Literal or Metaphor (Lordship or no Lordship) PT:2

I wanted  to continue  the theme I began in my last post to elaborate on the discussion of John 15:1-14 but now I will add these two verses Joh 15:15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Joh 15:16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. For the sake of context and  to make  my last blog more clear we need  to take note of these verses and who Jesus is speaking  to.

The audience. Who was Jesus speaking  to at this point? It’s a good question and the answer is found in John 13. Jesus was celebrating  the Pass Over with His Disciples so from this we know  that Jesus was not speaking publicly. This dialogue continues until  the end of John 17.

Subject and context In John 16:29-31 it is made clear that Jesus was not now using figures of speech but speaking plainly  to His Disciples. This is important because  those  who say  the bible only speaks in literal terms  to us contradict  the disciples themselves that says in verse 29, His disciples *said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Then in verse 30  they say “Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” To which Jesus replies in verse:31  “Do you now believe? At this juncture it needs  to be pointed out  that using  John 15:1-14 as an object lesson for a children’s talk is not as straight forward as it may first appear. If it is  to be taken literally as the fundamentalists insist scripture should be taken  they miss  the whole point of of what is being said. At the same time  they avoid adding verses 15 and 16 because it changes the whole context or point that Jesus is making here. Yes we can clearly see  that John 15:1-14 is metaphor Jesus is using figure of speech  to describe our relationship with Him and the Father. However as He continues in verses 15 and 16, Jesus is no longer using metaphor calling them friends who Jesus made  known  all  things to.  The Jesus states emphatically in verse 16  “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

I stated in part 1 of this blog  that trees and vine branches  don’t exist in a vacuum, In other words  they can’t exist  or survive without being connected  to the stem and root system. The fruit  that is produced, (works) are the result of being connected   to the stem and root system. On their own  they cannot produce any fruit, literally meaning   they cannot produce anything of value on their own. Any fruit  that is produced is the product of  the stem and root system not the branches themselves. The branches are dependent on the stem and root system for its survival. In John 15: 1-14 there are a number of instances where No Lordship advocates will have difficulty justifying their whole theology. Verses 4 and 5 are perfect examples; 4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

No Lordship advocates accuse Lordship advocates of teaching a works (merit) based salvation. If this is true  then that is exactly what Jesus was teaching here. There is nothing from chapters 13  right through 17 where Jesus explicitly says we can merit salvation and it is not implied in chapter 15 either.

So what is Jesus saying? verse 5 says  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  and then in verse 16  “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.  If we cannot bear fruit apart from Jesus and he chose us  to  do this the implication is clear that Jesus is  the first cause both of our salvation and  the works that are a result of salvation. To put this another way Jesus is saying He is  the object of salvation from which all other are the result.

No Lordship salvation has  to deny  this  is true  for its theology  to stand up. For their view  to be correct they have  to disconnect and ignore verses 5 and 16. To say  that all we need  to receive salvation is believe is a true, but   to say their will be no evidence or no need  for works as proof of one’s faith is untrue.

If I stand in front of a major youth event as Paul Washer has done and I  don’t challenge  them  to think  about living in holiness, If I don’t challenge  them   to examine themselves or their lifestyle am I doing them any favors? When Paul Washer did  this he was castigated by many as teaching works.I watched  the whole video (which many of his critics didn’t) and came   to  the opposite conclusion. Some took  it upon themselves   to post a snippet of  his address  on social media with the bold caption implying  that Paul Washer was teaching works based salvation.

These No Lord salvation advocates argued  that Paul Washer might damage  the faith of many with this kind  of preaching and cause  them  to  turn away from the faith. Didn’t Jesus  do exactly  the same  thing in addressing  the 70 disciples that followed Him? Many turned away and only 12 remained. What this says is that  of the 70 only 12 were true followers (11 actually). Paul Washer did exactly what Jesus did and yet no one accused Jesus of being too harsh.

The point  here is that  those  who peddle  the cheap No Lordship salvation gospel are teaching a false gospel. They are peddling  the soft sell where no real commitment is required. Pray a prayer  to Jesus and  your ticket  to heaven is assured nothing more is required. People can try and brag  about  the notches in their belt so  to speak but it denies  the very words  that Jesus chooses us, we don’t choose Him. The evidence, however imperfect in this world, is that we are a  chosen  child of  the Father who bears fruit  through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.

The other important point  to make here is  that salvation is not about us, it’s about God  the Father  who is the author of salvation, the Son who appropriates salvation and the Holy Spirit  that empowers us  to live the Christian life and glorify  the Father. Those  who teach No Lordship and  the synergist who claims we can only receive salvation after we accept Christ willingly deny  the true nature of sin and the fallen state of humanity. These all deny  the actual work of salvation and make God impotent or powerless with no real righteousness and no right  to judge. It ultimately leads to Pelagianism or semi  Pelagianism.

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