Slowly over the past year the IDOTG blog has begun posting regular articles from a number of contributors. Dr. Charlie Bing is among them. Charlie Bing and I have been acquainted since1997. His dissertation, (now in book form) Lordship Salvation: A Biblical Evaluation and Response was a significant contribution to my research on Lordship Salvation for my book In Defense of the Gospel, and I cite his conclusions often.
From Dr. Bing’s GraceNotes I have posted articles that have been very helpful on a number of subjects around the Gospel. In April I ran Dr. Bing’s latest article, The Christian and Apostasy. You can view the complete article in its entirety at Dr. Bing’s site Grace Life. Please refer to, The Christian and Apostasy where you may also download it in PDF format.
In his conclusion of The Christian and Apostasy Charlie articulated a view on Christians and apostasy that is not what I argue for in my book. After two days and the counsel of two pastors I appreciate and trust I decided to pull the article. I spoke to Charlie about it and he was very cordial.
A pastor whom I referenced in my previous article explaining that I had pulled The Christian & Apostasy shared with me some of his thoughts on the subject. I asked for and he gave me permission to reprint those here. This man and I don’t see eye-to-eye on every issue surrounding the Scriptures just as I don’t see eye-to-eye with Charlie Bing. These men, however, have edifying things to share.
I understand this issue very well. I have written exegetical papers on many of the key passages. I think there is a paradoxical tension in the Scriptures on this. When a man exercises repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his work on the cross and resurrection, that man is justified. He also is regenerated. He is a new man. He has a new nature like that of Christ. He is indwelt with the Spirit of God who will never leave him. For this reason there are some basic evidences of regeneration. A man may temporarily fall into a very serious sin or in a moment of weakness like Peter deny that he knew the Lord out of fear for his life. Men are not perfectly faithful, but God is. However, we carry it too far when we say that a man no longer genuinely believes the gospel, Christ, the Bible, denies Christ and the Bible, or even becomes the true enemy of the Gospel, but nevertheless is saved. We have to realize that there are many false professors or self-deceived church members who paid lip service to God, yet never genuinely believed and thus were never regenerated. Time has a way of telling. The parable of the tares in Matthew 13 illustrates this.
I know that there is a terrific danger in telling people that they are justified after they have persevered. We cannot and should not ever say that. At the same time we must tell people that there is a clear regenerative change in the heart of a true believer and that those changes will to one degree or another manifest themselves in their lives. There must be some genuine spiritual fruit for anyone to have a credible profession of faith.The following are sample excerpts from my book, IDOTG.
Most men on both sides of the debate will agree in principle that a new creature in Christ will set out to do the God ordained “good works” (Eph. 2:10) for the believer. Daily submission to the lordship of Christ should follow a genuine conversion to Christ. There is wide spread agreement that born again Christians will grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18). Christians will, however, struggle with the flesh, the warfare between the two natures (Rom. 7:15-25) and the besetting sin (Heb. 12:1). Christians will flop and fail in their walk with God, but growth is typically seen to one degree or another.
Surrender of one’s life in “a living sacrifice” to the lordship of Christ should be the response of one who has been saved by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Although he will sin and grieve the Spirit, he should always strive to be holy and blameless. The Apostle Paul struggled in his Christian experience (Romans 7: 14-25), and you will too.
A change of life through submission to the lordship of Christ should come as a result of salvation. It is antithetical to the Scriptures to take what should be the RESULT of salvation and make the resolve to perform those things in discipleship the REQUIREMENT for salvation.In the sample paragraphs above I use the word “should” on purpose, because for me there is not in my mind a clear line where I can look at a man and say, “never saved in the first place.” We see people in our churches that profess Christ and are conforming to Him, but are some of these mere outward appearances only? Is there in fact an unseen heart of an unbeliever lurking under the surface?
Can we say a man who has professed Christ, set out to live for and was growing in Christ, but then fell into sin was never born again in the first place? I don’t know how true believers can renunciate Christ, his professed faith in Christ and, go off into deep sin as if he has no conscience of the Spirit of God. We see cases like this, but does it mean never saved in the first place. I am happy to acknowledge my uncertainty over a man’s eternal destiny in cases such as these. God knows the true condition.
Conclusion: With another view on the Christian and apostasy having been presented here I have returned Dr. Bing’s article to its original position in the April archive. Please return to, The Christian and Apostasy for the complete article.