Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Comprehensive Essay on the True Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on July 3, 2017

Man Does NOT Have a “Sin Problem”
That is a scandalous statement and one that contradicts everything you have probably heard in church your whole life.  It would seem to be a logical conclusion that the Bible teaches that man’s problem is sin, but let us reconsider two primary assumptions:

  1. Does man indeed have a problem?
  2. Is that problem sin?

The Bible teaches that there are only two kinds of people in this world; those who are “under law” and those who are “under grace”.  To be “under law” means to be subject to the Law’s condemnation, which is death, and ultimately the Lake of Fire.  Every person ever born into this word is “under law” and is therefore condemned because at some point in his life he has broken the Law in one way or another.

Even if a person has no knowledge of God’s Law from scripture, the Bible tells us that every man has the Law of God written on his heart, which is the conscience (Romans 2:14-15).  The conscience is what gives man knowledge of right and wrong.  One day, every person “under law” will be judged by God according to the Law, whether that be God’s law as recorded in scripture or by his own conscience.  So clearly, man does indeed have a problem.

 

What about Sin?
The Bible describes Sin as an entity which seeks to wield control over others. (Genesis 4:7)  Sin’s desire for control is manifest in man’s subsequent desire to wield control over others.  Ironically, Sin obtains its power of control over others through the Law (1 Corinthians 15:56).   Sin uses the Law to control others by provoking man through desires to break the Law.  Once there is a law that governs some behavior, Sin uses that same law to provoke a desire to rebel against what that law requires (Romans 7:7-8).

Without the Law, Sin has no power.  Therefore, where there is no Law, there is no Sin.  Any person who is “under law” is not only provoked by Sin to break the Law, but he is condemned if he does.

So the problem then is not with Sin, rather it is the reality that any man “under law” is under condemnation.  The solution then is that man needs a way to get out from under the Law’s condemnation.  Man needs a new relationship to the Law.

 

Man’s New Relationship to the Law
When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas how to be saved, their response was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…”  Belief means faith.  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  A person is born again (literally “born from above”) when he hears about Jesus and believes what he hears.  Hearing implies a cognitive process of allowing oneself to be persuaded by a reasonable argument.  So we understand then that “faith” is more than just an assenting to the facts, but it has to do with being thoroughly convinced in your mind that something is true.  Furthermore, having been persuaded, there comes a point where one must make a conscious choice as to whether or not one wishes to accept the reality of the gift freely offered to him and the ramifications that come along with that decision.

God made it possible for man to get out from under the Law’s condemnation through the New Birth.  When a person believes in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the “old man” who was “under law” dies.  Laws have no jurisdiction over dead people.  Dead people cannot be condemned.

When the “old man” dies, a new creature is reborn in his place.  This new creature is born of God.  He is the literal offspring of the Father.  This new creature is not born “under law”.  The Law has no jurisdiction over him.  This means the Law CANNOT condemn him.  And since there is no Law to condemn this born again new creature, there is no Sin.  The one who is born of God CANNOT sin!

“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.” ~ 1 John 3:9

Notice, the apostle John does not say the believer “won’t sin” or “chooses not to sin”.  He says he CANNOT sin.  He is not ABLE to sin.  Why is the one who is born again not able sin?  Because sin has to do with Law.  You cannot condemn one of sin when there is no Law under which to accuse him.  Think about it; if there was no 55 mph speed limit on the highway, and you were driving 56, would a patrol officer be able to write you a citation for speeding?  Of course not.  Why not?  What law could he use of which to accuse you?  There would be none.  So it is with the one who is born again.  The believer is no longer “under law,” therefore there is no Law that can be used to condemn.  The believer has a new relationship to the Law.

Since the Law can no longer condemn, the Law’s original intent can now be realized: to show love to God and to others!

This is why believers strive to obey.  It is not a means to merit some right standing with God The believer is already righteous because he is God’s offspring.  The believer obeys because he wants to show love to God and love to others.  Love is the fulfillment of the Law.  In fact, the Bible teaches that those who love God have a natural love for the Law as well.

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” ~ Psalms 119:97

“I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.” ~ Psalms 119:113

“I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.” ~ Psalms 119:163

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” ~ Psalms 119:165

Even if there was no speed limit on the highway, would you still drive as fast as you possibly wanted?  Hopefully not, because you would recognize the inherent danger, not only to yourself by driving recklessly, but also to the other drivers on the road.  You would drive in such a way as to preserve your own life and the lives of others.  You would be functioning according to the Law of Love.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” ~ Romans 8:2

This new relationship to the Law through the New Birth is offered as a free gift to any who believe on Jesus’ death on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins.

 

How does Jesus’ death on the cross forgive sin?
In Old Testament times, when God codified the Law for Israel with Moses, the Law took Old Testament saints into protective custody.  During this time, believers were preserved from condemnation upon their death because sin was imputed to the Law.  This was the “covering” aspect of the Law, and the ceremonial observation of the “Day of Atonement” was a recognition of Israel being under the Law’s protective custody. (Galatians 3:22-24)

This protective custody was in effect up until the time of Jesus’ death on the cross.  Jesus’ death was the fulfillment of a promise made to Abraham.  When Jesus died, He ended the need for the Law’s protective custody.  When the Law ended, all sins that had been imputed to the Law were taken away with it.

The picture of the “scapegoat” in Leviticus 16:21-22 describes what Jesus’ death on the cross accomplishes.  The priest would lay his hands upon a live goat, a symbol of sins being imputed to the Law.  That goat would then be delivered into the hands of a strong man who take that goat into the wilderness and release it.   Jesus is that “strong man” who took away the sins imputed to the “scapegoat” of the Law.

“…Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” ~ John 1:29

In essence, Jesus is both the “Lamb” and the “strong man”.  He is the Testator of the Old Covenant, the One of whom the Law speaks, the One to whom sin is imputed.  The death of the Testator brings an end (fulfillment) to that covenant, thereby taking with Him all sins which had been imputed to Him. (Hebrews 9:15-17)

Since the Promise of Christ has come, there is no longer a need for a guardian.  The “covering” aspect of the Law is no longer needed. (Galatians 3:25-26)  This is true for every person who believes in Jesus Christ for salvation.  The New Birth puts the old man to death.  All those past sins are forgiven.  They were taken away when the Law was ended for him upon his New Birth.  There is no ongoing need of forgiveness for “present” or “future” sins because the believer CANNOT sin.  There is no Law to condemn him, therefore there is no sin.

 

Why do Christians still “sin”?
Man is and always will be a free-will agent.  His behaviors are governed by choices that are the logical conclusions of assumptions.  Man was created by God to be a rational, thinking, creature.  It is how man is made is God’s image.  In this way, man is good.  To say that man is “good” means to be good existentially, or that which is intrinsic to the nature of his existence.  It means man has the capacity to act in accordance to the purpose for which he was created; to think, to reason, to live, to BE.

Because a man may make a choice to do evil does not mean that he IS evil.  Conversely, that man may make a choice to good is not what MAKES him good.  Man’s ability to even make a choice is what makes him “good”.  He is functioning according to how God designed him to be.   Do not misunderstand – “goodness” should not be conflated with “righteousness”.

It is not man’s choosing to do evil deeds (or lack of good deeds) which condemns him, no more than it is a believer’s choosing to do good deeds (or lack of evil deeds) which saves him.  Unregenerate man is condemned because he is “under law”.  A believer is saved because he is born again and NOT “under law”.  Therefore, because one who is born again is not “under law”, there is no such thing as “sin” for the believer.

Nevertheless, this does not preclude the fact that a believer can still choose to not obey the Law.  At the same time, this does not give a believer license to ignore the Law.  While failure to obey the Law no longer condemns the believer, it is still a failure to show love.  One who is the offspring of the Heavenly Father ought to behave in a manner that is consistent with his righteous state of being.

The Bible says the flesh is “weak”.  Weakness does not mean evil.  The apostle Paul said that the treasure of our righteous new creature-hood is contained in “clay pots”.  So even though a believer is righteous, Sin still seeks to control him through the weakness of his flesh.  And because man is a moral agent capable of free-will decisions, a believer can still choose to give in to fleshly desires provoked by Sin.  But it is important to understand the distinction; such an action does not condemn!  It is a failure to show love.

Perfection is not the issue here.  This is why it is so important to understand that righteousness has nothing to do with law-keeping.  There is a reason Paul and the other apostles bent over backwards to make this case throughout the New Testament.  Righteousness is apart from the Law. (Romans 3:21, 28)  Believers are righteous because they have been born again and are no longer “under law”.  Whether or not a believer obeys the law “perfectly” is irrelevant to his righteous state of being because there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1)

This reality is incredibly freeing, because now a believer can aggressively pursue love without fear!

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:” ~ 1 John 4:18

A believer no longer has to worry about what laws he has kept or hasn’t kept because the threat of condemnation has been removed.  That possibility is no longer hanging over his head like some impending doom.  Now he is free to focus on just loving God and loving others, and the way he shows love is by striving to obey the Law.

“‘Master, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'” ~ Matthew 22:36-40

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” ~ Romans 13:8

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Galatians 5:14

 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” ~ John 14:15

A false gospel has only one perspective on the Law, which leads to a misunderstanding of the Law’s purpose.

 

A Misunderstanding of the Law
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Jewish religious leaders had come to believe that keeping the statutes in the Torah was what made a person righteous.  But because they made the assumption that man was metaphysically evil, this assumption meant that man was disqualified from being able to understand the Law’s requirements.  This is turn meant that if man could not understand the Law then man could not keep the Law.

The Jewish leaders believed it was necessary for some mediator to dictate to man the requirements necessary for righteousness.  To accomplish this, they crafted their own interpretation of the Torah for man to follow.  Since man could not understand the Law, he could only obtain righteousness by following the interpretations of the Jewish leaders.  This interpretation is what was known as their “traditions” or orthodoxy.

There are a number of problems with this, not the least of which is that the Bible teaches that righteousness is apart from the Law.  As already mentioned, the apostles went to great lengths to make this point clear.  For the Jewish religious leaders to hold this perspective, it was indicative of their egregious misunderstanding of the Law’s purpose.  The Law was never intended to be for the purpose of obtaining a righteous standing with God.

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” ~ Galatians 2:21

“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” ~ Galatians 3:21

“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.” ~ Romans 3:20

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” ~ Galatians 2:16

The Law is the means by which man shows love to God and others, but making the Law the standard for righteousness actually circumvents love.  How does this happen?

The Jewish religious leaders replaced the Law with their orthodoxy.  The people were taught that since they could not keep the Law, it was pointless to even try.  By replacing the Law with orthodoxy, the Jewish leaders effectively took away man’s only means of showing love to God and others.  Rather than striving to show love to God through obedience, they became preoccupied with adhering to Jewish orthodoxy.  Their lives were no longer characterized by love but fear.

When the standard for righteousness is perfect law-keeping, fear is always the result.  Fear is the result of condemnation.  Condemnation comes from being “under law”.  Any system that makes Law the standard for righteousness keeps man “under law”.  The Jewish system of perfect law-keeping by adherence to orthodoxy kept the people “under law” and took away their means of showing love.

This is exactly what Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing.

“… Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition [orthodoxy].” ~ Matthew 15:6

“And he said unto them, ‘Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition [orthodoxy].’” ~ Mark 7:9

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition [orthodoxy], which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” ~ Mark 7:13

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” ~ Matthew 24:12

The word translated “iniquity” in Matthew 24:12 is the Greek word ανομια (anomia).  It literally means “no law”.  This is the Biblical definition of antinomianism.  It means to take away the law.  Jesus said Himself that taking away the Law would result in love growing cold.  And why wouldn’t it?  If you take away the Law, you take away the only means man has to show love to God and others.

Jesus spoke these words as a prophesy, but the end result of this logical progression of thought is always the same: taking away the Law results in a lack of love and lives characterized by fear.  Be sure to understand the distinction.  The Jewish religious leaders misunderstood the Law’s purpose.  They thought it was for the purpose of meriting righteousness.  But righteousness is apart from the Law.  Righteousness comes through the New Birth.  The Law is used as a means to show love to God and others.

What was true of first century Judaism is also true of every religion that ever existed or still exists today: it makes some form of law-keeping as the standard for righteousness.  Every religion begins with the same root assumption: that man is metaphysically evil, making him disqualified from being able to understand truth.  Since he cannot understand truth he must have truth interpreted for him.  Religious orthodoxy is nothing more than truth repackaged for mass consumption.  It is therefore adherence to this interpretation of truth that brings righteousness.

Protestantism is no different!  But Protestantism’s version of orthodoxy is obfuscated under the pretense of “faith alone”.  On the one hand, it will acknowledge that righteousness is apart from the Law; that man does not merit righteousness by keeping the Law.  Then on the other hand, it will insist that Jesus keeps the law for us.  In other words, since man cannot keep the Law, Jesus must do it instead.

How is it proposed that man is able to benefit from this so-called perfect law-keeping of Jesus?  By living by “faith alone”.   You see, if at any time you find that you are performing a work of obedience to the Law “in your own efforts”, you are attempting to rely on your own strength to merit salvation instead of “resting” in Christ to do the work for you.  (Notice that the assumed motivation is to merit salvation instead of showing love.)

It should be blatantly obvious that regardless WHO is keeping the law, even if it is Jesus keeping the Law in our stead, it is still a righteousness that is based on perfect law-keeping.  This is NOT a righteousness apart from the Law.   Moreover, to rely on Jesus doing the works of the Law for us so that His righteousness can be imputed to us is nothing more than works-based salvation.

For over 500 years, Protestantism has been perpetrating a fraud and a contradiction of epic proportions!  Like every other religion that has come down the pike since the beginning of time, Protestantism is based on a faulty assumption that results in a willful misunderstanding of the Law.  It is a religion of antinomianism that circumvents a believer’s ability to show love through obedience.  It makes obedience nothing more than a subjective experience that Christ supposedly performs through the believer.  It defies the believer’s natural inclination to love God’s Law.  It defines righteousness as perfect law-keeping.  This unwittingly puts the believer right back “under law”, the Biblical definition of an unsaved person.  Protestantism views believers no differently than the unregenerate.

Most importantly, the false gospel of Protestantism robs the believer of assurance.  The Christian life becomes one of constant introspection of whether one is living by “faith alone” or not.  Protestantism’s single perspective on the Law means the believer is in constant fear that he might come under condemnation.  He is not free to love others.  He is not free to love his Heavenly Father.  He can never know for sure if he really is saved.

Dear Christian brother, know this.  The Bible says that we CAN know for sure that we are saved.  When we understand that our righteousness comes by virtue of the fact that we are the literal offspring of the Father, everything becomes so simple.  It does not matter if we fail.  Perfection is not the point.  There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!  Believers are no longer “under law”.  Where there is no law there is no sin.  This is a wonderful reality!

This is the Gospel news that believers need to bring to a world that needs to be reconciled to God.

The world is full of unsaved people who do very good deeds.  Whether he realizes it or not, every time man shows love to another, he is fulfilling the Law.  It does not matter if the person is saved or not.  Unsaved man has the ability to show love to others just as much as one who is saved.  But it is not that expression of love that saves.  It is not a fulfilling of the Law that saves.  For even though an unsaved man might obey the Law of Love, he is still condemned because he is still “under law”.  That is the whole point.

Man does not have a “sin problem”.  He has a relationship to the Law problem.  This is why Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.”  The exhortation to you, dear brother in Christ, is this: Go out this day and show forth your love to God and others.  You are God’s righteous child.  Pursue obedience and fulfill the Law of Love!

~ Andy

If There is Any Gospel Centrality It’s the Spirit and NOT Christ

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 24, 2015

void

Indicative of the under law gospel of the institutional church is the everything Jesus gig, aka Christocentric this, and that, and the other. It’s not at-all complicated; the overemphasis on Christ is directly related to the false gospel of the institutional church. In this false gospel, “Christ” partners with the law to cut out God the Father and the Holy Spirit. In this false gospel, Christ is central, and the other two members of the Trinity play supporting roles. In fact, supposedly, according to many well known evangelicals, Christ came to save us from God; the God of grace, Jesus, saving us from the God of wrath. So, right off the bat, the Father is defined by wrath and not love. That identity is subtly shifted to Christ. But again, all in all, these distortions of the Trinity seek to slip the law back into the good news.

To the contrary, it was God the Father who elected the means of salvation AND the Son. Furthermore, it is God the Father’s righteousness that is imputed to us because we are born of Him—that’s what makes us righteous, and nothing else. Think about what the church did: it made Christ’s obedience to the law the standard or definition of righteousness, not the fact that we are born anew by our heavenly Father. This imputation of Christ’s obedience to the law cuts the Father out of the salvation equation.

We are therefore, according to the church’s under law gospel, only declared righteous through the imputation of Christ’s perfect obedience to the law, and not MADE righteous through being born anew by the Father. We are righteous because of the infusion of God’s seed within us (see 1John chapter 3). Moreover, Christ was called on to die so that the Spirit could be promised to him, that is, Christ, Abraham, and all of Abraham’s children. That’s right, the promise of the Spirit was to Abraham and Christ. It was a promise that the Spirit would not leave Christ in the grave, but would resurrect him and make him the first fruits of many.

Galatians 3:16 – Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

The promise was made to Abraham AND Christ by the Father, and executed by the Spirit when He resurrected Christ from the grave. The idea that we are righteous because Christ obeyed the law for us, and by believing on him we have the “righteousness of Christ,” makes the law a co-life-giver with God the Father. This is the exact same false gospel that Paul was arguing against in Galatians 3:

Galatians 3:17 – This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

If the law has anything to do with the gospel at all, the promise is voided. Hence, you see how egregious double imputation is; this whole idea that Christ not only died for us, but also came to keep the law in our stead. The law has NO part of the promise at all. Christocentric soteriology makes it possible to include the law in the promise. In effect, it is a righteousness by the law in contrast to being made righteous via the family we are born into—that’s what makes us righteous—not law regardless of who keeps it. We are reborn as a particular species: righteous, like our Father who gave us life.

We see this in how the church defines the word translated “perfect.” It is defined as perfect law-keeping. Take note of that, this is almost too simple: that’s a righteousness by the law; that’s NOT a righteousness “APART” from the law (Romans 3:21). The church’s definition of righteousness voids the promise.

So, you see, this is why Christ is the whole thing according to the church and the other two members of the Trinity become out of sight and out of mind—they are replaced by the law. Christ died to pay the penalty of sin against the law, but also “fulfilled the righteous demands of the law,” and frankly, continues to do so.

But in reality, the work of the Spirit is the fulfillment of the promise apart from the law. By faith, we “receive the Spirit.”

Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Here, we see the two different roles of Christ and the Spirit and both exclude the law. When the law is included, so is the flesh in regard to the use of our members for unrighteousness. Why? Because the new birth is replaced with ritual. Christ was crucified to end the law, not obey it for us because it is the definition of righteousness for justification. The Spirit’s baptism puts the old us to death with Christ, and resurrects us in the same way He resurrected Christ, and that’s what makes us righteous:

Romans 4:18 – In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

The constant thread is the Spirit’s miraculous births throughout the ages, culminating in our new birth, made possible by raising Christ from the grave. The law cannot give life (Gal 3:21) and has nothing to do with justification at all. The law is for sanctification only, and to the extent that we fuse justification and sanctification together, we usurp the new birth. The everything Jesus motif is for the express purpose of fusing justification and sanctification together, or in other words, fusing the law with justification via Jesus while devaluing the roles of the Father and Spirit.

But in the final analysis, if there is any gospel centrality at all, it should be the centrality of the promise made possible by the Spirit who gives life apart from the law. He resurrected Christ because Christ ended the law so that life in the Spirit can be by faith alone.

paul

1John 3 final

Election and the Real Golden Chain of Salvation: Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 17, 2015

ppt-jpeg4Those who still need salvation have that need for a reason; they yet remain damned. Furthermore, they saturate themselves with a justification only perspective on the law which will magnify their damnation unless they repent.”

An item of particular interest in regard to the Reformed use of Romans 8:29,30 for the ordo salutis (order of salvation or the golden chain of individual salvation) is that sanctification is missing from the process. Sanctification is not in Romans 8:29,30. Let there be no doubt about it when the least common denominator is front and center: this issue concerns two different gospels. One gospel states that sanctification is not mentioned because it is the same thing as justification; the other gospel states that sanctification is missing because justification and sanctification are totally separate.

And obviously therefore, one states that salvation is a finished work while the other sees salvation as a process that the individual experiences and lives in while the process is ongoing. This is why Protestantism has ALWAYS been characterized by weak sanctification and lack of assurance. If justification and sanctification are the same thing, there is going to be an over emphasis on justification; if we are in the midst of the justification “process” and our salvation depends on whether or not God chose us to believe, and our individual election will not be verified until the “tribunal,” assurance will be lacking.

The Bible is clear. Assurance is based on two things: confidence in the FINISHED election process preordained by God, and the ability to work out the gifts given to us with our finished and final salvation being of no consideration in regard to our works of love. In other words, one of the purposes of election is to radically separate justification and sanctification leading to assurance and aggressive sanctification. The Reformed order of salvation uses election to fuse justification and sanctification together resulting in that train wreck we call “Protestantism.”

This is why I think Romans 8:29,30 is in the past tense; it concerns justification ONLY as a finished work. Yet, the Reformed use it to make a case for a salvation that is yet future; in other words, the Reformed throw out grammatical considerations regardless of whether it is in the English, Hebrew, or Greek. While they claim deep knowledge of the languages are efficacious to valid understanding of the Scriptures, they rape and ravage normative grammatical rules unfettered. While using knowledge of the languages to intimidate the great unwashed, they say, “good grammar makes bad theology” as if there are no rules of grammar in the Greek and Hebrew. But there are, and the rules are fairly consistent in all languages. Knowledge of Greek and Hebrew is oversold for purposes of control. More relevant than anything is a good working knowledge of grammar.

Romans 8:29,30 speaks of a group, or classification of people who were pre-loved, predestined, called, justified, and glorified. However, not all who are called within the group answer the call, but rather reject it. Those who accept the invitation of the calling are part of the elect group. In the same way, Israel was elected, but not all Israelites accept the invitation. Therefore, God also preordained the Gentiles for salvation in order to make the Jews jealous. In part one, I cite Matthew 22:1-14 to make this case in regard to the “called”, and would also like to add Romans 11. The “remnant” can also be considered an elect group as well, and any Jew can be saved by becoming a part of it IF they believe individually (Romans 11:23).

Throughout the Bible, people are called to believe and are warned that they will be judged if they don’t. The means of salvation being elected rather than individuals, and those individuals being called on to become part of the elect group excludes the need to relegate the gospel to paradox. God is not a God of confusion. If the “called” are not distinguished from the definition of “elect,” the Bible becomes utterly confusing. Nevertheless, Matthew 22:1-14 seems to end the argument altogether; many are called but few are elect. The elect are the ones who accept the invitation to the wedding feast.

Admittedly, this is a working hypothesis for consideration among the laity, but the following is certain: the Protestant gospel of a progressive order of salvation must be rejected with extreme prejudice for many, many definitive reasons. And Biblicism knows the following concretely in regard to its alternative gospel: justification is a finished work by God alone and the saint is free to love aggressively without fear of condemnation. We leave the cross and move on to maturity in love. Those who still need salvation have that need for a reason; they yet remain damned. Furthermore, they saturate themselves with a justification only perspective on the law which will magnify their damnation unless they repent.

At any rate, the idea that a group is elected for a certain purpose without all in the group being saved is far from being unbiblical, and Israel is the primary example (NASB):

Deuteronomy 7:6

“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Exodus 19:4-6

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

Psalms 135:4

For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession.

Isaiah 41:8-9

“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

Isaiah 44:1-2

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

Isaiah 45:4

“For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me.

Amos 3:2

“You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

In Romans 11:2, the apostle Paul even writes that God “foreknew” Israel. This is the election and foreknowledge of a group of which all are not saved. God calls all of those belonging to the group, but many within the group reject the call. Again, note Matthew 22:1-14. If they answer the call, they are elect because they are part of the group that was elected. It is plain that election is not defined by individual pre-selection alone, and in fact, specific verses that seem to indicate the election of individuals are not only rare, but ambiguous at best while the former are ample and concise.

Let me throw a couple of thoughts in here that would be prompted by reading almost anywhere throughout the New Testament. First, if individuals are pre-selected, the Scriptures pass on the opportunity to make that clear over and over again. For example:

Luke 16:27 – And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No,father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

If the issue is pre-selection, why wouldn’t Abraham merely say so? Why is the source of information that would persuade the rich man’s brothers the issue rather than God’s choosing? Individual pre-determinism makes the Bible an illogical convoluted mess, not to mention a god that is playing head games with mankind.

Secondly, if there is no future purpose for Israel, or the “church” has taken Israel’s place, which is an idea firmly embedded in Reformed tradition via amillennialism and supersessionism, does that not deny a true link in the election chain? Does it not make some aspects of election temporary? Why not? In part 1 we discussed John Calvin’s interpretation of the “called” as those who are temporarily chosen and therefore relegated to a greater damnation in the end.

So, what is the true golden chain of salvation? We begin to explore that in part 3.

paul

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Throw the Baby out with the Bathwater

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 29, 2015

Rom 5.19One accusation we all want to avoid is partaking in “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” So, when I set out on my journey of discovery, I assumed there was much to salvage from what I had invested in. The goal was to discover the following: after I had wholeheartedly invested 25 years of my life to being a good Baptist Protestant, why would an esteemed group of men set out to utterly destroy my life because I wanted answers about the confusion they had brought into my life? I just wanted to know why all of the rules were suddenly changed. I wanted to know why they were saying things that made no sense to me. No, I didn’t get any answers to straightforward questions. Instead, I chose to believe they were not really saying what they said; what they were teaching was a “radical departure” from the norm, and I had a long way to go before I would even begin to understand it. Therefore, I needed to shut up and obey, or I would be dealt with. Yes, the long lost and true Reformation gospel had been rediscovered, and they were among those blazing the new trail resurgence.

Basically, I assumed they were full of it, and were propagating some sort of false gospel with a new twist. I also assumed that my “friends” in Reformed circles would not stand by and let them destroy my life. When I was shown to be woefully wrong on the latter along with everything else, I had to know why. And, by golly, I would find the answers, expose them, and many Protestants would arise and vindicate me for the sake of God and love for the truth.

Wow, was I ever clueless. What did I think was going on all of my Protestant life which was like living in Peyton Place? Eventually, I discovered the answer to that whispering question in the back of my mind that started soon after I became a Protestant: “There is something not right here; is it me, something with the church, or a little of both?” And though I professed many tenets of the Protestant faith, something never felt right about it. The eventual answer was always too simplistic to be accepted: a false gospel.

Nevertheless, for most of my journey, I functioned on the idea that those rascally New Calvinists are misrepresenting “true” Calvinism and the hallowed traditions of the Reformation. A great example is this resolution I submitted to the SBC convention in 2011. For the most part, it strikes the core problem, but becomes blurred when I cite the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message Statement.

Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes…

Sanctification is not a mere experience. It is not something that is merely “done to us rather than something we do.” You can go back to the oldest Baptist confessions and find this same nuanced language that really boils down to the idea that the Christian life is a mere EXPERIENCE and NOT something we DO. And as I point out in this post, your sanctification doctrine determines your justification doctrine.

In my naivety, I further cited the 2000 confession:

Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ.

I have never been comfortable with the idea that justification is a mere forensic declaration by God. But you know, good Protestants confess such things anyway because it’s tradition—that’s what Protestants do. However, the truth follows: justification is a state of being, not a mere declaration. We are not merely declared righteous, we are righteous. Christ not only died for our justification, the Spirit raised Christ from the dead so that we could also be raised from the dead to a truly justified state of being…APART from the law (Romans 4:23-25).

Christ didn’t come to keep the law perfectly so that His righteousness could be imputed to us, our sins were imputed to Him so that we could be resurrected with Him and MADE the righteousness of God the Father. If Adam’s sin MADE us truly sinful by ONE act, then Christ MADE us truly just by ONE act of obedience. You can’t have it both ways.

Nice guys don’t always love the truth as they should because they are too nice to throw out the baby with the bathwater. But it’s a bad Protestant baby.

paul

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