No Reformed Writers Deny That Salvation is by Faith
Since I haven’t written in a while, I was surprised to find that Rey had posted an entry in his blog, since his posts generally respond to my own. This time, it looks as if things will be the other way around.
Normally, I ignore Rey but this time he has posted something that is such an obvious error that I can’t pass it up. He says that Hebrews 11:6 is proof that Calvinists cannot be saved as long as they are Calvinists. That simply isn’t true, and if Rey did his homework on the Reformed position, he’d know that. Far from disproving Calvinism, this verse actually solidifies the Reformed position!
First of all, faith is a gift from God. Don’t believe me? Check Galatians 5:22-23, which lists the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Those who have the Holy Spirit produce the listed fruits, which are gifts from God. Notice that faith is on that list! Unless God grants you faith, you can’t have it in the first place.
The Reformed position grants that people can seek God, but not apart from his drawing us (Jn 6:44). Those that are seeking God apart from that drawing (the non-elect, in other words) are seeking God for selfish motives. They don’t want to know God, they want the benefits of knowing God. This is not really diligently seeking God.
Regeneration, which precedes salvation and always produces a saving faith, is monergistic (i.e. it is God’s work only, with no human involvement). However, once regenerated, the sanctification process is synergistic (i.e. requires human involvement). This means that the person has a saving faith, and now will diligently seek God (having his heart inclined to God).
So far from disproving the Reformed position, this verse is actually perfectly consistent with it.
Posted on May 25, 2009, in Theology and tagged Calvinism. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
Gal. 5,22-23 doesn’t list faith as a gift from God. That’s simply wrong. Here is the text:
Galatians 5,22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (TNIV)
“Faithfulness” means loyalty, fidelity, staunchness. It means for example that you don’t cheat on your spouse. And that you are loyal to your friends, country and church. Faithfulness doesn’t mean the ability to believe. So faith is not a gift of God, however if you are drawing on Galatians then 3,14 has to say something regarding the matter:
Galatians 3,14: He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (TNIV, emphasis added)
So the promise of the Spirit is by faith, not the other way around!
Christianity is not a “belief system” so holding to a certain theology is not what “saves” a man anyway. We must leave the denominational “labels” behind in favor of the Truth (Himself).
Only Christ can regenerate/redeem a man and it is a progressive liberty that He undertakes in His own. So thinking that “Calvinists” cant be saved because they “believe” something in error is a misunderstanding of the redemption process. Stop defending a belief system and start declaring a Savior, in whom alone is salvation for there is “no other name (not a doctrine) in which a man must be saved”.
Interesting that Paul in Acts 17:26-28 says “And [God] made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”
We can’t seek God, huh? Looks like Paul can’t agree with himself on that point. Need I even mention James 1:8 here? Look up that term and Paul’s picture should be there.
Very good point. The dogma “we can’t seek God” is positively irrational.
“Regeneration, which precedes salvation and always produces a saving faith”
Regeneration DOES NOT precede faith nor cause faith, but comes AFTER faith.
John 1:12 “But as many as received Him — to them He gave the right to become children of God — to those who believe in His name:”
What this is saying is clear and establishes a clear order.
One believes in His name — He gives them the RIGHT to become children of God.
The fact is, they don’t even automatically become children of God at this point. Not only does regeneration not come before faith, it also doesn’t come at the exact point of faith. At the point of faith they only receive the RIGHT to become regenerate.
Galatians 3:26-27 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Here is where the RIGHT to become regenerate, which was received at the point of faith, is finally used. Baptismal regeneration is true but only for believers. You must receive the right to be born again as a child of God before you can be born again, and you receive that right when you believe. Baptized babies just get wet. Baptized believers get reborn “of water and of the Spirit,” (John 3:5)