Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sin or Sins: Is There a Difference? Part 4

Hebrews 10:26-31 describes the folly of continuing in willful sin after one is saved. He likens the matter to the time of Israel under Moses when God gave them the Law. Anyone who transgressed the Law and was caught was killed on the testimony of witnesses, without mercy. Again, it cannot be overstated that the writer never mentions the spiritual state of the party killed by the Jews for law breaking; only that the Law demanded death for its infraction.

The Law was a temporal object by which the Jews could receive earthly blessing if they obeyed it, or receive chastisement if they rebelled. The Law said nothing about getting to Heaven. Galatians 6:7-8 informs us that this cause-effect relationship still goes on today. Our actions produce consequences, and we shall reap the consequences in due time, whether good or evil. Verse 9 adds that we should continue to do good for we shall reap the bounty of it in due time if we do not grow weary. This verse alone should be an adequate indicator that Paul was not referring to salvation or damnation, since he likens the results of these opposing lifestyles to working toward an end. Salvation is not the reward of a long day’s work, but the free gift of God’s grace. No, we have the results of either obedience to Christ yielding blessing or carnal living reaping punishment. “Behold, I [Jesus] am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work,” Revelation 22:12.

Calvinism teaches the unique doctrine that Christ only died for the sins of the elect, and that God has passed by the vast majority of the world, the reprobate, leaving them to go their natural way to perdition. I have written at some length regarding the error of John Calvin, so I will only briefly touch on this notion. John 1:29, 3:16, 3:17, 4:42, 1st Timothy 2:4, 2:6, 4:10, Hebrews 9:26, 1st John 2:2, 4:14, and more verses teach that Jesus is the world’s Savior, that He died for all people, and that He conquered sin itself, putting it away. The condition hinging on one’s eternal residence then becomes what we believe about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Calvinism essentially makes the gospel irrelevant since the elect is spiritually regenerated before the gospel is believed; it was John Calvin’s belief that men cannot receive spiritual things of any kind without the Holy Spirit’s quickening. This unfortunately meant that even the gospel itself couldn’t be believed until one was regenerated. The gospel then is not the vehicle God uses to save men, contrary to Scripture (1st Corinthians 1:21), but His own inscrutable, arbitrary will.

Calvin erred by taking predestination to inordinately unnecessary heights. This is much like advocates of baptismal regeneration holding fast their beloved doctrine no matter the evidences presented from Scripture that it is an erroneous view. It is not error to say that Christ died for the sake of the elect; it is error to cease there when the Bible clearly states that Jesus is the world’s Savior, not merely the elect’s. The difference between the saved and unsaved man is that one chose to believe the message of the gospel and one did not; Jesus is the Savior of both; there is no other Savior. One by faith has made that salvation effectual. We cannot force Scripture to say what we wish, but rather yield to the Author and permit Him to educate us regarding His wishes. His wishes are clear: “[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” 1st Timothy 2:4. To that end we have become God’s fellow workers, 1st Corinthians 3:5-9; 2nd Corinthians 5:21. This is the extreme danger of following the doctrines of one man. Calvin is elevated to the status of deity in the eyes of many Calvinists, and it has become impossible that he might have been wrong in regards to predestination, reprobation and the gospel. When you move a fallible man beyond reproach so that no one can question his teachings you essentially lift his doctrine on par with Scripture. Herein is one of Calvinism’s many errors.

I hope this has been in some way useful to anyone reading. My desire is not to breed conflict, but through God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s power, to help us all better see the glory of the salvation God offers in Jesus Christ His Son. I pray that Christ my Lord is glorified in me, and in all His children. God bless.

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