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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Zachary

Who are called, who are chosen, and who are in Christ?

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It has always seemed to me that all born-again believers were “called” to be such.

But the NT warns of believers losing eternal life, gaining eternal death, being shut

out of entering the kingdom of heaven, etc.

So obviously, the following passage has been a thorn in my side of understanding …

Romans 8:28-30 • “And we know that all things work together for good to those who

love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew,

He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the

firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called;

whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

 

However, IMO, many born-again believers who were called were later NOT chosen

because they proved to NOT be obedient believers, and thus NOT worthy believers!

Matthew 22:14 • “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

“The gospel of Christ is preached to all men, and many hear Christ’s call. They come at first.

They say Christ’s gospel is pleasing. They may agree with it. But in their hearts they do not

fully give their lives to Christ … they are not prepared to be servants of Christ.

They are not chosen. Christ’s servants must be chosen (John 15:16).”

(The Applied New Testament Commentary -- Thomas Hale, 1996, ChariotVictor Publishing)

 

IMO, there is a special subset group of those whom God has called.

These special called ones actually love Jesus enough to be obedient to Him!

They are ”those who love God … those who are the called according to His purpose”.

 

Jesus says those who love Him will keep (obey) His commandments …

John 14:15-17 • “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father,

and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever —

the Spirit of truth … for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

John 14:21-24 • “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.

And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and

manifest Myself to him ... If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word;

and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

He who does not love Me does not keep My words …”

 

Questions:

1 -- Does anyone get to heaven who does not love Jesus?

2 -- Does anyone get to heaven who does not keep His commandments?

3 -- Does the believer who is a “non-keeper” continue to have the indwelling Holy Spirit?

 

1 John 2:3-5 • “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

He who says, “I know Him”, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth

is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.

By this we know that we are in Him.”

 

1 John 3:24 • “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.”

John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered;

and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

 

Questions:

4 -- Should believers who are “non-keepers” be considered to be “in Christ”?

5 -- Do “non-keeper” believers, who do not abide in Jesus, lose their salvation?

 

More NT Scriptures about the necessity of obedience

Matthew 19:17 • “But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Luke 8:21 • “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

Romans 6:16-19 • “… (slaves) of obedience leading to righteousness”

Hebrews 3:18 • “… they would not enter His rest … those who did not obey”

Hebrews 5:9 • “… He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

James 1:21-22 • “… be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

1 Peter 1:22 • “… you have purified your souls in obeying the truth …”

 

Question:

6 -- When believers who habitually sin finally return to God by sincerely repenting of their sins,

and beginning (again perhaps) a life of obedience, does the Holy Spirit return to them?

Are they back abiding “in Christ” again?

 

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Hi Zachary,

 

Good to meet you, I hope you're doing well today! :)

 

You've raised some great questions alongside your obviously deep thinking on this subject. It's really great to see others hashing things over in God's Word like this. We're commanded to do that, but it's so often overlooked these days.

 

I pray God will oversee my use of words in response to your specific questions here. I tend to fail in communication but I hope you'll see through my potential lack of "good" wording to see that it's only out of care for other believers that I bother. I'll answer inline.

 

1 -- Does anyone get to heaven who does not love Jesus?

 

No.

 

2 -- Does anyone get to heaven who does not keep His commandments?

 

No.

 

3 -- Does the believer who is a “non-keeper” continue to have the indwelling Holy Spirit?

 

That question assumes that one who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit won't necessarily keep his commands. But the very reason one keeps his commands is because of the Holy Spirit's convicting work.

 

To clarify a bit, the Holy Spirit externally works to convict the entire world of sin, using believers and their words as a means. But he also works internally in believers and that internal work, the indwelling, is a guarantee to them that God will continue working in them.

 

2 Corinthians 1:22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

 

All believers will keep Christ's commandments, because they all have this seal of guarantee, the Holy Spirit. And his work convicts them of their wrongs on a constant basis so they continually turn to God. It's not to say they won't disobey his commands at various points, but they will always eventually turn in repentance because of the guarantee of the Spirit's work.

 

4 -- Should believers who are “non-keepers” be considered to be “in Christ”?

 

All believers should be considered "in Christ". But those who give reason for other believers to question their profession should be dealt with appropriately. Those who sin should be held to account for, confess for and seek forgiveness for their sins. The whole context of Mark 18 deals with how this is to be handled, through specific disciplinary action within the church.

 

5 -- Do “non-keeper” believers, who do not abide in Jesus, lose their salvation?

 

No. Salvation is not one's own to lose, it's a gift from God. Christ himself clarified that anyone who comes to him, he will never cast anyone out.

 

John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

 

6 -- When believers who habitually sin finally return to God by sincerely repenting of their sins,

and beginning (again perhaps) a life of obedience, does the Holy Spirit return to them?

Are they back abiding “in Christ” again?

 

It's by the Holy Spirit's work that anyone turns to God in repentance. So it's not that the Holy Spirit returns to a person, it's that he's done his work of convicting them so they turn to God. He is a seal of guarantee to the believer and will never leave them, so believers can feel assured that God will always be there for them. This should instantly humble anyone rather than instilling any pride in them, both because it's entirely God's work, and also because they should fear the means God will use to continually discipline them.

 

I hope you won't mind my going off on a bit of a tangent here too, since you mentioned Christ's commandments. A lot of time, people don't realize the crux of what was being conveyed with Christ's commandments. His commandments should point us back to John 13 where Jesus washed the disciples' feet. Note what he says afterward...

 

John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

 

He was commanding us there, to wash each others' feet. We're to serve each other, that is how we "love" each other. And servitude is illustrated for us by Jesus' washing of feet. That is probably the most crucial element of following Jesus' commands. So his commands shouldn't feel burdensome, but we should enjoy serving each other as Christ served the disciples.

 

I know that's a tangent, but it's one I hope will add a bit of context to this discussion about Jesus' commandments.

 

I hope that makes sense too, please feel free to ask any questions and I'll do my best to reply in a timely manner.

 

In Christ,

David

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Hi Zacchary,

 

This might be of help in understanding who are the called ones and who are the chosen ones.

 

The word "chosen" is:

ἐκλεκτός eklektós, ek-lek-tos'; from G1586; select
; by implication, favorite
:—chosen, elect.

 

In Thayer's Greek Lexicon for this verse:

"regard the 'called' and the 'chosen' here as alike partakers of salvation, but the latter as the 'choice ones' (sec 2 below),

Section 2:

2. univ. choice, select, i.e. the best of its kind or class, excellent, preeminent: applied to certain individual Christians

 

So this is not saying only a few of those who are called will be saved, but all who are called have salvation, but only few of those who are saved will be christians who become the best christians.

 

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Observe, Matthew 22:14 and the context of the parable - The hypocrite was never discovered to be without a wedding garment, till the king himself came in to see the guests. Note, It is God's prerogative to know who are sound at heart in their profession, and who are not. We may be deceived in men, either one way or other; but He cannot.

 

Questions:

1 -- Does anyone get to heaven who does not love Jesus?

2 -- Does anyone get to heaven who does not keep His commandments?

3 -- Does the believer who is a “non-keeper” continue to have the indwelling Holy Spirit?

 

1- No. Consider though, that if it was possible to get to Heaven by being loving then Christ would not have needed to die. Many people do not realize that to be loving is a command of the Old Testament Law. Please consider these two verses:

  • Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
  • Leviticus 19:18, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD."

Both of these passages are quoted by Jesus in Matt. 22:37 and Matt. 22:39, respectively. We are undoubtedly supposed to love, but keeping the Old Testament command to love God and love your neighbor is not good enough for us to get to Heaven. Paul said, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21). And again, "Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law," (Gal. 3:21). Paul clearly tells us that we cannot obtain the righteousness that we need by keeping the Law, which includes loving God and loving your neighbor. So, you cannot love your way into Heaven.

 

2 - No. We get to Heaven by receiving Christ as Savior. We do this by faith, not by faith and any work of any kind. We have to understand that we are sinners, and there's nothing we can do that will be good enough before God (Rom. 3:10-12; 6:23). If there were, then Jesus didn't need to die. But Jesus who is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14) died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead (1Corinthians 15:1-4). That is the Gospel message. By trusting in Christ and believing in the Gospel, we are declared right before God by faith (Romans 4:1-5; 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9). In other words, when we receive Christ by faith (John 1:12), the righteousness of God is given to us (Philippians 3:9). This is called justification. Justification is a legal standing before God. It means that the one who has trusted in Christ by faith is now declared legally righteous according to the law. Since the law includes loving God and loving our neighbors, those parts of the law must be fulfilled perfectly. It was Jesus who fulfilled the law without failure. So, we receive by faith what Christ did--which includes loving God and loving our neighbor. Therefore, everything we need is found in Jesus.

 

3 - Perseverance of the Saints means that once a person is truly born again, God will work through the person so that the person will persevere throughout his life and not lose his salvation. It emphasizes God's work and ability to perfect the Christian (Philippians 1:6) and that Christians are sealed permanently with Him (Ephesians 1:13-14).

 

 

4 -- Should believers who are “non-keepers” be considered to be “in Christ”?

5 -- Do “non-keeper” believers, who do not abide in Jesus, lose their salvation?

 

4 - We are regenerated, and because of regeneration from God, we war against our sin (Romans 7:18-25). We do not consider it a license to sin. Furthermore, anyone who claims to be a Christian and purposely uses God's grace in order to sin is demonstrating that he is not regenerate because he is acting in a manner that contradicts regeneration (1 John 2:4).

 

5 - Not everyone who professes to be a Christian will persevere because there can be those who are false converts and are not truly regenerated. In other words, there are people who appear to be saved but who are not. These often walk away from the faith (Mark 4:3-9). Also, perseverance of the saints does not mean that those who are truly saved will not backslide or have strong doubts about their faith. It means that ultimately, they will remain in the faith because it is God who is keeping them and not themselves.

 

1 John 1:7-9, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

 

John the apostle included himself in the "we." He is not teaching us that we have to be perfect and keep the law in order to be saved. He's telling us that if we are to follow Christ, then we are to follow the commandments of Christ. In other words, if you say you follow Christ but don't do what He says, how can you call yourself a Christian (1 John 2:4)? The commandments Jesus tells us to do are . . .

  • Love God "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," (Matthew 22:37).
  • Love your neighbor " . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself," (Matthew 22:39).
  • Love one another “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another," (John 13:34).
  • Make Disciples "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,'" (Matthew 28:18-20).

 

6 -- When believers who habitually sin finally return to God by sincerely repenting of their sins, and beginning (again perhaps) a life of obedience, does the Holy Spirit return to them? Are they back abiding “in Christ” again?

 

Can a Christian who is regenerate actually stop believing in God? Regeneration is the work of God accompanied by the Holy Spirit's presence in the believer where the Christian is born again (John 3:3-8) and made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). If God is the one who performs the action of regeneration when we believe and if we stop believing, then does God perform the action of making us unregenerate? We do not perform the action of regenerating ourselves, so it would not make sense to say that we perform the action of unregenerating ourselves. It makes no sense. Therefore, we would have to say that it would be God who unregenerates us when we don't believe. But that would mean God is making the person into an unregenerate sinner. Does God actually undo what He did in the person?

 

Regeneration is the rebirth, being born again, being made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), and it is accompanied by the indwelling of God. Please consider the following verses:

  • Ezekiel 11:19, "And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh."
  • John 1:13, "who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
  • John 3:3, 8, "Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God . . . 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
  • Ephesians 2:10, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
  • 1 Peter 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."The Scriptures clearly teach that Christians are changed internally. This change is called regeneration. So we have to ask the question again. If a person stops believing, then how does he become unregenerate if it is God who regenerates him in the first place? Those who teach you can lose your salvation would have to say that God would then choose to switch the person back to his old, unregenerate, sinful nature. Does God do that? Does God change people into sinners? Is this concept found anywhere in Scripture? No, it is not.

 

Now the issue becomes whether or not we can lose our salvation. If we cannot, then it is necessarily true that God would never turn us back into our old, sinful selves. But if we can lose our salvation, then it is necessarily true that God would turn us back into our old, sinful selves. Which makes sense?

 

Note: Keeping the commandments includes faith in Jesus Christ, for that is the great commandment (1 John 3:23), and it was one of the laws of Moses, that, when the great Prophet should be raised up, they should hear him.

 

Sources:

Christian Apologetic Research Ministries

Systematic Theology: Wayne Grudem

John Calvin's Commentary on the NT

R.C. Sproul Reformed Study Bible

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Here is how I see salvation and the issue of are we once saved always saved or can we choose to reject God after being saved. The scriptures do not speak of salvation in such black and white terms:

Q: "Are you Saved?"

A: "As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)."

 

 

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Westminster Confession of Faith:

 

Chapter XVIII

 

Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation

 

Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed. (Job 8:13, 14; Matthew 7:22, 23; 1 John 2:3;1 John 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24;1 John 5:13; Romans 5:2, 5)

 

This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel; and also upon the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; and, as a fruit thereof, keeping the heart both humble and holy. (Hebrews 6:11, 19; Hebrews 6:17, 18; 2 Peter 1:4, 5, 10, 11; Romans 8:15, 16; 1 John 3:1-3)

 

This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of means, attain thereunto: and therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; -so far is it from inclining men to looseness. (Isaiah 50:10; Psalms 88; Psalms 77:1-12; 1 John 4:13; Hebrews 6:11, 12; Romans 5:1, 2, 5; Romans 14:17; Psalms 119:32; Romans 6:1,2; Titus 2:11, 12, 14)

 

True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God's withdrawing the light of his countenance, and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light, yet are they never destitute of the seed of God and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the meantime, they are preserved from utter despair. (Psalms 51:8, 12, 14; Psalms 116:11; Psalms 77:7, 8; Psalms 31:22; Psalms 30:7; 1 John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Psalms 42:5, 11; Lamentations 3:26-31)

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The question becomes, once we are saved, do we lose our free will to choose to reject God?

 

If we retain our free will, then logically we can exercise our free will to reject God and walk away and forfeit our final salvation.

 

 

 

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Here is how I see salvation and the issue of are we once saved always saved or can we choose to reject God after being saved. The scriptures do not speak of salvation in such black and white terms:

 

I think that the Scriptures are pretty clear that if salvation was up to man, he would lose it.

 

I believe at the end of John chapter 2, the Apostle John says, “Many believed on Him when they saw His miracles.” But the very next verse says, “But Jesus didn't commit Himself to them because He knew what was really in their hearts,” implying that that faith wasn't real. And then that becomes a theme in the gospel of John because in chapter 6, “Many of His disciples turned away and walked with Him no more.” They abandoned the faith completely.”

 

Also note, Jesus diagnosis of Judas was not that he was a believer who lost his way, or he was once saved and then became unsaved, or he once had saving faith and then forfeited that saving faith. It was that from the beginning one of you is a devil. And the other thing He said is this, He said, “I have lost none of you except that son of perdition that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

 

In other words, it was never a shock to Jesus that there was a traitor among the Twelve because that was predicted in the Old Testament. There are a number of prophecies that are fulfilled directly by Judas. So, Jesus never speaks of him as a believer. He is a son of perdition which is to say he is by nature headed for damnation. He is a devil. So whatever was going on on the outside, nothing was going on on the inside. And I think that's what we have to understand about apostates. It isn't that they once were saved and turned against that. It is that they never were.

 

And Scripture is clear, 1 John 2, that anyone who turns away and abandons the faith, none of them were ever true believers from the beginning.

 

God bless,

William

 

 

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What do you see the act of baptism as then? In another thread I understood you to say that it is the entrance into the New Covenant and that children can enter the New Covenant through baptism as well, just as infant boys entered the Old Covenant through circumcision.

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The question becomes, once we are saved, do we lose our free will to choose to reject God?

If we retain our free will, then logically we can exercise our free will to reject God and walk away and forfeit our final salvation.

You have a correct revelation of spiritual Truth about the believer's ability to exercise his/her free will to NOT obey the new covenant.

The following false doctrines will cause multitudes of Spirit-indwelt believers to fall away from the faith and lose their salvation ...

OSAS, grace-only, pre-trib rapture, taking the mark of the beast.

This is a warning!

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Ok if I read your post right here is my answer, we didn't earn salvation and its not based on our works but the finished work of Jesus, IMO we should NEVER doubt salvation because Christs blood was more than enough, but I do believe we must repent like Christ said "go your way and sin no more", I mean one can choose to walk away but he can repent and come back.

 

I had a real problem with condemnation, but I learned that God does not condemn us, we do, Christ forgives and cleanses us of ALL sin and ALL unrighteousness all we have to do is confess it to Him, repent, and believe that He can, will, and has forgiven you.

 

Now, as far as free will goes, God will not cross that sacred border nor will He let Satan, we are free to choose Him or another way and He will always draw us closer to Himself or draw us back to Him until our time is up, I myself walked away for a long time but God never gave up on me and has been calling me back in ways that only He can do, He put into my heart to repent and come back.

 

 

 

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In this life, except for the unforgivable sin, we can always come back to Christ.

If this sin was not restricted to only that time frame, i.e. before the arrival of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers.

Otherwise, we have another one ... the taking of Satan's mark of the beast.

Try repenting of this!

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If this sin was not restricted to only that time frame, i.e. before the arrival of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers.

Otherwise, we have another one ... the taking of Satan's mark of the beast.

Try repenting of this!

 

Hi Zachary,

 

Can you elaborate more on what you mean, "before the arrival of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers"? Do you believe the Ordo Salutis is different between Old Testament and New Testament believers? I am not stating that in the Old Testament that the Holy Spirit did not indwell people in order to perform only certain tasks, but I am curious as to whether you believe the order of salvation is different between Old Testament and New Testament believers? Perhaps you can elaborate on whether you agree that OT saints had a forward looking faith in the coming of the Messiah, just as NT believers have a historical looking faith in Him having come? Do you believe that faith is a fruit of regeneration?

 

I contend that God did not change how He saved people in the New Testament. It has always been by faith. Old Testament people who died before Christ was crucified are justified the same way that we are today--by faith.

 

God bless,

William

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Now, as far as free will goes, God will not cross that sacred border nor will He let Satan, we are free to choose Him or another way and He will always draw us closer to Himself or draw us back to Him until our time is up, I myself walked away for a long time but God never gave up on me and has been calling me back in ways that only He can do, He put into my heart to repent and come back.

 

I can certainly attest to the desire for God being planted in our hearts through regeneration.

 

As far as a sacred border that God will not cross, do you agree that unregenerate man is sinful in nature?

 

Curious, this is not directed to anyone in particular but anyone may answer. Which of these do you agree with?

  1. Unregenerate man is pretty good in need of only a bit of guidance or a good teacher (Pelagianism)
  2. Unregenerate man is sick or wounded and in need of only a bit of medicine or a doctor (Arminianism)
  3. Unregenerate man is spiritually dead in sin and trespasses in need of God alone (Calvinism)

God bless,

William

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Hi William,

IMO, in the OT the holy Spirit came UPON God's prophet, king, etc. and very rarely INSIDE.

In the NT, of course, He comes INSIDE, except for the baptism with the Holy Spirit He comes UPON,

but both can be simultaneously received.

In the NT, except for Jesus, man first received the Holy Spirit INSIDE in John 20.

In the OT, Jewish believers had their sins covered with the blood of animal sacrifices.

In the NT, all believers have their sins covered with the blood of Jesus ...

both at the time of receiving the Spirit and later when they repent of sins (1 John 1:7-9).

I have a huge stack of verses, which say man is totally incapable of believing in Jesus

and His gospel ... unless God gives him the gift of faith (but not the super one in 1 Cor 12).

FAITH ... we need to determine exactly what that entails, don't we?

IMO, to really truly believe refers to belief-faith-trust-obedience.

All for now, blessings to you!

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I can certainly attest to the desire for God being planted in our hearts through regeneration.

 

As far as a sacred border that God will not cross, do you agree that unregenerate man is sinful in nature?

 

Curious, this is not directed to anyone in particular but anyone may answer. Which of these do you agree with?

  1. Unregenerate man is pretty good in need of only a bit of guidance or a good teacher (Pelagianism)
  2. Unregenerate man is sick or wounded and in need of only a bit of medicine or a doctor (Arminianism)
  3. Unregenerate man is spiritually dead in sin and trespasses in need of God alone (Calvinism)

God bless,

William

 

3. Dead as a door nail.

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The question becomes, once we are saved, do we lose our free will to choose to reject God?

If we retain our free will, then logically we can exercise our free will to reject God and walk away and forfeit our final salvation.

I am not sure whether questions like this should only be answered with hypothetical arguments, but some of us God has chosen to teach theological truths using a more 'hands on' empirical approach. So I offer the following for whatever value it might be to your question:

 

I was regenerated (saved) or whatever term you might choose to use in 1979, when I received an offer from Jesus to exchange my life for his. An even trade of everything I was, everything I had and my future for everything that he was, everything that he had and a future of his choosing. So I traded my despair for his hope, my poverty for his provision, my death for his life. I dismantled the bomb that I was building, abandoned my plans for my own death and left the gangs and drugs behind. I hate talking about this, but it is important that you understand that the change and transformation from a literally dead athiest walking, to a completely sold out to Jesus Christian was so radical and complete that there can be no doubt that it was the presence of God that I had encountered that day.

 

Unfortunately, my salvation was accomplished without the benefit of a church body for support. This left me vulnerable to what in military strategy is called defeat in detail. Inch by inch, the enemy just chipped away at my faith. First I lost Christian Fellowship when I relocated and had only a few local churches more interested in selling Bingo cards that anything to do with God (and I knew too little to know where to look for another church). Then I tried to take some Bible classes at the community college and had a Jesuit so excited about teaching his 'P', 'S' and 'V' texts in Genesis to realize the obvious implications of a Bible that could not be trusted to be true. Then Kieth Green died in a plane crash and even my remote source of spiritual food was cut off. So after more than a decade of trying to walk without fellowship, scripture or discipleship, my faith was hanging by a thread.

 

Then came the Construction Recession of 1990-92 and two years of unemployment. I felt utterly abandoned by God. When I got down to my last few hundred dollars and was about to become homeless, I decided that enough is enough. I walked to the nearest church (I no longer had a running car at that point) and sat alone before the alter. I told God that I was tired of apologizing for whatever unforgivable sin I had done. I had asked his forgiveness and if he couldn't give it then ...

 

... I remember the words 'F*ck you' forming in my mind. I remember inhaling in preparation to say them. I never did.

I am not all that big on the supernatural, but I heard an audible voice that stopped me mid sentence. It was a single word. "No!"

I believe that it was the voice of the Holy Spirit. It stopped me in my tracks. I was still hurt and still angry. I told God that I was through looking for Him. if he wanted to talk, then He knew where to find me.

 

Within 48 hours, everything changed. I was hired to start a job for which I had not even sent in a Resume out of the blue on a Saturday. The next morning, Sunday, I returned to that Church of God of Anderson Indianna (since God had certainly done more than enough to get my attention). I had decided that I would do whatever God asked that day. Any message he delivered, I would be listening and any door he opened, I would enter. I met a Missionary from Africa who had just arrived to work as associate pastor at the church and he invited me to a bible study in his home.

 

So with respect to the question about loosing your Salvation, it may be possible in some theoretical sense to oppose the will of God, but it cannot be done easily, it cannot just happen, and it very well may not be possible.

 

So use or ignore this story as you see fit.

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