The Parable of the Seed and the Sower: How the Word is Received in the Heart (Part 2)

God draws and softens the stony heart, and when this is happening, then the hearer is able to receive the word by inclining his or her ear to listen to the word. Without God’s drawing, inclining the ear to hear and receive the word will not result in salvation. But God does draw through the preaching of the gospel, and He is no respecter of persons. All who listen to the word will receive the gospel into their hearts. But man can choose to not receive the word into his heart. He can choose to not incline his ear to the words of God’s wisdom when drawn by the gospel. If the gospel is not received in the heart so that it’s believed in the heart, a superficial (false) conversion will result.

(Mark 4:16, 17) And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

(Luke 8:13) 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.

Some believe that Luke 8:13 is about believing in a saving way before departing from the faith later. If their conclusion is true, then how did those on the rock (stony ground) believe for a while if they had no fruit? After conversion, faith is a fruit of the Spirit. Was this believing for a while something that God’s Spirit was not behind at all? If that’s the case, then it’s no surprise that they eventually fell away after a while. The Bible indicates that only those associated with the “good ground” bring forth fruit:

(Matthew 13:23) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

In Matthew 13:23, we see that those associated with the “good ground” understood the word and brought forth fruit. We can infer that the word had taken root in the heart because fruit was brought forth. Without the seed taking root and growing, no fruit will be brought forth. Those who are associated with the “good ground” will bring forth fruit. And, as Mark 4:8 also indicates, the fruit varies greatly:

(Mark 4:8) And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

Some will bring forth a lot more fruit than others, but all are still associated with the “good ground” that brings forth fruit. There’s no indication in the parable, that the “good ground” could become “stony ground” after fruit had begun to be brought forth.

In Matthew 25, we see the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant. In the parable, the unprofitable servant did nothing profitable for his Lord (no fruit). In the Parable of the Seed and the Sower, those associated with the “stony ground”, and also those associated with “thorns”, both brought forth no fruit. So, i think both categories of soils in the parable can be connected to the unprofitable servant. Some believe that the unprofitable servant, in Matthew 25, represents unbelievers who never believed, and therefore, have no connection to those on the “stony ground” who believed for a while and then fell away. I disagree. This parable immediately follows the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which everyone agrees is about true and false believers. Notice the language in verse 14 of Matthew 25:

(Matthew 25:14, 15) For [the kingdom of heaven is] as a man travelling into a far country, [who] called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

Here we see that the unprofitable servant was among the Lord’s own servants called and given talents.

Here’s an excerpt from the Pulpit commentary regarding Matthew 25:14:

“Who called his own (τοὺς ἰδίους) servants. The sentence literally is, As a man… called his own bond servants. Those who specially belonged to him – a figure of all Christians, members of Christ, doing him service as their Master.”

I think it’s pretty clear that the unprofitable servant is related to those associated with the “stony ground”, and also those associated with “thorns”, in the Parable of the Seed and the Sower. All did nothing profitable (no fruit). In Matthew 25, the unprofitable servant is called a “wicked [4190] and slothful servant” (i’ll talk about that more after we look at the passage):

(Matthew 25:24-30) Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, [there] thou hast [that is] thine. His lord answered and said unto him, [Thou] wicked [4190] and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and [then] at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give [it] unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer [1857] darkness [4655]: there shall be weeping [2805] and gnashing of teeth.

Additional proof may not be necessary at this point, but notice that the unprofitable servant is cast into “outer darkness”. This is an important detail because outer darkness is connected to the lake of fire. Notice “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is seen in Matthew 25 (above), and is also is seen in the following passages, which contextually connects outer darkness to the lake of fire:

(Matthew 22:11-13) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast [him] into outer [1857] darkness [4655]; there shall be weeping [2805] and gnashing of teeth.

Notice that “outer darkness” is related to not having on a wedding garment (not being covered in Christ’s righteousness). This being taken away from the wedding is a picture of being gathered out of the kingdom of God (as recorded in Matthew 13:40-42):

(Matthew 13:40-42) As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing [2805] and gnashing of teeth.

Here we see the “furnace of fire” in view in relation to being gathered out of the kingdom of God, and also weeping and gnashing of teeth. As said above, weeping and gnashing of teeth is related to both, outer darkness and the lake of fire. “Furnace of fire” is language describing the “lake of fire” spoken of in the book of Revelation.

(Matthew 13:49, 50) So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked [4190] from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing [2805] and gnashing of teeth.

Notice that the wicked are severed from among the just. So, the “wicked and slothful servant” (aka the unprofitable servant) who had gained no talents and was cast into outer darkness is connected to the wicked who are cast into the furnace of fire. This is biblical proof that those associated with the “stony ground”, who believe in some way until they fall away, are definitely connected to that unprofitable servant.

The Bible indicates, in Matthew 7, that each good (non-rotten) tree brings forth good fruit. And a corrupt (rotten) tree cannot bring forth good fruit:

(Matthew 7:16-18) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every [3956] good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt [4550] tree bring forth good fruit.

G3956 – all (748x), all things (170x), every (117x), all men (41x),

G4550 –  Outline of Biblical Usage: rotten, putrefied, corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out, of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless

What holds true for one, holds true for the other. If the false prophets (children of the devil) are known by their evil fruits, then the children of God are known by their good fruits:

(1 John 3:10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

As we saw in a previous post, the fruit (doing righteousness) can vary greatly (as Mark 4:8 indicates):

(Mark 4:8) And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

The Bible also indicates that all who do bring forth fruit are purged so that they will bring forth more fruit:

(John 15:1, 2) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Conclusion:

Those associated with the “stony ground” did not receive the word in such a way that it took root in the heart. No fruit was brought forth. Even though they had believed in some way, their receiving of the word was superficial. Those associated with the “good ground” understood the word and brought forth fruit, which is evidence of having received the word in such a way that it took root in the heart, rather than superficially.

Posted in apologetics, Arminianism, Bible, Calvinism, Christian theology, Christianity, faith, free grace, lordship salvation, religion, salvation, soteriology, systematic theology, theology | Leave a comment

The Parable of the Seed and the Sower: How the Word is Received in the Heart

Many Christians today believe that salvation can be lost. They believe that a born again believer not only should, but must maintain a certain level of fruit (good works) in order to inherit the kingdom of God. And if he or she fails to live up to standard? Their salvation is in jeopardy. Catholics and Arminians both believe that a born again Christian can lose his or her salvation, while Calvinists believe that a Christian was never truly saved if he or she sins too much. What is the truth on this issue? In this post, we’ll be looking at the Parable of the Seed and the Sower found in Matthew 13, Luke 8, and Mark 4. Let’s start by looking at the “stony ground” [4075] in Matthew 13:5, 6, and in Mark 4:16, 17, and compare with John 15:6:

G4075 – stony place (2x), stony ground (2x).

(Mark 4:16, 17) And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground [4075]; who, when they have heard the word, immediately [2112] receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

Now, let’s look at what the word “immediately” [G2112] means:

G2112 –  immediately (35x), straightway (32x), forthwith (7x), misc (6x).

Notice the word “immediately” [G2112] in Mark 4:16, which is also in Matthew 13:5. What is this word implying? This is implying that the word was received prematurely, before it was received in the heart. They had “no root in themselves”. The word did not take root in the heart. Was the word received in such a way that it was received in the heart? The word “immediately” implies that it wasn’t. In Isaiah 55:2, 3, we read:

(Isaiah 55:2, 3) Wherefore do ye spend money for [that which is] not bread? and your labour for [that which] satisfieth not? hearken [8085] diligently [8085] unto me, and eat ye [that which is] good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline [5186] your ear, and come unto me: hear [8085], and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, [even] the sure mercies of David.

H8085 –  hear (785x), hearken (196x), obey (81x),

H5186 – stretch out (60x), incline (28x), turn (16x), stretch forth (15x),

Here’s an excerpt from the Pulpit commentary regarding Isaiah 55:2:

“Hearken diligently unto me; rather, hearken, oh, hearken unto me. The phrase is one of earnest exhortation.”

In Isaiah 55:2, 3, we see a picture develop. To receive the word, the hearer inclines his or her ear to the word. If the word is received prematurely before the heart is drawn unto a God given understanding through the hearing of the word, then a superficial conversion will result. In John 6:44, 45 we read:

(John 6:44, 45) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

(John 12:32, 33) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Note: “All” meaning all without distinction or exclusion (Jews and Gentiles).

How we hear and receive the gospel is important. It has to do with the heart. The hearer is to incline his or her ear and listen to the word. In Romans 10:8-11, we read:

(Romans 10:8-11) 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; 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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Here we see that receiving the word has more to it than just giving mental assent to the gospel. The word has to be received in the heart (per God’s drawing). Only then, will believing in Christ for salvation, be in the heart. The Bible definitely teaches that the word is received in the heart (believed in the heart), which results in confessing Jesus as the Lord, from the heart. The act of believing on Christ with confession is from the heart.

Now that that’s established, let’s look at Matthew 13:5, 6:

(Matthew 13:5, 6) Some fell upon stony places [4075], where they had not much earth: and forthwith [2112] they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away [3583].

(John 15:6) If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered [3583]; and men gather them, and cast [906] [them] into the fire, and they are burned.

(Note: The word “men” is not in the original Greek).

Comparing Matthew 13:5, 6 with John 15:6, we see that a man who abides not in Christ is related to the “stony places” where the word did not take root. Notice the same language of being “withered” [3583]. Then, in John 15:6, we see the language of being gathered and “cast” [G906] into the fire after the withering. What could this mean? Matthew 13:40-42 has the answer:

(Matthew 13:38-42) The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast [906] them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Who are the tares? They’re the children of the wicked one (verse 38). So, we see that the tares are related to the “stony places” (in Matthew 13:5, 6). The seed (word) did not take root, and therefore, no fruit was brought forth:

(Luke 8:11-13) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 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.

Now, focusing on verse 12 of Luke 8 (above). In a parallel verse (Mark 4:15), we read:

(Mark 4:15) And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

As additional proof that the word must be received in the heart, we see that the devil comes immediately and takes the word out of their hearts. It’s important to understand that Christ is explaining a parable that He had just spoken (in verses 5-8 of Luke 8). So, Luke 8:12 is literal language. Satan has to come to men (either directly or through his demons) and take the word out of their hearts. Otherwise, believing unto salvation can result. Again, we see the heart in view.

Those “on the rock” aka “stony places” did not receive the word deeply and it did not take root in the heart. God draws and softens hearts when the gospel is preached:

(Matthew 13:5) Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

(Luke 8:6) And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

(Ezekiel 36:24-27) For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony [68] heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them].

H68 –  stone(s) (247x)

Notice the picture presented in Ezekiel 36. We can infer from this passage and what has already been presented in this post, that when God draws the hearer, He begins to soften the heart so that it’s not stony. The hearer is then able to receive the word deep into his or her heart per God’s drawing through the word. Calvinists say a man must be “regenerated” (born again) first for this to happen, but as we saw in a previous post, the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. God’s Spirit draws the heart and the hearer can either incline his or her ear to that drawing of the word so that the word will be received in the heart, or reject the word:

(Romans 1:16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

(John 12:47, 48) And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

(To be continued in the next blog post.)

Posted in apologetics, Arminianism, Bible, Calvinism, Christian theology, Christianity, faith, free grace, lordship salvation, religion, salvation, soteriology, systematic theology, theology | Leave a comment

Can Someone Be Born Again and Have No Fruit at All? (A Split in the “Free Grace” Movement)

This post is a prelude to a study i’ll be posting soon about the Parable of the Seed and the Sower. Believe it or not, there are some (not all) in the “Free Grace” movement who believe that a man or woman can believe on Christ, be spiritually born again, and then never bring forth any fruit (good works) during the course of their entire lifetime. Needless to say, this is an extreme view that goes against the teaching of scripture. Such people seem to be afraid to believe that all born again believers will bring forth some fruit during the course of their lifetimes. Should fear dictate doctrine? I don’t pick and choose what i want to believe in the Bible. If the Bible leads me there, i have to abide by it, even if i don’t like it. What good does it do to believe something that isn’t true? Does that make it right? Objectivity and the openness to be corrected by the Bible will lead to a greater understanding of the scriptures. But if we hold to a wrong doctrine, that will affect how we see other things in the Bible. I don’t want to study the Bible to be right. I want to study the Bible to see what it actually says beyond all the theological dogmas.

With that said, let’s look at assurance of salvation. Is it true that we are to simply stand on the word and not examine ourselves? Does self examination lead to looking to one’s own merits to somehow earn salvation? It seems that self examination has become a dirty word in some “Free Grace” circles. Let’s look at the Bible, rather than listen to idealogical assertion, shall we? So, what does the Bible say? The Bible doesn’t say to avoid self examination for fear that one will become focused on his or her own merits to somehow earn everlasting life in the Kingdom of God. Rather, the Bible teaches self examination.

The Bible says:

(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?

(1 John 4:12, 13) No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

(1 John 3:14) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death.

This idea that we simply stand on the word and don’t examine ourselves is not taught in the Bible. Love for the brethren is how we can know that the Spirit of God is in us:

(1 John 3:17-19) But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

As you can see, self examination is taught in the Bible. It’s biblical! So, why are some denouncing such a notion and accusing anyone who disagrees with them, of being a “Lordship Salvation” proponent? This sort of biased rhetoric is not edifying to anyone.

Posted in apologetics, Bible, Calvinism, Christian theology, Christianity, faith, free grace, lordship salvation, religion, salvation, soteriology, systematic theology, theology | Leave a comment

Why So Many Denominations Exist: The Refusal to Be Objective

Have you ever wondered why there are so many Christian denominations today? I don’t know what the official Christian denomination count is in America today, but i know it’s in the thousands. Why? Why can’t Christian pastors come together in doctrinal harmony?

(John 16:13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Well, the most obvious reason is many who claim to be Christian are not born again. But what about the remnant? What about those believers who are born again? Why isn’t there a growing denomination of those led into all truth? Where is this denomination today? I don’t think the Catholic church has the biblical answers. And the Protestant churches are very divided as theological dogmas rule the day without any real effort to come together in the spirit of correction. It’s discouraging to see such division without any serious effort to come together by pastors who claim to know the Lord. And how many of them have put in the time and effort necessary to arrive at sound doctrine? Theological books? How many read theological books that tell them what the Bible says, rather than going directly to the Bible itself and seriously study verses in context, with a concordance, to see what the Bible says? How many read a book about the Bible first, and then go to the Bible with that book influencing their objectivity? How many have read many theological books rather than spending that time in the source material?  Has the church failed to fulfill Christ’s prayer for oneness, in John 17? Was His prayer answered back in the Bible days? Or is it yet to be answered? I see no real effort to objectively come together and biblically work out those doctrinal differences today. Rather, i see debates with little desire for biblical correction as denominations continue on in those doctrinal differences. It’s a sad state of affairs, isn’t it?

Posted in apologetics, Bible, Calvinism, Catholicism, Christian theology, Christianity, faith, lordship salvation, Protestantism, religion, salvation, soteriology, systematic theology, theology | 5 Comments

John 1:11-13 Revisited: How the Bible Defines Receiving Christ

In this third post focusing in the area of John 1:11-13, let’s take a look at what it means to receive Christ, in the Bible. But first, let’s go to John 12:46-48, where the Bible defines the opposite of receiving Christ:

(John 12:46-48) I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Here we see that to reject Christ is to not receive His words (to hear His words, but believe not that He is the Christ…not believe in/on Him). In John 5:38-47, we see what the opposite of rejecting Christ is. It’s to receive Him by believing His words to the point of believing in/on Him (come to Him) for the gift of life (salvation):

(John 5:38-47) And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that [cometh] from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

So, we see that the Jews who were rejecting Christ by not receiving His words to the point of coming to Him…believing in/on Him for the gift of eternal life (salvation), were also not believing Moses’ words, in whom they trusted. They were not believing the scriptures that testified of Christ. And since Jesus had come in His Father’s name, they were also not believing the Father’s words that had been spoken through the Son.

With that established, let’s look at John 1:11-13, which shines more light on what it means to receive Christ:

(John 1:11-13) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power [1849] to become the sons [5043] of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

As we saw in a previous blog post, the word “power” in the KJV may have been better translated as “authority” (according to how the Strong’s concordance defines the Greek):

G1849 – power (69x), authority (29x), right (2x),

(Romans 8:16, 17) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children [5043] of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.

G5043 – child (77x), son (21x), daughter (1x).

John 1:11-13 compared with John 6:40 reveals a fundamental error in the premise of Calvinism’s conclusion. Calvinists have assumed that God’s sovereignty is threatened if man has any authority in the matter of salvation. But the Bible clearly indicates that those who received Christ (believed in/on Christ per God’s drawing through Christ’s words) were given the authority, by God, to become the children of God (be born again). Since Calvinists don’t believe a man or woman is born again when he or she believes in/on Christ for the gift of eternal life, they’ve closed off any arriving at truth:

(John 1:13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will [2307] of the flesh, nor of the will [2307] of man, but of God.

(John 6:40) And this is the will [2307] of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

To be born again (regenerated) is to be set free from being a slave to the bondage of sin. The believer isn’t perfect and still sins, but he or she would rather not ‘live in sin.’ Sin is repulsive to the believer, rather than being condoned as trivial or, in some cases, even beautiful. A born again believer wouldn’t be “pro-choice” or march in a “gay pride” parade, for example. The believer knows what the Bible says and abides by it’s authority. He or she wouldn’t say that the Bible is off-base and that Christian values are immoral:

(Romans 6:1, 2) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

(Romans 6:22) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Romans 6:22) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

(John 8:34-36) Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

(Romans 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

(John 3:16, 17) 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.

(John 3:36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

To have everlasting life is to experience the earnest of that promised inheritance. Born again believers in Christ now experience the earnest of the Spirit until the coming day of redemption (when the mortal bodies of believers will be resurrected to everlasting life and their sanctification will be complete):

(Romans 8:23) And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.

(Ephesians 1:13, 14) In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest [728] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

(2 Corinthians 1:21, 22) Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, [is] God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest [728] of the Spirit in our hearts.

(Ephesians 4:30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Conclusion:

The Bible indicates that to receive Christ is to believe His words to the point of believing in/on Him. And to reject Christ is to believe not His words. All who receive Christ are given the authority to become children of God (born again). It’s God’s will that all who believe in/on Christ may have everlasting life (according to how the Bible defines God’s terms). To have everlasting life is to experience the earnest of that promised inheritance (the indwelling Holy Spirit associated with the new birth).

NOTE: Since the initial posting, i extensively edited this post, on 10/7/15, to correct an inaccuracy as to the exact definition of receiving Christ. I’ve since broadened my initial conclusion, from believing Christ’s words, to also coming to Him (believing in/on Him).

Posted in apologetics, Bible, Calvinism, Christian theology, Christianity, faith, religion, salvation, systematic theology, theology | Leave a comment