Friday, January 13, 2017

Do you see the Contradiction?


I found this statement under the heading of SALVATION on a variety of church websites...
Because people are unable to save themselves from their sinful condition, salvation is altogether the work of God. Neither good works nor self-improvement can make up for our sin. Salvation is the free gift of God. However, like any gift it must be received. This gift is received by faith, or by believing and trusting in Jesus Christ who died as our substitute that we might live. Through repentance from sin and faith toward God, we turn from our self-ruled life to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Do you see the contradiction lurking in this statement? This sort of error is found all over professing Christendom in our time. Many have been pickled in these contradictions for so long they they are utterly unable to see the issue. To draw that out more explicitly consider the following:


Three Important Observations


1. If "salvation is altogether a work of God" then why must man "receive it" in order for eternal salvation to transpire? If mowing my lawn was altogether a work of God, would I have to "receive it" by faith in order for the grass to have been cut? Clearly not.

2. How can an unregenerate man, who lacks the indwelling Holy Spirit of God and thus lacks the faith which is a fruit thereof (Galatians 5:22), receive this gift of salvation given that he does not possess the faith required for reception? (I Corinthians 2:14, II Thessalonians 3:2)

3. The statement affirms that "Neither good works nor self-improvement can make up for our sin" yet rejecting an untruth in favor of believing the truth is undeniably an act of self-improvement, one that is apparently required in order to obtain eternal salvation so far as this statement is concerned. If one must believe the truth in order to acquire eternal life, then it is obvious that an act of self-improvement is required to make up for one's sin.

The Simple, Biblical Truth


In contrast to the aforementioned salvation statement, biblical truth is very straightforward and easy to understand.

- God chose a people to save (Ephesians 1:4-5).
- Jesus Christ covenanted to give ALL of them eternal life (John 17:2).
- The Holy Spirit covenanted to regenerate ALL of them in time (Galatians 4:6).
- This is ALL of God and none of man (Titus 3:5).
- Those who believe on him HAVE eternal life already (John 6:47).
- They did not do ANYTHING to acquire that gift (Ephesians 2:1).

Simply put, you were not required to "receive" the gift of your natural life. No one ever asked, "Would you like to be alive?" or "Will you receive this gift of natural life?" That obvious and indisputable fact completely obliterates the common Christian notion that "a gift must be received." The gift of eternal life is not offered to men for acceptance or rejection, it is imparted to them by the working of His mighty power in keeping with the covenantal promise of God. (Ephesians 1:19-20)

Finally


The contradictions found in this statement are incredibly prevalent in modern Christendom. But they are resolvable provided we have a proper biblical understanding of the role of regeneration in eternal salvation. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." (John 5:25)


7 comments:

  1. Dear Brother,

    Isn't what's behind this broad prevalent conviction(s) as you stated above in the topic, the central conviction of the (preached) Word being the means to the end (Salvation)?

    What I mean is, most of the people that hold to that statement under salvation that you quoted, believe that with the preaching or communicating of the Gospel (truths) God will also by His Spirit enable/renew/regenerate the (elect) hearer so that he/she can and will believe.
    That is supposed to explain (away) the matters of paradox and mysteries that so many use to cover up the lack of Scriptural knowledge and understanding in this area of Biblical theology.

    But to be honest, I myself have long believed that based on certain Scripture passages as Romans 10, Ezekiel 37, etc. Which I only later saw I interpreted wrongly with regards to that topic.

    But the point you make and explain is a good one and certainly one I would have more people convinced of here in our so called (Dutch) Reformed Netherlands.

    There are no PB's here in the Netherlands.
    Send some! ;-)

    Thanks a lot for your blog, very insightful & helpful.

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    Replies
    1. TETH ANSWER 101

      ANON: Isn't what's behind this broad prevalent conviction(s) as you stated above in the topic, the central conviction of the (preached) Word being the means to the end (Salvation)?

      TETH: Yes. You are correct in many, many instances. I believe this contradiction has been proliferated among Christians by the rampant, Billy-Graham-style, “ask Jesus into your heart”, quid-pro-quo soteriology that dominates the evangelical landscape.

      ANON: What I mean is, most of the people that hold to that statement under salvation that you quoted, believe that with the preaching or communicating of the Gospel (truths) God will also by His Spirit enable/renew/regenerate the (elect) hearer so that he/she can and will believe.

      TETH: That is correct. I actually just preached on this a week ago. They take statements like “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16) and insist that it means, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto REGENERATION to some who are unbelievers in that it makes them believers.” But that is not remotely what that text is teaching. In fact, the very next verse teaches that the gospel is a revelation “to faith” not “to no faith.” In other words, one must have the spiritual capacity of faith (i.e., they must already be born again) in order for them to receive this gospel revelation. This is precisely what Paul taught when he said, “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14) and when our Lord taught, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3) and “He who is of God heareth God’s words, ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” (John 8:47). So I believe you are right to connect this error to the false notion that the gospel is the means of imparting eternal life to God’s people. Simply put, the gospel is information – a revelation of truth. As such it presumes a “living” subject as its beneficiary. It brings life and immortality to light (II Timothy 1:10), not alien dead sinners to life. Only the immediate, life-giving, creative fiat of God can accomplish that latter resurrection (John 5:25).

      ANON: That is supposed to explain (away) the matters of paradox and mysteries that so many use to cover up the lack of Scriptural knowledge and understanding in this area of Biblical theology.

      TETH: I’ve often marveled at the “rational” attempts of some to “explain” that which they insist is a logical paradox. The contradiction embedded in that effort seems totally lost on most “theologians” who rush in where even those modestly acquainted with logic fear to tread. ☺

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    2. TETH ANSWER 102

      ANON: But to be honest, I myself have long believed that based on certain Scripture passages as Romans 10, Ezekiel 37, etc. Which I only later saw I interpreted wrongly with regards to that topic.

      TETH: Me too. Frankly the affirmation that the gospel is the means whereby God imparts eternal life via regeneration is so ubiquitous that it is hard to find someone who ever calls this idea into question. Primitive Baptists certainly oppose this idea, and a few others, and with very compelling scriptural evidence, IMO (not the least of which is the Old Testament saints who NEVER heard the explicit NT gospel, and some of whom never even knew God by the name “Jehovah” (Exodus 6:3) much less the name of “Jesus Christ who died for our sins…).

      TETH: In fact, I have found in my efforts to share the truth of immediate Holy Spirit regeneration with others, the idea is so far from anything they have ever considered or heard that it is often rejected outright without any need for considering its scriptural basis or looking into

      ANON: But the point you make and explain is a good one and certainly one I would have more people convinced of here in our so called (Dutch) Reformed Netherlands.

      TETH: I think it is important in understanding how God saves sinners, in establishing that it is UTTERLY by his grace and power (John 5:25), in affirming that it us UTTERLY not by works of righteousness which we have done (Titus 3:5), in proving that anything spiritual you ever see in the life of a child of God is a lagging indicator of grace ALREADY IMPARTED, and in defining the proper natural and purpose of gospel ministry – it is not to populate heaven (Christ did that) but to convert those who have the ears to hear to the truth of their salvation in Christ and to admonish them to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedient discipleship in this life.

      ANON: There are no PB's here in the Netherlands. Send some! ;-)

      TETH: Perhaps we will. I know men who are planting PB churches all over the world. May God raise up men to do this work.

      ANON: Thanks a lot for your blog, very insightful & helpful.

      TETH: And thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

      Prove all things, hold fast that which is good, (I Thessalonians 5:21)
      TETH

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    3. Absolutely true & absolutely a painful minority that holds to those Biblical convictions.

      Isn't that what what the PRC in your country holds to also and isn't that why they are being charged with 'Hyper Calvinism'? btw, that's a denomination with Dutch roots, but not much of left overhere.

      But you, or PB's must probably get that charge a lot too then. A sad misunderstanding & misrepresentation.

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    4. ANON: Absolutely true & absolutely a painful minority that holds to those Biblical convictions.

      TETH: Yes. I agree.

      ANON: Isn't that what what the PRC in your country holds to also and isn't that why they are being charged with 'Hyper Calvinism'?

      TETH: I believe that is correct. It is important to note, however, that believing that the gospel is not instrumental in regeneration is NOT the same as affirming that the gospel should not be preached to all who are willing to listen nor is it the same as affirming that the gospel has no purpose. That is just totally fallacious thinking that is pressed upon PB and PRC alike. Consider:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_TxBpyLokU

      ANON: btw, that's a denomination with Dutch roots, but not much of left overhere.

      TETH: Not too many over here either except up around Michigan.

      ANON: But you, or PB's must probably get that charge a lot too then.

      TETH: Oh yes. We get it all the time. For the most part the charge of “HyperCalvinism” is just a way of labeling us as “heretics” when other denominations have NO ANSWERS for the theological issues we raise with their beliefs. In my experience, Calvinists resort to applying this label to those of us who raise questions of their beliefs that, if properly answered in logical keeping with precepts they already admittedly affirm, would force them to ditch a host of unstable ideas that they are loath to let go – such as the Well-Meant Offer of salvation to all of humanity and the affirmation that salvation is “all of God” yet “man is also responsible.”

      ANON: A sad misunderstanding & misrepresentation.

      TETH: I totally agree.

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    5. This should clear things up:
      And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

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