Archive for the ‘repentance’ category

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 has 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 election is not a mere matter of God being sovereign add effective in what 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 sacrificial offering. Being imputed with the guilt of the elect, by Christ’s nature as just 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 was 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 Christ 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 declaration 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 security 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 regeneration to believe when God imputes Christ’s righteousness.

Those who have not yet repented of worshiping 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 Christ died will 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 before 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 themselves could and should be doing, they lean much less on sacramental mumbo jumbo. Some of the Reformed act as if they need 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 administered by the “Roman Catholic Church” can have saving efficacy, not necessarily 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 regeneration” 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 children 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 different 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, p 450—“The Holy Spirit grants us faith to be united to Christ.”

Horton, p 455–“There is no union with Christ which is not union with the visible church”

Horton, p 467–”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

Already Condemned

September 9, 2016

I Corinthians 2: 4 But thanks be to God, who always puts US on display in Christ and through US spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every PLACE.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

I Cor 7: 10 For godly grief produces a repentance not to be regretted and leading to salvation, but worldly grief produces death

Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was full of remorse and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. 4 “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood,” he said. “What’s that to us?” they said. “See to it yourself!” 5 So Judas threw the silver into the SANCTUARY and departed. Then he went and hanged himself.

Hebrews 12: 15 Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many. 16 And make sure that there isn’t any person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for one meal. 17 For you know that later, when Esau wanted to INHERIT the blessing, he was rejected because Esau didn’t find any opportunity for repentance, though he sought it with tears.

All humans are born already condemned

God does not need to harden any sinner to condemn that sinner.

God does not need to teach the gospel to the non-elect sinner the gospel in order to condemn the non-elect sinner.

God does need to teach the gospel to the elect sinner in order to justify the elect sinner.

W know that God’s severity is just, but why does God harden some non-elect sinners with the gospel and orain that other non-elect sinners never hear any gospel?

John 3: 19 “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids the light, in order that their deeds not be exposed. 21 But anyone who LIVES BY THE TRUTH
comes to the light

God rejects some sinners on purpose and unconditionally.

Equal ultimacy means that God ordains not only creatures but sinners on both sides.
God ordains sinners as a means to redemption.
God ordains sinners as a means to destruction.

Equal ultimacy does not mean that the wages of sin are God’s gift. Equal ultimacy does not mean that the gift of life is God’s wages for our works.

Romans 6: 23 For the WAGES of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is lasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Equal ultimacy does NOT mean that the death of the non-elect is a different kind of lasting life.

John 10:29 you do not believe because you are not of my sheep

I Peter 2:8 They stumble because they disobey the message. They were destined for this.

Mark 4: 11 Jesus answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those OUTSIDE, everything comes in parables 12 in order that

they look and look,
yet not perceive;
they listen and listen,
yet not understand;
otherwise, they would turn back—
and be forgiven.

II Thessalonians 1: at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of lasting destruction from the Lord’s presence and SHUT OUT

Revelation 22: 10 He also said to me… the time is near. 11 Let the unrighteous go on in unrighteousness; let the filthy go on being made filthy; let the righteous go on in righteousness; and let the holy go on being made holy.” 12 “Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, in order that to have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the…idolaters

James White–“What is required on God’s part to bring about the salvation of a sinner, the self-giving of the Son of God, raising someone to life, these are some of the greatest miracles in all the history of God. God doesn’t have to do any of that to bring the non-elect into the position of his final condemnation.”

The non-elect truly have their own guilt. They are born guilty by God’s imputation of Adam’s sin to them. God also imputes the guilt of Adam to the elect, but God’s intention to justify His elect sinners never waivers. The elect never merit justification. The elect have no merits of their own, nor can they boast in themselves. Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.

The word “reprobate” in the Bible means “disapproved” or “condemned”. Even elect sinners are born “reprobate”. The sheep are never goats. But the sheep are not born justified

Arminians want to say—you are accepted, accept your acceptance, but what if you don’t, well that’s on you. But even when Arminians say that “the no is on you”, many of them try not to say that the “yes is on you” . That would shed too much light on the con-game being played by Arminians.

It’s God yes, not your yes, but if you say no, well that’s you. But if you don’t say no, that means you say yes, but that yes is not yours, your yes is God’s doing in you. So it was yes, by default, you were born justified, but then you lost it by your no. But of course, only in one sense, you never lost it, because God will still be saying yes to you, even as you perish in the second death. As the Arminian CS Lewis explained, “hell” is only locked by you on the inside.

Infralapsarians flatten out Romans 9 to try to make it seem reasonable and non-objectionable, but at least they do read the default as we all being guilty and condemned sinners. They explain that God causes elect sinners to say say, and that God does not need to cause non-elect sinnrs to say no, because all of us are born saying no.

But the Arminian default run the other way–God is saying yes to everybody, and you will be justified, unless you say no. Your no will stop God from getting what God wanted but your no will be an excuse (theodicy) to explain why it’s still not God’s fault because at least you had your “chance”.

What crowd was John the Baptist preaching repentance to?

January 17, 2016

John 1: 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with[w] water so He might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. 33 I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on—He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God!”

Luke 3: 3 John went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins….7 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 9 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. 11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” 14 Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages.”

15 Now the people were waiting expectantly, and all of them were debating in their minds whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

We could ask what John the Baptist was preaching. What was his doctrine, the content of his preaching?

Was John the Baptist preaching that there is eternal life in hell because the fire there in unquenchable and therefore does not consume and therefore the dying never die but are tortured instead?

Was John the Baptist preaching the Marrow, that Jesus was going to be “dead for you” and wanted the non-elect to be saved, and therefore was going to die to make salvation “available” for the non-elect, and so it would be their fault if they had to live in hell forever because Jesus wanted to be their Savior also?

Was John the baptist preaching repentance without faith? or what he repenting repentance before faith? Was he preaching that you needed to know the law before the gospel, so that you would first see your need and repent, and if you get to that point, then everything is easy because everybody already knows who Jesus is and knows that Jesus loves them and died for them and wants to save them?

Was John the Baptist saying to repent of certain wrong ideas about doctrine and the gospel, or was John the Baptist preaching that to repent of being so selfish and so sinful, so that you will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit which will be the evidence that you have believed the gospel (which everybody knows already, but the proof is in if you believe it, and if you can prove by your life that you believe it)

Was John the Baptist preaching that walking in the light is not sinning so much that you need to hide it, and instead to be changed enough so that you become the light to prove that you believe the gospel and others should believe also?

But before I ask what John the Baptist was preaching, I want to know if he was preaching to the church, or to those outside the church. Did John the Baptist have a para-church ministry or did John the Baptist “administer the sacraments”.

Yes, I know John the Baptist was not preaching in the temple or in the synagogue. But was John the Baptist preaching to those “in the covenant”? Weren’t all the people John the Baptist was preaching to already circumcised? So doesn’t that mean that John the Baptist was still preaching to “the church”?

We are told by (some) paedobaptists that parents can’t properly raise their children unless those children are “in the covenant”, because they say that the commands of God are only for those “in the covenant”– God will be their God, only for them and only to them can the law and gospel be preached and the sacraments adminstered (water because they are in the covenant, but not bread and cup yet even though they are in the covenant).

So why did John the Baptist address the tax-collectors and the Roman occupation soldiers? Were some of these taxpayers and foreign military folks “in the covenant”, born Jewish or circumcised? Is it really true that John the Baptist was preaching to the church and only to those in the covenant.

I know things have changed today, because now collecting taxes can be a Christian vocation if you have read enough to have a Reformed worldview. And also now, Christians can and should defend their countries and occupy other countries, even if it means killing other Christians. No problems there! But let’s talk about John the Baptist. Wasn’t he a minister of “the church” who was preaching to those in the covenant? if you don’t think so, then maybe you are a dispensationalist who thinks that God changes and that the gospel changes and that the covenants change. Surely if there is only one church in history, and John the Baptist was preaching the truth, then surely John the Baptist was a ruling and preaching elder in that one church, and his water baptism was the replacement and fulfillment of physical circumcision.

But here’s the question. Were all the people John the Baptist watered already circumcised? We know Jesus Christ was circumcised. But were those tax collectors and Roman soldiers watered? And were they all circumcised before they were watered?

Since we know that water is not a repeat or a substitute instead of circumcision, and since we know that water is the fulfillment of circumcision, is the water of John the Baptist valid for those who have not been circumcised? But if there are two water baptisms, and the water of John the Baptist is not the same as the water of the one church, it begins to look like John the Baptist was not talking to the “one unchanging church”.

Acts 19— While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? “No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 “Then what baptism were you baptized with?” he asked them.“With John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Physical circumcision in part does signify “heart circumcision” in Romans 2 (along with other things signified, the seed and the seed for Abraham, the land). But physical circumcision also refers to “the righteousness” in Genesis, Romans 4, and in Galatians 2. And this righteousness signified is NOT “heart circumcision” but rather “the obedience of Christ even to death, which is the “righteousness revealed in the gospel” (Romans 1) Physical circumcision is about the bloody death of Abraham’s seed, Christ.

Question—is your “heart circumcision” the “righteousness of another”, because it’s God’s righteousness in you, infused and imparted to you? If so, you repeat the error of Osiander, and confuse the new birth with divine righteousness in you, instead of the righteousness obtained once for all time by Christ’s death. If the righteousness is in you, I don’t care if you call it divine, it’s not the righteousness of another.

Physical circumcision does not signify a “surgical separation” from your old immoral nature, because the “body of death” and “the old man” are not your old nature. Being placed into Christ’s death (non-water baptism by God into Christ’s death) is “surgical separation” from Adam’s body of guilt, a passing from death to life, with the result that one is no longer part of the “old man” but legally part of the “new man”.

Physical circumcision does not only signify regeneration, because regeneration is not justification, and physical circumcision also points to righteousness imputed, and this to justification. Justification means no longer being under the law (first, to be circumcised, and then all the rest of the law) but in Christ under grace.

Acts 21: 19 After greeting them, he related in detail what God did among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard it, they glorified God and said, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law. 21 But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them NOT TO CIRCUMCISE THEIR CHILDREN or to walk in our customs.

It was a false report. Paul’s letter to the Galatians did not say, Stop circumcision because it has been replaced by water baptism.

Acts 21: 26 Then the next day, Paul took the men, having purified himself along with them, and entered the temple, announcing the completion of the purification days when the offering for each of them would be made. 27 As the seven days were about to end, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple complex, stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place. What’s more, he also brought Greeks into the temple

In Acts 23, Paul does not say, “By mistake I made a compromise by doing that circumcision thing back in Acts 21, but rather “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience until this day.”

Sarcasm—But maybe Paul wasn’t talking ONLY (sola, merely,alone) about having his conscience cleansed by the blood, and not being under the law because of Christ’s death, not to deny that, surely Paul was against “cheap grace assurance” and every day proved to himself (and others) by his living that he was a real believer.

Mark Jones—The Marrow Men ended up fighting a battle in order to defend the Auchterarder Creed.—-“It is not sound and orthodox to teach that we must forsake sin in order to our coming to Christ.” … Witsius, the so-called “middle-man” in the Antinomian-Neonomian debates that emerged in the latter part of the seventeenth century, asks whether repentance precedes the remission of sins. Does sorrow for sin precede justification as a disposing condition, prerequisite in the subject? An awakened sinner will, in his experience, have a previous (or, concomitant/accompanying) hatred for sin and purpose of a new life before receiving Christ.
http://www.reformation21.org/…/01/the-marrow-part-1.php

Godly repentance can come only in light of the Gospel wherein Christ and His righteousness is revealed as the only difference between saved and lost This godly repentance includes new knowledge concerning the character of God (Who He is) and concerning the one and only reason God is just in justifying the ungodly elect. This godly contrition is a change of mind concerning our best religious efforts to remove the guilt and defilement of sin, our old efforts to recommend ourselves to God, our deeds motivated in the interests of attaining, maintaining, and entitling us to salvation.

The Apostle Paul illustrates this clearly in Philippians 3:3-10. In true Gospel repentance a sinner comes to see and trust that Christ’s righteousness alone entitles him to all of salvation, including the subjective work of the Spirit, BEFORE he makes any efforts to obey God and persevere. The godly contrite come to see that before faith in the true gospel, their best efforts at obedience, all that they highly esteemed and thought was profitable in recommending him unto God, is no more than “dung” (Philippians 3:7-8) in contrast with Christ’s obedience to death.

What they before thought was pleasing unto God and works of the Spirit, the repentant person now sees as “flesh” (Philippians 3:3-4). What they once highly esteemed, they are now ashamed of(Romans 6:21) and now, in light of the Gospel, counts it as fruit unto death, DEAD WORKS, and evil deeds.
The contrite person now sees that before believing that Christ’s righteousness alone entitled them to all of salvation, their thoughts of God were all wrong. In repentance, the contrite person turns from that old “give up enough of your sins to prove that you believed” idol to serve the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

This kind of true godly contrition can only come in light of the Gospel as it takes this light to expose the sin that deceives us all by nature (John 3:19-20). Before we hear and believe the Gospel we are all deceived by sin (Romans 7:11). The sin that deceives us all by nature is not our immorality, but trusting in our trusting and contrition. We must repent of our old evil repentance.

“Without the knowledge of our sinfulness and misery, we cannot hear the gospel with profit; for unless, by the preaching of the law as touching sin and the wrath of God, a preparation be made for the proclamation of grace, a carnal security follows, and our consolation becomes unstable. Sure consolation cannot stand accompanying carnal security. Hence, it is manifest that we must, after the example of the Prophets and Apostles, start with the preaching of the law that men may thus be cast down from the conceit of their own righteousness and may obtain a knowledge of themselves and be led to true repentance. Unless this be done, men will become, through the preaching of grace, more careless and obstinate and pearls will be cast before swine to be trodden under foot.” Zacharias Ursinus, Body of Orthodox Doctrine…, on Heidelberg Catechism 2.