FV and Forgiveness

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Ravens

Puritan Board Sophomore
The thread concerning FV and its inclusion of soteriological blessings among the privileges of the visible church and outward covenant mentioned that at least one FV advocate held that the non-elect (in the Westminster sense) could have some form of "forgiveness" for a time.

If forgiveness is a spiritual blessing that was purchased and accomplished by Christ on the cross, and the non-elect experience and enjoy forgiveness in some sense (per FV), then would it not be necessary for them to maintain that Christ also died for the non-elect in some sense? And that "sense" would have to include the meriting/purchasing of soteriological blessings for non-elect persons, would it not (per FV)?

Has anyone ever pressed them on this point? I don't recall it coming up in the thread. And doesn't that criticism have a little more "bite" to it, as far as innoculating the sheep, and or pointing out the severity of the error (as opposed to painting it as a simple misunderstanding of temporal election to external benefits)?

Or am I missing something?
 

AdamM

Puritan Board Freshman
JD, good question.

I think one might say that according to the Federal Vision, "therefore there is now condemnation for some who are in Christ Jesus."
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
Joshua,

I think they have pressed the issue, but the FVist would argue that the covenantally elect receive all the benefits of Christ just like the decretively elect except the gift of perseverance. Since the covenantally elect do not persevere then the forgiveness of sins gets wiped out at the final judgment.

The idea of forgiveness is only one implication that they do not deal with very well.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Joshua,

I think they have pressed the issue, but the FVist would argue that the covenantally elect receive all the benefits of Christ just like the decretively elect except the gift of perseverance. Since the covenantally elect do not persevere then the forgiveness of sins gets wiped out at the final judgment.

The idea of forgiveness is only one implication that they do not deal with very well.

reminds me a GREAT deal of those who say "Christ died for all sins for all people - that is, except the sin of unbelief."
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
JD, good question.

I think one might say that according to the Federal Vision, "therefore there is now condemnation for some who are in Christ Jesus."

or perhaps a little more directly -

"therefore there will someday be condemnation for many of those who currently are covered by the blood of Christ and are therefore in Christ Jesus, and are today (at this time, at least) safe from condemnation."
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
You speak of "forgiveness of sins" as if it was a "thing" given to someone, like a silver coin. We aren't "given" forgiveness of sins. It is a status in which one either stands or does not stand. It is also eschatological in nature. The eternally elect in Christ are not "forgiven of sins" in history, as of yet, because we are awaiting the resurrection. Forgiveness of sins is not realized until the eschaton.

One can be "in Christ," who IS propitiation in-and-of-Himself, and yet still fall away. This does not mean someone loses their "eternal" status of "having forgiveness," because forgiveness is not realized in temporal terms, but eternal, when the elect are glorified and justified ultimately. Almost every aspect of the ordo salutis is spoken of in Scripture in terms of present and future, or even past, present, and future.

So basically, rather than thinking of forgiveness of sins as a "thing" given to someone, it is a status one enjoys through union with Christ. But, it is also eschatological in nature, so one doesn't really "have forgiveness" until the eschaton, anyway... so... one doesn't "lose" their eternal status if they are historically "in Christ" and therefore, "in forgiveness" and then cut out for unbelief.

This isn't any worse than the stance the WCF takes, which says that unbelievers can be "fooled" into thinking they have forgiveness and so forth, yet actually NOT have it.

Also, consider the Word of God through Paul:

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
One can be "in Christ," who IS propitiation in-and-of-Himself, and yet still fall away.

Explain, please. Does Christ's propitatory sacrifice actually accomplish anything? What does it accomplish, and for whom?

This does not mean someone loses their "eternal" status of "having forgiveness," because forgiveness is not realized in temporal terms, but eternal, when the elect are glorified and justified ultimately. Almost every aspect of the ordo salutis is spoken of in Scripture in terms of present and future, or even past, present, and future.

So basically, rather than thinking of forgiveness of sins as a "thing" given to someone, it is a status one enjoys through union with Christ.

And you would argue that union with Christ is a potentially temporary status. Correct?

How is "union with Christ" begun? Who initiates it, and with whom is it initiated?

This isn't any worse than the stance the WCF takes, which says that unbelievers can be "fooled" into thinking they have forgiveness and so forth, yet actually NOT have it.

NO worse? Surely you jest. How can anything be worse than a "temporary, you may very well lose it" union with Christ? What assurance is there in this kind of ultimately man-dependent union?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
You speak of "forgiveness of sins" as if it was a "thing" given to someone, like a silver coin. We aren't "given" forgiveness of sins. It is a status in which one either stands or does not stand. It is also eschatological in nature. The eternally elect in Christ are not "forgiven of sins" in history, as of yet, because we are awaiting the resurrection. Forgiveness of sins is not realized until the eschaton.

One can be "in Christ," who IS propitiation in-and-of-Himself, and yet still fall away. This does not mean someone loses their "eternal" status of "having forgiveness," because forgiveness is not realized in temporal terms, but eternal, when the elect are glorified and justified ultimately. Almost every aspect of the ordo salutis is spoken of in Scripture in terms of present and future, or even past, present, and future.

So basically, rather than thinking of forgiveness of sins as a "thing" given to someone, it is a status one enjoys through union with Christ. But, it is also eschatological in nature, so one doesn't really "have forgiveness" until the eschaton, anyway... so... one doesn't "lose" their eternal status if they are historically "in Christ" and therefore, "in forgiveness" and then cut out for unbelief.

This isn't any worse than the stance the WCF takes, which says that unbelievers can be "fooled" into thinking they have forgiveness and so forth, yet actually NOT have it.

Also, consider the Word of God through Paul:

You certainly have drunk deep at the fount of the Federal Vision. But one year ago, your statements were decidedly different. Now you have successfully parroted all the distinctives: being in Christ whilest not, making the soteriological eschatological to avoid the present, denying the reality of soteriological elements (how silly to speak of forgiveness as a thing!), and of course, taking Paul out of context.

How sad.
 

Robin

Puritan Board Junior
You speak of "forgiveness of sins" as if it was a "thing" given to someone, like a silver coin. We aren't "given" forgiveness of sins. It is a status in which one either stands or does not stand. It is also eschatological in nature. The eternally elect in Christ are not "forgiven of sins" in history, as of yet, because we are awaiting the resurrection. Forgiveness of sins is not realized until the eschaton.

One can be "in Christ," who IS propitiation in-and-of-Himself, and yet still fall away. This does not mean someone loses their "eternal" status of "having forgiveness," because forgiveness is not realized in temporal terms, but eternal, when the elect are glorified and justified ultimately. Almost every aspect of the ordo salutis is spoken of in Scripture in terms of present and future, or even past, present, and future.

So basically, rather than thinking of forgiveness of sins as a "thing" given to someone, it is a status one enjoys through union with Christ. But, it is also eschatological in nature, so one doesn't really "have forgiveness" until the eschaton, anyway... so... one doesn't "lose" their eternal status if they are historically "in Christ" and therefore, "in forgiveness" and then cut out for unbelief.

This isn't any worse than the stance the WCF takes, which says that unbelievers can be "fooled" into thinking they have forgiveness and so forth, yet actually NOT have it.

Also, consider the Word of God through Paul:

Thanks a lot, Gabe. If that's the way "forgiveness" works we may as well all go back to Rome!

Jesus said "it IS finished." The benefits of the Gospel are outside of us. Did the thief on the cross prove his faith?

I thought my good works were filthy - because God does save us by good works -- but it is Jesus Christ's good works that gain merit with God.

Try thinking about this via Scripture alone and not using the confessions as some twisty/bendy/gumby thing, OK? Fred's right, Gabe...it's like you're under some Jedi mind-trick!

:um:

Robin
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It is also eschatological in nature. The eternally elect in Christ are not "forgiven of sins" in history, as of yet, because we are awaiting the resurrection. Forgiveness of sins is not realized until the eschaton.

One can be "in Christ," who IS propitiation in-and-of-Himself, and yet still fall away. This does not mean someone loses their "eternal" status of "having forgiveness," because forgiveness is not realized in temporal terms, but eternal, when the elect are glorified and justified ultimately.

Gabe,

Regardless of one's views on any issues concerning assurance and our own current, human perception of our forgiveness at different times, think of this question in terms of God's perspective and how He views us at this time: Do you think that when God considers a person in the visible Church who is elect and has been regenerated and exercised repentant faith in Christ, that He currently views such a person as presently being any different in his legal status before God than a person in the visible Church who is not elect and has only a surface profession, but no real faith in Christ?
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Gabe,

Regardless of one's views on any issues concerning assurance and our own current, human perception of our forgiveness at different times, think of this question in terms of God's perspective and how He views us at this time: Do you think that when God considers a person in the visible Church who is elect and has been regenerated and exercised repentant faith in Christ, that He currently views such a person as presently being any different in his legal status before God than a person in the visible Church who is not elect and has only a surface profession, but no real faith in Christ?

I don't know if God "considers" people in the visible Church, really, in terms of eternal benefits and blessings. Of course God is aware of who is or is not in covenant with Him, and His Spirit works in the covenant community (the Church) to bring the elect to faith, and preserve the Church, etc.

I think that in God's viewpoint, in eternity, all that "matters" is who is elect or reprobate. That is for God to know and us to, eventually, find out -- but not in the here-and-now.

In history, we must deal with "what is revealed to us and to our children" (Deut 29:29), which means we shouldn't be so concerned with that which we cannot "figure out" (i.e. who is elect or reprobate), but with that which we CAN control (i.e., resting in Christ by faith, repenting of our sins, and exercising our saving faith by living a life of faithful obedience to God and His Law, through loving one another and being a faithful witness for the Gospel in this world).

We have the subjective testimony of the Spirit as an assurance of faith in our hearts, and we also have objective assurances of faith in the Church, such as the Word and Sacraments, so that we are not left to conjecture or being "fooled," as some who profess faith in vain are. Of course, James also tells us that our good works justify our status within the Church as believers before men, so we are left with little doubt in our mind that, before God on judgment day, we will as believers, being united to Christ, have forgiveness of sins, justification, and be glorified through the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I certainly agree with you on our rightful pursuit of God through looking to Christ and resting in Him by faith, having a repentant heart, looking to the means of grace as further assurances of what we have in Christ through that faith, and naturally living out that gratitude by willing and joyful faithfulness to God's Law.

But if the only present difference between the believer and the unbeliever within the body of professors in the visible Church is the difference of their own perspective, and if there is not a way in which God actually views and treats them differently other than His eternal knowledge of their elect or reprobate status, what significance does the torn veil have (Matt. 27:51), and how can we now boldly approach the throne without an ordinary human priest (Heb. 4:16)? Furthermore, if we as present true believers were not legally viewed and spiritually treated differently by God than unbelieving professors, how could God truly be present among us in our prayers of faith (Matt. 18:20)? For He cannot be with sin.

Likewise, without that difference in how believing professors and unbelieving professors are legally viewed and spiritually treated by God in the present, how could we account for the fact that for some people in the visible Church, the Lord's Supper is an actual communion with or participation in the body and blood of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16), and yet for others it is a participation in judgment (1 Cor. 11:29)? Again, God cannot commune with sin, hence the necessity of God's present viewing and treating of true believers differently with specific regard to their sin.
 

turmeric

Megerator
You speak of "forgiveness of sins" as if it was a "thing" given to someone, like a silver coin. We aren't "given" forgiveness of sins. It is a status in which one either stands or does not stand.

I can see your point, somewhat. Forgiveness is certainly a verdict, which God pronounced when He raised Jesus from the dead, as Paul says:

[bible]Colossians 2:11-14[/bible]

It is also eschatological in nature. The eternally elect in Christ are not "forgiven of sins" in history, as of yet, because we are awaiting the resurrection. Forgiveness of sins is not realized until the eschaton.

One can be "in Christ," who IS propitiation in-and-of-Himself, and yet still fall away. This does not mean someone loses their "eternal" status of "having forgiveness," because forgiveness is not realized in temporal terms, but eternal, when the elect are glorified and justified ultimately. Almost every aspect of the ordo salutis is spoken of in Scripture in terms of present and future, or even past, present, and future.

Good point, Gabe, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world, and included in those for whom Christ died.

So basically, rather than thinking of forgiveness of sins as a "thing" given to someone, it is a status one enjoys through union with Christ. But, it is also eschatological in nature, so one doesn't really "have forgiveness" until the eschaton, anyway... so... one doesn't "lose" their eternal status if they are historically "in Christ" and therefore, "in forgiveness" and then cut out for unbelief.

I just read this morning in Matt. 13, the parable of the wheat and the tares. The tares were not disturbed lest they disturb the wheat, but the tares were never "wheat" conditionally.

This isn't any worse than the stance the WCF takes, which says that unbelievers can be "fooled" into thinking they have forgiveness and so forth, yet actually NOT have it.

This kind of thing torments me sometimes, it has in the past and probably will again. But I think, in reality no one gets "fooled" so much as one fools oneself. It's all about who one is trusting, oneself or Christ. The problem is, if one is looking to one's works and status of not presently being under church discipline, one isn't looking in the right place, hence, one isn't trusting, hence...

The people in that terrifying 7th chapter of Matthew, who were so shocked to find themselves outside of the Kingdom pleaded their good works. They'd missed the whole point.
 

Ravens

Puritan Board Sophomore
Gabe,

You say Christ is propitiation in-and-of-Himself. And anyone who is "in" Him, covenantally, experiences the benefits of Christ whilst being in Him, but they aren't finalized or realized unless he or she perseveres in the faith? I mean, nit-picks aside, is that essentially correct?

In that model, it seems as if God simply renders His judgment upon Christ, condemns Christ, justifies Christ, resurrects Christ, etc., all of which we share in and participate in by being "in Christ". And I guess that's all well and good, in a sense. But to me, it leaves out the fact that Christ was acting in the room and stead of a particular number of people, no more, no less, that had been marked out by the eternal plan of God before the foundation of the world.

I just don't see how any theology that allows non-elect persons (who will ultimately be damned) to be regenerate, forgiven, justified, what have you, at any point in time, can square with the Reformed view of the atonement. Regardless of what metaphors are used in explaining forgiveness and other spiritual benefits, surely its obvious that all spiritual blessings are procured and secured by Christ.

So if all of our spiritual blessings are rooted in Christ's work, and non-elect, finally reprobate individuals at some point share in real, actual, spiritual blessings... then how can the FV avoid including non-elect, reprobate individuals in the purpose and scope of Christ's atonement?

And how is that Reformed, or confessional?

If someone enjoys spiritual blessings economically by the Spirit, then those same spiritual blessings must have been purchases and merited by Christ in the past, and if Christ only fulfilled the will of the Father, then those same spiritual blessings must have been marked out from all eternity in the mind of God.

I just don't see how any scheme that allows the non-elect and finally reprobate to deal with a very real spiritual life, participate in a very real inward grace that is founded on a real inclusion in the atonement, but can be lost by not finally persevering, is functionally that much different than Rome or Arminianism.

What am I missing?
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
You speak of "forgiveness of sins" as if it was a "thing" given to someone, like a silver coin. We aren't "given" forgiveness of sins. It is a status in which one either stands or does not stand. It is also eschatological in nature. The eternally elect in Christ are not "forgiven of sins" in history, as of yet, because we are awaiting the resurrection. Forgiveness of sins is not realized until the eschaton.
Gabe,

Why must forgiveness be relegated simply to one's status, when the Bible itself speaks of it as something that Christ gives? Acts 5:31, Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give (aorist active infinitive of didomi) repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. I think that you're straining at a gnat for the sake of an agenda rather than a sound argument. Moreover, in Colossians 1:13 Paul speaks of the forgiveness of sins not simply as a status but as a present possession. I'm sure that the paralytic would have been surprised to learn that Jesus words in Matthew 9:2, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven (present passive indicative) you," was something yet to be realized in the last day; Or that the sins "having been forgiven" (aorist participle) in Colossians 2:13 were yet awaiting future fullfillment.

DTK
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Gabe,

Why must forgiveness be relegated simply to one's status, when the Bible itself speaks of it as something that Christ gives? Acts 5:31, Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give (aorist active infinitive of didomi) repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. I think that you're straining at a gnat for the sake of an agenda rather than a sound argument. Moreover, in Colossians 1:13 Paul speaks of the forgiveness of sins not simply as a status but as a present possession. I'm sure that the paralytic would have been surprised to learn that Jesus words in Matthew 9:2, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven (present passive indicative) you," was something yet to be realized in the last day; Or that the sins "having been forgiven" (aorist participle) in Colossians 2:13 were yet awaiting future fullfillment.

DTK


:up: :up:
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Galatians 2:15-21 5 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

There's the whole context but I wanted to highlight verse 20:

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If FV is true then wasn't Paul being a bit presumptious? As far as cash value for the person in the pew (me) one of the large imports of FV teaching is that I can't know that my sins were forgiven and that Christ loved me and gave himself for me. Other than in some sense only to be realized at the eschaton. Not very comforting. I can't imagine being a pastor and having to comfort distressed souls with nothing less than the passage above.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Gabe,

Why must forgiveness be relegated simply to one's status, when the Bible itself speaks of it as something that Christ gives? Acts 5:31, Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give (aorist active infinitive of didomi) repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. I think that you're straining at a gnat for the sake of an agenda rather than a sound argument. Moreover, in Colossians 1:13 Paul speaks of the forgiveness of sins not simply as a status but as a present possession. I'm sure that the paralytic would have been surprised to learn that Jesus words in Matthew 9:2, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven (present passive indicative) you," was something yet to be realized in the last day; Or that the sins "having been forgiven" (aorist participle) in Colossians 2:13 were yet awaiting future fullfillment.

DTK

:up: :)

Where did Gabe's signature go to?

Uh-oh.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Gabe,

Just so everyone is crystal clear, are you now espousing Federal Vision Doctrine?

Your post seems so, which is why I'm asking.

I am sympathetic and empathetic to the emphases and aims of the FV movement; viz. that American evangelicalism has tarnished Calvinism in our Reformed and Presbyterian churches, causing them to more resemble revivalistic gatherings than churches of the Reformation.

I do not agree with a large amount of what I read many of them say. I do think some of them are more "Confessional" than others, while I think a few of the "popular names" are WAY OUT THERE in "left field," theologically.

I don't know what else to say, though. I don't accept the "FV theology" through-and-through, nor do I accept the WCF as-is, through-and-through (as I'm sure few of us do). I take a few exceptions, mostly related to eschatology and the magistrate (but those areas are usually removed from the "American version" of the WCF anyways, including in the PCA's version which is the denomination I am in the process of transferring my membership to, from the RPCNA).

This would be easier to respond to if you could ask me a few, direct, straight-forward questions, and I would be glad to answer them, but only insofar as they are measurements of the true faith of Christianity. I don't think this board, the RPCGA, or any clear-headed, honest believer would think "non-essentials" or "areas of liberty" are "tests of true faith" in Christianity. In other words, all of my Baptist friends are very much saved and going to heaven when they perish, although we disagree strongly about many "big" doctrines, such as Ecclesiology.

:2cents:
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Gabe,

I agree with you on the big doctrines, and how non-essentials do not demosntrate or not, savedness.

Big doctrines, however, definitely do.

Your post above with being "in Christ" (a soteriological expression) is BIG doctrine. Which is why I asked. The way the post reads, its seems FV.

Can you elaborate what Christ or Paul meant with being "in Christ"? in comparrison as to how you DISAGREE with the FV guys about being "in Christ".
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Gabe,

I agree with you on the big doctrines, and how non-essentials do not demosntrate or not, savedness.

Big doctrines, however, definitely do.

Your post above with being "in Christ" (a soteriological expression) is BIG doctrine. Which is why I asked. The way the post reads, its seems FV.

Can you elaborate what Christ or Paul meant with being "in Christ"? in comparrison as to how you DISAGREE with the FV guys about being "in Christ".


Sure.

By virtue of the covenant of grace, and through God's grace in baptism, one enters into and is sealed into the covenant of grace. Baptism is a sign and seal of one's "ingrafting into Christ," etc. (WCF XXVIII; [esv]Rom 6:3; Gal 3:27; 1 Pet 3:21[/esv])

This is how one enters into a legal relationship with the Church.

The Church is the "Body of Christ" and the "Kingdom of God," as we all take for granted. So, if someone is united to the visible Church by virtue of the CoG and baptism, they are to be considered, ordinarily, as members of the Body of Christ and "in Christ." This, however, could be a faulty presumption, but we are in no position to make that call unless discipline through the Church brings it about ([esv]Deut 29:29[/esv]; [esv]1 John 2:19[/esv]).

As far as we are concerned, in the here-and-now, this person is, therefore, a Christian. They are no longer considered to be under Adam as their head, but are considered to be under the Second Adam, under Christ, as their Head, as He is the mediator of the Covenant of Grace. They should be treated, exhorted, and disciplined as a regenerate, justified, believer, for all practical purposes. They should not be told to "rest in their laurels" but should be exhorted to repent of their sins and rest in Christ by faith and produce fruit of a Godly person all the days of their life. They should NOT, however, be told they need a "conversion experience" or that they need to be "truly saved" or "truly repent" at any point in time, unless they are removed from the Church by discipline. Scripture makes it clear that "conversion experiences" are for the heathen, not God's people who, by virtue of the promise, are "born into the Church."

This is the place (the CoG) for all of those who are Elect, and their children.

Those who are apparently "in the Body of Christ" can, and do, still fall away from Grace.

These are people who have been "baptized into Christ as their Mediator", "ate spiritual food" and "drank spiritual drink" -- viz. Christ as their "Spiritual Rock," with whom the Lord can still be "displeased." ([esv]1 Cor 10:1-5[/esv]) If such people do not "take heed" to the warnings of God and His Word, they CAN and WILL "fall." ([esv]1 Cor 10:12[/esv])

These are people who have "denied the Master who bought them," even though "they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," whose "last state has become worse for them than the first." ([esv]2 Pet 2:1,20[/esv])

These are people who have "once been enlightened [...] tasted the heavenly gift [...] shared in the Holy Spirit, and [...] tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come" who then "fall away." These people cannot be restored to the Church because "they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt." The REASON they "fall away" is because they are land that has "drunk thet rain the falls on it (from God)", and yet bear "thorns and thistles" making them "worthless and near to being cursed, and [their] end is to be burned." ([esv]Heb 6:4-8[/esv]; cf. [esv]Mat 13:1-9;18-23[/esv])

These are people who have received "knowledge of the truth" and once had the promise of a "sacrifice for sins", that have been "sanctified by the blood of the covenant" and "outraged the Spirit of grace." Instead, their end is "fearful expectation of judgment" as one of the "Lord's people." [esv](Heb 10:26-31)[/esv]

At the end of the day, what really matters in all of this discussion is qualification and the doctrine of Compatiblism. Without either, we are left with "talking past one another" and "miscommunication" to an insane degree.

As far as qualification goes, I believe I have given you here MORE qualifications in regards to one's being ingrafted into the Church through the CoG and baptism than Scripture does. Honestly. Paul and the other Biblical authors take for granted that those who are in the Church are "elect" and "called out from the other peoples" and yet still exhorts them to "take heed lest they fall." Paul obviously does not believe that one can lose their eternal salvation, but he does believe wholeheartedly, I think, that one can apparently be "in Christ" one day and NOT "in Christ" the next, through apostasy. This does not mean someone's "eternal status" has changed IN ANY CONCEIVABLE WAY, nor is God's eternal decree affected IN ANY CONCEIVABLE WAY. We are speaking in terms of history here, in view of the covenant and how a covenantal relationship functions. Not eternity. Ultimately, yes, eternity is in mind, but that is not for us to concern ourselves with *ordinarily* or *mostly* as far as other people are concerned, especially (cf. again Deut 29:29).

Now, about compatiblism. We are, of course to, "make our calling and election sure" (a command given to us as a responsibility), because "God is at work in us" according to His eternal will. God has shown us in Scripture two compatible truths. One: He is completely sovereign over our eternal state. Two: We are completley responsible for our eternal state. The two truths reconcile with one another because God's thoughts are "beyond our thoughts." He does not work in syllogisms or in time, most importantly. God has chosen to both institute sacraments which are efficacious by virtue of His Word and faith in-and-of-themselves, while, at the same time, given US the RESPONSIBILITY to respond to those sacraments in faith. These two realities are both true, at the same time. While this is all confusing for many, and impossible for some (i.e., Arminians and Roman Catholics, both who swerve the pendulum in too far of either direction), we know that it is true because the Bible says it is true. We reconcile it because we HAVE to, knowing that God cannot lie.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Given the above statement, you seem to be backing off from a previous post (which is good if you are). Here I read you simply stating that a person is baptized in the Church and ought to be treated, visibly, as a Christian.

This is what concerns me from post #6, which language seems much different than your latest:
You speak of "forgiveness of sins" as if it was a "thing" given to someone, like a silver coin. We aren't "given" forgiveness of sins. It is a status in which one either stands or does not stand. It is also eschatological in nature. The eternally elect in Christ are not "forgiven of sins" in history, as of yet, because we are awaiting the resurrection. Forgiveness of sins is not realized until the eschaton.

One can be "in Christ," who IS propitiation in-and-of-Himself, and yet still fall away. This does not mean someone loses their "eternal" status of "having forgiveness," because forgiveness is not realized in temporal terms, but eternal, when the elect are glorified and justified ultimately. Almost every aspect of the ordo salutis is spoken of in Scripture in terms of present and future, or even past, present, and future.

So basically, rather than thinking of forgiveness of sins as a "thing" given to someone, it is a status one enjoys through union with Christ. But, it is also eschatological in nature, so one doesn't really "have forgiveness" until the eschaton, anyway... so... one doesn't "lose" their eternal status if they are historically "in Christ" and therefore, "in forgiveness" and then cut out for unbelief.
This bit about forgiveness has a different flavor to it altogether. It is one thing to treat all in the visible Church with the judgment of charity but you appeared to be arguing earlier that:
1. The elect have no present forgiveness of sins.
2. The non-elect are "in Christ" in the same sense as the elect are historically until they fall away. Perhaps you mean they only visibly "seem" to be but this was a clumsy way of putting it earlier.
3. The reprobate who are in Christ enjoy propitiation of their sins until they fall away by virtue of their union with Him.

Let me just ask you this: Leaving aside that the Church treats all visible members of the Church as if they are Christians, do those who are reprobate, in the decree of God, ever enjoy propitiation of their sins in the eyes of God?
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Given the above statement, you seem to be backing off from a previous post (which is good if you are). Here I read you simply stating that a person is baptized in the Church and ought to be treated, visibly, as a Christian

I don't think I'm "backing off" from anything, just giving more qualifications so what I say isn't taken the wrong way. More qualifications than Paul would give, I believe.



Let me just ask you this: Leaving aside that the Church treats all visible members of the Church as if they are Christians, do those who are reprobate, in the decree of God, ever enjoy propitiation of their sins in the eyes of God?

No.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I don't think I'm "backing off" from anything, just giving more qualifications so what I say isn't taken the wrong way. More qualifications than Paul would give, I believe.
I hardly think so. Paul is very emphatic about the decree of God but then very strong on human responsibility. He may not always connect the two but he does in some parts. You were quoting Scripture after all. What you call "qualification" I call a condensation.

OK, thanks.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
I don't think I'm "backing off" from anything, just giving more qualifications so what I say isn't taken the wrong way. More qualifications than Paul would give, I believe.


Let me just ask you this: Leaving aside that the Church treats all visible members of the Church as if they are Christians, do those who are reprobate, in the decree of God, ever enjoy propitiation of their sins in the eyes of God?


No.

Gabriel,
Would you consider to think otherwise heretical?
 
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