Some Thoughts on Romans 4

Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Baptism, Covenant Theology, Exegesis, Featured, Galatians, Gospel, Justification, Law, Ordo Salutis, Romans, Sola Fide | 2,049 comments

I’m feeling a little cray cray, like I want to get all exegetical up in here. And stumbling across PCA pastor Nick Batzig’s post, “Abraham and the Time Frame of Justification,” provides me with a perfect opportunity to do so. Plus, some of you have been nagging me to delve back into Romans, so. Concerning the issue of “eschatological justification,” Nick writes:

The most significant passage of Scripture in this regard (and yet one that has been often overlooked) is Romans 4:10. In the context of chapter 4, the apostle Paul explains the nature of justification by faith alone from the example of Abraham. Repeatedly citing the locus classicus, Gen. 15:16, Paul develops his argumentation based on the application of the covenant sign to Abraham. In one short passage, Paul posits justification at a specific point in time. He asks, “How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised?” Paul replied with a unhesitating, “It was not after, but before he was circumcised.” The apostle eliminates the possibility of understanding justification as occurring after Abraham was circumcised. Our Reformed and Confessional statements on the doctrine of justification insist that it is a once-for-all ”act of God’s free grace” (WSC. 33). There are actually quite a number of implications that we can take away from this observation. . . .

The first thing I would point out (and I’ve argued it before) is that I think Nick is spot on in his identification of Paul’s overall argument in this chapter: The apostle is seeking to demonstrate that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised. I also agree that Abraham was justified “at a specific point in time” (although I think this works against Nick’s theology of justification, as I will show in a moment). I would point out, however, that Nick moves seamlessly from what Paul said to what the Westminster Divines said, with nary a justification (ahem) for that move. He goes from citing Paul himself to reminding his readers that “our Reformed and Confessional statements on the doctrine of justification insist that it is a once-for-all  ‘act of God’s free grace’ (WSC. 33).” Of course, nothing in this passage hints at such an idea, but we’ll get to that eventually. Nick then highlights four points that he feels derive from the passage he is considering:

(1) The Jews do not have any special privileges above the Gentiles after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

Agree wholeheartedly.

(2) Abraham was justified at a particular point in time, as is true of those who believe after Abraham. He was not counted righteous after circumcision but before he was circumcised. We must make clear that there is no future imputation of righteousness Was Abraham justified while circumcised or while uncircumcised? Not while circumcised but while uncircumcised.

While it is true that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, it is a non-sequitur to therefore insist, as Nick does with no argumentation, that subsequent instances of justification were impossible. In fact, not only does James explicitly say that “Abraham was justified when he offered Isaac” in Gen. 22 — citing the same passage Paul cites here in Rom. 4 (Gen. 15:6) — but this very text is proof itself that justification is not once-for-all. If, as Nick insists, justification is a non-repeatable and once-for-all event, and if it happened for Abraham in Gen. 15, then all the history of Abraham’s life from his call to leave Ur onward is the history of an unjustified pagan. In fact, the writer to the Hebrews cited the response of this unjustified pagan as the example par excelence of the faith without which it is impossible to please God (11:6).

(3) Personal Law-keeping played absolutely no role in Abraham’s justification. In fact, the law came 430 years after Abraham (Gal. 3:17). It is completely out of the question when it comes to Abraham’s right standing before God. This is no insignificant detail, as Paul consistently takes us back to Abraham as the example of the “justified man.” It is by faith alone that Abraham was accepted as righteous before God. “Abraham believed in the LORD and He accounted it to Him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).

Nick makes a couple mistakes here. He seems to assume that “personal law-keeping” can only happen after the giving of the Mosaic law on Mt. Sinai (a position that is so easy to refute it’s barely worth the effort). But more importantly, Nick assumes here that because Abraham’s initial  justification occurred irrespective of any works of sacrifice or love, that therefore there could not have been a subsequent increase  in justification that did in fact take such works of sacrifice and love into account. And as I mentioned above, since James explicitly says that Abraham was justified when he offered up Isaac, I’d say that such a view is more than warranted (which makes Nick’s point completely false). Plus, it’s head-spinningly ironic that Nick can say that “it is by faith alone that Abraham was accepted as righteous before God. ‘Abraham believed in the LORD and He accounted it to Him for righteousness’ (Gen. 15:6),” when James cites that very passage to show that “Abraham was justified by works, and not by faith alone” (2:21).

(4) Abraham was not regenerated or justified by the sacrament. Abraham believed and was justified 14 years prior to receiving the sign and seal of the Covenant. The argument of the Apostle Paul in Romans 4:9-12 is one of the strongest against any sort of sacramentalism. This does not mean that the sacraments are empty signs–as Paul goes on to explain that the circumcision that Abraham received after he believed and was justified was a “sign and a seal of the righteousness of faith.” The sacrament signifies and seals God’s promises to His people.

Implicit in Nick’s argument here is the assumption that what was true about circumcision’s inability to justify is necessarily true of “any sort of sacramentalism,” a position he assumes but does not argue for. The underlying presupposition is that when it comes to the sacraments, the New Covenant is no better than the Old, and its sacraments are just as powerless to effect spiritual change as they always were in times past. Given the New Testament’s clear statements about baptism (“be baptized for the forgiveness of sins”; “Be baptized and wash away your sins”; “As many of you as were baptized have been united to Christ,” etc.), I would maintain that drawing a one-to-one correspondence between circumcision and baptism is something that needs to be defended rather than merely assumed, for it betrays a radically under-realized eschatology.

I’d like to conclude with a brief sketch of what I think Paul is actually trying to say in Romans 4. As I indicated above, Paul’s basic point in this chapter is to demonstrate to his fellow Jews that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised. His reason for insisting on this is quite simple: If Abraham did not need circumcision to be justified, then neither do his children under the New Covenant (which is why he mentions circumcision like ten times in this chapter). This is precisely the apostle’s point when he speaks of the one who does not work. His phrase “the one who does not work, but trusts in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” is perfectly parallel with what he says a few verses later: “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness while he was uncircumcised.” The purpose in bringing this up is not to demonstrate the impotence of baptism or to eliminate the possibility of subsequent increases in justification, but simply to show that Abraham, by initially being justified without having been circumcised, is now “the father of all who believe without being circumcised, and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them” (v. 11).

In short, this chapter has nothing to do with the role of Spirit-wrought works in justification (although Paul does address that issue elsewhere), and neither is it about what baptism doesn’t accomplish. It’s about one thing and one thing only: When God initially justified Abraham, he did it prior to the work of circumcision, instead counting Abraham’s faith as his righteousness. This means that Abraham’s spiritual offspring may be justified without circumcision as well (and without any works of the law, for that matter). To borrow the language of Galatians, the New has come and the Spirit has fallen, and therefore we have reached the age of maturity and no longer need the Mosaic babysitter.

2,049 Comments

  1. To Reformed/Baptists/Megachurches:

    Let’s look at the immediate context of Hebrews 10:26-31:

    “11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

    16 “ This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

    19 Therefore , brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus , 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

    26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    Heb 10:26-31 is intimately tied to the author’s thoughts beginning in verse 1 of chapter 10. That’s the primary pericope to analyze when trying to understand vv. 26-31.

    The reformed view offers 2 unsurprisingly weak options in regards to the meaning of v 29: 1) the one sanctified by the blood of the covenant is Christ (John Owen, James White) or 2) is not Christ, but instead a believer but sanctified merely means set apart and not truly forgiven/saved/sanctified (Wayne Grudem). The 2nd option is less weaker than the 1st (isn’t Grudem considered to be the greatest systematic theologian of our time?) but as we’re about to see, both options are nevertheless utterly wrong for the following 5 main reasons:

    1. The author’s train of thought is one seamless, continuous exposition speaking of true salvation:

    Connect the dots:

    – 10:12-15: Christ is superior to the old covenant.
    – 10:16-18: Christ institutes the new COVENANT “This is the Covenant….” (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
    – 10:19: Author says therefore , brethren, connecting what precedes v 19 to v 19 ff.
    – 10:19: It is ‘by the BLOOD’ that we enter the holiest, not a mere setting apart, but true salvation.
    – 10:22: BLOOD referenced again in “sprinkled our hearts”, the blood of the New Covenant
    – 10:26: For if WE sin. The author’s train of thought continues unabated. He is included.
    – 10:26: after receiving the “epignosis tes aletheais” (always refers to the ELECT in NT)
    – 10:26: Given what precedes v 26/train, epignosis tes aletheais cannot refer to unsaved.
    – 10:26: Remains no sacrifice: implies that there once was a sacrifice for sins! not mere setting apart
    – 10:29: And only then do we come to ‘the BLOOD of the COVENANT

    The blood of the covenant that sanctified him in v 29 is the very same blood spoken of in vv 19-22. Likewise, covenant in v 29 is pointing to the new covenant in vv 16-18. Wayne Grudem is 100% mistaken in saying that the believer spoken of in v 29 is merely set apart. This is impossible given that the author’s train of thought has been seamless all along and refers to true, genuine salvation by which we enter the holiest. It is not merely blood that is in view, but the blood of the Covenant . What covenant? The New Covenant, Jer 31:33-34 which effects true salvation:

    Matt 26:28

    27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant , which is shed for many for the remission of sins

    2. Nothing in the grammar of v 29 requires Christ to be the one sanctified and the context suggests it is the believer, as Grudem correctly understands it and John Owen incorrectly understands it.

    kai to haima tes diathekes koinon hedesamenos en ho hegiasthe

    and the blood of the covenant common deeming in which sanctified

    It is entirely legitimate to translate en ho hegiasthe as ‘the blood of the covenant by which one is sanctified”. I suspect that is one of the key reasons why Grudem rejects Owen’s view but instead says that the one sanctified is a believer , and not Christ. There is nothing in the context of the passage as seen in #1 above which suggests that suddenly the attention should shift from US and WE to Christ. The grammar itself in v 29 does not necessitate this (reading sanctified as referring to Christ) at all but provides one more reason beyond the context to read it as “he”, the believer.

    3. Nowhere in the NT do we find any Scripture supporting the idea that Christ was sanctified by the blood of the Covenant. That always refers to believers.

    On the contrary, we find Scripture in which Christ and the disciples speak of blood of the covenant in the context of the remission of sins, of which Christ had no need. Matt 26:28 again

    27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant , which is shed for many for the remission of sins

    and Heb 13:

    “10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood , suffered outside the gate

    1 John 1:7

    ” But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

    and

    1 Peter 1:1-2:

    “To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ”

    Further, Christ was already sanctified prior to offering Himself up to be crucified (John 10:36, Heb 5). He was in no need of being sanctified by His own blood to be a legitimate High Priest precisely because He was/is superior to the Old Covenant , a point which the author of the epistle to the Hebrews makes forcefully over and over again.

    Heb 7

    “26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices , first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”

    The author is saying Christ is superior! The idea that He was not a High Priest before he shed blood is unscriptural (cf. Heb 5) and blasphemous as well. The sprinkling that Christ did, was not on himself, but rather on our hearts:

    Heb 10:19-22

    “19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience”

    4. Grudem’s interpretation strains credulity and contains a logical contradiction

    Grudem says that the believers in v 29 have been set apart, although not truly saved. This cannot be for the following reasons:

    i) There are only two cleansings in view, that of the Old Covenant and that of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is entirely effective not just to set apart, but also to cleanse fully and provide true salvation. If Grudem wants to say that the cleansing in v 29 is merely outward he is effectively saying that it is an old covenant cleansing with the blood of animals, which is contradictory.

    “13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ , who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience ”

    ii) The New Covenant makes the old covenant obsolete in that if the apostate is described as sanctified by the blood of the covenant, that can only refer to the New Covenant.

    iii) The a fortori/kal va kchomer used by the author is so forceful precisely because of the two sub points mentioned above. The apostate deserves a much sorer punishment because it is the New Covenant that he is treading over. He is not merely set apart, because the New Covenant not only sets apart, it also sanctifies fully, providing the remission of sin and boldness in the Spirit.

    5. Those who have received the knowledge of the truth are always the ELECT in Scripture.

    26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth , there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment,

    One protestant view is:

    1. The one who tramples upon the Son of God is a ‘never saved’ believer.
    2. That the one being sanctified by the blood of the covenant is Christ Himself……

    And yet, the expression epignosis tes aletheias (in its entirety) is always and everywhere used of genuine believers. in the NT. The protestant needs to show how someone who was ‘never saved to begin with’ could have the epignosis tes aletheias.

    Titus 1:1

    “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness”

    1 Tim 2:4

    “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    2 Tim 3:7

    “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    In the light of this analysis, it is impossible for anyone to hold the views taught by John Owen and Wayne Grudem. A bon entendeur, salut.

  2. So at what table do you observe the Eucharist, and under what bishop? Or do you feed yourself the eucharist? And that’s an honest question.

    And if repentance is all that matters, then why would you be sorry for the experience that I shared with you? We were all about repentance. It became more important than anything

    Erick,

    I am more than happy to answer your question privately.

    Regarding the eucharist, do you know what the origin of the epiclesis is? Don’t rush to answer, try to do some research on this and come back. Where does the epicletic prayer come from? If you can grab a library copy of Jean Danielou’s Theology of Jewish Christianity and turn to the chapter on the Eucharist that would be good.

    Also you beg the question indirectly in regards to the authority of a bishop, why conclude that he has authority only if he is catholic? That is precisely what has been in contention all the while.

    Further, I never said that repentance is all that matters, only that it is a necessary part of the answer to being the ekklesia. The situation you described at your ex Reformed Baptist church is quite common actually, in that repentance is unaccompanied by true humility. Have you seen the Sovereign Grace debacle with CJ Mahaney et al? Why was your pastor deposed and replaced? I wouldn’t be surprised if it were for similar reasons.

  3. Eric W

    The child represesents the children of Israel under the Law, specifically. This is the time of shadows and types, fleshly ordinances, “do not touch , do not touch, do not handle” (dietary and. Table fellowship restrictions), and the ceremonial stipulations. For Paul, an heir is one who partakes in the Holy Trinity, although it is foreknown in the OT as being the seed of Abraham, and thus shares in the divine life of the Holy Spirit, through conforming to the Son, all for an agape communication to the Father.

    An heir is one who, because of being baptized (gal 3:28), shares the life, hope, and inheritance of the One True Heir, the eternally begotten Son. This is why heir and Sonship are overlapping concepts.

    Forgiveness of sin and the renewing of the inward man is a share in this life of what God intends life to be beyond the grave, the last enemy. This is why for Paul, righteousness is also a hope looked for and not just a present possession.

  4. SS,

    I am working on a response to what you said to me on 2/13. One question here, however:

    Those who have received the knowledge of the truth are always the ELECT in Scripture.

    So those elected from the foundation of the world can go to hell?

  5. I am working on a response to what you said to me on 2/13. One question here, however:

    Those who have received the knowledge of the truth are always the ELECT in Scripture.

    So those elected from the foundation of the world can go to hell?

    Robert,

    Forget the 2/13, respond to the last post above.

    You don’t get to be finally elect until the next life.

    Those being described in Heb 10:26-31 have received the knowledge of the truth, meaning, they are just as saved as those who are finally elect. They have been sanctified by the blood of the New Covenant. But they can fall away, and forfeit their election. Hence the sorer punishment and the force of the a fortiori.

  6. SS, you write:

    The reformed view offers 2 unsurprisingly weak options in regards to the meaning of v 29: 1) the one sanctified by the blood of the covenant is Christ (John Owen, James White) …

    Sheesh! How could any Christian possibly believe that Christ could be sanctified by his own blood?

    To sanctify means to make holy. Christ is God the Son incarnate in the flesh –supreme, absolutely pure, holiness, that is became flesh to dwell among us. It is the height of absurdity to assert that Christ’s own blood had to be poured out in a New Covenant ritual so that God the Son could become holy!

    or 2) is not Christ, but instead a believer but sanctified merely means set apart and not truly forgiven/saved/sanctified (Wayne Grudem).

    Consecrate means to set apart. Sanctify means to make holy. For a Calvinist to say that sanctify means to be set apart and NOT be made holy is to merely blather on in Calvinst doublespeak – to redefine words so that they mean nothing to support a religion that stands for nothing.

    SS thank you for the exposition of the Letter to the Hebrews that shows with precision why the Calvinists a pushing a corrupt interpretation.

  7. Consecrate means to set apart. Sanctify means to make holy. For a Calvinist to say that sanctify means to be set apart and NOT be made holy is to merely blather on in Calvinst doublespeak – to redefine words so that they mean nothing to support a religion that stands for nothing.

    SS thank you for the exposition of the Letter to the Hebrews that shows with precision why the Calvinists a pushing a corrupt interpretation

    Mateo,

    You’re welcome. The key is the entire phrase ‘blood of the covenant’. As I have shown, the logical train of thought is one seamless , beautiful, argument, starting in v 1 all way to end of v 31. Covenant is all over it. To say that the blood of the covenant merely sets apart shows that the theologian saying that is committed to his theological grid over and above the rules of sound exegesis and hermeneutics. I find it very telling that Grudem in his paper provides no analysis of ‘received the knowledge of the truth’ other than a footnote. That’s a major tell.

  8. Kevin, you write:

    Mateo, you didn’t answer my post. Your lecturing about lack of humility and calvinist, and I asked you about the mere sinner like ourselves, the head of your church that walks around in the big hat with diamonds …

    Kevin, I was giving you my personal opinion about why I don’t see that it is possible for Calvinist to ever be humble. I say that because his Calvinist religion teaches him that he is a “special person” that is loved more by God than those whom God has already damned before they were even born. It is the presumptuousness of the Calvinists that makes them believe that they are oh so special that grates on the nerves of the non-Calvinists.

    Let me explain what I am saying so that you may understand where I am coming from. According to the Calvinists, the best works of the elect are defiled by sin; sin that is mortal; sin that is so depraved that it deserves a punishment that is nothing less than everlasting torment in the fires of Hell. If even the best works of a Calvinist are degraded and defiled by damnable sin, then that means everything that a Calvinist does is corrupt because it is defiled by damnable sin.

    To actually believe what Calvinism teaches, the Calvinist would have to see himself as a dirty little pig that wallows continually in the filth of sin. So why does the Calvinist get to go to heaven when he believes that everyone else on the face of the earth are also just dirty little pigs that wallow continually in the filth of sin? The Calvinist gets to go to heaven for one reason, and one reason only, he is a special little pig that God loves more than all the other dirty little pigs.

    It is the Calvinist’s unwarranted belief in his own “special-ness” that makes it impossible for the Calvinist to be truly humble. If the Calvinist were truly humble, he would believe that he is no better than any other dirty little pig, and because of that he has no real reason to believe that he isn’t already damned, but just doesn’t know it yet.

    … the head of your church that walks around in the big hat with diamonds …

    If I were to walk into a Calvinist church and I saw one man dressed in torn jeans and a T-shirt glorifying his favorite heavy metal band, and another man dressed in a three thousand dollar custom made suit, would I be right to conclude that the head-banger dressed the T-shirt is a humble man, while the guy wearing the suit is not humble? No. Humility is what is in the heart of a man, and the man in the suit could be far more humble than the man in the T-shirt.

    In his heart, the Calvinist has to believe that he is more special than the other sinners in the world or he wouldn’t be able to abide in the doctrines of Calvinism.

    Kevin, if you judge the heart of men by the clothes that they wear, you make a big mistake.

  9. SS-dawg,

    Disclaimer – no need to respond. However..

    Do you ever think of hanging a shingle (opening your own blog?)?

    I could see myself posting a comment or two in your play-pen.

    Just a suggestion, you’ve been out here a while, and as I recall, aint so keen on my JFBA diddy.

    That goes for all catholics here at J-dawg’s hideout. If you all blogged, maybe you could avoid 1500+ comment threads. Unless that’s a good thing..

    Looking out for ya, stelly!

    ciao

  10. Robert, Jonathan 10:29 ” The person who profanes ( reckons Christ’s blood as unclean is the same thing as saying that it is defiled ( Hebrews 9:13) and implies that Christ was a sinner and a blemished Sacrifice. “Blood of the covenant” same reference in 9:14-15, Christ’s death ratified or inaugurated the New Covenant. Sanctified clearly refers to Christ , in that he was he was set apart to God.( John19:19).It cannot possibly refer to the Apostate, because only true believers are sanctified. Jonathan’s exegesis does not stand.

  11. I was giving you my personal opinion about why I don’t see that it is possible for Calvinist to ever be humble

    Yeow

  12. Mateo, are we to presume God is fully love but isn’t fully just. Damming sinners to hell seems fair for what they have done. The fact that he saves any we should fall on our knees and thank Him. It would have been fair for him to throw us all into Hell.

  13. Mateo, “For all have sinned and continue to fall short of the glory of God. Gracious Law won’t get your there bro. You need to hop on the mercy wagon ( Jesus) to Zion, plenty free gifts there. “To the uttermost” never ending.

  14. Erick, you wrote:

    What reasons do you have to make a distinction within our union with Christ a forensic aspect which alone carries all the merit from beginning to end (never to increase or decrease) and the tranformative aspects which submit to the theological imperatives (you are this, therefore be it – be what you are).

    Response:

    Union with Christ is through faith alone. It consists of Regeneration, Justification, Sanctification and Adoption. Christ’s righteousness (merit and satisfaction) is related to the covenant of grace, and the union promised. The formal order and reciprocal causation and relations within the union is always “founded” on Christ’s righteousness. So, in this sense, I speak of Christ’s righteousness as the cause of everything in the union, including faith.

    Main reason for the distinction:
    The forensic is present in Christ’s righteousness satisfying the penalty of the law the conditions of the covenant of works.
    ————————————–

    Christ’s righteousness causes the grace of regeneration and faith. It is already related and imputed to the “heir” promised the union by God’s decree of election. This is why “those whom he foreknew” are “heirs” predestined to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ. God must be satisfied and disposed with favor through Christ on “behalf” of those who are heirs AND born in Adam. We say that God justified the ungodly BY or THROUGH faith, not BECAUSE of faith.

    Consider for a moment.Why would God bestow grace for internal change (ungodly) on someone who was not related to Christ’s rightousness ? Christ satisfied God’s justice for those “brothers” predestined to be conformed to His likeness. You cannot regard Christ as the first-born among brothers without regard to the brothers.

    A A Hodge said it best,

    Thus the satisfaction and merit of Christ is the antecedent cause of regeneration, and on the other hand the participation of the believer in the satisfaction and merit of Christ (his justification) is conditioned on his faith, which is the effect of his regeneration. We must have part in Christ so far forth as to be regenerated, in order to have part in him so far forth as to be justified.

    Regeneration and consequently faith are wrought in us for Christ’s sake and as the result conditioned on a previous imputation of his righteousness to that end. Justification supervenes upon faith, and implies such an imputation of Christ’s righteousness as effects a radical and permanent change of relationship to the law as a condition of life.

  15. Eric W. Bingo!

  16. Debbie, I hope you will read Eric W’s post to Erick above, thats the Gospel. K

  17. Erick–

    I thought I’d made it clear. I wasn’t offended by your “obstinacy.” You had your agenda (forgiveness), and I had mine (reconciliation/Atonement). We were at “cross” purposes.

    You seemed unwilling (for unspoken reasons) to admit that there are actions of God which have no reciprocal response from us. When we speak of justification, we are speaking of the actions of God in such isolation (much as you all do with “initial justification”).

    As for forgiveness, we speak of forgiveness in isolation (God’s forgiveness of us before the foundation of the earth [or from the moment of the Atonement], an all-inclusive forgiveness [past, present, future] upon initial repentance and faith, and an ongoing forgiveness in response to progress in sanctification.

    Our basic ordo salutis puts forgiveness (as one of the principal aspects of justification) after repentance and faith (which themselves come after regeneration). So yes, forgiveness comes after regeneration. We are agreed on that. But our inclusive forgiveness does not come after we are already into the process of progressive sanctification. We are disciplined and we are reconciled (and thus “forgiven” in this over and over again sense), but we have already been adopted into the family, so our acceptance (established by our inclusive forgiveness) can never be rescinded.

    I don’t think most of the Catholics on this blog realize (perhaps most of the Protestants do not either) that the differences between us cannot be reconciled through exegesis. It is not possible to prove us wrong by exegesis (just as it is not possible for us to prove you all wrong). Both systems are, for the most part, perfectly reasonable and, for the most part, perfectly biblical. One must actually decide between them based on intuition and spiritual experience. Which one best represents the Christ whom we have come to know? Which one best comports with our own salvation experience? That’s how I have decided. Roman Catholicism does not involve the Christ I have come to know. A few of its members clearly know him, but their chosen system is devoid of his presence. I go looking, and he is not there….

  18. Erick, Eric W.,. We cannot be called heirs and adopted if we did not bare a righteous status. He did not pronounce bad people good but legally righteous, because he bore the penalty of their Law breaking. In the RC grace is simply a tool for meriting justification. They have undergone the process of the removal of the nature of sin form the soul into divinity. Galatians 3:19: ‘ Why the Law? It was given for transgressions UNTIL the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.”

  19. Kevin,

    Thanks….All roman catholics need to do is ask why God, in His wrath towards objects of wrath, would regenerate and make new creations. Dead objects of wrath never become alive when God is angry. He does, however, justify ungodly dead objects of wrath to make new creations ! The only way out is universalism or synergism.

  20. Erick–

    My wife didn’t like what I just wrote (the final paragraph), so I should clear it up a little. I was speaking in particular of the Thomistic and Reformed versions of soteriology. Molinism, as Robert has observed, has (and can have) no exegetical defense. It’s purely speculative theology.

    Also, when it comes to Catholic dogmas established by Tradition (the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, hyperdulia, transubstantiation, Purgatory, papal infallibility, etc.), we cannot speak appropriately of their being successfully defended exegetically.

  21. Eric, you might get an argument from the Reformers about both being perfectly reasonable or Biblical. You are correct it can’t be resolved by exegesis. I think the reason for your last statements which I whole heartily agree is because of what Luther said. How can we pray and relate to a God who may reject us based on our efforts. We constanly fail at this. The peace of the Gospel message is way under talked about and under stressed. It is the sustaining force in my faith each day. Romans 4:16. Hows those triplets?

  22. Eric W. I think what you just said is exactly right. I have to tell you the way you put things is really effective. You have the unique experience of being in bot churches and insight many of us don’t have. I think Debbie the other day gave us the insight into the catholic mind with the drink of water in the desert metaphor. After I read that I thought thats how you view god’s love for you. I came from a life of utter sin and destruction and I can relate to the fact that he leaves the ninety nine to come get the lost sheep. God had for known that we would be in the desert without water and came while we were dying of thirst and poured the water all over our face. And he never stops poring. And where sin abounds the more more water. His mercies are new every morning and great is his faithfulness towards us.

  23. SS, Hebrews 10:29, The person who profanes ( reckons Christ blood as unclean is the same thing as saying it is defiled Hebrews 9:13) and implies that Christ was a sinner and a blemished sacrifice. ” blood of the covenant”same reference as in 9:14-15, Christ’s death ratified and inaugurated the New Covenant. Sanctified clearly refers to Christ, in that He was set apart to God ( John 19:19). It cannot possibly refer to the Apostate because only true believers are sanctified. So respectfully I don’t agree with your conclusion. Also in any flow of language there can be a shift of person. Also Jonathan what I would like to point out is He says “For if we sin willfully after we have received knowledge of the truth.” This gives us a time reference. This Apostate sins after receiving knowledge of the truth. The person in 29 “after he was sanctified”The first ( Apostate) sins after received knowledge of the truth. The second ( Christ) was sanctified. It cannot be the Apostate because only true believers are sanctified. I hope you will respond. I will be very respectful. But if you don’t, maybe you’ll consider my position Thx

  24. Eric W

    You wrote:

    Erick, you wrote:
    What reasons do you have to make a distinction within our union with Christ a forensic aspect which alone carries all the merit from beginning to end (never to increase or decrease) and the tranformative aspects which submit to the theological imperatives (you are this, therefore be it – be what you are).
    Response:
    Union with Christ is through faith alone.

    Yes this is compatible with Catholic theology. For works done prior to one’s translation from Adam to Christ neither merit nor contribute to the grace therein. However, if you posit this faith alone in the sense that one is totally unjust and has faith unformed by love, but rather coexists in hatred towards God, then you are incorrect. It is faith formed in love for Christ and His gospel. It is repentance, in other words. A repentant faith.

    It consists of Regeneration, Justification, Sanctification and Adoption. Christ’s righteousness (merit and satisfaction) is related to the covenant of grace, and the union promised.

    This “Christ’s righteousness” part of your statement is an assumption that has no attestation in Holy Scripture. I have been telling some of the other commentators that this is an assertion, not proof.

    The formal order and reciprocal causation and relations within the union is always “founded” on Christ’s righteousness.

    This is nowhere attested in Scripture.

    So, in this sense, I speak of Christ’s righteousness as the cause of everything in the union, including faith.

    This is nowhere attested in Scripture.

    Main reason for the distinction:
    The forensic is present in Christ’s righteousness satisfying the penalty of the law the conditions of the covenant of works.

    This is nowhere attested in Scripture

    Christ’s righteousness causes the grace of regeneration and faith.

    This is nowhere attested in Scripture.

    It is already related and imputed to the “heir” promised the union by God’s decree of election.

    This is nowhere attested in Scripture

    This is why “those whom he foreknew” are “heirs” predestined to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ. God must be satisfied and disposed with favor through Christ on “behalf” of those who are heirs AND born in Adam. We say that God justified the ungodly BY or THROUGH faith, not BECAUSE of faith.</blockquote

    Yes, this is compatible with Catholic theology.

    Consider for a moment.Why would God bestow grace for internal change (ungodly) on someone who was not related to Christ’s rightousness ?

    God bestows grace upon someone because of the propitiation offered in Christ. There are other causes, such as God’s eternal grace, foreknowledge, etc,etc. But this issue of Christ’s righteousness is not attested in Scripture.

    Christ satisfied God’s justice for those “brothers” predestined to be conformed to His likeness.

    Yes this is compatible with Catholic theology.

    You cannot regard Christ as the first-born among brothers without regard to the brothers.

    I am not sure what you mean here.

    A A Hodge said it best,
    Thus the satisfaction and merit of Christ is the antecedent cause of regeneration, and on the other hand the participation of the believer in the satisfaction and merit of Christ (his justification) is conditioned on his faith, which is the effect of his regeneration.

    Faith is not only an “effect” of regeneration. Colossians 2 “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith(note instrumentality and not merely effectual) in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead”. Other than that, this is entirely compatible with Catholic theology.

    We must have part in Christ so far forth as to be regenerated, in order to have part in him so far forth as to be justified.

    I don’t understand what this means.

    Regeneration and consequently faith are wrought in us for Christ’s sake and as the result conditioned on a previous imputation of his righteousness to that end.

    This is nowhere attested in Scripture, especially if one wishes to define the imputation of righteousness as a forensic aspect of union which procures by itself the whole of salvation, from beginning to end. That is precisely the assumptions which I’ve repeatedly requested proof from Scripture.

    Justification supervenes upon faith, and implies such an imputation of Christ’s righteousness as effects a radical and permanent change of relationship to the law as a condition of life.

    No. This is nowhere attested in Scripture. And for a Catholic, nowhere in holy Tradition.

  25. Kevin,
    What a great joy and testimony God put in your heart. Continue to learn and speak (write) love towards all. Faith is attacked on all sides and needs to replayed over and over. When we begin to see others as “standing or falling to their Master”, then a true “submission to one another” can happen….either to lift up or admonish.

  26. Eric W. Thx bro, Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

  27. Kevin

    The one who is sanctified is obviously the apostate. Besides there are other verses which teach us apostates are at one time saved and washed

    2 peter 2:21
     It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”[g] and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.

  28. Erick, No that would not be correct. Only true Christians are sanctified, this is talking about Christ.

  29. Erick, your verse parallels the Hebrew verse but doe not prove the one being sanctified isn’t Christ. It only proves that Apostates receive the truth and then turn their backs on it. So it can’t be the person being sanctified because only true Christian are sanctified past tense. It most certainly Christ. SS’s argument that a pronoun in a sentence can’t change person is just nonsensical. It happens all the time. The Apostate received the truth and didn’t remain, the person in 29 “was sanctified” It can’t be the same person. Christ is the one Sanctified by the blood of the Covenant as we see in 9:14.

  30. Erick,

    Faith, hope and love are worked in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who regenerates and sanctifies. Since you believe a perfect union with Christ is had through the three-fold theological virtues, then NO SCRIPTURE regarding faith can be used to change your mind about Prot. faith alone. Orthodoxy is determined by your authority and I cannot match that.
    ———————————

    You wrote this,

    This “Christ’s righteousness” part of your statement is an assumption that has no attestation in Holy Scripture. I have been telling some of the other commentators that this is an assertion, not proof.

    as a reply to this,

    It consists of Regeneration, Justification, Sanctification and Adoption. Christ’s righteousness (merit and satisfaction) is related to the covenant of grace, and the union promised.

    Response:
    I think this is strange because Trent on Justification includes all four parts (what I call union) in its doctrine of God justifying. Each have some respective interconnection with the other.

    Trent says that Jesus merited for us justification. This cannot be a partial justification, right ? But, if this justification is full and entire, then His merit and righteousness must be related to the covenant of grace and every interconnected part of justification.
    ————————————–

    After this you wrote,

    God bestows grace upon someone because of the propitiation offered in Christ. There are other causes, such as God’s eternal grace, foreknowledge, etc,etc. But this issue of Christ’s righteousness is not attested in Scripture.

    Response:
    ‘Bestows grace’ signifies the formal cause…..Christ’s righteousness is not related to the efficient, instrumental, final causes ? God doesn’t wash, sanctify, and anoint with the Holy Spirit ON ACCOUNT OF being propitiated ? What instrumental cause, being an extension of Christ’s humanity, is commanded but NOT FOUNDED on His sacrifice. Wow ! the only cause caused BECAUSE of Christ’s righteousness happens to be the most proximate to your meritorious works.

    Why great lengths to affirm no justification without the justice of Christ (Canon 10 of Trent), only to turn away from the fact that God would not cause anything before being propitiated ?

  31. Eric, see you got your wife and me to keep you straight bro. K

  32. Kevin you write:

    Damming sinners to hell seems fair for what they have done.

    Let’s examine your Calvinist concept of “fair” punishment. According to the Calvinists, the little pagan girl that sasses her mom has committed a sin that is so heinous that it deserves nothing less than punishment in the everlasting fires of Hell. But you don’t believe that about your own sins. You believe that you are one of the “special people” that won’t get punished even for your unrepentant sins. You have already explained in this thread that if you cheated on your wife by committing adultery, then died unrepentant for that sin, that God would welcome you straight into heaven with the words “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

    Explain to me how your Calvinist concept of divine justice is in any way fair, because I am not seeing it.

    The fact that he saves any we should fall on our knees and thank Him. It would have been fair for him to throw us all into Hell.

    This Calvinist God of yours is awfully capricious. According to you, God should send everybody into Hell, but he won’t send some people into Hell even though the ones he saves from Hell are no less depraved than the rest of the people that he has created for damnation.

    Tell me Kevin, what makes you so sure that this capricious God of yours isn’t going to send you to hell just for the hell of it. Why not? Your Calvinist God is completely arbitrary in these matters, so maybe you are already damned, and you just don’t know it yet. The fact that you even think you are one of the special people could be nothing more than the sinful presumptuousness of a prideful man that thinks he can commit unrepentant adultery and get away with it.

  33. Kevin,

    You wrote:

    Erick, your verse parallels the Hebrew verse but doe not prove the one being sanctified isn’t Christ. It only proves that Apostates receive the truth and then turn their backs on it. So it can’t be the person being sanctified because only true Christian are sanctified past tense. It most certainly Christ. SS’s argument that a pronoun in a sentence can’t change person is just nonsensical. It happens all the time. The Apostate received the truth and didn’t remain, the person in 29 “was sanctified” It can’t be the same person. Christ is the one Sanctified by the blood of the Covenant as we see in 9:14.

    So are you saying that when Peter says ““A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:22), that the “sow” having been “washed” does not correspond to the apostate who had been sanctified? Quite an exegetical twist, do you not think?

    It seems as though you are, once again, imposing your theological system on the plain meaning of what St. Peter is saying. For any reader, it is clear that to “know” the “way of righteousness” is not to have a mere “head knowledge”, but to actually be walking on that course, and thus “turning their back on the divine command” would be a reversing of their former walk in righteousness.

    It is a very terrible thing how the false system of Calvinism has such a strong power to deceive intelligent readers of Scripture. Lord Jesus help.

  34. Eric W,

    We need to stick to the Holy Scripture, for this is the turf that I have constrained myself to. For me to dive into tradition only begs the question with you folks.

    Just about every argument I have provided in Scripture stands unrefuted. I’ve not seen anyone take the arguments I provide, line by line, from Scripture to Scripture , (besides joey henry), and explain to me the assumptions therein followed by a interactive refutation.

    This is what we should seek for.

  35. Mateo, I think you have that correct if you are in Christ you are forgiven and justified because of the righteousness of Christ. Outside of Christ you can go to hell a s a policeman or a prostitute. The wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal Life. God’s standard of fairness is not yours. Thats right God’s forgiveness is a free gift and it is unconditional. For you you must earn your salvation. Grace is just a way for you to merit salvation. Divine justice works like this. God does not pronounce bad people good by legally righteous because He bore the penalty of their Law breaking. Don’t you think sinners deserve hell. I know the current mood in the Vatican is just be good and stay where you are and your in. The Pope kissing the Koran and inviting Muslims to heaven while calling Protestants schismatics. God won’t send me to hell because I trust in His son for my salvation. God is not Arbitrary. He saves people by faith in His son and sends unrepentant sinners to Hell. He is equally just and love. Who are we to talk back to God. Actually you bring up a great point. When you know that you have been elected and God has called out of darkness into light, you fall on your knees and marvel and thank Him. Paul pitied you Mateo. He says in Romans 10:1, my prayer for you is that you would be saved, for you have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge . For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to “righteousness of God by faith. For Christ is the END of the Law to those who believe. Romans 4:16 says its guaranteed, and 1 John 5:13 says these things have been written to you that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.” God wants us to have peace always Mateo. Paul says twice Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. When you trust completely in Him Mateo, the result is peace. Romans 5:1 8:1 I hope you find it. God’s love to you.

  36. Mateo,

    This Calvinist God of yours is awfully capricious. According to you, God should send everybody into Hell, but he won’t send some people into Hell even though the ones he saves from Hell are no less depraved than the rest of the people that he has created for damnation.

    God changes the heart of the believer so that the believer is not as depraved as the impenitent, but the reason why the believer goes to heaven is not that he is “less depraved.” You don’t understand Calvinism, and I don’t think you believe anyone really deserves hell. You’re an inch away from full-on universalism, believe that God owes that sassing little girl heaven, and have no understanding of God’s holiness or the depth of sin. This is what Roman Catholicism produces.

    Meanwhile, Paul says that NO ONE, not even that sassing little girl, seeks God.

  37. Kevin,

    I know the current mood in the Vatican is just be good and stay where you are and your in. The Pope kissing the Koran and inviting Muslims to heaven while calling Protestants schismatics.

    Bingo. Actually, the RC position on Protestantism is indecipherable. Some things the modern Vatican say make it sound like to be Protestant is the only unforgivable sin and that it’s easier to get into heaven if you hate the incarnation than it is if you love the incarnation but don’t bow the knee to the pope. Other things make it sound like all roads lead to heaven. RCs who actually believe you need to be RC are few and far between. Most of them are de facto universalists. In fact, while I’ve known plenty of Protestants from all traditions that believe you cannot be saved without personal faith in Jesus, every Roman Catholic friend I’ve ever had thinks only the really bad people are going to hell.

    This is what Rome bequeathes. Replace Christ with the church and then redefine what it means to be connected to the church to include everybody except Martin Luther, and even he may be on his way back in. Clear as mud.

  38. Robert,

    I am going to say the same thing I said to Kevin the other day. If your view of RC is truly this, what are you spending time on here doing?

  39. Erick Y.,

    I am going to say the same thing I said to Kevin the other day. If your view of RC is truly this, what are you spending time on here doing?

    Not sure what this question is supposed to mean. I’m doing my best to point out the severe flaws in the Roman system and where it leads ultimately to a wrong view of God’s holiness and grace. I know there are other people reading.

    I could ask you the same question.

  40. Robert,

    Not to be rude, but honest and confrontational.

    If your efforts were to “save” those who are reading, then why not deal with the exegetical problems that I have provided over and over?

  41. Robert, your exactly right. Most of the catholics I know believe if your good, your going to heaven. And I think its about one corporate Visible human institution that becomes more human every day.

  42. Robert, Bingo your last paragraph!

  43. Erick’ what you may be to stubborn to admit is you are as ingrained in your positions as we are in ours. We have provided arguments Erick. For example Romans 8:1 and 8:15 are completely Forensic in there connection with union, but you will never believe that. ” We have been given a Spirit of adoption for example. Thats legal. It can’t be a transformative word. But your response is I don’t see it. So what are we supposed to do. We have gone thru 2 Corinthians 5:21 with you, but you don’t see the Forensic nature of that verse. Romans 5: 12-19. Romans 4 etc. So you are unconvinced, fine. But to say we haven’t made arguments is rather dismissive. You aren’t convinced with the greatest forensic theologians, so ok.

  44. Hebrews 7:26-27
    “For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself”

    Robert: Of course. But I’m not saying, nor is Owen saying that Jesus is sanctified because he is a sinner. His blood doesn’t cleanse him for sin, it just sets Him apart as the perfect high priest. Because he is sinless, His blood can set Him apart as an effectual Savior forever. He wasn’t a high priest until the sacrifice.

    You are assuming that every time sanctification happens it means cleansing of a sinner. It doesn’t. Some things are sanctified by blood in the Bible that aren’t sinners. In Exodus 29, the altar is set apart to God with blood. The altar didn’t need cleansing of sin, it simply needed to be set apart.

    Calvin wrote (commentary on Exodus 29:36)

    “36.And thou shalt offer every day a bullock. Since the ancient altar was no less a type of Christ than the priest was, it may naturally be asked, what its expiation could mean, as if there were anything impure or polluted in Christ. But we must remember, what I before adverted to, that no similitude is identical (with the reality); for then the substance and reality of the shadows could not be represented in their perfection. Yet this was an apt similitude, shewing that God could only be propitiated towards the human race by an expiation made with blood. On this account not only was the altar to be cleansed , but; also dedicated to its use, that reconciliation might proceed from it; and this is expressed by the word “sanctify,” especially when it is added, “it shall be the holiness of holinesses,” (151) that it may sanctify whatever is put upon it. Others read it in the masculine gender: “Whosoever shall touch it, shall be holy;” and understand it of the priest, who by right of his anointing might approach the altar; but; it rather dignifies the consecration of the altar by its consequence, viz., because it sanctifies the victims themselves. The sum is that the body of Christ, inasmuch as it was offered as a sacrifice, and consecrated with blood, was acceptable to God; so that its holiness washes away and blots out all our uncleanness. We shall speak of the anointing a little further on…”

    Protestants,

    Robert says the altar didn’t need cleansing of sin in Exodus 29, it was only ‘set apart’. (he believes that in Heb 10:29, the one sanctified by the blood of the covenant is Christ). Calvin on the other hand, says that the altar was cleansed in Exodus 29.

    Who’s wrong? Robert or Sieur Jeannot?

  45. Erick,

    I have dealt with them, at least many of them. As have several others. Just because you don’t like the responses doesn’t mean they haven’t been addressed. After a while the comments get hard to follow in any case.

    No one here is saying anything radically new. I don’t really have any illusions that I’ll be able to convince you of anything. If you’ve read Moo, Murray, et al and haven’t been convinced, all I’ll be offering is a rehash of their own arguments. The only possible new thing I can offer is a look at the systemic problems that certain positions create even if their exegesis of a handful of verses here and there might be possible. Even here, I’m not really offering anything new.

    The RC position calls into severe question the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice, the point of his intercession, the true necessity of grace, the depth of human sin, the holiness of God, and a host of other things. I’ve touched on many of these in talking to SS even though he isn’t RC. I’m still waiting for somebody to tell me how Jesus is not a failed savior if he prays for all the justified to persevere and yet some of them don’t persevere. Maybe you can help me with that one.

  46. Calvin’s commentary on Heb 10:29

    “29. Who has trodden under foot the Son of God, etc. There is this likeness between apostates under the Law and under the Gospel, that both perish without mercy; but the kind of death is different; for the Apostle denounces on the despisers of Christ not only the deaths of the body, but eternal perdition. And therefore he says that a sorer punishment awaits them. And he designates the desertion of Christianity by three things; for he says that thus the Son of God is trodden under foot, that his blood is counted an unholy thing, and that despite is done to the Spirit of grace. Now, it is a more heinous thing to tread under foot than to despise or reject; and the dignity of Christ is far different from that of Moses; and further, he does not simply set the Gospel in opposition to the Law, but the person of Christ and of the Holy Spirit to the person of Moses.

    The blood of the covenant, etc. He enhances ingratitude by a comparison with the benefits. It is the greatest indignity to count the blood of Christ unholy, by which our holiness is effected; this is done by those who depart from the faith. For our faith looks not on the naked doctrine, but on the blood by which our salvation has been ratified. He calls it the blood of the covenant, because then only were the promises made sure to us when this pledge was added. But he points out the manner of this confirmation by saying that we are sanctified; for the blood shed would avail us nothing, except we were sprinkled with it by the Holy Spirit; and hence come our expiation and sanctification. The apostle at the same time alludes to the ancient rite of sprinkling, which availed not to real sanctification, but was only its shadow or image. [185] ”

    Calvin, contra John Owen/James White and contra Robert, says unequivocally that the blood of the covenant is blood by which our holiness is effected, those of faith, not Christ’s. Then he says that those who depart from the faith treat that blood as an unholy thing. The implication is that they were once in the faith and that blood was applied to them , not to Christ.

    No wonder Wayne Grudem distances himself from John Owen’s spin. He has no choice but to try another route. But then he only jumps out of the fire and into the frying pan… It’s a dead end my friends for you.

  47. Robert,

    Does Christ pray for you to resist sin in progressive sanctification? When you resist grace in progressive sanctification, leading to greater sin (since even cooperation with grace is corrupted by sin) and loss of reward, was Christ not praying for you to resist that sin? If you do cooperate and resist that sin, was he praying for you then?

  48. I’ve touched on many of these in talking to SS even though he isn’t RC. I’m still waiting for somebody to tell me how Jesus is not a failed savior if he prays for all the justified to persevere and yet some of them don’t persevere. Maybe you can help me with that one.

    Robert,

    Wasn’t Calvin saying that Jesus was a failed savior here:

    “Even denying the Lord that bought them. Though Christ may be denied in various ways, yet Peter, as I think, refers here to what is expressed by Jude, that is, when the grace of God is turned into lasciviousness; for Christ redeemed us, that he might have a people separated from all the pollutions of the world, and devoted to holiness and innocency. They, then, who throw off the bridle, and give themselves up to all kinds of licentiousness, are not unjustly said to deny Christ by whom they have been redeemed. Hence, that the doctrine of the gospel may remain whole and complete among us, let this be fixed in our minds, that we have been redeemed by Christ, that he may be the Lord of our life and of our death, and that our main object ought to be, to live to him and to die to him. He then says, that their swift destruction was at hand, lest others should be ensnared by them.”

    Calvin, Comm. 2Peter 2:1. Emphasis added.

  49. Robert, you write:

    … you don’t understand Calvinism, and I don’t think you believe anyone really deserves hell. You’re an inch away from full-on universalism ….

    Calvinism is an irrational religion that is full of contradiction. Who really “understands” a logical contradiction? The best that a man can do is understood that the contradiction is nonsense. And I do understand where Calvinism contradicts itself.

    As for the rest of your comment, that is merely more of your typical b.s. where you put your words into my mouth in order to slander me, instead of actually engaging in the points that I have raised.

    …[Catholics] have no understanding of God’s holiness or the depth of sin. This is what Roman Catholicism produces.

    At least one Calvinist on this thread is claiming that he can die unrepentant for the sin of adultery and be assured of his place in heaven (with no Calvinist here bothering to correct him for his error). The Calvinists think that they can commit the sin of unrepentant adultery and go straight to heaven, and I am accused of having “no understanding of God’s holiness or the depth of sin.” … mateo rolls his eyes …

    Meanwhile, Paul says that NO ONE, not even that sassing little girl, seeks God.

    Let us look at the Psalm of King David that Paul is quoting:

    The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
    to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God. They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no,not one.
    Psalm 14:2-3

    Do you really think that King David, who wrote this Psalm, includes himself as one of the men that does NOT seek after God? The Calvinist simply does not understand why Paul is quoting this Psalm in his Letter to the Romans.

    Kevin you write:

    God’s standard of fairness is not yours.

    I never said it was. What I am saying is that god of Calvinism is not the God of the Holy Bible.

    Don’t you think sinners deserve hell.

    There is indeed sin that deserves the punishment of hell. But Calvinists don’t make the distinction between sin that is mortal and sin that is not mortal. What I don’t believe is what Calvinists believe, that ALL sin is mortal, because that is NOT what the scriptures teach.

    No Kevin, I believe what the bible actually teaches, that some sins are not mortal (deadly), and as such, these non-deadly sins do not deserve the punishment of the second death. Which is why little girls that sass their moms have not committed a sin that is justly due a punishment of everlasting torment in the fires of hell.

    The monster god of Calvinism would mete out such a punishment, but that god is merely the concoction of Calvinists that don’t understand the bibles that they read. Kevin, here is what the bible actually says:

    All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.
    1 John 5:17

    A little girl sassing her mom is doing wrong, but her sin is not mortal.

    Who are we to talk back to God.

    Calvinists do something far worse than talk back to God; the Calvinists accuse God of being the cause of evil. That is blasphemous, but that doesn’t stop the Calvinists.

    When you know that you have been elected …

    How do you know that you are one of the “special people”? Why do you think that you can die unrepentant for adultery and not be damned?

    For Christ is the END of the Law to those who believe.

    Let me get this straight. Because you “believe”, you have been given the freedom to commit any sin you feel like committing, since even the Ten Commandments no longer have to be obeyed by you. Kevin, quote me the scriptures that teach that Christians have been given the freedom to rob, rape and murder with impunity!

    But what do I know? After all, I am a product of the Catholic Church, and we Catholics have “no understanding of God’s holiness or the depth of sin.” If only I understood the truths of Calvinism! Then I would understand that I no longer should be afraid of being punished in hell for the sin of unrepentant rape or unrepentant murder. Heck, I could even become an unrepentant Satan worshiper if I could just grasp Calvinism’s superior understanding of God’s holiness and the depth of sin!

  50. Kevin,

    You are missing all of the conjunction words in Romans 8:1

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ for the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For what law could not do, being that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirements of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who live not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit with the things of the Spirit. The concern of the flesh of the flesh is hostility to God; it does not submit to the law of God not can it; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, on the contrary, you are in the Spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (Rom 8:1-9).

    You are connecting the reality of what God “did”, which was fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law in us, and the “walking in the Spirit” which produces “righteousness” (Rom 8:11).

    It is like you bring the whole reformed distinction of Romans 1-5 and 6-8 again even within chapter 8. As if he is speaking of justification by faith alone in a forensic righteousness in Romans 8:1-3, but then after that he’s talking about sanctification.

  51. Erick,

    My refutation is simple. The “Heir”, which is one with legal rights and claims, is treated as a slave before the application of redemption and receiving sonship. If this legal aspect is not presupposed by EVERY verse pertaining to regeneration, then God is not regenerating those brothers foreknown and predestined.

  52. Eric W,

    I am not following. The transition from child (who is like a slave) to an heir is one of flesh to spirit, old man to new man, old creation to new creation, old law to new law, death to life, sin to righteousnessan and adam to christ.

    You also have to consider that Christ himself was made under the law, so in some sense he was a child and underwent his own transition from under the Law to being in the Spirit (at his resurrection). He himself underwent transition from flesh to spirit (romans 1:4).

    We share in this redemptive creational transition by sharing, joining, or participating in his own transition from cross to Spirit, coming out of the tomb.

    Therefore whatever legal parameters there are, it is wed to the ontology of Spirit and new creation.

  53. Erick, you wrote,

    ….The transition from child (who is like a slave) to an heir….

    Galatians 4:1
    What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.

    Switch it and say farewell to Rome. The heir, with legal claim to owning the estate, was a child who was treated as a slave, i.e., unregenerated heir. Legal duck is always wedded to ontology of the Spirit and the new creation, but is considered prior to its fellow ducks.

  54. Eric W.

    If you are trying to utilize Paul’s description of the “Elect” prior to the temporal application of redemption in their lives (he just said above Baptism/Faith) as heirs even when they are unregenerate in order to prove that God forensically imputes the active and passive obedience of Christ to their account, it only begs the question a whole lot more.

    So what if God calls the sons of God (the Galatians) heirs even when they are unregenerate, devoid of the Spirit of God, and living under the elementary powers of the world? That just means that the “appointed time” for their giving in to the estate came at a later time than their sojourn in the world.

    This does not prove the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, rather it proves the sovereign will of God in predestination for those who are foreknown and called, justified, and gloried. But it doesn’t prove the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, not by a long shot.

  55. SS, Only true Christians are sanctified past tense. This man started sinning after receiving the truth. He was Apostate. Owen’s position is much more tenable.

  56. Erick, I’ll try one more time. He is speaking of both Erick. Saying in verse 1 that there is no condemnation is another way of saying there is now justification for those in Christ. How hard can that be to understand. When we are justified by Faith it comes in union with Christ. It says we have been given the Spirit of Adoption. So those who possess the Holy Spirit have adoption papers and justification papers and heir papers. These are parts of our union that are legal and bring us peace. But that same spirit that brought us legal papers also changes us into being Holy. But our righteousness does not result from His righteousness, it is his righteousness. How else can Paul say in Colossians that we have been made complete in Him. Are you complete in your sanctification? No. How can Hebrews 10:14 say we have been perfected? Are you inherently perfect? No. How can 1 cor. 1:30 say he became, past tense righteousness to us ? Are you inherently righteous? No How can he say we have been transferred from domain of darkness to kingdom of light redeemed? Are you inherently righteous to be transferred into His kingdom? No In 5:24 John ” passed out of judgment”are you inherently righteous to pass out of judgment? No Erick he isn’t declaring bad people good but legally righteous because He bore the penally of our Law breaking. I am not denying in Romans 8 that justification embraces sanctification. You fail to see it is all a work of God done by the Spirit. But the legal parts come in the beginning. People don’t get adopted at the end of their life. What peace would that bring if your parents said, Erick at the end of your life if you cooperated with our grace well enough then we will adopt you. Its unfortunate and sad that you miss all the assurance that god intends for us when we are saved. Paul said it was a party to Rejoice, and you guys throw a funeral. There is eternal life not eternal death. How sad never knowing your saved. I am free in Christ, for freedom He has set me free form sin and death. Lets party.

  57. Mateo, Im going to add to what Robert told you. Not only do you not understand God’s Holiness and the depth of the sin of man, you have even a more shallow understanding of the grace of God. For you grace is a way to merit salvation. To us it is the profound understanding that leaves 99 sheep and goes after the one is walking away to sin. If God loved only those who thought they were righteous he wouldn’t have talked to the woman at the well, who had 6 husbands and was living with a man. He poured his grace on her. God hates sin not the sinner. I’m not afraid to tell you we have grace upon grace upon grace poured onto us, and we don’t have to earn free grace. In the middle of my utterly sinful lifestyle Christ died for me. While I was dead in my sin HE made me alive. He can certainly keep me if in the middle of a mortal sin.

  58. Kevin, interesting stuff.

    Do please comment on blog someday if you ever feel like doing that.

    I wonder if you ever thought about blogging.

    Peace.

  59. Andrew, I post on your blog yesterday, and will do so again.K

  60. No, that was Darryl Hart’s. Him and I are different people,

    No worries. Enjoy blogdom, yo. Post only at the link in my combox at 7:27 (the link on the word “blog”) if you like.

    Take care.

  61. Mateo, I didn’t ask you if sin deserved hell, I asked you del sinners deserve hell, yes of no?

  62. Andrew, Oh sorry bro, yes i will be happy to participate on your blog. I hope you you answer Jonathan on that question he left you with. I await your answer.

  63. Kevin,

    This is where to post, when and if you ever get to it:

    http://adb40895037.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/golf-and-theology/

    Jonathan’s question?

    He equates Christ with the church in a way I do not. I’m a protestant.

    There’s much more to say on that, but not now at this time. I think I know where he is getting that idea. But I could be wrong..

    I do not hold Prejean’s views. ’nuff said.

    Peace.

  64. Mateo, You say we think that God causes sin, but yet for you Salvation is God hangs a carrot on a 20 foot tree, and you got to jump up and get it with your mouth. And if you miss, too bad. Nananana!

  65. Mateo, Galatians3:19 ” Why the Law? It was added because of transgressions UNTIL the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. We are no longer under the penalty of any Law. We live by faith! Not the sacraments of the New Law. No Law in being justified before God, simple faith. We are free to obey God’s Law, not rape and pillage. Please Mateo keep accusing us of antinomianism, I have a cocktail every time you do. I love it when you throw all that stuff at us. It makes me think of Paul getting all those works throne up in his face. Could you please do more. C’mon you can call us worse than that. I dare you. Mateo what happens to you if your dreaming tonight and your choking to death your some guy you hate in your dream. Does there have to be a Priest in your dream to absolve you or you go to hell. Boy thats a loving God.

  66. Eric W. Did you get what Erick said to you. We believe the gospel is about a past event, the incarnation. And they are emanating Christ, going from Law to Spirit in continuing to play out His incarnation as he renews himself in his youth each day to them. They are on an ontological elevator out of nature into the divine thru the acts of the church. He says what ever legal aspects there are it is subordinated to the climb. He said, we share in his transition by participating in His transition ( incarnation), mediation. Do they realize the incarnation is finished and accomplished salvation, no. So they are saven by the sanctificatorail process of climbing form Law to Spirit, Cross to Spirit. Grace is only an aid to move from nature to divinity. They throw aside the purpose of the incarnation, redemption.

  67. Erick, Isaiah 61: 10 ” I will rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her levels.” Revelations 19:7-8, ” Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride has herself ready. IT WAS GIVEN TO HER to clothe herself in fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb. Erick when you can understand these verses it will unlock unto you how our Spirit led works are a result of the Forensic. The resurrection is primarily a judicial act of god. 1 Cor. 15:32 ” for when the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised IMPERISHABLE, and we shall be chafed.”The immediacy is stunning. We must correlate the resurrection with the fact that those who place their faith in Christ have already been raised and seated with Him in the heavenly places Romans 6:4, Ephesians 2:6. IOWbecause of the believers justification by faith alone, he is already ruling with Christ over creation. Were a person be guilty of sin and worthy of condemnation , he would neither be raised with Christ or seated with Him in the Heavenly places. We have been raised of course according to our inner man. Our outer man is wasting away and awaits redemption of the body. The resurrection for believers is simply the manifestation or revelation of those who have already been raised with Christ. Romans 8:19 ” For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. The revelation of the sons of God occurs, not after the final judgment, but at the resurrection Rom. 8:23, What about the immediacy of the resurrection?

  68. Erick, that should read, and we shall be changed, sorry buddy.

  69. Erick, one more thing, 8:23 is huge ” who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Here is an explicit connection between forensic, adoption, and the redemption of the body, or the resurrection from the dead. Christ brings out the connection between sonship and resurrection when he states that those who are raised “cannot die anymore” because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection Luke 20:36. ” Firstfruits of the Spirit is the word arrabon which Paul uses to describe the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee or pledge of the believers future resurrection. What is sown perishable is raised imperishable.

  70. Mateo–

    You wrote:

    “This Calvinist God of yours is awfully capricious. According to you, God should send everybody into Hell, but he won’t send some people into Hell even though the ones he saves from Hell are no less depraved than the rest of the people that he has created for damnation.”

    Romans 9: 6-24.

    “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

    “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

    Evidently, from our vantage point, God can indeed appear capricious. But what is necessarily capricious for a potter to make a lovely pitcher, and then a spittoon or a chamber pot, from the same lump of clay? He is being purposeful, not capricious. If he flipped a coin every time, THAT would be capricious (unless, of course, he needed half of one kind and half of another…in which case, his purpose would be accomplished).

    You are correct that the ones he saves are no less depraved than those he doesn’t. But once he saves them, they are capable of seeking God and, by faith working through love, of pleasing him. They are still, however, attached (in this lifetime) to their “body of death” of corruptible flesh. (They will be raised incorruptible.) Therefore, the deeds of the new creature will be somewhat stained in this world. We often speculate that part of our purpose of being here is to learn to deal with these obstacles, these challenges. It is a difficult and enduring discipline for us to mortify the flesh, to overcome the flesh, to make no provision for the flesh…and to sow to the Spirit instead.

    For the unregenerate, all sin is mortal sin. For the regenerate, all sin is venial, for want of a better term. The regenerate do not, indeed cannot, finally apostatize or lose themselves in unrepentant grave sin. (We certainly do differentiate between greater and lesser sins. We don’t equate serial murder with sassing one’s mother. But no one but no one has as her ONLY sin, the sassing of her mother at age eight! I have an aunt who, as far as I know, never darkens a church door unless it’s for a funeral or a wedding. She “believes” in God, but her stated belief doesn’t affect her life in any appreciable way. Her firm conviction is that God sends all “basically good people” to heaven, and she hasn’t killed anyone yet.)

    I know you don’t understand the whole “regenerate don’t apostatize” notion. Think of it this way:

    Say you have a penned-in enclosure with a dozen female cats inside that you have raised from birth. Nothing can get in or out. If one of them turns up pregnant, do you surmise that at least one of the females “transmogrified” into a male? Or do you surmise that you made a mistake in sexing them before placing them in the pen as kittens?

    You are, on the other hand, quite right to question the whole but how do the kittens growing into cats know if they are male or female? In other words, whence cometh our assurance that we are “female” (in this particular circumstance)? Well, obviously, some people do make mistakes and presume themselves to be elect…though in the end they are not. Consequently, we are to take steps “to make our calling and election sure.” But such commands aside, most of us literally feel the Spirit relentlessly chase us, corner us, box us in, and leave us no choice but to follow.

  71. Eric. Amen!

  72. Mateo, we possess the Holy Spirit. The Scripture says the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Someone in blatant sin or continuos sin like the man in Corinthians 5 cannot have the assurance of salvation of believers who walk according to the Spirit. It is a gift to those who are living by faith. The Scripture exhorts us to take a check to make sure we are in the faith. True believers don’t make a practice of sin. Paul said may it never be. But we are not to confuse that with the fact that if we say we have no sin in us, we make God a liar and the truth is not in us. To be frank, RC comes close to this by denying that our flesh is still there firing on all cylinders. But we possess the Spirit of self control and we have overcome the one who is in the world. I’ve said this before I think the Romans 7 man is one of the most mature Christians because he is aware of the struggle between his flesh and the Spirit. He says on the one hand he serves God with his mind and sin in his body. I believe the closer we get to God, the more we see our sinfulness and understand his marvelous grace. Its not the perfection of our life thats important its the direction of our life, as we are to be Holy like he is Holy.

  73. Kevin, you write:

    Not only do you not understand God’s Holiness and the depth of the sin of man, you have even a more shallow understanding of the grace of God.

    Kevin, you believe that you can die unrepentant for the sin of adultery and go straight to Heaven. You claim that grace of God did not set the followers of Christ free from their bondage to sin. Protestantism has blinded you to the essence of the Gospel. If anyone has a shallow understanding of grace, it is you, not me.

    For you grace is a way to merit salvation.

    Kevin, for you to put words into my mouth that I don’t believe is the same thing as lying. Can’t Calvinists engage in a discussion without stooping to slander?

    If God loved only those who thought they were righteous he wouldn’t have talked to the woman at the well, who had 6 husbands and was living with a man.

    Who ever said that Christ came for those who thought that they were the righteous? Not me! Christ came for sinners so that he could heal them of their sickness:

    “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
    Matthew 2:17

    Kevin, it is you, not me, that rejects what you call “infused healing”.

    This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says:
    .
    `You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.’
    Matthew 13:13-15

    Calvinism has blinded you to the truth. You hear, but you do not understand. The Good News is that Christ came to free you from your bondage of sin. Christ did not come so that you can commit any sin you feel like committing.

    God hates sin not the sinner.

    Of course! But Calvinists believe that everything that they do is so corrupted with the filth of mortal sin that they deserve to be cast into the everlasting flames of hell. If the Calvinists would turn to Jesus and trust in him, they would “understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.”

    I’m not afraid to tell you we have grace upon grace upon grace poured onto us …

    Whatever this “grace” is that you believe in, it seems that you are quite sure that it doesn’t set you free from your bondage to sin. Not on this earth anyway. But this is typical of Calvinism; words such as grace are emptied of their meaning so that grace ends up meaning nothing.

    In the middle of my utterly sinful lifestyle Christ died for me. While I was dead in my sin HE made me alive.

    Did you repent of your sinful life and turn to Jesus to save you from your bondage to sin, or are you still living the same way before you met Christ?

    The only way that you can be set free from the bondage of sin is to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. “Be a doer, and not just a hearer, lest you deceive yourself.” You must acknowledge that you are the Romans 7 man that knows with his mind that the moral laws found in the scriptures are good, and also acknowledge that, on your own, you are powerless to keep them. The other part of walking the walk is become the Romans 8 man; to turn to Jesus to save you from your powerlessness to overcome your sinning. When you walk the walk, you must yoke yourself to Jesus and let him show his strength in your weakness. You have to believe that you can keep the moral laws of God with Christ’s help, or you don’t even have saving faith.

    To repeat, first acknowledge that you are powerless to overcome your sinfulness apart from Christ. Second, make a firm commitment in this life to become the holy saint that God created you to be. If you don’t make the choice to strive for holiness; if you refuse to make the effort to walk the walk; you cannot be saved.

    If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. He has placed before you fire and water: stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him. For great is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power and sees everything; his eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin.
    Sirach 15:15-20

    Mateo, I didn’t ask you if sin deserved hell, I asked you del sinners deserve hell, yes of no?

    Those sinners that die unrepentant for mortal sin, yes, they will be cast into the fires of Hell. As it is written in the scriptures:

    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”
    Rev 21:8

    For sinners that die unrepentant of sin that is not mortal (sin that is not deadly), no, they will not burn in the fires of hell. Sin that is not deadly does not warrant the punishment of the second death. Which is why a little girl will not be sent to hell if she dies, if her only sin was being unrepentant for sassing her mom.

    Mateo, You say we think that God causes sin …

    This exactly what Calvinists preach, and it is blasphemy.

    Mateo, Galatians3:19 ” Why the Law? It was added because of transgressions UNTIL the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. We are no longer under the penalty of any Law.

    You are wrong, because you don’t understand what Paul means by the laws that were added for transgressions. Those laws were ritual laws;things like circumcision of the flesh, and kosher dietary laws. The ritual laws had to be kept until God the Son became incarnate. Since “the seed” has come, it is quite true that true that Christians no longer have to keep the laws added for transgressions; which is why it is not a sin for me to eat bacon wrapped shrimp grilled on the barbie.

    You completely misunderstand Paul if you think that he is saying in Galatians 3 that Christians have been set free from having to obey the moral laws found in the Torah; laws such as the Ten Commandments, or the two great commandments of love. Which brings us back to Jason Stellman’s point about Romans Chapter 4.

    We are free to obey God’s Law, not rape and pillage.

    And how did you acquire the freedom to obey the Ten Commandments, and the two great commandments of love? How were you set free from the bondage to sin that kept you from obeying those laws? How, exactly, did you change from being the Romans 7 man to the Romans 8 man?

    You are correct, God did not die so that you could rape or pillage, and neither did he die so that you could commit the mortal sins of unrepentant adultery and unrepentant fornication .

    Kevin, please clarify this for me, are you saying that there are sins such as unrepentant rape and unrepentant murder that would send a Christian to hell if he committed them?

  74. Eric,

    “Therefore, the deeds of the new creature will be somewhat stained in this world.”

    Somewhat?
    WCF:
    “because, as [good works] are good, they proceed from His Spirit, and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.”

    Scottish CF:
    “For God the Father, beholding us in the body of his Son Christ Jesus, accepts our imperfect obedience, as it were perfect, and covers our works, which are defiled with many spots, with the justice of his Son.”

    Belgic CF:
    “Moreover, although we do good works we do not base our salvation on them; for we cannot do any work that is not defiled by our flesh and also worthy of punishment.”

    Heidelberg:
    “even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.”

    “We often speculate that part of our purpose of being here is to learn to deal with these obstacles, these challenges.”

    This is on the right track – that is why concupiscence is not removed in justification. That does not therefore mean it is sin proper or that we do not have perfect righteousness infused. It is not removed so as to give us opportunity to grow in acts of love and to merit and to deepen our participation.

    “For the regenerate, all sin is venial, for want of a better term.”

    If all sin was venial, you would not need imputation.

  75. Erick,

    1) just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself….(Eph1:4,5)

    The heir of Gal.4 is the elect who was predestined to adoption. Legal rights and claims reach way back….at the “appointed time” they received adoption as sons by faith and were justified by faith.

    2) For all of you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26)

    3) for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:26)

    Side by side we find election and justification…

    4) Who will bring a charge against God’s elect ? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns….(Rom 8:33,34)

    Charge, justifies, condemns….legal enough for me

    5) ….God credits righteouness….(Rom4:6)

    What about faith with hatred for God ? Anyone who asks such things brings a charge against God’s elect. Kevin, Robert and others have provided the Bible evidence for imputation of Christ’s righteousness, so I will not try to repeat their work.

  76. Eric, you write:

    For the unregenerate, all sin is mortal sin. For the regenerate, all sin is venial, for want of a better term.

    The “truth” according to Calvinism! In fact, this is a lie of Calvinism. If the regenerate commit mortal sin, what they commit is still mortal sin. They are like dogs that have returned to back to their own vomit:

    … if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.
    2 Peter 2:20-22

    The regenerate do not, indeed cannot, finally apostatize or lose themselves in unrepentant grave sin.

    Cannot? Another lie of Calvinism. And what would it matter anyway, since according to you, every sin is venial sin if you are lucky enough to be one of the elect. In any case, what you say is a lie of Calvinism that is not scriptural:

    For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.
    Hebrews 6:4-6

    I know you don’t understand the whole “regenerate don’t apostatize” notion.

    But you saying much more that that. You are saying that regenerate cannot apostatize, which is clearly not taught in the scriptures. Read Hebrews for once in your life without your Calvinist blinders on.

    … obviously, some people do make mistakes and presume themselves to be elect…though in the end they are not. Consequently, we are to take steps “to make our calling and election sure.”

    This is absurd. First you say that every sin that that the elect commit is venial sin, and then you say that every sin that the non-elect commit is mortal sin, even though both the elect and non-elect are committing the exact same sins.

    To compound the confusion, Calvinism also teaches that everything that the elect do is corrupted with sin so vile that it deserves a just punishment of everlasting damnation in the fires of Hell. So if both the elect and non-elect can be committing the exact same sins, how does anyone know that they are one of the elect? They can’t, since both the elect and the non-elect can be living their lives in exactly the same way.

    I make these points to show the contradictions inherent within Calvinism. A Calvinist man may believe that he is one of the elect, but he can never have any real basis for believing that. In fact, he could be living in delusion, because he is already damned. He is damned because the god of Calvinism is going to send him to hell just for the for the hell of it. He is damned, not because he sinned, or didn’t sin, but because the god of Calvinism has given to mankind no sense of justice that the god of Calvinism is bound to uphold. The god of Calvinism can act in completely arbitrary and capricious ways in regards to his “justice”. You acknowledge that very point when you write this about the god of Calvinism:

    You are correct that the ones he saves are no less depraved than those he doesn’t.

  77. Roman Catholics,

    All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Rev.13:8)

    Ask yourself how this meritorious cause and righteousness of Christ had related to the names written in the book ? Where was inhering santifying grace ?

  78. Kevin you write:

    Someone in blatant sin or continuos sin like the man in Corinthians 5 cannot have the assurance of salvation …

    I might agree with you, but Calvinism teaches that even the elect live lives of continuous sin. See the quotes that James just listed above. I will take just one:

    Heidelberg:
    “even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.”

    The Heidelberg Confession is talking about the elect. If the best works of the elect are defiled with damnable sin, then obviously everything else that the elect do is defiled with damnable sin. IOW, the Calvinist confessions are claiming that even the elect live lives of continuous sin, which, according to you, mean that the elect can have no assurance of salvation.

  79. James, you said, “that is why concupiscence isn’t removed in justification” Your wrong. 1 Corinthians 15 ” For if he was not raised, your faith is worthless and your still in your sins.” You want to rethink your statement! We are no longer positionally in our sins, or we wouldn’t be raised with Him in the heavenly places.

  80. Mateo, The problem is you have a faulty view of forgiveness of sins. “Blessed is the man who God does not impute sin.” All sin is mortal. God hates sin. but God does not hold sin against the justified believer. For you its different, you have to have a Priest following you around all the time. God does not pronounce bad people good but legally righteous because he bore our Law breaking. RC has a faulty theology in the fact that you have undergone a process of the removal of the nature of sin from the soul. We are not being elevated out of our nature. Grace isn’t opposed to nature. Grace redeems nature. Our flesh is capable of sin, but our inner man is being renewed each day as Paul says. Have you ever asked the question why even righteous deeds are unacceptable to God in justification Titus 3:5?No work you do is complexly pure. Impossible. Mateo, listen closely, all the awesome love you ever do won’t be enough. Galatians 5 is very clear. Paul is speaking to you when he addresses people trying to be justified by Law in any way, severed from Christ. They believed in grace, but tried to add one merit, just one work and Paul said no. You guys are adding a life of accompanying works of love, what will become of you. Justification is by faith and not by the condition of the souls at death. It ain’t close.

  81. James,

    We’ve gone back and forth as to whether fulfilling something truly but imperfectly is nonsensical. Apparently Thomas Aquinas held the nonsensical belief as well.

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3044.htm#article6

  82. Robert, I love when you do this. What’s James going to do now that he can’t fulfill the NewLaw perfectly? 1000 years in Purgation. James there is plenty room down here with the justified sinners. We have no claim to divinity, but God is making us more like Him in Holiness and righteousness everyday, and we are becoming more truly human.

  83. Eric, Kevin, & Robert,

    I will explain how Romans 7:23 unto 8:1-11 completely refutes the protestant understanding of justification as it relates to soteriology. I would advice you to take notes, so that when you have a chance to respond, you can separate the logic of all my points which lead to my conclusions, and then show how they are either false or not reflective of the text of Scripture? Any response which just repeats the assumption of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, or the presupposed need for Christ’s righteousness do not qualify as a valid response. The only thing acceptable will be to take how I explain the passage and show how I do not reflect the meaning that Paul intended for us to understand.

    So let’s begin.

    but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

    When Paul says that he is “captive” to the “law of sin” that dwells in his members, he is not speaking of forensic guilt or the a mere juridical position before God. He is actually speaking about an active power that exists within that actually causes him to really sin. It is another way of what he said just earlier. While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.. The passions were at work in Paul’s members, not merely making him forensically guilty at the judgement bar of God, but to actually sin, to cause sinful behavior. This is what is meant by “bearing fruit unto death”. Therefore, to be captive to the law of sin means to be in a state wherein one is subject to sinful behavior, and not just a legally guilty position.

    24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    The “wretched man” here equates the “old man” of Romans 6 who was crucified with Christ, in order the the “new man” might be born. The “body of death” corresponds to the “body of sin” from ch 6 – “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin”. Therefore, a believer has the “body of sin” DESTROYED, for to have the body of sin is the same thing as being enslaved to sin. So Paul cannot be describing his present state in the Spirit here in v24. When he says “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”, he is speaking of a “deliverance” which will characterize the beginning of Romans 8. This completely refutes the protestant idea that Paul is describing his Christian experience in Romans 7, for Paul describes this man as the “slave to sin” (Rom 6:15-16), under the “law of sin” that Christians are redeemed from (Rom 8:1-3), and as the “body of death (Rom 7:24), all which are references to the “old man” and the “body of sin” which believers “have put off” (Eph 4) since it has been “done away with” (Rom 6:1-8). The baptized member of the body is one who “walks in newness of life” and is a “slave to righteousness” and “sanctification”.

    So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

    Here, again, Paul is not saying that in his “present state” that he himself is still a slave to sin, which is no different than being captive to the law of sin. He has already told us that he has been “freed from sin” in Romans 6:1-11. Rather what Paul is saying is that when someone is “in the flesh”, their mind may be a “slave to the law of God”, but the “law of sin” blocks off this desire of the mind and causes the person to sin, rather than do the good which is in the law. In other words, the Law of God is weak because of the flesh, and so it calls for the power of God in the Holy Spirit.

    There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit[a] of life in Christ Jesus has set you[b] free from the law of sin and of death.

    No one has ever denied the forensic meaning to “condemnation” here in Romans 8:1. So no matter how many times you wish to repeat the this is a reference to the forensic nature of justification and how it is past tense (“no more”), you are not arguing against the Catholic interpretation, for we believe that “condemnation” here has a forensic meaning and that it is referring to something already done.

    However, as I told you before, you are missing the conjunctions and why Paul used them. For example, when he says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,for….”. In other words, he gives the reason why there is no more condemnation. And what is that reason? “…for the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death”. The reason why there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because those who are in Christ are freed from the law of sin and death. That’s pretty straight forward and difficult to miss.

    Now, what does it mean to be delivered from the law of sin and death? Well, he just explained the nature of the captivity which the “law of sin” puts a human being under. And so, rather than assuming what it means to be “freed from the law of sin” in terms of a purely forensic reality, or a more broader reference to an ontological reality with a small forensic element which alone merits salvation, we should look to how Paul describes the nature of the captivity that the law of sin puts a human being under. For if we can locate and define the nature of the captivity of the “law of sin”, then we will understand better the nature of the liberation from the “law of sin”. Does that make sense?

    The whole of chapter 7 is a description of the “law of sin”. Romans 7:5 ” While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.” The law of sin puts men into the captivity of “bearing fruit for death”, which is beyond the reality of a mere forensic guilty status. This captivity is not just positional, it is functional, one that continues to cause one to bear fruit unto death. Therefore, if the nature of the “law of sin” is functional and ontological, meaning that it is a force which causes continuous sinful behavior, then the deliverance from the law of sin will also be ontological and causing the reverse, the cause of continuous righteous behavior.

    but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Again, the “law of sin” does not merely place us in a stationary or positional position of being guilty or condemned (merely forensic). Rather the “law of sin”, with good reason, should be understood as an ontological reality that causes continuous sinful behavior. That’s how Paul describes it. And therefore, again, liberation from this “law of sin” would not be, as you’ve tried to argue, a merely forensic innocence or forgiveness or imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

    3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do:

    What could the law not do? it could not allow us to fulfill the Law’s requirements, right? It is not as if the Law was trying to give us a merely forensic status of being “just”, but that we would actually be subjected to the law of God in mind, body, and spirit. But the “flesh” made the Law weak. Therefore, the flesh is really what stands in the way of the Law being fulfilled. And this is why Paul will now enter into a glorious description of the baptized believers transition from flesh to Spirit, for we are no longer in the flesh, and therefore that principle which makes the Law of God “weakened” is no longer a reality for us.

    by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh,

    So we read that “God” has accomplished “in us” what the Law could not do. Well, what could the law not do? Merely provide a forensic justification? No, not “merely” a forensic justification, but the Law could not be fulfilled in our behavior, behavior which bears fruit to God, and this is exactly what God has done in us, for it is written so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. Bearing fruit to God is more than a forensic reality. It is functional, behavioral, and ontological.

    By sending Jesus Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh, God has placed His Son within the realm of fleshly existence so that through the destruction of his humanity on the cross, he could destroy the old humanity and the sin which it overpowered. In and through the destruction of Christ and His resurrection is the destruction and resurrection of the new mankind, the new humanity. And it is in this new humanity, the humanity governed by the Spirit, which believers are baptized into. They are freed from the sin which overpowered them precisely because sin was condemned in the flesh so that a new existence for us would be opened up. It is as if the death and resurrection of Jesus is a portal through which we pass from our creation-context in Adam to a new creation-context in Christ. It is way beyond a mere forensic reality.

    4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.[d] 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit[e] set their minds on the things of the Spirit.[f]

    It is quite obvious, simply because of the “for”(v5) at the beginning of verse 5 that the “just requirement of the law” being fulfilled in us is intricately related to our walking in the Spirit, and therefore is not a reference to the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to our account by faith alone, but is rather describing an ontological reality which has the forensic reality of justification as a result of it’s ontology.

    6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit[g] is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
    9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit,[h] since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit[i] is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ[j] from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through[k] his Spirit that dwells in you.

    The way of death and condemnation is to give in to the deeds of the body. This is a principle that is true even for those who are “in Christ Jesus”. Therefore, the way of life and justification is to be freed from the slavery to sin which exists in the flesh, the body of death, and to be walking in the Spirit where we can bear fruit to God and fulfill the just requirement of the Law.

    You see, Kevin, what you have tried to do in Romans 8:1-3 is import the notion of the forensic imputation of Christ’s righteousness merely because the word “condemnation” is forensic and past tense. This begs the question. For Paul gives the very reason for why we are no longer condemned, and the reason is our being liberating from the “law of sin” which is not merely a forensic reality but an ontological reality, a driving force which contributes to the cause of a continuous kind of behavior. Therefore, liberation from that driving force puts a stop to the sinful behavior, and this is why there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ. This is the basic logic of the passage, and you have the burden of taking my arguments piece by piece to demonstrate how I am not reflecting what Paul intended to mean here.

  84. Robert,

    Sorry for taking so long to respond… busy busy….

    Bare assertion without proof whatsoever.

    Here is your proof.

    1. Whatever God infallibly decrees will take place
    2. God is responsible for what He positively decrees will take place.
    3. God infallibly decreed that man would sin
    4. Therefore, God is responsible for mans sin.

    There are lots of places in the Bible where it says human beings in their sin acted in accordance with what God had planned and that God is holy. The best example of this is the crucifixion of Christ:
    Acts 4:27–28Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
    God predestined the very acts of those who killed his Son.

    You are projecting your definition of “predestined” into the text. There are numerous conceptual alternatives to the word “predestined” and by assuming your own sects concept you beg the question. God can predestine the betrayal of Christ without positively decreeing that Judas must betray him.

    God’s decree establishes all things. “Cause” is an ambiguous Word. God didn’t force Adam to sin. Adam wanted to sin and so he sinned. He didn’t do something he didn’t want to do. If God’s decree does not establish all things, you have bigger problems of dualism. If God gives good creatures freedom but does not ordain sin, where then does the desire to sin ultimately originate. If its not a part of God’s decree then it enters in from outside somehow. So is there an eternal evil being operating alongside God?

    Cause is not an ambiguous word. You make it ambiguous to avoid the implications of your theology. Lets walk through this step by step. You say that God didn’t force Adam to sin because Adam wanted or desired to sin. But if Gods decrees establish all things how did Adam come to desire sin? Given reformed principles such a desire must have been positively decreed by God!

    5. Gods eternal and infallible positive decrees establish all things
    6. God eternally and infallibly decreed that Adam would desire to sin.
    7. Adam desired to sin

    Given 1-4 it follows that
    8. God is responsible for Adams desire to sin.

    You are most certainly judging God. First, you are asserting that man is not culpable for his sin if it is decreed by God. Says who? Paul faced questions like these in Romans 9 and he said, “Who are You O man to answer back to God?”
    I can’t give a full answer to this question because the Bible doesn’t. At some point, God’s answer is “Shut up and trust me.” This is the answer you do not like.

    You are again begging the question by assuming that Paul is defending reformed theological concepts of predestination in Romans 9

    And for the tu quoque again, How can man alone be culpable for exercising his will wrongly when God gave him that capacity knowing that He would certainly sin? It’s like me knowing that Bob will murder Jim if I give Bob a gun and giving him the gun anyway. In what criminal justice system will I not be held accountable for Bob’s actions? I could have prevented the crime, but I didn’t.

    You would not be guilty of a crime if you held morally permissible reasons for giving the gun to Bob. For example, if you gave Bob the gun knowing that he would murder Jim for his own sick pleasure you would be guilty of a crime. However, if it was discovered that you gave Bob the gun to murder Jim because Jim was about to set off a nuclear warhead and kill billions of people you would have had morally acceptable reasons for giving Bob the gun in the first place. This defense can not be used by reformed theologians as in the reformed world God gave Bob the desire to kill Jim and also gave Jim the desire to set off nuclear warheads.

    What poorly befits God’s character is this idea that He really isn’t in control of all things. That He isn’t working out all things according to His will (Eph. 1:11).

    God can be in control of all things and work all things in accordance with His will without assuming reformed theological principles which you are again doing.

    These aren’t totally new questions, they are exactly related to why evil must be a part of God’s decree. If it isn’t, severe questions are raised about God’s omniscience and other attributes.

    Whatevuhh Im game. Explain to me why God eternally decreeing that man be permitted to sin violates divine simplicity and God as pure Act? I want it spelled out and not merely asserted.

    Language games. What does it mean Adam could have done something else? In this world? If he could do something else, why did he not do something else? Why don’t the reprobate do something else if they really could? What’s keeping them from doing it?

    Yes, Adam could have done something other than sin in this world. He didn’t because he chose not to. The reprobate COULD choose Christ but choose not to. Nothing is keeping them from the kingdom of God but their own decision to choose evil. None of this contradicts biblical teaching on reprobation and predestination in general.

    When did God know what Adam would do? If he knew what Adam would do, why not create someone else who would not fall?

    We are not in a position to ask that question. We must assume that God had morally permissible reasons for choosing to create Adam knowing that He would choose sin.

    In what meaningful sense could we do anything other than what God knows we will do?

    In every sense.

    The only point at which Adam could not do anything different, it would seem, is the moment before (logically or temporally) God knew what He would do. Once God knew what Adam would do, the only way he could do something else is if what God knew was falsifiable. Otherwise, his certain knowledge guarantees the outcome. His knowledge binds Adam to do what God knows He will do.

    I dont understand why you can not conceptually grasp the difference between what a man <b.shall do and what a man can do. I don’t know how to else to explain the difference.

    This is where the open theists are correct, and this is where the only real possibilities are Calvinism or open theism (or some other scheme in which one of God’s attributes are denied). Thomism is not helpful here. It does not answer the “culpability” problem (it cannot be answered in any full way by any theistic system that holds to omniscience and omnipotence), and it raises a whole host of other questions.

    Thomism completely answers the culpability problem as my previous comments have proved. Your only objection is that the Thomistic response leaves open other questions on divine aseity unrelated to mans culpability.

  85. Robert,
    Of course I agree with Aquinas we fulfill the law but not perfectly. If we fulfilled it perfectly we would have no concupiscence or venial sin – we’d be in heaven. That’s why I freely agreed with you when you asked whether I could do more in situations. My point was that such a distinction makes sense in our system but not yours which is why I said it was ad hoc. You do not make the venial/mortal sin distinction (hence you mortally sin every second and your good works are shot through with mortal sin) and so you quite reasonably then hold to imputation. If you truly fulfilled the law there is no need for imputation per your own principles.

    Kevin,
    You’re shifting goal posts. Your whole thing has been saying we cannot fulfill the royal law (and we remain ungodly and are slaves to sin) not that we cannot fulfill the royal law perfectly.

  86. Kevin,

    I dont see anything in your response that refutes the claim that the grammatical meaning of Romans 4:5, 9, 22 is that Abrahams faith was counted as righteousness and not an imputed righteousness from Jesus.

  87. Erick’ You continue to ignore the legal aspects of justification. Not surprising you are Roman Catholic. The romans 7 man is a believer. No unbeliever I know could understand and describe in detail that struggle. Also he says Thanks be to God thru my savior Jesus Christ, I serve the Law of God with my mind and my flesh with law of sin. IOW who is going to rescue me from this Dilemma. Romans 8:1, Therefore in scripture means everything I just said, there is no condemnation for those in Christ. Here is where you ignore the obvious meaning. It is justification. Under your model, it begs the question,, How can there be no condemnation or how can the be justification for a person he just described? Answer, Our justification isn’t based on our internal condition, or Paul couldn’t make that statement. Your only option is change the time frame on this statement and that can’t stand. Condemnation can’t and I repeat can’t be a statement about nature or ontology! I agree with your assessment of verse 25 that Paul is not saying he is a slave to sin just describes the battle with it and the flesh. You say” bearing fruit for God is more than forensic.” Who disagrees with this. We say it grounds the life in the Spirit. Since, for you, there is false reality, a final justification based on accompanying works of love,, you are unable to see and accept what I explained to you in my last post, which I’m wondering if you read. How can we be seated with him in heaven now and be raised imperishable if we stood in condemnation or guilt now? How can Paul describe us as sons of God and “first fruits of the Spirit” arrabon, and raised in our inner man if we have not passed from darkness to the kingdom of light? How can souls be groaning to put on their heavenly bodies if they will could be condemned at final judgment on the life lived? How can Peter tell us it won’t fade away and it is reserved in heaven for us if we still had the chance to be judged in guilt and condemnation? Can he call a people who still need to be evaluated adopted sons and heirs, not condemned, first fruit of the Spirit. No Why? Galatians 3:19 Why the Law? It was given because of transgressions UNTIL the promise of the seed came. No Law, New Law, Old Law will justify a man. He is just and justifier of those who have faith in the promise. You said the reality of our forensic justification is a result of our ontology. And yet the evidence is exactly opposite and it exists in great quantities. All that I just described to you. You simply ignore all the verses that clearly put us raised with Christ in our inner man, how we are clothed with our Spirit led works, and how we are now adopted sons. again he does not pronounce bad people good but legally righteous because he bore the penalty of our Law breaking. Who can bring a CHARGE against you? It is god who justifies. You failing to accept the present status of a justified sinner because you believe it is a result of affairs of the Soul at death won’t go well for you. Again for the Last time, when Paul uses Dikaioo, in now way can that ever mean the evaluation of the star of affairs inside a believer at death. It means accounted righteous!

  88. James, Let me tell you what I believe, so there is no misunderstanding. We are in Christ and new creatures and have the spirit of God to obey him. We have the Spirit of power and self control to obey God. But, all sin is mortal and yes we do not believe that grace is a substance that makes you undergo the removal of the nature of sin from your soul. This is fictitious and faulty view of sin. Eric likes to tap dance a little. I have no problem telling you God hates all sin. All sin is mortal and can send one to hell. “For the wages of sin is death” there is no distinction here. One sin sends a person to physyical and spiritual death. The NT is clear, no Law or works will ever justify a man, New Law, Old Law. Only faith in the promise. Titus 3:5 is clear, not even Holy deeds can count toward anything. Why? Because they are not perfect and god requires perfection. It does not mean that they are not good to God, but they can’t pay for sin. Only Christ could do that. When Jesus said to the Pharisees, If you even lust in your mind, you have committed adultery, he was setting God’s bar, perfection. IOW none of you can enter on your merits. The rich young ruler was probably the merit fit person for heaven. He thought he loved a lot. Jesus spit him out. Jesus asks, Why do you call me good? Now James, if Jesus didn’t consider himself good, where does that leave you and me. We can’t enter heaven on anything of our own. Grace enabled works will be spit out as a mode of justification. They will be lovingly accepted as the fruit of faith. In the first case the works stink to God, and in the second case they are sweet smelling.

  89. Kenneth, Can I suggest you pull up my analysis on Romans 4 a couple weeks ago on the baptism thread and we can talk about where you disagree. Can I suggest Fesko’s book on justification. We can discuss why it is the righteousness of Christ imputed if you want. I’m sure we will disagree. If it is an external righteousness counted like a wage, and 2 Cor 5:21, Romans 5:12-19, 1 Cor 1:30 is imputation, then believing Christ’s righteousness is God’s righteousness follows by nature of the Trinity. Lets discuss.

  90. Kevin

    You wrote:

    Erick’ You continue to ignore the legal aspects of justification.

    Can you show where I ignored the legal aspect of justification? And I think the burden is on you to “show” that the “kind” of legal aspect of justification you want to see is actually reflective of what Paul teaches. And you have failed to do this.

    Not surprising you are Roman Catholic. The romans 7 man is a believer. No unbeliever I know could understand and describe in detail that struggle.

    You’ve never grew up in a militant religious group whose whole goal is righteousness and observance of God’s law, such as the Jews. Paul is speaking about his experience under the Law that he knew, hence the “I”. Paul is not trying to give an experience that Kevin is necessarily familiar with. He has already told us that “Gentiles did not pursue righteousness” and that Israel “through the law pursued righteousness, but never attained”. So Paul is really identifying with the man who knows and loves the Law of the Lord, as he did.

    Also he says Thanks be to God thru my savior Jesus Christ, I serve the Law of God with my mind and my flesh with law of sin. IOW who is going to rescue me from this Dilemma.

    Right! The dilemma is that his mind is subject to the powers in his body, and this increases his condemnation and the sentence of death.

    Romans 8:1, Therefore in scripture means everything I just said, there is no condemnation for those in Christ.

    A terribly unconvincing argument.

    Here is where you ignore the obvious meaning. It is justification. Under your model, it begs the question,, How can there be no condemnation or how can the be justification for a person he just described?

    Because, as I argued, Paul is describing his transition from slavery to sin under the Law in his flesh to being liberated unto righteousness in the Holy Spirit. We are no longer condemned because we are no longer under the flesh, where the power of sin has dominion over us. This is what the text says.

    Answer, Our justification isn’t based on our internal condition, or Paul couldn’t make that statement.

    This is an assumption which you have, once again, failed to prove. Where you don’t see anything based on our internal condition, Paul is ready to say “for the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death”- This is tantamount to regeneration, and not just some broad grace through which we receive Christ’s righteousness (for that is an alien concept to this context), but the actual internal renewal of our mind and spirit. The fact you can’t handle what Paul is saying only shows you are imposing you own ideas on Paul.

    Your only option is change the time frame on this statement and that can’t stand.

    An assertion with no proof.

    Condemnation can’t and I repeat can’t be a statement about nature or ontology!

    Who ever said condemnation is a statement about nature or ontology? However, if God is pleased to remove condemnation from us only when we’ve receive his grace to transform us from sin to righteousness, than that is his freedom. Who are you to speak against God? In this case, the legal aspects is based on the ontology, not a mixing.

    I agree with your assessment of verse 25 that Paul is not saying he is a slave to sin just describes the battle with it and the flesh.

    That is incorrect. When Paul says “with the flesh I am a slave to sin”, he is describing the his DEFEAT in the battle, not his victory.

    You say” bearing fruit for God is more than forensic.” Who disagrees with this. We say it grounds the life in the Spirit.

    You have to demonstrate this from the text. You are merely asserting, once again. Please read the beginning of my post. I requested you to give evidence.

    Since, for you, there is false reality, a final justification based on accompanying works of love,, you are unable to see and accept what I explained to you in my last post, which I’m wondering if you read. How can we be seated with him in heaven now and be raised imperishable if we stood in condemnation or guilt now?

    Who ever said we stand in condemnation and guilt now?

    How can Paul describe us as sons of God and “first fruits of the Spirit” arrabon, and raised in our inner man if we have not passed from darkness to the kingdom of light? How can souls be groaning to put on their heavenly bodies if they will could be condemned at final judgment on the life lived? How can Peter tell us it won’t fade away and it is reserved in heaven for us if we still had the chance to be judged in guilt and condemnation?

    Paul is not assuming apostasy in his writings here. In other places, he does however. But you don’t have the eyes to see that. That is a discussion for another time. We are dealing with Paul’s argument in Romans 8. But for what its worth, Paul says just down in v13 “if you live according to the flesh, you will die” (rom 8:13). Is this a false statement?

    Can he call a people who still need to be evaluated adopted sons and heirs, not condemned, first fruit of the Spirit.

    We must all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. This is another question unrelated to Romans 8, which it seems you are running away from.

    No Why? Galatians 3:19 Why the Law? It was given because of transgressions UNTIL the promise of the seed came. No Law, New Law, Old Law will justify a man. He is just and justifier of those who have faith in the promise. You said the reality of our forensic justification is a result of our ontology. And yet the evidence is exactly opposite and it exists in great quantities.

    These interpretations are false. But even so, I do not wish to respond to them until you respond accordingly to my arguments in romans 8.

    All that I just described to you. You simply ignore all the verses that clearly put us raised with Christ in our inner man, how we are clothed with our Spirit led works, and how we are now adopted sons. again he does not pronounce bad people good but legally righteous because he bore the penalty of our Law breaking. Who can bring a CHARGE against you? It is god who justifies. You failing to accept the present status of a justified sinner because you believe it is a result of affairs of the Soul at death won’t go well for you. Again for the Last time, when Paul uses Dikaioo, in now way can that ever mean the evaluation of the star of affairs inside a believer at death. It means accounted righteous!

    Mere assertions, once again. But also straw man’s. Where have I denied the justified status of believers? An unbelievable assumption.

    Kevin, you have failed at taking my arguments from Romans 8, or any other verse in Scripture, and done what I have requested.

  91. Kevin,

    You wrote:

    Kenneth, Can I suggest you pull up my analysis on Romans 4 a couple weeks ago on the baptism thread and we can talk about where you disagree. Can I suggest Fesko’s book on justification. We can discuss why it is the righteousness of Christ imputed if you want. I’m sure we will disagree. If it is an external righteousness counted like a wage, and 2 Cor 5:21, Romans 5:12-19, 1 Cor 1:30 is imputation, then believing Christ’s righteousness is God’s righteousness follows by nature of the Trinity. Lets discuss.

    FWIW, I’ve been working on these guys too.

    Maybe I’ll blog on justification more than I have already done.

    Peace

    PS ever thought of blogging? Just curious..

  92. Erick, You said “right and this increases his condemnation and sentence to death”You dismiss the therefore in 8:1 as impertinent to what he just said. You have no problem tying everything else together. Do you understand the grammatical implication there. In Light of the struggles I just described in the believer, there is no condemnation or there is justification. You can dismiss it if you want. Saying he is describing a transitory period is comical. He was saved on the Damascus road and is describing his situation a believer and the struggle we go thru as believers. He possess the Holy Spirit and is a mature believer. You said “we are no longer condemned because we are no longer in the flesh” This is crazy, because he explains in the next verses why, Christ fulfilled the Law. Look at 1 Corinthians 15 ” If Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. This is eschatological. Erick, does your head look up or just at the bread. “Paul describes the victory in 8:1 no condemnation. You said ” this is tantamount to regeneration. No way. “Spirit of Adoption”. Legal papers come along with regeneration whether you are willing too acknowledge it or not. Adoption as sons does not happen at the end. Or it would be disown based on our righteousness inherent. You said” however God removes condemnation when we receive his grace to transform us…….. ” No it is by faith and your conditions don’t exist.If being in Christ brings no condemnation, what proof do you need. You OTOH have to prove that justification is a judgment of the condition of the soul at death. Enough said. No proof! The point isn’t we stand in condemnation now, it is that we stand righteous to be called sons and adopt and heirs and seated in heaven with him and raised imperishable. Got it. Nice tap dance, you can’t answer the condition I just described and reconcile that with a final judgment based on the condition of our soul at death. Ya just as I figured, you’ve been plying dodge ball this morning on my last questions. Someone who continually beats on people for not addressing points. The Pot kettle black. You said ” where have I denied the justified status of the believer” your whole theology of final test based on ontological condition is an blasphemous affront to the sufficiency of the one time atonement and one time justification by faith taught in Scripture. God bless Erick, enjoying the exchange,

  93. Andrew, I have never thought of blogging, Ill leave it to you young guys. You are the guys that are enlisted in Spurgeon’s army to fight this giant error. I’m just love to pontificate. Stand strong Andrew. God Bless.

  94. Ill leave it to you young guys

    As you wish.

    You are the guys that are enlisted in Spurgeon’s army

    There’s another earthly four star general that I’m associating my theology with (any guesses who that might be?), as of late. It ain’t Spurgeon, but that’s fine for you to attach him to me like that, no biggee.

    Oh, and someone else who, might also be called earthly, I suppose, but it’s the person I’ve been teaching my 7 and 4 year old (and even my 2 year old son) about lately. There’s nothing like hearing the voice of the young, sing songs of praises, and utter words of truth better than this old dog ever could.

    Grace and peace, my recently made friend of the inter-web.

  95. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    I just love to pontificate.

    That’s belaboring the obvious, right there.

  96. Kevin,

    Your responses do not qualify for the interaction that I requested. Please see to it that you follow my line of thought, verse by verse, and not just import foreign ideas to the context of Romans 7-8. You say that the man of Romans 7 is Paul as a believer? Then show it. You believe that there is no salvation based on our regeneration, understood as an infusion of sanctifying grace? Then prove it.

    Robert? Eric? Eric W? Joey Henry?

  97. Mateo–

    I’m bored, so I’ll spend a little time on your “arguments,” such as they are.

    1. If the regenerate commit grave sin, they will repent and be forgiven of it, just like Catholics who have the gift of final perseverance.

    2. By definition, the regenerate cannot apostatize without return, for they would have proven themselves not to be regenerate. (Scripture says absolutely nothing about those who do not apostatize without return in their lifetimes, actually apostatizing without return in their lifetimes. Quit being silly.)

    3. Actually, you do indeed fully understand the notion that the regenerate cannot apostatize. Those Catholics who are granted the gift of final perseverance CANNOT apostatize. Be consistent for a change. (I know that’s really hard on you.)

    4. The elect and the non-elect could not possibly commit the same sins. Their whole mindset is completely different. Night and day, my friend!

    5. Not “everything that the elect do is vile.” You don’t know how to read the confessions. That which springs from the Spirit is good and just and commendable. It is all somewhat defiled because we are still attached to the flesh in this lifetime. The writers of the confession do not want us to place our hope in the efforts of the flesh (as so very often happens with poorly catechized Catholics), so they are quick to point out that our works cannot earn us heaven. (Actually, the Catholic Catechism says the same thing, right?)

    6. So you are ACTUALLY going to admit that you are saved rather than others because you commit less sin than they do? Are you saved by your works or are you saved by grace? Take a minute and decide because you appear to be confused.

    I make these points to show the contradictions inherent within Calvinism. A Calvinist man may believe that he is one of the elect, but he can never have any real basis for believing that. In fact, he could be living in delusion, because he is already damned. He is damned because the god of Calvinism is going to send him to hell just for the for the hell of it. He is damned, not because he sinned, or didn’t sin, but because the god of Calvinism has given to mankind no sense of justice that the god of Calvinism is bound to uphold. The god of Calvinism can act in completely arbitrary and capricious ways in regards to his “justice”. You acknowledge that very point when you write this about the god of Calvinism:
    You are correct that the ones he saves are no less depraved than those he doesn’t.

  98. Mateo–

    Sorry, I accidentally left some of your post attached to mine (the last “paragraph”). Even my best efforts are prone to miscues. What can I say?

  99. Erick–

    I intend to get to it at some point. But do me a favor and tell me why I should. If I accept your arguments as legitimately Scriptural, I’ll adopt your position. On the other hand, if I obliterate your (and presumably, Rome’s) arguments, you will stick like glue to Rome nonetheless. (Rome, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!)

  100. Kevin,

    We can discuss fesko, the Trinity, and whatever else you would like.but first I want an answer to my question on Romans 4:5, 9, 22
    And why the grammatical meaning of the text suggests Abraham’s faith credited righteousness and not Christs imputation

  101. Erick’ This is comical. 8:1 says THERFORE ( in scripture this means in light of why i just said, there is no condemnation for THOSE IN CHRIST. Romans 7 is the stubble of someone in Christ.

  102. Eric,

    There is much freedom in one’s interpretation of Romans 8 within the Catholic Church. We can try our best to see what Paul is in fact saying. At the very best, you can prove to me that there is at least the element that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us in a forensic sense, and that such a grace is alone the basis for salvation, whereas the rest is just an ongoing inevitability, is really “included” in Romans, even if transformative aspects are clearly addressed and propounded.

    My argument is that there isn’t even this element in Romans. So I am not actually proving Roman Catholicism in my exegesis, I am just proving a negative, that forensic righteousness on the basis of an alien righteousness which remains in Christ alone in the act of justification, and not in the heart of the believer, is not what Paul teaches us.

  103. Erick’ you have failed to prove otherwise. Ignoring Spirit of adoption, no condemnation, heir, dikaioo, justification by faith, No charge can be brought against God’s elect, we are no longer in our sins in 1 cor. 15, imputation in 2 Cor. 5:21 and Romans 5:12-19, and the fact that you reject those who walk by the Spirit of Christ have had the Law fulfilled in the by Christ. They stand righteous before God because of what Christ did, not us. Tootles

  104. Kevin,

    You wrote:

    Erick’ This is comical. 8:1 says THERFORE ( in scripture this means in light of why i just said, there is no condemnation for THOSE IN CHRIST. Romans 7 is the stubble of someone in Christ.

    That is incorrect, for the following reasons:

    1) Paul just recently said the following “So then, with my mind, I myself serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin”. Therefore, despite the fact that his “mind” is serving the Law of God, in the strict sense that his “mind” desires to do the good, his “flesh” overpowers the “mind”, putting his mind in captivity to the “law of sin and death”. The law of sin cannot co-exist in the baptized believer in a state of grace. This law of sin doesn’t allow the mind to obey God in the sense that it pleases him (Rom 8:5-7). So when Paul says “but with the flesh, the law of sin”, he is explicitly describing the man who lives according to the flesh, the man in subjection to the law of sin.

    2) Of course when he says “therefore” he means (in light of what I just said), there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. But why, Kevin? Why is there not condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? Paul answers because those who are in Christ Jesus are no longer in the “flesh”, the realm in which the law of sin reigned over the person, but are rather in the “Spirit” where there is righteousness, liberty, fruit-bearing, and obedience to God’s law by fulfilling it’s righteous requirements. Paul does not say “There is no condemnation because Christ fulfilled the Law in his person and we receive that via imputation by faith alone”. Not even a hint to this.

  105. Wosy, where you been? Hindu’s have a conference?

  106. Kevin

    You wrote:

    Erick’ you have failed to prove otherwise.

    That’s your opinion, and it is not a fair opinion, for you’ve not dealt with my arguments. Therefore it is just hand waving.

    Ignoring Spirit of adoption, no condemnation, heir, dikaioo, justification by faith,

    Never did I ignore this. You just understand it in a much different way than Paul did.

    No charge can be brought against God’s elect,

    When have I ever said a charge could be brought against God’s elect?

    we are no longer in our sins in 1 cor. 15,

    When have I ever said we are still in our sins?

    imputation in 2 Cor. 5:21 and Romans 5:12-19, and the fact that you reject those who walk by the Spirit of Christ have had the Law fulfilled in the by Christ. They stand righteous before God because of what Christ did, not us. Tootles

    This are mere assertions, assumptions, and uninformed opinions. Not once have you engaged the exegesis of these passages. You have only offered questions like “How was Christ made sin”? , and therefore we are made “righteousness” in the same way, via imputation. But that is not necessary given the context and larger picture from chapter 3 onward. I’ve shown that to you before. And that was ignored. Regarding Romans 5, I think you have an even weaker case, for there it is clear that generation and regeneration are clearly in the background, for no one is in Adam other than by being “born in him”, and likewise no one is in Christ other than by being “born in Him”, and this is already a hint towards internal renewal. The obedience of Christ merited our regeneration, through which we have eternal life inhering within us, the grace of God, wherein sin and death no longer reign, not as extra byproduct graces, but by the very essence of grace.

  107. Erick–

    I assume there is also latitude in interpreting Romans 7.

    As an opening salvo, I give you the words of St. Augustine (from “Retractions”):

    [Previously,] I certainly did not want [Romans 7:14] applied personally to the Apostle who was already spiritual, but to the man living under the Law but not yet under grace. For prior to this time, in this way I understood these words which, at a later date, after I had read certain commentators on the Sacred Scriptures whose authority moved me, I reflected upon this more deeply, and I saw that his own words can also be understood about the Apostle himself: “We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am carnal.” To the best of my ability, I have carefully showed this in those books which I recently wrote about the Pelagians.

    In [the past] book, however, in the words, “but I am carnal,” on through to where [Paul] said: “Unhappy man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord,’’ I said that this describes the man still under the Law, not yet living under grace who wishes to do good, but, overcome by the lust of the flesh, does evil. Only the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord” by the gift of the Holy Spirit frees us from the domination of this lust, along with the charity…poured forth in our hearts” through Him who conquers the lusts of the flesh lest we yield to them to do evil but rather that we may do good. As a result, then, the Pelagian heresy was overthrown, which maintains that the charity whereby we live righteously and devoutly is not [poured forth] from God in us, but from ourselves.

    But in those books which we have [recently] published against them, we have also showed that these words are more correctly understood also of the spiritual man already living under grace, because of the body of the flesh which is not yet spiritual, but will be at the resurrection of the dead; and because of the very lust of the flesh with which saintly persons are in conflict in such a way that, though they do not yield to it and do evil, yet in this life, they are not free from those movements which they resist by fighting against them. They will not have them, however, in that life where “death” will be swallowed up “in victory.” Therefore, because of this lust and its movements which we resist in such a way that, nevertheless, they are in us, every saintly person already living “under grace” can say all those things which I have [previously] said were the words of the man not yet living “under grace,” but “under the Law.”

  108. Eric,

    St. Augustine was incorrect. I’ve already told you there is much freedom in the passage for Catholics. I’ve been more focused on the “reasoning” behind “why” there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. You will not find anything in Augustine which says that the reason why were are released from condemnation is because of a forensic righteousness of Christ being imputed to our account while not touching the human heart (in the specific act of justification).

    I am merely proving a negative, that Paul didn’t know of a forensic justification on the sole basis of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. And Romans 8:1-3 is a very good passage which refutes the notion altogether. It really doesn’t depend on whether Paul was saved or not in Romans 7. That is just a bonus to my overall argument.

  109. In fact, if you want to know more about Augustine’s view of justification, read the following:
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/07/st-augustine-on-law-and-grace/

  110. Eric. your like underdog, you always save the day. Therefore in 8:1 is a statement to Christians in their battle with sin. “There is therefore now”in light of what he just said. I’m convinced God could come in person to Catholics and tell them they have assurance and they would say, no sorry Lord its my ontological acts of Love that will determine that at the end, please but out. They have made a savior out of inherent grace and merit. The great Reformer Romaine said without this their superstitious system quickly crumble. Thanks Eric.

  111. Erick, You said “Im more focused on the reasoning behind why there is no more condemnation for those in Christ.” IOW I’m trying to figure out why God would say this and screw up my system of Sanctificatorial salvation. Here is a profound philosophical reason there is no more condemnation for those in Christ. Because Paul said so. Its meant to bring peace to a believer. Catholics can’t accept this unless they have something to do with it. Like my girl friend who is a Catholic. If its all God, I might have to actually believe I can’t be a member of the Trinity. What a shame, you mean my works are really like filthy rags. They seem pretty good to me. He redeems you freely by His grace and promises to Glorify your body and restore your full humanity, but your going to object. Erick, i submit to you again the Romans 7 man is the one in a solid relationship with Christ and Paul just gave him assurance in 8:1, the same incidentally that he gives in5:1.

  112. Kevin,

    I am not sure how anything Eric said proves your point or disproves my point. St. Augustine was a Catholic bishop (see link for his view on justification).

    Perhaps I can simplify this all for you

    Paul says we are no longer condemned “because” of the Law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin. I think we have common ground here, for that is verbatim from the text. We can also agree that the word “condemnation” is a forensic term and is referring to something that has happened in the past for Christians. Fair enough?

    So here are some simple questions

    1) What is the Law of sin?

    2) Is it a forensic reality in itself? Or an ontological reality that effects forensic realities?

    3) Why do we need to be released from this law of sin?

    4) What part of this release from the law of sin indicates an imputation of Christ’s righteousness?

  113. Erick–

    It would be nice to know your reasoning as to why Augustine was “incorrect.” I cannot cite a passage, but according to Joseph Fitzmyer, a good Jesuit exegete who himself takes your stance, Thomas Aquinas agreed with Augustine.

  114. Erick, Augustine after his conversion was on his way. Had he had Luther’s exegetical advantage he could be dropped in the Reformation, no problem. Read Retractations.

  115. Kevin, you write:

    Mateo, The problem is you have a faulty view of forgiveness of sins. “Blessed is the man who God does not impute sin.” All sin is mortal.

    I don’t have a faulty view of forgiveness. The real problem is that you have accepted a false doctrine of Calvinism that teaches that all sin is mortal, even though I have shown you many times that the scriptures explicitly teach that all sin is not mortal.

    I have a choice, I can listen to you reject what the scriptures teach, or I can believe the scriptures. My choice is to believe the scriptures, and not the corrupt doctrines of the Calvinists.

    God hates sin

    Of course!

    … but God does not hold sin against the justified believer.

    For the Calvinists, the “justified” believer is someone that has won the salvation lottery. For those who have won the salvation lottery, God will count every sin that they commit as a venial sin. If you haven’t won the salvation lottery, God will count every sin that you commit as a mortal sin that is due a punishment of eternal damnation in the fires of hell. Eric says the same thing that I just said with these words:

    For the unregenerate, all sin is mortal sin. For the regenerate, all sin is venial, for want of a better term.

    What is appalling isn’t that Eric is misrepresenting what Calvinism teaches, because he is teaching exactly what Calvinism teaches. What is appalling is that to believe this hogwash one must redefine divine justice to mean something utterly meaningless. The god of Calvinism is a corrupt judge with a double standard of justice. For those that have won the salvation lottery, no sin of theirs is going to be punished with damnation in Hell. For those who haven’t won the salvation lottery, every sin of theirs will be punished with damnation in Hell, even though the elect and the non-elect are committing the exact same sins.

    The god of Calvinism sends people to hell for the hell of it. And the god of Calvinism is completely arbitrary and capricious in deciding to whom he will give winning salvation lottery tickets. Which is why no man can ever know if he is a winner or a loser in the salvation lottery. When both the elect and the non-elect can commit the exact same sins, and live the exact same lives, there is no way to know if you have won the salvation lottery.

    God does not pronounce bad people good but legally righteous …

    I understand that this is what Calvinism teaches, but it is just a load of bunk. God is not a corrupt judge with a double standard of justice.

    RC has a faulty theology in the fact that …

    You believe in the god of Calvinism with his unfair double standard of justice, and Catholics believe in a just God that can’t possibly have a double standard of justice. Who has the faulty theology here? It is the Calvinists.

    Kenneth Winsmann, you write:

    Cause is not an ambiguous word.

    Every word is ambiguous in Calvinist theology. Justice, grace, cause, decree, salvation, sin, guilt, sanctity – all these words must be emptied of their meaning to uphold the contradictions inherent in Calvinism. Some Calvinists have been immersed in double thinking for so long that they can no longer see the contradiction is this statement:

    God causes all events, but not sinful events.

    Eric Y, you write:

    … when you have a chance to respond, you can separate the logic of all my points which lead to my conclusions …

    Eric, you are expecting a Calvinist to think logically. Why?

  116. Erick, Of course in your simplification you gloss right over the fact that in Romans 8 Christ FULFILLED the Law in us, not by us, passive voice. He condemned ( there is that legal word again) sin in the flesh. Here is what Paul says in Colossians ” When you were DEAD in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us ALL of our transgressions, having CANCELLED out the CERTIFICATE of DEBT, consisting of LEGAL decrees against us, which was hostile to us. and he has TAKEN IT OUT OF THE WAY., having nailed it to the cross. Watch closely, God transferred the Law to Christ, he fulfilled it in our place, those who are in Christ, by canceling all legal decrees against us. My sanctification is a love offering for the “Free gift of Righteousness” substitutionary atonement. Hope your having a great day.

  117. Mateo, You bet bro, Paul thought it was such a lottery, here is what he said ” Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice. He repeats it. You darn right for those of us who were in the gutter its a lottery. MacArthur says before you can understand how saved you are, you must first understand how lost you were. The people entering the narrow gate in Mathew 7 were agonizing to get in. The narrow gate is a turnstile and people were agonizing. I have no problem believing there is nothing i can do to merit my salvation. Paul does not say the righteous shall live works done in love. He says the righteous shall live by faith.

  118. Kevin,

    I glossed over nothing. Please stay focused. They are very simple questions, and should be no more than a sentence long.

  119. Erick–

    As far as I can see, all we need to show is that the liberation from the “law of sin” is purely gracious (and not based on renewal).

    Paul asks:

    Who will deliver me from this body of death?

    But he does NOT respond: “I will through better behavior.”

    Instead he says:

    Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    Yep, that’s right…just Jesus.

    There is no condemnation for WHOM?

    For those who are in Christ Jesus (notice that it does NOT say, for those who are walking according to the Spirit).

    For WHO has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do?

    Oh, yeah, God alone did that.

    Erick, you are fixated on the term “forensic.” It might help you to replace the word with “purely gracious,” for that is what it means.

    It is clear from Romans 8 who has set us free from our lives of sin–and who will continue to set us free on a daily basis–Jesus, the Christ. That is why the interpretation of Romans 7 is crucial. Do we need ongoing liberation from this “body of death” to which we are unavoidably attached…or can we stand on our own, free of the obstacles of the flesh?

  120. Mateo–

    Yup, grace is certainly appalling to those with their minds set on the flesh, those who know that they know that they know that it is only fair that people earn their salvation in one way or another.

    Lord, I thank God that I am not like that publican sinner, thinking his silly tears will bring him forgiveness….

  121. Mateo, I disagree with Eric on this point. God hates sin in the believer and the unbeliever. Its no less offensive to God if a believer sins, and it could be more hurtful because we belong to Him. All sin is mortal. He will send the Lady who feeds 5000 people a day the Catholic food shelter or Salvation army if they haven’t trusted Christ alone for their salvation. No man or Woman will be justified by observing the law. Paul called his righteous deeds filthy rags. Are ours any better. If Jesus believed he was not good ( answer to Rich young Ruler), you think I’m going to think any of my works are meritorious before god in my justification. That guy knew he was lacking something, and tried to bring his perfect life of obedience to Jesus, and Jesus told him salvation is impossible with man. All your grace enabled works at your death Mateo he ail spit on, because you think you can be justified by them. I pity your soul.

  122. Eric, great post.

  123. Mateo, Is God as just as he is love?

  124. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    He repeats it. You darn right for those of us who were in the gutter its a lottery. MacArthur says before you can understand how saved you are, you must first understand how lost you were.

    Bingo. Thou hast said it. To believe in Reformism, then one must first (prior to even cracking a Bible) believe in a an Oppositional Dualism that pits the ontologically evil Creation God against the ontologically good Creator God. This is the Reformed Hermeneutical Lens, and it is purely philosophical.

    This being established, we can now examine this Reformed Hermeneutical Lens on purely philosophical grounds. Considering that Kevin has said that he “rejects Reason” and that “Reformed theology is philosophically absurd”, we can now determine whether it is simplyhis philosophy (the Reformed Hermeneutical Lens) that is unreasonable and philosophically absurd.

    Here, we can see that the Reformed claim of the “Bible alone” is chimerical. Instead, one must first receive the extra-Biblical Revelation of the Reformed Hermeneutical Lens (the oppositionally dualistic belief in one’s utterly sinful depravity), and, then and only then, one can approach the Bible. Rather than the “Bible alone”, the Reformed dynamic is “My Own Revelation + My Magisterial Interpretation of the Bible.”

    And here, we can further see the organic superiority of the Catholic worldview, in which one does not need any individualized Revelation which one must first embrace before one can receive the Christian Revelation. Instead, Man needs no more than that Truth which is freely available to his own, unaided Natural Human powers. This is “Grace perfecting Nature” and not Reformism’s “Grace obliterating/contradicting Nature.”

  125. Eric,

    Thanks for responding.

    You wrote

    Erick–
    As far as I can see, all we need to show is that the liberation from the “law of sin” is purely gracious (and not based on renewal).

    That is incorrect, for both Catholics and Protestants say that we are called, regenerated, and justified by grace. That Paul would assert that we are saved by grace would not indicate who is right between Catholics and protestants. Therefore, the deeper question behind this is thus: What does Paul mean by grace?

    Paul asks:
    Who will deliver me from this body of death?
    But he does NOT respond: “I will through better behavior.”
    Instead he says:
    Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
    Yep, that’s right…just Jesus.

    Yes, that is very compatible with Catholic theology. And?

    There is no condemnation for WHOM?
    For those who are in Christ Jesus (notice that it does NOT say, for those who are walking according to the Spirit).

    For Paul it is the fact that we walk according to the Spirit that gives purpose to saying that we are in Christ Jesus. In other words, you’ve made another functional dichotomy between being “in Christ Jesus” and “walking in the Spirit”, as if the former is one thing and the latter is another thing, even if you confess them to work with one another. That Paul says we have no condemnation because we are in Christ does not mean that he further grounds this being “in Christ”-ness with the fact that when someone is in Christ they are set free from the walk according to the flesh and now walk according to the Spirit.

    Nothing proven here.

    For WHO has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do?
    Oh, yeah, God alone did that.

    Yes, that is quite compatible with Catholic Theology. And?

    Erick, you are fixated on the term “forensic.” It might help you to replace the word with “purely gracious,” for that is what it means.

    As I said, that Paul may mean “purely gracious” does not discriminate between the protestant or Catholic theologian, for both confess this. Rather, one would have to deduce from the inner logic of Paul’s argument as well as the surrounding context to determine what precisely Paul means by “purely gracious”.

    Nothing proven here.

    It is clear from Romans 8 who has set us free from our lives of sin–and who will continue to set us free on a daily basis–Jesus, the Christ. That is why the interpretation of Romans 7 is crucial. Do we need ongoing liberation from this “body of death” to which we are unavoidably attached…or can we stand on our own, free of the obstacles of the flesh?

    Again, nothing proven here. The conclusion you reformed have come to is that when Paul says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus he means that they have been imputed with Christ’s righteousness apart from works, apart from internal transformations, apart from any inherent infusion of righteousness, and apart from anything in the human being, and that such imputation is the ground for the totality of salvation, all of which only henceforth continues as an inevitability.

    The burden is for you to prove this, not only disprove me. I’ve made objections to this claim, and valid ones. Objections which have failed to be answered cogently.

    My conclusion remains standing un-refuted, as a much better explanation for the logic of Romans 8:1-3, namely, that believers who are in Christ no longer have condemnation over them because of the whole liberation that is given through the power of Holy Spirit from the law of sin on the basis of Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice. The details given are that such a liberation causes ourselves to be renewed from walking according to the flesh to walking according to the Spirit, and so the release from condemnation, while it is past tense and not somehow dependant on my everyday willing and acting, it is no less dependent on the regeneration that occurs when the old humanity is put away through a mystical participation with Christ in his crucifixion whereby the passions of the flesh are crucified and out comes a renewed being who is renewed in knowledge, holiness, and righteousness. This is what removes the condemnation from us. And therefore, the notion of imputation of Christ’s righteousness is absent from the text and there is nothing in the logic of Paul that constrains that interpretation.

  126. Wosbald, I hope you didn’t break your neck jumping thru that philosophical hoop. All MacArthur is saying is when one understands his sinfulness before God, like the romans 7 man, he appreciates the full sufficiency of Christ’s atonement. When you have been shot up with divine Hindu fluid that is an ontological process removing your nature of sin from your soul thru your own atonement so you can take your place in the Godhead, its a little hard to appreciate the perfect substitutionary one time atonement of Christ. I said that I reject human wisdom as Paul did in being able to come to the truth of the Gospel. Just because your boys got heaven and earth up die down with there head in their round globe, form whom Paul is saying God hid the truth. Yet your guy Thomas made them his model for a mechanical system of Salvation foreign to thee bible and the Apostles. Spurgeon said ” the rubbish of Philosophy has always been in the way of the building up of the wall of the Church of God. Melanchton said” All the stupid and godless men have written about free will and justification by works is nothing but a Pharisaic tradition.” How corrupt are all the theological hallucinations of those who offered us the subtitles of Aristotle instead of the Teachings of Christ.” you should have listened to him Wossy. The only dualism going on bro is the concupiscence in your lower appetites and your mind and reason, a privileged part of man, being elevated into God. You forgot Christ came into the world to save sinners. So you set aside redemption for ontological climb. Plato’s two worlds instead of God’s two ages. You said ” and now we can see the organic superiority of the Catholic view in which one does not need any individualized revelation.” Have you traded those cigarettes for a crack pipe. Your whole theology is based on pagan individualized revelation. Where do you think that fictitious system of inherent mechanics and merit came from, not the Apostles or the holy Spirit. The scripture says believe and the Roman schoolboys said catalyze and potentialize really hard, really hard. We Reformed call it fictitious divine worship. No Wossy grace redeems nature and the truth is available thru Spirit working thru his word. You remember the word don’t you, God’s word which established the Church, you know the thing the RC historically kept from the people so they could pillage their money.

  127. That should read “upside down’ and also ‘actualize and potentialize”

  128. Kevin–

    You’ll have to explain to me just exactly how it is that we disagree “on this point.”

    Are you trying to tell me that, yes, there is a “sin unto death” for the regenerate?

    Also, “our righteousness is but filthy rags” is from Isaiah 64, and he means what he is saying. Israel has reached an all-time low on the righteousness scale: they basically have no righteousness. Anything they could point to would be like a pile of stinking rags.

    Paul, on the other hand, likens his pre-salvation Pharisaical righteousness to rubbish (or “dung” rather) in Philippians 3. I don’t know of any place in Scripture where our good deeds of sanctification are derided.

    If we are new creatures in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit who works in and through us, how can we dare to detract unnecessarily from the works he effects? Sure, they are imperfect due to our attachment to the flesh. Sure, they do not merit justification. But to call them wicked is to call the Author and Perfecter of our faith wicked. You will not catch me doing such a despicable thing.

  129. Eric you write:

    I’m bored, so I’ll spend a little time on your “arguments,” such as they are.
    .
    If the regenerate commit grave sin, they will repent and be forgiven of it, just like Catholics who have the gift of final perseverance.

    When did repenting of sin become a sign of one’s election? Kevin is claiming that Calvinism teaches that he can commit adultery any time that he feels like it, and then die unrepentant for that sin without casting any doubt on his election. Is he correct?

    If unrepentant adultery is OK, what about unrepentant rape? Unrepentant murder? Unrepentant Satan worshiping? What, exactly, are the sins the elect can’t commit, because if they committed them, they would prove “they were never one of the elect in the first place”?

    By definition, the regenerate cannot apostatize without return, for they would have proven themselves not to be regenerate.

    Who came up with that definition? The Calvinists. The Calvinist made up that definition to defend the contradictions inherent in Calvinism.

    Actually, you do indeed fully understand the notion that the regenerate cannot apostatize.

    I understand this is what Calvinists believe, but is hogwash. An assertion is not a proof. If you would engage with what SS has written concerning the Letter to the Hebrews, you would see that what you are asserting is junk theology that no one ever believed until the Calvinists started making things up.

    Those Catholics who are granted the gift of final perseverance CANNOT apostatize.

    One needs grace to live a holy life, no Catholic that knows his faith denies that. If all you are saying is that the Christians who do not reject the grace of final perseverance will not also apostatize at the same time, then you are saying something that is trite, but true. But I don’t think that is what you are saying. I think that you are saying that Calvinistic irresistible grace turns men into robots that are incapable of committing the sin of apostasy.

    The word “cannot” can have two meanings in a sentence. It can mean “not allowed” or “incapable of”. For example:

    No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.
    1 John 3:9

    The correct interpretation of what John is saying is that Christians are not allowed to sin, because Christians have not been given a license to sin. The incorrect interpretation is that that the Christian is incapble of committing sin because he is born of God.

    Calvinists incorrectly interpret “cannot” in 1 John 3:9 to mean “incapable of”, i.e. the elect are incapable of committing the sin of apostasy. This is nothing but a bad interpretation of the scriptures. Both John and the author of the Letter to the Hebrews teach the opposite of this corrupt Calvinist interpretation.

    The elect and the non-elect could not possibly commit the same sins.

    How, exactly, would the sin of adultery, and the motivations for committing adultery, be any different between the elect and the non-elect? Men and women commit adultery when they freely choose to commit that sin. For the Christian that chooses to commit that sin, that choice is even more worthy of damnation, than the choice of the non-elect that chooses to be unfaithful to his or her spouse. That is true because the Christian has been given the grace to live a holy life, and the Christian has rejected the free gift of grace to “gratify the desires of the flesh”.

    Not “everything that the elect do is vile.” You don’t know how to read the confessions.

    Are you accusing me of lacking reading skills? The Calvinists teach that every sin is a mortal sin – unless, of course, the elect commit those sins, in which case they are not mortal. The Calvinists preach that mortal sin is so detestable in the eyes of God that it deserves nothing less than eternal punishment in the flames of Hell. The Calvinists teach that everything that the elect do is defiled with damnable sin, except when that isn’t true. It is all a bunch of contradictory rubbish, but that won’t stop a Calvinist from “believing” in their contradictions.

    That which springs from the Spirit is good and just and commendable. It is all somewhat defiled because we are still attached to the flesh in this lifetime.

    Now you have added a qualification that is utterly lacking in what the Calvinist’s preach about there being no distinction between mortal sin and venial sin. For Calvinists, all sin so heinous that it deserves nothing less than a punishment of eternal damnation. And Calvinists teach that everything that a Calvinist ever does in his life is defiled by damnable sin. Eric, what are you trying to say with your “somewhat” qualification? That you really don’t believe what Calvinism teaches in its confessions?

    The writers of the confession do not want us to place our hope in the efforts of the flesh …

    Really? The writers of the confessions teach that only way that you can guess if you are lucky enough to be one of the elect is to look at the life you are living. But that won’t work, since those lucky enough to win the salvation lottery can commit the exact same sins as the non-elect, and the elect can live their lives exactly the same way that the non-elect live their lives.

    The god of Calvinism doesn’t send people to hell because they don’t live holy lives, the god of Calvinism is an unjust monster that sends people to hell for the hell of it. Which is why you have no basis for believing that you have won the salvation lottery and are to be counted among the “elect”.

    So you are ACTUALLY going to admit that you are saved rather than others because you commit less sin than they do?

    Eric, Christians have not been given a license to sin. If I live a life set on the desires of the flesh instead of striving to live a holy life, the scriptures give me no reason to believe that I will be saved. That is why Paul teaches:

    For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
    Romans 8:7-8
    .
    … I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. … Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    Gal 5:16-21

    Eric, do the words “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” have any meaning?

    Are you saved by your works or are you saved by grace? Take a minute and decide because you appear to be confused.

    I am not confused by what the bible teaches. The ONLY way that I could ever live a holy life is by cooperating with the sanctifying grace that God freely gives to me. That is why I cannot boast if I achieve even the slightest bit of sanctity, because any holiness that I might manifest wouldn’t be impossible without sanctifying grace.

    You have created a false dichotomy. Either I must work my way into heaven apart from grace, or I am saved by a “faith” that involves nothing more than giving mere intellectual assent to theological propositions about Jesus. The scriptural truth is that faith without works is dead.

    Sorry, I accidentally left some of your post attached to mine (the last “paragraph”). Even my best efforts are prone to miscues. What can I say?

    No need to apologize to me, since my mistakes along the same lines are littered throughout these threads. If only there was some way we could correct these mistakes. A “sandbox” like they have at CTC would help, so that at least we could preview our posts.

    What say you Jason, is it possible to create a “sandbox” for previewing our posts?

  130. Erick–

    Of course, your arguments remain unrefuted. This biblical passage wasn’t written to refute them. Our arguments also remain unrefuted. The Scripture will bear either interpretation quite well.

    Your approach seems to be that God grants us all the power and strength and motivation to stand against sin and then accepts us for our continued stance against sin.

    Our approach is that God accepts us and then grants us all the power and strength and motivation to stand against sin. Makes more sense to me.

    God accepts us, freely and graciously. I’m sorry, but that is simply missing from your formulation no matter how much you would like to say that it is there.

    You are “graciously” nominated to membership in an honorary fraternity you neither deserve nor could afford. You join and spend the rest of your days both in doing your best to become deserving and in paying off the dues you could not pay up front. You dutifully strive like Mathilde in Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace.”

    We are graciously nominated to membership in an honorary fraternity we neither deserve nor could afford. We are ontologically transformed into members of a family who have never failed to become deserving. Our dues have already been paid for us. Joyfully, we become some of the most accomplished, most loyal members ever.

  131. Kevin, you write:

    Paul thought it was such a lottery …

    Lets roll with that thought. What makes you think that you won the lottery? Is the holiness you manifest proof that you won the lottery? If not, what is the basis for your belief that you can never be damned for the sins that you commit, but other people will be damned for the sins that they commit?

    Eric

    Lord, I thank God that I am not like that publican sinner, thinking his silly tears will bring him forgiveness….

    The publican was justified because he thought he was a sinner (which he was) and he asked God for forgiveness (which he got). How does that translate to the publican believing by faith that he was incapable of committing the sin of apostasy?

  132. Mateo–

    I say this with as much honest respect as I can cobble together. You simply don’t understand where Calvinists are coming from. I suggest you do a lot of reading. Then at least you could reject Calvinism with some comprehension of what it is you’re throwing by the wayside.

    As I have said before, yes, there are a good many paradoxes/antinomies in Reformed soteriology, just as there are paradoxes/antinomies in the orthodox Christian concepts of the Trinity and the Chalcedonian Definition’s formulation of christology. The ineffable things of God are not likely to give way to simple descriptions and explanations. To dismiss these things as “contradictory” without fully understanding the biblical truths they are attempting to absorb…is genuinely anti-intellectual.

  133. Eric,

    I am not sure what your point was with the Retractions. RCs believe in concupiscence and venial sin in the justified man. That’s why Augustine also wrote that we can fulfill the law, obey the commandments, could merit, and were justified by infused righteousness during his writings with the Pelagians.

    Kevin,

    “We are in Christ and new creatures and have the spirit of God to obey him.”

    How do you obey him if you are mortally sinning every second?

    “Titus 3:5 is clear, not even Holy deeds can count toward anything.”

    That’s why that verse talks about interior renewal. Interior renewal being infused agape which saves us.

    “Why? Because they are not perfect and god requires perfection.”

    Yep here we go with the OC negation of the NC. Believers fulfill the law.

    “Now James, if Jesus didn’t consider himself good, where does that leave you and me.”

    This is a bizarre interpretation. You think Christ considered himself sinful?

    “We can’t enter heaven on anything of our own. ”

    Exactly right.

    “They will be lovingly accepted as the fruit of faith. In the first case the works stink to God, and in the second case they are sweet smelling.”

    They will be lovingly accepted “as if” they were holy. They are defiled and rife with mortal sin. He just imputes righteousness to them to accept them – they still stink.

  134. Eric, Absolutely there is no sin leading unto death for the regenerate. Im in whole agreement with you buddy. But i meant that you made a general distinction between mortal and venial sin as a sense of degree sinfulness. Can you explain your position. Maybe i misspoke.

  135. Mateo–

    You wrote:

    If all you are saying is that the Christians who do not reject the grace of final perseverance will not also apostatize at the same time, then you are saying something that is trite, but true.

    This is, of course, clumsy, but it comes as close as you’ve gotten thus far to the crux of the issue. Catholicism, if I remember correctly, teaches that very few actually know that they have been given the gift of final perseverance. These assured saints CANNOT commit apostasy. (Not in the sense they they are functionally incapable of it, but that they will not do so under any circumstances that present themselves. They must still resist doubt and temptation and rebellion.)

    Calvinism merely posits that many more are given the assurance that they have been given this gift. (Augustine stated that anyone who genuinely prayed for the gift was guaranteed to receive it…and that anyone who prayed the Lord’s Prayer–lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil–had effectively prayed for the gift.) Under the rubric of the “Perseverance of the Saints,” we still have to sweat and strain, making sure we do not fall into doubt, temptation, or rebellion.

    We are told we can and we will make it across a tightrope stretched between two cliffs. It is up to us, nevertheless, not only NOT to lose our balance but to keep moving forward and to keep our eyes on the goal.

  136. Wosbald, you write:

    … here, we can further see the organic superiority of the Catholic worldview, in which one does not need any individualized Revelation which one must first embrace before one can receive the Christian Revelation. Instead, Man needs no more than that Truth which is freely available to his own, unaided Natural Human powers.

    Exactly! To believe what Calvinism teaches, I would have to destroy my ability to think logically think, so that I could “reject reason” and believe in salvation by lottery. I would also have to destroy my conscience because it gives me a sense of divine justice that just won’t go away; a sense of justice that is utterly repelled by the idea that there exists a monstrous god that sends people to hell for the hell of it.

  137. Eric, you write:

    Calvinism merely posits that many more are given the assurance that they have been given this gift.

    Calvinism goes way beyond this. Calvinism teaches that saving grace is an “irresistible grace”, a false doctrine which requires a belief in a god is that is puppet master that forces men that have won the salvation lottery to conform to his sovereign will.

    The absurdity of Calvinism is that if God really turned men into puppets that cannot exercise their free will for good or evil, then God would be creating puppets with irresistible grace, and destroying what was once a man the same grace.

  138. Eric, thats my whole point. That this verse is used in broader theological context by men like Sproul and other Reformed to question the meritoriousness of our works. You made the point rightly that our work is stained by the flesh. I’m not calling them wicked. They are called good works. Because the are a result of his work in us. But you know what the RC guys do with you. They want to pit the confessions against you. And the bottom line is although they are good, they in no way hold up to the righteous standard of God, which you know. I know you understand that their ontological system downplays the sinfulness of sin. Robert won’t cut them no slack on this and I won’t either. Grace for them is a process undertaken to remove the nature of sin from their soul. And they manage this by lessening the effect of sin on us. Just my opinion. Sorry if I misspoke.

  139. Mateo, You are a liar and disingenuous. So apologize. I have never claimed that a Calvinist can commit adultery any time he feels like it. I said if a true believer was in the middle of an adulterous act and died he would go to heaven. I believe that. The man in 1 corinthians 5 was saved. You told me Peter lost his salvation every time he denied Christ. Loving God you got.

  140. Eric, you write:

    As I have said before, yes, there are a good many paradoxes/antinomies in Reformed soteriology …

    I get that! Calvinism is full of logical contradictions, and that is why it is pointless for me to do a good deal of reading to “understand” Calvinism. To believe in Calvinism, I must believe that this is true:

    God causes all events, but not sinful events.

    No one can “believe” this statement because it is contradictory nonsense.

    . To dismiss these things as “contradictory” without fully understanding the biblical truths they are attempting to absorb…is genuinely anti-intellectual.

    It is anti-intellectual to reject reason in a pointless attempt to “believe” in logical contradictions! Eric, try making yourself believe that the following statement is true and see how far you get:

    This sentence is false.

  141. Mateo, you just told Eric Christians aren’t allowed to sin. You better high tail it over to your Priest’s office because you bore false witness of another man, you lied about me.

  142. Mateo, You said to Eric, If I’m not striving to live a Holy life you won’t be saved. You are a pharisee. Working your way to heaven. God helps you save yourself. You believe the gospel Paul condemns in Galatians 1:9 For us God saves us because of his son.

  143. I would like for Kevin, Robert, and Eric to exegete Romans 4:1-25.

  144. Matteo,

    Yes I have also noticed how all words have double meanings in the reformed world. Whenever they get close to the conclusion that God is a Monster via their theology we get “Romans 9 Romans 9 who are you to judge!” or “we have to be really careful with confusing and ambiguous words like cause“. What in the world is ambiguous about cause? Nothing what-so-ever. Either Gods divine decrees “establish” or “cause” all things or they don’t. Also, did you notice Kevin with Logozimai? They demand that it means “to credit” until God “credits” Abrahams faith with righteousness…… then all of a sudden it must have a different meaning! lol AMBIGUITIES EVERYWHERE

  145. Mateo, you make me laugh man, a real stand up comedian. Your telling Eric we make every sin damnable, and the you turn around and your the unrepentant sin cop. Your throwing Calvinist into hell for everything. The log in the eye man!

  146. Kevin, you write:

    I have never claimed that a Calvinist can commit adultery any time he feels like it. I said if a true believer was in the middle of an adulterous act and died he would go to heaven. I believe that.

    What is the difference?

    How does a Calvinist commit adultery if he doesn’t feel like committing adultery? What day of the week is the Calvinist prohibited from committing adultery? Is Sunday off limits, or is it possible for the Calvinist commit adultery on Sunday too? Is there any time in the week that the Calvinist cannot commit adultery ? If not, then it is correct to say that you believe that a Calvinist can commit adultery any time he feels like committing that sin, and that if he dies unrepentant for than sin, the Calvinist would go to heaven.

    Kevin, what about rape? Can a Calvinist die in an act of violent rape and be assured that he is going to heaven? How about the sin of unrepentant murder? If a Calvinist is shot dead in an attempted act of murder, can he be sure that he is going to heaven?

  147. Kenneth, Its hard to know your double meanings because you don’t offer anything. You just post Jason’s comments or Sungenis. Your like Wosbald, you just drop in and criticize. Lets start with, Give us your perspective on if why God allows sin? Love to hear it. And please don’t print anyone else’s material. Thanks

  148. Mateo, Your an idiot. Yes a Christian can die in the middle of any sin and go to heaven. Catholics need to take the Priest with you when you rape. And we know your boys have been raping little kids at a high rate lately. So maybe you can answer the question better than I.

  149. Mateo–

    God causes all events, including sinful ones.

    WCF:

    God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

    Last time I checked, “whatsoever” would cover all events what-so-ever, including sinful ones.

  150. Kevin

    Your telling Eric we make every sin damnable …

    Calvinists do claim that every sin is damnable. Calvinists make no distinction between sin that is mortal and sin that is not mortal. For the Calvinist, every sin deserves a punishment of everlasting damnation in the fires of hell. Sassing or brutal rape – both deserve to be punished with the second death, according to the Calvinists.

    Your throwing Calvinist into hell for everything.

    I am not going to throw anybody into hell. I am going to stand before a just judge at my particular judgement, just like you are. If either of us is found guilty of living immoral lives, we can expect to be cast into the lake of fire:

    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”
    Rev 21:8

  151. Erick, i already exegeted Romans 4 on the baptism thread, look it up.

  152. Kevin,

    https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/genetic

    ^^^^This is your logic lesson for the day my man.^^^^

    Still patiently awaiting your response on Logozimai and romans 4:5, 9, 22. Im sure its coming one day…..

    BTW comments like this

    Mateo, Your an idiot.

    offer up the consistent fruit and witness of the reformed. You fit right in.

  153. Mateo, have your mom buy you a bible. ” For the wages of SIN is death” Do you see any distinction in which some sins cause physical and spiritual death. Me either.

  154. Kenneth, Because you are a fair man and the moral cop i’m sure you’ll look at Mateo’s behavior and be get on him also right. There seems to be a double standard for behavior. For instance Bryan Cross publicly chastised me 5 times and i apologized. Then when he sinned against me and i called him on it. He just wouldn’t print it. He and an image to maintain. Many degrees and articles written. Mateo’s behavior has been juvenile. Call him on it.

  155. Kevin,

    I thought you could try again…. your arguments really did not take into account that Abraham’s faith is what God sees as righteousness. Thats what the text says.

  156. Kenneth, you know nothing about me. I forgot more about philosophy and logic than you’ll ever know. I mean that with all humility.

  157. Eric you write:

    Last time I checked, “whatsoever” would cover all events what-so-ever, including sinful ones.

    I agree! And I am quite surprised that you publicly will admit that we can blame God for our sinning, because God causes us to sin.

    That point established, you are missing the weasel words that are embedded in what you quoted from the WCF:

    … yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin …

    What you have quoted by the WCF can be summed up by this statement:

    God causes all events, but not sinful events.

    The sentence above is saying the same thing that what you have quoted in the WCF – it is a bunch of double talk that means nothing.

  158. Erick, maybe you can bring my post up and we can talk about it again.

  159. Maybe you could just interpret this verse

    Abraham believed God and the Lord accounted it as righteousness

  160. Mateo–

    Someone who is actually IN UNION WITH Christ could theoretically die in the act of committing murder or rape and not lose his salvation.

    I cannot even imagine it happening. It would have to be a bizarre set of events.

    But under our insurance plan, we are covered in the event a bolt of lightning hits a tree in our backyard, causing it to fall into our pool, splashing our electric fence, shocking our pet cat sunning himself on the gate, springing him into the air and pouncing on our mail carrier, being simultaneously bitten by our dog who has rabies from the neighborhood armadillo. The mail man screams, distracting a passing motorist, who veers into our driveway, instantly killing our one exotic pet, a rare and expensive albino peacock.

  161. We know, the God of the Calvinists is like playing lego’s. No one is free….it just looks like it

  162. Mateo–

    The Chalcedonian Definition:

    “Following, then, the holy fathers, we unite in teaching all men to confess the one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This selfsame one is perfect both in deity and in humanness; this selfsame one is also actually God and actually man, with a rational soul and a body. He is of the same reality as God as far as his deity is concerned and of the same reality as we ourselves as far as his humanness is concerned; thus like us in all respects, sin only excepted. Before time began he was begotten of the Father, in respect of his deity, and now in these “last days,” for us and behalf of our salvation, this selfsame one was born of Mary the virgin, who is God-bearer in respect of his humanness.

    We also teach that we apprehend this one and only Christ–Son, Lord, only begotten–in two natures; and we do this without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other, without dividing them into two separate categories, without contrasting them according to area or function. The distinctiveness of each nature is not nullified by the union. Instead, the properties of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one person and in one reality. They are not divided or cut into two persons, but are together the one and only and only-begotten Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus have the prophets of old testified; thus the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us; thus the Symbol of Fathers has handed down to us.”

    Another translation:

    “We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, but without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”

    Divided but not divided. (Two but not two.) United but not united. (One but not one.) Mixed but not mixed. In other words, we don’t have a clue. We only know a few things which are definitely not true.

    A bunch of double talk that means nothing…except, of course to orthodox Christians….who are willing to bleed and die for this stuff.

    At any rate, quit making a fool of yourself.

  163. Kevin,

    Only the Bishops have the authority to convene a council and define what paradoxes are orthodox and which are not. The Calvinistic double predestination has been condemned by the Catholic Church, and that voice is the same with which you just quoted from Chalcedon.

    When I was a reformed protestant, I loved the doctrine of predestination. But it wasn’t until I actually saw the implications of it in my life. When I had committed serious sins such as anger, outbursts of wrath, and lust…I would try to repent of my sins, but then I would realize…..wait a minute…..I wouldn’t be asking for forgiveness, because that’s an irreversible gift which seals an invincible salvation when I had my radical conversion experience…..and God already ordained me to commit this sin…..oh well, I know I have to hate it anyway and be contrite. Over and over again, for years…..you begin to see a problem.

    This is just one of the ways the reformed view of God affects the Christian walk.

  164. Erick,

    Step by step…..

    You wrote:
    When Paul says that he is “captive” to the “law of sin” that dwells in his members, he is not speaking of forensic guilt or the a mere juridical position before God.

    Response to v.23 of Romans:

    1) for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law (Rom.5:13)
    2) The Law came in so that the transgression would increase….(Rom.5:20)
    3) Romans 7:7-13
    4) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law….(1Cor.15:56)

    The Law of God, also called the ‘law of my mind’, is that ‘an active power that exists within that actually causes him to really sin.”Captive’ and ‘law of sin’ are not even imputed without there relation to the Law. In fact, Paul was alive apart from the Law and sin was dead. (Rom.7:8,9)

  165. Erick’ Abraham’s faith is the instrument that receives the righteousness of God. like the wage is credited in the sense of being external. He does not say to the one who works, his work is credited, but his wage. So righteousness is credited to Abraham as external like the wage. This I believe is what Paul intended.

  166. Erick,

    Step by step…..

    Great! thx

    You wrote:
    When Paul says that he is “captive” to the “law of sin” that dwells in his members, he is not speaking of forensic guilt or the a mere juridical position before God.

    Right! He is speaking about the flesh wherein the passion for sin overpowers any power of the will to do what is good, holy, or righteous.

    Response to v.23 of Romans:

    1) for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law (Rom.5:13)
    2) The Law came in so that the transgression would increase….(Rom.5:20)
    3) Romans 7:7-13
    4) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law….(1Cor.15:56)

    The Law of God, also called the ‘law of my mind’, is that ‘an active power that exists within that actually causes him to really sin.”Captive’ and ‘law of sin’ are not even imputed without there relation to the Law. In fact, Paul was alive apart from the Law and sin was dead. (Rom.7:8,9)

    This last part is very vague. I am sure it didn’t come out the way you intended. But I will do my best to understand what you are saying.

    For starters, the Law of God is that which is holy, righteous, and good. The Law reveals the good will of God . However, there is a “principle” of sin which resides in us, and Paul calls it the “law of sin” meaning, the power of sin which finds it’s strength in the Law of God, for through the divine pronouncement of God’s will, the passions are stirred for the evil, for the disobedience, for the transgressing of the commandment.

    This is characteristic of the “old man”, the “body of sin”, or the person “under the Law”. And it from this that we are delivered and so are justified, released from condemnation (Rom 8:1-3)

  167. Kenneth–

    Mateo has consistently and pointedly misrepresented Reformed theology, stubbornly ignoring pleas to desist.

    Though Mateo deserves derision in spades, Kevin should refrain from name calling. Nonetheless, your insensitive comment, about his offhand comment’s “offering up the consistent fruit and witness of the Reformed” is character assassination, pure and simple. Plus, it shows a complete lack of respect for your opposition as a group.

    Shamefully done, Kenneth. I say that to you in particular and not to Catholics in general. There are plenty of honorable Catholic gentlemen (and ladies). You’re just not one of them.

  168. Kevin,

    So basically, Abraham’s faith is like my hand which receives free money. Only instrumental. I gotcha. I know why and how you think this.

    The problem is, however, you are taking the illustration that Paul gives “now to the one who works, the wages are not counted as grace” and trying to parallel the illustration in every sense with Abraham’s justification. All that Paul wishes to communicate is that Abraham was not justified by earning it himself. That’s it. The wage does not have to be righteousness. Rather, the righteousness is Abraham’s as a result of God’s grace, and not his works. That’s all.

    But the most explicit part of Romans 4 which exposes this logic of your for the false idea that it is…is Romans 4:17-23 where Paul says Abraham grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and THEREFORE it was accredited to him as righteousness. Paul clearly saw Abraham’s faith itself having a character of righteousness which pleased God.

    The problem for you, of course, is this would mean Abraham earned it by his good works, even if he only contributed with a pinky, it would allow boasting. So in your efforts to sustain God’s glory and grace, you cannot allow “ANY HUMAN ACTIVITY”, which devolves Abraham’s faith which is given such a descriptive treatment in Romans 4 to a mere instrument.

    And how do you not see how your theological system is being imposed on the text?q

  169. Erick, First of all Eric wrote the post about Chalcedon not me. I believe you are in that church today because you had a bad experience and a faulty view of predestination. Freedom in Christ is not a license to sin. Paul says in Romans 6:14 ” For sin should not be master over you, for you are not under Law but grace. Then he has to warn them freedom isn’t a license to sin but an opportunity to obey God. Erick, If things were better in the RC then how do you explain the blatant and utter sinfulness in the Priesthood which is really the reason Ratzinger resigned. Im told we don’t even know the extent of this systemic problem in the church. He was overwhelmed with it and knew he was not young enough or strong enough to deal with it. I believe the worst is yet to come. The Scripture warns about forbidding marriage. Do you even know why the Priest’s were forbidden to marry. So the Papacy could confiscate there property and many Priests found themselves destitute. This church that your in has brought judgment upon itself I believe. If you were able to look at the RC and make judgments the way you did with your Baptist church, how could you honestly stay there?

  170. Kevin you write:

    For the wages of SIN is death”

    Again, because you are a Calvinist, you fail to make the distinction between sin that is deadly and sin that not deadly, even though the scriptures explicitly make that distinction. Which is why you do not understand what Paul is saying.

    Paul is saying that we earn our damnation by committing sin that is deadly. Deadly sin is justly due a wage for work that brought about the deadly sin. The wages due deadly sin is the second death.

    Our salvation, on the other hand, is not a compensation that we can earn by being good. Which is why Paul contrasts a “wage” with “free gift” in the verse that you are quoting:

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Romans 6:23

    Only when I receive the free gift life in Christ, can I cooperate with Christ and live a holy life. By receiving this free gift, I can’t put God into the position that his justice must be satisfied by giving me a wage that is due for me living a moral life or me doing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. I can’t stand before God and claim that that God owes me a spot in heaven because I earned it. I have nothing to boast about, because I couldn’t live a holy life without the free gift of life in Christ.

    You keep accusing Catholics of believing that we earn our way into heaven by doing good works. But that will continue to be a lie, no matter how many times you make this false accusation. No one can ever put God into the position such that God owes him or her a place in heaven because they have earned their place in heaven by doing good works.

    Mateo, Your an idiot. Yes a Christian can die in the middle of any sin and go to heaven.

    According to you, unrepentant adultery is OK if you have won the salvation lottery. How about unrepentant Satan worshiping? What does God do with unrepentant Satan worshipers in heaven? Is God really willing to overlook unrepentant Satan worshiping, or is that particular sin a sure sign that one is not of the elect? How depraved a life would I have to live before I had reason to doubt that I was one of the elect?

    Kevin, you claim that you don’t believe in Protestant antinomianism, but I am not seeing much evidence for that claim.

  171. Erick, Like Eric W. says if Abraham had effort pay hi his wage.

  172. Erick–

    Please, please realize that you were never Reformed!

    You wrote:

    “When I was a Reformed Protestant, I loved the doctrine of predestination. But it wasn’t until I actually saw the implications of it in my life. When I had committed serious sins such as anger, outbursts of wrath, and lust…I would try to repent of my sins, but then I would realize…..wait a minute…..I wouldn’t be asking for forgiveness, because that’s an irreversible gift which seals an invincible salvation when I had my radical conversion experience…..and God already ordained me to commit this sin…..oh well, I know I have to hate it anyway and be contrite. Over and over again, for years…..you begin to see a problem.”

    This simply IS NOT how anyone who is actually Reformed sees things! You’re clearly doing everything in the flesh: you “tried” to repent; you “tried” to feel contrite. If you’re actually in Christ, you don’t work up the effort to be contrite. Sin makes you sick to your stomach. You KNOW that you need to seek forgiveness when you mess up. It’s not even a question. You get away from things for a while, and the Spirit will kick you in the rear!

    So, you may have been sitting in a Reformed church (albeit an awfully bad one), but it’s not clear you were even a Christian at the time.

  173. Mateo, If I say that a believer can commit adultery and go to heaven. Why do you say that I condone that. Thats being dishonest and you owe me an apology. You asked me a question and I answered it but i didn’t say i condoned it. Please Mateo stop doing that. Just say you don’t agree. But don’t say that means I condone that behavior. Im a believer and would never condone sin. But If i did sin God’s forgiveness would still cover me.

  174. Erick, I actually think Eric nailed it. You may not have been a believer. Reformed don’t think that way. We take our freedom seriously as an opportunity to live Godly in Christ.

  175. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    Wosbald, I hope you didn’t break your neck jumping thru that philosophical hoop. All MacArthur is saying is when one understands his sinfulness before God…

    As I pointed out earlier, your philosophy is bunko (and I don’t need God or Jesus or the Spirit or the Church to know that it’s bunko). This, alone, would be bad enough, but the further problem is that you bring this bunko philosophy to Scripture. And, as Mateo notes, the end-result of interpreting Scripture through a bunko philosophy is a bunko interpretation: i.e. Calvinism.

  176. Comment

  177. Kevin and Eric,

    That is foolish. I gave you a brief description of an experience I had as a reformed protestant. This does not mean it was my entire experience or frame of mind. Of course, even as a protestant I overcome those false thoughts with what I thought to be the correct way of viewing things.

    kevin, I never once thought that I had a license to sin. I am not sure where you ever got that even from the description I gave you.

    I had my times where I gloried in reformed theology. I don’t need to prove that to you.

  178. Sorry everybody for name calling. I just hate to be the one who has to deal with bad behavior like Mateo’s. When are you catholic leaders going to step up and not tolerate the behavior in some of your guys. I’m going to stick up for my guys. Mateo treats Eric and Robert like red headed step child. Mateo when you going to step up like a man and apologize.

  179. Eric you write:

    Mateo has consistently and pointedly misrepresented Reformed theology …

    I don’t believe that I have. I can’t help but draw logical inferences that follow from what the Calvinists are asserting is the truth. I can’t help but do that because thinking rationally is part of my nature.

    Show me where my logical inferences are wrong, and we can begin to have a real dialog. Actually address the points that the Catholics are making on this thread. But please don’t whine when logical inferences are made from what Calvinists claim to be the truth.

    Though Mateo deserves derision in spades, Kevin should refrain from name calling.

    Kevin’s name calling doesn’t bother me, because it only shows the weakness of his arguments. What bothers me is false doctrine being promoted by those who claim to be Christians, because believing in false doctrine can lead to damnation in hell.

    What if the Catholics are right, what if the man that dies during an act of adultery has no good reason to believe that he won’t be damned for committing that sin? If we follow the logic of the Calvinists, “true Christians” can commit suicide to be with Jesus, because all sin is venial sin for the elect.

  180. Eric,

    I received all the benefits that you have received from hearing John Piper, John Macarthur (not so much), Ray Ortland, D.A. Carson, the White horse Inn, C.J. Mahaney, John Stott (the Cross of Christ), Eric Alexander (not so popular talented pastor and presby theologian), Gordon Fee (especially), and I could go on and on. I’ve wept many tears of joy over what I’ve heard from these men.

    So please don’t mistake that brief description of my past life as the whole thing. It was a description of an early experience that I don’t think reformed theology has a good answer to, even though I did fill my thoughts with the normal protestant way of thinking. There is always a reformed answer that will satisfy someone who is reformed.

    Even through all of this, however, little did I know the universe of joy in Catholicism, until I gave myself to it.

  181. Eric and Kevin,

    Are you going to sit there behind your computers pretending like ever since the moment of your conversion you had perfect theology, perfect nouthetic counseling skills, all the perfect answers to all your inner doubts and difficulties, and all the knowledge in the world in how to relate God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility????

    I think not. So give me a break.

  182. Wosbald, You said ” And I don’t need God or Jesus or the Spirit or the Church” Exactly! Bingo! Melanchton was right ” all those stupid and Godless men with their crazy philosophical hallucinations.”Romanism is nothing more than faith in mankind. And the end result of a false Roman gospel is alot Priests playing bunko with young boys. The only thing the RC is infallible at is being fallible.

  183. Erick, No there is error in everyone’s theology.

  184. Erick, God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibly. Great subject. But here is the thing Erick for me. Luther said how would I pray or commune with the Lord if I didn’t understand justification by faith. God wants us to live in peace. How can you have peace in that system?

  185. Erick, where did I say i thought you had a license to sin, I didn’t say that.

  186. I will tell you how I have peace.

    I have peace because the Lord Jesus came into this world and loved me to his very death. If he went through so much pain to save me, then he will always be there for me.

    Is that so hard? And yet, you find all kinds of reasons why I somehow can’t enjoy this peace and grace while being a Catholic. This is why I defend my theology, because I keep this peace while being Catholic.

    In fact, I have more peace with God as a Catholic because I know I don’t constantly have to be worrying if I was ever saved to begin with or if my sin was not too too bad so that I could still say that it shows some direction toward God. No need to bother with such speculative questions. My reality is today. How is my relationship with God today?

  187. Kevin,

    You wrote

    Erick, where did I say i thought you had a license to sin, I didn’t say that.

    When you said

    I believe you are in that church today because you had a bad experience and a faulty view of predestination. Freedom in Christ is not a license to sin. Paul says in Romans 6:14 ” For sin should not be master over you, for you are not under Law but grace. Then he has to warn them freedom isn’t a license to sin but an opportunity to obey God

    It’s pretty clear you were addressing me as if I proclaimed to have this license you speak of.

  188. Mateo, you going to apologize or just justify your behavior. Quit tap dancing. You lecture us on unrepentant adultery and yet we have this against you that you have misrepresented our statements with lying and childish exaggeration and mistruths.

  189. If any of you reformed guys think you are always going to have assurance, listen to your Elder

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhWHrbUcdAo

  190. Erick, Sorry Erick, I wasn’t saying that about you personally, just responding at how you were describing a lack of conviction in the Reformed or a roteness to our confession. And I think Eric said it well we don’t view our freedom that way because we have the Spirit who continues to kick our butt. But it is important to mention as most of evangelicalism is focusing on the transformative much in the mode of Rome, we try to focus on the cross and the great doctrines of justification by faith and eternal security. They give us peace, not apathy. For me Eric when I view my sin in light of the holiness of god, it puts my works in perspective. If it ain’t by faith alone, I ain’t getting in. I see my failures and thank Him for His mercies are new every morning..

  191. James,

    Of course I agree with Aquinas we fulfill the law but not perfectly. If we fulfilled it perfectly we would have no concupiscence or venial sin – we’d be in heaven. That’s why I freely agreed with you when you asked whether I could do more in situations. My point was that such a distinction makes sense in our system but not yours which is why I said it was ad hoc. You do not make the venial/mortal sin distinction (hence you mortally sin every second and your good works are shot through with mortal sin) and so you quite reasonably then hold to imputation. If you truly fulfilled the law there is no need for imputation per your own principles.

    Whatever. This ad hoc distinction between mortal and venial sin reminds me of a friend who, in joking about non-Reformed systems, summarizes their teaching on God’s holiness and our sin this way:

    “Hey, sin’s not so bad and God’s not so mad.”

    Course, tell that to Isaiah in Isaiah 6, Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6—a “venial” sin if there ever were one—he was only trying to keep the ark from falling off a cart.

    The mortal-venial sin distinction is nonexistent, but you’ll only see that once you understand the holiness of God. Rome is shot through and through with evidence that they wouldn’t know holiness from defilement.

  192. Kevin, you write:

    Mateo, If I say that a believer can commit adultery and go to heaven. Why do you say that I condone that.

    I didn’t say that you condone it! Where did I use those words? I won’t apologize for what I never said.

    I am saying that you brazenly assert that you can commit unrepentant adultery without fear of losing your salvation. Which is exactly what the Southern Baptists preach. Billy Graham has never given a preaching where he condones adultery (as far as I know!), but he has preached many a time (at least when he was a young man) that there is NO conceivable sin that a “saved” man could commit that would lead to his damnation.

    The logical inference that I can make from that is this: Billy Graham’s antinomianism teaches that the “saved” man can commit adultery any time he feels like it without putting his salvation at risk. Which is what you are asserting, as far as I can tell.

    … If i did sin God’s forgiveness would still cover me.

    This is EXACTLY the same answer a Southern Baptist will give. Sinning grieves the Holy Spirit, but the act of getting “saved” assures that a man will go to heaven no matter how degenerate and immoral his life is lived on this earth.

    Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
    .
    Baptist Faith and Message 2000

    The Southern Baptists aren’t condoning living a sinful life, since that would “grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves.” But even though a “saved” man shouldn’t> sin, if he does sin, (even by committing the sin of unrepentant Satan worshiping), he has nothing to worry about. Why? Because “yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”

    Translation, make a sincere “altar call” at a Billy Graham crusade, and you can be sure that you have been saved by faith alone. After you are “saved” you should live a holy life, but if you don’t live that life, don’t worry and be happy, because you will surely go to heaven even if you backslide and die while committing adultery … or die raping someone, or die murdering someone, or die worshiping Satan, or …

  193. Erick,

    If any of you reformed guys think you are always going to have assurance, listen to your Elder

    You realize, of course, that Luther’s quest for assurance—which he could not find in the arms of mama Rome—is the very reason why there was a Reformation. And it’s the reason why the converts to Protestantism from Rome continue apace while converts the other way are only notable because they are so incredibly rare, and always from people who wouldn’t know Protestantism from a hole in the ground.

  194. Mateo,

    If you knew anything about Protestantism, you wouldn’t lump us in with generic Southern Baptists.

  195. Erick, thanks the Piper thing was awesome. Couldn’t have said it better. Have had all those same feelings.

  196. Robert ,

    So I don’t know Protestantism from a whole in the floor?

  197. Erick Y,

    I don’t mean to be rude, but from the way you talk about your experience as a Reformed Baptist shows that you were either in a REALLY bad church or never had any clue. Eric has already pointed that out.

  198. Eric, Did you see my clarification on our works. Where are you on the venial/ mortal sin thing? Are you where Robert and I are that biblically that distinction does not exist? And what’s your position on the admixture with the sin in our heart with our good works ? Thanks bro. How you feeling?

  199. Robert, How are you bro?

  200. Mateo, you talk about unrepentant sin and Eric and I confront you and you are unable to apologize?

  201. Mateo, I had a friend who was a strong Christian who committed suicide. Did god send him to hell for that one act.

  202. Robert,

    Other than agreeing with reformed Protestantism how would one describe their experience to your liking? I’ve proven to you I am familiar to reformed theology and I have extensive experience as a Protestant studying under names that you revere, as I once revered. How could I show that I was an expert Protestant if I became catholic? Your expectations are non existent and therefore your insult has no force.

  203. Robert,

    “This ad hoc distinction between mortal and venial sin”

    Uh, it’s not ad hoc in our system. The “truly, not perfectly” is in your system.

    “Course, tell that to Isaiah in Isaiah 6, Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6—a “venial” sin if there ever were one—he was only trying to keep the ark from falling off a cart.”

    So when people weren’t killed for sinning, that means they were sinning venially? Someone with noble intentions can still commit grave sin.

    “The mortal-venial sin distinction is nonexistent, but you’ll only see that once you understand the holiness of God.”

    If the distinction is nonexistent, John is incoherent. We understand God’s holiness, and also the power of the NC. It wasn’t just a band-aid. Chrysostom:
    “‘To declare His righteousness.’ What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He doth also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores of sin suddenly righteous.”

    We don’t grovel in defilement as a “new creation”.

    “Rome is shot through and through with evidence that they wouldn’t know holiness from defilement.”

    Right – because all our saints in history were just works-righteous heretics. Heads we lose, tails you win. Fun game.

  204. James, Does the church have a list of mortal sins you can provide us with?

  205. Erick, you said ” I have more peace with God as a Catholic because I don’t have to worry if I were saved to begin with” But you have to worry if you have enough sanctifying grace to get into heaven don’t you? I mean are you looking forward to 1000 years in Purgatory getting purged? How does that bring comfort? What if you come up short? Do you trust you can cooperate enough?

  206. Erick, you wrote:

    This last part is very vague. I am sure it didn’t come out the way you intended. But I will do my best to understand what you are saying.

    Thx…will try again
    ————————————

    You wrote:
    However, there is a “principle” of sin which resides in us, and Paul calls it the “law of sin” meaning, the power of sin which finds it’s strength in the Law of God….

    Response:
    The Law of God is the power of this “law of sin.” (1Cor.15:56) Sin is designated “law of sin” because sin is imputed where there is Law. Please don’t miss the fact that strength is present by increase (Rom.7:8), and more importantly, the Law is the LIFE of this sin. (Rom.7:8)
    ———————————

    Assuming Rom 7 is unregenerate Paul,

    You wrote:
    The passions were at work in Paul’s members, not merely making him forensically guilty at the judgement bar of God, but to actually sin, to cause sinful behavior. This is what is meant by “bearing fruit unto death”. Therefore, to be captive to the law of sin means to be in a state wherein one is subject to sinful behavior, and not just a legally guilty position.

    Response:
    I cannot disagree….the WCF, Ch.6 confirms this.

  207. Erick, If inherent grace be your righteousness, then how does God justify the ungodly who have no grace, or how can He justify a man for those graces which are imperfect, and which want the benefits of Christ’s atonement?

  208. Robert, Eric, I thought I would share this. JC Ryle quote ” Salvation isn’t for good people, its for people who think they are bad.”

  209. Kevin,

    You wrote:

    Erick, If inherent grace be your righteousness, then how does God justify the ungodly who have no grace, or how can He justify a man for those graces which are imperfect, and which want the benefits of Christ’s atonement?

    First of all, I would like to conform to the mind of Paul in Philippians 3 where he said that he desires to “gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own…but that which comes by faith in Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God through faith, to know the power of His resurrection” (Phil 3:8-9). Paul understands the “righteousness of God” to be alien to the human being, but it becomes an internal reality (i,e. to know the power of his resurrection) whereby one loves God and is able to fulfill the Law. The power of Christ’s resurrection gives us the walk in newness of life.

    Second of all, when God justifies the ungodly, it is an act of grace, because the ungodly have no earnings with God. In fact, the ungodly only merited death, for the wages of sin is death. When Paul says that God justifies the ungodly he has in mind the remission of sins, but not the kind of remission that Protestants understand where the unjust sinner remains an unjust sinner in, throughout, and after the forgiveness is given. Rather, the remission of sins is “effected” by the internal renewal of the heart. So for instance, Zacheaus was forgiven when he resolved to repent and do the good deed. The prostitute is forgiven when she is broken and contrite and seeks mercy from God. These are things which God is attracted to, even if it is not a perfectly sinless life. And he washes their sins away.

    So, for instance, when Paul sees the imputation of righteousness to man in the non-imputation of sin, he has in mind the forgiveness and remission of sins. But, we know from the entirety of the Pauline corpus that forgiveness is not an isolated gift, but it is not tied in with salvation the way Protestants say it does. Protestants believe that through union with Christ by faith alone, our we are forgiven of our sins only on account of Christ’s imputed righteousness and nothing ever inside of us, even if it is a work of God’s grace. In Catholic theology, one is forgiven when the heart is cleansed.

  210. Erick, thanks for answering. You believe that the righteousness that justifies is not christ’s own personal righteousness credited to believers but righteousness which Christ works into the life of a person or infuses into him, his own living and behavior? It is not Christ’s personal righteousness but the believers personal righteousness, which he performs by the grace of God correct? It is Christ’s righteousness versus the believers righteousness? It is Christ’s achievement versus the believers achievement? It is a gift of God versus the accomplishment of man? These two righteousness are as different as righteousnesses could possibly be? So it does come down to how it has popularly been stated the last 5 centuries. Isn’t the Romans system in complete violation of Romans 4:16? thanks

  211. Kevin,

    Yes it is the righteousness that Christ works in His very body, the Church, whereby he fills us with sanctifying grace. All the members share in the risen life of His body, and thereby partake in His righteousness…not by imputation but by infusion.

    Regarding Romans 4:16 , let’s read:
    Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham

    Let’s begin by answering questions:

    1) What is “of faith, that it might be according to grace”? Well, in context, it is righteousness. Righteousness has to be “of faith” or “according to faith” in order to uphold the principle of grace or gift.

    2) How does righteousness “of faith” or “according to grace” uphold the principle of grace? or Gift?
    Faith, for Paul, among other things, is a specific device word that signifies the ability of “all men” to receive the gift of salvation, and that there are no ethnic boundaries which have to be crossed in order to receive the gift of salvation. To say the “righteousness is of Law”, Peter tempted the Gentiles to believe when he withdrew from the Gentiles in Antioch, then we make righteousness into something that fallen human beings have access to through outward works of righteousness. And this is not what Paul teaches us. Faith is that internal principle whereby all men of all kinds, sinners and saints, can just go to God in faith and receive His mighty blessings. Faith then upholds grace because God is not constraining himself to achievements attained in the Flesh (Phil 3, circumcision, Pharisee, Benjamin Tribe, Israelite,etc,etc) but desires to be accepted by faith, which is open to all mankind.

  212. Erick, You brought up to me whether God was crediting Abraham;s faith as righteousness. Romans 3: 22 ” even the righteousness of God THROUGH faith, for all those who BELIEVE. Philippians ” not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is THROUGH faith in Christ, which comes from God on the BASIS of faith. Faith is the vehicle which receives the Righteousness of Christ. I really think the RC confusing sanctification with this gave Rome an irresistible urge to smuggle their own character into God’s work of Grace. I believe this is the grave error.

  213. Kevin,

    None of those verses are incompatible with what we are saying. Abraham’s faith being credited as righteousness just means that Abraham opened himself up to the life giving power of God to raise his and Sarai’s old body from the dead. Faith reaches out for what is not reachable. And this is why faith pleases God. But it is dead without works.

  214. Erick,

    Moving on…..

    All of your comments on the last portion of Rom 7 fit if we assume Paul was not a Christian. To argue for Paul’s status in Rom 7 is not relevant in my opinion. Either way, law of sin and death is counteracted by Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

    —————————————-

    You wrote:
    The reason why there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus is because those who are in Christ are freed from the law of sin and death. That’s pretty straight forward and difficult to miss.

    Response:
    Why did Paul designate the Spirit of life in Christ as a Law ? This Law was enthroned for Righteousness to reign (Rom.5:17), just like grace would reign (Rom.6:14) through Righteousness (Rom.5:21). The forensic judgement of no condemnation is a reiteratation of the ‘one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men’ (Rom.5:18). The liberating Law was installed to signify the
    sanctification-new order (Rom.6:10,11; Rom.7:6) BASED upon ‘the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification’. (Rom.5:16) IOW, Christ’s condemnation of sin in the flesh (Rom.8:3) REIGNS in the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ.

    The corrupt nature, apart from guilt and forensic considerations, is signified by ‘flesh’. It needed something more than imputation of righteousness ! Protestants make santification and justification distinct at the very juncture. More good news….they are brought together by one great soteriological plan ending in eternal life.

    …so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

    But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

  215. Eric,

    there are plenty of Catholic gentlemen (and ladies). You just aren’t one of them

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly-9MDqMAd0

  216. Eric W,

    Thanks for your response.

    You wrote:

    Why did Paul designate the Spirit of life in Christ as a Law ?

    To parallel, for the purpose of contrast, the law of sin and death. Of course the law of sin and death are real ontological issues. I would add they are not only eschatological either. Paul believes that one lives in death and bears fruit to death even now. The passions which are aroused through the law, when a human being lives in the flesh (In Adam), summarizes the law of sin and death. It is not a merely juridicial reality.

    This Law was enthroned for Righteousness to reign (Rom.5:17)

    If you are saying here that the “Law of the Spirit of Life” was enthroned for righteousness to reign, and righteousness is understood as the remission of sin and the infusion of divine love, then yes I agree wholeheartedly

    , just like grace would reign (Rom.6:14) through Righteousness (Rom.5:21). The forensic judgement of no condemnation is a reiteratation of the ‘one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men’ (Rom.5:18).

    Exactly. I am glad you can make this connection. Many do not see any parallels between Romans 8:1-3 and Romans 5:12-21. Very good.

    The liberating Law was installed to signify the
    sanctification-new order (Rom.6:10,11; Rom.7:6)

    Yes

    BASED upon ‘the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification’. (Rom.5:16) IOW, Christ’s condemnation of sin in the flesh (Rom.8:3) REIGNS in the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ.

    The free gift, which is the remission of sins and the infusion of divine agape, result from many transgressions on account of the act of Christ. And Christ did not condemn sin, per se, according to the text, rather God condemned sin through Christ. But otherwise, there is no error here.

    The corrupt nature, apart from guilt and forensic considerations, is signified by ‘flesh’. It needed something more than imputation of righteousness ! Protestants make santification and justification distinct at the very juncture. More good news….they are brought together by one great soteriological plan ending in eternal life.

    To be fair, there is a distinction between forensic and transformative aspects of salvation. However, to merely point out the distinction does not remove you from Catholic orthodoxy. What removes you from Catholic orthodoxy occurs when you go one step further than noting a distinction between justification and sanctification. And that next step is to split them up and then only choose one of them as the “ground” or “merit” of the “totality” of salvation, and then render the other one as not meritorious for heaven, but only a sign that one has been saved. That is the step which erected the Council of Trent.

    …so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord
    But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

    Yes, but we need to make sure we are not importing any unwarranted distinction in causes here. Paul does not say that the gift of righteousness is merely forensic. Secondly, the sanctification is likewise causal in the attainment of eternal life, ultimately. The first cause is one’s entrance into Christ, whereby without works he/she is remitted of all sin and renewed in the spirit of their mind. However, grace requires the co-op of the will in crucifying the flesh with it’s desires and putting on the new man, as we walk in this struggle of the overlap of the ages. Those who give into the life of the flesh, will always end up dying. But if through the Holy Spirit, we put to death the deeds of the body, we will live. Notice how Paul also see causation in the putting to death the deeds of the body in a progressive sanctification sense.

  217. Erick, You said to Eric ” And the next step is to split them up and then only choose one of them as the ground or merit or totality of salvation etc.” We don’t split them up. We rightfully distinguish Christ as the only meritorial cause of justification and salvation. You use sanctification as an irresistible urge to smuggle your own character into God’s work of Grace. So it becomes your internal righteousness versus the righteousness of Christ. Your achievement versus his, when you are explicitly told it is not that of yourself and not a result of your interregnal righteousness or affairs. So grace is simply an infused substance to merit salvation. This is the Roman error.

  218. Kevin,

    You wrote:

    Erick, You said to Eric ” And the next step is to split them up and then only choose one of them as the ground or merit or totality of salvation etc.” We don’t split them up. We rightfully distinguish Christ as the only meritorial cause of justification and salvation.

    The word “split” is meant to communicate what you just said. And you do not just view Christ as the only meritorious cause of justification and salvation, you view Chist “for us” (outside of us) as the only merit for us, whereas Catholics see it as “Christ” in us (interiorly) as also a formal cause to justification and salvation.

    My argument is that such a distinction and the end conclusion are not founded on Scripture.

    You use sanctification as an irresistible urge to smuggle your own character into God’s work of Grace.

    So the man who has his heart circumcised by the Holy Spirit and as a result keeps the righteous requirements of the Law without circumcision in the flesh is a man who as an irresistible urge to smuggle his own character into God’s work of grace (Rom 2:27-29)?? Paul disagrees with your absurd ideas. He says such a man boasts in God and Christ (Rom 2:29; Phil 3:1-3) and gives no confidence to the flesh, who is under the Spirit and not the letter. St. Paul would rebuke you, as I do here.

    So it becomes your internal righteousness versus the righteousness of Christ.

    Paul tells us that “we become” the righteousness of God in Him. This is the same righteousness which Paul says comes about through “knowing the power of His resurrection” (Phil 3:8-10), and which one must have to attain to the resurrection of the dead.

    Your achievement versus his, when you are explicitly told it is not that of yourself and not a result of your interregnal righteousness or affairs. So grace is simply an infused substance to merit salvation. This is the Roman error.

    Apparently, for you, that is also a Pauline error, and therefore an apostolic error. For As I said prior, Paul says there exists uncircumcised who fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law, without being circumcised and without being under the Law, by virtue of the Holy Spirit circumcising the inner heart of the man, causing him to keep the laws and commandments of God (Rom 2:27-29). Does this man qualify as the heretic you are all trying to make us out to be?

    Those who live in the New covenant live in the Spirit, and we fulfill the Law through our love of God and neighbor. I won’t let anyone take that gift of God from me. The Scripture is clear on this. However, as I’ve already shown, it is not clear at all, in fact it is contrary, that salvation depends on a purely extrinsic righteousness being imputed to us, even if couched into union with Christ (as Richard Gaffin/Bavink/and Vos do).

  219. Kevin,

    It is quite amazing how much you gloss over so many issues that are presented to you. I have lost count. I can think of some you really have never dealt with.

    1) Abraham’s faith is imputed for righteousness, and Paul even describes the character of Abraham’s faith as a “reason” (Rom 4:17-23) for why God credited as righteousness. You merely hand wave.

    2) Acts 19, Paul’s interview with the Jewish disciples of John the baptist. He asks them “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”. They say, “Never heard of that”. Paul says “Well, into what were you baptized”? They says “Into John’s baptism”. Paul takes them to water, baptizes them again (even after receiving John’s), and lays hand on them in order for the to receive the Holy Ghost. You have disdained the name of Christ by calling this process a machination of heretical man. And once again, you merely hand wave.

    3) Paul says that if we sow to the Spirit, only then can we reap Eternal Life. Whereas if you sow to the flesh, you will die. You merely hand wave.

    4) Romans 8:1-3 tells us that our justification is based off the freedom given by the Holy Spirit whose action causes the interior transition from flesh to Spirit (ontology). You merely hand wave.

    5) Galatians 3:28-29, Paul says “For all of you are sons of God through faith in Christ, for as many of you who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”. Here Paul presupposes the sacrament when he cites faith by itself. In other words, when Paul says “through faith”, he presupposes the sacrament of faith, baptism. You call it a purely spiritual invisible baptism. I bring you to all the words “baptize” in Paul’s letters, such as in 1 Cor 10, and how it is used in the same way in 1 Cor 1:16-20. You have no principled way of determining which reference is only spiritual and which is water baptism. You merely hand wave.

    6) I told you that the Galatians were not living immoral lives of sinfulness, but were rather turning to the outward works of the Jewish Law, and therefore Paul is not out to obliterate the moral transformation of man (the crucifixion of flesh and resurrection in the Spirit) but rather the external fleshly aspect of Torah. You say its “ALL LAW!. Handwaving, once again.

    7) I’ve repeatedly pointed you to verses wherein our “works” are determining our eternal state on the day of judgement (John 5:29). You say No! Only believing gets you in. Again, hand waving.

    When are you going to deal with these points?

  220. Erick, Thats correct, Paul said, not of yourselves, not of works, and not having a righteousness of my own. You usurp the righteousness of Christ as being the only meritorious cause when you oppose it with your righteousness and your achievement in justification. You make a savior of inherent grace and merit. ” To the one who works well to the end and believes in God, salvation is to be offered, not only to his mercy, but to their good works and merits. Put simply you won’t let Christ off the cross because you are completing a justification that is already finished.

  221. Erick, Here is some more hand waving. ” He is just and justifier of those who have faith in Jesus.” Obviously someone who is sowing in the Spirit and reaping eternal life is someone who has been justified. We stand righteous before God. Incidentally, when you point a finger at someone there are 3 pointing back at you. You know how you dealt with my post on all the scriptures seated in heaven, Spirit of adoption, raised imperishable in the inner man. You just say I’m unconvinced. You evaded. You need a case of ingrown eyeballs. i get a liitle tired of all your chiding.

  222. Kevin,

    You’ve not responded to any of my arguments. I think you contradict Paul, and I’ve given you my reasons. If you feel like you don’t need to respond. That’s fine. But please don’t expect me to believe that you are taking serious Pauline theology in the least, or for that matter apostolic.

  223. Gentlemen–

    We have spoken of the “filthy rags” of Reformed sanctification, how even our best deeds are besmirched with sin. I came across this quote from John Flavel (a Puritan theologian) and thought I’d post it:

    “All our excellencies are borrowed excellencies. Therefore, there is no reason to be proud of any of them. What intolerable insolence and vanity would it be for a man who wears the rich and costly robe of Christ’s righteousness, in which there is not one thread of his own spinning, but all made by free grace and not by free will, to jet proudly up and down the world in it, as if he himself had made it and he were beholden to none for it? O man! Thine excellencies whatever they are, are borrowed from Christ. Well then, let the sense of your own emptiness by nature humble and oblige you the more to Christ, from whom you receive all you have.”

    I cannot directly disagree with a single word here; in fact, I resonate with it implicitly. And yet, I cannot help seeing where the Catholic reader would get the wrong impression. Perhaps many Reformed readers have the wrong impression, as well. (Or yet again, perhaps you are all seeing things correctly, and I am the one who DOES disagree with the impression given.)

    It is from Christ that we receive all that we have, but it is not technically a loan. What we have freely received from his hand we now POSSESS. What we possess we may interact with and act upon. Of our own initiation, as new creatures in Christ, we do good deeds. All is prepared, all is maintained, all is empowered, all is enacted and seen through to the end by Christ. But at the same time, we do indeed work out our own salvation in fear and trembling. Surely, all Calvinists believe this, for compatibilism requires it. But few if any articulate it. It is a point of confusion that we ought to clean up.

    If there is no sense in which we can speak of OUR freedom and OUR joy and OUR thanksgiving and OUR love and OUR peace and even OUR righteousness, then we are as guilty as the Catholics of breaching the Creator-creature divide!

  224. Eric,

    Romans 2:27-29

    This is a man who is circumcised in heart by the action and power of God the Holy Spirit, and who fulfills the righteous requirements of the Law (being uncircumcised), who is a member of the New Covenant, where the boasting and praise is not from men, but from God.

    Here we have a situation where the all powerful God is circumcising men’s hearts, making them holy and walk in His commands, and they are fulfilling God’s righteous demands in the Law. And yet, there is no boasting.

    This verse is a deathblow to the reformed desire to bewail everything in us. For if Christ in us, and you bewail everything in us, then you bewail Christ, and that is blasphemy….

  225. Kevin,

    “You usurp the righteousness of Christ as being the only meritorious cause when you oppose it with your righteousness and your achievement in justification”

    Do you usurp the righteousness of Christ when you resist sin in progressive sanctification? When you cooperate with grace in progressive sanctification, leading to less sin than if you hadn’t (since even cooperation with grace is corrupted by sin) and “merit” reward, are you opposing Christ’s righteousness with your righteousness and achievement in progressive sanctification?

  226. Eric, thanks, what a quote. You are the A team. I’m just trying to get the crumbs from the table. I actually think you pretty much cleared it up. I agree.

  227. James, My righteousness isn’t derived from His righteousness, it is His righteousness. Nothing I do in sanctification is meritorious in me being justified before God. I don’t know if i answered your question. Let me know.

  228. Kevin,

    I understand nothing you do in sanctification is meritorious to your justification. That’s not relevant to my question. My question is whether your cooperation and rewards in progressive sanctification usurps Christ/exalts you/mocks grace/etc or not. If it doesn’t, I’d like to know why, given the logic you are using elsewhere.

  229. James–

    Your question to Kevin has (sort of) a simple answer.

    No, of course, not. Our good deeds within sanctification do not usurp Christ’s glory. For we have already handed over all glory to him in justification.

    We’re not all that different from y’all on this. You ascribe all of your condign merit to grace, in other words, to Christ. You yourselves do all of your meritorious good works without recourse to valid bragging.

    As John Martignoni (Bible Christian Society/EWTN) states:

    “The Catholic Church teaches that one’s works are of absolutely no avail, unless one is already in a state of justification…. How can [one] say that Catholicism teaches justification by works, when the Church clearly teaches that one must be in a state of grace…must be a member of the Body of Christ…must be already saved…must be already justified…for any personal works of theirs to have merit (in, through, and by Christ)?

    “So, to say that we believe we are justified by our personal works, when we teach that our personal works are of no use unless we are already justified, is the height of absurdity! If I’m not already in a state of justification, then my works don’t count for anything. They certainly do not justify me. If I have to already be in a state of justification before my works count for anything, then how can you say we believe works justify us? We’re already justified before we do a single work that counts for anything!

    “Works do not justify us. God’s grace does that. However, if we do not respond to God’s grace, with faith and works, then we can indeed lose our justification. Faith and works help us to hold on to what God has already given us. If we lose our faith, or if we do not do the works that God has prepared for us – we do not do the will of God for our lives – then we can lose the gift of justification…the gift of salvation…that God has given us through Baptism.”

    Clearly, the difference between us on this point is the ability to lose justification. Everything else is pretty much the same. But that one difference changes everything. All of a sudden, you ARE working for your justification (in order to maintain it, in order not to lose it). All of a sudden, you CAN boast: I made it through whereas YOU lost your way! Since both are in a State of Grace and are afforded the same degree of actual grace (operative and cooperative), the deciding factor is the individual’s own efforts, his or her personally meritorious cooperation with God’s grace (on one’s own, apart from the assistance of Christ).

    Jason insists that even one’s cooperation with grace is gracious, but then one is left with a system nearly identical to Calvinism (because the differences between an individual’s being justified or not justified is purely up to God).

    I am not as pejorative on Catholic soteriology as Kevin since it is clear to me that your error here is more or less the same error as Protestant Arminianism (which got the idea, as far as I have been able to garner, from Catholicism). Arminianism is a serious, spiritually crippling error but not mortal in and of itself. Catholicism has worse errors than the framework of her soteriology.

  230. Erick–

    You said:

    “This verse is a deathblow to the Reformed desire to bewail everything in us. For if Christ is in us, and you bewail everything in us, then you bewail Christ, and that is blasphemy….”

    If you have read everything that I have written, then you know that I agree with you on this. I tend to think it is a case of reactionary protectiveness of Sola Gratia. But some Reformed do indeed bewail everything, even that which Christ himself has made new. This is a mistake. They tend to attribute everything to Christ himself, but this is in error. That which Christ creates anew is good but it is NOT Christ himself. It is the new creation, and it has an existence of its own, apart from the Savior, even though united to him.

  231. Erick–

    I meant to answer back to you concerning the Piper video you linked us to. Had he been asked to share a word or two on assurance, he would have waxed eloquent on that, as well. In the video you sent us, he spoke of God’s faithfulness to get him through his times of questioning and doubt.

    All systems of theology are flawed, for now we see through a glass, darkly. I pray one day Catholicism will see this as something they can admit to. Without it there is no accountability (either to one another or to the Spirit) and no hope for unity. As you may have noticed, I do not accept Reformed orthodoxy hook, line, and sinker. I think it’s kind of anti-intellectual to bind oneself to any man-made system. Obviously, that means I know that I can make mistakes, too. Semper reformanda.

    I can tell you that since my adoption of Reformed soteriology my doubting has significantly, significantly decreased. As an Arminian (and Catholics are still de facto Arminians in my book), I had EXTREME bouts of questioning. So my experience is the exact opposite of yours. Furthermore, I detect absolutely nothing in Catholicism which would add to my present peace.

  232. Kenneth–

    Thanks for the wry humor of the youtube link.

    However, my point remains.

    Find us a neutral mediator. Then list off as many arrogant and sarcastic Reformed theologians, bloggers, and pundits as you can come up with. Our mediator will whittle your list down to those he or she agrees with.

    At this point, I will list TEN TIMES as many names and have them verified by our mediator.

    This is what I believe…and why I think you owe the Reformed community an apology.

  233. Kenneth–

    I should clarify. I would NOT be listing off arrogant and sarcastic personalities but self-deprecating and winsome ones. Obviously.

  234. James, There are two choices 1. Salvation is of God 2. Salvation is of ourselves, I choose 1, which do you choose?

  235. Eric, you write:

    I am not as pejorative on Catholic soteriology as Kevin since it is clear to me that your error here is more or less the same error as Protestant Arminianism (which got the idea, as far as I have been able to garner, from Catholicism)

    To understand the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, one needs to know what St. Augustine wrote about prevenient grace and antecedent grace (or what St. Thomas Aquinas calls operating grace and cooperating grace).

    The Arminians are saying that St. Augustine taught prevenient grace is synergistic, and the Calvinists are saying that St. Augustine taught that prevenient grace is monergistic. In this case, the Calvinists have the correct interpretation of St. Augustine. The problem is that Calvinists want to believe in a monergism only view of salvation, and that is something that St. Augustine never taught.

    The correct view that avoids the heresies of Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, Calvinism and Arminianism is not an either/or view – either monergism or synergism. The correct understanding of St. Augustine is the both/and view – Both prevenient grace (which is monergistic) and antecedent grace (which is synergistic).

    The real problem is the Calvinist penchant for creating false dichotomies

  236. Erick, Here is the bottom line RC falsely represent the material and formal cause , as if our works held half the place along with faith and Christ’s righteousness. But scripture cries out against this, simply affirming that Christ is for us both righteousness and life, and that this benefit of righteousness is possessed by faith alone.

  237. Kenneth,

    Sorry for taking so long to respond… busy busy….

    No prob.

    Kenneth
    Here is your proof.
    1. Whatever God infallibly decrees will take place?

    Yes.

    2. God is responsible for what He positively decrees will take place.

    Bare assertion. God is morally responsible only for what he says he is morally responsible for. He is creator and judge, we are not. More on this below and on how you DON’T have a better answer.

    ?3. God infallibly decreed that man would sin.

    Yes.

    ?4. Therefore, God is responsible for mans sin.

    God is not morally responsible. When the objector raises this very objection in Romans 9 to God’s decree of reprobation and hardening of heart, Paul says “who are you o man.” You are the objector in Romans 9 and you don’t like Paul’s answer, which is the only answer I can give you. Thomists get all creative trying to get around that, but it doesn’t work.

    Robert wrote: There are lots of places in the Bible where it says human beings in their sin acted in accordance with what God had planned and that God is holy. The best example of this is the crucifixion of Christ:?Acts 4:27–28Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.?God predestined the very acts of those who killed his Son.

    Kenneth repliedYou are projecting your definition of “predestined” into the text. There are numerous conceptual alternatives to the word “predestined” and by assuming your own sects concept you beg the question. God can predestine the betrayal of Christ without positively decreeing that Judas must betray him.

    It would be helpful to at least start with, y’know the actual words used in the text, which literally says God foresaw what would be. Of course, this is always used in contexts that speak of God’s plan (Acts 2:23, for example, speaks of Christ being killed in accordance with God’s plan). In any case, the very fact that God predestined SOMEONE to betray Christ and put him to death guarantees that SOMEONE would do it. You move things back a step and think you’ve answered the question. If God hadn’t predestined it, it wouldn’t have happened. So you haven’t gotten around how God is not morally responsible for that.

    And as far as reading my “sect’s” theology into it, well, you’re guilty of that too my friend. Your sect created the division in the west and by its arrogance perpetuates it. Rome is the most sectarian body in all Christendom.

    Robert: God’s decree establishes all things. “Cause” is an ambiguous Word. God didn’t force Adam to sin. Adam wanted to sin and so he sinned. He didn’t do something he didn’t want to do. If God’s decree does not establish all things, you have bigger problems of dualism. If God gives good creatures freedom but does not ordain sin, where then does the desire to sin ultimately originate. If its not a part of God’s decree then it enters in from outside somehow. So is there an eternal evil being operating alongside God?

    Kenneth: Cause is not an ambiguous word. You make it ambiguous to avoid the implications of your theology.

    Three cars are at a stop light. Car number 1 is rearended by car number 2, which was rearended by car number 3. Who CAUSED the damage to car number 1? Was it car number 2 or car number 3?

    Kenneth: Lets walk through this step by step. You say that God didn’t force Adam to sin because Adam wanted or desired to sin. But if Gods decrees establish all things how did Adam come to desire sin? Given reformed principles such a desire must have been positively decreed by God!

    I don’t like the term “positive” because God’s relationship to evil is different than his relationship to what is good. God decreed that Adam would sin, yes, but it wasn’t a “positive” decree in the same sense that he decreed my salvation.

    In any case, YOU don’t get around the “problem” posed for Reformed theology. If God had never willed to permit Adam to sin (which language of permission I’m not uncomfortable with, despite its ambiguity), he never would have sinned.

    You don’t like the tu quoque, but until you can answer it, Thomism hasn’t solved a thing, and it only unnecessarily complicates things by inventing sufficient grace that isn’t sufficient at all because you need something more for salvation. Until you can answer the tu quoque, don’t promote Thomism as the viable solution that Calvinism doesn’t have. The tu quoque isn’t enough to make one a Calvinist, but it sure is heck enough to show that Thomism isn’t the logical alternative.

    Kenneth: 5. Gods eternal and infallible positive decrees establish all things. ?6. God eternally and infallibly decreed that Adam would desire to sin.? 7. Adam desired to sin.
    Given 1-4 it follows that? 8. God is responsible for Adams desire to sin.

    The Romans 9 man rears his head again. God will decide what he is morally responsible for, thank you very much. He is Creator, you are the creature. You don’t really believe that.

    God is not morally responsible for Adam’s sin. He is responsible in the sense in that it would not have happened had he not ordained it. That is true of all things no matter how you construe it. God is just as responsible for sin in Thomism. He ordained it, knowing it would certainly happen. He doesn’t get in the way to stop it. This is why the open theism critique of classical Arminianism is spot on and applies equally well to Thomism.

    Kenneth: You are most certainly judging God. First, you are asserting that man is not culpable for his sin if it is decreed by God. Says who? Paul faced questions like these in Romans 9 and he said, “Who are You O man to answer back to God?”?I can’t give a full answer to this question because the Bible doesn’t. At some point, God’s answer is “Shut up and trust me.” This is the answer you do not like.

    Robert:You are again begging the question by assuming that Paul is defending reformed theological concepts of predestination in Romans 9.

    Whatever. What is the objector protesting if not a concept of predestination that says one’s fate is eternally sealed before God before the man can make any choice on his own? What is the objector protesting too if Pharaoh’s hardening is solely Pharoah’s responsibility. There is no other coherent reading of the passage. Paul’s teaching is only objectionable if one says moral responsibility only inheres in the creature even though God ordains sin. You have not wrestled with this text. Your sect doesn’t give you good tools for doing that.

    Robert: And for the tu quoque again, How can man alone be culpable for exercising his will wrongly when God gave him that capacity knowing that He would certainly sin? It’s like me knowing that Bob will murder Jim if I give Bob a gun and giving him the gun anyway. In what criminal justice system will I not be held accountable for Bob’s actions? I could have prevented the crime, but I didn’t.
    KennethLYou would not be guilty of a crime if you held morally permissible reasons for giving the gun to Bob. For example, if you gave Bob the gun knowing that he would murder Jim for his own sick pleasure you would be guilty of a crime. However, if it was discovered that you gave Bob the gun to murder Jim because Jim was about to set off a nuclear warhead and kill billions of people you would have had morally acceptable reasons for giving Bob the gun in the first place. This defense can not be used by reformed theologians as in the reformed world God gave Bob the desire to kill Jim and also gave Jim the desire to set off nuclear warheads.

    Maybe so, but I’d still probably go to jail for some crime. In any case, in such a scenario, God ordained for Bob to have the desire and for Jim to have his desire for morally permissible reasons—because both ultimately advance God’s glory. So yes, the defense applies for Reformed theology.

    Robert: What poorly befits God’s character is this idea that He really isn’t in control of all things. That He isn’t working out all things according to His will (Eph. 1:11).

    Kenneth: God can be in control of all things and work all things in accordance with His will without assuming reformed theological principles which you are again doing.

    Robert: These aren’t totally new questions, they are exactly related to why evil must be a part of God’s decree. If it isn’t, severe questions are raised about God’s omniscience and other attributes.

    Kenneth: Whatevuhh Im game. Explain to me why God eternally decreeing that man be permitted to sin violates divine simplicity and God as pure Act? I want it spelled out and not merely asserted.

    If God ordains that SOMEONE will sin without ordaining who that someone will be, then there is a logical or temporal gap in the decrees wherein God does not know who that someone will be. He passively takes in knowledge. He becomes dependent on something outside himself for knowledge of his own creation. Those are big problems related to impassibility, aseity, and omniscience.

    Robert: Language games. What does it mean Adam could have done something else? In this world? If he could do something else, why did he not do something else? Why don’t the reprobate do something else if they really could? What’s keeping them from doing it?

    Kenneth: Yes, Adam could have done something other than sin in this world. He didn’t because he chose not to. The reprobate COULD choose Christ but choose not to. Nothing is keeping them from the kingdom of God but their own decision to choose evil. None of this contradicts biblical teaching on reprobation and predestination in general.

    If this simply means that human beings have an intellectual capacity or something by which they can make such choices, then I agree. But if God’s knowledge is not falsifiable, then once he knows people will do something, they cannot do otherwise. End of story. You could perhaps say that once he knows people will do something, they will not do otherwise, but that is just more language games. If God’s knowledge sets something in stone, which it must if it is not falsifiable, in what way does your Adam have ability in a way that mine doesn’t. None. At. All. The open theists are right on this, which makes either them or Calvinism the only viable options.

    Robert: When did God know what Adam would do? If he knew what Adam would do, why not create someone else who would not fall?

    Kenneth: We are not in a position to ask that question. We must assume that God had morally permissible reasons for choosing to create Adam knowing that He would choose sin.

    IOW, We cannot raise questions about the scheme imposed by the small sect of Kenneth’s Thomism within the larger sect of Thomism within the larger sect of Roman Catholicism and demand an answer, but we can feel all proud and raise questions about the scheme uncovered by Calvinism via its reading of Scripture.

    We are not in a position to ask how God cannot be morally responsible for ordaining Adam’s fall. We must assume that God had morally permissible reasons for choosing to ordain that Adam would sin.

    Robert: In what meaningful sense could we do anything other than what God knows we will do?

    Kenneth: In every sense.

    As I realized long ago, you have no answer. Moving along.

    Robert: The only point at which Adam could not do anything different, it would seem, is the moment before (logically or temporally) God knew what He would do. Once God knew what Adam would do, the only way he could do something else is if what God knew was falsifiable. Otherwise, his certain knowledge guarantees the outcome. His knowledge binds Adam to do what God knows He will do.

    Kenneth: I dont understand why you can not conceptually grasp the difference between what a man <b.shall do and what a man can do. I don’t know how to else to explain the difference.

    I actually get what you are trying to say. What I am trying to get you to see is that the distinction is IRRELEVANT. Either way, God created a world in which countless numbers of people will persist in sin and end up eternally damned. He did not have to make this world and could have just as easily made one in which everybody is saved or one in which no one would need to be saved to begin with. Why did he not do that? The only orthodox answer is that he had a better reason for doing things this way than he had for not allowing or ordaining anyone to sin. We actually agree on that, even if the reason we would both give is likely different.

    Robert: This is where the open theists are correct, and this is where the only real possibilities are Calvinism or open theism (or some other scheme in which one of God’s attributes are denied). Thomism is not helpful here. It does not answer the “culpability” problem (it cannot be answered in any full way by any theistic system that holds to omniscience and omnipotence), and it raises a whole host of other questions.

    Kenneth: Thomism completely answers the culpability problem as my previous comments have proved. Your only objection is that the Thomistic response leaves open other questions on divine aseity unrelated to man’s culpability.

    No it doesn’t answer anything. It tries to hold onto a higher view of divine sovereignty but ends up de facto Arminianism in a lot of ways. It invents distinctions that are meaningless and not biblical to boot. And it creates people who think they’ve solved the hard questions of theodicy—that would be you.

    It is far better to say what the Bible says and then honestly admit “I cannot fully explain how God is not culpable for evil.” Thomism, Molinism, and every other ism besides Calvinism makes for high-faluting theological discourse and PhDs, but it doesn’t answer ANYTHING. You end up with the same questions that a Calvinist must answer with mystery, and you take 400 miles of detours to get there.

    I appreciate the discussion as much as anyone, but I have studied this question in-depth for both personal and intellectual reasons for more than 20 years. I have a Master of Theology to show for it (it was my thesis topic), as well as several smaller papers from my MDiv. I don’t say this to brag, only to show you that I probably know more about this specific aspect of theology than any other and that I’m not going to be easily swayed by these arguments. They’ve been refuted again and again and again by countless Reformed and non-Reformed theologians.

  238. Mateo–

    Thanks for your “interpretation” of Augustine.

    You do realize that from the Second Council of Orange on, Catholic soteriology has been termed semi-Augustinian for a reason, don’t you? I don’t think he’s as squarely in your corner as you believe. (Maybe you should take some time to actually read what the fellow wrote. Just a thought.)

    As Robert just got through saying, Thomism might as well be Arminian. (Just as Molinism might as well be Pelagian, if you ask me.)

    Any system that holds to a generalized perseverance of the saints might as well be “monergistic only,” as you call it. What does Augustine believe on that score?

  239. Kevin,

    “James, There are two choices 1. Salvation is of God 2. Salvation is of ourselves, I choose 1, which do you choose?”

    I choose option 1 of course. That you think RCs wouldn’t shows you are still failing to grasp distinctions.

    You are not engaging the point. There are two choices 1. Progressive sanctification is of God 2. Progressive sanctification is of ourselves. Which do you choose?

    Eric,

    That was a fair reply. But
    “All of a sudden, you CAN boast: I made it through whereas YOU lost your way! Since both are in a State of Grace and are afforded the same degree of actual grace (operative and cooperative), the deciding factor is the individual’s own efforts, his or her personally meritorious cooperation with God’s grace (on one’s own, apart from the assistance of Christ).”
    is off.

    First, you well know given previous discussions on the Thomistic emphasis on grace and RC’s insistence that cooperation is itself of grace, although neither Thomism nor Molinism can deny sufficient grace (as Calvinists do), that we have no room to boast. So there is simply no official teaching you will find saying we can ever cooperate apart from the assistance of Christ – both initial and additional justification and merits are never of our own power apart from grace.

    Now what you will say is that “well, if you can lose your justification, or people reject sufficient grace then you can boast”. This is what I’ve said before – you have appealed to paradox/mystery in other doctrines, yet refuse to do so here and so reduce RCism to crypto-Pelagianism. Reconciling God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility is indeed a mystery.
    As I’ve cited Garrigou-Lagrange before:
    “Our intelligence must be held captive before the divine obscurity of this great mystery, confessing these two graces (sufficient and efficacious), the first of which leaves our will without an excuse before God, while the second does not allow it to glory in itself. In other words, “It must be admitted (in opposition to the Jansenists) that there are two interior graces, of which one (namely, sufficient grace) leaves our soul inexcusable before God after sin, and of which the other (that is, efficacious grace) does not permit our will to glory in itself after accomplishing good works.” “What hast thou that thou hast not received? For who distinguisheth thee?”
    These two propositions, thus formulated, are as two very luminous semicircles surrounding the deepest obscurity of the mystery. Above these semicircles is the mystery of the divine good pleasure, combining infinite mercy, infinite justice, and supreme liberty, which are identified in the Deity. Below, however, is the abyss of our defectibility and the gravity of mortal sin.”

    Synergism does not necessitate exalting man or diminishing God. This is what the historic church, both east and west, has always known and understood. If you refuse to allow mystery in cooperation and sovereignty, then I’d like to know how you affirm progressive sanctification, or why you cannot boast in that sphere.

  240. James, I think i answer your question in my post to Erick above on RC formal and material cause. Let me know if I need to giver a fuller explanation. Basically Christ is for us both righteousness and life, and this benefit in righteousness in possessed in faith alone.

  241. James, The problem for Calvin was the RC falsely represented the material and formal cause, as if our works held half the place along with faith and Christ’s righteousness. But Scripture cries out against this, simply affirming for us Christ is both righteousness and life, and that this benefit of righteousness is possessed in faith alone.

  242. James,

    Because Paul does not allow for synergism of works and grace in justification and that is where combining the two produces boasting. If you recognize that your works can’t justify you in ANY sense whatsoever and that that justification apart from even the works God helps you do is the ground and guarantee of sanctification, then there can be no boasting in it. Its ultimately as irresistible as the grace of justification.

    David kept the law of Christ in the power of the Spirit by keeping the Mosaic law, and he was not justified by that. Neither are we (Romans 4). To say otherwise is to deny the New Testament.

    Or as Paul said it more eloquently in Romans 11: But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

    Paul’s gospel wasn’t radical because he said you need the help of the grace of the Spirit to do good. It wasn’t even radical because it said you needed a dying and rising Messiah plus this grace, for that is what the Judaizers believed. It was radical because he said even our best works done in grace justify no one.

  243. Robert,

    “Because Paul does not allow for synergism of works and grace in justification and that is where combining the two produces boasting. If you recognize that your works can’t justify you…”

    Okay so you cannot boast in justification. Why can’t you boast in the synergism of works and grace in progressive sanctification that Paul does allow? You earned reward and another regenerate didn’t. You cooperated with grace while your pastor didn’t. So why can’t you boast?

    “Or as Paul said it more eloquently in Romans 11: But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

    Trent: “we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification. For, if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the Apostle says, grace is no more grace.”

  244. Robert,

    Bare assertion. God is morally responsible only for what he says he is morally responsible for. He is creator and judge, we are not. More on this below and on how you DON’T have a better answer.

    I do not have to define “responsible” as morally responsible for my argument to work. we can define it in the more broad sense and the argument still goes through. Webster defines responsible as liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent (2) : being the cause or explanation This definition perfectly fits the syllogism and devastates your position just the same.

    4. Therefore, God is responsible for mans sin.
    God is not morally responsible. When the objector raises this very objection in Romans 9 to God’s decree of reprobation and hardening of heart, Paul says “who are you o man.” You are the objector in Romans 9 and you don’t like Paul’s answer, which is the only answer I can give you. Thomists get all creative trying to get around that, but it doesn’t work.

    God is responsible in the sense that I have defined responsible and that is enough to make Him the author of evil.

    Three cars are at a stop light. Car number 1 is rearended by car number 2, which was rearended by car number 3. Who CAUSED the damage to car number 1? Was it car number 2 or car number 3?

    Car number 3 is the primary cause with car number two being the secondary cause. Let us also ask which car is responsible for the damage to car 1. Clearly Car number 3 is ultimately responsible because without car 3 car 2 would not have rear ended 1. You have made God out to be car number 3 and thats the problem. Adam is merely car two hopelessly pushed into the act of rear ending without any moral culpability for the wreck.

    I don’t like the term “positive” because God’s relationship to evil is different than his relationship to what is good. God decreed that Adam would sin, yes, but it wasn’t a “positive” decree in the same sense that he decreed my salvation.

    And you want to accuse me of language games?!? sheeeesh…. Do you deny that Adams desire to sin was infallibly and eternally decreed by God? If not then how is saying “Oh God didn’t force Adam to sin…. Adam wanted to sin” a meaningful defense?

    In any case, YOU don’t get around the “problem” posed for Reformed theology. If God had never willed to permit Adam to sin (which language of permission I’m not uncomfortable with, despite its ambiguity), he never would have sinned.

    The issue isn’t whether or not God created a world in which sin exists the issue is whether or not man is culpable for sin! The issue is if God is responsible (in the way that I defined it previously) for mans sin. You continually confuse and conflate concepts when applying your tu quoque.

    Kenneth: 5. Gods eternal and infallible positive decrees establish all things. ?6. God eternally and infallibly decreed that Adam would desire to sin.? 7. Adam desired to sin.
    Given 1-4 it follows that? 8. God is responsible for Adams desire to sin.

    The Romans 9 man rears his head again. God will decide what he is morally responsible for, thank you very much. He is Creator, you are the creature. You don’t really believe that.
    God is not morally responsible for Adam’s sin. He is responsible in the sense in that it would not have happened had he not ordained it.

    So let me get this straight. I say Calvinism is wrong because it makes God morally responsible for sin and man is found without culpability and your response is that this simply cant be the case because the bible says God isn’t responsible for sin and man is culpable. Well, no kidding! The problem is that your theology logically leaves you with a “mystery” that looks a whole heck of a lot more like a contradiction. Your only real response to this is “I know it looks bad but just trust me my interpretation is correct”. Does God molest children? Romans 9! Romans 9! its a mystery! Does God enjoy incest, rape and murder? Romans 9! Romans 9! its a mystery! This kind of defense can be applied to anything at all.

    Maybe so, but I’d still probably go to jail for some crime. In any case, in such a scenario, God ordained for Bob to have the desire and for Jim to have his desire for morally permissible reasons—because both ultimately advance God’s glory. So yes, the defense applies for Reformed theology.

    It advances Gods glory to force man to sin and then punish him in hell for eternity to show How awesome He is? Again, some things don’t need to be refuted…. they just need to be stated out loud and the absurdity is obvious to everyone.

    If God ordains that SOMEONE will sin without ordaining who that someone will be, then there is a logical or temporal gap in the decrees wherein God does not know who that someone will be. He passively takes in knowledge. He becomes dependent on something outside himself for knowledge of his own creation. Those are big problems related to impassibility, aseity, and omniscience.

    Who said the God first ordains that “SOMEONE” will sin without ordaining who that person would be? You are assuming and arguing against some bazaar form of middle knowledge that I am unfamiliar with. Thomism doesn’t teach that God first ordains that “someone” will do X and then fills in “someone” with Joe Dirt. You are clearly not sufficiently read in this area.

    If this simply means that human beings have an intellectual capacity or something by which they can make such choices, then I agree. But if God’s knowledge is not falsifiable, then once he knows people will do something, they cannot do otherwise. End of story. You could perhaps say that once he knows people will do something, they will not do otherwise, but that is just more language games. If God’s knowledge sets something in stone, which it must if it is not falsifiable, in what way does your Adam have ability in a way that mine doesn’t. None. At. All. The open theists are right on this, which makes either them or Calvinism the only viable options.

    It is not language games to make a distinction between what A man infallible WILL do and what man CAN do in that moment. Gods infallibly knowing that X will take place does not mean X must necessarily take place. I cant explain this any simpler in laymans terms. Read here for a more technical answer

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/foreknow/

    Robert: In what meaningful sense could we do anything other than what God knows we will do?
    Kenneth: In every sense.
    As I realized long ago, you have no answer. Moving along.

    Your failure to grasp simple concepts here is disheartening.

    It is far better to say what the Bible says and then honestly admit “I cannot fully explain how God is not culpable for evil.” Thomism, Molinism, and every other ism besides Calvinism makes for high-faluting theological discourse and PhDs, but it doesn’t answer ANYTHING. You end up with the same questions that a Calvinist must answer with mystery, and you take 400 miles of detours to get there.
    I appreciate the discussion as much as anyone, but I have studied this question in-depth for both personal and intellectual reasons for more than 20 years. I have a Master of Theology to show for it (it was my thesis topic), as well as several smaller papers from my MDiv. I don’t say this to brag, only to show you that I probably know more about this specific aspect of theology than any other and that I’m not going to be easily swayed by these arguments. They’ve been refuted again and again and again by countless Reformed and non-Reformed theologians.

    “What the bible says” is in dispute (incase you haven’t been paying attention for the last 500 years or so) Your mdiv isn’t worth to much to this topic unless you have a solid grasp on philosophical concepts and analytical arguments. I don’t believe you are sufficiently read in these areas to adequately address the issue

  245. James–

    Clear something up for me. When you say that cooperation is of grace, do you mean that it is all of grace or partly of grace and partly of our own effort? I ask because the second time you mentioned it you said we can do nothing apart from Christ’s assistance. That’s quite another thing entirely. If I have a gimpy leg and Christ grants me the use of crutches to get around on, it is still I myself who is providing all the effort and self-motivation to get around.

    I have to be honest with you. It looks to me like you want to have your cake and eat it, too. It always sounds like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth on this topic. I realize that could be the paradox/mystery talking, but I have one major problem with that. Double justification posits just such a paradox/mystery and it was roundly rejected at Trent.

    I don’t happen to believe there is any problem with boasting in one’s “accomplishments” within progressive sanctification. It would, of course, be nothing more than boasting in the Lord. One can boast in the Lord concerning one’s justification, as well. It is, after all, totally his doing.

  246. James–

    I like your Tridentine citation to Robert, but why is it that what Trent gives with one hand it always takes back with another?

    If neither faith nor works merit justification, why is it that they merit eternal life?

    CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.

  247. Eric,

    “When you say that cooperation is of grace, do you mean that it is all of grace or partly of grace and partly of our own effort?”

    I mean all of grace (sola gratia) which Trent and the CCC affirm. The preparation of the will itself is a movement of grace.

    “you said we can do nothing apart from Christ’s assistance. That’s quite another thing entirely. If I have a gimpy leg and Christ grants me the use of crutches to get around on, it is still I myself who is providing all the effort and self-motivation to get around.”

    I’m not getting into the sufficient/efficacious grace discussion again. Should you boast in your progressive sanctification then? Are you providing all the effort to get around in progressive sanctification?

    “It looks to me like you want to have your cake and eat it, too.”

    I am no more having my cake and eating it too than you are with cooperation/reward in progressive sanctification.

    “I realize that could be the paradox/mystery talking”

    Correct. That’s why I cited G-L. And Robert’s doing a fine job with Kenneth showing more appeal to mystery. And you seem to be doing the same with cooperation/resistance in progressive sanctification.

    “I don’t happen to believe there is any problem with boasting in one’s “accomplishments” within progressive sanctification. It would, of course, be nothing more than boasting in the Lord. One can boast in the Lord concerning one’s justification, as well. It is, after all, totally his doing.”

    I am presuming you are putting “accomplishments” in quotes in how you link to the end saying it is “totally his doing”. So you are saying progressive sanctification which you cooperate in synergistically is totally his doing? If you are, then you should understand why RCs and EOs do not and cannot boast. What do you have that you did not receive?

  248. James, You said,” I am no more having my cake and eat it to than you are with cooperation/reward in progressive sanctification.” It wasn’t merit that was the problem for the reformers it was the location of merit. RC confused justification with sanctification. Our works are no way involved making us right before God. Fro us God saves un all the way thru, for you God helps you save yourself. Your cooperation is meritorious in making you right before God. For us only Christ’s righteousness can make us right before God.

  249. James, I’ve said this before. For Rome justification is a recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward. For Paul it was a declaration about someone who was intrinsically unqualified.

  250. James–

    If what you say is true (for you at any rate), why is there still a problem with Sola Fide? All it is there for is to make certain everything is “all of grace.” It doesn’t erase mystery. (Ask a Calvinist whether sanctification is synergistic or monergistic, and you will get every answer under the sun.)

  251. Kevin–

    You wrote:

    “Our works are in no way involved in making us right before God. For us, God saves us all the way through; for you, God helps you save yourself. Your cooperation is meritorious in making you right before God. For us, only Christ’s righteousness can make us right before God.”

    Except that James just got through saying:

    1. Our works are in no way involved in making us right before God (they do not merit justification).
    2. God saves us all the way through. He provides not only the assistance but the preparation of the will and the effort itself.
    3. Our cooperation is assuredly NOT meritorious in making us right before God. Only Christ’s righteousness can make us right before God.

    (Now, all he has to do is explain how he differs from Sola Fide and from Double Justification, both of which say similar things!)

  252. Robert,

    I do not have to define “responsible” as morally responsible for my argument to work. we can define it in the more broad sense and the argument still goes through. Webster defines responsible as liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent (2) : being the cause or explanation This definition perfectly fits the syllogism and devastates your position just the same.

    God is the first cause of all things, even sin, because everything that happens comes from his decree. Moral responsibility is grounded in the intent of the actors and in the deeds of the secondary cause. God’s reasons for ordaining sin are altogether good. He does not ordain sin because he likes sin; he ordains sin because he likes working through it to bring about his greater glory. What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil, God meant for good (Gen. 50:20). Both parties are “responsible,” but God carries no moral blame because his actions and intent are altogether good.

    God is responsible in the sense that I have defined responsible and that is enough to make Him the author of evil.

    Here’s the thing—I don’t care how you have defined responsible, or how you defined what it means for God to be the author of evil. You are not in submission to the Word of God, which means that a biblical answer will not satisfy you. I do not hope to convince you of that; it will take the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration. All I need to show you is that you face the same problems and that Thomism unnecessarily complicates the matter.

    Car number 3 is the primary cause with car number two being the secondary cause. Let us also ask which car is responsible for the damage to car 1. Clearly Car number 3 is ultimately responsible because without car 3 car 2 would not have rear ended 1. You have made God out to be car number 3 and thats the problem. Adam is merely car two hopelessly pushed into the act of rear ending without any moral culpability for the wreck.

    All analogies when it comes to God break down eventually. My point in talking about causation and its ambiguity stands. Both car 2 and car 3 are the cause of the damage. And incidentally, car 2 will get a ticket because although it would not have rear-ended car 1 without car 3 hitting it, car 2 also would not have rear-ended car 1 if car 2 had not been idling so close to car 1. BOTH are responsible for the damage.

    And you want to accuse me of language games?!? sheeeesh…. Do you deny that Adams desire to sin was infallibly and eternally decreed by God? If not then how is saying “Oh God didn’t force Adam to sin…. Adam wanted to sin” a meaningful defense?

    In some sense, it does come down to “language games.” I fully recognize that saying God ordains evil without being morally responsible for it is not fully satisfying. All I want is for you to acknowledge the same, which is that saying Adam certainly could have not sinned but certainly would have sinned is not any better of an answer.

    God’s ultimate answer to this problem of theodicy is “shut up and trust me.” I’m content with that answer. See Romans 9. You are not. There are ways to speak about this that are more biblical, but even they are in a sense “language games” because they don’t answer the question except to give us a hint that while God ordains good and evil, the way in which he stands behind evil is not the same way in which he stands behind good. (To your credit, you recognize this somewhat with God “ordaining to permit sin,” though you err in couching this as bare permission.) That’s not fully satisfying, but it is all God has given us and at some point we have to rest in what he says.

    You go around acting as if you solved something with a medieval Dominican’s valiant attempts to wrestle with these questions. You’ve solved nothing. At least be honest with it. No traditional theistic system can fully solve this problem of how God is not the author of evil in a morally responsible sense.

    The issue isn’t whether or not God created a world in which sin exists the issue is whether or not man is culpable for sin! The issue is if God is responsible (in the way that I defined it previously) for mans sin. You continually confuse and conflate concepts when applying your tu quoque.

    Wrong. God could have created a world in which sin did not exist. He existed before all things, and the only things that happen occur by his ordination and permission. So on any system on which God fully knows the future and is omnipotent, one cannot answer how God is not the morally responsible author of evil in any fully satisfying way. You can say that God has a morally permissible reason for permitting evil, and on this I fully agree. But to pretend that that solves the problem indicates you haven’t thought about it or that you haven’t wrestled with the problem of evil in any true way.

    So let me get this straight. I say Calvinism is wrong because it makes God morally responsible for sin and man is found without culpability and your response is that this simply cant be the case because the bible says God isn’t responsible for sin and man is culpable. Well, no kidding!

    He can be taught! God will be his own judge. Whate’er my God ordains is right. Oh Father you are sovereign o’er all the worlds you made.

    The problem is that your theology logically leaves you with a “mystery” that looks a whole heck of a lot more like a contradiction.

    You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9)

    For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,? or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him? that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.(Romans 11).
    All things, not all things except evil.
    You aren’t content with Scripture’s answer. Not surprising. If you were content with Scripture, you wouldn’t be Roman Catholic.

    Your only real response to this is “I know it looks bad but just trust me my interpretation is correct”. Does God molest children? Romans 9! Romans 9! its a mystery! Does God enjoy incest, rape and murder? Romans 9! Romans 9! its a mystery! This kind of defense can be applied to anything at all.

    First, my response is not “I know it looks bad.” My response is “This is what the Bible says and I can’t perfectly put it together.”

    Second, you might as well be an open theist. Pick some more emotionally charged sins, why don’t you?

    Third, God doesn’t enjoy any of those things. God ordains things that he hates in and of themselves in order for a greater good. If my child’s arm was gangrenous, I’d order the doctor to cut it off, hating the surgery but knowing that it will achieve the greater good of preserving her life. This, I suggest, is a very faint hint at what God’s ordaining of sin looks like.

    Fourth, God has never done any of those things himself.

    Fifth, God is inscrutable and what he has not revealed fully he has the right not to reveal fully. We have no right to go probing beyond what he has told us. God hasn’t given us the answer here. It’s appropriate to appeal to mystery. It’s not my first response. I can say much before I get there. But I must finally rest there. Same with the Trinity, the incarnation, and host of other doctrines.

    It advances Gods glory to force man to sin and then punish him in hell for eternity to show How awesome He is? Again, some things don’t need to be refuted…. they just need to be stated out loud and the absurdity is obvious to everyone.

    Well, it’s a good thing I don’t believe that, then. God forces no one to sin. God may ordain sin, but the desire is wholly Adam’s. The sinner in hell is not wishing he could go back and do anything differently. He doesn’t want to be in hell, but that’s for purely selfish reasons. Given the chance to go back and do things differently, with the result being that he would enjoy God in heaven, he would choose to sin again. Sin is irrational. There is no one in hell wishing they had no desire to sin. In fact, they are engaging that desire again and again.

    Who said the God first ordains that “SOMEONE” will sin without ordaining who that person would be? You are assuming and arguing against some bazaar form of middle knowledge that I am unfamiliar with. Thomism doesn’t teach that God first ordains that “someone” will do X and then fills in “someone” with Joe Dirt. You are clearly not sufficiently read in this area.

    I’m sorry, since you so often argue like a classical Arminian, I assumed that is the position you were taking. Don’t argue like an Arminian, and you won’t cause others to make the mistake. My response took this quote from you into mind:

    God can predestine the betrayal of Christ without positively decreeing that Judas must betray him.

    Arminianis often argue that it is the act of betrayal alone that is positively decreed and not Judas’ betrayal. That’s really the only way to say that God can predestine the betrayal of Christ without postitively decreeing that Judas must betray him, although it is still nonsense.

    I suppose your answer will be something like God ordains that Judas will betray him while giving him the ability to do otherwise. The second, however, that God ordains Judas will betray Christ, “ability to do otherwise” becomes finally meaningless. Judas CAN’T do otherwise because there is no world in which he WON’T do otherwise if God’s knowledge is not falsifiable.

    It is not language games to make a distinction between what A man infallible WILL do and what man CAN do in that moment. Gods infallibly knowing that X will take place does not mean X must necessarily take place. I cant explain this any simpler in laymans terms. Read here for a more technical answer
    http://www.iep.utm.edu/foreknow/

    The article is not helpful. I don’t much care what man CAN do in the moment, the more important question is what he WILL do, and if God’s knowledge is not falsifiable, he CANNOT do otherwise. If he could do otherwise, God would not know. This is where the open theists are correct. We can parse this all day. As a Calvinist, I can say Adam had the ability not to sin just as easily as you can. However, God’s knowledge guarantees the outcome regardless of “ability.” IOW, ability becomes more theory than anything else. I know that you Roman Catholics think you’ve solved something by having something possible in theory (In theory, the pope could solve all theological confusion. In theory, this, in theory that; in principle this, in principle that), but the rest of us live in the real world.

    Your failure to grasp simple concepts here is disheartening.

    What’s disheartening is your mantra, “God knows Adam will sin but he cannot sin—problem of evil solved!” That would have gotten you laughed out of my senior high English class where we discussed these issues at length, and rightly so.

    “What the bible says” is in dispute (incase you haven’t been paying attention for the last 500 years or so) Your mdiv isn’t worth to much to this topic unless you have a solid grasp on philosophical concepts and analytical arguments. I don’t believe you are sufficiently read in these areas to adequately address the issue.

    Whatever. The fact that you can discuss these issues without referring to Scripture at all shows just how far Rome has fallen. My grasp of philosophy is appropriately solid for its purpose, namely, as a tool to interpret Scripture and not as a preexisting entity into which we try to conform Scripture and make ourselves look smart. I’ve used many of your arguments in pastoral experience and guess what, they don’t satisfy anyone. They can’t. They aren’t biblical and they make things more complicated than they need to be while not calling people to confront their own creatureliness and that they are in no position to judge God.

    This discussion with you, Mateo, and SS—the three I hashed out this issue with more than anyone else on this board—is quite valuable. What you all are showing is that you remain defiant in your creatureliness. You all remind me of Roger Olson, an Arminian who has said that if the God of Calvinism is the God who is, he wouldn’t worship him. Such an attitude shows a fundamental refusal to bow to God and his revelation. You don’t have to accept that Calvinism is correct, but if you cannot say if Calvinism is correct, the God it reveals is the God who is worthy of my worship, you have not yet come to terms with the fact that God will be his own judge and that you as a creature have no right to demand anything of him.

    As far as philosophy, I stand with Paul:

    18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,? and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
    20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
    (1 Corinthians 1).

  253. Kenneth,

    Last post was actually for you.

  254. Eric, ok, lets ask him. James seems like a nice guy. James do you believe in a final justification based on the life lived in any way? Lets see if he has the irresistible urge to smuggle any of his works in God’s work of Grace. Hey Eric just went to Einsteins with my wife and had a garlic bagel with sun dried tomato cream cheese. We prayed for your family today. Im praying for James too. Eric i am pejorative on the Roman gospel. I just explained why on the new thread and I hope you read it. Basically I see salvation in the RC as a pattern of metaphysical being. It had to be made reasonable to the natural man. A compromise I could never accept. They won’t let him off the cross. It does get personal to me sometimes. I have really been convicted about that and I am changing. Your loving rebukes have really helped me. Sometimes I lose it and just like you said slap me a few RC’s. But all we need is love! LALALA K

  255. Kevin,

    ” And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve” – Jesus in Revelation 2:23

  256. Kevin–

    You’re probably right. James is NOT going to come back and say, “Though technically flawed in the following ways, Sola Fide is basically alright by me.” Why? Because unless I miss my guess, he doesn’t actually believe in Sola Gratia (as Jonathan Prejean has admitted of himself). In the final analysis, will he smuggle in all of those “feel good” good works? Yup, he sleeps with them at night. Kind of like Linus with his blanket.

    But the same is true of any Arminian. Do you denounce their soteriology in such vehement tones? Why not? Because they give lip service to Sola Fide? They don’t really believe in it, you know. (Or if they do, they speak out of both sides of their mouths just like Catholics.) Anyone who denies the Perseverance of the Saints ends by glorifying works. I don’t see how they can do otherwise.

    That said, I do believe the relationship between justification and works is worth exploring. There’s more mystery there than we often recognize in these internecine wars. Variations on Double Justification are also worth exploring. Calvin seemed willing to sign off on it. Perhaps we should at least take a look for unity’s sake. Perhaps we have insights to share with one another. Mutually beneficial insights.

  257. Erick–

    It may interest you to know that the Reformed do not deny Judgment by Works (after all, it’s all over Scripture).

    But only the regenerate actually do good works. (And no one does them except by the grace of God, as even you admit.)

  258. Eric, yes, I read a book by Horton which I really enjoyed on Calvinism. An Arminian guy wrote the forward recommending Horton’s book as good on Calvinism, but said he disagreed with it, obviously. I can’t see how Arminian soteriology can in any sense be the Gospel.

  259. Eric, There aren’t 1 billion Arminians. I renounce all synergism as being meritorious.

  260. Eric,

    Yes, he will judge us according (Kata) to our works. The wicked will also be judged according (kata) to their works.

    But the Lord Jesus intends to judge “our works”, to see whether they are “worthy” of eternal life. Just as he will judge the “works” of the wicked, to see whether they are worthy of death.

    In the reformed structures, the works of the neither the elect of the non-elect matter in the determination of the ultimate destiny, just the levels of punishment.

    Of course, this cannot be substantiated from Scripture. What we are given is what our Lord taught us “The house is coming when the dead shall rise and those who have done good will enter into everlasting life and those who have done evil, the resurrection unto judgement ” (John 5:29). The “doing good” is just as much a cause to the eternal life as the “doing evil” is to the judgement. It is really a daring thing to avoid this.

  261. Eric, see here is the thing for me. Im reading Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians last night very closely. And what I noticed is Paul just keeps repeating faith and Abraham the believer”etc. Then I read Ephesians 2:4-10 and it hit me as i put it together in my mind. Starting in verse 4 God loves us with a great love, we are dead in sins, and boom! He makes us alive in Christ raises us up with him and seats us immediately at the right hand of God. It says we were far off and immediately we are brought near. And then it says he himself is our peace. Now let me stop here. This is what Horton and Fesko are talking about what works against synergism. This I believe is speech acts. The Spirit raising us from the dead like Lazarus thru the Word. The immediacy of being made alive and raised up with Him being our peace. Works can never be our peace. He is. Back in 1:13 He says after listening to the gospel we believed and immediately we are sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance. Eric, our inner man is raised immediately with Him. The Already. We will be bodily raised imperishable. Saints are already groaning for there glorified body, so it isn’t an issue of final judgment in relation to the condition of our soul at death. God gives the gift of perseverance to his people. In light of the described immediacy and resurrection of the inner man, the RC fails miserably, buy including sanctification. Erick has never dealt with these verses. The reason I say this is because we are ever told to live by faith. I understand my works as a product of faith, the spirit working God’s grace in our heart. My cooperation is simply acting out what he is working in me. Thats why its called the obedience of faith. The reason we don’t boast is because for us Christ is righteousness and life and this benefit is simply received and enjoyed by faith. Eric, I used to be a con artist in my former life and I can see snake oil salesmen a mile away. And as much as I love these RC guys, and as much as they stomp their feet on free grace, I don’t buy it. Why? Because they defend all things Catholic. You said it the other day , the Spirit is kicking our but every day. The gospel is for people who know they are bad not for people who think they are good ( or divine). Yes our works our pleasing to God, because they are his Works and not ours, and because they come from faith alone. this is not the RC system. ” To the one who works well to the end” That is their lead sentence. Need I say more. Peace love and the resurrection. He is risen! and so are we!

  262. Erick, Here is the thing, Either man is conceived of in terms of potentiality and actuality, which is a constant process, and hence justification is a process, or as a covenant breaker, one in need of redemption , which is definitively and decisively accomplished once for all by Jesus Christ and is received by faith alone. Which do you choose?

  263. Erick–

    You wrote:

    “In the Reformed structures, the works of the neither the elect nor the non-elect matter in the determination of the ultimate destiny, just the levels of punishment.”

    1. I’m not aware of any “levels of punishment” in Calvinism. That’s Dante.
    2. Exactly how many wicked deeds must the non-elect perform in the Catholic system in order to be counted worthy of punishment?
    3. Do the elect get into glory if their good deeds outweigh their wicked deeds by one (they are determinative, are they not?)?
    4. What happened to grace all of a sudden in your system? Did it go “poof”?

  264. Eric, see I can see snake oil salesman a mile away! Good Post!

  265. +JMJ+

    Kevin wrote:

    Erick, Here is the thing, Either man is conceived of in terms of potentiality and actuality, which is a constant process, and hence justification is a process, or as a covenant breaker, one in need of redemption , which is definitively and decisively accomplished once for all by Jesus Christ and is received by faith alone. Which do you choose?

    False dichotomy.

    We “conceive of” Man, first and foremost, as he actually is: a Personal Being.

    God doesn’t “conceive of” us as distant and external abstractions that factor into a soteriological or anthropological schema. Rather, He ontologically knows us relationally, personally, intimately.

  266. Robert,

    God is the first cause of all things, even sin, because everything that happens comes from his decree. Moral responsibility is grounded in the intent of the actors and in the deeds of the secondary cause. God’s reasons for ordaining sin are altogether good. He does not ordain sin because he likes sin; he ordains sin because he likes working through it to bring about his greater glory. What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil, God meant for good (Gen. 50:20). Both parties are “responsible,” but God carries no moral blame because his actions and intent are altogether good.

    We are not talking about first causes. We are talking about God being responsible for whatever He has decreed will happen because He is the primary cause, motive, or agent for whatever He has decreed. God can be the first cause of all things without being “responsible” for sin as long as he has not decreed that men will sin. God somehow working out the evil he created and divinely forces upon His creation does not help you. Man is still not culpable and God is still the author of evil.

    In some sense, it does come down to “language games.” I fully recognize that saying God ordains evil without being morally responsible for it is not fully satisfying. All I want is for you to acknowledge the same, which is that saying Adam certainly could have not sinned but certainly would have sinned is not any better of an answer.

    I love how this response completely side steps the question. I hear from the reformed all the time (and will hear it again from you later on in this very post) that God is not morally responsible for sin because Adam wanted to sin. Now you admit that even that desire to sin was decreed by God! In what way then is this a viable response?!? Its like saying Car 2 is responsible for the rear end because it “parked to close to car 1” only to later admit that Car 3 actually parked car 2 in the bad spot before the accident! Mind-blown.

    You go around acting as if you solved something with a medieval Dominican’s valiant attempts to wrestle with these questions. You’ve solved nothing. At least be honest with it. No traditional theistic system can fully solve this problem of how God is not the author of evil in a morally responsible sense.

    You keep on saying that over and over again like Smeagol from lord of the rings muttering to himself.

    “Aquinas has no answers, precious, NO! These medieval Catholics can not have better answers than precious master Calvin. Master must be the best at answering this question. God is evil no matter what just like master Calvin teaches. Shut up and trust master Calvin he knows”

    It may be true that no theistic system can avoid uncomfortable questions in some sense but Calvinism in general is the only one that leaves God as directly responsible for evil deeds evil desires and evil in general to work out His “glory” which couldn’t have been communicated any other way than punishing the pots that He made for doing what He made them do. Its really silly once you flush out all the premises Calvinists try to hide with silly semantics. (recall the “Adam wanted to sin” response)

    Wrong. God could have created a world in which sin did not exist. He existed before all things, and the only things that happen occur by his ordination and permission.

    Right! But that has nothing to do with what we are discussing. You are again conflating and criss-crossing issues. The topic at hand is not whether or not God could have created a better world. The topic is whether or not man is culpable for sin and if God is the author of evil on Calvinism.

    So on any system on which God fully knows the future and is omnipotent, one cannot answer how God is not the morally responsible author of evil in any fully satisfying way.

    Yes you can. You answer that God allows man to commit evil acts even though He desires them not to and gives them sufficient grace to avoid evil. He allows this because there is a greater good that will come from it that we are not privy too. God did not force this evil world to take place but merely permitted it to happen and gave man free will.

    You can say that God has a morally permissible reason for permitting evil, and on this I fully agree. But to pretend that that solves the problem indicates you haven’t thought about it or that you haven’t wrestled with the problem of evil in any true way.

    You do not fully agree with the above statement. Calvinists dont teach that God has morally permissible reasons for permitting evil. You teach that God has morally permissible reasons for causing/ordaining/establishing/infallibly decreeing evil which is a totally different statement. Calvinists have never had a good answer to the problem of evil. They never possibly CAN have a good answer. All they can attempt to do is drag everyone else’s answer down with them into the gutter (which is why you so frequently attempt to apply your tu quoque).

    He can be taught! God will be his own judge. Whate’er my God ordains is right. Oh Father you are sovereign o’er all the worlds you made.

    You can assign this defense to any and every moral evil which is what makes it a lame answer. I allege that Christ was a pedophile. You respond that this can not be true because that would be sinful and contradict scripture. I respond that you should read Romans 9! Who are you to judge God! The bible says Jesus never sinned and so Christ being a pedophile is not sinful because the bible says so. Shut up and trust God. This answer sucks and you know it. Calvinists simply have nothing else in their arsenal to fall back on. Its really quite sad.

    You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9)
    For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,? or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him? that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.(Romans 11).
    All things, not all things except evil.
    You aren’t content with Scripture’s answer. Not surprising. If you were content with Scripture, you wouldn’t be Roman Catholic.

    You again assume Romans 9 to be defending Calvinist principles. I deny that this is the case.

    All exegetes today reject this interpretation. As Huby points out, [Cf. Joseph Huby, SJ, Saint Paul, Epitre aux Romains, Traduction et Commentaire, Verbum Salutis X, Beauchesne, Paris, 1957, p. 349.] it is altogether arbitrary to say that the “clay” in v. 21 stands for the human race, corrupted by original sin, because in the whole of chapter 9 there is not even a remote allusion to original sin. Lagrange makes a keen observation [M.J. Lagrange, OP, Saint Paul, Epitre aux Romains, Gabalda, Paris, 1931, p. 238.]: “At least the potter does not blame the vessels which he has made for ignoble uses.” Hence, if God really had made certain men for ignoble roles, He should not blame and condemn these men for being such.
    Actually, St. Paul was only making a comparison, or, as Lagrange says, [Ibid.] “a simple parable.” St. Paul wishes to teach that God has the right to assign men to various places in the external order of this world-which is quite different and distinct from the internal order of eternal salvation or ruin! That is, God makes some to be kings, others physicians, others laborers, etc. And similarly, He brings some into the Church in the full sense, and not others. But these assignments by no means fix the eternal lot of a man. Later in this chapter we shall examine what relation does exist between a man’s eternal lot and his place in the external order of this world.

    http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-should-catholics-understand-romans.html

    First, my response is not “I know it looks bad.” My response is “This is what the Bible says and I can’t perfectly put it together.”

    You put it together so imperfectly allow us all to sugest some other biblical model to follow.

    Third, God doesn’t enjoy any of those things. God ordains things that he hates in and of themselves in order for a greater good. If my child’s arm was gangrenous, I’d order the doctor to cut it off, hating the surgery but knowing that it will achieve the greater good of preserving her life. This, I suggest, is a very faint hint at what God’s ordaining of sin looks like.

    But what greater good comes for those who are held responsible for the sin God forced upon them via eternal decrees? This line of defense sounds good but does not apply to the problems Calvinism faces.

    Fourth, God has never done any of those things himself.

    Oh sure! Parish the thought! God doesn’t actually get his hands dirty. He just eternally decrees what other must do for His glory. Awesome.

    Fifth, God is inscrutable and what he has not revealed fully he has the right not to reveal fully. We have no right to go probing beyond what he has told us. God hasn’t given us the answer here. It’s appropriate to appeal to mystery. It’s not my first response. I can say much before I get there. But I must finally rest there. Same with the Trinity, the incarnation, and host of other doctrines.

    I agree that sometimes we just dont have enough information or CANT comprehend certain mysteries such as the Trinity, the incarnation etc…. I would argue that with predestination and the reformed model we have enough information to make a judgement on it. Its a bad idea and a failed system. There are better alternatives. There are no alternatives to the Trinity that square with tradition. There arent any real alternatives to the incarnation that are still orthodox. There are NUMEROUS alternatives to calvinism that are far superior in explanatory scope (can handle the problem of evil) and don’t place evil at the Lords feet for His “glory”.

    Well, it’s a good thing I don’t believe that, then. God forces no one to sin. God may ordain sin, but the desire is wholly Adam’s. The sinner in hell is not wishing he could go back and do anything differently. He doesn’t want to be in hell, but that’s for purely selfish reasons. Given the chance to go back and do things differently, with the result being that he would enjoy God in heaven, he would choose to sin again. Sin is irrational. There is no one in hell wishing they had no desire to sin. In fact, they are engaging that desire again and again.

    Here we go again with the “Adam wanted to sin” defense. If God gave Adam that desire this entire paragraph is useless. If God eternally decreed that Adam would desire sin this response is useless.

    My response took this quote from you into mind:
    God can predestine the betrayal of Christ without positively decreeing that Judas must betray him.

    God can eternally decree to permit Judas to betray Christ knowing all along what Judas will choose. Judas was given sufficient grace to not betray Christ. He chose sin. God worked a greater good from his free decision.

    The article is not helpful. I don’t much care what man CAN do in the moment, the more important question is what he WILL do, and if God’s knowledge is not falsifiable, he CANNOT do otherwise. If he could do otherwise, God would not know. This is where the open theists are correct. We can parse this all day. As a Calvinist, I can say Adam had the ability not to sin just as easily as you can. However, God’s knowledge guarantees the outcome regardless of “ability.”

    Are you under the impression that foreknowledge has causal properties? If I know that my wife will feed my kids breakfast in the morning did I cause that to happen? True, I dont know FOR SURE in a non falsifiable way that she will feed my kids. But even if I did have the knowledge would My knowledge then determine and cause her to necessarily feed the children? Wouldn’t she still be making the choice? Wouldn’t she still be able (in the moment) to do otherwise? This is the modal fallacy that the article I gave you speaks to. You have picked up this argument from some open theist and its a really terrible argument that has you swayed for some reason. You are smarter than this. Clearly it does not follow that because I know my wife WILL feed my kids that therefore she MUST AND CAN DO NO OTHER than feed my kids

    My grasp of philosophy is appropriately solid for its purpose, namely, as a tool to interpret Scripture and not as a preexisting entity into which we try to conform Scripture and make ourselves look smart.

    In other words, you have taken Calvins theology and built your philosophy up around that in order to make yourself look smart.

    You all remind me of Roger Olson, an Arminian who has said that if the God of Calvinism is the God who is, he wouldn’t worship him. Such an attitude shows a fundamental refusal to bow to God and his revelation. You don’t have to accept that Calvinism is correct, but if you cannot say if Calvinism is correct, the God it reveals is the God who is worthy of my worship, you have not yet come to terms with the fact that God will be his own judge and that you as a creature have no right to demand anything of him.

    God is only worthy of worship because He is the greatest conceivable being who is ALL GOOD. On Calvinism God is not all good and so is not worthy of our attention. We do not worship God JUST BECAUSE the bible tells us to. What if an Evil God wrote the bible? Would He still be worthy of worship? The reality behind the words has to match up. If it doesn’t the whole house of cards falls. God bless you brother! Love these convos

  267. Wosbald, Maybe you ought to pull a bible out. Do you own one? Your philosophical hallucinations have blinded you my dear friend. It doesn’t matter how you conceive man. Your salvation does not depend on how you conceive man. It depends on appropriating the Gospel of Christ by faith alone. And it is first and foremost soteriological. Sinner is at odds with God. He broke a covenant and fell morally, not ontologically. For the Reformers there were two types of people covenant makers ( God makes man in his own image) and covenant breakers ( man makes god in his own image). Christ came in to the world to save sinners. Participation in Christ is simply thru his Spirit. God’s Spirit brings us intimate, personal, and all the blessings and graces of God. You set redemption aside, the incarnation is a process continued on in the church as the whole human personality is in the process of divination. So for you there can be no one fact at the beginning of History by which all men are influenced to the extent of being guilty as well as polluted. So there cannot be one finished act in History by virtue of which men are made righteous and holy in principle. Or rather, justification is reduced down to sanctification, and sanctification is virtually so to be elevation in scale of being. The idea is woven deep into the pattern of metaphysical being. How else could it be acceptable to natural man like yourself. Repent and believe the Gospel Wossy, You can still smoke and play foosball. Hope your having a blessed day.

  268. Kenneth–

    If I came face to face with the truth that the Catholic God did indeed create the universe, I would go ahead and hyperduliate him. No doubt, I would be disappointed that he was demonstrably NOT the greatest conceivable being, but I would console myself with the notion that though somewhat weak and pathetic, he was at least “decent.”

  269. Eric,

    Good! Because you will come face to face with Him one day. Like it or not

  270. Kenneth, and so will you.

  271. Kenneth, And actually we groan with the saints in anticipation of our glorified bodies. Being raised imperishable. Wont it be awesome to hear well done faithful servant. Even so come quickly Lord Jesus, come quickly. For we will be like Him. Can you imagine the welcome we will get. Rejoice in the lord always and again I say Rejoice. whenWe’ve been there ten thousand years bright shining lalalalalalla. Im singing Kenneth, simple faith, me and my buddy Eric and my buddy Robert, lalalalalallala and abraham the believer. Come unto me all ye with heavy burden and I will give you rest. Ephesians says he himself is our peace. PTL

  272. Kevin,

    That sure will be awesome for everyone that gets to participate. I would just rest easier knowing that those who don’t miss out because of something that they did and not something that God decreed for them.

  273. Kevin,

    That sure will be awesome for everyone that gets to participate. I would just rest easier knowing that those who miss out do so because of something that they did and not something that God decreed for them.

  274. Kenneth–

    We Reformed rest far, far easier knowing that God is in control of who makes it and doesn’t make it. We trust him a far sight more than we trust ourselves. We trust our loved ones in his hands rather than in theirs.

    What made mere creatures so trustworthy in your eyes? (Or are you just enamored of truth, justice, and the American way?)

  275. Erick,

    Agreement on connections between certain verses is progress. We are able to focus on what truly divides us, and the burden to prove our positions is greater.
    ———————————-

    You wrote:
    Paul believes that one lives in death and bears fruit to death even now. The passions which are aroused through the law, when a human being lives in the flesh (In Adam), summarizes the law of sin and death. It is not a merely juridicial reality.

    Response:
    No doubt. The wrath they are reaping now is being stored up. Their life and fruit of death confirms the judgement of condemnation.
    ———————————

    You wrote:

    …..righteousness is understood as the remission of sin and the infusion of divine love….

    The free gift, which is the remission of sins and the infusion of divine agape, result from many transgressions on account of the act of Christ

    Response:
    Help me understand why your formal and meritorious causes are in Rom.5:16,17.
    —————————–

    You wrote:
    What removes you from Catholic orthodoxy occurs when you go one step further than noting a distinction between justification and sanctification. And that next step is to split them up and then only choose one of them as the “ground” or “merit” of the “totality” of salvation, and then render the other one as not meritorious for heaven, but only a sign that one has been saved. That is the step which erected the Council of Trent.

    Response:
    Jesus saves. (Luke 2:21,30) His name carries the “totality” of salvation and mediates all salvific conditions and operations. (Luke 1:32,33) Our most blessed and holy Trinity, One God, wills and operates through and by this One Mediator.

    By faith we are justified and sanctified. (Rom.5:1; Acts 26:18) Both are grounded on the obedience, death and resurrection of Christ. His merit satisfies our just God in order to be accepting and gracious towards us. Because ‘grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life’ (Rom.5:21), we say that the virture of His death and resurrection (Rom.6:4) results in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. (Rom.6:22) That promise is fulfilled through the resurrection of the body and the just souls made perfect.

    The reign of grace through righteousness is complete. It is the incompleteness of sanctification, in this life, that warrants the split.

  276. Eric,

    Your trust is virtuous only if we assume the Character of the RC God. Misplaced once we assume the truth of reformed principles. The only reason you “rest easy” is because God eternally decreed that you would do so. This is when a sort of vertigo sets in and its impossible to rationally defend your position. What if Hindus and Buddists and Muslims are also resting easy even though they are about to be damned? What if the error of your ways is right in front of you and yet, alas, you have not been predestined and predetermined to discover it. We can imagine your death and subsequent tossing into a lake of fire for doing nothing more than you were always predestined to do from all eternity. Feeling nothing more than what you were always going to have to feel no matter what you did. Color me an American but a god like that gives me the heebeejeebies

  277. Kenneth–

    I do indeed color you American. And Calvinism gives you the willies on that account alone.

    You show no understanding of compatibilism, even though Thomism itself is compatibilistic. No one but but no one gets tossed in the lake of fire for “doing nothing more than what they were predestined to do.” They are condemned for what they themselves do of their own free will. Wicked bastards fry because they’re wicked bastards. End of story. You want everything to end all nicey-nice for wicked bastards. Me, not so much….

  278. Eric,

    Erick,
    Agreement on connections between certain verses is progress. We are able to focus on what truly divides us, and the burden to prove our positions is greater.
    ———————————-
    You wrote:
    Paul believes that one lives in death and bears fruit to death even now. The passions which are aroused through the law, when a human being lives in the flesh (In Adam), summarizes the law of sin and death. It is not a merely juridicial reality.
    Response:
    No doubt. The wrath they are reaping now is being stored up. Their life and fruit of death confirms the judgement of condemnation.

    It not only confirms, it increases.

    You wrote:
    …..righteousness is understood as the remission of sin and the infusion of divine love….
    The free gift, which is the remission of sins and the infusion of divine agape, result from many transgressions on account of the act of Christ
    Response:
    Help me understand why your formal and meritorious causes are in Rom.5:16,17.

    Through Adam’s disobedience, humanity was exiled from Paradise (the presence of God), lost their inherent original righteousness and holiness which enabled communion with God, and were exposed to the finite & laborious life. In addition, humanity was subjected to the empire of Satan. So Adam’s disobedience merited this condition for mankind, and so all “died”.

    Through Christ’s obedience, humanity is restored to life, a life which inheres even now. This life is a result of the inherent righteousness (rectification of divine love) which Christ merited for man through his sacrificial death. In other words, the internal renewal given to us when we are raised with Christ and filled with the holy Spirit was purchased by the blood of Jesus, and this is how Catholics understand Christ’s merits.

    —————————–
    You wrote:
    What removes you from Catholic orthodoxy occurs when you go one step further than noting a distinction between justification and sanctification. And that next step is to split them up and then only choose one of them as the “ground” or “merit” of the “totality” of salvation, and then render the other one as not meritorious for heaven, but only a sign that one has been saved. That is the step which erected the Council of Trent.
    Response:
    Jesus saves. (Luke 2:21,30) His name carries the “totality” of salvation and mediates all salvific conditions and operations. (Luke 1:32,33) Our most blessed and holy Trinity, One God, wills and operates through and by this One Mediator.

    Right, but He himself has chosen to save mankind, not by deactivating their participation in salvation (which itself is merited by His death/ress), but by activating our participation as a means of attaining the very salvation that he alone merited. This can easily be seen by the fact that Paul does indeed root our justification and eternal life in the gracious gift of Christ alone (Rom 5:12-19) but does not hesitate to tell us that if we do not utilize the Spirit to fight the flesh and it’s deeds, we will fail to attain to the goal intended through Christ’s sacrifice (Rom 8:8-10).

    By faith we are justified and sanctified. (Rom.5:1; Acts 26:18) Both are grounded on the obedience, death and resurrection of Christ.

    Right, but the reformed will not position this justification and sanctification as an internal reality, but merely a legal reality. In addition, the reformed not only say it is purely a legal reality, but that whatever transformative realities come, it is irreversible and invincible, such that the will of man is not under the control of God. That is, God controls the desire of the man to always will what is good. This is heresy.

    His merit satisfies our just God in order to be accepting and gracious towards us. Because ‘grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life’ (Rom.5:21), we say that the virture of His death and resurrection (Rom.6:4) results in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. (Rom.6:22) That promise is fulfilled through the resurrection of the body and the just souls made perfect.
    The reign of grace through righteousness is complete. It is the incompleteness of sanctification, in this life, that warrants the split.

    The parameters that the reformed put around “Righteousness”, “life”, “faith”, and “grace” are not substantiated in Scripture. The reformed are under the burden of proving that salvation is wholly bound up with Christ and his righteousness being legally and forensically imputed to us and that the transformational realities which kick in gear immediately are only signs, symbols, and evidences of an earlier, already completed, irreversible, and greater reality which alone merits salvation.

  279. It would be a much better exercise to read Romans 6,7,8 as an unpacking of the “justification” that Paul has spoken about in 3,4, and 5. As a protestant, I would only be opened to the bifurcation. But as a Catholic, I now see so much better how Paul is not dividing up his epistle in this fashion.

    Chapter 3

    Humanity is engulfed under the power and prison of sin, and therefore lie under condemnation and the wrath of God. Such a disposition disables any merit, whether that be through natural law or the written law, for one to be righteous under the scrutiny of God.

    Chapter 4

    The way in which God makes men righteous in His sight has been revealed through “faith in Jesus”, and not by the works of Torah, for God is rich and good to “all” who call upon Him with faith. We have this gift of justification as a result of Christ’s death and resurrection .

    Chapter 5
    We rejoice in God through Jesus Christ through whom we have peace and the hope of future glory

    Chapter 6
    Can the justified man live in sin? No! One is justified by their release from the life of the flesh, the life of sin, and the body of death. By union with Christ’s resurrection, we walk in newness of life, for only such a life can lead towards eternal life. Anyone who wishes to live in sin will always die eternally.

    Chapter 7
    We are justified apart from the Law of Moses for within that covenant mankind was left “in the flesh’ to seek the merit of righteousness, and such a thing was impossible. The power and passion of sin in the flesh overpowered the letter of the Law and rather increases temptations and the will to sin. Under the Law, sin overtakes the human person for it’s own purpose, which makes the Law fail at it’s intended goal.

    Chapter 8
    There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ for by being in Christ we are delivered from the flesh, from sin, and from the body of death, and can walk fulfilling God’s righteous law, fully pleasing Him, and can walk in life and peace.

  280. Kevin,

    “It wasn’t merit that was the problem for the reformers it was the location of merit. RC confused justification with sanctification. Our works are no way involved making us right before God. Fro us God saves un all the way thru, for you God helps you save yourself.”

    I am talking about progressive sanctification and cooperation. You say “For us God saves us all the way through, for you God helps you save yourself.” So adapt that to progressive sanctification “God helps you progressively sanctify yourself and cooperate with grace and resist sin”. Do you agree with that characterization? Do you have grounds to boast in your heavenly rewards?
    And it wasn’t just merit in justification that was the issue – you also hold that any “merit” is always defiled and shot through with mortal sin.

    Eric,

    “If neither faith nor works merit justification, why is it that they merit eternal life?”

    Because they merit growth in Christ who is eternal life. Secondly, if we never cooperated with grace in our lives, we would necessarily have committed mortal sin – either by comission or omission. But again babies and deathbed conversions still attain salvation, even without works because of the infusion of agape and sanctifying grace at justification which is perfect righteousness. Thirdly, the grace of final perseverance is unmerited.

    And of course such merit again is itself a product of grace – “For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God”
    and
    “Thus, neither is our own justice established as our own as from ourselves; nor is the justice of God ignored or repudiated: for that justice which is called ours, because that we are justified from its being inherent in us, that same is (the justice) of God, because that it is infused into us of God, through the merit of Christ. Neither is this to be omitted,-that although, in the sacred writings, so much is attributed to good works…nevertheless God forbid that a Christian should either trust or glory in himself, and not in the Lord, whose bounty towards all men is so great, that He will have the things which are His own gifts be their merits.”

    “If what you say is true (for you at any rate), why is there still a problem with Sola Fide?”

    RCs don’t have a problem with sola fide if it is properly understood. Hence Benedict’s statement I’ve cited before, or church fathers and Aquinas mentioning it. Or as Trent says “For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by charity.”
    We have a problem with extra nos imputation and monergism, not (properly understood) faith alone.

    “All it is there for is to make certain everything is “all of grace.” It doesn’t erase mystery. (Ask a Calvinist whether sanctification is synergistic or monergistic, and you will get every answer under the sun.)”

    Great – progressive sanctification and cooperation with grace therefore has tension and mystery. You don’t boast or exalt yourself in progressive sanctification even if you are cooperating in earning reward and resisting sin – “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
    So again you should understand why RCs/EOs do not and cannot boast/exalt man/diminish God in synergism – it’s not a zero-sum game. If you keep saying “but you can cooperate or resist! You have an island of grace-free righteousness!” then I will just say the same thing to you in the sphere of progressive sanctification.

  281. Kenneth, You said ” What if Hindus Buddhists and Muslims are also resting easy even though they are about to be damned.” What about if Hindus (Wosy) Buddhists and Muslims like Catholics are busy like bees earning their reward and are about to be damned. ” For He himself is our peace.” Ephesians 2:14.

  282. James, do you agree with this statement. Justification for a Catholic is the recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward? I thought I answered your question, our sanctification does not earn a reward that increases intrinsic righteousness because we aren’t justified by anything wrought is us, but by faith in Christ who became to us righteousness and life. Eric W. ‘s post to Erick is awesome. We don’t try to smuggle our works into the work go God’s grace, this grace in which we stand only by faith.

  283. Kevin,

    “I thought I answered your question, our sanctification does not earn a reward that increases intrinsic righteousness because we aren’t justified by anything wrought is us, but by faith in Christ who became to us righteousness and life.”

    You continue to divert to justification. Forget justification. I am asking you about progressive sanctification and heavenly reward. Are you progressively sanctified by anything wrought in you? Do you have grounds to boast? Do you cooperate/resist in progressive sanctification? If so, is progressive sanctification therefore not of grace and you should boast?

    Interesting that you say progressive sanctification does not increase intrinsic righteousness. Are you saying you have a static union (or no union at all) with christ your entire life after regeneration?

  284. James, you said,” Thus neither is our own justice established as our own or ourselves.” Catholic Catechism, ” “converted to their own justification” What does this mean? The term merit in the Catechism is “recompense owed” Can you explain this? If your justification is not of yourselves, why does Trent say you must participate in the Sacraments of the New Law to be justified ? Section 2006 and 20008 Catechism says good works are partly attributed to God and partly to man. What does this mean? Trent says justification is attained.Why this word? “must cooperate and assent to grace that is bestowed in baptism” to be justified. What does this mean? “To the one who works well to the end” justification is to be offered”, What does this mean? John 3:36 says He who believes in the son of God has eternal life. How can one reconcile this with the word “attain”?

  285. James, We increase in internal righteousness, but its the result of being justified by an external righteousness. That external righteousness does not remain outside us. Our justification is is in close connection with our union. Its all a work of theSpirit. You didn’t answer our question. Are you finally justified in someway by the life lived or the condition of the soul at death? I’m a little tired today, so bear with me if i repeat something.

  286. James, I misspoke, In sanctification we increase in righteousness, yes. Its all a work of His grace.

  287. Kevin,

    “you said,” Thus neither is our own justice established as our own or ourselves.” ”

    I did say that. And I was citing Trent. Which you then cite to contradict it. I recommend reading Trent and the CCC more carefully.

    ” In sanctification we increase in righteousness, yes. Its all a work of His grace.”

    Yep and you cooperate/resist in progressive sanctification in increasing in righteousness. Yet it is all a work of His grace. So you should understand why RC/EOs then cannot and don’t boast or minimize grace/exalt man in synergism.

  288. James–

    So, in other words, you’re fine with justification by faith alone, as long as the resultant justification doesn’t actually justify, but merely places us in a temporary, probationary status in right(ish) standing before God.

    Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, is not seen as sticking around to see to it that what he begins is completed.

    And you’re fine with justification by faith alone , as long as “faith alone” is properly understood as faith which is not, after all, actually alone.

  289. Eric,

    “merely places us in a temporary, probationary status in right(ish) standing before God.”

    It’s not a right-ish standing. We are fully righteous. That one can fall into mortal sin does not mean it is “sorta righteous” or we’re “kinda saved”.

    “Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, is not seen as sticking around to see to it that what he begins is completed.”

    Did he begin good works in you in progressive sanctification that you resist when you don’t cooperate and sin in not doing? I guess since you keep sinning he’s not sticking around all the time. Or maybe he just comes back around every so often to keep your progressive sanctification kinda on track.

    If God graciously grants the gift of final perseverance, it is infallible in its effect.

    What is the old Protestant slogan? We’re saved by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone. So I guess “faith alone” is properly understood as a faith which not after all actually alone.

  290. James, If you are fully righteous the why Purgatory? And why final justification based on the live lived?

  291. Kevin,

    “James, If you are fully righteous the why Purgatory”

    Because we still have temporal/horizontal debt from sin. And we still have concupiscence and venial sin attached to us. Since both of those are compatible with infused agape/righteousness, we are still fully righteous, although our participation in that righteousness will not be perfected (each according to his capacity) until after death.

  292. James, You can’t compare our sanctification with yours. Our righteousness dosent result from his righteousness, it is his righteousness. Your righteousness derives form His. Half Christ and faith, half you. But Paul is clear it Ephesians it is not of ourselves. And if you say it is all by faith that wouldn’t be right, because you have a condition of having to do the sacraments of the New Law to be finally justified/sanctified. So if you do the sacraments your in and if you don’t your out. If it is by faith, then why sacramental efficacy necessary in final justification?

  293. Kevin,

    “You can’t compare our sanctification with yours. Our righteousness dosent result from his righteousness, it is his righteousness.”

    You said “In sanctification we increase in righteousness, yes. Its all a work of His grace.”
    And I said:
    Yep and you cooperate/resist in progressive sanctification in increasing in righteousness. Yet it is all a work of His grace. So you should understand why RC/EOs then cannot and don’t boast or minimize grace/exalt man in synergism.

    You can’t just hand-wave.

    “Your righteousness derives form His. Half Christ and faith, half you. But Paul is clear it Ephesians it is not of ourselves.”

    Why do I even bother. Read Trent again (carefully unlike your earlier response).

    “sacraments of the New Law to be finally justified/sanctified.”

    Have fun telling Lutherans baptism is a work.

  294. James, You told Eric, ” Im not in a rightish standing ( I got to say Eric’ shot a way of putting things) We are fully righteous.” But its contradictory to say that and then turn around and say well not realy because we have temporal?horizontal debt and concupiscence. You say we are fully righteous but that righteousness will not be perfected until…… How can you stand fully righteous but it still needs to be perfected. Listen James, there is no explanation for us being justified and raised in the inner man, with the seal of the Spirit of adoption, and seated in heaven with Him if we aren’t completely righteous and have some scrubbing left. If we can be yet condemned based in some way on the final condition of the soul. You need to look at the immediacy in Ephesians of being raised. You need to look at verse 14 where it says He himself is our peace. You need to look at when our bodies are raised they are raised imperishable. the already/ not yet is compelling. Being in Christ transports us from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of light, out of judgement. Just like “Let there be light’ Let the earth bring forth” or the raising of Lazarus. boom God don’t waste no time. He called Abraham out from a moon worshiping family. boom. Romans 1 says He was declared the Son of God thru the resurrection. Boom. Justification is so final. He was raised for our justification. God ain’t seating no one in heaven who needs some scrubbing. 2 Corinthians 2:21 ” Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit as a pledge.” This is the immediate resurrection of the inner man. Why else would the saints be groaning for their glorified bodies if they had to go thru final justification? God does not unseal a pledge and unseat us from heaven. He will perfect our faith and bring it all to fruition. Have a nice night James.

  295. Kevin,

    “God ain’t seating no one in heaven who needs some scrubbing.”

    I am pretty certain all Reformed teach a final purification/sanctification after death, even if instantaneous. That’s scrubbing. Although I guess in your perspective God would still be just as glorified if you remained in your pre-death state and he just continued to look at you with imputed righteousness for eternity. I don’t see why He shouldn’t do so in your system.

  296. James–

    Face it. Justification one can lose by falling into mortal sin is nothing but “sorta righteous.” And a Dread-Pirate-Roberts type of salvation where you’re safe for tonight but “I’ll most likely kill you in the morning” is indeed “kinda saved.”

    I have said this before, but those who made it off the Titanic into a lifeboat, only to be soon afterward swept overboard and drowned, were never listed among the “saved.” A child who is part of a family is not even safe, let alone saved, if the possibility exists that her parents will abandon her outside to the wolves should her behavior prove unacceptable. (My wife remarks you’d be quickly thrown out of the foster system if you attempted to foster parent in such a manner. All I can say is, your Catholic God is a monster! 😉 )

    Is there a reason progressive sanctification would need to be at the same steady pace for everyone? God can’t have different purposes for each of the elect?

    Yes justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone…but it is by that living faith separate from its attached works (because what we are really saying is that it is completely by Christ alone…by a Christ who is alone…nothing and no one need assist him in our justification).

  297. James–

    I have to agree with you that Protestant glorification is tantamount to an instantaneous purgation, as outlined in 1 Corinthians 3.

  298. Eric,

    “Justification one can lose by falling into mortal sin is nothing but “sorta righteous.” And a Dread-Pirate-Roberts type of salvation where you’re safe for tonight but “I’ll most likely kill you in the morning” is indeed “kinda saved.””

    No, it’s fully righteous even if one loses it. I can be in prime health and kill myself – I was still fully healthy physically. RCs aren’t sweating and biting fingernails every night. It’s not difficult to have a moral confidence – means of grace exist for a reason – just ask Lutherans.

    “A child who is part of a family is not even safe, let alone saved, if the possibility exists that her parents will abandon her outside to the wolves should her behavior prove unacceptable. (My wife remarks you’d be quickly thrown out of the foster system if you attempted to foster parent in such a manner.”

    Would a foster parent be thrown out of the system if they had to return the child to the foster system because that child was destroying the house, threatening siblings, killing pets, punching mom every day, and so on, despite the love and patience that was being poured upon the child?

    And of course your system just says the kid wasn’t really in the foster system in the first place – he fooled all the case workers! And the foster parents knew about it but just played along so they could add to his punishment when he got found out. Analogies cut both ways.

    “Is there a reason progressive sanctification would need to be at the same steady pace for everyone? God can’t have different purposes for each of the elect?”

    Sure – the point is you resist God when you sin.

    “Yes justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone…but it is by that living faith separate from its attached works (because what we are really saying is that it is completely by Christ alone…by a Christ who is alone…nothing and no one need assist him in our justification).”

    Living faith – a faith formed by charity. Hence Benedict’s statement. That does not necessitate imputation and monergism, nor does it necessitate something that is not by Christ alone.

    Do you assist him in your progressive sanctification? Is progressive sanctification completely by Christ alone or not?

  299. Eric, James said ” a faith formed in charity” Smuggling! They are catholics for a reason.

  300. Kevin,
    A living faith! Smuggling!

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