BIBLICAL SALVATION DANGEROUS MISCONCEPTIONS ANSWERED
Studies In Bible Doctrine
MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY
I was raised in an Independent Baptist church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a four year old I was led to ask Jesus into my heart to save me, and a year later was baptized. I was told this was what it took to be secure for Heaven, have my sins forgiven (past, present, and future); and no matter what I did, or how I lived, I could not lose my home in Heaven.
At age fifteen, the fruit of heretical doctrine was evident in my life. If you had asked me if I was secure for Heaven, I would have said, "Yes, I prayed the prayer and got baptized". However, since I was taught that this is all it took -- this is all I did. Though kept in church, I lived just like the world, except for the boundaries set by my parents. I did all I could safely get by with, and still be accepted by my peers and parents. How I lived and talked depended on which group I was with. I had no concept of a living, obeying faith in God, or of genuine repentance; not to mention "laboring to be accepted of him" (II Cor. 5:9); or "perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Cor. 7:1); or "bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Cor. 10:4,5). Instead I was in advanced math classes planning to be a chemical engineer and make "lots" of money.
My mother was concerned about how my brother and I were living, and encouraged us to go to a youth camp the summer of 1982. That summer an evangelist preached hard on repentance and judgement day. I went forward with a broken heart and prayed, "God, really forgive me this time, I want to know you and live for you". In Baptist terminology I had "surrendered my life to full-time service"; however, later in studying Scripture I realized this was my true conversion experience, and requested "Believer's Baptism". Baptists often rail on the Catholics for baptizing infants, but baptizing young children, as they now do, was considered baptizing infants when the controversy started in the dark ages.
My own confusion and frustration in deciding when I was "saved" probably started my lack of confidence in modern Baptist doctrine and practice, but I didn't know enough to answer my questions, and my Baptist leaders only gave me the Baptist canned answers. The shallowness of these answers helped to spark my desire to find the truth.
After my conversion at the youth camp, my brother (who had also repented at camp) and I decided to start a "Bible Club" in our 3000+ student high school. We began carrying our Bibles to school and passing out tracts, witnessing and winning many students --leading them to pray that prayer as we were taught. That next year I memorized over 600 verses including the first 13 chapters of Matthew; we threw away our worldly music; we bought our first suit and tie for church; bought new study Bibles; and began reading many Christian books.
I had a very exciting three year ministry in my public high school before graduating in '85. I then attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri; but only for one semester. After arriving there I soon discovered that this institution was not the place I could entrust my doctrinal training -- I took the Word of God much more serious than they did. The radio tower in the midst of the campus was at that time rented out to the worst rock music station in town; and I could not even play a cassette tape in my dorm without rock beat bleeding through. This and many other things disgusted me so, I could not stay -- God would not let me. The Lord graciously moved me out and back home.
I then rented an apartment in the city (my parents lived in the country) so I could work with a junior high boys class at our church (Young Elijah's Club), and go witnessing more often. I worked for my father's construction business, and took correspondence courses from a college recommended to me by a preacher I respected.
At age 19 I wrote a short book, YOUNG ELIJAH'S, about my experiences in the High School Bible Club ministry, and another pamphlet entitled, "LORD, ARE THERE FEW THAT BE SAVED". The first to motivate teens to witness in their schools, and the second trying to answer my own questions and problems with inconsistent Baptist doctrine.
I soon changed to a more conservative Baptist church across town, and began working with their youth. Then in '87 I decided to attend Hyles Anderson College, which this church recommended. This I did, and was much more satisfied with this school than the one in Missouri; but there were still inconsistencies that bothered me.
At this school I met my wife, Angela, and in September of '88 we were married. This college where we met had many good things to teach us, though, now we see there was much bad also. I thank God that through their influence, my wife and I did not hold hands until after we were engaged, and did not kiss until the preacher said, "You may kiss the bride". We were planning on going back to that school, but the pastor of the more conservative church, in Albuquerque, asked us to work for him. He hired my brother, who had been attending there while I was at college, and myself to work with the youth, and serve as associates. God blessed our efforts, and in the next year we built a youth ministry, which averaged 100 youth at Friday Night Rally, and 150 in Sunday School. We saw many lives changed, and Bible clubs started in schools.
God began dealing with me about starting a church where we could strive to be completely Biblical, without the compromise and worldliness. October '89 found us in Peoria, IL, were my wife was raised. Her father had not been in church for some time, and there were not any churches doing what we felt needed to be done in the area. My wife's parents were the first to attend, but by the spring of '90 we had a special day with 143 in attendance. The next fall, on our 1st anniversary, we were buying a building, had a bus, and 217 in attendance. We baptized 30 in the morning service. We were finding great success being "modern day Baptists". We were using all the gimmics we were taught in college.
On our "Second Anniversary Sunday" we had 218 in our afternoon bus Sunday School, and 70 in the morning drive in crowd. We had split the congregation, separating the bus crowd to another service in the afternoon. God was still dealing with me about being "Biblical" and the more I studied, the more I learned that we were not as "Biblical" as I had thought. The more I learned of our Ana-Baptist forefathers, and the believers of the first century apostolic churches, the more I realized the Baptists of my acquaintance were not following the truth, but had strayed - and that much of what we were doing was wood, hay, and stubble.
I planned for '92 to be a big year for winning souls and church growth. We had started a 32' x 82' addition to the church. The city pulled our permit January 13th because the zoning officer allegedly didn't issue it properly. We appealed and won, and finished our building on the outside; but during this time my wife miscarried, finances became very tight, and due to new regulations, had to stop our bus ministry. My wife, two children, and I were living in a classroom in the church to save money, and God was dealing with me heavily about being "Biblical". The more I learned, the more I realized that to really be Biblical we needed to start over -- trying to change the establishment seemed impossible. I shared with the people I might be leaving, and asked them to pray with me about it; but instead of them being willing to call a new pastor and go on, they told me that they didn't want another pastor, and would leave if I did.
I began to share how I felt the Baptists had gone astray on "repentance", and "soulwinning methods", and "baptism". The repentance issue became a major controversy, and I was compelled to stay and try to establish the truth with whoever would listen. We had some long meetings and discussions about "living faith" vs. "dead faith", and what it means to repent. Eventually, due to the fact that I was still quite young, and teaching things contrary to 60+ year old men with mega-churches, the people left. I sold the building, paid the debts, and set out to find the truth, and start over "Biblically".
In '93 we started the year by selling the church building too cheap, and ended it by purchasing a little farm house on a few acres so we could live and study and start over. We put every last dollar from savings down to buy this house contract for deed, and I began doing construction work to pay the bills. Back in the spring of '92, after my wife's miscarriage, we openly had shared that we were praying for twins - a boy and a girl, so our present boy and girl would have a brother and a sister not too far apart in age. One year later in March '93 we received twins - a boy and a girl. The people knew this was a direct answer to direct prayer, and it was a blessing for God to confirm our direction and steps at such a time of trial. While they all thought we were going off the deep end, they saw God giving an amazing answer to our prayers.
We now have twelve children: Micah, Hannah, Malachi, Graceanne, Nathan, Noah, Titus, Abigail, Lydia, Ezra, Isaiah, and Marybeth. We live in North Missouri, and are involved in evangelism and establishing a Biblical, first century apostolic church. We have written several tracts and pamphlets which we hope will help you see how we are different than modern day "churchianity". Our goal is to simply believe and practice the "Faith once delivered to the saints".
While living in Lewistown, IL ('93-'97) on our little farmette, we were able to settle down and just be a family -- no longer living in church classrooms, etc. I was able to study, visit churches, order books, and find out what it really meant to be "Biblical" like the FIRST CENTURY APOSTOLIC CHURCHES had been; like the Waldenses, Albigenses, and Ana-Baptists were striving for. We began to overhaul our doctrine and practice accordingly. This book primarily combats the heresy of modern day Baptists, and sets forth what their forefathers and the first century believers believed. There are many points of doctrine and practice not covered in this book, but will be or have been in others. If you are honest and sincere, we invite you to study with us as we CONTEND FOR THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS.
God bless you as you seek HIM, Bro. Mark
God's Wonderful Plan To Save Sinners From Damnation
Every man is born with a God given moral conscience; and a consciousness that there is a God. They know in themselves when they come to the age of understanding and their conscience matures that there is an absolute difference between right and wrong. They know by creation and the conviction of Gods Spirit that there is a creator to whom they must give account:
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
[Also see Romans 2:5-16]
If you will not fight against the light you have, then it will bear witness that the Bible is truth. Thus believing the Bible, you can be led to salvation and given new life in Jesus Christ.
Acts 17: 24-31 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
John 1: 9 [Jesus] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John 3:19 "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
THE BIBLE TEACHES:
God created all things good; but God did not want man to have a fixed behavior pattern like animals who live by instinct. He wanted man to have the ability to reason and choose (free-will), so man could love and serve God by choice, not as a puppet or robot. In order for man to be free to choose, he must know about an alternative to obedience; and this was supplied by a forbidden fruit on a forbidden tree. To make a long story short, the first man, Adam, chose to disobey God, and brought upon himself and all his descendants the curse of death and separation from God. Mans rebellion marred his nature, so that he is naturally selfish and wants to be his own god.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Mans rebellion against God was his desire to be his own god, make his own rules, and do that which pleased himself, rather than what was right, holy, and benevolent -- which is the basis of God's laws, actions, and nature. God is the Creator, and the only one with the Character and Ability to maintain righteous government, so it is His responsibility and right to govern. His way is a win-win situation for everyone - man's way is "me winning at someone else's expense" - a win-lose situation. God knows what is best for His creation and demands we obey, lest we cause pain and death.
God could have justly executed the penalty of the Law and killed Adam; but God designed a way to save all men who would repent, and return to a proper relationship with God and His righteous government. God planned to pay for mans sins by the sacrifice of a man who was indeed God manifest in the flesh and called the Son of God Jesus Christ. Then He made Jesus Christ the Lord and judge of all men. Those who love and obey Jesus, God forgives; but those who wont, receive the penalty of Gods Law.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him (Jesus) the iniquity (trespasses) of us all. Is. 53:6
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: John 5:22
Because Jesus Christ was sinless, and died to pay for our sins; He is the perfect Judge and Lord for mankind. He now invites men to repent of their rebellion and come under the canopy of His administration. He has the power to pardon, cleanse our record, and help us to live a holy life. He, as our priest, has power to keep our record clean as we continue to walk in obedience and confess to Him when we fail. God has never expected fallen man to be perfect (saved by our own works), but expects him to repent and do his best to obey. When God sees this repentance and faith, he graciously pardons this is salvation by grace through faith. Christ expects us to walk the best we can with the light we have, and repent when we fail.
if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:7-9
Though he (Jesus) were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,
I Peter 3:18
But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost (to the end) that come (continually) unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Those who repent and follow Jesus are promised Gods Spirit to dwell with them, comfort them, and help them to do right even when it brings pain, separation, and persecution. This plan is seen in Acts 2:38,
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Gods Spirit, who has convicted me and called me to repentance, now enables me to renounce my selfish/fleshly ways, overcome them, and obey the truth that Gods Word teaches me. (Flesh means the natural selfish inclinations and appetites).
if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
When I accept Jesus as my sacrifice for sin, and as my King and Lord; I am accepting God's plan and standard of holiness over my own way. I am then putting my faith in God's holy government, and not my self-government. Jesus is God's perfect standard, and thus, He is God's chosen King and Judge for all men. To accept Jesus means to follow and obey him as God's will and way. This is why Paul preached what he did in Acts 26:20 and 17:30,31
Acts 26:20 "Repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance."
Acts 17:30-31 "God...now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man (Jesus) whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
Putting my faith in Christ is living according to his teachings and example. Without this, I am still in rebellion, and cannot be forgiven.
Those who remain in their rebellion to God, or go back to it after repenting and turning from it, will suffer their due punishment in Hell.
Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
2 Peter 2:20-21 "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."
Once we turn to follow Jesus, and are baptized into a local body of believers, we are to continue following Jesus by faithful obedience to the end of our life. As Jesus performs his heavenly priesthood for those who walk in the light, their records are kept clean. In this way our obedient faith is counted to us for righteousness (Romans 4). What wonderful grace God displayed in producing this plan to save a repentant rebel who deserves Hell. If I but continue in His gracious plan, I am promised eternal bliss with Him in His Kingdom!
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
1. Humbly confess your sin to God, and ask forgiveness.
2. Renounce your way, and ask Jesus Christ to be your LORD and Savior
3. Get baptized into a Bible obeying church body in Jesus Name.
4. Strive to obey all Jesus taught through His apostles in the New Testament; submit to the church leaders as they submit to the Word of God; and humbly confess to Jesus when you fail.
5. Strive to overcome your old ways and become like Christ.
6. Learn your place in the local church and work to build up the local assembly.
7. Persevere in obedience in hope of promised eternal life.
1 Peter 1:13-17 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
2 Cor. 6:17-7:1 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Romans 6:17-23 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Matt. 24:9-13 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Hebrews 3:12-14 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Hebrews 6:11-15 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
WHY DON'T YOU REPENT, CONFESS YOUR SIN TO GOD, ASK FORGIVENESS, AND TURN YOUR LIFE OVER TO JESUS CHRIST TO FOLLOW AND OBEY HIM WITH ALL YOUR HEART...
CHAPTER 1 - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING RIGHT ON SALVATION
Is there anything more important than being right on salvation? Can a person afford to ignore the many passages of Scripture which warn of false teachers, deceivers, and misleading doctrines?
Notice from these verses that Paul was outnumbered by truth corrupters even in his day (This is why the "older is better" idea of Bible manuscripts is not always reliable). Also notice that if the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the ditch. There is no promise to those who are following false teachers that they will be safe! God expects us to read and obey the Bible on our own, not just follow the herd. Anyone who is sincerely seeking the truth from the Word of God will be taught of the Holy Spirit, and led to men of greater understanding, like Cornelius.
The word lasciviousness basically means "absence of restraint". It is possible to teach the grace of God in such a way as to encourage loose living, and destroy the fear of the Lord. Those who teach "salvation without repentance" and "unconditional eternal security" are doing this very thing.
The Bible tells us in Rev. 12:9 and other places that Satan is the grand deceiver. Jesus said that he is the father of lies. Now, you need to have enough sense not to discredit Christianity and the Bible because of all the deceivers and liars there are around. You must be diligent to read and think for yourself with a humble and obedient heart, so God can lead you to the truth in spite of all the deception around you.
MOTIVATION OF FALSE TEACHERS
We must be very careful about judging men's motives; however the Bible does give a number of motives that could be possible:
...to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:30
They serve their belly -- Rom. 16:18; Phil. 3:19
For filthy lucre's sake -- Titus 1:7
They love to have the preeminence -- 3 Jn. 9
They are deceived themselves -- Matt. 15:14
They are sincerely wrong -- Acts 18:24-26
It really doesn't matter to you what their motive is if they are leading you wrong concerning salvation! There is no promise in the Bible that you will escape the wrath of God just because you were sincere. Sincere in our eyes, and sincere in God's eyes are two different things. True sincerity, like Cornelius had, will be honored by God in that they will be given the opportunity to find the truth. If you are sincerely seeking God's truth, then carefully read our doctrinal series with prayer and your Bible.
If you ever find a verse that doesn't seem to fit with your system of belief, do not just pass it by -- check it out! The most dangerous thing you can do is twist the Bible to fit your prejudices.
HOW IMPORTANT IS SALVATION?
Jesus said that if your right eye led you into sin, or caused you to stay in sin; it would be better to pluck it out and cast it from you, than for it to send you to Hell. He said that if your right hand caused you to stumble concerning salvation, you'd be much wiser to cut your hand off and be saved, than to have two hands and go to Hell's tormenting fire! Salvation is more important to you than your eyes, hands, and feet. Salvation is more important to you than all the world. Jesus asked, What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Another reason salvation is so important, is because there is a Judgment day, and a place called Hell! The Bible teaches that the unrepentant will be in the Hell prepared for the Devil and his angels, which is described in Rev. 20:10,
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Jesus will someday rule with a rod of iron in righteousness, and I want to be there! I want to live in his Kingdom, where there is no crime, sin, liquor, drugs, immorality, sickness, death, sorrow, and injustice. I do not want to miss out on Christ's Kingdom, because someone didn't teach me the truth! The reason for this study is because I don't want you to miss out either.
We have a dangerous system in America that is drowning men in destruction and enslaving them to deception. You could call it the "build an empire" game. Young men get fired up for the Lord in their young years. They see the "big" preachers come by and display all their glory. The young men, thinking this is God's way, set out to become one of those "big" preachers, or at least become loyal followers of them. They never stop to question the system's doctrine or practices, because they are continually reminded of the "great success" -- which is a "sure" sign of God's power and blessing. And, "who are they" to question it?
When they finish Bible college, and go into their own ministry, the pressure is on to "build a church" and "build a name" -- for the glory of God, of course. The Holy Spirit, if in them at all, has an awful hard time just getting their attention. They are not in the gear of double checking their doctrine or studying history to be sure they haven't been slipped a wooden nickel; they are only concerned about the "numbers" in the pew. I know from experience that my heart was sincere, but I was more pressed with reaching the lost with the "gospel" I had, rather than making sure I had a pure gospel.
It is a merry-go-round that is hard to get off; especially as a young pastor of a young church trying to stay afloat. I feel for those out there on that merry-go-round, and I hope this study will rescue some of them who don't have time to study it all for themselves.
When I tried to lead my church out of the deception into pure doctrine, the response I often heard was, "How can Bro.---- be wrong, look at how God has used him?" or "Look at his big church". I would tell them that if success is the criteria for judging pure doctrine, the Pope must be right.
Paul made it clear to Timothy that the time would come when people would not endure sound doctrine, but would heap to themselves teachers to tickle their ears with fables. It is obvious that when this took place, those who taught pure doctrine would not appear as successful as the hirelings with their fables. For the sincere believer, who knows God, this nonsense is repulsive, but to the carnal man it is quite appealing. He doesn't want a church of Smyrna; but rather a church of Laodicia. If God doesn't do "big" things for him, he has no use for God.
There is coming a day, and now is, when the true prophets of God will have to stand alone and preach God's Word to a small remnant, if any at all. "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." "Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
CHAPTER 2 - THE HUMAN AND DIVINE ASPECTS OF SALVATION
This could be the key to understanding everything that happens in the Christian life. If you can fully understand this principle, then you can easily understand this whole study, and God's plan of salvation. There is a big difference in what God has said He would do, and what God has told me to do. I cannot expect God to do his part, when I'm unwilling to do my part; and I can't expect him to do what he has told me to do. The majority of the confusion about salvation is misunderstanding the difference between the human and divine aspects of salvation.
THE DIVINE ASPECT
The divine aspect is the part that God does, promises to do, and only can do. The divine aspect is what I can expect from God. God's part in my salvation is PROVISION and PERSUASION. God's spirit strives with men to repent and avail themselves of God's provision; but God never makes their decisions or choices for them.
Atonement, redemption, regeneration, justification, adoption, forgiveness, etc. are all God's part of salvation. I could not do any of these for myself. I could not pay for my sins (atonement); purchase my soul from condemnation (redemption); make myself alive spiritually (regeneration); clear my record in Heaven (justification); acquire the right to be a child of God (adoption); or put my sins out of the mind of God (forgiveness). This is all God's part, and it is wonderful to rejoice in God's part, but not to presume that he will do all this without my cooperation and compliance. All God's promises in salvation are conditioned upon my obedient faith. God commands me to do what I can do, which is repent, submit, and believe His Word.
THE HUMAN ASPECT
The human aspect is what God has commanded us to do:
Notice God's Grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men for the purpose of telling us our part! Paul preached that God commands all men everywhere to repent. Paul preached that lost men should feel after God and find him (Acts 17:27-31). Romans 1 tells us that we should take the light of creation and inner God consciousness and find the truth of God. God expects men to be active in seeking salvation from him, not passive in waiting on God to do what he has told them to do! You can be sure that if God has commanded it of you; you can do it!!
We are to obey our part in faith that God will do his part.
If one would say, like the Calvinists, that the sinner has no part in his salvation, then he either believes God wants some to go to Hell, or he is a Universalist, and believes that all will be saved; but all will not be saved! Men who go to Hell, go there because they did not do their part! The Bible makes this clear from Genesis to Revelation.
The Calvinist teaches the T.U.L.I.P. "T" is for Total Depravity -- man cannot obey God or repent, even though God has commanded him to, and threatens him with Hell if he doesn't. This system teaches that man's depravity is more like physical depravity than moral depravity. It says that man cannot repent: just as a dog cannot repent of acting like a dog. This is obvious error -- is it "just" to torment a dog in Hell for messing on the lawn, barking, eating vomit, and cheating on its "mate"? Of course not! Man's is a moral depravity that has to do with choices he makes, and choices he can repent of! The ability to repent makes man accountable for his actions before a holy God. Who would ever punish a retarded boy for acting retarded? That is physical depravity. God punishes for moral depravity -- the fact that we follow our carnal inclinations to selfishness; but do not have to! The curse of sin has produced much physical depravity; but that is not why we are punished, and it is impossible to repent of physical depravity -- God commands us to turn from our morally depraved choices. What God commands men to do, they can do -- This is self evident.
You see, God did not create/cause evil originally, or make anyone rebel. He is not the author of sin; but, in order for holiness to have virtue, it must be by choice. Thus, there must be another option. The knowledge of this option is essential to give holiness true virtue. I believe in order for the angels to be more than puppets or slaves, God gave them the knowledge of the option -- rebellion, selfishness. Now, they are "holy angels", because they do right by choice. Satan chose to rebel against the righteous will of his Creator, and influenced one third of the angels to follow him. This is how evil entered the universe as more than a concept. God created beings capable of reasoning and choosing, and then gave them knowledge of the choice; but God warned them not to make that choice, because it would bring death.
In the Garden of Eden, God placed a forbidden tree in the midst of the garden. This was their option. As long as they willingly obeyed God, they were holy. They didn't need to know the depths of sin to have an option, they just had to know there was an option. When they were influenced to make the choice of rebellion, they became morally depraved. Our morality has to do with our choices for selfishness or benevolence -- God is holy because God is benevolent by choice. Our holy nature, in the image of God, was flawed by our first parents, which left us selfish by nature; but by God's grace, we can repent! The grace and light of God which is given to all men makes all men accountable. We have moral responsibility because we have moral ability.
Our morality is easily influenced by others--thus man's moral depravity, through parental influence, demonic influence, examples around us, etc. has reached new depths. Man was separated from God by sin, so the greatest influence on man is Satan, who plays on the heartstrings of his pride and selfish lusts. Therefore, man's depravity looks almost physical; but men like Noah, Abraham, etc. show that man can resist the evil influences and follow God's still small voice. In Heb. 11:7, God says Noah "condemned the world" by his obedient faith; however, this can only mean his example shows other men could do better also. What Heb. 11 says about Abraham (11:8; James 2:22,23), and Moses (11:24-27) would be of no virtue if God made them do it against their will or gave them some component (faith) that God didn't give the others.
It is impossible to believe Calvinistic doctrine and preach Biblical salvation. If a Calvinist in theology, one must be Arminian in methodology, or he cannot preach like the Apostles. They commanded all men to repent, turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. They didn't tell them to wait for the Holy Spirit to enable them.
The next letter in the Calvinistic TULIP is "U" -- Unconditional Election: That God chose before the world began who would go to Heaven and who would go to Hell without regard to anything the person did. Then God created some people as "vessels of destruction" to be evil and go to Hell; and others as "vessels of mercy" to be repentant and go to Heaven. The Calvinistic view of election is warped in the creation of the idea that man is a puppet, and is only doing what God had already planned for him to do.
This concept slanders God with injustice, unloving, and deceitful practices. It also seeks to relieve man of his responsibility before God; put the responsibility for man's wickedness on God; and thus make it God's fault, and ultimately God's sin.
Many Jews were elect at one time, but cut off, and then replaced with non-elect Gentiles, who became the elect -- this is seen in Romans; and this is what Paul means when he says of the once elect Jews, who had been cut off, "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants...." God had predestined the Jews to be a part, but many missed out. Peter tells us to make our calling and election sure -- I have a part to play in my being elect and staying elect.
In Romans 9 there are some misunderstood presumptions held by Calvinists. The case of Jacob and Esau is simply God influencing men with "free will" to fulfill a promise to Abraham, and make a pure seed for the lineage of Christ. God's choice to use Jacob was before they had done good or evil, but not before He knew what they would be like. This had nothing to do with their personal salvation; but with whose descendants God would use. "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" was written in the last book of the Old Testament, and only has to do with their descendants. God told Rachel that two manner of people were in her womb, and that the elder would serve the younger. Esau never did serve Jacob - this referred to the "manner of people" in her womb. Paul is simply showing the Jews that God has a right to use one person and refuse another for His purposes according to His own discretion. The main point being that "nobody has a claim on God's grace, mercy, gifts, callings, etc. -- God owes no man anything; but all He does is grace, not obligation. The Jews felt that God was obligated to them as the physical seed of Abraham, which is why Paul tells of others (Esau, Ishmael, etc.) who were also circumcised sons of Abraham that God didn't choose as the lineage of Christ - though they could still be saved under the covenant of circumcision.
Verses 14-16 are not inconsistent with man's free will, and God judging man according to his choices. Does God harden little children at the age of accountability -- or sinners who have resisted his light for years? Does God show mercy or compassion unconditionally,-- or just according to his own discretion? Read II Thess. 1:10-12; Romans 2:1-11. When God says, "My spirit will not always strive with man ", and "All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." (Romans 10:21 -- same book, one chapter later); I think we can see this a little clearer. Yes, it is God's choice who will receive mercy; but God's choices are righteous not arbitrary! I had better make sure I am "willing and running" according to his promises! God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. God is no respecter of persons.
Pharaoh is a good example of this. Compare what happened to Pharaoh with Romans 1:24, "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts," God hardened Pharaoh's heart by easing the pain of the plagues, which encouraged Pharaoh to rebel -- as he already wanted to. The word "harden" in Pharaoh's case is the same as the word "encourage" in Isa. 41:7. Just as it says in Romans 2:3-5; God's goodness actually causes sinners to be more hardened in their way. God often uses this to show his power to others so they can be saved. God does also harden hearts as a retributive judgment upon the rebellious and proud - II Thess. 2:10-12, which would also fit Pharaoh's case.
Verses 19-27 are only discussing whether it is right for God to use someone like Pharaoh for his own purpose of "declaring his name throughout the earth" for the salvation of souls. In verses 20-23 God doesn't make someone a vessel of mercy or vessel of wrath before they are born, and against their will; but this is a process during life. That is why we are to make our calling and election sure! That is why "many are called, but few are chosen"! Just as God judged wicked Pharaoh (who had cruelly oppressed God's faithful) to demonstrate His power, and establish Israel; so God judged rebellious Israel (who rejected their Messiah) to open the doors to the Gentiles and establish the church.
It is very clear that God called those who refused (10:21), and it is very clear that those who missed out, did so because they "stumbled over the truth" and did not submit themselves to the truth and righteousness of God (9:32; 10:3). Why would God hold out his hands to a disobedient people if Calvinism is true (Romans 10:21)? The Calvinist's interpretation of this chapter sets it against everything else taught in Romans -- of course, they will try to twist the plain passages to fit their interpretation of a not so clear passage. THE EARLY CHURCH HELD THE VIEWS I HOLD ON THIS PASSAGE, ACCORDING TO THEIR WRITINGS.
The next letter in the TULIP is "L" -- Limited Atonement. They teach that Jesus only died and made atonement for the "elect". This is easily refuted by John 1:29; 3:16; I John 2:2; Titus 2:11; Acts 17:24-30.
The next letter is "I" -- Irresistible Grace. They teach that, because man is totally depraved, and God has made unconditional choices, man only does what God's grace does in him, and not of his own volition or choice - basic puppetry. This force keeps these people living right to the end, which is where the "P" comes in --Perseverance of the Saints. This whole system is obviously corrupt from the roots. When is the last time you saw a Calvinist persevering in holiness?
God doesn't want or make puppets! The Bible is full of verses that show it is man's responsibility to repent, follow, obey, and continue! I dare anyone to read the Bible and underline every time the responsibility is put on man for his actions, and every time God reacts according to man's choices and actions!
Martin Luther shares with us the absurd conclusion that Calvinism brings: "This is the highest degree of faith-to believe that He is merciful, the very One who saves so few and damns so many. To believe that he is just, the One who according to His own will, makes us necessarily damnable."
ANTINOMIANS -- MODERN BAPTISTS
Antinomians also mix up the Divine Side and the Human Side of salvation. Antinomian is a name that means, "without law", or "anti-law"; due to the fact they believe "dead faith" (James 2) will save a man without his obedience to Christ -- the "Law of Christ". I was raised with this teaching. If you asked someone from my boyhood church, "Must one strive to live in obedience to Jesus to be saved?"; the quick answer would have been, "No, salvation is by grace". This is the turning of God's Grace into lasciviousness.
They teach that when a person accepts Christ as Savior, his future sins are all forgiven, and he can never be held accountable for them. They are "under the blood". They believe that one act of faith (receiving Christ) will perpetually justify them -- without ever having to live in obedience. Instead of believing that "I am justified today because of today's obedient faith (which is true -- I John 1:7,9); they teach, "I am justified today, whether living in rebellion or not, because of an act of faith ten or twenty years ago when I 'got saved'."
They basically teach that God will do his part without me doing my part. From this point, they change repentance to only a change of mind, or turning from unbelief; but not a change of life to obedience from disobedience. They make no distinction between ignorant sin, and presumptuous sin. They teach that you get saved now, and later you become a disciple - when you decide to get obedient. They teach that Jesus' good works are imputed to us, so we don't need any of our own; "rebellious believers" are taken to Heaven early as "punishment"; Romans 7 is the experience of a believer; and many other heretical ideas, which are refuted in this publication, and in the TRUTH VS. ERROR pamphlet.
In every case the Calvinist and the Antinomian have to preach Arminian doctrine, if they want to tell sinners and saints what God has told us to tell them. It is hard for an Antinomian to get through I John and James; because they were aimed directly at their Gnostic forefathers.
The Bible says I am to walk in the light so that my sins are continually cleansed in the blood of Jesus (I John 1:7). As I walk by this "faith which worketh by love"; and Jesus' blood cleanses me; I am counted righteous before God -- my faith is counted for righteousness. I read God's Word and pray to gain strength for the battle. Calling upon the name of the Lord and confessing sin, is the course of walking with God that brings the promise that I shall not be ashamed or confounded. In obedient faith, I endure to the end-- thus dying in faith, I overcome and lay hold on eternal life. This is called "passing the time of my sojourning here in fear" and "working out my own salvation with fear and trembling". NO, I don't boast in doing my duty, but after I have done all those things commanded me, I say, "I am an unprofitable servant, I've only done that which was my duty to do".
Being that God has placed conditions on his forgiveness, and the atonement; and, being that God has put the responsibility on man to meet those conditions; it is thus possible for men to lose their inheritance in the kingdom by turning back to rebellion and unbelief. We are not justified by one act of faith; but continuously justified by continuous faith. Therefore, when our living faith stops or becomes dead faith, our justification stops. If God can't get us to repent and go on in the light, we will eventually die spiritually and be condemned. I Cor. 11 tells us that God chastens us so we won't be condemned with the world. MEETING GOD'S CONDITIONS IS MAN'S RESPONSIBILITY.
One great danger that I see is when people do not tell the sinner what his part is; but only tell them what God's part is -- as though God will do his part, whether they do theirs or not. Listen! There is no promise of forgiveness to the disobedient! There is no promise of Jesus' continually cleansing blood for those who walk in darkness! There is no promise of inheritance to those who do not overcome! There is no promise of salvation to dead faith or false repentance!
If you tell sinners God loves them and will forgive them if they admit they are sinners and ask for God's free gift of eternal life; yet you do not tell them God demands they forsake their sin and submit to Jesus in faith and obedience as Lord and King; then you are leaving them with the impression that dead faith will save them -- it won't! People will readily admit they are not perfect, and have sinned; yet not be willing to forsake their sinful way, and submit to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It is POISONED CANDY to tell sinners all the wonderful promises of God in salvation, and then imply he will do all of this without their repentance and submission to Christ in faith and obedience! Salvation is by grace, and absolutely free; but God will not give this free gift to those who are still in rebellion to him. God will not forgive those who do not accept Jesus as King, and therefore submit to him in faith and obedience.
God is the rightful King and ruler of all men. Man has joined Satan in rebellion to God, and brought upon themselves the same sentence of banishment. They are counted enemies of God's righteous government. However, God, by his infinite love and grace gives his Son, the heir to the throne, to suffer the punishment of all the rebels. It was a plan devised by God and Jesus together.
Since Jesus has paid the debt, God can righteously forgive and restore his banished to him again -- but wait!! They left by choice in rebellion to his government. What if they do not want to come back? Will the King grant them amnesty and justify them while they remain in rebellion to him? Will the King restore them to full citizenship while they remain enemies of his Kingdom? Will the King pour out his love upon them while they are saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us"? No! If he did, he would be committing a crime against righteousness and his other faithful subjects. There will be no rebels in Christ's Kingdom. God will only forgive and save the broken, humble, submissive, repenting sinner.
HUMAN AND DIVINE ASPECT IN THE NEW HEART
I was witnessing to a young man one time who told me he didn't think he could be saved. He said he had tried it many times, yet it never worked for him. Basically, what happened is that he had the impression many preachers give: that if I pray "the prayer", God will give me a new heart and change me whether I do anything or not. It never worked for him.
I explained to him that God commands us to turn from sin and follow Jesus in obedience, trusting that God will then do his part. God is not going to repent for us! When I was converted, I went home and broke up my records and tapes, and began to follow Jesus. I can look back and say, "Jesus completely changed my life". However, Jesus didn't tear up my tapes and records, change my dress, change my friends, and bad habits -- I did! As I obeyed his command, He worked in me both to will and to do of his good pleasure. God gave me a new heart; but on the other hand, I made me a new heart -- look at the Scripture in Ez. 18:30-32,
Here we see God telling the people to make themselves a new heart. In Ez. 36:26 God tells them HE will give them a new heart and spirit. Then, in verse 37 God says, "I will yet be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them;" God promises the new heart, but we must go after it by prayer and repentance and self discipline.
Romans 12 commands us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Thus, it is our responsibility! Just because God promises grace to help, doesn't mean it is his responsibility. To say we can't do as we have been commanded, is childish rebellion.
In Jude it says we are "preserved" in Christ Jesus. Then in verse 12 we are commanded to "keep" ourselves in the love of God. The Greek word behind "preserve" and "keep" is the same word. It is our responsibility to "keep" ourselves "in" Christ so we can be thus "preserved". We are preserved in Christ the same way we are preserved by walking in the light, or coming to the throne of grace to find help. God makes the provision and we are preserved as we meet the conditions. Notice how John says we are preserved,
God says he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance; and also, he would have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth; however, God's will is obviously not being done, because God has chosen to let man make his own choices! God is doing all He can justly do to save man; but has chosen to leave the responsibility with man to respond. If God could save men against their will without violating his own justice, He would; but God has chosen not to -- He doesn't want robots! If God's grace was irresistible, as Calvin taught, then all men would be saved, because that is what God wants. If God made some get saved and not others, then he would be deceitful to say he wants all to be saved. You see, God uses his great influence on man, but this is not irresistible; and is only used negatively (II Thess. 2:11,12) after man has refused God's positive influence and mercy in trying to get them to repent.
The only two foundations possible for the unconditional security doctrine is 1. God is willing to override man's free choice and insure he continues in the light, so his sins are continually cleansed. Or, 2. Man is justified perpetually by one act of faith, so his future sins are forgiven at the moment he believes, therefore he doesn't need to continue in the light. Both of these possibilities are unbiblical. God's condition's are clear, and clearly our responsibility -- real life proves this so. These people who believe God will keep them preserved in Christ, are not preserved in holiness and obedience! So God can keep them saved, but can't keep them spiritual? Yes, and I have some lake property in Cuba for sale, too. GOD'S PART IS PROVISION, AND PERSUASION -- OUR PART IS REPENTANCE AND LIVING OBEYING FAITH.
In the beginning, He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God. Justin Martyr 160 AD
CHAPTER 3 - CONVICTION
The Greek word for conviction, used by God in the following verses, is more than just a feeling of guilt, or a personal belief or standard. The Greek world Elegcho means to show someone their sin -- prove guilty. It means to convict in the legal sense, like an attorney before a jury. It is used in the same sense as being convicted of a crime -- prove guilty and summon to repentance.
The underlined and bold phrases or words are the English translation of the Greek Elegcho
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone... Matt. 18:15
Which of you convinceth me of sin? John 8:46
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: John 16:8
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 1:9
But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. I Cor. 14:24
But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done... Luke 3:19
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. John 3:20
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Eph. 5:11,13
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I Tim. 5:20
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 Tim. 4:2
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Titus 2:14,15
This witness is true, Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Titus 1:13
...despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: Heb. 12:5b
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Rev. 3:19
There is another Greek word used for "rebuke"; but it is a softer, less effective rebuke -- Epitimao. The Greek word elegcho is successful and effectual because it supplies the evidence to prove the case.
PREACHERS MUST CONVICT
Preachers and soul-winners must convict (elegcho) in order to bring repentance and change in a person's life. You say, "The Holy Spirit is supposed to do that". The Holy Spirit will convict; but usually works through human vessels. Read the verses again. The light of your example, of Scripture, of printed preaching, of verbal testimony, etc. is used by the Holy Spirit to convict. He commands us to do our part.
Without true conviction, there can be no true conversion! The preacher must use evidence to prove the case. He must shatter all the excuses and hiding places where sinners hide and justify their way. This is not a fun job, and is the very reason Jesus and the apostles and all great preachers and prophets have been hated of men. When the woman of Samaria asked Jesus for the living water, he immediately changed the subject to deal with her sinful life, and need of repentance. When Jesus comes again in judgment, he will be doing this very work, not to salvation, but to damnation:
The word CONVINCE in this verse is an intense form of elegcho. If we can convince men of their ungodly deeds before the judgment, persuade them to repent, and submit to Jesus; we can save them from Hell! Unbelief and faith are acts of the will, not only of the intellect. Sinners are in rebellion to God, whether they fully realize it or not. They must be told, warned, and summoned to repentance. We will never see true revival and repentance until we pray and work for CONVICTION!
CHAPTER 4 - REPENTANCE
There are some subtle lies being taught about repentance. This is also covered in our TRUTH VS. ERROR book. Jack Hyles teaches that repentance is not from sins, but just from unbelief -- this is subtle and dangerous. It is quite convenient for him with his "easy believe" soulwinning program. I went to his college and could tell a few stories about this nonsense.
Curtis Hutson taught that repentance was just a change of mind, but not a change of life. This is foolishness also. Others say that repentance is, indeed, a change of mind and life; but then they don't change! It is all just talk and concept! They never require the fruit meet for repentance; never exercise church discipline; nor even expect their preachers to meet Bible qualifications. WHAT YOU LIVE IS WHAT YOU BELIEVE! Jesus' major complaint against the Pharisees was that, "they say, and do not".
Hebrews 5:9 says Jesus is the "author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him". Where does this leave those who don't obey him? Jesus says, "If a man keep my sayings he shall never see death." What about those who don't keep his sayings? You cannot continue down the broad road, and expect to be saved as one on the narrow road -- there must be a U-turn somewhere -- this U-turn is called repentance!
People will easily admit they have done wrong, and are not perfect, and usually will pray a little prayer asking God for his free gift (Jack Hyles' soulwinning program); but if you confront them with the necessity of giving up the old lifestyle and following the teachings of Jesus Christ, they will slam the door in your face!
METANOEO (met-an-o-eh'-o) VS. METAMELLOMAI (met-am-el'-lom-ahee)
The word used in the New Testament for repentance when referring to salvation is always metanoeo. Metamellomai is used for repentance when someone changes their mind, but not because they see the former direction as wicked; but because of the outcome. Metamellomai is what Judas did before he hanged himself. It is what God would not do in Heb. 7:21. It is what Paul did in 2 Cor. 7:8; but it is never used in regards to salvation. When God is said to repent, he has changed his mind because of mercy -- not because what he was doing was sinful.
Metanoeo is changing the heart and mind because of the sinfulness of the way. It is illustrated in Ez. 36:22-37 as God tells what New Testament repentance would be like.
The Bible evidence of repentance is "works meet for repentance" -- faithful obedience to Christ. We are not to imply that the sinner clean up and then come to Christ; but that, in a moment, he let go of the sinful way, and begin to walk in the light he has: willingly obeying new light and forsaking newly realized error as he grows. He does not become immediately mature and perfect, but instead of practicing sin in disobedience; he now is declaring war on his old habits, and practicing obedience to the best of his ability through Christ!
Repentance, then, is the result of faith. For unless a man believes that to which he was addicted to be sin, he will not abandon it. And he must believe that punishment looms over the transgressor. He must believe that salvation belongs to the one who lives according to the commandments. Otherwise, he will not reform. Clement 195 AD
We were not created to die. Rather, we die by our own fault. Our free will has destroyed us. We who were free have become slaves. We have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God. We ourselves have manifested wickedness. But we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it. Tatian 160 AD
CHAPTER 5 - SAVED AND BORN AGAIN
Am I saved when I am born again, or am I born again so that I will be saved? You thought they were the same event; however, if you want to understand many Bible passages correctly, you must understand the difference.
The term "born again" speaks of the moment I repent, believe, and receive the Holy Spirit. The term born again speaks of "regeneration". It is the starting line of my life in Christ. The term "saved" is quite different. I enter the salvation state at conversion (when I am born again); but I am not actually "saved" until I finish my course, and have kept the faith. I must "die in faith" to be sure of being "saved". "Saved" refers to being ultimately saved into Christ's Kingdom; however we are also called saved when we have entered the process at conversion.
1. Verses where "saved" is used for those who are converted, but still on earth.
2. Verses where us being "saved" refers to ultimate salvation.
MANY OTHER VERSES: Rom. 8:24; I Peter 1:5; Heb. 1:14; 2 Tim. 3:15; I Thess. 5:8,9; II Thess. 2:13; Heb. 9:28; Matt. 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; Luke 13:23; Acts 2:21; I Cor. 3:15; 5:5; 15:2; I Peter 4:18; Heb. 10:39, and others.
If you will study carefully, you will realize we are to believe to the end; we are to follow and obey to the end; and thus overcoming to be ultimately saved. Heb. 11:13 speaks of those who "died in faith", this is our goal!
The reason I call myself saved when I am converted or born again; is because I am in the salvation state -- I am on the narrow way. If I die in faith, I am sure to be saved. Romans 8:24 says we are saved by hope; but we don't yet see what we hope for.
CHAPTER 6 - BAPTISM AND THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
There is much unneeded controversy over this matter of baptism. If the Word of God is given supreme authority over emotion, experiences, and personal bias; then the truth can be clearly seen.
In the New Testament, only those old enough to believe in Christ of their own intelligent choice were baptized after they repented and professed faith in Christ. This is called "believers' baptism" or "adult baptism", and has always been the practice of the faithful remnant from the time of Christ. Infant baptism or child conversion and baptism is a perversion of the ordinance. Child evangelism is the baby of the "easy believism" heresy. Some have put forth strong arguments for Baptism replacing Circumcision; however, this would have been an easy argument for Paul to use against Gentiles circumcising their children if it were true -- He never used it. If it were true, then we should baptize babies at 8 days old; but I've not been convinced that this is the case.
In the Bible, baptism was initiation as a follower of Jesus Christ, as well as a rite of ceremonial cleansing. It pictured the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, washing of regeneration, death to the old life, and resurrection to new life, and the putting on of Christ Jesus. It was initiation as a disciple of Jesus Christ and entrance into the visible church and communion.
In the Bible people were baptized after they were taught the Gospel message, and professed faith enough to become a disciple of Jesus -- thus enrolling themselves in "learning to observe all things Jesus commanded" (Matt. 28:18-21). Some people were baptized, and later shown to have been false professors. This makes it clear that the water doesn't save, but is our act of faith to trigger God's promised blessings to those who believe. Baptism is not essential to salvation, but willingness and desire to be baptized is essential to salvation. You may not be able to, but you'd better want to.
The apostles never counted a convert that wasn't baptized. They never declared anyone a believer who delayed baptism. They didn't coax their converts into baptism, they commanded them to be baptized, just like they had commanded them to repent in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins. Many modern Baptist preachers have an actual program whereby they coax people into the baptistery -- I have the books. This is a perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The reason they have to do this is because their false repentance and easy believism has not produced a true convert.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
If you will carefully compare verses, you will see that the baptism of the Holy Ghost happens when we believe, and typically when we are baptized with water. We are baptized with water in faith of God's promised forgiveness and baptism with the Holy Spirit (Teaching On Baptism). Baptism without true faith is meaningless; but faith without obedience in baptism is also dead -- God's plan is for us to show our faith by obedience. Follow closely in these verses:
1. Matt. 3:11 John came commanding men to repent, and show it by being baptized with water. John told the people Jesus was coming after and would baptize with the Holy Spirit -- which was promised by God in the Old Testament.
2. Jesus told his disciples that AFTER HE LEFT, he would send the Holy Spirit to dwell IN them, not just with them. (Jn. 14:16,17; 15:26,27; 16:7,8: Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 2:32,33; 15:7,8)
God promised the indwelling Holy Spirit as a NEW COVENANT in the Old Testament; therefore we find Jesus speaking of it as the "promise of the Father". Jesus received this promise from the Father after he resurrected and ascended -- Jn. 16:7; Acts 2:32,33
3. In John 20:22 Jesus instructs his disciples about receiving the Holy Spirit, and what would happen after they received him; but they didn't receive him at this time. Jesus made it clear the Holy Spirit would be sent after he departed -- Acts 1:4 "Which ye have heard of me" (Acts 2:33). What happened on Pentecost is what John the Baptist was speaking of; what Jesus had told the disciples about; what the Father had promised; and is equal to the power in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8 (Note: Acts 2:33 & 15:7,8)
4. Acts 2:14-17: Peter tells the people that what they see is what God promised in the Old Testament (the New Covenant). In Acts 2:38 Peter tells them how to get it!
5. Acts 10:43-48: In order to show Peter that God would receive these Gentiles, God gives them the Holy Spirit before they are baptized. You can see this was a surprise by Peter's statements in 10:47 and 11:15-17. Cornelius received the same gift, when he believed, that the apostles did on Pentecost.
6. If you will compare Acts 15:7-9 with Romans 8:9,15,16 and I John 4:13; you will understand that the Holy Spirit is given as the seal of God's acceptance. In Eph. 1:14, 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; and Romans 8:23, the word EARNEST tells us that the Holy Spirit is our security deposit, down payment, or pledge from God. Romans 8:9 tells us that those without this indwelling Holy Spirit are not born again. Those who repent and believe show it by baptism -- when God sees sincere faith and repentance, He pours out the Holy Spirit upon the believer to indwell and regenerate him. This is our comfort after our mourning (repentance), our assurance of salvation, and the BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. He gives us the present help to overcome and endure in obedience to Christ. See Jn. 4:10; 7:38,39.
7. Acts 19:1-6 When these people told Paul they had not yet received the Holy Spirit, he immediately asked them, "UNTO WHAT THEN WERE YE BAPTIZED?" This shows that Paul saw baptism with water in close relation to baptism with the Holy Spirit. "If you were not baptized in Jesus name to receive the Holy Spirit, unto what then were you baptized-- or for what purpose?" He then re-baptized them in Jesus' name so they could receive the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals like to misuse the question Paul asked here, but they don't re-baptize like Paul did. These people were Jews, and that is why they had the sign of tongues.
The case in Acts 8:15 is similar to Cornelius', in that it was not considered "standard procedure" at the time of the writing. I believe God opened the doors of the New Covenant to Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world by the Apostles hands; thus establishing their authority. This is seen by Pentecost (Acts 2:14); Samaria - six years later (Acts 8:14-17), and Cornelius - twelve years later (Acts 10; 11:15-18).
8. Those who erroneously teach that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit has to be evidenced by the "speaking in tongues" overlook some important points:
A. I Cor. 14:21 makes it clear that "tongues" were for a sign to Israel -- It fulfilled O.T. prophecy.
B. I Cor. 12:29,30 makes it clear not all believers speak with tongues, so it can't be evidence of salvation.
C. Bible "tongues" are natural languages -- Acts 2; and I Cor. 14:10.
D. What happened at Corinth was not of the Holy Spirit or Paul, a man, would not have had to straighten it out, set down regulations and rebuke those doing it!
Much more could be said, but it will be covered in later publications.
Mode of Water Baptism
1. What is Baptism?
§ It is ritual washing as opposed to actual washing
§ It is ceremonial cleansing as opposed to actual cleansing
§ It is symbolic purification as opposed to actual purification
Actual purification is by the blood of Christ and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit
§ Titus 3:5-6 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
I. John 1:19-27 The Jews expected the coming Christ or Elijah to Baptize
19 ¶ And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
Compare with Matt. 3: 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
2. Baptism was not a new concept to the Jews - they saw it as a rite of purification
A. Messiah would baptize where did thy get this idea?
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Isa. 32: 15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.
16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
Isa. 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
Isa 52:13-15 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
When and how was this fulfilled?
Ez. 39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
B. The Jews understood that baptism was Ceremonial cleansing and purification.
John 3:25 purifying
" Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. 26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. 27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."
· And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews,
· This is how the Jews washed and bathed (2 Sam. 11:2)
¨ 2 Kings 3:11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.
· 37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. 38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.
¨ did not baptize himself in the Greek the word is baptizo
·unless they baptize again it is baptizo
· Mark 7:4,8 washing baptismos
3. Jesus Baptism Not for repentance, but for ordination and anointing as Prophet, Priest, and King
John 1: 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
Compare: Luke 20:1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,
2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:
4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Ex. 29:4 And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
5 And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod:
6 And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.
7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
·Washed and anointed
Lev. 8:4 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 5 And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done. 6 And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. 7 And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. 8 And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim. 9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses. 10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. 11 And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them. 12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
The washing was done at the door of the tabernacle in the audience of the people most likely wasnt the whole body, but a ceremonial washing like baptism. It was probably that same as what they did for the Levites:
Ex. 30:17 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: 20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.
· They would not immerse the dirty hands or feet into the laver and foul all the water, but have someone take the water and pour it on their hands and feet (see above 2 Kings 3:11)
Examples of ceremonial washing by sprinkling
4. John baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost -- the baptism parallel - Water & Holy Ghost - same mode
Acts 19:2-6 unto what then were ye baptized? ...if you werent baptized to receive the Holy Spirit, unto what then were you baptized?
What did the water baptism of John signify?
What mode did Jesus use to Baptize with the Holy Spirit?
Jesus was the Christ (anointed one) when was his anointing?
We are called Christians (little anointed ones) (I John 2:27) - When is our anointing?
Why would the mode of baptized with Water be different than baptized with Holy Spirit when water baptism was to signify and parallel Spirit baptism?
We are baptized to signify the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon all believers as the earnest of our inheritance.
Some additional thoughts:
Baptism in the name of a person is identification as a disciple of that persons teaching and example.
The mode of Spirit baptism is pouring...
...But the RESULT of Spirit baptism is:
Buried with Him by baptism into death has led many to use immersion as a mode of baptism; and this idea is probably where immersion came into use as a mode. It doesnt seem to be the original mode used by the apostles, which was before they understood Jesus death, burial, and resurrection, as we have demonstrated. All early Christian art shows baptism by pouring. Jesus was not buried into death, but crucified. In our baptism we are putting on Christ (Gal. 3:27) in every aspect of his life and death (Gal. 2:20; 5:24; 6:14; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 13:12,13)
Jewish burial was not in the ground, but in a tomb. Greek and Roman burial was by cremation. Being immersed in water does not picture Jesus burial any more than pouring water on someone. When we bury people, we do it by pouring dirt over them, not immersing them in the dirt; but this is useless arguing, for the Jews did neither. They entombed, which is what buried means in the Bible. The preparation for burial or entombing was pouring oil anointing the body with oil and spices with clothe to mummify. This is interesting in light of the following verses.
Water baptism did not symbolize death, burial, and resurrection; but Spirit baptism RESULTED in regeneration, which was a death, burial, and resurrection to new life. The MODE of Spirit baptism was pouring, the result was spiritual regeneration. To say we, in our baptism, put on Christ, is correct; to say we were crucified with Christ is correct; to say we died with Christ is correct; to say our old life is buried, and now we walk in newness of life through his resurrection is correct; to say we were circumcised in heart at baptism is correct; but the mode of water baptism doesnt have to picture all these, as it pictures the reception of the agent (The Holy Spirit), which produces all these.
The first time in history we find immersion used as the mode of baptism it is not to picture the death, burial, and resurrection, but as a washing; -- It was trine immersion forward (sometimes unclothed), accompanied by the sign of the cross, anointing with oil, blessing the water, and other superstitious rites. Single immersion backwards to picture the death, burial, and resurrection was not used or recorded until the reformation.
We accept those with believers baptism, even if by immersion, because MODE is not the most important issue, but the application of water in Jesus name to a truly repentant believer. Continuing in this repentant, obeying, faith is even more vital to the salvation of the soul. If one understands immersion as a whelming with water, rather than a dipping into water, then the symbolism is not totally lost.