Archive for November 2019

The Gospel of Election and Justification in the Book of Acts

November 14, 2019

Many men who want to be paid as “Reformed” clergy don’t want to ever preach about the doctrines of election and non-election.

“Of course we know that the apostles were not Arminians, but from the book of Acts we can’t tell if yet if they are “Reformed”, so we can present the gospel without any reference to the doctrine of election.  For example, we know for sure that the thief on the cross who lived in Israel had never heard about election. So what Jesus Himself taught about election in some times or places is not necessarily model for us.” (Jesus didn’t have a famlly or a pension plan. )

Acts 16: 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

Reformed clergy– and we have no idea what word they spoke to them, and how “seeker-friendly” it might have been, but we know for sure that they didn’t talk about the new birth, which is an act of God not of man, and a secret thing. And we also know for sure that they didn’t talk about how “Christt’s finished atonement” is received by imputation, because imputation is not an experience but secret and invisible and the atonement was in the past and not in our hearts.   

Acts 2:23 this Jesus, HANDED OVER according to the DEFINITE  and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Acts 4: 27 Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your PLAN HAD PREDESTINED to take place.

Acts 13: 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying in the word of the Lord, and as many as HAD BEEN APPOINTED BY GOD to lasting life believed.

Matthew 11: 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 18 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Acts 17: 30 God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because God has set a day when God  is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man God has appointed. God has provided proof of this to everyone by raising this Man from the dead.”

John 8:  24 You will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He who I told you I was, you will die in your sins.

John 8: 32 Only the truth will set you free.” 33 “We are in the covenant family of  Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been slaves to anyone. How can You say, ” become free’?

John 8:46  I tell the truth, but you don’t believe me. 47 The one who is from God listens to God’s words. You don’t listen, because you are not from God.”

John 10: 5 The sheep  will never follow a stranger; instead th sheep  will run away from a straner, because the sheep don’t recognize the voice of strangers.

John 10: 15 I lay down My life for the sheep

John 10: 26 Some of  you don’t believe because some of you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice,

The Reformed clergy who won’t preach election disagree with Jesus about what Jesus says about electiion.   These clergy believe that, even if you reverse what Jesus tught and believe that “people are not sheep because they don’t believe”, this still has nothing to do one way or the other with the gospel you need to believe.

These clergy deny that anybody who believes the gospel needs to agree with Jesus about election . First of all, they teach that you can completely disagree with Jesus and say instead that “you become a sheep because you believe”. Second, the clergy  insist that those outside the covennant (and most of those inside, except the people in the Sproul video class)  you should only pay attention to what is taught in the book of Acts.  Christ dying only for the elect is not in Acts, they claim, therefore election should not be taught.  Jesus being raised after death is enough, except if you want to become a Reformed clergy person (then you need to sign if not study what the Confessions teach).

The idea is that, whatever gospel may be taught by Jesus in the gospels, or by the apostles in the epistles, the lost should only pay attention to the gospel found in Acts. Without speculating about their greedy  motives for this dogma about “only in Acts”, we have to ask where the Bible teaches “the gospel for the lost is found only in one place” and “the gospel for the found is found in other places”.

Though Reformed clergy never boast in election or glory in teaching the truth about Christ having died only for the elect so that all the elecct will be justified, Reformed clergy do boast in NOT BEING DISPENSATIONALIST ( with one gospel for some people, and another gospel for another time and place and people) Even so, these same clergy despise  the doctrine of unconditional election so much that they teach that 1. the doctrine of unconditional election is not to be found in the book of Acts and that 2. anything about election in other parts of the Bible does not need to be taught, either to those outside the covenant faamily or to those inside the covenant family.  Indeed, one device in their campaign of silence against election is the idea of “the covenant” which makes no distinction between elect and non-elect.

In Assured by God ( 2006, p 45), Philip Ryken informs us that “election is a family secret”. Ryken writes: “To ask if you are among the elect is to really ask if you are in Christ. If you want to know whether God has chosen you, all you need to know is it you are in Christ.”

This sounds simple but it’s not true.  Which Christ? Is the Christ of the people who deny election the same Christ as the Christ of the people who rejoice in the good news of election? And perhaps more to the point, is the Christ of people who “don’t know about election” the same Christ as the Christ of the people who do know about election?

Is election to be kept a secret from those not in the covenant family or election also so not necessary to the gospel that it can be kept secret (and/or denied) when clergy preach to the “covenant family”?

I certainly agree that nobody can know if they are elect before they believe the gospel. But this is NOT the same thing as saying that nobody CAN OR SHOULD  know about election before they believe the gospel. The Bible teaches election as inherently part of  the gospel, and as something to be proclaimed to all who read the Bible and who hear the gospel. (Romans 9:11 Though they were not yet born and had done nothing good or bad-in
order that God’s purpose of ELECTION woul continue, not because of works but because of His call.

The Christ who died only for the elect is not the same Christ as the counterfeit Christ who died for everybody. Those who believe that Christ died for everybody do not believe in what the Bible says about election and therefore do not believe in the gospel.

It does not matter if we say that these people (most evangelicals) don’t know about election or if we say that they know about election and reject it in favor of their preference for a “Jesus” who died for everybody. Most Reformed clergy have “don’t ask don’t tell rule” by which they never talk about election even to professing Christians for fear or rejection (of the clergy?, or of the true Christ?)

In either case, be it ignorance or rejection. most professing Christians do NOT believe that all for whom Jesus died will be justified. Even most people who do not profess to be Christians are sure that Jesus died for them. In most places in the United States, even most of the non-professing Christians (emocrats or Republicans) think they know that God loves everybody,

We shall not find proof of our election in ourselves. But neither can we find proof of our election in our believing a false gospel which teaches a false Christ who died for those who will perish. Ryken writes: “Since election is in Christ, it is often best understood after one becomes a Christian…While you are outside of God’s family, you may not hear about predestination at all; once you are in the family, however, it makes the most perfect sense in the world.”

The DISHONSTY of this claim by Ryken is that he knows that most who claim to be now in God’s family STILL do not believe in election. Ryken knows that most of these people have not even heard about election, and all the soundbites about “they re Calvinists when they pray” do not change this reality. Many of Ryken’s fellow evangelicals say that God knew ahead of time who to “elect” because God saw ahead of time who would “accept Jesus by faith”. Now it could be said that this shows that they do believe in a kind of election, but becoming elect by accepting Jesus is not what the Bible teaches.

Ryken claims that the kind of election which he describes  makes good sense to people after they become Christians. How then does he explain that most “Christians” still don’t know the family secret? If there were indeed an election-free gospel which one could accept and thus get oneself united to Christ, why would it be important for these Christians to learn later the “family secret”?

Ryken does not question the salvation of those who don’t learn the “family secret”. Nor does he question the salvation of those who deny the “family secret”. Nor does he pause to doubt the assurance of those who think the “secret” is that God knew ahead of time who would believe.

Too many Arminians belong to “the covenant family” which pays the salary of Reformed clergy for them to ever doubt that these folks have believed the gospel. Whatever their “gospel”, Reformed clergy agrees with their congregations that their Arminian  faith in their Arminian  gospel has effectively united them to Christ so that they are now “in Christ”.

Why talk about Romans 8 or John 10 when you can quote Donald Gray Barnhouse? “Imagine a cross like the cross on which Jesus died, only so large that it has a door in it and a sign over it: whosoever may come….On the other side of the door, a happy surprise waits the one who enters. From the inside, anyone glancing back can see the words on this side of the door: chosen…”

Reformed clergy who never talk about election cannot and should not be surprised that so many don’t ever look back and read the word “chosen”? Why do so many still understand that “chosen” to mean “because you chose first and God saw you would choose”? Why do so many clergy insist that “election is not something to be preached” if it’s such a “happy and wimsome surprise”?

The problem here is not “how much” or “how little” is being taught by Arminians. The problem is that Arminians are teaching the OPPOSITE of the truth. Does the holy God of truth justfy sinners from their sins for God’s glory by using the opposite of the truth? We need antithesis. Which of the five false doctrines believed by Arminians is part of the gospel? If none of them is the gospel, why would we think that those who are teaching those five false doctrines are teaching the gospel?

What is the gospel? Is the idea that “Christ finished the atonement” the gospel? Is it still the gospel if clergy teach that this “finished atonement” is only imputed to some of the sinners for whom it was finished?

Is it still the gospel if other clergy teach that this “finished atonement” is already imputed to sinners who still don’t know the “secrets” about election or regeneration or justification?

Is ‘finished the atonement” still the gospel if clergy teach that since “finished means already imputed”, that no elect person ever was condemned or needed to become imputed with Christ’s death”?

Is “finished the atonement” still the gospel if clergy teach that “the atonement was always already finished” ? Some clergy now are even teaching the error that God elected those who were always already justified.

The Guilt Issue Between God and You

November 5, 2019

What follows is not an attempt to be scholarly or technical. I am trying to write plainly, to people who either are right now condemned before God or justified before God. I don’t have a system that finds three or four realms of meaning for “justification” in the Bible. God is your creator. God is my creator. God is not off somewhere in some timelesss space, where God forgets our guilt. God is not “out there” in some “never now and never then” time, where God never knew we were born guilty. If we do not yet believe the gospel, guilt before God is an objective issue (the thing itself) between us and God. If we do not yet believe the gospel, we can know right now that God is our enemy. It’s not only that we are enemies of God.

Even though you did not sin when Adaam sinned, the guilt of Adam’s first sin is imputed by God to you when you are born. All of us are born guilty and condemned. None of us can be justified by our keeping the law.

Romans 1 The gospel is about God the Son, Jesus Christ the Lord, who was a descendant of David according to his humanity and who has been declared to be just by resurrection from the dead

Romans 1: 16 The gospel is God’s power for salvation to AS MANY AS WHO BELIEVE

The prophet Habakkuk wrote—-Those justifed will live by faith.

I write to warn you. 2 Corinthians 2:15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.

You may protest and say that “the only gospel you want to hear” is that which assures you and tells you that you were already justified before God without knowing the gospel. You may want a different “not so scary” gospel. But I plainly warn you that you were born guilty before God and already condemned by God. You don’t need to hear the gospel in order to be condemned. But you do need to hear and believe the gospel in order to be justified. And if you hear the gospel but don’t believe the gospel, this leaves you at the same place as not hearing the gospel—-“an aroma of death leading to death”.

John 3: 17 God did not send His Son into the world because all the elect were already justified. The Son did not come into the world in order to cause God to love the elect. God sent His Son because God loved the elect and the death of the Son was necessary for the justification of all the elect.
18 Anyone who believes in the Son is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned.

There is no exception here. There is NO QUALIFICATION that says “those who will believe are already not condemned”

John 3:36 The one who believes in the Son already has lasting life, but the one who does not believe in the Son will not see life. The wrath of God remains on the one who does not believe in the Son.

There is again NO QUALIFICATION that says “the wrath of God is never on those who in the future will believe in the Son.” To the contrary, as long as you do not know or believe the gospel, the wrath of God remainss on you. Believing the gospel is not the righteousness which takes away the wrath of God. Christ’s death imputed to you is the ONLY THING which will take away the wrath of God. But if you do not yet believe the gospel, this is evidence that you remain in condemnation before God. Speculating that you might be elect is no solution for you. There is no justification for those who do not yet believe the gospel.

Romans 2:12 All those who sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all those who sinned under the law will be judged by the law

Romans 3:6 Is God unrighteous to judge the world? Absolutely not.

Romans 3:19 Every mouth will be shut. The whole world is subject to God’s judgment.

All of us are born guilty and condemned. None of us can be justified by our keeping the law.

There is a foolish philosphy that speculates that because God is morally unchanging in character and nature, that this means that God cannot act in time. This vanity sugggest that God creating in time would be “God changing”. This sophistry claims that God has no past and that God has no future. But the Bible gospel teaches that God the Son became incarnate (added a human nature, and died as the mediator “man”). The death and resurrection of God the Son is now done. That part of God’s history is finished, even though God the Son now remains both God and man.

The same God who has a past has a future. As Christ already died for all God’s elect, even so Christ will come back to give immortality to all God has elected and will have justified,

Hebrews 9: 26 Christ has appeared one time for the REMOVAL OF SIN by the sacrifice of Himself. 28 so also 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 for Him

The sins of the elect were not already removed before Christ died. Christ was imputed with sins, Christ bore sins, Christ died for sins. Christ is no longer imputed with sins, Christ is no longer dead, and God will impute Christ’s death to all those for whom Christ died. It was not only us who “had an issue with God”. God still has an issue with all sinners who are not yet justified. Those who do not yet believe the gospel give evidence that GOD STILL HAS AN ISSUE WITH THEM. if God did not still “have an issue” with you, then you would be already be believing the gospel. If God had already imputed Christ’s death to you, then you would already believe the gospel.

The issue God has with those God still condemens is the ISSUE OF GUILT. Christ’s death for imputed sins is the ONLY THING that removed guilt. Until God imputes Christ’s Death to you, you are guilty before God. It is not your “experience” or faith in the gospel which removes guilt. But you can know for sure that you are still condemned before God as long as you do not yet believe the gospel.

Romans 6: 9-10 Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death NO LONGER rules over Christ 10 Christ DIED TO SIN once for all time

Romans 6: 17 Thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to.

God has not yet imputed Christ’s death to those who are still slaves of sin, who still have not yet obeyed the gospel.

Romans 3:22 God’s righteousness THROUGH FAITH in Jesus Christ, come to all who BELIEVE the gospel. 23 Because all have sinned

Those who are justified before God are justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that was obtained by Christ Jesus.

Romnas 3:26 God presented Christ as a propitiation through FAITH IN His blood, to demonstrate God’s righteousness, in order that God would be BOTH righteous and declare justified the one WHO HAS FAITH IN Jesus.

God has an unchanging righteous character and nature. Before Abraham believed the gospel, God had a “guilt issue” with Abraham. God did not change but when God imputed Christ’s death to Abraham, then Abraham believed the gospel and God justified Abraham.

God has an unchanging righteous character and nature. Before Christ died, God the Trinity had a “guilt issue” with Christ. When Christ “died to sin”, Christ became the righteousness of God. When Christ “died to sin”, Christ became the propitation that “takes away guilt”. After Christ “died to sin”, Christ became the reconciliation. This “reconciliation” is NOT what God does inside the hearts of sinners, to make them friends of God. The “reconcilition” Christ obtained by His death is that which “takes away God’s wrath to the guilty”. When Abraham “received this reconciliation”, God imputed the reconciliation by death to Abraham and God justified Abraham, who had been born guilty, ungodly and condemned.

All of us are born guilty and condemned. None of us can be justified by our keeping the law. If you do not yet believe the gospel, this is all the evidence you need to know that God is still your enemy. If God is still your enemy, you have not yet “received the reconciliation” and this is why you still do not believe the gospel.

Romans 3:28 a sinner is justified THROUGH FAITH apart from works

Romans 4 Abraham was not justified before Abraham believed God, God did not count Abraham’s faith as righteousness or justification. Abraham believed God when God credited Christ’s death to ungodly Abraham. God counted Christ’s death as Abrahaam’s righteousness when Abraham believed God. Abraham was born ungodly.

Those God has already elected are also born guilty before God and condemned by God. None of us can be justified by our keeping the law (or any part of the law). Justification is God’s verdict only when and where God has imputed Christ’s death. God’s character and nature do not change, and God does not justify those God has not yet placed into Christ’s death. God does not bypass the law or the death demanded by God’s law. Only Christ’s death is the reconciliation that takes away “the guilt issue”.

Romans 4: 2 To the one who obeys law or works, reward is not considered a gift but as something owed. 5 But to the ungodly who do NOT WORK BUT BELIEVE on Him God declares the ungodly to be justified

Romans 4: 16 God gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not yet exist

Romans 4: 24 Christ’s death will be credited to as many as who believe in God who raised Jesus the Lord from the dead. 25 God the Son was handed over because of our sins and God the Son was raised up from the dead because of our certain justification.

God did not ask your permission for you to be born. God did not ask your permission to impute Adam’s sin to you.

Even though you did not sin when Adam sinned, the guilt of Adam’s first sin is imputed by God to you when you are born. All of us are born guilty and condemned. None of us can be justified by our keeping the law.

Christ died because of some of those to whom Adam’s sin was imputed. Christ did not die for all to whom Adam’s sin was imputed. But Christ did die because of all the sins of those God has elected in Christ.
All the sinners born elect in Christ were born guilty in Adam, and Christ was raisied up from the dead because all of these elect will certainly and legally be justified, when Christ’s death is imputed by God to them and when they believe the gospel.

The faith God commands in the gospel is not faith that you are elect or justified. The faith that God commands in the gospel is not you giving God permission to elect you or to justify you.
Faith in the gospel is obedience and submission to the God who has already elected those who will be justified.

Romans 9: 11 God’s PURPOSE according to election WILL STAND— 12 not from works but from the One who calls

Faith in the gospel is obedience and submission to the God who will not justify by your works.
Faith in the gospel is obedience and submission to the God who only justifies by means of “the righteousness through faith”.

Romans 9:30 There is the righteousness that COMES THROUGH FAITH

Romaans 10: 3 Many disregard the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness. They have not themselves SUBMITTED TO God’s righteousness. 4 Because only Christ is the removal of guilt and wrath before the law for righteousness to AS MANY AS WHO BELIEVE.

If YOU do not yet belive the gospel, this shows that God is still your enemy. If YOU do not yet believe the gospel, this is plain evidence that you still do not believe that God ever had a “guilt issue” with you that is only removed for the elect by Christ’s death. You may think your faith removes the “guilt issue”. You may believe that God is so far out of time and space that God has no “guilt issues”. But whatever you believe, if you are not yet submitted through faith to God’s righteousness, then you are still condemned in your guilt.

Romans 5: When these ungodly sinners have been declared righteous THROUGH FAITH , they will not only have peace in their own minds but they will have peace with God through the death of the Lord Jesus. The death of the Lord Jesus was required by God in order for God to have peace with those imputed with Christ’s death. The death of the Lord Jesus happened in history because the God who already loved the elect in Christ handed over Christ to death in order to satisfy God’s requirement for death because of sin.

Even though Satan had said that sinners won’t die, Christ died for elect sinners in order that those elect sinners would not permanently die but instead would certainly and legally be justified because of
Christ’s death.

This is not simply an issue in your head, only having to do with what you think about yourself or about who you think “God” is or is not. This is not a mere “effect of preaching”.
This is an issue about God’s requiring the death of God the Son as the only just and effective satisfaction for the sin of Adam or for any other sin.

Even though you did not sin when Adam sinned, the guilt of Adam’s first sin is imputed by God to you when you are born. All of us are born guilty and condemned. None of us can be justified by our keeping the law.

Romans 5:9 There are some elect sinners who have now been declared righteous by Christ’s death and they will be saved through Christ from wrath. 10 While they were God’s enemies (not only enemies of God), they were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.

Having now been reconciled, those who are now justified will be saved by Christ’s resurrection 11 Those who have now received God’s reconciliation have been legally given by God Christ’s death.

Christ’s past death is NOT “what Adam could have done”. Christ’s past death is NOT “what was always done” (and therefore by implicatio never done)

Romans 5:12 Sin entered the world through one man Adam. Guilt entered the world through one man’s guilt. Corruption to all came because of the guilt of the one human. Corruption to all came because the guilt of the one man was imputed to all humans.

Death entered the world through one man’s guilt. Before sin came through death, death came through the guilt of Adam. Dying, you shall die. Mortal humans began to die because of Adam’s sin imputed. All became sinners because Adam sinned. All became guilty because Adam was guilty and Adam’s gullt was imputed by God to all humans.

Death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Even though you did not sin when Adam sinned, the guilt of Adam’s first sin is imputed by God to you when you are born. All of us are born guilty and condemned. Have you believed the gospel yet? Do you know what the good news is? Is the good news “who God is” but “not what Christ did new in history”?

IF GOD STILL HAS A GUILT ISSUE WITH YOU, then “who God is” IS NOT GOOD NEWS FOR YOU.

God condemns all who are born with Adam’s guilt. That’s who God is. The only good news is for those who believe the good news. The good news is “Christ died to sin”. If you choose to believe that “this can only be good news if Christ died for sins for everybody imputed with Adam’s sin”, then there is no good news for you. If you decide to believe that “God does not change and God has no guilt issues”, then there is no good news for you, because there is only one God and the only God there is declares guilty all whose not yet imputed with Christ’s death to sin.

Hebrews 10: 5 You prepared a body for Me.

Hebrews 10: 10 Those who are now sanctified have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all time

Hebrews 10: 17 I will never again remember their sins 18 Now where there is forgiveness of sins, there is no more offering for sin.

Does God still count your guilt against you? You were born guilty, and if you do not yet believe the gospel, that is basic evidence that Christ’s death offering for the guilt of the elect has not yet been imputed to you. There is no good news for those who have not yet believed the news about Christ’s death TO TAKE AWAY GUILT AND WRATH.

Hebrews 10: 28 If anyone disregarded the law of Moses, they died without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, and regarded as common (universal) the blood of the covenant by which Christ was sanctified?

There is nothing “hypothetical” about this warning (or the others in Hebrews). The logic of “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin” is not that Christ died for every sinner, and that every sinner had a “chance” or an “opportunity” to be saved, if they accepted “the offer”. NO. The logic rather is that now and always there has been only sacrifice that really IN HISTORY TAKES AWAY GUILT AND GOD’S WRATH. Only the death sacrifice of the one who is both God and man takes way the guilt issue. The same God who condemns as guilty all those who are born is the only God who gives Christ’s death to take away the sins of the elect. The same God who condemns as guilty all those who are born is the only God who imputes Christ’s death to the elect and justifies them.

For any sinner, there is only one sacrifice that take away sins, and it’s Christ’s propitiatory death. This does not at all mean that Christ has died for every sinner. It means that everyone born guilty needs Christ’s death. But only the guilt of the elect the Father has given the Son was imputed by God to the Son, and the Son was only made a propitiation for that guilt. Christ’s death is not enough for every sinner, because it was never intended for every sinner. I don’t ask if you are a “believer”. If you deny this gospel about propitiation for guilt imputed, then you deny the God revealed in the Bible.

Even though nobody died with Christ when Christ died, the righteousness of Christ’s death is imputed by God to all for whom Christ died at some point in their history, after they are born condemned and guilty before God. This imputation of Christ’s death results in them believing the gospel and being justified by God before God.

Romans 5:14 death reigns over those who did not sin the sin of Adam but who are nevertheless imputed with Adam’s sin.

Romans 5:21 As sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through Christ’s death, resulting in lasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord

Grace reigns over those whose death cannot themslevvess satisfy God for their sins but who are nevertheless imputed with Christ’s death. When God imputes to the ungodly Christ’s death, these sinners are given life to believe the gospel and are justified. This is the reign of grace, which results in lasting life