Is Salvation Now Conditioned on the Sinner’s Faith?

1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3. Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4. Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
( Gal 3:1-5)

“Before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth as crucified…” (3:1b)

Christ has not been preached unless the cross has been preached. And the cross has not been preached unless particular redemption and imputation have been preached. You can say “blood, blood, blood”, but still not know Christ.

Most of those who did the many bloody animal sacrifices did not receive Christ as crucified. The Arminians who say that Christ died for those who will perish do not believe in Christ and His precious blood.

To know Christ, you must know that God requires a righteousness that sinners cannot produce and that God in Christ established for the elect a righteousness that demands salvation for the elect. The law demands death, even the death of One who was never a sinner, but who was imputed with the sins of the elect.

There are only two kinds of people in the world -those whose work will be accepted because they were not working to get God’s blessing, and then those whose works (and persons) will be condemned because their “good deeds” were wicked attempts to establish their own righteousness.

Those who killed Christ thought they could do God some service. John 16:1-3. If you think you can begin, help or complete your righteousness by your good deeds, then you are as guilty and corrupt as those who killed Christ.

“Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law?” (3:2)

We receive the Spirit by the “hearing of faith”. We do not receive the Spirit by believing a lie. When Arminians lie about God and about sin and about righteousness, the Spirit does not use those lies to bring people to life. The Spirit uses the word of truth.

Eph 1:12: “in Him, you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation…” (see also Romans 6:17, I Thess 2;12-13, II Thess 2;12-13; I Peter 1:22-23; James 1:18).

To judge by the flesh is to judge by some other standard. To judge by the gospel is to examine if we and others confess and agree with God’s testimony.

It is the Spirit who convicts us that God requires a righteousness that we cannot produce. John 16:8-13. It is the Spirit who takes away our confidence in the flesh so that we have NO confidence that we ever did or ever will do anything (even with God’s help) to make ourselves better than anybody else. Phil 3:3. The only reason we are different from others before God is that Christ died for us and not for others.

It is the Spirit who causes us to confess the true Christ and the true gospel. I Cor 1:23-24 Unless we are called by the Spirit we will consider this Christ crucified before us to be foolishness.

I Cor 2:11-13: “No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”

Not the spirit that says Christ died for everybody and now it depends on us but the Spirit who is from God, so that we know the things that have freely been given to us by God.

The righteousness is a free gift. If we say that the accepting of the free gift is something different from the free gift, and that this accepting is “MINE” and what I did (with God’s grace) to be saved, then we may call that “salvation by faith” but what we call “faith” is really still self-righteousness.

“I am a good chooser. And the reason for that is I am a good wanter. AndI want what’s right ( “of course sometimes I sin but I don’t want to and don’t really choose to and God is gracious and will overlook it…”) because I have a heart that is better than that of others…”

NO! We were not saved by being in the right place at the right time and reading the right book or tract. If we are saved, it was a SUPERNATURAL WORK OF GOD. So no excuses like ” don’t blame me for not knowing the gospel when I got saved”.

What the Spirit produces is repentance to see that our “mistakes about the gospel” were motivated by our wicked hearts that wanted to condition salvation on ourselves instead of TOTALLY on the righteousness established by Christ for the elect.

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (3:3)

The typical Calvinist thinks that people can begin as Christian in error and then (maybe as an option) MOVE TO THE TRUTH. But here we have a different case: people who begin with the truth (Paul’s’ preaching of the gospel, Romans 1:16-17-faith is no part of the righteousness, circumcision is no part of the righteousness), but who are now in danger of being bewitched by error.

Let me make two exhortations here:

1. Let us examine our calling. Is it really true that you can be saved by believing a lie? Is it really true that God the Spirit teaches the sheep that Jesus died for everybody but that they are themselves the condition of salvation? Is it really the Spirit that teaches people that Jesus waits for their decision?

2. For those of us who are convinced that we do believe the true gospel, why do we fellowship with and hear the preaching of those who do not know the gospel? Why do we think we will grow by listening to a false gospel? Why do we think that we can learn something from a false gospel about how to raise our children and love our wives?

Is it because we have confidence in ourselves that WE would never be bewitched, that now we are too smart for the devil to trick? do we worry about the influence on our children, but have no concern for the influence of Arminian evangelicalism (salvation by faith, not by righteousness) on ourselves?

“Have ye suffered so many things in vain?” (3:4)

Why do we cry peace to the Arminians and to others who lie about God and sin? Because we want them to be partial to us! if we want their respect, we will have to respect them. But Christ had no respect for their opinion, but total and absolute respect for the honor of God. If we had that same kind of respect for God, we would not sit still for Arminian lies, and we would be hated the way Christ was.

Christ suffered because he was a “light” who exposed “good deeds” as being “evil deeds”. John 3:18-20. People hated Christ because Christ told them that God required a righteousness they could not produce: He had no respect for what they produced. They would have respected Him as Messiah if only He had been partial to their good deeds. But He was not.

Used to be a drug addict? So what: if you don’t believe the gospel, you will die in your sins. But I believe the Bible and in a literal second coming. So what? if you don’t believe the gospel, you will die in your sins.

John 7: 7: “The world” HATES me,

John 7:7 “they hate me because I testify of the world that its works are evil.” Its good works are evil. John 7:24 “Do not judge by outward appearances, but judge with righteous judgment.” Judge yourself and others by knowing that God requires a perfect righteousness and that only those who submit to the gospel have that perfect righteousness.

Why are the Galatians tempted by the legalists? Because if they go along with their lies, they will be respected, and THEY WILL NOT SUFFER PERSECUTION FROM THEM. See Gal 6:12.

To say that cross is the only difference is to suffer; to add on to the cross will cause the suffering to go away.

To say that those who add on are under the curse (as Paul says) is to make lots of enemies: it will not flatter the people who pay your salary if you tell them that paying your salary does not make them any better before God …

II Tim 1:8: “Do not be ashamed…”,
Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed…”

Any time people can preach grace as that which changes you to enable you to produce some of the righteousness that God requires then they continue hating the gospel of imputation in which the CROSS IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE.

Instead of glorying in the cross (gal 6:14), they are ashamed to say that Christ died only for the elect. Instead, they talk in code language (died for those who would believe) so they can stay at peace with Arminians who buy books and pay salaries.

This not only encourages self-righteousness but is self-righteous, because it fails to come against our own flesh and temptations to be some of the sufficiency and to contribute something and to do something.

Gal 3:4: You “suffered so many things”, but now you don’t want to keep suffering…

II Tim 1:8: “do not be ashamed of the TESTIMONY OF OUR LORD…but share with me in the AFFLICTIONS OF THE GOSPEL“

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3 Comments on “Is Salvation Now Conditioned on the Sinner’s Faith?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Take a few minutes to read Gal 2:16, 3:22; Romans
    3:22,26; Phil 3:9; Ephesians 3:12. Often in key gospel texts, like Romans 3 and 4, faith refers to an individual elect person hearing, understanding, and believing the gospel.

    Here’s the question. Is Christ the subject or object of faith? The view I oppose says we should read all these verses as saying, “Christ’s
    faith.” Some of the Reformed people who say this remind us that God gives us faith, that God is the source of faith. Of course I agree that faith is God’s gift to the elect. But Christ does not believe for us.

    Christ makes us both able and willing to believe the gospel so that we do believe the gospel. Christ indwelling in us does not believe, and so I
    disagree with Primitive Baptists who deny that the elect need to hear or understand or believe the gospel.

    But many who agree with me that the elect need to believe the gospel still insist that “faith” in these texts means “Christ’s faith”, either in the sense that He is the source of my faith, or in the sense of Christ Himself believing. But no other texts refer to the act of Christ
    believing, unless these texts do.

    James 2:1 tells us, “show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” I think that Christ is the object of faith, and that our faith is in/toward Christ and not toward His act of believing.

    Romans 3:3 does refer to God’s faithfulness. “Does their unfaithfulness nullify the faithfulness of God? The gospel is about Christ’s death as
    that which satisfies God’s justice, and the gospel reveals the righteousness that God’s justice demands. Justice demands death because of the elect’s sins imputed to Christ. To believe that gospel promise is to believe in that death. We can’t have a gospel which speaks generically about
    God’s faithfulness without talking about the death.

    Romans 3:25,26. God put forward Christ as a propitiation by his blood to show God’s righteousness, to be received by faith. (Most of) my friends who would read Rom 3:22 as teaching the faith of Christ will agree that the receiving here is the human act of believing.

    Yes, God is faithful to His law and to His righteousness, and therefore just, but also God is the justifier not of all sinners, but only of those sinners who have faith in Christ and His propitiation. This language no more makes faith the condition of salvation than does John 3:16. God does not love everybody but only the elect, and the elect are identified as those who believe the gospel.

    D. A. Carson is wrong on John 3:16 because world does not mean everybody, and God does not love everybody. There is no reason not to talk about election in John 3 or Romans 3, but also there is no reason not to talk about “as many as” believe the gospel.

    Is faith a work?
    Some Reformed people, to avoid making faith a condition of salvation, explain that the continual faith in the gospel by the elect is
    a work. They do this in order to prove that the elect are saved not by believing but by the work of Christ. For example, Harold Camping quotes John 6:28-28, “ What shall we do to do the works of God? “ Jesus answered and said unto them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him whom He has sent.” Then he quotes Phil 2:13, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

    Then Camping goes to James about faith working and then says this proves that our human act of believing is no part of salvation. Then he goes to the to claim that it’s Christ’s faith that saves. The logic is clear. The elect are saved by Christ’s work. Christ’s faith is Christ’s work.

    Besides disagreeing with him about the ‘faith of Christ”, I deny that faith is a work. When Christ in John 6 talks about faith, He is claiming
    to be the fulfillment of God’s gospel promise to Abraham. Law gave Abraham conditions about circumcision and the possession of the land, but there was a gospel about an offspring of Abraham being believers. The human act of believing is one of God’s blessings, given in Christ.

    II Peter 1;1,“ To those who have obtained faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savour Jesus Christ.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Harold Senkbeil, “In its most blatant form heresy claims that we must place our own good works into the balance to give us a favorable standing before God. Its subtle form seems more attractive. God does all the work in justification, but we finish the work in our sanctification.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Did you receive the Holy Spirit by being a covenant child or by hearing with faith? Having been justified by Christ’s death, are you not yet sanctified by Christ’s death but still now being sanctified by works of faith?

    For as many of you as were imputed by God into Christ’s death have put on Christ. There is neither covenant child nor pagan child , there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Even if you are Abraham’s child, you are not Abraham’s child, unless God placed you into Christ’s death

    Acts 15: Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them,having cleansed their hearts by faith.

    Galatians 3:2 Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith

    question—— If faith cleanses our hearts to receive the Spirit, how did we get faith and a clean heart without the Spirit?

    answer—- Galatians 4: 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”


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