Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Propitiation Plus?

I've been thinking about the nature of "propitiation" as in 1Jn 2:2 this week and the nature of "saving faith" is always on my mind. Bob (of Chicago) made a comment recently which has really put Rom 4:16 into my thinking. I keep coming back to this verse.
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
Salvation is of faith so that it can be according to grace. What a powerful statement. Faith is the only thing that doesn't add to God's work. So Salvation had to be "through faith" so that it could be "by grace" Eph 2:8 "a gift" and "not of works" Eph 2:9

But what of this submission stuff of the all too popular "Lordship Salvation," is it reasonable for God to "demand" such submission? Reasonable? Yes of course it is reasonable, and well beyond reasonable! For to us it seems most desirable, because the human flesh desires nothing more than to be valuable, worthy, and even justifiable. It makes no sense to the human who demands not just justice but reformation, to NOT expect the one who wishes to be reconciled to first be reformed in order for right relationship to be restored.

But God who cannot lie Titus 1:2 tells us that the Good News of the provision for our sins is explicitly stated as this; Jesus Christ dying for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, being buried and raising to life again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures 1Cor 15:1-11

Jesus Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. That is to say that He paid the full payment, or it could not have been "in accordance with the Scriptures." Of course this concept is often taught from Christ's words shouted from the Cross just before His death. "It is finished!" Jn 19:30

What's more in 1Jn 2:2 we find the words of the Prophet Isaiah Isa 53:6 find their fulfillment when we read that Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and not only ours but those of the whole world.

What does "propitiation" mean though? It means to "appease" or to "satisfy" God for His wrath. It mean's that God was fully satisfied for our sins by Christ's death, there is nothing more to add, it is finished.

This takes us back to Rom 4:16
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
So now we find that the reason why it is simple faith that God "demands" because it is the only thing that doesn't add to the FINISHED work of Christ. ANYTHING other than simple receiving faith would attempt to add to what Christ has done on our behalf. No matter how reasonable, or desirable that ANYTHING might be it would seek to add to what Christ has already finished.

Salvation is not through submission, pledge, reformation or even the desire to do any of these. It is by grace, through faith.

Lordship Salvation requires that God was not satisfied, or propitiated, by Christ's death. At least not completely. At least not enough to actually reconcile sinners to Himself. At best Lordship Salvation says that salvation is by grace (including zapping someone into a submissive pseudo-slave - or regenerating them prior to faith to give them the nature of Christ so that they will have to come to faith and submission) through faith and submission, and that faith is not in the Gospel alone, but also in the reformation of the individual who has been zapped into seeking reconciliation.

In short, it says that while God claims to have been propitiated by Christ's death, He really wasn't.

However, the truth is that God WAS and IS propitiated by Christ's death. He did die for our sins, ALL OF THE SINS OF ALL OF US , in accordance with the Scriptures. He was buried and raised again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He paid the full price, and it was accepted on our behalf. So now all one must do to be saved is to trust that Christ has satisfied God for their own sin, that by this they are reconciled to God. If this is your faith than God has saved you, and you have Eternal Life in Him. He can save you on this basis because God was propitiated, and He IS LORD.

The rightful changes that will happen in you, if you have believed this, will be worked out through discipleship. They are not pre-requisits for your salvation, but they are results of it PLUS discipleship.

A baby raised by wolves is going to live like a wolf, even though it will still be a baby.

Likewise we read that if a seed is planted, and sprouts to life among the thorns that the thorns will choke it! Life was still given, it is just that life amounted to little because the thorns cut it off the growth. Read our Lord as recorded in Mat 13:3-9
3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Will YOU hear? The only seed that did not produce saved Christians is that which fell by the wayside and was eaten up. In each other instance new life was born. The only new life that produced a crop is that which fell on the prepared soil away from (separated from) that which would choke them off.

The solution for fruitfulness was not to get the ground the Seed was scattered on to promise to produce a crop... or to desire to produce a crop... or to submit to the Farmer's will to produce a crop... the only solution that provides a safe path to a full crop of fruitfulness is to protect the seedlings.

Lordship Salvation attacks the seedlings because it makes them doubt they even are seedlings. It steals from them the very faith they have... and all their fruitfulness with it. Front-loading the Gospel with Discipleship, to any degree, merely sets new believers up for failure... if they even get to the new believer stage with all the birds flying around the Seed being scattered.


Kevl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevl said...

I posted this article last night, but now today I see that Lou has a loosely related article up at his blog. Check out In Defense Of The Gospel

In the comments Pat Cox relates how he had been in bondage for years because of Lordship Salvation theology.


Lou Martuneac said...


I have just set up a link to your article here from my blog. Thanks for the contribution to the LS debate.


Stephen said...

Yeah, what a powerful verse! I recently listened to some teaching on this exact passage by the pastor I grew up with, though he is now deceased. It's an amazingly clear passage to show that "faith" is not a work, as often contended by the "faith itself is a gift" types who think that if faith is ours it would be a work. Not according to scripture it's not, faith is the one thing specifically singled-out in scripture as not a work.


Kevl said...

Hi Stephen,

Isn't it strange that the LS proponent will argue about "who gets credit" for your faith, when it is the one thing that the Bible clearly states is not worthy of credit?

Also, all this wrangling about what the Bible clearly declares is a NON-issue, but no concern about submission, cross carrying, turning from your sins.....

It's a smoke and mirror show for sure.