John Reisinger, Intolerant of the True Gospel
John, you say that, while Arminians may THINK that their salvation is conditioned on them, they are saved and their salvation is not conditioned on them. After all, you say, you are not “stingy with the love of God”. Does this mean that God loved the elder brother but left him in his legalism?
Since I know that you profess God loves everybody, even those God won’t save, I am sure that you would say that God does love “in some way” that elder brother.But is that elder brother saved?
Must the one who came home from the hog pen confess that the elder brother is his brother? Back in the days when I became an universalist, I said yes: all are brothers. What do you say? I do not ask if you think he was reprobate in the secret counsels of God. Rather I ask,is a legalist converted but still left in his legalism?
Are the “good people” saved also, despite their being deceived about their sins and about the gospel? What do you say? Is the love of God so weak that it cannot save a person and still leave that person an Arminian?
My answer is that the love of God is so powerful that it CONVERTS the sinner. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE OF his turning from sin, but the converted sinner does turn from sin. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE OF his faith in the gospel, but the converted sinner does have faith in the gospel. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE he understands and submits to the righteousness established in Christ’s death for the elect, but the converted sinner will understand and submit to that righteousness.
The converted sinner will believe the gospel BECAUSE OF THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS. What God did at the cross is not merely “potential”. The power of the cross “crucifies” sinners so that they understand that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner. We should not presume that any person who does not know this is our brother or sister.
John, you rightly can and do make this distinction: not because of, but necessary. It will happen, and until it does, then we cannot say that the gospel has converted a man. But you won’t say it when it comes to submitting to effective atonement. Which means you won’t say it when it comes to being a legalist. Because anybody who says that Christ died for everybody but some of them are not saved MUST be looking to the sinner as the difference between saved and lost.
Even if the legalist gives his god or election the “credit” for the difference, he MUST locate that difference in himself and not in what Christ did at the cross.
I understand that you believe that Jesus died only for some. But you think knowing about this death is not necessary. It is the cause, sure; but you don’t think they need to know it’s the cause.
I cannot help thinking of some of my “strict baptist” friends. I do not call them “hypers” (I like to be more specific) but they say that people can be converted without hearing the gospel. They say that the infant John the Baptist was, and that people can be converted “directly” without the message of the cross. So they think it doesn’t matter if the elect hear the true gospel or the Arminian gospel or any gospel.
I reject this. I know that the reprobate will refuse the gospel. I know that the elect must be made alive in regeneration (on account of imputed righteousness) before they will submit to the gospel. But I also know that people need to hear the gospel before they can believe it. (I Peter 1:22-23). To obey the truth, they must hear the truth.
To believe the Word, they must hear the Word. Those who have never heard anything but the Arminian gospel have not yet heard the gospel, and are still lost in their sins.
I know you are not an universalist like I was. You will not say that all men are your brothers. You are very right to focus on the elder brother’s refusal to say that the one who came home was his brother. My question: WERE they brothers? If the elder brother goes on like he is, never repenting of his legalism, is he in the family of God?
Your assumption, suited to your purpose of attacking “these people” who say that Arminians are lost, is that both are brothers. But that is a false assumption. Though Cain and Abel are brothers in the flesh, both creatures of God, made in the image of God, both are not saved. The one who came home is saved; the elder brother is not saved. They ultimately do not have the same home or the same gospel or the same God.
We need to know what the gospel is. And we need to say that those who reject the gospel are condemned already. John 3:17-21 “He who DOES THE TRUTH comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
There is no pleasing God without faith in God’s gospel. We “do the truth” only when we confess that salvation is not caused by our deeds but “done in God”. The “good works” of Christians not “good works” unless the sinner has understood that his salvation is conditioned on what God did at the cross and not on these works. Faith must exclude itself as the condition of salvation, or it is not faith in the gospel and is not pleasing to God.
Workers must exclude works as the condition of salvation, or the people who do them are elder brothers, not yet in the family of God, but still lost in their sins. Elder brothers do not “do the truth”. They can talk much of their works, but they will not bring these works to the light of the true gospel, for the true gospel would say that their works were not acceptable.