Dear Guests of IDOTG:
Last week I welcomed back Phillip Evans with this new multi-part series. Please refer to Part One for the introductory installment of this series. Phillip the is author of Eternal Security Proved. Excerpts from this article are drawn from his book. For additional articles by Brother Evans see below.
This morning we continue with the second installment of Brother Phillip Evans’s new series.
If all truly born-again saints recover themselves out of sin before they die, as some LS teachers state or strongly imply, then why the existence of such chastisement that leads to physical death? Lest anyone attempt to argue that Ananias and Saphira were not truly saved, why would fear fall on the early Church if such punishment only happened to the lost? Or perhaps Ananias and Saphira were merely one-time exceptions in the LS paradigm?
Or the example of Simon the Sorcerer? Right after getting truly born again, he desired to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit with money, no doubt to make an even better profit off the people than he had done before with his sorcery. Or certain people who believed in Jesus, but were *afraid to publicly commit to him, for they desired the praise from men more than from God?
The LS advocate will protest that I oppose the truth that Christ sets us free from sin. I don’t oppose that truth at all. Look at the Apostle Paul’s struggles against the power of sin in his flesh in Romans. Do you think he saw himself completely free from the power of sin? If so, then why the heartache about the struggle? Does Christ set us completely free from sin or not? Yes, of course He does. But let’s not get things tangled up here.
First of all, at the moment of conversion from lost to saved, we are instantly and eternally set free from the penalty of sin (past tense element of salvation), but while still in our mortal bodies we are in the process of being saved from the power of sin as we yield ourselves in obedience to God (present tense element of salvation). Failure to do such yielding will not nullify our eternal salvation that has already been sealed, but will rob us of peace and joy in this life, and ultimately, eternal reward in God’s Kingdom if we do not repent. Even in this life sin’s authority is broken, and it is not possible for it to enslave us, unless we use our will to choose to be its slave.
So you see, being free from sin’s authority does not mean that a saint could not choose to become enslaved again. For if a saint can sin even though the authority of sin is nullified, that is proof that the saints still possess their free will to make choices to serve God or not. This is Paul’s message in Romans 6 and 7. The encouragement in Romans 6 and 7 to live holy lest we be enslaved is not to the lost, for they are natural slaves to sin’s authority. But it’s to the saints, who can only be enslaved by yielding themselves to their former master.
Paul called the power of sin that is still in our mortal flesh the “body of death.” He looked forward to when he would no longer have to contend with this body of death, for it severely burdened him. He was alluding to a practice of the Romans, who would sometimes tie a dead body to a person as punishment for a crime, and they would have to carry it wherever they went. Truly a gruesome weight!
Everyone that has trusted Christ as Savior ought to depart from iniquity and live holy, but not all do. Recall Jesus’ healing of the ten lepers, but only one returned thanks. Many born-again, likewise truly healed people today are among the nine instead of the one. It is a fact that saints can continue in sin, and still be saved. Scripture is clear that some saints harden themselves and let their faith become shipwrecked.
What is the currency that buys our pardon, the blood of Christ, or our efforts at non-continuing in sin?
To be continued…
*Site Publisher’s Addendum:
During my extended interaction in 2006 at Pulpit Magazine with Nathan Busenitz (John MacArthur’s personal assistant) he wrote this,
“But Lordship (Salvation) sees repentance as more than just a change in dependence. It is also a change of allegiance.”At least twice I left the following passage, companion comment and question for Nathan’s attention.
“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God,” (Jn. 12:42-43).Nathan never responded to the passage or question. All advocates of Lordship Salvation are welcome to answer the question in the thread?
The Bible says they were not open about, and would not confess a “change of allegiance.”
Did they biblically repent; were they believers?
Originally posted under, A Question Left Unanswered on Dec. 28, 2006. A fuller discussion of this issue appears in the revised and expanded edition of In Defense of the Gospel, pp. 127-128.
Site Publisher’s Note:
There is a good discussion underway in the thread under the first installment of this series. You may want to look in.
Phillip Evans has contributed several articles to IDOTG including:
The Hollow Gospel of the GES
Christ's Resurrection: Part of the Saving Message?
Out on a Limb to Protest Too Much