The Weekend Word

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159 Responses

  1. Steve Wright says:

    To neglect, does it have to be something that is already in your possession?
    —————————————–
    Have to be? No. Matt 22:5 uses the same verb, commonly translated as “made light of it” or “ignored” or “paid no attention” – context rejection of the verbal call to the wedding feast. A parable of Jesus that seems pretty clear to have a salvation lesson behind it.

    (The other three uses of the word in the New Testament have no context to hearing the gospel message)

  2. Steve Wright says:

    ***What makes up salvation? Be careful – this is tricky.***
    Repentance – Justification – Sanctification – Glorification
    ————————————————————–
    Good use of the three verb tenses of salvation. I could not tell from the quick notes here…did you equate those with the theological terms you cited?

    Past=justification Present-Sanctification Future=Glorification?

    We’ve covered that ground here a lot and I thought (though mind you) that you took issue with the idea of sanctification as something taking place presently in the Christian’s life.

  3. No but really... says:

    Thanks Michael… great reminder!

  4. Jean says:

    MLD, thank you for another excellent outline, along with the relevant thought provoking questions.

    Here, before church this morning, is an initial comment on two of your questions to us:

    “How do we neglect something?
    •To neglect, does it have to be something that is already in your possession?”

    We “neglect” what we have “heard” from the Son, the “great Salvation” which was “attested to us” by “be[ing] hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”. Being hardened may produce “an evil, unbelieving heart, leading [us] to fall away from the living God.”

    In these passages, to “neglect” refers to what they already possess. The author says several verses down that “he [Jesus] is not ashamed to call them [those who are saved] “brothers.” In verse one of the 3rd chapter, the author addresses them as “**holy brothers**, you who share in a heavenly calling”.

    Therefore, there is little doubt that “neglect is something that refers to what they already possess, and the danger is that it can lead to “drift[ing] away” or as in chapter 3 “fall[ing] away”. If that happens, there is no “escape”.

    Note: All quotations are to passages in the book of Hebrews.

  5. Steve,
    “did you equate those with the theological terms you cited?”
    Not really – I was pointing out that salvation is made up of more than just justification. God lives outside of time, but from down here salvation is somewhat of a process.

    “that you took issue with the idea of sanctification as something taking place presently in the Christian’s life.”
    I think what I have objected to in the past is that sanctification is taught as a stand alone entity apart from our justification as in ‘now that you have been justified it is now time to move on to your sanctification and you are to do something’.

    It is very much the difference between a Lutheran sermon and an evangelical sermon. Evangelicals do not preach the Christians justification to them, that is past – the evangelical sermon is lesson on advancing your sanctification.

    The writer here, and throughout is preaching justification to Christians.

  6. I think Jean stole my thunder and nailed it. 🙂

  7. Jean says:

    “What makes up salvation?”

    The author does not neatly define “salvation” in verse 3. However, the letter is rich with various images of the already and not yet attributes of salvation:

    Jesus, as the “founder” (“pioneer” NET) of our salvation, accomplished it all for us:
    – He suffered death on our behalf for the remission of sins (“without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”)
    – He destroyed the “power of death”, delivering us “who through fear of death were subjected to lifelong slavery.”
    – He delivers us from God’s judgment.
    – We are able to “draw near to God through him”.
    – He makes “intercession” for us.
    – He made a new “eternal covenant” with us, putting his laws in our minds, writing them on our hearts, making us His people, forgetting our sins.
    – He “sanctifies” us.
    – He give us eternal life (“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”)
    – He is the “founder and perfecter of our faith.”
    – He will “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight”

    Jesus accomplished **everything** for our salvation. There is nothing we can add to His work. In the eyes of God, Christians are sanctified in Christ (It is finished.) In Christ we have His sanctification. This is why we “can draw near to God ***through*** him [Jesus]”.

    The only thing that can derail “such a great salvation” is “neglect.” “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

  8. What about the idea that we are saved from God – that it is God that wants to kill us. That is a hard reality.

  9. Michael says:

    “In other words, people outside the community of faith are commonly unwilling to believe that there is in God a holy antipathy against sin, a righteous hatred of evil, which prompts him to exact just retribution when his law is broken. They are not, therefore, prepared to take seriously the biblical witness that humanity in sin stands under the wrath of God. . . . Some dismiss the wrath of God as another of Paul’s lapses; others reduce it to an impersonal principle of evil coming home (sometimes) to roost: few will allow that wrath is God’s personal reaction to sin, so that by sinning we make God our enemy.”

    Storms, Sam (2015-06-30). Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit (Theologians on the Christian Life) (p. 33). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

  10. Michael says:

    “All sin is punished, says Packer, either in the person of the sinner or in the person of his or her substitute. The only reason why God does not deal with us according to our sins and repay us accordingly is that he dealt with Christ and repaid him for our transgressions. God’s retributive justice was satisfied for us in the person of Christ, who endured the full measure of punishment that the justice and righteousness of God required. This is the core truth in what is known as penal substitution.”

    Storms, Sam (2015-06-30). Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit (Theologians on the Christian Life) (p. 34). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

  11. Michael says:

    “Divine wrath is righteous antagonism toward all that is unholy. It is the revulsion of God’s character to what violates God’s will. Indeed, one may speak of divine wrath as a function of divine love. For God’s wrath is his love for holiness and truth and justice. It is because God passionately loves purity and peace and perfection that he reacts angrily toward anything and anyone who defile them. Packer explains: Would a God who took as much pleasure in evil as he did in good be a good God? Would a God who did not react adversely to evil in his world be morally perfect? Surely not. But it is precisely this adverse reaction to evil, which is a necessary part of moral perfection, that the Bible has in view when it speaks of God’s wrath.”

    Storms, Sam (2015-06-30). Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit (Theologians on the Christian Life) (p. 35). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

  12. Xenia says:

    Protestant soteriology never made much sense to me. But this does:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WosgwLekgn8&w=854&h=480%5D

  13. Jean says:

    “What about the idea that we are saved from God – that it is God that wants to kill us. That is a hard reality.”

    MLD, I’m not sure in this particular letter that this idea of atonement is present. I see Christus Victor taught in chapter 2, and our sanctification by His blood in chapter ten. In the latter sense, Christ restores what was lost in the garden, making alive again what was dead.

  14. Jean says:

    A couple words were missing from my last comment. Before “atonement” insert “penal substitionary”.

  15. Michael says:

    “Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
    (Hebrews 9:23–28 ESV)

    Penal substitutionary atonement is clear in the letter.
    The purpose of the blood was to avert the wrath of God.

    PSA is not the only facet of the atonement, but it is the one upon which our redemption depends.

    Good on MLD for asking the tough questions…

  16. Jean says:

    Xenia, Thanks for the video.

  17. Steve Wright says:

    I wonder if you were teaching out of the NIV, where the translators used “ignore” instead of “neglect” – (ignore so great a salvation) – if you would say something like “the better translation here would be neglect” and then continue with your thesis of being saved and later abandoning Christ.

    My point is that we should be hesitant to place any emphasis on a word that can be translated broadly into English where the English is used differently.

    And this one can..as I showed. And as I showed, the only other use of this in context with the gospel is clearly directed towards those not saved. Now, that does not end the discussion, but it is an exegetical detail against your thesis and in favor of the other side.

  18. Xenia says:

    Why is God so angry?

    This is a serious question. I never understood why God made man with the ability to sin, knowing that he would sin, and His response to a scenario He Himself created is a wrath so burning hot that He has to slay His own Son so He can even look upon His own poor creatures?

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean my direction is that if we are directed to look at salvation I think it important to see what we are being saved from. I don’t think at this point we need to get theological about the various views of the atonement. God has saved us from himself is a good starter for me.

  20. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    The Reformed response would be that this is the way in which He would be most glorified when all is finished.
    My response would be…I don’t know and that is too deep a mystery for my mind.

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve are you making the point that the brothers and sisters addressed here are of some unsaved variety?

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    God is not mad at us anylonger. Read 2 Cor 5. He saved us from that.

  23. Xenia says:

    ^^^^ The above is another reason I doubted my salvation during my CC years. The soteriology never rang true for me and since I couldn’t understand it in a way that made sense, I wasn’t particularly grateful, although I wanted to be. Every Sunday the pastor would explain it again and I would sit on the edge of my seat, praying that this time it would make sense, and it never did. Still doesn’t. I don’t believe in the penal substation theory of the atonement anymore and now I am at peace and able to be grateful.

  24. Xenia says:

    I don’t know and that is too deep a mystery for my mind.<<<

    Ok, that's a fair answer.

  25. Xenia says:

    God has saved us from himself <<<

    Here you are, a good representative of Protestantism, actually saying this. I give you credit for not waffling.

    I tell people that the Protestant view is that God is saving people from Himself and they say that's not really the case, that I am exaggerating.

    (Well, sometimes I am given to exaggeration…..)

  26. Michael says:

    “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
    (John 3:36 ESV)

    “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
    (Romans 5:9 ESV)

    “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
    (Ephesians 2:3 ESV)

    Any biblical theology has to deal with the reality of the wrath of God.

  27. Jean says:

    “God has saved us from himself is a good starter for me.”

    If the wages of sin are death. Then wouldn’t a good starter be that God has saved us from ourselves? I’m with Xenia on this one.

    Here’s a key consideration for me:

    “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature”

    If we want to know what God is like (how he is disposed towards us), then we have to listen to Jesus and look at what he did for us. I see nothing but love, forgiveness and sacrifice from him directed at us. He did die for our sins, no question.

    I understand perfectly well that a single doctrine of atonement is not neatly laid out in Scripture. Even the Father in Xenia’s video said the Orthodox version is not perfect. I don’t think anyone has the perfect atonement doctrine because Scripture is sees it from multiple perspectives. I also applaud you for raising this head scratching issue.

  28. Xenia says:

    The wrath of God is directed towards the person who dies without turning to God in repentance. The wrath of God is hell.

  29. Steve Wright says:

    Steve are you making the point that the brothers and sisters addressed here are of some unsaved variety?
    ——————————————
    The ‘brothers’ argument has nothing to do with the way one understands “neglect” or “ignore” in the original…nothing whatsoever.

    I made an exegetical point which has yet to be addressed. The only use of the word in connection to the gospel is in Jesus’ parable in reference to those who reject the gospel from the beginning.

    That is my point…nothing more.

    (If I attended your service would I hear your pastor ever address the congregation in a general way such as “Saints” or “Brothers and Sisters” or even “Christians” as he gave some comment or exhortation to the entire room? It sure happens in most churches but I would not hang my hat on that being a declaration of every soul in the room being born again)

  30. Xenia says:

    Well, I don’t want to hijack the thread with Orthodox theology, which I realize is of limited interest. I’ll leave with a quote from Fr. James Bernstein:

    In Orthodoxy, we experience God not only as Judge, but as He is referred to in Orthodox services: “the Lover of Mankind.” Orthodox incarnational theology, which is at the core of the original Gospel, teaches that God Himself, the second Person of the Trinity, became incarnate, not in order to pay a debt to the devil or to God the Father, nor to be a substitutionary offering to appease a just God, but in order to rescue us from our fallen condition and transform us, enabling us to become godlike. The way God chose to deliver us from our condition—our illness, fallenness, mortality, corruption, and sin—was by taking upon Himself our human nature and participating with us in the limitations that creaturehood encompasses. Forgiving our sins is part and parcel of a much larger whole, as forgiveness in itself is not enough to ensure healing, purification, illumination, wholeness, and transfiguration. Actual organic participation in the life of the Incarnate God is required, in addition to being forgiven.

    http://www.pravmir.com/the-original-christian-gospel/

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia- you have a wrong timetable for God’s salvation. God was mad up to 2000 years ago. God saved us from himself 2000 years ago. No wonder you were so confused.

  32. Xenia says:

    MLD, actually, if the pastor had said what you wrote in your 31 it would have been a big help.

  33. Jean says:

    “you have a wrong timetable for God’s salvation. God was mad up to 2000 years ago. God saved us from himself 2000 years ago. No wonder you were so confused.”

    Note to Mark Driscoll

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve that is weak – in church a christian message is directed to the Christians. Do you preach by exception. If my pastor addresses the saints that is who it is addressed to. The unbelievers can be free to ignore.
    So if the writer has addressed them as those who are to inherit the kingdom as I think he did at the end of CH 1 – then that is who it is aimed at solely.

  35. Xenia says:

    (MLD, my pastor might have said what you wrote in your 31 and it didn’t register.)

  36. Xenia says:

    If what MLD wrote is true, then the famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is erroneous.

  37. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia in Orthodoxy what are you saved from?

  38. Xenia says:

    We are saved from death.

  39. Xenia says:

    … and given Life.

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia in Orthodoxy what are you saved from

  41. Steve Wright says:

    I would add that all the church epistles, not just Hebrews, address the “saints” or the “brothers” and these were meant to be read in the public meeting so it would be quite a stretch to assume everyone in Rome, Corinth, Ephesus…well you get the idea…everyone in earshot was born again.

    I certainly believe the majority hearing Hebrews were brothers. As the majority in Rome and Corinth and the like no doubt were as well. However, I have no doubt there were those who had not had the spiritual birth (and all that is connected with that which we discussed last week) and this matters in HEBREWS because the temptation to abandon Christ for the old ways is a totally different issue than in some Gentile pagan land. Thus, the warning verses are so concentrated in Hebrews.

    Look, MLD, you first made a point you have since abandoned (or ignored) namely asking (rhetorically it would seem) Does neglect have to be something already in your possession. (Answer – NO) Now you have moved on and declared that since the writer (like all New Testament writers) addresses the audience as brothers then everyone hearing must be a born again believer being warned not to go back to Judaism.

    why are there no warnings for the born again Gentile ex-pagans not to go back to Zeus?

    Hebrews is a UNIQUE book and it has the biggest (and really only) debate that asks “Who is the audience” – The answer is the audience is the same as it is in every letter, and in fact probably every sermon ever preached in church history. The vast majority of believers, with a few seekers, friends, deceived and so forth in the mix.

    What is “weak” is making a huge deal about either the use of “neglect” in (some) English Bible and the use of “brothers” in a New Testament epistle as if these are the definitive prooftexts that ends all discussion

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sorry for the duplicate. Phone issue texting from Total Wines.

  43. Steve Wright says:

    We have been saved from the penalty of sin.
    We are being saved from the power of sin.
    We will be saved from the presence of sin.

    The three tenses of salvation..understood as to sin.

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, you may have answered no but I didn’t.reread the writers question. He is asking how the are going to escape if they neglect their salvation. Non believers have no salvation to neglect.

    But I said 2 weeks ago how the audience of this letter / sermon get identified will determine the outlook of this book.

  45. Xenia says:

    In the early church (although I don’t know how early this tradition began) unbelievers were allowed to be present for the scripture readings and the sermon. I have heard many homilies to a mixed multitude begin with the welcoming words “dear brothers and sisters.” ( “Dear brothers and sister in Christ would be different.) So to agree with Steve, it’s possible that there were non-believers in the service who heard the letter read.

    So there’s that but I believe he’s talking about anyone- saved or unsaved- who neglects Christ’s salvation. An unbeliever neglects it by ignoring it and a believer neglects it by falling into disbelief (or returning to Judaism, which is the situation in Hebrews.)

  46. Michael says:

    “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
    (John 3:36 ESV)

    I think that was Jesus speaking..

  47. Jean says:

    Just one reiteration of a prior point:

    This author addresses his audience as: “holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling”

    Make you’re own interpretation. 🙂

  48. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Orthodox theology is very interesting to our readers…I hear it all the time.

  49. Well I believe Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount directly to the disciples – regardless who else heard it.

    This is strange – the same can be said about Paul’s letter. In Ephesians 1 when he addresses those “in Christ” are we to assume that if an unbeliever was dragged to church that day by his wife that the “in Christ” applies to him?

    Steve, I have listened to many of your teaching and I can tell that regardless of the mix, you are speaking to the believers – because at the end, you turn and address those who have not yet become followers of Christ and then you give a little separate message to them

  50. I like to hear Xenia’s Orthodox views just as I like to hear Steve’s evangelical views.

  51. Linnea says:

    ***What makes up salvation? Be careful – this is tricky.***
    “Repentance – Justification – Sanctification – Glorification”

    Don’t agree MLD…Repentance, Justification, Sanctification, SERVICE!

    How else do we demonstrate God’s love to a dieing world?

    Otherwise, its just https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dKAX7Jp8wo

  52. I even like Linnea’s view. That song brings back great memories. When I was in the Army around 1970, 71 I worked in the motor pool of a mechanized infantry group. When th troops went out, I stayed back at the mortor pool, I would hook the 8 track up to a APC’s battery and through the radio to everyone going forward I would play Edwin atar and CCR.

    The troops loved it, the officers tried 3 times to court martial me … with no luck.

  53. Xenia says:

    I want to thank MLD for these Sunday lessons. Obviously I don’t agree with all his interpretations but he makes me- and all of us, I think- think more carefully about our own views.

  54. Jean says:

    Linnea,

    I sincerely appreciate your comment. I’m reminded of why in the Creed we confess “the communion of saints.” I enjoy the communion of the saints in the big tent of the church triumphant.

  55. Linnea, to answer your question “How else do we demonstrate God’s love to a dieing world?”

    I think Jesus answered that at the Institution of Baptism “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

  56. Em says:

    why is God angry? Why did He create a creature with the capacity to chose, a creature that could be “tricked” into wrong choices? Didn’t He know we’ll fail the serpent test? Of course, He knew. He knew that Eve would want to be as smart as God. Was she jealous of the attention that Adam gave God? Those evening walks that they took? … Our little pea size brains want to know… some do…

    One thing seems to escape the Believer – IMHO – in all our confessions of sin and praises to God, we think that we are insignificant accidents of a Divine Plan gone awry… we don’t want to presume, we want to be humble, we’re so insignificant. But are we?

    i think that every single, little fetus breathing in the gift of life – God designed – is a part of something unfathomably big in this universe… leading toward a cataclysmic conclusion and resolution of the inevitable as the human race runs its course – what this earth was staged for … man’s role is not a wild and bloody jihad, but something about a vine and branches and … fruit

  57. Steve,
    way back to your #17 – I had to wait until I got home to respond. I don’t think that it is that easy to use multiple interchangeable words in this verse for ‘neglect’. The following translation translate neglect – I have found the following translations that use the word neglect;
    English Standard Version
    New American Standard Bible
    King James Bible
    Holman Christian Standard Bible
    International Standard Version
    NET Bible
    King James 2000 Bible
    American King James Version
    American Standard Version
    Douay-Rheims Bible
    English Revised Version
    Webster’s Bible Translation
    World English Bible
    Young’s Literal Translation

    and I found only 2 that used the word ignore
    New International Version
    New Living Translation

    And we know that the NIV translation was hijacked by the Calvinists which perhaps reflects on word choice here.

  58. Em says:

    i should have been clearer: the vine and branches and fruit are where God’s plan is now – the Church – ‘course, i’m a firm believer in dispensationalism (small ‘d’ since i’m not a theologian) phases in God’s plan, if you will – which is what the writer of Hebrews was trying to get thru to those Jews … IMNSHO.

    God keep

  59. As clarification on my statement about the NIV and the Calvinists I would point out the NIV use of the word sovereign 295 times
    KJV = 0
    NASB = 1
    ESV = 4

    This is not a comment about Calvinists or Calvinism – only about this translation committee.

  60. Xenia says:

    Here’s another thing the NIV does: Whenever the Greek word paradosis is used in a negative sense, it’s translated as “traditions” but when the same word is used in positive sense it’s translated as “teachings.”

  61. Steve Wright says:

    He is asking how the are going to escape if they neglect their salvation. Non believers have no salvation to neglect.
    —————————————————
    I don’t read the word “their” anywhere. I’m sounding like a broken record but if you say to an unbeliever “How are you going to escape if you ignore so great a salvation” you could be practically quoting this verse. At least you would be using the word exactly as Jesus did. (Forget putting up a scoreboard of translations and majority rules – I am talking within the very same translations that use “neglect” here – those translators used ignore or something similar to describe the offer of salvation in Jesus’ parable)

    My general rule of thumb is when scholars over the ages have wrestled from both sides of a discussion. When PAGES of commentary are offered as to the views on who is the audience of a particular letter like Hebrews…that to simplistically say “Look, this verse uses the word, brothers, – problem solved”….well, that might not be the simple answer. My guess is the guys who take a year or two of sabbatical to study for and write an in depth exegetical commentary are aware of the passing reference to the brethren.

    Hebrews is a unique book. I keep saying that too. Nowhere do we see the elaboration of why a Gentile should abandon forever the old ways of Zeus.

    Haven’t you ever used the book of Hebrews in trying to witness to an unbelieving Jew? What other New Testament book are they going to listen to?

    You are the one who keeps saying that God reconciled the entire world back to Himself (a point I agree with)…why would the truths of Hebrews and what Jesus has accomplished, in that similar vein, not be applicable for all Jews…even if not all Jews end up trusting in Jesus and being saved?

  62. Jean says:

    I’m thankful, but disturbed, about this translation information.

  63. Steve Wright says:

    For the record….I believed, taught, and argued for over a decade the exact view that MLD and Xenia and Jean are offering here. That a born again believer can, and sometimes does, rejects that salvation and that Hebrews here is the classic warnings against doing so.

    I’m glad those old tapes mostly have disappeared. 🙂

    But anyway, having been on both sides, and seeing the argument from both sides, and seeing the support and challenges from both sides, I have come to where I am today.

    I am curious if anyone today who is strong on the possibility of rejecting the faith for a born again believer has a similar experience of multiple years teaching and arguing for the security of the believer first…and then changing their view away from security to what they presently hold today

    In fact, when I first showed up at CCLE, one of the first things I made clear in my doctrinal beliefs (and really the only issue of substance) was where I stood on the security of the believer because I did not want to teach in a manner that went against the leadership of the church since many many CC pastors join in Chuck’s teaching that salvation can be rejected.

  64. Xenia says:

    Steve, in my case I believed in (what I prefer to call) “once saved, always saved.” I believed it my entire life until I converted to my current belief at age 50. Of course, that entire time I was never entirely convinced that I *was* saved.

    I feel more secure now.

  65. Steve Wright says:

    As I already said, one should look at the same word translated within the same translation first and foremost. That is the point I raised here.

    But while I do not really have a desire to defend or attack the NIV, I was interested in Xenia’s comment. The word she cited is used to both describe Old Testament Jewish laws and customs…and used to describe the activity of the church. I assume this is what she means by negative and positive sense.

    I do not know where she got the reasoning for her comment as there are only 3 such positive uses and one of them is 1 Cor 11:2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. NIV

    The other two so-called positive uses of the word, found in 2 Thessalonians, both have an italicized footnote right at the verse that says the word can also be translated “tradition”

    The clear Jewish references, mostly found in the Gospels, have no such footnotes – again, no doubt as the translators show the two main differences in use of the word in Scripture, and not to confuse the majority use of the word, having to do with Jewish scribal usage under the Old Covenant, with a handful of instances in the context of the Church.

    Hardly sinister if you ask me….In fact, kudos for pointing out a distinction in usage for the word by the translators

    (The Ephesian mob in Acts 19 is described with the same word as “church” but the translators universally in all Bibles called it “assembly” so as to avoid confusion since it was not the church that was rioting of course.)

  66. Xenia says:

    This is how my brain works and I think my heart follows:

    1. In the case of OSAS, it all depends (as I have said many times) on the sincerity of my initial decision to follow Christ. If that shallow and insincere confession of faith is in doubt then there is no “once saved” to be “always saved.” It was always “Am I really saved? Should I say that prayer again?” Talk about sleepless nights…. It seemed to me that my salvation depended on the quality of my thoughts. I’m not saying this is true for everyone but it was true for me and plagued me all my life until I changed churches.

    2. If on the other hand, salvation is a journey towards God that begins with baptism, then I can always take a few more steps on the path in the right direction. I can tell if I abandon the path completely and thereby, neglect (or reject) my great salvation. Since I don’t plan on doing that, I feel very secure.

  67. I believed and taught once saved always saved from back in my SBC days. Even before that I remember interviewing at CC Riverside to get my kids in the school they were starting. I had been a Christian perhaps 1 yr.I was asked by the principle my thoughts on salvation. I spewed out the regular OSAS and he said, “that is not what we teach here, we teach abiding faith.” Then I moved on to SBC churches where OSAS was taught – and I taught

    Xenia just said it right – I feel more secure having given up once OSAS.

  68. Xenia – do you have an Orthodox commentary on this passage?

  69. Xenia says:

    This is part of the footnote for verses 1-4, from the Orthodox Study Bible:

    An admonition against willful negligence and carelessness by a slow process, a drift (v. 1) of attrition. *If* (v. 2) and *how* (v. 3) suggest a conditional statement or question “If* Israel was expected to obey the words of created angels or suffer punishment, how much more must we heed what God Incarnate has said through His apostles- especially when the word has been *confirmed* (v.3) by many *miracles* (v. 4) of the Spirit, proof that the Kingdom has come upon us?…

    I think this verse would always be interpreted by the Orthodox as referring to a baptized believer drifting away from the faith.

  70. Xenia says:

    And why wouldn’t we believe Christians drift away from the faith? We see this with our own eyes all the time.

  71. Xenia says:

    I know a lady who accepted the Lord in our old Baptist church maybe 35 years ago and was on fire for the Lord, big time. She was even a leader at Bible Study Fellowship and she and I had many, many conversations together about the things of God.

    Last time I talked to her, she was an atheist.

    So what can we say about my old friend?

    1. She will come back to the Lord. (Best possible outcome, but it may not happen.)

    2. She had salvation but threw it away and is going to hell.

    3. She was never saved to begin with.. Now this option is troublesome because this woman surely believed she was saved. She really believed she had a relationship with God. Was she delusional? And if she was deluded into thinking she was a Christian, how do we know we are not deluded? So if this option is true it’s very scary because it means any one of us could be fooling ourselves and thinking we are saved. (See why I worry about salvation being overly dependent on one’s thoughts?)

    4. Even though she is now an atheist, she will go to heaven anyway. (Unbelievers in heaven?) Or at the point of death she will come to her senses? Maybe!

    5. She was never chosen by God. She wanted to be a Christian but was not one of the Elect and lived in an impossible delusion for some time before her true, non-Elect person emerged from the fantasy.

  72. Xenia says:

    Don’t overlook the use of the word “we” in the verse. The author is including himself.

  73. Steve Wright says:

    And why wouldn’t we believe Christians drift away from the faith?
    —————————————————–
    This was elaborated on in great detail in last week’s study. The sealing, baptizing, indwelling work of the Spirit of God. None of which is ever warned against in terms of a reversal – they are the gracious actions of the Creator of the Universe in response to faith (whether one sees faith through a Calvinist lens or not).

    Jesus and others did make very clear the reality that many people think they are saved and are not – and will die in that deception. He also talked about the various reactions to the word of God and how over time in this life many drift, either because of persecution, or the cares of this world. That is the answer to the anecdotal examples we all have seen.

    My assurance is not in my religious works, however they may be described. My assurance is in the finished work of Christ on my behalf, the witness of God’s Spirit with my spirit that I am His child, and the authority of Scripture and its teachings as to what exactly the Spirit has now done in my life, placing me in the body of Christ and sealing me until the day of redemption, because of what Christ has done first in dying for my sins and rising from the dead.

  74. Michael says:

    “She was never chosen by God. She wanted to be a Christian but was not one of the Elect and lived in an impossible delusion for some time before her true, non-Elect person emerged from the fantasy.”

    This person has never existed and it’s a gross distortion of the Calvinistic doctrine of election.
    It is also the one that gets my dander up more than any other.

    No one wants to be a Christian without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and no one who ever wanted Christ has been rejected by Him.

  75. Linnea says:

    MLD and Jean–thanks! Love the CCR, MLD!

    I’ll have to think through baptism as an act of service to a dying world.

  76. Xenia says:

    No one wants to be a Christian without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and no one who ever wanted Christ has been rejected by Him.<<<

    Then how do you explain those who have fallen away?

  77. Xenia says:

    This woman clearly wanted to be a Christian. She thought she was a Christian. It does not appear that she was regenerated after all, is that what you are saying? How do you explain the ten years of actively living the life of a Christian without benefit of regeneration? She drifted away and finally she realized she no longer believed.

  78. Linnea,
    “I’ll have to think through baptism as an act of service to a dying world.”

    I wasn’t offering it up as an act of service to a dying world – I offered it up as God’s actual love for a dying world.

  79. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    That’s a whole separate topic…but I guarantee you that it wasn’t because they wanted Christ, but He didn’t want them.

    That is not Calvinistic, it’s basically blasphemy… and I’m tired of it being ascribed to my tradition.

  80. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    She may not have been regenerate.
    She may come back to Christ with her last breath.
    I may be trying to discern the secret things of God that are none of my business.

  81. Xenia says:

    Set aside all the word studies and salvation theories: We all know people who at one time believed they were Christians and now they don’t. How do you explain these cases? Either they were saved or they weren’t saved and were deluded.

  82. What happens is that the warning passages become nothing more than theological, theoretical and hypothetical passages. God just sitting around with believers saying ‘imagine what would happen if it could happen but it can’t happen.

    You can’t fall off the ledge, it is impossible to fall of the ledge because I will prevent you from falling off the ledge, but it is my duty to warn you don’t get too close to the ledge because you will fall off the ledge.”

  83. Xenia says:

    Why the sudden anger, Michael? We are just having a conversation among friends.

    I seriously had no idea this would spark such reaction in you- I was just thinking out loud.

    I apologize for my insensitivity.

  84. “I may be trying to discern the secret things of God that are none of my business.”

    or you may be blowing by clear passages that give real warnings.

    I don’t buy Steve assessment that this whole message is to a few non believing stragglers in a congregation full of Christians. That would be like giving this message at CCLE, going through the whole thing and at the end saying “well, I was just addressing our 3 visitors today.”

  85. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I’m not angry, I’m multitasking.

    I have heard that accusation that Calvinists believe such a horrible thing, when we believe nothing of the sort.

    I’m also at a point in my life where I feel utterly confident that much of what we try to parse is difficult to know because God doesn’t intend for us to know.

    When I teach these passages, I teach them as warning to whoever is hearing.

    I teach the passages that speak of the perseverance of the saints the same way.

    In any case, I’m deeply grateful that these articles have been received with such gladness that they are busy all week.

    The diversity on this one alone is awesome and very valuable.

  86. Xenia says:

    Tip-toeing around here, but I want to be clear:

    You are saying that someone who is non-Elect and unregenerate will not pursue the things of God because the very act of pursuing God demonstrates that they among the Elect because only the Elect will pursue God and God will not turn him away. Is that it?

    In other words, only the Elect will pursue God and of course, God will receive His own.

    Close?

  87. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Close.

    In Calvinism, we believe that regeneration precedes faith.
    (I’ll spare the proof texts, I’m tired.)
    Because regeneration must precede faith God himself has sovereignly chosen the person who now reaches out in faith to God, faith being a gift as well.

    God then does all the things that Steve and I have noted, ending with the sealing of the new believer by the Holy Spirit.

    The choosing (election) itself was done before the foundations of the earth and based on God’s good pleasure and nothing in the foreseen acts of men.

    Thus…if someone is reaching out to God in faith, they are doing so because God chose them, called them, regenerated them and gave them the faith to believe.

    I do not believe that God changes His mind, “unseals” the believer, dumps him or her out of Christ, and kills the spirit He gave life to.

    I do not believe God makes bad choices or mistakes.

    One of the marks of election is perseverance…so it would be reasonable to assume that those who do not persevere were following Christ for a season for reasons other than Christ Himself.

  88. Xenia says:

    Michael, thank you for the explanation.

  89. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Let me be clear…this is my position and I’m not going to make an issue of it.
    I want you and all the other traditions to feel completely free to express yourselves to the benefit of all our readers.

  90. Steve Wright says:

    How do you explain these cases?
    —————————————-
    I thought I (or rather Jesus) gives that explanation as I mentioned above.

    The more one studies what it meant in 1st century Rome to be an adopted child, or to have something sealed…the more assurance one will have of the eternal security doctrine of the regenerate. The Bible did not use these illustrations loosely.

    I would much rather wrestle with the unique nature of the book of Hebrews and the relatively small handful of warning verses, than to ignore teachings found throughout multiple letters of the New Testament.

  91. Jean says:

    ***What was declared? – The Gospel***

    This particular letter includes a list of what was considered the “elementary doctrine of Christ” (or “foundation”) in chapter six:
    1. repentance from dead works;
    2. faith toward God;
    3. instruction about washings;
    4. the laying on of hands;
    5. the resurrection of the dead; and
    6. and eternal judgment.

    Regarding #3, as a foundational doctrine, the only physical washing I’m aware of in the NT is baptism. Are there any Christian traditions (or the Fathers) that include(d) other or additional washings?

    Regarding #4, we do encounter the laying on of hands in other parts of the NT, but I don’t know if this practice is viewed today as “foundational” or is regularly practiced in many traditions.

  92. Steve,
    I challenge you to go back up and read the passage with my commentary and see that I did not make a case for people falling away. Some folks, you included read that in and made the objections. I only asked the age old questions of which I have settle in my own mind … as I am sure you have.

    This is the uniqueness of Hebrews, the clear warning to believers that salvation may be put in jeopardy if you turn from your salvation. I do not understand why some find this odious and hurtful to the Christian God.

  93. Jean,
    Thank you from moving past this point. Yes, what was declared and what was attested and who was it attested to? Who are the “us”?

  94. Jean says:

    “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”

    I assume many of us encounter people regularly who self-identify as Christians, but do not attend church regularly or even occasionally . Some people may even consider themselves “spiritual, but not religious.” They see absolutely no benefit or requirement of participating in organized religion. In some cases, they may think that their spiritual health is better off outside organized religion.

    The author of Hebrews explicitly warns against “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,”

    What constructive advice can you (or anyone here) give for how we might speak with someone who says they’re a Christian but is not interested in being part of a church?

  95. Xenia says:

    What constructive advice can you (or anyone here) give for how we might speak with someone who says they’re a Christian but is not interested in being part of a church?<<<

    The Church is the dispenser of the Sacraments, a means by which God imparts His grace to His people. The Eucharist especially is the "medicine of immortality."

    My parish is the arena where God has placed me to work out my salvation. If there are difficult people there, God has thrown us together for each other's benefit. I am a difficult person, too. If I choose to only fellowship and worship with people I find likable then I will never learn to love my unlovable neighbor.

    If someone asks me which EO church they should attend, I always recommend the one closest to their home, unless it is an impossible parish. (There are some impossible parishes out there.) Whatever difficulties one might encounter at the local parish are the difficulties God has given to strengthen us for the journey. If we find ourselves at odds with all the parishes in the area there is something wrong with us, not with the churches. I imagine the same is true for other churches, too, not just the EO parishes. Sometimes if we find ourselves surrounded by obnoxious people God is teaching us the quality of humility. Stick with it and we will grow.

    It's been my observation that people who deliberately reject church involvement usually develop some kind of self-serving, aberrant theology.

  96. Steve Wright says:

    the clear warning to believers that salvation may be put in jeopardy if you turn from your salvation. I do not understand why some find this odious and hurtful to the Christian God.
    ———————————————————————————
    I guess I would answer because you can’t tell me what it is that would lead to that result. What degree of backsliding is allowed before God says you have crossed the line.

    And so, the issue then is, like it or not, we start to look at our works of faithfulness, rather than the Lord’s finished work (singular) of faithfulness.

    The famous judge once said that he could not define pornography but he knew it when he saw it. That seems to be where this discussion lands. You can’t define that moment, and it would be a moment, a second in time, when the person goes from being in the Body of Christ, indwelt by the Spirit, to having the Spirit leave and the person then booted out of the Body of Christ.

    What happens that makes a person saved on Aug 17 2015, at 8:42 AM and 30 seconds and then on Aug 17 2015 at 8:42AM and 31 seconds he is not.

  97. Steve Wright says:

    I do have a question as far as a preview of coming attractions.

    If I do allow for Hebrews to be teaching that someone who is born again can then be lost….

    I MUST allow for the reality that there is zero hope of repentance or salvation for that person from then on. There is no “come back to the faith” message for such a person.

    Is that how you will teach Hebrews 6 when we get there?

  98. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia,
    “The Church is the dispenser of the Sacraments, a means by which God imparts His grace to His people. The Eucharist especially is the “medicine of immortality.”

    I love it – I tease people who say that they can commune with God on the golf course or out hiking. I ask them, have squirrels learned how to serve communion. 🙂

  99. Jean says:

    “I MUST allow for the reality that there is zero hope of repentance or salvation for that person from then on. There is no “come back to the faith” message for such a person.”

    I will let MLD answer for himself, but if you look above his outline under “What makes up salvation?”, you will notice that “repentence” is among the gifts that by God’s grace encompass salvation. In other words, “repentence” is received from God through the Word; you can’t really separate repentence and faith.

    Speaking about the household of Cornelius:

    “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.’”

    So, yes, if the Spirit departs the former believer, Hebrews chapter six teaches that it will not return; but that’s all within God’s sovereignty. Fellow Christians never know a person’s ultimate status with God from outward appearances so that we can judge this; so our urgings and teachings are always: “Come back!”

  100. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    “And so, the issue then is, like it or not, we start to look at our works of faithfulness, rather than the Lord’s finished work (singular) of faithfulness.”

    Since I have become a Lutheran I have not once looked to my works as anything – works can’t save you and they cannot keep you saved. And at the same time I have never walked out of a sermon with y list.

    I am, and I teach, to be perfectly resting in the promises of God – but you fail to understand that the warnings are also promises of God.

  101. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    “What happens that makes a person saved on Aug 17 2015, at 8:42 AM and 30 seconds and then on Aug 17 2015 at 8:42AM and 31 seconds he is not.”
    Jesus himself answered that very question in Matt 13:20-21

    “The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”

    They were short lived Christians – they received the gospel with great joy and it even says that they lasted (as Christians) for a short time -but because of lack of root, they drifted away quickly … as opposed to these Christians in the letter drifting away over a longer period of time.

  102. Xenia says:

    I belong to a Church that is often accused of practicing “works righteousness” and I never once encountered a person who looks to their works with any kind of satisfaction. You try to compliment a typical Orthodox Christian and the response is always “Glory to God.”

    I think all Christians, that is, all people who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, feel inclined to do good works. If they don’t, they are probably not Christians at all. The motive people ascribe to their good works is interesting. I know a lady who works from dawn to dusk and into the night every day of the week in an African nation and says she does it because she loves God. She ascribes other people’s good works as “working their way to heaven.” Yet it’s the same Holy Spirit inspiring both people.

  103. Neo says:

    Beautiful teaching, MLD….way to go!

  104. Neo says:

    As Luther said, “I hide from God in God”.

  105. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    I don’t want to move on to chapter 6 yet so let’s wait until we get there – we will be moving a little faster. I have already given Michael nexrt week 4 whole verses and the following week a whopping 9. 😉

    But I will say that my teaching in chapter 6 will show the error of people who do not properly distinguish between the law and the gospel when they come to an individual passage. Tune in.

  106. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Neo – I hope you will be a regular here – good to see you again.

  107. Steve Wright says:

    So, yes, if the Spirit departs the former believer, Hebrews chapter six teaches that it will not return; but that’s all within God’s sovereignty. Fellow Christians never know a person’s ultimate status with God from outward appearances so that we can judge this; so our urgings and teachings are always: “Come back!”
    —————————————————
    Jean, I agree with your latter point. This is all academic because in practice as a preacher I would never tell someone it is too late and they have no hope, nor would I encourage anyone in salvation security who shows neither faith nor works.

  108. Xenia says:

    I remember my old CC pastor saying that if he were counselling a rebellious young person who was neglecting his faith he would warn them that they are in danger of falling away entirely. If he were counselling an old lady who had led a pious life but was scared of dying, he’d teach eternal security. I think this is a good saying.

  109. Steve Wright says:

    It is interesting that in any application for ministry or Bible school or whatever, there are two areas of evaluation by those who only want Christians to apply.

    1) Tell us what you believe

    2) Tell us how you live

    That is all we have to evaluate, when needed, whether one is saved or not – because only God (and the person) can know that reality.

    And both are necessary to make that evaluation.

  110. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia, he probably got that from Chuck. He used to say the same thing when this issue came up. And as you may know, Chuck and MLD are in agreement here.

  111. Jean says:

    Xenia’s #108 reminds me of the article here a while back on Oikonomia.

  112. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    That is another distinction missed by many pastors – knowing when to preach law to a person and when to preach the gospel.

    An unrepentant Christian adulterer gets no gospel from me – only pounding law. A person broken under the weight of their sin and guilt get no law from me – only the sweet relief of the gospel

  113. Josh the Baptist says:

    “An unrepentant Christian adulterer gets no gospel from me – only pounding law. A person broken under the weight of their sin and guilt get no law from me – only the sweet relief of the gospel”

    In all honesty, how often does that really happen? I mean, that fits the Lutheran dogma, but does anyone really go around judging people to decide if they need to pound them with the law or give them the Gospel? Come on, be honest.

  114. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – all the time. What do you do if someone comes to you and confesses that they have been carrying on an illicit affair for the past 2 years and they are wracked with guilt and shame, even after confessing to their wife and family. Are you going to beat this guy with the law or are you going to shower him with the full forgiveness the gospel offers.

    On the other hand, someone tells you “you gotta go speak to brother Bill. Word is he has a young filly on the side and everyone knows and no one will say anything.” When you talk to him he says “buzz off, it’s none of you business!” Are you going to speak the law at him or are you going to offer grace?

    Perhaps the easdt coast doesn’t have these issues arise. I know what my pastor would do and I know what I would do – do you?

  115. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will try to move this along a little – again.
    I think Jean is the only one who addressed this in the verse.

    “what was declared and what was attested and who was it attested to? Who are the “us”?

  116. Em says:

    #115 – the community? the Word got around… 🙂

  117. Jean says:

    “Who are the’us’?”

    I believe the “us” are Christians. There is remarkable semmetry between this author and St. Paul regarding this question:

    Heb, ch. three, v. fourteen: “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”

    Rom, ch. eight, v. seventeen: “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

  118. Michael says:

    I also think the “us” are Christians.

  119. Josh the Baptist says:

    It seems this study of Hebrews has ventured into a proof that salvation is temporary.

    I’ll check back in a few weeks and see if we get back on track with what the book is really about.

  120. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – it’s not from me. It is from those who read into my words because they know my positions.It was like last week, a couple of you went off on the baptism thing based on something I said in my commentary that had nothing really to do with baptism.

    This is the same challenge I gave Steve earlier – re read my commentary and find where I advocate one way or the other for either position – I don’t..

  121. Josh the Baptist says:

    Read your commentary and ignore the 120 comments afterwards? Will do, until we get back on track.

  122. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Put it back on track then. I have tried 3 times to advance the conversation beyond what you find odious.Others pull it back to the security of the believer.

    I want to know what was declared – what was attested to.,

  123. Josh the Baptist says:

    Before I move on to that, I don’t find the conversation odious. I find it overdone and never ending. And off-topic for the book of Hebrews.

  124. Em says:

    what was declared – attested to?
    perhaps, this refers to everything from Moses to the shepherds to the ascension?

  125. Xenia says:

    Jesus Christ was declared and attested to. What else matters?

  126. Em says:

    #125 – amen … isn’t that the main point of the whole Bible?

  127. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Before I move on to that, I don’t find the conversation odious. I find it overdone and never ending. And off-topic for the book of Hebrews.”

    So why do you think people discuss this for 120 comments today and I don’t remember how many last week if it is so off topic?

    Look how simple this is – I said the audience was baptized believers (a simple comment and I am sure that I am not the first to make it) – and you and some others have now objected to both baptized and believers. Now every commentary I have ever read ALWAYS tries to identify the recipients of any of the NT letters. So why does my explanation who these people are strike such anger in folks?

  128. Jean says:

    I agree with #125 & 126. Assuming that is true, do we experience Jesus Christ and what he did for us as the main point of our church services? Is he the main event? If not, why not?

  129. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD, I have not been angry at all.

    I disagreed that the audience was necessarily baptized. That was your addition. Didn’t make me mad, just showed your intention in the conversation.

    All I am trying to say is that I like the book of Hebrews more than I like a debate on once saved always saved.

  130. Steve Wright says:

    It is from those who read into my words because they know my positions
    ————————————————————
    MLD, you did say that these are cliff notes due to space limitation. I addressed way back in #41 what I saw as a rhetorical use of questioning, because, frankly, I can see no other purpose in asking:

    “To neglect, does it have to be something that is already in your possession?”

    So you tell us. When you taught this and expanded on the cliff notes here, did you imply a “yes” to that question, because I already showed the answer can be “no” and more importantly it is folly to argue from english words what might be some fine point of theology in the first place.

    (Consider it one of the many counterpoints and questions I have offered in this thread that have been ignored and unanswered) 🙂

    As to your most recent question, I think it has already been established that I think the audience addressed is a fellowship of believers…a Christian audience.

  131. Steve Wright says:

    I have to run…but since I expect a “what did I ignore” question…you can start with my refutation on the NIV stuff (simple concordance work there)…and answer why are there no warnings to Gentile Christians not to go back to Zeus…also if you ever used Hebrews in witnessing to Jewish unbelievers

    Hebrews is a UNIQUE epistle. (Broken record alert). Considering the many promises of security found in MULTIPLE books of the New Testament, and considering the clumping of warning verses all found in Hebrews….that might give pause.

    See you later..

  132. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – you have put me in a position that if I reply then I am grinding on the salvation issue. This is why it has gone on so long.

  133. Jean says:

    Steve and MLD, if 2 people are sitting side by side in church, one a Christian and the other a seeker, they both hear don’t “ignore” (for the sake of argument), is it possible that the Holy Spirit uses that word to convict the seeker of his sins to bring him to repentance, while the Christian hears the word as an exhortation? (2nd and 3rd uses of the law)

  134. Xenia says:

    NIV info from http://www.bible-researcher.com/niv.html. I don’t know who the author is but he says what I have read other places which I can’t share here as they are in print, not electronic format.

    ———-

    Roman Catholic critics have also pointed out that the NIV seems to show a Protestant bias in its treatment of the Greek word παραδοσις “tradition.” The word is literally translated “tradition” in places where traditions are being criticized (e.g. Matthew 15:3, Colossians 2:8), but it is translated with “teachings” where traditions are being recommended (1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 3:6). In this, there seems to be an avoidance of giving any positive connotation to the word “tradition.” Kenneth Barker has explained that in the NIV, “When paradosis was used in a positive way to refer to the passing on of apostolic teachings, we did not want the reader to think of ‘the tradition of the elders’ (Matt. 15:2) or of traditions in general, but of apostolic teachings in particular. So when we believed that reference was to the latter, we usually rendered the term as ‘teachings’ to make that meaning clear to readers. All words must be contextually nuanced.” 9 It does seem, however, that the NIV here reflects (and reinforces) a lack of appreciation for “tradition” in general among evangelicals, so that it has become a dirty word. Barker even avoids using the word “tradition” in a positive sense in his explanation. It may be doubted whether any reader would think that Paul was urging Christians to observe the ‘the tradition of the elders’ in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15, because the context itself prevents this misunderstanding. A more literal translation, in which “tradition” is used in a positive sense in these places, would probably serve a good purpose.
    —-

    This is way off topic. Only read it if the subject interests you.

  135. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t get why you guys can argue to be right with your position but I am somehow held up as unfair if I stick to mine?

    To Steve, I gave this class to a group of Lutherans. I have not edited this to meet some type of evangelical stard. The only changes I have made is to clean up some of the bullet points to make them more clear to others besides myself as teaching notes.

    I find asking questions throughout a class to be the most effective form of teaching – so I am continually peppering them with these types of questions … and I do not accept blank stares back at me – we discuss the topic and the questions thoroughly.

    I don’t right now, but I have had in the past when my class was larger – up to 6 profs from Concordia Irvine and several retired pastors. I do know how to engage people, and that is a bit of what I try to do here, but it is a little more difficult given the time delay of a blog AND that I cannot challenge your blank stare.

  136. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean, there is no such thing as a seeker.

  137. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I think you’re doing great, the lurkers think you’re doing great, so keep doing what you’re doing.
    The input from others is fabulous as well.

  138. Jean says:

    Could I retain the question and substitute unbaptized friend of the Christian?

  139. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean 😉

  140. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia that author is wrong on one verse, and ignores relevant info on the other two so-called positive verses.

    As I said above…

    Not a very good batting average if you ask me.

  141. Steve Wright says:

    I find asking questions throughout a class to be the most effective form of teaching – so I am continually peppering them with these types of questions
    ————————————
    So I ask (yet again) in the question referenced where did the teaching go. Did your class all agree with you? Did anyone ask, How is this Greek word translated “neglect” here used in other places in the Bible. Did anyone say, no, you don’t have to possess something to neglect it.

    I’m sure you are a fine teacher and have very intelligent students in the class. No need for your bona fides 🙂

  142. Steve Wright says:

    Amen Jean to your #133.

  143. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Did your class all agree with you? ”
    Never do they all agree with me.

    Let me ask you a question – why do you think it is so important to compare how a word was used by another writer, writing to a different culture group, at a different time for a different purpose?
    Am I to evaluate your words by the added context of a completely different use by another person. If you use a word that Donald Trump used last week, am I to look at his usage to determine yours?

    I taught the class 3 yrs ago and do not remember all of the conversations — but they were stimulating.

  144. Josh the Baptist says:

    To agree with Michael and the lurkers, I also think MLD is doing a fantastic job. This has been the best weekend word series whether I remain involved or not.

    I’m just not that interested in the OSAS debate, and I don’t think that is what the book of Hebrews is mostly about. If that is clear enough, I’ll move on, because I don’t want to be too negative. It’s a great study.

  145. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – you and Steve are the only ones continuing the OSAS deal.
    I say we move on to v.4 which I find very interesting

  146. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yeah, I think that is interesting, too. I pretty much agree with your assessment on not seeing miracles because we have the Word. Not a cessationist. I still believe God can do whatever wants, whenever he wants, but the need for miracles is diminished after the church has been established and the cannon is complete.

  147. Jean says:

    “I say we move on to v.4 which I find very interesting”

    I’m sensing strange fire there. 🙂

  148. Xenia says:

    Is the canon complete? Who says so?

  149. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Lutherans swing both ways. We really don’t have a closed canon, but we are not really expecting things to be added.
    Xenia is right – who said?

  150. Em says:

    148 and 149 … another visit from Moroni, perhaps?

    another, annotated and updated Gospel? … maybe a visitor from heaven tol go down the list of comments on this thread and make notations: “#x – wrong, #y – right, #z – need clarification…” just trying to imagine why we need more Scripture… 🙂

  151. Xenia says:

    No Em, what I had in mind would be if another letter of St. Paul’s was discovered and it could be verified as authentic and did not contradict any other Scripture but did provide some new information.

  152. Xenia says:

    1.5 Corinthians, perhaps.

  153. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I look at it this way – at the end of our Bible it does not say The End – so I don’t.

    I don’t expect anything else, but who knows.

  154. Josh the Baptist says:

    Didn’t mean to start another off-topic debate 🙂

    I do believe the canon is complete, but that is a longer study and has little to do with the book of Hebrews.

    Anyway, Jesus and the Apostles came with accompanying signs and wonders. I do believe MLD is correct for why we don’t see the miracles today. It was about establishing authority, and once that was established, the signs were no longer needed.

  155. Rick Ritchie says:

    “We are not saved from sin – we do not stop sinning when we are saved.”

    I think various Bible writers use terms differently from each other. In Hebrews (and to some extent in John’s writings), I think “sin” might mean overt hostility to God. Or something closer to that than individual acts of sin, not that the term cannot mean that in these books.

    Later in the book when it speaks of “going on sinning willfully,” I think it means something closer to continuing as if we were not reconciled to God by Jesus than sometimes choosing to do acts of sin knowingly (not that that is a good course).

  156. Rick – stop by the study often and deliver your insight. I am sure I can learn from you. Bring some of your 1517 Legacy buddies 🙂

  157. Steve Wright says:

    why do you think it is so important to compare how a word was used by another writer, writing to a different culture group, at a different time for a different purpose?
    ——————————————————————–
    Those are called word studies and they are foundational to exegesis. Why do you think it is so frustrating trying to understand the nuance of a word only used once in the BIble?

    (As an aside, Jesus gave his parable to the Jews..same culture group, same context of the gospel message, and basically the same time (as is all the New Testament)…unless you want to push for some strong dispensational argument here 🙂

    But I agree, let’s move on. As to miracles. I saw a story (I assume it was true as there was plenty of real life footage and interviews to go with the dramatization before any cameras were present) – about a boy buried in the sand for over four hours. When he was found, and presumed dead, he actually revived and lived. I know this is not the technical definition of miracle, but there was a lot of prayer going on while the rescue workers were digging.

    Anyway, what I found interesting, and I thought of you MLD, is one of the rescuers, upon hearing the boy was alive, called his church that day and said “I need to be baptized” and seems to have come to saving faith as a result.

    That said…I agree 100% with you MLD on your take about miracles as a witness to the lost, connected to whether that land has the word or not. Good job.

  158. Jean says:

    “***How did God bear witness? Spoken by the Apostles.***
    •***Not only with words But with Signs, Wonders and Miracles**
    •***And by Gifts of the Holy Spirit***
    •Bore witness to the truth of what was said
    •Not for entertainment
    •Why don’t we see them here today? We have the word.”
    _____________________________________________________________________

    I wonder if perhaps we are missing something important in this question. In the vast majority of cases, particularly with respect to the ministry of Jesus, His signs and wonders were never questioned by his opponents on the basis of whether or not they in fact happened; but rather where His signs and wonders typically were challenged was on the basis of by what authority did He perform them. The important question appears to have been: Did Jesus derive his power from God or from Beelzebul? (E.g., If from God, Jesus never would have healed on the Sabbath.)

    If this was the case, perhaps it is because the 1st century Jews (and probably many Greco-Romans other than Epecureans) believed that God (or for the pagans “the gods”) were actively engaged in the world, responsible for virtually everything that happened, from rain, to earthquakes, to a successful business outcome, to a shipwreck, to war, to healing.

    So, when Jesus came along performing signs and wonders, the Jews generally saw God’s or the devil’s hand at work, depending on who the people were, because they expected divine engagement in the world. Rarely did anyone ask: “Was so and so actually blind?”

    By contrast, today many of us are programed differently. We look back at the 1st century and we are tempted to think superstition and/or ignorance, because we have modern science and a philosophy of the Enlightenment. Many of us perceive a great distance between God and man, so that we don’t see or expect everyday engagement by God in our affairs. Many of us want to measure any odd event against the laws of nature to determine whether God was involved. But is that biblical? Is that what St. Paul meant when in front of the Greeks he proclaimed that “he [God] is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’” or “he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

    So, when MLD asks “Why don’t we see them here today?”, I want to ask back: “Are we paying attention?” Is the measure of a sign or wonder whether in some sense the laws of science are bent? Does God work through his laws of nature? Is the birth of a child both a biological function and a miracle? As Em might ask: dunno; just pondering.

  159. I would make 3 points
    1.) I think we need to be careful to keep miracles just that – miracles and not add in natural order things that may seem great and call them miracles. Birth is pretty natural.
    2.) I think God was weaning us off miracles in scriptures, I don’t remember the details but years ago I did a study of the number of miracles in the book of acts. My numbers may be off but there were less than 20 (maybe 15) recorded miracles in the 30 years that covered the book and by far the majority we in the first 10 chapters and almost all in Jerusalem.
    3.) But I do believe God acts in our lives, otherwise I wouldn’t pray for my wife or kids to be healed.

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