Posted tagged ‘for you’

Are the “Two Ways of Being in the Covenant” Hirelings really “For You”?

March 15, 2018

Philip Cary—Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without obeying a command to believe.

Philip Cary– For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe). It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me.

Lutherans are not the only ones who don’t talk about election. Most Reformed clergymen only talk about some “for you covenant” and never tell the truth that all for whom Christ will receive all the blessings of salvation. They sign their Westminster Confession but they do not preach it.

WCF– To all those for whom Christ has purchased redemption, He does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same;making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mysteries of salvation;effectually persuading them by His Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by His word and Spirit;overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenantal election.

Scott Clark— The Federal Vision theology posits two parallel systems: the system of the decree, which they render MERELY THEORETICAL and the system of baptismal union with Christ, which is their operative theology….Some people just don’t understand the Reformed distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of the covenant of grace.

Why do Reformed clergymen “pose” as if everybody listening to their sermon and receiving God’s “sacrament” by means of their “keys” is an exile from the world and a Christian? These pseudo-Reformed are so brave that they refuse “to speak to the church as if were the world” , but they don’t mind using water to baptise the infant world into God’s church. For this the clergymen “have cover”—they are not really doing it, God is doing it. The church is not really doing it. The Church is not deciding who the church is (the church is God’s incarnate body doing it– and the presbytery–in theory–decides who the presbytery is)

But why not use the “for you” to explain and justify splashing water on the heads of infants without professing Christian parents? Why not use the “for you” to open up the possibility of water as the means of salvation to pagans who are not children? Why not go back into Reformed history to say that the Lord’s supper has efficacy as the means of converting those halfway in or out of the “for you”? You don’t have to go back to a “Christian state” to get back to a “Reformed parish” in which everybody gets the “sacrament.”

The Pseudo-Reformed hirelings say, let’s keep the right balance and just preach the texts without talking about election so that we can make EVERYBODY feel guilty for killing Jesus and then after the law has been read, we say “for you and your children”. The Reformed false gospel (not straight universalism but “two ways of being in the covenant”) depends on individuals already “in the covenant of grace” then agreeing with Jesus that Jesus died for them. They think that God’s “for you” even appeals to the part of us which refuses explanations we don’t like.

“Two ways of being in the covenant” thinks of election and definite redemption as two different truths, because it teaches “covenant love for you” and propitiation for the elect as two different truths. Not so the Scripture! John 10 does not say that the good Shepherd loves the goats so that they can become sheep . John 10:12 says that “he who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

The preacher who teaches two ways of being in the covenant flees from God’s expiation/propiation and God’s election because they are hired hands and care nothing for the sheep.” How do we know the Shepherd loves the sheep? “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Does this mean that the Shepherd dies “for you” as a representative of the goats in the covenant along with the sheep? No. The Shepherd is not only the leader, not only the first to die. The Shepherd dies as a substitute for the sheep and only for the sheep. Because the Shepherd dies, the sheep do not die. John 10 does not separate Christ’s love and Christ’s death. Christ loves those for whom Christ died. Christ died for those He loves.

Christ died “for everybody in the covenant”. No, Christ did not, not if you are not talking about the new covenant but only about some covenant that you can first be in and then be out. John 10 does not say, “If you believe.” John 10:26, “But you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice.”

It’s not, if you believe, then those in the covenant in one way will be in the covenant both ways. . Ok, Ok, the “two ways of being int the covenant” explain, we also believe in election. We too know that John 10:29 tells how “My Father has given them to me”. We just don’t happen to talk about that when we are talking about being in “the covenant of grace”, which is something different from Christ’s loving the elect and dying for the elect.. When we talk about Christ’s love, we stay with “for you” and don’t get into the business of them not being able to trust the gospel if they are not elect. Christ knew who was not elect, but we don’t

I agree that we don’t know who is not elect. Just because a person does not now believe the true gospel does not mean that person never will believe. But if they don’t profess to believe the gospel, we can know that they are not yet in the covenant “in some preliminary provisional way”.

Any person who will one day believe the true gospel is already a sheep. Christ already loves them, and Christ already died for them. We can and should say that without leaving the door open for those who teach that Christ died for everybody in the covenant in which there are two ways to be in….

If we do not say that Christ died for the elect and not for the non-elect, those who climb in by being born will be telling people that salvation blessings all depends on “if you trust In Him”. Instead of saying that Christ died only for the elect, they will change that to say that “Christ died only for those who believe”. And if you think those two statements are identical, explain to me why you always say “for those who believe” instead of “for the elect for whom Christ died”. The two statements are not the same, and you need to be honest enough to explain why you prefer to talk about the different statement (those who believe) instead of “all those for whom Christ died”

Westminster Confession of Faith —To all those for whom Christ has purchased redemption, He does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same
If we don’t talk about Christ’s death and election at the same time, we ourselves will be heard preaching a love that depends on God enabling the sinner to make that Christ’s death work. But the truth is that WE DON’T MAKE CHRIST’S LOVE WORK.

My main point is not the motives of the “two ways of being in the covenant” clergyman. Surely some of them are hirelings who know they won’t be kept long enough to get their pension if they talk about Christ not dying for the non-elect. Most of them “sincerely” share with the Lutherans the same false gospel that teaches Christ’s death as having an universal “intent” conditioned on a sinner’s continuing in faith.

My main point is that Christ’s love always means that Christ has satisfied God’s justice for those God loves! Christ’s love meant Christ’s death for those God loved, and that love is decisive. That love is not one factor among many. Christ’s love is about a death which propitiated the wrath of God against elect sinners for their sins. God’s love is not ever over against God’s wrath. God’s love gave Christ some elect individuals, and not for one moment did that love ever mean some other “possibility” for these elect individuals. There are not two ways of being in the new covenant of which Christ is the mediator.

John 3:16 says “He gave His only Son, that as many as believe in Him would not perish but have lasting life.” God did not give His Son, so that everybody “could” believe in Him. God gave His Son, so that THE INDIVIDUALS WHO DO BELIEVE in Him will NOT PERISH. God did not give His Son for them because they would believe in Him. Nor is the only thing going on in the giving of the Son the purchasing of faith for the elect, even though that is one of the great blessings of the Son’s death. . I Peter 1:21, “who through Him are believers” and II Peter 1:1, “to those who have been given a faith as precious as ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” The death of Christ does not make appeasement of God’s wrath possible if other factors fall into place. The death of Christ is the punishment required by God’s law for the sins of those God has given Christ. Do you reject God’s explanation? God requires the death. Never ever has God loved one individual sinner without God also requiring the death of Christ for that sinner.

Does Penal Satisfaction Mean that God’s Law Gets the Last Word?

August 2, 2013

From my experience in most Reformed churches, there is so little attention to election (especially when talking about covenant and baptism), they would have no problem with clergy assurances of “for you”. So I appreciate any sensitivity to “safeguard the particularity”. In many Reformed congregations, it seems that the only safeguarding is the exclusion of infants without one professing parent from the first “sacrament”.

So I won’t say that denial of penal satisfaction is “not Reformed”. Rather I will say it is not the gospel. If the gospel is about what the clergyman (and the Holy Spirit) do with it, there was no need for Christ to have died. You worry about law having the last word, but you need to see that the gospel is about Christ having satisfied the law. If you make Christ’s death anything other than that, Christ died to no purpose. (Galatians 2:21). If atonement were by means of preaching, justification is not by the bloody death of Christ. When the Bible denies that salvation is by the law, that denial is that salvation is by the Holy Spirit enabling us to keep the law. It is not being denied that the sins of the elect were imputed to Christ and that Christ died to satisfy the law.

No alliance with Lutherans should keep us silent about Jesus dying for the sheep and not the goats. Why then do so many Reformed preachers talk about the “indicative done” in the context of “you” and never in terms of the Westminster Confession: “for all those whom the Father has given the Son” ?

The problem cannot be a “sectarian” sociology which thinks of the church as only those who profess to be justified. Reformed Confessions teach that “the covenant” community must by nature and should include some of the non-elect for whom Jesus did not die and who will not believe the gospel. We also know good and well that not every baptized member even of a “sectarian” community is one for whom Christ died. Of course Norman Shepherd insists that we not talk about election, because every baptized person in church is a Christian. But why is it that so many who oppose Shepherd, and who make a distinction between substance and administration, why is it that they don’t talk about election either?

Being “pastoral” does not give “special priests” the right to assure their hearers that Christ will not be a judge to them. Only the bloody death of Jesus Christ (not the sermon or the sacrament) has for the elect silenced the accusations of God’s law. Of course there is a distinction (in time and otherwise) between that death and the imputation of that death to the elect so that they are justified, but that imputation is not effected by sermon or sacrament.

Obeying the gospel is not the condition of salvation, but a blessing made certain for the elect by the righteousness of Christ. It is not for sure that “you” who are in attendance will be saved. Salvation is promised to all who believe the gospel of salvation conditioned on the blood alone.

The law-gospel antithesis (not by our law-keeping) will do no good if we “flinch at this one point”. If we do not talk about particular atonement, then the people who hear will NOT look outside themselves for the righteous difference which pleases God. If Jesus Christ died for everybody but only “enabled God” to save (in the preaching event) a fraction of these people , then these people will certainly look to themselves for the difference between lost and saved.

The only way you can tell people that the gospel is “outside of you” is to tell them that the gospel they must believe to be saved EXCLUDES even their believing as the condition of salvation. The only condition of salvation for the elect is Christ’s death for the elect. Unless you preach that Christ died only for the elect, you encourage people to make their faith into that “little something” which makes the difference between life and death! They must believe that their believing is not the righteousness that satisfies God’s law.

Do we believe that the glory of God in the gospel means that all for whom Christ died will certainly be saved? Or has that truth become too “rationalistic” for us? Or is it not our job to be that zealous for God’s glory in this manner?

Would this kind of preaching take the grace of God out of the hands of those who hand out the sacrament and who say there is no salvation outside the church as they define it? The gospel itself is God’s power of salvation. No Holy Spirit, no efficacy. No gospel, no efficacy.

The glory of God does not depend on human decisions, and the gospel must not become a victim of alliances or coalitions or hybrids which agree not to talk about the extent of the atonement. Because to do that is to also agree to disagree about the nature of the atonement, and that leaves room for a false gospel in which salvation becomes what God does in the sinner. And I don’t care if you say that’s Christ in the sinner, or grace in the sinner, it does not follow the rule of Galatians 6, which is to glory in the cross alone