Soteriology 057John 3:5 • Dr. Andy Woods • May 7, 2017 • Soteriology - The Doctrine of Salvation
May 7, 2017
Father, we’re thankful for today, and thankful for Your church around the world; we’re thankful for what You’ve done in history, in church history, to protect certain doctrines that have been handed to us. I pray, Father, we be good stewards of those doctrines, particularly in this Sunday School class as we’ve been seeking to wrap up our long discussion about the doctrine of salvation. So I pray You’ll be with us this morning as we continue on that road. I pray You’ll be with the worship service that follows our study in the book of Daniel, the Lord’s Table, the fellowship meal that follows. And I just ask that this be a day that encourages people, edifies people, corrects people if need be and I just pray we would leave here today changed people and this is only something You can do. We ask this in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said Amen.
If you could take your Bibles and open them to the book of James, chapter 2 and verse 14 and if you have this test we’ve been working through I’m going to try to finish this today, which is helping us review the doctrine of salvation. I think we’re on page 6 and did we do question 49 last time? We did question 49, okay. So we’re now on question 50. The correct answer to question 49 is A. I just got back from going to the U.K., the Czech Republic, up the Elbe River to all kinds of German cities. One of them was Wittenberg, Germany, which is very famous in terms of the Protestant Reformation.
So I think what I’m going to do once we finish Soteriology is I’m going to do some Sunday School time in this session on the Protestant Reformation, what is the Protestant Reformation, why did the Protestant Reformation happen, why should we care in the year 2017 about the Protestant Reformation. And I’ll try to weave in things from my trip because I did do some amateur photography, so I’ll show you some pictures. I’ll show you where Martin Luther baptized his own children and so forth. I actually saw the actual church which was the cradle of the Protestant Reformation and they baptized those children in cold water until it was time for Martin Luther to baptize his own children, then he insisted that the water temperature be raised. So there’s some interesting little facts about history that I’ll bring up starting probably next week.
And we’ll talk about why the Protestant Reformation was needed and what the Protestant Reformation left incomplete. So the study of church history is really the story of God’s faithfulness to His church and how He rescued it over and over again from corrupt doctrines. And so I think that’s the direction we’re going to go starting next Sunday morning. I don’t see this series lasting as long as the Soteriology series which has gone 57 lessons, so I’m thinking maybe 4 or 5, 6, 7, 8 lessons, something like that. Anyway, that’s where we’re headed.
But in the interim let’s see if we can finish up Soteriology today as God allows us. There’s the big outline that we followed in the doctrine of salvation and now it’s time for your final exam. The final exam is just there to stimulate your thinking a little bit to remember some of the things that we’ve covered.
So here we are with question 50, and it says: The works in James 2:14-26 are referring to justification rather than sanctification. Do you guys remember James 2, James 2 says, “Faith without works is” what? “dead.” And the BIG problem that hangs up people, and I actually got an e-mail question from somebody just this week asking for an explanation on this which shows you how frequently this passage bothers people. James 2:21 says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?” And people look at that expression “justified by works,” isn’t that the exact opposite of everything we’ve been taught? Aren’t we justified by what? Faith, and here James 2 comes along and says Abraham, when he offered up Isaac was justified by works.
And so people think James is contradicting Paul. And not if, but when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your door or the Mormons and you talk to them about salvation by faith alone they’re going to bring up James 2. They’re going to say well what do you mean salvation by faith alone, James 2 says faith without works is dead and after all, Abraham was justified by works. So in this class we spent some time talking about the difference between Paul’s teaching and James’s teaching. And really the key thing to understand is that Paul and James are addressing different issues. If you think Paul and James are talking about the same issue the only conclusion you can come to is James is contradicting Paul and Paul is contradicting James. But the reality of the situation is these two men, James, the half-brother of Christ who wrote a five chapter epistle called the Book of James, and the Apostle Paul who wrote thirteen New Testament books, the fact of the matter is these men are not… NOT addressing the same issue. They are addressing different issues.
Paul, when he talks about salvation by faith alone is dealing with the issue of self-righteous Judaism which basically is a refutation to people who think that they are made right with God through their good works. So that’s what Paul is condemning all the time. You can’t get to heaven by your good works, you get to heaven by faith alone in Christ alone who did the good work on our behalf and we receive His transferred benefits as a gift. That’s really where Paul is going with most of his theology. James is not dealing with that issue; James is dealing with the issue of dead orthodoxy. James is talking to people who are saved and yet they’re not growing in their faith or their salvation.
How do I know this? If you look at James 4 and verse 5, look at what it says here: Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit” that would be the Holy Spirit, “which He has made to dwell in us’?” So did James’ audience have the Holy Spirit? Very clearly. James says you have the Holy Spirit. Notice the expression “us”, just like I have the Holy Spirit. So you read James 4:6 and verse 5 and it’s very clear that James is not talking to people who are unbelievers trying to get to God through their own works. He’s dealing with people that are already saved but they really aren’t growing in Christ, they really aren’t producing a practical righteousness that God would have of the Christian.
James is basically dealing with backslidden Christians or carnal Christians or immature Christians. He’s not questioning whether they’re Christians. Do you see that? Paul, on the other hand, largely is dealing with people who think they can become Christians, unbelievers trying to become believers through good works. And if you keep those two issues separate you start to understand that James and Paul don’t contradict each other; in fact, they’re very close friends.
The whole doctrine looks like this: you’re saved by faith alone and then the desire of God is that you continue to grow in your newfound faith and your life become a service to other people. So God begins to use your life practically to bless other people and that’s what we call growth in Christ. And that’s what the whole picture is supposed to look like. Paul is dealing with the front end, James is dealing with the back end. See that? So it’s like blindfolding three people and having them touch different parts of the elephant. If you get their testimonies on what their touching they all seem like they’re contradicting each other at first glance. One guy who’s blindfolded is touching the elephant’s side and he says I feel a giant wall here. Another guy is touching the elephants trunk and he says it feels like a tube. And another guy is touching the elephant’s foot and he says I’m touching his five toes, he says I feel five lumps here. And you take all of their testimonies and you think they all contradict each other until the blindfold is taken off and you realize they’re all touching the same animal, they’re just touching different parts.
So Paul is touching one part of the animal (if I could use that illustration of salvation) the front end; James is touching the other end of salvation. So when you understand it that way James and Paul don’t contradict each other in the least.
This is why James keeps saying all the way through this book, I think it occurs about 18 times, “my brothers,” so is a brother a believer or an unbeliever? A believer! James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,  knowing that the testing of your” what? “faith produces endurance.” Their faith was being tested. Now how can you test a faith that doesn’t exist in people. See that? The assumption of the book of James is the faith is already there and people like to turn James into this book about are these people saved or not; that’s a completeness reading of the book, James is assuming they’re saved and he just wants them to grow in Christ.
If you go to James 1:18 he says, “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.” So James is dealing with people that have heard the Word of God and have responded to the Word of God by faith, they’ve been born again, they are first fruits amongst God’s creatures in that sense, and now He wants these people to grow. So when James says “faith without works is dead” the mistake that people make is they take the English word “dead” which means non-existence, and they read it back into the book of James. Biblically the word “death” ‘never means non-existence. Did you know that?
For example, one of these days you will die, I will die, one of these days if the rapture doesn’t come first every person in the human race will die. Do they ever stop existing? They’re always in existence, heaven or hell throughout all eternity. So biblically the word “death,” “faith without works is dead” does not mean nonexistence. And this is the mistake people make is they say faith without works is dead and they want to turn this into a sermon about man, you’d better make sure you’ve got good works in your life or you were never saved that’s 99% of the teaching that you get on this. But the reality of the situation is it’s what you would call an anachronistic reading, a reading outside of time is what an anachronism is where they’re taking a 21st century definition of the word death and they’re reading it back into a biblical definition of death. When you define death biblically you’ll discover that death never means non-existence.
So when James says “faith without works is dead” he is not saying I hope you guys have works to prove you’re saved. That’s not what he’s saying at all. “Faith without works is dead” means your faith that exists, which thereby still allows you to enter heaven, is not being productive. God is not using your life the way He wants to use a saved person. So that’s the part of the equation that James is dealing with. Paul, in many of his writings is not dealing with that subject at all; he’s talking about people that are trying to get to heaven through their good works. Do you guys follow me on this? So if you understand it from this vantage point the so called discrepancy between James and Paul disappears. So Paul is dealing with self-righteousness Judaism; James with dead orthodoxy.
Now notice that both Paul and James use the word justification but when they use the word justification they pour into the word different meanings—same word, different meaning. Rarely is a word in the Bible a technical word which means the same thing everywhere it’s used; that’s what a technical word is, every time you see that word it means the same thing. Words don’t function that way in the Bible. Words have multiple meanings. I’ve used the word apple before to illustrate this. Think of how many definitions you can generate from the word apple. Is it fruit, is it a computer, is it New York City, “the Big Apple,” is it the pupil of one’s eye. So when I see the word “apple” in text how do I determine its meaning? Context tells me.
And that’s how this word “justification” works. When Paul uses the word justification he’s talking about a declaration of innocence before God. When James uses the word justification he’s talking about the evidence of the believer’s useful or productive faith in the eyes of man. See the difference. Paul camps on Genesis 15:6, that’s when Abraham was justified by God through faith. “Abraham believed God and it was” what? “credited to him as righteousness.” That’s almost Paul’s favorite Bible verse.
Notice what James is camping on here? Not when Abraham was justified by faith before God but when he offered who? Isaac. Genesis 22 is James…what he’s talking about, and that’s when Abraham’s faith, which was already in existence, became useful or productive, not in the eyes of God but in the eyes of what? Man. See the difference.
And by the way, let me throw this at you. In between Genesis 15 and Genesis 22 there is about 20 years there. Abraham was saved for 20 years before his faith finally became productive or useful where God finally got Abraham to a point where he could actually use his life to bless other people. And I just throw that in because a lot of times we’re very impatient with the new believer and we say man, you’d better start demonstrating fruit and I’d better see it pronto, and if I don’t see it pronto then maybe you’re not saved at all. And I think maybe we should back off a little bit and give people a chance to grow because after all, it took Abraham twenty years after he was saved before he was willing to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice.
When Paul uses the word “faith” he’s talking about the justification of Abraham; when James uses the word “faith” he’s talking about the walk of sanctification, trusting God through daily emergencies. When Paul uses the word “works” he’s talking about people that are trying to do good works to get God’s favor and Paul is condemning that. When James uses the word “works” he’s not dealing with that subject at all; he’s talking about the believer’s moral deeds. So if you can understand that James and Paul are trying to answer different questions there isn’t any contradiction at all between James and Paul. So the correct answer to number 50 would be what? True or false? The works of James 2 are referring to justification rather than sanctification; is that true or false? That’s false. James is not talking about justification, he’s talking about sanctification. James is not talking about how someone becomes a believer, left hand side of the column, but he’s talking about someone becoming a what? Disciple, right side of the column. Paul in a lot of his teachings on justification is dealing with the left column; James in a lot of his teachings is dealing with the right hand column. And we’ve gone through the differences between a believer and a disciple haven’t we, so I won’t go into that again.
So this takes us to question 51, some view the passages of John 3:5. [John 3:5, “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”] Remember what John 3:5 is about? Unless you’re born of water and the Spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, I like to call that Nick at night, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus at night and He makes this statement, unless you’re born of water and the Spirit you can’t enter. And so people use that to say aha, you’ve got to be baptized to get to heaven. And they also like to use Acts 2:38 which says, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
So these are passages that people like to use to contend that you have to be baptized to get to heaven. And we’ve explained why this is not what these passages state because there are 200 clear ones that teach that you’re justified before God on the basis of what? Faith by itself. In fact, was the thief on the cross ever baptized? No, and yet Jesus says to him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” It’s kind of hard to get baptized, isn’t it, when you’re nailed to a cross. Jesus doesn’t say hey, quick throw water on this guy before he dies so we can get this guy to heaven. Because we believe the Bible teaches that salvation is by faith alone. Now that’s not to under sell water baptism; it’s an important step for the believer but it just isn’t salvific. I was saved at 16 and because of a little conflict with my father I postponed my own personal baptism until age 27. So from 16 to age 27 I was saved and un-baptized. And I did that largely to mitigate conflict in my own household because my dad at that time, I think he has grown beyond this now but at that time he took somewhat of an offense to my desire to get baptized because he said you got baptized as an infant. And he actually brought the family photos and there I was, screaming at the top of my lungs as a little kid as this priest was pouring water on me. And you know, I don’t want to create conflict in my home so I just postponed the decision until I moved out of the home finally, and then I decided it was time to get baptized.
So what if I had died at age 17, 18, 19, 20, after believing but before being baptized, would I go to hell? NO! But is baptism important? Yes it is, it’s an important step of growth, it’s an important biblical command. But people will look at a verse like John 3:5, which says you’ve got be born of water and the spirit to enter and they think that teaches a two-step path to salvation, faith plus baptism when in reality that’s not what Jesus is talking about at all. And in the class I gave several interpretations of John 3:5 which indicate that it’s not talking about water baptism. You know, water in the Bible, I gave about five options, but probably my favorite is water in the Bible is analogized to the Holy Spirit in many places. So when a person is born from above they receive the Holy Spirit which is analogized to water many times in the Bible. That’s one of many options. So I’m interpreting John 3:5 in a credible way that’s in harmony with the 200 clear verses that you’re saved by faith alone.
And people like to use Acts 2:38 to teach you’ve got to be water baptized to get to heaven because it says, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for” that’s the Greek word eis, “the forgiveness of your sins;” and people look at that and say there it is in the Bible, if you get your sins forgiven you’ve got to be baptized. And like with all of these things I’ve tried to show you interpretations of these verses which are credible which harmonize with the 200 clear verses.
So one of the points I raised is eis, which is translated “for” there, can also be translated “because of,” as in Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at” (now that’s eis, it’s translated “at” “in the face of” or “because of”) the preaching of Jonah….” So Jonah’s preaching caused them to repent. So if that is a legitimate understanding of the Greek word eis then you could easily read Acts 2:38 this way: “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” what’s the next expression, not “for the forgiveness of your sins” but what? “because of the forgiveness of your sins.” Well, Katie bar the door, that changes the meaning a little bit, doesn’t it? You get baptized not to get your sins forgiven; you get baptized because your sins have been forgiven. So isn’t that interesting that a mild knowledge of the Greek language and how the word eis is used in other contexts can completely shift the meaning of the verses.
I’m very disappointed in many of our English translations that don’t bring this up; they translate it “for” when it’s completely legitimate to translate it “because of.” I choose to translate it “because of.” Why is that? Because it’s a credible use of the Greek language, and I believe at the end of the day that God doesn’t contradict Himself; God doesn’t say one thing on Monday and something different on Saturday because God cannot what? Lie. So why would I pick an interpretive option that contradicts everything else God said. I’m going to pick the one that’s in harmony with what God said. So in the class we went into that in detail.
But question number 51, some view the passages of John 3:5 and Acts 2:38 to mean that one cannot have faith apart from baptism. This is an example of taking verses out of context. And what’s the correct answer to that? The correct answer is A, true.
Which takes us to question 52, some view Colossians 2:11-12 and 1 Peter 3:21 to teach that one cannot have faith apart from baptism. This is another example of taking verses out of context. Now Colossians 2:11-12 talks about baptism. But every time you see the word baptism in the Bible it doesn’t refer to water baptism. The Greek word, baptizō, simply means identification. And Colossians 2:11-12 is talking about Spirit baptism; that is a baptism that already happened to you. The moment a person places their personal faith in Jesus Christ they are automatically, at the point of faith, this has nothing to do with water, they are identified to the body of Christ; you become part of Christ’s metaphorical body, the church, at the point of faith. Now whether you’ve been physically water baptized or not has zero to do with that. That’s a positional reality that’s already happened to the believer.
So Colossians 2:11-12 says, “and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;  having been buried with Him in” what? “baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Now people look at this and say well, there it is in the Bible, if you’re really a Christian you can’t just believe, you’ve got to be water baptized. And they’ll quote this verse when in reality this verse isn’t even talking about water baptism; this verse is talking about Spirit baptism that already happened to you.
You see, your water baptism is just an outward symbol of a what? inward reality, it’s a symbol that you’ve already been positionally identified to the body of Christ through faith. Your Spirit baptism is something God does, it’s already happened. Water baptism is something you do which is a symbol to the world that it’s happened. So every time you see “baptism” it’s again like the word “justification”, it’s not a technical word. It doesn’t always mean the same thing everywhere it’s used so you have to determine the meaning of the word by its what? Context.
Another really good passage on Spirit baptism, which has already happened to the Christian, is in 1 Corinthians 12:13, which says, “For by one Spirit we were all” what? “baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” So is this talking about water baptism or Spirit baptism? This is talking about Spirit baptism which already happened to you because it says you “were all baptized into one body.” So the moment you trusted in Christ the Holy Spirit took you and identified you with the body of Christ. That’s a positional reality that already happened. That’s what Colossians 2 is talking about; that’s what 1 Corinthians 12 is talking about. There’s zero here about water baptism.
Now other contexts, like Acts 8, the Ethiopian eunuch was water baptized, that’s talking about water baptism, but that happens after you’re saved; these verses here are talking about Spirit baptism. So baptism doesn’t always mean the same thing, you have to look very carefully at the context. So if people want to use Colossians 2 to teach you’ve got to be water baptized to get to heaven they’re just not paying attention to the context at all. So a text without a context becomes a proof text, see that, to prove something, which is nothing more than a pretext. It’s very dangerous business to have texts without contexts because texts without contexts become pretexts for some preconceived idea someone is trying to foist on you and those are nothing but proof texts or pretexts.
You can make the Bible say whatever you want it to say if you don’t care about contexts. Judas went out and hung himself; go thou and do likewise. What you do, do quickly. So there we go, three verses I strung them together and the Bible says we all ought to go out and commit suicide. And this is how people approach the Bible, they throw these verses around and many times not using them properly and in context because context is what gives words meaning. If you were to do this in the field of law you’d by disbarred but for some reason in the area of spirituality everybody just throws the Bible around loosey-goosey.
And you know, when you start to understand this you start to understand why I’m a big advocate of verse by verse teaching because verse by verse teaching keeps everything in its proper context. That’s why before the sermon I go over the outline, a lot of you are saying have we got to go over that outline again? But the outline gives you the big picture of everything, the book outline, the chapter outline, and that becomes the fabric which allows you to mentally insert everything into its proper context. So that’s why when I stand up in front of you and teach I’m not just throwing out all these verses and you have no idea if I’m using those verses right. Verse by verse study is almost a guarantee to you that I am using the verses right and if I’m not using the verses right you’re going to pick up on it because you’re reading the same context I’m reading.
Now over in 1 Peter 3:21, we’ve gone over this one as well, it says: “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—“ oh-oh, “baptism that now saves you,” and when we were going through that passage one of the things I pointed out is “save” does not always refer to justification but it can also refer to sanctification because when you’re baptized you’re standing up in front of the whole world, publicly, and you’re saying I belong to Jesus. And you’re inviting your friends and your relatives and co-workers and then they look at you and they say wow, you’re really serious about this Jesus thing. And guess what they start doing with you? They start treating you different. They stop asking you to go out club-hopping every night, they stop using… have you noticed that with unbelievers, they use a bunch of profanity then you walk in the room and they say oh, I’m sorry I said that, because they publicly know you belong to Christ so they interact differently with you. So your water baptism, baptism that does not save you, does not contribute to your justification, it contributes to your what? Sanctification or growth with Christ. We spent a lot of time going over the details of that verse.
But question number 52, some view the passages in Colossians 2 and 1 Peter 3 to mean that one cannot have faith apart from baptism, this is an example of taking verses out of context. The correct answer to number 52 is what? True.
Then we come to Roman numeral VII, questions 53 to 59 and this is where we talked about eternal security and if you’ll recall we gave about thirteen arguments for eternal security. Number 1, self-righteousness did not save us in the first place. I’m not saved by self-righteousness am I? So why would I think self-righteousness keeps my salvation?
Number 2, salvation is not given or maintained by good works. What got you in the door was God’s grace and what keeps you in the door—God’s grace. Once you understand that suddenly the case for eternal security becomes sort of a no-brainer.
Number 3, if a believer can lose eternal life then how can eternal life be eternal? Oh, you have eternal life, congratulations; oh guess what, it’s gone. Well then how can what I had earlier be called eternal life? Doesn’t eternal life mean it’s eternally what? Yours! That’s what John 3:16 promises you. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on His name shall not perish but have life everlasting.” Well, if you have life everlasting then the very definition of everlasting means it can’t be withdrawn. See that? Also we studied John 10:28 which says we’re in the palm of Christ’s hand and what can take us out of His hand? Nothing. I showed you the Greek there is very strong on that.
Also the Bible wants you to know that you don’t just have salvation and it’s eternally yours but you can actually know you’re saved. See a lot of people are teaching this idea that oh, I believe in eternal security, but I don’t really know if I have it or not, because I don’t really know until I get to the end of my life whether I’ve persevered enough to figure out whether I’m one of the elect. Or they drift into Arminianism which says eternal life can be taken away. So there’s an epidemic within modern day Christendom of Christians that really don’t know if they have eternal life or not.
The reality of the situation is God, who cannot lie, has promised you eternal life at the point of faith in Christ. An excellent verse on that is 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have…” what? be about 95% sure you’re saved (like the weather report), maybe you’re saved, maybe you’re not. You’re dating someone, you’re picking the petals off the flower, she loves me, she loves me not; maybe you have it, maybe you don’t. NO! “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” God wants you to know as part of your privileges as a child of God that you have eternal life. Well, how could He make that statement if eternal life can be withdrawn?
The believer we already know is predestined for glory; you’re on a fast track for glory. In fact it’s already happened positionally. How could Paul make that statement if salvation is not secure. The Holy Spirit which is in you has put a seal on you; can that seal be broken? It can’t be broken, Ephesians 4:30. [Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”]
So you put all these arguments together you’ve got a very powerful case for eternal security. God keeps us from falling, Jesus is functioning now as my intercessor and advocate. One of my favorites, Titus 2:14, Christ’s death perfectly dealt with how many of my sins? 99% of them? All of them. [Titus 2:14, “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”] We’ve already studied today how the moment you place your faith in Christ you are placed into His body. If you can lose your salvation it’s like Jesus walking around and suddenly His thumb falls off, His finger falls off, His right arm falls off, I mean obviously that can’t happen.
Now if you could lose your salvation by performing some kind of sin which sin is it? Is it drinking, is it gambling, is it getting a tattoo? I mean, which sin causes me to lose my salvation if that in fact can be a reality? Wouldn’t the Bible say stay away from that one Ya’ll. But we have no record of the Bible saying stay away from X sin or Y sin because you might lose your salvation.
And you say well what about the believer with the unfruitful life. Well what are they warned with in 1 Corinthians 3:15? [1 Corinthians 3:15, “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”] Not loss of salvation but loss of what? Rewards at the Bema Seat. See, you take all thirteen of these arguments and you look at them cumulatively I don’t think any one of them seals the deal but all of them together I think perform a very powerful case that the believer cannot lose their salvation.
So therefore here are the answers to number 53 through 59. 53 is true. 54 is true. 55 is true. 56 is true. 57 is true. You say well, I’ve got this one down… careful, 58 is what? false, had to throw one in there just to keep you awake. 59 is true. So those questions just go over these arguments that I just went through. So all of them from 53-59 are true, 58 would be false, which takes us to question 60, refute problem passages that seem to deny eternal security.
So question 60 is describe how the believer’s security can be reconciled with Matthew 24:13. You all know Matthew 24:13, right, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” So people look at that and they say wow, I’d better be bearing fruit to the very end of my life because if I don’t maybe I’m not saved. So people use this all of the time to say maybe you’re not one of the elect or maybe you lost your salvation when in reality what is Matthew 24 talking about? It’s called the Olivet Discourse right, where Jesus gave a discourse on the Mount of Olives. We don’t call it the Olivet Discourse because we get all of it, we call it the Olivet Discourse because He’s on the Mount of Olives and He’s answering Jewish questions about the temple and the temple’s destruction. And in the process He says, in Matthew 24 and 25, the Olivet Discourse, He says farewell to Israel. It’s Israel’s farewell address. And in the process He outlines the events of the future tribulation period and how Israel is going to come to faith in Christ one day in the end times.
Now John 13-17 is different. Both discourses are given in the same passion week, right before Christ was killed and rose from the dead. In Matthew 24 and 25 He’s saying farewell Israel, in other words, God is going to set you on the shelf for a while but you’ll be converted in the end times. In John 13-17 He’s saying hello to the church, a discourse not given on the Mount of Olives but given in the Upper Room, that’s why we call it the Upper Room Discourse. And He begins to talk about the resources that are coming to the new church that’s about to be birthed on the day of Pentecost and He begins to talk about the Holy Spirit. And that’s where He starts to say things like it’s to your advantage that I go away, if I don’t go away the Paraclete will not come to you, and so what He’s doing in John 13-17 is He’s saying hello to the church, which is about to be born on the day of Pentecost, but in the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24 and 25 He’s saying farewell to Israel. That’s why in the Olivet Discourse He says things like pray that your flight will not take place on the Sabbath, that’s a Jewish concept, isn’t it?
So in Matthew 24:13 He is basically speaking about Israel’s future and He makes the statement, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” That’s talking about the persecution that the Jewish people are going to be under in the tribulation period itself. In fact, Matthew 24:15 He talks about the Seventieth Week of Daniel, which we’ll be studying on Sunday mornings as we get more and more into the prophetic section of Daniel, which is a description of the tribulation period. [Matthew 24:15, “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),”]
He says things like those days be cut short no one would survive. Matthew 24:22, “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” He talks about a time of unparalleled distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now. [Matthew 24:21, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”] He talks about a sign from heaven, His personal return at the end of the tribulation period. And He talks about the conditions of the kingdom that He’s going to set up after He returns to rescue Israel at the end of the tribulation period. This has nothing to do with the at all.
So when He says he “who endures to the end will be saved” what He’s saying is tribulation Jews that make it to the end of the tribulation period are going to be… watch this, physically protected by Christ, from the antichrist who’s trying to do what to them? Kill them. So He says many of you in the tribulation period are going to lose your lives; as you come under the oppression of the antichrist many of you are going to die, but the Jew that makes it to the end is going to experience the protection of God because Jesus is going to return and regather them and rescue them from the beast. So therefore when He uses the word “saved” here He’s not even talking about entrance into heaven; He’s talking about physical protection, because the word “saved” is not a technical term; it doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere it’s used.
When we see the word saved we think it always means you believe in Christ and you don’t go to hell and generally it does mean that but I can show you specific examples in the Bible, particularly Philippians 1 where Paul talked about getting out of jail and being saved. You could drive into work tomorrow morning and start your journey off 15 minutes earlier and be saved from a traffic jam. So the word saved has a very broad semantic range, it means different things depending on how the term is employed.
Hebrews 11:7 says Noah was saved in the ark. [Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”] Does that mean Noah went to heaven because he got in the ark? No, he was saved from what? The flood.
So when this verse says “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” to take that verse and apply it to make it sound like man, you’d better bear fruit to the end of your life so that you figure out whether you’re going to heaven or not, that’s about as far removed from the context as you could ever get. It’s talking about the tribulation Jew who’s being persecuted by the antichrist who makes it to the end of the tribulation period being personally rescued by Jesus Christ from martyrdom. And where am I getting all of this from? I’m getting it from what? Context! But you take this verse and you just remove it from its context and throw it on somebody and make it sound like they’d better bear fruit to the end of their life to figure out if they’re Christians, that is an abuse of the Bible. That is not what that verse is talking about.
So the correct answer to number 60 is what? What do you guys think? C. Describe how the believer’s security can be reconciled with Matthew 24:13 which says, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved,” the correct answer to that is C, that is NOT an eternal security verse; that is talking about the tribulation setting.
Number 61, Galatians 5:4, “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” People use that to teach loss of salvation, but what is happening in the book of Galatians? Paul says “Are you so foolish, having begun in the” what? “Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh.” What’s going on in the book of Galatians? It’s a bunch of Christians that got into legalism, that’s what’s going on in the book of Galatians. So when Paul says, “You have been severed from Christ…you have fallen from grace” he’s not talking about the first tense of their salvation but the second tense. He’s saying you’re missing the grace of God in daily life. That’s what he’s talking about. And in the process you’re out of fellowship with Christ. Are you with me on this? Again, all I’m doing with all of these verses, I’m just putting them in context. That’s all I’m doing. So the correct answer to 61 is B.
What about Philippians 2:12, [“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;”] Oh-oh, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” What’s the context of the book of Philippians? Is it talking about justification? It’s talking about sanctification. How do I know that? I know that because the book is aimed at two women who are fighting like cats and dogs. Not that men don’t do that also but in this case it’s two women, one is Euodia, the other is Syntyche, I like to call them Odious and Syntouche. But they’re fighting and causing disunity in the body of Christ. I’m glad that kind of thing never happens in our churches today, of course I’m being a little facetious.
Now are these women saved? I think they are saved. How do I know that? Because Philippians 4:2-3 says your names are written in the Book of Life. [Philippians 4:2-3, “I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord.  Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”] So when he says “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” he’s talking about saved people who are stumbling, not in the first tense of salvation but in the middle tense of salvation. That’s why when you get into the context of Philippians 2 it says do all things without grumbling and disputing. So this is not oh my gosh, I’d better make sure I’ve got enough good works to see if I’m going to get to heaven. That’s not what it’s talking about. And again context rescues you from all of these things. So the correct answer to number 62 is B.
How about 63, the sin that leads unto death? Is that a loss of salvation? No, that’s maximum divine discipline, and we’ve gone through many, many examples where God can take the believer, because of sin, and terminate their earthly life prematurely, like Ananias and Sapphira who were slain in the Holy Spirit. And by the way, being “slain in the Holy Spirit” is not a good thing; I hear people say man, I went out this weekend and I got under this evangelist and I got slain in the Spirit. And I’m saying wow, I’m glad you’re still alive to talk about it. So this is talking about maximum divine discipline here; it’s not a loss of salvation verse. So the correct answer to number 63 is what? A.
And then you have 2 Peter 1:10-11, which says, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;” and so people say wow, if I’m not diligent maybe God never chose me. But in reality you look at this verse in context you’ll come to verse 11, it says, “for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be” what? “abundantly supplied to you.” How do you want to enter God’s kingdom one day? Do you want to enter like the man in 1 Corinthians 3:15 who gets in and he smells the smoke on his garments? Is that how you want to enter? Because he has no reward, because he’s lived his life in the flesh as a Christian, is that how you want to enter? Or do you want to enter “abundantly supplied” see that? And I think I’ll choose the latter. I mean, entering is great enough but having a full reward once you’re there is even better, isn’t it. So that’s the context of 2 Peter 1:10-11. It’s not talking about people that maybe are saved, maybe are not. The whole context is rewards and so the correct answer to number 64 would be D.
Oh my gosh, we’re going to finish this, unless I take an hour explaining 65. Now we’ve already gone over Lordship salvation, right? What is Lordship salvation? Come on, we’re at the end of the class and you guys don’t know what Lordship salvation is. [Someone answers] Yeah, becoming a Christian means belief in Christ is not enough, you’ve got to make Him Lord of every area of your life. And we spent a lot of time going through the seven basic problems with Lordship salvation. So question number 65 is which is not a problem of associated with Lordship salvation? The correct answer is D, Lordship salvation defends the possibility of a carnal Christian. Lordship salvation denies the opposite, it denies the possibility of a carnal Christian because go get in the door you have to have every area of your life submitted to the Lordship of Christ.
So Lordship theology really doesn’t like the idea of a carnal Christian; in fact, they’re given almost no… they almost give no exposition of carnal Christianity and that’s why many times they will ban the writings of Lewis Sperry Chafer from their libraries. I know of several churches that have done that, because they’re so involved in Lordship salvation. Lewis Sperry Chafer, on the other hand, talked about believers versus unbelievers and in the ranks of believers he talked about three distinct categories; there’s spiritual believers, infant believers and carnal believers. And he’s not making this up, he got it all from 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.
[1 Corinthians 3:1-3, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.  I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,  for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?”]
So we acknowledge the reality of carnal Christianity. We call it an unfortunate possibility; we’re not cheerleaders for it, we’re just acknowledging that it’s a possibility. There are people in the body of Christ that live in carnality and are still saved.
Lordship salvation, because it says it’s necessary to make Jesus Christ Lord of every area of your life in order to get saved denies carnal Christianity, so you get almost no exposition from them about the reality of carnal Christianity and if they don’t neglect they outright attack the writings of Lewis Sperry Chafer who talks over and over again about carnal Christianity. In fact, Chafer wrote a book called He that is Spiritual, what’s that book about. It’s not how to get saved; it’s how to go from being an infant or a carnal Christian to being a growing Christian. So unless those categories are there the whole premise of the book wouldn’t make sense. So the correct answer to number 65 is B, which takes us to the end of the test. So you guys are all expert soteriologists. Congratulations.