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How do you reach your Jewish friends for Christ?

Posted by truthtalklive on November 27, 2007

Todays Guest is Dr. Michael Brown (www.icnministries.org

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54 Responses to “How do you reach your Jewish friends for Christ?”

  1. Stu,

    I realize that I am hanging the content of this response on a small hook from the beginning of the show, but I really wish you wouldn’t use the term, “replacement theology” because it is not just provocative, but it is a blatant misrepresentation of the position it is attempting to encapsulate. The term is born out of a dispensational misunderstanding of what covenant theology (the term you should use instead) actually teaches.

    Mike,

    I’m not sure what theology you were specifically refering to when you mentioned that a certain “unbiblical teaching” had lead Christians to antisemetism, but if it was amillennialism to which you were refering, the fact that some group of persons in history belived that doctrine yet had used it to draw incorrect conclusions does not make the suspect doctrine invalid…that is the slippery slope fallacy. Just like the doctrine of easy-believism alone does not make dispensational teaching formally invalid. Likewise with Hagee’s dangerous misunderstanding by itself, does not render the dispensational theology of which it is a symptom invalid, though I believe it can be demonstrated as invalid from the scriptures.

    jAsOn

  2. Jason,

    Thanks for your email. First, in terms of your comment to Sut, I strongly agree with the term “replacement theology” because of some its basic tenets (and I am not a dispensationalist). For more on this, see my book Our Hands Are Stained with Blood. The technical term, supercessionism, is rightly used by many scholars. Second, as to how this teaching opened up a flood gate of anti-Semitism — no slippery slope argument here; only historical observation — I would encourage you to read the Dan Cohn Sherbok’s book The Crucified Jew to give you more of a Jewish perspective on all this. Also, to give you insight into the many wrong teachings that entered the Church because of supercessionism, see the excellent study of Ronald Diprose, Israel and the Church.

    I apologize in advance for not having the time to engage in a lengthy e-exchange here, but I trust that the works to which I have referred you will be good starting points for understanding my position. Also, note that Hagee’s viewed are not explicitly tied in with dispensationlsim.

    Blessings and grace,

    Dr. Brown

  3. Kenneth said

    I didn’t get to hear the show, but I would like to say that Paul made a distinction between the Jew, gentile and the Church.

    Hagee’s beliefs concerning Israel and the Jewish people are extreme. That is not dispensational theology, at least not what Darby, Chafer taught.

    We could also say that those Christians who consider themselves “messianic Jew” are also in error, at least based on Paul’s teachings.

    I, as a dispensationalist, would also say that covenant theology is in error for not making a distinction between earthly Israel with its physical blessings and heavenly Church with its spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. Thus perserverance of the saints is nothing but Old Covenant law based sanctification – no wonder so many reformed adherents are constantly asking God to forgive them. Under a law based system, a beleiver will constantly fail and feel as though God is going to “get them”.

    Then again, I’m a dispensationalist so I’m probably misunderstanding the TULIP. And easy-believism isn’t associated with classic dispensationalism. That false teaching was begun by people such as Finney.

    For more information on dispensational theology – what Darby, Chafer, etc. taught – http://www.WithChrist.org

  4. Mike,

    Thanks for your response. Perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying in the show, but I thought you may have been speaking about Covenant Theology (CT) at large. I would only take issue with your response if you intended to say that “supersesionism” was a suffecient cause of anti-Semitism, pr that because of those occurances in history, CT was proven formally invalid. I know of a couple in the past, but there are few, if any, CT or Amil guys that would refer to themselves as supersessionists. Below I have included a quote by Dr. Sam Waldron, a notable Reformed Baptist and Amillennialist.

    “Usually (not always—I have seen it used with reference to Islam being supersessionist) the reference is in some way to the idea that Christianity supercedes Judaism. Liberal-leaning churches today reject supersessionism as anti-semitic. Dispensational-leaning individuals reject supersessionism as opposed to the idea of a future restoration of Israel and asserting the replacement of Israel by the Church in the purposes of God. Conservative and especially Calvinistic Christianity and especially Presbyterianism is widely viewed as supersessionist. Catholicism is viewed as supersessionist because it replaces sacerdotal Jewish ceremonies with sacerdotal Christian ones.

    Third, let me observe that this terminology is clearly pejorative. My investigation leads me to the conclusion that supersessionism and with it replacement theology are highly pejorative phrases which generally convey a theologically extreme and hermeneutically insensitive view that the Church simply and willy-nilly has replaced Israel in God’s promises and purposes. In this sense identifying myself as supersessionist would be like identifying myself as holding “sabbatarianism” or as being “puritanical.” At any rate, it is clear that it is mainly and almost exclusively the opponents of my position that have developed and deployed the terminology of supersessionism and replacement theology. It is not in my own experience and study the proponents of Amilennialism or Covenant Theology that have used this terminology to describe their position.” http://www.mctsowensboro.org/blog/?p=129

  5. Kenneth,

    As a CT, I too make a distinction between ethnically Jewish persons and Gentiles.

    I also believe Hagee’s teachings are extreme, and are not representative of dispentationalism in any of its historical forms: Darby, Chafer, Scoffield, or Ryrie, but I know he counts himself amoung dispentationalists and my point was that, just because he taught those things it did not render dispensationalism invalid, just like Roman Catholic sacerdotal supersessionism does not render CT or Amil invalid.

    CT DOES make a distinction between “earthly Israel” and “heavenly church”. CT sees the church and spiritual Israel as the same body, and makes a distinction between “earthly” and spiritual Israel as Paul does in Romans 9.

    I think that you do perhaps misunderstand the Reformed doctrine of the perseverence of the saints. We believe that all of those who God has saved will most definately show fruit of that belief; they will continue to have faith, by the Spirit. Sir, I hope that you too are constantly asking God to forgive you because, like all of us Christians saved by grace, you have not yet been glorified. The charge of continual repentance is one that myself and my reformed brothers and sisters will proudly accept. If you think that the Reformed faith is characterized by a “law-based” system, then you have no real understanding of what we believe. You would do very well yourself to have such a high view of God’s holiness and such a low view of your own righteousness that you would be driven, not back to the 10 commandments (that’s what we use to see our great need) but to the cross…day in and day out.

    I have been working through a series on CT and Dispensationalism on my blog http://sjep.blogspot.com/search/label/Theology%3A%20Hermeneutics perhaps we would both benefit from your inteaction there.

    In Christ,

    jAsOn

  6. Kenneth said

    Mike,
    I’ll have to study some more on the issue of covenant theology and its concept of perserverance of the saints, and its relationship to Israel.

    But, i strongly disagree with you concerning continually asking for God’s forgiveness. How much more forgiveness can we gain than that received though the blood of Jesus Christ? Repentance in no way means asking God to forgive you. And since when does God’s forgiveness depend on our asking Him for it, especially as believers? All my sins were paid for at the cross of Christ. Calvinists believe in “eternal security” yet you believe you must continually ask for God’s forgiveness. Either you are totally forgiven in Christ Jesus or you are working your way to salvation. Also, in case you are leaning that way, sin never breaks fellowship with God – the wages of sin is always death, not loss of fellowship. We, as classic dispensationalists place high regard on God’s holiness and our insufficiency. We also understand our identification with Christ Jesus and all the spiritual blessings in Him – Colossians 1-3.

    In Christ, Kenneth

  7. Jeff said

    Kenneth,

    Are you saying that as a believer you never confess sin and ask for forgiveness? Wouldn’t this fly in the face of the Scriptures? Here are a couple that immediately jump to mind:

    Luke 11:2-4
    And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
    “Father, hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come.
    [3] Give us each day our daily bread,
    [4] and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
    And lead us not into temptation.”

    1 John 1:8-10
    If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

  8. jAsOn said

    Kenneth,

    At the moment of our salvation, God justifies us by faith because of what Christ did in His life and on the cross. Even after the moment in time when God has applied the righteousness of Christ to us; counted us righteous (Rom 4, and 2 Cor. 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.) we still sin after that. No, this sin does not “unjustify” us, nor does it break our fellowship with God through Christ.

    1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    John is including himself, as a believer here, he says “we”.

    Jesus Himself said this, in Luke 11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

    Christ taught His disciples, and us mind you, that we ought to ask forgivness.

    Your misunderstanding of Calvinism has lead you to a “false dilemma”, yes, we do believe that once God sets Christ’s righteousness upon a person he is forever justified in His eyes however, we are at the same time: justified and sinners…as Paul speaks in Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    There is no contextual or linguistic reason in the above passage to assert that Paul is refering to himself before he was saved.

    You said, “Either you are totally forgiven in Christ Jesus or you are working your way to salvation.” All of those who God has justified have peace with God eternally, but as John, Jesus and Paul all show through Holy Writ, those who have been justified will remain sinners…not in Adam, but in Christ, yet still capable of sin until we are glorified.

    You really should try to better understand an opposing position before you criticise it.

    I know your stated theology “place[s] high regard on God’s holiness and our insufficiency”, but if you some how still find yourself thinking that you are no longer in need of repentance or forgiveness after you have been justified, then there is a disconnect somewhere as you are applying your theology to your practice.

    1 Cor. 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    1 Cor. 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain.

    Justification is a one time event, but we are still “being saved”, which is, we are still being sanctified by faith and one day in His presence, we will finally be glorified; incapable of sin!

    jAsOn

  9. Kenneth,

    In response to your comment to Jason about continually asking for forgiveness. One is declared righteous and forgiven at the time of justification. Covenant theologians embrace that with joy. Nevertheless, there is a sense in which 1 John 1:9 applies daily, as well as The Lord’s (the disciples’ prayer) calls us to pray. “Forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4). 1 John 1:9 says confess your sins (literally, keep on confessing) and not “ask forgiveness”, but it goes on to say “He is faithful and just to forgive us”. Therefore, confession is the same as asking for forgiveness and it is to be an ongoing activity for Christians. Does this mean we are getting saved over and over again? Does this mean that we will not be saved if we don’t continue to do it? Only in the sense that continual repentance and recognition of your sin is a true sign that you are a believer. The SOLE ground of our justification is the righteousness of Christ. It is not our confession of sin. But a sign of true believers is the humility that comes as a result of regeneration. That humility will be seen in the regular confession of sin and asking forgiveness. Does that make sense? We have to do something with these verses. We cannot ignore plain texts because they do not fit with our system of doctrine.

  10. jAsOn said

    Hi Jeff and Vinnie, it looks like we all had the same thoughts at about the same time 🙂

  11. jAsOn said

    Kenneth,

    Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  12. Dan said

    A few points to have in mind:

    (1) Religious Jews view the pronouncing of God’s name as forbidden. I guess that doesnt matter much since most professed christians dont use it anyway and have removed it entirely from their bible translations.

    (2) Most Jews think of “the Bible” as a Christian book, but if you refer to the old testament as “the Hebrew Scriptures,” “the Scriptures,” or “the Torah,” that problem does not arise.

    (3) Tradition is a central part of their faith and is viewed by many religious Jews as equal in authority with the Scriptures.

    (4) They may associate Jesus Christ with the brutal persecution experienced by the Jews at the hands of Christendom in the name of Jesus. There is a lot of aweful and unfortunately very real history of this.

    (5) They frequently believe that God requires the Jews to keep the Sabbath, which belief includes refraining from handling money on that day.

    You might say:

    ‘We worship the God of Abraham. We are especially interested in the matter of religious truth. Do you mind if I ask how you determine what is true, especially in view of the fact that there are great differences of beliefs among Jewish people? (of course they may come back at you by pointing out that there is likewise great differences of beliefs among christians). . . (Deut. 4:2; Isa. 29:13, 14; Ps. 119:160)’

    Or:

    ‘We are keenly interested in God’s promise to Abraham that through his seed people of all nations will be blessed. (Gen. 22:18)’

    If the person expresses lack of faith in God, ask whether he has always felt that way. Then perhaps discuss why God has permitted wickedness and suffering. Memories of the Nazi holocaust have caused many Jews to be concerned about this.

    When you discuss the Messiah talk first about the future blessings under his rule, instead of his identity. Then reason on texts that point to a personal Messiah. (Gen. 22:17, 18; Zech. 9:9, 10; Dan. 7:13, 14)

    When referring to Jesus, do so in a context that emphasizes the progressive nature of God’s purpose. Mention that when Jesus taught, the time was near when God allowed the second temple to be destroyed, never to be rebuilt. But Jesus emphasized the fulfillment of the Law and of the Prophets and the glorious future to which these would direct persons with faith.

    Hope this helps.

  13. jAsOn said

    Thanks Dan,

    There is one thing about which I have a question. In your first point, you said, “Religious Jews view the pronouncing of God’s name as forbidden. I guess that doesnt matter much since most professed christians dont use it anyway and have removed it entirely from their bible translations.”

    I don’t understand what you meant when you said that most professed Christians don’t use God’s name, and that they have removed it from their translations. Their are many good english translations, ESV, NASB, NKJV, NIV…granted, some are better than others. Please elaborate.

    jAsOn

  14. Kenneth said

    I don’t have time to go into an exposition of 1 John 1 or what is referred to as the “Lord’s prayer” but as a brief explanation – classic dispensationalism makes a distinction between Christ’s teachings before His crucifixion, when He was Himself under the Old Covenant to fullfill all righteousness.

    We also need to understand for what purpose John’s first epistle was written and to whom, about whom. He states over and over that it is an “if” situation and broadly includes “we” as in all people, not specifically believers. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” – so where is the believer? When is the believer ever out of the Light of Christ?

    I’ll address the other issues that have been raised later on. Until then, you can visit http://www.WithChrist.org for classic dispensationalism and also http://www.RealAnswers.net concerning 1 John 1:9 and the “disciple’s prayer”.

    In Christ,
    Kenneth

  15. ADB said

    Jason-

    In Hebrew the name of God is YHWH (yahweh). This was rendered in some early English translations as Jehovah (inserting the vowels for the Adonai, the generic Hebrew for “my lord” into an English equivalent for the Hebrew consanants from yahweh. It is not that the name for God is taken out of translations now, it is that it is rendered differently. In the OT whenever you see the word “Lord” written in smallcaps, it is referring to the divine name yahweh. This is done rather than to use Jehovah, because Jehovah really isn’t a Hebrew word at all. If “lord” appears in normal font it refers to adon (lord, master, etc.) or adonai (my lord). Ancient Hebrews did regard it to be sacrilege to speak the name of God. I visited a synagogue once and when the rabbi read from the Torah scroll he spoke “adon” whenever the word yahweh appeared in the written text. The translations you mentioned are good, and I in particular like the ESV. Sometimes for a different take on the OT I will look at the Jewish translation which they call the “tanakh.”

    Hope this helps.

  16. Kenneth said

    It seems this is beginning to get off topic. I apologize for my part in it. In regards to my issues with “asking forgiveness”, repent nor confess mean “ask forgiveness”. If so, how can we “confess the Lord Jesus”?

    The crux of the matter is a Biblical understanding of New Covenant Christianity – specifically Paul’s letters to the churches. This goes back to my adherence to classic dispensationalism – which I believe is crucial to interpreting the Scriptures and applying the text to my life in context.

    God bless you all.
    In Christ our Creator and Savior,
    Kenneth(hopefully we agree that He is Creator and Savior)

    Again, I apologize for my part in taking this thread off topic.

  17. Kenneth,

    I have read the explaination of 1 John 1:9 on realanswers,net. I believe that you and the authors of that site misuderstand several things:

    1. There is a distinction between the accomplishment of Christ and the application of that accomplishment.
    2. Believing that Christ’s work on the cross is finished and that believers are commanded (yes, commanded) to confess their sins to one another and to God are not mutually exclusive ideas.
    3. The confession of our sins does not cause our forgiveness, but is part of our sanctification. We are not saying that confession causes God to “re-justify” us, so it isn’t helpful to argue against a doctrine your opponent doesn’t hold.
    4. realanswers.net commits the “either or” fallacy by saying that either you believe that saved individuals don’t need to confess their sins or you “negate the good news of Christ’s finished work on the cross”.
    5. Also an “either or” fallacy: either you believe that saved individuals don’t need to confess their sins or you are expecting Christ to come back down and die again.

    Here is an excerpt from the “exegesis” realanswers.net has to offer on 1 John 1:9.

    “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin (verse 7). In other words, if we walk in the light (are saved) we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. To put it another way, once we are saved, we are permanently in the fellowship because the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all sin. Therefore, we aren’t forgiven because we confess our sins. We are forgiven because of what Christ did for us on the cross.

    If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (verse 8). John is now addressing the belief the Gnostics had regarding sin because they didn’t believe it was real and therefore believed they had no sin. The “we” John is using here doesn’t refer to believers. He is referring to the Gnostics, who believed they were without sin. Because they claimed to be without sin, then they were only deceiving themselves and the truth (Jesus) was not in them.

    However, verse 9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. In other words, if the Gnostics were to confess they had sins, then God, Who is faithful and righteous, would forgive and cleanse them from their unrighteousness. In the Greek language, the words “forgive” and “cleanse” mean past actions that have results today and will continue to have results in the future. Also, the word “all” used in these verses means all. It doesn’t mean that we are cleansed of our past sins and our past unrighteousness, it means we were cleansed of all our unrighteousness. And if God cleanses us from all unrighteousness, then we are cleansed forever!

    If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives (verse 10). Basically this verse is a repeat of verse 8. To put it simply, it means that the Gnostics can’t claim to be without sin and yet be saved. John is saying that because the Gnostics claimed they had no sin, they were actually calling God a liar and therefore didn’t know the truth.”

    This author is actually claiming that the “we” in verse 7 (in which group John includes himself)mysteriously changes from John and the believers in the churches within which the letter would circulate to the “we” of the gnostic persons in their area in the first century (in which group John also includes himself)? There is no contextual or linguistic reason for believing such an absurd thing. The real problem here is that no real exegesis is being done; the author has adopted the dispensational system and must force those verses which oppose his resulting doctrines by twisting the scripture to be consistant with his tradition.

    I too was once a dispensationalist who attended a local dispensational school at night, local dispensational churches, and grew up in a dispensational home, but one of the final straws leading me to the hermenutic I presently claim (covenant theology) was the stark contrast between the fallacious, eisegetical scholarship of dispensational authors and the careful, biblically literate exegesis offered by the authors who approach the Scriptures from a redeemptive-historical hermenutic (CT).

    Kenneth, again, I hope you will visit my blog and interact with the some of the articles I have posted there.

    As for the comment regarding Jesus’ teaching being different before the cross…another dispensational maligning of the Word of God.

    Just a probing question to satisfy my own curiosity, Kenneth, would Christ have had to die on the cross if the nation of Israel had accepted Him as their King?

  18. ADB said

    I want to address this issue of believers confessing sin. It seems to me that of course we should confess sin frequently even though it’s not a matter of salvation. We must remember that the Christian life is not merely justification. To use an analogy, the wedding ceremony establishes the marriage covenant. It only lasts a few minutes while the marriage lasts a lifetime (hopefully in today’s world!) As life goes on it is a given that one spouse or the other will wrong the other. If that is not confessed and forgiveness sought, the relationship is damaged even though the marriage is not ended. Seeking forgiveness from God keeps the relationship healthy aside from the fact that it’s always a good practice to “keep short accounts” with our maker.

    A curmudgeonly pastor and teacher 🙂

  19. Well, these posts have taken an interesting turn from the initial topic and, again, I’m sorry I don’t have time to dive in to the whole discussion with everyone. Maybe one day I can do a show about these important topics too and then take some live calls. Blessings on each of you!

  20. Jeff said

    Jason,

    You said,
    “In the Greek language, the words “forgive” and “cleanse” mean past actions that have results today and will continue to have results in the future.”

    This is a mistake. The verbs translated “forgive” and “cleanse” are actually aorist subjuctives. They have not reference to time at all but are part of the purpose clause signified by “hina.” I think you may have confused the aorist subjunctive with the perfect.

  21. Jeff said

    oops – should be “subjunctive”

  22. Kenneth said

    Jason,

    This is not the space for us to debate covenant theology and classic dispensationalism.

    Why would I debate you any way? I’m still studying the issues, leaned toward calvinism, now lean toward classic dispensationalism(which is different than ultra/progressive and even traditional). You have already made up your mind on the issue and no matter what someone else says, you are bound by your C.T. interpretation.

    It seems to me that you don’t understand the meaning of confession or repentance. Neither means “ask forgiveness”. There are Greek and Hebrew words that mean specifically that. I believe you are misunderstanding both the author at RealAnswers as well as classic dispensationalism.

    As for your last question: Let Christ Himself answer the question – He made it clear that His time on earth was not to establish an earthly Kingdom. That is why so many disciples forsook Him. Paul as well expressed the Kingdom of God is Heavenly. God’s purpose hasn’t been necessarily to establish an earthly Kingdom but to reconcile the world unto Himself.

    Take care.
    In Christ,
    Kenneth

  23. jAsOn said

    Jeff,

    You were addressing me, but I think you meant to address Kenneth in that last quote.

    Kenneth,

    I don’t know why you are apologizing for your part in this discussion unless you feel that it hasn’t been edifying. If I have offended you in any of my comments; if any of them have been less than charitable, then I ask your forgiveness (no play on our current topic intended).

    I have posted an article on my blog concerning this topic of forgiveness, perhaps we can have further interaction there at, http://sjep.blogspot.com/

    jAsOn

  24. Jeff said

    Sorry. It was in the middle of your post and I got confused.

  25. Kenneth said

    Hey,
    Just one question: Why can we not find Paul telling the people in his epistles to “ask God for forgiveness”?

    All I can find is “renew your mind” and “walk in the Spirit”, etc.

    He doesn’t deny that he still sins, yet I can’t find him telling the believers “Come on guys – Our Father….forgive us our sins. Lord we are confessing our sins in order for You to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, yet again. Restore us to the fellowship based on our asking You to forgive us.”

    Just doesn’t make sense to me. Either we are completely forgiven of our sins or we are not. Sin cause death – that is Scriptural. Death is seperation, not annihilation, nor does it mean losing fellowship. If I am held accountable by God for any sin, just one sin, then who’s blood can I shed for redemption?

    How can we “keep short accounts” with Almighty God who knows every thought and deed? The teaching that is espoused concerning a believer “asking forgiveness continualy” makes me flee to the cross of Christ more than the law. C.T. has broken away from Rome, yet still holds Romish traditions – Penance and indulgences have been exchanged for “asking God for forgiveness” and “keeping short accounts”.

    The issue is sin, which since Genesis 3, has always produced spiritual seperation from the Creator. That is what makes the blood, the body, the death, the resurrection, the ascension of Jesus Christ so very important. Sin never causes breaking fellowship with God – it causes death, always.

    My C.T. friends have degraded sin to a smack on the hand by God. That’s not what my Bible says. A believer asking God to forgive them is unnecessary – we are already totally forgiven in Christ Jesus. I am forever “in the Light” because the Light is in me. I, like Paul, am a wretched man. Yet, in Christ, I am seated in the heavenlies, a joint heir with Christ – Colossians 1-3

    And, this gives me no right to continue in sin. And, no this doesn’t mean I will never be chastened by God or grieve the Holy Spirit. And no, this does not mean that I never confess my sins to God or other people.

    I understand the Biblical concept of confession. I also understand the great price that Christ paid on my behalf. So, instead of asking God’s forgiveness(that which I have already received in Christ Jesus), I praise Him for the forgiveness I already have in Christ Jesus and daily renew my mind in His Word and pray for His Spirit to increase in my life and my flesh to decrease. In essence, my desire is to walk in the Spirit.

    I was taught as a new Christian the concept of “asking forgiveness” and God was always just waiting to get me any time I sinned. Every service, we would run to the altar to beg God’s fogiveness and tell Him “I rededicate my life to You and promise I won’t do that sin again”. Of course the following Sunday it repeated again, and again, and again. The concept of keeping short accounts and asking God to forgive you as a believer takes your eyes off Christ and puts it on you and your own strength to make things right with God by asking forgiveness and living by the law.

    No thank you.
    In Christ, Kenneth

  26. ADB said

    Kenneth,

    I do believe you fundamentally misunderstand my point. There is nothing about works or lack of grace in what I say, or perhaps I did not explain it well enough. Anyway, this is not at an issue of having to run to an altar every time I sin, or to fear that God’s going to toss me into Hell every time I sin. What is at stake here is my relationship with Christ. Unless you are a person who can live a totally sinless life after salvation, there are sins. As I said before, our walk with the Lord is a relationship, it is not static. Having lots of unconfessed sins, living life totally without self-examination will naturally harm one’s relationship with Christ. Christ himself told us to pray “forgive us our debts/trepasses.” That was a prayer for the disciples, those who were already in Christ, not for unbelievers. This really has nothing to do with covenant theology or dispensationalism. Does a believer who strays off into various sorts of gross sin (assuming that he does not lose salvation) have as good a relationship with Christ as someone who is truly yielded to the Spirit and walking in the Spirit? The answer is obviously no. Interesting that you would mention the Law, it is not null and void even though it has no power to save anyone. I recognize that you are not a Calvinist, but Calvin’s 3rd use of the Law is instructive. He said that the Law served as a guide for believers to show them the will of God and serve as a guide to them. Please believe that I do not at all intend any of this with ill-intention, but I, apparently like some others who posted above, fear that you have been poorly taught. I wish you the best.

  27. Mike Sears said

    Guys these last few posts have been very edifying for me. I was not aware that Paul does not teach believers to ask God for forgiveness anywhere in his epistles. I took the time this morning and skimmed through them all just to confirm. While I’m not convinced that we should not confess our sins to God, I think it is a very healthy condition of a believer to look at his own sin (while hating it) with such a confidence that we have already received God’s forgiveness for them. Doing such keeps us from dwelling on the sin. If we think that we have to keep coming back and asking for forgiveness (for our many, many and oft sins) then I do agree that we are giving way too much power to the sin in our lives. Paul’s example teaches us that we should not spend our time living at the “Foot of the Cross” whereby we receive (or rather, have received) such forgiveness, but to live “Beyond the Cross” which is a “Spirit filled life”!

    However, I still believe that we are clearly taught as believers to “Confess” our sins. There are times when we, as believers, have a tendency to be blinded (or to blind ourselves) from our sins and that we must “Acknowledge” them before God. But knowing that Christ’s work has already covered our sins, past, present and future, this allows us to “not dwell on” these sins but to be confident that Christ’s work is FINISHED, and we are thus assured of such forgiveness whether we ASK for it or not! And we can be confident!! Hebrews 4:16, Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

    Thanks guys for prompting me to think about this and explore this morning. God’s Word and His precious Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher!! Blessings and have a great weekend!! Mike

  28. Kenneth said

    ADB,
    Thanks for your concern. First, my relationship with God is in complete rigteousness – I am in Christ Jesus the Righteous. Relational separation occurred at the fall of man(Gen 3) and we in Adam are estranged from the commonwealth – yet, through the blood of Jesus Christ, I have now been reconciled to God(II Cor 5) and am now a child of God(John 3) never to come into condemnation. Sin causes death. If my sin breaks my relationship with God, then I do lose my salvation. Then we have a whole new problem of what must I do to be resaved.

    The big problem I have with your and others thoughts is where is the Holy Spirit in all of this? Is it not His job to convict us of sin? No one is sinless but Christ – yet in Christ, God looks at me as if I have never sinned positionally. Practically, my walk should be a walk of faith, in submission to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to live His life through me.

    What do I do when I sin? I confess it(agree with God that it is sin) as God the Spirit reveals it to me that it is sin. I repent(change my mind about said sin to come into agreement with God, according to His word). And I thank God for the forgiveness that I have already received in Christ Jesus. Then I renew my mind in His word guided by His Spirit(Romans 12) and I pray for Him, through His Spirit indwelling me, to increase and for me to decrease because I am hid in Christ(Col 1-3).

    And if the disciples were already in Christ at the time of the giving of the “disciples prayer” then why did Christ in John 20 tell them to receive the Holy Spirit as He breathed upon them? Paul said if you have not the Spirit of God in you, then you are none of His. The disciples didn’t have the indwelling Holy Spirit at the time of the giving of the “disciples prayer”.

    Again, as a classic dispensationalist, I make a distinction between Christ’s teachings before the cross/burial/resurrection/ascension and after these events happened. How else can we explain the teachings of Paul(Eph 4:32; Col 2:13) in relation to what the Lord(Luke 6:37) taught in the gospels? Understand that Jesus was under the Law to fulfill the Law in order that He would be our Propitiation. He has not destroyed the Law, but He has fulfilled it through His perfect obedience – Paul says the Law is our schoolmaster to make us flee to Christ. Nevermind what Calvin said. What does Paul say about the Law? Paul said the Spirit was our Guide and He would show us the Father’s will.

    Thank you for your comments, yet I would still disagree. Going back to my previous posts: Sin = death! Never loss of fellowship. Confession = agreement with God! Never forgiveness of sin. Repentance = change of mind in accordance with God’s word! Never forgiveness of sin.

    In Christ, Kenneth

  29. Jeff said

    Kenneth,

    So then, according to your theology, is the sermon on the mount applicable to believers today?

    I fear that you are reading the scriptures through the lens of your theology, and not the other way around. It seem to me that to pit Paul against Jesus is a serious hermeneutic mistake. And your attemts to explain away the plain teaching of verses like 1 John 1:9 don’t carry much weight unless one shares your dispensational presuppositions. John is clearly writing to believers and includes himself in that group with “we.” And he does use the word “forgive” in his “if/then” construction. And it is an aorist subjunctive, which bears no reference to time, only to the main verb in the sentence. It definitely does not mean a past completed action with continuing results in the present. That would be a perfect, not an aorist subjunctive.

    Positionally, we are all forgiven of all our sins (past, present, and future) the moment we trust Christ by grace. We are justified by God, never to be unjustified. But this fact does not remove God’s discipline when we sin. Sin can still harm our relationship with God. It can still cause Him not to hear our prayers. It can still bring severe consequences in the life of a believer. When we agree with God and repent of our sin, he forgives (temporal forgiveness, not eternal) us and restores the closeness of our relationship.

    You can see a perfect example of this in David (Psalm 51). His sin brought terible misery into his life. This was only removed after his repentance. Did David cease to be a believer when he sinned? Or, did God chastise him for his sin and lead him to repentance and restoration? I think it was the latter.

    My desire here is not to win an argument. I am truly concerned that your “theology” is leading you astray. I know you experienced pain regarding this issue early in life and that dispensationalism may hve eased that pain, but I think ther is a better way to understand the Scriptures.

  30. Mike Sears said

    I seriously do not see much distinction in the differences being discussed here. I see the common ground as the confession/acknowledgement and then repentance of sin. The distinction seems to be the continual asking for forgiveness which can really be taken too far to the extent where we place too much emphasis on the sin. For what it’s worth. Certainly not something to divide over.

  31. Kenneth said

    Hey Mike, great posts. The issue truly is whether we should or should not be, as believers, asking God to forgive us of sins in order to be restored to fellowship. Scripture just doesn’t justify that, especially when the wages of sin(any sin) is always death – never, ever loss of fellowship with God. It is total separation from God and that sin must be paid for with blood. Either we are totally forgiven, or we are not. My Covenant theology friends just don’t understand the issue here.

    Jeff, thanks for your concern and your comments. No, the sermon on the mount is not binding to believers today. All scripture is God breathed, but not all Scripture is applicable to Christians. Otherwise, we would be bound to the Law and sacrificial system. I haven’t pitted Paul against Jesus. I am simply stated a Biblically based contextual understanding of the Word of God. During Jesus’ earthly ministry He did things according to the Law of Moses. After He visited Paul on the road to Damascus, He didn’t tell Paul “I have called you, and you will continue to keep the Mosaic law in order to show forth the kingdom of God.” No, He told Paul of the mystery – Christ in you, the Hope of glory. Christ said “forgive and you will be forgiven.” He told the disciples to pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” He, through the Holy Spirit, told Paul to pen “forgive as you have been forgiven.” It is obvious to me that there are two messages given by the Lord. One was while He was Himself bound by the law. The other, after He had fulfilled all righteousness.

    We must interpret 1 John 1:9, not as a sole verse for living but it must be interpretted in context to the rest of the New Testament epistles. And no where in all of Scripture does it say a believer receives “forgive[ness] of sin and cleans[ing] from all unrighteousness” based upon our confession. And by the way, how many times can a person be cleansed from “ALL unrighteousness”? Did John mean all up and including the point of confession, then it is to be repeated in order to be cleansed from all again? Or did it mean all, as in all past, present, and future?

    Also, David(Psalm 51) was a believer, yet not indwelt with the Spirit of God continually. He could, in essence, lose his salvation. He was, like Christ, bound by the law of Moses, under the Old Covenant of God.

    I honestly don’t think you understand my theology. I do believe God chastens those He loves. I do believe I can lose the joy of my salvation through sin. I do believe I can grieve the Holy Spirit through my sin. Yet, there is no Biblical proof to warrant me “asking God to forgive” sin that is already forgiven. All chastening is for spiritual growth and maturity. It is not to make us ask for something that we already have in Christ.

    And, again, thanks for your concern. I do not believe we will come to an agreement on this issue. I have been where you are, and believed what you believe. I have no need to go back to that. I understand my identification in and with Christ Jesus my Savior. If I am going astray, I have confidence that He will guide me back. Yet, in two years since I came to understand this crucial and Biblical teaching of forgiveness, He has taught me more about my relationship with Him and His finished work on my behalf than in the 7 yrs of my previous Christian walk.

    In Christ, Kenneth

  32. Jeff said

    Kenneth,

    I am not questioning your salvation. That’s between you and the Lord. From what I read in your posts, you seem to love Christ and desire to honor Him. But your theology is troubling to me. I’ve heard that dispensationalists do not believe that the Sermon on the Mount applies to believers, but I’ve never actually talked to anyone who holds that view, until now. 🙂 It seems weird that one would claim to be a Christian and yet say that Christ’s commands don’t apply to you. This certainly does not seem to be what Christ was teaching.

    John 14:15
    “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

    John 14:24
    Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

    John 15:10
    If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

    Luke 6:46-49
    “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? [47] Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: [48] he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. [49] But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

    You said, “All scripture is God breathed, but not all Scripture is applicable to Christians.” This also doesn’t seem to be consistent with Paul’s teaching.

    2 Tim. 3:16-17
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

    You also said, “And no where in all of Scripture does it say a believer receives “forgiveness of sin and cleansing from all unrighteousness” based upon our confession.” But that is exactly what 1 John 1:9 does say. He works in us to confess and then forgives us when we do. One clarificaiton: Christ is the “basis” of our forgiveness, our confession is the instrument.

    Again, I think you are reading Scripture through the lens of your theology – making the Scriptures fit your theology – instead of letting the Scriptures shape your theology.

    We are called as Christian to obey Christ (1 Peter 1:2). Paul confessed to being under “the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). It is dangerous to teach contrary to this.

    God works in us to will and do according to His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12, 13), and without good works faith is dead (James 2). By the way, if the Sermon on the Mount is not applicable to Christians, why did James spend so much ink expounding it? Many have noticed that James seems to be a commentary of the Sermon on the Mount.

    Just to clarify, I do not believe that we are saved by works in any form or fashion. But I do believe that we are saved unto good works, and without them no one is truly saved (see 1 John). We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-10). And I also do not believe that we must confess each and every sin we commit in order to be saved, nor do I think this is what 1 John teaches. But we will have a repentant heart that keeps “short accounts” with God. His Spirit lives in us and will see to that. He convicts us of your sin, leads us to confess and repent, forgives and cleanses, and empowers us to live in renewed obedience to Christ. Salvation from A to Z is by grace alone, through Christ alone.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post. May God continue to grow us all up in his salvation. And may we ever be able to discuss our differences in Christian love.

    God bless!

  33. Kenneth said

    Jeff,

    Thanks for your response. Again, context is everything. Paul said all scripture was God-breathed, inspired and profitable for certain things. Yet, it was he who told the Galatians to not be Judaizers and be bound with the yoke of bondage under a law they could not keep.

    You must admit that we are not bound by all of Scripture, otherwise where is your animal sacrifice and why do you not keep the Biblical sabbaths?

    You still have not answered my questions: Why did Christ say to “forgive and be forgiven” and Paul say “forgive as you have been forgiven”? How many times can a believer be cleansed from “all unrighteousness”? When can a believer ever be out of the Light? When does forgiveness of sins take place, at the cross or at confession for each known sin?

    And we all have our bias’ according to our theology. Covenant theologians are no different, why else do they quote Calvin and Augustine so much.

    Seems to me that y’alls problem is with me saying a believer does not have to ask for forgiveness of sins any more. Why? Because I have confidence that my Savior finished the work He said He would? Because I trust in the finished work of Christ on my behalf? Bottom line is y’all have still not addressed the issue between Christ in the Gospels and Christ in Paul’s epistles. Y’all still have not addressed the issue of the wages of sin, nor why forgiveness of sins is so crucial to the children of Adam.

    For some reason y’all are under the impression that I just look over my sins and live my life any way I want to. That is not the case at all. Reread my posts above.

    We fail Him constantly, yet we as believers are already forgiven. My relationship was restored in Christ. If my sins can break that relationship/fellowship, then I lose my salvation. If God turns His back on me because of my sins, until I confess and ask forgiveness, then whie His back is turned I am separated from Him and again I have lost my salvation. Surely you don’t teach loss of salvation and the book of Hebrews assures us that no one can be resaved, if indeed we can lose salvation(which I strongly disagree with).

    Take care Jeff.
    In Christ, Kenneth

  34. Mike Sears said

    Kenneth
    A question for you. Do you believe that God disciplines His children (believers)? If so, do you think that this discipline could include a withdrawl of blessings to an extent? I have personally experienced this as I have been continually sanctified as a fairly new believer over the past 8 years (God drew this wretch in at age 38). While I know that I was completely justified for my past, present and future sins at the point of my salvation, I was still steeped in a sinful lifestyle. I did not all of a sudden stop sinning all together, as nobody does. It has been a gradual process of God showing me my sin and cleansing my desires so to speak. This has included some times where I have realized that certain continual sins have affected my relationship with Him. I also know that it was me who moved away and not God, but I do believe that there still remains some consequence for sin as a believer (God’s discipline). I see nothing wrong with “not asking for forgiveness” because I know I have already been forgiven for past present and future sins, yet there is a critical acknowledgement and confession that must happen in these situations. Do you not agree?

  35. Mike Sears said

    I should also say that we should ALWAYS THANK HIM for this forgiveness (already applied to us) and of course we must turn (repent).

  36. jAsOn said

    Kenneth,

    Let me answer the question you pose with another question; you say, “When does forgiveness of sins take place, at the cross or at confession for each known sin?”

    When does justification take place, at the cross or at the confession of Christ by faith?

    In the broadest sense of the understanding of forgiveness, the answer to your question is, both. In one sense, God has forgiven us at the cross for all the sins we will ever commit, because, in His mind, that forgiveness is so sure in the future, it is almost as though it has already happened. The other sense of forgiveness is when we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us–the distinction is one between the accomplishment of our forgiveness and the application of that accomplishment (which by the way happens positionally at the application of our justification and practically, every day as sanctification).

    You keep saying that when we sin we, instead of asking forgiveness, we need to just look back at the cross (and we surely must do that after realizing our sin and confessing it to God) but it seems as though you are asserting that our forgiveness was accomplished at the cross (with which I agree), and then applied en tota at the point of our justification. If that is so, then why not, for assurances sake, look back at the moment of our justification (the application of the forgiveness for sins) rather than back at the cross where the forgiveness of our sins was accomplished?

    Practically speaking then, how do you actually deal with the temporal guilt of daily sins; how do you recognize sin in your life and then proceed directly to a view of the cross without some kind of confession, or admitting that you have committed a wrong against the holy standard of God?

    First of all, it is a simplistic characterization to claim that CTs “quote Calvin and Augustine so much”, secondly it is the apex of pride that causes a man to think that he can do biblical theology without any reference to historically theology…the Reformation wouldn’t have occured without Luther’s direction by that devise. Frankly I think that Darby’s complete misunderstand as to how to read the OT through the NT lens was due in part to his neglect of historical theology.

    Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Your assertion of a difference in His teachings pre and post cross is an affront to His characteristic and doctrinal immutability!

    I don’t think anyone has misrepresented you as an antinomian; however you continue to misrepresent others by insinuating that we do not have confidence in the finished work of Christ.

    At justification we are adopted as God’s children because of Christ…we have been raised to spiritual life. The position of our sonship is never in question. Before we were saved we were children of wrath…God’s wrath was upon us, but as His children we are never again to see His wrath, though He does use the type of inner conflict Paul describes in Romans as a means to draw us closer to Himself again. Just like our earthly fathers (assuming they were godly) have done for us, though their love for us is unconditional, and when we offended their law we remanded their children but the relationship was tainted by our sin…you don’t have to say that it was “broken”, perhaps say that it was bent.

    The primary reason for our redemption is our position in Christ rather than in Adam, the forgiveness we receive is a result of it.

  37. Mike Sears said

    I should also add that I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking God for His forgiveness either, even though we know He already has. I think we may be splitting hairs here.

  38. Jeff said

    Who argued that believers are bound by the Mosaic Law? (By the way, there is more than one use of the Law. One is instruction.) Certainly not me. I believe that Christ perfectly fulfilled the law on my behalf. I am no longer under the Law (for justification), but, in Christ, I am under grace. We no longer sacrifice lambs, … because the N.T is clear that those sacrifices pointed to the perfect sacrifice of Christ and are no longer in force. It would be an offense to Christ for us to turn back to those things. But nowhere in the N.T. does it explicitly state that we who are under grace are not to obey Christ, a section of my last post that you overlooked. In fact, as I demonstrated, a plain reading of the N.T. will lead one to obedience to Christ, not in order to earn or keep justification, but out of a heart of gratitude and because of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Side point: When Paul penned II Tim. 3;16, 17, the “Scriptures he referred to were those primarily found in the O.T.

    I see no contradiction between “forgive that you may be forgiven” and “forgive as you have been forgiven.” A true believer will highly esteem God’s mercy and be willing to extend that mercy to others – the point of those Scriptures. They certainly do not contradict one another. And we certainly were never taught that we earn our salvation by our extending forgiveness to others. Christ’s teachings about forgiveness are commands to His followers. We neglect them to our own hurt.

    As far as being justified, we are “cleansed” once. But as far as sanctification goes we seek cleansing daily. Look at 1 John 1:7:

    “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

    The verb translated “cleanses” is a present active indicative, indicating continuous present action. According to your theology, one would expect this verb to be aorist (past action), or perfect (indicating completed past action with present results). We confess and are cleansed (not justified all over again). The sin we confess is cleansed, and the multitude that we are ignorant of are cleansed. In this way we maintain close “fellowship” with God. It is a mistake to confuse “fellowship” with “relationship,” as you did in your post. They are not the same thing. As a teenager I was always in relationship with my parents. Nothing could ever change that. But I was not always in fellowship with them. My “sins” broke our fellowship as it were, not that i ceased to be their son, but our interaction changed. Now discipline entered the picture. It is the same with God. Sin can cause God not to hear our prayers, bring us under His rod of discipline, …; but it never separates us from(ends our relationship with)Him if we are His children.

    “Because I have confidence that my Savior finished the work He said He would? Because I trust in the finished work of Christ on my behalf?”

    So do I.

    “For some reason y’all are under the impression that I just look over my sins and live my life any way I want to.”

    I never said or thought that.

  39. Mike Sears said

    Well put Jason!!

  40. ADB said

    Jeff,
    Great post. Too often people today forget sanctification, and look at justification as being the end of the Christian life. As you pointed out, that simply makes us true children of the Father. That is simply a moment in time when God declares a person not guilty. Regardless of whether one Arminian or Calvinist, the Christian life is all about growing in faith and grace with stumbles and falls along the way. We would do well to remember the letters to the churches in Revelation. The command to “repent” was then given to the church, not to unbelievers. Congratulations on your knowledge of Greek. I wish I remembered my Greek that well:)

    In Christ, a curmudgeonly pastor

  41. Kenneth said

    Hey guys,

    I just want to encourage all of you to reread my posts. Because somehow y’all are missing my comments.

    I do confess my sins to God. I do believe in progressive sanctification. I do believe in the chastening of God upon his disobedient children temporally. I have not denied any of this.

    What I have said and will continue to say is that we as beleivers do not have to ask God’s forgiveness of the sins that we commit as believers. I interpret 1 John 1 differently than you do, obviously. And still, since when does confess equal “ask forgiveness”? That’s my issue. Since when does confess equal “forgiveness”? And how many times can one be cleansed from “all unrighteousness”? Think through it for a moment. Take off the blinders of covenant theology an djust seriously consider the questions. And if a Christian has the Holy Spirit indwelling them, will the Christian ever be ignorant of his sins?

    By the way, Darby knew historic theoloy. He was a part of the Church of England(Calvinistic) before being instrumental in starting what is now known as “plymouth brethren”.

    Also, we cannot liken God to men. Thus any analogy of a father/child relationship will fail. The text does not make a distinction between relationship and fellowship. Genesis 3 states that when Adam sinned his relationship with God was broken, God no longer walked with him the garden, thus his fellowship with God was broken. God is holy and cannot look upon sin. My sin was judged in Christ, completely. When does God ever look upon a believer without seeing the blood of Christ?

    Lets take your father/child illustration further. My relationship with my daughter never changes. She is my daughter. My fellowship with her never changes, my love is unconditional toward her. Yet, when she disobeys daddy, she understand that there are consequences – the rod of correction. Yet my love for her never waivers. Whether she admits her disobedience or not, discipline will occur and also it will be a teaching moment for her as I use this oportunity to show forth the love of God, even in her discipline. I never changed. She may have felt guilty and horrible, yet my correction of her actions was to mature her into a young lady. And as years have gone by, the disobedience seems to decrease and the displine as well. Of course, just like Jeff’s illustration, mine falls short. the point is that sancification occurs constantly through the Spirit. He convicts of sin and righeousness. Yet, He does not cause me to feel guilty – my guilt was placed on Christ. He does not cause me to be prideful about my sins – for that is a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ. He cause me to admit it was sin, forsake it, renew my mind, and submit to His will in my life. Yet, he does not cause me to ask God to forgive me of said sins. If any thing, I would say God forgive me, and He would respond I already have child, walk in that forgiveness.

    Please reread my posts. I’ll reread yours as well. Lets make sure we are understanding each other.

    In Christ, Kenneth

  42. Jeff said

    Thanks for the encouragement ADB. I am currently in seminary and daily working on Greek, as well as MANY other things. I too find that sanctification is almost a forgotten subject among many these days.

    Thanks to the others who post as well. You guys are very knowledgeable and I greatly benefit from reading what you have to say.

    Kenneth, I hope you see this as a friendly discussion and not a harsh debate.

    God Bless,
    Jeff

  43. ADB said

    Jeff,
    Best wishes in Greek and in your theological education. I never thought Hebrew could seem easy until I encountered Greek in Summer School.

    Kenneth,
    We do disagree, but this is still an “intramural debate” between fellow believers in the risen Lord and our disagreements seem awfully small when placed in that context.

  44. jAsOn said

    Kenneth,

    You seriously need to check your exegesis of 1 John, because your interpretation of it is not bound by the context, even though you claim that it is. The way you use “we” is a distortion of the context and the grammer.

    1 John 1:6 “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

    It is a denial of the context and the grammer to assert that John suddenly changes the subjects of the pronoun “we”. Just think about how those to whom he wrote the letter would read it. This letter was probably read allowed in one sitting it the gathering of local assemblies, would the hearers have heard the difference in the “we”s in verses and would they have known that in verse 7 John is writting to believers and in verse 8 he is writting to the gnostics…would the gnostics have recognised that? I don’t think so.

    Kenneth, you said, “And still, since when does confess equal “ask forgiveness”? That’s my issue. Since when does confess equal “forgiveness”?”

    No one has claimed that confession “equals” forgiveness. There certainly is a difference between calling out to God by faith for Him to save you and forgive your sins, and confessing your sins on a daily basis, but there again, if you speak in biblical categories, you can say that we confess our sins and ask God to forgive us…to apply the forgiveness that was accomplished on the cross. This is an essential part of sanctification.

    Using a father son analogy to describe the relationship we have with God is DEMANDED by Scripture! God likens Himself to a Father…the description of the Trinity! We cannot understand God at all without analogy because we do not yet see Him as He is.

  45. Kenneth said

    Jeff,

    I take no offense at you personally. Yes, this is a time of edification and learning for us all.

    ADB, likewise and I agree.

    jAsOn,

    We’re just gonna have to disagree on this. The “we” of 1 John 1 is all inclussive, including the gnostics that were among the saints there. If you understand waht gnosticism taught and teaches, then you would understand 1 John 1. At least I do.

    In Christ, Kenenth

  46. jAsOn said

    Kenneth,

    I do understand what gnostisism teaches; the fact that John probably had gnostics in mind when he wrote is what could have an impact on the exegesis of the text, but the content of gnostic belifs has no bearing on the correct exegesis of 1 John.

  47. Mike Sears said

    Kenneth asked: “And if a Christian has the Holy Spirit indwelling them, will the Christian ever be ignorant of his sins?” Absolutely, temporarily of course, but most certainly ignorant/blind until the Holy Spirit reveals it. Let’s say that I have a friend who struggles with “gluttony”, I offer him a box of danishes, causing him to stumble. Firstly, as a new believer, I may not even be aware of this command (Do not cause your brother to stumble), and secondly, I may not be aware of his gluttony problem.

    I purposely used “gluttony” because “eating” is clearly not a sin but stuffing yourself is. If I had used “wine” as an example, I imagine that would have opened up a whole new can of worms!! Cheers!! 🙂

  48. jAsOn said

    Kenneth,

    You said, “Yet, He [God] does not cause me to feel guilty – my guilt was placed on Christ. He does not cause me to be prideful about my sins – for that is a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ.”

    Who suggested that God “causes” us to feel guilty, or that He “causes” us to be prideful about our sins?

  49. Jeff said

    Kenneth said,
    “The ‘we’ of 1 John 1 is all inclusive”

    – inclusive “we” – I agree – includes John and his audience.

    also,
    “including the Gnostics that were among the saints there.”

    – The problem with this is that the Gnostics were no longer among the believers there. They had already left the fold.

    1 John 2:19
    “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

  50. Kenneth said

    Jeff,

    1 John 2:18 clears up your confusion for us – John said it was “antichrists” that went out from them. The gnostics, at least their teaching was still within that church at the time of John’s first letter. Notice how John majored on the Deity and humanity of Christ throughout this first letter. Notice how John majored on sins and ownership of sins. This was the core issues with gnosticism in that time – Denial of the deity or humanity of Christ and denial of the reality of sins.

    Mike, you said “temporarialy” and “until the Holy Spirit reveals it”. That is what I am saying. I can’t confess a sin until He convicts me of it, and He will convict me of it. I break the 10 commandments on a daily basis, yet that is not my rule to follow. I am a gentile believer who is not a part of earthly Israel and thus I am not bound by the law of Moses and the Old Covenant. I believe you and I are pretty much on the same page. Thanks.

    Jason,
    We have to take into consideration why the writer penned a letter, what the circumstances at that time were, etc. As we read 1 John, it is important to understand why he wrote what he wrote. Gnostics denied sins, believed they were sinless, yet lived a lifestyle of sin – Read 1 John 2 & 3. We even see this today within in American Christianity, a denial of sin or the other extreme, sinless perfection. Gnosticism is still alive and well even now.

    We could not accurately understand Paul’s letters to the Corinthians or his letter to the Galatians if we didn’t know the background of the churches he was writing to.

    In Christ, Kenneth

  51. Kenneth said

    Y’all take care and God bless. I’ll be away for a while. Got things to do. Keep reading the articles and listening to the teachings on the websites:

    http://www.WithChrist.org
    http://www.RealAnswers.net

    None of us are perfect, yet we are in the Perfect One. May we continue to seek His face with humble hearts and teachable spirits.

    In Christ, Kenneth

  52. Jeff said

    No doubt John was addressing the Gnostic heresy in this epistle. In fact, it was an early form of a later more fully developed heresy. The “antichrists” were the heretics who had left. Therefore, he is not including them in his intended audience.

  53. John said

    By the way,to those who read this that are Jewish, I would like to wish you a Happy Hanukkah. So there![smile]

  54. programming…

    […]How do you reach your Jewish friends for Christ? « Welcome to TruthTalkLive.com![…]…

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