Justification, Regeneration, Conversion, Obedience


Eternal justification advocates claim to glorify God by taking the work of man out of the justification equation. They say that if justification were at the time of faith and repentance (whether faith and repentance are the fruits of justification or the cause of justification, it makes no difference to them), then this makes the work of Christ depend upon the work of the sinner. But they shouldn't just stop there -- and many of them don't. They should also say that if regeneration were at the time of faith and repentance (whether faith and repentance are the fruits of regeneration or the cause of regeneration), then it makes the work of the Holy Spirit depend upon the work of the sinner, and thus in order to take man out of the regeneration equation, regeneration must be eternal or at the time of conception or at least there must be a time lag between regeneration and faith/repentance. So, in one form of this heresy, when an elect person is conceived, he is conceived as a regenerate, justified unbeliever. But they shouldn't just stop there either -- and many of them don't. Faith and repentance are things that man performs, and we would say that if someone does not have faith and has not repented by the time they die, they will go to hell. They should say that if no one who does not have faith and repentance gets to final glory (no matter that we say that final glory is not conditioned on faith and repentance and that faith and repentance are caused by God and are fruits of justification and regeneration), then it makes final glory conditioned on the work of man, and thus, to give God all the glory, they, too, must be taken totally out of anything having to do with salvation, especially final glory. Thus, they should say that there are at least some elect who are justified and regenerated who never repent and never have faith while they are alive. This would take the work of man totally out of the salvation equation and really give all the glory to God, since He brings people to final glory who are justified and regenerated but not converted. And you find this heresy among eternal justification advocates. You also find antinomianism running rampant among eternal justification advocates, because obedience is a work of man, and thus if someone is living in disobedience, that is not indicative of lostness, since salvation is totally up to God, and to say that living in disobedience is indicative of lostness would be to say that salvation is dependent on man's obedience. To conclude, with eternal justification, we have:

- justified unregenerate unconverted people, or

- justified regenerate unconverted people, or

- justified regenerate converted people who live in sin.

With all three of these, the rationale is that it gives God all the glory because it takes man's work out of the equation. The truth is that there is only one kind of justified person: justified regenerate converted people who do not walk in sin (Romans 6). Take a look at Romans 8:1: "[There is] therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit." Eternal justification advocates would say that since the elect are eternally justified in Christ Jesus, then walking according to Spirit and not to flesh shouldn't be part of this sentence. And once again, look at this logic: God hates all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5). God does not hate the unregenerate elect. Thus, the unregenerate elect are not workers of iniquity. Every eternal justification advocate believes that he was never a worker of iniquity. The truth that really gives glory to God is that when God justifies a sinner, He justifies that sinner totally apart from that sinner's works, efforts, faith, and repentance, and an immediate result of that justification is God causing Himself to be glorified in the hearts of His people by causing His people to receive that justification by faith in His blood. Any justification in which the justified person remains dead in his sins for any period of time casts shame and reproach on the glory of God.


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