Paul's Passing Thoughts

Bible Prophesy is Directly Linked to Assurance of Salvation: Part Two

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 5, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/The contention of part one states that assurance of salvation is contrary to Protestant soteriology because “Christians” remain under the law, or “under the eyes of the law,” and condemnation cannot be separated from being under the law of sin and death.

Also, because all remain under the law of sin and death, final justification must take place at a judgment where the law is present.

A third point that will be added here is also relevant: if we remain under the law of sin and death, Christ could not have come to end the law, but rather fulfill it in our stead as a covering or imputation perpetually obtained by returning to the same gospel that saved us. In our Heidelberg Disputation series, evangelical and John MacArthur associate Phil Johnson is quoted as stating that as the very definition of faith.

Sin is Empowered by Condemnation   

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Both “righteousness” and “justification” come from the same Greek word, dikaiosynē. For all practical purposes, Romans 10:4 can also read, “the end of the law for justification.” The two words, righteousness and justification, mean the same thing.

Nevertheless, Protestant soteriology is predicated on the idea that Christ fulfilled the righteous demands of the law through His own obedience, and Christians must keep the law satisfied by faith alone in what Christ accomplished in His death AND life. Therefore, the Christian “rests and feeds” on Christ in order to keep the righteous demands of the law satisfied. The final judgment determines who rested in Christ’s works well enough to qualify for heaven rather than having a “righteousness of their own.”

In contrast, multiple judgments/resurrections allow for judgment based on something other than condemnation. If Christians are no longer under the law’s condemnation, there is no reason to be present at any judgment where there is law. Our fear is to be judged by the law; it goes without saying that if we will not even be present at such a judgment, assurance is greatly enhanced. There is a resurrection of the “just” and “unjust” because one’s condition when resurrected is already a settled issue. These are two separate resurrections.

What then is the standard for righteousness? Not law, but the new birth. This is a concept that stands in opposition to the status qua of world philosophy; the infusion of the divine into mortal man is not possible. To the contrary, we have this treasure in “clay vessels.” The body is not inherently evil, but weak. A clay vessel is weak—not evil. The new spirit is willing, “but the flesh is weak.”

Sin resides wherever there is mortality, but is empowered by condemnation. If you take away sin’s ability to condemn, it cannot enslave.

1 Corinthians 15:56  – The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

A saved person receives a new heart that is no longer indifferent to God’s law, but rather loves God’s law. Psalm 119 is a psalm of the saved person who is truly born again (1John 3) and loves God’s law. The unregenerate are indifferent to God’s law and are condemned by it, and will be judged by it.

Sin makes its appeal to the flesh through desire; believers have the wherewithal to say no for the most part because they are not under law or its condemnation. They have been freed to serve God through love as properly defined by the same law. The believer does not keep the law perfectly because sin still resides in mortality…

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

However, this has no bearing on the believers true state of being, i.e., a true child of God who has a righteous nature by birth.

The Other Salvation and the Other Fear

As discussed in part one, what is Philippians 2:12,13 really talking about?  If you believe in one salvation, one resurrection, and one judgment, this text must be interpreted as pertaining to the salvation of the soul.

Hence, we are working out our salvation while properly motivated by fear of condemnation, a “sanctification” principle wholly endorsed by Luther and Calvin in no uncertain terms, and God actively works through our passive will to accomplish this IF we live by faith alone. The text calls on us to obey, but this is really the “obedience of faith” or “obedient faith” that is performed by God through us as we live by faith alone and progressively accomplishes our salvation.

However, though that seems to fit very well at first, it makes the Spirit a poor communicator and a God of confusion because Paul first tells us to obey, then seems to say that it is God who is really doing the work. Who is obeying, God or us?

A clearer understanding can be demonstrated. There remains a salvation left for the believer which is redemption. Salvation of the soul and redemption are not the same. Redemption is the other salvation; it is the salvation of the body where sin still resides. The apostle Paul asked the rhetorical question: “Who will save me from this body of death?” At some point, Christ will come to claim what He has already purchased with His blood—that’s redemption, and salvation from weakness that makes sin possible in the born again believer.

Redemption: the Other Salvation

This is what Paul is calling on us to work out through obedience: our sanctification or progressive setting apart until God completely finishes the work when we are resurrected. It is us doing the obedience. This does not exclude God working in us as well; it is not one or the other, it is both. As God’s children, He will always make sure we have enough in the tank to obey and work in our sanctification.

But with that comes a great responsibility. Though we are never to fear in regard to our justification, there is a fear in sanctification because “judgment begins in the household of God.” This is present chastisement that can occur in many forms for using our salvation as a cloak for unrighteousness. As believers we are called on to work hard in sanctification, a jurisdiction of love where there is no fear of eternal judgment. However, there is a fear of present chastisement that should be taken seriously.

This is the other fear, but it is NOT fear of condemnation. It is fear of chastisement.

Definitive Assurance

Our assurance comes from the definitive knowledge that we are not under the law, and the law cannot judge us or condemn us. We are not under the bondage of condemnation, nor the fear thereof; there is no fear in love. Consequently, our assurance is enhanced as we actively engage in our calling to love God and others.

Fear has to do with judgment, and the law of sin and death has no jurisdiction over the child of God. This is why John wrote that indeed, we can KNOW we are saved. Moreover, we will not appear at any judgment that involves the law of sin and death. We are not under law, but under grace.

paul

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