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PREDESTINATION; LIVE BY GRACE; NOT BY WORKS (WEEK 8)
St. Louis Center for Christian Study ^ | Greg Johnson

Posted on 11/13/2006 11:01:10 PM PST by Dr. Eckleburg

If salvation is all of grace -- if God is God and he has chosen us for salvation even though we did nothing to deserve it -- then we ought to live by the grace we have received. Of course, some of you will look at that and say to yourselves, “Yeah, I really need to do better at living by grace. I’ve really been a failure there. I hope God will forgive me again.” If that’s you, you still don’t get it. Go back and re-read the last seventeen pages and (if you’re a believer) remember that you’re one of the elect!

Our hearts so quickly try to relate to God on a works-basis! It’s our pride, really. I’m convinced that that’s the problem with free-will Arminianism. People naturally process it like this: God requires one work from me, to believe. Once I believe, I’ve done my work and deserve heaven. Of course, in more hard-line Arminian circles, it goes a step further. Unless I’m holy enough, I’ll still go to hell, and maybe I’ve even committed the unpardonable sin and will be damned even if I’m sinlessly perfect from here on out. Legalism. Legalism. Legalism. Such a religion is barely recognizable as Christianity.

But Calvinists can fall into legalism just as easily. You see, I understand predestination. I’m a superior Christian. I’ve got all my theological “t”s crossed and my Reformed “i”s dotted. I sure am close to God. Pride is the Presbyterian’s favorite form of legalism, so watch out! But if God really is for us, and if we had nothing to do with that decision -- if even our faith was given to us by the Father -- then there’s no room for boasting. God’s sovereign choice of us leaves us free from pride. It leaves us aware of our brokenness and humble before God, but all the while confident that his eternal purpose will stand, that we will glory in God forever as objects of his saving mercy. As God’s eternal blessing really begins to sink from our heads into our hearts, we see a new freedom that we never would have imagined when we first encountered the raw, holy, sovereign power of God. Among the newfound freedoms:

1. Freedom from shame, guilt & Insecurity

Read Romans 8:28-39. Nothing can separate you from God’s love -- nothing in the past, nothing in the future. No one can stand against you. No one can accuse you. Even bad things (“all things”) are working right now to your benefit, to make you more like Jesus. God didn’t choose you because of your faith, and Jesus is not ashamed of you—even at your worst (Hebrews 2:11). He’s proud to have you in the family, proud to call you brother or sister -- even knowing what he knows. He’s displaying the glory of his mercy, remember. God’s law is no longer your enemy, but a friend. You can have confidence before God.

2. Freedom from destructive Perfectionism

If God really is for you, then you can quit trying to look good. If you’re trying to be good enough for God, he’s not buying it -- he didn’t choose you because of your great faithfulness. If you’re trying to be good enough for other people, don’t bother. God wants to display his mercy -- that means we have to be broken. God’s glory is not displayed by trying to look like you have it all together. Faith is not a work, and even if it were it still wouldn’t earn you any brownie points. Let God be God. If you won’t show your weakness, then others won’t see God’s power displayed in it.

3. Freedom from legalistic man-made rules

Some of the biggest practical opponents to living by grace are those legalistic little rules that we live by. We love to judge other with them -- they make us look good, and help us feel better about ourselves. (Pride again.) Dress this way, not that way. Wear this much makeup, not that much. Work. Don’t work. Home school is God’s way. Public school is God’s way. Christian school is God’s way. Drink. Don’t drink. Smoke. Don’t smoke. Dance. Don’t dance. This is God’s worship style. If we’re all about God’s glory, there’s no room for any of this. Do whatever you do for God’s glory without comparisons. God has freed you from judging others. You don’t understand God’ sovereign grace until you realize you are a beggar who’s been blessed without cause. You had nothing to do with it -- you’re just a receiver.

4. Freedom from Penance

Even repentance can be a sham if we’re trying to approach God with some vestige of self-reliance. Biblical repentance is a freedom we can enjoy daily, while penance is its counterfeit.

Repentance/Penance

Comes with empty hands/Tries to bargain with God

Acknowledges real sin as against God/Makes excuses for sin

Grieves over displeasing God/Grieves over getting caught

Asks for help to do better/Promises to do better

Is willing to publicly confess, if needed/Is too proud to publicly confess

Relies on God's promises to us/Relies on own promises to God

Turns outward, away from self, to God/Turns inward on self

Produces freedom, joy, and confidence/Produces guilty feelings, anxiety

God has obligated himself to receive any repentant sinner who comes to him. Without this realization, true repentance is impossible. Until we realize that God is for us, we cannot truly be for God.


TOPICS: Apologetics; History; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: christianity; grace; predestination; reformed
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1 posted on 11/13/2006 11:01:11 PM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; AZhardliner; ...

Last part of the series, Saints. A day late, but not a cent too short. 8~)


2 posted on 11/13/2006 11:04:25 PM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Thanks!

Great news to read in the morning. Now where is the coffee and donuts...?

(c;


3 posted on 11/14/2006 4:32:01 AM PST by Ottofire (Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius - Papal legate Arnaud-Amaury)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
"But Calvinists can fall into legalism just as easily. You see, I understand predestination. I’m a superior Christian. I’ve got all my theological “t”s crossed and my Reformed “i”s dotted. I sure am close to God. Pride is the Presbyterian’s favorite form of legalism, so watch out!"
_____________________________

Amen!

It sure is a shortcoming I have.
4 posted on 11/14/2006 5:09:55 AM PST by wmfights (Psalm : 27)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
(if you’re a believer) remember that you’re one of the elect!

Greg Johnson does not realize that there is a major problem in his theology here. No believer can know that he or she is one of the elect until death. Greg keeps telling people that they are elect, but Greg has no way of knowing who is elect and who is not.

-A8

5 posted on 11/14/2006 5:15:53 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
but all the while confident that his eternal purpose will stand, that we will glory in God forever as objects of his saving mercy.

Given the doctrine of limited atonement, and the fact of apostasy (those who seem to have saving faith but actually did not), what are the grounds of this confidence?

-A8

6 posted on 11/14/2006 5:19:15 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Read Romans 8:28-39. Nothing can separate you from God’s love --

Given the doctrines of reprobation, limited atonement, and apostasy, no one can know, in this life, whether one is joined to God's love in the first place.

-A8

7 posted on 11/14/2006 5:21:12 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
He’s proud to have you in the family, proud to call you brother or sister

Or, for all you know, proud to have created you to roast in hell forever.

-A8

8 posted on 11/14/2006 5:25:10 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Behavior has consequences!


9 posted on 11/14/2006 5:30:37 AM PST by G Larry (Only strict constructionists on the Supreme Court!)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Our hearts so quickly try to relate to God on a works-basis! It’s our pride, really. I’m convinced that that’s the problem with free-will Arminianism. People naturally process it like this: God requires one work from me, to believe. Once I believe, I’ve done my work and deserve heaven. Of course, in more hard-line Arminian circles, it goes a step further. Unless I’m holy enough, I’ll still go to hell, and maybe I’ve even committed the unpardonable sin and will be damned even if I’m sinlessly perfect from here on out. Legalism. Legalism. Legalism. Such a religion is barely recognizable as Christianity.

I couldn't agree more with this; especially the legalism part. I've also come to realize that assurance of salvation may not be quite the same thing as knowledge of salvation, and because of that there will be some of us who were assured (and I think I can say that I feel assured of God's Love for me, and that his Love will bring me home, when he calls me home) but wrongly so, because that requires a knowledge that only God has.

It's cognitive dissonance to say that salvation is of God, and then on the other hand command or suggest or imply, that I must say so many Hail Marys for my sins (and how did prayer become penance?), that I remember under penalty of grave sin that Holy Days of Obligation, are just that, an obligation. Not Love of God, but obligation. Just about everything Rome touches it tyrannizes; it's something deep in their marrow or it's driven by industry and money. I'm not really sure which, and if I had to guess, I'd say it's a little bit of both. It makes God the ultimate petty task master.

Right after I left Rome, I was going to give away my missal and catechism, both of which date back many years. What kept me from doing it, and I'm glad it did, because there's a good share in each that is profoundly worthy, is that I had this dream that I was dropping them off in the vestibule, and the doors shut in on me and I couldn't get out.

You might be interested to know that my missal refers a few times to 'Thine Elect.' The missal dates back to '62 and the catechism to '52. I acquired them when I returned after a couple of decades of thinking, something's off here, this may not be for me. And, what was always off, was the inveterate legalism that turns love into an obligation. And rendered the church itself incapable of loving, so that a pope could declare that one must be subject to the Roman Pontiff. Now all these years later, some ministry of nuance, tries to massage that message into something that can only be accepted by those bound and gagged by Rome's magisterium. Anyone outside that circle sees the spin for what it is. If Unam Sanctum (I hope I have the right Bull) can be re-cast, there's nothing in their arsenal that can't be recast. They give Pilates words, 'what is truth?', saliency again and again and again.

It is all of God, it is none of me. My being moves in His, that makes me calm and serene and joyful

10 posted on 11/14/2006 6:58:34 AM PST by AlbionGirl
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To: AlbionGirl; Dr. Eckleburg
Pilates should be Pilate's. Wouldn't want to confuse the guy who washed his hands and sealed his fate, with the abdominal core exercise guru.
11 posted on 11/14/2006 7:06:29 AM PST by AlbionGirl
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To: AlbionGirl

Amen, AG.

Post Tenebras Lux


12 posted on 11/14/2006 9:14:24 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: adiaireton8; AlbionGirl; Ottofire; wmfights
Hi, A8. Thanks for your four posts out of the 11 given on this thread. I'm pleased you're spending so much time reading Reformed doctrine.

no one can know, in this life, whether one is joined to God's love in the first place.

Well, we Reformers stand with Paul when he declares "for I know whom I have believed" (2 Timothy 1:12.)

Since you seem interested, please read the following excellent link by Loraine Boettner...

THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

"...Those who have fled to Jesus for refuge have a firm foundation upon which to build. Though floods of error deluge the land, though Satan raise all the powers of earth and all the iniquities of their own hearts against them, they shall never fail; but, persevering to the end, they shall inherit those mansions which have been prepared for them from the foundation of the world. The saints in heaven are happier but no more secure than are true believers here in this world. Since faith and repentance are gifts of God, the bestowing of these gifts is a revelation of God's purpose to save those to whom they are given. It is an evidence that God has predestinated the recipients of these gifts to be conformed to the image of His Son, i.e., to be like Him in character, destiny, and glory, and that He will infallibly carry out His purpose. No one can pluck them out of His hands. Those who once become true Christians have within themselves the principle of eternal life, which principle is the Holy Spirit; and since the Holy Spirit dwells within them they are already potentially holy. True, they are still exercised by many trials, and they do not yet see what they shall be, but they should know that that which is begun in them shall be completed to the end, and that the very presence of strife within them is the sign of life and the promise of victory..."

13 posted on 11/14/2006 9:41:02 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Well, we Reformers stand with Paul when he declares "for I know whom I have believed" (2 Timothy 1:12.)

Knowing whom you have believed is not the same as knowing that you are elect. Even those who will eventually fall away know whom they have believed. Is that the best you can do??

-A8

14 posted on 11/14/2006 11:04:58 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
It is almost as if you are in complete denial. One of Greg Johnson's classmates at the seminary from which Greg graduated, is now an atheist, though he was a devout believer, indistinguishable from his classmates while at seminary. His myspace page is here.

While in seminary Greg would have told him the same thing you quote from Boettner, "Since faith and repentance are gifts of God, the bestowing of these gifts is a revelation of God's purpose to save those to whom they are given. It is an evidence that God has predestinated the recipients of these gifts to be conformed to the image of His Son, i.e., to be like Him in character, destiny, and glory, and that He will infallibly carry out His purpose."

The imaginary world in which everyone who shows "faith and repentance" remains a believer until death is just that, imaginary. Reformed folk who claim otherwise are just deceiving themselves. It is if you are completely unaware (or in complete denial) about the *fact* of people who show "faith and repentance", and then go on to become God-hating atheists.

-A8

15 posted on 11/14/2006 12:11:44 PM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: adiaireton8; AlbionGirl; wmfights; Ottofire; HarleyD; 1000 silverlings; blue-duncan; Gamecock
Knowing whom you have believed is not the same as knowing that you are elect. Even those who will eventually fall away know whom they have believed

Respectfully, you are wrong. To truly know Christ is to be of Christ, to have been born of God.

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him...

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." -- 1 John 5:1,4

What man would deny Christ if he believed Him to be God? Those who fall away do not believe in the Trinity or in His divinity. Ask them. I have yet to find a non-believer who accepts the resurrection as fact. They have not been given eyes to see or ears to hear or a new heart with which to understand and believe.

Is that the best you can do??

To rest secure in His words that those who are His will believe in His name and follow Him and never be lost? Yes, that works for me.

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." -- John 6:35-40

"And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." -- Isaiah 46:4

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" -- Philippians 1:6

So relax, A8. God wants you confident that Christ has overcome the world. All the legalism of men does not benefit you one iota. Christ has redeemed you. No church nor magisterium nor men in robes can erase what God has given.

(All this is assuming, of course, you believe in the Trinitarian God of all creation and in Jesus Christ's perfect and complete atonement on the cross for every sin you have ever or will ever commit.)

If not, I guess you'll continue to worry and try to find something better.

16 posted on 11/14/2006 1:54:53 PM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
" I have yet to find a non-believer who accepts the resurrection as fact."
____________________________

So true Jesus was either a lunatic who died on the cross, or he was who he said he was, the son of God.
17 posted on 11/14/2006 3:10:54 PM PST by wmfights (Psalm : 27)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
To truly know Christ is to be of Christ, to have been born of God.

Reformed folks never tire of this equivocation.

Q. How do you know that you are elect?

A. Because we know Christ.

Q. But others who seemed just like yourselves to know Christ, fell away.

A. Right, but they did not really *know* Christ.

Q. So how do you know that your "really *know*" Christ?

A. Because we have "faith and repentance".

Q. But those who fell away sure seemed to have "faith and repentance".

A. Right, but they did not *really* have "faith and repentance".

Q. Ok, so how you know that you *really* have "faith and repentance"?

A. Because "To truly know Christ is to be of Christ".

So when you when you want to assure yourselves that you are elect, you apply all these verses to yourselves. But then when people fall away, these same verses by which you assured the apostates-to-be that they were elect, you then say that these verses didn't ever apply to the apostates. But then you always ignore the fact that this admission undermines your justification for presently using these verses to assure yourselves that you are not an apostate-to-be.

-A8

18 posted on 11/14/2006 8:06:53 PM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; adiaireton8; wmfights
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" -- Philippians 1:6

A great series, Dr. E. ! Thanks for posting. :)

There are tons of "assurance" verses in the Bible (the above being among my favorites). I can understand why a Catholic may have no assurance, (A8, I don't know if you are Catholic or not), because all of the assurance verses have been interpreted away by the hierarchy and salvation is partially dependent on the Church itself. But for anyone else, I don't understand how it profits a person to toss the assurance verses in favor of doubt and uncertainty. It would make sense if one admitted to believing in a works-based salvation, but even the Catholics deny that. I don't understand how a Christian life on earth is enhanced by questioning whether God really meant what He said in the Bible over and over and over again.

19 posted on 11/14/2006 8:23:41 PM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper
How do you know that the "assurance verses" apply to you?

-A8

20 posted on 11/14/2006 8:50:30 PM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: adiaireton8; Dr. Eckleburg; wmfights
How do you know that the "assurance verses" apply to you?

I believe that the Bible is God's inspired word, and is inerrant. Since God does not need the Bible Himself, I assume that He wrote it for the benefit of others, namely humans. Of those humans, the Bible says that to the lost the teachings of the Bible are nonsense, and are therefore of no use. So, I conclude that the Bible was written for the benefit of Christians.

This means that everything in the Bible applies to me (at the very least for educational purposes), if I am a Christian. I first know I am a Christian because God has given me the faith to know it. What is faith if a Christian cannot know he is a Christian? More objectively, the Bible describes in very great detail what a Christian looks like, what he believes, how he thinks, what he does, and says. Upon self-examination, I am satisfied that I look very much like a Christian, including the fact that I still sin.

Now, if I may have certainty that I am a Christian, and if I may also know that the Bible was written for my benefit, then I think it is fair for me to believe that the assurance verses apply to me. They were not written for the benefit of the reprobate, they were written for the benefit of us. So, I simply accept them with all the thanks I can muster in gratitude to God. He didn't have to give them to us, but He chose to. Praise God for it. Besides, of what value to any Christian are those verses if no one can know if they mean anything for him personally? Why did God include them?

21 posted on 11/14/2006 10:02:42 PM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper
Now, if I may have certainty that I am a Christian, and if I may also know that the Bible was written for my benefit, then I think it is fair for me to believe that the assurance verses apply to me. They were not written for the benefit of the reprobate, they were written for the benefit of us.

That seems rather circular. (Maybe Gamecock will bless us with his colorful illustration.) The assurance verses apply to you, because you are not reprobate; your certainty that you are not reprobate lies in the assurance verses.

The assurance verses apply to the elect of God. You cannot infallibly know you are among the elect of God until you know that you have the grace of final perseverance; you cannot (without a special revelation) infallibly know that until it happens. (I say "infallibly" because you can certainly have a moral assurance or certitude sustained by the virtue of hope.)

22 posted on 11/14/2006 10:28:46 PM PST by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: Forest Keeper
I first know I am a Christian because God has given me the faith to know it.

But all those Christians who later apostasize think they know that they have faith when in fact they do not really know that they have faith. So how do you know you are not one of those people who thinks he knows that he has faith when in fact he does not really know that he has faith? In other words, how do you know that you are not an apostate-to-be? (Appealing to the 'assurance verses' here would simply beg the question, because it would assume precisely what you are trying to prove, namely, that the 'assurance verses' apply to you.)

-A8

23 posted on 11/14/2006 10:36:45 PM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Campion
That seems rather circular. ... The assurance verses apply to you, because you are not reprobate; your certainty that you are not reprobate lies in the assurance verses.

Well, that isn't what I said. You copied my summation paragraph. I earlier explained how I arrived at that point. I asserted that the Bible is inerrant and was written only for the benefit of Christians, therefore it applies to all Christians. In addition, I asserted that I may be certain of my own Christianity both from a spiritual perspective, and from an objective perspective based on what the inerrant Bible tells us about what Christians look like (not the assurance verses). From here, I said that if I may know that I am Christian, and I may know that the Bible was written for the benefit of Christians, then the assurance verses, (along with all other verses) must be for my benefit.

However, if I cannot know whether these verses apply to me, then what possible good are they to anyone? What is taught here? If no one may actually rightfully have assurance, then there is no point to assurance verses, is there? For Paul's part (and assuming a non works-based salvation model), he wrote his assurance verses to a specific audience at the time. What did he want them to think?

The assurance verses apply to the elect of God. You cannot infallibly know you are among the elect of God until you know that you have the grace of final perseverance ...

I believe only God is infallible, so I would never put my knowledge on a par with His. However, I do believe I can have all the assurance a human can have. I am not sure how anyone could have the knowledge of the "grace of final perseverance" (if I am understanding what you are saying) since with his last dying thought he could presumably blow the whole thing. Thankfully, along with the raft of assurance verses is another raft of perseverance verses, wherein God promises that His elect will indeed persevere. Some of those verses serve both purposes.

24 posted on 11/14/2006 11:30:17 PM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: adiaireton8; Dr. Eckleburg; wmfights
In other words, how do you know that you are not an apostate-to-be? (Appealing to the 'assurance verses' here would simply beg the question, because it would assume precisely what you are trying to prove, namely, that the 'assurance verses' apply to you.)

Well, I suppose this question boils down to how I would distinguish myself from the next guy who might have the same knowledge I do and says the same things I say, but then he falls away permanently. I do not think it is possible to "prove" that difference to you or anyone else. Only God and I know what my faith truly is. So, I can report to you things like I know that God has actively worked in my life since my conversion, and that those workings directly match what is foretold in the Bible for all Christians, but you can't "know" it the way I "know" it. The same is true in reverse.

We can only know for sure what is in our own hearts. I personally have never known someone who "convinced" me he was a Christian and then later fell away permanently. That is not at all to say that very convincing people have never fallen away, of course that has happened, but I can't compare what the heart of a false believer looks like (from the outside) to my own through my experience.

From a practical standpoint, how does it benefit me as a Christian to disregard how the assurance and perseverance verses speak personally to me? One possibility would be if they "moved" me to sloth, but they do not because I am well aware of the multitudes of other verses that cover the subject. So, if my "objective" and honest reading of those verses is the Reformed view, then why should I reject that? They bolster my faith and thanksgiving to God.

Now, if it turns out that I really am a pretender, then by my own beliefs there is still nothing I could ever do to change that. God would have been using me in my pretender role all along for His purposes. Glory be to God for that if it was true. This is partly why I can have assurance. WHATEVER the truth is, it's all in God's hands, not mine. Therefore, I will spend my life living with assurance in Christ and His promises, as I understand them, and not worry about whether I am a pretender. Either way, it will be to God's glory, and that is all I could ever truly want.

25 posted on 11/15/2006 12:50:40 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper
"Only God and I know what my faith truly is. So, I can report to you things like I know that God has actively worked in my life since my conversion, and that those workings directly match what is foretold in the Bible for all Christians,..."
____________________________

Congrats to your Cardinals, heck of a year. Maybe my White Sox will see your Cardinals in the series next year. :-)

FWIW, my favorite assurance verse is John 6:37 "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."

In response to the idea that you can't truly know you are of the elect I say pray. Every time I've had doubts I've prayed and a calm assurance came over me. In John 6:37 Jesus is not putting any strings on those who come to him. Our conduct, thinking and relationship with God are changed due to our being one of the elect. We do not do go through those changes to become one.
26 posted on 11/15/2006 6:10:25 AM PST by wmfights (Psalm : 27)
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To: Forest Keeper
Now, if it turns out that I really am a pretender

If you knew you were elect, you would never acknowledge the possibility that it could turn out that you are really a pretender. Therefore, since you don't know whether you are elect, you don't know now that on Judgment Day you will be welcomed into His Kingdom.

-A8

27 posted on 11/15/2006 6:19:20 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
All the legalism of men does not benefit you one iota. Christ has redeemed you

What about the legalism Christ has commanded of you? Are those that repeat Christ's words, ie " Go and sin no more" not benefiting all?

28 posted on 11/15/2006 6:21:58 AM PST by sausageseller (Look out for the jackbooted spelling police. There! Everywhere!(revised cause the "man" accosted me!)
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To: wmfights
FWIW, my favorite assurance verse is John 6:37 "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."

. It is not worth anything as an "assurance verse" (in the Calvinistic sense of assurance) since you don't know whether you are elect, therefore you don't know whether you are one of those whom the Father has given to Christ.

In response to the idea that you can't truly know you are of the elect I say pray. Every time I've had doubts I've prayed and a calm assurance came over me.

Are you a Mormon? They all talk like this. So do charismatics. That's the gnostic move: base everything on your subjective internal experience. Apparently, in your opinion, no apostates-to-be get warm assurance fuzzies when they pray about whether they are elect.

In John 6:37 Jesus is not putting any strings on those who come to him. Our conduct, thinking and relationship with God are changed due to our being one of the elect.

Have you never experienced fellow [seeming] believers who later apostasized? You seem to be clueless about their existence. Many apostates have undergone major changes in conduct and thinking when becoming Christian, only to lose their faith later on.

-A8

29 posted on 11/15/2006 7:50:25 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: adiaireton8; Dr. Eckleburg
No believer can know that he or she is one of the elect until death.

Then it is Providential that I have already died and my life is hid with Christ in God.

post tenebras lux,

30 posted on 11/15/2006 8:14:53 AM PST by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Lord_Calvinus
I am speaking of death of the body. You know that, so apparently you enjoy confusing the issue, instead of bringing light.

-A8

31 posted on 11/15/2006 8:26:08 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
One last thing on the pit of legalism. Back on the Luther/Erasmus thread, I quoted a Pastor who had remarked that once a person is burned by legalism, he jumps out of the legalism ditch, breathes the Freedom that is in Christ, goes a bit hogwild (not in sin, but in temperment, that is bucking any philosophical demands) and hurls himself into the anti-nomian ditch. He also remarked that how long one remained there would depend on how badly he had been burned by legalism.

I think that's an accurate description of what I went through, but it didn't take too long before God grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and placed me firmly on his pronomian, covenantal, higher ground.

Way back when, someone remarked that true freedom would come when the last monarch was strangled by the entrails of the last priest. Can't remember who that quote is from, but I think it dates back a few centuries. A quote like that emerges because of solid things. When you read the history of Christianity, up until the Reformation occurred, you can't help but notice how suffused God became in the rules and relics industry. The relics industry comprised a pretty decent percentage of the gross national product. It wasn't just about piety. Calvin was right, the mind is an idol factory, beginning and ending with idolization of self: "After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" Gal.3:3.

Some good men who, in grievous error, would impose the law as a rule of life (means of salvation) for the believer mean very well by it (for they strive to be pious); but the whole principle is false. The law, instead of being a rule of life, is necessarily a rule of death to one who has a sin nature. Far from being a delivering power, it can only condemn such. Far from being a means of holiness, it is, in fact, and according to Paul, "the strength of sin" (I Cor. 15:56). - W. Kelly

32 posted on 11/15/2006 8:32:31 AM PST by AlbionGirl
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To: wmfights
Congrats to your Cardinals, heck of a year. Maybe my White Sox will see your Cardinals in the series next year. :-)

Thank you! I hope the Sox come back next year too. They have a great team. I'd love to see an I-55 series. :)

In response to the idea that you can't truly know you are of the elect I say pray. Every time I've had doubts I've prayed and a calm assurance came over me.

I agree. Occasionally over the years I have caught myself over-anaylizing, and when that has happened, prayer has always worked. God gave us minds to use, and of course sometimes we will get a little off track. But just like the Bible says, God always brings His elect back.

33 posted on 11/15/2006 9:30:09 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Forest Keeper
I personally have never known someone who "convinced" me he was a Christian and then later fell away permanently.

It's true that we cannot know what is really in someone's heart... unless God explicitly tells us, as in the case of Simon the sorceror in Acts 8. That chapter tells us "Simon himself believed and was baptized." Not that he claimed to believe, or seemed to believe, but that he DID believe & was baptized. Yet according to Peter, Simon is subsequently in a condemned state when he addresses him in verses 20-23.

34 posted on 11/15/2006 9:43:01 AM PST by Sloth (The GOP is to DemonRats in politics as Michael Jackson is to Jeffrey Dahmer in babysitting.)
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To: adiaireton8; Dr. Eckleburg; wmfights
FK: "Now, if it turns out that I really am a pretender ..."

If you knew you were elect, you would never acknowledge the possibility that it could turn out that you are really a pretender. Therefore, since you don't know whether you are elect, you don't know now that on Judgment Day you will be welcomed into His Kingdom.

I am acknowledging no such thing. :) I am simply using a similar technique that I sometimes use while witnessing. Sometimes I will adopt the lost person's POV and suppose that there is no God. From that starting point, I then try to get them to understand why that doesn't make sense. For the intended purpose I am not acknowledging the possibility that God doesn't exist. It is similar here. I was saying that even in the worst case scenario, supposing that you were correct about the possibility, it would have no effect on how I live my life or what my beliefs are. My "attempt" was to show that it makes no sense to not have assurance when there is clearly Biblical support for it AND (if you do not have a works-based salvation model) it shouldn't affect how you live your life either way. My assurance is a benefit in my life and helps me to be closer to God. As I asked, what is the benefit to your view? What do you do differently because you are unsure?

35 posted on 11/15/2006 9:57:02 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: sausageseller; Lord_Calvinus; HarleyD; Frumanchu; Gamecock; AlbionGirl
What about the legalism Christ has commanded of you? Are those that repeat Christ's words, ie " Go and sin no more" not benefiting all?

Thanks. That's an interesting thought.

Christians do not obey Christ out of a ceremonial legalism. We obey Christ out of a moral compulsion which has been given to us by His atonement.

Consider there's a stop sign along a country road. It's midnight and no one is around. The reprobate will run the stop sign without fear of legal retribution simply because none is around at the time.

The man acquitted by Christ will stop at the stop sign because his heart has been changed to obey a moral principal higher than expediency.

Christ's commandments are not legalisms; they are reminders of our status before God -- do this because you have been redeemed.

36 posted on 11/15/2006 9:59:02 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: Forest Keeper; wmfights

Ping to 36. I'm waaay behind. 8~)


37 posted on 11/15/2006 10:02:08 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: adiaireton8; Dr. Eckleburg
Or, for all you know, proud to have created you to roast in hell forever.

And if that is God's choice, then I deserve it. So do you. So does the Doc.

We ALL deserve Hell, every single one of us. It's only by God's grace that ANY of us might not get what we deserve.

38 posted on 11/15/2006 10:02:21 AM PST by Terabitten
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To: Terabitten
Amen, Terabitten.

There but for the grace of God go you and I.

39 posted on 11/15/2006 10:17:28 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: adiaireton8; Forest Keeper; Terabitten; AlbionGirl; wmfights; Lord_Calvinus; Gamecock; HarleyD; ...
How do you know that the "assurance verses" apply to you?

I think if you spent more time actually reading Scripture rather than interrogating it, you'd understand more fully. To question those "assurance verses" is to question the work of the Holy Spirit within you.

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." -- Ezekiel 36:26

If a man is compelled to read the Bible and obey God, it is because he is no longer living for himself. Christ lives within him.

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." -- Galatians 4:6

"But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." -- Galatians 5:18

To question the assurance of our salvation, as given us in Scripture by God, is to deny Christ on the cross. Did He die for your sins? Did He rise from the dead? Is it all true?

"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." -- Hebrews 10:14

How do we know we are sanctified? We look around and observe the fruits of our lives.

"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(For the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord." -- Ephesians 5:8-10

"Proving" His grace; not earning it.

40 posted on 11/15/2006 10:38:59 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg
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To: Sloth
It's true that we cannot know what is really in someone's heart... unless God explicitly tells us, as in the case of Simon the sorceror in Acts 8. That chapter tells us "Simon himself believed and was baptized."

My opinion is that we are given enough information to conclude that this Simon's "belief" was not sufficient for salvation. He was a textbook pretender. In verse 13 we are told that he "believed", but we are also given a reason why he followed Philip. It wasn't because he had faith in Christ, it was because Philip was a better "magician" than he was. I think he was awed in a professional sense. We are told earlier that Simon was very full of himself because of his opinion of his skills, so this makes sense.

Then a short time later, as you point out, Peter drops the bomb on him for trying to buy God's gift. This also tells me that Simon never had saving faith because we see zero change in Simon. He acts just as he did before he "believed". The Bible is clear that with true regeneration, there is a change in the believer. The heart of stone is replaced with a heart of flesh. We see none of this with Simon. Even Simon's prayer request betrays his true heart. He doesn't ask for a repentant heart, he asks to escape punishment. It is clear to me that Simon never really got it. Every thought we are given from Simon after he "believed" was about himself. To me, this in incompatible with saving faith.

41 posted on 11/15/2006 11:08:46 AM PST by Forest Keeper
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To: Terabitten
You missed the point. The point was not about dessert, but about knowledge of God's stance toward oneself.

-A8

42 posted on 11/15/2006 11:12:01 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: G Larry
Behavior has consequences!

That it does. Man's behavior, since the Garden of Eden, has been corrupted by his fallen nature and we can do nothing but sin -- "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." -- Romans 14:23

So men's behavior condemns them.

But it is Christ's behavior which saves them. Christ, who takes upon Himself the punishment rightly due His sheep and pays for every sin they will ever commit in order to present them acquitted before God.

"I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." -- 1 Corinthians 1:4-9


43 posted on 11/15/2006 11:13:00 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose))
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
So I ask you how you know that the "assurance verses" apply to you, and you simply quote "assurance verses" to me.

That's called "begging the question".

Regarding the "bearing of fruit", apostates-to-be also bear faux-fruit. So how do you know that your fruit is *true* fruit, and not faux-fruit?

-A8

44 posted on 11/15/2006 11:15:01 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: adiaireton8
So I ask you how you know that the "assurance verses" apply to you, and you simply quote "assurance verses" to me.

Because you place less value on Scripture than I do, I can understand your making that remark. I "quote Scripture" because I believe Scripture.

Thus, I realize if I was talking to a Russian or a Guatemalan and using the U.S. Constitution as evidence, they would have a difficult time accepting the validity of my argument.

So how do you know that your fruit is *true* fruit, and not faux-fruit?

LOL. Because Scripture tells me what to look for.

How does an RC like yourself know you are on the right track? Because the men of the church tell you so, right?

You believe the magisterium and I believe Scripture.

45 posted on 11/15/2006 11:22:46 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose))
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To: Forest Keeper
supposing that you were correct about the possibility, it would have no effect on how I live my life or what my beliefs are. My "attempt" was to show that it makes no sense to not have assurance when there is clearly Biblical support for it AND (if you do not have a works-based salvation model) it shouldn't affect how you live your life either way. My assurance is a benefit in my life and helps me to be closer to God.

I'm not denying that having assurance has pragmatic benefits. But, I don't believe things merely because they have pragmatic benefits; I believe things because they are true. And what I am asking you is how you now know for sure that it is true that at the Final Judgment you will be received into heaven. And I've studied your post #25, and I cannot find any explanation there of how you now know for sure that it is true that at the Final Judgment you will be received into heaven.

-A8

46 posted on 11/15/2006 11:26:22 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
A8: So I ask you how you know that the "assurance verses" apply to you, and you simply quote "assurance verses" to me.

Dr.E: Because you place less value on Scripture than I do, I can understand your making that remark. I "quote Scripture" because I believe Scripture.

I value Scripture no less than you. This is not about *valuing* Scripture; this about *interpreting* Scripture. You are interpreting certain "assurance verses" as applying to you. I'm asking you how you know that those verses apply to you. The answer to the question: "How do you know that those assurance verses apply to you?" is not "Because I value Scripture".

-A8

47 posted on 11/15/2006 11:30:22 AM PST by adiaireton8 ("There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse." - Plato, Phaedo 89d)
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To: adiaireton8
This is not about *valuing* Scripture; this about *interpreting* Scripture.

LOL. This is about clear words spoken by God, pitted against the machinations of men who seek to confuse, deflect and disarm.

It's just not that difficult. If my kids can understand Christ risen, so can any man with ears to hear and eyes to see and a new heart, all given by God for His glory.

Did Christ die on the cross to pay for your sins and did He rise from the dead in order to prove it true?

If God has given you the grace to assent to this sentence, rejoice. You have been redeemed. And while it feels like it's all happening in real time, it was actually ordained by God from before the foundation of the world in order to bring glory to His name.

48 posted on 11/15/2006 11:37:17 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose))
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Another verse:

Romans 8:38-39 "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

IOW, if you are one of Jesus's there is NOTHING that will be able to pull you away from him.
49 posted on 11/15/2006 11:41:18 AM PST by wmfights (Psalm : 27)
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To: Terabitten
We ALL deserve Hell, every single one of us. It's only by God's grace that ANY of us might not get what we deserve.

Amen. "Deserve's got nothing to do with it." -- William Munny.

50 posted on 11/15/2006 11:43:08 AM PST by Dr. Eckleburg (("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose))
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