Soteriology 053
John 3:16 • Dr. Andy Woods • March 26, 2017 • Soteriology


Andy Woods

Soteriology 53, Acts 11:14

March 19, 2016

As you guys may have remembered we finished Soteriology last time in 52 lessons; that’s a lot of teaching, isn’t it… 52 hours!  I don’t even think the Sermon on the Mount went that long.  One of the things I did is I put together a test for you guys to take at home; did anybody take this test at home?  Quite a few, good.  If you didn’t get one we have some extra copies, just put your hand up.  And sort of the temptation in Bible teaching churches is to finish a subject and then rush into the next one without really getting a chance to assimilate over the course of 52 weeks some of the things we’ve learned.  So the test really is not designed to traumatize you, or scare you; it won’t be graded, we won’t put your grades up on the screen or anything, but it’s just for your own enrich­ment and edification and it’s sort of a tool to kind of force you to go back and try to reflect on some of the themes that we talked about throughout the 52 weeks that many not be on the frontal part of your mind.  So that’s sort of the spirit in which it’s offered.  I tried not to throw any trick questions in there; I never liked it when teachers threw trick questions in.  The questions are straightforward and multiple choice most of them.  So you guys ready, let’s go through this.  Does everybody have a copy of it?

The first section is definitions, define the following by circling the correct answers.  And even before we do that,  just to remind you here are all the categories we looked at under the doctrine of salvation:  We’ve defined salvation.  We’ve looked at the issue of election versus free will.  We’ve looked at the concept of atonement.  We’ve looked at salvation words. We’ve looked at God’s one condition of salvation.  We’ve looked at what happens to a person once they get saved, that’s the results of salvation.

And then we spent a lot of time, probably most of our time on Roman numeral VII, once you have salvation is it forever yours or can you lose it and that gets into the doctrine of eternal security.  And then finally the last couple of sessions I talked about a couple of false views of salvation.  So that was our big outline.

And now let’s take a final exam and the first three questions really are about this chart here; you guys familiar with this by now?  The three phases of salvation: justification, the past tense of salvation; sanctification, the present tense of salvation, glorification the future tense of salvation.  And as I’ve said many times the word “saved” is a very broad word in the Bible.  It’s used in the past, present and future.  So in justification I’m saved from sin’s penalty in an instant at the point of faith in Christ.  In sanctification, the middle tense of salvation, I’m being gradually delivered from sin’s power as my life is becoming more and more Christ like.  And then in glorification I’ll be delivered from sin’s presence and all I have to do there is to die.  That’s why Paul said “For me to live is Christ, to die is” what? “gain.”  So he longed for that future time where he would be outside of his body and he wouldn’t be tainted by his sin nature any longer.

So the Scriptures are at the bottom, saved—past tense; saved—present tense; saved—future tense.  So if someone asks are you saved the proper is I have been saved,  I am being saved and I will be saved.  So that’s all kind of review.  So justification, the correct answer is A, that’s where you’re saved from sin’s penalty, that’s number 1.  And if  you guys think the answers are wrong feel free to challenge me on these if you want.  I’ve had students challenge me in class and I’ve had to agree with them because I’m not infallible, the Bible is infallible but I’m not.  Number 2, sanctification, the correct answer is B,  you’re being saved from sin’s power.  And number 3, the glorification, the correct answer is C.

Now question 4 deals with the whole issue of election and we got into that early on, you remember; does God choose us or do we choose God?  I think the right answer to that is YES!  It’s a lot like a marriage, I mean, aren’t we analogized to the bride of Christ?  I mean, did you choose your bride or did your bride choose  you?  And I hope the answer is both or you might need some marital counselling.  So the Bible teaches both concepts.  This is looking at it from the election side, what is election?  It is  (it won’t be the correct answer) A, number 4, God chooses who will be saved.  That doesn’t negate the fact that Jesus said “Whosoever…” let him come, and don’t try to ask me to explain that to you because I can’t understand it, I just know the Bible teaches both.

And then we talked about atonement which takes us into question number 5, what is the atonement and really the key word to understand about atonement is substitution.  So when Jesus died on that cross it should have been me hanging there and you but He stepped into the line of fire and absorbed the wrath of a Holy God in our place.  We used different illustrations to get this point across, we talked about the Secret Service men in the movies, like Clint Eastwood jumps into the line of fire when the President is being assassinated, and takes the bullet for the President.  That really is what is bound up in the concept of the Talmud.  So Jesus didn’t just die on that cross to be a good example for us or to teach us how to be self-sacrificial, all those are true but His ultimate purpose in dying on the cross was to step into the line of fire and to absorb the wrath of a holy God in our place, and that’s what’s meant by atonement.  So number 5, the correct answer would be A.

And then we get into question number 6, Lordship salvation, and Robert Lightner defines Lordship salvation as the belief which says the sinner who wants to be saved must not only trust in Christ as His substitute… now that should scare you right there, when anyone says faith in Christ is great but… you also need something else, that immediately tells you you’re dealing with a false gospel.  Lordship salvation refers to the belief which says the sinner who wants to be saved must not only trust Christ as his substitute for sin but he also must surrender every area of his life to the complete control of Christ.  So if you don’t do those two things you’re not a Christian, is what Lordship salvation people argue.

And when we talked through this I gave you basically seven problems with Lordship salvation.  Probably the biggest problem with it is it changes the gospel and it’s not a denial of Christ as Lord, we all believe Christ is Lord.  The issue with Lordship salvation is you make submission to Him as Lord a condition for justification.  And our theological camp says you don’t do that because that’s not what the New Testament says.  You don’t find this in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever” what?  submits to the Lordship of Christ shall have everlasting life????  It doesn’t say that!  Whoever believes.  And so our problem with Lordship salvation is that it’s taking the gospel, which is a free gift, which is received by faith, and it’s introducing a subtle alteration to that.

Now the issue of Lordship, you start to learn about that not in justification but in sanctification.  Lordship is a middle tense salvation issue.  In fact, over in 1 Peter 3:15, I was just listening to Facebook, which I don’t recommend you do too much, but they have those live feeds on there and I was listening to a guy preach this morning and he was sharing out 1 Peter 3:15 which says, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts,” so Lordship and the submission to Christ as Lord is not an issue for justification, but an issue for sanctification.  It says it right there in 1 Peter 3:15.  So what we would say with number 6 is Lordship salvation, the correct definition of it is Lordship is required for justification.  So the correct answer would be D, right.

Number seven is regeneration, now this gets into the results of salvation so once I’m saved what happens to me?  Well one of the things that happens to me is the moment I trust in Christ I am regenerated.  Regeneration is the result of faith; it is not the cause of faith.  And there are many, many people that will tell you that you can’t believe on your own, so God has to regenerate  you first and that’s really not the way we teach it here.  We teach that regeneration, the way it’s described in the Bible is something that comes as a result of faith.   So once you trust in Jesus Christ immediately you receive certain benefits, one of those is regeneration.  Regeneration simply means the impartation of divine life; we call that the spiritual birth.  And we desperately need that impartation of divine life because what are we prior to coming to Christ, spiritually what?  Spiritually dead.  We talked a lot about regeneration and this is what Jesus is getting at with Nicodemus.  You can’t see or hear unless you’ve been born spiritually.  So far so good.  So the correct answer would be on number 7, B.

Number 8, imputation refers to transfer.  Now there are three transfers in the Bible; have we talked about this?  Number 1, Adam’s sin has been transferred to us, Romans 5:12, we call that the doctrine of sin.  [Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—“]  So I am guilty under Adam’s sin.  Now aren’t you glad that’s not the only transfer in the Bible.

Number 2, my sin has been transferred at the point of faith to who?  Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He who knew no sin became” what? “sin,” it’s not really saying He became a sinner, He became a sin-bearer, and I think I said that wrong, did I just say a second ago that it happens at the point of faith?  I was wrong to say that, it doesn’t happen at the point of faith, it happened when Jesus died on the cross.  So it’s already taken place and it’s just there for people to receive.  So we would call that Christology, the doctrine of Christ.

The third transfer in the Bible is at the point of faith Christ’s righteousness is transferred to me, we call that soteriology, the doctrine of faith.  A great verse on that is Philippians 3:9.  [Philippians 3:9, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,”]  So if  you are “in Christ” today, whether you feel like it or not, or acknowledge it or not, God the Father looks at  you as if you are just as righteous as Jesus. Do you guys know that about yourself, that as God looks at you, you are just as righteous as His Son.  And you say well, I certainly don’t deserve that, and that’s true, you don’t, none of us do; it’s given to us by grace, unmerited favor, and it’s as a result of that third imputation.

So imputation number 1, Adam’s sin transferred to me, Romans 5:12, I’m guilty in Adam.  Transfer number 2, the sins of the world are transferred to Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:21.  We call that Christology.  The third transfer, imputation number 3 is Christ’s righteousness is transferred to me at the point of faith, Philippians 3:9.  So if I were stuck on a desert island and I only had one verse they’d let me take to the desert island, (these are weird things I think about) what verse would you pick?  I would pick Philippians 3:9 because Philippians 3:9 explains Christianity better than any other verse, in my humble opinion.  Paul says, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”  So humanity is either standing before God in their own self-righteousness and lots of luck with that, or they’re standing before God in His righteousness.  You stand before God in your own righteousness by works; you stand before God in His righteousness by grace through faith.  So pick your avenue.  So therefore when we look at question number 8 the correct answer is A.  So far so good.  See how easy this is.

And questions 9 and 10 deal with a couple of false views of salvation.  What does universalism teach?  Everyone in the end will be saved; that would contradict a lot of verses, wouldn’t it?  Inclusivism teaches you’re saved as long as you’re a sincere seeker, so it really doesn’t matter if you’re a Muslim, Buddhist, whatever.  And we’ve gone through those and showed how both of them are not biblical.  So the correct answer to number 9 would be A. Universalism, everyone in the end will be saved.  And the correct answer to number 10 is B, all sincere seekers will be saved.

Oh boy, and then we get into this word “repent.”  I like the title Dr. Randy White gives to one of his articles on this; he says we need to repent of our use of how we use the word repentance.  That’s sort of sums it up, doesn’t it, because when people see the word “repent” they think that means some kind of emotion,  you’ve got to have some kind of emotion, not that emotions are necessarily wrong.  Or  you’ve got to have some kind of contrition, you’ve got feel really bad about yourself, or something like that.  And that really is not what repentance means in the Bible.  The Greek word is metanoeō, now you recognize the word meta as in your cancer has metastasized, which means changed from one part of your body to another; metabolism, where we take food in and metabolism sort of changes it and sends it to the parts of our body that need those various food groups.  Metamorphosis, you recognize that, where we get the word change.  And then noeō means what? mind, from the word noeō we get the word notion or idea that comes from the mind.

So repentance literally means to change your mind.  It does not mean to feel sorry or guilty; feeling sorry or guilty could be the fruit of repentance but that’s not the root of repentance.  It could be the after effect of repentance but that’s not really what repentance means because in Greek there’s a totally different word to describe feeling sorry for yourself, or guilty, and that’s metamelomai, do you recognize that word melo, we tell little kids that are hyper to mellow out, mellow is an emotion.  So metamelomai means feeling sorry.  And if the biblical writers want to use emotion they could use that, there’s a different word for that, but they don’t when describing the one condition of salvation they use metanoeō and when held out to the unsaved and the unsaved are told to repent that becomes a synonym… now what’s a synonym?  Different word, same meaning, right.  That becomes a synonym for what?  Faith!  So when a person believes in Christ he or she is simultaneously repenting at the same time because what has happened is they’re changing their mind about what they’re trusting in.

So when I became a Christian at the age of 16, I heard the gospel and I trusted in Christ, I believed and at the same time I repented simultaneously because I shift my confidence for my eternity away from myself and my own works to Jesus Christ.  So as we’ve presented it, metanoeō becomes a synonym for faith when held out to unbelievers.  And if you don’t get this straight you get very confused on this because we tell people to believe and repent today many times, to get saved.  So we give them the impression that they’ve got to do two things, and we don’t sit and explain to them what repentance is so they think I’ve got to believe and I’ve got to feel really bad about myself.  I’ve got to believe and I’ve got to start to cry, and that’s not what the Bible conditions salvation on—ever!  It’s never conditioned on emotion; it’s always conditioned on trust in Jesus Christ.

So two hundred times the Bible tells unbelievers to believe in Christ and when they believe in Christ they simultaneously repent.  So the gospel is believe AND repent; the gospel is believe and when you believe you have also automatically what?  Repented.  So the operative word the Bible uses is to believe.  So unless in your evangelism you have time to explain to an unbeliever what repentance means my suggestion is you don’t even use the word… unless you have time to unpack its meaning because what’s going to happen is you’re going to use the word “repent” and you’re going to mean one thing by it and without adequate explanation they’re going to interpret it differently; they’re going to think it means don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t go with girls who do, get rid of my tattoo… that rhymed didn’t it?  I’m a poet and I didn’t know it!

So I would tell people to believe and if you have time to explain to them that believing also means repentance, it’s included in the definition of believing, changing your mind, then you can use the word repent but if you don’t unpack it for them you’re going to end up preaching a works oriented gospel without even realizing it.  So we want to make the gospel so crystal clear and easy that anybody can understand it.  So that’s what Randy White in his article, which you can Google online and find it, means when he talks about we need to repent of our use of how we use the word repentance.   So having said all that the correct answer to number 11 is what?  B.

Now 12-16, this is just basically… I’m not making a value judgment about Calvinism I just wanted to see if you understood what Calvinism is.  Calvinism is a really interesting system defined by the acronym TULIP, T stands for total depravity, U stands for unconditional election, L stands for limited atonement, I stands for irresistible grace, P stands for perseverance of the saints.  So the correct answers for 12-15 is 12-B. 13-A. 14-C. 15-B. 16:D.    And people ask me all the time, Andy, are you a Calvinist?  And I always sort of bristle at that because what version of Calvinism are  you talking about?  If you’ll allow me to define each of these terms I could probably end up being, maybe a four point Calvinist, the L, (Limited Atonement) which I’ll explain in a minute, I think is unbiblical on its face.  But the problem is when you go back to what is [can’t understand word], where they define these original points they mean something very different than the way I use it.  When they use the word “total depravity” they mean you can’t even believe on your own, even if you’re under the influence of the Spirit as a matter of conviction.  So therefore God has to believe for you and they call faith a gift and they say regeneration does not follow faith but regeneration what?  Precedes faith.  Now if you want me to sign on to that for P I can’t do that because that’s not in the Bible.  That’s a case where a manmade philosophy is taking over the Bible.

Unconditional election, I don’t have too much of a problem with that one.  L, Limited atonement, I have a big problem with that one, as I’ll explain.  Irresistible grace, basically what the Synod of Dort means by that is you’re drawn to Christ irresistibly because God has already given you the gift of faith and your regeneration has already happened.  Now if that’s what you mean by it I have a big problem with that because John 16:12-13 talks about the Spirit’s ministry to the unsaved, and one of the things… as a matter of fact let’s just look at that for a moment, what does the Holy Spirit do in the unsaved?  Jesus, in the Upper Room, saying I’m going to leave and the Spirit is going to come and when He comes He’s going to fulfill certain ministries and he starts to talk about what the Spirit does to the unsaved.   John 16:12, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. [13] But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; [for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”]

I’m sorry, I wanted verse 7, let’s go back to verse 7, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”  Verse 8 is a key verse, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world” of what?  “sin,” now is “sin” there singular or plural?  It’s singular, it’s talking about one sin, “concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;” now fortunately verse 9 goes on and verse 10 and verse 11 explains what each of those terms means.  [9] “concerning sin,” singular “because they do not” what?  “believe in Me; [10] and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; [11] and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

The Spirit of God is doing three things constantly in the life of the unbeliever.  He’s convicting them of a sin, which is what?  Unbelief, which is the only sin that can send you into hell.  He’s not trying to fix them in terms of their profanity, or their gambling.  Now once they get saved, believe me, the Spirit of God will start working on some of those other issues but that’s not what the Spirit of God does to the unsaved;  He works on them over and over, convicting them of a sin that they are committing against God which is unbelief.  He convicts them of righteousness, in other words, they don’t have it on their own, they need the what of Christ?  The imputed righteousness of Christ.  And He convicts them of the fact that this world is going down in judgment because Lucifer has already been condemned.  So when you look at these verses it’s very clear that the Spirit of God does not believe for people.  And that’s what the Synod of Dort is basically saying, that grace is irresistible because the Spirit of God comes into you and regenerates you  before you even believe so you wake up one day irresistibly not drawn to Christ and Calvinism is a… what you have to understand about it is it is a system of logic.

John Calvin, who developed many of these ideas as a very young man in his 20’s, a brilliant man, a lawyer by the way, set up a logical syllogism and the logic is only good at it’s starting point.  So the starting point in the Calvinistic system is T, total depravity, and I agree with total depravity but not the way they define it.  What they mean by it is you’re like a rock, you have no responsiveness to God at all, even if the Spirit of God convicts you it wouldn’t do any good.  So they’ve overblown the doctrine of Total depravity so therefore how do you become a Christian.  Well, the U, the L, the I, the P, logically follow.  God unconditionally elects you; God didn’t die for the whole world, just for the elect; He irresistibly draws  you to Himself because He regenerates  you so that you can believe and then you always have to be persevering in good works.

So my problem with this is it’s a great logical syllogism, I just don’t find it taught exactly the way they’re explaining it in the Bible.  The Spirit of God does not regenerate people so that they can believe; we saw the verses.  John 16:12-13, [John 16:12-13, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. [13] But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”]  The Spirit of God places men and women under conviction, constantly, and I don’t think a person could ever get saved without that conviction.  But once you’re under that conviction whether you respond to that conviction or not is your call, and God is not going to override the decision that you make any more than you would want to be married to a person who doesn’t want to be married to you.  Have you ever gone through those breakups before you find your significant other; they are painful, aren’t they?  Have you ever gotten this speech from somebody, I got this one from a lady that broke up with me, praise God, so I met Anne after, she gave me this speech, well, I love you but I’m not in love with you.  Ever gotten that one?  Or maybe you guys have given that to other people; maybe in your trail of this string of broken hearts, well, I’m thinking to myself man, I’m glad you told me that because I don’t know if I’d want to spend the rest of my life with somebody that I love that doesn’t love me.  See?

So this is how it is with the Lord; I mean, God has made  you an image-bearer of Him, which means as an image-bearer  you have free will.  That’s the most awesome thing we have as human beings is free will.  So when God leads you to Himself He is not going to coerce  you against your will.  If He were to coerce  you against your will He would be overriding how He created you.  See that?  And these ideas are lost in the Calvinistic system.  So that’s what they mean by irresistible grace.

And then perseverance of the saints, what do they mean by that?  Well, if you mean by that eternal security hey, I’m on board with that, but that’s typically not what they mean.  What they mean is if you are really one of the elect who has been given the gift of faith, who has been regenerated so that you can believe and have been irresistibly drawn to Christ, there has to be fruit and a lot of it and if there’s not physical, visible, tangible fruit in bucket loads in your life then you should second guess whether you’re one of the elect who has ever received the gift of faith.  And this is why when this doctrine takes hold in Calvinistic circles it leads to this almost ruthless fruit inspecting.  You know, so and so didn’t show up to Tuesday night prayer meeting, man, maybe they’re not one of the elect.  Did you hear about so and so?  Their daughter got a tattoo… oooh, man, the Bible says you’re supposed to raise up children to be godly, they may not be one of the elect.  And the fact of the matter is I could show you many verses in the Bible of people that are saved, as a matter of fact we’ll get to some in a minute, that had a lot of ups and downs in their Christian life.  Amen!  King David being one.   And there’s no doubt that David is saved.  So what I prefer is the expression, not perseverance of the saints but the preservation of the saints.  God preserves us through the doctrine of eternal security which means that my salvation doesn’t rest on my shoulders but on whose shoulders?  God’s!  So if they want to define “P” as perseveration of the saints then I guess I’m on board, but I’m not really on board the way they’re defining the perseverance of the saints.  Are  you following me?

So I started looking at these points of Calvinism and I started to see… well, I agree with that one but I’ll tweak it a little bit, I agree with this other one but I’ll tweak it a little bit, and finally I was doing so much tweaking that I really could no longer consistently consider myself a five point Calvinist.  I was talked out of five point Calvinism at one point in my life, I became a four point Calvinist, and then later on in my Christian life I became a three and a half point Calvinist, and I kept getting bartered down, three point Calvinist.  Now once I got to two points I’m like saying well, why even call myself a Calvinist at all.  I’m a… not a Calvinist but a Biblicist, that’s what I am.  So I don’t want to read the Bible through someone else’s philosophical lens, particularly when their lens might be off.

And so I have a great respect for what a Calvinistic heritage has accomplished but I’m troubled by some of the points and I’m particularly troubled by the lack of assurance advocates of Calvinism and Arminianism come to.  Most of them steeped in these two systems, when they struggle in their Christian life with any issue they think they weren’t one of the elect.  Or they think if they go into Arminianism that they lost their salvation.  And one of the things that I feel very strongly about, I’ll give you some verses in a minute, is that one of the rights of the child of God is the assurance of salvation.  That is your right in Jesus, He wants you to know that you’re saved and He wants  you to serve Him, not out of fear of your eternal destiny, which has already been taken care of because Jesus says “It is finished!”  You serve Him out of worship and so from a pastoral angle that’s why I’m sort of troubled by the dominance of Calvinism.  Calvinism has taken off among the young people today; they call themselves the Neo-Calvinists or the New Calvinists and millennials are completely wrapped up in Calvinism.  I don’t know why it’s taken off in that age group the way it has but it’s really something you need to be aware of.

So that takes us to number 17, part 2, match the concept with the scriptural address.  Now we have limited atonement which is a Calvinistic teaching.  Why would they believe in limited atonement?  Because it’s philosophical, they say Christ’s blood can’t be wasted so therefore Jesus didn’t waste His blood on the unbelievers who weren’t going to receive it anyway; He only shed His blood for the believers and so what they’ll say with “L” is Christ only died for the elect.  And there are certain verses that seem to hint at that, Matthew 20:28, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  And they say aha, He didn’t die for the whole world, He just died for the elect.

The strongest verse is John 10:15, “even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  If  you’re talking to a Calvinist they love that one, see Jesus didn’t die for everybody, He just died for the sheep.

Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,” so they say aha, Jesus only gave Himself up for the church, He didn’t give Himself up for the world.  So therefore the verses they use for limited atonement would be all of the above.  So the correct answer to number 17 is D.

Now having said all that I completely disagree with how they’re using these verses because does it read this way?  John 10:15, “Even as the Father knows me and I know the Father, I lay down my life for the sheep,” does it say and only the sheep?  It doesn’t say that, does it.  It’s like saying this,  you’ve got two kids and you say to one kid wow, I’m really proud of you, and I love you and the other kid says well, don’t you love me?  Aren’t you proud of me?  And you say to the second kid well I never said I wasn’t proud of you, did I?  I never said I didn’t love you, right now I’m just focusing on kid A.  So we take statements that are focused in a particular direction and we take those as excluding somebody else, yet that’s not the intent of the statement.  Now if I were to say I loved kid A only that would be different, but I didn’t say that.  So that is how the Holy Spirit is using these verses.

That gets us into question number 18, what are the verses for unlimited atonement?  John 3:16, For God so loved the elect that He gave His only begotten Son….  It doesn’t say that does it.  “For God so loved the world,” He gave Himself for the world.  [John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”]

Hebrews 2:9 says that “Christ might taste death for” the elect.  No, “everyone.”  [Hebrews 2:9, “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”

And the killer, and they really, when you look at Calvinist commentaries they really trip all over themselves trying to explain this one away, 1 John 2:2, “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins;” us apostles, “and not for ours only,” did you see that?  “and not ours only”  one more time, “and not ours only but also for the sins of the” North American Continent, it doesn’t even say world, it says “the whole world.”  How do you explain that away?  I mean only if you want to read the Bible through a philosophical lens can you rewrite that one.

So the bottom line is we do not believe in limited atonement, we believe in unlimited atonement; because of what Jesus did on the cross the whole world as I speak today is savable.  Every person that is living on planet earth today is savable because of what Jesus did.  Now whether they get saved or not depends upon whether they respond to the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit by believing in the provision.  But the whole planet is savable.  And when we were in this section, you might remember, I put up the quote from Jay Adams, I have a lot of respect for Jay Adams because he was a pretty big figure in the restoration of biblical counseling to the church, but he was also an adherent of five point Calvinism and he wrote a book called Competent to Counsel, and it’s a direct quote in the book.  He says you know when I counsel people and I don’t know whether they’re a Christian or not I never tell them “Christ died for you.”  Why don’t you tell them Christ died for  you?  Because I’m not sure if they’re one of the elect, because the blood of Christ only covers the elect.

Now how is that for counseling?  I mean, isn’t that the greatest counseling you could ever give somebody, that Jesus “died for you,” that Jesus, when He died on that cross was thinking about you because He loves you so much.  And here is this world renown counsellor holding that back from people because he is wrapped up in this philosophical system called five point Calvinism.

You might look at some of these ideas as arcane and this is just a bunch of gobblety-gook, but it relates to how you actually share the gospel.  You ought to get in front of people and  you ought to tell them with total confidence that Jesus died on the cross for you 2,000 years ago.  You don’t even have to know whether they’re going to respond to the gospel or not because the world is savable.  So the correct answer to number 18 would be what?   D, which is all of the above.  So far so good.

And then we come to number 19 which is testing your knowledge of adoption, which is a result of salvation, right?  When you get saved instantaneously you are adopted into the family of God.  “If a son then an” what? “an heir.”  I mean, would  you rather be… I don’t know who Bill Gates kids are, Bill Gates who invented Microsoft, right, he’s rich, it made him a lot of money, he’s a gazillion millionaire, a pretty liberal guy, by the way, he’s the guy behind Common Core but we won’t get into that.

Would you want to be Bill Gates CEO?  Think about how much money you would make as CEO and the benefits you would get?  Or would you rather be Bill Gates son?  I’d rather be the son because I could just sit on the stock the rest of my life and never have to work again and I could… you know, give my whole life to the ministry, right?   You know, when you are a son you are an heir of God, and that’s your status as a child of God.  The verse that communicates that very well is (A) Galatians 4:5-7, “[so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. [6] Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”’]  [7] “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God”

Now you go before God in your prayer life and have a warm theology, gee Lord, it’s just little ole me down here, could you condescend to listen to my shaky voice… I mean, is that how a parent responds to their children?  A parent can’t wait to hear from their children and so God is the same way with us, He can’t wait to hear from us, because you’re not some kind of groveling slave working in the yard or in the kitchen.  I mean,  you’re an heir to the whole estate.  And that’s the significance of adoption.  So the correct answer would be Galatians 4:5-7.

And then that takes us into question 20 where we’re back to regeneration.  Regeneration is the impartation of divine life.  What verses would you pick for regeneration?  Certainly not Galatians 4 because that covers what we just talked about which is what?  Adoption.  Regeneration is the impartation of divine life.  The key verse on it is John3:5, “[Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you,] unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”’  That’s a great verse, that’s what the whole conversation with Nicodemus is about, it’s a chapter I like to call Nic at night.  Isn’t that cool, Jesus is talking to Nic at night and He’s talking to him about regeneration.

And then another great verse on it is Titus 3:5, “He saved us … by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, [“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5]  By the way, this is why I said Genesis, do you know what the Greek word is for regeneration?  Palin genesia, palin means again, you recognize the word genesia, what book of the Bible… Genesis, the book of beginnings.  So regeneration literally means birth or beginning again.  See, you’ve already been physically born into the world; regeneration is the date of your what?  What kind of birth?  Spiritual birth.  Does regeneration precede faith?  No, it’s the result of salvation rather than the cause of salvation.

In fact, notice John 1:12, this is one of the verses Pastor Jim used yesterday when he was sharing the gospel at the Ladies’ Luncheon.  Notice the order here, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  Now notice it’s talking about regeneration there but he only gives it to “as many as” what?  “…received Him.”  God doesn’t regenerate your first so you can believe; that idea is a philosophy that you don’t find in biblical teaching.

What we teach is it is the result of salvation, not the cause.  And I used to think we’ve got the Presbyterian Christians over there, and the Methodist Christians over there and the Baptist Christians over there, oh, and then there’s the born again Christians.  So I  used to look at born again Christian as just one of many denominations.  The reality of the situation is there’s only one type of Christian, the what Christian?  The born again Christian.  If you haven’t been born again you’re not a Christian, right?  It doesn’t matter where you go to church, you could be a Metho-Catho-Bapterion or a Bapte-costal-fundamatic, whatever your denominational loyalty is that’s not the issue.  The issue is have you been regenerated, have you been born spiritually.  If you haven’t been born spiritually then you’re not a child of God.  So that’s the significance of regeneration.

Can I just throw this also at you?  The word “regeneration” is used only two times, Pauline genesia in the Greek New Testament.  It’s used in Titus 2:5 which we’ve already talked about.  [Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”]  But it’s also used in Matthew 19:28 in a different context to talk about the millennial kingdom.  Take a look at Matthew 19:28, “‘And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration” that’s palingenesia “when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”

Notice regeneration is used to describe the millennial kingdom.  Now let me ask you a question: what comes first, the return of Jesus or the millennial kingdom?  The return of Christ comes first, right, because we’re what kind of millennialists?  Not panmillennialists, it’s all going to pan out in the end, we’re premillennialists; Jesus comes first and then the regeneration of all things follows.  If I were to put the millennial kingdom before the return of Christ I would be an amillennialist.  See that, because a lot of people are that way, they think we’re in the kingdom now and we’re setting it all up for Christ and when He comes back we’re just going to turn the keys over to Him and say Jesus, have a great time governing the world that we set up for You.  How are you doing with that, by the way, if that’s your theology.   They don’t look at the internet or the newspaper ever.  So you see what regeneration is doing?  First Christ comes and then the kingdom follows.

Now follow that same word into soteriology; I just used it in eschatology, follow it into soteriology.  First Jesus comes into your life when you what?  Believe, and then what follows is what?  regeneration.  So both eschatologically and soteriologically regeneration is a result of the coming of Christ; it is not the cause of the coming of Christ.  Are you with me on that?   If I were to teach it’s the cause of your belief then I would have to be reading the Bible, not through a biblical lens but through a philosophical lens.

Well, that’s an even number so we’ll stop at question 20.  I hope you’re enjoying this and we’ll do the rest of the questions next time.  You all have any thoughts, comments, questions, anything like that.