Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Elder Sarber's Excellent Teaching

I recommend that people read and listen to the teachings of brother Jeremy Sarber, now an associate editor and trustee of this blog. Two excellent recent teachings, given in expository sermons, are "What is Ecclesiastes about and what its main message?" (see here) and "What does justification by faith mean? (Romans chapter 3 explained)" (see here).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Spirit Received By Faith

Over the years I have introduced many statements from scripture that prove that faith (belief) in the God of holy scripture, and in the good news about salvation through Christ the Son of God, is

1. A necessary condition for being finally saved
2. An integral part of what it means to be regenerated, born again, renewed, or to have spiritual and eternal life

Once I quit resisting the truth of those statements of scripture, and stopped twisting and distorting their true meaning, I was amazed at how blind I was, when I was a Hardshell, and how hardened I was against the truth, and how I was in a cult. The following verse of scripture is just one of those verses.

Galatians 3:2 - "This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?"

In looking over the various English translations and studying the Greek text, I found that the Amplified gave a good translation. It reads:

"Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?]"

Next, notice these two good translations:

Phillips - "I will ask you one simple question: did you receive the Spirit of God by trying to keep the Law or by believing the message of the Gospel?"

Wuest - "This only am I desiring to learn from you. By means of law works did you receive the Spirit or by means of the message which proclaims faith?"

Paul's Socratic rhetorical assumes that the Galatians knew when they had "received the Spirit." Paul takes it for granted that they knew when and how they had received the Spirit and this fact is presupposed in the question he asks. So, we may read it as follows:

"Since you know when and how you received the Spirit, let me ask you - how and when did you receive the Spirit?"

Paul assumes that they know the answer. If he did not assume this, then why ask the question? Especially since the answer to the question will serve as the major premise in his syllogism?

But, if Paul assumes that they know the answer, then his thinking is unlike our modern anti means and anti faith Hardshells. If the reception of the Spirit denotes regeneration or new birth, then his question shows that the Galatians knew when they were regenerated. But, the Hardshells, most of them, affirm that very few of the regenerated know when they were regenerated or born again. Many of them say that they have always believed since they were small children. Many of them even think that they were "regenerated" when they were in the womb. But, very few of them can tell you when and how.

In Acts 5:32 we have a similar statement - "and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." The word "obey" is used as a synonym of believe. Believing is obeying for God commands all to believe the gospel.

Wrote Dr. Gill:

received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? This question supposes they had received the Spirit; that is, the Spirit of God, as a spirit of wisdom and knowledge in the revelation of Christ; as a spirit of regeneration and sanctification; as a spirit of faith and adoption; and as the earnest, seal, and pledge of their future glory.

Not only does the question presuppose that the Galatians had indeed "received" the Holy Spirit, and that Paul knew it, but also that the Galatians knew it. They not only knew that they had received the Spirit but knew when and how. Gill says that...

"this belongs to the Gospel, "or the hearing of faith"; for by "faith", is meant the Gospel, and particularly the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ's righteousness; and by "the hearing" of it, the preaching of it, the report of it, ( Isaiah 53:1 ) which, in the Hebrew text, is (wntemv) , "our hearing", that by which the Gospel is heard and understood. Now in this way the Spirit of God is received; while the Gospel is preaching he falls on them that hear it, conveys himself into their hearts, and begets them again by the word of truth: and in this way the Galatians came by the Spirit, and which is another aggravation of their folly, that they should enjoy so great an advantage by the Gospel, and yet be so easily removed from it." (emphasis mine)

How any Hardshell can continue to claim that Dr. Gill taught the Hardshell anti means view in the light of such comments is astounding. Notice how clear is his statement that the Lord "begets them again by the word of truth." Is that not what Paul was teaching or did the great doctor miss it? Why is it that nearly the whole Christian world so understands the teaching of Paul in the text and yet Hardshells resist seeing it?

How can the Hardshells "get around" the clear teaching of the text? The only way is to get creative with the text, to take liberties with it and say (perhaps) that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is not regeneration. But, this is wholly untenable for the Galatian context and the context of the entire new testament forbids it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Luke 12:46 - A Hardshell Response

A Hardshell has written to me in response to my previous posting The Portion Of Unbelievers. He wrote:

"I'll have to study that verse alot more. I have no idea what that verse is saying. So far I don't see any salvation or anything of significance in that verse. I'll keep looking."

Here is the verse of scripture:

"The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers." (Luke 12:46 kjv)

How can this Hardshell brother not see that these verses are dealing with salvation and damnation?

John Gill in his commentary wrote (emphasis mine):

and will cut him in sunder, and appoint him his portion with unbelievers; whose portion is the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death, Revelation 21:8 and by these are meant, not only the Heathens, who never heard of Christ; nor the Jews only, who disbelieved the Messiah, and rejected him when he came; but all deists and atheists, who deny revelation; even all unbelievers of, and scoffers at the coming of Christ, and who put away the evil day far from them

This passage is to be compared with Matt. 24: 51 - "and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The place of weeping and gnashing (cf Mt. 8:12;. 13:42; 13:50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Lk. 13:28) is a clear description of hell. The Matthew passage almost perfectly parallels Luke 12:46 and strongly supports the interpretation that the "place" or "portion" is hell (gehenna).

W E Vine, as well as nearly all bible commentaries, affirm that both passages speak of retribution beyond this life. Why do the Hardshells not see it?


1. When does the judgment take place?

Answer - when the Lord comes. It is a judgment that takes place when the Lord comes. Therefore, it can be no temporal judgment. It is the same thing often referred to in scripture. Christ will "judge the living and the dead" when he returns. (I Tim. 4:1)

2. What is the punishment inflicted?

Answer - To suffer capitally, to receive the severest sentence.

Nothing of salvation or condemnation in the text? Nothing of any significance?  What is the place of the unbelievers and of the hypocrites? If it is not hell, it must be heaven! Thus, this is how many Hardshells become functional or quasi Universalists.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

More Hard Questions for Hardshells

Recently in Hard Nut Questions For Hardshells I posed two questions towards my Hardshell brethren who think that faith in Christ is unessential for either being born again or for obtaining final salvation. In this posting I want to advance a couple more questions along the same line.

1. Is coming to Christ necessary in order to be eternally saved?
2. What does it mean to come to Christ?

On God Decreeing The Fall

I have often warned people of the dangers of fighting an extreme view. Sometimes fighting an extreme causes one to go to an opposite extreme. On any road there is a ditch on either side into which one may fall. Staying on the road and avoiding the ditches of extremism in bible interpretation requires constant care and attention. Many vehicles have ended up in the ditch because the driver was careless and thus did not stay in the road.

When it comes to understanding the "decrees of God," or predestination, many people have a hard time keeping the car on the road, failing to correctly understand or accept the truth of the bible on the subject. Just ask the average person this question - "did God will the fall of man?"

Jerome Zanchius in his famous work on the subject, wrote:

"Surely, if God had not willed the fall, He could, and no doubt would, have prevented it; but He did not prevent it: ergo He willed it. And if He willed it, He certainly decreed it, for the decree of God is nothing else but the seal and ratification of His Will. He does nothing but what He decreed, and He decreed nothing which He did not will, and both will and decree are absolutely eternal, though the execution of both be in time." (see here)

I find this argumentation irrefutable.

In the 1689 London Baptist Confession, it is thus written:

"...his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission..." (1689 London Confession, section 5, Divine Providence)

This is also what the "Primitive" or "Old School" Baptists all believed and taught for the first several decades of their separate existence. Prior to the Civil War it was the belief of nearly all of the PBs that all things come to pass as a result of God's decree, or predestination.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Fate of the Fruitless

"...every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire...He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:10, 12 nasb)

"He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit...Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit...Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned." (John 15:1-6 nasb)

"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (II Peter 1:8-11 KJV)

These passages clearly show that those who do not bear fruit (which must include evangelical faith) will be eternally lost. Those Hardshells who teach that unbelievers (fruitless) will be saved are against them.

The great Hardshell apologist and debater, Elder C.H. Cayce, wrote:

"All God's children, according to this view, would be a fruit-bearing class." (Editorial Writings - see here) And, Cayce and his modern followers do not believe that all the elect and called are a "fruit-bearing class."

Modern anti means Hardshells will

1. Affirm that many of the Lord's born again people will not bear fruit (have faith).

2. Affirm that the fruitless persons in the above passages will be saved.

3. Affirm that condemnation rendered against the fruitless is not eternal.

In affirming these things, they put themselves in opposition to the clear teachings of these verses of scripture.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Augustine - All The Elect Will Believe

Jerome Zanchius cites Augustine as follows (emphasis mine):

"Agreeable to all which is that of Augustine:* "Whatsoever persons are, through the riches of Divine grace, exempted from the original sentence of condemnation are undoubtedly brought to hear the Gospel, and when heard, they are caused to believe it, and are made likewise to endure to the end in the faith which works by love, and should they at any time go astray, they are recovered and set right again." A little after he adds:"All these things are wrought in them by that God who made them vessels of mercy, and who, by the election of His grace, chose them, in His Son, before the world began." * De Corrept. et Grat. cap. 7." (see here)

Well, amen to that!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

PBs and "Duty Faith"

In "What Is Duty Faith And Is It Biblical?," the editors at comingintheclouds.org wrote:

"Both John Newton in 1770 and Arthur w. Pink in 1936 presented reasoning from Scripture to support the doctrine of “duty faith”. Their writings on this subject also lend great support to the precept that “Gospel preaching” is a means utilized of God in Salvation. I would like to note at this point that many people who go by the name of “Primitive Baptist” do NOT agree with Gospel preaching being a means God uses to bring unsaved sinners to Christ and they have come up with a system of theology that attempts to justify their position, a position that is often referred to as “hyper” Calvinism"." (see here)

I say "amen" to that. I have written much on this subject and anyone interested can put in the words "duty faith" in the search box and find those writings.

Friday, November 24, 2017

If Saved, Then You Will Persevere

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (I John 2:19)

Albert Barnes wrote the following in his commentary on this verse (emphasis mine):

"They went out from us - From the church. That is, they had once been professors of the religion of the Saviour, though their apostasy showed that they never had any true piety."

"But they were not of us - That is, they did not really belong to us, or were not true Christians. See the notes at Matthew 7:23. This passage proves that these persons, whatever their pretensions and professions may have been, were never sincere Christians. The same remark may be made of all who apostatize from the faith, and become teachers of error. They never were truly converted; never belonged really to the spiritual church of Christ."

For if they had been of us - If they had been sincere and true Christians.

They would no doubt have continued with us - The words "no doubt" are supplied by our translators, but the affirmation is equally strong without them: "they would have remained with us." This affirms, without any ambiguity or qualification, that if they had been true Christians they "would" have remained in the church; that is, they would not have apostatized. There could not be a more positive affirmation than that which is implied here, that those who are true Christians will continue to be such; or that the saints will not fall away from grace. John affirms it of these persons, that if they had been true Christians they would never have departed from the church. He makes the declaration so general that it may be regarded as a universal truth, that if "any" are truly "of us," that is, if they are true Christians, they will continue in the church, or will never fall away. The statement is so made also as to teach that if any "do" fall away from the church, the fact is full proof that they never had any religion, for if they had had they would have remained steadfast in the church.

But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us..."

This is old Baptist doctrine. It is clearly the teaching of the Apostle John. How did today's Hardshells slide so far away from the truth as to deny it? Do they not now teach that many "antichrists" are elect and called? What an awful heresy!

You Know All Things

The apostle John wrote:

"But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." (I John 2: 20)

What does the apostle mean when he says that Christians, those who "have an unction" from the Lord, "know all things"? Certainly he does not mean to say that Christians are omniscient. Rather, it seems to me, that John is saying - "you see the big picture." He is saying - "you know the reason for all things," that is, "you know why God created the world, and what is the purpose behind all things." You know that "of him and through him and to him are all things" (Rom. 11: 36), that everything has meaning and purpose, has a destiny. (Eccl. 3: 1; Prov. 16: 4) John is affirming that Christians have insight into the why of things.

For the whole article from which this citation is taken, see Hardshells And Predestination IV.