Friday, August 1, 2014

Mid-Acts vs Acts 28 dispensationalism (Part 2)

A sister in Christ says that she would like to refute my "28 problems with Acts 28 Dispensationalism". Here is her comments to point #2 of mine.

1)      2.) Paul said that when he got saved (Acts 9) he became the pattern for those who would believe after him in regards to grace and longsuffering (1 Tim. 1:14-16), not Acts 28. 

[This statement about Paul’s “pattern” exemplifies the incorrect view of God’s plan of salvation. That is to say, it says in effect that Paul who was saved at Acts 9 was saved by grace and because his salvation was a “pattern” that proves that salvation by grace began at Acts 9. Those who believe that the church began in the mid-Acts period believe that prior to the dispensation of the mystery, salvation was by grace plus the works of the law. The fundamental problem with this view is that salvation has always been by grace through faith. ]

So if God was already justifying everyone by their own faith, but without works, without the blood of Christ, or anything else, HOW COULD PAUL BE A PATTERN??? That is all the grace and longsuffering that anybody could ever hope for! How could God possibly pour out exceeding abundant grace and longsuffering for a pattern for those who would believe after Paul IF everyone was already being justified by grace through their own faith?

Secondly, how could anyone be saved by their own faith, but without works? There is no such thing as justification in the Bible by a man's faith without works. Man's faith, and works, are not separable.

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

James 2:
[17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
[18] Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
[19] Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
[20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
[21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
[22] Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
[23] And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
[24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
[25] Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
[26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also

Hebrews 10:
[22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
[23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;).........
[38] Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
[39] But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Mathew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Mark 13:12 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Revelation 14:
[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
[10] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
[11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
[12] Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus

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.
[2] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
[3] For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
[4] For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith

1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

Clearly a man's faith is what he must live by. His faith means absolutely nothing without works because there is nothing special about a man's faith. It is not perfect, it draws back on occasion. 

1.) OT salvation and kingdom gospel salvation is by one's own faith
2.) A man's faith is dead if it has not works
3.) A man must shew his faith by his works
4.) Believing is not enough
5.) Faith is made perfect when wrought with works
6.) Works are a part of a man's faith (faith is proven by works) and so nobody is justified by their faith alone, but by works
7.) Man must hold fast the profession of his faith in full assurance (in context water baptism)
8.) A man's faith is fallible, so it can draw back. (and unto perdition)
9.) Kingdom gospel believers must endure to the end to be saved
10.) In the tribulation a man can lose salvation by taking the mark of the beast
11.) The saved in the tribulation that endure to the end must keep the commandments of God and the faith of Christ
12.) Tribulation saints must overcome the world by their own faith
13.) The righteous can "scarcely be saved" because he can draw back on his faith

That cannot be refuted by scripture. If we get in a contest to see who has the most "proof texts" I will definitely win. Give me a verse from Genesis-Malachi, Mattew-Acts 8, or Hebrews-Revelation where the plan of salvation is believing a gospel, trusting Christ, then being sealed by the Spirit until the redemption of the body. Show me where it says that salvation is not by a man's faith (where works are required). There is no verse that says any of that outside of Paul's epistles, that is a Pauline doctrine. Nobody else taught it. Show me the verses please.


Romans 1:
[1] Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
[2] (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
[3] Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
[4] And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead

1 Corinthians 15:
[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
[2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
[3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
[4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures

There is the gospel message for the dispensation of grace (Rom. 1:1-4, 1 Cor. 15:1-4). What must we do in response to hearing this message?

Acts 13:
[38] Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
[39] And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 2:
[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
[9] Not of works, lest any man should boast

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;

There we see that we must believe on Christ and trust Him. We are then indwelt by the Holy Spirit until we are raptured out of the world and have that redemption of our body (receiving a glorified body like Christ's). It is obvious then that we do not have to do works to be saved or stay saved since we are saved and sealed for good when we believe the gospel and trust Christ. How can this be? How can we be saved by grace through faith WITHOUT works? Everyone has always been saved by grace through faith, but man's faith REQUIRES works to be wrought with his faith--that makes faith perfect. If you don't have works than you "draw back unto perdition". But here in Paul's writings we see that one can be justified BY grace THROUGH faith WITHOUT works. All that believe on Christ and trust Him will be saved and sealed without works. That is much different than what the gospel of the kingdom says (Matt. 19--keeping the Law, Matt. 24:13--Enduring to the end, Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:28, Acts 3:19, Acts 10:47-48, 1 Pet. 3:20-21, Heb. 10:22, --water baptism required). 

But if we are saved by grace through faith, we would have to have works--there is no faith without works. But we are not saved by what is the difference in what Paul says than from what the rest of the writers of scripture say? Well we are NOT saved by OUR faith.

2 Timothy 2:
[11] It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
[12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
[13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself

As you can see there, we can deny Christ and draw back our faith, but we cannot draw back to perdition like we read in Hebrews 10. If we believe not, HE abideth faithful....than it is CHRIST'S FAITH and not OUR FAITH that we are saved by.

Galatians 2:
[16] Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
[17] But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
[18] For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
[19] For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
[20] I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
[21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain

There Paul contrasts WORKS from the FAITH OF CHRIST which is completely contrary to what James said in James chapter two. And Hab. 2:4 says that a man lives by HIS OWN FAITH while Paul says that he "lives by the faith of the Son of God". We see this again in Philippians 3.

Philippians 3:
[8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
[9] 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

So it takes TWO FAITHS to save someone in the dispensation of grace...

Romans 3:
[22] 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:
[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
[24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
[25] 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;
[26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus

Those that believe on Christ and put faith in His blood (upon the hearing of faith--Gal 3:2) we are then living by the faith of Christ and kept by the faith of Christ--we cannot draw back unto perdition (Gal. 2:16-20, 2 Tim. 2:11-13).     

[Let us consider James 2.

I am convinced that one cannot fully understand the relationship of faith and works in regard to God’s plan of salvation without a careful consideration of James chapter 2. As the reader will see as we continue in this study, James tells us of the connection between faith and works that is so profound as to suggest that faith does not exist without works, and works without faith have no place in God’s plan of salvation. And, as we shall see, Hebrews 11 gives us examples of that connection.

So you believe that if someone does not have works than they do not have faith? What about the people who got saved when they were 7-8 years old and did not start witnessing, Bible reading, living right, etc. until they were in there late teens or early twenties? I know some people that professed to be saved, quit drugs, "got out of the world", started preaching, teaching, witnessing, Bible reading, etc. BUT RECENTLY the family split up and they are in a mess. So if they don't have works right now, are they actually not saved and never were? What about Demas, who forsook the ministry because he loved the world? Was he ever saved? Your statement is not scriptural.

[We read in James 2:21, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works……”. And in verse 24 we read, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only“. But in verse 23 we read, “and the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness….”. Abraham’s belief was, of course, his faith in God’s message to him concerning his seed (see Gen. 15:5-6). If we see faith and works in regard to God’s plan of salvation as one existing without the other, there is a contradiction in these verses. That is to say, if Abraham was justified by works, as we read in James 2:21 then his faith has no place in God’s plan of salvation. Conversely, if Abraham had been justified by faith, as we read in verse 23, then his works would have had no place in God’s plan of salvation. But if we see the inexorable connection of faith and works, i.e. they cannot be separated, it is all very clear. In point of fact verse 22 explains that very thing, “seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect“. The Greek word translated “perfect” means, according to the Appendix number 125, in the Companion Bible “to make a full end, consummate”. In other words, James 2:22 tells us that Abraham’s faith was consummated, or completed by his works.]

I don't care what the Greek says, but you are right that man's faith and works are not separable. 

[Lest I be misunderstood to say that salvation is by faith plus works, let me put my view in terms of Galatians 5. We read in Gal. 5:16-24, “Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye could not do the things that you would. But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,  emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings and such like…. . But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If ye live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”]

Yes, great passage of scripture.

[Please note that those in Christ have “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. But let us say that a man claims to be a believer but continues all his life in the things of the flesh. In my opinion, that means that that man never received the Spirit which means that he was never saved, even though he claimed to be a believer.
My point is this: his lack of works that manifest the Spirit proves him to be an unbeliever. In other words, his faith was not completed by works.  Faith without works is dead.

Yeah yeah, here is the part where I shew you a passage of scripture that completely refutes what you are telling me.....

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Galatians 3:
[1] O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
[2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
[3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh

I believe the answer to the question in Galatians 3:3 is...NO. But you stated that you believe that we are saved by faith and that our faith is made perfect by works. Noooope.

I recommend....

Is Salvation the Same in Every Dispensation? (part 3)

Is Salvation the Same in Every Dispensation? (part 2)

Is Salvation the Same in Every Dispensation? (part 1)

James 2:14-26
And as for Abraham's justification, Pastor David O'Steen says....."James uses the father of the Hebrew nation as an illustration of being justified by faith that works. In Genesis 15:6 we read that Abraham’s faith is counted as righteousness. In Romans 4 Paul uses Genesis 15 to prove that is possible for God to impute righteousness to a man on the basis of faith. James points out that Abraham was justified by a faith that worked because 40 years (40 is the number of testing in the Bible) after Genesis 15 he proves his faith by works in Genesis 22 when he was willing to offer up his son Isaac. Abraham’s works in Genesis 22 proved that he really believed what God said in Genesis 15 because Isaac was the promised seed and Abraham believed that God would resurrect him to fulfill the promise (Heb. 11:17-19). Abraham was called “the Friend of God” because he was obedient to God (John 15:14). In Genesis 22 God tested Abraham’s faith just as in the tribulation he will test the faith of the “twelve tribes scattered abroad”. Yes, Abraham was justified by faith, but it was a faith that worked. What if Abraham would not have taken Isaac up on that mountain? Notice in v. 22 that Abraham’s works made his faith perfect. Therefore what God said in Genesis 15:6 was fulfilled in Genesis 22. Abraham was not “justified before men” in Genesis 22 because he and Isaac were on that mountain alone and it was God that testified “NOW I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thy only son from me.” As members of the body of Christ we are made perfect by faith ALONE (Col. 2:10)."
Also see my post.... Examination of James 2 and justification by faith.

Surprisingly, this Acts 28 friend turned out to not be dispensational ENOUGH.

--Eli "Hoss" Caldwell

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