Friday, July 28, 2006

Is this Perserverance?

A fellow blogger had this to say in a comment. Do you agree?

Jim, with regard to your second question, it would not only be presumptuous -- it would also be contrary to Scripture -- to think that we have a guarantee of salvation. That's not to say, however, that we should despair of God's mercy. What we need to be careful of, however, is the error that we can make some kind of profession of faith and be assured we have an iron clad guarantee of going to heaven.

To the contrary, Scripture tells us that our salvation is an ongoing process, not a one time event. If one reads Scripture carefully, we see that we have been saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8); we're being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12); and, we hope to be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Even St. Paul said, "I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12), "with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ" (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13).

Wow. I can't speak for you, but if St. Paul felt he still needed to work on his salvation, I think it would be foolish of me to presume my salvation is guaranteed!

33 comments:

Kc said...

I tend to agree but thankfully eternal life is a gift from God so I need not strive for that. My life and my eternal standing is another matter.

jazzycat said...

No, I do not agree. There seems to be a confusion between justification and sanctification in these comments and also the Phil 2:12 quote is wrong.

A true saving faith results from regeneration by the Holy Spirit and leads immediately to justification and eternal security. This true saving faith will always lead to sanctification. Scripture exhorts believers in many places to be sanctified, work out your salvation, pursue holiness, have faith plus deeds, etc. Scripture also makes it clear that without sanctification there has been no justification. These acts of sanctifications do not justify anyone, but flow from those that have been truly justified.

Even a leading free grace advocate has stated in this circle of bloggers that he serves God out of obedience and gratitude. Welcome to the club as he has confessed the same results that we Calvinists claim will result.

Jazzycat

Jim said...

Jazzycat,

Thanks for your contribution. May I ask you one question; do you have assurance of your eternal security?

Antonio said...

Did anyone pick up on the contradiction of the commenter? He first says "salvation is an ongoing process" but yet quotes Scripture that shows that "we have been saved". Well, which is it? If a person has been saved, what need is there of a hope for the same salvation yet future?

Answer: there are many different kinds of "soteria" (Greek word which is sometimes translated "salvation")

You will find that "soteria" has a very broad range which can include values such as healing, health, well-being (both spritual and physical), prosperity, good fortune, triumphant endurance, deliverances from the afflictions of earthly life, moral and personal welfare, rewards in an eschatological dimension, and lastly, deliverance from hell (which would be the least likely assumption of the Greek reader!)

The astute interpreter will find the contextual clues in order to understand what kind of "soteria" is in view.

Phil 2:12 says "dear friends... work out your own salvation"

They are to "work out" which translates katergazomai, which simply menas "to effect by labor, acheive, work out, bring about".

A salvation (soteria) which can be achieved by labor is hardly the justification-by-faith-alone kind of salvation offered elsewhere in the Bible!

Rom 11:6
6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
NKJV

I would love to give this commenter a remedial lesson in the gospel.

2 Tim 1:12
I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
NKJV

Paul takes his eternal well-being for granted and is convinced that all his labor will be rewarded in "that Day"!

My various and unorganized, been-awake-since-3 AM, blood-shot-eyed, thoughts on the matter (did I mention incoherent?)

Antonio

PS: Oh, by the way, Perseverance of the Saints and Eternal Security are NOT the same thing!

Antonio said...

Jazzycat can not have true biblical assurance of her salvation and be a Calvinist at the same time.

It is impossible.

(assurance = freedom from doubt, certainty)

Antonio

Antonio said...

The Impossiblity of Assurance for the Calvinist an article on http://free-grace.blogspot.com written by Antonio da Rosa.

Is short, but oh is it true and packs a punch!

Antonio

Jim said...

Hi Antonio, thanks for stopping by.

I would like to hear from a Calvinist regarding the status of their eternal security.

jazzycat said...

Jim,
John tells us in 1 John 5:13 that his reason for writing was that those who believe may know that they have eternal life.

Upon a close reading of 1 John there is absolutely no encouragement given to anyone to have assurance if all their religion amounts to nothing but lip service. In short it is not a profession of faith that counts, but a possession of faith that saves. John paints a picture of regenerated person with a new heart and a new attitude. Such a person possesses a saving faith and will inevitably show it, not to earn merit or to be justified, but as a natural result of the power of God's work in his heart and soul.

While assurance is important, it is not as important as actually being saved. A false assurance is worse than no assurance or having no salvation at all, because such a person would not recognize his need for a saving faith in Christ. Conversely, a saving faith without assurance is certainly much superior to either of the two lost positions (one with assurance and one without assurance).

To give a lost person a false assurance by telling him how much Jesus loves him and that all he needs is to make a profession with his mouth ("These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.....") is dangerous indeed. Make no mistake anyone who is preaching this sort of gospel is encouraging sinners to do just that.

Jazzycat

Jim said...

Jazzycat,

I do not tell people they are saved, neither do I share the gospel in the manner you described.

It is the job of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God to grant the assurance of salvation.

However, assurance of salvation is not an optional aspect of the christian life, it is paramount. To have any doubts whatsoever regarding our salvation is to lack a proper understanding of God and His grace.

I think a person can be saved and not know it. However, someone in this condition will have no grounds of confidence.

You still did not answer my question regarding your own assurance? Do you have complete assurance of your eternal security?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

This is unbelief and a denial of the Gospel.

jazzycat said...

Jim,
You said... I do not tell people they are saved, neither do I share the gospel in the manner you described.

If you are referring to my last paragraph, It is a description of how the UOG site contributors are presenting salvation in their writings. I would assume they do the same thing in person. I was unsure if you share this aspect with them. Evidently you do not. When a person affirms a view on the internet, he/she is sharing the gospel. Agree?

You said....However, assurance of salvation is not an optional aspect of the christian life, it is paramount. To have any doubts whatsoever regarding our salvation is to lack a proper understanding of God and His grace.

The verse I gave for assurance was 1 John 5:13. The book of 1 John tells how a person can have assurance and throws cold water on an antinomian free grace view of assurance. Jim, what do you mean by assurance is not optional? I believe salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Do you add assurance to this?

Jim, Do your believe a person can have a false assurance by thinking he is saved when he is not? Do you have assurance and if so what do you base it on?

I do not mind answering your questions but I think you should answer a few also. I will answer and give my reasons as soon as I hear your answer.

Jazzycat

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"To give a lost person a false assurance by telling him how much Jesus loves him and that all he needs is to make a profession with his mouth ("These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.....") is dangerous indeed."

Jazzycat, please supply a quotation to demonstrate that this is how we present salvation.

jazzycat said...

Matthew:
The following was copied from the Grace Evangelical Society website and is the same message I hear from free grace advocates on UOG site... base your assurance on your profession and repentance, obedience, etc. are not required:

1. Faith is the conviction that something is true. To believe in Jesus is to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it

2. No act of obedience, preceding or following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, such as commitment to obey, sorrow for sin, turning from one’s sin, baptism or submission to the Lordship of Christ, may be added to, or considered part of, faith as a condition for receiving everlasting life

3. Good works, which can and should follow regeneration, are not necessary for a person to have assurance of everlasting life

4. Therefore, obedience to the Word of God, while not necessary for obtaining everlasting life, is the essential responsibility of each Christian. However, the Bible does not teach that this obedience will be manifested in all believers.

5 The aim of GES is to promote the clear proclamation of God's free salvation through faith alone in Christ alone, which is properly correlated with and yet distinguished from issues related to discipleship.

Jazzycat

Joe said...

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

The immediate context, original language and context of the entire Scripture requires that this verse means: If you are going to work out your own salvation, you had better do it with fear and trembling, (13) because it is God who does the work in you, not you, yourself.

This because to work it out ourselves would require that we fulfill the law and laws of God perfectly, which we cannot do. So Christ fulfilled them for us.

Antonio said...

Jazzy is so far out there, and is so determined to undermine FG theology, that he will go to any length.

The GES statement says nothing of making a profession with the mouth. This is the nastiest straw man the Traditionalist's pose.

What FGers say is that simple faith in the promise of Christ to guarantee eternal life to the believer in Him appropriates eternal life.

Assurance is absolutely essential as well. Because assurance is of the essence of saving faith! If you are not assured, certain, that you have everlasting life, then you have YET to believe the promise of the gospel.

Heb 11:1
11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

People can have false assurances if they base their assurance on anything but the gospel promise of Jesus that states "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47).

I have absolute, confident, convicted, certain assurance, that is based upon Christ's promise.

If you do not have the same, and never had it, you have not believed Christ's gospel, for faith is certainty, and if you believe Jesus' promise to guarantee eternal life and resurrection to the believer, then you by necessity have certain assurance, for the guarantee of eternal life is disclosed in the Jesus's promise.

You haven't answered Jim's question, Jazz.

Are you eternally secure?

Antonio

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Jazzycat, where in that text does it specifcally state that assurance is grounded in 'how much Jesus loves one' and 'in making a profession with one's mouth?'

It seems that I must visit an optician for I cannot see such statements in that text.

Jim said...

Jazzycat,

Your utter inability to answer this simple question leaves me rather perplexed?

You asked...Jim, what do you mean by assurance is not optional?

Assurance that Christ has indeed saved us in the foundation of the christian's life. To have any doubts or second thoughts is to not fully understand the work of grace wrought by the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote to Timothy that he was not ashamed of suffering for the gospel because he knew whom he had believed and was persuaded that He (Christ) was able to keep that which he(Paul) had committed unto Him until or against that day.

Assurance is having complete confidence in Christ's atoning work as sufficient enough to save us.

This is not simply a mental assent as you are trying to assert. Rather it resonates from the depths of our being as the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are indeed children of God.

To answer your question, YES, I am fully convinced and persuaded that I am saved from God's eternal wrath prepared for the devil and his angels, and this not because of anything I have done, will do, or ever could do; but solely because of the blood Jesus Christ shed to wash me from my sins and pay the penalty for my guilt, which I receive by faith, and not only I, but anyone else who will trust Christ alone to save them.

Furthermore, this transaction is completely irrevokable and unbreakable. It relies upon nothing I have done, will do, or may do, but entirely upon God's promise that He cannot lie.

This is the simplicity of the gospel, and the reason so many stumble over it. Man's finite mind cannot fathom a gift so free that nothing is required but faith to receive it.

This faith does not emanate from us but is a gift that God places in our hearts when we hear the Word of God.

If my salvation depends upon me repenting, turning from sin, or any other outward act, then I have added to the pure gospel, thus making it another gospel.

Is this possibly the reason you and others cannot in simple faith proclaim the surety which is yours in Christ? Or does the doctrine of perseverance contribute to your doubting state.

As Antonio rightly states, perseverance of the saints (as relating to salvation) is not a Biblical doctrine. If anything it is a romish heresy designed to create uncertainty and doubt, which makes the believer ineffective in the kingdom of God.

I would love to be proven wrong concerning the lack of assurance amongst Calvinists...but your's and their silence on the matter speak volumes.

Rose~ said...

I disagree with the statement in the post. Presumptuous? To believe God's Word is presumptuous? That is what assurance of salvation is - believing God's Word that Christ's death is sufficient to save, this is not presumptuous - it is FAITH!!

I think the problem comes in - I believe this is the foundational problem with much of this theology - with the focus on this idea that there is a limit. If one sees the plan of God as having a limit...
- limited to the elect, who are elect apart from, and before faith -
... if the focus is on the limits of God's provision, then doubts could arise as to whether there is room for that person in God's plan.

But, if we focus on God's limitless, boundless mercy and FAITH (as Webster's dictionary defines it) as that which allows us into His provision, then ... we can know what we have beleieved ... and we can be presuaded that He will keep His promises ... because we believe Him!
~just my two cents.

Rose~ said...

BTW,
I really appreciate Joe's thoughts on Phil 2:12. I think I have heard that before, only once, but had forgotten that view of the passage, since I have been inundated with the other view over and over.

It sure is nice to see Joe participating! He is wise.

Jim said...

Rose, I think Joe may be on to something here. However, I do not believe this verse is applicable in the context of eternal salvation, but rather the salvation of the soul from the destructive influence of this carnal world.

It is really part of the sanctification process. I don't think God wants us trembling with fear before Him in the literal sense, as John tells us perfect love casts out fear.

But there is the matter of being holy, for our God is holy and also a consumming fire. To me, this would fit well with the testing of our works in Cor.

jazzycat said...

Antonio said about faith...
Assurance is absolutely essential as well.

This is new to me. I did not know that the free grace view was faith plus assurance. I disagree as I think it is grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.

Please give me a chance to digest these several comments and I will respond.

My assurance is based on what I glean from Scripture. Since John in 1 John 5:13 says that is why he wrote that epistle, I kinda use that as a guide to do what Paul says we should do and that is to examine yourselves.
2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

One big difference in our views that frames my thinking is that I believe John 3:3 without 'spin' when Jesus says that you must be born again before you can believe. He also says that in John 6:37,44,65.

Therefore when one believes in a regeneration and faith that comes with God's POWER, he will naturally come to some different conclusions than a belief founded upon a mere mental assent which James says even the demons have.

Let me look at these posts a little closer and respond where needed.

Jazzycat

jazzycat said...

Antonio said....
If you are not assured, certain, that you have everlasting life, then you have YET to believe the promise of the gospel.

If a person said he believed, but had no assurance, this would then be a what free grace theology would consider a false profession . Since the fruit of assurance was not there, the profession was false.

The Calvinist position, and I might add James as well, is that a true profession will inevitably produce some fruit due to the power of the Holy Spirit. (Also see Romans 8, Gal. 5, and plenty of places)

Jazzycat

Antonio said...

Assurance is not an addition, you have failed to grasp my comment.

faith = assurance, certainty, says Heb 11:1

If you aren't sure, you haven't believed.

Assurance is of the ESSENTIAL nature OF faith, not something in addition TO faith.

Antonio

jazzycat said...

Matthew and Antonio,
I owe you a response to your objection:
Although my original comment did not mention free grace by name, part of my statement was referring to FG and part was not. When I said making a profession with one's mouth, I was basically saying making a mental assent of faith. I don't see a lot difference and my Church requires a public oral profession for membership, so I meant nothing insulting.

My critique on a mental assent profession is that it may or may not be genuine. Only God knows for sure. Jesus said to go make disciples and to teach them to obey.... Therefore to tell people that their profession of faith makes their assurance certain no matter what they do is to give them false assurance. Gal. 5:21 makes it clear that more than temporal judgement is at stake for anyone resting on a profession alone. James said it as well in James 2:14-26.

Jazzycat

jazzycat said...

Jim,
You said....
This is not simply a mental assent as you are trying to assert. Rather it resonates from the depths of our being as the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are indeed children of God.

Jim this tells me that your faith goes deeper than mental assent. This tells me you have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and I have no doubt it is true.

Then came several paragraphs that I agree with and then you said...

This faith does not emanate from us but is a gift that God places in our hearts when we hear the Word of God.

You sound like a Calvinist here Jim. God uses the external call to give you the gift of faith. Eph. 2:8-9. I agree with glee.

If my salvation depends upon me repenting, turning from sin, or any other outward act, then I have added to the pure gospel, thus making it another gospel.

I disagree in that repentance is also a gift in that it convicts and brings a sinner to a realization of his need. Repentance along with faith are present at conversion. I will be willing to bet that you have repented and endeavored to turn from sin. Please respond if I am wrong on that point.

Or does the doctrine of perseverance contribute to your doubting state.

As Antonio rightly states, perseverance of the saints (as relating to salvation) is not a Biblical doctrine. If anything it is a romish heresy designed to create uncertainty and doubt, which makes the believer ineffective in the kingdom of God.

I have seen this doctrine wrongly stated by FG. I will state it correctly and perhaps you will not have a problem with it. Perseverance is a work of God in keeping believers eternally secure. (John 6:37,44)

Jazzycat

jazzycat said...

Antonio,
Are you saying that assurance is part of the definition of saving faith or results from saving faith.

jazzycat

jazzycat said...

Rose,
That elect stuff can be confusing and misleading. I do not worry about it. My favorite verse is Matt. 7:7 Ask, seek, knock.

What a great promise. Everyone who asks and seeks will be saved. The external call of God is for everyone. If they choose to believe, then they are part of the elect. They can think their free will did the trick, but I know Scripture teaches that it was God who quicken their soul. Jim in so many words inadvertently admitted that a comment or so ago.

There are two groups, believers and unbelievers. Believers are secure by the power of God and many unbelievers will become believers. There is no neutral position when someone rejects the gospel his position does not change and he remains unsaved.

Those fur balls are a problem.

Jazzycat

Jim said...

Jazzycat,

The problem with advocates of Calvinism is that they think it's all or nothing. IOW, if I don't agree with all the tenets of the doctrines of grace, I am said to disagree with all.

I think I can safely say that we (FG'ers and Non Calvinist's) do not believe we save ourselves, nor do we believe that we come to God apart from His calling.

Rather, God is calling sinners everywhere to repent (turn away from) their sins and put their trust (belief) in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.

I can repent all I want, but unless I put my trust in Christ alone by believing He alone can grant me eternal life, my repentance is useless. There are those recorded who sought repentance but to no avail.

So, perhaps it is semantics to the FG advocate, but I think the problem is when a Calvinist wants to quantify that repentance and gauge the level of sincerity and change in attitude of the professor.

You are truly gifted at skirting the question I posed.

Let me ask you, are you desiring fellowship or simply looking for holes in our answers and posts?

The other problem with Calvinism is it's continual attention to faulty fruit or false christians. Let God sort out the mess and rather than scrutinizing everybody else's life, let us pursue Christ and desire to walk in a manner that pleases Him.

God has called us into fellowship with His son, not the fruit inspection business and judges of another man's salvation.

If we cannot smell the dead thing, surely we have not tasted enough of Christ and His riches.

Please take this as an admonition to not focus on the why's and how's but on life Himself, Jesus Christ.

God bless,
Jim

jazzycat said...

Jim,
I answered your question several comments above addressed to Antonio. I had hoped you would read all my comments as they all fit together as responses to FG views. I am puzzled that you express some anger here in that my comment to you was mostly in agreement and I gave a definition of what I think perserverance means. The following is a reprint of my answer to your question about my assurance.

My assurance is based on what I glean from Scripture. Since John in 1 John 5:13 says that is why he wrote that epistle, I kinda use that as a guide to do what Paul says we should do and that is to examine yourselves.
2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Jazzycat

Jim said...

Jazzy,

I am growing tired of the circuitous rhetoric to answer a simple question.

I have read all your comments and did not find an answer suitably addressed to my question.

Quite frankly, I have noticed your comments and posts over the last few months have tended to be rather caustic and provocative in nature.

Are you a seeker of the truth, or simply looking for those who disagree with your preset understanding of scripture?

I do not wish to take sides with either the FG, Calvinist, Arminian, or whatever other brand there is out there. But unfortunately I have been called an Arminian simply because I cannot in good conscience accept in totality the doctrines of grace, and their accompanying assumptions.

So yes, I must confess some frustration with the obvious inflexible position of those who seem to drop proof-texts against any credible argument to the contrary.

I am beginning to wonder if there is any redemptive quality to this type of correspondence...I trust we are all becoming better students of the Word.

But are we being drawn closer to Christ and is our love for Him and His Word increasing. I am finding myself reading simply to prove an argument rather than for edification and encouragement.

There are many who can dissect the minutest of thoughts and yet are we missing the most important thing? Worship and fellowship in spirit and truth. I am beginning to understand more Bhedr's desire to find unity in Christ, rather than divide over the most miniscule differences.

So, my apologies for being rather abrupt and terse.

I do look forward to many continued fruitful discussion in the word with my blogger brethren.

God bless,
Jim

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Jazzy can be quite snazzy.

Jim said...

Jonathan, your presence is welcomed. Do you have any profound words to add?

Lou Martuneac said...

Greetings:

Sorry I am late to the discussion, but...

I want to dispel the misnomer being spread by some Grace Evangelical Society (GES) members, especially Antonio da Rosa. The misnomer, and it is a major misnomer, is that GES is the voice of the Free Grace movement in general.

The GES has in fact become a shrinking cell of extremists that have fallen into the trap of Zane Hodges’ “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel. This “contrary doctrine” of Hodges and Bob Wilkins’s “Crossless/Deityless” interpretation of the Gospel has been the cause of “division and offences” in the FG camp and churches. (Rom. 16:17-18).

The teachings of Hodges is what has come to be known and accurately defined as the Crossless Gospel,” “ReDefined Free Grace Theology” and the “Promise Only Gospel.” It is largely because of GES’s heretical views of the Gospel; many men in the Free Grace community have separated from GES and do not want their name or ministry to be identified with the GES.

Once the Free Grace Alliance (FGA) was formed it became the new home of many men who departed GES over the egregious errors coming from Hodges and Wilkin.

Exposure of the egregious errors of Hodges, Wilkin, Neimela, Myers, and lesser knowns like Antonio da Rosa has put GES in cardiac arrest. It is my hope and prayer the GES is soon to become totally isolated and outside any relevant discussion of the Gospel. May I share this article with your guests, Is “ReDefined” Free Grace Theology- Free Grace Theology?

The article will help them understand that Hodges, Wilkin and especially Antonio da Rosa do not speak for and do NOT represent the general population of men who identify themselves as members of the so-called Free Grace community.

The Free Grace community has been fractured, and it is a good fracture in that large numbers of FG men have withdrawn from GES over the Hodges/Wilkin “Crossless” interpretation of the Gospel.

Lord willing not one more unsuspecting believer will fall into the trap of the Crossless gospel.


LM