Obedient Steps of Faith – BT15
Nevertheless faith requires certain ergon ‘doings/works’ to receive the free gift of salvation
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Yes, there is an ernon “work of faith” to ergo ‘do/work’ (a) and it must patiently-endure to the end for us to hear from Jesus “Well done, good and faithful servant – see Obedient Steps of Faith – BT16. You have been pistos faithful-trustworthy over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Master” (b). It’s built into the very definition of pistos faithfulness – see Obedient Steps of Faith – BT2. Let’s explore this more fully here! <Notes> a) 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11, b) Matthew 25:21, 23; cf. Matthew 24:45; Luke 19:17.
We are also urged to excel in trusting-relying-faith (a), pursue trusting-relying-faith (b), be healthy or sound in trusting-relying-faith (c), and fight the good fight of trusting-relying-faith (d). But we are also called to steadfastly-endure in The-Trusting-Relying-Faith (e) as we will now further explore. <Notes> a) 2 Corinthians 8:7, 10:15, b) 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:22, c) Titus 1:13, 2:2 d) 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7, e) Acts 11:23; Colossians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 3:10; Titus 2:2; James 1:3; Hebrews 11:27, 12:1-2; Revelation 2:19, 13:10, 14:12.
Salvation requires a response to hearing the preached, not written, gospel! In fact, the “akouo hearing/listening-to-understand/know must be mixed together (co-mingled/united) by/with trusting-relying-faith” (a) in order to actually “benefit” the person (b). When “Paul saw a crippled-from-birth man who was akouo hearing/listening-to-understand/know to Paul speaking, Paul looked intently at him and/coupled seeing that he presently had trusting-relying-faith to be sozo healed, said in a loud voice, ‘stand upright on your feet.’ And he sprang up and began walking” (c). Just hearing the Law didn’t help the Jews either (c)! <Notes> a) some manuscripts have “it did absolutely-in-fact-NOT meet with trusting-relying-faith in the hearers,” b) Hebrews 4:2, c) Acts 14:9-10, d) Romans 2:13.
James questions whether trusting-relying-faith can even save you without some kind of ergon “doing/working” (a). In referring to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac to obey God, James argues: “You see that [his] trusting-relying-faith was continually-repetitively (b) sunergeo working-together-to-partner with his works [of obeying God], kai and/thus trusting-relying-faith was made telos fulfilled-completed by his works” (c), and so “you see that a person is justified/made-declared righteous by works and/coupled absolutely-in-fact-NOT by trusting-relying-faith alone” (d). However, we also have to keep in mind that James’ immediate context for “the obedience of works” is the showing of “mercy that triumphs over judgment” (e) by impartially, unconditionally-loving the brethren, which is the “perfect Law of liberty” (f) or what Paul calls “The Law of Christ” (g). <Notes> a) James 1:22, 2:14, 17-10, cf. Matthew 7:24-27; John 13:17, b) rare imperfect tense used, c) James 2:22, d) James 2:24, e) James 2:13, f) James 1:25, g) 1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2.
However, our “ergon (a) work of faith” while NOW “under the Law of faith” (b) can’t be anything like that of the heavy burden of the Law imposed by the Law-teachers (c). That’s why Christ’s invitation was unique from the other demanding, haughty rabbis: “Come to Me, all who toil and are heavily-burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and/coupled learn [directly] from Me for I am gentle and/coupled lowly in heart, and you will find rest for you souls, for My yoke is easy-to-do and/coupled My burden is feather/cloud-light to carry” (d). <Notes> a) where we get our English words: ergo, ergonomics, ergometry, and ergotism, b) Romans 3:27; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11, cf. John 3:16-18, 36, 40, 6:29, 20:31; 1 John 3:23, 5:10, 13; Acts 18:8, c) Matthew 23:4; Luke 11:46, d) Matthew 11:28-30.
We MUST ergo “do/work” by responding to the offered gift in order to receive salvation! Mark states: “Whoever has had trusting-relying-faith and/coupled has been water-baptized shall indeed be saved” (a). Jesus said “Have trusting-relying-faith in Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, or at least have trusting-relying-faith on account of the [plural] ergon works/doings (b) themselves” (c), which many people did (d), because “the ergon works/doings that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very ergon works/doings that I am doing, bear witness about Me that the Father has sent Me” (e), with dire consequences for rejecting this (f). <Notes> a) Mark 16:16, b) context: signs & wonders Christ performed, c) John 14:11; cf. John 10:38; Matthew 11:4, d) John 2:23, 11:45, e) John 5:36; cf. John 10:25, f) John 15:24.
Repentance is a required ergon “doing/work” for salvation! Peter’s first sermon gives the first ‘alter call’: “Repent (a) and/coupled be water-baptized every one of you in the name/authority of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and/coupled [then] you will receive the grace-gift of the Holy Spirit” (b). Later he preached “repent therefore and/coupled turn back that you sins may be blotted out” (c). Paul “testified both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and/coupled trusting-relying-faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (d). Paul had declared everywhere practically “that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance” (e). Christ’s Great Commission states: “that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaim in His name/authority to all nations” (f). “Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret” (g), but what’s really involved in repentance? <Notes> a) metanoia: turn the direction of your conviction – Matthew 3:2, 4:17; Mark 1:15; see also strepho “turn/convert by changing the direction/course of our mind – Matthew 18:3, 19:14; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17; 1 Peter 2:2, b) Acts 2:38, c) Acts 3:19, d) Acts 20:21, e) Acts 26:20, f) Luke 24:47; Acts 8:22; cf. John’s baptism: Luke 3:3, g) 2 Corinthians 7:10; cf. Acts 5:31.
There is also the required ergo “doing/work” of confession: “If you confess with your mouth that ‘Jesus is Lord’ and/coupled have trusting-relying-faith in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall indeed be saved for with the heart one has trusting-relying-faith and/thus is justified/made-righteous and/coupled with the mouth one confesses eis toward-and-reaching-the-goal-of salvation” (a). Confession is actually part of the definition that Hebrews 11:1 gives of pistis trusting-relying-faith: “Now pistis ongoing IS-defined-as/exists-as [the singular] confident-trusting-assurance of [plural things] routinely being elpizomenon ‘hoped-for, like having faith for future promises,’ [the singular] conviction-confession (b) of things absolutely-in-fact-NOT routinely being seen.” The “confession of our elpis hope . . . [is] because He who promised is faithful” (c). <Notes> a) Romans 10:9-10, b) elegchos: an inner conviction that proves or confirms God’s in-birthing of faith, thus an internal persuasion or ‘reproof’ from God per 2 Timothy 3:16 regarding Jewish prophetic ‘portions of’ scripture regarding the Messiah being useful in the NT Church – see Logos Word of God – BT6 and – BT7. In court, it is a charge that is shown to be true, often confessed by the accused. In this case it is a confession of The Truth about Jesus, c) Hebrews 10:23.
This is “the good confession” or “pledge for a good conscience” of “Jesus is Lord or Christ in the flesh as our Apostle and High Priest” (a) to “have the Father also” (b) that was also routinely done during water-baptism in front of witnesses (c), which was always viewed as “saving you . . . through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (d), which indicated WHO you “followed as a disciple” (e), and was where “you receive the grace-gift of the Holy Spirit” (f), especially with visible signs of Spirit-baptism for those having trusting-relying-faith (g). There is a lot at stake if you haven’t been water-baptized! More on that below. <Notes> a) John 9:22, 12:42; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11; Hebrews 3:1, 4:14; 1 John 4:2-3, 15; 2 John 1:7 – see Salvation – BT9 for historical confessions of faith, b) 1 John 2:23, c) Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5; 1 Timothy 6:12, d) 1 Peter 3:21 – see Water-Baptism, e) 1 Corinthians 1:12-16, f) Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 12:13; implied in Acts 18:24-26, g) Mark 16:16-20; Acts 19:2-7.
“This is the confession of our hope” (a) that is “the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” as we saw above that started the “good fight of The-Trusting-Relying-Faith” (b), but this doesn’t refer to trusting-relying-faith in general but specifically by the use of the definite article to The Christian Faith once for all delivered to the saints (c). “For the Gate is narrow and/coupled the Way is constricted that is routinely leading eis ‘toward and reaching the goal of’ zoe genuine-life and/thus those who are routinely finding it are few” (d), because Jesus is “The Way and/coupled The Truth (e) and/coupled The zoe Genuine-Life – Absolutely-in-fact NO one comes to the Father if in-possibility-NOT dia thru-the-realizing-channel-of Me” (f). All roads don’t lead to God! Jesus is “The Door” (g) and any other way into the sheepfold make that man a “thief and a robber” (h). Ultimately if you don’t make it through “The Door” of Christ, you will be “in outer darkness and in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (i). <Notes> a) Hebrews 10:23, b) 1 Timothy 6:12, c) Jude 1:3, Acts 6:7, 13:8, 14:22; 16:6; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 1:23; Ephesians 4:13, Philippians 1:25; Colossians 1:23, 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:2, 3:9, 3:13, 4:1, 6, 5:8, 6:10, 12, 21; 2 Timothy 3:8, 4:7; Titus 1:13, 3:15; James 2:1, d) Matthew 7:14, e) The Truth: a typical reference to Christ per John 1:14, 17, 14:6, 8:30-32; 1 John 2:27, 5:20; Ephesians 4:21 or His gospel logos message about Himself: Galatians 2:5, 14; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5 – see Truth page, f) John 14:6, g) John 10:9, cf. Revelation 3:20, h) John 10:1, i) Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30; Luke 13:28.
Even throughout the Christian life, there is a ‘work’ of confession: The confession of sins not only occurred publicly during water-baptism to become a Christian (a), but routinely afterwards for healing: “The euche requesting-prayer of trusting-relying-faith will sozo save/heal the one who is sick . . . and/coupled if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another and/coupled euchomai requesting-praying for one another so that you may be iaomai healed-to-wholeness [because sin can create disease via demons]” (b). <Notes> a) Matthew 3:6; Mark 1:5, cf. Acts 19:18, b) James 5:15-16.
But why is the ergon “doing/work” of confession required for salvation and ongoing forgiveness and cleansing from sin? It’s actually the only way to “receive” these free gifts-by-grace from God! The passive word dechomai means “welcoming in a warm, receptive way” and is used 56 times in the NT, especially of welcoming Christ (a), welcoming the unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace of God (b), God or Christ welcoming us (c). If you never let someone that is standing at your door knocking to come into your house, you simply cannot benefit from what they are freely offering! Jesus’ standing invitation to enter into your life is: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone akouo hears/listens-to-understand/know My Voice and/coupled opens the door, I will come into Him and/coupled dine with Him, and He with Me” (d). In those days, this “dining” meant a long night of feasting and intimate koinonia fellowship! <Notes> a) Matthew 25:35; John 4:45, b) 2 Corinthians 6:1, c) Romans 14:3, 15:7; Luke 8:40, d) Revelation 3:20.
Additionally, the active word lambano means “active, aggressive grabbing or laying hold for yourself to accept or receive” and is used 261 times in the NT, not to mention the many forms of it. It is used especially: to actively paralambano ‘grabbed-hold-of to be close-beside’ the preached gospel (a), to actively paralambano ‘grabbed-hold-of to be close-beside’ Christ Jesus the Lord (b), to actively receive mercy and unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace and the free grace-gift of righteousness (c), to actively receive the forgiveness of sins through Christ’s name (d), to actively receive the inheritance [of eternal life] as your reward (e), to actively receive the promised grace-gift of the Holy Spirit dia thru-the-realizing-channel-of trusting-relying faith (f), and finally to actively receive the Spirit’s grace-gifts (g). <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 15:1; Galatians 1:9, b) Colossians 2:6, c) John 1:16; Romans 1:5, 5:17; Hebrews 4:16, d) Acts 10:43, 26:18, e) apolambano receive-back in Colossians 3:24 and Luke 18:30; lambano in Matthew 19:29; Mark 10:30; Hebrews 9:15, 11:8, f) John 7:39; Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:14, g) 1 Peter 4:10.
Lambano “receiving” is not a passive, mindless, unconscious action like ‘receiving’ something in the mailbox. No! It means going out of your house to take it out of the hand of the postman when they are about to put it into the mailbox! It’s an active, mindful, conscious acquisition! God offers His free grace-gifts in His open hand, by unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace without work or merit demanded of you, but until you lambano reach out and grab it for yourself by trusting-relying-faith, even to paralambano ‘grabbed-hold-of to be close-beside’ you, they will still be sitting in His hand and not be in your life. God does not throw any His grace-gifts at anybody, in their faces, or down their throats, nor by twisting their arms to receive it. That’s because His unconditionally-loving nature is infinitely gentle (a). You have to take them from His hand! <Notes> a) Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 4:21; Ephesians 4:2; 1 Timothy 6:11.
In your Christian life, you also have to routinely lambano ‘grab to receive’ the grace-gift of continual forgiveness and cleansing as 1 John 1:5-10 says: “This is the announcement (a) we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him is absolutely in fact no darkness at all. 1) If we say we have koinonia intimate-fellowship with Him while we presently/ongoingly walk/live in darkness, we lie and do not practice The Truth (b). A) However, if we presently/ongoingly walk/live in the light as He is in the light, then we actually have koinonia intimate-fellowship with one another, and/coupled the blood of Jesus His Son actually, presently/ongoingly cleanses (c) us from all sin. 2) If we say we presently/ongoingly have absolutely-in-fact-NO sin, we planao ‘wander off-course into deception/error’ ourselves and The Truth (b) is absolutely-in-fact-NOT in us. B) If we presently/ongoingly confess our sins, then He is actually, presently/ongoingly trustworthy–faithful and/coupled righteously–just in order to definitively/wholly forgive us our sins and/coupled definitively/wholly cleanse (c) us from ALL (d) unrighteous-injustice (e). 3) If we say we have already [with lasting results] absolutely-in-fact-NOT sinned, we make Him a liar and His logos message (gospel) is absolutely-in-fact-NOT in us.” There are 3 “If we say” lies or deceptions going on, but 2 parts ‘A & B’ of 1 “The Truth” (b) that is discussed deeper in Surrender Control – BT10. <Notes> a) in context: of the gospel logos message of The Truth, b) The Truth: a typical reference to Christ per John 1:14, 17, 14:6, 8:30-32; 1 John 2:27, 5:20; Ephesians 4:21 or His gospel logos message about Himself: Galatians 2:5, 14; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5 – see Truth page, c) katharizo: purify us from all admixture, filth, d) this is one of the fewer times pas means “the whole of” instead of “every of a kind/class of/portion of” as in 2 Timothy 3:15-16, “pas scripture [the portion that is] God-breathed is profitable for instruction” in the context of v. 15 is referring to Messianic prophetic “oracles of God” [as in Hebrews 5:12 and 1 Peter 4:11] that were able to make Timothy and others “wise unto salvation through trusting-relying-faith in Christ Jesus” – see Logos Word of God – BT7. In no way would Paul permit the reading of the 5 books of Moses per 2 Corinthians 13:4-18 – see Logos Word of God – BT8, e) violation of God’s justice that brings divine disapproval.
So many people quote Paul in Romans 10:8-13 about confession for salvation to say the ‘sinner’s prayer’ is enough for salvation, but fail to mention the many other things Paul says, even in the same book of Romans (Romans 1:16, 2:4, 13:11) that are required for salvation thru justification, and especially earlier in Romans 6:3-11 where Paul explained to his Gentile audience how the Jewish ritual of water-baptism NOW applies to Christian water-baptism absolutely required for salvation by actually participating in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in order to receive the promised Spirit (a) dia thru-the-realizing-channel-of The-Trusting-Relying-Faith” (b). The NT and earliest Church don’t try to separate out the salvation components of: surrendering control through repentance, confession of sins and The-Trusting-Relying-Faith of “Jesus is Savior and Lord”, and receiving Spirit-baptism during water-baptism. Instead the early Church simply did them, believing they were inseparably integrated and therefore all necessary for salvation. <Notes> a) cf. Luke 24:49; Acts 2:33, 38; Colossians 2:12-15, 3:1; Ephesians 1:13, 2:5-6, 4:5; 1 Corinthians 1:13-17, 12:13; 1 Peter 3:21, b) Galatians 3:14; cf. v. 3:2, 5, 27.
It’s all based on the Jewish Tevilah baptism ritual in a Mikveh pool for gerim Gentiles to be converted: They were made ceremonially “clean” through whole-body self-immersion to wash Hebrew rachatz or Greek louo sins away. They would first make a “confession of The-Trusting-Relying-Faith” of Judaism before the witness(es) and then would totally immerse themselves by sitting or getting into a fetal position under the water with a witness or ‘baptizer’ doing the officiating. They would then stretch themselves back into a standing position (a), reciting another blessing as they rose from the water. See Wikipedia’s History of Baptism and Essene Baptism and Mikveh & Baptism. There is much written about the disappearance of the Essenes after John the Baptist and Jesus arrived – they became Christians! <Notes> a) just as Jesus went “straightaway out of the water” in His water-baptism in Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10.
Therefore it is irrelevant to debate whether water-baptism is a “saving work” after you read so many verses that integrate it with repentance and confession of trusting-relying-faith of “Jesus as Lord” all “for the forgiveness of sins” so that “you may receive Spirit-Baptism” and was the core of the Great Commission “to make disciples of all nations, routinely water-baptizing them in the name/authority of the Father and/coupled of the Son and/coupled of the Holy Spirit” as practiced routinely in the early Church (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 41, 8:12-13, 16, 36, 9:18, 10:47-48, 16:14-15, 33, 18:8, 19:5; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13), so “now why do you wait? Rise and be water-baptized kai and/coupled/thus wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16) – see Water-Baptism.
As we’ve seen water-baptism has always been a Jewish “obedience step of faith” as an external public testimony of a person’s internal trusting-relying-faith. Neither ‘step’ is saving by itself because they are integrally and inseparably connected. The unique Christian difference is the NOW “water-baptism is in the name/authority of Jesus Christ” and during it we NOW get “Spirit-Baptism” as the “promised grace-gift of the Father” (a). Only later Greek philosophers and western Christian denominations influenced by them would try to separate all these components and say one is saving and one isn’t. The Anabaptist created the false-teaching of “Believer’s Baptism” as a reaction to Catholic infant-baptism who were then followed by the Baptists and Dunkards. However, the NT and early Church kept them together and so should we! Neither our “receiving by welcoming and grabbing-hold-of” the gospel logos message by a repentant-turn by our conviction of trusting-relying-faith in Christ, or our confession of The-Trusting-Relying-Faith, or our water-baptism by itself has any ability to save. It only saves because of Christ’s resurrection and it only saves if we fully participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to get Spirit-Baptized, but the only way to do that is to ergo “do/work” all components (b) – see also Surrender Control, Water-Baptism, and Spirit-Baptism pages. <Notes> a) Matthew 3:11, 16; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5, 2:38, 10:47, 11:16; 1 Corinthians 12:13, b) see also Matthew 3:11, 28:19; Mark 1:4, 16:16; Luke 3:3, 24:47; Acts 2:38, 41, 8:12-13, 16, 36-38, 9:18, 10:47-48, 16:15, 33, 18:8, 19:3-5, 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, 8, 8:15; 1 Corinthians 13-17, 12:13; Galatians 3:27, 4:5-7; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:12; and 1 Peter 3:21.
In summary, the 5 simple steps of salvation of: 1) akouo hearing/listening-to-understand/know the gospel logos message of Jesus Christ who is The Truth, 2) the routine having of trusting-relying-faith in Jesus as your Messiah-Savior, the “Anointed-One” Christ, and Supreme-Lord-Master of your life, 3) repenting or turning from sin to the Lord, 4) publicly confessing your sin and confessing “Jesus is the Christ as Savior and Lord/Master,” 5) and then being water-baptized to “welcome and grab-hold-of” the Spirit-baptism are the 5 required ergon “doings/works” for your salvation – see Salvation. Leave any out and don’t bet on being saved when you stand before the Father at the Great White Throne Day of Judgment.