Conditional Security – 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

1 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone,

2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith,

3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.

4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.

5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you–

7 for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.

8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.

Oh how he loved them Thessalonians!

Paul proves his love when he speaks of going without, of sacrificing his brother Timothy and to be left alone in Athens due to his concern over the Thessalonians.

But what was Paul’s concern?

Though he had warned the young believers of distress, pain and suffering to enter into their lives, he was concerned that these forewarned trials might still nullify his work in the believers.

You see, Paul’s concern was their faith. For these believers to be “moved” by afflictions is a threat that Paul could not endure. Would the believers maintain faith in the midst of trials?

It seems Paul’s faith in the Thessalonians faith was a bit weak – but fully understandable, since the Thessalonians faith was being tested, and their faith seemingly hadn’t been tested prior to this. Beyond all this, Jesus is the only One we really can trust to be fully faithful!

Wagging Tail

But what else was Paul trying to infer/imply? It is interesting that the term “moved” in the Greek, generally refers to a dog waggin his tail.

Strongs Concordance

Moved – σαίνω saínō, sah’-ee-no; akin to G4579; to wag (as a dog its tail fawningly), i.e. (generally) to shake (figuratively, disturb):—move.

Isn’t that interesting, that Paul uses such a word. Somewhere else in his writings he refers to troubles as being not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.

Paul is referring to trials “moving” the believer. Is he implying the trials have the potential to control the believer? Like a dog controls his tail? Am I making too much of this?

Maybe.

But if trials have the potential to control a believers life, and if the believer being controlled by these trials would nullify the work of the apostle….

But alas, Paul had no reason to fear that his work in the believers would be in vain. They were standing strong in their faith, exhibiting love to each other and desire for the apostle.

Which implies that apostles work being in vain (empty) would be that they did not stand strong in their faith.

Strongs Concordance

Vain, κενός kenós, ken-os’; apparently a primary word; empty (literally or figuratively):—empty, (in) vain.

Hang on Carl – according to some great Bible teachers, if these Christians were not strong in their faith, they would still be Christians. The work of the apostle would still be evident, just a bit dimmed and blunt.

But not nullified Paul!

Come on – they gotta still be Christians!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Conditional Security – Jude 5

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

Jude 1:5

5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

Can Jude be any less blunt?

Wow – these Israelites, whom Jesus saved out of Israel, were destroyed by Jesus later, due to absence of faith.
Did I read that right?
OK, so Jude may be talking of the people, the family of Israel, the tribes, the entire gaggle of people that were delivered from Egypt. I get that.
But those that Jesus destroyed? No that is not what I think it means!
Jesus destroyed those who did not believe.
Those without individual faith are destroyed by Jesus.
Let that sink in. Can it get any more disturbing to the modern Christian to hear a statement such as this!
OK, lets get back to the point. Could the first deliverance refer to simply being delivered from the tyrants of Israel? I’m thinking the first deliverance was a type, a foreshadowing of a greater deliverance, of a greater salvation, of a greater redemption intended for all who saw the acts of God, heard the words from Moses and internally exercised faith in the God of Israel.
What was the difference between one who was destroyed and one who wasn’t, even though both had been delivered? The duration of their faith separated these two groups of folk – all believed once, some believed continuously.
Only one condition, and that condition is the individuals duration of faith in the Savior, and Jude is preaching this story to believers.
one condition
Seems kinda obvious as to the intent of the author. One condition to avoid destruction in the Christian experience.
And that condition is continuous faith. Dang the people above made the one decision to join the deliverance from Egypt. And were destroyed. By none other that the One who initially delivered them.
Remember Jesus did not say “You must become born again” (referring to a point in time!)
Nope – He didn’t say it that way, and that wasn’t His message.
You must

Be

born again (a state of being!)

Consider!

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Conditional Security – Hebrews 11:13-16

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

Hebrews 11:13-16

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.

15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.

16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

They desire a better country!

Because of this desire, that is the desire that the Old Testament saints had, that is their witness of being strangers and exiles on the earth.
Therefore…  Therefore 2
Because these saints did not think of their previous land, (because if they did they would have returned), God is not ashamed to be called their God.
What?
Something is missing here.  The Old Testament saints decided to think and speak of a better country, a better place to be, a better homeland.  This decision to think and speak this certain way impacted God’s attitude towards them. 
God’s attitude was determined by these Old Testament saints decision to think correctly.  And the result of God not being ashamed? He has prepared for them a City
Oh, to have right thoughts, to be aligned with His thoughts in the midst of a busy day, full of distractions,  concerns and problems.   Desire a better country, brother and sister! Desire the heavenly one, where the Heavenly One is.  May He not be ashamed to be called our God.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Conditional Security – 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

1 Corinthians 1:4-9

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge–

6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you–

7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I would look at verses that seem to support the eternal security teaching and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these passages.

Today’s passage is found in 1 Corinthians 1:8, but I would like to consider the passage from verses 4 through 9.

Is Paul seeking to instruct the believers in Corinth about eternal security? Or is he breaching upon their lack of stability?

Security and Confirmation

Verse 8 clearly states that Jesus Christ shall confirm them unto the end, which must surely mean that once a person becomes a true believer, Jesus Christ is responsible to independently supply the believers security and deliver that person to God at their death. At least that is how I read it in the past and suppose it is the common understanding among those who lean toward the eternal security teaching.

But I do have a few concerns.

I would like to start with Paul’s description of the Corinthians confirmation in verse 6. The passage is telling me that the testimony of Christ was confirmed in the Corinthians. This is the very same word that Paul uses two verses later in verse 8.

So lets consider what is going on in these verses.

Testimony

In verse 7, Paul states the purpose of the confirmation described in verse 6. The testimony of Christ – that is the witness/proof of Christ, was confirmed in the Corinthians via the gifts they received, the knowledge and utterance they experienced. The confirmation had a purpose. The confirmation had two participants, that is, God supplied the gifts, but the Corinthians exercised these gifts of knowledge and utterance. This is important to consider.

In verse 8, Jesus Christ is confirming the believers for the purpose of presenting them as blameless in the day of Christ.

Lets think about this.

Security Synonym?

confirmation 1

Is confirmation a synonym (a word that means the same) for security?

As I read this passage in my earlier belief of eternal security, I would have to say yes! But the question begs to be answered honestly. Please remember that security has synonyms such as safety, defended, protected, sheltered, unharmed and shielded. Confirmation does not relate to these concepts.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Additional Questions

confirmation

Is this confirmation something that is performed only in heaven? Or is this confirmation something that is being accomplished within the believer’s life?

Of course, if it is some type of mystical confirmation in heaven that is a completely independent activity of Jesus Christ alone without the participation of the believer, then adherents to the eternal security may have a valid argument with this verse.

But if the believer participates in this confirmation by obeying the direction (however imperfectly ) of the Master, following His teaching and seeking His direction, then somehow verse 8 includes a human component, a willingness and desire to conform to a blameless life, under the power and enabling of the Lord.

The greek word used in both verse six and eight has the the root meaning of “to be firm”.

When used of persons, it signifies someone who is trustworthy, someone who inspires confidence. In verse eight, the verb is in the future tense and active voice. The active voice represents Jesus Christ (the subject) as the doer or performer of the action.

Let me ask this simple question. As Jesus is confirming these believers to be blameless, would it not be obvious to all? Remember that to confirm someone is to produce someone who is firm, trustworthy, and one in whom you can trust and depend on.

Would not this fruit be evident in the believer’s life? A life that is becoming more like Jesus. He is certainly firm, trustworthy and One in whom we can place our confidence!

This is most interesting since many in the eternal security camp may speak of those who have no outward witness of Christ living in them as still being believers that are eternally secure and guaranteed entry into heaven, simply due to some statement of belief in the past.

break covenant

Of course this is a difficult statement to say in these days of sensitivity, where we must not offend any. But I wonder what engenders God’s trust in a believer who breaks covenant without concern and who claims a vital relationship with Him in the midst of obvious sin and rebellion.

Consider.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

A Literal Bible – Part 2

page-turning-bible-animation-21Does the Bible lend itself to a LITERAL reading?

Our last post on this topic dealt with the question

“Is all the Bible to be read literally?”

We discussed the literal definition of the word “literal” – Oh how boring…., and genres of literature that passages within the Bible fall into. (somewhat interesting….)

This post, I would like to focus on the question

Is the message intended to be taken literally?

This is the heart of the message I am trying to communicate!

The intended (or true) meaning may be clouded or completely in error if taken literally.
Sometimes the message isn’t completely clear and the author will correct the misunderstanding. The following passages are offered to try to explain this concept.

Lets see if some of the messages Jesus gave in the Gospel of John were meant to be taken literally.

  • A Literal Temple

When Jesus said “Destroy this Temple”, the religious leaders understood the literal temple. Might this have been a mistake?

John 2:18-21

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
  • A Literal Rebirth

When Nicodemus came to Jesus, Jesus told him he must be born again. Did Nicodemus take this literally?

John 3:3-9

3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”
  • A Literal Well

When Jesus told the woman at the well about living water, and she asked Jesus about a bucket and the depth of the well, was she taking Jesus’ words too literally?

John 4:9-11

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?
  • A Literal Lunch

When the disciples came back from the town, after Jesus discussion with the woman at the well, they were confused about what Jesus had eaten. Maybe the disciples understood Him too literally?

John 4:31-35

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
  • His Literal Flesh

How about when Jesus taught that His flesh was to be eaten and His blood was to be drank. Should that be taken literally?

John 6:48-52

48 I am the bread of life.
49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

The Person of Christ

How about the “I am” statements in the Gospel? Shall literalness help us in our understanding of the person of Christ? Shall we consider the Messiah to be…

  • A Literal Light

John 8:12

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 9:5

5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

  • A Literal Door

John 10:7

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

  • A Literal (Path)way

John 14:6

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

  • A Literal Vine

John 15:1

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

John 15: 5

5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Two final points come to mind at this time.

  • Many times throughout the gospels, those who took the sayings of Jesus too literally either
    • Were in a state of confusion, but eventually found clarity,

or

    • refused to consider anything other than the literal understanding.

Those who were confused but hungry and teachable eventually got the message. Those who refused to consider any other understanding seemed to be associated with His enemies.

  • Throughout the gospel, there are thousands of instances where depending on literalness causes confusion. And thousands of instances where it occurs in Johns other writings. Thousands! Even in Revelation. Thousands I tell you, thousands!

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

A Literal Bible – Part 1

page-turning-bible-animation-21

Does the Bible lend itself to a LITERAL reading?

Is all the Bible to be read literally?

First off, let me perfectly clear – I’m not saying we are not to read the Bible. Gosh golly nooooo. Read the Bible. Wrestle with it. Struggle with the Word. Argue with Him until it becomes clear. Honestly, if this post is competing for time that you could be reading the Bible, shut me down! Read the Bible instead. It will do your soul good.

Now that you have understood my stance on Bible reading, I suppose I am simply asking that when you read the Bible (remember you should read the Bible), are all portions of the Bible to be read in a strictly literal manner?

Literal Defn

Is it true that the best method of understanding the Scriptures is to interpret the message literally?

I suppose that depends.

First off, lets make sure we understand what the term “literal” means.

I checked the definition found on http://www.dictionary.com, and found the following information.

Literal
adjective

  • in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical: the literal meaning of a word.
  • following the words of the original very closely and exactly: a literal translation of Goethe.
  • true to fact; not exaggerated; actual or factual: a literal description of conditions.
  • being actually such, without exaggeration or inaccuracy: the literal extermination of a city.
  • (of persons) tending to construe words in the strict sense or in an unimaginative way; matter-of-fact; prosaic.
  • of or pertaining to the letters of the alphabet.
  • of the nature of letters.
  • expressed by letters.
  • affecting a letter or letters: a literal error.

noun

  • a typographical error, especially involving a single letter.

Like I said, reading the Bible literally depends on a number of factors. Let’s consider some of those factors.

The Genre of the Passage

Types+of+writing+in+the+Bible

Different genres demand different approaches to interpretation. Types of genres include historical narrative, law, wisdom, psalms, prophecy, apocalyptic, gospel or epistle

In a historical narrative passage, such as the taking of the census before the birth of the Messiah, or the crucifixion of the Savior, literalness serves us well.

In an apocalyptic genre, such as in Revelation, where the writer describes scorpions with stinging tails, it would be wise to consider the genre before committing to a literal interpretation of the passage.

As an aside, it is not a literal interpretation to say that the apostle is describing fighter helicopters. That is an effort to interpret John’s vision by defining what he described as an object that is familiar to 20th century western culture. A literal interpretation will be that the scorpions are scorpions.

A Figure of Speech

Is the writer/speaker using a figure of speech. Some types of “figures of speech” are below with examples from the Bible

  • Hyperbole– an extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.

Jesus used hyperbole often to teach those listening.

Consider Matthew 5:29

29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

  • ironyIrony/Sarcasm– The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. A statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea. When used to taunt or ridicule, it is called sarcasm.

When the Pharisees went to trap Jesus in His Words, John records their saying with irony. The Pharisees didn’t mean it but the irony is is that He is true, teaches the way of God, etc.

Consider Matthew 22:15-16.

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words.
16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.

sarcasm

Or for a good example of sarcasm, lets take a look at Elijah

1 Kings 18:27

27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

  • Paradox– A statement that appears to contradict itself.

Jesus used this method in His teaching very often.

One example is in Luke 16:19-31

Those who live in poverty and destitution while being looked down upon by the rich and powerful are really the first in the Kingdom, while those who are rich and powerful while looking down on those who live in poverty are really last in the Kingdom.

The first will be last, and the last will be first.

Or consider

Matthew 22: 1-14

1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,
2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,
3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.
4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’
5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,
6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.
9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’
10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment.
12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Just as those who are initially invited to the son’s wedding reject the invitation, those who are initially left out of the wedding plans are accepted as insiders at the wedding banquet. The insiders are out, and the outsiders are in. (If you desire to further study the paradoxical statements of Jesus, I would refer you to http://www.renewtheology.org/paperCFreeman1007.htm .)

  • The historical/cultural use of a word/topic/phrase in the scriptures.

A good example of this is the phrase “an evil eye”. In my past reading of the gospels, when I came across the phrase “an evil eye” I understood it to refer to an eye full of hate or maliciousness. After considering the historical use of the term in the Old Testament, I now understand the term to refer to a greedy covetous person. Without the historical use of the term being considered, I could not have come to that conclusion.

Recently another good example of an incorrect use of a cultural phrase occurred in my office, when I noticed my boss had gotten a haircut. I made mention that he had “gotten his ears lowered”, without thinking that that phrase may be cultural. As a Canadian in Texas, this sometimes happens! I had to explain that his ears weren’t actually lowered but that his hair was higher’d, (huh?) Canadians can be so hard to understand sometimes, eh?

Our next post will continue considering the Bible’s message, specifically the intention of the Biblical message.

Hope you continue to visit and open up a discussion.

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Local Church Membership Q&A – 20 – Epilogue

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership.

Since my discussion with Cody, I tripped over a blog that discusses the dangers of signing a church covenant, a very fitting epilogue to our discussion on membership

Take a few minutes to visit Istoria Ministries Blog.


This is our final post on this instance of local church membership.  If you have followed the posts through to this one, I would love to hear from you.  Please drop me a line.  As always, if you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

 

Local Church Membership Q&A – 19

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership. A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.

When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time. Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.


Cody – As I watched you lead the study the other night, I saw a young man who wants to follow the Lord and disciple those he has a chance to. I would challenge you to consider what you are teaching, that is, that you focus on the Word of God and not some man’s teaching about the Word of God. (We spent less than 10 minutes reading the Word that night and the remaining time referring to a booklet.)

In my own studies recently, I have been in Mark 7. In that chapter, the Lord rebukes the religious leaders of the nation. I have to ask myself – How is the requirement for a believer to enter in to church membership any different than the Pharisees requirement for the disciples to wash their hands prior to eating. Both teachings are obviously constructed out of good intentions to protect the “layman”, but the Lord didn’t seem to accept this teaching.

Mark 7:1-13

1 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem,
2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed.
3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders,
4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.)
5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”
6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”‘ (that is, given to God)–
12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

submit-to-authority-728x500

Jesus referred to the Word of God in His defense for the disciples. As a proponent of church membership, I would ask you to do the same. Either refer to the Word of God for your teaching, or admit that your teaching considers the Word of God to be insufficient for the needs of this time.


If you have followed the posts through to this one, I would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line. As always, if you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post. I look forward to hearing from you.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Conditional Security – 1 Timothy 5:11-15

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

Straying after Satan?

1 Timothy 5:11-15

11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry

12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith.

13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

15 For some have already strayed after Satan.

The security of the believer pops up often in the Word, under various topics. The general topic in this post is the widows list.

Widows in the early church commanded a large part of the concerns of the apostles writing when discussing church issues with Timothy. Not only did Paul direct Timothy about the support of deserving widows, but the danger the young widows fell into if included.

Paul actually commanded Timothy to refuse to “honor” (or assist) the young widows!

If I understand the situation, the churches would aid widows by supplying the widows needs. The list would contain the names of the widows being assisted and Paul is trying to define the character of a widow that is deserving of inclusion on the list.

Security Problems

widow

Some may imagine that the description above is simply Paul’s way of keeping young widows free from being on the “widow list”, locking into some benefit from the church, but not able to maintain their faithfulness to the Lord. Since the young widows have not been tested (like deacons – see 1 Timothy 3:10 – “proved”) they may slip from a faithful lifestyle to that of being idle, tattlers and gossips.

What shocks me when I read a passage like this is that of these Christian widows, some have turned aside after Satan. That can’t be good no matter how you slice it. (Verse 12 actually states the widows had “abandoned their former faith”.)

Unless, of course, the doctrine of eternal security is true, where a Christians security is based on a single act of saving faith, and lifestyle, character and conduct have no bearing on a relationship with Jesus.

As a matter of fact, when the Lord called His disciples, He did so using the same terminology Paul uses of the widows turning aside after Satan.

A very interesting pasZxsage reflectingzz this is found i2n Matthew 16.

Matthew 16:23 – 24 2 am is a w1q

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me.b. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

When Jesus states “If any man will come after me….” it is the same term Paul uses of the widows actions toward Satan. Those who follow Jesus are commonly considered Christians.

If a Christian follows Satan, is that person still a Christian?

If I am thinking properly, and a Christian maintains their identity as a Christian while following Satan, it empties the power of the original call on the disciples. When Jesus said to follow, idHe meant to follow HIM, not simply follow anything or anyone!

But what I find even more interesting is the previous verse, where Jesus tells Peter to get behind Him. When Paul tells of the widows turning aside after (or behind) Satan, some word studies explain that the term is identical to Jesus telling Satan to get behind Him.

So let’s get this picture clear – widows who once followed Jesus are beginning to follow after (behind) Satan.

throne of david

Jesus commands Satan behind Him.

You see – Jesus is in charge of all – He has all authority – He is the only One risen from the dead, never to die again.

Following anyone else is foolhardy, and in the end, life threatening. He is the only One placed on King Davids throne, reigning over the Church and all creation. Security is found in the person of Jesus, and following Him is the key.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Local Church Membership Q&A – 18

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership.  A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.

When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time.  Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.


Time for Questions

As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts

Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership facilitate church discipline effectively?

This might be the most convincing argument for local church membership, if the church is modeled after an organizational structure, but the church is modeled after a family, so this argument is only effective if the premise of organizational church life is considered to be the norm.

Since this is not what the New Testament models the church after, we have to reconsider our thinking.

An example is always helpful for me.

As I have sought to be involved in local churches, being members for many many years, I have seen many families leave the fellowship and move onto other churches.  Not so often, I have seen individuals leave on bad terms, (whether under formal discipline or not, I don’t know, even though the Lord says the final step in discipline is to bring the offender before the whole church)  These disciplined folk usually end up in either another local fellowship, or end up wandering aimlessly.  In my opinion, it seems that the discipline did not have it’s intended effect, that is, the restoration of the believer to the church.

What is the answer?

Make the offender miss the group – that is, reach into the offenders life (prior to any offense) and invest time and effort so that the offender will miss the group.  Having a name taken off a list is not that effective!

Most, if not all offenders would admit that the reason they may have considered coming back to the original fellowship is because they missed the people, not the fact that their name was off a list.

So I have to ask you – What is the purpose of the list in relation to the act of discipline?

Matthew 16:18

 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


Our next post will address a final question concerning the teaching of local church membership.  I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

 

Conditional Security – 2 Corinthians 11:2-4

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

2 Corinthians 11:2-4

2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Security

vacuum
Not this type of vacuum – Oh never mind….

You know it has been a few years now since it “clicked” that the New Testament didn’t arise out of a vacuum.

The New Testament is the flower that grew out of the Old Testament, and as such, is supported by the law and the prophets.

With this “revelation” I have finally took time to notice when the New Testament authors use the Old Testament writings.

Such is the case in 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, where Paul the apostle uses an Old Testament passage about Adam and Eve to warn the believers of the dangers inherent in listening to a false teacher.

What does this have to do with Security?

First off, lets consider the goal of Paul’s warning.  He is seeking to strengthen the believers thoughts of sincerity about the Christ. Could Paul have been worried (fearful) of the slippery slope of these believers falling away from the Master?

Singleness of mind towards the Lord is the topic here, and the context supports this. Within the very verses we are looking at, Paul introduces other spirit’s, other gospels, other Jesus’s and other teachers.

These teachers were introducing alternatives to the people of God, alternatives that competed with the truth. We must remember that security is based on truth, not on how we feel about something or what we want the truth to be.  True security is independent of our feelings.  But our feelings and fears sometimes desire to be placated, which makes us susceptible to those who are willing give us teaching simply to make us feel better.

Eve and the snake

This is exactly what happened in the Garden with Eve, which makes Paul’s reference to the deception so applicable. The alternatives that were being introduced to the Corinthians were such that they could not exist in harmony with the truth.

So where does a believer find security?

The people of God had to make decisions between two different types of messages, and the text is stating that they were “open-minded” enough to allow these teachers to guide them.

Accepting alternatives to the truth, as believers, was of great concern to Paul. Why did he use the Garden of Eden as a picture of what was going on?

Could he have implied the same results? You see – accepting the alternative message condemned Eve.  Although she continued to exist, her security vanished the moment she sinned.

jesus-christ-on-the-cross

For those who seek to defend the “Once Saved Always Saved” teaching, it may have been better if Paul used a different Old Testament example!

Security can only be found in a Person, and the faithfulness of that Person creates the security.  Will we listen to Him above all others, and in the process, find the security we so desperately want?


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Local Church Membership Q&A – 17

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership.  A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.

When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time.  Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.


Time for Questions

As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership assist in performing the work of the Body?

In one discussion with a brother, (he calls himself a pastor – I tell you this so you may understand the dilemma my question poses -) I asked the following question.

Would you rather have a faithful believer that is not a formal member of your church, or a formal member that is not necessarily faithful?

I don’t remember him answering.

Since I cannot find any place in the Scriptures that clearly demands this practice, the Body of Christ must be able to perform all of it’s duties without the imposition of this practice. Not only does the New Testament teach this, Christian history affirms the same.

The imposition of a formal church membership is associated more often than not with religious organizations that persecute believers.  Thankfully as believers in the west, we do not live in this condition today!

In the passages that specifically describe the working of the Body of Christ, (universally or locally), local church membership teaching or instruction is painfully absent.

It seems the Lord will build His church.

Matthew 16:18

18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


Our next post will address another question concerning the teaching of local church membership.  I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

 

Conditional Security – 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

2 Chronicles 15:1-2

1 The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded,

2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

Asa the king was a good king.

He understood where his security lay.

The history of the following passage is the battle between the children of Israel (specifically the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) and Zerah the Ethiopian.  Turns out that Asa had an army of 580,000 men, while Zerah had close to double the men, coming in at one thousand thousand men (1,000,000 men), with 300 chariots! In the midst of this threat, Asa sought out God and God gave a tremendous victory!

After the victory and the mop up operations, that brought in much booty for the children of Israel, the prophet Azariah comes out to meet the king and his troops.  His message to Asa is found in 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

Asa was informed of his conditional security in the following three phrases.

  • The Lord is with you while ye be with Him – Security!
  • If ye seek Him, He will be found of you – Security!
  • If ye forsake Him, He will forsake you. – Not so much!

Seems simple enough.  Not much to debate on this passage, or so it seems.

Of course, the direct application of security is for the king and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, during their lives, but this promise given is instructive for us to consider.

The children of Israel could claim a status before the Lord that no other nation could lay hold of.  They had incredible promises and privileges.

Rom 9:4

4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.

5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

And with all these privileges, the children of Israel, as the Old Testament Theocracy, is no more. Brought to extinction close to 2000 years ago, the children of Israel had the kingdom taken from them…

Matt 21:43

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

I suppose the loss of the Kingdom itself speaks of the conditional security before the Lord and Master of the Covenant.  Continual rebellion (see an earlier post on Leviticus 26) brought about many, many efforts by the Lord to bring them back to the faith, with the final judgment falling upon the nation that showed their hatred of God by the crucifixion of His Son.

Conditional security of the believer is pictured often in the history of the nation of Israel. I think of Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:11 when reading the Old Testament and the history of the nation as a warning for myself.  So often I can place myself in the shoes of the men in the stories I read.

Rom 15:4

4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

1 Corinthians 10:11

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

And yet I have hope.  In the midst of rebellion, I can choose to cling to the One who rescues, Who is the Deliverer.

But I digress…

A Good King, with Good Fruit, Reminded of his Conditional Security

king ASAAs a recap, let’s remember that Asa, as a good king, had called out to the Lord at a time of need, had experienced God’s security (a great deliverance), and, as the following passages teaches, was following God’s leading.

1 Kings 15:11,13-14

11 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done. …

13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron.

14 But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days.

Even the book of Chronicles gives high marks to King Asa, and the author of the Chronicles seems to be reluctant to give praise in comparison to the author of the book of Kings.  (Check it out.)  It seems the book of Kings generally grades in the political arena, where Chronicles grades in the religious area of a king’s life.

2 Chronicles 14:2-7

2 And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.

3 He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim

4 and commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment.

5 He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him.

6 He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the LORD gave him peace.

7 And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.

So Asa had a great victory after calling on the Lord, had a great track record up till this point in his life, and then, it seems out of the blue, comes along the prophet Azariah, to give the assurance of God’s presence. That is IF Asa sought Him and did not forsake Him.

Fruit of the Conditional Security Teaching

Is it not usually claimed that the conditional security teaching is a teaching of fear and threats? It seems the opposite is happening here, where a godly man is reminded that he is with the Lord and that he needs to continue to seek Him out.  And Asa’s track record bears witness that the message was fruitful.

It is important to understand that a teachings veracity is not to be based on its fruitfulness but on its truthfulness.  Nevertheless, a true message, delivered and understood correctly, will produce fruit (eventually).

A true message understood correctly by a soft heart that seeks to follow the Master will respond with an admission of weakness and a desire to follow.

A true message understood correctly by a hardened heart will respond with argument, denial, blameshifting, name calling and such.

But brothers, we have not so learned Christ.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Local Church Membership Q&A – 16

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership.  A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.

When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time.  Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.


As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.

Time for Questions

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership foster an “us vs them” mentality?

By this I mean among believers.

How many times have you heard those under your care speak of other believers as “those over there” or “that other church on the corner”? I understand that we live in a fallen world, but creating or maintaining a system that fosters this attitude is counter-productive in my opinion.

Notice Paul’s method of teaching the Corinthian body, by using the practices of other groups of Christians to “shame them” into conformity with the rest of the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:16

16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

How often does a local church seek to be different from the rest of the Body, and by that activity, miss out on many blessings. Of course, this should not apply in individual personal holiness, for we are all called to follow the Lord and not others, but the expression of that life in Christ should be to be at peace with others.


Our next post will address another question concerning the teaching of loacal church membership.  I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

 

Conditional Security – Acts 14:21-23

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with SplashContinue in the Faith

Acts 14:21-23

21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,

22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

It was Paul’s first missionary trip so we can forgive him for not understanding all the missiology that modern Christians now know and practice.

He must have returned to the Lystrians, Iconiumians and Antiochians to help them understand their eternal security I suppose he hadn’t yet written the letters that clearly teach the eternal security doctrine.

ContinueYet his message was “Continue in the Faith”. But Paul, once saved, you automatically continue in the faith, right?

Something must be wrong – Paul is wasting time with believers since the entire world needed to hear the gospel.  Why didn’t he simply keep going into new territory to reach more and more of the lost?  If those who truly believe are eternally secure, Paul seemed to waste his time visiting and encouraging the saints to remain faithful.

It is great that as modern believers we have finally come to the knowledge and wisdom to efficiently evangelize! 

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Local Church Membership Q&A – 15

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership.  A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.

When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time.  Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.


As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.

Time for Questions

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership follow after pragmatism or edification?  

By that, I would refer to the following.

1 Corinthians 10:23

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

If, for the sake of argument, the local church is “allowed” to have membership rolls, how is this beneficial to the average Christian?  Remember, permissible actions do not equate to be pleasing actions!

Membership could be seen as a method of allowing or restricting a believer from christian activities or “full fellowship”  This seems to be hurtful to the believer outside and create a sense of “arrival” for the one who is in “the club”.

It would seem that the benefit goes to those who might boast about the members. Although the principle topic is circumcision in Galations, could the attitude of Paul toward the judaizers be similar in regard to those who require local church membership from a believer?

Consider the following very loose paraphrase of Gal 6:12-13  (My apologies to Paul!)

Galations 6:12 – 13

As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be members; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

For neither they themselves who are members keep the membership agreement they signed; but desire to have you sign up for membership, that they may glory in your potential attendance.


Our next post will address another question concerning the teaching of local church membership.  I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

 

Local Church Membership Q&A – 14

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership.  A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.

When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time.  Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.


As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.

Time for Questions

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership “have its privileges”?

Remember, as believers we are to take our marching orders from the Word, and not lean on the secular world (not even popular credit card commercials) for our wisdom.

I never considered asking my children if they wanted to join the family in order to fully enjoy all the privileges (and responsibilities) of the family. My wife and I just figured they were members of the family due to their birth into our family.

Is this wrong?

Am I missing something?


Our next post will address another question concerning the teaching of loacal church membership.  I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

 

Local Church Membership Q&A – 13

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership.  A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.

When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time.  Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.


As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.

Time for Questions

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership allow for a “country club” environment?

Remember the Biblical image of the church is one of family, not of an exclusive/elite club!

Formal church membership smacks of club-ship (Is that a word?)


Our next post will address another question concerning the teaching of local church membership.  I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

 

Conditional Security – 2 Timothy 2:11-14 – Part 4

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

A brother recently commented on an earlier post regarding this very passage, and I thought it would be wise to look into it.  It is one of the passages that made me consider conditional security many many years ago.

It bugged me then, being an avowed OSAS (once saved always saved) believer, but as is the case, when you see something you don’t like (or won’t try to understand) denial is bliss!

This passage, specifically verses 11 – 13 are full of if’s.  Jam packed.  Let’s consider the meaning of “if”

In English “if” can be defined as a word…

  • used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true
  • used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true
  • used for introducing a situation or condition that must exist before something else happens

The English “if” is now understood. (snicker snicker)

The wrinkle in this is that the Greek used in the New Testament has four conditional “if’s”.

As if “if” wasn’t conditional enough, eh?

Conditional Sentences

 

Granted, all four of the conditional clauses in this passage below are of the First Class “Simple Condition” and could easily be translated as a fulfilled condition.

So for example, the first clause could read “If, as is the case we have died with him…”

So before we dig in, lets take a few moments to simply read the text under consideration.

2 Timothy 2:11-14

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

As you can see, as an avowed OSAS follower, these verses were difficult to find comfort in.  Verse 12 was simply to be glossed over.

Let’s consider each of the conditional clauses in the following posts and and try to figger out what Paul is getting at.  Lets look at our final clause in this post.

 

Faithless2 Timothy 2:13

If we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.

Let’s remember that the conditional clause could be translated as If, as is the case we are faithless, he remains faithful

This portion of the passage, for both the OSAS follower and those of the other persuasion, may be used to justify thier position in the following way

An OSAS follower might argue…

If you are truly saved years back, but have slipped on slid away somewhat, God remains faithful.  He cannot deny Himself and will keep the promise of takiing you home based on your initial faith.

Those other believers might argue…

This phrase is a description of the faithfulness of the Master to His own nature.  If the servant abandons the Master, the Master will not change His nature to allow a denier to be in fellowship with Him.

No matter the perspective you take in looking at this final clause, it is comforting to know that He remains faithful, or true to His own nature.

Our faithlessness cannot affect His faithfulness.  He is God and we are not.  He is true to His own nature in the present, has been true to His own nature prior to creation, and will continue to be true to His own nature after the consummation of all things.

God is FaithfulHe is faithful.

How ’bout us?

Let us be faithful to the Only One who deserves our trust.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Conditional Security – 2 Timothy 2:11-14 – Part 3

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

A brother recently commented on an earlier post regarding this very passage, and I thought it would be wise to look into it.  It is one of the passages that made me consider conditional security many many years ago.

It bugged me then, being an avowed OSAS (once saved always saved) believer, but as is the case, when you see something you don’t like (or won’t try to understand) denial is bliss!

This passage, specifically verses 11 – 13 are full of if’s.  Jam packed.  Let’s consider the meaning of “if”

In English “if” can be defined as a word…

  • used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true
  • used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true
  • used for introducing a situation or condition that must exist before something else happens

The English “if” is now understood. (snicker snicker)

The wrinkle in this is that the Greek used in the New Testament has four conditional “if’s”.

As if “if” wasn’t conditional enough, eh?

Conditional Sentences

 

Granted, all four of the conditional clauses in this passage below are of the First Class “Simple Condition” and could easily be translated as a fulfilled condition.

So for example, the first clause could read “If, as is the case we have died with him…”

So before we dig in, lets take a few moments to simply read the text under consideration.

2 Timothy 2:11-14

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

As you can see, as an avowed OSAS follower, these verses were difficult to find comfort in.  Verse 12 was simply to be glossed over.

Let’s consider each of the conditional clauses in the following posts and and try to figger out what Paul is getting at.  Lets look at our third clause in this post.

 

deny word on concrette wall2 Timothy 2:12 b

If we deny him, he also will deny us.

Let’s remember that the conditional clause could be translated, If, as is the case we deny him, he also will deny us.

Wow Paul – are you saying that some believers have, in reality denied Him?  How can that be?  You need to read John 10:28, Paul.

John 10:28- 29

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

John perfectly describes that believers are eternally secure, and that God will not allow anyone one to snatch them out of Jesus’ or the Father’s hand.

But this isn’t about someone snatching me, as if a believer is being kidnapped from the kingdom!  It is about free-will, about the freedom to love God more than “these” (as Jesus once asked a disciple), it is about being willing to stay with the Master due of love instead of being required to stay with Him due to some initial faith contract.

Back to 2 Timothy 2:12.  If, as is the case we deny him.

Since Paul is stating a fact of reality, who is “we”?  It cannot be representing all believers – that makes no sense.  Obviously, at least in my mind, Paul is referring to those who were in the fellowship, and yet have departed from the faith.

Some have turned away!  This seems to me to be on Paul’s’ mind as he writes this letter to the young Timothy.

2 Timothy 1:15

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

2 Timothy 2:17-18

17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

2 Timothy 3:8

8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.

Interesting that the three examples of those who had turned away from the faith, who had denied Him, were team tagging for heresy.

2 Timothy 3:5

5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Finally, Paul gives Timothy (and us) some guidance on how to relate with those who deny the faith. Within the context of 2 Timothy, Paul describes people who are full of denial (is that possible?).

These folk have the appearance of godliness, having the skin of faith, but no heart/mind/soul of faith.

Paul says to avoid such people, turn away from them!

Wow – kinda overly harsh there Paul!  Are we not to win them back, try to understand thier point of view, enter into discussions to convince them of thier errors?

Brothers & sisters – faith is to be nurtured not nuked!  These deniers will poison your well of faith, drag you down and destroy your faith.  Stay away!  There are many in the institutional church that are of this ilk!

As an aside, Paul is not telling believers to avoid those outside of the church.  Those who are outside of the church are to be entered into with irenic debate and honest open discussion.

Not so with deniers, those who were in faith and have rejected and denied – it is our responsibility to “avoid such people”.

Our final post on this short passage will consider “If we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself”  I hope to see you there.

As always, if you have any comments , or wish to correct something I am missing, I look forward to the interaction.

Until then, be blessed and practice good discernment regarding those to avoid.  Don’t fall into the trap of applying this restriction to those that it is not to be applied to!  That just be a cop out.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.