Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Arminius and the Sin of David

King David sinned against God.  He committed adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11).  2 Samuel 11:27 ends with the saddest words perhaps in all of Scripture: “But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD” (NASB).

Arminius wrote about David’s sin rather briefly but his words are interesting.  He wrote,

The example of David proves nothing. For, even if it be granted that David after commission of adultery and murder had not lost the Holy Spirit, it does not thence follow that He cannot be lost. For a man may sin still more grievously, and on this account lose the Holy Spirit. But what if I shall say that David did lose the Holy Spirit, after he had committed adultery and murder? You will reply that it appears from Psalm li. that the matter stands otherwise. I respond that that Psalm was sung by David after that, having been admonished by Nathan, he had repented of those crimes; but that God, at that time, upon the preaching of Nathan, restored the Holy Spirit to David.

In another place Arminius wrote,

If David had died in the very moment in which he had sinned against Uriah by adultery and murder, he would have been condemned to death eternal.

Many Calvinist have taken exception with these statements saying that his theology here is poor and reflects his belief that a person can “lose their salvation” through sinning.  They point to passages that seem to teach our unconditional security in places such as John 10:27-29 or Romans 8:38-39 and they praise God for His security in spite of their sins.

One Calvinist I have had some exchanges with on Twitter posted remarks about how Arminius was works-righteousness in his beliefs since he rejected eternal security (or “once saved, always saved”).  In fact, I would argue that this Calvinist guy holds that if you reject eternal security, you are probably not saved.  I wrote him and asked him, “If you went out and committed adultery and murder, where would you spend eternity?”  He responded back, “HEAVEN (his emphasis) because my sins are forgiven.”  He then responded, “but if I did go out and commit those acts, it would prove I did not believe.”  So I wrote back, “So if you commit those sins, you were never saved to begin with?”  How can he have it both ways?  He says that he can commit adultery and murder and still go to heaven but if he did those sins, he was not saved to begin with?

Do you see where his road is leading?  On the one hand he is arguing for an antinomian view that says that nothing we do affects us.  We are under no obligation to be holy.  We are under no obligation to obey God or submit totally to Him.  We can do anything we like, live anyway we want but still be saved.  Yet on the other hand, if we do go out and live like “hell” then we prove we were never saved to begin with.  So which is it?  Are we saved from sin or in our sins?  Are we delivered from the penalty of sin but not the power of sin?  Is there any sin that is more powerful than God that He cannot help us overcome?

I don’t doubt that we all struggle with the flesh.  I recognize that we live in a fallen world full of the flesh and full of the devil.  I don’t doubt that we all face temptations (James 3:2).  1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches us two important points: we all are tempted yet we all have the power of God to overcome.  Take the “hot” sin of our times: homosexuality.  Is homosexuality natural?  The obvious answer for the Christian is no.  So is sin natural?  Why then do we sin if sin is not natural?  The answer is because we want to sin.  We love sin.  Our flesh desires to sin (Galatians 5:16-17).  I don’t buy into my own excuses for sinning nor yours.  I sin because I enjoy sinning.  Yet the Bible calls me to holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16).  The Bible calls me to forsake my sins and walk in repentance (Acts 26:20).  The Bible calls me to be like Jesus (1 Peter 2:21-24).  The Bible calls me to confess my sins to God (1 John 1:9).  The Bible calls me to not sin (1 John 2:1-2).  The Bible calls us to examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith or not (2 Corinthians 12:21-13:5).

The security of the believer is simply this: we are saved IN Christ Jesus.  Why would you want to be away from Him?  What sin is greater than the love of Christ?  What does the world offer you that is greater than the joy of knowing your sins are forgiven in Christ?  You see the issue is not about “losing your salvation” but loving Jesus supremely!  The issue is not about what sins can I commit and still be saved but instead the issue is whether you love Christ more than your own sins.  We have framed the questions wrong.  We have made the debate over “eternal security” all about us and not about Christ.  Christ is our salvation.  I have eternal life because of Christ and not because of me (John 5:24-25).  Christ is our all in all.  He is worth more than anything this world can offer or the flesh can desire.  In His presence we will be free from sin as we live in eternity with Him, free from the lies of Satan, the temptations of the flesh, and without the bondage of time (Hebrews 12:18-24).  I pray that our focus would not be upon us or upon sin but upon the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:1-11).

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