Baptismal Regeneration

Infant-Baptism-610x351

I subscribe to the Biblical teaching of Baptismal Regeneration.  The below blog post is not my attempt to explain or even defend this doctrine.  I think the scripture actually does that on its own.  My goal is to explain how I came to this understanding as one who used to believe more in line with the Baptists (Believer Baptism).

 

Just to put some clarifications out there on the common objections to Baptismal Regeneration:

 

  1. The Bible does not teach you have to be baptized to be saved.
  2. The Bible does teach that baptism saves you, not a contradiction keep reading.
  3. The immersion vs sprinkling issue is a distraction.  The truth is the word “Baptizo” can actually be used to mean either, just a fact.  However circling your wagon on this misses the whole point of what Biblical Baptism is.

 

Below are the verses that I use to argue my position on Baptism. I’m not going to explain my understanding in detail. I actually have full faith that anyone can get the idea just from reading them.

 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nationsbaptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matt 28:19 ESV

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5 ESV

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. Acts 2:38-39 ESV

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ Acts 22:16 ESV

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27 ESV

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I Peter 3:21 ESV

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-5 ESV

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:4-6 ESV

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:11-12 ESV

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 ESV

 

Based on the above I argue the following points:

  1. Baptism does something
  2. A symbol in and of itself doesn’t do anything.
  3. Therefore baptism is not a symbol.

 

I realize that’s a syllogism, but I think its well supported by the scriptures I posted. Just look at the verses I gave you in Titus and 1 Peter one more time and I think you will agree.

 

Baptists argue the following

  1. Baptism is a work
  2. We are not saved by works
  3. Therefore all the verses that teach baptism saves us must be speaking symbolically.

 

Tey generally won’t break it down into a tidy syllogism for you but that’s my assessment of their refutation on baptismal regeneration.  To that I would respond that baptism is not a work of man but rather a work of God. All the verses I posted above seem clear to me that God is the one working in baptism, look closely at the nouns and verbs at play in baptism.  Who is the noun performing the verb of baptism?  Who is the noun receiving the verb?

 

“by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”

“circumcision made without hands,”

“buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith”

“whom he poured out”

“working of God”

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you“… as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

 

Showing that baptism is Gods work, not mans work, is how I would address the major premise of believer baptism thus rendering their conclusion moot.  Furthermore baptists say that baptism totally does nothing and is a public display to show one has made a decision for Jesus. No verse says this at all.  In fact, simply demonstrating that baptism does something reveals that the doctrine of believer baptism has some flaws in its reasoning.  If baptism is doing anything at all, soteriologically speaking,  then it means that it cannot simply be a public display of confession.

 

I have come to believe that baptism saves in a similar manner to the word of God in the unregenerate Let me explain.

 

Ephesians 2:8 says the following:

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” Eph 2:8 ESV

 

Which is the gift? Faith or grace?

Examine the verse carefully and I think you will agree the only possible grammatical referent for gift is both faith and grace. My meaning is that these are not things we come to the table with for justification. God gives them to us. I don’t believe this is an infused mystical transaction. The bible teaches there are means of grace by which God creates faith in the unregenerate heart. See below:

 

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Rom 10:14-17 ESV

 

I posted the preceding text so that you may see the context of the hearing of the word. Here Paul is teaching that the preaching of the word creates faith. This is a means by which the gift of faith unto grace is given

 

I think the most biblical and lucid understanding of baptism is that the same work is being done. Its another means of grace by which faith is created in the heart of the unregenerate.  This does not mean you have to be baptized to be saved. It is only one means of grace.

 

This does not mean that all who are baptized are saved. I’m sure we all recognize that not all who hear the gospel preached are saved either. They are both simply means by which God has promised to save his elect.  I find it helpful to liken baptism to preaching the word. I’m no theologian, but to me this is the plainest understanding of scripture. I can take the words at face value and believe them.

 

Infant Baptism

 

The reason that I support infant baptism is the same reason that I support forcing your kids to go to church, especially when they are older.  Just as a teenager needs to hear the word of God preached for faith to be created in their heart, so must a Baby be baptized for faith to be created in theirs.  Just as I would not deny an older child to attend Church and hear the word, so would I not deny a Baby, especially my own, from receiving the gift of Baptism.

 

Baptists will often use verses in Acts describing people who are being baptized and point out that none were babies.  Its fair to point out that all were hearing the gospel for the first time ever. Lots of adults were the primary focus of the historic narrative. However, there were whole households baptized (Acts 16:33) and it’s fair to point out that households generally have babies and or small children in them. Also Jesus says to baptize all nations (Matt 28:19) and it is fair to assert that babies are part of any nation

 

Either way, one should not rely on descriptive historical narrative to interpret clear prescriptive theologically focused Pauline teachings. In fact, we should interpret the narrative through the understanding of those teachings.  Believer Baptism (only) is a new doctrine, we don’t find strong evidence for it in the early Church, and Church fathers can easily be demonstrated to have interpreted the above verses that I posted in line with the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration.  In my opinion, believer baptism was born out of a disdain for Roman Catholic teachings and distinctives.  They wanted to throw everything out that they could, which is understandable as reformers were suffering great persecution at the time.  In this case though I believe that they threw the baby out with the bathwater, no pun intended.

 

What I found most compelling is that there are no solid proof texts for baptism being a symbol and a great deal of proof texts to the opposite.  Furthermore, baptists and others will break their own rules of hermeneutics that they generally espouse to defend believer baptism.  They will weigh in heavily on historic narrative, use a great deal of philosophy and rationalization, and lastly they discount all the texts that teach that something wonderful truly does take place in Baptism.

 

In sharing my views on baptism with others the strongest criticism I’ve received is that I’m reading Paul too literally. I don’t really have a problem with that accusation.

 

Below are some resources that you can use if you want to study this topic further.

 

Click HERE for a PDF that details many of the verses I posted and how the earliest Christians who thought and dreamed in Koine Greek interpreted them:

Click HERE for a good YouTube video on the topic.

Click HERE for a podcast on the topic by a Lutheran Pastor

 

Advertisements

About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Armchair Lounge, Soteriology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Baptismal Regeneration

  1. Pingback: What is a Sacrament? | Armchair Theologian

  2. Mike Borden says:

    Hi ACTheo,

    I have just begun feeling my way through your body of work. First and foremost I would like to applaud your reverent approach to the Scriptures. Stay strong in that area, brother. If they are not God’s words to us then why bother studying them at all. I would like to simply share something that occurred to me while reading this post and, if you have the time, get your thoughts. Please believe I am not making fun, I just think things through differently perhaps.

    Although I am not sure from this article if you feel that Baptism and the hearing of the Word are equal means of grace (perhaps you feel one is to be preferred) you have certainly placed both of these things in the same category. In other words, either one of these things can be, and are, used independent of one another by God to implant faith in the human heart. So I tried to imagine parallel scenarios:

    Scenario 1) Some person stands before a crowd and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, speaks the word of truth regarding sin, righteousness, judgement and the redemption accomplished by the Lord Jesus and encourages repentance/faith and baptism. Some or perhaps many believe and are baptized.

    Scenario 2) Some person dunks the members of a crowd, one by one, in some water or sprinkles them en masse and encourages repentance/faith and for them to put themselves under the hearing of the word. Some or perhaps many, having been baptized, believe and devote themselves to the word.

    I have trouble with Scenario 2. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. You don’t hear baptism and hearing doesn’t come by baptism. The whole context of this very, very clear and specific passage has to do with how God regenerates human hearts through faith. The only way it is accomplished, unless Paul left something out, is the hearing of the preaching of a sent one. If baptism can do that too I find it hard to believe Paul would leave it out of this very directed teaching.

    Mike

    Like

    • ACTheologian says:

      Thanks for your comments. I wouldn’t separate the two as you describe in your scenarios. Baptism for example must be connected to teaching

      Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
      Matthew 28:19‭-‬20 KJV

      With babies we baptize then teach, with adults we teach then baptize (typically).

      I would not stand outside on a rainy day and speak the words of baptism over everyone in town who is outside at the moment. As I can’t then follow up with teaching.

      Have you thought about deaf people for example? Or the mentally handicapped? We can baptize them and teach them in whatever way is accessible at the time. Knowing that there is a foundation of faith in their soul.

      The reason I say faith is conferred through baptism in the same manner is because I believe we are saved by faith alone. So when it says we are saved by baptism I’m drawing the connection from there. Fair enough?

      Keep reading this series. In this post I was still struggling with it and had alot of questions. When you see the others I think it will make more sense even if you still disagree.

      God bless.

      Like

      • Michael Borden says:

        Wow, thanks for the quick response! I certainly will continue reading but doesn’t Paul conclude that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word? You won’t call on the one you don’t believe in. You can’t believe in the one you haven’t heard of. You can hear unless someone tells you and they can’t tell you unless they’re sent…therefore. I just don’t see baptism or any other act at all in the mix here.

        God bless you, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ACTheologian says:

        Right he isn’t speaking to baptism there. He does in other places and I accept both as true rather than what I would see as abbrogating one with the other.

        Fair enough?

        Also, I would agree with Luther than baptism is a mixing of water with the word. Not applicable to the passages you’re quoting but there is a crossover in themes I think. What I mean basically is it’s not just water.

        For me personally, the key was realizing that baptism isn’t man’s work. It’s Gods work. When scripture speaks of it it speaks in terms of God doing baptism to you. It never speaks of baptism as something the recipient does for God.

        Can’t speak for your experience. But in mine, in baptist circles it’s usually presented as a symbolic act that you do to declare that you’ve made a decision for Jesus.

        I don’t see scripture speaking of it that way. For me personally, I felt that some Baptists handle baptism passages in ways similar to how SDA handle Sabbath passages like col 2:16

        😛

        So for myself, that spoke volumes. I plan on posting on this but I’m in no rush. And I want to do it in a way that respects my baptist brothers and sisters without being too snarky.

        Hey, and as I say in my about page I’m just another dude. Nobody special. Thanks for your critical commentary whilst also being cool about it. Folks like you are just awesome.

        Like

  3. Mike says:

    Hey man, thanks for the kind words (cool and awesome (gotta get my kids to buy in to that))! I’m just another dude same as you and I love the Word. I see this as iron on iron and ultimately beneficial and, hopefully, honoring to God.

    I guess I don’t understand your answer that ‘Paul isn’t speaking to baptism there’. I mean, it’s true he doesn’t mention it but that’s the actually salient point. He’s specifically talking about the imparting of faith TO a person BY God THROUGH the means of………

    Isn’t this where you should expect to see baptism mentioned? It’s absence there is almost palpable.

    Now I suppose one could claim that the preaching of a sent one will include baptism, and I actually wouldn’t argue against that (much to the chagrin of my Baptist pastor), but I have yet to be convinced from Scripture that baptism is actually salvatory (is that even a word?). I have also yet to be convinced that it is meaninglessly symbolic.

    I’m going to try to share my take on 1 Peter 3:20-21, probably under the Baptismal Efficacy posting because it seems to be the primary text in that article and you also reference it in several others.

    Thanks for this conversation. I’ve found so many people to be either disinterested in actual conversation or just plain defensive and mean. You are a blessing.

    Like

    • ACTheologian says:

      With respect, Paul doesn’t in that passage say the word only. I think you’re assuming he does and then pitting it against other clear scripture rather than accepting both. At least, that’s what I feel I’d have to do if I were making the same argument.

      Like

      • Mike says:

        You’re right, he doesn’t say that faith comes by hearing only but he does mention hearing … only. I mean, maybe he left out 50% of the means for some good reason but it’s hard for me to get past and the context doesn’t explain the omission.

        Do you agree with the following 3 questions and answers (I think you will)?

        If I believe and am baptized, can I be saved? Yes (preferred).
        If I believe and do not get baptized can I be saved? Yes (Thief on cross type exception)
        If I get baptized and do not believe can I be saved? No.

        Belief and Baptism are scripturally important but I see one as having primacy.

        Like

      • ACTheologian says:

        I think you misunderstood my response on Romans 10:17, it doesn’t say faith comes by hearing only either. It just says faith comes by hearing. It can come by hearing and also come by something else unless the text plainly says otherwise. This is part of why Luther’s thesis “sola fide” was so scandalous. There are not very many “only’s” in scripture. I realize a few more would be philosophically convenient but there you have it.

        Before we make bold claims like that I think we need bold scripture that gives us clear enough reason to say “only”. Here is an example:

        ‘Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. ‘Romans 3:28

        Notice we have with one and without the other. It’s not based just on this verse though, there are other good ones like Philippians 3:9 and Ephesians 2:8-9. Each presents a with one without the other juxtaposition.

        Conversely, in Romans 10:17 we don’t see faith only cometh by hearing. We just see a positive affirmation that it comes by hearing. Am I more clear now?

        To answer your questions:

        If I believe and am baptized, can I be saved?

        I would say yes you are saved

        If I believe and do not get baptized can I be saved?

        I would say yes you are saved

        If I get baptized and do not believe can I be saved?

        I would say you did believe but at some point fell into unbelief Matt 13 style.

        If you mean belief in the sense of one having faith then I wouldn’t see a need to pit it against baptism. Baptism is just one of the ways you get faith.

        We would probably agree that the preached word is the most normative means of grace. Particularly when speaking of adult conversions to faith.

        Like

  4. Mike says:

    I take your point very reluctantly. Perhaps the Romans 10 passage is best not used prescriptively. I say reluctantly because not everything has to be stated for it to be there. Wouldn’t you say that there is an ‘only’ implicit in John 8:24?

    If you give me leave, I would like to push a little on your response to question 3:

    Q: If I get baptized and do not believe can I be saved?

    A: I would say you did believe but at some point fell into unbelief Matt 13 style.

    Your answer assumes belief preceding the act of baptism even though that was not in the question. That is a very scriptural assumption. For instance, 1 Cor 12:3 declares that no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. Now obviously any die hard atheist can physically say those three words and what is implicit in the scriptural intent is that no one can say those words and actually mean them except by the Spirit. There has to be belief as a precedent, as a foundation or springboard for it to be valid.

    Similarly, if we pray or give alms in order to be seen by men then that is what constitutes our reward. They are not, in those instances, faithful acts but carnal and they garner reward accordingly.

    If someone were to undergo baptism all the while harboring a heart of unbelief they would merely get wet at best. Agreed? This is not hard to imagine. All around us people, and sometimes even we ourselves, undertake “religious” activities for reasons other than faith toward God. These are worthless acts at best. Whatever is not of faith is sin.

    And so efficacious baptism is an act OF faith not UNTO faith.

    Like

    • ACTheologian says:

      We may just have to agree to disagree on Romans 10 then. With respect, I think your approach there pits scripture against scripture. Romans 10 says we are given faith by the preaching of the word. 1 Peter 3:21 says we are saved by baptism. I accept both as a fact I don’t try to iron one out to fit the other. I see that as rationalizing the text.

      With the rest of your comments I think your imposing a paradigm that we don’t share. I see faith as a substance that God puts inside of you. Like fruit grows from a plant we see nouns spring forth from one who has faith. Like a confession of faith or good works or whatever. Just as this substance can go into a baby and give them faith, if they separate from word and sacrament in time their faith will die and they will fall away. You can liken that to the birds running off with the seed, or the shallow ground, or whatever fits best for you. Each case is different of course.

      Like

      • Michael Borden says:

        It’s okay if we agree to disagree for now. Someday we will both agree, not with each other but with Him. To whatever degree we are wrong now, though, there will be theological implications.

        I am confused now, honestly, and maybe I don’t understand what you’re trying to convey. If I’m reading you right (correct me if I’m wrong) you are saying that an infant (maybe an adult as well?) can be baptized, receive the gracious gift of faith unto eternal life (be born again) and then later, through some manner of personal neglect, that God given faith can die? You didn’t state it but does that individual then lose eternal life? Can eternal life die?

        Liked by 1 person

      • ACTheologian says:

        Correct. I wouldn’t word it that way. But yeah I don’t hold to once saved always saved.

        Scripture teaches a paradox on that issue. For example you have verses like these:

        For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
        Romans 8:38‭-‬39 ESV

        I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
        John 10:28‭-‬29 ESV

        There are others but those are my favorites. Then you also have passages like these:

        For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
        Hebrews 6:4‭-‬6 ESV

        You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
        Galatians 5:4 ESV

        You can’t be severed from or fall away from so.ething you were not in or connected to in the first place.

        Here is an older post I wrote in this.

        https://actheologian.com/2015/12/07/perseverance-of-the-saints/

        This is where most theologians I’ve seen will tell you that since the Bible doesn’t contradict itself that means one of these teachings needs to be read a different way.

        And I get that. But I disagree.

        Scripture teaches both eternal security and apostasy. And scripture doesn’t reconcile them. God isn’t obligated to explain everything to us. Some things can simply be beyond reason.

        How I think of it using Lutheran theology is a binary paradox of sorts. You are either in Christ or in Adam. One or the other. If you fall away from Christ you’re in Adam. If you’re in Christ you’re eternally secure. In Adam you’re not.

        What does that mean practically?

        Simply put, go to church. Hear the gospel preached, receive forgiveness of sins.

        If you stop going to church. Stop reading your bible. And live a pagan life, in time the faith that is in you may die like in the examples given in Matt 13.

        I know you’re probably scratching your head. This doesn’t fit at all into baptist categories. When I thought in those categories I saw salvation as a goal post that one passes.

        “Back in 93 when I was saved….”

        Lutherans don’t think of it like that. Salvation is a timeless thing. You’re in Christ. More like tumbling in a washing machine in word and sacrament you’re whole life. Less like passing over a line and occasionally looking back to see how far you’ve come.

        And I agree these things won’t matter when we get to heaven. It’s more relevant than 99% of all other conversations we could be having on the internet though.

        And I think it’s a helpful and productive conversation for others studying this stuff to stumble upon.

        Comments sections have a tendency to turn into dumpster fires. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I want the comments to have apologetic value on this blog. So thanks for doing this with me.

        😀

        Like

  5. mike says:

    Under your Eschatology heading you admit to much more study being needed before you will make a stand in most areas and you welcome thoughtful, scriptural insight. You also lay out a thesis from which you will not move (a solid rock to stand upon, BTW, in my humble opinion) regardless of where study takes you.

    I read your “Perserverance of the Saints” post and I think you did a great job of summing up a huge theological divide. What you haven’t done, or what I haven’t clearly understood, is why you have chosen the ‘falling away’ side over the ‘eternally secure’ side. The two have amassed, not only a great deal of philosophy but also a great deal of clear and apparently opposing scripture, some of which you referenced, that is difficult (maybe impossible) to reconcile.

    I will admit that I cannot fully reconcile these things myself (and I do see them) though I truly long to do so. I do, however, have a thesis from which I will not depart on this topic:

    “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” – John 6:37-39

    Debate rages (amongst brothers and within individuals) over just what the giving or drawing of the Father might be and just how it all works in the economy of God but the one thing that is crystal clear is that there is no loss..

    I have run screaming and burned from many a dumpster fire so thank you for hosting this forum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ACTheologian says:

      I get it! It’s a paradox to be sure, I think the answer lies in the realm of things that haven’t been revealed to us.

      Like

    • ACTheologian says:

      Eh… I’ll give you more than that. This is speculation I would never blog it. I’ll tell you what I personally think okay??

      In my opinion, verses speaking on eternal security are generally referring to the elect. Verses on apostasy are generally referring to people who are reprobate in the eschaton, but were christian for a time while they were alive.

      This ties in to how I interpret predestination. God predestines those he foreknew. That is, those he knew would die in faith he predestined with an extra promise. I find it as a point of comfort.

      That gives two general categories we typically speak of.

      1. The elect
      2. The reprobate

      I would drill down on #2 to allow it to include those who were christians at one point and did have faith but fell away. Those who are elect though never actually fall away, or if they do, return to faith before they die.

      I know that Hebrews 6 says they can’t come back. I categorize that as a law passage though. Like how Jesus says we need to be as perfect as the father (Matt 5:48). Both are impossible in adam but are overcome in Christ. So I wouldn’t write anyone living off really, there is hope they could come to faith.

      So in that sense I do believe in both eternal security and in apostasy. Makes sense? I realize there are philosophical holes in that so large you could fly a jet through it. But I think that handles the scripture in a way that creates as few paradoxes as possible so I like it. I’d rather sacrifice human logic for the sake of heavenly scripture if those are my only two choices.

      Like

  6. mike says:

    Hey, thanks for the personal touch. I kind of agree with you but I take a slightly different road. I agree that the eternal security stuff applies to the elect. The apostasy stuff, however, I apply not to “Christians for a time” but non believers within the visible church.
    When I read the general epistles I see a broad mix of everything from strong encouragement toward assurance to dire warning of destruction. It makes sense to me when I realize that Paul, for example, is writing to a local congregation over whom he is capable of no final judgement. He does not even feel qualified to judge himself in any eternal sense and discourages such judgement in us as well (1 Cor 4:4-5) and so he writes in the same vein. He is writing to a whole congregation. Some of them are saved and sure, some of them are saved and unsure, some of them are unsaved and deceived into thinking they are saved, some of them are unsaved and seeking, some of them are wolves. He doesn’t know who are who but he applies truth to all.
    There will be some falling away events that take us by surprise and appear to be true faith that died; but that is according to our sight. We will be taken by surprise and discouraged but not the Lord. Predestination is not the beginning of the stream (Romans 8:29-30). The elect are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ and election is according to the foreknowledge of the One who knows the end from the beginning. Before He uttered the first words of creation He already knew who were His from those who would not come. He already knew each individual He would die for and yet who would ultimately reject Him or receive him.
    He sacrificed His Son (the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world) and then, knowing exactly who would receive and who would reject Him of their own God-given free choice, he created anyway for the benefit of the elect. As C.S. Lewis said, “It makes no sense to talk about the benefit or detriment of nonexistence (loose paraphrase).” He did not have to create. He has no lack that creation filled. He voluntarily undertook infinite pain for every single person so that those who would believe would be filled with the LIFE that He has. To me this magnifies His love, mercy, and grace way beyond what I can comprehend. It blows me away.
    Then, when I read 1 John 2:19 I don’t get all tangled up…it just plain makes sense to me.
    The Armenians are right. The Calvinists are right. They are also both wrong.
    peace brother,
    mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • ACTheologian says:

      When you get down to it I just don’t like any approach that gets too interpretive with the passages that go against a pre established systematized approach. We all to often place our system above the word. I’d rather believe two things that just contradict and assume the reconciliation is beyond my understanding.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s