Tom, need a favor please

Tom, first let me say, I thoroughly enjoy everything you write. Although I am combative and have "my beliefs" I can sense both in your attitude and spirit as well as in what you write a love for God and His word. I need your help. I'd like to meditate, pray, consider, search out more your comments on justification, sanctification and necessity. I don't know that I agree with everything you've said (100%) but I have loved reading your thoughts and you are certainly articulating a profound series of thoughts.

Ok, enough gushing! Let's look at simple definitions and then where I need your help.

SYLLABICATION: jus·ti·fi·ca·tion
NOUN: 1a. The act of justifying. b. The condition or fact of being justified.

TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: sanc·ti·fied, sanc·ti·fy·ing, sanc·ti·fies
1. To set apart for sacred use; consecrate.
2. To make holy; purify.
3. To give religious sanction to, as with an oath or vow: sanctify a marriage.
4. To give social or moral sanction to.
5. To make productive of holiness or spiritual blessing.

It seems to me that what you are saying is that the cross (or specifically, the work of Jesus on the cross) justifies mankind. That is, all of mankind has been justified. Yet not all are saved. Now if sanctification is the act of setting aside, or purifying or making holy, and w/out holiness, "no man shall see God" then in belief, faith, repentance, baptism, Spirit infilling, we are sanctified. In that sense, Baptism, repentance, etc. don't save us. It's more accurate to say, Jesus saves us (although, again, I don't view any of those as circumventing or substituting Jesus, but we find in those "works", Jesus, completely).

However, those responses to the work of the cross are a necessity. W/out the appropriate response to the cross we really don't have true faith. Is that essentially what you are saying?

Let me take an OT example as I do not believe that God has changed HOW he saves as it is all done by the work of the cross (and then the favor :-)

Circumcision (and relatable to the Galatian heresy).

Cicumcision was a special covenant between God and Abraham(as you know). In circumcision, Abraham and His chosen children (the seed of Isaac/Jacob)were set apart as a special people. They had a real (and public, so to speak) marking that made them different. Their marking came with a cost, there was also the shedding of blood. There was a literal "cutting of the flesh". This marking symbolized the faith of Abraham in One God and in resurrection (as he believed God would raise up Isaac if need be-even if he were to sacrifice him).

Gen 17:11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

Gen 17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

The person who did not get circumcised was cut off from the promises (physical and spiritual) because he had broken the covenant of God.

Further, after Moses was chosen and sent by God to demand the freedom of His people, God sought occasion to kill him!?!?! The assumption is that it was because he hadn't yet circumcised his son.

Exd 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

Exd 4:25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast [it] at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband [art] thou to me.

Now, in the NT circumcision is spiritual (of the heart) and is equated with baptism.

Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Ok, so now my point. Is the gist of what you are saying is that it's incorrect to say that circumcision or baptism (or for that matter, faith, belief, repentance etc.) saves us? That the mistake of the galatians or the mistake of any OT Jew would be to say that we are saved by circumcision (or baptism, faith, belief etc.) but rather it was the work of the Cross that saved the believer in both the Old and New Testament.

However, circumcision (both physical and now spiritual) IS A NECESSITY by virture of what it does-namely sanctifies us. Circumcision did not save the Jew, God did through His work on the cross, but circumcision was rightly a necessity because that is where the grace of God was revealed. Further, in these "works" which are "symbolic" they reveal the true substance and evidence of faith? Anyway, I hope I'm not my favor...

We have had so many divergent conversations, I'm wondering if you could cut and paste either to my email or here online your articulation of equating baptism, faith, belief, repentance etc. to sanctification vs. justification.

I harp on baptism (specifically in the name of Jesus) so much because I feel that in modern Christianity baptism has been dismissed, diluted, cast off as an after thought for "faith" or "confession of the sinners prayers". However, I thought you did a great job of articulating how faith, belief, repentance, baptism etc. are of necessity signs of a believer, yet none of them save us. Jesus does. However, we have 8 million different threads and I want to copy, paste, study, meditate and pray about your response.

So 1) if you could look at the above example and comment on whether it's correct to say circumcision was (baptism, repentance, belief, faith etc.) is a necessity yet it does not save you. Jesus saves you.
2) compile your thoughts in one place because they are spread out all over. Thanks!

I hope all this made sense. Basically, you had to be circumcised to be saved, but it's not circumcision that saved. God saved knowing that circumcision pointed to the work of the cross. Those who focused on the outward act and their participation in the outward act as saving them were wrong. Those who recognized God saved and that what they did, they did out of love, faith, belief, obedience, etc. were those whose circumcision revealed what was in their heart, just as baptism does today.

Both are going to take time that I do not have at the moment. Sorry.

But it might help to know that the New Covenant is vastly superior to the old in that the Spirit comes. And so while one can draw a comparison from baptism to circumcision one needs to be careful to see that the major difference between the two covenants is that God provides both the "willing" and the "doing" in the new (Philippians 2:12, Ezekiel 11:19-21, Ezekiel 36:27, Hebrews 10:16).

Remember; analogies are a rhetorical device used for drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect. While there is some resemblance in some particulars between the things compared (for there would be no cause to compare in the first if it where otherwise); there, of necessity, are some things that are unalike (for then the thing that is compared would indeed be the very thing it was being compared to).

The Spirit makes all the difference in the world and pressing the analogy to hard will leave more confusion then clarity!

Having said that; No and yes! I agree that the problem is sumed up at the end of Romans 9:

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."

But if one makes faith or baptisim or anything that Jesus commanded a work that saves then they have stumbled. Jesus did it all. Believe it, rest in it, grow by it, Love with it!

Also this might help:

"Now let me suggest an analogy to illustrate the experience of the Spirit before and after Pentecost. Picture a huge dam for hydroelectric power under construction, like the Aswan High Dam on the Nile, 375 feet high and 11,000 feet across. Egypt's president Nasser announced the plan for construction in 1953. The dam was completed in 1970 and in 1971 there was a grand dedication ceremony and the 12 turbines with their ten billion kilowatt-hour capacity were unleashed with enough power to light every city in Egypt. During the long period of construction the Nile River wasn't completely stopped. Even as the reservoir was filling part of the river was allowed to flow past. The country folk downstream depended on it. They drank it, they washed in it, it watered their crops and turned their mill-wheels. They sailed on it in the moonlight and wrote songs about it. It was their life. But on the day when the reservoir poured through the turbines a power was unleashed that spread far beyond the few folk down river and brought possibilities they had only dreamed of." -John Piper

And as to the other matter: there are only three threads in total and one was just my take on Faith Alone so it should not be to hard (if one has the time) to cull together my thoughts.

Again, sorry.

-Tom Bombadil

BTW check out "Tom: necessity vs. justification..." & "Former UPC take on scripture"


-Tom Bombadil

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! A hooded one!

*runs from Bludhall in abject terror*


So are we in agreement that only Jesus (and specifically His work on the cross) saves us but that belief, faith, repentance, baptism etc. are of a necessity in that they sanctify or set us apart as believers?

Hey Rooster,

This is Nessa, Tom's wife. (He used to be Tulkas, and Nessa is Tulkas' wife in the book. I have to change my name too now.)


I am going through and trying to do what it is that you wanted here. (TRYING being the key word there.) He asked me to do it, and it would be good for me so that I can try to understand all of this more clearly. We always say in our house, until you can explain something, you don't own it.

Also, we just watched the Gospel of John video, and these thoughts came to Shawn's mind...

[He is dictating all of this to me while he plays Gran Turismo. Yes, life in the Tom Bombadil household is just as you imagine. He talks an awful lot about very deep and important things, all day long, (in between sushi, Jiu Jitsu, and being the best Daddy and husband there is...but my head is awfully full sometimes!]

Shawn AKA Tom says:

The Holy Spirit descended and *ramained* on him at his water baptism. No one would say that Jesus didn't have the Spirit before his water baptism, but he did at this point receive the Spirit in a unique way that was so special that John pointed it out, using the term "remained."

The washing away of your sins refers to sanctification, because legally our sins are removed from us because God credits Jesus' work on the cross to us. But GOd doesn't just leave us with an external riteousness in Christ, He also seeks to work in us an internal riteousness, a riteousness without which no man will see God. During the sanctfication process our sins are removed from us. Of course, our sins will never be completely washed away in this life, but sanctification is the process of starting to wash away our sins. We sin less and less the more we are sanctified, and baptism is a part of that process, so therefore, baptism IS for the washing away of our sins, but for the sanctifying sense of the phrase, not in the justfying sense of the phrase. Just to reiterate, the Galatian Heresy is thinking that baptism affects justification instead of sanctification. When one thinks that a work justifies, he or she has committed a heresy.

Thanks for your comments. It seems to me though that we associate the work of God in His commandments as somehow our works and us justifying ourselves, which I disagree with.

A perfect example is Pilate. Pilate washed his hands to absolve himself from the sin of crucifying Jesus. Was it effecacious in any sense? No, absolutely not! It was the work of man. It was an attempt to justify himself through his own works.

However, baptism (or for that matter, repentance etc.) is not the work of man, nor the ordinance of men, it is the holy commandment of God and it is what God does on the inside that justifies us, not what we do.

nessa: The Holy Spirit descended and *ramained* on him at his water baptism. No one would say that Jesus didn't have the Spirit before his water baptism, but he did at this point receive the Spirit in a unique way that was so special that John pointed it out, using the term "remained

me: "remained"? Can you point that verse out? The only reference I can find is the Holy Spirit coming down LIKE a dove. This refers to 1) the annointing prophets received at the start of their ministry 2) equates the work of the deluge with Jesus (the dove represented God peace as the work of judgement was finished) 3) it was for John's sake (as pointed out in scripture) 4) was a type of the resurrection-Here we see Jesus buried and the Spirit lighting upon Him after His burial 5) it ties him to multiple OT types that revealed God as God (ie: temple sacrifice of the dove, Elijah's sacrifice etc.)

Jesus was Immanual from birth so He was "God with us" from conception. As such, He had the Spirit of God "w/out measure" and "all the fullness" from birth.

John 1:32-33 "And John bore witness: 'I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it *remained* on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and *remain*, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'"

-Tom Bombadil

Thanks, I couldn't find that. I'm assuming that John saw a theophany light upon Jesus and remain on Him verifying that He was the one John was to witness about.

Yeah! That's what I got out of it too! (?!?)


we agree (raises 2 cokes ) cheers!