What do you mean by “Actually Saved”?

Hebrews 9:28 Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are WAITING

Arminians say that Jesus died for everybody but now humans need to do some things in order to be saved in the end.

Double talking Calvinists say that Jesus died for everybody but that now God needs to do something more. They teach that God the Holy Spirit does more for some of those for whom Christ died. But notice that they are
not on the surface talking about what humans must do more.

Examined closely, what these double talking Calvinists are saying is that Chrsit died also for the non-elect, but that God the Holy Spirit only gives faith to the elect.

Examined even more closely, it might very well turn out that what these double talking Calvinists are teaching is that humans need to do something. But that’s not what they are saying. They are saying that “faith is a gift of God”. They are saying that God gives faith in the gospel to all the elect.

So how do we react to these double talkers? Do we need deny that anything more needs to be done by God? Do we over-react by denying that there is anymore “waiting”? NO. God DOES still ALSO effectually call the elect. God does still ALSO give knoweledge of the gospel to the elect and cause the elect to believe the gospel. God still does ALSO raise the elect from the dead and give them immortality.

The problem is NOT that the double talkers say that God does more than accomplish Christ’s death. God does do “something else” For example, God ALSO imputes the death to the elect. The problem is NOT that the double talkers teach that “salvation” is not only atonement and justification. The problem is that they are saying that God loves everybody, but that God does not love everybody equally, and therefore they say that God the Holy Spirit only effectually calls some for whom Christ died.

This makes it look like the Father Son and the Hoily Sporit do not have the same purpose. This makes it sound like what Christ’s death is only POTENTIAL, but that what the Holy Spirit does is the “actual” atonement.

Romans 8:32 God did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us how will God not ALSO with the Son give us EVERYTHING

If Jesus died for a person, then the Holy Spirit will give that person the new birth. The Holy Spirit does not give the new birth only to some for whom Jesus died. If Jesus died for a person, then God will impute the death of Jesus for a person to that person.

The preachers who don’t want the truth to get in the way of them comforting people and keeping their jobs will say to everybody that “Christ died for you and you means me”. And then aat other times and place these preachers talk about God “loving all people but loving them inequally” . They never get around to what “died for you” actually means. Does it mean “died to make you an offer? Do they mean “died for you, therefore you (means me) must be justified in the end”?

If God imputed the sins of a person to Jesus, then Jesus died for that person. Every person for whom Jesus died will be imputed with the death of Jesus. One way the double-talkers respond to Romans 8:32 is to say that “GOD GIVES US HIM”. As if to say, God gives us THE PERSON, so any discussion about death and imputation and new birth is not necessary. But Romans 8:32 teaches “give with Him also everything”

It’s the double talkers who are saying that “Jesus died for everybody but in the end God only gives Jesus to some of them”. We need to ask, what is the nature of the death of Jesus? When they say that Jesus died for a person, what did that death do? Is the death “one step but then there are many other steps” so therefore Jesus died for many who won’t get the other steps?

No, those who believe the truw gospel know better than that. We know that Christ’s death “did something”. Some Calvinists then say “Christ’s death actually saved a sinner”

As much as you might think that gets to the point, I don’t agree. What do you mean by “actually”? Do you mean that when Christ died, all the elect, including those not even born yet, were there and then really born again and there and then really resurrected to immortality?

I don’t think you do mean that. What do you mean? Even if you incorrectly teach by “actually” that all for whom Christ died were already justified before Christ’s death and before they heard the gospel, you still don’t mean by “actually saved” that all these sinners were already born again.

So what do you mean? Do you mean that the new brith is not a necessary part of “salvation”, because the new birth is what God does in us (instead of the justification done outside us)? I don’t think you think the work of the Holy Spirit in us is not needed.

So what do you mean by “Christ’s death actually saved them”? I think you mean what Romans 8:32 is teaching, that if Chrsit died for a sinner, then that sinners is predestined to be given all the other benefits of salvation. I think you mean that GOD’S JUSTICE DEMANDS that a sinner whose sins were imputed to Chrsit and for whom Christ died BE GIVEN ALL THE OTEHR BLESSINGS OF SALVATION. So why don’t you say that?

Instead of saying “actually saved”, say that both God’s sovereignty and God’s jsutice means that Christ died only for the elect and that every one of the elect will be given all that Jesus purchased by His death. Ephesians 4:8 quotes Psalm 68: “when he ascended on high, he gave gifts to us”

The gifts Jesus gives are gifts bought by Jesus in His death. As we buy gifts on one day, but then give the gifts on other later days, so also Jesus is still giving the different blessings secured by His death.

Isaiah 53: 10 You make The Servant a restitution offering, The Lord will see His seed…The Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
11 He will see out of His death and He will be satisfied
My righteous Servant WILL justify the many whose iniquities He carried
12 Therefore because of His death, I will give Him the many as His righteous reward.
Because the Servant submitted Himself to death,
Because the Servant bore the sins of many
Because the Servant was counted condemned and guilt

Of course the doubletalkers will not go away because you explain it more carefully. Many of them like to say that God lvoes everybody and that Christ died for everybody BUT THAT CHIRST DIED EXTRA FOR THE ELECT TO PURCHASE FOR THEM THE OTHER GIFTS. When they say stuff like that, here’s the question to ask–what do they say that Christ did by death for everybody? Did Christ make propitiation for everybody?

PROPITIATION is specific.

“Make atonement” might mean lots of things. But if Christ’s death accompliished PROPITIATION, then that means something differnt than only “the good death”.

PROPITIATION means “takes away God’s wrath toward sinnners”,

This is why we need to eliminate the lie of “died for everybody”. It makes no just or legal sense to say that the death took away wrath, but then later say that some for whom Christ died will always be under the wrath of God. Christ’s death is an expiation of sins. Christ’s death is a propitiation of God for elect sinners. Sins were not always expiated. God was not always propitiated. God demanded propitation. God made the propitiation by Christ’s death. God accepted God’s sin offering for elect sinners.

We need to say “legally satisfied God’s wrath” instead of “actually saved”. What do we mean by “saved”? What do we mean by “actually”?

Hebrews 9:28 Christ,having been offered ONE TIME TO BEEAR THE SINS of many, will appear a second time, NOT THIS TIME TO BEAR SIN but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

Hebrews 9:28 gets right to the point of what Christ’s death REALLY DID. At that time, Christ was actually imputed with guilt, and this is why Christ was “offered in death”. But after that death, Christ is no longer imputed with guilt. This is part of “salvation”. This is “reconciliation”. This is “redemption” Christ bought these blessings and Christ will give the elect these blessings.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us

Romans 6:9–“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again Death no longer has dominion over him. 10 Because the death Christ died Christ died to sin, once for all time

Hebrews 9:12, “Christ entered once for all time into the holy place, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus SECURING a permanent redemption

Luke 1:68 Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:the Lord, the God of Israel has visited and accomplished redemption for His people.

When you say “actually saved’, do you mean “everything Jesus is going to ever do was all finished? Do you mean that the intercession of Jesus was finished? No, I don’t think you mean thoise things. Do you mean that the resurrection of Jesus had already happened when Jesus died? Again, I don’t think so. Rather, you think the propitation was finished. The sacrifice to take away God’s wrath actually happened in history Jesus was not going to keep dying. Jesus was not going to die again. Christ’s sacrifice was FINISHED when He died, Christ’s sacrifice was DONE before He rose again.

But all the blessings of salvation have NOT YET been given to the elect. Donald Macleod, Christ Crucified, IVP, 2014—Human nature after the cross remains as it was before the cross. If Christ healed our humanity by taking our humanity, then Christ was crucified by the very nature he had healed…. According to some , Christ condemned sin by saying no to the flesh and living a life of perfect faith and obedience. But this would mean that the condemnation of sin did not take place on the cross by Christ’s death, but in the daily life of Christ.

Macleod–“But Romans 8:3 says that it not Jesus but God the Father who condemns sin in the flesh. While it was indeed in the flesh of his Son that God condemned
sin but it was not only in his Son as incarnate, but in his Son as a sin-offering.. God condemned sin by passing judgement on his Son.

Another group of “sovereign grace preachers” does teach that Christ died onl;y for the elect, but they have a difficult time agreeing to “actual propitation” because they deny that the elect were ever actually under the wrath of God. Some of them even deny that Christ Himself was “actually” under God’s legal wrath. One of these “sovereign grace” preachers argues that the
‘children of wrath” in Ephesians 2:3 did not mean that God ever actcually had any wrath or needed any propitation.

The preacher wrote– “God’s children re wrathful in their nature. Wrath in many places in referring to man’s sin. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”[Psalm 76:10] .  This sovereign grace preacher went on to argue that “children of wrath” was only a reference to the nature of the God’s elect before their regeneration and was not the wrath of God toward the elect before their regeneration.  This preacher teaches that the only wrath is in our minds, and never was in God’s mind.   This preacher denies that Ephesians 2 can have anything to do with the wrath of God toward the elect before justification.

This preacher denies that the elect were ever not justified before God. This preacher refuses any idea that God could love a sinner before that sinner is justified.  Therefore this preachers teaches that all the elect were always justified before God .

Notice that even this preacher agrees that regeneration is another blessing of salvation. This preacher would not say that the elect were always actually regenerate. And yet he would say that all the elect were “actually saved” by Christ’s death (even before Christ actually died). To quote the preacher– “Children of wrath is all about sin, not about God”

This preacher is using the word “saved” in more than one way. On the one hand, the preacher is saying that none of the elect was ever condemned. The preacher is saying that not only some but all of the elect were “actually saved” before Christ died. But the same preacher doesn’t mean by this that they “actually had spiritual life”.The preacher is meaning that they were “actually already justified”.

The preacher is not being clear. Maybe the preacher is not clear in their own mind. But also maybe the preacher simply doesn’t care and thinks of himself as not needing to explain anything to anybody.

We need to stop saying “actually saved”. There are other blessngs to come and we are waiting for some of them We need to say Christ’s death actually propiaated God. Propiation did not make God love the elect.
God’s love for the elect caused God to give Christ to die in order to satisfy God’s demand for propitation. Propitiation is the ighteousness that satisfies God’s demand for righteousness. Sin offends the holy God. Sin is about God. God is the one who is reconciled by God. God is the one who is reconciled by Christ’s death.
Christ is God. Christ is the mediator between God and sinners

I Timothy 2:54 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,

God is reconciled to elect sinners, God needed to be reconciled to elect sinners. Christ’s death did that.

Romans 5: 11 We have now received this reconciliation through Christ Jesus.

The reconciliation we have received is not our receiving. The reconcilaition we received is not God overcoming our wrath. The reoncilaition we receive is God overcoming God’s wrath by Christ death. God overcoming God’s wrath is an objective external thing out there, done by Christ’s death.

That overcoming of God’s wrath by God was done for the elect. God imputes that overcoming of God’s wrath by God to the elect. The elect receive that reconciliation by God’s imputation and only then by faith.

“Actually saved” does not say that everything to be done by God was already done by Christ’s death (or even before Christt died)

The truth hidden and obscured in “actually saved” is about propitation. Propitiation was not always done. But then propitiation was completed. All the elect, even those now still under God’s wrath, will one day receive the propitation actually brought in and finished by Christ’s death.

It’s true that the elect are waiting for God to “do something else”. God will do other things beside Christ’s death. God will do more things. But nothing else needs to be done to expiate sins and to proptiate God for sinners. God did not do that for all sinners. But God did already make propitation to God for all elect sinners. God will do “all the other things” for these elect sinnes. Christ purchased not only propitation (paid the redemption price) but Christ purchased all the other blessings.

If you say, well that makes no sense, since God is sovereign, why does God need to purchase other things God will do for us or give us? Indeed, since God is sovereign, why would God have needed even to legally overcome God’s wrath by death? Why would God need to make expiation and pay for sins by death, when God “could have” only sovereregnly forgiven? If your gospel is only Goid’s sovereignty and not Christ’s death, then there is no righteousness revealed in your gospel.

Justice demands that one part of salvation is Christ’s death. But that does not mean that every part of salvation is Christ’s death. Christ’s death means that it would be unjust for God to NOT give ALL the other different blessingss of salvation to the elect.

“Actually saved” might make a neat “soundbite”. But it doesn’t tell the true story of the good news. It doesn’t tell the story of other actions by God in the past and future. I do not reference only “the other things God the Holy Spirit is going to do”. I refer also to the rest of what God the Father and God the Soin will do. But Propitation Done in time has priority and gives glory to Christ, and what Christ the Mediator has done.

Everything done in creation has been done for the glory of Christ. Jesus Christ made propitiation for the elect in Christ not only as the one whoe executes and fulfills God’s Purpose. God’s purpose was that the election of Christ means that all who are elect are elected for Christ and by Christ.

Romans 8 29 For those God foreknew God ALSO o predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that Christ would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those God predestined, God also called; and those God called, God also justified; and those God justified, God also glorified.

I Peter 1:20 Christ was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the ages for you who THROUGH HIM ARE BELIEVERS in God, who raised CHRIST from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

God loves only the elect. God gives everything to all the elect. Why is this important? The SCANDAL of that to most people is that God loves only some sinners. But I argue that it is even more offensive to say that God loves people but then also to add that God does NOT give them everyhthing. The scandal to justice is if God loves some people and yet those people end up condemned.

But maybe you think it’s more offensive to say that people end up condemned and that God never loved them. Some sinners end up condemned by God but Jesus never died for them. Why is one scandal more offensive than the other? Is it your theodicy that “well, better some saved, because all COULD HAVE BEEN CONDEMNED?

When the double talking Calvinists say that Christ died for everybody but then God does more for some of them, at least some are being saved? Would I rather have nobody saved at all, than to agree with those who say that some for whom Christ died will not be saved?

I am not going to boast here about wanting the truth whatever it is. Maybe thos who disagree with me want the truth also. But the truth is that all for whom Christ died will be given all other blessings. The truth is that Christ’s death was not needed if only some for whom Christ died receive the blessings of salvation. If it’s God the Holy Spirit who actually elects and saves, then what reason can actually be given for Christ to have died?

Galatians 2:21 if righteousness comes through some other way, then Christ died for nothing.

Galatians 6: 14 I will never glory in anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…16 May peace come to all those who follow this standard

1 John 4:10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Not that God caused us to receive Christ. (Though that’s another thing God did)
Not that God caused us to overcome our hostility to Christ. (Another thing done by God.)
The Evidence and Result of God’s Love was Christ Becoming the Propitiation.

Romans 3:25 God offered Christ as a propitiation through faith in His blood, in order that God would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus

Christ did not purchase God the Holy Spirit as a kind of gift card by which God the Holy Spirit now decides “who will be elect”. 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. 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.

I don’t agree with the rhetoric of preachers who teach 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 caused to believe the gospel. These preachers ask this question —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?

We are NOT actualy justified before God until we believe the gospel. The Bible does not teach two different justifications, one that God actually does out of time, and then another justification (which is not objective or actual but only in our heads and which tells us that we were already justified!) God imputes Christ’s death to elect sinners and one of the blessings Christ purchased is the elect believing God’s gospel and being declared justified before God by God.

God the Son gives us the Holy Spirit. Christ’s death is given to us not by the Holy Spirit but by God’s legal imputation.

Galatians 4:6– because you are adopted, God has sent the Spirit into your hearts.”

I know the Westminster Confession teaches “applied by the Spirit” language but we need to account for the “saving” done by God the Son and for the “saving” done by God the Holy Spirit. Legal Redemption is the basis for the promise of the Spirit. Every reference to “baptism with the Spirit” (including I Cor 12:13) has Christ as the one who gives the holy Spirit, not theHoly Spirit as the one who gives us Christ. Effectual calling by God the Father does not assume that it’s God the Holy Spirit who “actually” includes us into Christ.

Galatians 3: 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, in order that…. we receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

Ephesians 4:8 “when he ascended on high, he gave gifts to us”

Actual propitiation for any individual results in Christ actually giving each and every sinner for whom Christ died all the blessings of salvation

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3 Comments on “What do you mean by “Actually Saved”?”

  1. Mark Mcculley Says:

    quotations from Mike Horton’s essay in The Exxtent of the Atonement, edited by Adam Johnson, Zondervan, 2019

    p118—The term “limited atonement” distorts Dort’s teaching, which on the extent of the atonement repeats the traditional medivial refrain, sufficient for all

    p 129–To be in Christ is an ecclesiastical matter: it is to be be in
    the church. Although the reprobate are scattered among the elect in
    the church, there is no way of separating the sheep from the goats
    until the last judgment. Assurance of salvation THEREFORE is linked to the PROPER use of the MEANS OF GRACE AND incorporation into the VISIBLE CHURCH. Certainty of salvation is not by oneself BUT WITH HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE

    double talk–we can’t be certain who is chosen in the visible church ,
    but certainly of salvation is found with “his chosen people” (and by
    this Horton means “the” visible church)

    132–“We declare not only generally to all but particularly to each
    person that Christ’s death is sufficient to save him or her. Nobody
    can say, there was no redemption for me. There is sufficient
    redemption in Christ’s cross for every person in the world

    p 133–“God COULD HAVE justly coindemned us all. Because the death of Christ is sufficient for everyone, no one is left out except those who refuse this gift. God is not held responsible for our refusing this grace.

    Mike Horton, Justification, volume 2, (New Studies in Dogmatics ) 2019

    p455–“There is no union with Christ which is not union with the visible church

    Horton—-“a person can become a member of the covenant of grace without truly embracing the word . All persons in the covenant are to be threatened with the consequences of apostasy. Some belong to the covenant community and experience thereby the work of the Spirit through the means of grace and yet are not regenerate.. Thus we have a category for a person who is in the covenant but not personally united to Jesus Christ”

    Mike Horton—Through their covenant membership they have shared in God’s COMMON GRACE, and now, if they respond in unbelief, they will bear the CURSES OF THE NEW COVENANT. We must account for this category of common covenant beneficiaries of grace who spurn the objective COMMON GRACE delivered to them and fall away. If our theological system cannot account for this third group—not elect BUT NOT WITHOUT COVENANT GRACE EITHER–then we need a different theological paradigm. It’s covenant theology that accounts for this tertium quid between “foreigners to the covenant” and “elect members.” Some non-elect share the new covenant in common with the elect. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/kingdom-covenant-michael-horton/

  2. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Steve Chalke–“why did God command us to forgive without demanding punishment, but then God Himself wouldn’t forgive but instead demands punishment (even if it was from Himself) to Himself? ”

    If we ever get to thinking that God is only being sovereign but not being fair to us, then we show not only that we are wrong but also that God has not yet called us by the gospel to the truth. We should not only confess that God is going to get God’s way, that God is going to win. We need to learn to confess that the way God acts and judges is just. We make a positive judgment about God. That is a result, and not a condition of God having justified us.

    https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/are-you-being-arbitrary-when-you-say-that-god-is-arbitrary/

    John Owen—Sharing the gospel is not a matter of
    telling people that God has set his love on each of them and
    Christ has died to save each of them, for these assertions, biblically understood, would imply that they will all infallibly be saved, and this cannot be known to be true. The knowledge of being the object of God’s love and Christ’s redeeming death belongs to the individual’s assurance, which in the nature of the case cannot come before believing the gospel . The knowledge of being the object of God’s love is to be inferred from the fact that one has believed, not proposed as a reason why one should believe

  3. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Tianqi Wu–Application of atonement does not allow double jeopardy (double payment or no payment)

    Justice for all sinners: You sinned. Law demands the punishment of your sins. God is GOING TO apply the punishment demanded for your sins to you personally at the end of time.

    Saving Justice for elect sinners: God applied not only the punishment demanded for your sins to Christ personally at the cross, because Christ assumed the guilt of these sins by imputation. God is GOING TO apply this completed punishment for your sins to you BY IMPUTATION in your lifetime, and this completed punishment is the Righteousness by which God will declare elect sinners to be justified.

    The idea of Penal Substitution: God is unchanging and therefore must see the punishment for a sinner’s sins applied to that sinners, and God who is unchanging releases that sinner only when that sinner has (by imputation) received due punishment.

    The punishment receive in our persons (not by imputation) will never be “due punishment”, because no degree of damage/loss of our life/well-being is of comparable value to the glory of God we offended. But when the glorious Son of God died on the cross, that was due punishment for all the sins He was bearing.

    Before I’m imputed with this Punishment, I’m still guilty, because when unchaning God looks at me, Godd still sees a sinner in need of application of a due punishment.

    Before this Punishment is imputed to me, this Punishment is GOING TO be imputed to me, because God’s Electing Love for me has caused this Punishment of Christ by Death to be for my sins, and It says: this Punishment must be applied to this sinner.

    After I’m imputed with this Punishment, I’m justified, because the Law now sees a sinner who has received due punishment, and then I am justified before God and no longer live by the flesh which beforehand trusted in false gospel.

    Galatians 2: 20 I have now died with Christ, and I live. Christ lives in regard to me. I live by faith of the Son of God, the One loving me and giving Himself over on my behalf.

    The distinction between “atonement” and “application” does not allow “double jeopardy”.

    Christ had not always been incarnate. Christ had not always die. But Christ was always going to die , becausee death is the Law’s requirement for the sins imputed by God to Christ.

    All elect sinners are GOING TO be baptized into that (completed) death, because that (completed) death is the Law’s requirement for their sin


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