Paul's Passing Thoughts

According to the Protestant False Gospel of Justification by Faith, Salvation is Like Cheating at School, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 1, 2021 Live Discussion link today 8/1/21 @ 4:30pm

Years ago, I criticized a pastor to a Christian friend. She misunderstood my criticism as an endorsement and said the following: “Right, because we are not saved by works.” The idea I criticized concerned the pastor’s assertion that sanctification is a “sabbath rest.” Can a true born again Christian be guilty of works salvation in sanctification? No, but most professing Christians would answer “yes” to that question.

Most professing Christians, if not all of them, believe that it goes without saying that Christians sin. This is very telling;. First, they really don’t understand the word in biblical context, and I think this would be a good place to start our study; that is, by explaining what the word, “sin” means in biblical context. However, in all cases, the biblical word, “sinner,” denotes someone who is under the condemnation of the law.

One of the most well known truisms among professing Christians is, “We are all just sinners saved by grace.” This is, in fact, the calling card for American Christianity’s false gospel. By calling themselves “sinners,” they are confessing they are yet unregenerate and under the condemnation of the law. There are only two kinds of people in the world: under law and under grace; lost or saved.

And yes, technically, the American Protestant false gospel is like going to salvation school, and maybe you will pass, and maybe you won’t, and if you do, it’s because you let Jesus do your homework and He also took your tests for you. I’m not kidding you. Sanctification is school, justification is your admission to the school, and you graduate with a degree in “final justification” if you let Jesus do your homework and take your tests for you. In an interview where John Piper was discussing Doug Wilson, he stated:

…a little introduction to Doug Wilson and why I’m eager for him to be a part of this conference with an anecdote. I was listening to a sermon of his the other day; he’s preaching his way through Romans as I’m making this video and he gave an illustration of the difference between good advice and good news. And he said good advice is a teacher saying to her class, “You study hard, memorizes your paradigms, do your homework, and get it in every night and you’ll do fine on the final exam.”

And of course all that’s really good advice. And then the exam comes and this teacher’s walking down the aisle and she sees this young fella sitting over a blank piece of paper not able to write anything on the final exam and she stops and says more good advice: “Just try to remember everything you’ve studied and give yourself attention here and just relax.” That’s all very good advice, and then he said, “But if she says, ‘Scoot over and I’ll take the test for you,” that’s good news.” Now, when I heard that I thought, “Okay, there are three things about that that characterize Doug Wilson. Number one, it’s true, and Doug gets the gospel right, especially substitutionary atonement and justification by faith alone. And He’s going to take our place and his righteousness is going to count for me at the last day and that will be my solid ground.

Number two, it’s risky to give illustrations like that because you might have somebody say, “Well if God’s going to take the test for me, then I can just fool around all semester long. That’s antinomianism.” And my response is if you don’t preach in such a way that somebody responds like Romans 6:1, let us sin that grace may abound, you’re probably not preaching the gospel. We’ve got to preach good news, not good advice as the ground of our salvation, is the message of our salvation. So, it’s risky and Doug Wilson is a risk taker, we all know that.

We of the called out assembly of Christ saved by the new birth, not works of the law, like the justification by faith false gospel, would say that being enrolled in school guarantees our salvation, and the learning process is done by us, the help of the Spirit notwithstanding, and our graduation is a reward, not salvation. We do our own homework, and take the tests ourselves, resulting in Christ saying, “Well done faithful servant.” Salvation is not a works program that earns salvation by letting Christ do everything for us.

Now, many of the Protestant stripe will say, “John Piper doesn’t speak for us.” Actually, he does. John Piper is endorsed by every well known evangelical leader in the country. We have cited him extensively regarding his statements that Christians still need to be saved through obedience to church authority. This is the very doctrine of Martin Luther and John Calvin. It’s nothing more or less than Catholicism 2.0. There is a huge price to pay for not paying attention to this; 20 years ago, most parishioners would have rejected out of hand the idea that one is saved by church membership and earning salvation by letting God do everything for us. Not anymore. So, what will people in the church be advocating in the next 20 years?

Yet, it is also surprising that many are taken aback or seem surprised at what some evangelical leaders have stated recently; things they have actually taught for a long time now. Here is something I reposted yesterday from Kevin DeYoung that surprised some people:

Kevin DeYoung in video:

“…assurance has to be a community project. I mean, because some people hear this, and I know because I have dear brothers and sisters that I love and they’re just like…they read Edwards or the Puritans and they get depressed. I mean they’re just soul-searching; they do that naturally, so you have to tell people, don’t look for evidence from Tuesday to Wednesday, you know, don’t look at it from a week. You got to look over how you did, you know, the last year, and not, ‘Do you feel holy?’

Because, I mean, everyone always says, and it’s true, the closer you get to God: the farther away you see that you really are. So, the holiest saint is going to be more aware of his sin then the most immature new believer is. So, you’re gonna have that experience, so you need to look not just where you are but your trajectory. You need to look not just over days, but years and you need to look not just to yourself but others.

You know, hopefully if there’s a functioning elder board, one of the things the elders do: they can bind and they can loose. Let’s say there are ten godly men here who have authority from Christ and they deemed that I’m a member of his body yeah yeah.”

This is John Calvin’s Power of the Keys doctrine:

“4.1.21. Nor by remission of sins does the Lord only once for all elect and admit us into the Church, but by the same means he preserves and defends us in it. For what would it avail us to receive a pardon of which we were afterwards to have no use? That the mercy of the Lord would be vain and delusive if only granted once, all the godly can bear witness; for there is none who is not conscious, during his whole life, of many infirmities which stand in need of divine mercy. And truly it is not without cause that the Lord promises this gift specially to his own household, nor in vain that he orders the same message of reconciliation to be daily delivered to them. Wherefore, as during our whole lives we carry about with us the remains of sin, we could not continue in the Church one single moment were we not sustained by the uninterrupted grace of God in forgiving our sins. On the other hand, the Lord has called his people to eternal salvation, and therefore they ought to consider that pardon for their sins is always ready. Hence let us surely hold that if we are admitted and ingrafted into the body of the Church, the forgiveness of sins has been bestowed, and is daily bestowed on us, in divine liberality, through the intervention of Christ’s merits, and the sanctification of the Spirit.

22. To impart this blessing to us, the keys have been given to the Church (Mt. 16:19; 18:18). For when Christ gave the command to the apostles, and conferred the power of forgiving sins, he not merely intended that they should loose the sins of those who should be converted from impiety to the faith of Christ; but, moreover, that they should perpetually perform this office among believers. This Paul teaches, when he says that the embassy of reconciliation has been committed to the ministers of the Church, that they may ever and anon in the name of Christ exhort the people to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). Therefore, in the communion of saints our sins are constantly forgiven by the ministry of the Church, when presbyters or bishops, to whom the office has been committed, confirm pious consciences, in the hope of pardon and forgiveness by the promises of the gospel, and that as well in public as in private, as the case requires. For there are many who, from their infirmity, stand in need of special pacification, and Paul declares that he testified of the grace of Christ not only in the public assembly, but from house to house, reminding each individually of the doctrine of salvation (Acts 20:20, 21). Three things are here to be observed. First, Whatever be the holiness which the children of God possess, it is always under the condition, that so long as they dwell in a mortal body, they cannot stand before God without forgiveness of sins. Secondly, This benefit is so peculiar to the Church, that we cannot enjoy it unless we continue in the communion of the Church. Thirdly, It is dispensed to us by the ministers and pastors of the Church, either in the preaching of the Gospel or the administration of the Sacraments, and herein is especially manifested the power of the keys, which the Lord has bestowed on the company of the faithful. Accordingly, let each of us consider it to be his duty to seek forgiveness of sins only where the Lord has placed it. Of the public reconciliation which relates to discipline, we shall speak at the proper place.”

Next week, we will look at definitive statements in the Bible that refute this justification by works of the law doctrine, and look at what the Bible teaches about salvation. The following week, we will look at versus used in error to support the false gospel of justification by faith.

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