Lakeside Fellowship Blog

Session 6b: Calling & Regeneration

by Administrator 5. March 2016 16:24
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session 6b: Calling & Regeneration, Frances Sloan shares her thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #8: How was your thinking challenged the most by this lesson? Explain. This lesson helped to answer some confusing issues for me regarding salvation. All the different theories get confusing, but in the end the question we need to answer is found in Acts 16:30 “What must I do to be saved?” Scripture includes faith and repentance together in the conversion process. Acts 20:21 Paul states, “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” I have very recently trusted Christ as my Lord and Savior. So throughout this lesson I have been challenged to apply my experience to the various theories. Some 45 years ago, I answered an alter call and was baptized by immersion. This event in my life led me to believe that I was good to go. I considered myself a Christian and believed I would go to Heaven. However, there was no tangible change in my life or behavior. My true conversion happened only a few months ago. The change was incredible in my understanding and desire to learn, serve and witness. I think my experience helps me understand the Free Grace View of salvation compared to the Lordship View of salvation. The Free Grace View of salvation appears to be the view I held after answering the alter call. In this view, repentance and submitting to Christ’s Lordship is not essential. In this view, saving faith only requires an intellectual agreement with the facts of the Gospel. I felt bad about a few sins and understood Christ died on the cross for those sins, but for me, this was merely an intellectual understanding and did not involve faith or repentance on my part. Upon my true conversion, aspects of the Lordship View of salvation came into play. It teaches that both faith and repentance are essential to salvation. Through these two events, the sinner surrenders and makes Christ Lord of his or her life. Grudem, in the textbook Systematic Theology, defines repentance as a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ. In the Lordship View of salvation, it is not possible for one to accept Christ as savior (depending on him for salvation) but not as Lord (being obedient from that point on). My experience of repentance can only be explained as an act of God. I viewed myself as a good person. I honestly didn’t even realize I needed to repent. One moment I was blind, the next moment it was completely clear to me that repentance was something I had never whole heartedly done. I realized it wasn’t just a sin here and there I needed to repent of, I needed to repent of my life as a sinner. My experience is that God grants repentance. I was unable to reach the place of true repentance on my own. Grudem, in the textbook Systematic Theology, defines saving faith as “not just a belief in facts but a personal trust in Jesus... for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. Saving faith is different from an intellectual belief.” Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) This was made evident to me when looking deeper into John 3:16, “Whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. Please note the emphasis on the words “in him”. This is different from intellectual belief “of him” verses believing in Him as the son of God and his promises. In the Lordship View of salvation, this lesson teaches that faith is never separated from repentance. The lesson teaches that knowing, agreement and trust are elements of faith. I believe these elements are also granted by God. They have nothing to do with free will. For me, the confusion over salvation is based on a misunderstanding of man’s free will. This is a wrong premise in my opinion. If you ask the wrong question, it can lead down a road of suppositions that will validate your question or intellect... but it won’t glorify God. Whenever we want the glory for being (wise, good, etc.) it takes away from God’s glory. All glory and credit goes to God. Men and women often get too hung up on themselves and their intellect. To quote Augustine from his handbook of doctrine, Faith, Hope and Charity, “ ...the entire work is to be credited to God, who both readies the will to accept assistance, and assists the will once it has been made ready.” In the Mosaic of Christian Belief, Olsen states, “Denial of ...grace is tantamount to denying original sin and the gratuity of salvation.They (those against Augustine’s belief in original sin and predestination) broke apart the paradox of grace by placing priority on human initiative and free will over God’s assisting grace. Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” All glory belongs to God... is the conclusion I come to in the salvation process. His love and mercy is far beyond my comprehension and I am eternally thankful.

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Session 6a: Calling & Regeneration

by Administrator 5. March 2016 16:09
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session 6a: Calling & Regeneration, Gina Beecher shares her thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #1: Read Ps. 19:1-6 and Rom 1:18-20. Give examples of how creation is the “voice of God” that goes out to all people. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. This is the first sentence in the Bible, God’s revelation to mankind. In the Bible, God reveals his plan for salvation through his Son who is the image of the invisible God. But He also reveals Himself in His creation, through beauty, complexity, and the human conscience. The beauty of creation is one example of the voice of God. Although we do not consider the words of nature audible, Psalm 19 says that day after day they pour out speech to all the world, so much so, that the glory of God is declared. Whether it be a beautiful sunset on a dusty Iowa road, a quiet first snowfall of the season, a view from the top of the Smoky Mountains, or the thunderous noise of Niagara Falls, when one views these things you either see the hand of God or suppress it. The complexity of creation is another example of the voice of God. It doesn’t take a degree in biology or astronomy to know that this world is amazingly complicated. I have been working as a physical therapist with individuals affected by brain injury for the last several years. The human brain is by far the most complex organ in our body, and daily I can see the act of God in the recovery from injury to this organ. The human body has an amazing ability to make new pathways and compensate for areas lost after a brain injury. Every brain is different and so no person presents with symptoms the same as another, even after an injury that occurs in the same location of the brain. Recovery is unknown and difficult for health professionals to predict. Patients and family members hear “We don’t know” a lot! Lastly our place in creation is an example of the voice of God. I remember the first time I realized that there had to be something greater than me. I noticed my conscience for the first time, and was amazed that I had internal thoughts. It was then that I realized that people are unique, more than animals, created in the image of God. We serve an all powerful, all knowing, amazing God who has made Himself clearly known to all people through His creation. Our response should lead to praise and worship and a desire to bring glory to Him as His created beings. Psalm 96:3-6 Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise: He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.

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