INTRODUCTION TO SOTERIOLOGY
Soteriology comes from the Greek term “soterion” meaning salvation and “logia” meaning study. A study of salvation.
The meaning of salvation communicates the following ideas in Scripture: deliverance, safety, preservation, soundness, restoration, and healing. It is in a general sense a work on the behalf of man, by His creator. In specific, we are talking about that act or work of God that restores full and inseparable fellowship between God and man.
We will be covering the doctrine of Salvation by topics. The topics will be covered in the following order: conviction, repentance, faith, forgiveness, regeneration, propitiation, redemption, reconciliation, sanctification, justification, security, fore-knowledge/predestination/election, Calvinism vs. Armenianism, atonement, and glorification.
I heard an interview of three women healers years ago. One of them was Ruth Carter Stapleton. The host of the talk show asked her what it meant to be born again. She related that it could be many things. It could be one thing for a Roman Catholic, and something else for another person. She mentioned that it could happen when you saw a beautiful painting. She called it a religious awareness. Several questions sprang into my mind after hearing her definition of being born again.
Is there a difference between being born again and religious awareness? Can you be born again in more that one way? Does knowing you’ve had a religious experience get you to heaven?
On the tape is a woman that was in the hospital and she picked up her Bible and opened it. She opened to two pages that were completely blank. On those pages God literally wrote with Jesus Blood the words “I love you.”
Is it any wonder why some pastors preach against the Charismatic movement? Personally, I wonder why more pastors don’t.
I trust salvation and being born again mean more to you than seeing a beautiful painting.
In salvation two thoughts come to mind. Chafer puts it this way, “on the one hand, to be saved is to be rescued from a lost estate, while, on the other hand, to be saved is to be brought into a saved estate, vitally renewed, and made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.” (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; “Systematic Theology”; Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, p 5)
Let us look at salvation as a whole and see where it has been as well as where it is going.
Salvation is from eternal hell: John 3:16 All of mankind is under the penalty of death, and eternal torment. This is true no matter how hard the liberal theologians deny it. It is a sentence that is set, and it is a sentence that is to be carried out.
Some tell us not to talk about hell, because we do not want to scare people into heaven. Personally if they have a genuine salvation experience, what does it matter if they listened out of fear, or even terror. It is the Gospel message that must be given, and it is hell that is a part of the message. Christ spoke of eternal torment a number of times in His own ministry.
Salvation is for God’s purpose: Ephesians 2:7
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Naturally man is the recipient of all this, yet God did it because He desired it — not because we conned Him into it. We surely benefit from His grace and His riches, but grace and riches are only a by-product of His overall program — bringing glory to Himself.
Salvation is free and not attainable by works: Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”; Ephesians 2:8-10
Salvation, the most important, the most beautiful, the most valuable thing that man might gain. It is free, it is without strings, and it is a gift from our Creator.
Many there are through the centuries that have tried to work for salvation, to fight for salvation and to gain salvation, yet it is there for the asking.
Salvation is a past, present and future condition in two ways:
1. The Physical Realm: It is offered in the Old Testament economies, it is offered in the New Testament economy, and it will be offered in the future millennial economy. It was available to all of mankind in the past, it is available to all of mankind in this present time, and it will be available to all of mankind in the future days. It will be offered until the consummation of the age.
2. The Spiritual Realm: On an individual basis it is past, due to the election of God. It is present in that the saint is being saved from eternal damnation. It will be a completed work in the future.
We are beings in transition in this life. We are saved in God’s mind at this moment in time, yet we are not yet completely and finally saved until we are present before Him in our glorified bodies.
1. God has always been in the saving business and will remain in that business until all is complete.
2. None that should be saved will be left, for God will not cut off the program before someone gets there.
Might I share a personal belief with you. I think that it is a valid application of an Old Testament account. The people who owned and occupied the land of Israel, before the Israelites conquered them, were a vile people. God gave them the forty years that Israel wondered in the wilderness to turn to Him. He was longsuffering with them. He gave them extra time, just in case they might change. This gave them many years to turn to God yet they did nothing. There would have been grace for them just as there will be grace for any that want to respond to him today.
The solemn point is this; at some point in time the Lord will cut off His offer of salvation. He will swing into the completion of His program for this earth and it’s people, closing the door to salvation.
In closing, just remember that salvation was God’s idea. He did a fine job of putting together His plan in eternity past, even though man attempts to change that plan from time to time by denying God’s part in it, or by denying that man needs the plan.
We need the plan, and it is free.
Conviction comes in two types. The lost experience conviction when the Lord is drawing them unto Himself. The believer experiences conviction when the Lord is drawing them unto Him. The difference is that the lost benefits, when he responds, by receiving salvation, while the believer regains fellowship with the Lord.
What is it like to be under conviction as a lost person? A man I ministered with in Denver, CO years ago told me of his talk with his father, when the father was on his death bed. The man had witnessed to his dad many times, but to no avail. The father told his son just before he died that he knew that the Gospel was what he needed. He knew that his son was right in what he was telling him. With tears in his eyes, he said, “But I just can’t accept Jesus.” The man knew his sin, he knew that Christ was his answer, yet even when facing death, he refused the peace of salvation.
Others when faced with their conviction, fall before the throne of grace accepting the work of Christ on their behalf.
The moments before a person accepts the Lord vary from person to person. Some are very emotional. They have lived so long under sins’ domination, that they are elated when they find there is a way of freedom. Others that have lived a fairly decent life, may just move through the acceptance of the Gospel with no real emotional moving.
What is it like to be under conviction as a saved person that has sin in his, or her life? What is it like when God is leading a person into something and the person refuses to move ahead?
Again, different people react and feel differently however there are a few common items that we might mention. There will quite often be a sense that the Lord is far away. If there have been chastisements, then the person knows that God is dealing with them. There may be a feeling of
dread of what might come next. There may also be a very severe loneliness, spiritually.
I will share one brief illustration. I was raised in a Christian Church, and was baptized many years before I was saved. As I was learning things in Bible College, I came to the place where I knew that I should be baptized as a believer. Being a very shy person, I did not want to go through all that. As time went by, I was very definitely aware of my disobedience. The finances went to pot, work was not going well, the family was not doing well, and all because I was saying no. Conviction is powerful.
“In evangelical Protestantism, attainment of a sense of sin and a need of salvation through the work of the Holy Spirit.” (Kauffman, Donald T.; “The Dictionary Of Religious Terms”; Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1967)
Do you like his thought, that it is an attainment? I think that this may be a misnomer. It is not something that is sought after in any case that I can remember. It is something that is brought upon a person not something that one might attain. Kaufman is correct however in the thought that it is a “sense of sin and a need of salvation.” He is also correct to attribute this ministry to the Holy Spirit.
“To convict, confute, refute, usually with the suggestion of putting the convicted person to shame;” (Vine, W. E.; “An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words”; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co, p 239)
“Convict, kon-vikt’, Conviction, kon-vik’-shun….It always implies the presentation of evidence. It is a decision presumed to be based upon a careful and discriminating consideration of all the proofs offered, and has a legal character, the verdict being rendered either in God’s judgment (Romans 3 19) [think I disagree on this ref.] or before men (John 8 46) by an appeal to their consciences in which God’s law is written (Romans 2 15). Since such conviction is addressed to the heart of the guilty, as well as concerning him externally, the word “reprove” is sometimes substituted.” (Orr, James; “The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub., 1939, article by H. E. Jacobs pp 707,708)
“The meaning of conviction as a law term is being found guilty. In common language it means being persuaded or convinced. In theology it means being condemned at the bar of one’s own conscience as a sinner in view of the law of God. It is the antecedent to repentance, and is often accompanied by a painful sense of exposure to God’s wrath. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, showing the heinousness of sin and the soul’s exposure to divine wrath.” (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. p 219)
It would seem that the word convict in the Bible has a similar meaning to the word in our own day. It relates to a person being proven guilty. It carries, as well, the thought that the person realizes and concurs with the verdict.
So, now that we understand the term, how does conviction strike or affect a lost person? The lost person reacts to conviction much as the saved person. Both are proven guilty, and both agree with the verdict.
1. A feeling of guilt for the sin that he knows that he has committed. As a small child I enjoyed going into the dime store and shoplifting (I did not enjoy the buzz of the stealing, but rather the taste of the candy, or the joy of the item taken) very small items, usually just a piece of candy. As I was enjoying the candy I usually had regrets over what I had done. I had knowledge that it was wrong. I felt guilty — isn’t that odd? I Was Guilty. So why should I be surprised that I felt that way?
The feeling of guilt can only come when you realize that you are guilty. In my case I was being confronted with what I had been taught from the Word of God in church (even though I was unsaved). I had the sense of what right and wrong was.
The lost know when they have done wrong, else why would they try to cover their wrong. Watergate is an example. The men involved went to great lengths to cover their wrong. John 3:20 may reveal something on this question —
“For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
The saved person may realize and submit to conviction quicker than the lost person. The believer knows immediately when they are out of fellowship with the Lord. This brings conviction quickly.
Conviction comes to the Christian through their conscience and the spoken Word.
From the conscience: John 8:9, “and they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience,” The context of this passage is the woman taken in adultery. Christ told them that the one without sin in their life should cast the first stone. The lost people were convicted by their conscience. They knew that none of them were without sin. It is quite possible that they were guilty of the same sin.
From the spoken Word: 1 Corinthians 14:24, 25,
“But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convicted of all, he is judged of all. And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest, and so falling down on his face he will worship God and report that God is in you of a truth.”
Just a couple of observations from this text: a. Conviction comes from prophecy in the New Testament Church. b. The unsaved have the secrets of their hearts revealed. This is a good example of the conviction of the lost. His response was neat — he fell down to worship God.
We see this in our own worship services today. At times the unsaved enter the services, hear the Gospel, and come to know the Lord. They do this because they come under conviction through what they have heard.
If the spoken Word has this effect on a person, then we could, I think safely assume, that the written word would also be capable of bringing conviction. I have heard the testimonies of several people that were reading the Word, when the Holy Spirit brought them to the Lord, without the intervention of another person. Just the reading of the Word, is sufficient to bring people to the Lord.
The prime element of all sources of conviction, is the fact that all are dependant upon the work of the Holy Spirit within the life of the person, be they saved or lost.
We can see this in John 16:7-11.
1. The Holy Spirit will convict or reprove the world of SIN.
2. The Holy Spirit will convict or reprove the world of righteousness.
3. The Holy Spirit will convict or reprove the world of judgment. All conviction comes to the lost via the work of the Holy Spirit. All conviction comes to the believer via the work of the Holy Spirit.
1. Mark Unger suggested of conviction, “In theology it means being condemned at the bar of one’s own conscience as a sinner in view of the law of God.” (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright , Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission.) How do we make this practical for our own lives?
If the only possible source of true conviction is via the Holy Spirit, then why do we try so hard to bring young believers into conformity with our life styles? True, we should show them what the Scripture teaches, and help them to understand that what they are doing is wrong. There really isn’t any amount of pressure that we can apply, that will bring them into a state of honest conviction? We probably should leave it to the Holy Spirit.
Why don’t be seek help from the person that can help in the situation? The Holy Spirit. This may not only relate to life style, but it may well relate to bad habits, or it may even relate to baptism. We need to be sure they know all they need to know about these things, yet the Holy Spirit is the only one that can bring them to a decision to change a life style, or break a habit, or come to the church for baptism.
2. Conviction seems to be a confrontation with the evidence to show guilt no matter what the response to the conviction might be. In salvation conviction brings evidence of guilt. That conviction may be ignored, or responded to. In the believer, the conscience, Word, or possibly another believer using the Word, produces proof of sin and error. Again, that evidence can be ignored, or responded to. Matthew 18:15ff illustrates this. If you go to a brother and he does not respond, you take witnesses. The person has proof given to him — he responds, and changes or continues, and suffers the consequences.
Conviction, then brings the person to the point of response/no response. It can do no more. The mind and will must take it from there. Example: In past sections the reader has been confronted with a study of the fruit of the Spirit as it was contrasted with no fruit of the spirit. All readers have been confronted. How have they reacted? Have they changed their lifestyle, or are they remaining unchanged?
The presentation of the study is like presenting the Word. It brings a person to the point of response/no response. The Holy Spirit takes over and confronts through the conscience.
It is not my responsibility to force a person to respond. The prophets presented the evidence of Israel’s great sin. They did the job. The fact that Israel didn’t respond was disheartening I’m sure, but the prophet had done his job.
We, as Christian’s, need to go to the world and do the job. The Holy Spirit will do the convicting. The people will respond one way or another.
3. This is a judgment question, but I think it might do well to ask it anyway. What outward behaviors, or mannerisms, or frame of mind does a person present when he is under the conviction of the Holy Spirit? They may be very nervous. Many, when in church stare at the floor as if totally uninterested. They may be full of honest questions not just argumentative questions. They may at times disoriented in their thinking, and their own beliefs when they are confronted with the Word.
I think the story in John 8 may indicate an uneasiness to truth and possibly an uneasiness to be close to a man of God — in this case Jesus Himself. Note also should be taken that these were unsaved men who were convicted by their conscience. They were so convicted that they left.
It has been said of the lost, “You can’t repent too soon, because you don’t know how soon it will be too late.” It has been said of the saved, “True repentance has a double aspect. It looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.” (McKenzie, E.C.; “14,000
Quips And Quotes For Writers And Speakers”; New York: Greenwich House, 1980, p 446)
4. What about the person that has sin in their life — maybe has had for several years. Can you guess what they are like? They are unhappy, they have no peace, they are full of guilt, and they are critical of everyone else’s sin. (At times super sensitive in areas of their sin.) They are quite often involved in covering up their own sin. That is one sad case. If you run into this type person, suspect unconfessed sin.
David Brainard searched for peace for twenty years. He was constantly plagued with conviction in his life. He finally found peace with the Lord. I would like to quote from his diary.
“I was from my youth somewhat sober, and inclined to melancholy; but do not remember any thing of conviction of sin, worthy of remark, till I was, I believe, about seven or eight years of age. Then I became concerned for my soul, and terrified at the thoughts of death; and was driven to the performance of religious duties. . . .”
“Sometime in the beginning of winter, 1738, it pleased God, one Sabbath morning, as I was walking out for secret duties, to give me on a sudden such a sense of my danger, and the wrath of God, that I stood amazed, and my former good frames presently vanished. From the view which I had of my sin and vileness, I was much distressed all that day, fearing that the vengeance of God would soon overtake me. I was much dejected; kept much alone; and sometimes envied the birds and beasts their happiness, because they were not exposed to eternal misery, as I evidently saw that I was. Thus I lived from day to day, being frequently in great distress: sometimes there appeared mountains before me to obstruct my hopes of mercy; and the work of conversion appeared so great, that I thought I should never be the subject of it. I used, however, to pray and cry to God, and perform other duties with great earnestness; and thus hoped by some means to make the case better.”
He mentions a night when he felt that the earth would open up and swallow him, sending him to his grave and his soul to hell. “I was wont to tell God in my prayers, that now I had those very dispositions of soul which he required, and on which he showed mercy to others, and thereupon to beg and plead for mercy to me. But when I found no relief, and was still oppressed with guilt and fears of wrath, my soul was in a tumult, and my heart rose against God, as dealing hardly with me.”
“At some turns, for a few moments, I seemed to myself lost and undone; but then would shrink back immediately from the sight, because I dared not venture myself into the hands of God, as wholly helpless, and at the disposal of his sovereign pleasure. I dared not see that important truth concerning myself, that I was ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’ But when I had, as it were, thrust away these views of myself at any time, I felt distressed to have the same discoveries of myself again; for I greatly feared being given over of God to final stupidity. When I thought of putting it off to a more ‘convenient season,’ the conviction was so close and powerful, that the present time was the best, and probably the only time, that I dared not put it off.”
“After a considerable time spent in similar exercises and distree, one morning, while I was walking in a solitary place, as usual, I at once saw that all my contrivances and projects to effect or procure deliverance and salvation for myself were utterly in vain; I was brought quite to a stand, as finding myself totally lost. I had thought many times before, that the difficulties in my way were very great; but now I saw, in another and very different light, that
it was for ever impossible for me to do any thing toward helping or delivering myself.”
“At this time the way of salvation opened to me with such infinite wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever think of any other way of salvation; I was amazed that I had not dropped my own contrivances and complied with this lovely, blessed, and excellency way before. If I could have been saved by my own duties, or any other way that I had formerly contrived,
my whole soul would now have refused. I wondered that all the world did not see and comply with this way of salvation, entirely by the righteousness of Christ.
“The sweet relish of what I then felt continued with me for several days, almost constantly, in a greater or less degree. I could not but sweetly rejoice in God, lying down and rising up. The next Lord’s day I felt something of the same kind, though not so powerful as before. But not long after, I was again involved in darkness, and in great distress; yet not of the same kind with my distress under convictions. I was guilty, afraid, and ashamed to come before God; and exceedingly pressed with a sense of guilt; but it was not long before I felt, I trust, true repentance and joy in God.”
I suspect if the American public experienced this type of conviction, we would see some sudden changes in our country. I also suspect that if American Christians were to view sin as this man viewed it, we would see drastic changes in the Church and in the world.
When I was about ten I was commonly known as the cake and icing snitcher. I would break small pieces of icing off of the edge of the cake. As my memory serves me, I never cut a piece of cake to eat — only little snitches. One day my mother found a piece of cake missing. I was naturally the suspect of the hour, only I was innocent. My mother was bent on having me confess and repent of my crime. I told her multiplied millions of times that I had not done the nasty deed. Finally, after several hours of sitting in front of her, I admitted to the crime that I had not committed. I had many things to do, and one of them wasn’t sitting in front of her.
I confessed, but there was no repentance — indeed, there could be no repentance because I had done nothing wrong. In God’s eyes, He seeks people who are knowledgeable of their sin, and willing to repent.
Repentance according to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary is “…..the action or process of repenting esp. for misdeeds or moral shortcomings…..” (By permission. From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)
Vine mentions, “to perceive afterwards (‘meta’, after, implying change, ‘noeo’, to perceive; ‘nous’, the mind, the seat of moral reflection), in contrast to ‘pronoeo’, to perceive beforehand, hence signifies to change one’s mind or purpose,” (Vine, W. E.; “An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words”; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., p 281-282)
Unger tells us “in the theological and ethical sense a fundamental and thorough change in the hearts of men from sin and toward God.”
“Without some measure of faith no one can truly repent, and repentance never attains to its deepest character till the sinner realizes through saving faith how great is the grace of god against whom he has sinned.”
“On the other hand there can be no saving faith without true repentance.” (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission.)
REPENTANCE IS A CHANGE OF MIND
There should be a sense of dislike toward sin, as well as a desire, and decision not to do it again. When I was snitching the cake, I was not sorry, I was not going to stop doing it; unless the punishment made it repugnant. Even when confronted with the snitching, I was not sorry for my wrong, only for getting caught.
In the case of sin and repentance toward God, there needs to be a surrendering to His will and desire. In sin, we have set aside His will or commands. In repentance, we need to include the thought of a return to what He has commanded, and turn away from our desire to set Him aside.
Repentance is a gift of God: Acts 5:31 God set Christ as the one able and desirous to extend repentance and forgiveness to the Jews. The fact that they, for the most part, rejected this free offer does not negate the offer.
God, due to the rejection of the Jews, opened His program of grace to the gentiles (Acts 11:18). The gentile world knew of their need, and multitudes received this offer of grace, repentance and salvation.
REPENTANCE IS SOMETHING THAT GOD LEADS US TO
Romans 2:4 Our salvation is based squarely on the goodness of God. He formed the plan, He executed the plan, and He draws us to the plan. Had He not acted, we would not have sought to please Him. We would not have sought to find Him. We certainly would not have sought to repent.
Repentance can have three stages: Chafer suggests these three stages for his reader’s consideration.
1. Repentance comes from fear of the penalty. In this repentance there is no sorrow over what was done, just dread of the consequences.
2. The second stage of repentance comes when the person realizes the baseness of sin. It results in self condemnation, because the person is so vile and sinful. I suspect that this is the stage that David Brainard was in during much of his struggle.
3. Upon salvation the person can more fully understand the evilness of sin, and realize the fullness of God’s grace. This moves the person to genuine repentance, which can give the peace that the person has been seeking.
REPENTANCE IS A CHANGE OF MIND
This thought is seen in Matthew 21:28-29 where the son that would not
go to work, later changed his mind and went. Within the idea of a change of mind, is the fact that the mind must consider and weigh the information, and then decide. Along with the change of mind in this case, is the act of the will to go.
In the case of sin, there needs to be a consideration of the information, a decision not to sin followed by a continuing action of the will, not to sin. To decide, and not to act is not the desired process. To decide followed by action is what God desires in His people.
This is also true in the lost person that is considering the claims of Christ. He can consider the information, he can even decide that the information is valid, but until he acts, there can be no salvation.
REPENTANCE REQUIRES NO SORROW
Repentance requires no sorrow however sorrow may be an integrated part of the person’s experience when coming to repentance. Technically sorrow may lead to repentance, but repentance seems to be separate from sorrow. (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
REPENTANCE IS NOT SEPARATE FROM BELIEF
“repentance is essential to salvation and that none could be saved apart from repentance, but it is included in believing and could not be separated from it.” (Chafer’s Systematic Theology, p 373)
So why are there two terms? Why does the Bible speak of repentance and belief, if they are inseparable?
In Acts 16:31 the jailor was told that he needed to believe to be saved. The fact that he asked what he must do to be saved demands that he had already gone through a mental process of realizing he was wrong, and that God was right. He had already decided to follow God, rather than the world system. Thus, he was told to believe, rather than to repent.
Chafer mentions, “it is clear that the New Testament does not impose repentance upon the unsaved as a condition of salvation.” (p 376)
I do not think that I can agree with his conclusion. How can you have salvation without having a change of mind, or repentance? You are lost, you are condemned, you are in the world system, you enjoy the world system, and you can’t be saved without turning from that system, to God.
This Is Not Acceptable. (See the following references to see that lost people are told to repent for their salvation and belief is not mentioned. Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; 2 Peter 3:9.)
I would have to disagree with anyone that states that repentance is not required for salvation. Belief and repentance are both involved in the process. You can believe, but not repent — resulting in no salvation. You can’t repent unless you believe.
Repentance is based on the realization that what is (present life), is incorrect, and that what will be (salvation), is correct. It is a realization that God has truth, and is the answer. It is also a realization that the world has no truth, and that it is deception.
World Relief had a film that depicted an old Muslim man that had seen his sons come to know and embrace Christ. He knew in his own mind that what they had done was correct. He, however, would not leave his old ways. He had the belief, but there was no change of direction — repentance if you will.
REPENTANCE IS A WORK OF THE SPIRIT
Chafer states that repentance is a work of the Spirit and lists Ephesians 2:8 for proof. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:”
I do not see that this is a proof text for his statement. The thought is wrapped up in the truth of this text, yet the text does not state this.
All that God does in man is a work of the Spirit, be it belief, repentance, or salvation. As the Spirit moves in lost man, he has the choice to respond or reject that work. When lost man responds and turns to God, then that repentance is truly a work of the Spirit.
REPENTANCE IS LIMITED IN THE LOST PERSON
“No individual can turn to Christ from some other confidence without a change of mind, and that, it should be noted, is all the repentance a spiritually dead individual can ever effect.” (Chafer, p 374)
In his concluding paragraph Chafer states, “It is asserted that repentance, which is a change of mind, enters of necessity into the very act of believing on Christ, since one cannot turn to Christ from other objects of confidence without that change of mind. Upwards of 150 texts-including all of the greatest gospel invitations-limit the human responsibility in salvation to believing or to faith. To this simple requirement nothing could be added if the glories of grace are to be preserved.”
This defines belief as a confidence in which requires a change of mind or repentance. He seems to bottle repentance and belief into one package. This is not an uncommon line of thinking, which follows quickly after Calvinistic thought.
Problem: I believed in God — in Christ — long before I knew that I needed to be saved, long before ever committing myself to Him and His work on the cross for me.
I knew and believed many of the Bible stories, the miracles, etc. I knew that Christ lived, and died on the cross. I believed that Christ existed. I believed that God existed. I believed that God created the heaven and the earth.
I even, somewhere in my mind, knew that God was watching over me, yet I did not know the reason for the cross, nor did I know that I needed Christ. I had belief, but there was no knowledge that a change was needed.
Ultimately, through circumstances, I was confronted with the Gospel and knew that it was true. I still was lost as I could be as one born in Adam. Until I decided — an act of the will — there was no salvation, there was no repentance. Upon that belief, there was a decision made which turned me from the first Adam, to the second Adam, Christ.
Belief is possible without repentance, so I feel it is very hard to say they are one and the same.
It is of interest to note that the Gospel of John does not use the term repent, but only the term believe. This indicates that John felt that belief would automatically move the person to repentance and salvation. It does not mean that John was teaching that repentance was not needed.
Cambron is quite clear in his belief that repentance is an integrated part of salvation. “To those who say that repentance is not to be preached today, and that it is not essential for salvation, we point out that repentance was preached by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Apostle Paul. Repentance was proclaimed before Pentecost, at Pentecost, and after Pentecost.” (Cambron, Mark G. D.D.; “Bible Doctrines”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954, p 188)
Repentance in not reformation: Man, in his lost estate, can reform himself. He can clean up his life and live like a Christian. Many of these people probably lead a better Christian life than many Christians.
The sad fact is that this reformation leads only to reformation. It does not bring salvation, nor does it bring the peace these people often seek.
Reformation is great. It helps in the person’s family, in his social relations, and may even help in the person’s life. It can never result directly in eternal changes however.
Repentance is not contrition: It is not being sorry for your sin. Being sorry is great, but it alone can never bring salvation. Repentance requires a change of mind. Sorrow is an emotional response to information. Repentance is an act of the will in response to information and belief in that information.
Repentance is not penance: This is an expression of sorrow by some act. Penance is giving up of something in response to guilt or sorrow over doing something.
Repentance is a change of mind: It is a response of the mind that has been given information which the mind labels truth. It is a decision to move from one mind-set to another. The world is our natural mind-set. The lost person is motivated and directed by this mind-set. When the mind set is changed the life that mind controls, changes to the new direction.
Repentance is a part of faith: Faith is that which allows the person to turn from the world to God. God reveals Himself to all of mankind, according to Romans one. When someone responds to that revelation, further information is given. When there is enough information to confront the person with the Gospel, faith or belief in that information will move the person to a conscious decision. That decision will shift them from the earthy, to the heavenly.
Let Us Recap
1. Repentance is a change of mind (the heart and life).
2. Belief is an acceptance of facts (the brain).
3. Salvation is a result of both repentance and belief. Without repentance there is no salvation. Without belief there is no salvation. Without repentance there can be no belief and thus no salvation. Without repentance, belief cannot save you.
4. Sorrow may lead to repentance.
5. Sorrow may accompany repentance, but is not the same as repentance.
6. Repentance may come without sorrow.
Repentance Comes From The Goodness Of God Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9
Repentance Can Come From Hearing The Gospel. Acts 2:37-41
Repentance Can Come Through Teaching. 2 Timothy 2:24,25
Repentance Can Come Through Chastisements Of God. Revelation 2:16; 2:5; 3:3; (Hebrews 12:6-11; Revelation 3:19 may relate — “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent.”)
Repentance Is A Gift Of God. It was a gift to the Jews, Acts 5:31 and to the Gentiles Acts 11:18.
Repentance Is Something That God Leads Us To. Romans 2:4 Repentance Is A Change Of Mind. Matthew 21:28-29 Repentance Requires No Sorrow.
Repentance Is A Work Of The Spirit. Repentance Is Limited In The Lost Person. Repentance Is Not Reformation. Repentance Is Not Contrition.
Repentance Is Not Penance. Repentance Is A Part Of Faith.
Repentance Primarily Is For The Lost And Is Part Of Bringing Them To Christ.
Repentance Is Sometimes Used Of The Believer And His Need To Return To Something. See Revelation 2:5,16; 3:3,19.
1. This should give flight to the easy believism so prevalent today in our evangelism. If you want to say, “Believe and thou shalt be saved” be sure that they have had a change of mind first, else you had better explain very carefully what you mean by believe.
2. In our own lives — when we became a Christian did we have a REAL change of mind — from trusting in …………, To trusting in Christ? Many “Christians” have never seen repentance in their lives. This may well be why our churches are as they are.
3. As we witness — we need to show the person that they need to make a conscious choice to turn from …….., to Christ.
At times the person will know that changes are needed. I witnessed to a man years ago that was not living a proper life. He was a motorcycle nut. He knew what I had told him was true. He also knew that he needed to accept Christ. His problem was that he knew there would need to be changes. His first question after realizing this was, “But will I have to give up my motorcycle?”
As lost people repentance is needed for salvation. As believers, we do not normally deal with repentance. It is wrapped up in confession, in that we need to agree with God as to the terribleness of our sin, and decide not to sin again.
There are some believers that for one reason or another walks in the world. They are carnal. They are not walking with God. Again, in a sense repentance is required of them. They need to change their course.
Repentance — a simple change of mind that brings salvation. Repentance
— a simple change of mind that brings restoration of fellowship.
Let us look at a few definitions:
“A spiritual resurrection; the beginning of a new life” (Hodge, Charles; Gross, Edward N. Ed.; “Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988, Vol. 3, p 5)
“Regeneration is the communication of the divine nature to man by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the Word. (Dr. A. J. Gordon as quoted in Pardington, Revelation George P. Ph.D.; “Outline Studies In Christian Doctrine”; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 319)
“the spiritual change wrought in man by the Holy Spirit, by which he becomes the possessor of a new life. (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. p 916)
Regeneration is the Greek word “palinginesia.” It is only used twice in the New Testament. Vine tells us that “Palin” is usually translated again, and that “genesis” means birth. Thus, we would say that it is again born, or again birthed.
In Matthew 19:28 Christ mentions that those that follow him in the regeneration will rule with him. Since Christ did not need to be saved, He could not have been referring to the salvation experience of the believer. It seems that the structure would indicate that He was stating that when the world system, or the world itself is again born, when the Lord is ruling, these things will happen. (Scofield, in his cross reference Bible holds that this is referring to “the re-creation of the social order and renewal of the earth”/Vine also views this as a restoration, “the word is used, in the Lord’s discourse, in the wider sense, of the ‘restoration of all things’“ Thiessen also relates this to the regeneration of the Creation. He quotes Isaiah 11:1-9; 35:1-10 and others as a basis for his thinking.)
The American Standard Version states, “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Christ has been asked a question about the future reward of the apostles. Christ answers as though from that future point in time. Since these things were decreed before the foundation of the world that would fit.
The American Standard Version indicates that the regeneration is speaking of the again born world. Christ will rule in the Millennium, and the world will have undergone a drastic changing in preparation for the kingdom.
The second passage where the term appears is in Titus. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;” (Titus 3:4-6)
This text speaks of the rebirth (the “washing of regeneration”). The washing of regeneration depicts the “washing” or the completeness of the occurrence, and the regeneration, the again born process.
Technically, it is the term that describes what we call rebirth, or new birth.
It is spoken of in John 3 where Christ told Nicodemus that he must be
born again. It is the changing of a person from lost and condemned to saved and forgiven.
Regeneration Was Foretold By The Old Testament: Regeneration was looked forward to by the prophets for Israel (Ezekiel 36:24-30 and Jeremiah 32:38-40). There are some that contradict this thought when they say that the Old Testament believer was regenerated, by his faith in the coming Christ. This is in error, because regeneration could not take place for any person until Christ settled the sin question.
Regeneration Changes The Person: We are told that we are new creations, that we are partakers of the divine nature, and that we are completely new. That seems to indicate that when a person accepts Christ, there will be some changes in the life. (1 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:3,6,7; 2 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 4:23-24.)
The simplicity of the term itself demands drastic change. Again born. There is no choice except for the person to have change in their life.
Regeneration Is An Occurrence Rather Than A Process: Luke tells us in 23:39-44 that the Thief on the cross was to be in paradise with the Lord immediately. Thus, we can assume that regeneration is not something that takes six months to a year to complete.
It is not related to good works nor is it related to the process of living a holy life. It is an act of God that changes the person immediately and eternally.
Regeneration Is Linked To Our Relationship To Christ: We are in Christ. This shows a close relationship. 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
(John 3:16 tells us that it is because of what He did that we can have eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-10 states that we are created in Christ.)
Regeneration Has Results:
Firstfruits: James 1:18 We are firstfruits of God’s creatures:
“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
It might be an interesting study to relate this verse to the use of the term regeneration in relation to not only our own rebirth, but that of the world. Matthew used the term of creation. We are firstfruits of “his creatures” indicating that we will be changed before the creatures of creation. Would this not indicate a pre-millennial glorification for believers. Something to think about when you have time.
Inheritance: We have an inheritance due to this regeneration. 1 Peter 1:3-4,
“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”
This inheritance is sure, and it is not going to corrupt. It is ours; it is ours for all eternity.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
We were not created in Christ to live plush lives. We were created in Christ Jesus so we will do good works.
Walk In Good Works. That indicates more than a casual occurrence. Our lives are to be good works. Our lives are to be filled with good works.
Pledge: Regeneration brought the Holy Spirit as our pledge or guarantee of a completion to what God has begun in our lives. Ephesians 1:13-14,
“In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
REGENERATION, A PROFILE
The Means: Belief/reception of Christ. Regeneration comes to the person through belief in, and reception of Christ. Due to this we become sons of God. John 1:12,
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name”
The Author: 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 tells us that only God can increase the population of the church. He is the one that adds to the body of Christ. We can plant and water, but He will give the increase. (See John 1:10-13 also)
The Agent: We are born of the Holy Spirit. He is the activation behind all of salvation. God provided salvation, through Christ, but the Spirit brings the person to salvation.
The Instrument: Only when a person is able to hear or read the Word of God, can they know salvation. Salvation cannot creep up on you and win the attack. It is only through the Word that we can know of salvation. (1 Peter 1:23-25; James 1:18,21; John 17:17)
Regeneration Has Expectations: God didn’t reach out and touch someone, just so they would feel good. Remember that verse we covered earlier? We are created in Christ unto good works. The natural result of regeneration should be good works. The good works are a result of a proper relationship to God. Not having sin in your life is the method of keeping that relationship proper. 1 John 3:9
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
(see also 1 John 2:29; 5:4,18.)
Regeneration Is Eternal: We cannot loose anything based on regeneration. All is guaranteed. We are dealing with God and not some sleezy salesman. What He has said, He will do. We will live forever because of this work of regeneration, which He has done. 1 Peter 1:23
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”
Regeneration Is Not Reformation: It is more than turning over a new leaf. You could, from some point onward, without sin and yet know nothing of regeneration. There are many lost people in this world that live good lives, yet are still lost.
Regeneration Is Not Confirmation: Only God can bring about regeneration. Nothing that man can devise will do the trick. Man has been trying to come up with some method for centuries, but always fails in his attempts.
Regeneration Is Not Water Baptism: Baptism is a memorial and ordinance for the one that has already undergone regeneration. However, be forewarned, some believe this. Some believe that baptism is how a person is regenerated.
“Regeneration by baptism, or baptismal regeneration, has been a widely prevalent error. This is due in part to an improper use of the term. A proselyte from heathenism to the Jewish religion was said to be ‘born again.’ A corresponding use of the term crept into the early Christian Church. Those who received baptism, the initiatory rite of church membership, were said to be regenerated; but this was probably without any intention of denying the deeper work of the Holy Spirit. It was only a loose and improper way of indicating the change in a man’s external relationship. And it is proper to say that some of the advocates of the baptismal regeneration in the Church of England still use the term in this sense, and make a distinction between regeneration as effected by baptism and the great work of spiritual renewal. But the error has its broader basis in an unscriptural idea of the character and efficiency of the sacraments. And thus it is held not only by Roman Catholics, but also by many Lutherans and many in the church of England.” (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. p 916)
Let’s consider baptismal regeneration for a moment. Titus 3:4-7,
“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
What in this verse equates “regeneration” with “born again?” Nothing. Matthew 19:28 seems to be the transformation of the earth in preparation for the kingdom. What in that verse equates “regeneration” with “born again?” Nothing.
Titus 3:5 speaks of washing (Cleansing) yet new birth has to do with getting rid of old and installation of new. The two facts don’t compute. This washing is not to be construed to be baptism, for it is not.
If “regeneration” truly is “rebirth” or “born again,” how do we get from baptism to regeneration? Washing is the Greek word “loutron” which has the idea of a bath or a laver. It is used in the Septuagint in Song of Solomon 4:2 and 6:6. This passage speaks of the washing of sheep. (Ephesians 5:26 and Titus 3:5 are the only New Testament usages.) Washing gives the impression of “dirty in” and “clean out.” Otherwise, why wash something. This would seem to be the root of the meaning of the word.
The washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit seem to be two different things. Most commentaries seem to follow similar thinking. It seems that the washing of regeneration might be the cleaning out of our past sins, while the renewing of the Holy Spirit is the removal of the Adamic nature. They are both an integrated part of the whole — salvation.
Rebirth seems to be that shift from lostness to savedness; that shift from dead to alive. It is an integrated part of salvation. Without it there is no real salvation, yet it is linked to the renewing of the Holy Spirit as well. Regeneration may refer to salvation as long as you view the work of the Holy Spirit as well.
Regeneration Is Not Church Membership Nor The Lord’s Table: Church membership and the Lord’s table are never linked to regeneration itself, though a church member should be regenerated. Someone partaking of the Lord’s table should also be regenerated, however becoming a member, or partaking of the table can never bring regeneration.
Regeneration Is Not Justification: “It is to be distinguished from justification, because justification is a change in our relationship to God, while regeneration is a change in our moral and spiritual nature.” (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. p 916)
Regeneration Is Not Sanctification: “Regeneration is also to be distinguished from sanctification, inasmuch as the latter is the work of God in developing the new life and bringing it to perfection, while the former is the beginning of that life.” [not sure I agree with his definition of sanctification but do agree that they are different.] (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. p 916)
Regeneration Is Required: John 3:7 simply states the facts. “Ye must be born again.”
Cambron lists three areas which show the need of regeneration. The depravity of man (John 3:6); The universality of man (Romans 3:23); and the holiness of God (1 Peter 1:16)
Regeneration Is A Divine Gift: John 1:12, 13
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name; Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Regeneration comes as an integrated part of the salvation experience. We cannot continue toward eternity without it, nor can we step backward into our past life without it. Once regenerated, there is no return to the lost life of Adam. We may step into a walk that resembles our old walk, but we can never become unregenerated again.
THE WALL OF SALVATION
“Now I saw in my dream, that the highway, up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called salvation. Up this way, therefore did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back. He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulcher. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.” John Bunyan (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis; “Treasury Of The Christian Faith”; New York: Association Press, 1949, p 613)
We need to define the term propitiation which we have all heard so many times before. Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary states that propitiate means “…..to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of.” (By permission. From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam-Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)
Pardington states, “literally signifying an appeasing, a placation, an expiation. Propitiation comes from the Latin and means that which renders one propitious or favorably disposed towards another.” (Pardington, Revelation George P. Ph.D.; “Outline Studies In Christian Doctrine”; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 254)
Kaufman states, “Theological term for the appeasement of the wrath of God through sacrifice, prayer, or in some other way. According to the New Testament, guilt is removed and broken relationships with god restored only by the sacrifice of christ, received in faith and obedience.
God has set forth Christ “to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past” (Romans 4:25).” (Kauffman, Donald T.; “The Dictionary Of Religious Terms”; Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1967)
From this we can conclude that Christ propitiated God on our behalf. In other words he regained God’s favor for mankind. We were, so to speak, on His bad side, and Christ got us onto His good side. That is very simplistic, yet true.
In Adam, all of mankind fell into sin, into damnation, and into eternal death, yet Christ corrected all those problems, through His work on the cross. We can, if saved, stand before God as Adam stood before the fall. Christ made ALL things right between man and God.
There are three Greek words translated propitiation in the New Testament (All usages are listed).
1. “hilasmos” This term is seen in two passages where it depicts what Christ did for mankind. 1 John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 4:10,
“Herein is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Two things we need to notice. First of all, the propitiation was for our sins, and the work was done by Christ. Secondly, it was propitiation for the “. . .sins of the whole world.” Just how the limited atonement people get around that clear statement of Scripture would be an interesting study in foot work.
2. “hilasterion” Unger mentions this passage and term as relating to the place of propitiation, however the context would indicate more specifically the person of propitiation, Jesus Christ. Romans 3:24-25,
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
Does this mean that propitiation is based on repentance as well as forgiveness? The two certainly seem to be tied to faith. It would seem in light of all we know that propitiation was for all people both lost and saved, yet there seems to be a need of faith for one to receive the benefit of this propitiation.
The term is used of an interesting place in Hebrews 9:5,
“And over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat [this is the term]; of which we cannot now speak particularly.”
The dwelling place of God in the Wilderness was named propitiation. The spot where the blood of animals was sprinkled (Leviticus 16:15), is used to signify what the New Testament calls propitiation.
Hebrews tells us that Christ offered His own blood in the heavenly tabernacle as an everlasting propitiation for sin. It is faith in that blood that saves man.
3. “hilaskomai” is our third term. It refers to the act of God toward man Which is propitious. Luke 18:13
“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
(“merciful” is the term in view. The translation should be propitiation.)
“Wherefore, in all things it behooved him to be made like his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
(“reconciliation” is the term that we are looking for.) The term reconciliation should appear as propitiation. The interlinear translates it this way.
Vine mentions of this term, “. . .was used amongst the Greeks with the significance to make the gods propitious, to appease, propitiate, inasmuch as their good will was not conceived as their natural attitude, but something to be earned first.” He also mentions that the term is never used in a way that would suggest that man is able to propitiate our God. (Vine, W. E.; “An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words”; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., p 895) This Seems To Be A Good Thought.
Cambron relates the word to the term “satisfaction.” “The law demanded death for sin; therefore, the blood of the sacrifice was placed on the mercy seat (Exodus 25:22; Leviticus 16:13,14), showing that death had taken place. God looked upon the mercy seat and saw blood — life — and was satisfied. Since calvary, God looks upon our Mercy Seat, which is Christ, and is satisfied. Therefore, the underlying thought of propitiation is “satisfaction.” (Cambron, Mark G. D.D.; “Bible Doctrines”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954, p 97)
I question his comment, that Christ is the mercy seat. His shed blood is on the heavenly mercy seat in my estimation, rather than Christ being the mercy seat Himself.
Propitiation is for all mankind, both lost and saved. 1 John 2:2
“And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Propitiation is not automatic for the lost person. It seems to be linked to the faith of one coming to the Lord. Romans 3:25
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
The provision is made yet this verse seems to indicate the application or benefit is based on faith.
Propitiation is not something that we need to ask God for, nor is it something that we have to request Him to be. Unger states, “In this present age since the death of Christ God does not have to be asked to be propitious, because He has become so, through the death of Christ.” (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission.)
Propitiation is the “Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “kapporeth,” or mercy seat, the lid of the ark of the covenant.” (Pardington p 255) The meaning of that close link should drive some young theologians into a detailed study.
Propitiation must be God’s idea if it came through the cross, for man could not have devised that plan. Man’s plans are evident the world over, and none even come close to the cross, nor God dieing on it.
Propitiation is not salvation. “It rather secures the possibility of salvation.” (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; “Systematic Theology”; Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, Vol. 5) It places man in a proper attitude or position before God, whereby the possibility of salvation exists.
There probably is a need for further study as to the specifics of this doctrine. Since faith is involved, I assume that propitiation is a precursor to salvation — something which Christ did make available to me. Since propitiation is for the whole world, I assume that it is available to all, but must be received by faith. Though it is not salvation, nor an integrated part of the salvation process, it is necessary for the salvation process to begin.
Propitiation is NOT Jesus Christ Himself as Chafer mentions in Vol. VII p
259. “…His body at Golgotha, becomes the Mercy Seat in reality.” If this were really true then why did He bother to offer His blood upon the heavenly mercy seat as is indicated in Hebrews 9: 22,23? True it is not stated yet the Old Testament priest did this and the context is contrasting the old and the new. Vs 23.”It was, therefore, necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”
Propitiation is not reconciliation. Propitiation would be a step toward that reconciliation between God and man. Propitiation makes it possible for the reconciliation to occur.
Propitiation does not bring forgiveness as some set forth. Thiessen states when he quotes from Hodge, “By the suffering of the sinner’s atoning substitute, the divine wrath at sin is propitiated, and as a consequence of this propitiation the punishment due to sin is released, or not inflicted upon the transgressor. This release or noninfliction of penalty is “forgiveness,” in the Biblical representation.” (Thiessen quoting Hodge: Thiessen, Henry C.; “Lectures In Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, p 326) Propitiation opens the door of possibility to forgiveness, though the two are not one. Propitiation is something that is provided by an act of Christ, and recognized by the Father, while forgiveness is something that is given by God and enjoyed by the believer.
1. Here we have another fact that drives home the truth that there is nothing that man can do for his own salvation, except believe and accept that which God has provided for us, even before we needed it. Does not Romans 5:8 relate to this thought? “But God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ provided the act that made propitiation, The Father is satisfied, and the Spirit draws the lost person to realization of all of these truths relevant to salvation.
HE did it all, not my plan, or your plan or someone else’s plan.
As in previous studies we want to define the term. Redemption according to Shedd is as follows: “God’s mercy ransoms man from God’s justice.” (Shedd Vol. II, p 398) I think that I like this definition, but I would add just a little more to it. I like it because it centers itself around God rather than man. Man had the need, yet all of redemption is actually of God.
God planned the program, God provided the program, God will consummate the program, and God will apply the program.
Might we amend Shedd’s definition slightly by mentioning the provider of the ransom? God’s mercy, through Jesus Christ, ransoms man from God’s justice.
Chafer’s definition is good, but contains a need for logic, rather than literary licence. “The death of Christ is said to be a redemption or ransom paid to the holy demands of God for the sinner and to free the sinner from just condemnation.” (Reprinted by permission: Chafer, Lewis Sperry/Revised by Walvoord, John F.; “Major Bible Themes”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974, p 61)
This definition seems to be true, except that ransom cannot be paid to demands. A demand cannot receive payment. Only a being with intelligence accepts things. The thought that Christ paid a ransom to satisfy God is correct.
It is of interest that both these men use the term ransom. I am not sure that the English word ransom, is the real meaning of the term in the Bible, nor is it the real meaning of the doctrine of redemption. The term purchase is more to the point of redemption. It is the payment of a price for something. Ransom has the idea that someone has been kidnaped. We have not been kidnaped, we are in sin, and sin always carries a price. Christ paid that price for all who will receive His payment.
So, to put it simply, redemption is the purchase of a soul by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of calvary.
Let us look at the terms used in Scripture.
OLD TESTAMENT TERMS
The first word we want to look at is the Hebrew word “g’l,” which means according to Ryrie, a “family obligation related to payment of a price.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986,)
Ryrie says of the term “pdh” a “. . .payment of a price as in a commercial transaction without any obligation arising from kinship. . . .” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986)
A third Hebrew word is used which is “kopher,” which means a “sum paid to redeem a forfeited life…” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986)
“All these words consistently signify deliverance by payment of a price. The circumstances may vary from redeeming a prisoner of war, or a slave, or a pawned article, or the nation Israel, but always because of the payment of a price.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 290)
NEW TESTAMENT TERMS
“agorazo” is a term that originally related to going to the forum, but later, became a word that indicated buying or purchasing in the forum. The same term is used by the Septuagint translators of commercial purchases. Some references that might be good sermon material for the topic are: 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 5:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 7:22-23. These verses should give a definite definition to the term slave in relation to the believer.
There are other terms used that are related to “agorazo.” I will just list these with comments from other authors. (“exagorazo”/”compound simply adds the idea of purchasing out of the forum.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986); “a strengthened form of “agorazo”, to buy… denotes to buy our…especially of purchasing a slave with a view to his freedom.” Vine, W. E.; “An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words”; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.)
We see in Acts 20:28 the purchase of believers via the blood of Christ. It also pictures the importance of caring for those believers. Christ paid a terrible price to purchase them, and now He has placed them in the hands of His shepherds. Any pastor reading this passage ought to gain just a hint of his responsibility before God. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
There is another aspect to this passage. The indications are that the purchase of Christ was not only for the buying of souls, but it is also related to the church, or His Body.
Ryrie correctly and concisely, summarizes the doctrine around three points.
“(1) People are redeemed FROM something; namely, from the marketplace or slavery of sin.
(2) People are redeemed BY something; namely by the payment of a price, the blood of Christ.
(3) People are redeemed TO something; namely, to a state of freedom; and then they are called to renounce that freedom for slavery to the Lord who redeemed them.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 292)
Unger in his Bible Dictionary mentions that the freedom of redemption implies a former bondage. He goes on to relate this bondage to our position in sin, our servitude to Satan, and our bondage to spiritual death. It seems that we were not in too good a position until Christ came along.
Indeed, Unger’s observations should bring us to a real sense of what Christ did when He died on the cross. He didn’t just save us, He saved us from sins dominion, from Satan’s dominion, and death’s dominion. In response to this we live our lives as if we were still under sin’s dominion, Satan’s dominion, and death’s dominion. We ought to live our lives as if we knew from which we came.
Some indicate that the ransom or payment was to free us from Satan’s ownership. This is not true. We were under his control and bondage, yet he did not have ownership. The sinner ends up in the same place as Satan in the end, but not because Satan has any claims on the lost. Both are committed to the Lake of Fire by the justice of God for their disobedience.
Redemption is both universal and limited. It was provided for all of mankind, yet man must accept the work of Christ for it to be of value, or benefit to the individual.
Redemption involves the soul and spirit. Psalm 49:15 “But God will redeem my soul from the power of sheol; for he shall receive me.” (note the soul only is mentioned however the soul and spirit always go together.) All of spiritual man is provided for, both soul and spirit.
Redemption also involves the body. Romans 8:23 “…waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body.” The body will see its final redemption when it is glorified and united with our soul and spirit (unless we are fortunate enough to be taken in the rapture, in which case body, soul, and spirit will be finally and completely redeemed at one moment).
Redemption Is Deliverance From The Curse Of The Law: Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” We are freed by the work of the cross, yet the proper response to that freedom is not to live in sin.
Redemption Is Deliverance From The Bondage Of The Law: Galatians 4:5,
“To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
We not required to keep the law for salvation, but we are expected to keep the principles of the law as rule and practice for our lives.
Redemption Is Deliverance From Iniquity: Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity” Now, notice that verse. It relates to what we have said about our nature and our sin life. He redeemed “us from ALL iniquity” which, if we hold to plain literal interpretation says we do not have to sin, we do not struggle to keep from sin, we only need to submit to the Spirit rather than self.
Redemption Is Deliverance From Enemies: Psalm 136:24 “hath redeemed us from our enemies.” We may have enemies, we may struggle with enemies, but we will not fall to enemies. God will care for all our enemies, big and small.
Redemption Is Deliverance From Destruction: Psalm 103:4 “whom redeemeth thy life from destruction” Isn’t that what salvation is all about? We were on our way to physical destruction as well as spiritual destruction. Christ intervened and corrected all that.
Redemption Is Deliverance From Death: Hosea 13:14,
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”
It is not that we will not go through the death process, but we will not suffer from the effects of the grave, or of death. This is also seen in the following point.
Redemption Is Deliverance From The Power Of The Grave: Psalm
“But God will redeem my soul from
the power of the grave for he shall receive me. Selah.”
The promise of bypassing the power of the grave is linked to another promise, “he shall receive me.” The account of the beggar in Luke 16:22 comes to mind, where it mentions that the angels came to carry him away. The thought of going through death will be relieved if we realize the truth presented in these two texts.
Redemption Is Deliverance From Vain Living: 1 Peter 1:18,
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;”
Redemption Is Deliverance From This Present World: Galatians 1:4 “who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age” Another glorious promise. We will not have to continue in this life and in this world forever; there is a life and world yet future that is far better.
Redemption Is Deliverance From The Power Of Sin: Romans 6:18-22,
“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”
Again, I would draw your attention to the thought of why we sin. Is it because we loose the struggle with the old nature, or is it because we mentally take control of our lives to serve self? This passage seems to indicate the later. Notice the terminology, free from sin, servants of righteousness, yield to righteousness, servants to God.
Redemption Is Accomplished By: God’s power: Deuteronomy 7:8; Isaiah 44:21; Isaiah 43:1; Luke 1:68. Christ’s blood: Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12. God’s grace: Romans 3:24,25. Do you get the feeling that redemption is centered in God. I think that this is truly a valid observation.
There are many benefits that come with redemption. We will mention a few of these benefits. Since these verses are so self explanatory, I will just list the benefit and the verse.
BENEFITS OF REDEMPTION
We Gain Forgiveness: Colossians 1:14,
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins”
We Gain Justification: Romans 3:24,
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
We Gain Adoption: Galatians 4:4,5,
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
(Note the fulness of time. The time was set before the foundation of the world.)
We Become God’s Possession: 1 Corinthians 6:20,
“For ye are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
(Our body and spirit are His — ours for the using only.)
We Become God’s People: Titus 2:14,
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
We Gain Purification: (Above)
We Gain Sealing: Ephesians 4:30,
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
We Gain An Inheritance: Hebrews 9:15,
“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
The book of Ruth is a very good illustration of the idea of redemption. It is quite fitting for it concerns one of the couples in the line of Messiah.
We have already seen that “salvation” isn’t as simple as it seems. Salvation is simple in its reception, but very complicated in its application. Many things are involved in God saving an individual.
Each of these items are very precious to study in and of themselves. Don’t allow yourself to stop with this surface study. Take time to do further study and give much thought to these things. God can use it in your spiritual life.
Definition: Thayer as quoted in Pardington states, “The word is used in the New Testament…of the restoration of the favor of God to sinners that repent and put their trust into the expiatory death of Christ” (Pardington, Revelation George P. Ph.D.; “Outline Studies In Christian Doctrine”; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 254)
“Reconciliation is the restoration to friendship and fellowship after estrangement. Old Testament reconciliation contains the idea of an atonement or covering for sin” (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission.)
RECONCILIATION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
“And he slew [it]; and Moses took the blood, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.” (Leviticus 8:15)
“And the priests killed them, and they made reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel: for the king commanded [that] the burnt offering and the sin offering [should be made] for all Israel.” (2 Chronicles 29:24)
“And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD. All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. And it shall be the prince’s part [to give] burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.” (Ezekiel 45:15-17)
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)
These are the references where the term reconciliation appears in the Old Testament. Let us gather some facts from these verses.
1. There was shedding of blood in preparation for reconciliation. The blood was a means by which the alter was purified, so that sacrifices could be offered for reconciliation. (Leviticus 8:15)
2. There was a shedding of blood to make reconciliation for the nation of Israel. (2 Chronicles 29:24)
3. There will be offerings of animals in the Millennial Kingdom for the people of Israel. It is not known just why these offerings will be given.
The Lord will be in their presence and Israel will have turned to Him nationally. Whether they will be under the sacrificial system literally or for a memorial, we are not told. (Ezekiel 45:15-17)
It is of note that the offerings for reconciliation were commanded by God, not devised by man. Again, we see that the different items of salvation are God’s idea.
4. In this passage as well as the others, reconciliation is linked to the sin of the people. The sin was separating the people from God. (Daniel 9:24)
The question that might come to mind is this. Is reconciliation a prerequisite for salvation? We always tie reconciliation directly to salvation, but should we.
It would seem that these verses show reconciliation to be the restoration of fellowship between Israel and God. Salvation is not mentioned in these texts. It seems, at least in the Old Testament, that reconciliation may be that action which brings the believer back into fellowship with God.
It seems that Leviticus 16:20 might back up this idea. It mentions a reconciling of places rather than people. It seems that the term has the idea of correcting a relationship. In the case of the holy place, it was correcting from impure to pure.
Now let us move on to the New Testament.
RECONCILIATION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WORDS USED
I will list the words and the passages where they appear. Comments will
be made as needed. (All usages of the words are listed.)
“katallasso” (Strong’s 2644) “properly denotes to change, exchange (especially of money); hence, of persons, to change from enmity to friendship, to reconcile.” (Vine, W. E.; “An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words”; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.)
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
It seems that we may have been reconciled even before we were saved. It seems that the term relates to that action of Christ which made it possible for God and man to have fellowship. It is a changing in the relationship.
1 Corinthians 7:11
“But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband and let not the husband put away [his] wife.”
Though this passage is speaking of marriage and separation, it depicts the action by which the wife can be brought back into a proper marriage relationship with her husband. The term reconciliation again seems to mean the action of repairing a relationship.
2 Corinthians 5:18
“And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”
Here we see that it was God’s idea to reconcile us to Himself. It is also shown here that it is our responsibility to share the Gospel so that others might also be reconciled to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 adds to this thought.
“apokatallasso” (Strong’s 604) “to reconcile completely…to change from one condition to another, so as to remove all enmity and leave no impediment to unity and peace” (Vine)
“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby”
This passage indicates that there was enmity between God and man, but that the enmity was done away with by the cross. Again, it would seem that Christ’s work repaired a relationship, but it does not indicate that this is indeed, salvation. Salvation was made a possibility because man was reconciled with God through the cross.
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.”
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled”
“diallasso” (Strong’s 1259) “to effect an alteration, to exchange, and hence, to reconcile, in cases of mutual hostility yielding to mutual concession” (Vine)
“Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
This shows the repairing of a relationship as has been mentioned before.
“katallage” (Strong’s 2643) “primarily an exchange, denotes reconciliation, a change on the part of one party, induced by an action on the part of another” Vine.
“And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
The word we are looking for in this text is atonement. It is normally translated reconciliation.
“For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead?”
This pictures the world reconciled. It seems that reconciliation was provided for all of mankind, through the cross of Christ. Christ’s action repaired the relationship between God and man. All has been done by Christ, so that man can come to God. If man refuses, then this results in his eternal position in the Lake of Fire.
2 Corinthians 5:18, 19
“And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
“hilaskomai” (Strong’s 2433) It is translated merciful in Luke 18:13 and reconciliation in Hebrews 2:17. (This term is related to the Greek term translated propitiation. Romans 3:25; Hebrews 8:12)
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
Let us recap what we have learned from these passages.
1. We were enemies when we were reconciled. Romans 5:10; 11:15; Ephesians 1:21
2. We were reconciled to God. Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 2:16. This reconciliation was a restoration of man to God, not the other way around.
3. We were reconciled by Jesus Christ. Romans 5:10; 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 — by His death Romans 5:10 — by His blood Colossians 1:20.
4. We went away from God by our own will, and now Christ makes it possible for us to return. Though this verse deals with marriage it gives the essence of the term. That is one that has gone away of her own will is to return. 1 Corinthians 7:11
5. We are ministers and ambassadors of reconciliation to the world. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
6. The world is in view when God was reconciling. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
7. We are to beseech the lost to be reconciled to God. (We do this in Christ’s stead.) 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
8. God has Committed the job of reconciliation to the saved. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
9. We are reconciled With the Jews, unto God. Ephesians 2:16
10. There is more to reconciliation than man alone. Colossians 1:20,
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself — by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
The earth and heaven are under duress in some manner due to the fall of man. The ground only was cursed in Genesis three, however this verse would indicate that the whole of creation is in the backwash of man’s sin and fall.
All things have been reconciled unto Christ. The completion of this is yet to come, but the provision has been made for all things to be reconciled unto him. In the creature realm it is limited to those that can, and do choose to respond to that reconciliation. (The angels can’t, but man can, if he desires.)
11. Reconciliation should cause joy in our lives. Romans 5:11,
“And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Thiessen relates the terms propitiation and reconciliation thusly: “The two ideas seem to be related to each other as cause and effect: Christ’s death ‘propitiated’ God, and as a result he is ‘reconciled’“ (Thiessen, Henry C.; “Lectures In Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, p 327)
He relates an apt illustration. “At first God and man stood face to face with each other. In sinning, Adam turned his back upon God. Then God turned His back upon Adam. [due to His justice demanding He turn away from sin.] Christ’s death has satisfied the demands of God and now God has again turned His face toward man. It remains for man to turn round about and face God. Since God has been reconciled by the death of His Son, man is now entreated to be reconciled to God.” (Thiessen, p 327-328)
Have you really thought about all that we have been studying to this point? Have we really gotten hold of the truths that we have been studying? 2 Corinthians 5: 18-19 states
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, [This almost sounds like God has not been keeping track of sins since the cross. This would be a good study sometime.] and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
“GOD WAS IN CHRIST RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF”
If We Believe That Christ died for all sin — the sin of the world — IF We Believe That Christ propitiated God for the whole world-If We Believe That Christ reconciled the whole world — If We Believe That Christ did all there was to do to bring the sinner to a point that all he had to do was to reject or accept Christ’s sacrifice for his sin — Then — We have the sinner at what position before God? Think about it. What position is the lost person in today, before almighty God?
Is He Not At The Point Of Adam In The Garden In Essence — True He Is In A Dreadful State Of Sin And All Its Ramifications But Isn’t He At The Same Deciding Point That Adam Was?
“Do I Want To Obey God, Or Do I Want To Do My Own Thing? In reality I believe that is just were lost mankind is today, and has been since the cross.
Thus, one that argues against the total depravity of man being based on the sin of Adam — he argues a mute question. It really doesn’t matter in the context of salvation.
The Word Of God States That Christ Has Paid The Price, And That You Must Receive His Work, Or Spend Eternity In The Lake Of Fire.
You Will Accept That Imperative Or Reject It. In So Doing You Accept Or Reject God’s Injunction To Adam To Obey God.
The application of this thinking is to the fact that we are all like Adam — we all chose to sin. Thus at the point of decision which God has so graciously brought us through His Son, we will as Adam — reject God’s injunction to obey. Thus, We Have The Total Depravity Of Man Proven As Well As The Election And Drawing Of The Holy Spirit Of The Elect To God.
He Did His Part. “That man is an utterly lost sinner who could never find his own way back to God, is a very unpalatable truth for the average natural man or woman. We all like to think that there is something we can do to help save ourselves, whereas, according to God’s Word we are not only lost, but without ability to retrieve our condition. It is remarkable how apt the colored folks are in quick illustrations of spiritual realities, as the following instance will show.
“A recent convert, a colored man, rose in a meeting to give his testimony to the saving grace of God. He told how the Lord had won his hear and given deliverance from the guilt and power of sin. He spoke of Christ and His work, but said nothing of any efforts of his own.
“The leader of the meeting was of a legalistic turn of mind, and when the negro’s testimony was ended, he said, ‘Our brother has only told us of the Lord’s part in his salvation. When I was converted there was a whole lot I had to do myself before I could expect the Lord to do anything for me. Brother, didn’t you do your part first before God did His?’ The other was on his feet again in an instant and replied: ‘Yes, sah, Ah clear done forgot. Ah didn’t tell you ‘bout my pard, did I? Well, Ah did my part for over thirty years, runnin’ away from God as fast as evah my sins could carry me. That was my part. An’ God took aftah me till He run me down. That was His part.’ It was well put and tells the story that every redeemed sinner understands.” (Ironside/”Illustrations Of Bible Truths”)
Let us close with a summation of the doctrine by Unger. “By this change lost humanity is rendered savable. As a result of the changed position of the world through the death of Christ the divine attitude toward the human family can no longer be the same. God is enabled to deal with lost souls in the light of what Christ has accomplished. (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission.)
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Thiessen suggests: “we may define sanctification as a separation to God, an imputation of Christ as our holiness, purification from moral evil, and conformation to the image of Christ. This statement needs further elaboration.” He takes over a page to do so. (Thiessen, Henry C.; “Lectures In Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949)
The terms for holiness and sanctification in the New Testament are very similar. The terms translated sanctify and sanctification are of the same family as terms translated holy.
The Greek term translated sanctify, sanctified and sanctifieth is Strong’s number 37. This is the word “hagiazo.” It is translated holy in Revelation 22:1 (speaking of holy living), and hallowed in the Lord’s prayer (hallowed by thy name, Mat 6:9; Luke 11:2).
A related term (Strong’s 38) is the term translated sanctification. It is “hagiasmos.” It is also translated holiness at times. (Romans 6:19; Romans 6:22) The word seems to relate to something being set apart.
Another related term is “hagion” which is translated “sanctuary” or “holy place.” It is only used in the book of Hebrews. All of the related terms refer to holiness or sanctification.
We Got It. We Get It. We’ll Get It. Sanctification is both an event and a process.
We are set apart for the Lord’s purposes. He should direct us into that which He desires for us. This is dependent upon our willingness to follow.
We need to mention two terms which have been covered in detail elsewhere. Standing and state relate to this study. Standing is that which we have in Christ before God. These are things which we have automatically when we are converted. Our state is the way we are living. We can live in a sinful state, or we can live in a state of relative holiness. So, standing is what we are before God and state is what we are living like before God.
As an event sanctification is an event of standing, something which happens at the moment of salvation. Believers are sanctified no mater what their state is. You can be submerged in sin (state), yet you are sanctified in God’s eyes (standing). We are set apart whether we act like it or not. If we are living for God, then we are sanctified in both our standing and state.
1 Corinthians 1:2 mentions,
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”
This pictures the sanctification before God. It is something that is a done deal.
Sanctification as a process is the process by which we make ourselves, with God’s help, sanctified. Colossians 3:4-13 mentions things that we as believer are to do. Take a moment to read this passage.
In this passage we are encouraged to “Mortify” our members. Verse 8 tells us to put off the works of our former life. Verses 10-12 tell us to put on the new man — the works of the sanctified person, as opposed to the works of the lost life.
We are sanctified in God’s eyes, yet this is not complete. We still have that state in which we sin. There is a day in the future, when we will reside in our glorified bodies when we will be finally and completely sanctified for all of eternity. God will see to this event for all that have accepted His Son’s work on the cross.
Let me list some references and comments which will cover the sanctification of the believer.
IT IS AN EVENT
God Sanctified Us: Jude 1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
Christ Provided For It: Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 2:11; Hebrews 13:12. With his blood (Hebrews 13:12) and His body (Hebrews 10:10). Righteousness and redemption are also linked to sanctification, in relation to Christ’s provision. 1 Corinthians 1:30.
The Holy Spirit Enacted IT: Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Peter
IT IS A PROCESS
God Desires Sanctification: Sanctification is God’s will. 1 Thessalonians 4:3
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication;”
It should be our desire as well. We need to see to it that our mental faculties bring about decisions which keep us in a state of sanctification. (In our state. We have nothing to do with our standing sanctification. It is complete and set by God.)
We Are To Set God Apart In Our Lives: The Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9) uses the term of God’s name. “Hallowed be thy name” This relates to using the Lord’s
name improperly. His name should be something that we set apart for only Him.
He should be uppermost in our lives. 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” He should rule our lives. This is our decision. Either we allow him to or we rule ourselves.
We Are To Set Ourselves Apart For God: 2 Timothy 2:21
“If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and fit for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”
That seems to be self explanatory.
We Can Set Objects Apart For God’s Use: This was done in the Old Testament. 2 Chronicles 29:17 “So they sanctified the house of the Lord” This might relate to building dedications. As long as the service is centered on God, and the buildings use for Him, it would be quite appropriate to dedicate a building. (Or possibly an airplane for missionary service, etc.)
Sanctification for food is mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:4,5
“For every creature of god is good, and nothing is to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
A question might have come to your mind. Just how does sanctification relate to salvation. We have seen that it is something which takes place at salvation. We have seen that it is a provision of God through Christ. We have also seen that it has other aspects, but how does it relate to salvation? Let us consider this for a moment.
1. We, at salvation, are set apart for God, or should we maybe say unto Christ. John 6:39-40
“And this is the Father’s will who hath sent me, that of all that he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
This text seems to show two things. First, God has given the believer to Christ, and secondly, He will take care of those given Him unto eternity.
2. Romans 8:28 and following indicate that there was a setting apart in eternity past. It is related to the predestination of some unto salvation. 1 Peter 1:2 also relates to this train of thought.
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:”
3. We are a peculiar people. Ephesians 1:14
“Who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory.”
(“purchased possession” is the same term translated a peculiar people in 1 Peter 2:9)
Notice here that we have redemption tied to possession. Christ bought us to be a possession. The term redemption has the idea of “buy out of the market.” This idea of sanctification seems to be the setting apart of the believer after the price has been paid. The taking home of the product, or the servant if you will.
Ephesians 1:4 may well be the clincher to this thinking.
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of
the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him, in love.”
Chosen to stand before him without blame.
Another passage which ties in well with this is 1 Peter 1:20,
“Who [Christ] verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,”
Christ was foreordained to die for those that were predestinated to be His peculiar people or His possession. He purchased us (redemption).
Sanctification is an event which takes place at salvation. It is also a process as we attempt to maintain holy lives. We are set apart in standing before God, but we are to be set apart in our state as we live before Him.
“Once there lived another man within me, Child of earth and slave of Satan he; But I nailed him to the cross of Jesus, And that man is nothing now to me.
Now Another Man is living in me, And I count His blessed life as mine;
I have died with Him to all my own life; I have ris’n to all His life divine.”
Rev. A. B. Simpson.
We are to be holy people, or set apart for His purposes. 1 Peter 1:16 “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am Holy.” A simple instruction. God is Holy and that is the example that we are to follow.
We must make the decision as to how we live this life that we have been given.
ON DIFFERENT TRACKS
“An eminent Eastern divine was riding, some years ago, on one of two railways which ran side by side for a mile or two, and then diverged, ending at points far distant from each other. Sitting with him was a clergyman of ‘liberal’ views, who had what he supposed to be an unanswerable question to ask.
“‘You orthodox have among you regenerate souls, as you call them, who are proud, and penurious, and uncomfortable to others, as husbands, fathers, and friends. Then, too, you have unregenerate sinners who are amiable and genial, public spirited, and, in short, make for the present, at least, a better show than the saints. Now, I want to know the real difference between the worst Christian and the best sinner.’
“Just then, his friend, looking out the car window, saw another train moving by their side, and said, ‘You see that other train?’
“‘With the same number of cars as ours?’ “‘Yes.’
“‘And the two engines are alike?’ “‘ Yes.’
“‘Not much difference as to looks between them?’ “‘No.’
“‘But, my dear friend, they are running on different tracks.’“
Lorenz, (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis; “Treasury Of The Christian Faith”; New York: Association Press, 1949)
Many years ago I picked up a quote from somewhere, I know not where. It is great for our thoughts so I would like to share it. “Sow a Thought, and you reap an Act. Sow an Act, and you reap a Habit. Sow a Habit, and you reap a Character. Sow a Character, and you reap a Destiny.”
So it is with the life of holiness. A thought moves to being an act, which if repeated becomes a habit, which becomes part of your character, and that becomes part of your destiny. You will become a holy person.
“Justification may be defined as that judicial act of God by which, on account of Christ, to whom the sinner is united by faith, He declares that sinner to be no longer exposed to the penalty of the law but restored to divine favor.” (Pardington, Revelation George P. Ph.D.; Outline Studies In Christian Doctrine; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, pp 316- 317)
Pardington continues in a note, “In the New Testament, the word “justify” means not to make righteous, but to declare righteous. And justification is the state of one who is thus declared righteous”
Let’s look at the terms used in the New Testament.
“dikaiosis” “denote the act of pronouncing righteous, justification, acquittal; its precise meaning is determined by that of the verb “dikaioo”, to justify” (Vine, W. E.; An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.) Romans 4:25 “Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Scofield mentions “for” in both cases can be translated “on account of.”) Romans 5:18 “…by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
“dikaioma” “has three distinct meanings, and seems best described comprehensively as “a concrete expression of righteousness;” it is a declaration that a person or thing is righteous, and hence, broadly speaking, it represents the expression and effect of “dikaiosis”” (Vine) This word is translated ordinances, judgment, righteousness and justification.
“dikaioo” “primarily, to deem to be right” (Vine)
These terms are very closely related to the terms translated righteousness.
Now that we have seen the terms, we need to draw some conclusions from their usage in the Scriptures.
Justification Is Dependent On The Resurrection: Romans 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” It would seem that the resurrection was a prerequisite for our justification. This would relate to the fact that if there were no resurrection, Christ could not enter the heavenly tabernacle to offer His blood. Without the offering of His blood there could be no justification.
Justification Is A Free Gift From Christ: Romans 5:18,
“Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.”
Christ provided, in His death, the justification of all that come to Him for salvation.
Justification Is Dependant On Belief: Acts 13:39,
“And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
(See also, Romans 3:26)
Justification Is Not Based On Works: Romans 3:20,
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.”
(See also Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16) There is nothing that we can do to secure justification. We cannot gain it by keeping the law, we cannot gain it by keeping a list of do’s and don’ts, and we can’t gain it by giving up material items.
We might just insert a brief commentary on the thought of legalism. Legalism in the Bible is the attempt to keep the law to gain salvation. There are those today that relate legalism to many other thoughts. Biblically, legalism is keeping the law for salvation.
Some charge that anyone that keeps a list of do’s and don’ts is a legalist. Not So. God keeps a list of do’s and don’ts in the Word, and He is not a legalist. Lists are not wrong. If a person is attempting to gain salvation by keeping those lists, then they are legalistic.
Don’t allow someone to condemn you because God has burdened your heart to not do something. It is between you and God, and it is not legalism. If your convictions are based on the Word, then you are responsible before God to follow them. Do it.
Justification Corrects The Problems Of The Flesh: Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16. The natural position of man is one which will result in the lake of fire. That position is changed by the work of justification. Justification corrects all that Adam brought upon mankind.
Justification Is Related To Redemption: We cannot be justified, until we are redeemed. Yes, the two occur in an instant, yet justification cannot occur until we are redeemed. Romans 3:24
Justification Comes Via The Grace Of God: Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus:” (Also Titus 3:7) We fell with Adam, and God was not responsible. He had no obligation to do anything, yet because He was gracious, He extended salvation as a remedy to our problem.
Justification Brings Sonship:
“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 37
Again, we see the sequence of the salvation event. We are justified, and then we have sonship available. Sonship then is dependent upon justification. This is only logical. God is not going to share His Son’s kingdom with children of Satan.
Justification Is By Faith: Justification cannot be worked for, bought, or stolen. It is dependent on the faith of the individual that comes to Christ for salvation. (Romans 3:28, 30; 5:1; Galatians 3:24)
Justification Is Provided By God:
“Seeing [it is] one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and Uncircumcision through faith.” Romans 330
(It comes by belief; Romans 4:5. It frees us from all charges; Romans 8:33.)
Justification Is Accomplished By Christ’s Blood:
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 59
His blood being offered in the heavenly tabernacle opened the way for justification to become a reality. With no blood, there would be no justification. We were fully dependent upon Christ and His provision.
Justification Is A Result Of Predestination:
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)
Again, we see the sequence aspect of salvation. In this text justification is preceded by our calling, and followed by glorification.
Justification Is Carried Out By The Holy Spirit:
“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
As in most of the great doctrines of salvation, God the Father enacted the program, God the Son made provision for the program, and God the Holy Spirit brings the program to pass in the individuals life.
Justification Is For All Peoples:
“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Galatians 3:8)
God provided salvation to all peoples in the beginning, but in Abraham narrowed His focus for a time. This is not to say that only Jews could be saved, but that the Jews were the messengers. In Abraham, all nations were to be blessed.
Justification Should Result In A Changed Walk: “the just shall live by faith.” Our walk should be based completely on faith in God. Our lives should be planned by faith, our years should be planned by faith, and our every minute should be planned by faith.
This is not a request, but a command. God expects us to live by faith, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. It has always interested me to notice that our Christian colleges and seminaries attempt to teach their students to live by faith. They expect their faculty to live by faith. Yet, the organization is somehow magically exempt from this concept. The School must survive, so the students Will have money for school before they arrive. Many students have been turned away at registration because they do not have a specific amount of money.
If the student is to walk by faith, and the faculty is to walk by faith, then how can they learn this concept if the institution is not operating by faith? Seems somewhat illogical to me.
I would like to list some quotations which will further define the thought of justification.
Chafer mentions, “Imputed righteousness is the ground of justification. According to the New Testament usage, the words “righteousness” and “justify” are from the same root. God declares the one justified forever whom He sees in Christ. It is an equitable decree since the justified one is clothed in the righteousness of God. Justification is not a fiction or a state of feeling; it is rather an immutable reckoning in the mind of God. Like imputed righteousness, justification is by faith (Romans 5:1), through grace (Titus 3:4-7), and made possible through the death and resurrection of Christ (Romans 3:24; 4:25). It is abiding and unchangeable since it rests only on the merit of the eternal son of God.
“Justification is more than forgiveness, since forgiveness is the cancellation of sin while justification is the imputing of righteousness. Forgiveness is negative (the removal of condemnation), while justification is positive (the bestowing of the merit and standing of Christ).” (Chafer, Lewis
Sperry/Revised by Walvoord, John F.; “Major Bible Themes”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974, p 200)
Chafer in his systematic theology: “Theologically considered, the term justification means to be declared righteous. It is true that, being in Christ, the believer is righteous; but justification is the divine acknowledgment and declaration that the one who is in Christ is righteous. That which God thus publishes He defends. Justification is immutable.” (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; “Systematic Theology”; Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, Vol. III, p 128)
The Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.”
The opposite of justification seems to be condemnation. We were condemned to the lake of fire, and now we are justified.
I would like to share some thoughts from Best Sermon Pictures by Lawson; Moody Press. They were quoting The Sunday School Times. “An instrument used for weighing gold in the assay office is balanced so delicately that, when two pieces of paper, of exactly the same size and weight, are placed on the balances, it still retains the same poise. But if a name be written on one of the papers, it will turn the scale. The name of Jesus on the heart turns the scale into peace and presence of God. It is the possession of His name thus written that spells “saved.” It is the lack of it that spells “lost.”
Justification has been defined as “just as if I had never sinned.” Indeed, it is more than that. It is as if I were Christ, in which there is no sin. I have the same standing before God that Christ has. Ponder that point for awhile.
SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
When I arrived at Bible college, I was very young in the Lord and had very little training in the Word. I had one misconception of the Christian life which lead me to doubt in other areas of life.
I felt that as the believer matured, it was similar to the mountain climber’s experience. As the believer goes through their maturing process, I felt that they had many problems, and trials which lead them to the maturity that they were seeking. As the mountain climber climbs, and works, and struggles up the mountain they are under heavy trials, but once they reach the summit, they can lay down and relax and enjoy the view. My feeling was that as the believer reaches maturity, the trials and problems disappeared, so that we can enjoy the Lord and His life for us.
This misconception lead me after a year or two of hard work, trials and many problems to wonder, whether I was really saved. I did not have the peace of knowing that I was eternally secure. Many are the quiet times and drives to work that were spent in wondering if I were really saved.
As my Bible training progressed, I was taught that we are maturing throughout this life, and there was no summit, where we have no more trials. I also learned that my salvation was not based on what I felt, nor on what I could do for God. I found that my Salvation was God’s idea, and that it’s ultimate completion in the next life was up to Him, not me.
I spent way to much time in spiritual turmoil, because of my lack of knowledge.
I trust that the study will bring you to the same knowledge. The knowledge that our salvation is not up to us, but it is up to God.
This doctrine may be hard to find in the theology books because of the diversity of terms by which it is called.
Some list it as “security,” some as “eternal security,” while some use the term “assurance” and yet others have used “perseverance”.
Briefly, we might put it this way. It is the place of salvation with in God’s realm of authority in which the believer stands forever. Since the position is “in” God, and “in” Christ there is nothing from without, which can harm the believer’s position, nor is there anything from within which would want to harm the believer’s position.
Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer quotes, and agrees with the Westminister Confession of Faith. “They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to
the end, and be eternally saved” (17.1)
In words that I can understand, I believe that he is stating that once you are born into the family of God, you are stuck — you can’t get out, you can’t fall out, you can’t get thrown out, you can’t get enticed out, you can’t get yanked out, and you can’t think yourself out.
I would like to make two introductory statements concerning this doctrine.
1. I do not believe that this issue is one that can ever hinder or assist your salvation, nor standing before God. You are in the family of God whether you believe the doctrine or not. I base this on the Word of God, and will show this to you shortly.
2. The belief in eternal security can and should be of great benefit to the believer. Not only in facing their own death, but the death of others in their family.
It is not license to sin. Just because you’re in, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t live a Godly life.
The lack of belief in eternal security can lead to a great lack of peace and unsureness in the persons personal life. It on the other hand tends to be a good motivator to Godly living.
There are basically two views to the doctrine. The Armenian and the Calvinist. The Armenian believes that you can loose your salvation, and the Calvinist believes that you cannot loose your salvation.
Let us consider these views this.
The Armenian View as we have mentioned, is that the saved can be lost. We won’t attempt to consider all of the passages that these people present. We want to concentrate on what the Bible tells us concerning our salvation.
Thiessen lists several objections to security which the non-security person would raise.
1. “That it induces laxness and indolence.” To which the security person would reply — yes, you may well be correct on that point, yet it is God that set the doctrine to words in His Message to man and He is responsible for the consequences of His Word.
2. “That it robs man of his freedom.” Once saved from eternal punishment and separation from God, it is hard to see anyone worrying about the fact that they can no longer go to hell by there own free will.
3. “That the Scriptures teach the contrary.” Very emphatically this statement would have to be refuted.
4. “That there are many warnings.” Warnings of lost reward, lost peace etc. yes, however none of lost salvation.
In considering verses which are presented by the non-security people there are some things which need to be considered. These thoughts are condensed from Chafer’s Major Bible Themes. (Mark Chafer continues with a very nice presentation of evidence for the eternal security of the believer.)
1. One holding to security usually realizes that a person can, from outward appearances, accept Christ, but that in reality at times this is an acceptance in the mind and not in the heart. After awhile there can be a falling away which the non-security person will point to as someone losing their salvation, which is in reality the falling away of a professor.
2. At other times it is admitted that “Christians” act like the world. Paul is very clear in his thinking on these “Carnal Christians” that are saved yet live like the lost. The lost that live like the saved can return to living like the lost and appear to be people that have lost their salvation as well. This situation can confuse the issue.
3. Some texts set forth by the insecure deal with rewards which may be won or lost, yet this has nothing to do with salvation.
4. A Christian that is out of fellowship is not the picture of Christ either.
5. The wayward Christian may be chastised and appear to be on God’s black list yet God is trying to draw him back.
6. Galatians 5:1-4 mentions that the believer can fall from grace, however this is speaking of way of life not position before the Lord. In the early church there seemed to be the thought of encouraging the believers with the fact of their eternal salvation, yet needing to encourage them in keeping their spiritual life in proper working order.
7. Both the misinterpretation, and the interpretation out of context problems, mislead people into the thought of losing their salvation.
8. The crux of the matter is the one, or the person if you will, that brings salvation to pass. If it is man, then yes I would assume that we could walk in and out of anything that we could dream up, yet we know that the Lord God is the author and finisher of this work and it is a bewilderment to me how anyone could believe that God could not devise a better plan than one that I could slip from.
9. A point which I am surprised Mark Chafer did not bring up is the fact that there is an overabundance of teaching which shows that the believer is eternally secure.
10. The person needs to understand that trials, troubles, and problems, are normal in the Christian life. These are not problems that are caused because we are not believers.
11. Feelings are irrelevant when we are dealing with God and His work in us.
The Calvinist View
The view of the Calvinist is held to and defended quite extensively in Chafer Vol. III beginning at page 267. This view is based on four items of which one is the security of the believer.
1. “Depravity, by which term is meant that there is nothing in fallen man that could commend him to God. He is an object of divine grace.”
The Wesleys believed in the depravity of man, indeed they agreed with most of what the Calvinists held, including grace to bring man to God, and election by a sovereign God. They did differ when it came to the security of the believer. They felt that piety and good works, were those tools given to man by which he might retain the salvation that had been given to him.
2. “Efficacious grace, by which term is meant that fallen man, in being saved, is wrought upon wholly by god — even the faith which he exercises in his salvation is a “gift of God”
3. “Sovereign and eternal election, by which term is meant that those who are saved by efficacious grace from the estate of depravity have been chosen of God for that blessedness from before the foundation of the world ( Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:30).”
4. “Eternal security, by which term it is meant that those chosen of God and saved by grace are, of necessity, preserved unto the realization of the design of God. Since sovereign election purposes this and sovereign grace accomplishes it, the Scriptures could not — being infinitely true — do other than to declare the Christian’s security without reservation or complication.”
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”
This passage states that we are children of God — we can’t be unborn thus we must be eternally secure. We have three children. Laurie, Stanley and Timothy. They were born unto the couple, Faith and Stanley Derickson. They are our children. They may deny it, they may dislike it, they may hate it, but these things do not change the parentage, nor the linage.
We as believers, are of our Father, Almighty God. We cannot change that relationship no matter how we try. I have to wonder why anyone would feel that we could, or would want to change that relationship.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.”
We have eternal life. It is wrong to say we can loose our eternal life because if we can loose it then it wasn’t eternal (I only had it for a very short time).
The phrase “shall never perish” is a double negative in the Greek language. A good translation would be “by no means perish.”
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life.”
Now, if a person can loose his or her salvation, how can Christ promise that the believer will never come into judgment? Impossible.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
We come to Christ for our salvation, and He will not, indeed cannot cast us out.
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Some say yes but they can jump out. How foolish to use such an argument. Never perish. Never plucked out. How much plainer can the Word be?
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].”
Christ used a contrast in tenses that is very important here. The well water
— you drink continually — this a present tense, while the water from Christ, you drink only once — this an aorist — one time act of drinking. If salvation can be lost, then once lost always lost, because you cannot redrink.
“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”
Christ lost none of the disciples except Judas. Judas was not one of His, he was a professor in the following for the money.
Romans 5:8-10 “being now justified” is an aorist tense — one time occurrence. There is no indication that it can be repeated.
Romans 6:3-5 We are in Christ so that if we can loose our salvation then He also can slip from the hand of the Father. Not So.. Impossible.
Romans 8:30 shows that we are already glorified in God’s eyes. This is impossible, if we can ruin our salvation.
Romans 8:35-37 lists a number of things that can’t separate us from Christ. Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, nor the sword.
Romans 8:38,39 lists things which can’t separate us from the love of God. If we are in His love, we are in Him. Death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height, depth, nor any creature.
1 Corinthians 1:8,9 We are to be kept blameless till the day of the Lord. (This blameless means blameless in God’s eyes — not sinless. This blamelessness is due to Christ’s work. We are justified in God’s eyes, even though this action is not in its completed state as yet.)
Galatians 4:5-7 Vs 5 states, “receive full rights of sons”. An aorist tense — one time occurrence. Once received, it would no longer be available.
Ephesians 2:8,9 show that salvation is by grace not of works — thus if salvation is based on what we do or don’t do, as they believe, then the Scriptures are wrong in stating that it isn’t of works.
1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 Our spirit, soul and body will be kept until Christ’s coming.
Titus 3:3ff Our righteous works have nothing to do with our salvation. Hebrews 1:3 Christ is upholding all things. He is maintaining the heavens and the earth. He is maintaining governments in the world. Can’t He hang on to me if I sin? I Think So.
Hebrews 7:25 God is able to save completely.
And many many more verses if you only will think about them. Salvation is seen in Scripture as being totally God’s responsibility. When we accept Christ, Then God is responsible to carry it through. What we feel, or think, or do, has nothing to do with it.
Good works and a holy life are the normal response of the Christian. If a person claims to be a Christian, but continues in a life of sin, then one might wonder if that person was really saved. Even seeing Christians turn to lives of sin. They may not have been saved either.
We must remember that unsaved people can lead a “good life” without God. Our job is to witness and leave the judging to God.
There are many other texts and logical arguments to this doctrine.
DOES IT MATTER THAT WE BELIEVE IN SECURITY? YES
1. It gives us confidence to share an everlasting gospel.
2. It will lead to Holy living — He’s done so much — we will want to live His way, to please Him.
3. It will determine how we interpret some texts. Every promise to the New Testament believer will be dependant on me, rather than the one that makes it — God. In the family situation, if a father promises to take the child for ice cream, it is not the child’s responsibility to drive the car, take the parent, and pay for the treat. The father promised it, and it is his responsibility to carry it forth to completion.
4. It will shape our view of God. Is He an ogre watching for a slip, or is He gracious and wanting to do things for us?
5. It will give us a peaceful life — confident in our destination. If we aren’t secure our life will always be up in the air.
6. Security is a tremendous comfort in time of trials. We can know that the trials are for a time and for a purpose, and that one day we will reap the reward in our after life.
7. If we don’t believe in security then we will be doing works for the wrong reasons. (We will be working to stay on the road to heaven, rather than for Christ and His glory.)
8. It is proper doctrine taught by the inspired Word of God, so we should very definitely believe it.
From the daily bread.
“An aged woman who had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ was still plagued with doubts about her eternal destiny. So my father and another elder were delegated to counsel with her concerning her fears. After quoting several texts on assurance, my dad said, “Grandma, if you saw one group of people drinking, cursing, and singing worldly songs, and right next door a gathering of joyful believers were singing gospel hymns and testifying of God’s saving grace, which company would attract you?” Without hesitation she exclaimed, “Oh, I’d only feel at home with the saints of God. I love to fellowship with them.” Then he showed her” the following text. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren….” I John 3:14a (Used by permission of Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan.)
VERSES PRESENTED BY THOSE THAT BELIEVE THAT A BELIEVER CAN LOOSE THEIR SALVATION
I have listed all that I have run into. I will comment on some of them, but usually a long look at the context will explain what the verse is really talking about. This is usually true in all doctrinal questions. The context normally clears the fog raised.
Mark 13:22 This verse is very specifically speaking of leading astray and has nothing to do with eternal life.
Luke 8:13 supposedly pictures a believer that fell away. Seems more like an intellectual belief.
Acts 5:32 The Holy Spirit is given to “them that obey him.” The context looks like Peter may have been slamming them and they didn’t realize it. Peter in verse 29 states they “obey God rather than men.” Then in 32 again mentions obey as though — we obey God, not man — and the indication — You Obey Man In Your Religion And Not God.
Another possible interpretation is that Peter is speaking of those that obey in the realm of salvation. He was speaking to those that were rejecting the message that God had been giving. Chafer holds to this in Vol. VI, p 131 and lists 2 Thessalonians 1:8 as reference. “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that Obey Not The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This seems to speak of the Gospel when Acts mentions obeying “Him” yet may shed light on the meaning of the passage. Another verse which may help is Hebrews 5:9
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him,”
(Another possibility is seen in the fact that they had been told to stop speaking — they hadn’t and now are trying to explain the situation. Vs. 32 fully states, “And we are His Witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to Them That Obey Him.” In The Witness. The text seems to be speaking of only those involved.)
Acts 11:21-23 “exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.” I would imagine the insecure believe that you need to hang on, or the Lord is going to shake you off.
This means nothing more than is encouraged today. “Hang in there baby.” This common expression is indicative of maintaining what is there. This text is not speaking of salvation. Hanging onto the Lord is not salvation, but is keeping Him close for help and encouragement.
Acts 13:43 “persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” I would assume that this is speaking of the general walk of the believers. We would urge the same thing in our circles today. Encouraging one another to continue in the grace that God has been giving to you in your daily lives.
Acts 14:21,22 “exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” “in the faith” in scripture is used of the Christian beliefs. “The Faith”
has nothing to do with continuing in salvation. The idea of tribulation is the fact that they were going through hard times and it was through much tribulation they would go before they entered into the kingdom.
Romans 6:11-23 I see nothing here to comment on. This is a discussion of the old way of life and the new way of life in Christ.
Romans 8:12-17 Again this is a discussion of the way of life. It does mention “ye shall die” however this is the context of living and being taken home not eternal living.
Romans 11:20-22 This text is speaking of two groups of people and is contrasting Jews and Gentiles, not individual believers and non believers.
Romans 14:15-23 Again this text is speaking of personal living and has nothing to do with salvation or eternal things.
1 Corinthians 9:23-27 If this text is placed in a salvation — eternal things context, then verse 24 states that there will only be one person in heaven. “but one receiveth the prize” It would seem that this is speaking of rewards rather than salvation.
1 Corinthians 10:1-21 I’m not sure what could be built from this text.
1 Corinthians 11:29-32 The context is the misuse of the Lord’s table. Some evidently had died because of it. The exhortation “that we should not be condemned with the world.” evidently is used to show that believers can be condemned with the world. True, they can, for it says it, however what is meant by it is the question. The text is clear that it is physical death. If that person were left on earth his sin would cause him to be condemned before the other Christians. Judged would have the idea that the Christians were weighing Christian conduct and finding some of it was similar to the worlds conduct. Might this be the condemnation that is in view? I think so.
1 Corinthians 15:1,2 “believed in vain” would indicate a belief that failed. I would say he is calling into question the people’s belief. Was it really valid? If it was then you stand in it. If it was a false belief then you do not stand in it.
2 Corinthians 11:2-4 Paul is simply stating that he is concerned about them, and those that might come teaching falsely. He is concerned that he present them to the Lord in good shape. Not that they can fall and not be at the presentation, but that they be less than Paul desires at the presentation.
2 Corinthians 12:21 Concern over sin yet there is nothing of an eternal nature in view.
2 Corinthians 13:5 It would seem that faith is used in the thought of beliefs and walk here. Nothing eternal here either.
It seems to me thus far that people that would use these verses to show a loss of salvation must also believe that sinless perfection is also the alternative to loss of salvation. If this indeed is the case then they must have an awfully frustrating life trying to stay perfect and “in” without sinning and falling “out”..
Galatians 5:1-4 This is speaking of falling from life of faith into a life under the law.
Philippians 2:12,12 “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” If you work it out yourself then you’d better do it with fear and trembling yet if you allow God to work it out you will have complete confidence.
Colossians 1:21-23 The context is Christian walk not salvation. The “if” in verse 23, by the way is a 3rd class condition which means “if, and assumed so,” Paul was assured in his mind that this would be the case. Again in the faith is speaking of living and beliefs.
Colossians 2:4-8,18,19 Again there is nothing eternal in these verses. They are speaking of being misled by false teachers.
1 Thessalonians 3:5
1 Timothy 1:3-7,18-20; 2:11-15; 4:1-16; 5:5-15; 6:9-12,17-21
2 Timothy 2:11-18,22-26; 3:13-15
Hebrews 2:1-3; 3:6-19; 4:1-16; 5:8-9
Hebrews 6:4-20 It should be remembered that this passage is to be interpreted in light of all of scripture. There are multitudes of verses to show the security of the believer.
Hebrews 10:14 “For By One Offering He Hath Perfected Forever Them That Are Sanctified.” Remember this verse is coming up in the book when you interpret the one we are dealing with.
Three main views are presented to thwart the Armenian view of this passage.
1. That these people are non-Christians. Chafer Vol. 3, p 302 states that Scofield holds to this position. Chafer goes on to defend that position himself.
2. That this is a hypothetical warning given by the writer. This warning was given to believers.
3. Thiessen holds that these are Jews that had nominally accepted Christianity [they were saved people], but had returned to Judaism. This position, though slightly different, would fit into the thinking of number four.
4. That these are carnal Christians.
If these are saved people then you can’t resave them for they are still saved no matter what. Thus pick them up (get their lives straight before God) and continue from this point on. You cannot bring them again unto saving repentance. That is an impossibility.
A return to 5:1 to read the whole text helps see a flow around the passage. Actually, it seems that Paul was trying to show the same thing we are. He was dealing with people that didn’t understand that they couldn’t resave people. If they are going to go through saving repentance again then Christ will have to be crucified again. Indeed, that is one of the teachings in this book that the author sets forth. That is that Christ offered once for all and there is no need to offer, and offer, and offer, as they did in the Old Testament.
Ryrie states in his Basic Theology, “I personally understand the passage to be describing born again people. The phrases in verses 4 and 5 clearly refer to a conversion experience (cf. “enlightened” in 10:32, “taste” in 2:9, and “partakers” in 12:8), but they are willfully immature believers (cf. 5:11-14). Now, the writer warns, since it is impossible to go back in the Christian life to start it over (but if one could it would be necessary to fall away first in order to go back to the beginning), there are only two
remaining options: stay where you are in this state of immaturity, or move forward to maturity (6:1). Since their present state was undesirable, this passage was a strong warning to go on in the Christian life. This warning is similar to that which a teacher might give a class: “It is impossible for you students, once enrolled in this course, turning the clock back (which cannot be done, but which would have to be done if one could go back to the beginning) to start this course over. Therefor, go on to further knowledge.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “BASIC THEOLOGY”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 333, 324)
Hebrews 12:1-17, 25-29
1 Peter 5:9,13
2 Peter 1:5-11
2 Peter 2:1-22 vs. 22 “a dog returns to its vomit” Proverbs 26:11 Septuagint:
“As a dog becometh odius when he returneth to his vomit; so is a fool for his wickedness, when he returneth to his sin.”
King James “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly”
This text is speaking of false teachers. The quote from the Old Testament indicates that it was a matter of them returning to their old ways rather than turning from a good walk to a fleshly walk. Either way the reference is not speaking of eternal things — only way of walk.
2 Peter 3:16-17
1 John 1:5
1 John 3:11
1 John 5:4-16
2 John 6-9
Jude 5-12, 20, 21
TO SUM UP
Salvation is from a life of sin to a live of holiness. Salvation is from the sin nature to a new nature. Salvation is from hell to heaven.
Salvation is from death to life.
It is hard to believe that a logical, systematic God would design a system of salvation that intricate, and then have to reverse His decision or reinstitute His work at the whim of the one that He had given His Son on the cross to save.
We are saved by the substitutionary atonement of Christ. To not be saved after the atonement has been applied to us would be an affront to the work that Christ did on the cross.
It boils down to which you believe. Once saved, always saved. OR Once saved, always worried. Since God promises us peace, it would seem that the former would be the plan of salvation that He would have designed.
Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 Without faith we cannot please God. Hebrews 11:6
“…..allegiance to duty or a person: Loyalty…..belief and trust in and loyalty to God…..belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion…..something that is believed esp. with strong conviction; esp.: a system of religious beliefs…..” (By permission. From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1991 by Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of the Merriam- Webster (registered) Dictionaries.)
Cambron mentions that there are three parts to faith. Knowledge, belief, and trust. Knowledge: Romans 10:17 “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
2. Belief: “The second element of faith is belief. Everyone knows
what belief means, that is, to accept something as the truth. People can know that there is a Savior by the name of Jesus, and believe that He can save. Yet, this is not saving faith.”
3. Trust: Trust is essential to faith in anything. It is most essential in saving faith. It is one thing to know that Christ died, and believe it; It is quite another thing to trust Him, the dying and resurrected Savior, for salvation.
He likens it to a chair. You must Know of it’s existence before you can Believe that there is such a thing. You cannot Trust the chair until you have tested it by sitting in it. You must have faith in your judgment and quick reaction, to test it.
A look at Romans 10:14,15 would back up the idea of a process involved in these items. “How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Do you agree with his analysis that faith is made up of these things? They may lead to faith, or help faith to grow, but they are not faith by themselves, nor combined.
So, what is faith? In Hebrews 11:1 we see what faith is. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Verse three is an illustration of this thought. We by faith can accept that God created the heavens and the earth. That is a vivid example of faith. (This would indicate that the unsaved can have a certain amount of faith. I believed in the creation by God long before I was confronted with the Gospel.)
Ephesians 2:8,9 mentions, “For by grace are ye saved through faith;” We cannot be saved without faith. Faith is of utmost importance, so we must understand what it is.
Pardington defines faith thusly: “Faith may be defined as that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner whereby he turns to God. Like repentance, it involves a change of view, a change of feelings, and a change of purpose.” (Pardington, Revelation George P. Ph.D.; “Outline Studies In Christian Doctrine”; Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1926, p 316)
Pardington breaks faith into three parts as does Cambron. I will list these for your study. “Intellectual. This is belief in the existence of god and in the teaching of the Scriptures: John 1.22,23; James 2.19.” “Emotional. This is personal faith that Christ is the only Saviour from sin: Matthew 13.21; John 5.35; 8.30,31.” “Volitional (will). This is the actual surrender to Christ and present trust in Him as Saviour and Lord: Acts 16.31; Revelation 3.20.”
How can we define this term? Might we suggest that it is the mental process by which we accept as true, something that cannot be proven true?
Faith is the Greek term “pistis.” Faithful is the term “pistos.” “pistis” is the noun, “pistos” is the adjective. It is of interest that a term that is closely related is “pisteuo.” “Pisteuo” is translated “believe” in the New Testament.
Let’s illustrate the difference between these terms with the word process. There is a process (noun) for developing film. To develop the film you would have to process (verb) the film. Is there a difference between the two? Yes, there is a difference. The noun “process” is dormant, dead, unproductive and worthless, while “process” the verb is working, active, productive and worth while.
It would seem that we can apply the similar reasoning to “faith” and “believe”. Believe is the verb form and is active, while faith is the noun and is inactive. Belief is the action part of faith. When we mentally give assent to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and trust in that assent, we have saving faith.
Let us consider faith.
Faith Has Degrees: Acts 6:5,8; 11:24; Romans 12:3; 14:1 The degrees of faith can be seen in the lives of believers. Some believers have great faith in their prayer life, while others don’t have faith enough to ask for even the smallest request.
Most have heard of the great faith of Hudson Taylor. He trusted God for the support of many missionaries in his mission. He trusted that God would bring in the funds needed. God honored that faith by providing the funds needed.
Faith Purifies The Heart: Acts 15:9 speaks of the salvation of people. “purifying their hearts by faith.” This passage links faith directly to that wonderful transition between being lost and being saved.
Faith Brings Justification: Romans 3:28,30 We have already seen that justification is an integrated part of salvation. There can be no justification, except by faith, since there can be no salvation without faith. (28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”)
Faith Brings Righteousness: Romans 4:5,
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
It seems that this verse may well illustrate the noun verb relationship that we were speaking of earlier. By the act of believing the person is justified. His faith being inactive can do nothing yet it was counted as righteousness.
Hebrews 11:6 is a verse that shows the same contrast between the two terms.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to god must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Faith Brings Propitiation: Romans 3:25,
“Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
Clearly, faith precedes propitiation as well as remission of sins. Faith in Christ’s sacrifice brings about that shift of relationship that allows salvation to be possible.
Faith Allows Us To Stand In His Grace: Romans 5:2,
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Our spiritual standing in God’s family was accomplished by faith. We stand a picture of the Grace of God because of faith in His Son.
Faith Comes From The Word: Romans 10:17, So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This is not only a statement of Scripture, but is of logical necessity. Without the message from God, it would be impossible for man to know what was desired of him by the Creator.
As the lost mind is confronted by the Word of God, the Holy Spirit moves in the life to draw them unto God. We hear or read the Word and then our being must react to that information.
Faith Allows Us To Stand: Romans 11:20, Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:” This passage with its context pictures the believer as a branch that was grafted into the vine after the Jewish branch had been removed. We stand in salvation through faith. This speaks of our position before God. By faith, we came to Him for salvation.
Faith Can Be A Gift: 1 Corinthians 12:9, To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;” In the New Testament church there were spiritual gifts that were active to give sign of the Messiah that had come. One of these gifts was that of faith. The person with this gift had great faith in prayer. I suspect that this is what James speaks of when he talks about the prayer of faith.
Whether this gift is active today is not clear. The sign gifts were of a very special type. The results were special. For example the healing that Paul did. The cured bodies were special examples of the power of God. The gift of faith most likely was also special in result.
I personally do not believe that this gift is active today, however I do wonder if God does not give some saints a special capacity to have faith. When circumstances are bad, I have observed that most believers have a real faith, yet when they are in better circumstances their faith tends to falter a little. This may relate to the next point. Are we trusting in our God or ourselves.
Faith has an object: Christ is the object of our faith (Colossians 1:4; 2:5). Any other object will fail us. When we sought salvation, Christ was the only answer, and thus the only object in which we could place our faith.
Faith Brings Salvation: 2 Timothy 3:15,
“…the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in christ Jesus.”
Faith Must Be Mixed With The Gospel For Salvation: Hebrews 4:2,
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
This relates to the fact that faith cometh by hearing. If we hear the Gospel, but do not place our trust in it, it can do no good. Mix in faith, and you have all that is necessary for the salvation of that being.
Faith Without Works Is Dead: James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Even though I had faith in the creation of God before I was saved my faith was dead for it produced nothing. This verse in itself proves also that the lost can have faith.
Can we say concerning faith then, that it is that which allows our mind to make that step of action called belief? That mental ability that allows us to take our faith one step further.
Might we also say that faith is the intellect reacting, and that belief is the will reacting? By belief I mean a belief that has repentance built in.
Faith then can be possessed by the lost and not be leading them toward salvation. (As in the case of Hebrews 11:1-3)
Faith is the — shall we say — precursor to belief repentance. Belief is the step of action which moves the lost person into the family of God.
Can we say then the Word Working in the intellect, causes the intellect to have faith? Can we further say that the faith of the intellect moves the will to act, or believe, causing salvations plan to become active? I think so.
How does, and where does trust come into the picture? Trust must be the ingredient which causes faith to bear fruit in belief. I had faith and trust in the Word, in creation, in God, but didn’t know the Gospel.
I heard the Gospel and faith moved me immediately to belief in the Gospel and my new salvation.
Belief can be active in the lost; belief in creation, in God, in Christ, in the resurrection, or in many things. What moves that person to belief with repentance? Faith and trust? Faith? Trust? How about the Holy Spirit?
Can the lost have faith and trust in creation? Yes.
Can the lost have faith and trust in the resurrection? Yes. Can the lost have faith and trust in the Word? Yes.
Can they still be lost? Yes.
If belief is active — as above, then belief activated by faith in relation to Christ’s work is what saves.
SO . . .
Faith — trust — repentance — belief can be present in the lost persons life without salvation. It is when these are centered on Christ that salvation can occur.
The further we study, the more it seems that man is very close to the same place that the angels were. At a point in eternity past they accepted, or rebelled. We also come to a point where we accept, or reject.
Can you have belief without faith? Yes, the devil’s believe. It seems that belief in facts is simple belief, yet belief of facts and trusting in those facts is complex belief which leads to salvation.
Faith, belief, and repentance are almost instantaneous, however there seems to be a sequence of events. Faith the inactive takes action in belief. Faith may be present before salvation. Belief may be present before salvation. However, the faith that trusts God’s Gospel causes the active.
Conviction/Repentance/Belief/Faith/Trust seems to be the sequence. Faith — where lostness turns to blessedness, where sinfulness turns to holiness, where rebelliousness turns to submission, where separation turns to family ties — the only place to be.
What is forgiveness? Some thoughts from Mark McKenzie: “Sign on a company bulletin board in Grand Rapids: ‘To err is human, to forgive is not company policy.’“ “Have you noticed that it’s much easier to forgive an enemy after you get even with him?” (McKenzie, E.C.; “14,000 Quips And Quotes For Writers And Speakers”; New York: Greenwich House, 1980)
The result of God’s forgiveness: Romans 5:18,
“Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.”
“But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
Some suggest that forgiveness pardons us for our sins. We are more than pardoned. We are righteous because we paid for our sins. We did not personally pay the price, but Christ paid the price for us.
Forgiveness Is A Part Of Our Salvation. “The forgiveness of sin is accomplished for the sinner when he believes upon Christ and is a part of his salvation. Many things which constitute salvation are wrought of God at the moment one believes; but forgiveness is never received by the unsaved apart from the whole work of saving grace or the ground of believing on christ as savior.” (Taken from the book, Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer and John F. Walvoord. First edition copyright 1926, 1953 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Revised edition copyright 1974 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. p 186)
One of the word’s translated forgiveness is Strong’s number 859, which is the Greek word “aphesis” which is translated forgiveness six times, but it is also translated liberty, deliverance and remission. (remission being the more common translation)
Vine tells us that aphesis “denotes a dismissal, release.” (Vine, W. E.; “An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words”; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.) Christ used the term to portray the loosing of those that were in bonds (Luke 4:18-19) It relates to the freeing from sin, or the removal of the handcuffs and release from prison.
Forgiveness is available through the shed blood of Christ. Matthew 26:28 and Colossians 1:14 both boldly set forth this fact. We have forgiveness because of the blood that was shed. Indeed, there is no forgiveness from God except through the shed blood of Christ. The Old Testament saints brought their blood offering to COVER their sins, until the perfect sacrifice could be offered in the heavenly holy of holies.
The Old Testament saint was required to bring a sacrifice for a covering for his sin, due to the fact that there was no finished work accomplished, whereby sin could be taken away. The blood of animals covered until the blood of Christ took the sin away.
Forgiveness Comes From Repentance. Acts 2:38,
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
This invitation was to gain the remission, or forgiveness of sins. We have seen in previous studies that repentance is one of the first steps toward the salvation that is offered.
Forgiveness Is Based On Different Things In Different Economies. “Though, on the divine side, the freedom to forgive sin is always secured, directly or indirectly, through the blood of Christ, the requirements on the human side vary to some extent with the different ages of time. During the period between Abel [I would say Adam not Abel personally] and Christ, forgiveness was made, on the human side, to depend on the presentation of a specified sacrifice. During the present age, it is made to depend, for the unsaved, on faith in Christ; but for the saved, who are already under the value of Christ’s blood, forgiveness is made to depend upon confession and is impelled by the fact that God has already forgiven (Ephesians 4:32).” (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; “Systematic Theology”; Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, Vol. II. p 272)
Forgiveness Comes From God. Mark 2:7,10,
“Why doth this [man] thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)”
Even the Jews that rejected Christ knew that forgiveness could only come from God. So why do so many seek forgiveness through works and deeds?
Forgiveness May Be A SLIGHTLY Post Salvation Item. Acts 26:18,
“To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
The phrases “turned to light” and “released from the power of Satan” precede the forgiveness. The action of the Holy Spirit linked with the persons belief system evidently brings the person into a place where they can see adequately and begin to respond to God, even before their forgiveness is realized.
Forgiveness Is Expressed In Many Ways. I would like to list some of these for you. Isaiah 38:17 “Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back”; Micah 7:19 “Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea”; Jeremiah 31:34 “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more”; Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions”; Psalm 103:12
“As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
Forgiveness may be a synonym for justification. This is the thought presented in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. “Paul rarely uses the term “forgiveness,” but in its place prefers justification. They are to his understanding practically synonymous (Stemen’s, Theology of the New Testament, 418) He preferred the latter, however, because it was better fitted to express the idea of secure, present and permanent acceptance in the sight of God. It connoted both a complete and a permanent state of grace. In popular thought forgiveness is not so comprehensive, but in the Bible sense it means no less than this. It removes all of the guilt and cause of alienation from the past; it assures a state of grace for the present; and promises Divine mercy and aid for the future. Its fulness cannot adequately be conveyed by any one term or formula.” (Orr, James; “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub., 1939, par. 7)
We have only looked at one of the Greek terms translated forgiveness. I would like to just list the others and share some of Vine’s comments on these.
“aphiemi” “primarily, to send forth, send away…denotes, besides its other meanings, to remit or forgive” “firstly signifies the remission of the punishment due to sinful conduct, the deliverance of the sinner from the penalty Divinely, and therefore righteously, imposed; secondly, it involves the complete removal of the cause of offence; such remission is based upon the vicarious and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ.”
“charizomai” “to bestow a favour unconditionally, is used of the act of forgiveness, whether Divine, Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2:13;3:13; or human, Luke 7:42,43 (debt); 2 Corinthians 2:7,10…”
Scofield says of forgiveness, “It means, To Send Off or Away. And this, throughout Scripture, is the one fundamental meaning of forgiveness — to separate the sin from the sinner.”
Unger states in his dictionary, “Forgiveness under this consideration [for the unsaved] is never an isolated operation but always connected as an integral part of the whole divine undertaking for man called “salvation.”
Forgiveness is only one of the many transformations wrought of God in the unsaved in response to simple faith in Christ.” (Taken from: “Unger’s Bible Dictionary”; Unger, Merrill F.; Copyright 1957, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission.)
Chafer mentions, “The underlying thought which the word Forgive universally conveys when expressing the act of God is that of putting away, releasing, or pardoning. It is the taking away of sin and its condemnation from the offender, or offenders, by imputing the sin to, and imposing its righteous judgments upon, Another.” (Systematic Theology, Vol. II, p 270)
1. A person is forgiven of All, sins at salvation. God doesn’t select out a few choice ones to hide away so He can bring them out later to beat you over the head with. All Are Gone.
As a believer, as you confess them, they are also, All Gone.
2. If a person wants forgiveness — salvation is the only way to receive it
— that is, true, eternal forgiveness.
3. All sin is cared for at once — all penalties and causes. Just after salvation we are without sin.
How hard is it to be saved? So simple a child can do it. You simply reach out and take the gift.
So apply that to Colossians 2:6, “As ye have, therefore received Christ Jesus the lord, so walk ye in Him,” Your walk should be as easy as your salvation.
Realize that one. How does that relate to the terrible struggle that supposedly goes on between what is taught, as the old and new nature? There is no struggle. You accept the walk of the Spirit, and enjoy it.
4. If you were given a new car, with a twenty five coat of candy apple red paint job, wouldn’t you wash it when it got dirty? Wouldn’t you park in a garage to keep it clean? So, why do so many Christian’s allow their new soul paint job get so dirty before confessing?
Forgiveness at salvation should be special, and we should want to keep clean. 1 John 1:9 is not limited. You can use it at any time of the day, at any time of the week, and at any time in the year. God provided all that is necessary for us to continue on in holiness. All we need to do, is to make mental decisions in keeping with that provision.
Before we get into this section, I would like to consider a question. Why does this subject call forth such emotion?
1. Some feel it is an affront to God, to allow man to have any part in salvation. Foreknowledge pictures man seeking God, which is counter to texts like Romans 3:23.
2. Others see the others setting “foreknowledge” aside and ignoring that it is involved.
3. Others just like to argue.
When teaching Systematic Theology I gave an assignment asking the students to jot down what they thought foreknowledge, predestination and election were. One of the students mentioned that he thought that if foreknowledge was involved, then the game was fixed and it isn’t fun playing a game that is fixed, even if you are the winner.
Probably there are many strong Calvinists that would follow a similar line of thinking, however those that read the Word and understand it as simply written, feel that since God tells us foreknowledge is involved, then we must include it in our system of theology.
From God’s view everything was set in place and decreed before the foundation of the world. From man’s view we have a free choice to accept, or reject God. To this point is there any conflict? No there is no real link between the two statements as yet.
Man has a choice. God has given man a witness of Himself. All of mankind has opportunity to respond to God. This witness comes in four forms. Creation, Romans 1:20-23; Inner witness, Romans 1:19; The written Word; and the spoken Word.
Man has the choice to respond to his inner consciousness and to nature. If he does not respond to this information then he is lost of his own choice. If he does respond then God will see to it that he has all the revelation he needs to find Jesus Christ as his Savior.
This final revelation must include all information needed for salvation. This includes knowledge of the gap that sin has caused, that he is a sinner by nature, that Christ died on the cross for his sins, and that Christ died in his place, if he will accept Christ’s work on the cross.
This decision must be based on knowledge, understanding and fear if need be. Emotions are a part of our being so may well be involved. (Hebrews 11:7)
Since the terms are normally viewed in the same doctrine, I would like to look at election along with foreknowledge. Let us look at the Biblical use of the terms. Elect in the Old Testament is “bahir” (Strong’s 972/TWOT # 231c). It has the idea of chosen, and is translated chosen at times.
The Theological Word book mentions of the term, “The rood and its derivations occur 198 times with this meaning. The root idea is evidently ‘to take a keen look at’“
“This derivative is used exclusively to indicate the relationship of the subject to God. It commonly occurs in a direct quotation of God, having the first singular possessive pronoun suffixed to it. Thus, God himself attests that this person or nation is his own personal choice.” (Taken from: “Theological Wordbook Of The Old Testament”; Harris, R. Laird/Archer, Gleason L. Jr./Waltke, Bruce K.; Copyright 1980, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. p 100-101)
This may help us understand the New Testament concept.
I will just list some references and comments on them from the Old Testament.
Isaiah 42:1 foretelling of Christ. His “elect” “servant”
Isaiah 45:4 Israel — God’s elect
Isaiah 65:9 God’s elect will inherit
Isaiah 65:22 God’s elect
2 Samuel 21: 6 God chose Saul (king of Israel)
1 Chronicles 16:13 Israel — His chosen ones
Psalm 89: 3 God has made a covenant with David — His chosen
Psalm 105:6 Israel — His chosen
Psalm 105:43 Israel
Psalm 106:5 Israel
Psalm 106:23 Moses — His chosen
Isaiah 43:20 Israel future — God’s chosen Isaiah 65:15 God’s chosen
Remember, God calling them HIS elect, or chosen is the Old Testament concept of the word. Now the New Testament.
In the New Testament elect is the Greek word “eklektos” (Strong’s 1588). The English term eclectic comes from this term. It is the picking of the best of something. The Greek term translated church is also from this word. (ecclesia)
The “tos” ending means that a product of something is in view. “lit. signifies picked out, chosen (“ek”, from, “lego”, to gather, pick out)” (Vine, W. E.; “An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words”; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.)
Let us look at some references.
Matthew 20:16 Christ was speaking of His own.
Matthew 22:14 Those having no wedding garment bound & cast out.
Matthew 24:22 tribulation to be shortened for the elect’s sake
Matthew 24:24 False Christ’s will try to deceive the elect.
Matthew 24:31 Angels will gather elect
Mark 13:20 (same as Mark 24:22)
Mark 13:22 (same as Matthew 24:24)
Mark 13:27 His elect (same as Matthew 24:31)
Luke 18: 7 His own elect
Luke 23:35 The Christ “The chosen of God”
Romans 8:33 God’s elect
Romans 16:13 chosen in the Lord
Colossians 3:12 Elect of God
1 Timothy 5:21 Elect angels/some weren’t elect it would seem
2 Timothy 2:10 The elect’s sake — (prior to salvation)
Titus 1:1 God’s elect (speaking of Paul)
1 Peter 1:2 elect according to foreknowledge of God the Father
1 Peter 2:4 chosen of God
1 Peter 2:6 Christ the cornerstone — elect
1 Peter 2:9 chosen generation — believers Peter is writing to 2 John 1 elect lady
2 John 13 elect sister
Revelation 17:14 chosen with the Lamb
The term election is the Greek word “ekloge” (Strong’s 1589). Vine mentions that it “denotes a picking out, selection.”
Acts 9:15 Paul is chosen vessel (by God)
Romans 9:11 Isaac’s sons elected prior to birth.
Romans 11: 5 election of grace. Again it is not of works
Romans 11:7 Israel blinded — Gentiles obtained election
Romans 11:28 Israel beloved — elect — for the Father’s sake
1 Thessalonians 1:4 election of God
2 Peter 1:10 make your calling and election sure
The term elected is “suneklektos” (strong 4899). “elect together with.” (Vine) The “tos” ending means a product is in view.
1 Peter 5:13 church at Babylon — elected together with you
CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING ELECTION
1. Good angels are elect.
2. Elect is something which God is vitally involved in.
3. Christians are the elect, however so is Israel future.
4. Isaac’s children by Rebecca were elect prior to birth.
5. We are elect or chosen by foreknowledge.
6. Elect and chosen are not linked to predestination.
Foreknew is (Strong’s 4267) “proginosko.” “to know before (“pro”, before, “ginosko”, to know) (Vine)
Acts 26: 5 Jews knew Paul before his conversion.
Romans 8:29 Whom He did foreknow He did predestinate
Romans 11:2 God foreknew the Israelites
1 Peter 1:20 Christ’s death set before foundation of the world
2 Peter 3:17 Speaks of knowing before hand
Foreknow is (Strong’s 4267) see above
Foreknowledge is (Strong’s 4268) “prognosis.” Webster mentions “to know before.” Vine tells us “a foreknowledge.” The term prognosis in the English language means “foreknowledge.” (Webster)
Acts 2:23 Christ crucified by Jews according to foreknowledge of God. 1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to foreknowledge.
1. God foreknew the Jews.
2. God foreknew the Gentiles.
3. God foreordained Christ’s death.
4. Foreknowledge is not always used in relation to salvation. (Acts 26:5; 2 Peter 3:17)
5. Foreknowledge is linked to election. (1 Peter 1:2)
6. Foreknowledge is linked to predestination. (Romans 8:29)
7. The Jews that crucified Christ were lost. Christ was delivered via foreknowledge, and they crucified Him. This seems to link God knowing a situation beforehand, and electing based upon that knowledge.
Predestinate And Predestinated are the Greek word “proorizo” (Strong’s 4309). “Note: This verb is to be distinguished from “proginosko”, to foreknow, the latter has special reference to the persons foreknown by God: “proorizo” has special reference to that to which the subjects of His foreknowledge are predestinated.” (Vine)
Acts 4:28 God determined something beforehand to be done (context Christ before the judges). This is an aroist tense indicating that God did this at a point in time.
Romans 8:29 Whom He foreknew He did predestinate to be conformed to the image of Christ. (looks to be pre-salvation from context/this is aorist also)
Romans 8:30 links predestination to calling, justification and glorification.
1 Corinthians 2:7 The word that Paul spoke was “ordained before the ages”
Ephesians 1:5 Predestined us unto adoption
Ephesians 1:11 We have an inheritance because of predestination (aorist).
CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING PREDESTINATION
1. Christ and His death seemed predestined — at least events surrounding it. (Acts 4:28)
2. Predestination is linked to foreknowledge.
3. The Word was predestined, or set.
4. We are adopted as sons, by Christ because we were predestined to it. (Ephesians 1:5,11)
Concerning foreknowledge the following have been spoken.
Dr. Bryce Augsberger past president of Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Denver, CO stated that those opposing his view would say that God did not predestine individuals to be saved, but that in His foreknowledge, He saw some of faith (a group,or class), and called them His elect. This would include Methodists, Pentecostals, many Baptists). Basically this would be followers of Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609).
In stating his view he said, “God foreknew that no sinner would accept Christ and so chose “many” to receive the gift of faith in order to secure His saving purposes. This would include Presbyterians, Reformed, many Baptists). This thought comes from John Calvin (1509-1564)”
What is your reaction to these two statements? First, I don’t think that all that hold to the first are Armenians. Secondly, I’m not sure that the first group would specify that God foresaw a group. Rather He viewed the individual and his life in the future.
Loraine Boettner in “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” states, “Since God’s foreknowledge is complete, He knows the destiny of every person, not merely before the person has made his choice in this life, but from eternity. And since He knows their destiny before they are created, and then proceeds to create, it is plain that the saved and the lost alike fulfill His plan for them;”
He goes on to say, “Foreknowledge presupposes [assume beforehand — Webster] foreordination…. The actions of free agents do not take place because they are foreseen but they are foreseen because they are certain to take place.” (this seems to say that the decrees were before foreknowledge. This is a problem because the Scripture states that the election was based on the foreknowledge.)
Doesn’t the first par. seem to say that God knew the outcome so He chose. How can he know the outcome if the choosing wasn’t already done if He is going to be involved in it?
You can’t foreknow something that wasn’t done. For this position to be true, foreknowledge and choosing would have to be simultaneous. That is impossible because you can’t foreknow until the choosing is done.
Is there a sequence to these items of decrees, foreknowledge, election and predestination? It would seem from Scripture that the last three are in order. Fit Decrees into the matter and you may be close to the answer.
SO WHERE DOES ALL THIS LEAVE US?
1. Foreknowledge is the crux of the issue it would seem. Since all we know is based on four verses we should be able to define it fairly accurately.
a. God foreknew all the redeemed.
b. God foreknew Christ’s death.
c. God elected and predestinated based upon foreknowledge.
d. The word has the general meaning of knowing before hand.
It would seem that election took place in time, at the same time as Christ’s death was planned. I believe that this would be among His decrees. This would state then that the decrees followed the foreknowledge. If not then He could not have foreknown and decreed Christ’s death.
He had to foreknow to realize a need for redemption. Indeed, His planning for redemption proves the definition of foreknow that we want. He Knew Before Hand That Man Would Fall, Thus Planned Redemption. To define foreknow in any other manner would be inconsistent with Scripture. As He foreknew the fall, the rejection of the Messiah by Israel, He also foreknew those that would accept Him if salvation were presented.
Chafer states, “The Westminster Shorter Catechism asserts that it is ‘his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” Later, on the same page he mentions on his own, “The term decree of God appears first in the singular, since God has but one all-inclusive plan. He sees all things at a glance. For convenience, the separate features of this plan may be called the decrees of God; but there should be no implication in this that the infinite understanding of God advances by steps or in a train.” (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; “Systematic Theology”; Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, Vol. 1, p 228)
It would seem that God has always foreknown all things, in that, He is omniscient and it is further to be assumed that He existed for maybe eons, Or Should We Say From Eternity Past, but that it is also logical that the Decree, which relates to man and his existence, was set at some time down the line from eternity past.
Chafer believes the decree to be eternal. “It should be observed that God formed His decree in eternity, though its execution is in time. The decree being eternal, all its parts are, in the mind of God, but one intuition, though in its realization there is succession.” (Vol. I, p 228) However, in reference to his comment, “God formed His decree” we need to observe something. If it were formed then it is not coexistent with omniscience. It is not coexistent with His existence. It occurred later and cannot be eternal as God is eternal.
Thiessen states “By His foreknowledge God was fully aware of the fact that man would fall into sin and become utterly ruined even before He created him. Still He created him for His glory and purposed and planned a way of redemption when He ‘chose us in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love’ (Ephesians 1:4). This purpose is indicated in human nature and in the Scriptures.” (Thiessen, Henry C.; “Lectures In Systematic Theology”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, p 275)
Thiessen states, “Divine foreknowledge. If God could foreknow that man would sin without causing him to sin; if He foreknew that the inhabitants of Keliah would betray David into the hands of Saul before they had had the chance to do so (1 Samuel 23:11,12); if Jesus could know that the fate of Tyre and Sidon, and of Sodom and Gomorrah, would have been different had they had the manifestations of His works which were granted to Chorazin and Bethsaida and to Capernaum (Matthew 11:21-24); if God could foreknow that the Jews would kill Christ without causing them to do so and before He had created a man (Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; 4:27, 28); then He can also foreknow what men will do in response to prevenient grace, whether or not they will receive ‘the grace of God in vain’ (2 Corinthians 6:1, 2). The Scriptures teach that election is based on foreknowledge (Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:1, 2).” (p 156)
Thiessen also mentions, “Since mankind is hopelessly dead in trespasses and sins and can do nothing to obtain salvation, God graciously restores to all men sufficient ability to make a choice in the matter of submission to Him. This is the salvation bringing grace of God that has appeared to all men. In His foreknowledge He perceives what each one will do with this restored ability, and elects men to salvation in harmony with His knowledge of their choice of Him.” (p 344, 345)
This would be a good recap of the foreknowledge position. What God foreknew may vary but basically this is it. God DRAWS people to Himself.
One last question might help you understand which position you would like to settle into.
God chose based on foreknowledge. Now, if he did not use foreknowledge, as in He knew before hand, then He chose with no knowledge of the people or the plan. That is impossible. You cannot choose without knowledge. I can’t pick a car, if I don’t know what a car is, or what cars are available to pick from.
Foreknowledge, as in knowing beforehand, is required by logic and is clearly stated in Scripture, so why do so many try to leave it out?
I would like to close this section with a thought from Spurgeon. “When Moses sang at the Red Sea, it was his joy to know that all Israel were safe. Not a drop of spray fell from that solid wall until the last of God’s Israel had safely planted his foot on the other side the flood. That done, immediately the floods dissolved into their proper place again, but not till then. Part of that song was, ‘Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed.’ In the last time, when the elect shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb, it shall be the boast of Jesus, ‘Of all whom thou hadst given me, I have lost none.’ In heaven there shall not be a vacant throne.
“‘For all the chosen race Shall meet around the throne, Shall bless the conduct of His grace, And make His glories known.’
“As many as God hath chosen, as many as Christ hath redeemed, as many as the Spirit hath called, as many as believe in Jesus, shall safely cross the dividing sea. We are not all safely landed yet:
“‘Part of the host have crossed the flood, And part are crossing now.’ “The vanguard of the army has already reached the shore. We are marching through the depths; we are at this day following hard after our Leader into the heart of the sea. Let us be of good cheer: the rearguard shall soon be where the vanguard already is; the last of the chosen ones shall soon have crossed the sea, and then shall be heard the song of triumph, when all are secure. But oh. if one were absent — oh. if one of his chosen family should be cast away — it would make an everlasting discord in the song of the redeemed, and cut the strings of the harps of paradise, so that music could never be extorted from them.” (Spurgeon, Charles H.; “MORNING AND EVENING”; Mclean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Co., p 42)
Atonement in the New Testament is a translation of the Greek word “katalithozo” (Strong’s 2643). It appears as atonement only once, in Romans 5:11. The other appearances are translated reconciliation. Romans 11:15; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:19.
In the Old Testament atonement was always related to the idea of a sacrifice being given to atone for sins of the people. It is used almost exclusively in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. Only four other occurrences are found outside these three books.
There are two words translated atonement in the Old Testament. (“Kip- poor’“ and “kaw-far’“) The first comes from the second and the meaning is to cover. It is the word that is used in Genesis 6:14, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” Noah was to use pitch, or kawphar to cover the ark.
Indeed, is not Noah covering the ark with pitch and being saved, a picture of the Old Testament saint that sacrificed an animal, and the animal becoming a covering for the sin, to protect the saint?
The New Testament term is one which we studied under propitiation. The term is translated reconciling or reconciliation in the New Testament usually, and atonement only once in the New Testament.
Atonement is the paying of a price to bring man and God back together. The question of whom the atonement was for, is often raised.
Some see the atonement as only for the elect. The strong Calvinist would be in this group. Christ died only for those that God in His sovereign will did elect in eternity past. Others view Christ’s work on the cross for the sins of the world — for all of mankind.
The abundance of Scripture seems to indicate the unlimited atonement is best.
John 1:29 Christ taketh away the sin of the world.
John 3:16 God loved the world.
John 6:51 Christ gave flesh for the world.
Romans 11:12,15 Reconciling of the world.
2 Corinthians 5:19 Christ reconciling the world to Himself.
1 John 2:2 Christ propitiation for sins of the world.
2 Corinthians 5:14 Christ died for all.
1 Timothy 2:4,6 Christ ransom for all.
Titus 2:11 Grace that bringteth salvation appeared to all men.
Hebrews 2:9 Christ tasted death for every man.
2 Peter 3:9 God wants all to come to repentance.
(Pardington notes p 261 ff list more references if they are needed.)
It would seem from these verses that Christ died for the sins of every individual that has, or will live on this earth. The fact that many are lost shows that the work of Christ must be accepted to become effectual in the life.
There are some inadequate views of the atonement. We should look at these briefly.
1. Replacement Theory: (Iraneus) Christ’s obedience to God replaced the Devil’s disobedience, and thus Christ conquered the devil. This theory
does not deal with sin, however, and that is the problem that man needs cared for.
2. Ransom To Satan: (Origen) Christ died to buy us back from the Devil. The problem with this theory is that the Bible nowhere mentions that we are Satan’s, nor that we need to be bought back from him.
3. Mystical Theory: (Schleirmacher/a liberal) Christ took on a sinful nature. Just how making Christ sinful in nature cares for lost man’s sin, I don’t know. This theory does not deal with death nor penalty.
4. Moral Influence Theory also known as the Bushnellian Theory: (Abelard) Death of Christ softens our heart to lead us to repentance. As we consider and meditate on the death of Christ our soul is moved to repentance.
5. Honor, Commercial Or Anselmic Theory: (Anselm) Christ received honor and he didn’t need it so Christ passed it on to us if we follow the Gospel.
The Roman Catholic church expands this thought and see grace as coming from this source. They feel that the Church Saints also had extra grace which went into a pool with that of Christ, where the person can come to gain grace, through the sacraments.
6. True Doctrine: (God) The atonement must be manward as well as Godward. God’s holiness demands sin be punished. (eternal torment) Christ died as our substitute for our sin. This affects both God and man. Man becomes correct before God, and God can see His creatures face to face.
Christ did all that was needed to bring man to God. We could not do it.
7. Socinian: (originally set forth by Laelius & Faustus Socinus of Poland in 16th century. Today it is basically a Unitarian doctrine.) Only man has a problem. God is okay and when man gets it right all will be well. Man does this by his own will and works. Christ was an example for us to show how we are to be faithful to duty.
8. Grotian, Or Governmental Theory: God’s governmental set up requires that the punishment be levied and carried out. This is what Christ was doing. It has nothing to do with God’s nature.
9. Irvingian, Or Theory Of Gradually Extirpated Depravity: (Set forth by Edward Irvin in England 1792-1834 and presently held by some German scholars.) Christ took upon Himself a fallen human nature and through suffering here on earth lived a perfect life and purified that nature. His death on the cross was His final reuniting the perfected nature with God. (This may be similar to the mystical theory that has already been covered.)
10. Dramatic Theory: (Aulen 1879-1978) “Christ in His death gained victory over the powers of evil.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 309)
11. Barthian Theory: (Barth 1886-1968) “Christ’s death was principally a revelation of God’s love and His hatred of sin. (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 309)
12. Substitutional Or Satisfaction Theory: This one is the correct one by the way. It was mentioned in number six previously. This view was set forth by Augustine, and later Calvin. It is present in todays Reformed and Presbyterian theologies. “Christ the sinless One took on Himself the penalty that should have been borne by man and others.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 309)
Substitutionary Atonement is a term we often use today. It describes the fact that Christ died in our place as a substitute for us on the cross.
This principle is seen in the Old Testament sacrificial system. The saint was to lay his hand on the sacrifice as it was slain. Ryrie states of this, “This meant transmission and delegation, and implied representation; so that it really pointed to the substitution of the sacrifice for the sacrificer….” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 287)
Pardington has more information on the theories if you want more study materials. Ryrie goes into great length on the use of prepositions in relation to the atonement, if you would like further study.
1. Christ died for the sins of the world. That’s Missions.
2. Christ died in our place. That’s Grace.
3. Christ paid the price. That’s Love.
4. Jesus last words on the cross were these, “It is finished”. That’s Victory..
He was speaking of the work that God had given Him to accomplish on this earth. He did all that was required of Him. All that was required of Him was all that God had planned for Him before the foundation of the world.
Q. How do you as a believer react to what you have read in this series of studies? Has it changed your life one whit? Has it brought you under conviction about any of the overindulgences you allow yourself in the material realm?
Has it brought you face to face with the 2-3 Billion people that have never heard the Gospel once. 2-3 billion people that we have discussed as being lost and without hope of salvation. Have you really faced that issue in your life? (In 1992 the world’s population was 5 1/2 billion. The estimates tell us that half of these people have never heard the claims of the Gospel.)
Has it put you into prayer about the multitude of things that Christ provided to you when you simply trusted Him as your personal savior?
Has it made you think of the 30,000 missionaries that will be retiring in the next few years. Many missions were established and manned shortly after World War II when the Christian servicemen were coming home after seeing the needs of people over the world spiritually. Most of these people are in their 60’s and 70’s.
We only have about 5,000 appointees and applicants on the line today to replace those 30,000 that are coming home.
If you truly believe all that we have studied this semester, then there is no way you can put these questions aside. You must deal with them. To ignore them is to ignore the Lord, for Missions is what it is all about.
Theology books may seem to be a funny place to talk of these things but let me tell you something. Our schools and seminaries are geared for raising Pastors and Missionaries. They raise them in separate gardens and the two are only allowed to learn from one another those things that happen accidentally. If we don’t start teaching pastors to be missions minded we are never going to have a missions minded church.
If we don’t apply what we learn here in these studies to the program of God then we are wasting both our time and His.
If in your mind, Theology is not related to the ministering of that knowledge you learn here to the souls of men, then Please stop wasting your time.
If the things you are learning in these books today aren’t in your mind aimed at reaching the lost with the Gospel, you have a wrong concept of what is going on.
We have been studying the very essence of the Gospel. We have dissected it, we have chewed it up, we have inspected it and we have labored with it. We should have a good understanding of what Christ is sending us out to preach.
MAN is lost in SIN and God has provided Salvation.
How Are You Going To Relate This Information To Your Personal Life? How Are You Going To Relate It To The World? How Are You Going To Face God If You Don’t Relate It To Both Your Personal Life And The World?
BACK TO GOD’S PLAN
“The day after the air raid which resulted in the demolition of the House of Commons chamber at Westminster, when we knew the worst, the thought was in millions of minds that after the war we must build that old historic house ‘according to the original plan,’ but alas. the old plan was nowhere to be found. The prime minister confessed to the House that all possible research was being made and would be made.
“Away back in the year 1882 a famous architect was going over a number of old plans and distributed those for which he had no further use to his staff of young designers and draughtsmen. One of these young men who chose a plan and who is still alive today was recently listening in to a talk on ‘Planning,’ and the speaker reminded his listeners that old plans and old papers had acquired a new value as munitions of war and suggested that those listening in should immediately search their houses and turn in all old papers for salvage. The architect who in his youth had acquired the plan from his chief made search in his attic, and there amid the dust of the years, discovered he had in his possession something of great value which had long ago been forgotten. It was the original plan of the House of Commons. The good news was at once conveyed to the House, and the plan pronounced valid, and a great relief filled the minds of many people that in the period of reconstruction the House of Commons chamber would be rebuilt on the model of the old plan.
“There is surely a parable in this story. The world is in a terrible mess of trouble and disaster because the old plan of God’s word and God’s will has been lost or set aside. Men have either rejected it altogether or tampered with it. God’s plan is the only solution. Nothing less will do. Let us seek out that old plan for the reconstruction which must follow war. Charles S. Rodenberg (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis; “Treasury Of The Christian Faith”; New York: Association Press, 1949)
I trust none of us mislay, or place in storage what we’ve learned in this section. We have the plan that millions need. How can we personally help in furthering God’s program?
 Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.