just thinking  Salvation, Faith Alone or Faith Plus Works - Part IV


John 17:14,16
Jesus said His followers are not of the world any more than He is of the world.

Jesus didn’t say His followers will not be part of the world; He said they are not part of the world. The salvation of those who believe has already happened.

John 17:20
Jesus prays for the disciples and for those “who will believe in me through their message.”

John 17:21,23
Jesus says that it is important that the world believe that the Father sent Him.

John 19:35
The testimony of Jesus crucifixion is given “so that you also may believe.”

Jesus’ crucifixion is real, and the one who saw it (likely John himself) is telling the truth about it, and he is testifying to its truth so people will believe.

John 20:21-23
Jesus says that as He was sent by God, so he sends the disciples. Then he breathes on the disciples, tells them to “receive the Holy Spirit,” and says that if they forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven, if not, they aren’t forgiven.

I think Jesus is saying: Just as I was sent by the Father to represent Him, now I send you to represent God, and I am giving you the Holy Spirit so you will be in tune with God, so that if you say someone is forgiven, then it is true because you are in tune with the Spirit of God so that what you say about someone’s forgiveness and what God says about that person’s forgiveness are identical.

It would be absurd to think the disciples’ pronouncements of forgiveness are the cause of forgiveness. Even Jesus, when he pronounced forgiveness for someone, looked for faith on the part of that person, so to assume the disciples could unilaterally forgive seems impossible. If this passage meant that the disciples could simply forgive everybody without any evidence of repentance or faith, then they might have simply issued a worldwide “Proclamation of Forgiveness for All” and be done for all time with all teaching, preaching, evangelism and missions.

I think this is something like the marriage ceremony, in which a pastor asks the man and woman if they want to marry, and when they say they do, he says something like, “On the basis of your commitment to one another and by the authority vested in me as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I now pronounce you man and wife.” In a similar fashion, I suspect the disciples would question a person regarding his faith and upon receiving a positive answer and having that positive answer confirmed by the Spirit of God within them, they would say something like: “On the basis of your faith and by the cleansing power of Jesus Christ, I pronounce you forgiven.”

Does that mean if there is no verbal statement acknowledging a person’s forgiveness that the person is not saved? No. I think the value of a verbal statement by a respected leader of the church is that it gives such great assurance to the person over whom forgiveness is proclaimed, and gives the one who does not receive that affirmation of forgiveness a strong reason to go back and consider whether he really believes.

John 20:27
The resurrected Jesus tells Thomas not to be unbelieving.

Was Thomas unsaved before? No, John 17:12 says Jesus guarded and kept all of them except Judas, so Thomas was saved despite his doubts. Faith does not need to be flawless to result in salvation.

John 20:29
Jesus says to Thomas that those who have not seen and believe are blessed.

I don’t think Thomas was un-blessed, but there is apparently a special blessing for those who believe in Jesus without the special proof Thomas demanded.

John 20:30-31
The miracles recorded in the book of John were written so people may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing have life in his name.

Acts 2:21
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Acts 2:47
The Lord added to the number of those being saved.

We have been saved from the penalty of sin, we are being saved from the power of sin, and we will be saved from the very presence of sin. So, “being saved” does not mean that they are not yet fully forgiven for their sins. They have been saved from the penalty of sin, and now they are being saved from the power of sin.

Acts 4:12
There is salvation in no one but Jesus.

There is no salvation in ourselves and our own efforts.

Acts 4:32
The believers shared everything they had.

Here “the believers” are the local church. The central thing that makes the church the church is that the people are believers.

Acts 8:12
The people believed Philip when he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ and they were baptized.

Acts 8:22
Peter tells Simon the magician to repent to be forgiven.

Simon had already (Acts 8:13) believed and been baptized, but either his belief was not real (perhaps he decided to join the Christians because as a magician he was impressed with the miracles he saw, as it mentions in Acts 8:13) or perhaps he was a real believer but, as Peter said (Acts 8:21), his heart was “not right before God.” So, if Simon never really believed, then Peter’s warning would mean Simon would miss out on heaven, or if Simon had really believed, then apparently Peter was warning Simon of earthly consequences, most particularly being excluded from ministry (Acts 8:20), if he did not repent.

Acts 8:35-37
Philip preached Jesus, and perhaps also baptism, to an Ethiopian. [Acts 8:36 – which appears in some later manuscripts – says that Philip told the Ethiopian that if he believes with all his heart then he can be baptized.]

Even if 8:36 is doubtful, Philip preached about Jesus, so his intent was clearly to convince the Ethiopian to believe in Jesus.

Acts 14:27
Paul reports God “had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.”

This is a matter for rejoicing because the “door of faith” is what the Gentiles need to walk through for their salvation.

Acts 9:40-42
The people of Joppa heard how Tabitha had been raised from the dead, so many of them believed in Jesus.

Acts 10:34-35
Peter says he knows that God accepts men from all nations who fear Him and do what is right.

In this passage about the God-fearing Gentile, Cornelius, the salvation of Cornelius and his household was through Peter’s proclamation of Jesus; it was sudden and occurred as Peter was preaching, directly after Peter said that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins. So Cornelius’ salvation was not as a result of him doing a list of right things; the right thing referred to in this passage is that Cornelius and his household believed in Jesus.

Acts 10:43
Peter preaches that the prophets testify that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through His name.

Acts 11:18
God granted the Gentiles repentance unto life.

Acts 13:12
The proconsul believed because he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

Acts 13:46
Rejecting the word of God is rejecting eternal life.

Acts 14:1
Many Jews and Gentiles believed at the teaching of Paul and Barnabas.

Acts 14:15
Barnabas and Paul tell the people to turn from worthless things to the living God.

Acts 14:22
Paul and Barnabas encourage the people to “continue in the faith” and they say that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

I think they mean that as a practical matter in this life we should continue to trust Jesus, and that, in the process of following Jesus – as we are on our way to heaven – we will encounter tribulations, not that troubles are a means of entering heaven.

Acts 15:7
Peter says that that God made the choice that the Gentiles might hear the message of the gospel and believe.

Acts 15:9
Peter says God purified the hearts of the Gentiles by faith.

Acts 15:11
Peter says it is by “the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved.”

Acts 16:30-31
A jailer asks Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved and they tell him to believe in the Lord Jesus and he and his household will be saved.

Acts 17:30
Paul says that in the past God overlooked sin but now he commands people everywhere to repent.

Acts 17:34
Some people believed Paul’s message.

Acts 18:8
Crispus, the synagogue leader, his household, and many Corinthians, believed and were baptized.

Acts 18:27
There were those in Achaia “who by grace had believed.”

Acts 19:9
Some people refused to believe.

Acts 20:21
Paul says that Jews and Greeks “must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”

Acts 26:17-18
Jesus appoints Paul to turn people to God “so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

Acts 26:20
Paul preaches that people should turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

Acts 28:27
Paul quotes Isaiah – If people would see, hear, understand with their hearts, and return – God will heal them.

Romans 1:5
Paul says his call was to bring about “obedience of faith” among the Gentiles. Or, “obedience to the faith” Amplified Version, or “the obedience that comes from faith,” NIV.

This seems to be saying if we have faith we will have obedience. And by aiming to bring about obedience we must aim at faith as its necessary prerequisite.

Romans 1:16-17
The gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. In it a righteousness from God is revealed that is by faith from first to last.

Romans 2:3
When you pass judgment on someone else yet do the same things yourself, “do you think you will escape God’s judgment?”

Paul seems to be referring to those who have not repented of their sins. In 2:4 he indicates that God is trying to draw them to repentance, which would not have been necessary if they had already repented, and in 2:5 he speaks of their stubbornness and unrepentant hearts.

Romans 2:6-7
God will render to each according to his deeds. For those who persevere in doing good in order to seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.

When Paul says that, “God will give to each person according to what he has done,” he appears to be quoting Psalm 62:12, and Psalm 62 repeatedly proclaims that salvation is from God alone and that we should “trust in him at all times.” This would be an odd passage to quote if Paul meant to suggest that salvation was by works.

Also, earlier in Romans Paul says that he is talking about “the obedience that comes from faith” (Romans 1:5), and that he is talking about “a righteousness from God,” and “a righteousness that is by faith from first to last” (Romans 1:17). So when Paul speaks of persevering in good works he means the perseverance that comes naturally from having a real faith.

Also, bracketing Romans 2:6-7 are Romans 2:5 and 2:8, which condemn those who refuse to repent, and those who are self-seeking and reject the truth. Paul is emphasizing our need to repent and believe the truth. So, when Paul speaks in Romans 2:6-7 of those who persevere, he is talking about those who have really repented and put their faith in Jesus, for their true faith will result in persevering obedience. False faith won’t.

Romans 2:10
There will be glory, honor and peace for those who do good.

See discussion of Romans 2:6-7.

Romans 2:13
Those who obey the law are justified, not those who just hear.

If we have surrendered our lives to God we will do our best to keep the deep inner law of love, though not necessarily the outer ceremonial law.

See discussion of Romans 2:6-7.

Romans 3:21-22
There is a righteousness from God apart from the law that comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

Paul (Romans 3:20) says the law gives us a consciousness of sin, but we have a righteousness from God and that righteousness is through faith.

Romans 3:26
God justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Romans 4:5
The man who does not work but trusts God; his faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:23-25
God will credit righteousness to those of us who have believed in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

Romans 5:1-2
We have been justified by faith, and through Jesus have gained access by faith into grace.

Romans 5:9-10
We have been justified by His (Jesus’) blood and saved from God’s wrath. We were reconciled to the Father through Jesus and will be saved through His life.

Romans 5:11
Through Jesus we have received reconciliation.

Romans 5:15-16
God’s grace overflows to many people by Jesus’ gift to us.

Romans 5:17
Those who receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through Jesus.

Romans 5:18
One act of righteousness by Jesus resulted in justification that brings life to all men.

The one act of righteousness Paul appears to be referring to is Jesus sacrifice of Himself on the cross.

Romans 5:19
Through the obedience of the One [Jesus] many are made righteous.

Romans 5:21
Grace reigns through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:8
If we died with Christ we believe we will also live with Him.

Romans 6:18
The Romans have been set free from sin to become slaves to righteousness.

Romans 6:22
The Romans have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God. The benefit they reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Being set free from sin results in a holy life, and eternal life.

Romans 6:23
The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Romans 7:4
We were made to die to the law through Christ so we might be joined to Him to bear fruit for God.

We are first joined to Christ and then we bear fruit.

Romans 8:2
The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:6
The mind set on the flesh (or, “the mind of sinful man”) is death; the mind set on the Spirit (or, “the mind controlled by the Spirit”) is life and peace.

This seems to be referring to our daily walk with Christ. We should not descend to living through our old sinful self, as unbelievers do naturally, but live with minds controlled by the Holy Spirit. The mind set on the flesh is death, not will be death. It describes the dead day-to-day existence we will experience if we slip into living without reference to God.

Romans 8:13
If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

A few verses earlier, in Romans 8:9, Paul says we are controlled by the Spirit if we have the Spirit of Christ living in us, so here, in 8:13, I think Paul is saying that if we are unsaved and living life according to our sinful nature, we will die. But if we are alive in Christ by His Spirit living in us, controlling us, then the result will be – through the Spirit – that we are putting to death the misdeeds of the body, and we will live.

Romans 8:14
If you are led by God you are a son of God.

Being led by God is evidence that we belong to God. See comment on Romans 8:13 as well.

Romans 9:30
The Gentiles obtained a righteousness by faith.

Romans 10:3-4
Righteousness comes from God. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Romans 10:9-10
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation.

Paul says a couple verses later (Romans 10:12), that, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” so I think that when Paul says here that if you “confess with your mouth,” he is saying that we need to call out to God and say that, “Jesus is my Lord!” In other words, we need to submit to Jesus as our Lord; that is real faith and that kind of faith saves us. Merely acknowledging that Jesus is whom He claims to be without submitting to Him is not salvation. The demons have that kind of faith.

Romans 10:13
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Romans 10:17
Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ.

Romans 11:5-6
A remnant (of Israel) has been chosen by grace, not by works.

Romans 11:20-23
Israel was broken off because of unbelief, and we can be broken off by unbelief. God will be kind to us provided we continue in his kindness; otherwise we will be cut off. Israel can be grafted back in if they believe.

Paul does not seem to be talking here to individuals, but to groups; groups of Jewish people and groups of Gentile people. So, if the Jews – as a group – believe, they will be grafted back into the vine – saved, in other words. And if the Gentiles – as a group – stop believing, they will be broken off the vine and be lost. So, for example, if a church slowly stops believing in Christ, the faithfulness of the previous generation will not keep the unbelieving current generation from being lost.

Romans 13:11
It is time to awake. Salvation is nearer than when we believed.
This apparently refers to our future salvation, when we shall be saved not just from the penalty of our sins, not just in the midst of our current battles with sin, but from the very presence of sin.

1 Corinthians 1:4-8
Paul thanks God for His grace given to the Corinthians in Jesus. Jesus will confirm them blameless in the day of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:11
Paul says the Corinthians were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus and by the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 6:17
One who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

1 Corinthians 7:14,16
An unbelieving spouse is sanctified through a believing spouse, and the children are holy.

This does not mean the unbelieving spouse is saved for heaven by the believing spouse because in verse 7:16 Paul asks, How do you know if you will save your spouse? It says the unbelieving spouse will be “sanctified,” apparently meaning this in its “set apart” sense. So, through marriage the man and wife are “set apart” from others in the world.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25
We run to receive an imperishable prize, a crown.

Paul uses the picture of a foot race as an analogy. Like a racer, we should train and discipline ourselves to live Christian lives. In saying that in a race only one person wins the prize he clearly does not mean just one person will enter heaven or one person will receive God’s approval. He simply wants us to run with the dedication of that racer, who wants to excel all others in his attempt to win the prize, but our motivation should be even greater because unlike the foot racer who races for a temporary prize, our prize is eternal.

There is no suggestion that the prize in this passage is salvation. It seems, rather, to be a reward in heaven, not heaven itself. See comment on 1 Corinthians 9:27 as well.


4/08/2015 09:56:00 PM | Permalink | 0 comments

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