A Voice in the
February 9, 1999
Re: What about 'The Reformers' and.. "Sola Fide" ??
In follow-up to:
OK... I guess we're not -quite- finished with this subject. Somebody wrote about understanding "the reformers clarion call of sola fide (faith alone)" subsequently making reference to the Gospel of John, as John summarizes, "These are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name." (Jn20:31) That the word "repent/repentance" is not once mentioned throughout the entire book, and yet John was claiming that what was written was sufficient to give a person eternal life. I had already been wondering about addressing Acts16:31. So, I guess now's the time.
First of all...
To base -anything- on "the reformers" is WRONG FOOTING. Many of them were not even saved. And yet people are -of- "so-n-so" (1Cor1:12) The -supposed- 'great men.' Wrong foundation! The foundation is Jesus Christ. (1Cor3:11) Get your heads out of those books and into -THE- Book!
And along the same lines, some of you are even beginning to follow -me-. If you are...unsubscribe from this e-list...NOW! IMMEDIATELY!!! You should be following Jesus Christ through God's Word, the Scriptures. I'm merely a person God has appointed in these days as a prophet and guide; trying to point anyone who will receive it..to God's Word and Truth. But if you are developing a "Paul Becker says...." mentality... then, please leave! ...and get into the Scriptures!
OK... let's get down to business...
We can approach an understanding of this from a couple of directions.
The word "believe" (evidently) appears 97 times in John. (Apparently this person counted them...I didn't) So...if we want to split hairs. This word "pisteuo" means different things. I didn't follow the word "believ(*)" all the way through John, but through a third of it, pisteuo is used every time... including the belief that healing would take place (Jn4:50) and in Jesus speaking of their -not- believing Moses' writings (5:47) In these kinds of cases it is not necessarily -always- "saving faith" but believing in the existence of an event or thing.
If we look at Jn3:36, the -opposite- of "believe" ("not believe") is a word meaning to 'not allow one's self to be persuaded; to not comply with.' In other words, to be disobedient to God's call. In that case, believe would -loosely- mean "obedience." Such as "obedience to faith" (Rom1:5) or "obedience to righteousness" (Rom6:16) We can spent all year splitting hairs semantically for each instance of the word "believe" in John's gospel.
So, what was the purpose of the book? That the reader might "..believe that Jesus is the Christ." God's annointed. The -SON- of God. Deity.
When people truly met God, and -saw- Him, what was the typical reaction?
When Paul and Silas -only- said "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Acts16:31) from the account we know that the jailer was already at the place of repentance, from his actions. He was at the bottom...about to kill himself (vs27) and then comes "trembling" (vs29) and asks how to be saved. In that scene, the jailer was supposedly "in charge" of prisoners...but humbles himself in front of a couple of them to receive Christ. He had -already- humbled himself. 'repentance' was evident. Now, he needed to receive Christ. Thus, the message, "Believe..."
-Whom- is repentance "to"? "..toward God.." (Acts20:21) The Gospel of John is -about- "Jesus". "...and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." John is about Jesus as Deity. Of course it's going to be about "faith." Because what is necessary 'regarding Jesus' ...is "Faith." He is our High Priest before God the Father...before Whom we must repent.
So, if you are trusting in the gospel of John, knowing that it presents Jesus as Christ, and the means to "life in His name", Jesus says, "unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Lk13:3) -Jesus- is the One who gave the disciples the -message- they were to proclaim, "repentance and remission of sins." (Lk24:47) But yes...you must -believe- that it is true, what Jesus said...that you must repent.
Jesus came as the "Savior" ...savior from -what-? God's wrath. (Rom1:18) Jesus is the "mediator" between God and man. (1Ti2:5) God is the One, on His throne, before Whom we give account. (Rev20:11, Dan7:9,13) It is God to Whom Jesus will "confess" those who have placed their faith/trust in Him (Jesus). (Mt10:32,Rev3:5) Because of Jesus' work we now have bold access to the Father. (Heb4:16) The "Father" before Whom we have -repented-...as we stand in "Faith-in-Christ".
Let's not forget that it was "God" Who sent Jesus (Jn3:16) and if we disobey and don't receive Jesus (in faith), it is -God's- wrath that "abides on him." (vs36) We do not repent -to- 'Jesus'. Jesus was not sent "to condemn" the world, but to "save" it. (Jn3:17,Lk19:10)
Remember that "in the beginning God..." (Gen1:1) God (the Father). He is the One who has exalted Jesus and "given Him a name that is above every name" (Phil2:9) Now, even though it states that "every tongue shall confess" and that "every knee" shall bow before -Jesus-, God, the One Who gave Him this position is still -above- Jesus. The -giver- of that High Name is greater than the -Recipient-. And ultimately, Jesus will be subjecting Himself and all under Him to the Father, "so that God may be all things in all." (1Cor15:28)
So yes, John presents Jesus, and the necessity of Faith in Christ. Because that, precisely, is what we must have with Christ. Faith only. We receive Jesus...only. But WHY? Because we are separated from God -the Father-. God sent Jesus. Jesus died. We must believe, have faith in, put our trust in... Jesus. Period. Nothing else. Jesus is our -only- Savior. There is no other means of salvation "by which we must be saved." (Acts4:12)
But -WHAT- is Jesus saving us from? The wrath of God. It is God, ultimately, before Whom we are accountable. It is at the 'bottom stair' to His [God's] throne that we must prostrate ourselves and -repent-. That's why God sent Jesus, so that in turn, we can believe in the ability of His redemption to make us "accepted" before God. (Eph1:6)
So, to summarize...
Once we see our helpless state, then, yes, it is by "Faith Only" that we are saved. Jesus Christ provides the salvation and redemption "through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." (Eph1:7)
But we don't know that redemption is -even- a "necessity" until we've seen God's holiness, our own utter depravity, and the resultant judgement of God upon us. -humility & repentance- The typical attitude is "yea, yea, yea...I know all that...let's get on with the faith." Or as in one e-mail, I'm sure, -not- intended for me...sent to me by accident, someone -joking- to the intended recipient about one of these recent mailings, "I'm gonna repent later on today.. -grin-grin-" They have not yet seen themselves as God sees them. Until they do, Saving Faith is non-existent. Is not possible.
If you're having a hard time understanding this, it is probably because you have not been there. You are not saved. Yes, salvation is by "Faith Alone" (sola fide). But we don't even know our -need- for salvation until we've seen God's holiness, and our utter depravity. In the wilderness Moses made a bronze serpent and all that people had to do was -turn- (repent) and look at the bronze serpent. They didn't go anywhere or do anything. But if they merely -looked-, they were healed of their snake bites. (Nu21:9) But they had to realize they'd been bit, and feel the life leaving them as the poison was taking over, and consciously turn and look.
As Moses "lifted up the serpent in the wildernes, even so the Son of Man [was] lifted up." (Jn3:14) The condition is "sin" and the result is "death." (Rom6:23) The person must realize they have been -bit- and are dying. The Father (who draws-Jn6:44) says, 'look to My Son'. They turn (repent) and look (in faith) to Jesus "lifted up" on the cross for salvation.