Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Our Confidence

As long as any works are necessary to establish that a man is regenerate, then works become the basis of His confidence instead of Christ. As soon as some specific fruit of regeneration is said to necessarily follow faith, then it becomes difficult to avoid asking, "Do I have this fruit in sufficient degree of manifestation to establish that my faith is real?"

Furthermore, if works are either a basis of assurance or necessary for assurance, then it is impossible for a man to have assurance until works ahve been manifested in his life. This leads to the absurd conclusion that a man can believe in Christ but not know that he has believed. In fact, he cannot really know if he has believed until he finds himself believing at the "final hour". then, and only then, have his works verified his faith to be that of the "elect" and not of the reprobate.

Traditionalists maintain that the reprobate can have similar feelings and evidences of regeneration as the "elect". How then does one know if he is of the reprobate? Some means of discrimination are immediately thrust upon the Christian mind: Is my faith only temporary? Am I a spiritual defector who hasn't defected yet? How can I know if my faith is saving faith? Wherein do they differ?

Traditionalism is caught in an abusive cycle of doubt and fear, circulating on the carousel of performance based reasoning: is God affected toward me? His confidence must necessarily be based in his works and not Christ. Christ died for the elect and only the elect will persevere in faith and works. Therefore Christ cannot be the conscious object of the confidence of their election, it must be their works, for their look to Christ cannot guarantee that they are elect, they could merely be reprobate with some of the transient characteristics of grace. Works are the confidence of the Traditionalist.

The traditionalism of the classic Calvinists is an anthropocentric religion. Their assurance of salvation is assessed by their production of works.

Not so with Biblical Christianity:

"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"

Jesus died for all so there is no need to ascertain if he died specifically for you, if you are one of the select and fortunate elect.

"Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has eternal life"

Eternal life is the guaranteed receipt of everyone who merely places his trust in the promise of Christ to do so.

My confidence is in Christ. Our confidence must be in Christ!

Antonio da Rosa

Key Words: Calvinism, Temporary faith, spurious faith, Calvin, Reformed, doctrines of grace

16 Comments:

Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Amen.

August 08, 2006 12:36 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Works are certainly NOT necessary for salvation, but do they not serve as an evidence that salvation has taken place?

August 08, 2006 4:22 AM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 08, 2006 7:15 AM  
Blogger Solifidian said...

Mr. Setliff,

Definition 3 of “assurance” on Dictionary.com is: Freedom from doubt; certainty.

If the Reformed faith teaches that there is such a thing as spurious faith, how is it possible to have certainty or freedom from doubt with regards to your final destiny. If the following syllogism represents a valid and sound argument, then the conclusion is something that you logically agree is true if you subscribe to the concept of spurious faith.

Major Premise: Even if I believe I see evidence of saving faith in my own life, I may be wrong.
Minor Premise: I believe I see evidence of saving faith in my own life.
Conclusion: I may be wrong.

What type of “assurance” does the conclusion of the syllogism allow you to have?

August 08, 2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Ryan, it is quite clear from the context of Luke 13:5 that our Lord speaks of physical death.

Joe, works may serve as a testimony to the unbelieving of God's goodness. However, if works are not essential to receiving eternal life, they cannot be used as a means of personal assurance.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

August 08, 2006 12:35 PM  
Anonymous GlennW said...

Ryan,

I have a couple of questions. I am curious as to your definition of antinomianism and how it pertains to free grace. When someone makes a claim of antinomianism I understand them to mean that after a person has been saved that he can sin with impunity, no consequences from God for committing the sins. However, I have never heard a free grace proponent make that claim. Instead I have always understood them to say that there are consequences while still alive (the sin unto death) which the pastor I grew up with described as the 100 yard crawl through broken glass towards eternity. Then, there are also consequences in eternity. First there will be shame at the judgment seat (bema), which is no small matter, and permanent loss of reward in eternity. You seem to be claiming that the only just punishment for certain sins is eternal condemnation to the lake of fire. Is that correct?

You also state that:

“Among other things, Hodges says someone can supposedly make a confession of faith, fall into avowed atheism, die an avowed atheist in fact, and is still redeemed. My contention would be that such a person was never regenerate.”

This, once again, seems to be implying that there are certain sins that a believer just cannot commit (I assume you agree that what you describe is a sin). If this is the case, how do I know what sins are on the proof positive of unbelief list? Just out of academic curiosity, how do I determine what sins would comprise such a list. I have witnessed believers (I only have their word that they were believers) tossing people into the lake of fire for a variety of sins but can discern no clear rules. Usually the sins involved are nasty shocking affairs but I cannot tell where the dividing line is between garden variety nasty sins and beyond the point of no return sins? Can you supply any scriptural guidance as to where that dividing line is?

Glenn W.

August 08, 2006 4:41 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Jesus died for all so there is no need to ascertain if he died specifically for you, if you are one of the select and fortunate elect.

Well put, brother. If the focus is off of the doctrine of election, the focus can then be on the gospel ... which is all about what Christ has accomplished. Since Christ has accomplished all of the work, we can point people toward him and they can find rest in the one who takes away the sins of the world and gives the living water.

August 10, 2006 5:30 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

You all bless me!

Antonio

August 12, 2006 6:35 PM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 12, 2006 8:06 PM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 12, 2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

Glenn, is it really necessary to distort my argument in order to reply to it?

"This, once again, seems to be implying that there are certain sins that a believer just cannot commit."

He isn't a believer! How much clearer can I be? Hodges is talking about an avowed atheist who dies in professed belief. Do you not comprehend what I am saying? Again for emphasis: "Among other things, Hodges says someone can supposedly make a confession of faith, fall into avowed atheism, die an avowed atheist in fact, and is still redeemed. My contention would be that such a person was never regenerate."

He is an unrepentant atheist! And you chracterize the hypothetical avowed atheist who professes unbelief to until the day he dies as a believer? Can you discuss and reason rationally? I am not going to call you Unitarian, but you should tread lightly in your affirmations.

I just don't understand some of you people. By the way, I believe that I am saved by God's free and unmerited grace too. The free grace theological school doesn't have a trademark statement. Anyway, I am steadfast in my conviction that a true regenerate believer cannot lose their salvation.

The only unforgivable sin is die without Christ; I didn't say anything to the contrary.

Some of you guys need to read about logical fallacies, particularly straw man arguments, because they seem to be attendant with Zane Hodges' theology.

August 12, 2006 9:45 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Ryan,

Settle down.

You obviously don't understand what you are talking about.

When a person believes the gospel promise of Jesus, he is saved at that very moment. Eternal life is a free gift, and when you believe into Jesus for it you receive that free gift.

That free gift cannot be taken away from you no matter what happens in the future. Every sin that you have ever committed or will commit was yet future to Jesus' death. He died for each one of your sins. He knew that we would sin after being saved but he still died for them!

In essense, what Glenn has said is that the logical end of your theology is that Christ's death didn't pay for every sin. You say that a true Christian can't become an atheist. Well then Christ didn't die for the sin of atheism!

If a sin of atheism negates the promise of the the free gift of eternal life, then Christ didn't die for that sin.

Antonio

August 12, 2006 10:29 PM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 12, 2006 11:10 PM  
Blogger Ryan S. said...

When a person believes the gospel promise of Jesus, he is saved at that very moment. Eternal life is a free gift, and when you believe into Jesus for it you receive that free gift.

Yes, I already believe that. The keyword however is "believe."

In essense, what Glenn has said is that the logical end of your theology is that Christ's death didn't pay for every sin.

Yeah, as if I really said such a thing. Now, we have to turn to bearing false witness. Why bother with a rational response, when you can simply misrepresent another person?

Glenn is erecting a straw man argument, which is distorted argument that I never made, and he is attacking the straw man.

It's obvious some of you are only going to use non-sequitur reasoning, rhetorical sophistry, and misrepresent everything I say as I say it. I wouldn't expect it from Matthew, but I cannot say that for some of you.

August 12, 2006 11:29 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Ryan,

Did you respond to the opening post of this message? No. Did you add your well-reasoned thoughts to the discussion? No. You have merely continued to assert much while proving nothing.

You seem to want to throw 'big' words around, but you come off as arrogant, prideful, and full of yourself, as if the learning you have done from your crash course in Reformed theology has exalted your opinion to that of ex-cathedra pronouncements.

Slow down and take smaller bites, and make an argument based upon a rational and coherent thought process. And try to stick to the material that is in the opening posts. This isn't a soap-box for your particular theological bent.

The message of this post stands how it is unless you can rationally object by a well-thought out biblical argument.

Antonio

August 12, 2006 11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should we not judge faith by works? The Bible tells us over and over that the one and only one way by which we can determine real faith from false is by judging works. Certainly works are powerless to save, but faith that saves is always accompanied by works.

Antonio, can you have faith without works? James settled this issue long ago - why do you insist on arguing against him?! Let the Scripture stand - "Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." How can you say that real faith has no connection to works, when James says that "faith without works is dead"?

Perhaps you would like this teaching from another Apostle? Take John - "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." Or later in the same book: "In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother." It is how we walk and what we practice that proves our faith.

If you will not hear it from them, will you at least hear it from Christ himself? "By their fruits you will know them!" And what truth did Christ set before the Pharisees to prove to them that they were not Abraham's children? He told them that they did not "do the works of Abraham."

And so it continues, in many places. The Biblical testimony calls to us with many commands to judge faith by it's works. Your posting, however, is written to demand that we do no such thing! And why not? Because if we do, you assert, it will become difficult to avoid asking certain questions. Pleae, let the Bible speak! If it makes you ask questions, then ask your questions! And when you set aside your unbiblical interpretive framework, you will see that genuine faith is always accompanied by works.

For this reason, when a man continues in sin - whether professing faith or not - it is right to tell him that "those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!" When we exhort others to holy living, we can say "if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." You see, "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." Real faith which unites the believer with God is always accompanied by repentance and the mortification of sin. This is the Biblical truth!

But perhaps, the error in your thinking lies even further upstream... If Christ has died for all men everywhere, in the same way, then why are not all men saved? Just what is it that saves you? You claim that your confidence is in Christ, but what do you mean by that? I would assume you to mean that your confidence is specifically in his death, burial, and resurrection. But then you contradict yourself: if his death, burial, and resurrection belongs to you no more than it belongs to the damned, then how can your salvation hinge on it? You might be grateful for his death, but your confidence must ultimately rest on some other thing. So then, what does the unbeliever lack, which you possess? Where is your confidence really?

Sorry to post anonymously, and on an older thread. May Christ's truth reign, and may the Holy Spirit lead us all! May his purposes stand, "who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."

In Christ,
Mike Bonebright

August 18, 2006 4:56 PM  

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