Ignorance or Belief In Jesus

Curtis Hutson, Salvation Plain and Simple, p13—“Jesus Christ took all my sins, past, present, and future, and bore them in his own body.”  P21—“The worst sin in the world is not trusting Jesus Christ as Savour, and that is the only sin for which a man will die the second death.”

One irony here is that, If Curtis Hutson died believing this, then he will die the second death. If you die while ignorant of the true gospel, you will die believing a false gospel, and you will die in your sins.  When he says that “Jesus took all my sins”, that is the outside of the tomb. The words sound beautiful. But the words are contradicted by his idea that you will die for the sin of not trusting (and that you will live if you don’t sin that sin).  This false gospel is not only trusting in a different Jesus, but also is trusting in trusting.

Hutson denies the aloneness of Christ’s work for the elect alone. He not only denies election, but also says that the death of Jesus becomes insufficient if you sin by not trusting in it.   In his false gospel, the death of Jesus is not enough, is inadequate for the purpose of saving the ungodly from the sin of not trusting.

But I know many “grace” folks who think that Hutson’s problem is only ignorance, and that it does not rise to the level of unbelief and rebellion.  They explain the irony.  When I say that Hutson does not believe the true gospel, and that he will die because of his unbelief, they think I am agreeing with Hutson that the sin for which a man will die is unbelief.

Two quick responses. One, according to John 3:17 and Romans 5:21, we are born already condemned in Adam. According to Romans 8:7-7, we are born unable to please God, unable to trust God.  So we don’t have to wait to be guilty until we hear the gospel and then sin against it.  Two,  the Bible teaches that God gives the elect knowledge and trust in Christ “for the sake of Christ” (Phil 1:29) and “through the righteousness of God and of Jesus our Lord” (II Peter 1:1).

Jesus never died for anybody’s sin of dying in unbelief.  Jesus never died for all sins. Jesus died only for the sins of the elect. The elect do not die in unbelief. Jesus did not die to take away the guilt of final unbelief by the elect but Jesus did die in order to give the Spirit to the elect so they will (not might have an opportunity to) believe and therefore not die in unbelief.

Hutson contradicts himself. First, he says that Jesus died for all sins. Second, he says that final unbelief is a sin which will kill you.

Unlike most “grace” folks, I agree with the second statement. Final unbelief will kill you. Remember what I wrote already. First, we are born guilty, even if we never heard the gospel and never disbelief the gospel. Second, non-election is not God’s response to sins, because  the elect are ordained to be sinners also.   But, having said that (twice), I do agree that dying unbelief is a sin  and that those who commit  it will die the second death.

Romans 10:3–.”for they being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their won righteousness, were not subject to the righteousness of God.”   Most of the Jews were not in the unconditional new covenant, and most of them were not saved. You cannot be ignorant of the gospel and still be saved.  Neither can you at the same time believe in your own righteousness and also in God’s righteousness for salvation.  It is an ignorant contradiction. This “doctrinal flaw” is not merely something God will scrape off you during your sanctification or at the judgment on resurrection day.

II Corinthians 6:15—“What part has a believer with an unbeliever?” But “grace” folks tell me that sovereign grace will save people no matter what they believe or don’t believe.  (These same folks often have a problem saying that grace will save people no matter what they do, because they are self-righteousness enough about their continuing efforts in the local church, and in Arminian evangelism, and in being more moral than their pagan neighbors).  These folks have made “grace” a soundbite which eliminates boundaries between belief and unbelief.  Some of the “new covenant” folks are so “gracious” that they seem to assume that almost everybody ( even fundamentalists who they thank God they aren’t)  will be imputed with righteousness.

Almost everybody. And who knows where the line is!  If you just say that Jesus is Lord.  But you have to really mean it.  But Ephesians 4:18 warns us of those who are “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of their heart.”  But “grace” folks say to “cut them some slack”. It’s not hardness of heart but inconsistency; it’s not rebellion but not being able to read difficult Banner of Truth books.

“Alienated from God” is a very harsh thing to say, isn’t it? It does not merely describe a sincere believer who will need to be adjusted and have some doctrinal mistakes scraped off someday.  The alienated person has no knowledge of the true God and does not believe the gospel. Paul knew about being alienated because Paul did not ‘grow into” better doctrine.  Paul used to be lost. Paul used to be not saved.  I Timothy 1:13—“I acted ignorantly in unbelief.”  The idea is not that we all still act ignorantly in unbelief, and that God will be gracious to us all anyway.

Colossians 1—“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus…Of this you heard before in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you…it is bearing fruit and growing, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant…

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5 Comments on “Ignorance or Belief In Jesus”

  1. David Bishop Says:

    Terrific essay, Mark. Really edifying.

    Your comment about people who think they’re a Christian because they say Jesus is Lord and really mean it reminds me of the people in Matthew 7:21-23 who will call Him Lord at the day of judgment, but who still find themselves under His judgment.

    When Paul says in Romans 10 that if we confess with out mouth Jesus is Lord, he’s not giving us a formula.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    he Scriptures make no distinction between the head and the heart, as if mathematics came from the head and faith from the heart. The Old Testament frequently contrasts the heart and the lips – sincerity versus hypocrisy – but the term heart, at least seventy-five percent of the time in the Old Testament, means the mind or intellect.

    Gordon Haddon Clark
    What Is Saving Faith — p. 55


  3. markmcculley Says:

    Acts 17: 27 God determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live in order that so they would seek God, and perhaps reach out and find God , though God is not far from each one of us. 28 For in God we LIVE and MOVE and EXIST as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also God’s offspring.’ 29 Because we God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination. 30 “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because God has set a day when God is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. God has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”

    Colossians 1: 15 Christ is the image of the invisible God,
    the firstborn over all creation.
    16 For everything was created by Christ,
    in heaven and on earth,
    the visible and the invisible,
    whether thrones or dominions
    or rulers or authorities—
    all things have been created through Christ and for Christ.
    17 Christ is before all things,

    Matthew 11 25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to INFANTS 26 Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure. 27 ALL THINGS have been entrusted to Me by My Father.

    This does not mean that we are not selves, and that God does what we do. No, we do what we do.

    Even though Jesus is still God and in control of the universe, there is a warning to flee with the baby to Egypt, and many other INFANTS are killed in the place of Jesus.

    God’s sovereignty is not nominalism or occasionalism– God in three persons has a nature that does not change, and when God forgives the sins of history that does not mean that God changes history so that the sins did not happen.

    Matthew 2: 13 An angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him.” 14 So Joseph got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. 15 They stayed there until Herod’s death….16 Herod gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under

  4. markmcculley Says:

    II Thessalonians 2: The Lord Jesus will destroy the lawless one with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness. 13 But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, in order that you obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Giovanni Camacho—–If you don’t understand something, then you can’t really agree with it. If you agree with something without understanding it, that is foolishness. To say yes to something you don’t understand is foolish. It’s like signing a document in Japanese when you can’t read Japanese. What if you just agreed to have your family killed? Did you just shake your head, assuming you would agree and sign the document?

    Those who have been taught false gospels (but have not yet been granted repentance from dead works) are familiar with certain historical facts about Jesus while not yet believing His gospel. These are those who say we are conditioning salvation on perfect knowledge. They still think that the gospel is about something the sinner does to get salvation.

    They don’t believe that belief of the gospel is a result of being been placed into Christ’s death and then effectually called. They piously claim that it is “Christ who saves” while denying both His person and His work. In their book, as long as you believe Christ saves, then you’re good.

    Of course, they think their brand of antinomianism is better because they think the sinner only needs a little knowledge (correct or incorrect) in order to be saved. They think that because their version of the gospel (a lie. a falsehood) makes salvation conditionally available to all, that it is better.

    John 10: He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will not follow a stranger.

    Knowledge of the gospel and agreement with the gospel is the result of Christ’s death imputed. When you are justified, you WILL believe certain things and NOT other things about Christ and His death. Not to make Christ’s death work, but as a result of Christ’s death working. Believing the right gospel is something purchased by Christ’s death. Insisting that any gospel will do is the testimony of the natural man who doesn’t care about the glory of God in salvation.

    It is the death of Christ that makes God just in forgiving certain sinners. The question is-how do you know that death was for you? You should NEVER assume that the death was for you until you believe the gospel.

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