Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus our Savior

How To Find Joy in Our Salvation

Salvation is a free gift of God given to those who repent and believe the gospel (Romans 6:23).  Salvation cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Salvation comes through Christ alone (John 14:6) who alone is our mediator before a holy and just God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Salvation is not found in our “good” works (Isaiah 64:6; Titus 3:5-7).  Salvation is not found in being  a part of a religious group (Jehovah’s Witnesses, a church of any kind, religion in general).  Salvation is found through faith in Christ alone through faith alone (Romans 4:5).

If this is the case and we are saved by God’s grace through faith, why do we often lack joy in our salvation.  I believe it comes because we fail to preach the gospel to ourselves.  The very subtle thinking can creep into our minds that we are saving ourselves.  We begin to think that our salvation is dependent upon our merits, our works, our laws.  In my mind I begin to think that I must read the Bible this much or I do not love God nor am saved.  I begin to think that I must witness to so many people or I am not saved.  This thinking is not from the Lord nor from the Word.  It flows from my own prideful flesh and the enemy who attacks the child of God for their faith in Jesus.  Like those in Galatians 3:1-5, it is easy to begin to think that I am now being perfected by the flesh.  I lose my joy in my salvation when I begin to think that my salvation comes from me instead of preaching the truth of God to myself and seeing that I am only saved because of the work of Christ alone (Hebrews 10:10, 14).

We find joy in our salvation when we stop focusing on us and start looking at Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Christ, and not us nor anyone else, should be the object of our faith.  He is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  Jesus and not a plan nor a movement nor a theological position is what saves us (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Our focus must be Christ for He is our life (Colossians 3:1-4).  When Christ becomes our focus, the joy of the Lord fills our souls as we realize that our salvation is based on His work and not ours (John 19:30).  Jesus bore our sins on the cross (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 1 John 1:7; 2:1-2).  All I have before God is not based on my prayer life, my Bible study, my evangelism, my own steadfastness.  All I am before God is based on Christ and His grace (Acts 15:11).  Christ is the one who saves me and keeps me (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).  Christ is the one who alone is the one that I should look to for my salvation (John 3:14-15).

Joy flows from the gospel.  Joy comes from knowing that my salvation is not from me or through me.  Salvation is all of grace through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  Salvation fills my heart with joy because I know that I have peace with God through Christ alone (Romans 5:1).  I pray because of my standing before God through the gospel (Hebrews 4:14-16).  I read and study my Bible because I long to know this Savior who saved me (John 17:3).  I share my faith because I want to see God glorified among the nations (Psalm 2:10-12).  I seek God earnestly not to find salvation but to know the One who saved me through faith in the Lord Jesus, His one and only Son that He gave for my sins (John 1:12-13).  I want to know Christ because He took hold of me (Philippians 3:8-11).

Charles Spurgeon preached the truth of this when he said,

Every day keep your eye only on Christ; and so long as your eye is single, your whole body must and shall be full of light. But if you once look cross-eyed, first to yourself and then to Christ, your whole body shall be full of darkness. Remember, then, Christian, to hide away to the cross. When that great black dog of hell is after you, away to the cross! Go where the sheep goes when he is molested by the dog; go to the shepherd. The dog is afraid of the shepherd’s crook; you need not be afraid of it, it is one of the things that shall comfort you. “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Away to the cross, my brothers! away to the cross, if thou wouldest get rid of thy doubts. Certain I am, that if we lived more with Jesus, were more like Jesus, and trusted more to Jesus, doubts and fears would be very scarce and rare things, and we should have as little to complain of them as the first emigrants in Australia had to complain of thistles; for they found none there, and none would have been there if they had not been carried there. If we live simply by faith on the cross of Christ, we live in a land where there are no thistles, but if we will live on self, we shall have plenty of thistles and thorns, and briers, and nettles growing there. “They looked unto him, and were lightened.”

Oh saint of God, find joy in your journey toward the celestial city through the gospel that saves you and keeps you!  Christ alone is our salvation and we find our joy in Him!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/24/2013 at 10:32 PM

Posted in Salvation

Tagged with , ,

How Much Doctrine Can One Distort and Still Be Saved?

This is a great post from William Birch in which he asks the question regarding doctrine and how much one can distort and still be saved.  His post is a good read.  In this post he examines how Calvinists, at times, have made the claim that Calvinism is the gospel and that anything less than pure Calvinism is a distortion of the gospel.  I have met such Calvinists.  It is disheartening to hear them make claims such as this.  I have also met Calvinists who claim that only Calvinism is truly God-centered theology.  This too is a distortion of the truth.

In reality, the vast majority of those who claim Christianity are not Calvinists at all.  While they are not Arminians either, most would fall into the non-Calvinist camp.  I have several friends who would fit that such description.  They would not claim to be Arminians (despite agreeing with Arminians on most theological issues) but would also not claim Calvinism.  Many IFB folks would fall into such a category.

Thankfully, the gospel is the gospel.  I reject that Calvinism is the gospel but I likewise reject that Arminianism is the gospel.  I was saved by the grace of God before I became an Arminian.  I didn’t even know what Calvinism and Arminianism really was until I was confronted with the doctrine of eternal security by a sin loving student I went to school with who claimed he was saved despite living in unrepented sin.  It was here that I begin to study the differences regarding the doctrine of eternal security and after reading many books, I came down on the Arminian side of the issue.  Shortly thereafter I met a former Methodist pastor who gave me some books by Arminius and by John Wesley to read and I was cemented as an Arminian.

My point is that Jesus saves us before we become doctrinally based.  I have no doubt that we must hear about the true Jesus to be saved as there are false christs (Matthew 24:24).  Yet Jesus is the One who saves and not the Baptist church or the Pentecostal church or any other churches or men.  Arminius does not save.  Calvin does not save.  Jesus only saves (John 14:6).  Jesus alone is the One who died for our sins (Matthew 26:28) and through faith in His blood, we are forgiven (Acts 13:38-39).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/12/2013 at 8:14 PM

Adam Clarke on 2 Corinthians 5:21

I was blessed by reading the short thoughts of Adam Clarke on 2 Corinthians 5:21 where Paul says,

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (NASB).

Clarke comments:

The righteousness of God signifies here the salvation of God, as comprehending justification through the blood of Christ, and sanctification through his Spirit or, as the mountains of God, the hail of God, the wind of God, mean exceeding high mountains, extraordinary hail, and most tempestuous wind; so, here, the righteousness of God may mean a thorough righteousness, complete justification, complete sanctification; such as none but God can give, such as the sinful nature and guilty conscience of man require, and such as is worthy of God to impart. And all this righteousness, justification, and holiness, we receive in, by, for, and through HIM, as the grand, sacrificial, procuring, and meritorious cause of these, and every other blessing. Some render the passage: We are justified through him; before God; or, We are justified, according to God’s plan of justification, through him.

Jesus is our everything!  He is our salvation, our righteousness, our holiness, our Advocate, our faithful High Priest, our Intercessor before the Father, our eternal reward.  He is our all in all!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/20/2013 at 10:05 AM

He Aids Those Who Are Tempted

We all face temptation.  None of us can escape it.  The Bible says in James 1:14 (NKJV), “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”  Our own flesh loves sin and seeks to fulfill its desires which includes any and everything.

The child of God has the blessing of the precious Holy Spirit abiding within us.  He enables us to be holy.  He helps us to overcome sin.  I am convinced that if a Christian sins, we do so because we want to sin.  We have the power to say no to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13; Titus 2:12).  I find noting in the New Testament to suggest that we need to sin or that we must sin.  No doubt those who live in the flesh are not that way (Romans 8:7-8).  Unbelievers walk in the flesh and they sin almost all the time without thought about it (Ephesians 4:17-19) but this is not the case for the disciple of Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).  We are to imitate Christ (Ephesians 5:1) and this can only come through faithful dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

I was blessed today reading from Hebrews 2:17-18 which reads like this in the New King James Version:

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

I love how that reads.  Notice that Jesus had to become flesh (John 1:14) in order for Him to be able to intercede before the Father on our behalf.  Because He was tempted in every way yet without sin, He is able to help us who are tempted by sin (Hebrews 4:15).  He stands before God the Father and He cries out for us.  He prays that we would be overcomers.  He prays that we would overcome sin.  He prays that we would resist the devil (Hebrews 2:14).  He gives us aid when being tempted.  Yet often I confess that it is much easier to sin than to look to Jesus for aid.  It is very much easier for me to just give in to my flesh or the sinful desire than to fight my flesh in the power of the Spirit.  But this ought not to be.  Jesus provides us aid as we look to Him and He lives to pray for us (Hebrews 7:25).

No matter what our struggle, I am convinced that Jesus came to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21).  He didn’t come to save us in our sins but from our sins.  He came to set us free (John 8:36; Galatians 5:1).  He came that we might have life (John 10:10) and not be bound by sins.  He gives us aid to help us overcome sin.  We cannot overcome sin in our own power but only in the power and grace of Jesus Christ.  But in Christ, we can be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  We can be free from sin.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/14/2012 at 4:44 PM

The Savior of All People, Especially of Those Who Believe

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

– 1 Timothy 4:10

This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture because in it we find the heart of God.  We know from Scripture that God sent His Son to die for our sins and that His blood was shed for the salvation of all people.  John 1:29, for example, mentions the great prophet John the Baptist declaring about Jesus, that He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Calvinists will often insist that “world” here does not mean “all people” but they instead interpret it to mean “all types of people” or even “the elect” as John Owen does with John 3:16.  Surely “world” here can’t be the entire world since Jesus died only for the elect?  Arminians take John 1:29 and John 3:16 and John 4:42 and John 12:47 and 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:14 to all mean that Jesus is the Savior of the entire world.  He died for all people.  John Calvin wrote this on John 1:29:

“And when he says, the sin Of The World, he extends this favor indiscriminately to the whole human race… and that as all men without exception are guilty of unrighteousness before God…Now our duty is, to embrace the benefit which is offered to all, that each of us may be convinced that there is nothing to hinder him from obtaining reconciliation in Christ, provided that he comes to him by the guidance of faith.”

And on John 3:16 Calvin wrote:

“…that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish…And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life…”

How can this be since not all people will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14)?  Even Paul understood this in his praying for the salvation of the Jews in Romans 10:1.  Not all are disciples of Jesus.  1 John 2:17 says that only those who do the will of the Father will abide forever.  Jesus said in John 8:51 that only those who keep His word will live forever.  So salvation is conditional.  The forgiveness of our sins is conditional.  Eternal life is conditional.  It is all based on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and without faith in Him, we are not saved (Romans 10:14-17).  The elect then are those who believe in Jesus as Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:10.  Only those who believe can truly say that Jesus is our Savior.  The world might celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas or His resurrection at Easter but they are not disciples just because they acknowledge that He exists (James 2:19).  Only those who have saving faith in Jesus are saved.

The Arminian then, when preaching the gospel to the lost, can truthfully declare that God does love every person in a saving way and not just in a general sense (as D.A. Carson argues for in his book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God).  A person must repent to be saved (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 26:20) so the Arminian is not telling people they are saved already but that God will save the person who comes to Jesus in saving faith (John 6:37).  The will of God is not that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  God said through the Ezekiel that He does not delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:32) and He even commands the wicked to turn from their wickedness and be saved (Ezekiel 18:27).  The heart of God is expressed in the person of Jesus (Colossians 1:15-20) and Jesus tells all to come to Him (Matthew 11:28-30).  Certainly we need the aid of the Spirit to come to Jesus (John 6:44; Ephesians 1:3-14) but Arminians gladly acknowledge that the heart of God is save all who come to Him through faith in Jesus (Mark 10:45; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 5:1, 8-9).  Our cry is the cry of Revelation 22:17!

Jesus is the source for our eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).  I pray that you are one of the elect of God (2 Peter 1:10-11).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/24/2011 at 11:33 AM

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