How are we one with Jesus?
Vine and Branches John 15:4-5
Head & Body / Groom & Bride Ephesians 5:25-30
Ruler and rulers Revelation 2:26-27
Priest and People Hebrews 4:14-16; 6:19-20; 7:23-28; 9:23-28; 10:11-14
Champion and Army 1 Samuel 17
Seed of Abraham Galatians 3:16,29
Son and sons Galatians 3:26
Anointed one(s) 1 John 2:20
The Privileges of Oneness with Jesus
If you asked the non-Christians you know ‘What is the Christian life all about?’, how would they respond?
How does Oneness with Jesus shape our understanding of the Christian life?
Becoming One with the Son of God John 1:12-14:
How does someone become a Christian?
People often say “I wish I had your faith!” What’s their understanding of “faith”?
How can people “have faith”?
A Sentence Up Your Sleeve...
“That’s what I love about being a Christian...”
- Sometimes people worry that offering Jesus “for free” will lead Christians to be careless about “doing good”. Given what we’ve been discussing, what would you say to that?
- Often we worry that we’re not clever or knowledgeable enough to share our faith. How does this teaching give us hope in our evangelism?
- What do you love about being a Christian? How could you drop this naturally into conversation?
14 thoughts on “Evangelism Training Session 3”
1.Sometimes people worry that offering Jesus “for free” will lead Christians to be careless about “doing good”. Given what we’ve been discussing, what would you say to that?
When we read the Gospels it doesnt seem to be that Jesus is for free. To be his disciple costs a great deal. For the rich young ruler it would have cost everything he owned to be Jesus' disciple. In general his disciples 'must take up their cross and follow him' etc. In Paul we get a picture that seems more 'for free'. Can this contrdiction be explained and might not this difference explain why some go along with sola fide and others not. It all depends on whether you major on the Gospels or Paul.
Hi Brian, It depends which Gospel, and how you read them. Perhaps no writer has been more sola fide in Christian history than John the Evangelist!
'Taking up your cross' is to be a 'dead man/woman walking'. It's to be on your way to execution. You're dead to the world and the world is dead to you as you come to Christ. In this way I think Paul's "crucified with Christ" language is basically the same as Christ's "take up your cross" language. Same gospel. And if it's not "faith alone" then it's no longer "Christ alone".
Might not the rich young ruler be a paradigm for all believers and not just some special case. For us to be Christ's disciple costs us everything that we have. We are no longer our own but his. A methodist minister put it like this 'To be become a Christian will cost you nothing but to stay that way will cost you everything'(Arminian but he was methodist). Whether it is now or later being Christ's disciple costs us everything. My quibble with 'jesus for free' isn't because it discourages good works but that it isnt true.
Might not John 3:16 be true?
And might not the point of the rich young ruler be what Jesus says "With man this is impossible"?
I'm just not sure how we obtain Christ if He's not freely given to us. It's not like we have any bargaining chips.
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In the Anglican lectionary a recent reading was from 2 Cor 6 where Paul's paradoxical ministry is set forth. This is a paradigm for the christian life which is by its nature therefore paradoxical. Might not another paradox be that the gospel is free yet costs us everything.
2 Cor 6:10 seems to sum it up: "having nothing, yet possessing everything."
We have nothing to offer Christ. But He gives Himself for us so utterly that He purchases us by His blood. Wholesale. Now we belong to Him completely. Whatever offering of ourselves we make to Him is belated. If Christ has been given to us then we are already His possession.
If there is a paradox here it is not solved by proposing a synergy between ourselves and Jesus. His self-giving is unconditional and self-initiated. He saves us completely by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our good works follow from this completed salvation (v10).
Other paradox verses might be Luke 12:32 (Its free) Luke 12:33-34 (It costs us everything). Im not sure if I believe in a synergy between ours and Christs work to resolve this paradox. But I'm not sure if I believe in the separating out of faith from works so that works spring from faith as fruit to resolve it either: 'Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar'. He was justified by faith (free) but the working out of this justification cost him everything. This act of sacrifice was not essentially Christs work (though it was empowered by Christs spirit) but Abraham's. Without it he would not be justified. We are called to do the works of Abraham. To describe the sacrifice of Isaac as the fruit of his faith and completed salvation seems strange. This was a moment of crisis and decision for Abraham. He wasnt seeking justifaction by the works of the LAW since there was none and human sacrifice is against the LAW. Nonetheless he was justified by the work of faith. Only after he had acted did God know that he feared Him. For me at least I am content to leave the contradiction as it is: 'Salvation is free and costs us all'. Maybe not a synergy between faith and the works of faith but certainly a mystery.
Your perspective is too philosophical and mystical - you make it seem like we are just free agents umming and aaring away about how to 'get saved'. But through his death Jesus has inherited all creation - he already owns all people whether they like it or not. There are only 2 choices, you either surrender to this loving Lord of all creation (faith) and become a blessed citizen or you remain a member of the resistance army (which will lead to defeat ultimately). So surrendering to Jesus is not a 'cost' because it's not like he didn't own you already!
To be honest, you probably know all of this but haven't thought it through. I think one crucial difference between the gospels and Paul is that in the letters of Paul, the kingdom has been made more fully manifest in the death and resurrection of Christ. "The kingdom of God is near" becomes "Jesus is Lord". "Not one iota [of the Law] shall pass away until all is accomplished" becomes the Law slain and resurrected as the Law of Christ.
Hi Chris. I suppose all I was doing was responding to the idea that the gospel was utterly free ( Sola fide sought of sums this up). I then found a number of Scriptures that challenged this idea. Not knowing how to reconcile the contradictions I concluded that it was a mystery.Im a simple soul. To describe me as philisophical seems very odd. ( I am happy to admit this if more persuasive evidence is produced). But didnt offering Isaac cost Abraham. Technically you might argue Isaac was Gods creation but God said to Abraham take now THY son THY only son. If God thinks that Isaac is Abraham's son then who am I to gainsay this. You're quibble seems very philisophical.
Brian, the James 2 stuff seems to be precisely what the reformers meant by "faith alone" - i.e. Genesis 15 (when Abraham was justified) comes before Genesis 22 (when his faith was justified). The faith that alone saved in Genesis 15 was not alone, as proven by Genesis 22.
Mike Reeves' here lays it out well:
His whole series of talks here are well worth a listen:
Glen, I dont go with RC teaching at all. I dont even know what it is. The issue is 'was Abrahams act necessary in some way for salvation'. The reformed position says that it was an inevitable consequence of salvation. If he had chosen not to offer Isaac would he still be justified? This then links in discussions about predestination. I suppose being a simple soul I tend to read things on their face value. If the Bible says that he was justified by the act of sacrificing Isaac I tend to think that he was justified. (It doesnt say his faith was justified it says he was, faith was made perfect) Now I think there is evidence that justification by faith leads to works. 'If you were Abrahams children you would do the works of Abraham' Ie if you are justified by faith the works of Abraham will follow. I do not think therefore that we should be desperately looking round to discover works that justify us a bit more. This is fear not faith. Now these works may just flow out automatically like fruit springing from a tree. Or they may like Abraham involve an agonising crisis and decision. I still think that these works of Abraham justify just because James 2.24 says so. Also if we are to do the works of Abraham there is a great cost that we pay (Luke 14.26-33): we lay down our life.
My background is scientific so I try to go where the evidence leads me. If that leads me to a place that doesnt seem entirely self consistent then so be it. Light is both a wave and particle.If there are mysteries in science we should not be surprised if we find them in theology.
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It seems to me that scripture treats salvation both in terms of accomplishment and application. This is seen right from the start with Abraham. Genesis 15 is about Jehovah's covenant union with Abraham. Genesis 22 is about the atonement that is needed to overcome the great gulf of separation between Jehovah and Abraham's offspring.
Justification is not all of salvation; it's the ground of it. Union with Christ is the way of salvation. Those who trust in Him and love Him are his own, and He is theirs. Christ and His followers are one by the Holy Spirit, inseparable both now and in the new creation in the age to come. This union is a mystery that is known and experienced now, while awaiting in hope the perfect knowledge to be revealed when Christ is seen face to face.