Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, June 23, 2024

What Is Final Salvation?

Perhaps a point of general agreement from which we may start is the Biblical teaching that Christ saves us not only from the penalty of sin, but from sin itself. “He died that we might be forgiven; he died to make us good.” Or, in Scriptural language, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies.” “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” 

If this be agreed upon, if we all admit that we must no longer be the servants of sin but must present our members as instruments of righteousness unto God, the next questions logically are: What is sin, What are good works, What is righteousness? We want to do good works, we want to avoid evil works; but how can we distinguish between them? 

There need be no vague guessing as to the answer to these questions. The Scripture speaks very definitely. The Scripture says precisely what sin is. “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). “Where no law is, there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15). “Through the law cometh the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). It should be clear then that sin is always defined by the law. Unless one knows the law of God, he cannot know what is wrong, evil, or sinful.

Gordon H. Clark. What Is the Christian Life? (Kindle Locations 1882-1893). Kindle Edition.   See also:  "The Christian and the Law"Trinity Review.  March 1979.

Generally speaking, the late Dr. Gordon H. Clark did not address the Federal Vision heresy because it was not yet a major issue.  However, I want to take issue with a few of the responses to the FV that I think go too far in the other direction by way of equivocation.  While it is true that at the final judgment that the elect will finally be justified by the active and passive obedience of Christ through the instrumental application of right belief, it does not follow that everyone who professes Christ is actually an elect believer.  The Federal Vision teaches that at the final judgment the believer's good works somehow contribute to the justification of the believer.  This is not true and would undermine the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

However, the problem is that some have gone so far in their repudiation of the objective covenant teaching of the FV and the FV doctrine of final justification that they have for all practical purposes gone over to the once saved, always saved view of the Baptists.  There is a difference between the Reformed doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and the doctrine of once saved, always saved.  The Reformed doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is that God before creation not only unconditionally elects those who will be saved, but God also predetermines that the elect will persevere in faith.  That is, God keeps them saved, and He does so monergistically.  The human volition or will does not cooperate in either regeneration or in perseverance.  Both regeneration and perseverance are works of God's mercy and grace.

The point here being that the true believer will demonstrate a changed or transformed life, however imperfect that might be.  The justified believer cannot contribute to his or her own justification.  But a person who has no concern for evidencing their Christian faith cannot legitimately profess belief in Christ.  Furthermore, at the final judgment that person might discover that he or she was never saved or justified whatsoever.  (1 John 2:19; Matthew 7:13-23).  

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