10
Feb
13

The Bonfire–Daily Straw Man#2

Today’s “straw man” is the assertion that Calvinists teach believers must maintain their standing before God by their obedient behavior until the judgment. If they fail to produce the level of obedience necessary to maintain their justification, they will be lost.

If I hadn’t read this stuff myself, I would never believe anyone could be sufficiently ignorant to make such a statement. A corollary to this prodigious misrepresentation is the idea that when we insist that sinner’s must bow to Christ’s Lordship at the point of initial faith, we are calling on sinners to do good works that will contribute to the merit needed to justify them.

Our view is that the only work that maintains our standing before God is the finished work of Christ. Since our justification depends totally on his gracious work for us, not only is there nothing we can do to keep it, there is also nothing we can do or fail to do that would cause us to lose it. The only place our obedience has in our lives subsequent to our initial justification is to give evidence of the reality of our faith. True faith produces obedience. Even this obedience on our part is never meritorious. Not only are our works without justifying merit; the faith and its accompanying repentance from which those works spring is also without merit.

Apparently, these people believe that if a sinner comes to a “moment of genuine faith” in Christ, he will be eternally secure no matter what happens subsequently. The issue is that genuine faith is not momentary faith. These two terms should never be used together in the same sentence concerning faith. Genuine faith is ongoing faith. The writer to the Hebrews tells his readers we have come to share in Christ if “we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Heb. 3:14). When Jesus described those to whom he gives eternal life, he described them as those who hear his voice and follow him (See John 10:28). There is no reason to believe we have eternal life and that we will never perish if we have no desire to hear his voice and follow him.

When we call on sinners to repent, we are not calling on them to stop sinning and begin a new life of obedience. We are calling on them to acknowledge that they cannot stop sinning and become obedient servants of Christ. We are calling on them to bring their sins to their new master that he might break the bonds that have held them captive and produce in them, by his Spirit, the obedience he desires.

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1 Response to “The Bonfire–Daily Straw Man#2”


  1. February 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Amen! The third paragraph is absolutely on target. Justification takes place in a moment, faith is abiding – as is the Spirit of God Who is our earnest against the Day of Judgment.


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