Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Matthew 14: 22-36

22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.

23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.

25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.

26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear.

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."

28 Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.

33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

34 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.

35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick;

36 and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.

Confluence of events. I heard this passage referenced this morning, on the radio (I was listening to the Catholic radio station because the talk shows on there are better by far than the talk shows that play in the morning on the radio). Anyway. The host was using this passage as a proof of St. Peter's primacy. Because he was the first man out of the boat, heading for Christ. I don't know, that one seems a bit of a stretch to me.

But then, I was reading a discussion over on OrthodoxChristianity.net, about OSAS, and the same passage was used to argue against OSAS. Because, see, St. Peter was okay walking on the water as long as he kept his eyes, his focus on Christ. As soon as he was distracted and looked away, he began to sink. It was only Christ's reaching out for him, drawing his attention back to Himself, that saved him. So the poster's argument was that, if we're using this as a metaphor, then if OSAS was true then even if St. Peter was distract, by, say, the wind, then he should have remained okay walking on the water. But, because he wasn't, then it plays into the understanding that one can lose salvation, if ones focus shifts to other things besides Christ.


  1. Interesting metaphor! I've never heard that one before. Oddly enough I read this passage earlier today as I was glancing through the rest of Matthew to see what was ahead of me on my Matthew blog study. This was one of the passages I actually took time to read.

    Enjoyed this. I like when you share these types of things. :)

    Do you believe one is either following Christ (saved) or not (falling into the water) or do you also believe one can be a backslidden Christian? And if so, how long can you be backslidden before you are unsaved?

    "Backslidden" is such a weird word now that I write it and Google is deeming it misspelled. :)

  2. Susanne,

    I don't know. What's 'backslidden' mean? It's not a term I'm familiar with, really. Lookit that, you found a word I don't know!

    Anyway. I tend to look at salvation as a process, rather than a thing that has happened in the past. Like, 'I was saved' - I wouldn't use that phrase in the sense of eternal salvation. I'd use it for, you know, if someone saved me from an accident or injury. So a Christian is, so long as they live, in the process of being saved.

  3. Ah, yes, sorry. That's such a Baptist term. Ooops!

    Um, well, people often use it to be kind of like...OK, King David during the time he had sex with another man's wife and then planned that man's murder. Was he following Christ? No. He was a carnal Christian. (If we bring him into the post-Christ era.) If he died then would he have gone to hell because he was in a state of sinfulness and had lost his salvation? or was he "merely" a carnal Christian - one who was "saved" but living according to his fleshly side instead of abiding close to God and walking according to the Spirit?

    But yeah, I really like your process of salvation thing better and have come to agree with it more and more. Baptists of my day put too much stock in some prayer we made at church or camp instead of spiritual fruit. The Reformed Baptists are better although I disagree with some of their Calvinist doctrine especially regarding election.

    Some think we can be saved yet for a time live worldly, but that's when God disciplines us. That whole if you are God's child he will discipline you and if you aren't disciplined this means you aren't his child. You know that verse?

    So that's what I meant. Thanks for your reply!

  4. Okay, I read your explanation and I...um...still don't think I get it. I think I just don't understand Baptist-speak!

    So, if I'm sorting this right...theoretically, let's say David said the prayer, got baptised, etc. Whatever it takes to make one Christian according to Baptist thought. But then, even after that, he committed these sins. So, then, the Baptist has two choices. Either he was never really a Christian to begin with, or he's slid backward (backslidden?) into his pre-Christian behavior. So I guess your choice of reasoning there would depend on whether you believe that OSAS, or that salvation can be had and lost. Because if you slide backward, then, presumably, the salvation that you really did have is lost (at some point, maybe not immediately?), but if you hold to OSAS, then if anyone does something un-Christian, you can say that they weren't saved in the first place. Huh. I'm not sure that makes anymore sense than it did when I started typing it...

    I think salvation is never an assured thing until we die. Like I said, a process. I read it put like this somewhere: 'I was saved, I'm being saved, and I pray that I will be saved'. Or something very similar.

  5. Ha, ha....you did pretty well actually. I am giggling at your attempts to understand Baptist-speak. :)

    I like your explanation (about the salvation journey) and agree to some degree, I think. See why I like this whole blogging thing? I can learn from others. So nice!

  6. Oh, good. :) I think that might be one of my 'issues' with Baptists. They start talking using all that jargon, and my eyes glaze over... ;)

  7. Ha, ha! I guess I got used to it ...poor warped little child.


  8. *pats Susanne's hand* It's okay. You've overcome your upbringing... :-p

  9. :-D And thanks for all YOU've done to help with that.


  10. So I was wondering how the verses about God's disciplining HIS children plays into your theology. If you have time...I am curious to learn from you about that. This post came to mind along with those verses so...here I am again. Would you prefer I address it on my blog so you could see the verses and answer there? I don't mind either way. Thanks. :)

  11. Susanne,

    I lack the encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible that some *coughSusannecough* possess, seeing as how I came late to the party in that respect. If you could at least point me to the verses in question? Whether you want to make your own post or just include them in the comment here? Either way works for me...

  12. Well, I was thinking of this one from Hebrews 12:4-11 which refers back to Prov. 3:11-12.

    I was always taught that we could decide to follow Jesus (be saved) yet backslide which means we start going against godly things (living as a carnal Christian), but if you were truly saved, God would discipline you. If He didn't discipline you, you never were saved to begin with. See the verses to see what I mean...maybe. :)

    I was just curious how these verses play into your journey-to-salvation theology (which I like, BTW.) I'm just curious.

    And for coming late to the party, you are aaaaaamaaaaaaziiiiiiiing! Truly, I'm not joking when I say I learn from you. That's why I always love when you leave feedback on my posts.

  13. It actually works perfectly well. Since salvation is a journey, we will take missteps. And, to put us back on the right path, on our journey, God will discipline us. And I think it's less that God will only discipline you if you are 'already saved' (as seems to be the implication in the whole 'backslidden' theory - which word I kind of like, by the way...), rather that God sees that we are attempting, to the best of our ability, to follow Him, and so disciplines us because of that. Not that we're already saved and screwing it up.

  14. Great! Thank you. I have been pondering over this post and so, well, thanks! :)


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