Archive for the ‘atonement’ category

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

What do you mean by “Actually Saved”?

July 6, 2019

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

Nobody is Justified (or Even Regenerated) Without the Gospel

June 9, 2019

Romans 4:5 believe on Him who DECLARES the UNGODLY to be RIGHTEOUS,

Romans 4:20 Abraham did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise. Abraham was strengthened in his faith. Abraham gave glory to God, 21 because Abraham was fully convinced that what God had promised God was also able to perform. 22 Therefore, Christ’s death was credited by God to Abraham for righteousnes.

As soon as the rghteousness to be obtained by Christ was imputed to Abraham, Abraham believed the gospel.

Righteosness is not faith.
Righteousness is through faith.
While Abraham did not believe the gospel, Abraham was not declared righteous by God.

Even though Christ did not obtain righteouensss until Christ died, Abraham was justified by God based on Christ’s righteousness.

Romans 4: 13 For the promise to Abraham (or to his descendants that he would inherit the world) was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

We must not say that Abraham was always righeous before God. Abraham was not always imputed with Christ’s death. Abraham was born ungodly, and this ungodliness is not only a referenceto his lack of regenerertion. Abraham was born condemned before God

Romans 4:10 In what way then was righteousenss credited—while Abraham was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while Abraham was circumcised, but uncircumcised..

Romans 4 does not teach that faith is a human condition in order for God to impute Christ’s death. Faith does not obtain the righteousness.
As soon as the rghteousness to be obtained by Christ was imputed to Abraham, Abraham believed the gospel and was justified (not only in conscience but before God).

1. When Christ’s righteousness is imputed by Gid, at least three things happen.—-regeneration, faith in the gospel, and justification before God. 2. This does not mean that regeneration is the righteousness—regeneration is a result of God’s imputation of the righteousness. 3. This does not mean that faith is the righteousness—faith in the gospel is a result and evidence of God’s imputation of Christ’s death 4. Justification results when God imputes Christ’s righteousness —but this does not mean that justification is the righteouensss—Justification is result of God’s imputation of that righteousness to the individual elect sinner. 5. So the three results are not “conditions in order for God to impute”. But we must not over-react by saying that we are justified before or without faith in the gospel. . Also, we must not over-react by
saying that we were already regenerate without the true gospel or the resulting faith in the true gospel.

Righteousness is through faith. While Abraham did not believe the gospel, Abraham was not declared righteous.

1.Christ is always the same person. But Christ was not always dead. Christ obtained a Rightousness by His death. Christ’s Death is Christ’s work.

2. Not Christ the person but Christ’s death is the righteousness imputed by God to justify an ungodly sinner.

3. God counts according to truth. God counts Christ’s death as righteousness because that divine-humaan righteousness (accomplished in Christ) was and is righteousness.

4. The righteousness counted as righteousness is not our righteousness (not our faith or works of faith).

5. The value of Christ’s death is legally “transferred” to the elect when they are “married to Christ”, so that what belongs to Christ is still HIS but now belongs also to HIS JUSTIFIED ELECT.

6. Justification is not the righteousness obtained by Christ,because justification is the declaration that God makes when God imputes Christ’s righteousness to the elect.
.
7, God is righteous and declared to be righteous, without anything being transferred from us to God. God is counted as just because God is just.

8. The elect can only be declared righteous, legally and logically, after God transfers Christ’s righteousness to them.

9 God is justified in justifying the ungodly elect ,not only because Christ obtained a righteousness for the elect, but also because God transfers this righteouness to them.

10 In the case of the elect sinner, imputation has two parts–both transfer and declaration. In the case of God, imputaton is declaration alone.

11. “Justify” does not mean improve . “Justify” means to declare the truth about somebody being not guilty

12. By God’s delcaration, an ungodly elect sinner becomes legally righteous on the basis of the righteousness of another

13. A sinner who has become justified by God before God is now promised the lasting life of the age to come

14. “Justified before faith in the gospel” is a reaction to Arminian false gospel . BUT “justified before faith in the gospel” is NOT the gospel

15 Using the word “faith” in a definition of the gospel is NOT wrong. The gospel commands sinners to exclude faith in the gospel as being any part of the righteouness reealed in the gospel.

16 The same gospel which commands sinners to believe the gospel informs sinners that faith is not the righteusness accomplished by Christ in His death.

17. “Righteousness through fath” does NOT mean that rightousness is faith.

18. The righteousness revealed in the gospel is “God condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, (Romans 8:3)

Romans 5: 18 through one righteous act there is LIFE -giving justification…19 As through one man’s disobedience the many were constituted sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous..As sin reigned in DEATH, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in LASTING LIFE

2 Corinthians 5: 18 Everything is from God, who reconciled us to God through Christ … In Christ, God was reconciling sinners to God ….God made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, in order that we become the righteousness of God in Christ

Righteousness is an objective something, external to Abraham.
Abraham became righteous, by having God impute righteousness to Abraham.
Abraham became justified, when Abraham was still uncirumcised.
Abraham became justified, by having God impute objective external righteousness to Abraham.
When sinners are imputed with Christ’s death, they are born again and they believe the gospel.

Christ died for some sinners, but not necessarily for you . Christ’s Death Matters so Much that Christ’s death Makes the Difference . Your works don’t prove that you have faith, and your faith in the false Christ does not prove that the true Christ’s death was for you. Election matters before Christ’s death matters—If you are not God’s elect in Christ, then Chist did not die for you

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.”

I am NEITHER MENNONITE NOR REFORMED

May 12, 2019

Romans 3:19 law speaks…in order that every mouth be shut and the
whole worl subject to God’s judgment. 20 For no one will become justified in God’s sight by their works of law, because knowledge of sin comes through law…..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 the doctrine of the true gospel news. It is not the same doctrine as “never condemned in God’s sight”. It’s not the same doctrine as “justified before faith in God’s righteousness”

Even though I think it’s sin (in this new covenant age of Christ as
lawgiver) for anybody to kill anybody, I am not Mennonite. I believe that the God revealed in the Bible imputes Adam’s guilt to us all, so that we are all born guilty in sin before God. This means that we are all born condemned before God and unable to do anything good before God. I believe that the only hope for any sinner is God’s election of some sinners. God’s election is God’s love for a
sinner,and that election is not a result of any decision made by that sinner. God’s love to a sinner is not a consequence of that sinner’s worth.

The hope of election is that all sinners Christ hss elected have been
died for by Jesus Christ. Election determines non-election, and therefore also designates those for whom Christ did not die. Christ died as a legal substitute only for the elect. This elction is not a mere matter ot God being sovereign add effective in whar God attempts to do. Christ’s death for the elect alone is a matter of God’s justice. God’s nature is not to leave sin unpunished. God’s justice teaches is that every sin imputed to Christ will in time NOT BE IMPUTED to elect sinners for whom Christ died

As a matter of justice, Jesus Christ was not merely a sacrifical offering. Being imputed with the guilt of the elect, by Christ’s nature asjust God, Christ by just necessity had to die for all the sins of all the sinners Christ loves. Divine Justice now demands that all those sinners one day be justified before God. Romans 4:25 teaches that Christ died BECAUSE OF sins. Romans 4:25 also teaches that Christ’s resurrection from death was BECAUSE OF justification. .

Justice says that all the elect for whom Christ died either have now
or will be justified. Christ Himself wss justified by His death, and
is no longer under sin. God’s law has no more to demand from Christ.
God’s law does demand the eventual justification of all for whom Chrsit died.

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

2 Corinthians 5:20–“we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is
appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to
God.” 21 God made the One WHO KNEW NO SIN TO BECOME SIN, in order that
we would BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

I Corinthians 1:30– “No one can boast in God”s presence. 30 It is from
God that you are in Christ Jesus who BECAME God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.

If Jesus never obtained or BECAME the righteousness for the elect, then
there is no news. If Jesus never BECAME the redemption of the elect, there is no news. THE GOSPEL OF JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD NEWS

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

Hebrews 9:28–“Christ having been offered ONCE IN TIME 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.”

Christ was not justified by becoming born again. Christ was justified by satisfying the righteous requirement of divine law for the sins imputed to Christ. Christ was justified by His death. Christ needed to be justified because Christ legally bore the guilt of His elect. This guilt demanded Christ’s death. Christ was not justified because of His resurrection. Christ’s resurrection was God’s delcaration of Christ’s justification, and that because of Christ’s death for sins imputed.

No elect sinner has yet been glorified or given immortality, and so sin still has power in justified sinners. Justified sinners still sin. Sin never had any power over Christ Jesus, except for the power of guilt imputed to Christ. Christ’s resurrection demonstrates that imputed guilt no longer has
any power over Christ,

I Peter 1:21 For you were called to this,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an EXAMPLE
so that you should follow in His steps.
22 He did not commit sin,
and no deceit was found in His mouth;
23 when He was reviled,
He did not revile in return;
when He was suffering,
He did not threaten
but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.

I am a pacifist. God gives life. God takes life, We are not God. The killing done by humans in their death penalty and wars has nothing to do with any God specifically revealed in the Bible. It’s not worship of Jesus which motivates any attempt to overcome evil with evil.

But I am not Mennonite, and not only because of what I think the Bible teaches about the sovereignty of God’s election and the justice of Christ’s atonement. I am not Mennonite because I teach the securiity of those who have now been justified before God. Divine justice demands that those now justified before God stay justified before God.

Even though the sheep (the elect) were born “already condemned” before
God, just like other humans, in each case, with every INDIVIDUAL who is elect, God by means of the Holy Spirit AND THE TRUTH teaches these unconverted and guilty sinners. In time the condemned before God elect become the justified before God elect.

God effectually calls by the power of the true gospel these elect sinners so that they willingly believe this same gospel. This gospel teaches not only election but also regeneraton to believe when God imputes Christ’s righteousness.

Those who have not yet repented of worshipping the false unjust God who fails to save any sinner for whom Christ died give no evidence of being justified yet. In fact, their ignorance and/or unbelief of the gospel is evidence that they are not yet justified before God.

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

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–”Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of
sin,the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

I believe that each and every sinner God justifies (immediately as God imputes Christ’s death to them) CONTINUES TO BELIEVE the true gospel, and that all who truly believe as God’s gift purchased by Christ will remain repentant about false gospels, so much so that they will not regard as Christians those who continue in false gospels which teach that Jesus Christ supposedly died for everybody but where there is no justice.

John 10: the sheep hear his voice. The Shepherd calls his own sheep by individual names and leads them out. 4 When the Shepherd has brought all HIS OWN outside, the shepherd goes ahead of them. The sheep follow the shepherd because they recognize his voice.5 They will never follow a stranger. Instead they will run away from strangers, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.”

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

I am not Mennonite because Mennonites teach that Christ died for everybody, including the goats. They teach that not all for whom Christ died will be saved. They teach that future justification is determined not by Christ’s just death and resurrection but by our own decisions and morals. About this doctrine, the Reformed are not much different. Though many of them will teach that election will cause people to make correct decisions, it turns out that if a person believes in some version of “no election and died for everybody”, the Reformed still think of this as a “close enough” salvation decision.

For their assurance, anyway, the Reformed look to their own improved moral performance, even though they have a different standard for what murder means than the Mennonites do. To the extent that they talk about election, the Reformed use that doctrine either to claim that their own children are born Christians or use the doctrine of election to explain why they are inevitably
morally superior (not by themselves but with God’s assistance)

I am not Mennonite. I disagree with their Dordrecht Confession of Faith (1632)—-“The Son of God tasted death and shed His precious blood for all men and obtained forgiveness of sins for all mankind; thus becoming the cause of
salvation for all those who, from Adam unto the end of the world, each in his time, believe in and obey God.”

I disagree with this deceptive false gospel. Christ did not die for all sinners. Christ did not die to make it possible for the Holy Spirit to cause sinners to obey enough in order to be sure of their decision to be saved. All the sinners for whom the true Chrsit died wiil be saved, not because of their obedience but because of Christ’s death.

John 10:26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them lasting life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.

Most Reformed people agree with the Mennonites that Christ died for all sinners. The Dordrecht Confession teaches that–“God has declared all men without distinction, who through faith, as obedient children, heed, follow,and practice what the same contains, to be His children and lawful heirs; thus excluding no one from the precious inheritance of lasting salvation, except the disobedient, the stiff-necked and obdurate, who through their own sins make themselves unworthy of lasting life.

Logically, consistently, this means that those who do have lasting life still had Jesus died for them but that their sins made them unworthy. But the Reformed folks argue that logically God saves those with an “inconsistent gospel”. Thus they rationalize that others are being too rational. This comes back to the Reformed saying that God’s sovereignty means that you don’t need to agree on what the gospel is. Believe your own gospel, because in the end they think folks are already justified bofore they know any gospel.

In the assumption that Jews by sin have removed their children from “the covenant”, the Reformed assume that “election” and “covenant” mean that Christ has died for their own children. But like the Mennonites, the Reformed do not believe that it’s the justice of Christ’s death that saves anybody. They assume that their “the covenant” is the new covenant, but they also teach that some who are brought as infants into that “new covenant” will leave that covenant and then face “even worse sanctions” than those who were never born “in the covenant”.

Though the Reformed children may (or may not) have been taught in some catechism class that Christ died for everybody but also “died for the elect in a special way”. They have NOT been taught that God only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ, nor have they been taught that justice demands that all for whom Christ died will be imputed with Christ’s death (because justice demands that Christ’s death be imputed by God to those sinners for whose sins Christ died)

If there is one practical difference between Mennonites and Reformed that I still notice, it might be that some of the Reformed still superstitiously believe in “eating the body and blood of their Savour”. Since Mennonites do not talk about God at all that much, but instead talk about what they thmselves could and should be doing, they lean much less on sacramental mumbo jumbo. Some of the Reformed act as if they needd no hope in any second coming of Christ to earth. Not only do they plan to go straight to heaven when they die, but they also believe in the “real presence” of Jesus by which they (if they have a clergyman certified by other clergymen to do the hocus pocus) gives them the ability to climb up to heaven in their “sacrament” and “eat and drink Jesus up in heaven”.

Becoming Reformed these days has NOTHING to do with teaching that Christ died only for the elect. The Reformed clergyman may on occasion teach that election helped you to believe in some Christ who died for everyone. Then they will teach you that this faith (in whichever Christ you believed in) was given to you and caused you to be united to the true Christ.

The Reformed not only don’t teach election in Sunday morning worship. They don’t teach at any time that God only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ. Instead the Reformed teach that Christ’s death has “infinite and sufficient” potential for all sinners. Instead of teaching election, the Reformed teach that even the water adminstered by the “Roman Catholic Church” can have saving efficacy, not necessarly at the time of the watering, but at some later point.

It is not a problem for Reformed people to accept the infant baptism of the “Roman Catholics” because they teach that they and their children became Christians without hearing and believing the gospel. They take the “sovereignty of God” to mean that God does not need the gospel as a means to effectually call sinners.

Though they accept “faith before regenertion” as one “good enough gospel”, it’s not that big a deal to them, because many of the Reformed think that Christians are Christians already without conversion or gospel. Along with the rest of ritual Christendom, the Reformed teach that water baptism is not something they do but rather something that God does. They believe that God does not save apart from water baptism (apart from “the true church”).

Becoming Reformed these days has nothing to do with the good news of election and atonement. You can agree with all the five points of the Arminians, and still be considered “Reformed” if you agree that “the church” includes those who do not yet believe the gospel. To do this, you have to (implicitly) agree that God’s covenant with Abraham is the very same covenant as the new covenant, and then you have to agree that this “the covenant” is not for the elect alone. This takes thinking about election out of the equation, and puts the accent on finding assurance in children doing the “ordinary” things they are supposed to do, like “regularly be handed the sacrament as a means of grace”.

Was Esau born in “the covenant of grace”, but then later lose his justification in Christ? No. God’s wrath is not an expression of God’s love. God’s wrath is not a response to human negative response to God’s grace.

Those who are justified are no longer under God’s wrath. And those still under God’s wrath were born condemned, already under God’s wrath. The promise of the gospel is for as many as who believe the gospel. The promise of the gospel is for as many physical chidren of Abraham as the Lord our God will call, for the elect among the Jews and not for the non-elect among the Jews. The promise is for your children, as many of those children as the Lord our God will call by the gospel, in spite of parents. The promise of the gospel is for the elect alone and not for the non-elect. Therefore nobody knows if they are elect until after they understand and believe the true gospel. Election by God is not the same thing as justification before God.

Tom Nettles—”The idea of universal atonement is not demanded by the Bible at all, but is often assumed as an inference drawn from a no-grace-no-justice assumption. The piggy-backing of grace onto the command to believe the gospel does not come from the Bible.”

God does NOT promise saving grace in Christ to every baptized baby. God did NOT promise saving grace to Esau in his circumcision. God made not only one promise but many differnt promises. God’s grace is NOT ineffectual. But many of the Reformed are now teaching a “common grace” that does not save some of those to whom God “wants to be” gracious.

Paul Helm—“One thing that the Amyraldian proposal does is to weaken connection between the plight of the race in the fall of Adam. For the Amyraldians the responsibility of each of the non-elect comes only from hearing and not receiving the message of grace.”

The Mennonites teach that Christ only died to eliminate Adam’s sin from being imputed to anybody, and in much the same way the Reformed teach that no infant can be condemned only for sin imputed from Adam. These same Reformed teach the possible regeneration of infants (and adults) who have never heard the true gospel of Christ having died for the elect alone.

Mike Horton, Justification, volume 2,(New Studies in Dogmatics)-“a person can become a member of the covenant of grace without truly beleiving the gpspel 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 sacramental means of grace and yet have never believe the gospel. Thus we Reformed have a category for a person who is in the covenant but this has nothing to do their faith in the gospel.

Horton, p450—“The Holy Spirit grants us faith to be united to Christ.”

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

Horton, p467–”Calvin goes beyond Luther by stressing the more and more aspect of salvation.”

To justify their false practice, Reformed folks need to flatten out all post fall covenants down into one covenant. Even though they are reluctant to water teenagers and adults who “have not professed” the gospel, they want to keep holding onto their own baby baptisms

Scott Clark — “the Lord gave his covenant promise or the covenant of grace (they are synonyms).”

Since “the covenant of grace” is something invented by the Reformed, “one covenant of grace” turns out to be the false idea that God only made one promise to Abraham. Reformed folks prefer not to talk about election, and would rather talk about “the covenant”. “Election” practically to them means that “my physical children begin life in the covenant” and therefore we never have to talk about non-election.

Romans 9:6 “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Romans 9 teaches that some of ethnic Israel were predestined to serve in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Those who served this way were not necessarily ”justified before God” and given lasting life. And ethnic Jews not in the genealogy of Jesus are not necessarily “never saved”. Not only is there a difference between being in the genealogy and not being in the genealogy, but also a DIFFERENCE between being elect to justification or not being one of those for whom Christ would die to justify.

God did not make one lump and then leave the rest, God made two lumps.

Romans 11:1 I ask then–has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Philippians 3 If anyone else thinks they has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised as a child of Abraham the eighth day; of the nation of Israel.

Ethnic Israel as a whole was not chosen for justification before God but some in Israel were chosen to be in Christ’s genealogy. Those in “the Reformed church” are not chosen as a group to be justified. Not only the Mosaic covenant but also the Abrahamic covenant have promises that only have to do with the role of the nation in God’s historical plan. Their election to be children of Abraham was utilitarian, like creation or redemption from Egypt, not like redemption from the guilt of sin before God.

Something in one of the promises to Abraham can be a “type or picture” of some other promise to Abraham. Those who believe the gospel are promised lasting life. Those who escape Egypt are not all promised lasting life. The children of those who have lasting life are not promised lasting life.

Mike Horton: To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership (693), then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to exercise faith and persevere in faith to the end? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they FAALL UNDER THE COVENANT CURSE without Christ as their mediator. The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response.

To repeat, one last time. I am not Mennonite and I am not Reformed. I believe that the justice of God demands that all for whom Christ died (with their sins imputed to Him) will be justified.

Either you are justified or you are not justified. If you are justified now, you don’t need to be justified in future. If you are not justified now, then you need to be justified. You either are already elect or not, but even if you are elect, if you don’t know the gospel yet, then you are not justified yet.

From the year 2000, my letter to John Reisinger

April 18, 2019

Dear John,

I agree with Mormons that all are commanded to believe the gospel. But I disagree with them about what is the gospel. I agree with you, John, that all snners are commanded to believe the gospel. But I disagree with you about what the gospel is. You have an idea of the gospel, a doctrine of the gospel, which misrepresents God, which is idolatry. Your idea is that God loves the non-elect because God commands all to believe the gospel.

Jesus said, “come to Me, all you.” You say that there is “nothing before this come”. But before this invitation, Jesus identified Himself as the one who reveals the Father and identified the Father as the one who hides things from the non-elect. The difference between us is about which gospel we command sinners to believe.

Your gospel presents a God whose love is not stingy but a love which wants to save those God doesn’t save. Since God would rather save the elect than damn them, you conclude that God would rather save the non-elect than damn them. But this is not the truth, and this misrepresentation of God leads to more falsehoods. Instead of preaching that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner, you hold back talking about the glory of God in election and non-election. The gospel is about the righteousness of Christ dying for the elect. To each and every sinner, we can say, for the non-elect there was never any room. Matthews 11:25 ”I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent…”

We are to imitate Jesus in His preaching because we are to be convinced that the only difference between saved and lost is the Father giving a people to His Son and His Son dying for those people. Why should we hold back that gospel? Do we think we are prudent enough to know how to abridge the gospel Jesus preached?

I just finished listening to your sermon “The Real Prodigal” from the Bunyan Conference. I like the part about new converts seeing the best in the new and the worst in the old. I can relate to that. As a new convert, I certainly have a keen sense of the sin of believing in a salvation conditioned on the sinner. I certainly have a great shame for having “misrepresented God” for so many years. I was an idolater, and not until God delivered me to the doctrine of the true gospel did I ever feel ashamed of the things I now hate.

I also liked the “sound bite” about truth not being in the middle but in the extremes. If the extremes are in the Bible, they do not contradict each other, no matter what Spurgeon wrote. So we need to be sure that they are in the Bible, and then teach them. I agree with that.

I also was interested in your profession of love for open discussion. I have asked to meet with you, to talk with you, but that has never happened and now you have used the slanders of Phil Johnson as an excuse for exercising your authority to end the discussion. So you end up with one person giving “both sides”, not only his side but a caricature of the other side.

Two things about this. 1. I know that I cannot assume that everything or even anything in your sermon was about me. You kept saying “these people” and “hypers’. And then you can say to us: if the shoe fits, wear it as I call it: you are “hyper”. And if we say that this is a caricature, a stereotype fitting no individual person, then you say, OK, I wasn’t talking about you.

Thus you keep your types and categories, but without having to defend it, and without answering for the accusations you have made. But this is what happens when you take both sides, and try to represent the other side without letting the other side represent itself. You are not yet as much unlike Al Martin as you think you are.

Now I am not complaining that you only give one side of things. We all do that. What irritates is that you talk about “open discussion”.. What I want to say, John, is that you do not know me. You do not know if I am happy or angry or if I have love in my life. I do know that I am still a real sinner. My confession is not simply that “I repent of the false gospel” I used to believe. My confession is that I do not yet see my sin as I should see it, and that the law of God would still condemn me despite my confessing the true gospel and my repenting of the false gospel, were it not for the righteousness of God obtained for the elect by Christ’s death Assurance of Salvation cannot be conditioned on what God works inside any sinner.

Now I know that you also profess not to condition salvation on the sinner. You say that, while Arminians may THINK that their salvation is conditioned on them, they are saved and their salvation is not conditioned on their ignorance or knowledge of the gospel After all, you say, you are not “stingy with the love of God”. Does this mean that God loved the elder brother in spite of his legalism? Since I know that you profess a not-saving but universal love, I am sure that you would say that God does love “in some way” that elder brother.

But that is not the basic difference here. Is that elder brother saved? Must the one who came home from the hog pen confess that the elder brother is his brother? Back in the days when I became an universalist, I said yes: all are brothers.

What do you say? I do not ask if you think the elder brother was non-elect in the secret counsels of God. Rather I ask, is a legalist converted while still left in his self-righteousness and legalism? Are the “good people” saved also, despite their being deceived about their sins and about the gospel? What do you say? Is the love of God such that God’s love “saves snners” but still leaves them in legalism and Arminianism?

My answer is that the love of God is so sovereign and just that it CONVERTS the sinner. The sinner is not saved BECAUSE OF his turning from sin; but God turns the sinne from his false gospel. The sinner is not justified BECAUSE OF his faith in the true gospel, but God does not justify the sinner before or without giving that sinener faith in the true gospel The sinner is not saved BECAUSE he understands and submits to the righteousness established in Christ’s death for the elect, but the converted sinner will understand and submit to that righteousness.

I Thessalonians 2:10 They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion in order that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

Romans 10:3 Because they disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they did not obey God’s righteousness

The converted sinner will believe the gospel BECAUSE OF THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS obtained by God and imputed by God. Christ’s death is not merely “potential”. Christ’s death is not merely “purchasing faith for sinners to appropriate the atonement’. Christ’s death obtained righteousness for the elect and has or will be imputed to the elected. The power of the gospel “crucifies” elect sinners so that they understand that salvation is not conditioned on the sinner. We should not presume that those who do not know this are our brothers or sisters.

John, you can and do make this distinction: not because of, but necessary. It will happen, and until it does, then we cannot say that the gospel has converted a man. But you won’t say it when it comes to submitting to Christ’s righteous and effective atonement. Which means you won’t say it when it comes to being a legalist.

Anybody who says that Christ died for everybody but some of them are never justified MUST logically be looking to the sinner as the difference between saved and lost. Even if the legalist gives his god or election the “credit” for the difference, the legalist MUST AND WILL locate that difference in themseles and not in Christ’s death for the elect alone.

I understand that you believe that Jesus Christ died only for some. But you think knowing about this death is not necessary. It is the cause, sure; but you don’t think lost people need to know it’s the cause. It’a a graduate course, you think, for those you think were justified before they knew the gospel. Either that, or you think that “Jesus died for everybody” is gospel.

I cannot help thinking of some of the “primitive baptists” I know. I do not call them “hypers” (I like to be more specific) but they say that people can be justified without hearing the gospel. They say John the Baptist was regenerated and justified as an infant, and that people can be converted “directly” without the gospel and without knowing about the righteousness revealed in the gospel So they think it doesn’t matter if the elect hear the true gospel or “the Arminian gospel” or any gospel.

I reject this. I know that the non-elect will refuse the gospel. I know that the elect must be made alive in regeneration (on account of imputed righteousness) before they will submit to the gospel and be justified. But I also know that people need to hear the gospel before they can believe the gospel (I Peter 1:22-23). To obey the truth, they must hear the truth. Those who have never heard anything but the Arminian gospel have not yet heard the gospel, and are still condemend in their sins.

I know you are not an universalist like I was. You will not say that all humans are your brothers and sisters. You are very right to focus on the elder brother’s refusal to say that the one who came home was his brother. My question: WERE they brothers? If the elder brother goes on like he is, never repenting of his legalism, is he in the family of God? Your assumption, suited to your purpose of attacking “these people” who say that Arminians are lost, is that both are brothers. But that is a false assumption.

Though Cain and Abel were brothers in the flesh, both creatures of God, made in the image of God, both were not justified before God. The one who came home is justified, and the elder brother is not yet justified. They ultimately do not have the same home or the same gospel or the same God.

This means that we can’t take your pose which acts as if God loves everybody who names the name of Jesus, in spite of their rejection of the gospel. We need to know what the gospel is. And we need to say that those who reject the gospel are condemned already and still need justification. John 3:17-21 “He who DOES THE TRUTH comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

There is no pleasing God without faith in God’s gospel. We “do the truth” only when we confess that salvation is NOT caused by our deeds and decisions. “Good works” are not “good works” unless the sinner has understood that his salvation is based on God’s election. Those elected in Christ are those for whom Christ died to make propitiation. Faith must exclude itself as the condition of salvation, or it is not faith in the gospel and is not pleasing to God.

Workers must exclude works as the condition of salvation, or they are not “good works” and the people who do them are elder brothers, not yet in the family of God, but still lost in their sins. Elder brothers do not “do the truth”. They can talk much of their works, but they will not bring these works to the light of the true gospel, for the true gospel would say that their works were not acceptable.

You don’t know me, John. You say that there are some you are proud to have as your enemies, and then some who you still love but who don’t know what you are saying, who would be right to be upset if you were saying and etc. I read your essays. I listen to your tapes. I think I know what you are saying. But we don’t know each other. I know that you profess to have been saved while an Arminian. You know I profess to be a new convert. Besides that, about all we have to go on is what we write.. I suppose we could accuse each other of writing what we say “ungraciously”. But that is a very subjective thing, and very difficult to say when we don’t talk.

Remember they said that Paul was a hard man in print but a wimp face to face? Or something like that. I could say that you sound very critical and know-it-all in the pulpit but “as a person”, you are very “nice”, even timid. So the best I can do is to once again try to show how you misrepresent me. If the stuff doesn’t stick, you say, I wasn’t throwing it at you. But your thinking you know what I say when you really don’t., that’s some stuff…

You say that “these people” think that “the only thing that matters is if you believe the five points. It doesn’t matter if you pray or witness, if you believe the five points.” Let me say, John, not only is this NOT what I think but also that neither you nor I know anybody who thinks that. I pray for you, because I think it matters. I do not pray for you because I think that my salvation (or yours) is conditioned on my praying. I do not pray to get assurance. I pray because I have assurance.

Similarly, John, I witness to you, because I think it matters. But not because I think my salvation is conditioned on my witnessing. Of course you are angry that anybody thinks you need witnessing to. I know the feeling. I was also.

I would be urgent with you. The gospel is different than you think it is. It is a great and wonderful thing that salvation is conditioned only on the death of Christ for the elect. What you call an unnecessary and unhelpful “qualifying” of the gospel is all about the glory of God in the gospel. It is a great comfort for me to define sin as God defines it, and een now to confess my sin of conditioning salvation on the sinner. It is false comfort to tell the sinner that he can define his sin anyway he wants, and so define the gospel any way he wants.

I am urgent because I am happy in this good news. If there was a righteousness for you but that righteousness did not save you, then that righteousness will not save me either. The difference between any justifed sinner and any condemned sinner is that righteousness obtained by Christ’s deatth and imputed by God to the elect sinner. .

I do not know need to know who is and is not non-elect to tell the truth that Christ did not die for those who reject the the promise and command of the gospel. I do not need to know who is elect to shout the glad tidings that all the elect will hear the voice of the Shepherd instead of the voices of Arminians.

I know what it’s like to look to myself and to be too proud to come. What will people say after all these years of me being a Calvinist if I confess that I was lost? I am such a sinner, and have so many regrets, and have been on so many “sidetrails and diversions” , what will it look like if I say that I was still in condemnation all those years?

John, I am urgent, because I know the temptation of all that. And also I know the great great joy of one day saying: I don’t care. I will flush all the dung.I will rejoice in what God says about justification and about Christ’s death. I will go by what God says. I repented of all other gospels. I plead with you to do the same.

You say that “these people” think that all who don’t believe the five points are lost. But what I really say is that “I was a five pointer and I was lost.”

You say, “these people” say that all who didn’t hear the gospel from a preacher who believe the five points are lost. I am NOT saying the five points are the gospel. You can believe every one of the five points and still die the second death. Many say that Christ only died for some who still say that the reason the some are saved is not Christ’s death but ultimately what God does in them.

So the next time you want to have an open discussion, by saying what the other side would have said if you had invited them to say it, make the discussion about the “righteousness” revealed in the gospel.

It’s not only about tolerating Arminians; it’s about the sin of conditioning salvation on the sinner. There are many folks who sincerely believe every one of the five points who still do not know the gospel, and that is why they do not feel the least bit of ashamed of having conditioned salvation on the sinner. They CONTINUE to condition salvation on what God does in the sinner.

John: are you ashamed of ever conditioning salvation on the sinner. Or are you, like the elder brother, one who still claims never to have sinned in that way?

To your second point: “they say” that the preacher you heard when you got saved had to be a five pointer. No, the preacher had to preach that the atonement was not only sucessful for the elect but also righteous for God who is just and the justifier of the ungodly (since God imputed the sins of the elect to Christ). You can deny every one of the five Arminian points and still be trying
to establish your own righteousness, still ignorant of the righteousness of God.

I am glad that you are at least talking about the preacher and about what you heard when you profess to have been “effectually called”. Unlike the “strict baptists” I mentioned earlier, we agree that both regeneration and the gospel are needed when a sinner is justified. Understanding the gospel is necessary. We agree about that. But we do not agree about the gospel, and about who God is, if you say that God saves a sinner whichever gospel he believes.

Now you could count numbers (they are on your side) and say: if they believe your gospel, then they are lost, because your gospel adds to grace the condition of understanding the gospel. But understanding is necessary, not a condition. Thisis the same thing you would say about perseverance or faith or repentance from sin.

If a man told you he was a carnal Christian who had no intention of turning from his sins, would you say to him– welcome to the party, brother? I don’t think so. Why then are you so critical toward those of us who refuse to call brothers those with another gospel?

We have different gospels. My gospel is not conditioned on the sinner understanding, for I say that this understanding is a necessary result not a condition for God’s imputation of Christ’s death and God’s regenerating and giving faith in the gospel.

Are you saying that what you believe and what the Arminian believes is really still the same gospel anyway?. That may be more true than you think! If you really do think that God saves people while still leaving them thinking that salvation is conditioned on them, then your God is very much like the God of the Arminian.

And now you can say that you weren’t talking about me. “Legalists who like to mutter about you to somebody else, and not to you directly.” This is what you said about some of us, while you were talking to other people.

This is me writing you. I have wondered about Paul’s relation to the false teachers in Galatia BEFORE he wrote that letter. Did Paul talk to them face to face before he wrote? Maybe, but maybe not. Their different gospel was being “secretly brought in” (2:4). They came with “stealth.” Perhaps they preached about the ungracious manner in which Paul was conducting himself, but without using Paul’s name and without sitting down to talk to Paul directly. I do know what Paul said. My gospel or their gospel. Not: this is a difference of opinion about the word “sanctification”. Not: the elder brother is in the family too, but he needs to “lighten up”. No. One gospel only. Christ will not profit those who believe any false gospel.

John, you go too quickly to consequences, without considering that Christians are ambassadors of the Lord who do not “regard anybody according to the flesh” (II Cor 5:16). According to numbers, and according to our own flesh that wants to say we were saved while still ignorant of the gospel, you accept as brothers those whom the Lord will say, “I never knew you.” According to the flesh, you say to both Cain and Abel: you are both sincerely worshipping God.

John, you are too quick to say, if that gospel is true, all these people would be lost, therefore it must not be true. That is what the Pharisees said: the wrong people are being lost! “The covenant is not only being widened to the Gentiles, but some of us Jews are being cut out!”

I John 3 says that Abel “did righteousness”. In John 3:21, Abel “did the truth”. Cain did not. Why was Cain not saved? Because he murdered? No. he murdered because he was not saved. His works were evil. The evil works are the “sincere worship” Cain offered.

Cain could not have good works because Cain had the wrong gospel. And so Cain and Abel were not brothers. But you would make it out as though Abel is the elder brother if Abel is not able to call Cain his brother, if Abel is not able to enter into worship and religious fellowship with Cain.

Some say that God “stoops” to save even those who confess that God conditions salvation on the sinner. In other words, God not only saves idolaters (praise God for that, since I was one when I was a lost five point Calvinist!), but God saves these sinners using the idolatry as the message by which God saves them and THEN LEAVES THEM IN THEIR IDOLATRY.

God justifies the ungodly. God is also just. God will be glorified in the salvation of sinners, and in the damnation of those who persist in saying that a “gracious” God accepts the faith of the sinner as making the difference between saved and lost.

God is not stingy on love to God the Son: if one person for whom God the Son died is lost, then God is misrepresented. All those who believe in universal atonement are lost idolaters. God does not love His people more than God loves the Son of God , for His love of the Son’s righteousness (His death for the elect at the cross) makes the difference between saved and lost.

Sure, you may say, but you don’t have to know that to get the benefit of it. What then do you need to know?

In Galatians, Paul did not accept all who professed to be Christians as his brothers. He said: they are cursed. Those who bear fruit of the Spirit have had their flesh “crucified” for them in their conversion, when they understood that the cross was all the difference and they none of it. (Gal 5:24). Arminianism appeals to the desire of the flesh to condition salvation on the sinner. Even when they “but my faith is not a work”, their faith is in a false gospel. Romans 9:11–that the purpose of election might stand, not of works”. No “election of grace” (Romans 11:5), no grace.

In Philippians 3, Paul explained that as long as he had the righteousness to be found in the law (conditioning salvation on the sinner), that he was lost. He didn’t say: I have always been a justified brother, and was a brother even then. He says his worship then was dung. His previous worship he was ashamed of … But no man is ashamed of Arminianism by nature. Romans 6:21 What fruit did you then have? NONE. …”in the things of which you are now ashamed of”.

John, when you became an Arminian, you were already ashamed of some things before then, and after that, maybe more. But until you are ashamed of saying and thinking that Christ’s death was for those who perish, then you are still free of the righteousness obtained for the elect by the death of Christ.

Your sermon is a confession that you can receive the immoral but not those with a different gospel. And that is as it should be. If I have a false gospel, then you should NOT receive me or call me your brother. (2 john 9). You can tell people with a false gospel what the gospel is without having to say that they are brothers already without the gospel.

So don’t feel bad about the lack of fellowship. There could be open discussion without that, if you wanted it. I have learned that I need to continually take sides with the Scripture against myself. It is not coldness and hardness that makes me say this but a love for the gospel and a concern for you when you sound so much like the universalist I used to be (so very recently) . No, you don’t say that all are brothers. But neither do you say that we judge who is a brother by the gospel.

What if a person says: Christ died for all sinners, I am a sinner, and thus Christ died for me? Then what do you say: OK, you are saved, but there are some things I need to teach you about how you said that?

I say not all are saved. Not all are brothers. The good news is that the death of Jesus Christ actually saves all the sinners Jesus for whom died. Believe this gospel and you will be justified. It’s the only gospel there is. The Christ who died this death is the only Christ there is.

John, I wonder how you felt when you walked off that platform the night you preach that sermon on the “real prodigal”. You got your share of laughs, of vindication from the group for which you speak. But I can’t help wondering what the sermon did for you. Did it make you sad? or happy? Did it make you less angry, less critical, more fruitful? Did you that night pray “thank you that I am not the real prodigal”?

Mark McCulley, 2000