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Hi Erica,

Thanks for writing. Re: Jn.15:10 you still avoid the connection between vs 10 & 12. Instead try to read the law into the words of Jesus. You continue,


>>Jesus did not need to spell it out, the only way mankind can have their sins forgiven and be able to receive the gift of eternal life is to be baptized into Christ death. Romans 6:3<<

Yet when Jesus spoke Christian "baptism" had not been introduced. You widened the word" whatsoever" to mean anything and read 'baptism' into the text. What's next? Jesus emphasized that His,"...command is (to) Love each other as (He has) loved (them)".

Many religious sects teach water baptism is essential for salvation and require converts be baptized into their group and accept their doctrines or they cannot be saved, i.e., Christadelphian's, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Armstrong churches, etc. Which of these sects are you from? They all view themselves as the only true people of God. While baptism is important it does not wash away sin. Only the power of the blood of Jesus can. Grace has always been the means whereby one can come to God and receive sins forgiven. Concerning John 15:13-14 you continue -


>>The verse says whatsoever I command you, Jesus gave many commandments. Even if it was just the one you mention it is still a commandment that mankind has to keep for Jesus' sacrifice to be related to them.<<

But "whatsoever" becomes anything and everything you say. Jesus also commanded the disciples NOT to take shoes, a bag, a purse NOR go to the Gentiles [Mt.10:5-6 Lk.10:4-16] should we include that? Are you are unaware that Jesus says these words [and many others] to His disciples before His death burial and resurrection? He came to Israel [Jn.1:11] those "under the law" [Gal.4:4-5], He taught the message of the Kingdom [Mt.3:2 4:17 5:3 Mk.4:26 Lk.8:1] but the message of the cross could not be preached till after the cross. The Good News of His atonement for sin was yet to be proclaimed.

If you realize this you won't mix-up salvation with law and works. Because you clearly are confused - one minute you insist we can't earn eternal life, the next you insist we must keep all the commands to receive eternal life. Your play on words, means the words"command" or 'whatsoever' places the burden of the law on Christians. And are critical of me because I don't obey the doctrines of your sect. You wrote,


>>Jesus does not say to become my friends ye must be baptized but that you must keep my commandmets, baptisum is only part of it. Matthew 28:19-20 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."<<

Baptism is important but it's not a work to earn salvation. The thief on the cross wasn't baptized yet was assured of paradise with Jesus. Paul said that he was happy he baptized 'only a few' [1 Cor.1:14]. Strange language if baptism is another requirement 'command' to enter eternity.

Salvation is not earned after a life of trying to keep rules and commands. This belittles the work of the cross and denies the sinfulness of sin. It makes the love of God seem half-hearted and the power of Christ's atonement becomes weak and frail. Such striving is a human work, which questions any claim of 'faith in Christ only'. Eph.2:8 says salvation is"...NOT of yourselves" which indicates Jesus' sacrifice was enough and acceptable to God [you are yet to explain that verse].

Many claim they obey the Great Commission and teach, baptize, and make disciples. Christadelphian's, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholics [but none of these guarantee salvation]. So then, salvation is not by keeping commandments, no matter how noble the conditions they specify. Often the conditions are just clauses to retain converts and require loyalty to a sect. They insist one can be saved one day and lost the next, so must strive [work] for salvation. Knock on doors, or give money, some people are happy to work, it makes them feel good, but that's not God's way. It's often because they haven't had a 'new birth' and so lack the assurance of salvation (because of the heretical doctrines of the sect). You wrote,


>>Our best works are imperfect and the only way to EARN eternal life would be to be perfect, this is why we DO NOT EARN it, it is given to them through Gods grace that have tried to live according to Gods ways and so their sins are forgiven them for Jesus's sake.<<

A CONTRADICTION to what you said and what you say below. You suggest keeping 'whatsoever' commands (or "conditions - baptism") are NECESSARY to "obtain eternal life". Yet none have eternal life [salvation uncertain] and yet here you say, one CAN NOT "earn eternal life". SEE THE CONTRADICTION? If there's no contradiction, why do you use Abraham's and Rahab's WORKS to argue justification by WORKS?

Your "best works" [which don't "earn eternal life"] are nothing else than trying "to live according to God's ways" [to "obtain eternal life"]. Your faith is in your effort. Salvation is only through what God has done [in Christ] for you, not the other way around. It's what you put your faith in that makes the difference.

You can't keep yourself saved by diligence, effort, resisting and striving. Does God need Erica to save Erica or Erica will become lost? But, "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? [Prov 20:9] I'm not saying good works are unimportant, or trying to live according to Scripture is unimportant but that they are insufficient for salvation. All the trying in the world will not receive God's pardon for sin. You wrote,

>>James is not saying their faith is fake (Matthew 7:1 "Judge not, that ye be not judged," only God knows the heart of man), he is saying it is dead because it is not accompanied by works, this is evident also from James 2:21-26 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.<<

Look at Genesis 15:6. We read that Abraham believed the Lord and He counted it to him for righteousness. Here Abraham was justified by believing; in other words, he was justified by faith. It is not till we come to Genesis 22 that we find Abraham offering up his son. It is then, that he was justified by works. As soon as Abraham believed in the Lord he was justified in the sight of God. But then, seven chapters latter, God put Abraham's faith to the test and he demonstrated it was genuine faith by willingness to offer up Isaac. His obedience showed that his faith was not merely a head belief, but a heart commitment. You mentioned about Rahab -

>>Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.<<

She [a harlot] was certainly not saved by a good character but justified by works receiving the messengers. She had heard the reports of the God of the Hebrew army and concluded He was the true God, so she identified herself with Him and the spies. And so, proved the genuineness of her faith by harbouring the spies. Some use this to prove salvation is by good works. But their definition of good works is giving to charity, paying your debts, telling the truth and going to church. Were these the good works of Abraham and Rahab? No not at all. In Abraham's case it was a willingness to kill his son. In Rahab's case it was treason. If you remove faith from these works, they would be evil rather than good. They would be bad works apart from faith. With faith they are life-works. Or are you telling me salvation is by murder and treason, if you have faith? You wrote,

>>If you had carried on the end of the chapter you would have seen that the man that seemed to be religious was not because he did not bridleth his tongue and that pure religion requires visiting the fatherless etc. (works). James 1:26-27 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.<<

In these verses James contrasts vain religion and true religion. Religion here means the external patterns of behaviour connected with religious belief. It refers to outward forms rather than the inward spirit. It means the outer expression of belief in worship and service rather than doctrines believed. A man might think himself to be religious, but if he can't control his tongue, his religion is vain. Obviously it is a spurious faith, not genuine saving faith. As I said, that "faith" James described is a 'fake faith'. You wrote,

>>John 3:36 says he that believeth on the son hath everlasting life, this can not mean that just to believe is necessary because as you your self has said baptism is also necessary,<<

No, you introduced the subject of baptism. I made no claim it's necessary for 'eternal life'. Jn.3:36 indicates those who have had the new birth [Jn.3:5-8] "have [NOT "might have"] eternal life". You wrote,

>>so it is not just the belief in but note a belief on Jesus, belief on all that he has proclaimed. The verse is saying those who receive everlasting life are those who have believed what Jesus has told them. Jesus has told us in order to receive everlasting life we must keep his commandments.<<

"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment" [1 Jn.3:23]. Christ's atonement guarantees salvation [Rom.4:24 6:8 10:10-11]. Those who do not believe are condemned [Mk.16:16 Lk.8:12 Jn.3:18 8:24]. Its "those who believe [who] are the children of Abraham" [Gal 3:7]. If salvation depends on keeping the law, conditions, and works why do the Scriptures say Christ, "...abolished in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations? [Eph 2:15]. Obviously "...a man is not justified by the works of the law" (or commandments) [Gal.2:16]. "Consider Abraham: he believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." "Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham " [Gal 3:6-7]. Concerning 1 Jn.5:11-13 you say -

>>This does not say mankind has been given the gift of eternal life now, it says V11"And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is IN the son." This is telling us how you get eternal life you must have the son and as we have seen in (John 15:13-14 to have the son you must keep his commandments.<<

The verse disagrees with your interpretation. This life is IN the Son and it's abundantly clear 'he that hath the son hath life' [not 'yet to have life' or "how to get life"]. John says, 'God has given us eternal life' [not a future tense]. Why do you try to work for what God has gives freely? John says, "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" [1 Jn 5:13]. John wants me to "know" that I "have eternal life" why do you want me to think that's not true? [The doctrines of your sect?]. I can come before my Saviour in confidence [1 Jn.5:14-15] a confidence you don't have. You wrote,

>>If what you confrim is so then it would contradict John 6:27 & 40, Acts13:48, Romans 2:7, 5:21,6:22, 1 Tim 6:19, Titus 1:2 3:7, Matt 19:29, 1 John 5:1-3, and 2 John :6.<<

Allow me to comment on each of these verses.
Jn.6:27 & 40 And what is the "work" to receive eternal life? 29 "Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." [Jn.6:29] It is they who have 'eternal life' [Jn.6:40].


Acts 13:48. Those who believed are appointed for "eternal life". That's a wonderful! Those who believe are "appointed" for "eternal life". Certain assurance, don't you think?

Rom.2:7, 5:21,6:22. Note the three tenses of salvation. It's spoken of as - in the past "we were saved" [Rom.8:24] in the present "being saved" [1 Cor.1:18] and in the future "will be saved" [1 Cor.3:15]. In that sense, there's no contradiction, "nothing can separate us from His love".

1 Tim 6:19. Laying hold on eternal life cannot be done by good works. And works can even be the reason why God withholds His grace and salvation. Those who 'work' often don't think they need a Saviour. But eternal life comes only from the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. Like you wrote "
we DO NOT EARN it, it is given to them through Gods grace".

Titus 1:2 3:7. Matt 19:29. My comments on these passages are in my last email. Read it. Since you didn't challenged that I won't repeat my comment.

1 Jn.5:1-3. 2 Jn:6. This confirms what I first wrote. "By this we know that we love the children of God" Our love of God's followers is a proof that we love God. Our love to God is the cause why we love his children, this is how keeping the commandments of God is the proof that we love him. Verse 3. "For this is the love of God" This the love of God necessarily produces. It is vain to pretend love to God while we live in opposition to his will. "His commandments" are to love him with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves, they are not grievous, burdensome; for no man is burdened with the duties which his own love imposes. The old proverb explains the meaning of the apostle's words, Love feels no loads. Love to God brings strength from God; through his love and his strength, all his commandments are not only easy and light, but also pleasant and delightful. You return to Mk.10:30 Lk.18:30 and write,

>>Here you miss the point, the point is that they do not receive everlasting life until the age to come and not at the time of conversion<<

But I maintain that the life which I have received was given to me [in the past Act 13:48 1 Tim.6:12 2 Tim.1:9 1 Jn.3:14 Eph.2:1 2:5]. I have it now [present Jn.6:54 10:28-29 2 Cor.4:12 Rom.6:4 Gal.2:20] and will receive it's fullness in the future [Rom.2:7 8:11]. If you do not have that life now there is something seriously wrong. You see "the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death" [Rom 7:10-11]. For it's "the Spirit (that) gives life" not keeping the commandments [2 Cor.3:6] and the new life is lived, "by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" [Gal.2:20]. If keeping commandments "could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law" [Gal.3:21]. Christians focus on Christ NOT the law - why don't you? You wrote,

>>John 10:28 Note verse 27 I know them, Jesus knows who is true followers are and they have eternal life in the sense that it is assured to true followers, but this does not take away the fact that they do not actually receive it until the judgment. Only if you say they receive eternal life on conversion does a problem arise.<<

Do they "have eternal life" or not? They either "have eternal life" or don't have it. Jesus made it very clear they do [Jn.3:36]. Legalism is only reason why some deny eternal life is given at conversion. Let me repeat again - 1 Jn.5:11-13: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

In the grammar and context of this passage eternal life (eionion zoes) is the present possession of every believer in Christ, and if the term "eternal life" does not include conscious fellowship then the whole NT meaning is destroyed. The Holy Spirit used the present indicative active of the verb echo, expressing present, continuous action. Thus we see that the believer, having been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, already possesses never-ending life as a continuing quality of conscious existence.

Your definition of "
true followers", are people who keep commandments, you have no mention of a new birth. You offer no guarantee that any can be saved without observing the 'conditions' you specify.

Your doctrine has a name, 'Legalism'. The belief justification is partly by grace and law, and grace is given to enable an otherwise helpless sinner to keep the law. When legalists write to me they say 'You can't earn salvation' and then 'If you don't keep the law you can't be saved'. Over and over contradicting themselves. Affirming what they strenuously deny.

This is NOT the gospel of the grace of God, but "another gospel". The word gospel means 'good news' your message is not good news. It's the error of "Synergism", the teaching that we cooperate with God in our efforts for salvation. You are synergistic if you teach that God's grace, combined with human efforts are what makes forgiveness of sins possible. The Bible does not allow anyone to do this. Scripture teaches good works have nothing to do with one entering a right relationship with God. This relationship is nothing we can earn, because God has done everything.

Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us."
Eph 2:8 " For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast". You wrote,

>> All in christ shall stand before the judgement seat. Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen. Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.<<

There are two main judgments of Scripture. One for unregenerate mankind [Deut.32:36 Ps 1:4 1Sa 2:10 Ec 3:17 Ro 3:6 Heb 13:4] and the other for God's people - called 'Bema' [Greek]. The "Bema Judgment Seat of Christ" denotes a place of assembly where God's children will receive rewards for their faithfulness to the Lord. Some will suffer loss [1 Cor.3:15] but the purpose is not to decide who receives eternal life. That was decided on earth, their salvation is secure, those He gives eternal life, "shall never perish" [Jn.10:28]. The other judgment is a fearful event of condemnation where no child of God will stand - they 'shall not be condemned but pass from death unto life'. You wrote,

>>I your own words I will say this to you "Having looked at your website I see that you are the victim of a spiritual deception. You will disagree. And I have no doubt that your mind is made-up and on one can change it. You will be close-minded when others would see the light. You will refuse to see while others would be willing to see [2 Cor 4:4]. Those who find security in a false system fail to see the truth. Facts and truth make no difference to them. But this doesn't stop me from wanting to help. there's a chance the "Spirit of Truth" will speak to your heart and you will seek the truth. You are Zealous for the doctrines of a sect rather than for "the doctrine of Christ" [1Jn 9]. The later we have in the Scriptures; the former we encounter in various systems of human error, which use Scripture to bolster false doctrine."<<

BUT I know the person who wrote that and WHO he wrote to. I know the reason he penned the words and must say that those words don't apply to him. They are true of those he wrote to. He is not part of a sect, cult, narrow minded nor blind. He has not contradicted, avoided, side-tracked, or buffed his belief. He answers every point, is open and willing to discuss. And when quoting him, he appreciates quotes in context and not misrepresenting the truth. You wrote,

>>Thank you for your time and comments, I have not doubt that you will disagree with what I have written, and as I can find no validation in the scriptures to what you have written I will no longer waste your or my time by writing agian. Regards Erica.<<

I was willing to "help" but you think it's a 'waste of time writing again'. I read your comments and answered the issues, although most of my last letters were ignored. So whose 'closed minded'?

If I'm in error convince me of 'the truth' if you think you have it. Truth fears no foe. And salvation is THE most important subject to occupy with. So list all the '
conditions' needed to get to heaven. Because it appears to me you are not telling all.

Don't ignore the 'Spirit of Truth'. You have much to say about commands "I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? " [Gal 3:2-3]. The Bible says, "All our righteous acts are as filthy rags" in God's sight [Isa.64:6]. "Dead in sins" [Eph.2:1]. What can a dead man do to come alive? How then how can good deeds make us alive to God? And then, be good enough for heaven? Jesus said, we "MUST BE BORN AGAIN [or] born of the Spirit" [Jn.3:6-7]. Have you been born again?

Regards
Mark

"You don't need to be a wicked perverted person to incur the wrath of God. It is sufficient to ignore Jesus"



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