It has never been about works. Ever. Nor will it ever be, salvation is the free, unconditional gift of God in Christ to them that believe.
Here is an unedited exchange between myself and a dear friend in Christ concerning the myth that “the OT saints had to believe and follow the law for salvation” there are also some good explanations of some deeper things of the scriptures in the discourse.
(My friend) Amen to all. 20 of the 22 times repent is used in the Nt it was exactly as you stated. Change of mind. The other two is feel sorry about. One can’t repent from sins for salvation as lordship salvation teaches. That would be works. One can’t make Jesus Lord. That’s a work of the Holy Spirt. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1 Corinthians 12:3 KJB)
The link opened, and It’s an excellent read! Thank you!
While folks will argue that the OT myth of grace+works was the way back then, Paul makes it clear in Hebrews and Romans 4 that the law was a teacher, works never had anything to do with it concerning Gods grace. Only faith, nothing more, nothing less counts concerning salvation.
Reward is another subject altogether apart from grace.
Faith produces works, but works can’t produce faith.
To me, “Repent! And be baptised” is no different than a preacher today saying “believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and be baptised”
Personallly, I feel that is overkill, and preach nothing but God’s grace, I never connect the two in the same sentence, but I am careful to explain that baptism is an outward expression of an inner work of God, and a direct co-identification WITH CHRIST that confirms his faith in Christ IN THE BELIEVERS HEART, not to God.
I do understand also that often it is very effective to address someone on the basis of their understanding and what they have been taught, so I don’t get too legalistic concerning a gospel message with Christ at its heart.
I think much of the confusion today stems from one’s understanding of the word “repent”. there’s a thousand bunny trails on that one word alone, but it essentially means to “change your mind” unbelief to belief, and the fruit of a changed mind being manifested by a changed life (which is not always immediately evident outwardly), and obedience to the Lord’s command.
Unbelievers don’t seek baptism. Unbelievers don’t repent either, however one defines the word.
Another thing I think is there seems to be a misunderstanding about is how the Holy Ghost operated in the OT, and I don’t quite understand it just yet myself.
I was meditating on that very thing last night, David’s words “don’t take away thy Holy Spirit from me”, and I wondered if David was just insecure, or fearful, guilt ridden or doubting his salvation because of his iniquity and rebellion, (as we have all done at one time or the other), or if it was a legitimate plea to God.
It hit me last night as I went to bed that today we are “sealed” by the Holy Spirit because of the shed blood of Jesus on our behalf 2000 years ago.
Then I remembered the passover seal of blood over the doors of the Jews in Egypt before the Exodus as a symbolic picture of the blood of Christ and the seal of the Holy Spirit.
The blood of Christ was not shed until 1000 years after David. Was David “sealed”? Sure he was!
Then I considered the the operation of the Holy Spirit in Jesus day.
Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon his disciples (to me a picture of new life in Christ), not salvation, and then Peter preached “repent”, and be baptised to receive the Holy Ghost” in Acts 2:38.
But the salvation came first. Faith came first.
Later, the Holy Ghost was sometimes given to the Jew by the laying on of hands. Then reading further, one sees the Gentiles and the children of Israel started receiving the Holy Spirit the moment they believed, without water baptism (changed their mind, “repented”, believed).
The only way I could make any sense of it was that the Holy Ghost operated in a different manner to those who had saw Our Lord Jesus in person, “knew him after the flesh”, the Jews, who always looked for, or required a sign for THEIR OWN confirmation in their hearts, not to God. I still have a long way to go in understanding that though.
But I do know this, the Holy Spirit didn’t come to unbelieving Jews or unbelieving Gentiles with no faith, faith had to come first, and faith being the only “work” required of us, or anyone before or after us, so I concluded that before the blood was shed, salvation was by the same faith as ours today, with the Lord’s time dealing directly with the Jews being a parenthetical lesson in the law and the futility of works and of seeking our own justification by self righteousness.
Adam looked forward by faith, we look back, but the Jews were LOOKING AT their redeemer, or had saw him preach in person, yet they still had to have faith to believe that HE is the Lamb of God for their sins.
The Holy Spirit’s operation at that time being the “sign giver” to the Jew, which is not the case today.
In summation, I believe salvation has always been by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, and it is, and was irrevocable in any dispensation.
Adam looked to the Future, John the baptist spake of the Lamb’s PRESENCE, “BEHOLD!,* the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the WORLD* [emphasis mine] and his imminent, impending sacrifice that they all would soon witness, and we look BACK by faith to his past sacrifice of himself for our sins.
Jesus told Thomas “ye believe because ye have seen, but blessed is he that hath not seen, yet believed”. Jesus was speaking of every believer who had not saw him in the flesh, past, present and future. He told the man who asked how to inherit eternal life “keep the commandments”, a factual statement, but a glaring impossibility. (Like “let me know how that’s working out for ya”),I perceive Jesus was assessing the man’s faith in his own self righteousness and anticipated his answer “but these I have kept from my youth”(a lie)., but Jesus was not confirming that it was possible to keep the law. My opinion is the grace+works crowd misinterprets this scriptural exchange also, using it as a basis for the OT faith+works doctrine.
Even with miracles and signs, and Jesus right in front of them, folks refused to believe. It takes faith to believe.
You may think this is strange, but bear with me in my folly.
A fourth thing I have noticed the grace+works for OT believers crowd use to support their doctrine is the book of Revelation, and other places where it says “each one being judged according to his works”. They interpret this saying is concerning salvation.
That won’t apply to believer nor unbeliever concerning salvation.
Well? What do you mean by that? You say:
It seems pretty straightforward, just look at US. We are saved., sealed by the Holy Ghost. At our judgement, salvation won’t be the issue, and I believe the same principle will apply to the unbelievers.
Logically, if your name is not in the Lamb’s book of life, your’e not saved, so another book will be opened containing the names of the lost, and their deeds in the body. Their degree of punishment (the unbeliever’s reward) being determined by the deeds therein.
Why?, well, the unbelieving dead from Adam to the great white throne judgement won’t be resurrected until after the mellinial reign of Christ ( such not the case for believers before the cross, but I digress), it’s pretty obvious that those unbelievers are in hell today (soul and spirit) have already been judged concerning salvation, their salvation was determined the day they took their last breath, SO, apparently they too will ALSO be judged by their works NOT CONCERNING SALVATION, but to determine the degree of their eternal punishment and suffering in the lake of fire. (“and death and hell were cast into the lake of fire”) I can imagine all unbelievers burning, with some unbelievers up to their ankles, some up to their knees, some up to their necks, and some, like Stalin or Hitler swimming or drowning depending on the degree of their bad works weighed against their good works in the body AS UNBELIEVERS, all written down, all documented. (No punishment without a written conviction) again, not concerning salvation.
For us believers, again, niether will our judgement (Jesus will judge his own house first) be about salvation, but our eternal REWARDS and eternal commision in the Kingdom of God.
What say you?
I just rattled that off, I hope it makes sense, and is a blessing, not a curse to you.
Thank you for the link and the inspiration my brother.
Please let me know if this arrives. I think when I copied and pasted the scriptures they were hyperlinked. Please let me know if this opened ok. Would appreciate any comments on this especially scriptural/biblical inaccuracies. Also feel free to use any or all of it as God directs.
Have a blessed day.
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