying to Satan, our sinful nature and to the world in the death of Christ and rising to a new life in His resurrection, we become free from our bondage. That’s why baptism is so essential!

    The penal substitution model misunderstands Christ blood as a payment for sin, paid to God in order to meet His justice. Therefore – wrong conclusion – we just need to accept that in faith, and we are “counted” as righteous (imputed righteousness). But understanding the direction of the blood as a ransom, we need to move out of the bondage of sin like the Israelited needed to move out of Egypt: Through the water of the Red Sea/baptism. Only by our own death and resurrection in union with Christ’s we become free men under God again.

    God Himself receives us with open arms and resores us as His children, he purifies us with the same blood, Christ gave as a ransom. Because Satan did not really get it, it flowed back to God into His heavenly tabernacle. God rejoiced in this, not so much in the death and the pain of Christ, but in His willingness to redeem His people, to step in as a ransom. So God and Christ together planned this cunning way to defeat Satan, being one in their love and willingness to save us. So blood was indeed necessary to redeem us, even to forgive and to purify us – but in a different way than commonly understood today.

    But this salvation is covenantal and therefore conditional. There is no contradiction between sin-covering grace and requirements for salvation. We need to forgive as He has forgiven. We need to become loyal citizens of His Kingdom, faithful, striving for perfection. At the end He will settle accounts again: What have done with our talents? How have we responded to the needs of the least of His brethren? And then it will be decided whether we will enter our inheritance, or it will become evident that Satan again enslaved us and we will share the fire that was prepared for him and his angels and not for us.

    But Christ has paid for my sins – how can that be? He paid a ransom to liberate us from bondage, but what is the consequence of this truth?

    Rom 6:13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
    Rom 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
    Rom 6:15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
    Rom 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

    Is it possible to become enslaved again? Well, Satan tries to get us back, doesn’t he? And our flesh desires to go back to Egypt, doesn’t it? Therefore we are to take these words as a serious warning, …

    Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

    Alexander

  4. Skip says:

    I submit that there is no final judgement with gavel for Christians in the description painted above. I believe there are two very different judgements. Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Therefore, Christians are judged but not for salvation. Rather Christians are judged to determine levels of reward in heaven (Mat 25:21). Christians in fact participate in judgement with God (I Corinthians 6:3).

    There is a judgement for non-believers and none of them will have a chance for salvation but will be judged for levels of punishment.

    Luke 12:47,48 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.

  5. BeABerean says:

    Explain how water baptism is essential to people sitting on an airplane about to crash and hears about Jesus, or people on life supporting breathing tubes who hear about Jesus, and people who are stranded on a mountain who hear about Jesus…there are many situations where water is not around for people to have another person dunk them. We don’t go to another mere man to be saved, we come to Jesus Himself as the Mediator between man and God. Jesus alone is always available to anyone who calls on His name to be saved…Anyone!

  6. laymond says:

    Men grasp at straws, trying to understand why God takes upon himself the sins of man, this is brought about by the teachings that we are saved by grace only, and we have to do nothing to atone for our actions. some even teach we are forgiven for our intentional sinful actions before we have performed them. nonsence.
    NIV – Job 34:12 – It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice.
    NIV – Pro 5:21 – For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths.
    NIV – Pro 5:22 – The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.
    NIV – Pro 5:23 – He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.
    These people who expect to go to heaven without following in the foot steps of Jesus Christ, might just find that the one true God considers them followers of Satan, and they will deserve the same reward that is promised to Satan and his followers.

  7. Skip says:

    BeABerean, How did this topic come into our judgement discussion? Read Jay’s prior large body of work on the specific topic of Baptism. Jay addresses situations like these.

  8. BeABerean says:

    I see that Alexander again had to throw that into to discussion. So please explain this..oh yea I think someone has said before that people such as these are exceptions..is that your explanation still?

  9. laymond says:

    Alex, “conditional forgiveness” is exactly what is taught in scripture. it is not a one sided covenant.

  10. Skip says:

    Laymond, “Men grasp at straws, trying to understand why God takes upon himself the sins of man, this is brought about by the teachings that we are saved by grace only, and we have to do nothing to atone for our actions.”

    Are you suggestion that we must provide our own atonement by our actions? In other words, atonement really isn’t achieved through the blood of Christ?

  11. laymond says:

    Skip do you believe Enoch and Elijah, relied on the blood of Jesus? I believe from reading scripture that Jesus was created bodily as a human being , to bring the gospel to the multitudes. The gospel is the good news that man can be saved from eternal destruction, and Jesus lived his life as a map to follow in order to achieve that end. It is written that Jesus was the “lamb of God” not the lamb of man.
    I believe Jesus was God’s sacrifice to show his willingness to suffer for man, to take upon himself “part of the blame” for man’s predicament.
    Jhn 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    Skip, how many souls do you think Jesus death would save, if he had not first delivered the message given him by God?

  12. rich constant says:

    jay
    try looking at it this way….
    1. god is good,
    even we are told he cares about the sparrow.
    from our point of view a stupid bird.
    but it has blood and thus life.
    part of his very good creation.
    now then.
    the story

    2:8 .the tree of life “GUESS YOU COULD LIVE FOREVER’
    and
    the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were in the middle of the orchard.)

    2:15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it.
    2:16 Then the Lord God commanded the man,
    “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard,

    2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,3
    for when you eat from it you will surely die.”
    UNLESS YOU WERE DUMB ENOUGH TO EAT FROM THIS TREE.
    and sure enough along comes the eternal deceiver.
    and sure enough innocence was no match for the SUBTIL lyre.

    3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die,11 3:5 for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open12 and you will be like divine beings who know13 good and evil.”14
    THE IRONY
    HEB.
    5:13 For everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced in the message of righteousness, because he is an infant.
    5:14 But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.

    ROMANS“There is no one righteous, not even one,
    3:11 there is no one who understands,
    there is no one who seeks God.
    3:12 All have turned away,
    together they have become worthless;
    there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.”15
    3:13 “Their throats are open graves,16
    they deceive with their tongues,
    the poison of asps is under their lips.”17
    3:14 “Their mouths are18 full of cursing and bitterness.”19
    3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
    3:16 ruin and misery are in their paths,
    3:17 and the way of peace they have not known.”20

    3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”21

    3:6 When15 the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food,16 was attractive17 to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise,18 she took some of its fruit and ate it.19 She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.20
    NEVER THE LESS
    GOD COMES ALONG
    THE TREE OF ETERNAL LIFE IS LOST TO MEN.
    THAT TREE STAYS WITH GOD.
    ROMANS
    5:12 So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people13 because14 all sinned –
    MEN PHYSICALLY DIE

    AND OF COURSE GOD DID WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO….
    EVERYONE GETS (ADAM AND EVE) GETS TO NOT BE ABLE TO WALK WITH GOD IN THE GARDEN,,,CAST OUT OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
    GOD AND GOD’S SPIRIT OF LIFE IS WITHDRAWN.

    OOPS.
    ONE LITTLE PROBLEM PURGING THE ETERNAL DECEIVER FROM GODS PRESENCE IN THE ONLY WAY A GOOD RIGHTEOUS GOD CAN .
    THE STORY BEGINS.
    WRATHFULLY…
    NOW THEN we might like to know what choice we have have at this time about good and evil .
    a jee whiz… that’s a toughly isn’t it!

    “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 12:29 Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 12:30 Love61 the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’62 12:31 The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’63 There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    now then read the old test. from that perspective….until the law of moses

    rom GENTILES
    5:13 for before the law was given,15 sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin16 when there is no law. 5:14 Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type17 of the coming one) transgressed.

    JEWS UNDER GOD LAW AND CURSE FOR TRANSGRESSION ANY OF IT….
    GAL.
    3:10 For all who20 rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law.”

    ROM.
    7:5 For when we were in the flesh,9 the sinful desires,10 aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body11 to bear fruit for death. 7:6 But now we have been released from the law, because we have died12 to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.13

    7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! Certainly, I14 would not have known sin except through the law. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else15 if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”16 7:8 But sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of wrong desires.17 For apart from the law, sin is dead. 7:9 And I was once alive apart from the law, but with the coming of the commandment sin became alive 7:10 and I died. So18 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life brought death!19 7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it I died.20 7:12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.

    7:13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, so that it would be shown to be sin, produced death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual – but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin.21 7:15 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want – instead, I do what I hate.22 7:16 But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good.23 7:17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 7:18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it.24 7:19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! 7:20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me.

    7:21 So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. 7:22 For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. 7:23 But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 7:25 Thanks be25 to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then,26 I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but27 with my flesh I serve28 the law of sin.
    SO NOW WE HAVE THOSE UNDER LAW DEAD AND CURSED…
    AND GENTILES DEAD TO GOD.
    2:11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh – who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body24 by human hands – 2:12 that you were at that time without the Messiah,25 alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise,26 having no hope and without God in the world. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
    SO CHRIST GOES TO THE CROSS IN NO WAY SUBJECT TO DEATH…..
    WHY THE CROSS

    GAL4:4 But when the appropriate time7 had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

    4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, {CURSED OF GOD ]] although faithful

    JESUS MIGHT HAVE BEEN CURSED OF GOD.LIKE EVERY OTHER ONE UNDER THE LAW.
    BUT DID NO SIN DIDN’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, HE WAS LIGHT EMANUEL….
    BUT GOD PROMISE WAS 3:22 But the scripture imprisoned48 everything and everyone49 under sin so that the promise could be given – because of the faithfulness50 of Jesus Christ – to those who believe.

    so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights.8 4:6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls9 “Abba!10 Father!” 4:7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are11 a son, then you are also an heir through God.12

    the rest should be simple
    ROMANS
    3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under22 the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him23 by the works of the law,24 for through the law comes25 the knowledge of sin. 3:21 But now26 apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets)27 has been disclosed – 3:22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ28 for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 3:24 But they are justified29 freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 3:25 God publicly displayed30 him31 at his death32 as the mercy seat33 accessible through faith.34 This was to demonstrate35 his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed.36 3:26 This was37 also to demonstrate38 his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just39 and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.40

    3:27 Where, then, is boasting?41 It is excluded! By what principle?42 Of works? No, but by the principle of faith! 3:28 For we consider that a person43 is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law.44 3:29 Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too! 3:30 Since God is one,45 he will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 3:31 Do we then nullify46 the law through faith? Absolutely not! Instead47 we uphold the law.

  13. guy says:

    Price,

    You wrote:
    “I don’t have to understand it entirely…”

    i certainly don’t think i’ll ever understand it entirely. And i definitely think i understand less of it now than when i did hold the penal substitution view. But i do think that even with a less-than-entire understanding, which view you take can make a huge difference. It has more me–in the way i pray, in the things that concern me, in my view of Who it is i’m trying to relate to, in the way i think about forgiveness and mercy and the value of the moment. Even with me worse-than-peon understanding of a Christus Victor-type view, it has made a mountain of difference for me.

    –guy

  14. aBasnar says:

    I submit that there is no final judgement with gavel for Christians in the description painted above. I believe there are two very different judgements.

    If there were two different judgments, then how about Mat 25? Is this applying to CHristians or not? If not, then here we have a second option of salvation apart from faith in Christ, based solely on works. Is it that what you mean?

    And if in John 5 Christ speaks of two resurrections, and the resurrection on life is not about Chrsitians, then there is a second way of salvation apart froim faith in Christ, based on works.

    I therefore don’t see two different judgements, but confirm that the faithful will be saved. Faith works – and lawless confessors (Mat 7) will be rejected. Why? Grace/Forgiveness is conditional.

    Alexander

  15. aBasnar says:

    I see that Alexander again had to throw that into to discussion. So please explain this..oh yea I think someone has said before that people such as these are exceptions..is that your explanation still?

    “Exceptions” is a misleading term. Think about the thief beside Jesus – of course he could not be baptized even if he desired so. As soon as we take examples like these to overrule the scriptural way and mode of getting saved, we mistreat scripture in a most gruesome way. I always say: If you point to the thief on the cross to make a “new rule” or a “second option”, then let me get some bars of wood and a handful of nails, because these are part of this other option. Or let me put you on a crashing plane.

    Again: Your examples are made up to use extraordinary situations to create a different mode of getting saved, equal to the normative way of salvation. Such theology is not from the Spirit of God. But God can and will save people who by such (or similar) circumstances are hindered from baptism.

    Alexander

  16. aBasnar says:

    BTW – Baptism is not something “thrown in” as it had been invented by the churches of Christ for some peculiar reason.

    Salvation is not only “forgiveness” but transformation, and this transformation is about becoming one with Christ’s death and resurrection, which is essential (!) to become liberated from the power of Satan and sin. Nowhere is this promise linked with a simple prayer or plain faith. Baptism is the act where we “put on Christ”.

    Now, as for these “death-bed-conversions” (by external force or silently). How do we become free from the bondage of sin? By death, by dying to sin. If someone confesses Christ as Lord and dies thereafter (more or less immediately), doesn’t he also die to Satan and sin? Does hold Satan any more power over the one who is physically dead? Does a departed human still serve the flesh and sin? Well, no.

    Now what is the difference to our death to sin in Christ? We live on in this world – they don’t. We need to be freed from the “Law of Sin and Death” in order to become able to serve Christ and to overcome sin. A person who just repents and dies, well this person is saved, but did not live any longer to bring forth much fruit other the confession of his lips. There are no treasures in heaven he had gathered, there is no city for him over which he would be placed. He is just saved – which is better than being lost.

    But we are called for a purpose, we are His people to proclaim His Kingdom, to show forth His light, life and character to all nations. We who still live in this world need to be saved from the power of sin in order to live according to the purpose God has called us for. Baptism is the way to die and rise to a new life in this world. A natural death also saves us from the powers of darkness.

    But for us, who live on, things are more “exciting”: We may bring forth fruit for His Name, but we might also fall back into enslavement if we don’t fight the good fight. A person who repents and dies immediately, cannot fall from faith. We can. A person who dies after calling upon the name of the Lord cannot bring fruit beyond that. We can. In Christ we can.

    Alexander

  17. BeABerean says:

    Calling on the Lord began with the earliest generations of mankind in the Bible, this is the mode, as you call it, I like to call Him the Way.

    Throughout the Bible God is wanting people to call out to Him, Jesus wants people to come to Him…“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

    You guys love to pick on and put down people who have faith in God instead of a tank of water. Pick all you want..I guess David and all the prophets who called on God to save them won’t be in heaven since that’s not the normative mode.

  18. aBasnar says:

    Calling on the Lord began with the earliest generations of mankind in the Bible, this is the mode, as you call it, I like to call Him the Way.

    Yes, but were they liberated from the powers of sin? Had they been ransomed back then? Were they born again and filled with the Spirit? Were they partakers of the divinbe nature and dead to Satan and sin? The anwer to all of these is no.

    OR: The New Covenant did not bring anything new.

    The reason you might think so (just guessing): Many think salvation is all about forgiveness of sins. But the New covenant is about fredom from sin. which came about not befor the resurrection and scension of Christ and the pouring out of the Spirit.

    Alexander

  19. Skip says:

    Rich Constant, In my opinion tomes hinder the discussion. No one will read through numerous scriptures to try to discern your point. Pithy is better.

  20. Skip says:

    Alexander,
    Mat 25 shows two groups. The wise virgins and the unwise. The wise were “Saved” or Christians. The unwise were “nonChristians” even though perhaps they thought they were. This is back to my point. Mat 25:21,23 also supports my point. Good and faithful servants are true Christians and won’t be judged as to whether they are saved but will be judged according to the level of reward. This is clear in verses 21 and 23.

  21. aBasnar says:

    I was thinking of Mat 25:31-46

  22. BeABerean says:

    If they weren’t delivered from sins then how could they be in heaven, if God couldn’t deliver them from sins then why call on Him? When God called people saints they were saints to Him not sinners. Praise God!

  23. aBasnar says:

    You ask the wrong question, BeABerean. First try to understand the difference the New Covenant makes, the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection.

    If you reduce “deliverance from sin” to “forgiveness” – and I know both phrases are used synonymously today (but wrongly!) – you CANNOT grasp the significance of the ransom. You cannot even grasp why we need to be born again – and what difference the Holy Spirit does in us. But there is a huge difference in the salvation under the Old Testament and the salvation under the New Testament.

    The saints of old will be perfected with us, but when did they benefit from Christ’s victory? When Christ – think about it! – descended into Hades and led captives captive. Not a minute before that special moment in time.

    Our life in Christ is by far superior to the lives of Abraham and David. If you shake your head, then tell me: Why was there a need for the New Covenant? What difference is there?

    Alexander

  24. BeABerean says:

    You don’t believe King David was a changed person while he lived?

  25. aBasnar says:

    The reason the saints of the old could not be baptized was that Christ had not died and rose again yet! The victory was not won yet! That does not mean God did not forgive and save His people, but on a differernt level, under different conditions – yet always based on faith (or faithful obedience).

    Alexander

  26. BeABerean says:

    The victory was won since the beginning. The rituals they performed were all pointing toward Christ and His salvation, just as the rituals we perform point back to Christ and His salvation. Jesus’ blood saved me just as it has saved people from the beginning.

  27. aBasnar says:

    You don’t believe King David was a changed person while he lived?

    No, he was not. Well, as King He was anointed with the Spiritr – but that#s not the same as being born again. Look at His life! He lied, He had multiple wives, he murdered in revenge … he was a man of war whom God did not allow to build His temple. He loved God, but – no – he was not born again. The New birth did not exist back then, because Christ had not paid the ransom yet. Therefore: What God demanded under the Old Law was what men – in principle – could accomplish (and some very few did, according to scripture), but Christ made it clear it was less that God’s will intended (Sermon on the Mount).

    Alexander

  28. BeABerean says:

    I see David looking to God when he fell short, we all fall short of His glory, yet He calls us saints. Praise God!

  29. aBasnar says:

    The victory was won since the beginning. The rituals they performed were all pointing toward Christ and His salvation, just as the rituals we perform point back to Christ and His salvation. Jesus’ blood saved me just as it has saved people from the beginning.

    A prophecy is notthe fulfillment, but points to a future fulfillment.
    God’s plan and election of the Lamb before the foundation of the world is not the sacrifice itself, but pointing to the time, which – when it was fulfilled! – would bring salvation.

    Time, BeABerean, is part of the creation. There is a time before Christ and after Christ. The New Covenant brought SIGNIFICANT changes that necver applied to anyone under the Old Covenant. One is the coming of the Spirit and the New Birth, or the ransom finally having been paid.

    Then – and only then – David and the saints of old profited from the shed blood of the Lamb. During their lives they knew nothing of it, could not put their trust in it, did not experience the freedom of sin … because it was not shed, yet! But then Christ descended into Hades – ever wondered why?

    Eph 4:8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
    Eph 4:9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?

    Who was in these “lower regions of the earth” and what did Christ bring them? Did they have it before? Or during their lifetime? NO! So, yes they were saved by the blood of Christ, but not before it was shed.

    Alexander

  30. BeABerean says:

    He changed my life when I came to Him…before I was baptized out of obedience. He heard my cry and He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.

  31. aBasnar says:

    Do you speak by scriptural promises or by exerience? I said the same a few years ago, but then I changed my viewpoint, saying: At first I had this “fuzzy feeling” of salvation, and some valid and real experiences – but ionly when I giot baptized (a few months after my “sinners prayer” in Nov 1987) I took hold of the promise. My faith needs to be built on scripture – on all scripture says. You move around the texts of baptism, it seems to me, because you don’t grasp the connection to salvation.

    But I think this distracts from the original topic: The difference between the co0venants and the way the ransom applied to the “saints of old”.

    Alexander

  32. BeABerean says:

    No “fuzzy feeling”…love the way you guys try to play on that. Are you calling me a liar? The connection to salvation is the Messiah, Yeshua who saved me from my sins. As I said and it is obvious that you love to put down people, you love to point out wrongs people have done, I think you should read the Sermon on the Mount again to GRASP it better.

    My life did a 180 when I came to Christ, an astounding change I I really didn’t expect, all glory to God.

    I also forgot that you write off Cornelius and the others that were there exceptions to the rules. Act 10:34-48 and Acts 15:6-11

  33. Royce Ogle says:

    Wow! I have seldom seen a biblical topic made so confusing by so many. My observation is that if you come to the Bible with your mind made up believing that Jesus’ life and death and resurrection is not enough you must work very hard to explain away many of the plain promises of Scripture to fit your presupposition. And, you are likely to read mostly authors who sing your song.

    What most Christians need is not more data but rather more faith. An Anglican bishop comes along over 2000 years after Paul and his readers think he has discovered some truth about what Paul taught and actually meant that no one else has discovered. I don’t think so.

    In my view it is very sad that seemingly most of our Restoration fellowship deny that what Jesus accomplished for sinners in obedience to the Father was not quite enough so they hope that by their goodness they can finally gain God’s approval. Tens of thousands struggle for what they already have, God’s love and approval. Ungodly sinners are only accepted in the Beloved, the self sacrificing human expression of our Creator God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The brand of salvation many preach and teach is not salvation at all. What kind of salvation is it that has absolutely no certainty? It is at best wishful thinking. The Bible presents a far different gospel. It is one that depends wholly upon the person and work of Jesus and has been the surety of believers killed in unimaginable ways just because they clung to Christ alone and would not recant. It’s the historic Christian faith that is so simple that unlearned adults and little children can easily grasp. It’s this gospel of the Christ that transforms lives, changes evil hearts, and makes wicked sinners fit for heaven.

    God is not confined to a box constructed by academic types and by make believers who love themselves. He is God! His promises are true! His salvation is sure! I cringe at the little players who puff out their chests and declare that God will honor their self righteousness, that all they have been offered by the Lamb of God is a chance to save themselves. Repent and turn with all that you are to the Lord Jesus. Only there will you find peace and joy and rest for your soul.

  34. Skip says:

    Royce, I am with you bro. Well said.

  35. rich constant says:

    .jay
    ROM 3.26A

    ANSWERS JEW AND GENTILE THROUGH FAITHFULNESS .

    HEB.
    11:39 And these all were commended43 for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised.44 11:40 For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us.45

  36. Jerry says:

    Whew. How can anyone address this can of worms intelligently? Jay’s post was pretty straightforward. Different what what is usually taught, but clear and to the point. The judicial view of the atonement is weak. One reason it is weak is that it makes The Father and the Son different in their aims and purposes.

    Someone above observed, with Paul, that we are to forgive as we have been forgiven. In our forgiveness by God, God accepted the insult of our sin and forgave. That is the way forgiveness works for us as well. We “suck it up” – in a sense “dying” to that sin against us. But, like the master in the parable, if the person we forgive responds with ingratitude, we will remember that first (forgiven) offense again. It is only when we are walking faithfully in the covenant (i.e., walking in the light) that God does not remember sins any more.

    BeaBerean has trouble with baptism because he does not recognize its connection to the future life of the baptized person. Paul, in Romans 6:1-11, lays it out clearly. Baptism looks back to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as a participation in those events. It also looks forward to the newness of life in the Spirit in which we are freed from sin, not just the penalty (forgiveness) but also the practice of sin. This is not necessarily in one fell swoop (cf. Paul’s rebuke of Peter mentioned in Galatians), but in most of us as a matter of growth. Even Paul said he himself had not yet attained to that for which Christ had laid hold of him (Philippians 3). If Peter and Paul did not gain instant sanctification, BeaBerean must really be the exception if he did a complete 180 degree turn when he called on the Lord. Actually, 1 Corinthians 1:1ff indicates that this epistle is addressed to those who (literally) are calling on the name of the Lord (present tense), not those who have called on His name (past tense). It is this continuing life of the believer that baptism looks to in its “future” look.

    As I said, this whole thread is a can of worms – and I have only “picked” at a couple of them. Much more needs to be said – by much better men than I.

  37. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Price wrote,

    I don’t see God being “subject” to any Law of Moses or cosmic law by requiring a penalty for sin. I see it as being subject to Himself..as the One who is Just.

    It’s just seems an odd form of justice to me. And as Alexander has pointed out, there are plenty of scriptural examples of God forgiving without exacting an eye-for-an-eye price. The parable of the unmerciful servant and the parable of the prodigal son would be two good examples.

    Indeed, we’re taught to submit, turn the other cheek, go the second mile — to emulate God by raining on the just and the unjust — which are all about mercy and grace and not at all about justice. We are to be better than just — just as God is.

    When the scriptures — the OT — refer to God as “just,” the point is that he is not a respecter of persons. Unlike a human judge, he metes out the same justice for kings as for peasants. But the point isn’t that he exacts a price for his forgiveness — far from it.

    (Deu 10:17-18 ESV) 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.

    (Psa 10:17-18 ESV) 17 O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

    (Isa 30:18-19 ESV) 18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. 19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.

    (Jer 7:5-7 ESV) 5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

  38. BeABerean says:

    I have no trouble with baptism..why should I?

    New life is about sanctification that comes after salvation.

    Jesus saved me from my sins and I love Him because He loved me first, I praise God for His grace and mercy.

    God has done wonders in my life since I first called on Him, as when I was baptized it was a beautiful step I took in obedience.

    I used the expression 180 as it was a huge change that happened in my life when I came to Christ. Wow, you guys amaze me at your brilliance in trying to slam other people…that’s the new life in you right?

  39. rich constant says:

    simple as i can get it

    When the scriptures — the OT — refer to God as “just,” the point is that he is not a respecter of persons. Unlike a human judge, he metes out the same justice for kings as for peasants. But the point isn’t that he exacts a price for his forgiveness — far from it.

    3:21 But now26 apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets)27 has been disclosed – 3:22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ28 for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 3:24 But they are justified29 freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    he is not a respecter of persons.
    1.
    ALL men die physically and are separated from the cohabitation because of Adam all men sin all men die.
    some are faithful to god….some are not
    2.
    THE LAW COMES INTO PLAY… JEWS
    3:19 Why then was the law given?39 It was added40 because of transgressions,41 until the arrival of the descendant42 to whom the promise had been made.
    which only added a curse of god to sin
    some are faithful to god ….some are not…
    all Jews are cursed,by The LAW
    when the law required god to curse his son, did that make the law perfect.
    2cor5:21….. or the lord a sinner…..the LAW just happened to say cursed of god if you are hung on a cross. presupposing no one would be evil enough to do that to a good man to say nothing of putting god on one….

    For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
    refer to God as “just,” the point is that he is not a respecter of persons.
    who did Jesus die for
    rom.5:6-11

    then ya got deceiver and his cohorts
    all are unfaithful to god and disobedient

    3:21 Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God?46 Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.47 3:22 But the scripture imprisoned48 everything and everyone49 under sin so that the promise could be given – because of the faithfulness50 of Jesus Christ – to those who believe

    3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time,16 saying, “All the nations17 will be blessed in you.”18 3:9 So then those who believe19 are blessed along with Abraham the believer. 3:10 For all who20 rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law.”21 3:11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith.22 3:12 But the law is not based on faith,23 but the one who does the works of the law24 will live by them.25 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming26 a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)27 3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles,28 so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.

  40. Larry Cheek says:

    BeABerean:
    Would you accept Jesus’s own words regarding this subject of water baptism? Notice, also the surrounding text to understand the complete context, also consult many translations, all that I have checked said Jesus made the same statement.
    (John 3:5 NIV) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
    (John 3:5 NRSV) Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
    (John 3:5 KJV) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
    Even if the Spirit was given prior to the baptism of Cornelius the saving (entering the church or Kingdom) (there is no salvation outside) cannot be done prior to both being accomplished. This is exactly why Cornelius and his family was baptized immediately. Are you are prepared to tell Jesus he told a lie.

    Notice exactly what this scripture says, about baptism.
    (1 Pet 3:20 NIV) who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
    (1 Pet 3:21 NIV) and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
    Notice, the statement; “were saved through water, and this water symbolizes” the (water) in the second part of this statement refers to the water in the first. There is no statement here that says that baptism is the “symbol”, but the statement “baptism that now saves you also” is in total harmony with all other scriptures about baptism.
    One of the strongest vices that Satan has left now is to abort the birth of a new life in Christ by convincing men that baptism is not a vital obedience to the message of Christ.
    You question, vital and I direct your attention to the true purpose of baptism, that Satan the master deceiver does not want you to know. I cannot cover all of the messages in scripture that portray this concept, I will though ask you and anyone that reads this to do searches on the subject of baptism, not in commentaries but the scriptures themselves, and I am assured that you will surprise your self with your findings. The scriptures that contain the most powerful message about the purpose of baptism are. You will notice that this is Paul’s account of his conversion to Christ.
    (Acts 22:6 NIV) “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.
    7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’
    8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.
    9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
    10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’
    11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
    12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.
    13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
    14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.
    15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.
    16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
    As we read this account, notice that there was a direct communication from the Lord that talked to Saul. Saul communicated back with total recognition and submission to the Lord, obeying his instructions. Notice, Acts 9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
    While in Damascus we will consult the account in Acts 9:8 for a better description of his activities.
    Acts 9:8 NIV Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
    What do you imagine that he was doing during that time? What do you think you would have been doing? Well the scriptures tell.
    Acts 9:10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.
    11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.
    12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
    Verse 11 says that he was praying. Now what would you suppose that you would be praying for if you were in his shoes? Don’t you believe that you would be asking the Lord to forgive you for all the havoc, slaughter of Christians (murder) etc; that you have committed? Would you ask for him to save you, would you ask him to give you another chance and that you would serve him all of the rest of your life, what would you not be willing to give up for another chance to serve him? Have you ever encountered anyone or did you pray for three days and nights without eating or drinking? I believe that no man alive today can emphasize with the intensity of the prayers that Saul was praying. Notice the lack of the forgiveness of sins from those prayers. Would the sinners prayer, extracted from parts of the Book of Romans which is a communication directed to Christians that had already obeyed and been immersed or baptized, be more powerful than all of the prayers that Saul had just prayed?

    Notice the message that Ananias was instructed by the Lord to say to Saul.
    Acts 9:17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
    18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
    Did you notice that, “filled with the Holy Spirit”, preceded verse 18 “He got up and was baptized,”
    Now for the rest of the Paul’s story.
    Acts 22:12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.
    13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
    14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.
    15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.
    16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
    All of his prior communications with the Lord, all the prayers to the Lord, all his promises to the Lord (like we would have made) did not relieve him of the obligation to obey the last command. According to the Lord none of the prior actions had removed his sins from him, he had not been forgiven, he had not been added to the church or the kingdom, remember what separated God from man in the garden was sin, and until those were washed away by baptism as stated by the Lord’s message through Ananias. God and/or Jesus could not exist where there is sin! Remember again the words of Jesus, (John 3:5 NIV) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. This is the born again process, being borne of water that Jesus has spoken of. I ask you will you listen to Paul and Jesus? Then will you stand with Jesus at the judgment, or will you find yourself standing where you did not plan to be?

  41. aBasnar says:

    A new day has dawned in Austria, and so I’m in again … while you are still asleep. The sun is shining right now, and I have a cup of coffee beside me ;-)

    No “fuzzy feeling”…love the way you guys try to play on that. Are you calling me a liar? The connection to salvation is the Messiah, Yeshua who saved me from my sins. As I said and it is obvious that you love to put down people, you love to point out wrongs people have done, I think you should read the Sermon on the Mount again to GRASP it better.

    My life did a 180 when I came to Christ, an astounding change I I really didn’t expect, all glory to God.

    BeABerean, I spoke of my “fuzzy feelings”, so no need to be offended at that – I gave you a glimpse of my journey. I see our conversion as a process, that may or may not start with a “sinner’s prayer”, but that needs to be completed in baptism. Sometimes this process takes weeks, months or years; sometimes only a day. But the following aspects need to be included: Hearing and understanding the Gospel, understanding and realizing your own sin and repenting from it, believing in Christ as the one who redeems us, but also as the Son of God, the Risen one, the One who is King and Lord of all, and calling upon His name as Lord.

    Baptism makes us one with His death and resurrection and brings about the change necessary to be freed from the dominon of darkness, to be clothed with Christ and His risen life. Without that, we are forgiven, but still “in” sin. Like the Israelites who ate the Lamb and had to cross the Sea, we need to believe and be baptized. Otherwise we stay in Egypt and won’t make it to Canaan.

    Making a 180° turn was possible for Abraham as well, or for Jacob – and the other way round, too, as for Saul or Salomo. Men can change a lot in their lives, and God is always pleased by faith and righteousness (Eze 3:18-23). But escaping the dominion of sin and Satan is not in our power, for this we deperately need a Redeemer who pays the ransom. Abraham did not have the Redeemer before He descended into Hades.

    1Pe 4:6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

    Abraham DID receive the Spirit of God, as soon as He responded in faith to the Gospel preached to Him by Christ, when He descended to Hades. Because the Spirit is the seal of our resurrection as well as theirs. They were taken into the New Covenant as soon as the New Covenant was established by His blood. But not earlier.

    We have Christ and become one with Him in baptism. This makes our lives very different from the earthly lives of the Patriarchs – unless we teach otherwise and live on as if we were still in bondage (“I am nothing but a poor sinner, I can do nothing good only sin!” – what a denial of the Gospel!).

    So, please understand, I do not belittle your faith, nor your conversion. But your understanding of salvation as a one-time-event, your understanding of conversion as something that took place in one “fraction of a second” this day, this year, falls short of reality and scripture.

    Alexander

  42. laymond says:

    Royce, please explain how the horrible death of Jesus, God’s son , (which btw was carried out by men) satisfied God’s wrath toward sinful men.

  43. Skip says:

    Laymond, you better reread Isaiah 53:5 and Matthew 26:42. God used sinful men to crush Jesus. God is sovereign over the acts of men. He can stop any act or allow it for his ultimate purpose. The cross was at God’s hand. The shedding of blood brings forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22 sums it up.

  44. guy says:

    Alexander,

    You wrote:
    “Now what is the difference to our death to sin in Christ? We live on in this world – they don’t. We need to be freed from the “Law of Sin and Death” in order to become able to serve Christ and to overcome sin. A person who just repents and dies, well this person is saved, but did not live any longer to bring forth much fruit other the confession of his lips. ”

    Your words here reminded me a little bit of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 20 about hiring the vineyard workers at different times. Just because 11th hour people got paid for one hour doesn’t mean that the early morning workers were free to refuse to work after only one hour yet still expect to be paid. (…which illustrates the point, i take it, you’re making that even if there be exceptions to the rule, that doesn’t alter the normative nature of the rule.)

    –guy

    –guy

  45. guy says:

    Royce,

    You wrote:
    “What kind of salvation is it that has absolutely no certainty?”

    i’m afraid the Protestant/Reformation brand of atonement/salvation doesn’t offer a sense of ‘certainty’ to everyone. It certainly didn’t do so for me.

    –guy

  46. Skip says:

    The scriptures speak simultaneously to our absolute confidence and certainty in our salvation and at the same time they implore us to make our salvation sure. This is one of many such seemingly contradictory topics put forth in scripture. Hence we have Christians constantly peddling insecurity for the believer and we have Christians constantly peddling eternal security. The key is to understand that both positions are soundly in scripture. Hence the incessant arguing by believers who choose to invoke only their pet set of scriptures.

    As I have heard it said before, “It isn’t “once-saved-always saved” but it also isn’t “if saved barely saved.” To those who are chronically insecure they need to do a deep Bible study in security. For those who are chronically cocky they need to do a deep Bible study in diligence.

  47. aBasnar says:

    You can read both truths as absolute truths, or as truths that limit each other. Which means, yes we can have assurance, under the conditions spoken of the warnings. In doing this there is no conflict at all, no contradiction.

    Alexander

  48. Skip says:

    I think either way arrives at the same exact conclusion. God often speaks in absolute terms. For example:

    I John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    II Peter 1:10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,

    There is a clear contradiction in these two verses but by divine design.

  49. BeABerean says:

    Catholics believe in transubstantiation, that the wine/juice literally does become the blood and the flesh of Jesus when they take communion. John 6:54 “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” They too believe baptism isn’t symbolic but that the water turns holy.

    Why are you preaching to me about baptism? I’ve heard what your faith is in before. I know the One I put my faith in Who changed my life…if that offends you I’m sorry, He is the only One I go to. And don’t assume you have studied the Bible deeper and know Hebrew and Greek better than others who disagree with you.

  50. aBasnar says:

    If you understand “to believe in the name of the Son of God” as something “static”, there is a contradiction. If you understand it dynamic and relational, both verses are in harmony. Faith is not something you just “have”, but something you live and develop throught your whole life. You can fall and eventually lose faith – does the promise of 1 John 5:13 then still apply? If you understand it static – once you made this comittment, took hold of Christ and the eternal life, and since this life is eternal, it cannot be lost or die again … you will end up with a statement: Even though I lost faith, I still may know that I have eternal life. If you maintain that true faith cannot be lost, then all our confidence rests onthe faith we have today, because we don’t know whether we will be found in faith tomorrow. If we lose our faith along the way, then – logically – our present faith is an illusion. There is no assurance in such an approach.

    That’s why I departed from this theology of unconditional eternmal security. 1 John 5:13 is conditioned by II Peter 1:10 – as soon as we rely on one verse to (almost) the exclusion of the other one, no matter in which direction we fall, we will fall into a theological trap. When we say, they contradict each other, we are close to doing this.

    Alexander

  51. aBasnar says:

    BeABerean, I can’t make sense from your last post. Either way, if you’d act like a Berean, you’d probably understand what I mean …

  52. BeABerean says:

    Wow, if I’d act like a Berean..I”ll remember that, there’s that new life in you coming out again…you are just as arrogant athiest and gang thugs out on the streets I’ve talked to.

  53. BeABerean says:

    We have people at church that have come out of the COC denomiation theology, who God has started doing wonders in their life since they have come to know Him. Praise God!

  54. aBasnar says:

    You started debating my input on this Blog, now “fight like a man”! So far you did not come with any scripture, you did not deal with the arguments put forth, you just reacted … strangely. I can’t really deal with this.

    Alexander

  55. BeABerean says:

    I have put Scriture up on here before, so has Royce and several others on here who disagree with your theology, why get into another Scripture war on here, you could care less for “underscholared” opinions as you see yourself above everyone else…huh that kind of attitude contradicts Scripture in itself.

  56. Skip says:

    Alexander, You made my prior point and I obviously agree with you. I probably consider you a little unbalanced in that you seem more concerned about stressing a heavy emphasis on performance and accountability and seem weak on the security side. Perhaps you swing more in one direction in hopes of making a more forceful point. I basically believe we are on the same page though.

  57. Larry Cheek says:

    BeABerean:
    Do I detect that your communications are not conveying messages that are founded in the scriptures? It appears that Abasnar has also taken notice. As I have reviewed your posts, it appears when you have been confronted with scriptural evidence that shows that the statements that you have made did not agree, then you just attempt to change the subject or attack the messenger.
    Wow, if I’d act like a Berean..I”ll remember that, there’s that new life in you coming out again…you are just as arrogant athiest and gang thugs out on the streets I’ve talked to.
    The scriptures state the same actions were used against Jesus and all of his followers when they taught what men did not want to hear. If you expect your communications to be considered as authoritative, as your name suggests, you should consider being more consistent with your messages and possibly show us how and where the scriptures explain what you say.

  58. BeABerean says:

    I believe you have flipped that around, the Pharisees who were very knowledgeable in Scripture and who were also very arrogant, Jesus showed the Pharisees they were just as bad as other sinners whom they loved to point at and look down their noses at.

    And I never got the explanation for the first question I asked on this post, only what you guys write off saying these people are exceptions.

    And I have given Scripture on this post, I’m not getting into another Scripture war on here. There are hundreds of posts on here that people can read through the comments and see the war of the Scriptures on this blog…as I said earlier I have put Scripture up on this blog before, so has Royce and several others on here who disagree with your theology.

    Btw, when I was attacked just for stating Who my faith is in, that is when I let it be known the arrogant belittling tactic the COC denomination has used for many years doesn’t intimidate me.

  59. Skip says:

    BeABerean, I don’t think you understand the CoC as a whole. The church around the world can range from being extremely liberal to profoundly legalistic. I have seen both extremes and everywhere in between. However, in most places I have gone the majority of members are in love with Jesus Christ and their focus is on serving him. You write as if the CoC is one big homogeneous legalistic group. However, this does not represent reality or my experience over the last 38 years in 6 different states.

  60. Royce Ogle says:

    There is a passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 that blows away the theology of a mixture of faith/Christ/works for salvation that most of you embrace. When I read posts and comments is almost as if Romans 5:1 is not in the Bible. I suggest that you read this passage carefully, slowly, and allow it to say to you what it actually says.

    “26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 1:26-31)

    Are you in Christ? If you are it is because of God, not because of you. If you claim you are in Christ do you confess that He is your righteousness?, your sanctification?, and your redemption? It matters not what a man’s opinions are, not one of us comes into union with Christ (and with one another) with any merit and we have none along the way. It is all God’s doing in the person and work of Christ.

  61. laymond says:

    Royce, I have never heard you make a more condictory statement- makes no sence at all.
    “Are you in Christ? If you are it is because of God, not because of you. If you claim you are in Christ do you confess that He is your righteousness?, your sanctification?, and your redemption?”

    First, you say if you are in Christ you had nothing to do with it, then turn around and say, to be in Christ YOU must confess Jesus is responsable, I might add a few things here, but if we stop right there YOU have input in your salvation.

  62. laymond says:

    contradictory, yep even a word is hard to understand when you leave part of it out.

  63. Skip says:

    Royce, Hate to be contradictory here but you invoke Romans 5:1 that doesn’t fully prove your point. It says we are justified by “Our Faith”. We are in Christ because of God but we would not be there if we did not decide to have faith. We have a role through our faith.

  64. Royce Ogle says:

    Did you read the text Laymond? I didn’t invent what I said, it’s clearly stated I the text.

    No one comes to God unless God draws him. The mind set on the flesh (unregenerate) not only does not submit to God, but cannot do so. So, every person who is in Christ is there because of God’s graceful working to bring them to himself. That’s another reason human boasting is excluded, ther is nothing about us to commend us to God.

  65. aBasnar says:

    I don’t buy “Total Depravity”, Royce. It’s an exaggerated viewpoint, made up as a reaction to Pelagianism – the opposite extreme. It’s this “doctrinal extremism” that permeates Protestantism and makes it … at least questionable.

    Alexander

  66. Royce Ogle says:

    Skip,

    Where did you find in the Bible that a man can “decide to have faith”?

    Jesus is the author (founder) and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) and faith comes as we hear the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17). It is God’s work to bring about the obedience of faith (Romans 16:26). “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5).

    So, it seems to me that unless God takes some action not one sinner would ever be saved. It is truth that God demands that men should repent. And it is equally true that God grants repentance. In the same way we have a responsibility to believe the Word of God but in the end cannon say that even that was all our own. Can a person who is dead in his sins, at enmity against God, and blinded by the devil to the things of God just decide to become a Christian on his own? No, the Bible says it over and over God calls, God chooses, God draws, God grants repentance, God gives a measure of faith, and God makes those dead in sin alive by his glorious grace to the praise of His glory.

  67. Royce Ogle says:

    Total depravity does not mean that a sinner is a wicked and evil and disobedient as he can possibly be. It means that he is as lost as he can possibly be and has no resources to change his position on his own. Dead men don’t raise themselves, blind men don’t heal themselves, and children don’t birth themselves. Every person who will finally be saved will have one thing in common, they were saved, they did not save themselves.

  68. Skip says:

    Royce, Choice is pervasive throughout scriptures.

  69. laymond says:

    Royce said; “The mind set on the flesh (unregenerate) not only does not submit to God, but cannot do so.” Royce I agree that God does not accept sinful people into his kingdom, so how can a sinner be saved by saying the “sinner’s prayer” when it goes unheard. There is a reason we are to do it as we do. #1 believe in what Jesus said. #2 repent of our evil ways. #3 confess our sins. #4 be baptised for remission of those sins. now and only now are we acceptable to God, to even speak to God and be heard. Why do you think God needed a middle man to speak both to God, and men. Because God does not associate with sin.
    Jesus lived with sin, it was his job to convince sinners to give up sin.
    Jhn 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
    no man is called to God except through Jesus Christ.

  70. Royce Ogle says:

    True Laymond, However, my point is that it is God who moves a sinner to that disposition where he will do as you say. So we can’t claim any credit for being where God has brought us. That is what I’m trying to say.

    Repentance, confession, faith, and baptism have no intrinsic merit as to our salvation. With some people it’s like some generous benefactor has given us a ton of gold and we take a truck to go get the gold and then obsess about the truck instead of the one who gave the gift.

  71. Larry Cheek says:

    Royce:
    There are many men that served God recorded in the Old Testament. Which was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Did he change his approach to man so drastically as he used these men, to holding himself responsible for men today not responding to his message? In the scriptures he has rendered severe judgment upon those that refused to obey him. Do you see that God actually placed into Noah his desire to please God, did he place the faith into Abraham, I believe that the scriptures state clearly that he chose these men because of their devotion that they were displaying created from within themselves. We could continue all the way till Christ asking the same question about whether God was responsible for their desire to obey or serve him in obedience. Actually, with your concept I cannot see that he could hold anyone responsible for not obeying him. Yet, you know that the scriptures do not teach that if any man is lost it will be God’s fault. But, that is what I am understanding that you are teaching. Man cannot chose, cannot decide for whatever reason eve if he has learned about God through his word and becomes a believer, follower on his own merits. All through the message from God until Christ’s arrival men were tested for their obedience Noah building the Ark, Abraham willing to offer his son, Saul given a position of king of Israel then losing it because of his own actions. On and on the story goes, why would the schoolmaster show us this interaction between God and man if it wasn’t to continue through all of time? Does God actually change? If he did change that drastically, could anyone believe that he dealt justly with our predecessors? I surly hope that I and according to others comments have misunderstood the communications that you have posted.

  72. Larry Cheek says:

    Royce:
    I also intended to make mention that in this schoolmaster. Men were required to perform many rituals and ceremonial acts to cleanse those that were already appointed to enter the presents of God and conduct worship to him. There are messages concerning those that attempted to disobey those instructions, and how god dealt with them. Who would not expect the same judgments during this New Covenant. Otherwise, he could not expect men today to follow his directive to honor his son, because he could not administer any judgments to those that totally rejected his son.

  73. Royce Ogle says:

    Larry,

    That God’s choice affects man’s choice in no way limits the responsibility of any man, good or bad. Yes, men are responsible for their actions, they must be obedient. But, how can you ignore scores of passages that speak of God’s work, of God’s choosing? Maybe you can but I can’t. I once did for many years but I came to the place where I refuse to ignore passages I don’t fully understand. Let me give you and example.

    In Acts 2 Peter’s sermon is recorded there in Jerusalem. In one verse (23) Peter said the crucifixion of Jesus was according to “the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”, and he accused the crowd of murder saying “you crucified and killed (Jesus) by the hands of lawless men”. So which is it? It is both. Yes, lawless men murdered Jesus. It is true. It is also true that God planned the whole thing. And so it is with many things in the Bible. We can either believe all of what it says or we can simply ignore a huge part of it that disagrees with our foregone conclusions formed usually by tradition.

    In John 6 Jesus said the following:

    35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

    3 times in this passage he says “whoever”. It is very true, “whoever will” can come. But he also said that those who come to him are the ones the Father has given to him, and that they will be raised up (resurrected) on the last day. This is also true.

    Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and more all teach the same sort of truths alongside each other. You and I don’t have the luxury of ignoring much of what the Bible teaches. We preach the gospel to every person and say whosoever will can come and every person will be responsible who hears the good news. And, those God has chosen will come.

    In the professing church on earth there are professors and pretenders, believers and make believers. Only those who are depending fully upon the Lord Jesus Christ are safe. Matthew 7 makes me fearful when I know that many, many church members who do good things, amazing things in the name of Jesus will be lost. The only safe thing is to humble ourselves before an almighty God and trust Christ the best we know how and depend on him alone for our security. He is our only hope, but a sure one.

  74. aBasnar says:

    This sound pretty much OK, Royce. But phrases like “depending fully upon the Lord Jesus” are pretty meaningless when not clarified. What is it that the rejected ones in Mat 7 – that make me as fearful as you – lacked? Christ is much more specific: Doing the Will of God … even more precicelsy:

    Mat 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

    “These words of mine” are the Sermon on the Mount, which includes such “un-Evangelical” teachings as conditional forgiveness (unless we forgive, we won’t be forgiven). The Rock – in this context, Royce – is not Jesus, but obedience to Christ’s words.

    This does not make your statement untrue (Only those who are depending fully upon the Lord Jesus Christ are safe), but it clarifies a lot.

    Alexander

  75. aBasnar says:

    It’s also true that God opens us a way to Him, He does this through the preaching of the Gospel and by softening the hearts of … hm, whose hearts does he open? Those, who already looked for him. Cornelius was a devout God-fearer who did all in his power to seek and to please God. Therefore God sent him first and angel and then Peter. To be sure: All these good works did not save Cornelius, but he obviously made God look down on him by them. Lydia from Philippi was a God-fearing Person as well, long before Paul came and preached Christ – and God opened her heart.

    Those who seek will find Christ said. Yet only because God Himself reveals Himself to the seekers. The eunoch from Ethiopia made an extraordinary journey to Jerusalem, and God miraculously sent Philip.

    Yet God did not do the same to the people in general (except those who really longed for God and his Messiah). Therefore Christ spoke in parables that they may NOT understand.

    So there is a twosided message here: Unless we diligently seek God, He will not reward us (Heb 11:6) – yet it is not our seeking alone that can achieve salvation. God must reveal Himself to us. So both is essential: What we do to come close to God and that God comes close to us. We cannot exclude one truth with the other one.

    Alexander

  76. aBasnar says:

    Just as an example for both sides:

    Act 17:26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
    Act 17:27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. …

    That’s the first side: People shall “prepare” themselves by seeking God – but God must also reveal Himself to us in Christ:

    Act 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
    Act 17:31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

    By the reaction to his message we can see how many really sought after God the way God intended us to do, and how many were not ready for His revelation. I think that’s the reason why John the Baptist had to “prepare” the people for the coming of Christ _ and God did the same to all nations, leaving hints, memories and seeds of truth that would make them seek the Living God if they were open o it, and thus become ready for the Gospel. Therefore in mission among foreign cultures (and even in our neighborhood) it is essential to discover these “seeds of truth” they already know of (such as Paul did in Athens).

    Alexander

  77. laymond says:

    Royce said; “That God’s choice affects man’s choice in no way limits the responsibility of any man, good or bad. Yes, men are responsible for their actions, they must be obedient.”
    OK Royce I believe I understand what you are saying, maybe not as articulately as you might wish. but acurately.
    Man can do all the right things, but if it is for the wrong reason, it all goes for naught. If you see someone in trouble, and see it as an opportunity to bolster your standing with God, it is a good thing, but does not count as righteousness.
    If you see a stranger in trouble and help because it tugs on your heart and it is the right thing to do, expecting no recompence, then you have done a righteous thing. (makes you feel better too) I fully believe, if you do good for others, even if you have to force yourself, the time will come when you do it willingly and for the right reason. “practice makes perfect” works do not save you, a good heart that follows Jesus saves us.

  78. Royce Ogle says:

    There are also people like Paul who was not looking for God but He sought them out.

    As for those religious but lost in Matthew 7, “I never knew you” was not pronounced because they didn’t do enough. Religion is people trying to get from God the approval that only comes through faith in Christ. Christians are made for good works but good works in no way makes people Christians. (Eph 2).

    Every mortal will fall short of keeping the 10 commandments and of living exactly by the sermon on the mount. This is precisely why God took on flesh and died for us bearing our sins. This moral flaw is why the letter kills. Only the Spirit gives life as a free gift of grace. I try my best to love right and do right but an honest look in the mirror of Gods word shows me that I’m far short of living like Jesus. So, with faith that is sometimes very weak I cling to the One who is strong. He is my only hope in this life and the one to soon come. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness” is my my heart cry.

  79. aBasnar says:

    As for those religious but lost in Matthew 7, “I never knew you” was not pronounced because they didn’t do enough.

    Read what Christ said, Royce:

    Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
    Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    It’s not about not haviong done “enough”, Royce. That’s Protestant polemics: “How much do i have to do in order to be saved? see, that’s unanswerable, we will never have done enough!” That’s misleading. It’s about having done the will of God, expressed in His Law, His commandments. The question is not: Have you fulfilled all your obligations?, But rather: Do you keep His word. Keeping His word includes a serious attitude, an honest approach to God with all our shortcomings in order to be cleansed – again – according to His word. Obedience has NOTHING to do with sinlessness or absolute perfection.

    Yet, there are some who simply excuse their shortcomings with theology, pointng to their graet spiritual gifts (which might even be genuine). So what is the Rock we are to build on? The same as in the song “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness?” (I also thought ofthis Hymn BTW). This is true, but only one side of the truth. The other side is: The Rock in Mat 7 is doing what Christ said.

    So we will be lost, if we dont live out His teachings, even though our baptism might have been really wet and deeply Spirit-filled in the beginning. We can in fact lose everything, if we don’t keep on walking the Narrow Path. This is a daily decision, and it is up to us – this is faith(fulness) which saves.

    Every mortal will fall short of keeping the 10 commandments and of living exactly by the sermon on the mount.

    You know, Royce, the Devil would say the same, adding: “Don’t even try it, it’s not worth the effort. Just rely on Grace!” Satan has no issues with a Gospel like that, because this keeps us quiet and harmless to him. But this is denying (!) – straighforwardly DENYING – the Power of the Holy Spirit in us, given explicitly that we CAN obey His commands:

    Eze 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
    Eze 11:20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

    You say: “No one can keep the commandments of God exaclty (emphasis mine).” But that’s not the point, is it. But God says we will be enabled to keep His statutres in the New Covenant, by the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s promise is neither wishful thinking, nor is it a lie.

    And more: The testimony of the inspired word about people like Noah, Job, the parants of John the Baptist and others who kept the Law and statutes of the Lord to a degree that God really was (expressly!) pleased with them and called them “righteous” must be a false testimony, if we are so totally unable to do God’s will as you paint it. None of them was perfect in an absolute sense – but God accepted and rewarded the righteousness of these saints of old. What Grace! And what difference the Holy Spirit in us wants to make compared to the OT saints! God sincerly and honestly rejoices in our efforts – so please don’t downplay our attempts to do good! That’s Protestantism, Royce – and these huge difference of such Protestant doctrines to the God of the Bible made me reject the Protestant understanding of faith. I so hope that God may open your eyes to that, because teaching contrary to God’s word is a dangerous thing to do, especially when it’s misleading people by comforting the lawless ones.

    Alexander

  80. skip says:

    We are not enjoined to obey the 10 commandments. See Romans 12:8-10.

  81. Royce Ogle says:

    Shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid.

    What is slightly irritating is the not so subtle hint that I fall into the category of resting on grace and not being serious about doing the will of God. It’s false and wrong. It’s fine to espouse your view brother but it isn’t necessary in my view to disparage those who don’t see things exactly the way you do. You would be a lot more believable and likable if you wouldn’t do that. I’m not angry just giving a brother some constructive criticism.

  82. Royce Ogle says:

    Really Skip? Do you think God’s law doesn’t apply to Christians? That is a very odd conclusion. We are no longer under it’s penalty but I think most everyone believes it’s offensive to God if we knowingly break them.. Not sure where you are coming from this time.

  83. Norton says:

    Allow me to add another worm to the can just opened. For some time I have believed that the betrayal of Christ by Judas was much more than just an incidental event in the story of the crucifixtion. It is emphasized, not just mentioned, by all four of the gospel writers. It was part of what was foreordained. Would the betrayal be the completion of the utter humiliation of the Creator by His own creation, or maybe, more specifically, by “the powers”? I think that had something to do with the attonement.

  84. aBasnar says:

    If you really mean what you said in your last pots, then why do you say it differently or so terribly ambiguously? You sound like a typical-mainstream Evangelical – when i point to the fact that these Protestant exaggerations don’t match, you somehwo try to balance out what you said. Then a few days, weaks and threads down the Blog, again you start affirming the “Total Depravity” of humans that are so uncapable of doing good, even believing … and we start all over again. It’s this Protestant rhethoric I oppose, not you, Royce. But if you sound like them, and speak like them, you lead me to believe that you are one of them.

    Alexander

  85. BeABerean says:

    ABasnar, you lead me to believe that you are one of them.

    When you say, you are one of them…meaning what, that Protestants are not Christians?

    And please tell people, when you say the commandments of God, what are the certain commandments that will get us into heaven, which commandments do you say get people into heaven?

  86. Skip says:

    Royce, The sheer number of scriptures explaining how the law with its rules and regulations was nailed to the cross supports my thesis (Col 2:14). The law in the OT goes way beyond the 10 commandements to the washing of bowls, cups, etc… The 10 commandments in the new testament are replaced with 2 commands: Love God and love one another. As the scripture says, “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10). Otherwise please give me a list of rules to follow that fall under the heading of the “law”. 10 rules? 30 rules?

  87. aBasnar says:

    When you say, you are one of them…meaning what, that Protestants are not Christians?

    Of course not, BeABerean. Royce reperesents a “theological school” – but he IS a CHristian, and he is dear to me. He’s not my enemy, only because we disagree in the interpretation of Scripture. He – and you – are no less convinced of your undetrstanding of truth, and present it as if it were crystal clear and obvious to everyone. Most of the time, I react against a number of assertions, because I came to different conckusions. I have been in Royces “camp” a number of years ago (and maybe yours as well); and there are some good reasons to reconsider some Protestant doganas in order to come to a better theology. But – for Heaven’s Sake! – we are not saved by theology!

    Alexander

  88. aBasnar says:

    Hey, Skip: Here’s something for you: A list of NT commands A few more than two … How do you deal with these?

    Alexander

  89. laymond says:

    Matthew 22:36-40 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”

    Jesus Christ teaches us in these few lines that at the heart of all these “do’s and don’ts” is a focus on loving God and loving the people around us. As we think about the commandments listed below, it helps to consider how each of them relates to these two foundational commandments.

    Exodus 20:1-17 (King James Version)

    20 And God spake all these words, saying,

    2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

    3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

    7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

    8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

    10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

    11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

    13 Thou shalt not kill.

    14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

    15 Thou shalt not steal.

    16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

    17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

    Skip which one do you think we should leave out.

  90. BeABerean says:

    You answered one of the questions with your view, now please answer the other question.

    What are the certain commandments that will get us into heaven, which commandments do you say get people into heaven?

  91. Skip says:

    Laymond, If I obey the commands to love God and love others, I will automatically not kill, not steal, etc… So A) I can itemize all the commands and check them off daily with my clipboard or B) I can love God and others and I will in the course of time automatically satisfy all of the 10 commandements plus any other portions of God’s will.
    Simply put, if I love others I will treat them right. Hence, love is the fullfillment of the law. Sorry but itemizing, listing, and checking off commands is not the NT way of doing things.

  92. Skip says:

    Alexander, see my recent previous comments on list keeping.

  93. BeABerean says:

    Summary Of All The Commandments Of Jesus

    [JFG: BeABerean: The spam filter catches comments above a certain size. As a rule, I won't rescue lengthy quotes from the filter.]

  94. BeABerean says:

    I just posted a comment that has a list of Jesus’ commands that this blog is keeping people from seeing, hopefully not wanting to try to hide other people’s view the comment will be posted soon.

  95. laymond says:

    Right you are Skip, so actually Jesus did not do away with the ten commandments, he just simplified the process. and applied common sense.

  96. Alabama John says:

    All the 10 commandments were nailed to the cross. Although all but one was resurrected in the New Testament and put back in force, the Keep The Sabbath was not as we now must meet on the 1st day of the week, Sunday. This is a very basic COC teaching.

  97. Larry Cheek says:

    Sabbath day:
    The reason that the Sabbath day was not restated in the New Covenant.
    Early Christians observing the command for the Sabbath upon the first day of the week would been easy targets for the those that sought to kill Christians. They would not have gone to work on the first day of the week with the Jews, and probably would not have lived until the next first day of the week. Christians are not commanded to remembering the coming out of Egypt and no memorial was established for that purpose.
    (Deu 5:14 KJV) But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
    15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
    (Deu 5:14 NIV) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do.
    15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

  98. Larry Cheek says:

    BeABerean:
    It seems to me that when someone asks the question differently than the Bible addresses the subject, they have an agenda in mind. Therefore, the any answers will not fulfill what you want them to, they can apply differently to men that have different levels of obedience. The most important question is, that you should know what is published by The Word (Christ), that I or (we) can or will do that will place us in the kingdom of Satan and therefore suffer the same judgement as he will. As servants or angels in his kingdom will receive. Asking the right questions will receive useful answers.

  99. aBasnar says:

    Alexander, see my recent previous comments on list keeping.

    Skip, I don’t go by a list, either. But I wanted to pioint out, that Christ is a lot more specific in spelling out His will than love God and love your neighbor. Each of these commands (in the list I linked to) are an expression of His expectations. If we love Him, we will want to meet them – but I don’t believe (nor experience) that this comes automatically; it’s always the same battle of Spirit vs. flesh.

    Alexander

  100. BeABerean says:

    I asked the question because of Alexanders comment, it is a simple question, you’d rather talk in circles than to give an answer.

  101. BeABerean says:

    What are the certain commandments that will get us into heaven, which commandments do you say get people into heaven?

  102. aBasnar says:

    What are the certain commandments that will get us into heaven, which commandments do you say get people into heaven?

    You know full well, that this is a “killer-question” – and you zthink (probably) it is unanswerable, because as soon as i name even obne command – and be it “repent!” – you’d call it “work-salvation”.

    The question in itself is wrong. We don’t speak of “heaven” as if it were some place without rules, but of the Kingdom of Heaven (or God). Now, as soon as you stand before a King, such questions are nobnsensical, because ALL the King commands is binding, isn’t it. Committment to Christ means: I want to learn and do all that he has commanded. Any other attitude will make us end up outside the Kingdom. So: We don’t dispute CHrist’s commands, we want to to do them, because faith means faithfulness (loyalty) to our King.

    Alexander

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