Monday, May 22, 2017

Must a Man Be Saved? Or Does He Get Saved?

At first glance, my title above might seem to be making a distinction without a difference. Isn't being saved the same thing as getting saved, you are probably asking.

And the answer is, No, those two things are diametrically opposed!

The Arminian betrays his Pelagian roots by claiming that the unregenerate man, every unregenerate man, starts with enough spiritual light to seek God, resulting in God's rewarding him with grace to continue that process, until he finally attains justification. In other words, the Arminian disagrees with Paul's statement in Ephesians 2:1: "You were dead in the trespasses and sins." No, he says, as Pelagius did, the unregenerate man is merely sick in trespasses and sins, not dead.

Of course, that verse is not the only one that tells us of the helplessness of the unregenerate heart. Paul also tells us, in Romans 3:10-12, "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." 

The Arminian hates that portrayal of the natural man, because, he wrongly believes, that leaves man with no hope of salvation. His attitude is that of the disciples who witnessed the interaction between Jesus and the rich young ruler ( Matthew 19:16-26). After the ruler leaves them, Jesus says to the disciples, "I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God" (verse 24). And the disciples reply as the good Arminians they were, "Who then can be saved?" (verse 25). If such a man cannot save himself, then salvation must be impossible. And Jesus agrees, that salvation on that basis would, indeed, be impossible: "With man this is impossible." However, that is not how salvation occurs: "With God all things are possible" (verse 26). In other words, Arminian salvation is impossible. But, praise God, he does not leave us hopeless in an Arminian universe.

As He promised His people through Moses, "The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live" (Deuteronomy 30:6). The preincarnate Christ said the same thing to Moses that the incarnate Christ said to His disciples: "With God all things are possible," including the salvation of hopeless sinners. "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

1 comment:

Jim Williams said...

I've never put that together, "be" or "get." Never really thought about it. I'm gonna have to look more deeply into it. Quite interesting. Ty