Friday, January 25, 2013

“The just shall live by faith”— A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 1

The post below is the first, Lord willing, of a series I will do on the relationship of faith and salvation.  The study took me a number of months, is part of my Ph. D. dissertation, and was spiritually refreshing and a definite blessing.  I wanted to first note, however, that Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion in our land and has led to the murder of over 55,000,000 children.  Are you doing anything to oppose this terrible evil?  We pass out thousands of copies of the gospel tract here.  You can get this tract personalized for your church by contacting my church here, and then print as many as you wish on 8.5x11 paper on your copy machine.

One reason such a wretched evil is legal is because churches have become confused on the gospel.  If even 50% of the people independent Baptist churches led to repeat a sinner's prayer were truly converted, we would have a radically different country.  This study will help you be clear on the nature of justifying faith.  It will also bless you as you see the role faith has in your sanctification.  I would encourage you to read all the parts that will follow, meditate upon the truths in them, and put them into practice.

Please note that the Accordance Bible software Greek & Hebrew fonts will be used in the study below.  You can get these fonts by downloading a free trial version of Accordance here.

“The just shall live by faith”— 
A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its 
Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 1

Faith is associated in Scripture with the receipt of salvation in all its aspects—justification, progressive sanctification, and ultimate glorification are connected to faith.  The specific character of the connection between faith and salvific blessings is of tremendous value to the understanding of both the character of Christian conversion and Christian growth in grace.

The first reference to belief in the Old Testament—which is also the first reference to reckoning, crediting, or imputation, and the first reference to the adjective righteousness,[i] is Genesis 15:6, the paradigmatic statement concerning the father of faith, Abraham:  “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”[ii]  Genesis 15 records the gospel preached to Abraham (Galatians 3:8), and Moses records that the patriarch’s exercise of faith in that God[iii] who promised the seed of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15:2-5), the Christ,[iv] who was the instrumentality through which Abraham, although he failed to perfectly keep the law, as is evident in the rest of Genesis, was nonetheless accounted righteous.  Genesis 15:6 thus sets a pattern that by faith alone in God and His Messiah sinful men are counted righteous by Jehovah, whether at the moment of initial conversion as those without any inward righteousness at all, as Abram was when an ungodly idolator in Ur of the Chaldees,[v] or at the highest point of sanctification possible to the people of God on earth. While Abraham’s earthly pilgrimage evidenced that true faith results in a life characterized by faithfulness and obedience, nonetheless the patriarch was judicially righteous before God only through imputed righteousness received by faith alone.

While I do not agree with important portions of the theology of John Calvin, the following material from his Commentary on Genesis, concerning Genesis 15:6, was very helpful:

[T]he believing of which Moses speaks, is not to be restricted to a single clause of the promise here referred to, but embraces the whole; secondly that Abram did not form his estimate of the promised seed from this oracle alone, but also from others, where a special benediction is added. Whence we infer that he did not expect some common or undefined seed, but that in which the world was to be blessed. . . . [T]his promise was not taken by him separately from others. . . . God does not promise to his servant this or the other thing only, as he sometimes grants special benefits to unbelievers, who are without the taste of his paternal love; but he declares, that He will be propitious to him, and confirms him in the confidence of safety, by relying upon His protection and His grace. For he who has God for his inheritance does not exult in fading joy; but, as one already elevated towards heaven, enjoys the solid happiness of eternal life. It is, indeed, to be maintained as an axiom, that all the promises of God, made to the faithful, flow from the free mercy of God, and are evidences of that paternal love, and of that gratuitous adoption, on which their salvation is founded. Therefore, we do not say that Abram was justified because he laid hold on a single word, respecting the offspring to be brought forth, but because he embraced God as his Father. . . . Abram was justified by faith many years after he had been called by God; after he had left his country a voluntary exile, rendering himself a remarkable example of patience and of continence; after he had entirely dedicated himself to sanctity and after he had, by exercising himself in the spiritual and external service of God, aspired to a life almost angelical. It therefore follows, that even to the end of life, we are led towards the eternal kingdom of God by the righteousness of faith. On which point many are too grossly deceived. For they grant, indeed, that the righteousness which is freely bestowed upon sinners and offered to the unworthy is received by faith alone; but they restrict this to a moment of time, so that he who at the first obtained justification by faith, may afterwards be justified by good works. By this method, faith is nothing else than the beginning of righteousness, whereas righteousness itself consists in a continual course of works. But they who thus trifle must be altogether insane. For if the angelical uprightness of Abram faithfully cultivated through so many years, in one uniform course, did not prevent him from fleeing to faith, for the sake of obtaining righteousness; where upon earth besides will such perfection be found, as may stand in God’s sight? Therefore, by a consideration of the time in which this was said to Abram, we certainly gather, that the righteousness of works is not to be substituted for the righteousness of faith, in any such way, that one should perfect what the other has begun; but that holy men are only justified by faith, as long as they live in the world. If any one object, that Abram previously believed God, when he followed Him at His call, and committed himself to His direction and guardianship, the solution is ready; that we are not here told when Abram first began to be justified, or to believe in God; but that in this one place it is declared, or related, how he had been justified through his whole life. For if Moses had spoken thus immediately on Abram’s first vocation, the cavil of which I have spoken would have been more specious; namely, that the righteousness of faith was only initial (so to speak) and not perpetual. But now since after such great progress, he is still said to be justified by faith, it thence easily appears that the saints are justified freely even unto death. I confess, indeed, that after the faithful are born again by the Spirit of God, the method of justifying differs, in some respect, from the former. For God reconciles to himself those who are born only of the flesh, and who are destitute of all good; and since he finds nothing in them except a dreadful mass of evils, he counts them just, by imputation. But those to whom he has imparted the Spirit of holiness and righteousness, he embraces with his gifts. Nevertheless, in order that their good works may please God, it is necessary that these works themselves should be justified by gratuitous imputation; [since] some evil is always [naturally] inherent in them. Meanwhile, however, this is a settled point, that men are justified before God by believing not by working; while they obtain grace by faith, because they are unable to deserve a reward by works. Paul also, in hence contending, that Abram did not merit by works the righteousness which he had received before his circumcision, does not impugn the above doctrine. The argument of Paul is of this kind: The circumcision of Abram was posterior to his justification in the order of time, and therefore could not be its cause, for of necessity the cause precedes its effect. . . . Both arguments are therefore of force; first, that the righteousness of Abram cannot be ascribed to the covenant of the law, because it preceded his circumcision; and, secondly, that the righteousness even of the most perfect characters perpetually consists in faith; since Abram, with all the excellency of his virtues, after his daily and even remarkable service of God, was, nevertheless, justified by faith. For this also is, in the last place, worthy of observation, that what is here related concerning one man, is applicable to all the sons of God. For since he was called the father of the faithful, not without reason; and since further, there is but one method of obtaining salvation; Paul properly teaches, that a real [imputed] and not personal righteousness is in this place described.

As, throughout life, justification is by faith alone, and Genesis 15:6 is an instance of this continuing faith in the patriarch’s life as the perpetual and sole instrumentality for his receipt of legal righteousness, something present in him by Divine grace from the point of his initial conversion in Ur of the Chaldees (cf. Hebrews 11:8-11), so one notes that the Hebrew structure of Genesis 15:6 validates that Abraham’s faith in Jehovah, as expressed in the verse, was not one that arose afresh at that moment, but had been in exercise in the past, from the moment of his conversion, up to that point in time.  The waw + perfect form that begins the verse, N™ImTaRh◊w, “and he believed,” has an “aspect of . . . repeated or durative action,” as opposed to the simple perfect or qatal form, which has an “aspect . . . of a single and instantaneous action” (pg. 375, 119x, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Paul Joüon & Takamitsu Muraoka, rev. English ed.  Leiden:  Netherlands Institute of Near Eastern Studies, 2005), so that a “longer or constant continuance in a past state is . . . represented by the perfect with ◊w (as a variety of the frequentative perfect with ◊w), in Gn 15:6, 34:5, Nu 21:20, Jos 9:12; 22:3b, Is 22:14, Jer 3:9” (GKC, 112ss).  Continuing belief, arising out of a moment where belief began in the past, is in view in the “and he believed” of Genesis 15:6, as the same sort of aspectual force is conveyed in the “held his peace” (vñîrTjRh◊w) of Genesis 34:5, the “which looketh” (hDpä∂qVvˆn◊w) of Numbers 21:20, the “is mouldy” (Myáîdü;qˆn h™DyDh◊w) of Joshua 9:12, the “have kept” (M›R;t√rAmVv…w) of Joshua 22:3, the “was revealed” (h¶Dl◊gˆn◊w) of Isaiah 22:14, and the “came to pass” (‹hÎyDh◊w) of Jeremiah 3:9;  compare also the “did eat” (…wôlVk`Da◊w) of Genesis 47:22.  Furthermore, since the and he counted it of Genesis 15:6 (Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw) continues with waw consecutive the sequence started by the and he believed (N™ImTaRh◊w), and thus continues the aspectual force of the waw + perfect of and he believed, the continued reckoning of the patriarch as righteous from the past point of his conversion until the time of Genesis 15:6, simply through the instrumentality of faith, is also expressed in the verse (compare the continuing defilement and adultery in the P¶Aa◊nI;tÅw . . . P™AnTjR;tÅw . . . ‹hÎyDh◊w of Jeremiah 3:9).

-TDR



[i] That is, to há∂q∂dVx; however, in continuity with the example of Abraham, Noah is mentioned as a  “just man” (qyöî;dAx vy¶Ia) because Jehovah could say, “for thee have I seen righteous before me” (y™AnDpVl qyñî;dAx yIty¢Ia∂r ñÔKVtOa) earlier (Genesis 6:9; 7:1) in the first references to the qdx word group in the canon, where Noah was the recipient of undeserved and free grace (Genesis 6:8), was accounted a righteous man on that basis, and therefore became a holy man (Genesis 6:9).

[ii] :há∂q∂dVx wäø;l Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw h¡DOwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w
kai« e˙pi÷steusen Abram tw◊ˆ qew◊ˆ kai« e˙logi÷sqh aujtw◊ˆ ei˙ß dikaiosu/nhn “And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness” (LXX).
Credidit Abram Deo, et reputatum est illi ad justitiam.  “Abram believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice.” (Vulgate)
:…wkÎzVl hyEl hAbvAj◊w ywyåd a∂rVmyEmVb NyEmyEh◊w “Then he believed in the Word of the Lord, and he reckoned it to him for merit.” (Targum Onkelos)
:wkzl hyl tbvjtaw yyyd armm Mvb Mrba Nmyyhw “Then Abram believed in the name of the Word of the Lord, and it was reckoned to him for merit.” (Targum Neofiti)
Nylymb hymql jfa ald wkzl hyl hbvjw yyyd armymb atwnmyh hyl twwhw “Then he had faith in the Word of the Lord, and he reckoned it to him for merit, because he did not speak rebellion before him with words.” (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan)

[iii] Consider that the One communicating with Abraham was Jehovah the Son, for He is the One who revealed the Father (John 1:18) in all the Old Testament theophanies.

[iv] John 8:56.  Galatians 3:16 is very clear that Abraham’s faith had respect to the Christ, who was not only the representative, but the embodiment of the promised race—for this cause the people of Israel typed Christ (cf. Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1).

[v] Romans 4:3-5 (Abram was “ungodly” until his conversion by faith in the land of Ur); Joshua 24:2-4; Genesis 15:7; Hebrews 11:8-10; Acts 7:2-4.

16 comments:

George Calvas said...

You do not need all this nausating Hebrew to prove anything. The King James Bible is CLEAR about saving faith, and the faith that saves is the same faith that is required to live justly and holy in this present evil world. All is required to understand this is to read the Holy Bible, study it "precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10). After 30 years as a son of God, and reading my bible over 75 times, The Spirit of God, the King James Bible and spiritual men who believe as I have NEVER FAILED to "guide me into ALL truth" (John 16:13). There is still much more of that eternal book that needs to be revealed, but no man needs to waste his time in other languages to prove anything that has and always will be revealed in simply believing the inspired scriptures as found in the Holy King James Bible.

George Calvas said...

Continued...

As someone rightly said, "What saith the scripture" and not what one finds in lexicons and the parsing of Greek and Hebrew structures unless he is trying to prove something that is not found in the scriptures! If he is not, then why waste anyones time proving what is already found within holy writ? We should be focusing on EVERY WORD of God that is found in the Holy King James Bible and teaching those truths knowing "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13)".

KJB1611 said...

Dear Mr. Calvas,

The only Hebrew in my post is God's Word. I would be very afraid to call God's Holy Word, dictated by the Holy Ghost in Hebrew, "nausating" [sic]. This is blasphemy. God finds your statement nauseating. Public repentance is very appropriate.

I would also encourage you to examine the context of passages you quote:

Isa 28:13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; THAT THEY MIGHT GO, AND FALL BACKWARD, AND BE BROKEN, AND SNARED, AND TAKEN.

Also, I would encourage you to believe what the King James Bible records Christ saying in Matthew 5:18. Jots and tittles are Hebrew words. The Son of God did not think Hebrew was a waste of time. And, by the way, when Paul wrote 1 Thess 2:13 the church at Thessalonica had received Greek words.

Perhaps "someone rightly said"--Gashmu saith it--but your rejection of Greek and Hebrew is not something you can substantiate with your KJV.

The Hebrew syntax of Genesis 15:6 indicates that Abraham's belief began at a prior point--Ur--and continued to that time. Please show me how you can verify this fact with only the English.

However, unless you repent of calling God's Word nauseating, I doubt there is much point in discussing anything with you.

KJB1611 said...

By the way, I passionately love and defend the KJV, as can be verified on my website. Your unscriptural method of KJV "defense" leads many people to reject the KJV/TR for the critical text

George Calvas said...

QUOTE
"The only Hebrew in my post is God's Word. I would be very afraid to call God's Holy Word, dictated by the Holy Ghost in Hebrew, "nausating" [sic]. This is blasphemy. God finds your statement nauseating. Public repentance is very appropriate."

The King James Bible IS given by inspiration since it is scripture. Usurping its authority using dead languages is not to be tolerated by ENGLISH bible believers. Blasphemy?? Yea right.

QUOTE
"The Hebrew syntax of Genesis 15:6 indicates that Abraham's belief began at a prior point--Ur--and continued to that time. Please show me how you can verify this fact with only the English."

Wrong. Beginning in Genesis 12:1, the Lord spake concerning his promise and in v4 it says "So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him;" The belief is implied based on his actions (James 2) in contrast to years latter, the interaction between the Lord and Abraham in Genesis 15 the Lord made a promise that Abraham seen as IMPOSSIBLE apart from the direct intervention of the Lord. Therefore, he BELIEVED God to perform it (v6 cf. Romans 4) and the Lord counted THAT action as righteousness APART from Abraham doing anything.

The King James Bible will always correct those who "run to the Greek or Hebrew" to try to prove something that is not there.

Anonymous said...

Translations are not inspirations. Whenever a translation is made into another language something of the original is not seen as clearly. Yes, the Protestants who translated the King James (including William Tyndale) were godly men, but God's Word was already inspired in the TR and Appropriate Hebrew Text (I think it was the Ben-shammin, but I might be mistaken in that). To say that the KJV is inspired in the same way is the heresy of double-inspiration. While it may be the most-reliable and accurate translation, it is still just that: a translation. One might as easily claim that the LXX was inspired because it was the Old Testament in Greek.

Thomas & Heather Ross said...

Dear Mr. Calvas,

You are the one who is undermining the King James Bible. The King James Bible records Christ saying:

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The King James Bible says that Hebrew words would be perfectly preserved, v. 18, and that those who do and teach those Hebrew words would be great in the kingdom of heaven, while those who do not do so will be least. You do not believe the King James Bible.

When you call the holy Words that Moses wrote down in the Pentateuch, the Words of Isaiah, David, etc. Words that make you want to throw up, you are committing awful blasphemy. Nothing in the King James Bible states or implies that the Words God gave in the Old Testament should make you want to throw up. You do not believe the King James Bible.

I did not ask you if Genesis 12 taught that Abraham left. I asked you if Genesis 15:6 indicated that Abraham had faith from the time he left Ur until the time of Genesis 15. Furthermore, if you really believe what you stated in the last comment, then you must think Abraham was not righteous before God until Genesis 15, which contradicts many passages in the Bible.

In the Bibliology section on my website, http://sites.google.com/site/thross7, you can read several articles that explain Biblically in what sense one can and cannot call a translation inspired. I would encourage you to check those out. We don't just get to make stuff up about this matter, as people like the divorced heretic Peter Ruckman or the very confused woman Gail Riplinger so often do.

People who argue like you, Mr. Calvas, turn those who love God's Word off and make them reject the King James Bible for modern versions and the critical text. Your blasphemy against God's Hebrew and Greek Words is a tremendous reproach to the defense of the King James Bible. If you really loved the KJB and wanted to defend it, you would stop blaspheming the God who gave the Hebrew and Greek.

Public repentance is still in order.

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. (Titus 3:10-11).

George Calvas said...

QUOTE:
Public repentance is still in order.

Nonsense. As I have stated, the Holy King James Bible IS scripture and therefore according to the scriptures IS GIVEN by inspiration. All this foolishness about "double inspiration" so you can glory in your education is nothing more than a yawn in the sight of God. Whether it is in English, Polish, Spanish, German or other languages, the bible is inspired based on the faith and belief in the scriptures by the body of Christ, being of one mind and one accord in the common faith that "when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

It really is not that difficult except for those who complicate the simplicity that is in Christ, the Word of God.

Jon Gleason said...

Seems that the first and second admonition have been given and not received....

George Calvas said...

Quote:
"Seems that the first and second admonition have been given and not received...."

In my defense for the ENGLISH scriptures which is given by inspiration of God and are still profitable ("it maketh no matter to me for God accepteth no man's person"), I must correct those who usurp authority of the scriptures that have been proven faithful by the body of Christ for 400 years.

Kent Brandenburg said...

George,

Do you understand that what you are espousing, holding to, teaching here, actually denies the preservation of the Bible, that the King James Version itself teaches? Your statement alone here does that, when you say that you are following Scriptures that are 400 years old. Did the Apostle Paul follow the King James Version? You are not a King James supporter when you take the position that you do. You truly undermine it.

George Calvas said...

QUOTE:
"You are not a King James supporter when you take the position that you do. You truly undermine it."

Just the opposite. Since the scriptures are without error, infallible and inerrant, then why would anyone run to the Greek or Hebrew? What is there to prove unless someone is trying to correct the Holy Bible? The Greek and Hebrew have been set aside for over 700 YEARS in light of languages such as English, German, Polish, Spanish, etc. by which the scriptures are known today and proven by the historical movement of Christianity during those years.

For example, if a missionary opens the door of the gospel in a foreign country because he believed the King James Bible as being the very words of God, then learning a foreign lanuage to communicate the scriptures, and many saints get saved, then it is EASY to understand the COMMON FAITH when a new language bible is translated using the scriptures that FIRST brought the gospel to that country!! You need NO Greek, Hebrew or any other language for the work of translation to be done, but rather the scriptures of those brethren who were called and faithfully went to proclaim the truth!

By the way, Greek and Hebrew are DEAD and are confined to those countries which have done NOTHING to bring the gospel and Jesus Christ to the world. There is no need to prove anything to the world or anyone else if you believe the Holy Scriptures, for our preaching and teaching is "not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)"

Lance Ketchum said...

WOW-sometimes they come out the woodwork.

Lance Ketchum said...

Mr. Calvas,
So, are the italicized words in the KJV inspired?
I do not want to debate with you. Obviously, that would be pointless.
A simple yes or no will be sufficient.

George Calvas said...

QUOTE:

"So, are the italicized words in the KJV inspired?"

Of course they are. They are infallible and inerrant, the very words of God.

George Calvas said...

QUOTE:

"WOW-sometimes they come out the woodwork."

That is my view of those who try to always find fault or try to correct the Holy Bible.