“Reformed” Versions of the False Gospel–None are Justified who Do Not Yet Believe the True Gospel
Faith in the gospel of the Lord Jesus is not the cause or condition of justification. I have read discussions about distinctions between conditions, where it is explained that faith is an “instrumental” condition. However a mainline term that may be, I don’t agree with that explanation of faith.
My problem is not that the traditional “instrumental” language can be misunderstood. Any explanation of faith’s necessity that I give can also be misunderstood. And I do believe that faith in the true gospel (which includes “for the elect alone”) is necessary evidence that a person has passed from a state of condemnation to a state of justification. All who are gospel believers are justified, none are justified who are not gospel believers. None are born again who are not gospel believers, none are justified who are not born again
This faith in the true gospel is not a knowledge that a person has been justified all along, or assurance that a person has been justified from the time of the cross or before a person was born. This faith in the gospel, which includes understanding of the gospel, is the result of being born again, which is the result of being imputed by God with the merits of Christ’s death. God’s legal imputation, the Holy Spirit’s work in us, our faith, God’s declaration that we are justified—all these blessings happen at the same time, and not from before the ages began (also not at the same time when Christ died and rose)
In the false gospel which tells all sinners that Christ died for them, faith is misunderstood as making the difference between saved and lost. Even in cases where the fine print tells you that this making-the- difference faith is a result of predestination and regeneration, the credit for salvation does not go to Christ. The credit may go to the Holy Spirit or to predestination, but it cannot go to Christ, if Christ died for all sinners but only some sinners are saved.
In the fine print, in “Reformed” versions of the false gospel, glory may go to God for predestinating the Holy Spirit to give us faith. But in “Reformed” versions of the false gospel it is no longer Christ’s death which saves, if it is taught that Christ died for all sinners, but that some of these sinners are lost. Though they may talk of Scripture alone, the “Reformed” false teachers end up with a canon within a canon, where what the Scripture says about the elect in Christ and therefore being elect in His death becomes segregated out from the gospel and thus unspoken and denied.
Instead of saying that Christ died only for the elect and not for the non-elect, “Reformed” versions of the false gospel leave out the word election and say that Christ died only for believers. But this is teaching that it is faith which makes the ultimate difference and not Christ.
If they want to keep the “thoroughly reformed” happy, “Reformed” versions of the false gospel sometimes say that Christ died for his “covenant” people, but then later they will make it clear that this “covenant” is conditional and that “his people” are the believers, so these “Reformed” versions of the false gospel still bring everything back to our believing.