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Re: [biblicalapologetics] Asking forgivness of sins

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  • Jeff Koenig
    [ ]The question is whether it is possible for him to not abide/remain. Query also why Jesus would warn us to abide (and add warnings about being cut off
    Message 1 of 43 , Sep 13, 2004
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      [>]The question is whether it is possible for him to not "abide/remain."  Query also why Jesus would warn us to "abide" (and add warnings about being cut off and thrown into the fire) in John 15 when it is impossible for believers not to abide/persever.[<]
       
      In John 15, Jesus says that without Him we could do nothing (i.e., on our own).  He also says that those who abide in Him *will* produce "fruit".  We need Him to produce fruit and if we abide in Him we *will* produce this fruit.  So my question is, how can one "abide in" Christ and *not* produce fruit so as to be cut off and cast into the fire when Christ said that the one in Him *will* (not "may") produce fruit?  I believe Jesus is speaking of false professors and/or those who are not Christians _by heart_ ("Sunday Christians" and the like).  Seperating the tares from the wheat.  The sheep from the goats.  James White has a piece on this that you may want to refer to if you haven't already.  I'm also willing to listen to other views because I admit that my thoughts on this passage may be wrong.
       
       
      In John 15:1-6, the person who is cut off and cast into the first is a person who did not "abide."
       
      If it were impossible to stop abiding in Christ, why would Jesus tell them that they should "abide/remain" in him.
       
      He speaks in 15:2 of branches "in me" who do not bear fruit; they are taken away.  Later in verse 6 he elaborates about these: If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a bracn, and dries up; and they gather then, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."  That seems to be a clear reference to hell.  The statement assumes that someone could be "in Me" (in him), but not "abide" as such, and thus ultimately be cast into hell along with those who were never "in him." 
       
      In the context of John 15, the long discourse at the last supper, it seems strange for Jesus to be speaking about mere "professors" who are not really in him.  Also, it seems strange to speak of them as "in Me" if they never were "in him."
       
      In v. 2, the person who is going to be taken away has no fruit.  That seems to be the reason for his being taken away.  In v. 6, the same person is judged (thrown into the fire) for not abiding in Christ.
       
      The situation in v. 6 fits better with the Arminian view, that one can depart from Christ, stop believing in him.  The situation in v. 2 does not fit as well, since the judgment appears to be for fruitlessness rather than departure, unbelief.
       
      If a person is truly saved, then at some point he must have some "fruit" in terms of good works.  On the Arminian view, though, he might not "remain" in Christ.  Presumably, one who departs from Christ would no longer be bearing fruit (the situation in v.2) and thus ultimately be case into hell (for his unbelief/departure, as evidenced in part by his discontinued fruitfulness).
       
      I'm not sure though that the "fruit" in view in Jn 15:1-6 is "good works" in general, as opposed to winning others to Christ.
       
      In vs. 3-4, he says, you are clean, abide in my, etc.  Then in v. 6 he says "if anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away."  The natural interpretation is that it is possible to not abide, which is the reason for the command to abide.  Why talk about this with people who are guaranteed to persevere to the end?
       
      Why not just talk about the need to be filled with the Spirit, obedient, etc. so as to yield fruit.  Or about the need to avoid sins that will reduce fruitfulness.  Why talk about abiding and being thown away if the P position were true? 
       
      As in the Hebrews passages, the Calvinists prefer to avoid the most straightforward interpretation.  But the real basis for their view is found in other passages, Romans especially.  They are certain that their doctrine is right, so they must find some alternative view with respect to this passage, Hebrews passages, etc.
       
      I don't think the verses Calvinists rely on are slam dunks.  As the doctrine is so horrible, that I don't think it should be held (and strained interpretations of other verses be adopted) absent clearer support.  If the bible clearly taught TULIP, I'd believe it.  But I don't think it is clearly taught.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 5:55 PM
      Subject: Re: [biblicalapologetics] Asking forgivness of sins

      Hi,
       
      [>]My view is that God gives sinners the grace to accept the gospel.  With that grace, the sinner is able to believe, or not.  God does not just regenerate them (resulting in belief).  Rather, he draws them, and enables them, but leaves the ultimate choice up to the individual.  If he trusts in Christ, God will regenerate him, forgive him, etc.  If not, then his blood is on his own hands.[<]
       
      I agree with all of the above with the exception of "leave the ultimate choice up to the individual."  See below.
       
      [>]I think the "zap" terminology accuratelyi communicates the truth of the calvinist doctrine of irresistible grace.  God just decides for his own reasons whom to save, he sends Christ to die for them alone, and then he zaps them, causing them to believe and persevere to the end.  The others have no possible chance of being saved, since they were not chosen, and Christ didn't die for them.  But to add insult to injury, the gospel is phrased in terms that appear to offer such hopeless sinners a way of escape, when in fact they have no hope whatsoever of being saved.[<]
       
      John 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me *will* come to Me,.."
      John 6:44 "No one *can come* to Me unless the Father...draws him.."
       
      The "giving" precedes the "coming".  The "coming" is only possible by God's effectual calling.  Not all men come to Christ, therefore I conclude that the number intended to be saved is limited to the number of individuals "called/drawn."  Rom 8 seems to reflect this.  vs 29 "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined....vs 30 "Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also _called_.."
       
      This doesn't seem to be a _free_ choice to the individual as I see it.  I believe it is a choice, but not one that a person can make on their _own_.  If it was, why does it require the calling of God?  And when God draws them, they _will_ make it (come to Christ). This isn't simply "'draw' = 'preaching'" as Christ says in John 6:36 "But I said to you that you have _seen Me_ and yet do not believe."  Thereafter He gives the explanation, as I see it, as to *why* they do not believe.   
       
      [>]If God wants to wake up backslidden believers, he can do so in any number of ways (e.g., a convicting sermon, a pang of guilt, a godly example).  But why should he choose instead to warn them about a danger that is not real (the danger of falling away from Christ and perishing in hell).  If the apostles (and the author of Hebrews if he wasn't an apostle himself) warned about that danger, it was a real danger.  I think it would be wrong for them to have used such scare tactics to wake up believers who could not possibly fall away and be lost.[<]
       
      I believe that "falling away" passages are open to interpretation.  I will admit that I have the same question you ask.  But I will also say that I have believe there are an equal amount if not a greater number of questions from an Arminian standpoint (as I try to look at this issue from both sides).  I would say that Brent's response was pretty much on the money.
       
      [>]the doctrine of perseverence (whatever label is used) has the same meaning -- that a true believer cannot be lost -- and the same potential negative impact on morals.  obviously, there are many godly calvinists, but this is one problem with their doctrine.  ultimately, though, the test is whether the doctrine is biblical.  if it is, then we should hold it, even if it might lead some to think they can take advantage.[<]
       
      However, the true believer wouldn't necessarily *want* to "take advantage" of this.  That's the problem I see with "OSAS" is that many *do* take advantage of it often to extremes (thereby giving an indication of their salvific standing).  That's why I like to differentiate between 'perseverence of the saints' and 'OSAS'.  Although a true Christian *can* fall into sin, he *will* always return in repentance.  Have you noticed that when you became a Christian you developed, by God's grace, a *disposition* against commiting sin?  I'll bet you have.  That is, you no longer *want* to sin like you used to!  So, there is no negative impact on morals because the true Christian is undergoing a regenerative process that keeps him/her from _desiring_ sin. 
       
      [>]I don't suggest we are kept "by works."  Rather, that if we turn away from Christ and stop believing, then we are not saved.[<]
       
      I agree.
       
      [>]The believer need only abide in Christ (continue believing) to be saved in the end.[<]
       
      I agree.
       
      [>]The question is whether it is possible for him to not "abide/remain."  Query also why Jesus would warn us to "abide" (and add warnings about being cut off and thrown into the fire) in John 15 when it is impossible for believers not to abide/persever.[<]
       
      In John 15, Jesus says that without Him we could do nothing (i.e., on our own).  He also says that those who abide in Him *will* produce "fruit".  We need Him to produce fruit and if we abide in Him we *will* produce this fruit.  So my question is, how can one "abide in" Christ and *not* produce fruit so as to be cut off and cast into the fire when Christ said that the one in Him *will* (not "may") produce fruit?  I believe Jesus is speaking of false professors and/or those who are not Christians _by heart_ ("Sunday Christians" and the like).  Seperating the tares from the wheat.  The sheep from the goats.  James White has a piece on this that you may want to refer to if you haven't already.  I'm also willing to listen to other views because I admit that my thoughts on this passage may be wrong. 
       
      God bless,
      Jeremiah
       
       
       

       
       

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    • Jeff Koenig
      that would be a common figure of speech, the container for the contents, similar to using the term White House to refer to the people inside who run the
      Message 43 of 43 , Oct 9, 2004
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        that would be a common figure of speech, the container for the contents, similar to using the term "White House" to refer to the people inside who run the government.
         
        but, in this context it may refer also to the end of death altogether.
         
        in Rev. 20.13 John says that "death and hades gave up the dead which were in them."  So we know that John knows how to refer distinctly to the people who dwell there, as opposed to the place itself.
         
        then, in 20.13 is says that they were "judged."  but it does not say anyone is sent to the lake of fire.
         
        then in 20.14, he says that "death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire."
         
        then in 20:15, he say, "if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." 
         
        so, 20.14 "could" be a figure of speech meaning that the people in "death and Hades" were thrown into the lake of fire.  But in the very next verse (15) John expressly says that these same people are "thrown" into the lake of fire.
         
        overall, I tend to think that death and Hades being cast in, along with the people, may refer to the end of death in general, not solely to the inhabitants being cast into the lake of fire.  for one thing, there is no more death from this point forward, so there would be no one to go into "hades" or 'death."  (See rev. 21.4, "there shall no longer be any death.")
        -----Original Message-----
        From: supergohanlee [mailto:supergohanlee@...]
        Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 12:13 AM
        To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: Asking forgivness of sins


        I think the passage (Rev 20:14) means that the people who are already
        in Hades as well as the unsaved people at the time of judgment will
        be cast into the lake of fire.  So the "death and Hades" referes to
        the people, rather than the place being eliminated.




        --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Koenig"
        <jkoenig@s...> wrote:
        > Asking forgivness of sinsthe word translated "hell" in KJV is
        hades, not gehenna.
        >
        > KJV Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of
        fire. This is the second death.
        >
        >
        > NAS Revelation 20:14 And death and Hades were thrown into the lake
        of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
        >
        >
        > Just means that the realm of the dead (hades) is cast into the lake
        of fire.  But it is not clear exactly what that means, or what it
        means for "death" to be cast into the lake of fire.  Maybe the idea
        is that after there is no more death, no more hades.  It makes more
        sense to people or angels/demons to be cast into the lake of fire
        than things like "death" or places like "hades."  When people are
        cast in, I take that literally.  When hades/death is cast in, I think
        the meaning might be figurative.
        >




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