A true Christian Church….and what it means to be a Christian.

       I have been involved  in discussions on a certain topic at another Christian brothers blog, and while participating I was asked by a regular commenter a couple of questions that he would like me to answer.  And I agreed I would give answers on my blog, for I did not desire to trespass on the brothers blog since it was really not dealing with the topic at hand.

So here are the questions asked according to the order given as quoted word for word:

“Cal with all due respect can you share with the rest of us what you believe to be a true Christian church and what it means to be a Christian? What are the parameters and criteria that would satisfy your want. Thank you”

      I informed him that these are great questions, and as a matter-of-fact, it was an answer to prayer.  I asked the Lord for guidance what to share and after having my quiet time with Him, I new what I was going to write about, but then I read this request, which so happens to be a wonderful precursor for the posting which shall follow this, and it will go hand-in-hand, just perfect!  I shall be entering it later this week, Lord willing of course!  I digress….

      First I would like to say that the “parameters and criteria” has nothing to do with what I want or desire, it’s what the Lord’s requirements are according to His written word as laid out in the New Testament.  With that being said, now I shall like to answer what constitutes a “true Christian church”. 

      There are numerous scriptures which states what makes up the church, or the Body of Christ, and here are a few being listed, the others can be searched and studied on your own(for those of you truly interested):

Mat 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Rom 12:4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
Rom 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Col 1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Col 1:19  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Eph 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Eph 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph 2:21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph 2:22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

      So as we can read, believers are the “church“, the body of Christ.  So it’s the members who make up the church, that means those that are truly Christian, they are the church, the body of Christ.  And it is not a necessarily a”building” built with hands, made of stone, wood, or brick, it’s an eternal temple! Act 7:48  Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
Act 7:49  Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?   There are other scriptures, but for the sake of space I must continue on before this runs on for a mile!

     Now,  what it means to be a Christian, there are also scores of scriptures that reveal the Lord’s requirements, here are a few:

Act 2:39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Act 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Luk_10:22  All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
Joh_1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
1Co 1:26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1Co 1:27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

      In essence one needs to be “born-again” from above, it is a gift of God, NOT of works…lest any man should boast. Eph_2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.   So what that is saying, that no one who becomes a Christian through “traditional means” such as; baby baptism, going faithfully to church, being a member of a church, born and raised in a church, forced or coerced to accept Jesus Christ is saved.  No, unless you be born again of God’s Spirit, by and through the Power of God through Christ Jesus, granted by God, you are not a Christian.  I was raised a Baptist, said the prayer at 10 years of age, and I was not born again.  I knew of the Lord, but I did not know Him.

        Some examples of people who are not saved, but religious: Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, anyone not predestined according to the Will of God, chosen for His good pleasure. And many well known TV preachers, pastors from many differing denominations, teachers, religious leaders, healers, and evangelists are not born again.  It’s sad, and a fearful thing actually, but that is the reality of God’s Word.

     I may discuss down the road why so many real Christian congregations don’t grow.  It would seem they do not follow God’s pattern laid down for His Church, they actually have been influenced by “traditions” passed down from the Roman Catholic church and never cut those traditions off.  

So please feel free to comment, then we can tackle other issues as the Lord leads.  Take care and the Lord bless you.

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26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gene Jenkins
    May 10, 2012 @ 18:16:48

    Beautifully written and factual! However, you might also want to include an explanation of how being “born again” occurs. Also, what the faithful church calls itself so as to be recognized among faithful brethren when assembling together. I have my understanding on these topics, but would be interested in hearing yours.

    thanks!

    Reply

    • cal4u
      May 10, 2012 @ 21:28:51

      Gene, thank you for the encouragement concerning my writing, as I do more writing it will get better.
      Well I will pray about that, not sure what it is your really desiring to know concerning “how being born-again occurs”? But this I will share with you now. Being born again is not something that is planned. It truly is in the Lord’s control when He designs to shed His grace to open the eyes of one who is dead in his trespasses and sins. Paul, who was Saul was taken by total surprise when the Lord convicted him of his sins, and revealed himself to Saul. It was not planned, Saul did not repent then turn to Christ. Jesus Christ came to him. I do not believe in Fee Will salvation, that is a works based salvation and totally false teaching. The Lords word is very clear on the subject, and the Lord made it very clear to me when He revealed this truth beginning in the Old Testament in Genesis, Chapter 2-3. The whole Bible is a total manifestation of who and what God is and none of it can be denied. “Without the Old you can’t have a new” There is an appointed time by God when He decides to grant His grace towards someone who has been predestined by His Will unto salvation. Bible is very clear on that, and any denial is denying salvation as a gift from God itself.
      Men love the thoughts of thinking they have any amount of good to “choose God”, the reason for this is the sin of Pride. That’s what took Satan down. When you look at it, it’s like taking out an eternal life insurance policy. “Don’t want to go to hell, so I better take Jesus and be safe, just in-case it’s true and live happily ever after….. things go better with Jesus”. What a evil reason to choose Jesus, it’s very me centered actually. And that is exactly why Jesus came to die upon the cross for that type of self-elevation, and self-centeredness.
      I appreciate you raising this point, it really caused me to ponder it and then search out my answer. I hope this helps.

      Reply

  2. Gene Jenkins
    May 10, 2012 @ 18:36:10

    one other thing, cal.. I found an amazing book called “Churches of the New Testament”. Here’s a link so you can take a closer look: http://www.amazon.com/Churches-New-Testament-Ethan-Longhenry/dp/0979889367 The author, Ethan R Longhenry is an exceptionally talented author. Thought I’d pass along.

    Reply

    • cal4u
      May 10, 2012 @ 21:38:51

      Oh I forgot to answer your other question, I’m not sure I know what your aiming at, sounds like a loaded question. Don’t trust a question worded in that manner. Can you explain what you mean by “what the faithful church calls itself so as to be recognized among faithful brethren when assembling together”? Actually I will be honest it sounds like a trick question, and that kind of approach is very deceitful. So I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but trust me the Lord’s spirit is within me and I’m taught to “try the spirits”, 1Jn_4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
      I will look into the book, thanks.
      Have a blessed evening.

      Reply

      • Gene Jenkins
        May 11, 2012 @ 07:23:26

        …only “loaded” insofar as that I have my answer for this, already. However, after reading several of the posts you’ve made (excellent posts, btw) I want to hear your conclusion concerning this topic. Not meaning to sound like a trick or leaning toward any deceit. There is only one true answer to this question and your commentaries always tend to lean toward that same structure… bare-bones, to the point answers from scripture. I’ll further clarify, if you want, but what I’m wanting to be able to learn from you is have you identified with this church and its congregates? PLEASE know that I’m NOT here to tear you apart… the whole idea is to become more like God would have us to be and this is my true aim. Discussion is the method.

        Thanks, Cal!

  3. cal4u
    May 11, 2012 @ 07:54:07

    Good morning Gene, I looked into the link you provided, and come to the conclusion you are a member of the “church of Christ” group.

    So in part I can see why you would put your question the way you do, but I will still state, that this sentence is still not quite clear in it’s presentation “have you identified with “this” church and it’s congregates?” Anyone who is born-again of the Lord’s spirit is a brother/sister in Christ Jesus. I have dear Christian friends in Ireland, Wales, etc, and I recognize them by their fruit as the Lord says we shall.
    I do think I know what you are getting at, and after researching about “church of Christ” it is a group that I would not likely in the future care to join. It seems to have some rules that seem “cultish” in it’s behavior, and I’ve been involved with a cult in the past and it caused much damage, pain, and sorrow. The whole Bible is the full council of God, denying any part of it as no longer good, useful or necessary is a false teaching.
    So now please clarify what you are trying to say, that is my desire, be open, be upfront, if not, then this discussion will be over. I don’t waste my time with any sort of game playing, or innuendo. You may be sincere, which I am hoping, but I do have my reservations.
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Gene Jenkins
      May 12, 2012 @ 16:19:16

      no worries, cal… I’m just one fellow out here and not game playing or setting you up for anything except honest discussion. I’m “out of pocket” and won’t be able to elaborate more with this writing but will do so soon. Thanks for the reply!

      Reply

      • cal4u
        May 12, 2012 @ 20:01:28

        Gene, I’m not at all sure I know what”out of pocket” means, I would appreciate if you would share with me the meaning? I’m ready for an honest discussion. So talk with you soon. Later.

      • Gene Jenkins
        May 13, 2012 @ 21:34:04

        It simply means that I’m not able to spend enough time to give you a proper answer. Hope to, soon, however.

      • Gene Jenkins
        May 18, 2012 @ 20:30:50

        Ok, Cal.. so sorry for the delay in response. Yes, I am a member of the church of Christ… not the one which is followed by the term “scientist” or preceded by word “united”. This is the church which was established on the day of Pentecost, circa AD 33. The one you read about which had its beginnings in Acts chapter 2. I don’t know what you’ve read on the internet, but I suspect (after reading your comment about the church of Christ being a cult) that it wasn’t accurate information in reference to the true church. There are many deceitful groups which call themselves the church who wear many names, as you know. Unfortunately there are also groups who use to be in fellowship who also still call themselves “the church of Christ” who are stepping outside biblical authority in purpose and practice. Typically speaking (and from my own personal observations) the larger more affluent congregations are the ones who have strayed from the truth in structure which, I realize, is quite a generalization. I’m not quite sure what you wanted me to clarify, other than what I’ve just made comment on, but my purpose (in earlier comments) was in trying to discover your personal understanding of what the church is and how you personally have become a part of this body.

  4. Davide
    May 11, 2012 @ 08:28:12

    Cal u answered my questions. Let me ask one question: Do you believe baptism plays any part in this ‘born again’ experiences? Thank you

    Reply

  5. cal4u
    May 11, 2012 @ 08:45:00

    Good morning Davide! Baptism especially baby baptism, does not save you. A baby is not held accountable for sin, a baby does not know or understand what sin is. God is a just God.
    Jesus Christ and His shed blood saves us, and when we believe in Him after He convicts us of our sin, which He does through the work of His Holy Spirit, then we see Him and ask for His forgiveness, and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness, then and only are we born again. After being born-again, baptism which is full immersion in water, is publicly showing our identification with His death, then being raised in the newness of His resurrected life. Baptism is not a prerequisite for Salvation, salvation come first. That’s why Paul did not baptize as stated: 1Co_1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
    If after salvation a person dies in this life without being baptized, they are still saved, once and for all.
    Thanks for all of your inquiries, the Lord bless you!

    Reply

  6. Davide
    May 11, 2012 @ 09:01:18

    thank you for answering my question. I came here to see your point of view. This is your sandbox and I won’t be crapping in it. Having said this I would like to point out that Blessed Saint Paul did speak of baptizing prior to your reference of 1 Col. 1:17, in versus 14-16. In fact he baptized the ‘household of Stephanus’. If I am undestanding you correctly baptism is not necessary for salvation nor is part of the ‘born again’ experience?

    Reply

  7. cal4u
    May 11, 2012 @ 09:41:16

    Davide, you should not feel that way “about cr……ing in it. I don’t feel no such thing.
    Yes Paul did baptize, but it makes no mention of him baptizing infants. So we should be careful not to read more that what is mentioned. Others baptized, but there is never any mention concerning baby baptismal anywhere in the Gospels.

    Baptism does not save you, Jesus shed blood does, but Baptism will be experienced after you are saved by believing in the Gospel and Jesus Christ crucified. As I mentioned before baptism is an outward physical expression of identifying with the death and resurrection of Christ, being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will be part of the true born-again experience but you are saved first by the Spirit of God through repentance, then baptizing comes second, not the other way around.

    Hope that clears that up for you. You are welcomed here any time.
    May the Lord bless you with the knowledge of His saving grace. Have a great day and weekend!

    Reply

    • Davide
      May 11, 2012 @ 16:13:25

      @ Cal, thanks for your reply. As far as I am aware I have never spoken of infant baptism on this blog. I am not exactly sure why you brought it up (twice). 

       Having said this I totally concur  baptizing infants is not mentioned “anywhere in the Gospels”. But absolutely no where in the Gospels or in the whole of the New Testament does it say babies, toddlers and children are to be intentionally excluded from baptism. 

      Nor when Blessed Saint Paul baptized the “household of Stephanus” did he mention babies were excluded.  What we do know the “household” was baptized. 

      I affirm: “we should be careful not to read more than what is mentioned”. However, believing St. Paul did not baptize babies that might have been in the “household” of Stephanus is reading “more that is mentioned”. He also did not mention he baptized teenagers, servants nor the elderly but does this make it not so? Certainly not…all we know is the “household” was “baptized”.  I can reasonably assume he baptized the entire household including servant (s) and children.

      I am not bringing this up to get into a discussion about infant baptism. That is a whole different matter. This is rebuttal to the points you raised in your comments.

      I had asked you what you believed about baptism and did you believe it played a role in salvation and the “born again” encounter.

      What I am understanding from you: the “born again” encounter involves two things: faith and  works and lacks one thing: baptism. 

      1. Faith: faith that Jesus will/has saved the person who experienced the “born again” encounter and such person as you say saved “once and for all”.

      2. Works: “Born again”  encounter must also include works. To know about Christ’s salvation requires on us learn, this is knowledge and knowledge is work. 

      Basically the “born again” encounter (if I understand you correctly) is gained by qualifications and achievement (age and reason/knowledge).  

      3. Baptism: You have said Baptism is not required for salvation.

      Our Loving Savior reminds us that it is necessary to be baptized in order to enter the kingdom of God:

      “Jesus responded, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one has been reborn by water and the Holy Spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God'” (John 3:5).

      Please Note: baptism comes first. 

      Basically what I am getting from your comments baptism is not seen as a washing away of sins and conferring righteousness per se, but more a SYMBOL of a profession of faith to the person that claims to have already ‘accepted’ Christ as Lord and Savior. Baptism is an ordinance symbolizing the inward work of salvation. Like receiving the ribbon after winning the race. 

      Holy Scripture tells us sin entered the world through one man and death is the result: the original sin. See Romans 5:12. To be baptized is to be “washed”. Washed of what? Original sin.

      In other words the person who has been baptized has been “born again”. 

      Would you agree we all are born in a state alienated from God? The cause of this is original sin? 

      Is it not true to be baptized is to receive the gift of faith through the Holy Spirit-the Lord and Giver of Life? The forgiveness of sins? 

      Is it not true prior to baptism there is only a kind of anticipatory of faith but it is not a virtuous faith? Does not faith come from baptism? 

      Does not faith accompanies those who have been baptized in all the different stages of life? Does not faith develop as we do? Is not faith progressive in nature?     

      Thank you

      Reply

  8. cal4u
    May 11, 2012 @ 17:56:42

    Davide, whoa, that was long. Ok. Babies, infants, are baptized within the Roman Catholic Lutheran, and I believe Anglican churches, and it represents and confirms they are baptised into the church and the congregation and Christianity, my mother side of the family is Catholic so I know what it represents.

    Now this next statement is confusing in part, for I never stated anything of this nature. “What I am understanding from you: the “born again” encounter involves two things: faith and works and lacks one thing: baptism.” I never said any such thing, I said, born again encounter is being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, then the confessing of sin, forgiveness, and cleansing by the Holy Spirit, then the person is sealed with the Holy Spirit for ever, born of the Spirit of God. Works never plays a part in the born-again experience. Its just not scriptural, and none of the Apostles especially Paul, never preached that. Nor can you prove it.
    For saving faith is a gift from the Lord himself to bring salvation to a human being. Baptism then follows as a public expression that one has been born-again, and is identifying himself/herself with the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. That’s it, that’s all.

    Joh 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.”
    Water and the word Spirit are meaning the same thing, water doesn’t always mean literally water. And the Lord and His Apostles will always use the word “Baptism” for baptism. In places in scripture water can be used in this context. “The washing of the word”, does God’s word literally mean, that when you read God’s word, water will be needed to wash you? Not really. Here is an example from other verses that confirms John 3:5.
    Tit 3:5 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;
    Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
    Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of
    eternal life.
    In Titus 3:5 “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, is confirming John 3:5, but using others word, washing is what the word “water” represents, as the Holy Ghost represents the words “the Spirit”. It’s exactly the same meaning, nothing to do with water baptism.

    Now this statement of yours: “Is it not true to be baptized is to receive the gift of faith through the Holy Spirit-the Lord and Giver of Life? The forgiveness of sins? ” The answer is NO, not at all, Faith is a gift from the Lord given freely, without any prerequisite whatsoever.

    Next statement: “Is it not true prior to baptism there is only a kind of anticipatory of faith but it is not a virtuous faith? Does not faith come from baptism?” No, there is only one kind of faith, God’s given faith, which is only found in Jesus Christ.
    Next statement: “Does not faith accompanies those who have been baptized in all the different stages of life? Does not faith develop as we do? Is not faith progressive in nature? I will have to pray and think about this one, I’m not totally sure I understand it.
    That’s it. Have a great evening!

    Reply

    • Davide
      May 12, 2012 @ 04:15:58

      thanks Cal, i guess we can agree to disagree. Okay off to the gym then work. Ciao

      Reply

      • cal4u
        May 12, 2012 @ 05:43:03

        Yes, we disagree, but please note I do not accept you as a brother in the Lord Jesus Christ. You are not a Christan, you’re not born-again. I will not compromise regarding this for the Good of the true Gospel which glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.
        Hope you have a great day. Later.

      • Davide
        May 12, 2012 @ 08:08:05

        @Cal, I am a Christian and I was born again at my baptism. Okay, you “do not accept” me “as a brother in the Lord Jesus Christ”. This is unfortunate because I had already accepted you as such. Thank you.

  9. cal4u
    May 19, 2012 @ 11:12:22

    @ Gene, welcome back. Ok…….still not sure where you are coming from, but to your question as soon as I was born-again I became a member of the body of Jesus Christ, His Church, His Bride. Do I belong to a denomination? No, that is not scriptural. “If” you truly are a true believer, then you and I are members of Christ’s body, if we would meet then we would be in fellowship together in the name of Jesus Christ. Mat_18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
    From your comments on Matt’s blog, I sensed you believe in “Free Will conversion”, and you believe that your must obey God’s word then God gives you the grace after you obey. And you believe that a true believer can lose his salvation, Am I correct in thinking this?
    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Gene Jenkins
      May 21, 2012 @ 12:15:40

      First, here are the written facts about the church and its mission:

      Jesus Christ built the church with His own blood (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28). He bled and died so that we might be saved. He is the foundation of the church and its head (1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 1:22-23). Those that receive the word of Christ and are baptized into his blood will be added to the Church by God (Acts 2:41, 47; Rom. 6:3-4). The Church of the New Testament is the Church of Jesus Christ.
      The church of Jesus Christ is undenominational. There is only one body of Christ, the church (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). Jesus earnestly desired the unity of his followers, praying for unity and harmony among the believers (John 17). Unity among believers can be accomplished when God’s word is upheld as the standard of authority (John 17:20-21). Paul also commanded the church to live without division (1 Cor. 1:10).
      The Lord intended that the church would consist of a diligent people, fit for good works (1 Cor. 15:58; Eph. 2:10). According to the scriptures, the work of the church is three-fold. The church should be busy preaching the gospel, spreading the word of salvation to others (Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Thess. 1:8). Another necessary work is the edification of the saints (Acts 14:21-22; Eph. 4:11-16). Salvation is not achieved immediately but after life of service (Rom. 13:11). Christians must be encouraged to persevere until the end (Rev. 2:10). The third work of the church is benevolence for needy saints (Acts 11:27-30; Rom. 15:25-27). The church has much to do to accomplish the Lord’s will. Primarily, the church should be concerned with the salvation of souls. Consequently, it should not be hindered by engaging in entertainment, politics and social reform.
      The Church in the New Testament had no organization larger or smaller than the local church. It was organized locally with elders and deacons (Phil. 1:1). There is no authority for a hierarchy of church officials. Christ is the head of the entire church, and elders serve over local congregations. Furthermore, there are no earthly headquarters. Instead, the sole headquarters of the church is in heaven, where the head resides (Eph. 1:22-23).

      You asked do I subscribe to “free will conversion”? First, let’s check out what the scriptures say about conversion. Please notice that conversion is not merely a change in belief, or a change in practice; rather, it is a complete change from one state of being to another. Jesus defines true conversion in Luke 9 in the following terms: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Self-denial refers to the change of heart that is required by the Lord as a man changes his outlook on life and exchanges the desire to please himself with the desire to please God. The idea that a man must “take up his cross” shows the change that is to take place in his life, in which the old
      sinful practices are exchanged for a life of service to God that resembles the life of Christ. Finally, the words “follow me” give us the conversion in its complete form. The heart has been turned to the Lord, the life has been turned to the Lord, and now the entire state of the individual is turned to the Lord in a new relationship with him. Conversion is, therefore, necessary for one to become as God would have him to be.
      How about “free will”? I’m thinking that you must lean toward a more Calvinistic view to be asking this. Am I correct in this assumption? Since God is sovereign, he has the absolute right to do as he pleases. Yet we must conclude that he will not act in discord with his nature, even in creation. As James says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man” (Jas. 1: 12). John adds, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). We can safely conclude, therefore, that God could not, because of his righteous nature, create immutably and unchangeably a man who must sin and cannot help himself except to do as created, then hold that man accountable for that sin. The alternative, presented in the Bible, is that God, as a sovereign, created man as a free, moral being so that man might choose to serve God, yet, by the nature of free will, provide the potential (risk) that man would choose evil. In the moral sense, therefore, man himself is sovereign, in time (not eternity). Does not Ecclesiastes address the fact that man may act as he wills “under the sun” but that he should remember that “for all these things, God will bring thee into judgment” (11:10)? Will we do that for which we have been created, or will we go astray? As the Psalmist said, “Jehovah looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek after God” (14:2). Only man, of all the creatures of God, can say “no” to God. This rebelliousness is the risk of free will.
      I believe that the story of Job is an illustration of this very principle: “Will man willingly serve his Creator as God intended?” If you recall, Satan accused Job of serving God only because it was convenient (God made Job wealthy). God..had stated that Job was a “perfect and upright man, one that feareth God” (1:8). The Devil’s accusation was: “Does Job fear God for nought?” (1:9) What Satan was charging against Job (and, consequently, against all men) is that man does not choose to serve God because it is right and good, but that he serves God only for what he can get. God then permits Satan to test Job’s free will (and he is testing ours today) to see if he will serve God out of a moral sense that it is right to do so even when suffering in the world that God created. In Job’s case, God’s purpose in creation was vindicated: the creature chose to serve the Creator, glorifying the work of his hands. Our case is still pending today. Will I serve God because I am able to do so with a free will that recognizes right and wrong and chooses the right? Hope this answers your inquiry.

      Reply

      • cal4u
        May 22, 2012 @ 21:53:54

        Greetings Gene, sorry it’s taken a couple of days, but I’ve been busy with work.
        Thanks for sharing your belief about the true body of Christ. I am in agreement with you on most points. However I do disagree with some of your creeds. Your statement “Salvation is not achieved immediately but after life of service (Rom. 13:11)”. That is totally false. Salvation is immediate without works. Good works will follow salvation, but it is not the “guarantee” for salvation. That is a works based faith, works does not save a man, but the shed blood of Jesus Christ.Eph_2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
        To save time and space, please read my posting of “Predestined unto salvation….by the Will of God” oh by the way I’m not a Calvinist, I am aware of the TULIP creed, but I’ve never read Calvin’s works, nor have I read “Reformed Theology”, so I can’t discuss those works, I have no knowledge of them. I base my findings on the Lord’s word, nothing more. Again the whole point of God saving us is to get to know Him better, and have a relationship with Him, that is the most important of the body of Christ, to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and His will. All other “duties” for the believers will flow from that relationship, such as Loving Him more, getting to know His Will for your life, giving unto others as one is financially capable of. Edifying of the saints also will stem from growing in the knowledge of the Lord.
        Scriptures are:Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
        Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
        Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
        Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
        Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
        Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
        Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
        Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
        Php 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
        Php 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
        Php 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
        Php 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
        Php 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
        Also read Eph 2:1-22
        Eph 3:1-21
        Eph 4,5, and 6 actually the whole book of Ephesians pretty much sums it up what the body of Christ is to be according to the Purpose of God and His will for His pleasure.

        Now regarding “free will”, Adam and Eve were the only two that had moral free will, why? Because they were without sin. Sin did not enter into the picture until Eve was deceived and fell to the temptation and Adam along with her. Then through Adam sin entered the picture, therefore ALL of humanity was dead in trespasses and sin.
        Rom_3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
        Rom_5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
        So if we are dead how are we to be able to see light?
        How about these two scriptures:Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
        Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
        Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
        Now this scripture is one of many that proves salvation is instantaneous, works of salvation is NEVER mentioned here.Joh 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
        Has everlasting life, that means it’s done, otherwise Jesus would have said works would guarantee salvation. He never said any such thing.
        And no one can lose their salvation because Jesus said:
        Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
        Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
        Joh 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
        Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
        Now what is interesting is your statement, I quote “Will I serve God because I am able to do so with a free will that recognizes right and wrong and chooses the right?”
        The answer to your question is found in the very temptation that was offered to Eve in Gen_2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
        Gen_3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
        Gen_3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
        Satan told them they would have the power to ” know good and evil” . Therefore this is where the spirit of Pride, which was Satan’s downfall enters in. This lie was to make us think we would have the capability to choose good over bad and be as god and the Lord confirmed it in verse 22.
        The lie is we are made to think we have some good to be able to choose good over evil. Therefore we “think” we are free to choose God over evil. This is the basis for a works based salvation, which is a lie from satan! Because we think we are capable of choosing God because we are capable of choosing good! But God’s word continually says, we are dead and dwell in darkness and DO NOT SEEK HIM, unless He Draws us. For darkness never seeks light, we prefer dark. That is why there is no such thing as free will, until we are saved, and then it is an ongoing sanctification process, where the Lord must undo the works of Satan’s influence in our lives. That’s why Roman 6, 7, and 8 show the “working out process of sanctification”, but it’s totaly done and worked out by and through the working of the Holy Spirit, and not of “our” doing our best, that’s following the law, and the law kills.
        My friend your faith is based solely on your works, which is a complete denial of God’s Word, and not based on God’s grace given as a gift, freely given by His Will, and not anything you have done. Otherwise you deny the complete works of Jesus Christ death on the cross. And that is a denial of the total Gospel truth. For we can only be saved by and through the working power of the Holy Spirit which God gives to bring conviction of our sin, and we can only be sealed for salvation by being born of and by the Spirit of God. 2Co_1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
        Eph_1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
        You then are not saved if you deny this truth.
        That is the reality of your condition.
        The Lord bless you and I will be praying for you.

  10. Gene Jenkins
    Jun 08, 2012 @ 22:07:32

    Ok, Cal.. here I am, back after a LONG hiatus! First let me comment that I think you misunderstood what I was saying in my last posting. I totally agree with you on the fact that our salvation is not based upon works, this is true. What I was trying to emphasize was the fact that our gift of salvation is both given upon our confession of Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and, also, upon our remaining faithful unto our death…living a life that reflects God and our striving to be more and more like Him, each and every day. Having said this, we also must recognize that we can lose this gift by deviating from the path that we promised God we would follow. Works, so to speak, aren’t totally out of the picture. Paul spoke of “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col. 1:5-6). In his letter to Titus, Paul said those who are “justified by his grace” are “made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” But he immediately reminded Titus to warn the brethren “that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works” (Tit. 3:7-8). Peter held up before the brethren that “lively hope” = an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:3-5). We can maintain the hope and keep the inheritance sure only by continuing in obedient faith. A salvation not earned but achieved through a sustained faith leading unto ultimate salvation.

    Reply

  11. cal4u
    Jun 14, 2012 @ 08:07:54

    Greetings Gene, I must say that I have not misunderstood what you were saying, your words made it very clear: “Our case is still pending today. Will I serve God because I am able to do so with a free will that recognizes right and wrong and chooses the right?”
    You were and still are talking about a salvation of works. We are NOT free will agents as Adam and Eve were, for they were without sin. We are dead in trespasses and sins; Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
    Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And more:
    Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
    Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
    Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

    Man has NOT faith within him to believe in God, Godly Faith comes from God, it is a GIFT.
    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    “through faith”, it is this “faith” which is “not of yourselves” This faith is the “gift of God”.
    To think man has the capability to have this type of faith is nothing but pride when God’s word states we are DEAD in trespasses and sins, and have no Godly faith to live a Godly life. You are calling God’s word a lie, by believing you are capable of choosing “good” and following Him. Jesus said it Himself; Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. Actually God’s word also states this:
    Rom 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
    Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
    Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
    Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    So Gene, I do understand what you are saying, your words are very clear.
    Now once saved by God’s given grace of faith, which is a Gift from God for Himself, and His purposes, that person saved by the Lord will not and can not LOSE their salvation.Joh_3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Joh_3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
    So you see once someone is “born of God” by God is saved, they have “everlasting life”, and it is never followed after with a “but”.
    A work based faith however will teach that one must continually work FOR their salvation, for their salvation is NOT a gift, it is earned. And THAT Gene is your condition. You are not saved, “if” it is by your willful choice and doing.

    You are still dead in your trespasses and sins, therefor you are not saved. Your argument is not justified by God’s word.
    I pray the Lord will open your eyes to HIS truth, and not your own and the lies you do believe.

    Reply

  12. Gene Jenkins
    Jun 16, 2012 @ 11:30:58

    Ephesians 2: 8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    Cal you lean toward belief in the first part of these verses (gift, not of works) but omit the part “created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS”….”that we would walk in them”. Yes, our salvation is a free gift of God, yet there are stipulations. The passage indicates that only those who do the will of the Father will enter heaven. This teaches us that there is consistancy between the grace of God and what God requires of us.

    Reply

    • cal4u
      Jun 16, 2012 @ 19:28:29

      Gene, I did not willfully”omit” the other scriptures, for when you truly become born-again of God’s Spirit, then the “good Works” will and do follow as foreordained by God Himself; Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
      The word “should” means that His intention for Saving us was so that He will use us to do good works which will bring Him Glory and it is He who will “cause” us to do those good works. Mat_5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
      Tit_2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
      Tit_2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
      The good works being talked about here pertain to “good works” which will benefit men, and bring glory to the Lord:
      Tit 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
      Tit 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
      Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
      Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
      Tit 3:5 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;
      Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
      Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
      Tit 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

      Now concerning your statement; “our salvation is a free gift of God, yet there are stipulations. The passage indicates that only those who do the will of the Father will enter heaven. This teaches us that there is consistancy between the grace of God and what God requires of us.” The passage you are talking about says no such thing! You are twisting the meaning because the words are not there. Once we are saved by the Spirit of the Lord, by His will and not ours, we can not ever lose our eternal standing with the Lord, that is heresy, it’s calling the Lord a liar. Jesus said it Himself that He would not LOSE ONE person whom the Father has given Him! Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
      Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
      Joh 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
      Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

      Here is a statement made by Paul when writing to the Corinthians:
      1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
      1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
      1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

      So anyone who’s works were NOT acceptable, they shall suffer loss of reward, but they are STILL saved. WORKS do NOT AFFECT our Guaranteed Salvation, we will suffer loss, but not our salvation, why for we are HID in Christ, and He is our Righteousness, He paid for our sins, therefore we are complete in Him. Our salvation is based upon His Work, His Sacrifice, His shed Blood, He paid the price, we still are His, and as He said, everything the Father had given Him, and that means the Elect, He shall not lose anyone.

      I want to point out that it is you that seems to avoid all that I had wrote in my previous posting concerning Salvation by the Will of God, not man. You still are not addressing my question to you concerning your words. You seem to totally skip over it all, I find that rather disheartening and a bit on the sneaky dishonest side. When the Lord saves a chosen person, it is He that shall finish the work of Righteousness in our lives, He will cause us to walk in His Ways, He will Correct us, He will get us to obey Him, it is HE that works the works of sanctification within us.

      Still waiting for you to respond to my respond to you. If you keep on evading the issue, then there is no point in us carrying on a conversation. For it is one sided, and that is not just nor righteous behaviour. For the Lord said it Himself, that we must provide all things honest to all men, and to give answer when we are asked something concerning the hope, you speak of. Rom_12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 1Pe_3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

      Look forward to your response, have a great weekend!

      Reply

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