Posts Tagged ‘Justification through Faith Alone


Email to Paul Dohse about Sanctification Through Faith

The following is an email I sent to Paul Dohse in response to his contention that justification is a “done deal” so that we no longer need to live our lives as believers by faith alone in Christ alone. His statements at least make it appear that he believes that we believed once for justification, and we live the life of what he calls sanctification by merely learning and obeying. Apparently, in his view, faith is not necessary for obedience. It seems strange, doesn’t it, that all the obedience mentioned in Hebrews 11 was prompted by faith?


I would be interested in knowing if you believe in sanctification apart from faith. It seems to me the clear teaching of the NT Scriptures is that we cannot please God apart from faith. The problem with the Hebrews was not a failure to adhere to the works of the law, but a tendency to succumb to an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.

If you are right, Paul could not have been writing about justification in Galatians 2:20, since he writes about “the life that he NOW lives in the flesh.” If, for him, justification was a “done deal,” [and in the sense that a believer is never more righteous in God’s sight than he was the first moment he believed, it is a finished work], how could he be referring to anything other than his current life in sanctification? The only way he could have been talking about his current faith in reference to justification is with the biblical understanding that once a genuine believer begins to trust in Christ alone for justification, he never stops trusting in him alone. It is not that we must be re-justified. The declaration of justification has been fully and finally accomplished for the true believer. It is simply that the genuine believer will persevere in trusting Christ alone. On his best day, his best obedience is not sufficient to form the basis for his justification. On his worst day, his most grievous sin is not sufficient to overwhelm the grace of God [“where sin overflowed, grace overflowed all the more” (Rom. 5:20)] and separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.




I was reading a blog this morning from a Reformed guy who wrote about the Reformers having recovered the truth of free justification before God based solely on the imputation of Jesus’ righteousness. One of the comments was as follows:

I would argue that many Reformed tend to be legalistic (I’d exclude people like Michael Horton whom I learned much from) and the Lordship Salvation debate reveals that. For example, the great JI Packer wrote,”In common honesty, we must not conceal the fact that free forgiveness in one sense will cost everything.”

John MacArthur (who’s pretty Reformed) wrote that “Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.”

Then there followed several banal comments that betrayed a total misunderstanding of the biblical gospel. Allow me to make a few comments of my own.

1. There is nothing “legalistic” about stating that salvation is for those “who are willing to forsake everything” or that “free forgiveness in one sense will cost everything.” If there were, we would have to label Jesus as a legalist. He said, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:23). Many who read this verse draw a false distinction between being a believer and being a disciple, but no such distinction exists in the Bible. If a person does not want to follow Jesus and learn from him, he doesn’t want to be a Christian. There is nothing legalistic about that; it is simply descriptive of what it means to be converted and be a Christian. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. . .” (John 10:27).

2. The issue of what happens subsequent to conversion has nothing to do with the basis of justification before God. No one who believes the biblical gospel thinks a person’s justification is based on his subsequently changed life. Was Paul teaching justification by works when he preached “. . . that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” ( Acts 26:20)? No, he simply understood that justifying faith will be obedient faith.

3. Any message that misses the element of salvation from sin, not merely salvation from the penalty of sin, is not the good news of free justification before God. When, in The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, Christian fled the city of destruction and made his way to the wicket gate, he did so not merely to escape the destruction that was to fall on the city, but to be free from the sin burden on his back. People who flee to Jesus for salvation are people who are sin weary and feel heavy laden. Their God-given desire is not merely to be freed from guilt, but to be freed from sin.

4. God does not forgive sinners because we believe the gospel and give up all that we have. He forgives us because Jesus has stood in our place and paid our dept. That is the BASIS of justification, repentant faith is merely the channel through which we receive God’s free gift.

5. If it is the sinner who, out of his sinful nature, produces such repentance and faith, then salvation is indeed based on works. This is why the issue of the origin of faith and repentance is so important. If we believe these acts are the product of the sinner’s will, even if aided by some sort of non-discriminating prevenient grace, and that these acts are the distinguishing factor between the justified and the condemned, we indeed believe in works salvation. In truth, these acts are the sinner’s response to God’s saving grace in the hearts of dead men and women in applying to them the salvation Jesus has already accomplished for them.

6. Failure to understand these truths is a failure to understand the biblical nature of faith and conversion. Faith is more than mental assent to a list of propositions. It is more than the repetition of a canned prayer. Conversion is not walking an aisle, signing a card, or punching in a code on your iPhone. Conversion is turning to God from idols, to serve the living God. Faith that does not produce obedience is not true and justifying faith. Such faith and the obedience it produces is never the basis of justification. It is, nevertheless, the kind of faith through which alone God justifies.

7. We need to return to the issues set forth in Apostolic preaching. Jesus did not merely die to free us from guilt; he died to free us from our wickedness. “God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness” (Acts 3:26).


Real Issues In Justification and Sanctification Distinguished From Paul Dohse’s Straw Man Arguments

I wrote the following to Paul Dohse Sr. in response to an “Open Letter” he had written to Frank S. Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Apparently, Paul, in his delusional state, believes these people really care what he thinks and will actually read his “open letters.”

That aside, Paul actually referred to Calvinistic doctrine regarding justification as “perpetual justification” instead of “progressive justification.” I wrote him the following email regarding that characterization of our position.


It seems you have finally stated our position accurately. I would go
to the stake to defend the doctrine of “perpetual” justification.
Perpetual means “Neverceasing; continuing forever or for an unlimited time;
unfailing; everlasting; continuous.” Once God has declared believers
to be righteous in his sight, we cannot and need not do anything to
perpetuate that standing. “Through whom [Christ] we have an access
into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This bears no resemblance to “progressive justification.”

Paul–It’s perpetual only as long as one lives by faith alone in sanctification.

GRR–Your statement makes no sense whatsoever.

Paul–Why is that Randy? What’s so hard about the concept of keeping yourself saved by not obeying the law in “your own efforts” in sanctification because a perfect obedience is needed to maintain justification. What is so hard for you to understand about that concept?

GRR–There is nothing difficult about it except that no one believes it. You are clearly confusing concepts and statements and putting them together in a statement that is sheer nonsense.

Our correspondence has continued, but, thus far, nothing substantive has been added.

I have been trying to get into Paul’s mind for some time now, but so far I have found it to be a vast theological wasteland. Still, I believe I might have some insight into his thought processes. I could be totally wrong in my assessment, but these ideas seem to be clear from his statements:

1. Paul’s associations seem to be with the Southern Baptist Convention. Having been reared in that tradition and having had exposure to INDEPENDENT Baptists, I have some insight into the way they think. Along with other Evangelicals, those in these traditions have been trained to think of faith as a decision. It is an experience one can have and look back on fondly for the rest of one’s life. Once a person can be brought to sufficient faith for God to declare him righteous, he is set for eternity. Popular in the SBC is the idea that if a person who has made such a decision shows no evidence that he has passed from death to life, he should be considered a “carnal Christian.” He ought to be obedient to Christ, but if he isn’t, he is still considered to be a true believer. [If you would like to interact with people who believe this, you can find a ton of them at]. This “theology” was made popular by Dr. Lewis S. Chaffer, Founder and First President of Dallas Theological Seminary, and by the Scofield Reference Bible. Although I don’t have the exact quotation in front of me, as I recall Chaffer defined a “Carnal Christian” as one who had come to faith in Christ but was in every way exactly like the natural man (Chaffer, He That Is Spiritual).

The issue he and I are discussing is not truly the nature of justification, but the nature of justifying faith. For him, it appears that faith is a decision one makes to get his ticket for heaven punched. Once he has that behind him [“justification is a done deal”], he has a responsibility to be obedient to a Law that was never given to Gentiles, so that he might be sanctified. It seems clear that Paul D. believes that justification is God’s work [He even believes it occurred before the foundation of the world and obviously apart from faith]. It also seems obvious that he believes sanctification is the believer’s work. Of course, he believes once we are underway with the sanctification process, God will pitch in and give us a bit of assistance. He seems to have difficulty with the idea that both justification and sanctification are God’s work and both result from the same work of Christ. For him, the idea that justification and sanctification are always found in the same persons and flow from the same work of Christ is a conflation of these two works of God.

The issue is this—Is the faith that unites believers to Christ something that happened back there in the distant past, or is it the ongoing experience of every true child of God. Should faith be represented as a snap-shot or as a video?

The New Testament Scriptures leave no question that faith is enduring. A person who confesses faith in Christ and then begins to trust anything or anyone else, never truly trusted Christ at all. Faith that doesn’t endure isn’t faith.

It seems impossible for Paul D. to understand this idea because of his concept of faith as a one-time decision. We believers trust Jesus every day for our salvation. It is not that Jesus must be crucified over and over again or that we need to be justified any more than we were justified the first moment we believed. It is rather that the same Jesus, whose death first justified us, continues to present the efficacy of that death before his Father’s throne. He is able to save us completely and forever because he ever lives to intercede for us.

2. For some reason I have been unable to discern, Paul believes we Calvinists think it is possible for a truly justified person to lose his just standing before God. He seems to think we believe if a truly justified person makes an effort to please God in the process of sanctification, he will forfeit justification. He seems to believe this because he has confused statements Calvinists have made about justification and sanctification. Let me reproduce similar statements here and explain what we mean by them.

A. If a person professes faith in Christ but subsequently abandons that “trust” and turns from it to trust something or someone else, that person will lose both justification and sanctification.
B. Sanctification, no less than justification, must occur through faith.
C. Justification has nothing to do with an infusion of “grace” to the believer. It is based on Christ objective redemptive accomplishments and is God’s objective judicial declaration about us. In itself, it makes no internal change in the believer whatsoever.
D. Justification and sanctification cannot be separated. Both occur in the same persons. Both result from the same redemptive work of Christ.
E. The gospel is more concerned with what God has accomplished in Christ than it is about what God is doing in us.
F. It is the believer’s continuing awareness that he stands completely justified in the presence of our holy God that provides the impetus for his free approach and loving, joyful obedience to God. Knowledge of what God has accomplished in Jesus’ redemptive work does not obviate the need for the believer’s obedience subsequent to conversion. On the contrary, an increasing understanding of those accomplishments is the fuel that powers obedience.

These and similar statements have led Paul to charge the following:

A. Calvinists think if a believer makes any effort to please God in the process of sanctification, that person will lose his just standing before God.

Paul wrote, “How peculiar that Calvinism is associated with predestination, yet many of the Reformed tradition believe that we can lose our salvation.” To authenticate this claim he quoted Michael Horton from his book Christless Christianity (p. 62). Horton wrote,

Where we land on these issues is perhaps the most significant factor in how we approach our own faith and practice and communicate it to the world. If not only the unregenerate but the regenerate are always dependent at every moment on the free grace of God disclosed in the gospel, then nothing can raise those who are spiritually dead or continually give life to Christ’s flock but the Spirit working through the gospel. When this happens (not just once, but every time we encounter the gospel afresh), the Spirit progressively transforms us into Christ’s image. Start with Christ (that is, the gospel) and you get sanctification in the bargain; begin with Christ and move on to something else, and you lose both.

Anyone with one eye and half sense should be able to see that Horton meant a professed believer who does not continue to trust Christ alone for salvation [both justification and sanctification] has never come to true and saving faith in the first place. Think of the Galatian problem. These were people who had begun well, but Paul was afraid for them and for their eternal salvation because they were in danger of trusting in something other than Christ for justification. A person who turns from Christ, however noble his beginnings may have been, will never see God’s face in peace.

B. Calvinists believe the active obedience of Christ is imputed to believers for sanctification so that the believer doesn’t need to obey the commands of Scripture. He wrote,

It [gospel sanctification] makes obedience in the sanctification process synonymous with works salvation. Therefore, it redefines Christ as a Lord that does not require obedience, and in fact, rejects it. It makes obedience in the sanctification process synonymous with works salvation. Therefore, it redefines Christ as a Lord that does not require obedience, and in fact, rejects it.

He also wrote, “Some call this belief monergistic substitutionary sanctification. Christ was not only a substitute for the penalty of sin; but was also, and presently is, a substitution for all our works in sanctification as well” (PPT, Apr 27, 2012).

C. Calvinists conflate justification and sanctification. They believe a person will not know if he has been truly justified until the judgment. Only then will he know if he has persevered well enough in sanctification to merit justification. He bases his view on statements like “Justification and sanctification cannot be separated, but they must be distinguished.”

He wrote,

The Reformed doctrine of our day turns truth completely upside down. It posits a final justification that is yet future; it posits the idea that Christians are not recreated into new creatures; it denies sanctification as separate from justification—making justification progressive; it teaches that the obedience of Christ replaces our obedience in sanctification; it replaces our present goal of pleasing God with a striving for a final justification; it turns study for life application into gospel contemplationism; it replaces exegesis with eisegesis; it replaces assurance through obedience with assurance through contemplationism ( Paul’s passing thoughts, Jan 14, 2003).

D. Calvinists don’t believe God accomplishes anything in the believer. The entire work of salvation is outside the believer. They teach this because they believe matter is inherently evil and therefore righteousness cannot dwell in an evil vessel. He wrote,

All righteousness , Christ, grace, etc., must remain outside of us. Nothing of grace be within. So, we have no righteousness that is our own….for sanctification. Like….for justification, it must remain outside of us. In fact, Reformed theologians believe that if grace, Christ, or any kind of valid righteousness is inside of us, that is infusing grace into us while in sanctification. And if we do that, we are making sanctification the ground of our justification (Paul’s Passing Thoughts, July 17,2012).

Let me first simply state areas in which I agree with Paul Dohse Sr. regarding the issues under discussion.
1. God expects believers to be obedient to his revealed will and is pleased with us when we obey.
2. Once a person is truly justified, nothing he can do or fail to do will affect his righteous standing before God.
3. Justification is complete the first moment we believe. It is in no sense progressive.
4. We must never confuse justification and sanctification. These are two separate and distinct works of God [I am not sure Paul believes sanctification is God’s work, though he admits God offers us “help” in the process.
5. Not only has God worked a radical change in believers in regeneration, but he continues to infuse grace to believers enabling us desire to do his will and giving us the ability to be obedient [The aspect of this with which I think Paul would agree is that God works internally in believers and not only outside of us].
6. Believers possess a righteousness that is our own. Of course, our position is that even this righteousness is produced in believers by the grace of God, through the work of the Holy Spirit.
7. Christ’s obedience does not replace our obedience in progressive sanctification.
8. Believers may enjoy and are commanded to enjoy an assurance of our acceptance before God prior to the final judgment. We don’t need to wait until the judgment to discover whether we were truly justified.
9. Sanctification is in no sense the ground or basis of our justification.
10. After conversion, believers need to move on from the most basic facts of the gospel.

I am sure there are other issues I could mention, but these seem to be the most salient. The fact is, I don’t know of any other Calvinist living or dead would disagree with any of these propositions. Now, if that is true, Paul D. must be wrong about what Calvinists believe.
I am sure Paul D. would just call what I have written “Calvinistic doublespeak,” but these are the most unambiguous and straightforward statements I can give concerning what we believe. Frankly, I am convinced that Paul doesn’t care if he is misrepresenting our position as long as he continues to have the approbation and admiration of his fawning followers. As long as he can deceive them into believing he sees things no one else can see, he will continue to distribute his bovine manure.
Now, I will list areas in which Paul and Calvinists radically disagree: [In reality, it would probably require a tome to deal with all our differences].
1. Paul believes we need the gospel to be saved [justified] but after that we don’t need the gospel anymore. I believe the good news of the believer’s standing before God, in Christ, is the soil in which he grows in grace and flourishes in sanctification. It is only when we recall that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens into the very presence of God that we are able to approach the throne of grace boldly to find grace to meet our exigent needs.

If we should define “gospel” as what many in Baptist circles think of as “simple gospel messages,” I would have to agree that we not only need to move away from it, but I would contend it should never be proclaimed in the first place. For too many, the simple gospel message is “You are as sinner. You will go to hell if you don’t make a decision for Christ. Jesus died for you. If you will open your heart and let him come in, you can go to heaven when you die.” The reality is, that isn’t the gospel at all. Perhaps some have been converted through that message in spite of its theological inaccuracy and lack of biblical precedence, but that doesn’t qualify it as the biblical gospel.

The issue, then, is not whether we should move away from “simple evangelistic messages” to deeper truths. Few, if any, Calvinists doubt that we should. The issue is whether we should ever move away from the gospel and the experiencing of basking in the light of God’s full revelation of his gracious purposes in Christ. If God intends for believers to move away from the gospel, why would the writer to the Hebrews have told his readers to “fix their minds on Jesus, our apostle and high priest?” Why would the apostle Paul have written about gazing, with unveiled faces, on the glory of God that has been revealed in the face of Jesus Christ (see 2 Cor. 3 & 4)? Jesus spoke of the believer’s experience of grazing on him as an ongoing and never-ending experience. In fact, he stated that a person who does not enjoy such an experience has no life in him (see John 6:52-59).
2. Paul believes righteousness is defined as believing in God. He wrote,

Hence, a proper definition of righteousness is, believing in God, not perfect obedience to the law. The law has no stake at all in righteousness that justifies. It informs our righteousness, but it does not affect it: Hence, a proper definition of righteousness is, believing in God, not perfect obedience to the Law. The law has no stake at all in righteousness that justifies. It informs our righteousness, but it does not affect it: (PPT,March 18, 2013).

I believe it is impossible to define the righteousness God requires apart from divine law. I would depart from many in the Reformed camp at this point in that they believe the covenant God established with Israel at Mt. Sinai is his universal standard of righteousness for all time. If sin is defined as lawlessness, then righteousness can only be defined as obedience to law.
3. Paul believes righteousness is apart from the Law. [See his statement above.] By that, he does not merely mean that justification is apart from the sinner’s personal obedience to the law, but that justification has no relation to the law and its fulfillment whatsoever. He bases this view on a faulty understanding of Romans 3:21. Understanding “the righteousness of God” to refer to justification and following the AV translation “the righteousness of God apart from the law” instead of connecting “revealed” to apart from the law, he bases his entire view on the idea that justification is totally apart from the law, i.e., that the law could not in any way be related to justification. The problem is that if his view on righteousness and Law, the lynchpin of his entire position on this issue, is errant, his entire system falls to the ground.
This is a strange view since justification is a forensic act which, by definition, means it must be related to law. God does not declare sinners holy; he declares us righteous. That is a legal declaration. As I have stated, my view is that righteousness can only be defined in terms of law. When God revealed that he requires that people “do justice” (Micah 6:8), how would the readers of that phrase have understood that requirement? Would they not have understood that requirement in terms of conformity to God’s revealed will in the Law he had given them? If Paul D. is right, would it not seem extremely strange that Paul would have written, “. . .for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Rom. 2:13)?
The Scriptures do not teach us that the Law cannot justify; it teaches us the Law cannot justify SINNERS. Any person who entered this world with a perfectly clean slate, obeyed the Law perfectly, continually and inwardly from the womb to the tomb would stand justified before God’s holy throne.
It seems to me, a better explanation of Romans 3:21, is that God’s righteousness has been revealed apart from the Law, not that God’s righteousness is apart from the Law. But, what does the apostle mean by “the righteousness of God?” This term has been the subject of much discussion. It occurs eight times in this epistle, and has been defined in ways that are not mutually exclusive. The following are some of the ways in which interpreters have understood the term: 1. God’s attribute of righteousness, 2. God’s faithfulness in keeping his covenant promises, 3. God’s method of putting sinners right with himself, 4. The bestowal of the gift of that righteousness which God approves.
I would define “the righteousness of God” as God’s method of putting sinners right with himself, in fulfillment of his covenant promises, that is in perfect accord with his righteous character. The issue the apostle is treating concerns the revelation of this righteousness, not righteousness itself. Where is this divine method fully revealed, under Law or under grace? Paul’s answer is that though the Old Testament Scriptures bear testimony to this message in types, shadows, and promises, this righteousness of God is, through faith in Jesus Christ is only fully revealed in the gospel.
4. Paul D. believes to state that “though justification and sanctification are inseparable, they are distinct” is a conflation or a fusion of justification and sanctification. In his view, such a statement must mean that a person must either obey perfectly or have a perfect obedience imputed to him in the process of sanctification, so that he will be declared righteous in the final judgment. Additionally, he believes that if there will be such a declaration of righteousness in the final judgment, a believer cannot know if he is justified until that judgment comes.
It seems strange that Paul D. would concentrate on the first part of that statement and ignore the second part of the statement, “they are distinct.” If they are distinct, how can they be conflated? I want to affirm my full agreement with the statement in question and attempt to explain what we mean by it.
Why do we believe justification and sanctification are inseparable and what are the implications of both affirming and denying that statement?
When we state that justification and sanctification are inseparable, we simply mean that both are the result of the believer’s union with Christ. If a person professes that Jesus died for him, it follows that he died with Jesus. Paul wrote, “. . .hereby we judge that if one died for all, then all died. . . .” The point of union between these two works of God is union with Christ. All we are saying is that a justified person does not exist in whom the divine work of sanctification is not occurring, and a person who is being sanctified does not exist who has not previously been justified. Since justification precedes sanctification, works that a person who is not a true believer performs in obedience to the commands of Scripture, have nothing to do with sanctification at all. Such “obedience” is mere works religion. Additionally, a person who has been truly justified can add nothing whatsoever to his right standing before God by his works of obedience in sanctification. Such works, if genuine, merely give evidence that a person is righteous, through justification, just as Jesus is righteous.
Another point of contact between justification and sanctification is that both are God’s work and both flow from God’s grace. The believer is totally dependent on God’s grace, not only for justification but also for sanctification.
One clear and important implication of affirming the statement that justification and sanctification are inseparable is that believers can come to an assurance of our acceptance before God by discerning that, though God’s works in us is still incomplete, that process is moving steadily toward the goal.
Conversely, a person who makes no progress in sanctification should never be deceived into thinking that his standing before God is secure. Such a monster as the “Carnal Christian” does not exist. Paul wrote, “Sin shall not [he did not write “should not”] have dominion over you, because you are not under Law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).
Justification and sanctification have no causal effect on one another. Justification does not cause us to be sanctified, though knowledge that we stand justified in God’s presence provides the impetus for us to love, boldly approach and obey God. Sanctification does not cause us to be justified. That is to say, the believer’s works of obedience in sanctification form no part of the basis of justification. These are totally distinct works of God.
5. Paul D. states that Calvinists believe it is possible for a justified person to forfeit his right standing before God.
What we truly believe is that a genuine believer in Christ will be a life-long believer in Christ. The key phrases in our statements are “true believers,” genuine believers” etc. Is every “believer” safe for eternity? The answer to that question, of course, depends on how we define “believer.” Is a believer one who has walked the aisle of a church building and made an open profession of faith in Christ? Our answer is “Only God knows.” Is a believer one who has repeated a prayer in response to the urging of a “soul-winner?” Again we answer, “Only God knows.” We cannot know for sure if such confessions are genuine or not. Sometimes true believers act like unbelievers and sometimes false believers act like true believers. It is impossible for us to have an absolute assurance of another’s justification. What we can be certain of is that if a person turns from a profession that he trusts in Jesus Christ alone to deliver him from the guilt and pollution of sin and begins to trust in anything or anyone else either in place of faith in Christ or in addition to Christ, such a person loses justification [not that he had it and lost it, but in that he forfeits any hope of it as long as he persists in his infidelity] and sanctification in that “sanctification” is not sanctification in a non-justified person. It is merely the practice of dead works.
True believers don’t lose their justification before God, but true believers never forsake their confidence in Jesus Christ as the only Savior of sinners.
There are many other areas on which I could comment, but these seem to be the most prominent in our ongoing discussion. Ultimately, it all comes back to a basic difference in the nature of salvation and God’s work in bringing it about. Unfortunately, much of the disagreement stems from Paul’s inability to understand plain theological statements and his willingness to draw unwarranted conclusions about what others believe, and then state those conclusions dogmatically without a shred of real evidence that those conclusions are accurate. He seldom produces quotations to authenticate his claims. Even when he does, he completely ignores the context in which those statements are made. For example, Paul regularly refers to a passage in Calvin’s Institutes, that is titled, “Justification—in What Sense Progressive?” From that title, Paul has concluded Calvin must have believed in progressive justification. He utterly fails to recognize that Calvin was arguing against the “Schoolmen” whose position it was that the works of the faithful subsequent to conversion contribute to our merit before God. Calvin is arguing that our best works, even as believers , cannot contribute to the merit necessary for justification. When Calvin talks about the believer’s inability to please God, he is speaking not about whether his children can please him by their obedience. Instead, he is talking about whether the Schoolmen were right in their contention that our post baptismal works may please God FOR JUSTIFICATION.
I am always happy to discuss legitimate doctrinal differences with other believers. If you have questions about or objections to anything I have written here, I would be delighted to entertain a discussion of those issues here. I am most happy to continue a discussion with Paul D. regarding actual points of difference we have regarding these or any other issues. What I cannot do is defend doctrinal beliefs I do not hold.
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