WHY GO ARMINIANISTIC SOTERIOLOGY (4TH PART)
One thing I really like to ask is this. Is the new birth by grace or by works? If it is by grace then it is solely of the Holy Spirit. If it is by works then carnal fleshliness and its erroneous propensities are involved, Genesis 6:5. The flesh, harangued by traditions, philosophies, religions and personal experiences will definitely work against the will of God. If it is by grace then I congratulate you. Why? Grace is an unmerited favour. It means that you agree with the word of God that it is not by your good doing that you have been regenerated. If you agree, “It is by grace,” then you are behaving true to type of a one who did homologeo (confession) of Romans 10:9-10. Grace was first used in Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” ‘Grace’ in the Hebrew is chen (khane): ‘favour, grace, charm, graciousness, that is, subjectively (kindness, favour) or objectively (beauty).’ This word comes from: chanan (khaw-nan): ‘to be gracious, show favour, pity, to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favour, bestow ; causatively to implore (that is, move to favour by petition).’ If it is by the grace of God then none, who is born again, has nothing, and cannot have anything to contribute to tereo (keep) this precious zoe (life).
Noah, an antediluvian saint of the Most High, was the first in scriptural documentation to be a recipient of grace. The importance of this is seen in the light of the fact that he led humanity from the second dispensation of conscience through the Deluge with eight (new beginning) souls. Noah’s name means ‘rest’ (a type of Sabbath); the grace of God brought rest from eternal death. In the book of Luke 2:40, Jesus is the first in the New Testament to receive grace. Jesus Christ, as the Lord of Sabbath, Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28 & Luke 6:5, is our rest. ‘Grace’ in Greek is charis (khar’-ece): ‘graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude).’ Charis comes from chairō (khah’-ee-ro): ‘to be full of “cheer”, that is, calmly happy or well off; impersonal especially as a salutation (on meeting or parting), be well.’ Now let us look at grace at work. Romans 4:16, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace …” Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” 2Corinthians 1:12, “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.” 2Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” It is wholly God’s work!
The prelude to Galatians 3:1 is the next one; Gal 1:6, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” (which teaches another, which does not support that which he had earlier taught). Gal 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Ephesians 2:5 “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved);” Eph 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” The same faith must continue to lubricate it. 1Peter 5:5 “Likewise, ye …… for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Whether you like it or not a doer of good deeds tends to see himself as a big shot, leading to an attitude of puffing up. Of boasting read Romans 3:26-28; v.26, “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” v.27 “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” v.28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Substitutionally, the great historian and prophet of God, Isaiah penned a most accurate prophecy of Him in, “…and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors;” Isaiah 53:12. The Hebraic word for ‘numbered’ is manah (maw-naw): ‘to weigh out; by implication to allot or constitute officially; also to enumerate or enroll;’ and implying also, according to this definition, that He who never knew sin was counted to be a sinner like us for the sole reason of becoming our gladiatorial champion in the fight out of the curse of the sinful nature. ‘Bare’ is naśa’ or nasah (naw-saw): ‘to lift, bear up, carry, take, to lift up, to bear, carry, support, sustain, endure.’ Why do we have sin in its singular as what He bore? It is the sin of mankind in aggregation, generically. He took all the iniquitous activities of man to the cross and entered the holy of holies, this time, not in the old priestly fashion (of using the blood of animal as the medium of salvific transaction), He went in with His own sin proof blood, the blood of the Eternal One. Now how do I know this? Simple. Revelation 1:13 reads, “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” The word ‘paps’ in Greek is mastos (mas-tos): ‘the breasts (nipples) of a man; breasts of a woman.’ This revelation of Jesus is of His priesthood. Traditionally, when the Jewish high priest concludes his annual sacrificial atonement he pulls his girdle to his chest to inform Israelites that it is a success and Israel is assured that all her sins up till then have been forgiven. The golden girdle or sash which Jesus has to His paps is a proof of the fact that His gory experience on the cross had been accepted (making Him our heavenly High Priest), and that this salvation is for the entire people of the world. Intercession is paga (paw-gah): ‘to encounter, meet, reach, entreat, and make intercession.’ Do you now see the correlation between the ‘bare’ and the ‘intercession’ in the scriptural light of the revelatory ‘girdle girt about the paps’? Praise the Lord! He intercedes, seated on the right hand of the Majesty, a place of eternal stance. His role, in this wise, gives the substitutional death of Jesus an absolute eternal consequence. With this scriptural understanding of Christ’s substitution-role you will find it very rewarding going through 2Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13 and 1Peter 2:24.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him;” 2Corinthians 5:21. A divine switch of righteousness was deftly executed for the enablement of our acceptance before the thrice holy God. Our righteousness is of Him, Jesus, who has His dwelling in God, so that we will be, definitely, safe! O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Do you want to know what the law says? Read from Exodus chapter twenty to Deuteronomy. As long as Jesus cannot be placed under any judgment here and in heaven we, the Christians, are well secured (here and in heaven); which reminds one of 2Corinthians 5:17, where we have the word ‘new’ which in Greek is kainos (kahee-nos): ‘recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn.’ This is why it is the best thing to be born again! Then we have, in 1Peter 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” Who are the ‘his’ and the ‘our’ in this verse? It is lucid clear that the pronoun ‘his’ is Jesus. The ones ‘our’ represents are found in the opening verses of 1Peter; they are the strangers, looking forward to a celestial abode, of verse one; who are also the elect of verse two; blessed in verse three; these are with the hope of an eternal inheritance in verse four, and they are the ones verse five declares to be, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” From these opening verses God is the One at the work of ‘our’ salvation. Our only contribution is the exhibition of faith in the finished work of our Saviour. His stripes, not our good works, healed us. The word heal is iaomai (ee-ah’-om-ahee): ‘to cure, heal; to make whole; to free from errors and sins, to bring about (one’s) salvation.’
Logically, you cannot announce a gift of an eternal consequence to a person and as soon as this person runs into an error he just loses the eternity of it. If the gift is truly eternal and it happens to be given by a One as faithful as Jehovah, then I can categorically tell you to rest in perfect assurance that you have that zoe so intact, eternally. More importantly the scriptures, God’s express, infallible utterance seals the validity of it. James Arminius (1560-1609), the champion of, and whose teaching has become today’s Arminianism, was influenced by Erasmus and Melanchthon, both of whom were humanists, and herein lies the most probable piece that fits the missing chip of the jigsaw puzzle of Arminianism!
Read the fifth & concluding part here