Archive for April 2011

Free Will? A Mean Doctrine Believed by Mean People

April 28, 2011

Some who agree that the Gospel shows that the cause of salvation is the effectual definite death of Christ do not preach this Gospel as they do not preach Christ and His death so as to expose all that people highly esteem.

The meaning and significance of Christ and His death, revealed in the Gospel, is the only thing that will expose to our minds the sin that deceives us. God uses the gospel to show us the pride that motivates us to try to establish our self-righteousness. John 3:19-20.

Without the Gospel, no lost sinner will ever come to faith in Christ and repent of dead works and idolatry .Rom. 10:9-17.

Many people have faith in a counterfeit Christ. They have faith in their faith. How can this be exposed so that they should not remain deceived and lost? Only through the Gospel preached, heard, and understood.

WE DO NOT NEED TO HEAR ANYTHING WITHOUT THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL!

It is true that the Bible is a book with many topics. It contains doctrine, history, ethics, poetry, letters, etc., but the whole Bible is written in light of the great salvation God has provided for the elect by Christ. The whole Old Testament is written in light of God’s promise to send the Messiah to establish that righteousness that would entitle all who believe the Gospel to the whole inheritance of eternal life.

The whole Nnw Testament is written in light of the Christ who has come and fulfilled that righteousness by His obedience to death. If we remove this light, then the Bible is no better than any other religious history or book of ethics, poetry and letters.

Faith is believing God’s testimony in the Gospel. Ephesians. 2:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. Apart from the Gospel, we talk more about “faith alone” than we do about the object of faith.

True Godly repentance begins when we see that all our previous efforts to attain or maintain any part of salvation was no more than dead works, fruit unto death, evil deeds. The only way we could see this is by the Gospel. Apart from the Gospel all repentance is legal repentance! We need instruction in Godly sorrow over sin. 2 Cor. 7:9-10.

Godly love causes us to speak peace to those who believe the gospel as we desire their fellowship. Godly love causes us not speak peace to those with different false gospels as we pray for their salvation.

Without the Gospel, all judgment concerning saved and
lost, concerning spiritual matters is self-righteous judgment based on
ignorance and speculation 1 Cor. 2:13ff.

All acceptable obedience and good works are motivated by the certainty of salvation and final glory, of our being
fully entitled to the whole inheritance of eternal life, of our being completely qualified and fit to Worship god, all based on the obedient death of Christ. Without the Gospel, all attempts at obedience and works are no more than dead works, fruit unto death.John 3:21; Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 10:17-24.

Bill Parker

The Immutability of God, and The Transition from Wrath to Favor, by David Bishop

April 27, 2011

I deny the idea that God is never angry with His elect. I deny the concept of two wraths – in the sense that there is one wrath in which God is angry with the non-elect, and then another kind of wrath in which God is not ever angry with His elect.

From what I can tell, Scripture affirms only one kind of wrath, in the sense of God being angry with sin. Of course, anybody who believes the Bible agrees that God’s anger at the non-elect. I Thessalonians 1: 16–God’s wrath has come upon them completely”.

But I also deny the view that God is never angry with His elect.
Scripture never defines the elect as being under God’s hatred, but it does indeed define the elect as being under God’s anger prior to justification. Anger and hatred are two different things, and I don’t think we should confuse the two.

Psalm 7:11 “God is angry with the wicked everyday.”

Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 5:6 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Romans 5:18 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification for all men.”

I know some who believe Jesus died only for His elect, but then who deny God is angry with His elect prior to justification. But Romans 5:6 defines the elect as ungodly (speaking prior to justification). If God is not angry with the ungodly, then God is not holy. How can the elect be ungodly, but then God not be angry with them?

Ephesians 2:3 says, “and were by nature children of wrath, LIKE THE REST OF MANKIND.”

Some believe that if God were ever angry with the elect, then it would be proof that God is not immutable, that He in fact changes.The immutable will of God doesn’t mean God’s decrees had no change built into it. What I mean is, His decree to redeem His elect included the fact that He would be angry with His elect in time, before He justified them. If He had never been angry with His elect, or if He continues to be angry with His elect after He justifies them, then we would have to say that God’s character changes.

But God’s character does not change. When an elect person is imputed with the righteousness of Christ, God declares that person righteous. When an elect person has not yet been imputed with righteousness, God declares that person ungodly and condemned. God is no respecter of persons.

No Five Points, No Gospel, But Sometimes Agreeing with the Five Points is Like False Circumcision

April 26, 2011

Arminian: “Is agreeing with five points of Calvinism a second work of grace? Will that decision add to the finished work of Christ?”

mark: Let me be the first to say that one can agree with the five points of Calvinism and still be lost. Let me say second that if you agree with any of the five Arminian points, then you still believe a false gospel. The true gospel stands in antithesis to all five points argued by the Arminians. You don’t need to know what Arminians are, but you do need to know the gospel which contradicts any idea that Jesus died for all sinners.

Let me give you an analogy: “uncircumcision is also nothing”. If you let yourself be circumcised, then you are under the curse of the law. How can Paul say that and then also say that “uncircumcision is nothing”?

Faith in the true gospel, necessary as it is, is not the basis of salvation. The death and resurrection of Christ alone is the only basis of salvation, and the reason it is necessary not to be circumcised (or believe in universal atonement) is that God’s gospel excludes the sinner (and her false circumcision or her false faith) from being the difference in salvation.

Some people read Gal 3 (not by works but by faith) and respond: I get it, so I will do it right from now on, using faith instead of works. But they still haven’t got it! They still think they are doing it.

Calvinists who think of their agreeing with the five points as the result of their study and hard work don’t really understand and believe what the gospel teaches about effectual calling. Some of these tolerant folks even deny that election, definite atonement, and effectual calling are part of the gospel. They just think of these truths as something which makes the gospel effective, and that many who believe the Bible don’t know about these things, and even deny these things.

The “like precious faith” of the elect is obtained as a result of the righteousness of Christ imputed (II Peter 1:1) and that faith knows that the cross alone (effective atonement) is true and that an universal extent contradicts the revealed intent and nature of Christ’s death.

But the reason the elect know that as the power of the gospel itself, and not because of their superior thinking ability.

I Cor 1:18 “for the message of the cross is nonsense to those who are
perishing, but IT (the message of the cross itself, not something extra
that makes the message work) IS the power of God.”

Christ’s Death for His Covenant People PLUS MY NEW HEART?

April 25, 2011

Josh Moody writes: “Nobody comes along and says that you don’t need faith. They just say it’s not faith alone. But if it’s not faith alone, then it is faith plus law; and if it is by law, then it is no longer by promise; then it is no longer by faith. The message of faith and works is really a message of work; it is simply legalism” (p157, No other Gospel)

Let me say something different. Nobody comes along and says that Jesus didn’t need to die. They just leave out the word election. They say that Jesus died for everybody but that it doesn’t work unless the Spirit causes you to consent to it.

Some of them also say that, even if you are not elect and even if the Spirit doesn’t cause you to consent to it, Jesus loves you and died for you and offers to save you, but His death didn’t take away your guilt and it doesn’t work, because you didn’t have faith in it.

But if Jesus died for everybody, then it is that death PLUS your “getting a new heart” so that you want to “accept it”, and if the difference of the new covenant is your new heart, then the promise is not about Christ alone or His death alone; and if it is about your heart being changed (so that grace is not cheap and Jesus is Lord), then salvation is not by Christ’s death.

The message of His death plus your new heart is really at the end a message about your new heart.

And even if Arminians can’t agree with Calvinists about the heart being changed before faith, or about this heart change being purchased for the elect by Christ, then they can still all unite in faith that the Jesus who died for everybody and the Jesus who died only for those who are saved are one and the same Jesus.

Because in the end, it’s not the death that matters. It’s our new hearts and we can see the results of that in the way we live!

God “Allows” Bad Stuff, Tim Keller Tells us, But Loves Everybody

April 23, 2011

Tim Keller— “We are an interfaith gathering today, and I freely acknowledge that every faith has great resources for dealing with suffering and injustice in the world. …Christians believe that in Jesus, God’s Son, divinity became vulnerable to andinvolved in suffering and death. He didn’t come as a general or emperor; he came as a carpenter…..True, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he doesn’t care. God so loved us and hates suffering that he was willing to come down and get involved in it. And therefore the cross is an incredibly empowering hint. It’s only a hint, but F U grasp it, it can transform you. It can give you strength. ”

http://discover.redeemer.com/docs/service_of_remembrance.pdf

Keller is a PCA clergyman who has signed on to the Westminster Confession which explains in its chapter 3, first paragraph: “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will freely ordain whatever comes to pass.” This is not “allowing”.

Paragraph three of the confession chapter 3: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death.”

For the manifestation of His glory—that is how the Bible itself explains it. Romans 9:13 declares “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Romans 9:22 tells the truth: “God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory.”

The Bible was written to those who believe the Christian gospel (not the message of tolerance and loves everybody), so when Bible readers see a “loves us”, they need to ask the question Tonto asked the Lone Ranger: “who’s the us?”

According to the Bible, God does not love all sinners, and that love is never conditioned on the sinner. God has ordained evil things to happen to both the non-elect and the elect, but the promise of Romans 8:28 is that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”

Union is Not the Indwelling Nature, and “Made Sin” Was Never the Inward Nature

April 22, 2011

In Christ, there is true transfer, and this transfer is not by infusion or impartation. The elect transfer from a condemned state to a justified state by the legal transfer of imputation. They are no longer part of the “old man”; they are now part of the “new man”.

To get to the real question in the debate about impartation v imputation, we need to ask: what is transferred? Is guilt transferred to Christ, or is a corrupt “old nature” also transferred to Christ? (and if so, which comes first, and why does the second follow?)

I have answered this question in this blog many times. Our hope is not ultimately a “new nature” which still leaves us sinners, along with an “old nature”. Our hope as sinners is that we be counted righteous on the basis of imputation, and thus legally constituted (declared) as righteous, in a new legal state.

But we need to ask: what is transferred? The strict baptists (along with Ella and Fortner) who define “union” as the indwelling, need to be asked if the merit of Christ’s death is legally transferred to the elect. If so, what does that mean, and why does it matter, if the more basic question is not the transfer of guilt or merit? If Christ is “made sin” by “more than” guilt-transfer, then is it the indwelling and the new nature, and not the merits of Christ’s death, which finally matter?

We need get away from the idea that “union with Christ” is about regeneration. As long as our categories for judging saved and lost are “regenerate” and “unregenerate”, we will be assuming (even if we don’t define it at all) that “union” means regeneration and that union/regeneration precedes justification.

God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect justifies them. There is union by election from before the ages, but in our lifetimes, nothing is more fundamental than justification by God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

1. We need to define what we mean by “regeneration”. Since the Bible word is “new birth”, we need to think about this new birth in terms of “effectual calling” by the power of the Holy Spirit with the word of the gospel. We need to get away from the idea that “regeneration” is a “change in substance or nature” and then a time gap between that and the hearing of the gospel.

2. We need to define “in Christ” in terms of justification. Although the Bible does teach that the sheep are always in Christ by election, Romans 16 teaches that some of the sheep are in Christ before other of the sheep. This change is not a first of all a change of regeneration or birth but legally a change of state before God. To be in Christ in this way is to be justified.

Union with Christ is legal solidarity with Christ and His work and His benefits. As a result of this legal change, the sheep are born again and believe the gospel, but “union” does not precede justification, except “union by election”.

3. God justifies the ungodly. God does not justify because of Christ’s indwelling (or the gift of faith). God does not justify because God knows that God is going to indwell and change the person. Christ indwells the person because God has justified the person.

A change from a belief in the false gospel to the true gospel is evidence of God’s imputation, but it is never the condition or the reason for God justifying.
Romans 6:17 “But thanks be to God, that you were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were called…”

Roman 6:20 “When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?”

As long we define union as indwelling and judge saved and lost by regeneration, we will be tempted to ignore the gospel of justification and judge by morality and immorality.

Romans 6 describes two legal states, one of which is “free from righteousness”. We tend to judge people (even ourselves) to be saved on the evidence of morality. But God sees that morality as something to be ashamed of, when those moral people are still in their sins, still not yet justified.

Romans 6 defines the “in Christ” in terms of legally being placed into the death of Christ. Instead of a “sacrament” which makes you a participant in Christ ( understood by some as “participating” even in the deity of God!), our hope as the justified is that God has counted the death of Christ as our death.

I am not denying Christ’s indwelling or the absolute necessity for it. I am only saying that this indwelling is not “union with Christ”. This indwelling is not the “new man”. The “new creation” has to do with a change in legal state, and not first with a change of substance or nature so that Christ can indwell our hearts.

II Corinthians 5:14 “one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sakes died and was raised. From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh (judging by morality or immorality or by other non-gospel standards)….If anyone is in Christ, there is a NEW CREATION. The old has passed; the new has come.”

“Those who live” means first of all those who are justified. The category of “we died” is not about inwardness but about an imputed legal reality. So also the category of “those who live” is not about an inward change but about an imputed reality, legal life because of justification.

Christ is here indwelling, yes, but also, Christ is not here, not yet, and we believe and obey and hope, waiting for the day when Christ will be here. He is not now coming down from heaven as He will someday, and we are not now going to heaven.

So how then are we in Christ? We are in Christ legally. The old has passed. The legal verdict has already been declared. One day, our resurrection, will be the visible evidence of that verdict.

So Do You Have To Prepare the Lost by First Telling them About Arminians?

April 20, 2011

I am not asking that evangelists explain to the lost what
Arminianism is. Rather, I am asking us to not proclaim an Arminian gospel.

The Bible talks about “us” and “our” sins, but it never sounds Arminan or resorts to an Arminian logic. Let us try to do the same thing.

When we tell people that God saves “as many as” (whosoever) has faith in Jesus, let us make sure that we tell them for whom Jesus died. Let’s NOT merely say: “there is no other qualification, no other work, no other standard to be met.” (p126). Faith is not what makes Christ’s death effective for us: the Holy Spirit is not the One who makes the atonement work.

Faith is not a qualification, but a result of Christ’s death, a benefit of Christ’s righteousness. (II Peter 1:1) It is true to say that “without trust we will know no benefit through his death” (p152), but it not the whole truth, and it becomes a lie when we do not rule out he idea that trust is what makes the death work.

And we cannot exclude trust as what makes the death work, unless we teach that trust is a result given to the elect as a result of Christ’s death for the elect.

God has a non-elect. My worry is not that some of the non-elect will be saved. But neither should these pastors worry that the elect will not be saved if they told the truth that God has a non-elect and that God does not love all sinners.

Certainly God commands in God’s law what God has not ordained to happen. But God’s gospel does not include any idea that God “wants” things to happen that will not happen.

At this point you can bring out Spurgeon and the word “offer” and accuse me of letting predestination rule over the gospel. But in the gospel in which God is both just and justifier, the Lord Jesus Christ has already brought in a righteousness by which all those God loves will be justified.

God does not count faith as righteousness. It is the object of faith, Christ in his glorious person and effective death, who is alone the divine righteousness of the elect.