Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jesus Words Only

During Jesus ministry the Pharisees seem at face value to be the main adversaries of Jesus (mainly to those who don't know the Priests were Sadducees at this time).  But throughout Acts the persecution of the young Church came mainly from the Sadducees, the few exceptions (last one being Saul/Paul himself) were very early on.

The difference between the two is often defined by their views on the Resurrection, but it goes deeper then that.  The Pharisees added to God's word with their Oral Torah now passed on by the Rabbis.  But the Sadducees limited God's Word to only the Five Books of Moses.  That's why they could sorta get away with denying the Resurrection, they gave no credence to Isaiah 26, Ezekiel 37 or Daniel 12.  But Jesus in Matthew 22:32 did prove the Resurrection to them from The Torah.

There is a "Jesus Words Only" movement out there, seeking to deny that Paul was inspired or a true Apostle, and that we should build our doctrine on Jesus words alone (though they generally feel the non Pauline Epistles don't contradict them).  There is a tendency for them to favor Matthew and John over Luke, but the main website I've viewed of them seeks to defend Luke against the accusation that he was a Paulian and insists the Jesus in Luke was consistent with the Jesus in Matthew and John.

I'm glad frankly that there are enemies of Salvation by Faith Alone and Eternal Security who admit that's what Paul taught.  Now they slander Paul by saying he taught Calvinism and other Gnostic things.  As far the Calvinism I addressed that here.

The basis for saying Paul was a Gnostic is argued by lots of enemies of The Bible, the problem with this movement's premise is the case for Paul being Gnostic is slightly weaker then the case for John being Gnostic (all that talk about The Logos, The Light and the Archon of The Kosmos).  The Gnostics borrowed language from both of them, as well as Philo.

To me all of The Bible is Jesus words, because Jesus is The Word.  But at any-rate Jesus dealt with the Saducees by sticking to their ground rules, fortunately I feel my job here is easier then Jesus was.  But first I want to clarify something.

Faith Alone and Eternal Security get treated as separate issues, to me they are not, believing Salvation can be obtained without works but then lost based on them is absurdly illogical.  And for that reason everything Paul said on Faith Alone proved Eternal security.  But as far as the Bible verses I use against those who insist they can be separated, there is really just one or two key things from Paul.  Frankly the strongest verses on specifically Eternal Security to me do come from what is often printed in Red.

Now, to begin.

These people like Catholics do not deny Faith is also needed, no one who doesn't believe in Jesus is gonna be saved by their good works.  They know Jesus said he is the only way in John 10.  So I won't be quoting every verse that mentions Faith.

I don't want to hear those people responding with talk about active ongoing belief vs one time moment belief.  Those semantics are used to deny Paul taught Faith Alone as Evangelicals understand it also.  Any verse where that interpretation of what belief means is plausible to me I won't be using.

John 3:14-18
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
 Perhaps people think my view of these verses are undermined by what follows about men who do evil deeds hating the Light, and those who know Truth being drawn to the light.  That discussion perhaps tells us something about what kinds of people become Believers, but not about Salvation itself.  Verse 19 is clearly meant to be a slight change in subject.

On the subject of specifically Eternal Security, no one has Eternal Life if that salvation was latter lost.  Which brings me to John 11:25-26
Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
Believing makes Death impossible, that is the plain reading of that statement.

John 10:28-30
I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  I and my Father are one.
 John 17:12
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Now the first part of this verse is popular for those of us who believe in Eternal Security.  Those who believe Salvation can be lost feel the statement about Judas disproves Eternal Security.  Regardless of one's view on if Judas was ever truly Saved.  He is defined here as the absolute one and only exception. And it's part of fulfilling Scripture, he is the Idol Shepherd of Zechariah 11.

Verses from John used against Eternal Security or Faith Alone may include 4:36-37.  That is about earning rewards not Salvation.  Mostly they would be the verses that mention his Commandments.

Enemies of Faith Alone love John 14:15
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
First of all loving him is a work, he defined Loving God elsewhere as the greatest commandment.  There are I believe Saved people who during their walk fail to Love him adequately.   Similar statements are used from John's Epistles and I respond the same way, none say the person who doesn't Love him either never was or is no longer saved.

I'm more concerned with how this is used by Legalists to support using a rigid interpretation of Scripture to judge the validity of one's walk with God.  They ignore the context of what comes next.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
This is tied in with The Prophecy from Jeremiah we are reminded of in Hebrews. The Law is no longer written in Stone but on our Hearts by The Holy Spirit.  He gives us our commands now, and we should read Scripture because among other things that is part of how the Spirit communicates with us.  But God's intents for different people are different as Romans 14 and the various times Jesus did things on The Sabbath shows.  We are under the Law of Liberty.

Statements from Matthew tend to be what's most often used against Faith Alone.  Matthew perhaps does stress it the least of them in a sense, that is why we have more then one Gospel.  But what's used from Matthew against it is stuff that is meant to show the impossibility of earning Salvation.

The Sermon on The Mount makes God's Laws stricter then how many understood them.  But the point of the Sermon is in Chapter 5 verse 20.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
This is about the impossibility of earning Salvation by our own righteousness.  We are supposed to obtain it by Jesus righteousness.

Most uses of the word Saved in Matthew's Gospel are when talking about surviving Persecution, those verses aren't on Eternal Salvation yet enemies of Eternal Security as well as Calvinists continue to misuse them.

Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
 Verse 21 gets cited without what comes next to try and contradict Faith Alone.  Sometimes Faith Alone and Eternal Security advocates will out of laziness or brevity quotes 22-23 without the prior verse, then the critics of Faith Alone will complain about our "ignoring" the context of verse 21.

The way this is constructed clearly defined verses 22-23 as defining what is meant by verse 21.  The "Will of my Father" is clearly meant to be Knowing Jesus not doing good works.  On the subject of Eternal Security it's important to note all of these NEVER knew him, there is no acknowledgment of such a state as being one who formally knew him not being allowed into the Kingdom.

Now this "Jesus Words Only" movement will argue that because Iniquity in the Greek is Amonia which means Lawless that Jesus is describing Paulian Christians.  They are deemed Lawless because they choose to be judged by the works of The Law.  Paulian Christians, who believe Faith Alone and Eternal Security would never say "Lord, Lord, look what we've done", we would say "Lord Jesus, we Believed in you".

There is no getting around that these were people seeking to be judged by their works.  Whatever your view on the Old Testament Law, what these people were bragging about doing was what Jesus told followers to do.  Anyone trying to justify themselves by the Law will be deemed Lawless.

The references to "Outer Darkness" I've explained in another post.  It's not Hell or the Lake of Fire but being outside New Jerusalem in the New Creation in Revelation 21-22.

The Sheep and Goats Judgment in Matthew 25 is not about Eternal Destiny directly.  It's neither the Bema Judgment or White Throne Judgment, it defines itself as being when he returns to establish his Kingdom.

Those who were already Saved before this are neither the Sheep or Goats, they are his Brethren he is referring to.  The post Rapture Believers who were facing Persecution were the "least of his bretheren" since they were to late to be part of The Church, and are at this moment already Resurrected.

I don't think they include those that took the Mark either, those were killed at Armageddon.  This is simply those who managed to stay neutral all through the Revelation 13-19 period, they are getting a second chance based solely on how well they treated those who were Believers being persecuted.

Or maybe that view is wrong and it is the White Throne Judgment, still demands that the Brethren are separate from either group.  That it is framed as a parable shouldn't be forgotten.

Matthew 19:17 gets misused by many people, I've even seen it refereed to as an instruction to the Disciples which it was not.  In verse 16 the rich young ruler asks "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?", he asked the wrong question.  Jesus demonstrates how high the standard is to earn Eternal Life,
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, "Who then can be saved?"  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
This alone doesn't settle the matter of how Eternal Life is obtained.  This is similar to other incidents like with the Lawyer who we are told tried the justify himself, and the man Jesus rebukes for calling him Good when thinking he was only a man.

Matthew 20:21-22 isn't about Salvation, it's about being able to rule as Jesus right hand and left hand.  Not all of the Saved will co-rule with him.

Matthew 21:28-31 isn't really about works, that's merely an analogy in the parable.  It's about it not mattering if you do the Father's will right away or not.

The only thing unique to Mark really relevant to defining Soterology I addressed in my Baptism study.

Now to Luke, starting with Chapter 8 verses 12-15 where he explains the parable of the Sower.
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.  They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.  And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
The word "Saved" is used only to describe the first category, which tells me there is something distinct to them about how that word related to them.  The popular thing is to interpret this as saying only the last category are truly Saved.  But I disagree, without using Paul to influence my interpretation at all.  Only the first group are categorized as not being Saved.

The next are those who Believe but Fall Away, Matthew 7 allowed no room for former believers among the damned, and John says Belief period gets you Eternal Life.  So yes I see this as proof that truly saved people can Fall Away but not that they lose their Salvation from it.

The third group are believers who don't fall away but are worldly.

Only the fourth bears Fruit.  They and they alone are those who will receive great Rewards and Co-Rule with Jesus in New Jerusalem.  But there are also Nations of The Saved outside New Jerusalem.

Luke 18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
Luke 7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Revelation is a coded book.  At face value it doesn't seem interested in Faith Alone, you have to understand what being written in the Book of Life means.

Now that I feel that is settled.  One more amusing thing, the main Jesus Words Only website also insists that Luke's account in Acts was ignorant of Paul's by Faith Alone doctrine or else Luke wouldn't have spoke so highly of Paul.  Acts 16:29-32
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
On an issue other then Faith Alone, they insist that Jesus contradicts the doctrine that Yahweh no longer lives in a Temple made by Man.  I suggest they read John 4.

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