Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Means-less Salvation

When looking around the internet at religious posts, you find some really interesting people. I have mentioned this guy before somewhere (this is NOT Darwin Fish). This guy seems to have taken "unconditional election" a bit far. (I don't want to link to his site or give his name, because... well... I have my reasons.)

I can imagine that most people of the "regeneration preceding faith" persuasion would go along with this:
He says:
Jesus Christ, as the only creator, speaking with His own voice, in a singular creative act, to an individual soul, thereby [quickens] that person, implanting eternal life, by Himself alone!

and further (does anyone want to say "amen" here? I think I hear it?):
Jesus does not need you to accept Him as your personal savior in order to save you eternally – nor does He want your help at all!

But then, he says:
There will be people in heaven who have never even heard the name of Christ or been converted to the Gospel? That’s right... eternal salvation [is] totally independent of any human means what-so-ever.

Finally... and this was the most thought provokling question I read the whole week. It actually is quite profound.
"Does the objective fact of redemption by Christ depend on man’s subjective perception or understanding of that fact? If so, then wouldn’t it be true that perception determines reality?"

I think that perception determining reality can be a problem when discussing theology. That is why in all the discussions about atonement, I am getting more and more comfortable as I am trying on Christ's "taking of sin out of the way" as a done deal for all. Yet, receiving Christ's life is by faith, and is needful, not having been accomplished until that moment of faith.


  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/15/2007 10:40 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose!

    Could it be suggested that Jesus' atonement forgives all sins so that faith is even possible?

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/15/2007 11:05 AM  

  • Missy,
    Yeah, I am thinking that you say that well. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/15/2007 11:55 AM  

  • Rose,

    I am sure glad that you are 'trying on for size' the notion that Jesus is the propitiation for all of the sins of the world. I mean, it is biblical!

    Whenever one finds an exegetical understanding that allows one to take the Scriptures in a plain, ordinary, and literal fashion, without the inclusion of secondary assumptions you hit gold.

    John the Baptizer said of Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world".

    John the Apostle stated, "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."

    This is not the world of the elect! The Apostle John uses the same Greek words "whole world" in 1 John 5:19, "We know that... the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one."

    The whole world = the whole world.

    The Baptizer didn't say, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (or the elect or believing anyway!)"

    The Apostle didn't say, "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins [and] also for the whole world (well, the elect and/or believing anyway)"

    They didn't say that Jesus potentially takes away sin or is potentially the propitiation for the sins of the world.

    Jesus took sin out of the way!

    Jesus satisfied the Father for the sins of the world, each and every one. Sin is no longer a barrier separating man from God's acceptance. God's justice has been satisfied in the sense that He has been freed to accept sinful man. In God's wisdom He has decided to impart eternal life and justify those who believe in His Son. He is pleased to save those who believe (1 Cor 1:21).


    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/15/2007 8:16 PM  

  • Great post... where do you find these guys? :)

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at 11/16/2007 12:55 AM  

  • Antonio,
    Thank you for your visit and for your thoughts on this. What I mean by "trying it on for size" is that I am testing the idea that men do not go to hell because of sin, but because they don't have life. This seems to be the only plausible explanation if we believe that Christ died for the sins of the whole world. I am unsatisfied with the idea that your sin is somehow on you until you turn to Christ then it suddenly goes to the cross. Either it was there at the cross on Christ... or it wasn't.

    Jon Lee,
    Thank you for the visit! This man actually emailed me and gave me a link to his site.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2007 10:34 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Visiting your blog for the first time - it's nice! :-)

    You said,

    "I am unsatisfied with the idea that your sin is somehow on you until you turn to Christ then it suddenly goes to the cross. Either it was there at the cross on Christ... or it wasn't."

    Here's the way I see it. Jesus DID pay for the sins of everyone, but the payment is only applied to your account by faith. An analogy could be: suppose you have a 30-year mortgage, and you have 29 years left on it. One day the bank calls you up and says that Bill Gates decided to pay off your mortgage. The money is ready to be placed into your account, you just need to come and sign on the line that you agree to it. But until you sign, you still owe the mortgage as if he had never offered the money.

    So to compare the two, I would say that before Jesus' death, we owed a debt we couldn't pay, and there was no way to pay it. Jesus' death provided the amount necessary to pay off the debt for each of us, but we have to "sign for it", i.e. place our faith in Jesus, in order for "the funds" (his death) to be credited to our account.

    Acts 10:42-43 says,

    "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins." (The KJV says "remission of sins".)

    It would seem from this passage that forgiveness or remission of sins only happens to those who believe.

    This next one is interesting and one that I'm still working through.

    2 Cor. 5:18-20 says,

    "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

    So at first glance these verses seem to support your view, that God reconciled the world to himself, it's over and done with. Paul says, "[we've been given] the ministry of reconciliation". However, if your view is correct, you would expect Paul to say next, "therefore, go tell everyone the good news that they've already been reconciled to God!" Instead though, he says, "so, PLEASE be reconciled to God!" Seems rather strange. If we're already reconciled, why do we need to be reconciled? It seems to me that the most obvious answer is my view, that God DID reconcile the world to himself through Jesus, but the reconciliation is only applied to the individual by personal faith.

    John 8:22-24 says,

    So the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, 'Where I am going, you cannot come'?" And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

    I really tried to think about these verses from your perspective, to see if there was a way to explain them differently. I couldn't come up with a way, maybe you can (I mean that sincerely)? Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees here, a group who at the time did not savingly believe in Him. It seems that Jesus is clearly saying that they will die "in their sins" unless they believe in Him (and I would say, believe that He is God, but I suppose that's an argument for a different thread). I don't know any other way to take that phrase, then that it means that the unbelieving ones would die still in their sins, meaning their sins were still "on them" or still in their account... they still owed their debt of sin to God.

    And what of John 16:7-11?

    But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

    Jesus says here that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, why? Because they don't believe in Jesus. This would seem to link unbelief with a need for conviction of sin. If all sin has already been paid for, why do unbelievers need to be convicted of their sin? Why wouldn't the HS' job be to convict them of their need for eternal life? The verse seems to be saying, since the world doesn't believe in Jesus, they are still in their sin and need to be convicted of their sin for the purpose of believing in Jesus.

    I'd be glad to explain more and provide more Scripture, but I don't want to go on and on (more than I already have!). I will say, check out Romans 3:9-26. Note how "justification" seems to include both the forgiveness of sins AND the imputing of God's righteousness to us simultaneously, and that this act is applied to the individual by faith in Jesus. Very interesting.

    By Blogger Rachel, at 11/21/2007 11:52 PM  

  • Oh, I meant to say, regarding the comment in your article that my view would mean "perception determines reality"... I disagree with that statement. In my view, the reality is that Jesus' death is the full and complete payment for the sins of all mankind, regardless of what anyone believes. However, the payment is not applied to anyone's account until they believe in Jesus. So my perception of Jesus' death doesn't change "reality", it does change whether or not my personal sin is forgiven by God. I don't see how that "determines reality" anymore than saying that my perception of Jesus determines where I spend eternity.

    By Blogger Rachel, at 11/21/2007 11:57 PM  

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