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You Know What Else Is Amazing?


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#21 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:35 PM

The time has obviously come for us all to examine ourselves seriously.

Do we appreciate the sacrifice made for us by God in sending His son, and by Christ in a life of perfect obedience – obedience unto death no less – and demonstrate our appreciation by striving to live a life of sacrifice which is at least a shadow of Christ’s?

The letters to the seven ecclesias make it obvious to us that wrong doctrine, a wrong way of life, and even a wrong motivation for serving God are all errors which even individually will exclude us from salvation.
Philip Yancey’s book successfully teaches and encourages all three.

Yancey’s book would have no success among us if we were all certain of our personal faith in God and our personal understanding of His Word. The only way to prevent and correct error is to know and preach truth.

Do we, personally, know the Truth? Do we know why we believe what we believe? This is no idle question:

2 Corinthians 13:
5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
6`But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.


Let everyone of us examine himself, and so approach the Father through Christ in true fellowship.

#22 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:35 PM

THE SCRIPTURAL PROCESS OF REPENTANCE CONTRASTED WITH EVANGELICAL TEACHING


The following example identifes clearly the vital distinction between the moment at which we are called upon to repent (the extension of God's offer of salvation), and the actual moment of grace itself (the moment at which we are imputed righteous):

2 Samuel 11:
27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.


At this point David has sinned and the displeasure of God rests upon him. David is worthy of death, and no one could doubt this. But what is God's response? Does He not care? Is He willing to forgive David before David repents? Will He justify David, impute righteousness to David, extend to David His saving grace, all while David is dead in trespass and sin?

Nathan is sent to make known God's view of the matter. What will he say?
Has he come to David in order to approve his action, or perhaps to reassure him that God has forgiven him regardless of his actions?

Nathan tells David a parable, an appalling story which provokes David's sense of justice.
He responds in moral outrage:

2 Samuel 12:
5 And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.


David's response is not only a declaration of the punishment appropriate to the situation - a 4 fold restitution and death - but also a condemnatory character assessment. The man in the parable, according to David, is cruel.

But what is God's estimation of this situation? What is His assessment of this man's character?

If the purpose of Nathan's commission from God is to tell David that such a man may be reprehensible but 'God loves him anyway', if his task is to show that saving grace is extended to such a man regardless of his character, way of life, or whether he repents or not, this will be reflected in his response to David.

#23 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:35 PM

So how does Nathan respond?

7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.


Nathan's immediate response is to verify that David's estimation of the character and appropriate punishment of the man in the parable is completely accurate.
He then unleashes a terrible list of Divine condemnations and punishments which God Himself will visit upon David for his sin:

- David has despised the commandment of the LORD

- David has done evil in Yahweh's sight

- David has killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword

- David has taken Uriah's own wife for himself, and has ensured that Uriah was slain by the enemies of God

- The sword shall never depart from David's house

- Evil would be raised up against him out of his own house

- His wives would be taken by another and humbled in public view

All this is decreed before David even has an opportunity to repent.

Clearly the commission of Nathan was not to tell David that God had forgiven him without the necessity of repentance or regardless of his sins. Nathan had come in order to convict David of sin, and to extend to him God's offer of salvation - the grace of God which is not unconditional, but is conditional on repentance. Appropriately, this was the very work of Christ himself.

In his integrity, David acknowledged this, confessed himself worthy of death:

13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.


This is the moment of confession and repentance - so this is the moment of grace. We can be sure of this, because now and only now does Nathan tell David that he is forgiven:

13...The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.


David is worthy of death, both for adultery and for murder. This just punishment, however, is not to be visited upon him, because he has repented. There can be no doubt that the moment at which grace was extended to David was subsequent to his repentance, and certainly not before.

However, despite the fact that David's life is to be spared, the other punishments pronounced upon him are still to take effect, and a further punishment is also decreed:

14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.


This proves beyond any possibility of doubt that the moment of saving grace is reached only when we confess our sins and repent of them.

#24 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:35 PM

If the Evangelical understanding of grace were Scriptural, the record of 2 Samuel 12 would read very differently - in fact, it would read like this:

2 Samuel 12:
1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David.
13... And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin.


This is exactly how Evangelicals read this entire passage. This is hardly honest, but it is read in this way because it is simply impossible to support the Evangelical position by reading the passage honestly.

Consider this analysis of the same passage by an Evangelical. These are taken from the notes for his sermon on David’s sin with Bathsheba:

God's grace precedes sin and repentance.

Set up the story of King David.

His sin.

Read: 2 Samuel 11:27

God sending Nathan to confront David (God's grace).

Read: 2 Samuel 12:1-7; 13 

{My comment:  Note that this pastor deliberately avoids the clear references to the punishment decreed by God, by omitting the reading of verses 8-11, and avoids also David’s admission of guilt  - essential to his repentance - in verse 12}

It's this David who then pens Psalm 51 as his song of repentance.

Read: Psalm 51 (the cry of David is honest and pleading, but flows from already receiving the grace and mercy of God)

And here is the key that I want you to get:
Theologically, God's grace comes first - it precedes sin and repentance. Grace is not something that was necessitated by God because of our sin. When we sin, we are actually sinning against the grace of God that is already present to us. Not only that, but when we do sin against that grace, it is non [sic] other than God who first reaches out to us in reconciliation before we ever decide to return back to him in repentance.



It's God who initiates to David. It's God who sends Nathan as an act of grace. What God had Nathan be for David is equivalent to the role of Holy Spirit in our lives:

John 16:8 (NIV)
8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.

John 16:13 (NIV)
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.

You see, even our ability to return to God through confession and repentance is the work of grace in our lives.’

(Pastor Kevin T. Doi, ‘God’s Grace Precedes Repentance’)


I have emphasized the key phrases in bold, because they demonstrate the manner in which they Evangelical view of grace is inseparable from the doctrines of the substitutionary atonement, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the Calvinist ‘prevenient grace’ by which men are compelled, against their natural will, to serve God.

#25 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:36 PM

This is the Evangelical doctrine of ‘free grace’. If we are in any doubt as to what effect this really has on our understanding of the process of salvation, and the way in which this affects our lives, let’s read the following statements from Evangelical pastors and theologians (with my emphasis), and contrast them with the words of Scripture:

EVANGELICAL:

‘Faith alone (not repentance and faith) is the sole condition for justification and eternal life.’

(Zane C Hodges, ‘A Biblical Reply To Lordship Salvation’)

SCRIPTURE:

1 John 1:
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

EVANGELICAL[/'b]:

‘First, nowhere do the Scriptures condition obtaining eternal salvation on our turning from our sins.’

(Bob Wilkin)

SCRIPTURE:

Zechariah 1:
4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto Me, saith the LORD.

EVANGELICAL:

‘May we clearly share with people what saving "repentance" is (i.e., a change of perspective) and what it is not (i.e., turning from sins).’

(Bob Wilkin)

SCRIPTURE:

Ezekiel 33:
11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?


EVANGELICAL:

‘…the person who places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his blood shed at Calvary is eternally secure. He can never lose his salvation. No personal breaking of God's or man's laws or commandments can nullify that status…’

(Wilson Ewin,’ There is Therefore Now No Condemnation’)


SCRIPTURE:

Revelation 2:
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

EVANGELICAL:

‘God's law or commandments were given to point out the fact of sin.  The law shows the unregenerated man how wicked and lost he is before a Holy God. Keeping them or breaking them has no part in the believer's possession of credited or imputed righteousness.’

(Wilson Ewin,’ There is Therefore Now No Condemnation’)

SCRIPTURE:

Revelation 2:
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Acts 3:
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

EVANGELICAL:

‘Yet, in one of Luke's most famous stories, a badly shaken Philippian jailer inquires of Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" The answer they give to him is the only answer the Bible knows to such a question: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Ac 16:31). There is not a word here-not a syllable!-about repentance

Faith alone (not repentance and faith) is the sole condition for justification and eternal life’

(Zane C Hodges, ‘A Biblical Reply To Lordship Salvation’)‘A Biblical Reply To Lordship Salvation’)

SCRIPTURE:

Acts 2:
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,

EVANGELICAL:

‘It is an extremely serious matter when the biblical distinction between faith and repentance is collapsed and when repentance is thus made a condition for eternal life… To make repentance a condition for eternal salvation is nothing less than a regression toward Roman Catholic dogma.’

(Zane C Hodges, ‘A Biblical Reply To Lordship Salvation’)

SCRIPTURE:

Luke 13:
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.


The conflict between Evangelical doctrine and the Word of God could not be greater. [b]We cannot possibly hold these doctrines and hope to be saved
– to do so is to deny the very Scripture of truth.

#26 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:36 PM

APPENDIX B


THE PROCESS OF REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS



Yancey’s definition of the process of forgiveness is the exact reverse of the Scriptural definition.
For Yancey, grace is extended to us by God regardless of our state (sinful or obedient, repentant or unrepentant), and repentance is then just the moment in which we choose to receive God’s grace:

‘{Grace} must be received, and the Christian term for that act is repentance, the doorway to grace.’
(What’s so amazing about Grace, page 182).


In fact, repentance is the moment in which we seek grace, not the moment in which we receive grace. The moment in which we receive grace is the moment in which we ‘find grace in His sight’ – and that moment is forgiveness.

Yancey attempts to use the parable of the prodigal son in order to support his claim that repentance is the moment when we receive grace, but in actual fact his attempt is flawed. The moment of repentance for the prodigal was the moment when he decided that he had sinned against his father and against God.
This moment occurred when he was still in a foreign country, well before he met his father again. Was this the moment when he received grace from his father? Obviously not.

Just as the process of the initial sin (and all sins thereafter), was mental, moral, and physical, so the process of repentance which leads to forgiveness is also mental, moral, and physical.

#27 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:36 PM

THE PROCESS OF REPENTANCE - MENTAL

Romans 4:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.


In the absence of law, there is no sin, but where law exists, sin will inevitably exist. In order for repentance to occur, there must firstly be an intellectual realisation that sin has been committed. This will only take place if the individual realises that they have broken a law, and they will only realize that a law has been broken, if they are actually aware of that law.

This is the first stage of repentance, the mental comprehension of a law, and the intellectual realisation that this law has been broken:

Romans 3:
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


Unless we have law, principle, and standard, we will be unable to determine right from wrong, unable to determine what is in accordance with the will of God. With knowledge of law comes the opportunity to sin, and the responsibility, the obligation, to repent.

#28 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:37 PM

THE PROCESS OF REPENTANCE - MORAL

Hebrews 4:
2 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


Mere intellectual realisation of a breach of law is not repentance. There must be a change in heart, an emotional and moral response to the realisation of our sin - a contrition, a humility.

This is developed when, having realised that we have committed sin, we examine ourselves according to the Word of God, and come to an appreciation of the breach of our relationship with God, and an awareness of how far from His character we have been removed.

This is the second stage of repentance, the emotional and moral response to the realisation of our sin.
We examine ourselves to determine how our character has become removed from that of our God, and determine within ourselves to submit ourselves to His examination, with a willingness to accept His judgment, and a determination to sin no more:

Psalm 139:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.



#29 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:37 PM

THE PROCESS OF REPENTANCE - PHYSICAL

Hebrews 4:
16 Let us therefore come with confidence unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


Having passed through the mental and moral stages of our repentance, we are finally prepared to move to the last stage, the physical. This involves actions which restore our relationship with God, and which seek to re-establish it on His terms.

The first step, clearly, is to approach our Father in prayer, seeking forgiveness. If we have been honest and open in our self examination, and have been thorough in following the mental and moral process by which our character has been influenced by the Word, then we are ready to seek forgiveness from our God.

#30 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 08:37 PM

Having sought forgiveness, and taken the first physical step in restoring our relationship with God, the next step is to renew that relationship by resolving to live a life which attempts to repudiate temptation, and which keeps from sin:

Romans 10:
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.


The principle here is that both heart and mouth are involved in our response to God's offer of salvation.
The heart contains our faith - our mental and moral response to God's forgiveness. The mouth demonstrates our confession - our physical response to God's forgiveness.

Together they illustrate the dual process of faith and works, by which we are saved. The mental and moral stages of repentance alone are an insufficient response to God's forgiveness - they have not truly been completed until they have changed the way we intend to live.

Other examples of the true moment of grace:

- Balaam was forgiven when he turned from his error and acknowledged that God was right. His repentance was the moment when he confessed, and the moment when he received grace was the moment when the angel accepted his repentance and chose not to kill him.

Had Balaam not repented, we are told, the angel would have killed him. This is incompatible with the idea that the angel was holding out ‘grace’ for Balaam and waiting for Balaam to ‘receive’ it – what the angel was holding out was a sword.

- David was forgiven when he admitted that he had sinned and was worthy of death. His repentance was the moment when he confessed and sought grace, not when he received it – ‘I have sinned’, says David, ‘Therefore Yahweh hath put away thy sin’ replies Nathan.

Annanias and Sapphira refused to repent, and so were killed immediately. There is no evidence that Peter was ‘holding out grace’ waiting for them to ‘receive’ it. It is clear that the moment of grace would have been the moment of forgiveness – a forgiveness available only through repentance. Having never repented, they could never be forgiven.




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