In Defense of SEA TULIP Gospel Predestination : Part 2: Eternal Justification
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earthin Him. Eph. 1:3-10, NKJV
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose andgrace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 2 Tim. 1:8-11, NKJV
Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of Gods elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior. Titus 1:1-3, NKJV
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Rom. 8:28-30, NKJV
The first study in this series concluded that Gods predestined grace can only be understood logically, properly, and biblically if it is affirmed to supersede any a-priori conclusions regarding the sin of mankind. God purposed grace transcendent of time as the ultimate demonstration of His glory to the created universe. Sin and its associated guilt was purposed only to magnify Gods grace in the deliverance of mankind from it. Grace was not a planned consequence of a sin-problem that was already assumed to be inevitable in history.
The current study will affirm that all aspects and dimensions of Gods eternal purpose of saving grace are existent transcendent of time and present at every moment of created time. There is never a moment in history when God thinks contrary to purposed grace and has a disposition of wrath toward those predestined to eternal life. Likewise, there is never a moment when God thinks contrary to purposed wrath and has a disposition of grace toward those predestined to eternal judgment.
Traditional theology is grounded in a hermeneutic of compartmentalization. The many facets of salvation described in the New Testament are often divorced from one another when contemplating their respective functions and operation within time. This becomes transparent when comparing all translations to the original language. Justification and righteousness are freely utilized as alternate renditions of the same Greek word. The variants of sanctification and holiness are another example. Why is a certain displacement selected in one instance whereas another is chosen in a different context? It is because radically alternate meanings of these words are always assumed when translating. No one considers justification and righteousness to have the same meaning, so there is an attempted effort to manipulate an assumed distinction between them into proving a compartmentalized theology. The same word is supposed to mean both forensic justice and personal quality of rightness.
The Pauline passages above speak of grace, adoption, sanctification (that we should be holy and blameless), salvation, eternal life, Divine love (He foreknew), calling, justification, and glorification all as absolute certainties predestined of God in His self-existence transcendent of time. In addition, all of these realities are affirmed to be manifested within time as the gospel is unveiled. So there is no contradiction between the teachings of eternal justification, justification at the cross, and justification when the Holy Spirit creates faith in an elect person when the gospel is illuminated. These are all dimensions and aspects of Gods amazing and wonderful grace dispensed to the objects of salvation from eternity!
Because of the hermeneutic of compartmentalization, virtually all of Christianity rejects the doctrine of eternal justification. The taught compartments are strictly time-bound but acceptance of them is considered a test of salvation. Many teachers propose that God purposed the realities of salvation outside of time--but nonetheless had only a disposition of wrath toward His elect until the moment of their gospel enlightening OR when they got the drip. So we have a compartment named common wrath to describe the era prior to when the justification of the elect is declaredat the moment of personal faith. Supposedly, during this prior time, God earnestly desired to consume the elect in His eternal and infinite wrath! The purpose of God to save them is understood as a secret plan which even God could not celebrate! He had to withdraw His passion to eternally torment the elect only when the gospel was believed (OR when the drip was administered)!
The apostolic testimony revealed in the scriptures is clear. God saved the elect eternally transcendent of time. All aspects of that salvation (including justification) are included in His eternal decree. There can be nothing more important in human affairs than to affirm and teach this glorious reality. We must shun the condemnation of Reformed teachers who hate this most critical dimension of gospel truth and stand with the warriors who defend the light of God against human oppositionregardless of the cost.
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