Faith that I have Been Justified, or Faith as a Lost Person Needing Justification?
Faith in the gospel, being the immediate result of imputation, is involved in justification, and it needs to be there or the person is not yet justified. 2. This leads to a question: faith in what? Is it faith that the righteousness has been imputed to me? NO. Since faith is a result (not a cause or condition) of the imputation, that cannot be.
If you wait to believe the gospel until you know that you have been justified, you will never believe the gospel. So this is where the “in order to be” comes in.
I know that nobody is justified unless they believe the gospel, I also know that believing the gospel is NOT the cause or condition of justification, therefore I know that I am not believing the gospel yet, and that I am not yet justified, so I believe the gospel.
I believe in what? Not in my believing. And yet some who teach eternal justification (Gill) say that, as long as I explain it this way, believing cannot help being the condition, and my assurance will be partly in my believing.
In my experience it’s the eternal justifications folks who lack assurance. They only wish they knew if Jesus died for them. Though they can talk about the elect in general, they seem to never know if it’s true for them. But the Bible does NOT teach the idea of a justification for all the elect at the same time..
1. Assurance involves knowing that you have believed the gospel.
2. Lots of “experimental Calvinists” don’t think you can know—the evidence of works is never in yet and so they are always on probation.
We know if we don’t believe and we know if we do believe. When I was “lost Calvinist”, it wasn’t a matter of finding out I was not sincere or that I did not really believe. I learned a different gospel. I believed in a different God.