Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Is It That You're Really Missing Something? Forms of Second Blessing Theology, pt. 2

At the moment of one's conversion, simultaneous with his justification, someone receives in that instance everything he needs to live the Christian life.  Every genuine believer is a have.  There are no have-nots.  Nothing more is necessary than what he already possesses from that moment on.

In order.

1 Corinthians 1:4-7:

4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift

These are the members of the church at Corinth, and they are enriched by Jesus Christ in every thing -- in all utterance, and in all knowledge.  They come behind in no gift.  They do not lack anything spiritually.

Ephesians 1:3:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ

Those in Christ are blessed by God with all spiritual blessings.  All.

Colossians 2:9-10:

 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 

In Jesus dwells all the fulness of the Godhead, and since you are in Him; therefore, you are complete in him.  Complete.  Full.  Lacking nothing.

2 Peter 1:1-4:

1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Everyone justified has obtained like precious faith.  No believer's faith is different than any one else's. And faith is not quantitative.  You either have it or you don't.  It isn't that at the moment of your justification, you have a faith tank that is at ten out of a hundred and it can move up toward that goal as long as the tank continues to be filled.  No.  The faith tank is full, at one hundred, right at the instance of conversion.  And then His divine power has given unto believers all things that pertain unto life and godliness.  All things.  No thing missing.  Converts are partakers of the divine nature.  The divine nature.

The message of the New Testament isn't that we need more resources of any kind after we are saved.  We have the Holy Spirit, God Himself, indwelling us (Romans 8:9), and God is infinite in every way.  We can't be missing anything if God owns everything and we're in God and God is in us.

If we have everything, if we possess all that we need to be everything we need to be and do all that we need to do, then what is the problem or what is the issue?

It isn't that we don't have what we need.  It is that we must yield what we have to Him.  It's that we hold things back and so we don't experience the blessings that we possess.  We have those blessings, but we don't experience them in our disobedience, our lack of yieldedness to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the first post of this now two part series, I spoke of the consequences of a higher spiritual plane of existence or greater enduement of the Holy Spirit or more power or revival being the result of begging for it or fasting for it.  You shouldn't be confused by those thoughts, that somehow I mean that you shouldn't pray or fast, even pray for a long period of time or into the night.  The point I made was dealing with doing these things for a consequence of a second blessing.

You don't have to sacrifice to get anything you need to live how you should live.  You have all of that the moment you are converted.  What you need to do is yield to God what you have been given.  Presenting your body a living sacrifice results from the mercies of God (Romans 12:1).  If you read Romans 1-11, you see the completeness of everything that a believer possesses in Christ.

Alright, but if we have everything that we need the moment we're saved, then how can we grow?   Let's consider 2 Peter 3:18:

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Aha.  We need grace and knowledge.  Those things we don't have.  No.  We have both of them.  We grow in the sphere of grace and in the sphere of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our growth is in that grace and in that knowledge.  We are already in that grace and knowledge.  So, again, the resources are already there, already available to us.

All the grace comes from God, in whom are believers and believers are in.  The Holy Spirit who indwells believers is the author of scripture.  The growth is within the sphere again of having everything.  Do we need to learn it and do it?  Yes.  But that is, again, yielding. 

Keswick or second blessing says that you've got to keep doing and doing and doing certain things or you won't have available the resources you need for living at the height of your Christian life.

What do these two different approaches, one scriptural and the other unscriptural, look like?  How do they differ?

More to Come


Anonymous said...

Hi Kent,

This is great stuff, and I'm really glad you are writing about it :-). As I have been considering these things, I have been coming to these same conclusions.

I do, however, have a question concerning 2 Peter. Right after verse 4 that you quoted, it says, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith..." and then it goes on to list the things that we should diligently add to our faith. It goes on to say in verse 9 that "...he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

I have heard this passage preached in the context of the Keswick mentality (that we need more, etc.), and it would seem that they have a point. I'd like to get your take on this passage particularly in light of this matter. I appreciate it, Kent. Your writing has been very helpful to me.


Bobby mitchell said...

We have all we need to do all we are to do by the grace of God for the glory of God. Those Scriptures you posted plainly bear this out.

I think we absolutely must be careful to not grieve or quench the. Holy Spirit as that is plainly commanded in Scripture. Every born again one has all of the Holy Spirit, but He can be grieved, as He is a person. He can be quenched, or the influence he has on us and through us can be lessened, if we choose to sin.

Our focus should not be on getting more of what we already have been given, but on not hindering what we have. Paul told Timothy, "neglect not the gift,". I know this isn't the same thing, but the principle applies.

We have grace, but are commanded to be strong in it. We have the Spirit but are commanded to be filled with Him. We have power, but must rely on that power of God, not our own. Practically, I think this is all accomplished by learning the Word of God, denying self, and doing God's will, as revealed in the Word, from the heart.

Kent Brandenburg said...

First, Bro. Mitchell, this is exactly it, and then that dovetails to Mat's comment.


This is a paradox of scripture, which there are many. If you have everything, then how can you add anything? If God is working in you, then why do you need to work?

With everything God has done and is doing, you have to cooperate it with it. You've got to be diligent too. You have faith, but you still have to exercise faith, live by the faith that you have. When you do, you experience the blessing. Again, you have the blessing, but you don't experience it, because that occurs when you obey. I'm sure some Keswick readers would be saying, "That's what I think!" You hear right things in Keswick. I agree with things Keswick say. There is overlap with Charismatics even.

What is ironic here is that the person is adding, not God. That means that the person has already received all of these things. The Greek word translated "add" has the understanding of "supply" and "furnish" and that is how it is used elsewhere. This is not quietism, where a person just lets God do everything. Like Bro. Mitchell said, a person is strengthened in the strength God has given.

As you move through 2 Peter 1, what is it that a saved person gets as he supplies virture and more knowledge of the Word of God, etc.? He gets assurance. A person who is not growing in his obedience and discipline would know he's not in the faith, because in the faith he would be diligent in these things. Assurance is the experience of blessing that we talked about. He doesn't get "security," but "assurance," which are different.

These are good thoughts. Thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...

Kent, thank you for your answer. I have a follow-up, if you don't mind.

It would seem that what you are saying is that the person in verse 9 who lacks these things is "not in the faith"--not saved. I would tend to agree, and I think that explains why in the next verse we are told to "give diligence to make your calling and election sure. But, if verse 9 indeed describes a lost person, how would you explain the phrase, "forgotten that he was purged from his old sins"? It would seem that he was indeed purged, but just forgot. I'd appreciate your thoughts on that.

Thanks again,

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm not saying it is a lost person. It could be a lost person hypothetically, because the person may not be adding because he's not saved. Scripture is replete with this kind of thing. One of the ways to make your calling and election sure is by being saved. Churches are almost always a mixed multitude, because they creep in unawares.

We very often think "blind" means "unsaved," but Peter defines it when he says the person can't see afar off. This is a saved person, because he was purged form his old sins. But he stopped adding/supplying because he was forgetting. A major them of chapter 1 is "remember," and Peter puts them into remembrance. The question is essentially, have you forgotten you've been saved, which fits right in with what I've been saying. Act like you have everything, if you have everything. If you can't act like it, it might be because you don't have everything.

Peter strikes the perfect balance in the text.

Michael S. Alford said...

Excellent follow up to the first part!

Anonymous said...

I think that's exactly right, Kent. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I hear what you're saying, but I still have a hard time elucidating the difference between keswick theology and the your view of sanctification.

For example, for most of my Christian life I've heard that we need to "pray for power" or we need to "prayer the power down." That we need to ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit - the more you ask, the more you get. In addition to this asking is the willingness to pray the price, whatever that price may be, and to defeat personal sin.

So power, or unction, comes with prayer, dedication, sacrificial living, etc.

Isn't this essentially what you would argue for? That we grow in grace, knowledge, etc. as we give ourselves more to prayer, dedication, sacrificial living, etc.?

The one side wants what they don't have and seek it by godly living; the other side wants more of what they already have and seek it by godly living. In the end, I wonder if the difference is semantical as much as anything. What am I missing?

Kent Brandenburg said...

I wish people didn't comment anonymously. Why? Why? Why? The biggest reason that I see is fear. They're afraid, of what? At least pick an ID and comment here like Doulos does.

I'll be writing, I believe in answer to your comment in today's post.

Joe Cassada said...

I guess I should apologize for leaving an anonymous comment. I was assuming that since your blog allowed anonymous comments, that you were fine with it.

My motivation was not fear, but simple laziness - that it is just easier than having to also sign in to Google. It's just one less screen to work through.

So, my apologies. Now that I know you dislike anonymous comments, I will be sure to sign my name.

I look forward to your next post. I see the dangers in Keswick theology, and how it has had a long-standing foothold in IFB theology, but I wonder if both sides aren't essentially going in the same direction: more godly living as a means to more usefulness in service.

Dave Barnhart said...

I am one of those that selectively uses anonymous commentary. There have been many good uses of anonymous commentary in history, and the reasons behind them were not always (or even usually) based on fear.

I can see the usefulness of using a particular pseudonym and sticking with it. Using a particular ID, one can at least over time develop a certain reputation, in contrast to being just "Anonymous" along with many others, and for the readers, it allows one to at least compare earlier comments with later ones.

The main reason I personally find anonymous commenting useful is not because I'm afraid to comment under my own name (as you can see from this post) -- it's because commenting anonymously is one way to force readers of the comments to deal with the ideas in them, and not try to explain them away by characterizing them based on who I am, my background, etc. Of course, it's not perfect, and there is plenty of characterization of anonymous posters as fearful, unwilling to stand behind ideas, etc. It does, however, make it more difficult for readers to see comments and respond with something like "I know who you are, and you don't really mean it that way, you really mean X," or "You believe Y, so your ideas on the current topic are unworthy to be considered."

Since you moderate your blog, you can obviously choose not to publish any (or certain) anonymous comments (or disable them). However, I do believe they have legitimate uses, and use of them in a moderated forum is easily controlled to prevent things like excessive flaming.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I would judge what you say zero percent based upon anything but what you say. Zero. I guarantee you that. There may be others who will judge you based on knowing you, but I don't even know you.

I can see being anonymous some places. I actually think it is far more likely that you would get prejudged at someplace more moderate to liberal than here. This has been my experience. For instance, I can't even comment on a few blogs, as they practice pseudo unscriptural separation. I'm talking Andy Naselli and Joe Fleener, both of which will not allow comments from me. You'd be fine though.

Kent Brandenburg said...

One more thing, Dave. People on your side of things, I've found by experience, no matter what the subject, want to bring in KJVO into every conversation. If they're losing the debate, they say, "He's KJVO." This occurs again and again and again.

Dave Barnhart said...

It may be true that many non-KJVO people want to bring up the KJV issue whenever they are interacting with KJVO people. It's manifestly not true for all. I don't generally do it, and I know you respect Don Johnson in spite of his non-KJVO views, and he doesn't do it either. That's true the same way you are saying you don't judge based on position but what is written. I.e., we can point to examples where the generality is not true. However, precisely because many *do* judge the background or character of the individual, rather than the comments, that makes anonymous commentary all the more useful in some circumstances. When people can't judge comments on the background or character of the individual, that won't stop them from still attempting some form of ad hominem, but it does make such an attack much less powerful in the eyes of other readers.

I've been interacting on the internet (and Usenet) back into the mid-late 1980's. I've seen forums where anonymous commentary gets completely out of control, and I've seen it used well. It's not the anonymity itself that is the problem. Since I'm not a publicly respected figure of any kind, I could just as easily always post on your forums as "Joe Smith" (or some more believable alias) and use an anonymizing proxy to hide my true internet address and location. Then I'm still truly anonymous even if the readers don't see it. Unless you use some system to absolutely identify me, you don't know for sure. With your blog as it is set up now, other posters could easily post as "Dave Barnhart" and unless something in their post struck you the wrong way, you would really never know whether it was me or not.

It may be an ideal for all to post under their own name, but until the masses don't try to get around weaknesses in their positions by use of things like ad hominem, deflection, etc., and people judging the comments rather than the commenter becomes the norm, anonymous commentary will always have a place, even if that place is not here on your blog.