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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Dr. James White's Continued Examination of James McCarthy's Sermon on Radio Free Geneva | Main | Not the full story... »

    Election Ensures the Concept of Salvation by Grace

    “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:5, 6

    From an article entitled, “What Difference Does it Make? A Discussion of the Evangelical Utility of the Doctrines of Grace,” Mark Webb writes:

    The most casual Bible student admits that scripture indeed employs the language of election when speaking of God’s eternal purposes. Yet most seek to dodge the implications of that language by fleeing to the refuge of “conditional” election (i.e. that God’s choice, or election, of certain men to salvation is “conditioned” by his foreseeing faith in those men). I’ll leave the task of showing that this “time tunnel” hypothesis will not fly to the many excellent works on the subject. Better yet, see it yourself by getting out your Bible and thoroughly studying the many references of scripture concerning this subject. I intend to deal not so much with the proof of the doctrine as with its ramifications.

    If “conditional” election is true—if God’s choice of me is determined by my choice of Him—the practical effect of this teaching is no different than if there were no election at all! The proof of this assertion is seen in the fact that the groups who hold this view seldom, if ever, mention the subject. And why should they? To what purpose? Since it’s taught that God has done all He can do to save, and now it’s up to man, the will of man becomes the determining and dominant factor in salvation. Whenever you make God’s choice of men to salvation hinge upon what He foresees in man—be it his work, his faith, or his choice—you have effectively undermined the whole concept of salvation by grace alone! Either salvation depends upon God’s free choice and good pleasure, which is the principle of “grace,” or it depends upon something man himself produces, which is the principle of “works.” It really matters not whether this “thing” which God foresees is something tangible, seen outwardly in the man’s life, or something intangible, seen inwardly only by God. It matters not whether it’s a huge thing, or whether it’s a tiny thing. So long as man’s part is the critical, determinative part, you have a system based upon “works” not grace.

    Let me illustrate. Suppose you came to me and said, “Mark, I have a $15,000 car here. If you’ll pay me $15,000, I’ll give you the car.” We’d all agree, that’s not “grace,” that’s “works.” But suppose you said, “Mark, I’ve a $15,000 car here, and I’ll simply give you the car.” We’d all agree, that’s “grace,” not “works.” But now let’s try to mix the two concepts. Suppose you said, “Mark, here’s a $15,000 car. I’ll be $14,999 gracious to you if you’ll simply pay me $1.” Have we succeeded in mixing “grace” and “works?” No! For what’s the practical difference between that last offer and you simply saying, “Mark, here’s a $15,000 car—I’ll sell it for $1?”

    Do you see? You’re still coming to me on the basis of “selling,” not “giving.” You’ve not changed your principle, you’ve simply lowered your price! This is precisely Paul’s point in Romans 11:5-6. An “unconditional” election is the only concept of election consistent with salvation by free grace!

    Election Excludes Man’s Boasting

    Scripture tells us in passages like Rom. 3:27, I Cor. 1:26-31, and Eph. 2:8-10, that God intentionally designed salvation so that no man could boast of it. He didn’t merely arrange it so that boasting would be discouraged or kept to a minimum—He planned it so that boasting would be absolutely excluded! Election does precisely that.

    Posted by John Samson on January 2, 2012 08:49 AM

    Comments

    I grew up in a Southern Baptist church, and would go to that church by the means of a bus ministry that they had. One day, I was sitting in the front seat talking with the driver and we passed by the "Primitive Baptist Church" in our town.I asked the driver what they believed, what set them apart from us, and he answered "they believe that God chooses who is saved."

    later on in the conversation he told me that someone pointed out that salvation by faith was works. I wasn't sure of what to make of it all back when I was thirteen but now I defiantly see the problems of the conditional election I was taught growing up. The implications of making man able to save himself is horrible. Why else did Christ die, but that there was no other way for the salvation of man.

    This argument only has significance if you begin with a peculiar set of presuppositions, which includes the notion that God placed a select group of men “in Christ” before the foundation of the world. (If men were placed “in Christ” before the foundation of the world, then are these elect “in Christ” when they are born?)

    In the last blog, I asked a question, which has not been answered: When in history were men actually placed “in Christ”?


    On November 16 I asked two similar questions when the book “Union With Christ” was reviewed. These questions did not get answered.


    1) In the gospel of John, at the point of time when Jesus was making these proclamations…

    "I am in the Father" (John 10:38:14:10, 11, 20; 17:21),
    "the Father is in Me" (John 10:38, 14:10, 11; 17:21, 23),
    "the Father dwells in Me" (John 14:10),
    "the Father and I are one" (John 10:30; 17:22)

    …was any other man indwelt by the Father or the Son?

    2) Was any other man "one" with the Father or the Son before Jesus prayed for this union in John 17?

    I would now add, was any man “in Christ” at this time in the gospel of John? Will you consider answering this question? It is a core issue at the heart of many debates.


    I would like to put forth the evidence from the Scripture that men were not placed “in Christ” before Christ died. If believing men, such as the disciples, were not “in Christ” before Jesus died, then I believe this fact can be used to prove that many foundational assumptions, exclusive to the Reformed view, are in error.

    The night before He died, Jesus clearly communicated that He had a special relationship with His Father in John 14. “I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me …the Father abiding in Me…” (John 14:10). After telling His disciples that He was the Truth, Jesus also told His disciples that He was going to pray that the Father would give the Comforter who would be with them forever, “the Spirit of Truth” who then dwelt WITH them, and would soon be IN them (John 14:17). Jesus went on to say, “In that day, you shall know that I am in My Father, and YOU IN ME, and I IN YOU…WE will come and make our abode IN him” (John 14:20, 23). Jesus clearly told His disciples in the future they would be “in Christ”. The disciples were not yet “in Christ” the night before Jesus died.

    Later that evening, Jesus prayed for the work which would put ‘Christ in men’ and ‘men in Christ’, as well as make them all “one”. Jesus prayed for His disciples and those who believed in Christ through their word, “That they may all be “ONE”, as you Father are in Me, and I in Thee, that they may be “ONE”… that they may be ‘’ONE” even as We are one, I IN THEM, and Thou in Me… that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I IN THEM. (John 17:20-26). The answer to this prayer would give men a relationship with the Father and the Son which was similar to the relationship that Jesus had with His Father.

    The Apostle John later records, “By this we know that WE ABIDE “IN HIM” and HE IN US because He has given us His Spirit (1John 4:13). The Spirit (Comforter) had not yet been given on the night before Christ died. Earlier in his gospel John was careful to record, “But this He spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him were to receive; for the spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39). After His death, Jesus received the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33)! After Christ’s death and resurrection the disciples and others received the gift of the Comforter as Jesus foretold on the eve of His death. The Apostle John clearly draws the correlation between the men who are “in Christ” are the same men who have the Spirit of Christ in them.

    I believe the Bible teaches that men were not “in Christ” before Christ died. But after Christ died and shed His blood, believing men are indwelt by the Father and by the Son (Rom. 8:9, 11; Eph. 4:6; 1John 2:9, 23, 4:15, 16; Gal. 1:16, 2:20, 4:6; Eph. 3:17; Rom. 8:9, 10; Col. 1:27; John 1:16; Eph. 1:23). AND, Men are also placed “in God” (Col. 3:3; 1Thes. 1:1; 2Thes. 1:1; 1John 2:24, 4:13, 16; 1Cor. 3:23) as well as “in Christ”. Believers are now “one” with the Father and the Son, who promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us—HE is the promised Comforter who is with us forever.

    Do you believe that men were being place “in Christ” before Christ’s death? If so why?

    I just read the article you posted by Mark Webb. My husband and I sat under his wonderful ministry approximately 30 years ago in Evanston, WY. We continue to receive his sermons for our spiritual walk in this very dry climate.

    How do you know Mark? Does he have a blog? Just curious and thrilled that his ministry reaches you and many others.

    Thanks

    Jim

    One crucial distinction you must make... Being elect “in Christ” as spoken of in Eph 1:3-5 is not the same as being regenerated and redeemed in Christ. Election by itself does not save anyone. It is a blueprint, so to speak, of what God intended to do in time and space, through the work of Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit. Election begins the process of God's seeking out the lost sheep. He does this through the church who indiscriminately cast the seed of the gospel to all who will hear. The Holy Spirit's job is to apply the gospel to the elect by germinating that seed, so to speak.

    John,
    Thank you for that distinction. However it side steps the critical issue. Were the disciples "in Christ" the night before Christ died? As you stated, the work that "God intended to do in time and in space through the work of Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit" -- had it been accomplished and applied before Christ actually died and rose again?


    I think you know the Biblical answer to this question is "no". And as you just pointed out, both redemption and regeneration are "in Christ". No man had ever been placed "in Christ" before Christ died, and no man had been regenerated before Christ died.

    In John 14 Jesus pointed to a day in the near future when they would be "in Christ" and "Jesus would be in them". And later that night, Jesus prayed for this experience to come to pass in John 17. (More detail given above.)

    Jesus dwelling in a man gives that man eternal life (1John 5:11, 12). The life given in regeneration is eternal life (there is no other kind of life for men to receive after their first birth). Only those who have the SON have the life (1John 5:12). A man is saved when Jesus Christ comes to live in a man's heart to give him eternal life. These Biblical truths all converge: A man is "saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10); when a man is "made alive with Jesus Christ, by grace he has been saved" (Eph. 2:5); and he is "saved by regeneration" (Titus 2:5). Elsewhere Peter gives an important detail: "Baptism doth now save you" (1Pet. 3:21)-- The baptism that saves a man is the baptism that John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus would do. John the Baptist knew he needed to be baptized by Christ. John the Baptist said Jesus would baptize men with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit soon, just before His ascension. And on the Day of Pentecost the first men were baptized by Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, into the Body of Christ, placing them "in Christ". They were first men baptized into Christ's death-- to set them free from slavery to sin, and bondage to the Law (redemption). All of their sin and unrighteousness was cleansed and taken away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Their flesh, crucified in this baptism, was circumcised by Christ to remove it (Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 2:11). Their inner man, and their consciences were cleansed and their hearts were purified. They were justified by Christ's blood-- made as though they had never sinned. Those baptized into Christ were clothed with Christ. They were remade into a vessel fit for the Living God. They became a temple of God when Jesus, the Father and the Spirit came to dwell in them and make Themselves one with these believing men. These men who were put to death in baptism, were made alive with Christ, and raised with Christ and seated with Christ in the heavenly. The Day of Pentecost is the first day that men were ever regenerated and made new creations.

    John was careful to record that the Holy Spirit hadn't even been given yet in John 7:39. How can a man be "born of the Spirit" and "be spirit" ("that which is born of the Spirit is spirit") if he hasn't even been given the Spirit yet? No man had been born again in John 3. Jesus said He had to be lifted up first. Yet, even without the new birth, or without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, men followed Christ, and had faith in God. However, they didn't have God's gift of eternal life, the Holy Spirit, and salvation -- yet (before Christ's death and resurrection). Peter was careful to proclaim that those who repented would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and Paul clearly tells us that we receive the promise of the Holy Spirit through faith. Faith precedes Jesus coming to dwell in us, the reception of the Spirit, eternal life and salvation, and need I say, obviously faith precedes regeneration.

    For too long the church has overlooked the fact that Jesus Christ became the great High Priest, and He baptizes men into His Body. A man must be made to die so that he can be set free from slavery to sin, and his bondage to the Law, so that He can be joined to Christ (Rom. 7:4). That's how the man comes to be dead in Eph. 2:1&4. Before being baptized into Christ's death, he was living and walking in lusts of the flesh, etc...

    So I agree with you when you say that God made the plan, or the blueprint of how He was going to save man. He predetermined all of the spiritual blessings that would be "in Christ", including the fact that men would stand before Him, holy and blameless, all planned before the foundation of the world. He predestined that He would adopt men, and then in the fullness of time He sent His Son, born under the Law to redeem men (men are redeemed with His blood) so that they could receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4-5). And when a man is adopted as a son, then God sends the Spirit of His Son into their hearts (Gal. 4:6), giving them a new birth. And I agree with you, that the work of God in a man starts long before a man is born again. There are those who sow the Seed, those who water, the work of the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin, righteousness and the judgment, and God causing an increase. But to say that all people cannot understand the Word that is preached to them before they are unregenerated is not Biblical. Jesus told us that when a man didn't understand, the Devil comes to steal away the Word so that the individual will not believe to be saved (by regeneration). Others hear and understand, and the seed is planted (rather than stolen) and watered etc... There is a work of God before regeneration in the lives of men. Biblically, men place their faith in Christ before they are indwelt by Christ, who gives each man the gift of eternal life in regeneration, thereby saving him.

    So, please explain to me how the disciples contributed anything to their salvation just because they were able to have faith before they were saved by regeneration? Especially when Paul states, "For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise (the promise of the Holy Spirit, the promise of eternal life) will be guaranteed to all...

    Jim

    Jim,

    you said, "all people cannot understand the Word that is preached to them before they are unregenerated is not Biblical"

    Actually, with respect ...you are wrong. 1 Cor 2:14 says that the person without the Spirit cannot understand the things of the Spirit they are foolishness to him. Likewise in Rom 8:7 it say we are by nature hostile to God ... John 3:19, 20 says that men love darkness and hate the light and will not come into the light.

    In other words. It is biblical. Men may understand what is being said intellectually but they are prejudice against it. They suppresses the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18)

    God must open our eyes, ears and heart to the gospel, must disarm our hostility prior to our believing.

    John 6:63 declares that no one can come to Christ unless God grants it. John 6:37 declares that ALL whom God grants to the Son will believe. This is a syllogism which actually makes your position untenable. Salvation is all of grace.

    If you have any interest in responding, you may do so with these verse in mind. There are many more... These just come to mind.

    Also consider... Do you "thank" God for your conversion? You do because you know that God was entirely responsible for it. Or do you attribute your repenting and believing to your own wisdom, or prudence, or sound
    judgment, or good sense.?

    Ask yourself, why do you believe the gospel and not your neighbor? Was your soil better than his by nature? Was it not God who made the soil to begin with? Did you, by nature, have wisdom that your neighbor did not? Where did this wisdom come from? From Christ or elsewhere else?

    We all must have faith in order to be justified. In this we agree. Question is, why do you have faith and not others? Do you attribute it to your own wisdom? or of grace? As soon as you say yourself you have made it a work Why were you more humble? Was it not grace itself that made you humble?

    Your concept of God is that his love is conditional. You must meet some condition (faith) before he will love you and take you in. What parent would act this way if their child was ni danger? If your child ran out into the street would you stand their and only save him if he used his will to obey you or would you run out to make certain your child was safe?

    John,
    You skipped over some very important facts before you found a point that you wanted to question. Before I answer your questions (and I do have answers) I need to know if you agree with these Biblical facts:

    1) No man was ever placed “in Christ” before Christ died.
    2) Jesus dwelling in a man gives him eternal life.
    a) God has given us eternal life, and this life is “in His Son”
    b) He who has the Son has the life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1John 5:11, 12).

    3) Jesus did not dwell in a man before His ascension, therefore no man had eternal life before Jesus ascended into heaven.
    4) Eternal life is given in regeneration, when Jesus comes to dwell in our hearts.
    5) There are only two kinds of life, the life we are given in our first birth which is “the life of the flesh which is in the blood”, and eternal life given in the new birth where “Christ is our life” or “Christ lives in me” (Col 3:4; Gal. 2:19).
    6) Men were not regenerated before men were indwelt by Christ and given eternal life, therefore no man was regenerated before Christ began dwelling in men.
    7) Jesus told men that the Comforter (The Holy Spirit) would be given to them the night before He died. The disciples did not have the Holy Spirit before Christ died. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”—a man is not made ‘spirit’ apart from having the Holy Spirit. This is another important point which affirms the fact that men were not born again before Christ died.
    8) Jesus Christ dwelling in a man, gives the man the new birth, eternal life, and and saves a man. Men are saved by His life (Rom. 5:10); “made alive with Jesus Christ by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:5); “…saved by regeneration” (Titus 3:5).
    9) The disciples had faith and followed Christ long before they were placed “in Christ"; long before they were indwelt by Christ; long before they were given eternal life; long before they were given the Holy Spirit; long before they were regenerated; long before they were saved. The testimony of the Scriptures clearly demonstrate that the disciples did not need to be regenerated to enable them to believe, rather they needed to be regenerated in order to be saved.
    10) The writer to the Hebrews records the names of many godly OT men who had faith in God and they pleased God. But they were never placed “in Christ” in their life time; they were never indwelt by Jesus Christ the promised Messiah or the Father in their lifetime; they had not yet received the gift of eternal life given in regeneration in their lifetime. They died waiting for the redemption and the salvation that Christ would bring.
    11) As you said, salvation was something that “God intended to do in time and in space, through the work of Christ (the promised long awaited Messiah).

    Thanks,
    Jim

    Jim thank you for your response.

    You said regarding OT saints ..."they pleased God. But they were never placed “in Christ” in their life time."

    WIth respect, you are in error. No one ever pleased God with their works except for Jesus Christ ALONE. To think that God can overlook His own standard of holiness to let some in who were relatively obedient is to profoundly misapprehend the nature of God. All people, including the saints of the Old Testament were saved by Christ and Christ alone. Gal 3 declares "God ... preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham"

    There was CLEARLY regeneration in the Old Testament, not to be confused with indwelling. Galatians says that

    IN Deut 6 God declares "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."

    IN other words, no one believed CHrist of their own resources but believes solely because of the grace of God in regeneraiton. Your view of the atonment, therefore, is two dimensional. From God's perspective Christ was the lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world. God can apply Christ's Person and work to any person in any time He chooses. To think otherwise overthrows the gospel and replaces it with salvation by works. God has ALWAYS saved people the same way: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ ALONE.

    IN other words, you seem to be trapped in some dispensational time-space continuum as if God's standards for people were different during different eras of redemptive history. They were not. God has always been holy and has always demanded perfection with regards to the law.

    Now get to John 6:65 & 37 which declares that no one can believe in Christ unless God grants it, and all to whom God grants it in Christ will believe.

    John

    Part II... a quick point

    ...Romans 9 says of the Jews:

    "not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring."

    IN other words, an elect number of Jews were chosen from among the full number of the Israelites. It was based not on the person who willed but on God who has mercy. (9:16) Not because some pleased God by their works

    IN Revelation 5 it says of Jesus
    "...for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

    His blood ransomed people FROM (out of) every tribe, which includes the Jews of the OT.

    John,
    Would you be willing to indulge me, and begin with point #1 and tell me if you agree with the statement. If you agree, would you move on to the next point. So you might write
    1) yes
    2) yes
    and so on.


    When you do not agree with a point, would you then stop at that point and tell me how you would state your position on the matter and then support your position from the Scriptures? (Only go into detail on the first point that you disagree with). That would be helpful for me, to see what we do agree on, and where our views begin to differ.

    Thanks,
    Jim

    Jim,

    With regard to your question, the further answer is this. After the gospel or grace in Christ was promised through Adam in Gen 3:15, it is clear as day in Romans 3:25, 26 that God’s forgiving and passing over the sins of people in the Old Testament was in the light of our Lord’s death. Then there is a parallel statement of this in Hebrews 9:5–15, especially vs 15. It says the same thing in verses 39 and 40 of Hebrews 11. Then there is the crucial statement in John 8:56: ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.’ When you take that in connection with Romans 4:17–24 and Galatians 3:6–29, it is profoundly evident that there is only one way of salvation for OT and NT saints, and that it is always in and through Jesus Christ and His work. Submission to the sacrificial lamb under the old dispensation was also an acknowledgement of God's way of salvation. The shadow of the cross fell on them through the sacrifice, regardless of whether it was in the future. The OT saints realized that these were but types of a reality that was to come. God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Their understanding was incomplete but God saves by grace, not on the basis of perfect knowledge.

    I hope that this will be of some help to you. I am very busy with my family and running a ministry so I apologize if I cannot indulge you more. Perhaps the author of the article above or someone else can spend more time with you.

    Shalom
    john H

    Jim & John,

    The Holy Spirit's ministry in the Old Testament differs from his ministry in the New Testament not so much in kind as in degree. As mentioned, the context of Deuteronomy 30:6 makes it clear that this blessing will pertain to the nation of Israel in Moses' day and after as the nation dwells in the Promised Land. "Circumcising" hearts simply refers to regeneration, and to the accompanying faithfulness to God that results from regeneration. It is the same thing that Ezekiel refers to as replacing the "heart of stone" with a "heart of flesh" (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26). Wherever there are believers, the Holy Spirit has done this work.

    When the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, he was poured out on believers that he already had regenerated and indwelt. Pentecost was special because it marked a powerful outpowering of the Holy Spirit in charismatic gifting such as had never been seen before. Charismatic gifting by the Holy Spirit is quite distinct from his indwelling presence. All believers are indwelt in exactly the same way, (David speaks of having the Holy Spirit) but the Holy Spirit gifts whom and how he will (1 Cor. 12:4-7; Eph. 4:4,7). It was special because it was so pronounced and widespread. Such gifting had existed in the Old Testament, but never before in recorded biblical history had the Spirit gifted so many people so powerfully at the same time and in the same place. It was an astounding event intended to demonstrate forcefully the truth of the gospel they proclaimed. It was a gifting of the entire church with the power necessary to do the work of spreading the gospel to the world (Acts 1:4-5,8). At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit so gifted the church that they immediately began to gain far more disciples than Christ had ever won during his earthly ministry. What was different was not the way in which the Holy Spirit was manifested, but the power and scope of the manifestation.

    Sometimes in the Old Testament God even reveals behind the scenes how He enabled particular Jews to obey his Word when they were called to repent: In 2 Chronicles chapter 30, for example, when couriers with a message of repentance passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, they laughed them to scorn and mocked them when they were called to repent, "Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD." (Chronicles 30:11-12)

    The text says some tribes resisted the call to repentance, but only those tribes which the HAND OF GOD GAVE A HEART TO OBEY THE WORD, repented. So here is a clear instance of the Spirit of God working faith and repentance in the hearts of certain persons among Israel while leaving others to their own rebellious self-will...

    John,
    If I were you, I wouldn't want to acknowledge the truth of statements 1-9 either. And I certainly wouldn't want to go on record saying that I disagreed with any of those points. I can see where it would be much easier to change the direction. So as to your comment about God passing over sin in the OT...

    Before the Law was given, God didn't impute anyone's sins to them (Rom. 5:13). God continued in His forbearance and passed over the sins that were committed before Christ came to redeem men and purify a people for His own possession (Titus 2:14). Every man's redemption is through Christ's blood (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14). (Men of faith who died in the OT were still waiting to be redeemed. The way into the Father's presence had not yet been made (Heb. 9:19-20)). Christ's blood was going to do what the blood of no other sacrifice could ever do. No other sacrifice could take away sins (Heb. 10:4). Only the blood of Jesus can CLEANSE A MAN FROM ALL SIN (1John 1:7), and His blood CLEANSES a man FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (1John 1:9). Jesus was manifested to TAKE AWAY OUR SIN (1John 3:5). He has been manifested to PUT AWAY SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF (Heb. 8:26). He is the Lamb of God who TAKES AWAY SIN (John 1:29). Taking away all sin and cleansing from all unrighteousness is far different from passing over sin. Paul quotes an OT passage from Isaiah which foretold the coming work of Christ, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will REMOVE UNGODLINESS from Jacob, and this is My covenant with them WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS" (Is. 59:20; 27:9;Rom. 11:26-27).

    "And this is My covenant with them when I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS"--
    Taking away sins did not occur under the Law (Old Covenant), it occurs under the New Covenant. Jesus is the mediator of a BETTER Covenant (Heb. 8:6), He is the mediator of the NEW Covenant (Heb. 9:15 and 12:24). Jesus HAS BECOME the the guarantee of a BETTER COVENANT (Heb. 7:22)...a bringing in of a BETTER HOPE, through which we draw near to God (Heb. 7:19). The writer to the Hebrews always refers to the Law given through Moses as the "old" or the "first".

    Every descendant of Adam was born defiled by sin. There was no means of removing the defilement before Christ shed His blood. Jesus Christ became High priest to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Heb. 2:17). People who say that Christ made propitiation for sins when He was on the cross are mistaken. Even to this day Jesus, as High Priest, removes the sins of those who put their trust in Him. His blood now cleanses men from all sin and unrighteousness, and keeps on keeping them clean. As High Priest Christ also purifies these men and anoints them with the Holy Spirit. He makes these men into a holy temple where God the Father will come and dwell with His Son. He also makes every believer a priest. (All believing men were not priests and temples in the OT, but all believing men are priests and holy temples since Jesus Christ the High Priest began to baptize them.

    I find is slightly amusing that you would disparage me for being dispensational in one post, but then appeal to different dispensations yourself in the next. You stated, "IN other words, you seem to be trapped in some dispensational time-space continuum as if God's standards for people were different during different eras of redemptive history." I really believe that God's 'standard' has always been the same. Men need purity, they needed to be made holy (actually they need to be perfected --Heb. 10:14). Men needed to be cleansed of sin and unrighteousness and made holy before Jesus Christ would come to dwell in them and make Himself "one" with them. There was no means for taking away the sin of men in the OT. It was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. God's timetable to make that happen is perfect, for "when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son... (Gal. 4:4). Oddly, then you said there were different dispensations. "Submission to the sacrificial lamb under the old dispensation was also an acknowledgement of God's way of salvation. The shadow of the cross fell on them through the sacrifice, regardless of whether it was in the future." You seem to be the one with the different standards for OT men, saying that they only needed to have "submission to the sacrificial lamb under the old dispensation, as an acknowledgment of God's way of salvation". Wow, can you tell me where you find this taught in the Bible?

    Can you tell me where in the Scriptures your next comment is taught? "The shadow of the cross fell on them through the sacrifice, regardless of whether it was in the future."

    John, to hold to your doctrinal position it seems to me that you need to ignore very important truths from the Bible, and you have to believe and teach concepts that are not taught in the Bible. The truth is that there is a New Covenant, inaugurated with the blood of Christ, and under it men are baptized by Jesus the High priest, baptized into His Body (they are placed "in Christ") and they are made temples of God where the Father and the Son will now take up residence in the hearts of believers, giving a man the gifts of eternal life and salvation. This is the most incredible good news!

    In Christ,
    Jim

    John H., excellent responses to Jim, above.

    Some of the exchanges are very deep so I am going to go back and reread each one and may offer some other comments as well.

    In the meantime I have a question for you based on what you first responded to Jim, though, and based on the following Scriptures:

    2Co 4:13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak,
    2Co 4:14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.


    ...

    Heb 11:39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
    Heb 11:40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

    Your response to Jim:

    "One crucial distinction you must make... Being elect “in Christ” as spoken of in Eph 1:3-5 is not the same as being regenerated and redeemed in Christ. Election by itself does not save anyone. It is a blueprint, so to speak, of what God intended to do in time and space, through the work of Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit. ..."

    Would you open up your understanding here about those Scriptures from 2 Corinthians and Hebrews in light of that response to Jim?

    Does it work this way?

    It seems to me, on the minute by minute scale, for each one of us "elected", those being regenerated and redeemed in Christ, we have one part to play in our Election, receive? But on the grander scale we have another part to play, "all" of us Elected in toto before the foundation of the world and before time? To the one, God, before time began, determined by His Eternal Purpose that all of us, His called and elected people, would be regenerated and redeemed in Christ and then are to represent Christ in theirs and ours unique and particular generation? The literal children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that were elected born with the "spirit of faith" live under both the Gospel and the legal scheme. Once Christ came, died, was buried and then resurrected and returned to His Eternal Glory, those born before then experienced a sort of completion afterwards, while afterwards, the rest of us after His resurrection come forth to live by the same spirit of faith during our unique time and generation but make a better distinction between the Gospel and legal schemes?

    In the fullness of time (that being the time period after Christ was humanly upon the earth) God brought together into "one" both those under the legal scheme and those thereafter under the Gospel scheme (the new man) which is what Hebrews 11 addresses and that function has nothing to do with the "spirit of faith" that works in "all" the Elect in every generation except that in every generation, from first to last, the Elect are called forth before the foundation of the world or before time began to suffer in like manner as and for Christ? See Ephesians 3:8-12 and 1 John 4:8-11. To the one, we suffer at the hands of Satan and our adversaries, fallen angels. To the other, we lay down our life for our brethren.

    Finally, doesn't Ephesians 1:7-10 sum up what well what the last generations should expect will happen "in Christ" for "all" God's Elect from every generation?

    We learn from Scripture that God, Our Heavenly Father is "working". What was and is He doing in every generation but revealing Christ to the Elect, establishing His rule and authority? To those before He came into the world they were looking forward to the time of the coming reign of the Messiah. And to His called and elected ones called to Him during His earthly period when He came and dwelt among them who have working in them the same spirit of faith, He reigned; and then afterwards, they with those born after His resurrection who had not fallen asleep in Him were looking to Him to reign through His Presence and Glory carrying out His Will in time and space even still to the last day when the trumpet will finally sound, maybe soon, in this present generation?

    Jesus also said of Himself that as He works revealing the name of Our Heavenly Father to the Elect in every generation, so He, too, works the work of God by revealing God to those through sending the Holy Spirit to them too Whom God has given to Him out of every generation. And that work of God that is still being done through the Church Who is being led by the Holy Spirit by the same spirit of faith, is to believe in Jesus Christ Whom He (God the Father) was going to send and did send, Who was sent and is sent to so as to manifest the manifold wisdom of God through them then and through us now, the Church, in every generation, to the same rulers and authorities in heavenly places of every generation?

    All that is to declare this that for the Elect, now, our eternal purpose is the same as in every generation since Genesis 3:15 was pronounced, that is, it still includes that there is certain destruction that is pending and is yet to come to pass and is still ahead of all God's Elect, both in Heaven and on earth now with regard to Satan and to all of our adversaries because of what we have in every generation been called upon to suffer for Christ's sake at their hands. The Elect in this present generation are in the same fight and are still being regenerated and redeemed, as these verses reveal:

    Rom_8:17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.


    ...

    Heb 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
    Heb 2:15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

    ...

    Psa 143:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
    Psa 143:12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

    Jim,

    You embarrassed yourself by saying, "I find is slightly amusing that you would disparage me for being dispensational in one post, but then appeal to different dispensations yourself in the next."

    I am afraid using the word "dispensation" does not make one a dispensationalist any more than using the word "covenant" makes you a covenant theologian. So your charge against me couldn't be more absurd and irrelevant. Straighten yourself out man. wake up. Christ spent half his ministry telling the Jews that the OT was all about him. If you cannot see that then you are hardening your heart against what the Bible is all about.

    I have actually provided plenty of biblical evidence for you that the Old Testament saints were saved by Christ alone ... that there was Spiritual regeneration and indwelling in the OT but you totally did not care.....then you declared that OT saints were saved because of something they did to please God. Double absurd.

    Do you really just go around to message boards to hear the sound of your own voice?

    Good day sir. I think it is about time to close this post. The discussion is anything but fruitful and edifying.