Christ did not buy a gift card for you or the Holy Spirit to use or not use–all the elect decide to believe the gospel

II Corinthians 2: 14 God through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Christ in every place. 15 To God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are BEING SAVED and among those who ARE PERISHING.

Biblical grace is not ONLY about God empowering the elect to choose and decide to believe the gospel. Biblical grace is ALSO about God having chosen which guilty sinners for whom Christ would die. But biblical grace is also about these same guilty sinners, all those for whom Christ did, being given not only the ability but being caused to choose and to decide to believe the gospel.

No guilty sinner will be given “the power to the contrary”. No guilty sinner will be given the ability to choose or not to choose to believe the gospel. All ELECT guilty sinners will for sure decide to believe the gospel.

All sinners are born guilty, from the imputed guilt of Adam alone, and this includes the elect who are born guilty in Adam and therefore also born not believing the gospel, born not able to believe the gospel.

God has chosen that all humans will be born guilty, but God has also chosen that elect humans will come to believe the gospel. Elect humans will believe the gospel, because Christ died for elect sinners, and all the sins of the elect have been imputed to Christ.

No elect sinner will die in unbelief of God’s gospel. Therefore Christ did not die imputed with the sin of final unbelief by any elect sinner. Rather, Christ died so that no elect sinner will die in unbelief of the gospel. Christ’s death not only paid for sins but also purchased the faith in the gospel which God imparts to every elect sinner so that every elect sinner chooses to believe the gospel.

Christ will be honored and glorified. Christ did not purchase God the Holy Spirit a kind of gift card by which God the Holy Spirit now decides “who will be in the church” or “who will be on the elect team”. All for whom Christ died will most certainly repent of their false gospels and believe the true gospel.

Even though God has already imputed all the future sins of the elect to Christ, God did not impute the sin of final unbelief of the gospel by any elect sinner. The reason for this is that no elect sinner will die in final unbelief.

God has not already imputed the death of Christ to every elect sinner. When God does impute the death of Christ to an elect sinner, that sinner is NOT given the ability “to GO EITHER WAY”. When God imputes Christ’s death to an elect sinner, that sinner WILL BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.

A sinner who does not yet believe the gospel is a sinner to whom God has not yet imputed Christ’s death.

Election has nothing to do with salvation—false

Therefore, salvation is nothing but election–false

Therefore, salvation is election but not justification or regeneration–false

Election and justification and regeneration are all part of salvation by Christ: true

The gospel has nothing to do with election–false

The gospel is only about God’s sovereignty and not about God satisfying the law–false

The gospel is only about what God already did outside the ungodly sinner–false

The gospel is not only about what God did but also about God causing elect ungodly sinners to believe the gospel

The gospel is not gospel for those God never causes to believe the gospel

Not believing the gospel is not a CAUSE of condemnation, because not believing the gospel is EVIDENCE of condemnation. But not believing the gospel is not evidence of our ALWAYS BEING CONDEMNED. Elect sinners who do not now believe the gospel WILL come to believe the gospel. Elect sinners who are now condemned in their sins WILL BE JUSTIFIED BY GOD. All the elect are always elect, but the elect are not all justified yet.

ROMANS 5: 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have NOW received reconciliation

God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel

Some sovereign grace preachers today, in reaction to Arminians (salvation without election, salvation conditioned on the sinner’s choice, have begun to teach that “all the elect were justified eternally” or that “all the elect were justified as soon as Christ died”.

“God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel”. Saying that alone does not say other things, so some of these preachers say “don’t say that about God imputing Christ’s death– say only the other things.”

Because 1,for them that sounds too close to telling people the wrong idea that God imputes because sinners believe the gospel.
Because 2, for them they want to say “righteousness” is imputed (not only the death) because for them the death pays off justice for sins but death does not satisfy law by keeping sabbath and the other stuff Jesus did

But I don’t agree with these “all at the same time” preachers. I still teach “two legal states”—those who believe God’s gospel have been imputed with Christ’s death

I certainly don’t think that Christ died for some sinners who never ever get imputed with Christ’s death. But not all the sinners for whom Christ died have been placed into that death YET. It’s not the Holy Spirit using a credit card who places some elect sinner into Christ’s death. It’s certainly not the elect sinner who places her self into Christ’s death.

I don’t agree with the rhetoric of these preachers that, as soon as Christ satisfied justice for sins, those sins can no longer be counted against any of the elect, even if those elect persons have not yet been born.

These preachers ask—if we all agree that you don’t find out if you are elect until after you believe the gospel, why can’t we then also agree that we find out after we believe that we were already justified?

My answer to that question I have given above.

We are NOT justified before God until we believe the gospel.

The Bible does not teach two different justifications, one that God does out of time, and then another justification (which is only in our head and which only tells us that we were already really justified!)

God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel.
A sinner who does not yet believe the gospel is a sinner to whom God has not yet imputed Christ’s death.

Now that God has imputed Christ’s death to you, two things—you believe the gospel and you are justified— not one of those things without the other, not one of those things before the other

The same preachers who tell us we can’t know about God and time also like to tell us that God does not justify in time. But if God does not justify in time, how can it be true that Christ propitiated for sins in time?

To say that God never counted sins to Christ is just as bad as saying God still counts sins to Christ

Carl Trueman, p 91–“The Protestant doctrine of justification by imputation was always going to be criticized as tending toward eternal justification. In placing the declaration in God’s will, not in the qualities or the faith of the one justified, it was argued (by Richard Baxter) that any necessary connection between justification and any chronological factors had been decisively abolished”.

Romans 6 Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Christ. 10 For in light of the fact that Christ died, Christ died to sin once for all time

Once in time for all time, Christ’s propitiation was finished and done, and now in time God imputes that propitiation (reconciliation) to elect sinners.

Romans 5: 17 speaks of “those who receive the free gift of righteousness” and how they reign in life through the one man Christ Jesus. This receiving by imputation is not the same thing as the sinner receiving by believing. (John 1:12-13). But those who receive Christ’s death by God’s imputation do receive the gospel by faith God gives on the basis of Christ’s death (II Peter 1:1)

The receiving of Christ’s righteousness (His death)by imptutation is not the same as the righteousness. The imputation is not necessarily at the same TIME as when Christ earned the righteousness by his death. God declaring the elect to be joint-heirs with Christ in that righteousness is not the same as the righteousness. There is a difference between the imputation and the righteousness.

Our continuing for the rest of our lives to believe the gospel is not the righteousness. But neither is God’s imputation, nor the indwelling of Christ which follows that imputation, the righteousness.

The Holy Spirit does NOT “baptize all believers into one body.” (I Cor 12:13 correctly quoted) –”in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” The text does not say that the Holy Spirit is the baptizer, or the “agent who unites us to Christ”.

Since the Holy Spirit gives faith to the elect, many folks teach that the faith given to the elect unites them to Christ. But the elect were elected by Christ and in Christ. And it is by God’s imputation with Christ’s death that the elect pass from guilt in Adam to faith in the gospel and justification by Christ’s death.

The Holy Spirit is NOT selecting individuals to be on the team. God the Trinity already (before the ages) elected individuals to be saved from God’s wrath.

I Corinthians 5:14-15– “one died for all, therefore all have died, and Christ died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but who for themselves for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

We can think about a “for” which is not substitution. I can score a basket for my team, without any idea that I am the only one playing the game. I score the basket for the sake of others on my team, and not only for myself, but that does not mean they do nothing and I do everything. In II Corinthians 5:14-15, it is not the “for” which get us to the idea of substitution. What gets us to substitution is “therefore all died”.

It is a MISTAKE to reference the “died with” to a “faith-union” given by the Holy Spirit. The idea is NOT that Christ died one kind of death and as a result the Holy Spirit selects and unites some to “the church”.

The idea of “therefore all died”, the idea of “legal union with Christ’s death” is NOT that the Holy Spirit becomes the agent of that death, and selects who will be on the team. But in the double-speak of those who believe in election but not in the gospel of Christ’s death being that which is the basis of justification, Christ only died to have a team of “those who would believe” (what the object of belief is not usually said).

In the complicated world of “election created by the Holy Spirit”, there is no free will and the credit for your deciding to be on the church team is given to the Holy Spirit. But the Romans 6 idea of “died with Christ”, the II Corinthians 5:15 idea of “therefore all died” is that Christ died to propitiate God’s wrath because of ALREADY IMPUTED SINS, and that in time this death is imputed by God to the elect.

The elect do not (and did not) die this kind of death. Their substitute replaced them and died the death for them. Christ alone, in both His Deity and His Humanity, by Himself, without the rest of humanity (some of them did the killing part, but Christ chose to die), died this death. Christ the Elect One died the death required to make certain tht the elect were going to one day be justified.

Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”.

Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith in Christ.”

Robert Haldane, p 194–“there are some who, strongly impressed with the great evil of making faith a work, have plunged into a contrary extreme, as if justification were independent of faith, or as if faith were merely an accidental or unimportant thing in justification. This also is a great error. Faith is as necessary in justification as the sacrifice of Christ itself, but necessary for a different purpose.”

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2 Comments on “Christ did not buy a gift card for you or the Holy Spirit to use or not use–all the elect decide to believe the gospel”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Why would God not command non-elect sinners to obey the Sermon on the Mount?. God’s laws are not based on our ability or disposition. We know that commands are not given to anybody in order fro them to be justified. But we must not be antinomians who say that our situation means God has no commands for us.

    I would agree that God gives some commands to justified sinners that God does not give to sinners still condemned, For example, Romans 6:11 So you also must impute yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    The first command in Romans tells Christians to “reckon yourselves” dead to sin.

    It’s important to not forget that imperative. But it’s even more important to remember that we don’t make the indicative come true by obeying the imperative. The justified elect do not become dead to sin because they count themselves dead to sin. Nor do the justified elect become dead to sin because they are daily dying to sin.

    On the contrary, the justified elect are commanded to count themselves dead to sin because Christ has died for them as their representative and substitute. Christs death for the elect is imputed by God to the elect in order that they become legally dead to sin,

    There are not two different “deaths to sin”. Christ’s death to sin becomes by imputation the justified elect’s death to sin. It’s one and the same death. It’s Christ death as satisfaction to God’s law. The death to sin of Romans Six is not the regenerationl of the justified sinner.

    .The justified elect impute themselves as dead to sin, declare themselves dead to sin, but it is not their imputing themselves dead to sin which creates an exchange of their sin to Christ. Christ already died for the elect. Christ already did not die for the non-elect.

    The second command in Romans is also only for justified sinners, not for ll sinners. Romans 6:12–“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those WHO HAVE BEEN brought from death to life

  2. markmcculley Says:

    I blame the use of “conditionality” into Reformed thinking on several factors, one being a practice of infant water baptism which promises “objectively but conditionally” salvation to those who receive it, Another factor, I think, is the confusion of all covenants into one covenant, so that the conditions of previous covenants are carried over. But I think the single biggest factor in letting “conditionality” into the Reformed tent is the failure to talk about election controlling the new covenant, and about Christ having only died for the elect.

    Faith in the 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. Faith in the gospel, which includes understanding of the gospel, is the immediate result of being born again, which is the immediate result of being imputed by God with the merits of Christ’s death.
    In the false gospel which tells all sinners that Christ died for them, faith is misunderstood as being the condition of being justified. 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.
    We need to put a stop to the “evangelical” double talk which tells all sinners that Christ died for them, but then explains (not to everybody but only to some who have already professed Christ) later that Christ died for some people to get them something different and more for them than He did for everybody else.
    This kind of double talk implicitly says that Christ propitiated the wrath of God for all sinners but that Christ also died extra for the elect to give them the faith to meet the condition to get the benefit of Christ’s propitiation.

    Reformed people can try to put confessional boundaries around that, and say that the object of faith is important. They can even say that open theists are not evangelicals, and maybe not even justified. But they are still agreeing, sermon after sermon, every time that they do NOT say “ died for the elect alone”, that it is faith alone is the condition which makes the difference.
    In the fine confessional print, the glory may go to God for predestinating the Spirit to enable us to meet the condition. But it is no longer Christ’s death which saves, if Christ died for all sinners, and some of these sinners are lost. And though we may talk of Scripture alone, we end up with a canon within a canon, where what the Scripture says about the elect in Christ and being elect in His death for their sins becomes segregated out from the gospel and thus unspoken and even denied.

    Instead of saying that Christ died only for the elect and not for the non-elect, they leave out the e word and say that Christ died for believers, which then means that faith alone is the decisive condition and not Christ. If they want to keep the “thoroughly reformed” happy, they might say sometimes that Christ died for his covenant people, but then later they will make it clear that the covenant is “objectively conditional” , so that everything comes back not to Christ but to our faith.


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