Justification from Eternity

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by JM, Jul 3, 2006.

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  1. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Does God not view all time from eternity? Our unregenerate state and our imputed righteousness of Christ, are they not seen as one by God or is God affected by time?

    For the record: I'm not trying to promote this doctrine, I just find it interesting and wanted to bounce a few ideas around and see what kind of answers I would be given. Thanks for the give and take.

    It has been suggested by someone who believers in Justification from Eternity that I pick up a copy of Thomas Goodwin's Act and Object of Justifying Faith. Was Goodwin into J from E?

    [Edited on 7-10-2006 by Hard Knox]
  2. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Justification from eternity, though well intentioned, errs by conflating the decree with its administration.

    The decree is essential to the administration of the ordo salutis (the logical order of salvation) but it is not the the same thing.

    Scripture seems to be quite clear about the importance of HISTORY and TIME in the administration of salvation, hence the gospel call is not "wake up and realize that you are already justified from eternity" but "repent and believe and you shall be justified."

    The former is essentially the Barthian message which, ironically because they have complained for decades that the orthodox did it, conflates the decree with its administration.

  3. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

  4. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    This hits the nail on the head. :amen:
  5. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

  6. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    For Goodwin justification is an individual act involving three steps of union with Christ: stipulation from eternity, representation in the saving work of Christ, and personal appropriation upon believing. Works 8:134-139. Not until one believes in Christ is a person actually justified.
  7. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Confusing the decree with its administration, that´s very helpful. Does this also play out in how the pastor gives Christ or the Gospel in preaching? Because I´ve run into this on two extremes that ironically seem similar. On the Arminian side they always think the Gospel is simply an offer awaiting the will of man to act upon. This at length tortures true Christians and feeds false saints. But then again on the extreme hyper Calvinistic side there is this unspoken fear that one cannot really just GIVE Christ but still has to kind of wait for something, some kind of "œsign" or fruit so to speak before the gift is given. The result is the same times 100. Is not the administration, from our finite position, just that, both an offer and a giving or application of the Gospel itself, not a carrot on a stick never to be obtained? Are we not called to give Christ (this presumes a correct preaching of a killing law first) without condition? This is the irony of arminians and hyper-Calvinist, both seem to NEVER give Christ, it is the one common ground they seem to hold.

    Narrative example: A Gospel preacher is found pouring into the mouth of a dead body the Gospel which is the power unto salvation, life. An Arminian preacher comes by and says, "œWhy are you being so foolish? You need to dangle that Gospel in front of but at a distance from that dead body so if it wills it may respond and take it so as to have life. Why do you pour it vainly into its mouth?" The Gospel preacher responds, "œBecause God says that this is the power unto life and that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. The law can never give what it demands. That´s all I know I am to do and the rest is up to God hidden to me." Later along comes a hyper-Calvinist who says, "œWhy are you being so foolish? You can´t give that Gospel comfort to a man until he shows signs of life whereby he has been secretly elected. Why are you risking him being so deceived?" The Gospel preacher responds, "œBecause God says that this is the power unto life and that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. The law can never give what it demands. That´s all I know I am to do and the rest is up to God hidden to me."

    The Gospel seems to be both a free offer and application of that offer, not just an offer awaiting the will of man and not just a thing given once sufficient fruit is proved. If the dead remain dead I´ve done all I can do.

  8. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Good point. Both hold to the fallacy that command implies ability. The Arminian takes it positively and concludes sinners have an ability to believe in Christ. The hyper-Calvinist takes it negatively and denies faith is a duty.
  9. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    The ability is found in the regenerated person to respond, "...for this is the work of God that you believe on me whom He sent."

    :banana: AMEN
  10. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Nice illustration, and like all illustration, they don´t prove your case but illustration what you´re trying to convey.

    I agree with you, the hyper-Calvinist is in error, I´m not a hyper-Calvinist, I believe the Gospel needs to be preached to all and do so, going door to door and cold stopping people in the street to invite them out to church. How can a person show fruit if he´s never heard the Gospel? They can't as you pointed out, and to quote Kuyper, "œThere is undoubtedly a moment in our life when for the first time justification is published to our consciousness; but let us be careful to distinguish justification itself from its publication. Our Christian name was selected for and applied to us long before we, with clear consciousness, knew it as our name; and although there was a moment in which it became a living reality to us and was called out for the first time in the ear of our consciousness, yet no man will be so foolish as to imagine that it was then that he actually received that name."

    Is this not the root of covenantal thinking?

    "And so it is here. There is a certain moment wherein that justification becomes to our consciousness a living fact; but in order to become a living fact, it must have existed before. It does not spring from our consciousness, but it is mirrored in it, and hence must have being and stature in itself. Even an elect infant which dies in the cradle is declared just, though the knowledge or consciousness of its justification never penetrated its soul. And elect persons, converted, like the thief on the cross, with their last breath, can scarcely be sensible of their justification, and yet enter eternal life exclusively on the ground of their justification. Taking an analogy from daily life, a man condemned during his absence in foreign lands was granted pardon through the intercession of his friends, wholly without his knowledge. Does this pardon take effect when long afterward the good news reaches him, or when the king signs his pardon? Of course the latter. Even so does the justification of God's children take effect, not on the day when for the first time it is published to their consciousness, but at the moment that God in His holy judgment-seat declares them just.

    But-and this should not be overlooked-this publishing in the consciousness of the person himself must necessarily follow, and this brings us back again to the special work of the Holy Spirit. For if in God's judiciary it is more particularly the Father who justifies the ungodly, and in the preparing of salvation more particularly"

    If anything, those who deny that our justification exists in time, when we consciously make the choice, has more in common with the Arminian who will agree on the consciousness of that choice.


    PS: I'm not a hyper-Calvinist! :lol:
  11. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore


    The point is is that what is offered in the Gospel is also to be given. That's all your called to do. You do not dangle the carrot as an arminian, nor stand aloof like a hyper-Calvinist thinking, "I wonder if he's regenerate, let me rake over his fruit". If you want conversion Christ must simply be given and if you want fruit again Christ must simply be given, thus it is the power, that is the Gospel as Paul says. The arminian makes a man rest in his own decission for assurance and the hyper-Calvinist makes him rest in "fruits" as locally defined usually. Both are scared to death to just give Christ, simply give Him and preach Him. When I came from rank atheism I NEVER, in my green early days, EVER thought the last place I'd hear again of Christ was His own church. But many many many churches later I've found, until now, that to be the case. I heard of Christ MORE when I was an unbeliever than I did post conversion in churches that ranged from rank arminian baptist churches to "calvinistic" churches of the same cut.

    When one raise "regeneration" so high that Christ is lost, regeneration itself is lost. Paul did not say that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of regeneration, but of Christ. Rebirth, the secret work of the Holy Spirit, is not the work of man to do. Man is to give Christ and the Holy Spirit works where HE wills, not you and not me.

    In one sense it sickens me that so many fools play loose with souls of men, they will, being teachers, one day answer for their folly. In another sense it simply makes me sad for the same.

    The suffering of death will, however, clear up everyone's doctrine sooner or later.


    [Edited on 7-25-2006 by Larry Hughes]
  12. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Now this I understand. :detective: I need to re-think things through.
  13. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Abraham Kuyper the antinomian hyper-calvinist. :D

    I really appreciated Kuyper on this point and it's been a long time since I've read that piece. However, unless I'm missing something, has the original question; "how can [God] also love everyone at the same time?" been answered?

    For what it's worth I strongly recommend Rev. Winzer piece; "Murray on the Free Offer: A Review" at http://www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/Murray-Free-Offer-Review.htm since it certainly touches on this question.

    I'm pretty sure Rev. Winzer isn't a hyper-calvinist either, but I'm sure he has been smeared as such -- and probably worse -- because of this piece. One of the best critiques of Murray/Stonehouse I've ever read.

  14. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Regrettably, that is the case. Within the body of that work I fully affirm a free offer of the gospel, while at the same time I assert what is the main contention of the review, namely, that God does not desire the salvation of all men without exception:

    "There are a multitude of deliverances given in the Scriptures with regard to this subject. Commissions to preach the gospel to all without exception as well as commandments to believe on the name of Jesus Christ and to repent. There are promises to the effect that whosoever will may come, that he who thirsts may drink of the water of life freely, that they who are weary and heavy laden are invited to come to Christ that He might give them rest. We even have examples of the preaching both of the Lord Himself and of His apostles. Surely, if there were such a desire in God with regard to the salvation of all men without exception, that desire would be expressed in those places which have more particularly to do with the gospel offer! Such a desire, however, is not so much as insinuated by those places."
  15. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    You know, we have to be honest here, in one sense we are all arminian and hyper-Calvinist, we still have the flesh, it is the religion of the flesh and we are simultaneously just and sinner. So, in that sense, the most honest response of even myself is that I too harber these thoughts, it wasn't just John Wesley or John Gill.

    , that destroys more faith than 10,000 atheist could ever dream of. That´s not the communication of the Gospel but the reality unknown in eternity. You cannot in one breath say, "œThe Good News is Christ has died for your sins and given you His righteousness, and by the way God does not desire the salvation of all men without exception." Why? Because every believer is at the end of the day an individual conscience, and the believer´s faith will be killed because it is the believer that will say, so terrorized by the Law, "œthat must be me perhaps I should hang myself or eat a bullet". As a pastor you need to learn how distinguish Law and Gospel better than that and recognize the terrorized soul, which will likely in this day and age be so terrorized as to be afraid to approach you. Because if you give the Gospel first then fling the Law at them like that, that´s taking away with the left hand what the right hand has given. In the end it´s no different than an alter call or some inane "œhave you given all your heart"¦"

    Though this is true from eternity and the secret council of God, in accordance with the free giving of the Gospel this kind of statement is dangerous. Even John Calvin warned of this very thing as destructive to the believer´s faith, John Calvin considered himself to be an assurrer of men´s souls more than anything, he and Luther were at one on this. One has to ask ones self as a pastor is my desire truly for the faith of men to be so, or would I rather seek to destroy it with my fumbling. A statement like this is not dangerous to hypocrite but to the REAL Christian it is poison if the Gospel not be prime. Satan is not going to attack the hypocrite but the believer. As far as we know, man to man, it is to all without exception. I can even destroy your faith by making you doubt your election, just how do you know! Give me your works and they will all fall short, as do mine, there´s not one that cannot be destroyed, even post conversion by the holy Law, none stand before it. If all one does is offer and does not give the gift, then one has not given Christ, stop fooling ones self.

    Saving faith is not an obedience in an "œif/then" construction, but to trust into passively, THAT´S the obedience. But it is the obedience unto a gift ALREADY GIVEN, not an if/then to gain the gift, that would be false faith. When the call comes to repent it is to repent, change your mind from the world´s way of "œdoing" ANYTHING to garner life. It is a repentance ending the if/thens. When Jesus commanded "œbelieve" it was not in order to gain the gift, it was "œHERE is the gift, receive it", that´s the "œbelieve" part.

    The one who glories in regeneration and election so nakedly - is dangerously close to the Pharisee´s prayer if not in fact another version of it (and this is mainly in a modern context), "œLord I am glad I am not like these unregenerate folks over here, being regenerate I now believe and I obey, giving you the credit with my lips, none the less due to your work I am not like them but better." When the justified man prays, "œLord, I am a completely utterly unprofitable servant, even as a Christian I do not just fail occasionally but constantly, have mercy on me STILL A SINNER." The Christian NEVER ceases in this life from the tax collector´s prayer. As Luther said the Christian´s life is one of repentance as a continual mode, not one time and place or staccato type of repentance or active repentance but passive suffering repentance. The Christian is a continuous and constant continuity of passive lamenting repentance (sorrow for self and trust in another) as he/she sees NONE of his/her works worthy of a brag, not even a "œLord in your power I´ve done these things" which is nothing less than hidden self righteousness. That´s just a hidden Pharisee´s prayer giving lip service to God. You must SEE that that is what was even behind the Pharisee´s prayer, he didn´t nakedly consider himself righteous but with the assistance of God´s via the light of Law (Romans 2)! One can even mingle a kind of false "œgrace" this way, "œby your grace I am not like this sinner and tax collector over here."

    The one who sees himself obedient even if he states it is because he is "œregenerate" is in danger because he thinks he obeys unlike the unregenerate. The danger is he thinks he obeys at ALL in any sense of that word, even post conversion, rather than understanding that he STILL does not obey in the least or under a false perceived power of grace, but is under a declarative grace and thus his disobedience, both virtuous and vice like sins, are now acceptable/forgiven by the same blood of the Cross. The only real difference between the lost sinner and the saved sinner is the cross. Because "œvirtues", obediences, and even a kind of "œfaith" can arise outwardly by the power of the fallen will, which means they are worthless and not of God. There´s a difference in receiving grace and attaching the action of the will to the Words of God and thinking it is the work of grace or God.

    When we say that we believe only because we have been born again that simply means the fact that you can passively believe/trust in Christ alone FOR YOU at all means you´ve been recreated alive to God, and NOT an "œexertion" of an active faith, but a faith that passively receives. There´s an eternal difference in these two "œfaiths" though both attach to the grace of God in words.

    Thus, the regenerate man does not glory in his rebirth as to "œobedience" or faith but glories in the cross. He who glories in being regenerate is glorying in himself and is really the flesh and is really dead. But he who glories in the cross of Christ and disdains his works is the regeneracy showing itself. He who glories in being reborn is glorying in himself and is really the flesh and is dead. But he who glories in the cross of Christ is the life of the rebirth showing itself. He who talks about his faith is talking about himself and is flesh and is dead. But he who talks about the cross of Christ is real saving faith showing itself. Faith from rebirth shows itself by never mentioning itself but Christ. Faith that issues forth true good works OF faith, never considers the works themselves but Christ alone.

    True saving faith is like the captain of a ship steering in the stormy night sea who has fixed and steeled his gaze (faith/trust) upon the north star (Christ crucified and risen alone) and disdains ALL disruption from within and without (cries for good works, emphasis on other doctrines so as to divorce them from the central cross). When the agitators (blinded gropers of both faith and good works who know neither in spite of their much talk) from without come to him saying, "œAre you not going to do something!" (crying out for fruit and good works) He tosses their asinine distraction aside and often in anger rebukes them harshly. For his gazed is fixed (faith) upon salvation (Christ, the things of God in mind). Yet, for all the vain blubbering of the crew (crying for good works) about him wondering if the captain "œwill do something", they miss and are absolutely themselves blinded to the very fact that this very seemingly worthless brazen fixation upon the north star (the scandal and foolishness of the cross) while all hell is breaking loose - is involuntarily and unconsciously producing its true fruits. For the ship is and will be delivered and the captain is staying the course, the works are arising from the fixation, but the fixation does not change toward the arising works (true good works) it produces and the fixation NEVER goes to do other things (false good works), if it did all is lost. The crew on the other hand is busying themselves much groping for things to do and NONE of it avails (criers much of faith and good works not knowing either one in reality). Should the captain be distracted by the inane babblings of the crew, all will be lost forever.

    It is just as Scripture declares, "œhe (Christ Jesus) had no comeliness that we should behold Him" or the scandal of the cross is foolish to the irreligious at heart and a tripping stone to the religious at heart. Yet, good works, even post conversion labeled good works are comely and we behold these. Our too often quick boredom with the cross and quick re-fixation upon ourselves in OUR "œdoings", looking back at me/self, especially as Christians, post rebirth/regeneration, is the real testimony of the real power and deceptiveness of sin and the fallen flesh to glory and love itself"¦it will do so cloaked in otherwise true doctrines: flesh cloaked in post conversion good works/fruit, flesh cloaked in regeneration/rebirth, flesh cloaked in election, flesh cloaked in predestination, flesh cloaked in a kind of faith, flesh cloaked with a kind of grace, etc"¦

  16. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Whence does the cross derive its efficacy? From the eternal purpose of God, 1 Pet. 1:20. To glory in the cross is to glory in the eternal purpose of God -- including election.
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Calvin on Eph. 1:4.

    "For had not St. Paul added that which we now see, it might have been surmised that God's grace is common to all men and that he offers it and presents it to all without exception, and, consequently, that it is in every man's power to receive it according to his own free will, by which means there would be some merit in us."

    Sermons on Ephesians, p. 22.
  18. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor


    Nice way of wording it...still sorting it out though.
  19. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Here we do not disagree but agree whole heartedly. This is exactly what I´m saying. But note well what you yourself just said, "œto glory IN THE CROSS is to glory in the eternal purpose of God". Not divorced from the cross but through the centrality of the Cross. This is exactly what Calvin supported and consequently warned against in seeking out election "œnakedly". That´s the difference in a hyper-Calvinist who makes the centrality election, which we cannot see, which Calvin warned against and the one who makes the Cross central so as to enjoy the election that is to say the true Christian. This is why Calvin called the cross "œa mirror as it were", because without the mirror, which is another way of saying "œcentrality of the cross", one has made election an idol, divorced it and is viewing it in a way that is not viewable to finite man. Christ alone is the revelation of all of Scripture and its doctrines. So, we don´t disagree here.

    This is exactly what I meant when I said,

    Which is the same as what you said,

    Thus when a man glories in the cross he is glorying in election, rebirth, faith and etc"¦ But when a man reverses this his danger is glorying in these things sans the cross and something of himself. Those are two different religions.

    Calvin´s quote, "For had not St. Paul added that which we now see, it might have been surmised that God's grace is common to all men and that he offers it and presents it to all without exception, and, consequently, that it is in every man's power to receive it according to his own free will, by which means there would be some merit in us.", Is simply a hedge against a faith that is active, that is "œfree will" faith that thinks it can grasp it. In fact Calvin´s statement here destroys all forms of "œactive" faith and sets forth EXACTLY what Luther said faith is, passive, empty hand that receives. In fact this quote supports the fact that Christ is not simply offered but is actually GIVEN when He is "œoffered". The fact that it has to be actually GIVEN to you as opposed to merely "œoffered" to you, destroys ALL free will and will worship. Those who just "œoffer" Christ in reality are appealing to the will of man, they fundamentally are still pelagian/semi pelagian, and it is will worship. Those who give Christ for real and actually, do so because they know the will of man is utterly dead. Again the link between the arminian and the hyper-Calvinist is very similar.

    By the way I don´t think you are a hyper-Calvinist, I´m not sure how that got started, I was speaking to real hyper-Calvinist doctrine. I think that got "œread into" the discussion. I wanted to clear that up immediately!

  20. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Larry objects that the proposition, God does not desire the salvation of all men without exception and says it "œdestroys more faith than 10,000 atheist could ever dream of." He adds; "œThat´s not the communication of the Gospel but the reality unknown in eternity."

    First, I agree that the proposition that God does not desire the salvation of all men is not the Gospel, but it is a valid inference from the Gospel. If Jesus Christ died for a particular people given to Him by the Father, as the Scriptures teach, then to assert that God desires the salvation of men for whom Christ did not die is a lie. I do realize that this lie is warmly embraced by many calling themselves Reformed and who even believe that perpetuating this lie is actually an aid to "œevangelism," but I fail to see how such deceptions can be an aid to faith or the proclaimation of the gospel? Second, it is not an "œunknown" reality that God does not desire the salvation of all men without exception, but, as already mentioned, is the teaching of Scripture. So, in one sense you are correct and you cannot say "œin one breath . . . [t]he Good News is Christ has died for your sins and given you His righteousness, and by the way God does not desire the salvation of all men without exception." That´s because no preacher should say "œthe Good News is Christ has died for your sins and given you His righteousness" without stressing that the Good News is for those who would believe. There is no good news if Christ died for all and is given to all since many of those for whom He supposedly died go to Hell. Consequently, the first part of your statement is true only with qualification and the second part is true without qualification.

    Further, I couldn´t find your citation from Calvin, but I don´t see how it supports your position? The citation appears to be a denial by Calvin of common grace, but it seems you´re hanging your hat on an equivocation of the sense of the word "œoffer." Therefore, when Calvin says "œhe offers [the gospel] and presents it to all without exception," you infer from this that "œChrist is . . . actually GIVEN" to all He is "œoffered" and from this "œgiving" you infer a desire on God´s part for the salvation of all. Makes sense, but of course none of this follows.

    The word "œoffer" is from the Latin offerre which means "˜to bring to´ for acceptance or rejection. It is in this sense that there is a free offer of the Gospel (which, btw, is a message). We are commanded to proclaim the gospel to all promiscuously, but it doesn´t mean, nor does it follow, that Christ died for all or is given to all indiscriminately as you assert. That´s not to say that you cannot find some passage in Calvin´s massive volumes that appear to support your conclusions, but just realize that I can produce truckloads that clearly refute and counter your claims (see below for starters).

    Finally, I recommend you read; "œThe Three Points in Most Parts Reformed: A Reexamination of the So-Called Well-Meant Offer of Salvation," by Raymond A. Blacketer (http://www.prca.org/articles/ctjblack.html). Blacketer has an excellent section on Calvin and the so-called "œwell meant offer" and what is particularly interesting, especially for those familiar with the rift that occurred years ago among the Dutch Reformed, is that Blacketer is a prof at Calvin Theological Seminary, a CRC seminary.

    Some counter quotes from Calvin:

    [Edited on 7-26-2006 by Magma2]
  21. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I prefer to say the hyper-Calvinist errs by giving a different presentation of election than by making election central. E.g., the topic of this thread, eternal justification.

    Historical theologians have struggled to come to terms with the history of thought because of this nonsense about the centrality of particular doctrines. What looks to be central for a theologian can be nothing more than the way that theologian focusses his thinking on a given subject.

    But to come to the crux of the matter -- if it is agreed that the cross derives its efficacy from the eternal purpose of God, then there can be no legitimate preaching of the cross that is separated from that purpose (so the apostle in Eph. 3). In which case, it is nonsense to hold out the saving efficacy of the cross to all men unconditionally. You may as well tell them they are all going to heaven irrespective of what they do, which is unconditional universalism.
  22. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    A short critic of Kyper's thought...http://www.the-highway.com/articleAug04.html

    [Edited on 7-27-2006 by JM]
  23. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Rev. Winzer,

    I wouldn't argue with this, this may be splitting hairs either way. I would argue centralizing so is declaring a different election because I'm focusing on the earthly view of finite man.

    You may call it non-sense but the cross of Christ is central to all revelation. Perhaps in ivory towers of academia, but in real life the doctrine is quite practical. We shall both see on the hour of our death what doctrine arises central in our hearts and the devil throw up our life before our eyes as certainly he will for the Christian can expect suffering one way or another. At the end of the day its not for me to convince nor can I do so by simple arguments. Reality has a way of bringing things crystal clear. It is no wonder Paul could glory in suffering in which we other wise fear!

    I really don't know why you keep throwing this up in my face, I have explicitly spoken against, multiple times, divorcing the doctrine one way or the other.

    I'm not declaring universalism, just how the Gospel is given. Secondly, "holding out" the cross is appealling to the will of man by definition. I said give the cross not hold it out, God will bring forth the increase as He sees fit. That's something you apparently are missing grossly for you assume, it appears that it must be effectual that minute, which is a hair's breadth from rank decissional theology. You may give the cross of Christ to an unconverted soul and that day and perhaps decades after that nothing happen. Then one day the Holy Spirit brings that Gospel to his mind effectually. One is still trying to play the part of God by only "holding out the cross". The nature of the Gospel, news, is against mere "holding out". The parable of the sower is against "holding out". Even Peter says in Acts among a crowd whose hearts and election he could not see (e.g. Simon Magnus) GIVES the Gospel promise, he does dangle it as an offer. He gives it, those it effectually calls it does, but that is the Holy Spirit's work. The preacher's job is to proclaim it and proclaim it right, not as he sees fit to re-word it.

  24. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore


    You could not have more misrepresented what I was saying if you tried, and you tried.

    This quote, "œthat God does not desire the salvation of all men without exception", I simply said was not the Gospel, and for faith to take place the Gospel must be communicated to communicate this nakedly apart from the cross is to loose both the Gospel and true election. To do so apart from the cross so nakedly done kills faith. And to say that I deny it is incorrect and calling me a liar which you slanderously have done explicitly and publicly in an entirely unfounded way for I also said of it, "œThough this is true from eternity and the secret council of God"¦"

    Paul said I preach Christ and Him crucified, I desired to know nothing among you except Christ crucified, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? Or OT if you rather, "œHow lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
    And then I set forth that the duty of man which is to broadly and promiscuously declare the Gospel (never denying election once mind you). To not do so is using rationalizations over and above the Gospel.
    . This is quite a nice straw man to set up and knock down by which you impugn me as a liar indirectly, but again I´ve never denied and in fact explicitly confirmed the sovereign election of God.

    I´ve never stated that election is untrue, in fact I whole heartedly affirmed it, but what I´m speaking to is the difference in duty and proclamation versus teaching a doctrine that supports that very Gospel in the first place. No where in scripture are you to proclaim the Gospel thus to world, "œThe Good News is Jesus only died for some of you." When the Good News is brought forth it is delivered nakedly as a gift. To do it otherwise is to not give the Gospel and let the Holy Spirit work where HE alone works.

    In fact the parable of the sower militates, scripture explicit to the giving of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, entirely against you in the clearest terms possible. In which we see that the Gospel seed is to be promiscuously broadcast. That is the main point of the parable! The Gospel is cast to all four soils and note well that the seed is actually, not potentially, but actually given. That is the gift IS given, thus men stand more condemned who receive it not for it is actually given not potentially or "œoffered" as we use the term today. It is not held off in a seed bag awaiting the soil to grasp it. It is not broadcast only after the seed sower checks the condition of the soil in which it will be cast before it is given. It is given period. Then God ALONE brings forth the increase AS HE SOVEREIGNLY sees fit. Neither you or me are to play the role of God, you are commanded to give the Gospel. If one withholds the Gospel perhaps one really does not have it themselves for they clearly don´t see how it functions.

    Those who hold the Gospel as mere offer are will worshippers. Those who give it, are true to election, predestination and the TOTAL depravity of the will of fallen man. Furthermore, it is sheer absurdity to speak of "œoffering NEWS", for such an "œoffer" is offering for a faith that rises only to the second level of the definition of saving faith, that is historical affirmation for which no man is saved. One can easily see the absurdity in this if Dan Rather where to come on to the television on 9/11 and say, "œI offer to you as news"¦". News by its very nature is given. And unless it reaches the level of naked personal trust, which can ONLY happen if it is given, it is not faith and you have not heard the Good News and you are just affirming it as a fact of history. And again this is from the perspective of man whose duty goes no further than to proclaim what God is done, that is man gives it, God brings forth the increase and promises His Word will not go out in vain. News is given not offered, and the parable of the seed sower is crystal clear on this issue such that even a child may understand it.

    III.xxiv.5 Institutes of the Christian Religion, J. Calvin.

    "œFirst, if we seek for the paternal mercy and favor of God, we must turn our eyes to Christ, in whom alone the Father is well pleased (Mt. 3:17). When we seek for salvation, life, and a blessed immortality, to him also must we retake ourselves, since he alone is the fountain of life and the anchor of salvation, and the heir of the kingdom of heaven. Then what is the end of election, but just that, being adopted as sons by the heavenly Father, we may by his favor obtain salvation and immortality? How much so ever you may speculate and discuss you will perceive that in its ultimate object it goes no farther. Hence, those whom God has adopted as sons, he is said to have elected, not in themselves, but in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:4); because he could love them only in him, and only as being previously made partakers with him, honor them with the inheritance of his kingdom. But if we are elected in him, we cannot find the certainty of our election in ourselves; and not even in God the Father, if we look at him apart from the Son. Christ, then, is the mirror in which we ought, and in which, without deception, we may contemplate our election. For since it is into his body that the Father has decreed to ingraft those whom from eternity he wished to be his, that he may regard as sons all whom he acknowledges to be his members, if we are in communion with Christ, we have proof sufficiently clear and strong that we are written in the Book of Life. Moreover, he admitted us to sure communion with himself, when, by the preaching of the gospel, he declared that he was given us by the Father, to be ours with all his blessings (Rom. 8:32). We are said to be clothed with him, to be one with him, that we may live, because he himself lives. The doctrine is often repeated, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," (John 3:16). He who believes in him is said to have passed from death unto life (John 5:24). In this sense he calls himself the bread of life, of which if a man eat, he shall never die (John 6:35). He, I say, was our witness, that all by whom he is received in faith will be regarded by our heavenly Father as sons. If we long for more than to be regarded as sons of God and heirs, we must ascend above Christ. But if this is our final goal, how infatuated is it to seek out of him what we have already obtained in him, and can only find in him? Besides, as he is the Eternal Wisdom, the Immutable Truth, the Determinate Counsel of the Father, there is no room for fear that any thing which he tells us will vary in the minutes degree from that will of the Father after which we inquire. Nay, rather he faithfully discloses it to us as it was from the beginning, and always will be. The practical influence of this doctrine ought also to be exhibited in our prayers. For though a belief of our election animates us to involve God, yet when we frame our prayers, it were preposterous to obtrude it upon God, or to stipulate in this way, "O Lord, if I am elected, hear me." He would have us to rest satisfied with his promises, and not to inquire elsewhere whether or not he is disposed to hear us. We shall thus be disentangled from many snares, if we know how to make a right use of what is rightly written; but let us not inconsiderately wrest it to purposes different from that to which it ought to be confined.

    III.xxiv.3 Institutes of the Christian Religion, J. Calvin.

    Two errors are here to be avoided. Some make man a fellow-worker with God in such a sense, that man's suffrage ratifies election, so that, according to them, the will of man is superior to the counsel of God. As if Scripture taught that only the power of being able to believe is given us, and not rather faith itself. Others, although they do not so much impair the grace of the Holy Spirit, yet, induced by what means I know not, make election dependent on faith, as if it were doubtful and ineffectual till confirmed by faith. There can be no doubt, indeed, that in regard to us it is so confirmed. Moreover, we have already seen, that the secret counsel of God, which lay concealed, is thus brought to light, by this nothing more being understood than that that which was unknown is proved, and as it were sealed. But it is false to say that election is then only effectual after we have embraced the gospel, and that it thence derives its vigor. It is true that we must there look for its certainty, because, if we attempt to penetrate to the secret ordination of God, we shall be engulfed in that profound abyss. But when the Lord has manifested it to us, we must ascend higher in order that the effect may not bury the cause. For what can be more absurd and unbecoming, than while Scripture teaches that we are illuminated as God has chosen us, our eyes should be so dazzled with the brightness of this light, as to refuse to attend to election? <Meanwhile, I deny not that, in order to be assured of our salvation, we must begin with the word, and that our confidence ought to go no farther than the word when we invoke God the Father. For some to obtain more certainty of the counsel of God (which is nigh us in our mouth, and in our heart, Deut. 30:14), absurdly desire to fly above the clouds. We must, therefore, curb that temerity by the soberness of faith, and be satisfied to have God as the witness of his hidden grace in the external word; provided always that the channel in which the water flows, and out of which we may freely drink, does not prevent us from paying due honor to the fountain.

    Now there is the real down to home side of REALLY understanding the Gospel and election. It´s all nice and pretty when we talk about the poor guy outside of us and is this nebulous person elect or not. But it gets home REAL quick when one considers one´s own death. How do you know that YOU are elected? Will you be in the kingdom of heaven?

    And the rest of your "œCalvin counter quotes" eludes me, especially since I´ve both denied free will more forcefully and shown where from arise true good works and never denied them.


    [Edited on 7-29-2006 by Larry Hughes]
  25. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    You deny that you divorce the efficacy of the cross from the eternal purpose of God. You affirm that in the Gospel the efficacy of the cross of Christ is given to all men. The logical conclusion of these premises can only be that you believe Christ efficaciously died for all men in the eternal purpose of God.

    "Hold forth" and "offer" are traditional Calvinist terms, and they have nothing to do with decisional theology. It is only by positing conditions in the offer, i.e., faith and repentance, that the abominable doctrine of universalism is avoided. If salvation is unconditionally given in the Gospel, then all men shall unconditionally be saved. The Calvinist manner of stating it is that the Holy Spirit enables the elect to fulfil the conditions of the gospel when He effectually calls them. Then is the offer "embraced" and "received," and then the elect sinner is instated in the covenant of grace, and all the benefits of Christ are theirs.
  26. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Isa 45:21-22 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

    Isaiah 55 1-3 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

    Is this an offer or merely an exhibition?

    Great Sermons:
    David Silversides
    John Murray
  27. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    An offer of everlasting salvation to sinners of mankind upon condition that they believe, i.e., look, come, hear, etc.
  28. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    It is unconditional without fail and it is that which causes faith. Faith is not the condition, the good news causes faith and creates ex nihilo, out of nothing that which did not exist as the Apostle say in the fourth chapter of Romans, calling into being that which does not exist by the Gospel...namely the truster in Christ crucified. Faith arises from the gift given, it is the essence of faith. Seeing Christ crucified as Christ causes its own receptical.

    It is a giving, pure and simple just like the sower of the seed, it gives freely, no condition. Which is crystal clear.

    "look, come, hear..." are all the means of giving, "look to the serpent of bronze, behold the gift, look to the cross behold the gift." If one looks at their looking, hears to their hearing, comes to their coming, trusts in their trusting, then they are NOT in ANYWAY looking, hearing, coming or believing.

    To condition it upon faith is arminianism.

  29. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Faith is a gift and a condition Mr. Hughes. God requires all men to have faith to be saved but for the elect he undertakes the condition making them willing and able to believe. It must be remembered that faith is a human action, it is not something God does but it is what we do, that is the response to God's work of regeneration.
  30. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    It is an insturment which God gives us by which we lay hold of Christ.
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