Confessing Our Sins

Many people understand that 1 John 1:9 is to be taken as instructions for the believer in this age of Grace. The act of confessing is taken as a step for renewing our fellowship with God after we have broken that fellowship by sinning. When we confess our sins, He will forgive and cleanse us and the fellowship will be renewed.

I feel, however, that there are many problems with this particular interpretation and think there is a better, more Scripturally consistent way to deal with this verse.

First, a little history of the Apostle John

Many think that the Apostle John was the bishop of the Ephesian church later in his life and therefor his writings were directed to those of us in the Church, the Body of Christ (refered to as Church in the rest of this article). However, very little is actually known about the life of John beyond what is recorded in the Gospels. We do know that later in his life he was on the Island of Patmos but beyond that is pure speculation and assumption and takes much faith of the traditions of man for anything beyond that to be believed. Trusting mans’ traditions is a dangerous thing to do because of the problem of so many falsehoods and inaccuracies taken as fact. We see this at work in the acceptance of evolution as fact. Accepting the traditional teachings of science lead to an acceptance of untruths. God is clear in his admonishment to stay clear of the traditions of man because He knows how destructive it can be, especially if we are basing our doctrinal beliefs upon them.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

An example of the traditions of men is found in the Pharisees:

Matthew 15:2—6 2″Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…6 he is not to honor his father or his mother .’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

Here is what tradition teaches us about the Apostle John:

Tradition says that St. John came here with Mary, the mother of Jesus, who lived here until she was taken into the sky by angels. St. Paul lived here from 55-58 AD, and his Letter to the Ephesians became a part of the Bible. St. John returned again in 95 AD after being banished from the island of Patmos. The Greeks claim St. John wrote his gospel and the book of Revelation while on Patmos, the Turks claim he wrote both while he was in Ephesus. http://www.imagesoftheworld.com/mm/tucoast.html

Post-New Testament tradition holds that John, the disciple of Jesus, brought Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Ephesus to live and wrote the fourth gospel there. In his later years, according to tradition, John was exiled to Patmos, wrote the Johannine Epistles, the Revelation, and combated Gnostic heretics. http://www.abrock.com/Greece-Turkey/ephesus.html

Some believe, however, that there is support for the idea that John did go to Ephesus and from there wrote the three epistles traditionally attributed to him. John was allegedly banished by the Roman authorities to the Greek island of Patmos, where some believe that he wrote the Book of Revelation. According to Tertullian (in The Prescription of Heretics) John was banished (presumably to Patmos) after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering nothing from it. It is said that the entire colosseum were converted to Christianity upon witnessing this miracle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_the_Apostle

Of course there is a Roman Catholic slant to these traditions but many of these are cleaned up a bit then accepted by the fundamental Christian community. From this I can say that it is not safe to accept that John was a Bishop in Ephesus because there is absolutely no solid proof. (I’m not saying he wasn’t a Bishop, only that there is no solid proof that he was).

Second, the date of writing

It is also tradition that places the writings of John and 1, 2, and 3 John to be completed in the 90s A.D. It seems very possible that Revelation was written later in his life, but there are many who put Revelation as having been written in the 60s A.D. In other words, God did not think it was important for us to know the exact date of writing because it was not important for the understanding of what was written. What is important is to whom he is writing and for what purpose. This can also be said of the Gospels since the exact date of writing cannot be ascertained. They were probably written anywhere between 50—69 A.D.

Third, who is John’s Audience?

If we really want to understand what John is writing, then we need to figure out to whom he is writing, If he is writing to the Church (whether you believe is was formed in early-, mid- or late-Acts) then it should all line up with what Paul has written who we know was writing to the Church.

A lot of John’s writings are compatible with what Paul has written. This isn’t surprising because there are many similarities between the Kingdom Church believers (those in existance before the Church, the Body of Christ was formed) and the Body Church believers. One of our problems as Dispensationalists is that we are always looking for the distinctions or differences between the two programs and forgetting about how similar they are. However, no matter how similar the two programs are, they are not the same. This could be likened to the laws of Minnesota and the laws of Iowa. Eighty percent of the laws could be similar but they will never be the same. You can’t go by the laws of Iowa when you are in Minnesota, although you would probably not even know the difference in most cases.

Examining the differences between John’s writings and Paul’s writings will help us see that John was writing to the Kingdom saints and not to members of the Body of Christ. Here are some of the more obvious differences:

1. John was teaching what he heard, saw, examined and touched while he was with Jesus. Whatever the earthly Jesus taught concerned Israel and had to do with the coming Millennial Kingdom. Paul, on the other hand knew only the risen and glorified Jesus Christ by whom he received personal instruction concerning the Dispensation of the Age of Grace.

1 John 1:1—3 1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life– 3what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.- Jesus taught the gospel of the Kingdom, as did the Disciples.
Matthew 4:23 Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
Matthew 10:5—7 5These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7″And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’- John taught based on what he learned from Jesus’ earthly ministry.

2. Salvation is based on belief in the name of Jesus only. Paul is careful to include the death, burial and resurrection in our Gospel.

1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
1 John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
1 John 5:5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
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 eternal life.

– Those in the Kingdom had to believe that Jesus was the Christ (believe in the Person only).
– Those in the Church, the Body of Christ need to believe in the Person and His work.


1 Corinthians 15:1—4
1Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

3. Demonstration of faith through obedience was commanded. Their assurance of salvation was based on keeping the law. Our assurance is in the indwelling Holy Spirit.

1 John 2:3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

– This fits in with the Kingdom program.

James 2:17—18 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
Revelation 14:12 Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

– Just as Jesus proved himself through His works, the Kingdom believer needed to prove himself through his works.

John 10:38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

4. The necessity of abiding. This abiding was in the form of living the same life as the earthly Jesus demonstrated to them—being obedient to the Law. If they stopped abiding, they would be cut off and burned. This is absolutely not true with believers in the Church and is completely against anything Paul has written to us. In fact, we are seen as already sitting with Him in heaven!

1 John 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
1 John 2:28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence (that we will enter into the Millennial Kingdom) and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

– Notice what happens if you quit abiding.

John 15:4—6 4″Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5″I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6″If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

• John uses the word “abide” 24 times in 1 & 2 John
• In contrast, we in the Church the Body of Christ are never commanded to abide.

Ephesians 1:11, 13, 14 11also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will…13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 2:5—6 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

– We are so completely identified with Christ that we are called His Body.

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

– We are secure in Christ now we need to walk like we are.

Ephesians 4:1 walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

– The Kingdom saint’s security was proven by their works.

James 2:24, 26 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

-Contrast with what Paul wrote to us:

Romans 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other,  just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

5. John emphasized Kingdom concepts. These writings fit perfectly with what Jesus taught in His ministry with Israel while on earth but are incompatible with what Paul has written.

1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Matthew 5:21—22 21″You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22″But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court…

————————————————————————————————————————-

1 John 3:22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Matthew 21:22 “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
John 14:13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

– In contrast Paul promises God’s peace:

Philippians 4:6—7 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

————————————————————————————————————————-

– Loving God and loving your neighbor sums up the entire Mosaic Law

1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
Matthew 22:37-46 37And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38″This is the great and foremost commandment.39″The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’40″On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

————————————————————————————————————————-

1 John 2:24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

– In contrast, we remain in Christ and it is not conditional upon our abiding.

6. Use of conditional statements concerning God’s blessings.

– Those in the Kingdom are told to walk correctly in order to receive God’s blessings.

1 John 1:7 If we walk in the light…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins…He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 2:24 If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you will also abide in the Son…
1 John 3:10 If you do not practice righteousness you are not of God.

– We in the Church the Body of Christ are told that since God has blessed us we should walk accordingly not to walk right so that we may obtain God’s blessings..

1 Thessalonians 5:8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.
Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Ephesians 4:1Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Ephesians 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light
Colossians 2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

It is because of these differences that I believe John was still writing with Kingdom saints in mind. There are certainly many, many similarities to what Paul has told us and many things that are good for us to learn from, but to take these things for ourselves is a mistake and can lead you down the wrong path on your Christian walk.

Scripture backs up my contention that John was ministering to Kingdom saints:

Galatians 2:7—9 7But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8(for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), 9and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

John even thought he would be going through the Tribulation with these Kingdom saints instead of being Raptured with the Church (see Revelation 1:9).

Fourth, a note about light and dark

I should first explain the term “walking in darkness” and “walking in light”.

John, himself, tells us what walking in light means. It entails following Jesus and by doing that becoming sons of light. The opposite of this is walking in darkness and with that there is no fellowship with Him.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ” I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
John 12:35—36 35So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36″While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light ” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.
John 11:9—10 9Jesus answered, ” Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 “But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, (this word has the idea to fail completely or fall with no chance of recovery as used in Matthew 7:27) because the light is not in him.”
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

The above verses indicate a departure from what Paul teaches about our position. We were in darkness but now we are in light. Since we are now walking in light, we need to act like it. It is completely impossible for us to walk in darkness because we are saved out of darkness and permanently sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. Walking in darkness was our state before our salvation. If it were possible to walk in darkness now, we would be without Christ and without hope.

Ephesians 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light
Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

A further note about light and dark
• The contrast between light and dark is used throughout the Bible.
• Light always refers to God and good. Dark always refers to Satan and evil.
• Jesus calls Himself light because He is God.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ” I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

– Notice that those who follow Him are walking in light and will have eternal life.
– Having eternal life, they cannot lose it and therefore are incapable of walking in darkness.

• By comparing verses within 1 John, we can come to this same conclusion.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1 John 2:9—11 9The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

– The person walking in darkness does not have fellowship with the Son.
– The person who hates his brother walks in darkness.
– These haters do not have eternal life.

Note: the use of the term “brother” is not referring to a Christian brother but to a Jewish brother. They were fellow Jews but not necessarily believers.

• Conclusion:

– Those walking in the light are believers. Those walking in darkness are unbelievers.

1 John 1:9 also says we need to confess (continually confess) our sins in order for Christ to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us. Those who claim this verse for themselves would need to see that unconfessed sin would affect our standing with Christ. We would no longer be fit for heaven because we would be in need of cleansing. Those who say this verse describes the means for a saved person to make things right with Christ needs to take a careful look at what this verse is really saying. The only reason this verse is interpreted in this manner is because John’s writings are taken to be written as our instructions yet with the understanding that Paul says we are secure and don’t need to confess our sins. Their solution (a poor one) is to misinterpret what John is clearly teaching to make it fit into Paul’s is teachings.

A better solution is to let Scripture say what it says without twisting its meaning. John was writing to Israel. Israel needed to confess their sins and be baptized for their cleaning. (see Leviticus 26:40; 16:21; Psalm 32:5; Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5). Those who believed would prove their faith by obeying the Law and doing works of righteousness.  Those who confessed and were baptized, yet didn’t do the works were yet walking in darkness. They could be walking in light if they would go through the steps outlines by John in his first epistle.

We, on the other hand, have the assurance of our salvation because we have already been forgiven, not just the sins we have committed up to the point of our salvation, but all sins past and future. It is because of God’s forgiveness that we forgive others. Paul never tells us to confess our sins so God will cleanse us because we are already cleansed. Instead of always dwelling on our sins and making sure we have asked God to forgive them, we can concentrate on our walk to become more Christ-like. I dare say those who sincerely try to follow 1 John 1:9 will become ineffective as Christians because they are continually focusing on their sins instead of on their Savior. This is one of the dangers of misapplying Scripture.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Finally, I think it’s very important to notice that in 1 John 1:9 the person asking forgiveness was forgiven and cleansed. We, however, are told to cleanse ourselves. This is progressive sanctification. If this verse was referring to restoring our relationship and not about our position wouldn’t we be told to cleanse ourselves? Instead, John says they need to confess so that God will forgive them.

2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Fifth,What should we do when we sin?

Confessing your sins is not wrong to do. Taking a look at who we are in light of what Scripture says is a good thing. We need to know what we need to improve upon and we do this by applying Scripture and being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

To understand what our response should be when we sin we need to turn to Paul.

Philippians 3:13 …forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead

Paul seems to take the approach of getting up, dusting your self off and continuing to run toward the goal in order to win the prize. His focus is not on his failure, but on Jesus Christ. Paul never confesses his sins for forgiveness and cleansing however, the concept of confessing sins is in Paul’s writings.

The word “confess” comes from the Greek word “homologeo”. This is a compound word meaning “same say” so confessing is the act of saying the same thing. When we confess, we are coming together and in agreement with each other—we are saying the same thing. When we agree with what God says in His word that we have failed in our Christian walk, we are confessing. What we say and what God’s word says are the same.

Paul often tells us just to make a decision to do right. Just do it! It’s not about reviewing our list of sins, it’s about moving on and serving Christ. Doing is always better than saying.

Ephesians 4:22—25 22that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

Romans 13:12—14 12The night is almost gone, and the day is near Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

2 Timothy 2:21Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Colossians 3;5—10 5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry… 8But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him–

Hopefully this gives you insight about the matter of 1 John 1:9 and the whole idea of confessing. It’s an important verse to understand properly and illustrates the importance of properly dividing the Word.

25 Comments

  1. Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Here we can see that both Jews and Gentiles are baptized into the Body of Christ?:

    “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor.12:13).

    Here Paul uses the pronoun “we” twice and from his introduction in that same epistle we can know that that pronoun is not only referring to those in the church at Corinth but also “all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord”:

    “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:” (1 Cor.1:2).

    Here is another translation of the same verse:

    “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:” (NIV).

    Cornelius Stam wrote, “There are other evidences that the kingdom saints of Paul’s day became members of the Body of Christ. In I Corinthians 1:2, Paul addresses his letter to the Corinthian church, ‘with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs [those in every place] and ours [those with Paul].’ And he says to ‘all’ these believers ‘in every place’: ‘For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles’ (I Cor. 12:13). How can this be made to exclude the Judean believers?” (Stam, Commentary on Galatians [Stevens Point, WI: Worzalla Publishing Co., 1998], 198).

    There were many Jews during that time who called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, including the Twelve, so therefore they cannot be excluded from Paul’s statement that by “one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles.”

    Therefore the epistles written by Peter and John were written by members of the Body of Christ and the believers who received those epistles were also members of the Body of Christ.

  2. Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Jerry for a well thought out comment. I’ve struggled with the correct view of what happened to the Kingdom believers after the Church, the Body of Christ was formed. This is the old 12 in or 12 out argument about whether or not the Disciples were brought into the Body of Christ or whether they were kept out.

    The first issue I believe that needs to be addressed is whether believers saved after Paul was saved would become a Kingdom believer if they were Jewish and a Body believer if they were Gentile. Some would say it depends upon which gospel they heard. If they were saved while listening to the Gospel of the Kingdom they would be part of the Kingdom. If they were saved under the Gospel of the Grace of God then they would be a part of the Body.

    I believe that Paul was the first member into the Body and was the pattern for everyone else following his conversion (1 Timothy 1:16; Philippians 3:17). This in spite of God not yet revealing what this new dispensation was all about. There are many Mid-Actsers who put the Body being formed around Acts 13 when Paul and Barnabus were commissioned for Paul’s first missionary journey to give time for the Lord to reveal the Mystery gospel to Paul. I don’t think this was necessary since God can easily save someone into the Body even when they are given the Kingdom gospel. Perhaps this is what happened with Peter as he began to preach a Kingdom gospel to Cornelius. Before he could tell him to repent and be baptized as he did in Acts 3, the Holy Spirit interrupted him and fell upon Cornelius (Acts 10:34—45).

    I believe, as you state above, that those who believed what Paul preached (Jew or Gentile) became members of the Body of Christ. However, there is another issue that is harder to understand. Did a Kingdom saint remain a Kingdom saint or were they “transferred” into the Body of Christ?

    The thing I struggled with was what Peter wrote and to whom. If the Kingdom saints were brought into the Body after Paul’s conversion then Peter would have been writing to us in this Chruch age. My problem with that is Peter never discusses the rapture but does talk about the Tribulation and Second Coming and gives hope to the Jews who were waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled. 2 Peter 3:9 says that the Lord is not slack concerning his promise…and then in verse 10 talks about the day of the Lord. In my mind this concerns Israel under the Kingdom program. Peter also agreed with Paul that he would minister to the circumcision. This could not mean that he would minister only to Israel and Paul would minister only to Gentiles because we know Paul ministered to many Jews after their agreement. I believe Peter was agreeing to minister to the Kingdom saints of that day while Paul would minister to those in the Body (Galatians 2:9).

    So who were these Kingdom saints that Peter was going to minister to? I believe we find them in Acts 21:20. There was a pocket of Jews who were zealous for the Law living in Jerusalem. Stam says these Jews were wrong in following the Law (about 20 years after Paul’s conversion) and that Paul was sinning by not calling them out for their disobedience. (You might find Baker’s book “Understanding the Book of Acts” pages 124—132 interesting.) I think a better explanation is given by Baker. These Jews in Jerusalem were doing exactly what they were told to do, stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit was given and after coming at Jerusalem the power of the Holy Spirit would be spread throughout Judea, Samaria and to the rest of the world. Problem is, the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem rejected the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the offer of the Kingdom. That left a small group of Jewish Kingdom believers in Jerusalem. They and the Disciples never left Jerusalem because they never completed their job of getting all of Jerusalem to believe. These Kingdom believers stayed as Kingdom believers at least through Acts 21 because they were never told to give up the Mosaic Law. This is the group that was being ministered to by Peter and John when they wrote 1 & 2 Peter and 1, 2 & 3 John. I believe the book of Hebrews was written to these Kingdom believers to tell them to finally put the Law behind them and to now meet Christ outside the camp of Judaism (Hebrews 13:13).

  3. Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Hi Gary,

    You asked:

    “Did a Kingdom saint remain a Kingdom saint or were they “transferred” into the Body of Christ?”

    At one time Apollos was a believer “knowing only the baptism of John”:

    “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John” (Acts 18:24-25).

    But later, after Aquila and Priscilla had “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” (v.26) we see Paul saying that Apollos watered what he had planted and they are both “one”:

    “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one” (1 Cor.3:5-8).

    Why would a so-called “kingdom saint” be watering what a Body saint had planted? That would make no sense. Apollos was watering what Paul had planted because both were members of the Body of Christ and both were ministering to those in the Body of Christ. Is in inconceivable that Apollos was not a member of the Body of Christ.

    We can see that at one time Silas was a so-called “kingdom saint,” belonging to the church at Jerusalem:

    “Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren” (Acts 15:22).

    We can also see that later Silas went with Paul in order to confirm the churches which Paul had founded:

    “And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches” (Acts 15:40-41).

    Later both Paul and Silas preached the gospel to a Gentile, the Philippian jailer and his household:

    “Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house” (Acts 16:29-32).

    Barnabas was saved before Paul’s conversion. After Pentecost he sold his land and gave the money to the Apostles:

    “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37).

    Later we see Barnabas being sent with Paul as his co-worker: “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2).

    Both Paul and Barnabas preached to the Gentiles: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:46-47).

    Surely Barnabas was a member of the Body of Christ. After all, he was preaching to Gentiles and the Gentiles who believed His gospel message were baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

  4. Posted March 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jerry,

    The whole assumption is that a Kingdom saint would not be able to minister to or preach the Mystery Gospel. Although we so often focus on the differences between the Kingdom and Grace, I believe that there are also important similarities. Could not the Kingdom saints and Grace saints rejoice in Jesus christ together? Would it be unrealistic to assume that they could even worship Christ together or that a Kingdom saint could actually understand the Pauline doctrine of salvation and help him spread that Gospel to unbelieving Jews and Gentiles on his missionary journeys. I think one of the disservices done by Mid-Acts people is to think so narrowly as to never allow the Kingdom saints to even interact with Grace saints. Both theologies were built on Christ.

    However, having said that, it appears to me that the Jerusalem saints were the only Kingdom saints that were rightly hanging on to the Mosaic Law. This means that the Kingdom saints outside of Jerusalem were accepting Pauline doctrine and (probably) brought into the Body. Baker makes this location distinction and I have come to see that this is a strong possibility. (For some reason I can’t find Baker’s take on this but when I do I’ll update my post to give you the Baker reference.) For me it explains to whom Peter and John are writing. It explains why those outside of Jerusalem are helping Paul with the Gospel of the Grace of God. It explains how Paul was not living in sin when he visited them in Acts 21. It also makes sense as to why Hebrews was written.

  5. Posted March 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for such a prompt response. First of all, I have previously given evidence that all who called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ were members of the Body of Christ:

    “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:” (1 Cor.1:2).

    Even Cornelius Stam, the founder of the Berean Bible Society, says that the kingdom saints became members of the Body of Christ. That matches the teaching of J.C. O’Hair and the father of systemized Mid Acts Dispensationalism, Sir Robert Anderson.

    You did not answer 1 Corinthians 1:2 and so far I have not heard even one good reason why anyone should believe that only “some” of the Jews were baptized into the Body of Christ:

    “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor.12:13).

    Next, you said:

    If the Kingdom saints were brought into the Body after Paul’s conversion then Peter would have been writing to us in this Chruch age. My problem with that is Peter never discusses the rapture but does talk about the Tribulation and Second Coming and gives hope to the Jews who were waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

    The fact of the matter is that another epistle which you do not believe is for the Body of Christ which does speak of living believers waiting for the rapture:

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

    The Jewish believers were being taught that the appearing of the Lord Jesus could happen at any moment and when He appears the believers still alive would be made like Him. That can only be referring to the rapture because the Scriptures will be searched in vain for any teaching that living saints will put on immortal bodies when He returns to earth to set up His kingdom.

    The passage at 1 John 3:2 is referring to the events which will happen at the rapture:

    “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor.15:51-52).

    Here Peter is speaking of the ‘blessed hope”:

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet.1:3-4).

    The inheritance is the same one which Paul speaks about in his epistles, the redemption of the body which will happen at the rapture.

  6. Posted March 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Jerry,

    Didn’t mean to ignore that particular verse in 1 Corinthians 1:2. Frankly, I believe this verse supports my view of a group of Jewish (Kingdom) believers in Jerusalem. Paul points out the two groups by saying it doesn’t matter if you are in Jerusalem or any where else that you are sanctified by Christ—and then he added their Lord and ours. This shows the similarity between Kingdom and Grace believers.

    We can see this distinction in Galatians 6:15—16:
    15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

    I believe this shows the Body of Christ believers existing at the same time as Kingdom believers (Israel of God or the Little Flock of Luke 12).

    I have to disagree with you about the rapture being in view in 1 John 3:2. Titus 2:13 talks about the Church experiencing Christ’s glorious appearing when we are caught up to be with Him while 1 John 3:2 is focused on Christ’s glorious appearing at the Second Coming when He comes for Israel and sets up His throne on earth. Verse 1 of 1 John 1 clearly spells out that John is talking about Jesus and His earthly ministry while Paul’s ministry all relates to the risen and glorified Jesus Christ.

    You also need to know where Peter is coming from when he writes about his living hope. His focus is the Kingdom. His hope is the Kingdom. This Kingdom was what was reserved in heaven for Peter and the rest of the Kingdom saints. (Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23) The reward of Revelation 22:12 is the Kingdom given to the Little Flock (Luke 12:32).

    Also, Israel will be like Christ (their Messiah) because they will be given a new Spirit and their hearts will be changed and they will finally be able to know the Law AND completely obey the Law (Jeremiah 31:31—34; Ezekiel 36:24—28). As Christ told the Little Flock (believing remnant of Israel) that to get into the Kingdom they would need to be perfect like their Father was perfect (Matthew 5:48) and this could not happen unless they were changed by Him.

    The only Scripture that is written directly to the Body of Christ is in the 13 epistles written by Paul. Outside of that, we can use what was written for our edification and learning (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16) but not our doctrine, position, walk and destiny.

  7. Posted March 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Dear Brother Gary,

    You said:

    “I believe this verse supports my view of a group of Jewish (Kingdom) believers in Jerusalem. Paul points out the two groups by saying it doesn’t matter if you are in Jerusalem or any where else that you are sanctified by Christ—and then he added their Lord and ours.”

    In the following verses Paul recounts what the Lord Jesus told Him on the Damascus road in regard to “sanctification”:

    “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18).

    The only people who were “sancitified” before Paul was converted on the Damascus road were the Jewish believers. Therefore common sense dictates that the Gentile believers were to share the same inheritance of the Jewish believers who preceded Paul. Here Paul says the same thing to the Gentile believers of Ephesus:

    “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).

    The following words of Paul define this shared inheritance:

    “…after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph.1:13-14).

    The Holy Spirit is given as the earnest of the Christian’s “inheritance,” and the Christian will inherit the purchased possession on the “day of redemption”:

    “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph.4:30).

    The “day of redemption” is in regard to the “redemption of our body”:

    “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Ro.8:23).

    Peter also speaks of an “inheritance” and we can understand that the inheritance of which he refers to is in regard to the new, glorious body which the Christian will inherit at the rapture:

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet.1:3-4).

    What is “reserved in heaven” for these Jewish believers except their bodies which are from heaven of which Paul speaks of here:

    “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col.1:3-5).

    Paul describes the glorious body which the Christian will put on as “our house which is from heaven”:

    “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven” (2 Cor.5:1-2).

    You also said;

    As Christ told the Little Flock (believing remnant of Israel) that to get into the Kingdom they would need to be perfect like their Father was perfect (Matthew 5:48) and this could not happen unless they were changed by Him.

    Are not the believers who received the book of Hebrews considered to be “perfect” as a result of the blood of the Lamb?:

    “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb.10:10,14).

    Since these Jewish believers are already perfected then how do you now interpret the words of John here?:

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

    The Jewish believers were being taught that the appearing of the Lord Jesus could happen at any moment and when He appears the believers still alive would be made like Him. That can only be referring to the rapture because the Scriptures will be searched in vain for any teaching that living saints will put on immortal bodies when He returns to earth to set up His kingdom.

    Gary, earlier I said:

    “…so far I have not heard even one good reason why anyone should believe that only “some” of the Jews were baptized into the Body of Christ:

    “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor.12:13).

    Please cite the verses which you think supports the idea that only “some” of the Jewish believers were baptized into the Body of Christ.

    Thanks!

  8. Posted March 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Jerry,

    I notice you’re ignoring the Kingdom saints in Jerusalem in Acts 21:20. Would you agree that there were Kingdom saints there or do you believe they were sinning by practicing the Law. Was the Apostle Paul living in sin at this time for not leading these saint away from the Law?

    Just trying to see where you are coming from

    Thanks

  9. Posted March 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Gary, you said:

    “I notice you’re ignoring the Kingdom saints in Jerusalem in Acts 21:20. Would you agree that there were Kingdom saints there or do you believe they were sinning by practicing the Law.”

    Since Paul himself took part in the law at Acts 21 it is obvious that no one was sinning by practicing the law. You have some misunderstandings in regard to the salvation and security of those you call “kingdom saints.”

    You said:

    “Those in the Kingdom are told to walk correctly in order to receive God’s blessings.”

    Of course the Lord Jesus made it plain that the Jews who lived under the law received the blessimgs as a result of faith and faith alone, as witnessed by His following words to them:

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn.5:24).

    The lord Jesus told these Jews who were living under the law that those who believe have everlasting life and will not come into condemnation. He said nothing there about doing works in order to receive those blessings.

    Paul makes it plain that the blessings for those who lived under the law were by grace through faith:

    “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all” (Ro.4:16).

    Peter certainly understood that the was saved in the same way as were the Gentile believers, saying the following:

    “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are” (Acts 15:11; NIV).

    You also mistakenly believe that the so-called “kingdom” saints’ assurance of salvation was based on keeping the law when you said the following.

    “Their assurance of salvation was based on keeping the law. Our assurance is in the indwelling Holy Spirit.”

    However, the Apostle John told them that they had already been given eternal life:

    “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (Jn.5:11).

    The Jews who received John’s first epistle would know that their salvation was secure with the following words of the Lord Jesus in view:

    “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (Jn.10:28).

    Those who received John’s first epistle knew that their assurance was not based on keeping the law, as you maintain. They were assured of their salvation and eternal security since they knew that they already possessed eternal life and the Lord Jesus said that those to whom He had given eternal life “shall never perish.”

  10. Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    The Kingdom saints, as all saint, need to come to God in faith. Then we all need to demonstrate our faith by doing what God commands. When it came to salvation, the Kingdom saints absolutely needed to be baptized (Acts 2:38). Many will twist this verse to say repent for salvation and then be baptized but that’s not what it says. If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved. His works did not save him but if he did not do the works he would not be saved. The thief on the proves that Kingdom saints were saved by faith but if he were able to be baptized and follow the Law but didn’t do so he would not be saved.

    I’m not the one who came up with the idea that equated Law with salvation. Jesus did this in Matthew 19:16—22; Mark 10:17—22; Luke 10:25—29. Jesus Christ later told Paul a man is not justified by the works of the law in Galatians 2:16.

    We demonstrate our faith by doing nothing since God has required nothing from us concerning our salvation (Romans 3:28).

    I didn’t say they would lose their salvation. By doing what Christ demanded of them they were assured of their salvation.

    You might notice that the Kingdom saints needed to believe in the name (Person )of Christ while we in the Body of Christ are told to believe in the Person and His works (! Corinthians 15:1—4). When you reference John you are pointing out Kingdom salvation.

  11. Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Hi Gary,

    You said:

    “If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved. His works did not save him but if he did not do the works he would not be saved.”

    That cannot possibly be correct because Paul makes it plain that David, who lived unde the law, was justified “without works”:

    “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Ro.4:6-8).

    You also said:

    “When it came to salvation, the Kingdom saints absolutely needed to be baptized (Acts 2:38). Many will twist this verse to say repent for salvation and then be baptized but that’s not what it says. If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved.”

    You fail to realize that before anyone could be baptized with water they first must believe (Acts 8:36-37).

    The Jews who believed the gospel of the circumcision, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, were “born of God” and saved the second that they believed (see 1 John 5:1-5).

    That is what the Apostle John is referring to in the following passage:

    “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (Jn.20:30-31).

    Now let us examine Acts 2:38 in more detail:

    “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

    As I said, before a person could be baptized they must have first believed that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God and at that moment they were “born of God” and saved. At the moment of faith they had their sins forgiven:

    “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43; NIV).

    The “forgiveness of sins” that they received after being baptized with water was not in regard to their salvation but instead was in regard to their “service.” The rite of water baptism served to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord ” so that they “might serve Him…in holiness and righteousness ” (Lk.1:17,74,75).

    The children of Israel could not serve the Lord Jesus in righteousness and holiness as long as they remained living a life that defiled them. Therefore,they were to “repent” (have a change of mind) in regard to the way that they were living and once baptized with water they had their sins forgiven.

    You said the following in regard to the so-called kingdom saints:

    “His works did not save him but if he did not do the works he would not be saved.”

    You say that the work of submitting to the rite of water baptism was absolutely necessary for a kingdom saint to received the forgiveness of sins so he could be saved. But then you turn around and say that that work of submitting to the rite of baptism did not save him. Do you not see that you are contradicting yourself?

    Besides that, your idea is directly contradiced by what the Lord Jesus said at John 5:24 where he makes it plain that “faith” is all that is necessary to be saved:

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn.5:24).

    You also said:

    “I’m not the one who came up with the idea that equated Law with salvation. Jesus did this in Matthew 19:16—22; Mark 10:17—22; Luke 10:25—29.”

    Yes, the Lord Jesus as well as Paul made it plain that at least theoretically a Jew could be saved by keeping the law. However, in order to receive eternal life in that way he must keep it perfectly. And no one has even been able to do that except the Lord Jesus Christ.

    You said:

    “When you reference John you are pointing out Kingdom salvation.”

    I have answered many of your points so please give me your interpretation of the meaning of the following two passages from the gospel of John:

    “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (Jn.20:30-31).

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn.5:24).

    Thanks!

  12. Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Could Noah have been saved by just believing? Or did he need to do the “works” of building the ark. Was Abraham saved because he believed? Of course he was (Romans 4:3). But what if he believed God but stayed in Ur or believed God but didn’t go to sacrifice his son Isaac? He would not have been declared righteous because not doing what God commanded would show he did not have a true faith. This is how faith and works are connected. The book of James does a good job of connecting faith with works for a Kingdom believer.

  13. Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gary,

    You asked:

    “Could Noah have been saved by just believing? Or did he need to do the “works” of building the ark.”

    Let us look at the so-called kingdom saints who lived in the first century and see if works were required for salvation or not. First, we can see that they had already received the salvation of their souls as a result of their faith:

    “…and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet.1:8-9; NASB).

    These Jews who received this epistles were told that they had already obtained the salvation of their souls as the result or outcome of their faith. That matches the following words of the Lord Jesus spoken to the lady who washed His feet:

    “And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (Lk.7:49-50).

    That matches what the Lord Jesus said here:

    “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (Jn.5:24; NIV).

    The Jews who believe received eternal life as a result of their faith. And that is why John tells the Jewish believers that they already possess eternal life:

    “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 Jn.5:11).

    So we can see that not only does the Lord Jesus says that those who “believe” have eternal life and will not be condemned. He also says that those to whom He has given eternal life “shall never perish”:

    “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (Jn.10:28).

    So we can see that the Jewish believers received eternal life as a result of their faith and the Lord Jesus Himself said that those to whom He has given eternal life shall never perish.

    But you say:

    “If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved.”

    That idea is directly contradicetd by the Lord Jesus because according to Him once the Jew believed he was saved and possessed eternal life. And then once saved and once having obtained eternal life the Jewish believer would not be condemned nor will he ever perish.

    Please tell me why I should believe that the Jewish believer could ever despite the Lord Jesus’ words to the contrary.

    Thanks!

  14. Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Excuse me but I need to edit my last sentence in the following way:

    “Please tell me why I should believe that the Jewish believer could ever “perish” despite the Lord Jesus’ words to the contrary.

    Thanks!

  15. Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Jerry,

    All these verses are fine but I get the feeling you are ignoring what Jesus said about Kingdom salvation and what James says about Kingdom salvation. Faith without works is dead. I guess I don’t understand how you can strip works from faith when (at least to me) they are so clearly a part of the Kingdom program.

    Having said that I believe a person who was truly saved under Law was saved by the working of the Holy Spirit, just as we are. I also believe that person who was saved under the Kingdom program will absolutely do the work as they were told to do. In other words they will not lose their salvation because they did not do the works required of them because those who are saves will do the works. Unfortunately, I’ll probably be flogged with a tirade of words since I don’t have a whole lot of Scripture to prove what I just said. I arrive at this conclusion because man’s heart is evil and by itself can not reach up to God so God needs to work some kind of work in everyone to give them the ability to respond to His call to be saved. Those in Israel were no better than we in the Body and needed the same “help” to respond to the call to become a part of the Kingdom. I further believe that they, like us who truly believe, will not lose their salvation. They did not have the promise of being sealed with the Holy Spirit but I believe they will endure unto the end (Matthew 10:22).

    Sorry for not including a number of support verses but just don’t have time right now.

    Hope that helps you understand where I’m coming from but perhaps it will open up a whole new can of worms.

  16. Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Gary, you said:

    “All these verses are fine but I get the feeling you are ignoring what Jesus said about Kingdom salvation and what James says about Kingdom salvation.”

    I feel that it is you who is ignoring what the Lord Jesus said to those whom you call “kingdom saints.”

    I have asked you to give me your interpretation of the meaning of His following words spoken to Jews who lived under the law:

    “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (Jn.5:24; NIV).

    You declined and I can certainly understand why. He said nothing about any “works” being required for salvation even though you say that works were required. You also said:

    “If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved.”

    The kingdom saints were saved by faith and faith alone, as witnessed by the Lord Jesus’ words spoken to a Jewish woman:

    “And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (Lk.7:49-50).

    According to your mistaken view it would not be possible for her to be saved by faith alone because you say that unless she followed the law she could not be saved. Here are your words again:

    “If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved.”

    You are wrong because we can see from the Lord Jesus’ own words the Jews were saved by faith and faith alone. Next, you say:

    “I also believe that person who was saved under the Kingdom program will absolutely do the work as they were told to do.”

    What about Peter’s actions here as described by the Apostle Paul?:

    “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision” (Gal.2:11-12).

    According to your mistaken ideas Peter would absolutely do the work as he was told to do. However, it is clear that you are wrong because Peter was blameworthy because he separated himself from the Gentiles because he feared other Jews.

    Again I have answered your points so please answer mine. Please give me your interpretation of the meaning of the following two passages from the gospel of John:

    “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (Jn.20:30-31).

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn.5:24).

    Please tell me how you can reconcile those words with your idea that the jews who lived under the law could not be saved unless they did works. Again, here are your words:

    “If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved.”

    Thanks!

  17. Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Jerry,

    As I stated before salvation is always by faith. The demonstration of that faith is what has changed. We add nothing to faith while the Kingdom saints needed to demonstrate their faith by works.

    James 2:14—18
    14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
    16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
    17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

    Romans 4:4—5
    4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
    5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

    Theses two verses highlight the difference between the Kingdom and Grace dispensations. I can’t go against Scripture rightly-divided.

    Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  18. Jerry Shugart
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Dear Brother Gary,

    You said:

    “As I stated before salvation is always by faith. The demonstration of that faith is what has changed. We add nothing to faith while the Kingdom saints needed to demonstrate their faith by works.”

    You then quoted James 2:14-18 to attempt to prove your assertion. However, you left out the passage where James tells us exactly how the Jews were saved. Here are his words:

    “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures”(James 1:18).

    They were all born again by the word of God. They received life the moment when they believed, as witnessed by the words of the Lord Jesus here:

    “It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn.6:63).

    So they were saved before they did any “works.” And that completely contradicts what you said earlier here:

    words:

    “If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved.”

    Now we will examine what James is teaching and it is not hard to determine the truth with the following verse which you quoted in view:

    “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18).

    This sets up the whole discourse of James’ teaching in chapter two. This is about what one person may know about another man’s faith–“show me thy faith…I will shew thee my faith.” And what a person may know about another’s faith is by his works.

    Sir Robert Anderson said, “He (Abraham) was justified by faith when judged by God, for God knows the heart. He was justified by works when judged by his fellow men, for man can only read the life” (Anderson, The Gospel and Its Ministry, [Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978], 160-161).

    The Lord Jesus Himself recognizes the idea that men can appear “righteous” before other men so this concept is not foreign to the Scriptures:

    “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Mt.23:28).

    On another thread on this blog Paul D. Pedro attempted to prove that this idea is in error when he wrote the following:

    “I have read authors and heard preachers try to explain away the controversy between Paul and James by saying that Paul was talking about being justified before God and that James was speaking of being justified in front of man to show that a person’s faith was real. This idea does not stand up to close study though as the example James uses from Genesis 22 was Abraham showing his works to no one but God.”

    Mr. Pedro is under the false impression that just because no other men were there to witness the fruit of Abraham’s faith then Abraham could not have possibly appeared righteous before other men. However, there are millions of people who are aware of the fruit of Abraham’s faith and his appearance of rightousness because that event is recorded in the Scriptures and “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for…instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim.3:16).

    Just because other men were not present does not mean that other men do not have a knowledge to what happened in regard Abraham and his son Isaac because we both know that they do. Therefore, the fact that no other men were present proves nothing.

    Again, James tells us exactly how the kingdom saints were saved:

    “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures”(James 1:18).

    They were born again by the word of truth and that is exactly what Peter says in his first epistle:

    “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God…and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Pet.1:23,25).

    it is not diffcult to find exactly what gospel was preached to them and it is certainly more than the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. here in the same chapter we can see that gospel, a gospel whose heart and soul concerns the purpose of the Cross:

    “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet.1:18-19).

    You also said:

    “I can’t go against Scripture rightly-divided.”

    I can see no evidence that you have the ability to rightly divide since you cannot even understand that those who lived under the law were saved by faith alone, as witnessed by the following words of the Lord Jesus spoken to them:

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn.5:24).

    Please tell me how you can reconcile those words with your idea that the Jews who lived under the law could not be saved unless they did works. Again, here are your words:

    “If a Kingdom saint believed on the name of Jesus but did not get baptized nor follow the Law then he would not be saved.”

    Thanks!

  19. Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jerry,

    I’m reading and enjoying the give and take on Were works ever required? “Battle Royale VIII”

    If anyone would like to read the exchange between Jerry and Jeremy concerning this topic please see the following link:

    http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13451

  20. Jerry Shugart
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Dear Brother Gary,

    In your initial post on the subject of whether or not Christians are to confess their sins you said:

    “We, on the other hand, have the assurance of our salvation because we have already been forgiven, not just the sins we have committed up to the point of our salvation, but all sins past and future.”

    That is true in regard to the Christian’s “standing” in Christ but you fail to distinguish between the Christian’s “standing” and his “walk.”

    The following passage demonstrates that in one’s “walk” all of a Christian’s sins were not forgiven when he believes or else he would not be judged for his sinful actions:

    “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord…for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor.11:27-32).

    Here Paul tells members of the Body of Christ that if they do not judge themselves then they will be judged. This cannot be speaking of anything except being judged for sins. This is in regard to a Christian’s “walk” and not to his “standing” in Chrtist.

    In out “walk” any sin which we commit defiles us. Here the Lord Jesus speaks of this defilement:

    “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man” (Mt.15:18-20).

    Since sins defile the Christian in regard to his “walk” Paul tells us the following:

    “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor.7:1).

    The first step in regard to cleansing ourselves from the filthiness which results from any sins which we commit after being saved is to confess that sin:

    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn.1:9).

    This cleansing is necessary in regard to our “walk” as well as in regard to our “service,” as witnessed by what the Apostle Paul said here:

    “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Ro.12:1).

    If we are not cleansed from the defilement which our sin causes then we cannot present ourselves as “holy” before the Lord.

  21. brian harshberger
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    gentlemenand brothers in christ i enjoyed the discusion and i believe peter under inspiration of the spiit said it best after reading all of pauls then written epistiesz speaking in themof these things;in which are some things hard to be understood,which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest’ as alsothe other scriptures’unto their own destruction.progressive revelation proves peter was influenced by pauls scriptures and he even stuggled with salvation issues which paul wrote with the wisdom given to by the risen saviour please excuse my lack of punctuation brian

  22. Posted June 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Brian,

    The words of John in regard to confessing our sins is not a “salvation” issue at all. John was writing to those who already possessed eternal life (1 Jn.5:11) and the Lord Jesus said that those He has given eternal life “shall never perish” (Jn.10:28).

  23. Prince Charles
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Please I want you to expound the meaning of what, I believe, Paul wrote in Hebrews 7:24, in relation to opinion still held by Grace Age believers pertaining to Priesthood, catholic priesthood, being an intermediary between God and Man, which negates some scriptural belief- Heb.4:16 for instance,and many other scriptures

  24. Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Hebrews was written to the Jews and they would understand the reference to Jesus Christ being their High Priest since they were very familiar with the function of a priest. In this case Jesus Christ is the only One who is able to act between them and God. No person is appointed to that position in this Age of Grace. Hebrews 7:25 says Christ intercedes for them (the Jews).

    The Church, the Body of Christ is also represented by Jesus Christ according to Romans 8:34. Here Jesus Christ is said to be our intercessor between us and God the Father. I believe that Hebrews and Romans are portraying Christ as doing the same function, that of being the go-between between the believer and God the Father. Since Christ is fulfilling that role there can be no other person or church who is worthy or qualified to act on behalf of the believer. We have direct acces to the Father because of our relationship with the Son.

  25. Posted March 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    The Berean Bible Society teaches that those who received the Hebrew epistles were not members of the Body of Christ. Pastor Paul Sadler, the President of the Berean Bible Society, says that the Hebrew epistles are for the time of the “coming Tribulation”:

    “These writings, which are numbered with the Prophetic Scriptures, have a twofold purpose. They were practical exhortations for the kingdom saints during the first century, but more importantly, they are instructions and warnings for the future kingdom saints who will be called upon to endure the coming Tribulation”(Sadler, “Studies in the Epistle of James,” The Berean Searchlight, June, 2005, 5).

    Pastor Sadler correctly understands that after the rapture the prophetic program will be resumed:

    “After the Body of Christ is removed from the earth, God will resume His prophetic program where He left off. According to Daniel’s 70 weeks of years, only one week remains (Dan. 9:27)” (Sadler, “Question Box,” The Berean Searchlight, September, 2000, 6).

    Under the prophetic program and before Israel was temporaily cast aside that nation remained under the Law of Moses and the priesthood was an integral part of the Law. So after the rapture the prophetic program will resume and that means that the priesthood will also resume. Pastor Sadler correctly understands that under the law “the priesthood implied that the people did not have access to God”:

    “In time past, the priesthood implied that the people did not have access to God…The priests always ministered on ‘behalf’ of those who did not have access. But consider these words of the Apostle Paul: ‘But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ…For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father’ (Eph. 2:13,18). On the basis of the Cross both Jews and Gentiles now have access to the Father” (Sadler, “The Life and Letters of the Apostle Peter–Part VII,” The Berean Searchlight, September, 2000, 8).

    However, there can be no doubt that all those who received the book of Hebrews had access to God:

    “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Heb.10:19-20).

    “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb.4:16).

    From this we can know that it is impossible that the book of Hebrews, which tells all “to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,” is for the future tribulation when only the high priest will have access to God. Instead, these words are speaking of the access into the heavenlies which members of the Body of Christ enjoy now. Cornelius Stam, the founder of The Berean Bible Society, wrote:

    “The Holiest place of the tabernacle, still closed to Jewish believers at that time, except representatively through the High Priest once each year, reminds us of our free entrance into ‘the holiest of all’ in heaven itself. By grace we enter the presence of God, ‘. . . by the blood of Jesus . . . a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh’ (Heb. 10:19,20). Think of it! The old dead way replaced by ‘a new and living way,’ specially consecrated to our use through the blood of Christ! This is the great Pauline doctrine of our access to God (Rom. 5:2)”(Stam, The Berean Searchlight, Volume L, Number 2).

    Even Pastor Sadler understands that those instructions apply to members of the Body of Christ. He wrote:

    “The work has been accomplished on our behalf; now it is given unto us to ‘believe,’ at which time we are ‘accepted by God’ in the Beloved One, having full access into the heavenlies (Eph. 1:6; Phil. 1:29; Heb.10:19,20)” (Sadler, Exploring the Unsearchable Riches of Christ [Stephens Point, WI: Worzalla Publishing Co.1993; Third Printing], 177).

    There can be no doubt that Pastor Sadler is applying the doctrine contained in the book of Hebrews to those in the Body of Christ. He does the same thing again here:

    “But now, through the blood of Christ, God dwells in our midst, thus, we can ‘come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need’ (Heb. 4:16). It is a solemn thought indeed that every believer in Christ dwells in the very presence of God (Sadler, Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians [Stephens Point, WI: Worzalla Publishing Co., 1999], 66).

    It is only those who are in the Body of Christ who dwell in the very presence of God because only those in the Body have been raised up and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

    “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:5-6).

    “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col.3:1).

    These things are in reference to the Christian’s “heavenly calling” spoken of here in the book of Hebrews:

    “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Heb.3:1).

    These facts in regard to access to God in the heavenly places cannot possibly be applicable to the time of the coming tribulation because then only the High Priest will have that access. Instead, this doctrine applies only to those in the Body of Christ. Therefore we can know, beyond any doubt, that those who received the book of Hebrews were members of the Body of Christ. On The Berean Bible Society web site we read that J.C. O’Hair was, “without a doubt, the one person who, more than any other, was used of God to establish among believers what Paul, by inspiration calls, ‘the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.'” Pastor O’Hair understood that the passages from the book of Hebrews which speak of “drawing nigh” to God are in regard to the blessings belonging to the members of the Body of Christ:

    “But let us remember, even as near as God is, there is only one way to Him. That way is Christ. John 14:6. Brought nigh by Christ’s blood. Ephesians 2:17. Draw nigh to God by the better hope. Hebrews 7:19. By the blood of Christ draw nigh in full assurance of faith. Hebrews 10:22.

    “How nigh are believers who are members of the Body of Christ? They are in Christ. Christ is in them. They are dead, buried, raised, risen and seated in the heavenlies in Him, in an unending, inseparable union with the glorified Christ; accepted in Him and complete in Him; and therefore, nothing above or below can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (O’Hair, “Far Off – But Brought Nigh,” Bible Study for Bereans, March 1936).

    It is impossible to reconcile the facts revealed at Hebrews 4:16 and 10:19-20 with the teaching of today’s Berean Bible Society which declares that the doctrine found in the book of Hebrews is doctrine which will be in effect during the coming tribulation.

    In His grace,

    Jerry

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*