LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Theological misconceptions, distortions, and outright falsehoods!

The following statement is often used by Christians to describe the relationship between justification and the results of justification, which the Bible refers to as discipleship and sanctification:

Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone

This statement was the subject of a post on a blog that has a long history of accusing reformed theology of affirming a faith plus works justification. The writer made the following observation concerning this statement:

Faith and Works

(Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone [implied is that it comes with Works]

The following are some of the comments concerning this statement by like minded readers of this blog:
1) It is a just another way of saying that we are saved by faith and works.
2) Works aren't necessary for salvation. Faith is necessary for salvation. But works are necessary for faith.
3) I don’t want the Old Time Evangelical faith. I want a new and fresh understanding of God's Word. I hear too much about 'old paths' and the glory days of revivals and stuff. Church history is bunk. Tradition is worn out. We need to seek fresh insight into the Scriptures, not the tired clichés of the past.
4) It seems to say that works are a necessary requirement to be saved, after all.
5) When push comes to shove, Reformed theology conditions eternal life on works.
Wow, these comments take presuppositions to a new level. Works is not mentioned in this statement, yet they all not only see works, but they attach works to faith and say the statement is affirming a works merited salvation.

Let’s take a close look at what the brief statement actually says and take the position that it means exactly what it says. It basically makes two declarations. First, it states that, “faith alone saves.” The dictionary uses the following words in defining alone: only; exclusively, solitarily, solely, without aid or help. What does faith alone without anything else do? It saves. Justification by faith alone is a hallmark of reformed theology and here in this statement it is affirmed without qualification. Reformed theology also affirms that justification is instantaneous and final. It occurs immediately after faith, and none who are saved will be lost. Once again: Faith alone saves and is final.

Secondly, the statement declares, “but the faith that saves is never alone.” ‘Not alone’ means other things happen along with saving faith. What are they? Jesus says in John 3:3 that a person must be born again to be saved. Therefore, the faith that saves occurs with being born again, so faith is not alone. Jesus says that redeemed believers will be in Christ (John 17:21). Paul also says that redeemed sinners are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). Paul says further, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The bottom line is that saving faith comes with the POWER of God in regeneration and with the indwelling HOLY SPIRIT, which makes the saved sinner a new creation in Christ. This is what is meant by the statement, the faith that saves is never alone. It is not alone because God sends his Spirit to regenerate and indwell believers. Is that all? No, the indwelling Spirit gives the following fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. The new creation in Christ who is already eternally saved responds to this fruit of love, kindness, goodness, etc. with good works that God prepared in advance for them to do (Eph. 2:10). This is what the Bible teaches about salvation. If a person has a problem with this, his problem is with the bible and not with reformed theology.

Some of the people who take this statement and accuse adherents of reformed theology of affirming a faith plus works justification are misinformed, but some are practicing nothing short of theological slander. They are attempting to promote their theology of powerless sanctification by falsely portraying reformed theology as teaching works justification. The debate is not over justification, but is about sanctification. See more on my Oct. 8 Lordship Sanctification Post .

Consider, the alternative to this statement which would be what these people are affirming. Faith alone saves by a faith that is alone. This would mean no sanctifying grace, no power from God, a powerless regeneration, and an ineffective indwelling Holy Spirit. It would leave any Christian sanctification up to the sinner as an option. Instead of a new creation in Christ, you would have the same ole sinner still dead in sin and depending upon himself for sanctification.

I would pray and encourage everyone to be Bereans and study the Scriptures carefully before selling out to any theological system and that includes all systems including mine.


Blogger jazzycat said...

There is POWER in the blood! Praise God that along with the gift of faith we have sanctifying grace.

November 18, 2007 5:59 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

I've been watching their arguments for two years now. I've seen Daniel, Matt Waymeyer, Gene Bridges, Jonathan Moorhead, the Pulpit Magazine folks, Wayne Hinton, JD Hatfield, Dave Moorhead and many others, try to patiently walk them through all of this, try to clear up confusion, try to correct any misconceptions; again, patiently and in love. But still, they default back to their old arguments. What is one left with but to conclude that their misrepresentation of the Reformed position is a deliberate attempt to misinform, and to mislead their readers. It is dishonesty at its worst. It is an attempt at sensationalism. It is un-Christ-like; that, and their deliberate attempts to defame MacArthur, refusing to accept correction in that matter as well.

Yes, let's study the scriptures. Be Bereans.

November 18, 2007 5:59 PM

Blogger donsands said...

As we are born into this world, and have no say in where, when, and how we are born, so it is when we are born again by the Spirit of Christ.

His mercy is displayed on Calvary to all the world. And many are called but few are chosen to experience this mercy of God, which in reality none of us want; in fact we scorn this mercy.
But when it reaches our hearts and souls, oh how it changes us!
And then we long to tell everyone of this mercy we have tasted.

Thanks for another good post Wayne. You have a firm and righteous understanding of this doctrine, of "Faith saves alone, but the faith that saves is never alone."

November 18, 2007 6:39 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Ya know, for them to deny "...the faith that saves is not alone", they are actually going against the Reformers themselves.


November 18, 2007 8:46 PM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Yes, it does change us and that is why faith is never alone, because it is part of God's work in our heart.

Yes, their theology is against the reformers and one of the comments made it plain when they said, I don’t want the Old Time Evangelical faith. I want a new and fresh understanding of God's Word. I hear too much about 'old paths' and the glory days of revivals and stuff. Church history is bunk. Tradition is worn out. We need to seek fresh insight into the Scriptures, not the tired clichés of the past.

Notice he wants to seek fresh insight into the Scriptures rather than seeking seeking truth from the Scriptures. IMO we need to glean truth from Scriptures, not force fresh insight into the Scriptures.

November 18, 2007 9:14 PM

Blogger luke said...

The post makes some good points. The illustration is very effective.

The quote is, at best, confusing. What the poster here is saying would be better stated, "faith alone saves, and the salvation leaves the sinner not alone." or something like that.

The quote is troublesome because it is tying the "not alone" phrase to the word "faith" rather than the Christian's walk in practical sanctification. In other words, if you want to say that this saying is about practical sanctification, then it would be better if it didn't use the words "faith" and "save" so much because those are two words that are clearly referring to justification. It is a very dangerous quote for those who hold to justification by faith. I can see why others are not keen on it.

November 18, 2007 9:29 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Ultimately, the faith brings you into a relationship with the triune God; a relationship wherein new life is imparted (regeneration), as Wayne has pointed out in this post. The results of regeneration are inevitable in the life of a genuine believer.

November 18, 2007 10:26 PM

Blogger interested spectator said...

Bobby Grow left this comment on another blog which relates to the quote in question. Bobby is contributing a quote about the quote:

Bobby says-
Here's a quote that clarifies how church history, i.e. English Purtianism and the Presbyterians, ever came to produce the slogan being highlighted. The quote comes from Bozeman (you'll see the bibliographic info at the end of the quote). He is discussing early English Puritanism and the conditions of salvation that were to be met within the framework of the "covenant of works" (i.e. divine pactum). The "moralistic" connotations are glaringly similar to Roman Catholic soteriology, for good reason.

Picturing Christian redemption as a complex of pardon plus moral remodeling within a cosmic monarchy whose king “hath coupled the glorie of his name . . . to the doeing of his wil,” and certain that “those who minde his commaundementes to doe them, are they to whome onlie his mercies are promised,” presbyterians thus underwrote and indeed mandated, consequent conditions in the pact. It was the Deity’s role to forgive sin and to supply regenerative will and power, and it was “our parte, to declare that we are [Christ’s], . . . by dying unto sinne, and living unto righteousnesse.” As Stephen Egerton (1555?–1621?) phrased it for his congregation at Saint Anne’s, Blackfriars, in London, the pact that carried favor also imposed a “condition of our dutie in the behalfe of our selves.” (Theodore Dwight Bozeman, “The Preceisianist Strain—–Disciplinary Religion & Antinomian Backlash In Puritanism To 1638)

November 19, 2007 9:36 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

"Since faith embraces Christ as He is offered by the Father, and he is offered not only for justification, for forgiveness of sins and peace, but also for sanctification of the Spirit; or,to express the matter more plainly, faith consists in the knowledge of Christ; Christ cannot be known without the sanctification of the Spirit: therefore faith cannot possibly be disjoined from pious affection." - John Calvin

November 19, 2007 10:53 AM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Interested Spectator (Matthew I believe?),
The first paragraph mentions a covenant of works. Reformation theology asserts that a covenant of works existed for Adam only. After the fall, God instituted a covenant of grace with mankind (Gen. 3:15). I have no idea what this ‘pact’ was about as my google searches produced nothing. I know that I do not agree with everything my 21st century Presbyterian church affirms, so I am quite certain I would not agree with everything that the 16th century Presbyterian Church affirmed. I have never heard of that ‘pact’ and my interpretation of the quote in question is gleaned from Biblical theology and has been since the first time I ever heard of the quote. I think the quote is generic and not bound to whatever it meant 500 years ago.

Part of Bobby’s comment on the quote states, “It was the Deity’s role to forgive sin and to supply regenerative will and power” At this point a person is justified and eternally secure (regeneration and forgiveness of sin). This is similar to what I said in this post and that is faith is accompanied (thus not alone) with regeneration, and the power of God in changing a person from the inside out. This is grace and it produces sanctification that does not fail. Paul put it as follows, But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life (Rom. 6:22).

I do not know why they added some kind of pact and am certainly not bound by it. If those Presbyterians of 500 years ago believed that the earth was the center of the universe, do I have to defend that position as well?

November 19, 2007 11:00 AM

Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Wow, what makes you think that?

I think I would sign in with my own identity.

You people are too nice to be mean to me.

November 19, 2007 11:07 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

" That is, as the works do not follow, it is a sure sign that there is no faith there; but only an empty thought and dream, which they falsly call faith..." - Martin Luther

November 19, 2007 11:07 AM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Thanks for the thought. I believe the people who inject erroneous meaning into the quote do not believe that faith comes with the power of God. They seem to affirm a man generated faith and a graceless man-powered sanctification. It is ironic that while they accuse others of works salvation, they affirm a man-powered works sanctification that gains them rewards in heaven.

Works sanctification for a selfish motive of rewards is just as legalistic as those who attempt to be justified by works in my opinion.

If anyone doubts my charge here, I can produce proof.

November 19, 2007 11:10 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Interested Spectator: Genetic Fallacies are fun play-things, aren't they???

November 19, 2007 11:11 AM

Blogger interested spectator said...

Nope, not dyspraxic.
But C. Maxwell said this on another blog:
>"There will be no complete sanctification until we reach Heaven and that is our glorification."<

And dyspraxic said this:
>I quite agree and I think those LS advocates who accuse FG of denying the power of God in sanctification ought to bear this in mind.<

that should clear up the confusion.

November 19, 2007 11:18 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

"But C. Maxwell said this on another blog:
>"There will be no complete sanctification until we reach Heaven and that is our glorification."<"

All Reformed people would "Amen" that statement. 1 John 3:2... However the quotes I have provided here from Calvin and Luther must be considered.

November 19, 2007 11:30 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

"Since faith embraces Christ as He is offered by the Father, and he is offered not only for justification, for forgiveness of sins and peace, but also for sanctification of the Spirit; or,to express the matter more plainly, faith consists in the knowledge of Christ; Christ cannot be known without the sanctification of the Spirit: therefore faith cannot possibly be disjoined from pious affection." - John Calvin

" That is, as the works do not follow, it is a sure sign that there is no faith there; but only an empty thought and dream, which they falsly call faith..." - Martin Luther

November 19, 2007 11:44 AM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Interested Spectator 2,
Thanks for that info. I couldn't agree with Colin more and he is expressing the reformed postition.

While the Christian never completely defeats his indwelling sin, he is convicted of sin, grieved by his sin, repents for his sin, and as Jesus taught in the beatitudes, A Christian hungers and thirsts for righteousness. These things flow from God's grace and not from man's effort in and by himself. Sanctifying power does not leave a Christian wallowing in sin forever. Jesus prayed that believers would be sanctified and I do not believe this prayer goes unanswered.

To assert that a believer may never experience any sanctification is to believe that God did not grant the petition of Jesus in his prayer of John 17. I do not hold that view and would be extremely uncomfortable if I did.

November 19, 2007 11:53 AM

Blogger interested spectator said...

Are these quotes to prove that it is a false charge that the teaching of perseverance originated with the Catholic Church and therefore the charge of 'genetic fallacy'?

For this to work, you would have to prove that the Reformers were in no way influenced by the Catholic church from which they came out.

November 19, 2007 11:55 AM

Blogger interested spectator said...

JCat - are you then agreeing with dyspraxic's comment too? Is it clear to you that he is also saying regeneration comes with power to completely sanctify? (and others of the FG people whom I have witnessed tell you this time and again.)

November 19, 2007 11:57 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

The Catholic church taught infused righteousness; whereas the Reformers taught that the justified one enters into a relationship with the triune God and is regenerated by Him, resulting in newness of life.

November 19, 2007 12:06 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Justification and Sanctification are distinct yet inseparable - THAT is Reformed Theology.

November 19, 2007 12:08 PM

Blogger Daniel said...

Mark said, What is one left with but to conclude that their misrepresentation of the Reformed position is a deliberate attempt to misinform, and to mislead their readers.

I grew up with an older sister and a younger sister closest to me in age. One day we were playing, and the particular game we had chosen was play fighting - pretending we were beating each other to within inches of our lives.

My father came up stairs to see me pinning my younger sister by the throat to the wall, with my fist pulled back menacingly...

The resulting correction I received was ... severe. My father wasn't really in the mood to hear my protests of innocence, nor was he very agreeable to my frantic attempts to explain. He saw what he saw, and that is all that he saw.

I can't really blame my father for his decisive intercession, nor can I blame him for showing so little respect for what I had to say when he was utterly convinced of my error, and had fully set himself to the task of correcting that same error with zeal.

From this I have learned that not everyone who ignores I regard to be truth and not everyone who refuses to give serious consideration to what I regard to be sound explanations is being intentionally obtuse. How many times should I extend grace to those whose actions suggest an unteachable, and utterly obtuse mindset, up to seven times?

Christianity does not come with a doctrinal purity guarantee, but it should come with grace upon grace.

We who are the recipients of God's profound grace give honor and glory to God when we extend that grace to those with whom we disagree, so that after our arguments have failed to persuade our conduct will manifest what motivated us to correct in the first place.

Am I right?

November 19, 2007 12:10 PM

Blogger Daniel said...

If God sanctifies those whom he justifies, then we recognize that sanctification is as much an effect as justification is, and that God is the cause of both. We conclude therefore that if God causes the one, he certainly causes the other, and that if God has failed to cause the one, there is no reason to imagine he has caused the other.

Confessionally speaking, "Faith Alone" is held up as a corrective - opposing the Catholic notion that justification takes place by way of cumulative sacramentalism. When we say that faith alone saves, we mean sacramentalism plays no part in justification.

The faith that sanctifies is the same faith that justifies. We are sanctified by grace through faith alone, but although we are sanctified by faith alone, we are not sanctified only - but we are justified also.

November 19, 2007 12:19 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Daniel, you are not right. Please consider ALL that I said in that November 18, 2007, 5:59 PM comment. If you wish to handle their obtuse-ness with kid gloves, that is your choice. I, on the other hand, see dishonesty here and the willingness to misrepresent and Reformed teaching.

I am sorry to disagree with you here. I respect you; but I do not think what they are doing should go unchallenged. I have lost a good friend through all of this; so I know the cost of my stands. I am wounded at the loss of this friend; but a stand must be made.

November 19, 2007 12:22 PM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Interested Spectator,
When I refer to the Power of God, I am asserting that it does not fail. When FG people tell me that they believe in HIS sanctifying power, but that it may fail in some cases, I see that as denying the power of God. To assert that God attempts to sanctify with his power, but fails is just not something I can grasp. We are clearly using the same word (POWER), but have a different conception of the effectiveness of God’s sovereign will. When I say that God’s sovereign will comes with POWER, I mean his will accomplishes all that he intends to do. In short I believe with Scriptural support that God is successful 100% of the time and they apparently believe in God POWER that can fail.

The following is my idea of God's Power:

1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, (5) who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

November 19, 2007 12:41 PM

Blogger interested spectator said...

It appears, though, that dyspraxic is recognizing that POWER when he says that there will be complete sanctification. It sounds like he also sees POWER in the verses from Peter's pen, and that this POWER will never fail in 'revealing that salvation in the last time.'

{He could correct that if I am wrong.}

I would surmise from this conversation, as I have watched it unfold, that you are wrong in saying that he and his fellows preach a POWERLESS salvation.

November 19, 2007 12:54 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Interested Spectator:

What of engaging the Calvin and Luther quotes; or are you going to take the easy way out by saying it was Romish?

November 19, 2007 1:23 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

I must leave for work in 40 minutes. Perhaps time to interact once more. Until then, see y'al tomorrow.

November 19, 2007 1:25 PM

Blogger Daniel said...

Mark, I can only speak from my own perspective - I have been (and continue to be) the recipient of profound grace, and for this reason and only for this reason, I find I am inclined to patience and grace rather than frustration if in my own impotence I fail to open their eyes to what I regard as truth. I am a messenger, but it is not -my- message. My zeal is that God would be glorified, and I trust that God is a good Steward of His own glory; meaning, that when and if God opens the eyes of the blind, is in His hands and not my own - all there is for me to do is experience great joy in my God's perfect timing.

I don't deny that Reformed Theology is being notoriously misrepresented by these people - it is; and I don't deny that many in that camp think nothing of defaming godly men such as John MacArthur on a regular basis - they do. I don't deny that they are pursuing a corruption of the gospel itself, for I have said as much several times.

My point was only that it is wrong for us to presume that their ignorance is intentional.

Which is -not- to say that I think their constant baiting is unintentional - surely they are intending to be controversial, surely they intend every jab and poke that gets a corrective reaction from our camp: they disagree with what we believe, I expect that. I don't think they intend to misrepresent what we believe, I think they are simply ignorant of what we truly believe, and the best they can do is try and articulate what they think we believe. It won't matter how many times we correct them if the reason they fail to take the correction is because they cannot understand the correction.

Perhaps I chalk up to blindness what you are chalking up to intentional malice. Either way, I don't doubt your zeal ;-)

November 19, 2007 1:28 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...


You are a wise brother. But these people are still allowed to comment here, whereas on other blogs they either are not allowed to bring their avatars or are called "trolls" and not allowed to post at all.

November 19, 2007 1:37 PM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Interested Spectator,
You certainly can draw your own conclusions, but would you answer me one question?

You seem to be combining sanctification and glorification into one event that occurs after death. To assert that salvation can go directly from justification to glorification with no earthly sanctification (even in a lengthy life), you must deal with some very troublesome passages such as John 17:17-26.

MY QUESTION: How would you explain Jesus's prayer going unanswered in this passage that is clearly referring to a sanctification before death?

Many Scriptural passages assert progress in sanctification by 100% of the redeemed during this life. The only exceptions would be those that have been providentially hindered such as in a deathbed conversion.

November 19, 2007 1:52 PM

Blogger interested spectator said...

Who is called a troll? dyspraxic? Or those two ladies on the grace blog? Are you serious? They are banned from other blogs?

November 19, 2007 4:33 PM

Blogger interested spectator said...

I would not explain that Jesus' prayer went unanswered because I don't believe that to be the case. It is not yet fully realised. Exxample: we are not "all one" (as Jesus and the Father are one), but this will be fully realised just like perfect sanctification will be in "that day." Daily, present sanctification happens by living in the power of the risen Christ and reckoning ourselves dead to sin.


November 19, 2007 4:39 PM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone

I believe this post has made an air tight case that this phrase does not suggest or even imply works justification. In fact the first three words emphatically and without qualification affirm justification by faith alone.

The best comment offered in rebuttal was the attempt to trace it back 500 years to some Presbyterian pact. As has been pointed out this is a genetic fallacy and has no bearing on what the phrase means today.

I am still waiting for someone to give a logical and reasoned argument that shows works justification in the above statement. Can anyone carefully analyze this statement and show that it is asserting any works justification?

I would also restate my challenge of over one year for anyone to inspect my writings on many doctrines and Scripture passages over at Jazzycat or here and show where I ever asserted that works have any part in justification. Surely, if it is such a part of reformed theology, then someone can pull a quote from my writings and expose what is continually being charged at free grace theology blogs about reformed theology.

Please, make your case or either accept the truth of the title of this post! All are welcome to make a case and interested spectators will continue to be treated as all other comments.


November 19, 2007 10:08 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Interested Spectator:

A couple weeks ago we were treated to the Modalist's attempts to assign false beinnings to Trinitarian doctrine. To be sure they were incredible. Genetic Fallacy? Yep.

One need not look very hard to google search some pretty funny genetic fallacies concerning the beginnings of dispensationalism. As much as I hate classic dispensationalism I have never quoted some of those genetic fallacies. Why? Because they are obvious attempts to slander the system.

You see, genetic fallacies are out there concerning just about every system. Why? Well, it would seem that an opponent grows desparate and resorts to such things. So it is with the divine pactum. An Antinomian, anti-Calvinism-ist had to resort to such a thing in his desparate attempts to do away with something he could not defeat.

BTW, my dogs love it when I scratch them behind the ears. Could you please give Cookie a little scratch behind the ears for me? :-)

November 20, 2007 7:35 AM

Blogger Gayla said...

Great post! You all know I'm in 100% agreement with you.

And Daniel, well said, brother. I agree with you and appreciate your graciousness.

November 20, 2007 9:00 AM

Blogger Missy said...


I guess what I sometimes get stumped on is the interchange of justification and sanctification. I think you make it very clear that salvation is dependent on justification through Christ alone - that Christ makes me free from guilt. I think I understand sanctification then to be a process throughout my life by which God makes me holy or free from sin.

Then the evident process of sanctification occurring in my life would would no doubt accompany that justification.

Am I understanding this correctly? If so, I can't really disagree you and it seems to be the same opinion I gather from the other blogs for or against your same theology.

I guess we all kinda run into trouble though when it comes to defining what sanctification looks like, maybe? And I would guess that varies as much individually as it would by theological groups.

November 20, 2007 4:58 PM

Blogger Even So... said...

There is definitive and progressive sanctification...

Blue, I haven't noticed anything in the dock; you want me to let 'er rip?

November 20, 2007 5:25 PM

Blogger Missy said...

Even, what does that mean? (the sanctification part)

November 20, 2007 6:19 PM

Blogger Even So... said...

Sanctification is a process but it is also once for all

Acts 20:32 – sanctified is in the perfect tense, passive participle, action in past effects continue on – Acts 26:18 / 1 Corinthians 1:2
1 Corinthians 6:11 – aorist indicative, action is punctilliar, at a point

Just as justification is Christ’s righteousness to us, it is spiritual union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection – union with Christ is the fountain of all spiritual blessing

All Christians are in union with Christ. To the degree that we reckon this to be true (take it seriously), we will experience practical sanctification

November 20, 2007 7:57 PM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Thanks. I am not sure I understand your question completely so just let me go through the process as I understand it (J.D. please step in if I misstate something).

Justification occurs immediately after a person comes to saving faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is an instantaneous event and is followed immediately by adoption where the Christian becomes a son of God and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He has been born again and is a new creation in Christ. Since being born again in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit happens along with faith, then faith is not alone. Salvation is a done deal at this point and the new Christian is eternally secure in his salvation of eternal life. The process of sanctification then begins and the new Christian, being a new creation in Christ, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit begins a journey of growing in grace. While this sanctification is powered by God’s grace, the new Christian cooperates and progresses in varying degrees in sanctification. There may be backslides and flat periods but God who began a good work will carry it to completion (Philippians 1:6). While the Christian progresses in sanctification by more and more conformity to Christ, perfection is not obtained in this life. After death the Christian is made perfect in the process of glorification.

As this sequence points out, faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone because through God’s grace, regeneration and the indwelling Holy Spirit is also given to the sinner enabling him to cooperate in sanctification. Sanctification has no value whatsoever in a person’s being saved. It is a result of being saved due to God’s grace of regeneration and the giving of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14).

I hope this helps.


November 20, 2007 10:11 PM

Blogger Missy said...

Even, I'm still trying to get it, give me patience and I think I will. {c;

Wayne, that does help. Thanks!

November 20, 2007 11:26 PM

Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Even So, I like your explanation of sanctification.

November 21, 2007 3:51 AM

Blogger Even So... said...

Indeed I will, we must all have patience with our sanctification...


November 21, 2007 3:52 AM

Blogger Even So... said...

Wow Matthew, you entered in right before me unexpectedly...it is early here in the Eastern US, blessings to you friend...

BTW my shoes are off, of course...


November 21, 2007 3:53 AM

Blogger Even So... said...

I have written extensively on this, as has our friend of like mind Daniel...

Also...Dr. Robert Reymond said something like what I wrote above in a conference I attended Matthew...

November 21, 2007 3:57 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Missy, welcome!

I have watched how the proponents of the Free Grace system present their views, how they make man-made divisions into the word. It seems to me that they are working from a false paradigm which supplies them with a false premise from which to build their case. Their system fails to provide Biblical information to the lost, spiritually dead, rebellious, sin-loving God-hater, who is walking according to the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, that slave to sin who is by nature a child of wrath, who walks according to the weather vane of this world.

The entire world, each individual, is hostile towards The Creator and His Christ. Please consider the first three verses of the second Psalm.

Consider this: the gospel of John begins in chapter 1 to present Christ as God, the Perfect Representative of the Father; the One Who unfolds the Father as a scroll to a world that has not retained God in its knowledge. Romans one through three is clear on this. The world has cast aside all knowledge of its Maker and has fully rejected His rightful rule. As a result mankind is completely under the devil's sway. To ignore what is before us in chapter one of John as we preach Christ is to ignore a major portion of Christ's mission to this earth. I repeat, He came to show us the Father as His only Perfect Representative.

We are saved by being in Christ the Person. Coming to Christ means taking His yoke upon us and learning of Him. Their system dichotomizes where the Bible does not authorize them. They have split faith and repentance which clearly belong together. In the Great Commission faith, (Mk.16:16) and repentance, (Lk.24:47) are to be preached together. If I believed the building I was standing in was on fire I would seek the fast escape. So it is with those who are told that they are in rebellion against their Creator and His Christ. That person is commanded by scripture to repent and believe the gospel - IOW, turn from following the spirit of this age, and take Christ's yoke upon him and so learn of Him.

That system, in all practicality, treats men as if there were no issue of original sin, no love of sin and hatred of God, no rebellion against the Creator. Calvinists and nonCalvinists alike agree that repentance flows from the genuine believer.

A couple of points:

1)No where in scripture does justifying faith happen without repentance also being evident. IOW, repentance always shows in the life of the believer. So, I say, nowhere in scripture do we see an unrepentant believer.

2) Let's look at Christ's accomplishments and their effects on the believer - Because of Christ's cross-work Paul was entrusted with a message that would "open eyes,turn people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins... " Acts 26:18-20. The Father has "conveyed us into His Son's kingdom" where there is redemption (being bought back from Satan's dark rule)and forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:12-14. Also Romans 6 teaches that we were once slaves of sin, but now, because of Christ's accomplishments on the cross, we are slaves of righteousness and of God.

Because of Christ's cross-work, His telling people to repent, through those servants of His who preach His word accurately, is like His having commanded that man to stretch forth his crippled hand, and when he has done so it is whole. And so it is when one is commanded to repent. His life will straighten out because of the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ as a result of His cross-work.

Justification is not the whole of the picture. Conformity to Christ is. This conformity, though not automatic, is inevitable, and begins at the moment of regeneration; hence the need to preach repentance to the unsaved. Christ is the One to be looked at for salvation. The world has rejected its Maker and His Christ. The world has thrown off God's rule in their lives. See again the second Psalm. Faith and repentance result in the believer being brought into the Kingdom of God, and away from the rule of Satan.

November 21, 2007 11:39 AM

Blogger Missy said...

Mark, I must agree that, in my experience and studies, repentence seems coiled ever so tightly with faith that I often consider them to be the same. There seems to be much disagreement on what repentence looks like. How do you know I would seek the fastest escape from a building I believed to be on fire? Both of us believing may react very differently - you may rescue your family, I my shoes. :) My firefighting friend tells me an alarming amount of people hide in the closet. This would not mean that I do not believe that the fire exists - just that I panicked or made a poor choice. Truly believing would keep me from stupidity and irrationality?

You say the free grace system fails due to a false paradigm and false premise. But, I have trouble seeing what the difference between is. What is this paradigm and premise and how does yours differ? For the most part, it sounds the same to me.

I'm truly not trying to be argumentative - just understand more fully and hope you will understand why I must ask further. Just trying to be Berean. :) I am still looking into the references made to the Psalms, John, and Romans and connecting some of the dots...

Thanks for your patience.

November 23, 2007 5:45 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...


The false premise and paradigm are in the fact that they try to separate faith and repentance, which is an unwarrented practice, not supported by scripture. It is a man-made division begun by L.S. Chafer back in the early part of the 20th century. It gives rise to the concept of the "carnal Christian". To my knowledge only that branch of Christianity (classic dispensationalism) holds to the idea that there is such a thing as a carnal Christian. The majority view is that carnal Christianity describes babes in Christ, and is a phase that is eventually grown out of at varying amounts of time between individual Christians.

A major difference between FGT and orthodox Christianity is that - and the point of Wayne's post here - The Father is at work making Christian's conform to the image of His Son, through the agency of God the Holy Spirit, right now on this side of the grave. See 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:11-16. Also, although Romans 8:29 ultimately points to the future conformity to Christ (1 John 3:2)the language there, when considered in the context 8:28 through the end of the chapter also speaks of God's conforming work here on this side of the grave as well. If you go on to read Hebrews chapters 8-10 you will see mention of the New Covenant, as well as 2 Corinthians chapter 3. In these chapters it is evident that the indwelling Holy Spirit moves the Christian to inevitably walk in God's ways - Christ-likeness. Perfection? No. That is the reason for 1 John 1:9; but the overall direction of a genuine Christian's life is towards Christ-likeness.

Let me know if that helps.

November 24, 2007 10:26 AM


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