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Abiding in Christ: The Real Meaning Confronts an Error of Calvinism John 15:1-8

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  • Abiding in Christ: The Real Meaning Confronts an Error of Calvinism John 15:1-8

    Abiding in Christ: The Real Meaning Confronts an Error of Calvinism

    John 15:1-8

    The confusion of Calvinism brings to many, misguided ends regarding the proper understanding of Bible texts. One well known and often cited text that is claimed by a “Dominant Majority” (DM and from here on in the post I refer to the DM and not every single Calvinist) of Calvinists to purportedly support their doctrine of “Perseverance” is John 15, the True Vine and Branches passage.

    The Calvinist takes the position that the branches that do not bear fruit and are “aken away” (v1) and/or “cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (v6) were never “really” believers or those belonging to Christ (the true vine) in the first place.

    Their contention is that only true believers will be fruit bearing branches and evidence that branches that do not bear fruit aren’t really believers stems (no pun intended) from:

    A. They didn’t bear fruit because they didn’t abide in Christ.
    B. They are removed and described as branches good for only burning.

    The Calvinist appeals to the idea that if a believer is truly one of Christ’s then he will abide in Christ and bear fruit because no true believer would be removed and treated as that which is only good to be burned as kindling wood. Right?

    John MacArthur’s thoughts reflect this view:
    The Father "taketh away" the branches that fail to bear fruit. Verse 2 doesn't say He fixes them up; it says He cuts them off. Verse 6 says that those branches are gathered, thrown into a pile, and burned. The Father deals with them with finality. Now if that refers to a Christian, we've got some problems. I believe that the fruitless branches refer to people who profess to have a relationship to Jesus Christ--who apparently are in the vine as a follower of Christ--but are like Judas and have never been saved. That is obvious because they never bear spiritual fruit. At a certain point in the Father's timing, the fruitless branches are cut off for the life and health of the vine and the other branches. Professing Christians who aren't really saved and therefore don't bear fruit will be cast away and burned in an act of divine punishment.
    But since this is not a treatment of the erring Calvinist view but of the text, let’s look at the text and find the problems and solutions regarding what it says:
    John 15:1-8
    1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
    2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
    3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
    4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
    5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
    6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
    7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
    8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
    The context of this lesson by our Lord is a post-seasonable dressing of the vineyard, right before the dormant season when the most severe pruning occurs (determined by the reference to withered branches use for burning that were cut off during this time).

    ______________
    1. Verse 1 is without dispute among Calvinist and non-Calvinist as to its meaning. Hence its treatment is minimal. God the Son is the means of life and fruit for the branches and God the Father is the one that keeps the vineyard.

    2. Verse 2 begins with “every branch in me that beareth not fruit”. Obviously to the undistracted observer the first problem for the Calvinist view is a branch being in Christ and then being determined to not have actually been in Christ but “superficially attached”. To claim the attachment was not real but superficial violates the claim of Christ Himself, which the branch “is” in Him. And any branch that is in any vine, especially here, begins its life directly from that vine as a sprout unless it is grafted and here NOTHING about grafting is presented (and even the Calvinist argument doesn’t present a grafting debate).

    A branch begins its life IN THE VINE and grows from the vine as a sprout. It does not become a branch until it has grown to some extent. And from that vine it did gain sustenance and life. If indeed this branch really was never “truly” attached then how did it sprout from the vine? How did it grow from a sprout to a branch? From whence did its nourishment come to become a branch? From the vine.

    You see the dire straights the Calvinist is in here?

    Of course the end of the life and purpose of a branch isn’t just to be a sprout or a branch but eventually to bear fruit. Hence the reason our Lord implores believers to “abide” in Him.

    Believers that experience some growth (but not to mature purpose) are described aptly as ones that do not abide in Christ. They, at some point, quit getting their nourishment from Christ and fail to bear fruit.

    But imagine the Calvinist trying to, in hoping to support his erring doctrine of perseverance, that though this branch clearly is presented as "in" Christ as are fruit bearing branches, and though for it to have come to life it had to spring from the vine and grow, it never really was attached to the vine. Talk about DRAMATIC CONTRADICTIONS and confusion.

    3. Verse 4 presents the command from Jesus to believers “abide in me”. There is a significant and telling clue in the Greek grammar here that provides conclusive evidence that abiding is NOT talking about SALVATION but about the post-salvational RELATIONSHIP of the believer to Christ.

    The command “abide” is a 2nd Person Plural Aorist Active Imperative.

    The use of the “active” in the Greek means that the subject performs the action of the verb. The subject of the command “abide in me” is the plural “you”. Jesus is commanding “(You) abide in me”.

    In other words, the abiding is NOT done by Jesus but by the believer, hence that is why Jesus commands the believer to do the abiding. Jesus doesn't command you to do something He does. Jesus died for your sins, that is what He does and did and the command to you is to believe.

    And in salvation, Jesus KEEPS you saved, that is His job and it is YOUR job to maintain the relationship through obedience, i.e. positive volition to Christ.

    So since the command given by Jesus for the believer to do the abiding, the Calvinist is faced with saying that here, that it is up to the BELIEVER to keep themselves saved (since they argue abiding refers to Salvation and not Relationship) and if they don’t abide, well they weren’t really saved or lost their salvation.

    In truth, the reality is that the command represents that we, as believers, can choose to NOT abide, hence the very purpose of the command. The reason we are given commands is because alternative are possible and here the context of the command is for believers to abide, understanding that in the context of a believer's life NOT ABIDING is the alternative. And if only “true” believers did abide and did not choose to NOT abide, then what is the purpose of the command if by default all believers are guaranteed to abide.

    Why? Because not all believers ARE guaranteed to abide. But the Calvinist, here, is faced with a dilemma.

    If they admit what is present in the text, particularly in the active voice where the believer is commanded to be the one that abides as opposed to Christ keeping them, they have to admit that it is not a SALVATIONAL context but a RELATIONAL context because in a SALVATIONAL context Christ does the keeping and in a RELATIONAL context, we are responsible for maintaining fellowship. For an exhaustive treatment I recommend this article, Viticulture and John 15:1-6 by Gary W. Derickson , Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Western Baptist College.

  • #2
    Here's something to collapse your house of cards right fast:

    A branch begins its life IN THE VINE and grows from the vine as a sprout. It does not become a branch until it has grown to some extent. And from that vine it did gain sustenance and life. If indeed this branch really was never “truly” attached then how did it sprout from the vine? How did it grow from a sprout to a branch? From whence did its nourishment come to become a branch? From the vine.
    If that is what you base your viewpoint on then it's doomed to fail. If we aren't from the original tree AKA Jews, then we are grafted in. Which means we don't grow as a sprout for that original tree, but are branches...

    Therefore your premisis that those who were branches of this tree are guaranteed believers and guarenteed to abide is false.

    Even Jews can be cut off and grafted in again....

    Rom 11:13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry
    Rom 11:14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.
    Rom 11:15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
    Rom 11:16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
    Rom 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,
    Rom 11:18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.
    Rom 11:19 Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
    Rom 11:20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe.
    Rom 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
    Rom 11:22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
    Rom 11:23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.
    Rom 11:24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.


    Shalom,
    Tanja
    Jer 6:16 Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
    2Jn 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
    If it's not done out of unselfish love, then it's hardly righteous.
    http://disciple2yeshua.wordpress.com/



    Comment


    • #3
      I think you missed the point Tanya,

      Even those grafted in are in. Many Calvinists are saying that if someone who was in falls away was never in to begin with.
      He is not addressing what we were before getting in the vine.

      In the same chapter Jesus says:
      26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
      27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
      28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
      29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
      30 I and my Father are one.

      The concept of abiding, as in a vine, is also applicable here. If we do not abide in His hand then we won't be there. As long as we choose to remain there we are safe, no man is able to pluck us out.
      Notice verse 27. The souls who are claimed to have never been saved to begin with are those who did hear his voice. It is just that they did not continue as in the parable of the sower where we see a reception of the word and yet a failure to continue that leads to falling away.
      The claim they were never saved to begin with, reeks of ______________. You fill in the blank.

      Comment


      • #4
        Even those grafted in are in. Many Calvinists are saying that if someone who was in falls away was never in to begin with.
        He is not addressing what we were before getting in the vine.
        Hi,
        Sorry about that, i guess i missed that. I agree, i do think it's wrong to say that a person who falls away was never in to begin with. The bible has numerous scriptures which are indicative of those who once were enlightened falling away.

        Shalom,
        Tanja
        Jer 6:16 Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
        2Jn 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
        If it's not done out of unselfish love, then it's hardly righteous.
        http://disciple2yeshua.wordpress.com/



        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jesusinmyheart View Post
          Hi,
          Sorry about that, i guess i missed that. I agree, i do think it's wrong to say that a person who falls away was never in to begin with. The bible has numerous scriptures which are indicative of those who once were enlightened falling away.

          Shalom,
          Tanja
          Yes, you did miss the point and I went to the trouble of REFERRING to the GRAFTING issue. It is not a point of dispute here. But at least you do get the point now.
          BD

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Alaska View Post
            If we do not abide in His hand then we won't be there.
            That's correct - that's what John 15 is teaching.

            As long as we choose to remain there we are safe, no man is able to pluck us out.
            Er, where is the word "choose" in the John 10 passage you quoted? In fact where is there ANY such "condition" mentioned?

            Notice verse 27. The souls who are claimed to have never been saved to begin with
            These are the elect - Christ's sheep. Why are you equating them with those who fall away?

            are those who did hear his voice. It is just that they did not continue
            Again, where in this passage is there any such idea?

            as in the parable of the sower where we see a reception of the word and yet a failure to continue that leads to falling away.
            Yes - THOSE are the ones who professed faith, but showed by their falling way that it was never genuine in the first place, because they didn't persevere.

            The claim they were never saved to begin with, reeks of ______________. You fill in the blank.
            Well I would say it's a sweet aroma!

            Let's look at the John 10 passage again, shall we?

            "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." Jn 10:27-30 NIV

            I don't think the language could BE any clearer! Let's draw some very simple conclusions:-

            1. Jesus has a people whom He calls "my sheep".
            2. They listen to His voice.
            3. Christ knows them.
            4. They follow Christ.
            5. Christ gives them eternal life.
            6. They shall never perish (got that? NEVER!!!!!)
            7. No one can snatch them from Christ's hand (got that? NO ONE!!!!!)
            8. God the Father gave Christ's sheep to Christ.
            9. God the Father is greater than all (including Christians mad enough to want to leave Christ's hand - I KNOW those who hate this doctrine will try to use that argument).
            10. No one can snatch Christ's sheep from God the Father's hand.
            11. Christ and the Father are one.

            Now, would someone like to tell me from this passage how it is that any true sheep of Christ's is able to escape from either Christ's or God the Father's hand?

            If you do think it does happen, there are some heretical conclusions you MUST come to and for which I believe you will have to give an account before God, unless you repent:-

            1. Christ is either a liar; or is not omnipotent; or cannot be trusted, because the UNCONDITIONAL promise "they shall NEVER perish" will have been broken.
            2. Christ was wrong and God is not greater than all - Christians can overcome His omnipotence by their stronger free will!
            3. Free will is so strong that it can overcome both God and Christ - it is therefore worthy of all praise, worship and adoration and should therefore govern EVERYTHING we believe about God and salvation.

            So - who is God? THE LORD? or your free will?

            I pray that some of you will see the error of your idolatry, because for some of you, that's exactly what it is.......

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by 9Marksfan View Post
              That's correct - that's what John 15 is teaching.
              OK, but did you read the OP? I couldn't help but notice that you didn't comment on the OP.
              If the Calvinistic Westminister Confession is true (that "God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass"), then God ordained my disbelief of Calvinism.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by alethos View Post
                OK, but did you read the OP? I couldn't help but notice that you didn't comment on the OP.
                I've replied to it in the other thread (OS, AS). Such an interpretation (from Bible Doctrine) flatly contradicts passages like Jn 10:27-30, so John 15 must mean something else. I argued that the words "in me" shouldn't be interpreted too literally (always dangerous when a spiritual metaphor is being used) - remember that the whole picture of the vine and the branches is meant to mean that we need to abide in Christ in order to BE His followers - Jn 10 says that true Christians WILL DO just that (because, as Paul later said, it is God who is at work in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure). Those whose faith is not real will not abide in Him, will not bear good fruit and will ultimately be condemned because they have not shown any EVIDENCE of having TRULY been in Christ - why not? Because, although grafted into the VISIBLE body of Christ (the professing church), they failed to draw upon Him and thereby showed the emptiness of whatever apparent "faith" they had. This is the great lesson of ALL the parables where there are two types of professing believers - it's not that ALL are genuine and SOME of them will lose their salvation - it's that there are the TRUE and the FALSE - ALL the true will ultimately be saved and ALL the false will die in their sins.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 9Marksfan View Post
                  I've replied to it in the other thread (OS, AS). Such an interpretation (from Bible Doctrine) flatly contradicts passages like Jn 10:27-30, so John 15 must mean something else. I argued that the words "in me" shouldn't be interpreted too literally (always dangerous when a spiritual metaphor is being used) - remember that the whole picture of the vine and the branches is meant to mean that we need to abide in Christ in order to BE His followers - Jn 10 says that true Christians WILL DO just that (because, as Paul later said, it is God who is at work in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure). Those whose faith is not real will not abide in Him, will not bear good fruit and will ultimately be condemned because they have not shown any EVIDENCE of having TRULY been in Christ - why not? Because, although grafted into the VISIBLE body of Christ (the professing church), they failed to draw upon Him and thereby showed the emptiness of whatever apparent "faith" they had. This is the great lesson of ALL the parables where there are two types of professing believers - it's not that ALL are genuine and SOME of them will lose their salvation - it's that there are the TRUE and the FALSE - ALL the true will ultimately be saved and ALL the false will die in their sins.
                  Well that certainly is a take on the OP, however it's not one which I believe can be supported by the text presented in the OP. Once again the fact that we disagree doesn't come as any surprise.
                  If the Calvinistic Westminister Confession is true (that "God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass"), then God ordained my disbelief of Calvinism.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alethos View Post
                    Well that certainly is a take on the OP, however it's not one which I believe can be supported by the text presented in the OP. Once again the fact that we disagree doesn't come as any surprise.
                    So what's your interpretation of Jn 10 and Rom8?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Abiding In Christ

                      BD,

                      I agree with you understanding in the OP. I think another thing to remember is that Jesus is addressing the 11 remaining disciples not a crowd. The last supper was the Lord's words of direction prior to His departure. He was warning them to remain and be fruitful.

                      Consider this from 1 Corinthians 3:9-15;

                      9 "For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." NKJV

                      Isn't this the same just said differently? Paul is addressing believers, verse 9 makes that clear. I agree this is not a teaching on salvation.

                      Good post.

                      Mark
                      Mark


                      “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14

                      (All Scripture quoted is from NKJV unless otherwise noted)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mark F View Post
                        BD,

                        I agree with you understanding in the OP. I think another thing to remember is that Jesus is addressing the 11 remaining disciples not a crowd. The last supper was the Lord's words of direction prior to His departure. He was warning them to remain and be fruitful.

                        Consider this from 1 Corinthians 3:9-15;

                        9 "For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." NKJV

                        Isn't this the same just said differently?
                        No - this is speaking about how individual local churches should be "built" (spiritually, that is) - it is NOT about individual believers' lives, although so often it is quoted as such. Many think it actually refers to pastors or church leaders, as they are responsible for the oversight of how each local church is "built". See the the thread "How should we build our churches?"

                        Paul is addressing believers, verse 9 makes that clear.
                        Amen!

                        I agree this is not a teaching on salvation.
                        What - the OP? Or the 1 Cor 3 passage? Or both?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The condition of abiding or not abiding, living or dying isn't lost in the aspect of them being in his hand. We have the choice to abandon Jesus and get out of his hand, otherwise love would not be of choice.
                          Choice of life or death was given to those before the fall in the garden and it also exists for us who have been atoned for, reconciled to God through Christ, and are walking in the presence of God in faith.

                          Paul relates this well in 2 Cor. 11:
                          2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
                          3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
                          4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

                          These believers had been effected by some who had introduced bad doctrine. He feared for their salvation along the lines of how Eve was beguiled and lost life. They had gotten to the point by way of these bad influences that if another Jesus or spirit was introduced by some false teacher they might even entertain him instead of not receiving him into their midst as exhorted by John and as exemplified by Pauls testimony in Gal. 2. where no place was given to the falseness.

                          I believe the error of the doctrine you hold lies in the misappropriation of priority of verses. Instead of incorporating the precedent of the possibility of a person to not abide, which reality exists for all believers as it did for Adam and Eve, that reality as found throughout the NT is being dismissed with regard to the John 10 account.
                          Instead of throwing out the repeated Biblical reality of the possibilty for someone to abide and then fall away, simply look at John 10 as Jesus speaking with regard to those who he takes for granted will abide and not fall away.

                          Let no man take thy crown. That warning wouldn't be there if it were not possible for a persons crown to be taken. Yet for those abiding, true, their crown cannot be taken, no man is able to pluck them out of his hand.
                          Abiding is walking in His Spirit and growing. Not abiding is not walking in the spirit which means sin will enter. Jesus spoke of the deceitfulness of sin. Those are not idle words. What we believe affects our behaviour; our behaviour determines our eternal destiny.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 9Marksfan View Post
                            So what's your interpretation of Jn 10 and Rom8?
                            Thats a topic for a new thread. The topic of this thread according to the OP is John 15:1-8
                            If the Calvinistic Westminister Confession is true (that "God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass"), then God ordained my disbelief of Calvinism.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alaska View Post
                              The condition of abiding or not abiding, living or dying isn't lost in the aspect of them being in his hand. We have the choice to abandon Jesus and get out of his hand, otherwise love would not be of choice.
                              Would you like to cite me one verse that even REMOTELY justifies that humanistic concept?

                              Choice of life or death was given to those before the fall in the garden
                              I believe that was the Covenant of Works. We now live under the Covenant of Grace.

                              and it also exists for us who have been atoned for, reconciled to God through Christ, and are walking in the presence of God in faith.
                              Well, if it's the same scenario as Adam and Eve, in what way is the new covenant "better", as Hebrews so clearly contends that it is?

                              Paul relates this well in 2 Cor. 11:
                              2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
                              3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
                              4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

                              These believers had been effected by some who had introduced bad doctrine. He feared for their salvation
                              Well forgie me but my reading of it doesn't pick up anything about salvation - rather about their minds being corrupted.

                              along the lines of how Eve was beguiled and lost life. They had gotten to the point by way of these bad influences that if another Jesus or spirit was introduced by some false teacher they might even entertain him instead of not receiving him into their midst as exhorted by John and as exemplified by Pauls testimony in Gal. 2. where no place was given to the falseness.
                              I guess so - but, left to our own devices, sure - every believer would fall away. The whole point of my reference to Jn 10 and Rom 8 is: will God allow that to happen? The answer is clearly "no". That is the whole point of the new covenant!

                              I believe the error of the doctrine you hold lies in the misappropriation of priority of verses. Instead of incorporating the precedent of the possibility of a person to not abide, which reality exists for all believers as it did for Adam and Eve, that reality as found throughout the NT is being dismissed with regard to the John 10 account.
                              I'm not dismissing it - I'm saying that God's commitment to His people under the new covenant will ensure that not one is lost.

                              Instead of throwing out the repeated Biblical reality of the possibilty for someone to abide and then fall away, simply look at John 10 as Jesus speaking with regard to those who he takes for granted will abide and not fall away.
                              I see - so I have to bow down and worship the doctrine of falling away permanently and make sure I violate the clear meaning of such passages, even though that would mean negating the most glorious promises in the universe? Wow - I really am missing out here!

                              Let no man take thy crown. That warning wouldn't be there if it were not possible for a persons crown to be taken.
                              See above. I'll go one further - it's more than a possibility. If God were to leave it up to regenerated Christians to keep themselves, as you're advocating, falling away completely wouldn't just be a possibility - it would be a certainty for every one of us.

                              Yet for those abiding, true, their crown cannot be taken, no man is able to pluck them out of his hand.
                              And who are those who abide, according to John 10?

                              Abiding is walking in His Spirit and growing. Not abiding is not walking in the spirit which means sin will enter. Jesus spoke of the deceitfulness of sin. Those are not idle words.
                              Well, at least we're agreed there.

                              What we believe affects our behaviour;
                              Correct.

                              our behaviour determines our eternal destiny.
                              To quote Paul, if that were the case "grace would not be grace".

                              Rather, our behaviour DEMONSTRATES our eternal destiny.

                              Comment

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