Wednesday, January 25, 2017

First John 3:7-10 and Sinlessness

Thanks for writing and for the good question.

First, see my very long article at ETERNAL SECURITY.  I present scores of texts coming from every conceivable direction which conclude that a born-again Christian cannot fall from grace. Perhaps the strongest is that a person cannot choose to become un-born. We simply cannot base the doctrine of sanctification on one verse and ignore the remainder of inspired Scripture.

When one reads all of First John, it appears to teach two opposites: (1) that born-again Christians cannot and will not sin and (2) that born-again Christians still sin. Notice the "we" of 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Your interpretation of First John requires all Christians to be instantly sinless at the moment of accepting Christ. Though that is true concerning justification and imputed righteousness, it is not true concerning sanctification which is the work of a lifetime. We will not become sinless until Christ returns per 1 Cor 15:51-55. In every letter, Paul pleads with Christians (not the lost) to "put on Christ" and to be "led by teh Spirit" that they overcome sin.

First John only makes sense and only agrees with the remainder of inspired Scripture if it is interpreted as a "habitual walk" towards sinlessness. Even Pentecostal Holiness Christians admit that it only means that they do not WILLFULLY or DELIBERATELY SIN -- which also goes beyond the literal text.

Post-justification sin breaks FELLOWSHIP with God --- not RELATIONSHIP. That is what First John 1:1-9 is all about.

Russell E Kelly

Thursday, January 19, 2017


1.  Christians are New Covenant followers of Jesus Christ, the Hebrew Messiah. As such they should refer to themselves in the terminology used by the New Testament.

2.  The O. T. word, “Messiah,” is Hebrew for “anointed.” Its New Covenant equivalent in Greek is “Christos,” or “Christ.”  Therefore, post-Calvary born-again New Covenant Christians should prefer to be called “Christians.” This is evidenced in the New Testament in Acts 11:26.

3. There are 27 inspired “books” in the New Testament. 23 of them are inspired epistles in the post-Calvary section of the New Testament. Not once is the phrase “Christian Jews” (the Greek equivalent of Messianic Jews) found in the Bible. Therefore, since Christians should be “people of the book,” this fact should compel Christians to refer to themselves simply as “Christians.”

4. Christians are never called “Jews” or even “spiritual Jews” in the Bible. It is very evident from Romans 2 that Paul was only addressing Gentiles (pagans, heathen, Greeks) from 1:18 to 2:16 and is only addressing Jewish Hebrews from 2:17 to 2:29. When Paul wrote in Rom 2:28-29, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” --– he was only speaking to Jews!! In the eyes of God, the true Jew among all literal physical Jews is the spiritual Jew.

5. Also, Christians are never called “Israelites” in the Bible. The same logic used to understand Romans 2:28-29 applies in Romans 9:6-7; Paul was only addressing fellow Israelites who had accepted Christ. “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Again, in the eyes of God, the true Israelite among all literal physical Israelites is the spiritual Israelite.

6. Galatians 6:16 does not qualify either. “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” First, if this included Gentile Christians, it is very unusual and stands alone. Second, the final “and” signifies a second group. Paul was including Jewish Christians in his farewell.

7. “Messianic Christians” makes no sense; Messianic Jews know that because the two words mean the same thing: one is Hebrew and the other is Greek.

8. While it is biblically unsupportable to call Christians “Messianic Jews,” “Messianic Israelites,” or “Messianic Hebrews” --- it is correct to call Christians “Abraham’s seed” instead of Israel’s seed (Jacob) or Jews (Judah). This is what Paul clearly teaches in Galatians 3:26-29 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

9. Messianic Jews want all Christians to replace Spirit-inspired post-Calvary New Testament terminology with that of the Old Testament. (1) The Holy Spirit nowhere inspired New Testament writers to use the name, Yahweh. (2) Uncircumcised Abram knew God as Yahweh Elyon, GOD Most High (Gen 14:22). (3) “Most High God” was a title for God used by both Hebrew and Gentile in the Old Testament. (4) In the New Testament God reaches out to all nations and peoples and identifies Himself as “Most High” (Mk 5:7; Lk 8:28; Acts 7:18; 16:17; Heb 7:1).

10. Ephesians 2:12-22 does not unite Hebrews and Gentiles by making everybody spiritual Israelites and Jews. Read it.
(1) 2:12 The Law forbade Israel from making covenants with Gentiles (Ex 23:32; Deut 7:2).
(2) The Abrahamic covenant of promise (not the law) included Gentiles (Gen 12:2-3).
(3) 2:13 Hebrews and Gentiles are “made night” “by the blood” of Christ – not by the Law.
(4) 2:14-15 The “middle wall of partition” which was “broken down” is the Law itself which excluded Gentiles!!! (Heb 8:13)
(5) 2:16 Again, the cross (not the Law) joins both Hebrews and Gentiles.

11. Colossians 2:11-23 does not unite Hebrews and Jews by making them spiritual Israelites or Jews.
(1) 2:11 spiritual circumcision makes the believer dead in Christ and to the Law (Rom 7:4).
(2) 2:12-13 Spiritual circumcision buries the believer in Christ. The Law cannot tell a dead and buried person what to do!
(3) 2:14 Law ordinances which formerly condemned believers were especially nailed to the cross.
(4) The believer is now under the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1-3).  He/she obeys God because he/she is a “new creation” in Christ and the new nature from the indwelling Spirit desire to obey God (2 Cor 5:17).
(5) 2:16-17 The entire Law was only a “shadow of things to come” (Heb 10:1). Messianic Jews cannot comprehend this truth.

12. Using the term “Messianic Jews” reveals an ignorance of God’s Word. I prefer to be called “Christian.”



To read the entire article from Baptist Press, Google
FIRST-PERSON: Gleanings on giving
by Chuck Lawless, posted Jan 18, 2017, Wake Forest, N.C.

Lawless: Many churches struggle with finances. Some struggle because they simply don't challenge and equip their members to give sacrificially.

Kelly: We agree that post-Calvary Spirit-inspired giving is sacrificial. While for some that means much more than 10%, others are giving sacrificially at far less than 10%. They obey First Timothy 5:8 and provide necessities for their family first.

Lawless: 1. We believe the Bible assumes at least a tithe given to God's work.

Kelly: Wrong. How can the Dean of Graduate Studies be so ignorant as to not know the biblical description of HOLY tithes? They are never money or income or profit resulting from man’s labor. HOLY tithes were always only FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land which He miraculously increased. HOLY tithes could not come from non-food producers or from outside HOLY Israel. Although money is often mentioned even in Genesis, tithes never include money in God’s Word (Lev 27:30-34).

Lawless: I understand the arguments that the tithe is only an Old Testament obligation …

Kelly: You will not use God’s Word to defend His description of the HOLY tithe. They were never an obligation from non-food producers or from anybody outside Israel.

Lawless: … but I see New Testament obligations as even higher …

Kelly: There is no percentage or commandment to give a tithe. Post-Calvary N.T. giving is superior because it includes everybody in sacrificially giving – not merely food producers inside Israel.

Lawless: For us, the tithe is the starting point.

Kelly: Sounds good, but it is not scriptural and our doctrine should come from God’s Word in context.

Lawless: 2. We genuinely believe that nothing we have is ours.

Kelly: Correct and Psalm 24:1 agrees. However, even with Psalm 24:1, God only accepted as HOLY tithes food which He had increased inside Israel. You must reconcile that dor else stop teaching error.

Lawless: 3. We've learned that God never lets us down.

Kelly: True, but that does not make tithing a legitimate doctrine for the Church.

Lawless: 4. We budget well and spend wisely.

Kelly: Good, but your point is invalid. Thousands of atheists, agnostics and Muslims are financially enriched because they use good business practices. On the other hand, millions of the poorest “tithe” and never escape poverty because they do not use good financial practices.

Lawless: Some folks struggle giving to God's work because they misspend the rest of their income.

Kelly: Your own argument proves that “tithers” are not automatically blessed.

Lawaless: 5. Our local church is the primary recipient of our giving.

Kelly: True, but that does not validate tithing. Numbers 18 taught that the first whole Levitical tithe went to only the servants of the priests and tithe-recipients were not allowed to own property in Israel or amass wealth. You sin when you do not teach the whole doctrine.

Lawless: 6. … our giving goes to missionaries around the world.

Kelly: Good, but not for O.T. tithing validation. Not one tithe was ever given to support missions in the Bible.

Lawless: 7. If we struggle with trusting God financially, we actually increase our giving to God's work.

Kelly: If you are faithfully “tithing,” why isn’t God keeping His promises and giving you overflowing blessings?  Your statement proves that the blessing was only O.T. to support a priesthood which ended. Grace giving is superior to Law-giving.

Lawless: 8. We do not claim our charitable giving on our income tax. … We seriously love giving. Early in our marriage, giving sacrificially was harder simply because we had less to give.

Kelly: I seriously love giving also. Listen to yourself. If sacrificial giving (tithing) was ”harder,” then the promises of Malachi are not working.

Lawless: Today, giving to support God's work is one of our greatest joys.

Kelly: Not a single Bible text for validation. You must know that all of them are easily refuted using God’s Word in context. I invite you to a open dialog on tithing for all to compare.

Lawless ( is a vice president, dean of graduate studies and missions and evangelism professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

SWBTS has two professors which disagree with you online: Adreas Kostenberger and David Black. In my opinion, even the President of SWBTS, Daniel Akin, disagrees with you concerning tithing.