Saturday, February 07, 2009

Are you saved?

20 comments:

steve martin said...

Well...I don't know that I am saved by anything that I am doing...that's for sure.

I know that I am saved by what God has promised me.

What He has done for me.

This is where my assurance comes from.

Not from my being good, or my sorrow for my sin (although that is good), not from staying away from the things of this age...what are those...anyway? Money, movies, fast cars, flat screen t.v.'s, roller coasters?

I like what St. Paul tells us in Romans 6 (I believe)

"You are to consider yourselves dead to sin."

How so? Something that you are doing or not doing? No. Because of your baptism and being killed with Christ. BVut Christ has raised me to new life also. (Romans 6) and given to me the forgiveness of my sins and the Holy Spirit (Act 2:38).

Falling back onto ourselves for the assurance of our salvation is a very bad idea and leads to self-righteousness and or phoniness.

Personally...I'll stick to what God has done for me.

Wayne Dawg said...

I must be missing something theological here Steve....I feel like a jet just flew over my head and I missed it.

I don't hear the preacher proclaiming works salvation. In fact, I've never heard Paul Washer preach anything other than grace alone.

The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Cor 13 that we must examine ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith. Test ourselves.

How do we do that? How do we know we are saved?

Should we not find our selves growing in holiness? Should we not find our selves reading the Scriptures and praying and witnessing and loving the brethren and longing to be with our Creator one day... just to name a few?

Should we not be hating sin and the things God hates. Should we not be able to reconize and be sensitive to our sins? And when we do sin we repent of it and get back on our feet and go the other way?

When we sin (as a Christian) we want the Holy Spirit to point it out so we can repent and get back into a proper fellowship with God.

The evidence of a Christian is that we walk with Him daily....we 'do' what is pleasing to Him; not of our own strength, but through the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

Are these not evidences of conversion...of a changed life?

Of course I am saved by what He did for me on the cross...but what is the evidence that He is indeed working in me?

2 Cor 13:5 say's

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

So, how do we know Christ is in us; if we are indeed saved?

1 John gives us plenty of ways we can test ourselves......

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)

1. You Fellowship

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

2. You Recognize Your True Sinful State

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)

3. You Are Obedient to His Commandments

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:3)

4. You Do Not Love the World

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

5. You Have Knowledge of Who Jesus Christ Is

“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1 John 2:23)

6. You Look Forward to His Coming

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

7. You Do Not Practice Sin

“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 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.” (1 John 3:8-10)

8. You Love Your Brothers

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

9. You Love Preaching, Teaching and Hearing God’s Word

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6)

10. You Proclaim Jesus Christ

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15)

(Compiled by Todd Friel)



I will stick to what God has done for me too...and the evidence that He did it in me is right above through a honest self examination of myself.

steve martin said...

Wayne,

The whole thing is a matter of emphasis.

Washer emphasizes things that revolve around 'the self'.

As a Lutheran, I realize that while self examination can certainly be a good thing...when it comes to the assurance of our salvation...it is a bad thing.

We look to the Other for assurance of our salvation...especially since it doesn't depend on us.

When thr devil dogged Martin Luther with doubts about himself during the firestorm that was the Reformation, Martin Luther did not look at his obedience, or his sincerity, or his ability to forego the pleasures of his age.

He looked to what Christ had done for him. And he returned to his baptism and the promises that God had made to him (Martin Luther) in that baptism.

That is how I know that I am a Christian. That is how I know the assurance of salvation.

And it is all apart from anything I do, say, feel, or think.

That;s the theology of the cross as opposed to the theology of glory that Washer espouses.

Thanks Wayne!

PS- I know this stuff is radical. That is how it hit me when I first heard it. But I do believe it is biblical.

Joseph A. said...
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Joseph A. said...

Everything Washer says is 100% biblical... quoted right out of scripture.

I'd go with what the bible says over Luther's personal experiences or his baptism in relation to salvation. Baptism doesn't save anyone.

Jesus promised that, unless we repent, we will all likewise perish (Luke 13:3).

ExPatMatt said...

Wayne,

Does it not pose a problem for Christians, that they know what they SHOULD be doing, once converted.

I imagine it would make it easier for False Converts to go undetected if they are aware of the things that a True Christian SHOULD be doing.

In all innocence, they could start reading more Scripture, hating more Sin, evangelizing more - all because they know that's what they SHOULD be doing and not because they are compelled to do it.

Maybe that person goes through their entire life convinced they are saved because they are following all the right dance steps, even though they can't hear the music?

Interesting stuff.

PS. I left a reply on your older post - thanks for getting back to me.

Matt

Wayne Dawg said...

ExPatMat -

Very good points -

"Does it not pose a problem for Christians, that they know what they SHOULD be doing, once converted."

Once God converts a person, that person should then be discipled by mature Christians. With that being said, a true convert will absolutely long for the things of God. He/she will thirst for the Scriptures, tell others about Christ, pray, etc. There will be a sensitivity to his/her sins because the Holy Spirit will be working anew in that persons life.

"Maybe that person goes through their entire life convinced they are saved because they are following all the right dance steps, even though they can't hear the music?"

Could this be re-worded to say....why would a false convert go through all the motions that a true Christian would exhibit.

Well - I think there is one thing that would separate a false convert from a true Christian: persecution. I don't think a false convert would allow himself to be tortured and killed for something he truly didn't believe in.

steve martin said...

Joseph A.,

I never said that anything that Washer was saying wasn't from the bible.

One of the reasons that I love Luther's theology, is that it distinguishes God's Law from God's gospel.

If we don't do theology, we can end up with a sort of schizophrenic Christianity where I know I am totally saved by the grace of God...but yet I need to be doing X,Y, and Z.

In the theology of the cross, we look to Jesus and His work on the cross for us to be complete...totally. There is nothing at all we can add. Not our seriousness, not our efforts, not our...anything.

Will there be good fruit? Yes there will, but it won't be something that any outside observer will be able to judge...or that even we will be able to judge.
St. Paul even said that, "I don't even judge myself."

No doubt that the Lord works through men like Washer. No doubt.

But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't critique in a way that would out more of the focus onto what Christ has done for us and less of the focus onto ourselves.

When we focus on the self, we end up with self-righteousness and pride, or phoniness. When we focus on Christ our faith is more apt to blossom into what it was meant to be...an unconsciousness of self and an awareness of the 'other'...both God and neighbor.

Thanks.

- Steve M.

Wayne Dawg said...

Steve -

you said "That is how I know that I am a Christian. That is how I know the assurance of salvation.

And it is all apart from anything I do, say, feel, or think."

Salvation is faith alone in Christ alone, not of works lest a man should boast. So, in essence, I agree with the above statement by you....salvation is all apart from anything I do, say, feel or think.

I also know that a person must repent and trust in Christ for salvation.

Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sins.

I don't consider repenting a work or something I 'do'.

Neither do I consider the 10-point check list in 1 John a work, but rather evidence that one has truly been born again.

steve martin said...

Matt,

Interesting observation.

False converts should go undetected. Since no man can tell another man's heart...no man can be sure who the true belivers are.

For the Christian, focusing on one's performance is an exercise in navel gazing. It is totally not necessary and is harmful to a living trust in God, who has accomplished everything necessary for the salvation of thye sinner already...on the cross.

Focusing on self performance, adherence to a bunch of do's and dont's for the sake of making oneself better is just...religion.

And God hates religion.

He Himself has taken care of the God project...on the cross.

All of our sin, all of our good works (filthy rags) have been bnailed to that cross with Jesus.

When He said, "It is finished." ...He meant all of our efforts to ascend to God on our own.

Finished, kaput, finito, over...done.

But...the old sinner in us, the old Adam (a shameless plug) will not let go of the religion project.

Then you end up with what we've got...church lady's running around and telling everyone how they should live.

It's too bad.

steve martin said...

Wayne,

Repentance is something that God leads you to. he works repentance in you.

If it depended on 'our' serious repentance...not a one of us would be saved.

Just look at your own life and the lives of your close Christian friends.

If you are anything at all like me, I think you'll understand what I mean.

We are sorry for our sin, and that is enough. Even then, if we were REALLY sorry, we might stop doing X,Y, or Z. But we don't stop sinning do we? We really want to keep sinning, otherwise we wouldn't do it.

It is a matter of emphasis.

In Evangelicalism, much of the focus is on the self...on our end of the equation. In Luther's theology (I don't say Lutheranism anymore very often because a lot of crap has infiltrated the church)the focus, the attention, the onus, is out onto Christ.

He is the only one we can trust, absolutely. Not our efforts at repentance,nor our seriousness.

I hope that helped you understand where I'm coming from, a bit better, Wayne.

Thanks!

- Steve

Wayne Dawg said...

Steve - you said -

"Repentance is something that God leads you to. he works repentance in you.

If it depended on 'our' serious repentance...not a one of us would be saved."

Dude - I so agree. God drew me to Christ and God worked repentance in me. It had nothing to so with me. A dead man cannot raise himself. We are in union on that.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that there are evidences of a true born-again Christian that are not depended or should I say 'self driven or focused' that should be evident in a changed life.

That's why God gave us that test in 1 John. That's why Paul tells us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith.

You said to Matt: False converts should go undetected. Since no man can tell another man's heart...no man can be sure who the true belivers are.

True - no man can know another man's heart.

But there are evidences of true conversion that God has outlined for us in the Bible.

There could be other factors here going on too...is the Christian building on the foundation of Christ with something other than gold, silver..etc?

1 Cor 3:11-15

11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


If a Christian is building on the worng foundation his works will be burned up...still saved, but he must have looked just like the world and not as a Christian should have looked.

But - to Matt's point, could someone be faking all the evidences of a true Christian and not truly be saved?

Yes- it's possible I think, unless persecution were in place to weed out those who were pretending.

These indeed could be the folks who are the chaff, the tares, the foolish virgins among the believers.

Thanks

steve martin said...

...is the Christian building on the foundation of Christ with something other than gold, silver..etc?

Once again, the focus goes to the believer.

I like to out the focus on Christ.

"He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion."

The focus there is on Christ.

I love sacramental theology in that it puts the focus on Christ.

I believe that self-righteousness by people who actually believe that they are doing alright in the Christian faith, is a big problem.

Christ Jesus has a real heart for those who know that they are a failure in their own efforts at 'doing'.

Th parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector points that out quite clearly.

This is the problem with 'self' oriented theology. (Modern Evamgelicalism)

Wayne Dawg said...

I think we have some kind of disconnect over what is being said.

"Once again, the focus goes to the believer."

1 Cor 3:11-15 is evidence that a Christian is or is not doing the things that matter for all of eternity.

v13 "each one’s work will become clear;"

Was this work done on my behalf, through my own efforts, or through the Holy Spirit woring in me.

If done on my own efforts, it burns up. If done through the Holy Spirit for God, it endures.

"I believe that self-righteousness by people who actually believe that they are doing alright in the Christian faith, is a big problem."

Agreed! Those who are self-righteous never give the glory to God and do their 'works' based on their own ability and are self-focused.

Those who give the glory to God realize that it is God who 'works' through them and are God-focused.

Back to the original point about salvation....

It is Christ alone...through faith (trust)in Him alone that saves. Indeed, He will bring it (salvation) to completion...no doubt.

It is Him who saves me...not my works, not my baptism, not my feelings. Him alone; lest any man boast.

steve martin said...

When you listen to a guy like Washer, and i have listed to him speak before, you leave looking inward, at yourself. You are left with another rung on the ladder to climb. In this case he leaves us examining what things of 'this age' that we might jettison.

Not that those things wouldn't be a good idea.

But with him you have a law/gospel/law paradigm.

It ought be law/gospel, and one should leave feeling the joy and freedom, and gratefulness, that Christ has won for them.

Instead, they leave with yet another thing that they should, ought or must be doing.

It is subtle, but yet important.

Wayne Dawg said...

Bibically I understand it as:

Law
Grace
repentance
faith (trust)
salvation
evidence (fruit)

Matthew 3:8
Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,

Matthew 3:10
And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 7:17
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

John 15:5
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Romans 6:22
But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

Romans 7:4
Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Philippians 1:11
being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Colossians 1:10
that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

With salvation come obvious fruit...not from their own works, but rather from the Holy Spirit who is working in them.

Thanks Steve...I'll let you have the last word.

steve martin said...

Ok Wayne... you are a gracious man!

Law/Gospel.

Repentance, faith, salvation, evidence are outcomes of Law/Gospel and aren't something that we do...or that we can objectivly measure.

They are there in the life of the believer.

If the Law and the Gospel are preached...the rest will fall into place.

Great topic... great discussion!

Tahnks you, Wayne!

Wayne Dawg said...

Thank you Steve!

ExPatMatt said...

Thanks guys, that was very enlightening.

I enjoy the discussion here.

Matt

ExPatMatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.