Originally published March 4, 2015
I came across an “interesting” blog article the other day. It appeared in my Facebook newsfeed because someone on my friend list commented on it when one of his friends shared it. Of course, since I am not friends with the one who originally shared it, I was unable to add my comment, thus the inspiration for this article today.
The title of the blog article in questions is, “If we sin, do we lose our salvation?” That mere fact that such a question is still posed in Christianity is indicative of just how biblically illiterate most Christians are. The fact that authors such as this one still address this question in the manner that he does is even more disturbing.
Before even addressing the issue of whether one can lose one’s salvation, the author begins his article by citing Jesus’ example of the two house builders found in Luke chapter 6. Let’s take a look at this passage ourselves before we move on.
47Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Clearly, Jesus is using a metaphor, but to properly understand the metaphor we must ask ourselves, what is the context of this passage? It should be apparent that the context is a contrast between two kinds of individuals. One kind is an individual who hears AND does. The second kind is an individual who hears only. The parallel passage in Matthew 7 goes even further in marking this contrast.
24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
The individual who hears AND does is considered wise. The one who hears only is considered foolish. Herein is the point of this whole passage: the emphasis on hearing AND doing, which is considered to be wise. But please notice what the blog author chooses as his focus:
“Building a house is very similar to one’s experience as either a Christian believer or an unsaved nonbeliever. That is why Jesus drew a comparison between the two (Luke 6:47-49). If you start out with a good foundation that is level and built on solid ground, you can confidently add on walls and flooring and a roof and every other component that makes up a house, and be certain that, because the foundation is sound, the house will be sound. But if you lay a poor foundation that is uneven and shaky, the rest of the house will follow and all the components that are built on that poor foundation will be compromised. To have a soundly constructed house, you must have a good foundation; to have a rock-solid Christian faith, you must build it on foundational truth.”
This is one of the most intellectually incompetent and dishonest uses of the two builders that I have ever seen! This example from scripture has nothing to do with “foundations”. It has everything to do with wisdom and sanctification. The author completely ignores the part about wisdom in both hearing and doing and instead engages in what I call “spiritualizing the analogy”, making it about justification instead. He has interpreted this passage in the so-called “proper gospel context”. This is what happens when you interpret scripture using a redemptive-historical hermeneutic. Spiritualizing the analogy makes a false application of a metaphor that was never intended. It is a logical fallacy. Let’s examine what I mean by this.
If I am given the logical premises that A=B and B=C, I can logically conclude that A=C. This is the logic of the example of the two house builders.
A = B Hearing and doing = a wise man
B = C A wise man = building on a rock (a good foundation)
A = C Hearing and doing = building on a rock (will make one strong; i.e. aggressive sanctification)
The same holds true for the foolish man.
A = B Hearing only = a foolish man
B = C A foolish man = building on sand (a poor foundation)
A = C Hearing only = building on sand (will make one weak; i.e. little or no sanctification)
A metaphor makes no sense in and of itself. It has no relevance outside of the initial truth that it represents. If Jesus had only said, “Make sure you build on a rock foundation and not a foundation of sand,” that would have made no sense whatsoever. But Jesus clearly stated that hearing and doing is wise, and He further emphasized that point by using the analogy of building on a rock. Notice also that a correct logical progression in thought results in the proper application of the conclusions. One can reasonably conclude that this not a salvation passage but rather a sanctification passage for believers.
That is the proper meaning and intention of this passage. Contrast that with what the author did in the article. He took the metaphor all by itself and made it say whatever he wanted it to say in order to make his case. And what is his case?
“If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins, and turn to God in repentance of your sins, then you will be saved… This does not mean that after this occurs, you will never sin again, or even that you will not commit the same sin repeatedly. It means that your heart has been changed toward sin so that you can now see it for what it is… Fortunately, for Paul and for you and for me, that question has a definitively glorious answer: ‘Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’”
Plain and simple, this is progressive justification. Notice it is an ongoing deliverance, not a onetime deliverance. So, then the question remains, what do we have to do to keep the deliverance going? Well, we repent, and that saves us, BUT we still sin. So what? Well, the “so what” is that we need perpetual saving by Jesus. This is what Paul David Tripp and Tim Keller and John Piper call a “daily rescue.” This is Luther’s theology of the cross, a perpetual mortification and vivification.
This is the very reason why the emphasis on the hearing AND doing is ignored. For us “to do” would be works, at least in this construct, if this were a passage on justification and not sanctification. We must live by “faith alone” and not build on the wrong “foundation.” We can only “experience” what it is to have the right foundation, because for us to try and work and build is building on the wrong foundation which is the reformed definition of the “unsaved”. But justification is a finished work. There is nothing we can do to add to it. Because it is finished, we can aggressively “do” the things we “hear” taught to us in the Word. Time and time again, the scriptures equate for us doing good with life and doing evil with death. Good = life = wise. Evil = death = foolish. When it comes right down to it, this really isn’t that hard to figure out.
As a former Reformed pastor, viz, a Protestant, viz, a Calvinist, viz, a Lutheran, viz, an Augustinian, and all other roots of the poisonous tree that make up the Institutional church, I had no comfort for those who suffered the loss of their unborn and infants. I usually let the more expert pastors speak in those situations; you know, the ones with the seminary degrees.
“Is my baby in heaven? ‘We don’t know, but we trust that God is righteous in all that He does.’”
“Why did God allow this to happen? ‘We don’t know, but perhaps to save the child from some worse death.’” That is, something worse than the toddler getting run over in the driveway by their best friend.
Have you ever noticed? Despite trillions of dollars invested in Protestant education, and over 500 years to get it right, Protestants don’t know a lot of stuff. Remember, Jay Adams’ biblical counseling construct introduced in 1970 was considered to be revolutionary. One well-known evangelical even asked, “Could the Bible really be this practical?” Think about it: 1970. That’s how many years after the supposed brilliance of the Reformation?
Not long after 1970, an Adventist theologian named Robert Brinsmead was invited to the hallowed halls of Westminster seminary to inform the who’s who of Protestantism in regard to what a Protestant really is. Now go to Westminster and pay $80,000 for a degree; ya, do that, brilliant. They didn’t even know what the true Protestant gospel was until Brinsmead came along, and they are the experts? Really? So, don’t give me any of that crap about “historical precedent.”
Shortly thereafter, Brinsmead’s revelation was repackaged into things like the Sonship Discipleship Bible Study program and “second generation biblical counseling.” The latter was hatched by Dr. David Powlison who was mentored by another Westminster hack, Dr. John “Jack” Miller. This was the beginning of the New Calvinist movement and launched a Calvinist theological civil war that ended up being won by the New Calvinists who now control Protestantism for the most part. The only holdouts are small Baptist churches that pride themselves on theological ignorance which by the way is a Lutheran Gnostic concept.
But of course, Baptists put a hillbilly twist on that: “We don’t know nuttin about none of that-thar thee-ology stuff. All you do is talk in them 50-cent thee-o-logical words.” Well, at least they know they are ignorant and profess it openly.
Anyway, don’t miss the point: over 500 years after the Reformation Calvinist scholars were arguing about what the true Protestant gospel is. New Calvinism has taken over the evangelical church because no one could ultimately deny that Brinsmead was right. In a presentation at Dr. John Piper’s church, David Powlison stated openly that the difference between first generation biblical counseling and second generation biblical counseling is two different gospels. You do the math. The church is supporting confused men who can’t even agree on what the gospel is.
By the way; babies, born or unborn, go to heaven because they are not under the law. They are born under the law, but they are not susceptible to its condemnation until their consciences are developed. It’s not rocket science, unless your mind is warped with “the gospel of sovereignty.” Don’t bother looking for that in your concordance; it’s not there.
Other than learning real truth from being faithful Bereans, live events teach us well. This week, between our annual TANC conference and the death of my 3rd grandson, I learned a lot more about death. Already in heaven his body was released from what was the comfort of his mother’s womb. His name is now Isaiah, and his short life has taught me much.
The procedure was performed at Kettering hospital in Dayton, Ohio named after Charles F. Kettering the inventor. John Immel spoke of him during this year’s conference. One would do well to read about this man’s astounding life. It is evident at Kettering that they strive to live up to the name for which their facility is named. That’s a very high calling.
But why do we do what we do? Although Isaiah only lived 13 weeks and made no appearance outside of his mother’s womb, Kettering supplies numerous services to honor the life of the unborn. They have a team that focuses on the stillborn exclusively. When Isaiah’s body was delivered, he was placed in a little knit baby crib made by volunteers. Kettering also has a memorial garden for the unborn where ceremonies are held.
Why am I a part of the medical profession where billions of dollars are spent to serve the severely disabled? After all, what can they contribute to others? Why are there so many cemeteries? Wouldn’t it just be easier and cheaper to cremate everybody? For some reason, cemeteries often have “memory” in their names, but I have learned this week from Isaiah that it is not about memory at all. It is rather about defending life and honoring it.
Those who we know and love cannot be forgotten. They become a part of our lives and being. When we lose family and friends, truly the part of our lives they contributed to is lost for the time being. We never completely get over any loss in this lifetime. With each new day we regain more of our happiness and begin functioning according to a new normal of wellbeing. Our mind will find balance, but not because we forget anything. Loss is part of overall homeostasis. There will never be complete closure until the final enemy of God is defeated: death. Christ defeated sin on the cross by ending the law, sickness will be defeated in the Millennial Kingdom, and death will be completely defeated at the new heaven and new earth.
We do what we do because we stand for life. That’s why I no longer think cremation is ok, because of what Isaiah taught me this week. Something is defective in our thinking when dad is sitting on a bookshelf with the family pets. Pets are important, but our lives are worth more than sparrows according to Christ. This is why some cultures have cemeteries, and others just have mass graves. But it’s not about memory, it’s about honoring life—nobody forgets the part of them that is gone.
May I be frank? This is why my knowledge of the Protestant Reformation has caused me to set my face completely against it. If you have followed my teachings on the founding documents of the Protestant Reformation, you know that it is an ideology of zero-sum-life and a doctrine of death. Martin Luther and Charles F. Kettering represent the antithesis of two ideologies in regard to state of being. One loved life so much that he only wanted to know about problems so he could solve them to make life better; the other cursed life and despised anything that improved the quality of it, calling such improvements “the glory of man story” as opposed to the “cross story.” When Christians come to me and Susan for counseling via the electric starter invented by Charles Kettering and end up lecturing us about how spiritual wellbeing only comes from suffering, where does this come from? It comes from the root of the tree. No matter how old a tree is, the fruit is determined by the roots.
We make much ado about the dead because they once lived. We don’t honor their memory—we honor their life. Their memory charges us that when times are good they would have us rejoice, but when times are bad, we are to consider because the creator of life is watching. In this way they speak from the grave.
Sin hates life and brought death. And its advocates despise the idea that man can choose life because they believe he has no right to it. As I walked through the hallways of Kettering Medical Center yesterday I thought about Martin Luther. I thought about how much he would hate that place if he were here today. I thought about how he would rail against it as the “glory of Charles Kettering story” and not the “cross of suffering story.” How he would despise the comfort my daughter received there and its subsequent circumvention of real knowledge in his Book of Concord. This is a vile misrepresentation of the true gospel of life.
But Isaiah and his horde speak of a better testimony…one of life and the upholding of it.