Irwinville Primitive Baptist Church

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

God’s sovereignty versus man’s free will…
the doctrinal paradox is solved by an ancient Bible
doctrine.

Bible Quotations
King James Authorized Version of 1611
By
Tom Hagler, Jr.
November 27, 2006

Notice!
Copyright laws do not protect this book. It may be copied in
whole or in part. Additional copies may be obtained from
Tom Hagler, 5 Somerset Court, Augusta, Georgia 30909.
This forth printing published in November 2006 has
revisions in Chapter IV, page 58, and much of Chapter
XVII, beginning on page 205.

Introduction
David said, “I rejoice at thy word as one that findeth great
spoil,” Psalms 119:162. David lived in a time when the
Bible was not yet complete, but he counted those portions
that were available as the greatest of all treasures. Tom
Hagler proves by his studies and his writings, that he is
one of those rare individuals who have such a regard for
God’s Word.
The Bible is God’s full and complete revelation to His
people. It tells us everything we need to know and do
religiously. There is no question regarding religion it does
not satisfactorily answer. It provides the answer for the
most vexing questions: where did we come from; what
about the universe; where did it come from; what about sin
and salvation, life and death, heaven and hell?
More than that, it is the only dependable guide as to how to
conduct our lives. It provides clear and usable advice for
every situation in which we will ever find ourselves. It
teaches us how to be better parents, better children, better
neighbors, and better citizens of our country.
Tom Hagler has made it his passion to search this book of
all books to find answers to the most important questions,
and in this volume he shares some of those findings with
us.
In readings his comments, it is easy to see his allconsuming
zeal to know more about God and His Word;
and it is easy to see that he gets more than a little
impatient with those who seem so unconcerned to hear
what God has to say. If you are one of those people who
think what God says is important, you will find the time
reading this book to be well spent.
Elder Harold Hunt
Acknowledgements
My former pastor Elder Harold Hunt has been of
tremendous benefit to me over the years as I have tried to
write on several Bible subjects…this has been my way of
studying the Bible. He has encouraged and assisted me in
all that I have written. I consider Brother Harold to be one
of the most gifted writers we have among the Primitive
Baptists, making difficult subjects easy to understand. He
is an excellent pastor and one who has promoted peace
and unity among “old school” churches in our area of the
country. His material can be obtained by contacting him at
2516 East Clark Ave., Maryville, TN 37804.
Elder Sam Bryant, who is also my former pastor, has been
a constant encouragement to me as I have tried to write on
various Bible subjects. He has made suggestions and has
challenged me to think more deeply on doctrinal subjects.
Elder Michael Gowens is also an excellent and scholarly
writer. He has written many valuable books besides those
mentioned in this book such as Basic Bible Doctrines.
Material from Elder Gowens can be obtained from the
internet at www.sovgrace.net or at Sovereign Grace
Publications, Post Office Box 34514, Lexington, KY 40523.
The preaching of Elder Sonny Pyles has been the source
of the idea and expressions to use in several chapters of
this book (as noted). In my opinion, he is the greatest
preaching evangelist alive today. He has been of
tremendous benefit to many Primitive Baptist Elders as
well as church members and has strengthened the Lord’s
churches all across America. He has been a great blessing
to us all.
I would like to express my appreciation to Presbyterian &
Reformed Publishing Co., and Curtis C. Thomas, the only
surviving author of the excellent book The Five Points of
Calvinism, for giving me approval to copy several portions
of their book into my document. This historically accurate
presentation of the proclamation published by the Synod of
Dort in 1619 makes it easier to distinguish between
Reformed Theology (Calvinism) and Primitive Baptist
Theology.
My granddaughter Rachael and her husband Robbie
Mundy have been of great benefit to me as proofreaders
correcting my poor and unprofessional grammar.
Finally, my present pastor Elder Dwayne Hooven is also
my valued advisor. He too has offered suggestions and
corrections to this document. Since he and his family
moved to Augusta, he has been a great blessing to our
whole congregation at Augusta Old Line Primitive Baptist
Church.
Revised January 2004
Elder David Guttery, Primitive Baptist pastor in Centre,
Alabama, was most helpful in suggesting Ephesians 5:25-
27 be eliminated on page 109. There is some question as
to how relative or correct these Bible verses are in making
the argument that is being presented on these pages.
Elder Harold Hunt, Primitive Baptist Elder from Maryville,
Tennessee, suggested changes to Chapter XVII, The
Parable of the Sower. The assistance from these two
Elders is greatly appreciated.
Dedicated to…
…Billie, my wife of fifty-three years, November 27, 2006.
She is a wonderful wife, as well as a valuable advisor. She
is sensitive to the feelings of others, and so is most helpful
in my effort to not be offensive in my writing. She loves
people and is loved by everyone who knows her. God
surely blessed me to find her…to be the wife of my youth,
as well as wife of my old age.

Foreword
Two primary goals will hopefully be achieved before the
reader puts this book away, and both goals must be
proven from the Bible. First, the doctrinal paradox
recognized by many respected theologians regarding the
sovereignty of God in eternal salvation…versus…the
exercise of man’s “free will” so as to make eternal salvation
effective, must be solved. This solution is based on an
ancient Bible doctrine, but to be successful, this doctrine
must be fully supported by scripture throughout the Bible.
Success with solving the first goal leads to the second. An
attempt will be made to show the possibility that one’s
religion is not involved in eternal salvation even though it
greatly affects one’s welfare during their lifetime. Hopefully
this can be proven, because it would answer for us the
question, will all our non Christian friends spend eternity in
a flaming hell?
This book will contain four sections. The purpose of the
sections is to present the material somewhat like four
separate books that are all related regarding the goals to
be accomplished. Hopefully this arrangement has made
the material easier to understand.
Chapters from my books Resolving Bible Dilemmas and
Bible Doctrine Issues have been revised and included in
this book since they make a contribution to the arguments
presented. Also, the word “doctrine” will be mentioned
many times. What is “doctrine?” Think of it as the steel
girders which support a tall skyscraper. In a similar manner
the proper doctrine provides a structure which supports all
Bible verses in a way that harmonizes scripture without
contradictions.
Since I do not expect everyone to agree with the meaning
assigned to every verse quoted, I invite readers to give me
an explanation as to their interpretation. I need and want
constructive criticism. Please send any comments to Tom
Hagler, 5 Somerset Court, Augusta, GA 30909.
I do not claim that my thoughts are original on the meaning
of Bible verses or Bible subjects. While I may be guilty of
expressing myself poorly, I have been blessed to hear
preaching and to read material from some of the most
capable preachers anywhere. Hopefully their thoughts
have been represented faithful to the true Bible meaning.
This book is for my friends with the hope they may become
excited to learn of an ancient Baptist doctrine overlooked
by many today that allows Bible verses to fit together and
harmonize in a logical and God-honoring way without a
serious paradox.
For a brief history of ancient Baptists, see the Appendix
beginning on page 232. The Welsh 1655 Midland
Confession of Faith and a modern Primitive Baptist Articles
of Faith is also included.
My skill in writing is poor. Even so, as an engineer, I hope
the Bible verses provided are arranged in a logical way so
that Scripture makes the doctrinal arguments. God is not
the author of confusion. This harmonizing of the different
passages unlocks the message the Lord has preserved for
his children, and makes reading the Bible much more
enjoyable and profitable.
For one final thought, Acts 17:2 states, “And Paul, as his
manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days
reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” Let’s follow this
example, and reason together from Scripture.
Tom Hagler
Table of Contents
SECTION I
PARADOX
PROBLEM..............................................................................1
CHAPTER I
DOCTRINAL PARADOX DEFINED AND SOLVED ...............................2
Several Protestant denominations considered
....................................5
Conclusion............................................................................................
.7
CHAPTER II
CHALLENGE TO TEMPORAL “SALVATION” ......................................
9
Cause and effect
.................................................................................12
Life in time versus eternal life
.............................................................16
God’s children guilty of unbelief
.........................................................27
The gospel of John on salvation.........................................................
39
Conclusion...........................................................................................
44
CHAPTER III
FIVE DOCTRINES OF GRACE..............................................................
46
Ancient Baptist Five Doctrines of Grace ............................................
49
1) Total Depravity ...........................................................................50
2) Unconditional Election................................................................50
3) Limited Atonement .....................................................................51
4) Irresistible Grace ........................................................................51
5) Preservation1 of the Saints.........................................................52
Conclusion...........................................................................................
53
CHAPTER IV
SALVATION
............................................................................................54
Salvation has five stages--four phases and one aspect....................
55
The tenses of salvation.......................................................................
57
Conclusion...........................................................................................
58
SECTION II
THREE ESSENTIAL FACTS
................................................................. 61
CHAPTER V
CAUSE AND
EFFECT............................................................................ 62
Conclusion
.......................................................................................... 65
CHAPTER VI
MULTIPLE
SALVATIONS...................................................................... 66
Eternal
Salvation................................................................................. 67
Salvation from physical danger..........................................................
69
Time Salvation
.................................................................................... 70
Conclusion
.......................................................................................... 77
CHAPTER VII
”KINGDOM” BIBLE VERSES
............................................................... 78
Kingdom of God = Kingdom of heaven..............................................
81
Eternal Kingdom
................................................................................. 81
Regenerate elect of God
.................................................................... 83
The Lord’s church
............................................................................... 85
Kingdom Prophecy
............................................................................. 90
Conclusion
.......................................................................................... 94
CHAPTER VIII
HOW PRIMITIVE BAPTIST BELIEFS DIFFER ....................................
95
Condition of a child of
God................................................................. 96
Condition of the unregenerate
........................................................... 97
Good works for conversion ..............................................................
101
Cause and effect...............................................................................
102
Conclusion ........................................................................................
106
SECTION III
TIME AND ETERNITY DOCTRINES ...................................................
107
CHAPTER IX
WHAT THE GOSPEL IS NOT ..............................................................
108
Four problem verses for the doctrine presented..............................
109
Comments on James 1:18 ...........................................................111
Comments on 1 Peter 1:23, and 25.............................................111
Comments on Hebrews 4:12........................................................112
Comments on 1 Corinthians 4:15 ................................................113
Summation of comments..............................................................113
Conclusion.........................................................................................
114
CHAPTER X
TOTAL DEPRAVITY.............................................................................
118
Death by sin.......................................................................................
118
Foreknowledge..................................................................................
120
Unregenerate man cannot understand, hear or believe..................
122
Other total depravity verses..............................................................
124
Conclusion.........................................................................................
126
CHAPTER XI
UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION.............................................................
128
Secondary causes.............................................................................
130
Calvinism ...........................................................................................
135
Conclusion.........................................................................................
137
CHAPTER XII
REGENERATION VERSUS CONVERSION .......................................
139
Regeneration.....................................................................................
139
Conversion ........................................................................................
144
The Role of Religion..........................................................................
148
Conclusion.........................................................................................
153
CHAPTER XIII
BAPTISM...............................................................................................
155
Two Principles...................................................................................
155
I. Baptism is necessary. ...............................................................
155
II. Baptism is a figure.................................................................... 156
Four Essentials .................................................................................
157
I. Mode ..........................................................................................
157
II. Subject......................................................................................
159
III. Object.......................................................................................
160
IV. Administrator........................................................................... 162
Proper Effect
..................................................................................... 163
Scriptural Example............................................................................
164
Concluding Remarks ........................................................................
165
Conclusion ........................................................................................
168
CHAPTER XIV
FAITH
.................................................................................................... 169
Man’s faith versus God’s faith..........................................................
169
What if some (God’s children) choose not to believe? ...................
173
God is Sovereign ..............................................................................
176
Spiritual Birth.....................................................................................
179
Conclusion ........................................................................................
180
CHAPTER XV
JUSTIFICATION
................................................................................... 181
Justification by Blood........................................................................
182
Justification by Faith
......................................................................... 183
Justification by Works.......................................................................
184
Comments on the three courts.........................................................
185
Declare to be just..............................................................................
186
Proof that God has faith ...................................................................
187
Man’s faith compared to faith of Christ and the faith of God ..........
189
Human brain compared to a computer ............................................
192
Justification in the Divine Court ........................................................
193
Conclusion.........................................................................................
194
CHAPTER XVI
JOHN 3:
16.............................................................................................195
World..................................................................................................
196
Believeth............................................................................................
197
Purpose of the GOSPEL...................................................................
201
Conclusion.........................................................................................
202
World Verses.....................................................................................
202
CHAPTER XVII
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER........................................................
205
The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23)..................................
208
Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27)...................................................
212
Conclusion.........................................................................................
216
SECTION IV
FOUNDATIONS.....................................................................................
217
CHAPTER XVIII
ENGLISH BIBLE TRANSLATION .......................................................
218
Bible written by God..........................................................................
219
Method of Bible Study.......................................................................
221
Conclusion.........................................................................................
222
CHAPTER XIX
CREATION VERSUS EVOLUTION .....................................................
223
Scientific evidence for creation (rejecting evolution) .......................
223
Bible evidence for creation (rejecting evolution)..............................
227
Conclusion.........................................................................................
231
APPENDIX
BRIEF HISTORY AND BELIEFS OF BAPTISTS ...............................
232
Brief History.......................................................................................
232
1655 Midland Confession of Faith ...................................................
234
Modern Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith........................................
237
Section I
Paradox Problem
The four chapters under Section I will attempt to define the
doctrinal paradox as noted by many respected theologians
that is based on Bible scripture. In Chapter I a solution will
be offered that reconciles all scripture surrounding the
salvation of God’s people eternally as well as during one’s
lifetime, thereby solving the paradox. A challenge against
this solution will be reviewed in detail in Chapter II so that
the reader can decide for himself if the solution offered is in
fact supported by Bible scripture. In Chapter III the five
doctrines of grace as believed by ancient Baptists contain
no paradox and will be compared to the “Five Points of
Calvinism” which is very similar but does contain the
paradox. Finally, in Chapter IV, all stages involved in the
salvation of God’s people will be briefly reviewed to offer
more detail to assist in understanding the solution to the
paradox. This solution also proves that one’s religious
practice has nothing to do with eternal salvation even
though it does offer a tremendous benefit and deliverance
to the child of God during one’s lifetime.
When considering the various Christian denominations, it
reminds one of The Blind Men and the Elephant (1877 by
John Godfrey Saxe, 1816-1887), A Hindoo Fable. This
sarcastic writing has been labeled “The Barb of Satire.” It
compares the different Christian denominations who each
claim to have the truth of salvation to the six blind men.
When it comes to Bible doctrine, if we are not careful, we
too will be like the blind men. Therefore, we need to “Study
to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
2
Chapter I
Doctrinal Paradox Defined and Solved
Salvation must be one of the most important subjects in
the Bible. However, many noted theologians agree that a
scriptural paradox exists between Bible verses dealing with
the sovereignty of God in eternal salvation (God working
completely alone without assistance from any human) and
Bible verses that appear to state the responsibility required
by man if his eternal “salvation” is to become effective.
If the Bible clearly states God does work totally alone and
unassisted in eternal salvation on behalf of His elect
children, then not even one Bible verse would refute this
position. No Bible verse will state man must assist in
regeneration to make it effective by repenting, living a
Godly life, confessing Christ as Saviour, being baptized or
performing other similar good works. Even the exercise of
one’s God given faith (fruit of Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23) is
declared to be a “work,” as follows: “Remembering without
ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience
of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and
our Father;” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Regardless, even
though the above actions are very important, they must
refer to the works necessary for a salvation that delivers
one to something other than eternal salvation, or there
would be a scriptural contradiction, or paradox. If this is
true, there will be no paradox. For now, consider the above
good works are actions for a child of God that lead to
gospel conversion unto discipleship in the Lord’s church,
and they yield an aspect of salvation experienced during
one’s lifetime that we will call conditional time “salvation.”
Chapter I
Doctrinal Paradox Defined and Solved
3
An excellent book entitled Creation Evangelism by Ken
Ham mentions the above paradox concerning salvation. In
the back of this book, the following description of the
author is given: “Ken Ham is the executive director and cofounder
of Answers in Genesis, a ministry dedicated to
defending the Bible from the very first verse.” Notice what
Ken Ham writes on page 44 of the above book:
• “Over and over again, the prophets, apostles, and
Jesus Christ Himself called upon people to come to
God in repentance. The word literally means to
change one’s mind. At the same time, Scripture
plainly states, ‘As it is written, There is none
righteous, no not one: There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seek after God’
(Romans 3:10-11). And in Ephesians 2:1 we read:
‘And you hath he quickened, who were dead in
trespasses and sins.’ The word ‘dead’ in this
passage is the same word used when Lazarus
(John 11) is described as being dead. Dead persons
can’t do anything on their own. Therefore, of
ourselves, we can’t do anything to come to Christ.
But Romans 10:9 states: ‘That if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in
thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved.’ There are, of course, many
other passages that we could examine. Personally, I
don’t think any of us will ever fully understand the
above paradox. We are sinful finite beings, trying to
understand the mind of the infinite Creator. We do
know that we are commanded to preach (Romans
10) and that ‘it pleased God by the foolishness of
preaching to save them that believe.’ (1 Corinthians
1:21).”
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
4
We must understand that it is man’s theology that has
created the paradox by not “rightly dividing the Word of
truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) There are no contradictions in the
Bible or the Bible would be divided against itself. In
Matthew 12:25-29 Jesus explains how anything divided
against itself cannot stand, “Every kingdom divided against
itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house
divided against itself shall not stand: etc.” Obviously the
Bible, which is the Word of Truth, could never be divided
against itself by saying God is sovereign (needing no
human help) in the eternal salvation of His children, but
then turn right around and tell us of “works” one must
perform so as to make his eternal salvation effective.
Notice this seeming paradox very closely. Many verses in
the Bible allow no place for man to perform righteous
works, as follows:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to his mercy he saved us,
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the
Holy Ghost;”
Similar verses confirm this same principle:
• 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us
with an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
• Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Chapter I
Doctrinal Paradox Defined and Solved
5
A contrast of the above verses to the following will clearly
show why God’s sovereignty and man’s “free will” is a
problem that is called a paradox by many theologians:
• Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the
name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If the works called for by Romans 10:13 had to do with
actions necessary to make eternal salvation effective for a
child of God, then it would be a “works” salvation, the Bible
would have a contradiction by being divided against itself,
and the person would have something to boast about.
Billy Graham made note of this paradox years ago on “The
Hour of Decision” radio program. His subject was
“Christian Decision,” and he made these comments: “The
Scripture teaches that God turns men to Himself, but men
are also exhorted to turn themselves to God.” He then
observes, “It is the old paradox of grace and free will.”
Several Protestant denominations considered
Now consider very briefly the doctrinal beliefs of several
Protestant denominations. Methodist beliefs seem to
downplay the sovereignty of God in eternal salvation and
strongly emphasize the things man must do in obedience
to God’s commandments in order to be saved (which they
mistakenly think is eternal salvation). They then teach this
“eternal salvation” gained by their works can be lost by
later turning away in rebellion against God.
A Southern Baptist would agree with some of the
Methodist beliefs. They both believe Jesus died for all
human beings, and if one would “accept Jesus,” inviting
Him into their heart, they will be saved eternally. However
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
6
a Southern Baptist would say eternal salvation can never
be lost. Other denominations have various changes and
emphases, but they all agree that this paradox exists and
attempt to get around it one way or another. Mostly, they
just ignore the paradox, and say just as Ken Ham said, “we
are sinful finite beings, trying to understand the mind of the
infinite Creator,” saying this paradox is just one of the
mysteries of the Bible. No, one must rightly divide the
Word, and then there is no paradox relative to salvation.
The Presbyterians are very strong in acknowledging the
sovereignty of God in eternal salvation. However, they then
say that God, in His sovereign power, will insure every
elect person (Ephesians 1:4) will hear the gospel preached
during their lifetime, and will believe and obey the
message. Further, the Presbyterians say the primary
means of eternal salvation is the quickening power of the
Holy Spirit which gives the person a new heart and results
in the individual being born again. They then say that God
uses “secondary means,” such as the preaching of the
gospel to bring the elect to Christ. In other words, eternal
salvation is conditioned on our belief and obedience.
However, since the power of God meets this condition for
us, then salvation is all by the sovereignty of God.
The Presbyterian or “Calvinist” model may at first appear
logical and give the impression that the paradox problem
has been solved. However, the Bible gives examples of
God’s children (heaven bound) who have rebelled against
God through sinful acts that led to unbelief, and some large
number have even died in this awful condition. Upon
consideration of these Biblical examples (given on pages
27-39), one may have second thoughts regarding whether
this doctrine is truly supported by Bible scripture.
Chapter I
Doctrinal Paradox Defined and Solved
7
Further, since most Christian denominations believe the
gospel is used by God as a “means” to make eternal
salvation effective, then many different situations are left
unreconciled. What about those who die as infants (there
is no scriptural defense for claiming there is an age of
accountability)? What about those who have a mental
deformity to prevent them from understanding the Bible
message? What about those who live and die in a remote
place without ever having heard the gospel? Surely God
has a way to eternally save these people who are among
the elect.
Conclusion
The purpose of this book is to state that there has always
been a remnant of the Lord’s people who understood the
answer to the above seeming paradox surrounding God’s
sovereignty and the responsibility of man, and to offer the
solution to those who may be interested. The answer is in
the Bible itself, if one will only “rightly divide” it.
A man’s will and ability to be obedient to gospel commands
are only for God’s born again children, as follows: “For the
preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
(1 Corinthians 1:18) For God’s born again children, gospel
conversion unto discipleship in the Lord’s church offers a
timely blessing that we will refer to as conditional time
“salvation.” Since this aspect of salvation or deliverance is
for this lifetime only for God’s children (and it can be lost
later due to disobedience), then this type salvation offers
us the solution to the paradox. Chapter II will present a
challenge to conditional time “salvation” that will give the
reader a better opportunity to see if this solution is
supported by Bible scripture.
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
8
Another point we need to remember is that Christ is the
only mediator between God and man, not religion. Elder
Michael Gowens has written an excellent booklet on this
subject titled Christ, The Only Mediator, Revisiting the
“External Means Of Grace” Question. He opens this small
book by quoting the follows Bible verse:
• 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one
mediator between Go d and men, the man Christ
Jesus;”
Notice the above Bible verse says Jesus Christ is the only
mediator between God and man. It does not say Christ
plus a willing sinner, or Christ plus the preacher, or Christ
plus the church, or Christ plus any combination of the
above. Jesus Christ is simply the only mediator.
I take the above Bible verse to mean God is totally
sovereign in eternal salvation, and that man’s religious
practice plays no role at all. While the proper worship of
Jesus Christ is not the means to obtain eternal life, it offers
the child of God a great salvation that affects his health,
length of life, and happiness. In fact, as Elder Hunt has
said, “gospel salvation has nothing to do with our eternal
destiny, but it has everything to do with our welfare in this
life. The well being of individuals and nations, of entire
civilizations and cultures, are impacted by the influence of
the gospel. Every other consideration fades into
nothingness compared with the influence of the gospel.”
For the reader to be fully persuaded on the concept that
has been presented, there are many more Bible verses
that must be considered. Hopefully the remaining chapters
of this book will offer the evidence that will be sufficient for
providing of this proof.
Chapter II
Challenge to Temporal “Salvation”
9
Chapter II
Challenge to Temporal “Salvation”
On June 30, 2002, a Primitive Baptist pastor we will call
Elder Adam (to keep the name confidential) preached the
first of a two part sermon entitled “Rethinking My Position
on Time Salvation.” Part 2 was preached July 7th. He
explains his change in belief concerning what he called the
Primitive Baptist doctrine of conditional time “salvation.”
The arguments in the sermon noted above by Elder Adam,
a Primitive Baptist pastor, could have just as easily been
made by a PCA Presbyterian preacher since their beliefs
on this subject are almost exactly the same. In fact, during
the last two years, as I discussed Bible doctrine with a
good friend that is a PCA Presbyterian preacher, he made
many of the same comments and arguments as was made
by Elder Adam in his sermon.
Primitive Baptists believe the aspect of salvation we call
conditional time “salvation” is available to the child of God
if they are fortunate enough to hear the gospel preached
and are obedient to the gospel unto conversion to
discipleship in the Lord’s church. However, Primitive
Baptists believe most of God’s children never become
disciples of Christ. Elder Adam would say most of the elect
would hear, believe and obey the gospel while the PCA
position would be that all hear, believe and obey.
Now again, what is conditional time “salvation?” It is gospel
conversion unto discipleship in the Lord’s church that
offers the obedient child of God a salvation or deliverance
during their lifetime. Elder Michael Gowens wrote an
excellent book titled Temporal “Salvation,” A Bogus or
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
10
Biblical Concept in which he pointed out that while
“conditional time salvation” is not in the Bible by this label,
neither are the words “Divine sovereignty,” “total
depravity,” or “trinity.” Nevertheless, the Bible teaches
these concepts and most believers embrace the terms.
Elder Gowens observed that labels lead to prejudice, and
prejudice leads to blindness. Hopefully this label will not be
misleading so that blindness prevents a proper
understanding. If it helps, every time “conditional time
salvation” appears, just substitute the phrase “gospel
conversion unto discipleship in the Lord’s church for a
blessing in this lifetime.” The term broken down simply
means that gospel salvation is conditional and must be
enjoyed in a finite time period, namely one’s physical
lifetime.
Elder Adam began his sermon with some very good
advice. He quotes the following Bible verse:
• Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in
Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures
daily, whether those things were so.”
My goal is to follow the above advice, and to see if Elder
Adam is on “solid ground” as he attempts to refute the
Primitive Baptist doctrine of conditional temporal or time
“salvation.”
Part One
Elder Adam begins by saying that he has been a Primitive
Baptist pastor for twenty years, and during this time he has
vigorously preached the doctrine of conditional time
“salvation,” and believed it. He then goes on to say he has
since come to see that perhaps some errors exist in this
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doctrine, and that at least the emphasis is wrong. He says
he has spent many hours and frankly many years in the
study of this topic, and therefore this sermon is the
overflow from that effort. He said it is humbling to go before
a congregation and admit he has been wrong. Based on
these and other opening comments, obviously he is
thoroughly convinced that conditional time “salvation” is not
supported by Bible scripture.
To begin his argument, Elder Adam quotes a verse in the
gospel of John that he says puts a finger on this subject.
He says that in this verse the apostle John gives his
reason for writing the book of John. (He does not explain
how he came to that conclusion.) Consider the following
verse:
• John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and
that believing ye might have life through his name.”
Elder Adam says that whatever else this verse says or
implies, it lets us know that belief in Christ and eternal life
are married…they are joined together. (Note that the verse
does not say eternal life…it just says life.) He then quotes
Matthew 19:6, “What therefore God hath joined together,
let not man put asunder.” He says he’d like to suggest that
conditional time “salvation” tends to put these “things
asunder.” Therefore, Elder Adam is stating based on this
verse that gospel preaching and our belief that Jesus is the
Christ are essentially always joined together with eternal
life. I believe Primitive Baptists would say this condition is
rare, with most of God’s children dying young, being
mentally incapable, having never heard the gospel
preached, or having heard the gospel but because of
worldly cares, choose not to obey the commandments.
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Cause and effect
Before we can fully understand what Elder Adam means
by saying belief and eternal life are married (joined
together into one) we should first understand the principle
of cause and effect. Elder Sonny Pyles of Graham, Texas
has preached on this subject several times (see Section II,
page 61). This principle applies when attempting to
combine our belief in Christ and eternal life into one.
Belief in Christ cannot be both the cause as well as the
effect of eternal life. It must be either one or the other. For
real world examples of cause and effect, consider a person
that has a high fever. A medical doctor would say the fever
is an effect or evidence of some sickness. The doctor
would then look for the cause of this problem. The doctor
would never consider the fever to be the cause of the
sickness. It is impossible for something to be both the
cause as well as the effect of an occurrence.
Let’s consider another real world example. Imagine that an
electric lamp does not work. The fact that the lamp does
not work is the symptom or effect that points you back to
the cause of the problem. The cause may be a burned out
light bulb, faulty wiring, a popped circuit breaker, etc. You
could not say that the lack of light is the cause of the
problem. No light when the lamp is turned on is the effect.
Elder Adam later says (pages 26, 40) belief is a “condition”
of eternal life, but God meets this condition. If it is a
condition, then it is a cause. His argument fails, because
God who cannot lie says belief is the effect or evidence of
eternal life. We should take the time now to prove with
Bible verses that our belief is always the effect or evidence
of eternal life. Our belief cannot possibly be both the cause
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(and a condition that must be met) as well as the effect or
evidence. Consider the following:
• 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him
that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
Our belief is evidence that eternal life already exists.
• John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent
me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
• John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
• Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they
were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as
many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
Our faith is listed as one of the nine “fruit of the Spirit”
given in the following verse:
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law.”
The fruit of an apple tree is an apple. First there must be
the apple tree, and then later the tree produces the apple
as fruit. In the same way a person must first be born of the
Spirit, then this person will posses the fruit of the
Spirit…the seventh fruit listed being faith. A person could
not exercise his faith (which he does not have) by believing
that Jesus is the Christ until after he has been born of the
Spirit of God and received faith as the fruit of the Spirit.
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If someone were to say that all people have a little faith,
one must then point out that the Bible clearly states all
people do not have faith. The Bible verse which says
exactly that is as follows:
• 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 “Finally, brethren, pray for us,
that the word of the Lord may have free course, and
be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may
be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men:
for all men have not faith.”
For this reason the gospel is delivered by a child of God
who has faith to other of God’s children who also have
faith. The gospel cannot be delivered from those who have
faith to those who are without faith. Notice what is stated
by Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God
revealed from faith to faith:” In others words the gospel is
the power of God only to regenerate children of God who
have faith. 1 Corinthians 1:18 also says exactly that, as
follows: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that
perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the
power of God.”
Finally, there is a problem with the theory that believing in
Jesus Christ as the Son of God is something a person
must do to obtain eternal life. I would question why Jesus
made the following statements in the gospel of John:
• John 10:25-28 “Jesus answered them, I told you,
and ye believed not: the works that I do in my
Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye
believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I
said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know
them, and they follow me: And I give unto them
eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall
any man pluck them out of my hand.”
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• John 8:46-47 “Which of you convinceth me of sin?
And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He
that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore
hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
Jesus clearly states to His audience that they cannot hear
or believe because they are not God’s children. It is not a
matter of their decision for Christ. The problem is they
have no spiritual life. Why did Jesus not quote to these
people the verse given us by Elder Adam in John 20:31
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might
have life through his name?” Obviously John 20:31 does
not apply to the unregenerate by stating they need to
believe so they can obtain eternal life.
Therefore, whatever else John 20:31 may mean, it cannot
teach our belief is the cause or is a condition that must be
met for one to receive eternal life.
To God’s children the gospel offers a life (not eternal life)
that is more abundant and fulfilling. This life is “conditional”
based on understanding the gospel message and
obedience to its commandments. This is one meaning of
“life” in John 20:31. Consider the following:
• John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal,
and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might
have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly.”
The abundant life might also be described as conditional
temporal or time “salvation.”
Another verse that applies to John 20:31 is as Follows:
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• Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for
wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth
to destruction, and many there be which go in
thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the
way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that
find it.”
The life referred to in John 20:31 is not eternal life, but it is
a life that one enjoys from living in the “narrow way” free
from destruction (physical death as noted in 1 Corinthians
3:17, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God
destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye
are.”). It is the “abundant” life (mentioned in John 10:10) in
fellowship with Christ in His church.
Life in time versus eternal life
Elder Adam then makes more statements which I need to
consider. The first of four points discussed in the first day
of his sermon is as follows: 1) He says “the doctrine of
conditional time ‘salvation’ suggests that no conditional
verse in the Bible has any eternal implications.” For
emphasis, he repeats that statement. Next he says that a
conditional verse would state that if you do this, then such
will happen. For example, consider John 8:31, “If you
continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”
Conditional verses place a great deal of responsibility upon
us as people. Conditional time “salvation” suggests that
those type verses could not have eternal or heavenly
ramifications because you end up with a “works” salvation,
which he agrees is a valid point. In addition, he says time
“salvation” suggests that there are actually two salvations
taught in the Bible. There is one salvation for heaven,
which is all of grace, and one salvation for time (that’s
where we get conditional time “salvation”) which is largely
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depended upon our works. Again, he says there is some
validity to that idea.
A Primitive Baptist would answer the above statement by
saying there is only one salvation, but that salvation
incorporates three tenses of time…past, present (our
lifetime) and future. The past is what God did for the elect
(as listed in Romans 8:28-30). The present involves our
possible obedience to the light that we have which may
lead to conversion unto disciples of Christ in the Lord’s
church. The future after death involves our final conformity
to Christ in glorification. These three tenses of salvation
are given in the following verse:
• 2 Corinthians 1:10 “Who delivered us from so great
a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he
will yet deliver us;”
Elder Adam then moves to his next point. 2) He says
conditional time “salvation” builds a wall of separation
between eternity and time. Elder Adam explains this by
saying, “Oh this verse applies to eternity and that verse
applies to time, as if the two don’t meet.” He goes on to
say that one of the first things he began to realize in his
journey through this subject was that we talk about the
after-life as if it is another life, and it isn’t. It is all one
eternal life. If you are born again, then you currently have
been given eternal life. Jesus says that whoever believes
on me will never die. He doesn’t mean the body will never
die, but you have been given something that will live on
forever in fellowship with God for eternity. Conditional time
“salvation” tends to build a wall between eternity and time
which Elder Adam says he does not think the scripture
supports. A wall is built between the objective reality of
salvation and the subjective experience of salvation. The
objective reality of salvation is that it really happens in your
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
18
future, while the subjective experience of salvation is how
you feel about salvation in your heart.
Elder Adam says that the most disturbing part of temporal
“salvation” is when it is taken in its extreme form. 3) Time
salvation suggests that many of God’s people never come
to an awareness of their salvation, or never come to know
Jesus Christ as their saviour. They never produce fruit, but
essentially live in a spiritual vegetative state all their life.
He then gives the example of an American Indian that
worships an idol. One may then take this idol worship as
evidence the Indian is born again. However, he did agree
that there may have been some American Indians who
were born again, but their worship of an idol was not
evidence of this fact. He did not explain how he believed
this exception could occur in an American Indian who had
never heard the gospel preached during his lifetime, but
was still regenerated by God giving him eternal life. If he
had explained why and how this “exception” takes place,
then we could ask why it does not always occur in this
manner. We know from John 3:8 that being born again is
compared to the unpredictable wind and “so is every one
that is born of the Spirit.” The Bible does not define
exceptions. Primitive Baptists believe the Bible teaches
there are many regenerate people (Revelation 7:9), but
only a few of God’s children are ever converted by gospel
preaching and obedience unto discipleship in the Lord’s
church.
In an effort to clarify his position, Elder Adam quotes a
statement by Dr. Billy Graham made Saturday May 31,
1997 over a Southern California television station. Dr.
Graham says “I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows
Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they’re
members of the Body of Christ.” Dr. Graham goes on to
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say God is “calling people out of the world for His Name,
whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist
world, or the Christian world, or from the non-believing
world, they are members of the Body of Christ because
they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the
name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need
something they don’t have, and they turn to the only light
that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that
they’re going to be with us in heaven.” Primitive Baptists
doctrine defends the position that was made by Dr. Billy
Graham (We wonder what defense Dr. Graham would
use). Elder Adam then makes the point he does not
believe a child of God can be born again but not be aware
of this fact. In effect, he says, “how could you love Jesus
Christ as your Saviour, but not be aware it is Christ you
love?” This then leads to his fourth point. 4) The above
position on salvation has election, predestination,
regeneration (calling), justification, and glorification. There
is no place given for sanctification.
My answer to the third and fourth points is to suggest one
read Romans 8:28-30. Election, predestination, etc. are
listed without conversion and sanctification because only a
few of the elect are blessed to hear the gospel and even
fewer still are obedient unto conversion. Next, I’ve heard it
said that after Helen Keller was converted by the gospel,
she said as long as she could remember she had loved
Jesus Christ, but she just did not know His name. She was
comforted by Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Elder Adam does not think it possible for a born again
person that has never heard the gospel preached to be
truly saved eternally, since this person could not be aware
of his salvation. I disagree. The born again person who has
never heard the gospel preached will still be aware of the
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
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change that has taken place in his life as a result of his
regeneration, even though he will not know details about
the life of Jesus Christ. Let’s consider the born again
person who lives and dies without ever hearing the gospel
preached. In order to see the effect of regeneration on this
person, and how God deals with him, consider God is in
the person and puts His laws in the person’s mind:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you?”
• Hebrews 8:10 “I will put my laws into their mind, and
write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a
God, and they shall be to me a people.”
Notice the way in which God judges:
• Romans 2:12-15 “For as many as have sinned
without law shall also perish without law: and as
many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by
the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just
before God, but the doers of the law shall be
justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the
law, do by nature the things contained in the law,
these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves: Which show the work of the law written
in their hearts, their conscience also bearing
witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing
or else excusing one another;)”
The extent of God’s judgment:
• Luke 12:47-48 “And that servant, which knew his
lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did
according to his will, shall be beaten with many
stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things
worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be
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much required: and to whom men have committed
much, of him they will ask the more.”
We next remember the warfare between man’s carnal
nature and his born again spiritual nature:
• Romans 7:14-17 “For we know that the law is
spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that
which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not;
but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I
would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that
dwelleth in me.”
The above outlines how God deals with His born again
children who have never heard the gospel preached. At
regeneration, God’s Holy Spirit dwells within them (1
Corinthians 3:16), His Laws have been written in their
heart and mind (Hebrews 8:10), then God allows “their
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the
mean while accusing or else excusing one another”
(Romans 2:12-15) so that through chastening based on the
understanding they have (Luke 12:47-48), God has begun
a process of sanctification through the Holy Spirit even
though these people have never heard the gospel
preached or even know God’s name. Regeneration makes
a big difference in the life of a child of God even without
the gospel as it did with Helen Keller.
Regeneration (eternal salvation) by God of the elect
(Ephesians 1:4-6) is not a process. It does not involve the
gospel or require the obedience of the child of God.
Regeneration is something that is instantaneous and
occurs between conception and death. It is referred to as a
translation:
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
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• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the
power of darkness, and hath translated us into the
kingdom of his dear Son:”
Regeneration is referred to as a quickening:
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who
were dead in trespasses and sins:”
After regeneration, God’s children have the ability to hear,
understand and believe things of God. Since God’s
children are human and not robots, they have the ability to
either be obedient to God’s commandments (written in
their heart at regeneration and in some cases also verbally
by gospel preaching, if one is so blessed) or to rebel and
be disobedient. While disobedience will be chastened by
God as in Hebrews 10:26-31 and Hebrews 12:5-11, the
child of God will still be in heaven after death.
To say God, who “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents
of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), cannot make His presence
known to a regenerate person just because he has never
been exposed to the gospel, is insane. God does not need
the help of any human to achieve His desire in saving the
elect of God for eternity as well as a timely deliverance for
the obedient. If we were involved in eternal salvation, then
some of the nicest people would spend eternity in hell, and
some of the worst and most evil “politically correct” people
would be in heaven.
Along this same line, Elder Adam quotes the familiar verse
that says we must work out our own salvation, as follows:
• Philippians 2:12-13 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye
have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence, work out your
own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God
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which worketh in you both to will and to do of his
good pleasure.”
The shocking part is that Elder Adam takes salvation in this
verse to be regeneration and we must “work it out.” Surely
he knows this doctrine would be a “works” salvation not
allowed by several other verses, and clearly condemned
by Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
I would like to ask Elder Adam what he thinks “fear and
trembling” means in the above verse. He argues that God
is “in us” to insure that we do work it out. But the verse
implies we may fail to “work it out,” and if we fail,
something very bad would happen. If eternal salvation is
under consideration in Philippians 2:12-13 then our failure
to “work it out” would condemn us to the eternal flames of
hell. If God is “in us,” then we know that we can never lose
our eternal salvation. However, we can lose our conditional
time “salvation.” This verse must refer to the “abundant life”
(John 10:10) or the “narrow way” (Matthew 7:13-14) of
conditional time “salvation,” and any failure on our part to
“work it out” would result in “destruction” (death) or our
losing the joy of our salvation in this life (Psalms 51:12).
The above comments by Elder Adam on Philippians 2:12-
13 make me want to respond by saying how foolish a
comment, “having begun in the Spirit are you now made
perfect by the flesh?” Paul made this statement as follows:
• Galatians 3:3 “Are ye so foolish? having begun in
the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Any failure of God’s children to “work out his own
salvation” will mean he will suffer the chastening rod of
God described as follows:
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• Hebrews 12:5-11 “And ye have forgotten the
exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto
children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of
the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For
whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth
every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure
chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for
what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But
if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are
partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which
corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we
not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of
spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days
chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our
profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be
joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it
yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto
them which are exercised thereby.”
At the end of the sermon on June 30th, Elder Adam made
the following statement: “It comes down to the question
then…the key question we will try to deal with next
week…here is the question. Will all of God’s children
believe in Jesus? The answer in the Bible is an
unequivocal yes.” He then refers back to John 20:31, and
states that what ever else this verse means, it lets us know
that believing and eternal life are “married.” The problem
here as mentioned before, John 20:31 states only “life,”
and not “eternal life.” Life in this verse is the abundant life
of John 10:10. It is the “life” described in Matthew 7:13-14
concerning our entering the “strait gate” and living in the
“narrow way.” The broad way leads to destruction or
physical death.
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Part Two
Elder Adam opens the worship service July 7th with prayer.
He then gives a brief review of the four points he presented
the week before on June 30th as follows: conditional time
“salvation” 1) requires that no conditional verses have
eternal consequences, 2) builds a wall of separation
between time and eternity, 3) contends that most of the
elect never know Christ and produce fruit, and 4) contains
election, predestination, regeneration (calling), justification,
and glorification, but allows no place for conversion and
sanctification.
He said these four points express the reasons he has
become convinced that the Bible does not support the
Primitive Baptist doctrine of conditional time “salvation.” I
assume he believes in gospel conversion unto discipleship
in the Lord’s church, but with conversion following
regeneration in almost every case during this lifetime.
However, he should know John 3:8 compares the
regeneration of every child of God to the action of the wind.
Next, to continue with his sermon, he agrees that salvation
is entirely, exclusively, fully and totally by the grace of God.
He says it is impossible for us to hold any other view
because the Bible totally locks us into that view. Salvation
is totally by grace. However, when there are conditions
attached to verses that seem to have eternal implications,
we are left wondering if we have been wrong about
salvation by works after all. (That is a shocking comment
by Elder Adam!)
He then says we can approach this challenge in a couple
of ways. One way is the condition of belief. Belief and faith
are important in eternal salvation, but then we may say
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God could save a person whether or not he has faith. (He
forgets faith always follows regeneration because it is a
fruit of the Spirit.) Elder Adam said “God is able to save a
person whether or not he believes in Jesus, but God is not
in the habit of doing that, Biblically speaking.” He
suggested one way to resolve this problem is by saying
faith is not important, and has only temporal implications,
which is the way it is resolved in the conditional time
“salvation” model.
Elder Adam then said he would like to offer an alternative.
Another solution to the problem is that belief in Jesus is
very important, faith is very much a part of salvation, and
that this belief is very much a condition (he said “if I could
use that term”); however, grace is so great that it will see
that the condition is met in all the elect. God will draw us to
Himself…that is what the Bible says. God will ravish us
with His beauty so that we ultimately come to the point that
we say I have no other alternative than to believe on this
wonderful Son Jesus. Elder Adam said he would propose
that the later is more in line with Biblical teaching than the
former. It underscores the power of grace to bring
unbelieving sinners to believe in Jesus. Notice what Elder
Adam is proposing. He says that belief in Jesus is a
condition of eternal salvation. In other words, our belief that
Jesus is the Christ is the cause of Eternal life. In 1 John
5:1, John 5:24, John 6:47 and Acts 13:48, God says our
belief is the evidence or effect that one is already born
again. Since it is impossible for belief to be both the cause
as well as the effect of eternal life, God would not
contradict Himself by making belief a condition of eternal
life. God cannot lie!
I must stop here to refute his argument by saying that our
faith is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Before we
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are born again, in every case, we have no faith. Faith
always follows regeneration. After we are born again, we
have the Spirit of God in us, along with the nine fruit of the
Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23, the seventh fruit listed
being faith. As Hebrews 11:1 says, “faith is the substance
of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” At
regeneration, God has put His laws into our mind and has
written them in our heart (Hebrews 8:10). Therefore, even
those who have not heard the gospel preached (have
never heard the name of Jesus Christ) would still have
faith. Based on this, I say in every case the regenerate
person has faith, but not all of them believe that Jesus is
the Son of God. They have the ability to believe the gospel
if it is ever preached to them; however, even in that case,
after hearing the gospel preached, they still may rebel in
unbelief.
God’s children guilty of unbelief
All of the above leads us to another very important point.
Elder Adam made the statement that belief in Christ is a
condition that must be met if one is to have eternal life.
Recall the first day as he began this sermon, he referred to
John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing
ye might have life through his name.” He compared belief
in Christ and eternal life in the above verse to being one as
in marriage. Because Elder Adam believes eternal life and
belief in Christ are inseparable, he cannot believe that a
child of God could ever become an unbeliever. I disagree.
The Bible is very clear that children of God can become so
sinful in their walk of life (in rebellion against God) that they
become guilty of the sin of unbelief. They can even die in
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this awful condition. The following section is devoted to this
important subject.
We need to refer to several verses that prove the child of
God can be guilty of unbelief. Consider the following:
• 2 Timothy 2:10-13 “Therefore I endure all things for
the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the
salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we
shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also
reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot
deny himself.”
Paul says he endures all things for the elect’s sake (those
chosen by God before the foundation of the
world…Ephesians 1:4-6) so that they may obtain
something in addition to eternal glory. As elect children of
God, they are assured of eternal glory. If these children of
God choose to deny Christ, Paul said Christ would deny
them (meaning their prayers). However, if these children of
God go one step further in rebellion against God and
become guilty of unbelief, then Paul says God would abide
faithful because God could not deny Himself. These
rebellious unbelieving children will suffer in this life, but
they will still go to heaven after death. To better
understand what the Bible says about suffering in this life
for God’s rebellious children, consider the following
scripture:
• Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain
fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,
which shall devour the adversaries. He that
despised Moses' law died without mercy under two
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or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment,
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath
trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath
counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he
was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done
despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him
that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will
recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord
shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into
the hands of the living God.” “His people” refers to
God’s children who lose the joy of their salvation.
Another verse that states God’s children can be guilty of
the sin of unbelief is as follows:
• Romans 3:3-4 “For what if some did not believe?
shall their unbelief make the faith of God without
effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every
man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be
justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome
when thou art judged.”
Next, let’s consider actual examples in the Bible where
God’s children were guilty of unbelief, and this unbelief
cost them their happiness and in many cases it cost them
their physical lives. We hope to prove that all the children
of Israel Moses led out of Egypt were regenerate children
of God. Notice the following description (all is mentioned
five times):
• 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 “Moreover, brethren, I would
not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our
fathers were under the cloud, and all passed
through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses
in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same
spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual
drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that
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followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with
many of them God was not well pleased: for they
were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these
things were our examples, to the intent we should
not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither
be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is
written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and
rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as
some of them committed, and fell in one day three
and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as
some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of
serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also
murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Now all these things happened unto them for
ensamples: and they are written for our admonition,
upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take
heed lest he fall.”
The above description that all the children of Israel led out
of Egypt by Moses includes the fact that they …“all eat the
same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual
drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed
them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:3-4)
This refers to the body and blood of Christ as Jesus
Himself stated as follows:
• John 6:53-56 “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily,
verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the
Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in
you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,
hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last
day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is
drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh
my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.”
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For added proof that the Israelites Moses led out of Egypt
were God’s children, notice the reference to this event in
Hebrews. It begins “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of
the heavenly calling,” meaning it is addressed to God’s
children. It then refers to Moses and the Israelites:
• Hebrews 3:7-12 “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost
saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not
your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of
temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers
tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty
years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation,
and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they
have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath,
They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed,
brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of
unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
Note! Paul says in Hebrews 3:12 “brethren” (brethren are
born again) can be guilty of “an evil heart of unbelief.”
Entering into God’s rest refers to fellowship with God in His
church, and not fellowship with God in heaven.
Finally, the gross sins the children of Israel were guilty of
while in the wilderness were called sins of unbelief in Jude,
as follows:
• Jude 1:5 “I will therefore put you in remembrance,
though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having
saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward
destroyed them that believed not.”
It is most important to notice that Jude 5 above refers to
Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and that God
“afterward destroyed them that believed not.” All those
destroyed by God in the wilderness must have been God’s
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born again children because God would not destroy any
unregenerate for unbelief. We remember Jesus told some
unregenerate people “But ye believe not, because ye are
not of my sheep.” (John 10:26) The unregenerate do not
believe because they are not God’s born again children
(sheep). Their “carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
(Romans 8:7) God destroys His children (takes their
physical life) if they are guilty of gross sins as follows:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall
God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which
temple ye are.”
God does not eternally destroy His children. God’s children
cannot lose their eternal life, but they will suffer in this life
and die physically if they defile their bodies with gross sins.
This was the fate of many of God’s children given in the
example of the children of Israel Moses led out of Egypt.
The Old Testament offers another great example of a child
of God who rebelled against God to such an extent that the
scripture says he became an enemy of God, and died in
this condition. This man was King Saul whose reign
preceded King David. In order to prove that Saul was born
again and had been given a new heart, consider how this
series of verses begins in 1 Samuel 10:1 “Then Samuel
took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed
him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed
thee to be captain over his inheritance?” Notice now what
Samuel says to Saul in the following Bible verses:
• 1 Samuel 10:6-10 “And the spirit of the LORD will
come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with
them, and shalt be turned into another man. And let
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it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that
thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with
thee. And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal;
and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer
burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace
offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to
thee, and show thee what thou shalt do. And it was
so, that when he had turned his back to go from
Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those
signs came to pass that day. And when they came
thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets
met him; and the spirit of God came upon him, and
he prophesied among them.”
After reading the above Bible verses, could anyone doubt
that Saul was a born again child of God? God gave him a
new heart! Now, let’s see the end of Saul’s life after he had
become an enemy of God. It was before a great battle with
the Philistines in which Saul feared the outcome. Samuel
was now dead. Saul went to the witch at En-dor, a woman
that had a familiar spirit, to request that she bring up
Samuel (1 Samuel 28:11). After Samuel was brought up,
and Saul explained in the 15th verse how he was soon to
face the Philistines in battle, and God had departed from
him and answered him no more, so that now he wanted to
know what he should do. We read the following:
• 1 Samuel 28:16-19 “Then said Samuel, Wherefore
then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is
departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?
And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by
me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine
hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:
Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD,
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nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek,
therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee
this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel
with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to
morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the
LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the
hand of the Philistines.”
While Samuel’s body was dead in the grave, it was
Samuel’s spirit who was speaking to Saul. Obviously
Samuel said that tomorrow Saul would be with him in
heaven. Even though Saul had become an enemy of God
and God had departed from him in this life, Saul’s unbelief
and rebellion could not cost him his eternal salvation. His
sinful actions did cost him his temporal “salvation” that
affected the length of his life and included the loss of God’s
blessings and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Saul’s efforts in
this life to “persevere” failed, but fortunately for Saul, he
was “preserved” by God in Christ Jesus unto eternal
salvation.
We should now consider three good examples of God’s
people who believe (they are born again), but who are not
converted unto disciples of Christ. Even though they
believe, they are not obedient to God’s commandments.
These people run the risk of God’s chastisement. Consider
the following:
• Acts 26:27-28 “King Agrippa, believest thou the
prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said
unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a
Christian.”
Since Paul said he knew Agrippa believed, Agrippa was
born again. (1 John 5:1, Acts 13:48, and John 5:24) Even
so, Agrippa chose not to become a disciple of Christ by
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way of baptism. He was born again, but not converted. He
chose to not become a Christian, as in Acts 11:26: “And
the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
• Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon,
behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he might
sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy
faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen
thy brethren.”
We know Simon Peter was already born again as proven
in Matthew 16:17. None of the disciples were entirely
converted to a knowledge of the truth until after the death
and resurrection of Jesus. We learn of their unbelief on the
road to Emmaus (Luke 24:21). This unbelief was resolved
after the resurrection and Jesus appeared to them in
person. Also, Jesus had prophesied earlier their memory of
all things would be restored in John 14:26 stating that the
Holy Spirit would “…bring all things to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said unto you.”
• John 12:42-43 “Nevertheless among the chief rulers
also many believed on Him; but because of the
Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be
put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of
men more than the praise of God.”
The chief rulers believed (they were born again), but they
would not “confess Christ”, to receive conditional time
“salvation” (conversion), as offered in Romans 10:9.
Another excellent example of unbelief by God’s children is
found in Luke 24:10-32 concerning the apostles on the
road to Emmaus. Consider how this began in the 10th
verse:
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• Luke 24:10-11 “It was Mary Magdalene, and
Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other
women that were with them, which told these things
unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them
as idle tales, and they believed them not.”
Then we come to the 21st verse that says:
• Luke 24:21 “But we trusted that it had been he
which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all
this, to day is the third day since these things were
done.”
Notice! The apostles on the road to Emmaus no longer
believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Then, in the 25th
verse Jesus says,
• Luke 24:25 “Then he said unto them, O fools, and
slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have
spoken:”
We need to remember that these apostles had been with
Jesus and had seen the many great miracles that He had
done. These miracles testified that Jesus was God
manifest in flesh. In John 10:30, Jesus told them He was
God “I and my Father are one.” If this unbelief could occur
in the apostles after all they saw, is it not obvious that we
could also be guilty of unbelief? Their unbelief was solved
when they saw in person the risen Christ, and were
reminded of “all things” (John 14:26) by the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately we have not seen the risen Christ. Further,
we also remember that Thomas said he would not believe
unless he could see the nail prints in the hands of Jesus
and thrust his hand into His side. Thomas was still guilty of
unbelief even though his fellow disciples testified they had
seen the risen Christ.
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There is another situation that a child of God in the Lord’s
church should be warned against. If he becomes guilty of
sinful acts and “falls away,” he may never be renewed unto
repentance in this life. Consider the following Bible verses:
• Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who
were once enlightened, and have tasted of the
heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy
Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and
the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall
away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing
they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh,
and put him to an open shame.”
A child of God by sinful acts can “fall away,” and therefore
they may not “persevere” in this life. Fortunately, as God’s
children, they are “preserved” by God in Christ Jesus, so
their eternal security is assured. These rebellious children
lose and cannot regain their conditional time “salvation.”
The above verse states, “it is impossible for those who
were once enlightened, If they shall fall away, to renew
them again unto repentance;”
Paul gives us another good example where born again
Corinthian church members failed to “persevere” while
alive, and their sinful acts cost them their physical life.
Fortunately, they are “preserved” by God in Christ Jesus.
• 1 Corinthians 11:29-30 “For he that eateth and
drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation
to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this
cause many are weak and sickly among you, and
many sleep.”
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Consider another verse where church members did not
“persevere,” and had their “faith overthrown.” Notice it says
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having
this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” While they
do not persevere, they are preserved in Christ Jesus.
• 2 Timothy 2:17-20 “And their word will eat as doth a
canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who
concerning the truth have erred, saying that the
resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith
of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God
standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth
them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth
the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a
great house there are not only vessels of gold and
of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to
honour, and some to dishonour.” The Calvinist has
only vessels of “gold” and “silver” in the “great
house” in heaven.
There is another verse to consider that is especially good
in pointing out how as children of God our sinful actions
can cost us our physical life and God Himself will destroy
us. Even so, while we may not “persevere” in this life,
fortunately God has “preserved” us in Christ Jesus to
assure our eternal salvation.
• 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall
God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which
temple ye are.”
Another verse that proves a converted child of God can
become guilty of sinful acts and “fall away,” becoming a
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“castaway” is 1 Corinthians 9:27. Notice what Paul says to
the Corinthian Church:
• 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and
bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when
I have preached to others, I myself should be a
castaway.”
Paul did not fear being cast into hell, but that he would lose
the joy of his salvation (as David expressed in Psalms
51:12). He would lose the comfort of the Holy Spirit and
God’s blessings in this life. He feared he may not
“persevere” in this life, but he is “preserved” by God in
Christ Jesus for eternal salvation.
The above verses should convince anyone that God’s
children can be guilty of the sin of unbelief. It may cost
them their physical lives as with many of the children of
Israel Moses led out of Egypt, but unbelief can never cost
God’s children their spiritual life. We are reminded in
Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he
which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until
the day of Jesus Christ:” This verse refers only to eternal
salvation, but not to conditional time “salvation.” We saw in
Hebrews 6:4-6 (page 37) that we could lose time
“salvation” and God may never renew us to repentance. In
others words, conditional time “salvation” can be lost.
The gospel of John on salvation
Elder Adam next said he would use the gospel of John,
beginning in Chapter 3 to prove his case. He said that
verse 36 obviously has eternal implications with the
condition of belief attached, as follows:
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• John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son
shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on
him.”
My answer is the regenerate as well as unregenerate can
be unbelievers, as already proven. The verse states “life,”
not eternal life. For the unbelieving regenerate child of
God, he will have the wrath of God on him and will not
enjoy the abundant life mentioned in John 10:10.
After giving several examples, Elder Adam says in his
sermon that “belief is a condition of eternal life.” He says
“belief is also an evidence of eternal life. It is both a
condition and an evidence. This is only possible because
God’s grace allows the condition to be met.” He says, “it is
not by our works that we believe, but by His grace.” He
said, “many of the verses we will consider appear to be
only evidential, but they too are conditional. God’s grace
meets the condition.” He said “this will be my thesis in this
sermon.”
For my answer, we have proven the regenerate can be
unbelievers. Also God states belief is the evidence of
eternal life, and not the cause based on 1 John 5:1, John
5:24, John 6:47 and Acts 13:48. It is impossible for
something to be both the cause of an event as well as the
effect. His argument has failed. Saying God met the
condition does not work. God said belief was the evidence
or the effect. God, who cannot lie, would not contradict
Himself by saying belief is a condition of eternal life.
Elder Adam then says, “will all the elect believe in
Jesus…we can just completely eliminate any speculation
at the top of the sermon, and say it is an unequivocal
yes…all of the elect will believe in Jesus.” He wants us to
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see it from scripture. After reading John 3:36 again, he
asks that we turn to John 5:23:
• John 5:23 “That all men should honour the Son,
even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth
not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath
sent him.”
He says you must honor the Son to honor the Father. You
cannot have one without the other. He is making
something we must do a requirement for eternal salvation.
He thinks this theory of eternal salvation is not a “works
salvation” because God’s grace allows this condition to be
met. When God says “not by works of righteousness which
we have done” (Titus 3:5), I say God means not by works!!!
• John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent
me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Elder Adam says “what ever else the verse says; belief
and everlasting life are married. The two come together,
and you do not have one without the other. The message
is that the believer is already saved eternally.” His
argument here fails again because as mentioned before,
our belief is evidence of spiritual life. He must not realize
(as has already been proven on pages 27-39) the
regenerate can be guilty of unbelief. God gives the elect
spiritual life, and then belief is possible. We have seen the
many examples of regenerate children of God who are
guilty of the sin of unbelief.
Elder Adam says the next verse is most important:
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• John 6:35 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the
bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never
hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never
thirst.”
He says the words “cometh” and “believeth” are equated in
this verse. But I say we have proven above that God has
children who are unbelievers (pages 27-39). Also, come is
not the same word as believe. This verse does not prove
the words are interchangeable. Nothing could prove the
words interchangeable.
He next says “if coming and believing are synonymous, in
that they mean the same thing, and then that is very
important to remember as we look at the next verse:”
• John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come
to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise
cast out.”
He then says “since coming and believing have been
proven to be the same thing, then this verse is saying, all
that the Father giveth me shall believe in me.” Elder Adam
reminds me of former President Bill Clinton saying it
depends on what the meaning of is is. Everyone knows the
meaning of both “come” as well as “belief.” Also, when
Jesus gives eternal life to the elect, the elect’s belief is not
involved. Consider what Jesus says in His prayer before
He is crucified:
• John 17:2 “As thou hast given him power over all
flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as
thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they
might know thee the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
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Notice that Jesus says He has power over all flesh, and He
gives eternal life to a particular number of people. Who
does He give eternal life to? He gave eternal life to as
many as the Father gave Him--not one more and not one
less. The person’s belief is not involved. Jesus saves all
those chosen by the Father “before the foundation of the
world” (Ephesians 1:4).
Elder Adam continues with this line of reasoning. He says
“every one of the elect given to the Son believe on Him,
and when they do, everlasting life is their blessing.” He
says “a dead man cannot believe, but a live man can and
must believe.” My answer is that Jesus’ decision to quicken
a person to spiritual life through the Holy Spirit (John 6:63)
is not conditioned on the individual’s action or belief. Our
belief is only an evidence of eternal salvation, not the
cause (as it must be one or the other). Then, sadly, some
of the regenerate that have the ability to believe, become
guilty of the sin of unbelief.
Another important point Elder Adam is not considering in
these sermons is that it is possible for someone to “preach
another Jesus” and “another gospel.” The Apostle Paul
gives us an important warning, as follows:
• 2 Corinthians 11:4 “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.”
Anyone would agree that an “Arminian” Jesus, who has
only made a way of salvation possible for the whole human
race, is not the Jesus we Primitive Baptist worship. It is a
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different gospel than the one we believe. This gospel
contends that if a person will only “accept” Christ as their
personal saviour, and invite Him in their heart, then they
will receive eternal salvation. Does Elder Adam think belief
in this Christ will yield eternal salvation? What about the
gospel and the Christ preached by the Roman Catholic
Church? If Elder Adam is limiting eternal salvation to those
who believe as Primitive Baptists, if that doctrine is true,
then only a few will be in heaven, unlike what we read, as
follows:
• Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great
multitude, which no man could number, of all
nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,
stood before the throne, and before the Lamb,
clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
As an aside, I understand there are a total of just over
5,000 languages (“tongues”) in existence today, but the
Bible has been translated into only about 2100 languages.
In the past, the Bible was translated into much fewer than
2,100 languages. If God uses the gospel as a “means” to
regenerate the elect, how has He saved all those people
given in Revelation 7:9 who did not have the gospel in their
tongue? Also, God has only one way to save the elect
according to John 3:8. To further prove the gospel is not
used by God in regeneration, see Chapter IX, What the
Gospel is not, beginning on page 108.
Conclusion
I strongly disagree that anything we do in this life has any
effect on eternal salvation. I suggest Elder Adam should
not change the meaning of words. Next, he must consider
all the actual examples in scripture of those children of
God who were guilty of unbelief, with many dying in this
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state. Further, how is his Calvinist doctrine going to allow
eternal salvation for infants who die young, the mentally
disabled, and those who never hear the gospel preached?
These individuals must all be saved in the same way as
everyone else, comparable to the action of uncontrollable
wind according to John 3:8.
It is my conclusion that the Bible fully supports God’s
sovereignty in eternal salvation with man’s gospel
obedience being involved only in discipleship for church
membership; thus, yielding time “salvation” for the child of
God. As a result, there is no paradox between God’s
sovereignty and man’s free will, so man’s religious practice
is not involved.
I do not believe that Elder Adam is “rightly dividing the
word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) He is preaching another
gospel than the one I believe, and it is another Jesus and
another spirit. Sadly, he has only a few in heaven, but at
least he can try to claim that he helped God save some of
the ones that are there. What a burden for any human to
carry! I feel sorry for Elder Adam, and pray that he and the
other elders who hold this doctrine will repent of their error,
and return to God’s true doctrine.
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Chapter III
Five Doctrines of Grace
The ages old five doctrines of grace as believed by ancient
Baptists defines the sovereignty of God in the eternal
salvation of His elect children. Nothing in these five
doctrines of grace have reference to things God’s children
must do during their lifetime. These beliefs are totally
supported by scripture throughout the Bible. If the position
presented is truly God’s doctrine, then it will not be refuted
by even one scripture in the Bible. There is no paradox.
The historic five doctrines of grace mentioned above states
they apply only to eternal salvation. It may have been
expressed better if it had explained that these five
doctrines of grace apply only to the phases of salvation
involving foreknowledge, predestination, called, justified,
and glorified (as listed in Romans 8:28-30), and not the
aspect of salvation called gospel conversion unto
discipleship in the Lord’ church. This means the five
doctrines of grace apply equally to all of God’s elect
children, including infants that die before birth, the mentally
handicapped and to those in remote parts of the world who
never hear the gospel preached.
The many verses in the Bible that call on us to repent, to
believe the gospel message and to be baptized, is directed
to and is only of interest to God’s children. The following
verse suggests this:
• 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is
to them that perish foolishness; unto us which are
saved it is the power of God.”
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The gospel is for God’s children (already born again) so as
to offer a salvation in this life called gospel conversion unto
discipleship in the Lord’s church. It may also be referred to
as conditional time “salvation” since the benefits and
penalties are only experienced during one’s lifetime.
The above solution of the paradox is consistent with life as
we know it. In the physical world about us life must occur
first, and then the person in time may be educated. In the
spiritual world it is the same. First God gives spiritual life to
His elect sometime between conception and death. After
being born again, the child of God is able to hear (John
8:47), understand (1 Corinthians 2:14) and believe
(John10:25-30) things of God. However, God’s children
that are blessed to hear the gospel message may still
reject it because of the various cares of life. This rejection
of the gospel will not affect their eternal life, but it can have
a drastic effect on their quality of physical life as well as
length of life. One needs to understand how God chastens
His rebellious children as noted in Hebrews 12:5-11 and
Hebrews 10:26-31.
The doctrine believed by Martin Luther, John Calvin and
the other great men of the Protestant Reformation in the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is called Reformed
Theology. A brief outline of this doctrine is called “the five
points of Calvinism.” However, this doctrine combined the
sovereignty of God in eternal salvation with works man
must perform to be a disciple of Christ in the Lord’s church.
Since both were combined, this doctrine of necessity
created a paradox. If God is totally sovereign in eternal
salvation, then man cannot be involved in any way. Even
so, there are Bible verses that appear to teach man does
play some role with God (although most people are not
aware of the concept of conditional time “salvation”).
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One should first be aware that Baptist churches all across
Europe were never part of the Catholic Church, so it was
not necessary that they “reform” or “protest” anything. In
other words, they were not part of the Protestant
Reformation. We believe the Protestant churches returned
to a more literal interpretation of the Bible similar to that of
the ancient Baptist churches. As individuals left the
Catholic Church and formed the various Protestant
denominations, they retained different errors from their
former religious order. Primarily, their doctrines mixed the
sovereignty of God verses with man’s free will. Even so,
Martin Luther saw something of this error when he wrote
his book Bondage of the Will. He saw that until the new
birth, man’s will was in bondage to the flesh, as Romans
8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it
is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
In presenting the five doctrines of grace, the “Five Points of
Calvin” (as the Protestants call them) will be copied, with
the few changes necessary in order to correctly express
God’s true Baptist doctrine. Any deletions will be noted in
italics, as will any additions or corrections. A reason will be
given for each change. Please notice that the few changes
made are mostly involved with what man should do after
he is born again. The purpose of presenting these beliefs
in this manner is 1) to show how the doctrinal paradox is
resolved and 2) to show how close the sixteenth century
Protestant Reformation doctrine was to that of Primitive
Baptists.
Material will be taken from an excellent book, The Five
Points of Calvinism, by David N. Steele and Curtis C.
Thomas, published by Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing
Co. The following history is given in this book about these
Protestant beliefs. In 1610, one year after the death of
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Five Doctrines of Grace
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James Arminius (a Dutch seminary professor), his
followers promoted his beliefs that were drawn up into five
articles of faith. On November 13, 1618, a national Synod
met at Dort to consider this “Remonstrance” (i.e. a protest).
Attending the Great Synod, “there were 84 members and
18 secular commissioners. Included were 27 delegates
from Germany, the Palatinate, Switzerland and England.
The last of 154 sessions was held May 9, 1619.
After a very close examination of the five points, the above
mentioned book states, “Failing to reconcile that teaching
with the Word of God, which they had definitely declared
could alone be accepted by them as the rule of faith, they
had unanimously rejected them. They felt, however, that a
mere rejection was not sufficient. It remained for them to
set forth the true Calvinistic teaching in relationship to
those matters which had been called into question. This
they proceeded to do, embodying the Calvinistic position in
five chapters which have ever since been known as the
five points of Calvinism.”
The above book by David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas
lists the five points that were agreed to at the Synod of
Dort, May 9, 1619. As an aside, one should remember that
John Calvin, Martin Luther, and the other early leaders of
the Protestant movement were dead at this particular time.
These beliefs were essentially the beliefs of the non-
Catholic world all across Europe in the year 1619.
Ancient Baptist Five Doctrines of Grace
The five points from the Synod of Dort, with slight changes
(as noted in italic letters), are the five doctrines of grace
that are historic Baptist beliefs and are the beliefs of
Primitive Baptists today. Consider the following:
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1) Total Depravity
“Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly
believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to
the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately
corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil
nature, therefore, he will not---indeed he cannot---choose
good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes
much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to
Christ---it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the
sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not
something man contributes to salvation, but is itself a part
of God’s gift of salvation---it is God’s gift to the sinner, not
the sinner’s gift to God.”
• [Note: There is no change from the Synod of Dort.]
2) Unconditional Election
“God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before
the foundation of the world rested solely in His own
sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not
based on any foreseen response or obedience on their
part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God
gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He
selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God’s
choice. Election therefore was not determined by or
conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in
man. (One sentence at this point is omitted.) Thus God’s
choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the
ultimate cause of salvation.”
• [Note: The sentence omitted is “Those whom God
sovereignly elected He brings through the power of
the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ.” This
belief created the paradox under consideration. Also
this doctrine is incorrect because it forgets that
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Five Doctrines of Grace
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some of God’s elect die as infants, have mental
afflictions, never hear the gospel, and even reject
the gospel in unbelief, as 2 Timothy 2:13 states, “If
we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot
deny himself.”]
3) Limited Atonement
“Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect
only and actually secured salvation for them. His death
was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the
place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting
away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured
everything necessary for their salvation.” (The last one and
a half sentences are omitted.)
• [Note: The one and a half sentences that are
omitted are as follows: “including faith which unites
them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by
the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby
guaranteeing their salvation.” This is another belief
that assured a paradox between God’s sovereignty
and the responsibility of man. Also, this statement
fails to recognize that man’s faith received at
regeneration (as fruit of the Spirit—Galatians 5:22-
23) can be rejected by the sinner to the point of
unbelief as Romans 3:3-4 “For what if some did not
believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God
without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but
every man a liar,” Even so, the sinner is still saved
eternally.]
4) Irresistible Grace
“Rather than1 the outward general call to salvation which is
made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit
extends to the elect a special inward call that immediately2
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brings them to salvation. This inward call made between
conception and death does not involve the gospel in any
way3.The external call (which is made to all without
distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the
internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be
rejected; it always results in regeneration4. By means of
this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to
Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by
man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation
for success. (one sentence omitted) God’s grace,
therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the
salvation of those to whom it is intended5.”
• [Note: Words change #1 “In addition to” changed to
“Rather than.” Word change #2 is “inevitably” to
“immediately.” One sentence added as noted #3 to
make clearer. Word change #4 is “conversion” to
“regeneration” (See Chapter XII, page 139, for the
difference in these two words). The following
sentence was omitted: “The Spirit graciously causes
the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent,
to come freely and willingly to Christ.” Again, these
beliefs that are omitted involve man’s obedience
causing the paradox (trying to justify it by saying
God “graciously causes the elect sinner to
cooperate”). Further, this sentence fails to realize
that many of God’s people are rebellious, being
guilty of the sin of unbelief, and while they are
eternally saved, they will suffer in this life for their
rebellion as stated in Hebrews 3:1-19 and 10:26-31.
Word #5 change is “extended” to “intended.”]
5) Preservation1 of the Saints
“All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and
given spiritual life2 by the Spirit are eternally saved. They
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are kept in spiritual life3 by the power of Almighty God and
thus are preserved4 to the end.”
• [Note: Word change #1 is “perseverance” to
“preservation.” Word #2 is “faith” to “spiritual life.”
Word #3 is “faith” to “spiritual life.” Word #4 is
“persevere” to “are preserved.” The word
“persevere” implies the effort of the sinner will never
fail (causing the paradox). We know better than that
as given in Romans 3:3 and 2 Timothy 2:13 as
quoted above. “Preserved” is a Bible term as in 1
Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace
sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit
and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is only the effort
of God that will never fail.]
Conclusion
Of the Five Doctrines of Grace given above, the first on the
total depravity of natural man (no changes from Synod of
Dort) is most important. See Chapter X beginning on page
118 for more on total depravity. This principle must be fully
and completely understood if the reader is to appreciate
the other four doctrines of grace. It explains how fallen
man, spiritually dead, cannot be involved in any way with
eternal salvation. The dead can do nothing for themselves.
If this principle is followed very closely, then no paradox in
scripture will occur. Also, it should be equally obvious why
one’s religious practice has no effect at all regarding
regeneration. The Pharisees were very religious, but notice
what Christ said to them in John 8:43-47. All verses that
command God’s children to obey His commandments have
to do with conditional time “salvation.” The benefits and
penalties will be experienced in this life only and will have
no affect at all on eternal salvation. There is no paradox!
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54
Chapter IV
Salvation
The reader most likely has been introduced to a concept
never before considered. The concept that regeneration
and conversion are two completely separate events will
require a fairly extensive study. See Chapter XII entitled
Regeneration versus Conversion beginning on page 139
for more on this subject.
One must heed the advice given in the following Bible
verse:
• Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in
Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures
daily, whether those things were so.”
Even though this doctrine resolves the paradox of grace
and free will, and fits scripture in a very logical fashion that
gives all the honor and glory to God, still it may be a new
concept for one to digest. For this reason salvation itself
will first be briefly studied. For a broader view of salvation,
see Chapter VI entitled Multiple Salvations beginning on
page 66.
Salvation is a very interesting subject. The word
“salvation,” when applied to the salvation of the elect
children of God, is an inclusive, all-embracing word that
gathers into itself all the redemptive acts and processes,
such as foreknowledge, election, predestination, adoption,
justification, redemption, grace, propitiation, imputation,
conversion, sanctification, and glorification. This chapter
will attempt to break down the various stages involved in
the salvation of God’s people.
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Salvation
55
Salvation has five stages--four phases and one aspect
There are five stages involved in the salvation of God’s
people--four unfailing phases that are by God alone, which
always take place for the elect of God, and one aspect of
salvation, which may or may not occur. Consider the
following:
• (1) Phase one is the election phase. “Elect according to
the foreknowledge of God the Father,” (I Peter 1:2)
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and
without blame before him in love: Having predestinated
us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to
himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
(Ephesians 1:4-5)
• (2) Phase two is the justification phase. This was
accomplished by Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago-“Who
was delivered for our offences, and was raised again
for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) “Much more then,
being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from
wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9) “In whom we have
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
• (3) Phase three is the regeneration phase. “Not by
works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus
3:5) “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and wither it goeth: so is every one that is born
of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
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• (4) Phase four is the final glorification phase for entire
conformity to Christ. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an
eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and
the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be
changed.” (1Corinthians 15:52)
• (5) The conversion aspect of salvation for the child of
God to become a disciple of Christ, called a Christian in
Acts 11:26, is sometimes referred to as conditional time
“salvation.” It may, or it may not, take place for the child
of God during their lifetime. Some of God’s regenerate
children die as infants, some may have a mental
affliction, and others live in a remote part of the world.
Some may hear the gospel, but refuse to follow Christ
as a disciple. Even so, nothing in this life can affect
their salvation to heaven. However, conversion to
discipleship will be of great benefit to God’s children
during their lifetime. Many works are required for the
child of God to become a converted disciple of Christ.
They must repent (Acts 3:19), confess Christ as their
saviour (Romans 10:9), and as a believer to submit to
baptism (Mark 16:16).
To see the four phases of salvation (for heaven that cannot
fail) as given above, consider the following:
• Romans 8:28-31 “And we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them
who are the called according to his purpose. For
whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to
be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover
whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and
whom he called, them he also justified: and whom
he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we
Chapter IV
Salvation
57
then say to these things? If God be for us, who can
be against us?”
The conversion aspect is omitted in Romans 8:28-39
because only a few of God’s people are ever converted to
become disciples of Christ, so as to receive a salvation in
time. Time “salvation” (conversion) offers a salvation from
this wicked untoward generation, as declared by Peter in
Acts 2:40. If a born again person is ever converted
(remembering that some of God’s born again children die
unconverted), this aspect (conversion) of salvation can
then be lost by the person through “backsliding.” Again, to
see more on Conversion, refer to Chapter XII entitled
Regeneration versus Conversion, beginning on page 139.
The tenses of salvation
The above five stages of salvation occurs in three tenses
of time…Past….Present (between conception and
death)…and Future, as follows:
• Past tense. The Elect of God chosen before the
foundation of the world (phase 1) are justified and
redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
(phase 2). As a result, the elect of God have been
saved from the eternal penalty of sin and are safe
regarding their home in heaven at the end of time.
• Present tense (between conception and death). The
elect of God are regenerated, or born again (phase 3),
at some time between conception and death. The born
again person may or may not be saved during their
physical life from the habit of sin through the aspect of
salvation called conversion (5), so as to become a
disciple of Christ (called a Christian in Acts 11:26).
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• Future tense. The glorified child of God is saved from
the presence of sin (in their body known as their carnal
flesh nature) in the sense of entire conformity to Christ
(phase 4).
Conclusion
There is only one salvation for God’s people; however, it
incorporates five stages in three tenses of time: past,
present (from conception to death), and future. There is a
verse that gives the three tenses of time:
• 2 Corinthians 1:10 “Who delivered us from so great a
death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will
yet deliver [us];” (So great a death must mean death in
Adam, doth deliver must refer to timely events, and yet
deliver us must refer to heaven in the future.)
The salvations mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:10 have been
expressed as a past deliverance from the guilt and penalty
of sin (death in Adam), a present deliverance from the
power of sin through conversion into the Lord’s church,
and a future deliverance from the presence of sin, or
essence of sin in the human body by receiving a glorified
body.
May we all praise God, and thank Him for His amazing
grace and mercy in the salvation of His people….all five
stages of salvation, with four unfailing phases that assure
heaven for the Elect of God, and one aspect for a possible
blessing during this lifetime.
As has been mentioned, the one aspect of salvation (stage
five) available to the obedient child of God is a temporal
blessing that incorporates gospel conversion unto
discipleship in the Lord’s church, and this aspect of
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Salvation
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salvation can be lost through backsliding in rebellion
against God. Primitive Baptists would call this aspect
(stage five) of one’s deliverance conditional time
“salvation.” Conditional time “salvation” resolves the
paradox between God’s sovereign grace in eternal
salvation (assures heaven for the elect) and man’s will
made free by regeneration as exercised in obeying (or not
obeying) the gospel that affects the person’s quality of life
and length of life.
Elder Harold Hunt wrote an excellent little book titled I
Have Set Before You Life and Death. He opens with a
speech God gave Moses to deliver to the children of Israel
before they possessed the Promised Land. The Promised
Land was a picture (or type) of the Lord’s church in our
day. After the gospel has been preached to God’s people,
the New Testament preacher should then read to them
(possible future church members) this same speech,
because it applies as much today as it did in the day of
Moses. Please see the conditional time “salvation” God is
offering His people (Israel or us) available by obedience:
• Deuteronomy 30:15-19 “See, I have set before thee
this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I
command thee this day to love the LORD thy God,
to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments
and his statutes and his judgments, that thou
mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God
shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to
possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou
wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship
other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you
this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall
not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou
passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call
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heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing
and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou
and thy seed may live:”
This is a warning by God to His people commanding them
to obey His Laws and thereby choose life, which means
the abundant life mentioned by Jesus in John 10:10 “I am
come that they have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly,” or the life (free of destruction) as noted in
Matthew 7:13-14:
• “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat: Because
strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
If we defile our bodies by committing sinful acts, God will
destroy us (physical death): 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know
ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of
God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God,
him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which
temple ye are.”
The failure to be obedient means suffering in this life and
death (not eternal damnation) as we are also warned in
Hebrews 10:26-31. Hebrews 10:31 says “It is a fearful
thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” This is advice
we should heed.
Section II
Three Essential Facts
61
Section II
Three Essential Facts
Elder Sonny Pyles preached a sermon some time ago
entitled “Three Essential Facts.” The four chapters in this
section are based on this sermon. The three essential facts
as given under chapters V, VI and VII are 1) Cause and
Effect (belief in Christ is the effect of eternal life and never
the cause), 2) Multiple Salvations (there is more than one
salvation taught in the Bible), and 3) Kingdom Bible Verses
(kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, and kingdom of His
dear Son). The idea for the last chapter in this section,
Chapter VIII, entitled How Primitive Baptist Beliefs Differ, is
also based on the above sermon by Elder Sonny Pyles.
Elder Pyles stated something to the effect that if one of
God’s children could understand even one or two of these
principles, then he was a long way down the road of
understanding the gospel and what the Lord has done for
him. These three things described as three essential facts
alerts one to notice how words and phrases are used in the
Bible. Also, some words are used to describe more than
one thing, or more than one aspect of something. A child of
God must always notice closely the grammar and context
when studying the Bible, and be sure to let the Bible be the
dictionary for defining terms. As 1 Corinthians 2:13 states,
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s
wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
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Chapter V
Cause and Effect
This is the first of the three essential facts we must
understand, if we are to understand what Jesus has done
for us. This principle applies if we falsely attempt to prove
that our belief in Christ is the cause of eternal life. The
Bible clearly teaches that our belief that Jesus is the Son of
God is evidence that we are already a child of God.
Belief in Christ cannot be both the cause as well as the
effect of eternal life. It must be either one or the other. For
real world examples of cause and effect, consider a person
that has high fever. A medical doctor would say the fever is
an effect or evidence of some sickness. The doctor would
then look for the cause of this problem. The doctor would
never consider the fever to be the cause of the sickness. It
is impossible for something to be both the cause as well as
the effect of an occurrence.
Let’s consider another real world example. Imagine that an
electric lamp does not work. The fact that the lamp does
not work is the symptom or effect that points you back to
the cause of the problem. The cause may be a burned out
light bulb, faulty wiring, a popped circuit breaker, etc. You
could not say that the lack of light is the cause of the
problem. No light when the lamp is turned on is the effect.
We should take the time now to prove with Bible verses
that our belief is always the effect or evidence of eternal
life. Our belief cannot possibly be both the cause (and a
condition that must be met) as well as the effect or
evidence. Consider the following:
Chapter V
Cause and Effect
63
• 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him
that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
Our belief is evidence that eternal life already exists.
• John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent
me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
• John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
• Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they
were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as
many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
Our faith is listed as one of the nine “fruit of the Spirit”
given in the following verse:
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law.”
The fruit of an apple tree is an apple. First there must be
the apple tree, and then later the tree produces the apple
as fruit. In the same way a person must first be born of the
Spirit, then this person will posses the fruit of the
Spirit…the seventh fruit listed being faith. A person could
not exercise his faith (which he does not have) by believing
that Jesus is the Christ until after he has been born of the
Spirit of God and received faith as the fruit of the Spirit.
If someone were to say that all people have a little faith,
one must then point out that the Bible clearly states all
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people do not have faith. The Bible verse which says
exactly that is as follows:
• 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 “Finally, brethren, pray for us,
that the word of the Lord may have free course, and
be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may
be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men:
for all men have not faith.”
For this reason the gospel is delivered by a child of God
who has faith to other of God’s children who also have
faith. The gospel cannot be delivered from those who have
faith to those who are without faith. Notice what is stated
by Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God
revealed from faith to faith:” In others words the gospel is
the power of God only to regenerate children of God who
have faith. 1 Corinthians 1:18 also says exactly that, as
follows: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that
perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the
power of God.”
Finally, there is a problem with the theory that believing in
Jesus Christ as the Son of God is something a person
must do to obtain eternal life. I would question why Jesus
made the following statements in the gospel of John:
• John 10:25-28 “Jesus answered them, I told you,
and ye believed not: the works that I do in my
Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye
believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I
said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know
them, and they follow me: And I give unto them
eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall
any man pluck them out of my hand.”
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• John 8:46-47 “Which of you convinceth me of sin?
And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He
that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore
hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
Jesus clearly states to His audience that they cannot hear
or believe because they are not God’s children. It is not a
matter of their decision for Christ. The problem is they
have no spiritual life.
These people addressed by Jesus do not have the ability
to hear spiritual matters. This principle is also proven by
the following verse:
• 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned.” (a natural
man is unregenerate)
Conclusion
It should be very clear from the above that our belief that
Jesus is the Christ is evidence we are already a child of
God. It is the “effect” of being already born again. It cannot
be something we must try to do so as to obtain eternal life.
It is impossible for something to be both the cause of an
occurrence as well as being the effect and evidence.
Further we also proved the unregenerate cannot hear,
understand or believe spiritual things, so how could they
believe Jesus is the Christ? Life must come first, and then
action is possible. Regeneration by God gives spiritual life,
and then obedience to gospel commands offers the
possibility of a blessing to the child of God to be enjoyed
during his lifetime.
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Chapter VI
Multiple Salvations
The purpose of this chapter is to consider how the Bible
uses “save,” “saved” or “salvation” to mean several
different things. This is the second essential fact taught by
Elder Sonny Pyles in his sermon entitled Three Essential
Facts.
Too often, the Bible believer assumes that the word “save”
means only saved eternally, which is not the case. When
one becomes aware of the different ways the Bible uses
this word, he is more likely to consider the context and
grammar, as well as comparisons with other verses, and
not jump to hasty conclusions. We are told to “Study to
show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2
Timothy 2:15)
One of the most important principles of Bible study is to
“rightly divide” the scripture. The Bible contains examples
in which the meaning of the word “save” is obvious. For
two simple examples, notice the meaning of “save” in the
following:
• 2 Corinthians 11:24 “Of the Jews five times received I
forty stripes save one.” Paul obviously means he
received forty stripes except (or less) one, for a total of
thirty-nine stripes.
• Matthew 19:11 “But he said unto them, All men cannot
receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.”
Obviously “save” in this verse means “except.”
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The above verses could not be confused with saved
eternally; however, they show that one should at least
pause briefly to consider other possible definitions when
the meaning is not so obvious.
Eternal Salvation
To begin our study, let’s first look at verses that teach
eternal salvation. Very little, if any, disagreement should
exist as to their meaning. Notice that these verses clearly
state that the sinner has nothing to do with his eternal
salvation. Eternal salvation is totally a work performed by
God, alone and unaided. This fact is most important to
remember. Consider the following:
• 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with
an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
• Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not
of works, lest any man should boast.”
• Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou
shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people
from their sins.” This verse does not say Jesus will try
to save His people if they will only cooperate. It just
says He shall save His people from their sins.
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Notice the prayer Jesus prays to the Father just before He
is crucified. John 17:1-2 “These words spake Jesus, and
lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is
come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should
give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” Jesus
has power over all flesh, and this verse says He gives
eternal life to as many as the Father gave Him to save. As
many as means not one more or not one less. Apparently,
Jesus did not just make a way of salvation if the sinner
would accept Him as their personal saviour, but that He
actually saved eternally every one the Father gave Him to
save, without the loss of even one. John 6:37-39 quoted
below is also very strong on this point. Jesus saved
everyone chosen by the Father as declared in Ephesians
1:4: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love:”
As noted above, Jesus Christ saves all those chosen
before the foundation of the world by the Father, and He
saves them eternally without the loss of one. This fact is
also clearly stated in John 6:37-39, as follows:
• John 6:37-39 “All that the Father giveth me shall come
to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast
out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own
will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the
Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he
hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it
up again at the last day.”
Before we begin to look at other “save” Bible verses,
remember how clearly the language used above teaches
that eternal salvation is totally the work of God, and that
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our personal failures in this life do not hinder God from
accomplishing His purpose.
Salvation from physical danger
The following Bible verses deal with physical dangers
which could result in physical suffering and physical death.
No one would misunderstand these verses and think
eternal salvation is the subject. Notice how these Bible
verses with save or saved mean a timely deliverance from
a timely danger:
• Exodus 14:28-30 “And the waters returned, and
covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the
host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them;
there remained not so much as one of them. But the
children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of
the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their
right hand, and on their left. Thus the LORD saved
Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and
Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.”
The Lord saved the children of Israel that day from
physical death at the hands of the Egyptians. No one
would make the mistake of thinking this verse had
anything to do with eternal salvation. “Saved” in this
verse means a timely deliverance from a timely danger.
• Acts 27:31 “Paul said to the centurion and to the
soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be
saved.” Paul obviously means saved from physical
death due to drowning. Once again, “saved” in this
verse means a timely deliverance from a timely danger.
• Matthew 14:29-30 “And he said, Come. And when
Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the
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water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind
boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he
cried, saying, Lord, save me.” Peter was asking Jesus
to save him from drowning; he was not asking Jesus to
save him eternally. Peter was asking for a timely
deliverance from a timely danger.
• 1 Timothy 2:15 “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in
childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and
holiness with sobriety.” Everyone would agree that
saved in this verse does not mean saved eternally. The
verse means a timely deliverance from a timely danger.
After considering the above Bible verses, one should have
no problem understanding the correct meaning of the word
“save” or “saved.”
Time Salvation
The term “time salvation” or “temporal salvation” is not
found in scripture. “Time salvation” describes salvation “in
time,” or salvation in this present world. This salvation is
also a timely deliverance from a timely danger. This timely
deliverance is a salvation from physical suffering and
possible physical death from the chastening rod of God
against His disobedient children, as opposed to eternal
suffering in hell (called the second death). For a good
scripture reference, consider the following:
• 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall
God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which
temple ye are.” (Also Hebrews 10:26-31)
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Now, if the reader will refer to Chapter X, entitled Total
depravity beginning on page 118, we will see that the
spiritually dead sinner can neither hear nor understand
things of God, and their carnal mind is enmity against God.
In this condition, the unregenerate must have a saviour
that does everything, because the dead can do nothing for
themselves. Only God can quicken the dead, as given in
Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were
dead in trespasses and sins:”
Now let’s get a little more complicated. Not everyone
agrees on the meaning of the following Bible verses. Even
so, unless the Bible has contradictions (and we know that it
does not) then these verses cannot refer to eternal
salvation, but must be a timely deliverance from a timely
danger for God’s born again children. In other words, they
must have reference to time or temporal “salvation,”
available to an obedient disciple of Christ.
• 1 Timothy 4:16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the
doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt
both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” Surely Paul
believes Timothy is already saved eternally. Surely he
does not think Timothy could save himself and those
that hear him eternally by taking “heed unto thyself, and
unto the doctrine, etc.” or he would be preaching a
works salvation about which Timothy and those that
hear him could boast. As Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by
grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast.” Also Titus 3:5 says the same, as
follows: “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost.” In returning to, 1 Timothy 4:16, obviously Paul
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meant that if Timothy takes heed to the doctrine and
continued in it, he could save himself and those that
hear him from the untoward generation of that day.
Peter preaches this same salvation in Acts 2:38-40,
which deals with God’s born again children following
Christ as a disciple. Not all of God’s people will agree to
be a disciple. Those who will not follow Christ as His
disciple will never lose eternal salvation, but their
disobedience will result in their suffering chastisement
in this life, as in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Hebrews 10:26-
31 and 12:5-11. Since chastisement could result in not
only physical suffering, but also physical death, one
could say the salvation called for by 1 Timothy 4:16 is a
“timely deliverance from a timely danger” or “time
salvation.”
• 1 Peter 3:20-21 “Which sometime were disobedient,
when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days
of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few,
that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure
whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not
the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer
of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection
of Jesus Christ:” In what sense did water save Noah
and his family? Also, this verse says that baptism now
saves us in the same way that the water (floodwaters)
saved Noah and his family. We remember how wicked
man was in the days of Noah, as Genesis 6:5 “And God
saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart
was only evil continually.” Also much violence existed,
as Genesis 6:13 “And God said unto Noah, The end of
all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with
violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them
with the earth.” Returning to 1 Peter 3:20-21, the only
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logical meaning for how water (the floodwaters) saved
Noah and his family, is that it saved them from the
“wickedness “ and “violence” of that time. It was a “time
salvation.” Noah and his family were saved by
floodwaters from the untoward (unruly) generation of
that day. This salvation is compared to how we are now
saved by baptism. To prove this fact more clearly, see
Acts 2:38, 40: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and
be baptized….” Now in verse 40 we have “And with
many other words did he testify and exhort, saying,
Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”
Obedience to the gospel and baptism of a believer
saves one, but the salvation is not eternal. Rather, it is
a salvation from the wicked untoward generation in
which we live. The same principle applicable in the
days of Peter (Acts 2:40) or in the days of Noah (1
Peter 3:20-21) is applicable today. The one who is to
be saved through discipleship needs “good works”.
• Mark 16:15-16 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned.” We just learned
above that baptism saves one “from this untoward
generation” (Acts 2:40), which is a salvation in this life
for a born again child of God. For further proof on this
verse, notice that “every creature” refers to a born
again person. When referring to a person, creature is
defined by the Bible as in 2 Corinthians 5:17, which
states the following: “Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.” Also, we know a
believer is someone that is already saved eternally, as
1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God:” We also learn that if this creature
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(born again person) rejects the gospel message in
unbelief and refuses to be baptized, then he will be
damned (suffer chastisement, not eternal damnation)
as Luke 12:47 “And that servant, which knew his lord's
will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to
his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” From this
verse we should see that Mark 16:15-16 offers a timely
deliverance from a timely danger, or time “salvation.”
• Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have
always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now
much more in my absence, work out your own salvation
with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in
you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” This
verse refers to a “works salvation,” so it cannot mean
eternal salvation based on the Bible verses quoted
earlier. “Fear and trembling” reminds one that God
chastens His rebellious and disobedient children.
Remember the Corinthian brethren who were guilty of
taking the communion service unworthily, as 1
Corinthians 11:28, 30 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat
this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily,
shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” The
30th verse says “For this cause many are weak and
sickly among you, and many sleep.” Disobedience cost
many their health and some their life. God’s children
who possess faith need to demonstrate “good works.”
As James 2:20 says “But wilt thou know, O vain man,
that faith without works is dead?” Good works can
never produce eternal salvation, but for an obedient
child of God, discipleship yields comfort and happiness.
This salvation offers a timely deliverance from a timely
danger, in other words, time “salvation.”
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• Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the
name of the Lord shall be saved.” Notice the action
needed by the person in order that he receive salvation.
As above, this verse refers to a “works salvation,” so it
must mean a salvation from “this untoward generation”
as preached by Peter in Acts 2:38-40. This salvation is
gained by the obedient child of God when he repents of
his sins (Acts 3:19), confesses Christ (Romans 10:9),
and as a believer, submits to baptism. Notice that the
10th Chapter of Romans is addressed to God’s born
again children. It begins as follows: Romans 10:1
“Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for
Israel is, that they might be saved.” Brethren is defined
by Hebrews 3:1 “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of
the heavenly calling…” Romans 10:2 says, “…they
have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”
The unregenerate do not have a zeal of God because
their “carnal mind is enmity against God.” (Romans 8:7)
Romans 10:1 says “that they might be saved.” This
salvation is conditionally based on works that will later
be explained, such as to confess Christ as saviour in
the 9th verse. To confess Christ is not the same as to
accept Christ. No verse in the Bible says we should
accept Christ. Not one. Ephesians 1:6 says “To the
praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made
us accepted in the beloved.” God made us accepted,
not the opposite, where we accept Christ. The
unregenerate hate God, their “carnal mind is enmity
against God” (Romans 8:7).
From the Bible verses quoted above, one might say they
speak of a salvation that is in addition to eternal glory.
Another verse states this fact exactly, as follows:
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• 2 Timothy 2:10 “Therefore I endure all things for the
elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation
which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” The elect
are God’s children, chosen by the Father as stated in
Ephesians 1:4. Paul endures all things with the hope
they may also obtain something in addition to eternal
glory, and that something is “the salvation, which is in
Christ Jesus,” a salvation from this “untoward
generation” (Acts 2:40).
Another verse that says the gospel saves one of God’s
children who are already saved eternally, is as follows:
• 1 Corinthians 1:21 “For after that in the wisdom of God
the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by
the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
We remember that someone who believes that Jesus is
the Christ, is already saved eternally. This fact is stated
in 1 John 5:1 as follows: “Whosoever believeth that
Jesus is the Christ is born of God:” It is also clearly
stated in John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He
that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” This
salvation must be a salvation from this untoward
generation, as Acts 2:40. Therefore, preaching the
gospel only benefits those who are already saved
eternally. Actually, 1 Corinthians 1:18 states this fact,
as follows: “For the preaching of the cross is to them
that perish (unregenerate) foolishness; but unto us
which are saved (eternally) it is the power of God.”
Another verse that is related to this subject is not always
understood properly, in my opinion. Consider the following:
• Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide
is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to
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destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” If this
verse refers to eternal salvation and eternal destruction,
then it would support a works salvation. It must have
reference to “a timely deliverance from a timely
danger.” This advice about how we should conduct
ourselves during our lifetime must offer us time
“salvation.” The advice offers us a timely deliverance
from timely dangers.
Conclusion
Hopefully, this chapter has created enough interest in the
words “save,” “saved” and “salvation,” so that the reader
will always examine more closely how the Bible uses these
words before jumping to a hasty conclusion as to their
actual meaning.
While there are many deep subjects in the Bible that are
difficult to understand, salvation should be straightforward
and simple for God’s children. The sovereignty of God
verses in Romans 9 do not conflict with the responsibility of
man verses given in Romans 10. His people can rejoice
that eternal salvation is totally in God’s hands, and the
gospel is sent to His elect children offering a salvation from
this “untoward generation” (Acts 2:40), free of the
chastening rod of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Hebrews
10:26-31 and 12:5-11), in fellowship with Christ (Revelation
3:20-22), in His church. This is called conditional time
“salvation.” It is gospel conversion unto discipleship in the
Lord’s church for blessings in this lifetime.
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Chapter VII
”Kingdom” Bible Verses
This chapter will explore the meaning of verses that
contain the expression “kingdom of God,” “kingdom of
heaven,” or “kingdom of His dear Son.” This is the third
essential fact taught in the sermon by Elder Sonny Pyles
entitled Three Essential Facts.
As Elder Pyles stated, if one assumes that in every case
these terms have reference to the eternal heaven, then this
assumption will lead to endless confusion. In the same
way, if one assumes that in every case they have
reference to the Lord’s church, then this assumption is also
wrong. He stated that the Bible uses these expressions in
five different senses. In the above mentioned sermon,
Elder Pyles said he would only deal with three of the five
senses. In the same way, this chapter will also attempt to
deal with only three of the five senses.
To begin the study, and better appreciate the problem, let’s
compare a number of different Bible verses that appear at
first to contradict each other. First, let’s notice the following
two Bible verses:
• Luke 17:20 “And when he was demanded of the
Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he
answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh
not with observation:”
• John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God.”
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Further explanation is needed regarding the kingdom of
God that comes without observation, and the kingdom of
God that can only be seen if one is born again.
Now let’s compare two other verses, as follows:
• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power
of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of
his dear Son:”
• Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John:
since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and
every man presseth into it.”
Obviously the kingdom one is translated into is somewhat
different than the kingdom into which you must press. We
remember the Bible verse concerning Enoch, as follows:
• Hebrews 11:5 “By faith Enoch was translated that he
should not see death; and was not found, because God
had translated him: for before his translation he had this
testimony, that he pleased God.”
Enoch did not have to perform any action when God
translated him into heaven. In the same way, the person
being translated into the kingdom of His dear Son is
passive, and does no work such as “pressing” into this
kingdom. However, Luke 16:16 refers to the kingdom of
God being preached, and “every man presseth into it.” He
presses against the world, the flesh and the devil.
Obviously, these two verses (Colossians 1:13 and Luke
16:16) are not referring to exactly the same thing.
Finally, consider two more aspects of the kingdom that
seem to be at odds with each other:
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• Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist
until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and
the violent take it by force.”
• John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my
servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the
Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Notice that in Matthew 11:12 quoted above, the kingdom of
heaven can suffer violence…or can be abused by the
world. History is filled with examples of God’s church and
its members being persecuted. However, when Pilate
asked Jesus in John 18:33 “Art thou the King of the Jews?”
Jesus stated in John 18:36 (quoted above) that if His
kingdom were of this world, then His servants would fight.
Obviously the kingdom that can suffer violence in this
world is not the same aspect of the kingdom that Jesus
told Pilate was “not of this world.”
As Elder Sonny Pyles explains further, if you try to
compare these kingdom verses side by side, they will
never make sense. The above examples should make this
point clear. He suggested the following analogy to gain a
better understanding. Consider brother Sonny is walking
down a street in Paris, France. If someone approaching
him would ask if he was from North America, he could
answer yes. If another person would ask if he was from the
United States, he could also answer yes. Finally, if a third
person would ask if he was from Texas, he could again
answer yes. In each geographic location, the smaller is
contained in the larger, so he is truthful in answering yes to
each question. This principle can also apply to the various
kingdom verses.
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Kingdom of God = Kingdom of heaven
The terms “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” are
two names for the same thing. The mother country of this
kingdom is heaven, and God is the King. The expressions
are used interchangeably in the gospels. To prove this fact,
consider the following parallel verses in Matthew and Mark:
• Matthew 4:12, 17 “Now when Jesus had heard that
John was cast into prison, he departed into
Galilee;……. From that time Jesus began to preach,
and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand.”
• Mark 1:14 “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus
came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom
of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the
kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the
gospel.”
Further, both terms are used together in two succeeding
verses:
• Matthew 19:23-24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter
into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It
is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Eternal Kingdom
We will first deal with the kingdom that is based in heaven.
It is the mother country, so to speak. (The mother country
would be North America in the analogy given by Elder
Sonny Pyles.)
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Before the crucifixion of Jesus, Pilate asked Jesus if He
was King of the Jews. Jesus answered as follows:
• John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my
servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the
Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Obviously, Jesus is referring to the eternal kingdom that is
in heaven. Another example of verses that refer to the
kingdom of God as being the eternal kingdom is as follows:
• I Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh
and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither
doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you
a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead
shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
As stated above, this kingdom is based in heaven, and
God is the king. However, many members of this kingdom
are in this present world. They are strangers and pilgrims
from a far country, as in the following verse:
• Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having
received the promises, but having seen them afar off,
and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the
earth.”
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Regenerate elect of God
Next, we will deal with a very large group of people in this
present world who are the elect of God, as described
below: (In the analogy, this is the United States.)
• Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love:”
The above elect individuals will be given spiritual life by
regeneration as described below:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
These individuals have been given spiritual life:
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were
dead in trespasses and sins:”
All of the above actions have been done by God alone
without any effort being performed by the individuals
involved, since the dead can do nothing for themselves.
You might say these individuals have been translated into
the kingdom of His dear Son, as follows:
• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power
of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of
his dear Son:”
This particular aspect of the kingdom would come without
observation, as Jesus stated. This kingdom is within the
regenerate child of God.
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• Luke 17:20-21 “And when he was demanded of the
Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he
answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh
not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or,
lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
I would explain the above by saying the Pharisees Jesus is
speaking to in Luke 17:20 must have been unregenerate.
In this state these Pharisees cannot hear spiritual things:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
The unregenerate cannot understand spiritual things:
• I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.”
The unregenerate cannot believe:
• John 10:26-28 “But ye believe not, because ye are not
of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give
unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
In this condition, they cannot see, or observe, the kingdom
of God, the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of His dear
son. To the unregenerate human world, the Lord’s church
and preaching of the cross is only foolishness:
• I Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is
to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which
are saved it is the power of God.”
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Further, Jesus says this kingdom of God is within you;
therefore, it cannot be seen by human eyes. Consider the
following verse that states the Spirit of God dwells within
the regenerate child of God whose body is called a temple:
• Corinthians I 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall
God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which
temple ye are.”
The unregenerate human world could never see the
kingdom of God described above concerning regenerate
children of God. The kingdom of God is within them as is
also stated above in Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say,
Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is
within you.”
The Lord’s church
Finally, we will deal with the smallest group of people, the
Lord’s church. The church consists of God’s born again
children who, through their obedience to gospel
commands, are disciples of Christ. (In the analogy, being a
disciple of Christ is likened to being a citizen of Texas.)
The Lord’s church is referred to as the kingdom in many
Bible verses. The Lord’s church is the smallest kingdom
group, and is referred to as only a “little flock,” as the
following:
• Luke 12:32 “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
God’s born again children must press into this kingdom
actively, as follows:
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• Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John:
since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and
every man presseth into it.”
John the Baptist proclaimed this kingdom, as follows:
• Matthew 3:1-2 “In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying,
Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus preached this same message:
• Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach,
and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand.”
To demonstrate that the church and the kingdom of
heaven as given above are one and the same, notice that
Jesus refers to both as if they are the same. Consider
these verses:
• Matthew 16:18-19 “And I say also unto thee, That thou
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will
give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and
whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in
heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall
be loosed in heaven.”
The Lord’s church is the kingdom of heaven that is
persecuted, or suffers violence, as follows:
• Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the Baptist
until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and
the violent take it by force.”
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In order for a person to see the kingdom of God, or that
aspect which is the Lord’s church, then it is necessary that
this person already be born again. Jesus confirms this fact
to Nicodemus as follows:
• John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God.”
In this state of possessing spiritual life, the child of God
now is able to see the much smaller aspect of the kingdom
of God which is the Lord’s church, if they are ever blessed
to hear the gospel preached. After hearing the gospel, they
may or may not choose to press into the Kingdom of God:
• Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John:
since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and
every man presseth into it.”
For a child of God to “press into the kingdom of God,” or
church, they must repent of their sins:
• Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that
your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”
They must confess Christ (notice the verse does not say
“accept” Christ) as their saviour:
• Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved.”
As a believer, the child of God must submit to baptism:
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• Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
If the child of God does not “press into the kingdom,” in the
church, he will miss receiving the salvation “from this
untoward generation” as preached by Peter in Acts:
• Acts 2:38-40 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the
gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and
to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as
many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many
other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save
yourselves from this untoward generation.”
If these children of God do not “press into the kingdom,” as
outlined above, they are still regenerate children of God.
Their rebellion will be punished by God in this life as stated
in Mark 16:16 above…”but he that believeth not shall be
damned.” Other excellent verses on damnation in this life
(chastisement) are given in Hebrews as follows:
• Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain
fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,
which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised
Moses' law died without mercy under two or three
witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose
ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under
foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the
covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing,
and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we
know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto
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me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The
Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall
into the hands of the living God.”
• Hebrews 12:5-11 “And ye have forgotten the
exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children,
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the
Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son
whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God
dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom
the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without
chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye
bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had
fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave
them reverence: shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they
verily for a few days chastened us after their own
pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be
partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the
present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
As stated above, many born again people who are
regenerate, for one reason or another, have not “pressed
into the kingdom” by obeying the gospel message. Many
reasons exist as to why only a few of God’s people are in
the Lord’s church. They may have died in infancy or at a
young age. They may have a mental handicap. They may
not have been blessed to ever hear the gospel message
preached. Or finally, they may have heard the gospel
preached, but have not wanted to give up some of the
“pleasures” of this world. As a result, many born again
people are not in the Lord’s church. They are sons of God,
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but they are not disciples of Christ. They are regenerate,
but they are not fully converted.
Those individuals who are blessed to be in the Lord’s
church, (kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God, as it is
called), come to realize that they are out of place in the
world. They love the gospel and they love the Lord’s
people. They feel as if they are strangers in a far country.
Notice again this Bible verse quoted earlier:
• Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having
received the promises, but having seen them afar off,
and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the
earth.”
The above kingdom described by the various verses given
above is sometimes referred to as the “visible “ church.
Kingdom Prophecy
Prophecy in the Old Testament concerning the Kingdom of
God can be found in 2 Samuel as follows:
• 2 Samuel 7:12 “And when thy days be fulfilled, and
thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed
after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I
will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for
my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom
for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If
he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of
men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”
The house noted above is the heart of each “born again”
person. As Luke 17:21 says, “for behold, the kingdom of
God in within you,” as well as, I Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye
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not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of
God dwelleth in you?”
This kingdom was declared and established at the time of
the apostles. To prove this fact, consider the sermon
preached by Peter “when the day of Pentecost was fully
come,” in the second chapter of Acts:
• Acts 2:29-35 “Men and brethren, let me freely speak
unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead
and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had
sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins,
according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on
his throne; He seeing this before spake of the
resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell,
neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath
God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore
being by the right hand of God exalted, and having
received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost,
he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For
David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith
himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my
right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.”
The kingdom was declared established at the time of the
resurrection of Christ (see above), when David was still in
the grave. Contrary to the premillinial belief, Christ will not
be brought back at the “second coming” to set up the
kingdom. At the second coming of Christ, both the just and
the unjust will be raised, and those which are alive will be
caught up together, and Christ will deliver up the Kingdom
to the Father. Consider:
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• I Corinthians 15:24 “Then cometh the end, when he
shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the
Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all
authority and power.”
At this time Jesus has been reigning on the throne of David
for about 2,000 years. The one thousand year reign
spoken of in Revelation 20:2-5 is a large precise number
and is used in the same sense as “thousand” spoken of in
Psalms 50:10, Psalms 105:8 and Deuteronomy 7:9.
Let’s look at a second analogy with the hope of better
understanding what has been presented above. Consider
that the church of Jesus Christ is an embassy in a foreign
land (the world). The embassy property in the foreign land
is owned by the mother country (heaven). The pastor
would compare somewhat with the ambassador of this
embassy. The one who rules the embassy is the president
of the mother country…in this case it is God the Son (our
Lord Jesus Christ) through the Holy Spirit. When a citizen
of the mother country is traveling in this foreign land (the
world) and visits the mother country embassy (the church),
he feels that he is back home. Even so, many of these
citizens of the mother country traveling in this foreign land
may never enter the embassy, yet they are all still citizens
of the mother country. Not all of God’s regenerate children
will be converted disciples of Christ, in His church.
As you consider the above comparison of the church being
an embassy in a foreign land, you then realize that the
Lord’s church actually offers the child of God a little taste of
heaven (the mother country) while still on earth. The
church member enjoys fellowship with Jesus Christ
Himself, as Jesus declared to the Laodicean church (this
verse is addressed to church members who are guilty of
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sins that could cast them out of the church…Revelation
3:15-19):
• Revelation 3:20-22 “Behold, I stand at the door, and
knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I
will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in
my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down
with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
The above verse was addressed to the Laodicean church,
not to dead alien unregenerate sinners, as some people
think. It was addressed to church members. Remember,
only God’s born again children can hear God’s words:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
To repeat, God’s church offers the child of God a small
taste of heaven on earth. In church, they have their “pure
mind” (2 Peter 3:1) stirred up, which is a mind that cannot
sin (1John 3:9). This “pure mind” is the earnest of our
inheritance (heaven is our inheritance) that is sealed by the
Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Children of God “labor and are heavy laden” (Matthew
11:28) until through obedience he presses into the
kingdom (Luke 16:16) to become disciples of Christ in His
church and finds rest for his soul. This “rest” one receives
(Matthew 11:28) in the church offers healing; the church is
a hospital for sinners. The church is the place where God’s
people can receive spiritual food through the preached
word, and as a result they can both grow and mature
spiritually. Notice this verse:
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• I Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk
of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
God has many children today that are still spiritual infants
that are suffering and do not know why. They need to heed
this warning given the children of Israel “as the Holy Ghost
saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your
hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in
the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:7). Discipleship in the church is
the only way God’s people will ever be truly happy in this
life on earth. No amount of material success and worldly
recognition can fill this need. Hopefully God’s children
today will understand this, and turn back to the Bible. A
Primitive Baptist would call this conditional time “salvation,”
because this deliverance is provided by God to be enjoyed
during this lifetime.
Conclusion
The kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven or kingdom of His
dear Son is wherever God is ruling. Whether it is in the
eternal heaven itself, in the heart of God’s born again
children, or finally, in His church that is the much smaller
group of God’s born again people who have been obedient
unto the gospel message and have become disciples of
Christ in His church...the kingdom is wherever God is
ruling.
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Chapter VIII
How Primitive Baptist Beliefs Differ
This chapter will attempt to show how the beliefs of
Primitive Baptists differ from the beliefs of other religious
orders. The fact that different religious denominations can
base their beliefs on the same New Testament Bible is
really surprising. Since they do, understanding Bible
doctrine that defines the basis for these differences is
extremely important.
As with the three previous chapters, the idea for this
subject was also obtained from the excellent sermon titled
Three Essential Facts by Elder Sonny Pyles of Graham,
Texas. As Elder Pyles stated during this sermon he was on
a radio talk show on one occasion, and was asked to give
a brief statement as to the essential difference between the
beliefs of Primitive Baptists and the beliefs of other
religious orders. His answer was a classic statement in my
opinion. To paraphrase, he said that those things that other
religious orders teach as the cause for spiritual life (being
born again), Primitive Baptist teach are the evidences that
show the individual is already born again.
Most religious orders take the position that to become one
of God’s born again children, one must first hear the
gospel preached, believe the message preached, and then
do other good works, depending on the particular religious
order. This position may sound good at first, but in light of
many straight forward Bible verses, it is just not supported
by scripture.
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Condition of a child of God
Those things that other religious orders believe one must
do to become a child of God are the things that only a born
again child of God has the ability and desire to do. God’s
children who are not yet disciples of Christ suffer from the
guilt of their sins and are described as follows:
• Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
God’s children feel the weight of their sinfulness, and are
torn in their desires (spiritual versus carnal) as expressed
by the Apostle Paul in the following verses:
• Romans 7:14-25 “For we know that the law is spiritual:
but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I
allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I
hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I
consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no
more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know
that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:
for to will is present with me; but how to perform that
which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do
not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do
that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that
dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do
good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of
God after the inward man: But I see another law in my
members, warring against the law of my mind, and
bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in
my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God
through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I
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myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law
of sin.”
The child of God is chastened by God for wrongdoing and
for his benefit. Notice the following scripture:
• Hebrews 12:5-11 “And ye have forgotten the
exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children,
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the
Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son
whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God
dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom
the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without
chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye
bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had
fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave
them reverence: shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they
verily for a few days chastened us after their own
pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be
partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the
present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Condition of the unregenerate
The eighth chapter of Romans, verse seven, portrays the
condition of the unregenerate man. This person hates God
and is not subject to the laws of God, as follows:
• Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be.”
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The unregenerate are perfectly described in Job 21 as
follows:
• Job 21:7-16 “Wherefore do the wicked live, become
old, yea, are mighty in power? Their seed is established
in their sight with them, and their offspring before their
eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod
of God upon them. Their bull gendereth, and faileth not;
their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf. They send
forth their little ones like a flock, and their children
dance. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at
the sound of the organ. They spend their days in
wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we
desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the
Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit
should we have, if we pray unto him? Lo, their good is
not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from
me.”
The unregenerate described above also cannot hear the
things of God as clearly given in the following verses:
• John 8:43-44 “Why do ye not understand my speech?
even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your
father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.
He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not
in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he
speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar,
and the father of it.”
Then a few verses later Jesus states:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
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Notice that Jesus did not tell these people to hear and
believe so they could become a child of God. He said the
opposite. Jesus said they did not hear and believe
because they were “not of God.” This distinction is very
important.
We should consider other Bible verses to determine if this
principle is supported in more than one place. Notice how
the unregenerate cannot understand spiritual things:
• I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.”
Notice that one’s ability, rather than his decision, is the
focal point of the verse. Unless a person is born again, he
cannot discern spiritual things.
Now let’s consider what Jesus told some unbelievers:
• John 10:26-30 “But ye believe not, because ye are not
of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give
unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My
Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no
man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I
and my Father are one.”
Notice that Jesus did not tell them to believe in Him so they
could become one of His sheep. Jesus said the opposite.
He said they did not believe because they were not one of
His sheep.
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Now let’s review what has been given above with simple
straightforward Bible verses. Please remember these
simple facts. If a person is not born again, his carnal mind
hates God and he is not subject to the law of God
(Romans 8:7). He does not suffer the chastening rod of
God. He does not desire the knowledge of God and His
ways, and sees no profit in serving or praying to Him (Job
21:7-16). The unregenerate person cannot hear God’s
words (John 8:43-47), he cannot understand the things of
the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:14), and he cannot
believe (John 10:26). Obviously the gospel is of no benefit
to this unregenerate person.
If the above is true, then a preacher would want to avoid
the unregenerate that have no faith in God and hate God.
Two verses confirm this expectation, as follows:
• 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 “Finally, brethren, pray for us,
that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be
glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be
delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all
men have not faith.”
• Romans 15:30-31 “Now I beseech you, brethren, for
the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the
Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to
God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do
not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have
for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;”
Apparently, Paul does not want to deliver the gospel
message to unbelievers who have no faith. The reason is
that the gospel message is revealed from faith to faith, as
given below:
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• Romans 1:17 “For therein is the righteousness of God
revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall
live by faith.”
If the gospel and gospel preaching are not for the
unregenerate person, then they must have another
purpose. In short, the gospel is for a born again child of
God to be converted to the glory of God by becoming a
disciple of Christ in His church. As stated in 1 Corinthians
1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish
foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of
God.” The gospel saves in time the eternally saved, as
also stated in 1 Corinthians 1:21, “…It pleased God by the
foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
Good works for conversion
A number of acts would come under the heading of good
works. Most other religious orders believe some or all of
these works are necessary if one is to become a child of
God. Primitive Baptists believe that if a person has the
desire to perform these good works, then this desire is
evidence the person is already born again and as a result
they desire to be obedient to gospel commands in order to
become a disciple of Christ. These good works are acts of
obedience by the child of God in conversion from a sinful
life to a Christian life. A number of good works are
demanded in scripture, as follows:
• Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that
your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”
• Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
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saved.” This is not for the unregenerate, as Jesus said
in John 10:26.
• Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
• Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the
mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living
sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your
reasonable service.”
Cause and effect
One important point that has already been mentioned in a
number of previous chapters by quoting Elder Sonny Pyles
is one’s belief that Jesus is the Christ cannot be both the
cause as well as the effect of eternal life. In the real world,
we always try to determine whether something is the cause
of a problem (or occurrence), or whether it is just the effect,
symptom, or evidence that points us back to the cause.
For a real world example of cause and effect, consider that
an electric lamp is broken. The symptom, or effect, is that
no light is produced when the lamp is turned on. The cause
may be a burned out bulb, faulty wiring, a circuit breaker
popped, etc. One could not say that the cause of the
problem is the lack of light from the lamp.
Many people use John 3:16 as a verse to demonstrate
how one is born again. A Primitive Baptist believes this
verse teaches eternal security for God’s children. Refer to
Chapter XVI beginning on page 195 for a more detailed
study of this Bible verse. Regardless, let’s briefly review
what this verse actually teaches us:
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• John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“Believeth” (as in “whosoever believeth”), based on the
actual grammar, means whosoever is in the state of
believing. In the Bible our “belief” is used primarily as an
evidence, or effect that has resulted from being already
born again. Consider the following:
• 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him
that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
• John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
heareth my word (John 8:47), and believeth on him
that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation; but is passed from death
unto life.”
• John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
• Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they
were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as
many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
Notice the fruit of the Spirit given in Galatians 5:22-23. A
person who is born again is indwelled by the Spirit of God.
Faith is a fruit that is produced by this indwelling as shown
in the following verse:
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
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faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law.”
Next, consider Bible verses that explain something about
our spiritual birth… or being born again. Jesus told
Nicodemus he must be born again (John 3:3 “Except a
man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,”).
This statement by Jesus does not imply any action for
Nicodemus to perform, since Jesus then explains in John
3:8 when this occurrence may take place as follows: “The
wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound
thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it
goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” No man
can control where or when the wind will blow (that is why
Jesus used it as an example), or, in the same way, where
or when the Holy Spirit will act in giving spiritual life. In
John 6:63, Jesus states: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the
flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”
Jesus also states in John 5:25: “Verily, verily, I say unto
you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall
hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall
live.” This voice is actually Jesus’ voice, through the Holy
Spirit, as when He called Lazarus from the grave in John
11:43. Man’s repeating the words of Jesus, is not what
leads one to become born again; rather, the actual voice of
Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit accomplishes this
purpose. Man is not involved in this action in any way,
since the unregenerate man is spiritually dead (Ephesians
2:1) and hates God (Romans 8:7). Ephesians 2:1 states,
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses
and sins.” The dead can do nothing for themselves.
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Another verse that shows God’s sovereignty in eternal
salvation is John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except
the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise
him up at the last day.” This principle is also stated by
Jesus in John 6:65: “And he said, Therefore said I unto
you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given
unto him of my Father.”
In addition, Jesus said in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me.” Those chosen by the Father
(Ephesians 1:4) are given (not offered) eternal life by
Jesus, as stated in John 17:2-3, “As thou hast given him
power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as
many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that
they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
whom thou hast sent.” Notice the limitation (to whom Jesus
will give eternal life) strongly expressed by Jesus in
praying for “as many as,” meaning not one more and not
one less. Eternal life is only for those God the Father gave
Jesus, as in John 6:37-39 “All that the Father giveth me
shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do
mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is
the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he
hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up
again at the last day.”
As stated above, belief in Christ is the evidence of spiritual
life. Many people today say the opposite. They say belief in
Christ is the cause of spiritual life. Something cannot be
both the cause as well as the effect of an occurrence. The
Bible primarily takes the position that belief is the effect.
This faith is a “fruit” of the Holy Sprit that dwells within
them.
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Conclusion
As Elder Sonny Pyles pointed out to the radio talk show
host, those things other religious orders teach as the cause
for spiritual life (being born again), Primitive Baptists teach
are the evidences that show the individual is already a
born again child of God. This belief is the primary
difference between Primitive Baptists and other religious
orders.
The above concept is an important key to unlock the true
meaning of the Bible. It provides proof that the Bible does
support the goals established for this book. Namely, that
God is sovereign in eternal salvation (regeneration) and
the religious practice of man is in no way involved. The
responsibility of man (through his religious practice) to be
obedient to God’s commandments (conversion unto
discipleship) only affects blessings the child of God may or
may not receive during this lifetime. Notice that not all of
God’s children are obedient to the gospel, or have heard
the gospel as infants that die young, the mentally afflicted
and those who live in remote parts of the world.
A person needs to be aware that regeneration is not the
same thing as conversion. The subject of Regeneration
versus Conversion is the title of Chapter XII, beginning on
page 139, and these terms will be dealt with in more detail
to provide further proof and support the goals established
for this book.
Hopefully the reader can now appreciate how the beliefs of
Primitive Baptists differ from those of other religious
orders.
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Time and Eternity Doctrines
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Section III
Time and Eternity Doctrines
This section contains nine chapters in which the reader
can see that there are many Bible verses where God has
made it very clear that eternal salvation is totally by a
sovereign God. Even so, while man’s religion does not
make eternal salvation effective, it is vital to the health,
length of life, and happiness of a child of God during his
lifetime, and so it is called conditional time “salvation.”
Chapter IX entitled “What the Gospel is not” proves that
God never intended the Bible and gospel preaching (one’s
religion) to be used to make eternal salvation effective.
When one fully understands Chapter X on Total Depravity,
then it will be obvious why the gospel and one’s religion
cannot be an agent to make eternal salvation effective.
Based on the total depravity of every human, if God was
not totally sovereign in saving His elect for heaven, then no
one would be saved eternally.
The remaining chapters will cover a number of different
subjects dealing with the consistency in the Bible of a
totally sovereign God who eternally saves His children.
These chapters also show how God always expects His
regenerate children to submit to and obey His
commandments during their lifetime. He holds His children
accountable regardless of whether they have heard the
gospel or not.
These chapters will deal with doctrines that involve both
“time” and “eternity.”
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Chapter IX
What the Gospel is not
The above chapters have attempted to show that the
eternal salvation of God’s elect children (Ephesians 1:4-6)
was settled by God before the foundation of the world and
is assured (Romans 8:28-31) without the use of the gospel.
The gospel and gospel preaching are involved with the
conversion to discipleship of the obedient child of God
during their lifetime. However, it is important to remember
that many of God’s children (saved eternally) are either not
obedient to the gospel or they may never hear the gospel
preached as in the case of infant deaths, those with mental
afflictions, and those in remote parts of the world.
While the above arguments presented in the previous
chapters do seem to be conclusive, there are still some
scripture references which appear to teach that God uses
the gospel (for man’s religious practice) as some type of
divine instrument infused with a God given power of its
own so as to achieve eternal salvation. Many of God’s
children believe the gospel must be coupled with the “work
of the cross,” in order to make the death, burial, and
resurrection of Jesus….effective unto eternal salvation.
In this chapter, we will examine what we believe are the
principle passages which appear to teach that God uses
the gospel and man’s religious practice as a “means” for
the child of God to obtain eternal salvation. We must
explain the meaning of each verse in light of all other
scripture on the subject. Every passage must be taken in
context, and the grammar taken exactly as written in the
AV 1611 King James Bible. This exercise is necessary
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before we can say the doctrine presented in previous
chapters fully supports the goals established for this book.
Notice: Most of the material which follows is found in the
booklet “Utility of the GOSPEL” by Elder Conrad
Jarrell…printed 1977.
Four problem verses for the doctrine presented
Consider the following scriptures that appear to teach that
God uses the gospel as a “means” in the spiritual birth.
• “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that
we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
(James 1:18)
• “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and
abideth for ever….And this is the word which by the
gospel is preached unto you.” (1Peter 1:23 and 25)
• “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and
sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents
of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
• “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ,
yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have
begotten you through the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 4:15)
The above verses may lead one to consider that a person
is “born again” by the preached word (or the gospel) even
though we have given compelling arguments to the
contrary. If we remember 2 Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first,
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that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private
interpretation”…we understand there are no contradictions
in the Bible. With this fact in mind, let us examine the
above four verses.
To begin, most of our problems are resolved if we
understand which “word” is under consideration in the
above scripture. As 2 Timothy 2:15 states, we should be
“…rightly dividing the word of truth.” Many words will have
more than one meaning.
Now, let us examine the word “word.” There are three
kinds of “word” used in the Bible…there is the written word,
the spoken word, and the living Word. Jesus Christ is the
living Word of God. If we can prove the above “word”
verses refer to Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and
not to the spoken word, or written word, then, to a great
degree, we will have been successful in reconciling these
verses.
The fact that Jesus Christ is the Word being referred to in
the following two verses is rarely disputed:
1. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three
are one.” (1 John 5:7)
2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. The same was in the
beginning with God. All things were made by him; and
without him was not anything made that was
made….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the
only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:1-3, 14)
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The following should also be obvious: “Even as they
delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were
eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word.” (Luke 1:2) One
cannot be an eyewitness of the written or spoken word, but
can be an eyewitness of the living Word. The word
eyewitness in the original Greek language was used to
mean a direct vision of deity…such as in Greek mythology,
a character claims he saw Zeus. Jesus was deity. Also, in
this context, “ministers of the Word”…would mean “body
servants” of the living Word…Jesus.
Comments on James 1:18
Using the above logic, James 1:18 is resolved, “…Of His
own will begat He us with the Word of Truth….” Jesus did
say, “…I am the way, the Truth, and the life….” John 14:6.
Jesus is the living Word of Truth. James 1:18 could be
quoted as follows: Of His own will begat He us by Jesus
Christ.
Comments on 1 Peter 1:23, and 25
The verses in 1 Peter can be resolved in the same way as
above. In verse 23, we have, “Being born again, not of
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word (Logos
in the original Greek language) of God, which liveth and
abideth forever.” How could a written or spoken word be
living? Jesus Christ does live and abide forever. Now, two
verses later, in verse 25, we have, “And this is the word
(rhema in Greek) which by the gospel is preached unto
you.” Since the word preached is a different Greek word,
this difference should make it clear we are born again by
the living Word, Jesus…and informed of this “good news”
by the gospel…the written word. This principle is plainly
stated as follows:
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• “Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling,
not according to our works, but according to His own
purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus
before the world began, But is now made manifest by
the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath
abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:9-10) Could
this principle be any clearer?
Only God can give life, without help from the dead alien
unregenerate sinner. After all, the spiritually dead are
dead. Ephesians 2:1 states, “And you hath He quickened,
who were dead in trespasses and sins…” This good news
is brought to light through the gospel.
Comments on Hebrews 4:12
The next bullet quotes Hebrews 4:12 which in part states
“…the Word of God is quick…,” or alive. The written word
cannot be alive. This “Word” must be the living Word of
God--Jesus Christ. Also, this verse says that the Word of
God is a “…discerner of the thoughts and intents of the
heart.” How could this be the written word? The living
Word…Jesus Christ…is a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart. Finally in Hebrews 4:14, we have final
proof as follows:
• “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is
passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us
hold fast our profession.” (Hebrews 4:14)
If one reads scripture in context and reads all the scripture
on the subject, there should be no problem in reconciling
any seeming contradiction.
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What the Gospel is not
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Comments on 1 Corinthians 4:15
The final verse above to consider states, “For though ye
have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not
many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you
through the gospel.” This verse seems to have the apostle
Paul claiming that he is their spiritual father. However, we
remember Jesus said in Matthew 23:9, “And call no man
your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is
in heaven.” Now, since Paul is an inspired apostle, he
could not say anything contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
Also, in Galatians 4:19, Paul appears to say he is a
spiritual mother. This verse states, “My little children, of
whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.”
We cannot believe that Paul thought he was spiritual father
to the Corinthians, then later tell the Galatians he was their
spiritual mother. The answer to this dilemma is found in the
verse before the one under consideration…1 Corinthians
4:14, which states, “I write not these things to shame you,
but as my beloved sons I warn you…” The apostle Paul
was using figurative language. He was the spiritual father
to the Corinthians in the same way that one would say
George Washington is the father of our country. No one in
the United States seriously considers this statement to
mean George Washington is their literal ancestor.
Summation of comments
Hopefully, the above explanation has proven through
scripture what the gospel is not. The gospel and gospel
preaching is not used in any way by God to assist man to
secure a place for the sinner in heaven. God is sovereign
and all powerful. He is not hindered in any way by weak
and sinful man. However, the gospel is most important for
the born again child of God during this life. The gospel
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makes conversion possible, offering the penitent sinner
fellowship with Jesus and salvation during this life from the
wicked world…or as Peter said in Acts 2:40, “…save
yourselves from this untoward generation.” We know we
cannot save ourselves for heaven.
Conclusion
If the above four verses are the most persuasive in the
Bible which appear to take the position that the gospel is
used by God to offer eternal salvation to the whole human
race (and it is my sincere understanding these are the best
on this subject)…then it must be obvious these verses
teach us something altogether different. The voice of Jesus
through the Holy Spirit, the living Word of God…and not
the gospel … calls to life (born again) the elect of God.
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice
of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they
are spirit, and they are life.”
God, alone and unaided, gives spiritual life (being born
again).
• “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the
sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and
whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the
Spirit.” (John 3:8) Man cannot control the wind…nor
can man control the Spirit of God.
To those He chose before the foundation of the world:
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• “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and
without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated
us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to
himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to
the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath
made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6) In
the above passage it states God makes us accepted in
Himself, not that we accept God. No Bible verse says
we accept Christ! Not even one! Where did this popular
misconception originate from?
God performs this directly without man’s assistance.
• “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the
flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)
….through the Spirit, by the voice of the living Word of
God….Jesus Christ.
• “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit,
and they are life.” (John 6:63)
The sovereign God of the universe, who created all things
in the universe, is also sovereign regarding who He will
have in heaven. The elect of God (Ephesians 1:4-6),
whether an unborn baby, the mentally handicapped, those
in remote parts of the world, or those who in rebellion
reject the gospel, every elect child of God is safe as
regards eternal salvation. This doctrine is predestination.
To better see God’s sovereignty and predestination,
consider the following verse:
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• “For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on who I will
have mercy, and I will have compassion on who I will
have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth,
nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth
mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16)
God has pre-determined the final eternal destination of His
elect children. He will not lose even one. Even so, God’s
born again children are responsible and held accountable
by God in this life for their own actions. Through the
providence of God, events may or may not be changed as
a result of prayer. Many examples in scripture prove this
fact. “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
availeth much.” (James 5:16)
God has provided the gospel for conversion, to call his
children to repent (Acts 3:19), in belief to confess Christ
(Romans 10:9), and be baptized (Mark 16:16)… so as to
enjoy the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Jesus called the Holy
Spirit the Comforter in John 14:26) in fellowship with Jesus
Christ through the Spirit. What a wonderful salvation for
God’s people while in this life!
Restated, in regeneration God gives His children a new
nature called “a new creature” in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new.” In 2 Corinthians 1:22, this new nature, or “new
creature,” is referred to as follows: “Who hath also sealed
us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” This
down payment (earnest) is referred to in Ephesians 1:14
as follows: “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the
redemption of the purchased possession…”
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What the Gospel is not
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The gospel is for conversion and makes it possible for
God’s obedient children to be added to His church (Acts
2:41) to enjoy the “earnest of our inheritance” by
experiencing a “little bit of heaven” (our inheritance) while
still on earth, by being in fellowship with Jesus Christ (as
Rev. 3:20-21), through the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Hopefully this chapter has shown what the gospel is not,
as well as, the purpose God actually intended for the
gospel. The gospel and our religious practice is for
conditional time “salvation.”
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Chapter X
Total Depravity
We will now consider the total depravity of every person
that resulted from the original sin of Adam. This was the
first of the five doctrines of grace as given in Chapter III.
The natural state of every human refers to their condition
as they were physically born into the world not being born
again. However, we should also remember some will never
be born again, while some will be born again before they
are physically born, as in the case of John the Baptist
(born again when his mother was six months pregnant).
We know that Adam violated the Law of God, which was
recorded in Genesis 2:16-17, as follows: “And the Lord
God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the
garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in
the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” In
the margin of many Bibles, it states that the Hebrew
language literally means, “dying thou shalt die.” Three
deaths will be suffered. Adam immediately suffered death
to fellowship with God. Next he began to physically die,
which ended 930 years after he was created. (Genesis 5:5)
And finally eternal damnation (known as the second death)
would have followed physical death, except for the grace of
God.
Death by sin
Notice the sin of Adam, as clearly stated in the Roman
letter, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the
world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all
men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12) As an aside,
for any Christian who believes the book of Romans is
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Total Depravity
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literally accurate, this person could not possibly believe in
evolution since the Bible states there was no death before
the sin of Adam. Evolution teaches that there are millions
of years of death before man “evolved.” Both cannot be
true. However, this subject is covered in Chapter XIX
Creation versus Evolution, beginning on page 223. Also, a
considerable number of books are available to the reader
on creation science.
To better understand the state of all human beings
because of the sin of Adam, consider the statements of
David in the book of Psalms.
• “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my
mother conceive me.” (Psalms 51:5)
• “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go
astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psalms
58:3) The age of accountability is not taught in
scripture. Genesis 8:21 states, “…the imagination of
man’s heart is evil from his youth….”
Apparently, the sin of Adam resulted in everyone being
physically born spiritually dead (unless God quickens them
with the spiritual birth, while in their mother’s womb, as
with John the Baptist, recorded in Luke 1:15, 41, 44). To
clearly see this particular occurrence (regeneration or
being born again), notice in Ephesians where the spiritual
birth is under consideration. In this case, a person was
dead in trespasses and sins, as follows:
• “And you hath he quickened; who were dead in
trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked
according to the course of this world, according to the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now
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worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom
also we all had our conversation in times past in the
lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of
the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath,
even as others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Notice above that a person not born again is by nature a
child of wrath. Only God can quicken, or give life. The
above verse states, “And you hath he quickened, who
were dead in trespasses and sins.” The dead are dead, not
even a “spark of life” is present. Death does not exist in
degrees as in dead, deader and deadest. The dead are
simply dead! The unregenerate (spiritually dead) hate God
(Romans 8:7) and love evil (John 3:19). The giving of life to
the dead is something that only God can do, and it occurs
for the elect of God at some age between conception and
death. This fact should be obvious. Those physically born
do not assist their natural parents or God with the process
of their physical birth. The spiritual birth is even more of a
miracle, since this spiritual life will live forever and is not
capable of committing sin, as follows: “Whosoever is born
of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him:
and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John
3:9) Refer to Romans 7:15-25 to see more on the two
natures (carnal and spiritual) of a born again person.
Foreknowledge
There are some people who think that God, who can see
the future, looked down through time to see who would
seek Him (even though we have shown above that the
spiritually dead cannot seek God). Based on this
misunderstood type of “foreknowledge,” God is supposed
to have elected for heaven, those who would seek Him. To
prove this position, several verses are used, such as
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Romans 8:29, 1 Peter 1:2, II Timothy 2:19, and I
Corinthians 8:3. The verse in Romans states, “For whom
he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed
to the image of his Son, etc.” (Romans 8:29) These verses
actually mean God “foreknew” those He chose from before
the foundation of the world, as follows: “According as he
hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and without blame before him in
love.” (Ephesians 1:4) Foreknowledge in the above verses
means these individuals were the objects of God’s love, as
a man “knows” his wife. God’s seeing into the future, does
not mean He knew who would accept Him in faith. Notice
the words of Jesus, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord,
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy
name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many
wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never
knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew
7:22-23) Jesus, as God manifest in flesh, knows
everything. He knew about these people. He knew these
wicked people were not the object of his love. The
“foreknowledge” of God simply is God “knowing” the elect
individuals He loved from before the foundation of the
world, as given in Ephesians 1:4, (quoted above).
Another problem exists with this line of reasoning, which
says since God can see the future; He has looked down
through time to see if any would seek after Him (even
though we have shown above that the dead cannot seek
God). The following is God’s statement on what He saw
when he looked down from heaven, through time.
• “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children
of men, to see if there were any that did understand,
and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all
together become filthy: there is none that doeth good,
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no not one.” (Psalms 14:2-3) God states no one will
seek after God. No one will “accept Him as their
personal saviour” unless they are already born again.
No verse in the Bible says that man accepts God. The
elect of God are, “made accepted in the beloved” as
stated in Ephesians 1:6.
Apparently, if a person is not born again, it is not possible
for him to please God. God chose His children from before
the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4) One might
question if God is unrighteous to hold this position. The
unborn have had no chance to exercise their “free will.”
Notice what scripture says on this subject.
• “For the children being not yet born, neither having
done any good or evil, that the purpose of God
according to election might stand, not of works, but of
him that calleth; It was said unto her, The elder shall
serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved,
but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is
there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he
saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have
mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have
compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of
him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
(Romans 9:11-16) Man’s will makes no difference! Only
God’s will matters, as follows: “Which were born, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man,
but of God.” (John 1:13) This verse could not be
clearer!
Unregenerate man cannot understand, hear or believe
Apparently, the natural man (not born again) will not seek
after God. This condition is further confirmed, as follows:
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• “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually
discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14) Spiritual discernment is
not a matter of their decision.
The above verse states the natural man (not born again)
cannot understand spiritual things. Also, we have seen as
quoted above that the natural man will not seek after God.
However, some people still contend that if given the
chance, some will accept Christ if they hear the gospel
(good news of Christ) and believe what is preached. Jesus
states otherwise,
• “Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because
ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil,
and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John 8:43-44)
There is a huge difference between “cannot” and “will
not” hear. Clearly, Jesus is speaking to people who are
not born again (not born of the Spirit of God). Jesus
continues speaking to these unregenerate people,
“Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the
truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God
heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not,
because ye are not of God.” (John 8:46-47) Jesus says
they do not have the ability. It is not a matter of their
decision.
• “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not:
the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear
witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not
of my sheep, as I said unto you.” (John 10:25-26) Jesus
says they do not have the ability. It is not a matter of
their decision.
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From the above, we hear from the mouth of Jesus why the
unregenerate (not born again) do not understand and
believe Him. They do not understand because they cannot
hear His word. They do not believe, because they are not
of His sheep. They were not chosen by the Father before
the foundation of the world, as stated in Ephesians 1:4-6.
They were not born of the Spirit of God, as described in
John 3:8 and Ephesians 2:1. God, and God alone, saves
one eternally for heaven. The unregenerate hate God and
do not want to be saved. Their “carnal mind is enmity
against God.” (Romans 8:7)
It appears a person who is not born again cannot go to
Jesus (they have no such desire) and accept Him as their
personal saviour. Is there a verse that clearly states this
fact? Yes! Consider the words of Jesus.
• “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man
can come to me, except it were given unto him of my
Father.” (John 6:65) This verse may offend some
people. It did even in the day when Jesus himself made
that statement. Notice the very next verse: “From that
time many of his disciples went back, and walked no
more with him.” (John 6:66) Jesus’ disciples left Him
even after they saw the miracles (described a few
verses earlier) performed by Jesus, as when He fed the
five thousand. (John 6:10) After this event, they would
have taken Him by force, and made Him a king. (John
6:15)
Other total depravity verses
There are other verses that clearly state the “total
depravity” of man. Please consider the following:
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• “How can man be justified with God? Or how can he be
clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4)
• “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will
not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts. His
ways are always grievous….” (Psalms 10:4-5)
• “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade
as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken
us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
• “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his
spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed
to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
• “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth
good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
• “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but
the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs
14:12)
• “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.
There is none that understandeth, there is none that
seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way,
they are together become unprofitable; there is none
that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open
sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the
poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of
cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed
blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways: And
the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear
of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)
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• “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually
minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is
enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of
God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the
flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:6-8)
Conclusion
The natural man (not born again) is totally depraved and
spiritually dead. He is completely unable to save himself in
any way and does not desire to be saved. He does not
seek God (Psalms 10:4-5 & 14:2-3). Spiritual matters such
as “preaching of the cross” are foolishness to him (1
Corinthians 1:18), and he cannot discern spiritual matters
(1 Corinthians 2:14). His carnal mind is at enmity against
God (Romans 8:7); he cannot please God (Romans 8:8),
and he does not fear God (Romans 3:18). He is not subject
to the law of God (Romans 8:7). He is vanity and less than
nothing to God, and his righteousnesses are as filthy rags
(Isaiah 64:6). He is hated (Romans 9:13 & Malachi 1:3)
and abhorred by God (Psalms 5:6).
If one is to be saved eternally, it should be obvious that
salvation is only possible by God alone and unaided. There
will be no paradox when the above Bible verses on total
depravity are remembered. Our religious practice can have
no place in securing eternal salvation. It is easy to
remember that until we are alive in Christ from the
sovereign work of God in regeneration, we are simply
spiritually dead. The dead can do nothing to help
themselves.
Once alive in Christ, and therefore eternally saved, the
gospel is sent to offer the child of God the possibility of
conversion unto salvation, to become a disciple of Christ in
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the Lord’s church. This involves belief that Jesus is the
Son of God and obedience to the commandments. This
aspect of salvation occurs during one’s lifetime, so it may
be referred to as conditional time “salvation.” The term
“conditional” is used because the condition that must be
met is obedience to God’s commandments. A regenerate
child of God may reject it or embrace it. Once embraced to
become a disciple in the Lord’s church, it may later be lost
through sinful living that will result in the chastening rod of
God as given in Hebrews 10:26-31. One may not
“persevere” in gospel obedience, and even die in this
condition. Fortunately, God’s children are “preserved” in
Christ Jesus, so heaven is their home regardless of what
happens in this life. We are saved by sovereign grace.
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Chapter XI
Unconditional Election
God’s election of those individuals who will spend eternity
with Him in heaven is not clearly understood by many
people. The Protestant Reformation which was Calvinistic
believed in unconditional election as do Primitive Baptists
today. Important Bible verses on this doctrine follow:
• 1 Peter 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of
God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto
obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
• Ephesians 1:4-6 “According as he hath chosen us in
him before the foundation of the world, that we should
be holy and without blame before him in love: Having
predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his
will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he
hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
• Romans 8:33 “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of
God's elect? It is God that justifieth.”
To see how modern day Calvinists have retreated from the
historic Bible position on unconditional election, consider
the article by Dr. R. C. Sproul titled “Just ‘Cause.” This
article appeared in the March 2001 issue of Tabletalk,
published by Ligonier Ministries. Unconditional election
literally means God elected a people for eternal salvation
(Ephesians 1:4-6 above) based on no prior condition or
action He foresaw the elect individual would possess or
perform. In the last paragraph of this Tabletalk article Dr.
Sproul ruins his argument in my opinion by introducing so
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called “secondary causes” such as proclamation of the
Word and work of the ministry. If God foresaw an individual
would respond positively to this “secondary cause,” then
response is in itself a condition that would be a basis for
electing the person in the first place. (I know of no Bible
scripture that supports this position.)
Let’s consider this article. Dr. Sproul starts by observing
that God is the first cause of everything. He states the
Bible does not begin by saying, “In the beginning nothing,”
because there would still be nothing. You can’t get
something from nothing. The Bible begins with, “In the
beginning God…” God is the first cause. Dr. Sproul is right
up to this point.
An argument Dr. Sproul makes is to recognize the law of
cause and effect and how it relates to unconditional
election. He says the most common view (which has no
scriptural basis that I know of) is that “God elected those
whom He saw, down through the corridor of time, would
choose Him.” He then tries to justify this position by stating
that “God is the first cause,” and in every case you can
imagine, “the trail will lead back to God.” He then makes
the observation written in large letters, “If He foresaw that I
would choose Him because of my piety, He was foreseeing
the necessary fruit of the piety that He gave me in the first
place.”
While the above observation may seem logical, it fails to
recognize total depravity of the unregenerate as given in
Chapter X entitled Total Depravity beginning on page 118.
Also, it fails to recognize that God did look down through
the corridor of time to see if any would seek Him, and what
God saw was given in Psalm 14:2-3 as follows:
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• “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the
children of men, to see if there were any that did
understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside,
they are all together become filthy: there is none that
doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:10-18 essentially
says the same thing.
Another comment by Dr. Sproul states “In short, if there
were conditions for election, then God determined who
would meet those conditions.” I know of no scripture to
support this statement of Dr. Sproul. He follows this with
“Unconditional election is simply another way of saying that
God is the sovereign one, and that He alone is the ultimate
cause of whatever comes to pass.” I would say
unconditional election simply means there are no
conditions for which God should choose anyone. A good
Bible verse to explain why we love God is as follows:
• I John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.” It
does not say the opposite.
Instead of trying to establish some basis for God to choose
the elect, Dr. Sproul could have just said there are no
conditions other than His grace and mercy based on the
following:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
Secondary causes
As mentioned earlier, the last paragraph of the article by
Dr. Sproul ruins his whole argument, in my opinion. This
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complete paragraph in which he introduces “secondary
causes” is as follows:
• “Unconditional election is simply another way of saying
that God is the sovereign one, and that He alone is the
ultimate cause of whatsoever comes to pass. To be
sure, He uses secondary causes: the faithful
proclamation of the Word, the heartfelt prayers of the
saints, the work of the apologists and preachers, ads
on the radio, even the consciences of the yetunregenerate
elect. But it is He who uses these things
to bring about what He purposed from before all time,
when there was God and nothing else.”
In my opinion, Dr. Sproul should have stated in the last
paragraph, “To be sure” there could be no secondary
causes, because of total depravity resulting from the sin of
Adam. A Calvinist believes in total depravity, since it is the
first point of the five points of Calvinism. Apparently,
Calvinists somehow believe that God overlooks total
depravity in the unregenerate elect by using “gospel
means” to obtain spiritual life. Consider how the Bible
describes the unregenerate and the extent of total
depravity. The unregenerate cannot hear, understand, or
believe spiritual things and they hate God.
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
(Notice that Jesus did not say if they would only listen
and believe Him, they could then become a child of
God.)
• 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
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unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.”
• John 10:26-30 “But ye believe not, because ye are not
of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give
unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My
Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no
man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I
and my Father are one.” (Notice Jesus did not say if
you would only believe in me, then you could become
one of my sheep.)
• Romans 8:7-8 “Because the carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God.”
How could the gospel and “secondary causes” help those
described above? Is it not obvious that God must first give
the person spiritual life? Life comes first and then comes
the possibility of action. This principle applies to physical
life as well as spiritual life.
Dr. Sproul saw that cause and effect rules the world we
live in. For instance, consider a real world example. A lamp
is out. The effect or evidence is no light comes from the
lamp. The causes could be a burned-out light bulb, faulty
wiring, unavailable power, etc. One must consider if
something is the cause of an occurrence, or if it is the
effect or evidence that points us back to the cause. It
cannot be both. You could not say the lack of light is the
cause of the problem with the lamp. Dr. R. C. Sproul just
did not take cause and effect to its logical conclusion in the
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Bible. If a person is a believer (by responding in a positive
way to the gospel), the following verses will show that this
belief is an evidence (or effect) of spiritual life, as opposed
to being the cause (secondary cause) of spiritual life:
• 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him
that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
• John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth
my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath
everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation;
but is passed from death unto life.”
• John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
• Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they
were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as
many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
Something cannot be both the cause as well as the effect
of an occurrence. The above verses do not speak of our
decision to cause or do anything, but rather are very clear
in pointing out that our belief is evidence that we are
already born again. The effect or evidence is that we
believe. The cause for our belief is that God has given us
spiritual life, as follows:
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were
dead in trespasses and sins:”
The “dead” referred to in the above verse can do nothing
for themselves, because they are simply dead. For
instance, if someone could tell me what they did to be born
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into their earthly family, then I could tell them what one
must do to be born into the family of God. The answer in
both cases is absolutely nothing. As a reminder, if one
would ask why we love God, the answer is, “We love him,
because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19) It’s not the other
way around as many would have you believe. The
unregenerate hate God as stated in the follow verse:
• Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be.”
The unregenerate are enemies of God as follows:
• Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were
reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,
being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
The unregenerate not only hate God and are the enemy of
God, but also their opinion of God is as described in the
book of Job as follows:
• Job 21:12-16 “They take the timbrel and harp, and
rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their
days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we
desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the
Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit
should we have, if we pray unto him? Lo, their good is
not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from
me.”
Hopefully, the above verses make it clear that God does
not use “secondary causes” for eternal salvation. (God
does not need help from anyone.) We did not help God in
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the creation of the world. In the same way, God does not
need us to help Him in the spiritual creation of a child of
God. Consider the following:
• 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.” This new creature
is a new creation.
Calvinism
My understanding from Elder Harold Hunt as also
confirmed by my own personal experience is that a new
form of Calvinism is being promoted which attests that
regeneration for the elect of God takes place first, and then
conversion occurs (and never fails to occur) at some later
time. Calvinists believe that eventually God in His
sovereign power insures that every regenerate child of
God will hear the gospel preached and will be obedient to
the gospel commands unto conversion. In other words,
predestination applies to both regeneration and
conversion. If a person never responds to the gospel
during their lifetime, he or she was never regenerated in
the first place.
In order for the reader to understand Primitive Baptist
doctrine on this point, we contend that predestination
refers only to regeneration. For a scriptural reference, it
should be noted that Romans 8:28-31 begins with those
that are “called according to his purpose” and proceeds to
list the sequence of foreknowledge, predestination, called,
justified, and glorified. Verse 31 states “What shall we then
say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against
us.” Conversion is not included in this sequence of verses
since conversion to discipleship may never occur.
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Every elect child of God (Ephesians 1:4-6) will be given
spiritual life by God (John 3:3, 8, Ephesians 2:1, John 5:25,
and John 6:63) sometime between conception and death. I
do not believe every regenerate child of God (heaven
bound) will be converted to a knowledge of the truth and
become a disciple of Christ in His church. Some will be
aborted before birth, some will die while infants, and some
will have a mental affliction that prevents them from
understanding the gospel message. Further, some of
God’s regenerate children will live in a remote part of the
world and never hear the gospel preached. Some of God’s
children who hear the gospel, will be disobedient to gospel
commands for various reasons; however, while they will
suffer in this life for rebellion against God (Hebrews 10:26-
31), they will still go to heaven after death.
Many people are unaware of the above doctrine as
believed by Primitive Baptists. Many believe there are only
two beliefs, Calvinism and Arminianism. Recently Elder
Harold Hunt gave a good explanation of the two beliefs, so
I will quote him. The Arminian says, “If you are saved you
must hear the gospel and believe it, and it is up to you
whether you do.” The Calvinist says, “If you are saved you
must hear the gospel and believe it, and God will see to it
that you do.” Elder Hunt states “Both insist the sinner must
participate in the work. Both leave the sinner sufficient
ground for boasting that he did his part. To be sure, the
Arminian leaves much more room for boasting, but the
Calvinist leaves enough room to satisfy his followers.
God’s doctrine teaches that God is the one and only
Saviour; He does not need man’s help, or his
participation.” Elder Hunt quotes Isaiah 63:5 as follows:
• Isaiah 63:5 “And I looked, and there was none to help;
and I wondered that there was none to uphold:
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therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and
my fury, it upheld me.”
Conclusion
This difference between the beliefs of a Calvinist and a
Primitive Baptist may be defined as follows: The Calvinist
would say if God’s children did not submit to the roll of
discipleship, then they were not God’s children in the first
place. I guess for a Calvinist this would mean the
chastisement verses given in Hebrews 10:26-31 and in
Hebrews 12:5-11 refer to eternal damnation.
A Primitive Baptist would say God’s children should be
obedient to the gospel commands by becoming disciples of
Christ. However, not all of God’s children will submit and
be obedient. Disobedience by God’s children will be paid
for in this life by unhappiness. Chastisement verses refer
to suffering by God’s people in this life, not eternal
damnation. One should read Hebrews 10:26-31 and
Hebrews 12:5-11 and judge for himself if this refers to
suffering by God’s children in this life, or if it refers to
eternal damnation for the unregenerate.
If the Calvinist believes that the gospel and gospel
preaching is required for someone to become born again,
then surely he must see that both the preacher and the
person who responds to the gospel call have a lot to boast
about (as Elder Harold Hunt observed). They seem to
forget the following verse in Ephesians:
• Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
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They may think of themselves as instruments used by God
in getting the elect’s name in the Lambs Book of Life.
However, these names were written before the foundation
of the world. Apparently Calvinists have found a way of
getting around this problem in their own mind, so they can
share with God the glory of eternal salvation. This
temptation began in the garden of Eden, Genesis 3:5,
“…and ye shall be as gods.”
God’s children should be content just to have the priviledge
mentioned in this verse: “Then said Jesus unto his
disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew
16:24)
His disciples are only a very small number.
• Luke 12:32 “Fear not, little flock; for it is your
Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Heaven will not contain a “little flock.” In heaven, God will
have a great number, as follows:
• Revelation 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great
multitude, which no man could number, of all
nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,
stood before the throne, and before the Lamb,
clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
All glory and honor is due our Saviour Jesus Christ. Our
religious practice does not save us, it is only the man
Christ Jesus. We should be disciples of Christ because we
love Him and want to honor and worship Him while we live
in this present evil world. We fear and respect Him and
want to avoid chastisement that will result from our living a
sinful life. But primarily, we just love Him and recognize
that life has no meaning without Him.
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Regeneration versus Conversion
139
Chapter XII
Regeneration versus Conversion
The five stages involved in the salvation of God’s people
are covered in Chapter IV entitled “Salvation,” beginning
on page 54. This particular chapter will contrast the
difference between “regeneration” (third stage) and
“conversion” (fifth stage). “Conversion” as covered in a
number of previous chapters is gospel conversion unto
discipleship in the Lord’s church for a blessing in this life. It
is an aspect of salvation called conditional time “salvation.”
Regeneration
To review, regeneration (phase three) by God is not
conditioned on any act or action by man, as this is the work
of God alone. Regeneration produces spiritual life (being
born again) which is part of the process of eternal salvation
provided for the elect of God as Jesus mentions to
Nicodemus in the gospel of John:
• John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God.”
For a person to be born of the Spirit of God, he cannot
possibly assist God in any way, or perform any action of
any type that will be used by God in this occurrence.
Nicodemus did not understand Jesus’ saying that a person
must be “born again,” as evidenced by his statement:
• John 3:4 “Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man
be born when he is old? can he enter the second time
into his mother's womb, and be born?”
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Jesus gives the answer several verses later:
• John 3:7-8 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be
born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is
born of the Spirit.”
Notice that Jesus compares being born again to the action
of the wind. No one can tell where the wind comes from or
where it will go. Jesus says further, “so is every one that is
born of the Spirit.” This means everyone is born of the
Spirit in the same way, and there are no special cases or
exceptions. A popular misconception is that if you will
accept Christ as your personal saviour, and invite Him into
your heart, then you will be “born again.” The position that
man must accept God not only contradicts what Jesus told
Nicodemus in the eighth verse above, but also is not
supported by any Bible verse. In fact, Jesus says no man
could go to Him unless the Father gave him the ability to
do so:
• John 6:65 “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that
no man can come unto me, except it were given unto
him of my Father.”
The above statements by Jesus should settle this issue,
but if there are still some doubts about the actions of man
helping or hindering God in giving the spiritual birth,
consider the following verses:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
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• II Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with
an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
Notice what Jesus prays just before He is crucified:
• John 17:1-2 “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up
his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come;
glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As
thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should
give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”
If Jesus has power over all flesh, then He could do
anything He wanted to do. Jesus next tells us what He
wants to do. He says He will “give eternal life to as many
as thou hast given him.” As many as means not one more
and not one less than was given Him by God the Father.
Spiritual life is given directly by Jesus Christ as He said He
would do in the above verse John 17:2. Notice the words
of Jesus concerning spiritual life in the following verse:
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice
of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
Spiritual life is not given through the words of Jesus
repeated by a man or a preacher, since flesh and blood
(humans) can add no profit to the process. Only the words
spoken by Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit matter in
regeneration. Notice what Jesus said in this next verse:
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• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”
God is the only giver of spiritual life. When a person is
dead, either physically or spiritually, he can do nothing.
Also, he cannot receive any form of help from any other
human to assist God in giving life.
As a matter of fact, God gives a number of different
expressions to explain to us how we receive this spiritual
life. While talking to Nicodemus Jesus compared it to our
physical birth. We learned from the above quoted verses
that it came from the voice of the Son of God through the
Holy Spirit. Next, we find that it is a translation. Notice this
verse:
• Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the
power of darkness, and hath translated us into the
kingdom of his dear Son:”
In addition to this, the obtaining of spiritual life is described
as a quickening in the following verse:
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who
were dead in trespasses and sins:”
After considering the above descriptions of how we receive
spiritual life, as by being born again, regenerated, the voice
of the Son of God, quickened or translated, we realized
that for each of these expressions to describe the same
thing, it has to be an event which happened in an instant. If
the event took place over some period of time, like nine
months, then it could not be described as a translation or
quickening.
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Further, we learn that the decision to cause one to be born
again was made by God and was not made by any human.
Consider this verse:
• John 1:13 “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the
will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The above Bible verses clearly show that our good works
have no favorable influence on God, nor do they play even
the smallest role in achieving spiritual life. The event
happens in an instant, and we can do nothing to prevent
God from giving us the spiritual birth. In fact, every elect
child of God receives the spiritual birth at a time when he
hates God and is an enemy of God. Notice the following:
• Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were
reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,
being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Before we receive the spiritual birth, our carnal mind hates
God:
• Romans 8:7-8 “Because the carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God.”
In the unregenerate state, the gospel can be of no help
since this person cannot hear, understand, or believe
spiritual things, as follows:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
• I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
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unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned.”
• John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of
my sheep, as I said unto you.”
Conversion
Conversion is a process in which the regenerate child of
God (already saved eternally) turns from sinning against
Christ to attempting to follow Christ. This conversion has to
do with the child of God becoming a disciple of Christ by
being obedient to the gospel message. Conversion also
involves the form of worship he must follow. The child of
God has much work and many actions to perform. He must
repent of his sins:
• Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that
your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”
The child of God must confess Christ. The reader should
be aware that to confess Christ is not the same thing as to
accept Christ. Notice the following verse:
• Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved.”
The child of God, as a believer, must submit to baptism, as
below:
• Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be
saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
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Notice that our belief of the gospel unto baptism by
following Christ as a disciple into His church yields
salvation, as stated in the above verses. This salvation is
not eternal, because the child of God already possesses
eternal life, but rather is an aspect of salvation that can be
enjoyed in this life, so it is called conditional time
“salvation.” This aspect of salvation is from this “untoward”
(stubborn or unruly) generation, and is one that a person
can achieve for himself, as Peter preached in Acts:
• Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of
the Holy Ghost.”
• Acts 2:40 “And with many other words did he testify and
exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward
generation.”
The number of Bible verses already quoted obviously
demonstrates that we cannot save ourselves eternally.
Also, considering all the righteous works a person must
perform in the conversion process, as given above, the
verses show that conversion is not the same thing as
regeneration or the spiritual birth. We remember the
following Bible verses already quoted above:
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost;”
• II Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with
an holy calling, not according to our works, but
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according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
Clearly, the value of religious conversion and the method
of worship have to do with benefits or suffering in this life
for God’s born again children. For this reason, it is called
conditional time “salvation.” We learn from scripture that,
as children of God, we have set before us the opportunity
of obeying God’s commandments and enjoying a life with
blessings from God. On the other hand, if we rebel against
God and do not obey His commandments, we will suffer in
this life. This suffering will not be eternal in hell, but
temporal in this life, possibly resulting in death. Notice the
warning given below:
• Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain
fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,
which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised
Moses' law died without mercy under two or three
witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose
ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under
foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the
covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing,
and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we
know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto
me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The
Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall
into the hands of the living God.”
The above warning for God’s children in the New
Testament was nothing new, because God’s people in the
Old Testament (the children of Israel), were given a similar
warning. This warning was given by Moses before the
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children of Israel crossed over the river Jordan to possess
the Promised Land. To see this fact stated clearly by God,
notice the following:
• Deuteronomy 30:15-19 “See, I have set before thee this
day life and good, and death and evil; In that I
command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to
walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and
his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live
and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in
the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine
heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be
drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I
denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish,
and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land,
whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I
call heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and
cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy
seed may live:” (Verse 31:1 says “And Moses went and
spake these words unto all Israel.”)
God is not telling His people they will suffer eternal
damnation. God’s people already have spiritual life or
eternal life. Eternal means it is non-ending. God makes it
clear He is referring to things in this life by saying “ye shall
not prolong your days upon the land,” as opposed to
eternal damnation. This refers to “time” by living a longer
life. When God begins a work in the heart of one of His
elect children, He will finish it to the end, as stated below:
• Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that
he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it
until the day of Jesus Christ:”
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The Role of Religion
The above scripture and other previous arguments clearly
show that our religious practices have no affect at all on
whether we will go to heaven or go to hell. If nothing we do
in this life can affect our eternal destiny, then why do we
work so hard in an effort to follow God’s commandments? I
will attempt to answer this question.
If we love the Lord and believe that we are His children, we
should live good, God-honoring lives out of appreciation for
what He did for us. The motivation should be from love.
Regardless, before we reach this point, I believe in many
cases we learn that we are one of His children at the time
we break God’s commandments. When we break God’s
commandments, all hell breaks loose, everything goes
wrong, and we suffer. We feel we are being punished for
something, which, in fact, is exactly the case. Notice the
following Bible verses:
• Hebrews 12:5-11 “And ye have forgotten the
exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children,
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the
Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son
whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God
dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom
the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without
chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye
bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had
fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave
them reverence: shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they
verily for a few days chastened us after their own
pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be
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partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the
present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
The regenerate child of God who has never heard the
gospel message may first become aware of God’s
presence through the chastening rod of God, as given
above. Also, we know God (without being told about Him)
because God puts His laws directly into our mind at
regeneration. Notice these verses:
• Hebrews 8:10-11 “For this is the covenant that I will
make with the house of Israel after those days, saith
the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write
them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and
they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach
every man his neighbour, and every man his brother,
saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the
least to the greatest.”
God has a way of dealing with His regenerate children who
have not actually heard the gospel message or God’s laws.
These regenerate children include those who have died by
abortion, died at a young age, or even those who may
have lived a full life in a remote location without ever
having heard the law of God or the gospel message, as
follows:
• Romans 2:12-16 “For as many as have sinned
without law shall also perish without law: and as
many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by
the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just
before God, but the doers of the law shall be
justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the
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law, do by nature the things contained in the law,
these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves: Which show the work of the law written
in their hearts, their conscience also bearing
witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing
or else excusing one another;) In the day when God
shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ
according to my gospel.”
Notice the process of sanctification by God that takes
place even without the gospel and religious conversion.
Even so, for a born again child of God, one of the greatest
gifts we have in this life is the gospel. It offers the child of
God comfort, healing, spiritual nourishment to grow in
grace and understanding, and best of all, fellowship with
Jesus Christ in His church. (Revelation 3:19-22)
Based on the above brief explanation, we see that while
our religious practice (our worship of God) has nothing to
do with obtaining eternal life for God’s elect children, it has
everything to do with our welfare in this life as well as how
long we live. Elder Harold Hunt was quoted in the
conclusion of Chapter I on this point. He also noted further
benefits to “nations, of entire civilizations and cultures” that
results from preaching the gospel and the obedience of
God’s people within these nations and cultures. Notice the
following verse on this subject:
• 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by
my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and
seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then
will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.”
Even though the nation of Israel was warned by God
(Deuteronomy 30:15-19, quoted on page 147) concerning
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the necessity that they be obedient to God’s Laws before
they possessed the Promised Land, in the opening
chapters of Judges we find that they violated this warning
time and time again, and suffered the consequences
(timely, not eternal), as follows:
• Judges 2:13-14 “And they forsook the LORD, and
served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the
LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them
into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he
sold them into the hands of their enemies round
about, so that they could not any longer stand
before their enemies.”
The tremendous benefit to nations that occurred during the
Protestant Reformation as a result of gospel preaching and
the gospel conversion of God’s people is interesting to
study. Those nations that embraced the Reformation were
blessed to enjoy the Industrial Revolution. Nations like
Spain that did not, also did not enjoy the Industrial
Revolution. America has been tremendously blessed since
our beginning. Notice the nations of Central and South
America over the past two hundred years. These nations
are rich in natural resources, but the argument could be
made that their religion is the problem. This can be seen in
nations all over the world today where various different
pagan religions are worshiped. As Elder Hunt observed,
“every other consideration fades into nothingness
compared with the influence of the gospel.”
Now, let’s review briefly three periods of time and the three
forms of worship God established for these periods. The
method of worship that God established for the period from
Adam to Moses was the sacrifice of a lamb on an altar by
the head of the family. This sacrifice pictured the Lamb of
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God who would take away the sin of the (elect) world, as
stated many years later by John the Baptist:
• John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto
him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world.”
Next, the Levitical priesthood began with Moses. To make
it clear to God’s people that God was introducing a change
in the worship service, God performed miracles through
Moses covering a period of forty years. These miracles
began when the plagues against the Egyptian people set
the children of Israel free from Egyptian bondage. Next,
Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and God
parted the Red Sea with a wall of water on either side as
they passed through. The walls of water later collapsed
and drowned the entire Egyptian army (Genesis 14:29-30).
God then provided the children of Israel food and water,
and ensured that their clothes and shoes did not
deteriorate (Deuteronomy 29:5). These miracles showed
that God was the author of this change in the worship
service or priesthood. The Levitical priesthood with all its
rituals was a pattern (Hebrews 9:23-24) that pictured what
Christ would actually do for the elect of God in all ages
(since Adam).
The appearance of Christ ushered in the Melchisedec
priesthood as the final change in the form of worship
acceptable to God and is explained in great detail in
Hebrews Chapters 7-10. To show God initiated this
change, He provided another period of miracles lasting
forty years, which began with the miracles of Jesus. In
performing the miracles, Jesus demonstrated He was God
manifest in flesh, and He also claimed to be God, as in the
gospel of John:
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• John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”
The forty years of miracles performed by God through the
apostles included their raising the dead, and healing the
sick. To note the end of this forty year period, at the time
the New Testament book Philippians was written, we
notice that Paul thanked God that the life of Epaphroditus
was spared when he was sick “nigh unto death.” Paul’s
God given ability to heal the sick during the forty year
period of miracles had ended, as made clear:
• Philippians 2:27 “For indeed he was sick nigh unto
death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only,
but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
Conclusion
Hopefully I have shown the difference between
regeneration and conversion. These terms are not the
same thing. Regeneration is by God alone and achieves
eternal salvation for the elect of God, without the loss of
one. Conversion is for conditional time “salvation,” and it is
a process the child of God should perform and maintain so
as to be a disciple of Christ. Not all of God’s regenerate
children will be blessed to hear the gospel message. Many
will die young or have a mental affliction to prevent
understanding. Some will hear it and choose to reject it. As
a result of this disobedience they may suffer, they may
have their lives shortened, or they may wish their lives
were ended. As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to
fall into the hands of the living God.”
A disciple of Christ is called a Christian, as noted below:
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• Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought
him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole
year they assembled themselves with the church, and
taught much people. And the disciples were called
Christians first in Antioch.”
As noted above, not all of God’s regenerate children will
become disciples of Christ, or as they are called,
Christians. Predestination is not involved. God has many
children who are not Christians since they do not publicly
acknowledge Christ. They may have heard the gospel, but
have rejected it. The ones that rejected the gospel may
have chosen to follow other religious orders, as with the
Jews or other eastern religions. In this case, these children
of God are regenerate, but they have not been converted
to a knowledge of the truth. They are not Christians, but
they are still God’s children. Some may have even been
Christians at one time, but have backslidden and fallen
away from the truth to other religions or to no religion.
Unlike eternal salvation, the aspect of salvation gained by
conversion, called time “salvation,” which offers great
benefits in this life, can be lost.
We need to keep in mind that regeneration is by God alone
for His elect children chosen before the foundation of the
world (predestinated), and nothing in this life can prevent
or alter the outcome intended by God. There is no
paradox, since man is not involved.
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Chapter XIII
Baptism
The purpose of the following will be an attempt to clarify
the true meaning of New Testament baptism. There are
many “Christian” denominations in the United States, and
every one teaches some form of baptism. Notice in this
chapter there will be given two principles and four
essentials that have to do with baptism. Hopefully the
following will shed some light on this subject, and give a
scriptural basis to better understand baptism.
Two Principles
There are two very important principles one must
remember when considering baptism, which are as follows:
1) Baptism is necessary for one to become a New
Testament church member (this has nothing to do with
being “born again,” or becoming a child of God).
2) Baptism is a figure, which pictures a reality. To prove
the above two principles, consider the following scripture:
I. Baptism is necessary.
In the “great commission” we read, “And Jesus came and
spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in
heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:18-19) Also,
we read, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth
and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not
shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16) Baptism is necessary
since Jesus commanded it. For an example, beginning in
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Acts 2:14, Peter preached to a great crowd. In Acts 2:38,
Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized, etc.” The 41st verse
stated, “Then as many that gladly received his word were
baptized: and the same day there were added unto them
about three thousand souls.” Finally, in Acts 2:47 it states,
“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be
saved.” Baptism is necessary for church membership.
II. Baptism is a figure.
Scripture states, “Which sometimes were disobedient,
when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of
Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is,
eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto
even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away
of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good
conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus
Christ.” (1Peter 3:20-21) Notice it did not say Noah’s family
was saved by the ark from the water (flood). It said they
were “saved by water.” The salvation “by water” for those
on the ark could only be a salvation from the wicked,
untoward generation of that day. The salvation gained by
baptism must also be the same, from the wicked world we
live in, and not an eternal salvation. This is confirmed by
the admonition Peter gave in his day in Acts 2:38-40.
Verse 2:38 starts by stating: “Repent, and be baptized…,”
then he states in Acts 2:40, “Save yourselves from this
untoward generation.”
As Elder Harold Hunt has written, “It (baptism) is a figure of
the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord, and it is a
figure of the child of God, dying to sin, and rising to walk in
newness of life.” The person being baptized is
demonstrating what his Lord did for him, and he is
showing, by demonstration, what he intends to do for his
Lord, during the remainder of his life. He is professing that
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he will leave his carnal flesh nature in the watery grave,
and “walk” after the Spirit, remembering the God given
fruits of the Spirit (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23) he received when he was regenerated
(Titus 3:5), or born again (John 3:3, 8).
The principle that baptism is a figure is made very clear in
Romans, as follows: “Therefore we are buried with him by
baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from
the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted
together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the
likeness of his resurrection.” (Romans 6:4-5) It is helpful to
read the first twelve verses of Romans 6, if one is to better
understand the context. Baptism as a figure is very clear,
and it will save us from this untoward (wicked) generation
we live in today.
Four Essentials
The four essentials of baptism are as follows: 1) Mode, 2)
Subject, 3) Object, and 4) Administrator. We need to
understand each of these essentials in light of the
scriptures. Consider the following:
I. Mode
The Greek word “bapto,” primary verb meaning is to “cover
wholly with a fluid.” An interesting point to consider is that
historically the Greek Orthodox Church has always
considered immersion (not sprinkling or pouring) the
correct mode for baptism. Since the New Testament was
first written in the Greek language, possibly they
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understood the actual meaning of this Greek word. Even
so, to settle one’s mind as to which mode is intended by
Bible scripture, one should decide which mode better fits
the figure being portrayed. If the mode of baptism is
immersion or submersion of the individual under water (as
compared to sprinkling or pouring water on the person),
does this mode better fit the figure being given in
scripture? The first twelve verses of Romans 6 should
make it very clear that immersion better fits the figure of
death, burial, and resurrection. The first part of Romans
6:4 states, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism
into death, etc.” I believe that only immersion is a picture,
or figure, of death and burial. Sprinkling or pouring water
on a person is not a figure, or rather, it does not symbolize
burial in the ground; however, burial in water does appear
to symbolize, or figure, burial in the ground.
For additional examples in scripture, notice the wording
referring to the baptism of Jesus, “And Jesus, when he
was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: etc.”
(Matthew 3:16) Jesus must have been completely covered
with water since He went up out of the water, again
showing the picture of a burial and resurrection. Also, it is
obvious that much water was needed in order to perform
gospel baptism, as follows: “And John also was baptizing
in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water
there: etc.” (John 3:23) To sprinkle or pour, only a little
water is needed. The same was mentioned when Philip
baptized the eunuch, Acts 8:38-39, it says, “…they went
down both into the water,…And when they were come up
out of the water, etc.” These three scenes of baptism in the
scripture are consistent with the position that immersion is
required for scriptural baptism.
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II. Subject.
The person, or subject to be baptized, must be a “believer”
in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, the person being
baptized cannot be a baby. The person must be old
enough to understand and believe. The primary proof text
is as follows: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the
world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16) Every
place where “creature” is used in the New Testament to
refer to humans, it refers to a born again person (such as II
Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, and Colossians 1:15).
Also, a person who is a believer is a person that is already
born again.
To prove a believer is already born again, refer to John
5:24, 1 John 5:1 and Acts 13:48. John 5:24 states, “Verily,
verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and
believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and
shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from
death unto life.” Our faith, or belief in God, is proof we are
already children of God. Our faith is a “fruit of the Spirit,” or
is something that proceeds forth from the Spirit of God
within a born again person, as given in Galatians 5:22-23.
Notice that “faith” is the seventh fruit listed as fruits of the
Spirit. For those children of God who have the ability to
believe but do not (reject the gospel) and will not submit to
baptism, Mark 16:16 states they will be damned. This
damnation for a child of God is damnation in this life as
Paul warned the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:29 which
states, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth
and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the
Lord’s body.” A child of God already has eternal life;
however, if they are disobedient to God’s laws, they will
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suffer damnation in this life. This is clearly stated by
Hebrews 10:26-31, “For if we sin willfully after that we have
received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no
more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of
judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the
adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without
mercy unto two or three witnesses…. It is a fearful thing to
fall into the hands of the living God.” This is a warning for
God’s people.
For two excellent references to prove that only a believer
should be baptized, consider: 1) “But when they believed
Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God,
and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both
men and women.” (Acts 8:12) and 2) Philip began at Isaiah
53 and taught the Ethiopian eunuch about Jesus. Then,
“they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See,
here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And
Philip said, If thou believeth with all thine heart, thou
mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:36-37) For someone to
be baptized, they must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son
of God. They must believe that Jesus was literally God
manifest in the flesh. They should repent of their sins, as in
Acts 3:19, and confess Christ, as in Romans 10:9. (Notice
how this is not possible for a baby.)
III. Object
The object of baptism is the “true” Jesus Christ of the
Bible. This recognizes that there are false Christ’s which
are preached. For instance, “And Jesus answered and said
unto them, take heed that no man deceive you. For many
shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall
deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5) Also there is a false
gospel, which teaches a false Christ, as given in Galatians
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1:8-9, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach
any other gospel unto you than that which we have
preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said
before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other
gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be
accursed.” Also consider, “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.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)
For an example of two different Christ’s, consider the
following: 1) One Christ died for the whole human world in
order to make a way of eternal salvation possible for any
person who will accept Him as their personal saviour.
Scripture does not support this position. 2) There is
another Christ, which I think is the true Christ, that claims
He came to save those given to Him (John 6:37-38) by the
Father (chosen by God before the foundation of the world,
as in Ephesians 1:4-6). Notice the wording of the prayer
offered by Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane just before
He was crucified, as follows: “These words spake Jesus,
and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father the hour
is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should
give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him.
(Notice, it does not say, to as many as will accept Christ as
their personal saviour) And this is life eternal, etc.” (John
17:1-3) These are obviously two different Christ’s;
therefore, the object of the baptism, if one is truly baptized,
must be to the one that is the true Christ. Is the true Christ
the one who is begging to be accepted, or is it the one who
is victorious; the one who declares He saved those given
Him by the Father? There is only one Christ…. All others
are false Christ’s. Baptism into a false Christ, is no baptism
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at all. One should study Bible doctrine, and insure that the
Christ they worship is consistent with Bible scripture.
IV. Administrator
It is necessary that the person administering the baptism
be an ordained minister of the Lord’s church. Jesus
commanded the eleven disciples (Matthew 28:16) as
follows: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you
alway, even to the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew
28:19-20) If they were to teach all things whatsoever He
commanded, then nothing can be left out. If they were to
teach only what He commanded, then nothing can be
added.
The ones, as noted above, whom Christ told to teach, He
also told to baptize. In 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Paul gives the
qualifications for bishops and deacons. They are very
similar, except the deacon does not need to be “apt to
teach.” Therefore the deacon is not authorized to baptize.
Women are excluded, since Paul stated, “But I suffer not a
woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but
to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” (1
Timothy 2:12-13)
The eleven disciples were later apostles. We also
remember the scripture, “And He gave some, apostles;
and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some,
pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for
the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of
Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12) The apostle Paul told the
preacher Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of
me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to
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faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2
Timothy 2:2. From these scriptures, it should be clear that
God has had a succession of preachers, teaching the
whole council of God, adding nothing, and leaving nothing
out. These preachers have served the New Testament
church down through the ages, and they were the only
ones who had the authority to baptize. See the Appendix
beginning on page 232 for a brief history and the lineage of
today’s “old line” Primitive Baptists.
Proper Effect
If the above four essentials of baptism have been met, the
Lord will add the individual baptized into His church. It is
only God who decides this, as follows: “And the Lord
added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts
2:47) Also, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one
body.” (1 Corinthians 12:13) The New Testament church
has existed down through the ages, since it was first
established by Jesus Christ. To prove this point, consider
the following: “And Jesus answered and said unto him,
blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath
not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this
rock (or foundation of direct revelation by the Father as is
also stated in Hebrews 8:10-11) I will build my church: and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew
16:17-18) I do not believe it is possible for the “gates of
hell” to have ever prevailed against the Lord’s church.
Therefore, there has been a continuous and unbroken
succession of churches for about 2,000 years in which
preachers have taught the “whole council of God.” As
noted above, the Primitive Baptists trace their lineage
through the Welsh Baptists who date from the first century.
See the Appendix beginning on page 232. Remember that
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it is only God who adds to His church. Therefore, we
should follow scripture as closely as possible so that,
hopefully, God will add us to His church. Church
membership for an obedient child of God offers fellowship
with Jesus Christ (as Revelation 3:20) through the Holy
Spirit. It is a little bit of heaven (our inheritance) while we
are still on earth. One should not take church membership
lightly.
Scriptural Example
To see an example in scripture where not all of the four
essentials were met, refer to Acts 19:1-6. In this case, the
disciples under consideration received the correct mode
(#1) of baptism, and as believers (called disciples) they
were proper subjects (#2); however, the object (#3) of the
baptism was wrong, as well as the administrator (#4).
Apollos, who we believe baptized the disciples under
consideration, was not an ordained preacher at the time he
baptized these individuals. John the Baptist had baptized
Apollos, so Apollos was properly baptized, but only John
had authority to give the “baptism of repentance” (Matthew
3:11, Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:7-8). Because of this, these
disciples did not receive the “proper effect,” as given
above. In this case, after questioning by the apostle Paul,
these believers were baptized. Notice it does not say they
were rebaptized, since apparently God considered that
they had never been baptized in the first place. Consider
the following: “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was
at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coast
came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples (right
subject as #2 above), he said unto them, have ye received
the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him,
we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy
Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye
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baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism (wrong
object at this time, as #3 above, but correct mode as #1
above). Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the
baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they
should believe on Him which should come after him, that
is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were
baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul
had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on
them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” Acts
19:1-6
Concluding Remarks
During about the first forty years after Christ established
the church, members received “sign gifts,” and the
apostles worked miracles (“And God wrought special
miracles by the hand of Paul.” Acts 19:11) which God used
to prove and signify establishment of the church as
prophesied by the prophet Joel, Acts 2:16-21. Because of
this, the “proper effect” was easy to observe in that day. If
God had added someone to His church (as Acts 2:47),
they would posses the sign gifts.
Today, it is not so easy to tell if God has added us to His
true church. We know God blesses his children who are
obedient to God’s Word, based on their understanding. For
this reason, we must study the Bible and assure ourselves
we have a proper baptism. Even if we have been sprinkled
or immersed in water by one or more church
denominations, if we ever doubt that even one of the
above four essentials has not been properly met, then the
person should submit to baptism.
For the reasons given above, the “old line” Primitive Baptist
Church does not accept the baptism of any denomination
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when receiving new members. This policy is consistent
with scripture, and should be followed by any church,
which is attempting to closely follow scripture since one or
more of the above four essentials of baptism would be
different for each religious order. Further, the church is
referred to as the bride of Christ, as follows: John the
Baptist said, “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I
am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that
hath the bride, is the bridegroom: etc.” (John 3:28-29) Also,
notice the following: “Therefore as the church is subject
unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in
every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ
also loved the church, and gave himself for it…”
(Ephesians 5:25-26) The 32nd verse says, “This is a great
mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
The bride is joined to the bridegroom in a marriage
ceremony. For the church, this ceremony is called baptism.
The bride (church member) is being joined to Christ in the
church.
If a wife loses her husband in death and the wife remarries,
it would be expected that another marriage ceremony
should be performed. She would not tell the man she was
hoping to marry; “I have been through one wedding
ceremony, so we can forget this formality.” If she said this,
he would forget her. For the same reason, the church
member is viewing his old denomination as dead and
wants to be joined to another; therefore, the “marriage
ceremony,” or baptism, is necessary.
If the above four essentials of baptism are met, but for
some reason the church where the baptism was performed
is not in fellowship, then for the peace of the church, the
person should submit to baptism. Acts 16:1-5 gives an
excellent example. It is well known that circumcision is an
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Old Testament practice that was required under Jewish
Law, but is not required by the New Testament for church
membership, or for a man to be ordained an elder. Even
so, notice how Paul handled Timothy in this situation,
“…and took and circumcised him because of the Jews
which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his
father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities,
they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were
ordained of the apostles and elders which were at
Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the
faith, and increased in number daily.” (Acts 16:3-5) The
peace of the church should be put first above any personal
issues, even when technically it should not be necessary.
Another baptism is not as painful as that experienced by
Timothy, in which he allowed himself to be circumcised so
as not to offend any of the Jews in the church.
There is another good example in which the apostle Paul
puts the peace of the church ahead of his pride or his
individual preference. In this case, Paul humbly submitted
himself to some inconveniences in order to appease the
Jews who felt he was preaching that one should forsake
Moses and Jewish customs. Refer to Acts 21:21-26. These
verses begin as follows: “And they are informed of thee,
that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the
Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to
circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
What is it therefore? The multitude must needs come
together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore
this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a
vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and
be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads:
and all may know that those things, whereof they were
informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself
also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.” (Acts 21:21-24)
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Then, two verses later, we see the action Paul took in
order to maintain peace in the church, which states as
follows: “Then Paul took the men, and the next day
purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to
signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until
that an offering should be offered for every one of them.”
(Acts 21:26) Paul put church peace first.
Conclusion
If there is any doubt about a proper baptism or any issue
affecting church peace, then one should be baptized. In
the latter case, the baptism could be looked at as a
rededication of vows.
The apostle Paul put it well when he said to the Romans, “I
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
(Romans 12:1) After all, it is not unreasonable for the child
of God to follow the above four essentials as given in
scripture. They should repent of their sins (Acts 3:19),
confess Christ (Romans 10:9), and be baptized (Mark
16:16).
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Chapter XIV
Faith
The Bible has much to say about faith…God’s faith…our
faith…and something as to what our faith indicates. In one
place we learn that our faith is an evidence:
• “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
…but an evidence of what?…something hoped for?
Man’s faith versus God’s faith
There are three excellent verses that show our faith…or
our belief in Christ…is an evidence and a proof we are
“born of God.”
• “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of
God.” (1 John 5:1)
• “…and as many as were ordained to eternal life
believed.” (Acts 13:48)
• Jesus said, “…verily, verily I say unto you, he that
heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me,
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
(John 5:24)
If we hear, and if we believe that Jesus is the Christ, we
are already born of God. Our belief in Christ is not
something we must do to become “born again”…it is an
evidence that we have already passed from death to life.
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The dead can do nothing for themselves. There is no such
thing as dead, deader, and deadest. The dead are simply
dead. Only God can give life.
• “And you hath he quickened who were dead in
trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1)
Our faith is the result of our being born again…it is an
evidence…and it is totally of God.
• “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our
faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)
God is the author…He wrote our names in the Lamb’s
Book of Life (Revelation 3:5 & 13:8), “…before the
foundation of the world.” (Ephesians 1:4) God is the
finisher of our faith. The death of Jesus on the cross paid
the sin debt…“It is finished.” (John 19:30) Apparently, that
leaves us out of the process. Our faith is simply a
“fruit”…an outgrowth…of the Spirit.
• “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,
temperance: against such there is no law.”
(Galatians 5:22-23)
First comes the spirit of God in the spiritual birth…then
comes the fruit of the spirit. The seventh fruit listed is our
faith. Until this point we could not exercise our faith, which
we do not have, so as to believe that Jesus is the Christ.
God’s work in our spiritual birth is first…then we
believe…or rather, we have the ability to believe…we have
an “ear to hear,” (Revelation 3:22 and many other verses).
In addition to the above, consider the following:
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• “Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of
God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John
6:29)
Our belief in Christ is a work of God. When we exercise
our God given faith, it is also called a work…as follows:
• “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, etc.”
(I Thessalonians 1:3)
“…and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the
work of faith with power.” (II Thessalonians 1:11)
Therefore, we learn that our faith is a work…you could
even say it is a righteous work. Even so, our faith…which
is an evidence (Hebrews 11:1)… does not save us
eternally…God alone has done this.
• “Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing
of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
(Titus 3:5)
Why does sinful man want to share in God’s glory in
eternal salvation, when God saved us at a time when we
were yet enemies?!
• “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to
God by the death of his Son, much more, being
reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans
5:10)
Physical birth is a miracle in which the newborn babe does
nothing to assist his parents or God. The spiritual birth in
regeneration…eternal life…is even more of a miracle
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performed by God alone…surely without our assistance, or
we would be able to boast or brag.
• “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not
of yourselves; it is a gift of God: not of works, less any
man should boast. For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God
hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:8-9)
The source of our belief is…“his power to us-ward who
believe, according to the working of his mighty power.”
(Ephesians 1:19) Our belief in Jesus Christ…or our
faith…is a work of God. (John 6:29, quoted above) It is a
fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) The grace through
faith in Ephesians 2:8 must be God’s faith (faithfulness or
fidelity in keeping the terms of the everlasting covenant-
Ephesians 1:4-6)…since eternal salvation is under
consideration. To see clearly God’s eternal saving faith:
• “And be found in him, not having mine own
righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of
God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)
• “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of
Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for
there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come
short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His
grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the
remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance
of God.” (Romans 3:22-25)
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In a letter from Elder Harold Hunt, Maryville, Tennessee,
he gave a number of reasons why it is possible for God, an
infinite being, to have faith. Following are some of the
points he made:
• W. E. Vine and J. H. Thayer are, perhaps, the two most
respected authorities with regard to the Greek
language. W. E. Vine defines faith as, “firm persuasion,
a conviction, trust, etc.” Thayer defines faith as,
“conviction, belief, trust, confidence….” Neither of them
finds the principle of limitation in the word itself. God
the Father has faith in His Son; he trusts His Son; He
has confidence in His Son. And God the Son has faith
in His Father. When the Father sent His Son into the
world, He had confidence in His Son that He would do
the work that was appointed Him. When the Son lay
down in death, He had confidence in His Father that He
would raise Him from the dead, and that He would
accept His sacrificial death as a full payment of the sin
debt of His people.
What if some (God’s children) choose not to believe?
It is God’s faith (faithfulness or fidelity in keeping the terms
of the everlasting covenant--Ephesians 1:4-6) that saves
us eternally. Some of God’s children that could
believe…reject the gospel in unbelief (Romans 3:3-4).
Does this mean they will be eternally lost? God forbid!
Consider the following:
• “For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief
make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea,
let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:3-4)
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The rejection of the gospel by His rebellious born again
children will not change their eternal destiny for heaven.
But in this life, their unbelief will separate them from the
fellowship of God, and until they repent of this sin, they are
in danger of losing the blessings of God in this life, through
the answer of prayers. In other words, if we deny Him, He
will deny us…and not hear our prayers, as follows:
• “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that
they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ
Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we
be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we
suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he
also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth
faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (II Timothy 2:10-13)
Notice in the last verse…God “abideth faithful.” This is
saving faith. God is faithful even if we are not. This is the
eternal saving faith (faithfulness or fidelity) mentioned in
Ephesians 2:8 and in Philippians 3:9. God’s faith saves us
eternally. Also, if you read II Timothy 2:10 closely, the
Apostle Paul says he endures all things for the Elect’s sake
(the elect are God’s children chosen before the foundation
of the world, as given in Ephesians 1:4), that they might
also obtain the salvation in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Paul says there is a salvation in Christ Jesus that is in
addition to eternal glory. These blessings in this life could
be called time “salvation”…we enjoy the comfort of the
Holy Spirit. Everyone wants to be happy. For God’s
children, this is only possible if we confess to Him our sins,
ask God for forgiveness, and obey His Word…the Bible.
We should heed the advice given in Jude, as follows:
• “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of
the common salvation, it was needful for me to write
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unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly
contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the
saints.” (Jude 3)
We should contend for the faith, if we are to enjoy the
common salvation available to God’s children (who have
heard the gospel) while in this life. The Apostle Paul feared
that his “flesh nature” may cause him to lose this time
“salvation” in this life…and be cast from the presence of
God…to lose the comfort of the Holy Spirit by becoming a
castaway, as follows:
• “But I must keep under my body and bring it into
subjection: lest that by any means, when I have
preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
(I Corinthians 9:27)
If we do not keep under our body and bring it into
subjection…a verse in Corinthians reminds us what may
happen as part of being a castaway, as follows:
• “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and
that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man
defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for
the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
(Corinthians I 3:16-17)
God’s people that rebel in unbelief will suffer chastisement
that may include losing their physical life; but they will still
be in heaven as with the incestuous brother in I
Corinthians 5:1-5. The fifth verse says as follows:
• “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction
of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of
the Lord Jesus.” (I Corinthians 5:5)
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God is Sovereign
It is totally through the work of God (John 6:29) that His
elect children are saved for heaven. It is the will of
God…not the will of man. Consider the following:
• “But as many as received him, to them gave he power
to become the sons of God, even to them that believe
on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the
will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
(John 1:12-13)
The above verse does not say as many as “will receive”
him, but rather, as many as “have received” him. Also, it
does not say as many as “will believe” on his name, but to
them that are “now believing.” Notice it is only God’s will
that affects eternal salvation!
People that are not born again have a carnal mind that is
at “enmity against God”…they cannot hear, understand or
believe things of God, as follows:
• “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it
is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can
be.” (Romans 8:7)
• Jesus said, “Why do ye not understand my speech?
Even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your
father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do.”
(John 8:43-44) It is clear that Jesus is speaking to
people who are not born again. Jesus continues
speaking to these unregenerate people as follows:
“Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the
truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God
heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not,
because ye are not of God.” (John 8:46-47) Jesus says
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they do not have the ability to hear. It is not a matter of
their decision.
• “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the
spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually
discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14)
• “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as
I said unto you.” (John 10:26)
If a person is not born again, they cannot hear, understand
or believe…so what good is preaching to these
individuals? The Apostle Paul apparently agrees with this
statement; he wanted to avoid those that “believe not”
(John 10:26), who are unreasonable and wicked men, as
follows:
• “Finally brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord
may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is
with you. And that we may be delivered from
unreasonable and wicked men; for all men have not
faith.” (II Thessalonians 3:1-2)
• “That I may be delivered from them that do not believe
in Judaea; etc.” (Romans 15:31) These must be those
who “believe not,” as given in John 10:26.
Why would Paul not want to preach to unbelievers? Today,
some people tell us that this is the purpose of preaching
the gospel…so the unregenerate unbeliever can be saved
eternally. But we remember that those not born again can
neither hear, understand nor believe. Paul answers this as
follows:
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• “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish
foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power
of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18)
If this verse is true, then preaching the gospel must only be
for those who are born again--the ones already saved
eternally, so that they may be “saved” in this life. Consider
the following:
• “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by
wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the
foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
(I Corinthians 1:21)
Since “them that believe” are already born again as I John
5:1, Acts 13:48 and John 5:24, given above…then
preaching saves them that are already eternally saved.
Preaching saves the saved! This is the same as noted
above where Paul says that he endures all things for the
elect’s sakes…“that they may also obtain the salvation
which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (II Timothy
2:10) There is a salvation in Christ Jesus that is in addition
to eternal salvation (heaven)…preaching saves the
eternally saved for a salvation in Christ Jesus in this life. It
saves us from physical suffering and sometimes death, as
in Jude 5. If we are obedient unto baptism, the gospel
saves us from this wicked, “untoward generation,” as in
Acts 2:40. It saves us to be in fellowship with God…with
the result that we are able to enjoy the comfort of the Holy
Spirit.
Hundreds of years before Christ, the prophet Jeremiah
prophesied (Jeremiah 31:31-34) that the day was coming
when God would make a new covenant with His people in
which He would put His laws directly into their hearts.
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• …“I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in
their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my
people. And they shall teach no more every man his
neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the
Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them
unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will
remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Almost the exact words were repeated in the book of
Hebrews 8:8-13 in which this prophecy is declared fulfilled.
The old Levitical priesthood was over, and Jesus Christ
had ushered in a new priesthood…Hebrews chapters 7-10.
Notice above…the Bible says it will no longer be taught
that we must…“Know the Lord.” (Hebrews 8:11) Isn’t the
opposite of this taught today even though many well
meaning, sincere people hold this position? Today, we are
told by some that we must “Know the Lord” in order to be
eternally saved. God disagrees!
Spiritual Birth
If our eternal salvation is totally dependant on the will of
God…if He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews
12:2), when did God decide to save those that He did
save? Consider the following:
• “According as he has chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and
without blame before him in love: Having predestinated
us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to
himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to
the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath
made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
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This verse says that God elected for heaven those whom
He did choose before the foundation of the world…before
we were born, before Adam and Eve were ever created. It
also says that He made us accepted with God…we do not
accept Christ as our personal saviour to become born
again. Those who are born again confess Christ as in
Romans 10:9, for a salvation in this life in fellowship with
Christ…to enjoy the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
In order to be born again and pass from death to life, as
given in Ephesians 2:1 above, we are called to life by the
Son of God. Jesus said,
• “Verily, verily I say unto you, the hour is coming and
now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son
of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25)
• “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit
and they are life.” (John 6:63)
Conclusion
God’s plan of salvation is better than any man could ever
devise. God’s plan has many more people in heaven than
all the Christian denominations combined. Man’s religious
practice is not involved. God’s plan for eternal salvation
omits man…God gets the job done. God gets all the glory,
and man gets no glory wherein he could boast (Ephesians
2:9)…man deserves no glory. The faith or faithfulness
(fidelity) of God achieves heaven for His elect children, out
of all “nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,
etc.” (Revelation 7:9) The deliverance God planned for His
children in this life for enjoyment during his lifetime is
gospel conversion unto discipleship…time “salvation.”
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Chapter XV
Justification
This chapter on Justification is copied from my book
Resolving Bible Dilemmas since it provides additional
doctrinal structure to assist the reader in seeing how Bible
verses fit together rather than oppose each other. This
principle is important if one is to become “…a workman
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word
of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Justification is a legal term, so if it is to be “rightly divided,”
one must first determine the jurisdiction of the court being
considered. The premise is a Supreme Court exists in
heaven to settle eternal matters. This court is involved with
the work of Christ on the cross for the elect of God, which
results in regeneration and eternal salvation for the elect.
Further, two lower courts exist in earth to determine the
“born again” sinner’s fate while alive in this present world.
These lower courts are involved with judgments relating to
man’s belief and obedience to God’s commandments,
which leads one to conversion to discipleship in His
church, and yields blessings in one’s lifetime.
The above mentioned courts must exist because of
Adam’s sin. The law of God that Adam violated and the
penalty to be suffered are first mentioned in Genesis 2:16-
17. These verses state, “And the Lord God commanded
the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest
freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest
thereof thou shalt surely die.” The margins of many Bibles
state that the Hebrew language literally means, “dying thou
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shalt die.” Three types of death are involved. Adam
immediately suffered death to fellowship with God. Next,
he began to physically die, ending in physical death.
Finally, except for the grace of God that provides eternal
salvation for the elect of God, Adam would have then
suffered eternal damnation (known as the second death).
Notice the sin of Adam, as clearly stated in the Roman
letter, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the
world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all
men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12) The human
race has inherited Adam’s sinful and sin prone nature. The
three courts of justice, which must deal with the sin of
Adam, are covered in the three sections that follow.
Justification by Blood
1) The “Divine Court,” or Supreme Court in heaven, is the
court that operates under the law of sin and death. Jesus,
the Surety, paid what the law demanded, as follows: “Who
was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for
our justification.” (Romans 4:25) Jesus paid the price for
every elect child of God. The elect are as follows:
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4) Also, we
remember, “And almost all things are by the law purged
with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
(Hebrews 9:22) Our justification is through Jesus’ blood
(His death on the cross) as follows: “Much more then,
being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from
wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9) Also, this same
message is repeated in Ephesians, “In whom we have
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin,
according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7) This
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justification relates to eternal salvation, and only involves
heaven for God’s elect people, noted above in Ephesians
1:4.
Justification by Faith
2) This court is the “court of one’s conscience,” and it is an
earthly court that involves conditional time “salvation.”
When God gives spiritual life (John 3:8 & 6:63) to His elect
children (Ephesians 1:4-7), He puts His laws in their mind
and heart as follows: “…saith the Lord; I will put my laws
into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” (Hebrews
8:10) As a result of this work of God, they become aware
of their sins and their consciences condemn them
(Romans 2:15). The children of God feel a deep sense of
guilt. They “labor and are heavy laden” as Matthew 11:28
states, since their consciences condemn them as being
guilty of God’s laws. They feel that, unless a remedy is
found, they have no hope in this life or after death.
Along with receiving the law of God “into their mind”
(Hebrews 8:10), they also receive nine manner of fruit
called “fruit of the Spirit” as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. The
seventh fruit listed is faith. When a born again child of God
hears the gospel message, obeys its commands, and
trusts by faith that a sovereign God alone and unaided has
saved him eternally, he then will feel secure. Justification
by faith satisfies the conscience and offers peace of mind
in this life. Galatians 2:16 states, “Knowing that a man is
not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of
Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9 for justification by blood),
even we have (in obedience) believed in Jesus Christ, that
we might be justified (in our own minds) by the faith of
(which we received from) Christ (as a fruit of the
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Spirit…Galatians 5:22-23), and not by the works of the law:
for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Also, consider a similar statement in Romans 5:1-5, (the
first verse refers back to the preceding verse 4:25, “Who
was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our
justification.”), as follows: “Therefore being justified by faith
(the faith of Christ--not our faith--and His faithfulness in
keeping the terms of the everlasting covenant), we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (justification
by blood): By whom also we have access by faith (the
sinner’s faith) into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice
in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory
in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh
patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God
is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is
given unto us.” Justification by faith (the sinner’s faith) is
often called “time salvation,” because the benefits and
penalties are experienced by God’s people only in this life.
Justification by Works
3) This is the “court of our acquaintances.” Like the “court
of one’s conscience,” the “court of our acquaintances” is
also an earthly court. This court deals with how God’s
people conduct themselves in this life as a witness for
Christ. It deals with how God’s people are “judged” by
others who observe their conduct as a witness for Christ.
God expects His children to “bare fruit” by obeying His
laws during their lifetime; therefore, God holds them
accountable through chastisement when they fail (Hebrews
10:26-31). If their light shines before men in such a way
that observers are forced to conclude that these individuals
are children of the Heavenly King, then one could say that
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they have been justified by works. The book of James
clearly explains this principle. James 2:14-26 uses
Abraham as an excellent example and explains that faith
without good works is dead (James 2:17, 20, and 26).
James also states, “Ye see then how that by works a man
is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24) Justification
by works could also be called “time salvation,” since God’s
people only experience its benefits or penalties in this
lifetime. Notice that good works and the exercising of our
faith are necessary for salvation in time (in this present
world), through the lower earthly courts. If the above verse
from James concerned eternal salvation, then it would
contradict Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which
we have done, but according to his mercy he has saved
us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the
Holy Ghost.”
Comments on the three courts
Notice that, unlike the other two earthly courts, the child of
God is totally and completely passive in the Divine Court.
Nothing in this life can alter the outcome or actions by the
Divine Court. There is no paradox in salvation. However,
God’s born again children are active in the other two lower
courts, and must be obedient to God’s commands and
laws if they are to be justified by faith and justified by
works. Notice as follows: “Then said Jesus to those Jews
which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are
ye my disciples indeed: And ye shall know the truth, and
the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) The benefits
and blessings a child of God obtains by obedience can be
enjoyed or lost in this lifetime by disobedience and sinful
acts. This fact is clearly stated in Hebrews 10:26-31 which
begins, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received
the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more
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sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of
judgement and fiery indignation”…
God holds his children accountable for their actions, or lack
of action, in this life. If in doubt, read Hebrews 12:5-11,
which begins, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which
speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not
thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art
rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth”…
The child of God does have trouble in this life as Paul
made clear in Romans, as follows: “For that which I do I
allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate,
that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto
the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it,
but sin that dwelleth in me.” (Romans 7:15-17) God’s
children have two different natures, one is carnal and the
other is spiritual.
Declare to be just
There is another use of the word justify that may surprise
some Bible believers. Elder Sonny Pyles preached on
Justification at a meeting in the fall of 2001. He pointed out
that this term does not always mean a change for the
better or a spiritual improvement. God pronounced a woe
against some individuals who justified certain things, as
follows: Isaiah 5:20, 23 “Woe unto them that call evil good,
and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for
darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
…Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the
righteousness of the righteous from him!” To justify the
wicked (to declare them just) is a justification that God
condemns. It is not for the better. Also consider this verse:
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“And all the people that heard him, and the publicans,
justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But
the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God
against themselves, being not baptized of him.” (Luke
7:29-30) These people that heard Him could not make God
more just than He already was. Justify in these verses
mean “declare to be just.” Those who were obedient unto
baptism were by their actions declaring God’s commands
as being just. As with other words in the Bible, justification
has several different meanings.
Proof that God has faith
For one who believes in cause and effect, God is the first
cause in both creation and salvation. A born again person
has been given nine manner of fruit, as listed in Galatians,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Man’s
faith is the seventh fruit listed. God, in the person of the
Holy Spirit, possesses these same nine fruits, but to an
infinite degree. God’s faith, or belief in Himself and belief in
all decrees by the Holy Trinity, is faith to an infinite degree.
If eternal salvation is by the faith of Christ and God’s faith,
then one might say there is a problem with this doctrine
since the word “faith” may imply imperfect knowledge.
God’s knowledge is perfect (Isaiah 46:10), so this position
may at first only appear to be inconsistent with the doctrine
of omniscience.
In a letter from Elder Harold Hunt, Maryville, Tennessee,
he gave a number of reasons why it is possible for God, an
infinite being, to have faith. Following are some of the
points he made:
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• “W. E. Vine and J. H. Thayer are, perhaps, the two
most respected authorities with regard to the Greek
language. W. E. Vine defines faith as: “firm persuasion,
a conviction, trust, etc.” Thayer defines faith as,
“conviction, belief, trust, confidence….” Neither of them
finds the principle of limitation in the word itself. God
the Father has faith in His Son; he trusts His Son; He
has confidence in His Son. And God the Son has faith
in His Father. When the Father sent His Son into the
world, He had confidence in His Son that He would do
the work that was appointed Him. When the Son laid
down in death, He had confidence in His Father that He
would raise Him from the dead, and that He would
accept His sacrificial death as a full payment of the sin
debt of His people.”
Several verses clearly state we are saved eternally by the
faith (or work) of Christ, or by God’s faith in His blood (or
His certain belief that Christ would submit to death on the
cross), which are as follows:
• “And be found in Him, not having mine own
righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of
God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)
• “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of
Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for
there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come
short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His
grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the
remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance
of God.” (Romans 3:22-25)
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• “For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief
make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea,
let God be true, but every man a liar;” (Romans 3:3-4)
• “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto
salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter
1:5) This faith must be God’s infinite faith (or certain
belief in the work of Christ and that He would preserve
His children blameless until the end), since eternal
salvation is kept by God until “…the last time.” This
verse refers to the faith of God, or faithfulness of God.
Man’s faith compared to faith of Christ and the faith of
God
We should compare man’s faith to the faith of Jesus Christ
(in His humanity as son of Mary). Man’s faith is a fruit of
the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) as defined by Hebrews 11:1
which states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen.” Jesus stated many
times, “O ye of little faith” as in Matthew 16:8 and Luke
12:28. Man has only a little faith, and many times, the born
again man rejects this faith in acts of rebellion, as stated in
Romans 3:3 and 2 Timothy, “If we believe not, yet he
abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
The following are good examples of many born again
people who lost their physical life (not eternal life) by
rebelling against God through sinful acts called “unbelief”
(man chooses to reject their God given faith):
• “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye
once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the
people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed
them that believed not.” (Jude 5) God would not destroy
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the unregenerate for unbelief because they believe not
because they are not one of His sheep (as John 10:26
states). The unbelief of the unregenerate is the result of
God’s choice because God did not elect them from
before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
Now compare this verse with 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 and
John 6:54 as follows: “Moreover, brethren, I would not
that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were
under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And
were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the
sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all
drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that
spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was
Christ. But with many of them God was not pleased: for
they were overthrown in the wilderness.” (1 Corinthians
10:1-5) To prove all were children of God, compare the
wording above to John 6:53-54: “Then Jesus said unto
them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the
flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no
life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last
day.” The above verses prove that all the Jews who
Moses led out of Egypt were born again. Even so,
many were “overthrown in the wilderness” for the sin of
unbelief. This particular event referred to in Jude 5 is
also referred to in Hebrews 3:7-19. Our faith can fail to
such an extent that it costs us our physical life, but not
eternal life, as stated in Romans 3:3 and 2 Timothy
2:13.
On the other hand, Jesus in His humanity (as the son of
Mary) had great faith. Jesus in His divine nature is God;
therefore as God, He has infinite faith…or certain and
infinite belief in Himself and all His decrees.
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Let’s consider Jesus Christ as completely man as well as
God manifest in flesh as given by John 1:1-4, 14. In His
humanity (son of Mary-Mary’s egg was fertilized by God
through the Holy Spirit as in Matthew 1:20), Jesus has a
sin-free nature, and a sin-free mortal mind similar to Adam
before the fall. The spiritual mind of Jesus Christ is God.
In contrast to Jesus, a born again person has a sinful
carnal mind, which is at “enmity against God” (Romans
8:7) and is prone to sin (Romans 7:14-25). This born again
person also has a pure spiritual mind (2 Peter 3:1) which
cannot sin, as clearly stated, “Whosoever is born of God
doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he
cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9)
Jesus in His humanity, as the son of Mary, “increased in
wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
(Luke 2:52) God’s wisdom cannot increase, since it is
infinite. Jesus in His humanity could grow in wisdom, as He
grew from childhood as the son of Mary, and He could be
tempted as in Luke 4:1-13. Also, He prayed to God the
Father, as in John 17:1-26. (There are many other
references of Jesus praying to the Father.) Jesus, in His
humanity (as the son of Mary) had great faith or belief in
God by offering Himself to die on the cross (Romans 4:25)
in order to pay the price acceptable to God, and thereby
save all of the elect of God eternally. Jesus (the son of
Mary) knew He would suffer alone, separated from the
presence of God…separated from His Divine spiritual
mind. Matthew 27:45-46 notes that darkness was over all
the land from the sixth to the ninth hour, then finishes by
saying about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice,
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus, (as
the son of Mary, the second Adam) was suffering the wrath
of God all alone.
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Human brain compared to a computer
In considering the possibility of a person having two
natures, or two minds, refer to Bible examples of people
who are indwelled by unclean spirits. Our fleshly brain is
like computer hardware that can be loaded with more than
one software program. Remember the Gadarene man who
lived in the tombs? (Mark 5:1-19) This Gadarene man was
indwelled by many unclean spirits. When Jesus asked the
man his name, the unclean spirits said, “My name is
Legion: for we are many.” (Mark 5:9) Mark 5:13 states,
“they were about two thousand.” The software program
that all humans are born with is called our carnal nature,
which was inherited from Adam. God gives the born again
person a pure spiritual mind (2 Peter 3:1) at the time of
regeneration (Titus 3:5-7). This spiritual mind cannot sin (1
John 3:9). As with the Gadarene man mentioned above,
and many others mentioned in scripture, the human mind
can also be indwelled by one or more unclean spirits.
The occurrence of unclean spirits (fallen angels) indwelling
human beings is a clear fact of Scripture. However, how
this event occurs is less clear. We do know that, regarding
the Holy Spirit, Christ is knocking on the “door” of the heart
of born again people. This fact is clearly stated to the
Laodicean church, beginning at Revelation 3:14, and
extending to the end of the chapter. Notice as follows: “As
many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous
therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and
knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will
come in to him, and he with me. To him that overcometh
will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also
overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto
the churches.” (Revelation 3:19-22) Christ is addressing
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the “lukewarm” (Rev. 3:16) regenerate church members,
asking to be invited into their hearts. If this case applies
with the Holy Spirit, surely it must also apply with unclean
spirits. Unclean spirits would not be able to enter uninvited
into the human mind. It is possible that Satanist and secret
society rituals, as well as religions which worship false
Christ’s, are the means of this invitation. To understand
this last possibility, consider the following: “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.” (2 Corinthians 11:4) The
worship of a false Christ, or anti-Christ, may be very
dangerous. The Christ we worship is defined by the
doctrine we believe. Therefore, Bible doctrine is extremely
important.
Justification in the Divine Court
Our legal justification before God by Jesus Christ (yielding
eternal salvation for the elect of God) is clearly stated,
“Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again
for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) This justification was
effected by the infinite faith, or certain belief by God, that
Jesus in his humanity (as the son of Mary, as the second
Adam), would submit to death on the cross. Jesus, in His
humanity (as the son of Mary), could have refused (in
theory), or He would have had no humanity.
Further, because of His great faith, (not infinite faith or
belief), Jesus Christ (as the son of Mary) believed that at
His death His soul would go immediately to God. Also,
Jesus (the son of Mary), had great faith (not infinite faith or
He would not have had a human nature) that God would
raise Him again from the dead three days after His death
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on the cross, to accomplish legal justification--Romans
4:25.
God had “faith in His blood,” (Romans 3:25) which meant
that Jesus had to die as further stated “without shedding of
blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22) In Christ’s death on
the cross, God had faith (infinite faith and certain belief)
that Jesus, the man (the son of Mary), would submit to
death. We know that Jesus, the son of Mary, prayed as
follows: “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup
from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.”
(Luke 22:42 see also Matthew 26:39, 42 and Mark 14:36)
Jesus, the man, desperately wanted to avoid separation
from the presence and fellowship of God. While Christ was
still alive, hanging on the cross, God’s hatred and wrath
was poured out on Him (because He was bearing our sins,
even though He was Himself without sin). Jesus, the man,
at the ninth hour (it was dark over all the land from the
sixth hour until the ninth), cried out, “My God, my God, why
hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Jesus, the man
(the son of Mary), was alone and separated from God,
suffering the wrath of God for God’s elect children.
Conclusion
Thus, we see justification in three courts. We see the
amazing grace of God in saving His chosen people without
the eternal loss of even one. Our religious practice is not
involved here. However, God has preserved the gospel
and His church so as to offer a “salvation” for His children
in this life (based on their obedience) from this untoward,
unruly and wicked generation (Acts 2:38-40). We call this
conditional time “salvation.” One can only say, “Amazing
grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”
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Chapter XVI
John 3:16
The purpose of this chapter is to consider this important
Bible verse which is so well known, but is so completely
misunderstood. We will consider John 3:14-18. These
verses as they appear in the King James AV 1611 Bible
are as follows:
• John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”
• John 3:15 “That whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have eternal life.”
• John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
• John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through him
might be saved.”
• John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned:
but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name of the only
begotten Son of God.”
Note: The words above that are underlined, world and
believeth, are for emphasis.
The following consideration will primarily provide Bible
based definitions for the words “world” and “believeth,” and
will show which “world” obviously is under consideration in
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John 3:16. However, the expression “whosoever believeth”
may not seem so straightforward at first. Even so, in light
of the actual grammar, as well as the way in which the
Bible uses “believeth” in a number of Bible verses, the
meaning of this phrase will become clear.
World
Let’s first consider “world.” One must know which “world” is
the object of God’s love. We know that in the in the 9th
verse of the 17th chapter of John, Jesus prayed just before
He was crucified: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world,
but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
This prayer clearly demonstrates that a world exists that
God does not love. In fact, in the 17th chapter of John,
“world” is mentioned 19 times, and refers to at least four
different “worlds.” (as shown later, beginning on page 202)
One should verify this fact for himself.
Further, consider the “world” mentioned in Luke 2:1. This
verse states as follows: “And it came to pass in those days,
that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all
the world should be taxed.” Does this verse refer to the
whole human world? Of course not! However, many
people make the same mistake regarding John 3:16.
Obviously, Luke 2:1 refers to the Roman world. In light of
John 17:9, John 3:16 clearly refers to the “elect world”
which God chose before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:4 states: “According as he hath chosen us in
him before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love.” The elect world
is the object of God’s love in John 3:16.
Now, let’s look closer at the “elect.” Peter writes in 1 Peter
1:2, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the
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Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience
and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto
you, and peace, be multiplied.” “Foreknowledge” is also
mentioned by Paul in Romans 8:29, “For whom he did
foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the
image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among
many brethren.” Foreknowledge means God “knew” the
elect before the world was created. God “knew” them in the
same way a man “knows” his wife. God has an intimate
love that He has had for His elect since before the
foundation of the world, as in Ephesians 1:4.
Now, notice another comment by Jesus. In Matthew 7:22-
23, Jesus states: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord,
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy
name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many
wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never
knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Jesus
being God manifest in the flesh knew about these people.
Jesus obviously means He never knew these people
intimately. They were never the objects of His love
(foreknowledge) from before the foundation of the world.
God only loves the “elect world.”
Believeth
Next, the phrases “whosoever believeth in him,” “believeth
on him,” as well as “believeth not” will now be considered.
The main point to remember is that one’s belief that Jesus
is the Christ cannot be both the cause as well as the effect
of eternal life. In the real world, we always consider if
something is the cause of a problem (or occurrence), or if it
is just the effect, symptom, or evidence that points us back
to the problem.
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Cause and effect has already been covered in detail in
Chapters II and V. Even so, for a real world example of
cause and effect, imagine that an electric lamp does not
work. The fact that the lamp does not work is the symptom,
or effect, that points you back to the cause of the problem.
The cause may be a burned out light bulb, faulty wiring, a
circuit breaker, etc. You could not say that the lack of light
is the cause of the problem. Elder Sonny Pyles preached
an excellent sermon titled Three Essential Facts in which
the principle of cause and effect as concerns Bible doctrine
is explained much better than I ever could. Section II
beginning on page 61 includes four chapters that are
based on this sermon preached by Elder Sonny Pyles.
“Believeth” (as “whosoever believeth”), based on the actual
grammar, is interpreted “whosoever is in the state of
believing.” Our belief is always given in the Bible as an
evidence, or effect that has resulted from one being
already born again (1 John 5:1, John 5:24, Acts 13:48,
John 10:26, Galatians 5:22-23, etc.). Notice the reading of
the above mentioned verses:
• 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him
that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
• John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that
heareth my word (John 8:47), and believeth on him
that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not
come into condemnation; but is passed from death
unto life.”
• Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they
were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as
many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
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• John 10:26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not
of my sheep, as I said unto you.” (Jesus did not say
if you will believe, you will become one of God’s
sheep. He said the opposite.)
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law.”
The following is a review from previous chapters on being
born again, (as stated by Jesus in John 3:3 “Except a man
be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,”). The
8th verse of John 3 states “The wind bloweth where it
listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not
tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one
that is born of the Spirit.” No man can control where or
when the wind will blow (which is the reason that Jesus
gave us this example), or, similarly, where or when the
Holy Spirit will act in giving spiritual life. In John 6:63,
Jesus states: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are
spirit, and they are life.”
Jesus also states in John 5:25: “Verily, verily, I say unto
you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall
hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall
live.” This verse refers to the actual voice of Jesus, through
the Holy Spirit, as when Jesus called Lazarus from the
grave in John 11:43. The words from Jesus, as repeated
by man, do not lead one to become born again, rather, the
voice of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit accomplishes
this purpose. Man is not involved in this action in any way,
since the unregenerate man is spiritually dead (Ephesians
2:1) and hates God (Romans 8:7). Ephesians 2:1 states:
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“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses
and sins.” The dead can do nothing for themselves. Only
God can give spiritual life.
Another verse that shows God’s sovereignty in eternal
salvation is John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except
the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise
him up at the last day.” This principle is repeated by Jesus
in John 6:65: “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that
no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him
of my Father.” Jesus is the way, as: “Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me.” Those chosen by the Father
(Ephesians 1:4) are given (not offered) eternal life by
Jesus, as stated in John 17:2-3: “As thou hast given him
power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as
many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that
they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
whom thou hast sent.” Notice the limitation (to whom Jesus
will give eternal life) strongly expressed by Jesus in
praying for “as many as,” which means not one more and
not one less. Only those God the Father gave Jesus will be
given eternal life, as in John 6:37-39: “All that the Father
giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I
will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not
to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And
this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which
he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it
up again at the last day.”
As stated before, belief in Christ is the evidence of spiritual
life. Many people today say that belief in Christ is the
cause of spiritual life. Something cannot be both the cause
as well as the effect of an occurrence. The Bible always
takes the position that belief is the effect. This faith is a
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“fruit” of the Holy Sprit that dwells within them. (Galatians
5:22-23)
We will now consider the phrase “believeth not” in John
3:18. Refer to John 10:26, since Jesus was speaking to
some unregenerate people. He stated: “But ye believe not,
because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” In
other words, they do not believe because they are not a
child of God. They do not believe because they are not of
His sheep. Someone not born again is totally unable to
believe that Jesus is the Christ. The unregenerate cannot
understand spiritual things, as stated by 1 Corinthians
2:14: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can
he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The
unregenerate cannot hear spiritual things, as Jesus stated
in John 8:47: “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
Purpose of the GOSPEL
Bible verses like Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” are not
referring to eternal salvation, but rather to the aspect of
salvation that is available for God’s children in this life
resulting from obedience unto discipleship in the Lord’s
church. This salvation is from this wicked “untoward
generation,” as in Acts 2:40. This salvation is in addition to
eternal glory, as Paul stated in 2 Timothy 2:10: “Therefore I
endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also
obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal
glory.”
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Conclusion
Based on the explanation above, John 3:14-18 could be
rewritten so as to clearly show which world is the object of
God’s love. Further, a person that does believe that Jesus
is the Christ is already a child of God. The phrases
“believeth in him” or “believeth on him” could obviously be
replaced with the phrase “a child of God.” The phrase “that
believeth not,” could be replaced with “is not a child of
God,” or “is not of His sheep.”
John 3:14-18 could then be rewritten as follows:
• And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted
up on the cross of Calvary: That whosoever is a
child of God should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the elect world, that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whosoever is a child of God
should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God
sent not His Son into the world to condemn the elect
world; but that the elect world through Him might be
saved. He that is a child of God is not condemned:
but he that is not a child of God is condemned
already, because he is not of His sheep.
World Verses
C = Created world: H = Human world: NE= Non-Elect
world: E = Elect world
John 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine
own self with the glory which I had with thee before the
worldC was.”
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John 17:6 “I have manifested thy name unto the men
which thou gavest me out of the worldH: thine they were,
and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”
John 17:9 “I pray for them: I pray not for the worldNE, but
for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”
John 17:11 “And now I am no more in the worldH, but these
are in the worldH, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep
through thine own name those whom thou hast given me,
that they may be one, as we are.”
John 17:12 “While I was with them in the worldH, I kept
them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept,
and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the
scripture might be fulfilled.”
John 17:13 “And now come I to thee; and these things I
speak in the worldH, that they might have my joy fulfilled in
themselves.”
John 17:14 “I have given them thy word; and the worldNE
hath hated them, because they are not of the worldNE, even
as I am not of the worldC.”
John 17:15 “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of
the worldH, but that thou shouldest keep them from the
evil.”
John 17:16 “They are not of the worldH, even as I am not of
the worldC.”
John 17:18 “As thou hast sent me into the worldH, even so
have I also sent them into the worldH.”
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John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art
in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that
the worldE may believe that thou hast sent me.”
John 17:23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be
made perfect in one; and that the worldE may know that
thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved
me.”
John 17:24 “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast
given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my
glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before
the foundation of the worldC.”
John 17:25 “O righteous Father, the worldNE hath not
known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known
that thou hast sent me.”
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Chapter XVII
The Parable of the Sower
This chapter will consider the familiar parable Jesus taught
concerning the parable of the sower, as given in Matthew
13:3-23. In my opinion this parable is not fully understood
by many Bible believers. Based on Bible doctrine as given
in previous chapters of this book, hopefully the lesson
taught by the parable of the sower will now be much easier
to understand. In this chapter, I will quote a number of
points as suggested by Elder Harold Hunt, Maryville, TN.
In the parable of the sower, the subject is hearing and
understanding the “word of the kingdom, (Matthew
13:19)…the preached gospel. The misunderstanding by
many concerning this parable is they consider the “seed
sown in good ground” (Matthew 13:8) to be the only
example in the parable representing children of God.
Arguments will be made in this chapter to hopefully prove
that the seed sown “by the wayside,” “into stony places,”
and “among the thorns” are also examples of God’s
children who, after hearing the preached gospel, for
various reasons, do not bear fruit. They are regenerate, but
they are not obedient unto discipleship in the Lord’s church
so as to “bear fruit.” They do not enjoy the great blessing in
this life from gospel “salvation.” This is a salvation from
“this untoward generation,” as Peter declared in Acts 2:40.
They are still God’s people, but because of their rebellion,
they may suffer chastisement in this life unless they
become obedient to God’s commandments. God chastens
His rebellious children as noted in Hebrews 10:26-31 and
Hebrews 12:5-11.
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This parable does not have to do with hearing the “holy
calling” (2 Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us
with an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was given
us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”) that is given
by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit to the elect of God
in regeneration. Jesus Himself describes this “holy calling”
in the following Bible verses:
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice
of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” The
dead cannot help in this process…they are dead!
• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they
are spirit, and they are life.”
In the parable of the sower, the hearing can be hindered by
stony ground, thorns, etc. The spiritual life giving “holy
calling” by Jesus Christ, the Seed of God that produces
regeneration, cannot be hindered or resisted. This
incorruptible Seed of God that always produces spiritual
life unto eternal salvation is described as following:
• 1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and
abideth for ever.” This “word of God” is the second
person of the Holy Trinity as given in 1 John 5:7, “For
there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father,
the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
Jesus is referred to as the Seed of God in Galatians
3:16: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises
made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of
one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Physical life
comes from the corruptible seed of man, while eternal
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life comes from the incorruptible Seed of God, Jesus
Christ.
Concerning how one is born again, Jesus told Nicodemus
in John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of
the Spirit.” Jesus compares regeneration to the wind which
blows where it listeth…wherever it pleases. Stony ground,
thorns, etc. have no effect regarding regeneration.
However, there are many things that can prevent the
gospel from bearing fruit.
In the parable of the sower, all four examples “received
seed.” The unregenerate “natural man” cannot receive the
things of the Spirit of God according to 1 Corinthians 2:14,
“for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know
them, because they are spiritually discerned.” As Elder
Harold Hunt has said, the key to understanding the text is
in making a distinction between that fruit that comes from
being born again, and the fruit that comes from hearing,
understanding, and obedience to the preached gospel. For
gospel fruit, consider the following:
• Colossians 1:5-6 “For the hope which is laid up for you
in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the
truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in
all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in
you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of
God in truth:”
The preached gospel does not always bear fruit in the lives
of its hearers. Some truly born again people reject the truth
of the gospel, and so do not bear gospel fruit. In contrast to
this, the Spirit of God dwelling within a born again person
(1 Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of
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God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”) always
bears fruit…whether one ever hears the preached gospel
or not. In some it bears much fruit, and in others it bears
less fruit; however, the Spirit of God in a born again
person’s heart always bears fruit, as described in the
following Bible verses:
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The above fruit from the Spirit of God that is most clearly
recognized is compassion for our fellow man. That is the
one identifying mark of the children of God in the final
judgment as described in Matthew 25:31-46. In the final
judgment what the Lord says to those on His right hand He
says to all His children. A person may reject the truth of the
gospel, but if he manifests no compassion for his fellow
man, there is no reason to believe he is a child of God.
With the above principles in mind, and the foundation of
the Bible doctrine established in previous chapters, we can
now begin our study.
The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23)
The “parable of the sower” teaches us some interesting
principles about how God’s children receive the gospel
message. After giving us the parable in Matthew 13:3-8,
Jesus then in the 11th verse answers His disciples’
question as to why He spoke in parables: “He answered
and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know
the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is
not given.” Jesus is rebuking God’s children within the
nation of Israel who have drifted away from God and His
laws, as had happened many other times in their history.
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This could also happen to us today, and I believe it actually
has. Even though Jesus has explained the parable, many
today have misunderstood the true lesson being taught.
Jesus says further: “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of
Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear (the
unregenerate cannot hear, as John 8:47), and shall not
understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not
perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their
ears are dull of hearing (only dull, not devoid or dead), and
their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should
see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should
understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I
should heal them.”
This saying must refer to God’s rebellious “born again”
children who are not yet fully converted, and is similar to
the case of Peter in Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said,
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you,
that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee,
that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted,
strengthen thy brethren.” Peter was born again (as proven
by Matthew 16:16-17 compared to 1 John 5:1), but had not
yet been fully converted.
The unregenerate are spiritually dead. Ephesians 2:1
states: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in
trespasses and sins:” The dead can hear nothing, so
parables would be unnecessary.
Finally, Jesus explains the parable to the disciples,
beginning at Matthew 13:18:
• Matthew 13:18 “Hear ye therefore the parable of the
sower.”
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• Matthew 13:19 “When any one heareth the word of the
kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the
wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in
his heart. This is he which received seed by the way
side.”
• Matthew 13:20 “But he that received the seed into
stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and
anon with joy receiveth it;”
• Matthew 13:21 “Yet hath he not root in himself, but
dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution
ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
• Matthew 13:22 “He also that received seed among the
thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this
world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word,
and he becometh unfruitful.”
• Matthew 13:23 “But he that received seed into the good
ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth
it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an
hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Notice that in each case, whether “by the way side,” “into
stony places,” or “among the thorns,” Jesus always starts
by saying they hear the word. Therefore, we know these
individuals are children of God because of what Jesus told
some who were unregenerate, as follows:
• John 8:44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts
of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is
no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of
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his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Then a few
verses later Jesus said the following:
• John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye
therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
Jesus would not need to use parables with these
people who are “not of God.” Jesus tells them they
have no ability to hear.
Next, notice in Matthew 13:19, that the one who received
seed “by the wayside” had the seed sown in the heart. We
remember 2 Corinthians 3:3: “Forasmuch as ye are
manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by
us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God;
not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.”
The unregenerate have a heart of stone, which would
make sowing seed impossible, but the fleshy heart of a
born again person would be able to receive the sown seed.
Furthermore, in Matthew 13:20, the one that received the
seed “into stony places” received it “with joy.” Only God’s
children can receive God’s Word with joy. Joy is one of the
nine fruits listed as fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.
Obviously, Matthew 13:20 is also referring to a child of
God.
In Matthew 13:22 the seed was received among the
thorns, and this is described as one who hears the word
(only a born again person can hear spiritual things…John
8:47), but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of
riches chokes the word so the person becomes unfruitful.
Finally, those that received the “seed into the good
ground,” are those of God’s children who hear the Word,
understand it, and bear various amounts of fruit. God
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expects all of His children that are blessed to hear the
gospel message to bear fruit as disciples. Even so, many
are rebellious and refuse to become disciples of Christ.
Regardless, God deals with His rebellious children
according to their understanding, as shown in Luke 12:47-
48: “And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and
prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall
be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did
commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few
stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall
be much required: and to whom men have committed
much, of him they will ask the more.” God is merciful and
patient, but He expects His children to obey His
commandments and bear fruit as disciples of Christ.
Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-27)
The story of the “rich young ruler” as recorded in the
gospel of Mark also teaches us some interesting lessons
that relate to the parable of the sower overlooked by many.
These verses are as follows:
• Mark 10:17 “And when he was gone forth into the way,
there came one running, and kneeled to him, and
asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may
inherit eternal life?” (Eternal life is the subject under
consideration.)
• Mark 10:18 “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou
me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”
• Mark 10:19 “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not
commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear
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The Parable of the Sower
213
false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and
mother.”
• Mark 10:20 “And he answered and said unto him,
Master, all these have I observed from my youth.”
• Mark 10:21 “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and
said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell
whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the
cross, and follow me.”
• Mark 10:22 “And he was sad at that saying, and went
away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
• Mark 10:23 “And Jesus looked round about, and saith
unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have
riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
• Mark 10:24 “And the disciples were astonished at his
words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto
them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in
riches to enter into the kingdom of God!”
• Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the
kingdom of God.”
• Mark 10:26 “And they were astonished out of measure,
saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?”
• Mark 10:27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With
men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all
things are possible.”
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First, notice that the rich young ruler wanted to know how
to obtain eternal life, as he made clear in Mark 10:17.
However, notice the remark by Jesus in Mark 10:25: “It is
easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” The
disciples then ask the question “Who then can be saved?”
In Mark 10:27 we have the answer: “And Jesus looking
upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with
God: for with God all things are possible.” This verse
should make it very clear that it is impossible for man to do
anything to obtain eternal salvation. God is totally
sovereign in eternal salvation.
Even so, another most important point is made in Mark
10:21: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him.” It appears
that this rich young man is already a child of God. One who
seeks God does so because he is already a child of God
as in 1 John 4:19: “We love Him because He first loved
us.” Christ knows the children chosen by the Father from
before the foundation of the world, including the rich young
ruler. If Jesus loves a person, this love goes back to before
the foundation of the world…Ephesians 1:4, “According as
he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and without blame before
him in love:”…and extends on into the future into heaven
itself at the end of time.
Further, we remember that Jesus has power over all flesh
to save eternally any that God the Father has given Him to
save. This point is clearly stated in the prayer Jesus
prayed before His crucifixion in John 17:2, “As thou hast
given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal
life to as many as thou hast given him.” As many as means
not one more, and not one less.
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The Parable of the Sower
215
Since the rich young ruler is already a child of God, Jesus
is using this account to explain the duty of a child of God,
as well as the impossibility of the non-elect to obtain
eternal salvation by their own efforts. The non-elect do not
love God or want to know His ways. Notice how the
unregenerate are referred to in Job 21:14-15: “Therefore
they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the
knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we
should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we
pray unto him?” The unregenerate hate God as given in
Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against
God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
can be.”
Now, let’s return to the rich young ruler. Because the rich
young ruler has too much trust in riches to become fruitful
as a disciple of Christ, Jesus says he must first sell all that
he has, give to poor, and then follow Him as a disciple.
These actions are necessary if he is to be fruitful. In this
parable, after the gospel seed is sown, being fruitful is the
result Jesus desires.
Also, this rich young man fits the case in the parable of the
sower which “received seed among the thorns,” as stated
in Matthew 13:22. This verse states: “He also that received
seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and
the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,
choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” He is a child
of God who is unfruitful as a disciple of Christ.
The rich young ruler went away grieved in Mark 10:22. An
unregenerate person would not react in this way (to go
away grieved). If he was unregenerate, he would have
reacted as in Acts 7:54: “When they heard these things,
they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
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their teeth.” The rich young ruler must have suffered later
for his disobedience; however, I believe he is in heaven
today. God’s laws are commandments for his children in
this life. Disobedience will be punished in this life as given
in Hebrews 10:26-31 and 12:5:11.
Conclusion
God commands His children to take up their cross and
follow Christ, which is not just an invitation, but is a
command we should gladly follow. God expects His
children to bare fruit as disciples by being witnesses. To be
a disciple of Christ is to enjoy the comfort of the Holy Spirit
in fellowship with Jesus Christ in His church.
Our religious practice is most important. One’s “salvation”
during this lifetime can then be lost sometime later if the
gospel seeds have been sown “by the wayside,” “into stony
places,” or “among the thorns.” Our disobedience to the
gospel commandments are sinful acts of rebellion against
God...even so, eternal salvation can never be lost. When
God quickens (Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened,
who were dead in trespasses and sins;”) the elect of God
to spiritual life, this eternal life will last forever, even though
the body is subject to physical suffering and physical
death. Our obedience unto salvation in the Lord’s church
offers us the abundant life, as described by Jesus in John
10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill,
and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and
that they might have it more abundantly.”
Section IV
Foundations
217
Section IV
Foundations
This final section containing two chapters is entitled
Foundations. The reason for this name is to stress that the
subjects covered are actually foundational. If one is not
properly grounded in these subjects, it would be like trying
to build a tall building on sand rather than a properly
designed and constructed foundation of reinforced
concrete.
First, in Chapter XVIII entitled English Bible Translation,
one must understand which English translation of the Bible
is preferred and why this translation is recommend. Also
included in this chapter is the method of Bible study given
in the Bible.
In Chapter XIX entitled Creation versus Evolution, the final
chapter of the book, it is pointed out one should
understand and be fully persuaded that God created the
world a few thousand years ago (no evolution over billions
of years). This fact is supported by scientific evidence
along with scriptural proof. One needs to realize why the
issue of creation versus evolution is so very important. In
fact, an argument can be made that this subject is vital to a
proper understanding of Christianity.
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
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Chapter XVIII
English Bible Translation
The question as to which Bible translation provides the
most reliable representation of the original autographs that
were inspired and preserved by God is complex. The
argument that will be made here is to state that any version
of the Bible that is not based on the Received Greek New
Testament text (Textus Receptus) and the Masoretic
Hebrew Old Testament text should be rejected. The King
James Bible Authorized Version of 1611 offers the best
English translation that satisfies this requirement.
In the late nineteenth century, Westcott and Hort worked
for twenty years on two ancient texts, Codex Vaticanus
and Codex Sinaiticus. Using these two corrupt texts, which
for centuries had been rejected, they had hopes of
overthrowing the Textus Receptus and the King James
Bible. The work resulted in the Westcott and Hort Greek
text of 1881, followed by the English Revised Version of
1881. Modern English translations are now based on the
Nestle / Aland Greek text (26th edition published about
twenty years ago) that is virtually the same text as the
Wescott and Hort Greek text of 1881 but with revisions.
The Nestle / Aland modern Greek text now contains 2886
fewer Greek words than the Greek Textus Receptus
according to “The Bible for Today Press,” D. A. Waite,
Th.D., Ph.D., General Editor, Collingswood, NJ.
The technique of translation from Greek to English in the
King James AV 1611 New Testament was “verbal
equivalence” translation as opposed to “dynamic
equivalence” (or the translators paraphrase) which has
been the technique for translations since 1881. Therefore,
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English Bible Translation
219
one should expect these recent English translations based
on the Nestle / Aland Greek text and a different technique
of translation, to have many changes. One should want to
know what God said, not what modern day scholars think
God meant by what He said.
God has blessed the Greek Textus Receptus and its
various translations, which included the King James AV
1611 Bible, the older Geneva Bible, and Martin Luther’s
German Bible. In the first century (Acts 17:6) God “turned
the world upside down.” During the sixteenth, seventeenth,
and eighteenth centuries He again turned the world upside
down through preaching from these Bibles, based on the
Greek Textus Receptus. This fact offers the best reason to
select the King James AV 1611 Bible today. Modern
translations are not based on this Greek text.
Bible written by God
The Bible is unlike any other book. It claims to have been
written by God Himself. Much has been written which has
proven beyond any reasonable doubt that God did in fact
inspire men to write the Bible. Since the Bible was inspired
by God Himself, it can have no errors. It must be
interpreted within the sixty-six books that make up the Old
and New Testaments. Interestingly, God inspired forty
different men to write the sixty-six books over a period of at
least fifteen hundred years, yet no contradictions or errors
have ever been proven.
Dr. Henry Morris (Ph.D. Civil Engineering), Founder and
President Emeritus of the Institute for Creation Research,
wrote a book some years ago entitled Many Infallible
Proofs. This excellent book explores the overwhelming
evidence attesting to the literal accuracy of the Bible (other
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
220
references are available). This literal accuracy of the Bible
includes the book of Genesis. Obviously Jesus considered
Genesis literally accurate based on how many times He
quoted from it. Further, in the first eleven chapters of
Genesis we find the foundations of the Christian faith:
marriage, original sin of Adam that brought death into the
world and the need for Christ to redeem the elect (Romans
5:12-21), world-destroying flood of Noah, and the seven
day week to name a few.
Dr. Henry Morris wrote on the verbal inspiration of the
Bible in Acts & Facts, ICR, Vol. 28 No. 5 May 1999. He
made the following observations:
• “Jesus Christ, the Word of God (John 1:1-3 and 1 John
5:7), believed in verbal inspiration. In Matthew 5:18,
Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and
earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass
from the law, till all be fulfilled.” The “jot” was the
smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the “tittle”
was a small mark used to distinguish between two
similar shaped letters. There could hardly be anywhere
a stronger statement of inspiration of the Old
Testament writings, and it was made by Christ Himself.”
• “As far as the New Testament is concerned, He
assured us that His own words would be accurately
preserved. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass
away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Mark 13:31)
In fact, the writing of all the New Testament would be
accomplished through the Holy Spirit. “Howbeit when
he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all
truth…and he will shew you things to come.” (John
16:13) “…he shall teach you all things, and bring all
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English Bible Translation
221
things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said
unto you.” (John 14:26)
Method of Bible Study
In studying the Bible, we must remember the methods of
Bible study taught in scripture. Some of these methods are
as follows:
• “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the
word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
• “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is
of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20) Private
means separate or different. In other words, no
contradictions exist in the Bible. All verses must mesh
together and harmonize.
• “Which things also we speak, not in the words which
man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost
teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1
Corinthians 2:13)
• “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon
precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and
there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10)
• “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly,
and gave the sense, and caused them to understand
the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8)
The Bible is reasonable, logical and consistent. Only the
Bible can interpret the Bible. As noted above, all verses
must harmonize.
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
222
Conclusion
One must approach Bible study on the proper foundation
and with the proper structure, or doctrine, as the previous
chapters have attempted to portray. Regarding the proper
foundation, only the King James AV 1611 Bible is
recommended. The proper method of study should be
followed as given above by comparing verses throughout
the Bible so as to harmonize scripture without
contradictions.
Regarding proper structure or Bible doctrine, think of this
as the steel girders which support a tall skyscraper. In a
similar manner the proper doctrine provides a structure
which supports all Bible verses in a way that harmonize
scripture without contradictions.
Chapter XIX
Creation versus Evolution
223
Chapter XIX
Creation versus Evolution
In studying Bible doctrine issues one will soon realize that
the Bible believer must believe in the Bible account of
creation (as opposed to belief in evolution) and a young
earth (about six thousand years) or else one’s Christian
faith will begin to collapse. This belief is necessary
because the first eleven chapters of Genesis contain the
foundation of the Christian faith. One cannot pick some
part of these opening chapters as being literally accurate
and then reject other parts. If one is to believe in original
sin and the need for the work of our Lord Jesus Christ on
the cross (Romans 5:18 and 1 Corinthians 15:45), he must
also believe in the creation account and the flood of Noah.
You cannot believe some of the Bible and throw out what
you do not like.
I first heard some of the ideas expressed in this chapter
from Mr. Ken Ham, Executive Director of Answers in
Genesis, a creation science organization. The motto of this
organization is “defending the Bible from the very first
verse.” The good news is that the evidence for creation fits
the facts of science more directly and more logically than
any evidence for evolution.
Scientific evidence for creation (rejecting evolution)
This subject will be approached first on the basis of
scientific evidence, and quotations will be taken from men
who are leaders in their particular field of science.
I will begin by quoting from Dr. L. Harrison Matthews (an
evolutionist), in his introduction to Darwin’s The Origin of
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Species, J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., London, 1971, page xi.
“The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and
biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science
founded on an unproved theory - is it then a science or a
faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly
parallel to belief in special creation – both are concepts
which believers know to be true but neither, up to the
present, has been capable of proof.” Notice that evolution
is not a proven fact of science as many think.
If evolution was a proven fact, then there would be many
transitional forms of life found in the fossil record linking all
forms of life (including plants, fishes, animals and humans)
to earlier more simple life forms. However none exist
according to the most respected evolutionary scientists.
The following statement is from a leading evolutionist, Dr.
Stephen Jay Gould (recently deceased Professor of
Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), in the
publication Paleobiology, vol. 6 (1), January 1980, page
127, “The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary
stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed
our inability, even in our imagination, to construct
functional intermediates in many cases, has been a
persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of
evolution.”
The above view is also held by one of the most respected
British scientist who is also an evolutionist. Dr. Colin
Patterson (also recently deceased), Senior Paleontologist
at the British Museum of Natural History in London agrees
with Dr. Stephen Jay Gould. He states, “Yet Gould and the
American Museum people are hard to contradict when they
say there are no transitional fossils. As a paleontologist
myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical
Chapter XIX
Creation versus Evolution
225
problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil
record….there is not one such fossil for which one could
make a watertight argument.”
To quote another evolutionary scientist, David B. Kitts,
Ph.D. (zoology), (School of Geology and Geophysics,
Department of the History of Science, University of
Oklahoma), in an article titled “Paleontology and
evolutionary theory” (Evolution, vol.28, September 1974,
page 467), he made the following statement: “Evolution
requires intermediate forms between species and
paleontology does not provide them.”
Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist at the British
Museum of Natural History in London has made even more
startling statements which support the creation argument. I
will paraphrase passages from a pamphlet entitled “Impact
No. 108,” produced by the Institute for Creation Research.
These comments by Dr. Patterson were made in an open
meeting to over fifty classification specialists and guests at
the American Museum of Natural History in New York that
was held November 5, 1981.
Dr. Patterson stated he had been kicking around nonevolution
or even anti-evolutionary ideas for about
eighteen months. As he put it, he woke up one morning
after twenty years of research on evolution and realized
that there was not yet one thing he knew about evolution
for sure. Dr. Patterson observed that evolutionary theory is
an “anti-theory” couched in the language of knowledge, but
conveying none. He went on to say that the effects of the
theory of common ancestry had not been merely a lack of
knowledge but “positively anti-knowledge.” Patterson was
saying that the most fundamental aspect of evolutionary
theory, descent from common ancestry, was an “antiRightly
Dividing the Word of Truth
226
theory” that generated “anti-knowledge,” i.e. “a false
interpretation of the data actually contrary to the data at
hand.”
Now let’s consider what other evolutionary scientists have
written on the subject “intermediate forms” linking various
species to earlier more simple life forms. Regarding fish,
we have the following: “The geological record has so far
provided no evidence as to the origin of fishes,” as stated
by J. R. Norman (Assistant Keeper, Department of
Zoology, British Museum of Natural History, London),
“Classification and pedigrees: fossils’ in A History of
Fishes, Dr. P. H. Greenwood (editor), third edition, British
Museum of Natural History, London, 1975, p. 343.
Let’s consider a publication regarding the origin of plants.
“As yet we have not been able to trace the phylogenetic
history of a single group of modern plants from its
beginning to the present.” Chester A. Arnold (Professor of
Botany and Curator of Fossil plants, University of
Michigan) in An Introduction to Paleobotany, McGraw-Hill,
New York, 1947, p. 7. No evolution here. The fossil record
of plants is in favor of special creation.
Based on the above quotations we confirm that evolution
has not been proven a scientific fact. Actually, it appears
that evolution has been refuted. Regardless, both creation
and evolution must be believed by faith for the simple
reason that one cannot go back and repeat history to see
what actually did happened. All one can do is formulate
models and then use these as models for predicting and
correlating data in the real world.
The facts of biology, geology, chemistry and all other
sciences, in every case will correlate more directly and with
Chapter XIX
Creation versus Evolution
227
greater ease with a smaller number of problems and
difficulties in the creation model than in the evolutionary
model. Everything found in nature points to a creator God.
This belief is based on scientific evidence found in the real
world rather than blind faith in the Bible on this subject.
Bible evidence for creation (rejecting evolution)
Science is defined as what one can observe using the five
senses and both test and duplicate. No human can
replicate the processes in either special creation or
evolution. However, we do have a witness to the event of
creation. As Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis would say, “I
know the one that claims to have created all things, and He
told us about it in the first few books of the Bible.” By
saying “And the evening and the morning were the first
day” (Genesis 1:5), in the Hebrew language, this could
only mean one literal twenty-four hour period. In this
manner, God tells us how He created everything in six
literal days.
God confirmed the above as six literal days at the time He
established the seven day week in Exodus 20:11, when
giving us the ten commandants. God said, “For in six days
the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in
them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD
blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” A person can
choose not to believe the Bible, but they cannot fail to
understand that God claims to have created everything in
six literal days.
An interesting consideration is that Genesis, besides giving
us details concerning creation of the universe, also dates
the time of creation approximately 6,000 years ago, or
about 4,000 BC. In clear language, Genesis provides
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
228
information that dates the flood of Noah at 1656 years after
the date of creation. A person does not have to believe this
fact; however, if he does not he cannot misunderstand the
clear detail given in Genesis.
Beginning with Genesis 5:3, “And Adam lived an hundred
and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after
his image; and called his name Seth:” Next it states, “And
Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos.”
(Genesis 5:6) Then, “And Enos lived ninety years, and
begat Cainan.” (Genesis 5:9) It continues in this manner
through Genesis 5:29 until the birth of Noah, 1056 years
after creation. Finally Genesis 7:11-12 states, “In the six
hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the
seventh day of the month, the same day were all the
fountains of the great deep broken up, and the window’s of
heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth
forty days and forty nights.”
Ten generations passed between the creation of the
universe (and Adam on day six) and the great flood. The
Bible only gives the age in even years (no months) for
each man to beget a son. If the man in each generation
averaged six months older in age than was given, then the
Flood of Noah would have occurred five years later, or
1661 years after creation.
Shem, the son of Noah, who was 98 years of age at the
time of the flood, lived for 502 years after the flood. The
Bible dates the death of Abraham (nine generations after
Shem) at 527 years after the flood. Because Abraham
lived to be 175 years old, he was 150 years of age at the
death of Shem which can be proven by Genesis 11:10-24.
This last verse, Genesis 11:24, takes one to the birth of
Terah (222 years after flood), the father of Abraham.
Chapter XIX
Creation versus Evolution
229
Genesis 11:32 states that Terah lived to be 205 years old.
Acts 7:4 shows Abraham left Haran when his father Terah
died (Abraham was 75 years old then, Genesis 12:4), so
Terah was 130 years old when Abraham was born (352
years after the flood, or 2008 years after creation).
The reason for mentioning the above Bible facts is that
most people agree that Abraham was a real person. Based
on the Chronological System of Archbishop Usher,
Abraham was born in the year 1996 BC, and creation
occurred in the year 4004 BC. The clear details given in
Genesis determine that creation by God took place about
6,000 years ago.
For added proof in the New Testament, notice the
complete ancestry of Jesus tracing His linage beginning at
Luke 3:23 through Luke 3:38 to Adam. Abraham is listed in
Luke 3:34 and each generation forefather is named in the
same order as in Genesis where we calculated 2,008
years from the creation of Adam to the birth of Abraham.
Surely no Bible believer will doubt the literal accuracy of
Luke in the New Testament, so he should not doubt
Genesis and the young age of the earth.
The following will be the final reason why belief in creation
as detailed in the opening chapters of Genesis is
absolutely essential. These thoughts also came from Ken
Ham, Executive Director of Answers in Genesis. Consider
the following Bible verses:
• Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin; and so
death passed upon all men, for that all have
sinned:” (Read verses 12 through 21 for a more
complete understanding of what is being stated.)
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
230
Notice, the above verse states death in the world
originated from the sin of Adam, so billions of years of
death as required by evolution is not allowed or supported
by the Bible. Next, consider the following verses:
• 1 Corinthians 15:21 “For since by man came death,
by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For
as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be
made alive.”
• 1 Corinthians 15:45 “And so it is written, The first
man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam
was made a quickening spirit.”
Notice what the above Bible verses are stating. They state
that in the same way the first man Adam (by his actions
alone) plunged the entire human race into death and
separation from God, the second “Adam,” Jesus Christ (by
His actions alone), restored many to righteousness. If man
evolved from lower forms of life into a monkey which finally
“evolved” into a man, then this foolishness means that no
first man named Adam was created by God on day six. If
the first man Adam is not important, and the original sin by
Adam (that brought death into the world) is not important,
then pray tell me why the second man Adam, shown above
to be our Lord Jesus Christ, should be considered to be
important?
Hopefully, it is now clear why those who claim to believe
the Bible must also take Genesis 1-11 as literal fact. After
all, this is the foundation of the Christian Faith.
Chapter XIX
Creation versus Evolution
231
Conclusion
Over the past forty plus years the Institute for Creation
Research (ICR), San Diego, CA, Answers in Genesis,
Florence, KY, and others, have published scientific
evidence that offers more direct proof for creation by God a
few thousand years ago than has ever been published to
support the supposition that evolution took place over
millions or billions of years. The men in these creation
science organizations are Ph.D. scientists in various
scientific disciplines…not theologians. Unfortunately, the
excellent scientific evidence for creation that has been
published does not enjoy the level of public awareness it
deserves. Too many people and institutions seem to think
that evolution over billions of years is a proven fact.
Evolution has not been proven as a fact of science.
The Bible is very clear that “in the beginning God created
all things.” Not only is the Genesis account very clear on
this subject, but also John 1:1-4, 14 points out the same
thing and names our Lord Jesus Christ as the creator.
Belief in creation by God is much more logical and takes
much less faith than belief in any form of evolution. If a
person claims to be a Bible believer, he should have no
problem with believing in a young earth (about six
thousand years) and that all things were created by the
Son of God (Hebrews 1:2).
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
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Appendix
Brief History and Beliefs of Baptists
Brief History
The following is quoted from an excellent book by Elder
Michael N. Ivey, titled Welsh Succession of Primitive
Baptist Faith and Practice. According to Elder Ivey, present
day Primitive Baptists trace their line of succession through
the Kehukee Association, to the Separate Baptists in
England, to the Welsh Midland Association (the enclosed
1655 Midland Confession of Faith is taken from Chapter
XII), and finally to the Welsh “mother” church at Olchon.
The Olchon church was located in the vale of Black
Mountain on the border of Hereford, Monmouth and
Brecknock counties on the Welsh / English border. This
area was described as rugged and remote, which through
the providence of God, contributed to the longevity and
purity of doctrine practiced by Welsh Baptists. Primitive
Baptist history can be traced back to the first century AD.
To quote from Elder Ivey’s above book, Chapter IV, page
47, consider the following:
• The following description of the ancient roots of the
Welsh Baptists is taken from History of the Welsh
Baptists, by Jonathan Davis, written in 1835. “About
fifty years before the birth of our Saviour, the Romans
invaded the British Isles, in the reign of the Welsh king
Cassebellun; but having failed, in consequence of other
and more important wars made peace with them, and
dwelt among them many years. During that period
many of the Welsh soldiers joined the Roman army,
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and many families from Wales visited Rome; among
them there was a certain woman named Claudia, who
was married to a man named Pudens. At the time, Paul
was sent a prisoner to Rome, and preached there in his
own hired house, for the space of two years, about the
year of our Lord 63. Pudens and Claudia his wife, who
belonged to Caesar’s household, under the blessing of
God on Paul’s preaching, were brought to the
knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, and made a
profession of their Christian religion. These together
with other Welshmen, among the Roman soldiers, who
had heard that the Lord was gracious, exerted
themselves on behalf of their countrymen in Wales,
who were at the time idolaters.” Davis continues, “How
rapidly did the mighty gospel of Christ fly abroad! The
very year 63, when Paul, a prisoner, was preaching to a
few individuals, in his own hired house in Rome, the
seed sowed there is growing in the Isle of Britain.” The
Apostle Paul concludes his second epistle to Timothy
with greetings from some of the saints gathered with
him in Rome. Among those mentioned are Pudens and
Claudia. (See II Timothy 4:21)
Elder Ivey mentions that Claudia was the daughter of the
Welsh King Caractacus. Pudens, the husband of Claudia,
was believed to be a Roman Senator. Further historical
references are made, in which it is pointed out that the
Welsh churches, located in the rugged, remote mountain
country of Wales, survived many persecutions over the
succeeding centuries. This brief history outlines the most
likely origin of Primitive Baptists churches in America
today, which we believe maintain the same doctrine and
practice from first century churches. The following Welsh
Baptists 1655 Midland Confession of Faith, is still believed
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today by “old line” Primitive Baptists. The doctrine is easy
to understand, logical and is God honoring.
1655 Midland Confession of Faith
1st. We believe and profess, that there is only one true
God, who is our God, who is eternal, almighty,
unchangeable, infinite, and incomprehensible; who is a
Spirit, having His being in Himself, and giveth being to all
creatures; He doth what He will, in heaven and earth;
working all things according to the council of His own will.
2nd.That this infinite Being is set forth to be the Father, the
Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three agree in one. I
John V.7.
3rd.We profess and believe the Holy Scriptures, the Old
and New Testament, to be the word and revealed mind of
God, which are able to make men wise unto Salvation,
through faith and love which is in Christ Jesus; and that
they are given by inspiration of God, serving to furnish the
man of God for every good work; and by them we are (in
the strength of Christ) to try all things whatsoever are
brought to us, under the pretence of truth. II Timothy iii.15-
17; Isaiah viii.20
4th.That though Adam was created righteous, yet he fell
through the temptations of Satan; and his fall overthrew,
not only himself, but his posterity, making them sinners by
his disobedience; so that we are by nature children of
wrath, and defiled from the womb, being shapen in iniquity
and conceived in sin. Psalm 51:5; Romans v.12-13
5th. That God elected and chose, in His Eternal council,
some persons to life and salvation, before the foundation
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of the world, whom accordingly He doth and will effectually
call, and whom He doth call, He will certainly keep by His
power, through faith to salvation. Acts xiii.48; Ephesians
1.2-4; II Thessalonians ii.13; I Peter i.2, etc.
6th. That election was free in God, of His own pleasure,
and not at all for, or with reference to, any foreseen works
of faith in the creature, as the motive thereunto. Ephesians
i.4, Romans xi.5,6
7th. That Jesus Christ was, in the fullness of time,
manifested in the flesh; being born of a woman; being
perfectly righteous, gave himself for the elect to redeem
them to God by His blood. John x.15; Ephesians v.25-27;
Revelation v.9
8th. That all men until they be quickened by Christ are dead
in trespasses--Ephesians ii.1; and therefore have no power
of themselves to believe savingly--John xv.5. But faith is
the free gift of God, and the mighty work of God in the soul,
even like the rising of Christ from the dead--Ephesians
i.19. Therefore consent not with those who hold that God
hath given power to all men to believe to salvation.
9th. That Christ is the only true King, Priest, and Prophet of
the Church. Acts ii.22-23; Hebrews iv.14, viii.1, etc.
10th. That every man is justified by Christ—Romans viii.33;
I Corinthians vi.11; apprehended by faith; and that no man
is justified in the sight of God partly by Christ and partly by
works. Romansiii.20, 28, 30; Galatians v.4
11th. That Jesus of Nazareth, of whom the scriptures of the
Old Testament prophesied, is the true Messiah and
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Saviour of men; and that He died on the cross, was buried,
rose again in the same body in which He suffered and
ascended to the right hand of the majesty on high, and
appeareth in the presence of God, making intercession for
us.
12th. That all those who have faith wrought in their hearts
by the power of God, according to His good pleasure,
should be careful to maintain good works, and to abound in
them, acting from principles of true faith and unfeigned
love, looking to God’s glory as their main end. Titus iii.8;
Hebrews xi.6; I Corinthians vi.10-13.
13th. That those who profess faith in Christ, and make the
same appear by their fruits, are the proper subjects of
Baptism. Matthew xxviii.18, 19.
14th. That this baptizing is not by sprinkling, but dipping of
the persons in water, representing the death, burial, and
resurrection of Christ. Romans vi.3, 4; Colossians ii.12;
Acts viii.38, 39.
15th. That persons so baptized ought, by free consent, to
walk together, as God shall give opportunity in distinct
churches, or assemblies of Zion, continuing in the
Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, breaking of bread and
prayers, as fellow-men caring for one another, according to
the will of God. All these ordinances of Christ are enjoined
in His Church, being to be observed till His Second
Coming, which we all ought diligently to wait for.
16th. That at the time appointed of the Lord, the dead
bodies of all men, just and unjust, shall rise again out of
their graves, that all may receive according to what they
have done in their bodies, be it good or evil.
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Modern Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith
The following is an example of a modern Primitive Baptist
Articles of Faith. These Articles of Faith were adopted May
12, 2002 by Augusta Old Line Primitive Baptist Church,
Augusta, Georgia.
1) Triune God. We believe in one true and living
God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; that
these Three are One, and are harmoniously equal
in infinite power, wisdom, justice, holiness, mercy,
love and truth.
• Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our
God is one LORD:”
• 1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in
heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.”
2) The Bible. We believe the Scriptures of the Old
and New Testaments (in English, the AV 1611
King James Translation which uses the Masoretic
Hebrew Old Testament text and the Received
Greek New Testament text…Textus Receptus) to
be the inspired word of God, and that they alone
are to govern God’s people both in faith and
practice.
• 2 Peter 1:19-21 “We have also a more sure word of
prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed,
as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the
day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture
is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy
came not in old time by the will of man: but holy
men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy
Ghost.”
• 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration
of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
• Psalms 12:6-7 “The words of the LORD are pure
words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified
seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou
shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
3) Total Depravity. We believe God created
Adam good, able to stand but liable to fall, and
that Adam fell from this pure estate and brought
himself and his posterity under condemnation and
death, and that man, being utterly depraved, has
no ability nor desire to deliver himself from this
condition. We do not believe that God is or was
the cause of this sin.
• Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin; and so
death passed upon all men, for that all have
sinned:”
• Psalms 14:2 “The LORD looked down from heaven
upon the children of men, to see if there were any
that did understand, and seek God. They are all
gone aside, they are all together become filthy:
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
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• Romans 3:10-18 “As it is written, There is none
righteous, no, not one: There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together
become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good,
no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with
their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of
asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of
cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed
blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And
the way of peace have they not known: There is no
fear of God before their eyes.”
• Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be.”
• James 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I
am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with
evil, neither tempteth he any man:”
4) Unconditional Election. We believe God
chose and predestinated a people to eternal
salvation, and that this choice was made before
the foundation of the world, and was both
particular and unconditional.
• Ephesians 1:4-6 “According as he hath chosen us in
him before the foundation of the world, that we
should be holy and without blame before him in
love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of
children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the
good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory
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of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in
the beloved.”
• 2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us
with an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was
given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
• Romans 9:11-13 “(For the children being not yet
born, neither having done any good or evil, that the
purpose of God according to election might stand,
not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said
unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is
written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
• Romans 8:28-33 “And we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them
who are the called according to his purpose. For
whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to
be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover
whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and
whom he called, them he also justified: and whom
he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we
then say to these things? If God be for us, who can
be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but
delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him
also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any
thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that
justifieth.”
5) Limited Atonement. We believe God was in
Christ and that by the sacrifice of Jesus, all who
God chose unto salvation were forever redeemed
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from the curse of the law, and made righteous in
Him.
• John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”
• Romans 4:25 “Who was delivered for our offences,
and was raised again for our justification.”
• Galatians 4:4-7 “But when the fulness of the time
was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a
woman, made under the law, To redeem them that
were under the law, that we might receive the
adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God
hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts,
crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a
servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God
through Christ.”
6) Irresistible Grace. We believe all who were
redeemed by the Son will in time be effectually
Called by Christ through the Holy Spirit (eternal
spiritual life), made partakers of the divine nature,
made to possess the fruit of the Spirit and these
will “know God” by having His laws written in their
hearts, and will be held accountable by God to
these laws during their lifetime.
• Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who
were dead in trespasses and sins:”
• John 5:25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is
coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the
voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall
live.”
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• John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh
profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”
• Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to his mercy he saved us,
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the
Holy Ghost;”
• Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is
no law.”
• Hebrews 8:10-11 “For this is the covenant that I will
make with the house of Israel after those days, saith
the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write
them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God,
and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not
teach every man his neighbour, and every man his
brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know
me, from the least to the greatest.”
• Romans 2:12-16 “For as many as have sinned
without law shall also perish without law: and as
many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by
the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just
before God, but the doers of the law shall be
justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the
law, do by nature the things contained in the law,
these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves: Which show the work of the law written
in their hearts, their conscience also bearing
witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing
or else excusing one another;) In the day when God
shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ
according to my gospel.”
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7) Temporal Salvation. We believe the gospel is
the good news of God’s salvation by the finished
work of Jesus Christ. It is intended solely for God’s
elect born again children, for their good, joy and
happiness. It brings life and immortality to light,
and by it, we are fed spiritually. Belief and
obedience to the gospel by the performing of
“good works” provides a great reward in this life
and a timely deliverance (temporal salvation) from
spiritual ignorance, a life displeasing to God, and
from the pitfalls of this world, our flesh and the
devil. We also avoid the chastening rod of God’s
wrath here in this life by living in obedience to His
word. The gospel has no role in the eternal
salvation of God’s children and many of God’s
elect will never be converted to the truth of the
gospel unto discipleship (infant deaths, mentally
afflicted, those in remote parts of the world, or
those who in an act of rebellion reject the gospel in
unbelief).
• 2 Timothy 1:10 “But is now made manifest by the
appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath
abolished death, and hath brought life and
immortality to light through the gospel:”
• Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves,
and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost
hath made you overseers, to feed the church of
God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
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• Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God
hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
• Titus 3:8 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I
will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have
believed in God might be careful to maintain good
works. These things are good and profitable unto
men.”
• Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify your
Father which is in heaven.”
• 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration
of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
• Matthew 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labour
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek
and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your
souls.”
• Acts 2:40 “And with many other words did he testify
and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this
untoward generation.”
• Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we
have received the knowledge of the truth, there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain
fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,
which shall devour the adversaries. He that
despised Moses' law died without mercy under two
or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment,
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath
trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath
counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he
was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done
despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him
that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will
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recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord
shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into
the hands of the living God.”
• 2 Timothy 2:13 “If we believe not, yet he abideth
faithful: he cannot deny himself.”
8) Preservation of the Saints. We believe all who
are quickened by Christ through the Holy Spirit
(Effectually Called) will be finally saved. Not one
can be finally lost.
• John 6:37-39 “All that the Father giveth me shall
come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to
do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that
of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing,
but should raise it up again at the last day.”
• John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I
know them, and they follow me: And I give unto
them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's
hand. I and my Father are one.”
• Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither
death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be
able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”
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9) Final Judgment. We believe the bodies of all
men, the just and the unjust, will be resurrected
from the grave, and that the joys of the righteous
just (elect) will be eternal, and that the punishment
of the unjust will be everlasting.
• 1 Corinthians 15:52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of
an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall
sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.”
• John 5:28-29 “Marvel not at this: for the hour is
coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall
hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have
done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they
that have done evil, unto the resurrection of
damnation.”
• Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of man shall
come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him,
then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And
before him shall be gathered all nations: and he
shall separate them one from another, as a
shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he
shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats
on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his
right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of
the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me
meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a
stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed
me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison,
and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous
answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an
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hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee
drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee
in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we
thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the
King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say
unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto
me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left
hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was
an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was
thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger,
and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me
not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then
shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw
we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or
naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto
thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I
say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the
least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go
away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous
into life eternal.”
• Luke 16:23-24 “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being
in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and
Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father
Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus,
that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and
cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
10) Ordinances of the church. We believe
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of
the Church, and that born again believers are the
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only proper subjects for Baptism, and that
immersion is the only mode, and that none except
those who have been regularly baptized are to be
admitted in the Communion Service; and that the
washing of the saint’s feet is an example of love
and humility which should be practiced by the
members of the church.
• Acts 2:41-42 “Then they that gladly received his
word were baptized: and the same day there were
added unto them about three thousand souls. And
they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine
and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in
prayers.”
• 1 Peter 3:20-21 “Which sometime were disobedient,
when once the longsuffering of God waited in the
days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing,
wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by
water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth
also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of
the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience
toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”
• Romans 6:4 “Therefore we are buried with him by
baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up
from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
also should walk in newness of life. For if we have
been planted together in the likeness of his death,
we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
• Matthew 26:26-28 “And as they were eating, Jesus
took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it
to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it
to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my
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blood of the new testament, which is shed for many
for the remission of sins.”
• John 13:14 “If I then, your Lord and Master, have
washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one
another's feet.”
11) Ministry. We believe no man has the right to
administer the ordinances of baptism and the
Lord’s Supper but such as are regularly called and
come under the imposition of hands by a
presbytery.
• 1 Timothy 4:14 “Neglect not the gift that is in thee,
which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying
on of the hands of the presbytery.”
• 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard
of me among many witnesses, the same commit
thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach
others also.”
• Titus 1:5 “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that
thou shouldest set in order the things that are
wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had
appointed thee:”
12) Church government. We believe the Church
is the only ecclesiastical authority on earth, subject
unto God alone for all her acts, and that her form
of government is congregational, each member
having an equal voice in all of her acts.
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• Matthew 18:17-18 “And if he shall neglect to hear
them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear
the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man
and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever
ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and
whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed
in heaven.”
• 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 “In the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my
spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To
deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of
the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of
the Lord Jesus.”
• Acts 1:23-26 “And they appointed two, Joseph
called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and
Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord,
which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether
of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take
part of this ministry and apostleship, from which
Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his
own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot
fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the
eleven apostles.”
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