Archive for January 2016

Since God is Sovereign, Does It Even Matter how precise you are about the Gospel?

January 30, 2016

Tolerant Calvinists i tell us that, while Arminians may THINK that their salvation is conditioned on them, those Arminians are still saved and that this their salvation is not conditioned on them. After all, they say, they are not “stingy with the love of God”.

Does this mean that God loved the elder brother in spite of his legalism? Since most of those tolerant Calvinists claim that God has an universal “non-saving love” for all sinners, I am sure they would say that God does love “in some way” that elder brother.

But is that elder brother justified before God? 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 the elder brother was non-elect in the secret counsels of God. Rather I ask—is a legalist already regenerate and justified while still left in his legalism? Are “good sincere people” saved also, despite their being deceived about their sins and about the gospel?

Is the love of God so weak that it cannot save a person who remains a legalist? In spite of his legalism? Is the love of God so weak that it cannot save a person who remains an Arminian? In spite of his Arminianism?

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 from the false or BECAUSE OF his faith in the true gospel, but the sinner CONVERTED BY GOD does have faith in the gospel. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE he understands and submits to the righteousness obtained by 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. Romans 8:10– the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” What God did at the cross is not merely “potential”. The power of true doctrine cross is used by the Holy Spirit to “crucify” sinners so that they understand that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner. We should not presume that any man who does not know this is our brother.

But tolerant Calvinists won’t say this when it comes to submitting to effective atonement. Sometimes some of them suggest it when it comes to those “who only walked the aisles” But they won’t say it about it legalists. And all Arminians are legalists.

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 what he thinks his god is doing 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 that it’s the cause.

Tolerant Calvinists like to sneer at “hyper_Calvinists” un-named and un-defined) but in effect they agree with the Primitive Baptists that people can be converted without hearing the gospel. Either that, or these tolerant Calvinists think that Christ died for you and everybody” is still the gospel.

They say 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 non-elect 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.

We are not liberals. We know that not all men are our brothers. It is good and necessary 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?

The tolerant Calvinist assumption, adapted to their purpose of being intolerant and attacking “these people” who say that Arminians are lost, is that both brothers in the parable are brothers in Christ, not only in the flesh. 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, not both were justified before God. The one who came home was justified; the elder brother is still in condemnation. 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 are necessary but they are 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 they are not ‘good works” and 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.

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/10/justification-by-precision-alo.php

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No One Time Justification? The Efficacy of Water

January 21, 2016

Alastair Roberts –For Baptists the grace signified in water baptism is typically understood to be grace already received: For Baptists, water baptism is predominantly retrospective, looking back to a salvation largely completed.

http://www.reformation21.org/articles/infant-baptism-and-the-when-of-baptismal-grace.php#sthash.SNY6T0Ud.dpuf

mark—So Roberts thinks that there is a “not yet aspect to justification” not only for infants but for all of us, because he agrees with the Lutherans that God’s justification happens again every day, and the “old man” has to pass from death to life over and over again, and that what causes this is the continuing “efficacy of water baptism”

Roberts—“The force of the grace of adoption summons thee adopted to live out of that grace and not to turn their backs on it. Adoption is never only a completed event of the past, but is an enduring reality enjoyed by those who continue to receive it. Adoption is much less about its initial reception than it is about its lifelong reception. The faith water baptism calls for is not present faith so much as future faith.”

Roberts—-“The magisterial Reformers presented a higher and more efficacious doctrine of water baptism than their Roman Catholic interlocutors.”

Roberts–“The Canons of Trent reveal that, the grace of water baptism being easily forfeited by sinners who failed to persevere in it, it was necessary to supplement its grace with that of another sacrament–penance. The result was the diminishment of water baptismal grace within the sacramental economy. Beyond giving an initial impetus, water baptism was swiftly substituted for by other sources of grace.”

mark—Roberts is saying that the Reformed are not like that, not just looking for the water to wipe out original sin, but believing that the water will continue to have “efficacy”. But this “efficacy” of water will be conditioned on the sinner, not so much on the sinner not sinning, but on the sinner continuing to believe as a condition of remaining in the covenant.

Roberts—“The grace water baptism signifies is neither chiefly a grace already received nor merely a grace limited to the time immediately following the reception of the sacrament.”

Roberts—Tertullian argues that the delay of water baptism should be preferred, especially in the case of young children and the unmarried, who are particularly vulnerable to temptation and falling from water baptismal grace.

mark—But it is not yet quite politically correct in some Presbyterian denominations to talk about “being justified every day” or the “not yet aspect of justification” so often people who believe in that refer to “salvation” or “sanctification” as being the “not yet”. Roberts talks about “adoption”

Roberts—“Martin Luther’s resistance to the ‘linear model’ of the Christian life, with an one time conversion followed by progress beyond that point. Luther maintained that we never move beyond the point of water baptism. . Conversion is an ongoing reality in the Christian life, a continual act of going back to water baptism as the beginning. The efficacy of water baptism day after day makes death and resurrection a reality that has not yet been fully accomplished IN US.”

Roberts–“The magisterial Reformed were concerned to emphasize that the grace of water baptism is the grace of a promissory seal, with an efficacy that extends throughout our lives. ”

Roberts—“The force of the grace of adoption summons thee adopted to live out of that grace and not to turn their backs on it. Adoption is never only a completed event of the past, but is an enduring reality enjoyed by those who continue to receive it. Adoption is much less about its initial reception than it is about its lifelong reception. The faith water baptism calls for is not present faith so much as future faith.”

mark—But the “efficacy” of the water continues to depend on the condition of faith. And this means that ‘effectual grace” can later turn into “:effectual curse”. No antinomian “eternal security” here.

Not only is the efficacy of the death of Christ distributed by means of the efficacy of water baptism but the efficacy of water baptism continues to be dependent on the object of your faith, but the object of your faith is your continuing faith, which you believe is not totally alone, which faith you believe continually exists in you along with your hating sin and loving God (enough).

Meredith Kline–The newness of the New Covenant does not consist in a reduction of the Covenant of Redemption to the principle of election and guaranteed blessing. Its law character is seen in this, too, that it continues to be a covenant with dual sanctions….There is no reason to regard Jeremiah’s description of the New Covenant as a comprehensive analysis or to exclude the curse sanction from a place in New Covenant administration.”

Mike Horton—”To be claimed by water baptism as part of God’s holy field comes with THREATS as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. HOW CAN THEY FALL UNDER THE CURSES OF A COVENANT TO WHICH THEY DID NOT BELONG? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet the instrumental A condition is that they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator.”

Jonathan Edwards: “We are really saved by perseverance…the perseverance which belongs to faith is one thing that is really a fundamental ground of the congruity THAT FAITH GIVES TO salvation…For, though a sinner is justified in his first act of faith, yet even then, in that act of justification, God has respect to perseverance as being implied in the first act.”

Mark asks– How could we possibly give thanks, when the future hangs in the balance and depends on our future acts of faith?

John Piper—”The Bible rarely, if ever, motivates Christian living with gratitude…Could it be that gratitude for bygone grace has been pressed to serve as the power for holiness, which only faith in future grace was designed to perform?… some popular notions of grace are so skewed and so pervasive that certain biblical teachings are almost impossible to communicate. For example, the biblical concept of unmerited, conditional grace is nearly unintelligible to Christians who assume that unconditionality is the essence of all grace.”

mark—Piper’s Future Grace teaches works not only as evidence for us and other people but works as evidence for God

Piper—“How then can I say that the judgment of believers will not only be the public declaration of our differing rewards in the kingdom of God, according to our deeds, but will also be the public declaration of our salvation – our entering the kingdom – according to our deeds? The answer is that our deeds will be the public evidence brought forth in Christ’s courtroom to demonstrate that our faith is real. And our deeds will be the public evidence brought fourth to demonstrate the varying measures of our obedience of faith. In other words, salvation is by grace through faith, and rewards are by grace through faith, but the evidence of invisible faith in the judgment hall of Christ will be a transformed life.” (Future Grace, p 364)

Several times Paul listed certain kinds of deeds and said, “those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In other words, when these deeds are exposed at the judgment as a person’s way of life, they will be the evidence that their faith is dead and he will not be saved. As James said, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). That is what will be shown at the judgment. (Future Grace, p 366)

http://oldlife.org/2014/09/gratitude-basis-obedience/

http://www.meredithkline.com/klines-works/by-oath-consigned/

Meredith Kline—By circumcision, the sign of the consecratory oath of the Abrahamic Covenant, a man confessed himself to be under the juridical authority of Yahweb and consigned himself to the ordeal of his Lord’s judgment for the final verdict on his life. The sign of circumcision thus pointed to the eschatological judicial ordeal with its awful sanctions of eternal weal or woe. In the case of a covenant with the fallen sons of Adam, their nature as covenant breakers from their youth would seem to preclude any outcome for the divine ordeal other than condemnation. Yet the very fact that Cod makes a covenant with such subjects reveals that along with justice the principle of redemptive grace is operative here with its totally new and unpredictable possibilities. The covenant is a law covenant but it is a redemptive law covenant.

John Fesko —“Even though we can talk about a distinction between the visible and the invisible, or between the external and internal, why should we have to choose between water and the Spirit (Word, Water and Spirit, p 241, “Baptism as Covenant Judgment)

mark—Most people don’t say “water baptism”, because the Bible does not say “water baptism”, but then most people also add that “baptism” in the Bible is always water and many of the paedobaptists (and some of the “Reformed Baptists”)teach that there is a “sacramental union” between water as the sign and the “efficacy” as the thing signified.

And then almost all of them say that the water baptism of John was about the Holy Spirit, and therefore baptism by Jesus and by the church is about both the water and about the Spirit, but NOT about legal identity with Christ’s atoning death or about justification.

And then they explain there is one gospel only, there is only one church, and therefore the baptism by John is not water only and the baptism by Jesus is not with the Spirit only

And in this way they know that it’s not Jesus who baptized with the Holy Spirit, but rather that the Holy Spirit “baptizes us into Christ” and so we know that water baptism is not about Christ’s death or righteousness but about the Spirit uniting us to Christ’s righteousness .

John Fesko, 322— “It is unnecessary to choose between water baptism and Spirit baptism”

And then Fesko on the same page (322) finds it necessary to conclude (without arguments) that Spirit baptism is not God’s imputation. Fesko also explains that baptism (both water and by the Spirit) is NOT Christ’s giving the Spirit, because the Westminster Confession teaches us that Spirit baptism is the Spirit giving us Christ by uniting us to Christ by faith.

Did Jesus Talk more about Gehenna than He did about the Kingdom from Heaven?

January 18, 2016

http://rightreason.org/2010/did-jesus-preach-hell-more-than-heaven/

Walvoord—All the references to gehenna, except James 3:6, are from the lips of Jesus Christ himself…” [ “The Literal View” in William Crockett (ed.), Four Views on Hell (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 19-20.]

Glenn Peoples—“all the instances” of gehenna, in the Gospels actually amounts to very few. As it is a very Jewish word (a Greek term derived from a Hebrew word referring to the Valley of Hinnom),

Matthew 7:19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Glenn Peoples– I’m inclined to think that it’s not even a reference to the afterlife, but to the false teachers in Judaism who are going to be cut out of the kingdom in a judgement culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem. But – in spite of no obvious indicators in the context – let’s say that it’s a reference to punishment in the afterlife. If that’s what it is, then bear in mind that there’s also teaching here about acceptance in God’s kingdom too—“the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 13:30, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” In verses 44 and 45 Jesus gives a couple more parables of the kingdom of heaven where only the positive side is mentioned. Then in the same chapter, in verses 47-50, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a fishing net that caught good and bad fish. The good fish are kept and stored, but the bad fish are thrown away. Jesus says that this is like the way the evil will be thrown into a “fiery furnace.”

In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast…. Most of the people in the story get to remain at the wedding banquet. But the king orders his servants to take one guest and “cast him into the outer darkness.”

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), two of the master’s servants, who used what he had given them wisely, are told to enter the joy of their master. The last one is sent “into the outer darkness.”

At the conclusion of the story of the sheep and goats, we read of the two types of people, “and these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into the lasting life of the age to come,

That’s five examples, plus the four contexts where the actual word gehenna is used, so we have nine in total. For three years of public teaching, nine times is not very often. Jesus taught on final punishment, but he didn’t say about it what many evangelicals believe about it.

It would hardly be fair to do a search for a subject in the letters of John and a search for a subject in the Gospels to see who cared more about a subject– John or Jesus! Jesus taught more about most of the things that he taught about than he did about hell, things like showing love to our neighbor, for example, or the importance of concern for the poor and outcast, the way we use money, or even the historical judgement of God that was about to come upon Jerusalem.

Glenn Peoples–“It’s a very Stoic sounding approach—not only did Jesus talk more about hell than other people, but also Jesus talked more about hell than about the kingdom of resurrection and lasting life and His gift of the forgiveness of sins, The beatitudes of Matthew 5 alone would tip the scales heavily. Then we have the treasures in heaven that \in Matthew 6, in others Gospels we have the party thrown for the returned prodigal son…””

Mark McCulley: Preachers (often more into rhetoric than truth) beat their chests and say, “I don’t like it either but it’s the truth.” Most of the preachers, including the “Reformed”, justify it all by saying that God also desired the salvation of the non-elect, and that Jesus was “available” to everybody but that “hell was the default” unless you “accepted Jesus”. Saying that Jesus talked about the destruction of the non-elect more than Jesus talked about resurrection life is NOT THE TRUTH!

Jesus talked more about gehenna than the apostle Paul did because the apostle Paul never talked about gehenna. But almost every reference by Jesus to gehenna in Matthew’s Gospel is coupled with a reference to entrance into the kingdom. Repent, the kingdom is at hand! So the count is about even between blessing and curse when we add up the texts that do refer to gehenna. But there are plenty of other texts that refer to God’s gift of salvation to the elect. For example, the non-elect are not even mentioned in texts like Romans 5 or in Romans 3:22-24. When we think of “judgment”, we must not only think of the condemnation of the non-elect but also about the fact that God’s justification of the elect is also “judgment”

John 5:21 And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to anyone He wants to. 22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. 25 “I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

What crowd was John the Baptist preaching repentance to?

January 17, 2016

John 1: 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with[w] water so He might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. 33 I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on—He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God!”

Luke 3: 3 John went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins….7 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 9 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. 11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” 14 Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages.”

15 Now the people were waiting expectantly, and all of them were debating in their minds whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

We could ask what John the Baptist was preaching. What was his doctrine, the content of his preaching?

Was John the Baptist preaching that there is eternal life in hell because the fire there in unquenchable and therefore does not consume and therefore the dying never die but are tortured instead?

Was John the Baptist preaching the Marrow, that Jesus was going to be “dead for you” and wanted the non-elect to be saved, and therefore was going to die to make salvation “available” for the non-elect, and so it would be their fault if they had to live in hell forever because Jesus wanted to be their Savior also?

Was John the baptist preaching repentance without faith? or what he repenting repentance before faith? Was he preaching that you needed to know the law before the gospel, so that you would first see your need and repent, and if you get to that point, then everything is easy because everybody already knows who Jesus is and knows that Jesus loves them and died for them and wants to save them?

Was John the Baptist saying to repent of certain wrong ideas about doctrine and the gospel, or was John the Baptist preaching that to repent of being so selfish and so sinful, so that you will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit which will be the evidence that you have believed the gospel (which everybody knows already, but the proof is in if you believe it, and if you can prove by your life that you believe it)

Was John the Baptist preaching that walking in the light is not sinning so much that you need to hide it, and instead to be changed enough so that you become the light to prove that you believe the gospel and others should believe also?

But before I ask what John the Baptist was preaching, I want to know if he was preaching to the church, or to those outside the church. Did John the Baptist have a para-church ministry or did John the Baptist “administer the sacraments”.

Yes, I know John the Baptist was not preaching in the temple or in the synagogue. But was John the Baptist preaching to those “in the covenant”? Weren’t all the people John the Baptist was preaching to already circumcised? So doesn’t that mean that John the Baptist was still preaching to “the church”?

We are told by (some) paedobaptists that parents can’t properly raise their children unless those children are “in the covenant”, because they say that the commands of God are only for those “in the covenant”– God will be their God, only for them and only to them can the law and gospel be preached and the sacraments adminstered (water because they are in the covenant, but not bread and cup yet even though they are in the covenant).

So why did John the Baptist address the tax-collectors and the Roman occupation soldiers? Were some of these taxpayers and foreign military folks “in the covenant”, born Jewish or circumcised? Is it really true that John the Baptist was preaching to the church and only to those in the covenant.

I know things have changed today, because now collecting taxes can be a Christian vocation if you have read enough to have a Reformed worldview. And also now, Christians can and should defend their countries and occupy other countries, even if it means killing other Christians. No problems there! But let’s talk about John the Baptist. Wasn’t he a minister of “the church” who was preaching to those in the covenant? if you don’t think so, then maybe you are a dispensationalist who thinks that God changes and that the gospel changes and that the covenants change. Surely if there is only one church in history, and John the Baptist was preaching the truth, then surely John the Baptist was a ruling and preaching elder in that one church, and his water baptism was the replacement and fulfillment of physical circumcision.

But here’s the question. Were all the people John the Baptist watered already circumcised? We know Jesus Christ was circumcised. But were those tax collectors and Roman soldiers watered? And were they all circumcised before they were watered?

Since we know that water is not a repeat or a substitute instead of circumcision, and since we know that water is the fulfillment of circumcision, is the water of John the Baptist valid for those who have not been circumcised? But if there are two water baptisms, and the water of John the Baptist is not the same as the water of the one church, it begins to look like John the Baptist was not talking to the “one unchanging church”.

Acts 19— While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? “No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 “Then what baptism were you baptized with?” he asked them.“With John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Physical circumcision in part does signify “heart circumcision” in Romans 2 (along with other things signified, the seed and the seed for Abraham, the land). But physical circumcision also refers to “the righteousness” in Genesis, Romans 4, and in Galatians 2. And this righteousness signified is NOT “heart circumcision” but rather “the obedience of Christ even to death, which is the “righteousness revealed in the gospel” (Romans 1) Physical circumcision is about the bloody death of Abraham’s seed, Christ.

Question—is your “heart circumcision” the “righteousness of another”, because it’s God’s righteousness in you, infused and imparted to you? If so, you repeat the error of Osiander, and confuse the new birth with divine righteousness in you, instead of the righteousness obtained once for all time by Christ’s death. If the righteousness is in you, I don’t care if you call it divine, it’s not the righteousness of another.

Physical circumcision does not signify a “surgical separation” from your old immoral nature, because the “body of death” and “the old man” are not your old nature. Being placed into Christ’s death (non-water baptism by God into Christ’s death) is “surgical separation” from Adam’s body of guilt, a passing from death to life, with the result that one is no longer part of the “old man” but legally part of the “new man”.

Physical circumcision does not only signify regeneration, because regeneration is not justification, and physical circumcision also points to righteousness imputed, and this to justification. Justification means no longer being under the law (first, to be circumcised, and then all the rest of the law) but in Christ under grace.

Acts 21: 19 After greeting them, he related in detail what God did among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard it, they glorified God and said, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law. 21 But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them NOT TO CIRCUMCISE THEIR CHILDREN or to walk in our customs.

It was a false report. Paul’s letter to the Galatians did not say, Stop circumcision because it has been replaced by water baptism.

Acts 21: 26 Then the next day, Paul took the men, having purified himself along with them, and entered the temple, announcing the completion of the purification days when the offering for each of them would be made. 27 As the seven days were about to end, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple complex, stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place. What’s more, he also brought Greeks into the temple

In Acts 23, Paul does not say, “By mistake I made a compromise by doing that circumcision thing back in Acts 21, but rather “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience until this day.”

Sarcasm—But maybe Paul wasn’t talking ONLY (sola, merely,alone) about having his conscience cleansed by the blood, and not being under the law because of Christ’s death, not to deny that, surely Paul was against “cheap grace assurance” and every day proved to himself (and others) by his living that he was a real believer.

Mark Jones—The Marrow Men ended up fighting a battle in order to defend the Auchterarder Creed.—-“It is not sound and orthodox to teach that we must forsake sin in order to our coming to Christ.” … Witsius, the so-called “middle-man” in the Antinomian-Neonomian debates that emerged in the latter part of the seventeenth century, asks whether repentance precedes the remission of sins. Does sorrow for sin precede justification as a disposing condition, prerequisite in the subject? An awakened sinner will, in his experience, have a previous (or, concomitant/accompanying) hatred for sin and purpose of a new life before receiving Christ.
http://www.reformation21.org/…/01/the-marrow-part-1.php

Godly repentance can come only in light of the Gospel wherein Christ and His righteousness is revealed as the only difference between saved and lost This godly repentance includes new knowledge concerning the character of God (Who He is) and concerning the one and only reason God is just in justifying the ungodly elect. This godly contrition is a change of mind concerning our best religious efforts to remove the guilt and defilement of sin, our old efforts to recommend ourselves to God, our deeds motivated in the interests of attaining, maintaining, and entitling us to salvation.

The Apostle Paul illustrates this clearly in Philippians 3:3-10. In true Gospel repentance a sinner comes to see and trust that Christ’s righteousness alone entitles him to all of salvation, including the subjective work of the Spirit, BEFORE he makes any efforts to obey God and persevere. The godly contrite come to see that before faith in the true gospel, their best efforts at obedience, all that they highly esteemed and thought was profitable in recommending him unto God, is no more than “dung” (Philippians 3:7-8) in contrast with Christ’s obedience to death.

What they before thought was pleasing unto God and works of the Spirit, the repentant person now sees as “flesh” (Philippians 3:3-4). What they once highly esteemed, they are now ashamed of(Romans 6:21) and now, in light of the Gospel, counts it as fruit unto death, DEAD WORKS, and evil deeds.
The contrite person now sees that before believing that Christ’s righteousness alone entitled them to all of salvation, their thoughts of God were all wrong. In repentance, the contrite person turns from that old “give up enough of your sins to prove that you believed” idol to serve the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

This kind of true godly contrition can only come in light of the Gospel as it takes this light to expose the sin that deceives us all by nature (John 3:19-20). Before we hear and believe the Gospel we are all deceived by sin (Romans 7:11). The sin that deceives us all by nature is not our immorality, but trusting in our trusting and contrition. We must repent of our old evil repentance.

“Without the knowledge of our sinfulness and misery, we cannot hear the gospel with profit; for unless, by the preaching of the law as touching sin and the wrath of God, a preparation be made for the proclamation of grace, a carnal security follows, and our consolation becomes unstable. Sure consolation cannot stand accompanying carnal security. Hence, it is manifest that we must, after the example of the Prophets and Apostles, start with the preaching of the law that men may thus be cast down from the conceit of their own righteousness and may obtain a knowledge of themselves and be led to true repentance. Unless this be done, men will become, through the preaching of grace, more careless and obstinate and pearls will be cast before swine to be trodden under foot.” Zacharias Ursinus, Body of Orthodox Doctrine…, on Heidelberg Catechism 2.

The death of Jesus is never called “sleep”

January 13, 2016

Jesus died but did not perish. The death of Jesus is never called “sleep”. Those who die outside of Christ will perish on judgment day. Those who die in Christ will sleep until Jesus comes and raises them from the dead.

The punishment for sin is death, not only what happens before death. The wages of sin is death. The soul that sins shall die. The degrees of infinity thing does not impress me much, if people who talk about that are saying that the non-elect being punished are never quite punished enough, even when they are punished more than others.

David Wells, Christianity Today, March 20 1987 — “If God is as good as the Bible says, if his character is as pure, if his life is as infinite, then sin is infinitely unpardonable and not merely momentarily mischievous. To be commensurate with the offense, God’s response must be correspondingly infinite. Annhilationism instead looks instead for a finished, finite, temporal response. An infinite response, however, is what we see happening at the cross. Was Jesus annihilated? Jesus could exhaust infinite punishment because he himself was the infinite God? Jesus did not bear a punishment MERELY LIKE that which sinners deserved. Jesus did not bear a death that was MERELY ANALOGOUS to theirs..”

Mark: To be “commensurate”, is Jesus still dying on the cross and will He do so forever?

If Jesus is not still dying on the cross, how is His death even LIKE that of non-elect people dying but never getting dead?

Where does the Bible talk about “infinity”? And where does the Bible talk about the suffering before the death being “infinite”? When did the “infinite punishment” of Jesus begin and when did it end?

If Christ only suffered an equivalent of “eternal torment in Hell”, does that mean that God’s (nominalist) grace arbitrarily (merely, only) “accepted” the punishment of Christ as the same?

Since the punishment of the non-elect will never be finished, does that mean that the punishment of the non-elect will never be infinite?

Since there will always be more to repay, does “I will repay” mean that “I will have never repaid”?

If duration of the pain is the real punishment, why is there any need to die after that punishment is done?

If the punishment is never done, so that the condemned can never die, why does the Bible teach that the wages of sin is death?

When you translate, the result is a translation.

When you destroy, the result is destruction.

When you finish dying, you are dead.

If you never finish dying, you are not yet dead.

http://rethinkinghell.com/audio/meta/notes/demler_handout.pdf