Having said that Repentance is a work of the Holy Spirit in my last two journal entries I emphasised this and repeated it to make a very important point; Faith is not divorced from repentance nor is repentance separate from faith because both of these are the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in us who believe on the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour.
Firstly we need faith to trust that when we receive Christ as Lord and saviour we trust that when we ask forgiveness of our sins we are forgiven and that the work of atonement is effectual
1Jn 1:9 if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
By effectual, I mean that Christ through the Father actually has the power to forgive sins and regenerate us to new life. Effectual also means that God through his Son Jesus does accomplish His purpose of salvation towards those He calls to repentance. Otherwise, it would be an exercise in futility to ask God’s forgiveness if God is not capable of forgiving us and cleansing us from all unrighteousness; this is the meaning of justification whereby Christ has atoned for our sins.
The no-Lordship position would agree that God forgives sins but they divorce repentance from the new birth in Christ or what we call regeneration. The no-Lordship position is that all that is required for regeneration (salvation) is faith in Jesus. There are many heretical movements or cults out there that claim faith in Jesus as saviour but deny Jesus is God incarnate (God come in the flesh) and also deny that Christ has paid the full penalty for our sin.
If only faith in Jesus is required for salvation then why does it matter if Jesus is God or has fully paid the penalty for sin? The answer is that it wouldn’t matter because if the no-Lordship position is true then we are not accountable to God or have any responsibility to change. In other words, the grace of God only means to get your ticket punched to gain passage to heaven.
The real point of contention between Lordship and no-Lordship advocates is that the no-Lordship advocates claim us Lordship advocates are teaching a works salvation by saying faith requires repentance and needs to bear fruit. One of the scriptures that the foundation of no-Lordship advocacy is based on is the thief on the cross. There are three instances in scripture where the thief on the cross is mentioned
Matthew 27:38, At that time two robbers *were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. Luke 23: 39-43 Luk: 39 One of the criminals who was hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” Luk 23:40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? Luk 23:41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” Luk 23:42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” Luk 23:43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Mark 15:27 They *crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left.
Only Luke provides us with the criminal’s statement of faith where he confesses his sin acknowledges that Jesus is God and asks Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into his Kingdom. I have to ask all the no-Lordship advocates by what power did the robber on the cross acknowledge who Jesus was? The answer is by the Spirit of God. Certainly, the thief had no time to show any proof of repentance, did he? Wrong! The thief states clearly that he and the other robber are getting what they justly deserved and also clearly affirms that Jesus is both God and innocent of any wrongdoing. How can the no-Lordship advocates miss the clear inference that within this statement by the thief that there is clear evidence of repentance which is evidence of spiritual fruit?
No one in the Lordship camp advocate that I am aware of has ever suggested that one must show some work or proof of Godliness to be saved. My point here is that any work or any Godliness the Christian displays is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Second, God has enabled the Christian to do good works as evidence of regeneration. These are all the gift of the Holy Spirit; there is not one thing we do as Christians that can please God without God having foreordained it. We like to think that our ministry or our evangelism to the world is in some way our own invention. We think our own efforts will score points with God or get us an extra jewel in our crown, or more treasure and an even a bigger Mansion in heaven. NO, it won’t
However, the scriptures tell us not once, but twice very clearly:
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Eph 2:9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Rom 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; Rom 8:30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
To return to the thief on the cross for a moment, both his confession and his confirmation be it ever so brief, were the work of God for God’s purpose to show that at any point in our life, be it in childhood or on our deathbeds; that God is able to transform us into His likeness. If we confess our sins and asked God’s forgiveness by the power of God’s Spirit, God forgives us and gives us new life. The no-Lordship camp has to concede that confession of faith is work as well because man is able to come to faith in his natural unregenerate state without any help from God. This is a denial of the scriptures that state clearly that every man woman and child is dead in their sin apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. My point here is that the very confession of faith is the fruit of the Spirit of God. This is clear evidence of repentance which God gifted to the robber so that he could acknowledge who Jesus was.
Sadly a majority of the church in our modern times has fallen into the error of believing that man cooperates with God or can seek God out of his own volition and confess faith in God to receive salvation in his own strength. This is known as synergism which I have discussed in an earlier series of blog entries https://chrissymonds65.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/the-nature-of-man-and-the-nature-of-sin/
The error is that man’s efforts achieve God’s purpose and glorify him; no they don’t because they can’t. God’s efforts achieve God’s purpose and glorify Himself we are the instruments Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
How the no-Lordship camp can ignore or divorce this verse from the one previous one it is beyond my understanding… actually no it’s not it’s called compartmentalisation the division of something into sections or categories. It is exactly what the no-Lordship camp does with faith and repentance; they divorce them from each other into separate categories.
In other words, according to no-Lordship advocates faith is a separate function from repentance, they have no relationship to each other. If only faith is necessary to appropriate salvation and it is not a work then both Lordship and no-Lordship advocates are talking about the same except we are not. If faith requires action, which it does, then it can’t be the same faith that no-Lord advocates are referring to; because their faith does not require an action which is foreign to the biblical definition of faith.
Hebrews 11: 1 defines faith this way,
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:2 says
For by it (faith) the men of old gained approval.
Now isn’t it interesting that the bible itself says that by faith the men of old gained approval? Next, we are told in verse 3
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
Note that there is no mention of faith not being an action Hebrews 11:2 actually implies we had to believe something for it to be faith meaning faith needed an object, in this case, men had to believe in the word of God. Once more if this is different from the faith that no-Lordship advocates are speaking of then what kind of faith is it that requires belief in Jesus for salvation but isn’t the same kind of faith spoken of here? Isn’t a belief in something a kind of action? Is the faith referred to in the Old Testament different from faith in the New Testament? No, because men and women of faith in the Old Testament looked forward to the promised fulfilment of prophecy that the Messiah would come their faith was not work based as the error of dispensationalism teaches.
Let’s say that I want to sit in my chair when I turn around. My first action is to bend my knees and allow my weight to take over at this point I am falling down, I am acting on faith because at some point during that action I am no longer able to see my chair or stop myself from falling; I am trusting that the chair is in fact there. Next, even if I can see my chair I need to trust that the chair can bare my weight and not collapse under me. So to appropriate faith I need to put my trust in the object I have placed my faith into. Is this the kind of faith the no-Lordship advocates mean when they talk about faith in Jesus that is not a type of work even though it is an act of faith? No. Why does the book of James say that faith without works is dead?Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself NASB. The NKJV says Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. And the Authorised KJV says Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. All three versions say the same thing if faith is not acting on something it is dead in other words is worthless and useless.
Hebrews 11:6 says:
and without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Note once more that there is no mention of faith not being an action Hebrews 11:6 actually implies we had to believe something. So to please God, or gain His approval as in Hebrews 11:2, it says we have to do something which is to believe in something that in the biblical sense means believe in and act on God’s word, the bible. Hebrews 11:4-5, 7-11 give us a list of men and one woman who acted on their faith and it says that for each one it was accredited to them as righteousness; righteousness is a gift. Don’t mistake the gift of God as being something that comes from within ourselves or that the work of acting on our faith as an act of the human will it is not; it is an act of God’s Spirit working in and through us because of our will having been changed. And yet no-Lordship advocates argue that faith doesn’t require action because if it does then it is work. Does anyone see the logical fallacy here?
Faith is an action it requires us to do something. The whole no-Lordship camp has played into exactly the same error that the word of faith movement does; faith becomes the object of faith and is a power separate from anything else that the bible speaks of even though they claim Jesus is the object of their faith, which Jesus? As I pointed out at the beginning of this journal entry the Mormons Jehovah’s witnesses and hundreds of other cults including the New Age movement refer to Jesus and even quote the bible. However, we know they aren’t referring to Jesus the only begotten Son of the Father in heaven. Without a person knowing who Jesus is as defined by doctrine revealed in the Bible who knows what version of Jesus these groups are talking about? The person whom I was in conversation with on this issue originally, even misinterpreted the meaning of doctrine as meaning healthy teaching. Doctrine includes healthy teaching but doctrine is defined as a: something that is taught b: a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief or a body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church or a dogma: something held as an established opinion especially: a definite authoritative tenet
The Jesus that the no-lordship advocates preach doesn’t require any definition or any commitment or change in our lives. All that is required is faith even though the New Testament is brimming with examples of how we should be Christlike or how we should avoid temptation and sin or live Holy lives.
Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin they are both evidence of new spiritual life, they are the fruit and the gift of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the gift that God gives us to both believe and repent are supernatural you can’t have one without the other. If someone says they are born again but after 20 years there is no evidence of change in any way, one could legitimately call that person’s faith into question. This is the issue and the predicament that the no-Lordship advocates face. To draw a comparison with another religious group, no-Lordship advocates are selling indulgences. If the no-Lordship camp teaches or preaches faith in Jesus Christ without commitment or the obligation to change, if they are not teaching correct doctrine regarding who Christ is or His role in salvation; then it can only ever result in a cheap, false gospel. The no-Lordship advocates are as Paul the Apostle describes those who hold to a form of godliness but deny the power of it to transform lives.
2Ti 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2Ti 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 2Ti 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 2Ti 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 2Ti 3:5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 2Ti 3:6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 2Ti 3:7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2Ti 3:8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 2Ti 3:9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.