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    "You are really cool you are married to an European!! How cooler can you be??"
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    "Smarty Pants"
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    "Oh, you did not ask for Bonhoeffer's opinion did you? You wanted mine..."
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    Kind Kristi

    "I enjoy your comments, but they are always delightfully enigmatic"
    Dyspraxic Fundamentalist

Sunday, November 12, 2006

In Reply – “Is Eternal Security an Optional Component of the Gospel?”

Antonio has posted an article proposing that the doctrine of eternal security must be accepted before a person can receive eternal life. I originally offered a small comment at his site.

Antonio I apologize for the brevity of my comment on your article. I tend to view our discussions here as on-going conversations and I know you go to great lengths to ensure that each of your articles stand on their own. I will do my best to address the questions and the points you made there in a manner worthy of your efforts though you know I lack your skills and abilities.

Possibly one of the most divisive arguments among believers is centered on our effort to determine those who we consider to be “true” believers and those who we do not. Some might frame the argument in terms of those who have “true” faith or not but regardless the outcome is always a means whereby we judge the standing of other men before God.

Let me preface my arguments by stating that I do not believe there are any secondary levels of truth or doctrine. Every fact concerning who Jesus is and what He’s done as well as every command and instruction given is of primary importance and none should be neglected or set aside for the sake of peace. They should neither be used as a means to divide the body of Christ. Compromising the truth will not result in unity any more than denominationalism brings peace to the body.

You ask: “What specifically qualifies as saving faith? What is it exactly that we are believing about Jesus?”

I offered my answer in brief at your site but I will restate it here. We are believing that He is the Christ, the Son of God. A lengthy etymology of the word Christ can be found here but the specific understanding of the Samaritan woman can be found in John 4:25. She said, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” To which Jesus replied, “I that speak unto thee am he”(Vs. 26). Her testimony then was this, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (Vs. 29) She believed that Jesus was the Messiah who would relate the will of God. It was absolutely necessary that she believe this before she could believe what he said concerning eternal life. Her comments concerning eternal life made it clear she had little to no understanding of the doctrine. I have previously pointed out that the Samaritans did not believe in the resurrection.

You ask: “Imagine me saying "believe in Jesus". What do I mean?”

Believe the testimony of the Father concerning His Son; “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Mat. 17:5) Believe what those born of God believe; “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1st John 5:1) Believe what Peter believed concerning Jesus which is the foundation upon which Jesus said He would build His Church; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

You ask: “If what someone is "believing" in Jesus for is not "guaranteed eternal security" then what is the purpose of their faith?”

I understand Romans 15 to teach that the purpose of our faith is to glorify God in Christ. I further understand it is the means whereby our relationship with God is restored.

You ask: “If someone is believing in Christ for anything else but "eternal security", what exactly are they believing in Him for?”

For the Philippian jailer it was temporal deliverance. For the Samaritan woman it was instruction in all things. For the thief on the cross it was favor in the afterlife. For the woman with an issue of blood and numerous others it was physical healing and for the apostles it was for an earthly kingdom. For Zacchaeus and many others it was forgiveness of sin and restoration to fellowship. There was no common concern or understanding of eternity among all of these but there was a common faith in Jesus’ power and authority from God regardless of how He would administer it.

You ask: “Does Christ elicit faith into Himself under the premise of anything BUT eternal security?”

The premise is that He is the Christ, the Son of God. The scripture declares that there is a wonderful blessing to those who believe that for to them He grants the gift of eternal life even if they lack an eternal perspective or fail in their understanding of it.

I do not adhere completely to any denominational or theological doctrines nor do I know many that do. I do believe 1st John 5:1 and can only take on faith that any who profess that Jesus is the Christ are my brethren. My Lord will separate the tares from the wheat and He has forbid me to do so. I will not overlook the scripture for the sake of unity with even the closest of my brethren (as indicated in this reply ;-) but I will not break fellowship with anyone over their understanding. I will wrestle with them as long as they will endure it! (grin)

You ask: “If someone doesn't have to understand that the reason he is to believe in Christ is for an eternal salvation, why would he want to believe in Jesus”?

My answer is he may want to believe in Christ in order to restore his fellowship with God through Him. All who believe in Christ do so because the Holy Spirit testifies that He is the Son of God.

With respect to John 3:16 and given your understanding it might read, “…that whosoever believes in eternal life and that eternal life, once given, can never be lost and believes that it is given as a free gift to all who believe in it and believe that this means having faith in Christ alone shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

The remaining verses you offer clearly establish the doctrine of eternal life but they in no way make eternal life contingent upon faith in it.

You ask: “Does it really make any difference if you “believe this” (referring to eternal life in Christ).

It makes a great difference! To doubt this truth could lead to a life wasted on worthless works pursuing a goal already achieved by Christ!

You close by asking, “Can you believe Jesus or believe in Jesus in the manner He describes without believing “this”? And what is “this,” but that the believer is guaranteed eternal life?”

One can believe in Jesus as Christ, the Son of God and fail in their understanding of eternal life as evidenced by 1 John 5. Verses 1 through 5 clearly establish the content of saving faith as being the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Verse 13 establishes the purpose of this text as giving assurance of eternal life to those who believe this. If the assurance of eternal life was a requisite belief then this text could not possibly be addressed to those who believe!

The gift of eternal life is truly free to whosoever believes on the name of Jesus Christ. It is not tied to belief plus understanding anymore than it is tied to belief plus works nor can it be prevented by the addition of either. If we are certain that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God then we can be certain we have eternal life in Him regardless of what we may have previously believed about it.

Is Eternal Security an Optional Component of the Gospel? Absolutely not! It is as critical as all of Christ’ teaching but the Grace of God even surpasses our understanding in this.



Blogger Antonio said...

Hi, Casey,

thank you for your excellent endeavor in answering my questions.

So much is going through my head right now I would like to address.

I don't have alot of time. I need to put my youngest kids to bed, and hang out with my older son for a little while before I go to bed and wake up at 3am. Tomorrow I have work and study for class and class to 10pm.

The first thing that comes to my mind is:

Catholics believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah.

I was once a catholic and believed that myself.

I guess I was saved then and so is all of Catholicism.


does believing in Jesus for healing result in eternal life?

I have an article on Unashamed of Grace right now that asks the question:

"Does believing in Jesus for the reception of a Donkey result in the appropriation of eternal life?"

Does the purpose of our faith really matter?

Is someone saved when they believe in Jesus for answered prayer?

I guarantee, Casey, that you will put many qualifications on "faith in Christ as the Son of God and Messiah". Unless you are willing to admit that Catholicism as a whole is saved.

And what exactly does it mean to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and the Messiah?

Are you saying that I need to understand all that those 2 titles engender? There is quite alot of information there.

What if I believe that Jesus is the Son of God in the sense that God took on physical shape and had physical relations with Mary?

Your identification of saving faith in Christ can die the death of a thousand qualifications.

You express it as something simple, but, in all reality, the terms you use have many qualifications that you would deem necessary for saving faith.

John makes it clear in John 11:25ff what he means by Son of God and Christ: the one who guarantees eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him for it.

Jesus says that He guarantees eternal life to the one who simply believes Him to do so.

That formulation is much more simple and less complicated than your qualifications.

Jesus states His promise concerning the absoluteness of eternal life, the absoluteness of not perishing to the one who simply believes Him to do so, to the one who PURPOSEFULLY believes in Him FOR THE INTENDED GIFT/RESULT.

If one does not understand that what they are believing in Christ for is eternal, then the only other options are that they are not sure, or do not believe that it is guaranteed eternal.

If they are not sure that it is guaranteed eternal, how can one say that they have believed Christ's promise?

Christ promises something dramatic, something extraordinary! If you are unsure as to his promise of ETERNAL SECURITY, then you doubt, and doubt precludes on from faith.

If someone believes that it is NOT guaranteed eternal, then they BY NECESSITY, must believe that there are other conditions to be met for FINAL salvation in addition to simple faith alone.

unsure about guaranteed eternal security? result: faith has not been exercised, for faith = certainty, conviction, persuasion, assurance. And doubt precludes faith.

Do not believe that it is a guaranteed eternal security? result: final salvation is NECESSARILY contingent on something in addition to simple faith. If simple faith in Christ is not enough to guarantee one's eternal well-being, eternal security in one's mind, they by necessity have to be understanding that conditions in addition to simple faith in Christ are required for final salvation, final entrance into heaven. IOW, if a simple act of faith is not sufficient to guarantee one's eternal destiny, obviously something else is needed, and faith alone is not enough, therefore the inclusion of FAITH PLUS gospels, works-salvation, works-righteousness.

Unsure of eternal security: no faith in Christ's promise, because faith = certainty, assurance, conviction, persuasion, being CONVINCED

do not believe in eternal security: something in ADDITION to faith alone into Christ is necessary for final entrance into heaven, final salvation.

"If you knew the gift of God..."


11/12/2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brother, thanks so much for your kind reply and for taking the time to do so. I do not wish to hinder your ministry in any way but to support it in every way!

Antonio, I’m not willing to include or exclude anyone because of his or her denomination, theology or works. I’m not willing to say that all Catholics are saved, only that they can be! I can truly appreciate your disgust with their error but I know you agree that none of us are saved because we hold good doctrine but only because God loves us in spite of our sin and ignorance.

The belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God is not in the understanding of all that would mean but in the acceptance of His power and authority as such and trusting in Him as God’s appointed mediator, regardless of how He would accomplish it. It is acknowledging His election to this position and trusting in Him to accomplish it. Our faith in Him is so that if He said we must be pure in thought and deed in order to gain eternal life then we would know there were no other way to gain it but praise God that is not what He teaches us! He tells us that simply because we trusted in Him we have that life in Him. There’s no way we could believe this unless we first believe in Him. Even then we might doubt we heard Him right but would that make it any less true?

2nd Timothy 2
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

No man who believes in the name of Jesus Christ need ever doubt his eternal security because he was ignorant of it at the time of his conversion. His assurance rest in his knowledge of the giver and not in the knowledge of the gift.

I remain your devoted fan! ;-)


11/13/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(quick aside - I think there will be far more catholics and far fewer evangelicals in heaven than is probably currently thought)
Applying the logic presented, anyone who doesn't believe in eternal security is not even saved?!?!?!?

As far as I can tell, the only requirement for being saved is confessing that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him.

When I cried out to Jesus, my plea was simply, "Save me." I didn't entirely know from what, and at that moment, I didn't care. I just knew I wanted Jesus in my life. A statement of faith was the last thing on my mind. Are you going to tell me that I didn't have eternal life until I understood more than my need for a savior? Please tell me that I'm misunderstanding.

Perhaps someone needs to further define "eternal security." Like so much other theocratic language, this term possesses myriad shades and nuance depending on the particular brand of bondage you're being sold.

I believe Christ for far less than He ultimately provides ("No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him," 1 Cor. 2), but I believe He freely gives it anyway. The logic of the argument presented suggests that I must comprehend God's gift before I can receive it.

If you're going to put that kind of condition on saving faith, then mustn't you also make an understanding of Christ's imputed righteousness part of the package? Maybe the new convert should iron out the whole free will vs. destiny thing before he can fully understand just what he's believing Christ for.


11/13/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger RF2R2 said...

dorsey said,

When I cried out to Jesus, my plea was simply, "Save me." I didn't entirely know from what, and at that moment, I didn't care. I just knew I wanted Jesus in my life. A statement of faith was the last thing on my mind.

Amen. This was precisely my salvation experience.

... depending on the particular brand of bondage you're being sold.

You always bring a smile to my face :)

At any rate, my personal thought on this question is that it is god who saves. So, as a determinist, it is easier for me since I don't believe it is what we believe that ultimately renders us 'saved'. Rather, it is the regenerative work of god done apart from any mental assent on my part that transfers me to the Kingdom of Light.

Now, if you really want to get into the muck of theology, ask me what 'orthodoxy' is...

11/13/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gojira said...

It was great reading your reply here, KC. Both post (your opening post, and the one here in the comments) were extremely well done.


11/13/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dorse, I have to give due credit to Antonio’s reasoning here. I believe you have correctly stated his conclusion and I can understand how he made it. To be honest my own conclusion is very similar but with a very critical difference.

I would say this, “If you don’t believe in your eternal security then you don’t believe that you are saved” and I do consider that a true statement. If a person has been delivered then they are no longer in danger of the second death but if they yet fear the second death then they do not believe they have yet been delivered from it. This does not mean that they are not safe, only that they don’t believe they are. If certainty of deliverance were saving faith then those who doubt would surely be lost but according to scripture the certainty of Jesus as Christ, the Son of God ensures the spirit birth from which there is no death.

Am I still a Dorsiest or does that sound too much like bondage? ;-)

“I believe Christ for far less than He ultimately provides ("No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him," 1 Cor. 2), but I believe He freely gives it anyway.”

More great Dorseism!

Brandon, what is orthodoxy? ;-)

Douglas welocme! Thank you for your kind and generous words. All who comment here are my better in all ways but they kindly tolerate my occasional stubborn foolishness.

I had come your way looking to stomp but could find nothing to stomp on! I suppose I will just have to continue to read and wait for my opportunity. ;-)

Many blessings brother.

11/13/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Hey KC,

I guess I am going to throw in another one of those possibly useless analogies but here goes...

What I now clearly see happening is a car battery and cables:-)

Well people like Piper and other Lordships seem to be always arguing for that power cable and saying the whole point is a relationship with the eternal living God while they turn around and deny the grounding wire by saying eternal security and delighting in the gift of salvation and the finished work of the cross is Idolatry.."How dare you you selfish pig" seems to be the sentiment. Then Antonio brings in and keeps hammering away trying to ground in everybody on that ground cable of truth. Take God at His word... and Amen he is correct, nevertheless he seems to somehow feel threatened that the powerful truth of coming into a relationship with the Eternal God through christ would leads one away from that truth.

The bottom line?

All we can do is stress both truths as both are fully part of the good news of the Gospel and to deny one over the other misrepresents the gospel.

You need both a ground wire and a power wire to bring the one charge. They exist together and should always be preached together. I don't think God ever intended for us to parse it up actually. We just gotta preach the gospel and pray the Holy Spirit reaches and through his word leading the soul to faith and in reality in the smallest seed they are believing but have not actualized everything in their imperfect knowledge...but we all grow at differing ways as we came to know him from differant angles.

God is painting masterpieces and one day we will all be counfounded and mezmorized by his wisdom.

11/13/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand his reasoning also, but I think it relies too much upon what isn't there than what is.

“If you don’t believe in your eternal security then you don’t believe that you are saved”

I can almost buy that, but that's a far piece from Antonio's argument. I think I need the definition that I asked for earlier. I believe that I am saved, and that I have done nothing to earn it (besides believe). I believe that my eternity is secure. However, I believe that I can still choose to reject Christ even now. Scripture makes reference to sins that are unto death and those who have tasted the gift and have fallen away.

Is this a correct definition or am I headed for hell? I need to know how to pack ; )

11/13/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

The New Birth is an irrevocable work. Once born again it is finished and forever settled. The New Creation cannot become an Old Adam again. It is impossible as that would mean that Christ could reject Himself.

11/13/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how to reconcile that impossiblity with the sin unto death (1 John 5) and with Hebrews 6:4-6.

For that matter, I have trouble reconciling "...cannot become an old Adam again" with "For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 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. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:22-24).

Scripture sure makes it sound like I can give in to my old nature whenever I want to.

11/13/2006 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brian, I’ve seen you give analogies that illustrate the irony, humor and even severity of certain attitudes and circumstance but I haven’t read your useless ones yet. Where do you post them? ;-)

I think your analogy fits very well. My delight in my salvation, as given me by God, is to His glory.

Dorse, based on your comments I would say you have conflicting beliefs. ;-)

Logically, if you have eternal life then you will not suffer the second death. You do not believe you have eternal life because you believe you are still in danger of the second death. This conflicts with your belief that you have eternal life.

If you understand eternal life to begin with the spirit birth then you must question your understanding of the verses that imply it is not eternal. If you understand eternal life to begin at physical death then no one alive has eternal life and you must question your understanding of the verses that state otherwise.

Realistically I think you (subconsciously?) believe that eternal life begins when physical death has occurred and is given to those who believe “to the end”. Doesn’t this mean that your assurance is based on your perseverance in the faith and not on faith in Christ alone? In other words you have no assurance of eternal life (Now wait and don’t pack yet!). You only hope “you” will persevere in faith and gain it. I think we naturally fall into that belief because we have an “all or none” perspective on salvation and any scripture that implies a negative consequence must then only apply to non-believers.

I think the text in Hebrews you referenced indicates that unfaithful believers will suffer in judgment. They are gathered up (life taken) and burned in the fire (judgment, 1st Corinthians 3:10-15). I think 1st John 5:16 refers to the willful sin that we must suffer for in judgment (Hebrews 10:26-31). I know it’s easy to equate fire with the fires of hell but I think fire can represent any judgment. At one point I think everything that’s not in Christ will be burned away and I fear for the loss that many believers will suffer as a consequence.

I would agree you could do as your flesh dictates but that spirit man, who is born of God cannot sin, hence the war and the final destruction of the flesh. All that will remain is that which is of God.

If you decide to pursue this I would be honored to participate, but in either case I would appreciate knowing your conclusion.

Brandon, concerning your assurance, you say it is based on your eternal election and your belief has no bearing on your assurance. I am curious then. Were you born believing or are the elect born condemned? If born condemned then how can someone who is elect from birth be condemned already?

11/14/2006 03:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kc said,
Brandon, concerning your assurance, you say it is based on your eternal election and your belief has no bearing on your assurance. I am curious then. Were you born believing or are the elect born condemned? If born condemned then how can someone who is elect from birth be condemned already?

You don't understand my position because you don't share my understanding of time. You are mixing an eternal proclamtion (my election) with a temporal event (the moment I recieved faith). In eternity god decrees that I am elect and he also knows the datum that on such and such day at such and such time Brandon's heart is regenerated and I gave him faith in me. This does not negate the fact that I was worthy of death, temporally, up until that time. From eternity all events become simultaneous and what I call 'eternally present' in the mind of god. Thus I am elect and temporally destined for a salvation unattained simultaneously, as it were.

11/14/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dorse, based on your comments I would say you have conflicting beliefs. ;-)

Well, that wouldn't be the first time, I can assure you.

A quick search of "persevere" resulted in these:

1 Timothy 4:16
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

Hebrews 10:36
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

I guess I don't believe in eternal security, at least not the way you understand it.

Let me get this straight. I confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead. This is what scripture says is the way to be saved, right? But according to Antonio, I do not have eternal life. Why? Because I don't follow the logic of a Frenchman?

I guess I'm packing shorts.

11/14/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brandon thanks once more for engaging in this with me. I don’t find our disagreement to be in our understanding of eternity but rather in our understanding of the scripture. From your response I gather that you perceive your existence and election eternal apart from Christ. Is this your position?

Dorsey, I’m not sure who to fuss with more, Antonio for making the object of faith eternal life instead of Christ or you for making eternal life contingent on faith + works instead of faith alone! ;-)

11/14/2006 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously we won't settle this centuries-old debate, but I don't consider believing a work.

11/14/2006 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey writes:
Dorsey, I’m not sure who to fuss with more, Antonio for making the object of faith eternal life instead of Christ
Casey, are you serious that you think I believe that?

I am a bit taken aback and offended.

Your understanding of my beliefs seems to be a caricature of what truly are my convictions.

And the only reason I can think of is that you would rather continue to believe in the presupposition that anyone who believes something about Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, of Nazareth, has eternal life (even if they don't believe Him by denying his salvific promise).

I am offended if you believe this about me.

I don't advocate faith in any doctrine for eternal life. I never have and never will. Faith is squarely in Jesus Christ.

But many people have faith in Jesus Christ for many different reasons and purposes.

Jesus Christ is the OBJECT of my faith, but there is a very SPECIFIC CONTENT to that faith, IN OTHER WORDS, a PURPOSE for the faith.

By both your ambiguousness and inclusionary language you would assert that:

anyone who has any faith in any thing about Jesus is saved

I say no.

believing in Jesus means believing what He said!

Saving faith comes by trusting Christ.

But this begs the question. Trust Christ FOR WHAT?

For a donkey?

Jesus makes a salvific promise. You either take Him at His word for it or not.

His salvific promise is clear: taking Christ at His word concerning His guarantee to dispense eternal security to the believer in Him for it, IOW, the one who takes Him at His word to do so.

Faith = certainty

object with content of faith: Jesus Christ guarantees eternal security to the one who believes He does so.

Trust in someone is MEANINGLESS unless it has specific content.

Like the babysitter or the airline pilot.

What does it mean when a passenger says he trusts the airline pilot?

What does it mean when a parent says he trusts the babysitter?

There is SPECIFIC CONTENT behind each of those faiths.

The content of saving faith is that one is eternally secure by faith in Christ for it.


Jesus says that the one who takes Him at His word concerning His promise:

1) will never perish
2) will never thirst
3) will never hunger
4) shall not be plucked from His hands
5) shall not be plucked from His Father's hands
6) has eternal life
7) shall not come into judgment
8) has passed from death unto life
9) shall in no wise be cast out
10) will be resurrected
11) shall never die unto eternity

If you dobut what Jesus says in those 11 points, how is it that you say that you believe Jesus?

Are not those points specific and clear enough?

I exhort you to stop wavering and being double-minded.

Listen, read, and understand Jesus's promise.

But a single moment of faith, no matter what happens in the future, guarantees your eternal destiny (i say this reduntantly) FOREVER!

If you could be lost, Jesus is a liar.

You would hunger again
you would thirst again
you could perish
you could be plucked out of his hands
you could be plucked out of the Father's hands
you would merely have POTENTIAL life (not eternal life)
you could come into judgment
you only passed from death unto limbo
you could by some means be cast out
ther is only a possibibility (which is contingent upon YOU ALONE) that you could not be resurrected unto life
you could die spiritually after receving life

By denying Christ's words of promise concerning eternal security, you fundamentally deny Jesus Christ, who cannot lie!


again, i am seriously offended about how much you have mischaracterized me and my position that I relate the object of faith as a doctrine.

doctrines don's guarantee eternal security

Jesus does.

And when one takes Jesus at His word concerning His promise, yea, His guarantee to secure one's eternity (starting that very moment) that person has eternal life.

Otherwise that person has not believed Christ, and has considered what Jesus has said


11/15/2006 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dorsey, we agree that belief is not a work so let me phrase my question differently. How many times must you believe in Christ before He fulfills His promise to give you eternal life?

Antonio you need not be offended because I know you don’t believe that anymore than Dorsey believes that works are needed, were that the case there would be no smiley faces but instead Emails and epistles galore! What’s more I think you know that too. ;-) I do hope you will try to see how that your insistence that this one particular thing Jesus taught must be fully understood implies that.

You said, “believing in Jesus means believing what He said! Saving faith comes by trusting Christ. But this begs the question. Trust Christ FOR WHAT?”.

For everything! Believe all things He teaches! Reject nothing from Him for He really is the truth, the way and the life!

Were I to ask if you believe everything that Jesus said I know your answer would be a resounding YES! I know that is true of Dorsey and myself as well yet which of us can say we fully understand all He taught? My faith is the absolute certainty that ALL HE SAYS IS TRUE but my faith is in no way based on my understanding of anything He said but rather upon the conviction of the Holy Spirit that Jesus truly is the Son of God and has full power and authority from God over me in ALL THINGS. I am therefore absolutly certain that all He has said is true whether I understand it or not. From this point I can begin to understand His words through the instruction of the Holy Spirit indwelling in me. Only then can I have understanding of the assurance that my eternal destiny is secure in Him but even this does not guarentee my understanding anymore than it guarentee’s me a fruitful life.

If we look to one another and judge our brethren by either fruit or understanding then we will surely fail in teaching all things whatsoever He commanded.

11/15/2006 04:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ is the OBJECT of my faith, but there is a very SPECIFIC CONTENT to that faith, IN OTHER WORDS, a PURPOSE for the faith.

Romans 10:17 says that "faith comes by hearing the message, and the message comes by the word of Christ".

Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".

Ephesians 1:12-13 says "in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 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

If our hope of eternal life/security is in Christ, and our faith is a surety of such hope, because we have heard and believed word of Christ concerning our eternity, then we have confidence in God.

But what happens if, after hearing the words of Muhammed, we come to be convinced that Christ is NOT the son of God and is not worthy of such grand hope... only the great god Allah and his prophet Muhammed. And by conscious decision, we determine to reject hope in Christ and place our hope in the word of Allah?

In this example, what is the condition of our eternal security in Christ?

11/15/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Jeff, 2 Timothy 2:13 states, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."

We did not nor could we seal ourselves but were sealed by His Spirit the moment we believed. All of our sin past, present and future is hidden behind the blood BUT we will be judged according to our faithfulness!

11/15/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Jeff, you've got a new blog! Hurray! ;-)(bout time too!)

11/15/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

The only thing that I would add is that those in Christ's day were not ignorant of doctrine. The Samaritan woman knew the Law. She knew her sin. These people were not nearly as ignorant of these things as we think they were. Remember, she knew to expect the Messiah, therefore she knew a great deal about Him. So can we just say, "believe in Jesus" and have someone saved in our day and age? I don't think so because there is such an absence of law. The law and gospel always go together, in fact, I would say the gospel is not complete apart from the law. The law shows us why we are separated from God, and gives us the answer to our problem: God Himself, specifically the Second Person. I believe that because there has been such an absence of the law that we have such weak Christianity. People are saved... (speaking for the sake of argument) but they do not know from whom or what they are saved. See Romans 7:7ff. Paul only knew his sin because of the law. The law does bring death, but helps us see our need for life, or righteousness apart from ourselves. It helps us see our need for Christ. Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who will delvier me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord.

11/15/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...


My language was a little melo-dramatic.

Frustrated would have been a better word.

Hope all is well!


11/15/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Excellent post Casey, I loved it.

11/15/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor it’s great to have your thoughts here again. I pray all is well with you and yours (Hi Sis Elisa!).

I suspect that what you say is true for many though I tend to fall closer to Brian’s thinking that we all come to this from different angles. It seems God’s grace is exactly what’s needed when it’s needed and that grace seems to take whatever form is necessary. Some are saved through compassion and others pulled from the fire (Jude 22-23).

Antonio, please forgive me where I’ve frustrated you. I really only want to encourage and support your wonderful ministry. May God continue to bless your efforts.

Adam I am truly honored (but I hope your love is not centered on the fact that our brother Antonio and I disagree on this point! ;-) I love you!

11/15/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Peter said,"Ah Master we have been fishing all night and have caught nothing and now you want us to let down our nets?".....

Notice Peter arguing with His God

"Nevertheless at your word I will let down the nets!"


"Go away from me Lord. I am a sinful man!"

Casey you are well rounded in your understanding.

I praise God along with you for Antonio's insistence at calling men to take God at his word. He needs to keep doing that. And I hope that he will one day see that he can do this with encouragement in mind understanding that just as he argues that folks might have misconceptions about Christ so to they like Peter can talk out of both sides of their mouth having not what I would call misconceptions but lapses in their faith.

Can we be adamantly skeptical and be saved?


But I do believe we can be confused at times facing a test of doubts.

Be encouraged Casey...you are handling this subject well.

11/15/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


here's that entire passage:

Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

What do you feel is the dynamic between "faith", "endure" & "disown". The verse you quoted, by itself, is compelling. But in the light of these other verses, I'm not so sure...

11/15/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

2 Tim 2:11-13

"This is a faithful saying:"

"For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him."

(This is another way of saying that every believer has eternal life and can never lose it. If you have believed in Christ for eternal life, then you have died with Him in a positional sense (Rom 6:5, 8; Gal 2:20; 5:24). And,
if you've died with Him, you will live with Him, forever. Notice that there is no escape clause here. There is no such thing as one who has died with Christ who later loses his salvation.)

"If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him." [what happens when we are faithful]

(Paul had spoken of his own endurance, using the same Greek verb, in v 10. There it clearly refers to persevering in the faith in spite of persecution and suffering (v 9). If other Christians follow his example and endure in the faith in spite of persecution and suffering, then they will rule with Christ.

The Lord Jesus also made it clear that only overcoming Christians will rule with Him. Compare Luke 19:11-26; Rev 2:26; 3:21. While all Christians will be in His kingdom, only Christians who endured in this life will be a part of His kingdom administration. Since serving Christ is what we will do in
eternity (Rev 22:3), increased opportunity to serve Him is something which is extremely desirable.)

"If we deny Him,
He also will deny us."
[what happens when we are unfaithful]

(The second half of verse 12 is antithetically opposite of the first half. After the words "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him," we expect, "If we don't endure, we shall not reign with Him." That is precisely what verse
12b is saying. To deny Christ is to fail to endure in the faith. To be denied by Him is to be refused the privilege of ruling with Him.

At the Judgment Seat of Christ some believers will be confessed by Christ (Matt 10:33). He will acknowledge overcoming believers before God the Father and the angels as those who will rule with Him (Luke 19:17, 19). However,
some believers at the Judgment Seat will be denied by Christ (Matt 10:33). He won't deny that they are saved. Remember, even if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He can't deny Himself. He will deny them in the sense that He will deny that they are worthy to reign with Him (compare Luke 19:22-26; Heb 11:38; Rev 3:4, 21).)

"If we are faithless [or better unfaithful: Greek = apistoumen]
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself."

(Note that even if you or I are faithless, Christ remains faithful. Why? Because He can't deny Himself. He promises to give eternal life to all who believe in Him for it. Our faithfulness is not part of the equation! (good
news for us!) It is His faithfulness that determines whether we stay saved or not. Since He will always be faithful to that which He promised, all those who have trusted in Christ, including unfaithful, apostate ones, will live with Christ forever.

(Adapted from an article by Bob Wilkin of the Grace Evangelical Society)

11/15/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brian thanks so much for the kind and encouraging words. I think you understand my position very well as the scripture you offered illustrates.

Jeff I really appreciate you and Dorsey for your willingness to discuss your understanding here. Antonio has offered a far better exegesis of these verses than I could ever hope to do. I would like to highlight, once more, the presuppositions it seems we all have when we approach these and other scripture that define the contrast between faithful and unfaithful believers.

I think before our conversion we hold the perception that “if we are more good than bad then when we die we go to heaven” and there are no more tears, no more suffering and nothing short of a blissful existence forevermore. After our conversion we begin to study and find that even the heavens will pass away but still we hold to that perception of eternal bliss from the moment of death for all the “saved”. Our blissful existence after death is now secured by our salvation instead of our being good so we approach every verse that speaks of anything less than a blissful existence as applying to those who are not “saved” and therefore go to hell. We do this in spite of the fact that the text makes no reference to eternal life whatsoever. Bliss = heaven, anything less = hell.

I think that if we accept that though eternal life begins with the spirit birth it does not ensure a blissful existence then these verses, as well as the Kingdom verses, will become much more relevant to us as believers. I think we can do this if we isolate those scriptures that deal directly with eternal life and do not imply our presuppositions on the remaining text. I think this will also help us understand how it is that we ARE saved, are BEING saved and WILL BE saved.

Antonio thanks for the fine exegesis.

11/16/2006 01:30:00 AM  
Blogger Bobby said...

"I will not overlook the scripture for the sake of unity with even the closest of my brethren (as indicated in this reply ;-) but I will not break fellowship with anyone over their understanding. I will wrestle with them as long as they will endure it! (grin)"

This is the right attitude for us all to have.

11/16/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bobby, I will wrestle with you for that hat.


11/16/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Bobby welcome and thanks for the encouragement. I'd be careful about Dorsey. He got his eye on a certain chip one time and the rest is history!

11/17/2006 06:30:00 AM  

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