.

EASY BELIEVISM

with comments by biblestudymanuals.net [BSM]


Faith Baptist Theological Seminary [FB]
Ankeny, Iowa
March—April 2008
A Critique of “Easy Believism”
Myron J. Houghton, Ph.D., Th.D.

I)  WHAT CONSTITUTES SAVING FAITH

[FB]

What constitutes saving faith? Is it intellectual assent or something more? These questions go right to the core of the gospel message. In this issue of the Faith Pulpit, Dr. Myron Houghton of Faith Baptist Theological Seminary speaks to this important matter with careful Biblical thinking.

[BSM]

First and foremost one must consult a dictionary to determine what the legitimate available meanings of faith / trust / believe are so that one can apply the most appropriate meaning available to the context of the bible passage that is under review on the issue of saving faith. This is necessary because a proper understanding of the Bible depends upon the proper and acceptable use of the normative rules of language, context and logic so that everyone of accountable age has a fair and reasonable opportunity to read and understand God's Word. So far having perused this article and others that denegrate viewpoints on what it takes to have eternal life, the pattern quickly becomes clear that the proper reading of the bible or any written material is not being utilized and it is replaced with undue criticism rather than proper correction. For a proper interpretation of the Bible might I suggest you click on this button and review the proper rules of reading that you began to learn in elementary school .


FAITH BELIEVE TRUST DEFINED

A) ENGLISH DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF FAITH

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

ftp://ftp.uga.edu/pub/misc/webster/

faith \Faith\, n.

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason.

believe \Be*lieve

v. t. [imp. & p. p. Believed; p. pr. & vb. n. Believing]

To exercise belief in; to credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of, upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by circumstances other than personal knowledge; to regard or accept as true; to place confidence in; to think; to consider; as, to believe a person, a statement, or a doctrine."

trust \Trust\, v. t.

1. To place confidence in; to rely on, to confide, or repose faith, in; as, we can not trust those who have deceived us. I will never trust his word after. --Shak. He that trusts every one without reserve will at last be deceived. --Johnson. 2. To give credence to; to believe; to credit. Trust me, you look well. --Shak. 3. To hope confidently; to believe; -- usually with a phrase or infinitive clause as the object. I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face. --2 John 12. We trust we have a good conscience. --Heb. xiii. 18. 4. to show confidence in a person by intrusting (him) with something.

Syn: Confidence; belief; faith; hope; expectation"

B) NT GREEK DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF FAITH

The New Analytical Greek Lexicon which is a dictionary of the koine Greek language of the Bible, (Wesley J. Perschbacher, Editor, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Ma; 1992, p. 329), states as the meaning of the word pisteuo which is translated believe in the English Bible translations as follows:

"(4100)... [pisteuo] 1 pers. sg. pres. act. indic., fut... [pisteuso] ...to believe, give credit to, Mark 1:15; 16:13; Luke 24:25; intrns. to believe, have a mental persuasion, Matt. 8:13; 9:28; James 2:19; to believe, be of opinion, Rom. 14:2; in N.T. [pisteuein en, eis] to believe in or on, Matt. 18:6; 27:42; John 3:15, 16, 18; absol. to believe, be a believer in the religion of Christ, Acts 2:44; 4:4, 32; 13:48; trans. to intrust, commit to the charge or power of, Luke 16:11; John 2:24; pass. to be intrusted with, Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:17"

Note that the Greek word used in the Bible which is translated into forms of the verb 'to believe' is also defined according to the Greek dictionary to mean a trust in the information presented, i.e., a mental assent - devoid of additional actions on the part of an individual other than the mental agreement. Furthermore, the forms of the verb 'to believe' in Greek which are used in gospel passages all depict a moment of faith. Verb forms and contexts which depict an ongoing faith or faithfulness do not appear in gospel passages, hence the latter are excluded in what it takes to be justified unto eternal life.


II) "EASY BELIEVISM" - INTELLLECTUAL AGREEMENT

[FB]

“Easy believism,” as I am using this term, refers to a position held by those who define saving faith purely as intellectual agreement with the statement, “Jesus is the Son of God, and He promises eternal life to all who believe in Him.”

[BSM]

The verb "to believe" has an available meaning of "to exercise intellectual agreement" which is viable in the context of saving faith in the Bible because the source within the human body of believing is after all the intellect - the mind; and a proper phrase to firm up the meaning as synonymous is intellectual agreement. The phrase "Easy believism" is nonsensical and makes no linguistic sense. For some people certain beliefs are easy to exercise, for others that same belief is hard for them. It depends upon the person and the context. To believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for the sins of all mankind might be a "hard believism" for some individuals; and for others an "easy believism." It depends upon the person and the context. God's Word attaches neither adjective - easy or hard. To consider either phrase as applicable to all people or the Bible is nonsensical, purely subjective semantics especially relative to the reception of eternal life wherein there is nothing in the Bible that explains "easy believism" as your article explains it. Neither the easy or hard believism concept is stipulated in Scripture and therefore does not bear much attention as worthy of consideration. Furthermore, the statement, "Jesus is the Son of God, and He promises eternal life to all who believe in Him" does not appear in Scripture and it falls short of an effectual statement to believe in so that one might have eternal life because it fails to mention words to the effect that imply or directly state that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, which one may or may not determine given any words to the effect that Jesus Christ did indeed pay for the sins of the whole world. If that information is left out, and / or if the words are not connected to an appropriate context to define Who the Son of God is relative to His propitiation for the sins of the whole world, then what one believes in in ones mentality may not include Christ's propitiation for ones sins that the individual must believe in in order to actually have possession of eternal life, (Compare verse and context of 1 Jn 2:2). It is all about properly adhering to the normative rules of language, context and logic.


III) THE ROLE OF LAW IN EVANGELISM

[FB]

This point of view is associated with the Grace Evangelical Society and particularly the writings of Robert Wilkin, Zane Hodges, Joseph Dillow, and J. D. Faust. In order to evaluate this point of view, we need to consider the following issues.
The Role of the Law in Evangelism
In Romans 1:16 and 17 we notice the following truths:

[BSM]

Let's quote these verses and explain them in accordance with God's Word so our perspective remains focused upon the context of God's Word:


XV) [Ro 1:17]:

(v. 17 NKJV) "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed [in one to mankind] from faith to faith, [i.e., out of ones belief in the gospel to faithfulness in ones life to that belief] just as it is written: 'The righteous by faith will live.' "

A) A RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD IS REVEALED AS IMPUTED TO ONE WHO BELIEVES (A MOMENT OF FAITH) IN THE GOSPEL AND RECEIVES SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 16) "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (v. 17 NKJV) For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed [in one to mankind] from faith to faith, [i.e., out of ones belief in the gospel to faithfulness in ones life to that belief] just as it is written: 'The righteous by faith will live.' " =

Notice that the gospel stipulates that everyone who believes receives salvation unto eternal life, (v. 16), wherein a perfect righteousness from God, not based on anything man does is revealed. Such a righteousness being from God is necessarily a perfect righteousness, completely without sin which evidently is imputed to the one who believes and receives salvation. A moment of faith alone in the gospel, (Jesus Christ), is in view. Continuous faith and faithfulness is not.

B) THE ONE WHO IS RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH IS THE ONE WHO WILL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE AND WILL LIVE OUT HIS TEMPORAL LIFE IN A RIGHTEOUS MANNER AS HE LIVES BY THAT SAME FAITH

(v. 16) "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

(v. 17 YLT) For the righteousness of God in it is revealed from faith to faith, according as it [has] been written, 'And the righteous one by faith shall live,' " =

1) [Compare Hab 2:4]:

(Hab 2:4 NASB) "Behold, as for the proud one, (v. 6), His soul is not right within him; [Hebrew and Septuagint Greek word order]: But a righteous man by his faith will live."

The proud one [the one who is self-righteous, the Babylonian, (vv. 6-20)] his soul within him is not right - not righteous - with God. But the righteous soul - the one declared righteous before God through faith in God will live out his temporal life, the years appointed to him and forever in eternity, not so the self-righteous one.

This verse is best rendered from the word order of the Hebrew text wherein a man is not righteous before the exercise of his faith, he becomes righteous by the exercise of his faith in God's promise of eternal life through a coming Messiah / Savior by which faith he will live in the sense of have eternal life; and he will live out his temporal life in a righteous manner as he lives it by that same faith.

And by quoting the Old Testament in Ro 1:17, Paul showed that even during the dispensation of Law, legal obedience was not the basis for a justified standing before God because, as the Prophet Habakkuk wrote, "The righteous by faith will live," (Hab 2:4).


XIV) [Ro 1:16]:

(v. 16) "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

Notice that it is by the power of God through Whom anyone can receive salvation unto eternal life. In the absence of qualifiers like the adverb "continuously", the present tense verb "believes" conveys a single present moment of believing producing the result of salvation unto eternal life. Since eternal life is received at the first moment of faith in the gospel, and since eternal life by its very nature is an eternal/everlasting intrinsic part of an individual once received; then it cannot cease to exist in that individual if that individual waivers or ceases to believe in the gospel. Hence to demand a continuous belief in the gospel in order to continue to have eternal life which has already been received as an everlasting and intrinsic part of one is redundant, unscriptural and illogical.

Evidently the power of God relative to the gospel which is the good news by which one can be saved unto eternal life is released to save any individual unto eternal life at the moment he believes.

B) THE CONTENT OF WHAT ONE IS TO BELIEVE IN ORDER TO BE SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IS TO BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD FROM THE DEAD WHICH BY IMPLICATION PROVIDES THE ONE WHO BELIEVES WITH PAYMENT FOR ONES SINS AND SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

The gospel is called the "gospel of God", (v. 1), which is declared to have been "promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures', (v. 2), which is "regarding God's Son Who as to His human nature" (v. 3), and through the Holy Spirit He "was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead Jesus Christ our Lord.", (v. 4), which power of God provides "salvation of everyone who believes," (v. 16).

Paul's focus from the beginning of this letter has been the content and proclamation of the gospel of eternal life. The gospel, it is implied, is the content of what one is to believe in order to be saved unto eternal life which is to believe in the resurrection from the dead of the Son of God. This by implication provides the one who does believe in it with eternal life through the power of God. In some manner, then, we can conclude from this that the Son of God, as a descendant of David, (v. 3), in human form has covered the sins of everyone who has ever lived via His death. His resurrection from the dead supports this implication and through a moment of belief in this fact does the power of God operate such that one who believes receives eternal life.

XV) [Ro 1:17]:

(v. 17 NKJV) "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed [in one to mankind] from faith to faith, [i.e., out of ones belief in the gospel to faithfulness in ones life to that belief] just as it is written: 'The righteous by faith will live.' "

A) A RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD IS REVEALED AS IMPUTED TO ONE WHO BELIEVES (A MOMENT OF FAITH) IN THE GOSPEL AND RECEIVES SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

3) [Compare Ro 1:17]:

(Ro 1:17 YLT) "For the righteousness of God in it is revealed from faith to faith, according as it [has] been written, 'And the righteous one by faith shall live,' " [Hab 2:4]

When the improper word order for Hab 2:4 / Ro 1:17 / Gal 3:11 is read as it appears in most versions, it could easily be misconstrued to mean that those that are righteous before God are those who live by being faithful to law, despite the fact that the context of the verses which precede and follow indicates that man cannot faithfully keep the Law or any law and will remain accursed if he tries to be righteous by any kind of human doing.


IV) GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION

[FB]

1. The gospel is not salvation. It is the power of God unto salvation. The gospel concerns God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (v. 3) Who died and was raised from death (v. 4). The gospel, the good news, describes what God did by sending His Son as a sacrifice for our sins and raising Him from the dead.
2. Salvation focuses attention on the benefits of the gospel and includes, among other things, justification (Rom. 3:21––26; 4:1–––8; 5:9), reconciliation (Rom. 5:1, 10), regeneration (being dead to sin and alive to God; Rom. 6:1–––11; 8:2), victory over known sin through the Holy Spirit’s power (Rom. 8:12, 13), and guaranteed glorification to all who are truly justified (Rom. 8:30).
3. Salvation is given to all who believe.
4. In the gospel God’s righteousness is revealed not only in the initial act of faith but also in faith from start to finish (Rom. 1:17).

As the theme of God’s righteousness unfolds in Romans, we see both positive and negative concepts. We first find the positive concepts of God declaring us righteous, which is justification (3:21––—5:21), and God making us righteous, which is sanctification (6:1––—8:39; 12:1––—16:27). However, before these statements we find the negative concept of God’s righteousness as law in 1:18––—3:20. So Romans 1:18 goes straight for the jugular vein with the declaration: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” People cannot be saved until they recognize they are lost!

This recognition comes from the preaching of law before the gospel. Edward Fisher says it well in the following statement: “Now, the nature and office of the law is to show unto us our sin (Rom. 3:10), our condemnation, [and] our death (Rom. 2:1, 7:10). But the nature and office of the gospel is to show unto us that Christ has taken away our sin (John 1:29) and that he also is our redemption and life (Col. 1:14, 3:4). So that the LAW is a word of wrath (Rom. 4:14); but the GOSPEL is a word of peace (Eph. 2:17).”1 

[BSM]

Amen


V) THE ROLE OF REPENTANCE IN EVANGELISM

[FB]


The Role of Repentance in Evangelism

Once the law has been preached and the gospel has been proclaimed, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin. Then, if salvation is to occur, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21) must be produced. This turning to God necessitates a turning from idols (1 Thess. 1:9). 


[BSM]

Many contend that the phrase in Acts 20:21 rendered "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" requires one to repent in the sense of to turn from committing acts of sin and turn to God in the sense of attempting to no longer sin, or as some maintain - in the sense of making an effort to becoming more and more faithful toward the perfect goal of sanctification in their mortal lives - sinlessness. Note that the goal of sanctification however will not actually be reached in believers' mortal lives but will actually be revealed in us when believers will see Jesus as He is when He is revealed, i.e., when He comes to catch us up in the Rapture - when God will transform us into perfect / Righteous beings - in resurrection bodies. Before this transformation, we will continue to have within us a sin nature which makes our mortal bodies continue in sin:


[Compare 1 John 3:2]:

“We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is,” that when believers see the Lord we will be perfectly holy, sinless. That is what is called ultimate or future sanctification.


For the word repentance in the Greek = meta change, noia = the mind - it means to change the mind from one thing to another as the context of the particular passage indicates what one is changing the mind from, to what one is changing ones mind to. For if what they repented of resulted in faith toward God and toward [=in] our Lord Jesus Christ [more accurately faith toward [= in] Jesus Christ's propitiation / payment for the sins of the whole world, Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 2:2] - and the context stipulates just that; then what they repented of was evidently NOT exercising faith toward God, i.e., not exercising faith toward [=in] our Lord Jesus Christ - i.e., not exercisinf faith in His payment for ones sins to, i.e., not faith toward God and not faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ - turning FROM all of that TO trusting / faith alone in Christ alone for eternal life. So turning from committing sins and unto faithfulness to God is NOT in view.

The Greek words metanoeo (verb) and metanoia (noun) rendered to repent and repentance come from the combination of the Greek words meta meaning 'after,' implying change and the Greek word noeo meaning the mind. They literally mean an 'after thought,' in the sense of a rethinking. The implication here is a change of mind - a change in the direction of thought - from one thing to another which things are mutually exclusive from one another. Furthermore, the sphere of this word is limited to within the mind. Other spheres of activity such as a change of behavior are not in view relative to the word repent, as some contend. These other activities require other words to be present in the text at hand which designate changes outside of the sphere of the mind - such as a change of behavior. 

A) [Compare 2 Tim 2:24-25]:

(2 Tim 2:24 NKJV) "And a servant of the LORD must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,

(2 Tim 2:25 NKJV) in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentence so that they may know the truth."

Notice that the author Paul indicates that a servant of the Lord, a pastor / teacher is to gently instruct in the Word of God, (v. 4:2), those who oppose him in the hope that God will grant them repentance, i.e., a change of mind which leads to a knowledge, i.e., an acceptance, belief in the truth of God's Word being taught to them by Timothy. So repentance = metanoian here in this passage is not a feeling of regret, or an action of some kind, but simply a change of mind from opposing, i.e., rejecting or disbelieving truths from God's Word to a knowledge and acceptance of them, i.e., belief in them. From disbelief to belief. When one believes in a statement which is taught in Scripture, one turns from doubt or unbelief to faith in that statement.

II) REPENTANCE RELATIVE TO FORGIVENESS OF SINS UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF GOD MEANS TO CHANGE THE MIND - TO TURN FROM A BELIEF SYSTEM WHICH IS NOT SOLELY IN CHRIST ALONE TO ONE WHICH IS
                          

In order to repent, i.e., turn to Christ alone for forgiveness of sins which means that you believe that He alone can and will forgive you, you must turn from your rejection of Him - from the belief that you must commit to change your behavior to godly works or from the belief that your sins are something you yourself can and must deal with in your own way and not in God's way - which the latter only requires a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else unto the reception of the gift of eternal life immediately received. So instead of rejecting faith alone in Christ alone you turn to faith placed in Him alone as Savior in the sense of believing in Jesus having paid for your sins to completely and forever forgive you of all of your sins and receive immediate and forever possession of eternal life. That is God's way of dealing with your sins. That is what the Bible defines as 'repentance for the forgiveness of sins' which is unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God.

And to emphasize this, the author of this article quotes 1 Thess. 1:9 which reads in the NASB, "For they themselves report about us what kind of reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God." It is evident that this author is indicating that one must repent from worshipping idols and / or other kinds of ungodly practices and turn to God in order to be saved unto eternal life. But a careful read of the passage says that this verse is AFTER the people from Thessalonica became believers / Christians solely through a moment of faith alone in Christ alone and thus turned as born again saved unto eternal life individuals / Christians immediately began serving God as already born again Christians and thus turned from their old practices such as worshipping idols in order to serve the living and true God as Christians, not to become Christians:


For author Paul further elaborates in 1 Thes 1:8-10 that the Thessalonian believers' godly influence around the region was as follows:


(v. 8): "For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything," 

[in the sense that the faithfulness of the believers in Thessalonica spoke for itself, not requiring anyone to commend and speak of them as examples to others. For the Thessalonian believers themselves sounded out the gospel to others. They were commendably outspoken in their witness; multiplying the voices presenting the gospel to others everywhere in the surrounding regions. And as they boldly presented the gospel they exemplified to all, that they had experienced salvation through their faithfulness to the gospel in their personal lives; all the while persevering through persecution]:


(v. 9a): "For they themselves [all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia and everywhere else [in the region] report about us [Paul, Silas and Timothy] what kind of a reception we had with you,"
[in the sense that the believers in Macedonia and Achaia and everywhere else have reported about the great response / reception / acceptance of the teachings of Paul, Silas and Timothy] 


(v. 9b) "and how [they] turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God," 

[in the sense of how the believers in Thessalonica responded to the teaching which they received so remarkably, so that they evidently quickly turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God]


(v. 10) "and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come," 


[in the sense of the believers at Thessalonica waiting for God's Son, Jesus Christ, to come from heaven to the clouds above the earth, to rescue the Thessalonian believers [and all believers in Christ throughout the Church Age] catching them up to the clouds and bringing them all back to heaven with Himself - both dead and alive in Christ -  away from the wrath of God just before that wrath will come upon the earth to be directed toward all of unbelieving mankind, (ref. 1 Thes 4:13-18  ). And we believers in the church age will be with the Lord forever (ref. 1 Thes 4:17].


VI) FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD

[FB]
That great dispensational Bible teacher, H. A. Ironside, said:

Shallow preaching that does not grapple with the terrible fact of man’s sinfulness and guilt, calling on ‘all men everywhere to repent,’ results in shallow conversions; and so we have myriads of glib-tongued professors today who give no evidence of regeneration whatever. Prating of salvation by grace, they manifest no grace in their lives. Loudly declaring they are justified by faith alone, they fail to remember that ‘faith without works is dead’; and that justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God.2



[BSM]

Teaching "cannot be considered "shallow preaching"which accurately portrays Scripture such as what Jn 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son [in the sense of in payment for the sins of the world] so that whoever believes [= literally, pas ho pisteuon = who ever is the believing one = a moment of believing] should never perish but have everlasting life - i.e., a moment of faith alone in the Son, Jesus Christ alone, should have immediate, present moment possession of eternal life which this article criticizes because it only requires a moment of faith alone in Christ alone IF IT IS READ PROPERLY as indicated above and many other verses throughout God's Word , cannot be considered "shallow preaching" because it does not call on men everywhere to repent in the sense of turning from committing sins to not committing sins, nor does it call for producing evidence of regeneration and grace in their lives in order to verify that one has eternal life that requires any input from an indvidual  - even observations by others of ones behavior to verify. One who is discerning might ask to what extent must you prove out your salvation 80%, 100%? Throughout Scripture there is no passage that requires anything but a moment of faith alone in Christ alone plus nothing else in order to have eternal life. Although all it takes is a moment of faith alone in order to receive forever eternal life because once possessed IT IS FOREVER by definition, Christians are commanded to move on in the Christian life in faithfulness, but that does not get them more eternal life, nor disqualify them from continuing to have eternal life if they are not 'adequately' faithful according to someone's opinion. For no works are required at all to have / continue to have eternal life - Eph 2:8-9!

Nevertheless the writer of this article writes "they fail to remember that ‘faith without works is dead’; and that justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God.2"

Notice that the word dead means inactive not non existent. James establishes in James chapter one that one is saved by faith, thereafter James connects faith and works:


****** EXCERPT FROM STUDY ON JAMES ******

A) FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS STILL FAITH WHICH PROVIDED ETERNAL LIFE. NEVERTHELESS, IT IS DEAD WITHOUT WORKS 'IN THE SAME WAY' STIPULATED BEFORE ESP. IN VV. 2:14-16: UNPROFITABLE TO THE RECEPTION OF TEMPORAL BLESSINGS BY OTHERS AND ONESELF; OF NO EFFECT IN SAVING ONE FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH; AND USELESS IN PROVIDING ETERNAL REWARDS

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." =

1) DEATH DEFINED

[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G & C Merriam Co, Springfield, Mass, 1980]:

"1. deprived of life.

2. a. having the appearance of death b. very tired c. (1) incapable of being stirred emotionally or intellectually (2) grown cold

3 a. inanimate, inert b. barren, infertile c. no longer producing, functioning

4 a. (1) lacking power or effect (2) no longer having interest b. no longer in use c. no longer active d. lacking in gaiety or animation e. lacking in commercial activity (2) no longer having interest..."

Note that the word "dead" neither means non-existent nor insufficient to provide eternal life. None of the available definitions for the word "dead" stipulate or support either. Just as a car battery without a charge is useless in starting an automobile engine and can be described as a dead battery which is still in existence and at one time did start the car engine; so faith without works in the context of verse 2:17 is dead in the manner indicated in chapters one and two as unprofitable to the reception of temporal blessings by others and oneself; will not save one from premature physical death; and is useless in providing eternal rewards. Nevertheless the faith in view is described as having already provided eternal life as a gift which by definition is ongoing forever and such faith being without works hence is "dead."

a) [Compare Jas 2:17 vs. 2:20]:

(v. 2:17) "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

(v. 2:20) "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?"

Since faith without action, (deeds), is dead,

and faith without deeds, (action), is useless,

then dead can be defined as useless in the context of James chapters one and two, which is one of the available definitions for the word "dead."

Therefore a dead faith does continue to exist, albeit without works which makes it useless. If it is true, (and it is not), that a dead faith can describe a faith that does not exist, then the entire verse, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead", would deteriorate into nonsense.

Finally, losing the benefit of eternal life cannot be in view because of a dead faith since eternal life has already been established in this passage as a gift by a moment of faith which thereafter is eternally secure once received by definition - not subject to be gained or lost by the efforts of man or lack thereof.

B) WHEN A CHRISTIAN HAS A FAITH THAT IS DEAD, I.E., INACTIVE IT IS LIKE THE BODY WITH A DEPARTED HUMAN SPIRIT - PHYSICALLY DEAD, NO LONGER USEFUL AS IT ONCE WAS, NON-PRODUCTIVE BUT STILL IN EXISTENCE

(v. 2:26) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." =

James closes with the analogy of the human body out of which the human spirit has been removed. Faith here is compared to the physical body, works compared to the human spirit. When the human spirit leaves the body, that body is physically dead, i.e., inert, useless, unproductive. Similarly, when a Christian has a faith that is inactive it is like the human body with a departed human spirit. When works don't accompany faith then that faith is dead, useless, unproductive in the temporal life toward the end of the reception of temporal blessings by others and oneself; of no effect in enabling one to live out ones appointed years; and useless in providing eternal rewards. Divine good works keep one's faith alive and active just as the human spirit keeps the body alive and active.

[Hodges, 'Epistle of James', p. 72]:

'James therefore wishes his readers to know that works are in fact the vitalizing 'spirit' which keeps one's faith alive, in the same way that the human spirit keeps the human body alive. Whenever a Christian ceases to act on his faith, that faith atrophies and becomes little more than a creedal corpse. 'Dead orthodoxy' is a danger that has always confronted Christian people, and we do well to take heed to this danger. But the antidote is a simple one: Faith remains vital and alive as long as it is being translated into real works of living obedience.'

[Hodges, 'Gospel Under Siege', p. 21-22]:

'''JAMES 2: WHAT IS A DEAD FAITH?

“Faith without works is dead.” So spoke James in the second chapter of his epistle. His statement has been appealed to many times to support the idea that works are necessary for eternal salvation.

Sometimes the claim is made that unless faith is followed by good works, the believer loses eternal life. At other times, a more subtle approach is taken. If a professing Christian does not manifest good works, he was never a true believer to begin with. Whatever James is saying, however, it can be neither of these ideas.

Dead Faith Is Like A Corpse: It Was Once Alive

The second view, just mentioned, is so forced and artificial that if it were not maintained by obviously sincere men, it might be called dishonest. According to this view, a dead faith cannot save. Therefore, if a man lacks the crucial evidence of good works, it shows that this is all he has ever possessed - a dead faith.

This flies directly into the face of the text. In James 2:26 the writer affirms:

'For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also'

No one who encountered a dead body, whose life-giving spirit had departed, would ever conclude that the body had never been alive. Quite the contrary. The presence of a corpse is the clearest proof of a loss of life. If we allow this illustration to speak for itself, then the presence of a dead faith shows that this faith was once alive.

Nor is there anything at all in the entire passage to support some other conclusion. As elsewhere in the epistle, it is Christian brothers who are addressed (2:14; cf. 1:2, 16, 19; 2:1, 5; 3:1, 10, 12; etc.). There is absolutely nothing to suggest James believed that if a man’s faith is pronounced dead, it must therefore always have been dead. The assumption that a dead faith has always been dead cannot be extracted from James’s text. It is nothing more than a theological idea read into the passage.1 It is also a desperate expedient intended to salvage some form of harmony between James and the doctrine of Paul.

But by distorting the true meaning of the text, this idea has given rise to immense confusion. This confusion has had a harmful impact on men’s comprehension of the Gospel of God’s saving grace.'''


Furthermore, the statement "and that justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God.2" is nonsense. Justification by works before men is NOT a causal factor of how one is saved unto eternal life or even a reliable indicator of whether one is saved unto eternal life! Consider this, most believers are not that mature and haven't a clue as to what is and what is not a faithful, godly action by themselves, much less by observing others. First of all, believers are not equipped to accurately discern godly motivation as opposed to not godly motivation. Nor can they read minds or observe another 24/7 to see if one is consistently faithful. Whether or not the subject of justification by works before men is ignored has NO bearing on what one must do to have eternal life as stipulated above beginning with Jn 3:16 and dozens of other passages. Note that passages such as Ro 10:9-10 DO NOT contradict any of this in the Bible when it is properly interpreted . So nothing in God's Word is in contradiction with justification by a moment of faith alone in Christ alone in the Bible which results in immediate possession of eternal life and so much . Justification by works before men has nothing to do with what God requires in order to have eternal life which is by a moment of faith alone in Christ alone plus nothing else. On the other hand, as both Paul and James and others testify without a hint of contradiction, faithful works before men has much to do with temporal blessings, fellowship with God, living out the length of ones appointed years, eternal rewards, etc. That is what James chapter two is all about which FB seems to have missed.

VII) THE NATURE OF SAVING FAITH

[FB]

The Nature of Saving Faith
At the time of the Reformation, the Catholic Church seemed to define saving faith as knowledge and assent. Hence credo means “I believe.” One pre-Vatican II Catholic theology text states, “As far as the content of justifying faith is concerned, the so-called fiducial faith does not suffice. What is demanded is theological or dogmatic faith (confessional faith) which consists in the firm acceptance of the Divine truths of Revelation, on the authority of God Revealing.”3 In contrast, the Reformation churches described saving faith as not only knowledge and assent but also as personal trust.

[BSM]

What the Catholic Church and what you say or anybody says defines, states, declares is the meaning of faith or the meaning of saving faith in the Bible properly interpreted cannot override / correct what the dictionary says or what God's Word says in hundreds of places throughout the Bible - and in all those places there is never a contradiction - remarkable. That's their and your opinion and none of this outside of the Bible opinionism holds any weight unless it is backed up with accurately interpreted evidence FROM God's Word in accordance with the normative rules of language, context and logic. No where does the Bible say you have to do anything but simply believe in God's one and only Son in the sense of His paying the price for the sins of all mankind, (Jn 3:16, 1 Jn 2:2 and dozens of places elsewhere), and at that moment you have possession of eternal life forever. Note that passages such as Ro 10:9-10 and others properly interpreted do not contradict what the Bible stipulates about how to receive salvation unto eternal life as I have presented here. Certainly there is no passage that indicates that an individual must as you say "What is demanded is theological or dogmatic faith (confessional faith) which consists in the firm acceptance of the Divine truths of Revelation, on the authority of God Revealing," which implies you must master everything that the Bible teaches from cover to cover in order to affirm such acceptance - other wise one is not telling the truth because one does not know everything that the Bible does say so one cannot honestly affirm what they do not know as true.

Finally, your statement "In contrast, the Reformation churches described saving faith as not only a knowledge and assent but also as personal trust," is nonsensical and redundant. 

Furthermore, the next topic in your study, namely "Intellectual Assent versus Personal Trust" is also nonsensical and redundant. So there is no point made that there is a difference between the two as follows:

If you have knowledge of saving faith, that is saying the same thing as assenting to what saving faith is, which is saying the same thing as personal trust in what saving faith is. It is trustworthy provided your definition is accurate in accordance with the normative rules of language, context and logic in accordance with what the Bible says and the facts support that interpretation. Note that what you have a knowledge of is personal, and what you believe in is personal, and what you trust in is personal - because it is your person that is in view - your mind that is doing the believing / acknowledging / expressing faith in / trusting in / assenting to. How could it be otherwise such as some other person's trust. If you trust in, acknowledge, assent to something it is your person who is trusting, assenting, acknowledging something, not someone else??? I don't know anyone who believed that Jesus died for someone else's sins but not their own. I suppose that is plausible but to exclude oneself from having ones sins paid for by Jesus yet believing He died for everyone else's is nonsensical bordering on mental illness or a theologian's non-sensical mentality.

VIII) INTELLECTUAL ASSENT VERSES PERSONAL TRUST

[FB]

Intellectual Assent versus Personal Trust, cont.

Wilkin states:
But how can we be sure that we have really believed? Therein lies a problem created by traditions, not by the Word of God. That question is foreign to the biblical gospel. There is no such thing as true faith as opposed to false faith. All faith is faith. If we believe in Christ for eternal life, then we have eternal life and we know we have it, because He guarantees it. ‘He who believes in Me has everlasting life’ (John 6:47). To doubt that we really believe is to disbelieve Jesus’ promise.4

[BSM]

Wilkin's question, "But how can we be sure that we have really believed?" is answered as follows: We began to learn this answer when we began to learn to read utilizing the normative rules of language, context and logic as we have been taught from the beginning: we can know we have believed in anything if we remember that we have believed. If we don't remember then we can always believe in the present moment. Now if we have believed and have forgotten or disregarded the fact that we believed, according to a proper interpretation of God's Word, we still have eternal life because many many verses without contradiction imply, stipulate that we have eternal life at the present moment of believing whether we remember that moment or not, or even stop believing, or even behave in an ungodly fashion; since duration of possession of eternal life is forever no matter what according to God's Word from beginning to end!!!! It's not about the individual, but it is all about God's guarantee which is stipulated, implied in all of those verses no matter what because there is NO condition required for an individual to have and forever secure his eternal life except for one to express a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing else. For there is no guarantee that an individual can be sure he has "really believed" because man's reason and memory is defective. Isn't it grand that salvation unto eternal life DOES NOT DEPEND UPON MAN'S REASON, CAPACITY, BEHAVIOR, MEMORY, ETC. It is totally dependant upon God once one does believe. By the way, the phrase "really believe" is nonsensical. Either you believe or you did not yet believe. For example, do you believe that the sky is blue?" is no different from asking "Do you really (truly) believe that the sky is blue?" The word "truly" or "really"is not needed. Either you believe or you don't. There isn't a really (truly) believe vs a not really (not truly) believe.

So what Wilkin wrote I say amen to:

"But how can we be sure that we have really believed? Therein lies a problem created by traditions, not by the Word of God. That question is foreign to the biblical gospel. There is no such thing as true faith as opposed to false faith. All faith is faith. If we believe in Christ for eternal life, then we have eternal life and we know we have it, because He guarantees it. ‘He who believes in Me has everlasting life’ (John 6:47). To doubt that we really believe is to disbelieve Jesus’ promise.4"

IX) TEMPORARY FAITH

[FB]

George Zeller responds:
The Lord Jesus spoke of people who believe only ‘for a while’ (Luke 8:13), describing the very temporary faith of those who have ‘no root.’ 


[BSM]

MATTHEW 13:3-23

[Mt 13:3-9; 18-23, Mk 4:3-20 & Lk 8:4-15]:

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER AND THE SOILS

I) THE PARABLE: Mt 13:3-9, Mk 4:3-9 & Lk 8:4-8

A) INTRODUCTION

This parable and other parables of our Lord's are recorded in the New Testament in the gospels with variations. These differences are most likely due to a number of things, not the least of which is evidence that our Lord did not just make single isolated, never to be repeated statements; nor tell a parable once for all time; nor perform certain types of one of a kind, one time only miracles; nor, for example, did He clear out Temple in Jerusalem just once, etc. On the contrary, it is evident from Scripture that He went all over the Palestinian countryside repeating His message of ["the kingdom of God is at hand" to new groups of individuals throughout Israel, accompanied by parables, miracles and such events as are recorded in the New Testament. And with this repetition of statements, parables and similar but not identical occurences - often miraculous, we have variations in accordance with circumstances and the choices our Lord made in His presentation of His message - similar but certainly not always identical messages and events. Furthermore, a number of the variations are so close in meaning to one another, in the parables for example, that they are virtually identical in meaning as they appear translated in koine Greek from our Lord's original words - which were most likely spoken in Aramaic. Recall that there is no indication in each author's account that there is an attempt to translate into koine Greek what our Lord's precise words were, only an indication of conveying accurate account of what He was saying or what had occurred which is certainly possible without having to quote His exact words in the language He spoke them in. Finally, considering the fact that our Lord most likely spoke His words in Aramaic, not koine Greek as they appear in the New Testament manuscripts, we can allow for variations in translation amongst the various accounts of identical events yet find that these particular renderings still say the same thing. Hence we frequently have similar but not identical accounts of the same event.

B) [Mt 13:3-9]:

(v. 3) "Then He [Jesus] told them many things in parables, saying: 'A farmer went out to sow his seed.

(v. 4) As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

(v. 5) Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

(v. 7) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

(v. 8) Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

(v. 9) He who has ears, let him hear.' "

C) [Compare Mk 4:3-8]:

(v. 3) " 'Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.

(v. 4) As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

(v. 5) Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

(v. 7) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.

(v. 8) Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.' "
-
D) [Compare Lk 8:4-8]:

(v. 4) "While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, He told this parable:

(v. 5) 'A farmer went out to sow his sed. As he was scattering the seed some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.

(v. 6) Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.

(v. 7) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.

(v. 8) Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.' When He said this, He called out, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' "

Note: The next section in this passage in Mt chapter 13, (vv. 10-17), relates to why our Lord spoke in parables - move to this section before moving on the explanation of the parable of the sower and soils as desired:

II) EXPLANATION OF THE PARABLE

The explanation of this parable is provided in the following verses by our Lord Himself:

A) THE SEEDS FALLING ON THE PATH

1) APPLICABLE VERSES

a) Mt 13:3-4, (Mk 4:3-4 similar); 18-19]:

(v. 3) "Then He told them many things in parables, saying 'A farmer went out to sow his seed.

(v. 4) As he as scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.'

(v. 18) [Jesus said] 'Hear then the parable of the sower,

(v. 19) When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.' "

b) [Cp Mk 3:13-15]:

(v. 13) "Then Jesus said to them, 'Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?

(v. 14) The farmer sows the word.

(v. 15) Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them."

c) [Cp Lk 8:11-12]:

(v. 11) "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.

(v. 12) Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved."

2) THE GOSPEL OF ETERNAL LIFE IS IN VIEW

"The word of the kingdom", (Mt 13:19), and "the word of God", (Lk 8:11) refer specifically to the gospel of eternal life, considering the fact that both phrases convey information which one must believe in order to be saved, (Lk 8:12; Jn 3:16; Eph 1:13; 1 Jn 5:9-13).

a) [Compare Lk 8:12]:

"Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved."

["Saved" here refers to residence in the eternal kingdom of God, i.e., eternal life]

b) [Compare Ro 3:21-24]:

(v. 21) "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

(v. 22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

(v. 23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

(v. 24) and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

c) [Compare Jn 3:16]:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Since this verse has our Lord before the cross in view Who is speaking firsthand to Nicodemus, a pharisee and member of the Jewish Ruling council at a time under the Mosaic Law,

and since the message of believing in the Son of God being given for the sins of the whole world unto eternal life is therein contained in this verse,

then we can conclude that the gospel of the kingdom is the same as the gospel of eternal life which is applicable for all times.

3) TO BE SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE ONE MUST UNDERSTAND IN THE SENSE OF BELIEVING IN THE TRUTH OF THE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL OF ETERNAL LIFE

a) [Compare Mt 13:19; Mk 4:15 similar]

"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart"

AND

[Lk 8:12]

"Those along the path are the ones who hear [the gospel] and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved" =

Notice that the individuals in view in these verses have heard the gospel, but without understanding it in such a way that they are not saved. It is evident from the context of the parable that they know the content of the gospel, having heard it; but they are portrayed as having not believed in it, i.e., having not accepted it as true - as applicable to themselves so that they would be saved unto eternal life. So the content of the gospel is, as the parable stipulates, "sown in his heart", (heart = mind in Scripture ) , but the individual has failed to fully understand it in the sense of accepting it as true and applicable to himself, i.e., of believing in it.

b) [Compare 1 John 5:9-13]:

(v. 9) "We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son.

(v. 10) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.

[Notice, to accept God's testimony, i.e., what He has said about eternal life being in His Son, which is the content of the gospel, is equated to believing in the gospel and thus receiving eternal life. And notice that this acceptance by an individual that God's testimony about His Son is true is described as one having "this testimony in his heart." So one can "sow" the content of the gospel in one's heart as it states in Mt 13:19, but one must believe in it's truthfulness in order to have eternal life. So simply accepting as true what God has said about His Son is saying the same thing as believing in the Son unto eternal life]:

(v. 10 cont.) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.

(v. 11) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

(v. 12) He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

(v. 13) I [author John] write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

A) THE SEED FALLING ON THE PATH, cont.

3) GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY, MAN'S DEPRAVITY & THE DEVIL PARTICIPATE IN THE ETERNAL DESTINY OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL

Unless God intervenes, man cannot understand the gospel of eternal life because he will not, and the devil blinds him so that man willfully chooses not to believe God's words of eternal life.

a) MAN IS TOTALLY DEPRAVED AND WILL NOT, CANNOT SEEK AFTER THE ONE TRUE GOD

Man is first and foremost, totally depraved possessing no capacity, no will to seek after God, much less to believe in the gospel and be saved. Even religious unbelievers substitute a false god for the God of the bible thus they reject faith alone in Christ alone as Savior. Christ the image of God is rejected as the sole source of their salvation, substituting their own unbiblical idea of what they must do to be saved, inevitably involving works of some kind.

i) [Compare Ro 3:10-12]:

(v. 10) "As it is written:

(v. 11) 'There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.

(v. 12) All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.' "

ii) [Compare Jn 12:37-40]:

(Jn 12:37) '''Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous sings in their presence, they still would not believe in Him.

[Notice that it is not a matter of capacity, but a matter of the human will, despite Jesus' miracles]

(Jn 12:38) This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

(Jn 12:39) For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

(Jn 12:40) "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts nor turn - and I would heal them, " '''


b) THE DEVIL BLINDS ALL MEN TO THE TRUTH OF GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION

i) THE BIRDS REPRESENT THE DEVIL

" 'As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.', (Mt 13:4; Mk 4:4 & Lk 8:5 similar)

AND

" 'When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.' ", (Mt 13:19, Mk 4:15 similar) =

AND

"The devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts", (Lk 8:12) = The birds which ate up the seed, (Mt 13:4; Mk 4:4; Lk 8:5) are representative of evil, of the devil, hence our Lord's explanation of "the devil who comes and takes away the word from their hearts"

D.A. Carson states, [The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 8, Matthew, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, p. 313]

"The evil one (cf. 6:13; 12:45; 13:38-39), called 'Satan' in Mark 4:15 and 'the devil' in Luke 8:12, has been symbolized by the birds... close study of birds as symbols in the O.T. and especially in the literature of later Judaism shows that birds regularly symbolize evil and even demons or Satan (cf. b. Sanhedrin 107a; cf. Rev 18:2)....

[Rev 18:2]:

"With a mighty voice he [the angel, (v. 1)] shouted: 'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.' "

ii) SO THE DEVIL INDEED HAS A HAND IN KEEPING THE LOST IN A STATE OF CONDEMNATION

[Compare 2 Cor 4:4]:

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God."

c) BUT GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND ELECTS WHOM HE WILL TO HAVE THE VEIL OF BLINDNESS REMOVED AND TO RECEIVE THE GIFT OF FAITH UNTO ETERNAL LIFE - SO NOT ALL MEN REMAIN LOST

It is only by God's intervention that an individual comes to a saving faith unto eternal life:

i) [Ro 8:28-30]:

(v. 28) "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose [i.e., called according to His decrees].

(v. 29) For those God foreknew...

[Since God is omniscient He knows all and discovers nothing, His foreknowledge is based on what He has predestined, i.e., decreed, not on what He discovers man will do (ref: ]:

...He also predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.

(v. 30) And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified."

ii) [Compare Eph 1:4-5, 11]:

(v. 4) "For He [God the Father, (v. 3a)] chose us [believers, (v. 1)] in Him [i.e., to be in Christ - to be saved, (v. 3b)] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight."

[J Dwight Pentecost states, ("Things Which Become Sound Doctrine." Revell Publishing, Westwood, N.J., 1965, pp. 135-6):

"This truth is presented to us in Ephesians 1:4 [quoted above] where the Apostle reminds us that God has chosen us in Him (that is, in Christ) before the foundation of the world... God's purpose was determined previous to the actual act of creation... God, as an Omniscient God... ...was the Architect of a plan which included evil within it... In Ephesians 1:5, Paul tells us that God has worked all things 'according to the good pleasure of His will..."]

(v. 5) [In love, (v. 4c)] He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.

[Then, in verse 11...]

(v. 11) In Him we were also chosen having been predestinated according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will"

[Pentecost, cont.]:

"God's purpose was to glorify Himself... God... predetermines His purpose, His goal, His aim, and His end in creation, and then God brings into existence that program which will fulfill His purpose and aim. Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians 2:7..."

iii) [1 Cor 2:7]:

"No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began."

[Pentecost, cont.]:

"From that verse we discover that foreordination has to do with the determining of a plan before the plan is put into operation..."]

So God calls certain individuals based on His foreknowledge as a result of His decrees to be saved, i.e., to be justified and glorified unto eternal life.

iv) [Compare Jn 6:44]:

"[Jesus said] 'No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws Him, and I will raise Him up at the last day.' "

And this is corroborated in Scripture of God's removal of the veil of lack of understanding of the gospel and His sovereign provision of the gift of saving faith to anyone who turns to Him:

v) [2 Cor 3:16]:

"But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil [of a dulled mind to the understanding of the gospel, (v. 14)] is taken away."

[and the gift of saving faith is given to those whom God has called so that they may exercise it of their own free will unto eternal life]:

vi) [Phil 1:29]:

"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him."

[Compare Acts 16:14]:

"One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart [= mind ] to respond to Paul's message. "

4) OBJECTORS FALSELY MAINTAIN THAT THE SEED ON THE PATH SYMBOLIZES A FALSE FAITH IN CHRIST WHICH DOES NOT RESULT IN BEING SAVED

a) HEAD FAITH VS HEART FAITH

Some objectors to free grace salvation by faith alone in Christ alone maintain that the phrase in Mt 13:19, "sown in their hearts" signifies that the individuals did indeed believe albeit such belief was what they falsely maintain as a spurious or false faith in Christ not resulting in salvation, usually for reason of lack of commitment or emotional response = intellectual assent in their opinion and thus insufficient to save them.

On the other hand, how one can trust alone in Christ alone in their mentality, i.e., their hearts, and not be saved is a mystery to this writer and to Scripture itself.

Nevertheless, these objectors make the distinction between a spurious head faith, sometimes called intellectual assent vs a so called 'effectual heart faith', ignoring the fact that the bible does not make that distinction but rather offers head and heart faith as synonymous:

i) [Compare Ps 73:21]:

"Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind"

ii) [Hebrews 8:10]:

"I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts."

iii) [Lk 24:25 & 45]:

Another example is found by comparing Luke 24:25 and Luke 24:45:

"O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken."

"And He opened their understanding [lit. mind], that they might comprehend the Scriptures."

[Ref: heart = mind ]

b) THOSE SYMBOLIZED BY SEEDS SOWN ON THE PATH NEVER DID BELIEVE

Furthermore, Mt 13:19 stipulates that they did not really "understand" the gospel in the sense of accepting it as true. They instead had the "word [the gospel] taken from their hearts", i.e., their understanding was taken from their minds - they did not understand it in the sense that the gospel of eternal life was true, i.e., they did not believe it applied to them! Obviously the content remained in their mentality, but their capacity to believe in it was taken from them by the devil. The parallel verse in Luke clarifies this further when it stipulates that neither belief nor salvation took place:

i) [Lk 8:12]:

"Those along the path are the ones who hear [the gospel] and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts [= minds] so that they may not believe and be saved"

B) THE SEED FALLING ON THE ROCKY SOIL = TRUE BELIEVERS FALL AWAY FROM THEIR FAITH

1) APPLICABLE VERSES

a) [Mt 13:5-6; 20-21]:

(v. 5) "Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

(v. 20) And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy;

(v. 21) But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, quickly he falls away."

"he falls away" = "skandalizetai" from skandalizO, to falter, fall away

b) [Cp Mk 4:16-17]:

(v. 16) Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.

(v. 17) But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, quickly they fall away."

"they fall away" = "skandalizontai" from skandalizO, (pres. passive, indicative, 3 pers. plural) , to falter, fall away

c) [Cp Lk 8:13]:

(v. 13) "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away."

"aphistantai" = "They fall away," present, middle voice, indicative mood.

2) RECEIVING THE WORD OF THE GOSPEL = BELIEVING IN IT UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

"the ones who receive the word" (Lk 8:13; Mt 13:20 & Mk 4:16) =

The word receive is synonymous with the word believe when it comes to the gospel, thus those of the rocky soil are indeed believers, saved unto eternal life:

a) [Compare Jn 1:12-13]:

(v. 12) "Yet to all who received Him [Christ, (vv. 10-11)], to those who believed in His name, He [God] gave the right to become children of God -

(v. 13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision nor a husband's will, but born of God."

3) BELIEVERS WILL BE TESTED TO PROVE OUT THEIR FAITH - MANY WILL FAIL, EVEN APOSTASIZE, NONE WILL LOSE THEIR SALVATION

A number of God's born again children - those who move on in the faith will inevitably have their faith tested by God via trouble and persecution which is in view in this section of the parable:

"When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he [the one who "receives the word", i.e., believes in it unto eternal life] quickly falls away", (Mt 13:21b; Mk 4:17b similar).

AND

"They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away," (Lk 8:13b).

Notice that "trouble or persecution comes because of the word, i.e., a "testing" of the believer's faith. Many believers will not stand up under God's testing, but the believer is given a way out and if he perseveres he will be rewarded:

a) [Compare Jas 1:12]:

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial [Gk = periasmon], because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."

b) [Compare 1 Cor 10:13]:

(1 Cor 10:13 NASB) "No temptation [Gk = "peirasmps", same root word for trial, testing] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.".

Notice that the same family of words is used for "temptation," "tempted" and "tested" in the above 2 quotations signifying testing and trial. What our Lord is teaching in Lk 8:13 is that some believers will not persevere in the faith when tested. There are no guarantees - many in deed will depart from their beliefs, i.e., apostasize.

4) TEMPORARY FAITH IS A REAL POSSIBILITY FOR ALL TRUE BELIEVERS

To set the matter straight from God's Word, consider that there are no passages in Scripture that stipulate that a believer can lose his salvation, and many which indicate that he can fail testing, live like the world and fall out of the grace of God and into a lifestyle which is under the discipline of God until he repents or goes home early to be with the Lord in heaven, suffering the loss of the appointed years of his physical life, (sin unto death, Jas 1:15, 5:20; 1 Jn 5:16), and great loss of eternal rewards but never loss of eternal life.

Jesus is teaching here and in the next section, (the seed among the thorns), that not all believers will persevere in the faith, that spiritual victory in the believer is not guaranteed. The believer needs to persevere in the faith through "trouble or persecution", (Mt 13:22), i.e., "time of testing", (Lk 8:13), and "worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth", (Mt 13:22), i.e., "riches and pleasures," (Lk 8:14), in order to move on to spiritual maturity and to receive eternal rewards - a key purpose of the testing in the first place; but never is loss of salvation in view.

a) [Compare Lk 8:14]:

"But as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature."

Contrary to objectors to eternal security, if a believer does not lose his salvation as a result of having his faith choked out by "worries of this life" and the "deceitfulness of wealth" and "pleasures" - but simply does not mature; then one can expect so much the more that a believer who fails the tests of trouble and persecution would not lose his salvation either.

5) CONTRARY TO OBJECTORS TO THE FREE GRACE GOSPEL, SAVING FAITH DOES NOT HAVE TO BE CONTINUOUS

According to this parable, believing results in the individual being saved unto eternal life, (Lk 8:12). The length of the believing in order to result in being saved is not stipulated, but the context of the parable, the verb tenses as indicated below and other passages in Scripture, [] indicate that the moment required is an instantaneous one, the object is Christ alone and the result is a completed and irrevocable action of being saved unto eternal life ] Furthermore, there is no indication in this parable nor anywhere in Scripture that stipulates that one must have a continuous, uninterrupted saving faith in order to continue to be saved unto eternal life - if that were possible.

Notice that the key verb forms in Lk 8:12 are aorist indicating that a completed action, once for all time moment of believing results in those individuals becoming believers resulting in a completed action, i.e., a once for all time condition of being irrevocably saved unto eternal life:

a) [Lk 8:12]:

"Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, lest having believed they should be saved."

"lest.........having believed they should be saved" =

"hina me pisteusantes.......sothosin"

"having believed" = "pisteusantes", (nom. pl. m. aorist act. part.)

"they should be saved" = sothosin", (3 pers. pl. aorist pass. subj.)

Notice that "pisteusantes" is a nominative participle meaning "they who have believed," in the aorist tense signifying a completed action in the past of believing resulting in the noun in participle form: 'they who are believers' with the result that 'they who are believers' are "sothosin", i.e., completely saved unto eternal life due to the aorist tense here also. So it only takes an instantaneous moment of faith in order to be completely and irrevocably saved unto eternal life.

Furthermore, "believe" in verse 13, ("pisteuousin"), of Luke 8 is exactly the same word "believe" in verse 12 in which in verse 12, as discussed, one would be permanently saved unto eternal life if they believed. So in the same way as in verse 12, verse 13 portrays individuals as doing the same believing unto an irrevocable eternal life. Furthermore, since the duration of eternal life is forever then the possession of eternal life must be permanent. Finally, the phrase "received with joy" in verse 13 is tantamount to indicating a status of being saved unto eternal life per other passages not the least of which is John 1:12-13 which indicates that one who receives the word, especially the gospel of salvation, is defined as one who believes in it, thereupon becoming a born again child of God]:

b) [John 1:12-13]:

(v. 12)"Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God -

[Notice that to receive Him is defined as "to those who believed in His name." So to receive the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe in the name of Jesus Christ as Savior - to save you from your sins - and thus become a child of God as verse 13 further elaborates]:

(v. 13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

6) THE CONTEXT OF THE ROCKY SOIL INDICATES THAT THERE IS AN EXPRESSION OF TRUE AND IRREVOCABLE SAVING FAITH

Phrases such as "they [plant shoots] sprang up", (Mt 3:5, Mk 4:5); and "the plants were scorched, and they withered" indicate symbolically that the seed of the gospel did sprout to life, i.e., saving faith was exercised and hence acceptance of the gospel unto eternal life. So the seed of the gospel took root, a shoot sprouted up, life began - eternal life, i.e., the individual believed and was saved unto eternal life. So there was established a condition of being saved unto eternal life as indicated by our Lord's explicatory comments:

"They believe for a while", (Lk 8:13):

a) [Compare Lk 8:12-13]:

(v. 12) "Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, lest having believed [Gk = pisteusantes] they should be saved.

(v. 13) Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have not root. They believe [Gk = pisteuousi] for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away."

Notice that both verbs "having believed" = "pisteusantes" (v. 12) and "they believe" = "pisteuousi" (v. 13) are from the same root verb "pisteuo" = to have faith, believe. Therefore, if "having believed" in v. 12 would result in being saved unto eternal life as it so stipulates, then certainly the phrase "they believe" in v. 13 referring to those on the rocky soil will also be saved unto eternal life.

7) OBJECTORS FALSELY MAINTAIN THAT THE PHRASE "HAS NO ROOT" IN MT 13:21, (LK 8:13 SIMILAR) INDICATES THAT SALVATION HAS NOT TAKEN PLACE

Objectors, on the other hand, ignore all of the foregoing evidence, focusing only on the phrase "but they have no root" and falsely maintain that since this particular phrase indicates that there was absolutely no root established at all [which is not the case], then no saved condition resulted.

But this conclusion ignores the fact that there was actual growth indicated necessitating some kind of root structure:

a) [Ref. Mt 13:5-6]:

(v. 5) "Some [seed] fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root."

Notice that that which sprouted must have grown roots in order for it to be called a plant after all! The objectors ignore the possible understanding of the phrase "but they have no root" to mean 'but they have not sufficient root'. Just as one can say, 'I have no stamina' to describe one's lack of a strong finish in a 10k race that they have just run in good time but without a strong kick at the end, (obviously the runner had enough stamina to run the entire 10k in a good time), the issue of 'no stamina' being a relative one not an absolute one - relative in the case of the runner to insufficient stamina for a closing kick at the end of the 10k race, and relative to the case of plant to insufficient root to survive after sprouting up; so in the same way, one can say that a seedling plant in the rocky soil 'has no root' meaning insufficient depth of root to survive the condition of shallow soil and scorching sun.

8) BELIEVING FOR A WHILE AND THEN CEASING DOES NOT RESULT IN LOSS OF SALVATION OR PROVE OUT A FALSE FAITH

Although the individual received the word and became a born again child of God, the word did not take root in his life and he fell away due to this particular case of "trouble or persecution", (Mt 13:21), i.e., "testing", (Lk 8:13). The context and other passages shed light on the degree of this falling away.

a) [Compare Luke 8:12]:

"The devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved."

The whole point of this part of verse 12 is to bring home the concept that the devil endeavors to keep individuals from believing in the word, i.e., the gospel, so that they won't be permanently saved.

("saved" = "sothosin," aorist tense = completed action, i.e., once for all time).

If one could lose one's salvation by ceasing to believe, then verse 12 would lose it's credibility emphasizing the devil's effort to keep the word from the individual so that one would not have an opportunity to believe and be saved. For if an individual could lose his salvation via an inconsistent or ceased belief which is not uncommon then why is this not mentioned in verse 12 and why the devil's effort to prevent the individual from believing at all when he could just as easily work on the individual believer to lose his faith & thus his salvation - if this were the case? The whole point of the message in verse 12 is that if the individual believes, then he is saved forever. That's why the devil is taking away the word before the individual believes, otherwise verse 12 has very little significance and the devil and his demons could concentrate their efforts more on getting saved believers to 'unsave' themselves by interrupting or ceasing their believing.

{Know anyone who keeps a perfect record of continuous saving faith which implies sinless perfection, (1 Jn 1:8-10; 2:6)?}

Later on in the parable, one finds those who believe and whose faith is choked away as seeds sown among the thorns, the thorns representing "the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth", (Mt 13:22) and "riches and pleasures", (Lk 8:14) which are the cause of the choking. But the result is not loss of salvation but a condition whereby the believers are so choked by "the desires for other things [which] come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.", (Mk 4:19; Mt 13:22 similar); and thus they continue to be saved, albeit being unfruitful, for they "do not mature", (Lk 8:14) - far from being in a lost state. Note that only believers can be described as not maturing and being unfruitful. Unbelievers are simply lost and incapable of being considered as mature/immature or producing/not producing fruit, (Ro 8:8).

Furthermore, if it were possible to lose ones salvation by stopping believing, then one must draw the absurd conclusion that one is far better off dying immediately upon being saved than living another 50 or 60 years or so 'faithfully' but then lose it on one's death bed with a single faithless thought and then go to hell.

Finally, Scripture teaches that at the moment one trusts alone in Christ alone, one is permanently & irrevocably saved unto eternal life:

b) [Compare Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

c) [Compare Ro 11:29]:

(v. 29) "For God's gifts [salvation is a gift, (ref. Eph 2:8-9)] and His call [God calls the elect to believe and be saved, (ref. Ro 8:29-30)] are irrevocable."

d) [Compare Eph 4:30]:

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom your were sealed for the day of redemption."

e) on Eternal Security

[Robert N. Wilkin states, CONFIDENT IN CHRIST: LIVING BY FAITH REALLY WORKS, Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx 1999, pp. 27-28]:

"In the first place, the Lord Jesus clearly said that the people represented by the rocky soil believed. How can we conclude that they didn't believe, when Jesus said that they did. To say that they believed 'mentally' [i.e., head faith and not heart faith] is to skirt the clear meaning of the text.

What these people believed is nothing other than the saving message, the gospel. When Jesus said that the devil takes away the word 'lest they should believe and be saved' (verse 12) He was talking about saving faith. He said that whoever believes in Him is saved the very moment he believes. There is no minimum time requirement on saving faith. Thus, when Jesus said that these rocky-soil people believed, we have no choice but to conclude that they were saved, since according to verse 12 all who believe are saved.

In the second place in verse 13 [Lk 8:13 = Mt 13:5] the Lord indicated that the rocky-soil people received the word [with joy]. Luke used the same expression twice in Acts to refer to the growth of the church: 'Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them' (Acts 8:14). 'Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God' (Acts 11:1). Those who receive the word are born again.

In the third place, Jesus said that the seed sown on the rocky soil sprang up: 'Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture' (Luke 8:6; [Mt 13:5]). Springing up refers to initial growth. Only a seed that has germinated can spring up. Germination and growth are proof that life has begun.

[The issue is thus one of growth & fruitfulness, not birth and life]

The people represented by the rocky soil exercised saving faith. Whether they believed for a second or for a century, they were born again at the very moment they believed in Christ for everlasting life.

In the fourth place, when Jesus said that 'the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved' (Lk 8:12) He was talking about eternal salvation. He wasn't talking about some type of temporary salvation that could be lost. He was speaking of a fait accompli. Satan wouldn't have such a sense of urgency if he could snatch the word away later and still keep people from heaven. Once the word germinates, eternal life has begun, and since it is eternal, nothing - not even Satan - can destroy that life.

Believers are held by the promise of God, not by their own faithfulness or by the endurance of their faith. If Satan can't stop someone from believing the gospel, he loses the battle for that soul. Eternal salvation occurs the moment that a person believes the promise of the gospel. Thus it cannot and does not depend on continuing to believe the gospel."

C) THE SEED SOWN AMONG THE THORNS

1) APPLICABLE VERSES

a) [Mt 13:7, 20-22]:

(v. 7) "Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

(v. 20) The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.

(v. 21) But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, quickly he falls away.

"he falls away" = "skandalizetai," he falls away from the faith he expressed which saved him unto eternal life.

(v. 22) The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful."

b) [Compare Mk 4:5-6, 16-17]:

(v. 5) "Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root."

c) [Compare Lk 8:13-14]:

(v. 13) "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

"aphistantai" = "They fall away," present, middle voice, indicative mood.

(v. 14) The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature."

2) BELIEVERS WHO DO NOT PERSEVERE IN THEIR FAITH WILL LIVE UNFRUITFUL LIVES

"but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful" =

Here again is an indication that the individual became a born again believer because verse 7 of Mt 13 indicates that the seed did begin to grow but got choked out. So verses 7 and 22 of Mt 13 indicate that the individual had the potential of doing something fruitful with the word but failed on account of worldly concerns. Consider that only true believers have the potential to be fruitful with the word of God.

a) Compare Eph 2:8-10]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved [permanently: pres. + perfect participle], through faith - and this [salvation] not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -

(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast.

(v. 10) For we [believers, (vv. 8-9)] are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us [believers] to do."

Unbelievers can do nothing to please God, they have no potential of this nature at all:

b) [Ro 8:8]:

"Those controlled by the sin nature cannot please God"

D) THE SEED SOWN ON GOOD SOIL

1) APPLICABLE VERSES

a) [Mt 13:8, 23]:

(v. 8) "Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

(v. 23) And the one on whom seed was sown on the good ground, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."

b) [Mk 4:20]:

"Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, [i.e., believe in it unto eternal life] and produce a crop-thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."

c) [Compare Lk 8:15]:

"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop."

Last and most productive is the believer who bears fruit. First he must believe in order to be enabled to produce fruitfully. Cf: Eph 2:8-10 indicates first to be saved by faith not by works; then one is to perform good works, (v. 10), once one is permanently saved unto eternal life. As Mk 4:20 says "hear the word, accept it".

But that is not the end of the Christian life, it is only the beginning, one must persevere in that faith so that one will produce godly fruit. So each believer has the opportunity, (but not the certainty), to produce fruit; and will do so in accordance with his faithfulness, as Lk 8:15 says "those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." And Mt 13:23 indicates different productivities: "some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty."

Although all believers are indeed directed by God to maximize their lives on earth in faithful divine good work production, (Eph 2:10), notice that some are not as faithful as others. Thus believers do have their unfaithful moments as well, but none are indicated here as in danger of losing their salvation. As a matter of fact, specific productivity levels are often dependent upon God's sovereignty and not man's response.

In the parable of the Talents we have such a concept presented:

i) Compare Mt 25:20-23]:

(v. 20) "The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

(v. 21) His master replied, 'Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"

(v. 22) The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'You entrusted me with two talents; see I have gained two more.'

[Notice: less production]

(v. 23) His master replied, 'Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' "

An emphasis is placed on the faithfulness of the two servants to their responsibilities and not on the gross amount of their productivity. There was absolutely no distinction made between the first servant who out produced the second 2 to 1! The verses which commend the two servants are identical, (cp vv. 21 & 23). God in His sovereignty has decreed different gifts, divine good production capacities, divinely orchestrated opportunities to serve and responsibilities for service in His kingdom to different individuals. He thus rewards each in accordance with the individual's faithful obedience to His assigned tasks.


X) DEAD FAITH VS LIVING FAITH

[FB]

James spoke of those who had a ‘dead faith’ in contrast to those whose faith was living (James 2).

[BSM]


We have already gone over this before, let's address what James is really saying about what a 'dead faith is with a more careful examination of James chapter 2:


****** EXCERPT FROM STUDY ON JAMES ******


XXVII) [Jas 1:14-18, 21; 2:14]:


(v. 1:14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

(v. 1:15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death."

(v. 1:16) "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.

(v. 1:17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"

(v. 1:21) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls"

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?"

A) THERE IS NO DISTINCTION AS TO KINDS OR DEGRESS OF FAITH, ONLY DIFFERENCES AS TO THE CONTENT OF WHAT ONE BELIEVES - TO EXPRESS FAITH IS TO ACCEPT AS TRUE
VERSE 14 IS PROPERLY RENDERED "CAN FAITH SAVE HIM" AND NOT "CAN SUCH FAITH SAVE HIM"


(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =

"ti ...........to ..ophelos adelphoi mou ean pistin legE tis ...........echein
"What is the .benefit, brothers my ..if ....faith ..says someone to have
........................profit......................................................................he has

erga ...de ..mE echE .............mE dunatai .hE .pistis sOsai ..auton"
works but .not he does have not .is able ..the faith .to save him, is it?"
.....................................................................that

"Can faith save him?" = Gk: "mE dunatai .hE .pistis sOsai ..auton"
.........................................................."not .is able ..the faith .to save him, is it?"
..................................................................................that

Note that some translations have "can such/that faith save him", (ex. NIV, AMP, NAS), as if to distinguish different kinds of faith. However there are no words in the original text which can be rendered "such" or "that" in English. The NKJV, KJV, NRSV and RSV are on the other hand correct in their rendering, "Can faith save him?" Objectors to this point to the definite article "hE" that accompanies the word rendered "faith" = "hE pistis" to suggest a specific kind of faith as a result of the article and thus falsely render the Greek 'such faith' or 'that faith'. But there is no special significance to the article here but a standard appearance of the article in koine Greek, (as well as many other languages such as Spanish and French which likewise provide a definite article with abstract nouns like love, hope, faith, etc., where English does not) which has no translatable equivalent in English. So "hE pistis" is accurately rendered "Can faith save him?" Notice that in this passage the definite article also appears with "pistis" = "faith" in vv. 17, 18, 20, 22. In none of these places do any translations or objectors offer "such faith" or "that faith."

Furthermore, the normative rules of language, context and logic do not permit a distinction as to kind of faith. Faith in something is defined as an acceptance of that something as true. There are no degrees of faith relative to believing in someone or something more or less or falsely vs. truly. Just as one believes or does not believe that a light will go on once someone flicks a particular light switch, so one believes or does not believe that Christ died for ones sins or not unto eternal life. One cannot by definition falsely believe in something, such as falsely believe that Christ died for ones sins. Belief is either on or off. If a result is tied to a specific belief such as belief that Christ died for ones sins unto eternal life, then that result will occur at the moment the belief begins - that's the nature of believing. There are only differences in the frequency and content/object of ones faith, not the quality.

So expressions of faith can be described as varying in accordance with the difficulty of the content of what one believes in or in the consistency of the same belief over moments of time; but never is there a certain degree of faith required in the same content at some moment in time to determine a true vs. false belief or bring about a stipulated result. Hence believing that God will provide food, shelter and clothing in prosperous times may be described as less difficult to hold to than in hard times - but notice that it is either on or off. Furthermore, trusting that God will provide may go on and off more frequently over time for some who are more fortunate than others. But a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone will always provide eternal life from that moment on by definition. 


1) FAITH BELIEVE TRUST DEFINED

a) ENGLISH DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF FAITH
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:
ftp://ftp.uga.edu/pub/misc/webster/
faith \Faith\, n.

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason."

According to the dictionary and Scripture, the words belief and trust are synonymous with faith.

b) NT GREEK DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF FAITH

The New Analytical Greek Lexicon which is a dictionary of the koine Greek language of the Bible, (Wesley J. Perschbacher, Editor, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Ma; 1992, p. 329), states as the meaning of the word pisteuo which is translated believe in the English Bible translations as follows:
"(4100)... [pisteuo] 1 pers. sg. pres. act. indic., fut... [pisteuso] ...to believe, give credit to, Mark 1:15; 16:13; Luke 24:25; intrns. to believe, have a mental persuasion, Matt. 8:13; 9:28; James 2:19; to believe, be of opinion, Rom. 14:2; in N.T. [pisteuein en, eis] to believe in or on, Matt. 18:6; 27:42; John 3:15, 16, 18; absol. to believe, be a believer in the religion of Christ, Acts 2:44; 4:4, 32; 13:48; trans. to intrust, commit to the charge or power of, Luke 16:11; John 2:24; pass. to be intrusted with, Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:17"
The Greek word used in the Bible which is translated into forms of the verb 'to believe' is also defined according to the Greek dictionary to mean a trust in the information presented, i.e., a mental assent - devoid of additional actions on the part of an individual other than the mental agreement.

A moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone is the only thing that saves unto eternal life. This must not be confused with 'the faith' meaning the doctrines of the bible nor 'faithfulness' meaning obedience to those doctrines. The latter two are never in view in a salvation/eternal life passage. Hence they do not save unto eternal life.

B) AUTHOR JAMES IMPLIES THAT SAVING FAITH WITHOUT WORKS DOES EXIST

1) [Compare Jas 2:1 NKJV]:
"My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, don't show favoritism."
James exhorts those whom he stipulates as "believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ" to not show favoritism, implying that believers can show favoritism, i.e., evidence sinful behavior as opposed to doing good works yet still be true believers as he stipulated. No where in this section or elsewhere in his letter does James question the authenticity of his audience being anything but true believer's destined to be firstfruits in the eternal kingdom to come, works or not.

[Hart, cont.]
"The very heart and method of James's appeal in chapter 2 is to arouse acts of mercy from those who know they have already received the mercy from those who know they have already received the mercy of God. James simply does not question the fact that his readers are true Christians. He appeals to them based on the reality of the new birth, [1:18]. Perhaps the most transparent statement to this effect is 2:1, 'My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, do not show favoritism'... All that James has to say is designed to shake us 'as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ' from the comfort of worldliness and challenge us to meet the practical needs of others such as the needs of an orphan or a widow (1:26). He does so without ever finding it necessary to scrutinize our experience of salvation."

C) CHAPTER ONE IS THE INTRODUCTION TO JAMES' LETTER WHICH ANNOUNCES THE CENTRAL THEMES OF THE LETTER. IT MAKES NO MENTION OF ANY ISSUE BETWEEN TRUE FAITH/FALSE FAITH OR ANY DISTINCTION ABOUT KINDS OF FAITH - HENCE IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THE BODY OF THE EPISTLE PRESENTS SUCH AN ISSUE

Notice that verse 2:1 begins with "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ" which announces the beginning of the body of the letter. It focuses on specifics within the congregation of believers which chapter one has already covered. Chapter one has provided the central themes which are then dealt with for the rest of James' letter. Since chapter one does not deal at all with an issue of true faith/false faith or anything to do with kinds of faith, it is unlikely that the body of the letter has such an issue.

[Hart, cont.]

"It is now common to view an epistolary introduction as an authorial device that announces the central themes of a letter. Like the growth of a flower, the prologue of an epistle is the thematic bud and the body of the epistle is the full blossom. Further, the conclusion and the introduction will often be joined with verbal and conceptual links that form a harmony of ideas, confirming the themes. These two hermeneutical principles form a check and balance system for interpretation. If I find in the body of an epistle several basic themes that are not found in the prologue or the epilogue, my exegesis may likely be faulty. Traditional approaches to James 2 flounder against these hermeneutical tests. The issue of true faith/false faith does not appear in the introduction or conclusion of the letter. Nor does the introduction concern itself with a conception that true faith results in consistent good works. The opening of the epistle reveals that the saints to whom James writes are undergoing trials that are testing their faith (1:2). While some are convinced that this test is designed to separate genuine faith from spurious faith, such thinking is not readily evident.

D) THE WORD 'FAITH' IN 2:14 IS STIPULATED WITHOUT WORKS AND IS PORTRAYED AS EXISTING. IT WILL NOT PROFIT ONE IN THE TEMPORAL LIFE NOR SAVE ONE FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH NOR TEMPORAL LOSS NOR PROVIDE ETERNAL REWARDS

(v. 2:1) "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism." (v. 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]" (v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =

Since "brothers as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ" are being addressed in this passage, (v. 2:1); who are "brought forth", i.e., born again as a free gift from God by faith and whose destiny is thus assuredly to be the firstfruits of God's creatures in eternity, (vv. 1:17-18);

and since it is stipulated in v. 2:14 that "someone says he has faith but does not have works?" then the faith in 2:14 is defined as a faith which provides eternal life. The context demands that Mr. Someone's saying he has faith is a reality otherwise the question which follows: "Can faith save him?" cannot be asked.

On the other hand, a question is asked in 2:14, "What does it profit... if someone says he has faith but does not have works," which is posed in such a way - given the context, that the answer is no profit at all.

Considering the context of perseverance through temporal trials and living the righteous life that God desires relative to temporal rewards and discipline, the profit or lack thereof in view does not have gain or loss of eternal life in view, but temporal gain or loss.

This question is immediately followed by another, "Can faith save him?" which is posed again in such a way - given the context, that the answer is no. These two questions affirm the fact that Mr. "Someone" does have saving faith as he has said he does. There is no question as to this fact that Mr. Somone's faith is real and not merely professed, because the context is not whether or not Mr. Someone has the faith he has said he has; but the focus of both questions is, 'Can faith which someone has but who does no works save that individual in some manner?'

E) THE CONTEXT OF CHAPTERS ONE AND TWO OF BEING SAVED FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH DUE TO FULL GROWN SIN, I.E., CONTINUAL UNFAITHFULNESS/NO WORKS HAS ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED. BEING SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE VIA FAITHFUL DEEDS HAS NOT BEEN IN VIEW

(v. 1:14) "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (v. 1:15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." (v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =
The context in chapters one and two of being saved from premature physical death due to full grown sin, i.e., continual unfaithfulness/no works has already been established. Being saved unto eternal life has not been in view. There is no indication that full grown sin as opposed to sin causes eternal death, especially in believers who are in view in this passage. Words such as eternal death, Lake of Fire, condemnation are not present. Brothers are in view, i.e., believers already saved unto eternal life who will not face eternal death are being addressed in this chapter. Furthermore, the picture of giving birth to sin and then sin becoming full grown in a believer leading to death does not have eternal death in view, but physical death. One does not receive eternal death at the point when sin becomes full grown in one, one is already under condemnation unto eternal death before the first sin is given birth to, much more permitting it to become full grown. All men are born in sin without committing sin and are destined to eternal death without having to give birth to a single sin until they become believers, much less permitting sin to become full grown in oneself. So avoiding eternal death is not in view, avoiding full grown sin unto premature physical death for a believer is. Hence v. 2:14's "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" continues the context of the salvation/preservation of ones physical life through faithful deeds.

F) THE WORD "SOULS" IN VERSE 1:21 IN THE PHRASE "WHICH CAN SAVE YOUR SOULS" REFERS TO ONES LIFE BEING SAVED FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH. IT DOES NOT REFER TO BEING SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

(v. 1:15) "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to [premature physical] death." (v. 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows."(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life], (v. 1:19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 1:20) for man's anger does notbring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 1:21 NKJV) Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls" =

It has already been established that "sin when it is full grown" in a believer "gives birth to [premature physical] death, (v. 15); so "having laid aside all filthiness and the abundance of evil as acceptable behavior [i.e., the full grown sin as stipulated in v. 15] and humbly accepting the word with accompanying deeds planted in you will "save your souls, i.e., save you from premature physical death, (v. 21 NKJV).
The soul in this context is defined as the essence which animates the body, i.e., the physical life. Hence the expression 'to save the soul' represents a Greek phrase whose most common meaning in English would be 'to save the life' - the physical life. So the phrase "to save your souls" means to save your physical lives from premature physical death.

Since the audience throughout this chapter has unwaveringly been believers who are already saved unto eternal life, (vv. 2-19); who have been birthed by God and will assuredly become the firstfruits of God's eternal kingdom, (v. 18); who are exhorted to persevere through trials, (vv. 2-4), and not permit sin to birth or become full grown in them, (v. 15), but having laid aside all filthiness and the abundance of evil as acceptable behavior and with humble obedience, i.e., works, receive the implanted word which can save their souls from premature physical death for letting sin become full grown in them, (vv. 15, 21), then the reception of eternal life by unsaved unbelievers is not in view. 


[Hodges, cont., p. 41]:

"Many readers as well as expositors have an automatic reaction to the phrase save your souls in English, which leads them to understand it of eternal salvation from hell. But none of James' readers were at all likely to get such a meaning out of this text. The Greek phrase found here (sOsai tas psychas hymOn) was in common use in the sense of 'to save the life.' It is used in both the Greek OT as well as in the NT in exactly that sense (see Gen 19:17; 32:30; 1 Sam 19:11; Jer 48:6; Mark 3:4//Luke 6:9). This is its obvious sense also in Jas 5:20, which refers to the physical preservation of a life from death. It may even be said that there is not a single place in the entire Greek Bible (i.e., the NT plus the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the OT) where this phrase signifies deliverance from hell...

Nevertheless the meaning of the data supports - 'to save your lives' - is precisely the meaning most suited to this context. The readers are already born again (v. 18) and are in no need of being saved from hell. Moreover, James has just spoken of the death-dealing consequences of sin (vv. 14-15). In this light, the meaning of v. 21 is transparent: although sin can culminate in physical death, the Word of God, properly received, can preserve physical life."

Hence v. 2:14's "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" continues the context of the salvation/preservation of ones physical life through faithful deeds.

G) THE CONTEXT OF BELIEVERS PERSEVERING UNDER TRIAL BRINGING ABOUT THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE THAT GOD DESIRES CONTINUES WITH THE STIPULATION THAT ONE IS TO LAY ASIDE THE ACCEPTABILITY OF ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL AND WITH HUMBLE OBEDIENCE (WORKS) ACCEPT THE WORD PLANTED IN THEM IN ORDER TO SAVE THEIR SOULS, I.E., THEIR LIVES FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH. HENCE FAITH WITHOUT WORKS WILL NOT SAVE ONE FROM DYING EARLY

(v. 1:2)"Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 1:3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 1:4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything... (v. 1:19 NKJV) "So then, my dear brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, (v. 1:20) for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (v. 1:21 NKJV)Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls [your lives]" (v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =
With the word 'therefore' in v. 1:21, the context of believers persevering under trial toward being "mature and complete", i.e., (vv. 1:2-4), bringing about in their own lives "the righteous life that God desires", (v. 1:20b), continues with the stipulation that one is to lay aside the acceptability of all filthiness and abundance of evil and with humble obedience (works) accept the word planted in them in order to save their souls, i.e., their lives from premature physical death. Hence faith without works will not save one from dying early.
(v. 1:21 NKJV):

"Dio ...........apothemenoi ........pasan rhuparian ............................kai .perisseian .kakias
"Therefore having laid aside ..all.......filthiness, (i.e., moral filth) .and abundance of evil
en prautEti ........................................................dexasthe ton emphuton logon
in gentleness, (meekness = humble obedience) receive ...the implanted word
ton ...........................dunamenon ......................sOsai tas psuchas humOn"
which (lit., the one) is able (lit. 'being able') ..to save ....souls .....your"

Notice that verse 1:21 begins in the Greek with a participle phrase, "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and abundance of evil" which establishes that believers must consider entertainment of such behavior as unacceptable. This points to what they are to be doing instead: receive with humble obedience the implanted word which is able to save them, literally, their "souls", i.e., their lives from premature physical death had they continually remained in all filthiness and abundance of evil. Recall verse (v. 1:15): "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, "when it is full-grown," [i.e., when their lives are characterized by all filthiness and abundance of evil, it then] "gives birth to" [premature physical] "death." =

Evidently a lifestyle pattern of reception with humble obedience of the "implanted word" in believers works to maximizing the length of their appointed years, reducing full grown sin, i.e., reducing filthiness and abundance of evil, saving their souls from premature physical death. 

Note that an ongoing reception including response with deeds of the implanted word is in view considering the context already established of ongoing perseverance under trials to bring about the righteous life that God desires. This is corroborated in verse 25:

1) [Compare Jas 1:25]:
"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."

Hence v. 2:14's "Whatdoes it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" continues the context of the salvation/preservation of ones physical life through faithful deeds.

H) FAITH WITHOUT WORKS WILL NOT SAVE ONE FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH: A BELIEVER WHO DOES NOT DO WHAT THE IMPLANTED WORD SAYS, WHO DOES NOT LAY ASIDE ALL FILTHINESS AND ABUNDANCE OF EVIL AS ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR, WHEREIN SIN HAS BECOME FULL GROWN IN HIM, HAS NO WORKS - FAITH WITHOUT WORKS WILL NOT BE SAVED FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH


(v. 21 NKJV) "Therefore having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil, and receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word which is able to save your souls. (v. 22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" =
(v. 2:14):

"ti ...........to ..ophelos adelphoi mou ean pistin legE tis ...........echein
"What is the .benefit, brothers my ..if ....faith ..says someone to have
........................profit......................................................................he has
erga ...de ..mE echE .............mE dunatai .hE .pistis sOsai ..auton"
works but .not he does have not .is able ..the faith .to save him, is it?"
.....................................................................that

"Can faith save him" = Gk: "mE dunatai .hE .pistis sOsai ..auton"
.........................................................."not .is able ..the faith .to save him, is it?"
..................................................................................that

Relative to the goal of "having laid aside all filthiness and overflow [lit., abundance] of evil" [believers] must "receive with meekness, i.e., humble obedience the implanted word which is able to save your souls [your lives from premature physical death]" toward the end of "bring[ing] about the righteous life that God desires", (v. 1:20) so as to be saved from a premature physical death, (v. 1:21 NKJV): The believer is to humbly go to the source of information that provides instruction on this matter, the word, i.e., the word of truth, the bible, (v. 1:15). To receive with meekness [humble obedience] the implanted word is not to merely listen to the word without acting upon it. To listen without doing results in deceiving oneself that progress toward the righteous life is being made. Believers instead are also to do what it says. A believer who does not do what the implanted word says, does not lay aside all filthiness and abundance of evil, i.e., sin has become full grown. He has no works. This scenario is portrayed in 2:14 wherein the believer has no works and because of this will not be saved from early physical death.

[Joseph C. Dillow, 'The Reign of the Servant Kings', 1992, Schoettle Publishing, Miami Springs, Fl, p. 118]:

"[Jas 2:14]:
'What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can faith save him?'
The form of the question requires a negative answer. No, faith without works cannot save.... Works clearly are a condition of salvation according to James. But what is the content of that salvation?
James takes us back to the teaching of his Master in 1:21 when he refers to the saving of our lives. The Greek text reads: 'Humbly accept the implanted word which is able to save your lives [sosai tas psychas humon].' The expression 'save your lives' is the same one used by the Lord Jesus in Mt 16:25. That salvation does require work and self denying service to Christ. But it does not constitute final deliverance from hell. Rather, it involves the preservation of physical life now, a victorious perseverance through trials, and a glorious reward for our faithful service in the future...

There is nothing here about a 'saving faith' and one that does not save in the sense of final deliverance from hell. There is no perseverance in holiness taught. Nowhere does James tell us that works are the inevitable result of the faith that delivers from hell, nowhere, unless salvation means deliverance from hell. But then, if it does, James is teaching salvation by works!"

XXVIII) [Jas 1:17-18; 2:14-17]:

(v. 1:17) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]"
(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
(v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
(v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
(v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

A) AN EXAMPLE OF BELIEVERS NOT HELPING A NEEDY BROTHER AND SISTER CORROBORATES WHAT HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY IN VIEW: THAT FAITH WITHOUT WORKS WILL NOT PROFIT OTHERS NOR ONESELF, NOR SAVE ONE FROM EARLY PHYSICAL DEATH, NOR FROM LOSS OF TEMPORAL BLESSINGS, NOR ETERNAL REWARDS

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17). In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." =

"eipE de ...tis ..........autois ...ex .humOn hupagete .en eirEnE thermainesthe
"says .and someone to them of ..you, ......'Go ..........in .peace....be warmed
kai chortazesthe mE dOte .................de ...autois ..ta ..epitEdeia ...........tou ....sOmatos
and filled ............not .you do give .....but .to them the necessary things of the body
....................................V_AAS2Plural
ti ..........to ophelos"
what is the benefit?"

Notice in the phrase, "you do not give them the things which are needed for the body", "you" is plural which refers to the entire group of believers none of whom did anything to help the brother or sister in need.

An example of a brother or sister being without clothes and daily food is given wherein "one of you", i.e., a believer as spokesman for a group of believers responds inadequately with a statement of well wishing. The group of believers does nothing to actually help the brother or sister in need. Notice that the question, "What does it profit?" is identical to "What does it profit" in verse 2:14 evidently for emphasis. It is couched in a context which demands an even stronger "No" as an answer than the first time the phrase was used. Just as in verse 2:14, the phrase "What does it profit", therefore, does not refer to the lack of reception or loss of eternal life, but to the lack of profiting with temporal blessings for others and oneself, and living out the length of ones life and the reception of eternal rewards.

B) LOSING THE BENEFIT OF ETERNAL LIFE CANNOT BE IN VIEW SINCE ETERNAL LIFE HAS ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THIS PASSAGE AS A GIFT BY FAITH WHICH IS ETERNALLY SECURE - NOT SUBJECT TO BE GAINED OR LOST BY THE EFFORTS OF MAN OR LACK THEREOF


(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17). In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (cont.) =

1) The Second Birth Is Unto Eternal Life/Salvation, Given As A Gift By God Solely Out Of The Will Of God To Believers Through The Word Of Truth, The Bible - Faith Alone In What The Word Of Truth Presents To Man On This Matter Is What Results In The Second Birth To The Exclusion Of Man's Will And Any Human Doing


(v. 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows. (v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to assurance of eternal life]" =

"Of His own will = "boulEtheis", aorist nominative participle, lit., 'one having willed it.'
Information from the "word of truth", the bible, specifically the gospel, when acted upon by an individual by a moment of faith results in him becoming a believer, which then, solely by God's deliberate choice of having exercised His will, provides him with a second birth, a spiritual one, eternal life as a gift, (Jas 1:17). This rules out the physical birth in view of the fact that one must already be physically alive in order to believe in the word of truth. Evidently this points to simply trusting in what the word of truth says about the second birth unto eternal life, i.e., the gospel, to the exclusion of man's will or any contribution by man, otherwise this would contradict the stipulation that the second birth is a gift by the will of God. Notice that it is the will of man to choose to believe in the gospel and receive the free gift of eternal life, but it is solely by the will of God to offer and provide that gift.
[Hodges, op. cit., p. 31]:

"To James, new birth is a gift of God... [which] finds its source in God's will (of His own will) and is effected by the word of truth."

[Expositors, op. cit., p. 173]:

"Inasmuch as this birth is 'through the word of truth,' that is, through the gospel, the birth referred here must be spiritual rather than natural. God accomplishes this action by His own deliberate choice (boulEthesis)."

2) God's Purpose In Birthing Believers Is That They Might Be A Kind Of Firstfruits - A Foretaste Of The Eternal World Of Righteousness To Come, Testifying To The Eternal Security Of The Believer
(v. 1:18) Of His own will He brought us forth [i.e., gave us birth] by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [i.e., of all He created with a view to the righteous and perfect future eternal state of all creation]" =


Firstfruits, the first pick of the crop to be harvested, are a key representative of the success of the harvest. In the same way, the believer is the first pick of the crop of God's creatures, i.e., His eternal world to come. So the trials which God birthed born again believers are to persevere under toward maturity and completion are in order that believers demonstrate themselves as firstfruits of His creation with a view to His future and righteous eternal kingdom to come, testifying to the eternal security of the believer.


[Expositors, op. cit., p. 173]:


"His purpose in regeneration is 'that we might be a kind of firstfruits.'... The term 'firstfruits' referred to the first portion of the harvest given to God, a foretaste of that which was to come."


[Hodges, cont., p. 33]:


"In addition, here we seem to meet the... idea that as children of God we are a sort of anticipation or foreshadowing of what God will accomplish for the entire creation....
So understood, James' point will be that God's gift of new life is so good and perfect that when we possess that life we are a foreshadowing of what God will do for all His creatures (all created things). Just as the first crops from a field (firstfruits) suggest the quality of the harvest as a whole, so the miracle of regeneration in our lives is so wonderful that what God plans for the entire creation can also be called a regeneration... Although James recognizes that the analogy is not exact (we are a kind of firstfruits), yet it carries his point effectively. There is no flaw in the gift of new life; otherwise it could serve as no true model of what God wants to do for the entire creation."

C) THE PROFIT FROM FAITH WITH WORKS, LIKE HELPING OTHERS IN NEED, HAS ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS PASSAGE AS TEMPORAL BLESSINGS, LIVING OUT THE LENGTH OF ONES LIFE AND ETERNAL REWARDS


(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" =

The profit from faith with works, like helping others in need, has already been established in the context of this passage as temporal blessings, living out the length of ones life and eternal rewards. 

For example, believers who face trials faithfully can "count it pure joy", (v. 1:2); faithfully persevering under trials results in maturity and completion, (v. 1:3-4); asking God for wisdom in faith, without doubt, results in receiving that wisdom, (1:5-6); brothers in humble circumstances having a faithful attitude toward trials are assured of their high position in eternity, (1:9); standing the test of trials results in the eternal reward of the crown of life, (1:12); listening to, accepting and doing what that word of truth says results in temporal blessings and the salvation of ones physical life from premature physical death and temporal blessing, (vv. 1:21-22; 2:14); believers who are materially poor and rich in faith will inherit ownership of the kingdom, (v. 2:5); speaking and acting with mercy under the Law that gives freedom will result in God's mercy, (2:12-13).

D) FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS STILL FAITH WHICH PROVIDED ETERNAL LIFE. NEVERTHELESS, IT IS DEAD 'IN THE SAME WAY' STIPULATED IN VV. 2:14-16 & BEFORE, I.E., UNPROFITABLE TO THE RECEPTION OF TEMPORAL BLESSINGS BY OTHERS AND ONESELF; WILL NOT SAVE ONE FROM PREMATURE PHYSICAL DEATH; AND USELESS IN PROVIDING ETERNAL REWARDS


(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (cont.) =
"houtOs kai ..hE pistis ean mE erga ..echE .............nekra estin kath .......heautEn"
"Thus ....also the faith, if ....not works it does have, dead ..is ......being by itself"


1) DEATH DEFINED

[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G & C Merriam Co, Springfield, Mass, 1980]:
"1. deprived of life.
2. a. having the appearance of death b. very tired c. (1) incapable of being stirred emotionally or intellectually (2) grown cold
3 a. inanimate, inert b. barren, infertile c. no longer producing, functioning
4 a. (1) lacking power or effect (2) no longer having interest b. no longer in use c. no longer active d. lacking in gaiety or animation e. lacking in commercial activity (2) no longer having interest..."
Note that the word "dead" neither means non-existent nor insufficient to provide eternal life. None of the available definitions for the word "dead" stipulate or support either. Just as a car battery without a charge is useless in starting an automobile engine and can be described as a dead battery which is still in existence and at one time did start the car engine; so faith without works in the context of verse 2:17 is dead in the manner indicated in chapters one and two as unprofitable to the reception of temporal blessings by others and oneself; will not save one from premature physical death; and is useless in providing eternal rewards. Nevertheless the faith in view has been previoiusly described as having provided eternal life as a gift - at that present moment (present tense: has eternal life) which by definition once received in that present moment is ongoing forever. 

a) [Compare Jas 2:17 vs. 2:20]:

(v. 2:17) "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
(v. 2:20) "You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?"

Since faith without action, (deeds), is dead,
and faith without deeds, (action), is useless,
then dead can be defined as useless in the context of James chapters one and two, which is one of the available definitions for the word "dead."

Therefore a dead faith does continue to exist, albeit without works which makes it useless to some end. If it is true, (and it is not), that a dead faith can describe a faith that does not exist, then the entire verse, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead," would deteriorate into nonsense.

Finally, losing the benefit of eternal life cannot be in view because of a dead faith since eternal life has already been established in this passage as a gift by a moment of faith - at the present moment expression of that faith - which thereafter is eternally secure once received by definition - because its duration is eternal - and corroboration in verse 1:18 - not subject to be gained or lost by the efforts of man or lack thereof.

E) DEAD FAITH CANNOT BE FALSE FAITH ANY MORE THAN DEAD SIN IS FALSE SIN. IN THE SAME WAY THAT SIN WITHOUT THE LAW IS INACTIVE, SO FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS INACTIVE


(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (cont.) =

1) [Compare Ro 7:8b]:
“For apart from the law sin is dead”

Notice that sin in this verse cannot be viewed as false sin. Rather apart from the Law sin is not active. Neither can faith in Jas 2:17 be viewed as false faith. Rather apart from works, faith is not active.

[Hart, cont.]:
"Evangelicals have been content to interpret dead faith as a false faith. The closest syntactical parallel to Jas 2:17 is found in Rom 7:8b, “For apart from the law sin is dead” (NASB). No one would suppose that Paul intended to say that apart from the law sin was “false sin” or an unreal sinfulness. Sin is still real and true sin, even apart from the law. The thought is that sin lies dormant and unrecognized until the law arouses it to action. In the same way, faith apart from works is true and real faith. But works have a way of enlivening faith and arousing it from abeyance."

F) MATURING ONES FAITH IS IN VIEW, NOT FALSE FAITH VS TRUE FAITH

(v. 1:2) "Consider it pure joy ["pasan charan" = lit. "all joy"], my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (v. 1:3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. (v. 1:4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (v. 1:5) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (v. 1:6) But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."

(v. 2:14 NKJV) "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? (v. 2:15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (v. 2:16 NKJV) and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? (v. 2:17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (cont.) = 

The context continues relative to perseverance unto maturity and completion, (v. 1:4). Believers are in view in 1:5-6: "If any of you [believers] lacks wisdom" and "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Notice that the believer who doubts is not declared a false believer, but one who "is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." He is immature. Hence there is no issue here re: false faith vs true faith.

[Professor John F. Hart, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Ill., 'How To Energize Our Faith: Reconsidering The Meaning Of James 2:14-26]:

"After James reaffirms that endurance can mature our faith, he admonishes us to ask God for the wisdom we lack. But we must “ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (1:6). In this context, there is no impression that those who lack faith in prayer are false Christians. To the contrary, the terminology identifies an immature believer. While the readers trusted God for their eternal life, they doubted He would give them wisdom."


XI) FAITH WHICH FALLS SHORT OF SAVING FAITH

[FB]

The faith of the men described in John 2:23–25 certainly fell short of saving faith, because one of these men who believed when he saw the miracles of Jesus was Nicodemus (compare John 2:23 with 3:2) who needed to be born again! John 8:30 speaks of people who believed on Jesus, but as you read the verses following you discover that Satan, not God, was the father of these people (vv. 41–44). So to say ‘all faith is faith’ does not stand up to the measuring stick of the Bible.5

[BSM]

Actually the word faith has a meaning according to the dictionary that best fits the context of individuals who indeed are saved:


III) [Jn 2:23-25]:


(Jn 2:23 NAS) "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.

(Jn 2:24 YLT) and Jesus Himself was not trusting himself to them, because of His knowing all [men],

(Jn 2:25 NKJV) and had no need that anyone should testify [to Him] of man, for He knew what was in man."

A) WHILE JESUS WAS IN JERUSALEM DURING THE FEAST OF PASSOVER, MANY BELIEVED IN HIS NAME, HAVING OBSERVED HIS MIRACULOUS SIGNS. BUT JESUS WAS NOT TRUSTING HIMSELF TO THEM IN THE SENSE OF TRUSTING THEM WITH HIS LIFE AND MISSION BECAUSE HE KNEW WHAT WAS IN MAN - HIS SINFUL CHARACTER; AND HE, BEING THE SON OF GOD, HAD NO NEED THAT ANYONE SHOULD TESTIFY TO HIM OF MAN

(Jn 1:12 YLT) "But as many [individuals of His own creation, (Jn 1:11a)] as did receive Him to them He gave authority to become sons [lit., children] of God - to those believing in His name: (Jn 1:13 YLT) who - not of blood nor of a will of flesh, nor of a will of man but - of God were begotten [born]... (Jn 2:23 NAS) Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. (Jn 2:24 YLT) and Jesus himself was not trusting himself to them, because of his knowing all [men], (Jn 2:25 NKJV) and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." =

While Jesus was in Jerusalem during the feast time of the Passover, Scripture says many believed in His name, observing His miraculous signs, (Jn 2:23). Evidently Jesus performed a number of miraculous signs after the first one at the wedding in Cana. The statement that many believed in His name has the same result as Jn 1:12-13 indicates, which stipulates that those that "believed in His name" received the authority to become children of God, born of God unto an eternal life familial relationship with God. . The fact that the many who believed in His name of Jn 2:23 had been observing miraculous signs Jesus performed which got their attention and hence they believed, does not change the outcome that they became born again children of God in an eternal life familial relationship with God, as some maintain. Since Jn 1:12-13 stipulates that a moment of faith in the name of Jesus Christ results in becoming a born again, eternal life child of God; then the moment of faith in Jesus that many exercised in Jn 2:23 must result in eternal life.

Furthermore, Jesus' response to the many who had believed in His name, of "not trusting Himself to them, because of His knowing all [men]," does not connote the idea that the many who believed in His name while observing miracles did not receive eternal life because Jesus did not trust that their faith in Him was real or effectual as some maintain. Since Jn 2:23 stipulates that they did believe in His name without equivocation, i.e., that the faith they expressed was real, then they received eternal life, (cf. Jn 1:12-13)!!! The part of the passage which objectors twist out of context: "and Jesus Himself was not trusting Himself to them, because of His knowing all [men], and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man, (Jn 2:24-25)" does not stipulate that Jesus was not trusting that their moment of faith in Him was real. The Greek verb "episteuen" is in the imperfect tense and is best rendered, "was not trusting" as it is rendered in the YLT, as opposed to "did not commit" or "did not trust;" indicating an ongoing lack of trust in the character of mankind. There is no question implied that they exercised a moment of faith in Him to provide eternal life. This is corroborated by Jn 2:25: "and [He] had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." This verse testifies to Jesus having a supernatural knowledge of the character of men; Who being the Son of God, did not need anyone to testify to Him of man's sinful, hence untrustworthy nature. This implies that these men have an innate capacity to sin, hence are untrustworthy relative to Jesus entrusting them with His Person and mission - even as believers, especially new, untested believers. If He were to trust anyone it would be and of course was the Father.


XII) INTELLECTUAL ASSENT AND THE POSSIBILITY OF APOSTASY

[FB]

Intellectual Assent and the Possibility of Apostasy
Here is a situation described by Hodges and his evaluation of the situation:
Oh how disgraceful for a man to have known the truth and proclaimed the truth and then to deny the truth! He has put the Son of God to an open shame! Well you say, ‘I guess he’s headed for hell, right? I guess he’s headed for eternal damnation. He’s renounced his Christian faith.’ Wait a minute. I didn’t say that, and neither does the writer of Hebrews. Let me remind you that Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life. He that cometh to Me shall never hunger and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst,’ and He also said, ‘He that cometh to Me I shall in no wise cast out.’ God’s will is that He lose no one (John 6:35–40). He has never lost anyone and HE NEVER WILL! And I grieve because my friend AND BROTHER has lost his faith, BUT CHRIST HAS NOT LOST HIM. HE HAS LOST HIS FAITH BUT CHRIST HAS NOT LOST HIM! Do you believe in the grace of God?6
Hodges’ illustration was given in a tape series which he delivered while speaking at the Church of the Open Door, which at the time was pastored by G. Michael Cocoris. The series of tapes is entitled, “Great Themes in the Book of Hebrews” (available through Redencion Viva Publishers).
Zeller responds:
We would agree with Hodges that God keeps His children and that we are eternally secure. We differ on HOW God keeps His children. The Bible says, ‘[we] are kept by the power of God through faith.’ God keeps us through faith. Hodges teaches that, in the case of many believers, God keeps them apart from faith, that is, He keeps them whether they keep on believing or not. But the Bible teaches that God not only keeps us saved, but He keeps us faithful. Hodges, Dillow and Wilkin need to take God at His Word and believe that they are kept by the power of God THROUGH FAITH.7


[BSM]

The phrase rendered "THROUGH FAITH" is in view from the underlined phrase from 1 Pet 1:3-5 which reads as follows:

(1 Pet 1:3 NASB) "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"

(1 Pet 1:4 NASB) to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 

(1 Pet 1:5 NASB) who are protected by the power of God through faith [in the sense through the moment when one believed in Christ for salvation unto eternal life] for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."


Notice the phrase "reserved in heaven for you" in 1 Pet 1:4 signifying an eternally secure heavenly destiny: "to obtain an [eternal] inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you."

So in view in 1 Pet 1:3-5 is an individual having expressed a moment of faith alone in God's Son, our Lord Jesus Christ alone which through the power of God and Him alone provides eternal life - not depending upon anything else, not even the believer being faithful to Who he believed in from the beginning. The context does not include a demand to be faithful or even to continue to believe in order to continually keep one's salvation. Once received it is ALL dependent upon the power of God and His Absolute Integrity and Righteousness to provide that eternal life once given to the individual who believed when he believed as a FREE GIFT NO STRINGS ATTACHED. For the passage indicates that the believer has been born again by the power of God, (1 Pet 1:3), hence he cannot become unborn again regardless of his behavior which would defeat the power of God and impugn God's integrity because God has guaranteed the believer's salvation without any further input from the believer but the moment of faith alone in His Son alone, (1 Pet 1:3-5 in 3 places, cf. Eph 1:13-14). So the believer has a living [a sure] hope, not a hope dependent upon if he is always faithful or is faithful at all! This sure hope is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not through being faithful, i.e., not through doing faithful deeds.

Furthermore, the believer's salvation is totally secure because once one has believed the Holy Spirit guarantees that salvation:


[Compare Eph 1:13-14]:

(Eph 1:13 YLT) "In Whom [Christ, v. 12] [you] also, having heard the word of the truth - the good news of your salvation - [Christ, vv. 12-13] also having believed, [you] were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise [of eternal life / redemption],

(Eph 1:14 NKJV) Who / Which is the guarantee [lit. "arrhabOn" = deposit, pledge] or our inheritance, until the =redemption of the purchased possession [God's possession - that is you the believer, v. 13], to the praise of His glory."

So once received, salvation unto eternal life is received only as a result of the individual expressing a moment of faith alone in Christ alone whereupon that individual has eternal life forever BECAUSE IT IS ETERNAL!!!! There is no passage that stipulates or implies that one must keep on continuously expressing that moment of faith otherwise that individual does not continue to have eternal life wherein God ceases to exercise His power to provide eternal life as He promised beginning when that individual first believed. (Does not that make God out to be a liar????) First of all expressing belief / faith / trust in something is NOT a proactive activity, i.e, not doing things to demonstrate that you did believe. Belief is simply as the dictionary stipulates a passive mental assent in something being true. Expressing faith in something is not the same thing as faithful actions / faithfulness which are works / deeds. Second of all, man cannot express continuous faith in something 24/7. He must sleep, and do other activities that occupy his mind, etc.

[Compare Eph 2:8-9]:

"For by grace you have been saved [literally, "you are having been saved] through faith and that [neuter = salvation] is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast."

Note that the verb form(s) rendered "you have been saved" [literally, "you are having been saved] signify a perfect tense participle completed action at a point in time in the past with ongoing present results forever. So there is no possibility of loss of salvation in view. This is such a great passage to support what one must do to have eternal life that it is a must study .


XIII) TRUE BELIEVER VS FALSE BELIEVER

[FB]

A little later in the same article, Zeller comments: The writer of Hebrews speaks for every true believer when he says,

[BSM]

There is no such thing as a true believer vs a false believer. You are either a believer or you are not a believer. The words "true" or "false" are nonsensical. If you are a believer, the word "true" is non-sensical because all who believe are believers without the word "true" having to be used to modify the word "believer." Furthermore, you cannot use the phrase "false believer" and make a point that one has believed falsely - this is nonsensical. Now you may have believed in something that is false, but your nevertheless believed. Those who have not believed are not false believers, they are NON believers. Furthermore, being a believer only requires a moment of believing, not doing actions that demonstrate you believed. Check the dictionary.]


XIV) DRAW BACK TO PERDITION VS FAITHFUL BELIEVERS

[FB]

A little later in the same article, Zeller comments: The writer of Hebrews speaks for every true believer when he says, ‘We are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.’ Notice that there are only two groups mentioned here: 1) Those who draw back unto perdition (the lost apostates); and 2) those who believe to the saving of the soul (God’s believers who are kept faithful). Hodges and Faust want us to believe there is a third group: Those true Christians who depart from the faith and who stop believing with the result that they are excluded from the kingdom (Faust) or excluded from the blessings and joys of the kingdom (Hodges/Dillow/Wilkin). In order for his theory to work, Hodges must redefine the term ‘perdition’ so that it merely means some kind of temporal loss rather than eternal ruin (see The Bible Knowledge Commentary under this passage). But Hodges’ argument is nullified by the fact that this word is obviously used of eternal ruin in its New Testament usages: Matthew 7:13 (destruction), John 17:12; Romans 9:22; Philippians 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 3:7; Rev. 17:8, 11.8
Again Zeller says:
Now it’s true that as believers we have times when our faith is not strong and our Lord can rebuke us: ‘Oh ye of little faith.’ But we are not speaking of weak faith, but we are speaking of a person who has abandoned the faith entirely and who rejects the gospel and has completely turned his back on Jesus Christ (like the friend of Hodges in the illustration given above).9

[BSM]

A careful examination of Heb 10:26-39 will corroborate that believers are in view and regardless of their lifestyles, they are not in danger of going to Hell / the Lake of Fire:

****** EXCERPT FROM HEBREWS CHAPTER 10 ******



HEBREWS 10:26-39
 
IF WE KEEP ON SINNING... NO SACRIFICE FOR SINS IS LEFT
 
I) INTRODUCTION
 
Verses 1-25 of chapter 10 declare the absolute superiority of the once for all time sacrifice of Christ for sins over the sacrificial practices of the Mosaic Law which were just the shadow, not the reality, of our Lord's true and effective sacrifice for sins. The only action that is effective toward atonement for any sin. The passage then encourages the Hebrew believers to "hold unswervingly to [this sure] hope [of their salvation which] we [Hebrew believers] profess..." [and not go back to the Mosaic Law practices]
 
A) [Compare Heb 10:1]:
 
"The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship."
 
Then verse 26 begins the warning of severe consequences if a Hebrew believer, (or any believer), deliberately rejects what he has already accepted - the once for all time sacrifice of Christ that saved him in favor of reverting to the practice of the Mosaic Law sacrifices, (or any kind of works for that matter), in order to secure eternal life. This is viewed by the writer of the Book of Hebrews, (and the God Who inspired that writer), as practicing a specific, deliberate and willful sin as verse 26 indicates within the context. This view is especially presented in the light of the believers' stated position with God of having already accepted the once for all time sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins where "no more sacrifice for sins is left", i.e., nothing else is required to permanently receive eternal life.
 
B) [Compare Heb 9:28]:
 
"So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him."
 
II) [Heb 10:26 NAS]:
 
(v. 26 NAS) "If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth [of the gospel of salvation through faith alone in the once for all time sacrifice of Christ for sins, (v. 10)], there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins."
 
A) BELIEVERS ARE IN VIEW IN THIS PASSAGE
 
The "we" in this verse applies to believers: those who have trusted alone in Christ's once for all time sacrifice for sins alone. The Book of Hebrews speaks especially to individual Jews, (v. 1:1 + pervading context of Hebrew Old Testament Scripture to which the author refers to as part of the background of his readers). The author further writes to fellow Jews who "have received the knowledge of the truth" of salvation through faith in the one time sacrifice of Christ Jesus but "willfully keep on sinning" by continually offering up a "sacrifice for sins" through their wrongful reliance on following the Mosaic Law as a way to heaven in spite of their evident faith alone in Christ's once for all time sacrifice alone for sins unto eternal life, (vv. 10-15). Notice that the text here in Heb 10:26 says that the Jews received a knowledge of the truth of salvation. Although it does not say that they believed in it, the overall context of the passage is clear that they did believe in it when other verses are taken into consideration:
 
1) [Compare Heb 10:10]:
 
"And by that will [of Christ Who chose to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the whole world, (v. 9)], we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
 
So those addressed in Hebrews chapter 10 have been "made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." = i.e., they have been saved and are believers.
 
["Dr. Robert Wilkin states, (Grace in Focus website, Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx, "Hebrews 10:26-31, 'A Punishment Worse Than Death' ": http://155.229.51.114/Grace/news/y1992/92sep3.html]
 
"Genuine Believers Are In View....
 
The Book of Hebrews in general is addressed to genuine believers. See, for example, 3:1, "Therefore, holy brethren partakers of the heavenly calling. . ." See also 6:4-6.
 
The larger context of chapter 10 also strongly asserts that genuine believers are being addressed. In vv 1-18 the author speaks of the forgiveness of sins. In vv 19-20 he calls the readers "brethren," people who have "boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus" and who have Jesus Christ as their High Priest.
 
The immediate context of this passage says that those being addressed have already been sanctified (v 29)! Only believers have been sanctified (cf. 10:10, 14). In addition, they are called "His people" (v 30) -- something only true of believers."
 
II cont.) [Heb 10:26 cont.]:
 
(v. 26 NAS) If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth [of the gospel of salvation through faith alone in the once for all time sacrifice of Christ for sins], there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
 
B) LOSS OF SALVATION CANNOT BE IN VIEW SINCE OTHER CLEAR PASSAGES IN THE BIBLE INDICATE THAT ONE'S SALVATION IS ETERNALLY SECURE AND CANNOT BE LOST
 
At first glance without consideration of the context or other passages in the bible, verse 26 could mean that a believer can lose his salvation because of willful sinning; but other clear passages indicate that since a believer's salvation is completely and exclusively the doing of God Almighty - Father, Son and Holy Spirit and NOTHING ELSE, (Eph 1:3-14), then a Christian's eternal destiny rests exclusively with God and NOT with man. Not even the believer can change his eternal destiny relative to heaven or hell. There are numerous passages in the bible from Genesis to Revelation which establish the eternal security of the believer, not the least of which are these key passages which are examined in the ETERNAL SECURITY STUDY linked here:
 
and three eternal security passages which follow:
 
1) [Compare Eph 1:13-14]:
 
(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
 
(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."
 
2) [Compare Ro 8:35-39]:
 
(v. 35) "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
 
(v. 36) As it is written:
 
'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'
 
(v. 37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.
 
(v. 38) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
 
(v. 39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, [including that of the individual believer] will be able to separate us [believers] from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
 
And that means no condemnation once an individual has become "in Christ Jesus", i.e., a believer, (cp Eph 1:13; Ro 6:1-3).
 
Finally, compare an important passage in the book of Romans in order to clarify the believer's position in Christ relative to whether or not he obeys Christ's commandments:
 
2) [Ro 8:1-4]:
 
(v. 1) "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
 
[All those who are "in Christ", i.e., those who have become believers, have by definition a permanent position as described in the Bible, (Ro 6:3; 2 Cor 5:17), and are therefore defined, being "in Christ", as eternally secure from going to hell whether they continue to obey Christ or not. Compare 1 Jn 5:9-13, 1 Cor 3:11-15, 2 Tim 2:11-13).
 
Note that some translations have the phrase "who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit". This phrase is omitted here from the end of verse one above because it was discovered that it was erroneously copied from verse 4. Earlier, more reliable manuscripts do not have this phrase here in v.1. Its placement here in verse one by someone who was transcribing manuscripts contradicts many other passages which teach God's exclusive and sovereign role in preserving the eternal security of the believer, Ref: Ro 8:38-39; Jn 10:28; Eph 1:13-14, 2:8-9, 4:30 & Ro 11:29. How the believer lives his life does not effect his eternal destiny. Whom he has placed his faith in does!]
 
(v. 2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
 
["The Law of the Spirit of life" = The law of perfect Christian freedom which is energized by living by faith in Jesus Christ and His Word - energized by the love of Him, cp Gal 5:1-6, 1-13; I Cor 8:9; which law makes provision through the blood of Christ for eradicating the effects of the believer's daily sins, (1 Jn 1:1-9), thus preserving his eternal destiny in heaven.
 
Once a person has expressed his faith alone in Christ alone as Savior he is now subject to a new law: the law of the Spirit of Life which is administered by God the holy Spirit indwelling in him. This new law he can obey and walk in the Spirit by faith; or not obey and walk in carnality by the world and be under God's discipline. Either way he walks, this new law of the Spirit of life that he is under has permanently and eternally set him free from the law of sin and death. He is eternally secure from condemnation under the law of sin and death because he has trusted alone in Christ alone. The law of sin and death is that law which keeps an individual who is subject to it under the slavery of sin, (Ro 6:17a; 20), and then under eternal condemnation when he dies. An unbeliever has no choice under this law but to sin in everything he does. Even the good that he does, not being directed by God the Holy Spirit, is contaminated by his evil nature in some way, (Isa 64:6; Jer 17:9; Ro 6:20; Lk 18:19). The unbeliever is truly a hopeless slave to the law of sin and eternal death]
 
2 cont.) [Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:
 
(v. 3 NAS) For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
 
(v. 3 NIV) "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
 
["His own Son in the likeness of sinful man: = God the Son became flesh - became in the likeness of man without a sin nature, yet He remained fully God at the same time, (cp II Cor 5:21; Phil 2:6-8; Col 1:15-16); and He came to earth as a Man "to be a sin offering"= to die for the sins of the whole world, (cp 1 Jn 2:2).
 
"And so He [the Lord Jesus Christ] condemned sin in sinful man.." =
 
"condemned" = "katekrinen" = passed a judicial sentence upon sin. In other words the Lord Jesus Christ died for the judgment due for our sin and thus paid the penalty that our own sins required us to pay, I Jn 2:2.
 
2 cont.) [Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:
 
(v. 3c cont) "And so He condemned sin in sinful man,
 
(v. 4) in order that the [perfect & righteous] requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
 
[And so our Lord took care of the sin problem in our lives in one way such that when a believer walks according to the Spirit Who now indwells him..................
 
(this indwelling being a result of what our Lord did for mankind on the cross)
 
..............the believer can now truly fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law. As he willingly follows the leading of the Spirit Who indwells him, he will be righteous. But if he chooses to follow his own way he will be unrighteous, cp 1 Jn 1:8-10; Eph 5:1-18]
 
a) [Eph 5:15-18]:
 
(v. 15) "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise,
 
(v. 16) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
 
(v. 17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
 
(v. 18) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled [controlled] with the Spirit."
 
2 cont.) [Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:
 
[The Amplified bible has a translation which reflects the meaning of Ro 8:4 very well]:
 
(v. 8) "So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might....."
 
[Notice: "might" = aorist tense, passive voice, subjunctive mood = so that a condition of possibility but not certainty is established - maybe you will act righteously and maybe you won't - but now at least you can fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law. Before you could not at all]
 
(v. 4 cont. Amplified) "So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us, who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit - our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the (Holy) Spirit.
 
[So Jesus Christ "condemned sin in sinful man" in order that the perfect standard of the Mosaic Law might be fulfilled on a moment to moment basis in the lives of those believers who for those moments are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. Therefore believers at times do choose NOT to live according to the Spirit and at those times are NOT meeting the righteous requirements of the Law. They are then out of fellowship with God but not out of salvation, (Ro 8:1). Their position in Christ relative to eternal life remains sovereignly intact. The out-of-fellowship problem is then resolved by confession and by obeying the Word again, (1 Jn 1:5-10, Jn 14:15)]
 
II cont.) [Heb 10:26 cont.]:
 
(v. 26 NAS) If we go on sinning willfully after receving the knowledge of the truth [of the gospel of salvation through faith alone in the once for all time sacrifice of Christ for sins], there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
 
C) HAVING TRUSTED ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE AS SAVIOR, NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR SINS IS REQUIRED, SO CONTINUING TO PERFORM SACRIFICES UNDER THE MOSAIC LAW AMOUNTS TO INSULTING GOD WITH WILLFULL SIN BY DENYING CHRIST'S ALL SUFFICIENT SACRIFICE
 
"If we go on sinning willfully" = The context of chapter 10 establishes that this phrase has a very specific connotation of sinning: that of Jewish believers continuing to follow the sacrificial system of the Mosaic Law in order to be saved when they had already accepted by faith the once for all time, never to be repeated, sacrifice of their Messiah Jesus Christ for their sins. This is especially confirmed by the last phrase of this verse: "no more sacrifice for sins is left."
 
Furthermore, other verses in chapter 10 are clear on this matter:
 
a) [Heb 10:1-4, 10-14, 18]:
 
(v. 1) "The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices be repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.
 
(v. 2) If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.
 
(v. 3) But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,
 
(v. 4) because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
 
(v. 10) And by that will [of God that His Son be sacrificed to atone for the sins of the whole world, (vv. 8-9], we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
 
(v. 11) Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
 
(v. 12) But when this Priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
 
(v. 13) Since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool,
 
(v. 14) because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
 
(v. 18) And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin."
 
Finally, this is a recurrent theme in the Book of Hebrews: Exhorting the Hebrew believers not to go back to the Mosaic Law system in order to secure their salvation because they have already been permanently saved:
 
b) [Compare Heb 6:6]:
 
"If they [Hebrew believers] fall away [from the gospel of salvation] to be brought back to repentance [coming back to trusting alone in Christ alone], because [by practicing the Mosaic Law] to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace."
 
Zane C. Hodges states [The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, Walvoord & Zuck, Editors, Victor Books, USA, 1988, p. 805]:
 
'''The author [of Hebrews] was concerned here, as throughout the epistle, with the danger of defection from the faith. Most sin is "deliberate", [i.e., willful, v. 26], but the writer was here influenced by the Old Testament's teaching about sins of presumption (cf. Num 15:29-31) which lay outside the sacrificial provisions of the Law. Apostasy from the faith would be such a 'willful' act and for those who commit it 'no sacrifice for sins is left' (cf. Heb 10:18). If the efficacious sacrifice of Christ should be renounced, there remained no other available sacrifice which could shield an apostate from God's judgment... A Christian who abandons 'the confidence [he] had at first' (3:14) puts himself on the side of God's enemies and, as the writer had already said, is in effect 'crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace' (6:6). Such reprehensible conduct can scarcely be worthy of anything but God's flaming indignation and retribution. This, however.... is not a reference to hell."
 
So the Book of Hebrews repeats over and over the futile effort of trying to keep the Law unto eternal salvation, (cp Heb 7:18), rather than to simply trust alone in Christ's once for all time sacrifice for sins, (cp Heb 7:27). By continually relying on the Mosaic Law sacrificial system for eternal life instead of Christ's one time once for all time sacrifice, the author of the Book of Hebrews teaches that "no sacrifice for sins is left" for one who does this to be saved, "but a fearful certain expectation of judgment and fiery fervour [= fiery indignation by God] which shall devour the adversaries".
 
III) [Heb 10:26-27]:
 
(v. 26 NAS) If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth [of the gospel of salvation through faith alone in the once for all time sacrifice of Christ for sins, (v. 10)], there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
 
(v. 27) But a fearful certain expectation of judgment and fiery fervour [= fiery indignation by God] which shall devour the adversaries [Isa 26:11]
 
"phiobera.de ..tis .......ekdoche .......kriseos .......kai .puros zelos ..............
 
"but a fearful certain expectation of judgment and fiery fervour (zeal)
 
esthieln ...mellontos tous upenantious"
 
to devour about .......the .adversaries"
 
A) CONDEMNATION UNTO THE LAKE OF FIRE IS NOT IN VIEW BUT TEMPORAL JUDGMENT OF THE DELIBERATELY SINNING BELIEVER WHO ATTEMPTS TO KEEP HIS SALVATION SECURE VIA WORKS IS
 
1) FIERY TEMPORAL JUDGMENT HAS BEEN DESCRIBED THIS WAY ELSEWHERE IN SCRIPTURE:
 
a) THE LORD'S FIERY TEMPORAL JUDGMENT PREDICTED UPON THE ISRAELITES
 
i) [Dt 32:15-25]:
 
(v. 15) "Jeshurun [= the upright one = Israel] grew fat and kicked; filled with food, he became heavy and sleek.
 
He abandoned the God Who made him and rejected the Rock His Savior.
 
(v. 16) They made Him jealous with their foreign gods and angered Him with their detestable idols.
 
(v. 17) They sacrificed to demons, which are not God - gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your fathers did not fear.
 
(v. 18) You deserted the Rock, Who fathered you; you forgot the God Who gave you birth.
 
(v. 19) The LORD saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
 
(v. 20) I will hide my face from them,' he said, 'and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.
 
(v. 21) They made me jealous by what is no God and angered Me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.
 
(v. 22) For a fire has been kindled by my wrath, one that burns to the realm of death below [sheol]. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains.
 
(v. 23) I will heap calamities upon them and spend my arrows against them.
 
(v. 24) I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
 
(v. 25) In the street the sword will make them childless; in their homes terror will reign. Young men and young women will perish, infants and gray-haired men."
 
b) THE LORD'S FIERY TEMPORAL JUDGMENT UPON THE ASSYRIANS
 
i) [Isa 30:27-33]:
 
(v. 27) "See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; His lips are full of wrath, and His tongue is a consuming fire
 
(v. 28) His breath is like a rushing torrent rising up to the neck, He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; He places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray."
 
c) GOD'S REFINING OF THE LEVITES
 
i) [Mal 1:1-3]:
 
(v. 1) " 'See I will send My messenger [John the Baptist], Who will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the LORD you are seeking will come to His temple; the Messenger of the covenant, Whom you desire will come', says the LORD Almighty.
 
(v. 2) But who can endure the day of His [2nd] coming? Who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap.
 
(v. 3) He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offering sin righteousness,
 
(v. 4) and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.' "
 
d) THE BURNING UP OF THE BELIEVERS WORKS BUT NOT THE UNFAITHFUL BELIEVER HIMSELF AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
 
i) [1 Cor 3:12-15]:
 
(v. 12) "If any man builds on this foundation [of salvation through Christ alone, (v. 11)] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw
 
(v. 13) his work will be shown [i.e., judged by our Lord, (2 Cor 5:10)] for what it is, because the Day [of judgment] will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
 
(v. 14) If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
 
(v. 15) If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."
 
2) WORDS FOR HELL ARE NOT MENTIONED IN THE PASSAGE
 
[Dr. Wilkin states, (op. cit.)]:
 
'''There is no reference here to "the lake of fire," "Gehenna," "hell," "unquenchable fire," "eternal torment," or any terms commonly associated with eternal condemnation. Take a moment and reread the passage and you will see what I mean.
 
Some might wonder about "fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries" (v27) and "worse punishment" (v29). The latter expression is discussed below. The former merely refers to God's zeal in judging those who oppose Him (which can certainly include believers). We might translate the phrase in question, "the fire of zeal which will devour the adversaries." Fire is a common biblical metaphor for temporal judgment. Only when the context clearly specifies eternal burning does fire in Scripture refer to hell. There is no such indication here."
 
3) TEMPORAL JUDGMENT IS BEING THREATENED NOT ETERNAL CONDEMNATION
 
'''There are two lines of evidence which show that temporal judgment is in view:
 
a) GENUINE BELIEVERS ARE IN VIEW
 
As shown above, genuine believers are in view and believers cannot experience eternal condemnation. Thus, whatever the judgment is, it must either refer to the Judgment Seat of Christ, which this passage clearly does not, or to some judgment here and now.
 
b) MANY TEMPORAL JUDGMENTS ARE WORSE THAN DEATH
 
Verse 29 speaks of a punishment worse than the death penalty which was given under the Law of Moses (v 28). There are many temporal judgments worse than immediate death. Lingering emotional, spiritual, and physical pain (which may well culminate in premature death) can be much worse than immediate death.
 
The point of comparison is with temporal, not eternal, judgment. Even believers were subject to the death penalty under the Law of Moses. For example, but for God's grace, David would have been stoned for committing adultery with Bathsheeba and for having her husband killed (2 Sam 12:13). If the thing used for comparison is temporal in nature, we would expect that the punishment to which it is compared would be as well.'''
 
c) THE PASSAGE EXHORTS THE BELIEVER WHO HAS TRUSTED IN THE ONCE FOR ALL TIME SACRIFICE FOR SINS OF CHRIST TO NOT WILLFULLY KEEP ON SINNING BY OFFERING UP HIS OWN SACRIFICES FOR SINS - A SERIOUS DOCTRINAL ERROR: OTHERWISE THERE WILL BE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES
 
[Dr. Wilkin, Ibid.]:
 
'''This passage does not deal with moral failure. Rather it deals with doctrinal defection and its terrible temporal consequences. Those who apostasize, who willfully turn their back on Christ and deny the atoning power of His blood, will experience punishment worse than death.
 
Doctrinal defection is something which terrifies me. I take great care to guard against it. May we all remember the words of the author of the Book of Hebrews concerning apostasy:
 
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." ''' [Heb 10:31]
 
IV) [Heb 10:28-29]:
 
(v. 28) Anyone who [was a Jew who] rejected the Law of Moses died [physically, i.e., was executed by stoning] without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. [Dt 17:2-6]
 
A) TEMPORAL JUDGMENT NOT ETERNAL CONDEMNATION IS IN VIEW
 
[Notice that temporal judgment not eternal condemnation is in view here and this theme continues into the next verse
 
As Dr. Wilkin stated earlier, "If the thing used for comparison is temporal in nature, we would expect that the punishment to which it is compared would be as well"]:
 
(v. 29) How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?"
 
[Joseph Dillow, ThD, The Reign of the Servant Kings, Schoettle Publishing, Hayesville, NC, 1992, pp. 216-7]:
 
"Sanctification in Hebrews looks at the imputation of the justifying righteousness of Christ from the vantage point of being qualified to enter the presence of God to worship and seek help in time of need (Heb 10:10, 14, 19). It is possible for men who have been the recipients of this sanctification to trample under foot the Son of God and insult the Spirit of grace.
 
Does the writer of this epistle doubt their salvation? No! What he worries about is their loss of reward."
 
1) [Compare Heb 10:35]:
 
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."
 
[Dillow, cont.]:
 
"That he does not consider them mere professors in Christ is proven by the six things he says are true of them...
 
First, they have 'received the light', (Heb 10:32). To be 'enlightened' (photizomai) means to be born again and to have truly and inwardly experienced the heavenly gift and the personal ministry of the Holy Spirit.
 
Second, they 'stood [their] ground in a great contest in the face of suffering' (10:32). These people had not only responded to the gospel, they had suffered for it and persevered in their suffering for Christ's sake.
 
Third, they 'were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; and at other times stood side by side with those who were so treated' (10:33). The public nature of their confession of Christ resulted in public ridicule and persecution. But far from backing away, they pressed on and joined with others who were similarly treated.
 
Fourth, they sympathized with those in prison (10:34). Risking danger to their own lives, they visited persecuted brothers and sisters in prison, thereby publicly identifying themselves to hostile authorities as Christian sympathizers.
 
Fifth, they 'joyfully accepted the confiscation of [their] property' (10:34). Furthermore, they accepted this confiscation for the right motives, 'because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.' They were focused on the eternal inheritance which the faithful will acquire.
 
Finally, he specifically says [in Heb 10:29] they have been 'sanctified':
 
(v. 29) "How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified Him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?"...
 
In addition, one does not consider them mere professing Christians about the loss of reward but about their eternal destiny in hell. One does not tell non-Christians to persevere in the faith so that they will receive a reward. Instead, he tells them to believe the gospel."
 
[Zane Hodges states (op. cit., pp. 805-806)]:
 
"Under the Old Covenant if an Israelite spurned the Mosaic Law and at least 'two or three witnesses' verified his actions, he was put to death. This being true, the author then argued from the lesser to the greater. If defiance of an inferior covenant could bring such retribution, what about defiance of the New Covenant which, as he had made clear, is far superior? The answer can only be that the punishment would be substantially greater in such a case.
 
In order to show that this is so, the writer then placed defection from the faith in the harshest possible light. An apostate from the New Covenant 'has trampled the Son of God underfoot' and 'has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him.' ... To treat 'the blood of the covenant (which actually sanctifies believers) as though it were an 'unholy' (koinon, 'common') thing and to renounce its efficacy, is to commit a sin so heinous as to dwarf the fatal infractions of the Old Covenant. To this, an apostate adds the offense of insulting 'the Spirit of grace' Who originally wooed him to faith in Christ. This kind of spiritual rebellion clearly calls for a much worse punishment than the capital penalty that was inflicted under the Mosaic setup.
 
But again the writer was not thinking of hell. Many forms of divine retribution can fall on a human life which are worse than immediate death. In fact, Jeremiah made just such a complaint about the punishment inflicted on Jersusalem....
 
2) [Lam 4:6, 9, 11]:
 
(v. 6) "The punishment of my people [temporal, not eternal is in view] is greater than that of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment without a hand turned to help her.
 
(v. 9) Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field.
 
(v. 10) With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children, who became their food when my people were destroyed.
 
(v. 11) The LORD has given full vent to His wrath;
 
He has poured out His fierce anger.
 
He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations."
 
...One might think also of King Saul, whose last days were burdened with such mental and emotional turmoil that death itself was a kind of release. [1 Sam 28:15-25]"
 
V) [Heb 10:30-31]:
 
(v. 30) "For we know Him Who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' and again, 'The Lord will judge His people.'
 
(v. 31) It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
 
Zane Hodges states, (op. cit., p. 806):
 
"No one should regard such a warning as an idle threat. God Himself has claimed the right to take vengeance and to 'judge His people.' In saying this, the author quoted twice from Deuteronomy (32:35-36), a chapter which most vividly evokes the picture of God's people suffering His [temporal] retributive judgments (cf. esp. Deut. 32:19-27. Those familiar with this text, as well as other descriptions of God's wrath against 'His People,' agree: 'it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.' "
 
VI) [Heb 10:32-34]:
 
(v. 32) "Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
 
(v. 33) Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
 
(v. 34) You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
 
[These next three verses refer to suffering and persecution that the early church received because of their faith in Christ and not to persecutions and difficulties which the nation Israel received hundreds of years earlier. Scripture and history do not support that Old Testament Israel underwent the specific type of experiences that verses 32-34 describe. Most early Christians were Jews and received suffering and persecution from both the Jewish and the Pagan world]:
 
(v. 32) Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, [the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ], when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
 
(v. 33) Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
 
(v. 34) You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possesssions.
 
These verses describe the very type of persecution Christians, especially Jewish Christians received, usually at the hand of unbelieving Jews. This does not describe the typical kind of hardship of a Jew of the nation Israel: "after you received the light" = refers to the light of the gospel of salvation. There was no event of persecution or suffering of the Jew directly as a result of receiving and believing truth from God's Word.
 
"publicly exposed to insult and persecution" = this was most typical of Christians
"stood side by side with those who were so treated." = speaks of the days when Christians stood side by side with one another through the most horrible of suffering and persecutions.
 
VII) [Heb 10:34]:
 
(v. 34) "You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possesssions."
 
"You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted confiscation of your property" = This describes what happened to Christians not to the nation Israel. Notice: "JOYFULLY accepted confiscation of your property". The nation Israel was under God's judgment for unfaithfulness and did not receive confiscation of their property, captivity or persecution with joy.
 
"You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted confiscation of your property because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions." = Refers to the joy of knowing that one has eternal life and will receive eternal rewards in heaven for their sufferings and persecutions. Christians all knew that they had eternal life and were to receive rewards for faithful service, (v. 35). Jews of Old Testament times did not all have or even knew, for the most part, that they were destined for the kingdom of heaven with the option of receiving rewards for faithful service.
 
So this passage in Hebrews is referring to the faith of Christianity for which one suffered persecution not Judaism. The Roman empire did not usually operate that way toward Jews. Except in times of uprisings and conquest did the Jew receive persecution from the Romans. Therefore these verses further affirm that the writer of 'Hebrews' is addressing professing Hebrew Christians for the most part with a few passages aimed at false professors of true faith in Christ.
 
VIII) [Heb 10:35-36]:
 
(v. 35) So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
 
[Zane Hodges states, op. cit. p. 806]:
 
"This was no time for them then, to throw away their confidence (parresia, cf. 3:6;; 4:16; 10:19). As the author's exposition of the eternal inheritance - the glory of the many sons - had sought to show, that confidence, if retained, will be richly rewarded."
 
(v. 36) You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
 
["persevere" = refers to walking by faith under trials, suffering and persecution so that one will "receive what he has promised" - not eternal life, for that is by a one time expression of faith alone in Christ alone and not by perseverance, (Jn 3:16, Eph 2:8-9; 1 Jn 5:9-13); but for eternal rewards in heaven, (2 Tim 4:7-8; Rev 2:26-27; Rev 4-6; Lk 19:12-27)]
 
[Zane Hodges, cont.]:
 
"What the readers needed, therefore, was just what the writer had often said and implied: to persevere (lit., 'you had need of perseverance,' hypomones echete chreian) so that by thus doing God's will (cf. v. 9) they would receive what God had promised. As much as anything these words express the central exhortation of the Book of Hebrews."]
 
IX) [Heb 10:37-39]:
 
(v. 37) "For in just a very little while, He Who is coming will come and will not delay."
 
[Zane Hodges, op. cit., p. 806]:
 
"If their concern [due to the persecution, (v. 33)] was about the delay of the Second Advent, they should rest assured that in just a very little while, He Who is coming will come and will not delay. These words and those that follow were adapted by the author from the Septuagint of Isaiah 26:21 and Habakkuk 2:3-4. But they were used freely and were not intended as a precise quotation, since no words such as 'He says' introduced them ...]
 
(v. 38) But My righteous one will live by faith.
 
And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.
 
["But My righteous one will live by faith" = refers to a believer = one who has been declared righteous unto eternal life, having placed his faith alone in God's plan of salvation: thru His Son Jesus Christ alone, (Ro 3:21-24; 4:1-5), an individual is then declared righteous by God - the only way one can get to be righteous. So Heb 10:38 states: [the one who is declared] righteous... will live [eternally] by faith
 
"And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with Him" = the righteous one who will live eternally by faith has the possibility in this temporal life of shrinking back from 'the will of God', (v. 36) in the face of persecution, (v. 33) at which time the Lord indicates His displeasure, (notice that loss of salvation is not in view).
 
But, if he shrinks back, that is, if the 'rightous one' commits apostasy, denouncing his Christian profession, God's favor cannot rest on his life. By understating the serious consequences, the writer softened his words so that he would not distract from his predominant note of encouragement."]
 
(v. 39) But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."
 
[Zane Hodges, Ibid]:
 
"Here the original text has an emphatic 'we,' which the writer might have intended as an 'editorial we,' of which he was quite fond (cf. 2:5; 5:11; 8:1; etc.). Then he would mean: 'As far as I am concerned, I am determined not to shrink back and experience the ruin which divine retribution would bring.' The words 'are destroyed' reflect the Greek apoleia, which can refer either to temporal or eternal ruin. In this context the former is correct. Instead of the ruin which an apostate invites, the writer intended to be among those who believe and are saved. The NIV rendering should not be misread as a reference to conversion [to eternal life]. Though the author's own normal word for salvation does not occur here, the expression 'and are saved' somewhat freely translates eis peripoiesin psyches. A viable rendering of the last half of verse 39 would be: 'but [we are] of faith leading to the preservation of the soul'... But 'soul' here should be understood in the Hebraic sense of the person himself, or his life, and refers in this context to the way in which persistence in the faith preserves an individual from the calamities that overtake those who 'shrink back.' Even if the writer was speaking primarily of his own purpose of heart, he clearly intended that to be shared by his readers. Thus the concluding statement of his warning passage (10:19-39) amounts to a call for determination and perseverance."

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM HEBREWS CHAPTER 10 ****** 

[FB]

Thus, the basic problem in the views of Wilkin, Hodges, Dillow, and Faust is that they compensate for a deficient view of saving faith by teaching severe punishment for the “believer” at the Judgment Seat of Christ and beyond.
There are many fundamental Bible teachers who believe the Judgment Seat will be a time of both rewards and some kind of punishment but not millennial exclusion. My understanding of this event is different. I believe the Judgment Seat of Christ is like an athletic awards ceremony in which gold medals are given.

[BSM]

What you understand / believe is irrelevant without providing evidence via a proper interpretation of the passages which have in view the Judgment Seat of Christ.

 

[BSM = biblestudymanuals.net]

[Bob Wilkin, 'Bad at the Bema?: The Nature of Our Evaluation at the Judgment Seat of Christ.', Audio Tape #SFW1, 2001 Grace Evangelical Society with commentary by BSM = biblestudymanuals.net which refutes the points just made]:
 
INTRODUCTION


God makes some pretty amazing promises in the bible. For example, we're told 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more', (Hebrews 10:17). And again, in Colossians chapter 2, we're told that He has forgiven us all, ALL trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirement that was against us, and He's nailed it to the cross. So we have forgiveness, we have total forgiveness of sins. And it's certainly one of the most blessed doctrines in the entire bible. And I think one of the reasons that's so... isn't it true that the more we grow in our Christian experience, the more we realize how far we still have to go? In fact the more we grow, don't we realize, more and more how sinful we are? And we gain an appreciation for the holiness of God the more we grow in Christ. It's wonderful to realize that He remembers our sins no more, and He separates our sins as far as the East from the West. It's wonderful to realize that we are perfected in God's sight, (Hebrews chapter 10).

But, BUT many Christians, unfortunately draw a conclusion from this which I feel is very much unwarranted. They draw the conclusion since all our sins have been forgiven, that means our sins cannot possibly be considered at the judgment of Christians known as the Judgment Seat of Christ. Or in Greek the word [for] Judgment Seat is Bema. I'm here to suggest, even though this isn't a popular topic that the bad deeds of believers will be considered at the Bema Seat of Christ. We might all prefer that that wouldn't be the case, but if it is true, don't we want to know it now? If it is true, we ought to know it now so that we won't end up ashamed of ourselves at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
 

Now I have three major points today. The first two will not prove the case. The first two will merely show that forgiveness does not exclude accountability. The third point is where I try to show directly from Scripture that we have the accountability of all of our deeds good or bad.


FORGIVENESS DOES NOT EXCLUDE ACCOUNTABILITY

So first of all, forgiveness doesn't exclude accountability.... According to 1 John 1:9, 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' Well, wait a minute, didn't Hebrews 10 say that He's forgotten ALL of our sins? Well, that's true in a positional sense [i.e., we are viewed as forgiven unto eternal life & viewed as already in heaven, (Eph 2:6)], but in terms of our fellowship with God and our experience, we must confess our sins in order to have fellowship forgiveness. So... our positional forgiveness does not exclude the need for fellowship forgiveness. Also under this point that forgiveness doesn't exclude accountability is [that eternally] forgiven people experience God's judgment here and now. I mean we could go to many verses, but how about 1 Cor 11:30? Paul's talking about the Lord's Supper and he says because some of them were getting drunk at the Lord's Supper and excluding others from having anything to eat, and they had a very flippant attitude toward the Lord's Supper - 'For this reason many are weak and sick among you and many sleep.' And the word for sleep is the Greek verb 'koimao' which is used of the death of believers in the New Testament. It's a figurative reference, obviously he doesn't mean they are taking a siesta. These people have died as a result of abusing the Lord's Supper. Clearly there's accountability even though there is positional [i.e., eternal] forgiveness.

 

So this doesn't prove the point [that our sins are judged at the Bema], but all it shows is the fact that... [having] total forgiveness does not mean I can sin with impunity now. There are consequences now. The Holy Spirit points out my sins now. I'm to confess my sins now.

 
CONFESSION OF SINS DOESN'T EXCLUDE ACCOUNTABILITY NOW


Confession of sins doesn't exclude accountability now. David was a man after God's own heart and yet he committed adultery and murder. And prior to his confession of the sins, he did not receive [fellowship] forgiveness from God. You'll remember in 2 Samuel chapter 12 that Nathan confronts him and says 'you're the man.' And he [David] acknowledges his sin, he receives forgiveness from God, but guess what? If you've ever studied 2 Samuel - the second half of 2 Samuel is a series of disasters for King David. He loses his son, he has a son that's trying to take the kingdom away from him, then he loses Absolom, and on and on and on. Did he have forgiveness? Yes. Did that eliminate accountability. No. And we can find many other examples. Let's say you're a believer and you go out and you rob a bank. And as you're leaving the bank, you sincerely confess your sin. 'Lord, I am sorry I stole this money. In fact, I'm going to take it back in there and give it back to them.' So you take it back in and they arrest you. And they take you to the police station. Well, is there elimination of accountability? No. If you commit armed robbery, even if you take the money back, even if you confess your sins; you're going to probably end up in Huntsville [prison inTexas]. And so what we need to realize is that confession of sins doesn't exclude accountability in this life.


THERE IS NO PROMISE THAT CONFESSED SINS WILL NEVER BE CONSIDERED AT THE BEMA


Secondly, there's no promise... that confessed sins will never be considered at the Bema. There is no promise [in Scripture] that if I confess my sins then they're going to be hidden at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Now it's hard to prove a negative. I can't really prove this point to you, but I think I can give you some evidence to this..


We know Scripture doesn't contradict itself and... I've looked at all the texts that are... brought forward [i.e., are purported] to say if we confess our sins they won't come up at the Judgment Seat of Christ. I can't find a one [that actually does say this]...


[BSM]

On the other hand, at the judgment seat of Christ it does indicate that the works of a believer are reviewed and those portions that are deemed "gold, silver, precious stones," will be rewardable. And those portions that are deemed "hay, wood, straw" will not be rewardable. There will be no second punishment for sins that were committed in the temporal life in view; especially since the individuals will be in their perfect resurrection bodies. It would be ludicrous if believers will receive a second punishment for the same sins they committed in their temporal lives.


[Wilkin, cont.]
But it's my conviction that there is not a single verse anywhere in the Old or New Testament that says that if we confess our sins they will not be considered at the Judgment Seat of Christ. If there is no such promise, that ought to give us pause, shouldn't it?


[BSM]

The believer's sins will be considered at the Judgment Seat of Christ which purpose is to give out rewards for faithful service to God during their temporal lives. The believer's actions that are sinful will be considered, not for a second punishment, but for disqualifying a believer for receiving rewards during those times when he was not faithful because he was committing those sins or for those times when he was not being faithful in some manner. Consider the action of a believer as he was being faithful and unfaithful here and there: those moments in that action that were faithful will be rewardable, and those moments in that action that were unfaithful will not be rewardable.


[Wilkin, cont.]

 
While these first two points don't prove the case, they simply show that forgiveness of sins does not exclude accountability.


[BSM]

But only to determine what part of each action is rewardable behavior and what part of that  action is not rewardable. Some things that one does might be acceptable for reward, while other things within that action might not be acceptable, BUT NOT FOR A SECOND PUNISHMENT
 

[Wilkin, cont.]

THE SEVEN CATEGORIES OF SCRIPTURAL ARGUMENTS THAT PROVE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SINS AT THE BEMA SEAT

PREVIEW OF THE SEVEN CATEGORIES

Now I want to bring some direct Scriptural arguments [to you], and I have... seven...


First of all, the bible says that everything which is done is going to be revealed. All the hidden things are going to be revealed.

[BSM]

But there are different reasons for this revelation. At the Judgment Seat of Christ the reason is to determine what actions are rewardable and which are not. There is no second punishment in view here.

So this does NOT prove accountability for sins at the Bema Seat except that sins may rule out the reception of eternal rewards for particular circumstances in accordance with the sovereignty of God.


[Wilkin, cont.]


 
Secondly, the bible says that there will be negative emotions and consequences at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

 

[BSM]

Due to sinful behavior disqualifying one from not receiving certain rewards, but those are the only consequences. Punishment or chastisement are not in view in the Judgment Seat of Christ.


[Wilkin, cont.]

Third, there are warnings not to sin in light of the coming Judgment Seat of Christ.


[BSM]

Again: lest you be disqualified to receive a number of rewards, not to be punished a second time at that Judgment if you are a believer who is then in his resurrection body.


[Wilkin, cont.]


Fourth, we have in Scripture, many examples of the sins of believers which are recorded forever in the Scriptures.


[BSM]

Whether or not our sins are recorded forever in the Scriptures - even into eternity future????? - nevertheless the context of the Judgment Seat of Christ is relative to qualifying to receive eternal rewards or not. There indeed may be shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ and that indeed may be difficult even shame, but all tears / shame / etc. will be wiped away when the Millennial Rule is over and eternity begins.


[Wilkin, cont.]

Fifth, the word Bema or Judgment Seat, does not mean an academy awards banquet where we are giving out a lot of trophies. It means Judgment Seat - that's why it's translated 'Judgment Seat'.


[BSM]

Check the dictionay and the context of the passage. Judgment here means to judge WHO GETS A REWARD AND WHO DOES NOT!!!!!! How about the judgment in Hollywood every year relative to who gets an academy reward and who does not!!!!!!!! If someone feels bad because they did not get an academy award, well that's not going to be a personal condemnation, just a personal regret. It all depends upon context.


[Wilkin, cont.]


Sixth, according to 2 Corinthians 5:10 we're going to be recompensed for the deeds done in the body whether or good or bad. And the Greek word for bad there... means bad [even evil].


[BSM]

"For we must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed (may receive, YLT and many other translations);

The Greek word is "komisetai" meaning "may receive" and translated "recompensed" in the NASB which means get paid. It does not mean you get condemned / punished if in your resurrection body your previous behavior all told or in part here and there fell short of the Righteousness of God and did not qualify for being rewarded - and you suffered loss because your behavior did not match up - a second loss in your resurrection body after you suffered discipline from God for the same thing in your temporal life: that's payment for sins committed twice!!!! Is God going to do that???? If there is no cause for being recompensed, then YOU DON'T GET PAID and you very well might suffer the loss. If you did nothing of value, then you don't get paid - you don't get rewarded. And you may thereby suffer loss because you did not get paid because you did not deserve to get paid. Your deeds did not match up with the Righteousness of God via the grace of God.



 [Wilkin, cont.]
Seven, in Galatians 6:7, Paul says, 'Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he also will reap.' If that doesn't mean that there are consequences for our bad deeds in this life, then there is some problem with the sowing and reaping principle....


[BSM]

If a farmer does not plant seed the consequences are that he won't have a crop to harvest. It was a bad thing for him not to plant seed, and the consequence was that he did not receive a crop to harvest. And the believer who has certain times of no faithfulness than he gets disciplined / punished in this life without receiving any temporal blessing. And he is not rewarded in the next for something he did that was not faithful. That's fair. But there is no second punishment while the believer is in his perfect resurrection body at the Judgment Seat of Christ.




[Wilkin, cont.]

ALL THINGS WILL BE REVEALED

In First Corinthians 4, the first 5 verses, Paul talks about the coming Judgment. And at the end of it he says, 'Therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the heart. Then each ones praise will come from God.'

Now notice he's going to bring to light the hidden things of darkness. [This] doesn't sound like good deeds to me. And He's going to reveal the counsels of the heart. So there is going to be a comprehensive judgment. Also in Luke chapter 8 verses 16, 17 & 18, the Lord says, 'No one when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light.'

 
[Notice this]:

 
(v. 17) 'For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.

 
(v. 18) Therefore take heed how you hear for he whoever has to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.'

 
Notice how absolute the statements are here. He says, 'Nothing is secret that will not be revealed' - NOTHING. Nor is there anything that will not be made known and come to light. As far as I can tell there is no wriggle room here. We can't say, 'Well, I'm a believer, all my sins are forgiven, therefore, anything I do in this life that is a bad deed - it's going to get a free pass. No, everything is going to be considered.


[BSM]

Of course all things about our lives will indeed be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ in heaven while we believers are in our Resurrection Bodies. But there is only in view rewards or no rewards, NOT some kind of additional punishment for all the bad things we did while in our temporal bodies. That judgment has already been made and received!!!! That is no where in the context of any passage on the Judgment of believers in heaven that the purpose of the Judgment Seat of Christ is additional punishment. Our lives will be revealed in that Judgment and those things that are hay, wood, straw will be burned up, lacking any value for the purpose of earning rewards. And there are those things that are gold, silver, precious stones that the fire will refine and we will earn rewards for those things. Often there will be things that we do which are in parts of good value for which parts we will be rewarded; and in the other parts of no good value and for which we will not be rewarded. But there will be no further punishment for those bad things we did while in our temporal bodies.

 



[Wilkin, cont.]

Now all seven of these points stand on their own. In other words, if [one] point is true, I don't need any more evidence, right? If it's true that he [Paul] says that nothing is hidden that won't be revealed [then] end of story.

 
But let's say somehow I've misunderstood these passages and many others like it. There are six more lines of argument that are also equally strong....

[BSM]

No problem. The context is rewards or no rewards based on an evaluation of ones behavior to see if there were moments of deserved behavior, not punishment for undeserved behavior such as bad deeds


[Wilkin, cont.]


NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES AT THE BEMA

 
The second one is negative consequences at the Bema or the Judgment Seat. Now, if all the consequences at the Judgment Seat were positive, then we could establish the idea that our bad deeds won't be considered.


[BSM]

Rewards will be awarded for gold, silver, precious stones type behaviors whatever that specifically means with the implication of that which is for faithful behavior - albeit no believer's contribution will be perfect, i.e., without sin, (1 Jn 1, 9). Those parts of the believer's contribution which are disqualified, characterized by God as unacceptable behavior, i.e., hay, wood, straw as described in 1 Cor 3:11-15 will not qualify to receive rewards. These latter behaviors might be described as bad deeds, albeit there is no punishment stipulated for such bad behaviors at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ other than that such behavior is not going to be rewarded with eternal rewards. It would seem that bad behaviors might be dealt with during the believer's temporal life and not then have punishment meted out to the believer while he was in his perfect resurrection body a second time.


[Wilkin, cont.]

But if there are any negative consequences, it's my view that our bad deeds must be considered. Because you cannot have negative consequences resulting from good deeds. You may say, 'Well, wait a minute, maybe they're just sins of omission.' Fine. Aren't those bad deeds? If we have something which we are able to do and we're not doing [it]. [If] we say, 'Be filled and be warm,' but we don't give the person what's good for the body, is that not sin? And so, if there are negative consequences at the Bema then there are going to be our bad deeds considered at the Bema.

[BSM]

Negative consequences meaning not receiving rewards for bad deeds, or for deeds that are not faithful will be not receiving rewards. Negative consequences will evidently already have been meted out in the temporal lives of believers. No need to mete out further punishment for believers in resurrection bodies - as if they would be punished a second time for the same thing.


[Wilkin, etc.]
Let me mention three negative consequences at the Bema. The first one is shame at the Bema. There will be shame at the Bema. In First John 2:28 the Apostle John tells us, 'And now little children abide in Him so that when He appears we may have confidence, (or boldness), and not shrink back in shame at His coming.'

 
Two options: confidence, shame. Not all believers are going to have boldness at the Bema. Some are going to have shame. Keep in mind he's writing to little children, believers. Based on First John 2:12-14 there's no possibility that the readers are unregenerate people.


[BSM]

Indeed there will most likely be shame at the Bema when the believer's unfaithful works are shown - even moments during which he did faithful / rewardable things and then rewards would not be forthcoming for those unfaithul moments, reducing the quality of the reward. But those parts of the believers' works which are faithful will be rewardable, albeit perhaps because of the accompanying unfaithful deeds the rewards will not be so great as expected.


[Wilkin, cont.]
Secondly, there will be disapproval at the Bema..... From 2 Timothy 2:15 'Approved workmen are not ashamed.' The word approved is the word, 'dokimos'. The word disapproved is the same word with an 'a' on the front which reverses it, 'adokimos'.... For example, in 1 Cor 9:27, the Apostle Paul says, 'But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become 'adokimos', dissapproved'. Well, if there is disapproval among believers, well that's a negative consequence. And in fact, we know from Luke chapter 19 with the parable of the minas, that while the first servant hears, 'well done', and the second servant hears, 'you also rule over five cities,' the third servant is rebuked and called a wicked, worthless servant. There will be rebuke and disapproval at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Third, and I have already touched on this. There will be rebuke. And the rebuke would be for example, the third servant in the parable of the minas in Luke chapter 19. In fact, in verses 22 & 23, the Lord says, '''Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'''



And then the Lord takes the mina from him, gives it to the one who has 10. And there's rebuke here. There's loss of rewards. This person is not going to be ruling with the Lord Jesus Christ in contrast to the other servant. Now I must admit that some people take a look at the parable of the minas and say that the third servant represents an unbeliever; because they say, 'Look his mina is taken away from him, and he's not ruling.' Well, the problem with this view, and there are many, is the first two people are at the Judgment Seat of Christ and what's an unbeliever doing at the Judgment Seat of Christ? Secondly, these are all called servants of God. They're all entrusted with the stewardship. Unbelievers are not given spiritual gifts. They're not entrusted with any sort of stewardship. And third when you look at Luke 19, it begins with talking about enemies of the Lord Jesus who don't want Him to rule over them. Clearly, a reference to the Jewish people - like Jn 1:11: 'He came to His own, and His own received Him not.'

 
And then it says, He brought ten of His servants, obviously not in that group [that rejected Him]. And He gave them all a sum of money. And one of those ten wastes it - buries it - doesn't bring any return. Well, in Luke 19:27 when the parable is over, the Lord says, 'but bring here these enemies of Mine who don't wish Me to rule over them and slay them here in My presence.' Clearly, the third servant is distinguished from the ones who are slain who do not get into the Kingdom of God. So.... the third servant is a believer in Jesus Christ. He is a servant of God, but he is one who has not used his abilities as he should and he receives rebuke from the Lord Jesus Christ. So the idea that there will be shame, the idea of disapproval, the idea of rebuke all suggest negative consequences at the Bema which can only come if our bad deeds are indeed part of the consideration.

[BSM]

There may indeed be disapproval among believers, but what would be the purpose - which is not stipulated in Scripture - to have such disapproval be expressed by believers in their resurrection bodies at the Judgment Seat of Christ toward one another when others' failings are revealed to everyone - including their own - not a good way to begin eternity. Certainly all believers will fall short of the Righteousness of Christ in everything they do - everything that is revealed at that Judgment - even those things which are rewardable. But keep in mind that that Judgment's purpose is to mete out rewards, not punishment; albeit there will be revealed our many shortcomings and perhaps to our shame. Yet there will be in our resurrection bodies a sober realization of those shortcomings many of which will have been refined unto perfection by the grace of God. So I don't see that the context of the Judgment Seat of Christ will include rebuke for past sins in our mortal lives and then a reward for faithful service.



[Wilkin, cont.]

WARNINGS NOT TO SIN BECAUSE THE BEMA IS COMING

 
Now there's a third evidence... and it's also independent. That is that there are warnings not to sin because the Bema is coming. You're all aware of Romans 14:10-12. That's where we're told by Paul, 'But why do you judge your brother, or why do you show contempt for your brother for we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ?' That's the majority of manuscripts. Other manuscripts read, 'the Judgment Seat of God.' In either case, we are clearly talking about the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. Now, the interesting point is, that he is saying, 'Don't show contempt for your brother because we're going to appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ.' James picks up the same theme in James chapter 5... They've been grumbling and he says in James 5:9, 'Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be judged.' Well, now all believers are going to be judged... in fact, some translations say condemn ['lest you be condemned']. The translation should be something like, 'Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be found at fault. Behold the Judge is standing at the door.'

 
Now I know we think of Jesus as our Savior, and He is; and we think of Him as our Lord, and He is; but do we think of Him as our Judge? According to James 5:9, He's the Judge and He's standing at the door. That is, the door of history, and He's about to open it. The Rapture's going to occur at any moment. And when it does, we're going to be held accountable for grumbling against other brothers and sisters in Christ. So I would suggest that these warnings not to sin in light of the Bema suggests that bad deeds will be considered at the Judgment Seat of Christ.


[BSM]
Rewards will be awarded for gold, silver, precious stones type behaviors whatever that specifically means with the implication of that which is for faithful behavior - albeit no believer's contribution will be perfect, i.e., without sin, (1 Jn 1, 9). Those parts of the believer's contribution which are disqualified, characterized by God as unacceptable behavior, i.e., hay, wood, straw as described in 1 Cor 3:11-15 will not qualify to receive rewards. These latter behaviors might be described as bad deeds, albeit there is no punishment stipulated for such bad behaviors at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ other than that such behavior is not going to be rewarded with eternal rewards. It would seem that bad behaviors might be dealt with during the believer's temporal life and not then have punishment meted out to the believer while he was in his perfect resurrection body a second time.



 

[Wilkin, cont.]

BAD DEEDS RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE ARE A PERMANENT RECORD WHICH WILL CERTAINLY BE PART OF THE JUDGMENT OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO COMMITTED THOSE BAD DEEDS

 
Fourth, is the idea that believers' bad deeds are recorded in Scripture.... Think for example in Acts 5 of Ananias and Saphira. They concoct a plan to sell some land, bring part of the money before the elders, and then to say they've given the whole sum of money. So Ananias lies and.... consequences fall.. he dies. Then Saphira comes in and repeats the same lie and she dies. It seems to me that it's inconceivable that at their judgment that will not be part of their consideration of what happens for them. Or think about David with his sin with Bathsheba and with killing her husband Uriah. Certainly, it seems to me, since those things are recorded in Scripture, that part of the permanent record of something that we will be studying forever, that it's going to be part of David's Judgment. Or Nadab and Abihu offering up strange fire in Leviticus chapter 10 and they become toast. Seems to me that's going to be a significant part of their judgment. After all it terminated their lives prematurely at the beginning of the Mosaic Covenant just like Ananias and Saphire had their lives terminated at the beginning of the Church Age - both as an example to the flock.

[BSM]
Rewards will be awarded for gold, silver, precious stones type behaviors whatever that specifically means with the implication of that which is for faithful behavior - albeit no believer's contribution will be perfect, i.e., without sin, (1 Jn 1, 9). Those parts of the believer's contribution which are disqualified, characterized by God as unacceptable behavior, i.e., hay, wood, straw as described in 1 Cor 3:11-15 will not qualify to receive rewards. These latter behaviors might be described as bad deeds, albeit there is no punishment stipulated for such bad behaviors at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ other than that such behavior is not going to be rewarded with eternal rewards. It would seem that bad behaviors might be dealt with during the believer's temporal life and not then have punishment meted out to the believer while he was in his perfect resurrection body a second time.



[Wilkin, cont.]

THE WORD 'BEMA' REFERS TO JUDGMENT SEAT = A JUDGMENT NOT LIMITED TO AWARDS

 
The word 'Bema' refers to Judgment Seat. I know that a lot of Christians have the idea that Bema means something like the Academy Awards Presentation and we're all up for best supporting actor... and we've all got a chance. There are number of references to the Bema... The term Bema means Judgment Seat.

 
What about Jesus appearing before Pilate's Bema? Well, Pilate wasn't giving Him any awards. Pilate kept trying to avoid condemning Him to death. But ultimately, Pilate caved in under pressure. didn't he? And at his Bema He condemned the Lord Jesus Christ to death. Paul appeared before the judgment seat of a man named Gallio in Acts chapter 18 because the Jewish people were saying he was preaching contrary to Judaism. And Gallio's answer was, 'No, seems to me, this is an internal dispute you're having. That this Jesus is a Jew and this religion is an offshoot of Judaism, or it's a natural progression from Judaism.' But when Paul appeared before his Bema or his judgment seat, it was not to get an award. It was to be judged. Remember later, Paul appeared before Caesar and he said he wanted to go to Caesar's Bema or Caesar's Judgment Seat. So there's no room in Scripture as I see it for the argument that a judgment seat means merely giving out of awards. Based on the other uses in Scripture, it includes a judgment which can have negative consequences.


[BSM]
Rewards will be awarded for gold, silver, precious stones type behaviors whatever that specifically means with the implication of that which is for faithful behavior - albeit no believer's contribution will be perfect, i.e., without sin, (1 Jn 1, 9). Those parts of the believer's contribution which are disqualified, characterized by God as unacceptable behavior, i.e., hay, wood, straw as described in 1 Cor 3:11-15 will not qualify to receive rewards. These latter behaviors might be described as bad deeds, albeit there is no punishment stipulated for such bad behaviors at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ other than that such behavior is not going to be rewarded with eternal rewards. It would seem that bad behaviors might be dealt with during the believer's temporal life and not then have punishment meted out to the believer while he was in his perfect resurrection body a second time.


[Wilkin, cont.]
BAD DEEDS AT THE BEMA ARE IN VIEW IN 2 COR 5:10

 
There's a sixth thing... mentioned earlier 2 Cor 5:10: That the bad deeds of believers will be recompensed at the Bema. Now I know this one's controversial. You've probably heard 2 Cor 5:10 taught differently... In 2 Cor 5:10, the Apostle Paul says, 'We must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (That's the Bema of Christ) 'that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done whether good or bad.' Now obviously if the word 'bad' here means 'bad'... let's assume for the moment that maybe it's not a good translation.... Maybe it really means something like 'good or worthless' or something, or 'good and not profitable' or something. But if it really does mean 'bad', then the story's over, right? Because the bad deeds of believers will be considered at the Bema. It says so right here in one of only two passages that specifically mentions the Judgment Seat of Christ. So the question is, does this word 'bad' mean 'bad' or something else? Well, there are many people that suggest that the Greek word here... is a word 'falon' or 'falos' in the nominative. And that 'falon' means something like worthless. It's maybe a good deed done with the wrong motives or something which was morally neutral but not a bad deed - just a worthless deed. Well, I have some problems with that. I have two major problems. The first problem is the Greek word here is probably not 'falos' but a word that clearly means bad, 'kakos' or in the accusative, 'kakon'. It's supported by the majority of manuscripts. That's why if you read the King James or the New King James you're going to see clearly 'whether good or bad.' And it's also supported by some of the critical manuscripts like and P46. However even if we assume that 'falon' is the correct reading here, it still should be translated bad... because every time that 'falos' is opposite the Greek word for good 'agathos'.... it is always translated either 'bad' or 'evil' in every major translation.... the opposite of good is going to be bad.... And so either way, all of our deeds, good or bad are going to be considered. And some believers, their judgment is going to be that their life has not been lived in a manner that warrants the Lord's approval, His praise.

[BSM]
Rewards will be awarded for gold, silver, precious stones type behaviors whatever that specifically means with the implication of that which is for faithful behavior - albeit no believer's contribution will be perfect, i.e., without sin, (1 Jn 1, 9). Those parts of the believer's contribution which are disqualified, characterized by God as unacceptable behavior, i.e., hay, wood, straw as described in 1 Cor 3:11-15 will not qualify to receive rewards. These latter behaviors might be described as bad deeds, albeit there is no punishment stipulated for such bad behaviors at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ other than that such behavior is not going to be rewarded with eternal rewards. It would seem that bad behaviors might be dealt with during the believer's temporal life and not then have punishment meted out to the believer while he was in his perfect resurrection body a second time.


[Wilkin, cont.]
WHATEVER YOU SOW YOU REAP EVEN AT THE JUDGMENT AND THAT INCLUDES GOOD AND BAD DEEDS


Finally, the seventh point... is whatever we sew we reap.... Gal 6:7 says 'Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he will also reap." .... If you sow bad deeds you get bad stuff. If you sow good deeds you get good stuff. That's true now and it's true at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Well, you may say, wait a minute, he's just talking about here and now. Well, how come in Galatians 6:9 it says, 'Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due time we shall reap if we do not lose heart.' And in fact when we compare it with Galatians 5:19-21 we know that there is going to be rulership for some and inheriting the kingdom for some and not for others. And that the one who sows to the Spirit is going to have a full experience of everlasting life.


[BSM]
Rewards will be awarded for gold, silver, precious stones type behaviors whatever that specifically means with the implication of that which is for faithful behavior - albeit no believer's contribution will be perfect, i.e., without sin, (1 Jn 1, 9). Those parts of the believer's contribution which are disqualified, characterized by God as unacceptable behavior, i.e., hay, wood, straw as described in 1 Cor 3:11-15 will not qualify to receive rewards. These latter behaviors might be described as bad deeds, albeit there is no punishment stipulated for such bad behaviors at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ other than that such behavior is not going to be rewarded with eternal rewards. It would seem that bad behaviors might be dealt with during the believer's temporal life and not then have punishment meted out to the believer while he was in his perfect resurrection body a second time.



[Wilkin, cont.]

CONCLUSION

I would suggest that all seven of these points strongly support and prove the fact that our judgment, the Bema Seat of Christ will be comprehensive. It's not going to be a judgment that leaves out all the bad deeds we do and just has the good stuff left. But its going to consider everything we've done - all the hidden things - all the things we think we've hidden from God. We did it in secret, nobody here on earth learned about it and we think, 'Oh good, I got away with that.' No you did not get away with it in this life, and you won't get away with it at the Judgment Seat of Christ.


[BSM]
Rewards will be awarded for gold, silver, precious stones type behaviors whatever that specifically means with the implication of that which is for faithful behavior - albeit no believer's contribution will be perfect, i.e., without sin, (1 Jn 1, 9). Those parts of the believer's contribution which are disqualified, characterized by God as unacceptable behavior, i.e., hay, wood, straw as described in 1 Cor 3:11-15 will not qualify to receive rewards. These latter behaviors might be described as bad deeds, albeit there is no punishment stipulated for such bad behaviors at the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ other than that such behavior is not going to be rewarded with eternal rewards. It would seem that bad behaviors might be dealt with during the believer's temporal life and not then have punishment meted out to the believer while he was in his perfect resurrection body a second time.


 
XV THE CROWNS WILL NOT BE FOR THE ETERNAL GLORY OF THE RECIPIENT, BUT FOR THE GLORY OF THE GIVER - GOD

[FB]

I agree with Pentecost when he says:
In Revelation 4:10, where the elders are seen to be casting their crowns before the throne in an act of worship and adoration, it is made clear that the crowns will not be for the eternal glory of the recipient, but for the glory of the Giver.

Since these crowns are not viewed as a permanent possession, the question of the nature of the rewards themselves arises. From the Scriptures it is learned that the believer was redeemed in order that he might bring glory to God (1 Cor. 6:20). This becomes his eternal destiny. The act of placing the material sign of a reward at the feet of the One who sits on the throne (Rev. 4:10) is one act in that glorification. But the believer will not then have completed his destiny to glorify God. This will continue throughout eternity. Inasmuch as reward is associated with brightness and shining in many passages of Scripture (Dan. 12:3; Matt. 13:43; 1 Cor. 15:40, 41, 49), it may be that the reward given to the believer is a capacity to manifest the glory of Christ throughout eternity. The greater the reward, the greater the bestowed capacity to bring glory to God. Thus in the exercise of the reward of the believer, it will be Christ and not the believer that is glorified by the reward. Capacities to radiate the glory will differ, but there will be no personal sense of lack in that each believer will be filled to the limit of his capacity to ‘show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light’ (1 Pet. 2:9).10



[BSM]

It does not matter who you agree or disagree with. What matters is what does God's Word actually says. Furthermore, you have not made your case because the crowns thrown before the throne in an act of worship and adoration for the glory of the Giver does not rule out that believers will not ALSO be rewarded wherein God will ALSO glorify the recipient of those crowns..


Compare an Interview with John Piper

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

What Does It Mean That God Will Glorify Me? And How? | Desiring God


Of course, we are called to glorify God in everything we think and say and do. But the Bible also says that God will glorify us, his children. So, what in the world does that mean? It’s a question that comes into us from a listener named Nicholas.

 

“Pastor John, I am very grateful for your love for the Lord and your ministry. In John 5:44, Jesus challenges the Pharisees in where they seek their glory: ‘How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?’ It seems that Jesus is indirectly telling us to seek glory from God. How do we balance this with desiring to glorify him? What is the difference (and the link) between me glorifying God and God glorifying me?”

 

The difference between glorifying God and seeking glory from God is the difference between our making God look like what he really is and God making us into what we are definitely not; namely, beautiful and glorious in his image. We are created to glorify God, that is, by treasuring him and valuing him above all else to show him to be infinitely valuable above all else in our lives and in the world. But we are also created to be glorious or to be glorified, since we are not yet glorious — glorified not in the sense of being shown to be supremely valuable like God, but in the sense of being conformed to the image of Christ.

 

“There is no conflict in pursuing the glory of Christ and pursuing being glorified by Christ.”

The key passage is Romans 8:29–30, “Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” And glorified refers back to that conforming “to the image of his Son.” God does not intend for his Son to have an ugly bride.

 

Jonathan Edwards makes a very big deal out of the point of the universe being the creation and preparation of a bride for his Son. Ephesians 5:27 says, “ . . . so that he might present the church to himself in splendor” — present the church. Christ died for the church “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

 

Now, the way this fits together with our glorifying Christ is, first, that we are his workmanship. We don’t make ourselves beautiful. We aren’t intrinsically beautiful. We are intrinsically abhorrent in our rebellion against God. He makes us beautiful and, therefore, our beauty reflects his primary power and grace and beauty as the Creator of our beauty.

 

The second way our glorification relates to the glory of Christ is that his glory is the template from which our glory is designed, shaped, and brought about. Therefore, if anyone looks upon us and thinks we are glorious, it will be because they have already looked at Christ, found him to be glorious, and then looked at us and said, “Oh, you are like that. And I love that.” So, there is no conflict in pursuing the glory of Christ and pursuing being glorified by Christ, which means that we shouldn’t be shocked to read Romans 2:6. And I think a lot of Christians are shocked to read it when Paul says,

 

He [God] will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:6–11).

 

There is a deep flaw in our thinking and our souls if we are not seeking this glory and honor. No one can love God and not want to be conformed to the image of God. But we will always want our glory to be derivative. We will always want our glory to be reflective, not original: reflective of the original. And we will always love the way the two are put together in 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12, “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him” — an amazing, beautiful bringing together — “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

So, when Jesus says — and this is the text that Nicholas asked about — when Jesus says in John 5:44, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” I think he means, if you find the praise of other people and the honor of other people and the greatness of other people more satisfying than the greatness of God and the praise of God and the honor that comes from God and the beautification that comes from God, you will be so man-centered that you will not be able to believe on Jesus."


[BSM, cont.]


XVI) ADDITIONAL REWARDS PASSAGES

Consider these passages which are evidently add'l to rewards.htm


Mt 5:11-12; 6:20; 19:21; 25:14ff; Lk 6:35; 1 Cor 3:8-14; Col 3:24; 1 Tim 6:17-19; 2 Cor 5:10: Rev 22:12; 2:23; Mk 10:29-30


XVII) EXCERPT FROM STUDY ON REWARDS FOR THE FAITHFUL BELIEVER

 ****** EXCERPT FROM STUDY ON REWARDS ******

I) REWARDS FOR THE BELIEVER ARE NOT DESERVED - BUT SERVE TO GLORIFY GOD

 

A) GOD’S WORD TEACHES THAT BELIEVERS ARE TO PERFORM WORKS FOR THE RECEIPT OF ETERNAL REWARDS

 

1) [Eph 2:10]:

 

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

 

2) [Compare Mt 6:19-20]:

 

(v. 19) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

 

(v. 20) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

 

3) [Compare Mt 6:1-6]:

 

(v. 1) "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

 

(v. 2) So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

 

(v. 3) But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

 

(v. 4) so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

 

(v. 5) And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

 

(v. 6) But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

 

4) [Compare 1 Cor 3:11-15]:

 

(v. 11) "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 

(v. 12) If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

 

(v. 13) his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.

 

(v. 14) If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.

 

(v. 15) If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

 

B) BUT BELIEVERS ARE TO ACT SUCH THAT GOD GETS ALL THE GLORY - SO IN EFFECT WHAT EVER THE BELIEVER RECEIVES AS A REWARD FOR HIS ACTIONS HE CANNOT CLAIM TO DESERVE CREDIT

 

1) [Compare 1 Cor 10:31]:

 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

 

2) [1 Cor 9:24-27]:

 

(1 Cor 9:24 NASB) "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

 

(1 Cor 9:25 NASB) Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable."

 

a) [Compare Bible Knowledge Commentary On 1 Cor 9:24-25]:

 

"Paul's commitment to this course of ministry did not come easily. It required personal discipline (strict training) like that of an athlete who strove for supremacy in his field (cf. 15:10). To that end Paul willingly gave up certain privileges which might otherwise be his to enjoy so that he could win the prize. The prize for Paul was not the temporary crown (stephanon) bestowed by men (in the biennial games near Corinth the "crown" was a pine wreath) but the eternal crown bestowed by Christ (3:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:10). Paul's crown would be the consummation of the reward (1 Cor. 9:18) he partially enjoyed, the opportunity to glory before Christ in those he had been able to win (2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 2:16; 1 Thes. 2:19)." 

 

b) [Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On 1 Cor 9:24-25]:

"24, 25 Paul assumes their common knowledge (ouk oidate, "don't you know") of the foot race in the stadium. Every one of them should run as these runners do, with all-out effort to get the prize. By the words "strict training," Paul refers to the athlete's self-control in diet and his rigorous bodily discipline. He observes that the athletes train vigorously for a "corruptible crown"—a laurel or celery wreath that would soon wither away. But the Christian's crown, eternal life and fellowship with God, will last forever (Rev 2:10)."

 

3) [Compare 2 Tim 2:5-6]:

 

(2 Tim 2:5 NASB) "Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

 

(2 Tim 2:6 NASB) The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops."

 

a) [Compare Expositor's Bible Commentary On 2 Tim 2:5-6]:

 

(2 Tim 2:5 NASB) "Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

 

(2 Tim 2:6 NASB) The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops."

 

'''5 Paul is fond of both military and athletic metaphors. The Christian, and especially the minister, must be spiritually a good soldier and a good athlete. "Competes as an athlete" is athletic, found (in the NT) only in this verse (twice). We have already noted a similar verb in 1 Timothy 6:12 (see comments there). The verb here is used for competing in an athletic contest in the arena.

 

"Receive the victor's crown" is also one word, stephanoutai (only here and Heb 2:7, 9). The Greek has two words for crown: diadema ("diadem," Rev 12:3; 13:1; 19:12), which means a royal crown; and stephanos, the victor's wreath given to the winner in an athletic contest. Hence the full translation here of the verb stephanoo.

 

The winning athlete does not receive this crown unless he competes "according to the rules"—one word in the Greek, nomimos, "lawfully" (only here and 1Tim 1:8). The man who breaks the rules is disqualified.

 

6 The Christian ministry can also be compared to farming. The pastor must sow the seed and cultivate the growing plants. Paul says, "The hard-working farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops." The emphasis here is on "hard-working" (kopionta, "toiling"). Bernard puts it well: "The main thought is that labour, discipline, striving are the portion of him who would succeed in any enterprise, be he soldier or athlete or farmer" (p. 118).'''

 

b) [Bible Knowledge Commentary On 2 Tim 2:5-6]:

 

(2 Tim 2:5 NASB) "Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

 

(2 Tim 2:6 NASB) The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops."

 

"2:5. With a quick change of metaphor Paul switched to an athlete. The thought here is similar to 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (and Heb. 12:1-2). According to the rules translates nomimōs (lit., "lawfully"). The metaphor clearly draws on athletic games such as the Olympics, but do "the rules" refer to the regulations governing each event or to those governing the training of those qualified to take part? Competitors in the Olympic games, for example, were required to swear that they had trained diligently for at least 10 months. Though the second is in some ways easier to explain, the first is required by Paul's grammar, which suggests that the issue is not whether one is qualified to compete but, among those competing, who will win the crown. Every athletic event has its boundaries, its rules; moreover, all who fail to discipline themselves to observe these rules are disqualified. Paul wanted Timothy to run so as to win the crown (cf. 2 Tim. 4:7-8) and not be disqualified. This requires a Christian to have strong qualities of discipline, self-control, endurance, and a certain toughness.

 

2:6. The final image is that of a farmer. The language puts an emphasis on the word hardworking, in contrast with idle, lazy workers. The diligence Paul has just described in each case has its reward (cf. vv. 11-12): A diligent soldier gains the approval of his commanding officer; a diligent athlete wins the victory; a diligent farmer wins the first... share of the crops. The three illustrations have in common the point that success is achieved through discipline (cf. 1:7), hard work, and single-mindedness."

 

4) [Compare Rev 4:9-11]:

 

(v. 9) "Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,

 

(v. 10) the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

 

(v. 11) 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.' "

 

Notice that the crowns - rewards to the elders who are representative of church age believers - are layed before the throne of our Lord for His glory.

 

5) [Compare Rev 19:7-8]:

 

(Rev 18:7 NASB) "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.

 

(Rev 19:8 NASB) It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."

 

Notice that these are rewards verses which are given to believers who have been faithful, i.e., they are based on one's works. They are not salvation verses because salvation unto eternal life is not of oneself, a gift, not by works, (Eph 2:8-9).

 

C) FURTHERMORE, ALL BELIEVERS CANNOT CLAIM TO BE SINLESS AT ANY TIME - THUS THE WORKS THEY DO FOR THE LORD ARE CONTAMINATED BY IMPERFECTIONS WHICH ARE UNACCEPTABLE TO GOD

 

1) [Compare 1 Jn 1:8, 10]:

 

(v. 8) "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

 

(v. 10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

 

2) [Compare Ro 7:14-25]:

 

(v. 14) "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

 

(v. 15) I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

 

(v. 16) And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

 

(v. 17) As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

 

(v. 18) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

 

(v. 19) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.

 

(v. 20) Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

 

(v. 21) So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

 

(v. 22) For in my inner being I delight in God's law;

 

(v. 23) but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

 

(v. 24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

 

(v. 25) Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

 

D) JUST AS THE PRAYERS OF THE BELIEVER ARE INTERCEDED FOR BY THE HOLY SPIRIT - SO THE FAITHFUL WORKS OF THE BELIEVER ARE DIRECTED AND INTERCEDED FOR BY GOD SO AS TO MAKE THEM ACCEPTABLE TO GOD AND REWARDABLE TO THE BELIEVER

 

1) [Compare Ro 8:26-27]:

 

(v. 26) "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

 

(v. 27) And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

 

There is not a pure moment an individual can claim to have even during those moments when he is following the leading of the Holy Spirit. But God perfects the believers actions so as to make them rewardable. For example, when the gospel is presented by a believer to another, although it is contaminated by the believer's indwelling sin nature's motivations, yet God uses the information presented and sees to it that the one being spoken to receives the truth of the gospel and is enabled to believe in it and be saved. For participating in this action, albeit imperfectly, the believer is nevertheless to be provided with an eternal reward.

 

PEACE, HOPE AND JOY: THE INNER HAPPINESS OF THE FAITHFUL BELIEVER

 

[Compare Jn 14:27]:

 

"Peace I [Jesus Christ] leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful:"

 

[Compare Ro 5:1-2]:

 

(v. 1) "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

(v. 2) through Whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God."

 

"hope" = "elpidi" = a confident expectation, a sure hope which one can boast in because one's salvation is absolutely assured by God - Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; Ro 11:29; 2 Cor 5:8.

 

Believers not only have God's supernatural peace but they can exult, i.e., rejoice, in the sure hope of the fact that they will be glorified by God and be with Him for the rest of eternity in heaven no matter what, (Ro 8:23-38; Eph 1:13-14).

 

[Compare Gal 5:22-23a]:

 

(v. 22) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

 

(v. 23a) gentleness, self-control.........."

 

"The fruit of the Spirit" = the behavior which a believer manifests by virtue of God the Holy Spirit's supernatural work in him and through him, (Eph 5:19-20; Gal 5:16-26). It is a work of God through the believer yet it is the believer doing that very work himself, (Eph 2:10).

 

[Compare Phil 4:7]:

 

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

 

The key to inner happiness and blessings on earth and rewards in heaven is to trust in God with your whole being, starting with a serious study, trust and obedience to what He has said in His Word:

 

[Compare Pr 3:1-35]:

 

(v. 1) My son, do not forget my teaching,

 

But let your heart keep my commandments;

 

(v. 2) For length of days and years of life,

 

And peace they will add to you.

 

[Author Solomon instructs his son to keep remembering, i.e., keep following his commands....commands which are from God's Word, Pr 2:1-6. For one will then live longer and with supernatural peace]

 

(v. 3) Do not let kindness and truth leave you;

 

Bind them around your neck,

 

Write them on the tablet of your heart.

 

(v. 4) So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.

 

[Favor and a good name in the sight of God and man is a result of study, understanding and faithfulness to His Word]

 

(v. 5) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.

 

(v. 6) In all your ways acknowledge Him,

 

And He will make your paths straight.

 

[To trust in God requires a knowledge of Him through His Word - replacing bit by bit your own understanding with divine viewpoint from Scripture - enabling you to walk by faith, thus acknowledging him in your ways more and more - resulting in your paths in life being made straight - being directed by Him]

 

[Pr 3:1-35 cont.]:

 

(v. 7) Do not be wise in your own eyes;

 

Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

 

(v. 8) It will be healing to your body,

 

And refreshment to your bones.

 

[Living a life that strives for obedience unto righteousness provides rewards in this life - even to the extent of better physical and emotional health and living out the full number of appointed years of your life with a more peaceful frame of mind]:

 

(v. 9) Honor the Lord from your wealth,

 

And from the first of all your produce;

 

(v. 10) So your barns will be filled with plenty,

 

And your vats will overflow with new wine.

 

[In ancient times under the rule of life of the Mosaic Law one would inevitably be blessed if one gave tithes and offerings according to proper temple worship statutes. This does not systematically apply today as we are not under the rule of the Mosaic Law or any set of rules and regulations but under the law of Christian liberty - we are under grace, (Ro 8:1-2; 6:14b)]:

 

(v. 11) My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord;

 

Or loathe His reproof,

 

(v. 12) For whom the Lord loves He reproves,...............

 

[When a Christian is under discipline he can know by this that he is truly God's child, that God truly loves him enough to discipline him and that he is never apart from Him, (Heb 13:5). This is, however, a hard way to confirm that one is a child of God]

 

(v. 12 cont.) For whom the Lord loves He reproves,

 

Even as a father the son in whom he delights.

 

(Cf Heb 12:5-13)

 

REWARDS FOR GAINING WISDOM THROUGH THE STUDY AND OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S WORD

 

And there are rewards for gaining wisdom which is through the study and obedience to God's Word:

 

[Compare Jos 1:8]:

 

"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you make your way prosperous, and then you will have success."]

 

[Pr 3:1-35 cont.]:

 

(v. 13) How blessed is the man who finds wisdom,

 

And the man who gains understanding.

 

[And the rewards in this life and for all eternity revolve around the attainment and obedience to wisdom ? divine truths which can be found in the Bible]

 

(v. 14) For its profit is better than the profit of silver, And its gain than fine gold.

 

(v. 15) She is more precious than jewels;

 

And nothing you desire compares with her.

 

(v. 16) Long life is in her right hand;

 

In her left are riches and honor.

 

[living out the full allotment of one's years is another reward]

 

(v. 17) Her ways are pleasant ways,

 

And all her paths are peace.

 

["peace" includes here is more than just peace - it includes health harmony and wholeness - a peace that surpasses all understanding, (Phil 4:7)]

 

(v. 18) She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,

 

And happy are all who hold her fast.

 

[and this happiness is an inner happiness that is supernatural]

 

(v. 19) The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens. (v. 20) By His knowledge the deeps were broken up, And the skies drip with dew.

 

(v. 21) My son, let them not depart from your sight;

 

Keep sound wisdom and discretion,

 

(v. 22) So they will be life to your soul,

 

And adornment to your neck.

 

(v. 23) Then you will walk in your way securely,

 

And your foot will not stumble.

 

[And there will be a confidence within you as you walk through life - a confidence not based on your own finite capacity but on the infinite capacity of God Almighty. And another reward: one of the greatest temporal blessings - a sound, sweet sleep]:

 

(v. 24) When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

 

(v. 25) Do not be afraid of sudden fear,

 

Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;

(v. 26) For the Lord will be your confidence,

 

And will keep your foot from being caught.

 

[And when your confidence is in God your fears will dissipate. The key to rewards on earth and in heaven is not just faith but faith plus works as the Book of James and the next 9 verses in Proverbs chapter 3 testify to]:

 

(v. 27) Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it.

 

(v. 28) Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come back,

 

And tomorrow I will give it,'

 

When you have it with you.

 

[Compare Jas 2:15-17]:

 

(v. 29) Do not devise harm against your neighbor,

 

While he lives in security beside you.

 

(v. 30) Do not contend with a man without cause,

 

If he has done you no harm.

 

(v. 31) Do not envy a man of violence,

 

And do not choose any of his ways.

 

(v. 32) For the crooked man is an abomination to the Lord; But He is intimate with the upright.

 

(v. 33) The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.

 

(v. 34) Though He scoffs at the scoffers,

 

Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.

 

[Pr 3:1-35 cont.]:

 

(v. 35) The wise will inherit honor,

 

But fools display dishonor."

 

The wise - those believers who study and obey God's Word will inherit a place of honor in the kingdom of God. Those who are foolish enough to waste their lives on earth and not study and obey God's Word will suffer dishonor. Unbelievers will suffer varying degrees of eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire relative to the extent of their evil ways, (Lk 12:47-48). And unfaithful believers will actually suffer dishonor and great loss of eternal rewards upon entrance into the kingdom of God on the earth, (Mt 22:1-14).

 

REWARDS FOR THE FAITHFUL BELIEVER

 

[Compare Mt 10:40-42]:

 

(v. 40 ) He who receives you [disciples of Christ] receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him [God the Father] Who sent Me.

 

["He who receives you [the disciples of Jesus Christ, (v.1)]... ? he who accepts you as disciples of Jesus Christ and cares for you and believes in you.

 

"He who receives you receives Me" = He who accepts you and cares for you, accepts Me - believes in Me and cares for Me, i.e., is a believer and a disciple.

 

(v. 40 cont.) He who receives you [disciples of Christ] receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him [God the Father] Who sent Me.

 

(v. 41) He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.

 

(v. 42) And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward.

 

[So rewards are a result of obedience and faithfulness to God's commands in His Word. We are to receive, i.e., care for and listen receptively to our Lord's disciples, His messengers, His prophets, (today's teachers of His Word), and all men who are righteous, i.e., who have the righteousness of Christ credited to them by faith, (all believers); and all who are in need; even to the point of stopping to help little children]

 

[Rev 3:5]:

 

"He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels."

 

Book of life: Records everyone from conception on. This book indicates who is going to heaven - at first - unless they die without ever having trusted alone in Christ alone.

 

This supports the doctrine of unlimited atonement as taught in 1 Jn 2:2.

 

Erased: If an individual dies physically without ever having trusted alone in Christ then at that moment of his physical death his name is erased from the Book of Life in heaven.

 

Other books: These are the books which record every single act of every individual who ever lived - whether good or evil. These books are opened up at the Great White Throne Judgment and an individual is judged by God to see if his life measures up to that of our Lord Jesus Christ. If not and there is no entry in the Book of Life then that individual's destiny is the Lake of Fire.

 

Lamb's Book of Life: This is the final edition so to speak of the Book of Life. It was written before the foundation of the world and never included any unsaved individuals.

 

Bob Wilken states, ('The Grace Evangelical Society News', March-April issue, pp1-2):

 

'''Can a believer lose his salvation or be erased from the Book of Life if he does not overcome (Rev 3:5)? This seems to contradict John 5:24 and Eph 2:8-9 which view everlasting life as a free and secure gift. Or, does it mean that a believer who is truly saved will automatically produce good works and overcome? This seems to contradict Romans 6-7 which views the Christian walk as a struggle and a choice that every believer must make for himself...

 

The Loss-of-Salvation View

 

The problem with the loss-of-salvation view is that it clearly contradicts a host of passages. Jesus taught that believers "will never perish" (John 10:28). "shall not come into judgment" (John 5:24). The apostle Paul told the believers at Rome that

 

"neither death nor life...nor things present nor things to come...shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 8:38-39). To the believers at Ephesus he wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph 2:8-9). and to the believers at Thessalonica he said that "whether we wake or sleep [i.e., whether we are morally alert or indolent], we should live together with Him" (1 Thess 5:10).

 

The Overcoming-Equals-Faithful-Obedience View

 

According to this view all genuine believers overcome the world by living godly lives. One author writes: "John was so confident of the ultimate triumph of faith over sin that he had a special name for the believer: 'the one who overcomes' (1 John 5:5; Rev 2:7, 11, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7)." Notice that he equates overcoming with "the ultimate triumph of faith over sin." Based on the context of these remarks, it is clear the author is referring to some ultimate triumph of faith over sin in this life."

 

According to what has come to be called the Reformed Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints, all true believers persevere in a life of godliness. While there may be temporary setbacks and bouts with sin, believers are people who live victorious, holy lives to the end. People who hold the overcoming-equals-faithful-obedience interpretation of our verse understand it in light of that doctrine.

 

There is a major problem with this interpretation. The Bible does not promise that all true believers will live victorious, holy lives. Believers may have more than temporary setbacks and bouts with sin. It is sadly possible for believers to backslide terribly and to remain in that backslidden state until death. Certainly the church at Corinth was hardly a picture of believers experiencing ultimate victory over sin in their lives (cf. 1 Cor 3:1-3; 11:30; see also Gal 6:1-5; Jas 5:19-20; and 1 John 5:16)!

 

I'm not saying that eternal security is not true. As already shown above, it is. What I am saying is that there is no guarantee in Scripture that eternally secure people will live overcoming, victorious lives here and now. Believers can fail.

 

The Overcoming-Equals-Faith View

 

There is a variation of the view just discussed which recognizes the possibility of failure in the Christian life. The overcoming-equals-faith view suggests that faith - not faithfulness - is the victory. All believers are overcomers the moment they believe. The very act of believing overcomes the world: 'Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?' (! John 5:5)...

 

The Eternal-Rewards View

 

[The expression in the Bible of overcoming is also used in another way in other passages - not referring to salvation but to rewards in heaven:

 

[Rev 2:5, 7b, 10]:

 

(v. 2:5a) "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works...

 

(v. 2:7b) To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

 

(v. 2:10) Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

 

(v. 2:26) And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I give power over the nations.

 

(v. 3:11) Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown

 

(v. 3:21) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne"]

 

According to this view, genuine believers are in view and their salvation is not in question. Admittedly, some suggest that since churches sometimes contain unbelievers, then these seven letters may have been addressed to both believers and unbelievers. However, in a biblical sense churches never contain unbelievers. Churches are not buildings or social gatherings. Churches are assemblies of believers. Since the Lord was writing to churches, He was writing exclusively to believers.

 

This is supported by the fact that in none of the seven letters do we find a Gospel appeal...

 

[Revelation 3:20 is not a Gospel appeal. It is addressed to Christians and is inviting them to have fellowship with Christ. The figure of opening the door is an illustration of the preceding verse. To 'open the door' we must 'be zealous and repent' That is, we must be zealous for good works and repent of our sinful attitudes and actions (cf. 3:15-18).]

 

...The word faith only occurs twice in these letters (Rev 2:13, 19) and in both cases it is affirming the fact that the readers already have faith, not calling them to believe. Surely if these seven letters were addressed to unbelievers, we would find repeated calls to trust in Christ. Instead, we find none.

 

There are several lines of evidence from the text of Rev 3:3-5 which support the eternal-rewards interpretation.

 

[Rev 3:3-5]:

 

(v. 3) " 'Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.

 

(v. 4) But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white; for they are worthy.

 

(v. 5) He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels."

 

"I will come upon you as a thief"?]

 

...Verse 3 is a warning: 'If you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know the hour I will come upon you.' Calls to watchfulness in light of the Lord's imminent return as a thief are found in several other places in the NT. Salvation isn't in view in any of those places. Rather, they deal with the prospect of eternal rewards...

 

[Compare Mt 24:45-51; 25:1-13; and 1 Pet 5:1-11]:

 

...In 1 Thess 5:10, a context dealing with Christ's return 'as a thief in the night' (5:2), Paul wrote '[Christ] died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should love together with Him.' In context 'waking' was used metaphorically to mean walking in the light, being sober, faithful, and loving.

 

["waking" is the same word translated as "watch" in Rev 3:3 & 1 Thess 5:6]

 

On the other hand, 'sleeping' meant to walk in the darkness, to be drunk, unfaithful, and unloving (1 Thess 5:4-8). [Compare Eph 5:1-17 esp. v.14] Paul was saying that all believers will be raptured, whether they are morally alert or asleep, when Christ returns for them. The believer who is morally asleep when Christ returns is not overcoming. Yet he will live together with Him as well!..."

 

"They are worthy" =

 

[Bob Wilken, cont.]:

 

"Verse 4 reads, 'You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy." The worthiness here is linked to the fact that these were believers 'who have not defiled their garments.' Clearly Jesus isn't praising them for using Tide on their togs! That is a figurative way of saying that there were a few who had not walked in disobedience. Compare Rev 22:14 and Jas 1:27 and Jude 23.

 

Walking with Christ in white garments must be seen as a reward. Otherwise Christ is teaching salvation by works here! We know from Jesus' teachings and from the entire Bible that no one but Christ is worthy to be in God's kingdom because of his or her deeds. We are only worthy to enter God's kingdom because we have trusted in the Worthy One. This is compelling proof that the issue here is not salvation, but rewards."

 

"He shall be clothed in white garments." =

 

[Bob Wilken, cont.]:

 

Verse 5 refers again to being clothed in white. The Lord makes it clear that the person in question is an overcomer. While some assume that all Christians will wear these white garments in the kingdom, this verse suggests that only overcoming believers, those who haven't defiled their garments (v. 4), will wear these garments in the kingdom.

 

This verse suggests that believers will not be clothed identically in the kingdom. Some will wear special white garments. These special garments will signify that the wearer is one who honored Christ until the end of his or her Christian experience.

 

Peter, James, and John caught a glimpse of what these glorious garments will be like. When Jesus was transfigured before them, 'His face shown like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light' (Matt 17:2). It may well be that the brightness of an overcomer's clothes will be proportional to how Christlike he or she was in this life (cf. 1 Pet 4:13).

 

"I will confess His Name" =

 

This is rewards language. Jesus will acknowledge faithful believers before the Father and before His angels. Compare Matt 10:32-33 and Luke 19:11-19. He will say 'Well done, good servant' (Luke 19:17). This is a reward that faithful believers will receive. It is not a condition of entrance into the kingdom...

 

"I won't blot out his name.." =

 

[Dr. Wilken, cont.]

 

"Several things should be observed in relation to this expression. First, whatever it means, it can't contradict other Scripture or the clear meaning of the rest of the passage and of other Scripture.

 

Second, many read it as though it says, 'He who doesn't overcome I will blot out his name...' It doesn't say that. It is important to note that this verse doesn't say anything about the fate of those who don't overcome. It certainly doesn't say that God will blot the non-overcomer's name out of the Book of Life. The focus here is on the overcomer, not on the non-overcomer.

 

If I said, 'All fathers are men,' that wouldn't mean that the opposite is true, that all men are fathers. There are men who aren't fathers. In the same way, the corollary to our verse is not true. God will not blot out the name of the non-overcoming believer from the Book of Life!

 

Once a person has spiritual life, it can never be taken away (cf John 10:28-29; 1 John 5:12).

 

Third, there is a well-established figure of speech called litotes or understatement. In this figure of speech a positive point is made by denying its opposite. For example, imagine that a loving, committed mother said to her teenage son, 'If you mow the yard today, I won't send you to bed without dinner.' Let's assume that the mother had previously guaranteed him that she would never send him to bed without supper. He would thus know that even if he didn't mow the yard, he would get dinner. His mom was promising him a special meal if he mowed the yard.

 

So, too, when the Lord says that He won't blot the name of the overcoming believer from the Book of Life, He means that He will give the overcomer a special fullness of life forever.

 

We know some of what this superlative experience will include: wearing special white garments (Rev 3:4-5), ruling with Christ (Rev 2:26-27; 3:21), eating the fruit of the tree of life (Rev 2:7), eating hidden manna (Rev 2:17), and receiving a white stone engraved with your own special name that only the Lord and you will know (Rev 2:17). None of these things is equivalent to eternal salvation. None of these things is required for kingdom entrance. These are all rewards awaiting the overcoming believer.

 

We don't know all that is in store for the overcoming believer. But from what we are told in the seven letters, we know that it will be something no one will want to miss. William Fuller, who defends this understanding of Rev 3:5, writes, 'A command that everyone keeps is superfluous, and a reward that everyone receives for a virtue that everyone has is nonsense." The eternal-rewards interpretation takes the command seriously, views the reward as a powerful motivation to obedience, and doesn't distort the Gospel!

 

Conclusion

 

The Lord Jesus Christ wants every believer to overcome the world by living a faithful Christian life until He returns or until death. He promises special rewards for the Christian who overcomes. Those rewards include a special fullness of life alluded to in the understatement, 'He who overcomes ... I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.'

 

Jesus said, 'I came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly' (John 10:10b). All believers have, and will forever have, life. Only overcoming believers have, and will forever have, life more abundantly. Paul echoed this same theme when he ended his letter to the Galatians with these words: 'And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart' (Gal 6:9)."

 

OTHER REWARDS FOR THE FAITHFUL BELIEVER

 

 

 





99999999999999999999999999




End Notes
1. Edward Fisher, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, 1645. Reprinted in 1726 with notes by Thomas Boston, 338, cf. http://www.mountzion.org/text/marrow/diff.html (accessed April 10, 2008).
2. H. A. Ironside, Unless You Repent (West Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada: Gospel Folio Press, 1994 reprint), 16.
3. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company, 1955), 253.
4. Robert N. Wilkin, Confident in Christ (Irving, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 1999), 55.
5. George Zeller, “Hodges, Dillow, Wilkin, Faust: Understanding Their Doctrine Especially as It Relates to the Bible’s Teaching on Assurance,” http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/hodgeas.htm (accessed April 10, 2008).
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), 225, 22.