May 26, 2010

Clearing Up Repentance: A Refutation of Lordship Salvation, Part 3

Dear Guests of IDOTG:

Last week I welcomed back Phillip Evans with this new multi-part series. Please refer to Part One and Part 2 for the previous installments 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 third installment of Brother Phillip Evans’s new series.

What is the currency that buys our pardon, the blood of Christ, or our efforts at non-continuing in sin? Does the free will of a saint only function some of the time, or all of the time? No saint will forever continue in sin regardless, for thank God our salvation also has a future-tense element. For we will one day shed these mortal bodies that will be made anew and glorified, and we will no longer have this “body of death.” We will be free from the very presence of sin, something that we are not free from now.

Has Christ truly set us free? Yes, but we will not experience the full fruit of such freedom until then. Hence, the exhortations to the saints in Scripture to live holy in this life, for freedom from the authority of sin does not automatically guarantee that we will do so. Do children automatically obey their parents? Likewise with God’s children.

Lest anyone think that I’m giving a hell-bound sinner false assurance and echoing the serpent’s hiss, “you shall not surely die” (as one LS advocate cautioned me), I don’t offer assurance of salvation to anyone unless they know that they have trusted Christ as the crucified and risen Savior. Surely people of a sufficient mental capacity as to be accountable for their sins also possess the faculties to know whom they have placed their trust in for eternal life. Unlike LS advocates that don’t believe a person can be absolutely certain they are born-again until they step into the Throne Room, I rather like to claim the promise of First John 5:13.

LS advocates misuse Scripture such as Matthew 10:22, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” It should be obvious that the world does not hate its own, but it hates those who belong to the Lord! It would behoove the student of Scripture to then consider that Christ was referring to something here other than being saved from hell, especially since He was directly addressing eternally saved men. Also, the lost don’t have faith and are not enduring presently, much less to the end.

Similarly such admonitions as “stand fast” and “examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith.” These also apply only to those who are already saved. For born-again children of God to understand these as not applying to them does them a great disservice, for these are exhortations to hold fast lest they be chastised, and ultimately lose their eternal reward in God’s Kingdom if they don't recover themselves. Notwithstanding, they are still eternally children of God who will never perish. All Christians are hid in Christ (Col 3:3), but not all will partake (be a fellow sharer with) of Him and His glory in the sense of reward (ruling and reigning with Him).

Another misused verse is Heb. 6:9. Don't misunderstand the word “salvation” here to refer to being saved from hell. Look at the context. It’s about working diligently to inherit the promises, which is the reward of faithfulness. Don’t be deceived my brothers and sisters in Christ, only those who are faithful to the end receive the promises (reward). This is the same salvation Jesus referred to in Matthew 10:22. For even if the saints were to be killed during persecution, if they endured to the end, everything they lost and much more would be restored to them.

What about 2 Cor. 13:5 that LS view as a test to see if one is truly saved?

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Cor. 13:5, NKJV)

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5, NASB)
I’ve included two different translations to help better show what Paul is talking about. Many people misunderstand this verse as meaning that Christians should examine themselves to see if they are really saved or not. They then reason that since our ability to self-examine ourselves is not absolutely perfect, that we could not be absolutely sure that we are truly born again. To believe this is to believe that a child of God must always have at least a small amount of doubt that God is their Heavenly Father! Ask yourself: Is this what God truly desires for His children? I certainly have no desire that my son have any doubt at all concerning the fact that he is my child! Does God love us any less?

Back up two verses and you’ll see that the Corinthians were doubting whether Paul was speaking the words of Christ. This is not a case of them doubting whether he was saved! If Paul was speaking the truth in Christ, it would have indicated that he was approved by Christ as walking properly in the faith. Paul was urging the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if they were thusly approved (in the faith). If they could know that they were, then by default they would also know that Paul was approved. They would then not challenge his authority.

This is not a test to see if they had ever placed their faith in Christ and been saved, but whether they were living according to the faith. If they were living according to the faith, they would recognize that Christ is in them. If they were not living according to the faith, they would be spiritually sleepy and not recognize that Christ is in them. Their failure to recognize Christ in them certainly would not mean that Christ had left! If my son falls asleep next to me and no longer recognizes that I am there, it does not mean that I am no longer next to him.

LS advocates will protest that the Apostle Paul himself discussed a concern that after he had preached to others he could become disqualified / disapproved, i.e. lost. Nothing could be further from the truth. Look at what he wrote: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” (1 Cor. 9:24)

Obviously, the unsaved do not run in this race. They have not qualified for it by faith. Once you do qualify to run it, you should run as any dedicated competitor out to win the prize (eternal reward). Just three verses later, the Apostle Paul himself showed concern that he might not possibly win the prize. However, he was not concerned with whether he might become lost and no longer be a child of God!

The only way anyone enters the Kingdom of Heaven is by grace through faith. Entrance there is not a prize or reward that anyone can say that they’ve won because of their worthiness or faithfulness. However, faithfulness will grant you an abundant entrance (2 Peter 1:11) into the Kingdom of Heaven. You will not merely enter there, but will enter there as an honored member who will rule and reign with your Savior.

LS doctrine undermines personal assurance of salvation, for how does one know that they will “endure to the end?” Hold forth 1 John 5:13 to an LS advocate, and they’ll shoot over to 1 John 2:3 in defense, as if one cannot know Christ as Savior unless they are continuing to keep His commandments.

Following the Memorial Day holiday weekend I’ll answer this in the next and final installment.

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

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