Archive for May 23, 2019

Is Ignorance and Unbelief of the True Gospel EVIDENCE OF CONDEMNATION ?

May 23, 2019

Don Fortner—“People like to ask this silly useless question: does a person have to BELIEVE IN the sovereignty of God to be saved. If God isn’t sovereign, nobody is going to be saved. So what difference does the question make? People ask this question: can a person with Arminian faith already be in a state of justification? Faith doesn’t save. Neither Arminian or Calvinist faith saves. So what difference does the question make?”

Do not be fooled by these two “tolerant to the inconsistent” soundbites. Notice that clergyman Fortner has not answered either question. Though we agree that only the sovereign God can save, do we believe that God is “so sovereign” that God can and does justify a person without at the same time causing that person to believe in God’s righteousness and sovereignty?

Preachers who don’t take questions coverup the implications of their bad logic. We agree that faith is not the righteouseness that Christ obtained by His death. But if the Bible teaches that God’s imputation of that righteousness results in spiritual life and faith in the promise of the gospel, then it seems proper to see ignorance and unbelief of the gospsle as evidence of still being in a condemened legal state before God. When God justifies an ungodly sinner, does God make what that sinner believes to be different than it was before?

1 Corinthians 2:12 -“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order that we understand the things freely given us by God.

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 haadded over.

2 Peter 1:1 To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

Romans 8:10–”the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

How can preachers say that assurance comes directly from the Holy Spirit by the power of the gospel (including the promise/proposition that only–as many as- believers in Christ will be justified), but then turn around and say that unbelief and ignorance of the gospel is not evidence of condemnation? First, they deny that the elect are ever condemned before God. They teach that all those who ever will be justified before God have always been justiiied before God. Second, they have reduced the “you need to be saved” to regeneration and the Holy Spirir giving life.

In response to this issue, for many years, I have consistently refused to say that the nature of justification is not a gospel issue.

Exoneration is not justification. Exoneration means either that they couldn’t prove anything on you or it means that you never had any guilt of condemnation in the first place.

Colossians 2:15 God erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. 15 God disarmed the powers and disgraced the powers publicly; God triumphed over the powers by Christ

There are preachers who can find a “four-fold meaning” to words like “justification” and “redemption” and “reconciliation”. These prechers impose their “four realms system” onto Scriptures despite context and without asking any questions about what anybody else ever thought or wrote about a Bible text. But Colossians 2:15 is not about “only in our conscience” or us against God. The problem was guilt imputed by God and condemnation against us by God. Christ became legally alive to sin and then by His death on the cross Christ became dead to sin. Christ became the righteousness, and this righteousess is imputed by God to the elect in order for them to pass from condemnation to justification.

Romans 6:9–“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all time . Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ.

Bill Parker taught condemnation before justifiction in the August 2001 Reign of Grace Newsletter,-“The guilt of sin is that which keep sinners under condemnation and wrath. Believers are not dead to the presence, power and influence of sin their character and conduct, but the moment God brought them out of condemnation and into the blessed state of justification, based on the righteousness of Christ, they BECAME totally and legally dead to the guilt of sin….”

This was the consistent teaching from Reign of Grace taped sermons during that time. This was the means by which God taught me to understand and believe the gospel. I was not justified before God before I believed that gospel. As far as I can tell, these tape series are no longer available from Reign of Grace.

In a book published in 2019,the Righteousness of God, p 145, Bill Parker teaches a different doctrine (the one taught by John Gill and some others, but denied by Abraham Booth and John Owen)—“The only way the elect have ever been under God’s wrath is as they stood legally in Christ…This means that God’s elect have never personally been under God’s wrath.”

Henry Mahan—“When did this righteousness Christ brought in come to you? You don’t have this righteousness imputed to you before you believe the God of the gospel.”

Romans 4: 4 Righteousness WILL BE IMPUTED TO US WHO BELIEVE IN HIM who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 The Lord was handed over up because of our sins and raised because of our justification.

There is a difference between the righteousness of Christ’s death and God’s imputation of Christ’s death and the justification which follows God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect.

Let me note by way of parenthesis that Bill Parker and I seem to be in agreement that Christ’s death is Christ’s rightousness. We seem to agree in not making Christ’s law-keeping (necessary and vicarous though it is) to be Christ’s righteousness. Even though Bill does not address the idea of law-keeping being imputed in his new book, he avoids repeating the tradition that Christ’s death “would only take us back to neutral”. But even in talking about Christ’s death, Bill Parker also seems to deny that “accomplished” means that Christ was legally under guilt and wrath before God. 226 “Some argue that righteoueness did not exist until Christ actually came in time and died on the cross. But it did exist in the mind of God, who see things as they exist in eternity.

Does Go not know the difference between what God has purposed and what God has brought in (obtained) by Christ’s death as fulifllment of that purpose?

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.”

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.”

Ephesians 2:13 –Now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.

God’s elect were once far away, not only in our own conscience and mind, but also before God’s justice.

It is a very bad over-reaction against those (like Don Fortner) who say that Christ was made corrupt to deny redemptive history and to falsely claim that Christ was never MADE anything.

It would be wrong to deny that God the Son BECAME incarnate, both God and Human. It would also be wrong to deny that God the Son was first imputed with the guilt of the elect, and then that LATER IN HISTORY God the Son was raised from His death (His death because of that imputed guilt). Because all the elect will be justified, Christ was raised from the dead. Because Christ’s death paid for all those sins, those sins are no longer imputed to Christ, and so it was that Christ was raised from the dead. This is history. This is news.

2 Corinthians 21 He MADE the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, in order that we BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

I Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be MADE alive. I Corinthians 15 is not describing all sinners. I am not denying that all humans were imputed with Adam’s guilt. But I Corinthinas 15 is about “all” who were elect in Christ—they will all be justified before God.

I have consistently refused to say that the timing of justification has no logical implications for the definition and nature of justification. I refuse to decide beforehand that “this is not a gospel issue”. I also have a long time policy of not saying up front that people who don’t believe something are Christians. Instead of retreating to the non-biblical phrase “gospel issue”, I want to keep talking about what the gospel is. I don’t want to shut down the conversaton, to say no more questions unless you first agree that those on both sides of this issue are Christians.

We can’t say, well we really are saying the same thing. No, we are not. If we are saying the same thing, is what you are saying now the same as what you were always saying? And if what you are saying differently now is not important, then why not keep saying it the same way you used to say it?

Bill Parker used to teach the same thing I have been teaching (18 years) about the elect being condemned before justification. What I am teaching I learned from Bill Parker (and David Adkins, and then reading Abraham Booth, who read John Owen). I love Bill Parker. Nobody, not Bill, not anybody has any obligation to discuss anything with me, But I don’t think it does anybody any good to say that “we are all” teaching the same thing. We are not.

I have always been wary about who are the “we” and “you”. It’s easy to say, “well THEY left us so THEY never belonged to US.” But that tends to be what people say about each other. For example, “were YOU there when THEY crucified MY Lord” Is the “you” us? Who are “them”? Is “my” Lord the Lord of everybody or is “my” Lord only the Lord who stays with us when we change doctrines?

Enough already with these anonymous “conversations”. “They said that and then I said that”. Guess who always wins the “conversation”! We do.

I know about this. Why even begin a “discussion” with me? I am just waiting for you to finish commenting so that I can say what I was already thinking before you started.

None of us feels properly “listened to” (or read). If you are going to say—that was good, you need to let me know you know what I said. Otherwise, it’s either “gospel” so no questions or “not a gospel issue” so no questions…

Is it a situation of where “we can’t afford to lose any more friends” so we can’t talk about it? Or is it a case of “since we can’t talk about it”, what we have is not real fellowship but merely “conferencing” together while ssying words that can be taken different ways by different people?

Are we supposed to say, Randy Wages is teaching the nature of justification different now, so now let’s all teach it the way he’s teaching it? I asked Randy once, were you regenerate and had spiritaal life before you began teaching that the elect were always justified before God. Randy Wages assured me that he was already effectually called before he had ever heard the doctrine of “never personally condemned before God.” But then Randy warned me that this was the best way to show that faith in the gospel is not the righteousness. Randy also told me that he had found out that some people he thought were regenerate exposed themselves as not yet knowing the gospel when he brought up to them the idea of “eternal justification before God”.

The implication to me was that, if I had not heard or known about “eternal justification”, then posssibly I was already regenerate, but if I questioned the “never under the wrath even in unbelief” doctrine when informed about it, this would raise questions in Randy’s mind about if I knew that faith was not the righteousness. Not saying it the same way Randy was now sayung it would cause Randy to doubt if I knew the gospel.

“Only believers in Christ are justified” is part and parcel of the gospel. If you exclude this promise from the gospel, then you have a bad soundbite which opens the door to those who believe that faith is evidence of justification before God but who do not believe that ignorance and unbelief of the gospel is evidence of condemnation before God.

Taking the promise to faith out of the gospel also opens the door to the equation of election and justification. This equation eliminates the importance of redemptive history. A redemption which God imputes to sinners before history begins opens to the door to a redemption which already existed before being accomplished by the Christ revealed in the Bible.

There is a distinction to be made between Christ’s death as satisfaction for sins imputed and God’s imputation of that “reconciliation” to the elect (receiving the righteousness by God’s imputation, Romans 5:11 and 17) in order to their justification. In order for there to be justification of the ungodly, there had to be condemnation (before God guilty and ungodly)

“Never condemned and never under the wrath” is a MYTH. This is NOT what the Bible teaches, but something invented by preachers who often attempt to imply that everybody who disagrees with them are Arminian. You can’t be incorrect about guilt and condemnation and be correct about the nature of justification.

Does “never personally under the wrath of God” mean “never under the wrath of God? In what sense was an elect person ever guilty and condemned before God? Does the word “personally” suggest that in some way or other the elect were ignorant and unbelieving of the gospel because they did not yet have Christ’s righteousness imputation to them?

Does “made” (or “become”) always mean something more or different than imputation? If Christ in history was “never under the wrath of God” and if the elect in history were “never under the wrath of God” , who was ever saved in history from being under the wrath of God?

If there is no before and after to God’s justification of the ungodly, then there is no before and after to good works

Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”

Romans 7:4 you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD.

2 Peter 1: 1 To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

The answer to those who falsely teach that our faith in Christ is the righteouensss is NOT TO DENY THAT ALL WHO ARE JUSTIFIED HAVE FAITH IN THE TRUE CHIRST. The answer to those who falsely teach that our faith in Christ is the righteouensss is NOT TO DENY THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IMPUTED by GOD IN TIME AND RESULTS IN FAITH IN THE PROMISE OF THE GOSPEL.

The answer to Andrew Fuller reducing the atonement to the work of the Holy Spirit is not to remove Christ’s atonement from history. The answer to Andrew Fuller reducing the atonement to the work of the Holy Spirit is not to deny that justification happens in history. Those who are reaching “always justified” are teaching that “salvation” is regeneration not justification—their “you need to be saved” is only about the new birth. Their “new creation” is no longer about justification but about regeneration.

p 194, What is the righteousness, Bill Parker–” it has been saaid that 2 Cor 5:14 is about new creation and that new creation is about reconciliation not about regeneration. This is true”. But in the next sentence Bill introduces the word “mainly”. (Which of the “four realms” is reconciliation?) –“It is not MAINLY about regeneration and conversion”. Then one more sentence–“HOWEVER, Paul was led of the Spirit to INCLUDE the reality of regeneration and conversion.”

Then one more sentence. Bil writes about the fruit of regeneration—“all for whom Christ died shall live for His glory.” Though Bill began on page 194 by saying that new creation was “about reconciliation not regeneration”, the next eight pages are all about regeneration and not about reconciliation ( not atonement, not justification).

IF YOU PUT RECONCILIATION BEFORE HISTORY HAPPENS, then when you begin to talk about the gospel and being “saved”, you are NOT MAINLLY GOING TO TALK ABOUT WHAT CHIRST DID TO OBTAIN RECONCILIATION. Instead you are gong to talk about “salvation” in history and conversion as “regeneration”.

Christ never became regenerate. Because Christ never became corrupt. Bill Parker very much agrees with that. And that is important. But when Parker talks about “new creation”, it’s not mainly about reconciliation–what Bill talks about instead is “new spiritual life” , not the justification of the elect as guilty ungodly sinners. HE HAS MOVED THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE SINNER BEFORE HISTORY. All for whom Christ died are already justified? How do we know for whom Christ died? Is it those who say they were never condemned? Is that what it means “to live for God’s glory”?

Romans 6:7 “For one who has died has been justified from sin. 8 Now since we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer rules over Christ. 10 For the death Christ died Christ died to sin once for all time

It is a mistake to not carry the two headships of Romans 5 into Romans 6. If we carry the thought of the representative character of the two Adams from the one chapter into the other, then the difficulty of Romans 6 vanishes. “We died to sin (verse 2). This phrase frequently occurs in the writings of Paul in different forms, and it always alludes, not to an inward deliverance from sin, but to the Christian’s objective relation to God. It means that we are legally dead to sin in Jesus Christ. This passage applies the same language to the Lord Himself— He is said to have died to sin once (verse 10). Now the ONLY sense in which the Sinless One can be regarded as dying to sin, is that of dying to its guilt, or to the condemning power which goes along with sin. Christ died to guilt. Christ certainly did not die to sin as indwelling power.

It might be asked, “can’t we understand that these statements designate two separate actions, one done by Christ, and a similar or parallel one done by the Holy Spirit in us teaching us the gospel? No. The acts are not two, but one. There is not one crucifixion on the part of Christ, and a second, parallel and similar but different, crucifixion on the part of His people. There is but one corporate act—the act of the “one man”.

Christ was under law. Christ is no longer under law.

Adam’s guilt is imputed to the elect until Christ’s death is imputed to the elect.

The elect in Christ are under condemnation untilGod justifies them.

Christ was under law. Christ is no longer under law but Christ is still not under grace because Christ’s death satisfied the law.

Once Christ’s elect are justified , they are under grace. They were always loved, but then by God’s imputation they are justified before God, no longer under the condemnaton of law.

I do love Bill Parker. Me writing about p 194 is not me “settling old scores”. This is not me judging motives (something Bill seems to do in his last chapter when he talks about his former congregation). This is me wanting to know the truth, wanting to be clear and precise. This is me wanting not to equivocate between “salvation” and “justification”. Sure, there’s a change in spiritual life, but Romans 6 is talking about justification. There was a time when the elect were “free from righteousness”. There was a time when the elect had no righteousness imputed to them.

Bill teachs two different justifications, even though the Bible itself does not. 119 “We can say that they are justified in the court of their conscience” Bill can say it, but it’s begging the question and if it’s true, there should be some arguments that changed Bill’s mind and might change our minds.

143 “There is no salvation apart from the new birth which includes faith in Christ”. If you want to be clear and precise, you can’t switch back and forth between justification and “salvation” without definitions and distinctions.

If you want to stay consistent, give the implication-“But there is justification before there is “salvation” Bill Parker needs to say—Unlike I did in the past, I am now using the word “salvation” in a different way. This makes it look like I am saying the same thing I always preached. But I changed my view about the nature of justification. I also changed my view about “new creation”.

If God justifies or regenerates sinners without those sinners knowing the gospel, then what is their assurance they are actually regenerate?

Andrew Fuller’s “sufficient for all” is tantamount to identifying the doctrine of effectual calling with atonement. What Andrew Fuller really means by definite atonement is that the Spirit’s work of regeneration is only for the elect. Blame Andrew Fuller to making the atonement about what the Spirit does instead of what Christ did. But it’s a bad over-reaction to Andrew Fuller to deny that God imputes Christ’s death to sinners in time and to reduce “salvation” in history to the giving of “spiritual life”

Romans 3:19 The law speaks…in order that every mouth be shut and the whole world becomes subject to God’s judgment…God’s righteousness has been revealed….that is, God’s righteousness through FAITH IN Jesus Christ to ALL WHO BELIEVE

The doctrine of justification in God’s sight after our condemnation in God’s sight is gospel doctrine. It is not the same doctrine as “never condemned in God’s sight”. It’s not the same doctrine as “justified before and without faith in God’s righteousness.”