Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Quick Thought - How did the Apostles know if someone was saved or not?

Over the years I have been deeply frustrated by the practice of Lordship Salvation proponents in that they create various "tests" for their followers to see if they are "really" saved or not. If they are a "true convert" or a "false convert."

In the past I have examined the "test" that Dr. John MacArthur offers in my series Testing the Test. At another time I did a deeply personal series that examined the teaching of a man pastoring my dear best friend who helped to lead my beloved friend astray into dangerous false doctrine in my series 'BUT' Theology.

Of course these "tests" fail any biblical examination. Yet, they hold millions in bondage. In my book Fail-Safe for Fallacy I briefly examined the text often used to justify the practice of developing and administering "tests of salvation" which is 2Cor 13:5. I found that the practice is not justified by the Text at all.

This practice has bothered me for as long as I've been saved. BUT, you know what? When Saul was saved the 12 Apostles didn't just believe it. Barnabas had to convince them that he was. How did he do it? Did he talk about how he had forsaken sin? That he was submitted to the Lordship of Christ? That Christ was Master of his life? That he obeyed the commands of Christ? That he regretted all of his sin? That he didn't continue in sin?


Acts 9:26-30
26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.


Anonymous said...

Excellent article (just wish it were longer) :)

Correct, Paul and Barnabas didn't point to turning from sins or lifelong commitment that will be assessed at death. What they pointed to, was the information about Jesus which Paul attested to. Once they knew that Paul agreed with the doctrine of Jesus Christ by faith, then they accepted him, just that easy.

Keep writing articles.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. I have a question. A preacher leaning to LF said, "Repentance can't mean just realizing your need of salvation because the Bible says that 'sins' are to be repented of. Meaning plural not a single sin to turn from." Thank you for your help.

Kevl said...

Hello Annon,

It is important when discussing a topic that we are sure we are all talking about the same thing.

"Repent" is the English rendition of the Old French word Repentir. It has a range of meanings assigned to it in Modern English.

In our English translations it is used to cover 5 different Greek and Hebrew words which have diverse meanings.

The only word in ALL of Scripture to be translated as some form of the word repent AND be connected to the reception of eternal salvation is Metanoeo/Metanoia. We need only deal with the definition of that word in order to know what "repentance" with respect to receiving eternal salvation means. It means to “change your mind, reconsider, or think differently.”

Here are the passages where repent is connected to the reception of eternal salvation.

Mark 1:15 repent & believe the Gospel
Luke 24:47 repentance & the remission of sins
Acts 2:38 Repent… for the remission of sins
Acts 3:19 Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out
Acts 17:30-31 God commands all men everywhere to repent
Acts 20:20-21 repentance toward God & faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ
Acts 26:19-20 that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance

I have just quickly read these passages and in none of them do we find that you have to "repent of sins" in order to be saved, but that you have to repent in for the remission of sins.

Repentance is used many many times in the Scripture but only in those passages above does it have to do with the reception of eternal salvation.

The answer to the preacher you brought up is, the Scripture does not condition salvation on repentance of sins.

John 16:5-11 tells us what our repentance is to be about.

It comes through the conviction of our sin, which is revealed to us by our sins. We look at our sins to see our sin, to see our guilt, to see the justice of the judgment to come, to see the provision of the cross, to trust in that provision unto salvation.

Hope this helps!