Were Cornelius and Apollos regenerate before they believed in Jesus, in your opinion?

Probably so.
30% (3 votes)
Probably not.
40% (4 votes)
No strong opinion
10% (1 vote)
I believe people today are regenerate for periods of time before hearing about Jesus.
0% (0 votes)
Other
0% (0 votes)
One of them, but not the other
20% (2 votes)
They were not regenerate but still saved or safe
0% (0 votes)
They were regenerate but not fully regenerate
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 10
8857 reads

There are 51 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

One of the difficult issues is about people saved in the first century who came to know the Lord perhaps even before Jesus was born, but lived beyond Easter. Were their individuals who were regenerate, saved, and yet did not have their faith in Jesus during the transition.

Were Cornelius and Apollos regenerate and saved before they accepted Christ, but obviously incomplete in their faith until that time. I believe so. Is it conceivable that someone was saved, waiting for the Messiah -- but not hearing of Jesus and died in say 34AD?

I have no doubt that the elect were saved, but this is a discussion about the mechanics of it all.

I added some pretty bizarre choices to the poll just to get people thinking and perhaps to draw out some minority opinions.

"The Midrash Detective"

Jerry Shugart's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Were Cornelius and Apollos regenerate and saved before they accepted Christ, but obviously incomplete in their faith until that time. I believe so.

Hi Ed,

Good question!

Perhaps first we can discuss Cornelius. Was he regenerated and therefore saved before hearing Peter present the gospel of Christ to him? If he was then how do you explain that Peter was sent to Cornelius for the express purpose of telling him words by which he would be saved? Here Peter recounts the events leading up to his meeting with Cornelius:

"And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts 11:13-14).

What do you make of these verses?

In His grace,
Jerry

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Ed Vasicek wrote:
Were Cornelius and Apollos regenerate and saved before they accepted Christ, but obviously incomplete in their faith until that time. I believe so.

Hi Ed,

Good question!

Perhaps first we can discuss Cornelius. Was he regenerated and therefore saved before hearing Peter present the gospel of Christ to him? If he was then how do you explain that Peter was sent to Cornelius for the express purpose of telling him words by which he would be saved? Here Peter recounts the events leading up to his meeting with Cornelius:

"And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts 11:13-14).

What do you make of these verses?

In His grace,
Jerry

Yes, they (those verses) would indicate that he was not regenerate in all likelihood. But then again, I imagine they could be pressed to indicate the basis of his future salvation. Perhaps he had been saved by faith that Yahweh would provide salvation, and now his faith is transitioned to salvation based in Jesus Christ. The idea might be that he was saved by trusting in Yahweh's provision of salvation before the Messiah came, but now he would be saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Still, that might be a stretch.

We have similar issues with the apostles.

"The Midrash Detective"

Jerry Shugart's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Yes, they (those verses) would indicate that he was not regenerate in all likelihood.

On the other hand, the words here spoken to Cornelius would seem to indicate that he was already regenerated and saved:

"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:34-35).

Perhaps the word "saved" at Acts 11:14 might be in regard to a tempral deliverance. Peter seemed to think that Cornelius was accepted by God and it is hard for me to believe that Cornelius was not saved considering the fact that he had found acceptance with God.

Quote:
Perhaps he had been saved by faith that Yahweh would provide salvation, and now his faith is transitioned to salvation based in Jesus Christ.

Obviously Cornelius was a proselyte (Acts 10:2) and being "devout" it would appear that he had a real faith in the Scriptures which he did possess. Therefore I would say that his faith in what Moses and others wrote provided his justification before God. It is those who believe the revelation of God, no matter what that revelation might be, who are regenerated and justified in the eyes of the Lord.

For instance, Abraham was jusified before God when he believed the Lord's revelation given to him concerning his seed:

"And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen.15:5-6).

In His grace,
Jerry

Bob T.'s picture

IMHO Cornelius is described by the inspired writer of Acts as having that which only one indwelt by the Holy Spirit and regenerated can have. He is spoken of in terms that described O.T. believers. The fact that he would hear words about Jesus the Messiah that would bring salvation in His name does not exclude that he was already saved by believing the message of salvation as given in the Hebrew scriptures. Acts is a book revealing the transition from the Old covenant to the New Covenant. The original Apostles were also probably saved under the Old Covenant and the call by their Messiah was heeded because of this spiritual regeneration which gave them spiritual insight and conviction of heart. They of course had doubts and confusion putting it all together which was later solved at and following Pentecost. Of course Judas was not saved at all and Paul may not have been saved prior to his Acts 9 experience.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Bob T. wrote:
IMHO Cornelius is described by the inspired writer of Acts as having that which only one indwelt by the Holy Spirit and regenerated can have. He is spoken of in terms that described O.T. believers. The fact that he would hear words about Jesus the Messiah that would bring salvation in His name does not exclude that he was already saved by believing the message of salvation as given in the Hebrew scriptures. Acts is a book revealing the transition from the Old covenant to the New Covenant. The original Apostles were also probably saved under the Old Covenant and the call by their Messiah was heeded because of this spiritual regeneration which gave them spiritual insight and conviction of heart. They of course had doubts and confusion putting it all together which was later solved at and following Pentecost. Of course Judas was not saved at all and Paul may not have been saved prior to his Acts 9 experience.

This is the position that I have held to for years, and it seems to still be the best. Jerry's pros and cons did a good job of presenting the issues involved. I liken it to a free website I have that is changing...they are asking me to "migrate" my stuff to another site. I think the word "migrate" fits well. Cornelius was migrating his faith from the promises of a coming Messiah to "the Messiah has come."

"The Midrash Detective"

Marty H's picture

Ed, I would like to ask that if you believe Cornelius was "regenerate", Before Peter was sent, how do you explain scripture like the following.

Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

I have tried to get people to see this without blinders on. Until GOD made the gentile clean, He was without hope. Not a chance.

While I allow that it can be thought that this "Cleaning" took place on the cross, We see no reason to believe that simply because Jesus could have sent the 11 to gentiles before he left, But he instead told them to wait.

It would seem more likely that until Peter was sent to Cornelius, the gentiles were still without hope.That Cornelius was blessed is a huge understatement but why him ? Was it his faith that set him apart ?

Take a second look at Eph 2:12.. Does it not say clearly that at one time they/we ( gentiles ) had no hope and were without Christ BECAUSE the gentiles were not part of Israel ?

A new door was opened with Cornelius And I do believe that he was the first. But as to what he was before Peter spoke to him ? I would think to say he was would be to denigh what Paul says in Eph 2:12

Very good question.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Marty,

Is it not true, however, that Israel accepted proselytes and a Gentile could convert under the OT? If this is the case then it isn't that the man who was a Gentile could not be regenerated, rather it is speaking to the nature of the faith and those commissioned to carry the gospel which was specifically Israel and now is all people. By virtue of one being a Gentile, in the OT or former times, they were by default "cut off" but it didn't mean they could not convert.

Marty H's picture

Quite right Alex. They could become a Jew. But when the Jews could not talk to you by law, I have to wonder just how hard this was to do. Or how often it happened.

But at the same time, I would wonder about Cornelius. Now I could be altogether wrong in my thinking but the way I understand things there are a few rules about such.

IE a Jewish father could disown his blood children but could not do so to an adopted child. ( I was told this by a Jewish man who said he was a rabi. but can't say for sure one way or another. ) At any rate, Had this been the case and had Cornelius been such, Peter would not have made the remarks about Cornelius being a gentile IMO and the visions Peter saw would be out of place.

Do you have any thoughts along these lines ?

Jerry Shugart's picture

Marty H wrote:
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

I have tried to get people to see this without blinders on. Until GOD made the gentile clean, He was without hope. Not a chance.


Knowing that the Lord God is just I will not even entertain the idea that no one except the Jews had a chance to be saved in past times. The word "hope" does not mean that those outside the covenants of promise had no chance of salvation.
The word "hope" does not just refer to one's chances of salvation but can also refer to one's expectations in regard to things which remain in the future. In times past the Gentiles had no expectations of any future blessings because they did not have access to the Jewish Scriptures which spelled out the "hopes" of both Jews and Gentiles.

The only Gentiles who became heirs of the covenants of promise were the proselytes. Today no one is receiving any promises through any covenant but instead all blessings are received because of our standing "in Christ" and we receive that standing through the gospel:

"That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel" (Eph.3:6).

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Marty H wrote:
Peter would not have made the remarks about Cornelius being a gentile

Marty,

What specific verse are you citing here?

Jerry has expressed that at which I was at best moderately successful so instead of repeating Jerry, I will answer you by pointing to Jerry's thoughts on the matter and say they represent how I wish to answer your follow up
question.

Alex

Marty H's picture

Jerry,

Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Rom 9:14 ¶ What shall we say then? [Is there ] unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

It is not my place to judge GOD. I try and understand, and I believe with all my heart that GOD is righteous. and that is enough. I can be wrong in the way I understand what is said. But the "string" is there for anyone to follow that cares to do so. You have the 4 gospels and Acts. And in those, not counting such meetings as Jesus meeting Pilate how many were direct interaction between Jew and Gentile ? Was there any single case where a gentile was shown the way to salvation ? Before Peter is sent I mean..

And while I could allow what you say about hope, What do you do with "Without GOD in the world" ?

Alex, I was speaking of

Act 10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Act 10:29 Therefore came I [unto you ] without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

I'm sure you know already what I meant with this was that Peter could not have spoken of this man in this way had he been a Jew, blood or otherwise (Unless I am badly mistaken)

Jerry Shugart's picture

Marty H wrote:
Jerry,

Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Rom 9:14 ¶ What shall we say then? [Is there ] unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.


Marty,

The reference here is in regard to who would serve who and not who would be saved and not saved (Ro.9:12). Verse thirteen is speaking God loving Jacob more than Esau. That is the sense at Luke 14:26. There the Lord Jesus is not saying that one must hate their parents before he can come to the Lord but instead that he must love the Lord more than he loves his parents and loves himself.

Quote:
It is not my place to judge GOD. I try and understand, and I believe with all my heart that GOD is righteous. and that is enough. I can be wrong in the way I understand what is said. But the "string" is there for anyone to follow that cares to do so. You have the 4 gospels and Acts. And in those, not counting such meetings as Jesus meeting Pilate how many were direct interaction between Jew and Gentile ? Was there any single case where a gentile was shown the way to salvation ? Before Peter is sent I mean..

I believe that anyone from the beginning of time can be saved by believing whatever revelation from God that is available to him. Paul says that nature by itself is a revelation from God that provides ample evidence that there is a God (Ro.1:20). And from a reading of Hebrews 11:6 I would say that that in itself is enough for those who only have that revelation to be saved.

If a man who has no other revelation from God except nature and he does not believe in God then he is "without excuse." Clearly this is speaking about believing whether or not God exists. Also, the mercy of the Lord is on them that fear Him (Lk.1:50) and since the Egyptian midwives "feared God" (Ex.1:17) I can only believe that they received God's mercy.

A good example of a Gentile who was saved prior to Peter being sent to Cornelius is Rahab (Heb.11:31).

Quote:
And while I could allow what you say about hope, What do you do with "Without GOD in the world" ?

The Gentiles were "apart" from God in the sense that they had no direct knowledge of Him concerning his Person and attributes.

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Ah, thanks Marty. So, if he were a proselyte, it appears Peter would not speak to him as a Gentile, gotcha. And let me commend you on pointing this out. It isn't a mere observation but very critical in considering whether Cornelius was a proselyte to Judaism awaiting the announcement of the Messiah, an unconverted man who is unusually described with the language of one who posses faith or a believer in the Messiah already.

This point does significantly weaken the proselyte consideration.

After re-auditing the text, having never taken the time to examine the element of the timing of Cornelius' conversion and taking in hand this strong disqualifier for the position of Cornelius being a proselyte to Judaism we are left with one of two much stronger possibilities:

1. He was unconverted, hence not regenerate.
2. He was a believer in Christ as Savior, hence regenerate.

I will post the relevant text and point out why I believe he was indeed converted already:

Acts 10 (bold and italics mine):

Quote:
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
It is the statement by Peter, and more than a statement but the recognition by Peter to Cornelius and those with him (kinsmen and near friends) that what he is about to say, Cornelius and those with him (irregular plural) already knows.

Therefore with the earlier language of Cornelius being described as a man of faith, one fearing God and one whose prayers are received by God, in view and the subsequent reaffirming nature of Peter's dialogue which included a recognition that Cornelius and those with him "knew" this to be true already, I am much more persuaded that Cornelius was already converted which means with certainty he was regenerate.

The notion that a man can be regenerate without believing is something I believe the Bible categorically rejects.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
So, if he were a proselyte, it appears Peter would not speak to him as a Gentile, gotcha.

Hi Alex,

I do not remember where I read it but I do remember that there were full proselytes (who had been circumcized) and "proselytes of the gate," which would describe Cornelius.

Quote:
Therefore with the earlier language of Cornelius being described as a man of faith, one fearing God and one whose prayers are received by God, in view and the subsequent reaffirming nature of Peter's dialogue which included a recognition that Cornelius and those with him "knew" this to be true already, I am much more persuaded that Cornelius was already converted which means with certainty he was regenerate.

Then how do you explain that Peter was sent to Cornelius for the express purpose of telling him words by which he would be saved? Here Peter recounts the events leading up to his meeting with Cornelius:

"And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts 11:13-14).

In His grace,
Jerry

CharlesChurchill's picture

Is the question about whether they were regenerate before they believed in Jesus Christ (in the sense of the fully revealed Christ) or in the office and reputation of Christ as Redeemer, because I would hold that no one has ever been saved without faith in Christ as the Redeemer.

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
Is the question about whether they were regenerate before they believed in Jesus Christ (in the sense of the fully revealed Christ) or in the office and reputation of Christ as Redeemer, because I would hold that no one has ever been saved without faith in Christ as the Redeemer.

Hi Charles.

I do not know where you came up with this idea but let us examine it in the light of the justification of Abraham:

"For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Ro.4:3).

Was Abraham justified when he believed in Christ as the Redeemer. I would say "no" based on verses about Abraham which follow:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

There is nothing here that even hints that Abraham;s justification in the eyes of God was based on the idea that he believed in Christ as Redeemer. In fact, the Scriptures will be searched in vain for any mention of Abraham's justification being based on his faith in Christ as Redeemer.

In His grace,
Jerry

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
So, if he were a proselyte, it appears Peter would not speak to him as a Gentile, gotcha.

Hi Alex,

I do not remember where I read it but I do remember that there were full proselytes (who had been circumcized) and "proselytes of the gate," which would describe Cornelius.

Quote:
Therefore with the earlier language of Cornelius being described as a man of faith, one fearing God and one whose prayers are received by God, in view and the subsequent reaffirming nature of Peter's dialogue which included a recognition that Cornelius and those with him "knew" this to be true already, I am much more persuaded that Cornelius was already converted which means with certainty he was regenerate.

Then how do you explain that Peter was sent to Cornelius for the express purpose of telling him words by which he would be saved? Here Peter recounts the events leading up to his meeting with Cornelius:

"And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts 11:13-14).

In His grace,
Jerry

LOL, now my head hurts. I neglected this portion, focusing on chapter 10. Well then, with this said and your clarification of the "kinds" of proselytizes, I jettison the conclusion that it is a weak position and now elevate it with the other 3, and possibly return it to its favored status. As well I did some searching and discovery on the PAG and it appears this description is very justified.

Thanks.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Please note the following, which is a synopsis of what some leading Rabbis (like Hillel) would have thought of gentile conversion:

A pagan would be an idolater or worship many gods, or one not serving the true God. This is the category of most mankind then (and now).

An alien believer (an alien at the gate) would be a gentile who wanted to be saved, repented from his sins and turned to the God of Israel in faith; he was expected to abide by the Noahide commands. This is what the Jerusalem council decided about gentile believers. Alien believers and the categories below were considered "saved" if they remained faithful to Adonai.

A God-fearer was an alien believer who also observed the Sabbath, abided by the dietary laws of Israel, and participated in synagogue training and worship. This is probably the category of Cornelius and the Centurion in Luke 7.

A Jewish convert (proselyte) to Judaism was a God-fearer who submitted to circumcision and was immersed (baptized). He would be expected to have sacrifices offered in the Temple and pay the Temple tax. He might even become a Rabbi! It was usually baptism (ritual immersion) that was the official act of conversion, not circumcision (although that would be required, too).

The Noahide commands deduced from the Covenant with Noah and all mankind after the flood (Genesis 9). The Rabbis stretched the text to imply the following standards: (1) no idolatry, (2) no incest/adultery, (3) no murder, (4) no blasphemy (profaning God's Name), (5) no theft, (6) justice toward others, and (7) no eating flesh with blood in it and/or cutting off flesh from a living animal.
[Source for above, "The Enduring Paradox: Exploratory Essays in Messianic Judaism "by Dr. John Fischer, editor, pp. 176-178 ].

But Judaism was not a cohesive belief system-- there were Sadduccees, Pharisees who followed Hillel, Pharisees who followed Shammai, Helenists, Zealots, Hasidics, Essenes, etc. The Judaizers in Galatians were obviously not sympathetic to the views of Hillel, views that were often validated by Jesus and the Apostles.

We can note a similar God-fearing gentile in Luke 7:1-5, "When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue."

"The Midrash Detective"

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry,
I thought I got it from the Bible, when Jesus says that Abraham rejoiced to see his day and that he saw it and was glad and when scripture says that the gospel was preached before Abraham, so that when it says that Abraham believed God, we know that it was Christ he was believing in.

Charles

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
Jerry,
I thought I got it from the Bible, when Jesus says that Abraham rejoiced to see his day and that he saw it and was glad and when scripture says that the gospel was preached before Abraham, so that when it says that Abraham believed God, we know that it was Christ he was believing in.

Charles


Charles, even though Abraham might have been given a vision of events of the time when the Lord Jesus walked the earth does not mean that he was saved by believing what he saw. You failed to respond to my points in regard to exactly how Abraham was justified before God. In those verses there is not even a hint that Abraham was justified because of his faith in a coming Savior. You say that it was Christ that Abraham was believing in but the Scriptures say that that was not what he believed in for his justification.

Now let us look at the verse to which you alluded:

"And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed" (Gal.3:8).

The word "gospel" means "good news." This particular good news is stated in this verse, that through Abraham all nations shall be blessed. God preached the good news unto Abraham, SAYING "In thee shall all nations be blessed."

Now let us return to the following verses that speaks specifically of exactly how Abraham was justified before God:

" Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

Abraham was strong in faith when he believed that he would become the father of many nations despite the deadness of Sarah's womb and because of this "it was imputed to him for righteousness."

There is nothing that suggests that Abraham received the imputed righteousness of God because he believed in a coming Savior.

In His grace,
Jerry

Marty H's picture

Jerry, I am afraid I find all this a little hard to understand so lets break it down into a few seperate questions.

Are you telling us that during the age of conscience a person could do as say Noah and or that a Jew living in the years just before Christ came and died on the cross recieved the same salvation that we recieve under the gospel preached by Paul ?

"I believe that anyone from the beginning of time can be saved by believing whatever revelation from God that is available to him. Paul says that nature by itself is a revelation from God that provides ample evidence that there is a God (Ro.1:20). And from a reading of Hebrews 11:6 I would say that that in itself is enough for those who only have that revelation to be saved."

Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Rom 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth ] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God ], and the promises;

Rom 9:5 Whose [are ] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came ], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Rom 9:6 ¶ Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are ] not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Rom 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they ] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Rom 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are ] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Rom 9:9 For this [is ] the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

Rom 9:10 And not only [this ]; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, [even ] by our father Isaac;

Rom 9:11 (For [the children ] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

I wish to call your attention to a couple of things here. The first being that while you are right in part about who would serve whom, verse 11 speaks of more. (IMO)
And even more so, I would ask that you explain ( in light of the stand you make that saved is saved without reguard to the economy ) Just why Paul would make such a statement (9:3). If as you seem to offer, 1 they have the law and the prophets and thats all they need or 2 if he is only speaking of who will serve whom and not about salvation, how on earth would that be reason to make such a statement as in verse 9:3 ?

Maybe I'm missing something here. I can't get that to add up.

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry,
Christ was the means by which Abraham became the father of many nations. You say I'm not responding to your point, but your "point" is that Abraham believed that God was able to perform what he promised. What you forget or ignore is that Paul looks back at this promise and says the promise was not of Isaac, Paul says it was of Christ. If it was not of Christ, then we are not of Abraham, and if we are not of Abraham, then we have no hope, for all that is left is the condemnation of the law. You say that Abraham may have seen Christ and his day, but that this was not what he put his faith in, but I say, if Charles Churchill is saved, it is because he has believed God and that he has done what he promised he would perform in accepting Christ's sacrifice and in raising Christ from the dead. I heard the gospel that the scriptures preached unto me, and I believed it. This is salvation, and it always has been.

Charles

Jerry Shugart's picture

Marty H wrote:
Jerry, I am afraid I find all this a little hard to understand so lets break it down into a few seperate questions.

Are you telling us that during the age of conscience a person could do as say Noah and or that a Jew living in the years just before Christ came and died on the cross recieved the same salvation that we recieve under the gospel preached by Paul ?


Marty, those who lived under the law before Christ came had their sins redeemed and received an eternal inheritance just like we do:

"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb.9:15).

The Lord God wants all men to be saved so surely he would give all men an opportunity to be saved:

Anyone from the beginning of time could be saved by believing whatever revelation from God that is available to him. Paul says that nature by itself is a revelation from God that provides ample evidence that there is a God (Ro.1:20). And from a reading of Hebrews 11:6 I would say that that in itself is enough for those who only have that revelation to be saved.

Quote:
I wish to call your attention to a couple of things here. The first being that while you are right in part about who would serve whom, verse 11 speaks of more. (IMO)
And even more so, I would ask that you explain ( in light of the stand you make that saved is saved without reguard to the economy ) Just why Paul would make such a statement (9:3). If as you seem to offer, 1 they have the law and the prophets and thats all they need or 2 if he is only speaking of who will serve whom and not about salvation, how on earth would that be reason to make such a statement as in verse 9:3 ?.

At Romans 9:3 Paul was expressing his anguish because so many of his fellow Jews had rejected the gospel. His desire for their salvation was so strong that he was to the point where he saying that he would go so far as to be cut off from Christ if that would result in the bringing of the rest of the Jews to Christ.

The points that he makes afterward in regard to Israel concerns "the service of God" (Ro.9:4). And the calling to this service was strictly as a result of the sovereignty of God. Paul used the example of Jacob and Essua to make his point.

In His grace,
Jerry

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
Jerry,
Christ was the means by which Abraham became the father of many nations. You say I'm not responding to your point, but your "point" is that Abraham believed that God was able to perform what he promised. What you forget or ignore is that Paul looks back at this promise and says the promise was not of Isaac, Paul says it was of Christ.

Charles, Paul does not say that Abraham became the father of many nations throuigh Christ. Paul's words in regard to the "promise" and the Lord Jesus are in regard to how the blessings of Abraham would come to the Gentiles (Gal.4:14-16).

The following verses speaks specifically of exactly how Abraham was justified before God:

" Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

Abraham was strong in faith when he believed that he would become the father of many nations despite the deadness of Sarah's womb and because of this "it was imputed to him for righteousness."

There is nothing that suggests that Abraham received the imputed righteousness of God because he believed in a coming Savior.

In His grace,
Jerry

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry,
So your position is that Abraham is not in Christ?

Curiouser and curiouser,
Charles

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry,
Who did Abraham become the father of many nations by?

Thanks,
Charles

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
Jerry,
Who did Abraham become the father of many nations by?

Charles, what is curious is your lack of understanding the clear words of Paul regarding the way that Abraham received the imputed righteousness of God:

" Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

Abraham was strong in faith when he believed that he would become the father of many nations despite the deadness of Sarah's womb and because of this "it was imputed to him for righteousness."

Quote:
Who did Abraham become the father of many nations by?

Abraham was promised this by the Lord God:

"That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies" (Gen.22:17). He became the father of many nations through natural regeneration beginning with his wife Sarah.

In His grace,
Jerry

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry,
I really am trying to hear all of the clear Words of God. What is interesting is your belief that one verse is the whole of the matter. I've pointed out that Christ said Abraham saw his day and was glad and that the gospel was preached to Abraham (back in Genesis 12) when he was told that all nations would be blessed through him - and let's be clear, it was THE gospel, not a purely physical gospel, but the gospel of which there is only one, Jesus Christ. Then we have Paul's words that the promise made to Abraham was a promise made in and of Christ.

Abraham did believe the promise of God, but scripture goes out of it's way to let us know the nature of this promise and the revelation of God concerning Christ and His gospel to Abraham.

And I'm still interested in the answer to the question: Is Abraham in Christ?

Ed Vasicek's picture

The fact is, guys, we don't really know all that Abraham knew. We just know what the Scriptures reveal.

We do know that the promise of Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."

was known to the ancients. It was distorted in its Babylonian form. We can assume Abraham knew this. Job, who lived at the time of Abraham, knew that he had a Redeemer in Job 19:25-16,

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

We do not know what Abraham did or did not know, or whether he understood that His promised seed would produce the Messiah. The point Paul is making is that Abraham was justified by faith. His faith may have been in God's character to fulfill His promise, but I do think it IS likely that Abraham understood a Messiah was coming.

Why does God justify by faith? If you think about, faith is the highest form of worship, because it affirms God's very character. Unbelief is an insult and suggests that God is not trustworthy.

"The Midrash Detective"

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
Jerry,
I really am trying to hear all of the clear Words of God. What is interesting is your belief that one verse is the whole of the matter.

One verse?

How about this one where we read exactly what Abraham believed in order to be justified before God:

"And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen.15:5-6).

That is in line with Paul's words here:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

Quote:
I've pointed out that Christ said Abraham saw his day and was glad and that the gospel was preached to Abraham (back in Genesis 12) when he was told that all nations would be blessed through him - and let's be clear, it was THE gospel, not a purely physical gospel, but the gospel of which there is only one, Jesus Christ.

Let us look at the verse of which you speak:

"and the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations on the principle of faith, announced beforehand the glad tidings to Abraham: In thee all the nations shall be blessed" (Gal.3:8; JN Darby Translation).

"The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you" (Gal.3:8; NIV).

The word "gospel" means "good news." This particular good news is stated in this verse, that through Abraham all nations shall be blessed. God preached the good news unto Abraham, SAYING "In thee shall all nations be blessed." The "gospel" or "good news" that was told Abraham was, "In thee shall all nations be blessed."

What exactly do you think that the saints in past dispensations were supposed to believe in order to be saved. Please be specific.

Quote:
And I'm still interested in the answer to the question: Is Abraham in Christ?

Yes:

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor.15:22).

In His grace,
Jerry

Jerry Shugart's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:
The fact is, guys, we don't really know all that Abraham knew. We just know what the Scriptures reveal.

We do know that the promise of Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."

was known to the ancients.


Hi Ed,

I have no evidence that the words which you quoted was made known to Abraham, do you?

Quote:
It was distorted in its Babylonian form. We can assume Abraham knew this. Job, who lived at the time of Abraham, knew that he had a Redeemer in Job 19:25-16,

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

We do not know what Abraham did or did not know


You are basing your opinion on something that, by your own words, Abraham might or might not have known. I base my opinion on the sure word of God and not on any assumptions. Here we read exactly what Abraham believed when he received the imputed righteousness of God:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

Quote:
The point Paul is making is that Abraham was justified by faith. His faith may have been in God's character to fulfill His promise, but I do think it IS likely that Abraham understood a Messiah was coming.

Again, it might or might not be likely that Abraham understood that a Messiah was coming but Paul states in no uncertain terms that the righteousness of God was imputed to him when he believed that he would be made the father of many nations despite the deadness of Sarah's womb.

Do you agree with that?

In His grace,
Jerry

CharlesChurchill's picture

Ed,
I have no problem with this. What is truly interesting is that I would pretty much agree with Jerry's statement that anyone could be saved with the revelation that they had. I would just modify it to say that it is their revelation of Jesus Christ/of their need and belief in the Messiah that would be coming. In Hebrews it says that all those who had faith knew that they were pilgrims on the earth and that they were looking for a better country.
My point in all of this, has not been to say what Abraham specifically knew about Christ, but rather to point out that faith and revelation are both of God, and that all true faith in the end is in the work of Christ. We see those who had so much less factual knowledge of Christ than we do understand so much and my mind boggles at it. In one way, I don't believe that Job's revelation of the Redeemer was special, and yet in another way, all revelation is special. There are those today who have read the whole Bible and yet see nothing. There were those who had but fragments and yet see Christ. This is the glory of God.

Thanks for letting me take part in the discussion,
Charles

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jerry and Charles,

I think you have good point. My point, however, is that you are making a logical error. It is like saying all women are human, therefore all humans are women.

For example:
"Here we read exactly what Abraham believed when he received the imputed righteousness of God"

This is certainly PART of what Abraham believed, but the text does not say that he believed this ONLY. I think we can say this is the only thing we can be sure he believed when he was justified.

I am saying that the idea of a coming Messiah was widespread in the region, and the ancients seemed to know about it, even during the time of Abraham. So it is conceivable (but cannot be proved) that Abraham did understand that a redeemer was coming, as did Job. We don't know what we don't know. Yet we can only camp on what we do know.
And I think you gentlemen are doing a fine job of that. My admonition for you is not to confuse truth with whole truth, but to leave room for that which is not stated as exclusive.

"The Midrash Detective"

Jerry Shugart's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Jerry and Charles,

I think you have good point. My point, however, is that you are making a logical error. It is like saying all women are human, therefore all humans are women.

For example:
"Here we read exactly what Abraham believed when he received the imputed righteousness of God"

This is certainly PART of what Abraham believed, but the text does not say that he believed this ONLY.


Ed, let us look at these verses again:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

Paul writes that "therefore" it was imptued to him for righteousness. The word "therefore" ties the reason why righteousness was imputed to him back to the previous verses. And there it is explicit that the reason why he received the imputed righteousness of God was because Abraham believed that he would be made the father of many nations despite his age and the deadness of Sarah's womb. If believing in a coming Messiah was one of the resons that the righteousness of God was imputed to Abraham then Paul would have included that fact in the verses prior to verse twenty-two.

And besides, earlier Paul said that Abraham was justified by faith, and there he expicitly ties the revelation of Abraham's justification to the OT:

"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Ro.4:2-3).

The Scripture that Paul refers to is found here:

"And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen.15:2-6).

Again, there is no mention of Abraham receiving the righteousness of God because he believed in a coming Messiah. To attempt to make a belief in a coming Messiah a part of what Abraham believed to receive the imputed righteousness of God is nothing more than adding to the Scriptures.

In His grace,
Jerry

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry,
A few closing points. There's little point in arguing any longer it seems. Here is the core of my problem with your thinking. Your position is that Abraham's saving faith was in a purely physical thing (God opening Sarah's womb). Hebrews says that all those who had faith received the promises, seeing them afar off, and embracing them. It goes on to say, that they were seeking a heavenly country. To me, this slights the faith of Abraham and the testimony of the Scriptures as to the nature of his faith. And if Hebrews, which is speaking of the faith of the righteous, points out that this faith was a heavenly faith, then I must take it at its word.

Now understand, I am not alleging that they knew what their Redeemer would look like or how He would come or what the specifics were of His coming. But they knew that God would provide a Redeemer. Hebrews pulls back the curtains and explains to us the nature of their faith, and I rejoice in this.

I should also say, that I hope I haven't been too impertinent. Defending theology is sacred, but so is brotherhood among believers. The internet makes it possible to debate with those we barely know and makes it easy to treat them in an unbrotherly manner, when that is what is demanded. I hope I have not given offense.

Charles

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
Your position is that Abraham's saving faith was in a purely physical thing (God opening Sarah's womb).

Charles,

It might be purely physical but at the same time it was a miracle and Abraham trusted that the Lord God would perform that miracle. And was not Noah's faith based on things that were purely in the physical sphere (Heb.11:7)?

Quote:
Hebrews says that all those who had faith received the promises, seeing them afar off, and embracing them. It goes on to say, that they were seeking a heavenly country. To me, this slights the faith of Abraham and the testimony of the Scriptures as to the nature of his faith. And if Hebrews, which is speaking of the faith of the righteous, points out that this faith was a heavenly faith, then I must take it at its word.

Yes, they believed God's revelations to them concerning things not seen (compare Heb.11:7 with Heb.11:1) and upon believing these things the righteousness of God was imputed to them. The language in regard to seeking a heavenly country is figurative and it is speaking of the fact that these men of faith believed in a heavenly God and knew that they would eventually be with Him in heaven. Before they "believed God" they were dead in sin and it was not until they believerd Him were they able to understand spiritual and heavenly things. So it could be said that their faith was a heavenly faith.
Quote:
Now understand, I am not alleging that they knew what their Redeemer would look like or how He would come or what the specifics were of His coming. But they knew that God would provide a Redeemer. Hebrews pulls back the curtains and explains to us the nature of their faith, and I rejoice in this.

What evidence can you give to support your assumption that Abraham or Noah believed that "God would provide a Redeemer"? No where in the book of Hebrews do we read that they received the righteousness of God because they believed in a coming Redeemer.
Quote:
I should also say, that I hope I haven't been too impertinent. Defending theology is sacred, but so is brotherhood among believers. The internet makes it possible to debate with those we barely know and makes it easy to treat them in an unbrotherly manner, when that is what is demanded. I hope I have not given offense.

Throughout our discussion you have been gracious and have demonstrated a generous spirit. I have enjoyed this discussion and I hope that it does not have to end now. I would like your opinion as to why the apostle Paul would speak of those who are "without excuse" in the following verses:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Ro.1:18-20).

In His grace,
Jerry

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
The language in regard to seeking a heavenly country is figurative and it is speaking of the fact that these men of faith believed in a heavenly God and knew that they would eventually be with Him in heaven

I'd like to come back to this at some point, as this suggests that they believed that they would be in heaven with God without redemption, hence their need of a redeemer. And again, I have no problem with them believing that God is their Redeemer, because, well, He is.

This ties into your question:
I agree with your earlier post, that the world that God has made speaks and preaches of His nature and of our nature as well. We are all without excuse because that which may be known of God is manifest

Jonathan Charles's picture

I'm not sure about Apollos but Cornelius definitely was not. When Peter describes his Acts 10 experience he told of the messengers who came to him having heard of the angel, "Send...for Peter...who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts 11:14). A person can be religious and God-fearing and yet unregenerate.

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
I agree with your earlier post, that the world that God has made speaks and preaches of His nature and of our nature as well. We are all without excuse because that which may be known of God is manifest

Charles, from the context the words in regard to having no excuse is not in regard to all men but instead those spoken of in verse 18:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Ro.1:18-20).

The ones who are without excuse are the ones who "hold the truth in unrighteousness."

Surely Cornelius would not be in that category since he is described in the following way:

"A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always" (Acts 10:2).

Since Cornelius feared God by Peter's own words can we not conclude that Cornelius was "accepted" by God?:

"But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:35).

Could it be that the word "saved" at Acts 11:14 be in regard to a physical deliverence, the same sense where the same word is used here?:

"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Mt.24:13).

My point is that those spoken of at Romans 2 as "holding the truth in unrighteousness" could have been regenerated if they would have only believed in God based on the revelation of nature. Since they did not believe they are without excuse.

Also, I find it difficult to believe that Cornelius was not regenerated before he heard the words of Peter.

In His grace,
Jerry

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Ed Vasicek wrote:
Jerry and Charles,

I think you have good point. My point, however, is that you are making a logical error. It is like saying all women are human, therefore all humans are women.

For example:
"Here we read exactly what Abraham believed when he received the imputed righteousness of God"

This is certainly PART of what Abraham believed, but the text does not say that he believed this ONLY.


Ed, let us look at these verses again:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

Paul writes that "therefore" it was imptued to him for righteousness. The word "therefore" ties the reason why righteousness was imputed to him back to the previous verses. And there it is explicit that the reason why he received the imputed righteousness of God was because Abraham believed that he would be made the father of many nations despite his age and the deadness of Sarah's womb. If believing in a coming Messiah was one of the resons that the righteousness of God was imputed to Abraham then Paul would have included that fact in the verses prior to verse twenty-two.

And besides, earlier Paul said that Abraham was justified by faith, and there he expicitly ties the revelation of Abraham's justification to the OT:

"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Ro.4:2-3).

The Scripture that Paul refers to is found here:

"And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen.15:2-6).

Again, there is no mention of Abraham receiving the righteousness of God because he believed in a coming Messiah. To attempt to make a belief in a coming Messiah a part of what Abraham believed to receive the imputed righteousness of God is nothing more than adding to the Scriptures.

In His grace,
Jerry

Jerry, show me where the text says that this is the ONLY thing he believed?

"The Midrash Detective"

Jerry Shugart's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Jerry, show me where the text says that this is the ONLY thing he believed?

Ed, let us look at the verses again and pay particular attention to the last verse:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

The word "therefore" in verse twenty-two means "in consequence of that; as a result."

So Abraham received the imputed righteousness of God as a result or consequence of what is said in the previous verses. We can then know that he received the imputed righteousness of God as a result of his believing that he would be the father of many nations despite his old age and despite the deadness of Sarah's wonb.

Nothing else!

In His grace,
Jerry

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
CharlesChurchill wrote:
I agree with your earlier post, that the world that God has made speaks and preaches of His nature and of our nature as well. We are all without excuse because that which may be known of God is manifest

Charles, from the context the words in regard to having no excuse is not in regard to all men but instead those spoken of in verse 18:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Ro.1:18-20).

The ones who are without excuse are the ones who "hold the truth in unrighteousness."

Surely Cornelius would not be in that category since he is described in the following way:

"A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always" (Acts 10:2).

Since Cornelius feared God by Peter's own words can we not conclude that Cornelius was "accepted" by God?:

"But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:35).

Could it be that the word "saved" at Acts 11:14 be in regard to a physical deliverence, the same sense where the same word is used here?:

"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Mt.24:13).

My point is that those spoken of at Romans 2 as "holding the truth in unrighteousness" could have been regenerated if they would have only believed in God based on the revelation of nature. Since they did not believe they are without excuse.

Also, I find it difficult to believe that Cornelius was not regenerated before he heard the words of Peter.

In His grace,
Jerry

I'm very confused by your position. Now you are saying that the gospel of Jesus Christ is superfluous, because all men already have all the information that they need to be saved...

On top of that, your position is that all men know that they need a redeemer (God is righteous, they are not, that must be fixed = Redeemer)

I would not hold that in and of itself nature speaks a sufficient gospel for salvation. This verse says it speaks a sufficient gospel for knowledge of condemnation.

Can you help me out here?
Charles

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
I'm very confused by your position. Now you are saying that the gospel of Jesus Christ is superfluous, because all men already have all the information that they need to be saved...

Charles, I am merely stating what Paul says in the first chapter of the book of Romans. There he says that nature declares His eternal power and Godhead. Those who do not believe that there is a God are "without excuse." Those who believe in God have a respect or fear of God. The author of Hebrews says the following about those who believe that He is God:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb.11:6).

One must "believe that He is," of course meaning that He is God. And those who believe that are rewarded and are accepted of Him (Acts 10:35).

The Lord wishes that all men would be saved:

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet.3:9).

From the beginning of time there have been millions of people who, through no falt of their own, who have not had access to the revelation of God that is contained in the Scriptures. Since He wants those people to be saved He has provided a way that they can come to Him, and that is the revelation of God through nature.

However, the Lord does want men to have a fuller knowledge of Himself so therefore the gospel is to be made known throughout the world. The gospel is an even stronger revelation from God to man in that the gospel comes in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Quote:
On top of that, your position is that all men know that they need a redeemer (God is righteous, they are not, that must be fixed = Redeemer)

I never said that.
Quote:
I would not hold that in and of itself nature speaks a sufficient gospel for salvation. This verse says it speaks a sufficient gospel for knowledge of condemnation.

You need to read those verses again. They are not saying that nature provides a knowledge of condemnation. It says that those who deny the truth that nature provides and instead hold the truth in unrighteousness are without excuse. They will have no excuses when God will judge them.

In His grace,
Jerry
Charles[/quote]

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jerry Shugart wrote:
Ed Vasicek wrote:
Jerry, show me where the text says that this is the ONLY thing he believed?

Ed, let us look at the verses again and pay particular attention to the last verse:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

The word "therefore" in verse twenty-two means "in consequence of that; as a result."

So Abraham received the imputed righteousness of God as a result or consequence of what is said in the previous verses. We can then know that he received the imputed righteousness of God as a result of his believing that he would be the father of many nations despite his old age and despite the deadness of Sarah's wonb.

Nothing else!

In His grace,
Jerry

Jerry, you're not getting it. I agree that you are pointing out all that the TEXT says. But there are lots of things Abraham knew that are not in the immediate text, but in his background. He knew there was only ONE God, and that His Name was Yahweh. He probably knew how to count, multiply, and tan a hide. There are lots of things Abraham already knew about life and theology, some of which may come to bear on how he understood God's promise. Maybe not. But maybe so. The text is a summary, an abbreviated account to make the point.

I am not saying there is necessarily more, but that there COULD be more. The "nothing else" is only correct if you mean, "nothing else is STATED HERE." I'll give you that "nothing else is stated here." But you cannot prove to me that there was "NOTHING ELSE" said or believed, simply because the text does not claim to be a complete account of Abraham's belief.

Personally, I think he believed that God would provide a seed, as you do. But I also think (but do not know) that he had known a Messiah was coming for years before this justification experience. I might be wrong about this. My viewpoint is reasonable but admittedly conjecture. But it still is a valid argument from silence. You cannot disprove it (you can only disprove the texts mentions it, something I never claimed) and I cannot prove it.

"The Midrash Detective"

Marty H's picture

Quote

"My point is that those spoken of at Romans 2 as "holding the truth in unrighteousness" could have been regenerated if they would have only believed in God based on the revelation of nature. Since they did not believe they are without excuse."

I'm afraid you've lost me again Jerry. Those being spoken of in Rom 2 DID believe. They "Held the truth" but They "Suppressed" What they knew. And they did it because they loved the wicked things of this world and did not want even the thought of God to bother them.

Jam 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Jam 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Jam 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Jam 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

Jam 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Jam 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

So Abraham had faith. Abraham had a great deal of faith for a good many years and all of it lead up to the point in Jam 2:23. But I have to wonder at the link you seem to be trying to make. Abraham was not under the law of Moses and the priests of Aaron.

I don't know a great deal about it, but as far as I can tell he was under Melchisedec. Maybe someone knows what that meant in Abraham's day but I do not other than a few things. Melchisedec was a priest that was not limited to a single people. I have no idea what the "Rules" were. Do you ?

My point being this. Once Moses showed up and the law was given to him the rules changed. God no longer delt with everyone directly. There were Jew's and there was the rest of the world. The Jews had the law and the prophets, What did the Gentile have ?

Do you know where Melchisedec went ? Do you know if those "Rules" under Melchisedec were left in effect ?

I think the fact is that we don't know. Could a man shipwrecked on an island somewhere who has never heard of Jesus or the Bible come to a saving faith like Abraham ? Maybe you can see it but I can not. Unless he was one of the "Elect" and in such a case I believe God would send someone to him to share the word. (Just as Peter was sent)

But in a nutshell, While you try and see Rom 2 - as being a reason that they could find salvation, I see it as showing why they would not. I see nothing to say that they were "called" do you ?

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jerry,
First of all, your taking more than is in this text. This text is about the knowledge of condemnation. Look at verse 18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men". This is what is being made known to them. They are wicked and God's wrath and anger are against them. There is no mention here of a cure. (though I would hold that if they truly seek after God, he will bring sufficient revelation to them, either through mundane or miraculous means)

But let's tie this back into our discussion about Abraham:

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James 2:19-24

Belief in God is insufficient as James says here. The fulfillment of the verse you've been citing is seen here where Abraham is ready to offer his son upon the altar. Where he believes that God can raise his son from the dead. Where he believes in the resurrection. This is the fulfillment of Abraham's faith, it is not separate from it in any way, because Abraham is justified by it.

The knowledge of the world is insufficient to salvation.

What is sufficient?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Romans 1:16-17

As far as your argument that the saved do not suppress the truth in unrighteousness, would you like to tell me what Nathan's speech to David was about when he confronted him in his sin? Would you like to explain to me what was happening at Corinth when the one in the church was having a relationship with his mother and the church cast him out and then he was restored? The saved suppress the truth in unrighteousness. All men do.

Jerry Shugart's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Jerry, show me where the text says that this is the ONLY thing he believed?

Ed, of course Abraham believed many things that are not stated in the Scriptures. However, the subject is what ot was he believed in order to receive the imputed righteousness of God. You just ignored what I said earlier about the word "however" as used in verse twenty-two:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro.4:18-22).

Again, he word "therefore" in verse twenty-two means "in consequence of that; as a result."

So in effect Paul wrote that Abraham received the imputed righteousness of God as a result or consequence of what is said in the previous verses. We can then know that he received the imputed righteousness of God as a result of his believing that he would be the father of many nations despite his old age and despite the deadness of Sarah's wonb.

You want to add things to what Abraham believed when he received the imputed righteousness of God. But the grammar does not allow it. If it took a belief in a coming Messiah PLUS a belief that he would be made the father of many nations in order to receive the imputed righteousness of God then Paul would have said that. But he did not.

You are adding to what Paul said.

In His grace,
Jerry

Jerry Shugart's picture

Marty H wrote:
I'm afraid you've lost me again Jerry. Those being spoken of in Rom 2 DID believe. They "Held the truth" but They "Suppressed" What they knew. And they did it because they loved the wicked things of this world and did not want even the thought of God to bother them.

The following translation is better:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Ro.1:18; NIV).

Let us look at the verses that follow to see if they believed in the true God:

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And " (Ro.1:21-23).

The clause "when they knew God" refers to the original experiential knowledge of God that people like Adam and Eve had. But over time they "changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."

Over time those to whom Paul is referring exchanged the truth of God for a lie:

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever" (v.25).

Quote:
So Abraham had faith. Abraham had a great deal of faith for a good many years and all of it lead up to the point in Jam 2:23. But I have to wonder at the link you seem to be trying to make. Abraham was not under the law of Moses and the priests of Aaron.

The point I am trying to make concerns the plain words of Paul as to what Abraham believed when the imputed righteousness of God was imputed to him.

In His grace,
Jerry

Jerry Shugart's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
Jerry,
First of all, your taking more than is in this text. This text is about the knowledge of condemnation. Look at verse 18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men".

Charles, in these verses Paul is speaking about what a man can know about God through nature:

"...since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Ro.2:19-20; NIV).

"...because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Ro.2:19-20: NASB).

All men should understand God's eternal power based on the created heavens and earth. But some suppress the truth and change the truth of God into a lie.

The "wrath of God" spoken of at verse 18 is not speaking of the Lord's wrath coming upon all men who committ unrighteous acts because many a horrendous sin goes unpunished in this world. Instead, this verse stands in contrastive parallel to verse 17 which speak of His personal righteousness that is being revealed through the gospel. It is not about nature being the knowledge of condemnation but instead the written revelation from God that is the knowledge of condemnation.

Quote:
But let's tie this back into our discussion about Abraham:

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James 2:19-24

Belief in God is insufficient as James says here.


James is not speaking about what a "man" knows but instead what the devils believe. And you failed to address the following verse:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb.11:6).

What do you think is the meaning of the words "he that cometh to God must believe that he is"? I think that it means that those who seek Him and comes to Him must believe that He exists. And for those who believe that He is God are rewarded.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Heb.11:6; NIV).

Quote:
The fulfillment of the verse you've been citing is seen here where Abraham is ready to offer his son upon the altar. Where he believes that God can raise his son from the dead. Where he believes in the resurrection. This is the fulfillment of Abraham's faith, it is not separate from it in any way, because Abraham is justified by it.

The way that James says that Abraham was justified in regard to offering up Isaac was by being "justified by works" (James 2:21).
Quote:
As far as your argument that the saved do not suppress the truth in unrighteousness, would you like to tell me what Nathan's speech to David was about when he confronted him in his sin? Would you like to explain to me what was happening at Corinth when the one in the church was having a relationship with his mother and the church cast him out and then he was restored? The saved suppress the truth in unrighteousness. All men do.

Some of the saved have problems living a moral life but that is hardly the same as "suppressing the truth" in the way that those who Paul spoke of suppressing the truth":

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever" (Ro.1:25).

As I said before, the Lord wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth:

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet.3:9).

Therefore we can know that there is some truth that is universal in scope which can provide salvation to all men, and Paul speaks of that truth here:

"...since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Ro.2:19-20; NIV).

Those who believe that He is God are rewarded, and there can be no doubt as to the nature of that reward.

In His grace,
Jerry

Pages