Hi Tom, I really enjoyed your articulation of justification in relation to faith, repentance, baptism etc. I didn't know you were UPC ;-)
You stated, "I also want to help m.g see that he is doing with faith the very thing he is accusing you of doing with baptism; only he is saying that faith *is* a prerequisite and you are not saying baptisms is a prerequisite but only a necessary result or proof of ones having already being saved. In fact you are only saying that the Bible makes baptism, repentance and faith all equal in that if they are not present one has cause to doubt one is really saved. "
How do you resolve the conflict between the universality of the sacrifice, which justifies all, yet "many are called but few chosen". The assurance one seems to receive by exhibiting faith (in belief, repentance, baptism etc.) and the argument that one not "have" to do those things, yet w/out it, are they really saved?
It would seem to me that this is a recasting of the catholic position of "baptism by fire" whereby someone on their way to be baptized but was killed, would be considered baptized.
I'm not picking a fight but again enjoyed the way you articulated justification as all that saves us (I agree) and the subsequent belief, faith, illumination, repentance, baptism, receiving of God's Spirit etc. as the manifestation of that person's love, discipleship, faith, obedience etc. in the work of the cross. For me, I see grace applied at birth and at work througout our lives. Or else, God in His holiness would destroy all of us the first time we sin. However, I see saving grace applied at the new birth to which I see belief, repentance, baptism (water and Spirit) all working together to transform and identify the sinner with the work of the cross, specifically with our Saviour.
Your thoughts? Thanks much and much enjoyment!
Hi Tom, I really enjoyed your articulation of justification in relation to faith, repentance, baptism etc. I didn't know you were UPC ;-)
Ugh! I will never get any work done at this rate!
This is something that I was hoping you would ask in another thread so as not to convolute an already intricate subject, namely baptism.
I prepared a response to this very topic when it was touched upon in the other thread but though better of injecting a side conversation in amidst the morass of that thread!
I will give it to you here to get you going until I can render a more appropriate response to this central topic.
(Disclaimer: This is incomplete; take it as an appeasement until I can give a more fully orbed response.)
"Interesting. So justification was done at the cross [...]" YES! That is what Jesus meant by "it is finished"!
"[...] however the application of grace is offered to all [...]" NO! If that where so than God would be collecting on the debt of sin twice. Once from Christ on the cross, and once from the unbeliever in hell. For you see if Christ died for all the sins of all men then none could go to hell but as you said some do. And if Christ died for all the sins of all men except for the sin of unbelief then belief would be a meritorious work that would earn our justification for us and so we would have to say that Christ died for most of the sins of all men and that is something that no one believes (I hope).
"[...] (Jesus died for all men) [...]" YES! But especially for those that will believe! 1 Timothy 4:10 "For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe." There are two categories of people one inclusive of the other. Picture two concentric circles one inside the other. The outer, larger circle is labeled all people, the inner, smaller one is labeled those who believed. Christ died for all people in one sense and Christ died for those who believe in another sense. Christ died for all men in the sense that all men (including us) deserve to be in hell this very moment; but we have a reprieve for God demonstrated Himself just buy the wrath poured out on Christ. But Christ died especially for those that believe in a different sense; He paid their debt unto justification.
"[...] yet not all men are saved [...]" YES! Some will incur for themselves the debt of their sins.
"[...] therefore, all men everywhere are called to a new birth [...]" NO! All kinds of men, some from every tribe, tongue, and nation and not just the sons of Abraham.
"[...] If they believe in what Jesus did, they will show the evidence of their belief, faith, love? [...]" YES! If they are doing those things it proves that they are indeed justified.
"Tom what about the infilling of the Holy Spirit?" ... more to come...
the rooster you said on the other thread (Tom, need a favor please ): "It seems to me that what you are saying is that the cross (or specifically, the work of Jesus on the cross) justifies mankind. That is, all of mankind has been justified."
I would rather die than say such a thing! Really.
The Son underwent punishment for, either:
1.All the sins of all men.
2.All the sins of some men.
3.Some of the sins of all men.
In which case it may be said:
a.That if the last (3.) be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so none are saved.
b.That if the second (2.) be true, then Christ, in their stead, suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth.
c.But if the first (1.) be the case, then why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?
You answer, "Because of unbelief."
I ask, "Is this unbelief a sin, or not?"
If it be a sin, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not.
If He did suffer the punishment due unto it, then why must that hinder them more than their sins for which He died?
If He did not suffer the punishment due unto it, then He did not die for all their sins!
- John Owen
Think over that and remember not to make faith a work. If you bring faith to the table you worked and have stumbled on the stumbling block. If what Jesus did included faith you are saved!
Not to hijack this thread, but...
"1. All the sins of all men....
c. But if the first (1.) be the case, then why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?
You answer, "Because of unbelief.""
Actually, I answer because God is sovereign, and has sovereignly declared that the cross be only efficacious for those who believe. Isn't unbelief a sin? Yep. Then why isn't the cross effective for said unbelief? See above. God is sovereign, and...
I see the cross as a payment that was more than enough to pay/atone/clear the debt for every person. Yet, if we don't accept the offer, it's non-applicable to us, and our bill is still due.
I am not concerned with the intrinsic value of the sacrifice of Christ.
I freely grant that the death of Jesus, by virtue of His divine nature, is of such infinite worth that it could redeem all mankind, all angels and the whole world, even a thousand worlds over, if He had so intended.
I am not asking about the infinite worth of the cross but rather the depth and breadth of the cross.
As worthless as the term Limited Atonement is (I prefer particular Atonement) it never asserted a limit to the limitless worth of Jesus' death but only its intent. No one doubts that God, if He so desired, could save one and all. And so it is not meant as a limitation of the limitless worth of Jesus' sacrifice.
What might come as a surprise to you though is that it is you that is severely limiting the worth of the cross. Every Christian without exception believes the atonement is limited in some sense; unless of course you want to posit a universal atonement (one in which everyone, devoid of exclusion, will ultimately be saved). It should be well understood that among evangelicals there is no major contention as to whether all will in fact be saved. With deep sorrow at the thought of the destiny of the lost, all parties here (as far as I know) confess that the Scripture makes it patently plain that ultimately some men will be saved and others will be lost.
It is important to emphasize at the outset that even those who assert a universal intent for the death of Christ do not go so far as to say that all men will in fact attain unto salvation and so do no different then I.
Well you may say that all I have done thus far is level the playing field but what was stated was that the opposing position limited more than just the intent, where is the proof of the charge of limiting the worth of Jesus' death?
Allow a quote taken from BETS 10:4 (Fall 1967) p. 201ff:
We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is, that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men.
Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men?
They say, "No, certainly not."
We ask them the next question--Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular?
They answer "No." (They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent.) They say "No; Christ has died that any man may be saved if"--and then follow certain conditions of salvation.
We say, then, we will just go back to the old statement--Christ did not die so as beyond a doubt to secure the salvation of anybody, did he?
You must say "No;" you are obliged to say so, for you believe that even after a man has been pardoned, he may yet fall from grace, and perish.
Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ?
You say that Christ did not die so as to infallibly secure the salvation of anybody; We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ's death; we say, "No, my dear sir, it is you that do it. We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ's death not only *may* be saved, but *are* saved, *must* be saved, and *cannot* by *any* possibility run the hazard of being anything *but* saved.
You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.
"And so it is not meant as a limitation of the limitless worth of Jesus' sacrifice."
I know bro. I understand Limited or Particular (TUPIP?) atonement, and what Calvinists mean when they use it, or the concept. To argue, you make the cross, less powerful, would be to commit a strawman fallacy.
"We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ,..."
*pulls on the reigns*
Whoa, whoa! Settle down. Big guy.
*pats gently on the head*
I don't believe that you limit the atonement of Christ as to value or power. Only... as you've already stated... it's limited in intent. This is crystal clear bro. You believe the cross was for the intent to pay the debt of the elect. I however, believe the cross was for the intent to make payment available. Christ's redemption is offered to all, yet only the chosen accept it. Others reject it and are held accountable for the full payment.
So you say "Christ has died that any man may be saved if ..."
Well then, what is the 'if'? What are the works of salvation that must be done solely by the power of the dead so that the dead may by their own works attain to life?
And how is it that they who provide the work for salvation are excluded from boasting in it?
And how is it that what Jesus paid for He does not get to keep?
And if the cross paid all the debt of all of mankind what then are the dammed, dammed for? If the debt is wiped clear by the cross what debt is paid by the eternal hell suffered by the lost? For if you exclued the sin of unbelief than how is it that you are not holding that the cross only deals with "some of the sins of all men"?
"So you say "Christ has died that any man may be saved if ...""
...if they trust, believe, call, accept, submit, repent, etc. in/on Christ. And of course, these are all qualified by faith. Which, as we've already assessed is where many go wrong by substituting following some religious rituals or believing that God exists instead of a biblical faith which self-authenticates through demonstrable acts/fruits/works.
"And how is it that they who provide the work for salvation are excluded from boasting in it?"
I find it hard to boast in submitting to the dictates of a sovereign God. God makes redemption available to all, yet declares that those who would accept the gift of God's sacrifice, do it His way.
"And how is it that what Jesus paid for He does not get to keep?"
He keeps all those who place their debt under the cross' payment. So our "This is not a bill" statement reads "Paid in full" balance = 0.
And those who choose to trod upon the cross are left with a considerable balance.
"And if the cross paid all the debt of all of mankind what then are the dammed, dammed for?"
The cross didn't pay the debt of all mankind. Only the chosen who accept the payment.
"If the debt is wiped clear by the cross what debt is paid by the eternal hell suffered by the lost?"
"For if you exclued the sin of unbelief than how is it that you are not holding that the cross only deals with "some of the sins of all men"?"
No sin is excused, including unbelief. Yet, those who believe have their sins paid by the cross. Those who don't believe (read: unbelief) are left owing.
This is a common differentiation among Calvinists and Arminians.
When Calvinists say "Christ died for all the sins of some men," they aren't limiting the value of the cross, only specifying who the cross' payment was intended for. So Calvinist believe that the cross whipes clear the sin of the elect.
When Arminians say "Christ died for all the sins of all men" they don't mean that all sin's debt is whiped clear. Rather, that Christ made a payment that is sufficient to clear the debt of sin from every man. Yet, it's only efficacious for those who believe. They submitted to the sovereign God's decree.
I could for the sake of clarification post scriptures. But, I know you've seen them all before, so I was trying just to use my own words to clarify a few things.
Sorry, if I hijacked this thread. Didn't mean to.
Tom, sorry I'm just now responding. I have a lot going on this weekend (along with the new baby) so I'll try to wade through as many of these as possible.
I tend to lean more on puzzled's proposition. The bible also uses the analogies of Covenant/Contract, marriage etc. to describe the relationship between God and His elect.
If I am born again, I become part of the bride. What bride does not, at the very least, submit to marriage?
I think where I would argue against your position that anything we "do" makes us earn salvation would be that there is nothing I can do (have faith, believe, repent, be baptized, receive the Spirit) that 1) starts and ends with my efforts-they are all a product of the work of God and 2) nothing we do is equitable to the work of the Cross. That is, I cannot say, that believing, or baptism, or repentance etc. MAKE ME WORTHY because none of those things pay the penalty.
To use the marriage analogy again, if I were to court my wife and my net worth over a million and we were later married, what did she do (apart from agreeing to marry me and then going through with it) that allows her to claim she earned the milllion now in her name?!!?
What labor did she do that earned the million that I didn't already do? What act did she do that allows her to claim she "earned it"? Is it not a free gift that I have given as part of the relationship of marriage?
I don't believe God calls zombies or robots but enters into a covenant relationship w/ 'whosoever will'. Remember, "God is not willing that any should perish..." yet some do.
TTT for JoshuaB!
Not sure how I missed this thread. great insight as always, the only question I have is what do we do with texts such as 2nd peter one that I put on the other Limited atonement thread? That seems to explicitly say that Christ did die for the sins of false teachers, who are obviously not saved.
"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who BOUGHT THEM--bringing swift destruction on themselves"
The text in 2nd Tim says especially those who are saved, and I do understand your explanation of justification, and agree with your summary. But what do we do with a text that says christ died specifically for specific peoples sins, and they are not saved?
Romans 8:29-30 "Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed [via sanctification] to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified [via sanctification]"
P1: All that are justified are glorified.
P2: Jesus justified all on the cross.
C: All are glorified.
This is false by the testimony of the Word of God for some will perish.
If God accepts Jesus' punishment on your behalf then you will, without fail, under go a conforming to the likeness of your Savior. To say it another way: Justification has as its necessary consequence sanctification.
God has justified some men by the cross all of them will undergo sanctification.
And what is it that God through Paul says regarding this:
Romans 8:31-39 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? [...] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
So you see if you were in the ark of the Christ when the flood of God's wrath was poured out on Him on the cross you are justified and if you are justified you will (without fail) be glorified and if God has wiped away the charge against you no one can make it stand against you again! Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Not anything or any man not even ourselves!
Now having said all that the matter of 2 Peter 2:1 still remains and to that I recomend that you see that no matter what 2 Peter is teaching it cannot be teaching an atonement for all in light of the other verses.
And as to another possable rendering that is not in contradiction with the rest of God's Word I offer this:
There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who they *claim* bought them (for that claim *is* the sheep's clothing that they wear in order to move among you), bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
For no Christian would hear a teacher if they denyed being bought by Jesus. But by their teaching they deny the words they speak in claming to be bought and ownd of Jesus. And just as those who call Him Lord are turned away for what they do and not what they say so these bring destruction by denying the very Jesus they claim by their heretical teaching.
Also it is important to note that even if my rendering is wrong this verses still cannot mean what some try and make it mean for it means more then those who deny a Particular Atonement want it to mean.
"[T]hose who maintain a universal atonement want to make *buy* mean [only that Jesus] put down a price, but that's not what it means. Therefore this verse cannot mean that Christ died for those whom He will never make His own [which is what they are want to show]. Once we understand this, we ought to be able to consider, a little more sympathetically, some other possible interpretations of this verse."
See http://www.the-highway.com/agorazo_Ellis.html for an explanation of this criptic post o_O
Thanks Tom, I pray for your quick and full recovery.