Lordship

split off from the "Let's Get Clear On This Thread"...

We'll start with http://www.sharperiron.org/article/lets-get-clear#comment-10815]Joel

Quote:
Conservative Evangelicals. These are the guys going "toe to toe" with left-wing and eccuminical evangelicalism, "out and out" liberalism, dangerous "new gospel," weird Christological Charismaticism (Odd Faith movement - not the variety of Piperism or Grudem-ism that frankly you can find examples of if you look deep enough in the Fundamentalists lake [btw]), not to mention every bed-brother of evangelical postmodernity [i.e. emergent movement "vis-a-vis" Bixby's emergent middle that is anything but emergent church!]). Where are the fundamentalists? Well....we are fellowshipping with the three other guys that part their hair the same way we do. We meet for a nice sub-movement chat where we determine to write resolutions so we can brow beat the other fundamentalists that don't think or sing or preach or whatever....just like we do (but of course we are not denominational)! We'll even call them names! Those "pseudo-fundamentalists" bad-guys! And why do we do this? Because to open our arms to conservative evangelicalism is the first step towards loosing the gospel? Have you guys actually been reading what's happening in the conservative evangelical world the last 15 years? If anything the conservative side of the movement is doing two things:

*It's starting to take back sections of the movement as a whole, discharging the liberal-evangelicals to main-line "bases" and

*Is becoming more and more interested in personal and ecclesiastical separation. In short it's getting more and more conservative and Biblical in the main. I'm done waiting.

They've walked far enough and close enough I'm willing to open my arms to some of them. I have more in common with some of them and they with me, than I do with some of you! Some of you are isolationist and worldly while they are "koinonia-minded" and separate (oddly enough!). MacArthur has not replaced Biblical salvation with a works salvation. He's just emphasizing repentance. To some of you who have down-played the volitional side (i.e. the "submission" part of saving faith), it sounds like works-salvation. This is nothing more than the gospel as spelled out in the Gospels (Repent if you want to be in the Kingdom) as well as James (Saving Faith results in a fruit of works). How in the world can you guys read works-salvation in that? Stop reading Lou and start reading you’re Bibles. To be fair, there have been a few passages that Mac has read his understanding of Lordship salvation that I don't see in the passage. It is true that one can emphasize repentance disproportionate to faith that you end up switching sanctification with justification. If you read John in context and widely, I don't believe John has crossed those lines consistently enough to make the charge that he has a false gospel. Remember his over-emphasis at times is within the context of fighting the cheap-grace, non-repentance views of Hodge et al

 

To which Bob replied:

Quote:
Joel stated:

 

"MacArthur has not replaced Biblical salvation with a works salvation. He's just emphasizing repentance. To some of you who have down-played the volitional side (i.e. the "submission" part of saving faith), it sounds like works-salvation. This is nothing more than the gospel as spelled out in the Gospels (Repent if you want to be in the Kingdom) as well as James (Saving Faith results in a fruit of works). How in the world can you guys read works-salvation in that? Stop reading Lou and start reading you’re Bibles. To be fair, there have been a few passages that Mac has read his understanding of Lordship salvation that I don't see in the passage. It is true that one can emphasize repentance disproportionate to faith that you end up switching sanctification with justification. If you read John in context and widely, I don't believe John has crossed those lines consistently enough to make the charge that he has a false gospel."

 

Joel, it is time for Fundamentalists to at least get the Gospel right and to have some understanding of the theology of the Gospel. MacArthur declares a false Gospel and has made his version of the so called Lordship Gospel a distinctive of his church. That makes it an uncompromising doctrine in his mind. He harshly criticizes any who disagree with him.  The problem is he misunderstands the biblical definition of faith, the place of repentance in salvation, the definition of repentance, and the place of works with regard to faith. As a result he also misunderstands assurance of salvation.. He has a blatantly false interpretation of many Gospel passages such as the Prodigal Son and the Sermon on the mount. On top of all that is the fact that he tries to sell this unorthodox Gospel as the traditional Gospel as believed by the Reformers and some other Reformed theologians. He is also absolutely wrong  in that historical perception. Now, just in case you think that I am being overly harsh please understand that everything I have just stated is also clearly stated with full explanation in the book "Christ The Lord, The Reformation and Lordship Salvation," Michael S Horton, editor and a co author, WIPF & Stock, Eugene Ore. 1992. Micheal Horton is presently Professor of Theology at Westminster Seminary West. All the authors are Reformed theologians and the forward is by Allister McGrath of Oxford and a world renowned historian, especially of the Reformation. 

 

MacArthur has claimed loyalty to the Reformers. He evidently appealed to some young Fundamentalists who may lack good  grounding in historical theology. He also appeals to some who come from what has been traditionally called a "legalistic" oriented Fundamentalism. In their escape from some of that legalism they may have a tendency to not fully apprehend the implications grace. They may have experience with decisional emphasis and a shallow gospel presentation and followup. MacArthur calls that easy believism. The fact is MacArhur's books declare a gospel that is contrary to the Reformers theology and based on extremely bad exegesis. He presents a gospel with almost no grace. The failure of so many in Fundamentalism to understand this may be one of the 21st century scandals of the Fundamentalist mentality. You mentioned "reading Lou." I have read his book and it is poorly researched and he does not understand the issues. Lou is a KJVO person. His is also a gospel of legalism. 

 

If you have not read the book "Christ The Lord" please do so. They do a good job of balancing the saving aspects of the Gospel and of our assurance. As a Classic Dispensationalist I do disagree with some of their views on sanctification and some (but not all) of their criticism of Chafer. They are fair in acknowledging that MacArthur does state that salvation is by grace alone through alone. However, they show that his main arguments and other statements refute those assertions and set forth a faith and works gospel. The book also deals with the errors of Zane Hodges.

 

Other interesting books on the subject are: "Getting the Gospel Wrong, Hixson; Getting the Gospel Right, Olson; Back to Faith, Lybrand.

 

In my opinion John MacArhur advocates an errant gospel that is sufficiently wrong to make us have a need to protect the flock from his misunderstandings.

 

I'm really surprised, myself, at how many Fundamentalists think that MacArthur is establishing some kind of works salvation. He's not, and someone who thinks that he is probably is not familiar with his preaching...it kind of reminds me about the BJU/MacArthur 'blood of Christ' issue that was referenced http://www.sharperiron.org/article/lets-get-clear#comment-10741]earlier in that thread , and how some people started a rumor that was patently false and still have not corrected. So - now that I've said that, we can begin.

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Don Johnson's picture

MikeC wrote:
In this section, Paul seems to view slavery to God/righteousness/Christ as having occurred (aorist) at conversion, when the lost sinner swaps masters.

The reality of what happens at salvation is not the same as insisting (unbiblically) that God requires conscious submission to the Lordship of Christ as a condition of salvation. The fact is that a true believer will learn submission as he grows. That is what Romans 6 is teaching.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Pastor Harold's picture

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Refrain

Jay's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
MikeC wrote:
In this section, Paul seems to view slavery to God/righteousness/Christ as having occurred (aorist) at conversion, when the lost sinner swaps masters.

The reality of what happens at salvation is not the same as insisting (unbiblically) that God requires conscious submission to the Lordship of Christ as a condition of salvation. The fact is that a true believer will learn submission as he grows. That is what Romans 6 is teaching.


Don, can you elaborate on the part that I bolded? I'm not sure I know what you mean. I think we'd agree that any true Christian is a slave of Christ, but I don't agree with you that this is a condition of salvation. It's more of an understanding that sinners will become a new person and have a new master (at the moment of salvation) in order to serve Christ. That aspect is one area where I think Fundamentalism is weak, and it explains why John MacArthur argues (rightly) against statements of Zane Hodges that DO teach Christians are not obligated to make any lifestyle changes after salvation (although I think John, you, and I all agree that they should see changes as the Spirit works on the new believer).

Also, I went specifically to the Bronze Serpent simply because it is critical to understanding John 3. I also went to it because it demonstrates salvation (from a physical point of view) in the Old Testament. If you need another OT type or illustration of salvation, I'll find another.

I do think that John MacArthur has made some statements that could be taken to imply this if they're taken out of context.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

MikeC's picture

Then what was the Lord referring to in:

> Lk 9:23-26: (23) And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (24) For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. (25) For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? (26) For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

> Lk 14:25-33: (25) Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, (26) "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. (27) Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (28) For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? (29) Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, (30) saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' (31) Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. (33) So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."

> The Rich Young Ruler in Mt 19:16-26

Don Johnson's picture

Jay C. wrote:
Don Johnson wrote:
The reality of what happens at salvation is not the same as insisting (unbiblically) that God requires conscious submission to the Lordship of Christ as a condition of salvation. The fact is that a true believer will learn submission as he grows. That is what Romans 6 is teaching.

Don, can you elaborate on the part that I bolded? I'm not sure I know what you mean. I think we'd agree that any true Christian is a slave of Christ, but I don't agree with you that this is a condition of salvation. It's more of an understanding that sinners will become a new person and have a new master (at the moment of salvation) in order to serve Christ.

Jay, it is the Lordship salvation advocate who insists that conscious submission to the Lordship of Christ is a condition of salvation. See MikeC's subsequent post quoting the Lord speaking about counting the cost and speaking to the Rich Young Ruler. I don't advocate this view.

Jay C. wrote:
That aspect is one area where I think Fundamentalism is weak, and it explains why John MacArthur argues (rightly) against statements of Zane Hodges that DO teach Christians are not obligated to make any lifestyle changes after salvation (although I think John, you, and I all agree that they should see changes as the Spirit works on the new believer).

I agree that easy believism is a wide-spread problem. The solution isn't demanding that new converts be willing to submit to Christ as Lord as a condition of salvation, but to teach the truth that true believers experience a change of heart and new desires to live a life of obedience to Christ. These changes are natural consequences of salvation and if they aren't present, we shouldn't give any assurance that genuine conversion has taken place.

Jay C. wrote:
Also, I went specifically to the Bronze Serpent simply because it is critical to understanding John 3. I also went to it because it demonstrates salvation (from a physical point of view) in the Old Testament. If you need another OT type or illustration of salvation, I'll find another.

I understand why you went to that illustration, but it is used in Jn 3 as a simile. It's point is to make a connection between the serpent raised on a pole and Christ raised on the cross. In the one case, healing came from the look, in the other salvation comes when you look to Christ. But that is not the same as saying one must have complete understanding of all the effects of salvation or even all the requirements of Christ going forward. That is what Lordship advocates seem to be saying, certainly MacArthur at points seems to say this.

It may seem like splitting hairs, but I think the Lordship advocates have correctly identified a problem (easy believism) and have over-reacted and over-stated the case in response.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jay's picture

So let's look at another passage if the Bronze Serpent is supposed to be a different story:

Matthew 19 wrote:
The Rich Young Man
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and the last first.


So what was the issue here? Wasn't it the fact that he wouldn't give up his possessions to follow Jesus?

Frankly, I'm not sure how to exegete this passage without saying it had something to do with his possessions. If you can help, it would be appreciated.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

Jay, are you saying the rich young ruler passage gives us the pattern for NT salvation? Have you sold all your possessions and given them to the poor? If not, I guess you don't actually believe Jesus is your Lord, eh?

To quote Dr P, "I speak as a fool."

If you want to make this passage a pattern for everyone's salvation, though, you are going to have a huge problem.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jay's picture

Here's some more Scripture that I'd like to discuss then...

Luke 14 wrote:
The Cost of Discipleship
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Salt Without Taste Is Worthless
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


and
Matthew 13 wrote:
Prophecy and Parables
34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”...

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The Parable of the Net
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


and
John 12 wrote:
Some Greeks Seek Jesus
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

Hi Jay

I'm not going to try to pit the Scriptures against each other. The doctrine of salvation by faith alone is pretty clearly taught in Romans. It is a 'without-law' kind of righteousness, obtained by faith in Christ alone, nothing else. Study Rm 3.21 through all of chapter 4. I don't deny that the Lord requires a changed life of his disciples, but the gospel appeal is faith in him alone.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jay's picture

I'm not 'pitting the Scriptures against each other'. I'm asking how a non-LS person such as yourself could interpret those passages.

No tricks, no traps. I'm serious here.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jay,

Time permitting I am going to answer your question to slavery and deal with every single passage you have cited. But in the end, the problem with your argument on Lordship salvation is not that you cannot find passages you believe support your view, rather that the passages which contend with such a proposition are too seldom met with willing attempts to reconcile these by proponents of Lordship salvation. And when an attempt is made to deal with them, instead of dealing with them they do just what you are doing, pointing away from the problem and to preferred passages used to support the position. But nevertheless, I have some things to do but happily, after lunch, all of the passages (thus far) and the question on slavery will be answered by someone who rejects Lordship salvation.

Fundamentally I will state now and over and over again, the problem with Lordship salvation is that the gospel is about forgiveness and God's commitment to us, not our commitment to him which Lordship salvation fails to adhere to and forces onto the disposition of the one receiving the promise of redemption, promises and commitments he or she must make before receiving it. And ultimately it will be based on a mishandling of the Scriptures that produces the Lordship view. But I will, again, deal with everything posed so far so please, for the moment, don't add more volume since it will be a task in itself and if, after that, there are more issues I will field them all day long but let me tackle these first.

Thanks

A

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Jay C. wrote:
This issue isn't about John MacArthur, although I'd like to look harder at those quotes tomorrow (esp. the Hard To Believe quote), when I have more time. This issue is about what does the Scripture teach?…Also, if you object (and I'm not accusing you of such) the concept of slavery to Jesus, how do you interpret Romans 6:15-23?
I see no one arguing that the issue is John MacArthur, however if John MacArthur is the leading proponent of Lordship salvation and he is the one framing the arguments then his name and the attached arguments are going to be part of the discussion, this is inescapable.

And I don’t know of any respondent arguing that this is about anything other than what the Bible teaches, however if John MacArthur says the Bible teaches such and such and others believe differently, then again his name and his arguments which are those to which its proponents hold, are going to be part of the discussion, Hence, appeals such as, “this is about John….but what the Bible teaches” are responses to arguments I do not see anyone making.

Now to the question. What about the concept of slavery in Rom 6:15-23.

Well, what about it? That is, are you making your argument with the assumption that there is a default position which favors your interpretation without presenting a cause of its view? If so you have begun a miss. A passage is not evidence for any position without supporting arguments that justify its interpretation.

Nevertheless, arguments by Lordship adherents aside, let’s look and let me respond.

Quote:
15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

First, to whom is God through Paul talking about one obeying “him”? If it is the unsaved in the context of the gospel there is a severe problem here. Paul's analogy is deliberate and while the analogy, even by Paul's admission is intended to be just that, (he said he spoke in human terms) nevertheless its use still must be evaluated in light of its terms. That is, when he refers to slavery and mastery we must treat that analogy in its proper context and this is where the huge problem comes in for those contending the is a gospel context requiring some form of slavery acknowledgment or enlistment by converts in order to believe.

A slave must be owned. And the owner is said to be its master. And the only way an unsaved man can be owned by Christ is to be redeemed and redemption comes through salvation. Once a slave is owned then that slave embarks on the decision to obey his master or not, not before he becomes a slave since that would not be his master. And in the proper context of the analogy, the unsaved man does not have Christ as his master, but the saved man does.

Most clearly here is that God through Paul is talking to those already converted and the nature of the struggle (earlier in the text of yielding to our sinful nature vs the righteousness of the one that has redeemed us) and is imploring us by this analogy. No matter how much someone wants to change the context to fit their desired view, you still have the problem of both:

1. The context being a discussion about that which the believer should yield
2. Slaves must be owned and an unsaved man cannot yield to Christ in this context since his redemption is yet to be transacted, hence Paul cannot be talking to unsaved people about obeying Christ whose master is sin and not Christ.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

The argument that Lordship proponents make in attempting to argue that this is an appropriate representation of the kind of repentance required by God for one to truly believe on Christ, one that entails a turning away from _____ and to Christ, or that this story, in the least, positively represents that Christ does require some form of abandonment and dispossession of one’s life before they can truly believe, is oft cited but quite brittle upon critical examination. Here is the text with both the account and our Lord’s comments, Matthew 19:16-30.

What one must first see, most essentially, to understand the context which contains the intent of the rich young man and our Lord’s comments is the very beginning of the account where he asks our Lord a pivotal question as we examine the text:

Quote:
Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life
Obviously there is nothing he can do and our Lord knows this. So why didn’t our Lord simply tell him there is nothing he can do because, as we read, the Lord did not, in fact, tell him there is nothing he can do? It is without controversy that this rich young man believed that by means of his effort he could merit salvation, it is revealed in the question. He did not ask, “how may I be saved” rather he was looking to save himself through his own merit, not be rescued which gives us exactly the reason our Lord did not respond to him with the obvious. The young man did not know he could not save himself, he was not at the end of himself, he did not recognize a need for a savior seeing he believed he could save himself through his deeds.

So our Lord leads him to an unexpected end to demonstrate that if he wishes to save himself he is going to have to do the very thing he cannot do. So a brief discussion ensues where Jesus makes clear to him that there is “only one who is good” as if to give the rich young man opportunity to stop and think and realize that the one who is good is not him but must be someone else. And our Lord knows this will be his rational process so he moves right to the trap.

He tells the young man that if he wishes to enter life (obviously still by way of trying to do whatever deed is necessary to merit salvation) “obey the commandments”. Of course you and I know no one can obey the commandments because when our Lord says obey the commandments with a view that by obeying them one remains never failing, he means to their fullest meaning which means without one single place of ever failing to adhere to the very ends of the spirit of any such laws. But more so than this, one must begin without being adjudicated guilty, and this RYM (rich young man) has been born with a guilty verdict and our Lord knows this.

Now remember, our Lord clearly told him, that there is “only one who is good” but in the RYM's response to this and the directive to obey the commandments, he does not come to the needed end of where one must come, that is realizing they aren’t the “only one that is good” and that in truth, no one can obey the commandments.

Instead the RYM responds with a rather audacious inquiry by asking, "which ones”. Little does he know the trap is closing fast (and we don’t know the end of the story seeing after the RYM left but hopefully at some point considered the lesson eventually and realized he couldn’t save himself). So our Lord patronizes his absurd request by naming some of the ten commandments to which Jesus had just referred. And of course the RYM proudly proclaims he has obeyed them all.

Now at this point the only thing that is left, seeing the RYM has fulfilled the law, if for our Lord to pronounce he is saved, right? Of course the answer is no because this isn’t about the Lord trying to figure out a way this man can obey himself into salvation, it is the very opposite as we see in the final exchange.

The young man, after proclaiming obedience to the law asks our Lord what he still lacks, as if anything out there exists that remains to be conquered so he can merit salvation. And here our Lord delivers the coup de gras to anyone, let alone this man, making inquiries of this kind reflected in the initial request by the RYM:

Quote:
what good deed must I do to have eternal life
He tells him to do the very thing he cannot do, he tells him to do the impossible. He tells him, knowing full well that if one is to obey the commandments to their fullest this is exactly where they must be, which is just where our Savior is, he tells him:
Quote:
If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me
Our Lord knows full well this man cannot and will not do this, it is impossible. Because if one wishes to merit their salvation they must do precisely what our Lord has done and they cannot. And in truth this isn't even close to what our Lord has done in dispossessing himself and coming to earth as a man but he is making a point that even dispossessing human wealth is an insurmountable obstacle to the one attempting to imitate God and merit salvation. The point was to bring this man to a place where he understood he cannot merit his own salvation because remember, this is the line of questioning that he began with and our Lord followed to its end.

So, if one is proposing our Lord truly intends on this account as reflecting the requirement for one to believe, they have some grave issues with its context. And glaringly absent in the use of this text by Lordship proponents is the fact that our Lord did not immediately correct the erring view by the RYM that he could “deed” his way to salvation, rather Jesus actually followed this line of thinking. Hence, that our Lord would acquiesce to the view one could somehow deed his way to salvation without ever correcting it, and in fact actually engage this line of reasoning with the view that he was truly trying to give him some way he could deed his way to salvation, is really preposterous when we measure such an interpretation in light of the gospel message, the merit of Christ and the absolutely irredeemable state of man without Christ.

But what about the comments following this event, don’t they reinforce the interpretation that the Lord was truly requiring someone to sell all their possessions and follow him to be saved?

Is this what you really are proposing? Really? You really want to ignore all what has just been said and forget responding to any of its merits and just keep insisting that the context here is about our Lord trying to respond so someone and how they can merit salvation by showing him a way he can do it through dispossession? Really?

But what about the comments then?

Ok

Our Lord clearly takes the opportunity to point out the natural arrogance that commonly accompanies wealth. He says it is hard for a rich man to enter heaven. But does he say why or have we already learned why? I believe we have and the point of the lesson is because they believe, just as the RYM did, they can merit it. This is, again, an occupational hazard of wealth, the distortion of one’s own value.

While this story is only one example and not the sum total of the problems of wealth, our Lord takes the time to use this account to make clear, the wealth of the RYM contributed greatly to the distorted view of himself and he believed he could merit his salvation. Imagine what was in our Lord’s mind, even when the RYM claimed he had obeyed all of the commandments list by Jesus. Even then our Lord knew this was not true because the slightest fail at any point, even in his heart, was to fail at the whole law.

And to sum this up and to make it clear what he is talking about Jesus states about the whole case after the disciples ask:

Quote:
Who then can be saved?
The Lord says:
Quote:
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
In other words, with man, like this man, the RYM, it is impossible, no one can be saved. And that is just what the RYM was attempting, to save himself. But with God, all things (including rich men) all things are possible. That is, all men, rich, poor, young, old and so on, can be saved.

(limited editing time on this one so please forgive its draft style)

Ron Bean's picture

A simple question for Alex. Does conversion produce submission and a desire to obey?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Ron Bean wrote:
A simple question for Alex. Does conversion produce submission and a desire to obey?
First, you state your position and arguments then, I will gladly submit mine. Right now you appear to be unwilling to read material that dissatisfies your invisible and unstated threshold for reading (I take it you don't read books). So wisdom dictates that you demonstrate a greater willingness to engage and contribute before I invest time and energy on your behalf.

Ron Bean's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Ron Bean wrote:
A simple question for Alex. Does conversion produce submission and a desire to obey?
First, you state your position and arguments then, I will gladly submit mine. Right now you appear to be unwilling to read material that dissatisfies your invisible and unstated threshold for reading (I take it you don't read books). So wisdom dictates that you demonstrate a greater willingness to engage and contribute before I invest time and energy on your behalf.

Alex, your gracious response is amazing. I just asked a simple question to which, I assumed, you could give a simple answer. Instead you assume "I don't read books". That's an incorrect assumption on your part.

Anyway, thanks for your refusal to give a simple answer. I'll keep my assumptions to myself.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Joseph Leavell's picture

....sometimes I wonder if we (me included) spend a lot more time clarifying, defending, and arguing about the finer points of the Gospel rather than actually...sharing the Gospel.

MikeC's picture

John 3:36 (NASU): "He who believes (pisteuo) in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey (apeitheo) the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

2Th 1:8: [the Lord Jesus ] dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey (hupakouo) the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

MikeC's picture

Concerning Jn 3:36:

1. The phrase "given all things into His hand" in the preceding v.35 indicates that the following v.36 is talking about the Lordship of Christ.
2. The direct object of apeitheo in Jn 3:36 is "Son".
3. apeitheo is a present active participle in Jn 3:36, equated to pisteuo in the preceding clause.

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