What Saves – A Faith That Will Work, Or A Faith That Is Working?

March 8, 2018

I was asked recently by someone I was studying with – What saves, (1) faith that will work or (2) faith that is working? Though I obviously think the former is a very good thing, I answered that the latter is the correct answer. Let me provide some evidence for you to consider …

First notice Gal 5:6 – “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Doesn’t that verse answer our question directly? Here is how the ESV translates that – “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” So it is not just faith that avails (in regards to salvation); it is a faith that is working. Not only that, but it must be a working faith that has “love” as its motivation.

Next consider an illustration. Here is Heb 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” Of course this is not talking about salvation, but notice how the Israelites’ faith did not avail (in regard to war victory) until their faith worked.

Thirdly notice Gal 3:26-27 which actually touches on our question as it specifically relates to baptism – “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Verse 26 is letting us know that our salvation is conditioned upon our faith. All certainly agree on that. But verse 27 pinpoints as to when we are saved by faith. As you know, the word “For” that begins verse 27 means “to introduce the reason.” So verse 27 is saying – the reason a person is a child of God by faith is because he has been baptized into Christ. See my point here? – it takes a faith that is working to become a child of God / get into Christ.

Question: Didn’t Saul have the kind of faith that would work when he said to Jesus in Acts 9:6 – “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Then why were his sins not washed away at that moment? You will remember that at least three days later, he was told to do something so that his sins would be washed away (Acts 22:16). So Paul was not saved when he first had the kind of faith that will work; instead Paul was saved when his faith did work.

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What About Proof Texting?

March 1, 2018

Many denominational believers, and even some Christians, have a problem with what is commonly called “proof texting.” That is the practice of proving a particular doctrine with a Bible text.

This practice is not without a multitude of precedence in the Bible. Jesus constantly “proof texted.” You probably remember Jesus using three separate proof texts to reply to the devil’s three temptations of Him in Matt 4:1-11.

Also consider the example of when the Sadducees argued “that there is no resurrection” (after life) in Matt 22:23ff. Jesus responded to them in verses 31-32 by saying “… as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Jesus used one verse of old testament scripture to conclusively prove their false theory incorrect. I for one am glad Jesus did this, because I might not have noticed that this verse was so good against the no resurrection theory. Evidently the Sadducees had not regarded the passage in that light either.

I Thess 5:21a reads “Prove all things.” We should never be ashamed to do just that. One scripture that is conclusive on a subject is enough. More verses is even better, but God only has to say something one time for it to be true.

Does Acts 13:48 Teach Unconditional Election?

February 22, 2018

Acts 13:48 reads “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Are the Calvinists correct that this verse teaches salvation is not conditioned upon anything man does?

Whatever else we might say about this verse, it teaches election/salvation is conditional – it is conditioned upon belief as the text notes.

It is impossible to tell from the Greek here who did the ordaining – God (if in the passive voice) or the people themselves (if in the middle voice). Compare to “they have addicted (same Greek word #5021) themselves to the ministry of the saints” – I Cor 16:15.

Verse 46 says “Then Paul … said, It was necessary that the word of the God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” So these Jews made their own choice of rejecting the word of God; they “put it” from themselves; they judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life. God didn’t make the decision for them.

So in verse 48, the people were “ordained” to eternal life in the sense that God ordained that all good hearted men would obey and receive eternal life:

· Luke 8:15 – “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”

· And it’s up to us to have a good heart (“make you a new heart” – Ezek 18:31).

So Acts 13:48 teaches all those with an honest and good heart believed the gospel. There is no Calvinism in that.

hear the latest Bible Crossfire on “The Five Points Of Calvinism” at:

http://www.bibledebates.info/BibleCrossfire/BibleCrossfire-180218.mp3

How Does God “Give” People To Jesus (John 6)?

February 16, 2018

A favorite chapter sometimes used in an attempt to prove John Calvin’s Unconditional Election theory is John 6, verse 37a (“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me”) and 65 (“no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father”). But whatever else we might say about those two texts, they both state there is a condition to election/salvation – a sinner must “come” to Jesus.

So just how does God give people to Jesus? If we notice the similarity of our phrase “no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” to a phrase in verse 44 of the same chapter “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” we see that the way God gives people to Jesus is by drawing them. And how does God draw them? The very next verse says “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Verse 45 therefore shows how the Father draws people – thru teaching, hearing, and learning (Rom 10:17, 1:16), not by force. Notice again from John 12:32 (“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”) that Jesus draws not by force but by motivation, for example, the thankfulness of knowing what Jesus did for us on the cross. It can’t be by force, because John 12:32 states God draws ALL men, but we know from other passages that not all will be drawn successfully (saved).

It is the same as how God gives repentance (Acts 11:18b); Rom 2:4 says God “leadeth thee to repentance”; it is not done by force. It is also the same as how God gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11), through means – working a job to earn a living. The Bible says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:13, 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:8), but it also says Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:15, 8:32, 9:34). How can both of those facts be true? The answer?: God hardened Pharaoh’s heart through means, not against his will by force. And neither is the John 6 “coming” forced/unconditional. John 5:40 proves that – “But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.” (NKJV).

The fact that God gives people to Jesus can’t prove salvation is unconditional as the Calvinists assert. That would contradict John 17:12 (“… those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition …”) which illustrates that some God gives will ultimately be lost.

Keep in mind there exists what is generally referred to as God’s successful call, but also a call of God that is not necessarily successful. Let me illustrate with the following two sentences: “Everybody I called came to dinner” and “Some I called didn’t answer, so they were left out.” The former sentence refers to a successful call (the call was completed on both sides), while the latter refers to a call that is not necessarily successful (the call may not have been completed). It is the same with God’s call: Rom 8:30 (“and whom He called, them He also justified”) refers to God’s successful/accepted call, while passages like Prov 1:24 (“Because I have called, and ye refused”) and Matt 22:14 (“many are called, but few are chosen”) refer to God’s call before it is accepted or rejected. John 6:37 obviously refers to the accepted call (completed on both sides) of those with an honest and good heart (Luke 8:15). Even then, verse 66 shows that many called by Jesus at that time ultimately rejected Him.

Conclusion: The John 6 election is clearly conditioned upon belief – verses 35, 40, 47.

Does John 6:39 Teach Once Saved Always Saved?

February 8, 2018

Last week I was talking to the host (Matt) of a radio program loyal to Calvinism. We were discussing on air the issue of Once Saved Always Saved, and Matt brought up what I think is his favorite verse in defense of the Once Saved Always Saved theory. Here is how that verse (John 6:39) reads “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing ….”

On the surface the verse might appear to teach what Matt was contending for, but Jesus’ prayer in John 17 shows it does not. John 17:12 reads “… those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition …” Matt cut me off two or three times to keep me from reading John 17:12 on the air, because he knew the verse would quickly and conclusively prove to all honest truth seekers that his use of John 6:39 was unsound. Finally I was able to blurt out and read the verse when Matt took a pause.

Matt’s use of John 6:39 ignores the difference (that even Calvinists recognize) in God’s predestined will and God prescribed will. “God’s predestined will is unconditional and therefore, unstoppable.” That is mentioned in passages like Acts 2:23. God’s prescribed will is what God wants, but does not necessarily force to happen. A good example of God’s prescribed will is found in passages like Mark 3:35 and I Thess 4:3 (“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication” – ASV). I Thess 4:3 doesn’t mean it is impossible for Christians to commit fornication; instead it means God desires that Christians not commit fornication. It should be obvious John 6:39 is talking about God’s prescribed will since Judas is mentioned as an exception to the rule stated.

Which leads into my next point. Matt’s use of John 6:39 also ignores the fact that general rules often have stated exceptions. For example Luke 16:18a (“Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery”) expresses God’s general rule that all divorce and remarriage constitutes adultery, but Matt 19:9a (“…Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery”) states the only exception to that general rule. I am sure Matt would agree with this “general rules sometimes have exceptions” concept demonstrated by Luke 16:18 and Matt 19:9, so why can’t he see the same thing might be going on with John 6:39 and John 17:12?

There are hundreds of Bible verses that conclusively prove Once Saved Always Saved is a false doctrine. Drop me an email and I will send you a long list of them.

John Calvin Didn’t Know God Wants All To Be Saved

February 1, 2018

Of course God wants all to be saved …

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

I Timothy 2:3-4 … God … will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

This contradicts Calvin’s theory that God wants only some to be saved, that is, the elect.

Calvinism also puts the blame on God for those who are lost. God wants all to be saved, but Calvinism teaches God only forces belief on some so that only that some can be saved.

Absurdity on top of absurdity!

What Does The ‘Washing Of Regeneration’ Refer To?

January 25, 2018

Titus 3:5 reads “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” I’ve heard many brethren say the phrase “washing of regeneration” in this verse refers to baptism, but I don’t think that is exactly right. Instead it refers to the forgiveness of our sins – which does occur at baptism according to passages like Acts 2:38.

Compare the phrase to a similar phrase in Rev 1:5b “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” When the Bible uses the word “wash” to refer to the shedding of Jesus’ blood for our sins, it is using an analogy to compare our spiritual cleansing to something we might physically wash. Our salvation is the cleansing of our sins since our sins are what cause us to be lost, that is, in need of salvation (Rom 6:23).

And that exact point is made in Tit 3:5. This washing/forgiveness of our sins (in the mind of God) happens when we are regenerated according to the verse. That confirms what John 3:3-5 is saying. Salvation from sin occurs when we are “born again” or regenerated. Additionally, being “born again” involves being “born of water and of the Spirit.” That tells us the “washing of regeneration” occurs when we are baptized in water.

Acts 22:16 (“And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord”) mentions another phrase parallel to Tit 3:5’s “washing of regeneration” – Saul was told to “wash away thy sins.” Both phrases are referring to the forgiveness of our sins, and Acts 22:16 confirms again that that happens at our baptism.

The phrase “remission of sins” in Acts 2:38 (“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”) is another parallel to Tit 3:5’s “washing of regeneration.” And Acts 2:38 also tells us this spiritual washing/cleansing occurs at the point of baptism.

The phrase “washing” of Tit 3:5 is not an illusion to the incidental physical washing the water of baptism might do, but is referring to the washing away of our sins (via the blood of Christ) that occurs when we are born again. That does happen to occur when we are baptized, but we learn that from other passages (not Tit 3:5).

I Cor 13:8-10 – Mixing Apples and Oranges

January 18, 2018

I Corinthians 13:8-10 reads “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” A contrast between the “part” and the “perfect” (complete) is being made in this text. Let me illustrate something we can learn from that contrast …

If Fred offered Ethel a piece of an apple, and Ethel replied, “no thank you, I want a whole one,” would Ethel be asking for a whole apple, or for a whole orange? Ethel would be asking for a whole apple, not necessarily for the same apple that the piece offered came from, but a whole apple nonetheless. How would Fred know Ethel wanted a whole apple and not a whole orange? Because the whole would be of the same nature as the part.

Similarly in I Cor 13:8-10 – the perfect (complete or whole) is being contrasted with the part. The existence of this contrast indicates that the whole must be of the same nature as the part. Since the parts are the means by which they received the revelation of God’s will in parts (not a partial second coming of Christ), and since the whole must be of the same nature as the parts, then the whole (the perfect) must be the means by which we receive the revelation of God’s will in whole, that is, the completed New Testament law.  Since the New Testament has been completed (perfected), and since the parts were to be “done away” when the perfect came, therefore the parts (the miraculous gifts including tongues and prophecy) have been done away.

What Is The Perfect In I Cor 13:10?

January 11, 2018

I Corinthians 13:8-13 is admitted by all to teach that the miraculous spiritual gifts would cease “when that which is perfect is come.” But what does “that which is perfect” refer to? Many claim it is referring to the second coming of Christ, but consider the following illustrations …

• I am going to quit my two part time jobs when I get a _____.

□ glass of water

□ full time job

• The power being out, we read by candle light till the electric _____ came back on

□ shaver

□ lights

• When they moved to Dallas, they rented an apartment until they could buy a ____.

□ box of fried of chicken

□ house

• Instead of hamburgers I would rather go get a _____.

□ box of fried of chicken

□ house

• God’s revelation in parts will be done away when _____ in whole is come.

□ the 2nd coming

□ God’s revelation

Conclusion: The perfect of I Cor 13:8-10 is the complete New Testament law/revelation, and therefore the miraculous gifts ceased when the New Testament law was all completely revealed and put into one place (in the Bible) – so listeners could use it to verify what is being preached to them.

A Typical Response To The Bible Crossfire Radio Program

January 6, 2018

Following is what Anton Bergen from Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) wrote on Facebook on Jan 2, 2017 regarding one of my Bible Crossfire radio programs …

So my friend Patrick Donahue actually believes that unless you’re baptized, you can’t be saved, you can’t get to heaven. What say you, my Facebook friends, do you agree with Patrick? I do not, and I’m willing to stand alone on this. … Why do I keep pointing this out? Patrick has a megaphone, a half hour program on satellite radio with possibly millions of people tuned in on Sunday nights. I find that he’s not careful enough in his teachings. Most of the calls he gets is from people who disagree with him and argue his points. …

Notwithstanding Anton’s stance, what do the following passages clearly teach on whether or not a sinner has to be baptized to be saved?:

· Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be [condemned].

· John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

· Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

· Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

· I Pet 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: