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Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 14) - Luk 3:9; Luk 5:20

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For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse.

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace

22. Luk 3:3
A. "And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;" (Luk 3:3)
B. See Mar 1:4 - section III,15

23. Luk 3:9
A. "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." (Luk 3:9)
B. Is this verse teaching that all those who don't produce good fruit in their lives (Luk 3:8) are going to hell?
C. To whom were these words spoken?
i. John was speaking to those whom he called a generation of vipers (Luk 3:7).
ii. These particular people were not children of God (Mat 23:33).
iii. Reprobates such as they could not produce good fruit (Mat 12:33-35) (see Mat 12:31-32 - section III,9).
iv. They are "trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;" (Jud 1:12-13).
v. In the case of reprobates, because they don't produce good fruit, they will be cut down and cast in the fire (hell) (Mat 25:41).
D. But is this true of every person who doesn't bear good fruit in their lives? Are all such people, whether elect or not, going to be cast into hell if they don't bear good fruit?
i. Works (fruit) are evidence of the eternal state of men (Joh 5:29).
ii. It is a general truth that good trees bear good fruit and corrupt trees bear evil fruit (Mat 7:17; Luk 6:43-44).
iii. Though evidential of eternal condemnation, evil fruit is not a guarantee that a person is headed for hell.
a. Sin is evil fruit (Rom 6:19-21; Rom 7:5).
b. God's children sin (1Jo 1:8).
c. Therefore God's children (good trees) sometimes bear evil fruit (sin).
iv. There are branches in Christ that bear not fruit (Joh 15:1-6).
a. If a person is in Christ, he is eternally secure (Eph 1:4; Joh 10:27-29).
b. But branches in Christ which bear no fruit are taken away (Joh 15:2) and burned (Joh 15:6).
c. Christians who bear evil fruit are cut out of the church and are delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1Co 5:1-7).
d. Notice that those in the church who bear evil fruit are taken away (1Co 5:2 c/w Joh 15:2).
e. Their destruction is only of the flesh, not the spirit (1Co 5:5).
f. God tries His children by fire to burn off the wood, hay, and stubble, but they are still saved despite suffering loss (1Co 3:12-15).
v. God will "dig and dung" around his children (good trees) for a while, before cutting them down (Luk 13:6-9).
vi. Conclusion:
a. The specific people to whom John was speaking were wicked men who bore evil fruit who would be hewn down and cast into hell.
b. In general, the fruit born by a person shows the evidence of whether he is a child of God or not.
c. Though evil fruit does show evidence of reprobation, some of God's elect do not produce good fruit and are therefore judged and chastened in this world, but are preserved eternally.

24. Luk 5:20
A. "And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." (Luk 5:20)
B. Did this man receive eternal forgiveness and therefore eternal life because of his faith?
i. The forgiveness this man received from Jesus was a result of his faith, and it was therefore conditional.
ii. Eternal forgiveness of sins is not conditional (Col 2:13) (see section II,10,A).
iii. Therefore this forgiveness was a temporal forgiveness of sins (see section II,10,B).
iv. Furthermore, faith is an evidence of eternal life (Joh 5:24) which (eternal life) is given to a person by God when He forgives their sins (Col 2:13).
v. Therefore if the man had faith in Christ, he already had his sins forgiven eternally.
C. Jesus was also not simply referring to the fact that the man already had eternal forgiveness when He said, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee" (Luk 5:20).
i. This forgiveness was a forgiveness which was given and received in time.
ii. Jesus made that clear when He said that, "the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins" (Luk 5:24).
iii. Jesus granted the palsied man forgiveness of his sins when he uttered the words.
D. Temporal forgiveness is conditioned upon confession of sins (1Jo 1:9).
i. But this man never made a confession of his sins.
ii. Why would Jesus then pronounce that his sins were forgiven?
iii. This man and his friends came to Jesus because they believed He would heal him.
a. They knew the power of the Lord was present with Jesus to heal that day (Luk 5:17).
b. They went to great lengths to get him to Jesus so that he would heal him (Luk 5:18-19).
c. Jesus saw his (and his friends') faith which was shown by his (and their) works (Luk 5:20 c/w Jam 2:18).
iv. Faith is required in order to receive healing from Jesus (Luk 8:43-48; Luk 7:1-2,9-10).
v. Death and sickness are the result of sin (Rom 6:23; Joh 5:14).
a. Therefore, in order for the body to be healed, the sin which is the cause of suffering must first be purged.
b. Jesus obtained healing for the body as well as the soul by His atonement (Mat 8:17 c/w Isa 53:4).
vi. Seeing the man had faith to be healed, Jesus first pronounced that his sins were forgiven which was a precursor to being healed.
vii. This was also done so that the Pharisees would know that Jesus was God and had power to forgive sins (Luk 5:21-24).
viii. Jesus then healed the man (Luk 5:24-25).
E. This temporal forgiveness of sins, which was necessary for healing, was given to the man because he had faith in Christ to heal him.

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace