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  #101  
Old 05-21-2019, 03:10 PM
Antipas Antipas is offline
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

Imagine a muddy, filthy, dirty child returning home from playing in the park. They come in the door and their father is disappointed that they have soiled their clothing. They are remorseful and try to explain, fearful of their father's anger, expressing sorrow for their recklessness and condition. The father, seeing their sorrow and penitent heart, lovingly opens the door wide and tells them to take off their shoes and head upstairs to take a shower and prepare for dinner.

That is justification as I see it.

Justification allows one to freely come forward just as they are so that they can be cleansed and become filled... or filled and then cleansed.

And apparently, as with Cornelius, some are indeed filled first and then told to go be cleansed. Maybe dad was cooking out and saw no need for them shower first since the food was hot off the grill in the backyard. lol

In either order, Justification should result in one's remission of sins through water baptism and regeneration through the baptism of the Holy Spirit... i.e... being born again of both water and spirit.

Last edited by Antipas; 05-21-2019 at 03:25 PM.
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  #102  
Old 05-21-2019, 03:45 PM
coksiw coksiw is offline
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

Antipas, and Costeon,
So you guys are saying that "justified by faith" is not salvation but an aspect of it.
I think we are on the same page. We are saved through faith, agree?

Relevant verses:

[Eph 2:8 NASB] 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God;
[Phl 3:9 NASB] 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith,
[Rom 5:1-2 NASB] 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

Last edited by coksiw; 05-21-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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  #103  
Old 05-21-2019, 05:34 PM
Antipas Antipas is offline
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

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Originally Posted by coksiw View Post
Antipas, and Costeon,
So you guys are saying that "justified by faith" is not salvation but an aspect of it.
I think we are on the same page. We are saved through faith, agree?

Relevant verses:

[Eph 2:8 NASB] 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God;
[Phl 3:9 NASB] 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith,
[Rom 5:1-2 NASB] 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Yes, saved by grace through faith... justified freely that we might come forward to receive all that God has for us through the means He has provided... water (remission) and Spirit (regeneration).

It was grace through faith that opened the door... it was grace through faith that led to obedience... it was grace through faith that keeps us. It isn't some box to check off...it is an enduring spiritual reality and state of being that allows us to partake in all the fulness of the Salvation Christ died to provide for us.

Last edited by Antipas; 05-21-2019 at 05:39 PM.
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  #104  
Old 05-21-2019, 09:57 PM
Costeon Costeon is offline
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

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Originally Posted by coksiw View Post
Antipas, and Costeon,
So you guys are saying that "justified by faith" is not salvation but an aspect of it.
I think we are on the same page. We are saved through faith, agree?

Relevant verses:

[Eph 2:8 NASB] 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God;
[Phl 3:9 NASB] 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith,
[Rom 5:1-2 NASB] 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Antipas and I do not look at justification the same way. To me justification is the remission of sins. To be declared not guilty (justification) is to be forgiven (the remission of sins). How could someone be innocent and righteous in God's sight but still be guilty?

If I have read Antipas correctly (please correct me if I haven't), he believes basically what has been very common in Oneness soteriology that there is a difference between forgiveness and remission of sins. This view is expressed here:

"When the convert comes to faith and repentance, they experience Justification. This means that God doesn't count their sin against them. The doors of salvation are swung open wide. The convert can then be water baptized, washing their sins away, and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit."

He uses the word justification where other OPs have used forgiveness, but the ideas seem to be the same. The basic idea was developed I believe originally to account for the main issue of this thread: how can people receive the fullness of the Spirit while the record of their sins is still against them. The conundrum was solved by positing that God forgives at repentance (God doesn't count their sin against them anymore and so can work in their lives through His Spirit) but actually removes their sins from their record at baptism for the remission of sins. I can see why this is an attractive idea, but it has already been noted early on in this thread that the Greek text doesn't support any kind of difference between "forgiveness" and "remission." In other words this idea could not have been based on any other translation but the KJV, which unfortunately chose to translate the same Greek work by two different English words. Other translations just say "forgiveness." He has not explicitly used this paradigm, but it's the same concept. I would just reiterate that I think it is impossible to be declared innocent while ones sins are not washed away.

So that is Antipas's way of dealing with the problem of Cornelius. Mine has been to say that remission of sins comes at repentance/faith, which normally should occur in the context with water baptism. God forgave Cornelius the moment he repented/had faith. He would not have been baptized first anyway since he was a Gentile. Either way, we're both saying that God had to deal with his sins in some way in order to be able to fill him with the Spirit, because, again, it just doesn't make sense that he could be alive spiritually but still have all his sins against him.

Our initial experience of salvation, in my opinion, is a single moment. Our justification, regeneration, and adoption occur simultaneously at repentance/faith, again ideally in the context of water baptism. These three terms are different ways of describing or depicting what happens to us when we are saved. They are different ways of describing one thing: our salvation.

I see the ideal conversion experience as taking place this way: The gospel is preached. A person is enabled by God to receive the message, and he begins to approach God through the cross of Christ. He tells other believers that he wants to have a relationship with God through Christ. They lead him to the waters of baptism where he repents, i.e., he confesses his sins and confesses that Jesus is his Lord. He is saved--justified, regenerated, adopted. He is then plunged under the water in the glorious name of Jesus as a sign and seal of his justifying faith, and in the act of going down and coming up from the water, he identifies with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. At repentance/faith, he was saved. At baptism his salvation is powerfully symbolized and the church recognizes him as a believer. Ideally, he would receive the baptism of the Spirit in the water as well, thus equipped with the essential power for living the Christian life and witnessing to others for Christ.

Water baptism and Spirit baptism are not optional, but are essential parts of becoming a believer and experiencing salvation. In other words, I don't think of them as nice but not necessary.

It probably wouldn't hurt at this moment to emphasize that, in practice, all of us would lead people to receive the Acts 2:38 experience. I think there is value to being as accurate as possible in our theological understanding, but
I think there is tremendous value in recognizing that we practice the same thing. I'm UPCI. It was this similar situation that allowed the UPCI to form in the first place. The UPCI was the result of a merger in which two organizations practiced the same Acts 2:38 experience, but did not all agree on the theology of it all. They were "united" because they did not allow a theological difference to keep them divided, when they so obviously were so similar, especially compared to the rest of Christianity.

Thank you for this cordial exchange. I have really appreciated it. Rarely have I felt like I've just been able to discuss something without people attacking one another.
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  #105  
Old 05-21-2019, 11:52 PM
coksiw coksiw is offline
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

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Originally Posted by Costeon View Post
How could someone be innocent and righteous in God's sight but still be guilty?

If I have read Antipas correctly (please correct me if I haven't), he believes basically what has been very common in Oneness soteriology that there is a difference between forgiveness and remission of sins.
Brother, the way I see it is that "forgiveness" in the NT talks about debt. Nowadays, in modern English, "forgiveness" carries a strong relationship connotation. However, the NT meaning of forgiveness of sins is more around the pending judgement because of your past sins.

For example in the book of Hebrew, in Chapter 9, the author compares the yearly sacrifice of the lamb with Jesus doing it one and for all.
In that passage, the author uses the same Greek word for "forgiveness" as in Acts 2:38. If you see forgiveness as only a relationship thing, as result the act that allows God to start dealing with you, then you may not be able to make sense of that passage. Would Hebrew 9 say that only once a year God would actually talk to the people again?

The only way I can make sense is if I understand that "forgiveness" in that sense of sin means removal of the sins from your account. God would still deal with people and fill them with the Spirit, and guide them and listen to the contrite, will the scheduled sacrifice was still far.

Does that make sense?

For instance, how can you explain this passage? Why this verse doesn't mention repentance?

[Jhn 6:40 NASB] 40 "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."


Or why this verse only mentions repentance?
[Act 17:30-31 NASB] 30 "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all [people] everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

Those are just form of speech called synecdoche, a part of something is substituted for the whole, depending on the topic and the audience. If you group all the verses about salvation, you will find that "faith", "repentance and baptism for forgiveness of sins", "infilling of the Holy Spirit", are all aspects, part, or things that need to happen to be saved.

You get to all of them through faith as Paul puts it in his letters.

This topic is hard to explain, even for UPCI theologians, to the point that the answer some give is simply: "...we confess it to be true and obediently follow the way of salvation" without putting "baptism into a logical system" (Handbook on the Book of Acts)



I actually never went deeper into this topic of Justification before. This discussion forced me to go deeper and reinforce my understanding. It was fruitful .
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  #106  
Old 05-23-2019, 01:03 PM
Costeon Costeon is offline
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

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Originally Posted by coksiw View Post
Brother, the way I see it is that "forgiveness" in the NT talks about debt. Nowadays, in modern English, "forgiveness" carries a strong relationship connotation. However, the NT meaning of forgiveness of sins is more around the pending judgement because of your past sins.

For example in the book of Hebrew, in Chapter 9, the author compares the yearly sacrifice of the lamb with Jesus doing it one and for all.
In that passage, the author uses the same Greek word for "forgiveness" as in Acts 2:38. If you see forgiveness as only a relationship thing, as result the act that allows God to start dealing with you, then you may not be able to make sense of that passage. Would Hebrew 9 say that only once a year God would actually talk to the people again?

The only way I can make sense is if I understand that "forgiveness" in that sense of sin means removal of the sins from your account. God would still deal with people and fill them with the Spirit, and guide them and listen to the contrite, will the scheduled sacrifice was still far.

Does that make sense?
I understand what you're saying, I believe, but I don't think it resolves the issue.

The whole reason for the atonement through the Cross was to establish relationship with humanity. If God could have entered into a relationship with sinners, he would not have needed to give His Son as a sacrifice. So to me, it is all about relationships.

There seems to be only two ways of resolving the issue of Cornelius receiving the Spirit before being baptized:

1. Posit that there is some kind of forgiveness of sins that differs from the remission of sins, so that, though the record of sins was still there, God had sufficiently dealt with the Cornelius's sins to be able to baptize him in the Spirit.

2. Posit that there are not different kinds of forgiveness, but only one, whether it's called forgiveness or remission, and that God first forgave Cornelius and then could baptize Him in the Spirit.

The inescapable implication of #1 (this would also apply to those who don't think that there are degrees of forgiveness and so forgiveness only comes at baptism) is that though alive spiritually Cornelius still had the full record of sins against him and so was still dead in trespasses and sins. Or, to bring us back to Paul's metaphor in Rom 6, Cornelius had been raised from the dead though he had never been buried. Note in Ephesians 2:4-6 how Paul ties together the forgiveness of sins and being resurrected and ascended to heaven in Christ: "4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
Spiritual resurrection only comes with the forgive of sins.

There is no salvation when one's sins are not fully dealt with. So the implication is that one could have the fullness of the Spirit but at that moment still be lost. I don't think that this is biblical or logical, and so I am not surprised that no other groups have taught this in the history of Christianity.

The implication of #2 is that forgiveness of sins is received at repentance/faith and does not apparently require baptism. The difficulty with this is several texts seem to affirm that baptism is required and no texts ever suggest it is dispensable or optional.

My response is that is baptism is a symbol of salvation and a confirmation of saving faith and, naturally, is the usual place saving faith should be expressed. There is a close connection between repentance and baptism, and so they should occur together. Connected with this, since salvation and its symbol are so closely related, salvation is often directly attributed to its symbol. Though this is true, we can't forget that what makes baptism significant at all is the faith that led someone to the water.

With option #2, the significance of baptism can reasonably be explained and it's necessity maintained while explaining how Cornelius or anyone else can receive the baptism of the Spirt before baptism. With what I have argued, no one ends up experiencing aspects of salvation while still being lost at that moment, as is the undeniable case with OP's traditional teaching on conversion.

Quote:
Those are just form of speech called synecdoche, a part of something is substituted for the whole, depending on the topic and the audience. If you group all the verses about salvation, you will find that "faith", "repentance and baptism for forgiveness of sins", "infilling of the Holy Spirit", are all aspects, part, or things that need to happen to be saved.

You get to all of them through faith as Paul puts it in his letters.
I would be very careful with synecdoche. I get how we can say synecdoche appears in Acts, that when Luke just says a group was baptized but nothing else, we can assume they had repented and went on to receive the Spirit as well, unless stated otherwise (e.g. Acts 8), because obviously Luke is just making a general statement and is not giving details.

I think what ultimately undermines the synecdoche argument that is used to say one is not saved till baptism or the baptism of the Spirit is that in Romans 10.9 Paul does not just make a general statement about saving faith, but assigns specific saving work to belief/faith/confession and describes the kind of faith he is talking about--it is something that occurs in the heart and is expressed in confession. With a general statement, we can assume other things, but with a specific statement we are limited to what he explicitly says. Confessed faith/repentance, again normally done in water baptism, saves. When we see other explicit statements about justification, spiritual regeneration, and adoption occurring at salvation, then we conclude that they all occur simultaneously at confessed faith/repentance.

Quote:
This topic is hard to explain, even for UPCI theologians, to the point that the answer some give is simply: "...we confess it to be true and obediently follow the way of salvation" without putting "baptism into a logical system" (Handbook on the Book of Acts)
It is indeed hard. I actually think I could be wrong, though I'm fairly confident I'm not. :-) In some ways I am quite sympathetic to the view expressed in the quote, but in the end I don't really like idea of OPs saying "We don't understand it but we are compelled to confess it and follow it." That is exactly what we have ripped Trinitarians over.

Quote:
I actually never went deeper into this topic of Justification before. This discussion forced me to go deeper and reinforce my understanding. It was fruitful .
I think it was fruitful as well and helpful to me. Thank you!

Last edited by Costeon; 05-23-2019 at 01:06 PM.
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  #107  
Old 05-23-2019, 05:45 PM
Antipas Antipas is offline
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

To me justification and forgiveness are similar, but different.

To justify is to declare one just... even if undeserved. It's more of a legal standing.

To be forgiven, that is more intimate and cleansing. It is more of a relationship standing.

To be "justified" allows the sinner to approach. You can't just approach the King on your own time and terms. You must be both drawn and granted access to His holy presence. Justification is what grants us access to the King, though we're still wearing the filth of sin beneath the cover of justification.

Once in God's presence, you can have your sin officially forgiven, record cleansed, and receive the regeneration of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In either order.

Last edited by Antipas; 05-23-2019 at 05:49 PM.
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  #108  
Old 05-28-2019, 11:19 AM
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

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Where would you fit in 2 Thessalonians?

2Th 1:8....In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2Th 1:9....Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
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Originally Posted by Costeon View Post
In context, Paul is specifically talking about the vengeance God will exact on those unbelievers who were persecuting the Thessalonians: "6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The ones "who do not know God, and . . . who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" are specifically these unbelieving persecutors. I would not broadly apply this to sincere believers in Jesus Christ as well.
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I believe I can agree with you. Thanks!
Sorry to bring this post back into focus. I am so busy, I can't consistently be here on a daily basis.

I have been thinking about this conversation and not quite settled on how I view the full interpretation of II Thess 1:8-9.

For instance, when you read Colossians 2:8-9, it is my understanding that the focus is on the Philonian movement that was prevalent during Paul's day. It wasn't a warning against proto-Trinitarian theory because that occurred a century later.

However, it is true that the Word is profitable for instruction, and today it seems that these two admonitions, could apply today.

We do have "unbelieving persecutors" today and we do have Trinitarianism which got it's influence from the Philonian thought being a combination of Judaism and Platonism.

Without all of that information in the discussion, when reading II Thess as "Paul is specifically talking about the vengeance God will exact on those unbelievers who were persecuting the Thessalonians:", you can see that in that day, the "hearers" would take that as a warning as well, to not draw back to being under the Law as they would be in a position for vengeance to come against them. If that is not the case, then why can it not be the case?

So, after thinking about it, I agree with your statement, but also agree that it can be an admonition for any "unbeliever" who is doing the persecuting, a "believer" leaving truth who then becomes the "persecutor". We have all witnessed that scenario, which is sad.

Just thinking...
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:33 PM
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Re: The Timing of Cornelius’ Baptism of the Holy G

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To me justification and forgiveness are similar, but different.

To justify is to declare one just... even if undeserved. It's more of a legal standing.

To be forgiven, that is more intimate and cleansing. It is more of a relationship standing.

To be "justified" allows the sinner to approach. You can't just approach the King on your own time and terms. You must be both drawn and granted access to His holy presence. Justification is what grants us access to the King, though we're still wearing the filth of sin beneath the cover of justification.

Once in God's presence, you can have your sin officially forgiven, record cleansed, and receive the regeneration of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In either order.
Now, demonstrate where the Bible itself makes those distinctions. For example, show where the Bible speaks of being forgiven but not justified, or of being forgiven but not "officially forgiven".
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