Dear Joe,

Thanks for writing. Your letter was quite interesting. I'm not quite sure if I understand everything that you said, so I hope you don't mind if I present you with what I saw in your letter, and you let me know if I have misunderstood you.

The main lens through which I am looking at your letter is your belief that you are not saved. Since you believe you are not saved, then you obviously do not believe that your salvation is conditioned on the imputed righteousness of Christ. In light of this, I see the following:

1. You said, "Your publication is a blessing to me. It helps encourage me and lets me know that there are other brain washed, narrow focused, judgmental Christians out there who love the grace of God and have a zero tolerance for the condemning lie of 'freewillism.'." Now since you are not saved, all my publications and any other gospel message do nothing but condemn you, not bless you or encourage you. You said that the publication lets you know that there are other Christians -- other than whom? This makes it sound like you believe you are a Christian. Since you are not a Christian, then you do not truly love the grace of God in salvation. Since you are not saved, then you think that something other than the imputed righteousness of Christ makes the difference between saved and lost -- you think that salvation is in some way conditioned on you.

2. You said, "I thank God for the precious gift of the knowledge of His grace." Since you are not saved, then your "knowledge" of grace is certainly not a gift -- it is your condemnation! Unless this knowledge leads you to rest in Christ's blood and imputed righteousness as your only salvation, then this knowledge will damn you!

3. You said, "I see that my only hope is in the perfect life of Christ, and His atoning work on the cross. I know that His grace is all sufficient. But, I neither know or love God, I'm sorry to say. All I have is a head full of doctrine. I know all about God, but I don't know Him personally." Are you waiting for some kind of emotional experience to confirm to you that you "know" and "love" God "personally"? What is your standard of saved and lost? What is the difference between someone who is saved and someone who is lost?

4. You said, "I have been drawn from a life of wickedness to seek the Lord." Since you are not saved, then you are not seeking the Lord. Romans 3:11 says that "there is none who seeks for God" in their unsaved state. Since you are not saved, then your efforts at seeking God are fruit unto death, evil deeds. Although your "life of wickedness" was more outwardly evil, your reformation without regeneration is just as wicked if it is not done in faith. Since you are not saved, your "seeking" is nothing but self-righteousness; it is not pleasing to God. You must realize that your "seeking" will not recommend you to God. You must repent of your dead works and turn to Christ and His blood and righteousness as the only ground of salvation.

5. You said, "To God alone be the glory!" But since you are not saved, you want to keep some of the glory for yourself. You want to think that your salvation is in some way conditioned on you. You want to hold on to your own righteousness in some degree. The only way you will be saved is for God to show you that salvation is conditioned solely on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ.

Since you are not saved, then you are not submitted to the righteousness of Christ. You are saying that Christ's righteousness is not sufficient. You believe that there is something you must do to recommend you unto God.

I am enclosing a tape with two sermons and some other reading material. I hope that God will use this letter, the tape, and the reading material to bring you to an end of yourself and to plead the righteousness of Christ alone for your salvation.


Marc D. Carpenter


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