Posted tagged ‘synergism in sanctification’

Some Legalist “Calvinists” Have Outgrown the Gospel When It Comes to “Sanctification”

December 7, 2011

The legalist Calvinists of course are careful to say that their “sanctification” by their own obedience is not by “their own strength”. But for “sanctification”, they don’t trust the blood they trusted for justification. Though they know they are not yet perfect, they are now trusting Christ “in them” for their “sanctification”.

These legalist Calvinists are less concerned now with the “benefit” of justification (forgiveness of sins) and more interested (they say) in the Benefactor Himself, Christ in them, the person. And thus they equate “sanctification” with their “good works”, which they think they Holy Spirit is producing in them by means of “union with” the resurrected Christ.

Either have enough of these works, the legalists say, or you will not have evidence that you saved. These legalists do not test their works by their doctrine of righteousness. Most of them think you can be wrong about the doctrine of the righteousness revealed in the gospel (justification), and still give evidence by works of one’s salvation. They raise doubts about those who oppose “Lordship salvation”, but not about sincere hard-working Arminians.

As Hebrews 9:14 and Romans 7:4-6 teach us, that a person not yet submitted to the righteousness revealed in the gospel is still an evil worker, bringing forth fruit unto death.

Since both the Arminian and the legalist Calvinist agree that not everybody will be saved but not about how many sinners Christ died for, they both get assurance from the “tenor of life” of the professing believer.

Indeed, unless we are universalists or fatalists (some Primitive Baptists are both), we cannot avoid the search for evidence. But we need to see that the evidence is submission to the gospel, which involves knowledge about election, imputation and satisfaction. It is a waste of time to talk about other “evidence” unless a person knows what the gospel is. Only after a person knows what the gospel is, can we then ask if that person judges by that gospel.

We first test ourselves to see if we have excluded works as being any part of our righteousness before God. To include the works (done they say with the help of the Holy Spirit) in the righteousness is evidence all by itself that a person still believes a false gospel.

Along with legalism comes indifference about the question of election and about the truth that Christ did not die for the non-elect. Such things don’t matter to the legalist, since what got done on the cross is not enough anyway for the legalist.

There are many false gospels and only one true gospel. There are many different ways to be “legalist”. Either you are a legalist or you are not.

The only way NOT to be legalist is to know that the law demands perfect righteousness and that the gospel joyfully explains how Christ satisfied that demand for the elect. One certain result of the righteousness earned by Christ is that the elect will believe this gospel and not any false gospel.

The workers who came before the the judgment in Matthew 7 were sure that their works were enough. They don’t know if their works (even though helped along they think by the Holy Spirit) are satisfactory.

They were not antinomians and they were not insincere. They probably believed in election also (or at least the unconditional right of Israel to the land!). But instead of pleading a Christ who got done a perfect righteousness, they pleaded their “sanctification”

They didn‘t say they had “faith alone”. They were not into “easy believism”. They didn’t say that their obedience was a “second step” of gratitude added to their faith. They avoided the law/gospel antithesis that the legalist “the covenant” folks want us to avoid. They thought they were safe.

Yet despite their false assurance, they were lost. Why? Was it because they lacked enough “sanctification” or was it because they trusted in the false gospel? That’s a trick question: they were lost because they were born lost, and they never were rescued and we know that because they never believed the revealed gospel.

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Beware of Gaffin’s “Mysterious Math”

November 27, 2011

Salvation by works is the problem.

The unionists (Gaffin) say
1.”definitive sanctification” and “progressive sanctification” are also by grace, not by works.
2. But then they also say that the “grace-works” antithesis is removed once you are “united” and justified.
3. And then finally they say that justification is not by synergy, but that sanctification is by synergy.

p73, Gaffin, By Faith Not by Sight—“Here is what may be fairly called a synergy but it is not a 50/50 undertaking (not even 99.9% God and 0.1% ourselves). Involved here is the ‘mysterious math’ of the creator and his image-bearing creature, whereby 100% plus 100% =100%. Sanctification is 100% the work of God, and for that reason, is to engage the full 100% activity of the believer.”

My conclusion is not about motives about the results of this kind of “unionism”.
1. Justification is not seen as part of the “union”.
2. “Union” is defined by antithesis so that “union” is not justification, not sanctification, not any of the benefits, but rather the presence of the person of Christ (naked, alone, without His benefits).
3. “Union” is nevertheless conditioned on “faith”, and faith means not only Christ already indwelling but already a “break with sin”, and that “freedom from sin” is defined NOT IN FORENSIC TERMS but in ontological terms.
4. The Holy Spirit’s work in us is read into Romans 6. Christ’s “break with sin” is read out of Romans 6. Justification is left out of “union”, and “sanctification” is put back into “union” and not seen as only a result. The second Adam theme is being confined to Romans 5.
5. So supposedly we have this “double grace”, and sanctification is by grace also. But also sanctification is a synergy, where works by grace are different than works without grace, and thus sanctification by grace is by both grace and works.

Beware of “mysterious math”.