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Christian Life (Colossians 3:1-4)

June 6, 2010

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.  Colossians 3:1-4

Christian Life

v     If (since)

  • The resurrection.
    • Proof of our acceptance of Christ’s death and His acceptance of us (Romans 4:24-25)
    • Pattern of our holy life (Romans 6:4)
    • Power for Christian character and service (Ephesians 1:18-20)
    • Promise of our own physical resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
    • Pledge of our life hereafter (John 14:19)
  • In baptism the Christian dies and rises to new life
    • Death had no hold on Christ after his resurrection
  • If that’s true, there must be a difference! Must choose.
    • Active concentration (seek)
    • Permanent attitude (set)
    • Where is the difference? Thoughts, concerns
    • No trivialities—eternal verities (truths)
    • Doesn’t mean monastery—no interaction with the world
    • Means doing all the normal mundane activities with guidelines from the Word
    • Does mean all is seen in light of eternity
      • Different background
      • Blacklight
    • Will go on doing work in the world, but in a new way
      • Giving—getting
      • Serving—ruling
      • Forgiving—avenging
      • Sees eternal—sees temporal

v     Ye are dead.

v     Hidden with Christ in God

  • Death = “hidden in the earth”
    Baptism = “hidden in Christ”
  • Apocrypha = hidden books = hidden knowledge
    Apocrypteia = hidden knowledge is in Christ
  • Life is hidden
    • The world cannot understand or know the life of a Christian
    • We cannot expect the world to understand
    • Contrast with James 4:14
      • Temporal life vanishes
      • Eternal life cannot be touched

v     When Christ shall appear

  • Who is the Christ – Messiah, deliverer
  • Where is He now – hidden in heaven
  • How did He get there – the ascension
  • Why is He there – His time is not yet come
  • What is He doing there
    • Preparing for the saints
    • Praying for the saints
    • Preparing for His return
  • How will He return – in glory
    • Revelation 19:11-16
    • His majesty will be evident
    • His train will be following (Ephesians 4:8) – trophies of His victory
  • What will happen when He returns
    • Beast and false prophet cast in Lake of Fire
    • All kings of the earth and armies killed – fowls filled with flesh
    • Ye (we) shall appear also

v     Then shall ye also appear

  • Where are ye (we) now – hidden in Christ
  • Why are ye (we) there – we are dead in Christ
    • And risen with Him
  • How did ye (we) get there – through faith, by grace
  • What are ye (we) doing there
    • Seeking heavenly things
    • Thinking heavenly ways
  • How will ye (we) appear
    • What authority
    • What presence

v     Who is our life

  • Physically
    • Created us – John 1:1-4
    • Sustains us – Colossians 1:16-17
  • Spiritually
    • Saved us – Ephesians 2:1, John 11:25, 1 John 5:11
    • Keeps us
    • Directs us – John 1:4
  • Thoughts
    • Important areas of life:
      • Jobs (food and raiment) – if we have food and clothing, then be content
      • Family

¨      Marriage

¨      Children

  • House
  • Money
  • Time
  • Self-gratification
  • Things – cars, jewelry, computers, stereos
  • Christ IS Life – Luke 17:32
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  1. June 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    “In baptism the Christian dies and rises to new life”????

  2. d4v34x
    June 8, 2010 at 6:17 am

    “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death that, like as Christ was raised up by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

  3. June 8, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Thanks D4, you answered Tom’s question before I even saw it.

  4. d4v34x
    June 8, 2010 at 10:25 am

    It just happens that that theme is something I’ve been interacting with seriously over the past few years– the realization that at the cross I died and Christ became my life. It really transformed my thinking about alot of things, especially, as you point out about self-gratification–our desire to try and meet our own various needs/desires. It doesn’t make sense to someone thinking outside the biblical realities that the cure for coveteousness is not getting more things, or even God giving us things (Christian coveteousness) but rather the presence of God in our lives (“I will never leave you nor forsake you”). He is our inheritance and our life. AMEN!

    So anyway, Romans 6, Colossians 3 are special to me.

  5. June 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Neither Romans 6:4, nor any other text in the NT, affirms that “in baptism the Christian dies and rises to new life.”

  6. June 8, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    First, this post is an outline. If some can be helped by it, I’m thankful. If it’s too confusing to others, I apologize.

    Second, if a commenter (Tom) would like to interact with me on this post–copying one line from the outline and then putting ??? after it OR making categorical statements with no substantive support (which is uncharacteristic for Tom)–will not suffice.

    Third, only the most initiated had any difficulty understanding what was meant here (if anyone else had a problem, please let me know by asking for clarification in this comment thread–of course, if you can help initiate me or help me explain, I welcome help!).

  7. d4v34x
    June 8, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    My guess is brother Ross takes technical issue with the emphasis that your grammar places on “In baptism”, as if (water) baptism is the agent that effects the results or the event/circumstances in which the results are effected.

  8. June 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    BTW, I understand I just “asked for it” with my last comment. I’ll state ahead of time that if I get “it,” I won’t be responding. If there is a reasonable response (more than three punctuation marks or one categorical statement OR less than 15,000 words of theological haranguing), I’ll attempt to continue this discussion even though it started as just an (hopefully helpful) outline.

  9. J. Paul Hornick
    June 9, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Thomas D Ross :Neither Romans 6:4, nor any other text in the NT, affirms that “in baptism the Christian dies and rises to new life.”

    Baptism in the Bible is not always the physical water baptism. As a “for instance” Jesus said “I have a baptism to be baptized with” shortly before going to the cross – thus it was not water baptism but the cross to which Paul referred in Romans 6, or in any other place in Scripture, unless the writers were sacerdotalistic. Rather, what they referred to is the crucified life (Gal. 2:20, I Peter 4:1-2) in in the crisis of entire sanctification (I Thess. 5:23, John 17:17) something that is to take place in this life (Psalm 27:13) unless we believe that Death does something that the Savior cannot. (See John Wesley’s “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection”). It is what Mr. Welsey called “Christian Perfection” (Gen. 6:9, Job 1:8, Heb. 6:1, II Cor 13:11, Phil. 3:15, II Tim. 3:17, Heb. 13:21, I John 4:17, Gen. 17:1, and Matt. 5:48). This is not “sinless perfection” for “there is no perfection in this life which does not admit of a continual increase” (John Wesley), but is merely fulfilling the greatest commandment.

  10. June 9, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Pastor Voegtlin,

    If “only the most initiated had any difficulty understanding what was meant here” by “In baptism the Christian dies and rises to new life,” count me in with those who have the difficulty. I don’t have a clue how this statement can in any way be accurate. I know you don’t believe in baptismal regeneration, but how you can die to sin in baptism, and not be dead to sin before baptism but having that pictured in baptism, I don’t understand at all. So, again, please count me in with those who have difficulty understanding how “In baptism the Christian dies and rises to new life.”

  11. d4v34x
    June 9, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Brother Ross,

    Does Romans 6 not say that it is “by baptism” that we are placed in/identified with Christ’s death? If not what does it say?

  12. June 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    D4,

    Identified with, yes, placed in, absolutely not. Baptism “into” in Romans 6:4 is “eis.” This is not placing in Christ or entering into the in Christ state. For example, in 1 Corinthians 10:2, “baptized unto (eis) Moses” can hardly mean “baptized in order to obtain Moses” or “baptized in order to penetrate into Moses,” but “baptized with reference to Moses.”

    Baptism eis no more proves one is “in Christ” only after the ordinance, then the fact that one speaks eis or “into” Christ (Ephesians 5:32), or sins eis Christ (1 Corinthians 8:12) proves one becomes in Christ by speaking or sinning.

    My book Heaven Only For the Baptized? on my website has a lot on this.

    My guess is that Pastor Voegtlin is too busy to explain what he means, or he concluded my response was not reasonable–that is fine. I don’t think he believes in either baptismal regeneration or in the perfectionist error of Wesley mentioned by Mr. Hornick, but I still don’t understand how he can affirm one becomes dead to sin by means of baptism.

  13. J. Paul Hornick
    June 14, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Thomas,

    “Christian Perfection” and “Sinless Perfection” are not synonymous. Sinless perfection is a heresy, and so Wesley would have been a heretic if he taught it – however, he did not even use the term except to deny that he ever did teach it. I find it amazing that some who have never read what the man actually wrote are the most harsh in condemning him, taking their information from people who themselves are either ignorant or else prejudiced for having rejected their writings and have wrested them. Another problem is letting the existentialist-based Charismatics define the terms that were used in Church History – as Wesley lived 200 years before Charismatism, the Charismatics wrested his words by using the existentialist base of thought to define the terms. If one does not believe in “Christian perfection” I would question if he is genuinely a believer, for Jesus did make a command to His followers “Ye shall therefore be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” The commands of Christ are for all time, to all men. Has God anywhere in His Word ever commanded us more than what He has promised? Since He has commanded us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, has He not provided a way for this to happen? Truly, if we do not believe that He can make a man perfect, we do not believe Him omnipotent, and thus He could not be Deity. Also, it is only to protect carnality and lukewarmness in the life that men deny that Christian perfection is possible, given all the evidences in Scripture in its favor.

  14. J. Paul Hornick
    June 14, 2010 at 4:54 am

    As to what Pastor Voegtlin wrote about baptism making a man dead to sin – I think he meant that which water baptism symbolizes. Oftentimes men speak of the sign in the terms of what it signifies – the reformers often did so. Whitgift wrote “You know that we teach far otherwise [that there is virtue in the water to wash away sin], and that it is (our) certain and true doctrine that the outward signs of the sacrament do not contain in them grace, neither yet that the grace of God is necessarily tied to them; but only that they be seals of God’s promises …. and that there is such a similitude between the sign and the thing signified …. that they are usually called by their names …. as the bread the Body of Christ and water Regeneration…. We know that wicked men may receive these external signs and yet remain members of Satan.” (taken from “The Doctrine of the Sacraments” by Whitgift). I think that is what is meant by baptism making one dead to sin – it is that which baptism signifies rather than being ex opere operato.

  15. d4v34x
    June 14, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Thanks for your thoughts, brother Ross. I think it is further instructive that in I Corinthinas 10 the baptism isn’t being immersed in a pool of water.

  16. June 14, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Dear Mr. Hornick,

    I know that last name. Have I met you?

    Here is a relatively brief work by Robert Dabney Refuting Wesleyan Perfectionism:

    Wesleyan Doctrine of Sinless Perfection.
    It has been a question long mooted between Evangelical Christians, and
    Pelagians, Socinians, Jesuits, and Wesleyans, whether sanctification is ever
    perfect in this life. The Pelagians and Socinians had an interest to assert that it
    may be; because such an opinion is necessary to establish their doctrine of
    justification by works; the Jesuits in order to uphold the possibility of “merits
    of supererogation;” and the Wesleyans, to sustain their theory of free-will and
    the type of religion which they foster. As we have, practically, most to do with
    Wesleyans, on this point, and they reproduce the arguments of the others, let
    us address ourselves to their views. They assert that it is scriptural to expect
    some cases of perfect sanctification in this life; because,
    1. The means provided by God are confessedly adequate to this complete
    result, should He please to bless them; and that it seems derogatory to His holy
    character when He assures us that “this is the will of God, even our
    sanctification,” to suppose He will not hear and answer prayers for a blessing
    on those means, to any extent to which the faith of His children may urge those
    prayers. And
    2. He has actually commanded us to pray for entire sanctification. Psa. 119: 5,
    6. Surely, He does not cause the seed of Jacob to seek Him in vain?
    3. Not only has He thus encouraged, but commanded us to seek perfection. See
    Mat. 5:48. Unless obedience were possible, the command would be unjust.
    And
    4. Perfect sanctification is nowhere connected with the death of the body by
    explicit texts. Indeed, the opinion that it must be, savours of Gnosticism, by
    representing that the seat of ungodliness is in the corporeal part, whereas, we
    know that the body is but the passive tool of the responsible spirit. As to the
    involuntary imperfections which every man, not insanely vain, must
    acknowledge, they are not properly sin; for God does not hold man guilty for
    those infirmities which are the inevitable results of his feeble and limited
    nature. Here, the Wesleyan very manifestly implies a resort to the two Pelagian
    principles; that man is not responsible for his volitions unless they are free not
    only from co-action, but from certainty; and that moral quality resides only in
    acts of choice; so that a volition which is prevalently good is wholly good.
    Hence, those imperfections in saints, into which they fall through mere
    inattention, or sudden gust of temptation, contrary to their sincere bent and
    preference, incur no guilt whatever. Last: They claim actual cases in Scripture,
    as of Noah, Gen. 6: 9; Psa. 119: 1; Job. 1: 1 and 8; David, Psa. 37:37;
    Zechariah; Luk. 1: 6; 1Jo. 3: 9.
    No Bible Saint Perfect.
    We reply: Perfection is only predicated of these saints, to, show that they had
    Christian sincerity; that they had all the graces essential to the Christian
    character in actual exercise. As if to refute the idea of their sinless perfection,
    Scripture in every case records of them some fault, drunkenness of Noah, lying
    of Abraham, adultery and murder of David, unbelief of Zechariah, Luk. 1:20,
    while Job concludes by saying, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
    Pelagian Features.
    The most objectionable trait about this theory of perfect sanctification, is its
    affinities to Jesuitism and Pelagianism. These are several ways manifest. We
    saw that the old Pelagians, admitting that a complete obedience is requisite for
    a justification by works, claimed that the obedience which is formally in strict
    accordance with the statute, and prevalently right in purpose, is perfectly right.
    We saw, also, how they defended this view in consistency with their false
    ethicks. For they place the moral quality of acts in the volition, denying any
    certain efficiency to subjective (as to objective) motive. Now, volition is, of
    course, an entire and single act. The motives of a single volition may be
    complex; but the volition has a perfect unicity. Hence, if the morality of the act
    is wholly in the volition, and not in those complex motives, if the purpose is
    right, it is wholly right. But say, with us, that the volition derives its moral
    quality from the subjective motives, (which is the doctrine of common sense
    and the Bible,) and it follows that a volition may have a complex moral
    character; it may be prevalently right, and yet not perfectly right. Now, while
    volition is single, motive is complex. I showed you, that the least complex
    motive must involve a judgment and an appetency, and that no objective
    theory is ever inducement to volition, until it stands, in the soul’s view, in the
    category of the true and the good, (the natural good, at least). In the sense of
    this discussion, we should include in the “subjective motive” of a given
    volition, all the precedaneous states of judgment and appetency in the soul,
    which have causative influence in the rise of that volition. Then, many
    elements may enter into the subjective motive of a single volition; elements
    intellective, and elements conative. Every one of these elements which has a
    moral quality, i.e. which arises under the regulative power of subjective, moral
    disposition, may contribute of its moral character to the resultant volition.
    Now, then, it is the plainest thing in the world, that these elements may be,
    some unholy, and some holy. Hence, the volition, while possessed of an
    absolute singleness as a psychological function, may have mixed moral
    character, — because, simply, it has morally mixed subjective springs in the
    agent’s soul. This solution is simple; and in several problems it is vital. Let it
    explain itself in an instance. A good Christian man is met in public by a
    destitute person, who asks alms. With deliberate consideration the relief is
    bestowed. The things which were present in the Christian’s consciousness
    were these: The rush of instinctive or animal sympathy (morally negative
    while merely animal): A rational movement of agape, or love (morally good):
    Recollection of, and desire for Christ’s glory as displayed in the succour of His
    creature, (morally good): The thought of, and pleasure in, his own applause as
    a philanthropist (morally negative at least, and if inordinate, criminal): Selfish
    appetency to retain the money needed by the destitute person, for his own
    gratification, (morally evil). And last, a judgment of conscience. Now, the
    nature of that Christian’s process of soul, during the instant he stood
    deliberating, was an adjusting of these concurring and competing elements of
    motive. The result was, that the better ones preponderated over the selfish
    reluctance, and the alms were given voluntarily and deliberately. Let us credit
    the Christian with giving the preponderant weight to Christian love, zeal for
    Christ’s honour, and the conscientious judgment of obligation. Then these
    elements of motive have constituted the concrete act a prevalently godly one.
    But there ought to have been no selfish reluctance! Then the very fact, that this
    evil element was there and was felt, and even needed suppressing, was an
    element of moral defect. There again, was the personal craving for applause,
    which was enough felt, to cause at least a partial disregard of our Saviour’s
    rule, Mat. 6: 3, at the time of giving the alms, or afterward. Then, this also
    detracts from the perfectness of the action. Yet it was a prevalently godly
    action. So, an act may be socially virtuous, while prevalently ungodly; or an
    act may be wholly godless and vicious. Only those, in whom concupiscence
    has been finally extinguished, perform perfectly godly acts. Such, we repeat, is
    the analysis of common-sense, and of the Bible. But the Wesleyan,
    acknowledging remainders of concupiscence in his “complete” saint, and yet
    asserting that his prevalently godly acts are perfect acts, has unconsciously
    adopted the false Pelagian philosophy, in two points: that “concupiscence is
    not itself sinful;” and that the “moral quality resides exclusively in the act of
    soul.” Again: when the Wesleyan says that an act, to which the good man is
    hurried by a gust of temptation so sudden and violent as to prevent
    deliberation; an act which is against his prevalent bent and purpose, and which
    is at once deplored, is an infirmity, but not a sin; he is pelagianizing. He has
    virtually made the distinction between mortal and venial sins, which Rome
    borrows from Pelagius, and he is founding on that heretic’s false dogmas, that
    responsibility ends when the will is no longer in equilibrio. (In this case it is
    the sudden gust of temptation which suspends the equilibrium).
    There is also a dangerous affinity between these principles, and those horrible
    deductions from Pelagianism, made by the Jesuits, under the name of the art of
    “directing the attention,” and venial sins. The origin is in the same speculations
    of those early heretics. The student may see an account and refutation in the
    unrivalled “Provincial letters” of Blaise Pascal. The general doctrine is: that if,
    in perpetrating a crime, the direction of the intention is to a right end, this
    makes the act right, because the act which is prevalently right is wholly right.
    The abominations to which this Pelagian dogma led, in Jesuits’ hands, were
    such, that they contributed to their suppression. It is not charged that
    Wesleyans countenance any of these immoral and loathesome conclusions: but
    their premises are dangerous, as appears from these results.
    Refutation.
    To proceed: it is true that the Bible does not say, in so many words, that the
    soul’s connection with the present body is what makes sanctification
    necessarily incomplete. But it asserts the equivalent truth; as when it teaches
    us, that at death the saints are made perfect in holiness. It is no Gnosticism, but
    Scripture and common sense, to attribute some obstacles to entire
    sanctification to the continuance of the animal appetites in man. While God’s
    omnipotence could overcome those obstacles, yet it is according to His manner
    of working, that He has seen fit to connect the final completeness of His work
    of grace in the soul, with this last change. Hence, when the Scriptures show
    that this is His plan, we are prepared to believe it so.
    Command Not the Measure of Ability.
    God commands us, says the Wesleyan, to “be perfect, even as our Father in
    heaven is perfect,” whence its possibility must follow. I reply. True; God
    cannot require of us a physical impossibility. But our inability to keep God’s
    whole law perfectly is not physical. It began in man’s sin. By that sin we lost
    none of those faculties which, when Adam’s will was right, enabled him to
    keep God’s command without sin. Our impotency is an “inability of will.”
    Hence, it ought not to alter the demands of God’s justice on His creatures. It is
    right in God to require perfection of us, and instruct us to seek it, because His
    own perfect nature can accept no less. Did God allow an inability of will to
    reduce His just claims on the creature, then the more sinful he became, the less
    guilt would attach to his shortcomings. A creature need only render himself
    utterly depraved to become completely irresponsible!
    None Sinless. — Proofs.
    But we argue, affirmatively, that sanctification is never complete in this life.
    (a). Because the Scripture says expressly that remains of sin exist in all living
    men. See, for instance, 1Jo. 1: 8; Jam. 3: 2; 1Ki. 8:46: Pro. 20: 9. How can
    such assertions be evaded?
    (b) I argue it, also, from the perpetual warfare which the Scriptures say is
    going on between the flesh and the Spirit. See Rom. 7:10, to end; Gal. 5:17,
    etc. This warfare, says the Bible, constitutes the Christian life. And it is of no
    avail for the Wesleyan to attempt evading this picture of Romans vii as the
    language of Paul convicted but not yet converted; for other similar passages
    remain, as Rom. 8: 7; Gal. 5:17; Php. 3:13: 1Ti. 6:12, etc., etc. Now, as long as
    the contest lasts, there must be an enemy.
    (c). The impossibility of a perfect obedience by ransomed men is clearly
    asserted in Scripture. Psa. 119:96; Act. 15:10. It is true, that in the latter place
    the ceremonial law is more immediately in Peter’s view; but the whole law is
    included, as is obvious from his scope; and if either could be perfectly kept,
    surely the ceremonial would be the easier. Last: The Lord’s Prayer teaches all
    Christians to pray for the pardon of sin; a command which would not be
    universally appropriate if this doctrine were true. And if human experience can
    settle such a point, it is wholly on our side; for those who are obviously most
    advanced in sanctification, both among inspired and uninspired saints, are
    most emphatic in their confessions of shortcoming; while those who arrogantly
    claim perfect sanctification, usually discredit their pretentious sooner or later,
    by shameful falls. It is well that the Arminians have coupled the doctrine of
    falling from grace with this. Otherwise their own professors of complete
    sanctification would have refuted it with a regularity that would have been
    almost a fatality.
    Now, the Almighty Spirit could subdue all sin, in a living saint, if He chose.
    Bible truths certainly present sufficient inducements to act as the angels, were
    our wills completely rectified. Why God does not choose, in any case, to work
    this complete result in this life, we cannot tell. “Even so, Father; for so it
    seemed good in Thy sight.”
    Tendencies of Two Theories Compared.
    The Wesleyans are accustomed to claim a more stimulating influence toward
    the pursuit of holiness, for their doctrine, and to reproach ours with paralyzing
    results. They say, that with a rational agent, hope is a necessary element in the
    incentives to exertion; and that it is unnatural and impossible a man should
    attempt, in good earnest, what he thinks impossible to be achieved. But tell
    him that success, though arduous, is possible, and he will strain every nerve,
    and at least make great progress. They say that Calvinists practically teach
    their converts not to aim high, and to make up their minds to low attainments
    in holiness. And hence the feeble and crippled character of the most of the
    religion exhibited in their churches. We reply, that this calculation
    misrepresents the facts, and leaves out one of the most important of them. We
    do not forbid hope. We teach our people to hope for constant advances in
    holiness, by which they approach perfection continually, without actually
    reaching it in this life. The essential fact left out of the estimate is the
    invincible opposition of the new nature to all sin. The man renewed by God is
    incapable of contenting himself with any degree of sin. Here is the safeguard
    against the cessation of the struggle under the discouraging belief that victory
    is only after death. If the indwelling enemy is thus as long-lived as the body,
    and immortal as long as the body lives, yet truce is impossible because the
    hostility of the new-born soul to it is unquenchable. Does it follow from this
    view, that the life must be a life-long battle? I reply, even so; this is just what
    the Bible represents it to be.
    We can retort on the Wesleyan, a juster objection to the working of his theory.
    By giving a false definition of what perfection is, it incurs a much greater risk
    of inciting false pride, and dragging the conscience into a tolerance of what it
    calls guiltless, or venial infirmities. The Bible-Christian, the more he is
    conformed to God, advances just so much the more in tenderness and
    perspicacity of conscience. Sin grows more odious, just as holiness grows
    more attractive. Thus, when there is, in God’s view, less indwelling sin to
    extirpate in the heart, it is nerved by its contrition to a more determined war
    against what remains. Thus an ever progressive sanctification is provided for,
    conformably to the rational and free nature of man. But our question is: If the
    Christian be taught that what remains of indwelling sin, after a distinctive and
    decisive reign of grace begins in the soul, “is infirmity but not sin,” do we not
    run a terrible risque of encouraging him to rest on the laurels of past
    attainments; do we not drug his conscience, and do we not thus prepare the
    way for just those backslidings, by which these high pretenders have so
    frequently signalized their scheme? Wesleyans sometimes say, that their
    doctrine of perfect sanctification, as defined by them, amounts to precisely the
    same with our statement concerning those better Christians, who, with Caleb
    and Joshua, (Num. 14:24), “followed the Lord fully,” and who enjoy an
    assurance of their own grace and salvation. Our objection is, that a dangerous
    and deluding statement is thus made of a scriptural truth. All Christians should
    be urged to these higher spiritual attainments; but they should not be taught to
    call that “perfection, which is not really perfect, nor to depreciate their
    remaining sins into mere infirmities.”

  17. J. Paul Hornick
    June 15, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Thomas,

    The one thing that I am getting from your statements is an incorrect understanding of the word “perfect” in Scripture. Really, for one as adept in Greek and Hebrew as I have heard you to be (no, we have not met), I am surprised that you still try to assert the word “perfection” as regarding mortal men with sinlessness. The Greek word translated as “perfect” is the word telios, which means “ripeness” or “maturity.” It stands opposed to the infantile state that the majority of believers throughout history have maintained, as Paul declared in I Corinthians 3:2, and what Hebrews declares of needing to be taught again the first principle truths of the faith. The Hebrew word is “tam” which refers to one being complete, or mature – never to sinlessness. If it referred to one being sinless, the Hebrew word would have to be “tetelios” which is translated as “It is finished” or “Absolutely perfect” with nothing more to be done to add to its effectiveness, which is exactly why Mr. Wesley, Dr. Coke, John Fletcher, Francis Asbury, etc. all emphatically refuted Pelagianism and Jesuitism.

    With one quote directly from Mr. Wesley, I can refute your whole premise:

    “In every state we need Christ in the following respects. (1.) Whatever grace we receive, it is a free gift from Him. (2.) We receive it as His purchase, merely in consideration of the price He paid. (3.) We have this grace, not only from Christ, but in Him. For our perfection is not like that of a tree, which flourishes by the sap derived from its own root, but as was said before, like that of a branch which, united to the vine, bears fruit; but, severed from it, is dried up and withered. (4.) All our blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal depend on His intercession for us, which is one branch of His priestly office, whereof therefore we have always and equal need. (5.) The best of men still need Christ in His priestly office, to atone for their omissions, their short-comings, (as some not improperly speak), their mistakes in judgment and practice, and their defeats of various kinds. For these are all deviations from the perfect law, and consequently need an atonement. Yet that they are not properly sins, we apprehend may appear from the words of St. Paul, ‘He that loveth, hath fulfilled the law; for love is the fulfilling of the law.’ (Rom. 8:10) Now, mistakes, and whatever infirmities necessarily flow from the corruptible state of the body, are noway contrary to love; nor therefore, in the Scripture sense, sin.
    “To explain myself a little farther on this head: (1.) Not only sin, properly so callled, (that is, a voluntary transgression of a known law [as in the man gathering sticks on the Sabbath – JH]) but sin improperly so called (that is, an involuntary transgression of a divine law, known or unknown [such as falling asleep whilst reading the Bible – JH]), needs the atoning blood. (2.) I believe there is no such perfection in this life as excludes these involuntary transgressions which I apprehend to be naturally consequent on the ignorance and mistakes inseparable from mortality (3.) therefore ‘sinless perfection’ is a term I never use, lest I should seem to contradict myself. (4.) I believe a person filled with the love of GOd is still liable to these involuntary transgressions. (5.) Such transgressions you may call sins, if you please, I do not for the reasons above mentioned.” (The Works of John Wesley, 14 vols. Baker Book House, vol. 11, Pp. 395-396).

    Another quote:

    “Why is it, that the very name of perfection has been cast out of the mouths of Christians; yea, exploded and abhorred, as if it contained the most pernicious heresy? Why have the preachers of it been hooted at like mad dogs, even by men that fear God; nay, and by some of their own children whom they, under God, have begotten through the Gospel? What reason is there for this, or what pretence? Reason, sound reason, there is none. It is impossible there should. But pretences there are, and those in great abundance. Indeed, there is ground to fear that, with some who treat us thus, it is mere pretence; that it is no more than a copy of their countenance, from the beginning to the end. They wanted, they sought, occasion against me; and here they have found what they sought. ‘This is Mr. Wesley’s doctrine! He preaches perfection!” He does; yet this is not his doctrine any more than it is yours, or any one’s else, that is a Minister of Christ. For it is His doctrine, peculiarly, emphatically His; it is the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Those are His words, not mine [quote in Greek] ‘Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” And who says, ye shall not; or, at least, not till your soul is separated from the body? It is the doctrine of St. Paul, the doctrine of St. James, of St. Peter, and St. John; and no otherwise Mr. Wesley’s, than as it is the doctrine of every one who preaches the pure and whole Gospel. I tell you, as plain as I can speak, where and when I found this. I found it in the oracles of God, in the Old and New Testament; when I read them with no other view or desire but to save my own soul. But whosesoever this doctrine is, I pray you, what harm is there in it? Look at it again; survey it on every side, and that with the closest attention. In one view, it is purity of intention, dedicating all the life to God. It is the giving God all our heart; it is one desire and design ruling all our tempers. It is the devoting, not a part, but all our soul, body, and substance to God. In another view, it is all the mind which was in Christ, enabling us to walk as Christ walked It is the circumcision of the heart from all filthiness, and all inward as well as outward pollution. It is a renewal of the heart in the whole image of God, the full likeness of Him that created it. In yet another, it is the loving God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves.” (vol. 11, pp. 443-444).

    What then is Christian Perfection according to John Wesley? It is fullfilling the greatest commandment, and the second which is like unto it. Mr. Wesley said that when he said “(1.) that Christian perfection is that love of God and our neighbour, which implies delieverance from all sin. (2.) That it is received merely by faith (opposed to your assertations of Pelagianism and Jesuitism – JH). (3.) That it is given instantaneously, in one moment. (4.) That we are to expect it, not at death, but every moment; that now is the accepted time of salvation.” (vol. 11, p.393) though he tempers that with the statement “Indeed, I do not expect to be freed from actual mistakes, till this mortal puts on immortality.” (p. 394). Finally, he says, “As to the manner, I believe this perfection (maturity), is always wrought in the soul by a simple act of faith; consequently, in an instant. But I believe a gradual work, both preceeding and following that instant.” (p. 446)

  18. J. Paul Hornick
    June 15, 2010 at 6:04 am

    That should be Greek word being tetelios, not Hebrew.

  19. J. Paul Hornick
    June 15, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Something else, your statement about the man giving alms seems to indicate a beleif that it is a sin to be tempted – if that were so, our Savior is not sinless, for He was tempted in all points like as we are. It also indicates that your understanding of how temptations work is incorrect, as some arise from within ourselves (as in the man giving the alms after deliberating), and some are projected into the mind, as what unconsciously happened to Peter in his rebuking the Lord for saying that He must suffer and die. Jesus responded by saying in no uncertain terms that Satan was projecting this thought into Peter’s mind. This will happen again after Satan is loosed from the bottomless pit according to Ezekiel, when he will project a thought into the mind of Gog, the prince of Magog, that he can take Jerusalem.

    I recommend that you actually read Mr. Wesley’s work, which was of great help to me after long years of lukewarmness and Romans seven, which is written to show the state of rejecting the removal of our Ishmael. I also recommend reading “The Quest for Christian Purity” by Othniel Spence – a man whose knowledge of Scripture was greater than many others – this is a classic book on the subject at hand.

  20. June 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    DEAR MR. HORNICK,

    I HAVE REPLIED TO A FEW THINGS BELOW IN ALL CAPS. .

    Thomas,
    The one thing that I am getting from your statements is an incorrect understanding of the word “perfect” in Scripture. Really, for one as adept in Greek and Hebrew as I have heard you to be (no, we have not met), I am surprised that you still try to assert the word “perfection” as regarding mortal men with sinlessness. The Greek word translated as “perfect” is the word telios, which means “ripeness” or “maturity.”

    SO MATTHEW 5:48:
    Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
    REALLY MEANS “BE RIPE, LIKE YOUR FATHER IS RIPE”? SO GOD’S STANDARD FOR MAN REALLY IS NOT THE SINLESS PERFECTION OF HIS OWN CHARACTER? WAS THE STANDARD SINLESSNESS BEFORE THE FALL, OR WERE “INFIRMITIES” THAT NEEDED “ATONEMENT” ALSO GOING ON THEN? IF SINLESSNESS WAS THE STANDARD THEN, WHAT IN SCRIPTURE SAYS GOD LOWERED HIS STANDARD OF HOLINESS FOR MAN AFTER THE FALL? THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER THE WORD TELEIOS CAN AT TIMES REFER TO SOMETHING LESS THAN SINLESS PERFECTION IN CONTEXT—THE WESLYAN PERFECTIONIST MUST PROVE THAT GOD’S STANDARD IS LESS THAN THE ACTUAL PERFECTION OF HIS CHARACTER, AND SOMEHOW CHANGE VERSES LIKE MATTHEW 5:48 INTO SOMETHING LESS THAN WHAT THEY SAY.

    It stands opposed to the infantile state that the majority of believers throughout history have maintained, as Paul declared in I Corinthians 3:2, and what Hebrews declares of needing to be taught again the first principle truths of the faith.

    BTW, THAT IS NOT WHAT 1 COR 3:2, ETC. ARE TEACHING EITHER, ALTHOUGH THAT IS NOT CENTRAL TO THIS TOPIC.

    The Hebrew word is “tam” which refers to one being complete, or mature – never to sinlessness.

    Deut. 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
    2Sam. 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
    Psa. 19:7 ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

    SO IN THESE VERSES (AMONG OTHERS) THE LAW, GOD’S WAYS, ETC. ARE NOT ACTUALLY LITERALLY PERFECT? THE HEBREW WORD IS TAM.

    If it referred to one being sinless, the Hebrew word would have to be “tetelios”

    THAT WOULD BE GREEK, MY FRIEND.

    which is translated as “It is finished” or “Absolutely perfect” with nothing more to be done to add to its effectiveness, which is exactly why Mr. Wesley, Dr. Coke, John Fletcher, Francis Asbury, etc. all emphatically refuted Pelagianism and Jesuitism.

    THE IDEA THAT FALLEN MAN CAN PERFECTLY MEET GOD’S STANDARD—THAT THE LAW MUST BE ABLE TO BE PERFORMED BY FALLEN MAN BECAUSE IT IS COMMANDED, THAT THE LIMIT OF FALLEN MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY IS HIS ABILITY, IS PELAGIAN, BUT WESLEY TAUGHT IT. (HE DID NOT TEACH OTHER THINGS THAT WERE PELAGIAN, OF COURSE, SUCH AS A TOTAL DENIAL OF ORIGINAL SIN).

    With one quote directly from Mr. Wesley, I can refute your whole premise:
    “In every state we need Christ in the following respects. (1.) Whatever grace we receive, it is a free gift from Him. (2.) We receive it as His purchase, merely in consideration of the price He paid. (3.) We have this grace, not only from Christ, but in Him. For our perfection is not like that of a tree, which flourishes by the sap derived from its own root, but as was said before, like that of a branch which, united to the vine, bears fruit; but, severed from it, is dried up and withered. (4.) All our blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal depend on His intercession for us, which is one branch of His priestly office, whereof therefore we have always and equal need. (5.) The best of men still need Christ in His priestly office, to atone for their omissions, their short-comings, (as some not improperly speak), their mistakes in judgment and practice, and their defeats of various kinds.

    For these are all deviations from the perfect law, and consequently need an atonement. Yet that they are not properly sins,

    SO THESE “OMISSIONS,” “SHORT-COMINGS,” ETC. NEED ATONEMENT—BUT THEY AREN’T SINFUL? WHAT IS NOT SINFUL NEEDS ATONEMENT? ISN’T THIS A GROSS DISTORTION OF SCRIPTURE, MADE TO SUPPORT THE FALSE PERFECTIONIST THEORY OF WESLEY?

    we apprehend may appear from the words of St. Paul, ‘He that loveth, hath fulfilled the law; for love is the fulfilling of the law.’ (Rom. 8:10)

    WRONG—FOR IF ONE LOVED PERFECTLY, HE WOULD BE ENTIRELY SINLESSLY PERFECT, AND PERFECTLY—TRULY PERFECTLY KEEP GOD’S COMMANDMENTS.

    Now, mistakes, and whatever infirmities necessarily flow from the corruptible state of the body, are noway contrary to love; nor therefore, in the Scripture sense, sin.
    “To explain myself a little farther on this head: (1.) Not only sin, properly so callled, (that is, a voluntary transgression of a known law [as in the man gathering sticks on the Sabbath – JH]) but sin improperly so called (that is, an involuntary transgression of a divine law, known or unknown [such as falling asleep whilst reading the Bible – JH]), needs the atoning blood.

    HOW THIS “PERFECTION” WEAKENS THE NATURE OF SIN! SOMEONE WHO WOULDN’T FALL ASLEEP IFI HE WERE AT A BASEBALL GAME FALLS ASLEEP READING THE BIBLE—BUT IT ISN’T SIN. IT’S SOMETHING LESS THAN SIN, THAT REQUIRES ATONEMENT, THOUGH—SO ONE WOULD BE ETERNALLY DAMNED TO HELL FOR SOMETHING THAT WASN’T A SIN IF CHRIST DIDN’T ATONE FOR IT. TO SUPPORT THIS “PERFECTION” WE MUST WEAKEN THE NATURE OF SIN AND HAVE GOD DAMN PEOPLE FOR WHAT IS NOT SIN.

    (2.) I believe there is no such perfection in this life as excludes these involuntary transgressions which I apprehend to be naturally consequent on the ignorance and mistakes inseparable from mortality (3.) therefore ‘sinless perfection’ is a term I never use, lest I should seem to contradict myself. (4.) I believe a person filled with the love of GOd is still liable to these involuntary transgressions. (5.) Such transgressions you may call sins, if you please, I do not for the reasons above mentioned.” (The Works of John Wesley, 14 vols. Baker Book House, vol. 11, Pp. 395-396).
    Another quote:
    “Why is it, that the very name of perfection has been cast out of the mouths of Christians; yea, exploded and abhorred, as if it contained the most pernicious heresy?

    BECAUSE IT IS HERESY.

    Why have the preachers of it been hooted at like mad dogs, even by men that fear God; nay, and by some of their own children whom they, under God, have begotten through the Gospel? What reason is there for this, or what pretence? Reason, sound reason, there is none. It is impossible there should. But pretences there are, and those in great abundance. Indeed, there is ground to fear that, with some who treat us thus, it is mere pretence; that it is no more than a copy of their countenance, from the beginning to the end. They wanted, they sought, occasion against me; and here they have found what they sought. ‘This is Mr. Wesley’s doctrine! He preaches perfection!” He does; yet this is not his doctrine any more than it is yours, or any one’s else, that is a Minister of Christ. For it is His doctrine, peculiarly, emphatically His; it is the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Those are His words, not mine [quote in Greek] ‘Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” And who says, ye shall not; or, at least, not till your soul is separated from the body?

    SO, MR. HORNICK—ARE YOU PERFECT, LIKE THE FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT? IF YOU SAY YOU ARE, I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT WHAT YOUR NEIGHBORS, COWORKERS, AND FAMILY THINK. YOU ARE CERTAINLY FAR BETTER THAN PAUL IF YOU ARE—HE SAID HE WAS THE CHIEF OF SINNERS.

    It is the doctrine of St. Paul, the doctrine of St. James, of St. Peter, and St. John; and no otherwise Mr. Wesley’s, than as it is the doctrine of every one who preaches the pure and whole Gospel.

    WESLEY DID NOT PREACH THE PURE AND WHOLE GOSPEL. IN ADDITION TO PERFECTIONIST HERESY, HE TAUGHT ARMINIAN HERESY, DENYING THE BELIEVER’S ETERNAL SECURITY, AND BAPTISM AS THE MEANS OF SALVATION. I QUOTE FROM MY BOOK, HEAVEN ONLY FOR THE BAPTIZED (http://SITES.GOOGLE.COM/SITE/THROSS7):

    John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was an Anglican priest, and the Anglican 39 Articles, which taught salvation by baptism, were endorsed by him and his denomination. The Wesley brothers called adults already baptized as infants to conversion only because of their heretical Arminian theology. Since they rejected the Biblical truth that once one is saved, he is always saved, they held that one who was regenerated in infant baptism could fall away and become a child of the devil again, at which time he would need a second new birth. Commenting on John 3:5, Wesley affirmed, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit—Except he experience that great inward change by the Spirit, and be baptized (wherever baptism can be had) as the outward sign and means of it [he cannot enter into the kingdom of God]” (Notes on the Old and New Testaments, John Wesley. elec. acc. Online Bible; orig. pub. 1767). He states here that baptism is the means of the new birth. He also declared, “It is certain our Church supposes that all who are baptized in their infancy are at the same time born again; and it is allowed that the whole office for the baptism of infants proceeds upon this supposition” (John Wesley, sermon, The New Birth). In his Doctrinal Tracts (pg. 246, 251) he wrote, “[T]he benefits . . . we receive by baptism, is the next point to be considered. And the first of these is the washing away of original sin, by the application of Christ’s death. . . . the merits of Christ’s life and death, are applied to us in baptism. . . . infants are . . . proper subjects of baptism, seeing, in the ordinary way, they cannot be saved unless [sin] be washed away in baptism. Infants need to be washed from original sin. Therefore they are proper subjects for baptism” (cited in chapter 9, The Evils of Infant Baptism, Robert Boyt C. Howell, accessed in the Fundamental Baptist CD-Rom Library, Oak Harbor, WA: Way of Life Literature, 2003). John’s brother, the Methodist hymn-writer Charles Wesley, wrote against the Baptists, “Partisans of a narrow sect/ Your cruelty confess/ Nor still inhumanly reject/ Whom Jesus would embrace./ Your little ones preclude them not/ From the baptismal flood brought/ But let them now to Christ be saved/ And join the Church of God” (Charles Wesley’s Journal, 18 October 1756, 2:128).

    IF WESLEY BELIEVED WHAT HE WROTE ON BAPTISM FOR SALVATION, HE WAS AN UNCONVERTED LOST SINNER.

    I tell you, as plain as I can speak, where and when I found this. I found it in the oracles of God, in the Old and New Testament; when I read them with no other view or desire but to save my own soul. But whosesoever this doctrine is, I pray you, what harm is there in it? Look at it again; survey it on every side, and that with the closest attention. In one view, it is purity of intention, dedicating all the life to God. It is the giving God all our heart; it is one desire and design ruling all our tempers. It is the devoting, not a part, but all our soul, body, and substance to God. In another view, it is all the mind which was in Christ, enabling us to walk as Christ walked It is the circumcision of the heart from all filthiness, and all inward as well as outward pollution. It is a renewal of the heart in the whole image of God, the full likeness of Him that created it. In yet another, it is the loving God with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves.” (vol. 11, pp. 443-444).
    What then is Christian Perfection according to John Wesley? It is fullfilling the greatest commandment, and the second which is like unto it. Mr. Wesley said that when he said “(1.) that Christian perfection is that love of God and our neighbour, which implies delieverance from all sin. (2.) That it is received merely by faith (opposed to your assertations of Pelagianism and Jesuitism – JH). (3.) That it is given instantaneously, in one moment. (4.) That we are to expect it, not at death, but every moment; that now is the accepted time of salvation.” (vol. 11, p.393) though he tempers that with the statement “Indeed, I do not expect to be freed from actual mistakes, till this mortal puts on immortality.” (p. 394). Finally, he says, “As to the manner, I believe this perfection (maturity), is always wrought in the soul by a simple act of faith; consequently, in an instant. But I believe a gradual work, both preceeding and following that instant.” (p. 446)
    J. Paul Hornick

    June 15, 2010 at 6:04 am | #18

    That should be Greek word being tetelios, not Hebrew.

    YES—YOU ARE RIGHT ON THE LANGUAGE, THOUGH VERY, VERY WRONG ON THE THEOLOGY.
    J. Paul Hornick

    June 15, 2010 at 6:38 am | #19

    Something else, your statement about the man giving alms seems to indicate a beleif that it is a sin to be tempted – if that were so, our Savior is not sinless, for He was tempted in all points like as we are. It also indicates that your understanding of how temptations work is incorrect, as some arise from within ourselves (as in the man giving the alms after deliberating), and some are projected into the mind, as what unconsciously happened to Peter in his rebuking the Lord for saying that He must suffer and die. Jesus responded by saying in no uncertain terms that Satan was projecting this thought into Peter’s mind. This will happen again after Satan is loosed from the bottomless pit according to Ezekiel, when he will project a thought into the mind of Gog, the prince of Magog, that he can take Jerusalem.

    ONE WHO 100% REJECTS A TEMPTATION HAS NOT SINNED, BUT IF YOU ARE SAYING THAT PETER DID NOT SIN WHEN HE REBUKED CHRIST, IT IS TRULY AN INCREDIBLE THING, AND A DEMONSTRATION OF THE SEVERE WEAKENING OF THE NATURE OF SIN REQUIRED TO SUPPORT THIS “PERFECTION.”

    I recommend that you actually read Mr. Wesley’s work, which was of great help to me after long years of lukewarmness and Romans seven, which is written to show the state of rejecting the removal of our Ishmael.

    NO BELIEVER “GETS OUT OF” ROMANS 7 IN THIS LIFE.

    MR. HORNICK, IF YOU WILL GO THROUGH WHAT DABNEY WROTE, AND REFUTE HIS ASSERTIONS ONE AFTER ANOTHER, AND ALSO GO THROUGH MY RESPONSE HERE, AND REFUTE IT, SECTION BY SECTION, I MAY (IF POSSIBLE) GO ON DISCUSSING THIS. IF YOU DO NOT DO SO, THEN I WILL NOT RESPOND AGAIN. I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO IMMEDIATELY REJECT THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF PERECTIONISM TAUGHT BY WESLEY, WHO ALSO HELD TO THE HERESIES OF BAPTISMAL REGENERATION AND ARMINIANISM.

  21. June 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    EVERYTHING BELOW THIS RELATES TO ROMANS 7, SPECIFICALLY TO CHAFER’S AND BARABAS’S WRONG VIEWS ON THE PASSAGE, BUT REFUTING HIM ALSO REFUTES WESLEY’S VIEW:

    Romans 7:14-25 also cannot be correctly understood as the life of a lower category of Christian who has not discovered the secret of sanctification by faith alone or of higher life theology but is trapped in legalistic bondage and attempts at self-dependent Christianity and so lives in perpetual sin and defeat. Lewis Sperry Chafer presents this view:
    Two extended passages bear upon the conflict which continues in every believer between the flesh and the Spirit, and therein is presented the only way of deliverance. In the first of these passages (Rom 7:15 to 8:4), the Apostle testifies, first, of his own complete failure and, second, of his victory. The failure is complete in spite of the fact that he has made his greatest possible effort to succeed. In Romans 7:15–25 the conflict is between the regenerate man (hypothetically contemplated as acting independently, or apart from, the indwelling Spirit) and his flesh. It is not between the Holy Spirit and the flesh. Probably there is no more subtle delusion common among believers than the supposition that the saved man, if he tries hard enough, can, on the basis of the fact that he is regenerate, overcome the flesh. The result of this struggle on the part of the Apostle was defeat to the extent that he became a “wretched man”; but, out of this experience, he learned a most vital and important lesson, namely, that there are two mighty tendencies always in the child of God, one aspiring to that which is good, and the other demanding that which is evil. This is the meaning of the conflict between “I,” the old nature, and “I,” the new nature, as recorded in Romans 7:15–25, and there could be no more conclusive verdict rendered at the end of this impotent effort than the Apostle sets forth in verse 25: “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh [I serve] the law of sin.”
    The Apostle’s testimony is not closed thus. He goes on to report the discovery of a new principle of procedure, and a new and sufficient power available. The “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” quite apart from his own regenerate self which had so ignominiously failed, makes him free from the law or power of sin and death (8:2). He testifles further that “the righteousness of the law,”-meaning here vastly more than any written code, including, as it does, all the will of God as to every detail in every moment of the believer’s life-is fulfilled in him, but never fulfilled by him. This marvelous experience, the Apostle goes on to state, is granted to those only “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (8:4). Thus the Apostle prepares for the truth set forth in the second major passage (Gal 5:16–24) where the conflict is not between the regenerate man and his flesh with its inevitable defeat, but between the indwelling Holy Spirit and the flesh. We read:” This I say then, Walk in [or by dependence on] the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (5:16). No greater promise of victory over the flesh could be extended to the child of God than this. Not, indeed, by self-crucifixion of the flesh, nor by a supposed second work of grace by which the flesh is eradicated, but by the immediate and unceasing, overcoming power of the Spirit. The believer must learn the life of faith in which he depends upon the provided power of God. Apart from this faith there is only defeat; but with this faith there is blessed deliverance from the flesh and its lusts or desires. (pgs. 404-406, “The Doctrine of Sin, Part 4,” Bibliotheca Sacra 92:368 (Oct 35) 394-411)
    Without question, a believer who is self-dependent, who is not looking in faith to his Triune Sanctifier for strength and spritual life, is going to decline spiritually. Believers must live by faith if they are to grow (cf. Hebrews 11:6). However, Romans 7:14-25 does not deal with this fact, nor does Romans present Paul in a lower Christian life in 7:14-25 from which the believer passes, starting in Romans 8:1, into a higher life of faith. Romans 7:14-8:4ff. does not teach that there are two sorts of Christians, one type that lives in perpetual defeat and the other in perpetual victory. Chafer’s view has a number of serious problems. First, while a distinction between believers who are in fellowship with God and drawing closer to Him, and those who are out of fellowship, is clearly present in Scripture (1 John 1:9; 1 Corinthians 11:29), nowhere does the Bible speak of regenerate people who are “complete[ly] failure[s]” and produce no fruit at all. Second, it is impossible for a believer to make “his greatest possible effort to succeed” in living for God while wickedly rejecting the aid and assistance of the Holy Spirit. Third, while saints can certainly grieve and quench the Spirit, one must very seriously question if a regenerate man can totally and absolutely “act independently, or apart from, the indwelling Spirit.” Where does the Bible clearly present such a possibility? On the other hand, if Chafer means that such rebellious absolute independent action by saints is merely “hypothetically contemplated” but never actually exists in the world, one would wonder why such an extended passage of Scripture would address a situation that never actually takes place, and wonder whether advocates of Chafer’s position ought to preach from Romans 7:14-25, since nobody on earth is ever actually in the situation presented. Fourth, Romans 7:14-8:4ff. does not set up a contrast between two categories of Christians, one of which has a lower life of perpetual defeat and the second of which has a higher life of perpetual victory because they are in the sub-category of Christians “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8 teaches that all who are “in Christ Jesus” will “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (8:1)—those who do not walk after the Spirit instead of the flesh are still unregenerate and under “condemnation” (8:1). Those who are still “after the flesh” rather than “after the Spirit” (8:5) are the enemies of God who are headed to spiritual death in hell, while all believers, all who are indwelt by the Spirit, are “after the Spirit” (8:6-12) and characteristically walk after the Spirit. Those who live after the flesh will die spiritually, while those who are “led by the Spirit of God”—led “through the Spirit [to] mortify the deeds of the body”—they, and they only, “are the sons of God” (8:13-14).
    Sound exegesis demands that the death which those who walk after the flesh undergo in Romans 8 (and those who characteristically yield themselves to sin in Romans 6; cf. v. 16, 21) is spiritual death in hell, not just some sort of lack of fellowship with God experienced by regenerate people who are allegedly stuck in a Romans 7:14-25 type of Christian experience. The verb for death in Romans 8:13, apothnesko (aÓpoqnhØ/skw), used in the warning “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die,” is found 49 times in Paul’s epistles and 111 times in the New Testament. Among a variety of other categories of use, the word is clearly employed with a reference to spiritual death by both Paul (Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:14) and other New Testament writers (John 6:50; 8:21, 24, 52; 11:25-26; Jude 12). Not one of the 111 instances of the verb clearly speaks of saved people suffering a “death” consisting of lack of fellowship with God because of a legalistic Christian life. Furthermore, the death promised the carnally minded in Romans 8:6, indicated by the noun thanatos (qa¿natoß), which appears 119 times in the New Testament and which Paul employs 50 times in his epistles, is clearly used, among a variety of other ideas, for spiritual death by Paul (Romans 1:32; 5:12, 21; 6:23; 7:5; 2 Corinthians 3:7), and other New Testament writers (Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79; John 5:24; 8:51-52; 1 John 3:14). Indeed, thanatos is the word employed for “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone . . . the second death” (Revelation 21:8; 2:11; 20:6). Not one clear New Testament text employs thanatos for a spiritual “death” experienced by the regenerate on earth when they are allegedly stuck in a Romans 7:14-25 type of life. Also, the verb live (za¿w) in Romans 8:13 promises eternal life to those who through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body. The verb is used 71 times by Paul and 142 times in the New Testament. It is never used for a sort of spiritual life possessed only by an elite group of Christians, while it is employed (among other uses, such as the common sense of physical life) for the everlasting life possessed by all God’s people by Paul and other New Testament writers (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38-39; John 6:58; 11:25). The related noun for life (zwh/), which appears 39 times in Paul (cf. Romans 6:22-23; 8:2, 6) and 134 times in the New Testament, is used regularly for eternal life in Paul and the rest of the Greek Testament (Romans 2:7; 5:21; 1 Timothy 1:16; Matthew 25:46; John 3:16) but not for a Christian life possessed only by some believers. Neither the words for death nor the words for life in Romans 6-8 are ever clearly used for a type of spiritual life possessed only by a certain group of higher-level Christians or for a type of death possessed only by a certain group of lower-level Christians. Thus, all Christians, all who are “in Christ,” not a certain portion only, are characterized by a walk that is “after the Spirit” and not “after the flesh” (Romans 8:1). Those who characteristically walk after the flesh are unsaved and headed to spiritual death in hell, while those whose lives are characterized by a walk after the Spirit will, because they have been justified by faith alone and been given a new nature, receive eternal life. This exegetical fact means that the idea that a certain portion of Christians is described in Romans 7:14-25, while another group is described in Romans 8:1ff., is impossible.
    Futhermore, the statements of 8:1-4 are tied into 7:14-25. Romans 8:1ff. is not set in contrast to 7:14-25, but explains it. “Therefore” (8:1)—because of the truth of 7:14-25—there is no condemnation to those in Christ, those who walk after the Spirit, not after the flesh, having been set free by regeneration (8:2ff.). Unbelievers have no struggle with sin, since they have no new principle in them through regeneration, but believers have a new spiritual life so that they hate sin, delight in the law of God, and serve Him (7:15, 22, 25). Those with this new principle of life in them will be saved (8:1, 6, 10-11, 13-14) and will be different (8:1-4, 13-15). The development of the argument in Romans 7:14-8:1ff. demonstrates that the idea that one category of Christians is described by the second half of chapter seven and another category by chapter eight is false. Romans 7:14-25 describes the struggle in every true believer, in those who are “in Christ Jesus” and therefore “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (8:1), those who with their mind serve the law of God (cf. 12:2) and thank God through Christ Jesus for the progressive victory over sin the Spirit produces in them (7:25). Romans 7:25-8:1ff. provex that 7:14-25 do not describe a hopeless, flesh-controlled sub-par Christian, but a Spirit-produced striving against indwelling sin, the normal Christian life of the apostle Paul and the rest of the regenerate.
    J. I. Packer states and labels the position advocated by Steven Barabas, which is very similar to the position of Chafer, the Keswick position, and argues against it:
    Keswick scouts the Augustininan view that Romans vii reflects Paul’s normal, everyday experience, on the ground that it records only “heart-breaking defeat” (p. 76), “ineffectual struggle” (pg. 81), “spiritual stalemate,” (p. 82). This, Keswick affirms—rightly—is not the New Testament picture of healthy Christian life. Dr Barabas quotes with approval the remark that “if normal Christian experience does not rise any higher than that, then we must change our Lord’s invitation to read, ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will tell you how to be wretched . . . !’” Instead, Keswick affirms that verses 7-25 show “what happens when any person, regenerate or unregenerate, tries to conquer the old nature by self-effort” (p. 77), i. e. without the use of the Keswick technique of consecration and faith. “The key to the interpretation,” it is suggested, “is found in the frequent repetition of ‘I,’ while there is not a single mention of the Holy Spirit. . . . In chapter viii, however, where there are at least twenty references to the Holy Spirit and the ‘I’ drops out, there is a triumphant note throughout.” Normal Christian living, therefore, is not in Romans vii, but in Romans viii, “and is experienced as the Holy Spirit by His counteractive power is permitted to have His way” (p. 82).
    It seems impossible to pronounce this exegesis a success. It is arbitrary and gratuitous. There is nothing in the text or context to suggest it. It has to be read into Paul’s words, for it cannot be read out of them. “So then,” Paul sums up (vii. 25), “with the flesh [I serve] the law of sin.” He means, glosses Moule (Comm[entary on Romans, on 7:14-25]), “wherever and whenever I ‘revert’ to the life of self.” But this limiting gloss is nowhere in the text. Again, the Keswick “key” to the passage is quite unplausible; for Paul, so far from opposing the Christian’s working to the Spirit’s, as if the one excluded the other, constantly treats the second as the ground of, and incentive to, the first (Philippians ii. 12-13, etc.). Moreover, Keswick, on this showing, completely misrepresents the . . . view [that Romans 7:14-25 is a description of the normal Christian life] which it rejects. There is nothing in the passage to warrant the description of Paul’s conflict with sin as heart-breaking defeat, stalemate, or inffectual striving. These epithets could be justified only if it were true that there are no degrees of deliverance, so that anything less than complete victory is complete defeat. But this is just what is in dispute, and ought not to be taken for granted. The truth plainly is, that Keswick exegetes were already prepossessed with the ideat that healthy Christian life is a “maintained condition” (pp. 72, 83) of complete victory over known sin before they came to study Romans vii; and it was this cramping assumption that compelled them to read the chapter statically instead of dynamically. Hence they found in it nothing more than a confession of failure; for their preconception exluded from it altogether the idea of progress, in which [other] expositors find the real key to its meaning. In actual fact, writes Dr. Warfield, this passage “depicts for us the process of the eradication of the old nature . . . what is really in the chapter is divine grace warring against, and not merely counteracting but eradicating, the natural evil of sin . . . the working of grace is by process, and therefore reveals itself at any given point of observation as conflict.” The deliverance which grace effects is never final in this world, but is continuous and progressive. And all that Paul actually says in verses 14-25 is that at present his intention always exceeds his achievement, that though he would be perfect he is always something less than perfect, and that he longs for the day when by Christ’s power sin will have been rooted out of hiim completely and his reach will no more exceed his grasp (vii. 24; cf. vii. 23).
    The new exegesis, then, is not preferable to the old. It appears to be the result of reading Romans vii in the light of a preconceived and unproven theory which excludes any sense of imperfect attainment fom the healthy Christian consciousness. And its rejection means the rejection of [the Keswick conscept of sanctification as] complete counteraction as doubly erroneous; for our examination of Romans vii confirms us in the belief that the Christian’s sanctification, while far less than complete, is far more than counteraction. It is nothing less than the progressive uprooting of sin within him by the conquering energy of the Spirit of God.
    Romans 7:14-25 is not a description of Paul before his conversion, nor of the Apostle in some sort of state of legal bondage from which he is delivered in Romans 8 to enter into a higher Christian life. The second half of Romans 7 depicts an aspect—though not all aspects—of Paul’s normal Christian life, and is in this respect a paradigm for the Christian life and growth of all believers.

    [ENDNOTES—UNFORTUNATELY THE NUMBERS DISAPPEARED TO EACH NOTE]:

    “[W]e ought continually to wait and depend on God for supplies of his Spirit and grace, without which we can do nothing. . . . God is more the author, by his grace, of the good we do than we ourselves (“Not I, but the grace of God which was with me”)[.] . . . [W]e ought to be careful that by our negligences and sins we provoke not the Holy Spirit to withhold his aids and assistances, and so to leave us to ourselves, in which condition we can do nothing that is spiritually good” (pgs. 458-459, A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, John Owen. Book 4:2. Elec. acc. AGES Digital Software Library, Christian Library Series vol. 9. Rio, WI: 2005).
    Compare Section III, “The Certainty of Practical Sanctification For All The Regenerate.”
    The removal of the inspired mh\ kata» sa¿rka peripatouvsin, aÓlla» kata» pneuvma in 8:1 in modern Bible versions that follow the corrupt modern critical Greek text, in opposition to the Textus Receptus and c. 95% of Greek MSS, to adopt one of a number of other readings that possesses only a tiny fraction of MSS evidence, is very unfortunate.
    Matthew 8:32; 9:24; 22:24, 27; 26:35; Mark 5:35, 39; 9:26; 12:19-22; 15:44; Luke 8:42, 52-53; 16:22; 20:28-32, 36; John 4:47, 49; 6:49-50, 58; 8:21, 24, 52-53; 11:14, 16, 25-26, 32, 37, 50-51; 12:24, 33; 18:32; 19:7; 21:23; Acts 7:4; 9:37; 21:13; 25:11; Romans 5:6-8, 15; 6:2, 7-10; 7:2-3, 6, 9; 8:13, 34; 14:7-9, 15; 1 Corinthians 8:11; 9:15; 15:3, 22, 31-32, 36; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 6:9; Galatians 2:19, 21; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 2:20; 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 5:10; Hebrews 7:8; 9:27; 10:28; 11:4, 13, 21, 37; Jude 1:12; Revelation 3:2; 8:9, 11; 9:6; 14:13; 16:3.
    Matthew 4:16; 10:21; 15:4; 16:28; 20:18; 26:38, 66; Mark 7:10; 9:1; 10:33; 13:12; 14:34, 64; Luke 1:79; 2:26; 9:27; 22:33; 23:15, 22; 24:20; John 5:24; 8:51-52; 11:4, 13; 12:33; 18:32; 21:19; Acts 2:24; 13:28; 22:4; 23:29; 25:11, 25; 26:31; 28:18; Romans 1:32; 5:10, 12, 14, 17, 21; 6:3-5, 9, 16, 21, 23; 7:5, 10, 13, 24; 8:2, 6, 38; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 11:26; 15:21, 26, 54-56; 2 Corinthians 1:9-10; 2:16; 3:7; 4:11-12; 7:10; 11:23; Philippians 1:20; 2:8, 27, 30; 3:10; Colossians 1:22; 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:9, 14-15; 5:7; 7:23; 9:15-16; 11:5; James 1:15; 5:20; 1 John 3:14; 5:16-17; Revelation 1:18; 2:10-11, 23; 6:8; 9:6; 12:11; 13:3, 12; 18:8; 20:6, 13-14; 21:4, 8.
    Matthew 4:4; 9:18; 16:16; 22:32; 26:63; 27:63; Mark 5:23; 12:27; 16:11; Luke 2:36; 4:4; 10:28; 15:13; 20:38; 24:5, 23; John 4:10-11, 50-51, 53; 5:25; 6:51, 57-58, 69; 7:38; 11:25-26; 14:19; Acts 1:3; 7:38; 9:41; 10:42; 14:15; 17:28; 20:12; 22:22; 25:19, 24; 26:5; 28:4; Romans 1:17; 6:2, 10-11, 13; 7:1-3, 9; 8:12-13; 9:26; 10:5; 12:1; 14:7-9, 11; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 9:14; 15:45; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 3:3; 4:11; 5:15; 6:9, 16; 13:4; Galatians 2:14, 19-20; 3:11-12; 5:25; Philippians 1:21-22; Colossians 2:20; 3:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 3:8; 4:15, 17; 5:10; 1 Timothy 3:15; 4:10; 5:6; 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:12; 4:1; Titus 2:12; Hebrews 2:15; 3:12; 4:12; 7:8, 25; 9:14, 17; 10:20, 31, 38; 12:9, 22; James 4:15; 1 Peter 1:3, 23; 2:4-5, 24; 4:5-6; 1 John 4:9; Revelation 1:18; 2:8; 3:1; 4:9-10; 5:14; 7:2, 17; 10:6; 13:14; 15:7; 16:3; 19:20; 20:4.
    Matthew 7:14; 18:8-9; 19:16-17, 29; 25:46; Mark 9:43, 45; 10:17, 30; Luke 1:75; 10:25; 12:15; 16:25; 18:18, 30; John 1:4; 3:15-16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 26, 29, 39-40; 6:27, 33, 35, 40, 47-48, 51, 53-54, 63, 68; 8:12; 10:10, 28; 11:25; 12:25, 50; 14:6; 17:2-3; 20:31; Acts 2:28; 3:15; 5:20; 8:33; 11:18; 13:46, 48; 17:25; Romans 2:7; 5:10, 17-18, 21; 6:4, 22-23; 7:10; 8:2, 6, 10, 38; 11:15; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 15:19; 2 Corinthians 2:16; 4:10-12; 5:4; Galatians 6:8; Ephesians 4:18; Philippians 1:20; 2:16; 4:3; Colossians 3:3-4; 1 Timothy 1:16; 4:8; 6:12, 19; 2 Timothy 1:1, 10; Titus 1:2; 3:7; Hebrews 7:3, 16; James 1:12; 4:14; 1 Peter 3:7, 10; 2 Peter 1:3; 1 John 1:1-2; 2:25; 3:14-15; 5:11-13, 16, 20; Jude 1:21; Revelation 2:7, 10; 3:5; 11:11; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:6, 27-22:2; 22:14, 17, 19.
    The affirmation of this sentence is not that, in every one of the hundreds of verses discussed, independently considered, such a sense, were it already clearly established, is impossible. Some—indeed, many—of the verses neither prove nor disprove the existence of such a sense. However, before one can conclude that a particular text speaks of a higher spiritual life that only some Christians possess, or a lower Christian life that is really “death” that an inferior sub-category of Christians possess, sound hermeneutics require that such an idea must is required and clearly established in at least one passage—otherwise eisegesis is being employed instead of correct exegesis. The ideas of eternal life and eternal death in hell very easily pass this test of required meaning in at least one passage (i. e., Romans 5:12-21). The higher life/lower “death” view does not, so it cannot be read into texts that, on their own, could go either way. A hermeneneutic that allows verses that do not disprove a particular notion to have that idea read into them would allow, not only a higher/lower Christian life/death notion, but the idea that the Bible employs “life” to speak of being alive when in a spaceshuttle orbiting the moon—after all, does, say, Luke 2:36 prove that Anna did not live with her husband for the seven years of their marriage in orbit?
    “a‡ra . . . marker of an inference made on the basis of what precedes . . . in declarative statement. . . so, then, consequently, you see” (BDAG). “a‡ra: a marker of result as an inference from what has preceded . . . ‘so, then, consequently, as a result.’ oujde«n a‡ra nuvn kata¿krima ‘so, then, there is now no condemnation’ Ro 8:1” (Louw-Nida, 89.46).
    “‘Keswick’ and the Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification.” The Evangelical Quarterly, vol. 27 (1955) 153-167. Packer is reviewing the book So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention by Steven Barabas. Note that Packer’s article, while a devastating critique of Barabas’ position overall, has the serious weakness that Packer rejects (pgs. 160-161) what he calls “a mystical doctrine of personal communion with the Holy Ghost” and likewise opposes the idea that a “life in which the Holy Spirit plays no conscious part is sub-normal Christianity.” Packer gives no verses from the Bible for his rejection of personal communion with the Holy Ghost (contra 2 Corinthians 13:14), but simply blows fellowship with Him off as being “magic” by a quote from B. B. Warfield. Packer’s acceptance of a life in which the Holy Spirit plays no conscious part is a dangerous error in his Reformed doctrine of sanctification. One wonders if his vehement opposition to the doctrine of conscious fellowship with the Holy Ghost stems from the incredible amount of quenching and grief the Spirit recieves from the liturgical and lifeless Anglican communion in which Packer ministers, a denomination that is filled to the brim with unregenerate people and apostasy.
    Unity on the doctrine of sanctification among speakers at the Keswick convention from its origin until the present time does not exist, although certain historical trajectories can certainly be traced. Assertions by Packer, Barabas, and any other writer on sanctification should be evaluated based on the accuracy of their Scriptural content. Neither the Reformed position as represented by Packer nor the Keswick position as represented by Barabas presents a doctrine of sanctification wholly correct or wholly in error. One major danger in Packer’s Reformed doctrine is a neglect of the the Biblical fact of a distinction between the believer who is right with God and the one who is not so (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29), while a major danger of the Keswick position as presented by Barabas is its neglect of the actual change within the believer’s nature through Spirit-produced mortification and vivification.
    [Packer states in a footnote:] So Moule, who characterizes it as “a stern but on the whole disappointing conflict[.]” . . . Moule, The Epistle to the Romans, ad vii. 7-25.
    Packer, earlier in his article (pgs. 161-162), dealt with the idea of sanctification merely as counteraction which can be turned on or off instantaneously and completely by an act of faith and consecration or a lapse thereof:
    When . . . Keswick tecahers turn to the question, how we may do God’s will, what they say amounts to this: that we must pass back to the Spirit the duty He has shown us to be ours, for Him to do it in our place. . . . [I]nstead of working through our conscious personal life, the Spirit stands over against it. . . . [The Keswick] doctrine is that the Spirit’s power . . . is placed at the Christian’s disposal, to “use” (by an act of renewed consecration and faith) whenever temptation arises. Energetic resistance to sin is decried, for “deliverance is not attained by struggle and painful effort, by earnest resolution and self-denial” (p. 90); instead, the Christian “is to hand over the fleshly deeds of the body to the Spirit for mortification. . . . He is then to stand in faith. . . . It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to do the rest” (pg. 107). If I do anything to defeat sin, sin will defeat me; but if I do nothing beyond appealing to the Spirit to defeat it for me, instantaneous victory is assured. The Spirit’s work of repelling the assaults of sin in my heart is thus vicarious in exactly the same sense as was Christ’s work of bearing the penalty of sin on His cross. In each case wht I was bound to do is done in my stead by Another, and in each case my cooperation is absolutely excluded. This is express quietism, but it differs from other forms of quietism in that the whole process is represented as being under my control. . . . In this doctrine of “power” . . . [Packer cites Warfield, Perfectionism, II, p. 609, as stating that] the analogy of a material force is most unpleasantly suggested. . . . God stands always helplessly by until man calls him into action by opening a channel into which his energies may flow. It sounds dreadfully like turning on the seam or the electricity. [Packer continues,] [t]here is no question that this is a true bill. Yet it is not easy to see how else Keswick teachers could express themselves; for this is how, on their own premises, they must think of the matter. If I regulate the sanctifying process by the degree of my own willingness to be sanctified, and if the Spirit in sanctification works, not through my own conscious working but apart from it, so that my part is not to work with Him, but to cease working and set Him to work alone, then it is exactly like turning on the steam or the electricity. We ddo not, therefore, overstate the difference between the [true] and the Keswick doctrines when we contrast them thus: according to the first, the Holy Spirit uses my faith and obedience (which He Himself works in me) to sanctify me; according to the second, I use the Holy Spirit (whom God puts at my disposal) to sanctify myself. It should be superfluous to point out that such doctrine is . . . unscriptural [and] irreligious.
    In a footnote (pg. 161), Packer deals with Dr. Barabas’ denial that his position teaches quietism, “on the ground that intense activity in using the means of grace is necessary to keep up one’s consecration and to maintain faith. But such activity, as is explicity stated in the passage from Bishop Moule which he quotes, is merely preparatory: “the temptation of the hour will be met less by direct efforts of the will than by indirect”—i. e., by handing the matter over to the Spirit and ceasing to act in it onself. This is the quietism of Keswick teaching. Moule knew very well what he was teaching, and in Ven Creator (p. 197) describes the believer’s part in sanctification as “a blessed and wakeful Quietism.” In a second footnote (pg 162), Packer states that “it is worthy of remark that even so able a . . . theologian as Moule could not, having once adopted Keswick thought-forms, avoid expressing himself in [the] Pelagian way [where God stands helplessly by until the believer decides to turn on His power like the steam or electricity]. . . .[Moule wrote,] “It is not that God is not sufficient. . . . But the man does not always adequately use God” (The Epistle to the Romans, ad vii. 7-25).
    [Packer cites] Perfectionism, II, pp. 583f. [by B. B. Warfield].
    [Packer cites A. Nygren, Romans [1952], p. 243 as follows:] “He has in mind the tension which exists, in the Christian life, between will and action, between intention and performance.”
    “‘Keswick’ and the Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification,” pgs. 164-166. Packer concludes his article by stating: “It has become clear how profoundly unsatisfactory the new [Keswick] tecahing is in comparison with the old. It is Pelagian; for, in effect, it makes the Christian the employer, and the Holy Spirit the employee, in the work of sanctification. It is shallow; for it externalizes sanctification, reducing the Spirit’s work to the mere preventing of sinful acts and excluding from it altogether the positive renewal of the agent’s person. As such, it is a depressing message for the Christian; for what a regenerate man, as such, desires most of all for himself is, not freedom from conflict and tension as an end in itself, but freedom from the pollution and defilement of sin in his heart. [“]Oh for a heart to praise my God,/ A heart from sin set free![”] . . . is [the believer’s] constant cry. And this, Keswick assures him, is precisely what he cannot even begin to have in this world. The law of sin can be counteracted in his life, but not in the slightest degree eradicated from his heart. On his dying day, his heart will be no purer than on the day of his new birth. We may suspect that the salvation proclaimed by Reformed theology [and other non-Keswick positions on sanctification that also avoid the errors of Reformed theology], which centers round a real, progressive purifying and renewing of his heart, will impress him as far greater and infinitely more desirabl than its Keswick counterpart, which extends only to his actions and leaves his corrupt heart exactly as it was. Moreover, the Keswick message is delusive; for it offers a greater measure of deliverance from sin than Scripture anywhere promises or the apostles themselves ever attained. This cannot but lead either to self-deception, in the case of those who profess to have entered into this [post-conversion second] blessing, or to disallusionment and despair, in the case of those who seek it but fail to find it. In the latter case, according to Keswick, the reason for the failure is not that there is no such blessing to be had, but that the seeker’s acts of consecration and faith were defective; and he is therefore directed to repeat them more thoroughly. It is unnecessary to dwell on the bondage and frustration to which such advice must lead.
    “The Convention,” Dr. Barabas assures us, “is not interested in academic discussions of theology and ethics, or even in adding to the store of Bible knowledge of those who attend, but simply and only in helping men to be holy.” (p. 108). Perhaps it is this very unconcern that has caused the trouble. After all, Pelagianism is the natural heresy of zealous Christians who are not interested in theology. May we venture to suggest that the Convention would more effectively promote its avowed aim by reforming its tradition according to the Word of God?
    Many other views of Romans 7:14-25 have been invented. It is beyond the scope of this analysis to deal with every one of the unusual ideas people have thought up to explain the passage. It is sufficient to present the true view that Romans 7:14-25 deals with Paul in his normal Christian life, as a paradigm for Christians in general, and compare this position with the common contrary views that the pericope deals with Paul as unregenerate or with someone living based on law apart from faith.

  22. J. Paul Hornick
    June 16, 2010 at 6:41 am

    I have not the time to reply as you did, going through and quoting the material debated and answering it point-by-point, aside from this, it would be tedious to any reader. I will, therefore, keep the matter brief.
    1. Peter was obviously in sin when he rebuked the Lord. I never said he was not. I only said that his temptation did not arise from within himself, but was projected into his mind by Satan, which the Lord made clear in His response.
    2. The charge that Wesley diminished the nature of sin is laughable, were it not so serious a misjudgment. What Mr. Wesley did was to differentiate between sins of a high hand (voluntary transgressions of the law of God) and sins of ignorance or omission. My statment about falling asleep while reading the Bible being a sin is a true statement – irreverence to the Word of God. Your statement about it being like falling asleep at a baseball game is a matter of German and French. However, though it is a sin, God remembereth our frame, that we are but dust, and the apostle John was clear about the remedy “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us (present tense, continually cleanses) from all sin.” There are, I am sure you are aware, nine Greek words for “sin” (Trench), with the most common being Hamartia, which has the understanding of an archer missing his mark. Whether one intends to miss or misses accidentally – whether by an hair or by an ell, a miss is a miss. Therefore, in one sense, you are correct that a sin is a sin is a sin. In another sense, you are not correct for God takes into account that no man has completely perfect knowledge and so may not know that he is in sin – hence the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.
    3. Obviously, no man attainst to tetelios, but with Noah, Job, and others, telios is a possibility. God included the sins of Noah, David, etc. to show that salvation belongeth unto the Lord. With Job, God declared the man perfect, and even Satan – the accuser of the brethren – could not gainsay Him except to question the motive (which Job passed magnanimously, seeing the total lack of Scripture that he had to help him). The only thing that might be said of him as to why he said that he abhorred himself and repented in dust and ashes was for his questioning God as to why this was happening, and he did not need to know. Something you omitted about him is what God said to Eliphaz about Job at the end of the book. My statement about it [telios] meaning “ripeness” or “maturity” is also correct (see Thayer), I only gave the other definitions (as opposed to “perfect” which it also means) to show the broader scope. Context determines how these are translated. Paul’s statement about not counting himself to have appertained shows that this is not the end, but a beginning. Just as Justification by faith is a beginning of a life to be lived, what I have endeavored to describe is also a beginning – the life lived at rest in Christ, not depending upon the flesh but living spiritually. Even John Wesley did not claim to have come to this state – neither does any other true Christian. Those who do come to it (I believe Paul was one such) will say as Paul “I am the chief of sinners” not because of being in rank sin, but for seeing themselves more as God sees them. The little foxes which the Shulamite mourned over become a greater thing than what they were (see Hudson Taylor’s “One With Christ”). Therefore, far from being a diminishing of the sin nature, it is merely showing the greater power that the sin nature has, which we did not see before. “By little and little will I drive them out.”
    4. I challenge you to answer I Peter 4:1-2 with your seemingly Calvinistic beliefs. Let us go through it somewhat here. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered (aorist = a moment in time, or an instant) for us in the flesh, arm yourselves (aorist imperative – commands are not to the dead but the living) likewise with the same mind for he that hath suffered in the flesh (aorist) hath ceased (perfect [Greek Pepautai – to cause to cease, restrain, prohibit, stop, leave off, desist]) from sin; That he no longer should live (aorist) the rest of his time in the the flesh to the lusts of men but to the will of God. (Othniel Spence, “The Quest for Christian Purity”). Obviously, it could not be referring to Christ in the “cease from sin” but to us, for He never had any sin to cease from.
    5. Because Adam had not known sin when he fell, it is also clear that one may, having escaped the pollutions that are in the world through knowledge (epiginosko) be ensnared therein again. Though some who “followed” Mr. Wesley’s teachings claimed to have come to sinless perfection, and thus gave a black eye to the doctrine, does that diminish something that the Bible declares? It does so no more than some who claimed that God predestined them to commit sins diminishing the truth of God’s sovereignty (something that Mr. Wesley spoke and wrote more of even than Calvin). The Bible does not say that we shall ever be freed from the sins of ignorance till this mortal put on immortality, then we may say as Robert Mc’Cheyne “When I see thee as thou art/Love thee with unsinning heart/Then, Lord, shall I fully know/Not till then how much I owe.” I have been trying to get a book by Dr. Soberanes on this subject, which if he sends to me, I will be happy to forward to you.
    6. A personal story. On an occassion of preaching in the local prison, one sermon was (providentially) on the thought life. A prisoner afterward said to me, “I know that I am a Christian, but have not been for a long time. I have been struggling with thoughts of my past sins, and I know it is not real, that there is no true satisfaction in it, and that I should not be thinking of them, but almost as soon as I finish reading my Bible the thoughts come back, and I struggle with them. Is there any time when theis ‘gets better?'” (bear in mind, this man is a newborn, so the terms he uses may not be “theologically correct”). I gave this man Romans 5-7 to read, and promised to pray for him. Would you say to such an one that he must ever struggle, and possibly be as the ten spies who discouraged the people from entering Canaan where thirty-one kings were defeated by these more-than-conquerors? The next week I was able to return to the same pod, and spoke from Hebrews 7:25 about Christ saving us to the uttermost. Does this “saving to the uttermost” include saving from the penalty of sin? Absolutely – we agree on this point. Does it include from habitually sinning? It must – whosoever sinneth hath neither seen Him nor known Him (present tense – is continually practicing sin). Does it include from the power of sin (the flesh dominated by sin)? No problem. Does it include from living in the flesh rather than the spirit? Yes, for those who have begun in the spirit are not made perfect by the flesh (e. g. are not to live the rest of their lives in the power of themselves but in Christ). Does it include from thoughts and memories of sin? How far is “to the uttermost?”

    Some things about “Arminian Heresy”, and I will conclude the debate with this post. 1. Arminius was actually a Calvinist (little-known fact among many, but he was Dutch Reformed, and saw the hyper Calvinism that was breeding lukewarmness, so he began to teach human responsibility – not for salvation but to prove it).
    2. Jonathan Edwards credited the coming of Arminianism to the Colonies as a reason for the Great Awakening in his letters to Isaac Watts on the subject. In truth, it was the work of Solomon Stoddard (Edwards’ father-in-law) who, though a strong Calvinist, declared that men ought not to consider “election” but to simply trust in Christ. What Jonathan Edwards described was that with the coming of Arminianism, men feared that God was giving the land over to heterodoxy, and their opportunity for salvation would be lost – what is that but human responsibility?
    3. It was John Wesley, George Whitfield (who tempered Wesley and brought balance to Methodism), Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke who were largely responsible for the Second Great Awakening.
    4. It was largely under D. L. Moody, Ira Sankey, and Philip Bliss (all of whom held more or less to the teachings of Wesley) that led to what has been called by some, the “Third Great Awakening.”
    5. It was the rejection of this teaching by Count von Zinzendorf and the Moravians that caused great worldliness at Herrnhut (Zinzendorf was a believer that after justification: ne plus ultra).
    6. It was in the aftermath of such teachings being rejected (possibly because of those who claimed to have become sinless, possibly because of the rise of Barthianism), that Laodicianism has come to prominence. My pastor recently preached a serries of sermons on this subject, which would be good for you to hear. (so much for brevity).

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