Thanks for writing. You said:
> The statement: "If you believe that Jesus Christ died for all persons
> without exception, then you do not believe the gospel, because you do not
> believe that Christ's work makes the only difference between saved and
> lost.", (as I read it) concerns me for the following reason:
> This statement [seems] to be making an intellectual belief in a certain
> biblical doctrine (i.e. Definite Atonement --which I give a
> hearty amen to!)
> a basis for, or essential element of, saving faith.
I will clarify. All believers are not necessarily able to systematize and articulate the doctrines of grace. But they will never believe the antithesis to any of these doctrines, because they believe the GOSPEL, which is the good news of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. Since they believe the GOSPEL, they do not believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner. All who believe in universal atonement believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner.
> Now I don't think you
> believe saving faith is any more or less than looking to the
> PERSON of Jesus
> Christ alone for the basis of God accepting the sinner and declaring the
> sinner 'just'.
Saving faith is believing the PERSON and the WORK of Jesus Christ.
> It is certainly not essential for a sinner to believe the
> "doctrine of definite atonement of the elect" in order to look to Christ.
Looking to Christ includes the belief that Christ's work alone demands and ensures one's salvation. So even though he may have never heard of the phrase "definite atonement," he believes in the efficacy of the atonement and will never believe that Christ died for all without exception, including those in hell.
> Many people believe this doctrine and are still in their sins.
I agree that there are many people who claim to hold to particular redemption who are lost. One example includes tolerant "Calvinists" who say Arminians are saved.
> Satan himself
> believes this! I believed this whole heartedly for 26 years! 26 years
> --bought it, taught it, and fought for it-- and yet I was LOST;
> DEAD in sins
> and trespasses.
And what standard are you using to judge that you were lost then? What makes you sure you were lost? I'm not doubting that you were lost; I'd just like to articulate your standard of judgment.
> No, a mere intellectual belief in a biblical doctrine must
> never be encouraged as a substitute of true faith.
But does true faith come without intellectual belief in the doctrine of Christ?
> An individual sinner
> looks to Jesus ALONE for himself/herself. A sinner, realizing individual
> guilt and shame looks to the Savior and rests on that Savior
> given by God as
> the scriptures set Him forth.
When such a sinner realizes his guilt and shame, he realizes that he is void of a righteousness that answers the demands of God's law and justice. When he rests on that Savior, he believes that Christ's work alone is what makes the difference between heaven and hell; he believes that his salvation is conditioned on Christ's work alone. No one who believes in universal atonement rests on the Savior.
> Yes, He is set forth as a Savior who has
> saved, but the issue between God and the individual sinner is the sinner's
> sin; NOT his/her understanding of a doctrine. SIN is the issue. And sin is
> far greater than darkness to one doctrine.
But in order for one to realize his own sin and the remedy for sin, he must believe doctrine. There is no such thing as a doctrine-less Christ.
> Do you see my concern? Am I
> making any sense? (Please do not interpret Capital letters as anger or a
> rebuke...) Emphasis is added for emphasis only. It appears to me that you
> are saying an intellectual assent to the "L" of "TULIP" is either
> saving or
> is necessary to be believed for salvation. I do not believe there is a
> biblical warrant for this. Perhaps this is not even what you are
> saying, but
> it appears to me to be implied in your comments.
I hope I have clarified that a regenerate person may not be able to systematize and articulate the doctrines of grace. Saying that no regenerate person believes universal atonement is NOT the same as saying that all regenerate persons are able to systematize and articulate limited atonement.
> Your tract seems to imply that an intellectual belief is
> necessary. I posit it is not. The faith of the elect looks to
> Christ alone +
> nothing, - nothing.
Intellectual belief is not the ground of salvation. If I believed that, I would be lost. Intellectual belief in the gospel is a necessary result of salvation.
> Yes, the Holy Spirit will convince a sinner
> of the truth
> of the word, but He never causes the sinner to trust in a truth apart from
> the Person of the Savior.
I agree. But it seems as if you're trying to separate the person of Christ from His doctrine. This is impossible. All who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ do not have God (2 John 9).
> I think the apostle Peter was guilty of that very thing on more than
> one occasion. He denied knowing Christ (M't 26:69-75). I believe
> Peter wept
> for this very reason. Peter also denied the gospel of grace by
> his practice,
> and was severely rebuked for it (Gal 2:11f). My point is, there may be a
> time that a child of God, by a sin of practice and even alas! in word will
> "confess a false gospel" and yet not become unregenerate.
> How does one know for sure what a person believes? Is it just by
> what they say? "Many will say to me on that day...etc." The Lord indicates
> that words are not enough to know the heart. He says the tree is known by
> its fruit. Words are easily misunderstood. To say that "All
> unregenerate." implies that one may know an Arminian's heart
> relationship to
> (5) All who know what the doctrines of Arminianism are and believe that at
> least some Arminians are saved are unregenerate (this includes professing
> Calvinists who say they remained Arminians for a time after they were
> regenerated or who say that some Arminians are their brothers in Christ).
> Are you sure the Lord God has given "you" the final word on this?
Suppose someone who professed to be a "Calvinist" said that some Muslims are regenerate. Would you judge such a person lost?
Soli Deo Gloria,
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