Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Alexander, Jul 9, 2018.
Dan Wallace: “continual belief [is] a necessary condition of salvation”
Depends on what he means by condition. If he means it in a sine qua non, instrumental, and logically antecedent way then there's no problem however if he's smuggling in condition as a meritorious work of our own that leads to our final salvation then he's dead wrong. Christ's Righteousness is the only formal and material cause of our salvation, not our perseverance in the faith, even though that is the way in which God saves us. Owen discusses this in chapter 8 of his Doctrine of Justification by Faith in a helpful way. Just read it all actually.
Don't know the context of the quote. But what Jesus promises to give us when he saves us IS a faith that lasts. All He requires He gives. So it's not so much about us making sure our faith is being maintained (though I'm not trying to minimize responsibility in the life of the Christian), but about Christ persevering us to the end.
The same Bible that reveals to us that true believers shall persevere, also equally reveals that the true believer must persevere. The pursuit of holiness is not optional for the true believer. Now, to be sure, none of us are ever able to obey perfectly, but our obedience to the God of the Bible is to be purposeful. True faith is a faith that continues to the end, and that takes into account all of our falls, failures, and sin, and lapses that can at times be prolonged. But the God of our salvation in Jesus Christ will complete in us what He begins.
Is this Dan Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary? If so, given that context, he may be referring to (and differing with) the so-called "free grace" teachers associated with DTS in the past who took eternal security to such lengths that they taught that so long as you had one act of faith at one point in time during your life, you could completely apostatize later on and still be saved.
I've been reading some Arthur Pink on the subject (The Sermon on the Mount):
"...salvation by works and salvation without works are equally opposed to God's way of salvation."
"It also requires to be pointed out that saving faith is not an isolated act but a continuous thing."
"Saving faith is not an isolated act which suffices for the remainder of a person’s life, rather is it a living principle which continues in activity, ever seeking the only Object which can satisfy it. Nor is it a thing apart, but a productive principle which issues in good works and spiritual fruits."
I'm not saying that it's all exactly clear to me, but I get the jist of what he is saying, which sounds like what Dan Wallace is also saying. My denomination teaches that good works are an effect/fruit of salvation, which is not only what Wallace and Pink are saying.
I'd be happy for any extra clarification or explanation on the subject!!
I'll add one more quote, if you don't mind.
"Are good works necessary in order to the obtaining of salvation? Our answer was no and yes. Perhaps the reader is now better prepared to follow us in such a seemingly paradoxical answer. Certainly no works are required from us in order to induce God to show us favour. Nor are they necessary in order to our justification, for they constitute no part of that righteousness which we have before God. Nor do they procure for us a title to heaven. But it is a great mistake to suppose that because good works are not necessary for one particular end they are not indispensable for any: that because they are not meritorious therefore they are useless. Not so. Good works are necessary. They are necessary in order to preserve us from that course and practice which conducts to hell. They are necessary in order to the glorifying of God and the magnifying of His grace. They are necessary in order to keep us in the only way that leads to heaven. They are necessary in order to communion with the thrice holy God. They are necessary in order to prove the quality of our faith and the genuineness of our profession. They are necessary in order to the making of our calling and election sure. They are necessary in order to silence the detractors of the Gospel."
This is a subject I'm really working for clarity on, and Alexander, I'm glad you brought it up!
An answer I once provided another arguing for OSAS against Calvinism on the matter. Note in the response much use of links so that the reader may search out my claims for themselves:
Spoiler: Perseverance of the Saints
OSAS tends to lead to the view that there is nothing remaining for the believer in their walk of faith. Who denies that there are not a few of those that sign the pledge card or answer a Finneyistic altar call soon show themselves to be not of us for they went out of us?
The reason is that the typical OSAS view, never carefully explained from the pulpit, ends up in error, such as in Keswickian Exchanged Life views that include rationales leading to licentiousness--doing whatever a person wants "now that I am saved and always will be". OSAS fosters the wrong mindset.
Beloved, believers are not mere punctiliar (one-time event) Christians. The Spirit waters and feeds our repentance and faith through the means of grace. These means keep us alive in the faith and are not just a means for starting us in the faith. God commands our ongoing attention to our faith, that we examine ourselves (feed our faith, starve our doubts) to make sure our faith is real. God also provides that which He commands, ordaining the ends as well as the means to the ends—even the believer's conversion (re-birth, faith, sanctification, final glory). Augustine's little prayer sums it up: "O Lord, grant what Thou dost command and command what Thou dost desire." Pelagius never grasped what Augustine meant, failing to see that no one can please God unless God provides us in some manner via His means to meet His requirements.
As Scripture teaches, enduring to the end, holding fast to the faith, abiding in Christ and His Word are vital to one's conversion (“conversion” here meaning the full salvific process). If these evidences of faith do not exist a professing Christian, upon self examination, should question their conversion to prove it out. But in no way whatsoever does this perseverance imply doing good works. Rather it is from the believer’s duty, their “oughtness” that good works springs, and yet even these good works are not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.
But, and this is important, there are some who would hold that a true believer may not persevere and can be ultimately lost. Such is but the view originating from Rome that has smuggled into evangelicals who harbor semi-Pelagianism bringing dishonor to God and Our Lord for what He did for us.
At this point, some would then ask, "Well, if the believer will persevere then why do the Scriptures contain admonitions and warning verses for salvation?" In reply I answer, as noted above, God ordains the end but also the means to the end. One of those means of God for His glory is the perseverance of the believer in faith to the end. God effects His means of perseverance in the true believer by admonishing them of the consequences of not persevering to the end. We must take these admonishments seriously. Why? Because these admonishments serve as a means to stir up the genuinely faithful.
An example from Scripture might help explain. Consider Paul about to be shipwrecked in Acts 27. We read that God had assured Paul that no one would lose their life in that shipwreck. Yet, despite this clear assurance from God, Paul, being stirred up, admonishes those on the ship that unless the persons trying to leave by the lifeboat remain on board, those on the ship would not be saved. Note here that the Apostle was assured of their salvation, Paul knew the means of their salvation, and his warning produced the desired result.
Speaking under the superintended inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter tells us that those who are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God" and "begotten again unto a lively hope" are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (I Peter 1:2-5).
Indeed, God's almighty power preserves the true believer so that he or she receives that final and complete salvation that will be revealed at the eschaton. It can be no other way, for the work of salvation is God's work and God's work does not fail.
The teachings of the perseverance of the saints in Scripture is succinctly described in the Westminster Confession of Faith as follows:
Spoiler: WCF on Perseverance
Chapter XVII - Of the Perseverance of the Saints.
1. They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved. (Phil. 1:6, 2 Pet. 1:10, 1 John 3:9, 1 Pet. 1:5,9)
2. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; (2 Tim. 2:18-19, Jer. 31:3) upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, (Heb. 10:10, 14, Heb. 13:20-21, Heb. 9:12-15, Rom. 8:33-39, John 17:11, 24, Luke 22:32, Heb. 7:25) the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them, (John 14:16-17, 1 John 2:27, 1 John 3:9) and the nature of the covenant of grace: (Jer. 32:40) from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof. (John 10:28, 2 Thess. 3:3, 1 John 2:19)
3. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; (Matt. 26:70, 72, 74) and, for a time, continue therein: (Ps. 51 title, Ps. 51:1) whereby they incur God’s displeasure, (Isa. 64:5, 7, 9, 2 Sam. 11:27) and grieve His Holy Spirit, (Eph. 4:30) come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, (Ps. 51:8, 10, 12, Rev. 2:4, Cant. 5:2-4, 6) have their hearts hardened, (Isa. 63:17, Mark 6:52, Mark 16:14) and their consciences wounded; (Ps. 32:3-4, Ps. 51:8) hurt and scandalize others, (2 Sam. 12:14) and bring temporal judgments upon themselves. (Ps. 89:31-32, 1 Cor. 11:32)
Worth a read, too:
I think if you get the distinction between an antecedent condition and a consequent condition clear in your mind, the pieces will fall in place. An antecedent condition necessarily produces a certain effect. A consequent condition is the necessary effect of its antecedent.
To illustrate: a pot of water will boil when it reaches 100 degrees Celsius. The temperature reaching 100 degrees is the antecedent condition to the water boiling. The water boiling is the consequent condition of the temperature reaching 100 degrees. If the water is not boiling, it has not reached 100 degrees.
Persevering faith is a necessary consequent condition of salvation. If there is no persevering faith, there can be no salvation.
That's a pretty simple and straightforward statement that I agree with.
At the risk of seeming a bit trite, I add the verses below.
Hebrews 3:6 (KJV)
But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Matthew 24:13 (KJV)
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(I didn't finish AMR's attachment yet, so these may be repetitious)
I love Author Pink. What a blessing he was for me in the earlier days of my pilgrimage. He can be a great eye-opener. But, and this is just my personal opinion, he can be a little harsh and a bit burdensome on a true but sensitive saint. He has caused fear in me where a gentler warning would have been more in order. Just my thoughts.
Thank you all for your responses. My current understanding is that faith is what attatches a sinner to Christ, allowing them to receive all of his benefits. Were they, hypothetically, to stop believing... they would lose their salvation. But of course, that would never happen. Nevertheless, I see continuous faith as an infallible condition of remaining in this state of grace, that will certainly be true for every elect individual.