One of our readers has asked for clarification of a statement made in a previous issue. In the earlier issue, we answered the question, "Can Arminians be Saved?" and made statements to the effect that some who may very well be true Christians are inconsistent in the profession of salvation by grace, when they speak of choosing Christ and of free will (please refer to the earlier issue).
The question, therefore, is: "How can we tell that those who confess both grace and works are actually ascribing their salvation wholly to God's grace? We have to believe that they what they say is coming from their hearts and is what they actually believe, and until we to them and get clarification of what they actually do believe, could we not be in danger of affirming them in the lie? I know of 'solid' arminians that will say that it was God that saved them and they thank God for their salvation-but in actuality hate the God of Grace and His truth. Would not a true child of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit testifying with his spirit, make the believer uncomfortable in the teaching of the lie although he may not at that time understand why? It is the work of the Spirit of Christ that leads into all truth and will not leave the believer comfortable in the teachings of those who blaspheme God's grace and trample under foot the blood of the covenant."
(1) It is exactly our point that we can never tell finally whether a person's profession is honest or not, i.e., whether their confession of grace reflects what is in their heart. That is true of those whose doctrine is right as well as of those whose doctrine is wrong. What we are saying is that it is simply not our business to make such judgments. We can and must judge their words and condemn any talk of free will as a denial of the grace of God. The rest must be left to God. Not only is it not our business, it is of no profit to make such judgments.
(2) Insofar as we do have the calling to judge (and we do not deny this, as do many), it is our calling to make the most charitable judgment possible, and we do that in this case by judging them on the basis of theirprofession of grace. That we must do this is clear from II Thessalonians 3:14, 15: where the Word tells us to think even of those who have been excommunicated from the church (perhaps for Arminian teaching) as "brethren." Indeed, our calling is exactly defined there: "admonish him as a brother."
(3) The fact of the matter is that children of God, when backslidden, or when coming to the knowledge of the truth, can behave and speak worse than Arminians. Indeed, if only those were saved who make a completely sound profession of the doctrines of grace, there would be very few saved. I am certain that because of sin, there is no man living whose profession of grace is 100% sound. Even since becoming a minister, there are things I have learned and as result of learning them, have come to see that I said things that were contrary to the grace of God. Was I then unsaved? Note also Jesus' words to the travelers to Emmaus (Lk. 24:25-26). Were they therefore unsaved?
(4) The leading of the Spirit referred to in John 16:13 refers especially to the church. There is no specific assurance that we know of in Scripture that every believer, under the guidance of the spirit, will come to a mature and fully correct understanding of the truth. That would leave most Christians outside the kingdom.
- Volume: 7
- Issue: 16
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address317 North Park St.
State or ProvinceWA