1 John 2:2

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by Dennis1963, Jun 28, 2010.

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  1. Dennis1963

    Dennis1963 Puritan Board Freshman

    I have a question concerning propitiation. First I would like to say I am a Calvinist. I am fully a Reformed believer.

    I was asked a question from an Arminian, which was: "Are we saved before we are born, or after faith in Christ?"

    My answer was a question. "from who's prospective, man's or God's?"

    Is it not true, in eternity, God saw this complete for the elect in Christ? When Christ said. "It is finished," these things, the propitiation was done?

    Now, through chronological order, at the appointed time, the Holy Spirit gathers the elect by regeneration, which is from man's prospective?

    Now, concerning 1 John and a couple other passages.
    1 John 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

    I understand the "whole world" to mean, the elect from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. Not the whole world, as in every person, scripture does not teach a universal salvation. If in fact Christ died and was the propitiation of every single person ever born, then everyone in fact would be saved.
    Considering propitiation means: "the removal of God's wrath from a sinner." Therefore propitiated sins cannot, be punished, correct?
    Even the sin of unbelief is covered by the blood of Christ.

    Now these next two passages I have read many times, but they suddenly brought on a new meaning.
    Especially since I always understood that God cannot look on sin, we, as children of wrath, before Christ, are an enemy of God. But there is something here, something which seems different:
    But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
    even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved),
    Eph 2:4-5
    God loved us, even when we were dead in our sins? He actually looked upon sinners and had mercy on us, children of wrath?

    The next verse shows, God does not accept all sinners, some He hates (or rejects)
    Romans 9:13 Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."

    Wouldn't this mean, since Jacob is of the elect, as far as God is concerned, Christ (in eternity) died for Jacobs sins?

    But to my question, or opinion?

    Are we saved as far as God is concerned, eternity speaking, or is it that since Christ was the propitiation for our sins, that God power flows towards us in mercy, and at the appointed time we shall be saved?

    I think I know the answer, but am very interested in everyone's understandings. I have been chewing on this for a while.

    Thanks in advance,

    God Bless.
  2. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Rather than addressed everything you've proposed, I'll focus on one question.

    From the standpoint of our election in Christ from all eternity, I think it is important to understand this distinction - Our election in Christ does not equal salvation, but rather our election is unto salvation.

    WCF 3:6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

    The same God Who from all eternity purposed in Christ to save His elect also ordains all the means whereby He effects their salvation in Christ. The Westminster Shorter Catechism is, I think, quite clear...

    Q. 89. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
    A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.

    God employs all the means (e.g. Rom 8:30) He has ordained in order to accomplish the salvation of His people. Election is not the same as salvation, but rather the first link (we might say) in the golden chain of what God does in order to accomplish the salvation of His elect.
  3. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    And, of course, this question is still inadequate. We can still understand salvation by/after faith as not being saved (really and fully), but to be brought into a conviction/assurance trusting the promises of God that our salvation will actually take place. Like others stated, this entire process stems from eternity to eternity.
    I brought this up in a previous thread on hypothetical perishing of the elect. This is one area in my reading on limited atonement that I cannot find an adequate answer provided. If we take 2 Peter 3:9 as a warning to the elect, that they could actually perish apart from repentence, than Christ did not die in a way to cover the sin of unbelief. I read some comments by Bruce Ware and his position against limited atonement, and he argues this way. Since the elect can perish apart from faith/repentence than even the reformed view of the atonement can only affirm a hypothetical/conditional atonement. The only way I can reconcile John Owen's double payment theory (and Christ dying for the sin of unbelief) is to fall into eternal justification (which he was accused of as well). Or, I have to admit a conditionalilty to the effectiveness of the atonement, which then debunks the premise of the double payment argument. I don't know, but it has troubled me for years now.

    Also, I would ask, if the propitiation of Christ is not effective prior to our faith -- the wrath of God actually turned -- then shall we say that the grace of regeneration flows out of a wrathful God? Doesn't God's wrath have to be appeased before he justly shows mercy to sinners, or is it just an act of sovereignty? Concerning the oft quoted Eph. 2:1-3, I am not necessarily convinced we should use this as a passage to teach we are actually under the wrath of God. It states that we were "by nature" like the rest; I think there is a distinction made between being a child of wrath by nature like the rest, and actually being a child of wrath. That is, by nature we are not any different than children of wrath; but, in regards to reality, we are very different...when we were dead in sins (just like the rest) we were saved...that is, God did something to save us that evidences a non-outpouring of a judicial hardening wrath. God was favorable to us, he dispensed grace; that is, we were not under his wrath.
  4. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Theology matters.

    Election: Loved in Christ, from before the foundation of the world.
    Original Sin: Condemned (temporally) while in Adam.
    Union with Christ: Redeemed by Christ, through the application of his merits by Holy Spirit, to bring us back to the Father. Justified in history.

    Bring federalism/covenant to bear on your apprehension, as a kind of focal device to bring issues into perspective and relation.
  5. SouthernSaint

    SouthernSaint Puritan Board Freshman

    The Elect are saved (justified) at the point of faith in Christ.

    It is God's will that the Elect be saved. He orchestrates the events in an elect person's life so that they can hear the gospel and be saved at His appointed time.

    So I don't think you're technically "saved from eternity past" but the plan for your salvation took place in eternity past. Since God's counsel stands, I guess you could say your salvation is a "done deal" in God's sight!

    ((Nervously posting this!!....My first post!!))
  6. Dennis1963

    Dennis1963 Puritan Board Freshman

    Personally I do not believe 2 Peter 3:9 is a warning for the elect, but rather, a comfort for the elect.

    How can the elect perish by not having faith or repenting? This smells of Arminian theology. After an elect hears the gospel, and at their apointed time, the Holy Spirit regenerates them, and giving them the faith to believe, how can one not believe? To say, it is possible is making it a possibility that the covenant between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit cannot be followed through, somewhere in there something went wrong.

    But it was appeased by Christ in our (the elects) behalf.

    You have a point there.

    Makes sense, again, because of what Christ has done.

    ---------- Post added at 09:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:39 PM ----------

    You know, I think your right. I think I am in the habit of jumping to fast when the Holy Spirit reveals more scripture, it takes some time to chew on these things.

    Thank for your reply.

    ---------- Post added at 09:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:43 PM ----------

    Thanks everyone for the replies, they are very much appreciated.
  7. drphillips1

    drphillips1 Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with Joshua that you might be reading in to it a little differently than the purpose of the verse, but that's ok. II Thessalonians 2:13 states "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." In this statement, the Scripture shows that of course God has chosen his people from the beginnings of the world (Eph 1:4) but also that God has foreordained your initial as well as your progressive sanctification. As stated, our salvation is founded in the beginnings of the world, BUT our personal assurance does not come until our personal regeneration. Not until we begin seeing the sanctification that God prepared for us can we truly be completely aware of our righteousness with Christ.
  8. Hilasmos

    Hilasmos Puritan Board Freshman

    I would say it is a comfort as well, since God wills that all will reach repentence. I used warning a little loosely there. What I was intending to convey is that the passage suggests that the elect could perish (even if only hypothetically) if they do not reach repentence, and these are the elect for whom Christ died. Therefore, the death of Christ does not cover the sin of unbelief (as laid out in the traditional owen argument).

    The issue isn't concerning whether the elect will necessarily respond to the gospel and reach faith. Rather, it addresses the issue of the standing of the elect for whom Christ died prior to the point of faith. So, before faith, Ware makes the point that the death of Christ is still hypothetical in the reformed atonement (like it is in the Arminian atonement), since both elect and non-elect "could" perish without faith. That is, the Atonement of Christ does not effect the forgiveness of sins until faith...which, in one respect, is very similar to the arminian atonement which says the death of Christ does not effect anything until the point of faith. There are other nuances of the atonement such as intention and extent, but it is the nature of its efficacy that is being examined. So, to use Owen's argument against the reformed view, I think Ware is saying this:

    1. Can the elect perish for their sins if they do not believe? (Yes, 2 Peter 3:9)

    2. Did Christ die for all the sins of all the elect? (Yes, in the Reformed view).

    3. Then, how is it that the elect could perish for their sins? (again, even if hypothetical)

    --3a. Because, they do not believe

    --3b. Did Christ die for the sin of unbelief?

    -------If yes, then this sin should not keep them from heaven no less than others.

    -------If no, then Christ did not die for all the sins of all the elect. This would also result in the perishing of all elect of all time since all elect have seasons of unbelief and lack of repentence that need covering.

    4. Conclusion: no one was actually saved on the cross in the Reformed sense; or, the death of Christ is not absolutely effective so as to utilize the "double payment theory;" for, the elect could perish apart from supplying the condition of faith (and, admitting a conditional atonement seemingly loses the battle Owen fights throughout his book, he consistently utilizes the argument that if Christ died for all then all would be saved (even if they do not believe) -- therefore, Christ did not die for all; and, he argues, to say that the blood is not effective until a condition of faith is met in the person is to say that Christ is a half priest; for, a priest both sacrifices and sprinkles (applies/makes effective) the blood; it is both the sacrifice of the blood and the application of the blood that consists in one complete act of the priest in providing atonement (hence, it is for arguments like this that Owen was accused of teaching eternal justification)).

    Right, and this is where you get into the solution provided by eternal justification -- not that I am advocating this, but it is the only response I can find in my ignorance that would deal with Ware's objection to the efficacy of limited atonement. Or, perhaps "historical justification," such as proposed by Samuel Richardson in his paper "Justification by Christ Alone." For the wrath of God to be appeased it would seem that you also have to believe that the sins were forgiven that bring that wrath...and if this was before faith, than it seems there are inconsistencies in saying that 1) you have to reach faith before your sins are forgiven and 2) God's wrath was actually appeased on the cross. The historical or eternal justification position would maintain 2) and therefore deny 1); which, although nuanced and debated, is apparently unconfessional.
  9. Willem van Oranje

    Willem van Oranje Puritan Board Junior

    If you are using the biblical definition of "saved", we are not saved until we receive our new glorified bodies and enter heaven. Salvation in the biblical sense includes perfect holiness-God's work of sanctification coming to its full fruition. But of course this was planned by God from all eternity, foretold by the prophets, wrought by Christ in his death and resurrection, made effectual in our hearts when we first believed and were fully justified forever, and continuously applied to our lives as we grow in grace in this life. So the answer, I believe, is yes, yes, yes.
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