Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: April 2019

Monday, April 29, 2019

False Teachings on Eternal Security

False Teachings on Eternal Security

          For most people, their understanding (or lack thereof) of what the Bible teaches about salvation comes from two main systematic theologies (systematic confusions): Calvinism and Arminianism.  Without going into all the confusing arguments about eternal security that are propagated by these two systematic confusions, we can just go to the Bible and through an inductive methodology (by gathering the parts to get the whole) and find out exactly what God says and what God does when He gifts believers salvation whereby they are “born again” into the New Creation.  From those Bible facts, we can gather what God says, not what Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, Jacobus Arminius, or John Wesley say.  The endless and pointless arguments about eternal security all come from the false presuppositions and logical illogic of these two main bodies of systematic theologies (systematic confusions).  These arguments about eternal security are more of those endless yaw-but conversations that go nowhere because that is where they start.  They start with systematic confusion and end in systematic confusion.

          Let it be emphatically stated, the Bible gives dogmatically overwhelming evidences and testimonies that IF a person is “born again” of the Spirit of God into the New Creation, that person’s salvation is eternally secure in that new existence.  To believe in anything else is a manifestation of extreme confusion.  Theological confusion results from Biblical ignorance and is corrected by Biblical instruction.  The difficulty is when people are so confirmed by their ignorance that they will not hear and receive Biblical instruction.  Instead, people with doctrinal presuppositions are programmed to argue against the obvious.  Always remember, FALSE DOCTRINES ARE JUST OTHER FORMS OF IDOLATRY!

          There are two Bible texts that dogmatically confirm the eternal security of a “born again” believer IF he has been truly “born again;” II Corinthians 5:14-19 and Colossians 2:6-12.  These are not the usual texts used to establish the eternal security of a truly “born again” person.  However, they are the most emphatic and dogmatic texts.  First, as you read II Corinthians 5:14-19, notice that the surety of a believer’s redemption is CONNECTED to RESPONSIBILITIES in how their new life is lived (verse 14).  “If” a person is “born again” (verse 17), that person “should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (verse 14).  

This “if” of verse 17 is the hypothetical of context that continues throughout the rest of the epistle known as II Corinthians; “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you {in the Person of the indwelling Spirit}, except ye be reprobates {only unbelievers are given over to reprobate minds; Romans 1:28}” (II Corinthians 13:5)? The “if” is hypothetical not conditional!

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away {as a result of being ‘born again’ into the New Creation ‘in Christ,’ in the operations of God’s immutable promises, all that connects the ‘born again’ believer to the first creation has already positionally perished with the first creation, aorist tense}; behold, all things are become {perfect tense; as a result of being ‘born again’ into the New Creation ‘in Christ,’ in the operations of God’s immutable promises, all that connects the ‘born again’ believer to the first creation has already once-for-all forever positionally happened} new {kainós; regenerated}. 18 And all things are of God {only God can provide this New Creation}, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:14-19).

          II Corinthians 5:17-19 clearly teaches the absolute security of a believer IF that believer has been “born again” of the Spirit of God.  To be perfectly clear about this, if Paul believed a believer could lose his salvation by living carnally as these Corinthians believers were doing, why doesn’t he just come out and clearly say, “If you people do not stop this carnality, you will lose your salvation.”  The fact is, there is no where in Scripture where anyone even hints at such a possibility. 

Nowhere is this absence of warning or proclamation regarding losing one’s salvation more obvious than in I Corinthians 5:1-6.  There, Paul exposes a member of the church as living in fornication with “his father’s wife” (step-mother; I Corinthians 5:1).  The local congregation is told “[T]o 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 5:6).  The point is that even though this man was living in carnal “fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles” (I Corinthians 5:1), there is no mention, or warning, of the possibility of him losing his salvation.  Instead, the text teaches his life (“flesh”) would be taken prematurely, while his “spirit” (soul) would still be saved at the resurrection of believers “in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 

There are numerous Scripture texts where the reality of a person being “born again” is questioned and doubted (“if”), but nowhere in Scripture is there even a hint at someone being able to surrender salvation or lose their salvation.  Where would there be a better place to deal with the possibility of carnal believers losing their salvation than in the Epistles of First and Second Corinthians?  Yet, there is no mention of this possibility and no warnings about losing one’s salvation. 

In fact, just the opposite is true.  Believers are challenged to examine if their faith is genuine (II Corinthians 13:5).  That is the “IF” of II Corinthians 5:17.  Our natural tendency (illogical logic) is to look at a person living in some kind of habitual sin and judge him by assuming how a person living like that can be “born again”?  Let me answer the question simply; Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, king David, king Solomon, Samson, Peter; ad infinitum, ad nauseum.  We can question someone’s salvation but can never know their heart (Jeremiah 17:9; “who can know it”).  Are you sure you are “born again”? This is a legitimate and loving question to someone living in sin.  That is the assurance question asked repeatedly in Scripture.  The assurance question asks, “Are you SURE you are “born again”?

The assurance question is the purpose of the Epistle of First John (I John 3:19).  The foundation of the Epistle of First John is what we might call the Fellowship Foundation Principal.  There is much talk about the fact that salvation is a relationship with Christ.  However, there is little conversation about what that relationship looks like or how it is defined doctrinally.  This “fellowship” relationship is a working intimacy!

The emphasis of I John chapter one in the Fellowship Foundation Principal is that those who are truly “born again” children of God will long for “fellowship” with God.  Those who are genuinely “born again” and understand the relationship available in the Fellowship Foundation Principal will be very careful about their Bible study (II Timothy 2:15) and how they live what they learn from the Bible, so they need “not be ashamed.”  To understand what it means to be “born again” is to understand a person is “born again” into the most intimate relationship with another Being that could ever possibly exist.  To understand what it means to be “born again” is to understand that this new relationship should NOT be a one-sided relationship.  The “born again” believer is to love God the way God loves him.  The “born again” believer should want to know God as intimately as God knows the believer in whom He dwells. 

The second greatest Scriptural testimony to the eternal security of a truly “born again” believer is Colossians 2:6-12.  This text describes what happens POSITIONALLY in the operations of God and the eyes of God the moment a believer is truly “born again” of the Spirit of God.  Notice again, as it is in II Corinthians 5:14-15, that the believer’s new spiritual birth connects him to new spiritual responsibilities about living within that new spiritual existence called “the new creation.” 

When reading Colossians 2:4-12, we must be aware of the repetitions of the phases “in Christ,” “in Him,” and the twice use of the phrase “with Him.”  The words “in Christ” refer to the New Creation into which all believers are “born again” when they receive the gift of salvation.  This is the meaning of the phrase “in Christ,” or any derivation of that phrase, whenever it is used in Scripture.  “In Christ” is a whole new spiritual existence that demands a new kind of living.  However, the text describes the “faith {faithfulness} operation of God” in what God has ALREADY DONE positionally when He promises a believer the gift of salvation in being “born again.”  

Understanding the eternal security of a “born again” believer is understanding what God HAS ALREADY AND Irreversibly DONE in your salvation. 

4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord {by grace through faith}, so walk ye in him {by grace through faith; i.e., ‘the just shall live by faith’}: 7 Rooted {perfect, passive} and built up {present passive} in him, and stablished {present passive} in the faith, as ye have been taught {aorist passive}, abounding {present active} therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware {present active imperative} lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ {Gnosticism, Mysticism, and Legalism taught salvation was a process where salvation is achieved instead of an event where salvation is received}. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily {in the theanthropic union of humanity in Jesus as the ‘first born’ of the New Creation}. 10 And ye are complete {plēróō ; finished, fulfilled; the perfect tense means this is an already once for all forever accomplished reality} in him {the idea is that whatever has happened to Christ spiritually has already happened to the believer spiritually and positionally}, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in {spiritual} baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him {in spiritual baptism; of which both completed aspects are to be understood and communicated through water baptism} through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:4-12).

The great struggle of ministry/discipleship is persuading people, who profess to be “born again,” to do what “born again” people know they should be doing, but never do.  The real problem is simply that no one can motivate spiritually dead people to do the things that require spiritual life to do them.  EVERY genuinely “born again” person has an INWARD motivator that wants the will of God done more than anything else in this world.  However, even if a person is “born again,” just because God has breathed spiritual life into that person does not guarantee that spiritual life will flow from that person.  Spiritual life is the gift of the Person of the Spirit of God in His indwelling presence.  However, spiritual life in the gift of the indwelling Spirit is not evident apart from the fruit of the Spirit through the filling of the Spirit.  Therefore, one of two problems exist when professing Christians do not do what they are commanded to do:

1. These people are not “born again” and are just living as minimally as possible under peer pressure according to what they think is expected of them.
2. These people are living by the will-power of their own “flesh” never knowing or experiencing the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit of God because they have NEVER fully surrendered their will to His. 

          It would be highly advisable for EVERYONE to answer these two hypotheticals about the reality of why professing Christians just never get around to being totally surrendered to the Lord in which they profess to believe.  The honest reality is our churches are filled with people who have prayed a prayer or walked an aisle and then told by some incompetent hack that, “You are now saved and eternally secure.”  Then, when they never grow spiritually, never do anything for the Lord, never have any desire to bring others to Christ, have to be reminded every Sunday that it is Sunday, and live in their secret sins, they come forward in the church services wanting assurance of a salvation about which they have no peace.  Then, the same incompetent hack is quick to teach them eternal security and never confront the obvious – they have never really been “born again.”  The same incompetent hack is afraid to ask the most obvious question, “Are you sure you are “born again”?

The opposite side of this theological coin is the bizarre idea that since a person is “born again” and eternally secure in his salvation, he can live any way he wants to live.  The point is that IF he is saved, he can live any way he wants to live, BUT God is going to do something about that kind of nonsense.  God has two ordained means to deal with His “born again” children who decide they want to rebel against the will of God and live according to their own wills - local church discipline and divine chastisement. 

First, God has ordained local churches to deal with these kinds of people, who decide they want to rebel against the will of God and live according to their own wills.  God has commanded every faithful believer to rebuke, reprove, and use the disciplinary actions of their local congregations to recover and restore backslidden believers.  Local churches are congregations of “born again” people who have created an accountability group where every initiate is to be held accountable by every other initiate to live a sanctified lifestyle.  Initiation into this sanctification accountability group is water baptism.  Keeping a local church pure of false doctrines and keeping believers pure from false living is the responsibility of local church congregations; i.e. the sanctified accountability group.

1 I charge {assertive challenge to act} thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ {as witnesses of faithfulness or unfaithfulness to responsibilities}, who shall judge the quick {those ‘born again’} and the dead {in trespasses and sin; the lost} at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove {admonish, tell a fault}, rebuke {forbid an act or censure an action; to censure means to express extreme disapproval}, exhort {to call near or alongside; the idea is to restore someone to fellowship through calling him to walk in the truth with you} with all longsuffering {the willingness to bear the injuries another causes you} and doctrine {the Bible as a scalpel, not a slaying sword}. 3 For {disciple and discipline because} the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:1-4).

Four Irreversible Operations of the Spirit at the Moment of Salvation


          If a person has been “born again” and could lose his salvation, he would also need to be “un-born again.” 


          The instant a person puts faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells him.  If he could lose his salvation, the Holy Spirit would have to un-indwell him.  Hebrews 13:5 says that He will never do that.

The Baptism of the Spirit

          The instant a person puts faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, the Holy Spirit makes the believer a part of the “body of Christ” (I Corinthians 12:13, i.e., the New Creation).  If we could lose our salvation, the Holy Spirit would have to un-join us from the “body of Christ” (remove from the New Creation).

The Sealing of the Holy Spirit

          The Holy Spirit is said to be the believer’s seal of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).  If a believer could lose his salvation, he would have to be un-sealed.  This would deny Ephesians 4:30 (compare Romans 8:14-23).

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Dealing with Confused Confessions

Why We are Failing the Great Commission
What Must I Do to be Saved?
Dealing with Confused Confessions

          My family recently attended a musical presentation that was very well presented and professionally done.  Although the musical was presented in a Baptist church building, it was obvious that the participating musicians and singers in the choir came from a very wide diversity of Christian beliefs and backgrounds.  Intermittent within the musical presentation was an explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by a Baptist pastor.  Although the Gospel was accurately presented, there was NO EXPLANATION of how a person MUST Biblically respond to the Gospel to be “born again.”  This is a common problem in modern ecumenical Christianity. 

          One of the first rules of Biblical evangelism and preaching is: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!  If a preacher knows he is speaking to people who believe in Baptismal Regeneration (i.e., that a person receives the Spirit of God and is “born again” by being ritually baptized), the preacher is responsible to speak to and correct that false belief.  If a preacher knows he is speaking to people who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but also think they must contribute something to achieve salvation, the preacher is responsible to speak to and correct that false belief.  If a preacher knows he is speaking to people who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but have reduced a Biblical response to receive the gift of salvation to only believing, only praying, or any number of reductions, the preacher is responsible to speak to and correct those false beliefs. 

Most Evangelicals, and now most modern Fundamentalists, have no real understanding of what it means to be “born again” or what the Bible requires to receive the “gift” of salvation offered to sinners in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.  The five objective faith responses detailed in Romans 10:1-13 have become so convoluted that to correct the problem is like going wading in theological quicksand.

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:1-6).

          In John 14:6, Jesus speaks to his confused disciples about Him being the one and only “way” to be “born again.”  “The way” of which Christ speaks is the pathway to the event of salvation and being “born again” offered to sinners “by grace” and “through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  There are five verbs (actions) that define a faith decision to be “born again” and receive the gift of salvation offered to all sinners in the Gospel of Jesus Christ: repent, believe, confess, call, and receive. 

          To understand being “born again” spiritually, we must understand that in physical birth we are born out of somewhere and born into somewhere.  When physically born, a person is born out of his mother’s womb and born into this cursed world.  There is a radical change in existence after a person is physically born.  The physically born person begins to physically grow in the physical world. 

When a person is spiritually “born again,” he/she is born out of this cursed creation and born into the New Creation.  The spiritually “born again” person becomes part of a radical new spiritual existence “in Christ.”  Being “born again” is a spiritual birth because it is invisible until a person finally is glorified and receives a new body.  The spiritually “born again” person begins to spiritually grow as a “new creature” (II Corinthians 5:17) in this “New Creation” into which he/she is born.  This “born again” person is said to be saved.  He/she is saved from what he/she is born out of, the curse, and saved into the New Creation “in Christ.”

          Clearly from the historical precepts established and exemplified by Scripture evidences, the faith-way to be “born again,” totally apart from the “works of the Law,” is the ONLY WAY acceptable by God.  That is what Jesus was saying in John 14:1-6.  This message is the same as what Peter said in Acts 4:12.  Corrupting, reducing, or confusing the faith-way to be “born again” has been Satan’s methodology since Cain killed his brother Abel.  We must not forget that Cain killed Abel because Cain was jealous because God accepted Abel’s faith-way sacrifice portraying the substitute sacrifice in the promised Messiah.  Cain was jealous because God rejected Cain’s offering of the work of his own hands (the works-way).  Every works-way is a “false way” that God hates. 

“Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104).

          The Psalmist declares by the inspiration of the Spirit of God that “every false way” is to be hated, for “every false way” is a betrayal of the grace of God and blasphemy against the character, nature, and justice of God.  Satan has been corrupting and eroding what defines the faith-way of salvation from the beginning of time and the first generation of humanity.  Corruptions have developed by adding different types of works to the faith-way of salvation.  Erosions have developed by subtracting the verbs that define the faith-way in a biblical response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

          There is absolutely no merit in perfectly understanding what Jesus accomplished through His incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, and glorification if the FAITH-WAY of a Biblical response to that Gospel is corrupted by adding “works” (good deeds, moralism, animal sacrifices, or participation in some sacrament). 

There is absolutely no merit in perfectly understanding what Jesus accomplished through His incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, and glorification if the FAITH-WAY of a Biblical response to that Gospel is reduced by taking away one of the five verbs that define a faith response.  

Biblically defining and explaining a FAITH-WAY response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what Paul is doing in Romans 10:1-13.  It is a text with the most clarity because all five verbs defining a faith response are either implied in this text or emphatically stated. 

In Romans 10: 1-8, Paul explicitly defines the necessity for repentance of any form of performance based or achieved salvation (eternal life in the New Creation).  Salvation is a gift received, not a reward achieved.  Any person thinking that he deserves salvation because of any WORK he has done is a lost person on his way to Hell.  That person must repent of the very idea of such an abominable notion

1 Brethren {speaking to mostly Gentile Christian’s at Rome}, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness {God-kind righteousness necessary to salvation and only available as a gift from God in justification through faith}, and going about to establish their own righteousness {the false idea of being able to achieve the necessary righteousness through keeping the Mosaic Covenant}, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God {offered as a gift ‘by grace . . . through faith,’ i.e., the Abrahamic Covenant}. 4 For Christ is the end of {telos, a point aimed at} the law for righteousness {the whole point of the Law was that righteousness was necessary, but no one could meet the standard the Law established and were therefore guilty of sin; Romans 3:19-23} to every one that believeth {if you believe the testimony of the Mosaic Covenant it says, ‘Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.’ - Romans 3:19}” (Romans 10:1-4).

Preparing the heart to receive the “seed” is perhaps the greatest essential to a genuine conversion experience.  Therefore, the Apostle Paul uses almost three full chapters of his Epistle to the Romans to explain the doctrine of condemnation BEFORE he begins to explain the doctrine of salvation.  This is preparing the “soil” of the heart for conversion.  The sinner must understand the holiness of God and the sinfulness of sin.  Preparing the heart is picking up the rocks that hardened a person to their sin and harden a person to the work of the Holy Spirit.  Preparing the heart is clearing away the thorns and thistles of worldly ambitions that will grow and choke away any possibility for new life to generate to fruition in the heart.  All these issues are matters that begin with and are outcomes of repentance.

Preparing the heart to receive the “seed” is what Biblical repentance is all about.  Many have come to think that repentance is merely an intellect change of the mind about sin, worldliness, and false doctrine.  Genuine repentance effects the mind (how we think about sin, worldliness, and false doctrine), the emotions (how we feel about sin, worldliness, and false doctrine), and practice (how we live what we know or believe). 

The primary issue of repentance, as it relates to salvation, is repentance of trust in the “works of the law” to attain or achieve righteousness thereby gaining the right of entrance into the Kingdom of God.  This was the false teaching that “justification” could be achieved by keeping the Commandments, sacrifices, and Holy Days of the Mosaic Covenant.  “[F]or by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). 

5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven {who has achieved or earned salvation}? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) {the point is that the incarnation clearly established grace and faith.  The incarnation did not take place because of the will of man or human merit.  Salvation NECESSITATED a PERFECT, SINLESS, HUMAN, SUBSTITUTE SACRIFICE}7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep {who deserves to go to Hell because of individual failures}? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) {The point here again is that the resurrection of Jesus was a once for all event received by grace through faith.  Christ was not resurrected again and again for every individual failure in the breach of the Law.} 8 But what saith it {what does the Law say regarding how to be saved}? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;” (Romans 10: 5-8; compare I John 2:2).

          The next two verbs of a faith decision to be “born again” out of the cursed creation and into the New Creation are found in Romans 10:9-10 – CONFESS and BELIEVE.  These two verbs are further explained in Romans 10:10.

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart {not head, but the totality of one’s being} that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness {gifted in the indwelling Spirit of God in the gift of justification}; and with the mouth confession {of Jesus as Jehovah/Sovereign} is made unto salvation {being ‘born again’ into the New Creation of which Jesus is ‘Lord of lords and King of kings’}” (Romans 10:9-10).

          Confessing “with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” is NOT confessing we are sinners.  Confessing “with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” is NOT confessing our sins to God for forgiveness of those sins to be saved.  The whole idea of confessing sins as a condition to be saved is the outcome of a misinterpretation and misapplication of I John 1:9.  I John 1:9 is NOT a salvation text.  I John 1:9 is for people who are ALREADY believers.  In fact, I John 1:9 is ONLY for saved believers.  The text does not apply to lost people in any sense of what is said.  I John 1:9 is about restoring “fellowship” with God that is broken due to a believer sinning.  This misinterpretation and misapplication of I John 1:9 has resulted in all kinds of false terminology involved in what defines a salvation decision.

          The Gospel of Jesus is defined by what the death, burial, and resurrection/glorification of Jesus accomplishes for humanity first God-ward and then man-ward.  God-ward is the doctrine of propitiation, i.e., the wrath of God upon the sinner’s sins is judicially satisfied by the substitutionary death (in the sinner’s place) of the LORD JESUS CHRIST.  A sinner cannot believe/rest in the accomplishments of the Gospel of Jesus Christ if he does not UNDERSTAND what those accomplishments are.  Therefore, to understand the accomplishment of Jesus in the Gospel is to understand that God HAS BEEN perfectly and once-for-all-forever propitiated by the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ offering the gift of His righteousness, justification, to believing sinners in the Peron of His indwelling Holy Spirit.

          It is a gross, irresponsible, reduction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for any believer attempting to evangelize someone to fail to explain the propitiation of God and how the sinner is justified by Jesus Christ.  This kind of stuff is just lazy, careless nonsense justified by pseudo-evangelism.  People tell me, “These words are too hard for children to understand.”  No, it isn’t!  Children understand it more easily and more often than adults.  Any person that understands these things can explain them to a child. 

It is delusional to think a sinner can believe/rest in facts he does not know or understand.  Although salvation is a gift of the righteousness of Jesus in the indwelling Holy Spirit, a sinner is merely confused if he does not understand HOW Jesus can offer that gift without compromising the holiness and justice of God.  That understanding comes from understanding the propitiation of God’s wrath upon sin in the substitutionary death of Jesus to pay “the wages of sin” for all humanity. 

To “confess with the mouth” that Jesus is “Lord” is to publicly proclaim faith in the deity of Jehovah incarnate in the Person of Jesus.  The perfect sacrifice for sin is a sinless sacrifice because the humanity and deity of Jesus are perfectly merged into one perfect, sinless, new being.  The glorified Jesus is the eternal merging of God and man.  Therefore, believing “that God hath raised him {the God/man} from the dead” is essential to a faith decision to be “born again.” 

When Jesus was resurrected and glorified, He was then able to release His Holy Spirit to indwell believing sinners thereby Spirit baptizing those believers into His New Creation.  This is what it means to be “born again.”  The indwelling of believing sinners is the gift of justification, or the impartation of the righteousness of Jesus to the believing sinner in the Person of His Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:4). 

          However, facts do not save us.  Jesus saves sinners.  Believing rests in the facts understood.  Publicly confessing Jesus to be Jehovah incarnate is to identify with a new Sovereign/Lord over your life, Who alone can rescue your wretched soul from Hell and eternal separation from a Holy God.  The central focus of being “born again” is not upon OUT OF what you are “born,” but INTO what you are “born.”  A “born again” person is “born” into the New Genesis “in Christ” – a whole new existence that is unfolding in time destine for a new Heaven/Earth.

Yet, one more verb is required before a sinner can be “born again.”  That sinner ,who has already repented of sin and “dead works,” already “confessed Jesus as Lord,” and already believed/rested in the accomplishments of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, must ALSO “call upon the name of the Lord” to be saved from Hell.  His Name is Jesus!  It is the essence of Who Jesus is in His glorification that provides sinners entrance into the New Creation.

11 For {because; assigning a reason or explanation} the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him {Jesus, Who has propitiated God and Who can justified the believing sinner} shall not be ashamed {The Jews that rejected Jesus as their Messiah were ashamed of Him because He was powerless to deliver Himself from Roman crucifixion, because they did not UNDERSTAND the necessity of His death to propitiate the wrath of God and gift righteousness to believing sinners.}. 12 For {because; assigning a reason or explanation} there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him {referring to being gifted a new existence in the New Creation}. 13 For {because; assigning a reason or explanation} whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved {meaning ‘born again’ into the Kingdom of God or the New Creation ‘in Christ’}” (Romans 10:11-13).

          The last of the five verbs defining a faith decision to be “born again” is the word RECEIVE.  To “receive” the Lord Jesus Christ is to receive His indwelling presence in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  Confessing Jesus to be the LORD (Jehovah) dictates the way, or manner, in which we receive Him.  Confessing Jesus to be the LORD has more to do with a public announcement or proclamation than it does with a mere assent to Who He is.  This was a common practice in ancient times.  It was also commonly practiced in certain social circles of yesteryear. 

For instance, when guests were invited to a ball or large affair, they would enter, hand their invitation with their name and station in life to the servant at the entrance, and their name and station in life would be announced to everyone present.  This was to ensure that everyone present knew who they were and that they were to be properly received and treated with the respect and dignity due to their social status in life.  In the courts of kings, when a dignitary or royalty from another nation or kingdom came as his entourage passed through the crowds, a town crier would publicly announce who it was and what position in life the person held.  This is the historical context of what it means to receive Christ.  The emphasis is upon Who is being received and the subjection of those receiving Him.  He is THE LORD JESUS!

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 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: 13 Which were born {again}, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

          Receiving Christ as Lord is receiving His indwelling Presence and righteousness in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  The emphasis upon receiving Jesus is about understanding Who we are receiving more than merely receiving Him.  Since Jesus is God, and His Spirit is God’s Spirit, the believer receiving Christ is receiving the Shekinah presence of God into His body making the believer’s body the “temple of the living God.”  To receive Christ is to live constantly in His holy presence and He in yours.  SELAH! 

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17).

The Holy Spirit is God’s seal upon the believer’s body, soul, and spirit unto the “day of redemption” (glorification).  The Holy Spirit of God will never leave nor forsake the “born again” believer (Hebrews 13:5). 

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

If the believer is “born again,” he should understand that a unique spiritual union with the Godhead has taken place (Theanthropic Union).  Therefore, once the believer receives Christ as Lord, that believer should understand that he is responsibile to bring himself (body, soul, and spirit) into unity with the will of the indwelling Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-7); “Endeavouring {make every effort} to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).  Clearly, the context of this unity extends vocationally into the priesthood of all believers (Ephesians 4:1), but the primary focus is upon unity with the Godhead in unbroken fellowship and filling of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).  Although these responsibilities do not contribute to a person’s salvation in any way, they should certainly be part of understanding the responsibilities of that spiritual union with Christ.

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.