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

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

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 4, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/One of the many Protestant myths that we hear often is that Bible prophesy, otherwise known as eschatology, is “secondary” truth. Yes, having a definitive understanding of its corpus which is about 25% of Scripture is optional.

Among the many disturbing insinuations in regard to this mentality is the idea that God prophesies about things that we can’t really understand. In other words, God is glorified by telling us things we can’t understand to prove some kind of point whatever that might be.

Not unlike many other Protestant mentalities, this particular one is warned against in Scriptures, and to the contrary promises blessings for those who study prophesy which assumes possible understanding.

One of the blessings of studying Bible prophecy and having a proper understanding of it is assurance of salvation. Much could be discussed on this wise, but the focus of this post will be the number of resurrections and judgments.

A Humble Faith is Confused and Uncertain?

There are many confused Protestants in the land because supposedly, being confused gives glory to God. One of myriad examples is a book written by Puritan wannabe Russ Kennedy of Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio titled “Perplexity.” The primary thesis of the book is about how unanswered questions are a form of worship. But this is typical: the Bible states that God is not a god of confusion, but Protestant orthodoxy can always be counted on to set the Bible straight. My point here is that there are many Protestants that believe the Bible teaches about multiple resurrections and judgments, But that’s NOT Protestantism. Most Protestants do not know what a Protestant is…which of course in not commendable.

At any rate, confusion never walks with surety.

Justification by Faith: One Resurrection; One Judgment

What is Protestant orthodoxy on this matter? Answer: one resurrection and one judgment immediately following. And why does this matter? It matters because this view of eschatology is tied directly to the Protestant position on justification; or in other words, the essential doctrine of Protestantism known as justification by faith.

In that doctrine of salvation (soteriology), there is no assurance of salvation until your salvation is confirmed at the one final judgment at the end of the ages. In that one final judgment, God “separates the sheep from the goats.” This is the judgment of the nations and NOT the great white throne judgment, but articulating the differences is not the subject of this particular post; our subject is justification by faith and its necessary eschatology that supports its authentic soteriology.

Orthodoxy: Obedient Faith Not OSAS   

Most Protestants also believe that once saved always saved (OSAS) is Protestant orthodoxy, but this is something else you can add to the long (very long) list of things that Protestants think Protestants believe. Protestant orthodoxy holds to salvation as a process. It is the idea that the process has a beginning point, a progression, and a final confirmation. A good snapshot of this is how Protestant orthodoxy interprets Philippians 2:12,13.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

First, “obeyed” is the Protestant “obedient faith” or “obedience of faith.” What’s that? It is the idea that Christians only perform one act of obedience, living by faith…alone. How do you live by faith alone? It’s a good question because our culture defines faith as purely mental. Therefore, how do we “live” actively by faith alone? As homo sapiens, we not only sit around and think—we do things.

The answer is in… “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Here, orthodoxy interprets “salvation” as justification, or the saving of the soul by Divine decree. Therefore, salvation needs to be worked out through faith alone.

“The Imperative Command is Grounded in the Indicative Event”

Also, and this is a BIG also, our working out of our salvation by faith alone, or faith-alone work, should be motivated by the supposed fact that “Christians” remain under the condemnation of the law, and should live in constant fear of condemnation which motivates us to live by faith alone lest we fall into “works righteousness [justification].” Because justification is seen as a process, and its end acquired by faith alone, one must not “jump directly from the command to an act of obedience.” Instead, everything we do must be “grounded in the historical Christ event” via faith alone, or by faith-alone works. This is how orthodoxy categorizes works in the Christian life: works, or a “righteousness of our own,” jumps from the command to obedience which is not of faith while faith-alone works operates on all obedience being grounded in the cross event.

In our Heidelberg Disputation series, mainline Protestant evangelical Phil Johnson is cited in regard to orthodoxy’s very definition of faith: it is returning to the same historical Christ event that saved us over and over again. By doing this, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our Christian life (sanctification, or a process of increased setting apart for God’s purposes), and the justification process continues to move forward. This is important to note because said imputation continues to satisfy the law, and remember, our primary motivation is fear of condemnation from being under law.

So, to clarify, our primary faith-alone work is to continually return to the same gospel that saved us, otherwise known as “preaching the gospel to ourselves” in order to keep the law satisfied. A perfect law-keeping is imputed to us as we live by faith alone in “what Jesus has done, not anything we do.”

The Preeminence of the Law in Protestant Soteriology  

Let’s tally all of this up in regard to the subject: Protestant orthodoxy makes law preeminent in salvation, and there is only one judgment that deals with the law; the great white throne judgment at the end of the ages. Orthodoxy rejects any judgment that excludes the condemnation of the law. Their gospel calls for a judgment that confirms those who “live by the gospel” well enough to be covered by Christ’s fulfillment of the law through His perfect law-keeping.

Judgments for rewards apart from the law and its condemnation are rejected by orthodoxy. The reward for living by faith-alone well enough is salvation. Because we are saved by faith alone, we must begin by faith alone, live by faith alone, and will be judged according to how well we did that. When we stand AT the judgment, if God only sees the works of Christ and not anything we did, we will “stand IN the judgment.”

Though Christ is said to have preeminence among Protestants, that’s only because Christ paid the penalty of sin under the law, and supposedly fulfilled its demands in our stead. The law is what really has preeminence in Protestant orthodoxy.

And this is why only one judgment is accepted; because all other judgments are for reward APART from the law’s condemnation.

What Saves a Protestant at the Judgment?

In the rest of Philippians 2:12,13 we read, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” If you have been following our Heidelberg Disputation series, you know that authentic Protestantism interprets this through Martin Luther’s bondage of the will. Luther believed that man was created with a passive will. Like water, it is only active when it is acted upon from outside of itself. Water doesn’t move unless gravity pushes it—it doesn’t change temperature unless the environment acts upon it from the outside. Likewise, the Christian does not work, he/she only has the will to act if acted upon from the outside. God is the only one who has an active will, and He created man with a passive will.

Luther framed this in context of death. According to Luther, death is not a nonexistent state, but merely a passive state. The dead exist, but they are in bondage to passivity unless acted upon. Luther also believed that this is illustrative of the Christian life. Christians are still dead in trespasses and sin, and only perform good works when acted upon from the outside by God. This is in fact central to the Protestant ideology that drives its soteriology.

Conclusion  

Assurance of salvation cannot be a reality in authentic Protestantism because surety removes the condemnation of the law regardless of anything we do. The goal is not the obedience of love, but the so-called obedience of faith that satisfies the “righteous demands of the law.” If we live by faith alone, the obedience of Christ will be imputed to us. This belief is what saves the Christian at the final judgement.

In part two, we will examine what Philippians 2:12,13 is really stating, and its relationship to eschatology. Moreover, we will examine why Christians can have doubtless assurance of salvation accordingly.

paul

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