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Category: Professor Quiggle

What is predestination

What is predestination

The word “predestination” as used by the early Reformers was the combination of God’s decrees of foreordination, election, predestination, and providence. They did in fact see all God’s dealings with humankind in the matter of salvation as arising out of God’s providence

Foreordination. Before God created anything, God omnisciently understood all the possible freely made choices that might be made by every person, and all the consequences of those freely made choices. In his decree of foreordination, God chose (agreeable to God’s purpose in creating) to make certain possible freely made choices actual. All our freely made choices are certain, because foreordained, but not necessary (not fate), because they are our freely made choices.
Election. God, again before God created anything, effectuated Adam’s freely made choice to disobey, and the consequence of Adam’s decision is God saw all humankind as sinners, and that all their freely made choices were to reject God and his salvation. Then, again before God created anything, God chose to give some sinners his gift of grace-faith-salvation (Eph 2:8) thereby effectuating their faith in God and God’s testimony unto their salvation. That choice by God to give some his gift of grace-faith-salvation (Eph 2:8) is election. Toward those sinners not chosen by God to receive God’s gift, God took no action to effect or deny their salvation.
Predestination. Then, again before God created anything, God decreed to conform those who believed unto their salvation to be like Christ according to certain aspects of Christ’s spiritual character and physical form (Rom. 8:29–30; 1 John 3:2), and to place the believer in the legal position of God’s son and heir (Eph. 1:5, 11), so that the believer has an inheritance from God and is God’s heritage. That is predestination.

Providence. God’s providence is God’s unceasing works by which he maintains and preserves the universe and all his creatures, and governs its operations and their actions, so as to accomplish his plans and eternal purpose.

Christ’s Propitiation (Guest Post)

Christ’s Propitiation (Guest Post)

There seems to be some disagreement in Christianity on how Christ propitiates God the Father. We turn to our favorite Visiting Professor, James Quiggle for clarity…

Beginning some years after the Synod of Dort, 1618–1619 (whose purpose was to refute the five points of Arminianism), there began and has continued an ongoing discussion of the limits of Christ’s act of propitiation on the cross. The discussion is, was Christ’s propitiation limited in scope or unlimited in scope? Sometimes this question is framed as, “For whom did Christ die?”

Usually this discussion of propitiation is made using the Old Testament word, “atonement,” “Christ,” says this argument, “made a Limited Atonement,” meaning he died only for the elect. The New Testament calls the atonement Christ made on the cross, “propitiation.” Both the OT “atonement” and NT “propitiation,” when used in a religious context, mean a satisfaction made to God for sin.

The questions that will be asked and answered in this essay are: What was the purpose of Christ’s propitiation? To whom or for whom was Christ’s propitiation directed? What was the scope of Christ’s propitiation? “Scope” is where the “limited or unlimited” question comes in.

Before answering the questions, let us talk for a moment about the Old Testament atonement, which forms, for us, the biblical example of forgiveness through sacrifice. Look at any Old Testament sacrifice for sin. Atonement consists of four essential things: God’s grace; the sinner’s faith in God and God’s testimony as to the way of salvation; the sinner’s repentance and confession of sins to God; the sacrificial act to provide a substitutionary death for those sins. The OT sacrifice itself did not effect forgiveness. The offering must be accepted by God’s grace and its merit must be personally applied by the sinner’s faith, in order to effect forgiveness.

We see, then, the sinner’s faith was directed toward God, and the act of sacrifice, the atonement, was directed toward God. The purpose of the sacrifice was to satisfy God’s justice for the sinner’s crime of sin. The purpose of the sinner’s faith was to apply the merit of tat atonement to effect forgiveness of sin. God by grace accepted the sacrifice and the sinner’s faith.

So, let’s define Christ’s act of atonement, that is, his propitiation of God for sin. Propitiation is the satisfaction Christ made to God for sin by dying on the cross as the sin-bearer, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10, for the crime of sin committed by human beings, suffering in their place and on their behalf. Christ’s propitiation fully satisfied God’s holiness and justice for the crime of sin, 1 John 2:2; Romans 3:25.

Question: What was the purpose of Christ’s propitiation? Answer: To fully satisfy God’s justice against human sin.

Question: To whom or for whom was Christ’s propitiation directed? Answer: Christ’s propitiation was directed toward God.

The purpose of Christ’s propitiation was to satisfy God’s justice for the crime of human sin, so God could justly act redemptively toward sinners. God’s justice having been satisfied, God could act to apply the merit of Christ’s propitiation to effect the redemption of sinners. (No not universal salvation. Keep reading.)

Last question. “What was the scope of Christ’s propitiation?” Scripture says the propitiation was, “for the sins of the world,” 1 John 2:2. No amount of linguistic acrobatics and manipulation can make “world” (the Greek kósmos), in that verse mean anything other than the world of sinners.

So, just like the OT atonement, the NT propitiation is both the sacrifice—Christ suffering for sin on the cross, and the application of that merit by God’s grace and the sinner’s faith to effect redemption for the sinner.

Christ’s propitiation is not itself redemption. His propitiation generated the limitless merit that effects redemption. The merit of the propitiation is applied according to the decree of election through God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation. The unlimited merit of Christ’s propitiation  for sin (1 John 2:2) is applied according to the decree of election (Eph. 1:4) through the gift of God (Eph 2:8). The merit of the propitiation is unlimited, its application particular and individual.

Christ died on the cross to propitiate God for all sin, so God could act in justice, holiness, and righteousness to save sinners. Salvation, then, is the application of Christ’s infinite merit to overcome the demerit of sin and save a soul, as specifically applied according to God’s sovereign decree of election, through God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation, which is then personally applied by each sinner through his/her saving faith in Christ, in response to having received God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation.

There are three reasons the limitless merit of Christ’s propitiation is not universal salvation. Each is equally important. The first reason is God acts in harmony with all his decrees and all his attributes. The limitless merit of Christ’s propitiation is applied according to God’s decree in election, Ephesians 1:4, through God’s gift of grace-faith salvation, Ephesians 2:8. Thus the application of Christ’s limitless merit is limited when it is applied for salvation. The merit of Christ’s propitiation is applied to particular individuals according to the decree of election.  This is known as Particular Redemption.

The second reason is the salvation principle, Ephesians 2:8. That principle is “saved by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith.” Salvation is always dependent on faith in God and God’s testimony. Without personal faith there is no salvation.

The OT teaches us. The sinner brought the sacrifice with faith in God and God’s testimony. The sinner laid his hands on the sacrifice and confessed his sins, in faith believing God and God’s testimony the animal now bore his sins. The sinner killed the animal with faith in in God and God’s testimony that the animal died in the sinner’s place, bearing the penalty for the sinner’s sins. God in grace accepted the sinner’s faith and forgave the sinner’s sins. The sacrifice was then offered on the altar to God. Salvation by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith.

Today we have faith in God and God’s testimony that the proper sacrifice, Jesus Christ crucified buried, resurrected, and ascended, when presented to God through our faith in God and God’s testimony as to the way of salvation, with our repentance for our sins, will result in forgiveness of all our sins. Salvation by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith.

The third reason is Christ’s limitless merit is applied toward the whole world in ways other than salvation. Because his justice was satisfied, God can act in mercy toward the world by delaying the immediate justice sin requires, which is the endless punishment of the unforgiven sinner. In mercy God gives the sinner a lifetime to believe and be saved. In love God’s kindness and goodness can act to disperse his blessings upon the good and evil alike, for as Jesus said, God makes his rain falls on both the good and the evil. Because God can justly act in blessing toward the world, his common grace disperses the good news to all. In blessing, God prevents every unsaved sinner from being as bad as he or she could be.

In the matter of salvation, Christ’s propitiation/atonement is not in itself redemption, it powers redemption. Christ’s propitiation was not directed toward sinners, but toward God. The purpose of Christ’s propitiation was to fully satisfy God’s justice so God could justly act to redeem sinners and act in common grace, kindness, and goodness toward the world. The application of Christ’s propitiation for salvation is according to election through God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation and the sinner’s personal faith.

Spiritual Warfare: The Biblical Perspective (Guest Post)

Spiritual Warfare: The Biblical Perspective (Guest Post)

Is there really a war between God and Satan? Visiting Professor James Quiggle brings us, as usual, a most excellent answer….

Never believe the fiction there is a war between God and Satan. Satan and his angels do not have even a fraction of the power necessary to oppose God.
Satan is a vicious dog on an unbreakable leash: he and his followers—unsaved human and fallen angel—can only do what God allows. God allows only those things that fulfill God’s purpose and plans and processes: for the spiritual good of his people; for the judgment of the world and the worldling. The belief there is an ongoing spiritual war with God is a fiction created by Satan to exalt himself in the eyes of fallen humanity. Don’t be deceived by Satan’s propaganda.
There is an ongoing conflict between good and evil, but not in the world or the worldling, who are willingly sold out to sin. The conflict between good and evil is within the believer. The believer is constantly tempted from within by the sin attribute still resident in their born-again human nature, 1 John 1:10, and constantly tempted from without by the world and the devil. That constant temptation has one goal: to persuade you to forsake good for evil; sometimes you allow it succeed, 1 John 1:8.
Christian, be wise in the war Satan and the worldling wage against the righteousness you possess in Christ, which you are required to practice every moment of your life. God in Christ has given his saved people the spiritual power to deny every temptation. But when you do not deny, then confess your sins, 1 John 1:9, depending on Christ and his merit for forgiveness of your sins, 1 John 2:1–2. Grow strong in the righteousness and holiness and authority and power you have in Christ.

In this present world you will always have conflict between your desire for good and temptation to evil. Put on the armor God has given you, Ephesians 6:10–18. Trust in the authority and power given you by the indwelling Holy Spirit to say “No!” to temptation, and enforce that decision. Because our Lord and Savior is holy, and we are in him, you be and live and think as holy.

Did Christ only die for the elect? (guest post)

Did Christ only die for the elect? (guest post)

Many times we see the debate over the Atonement and the effectiveness of Christ’s death. Some say He died only for the Elect and some say He died for all men. In this guest post, Visiting Professor James Quiggle offers excellent insight as well as a balanced scriptural view. Let use consider…

Even Calvin believed and taught while Christ’s death was efficient to salvation only for the elect, that Christ’s death also had benefits to all humankind. Or as Dort said, Sufficient for all, efficient for the elect.

For both Calvin and Dort recognized that God’s delay of justice (his mercy), and his goodness, and his kindness toward all humankind, both elect and non-elect, was a benefit of Christ’s death toward all humankind.

The doctrine Christ only died for the elect is not Calvinism but the supralapsarianism developed by Beza, and is a doctrine held by only a very vocal few in Calvinism.

The Christ died to propitiate God’s justice for the crime of all sin. That propitiation applies to all humankind in diverse ways that agree with all of God’s decrees and all of God’s attributes, and was designed by God to meet all of God’s purpose, not only his purpose in salvation toward the elect.

 

In a future essay, Professor Quiggle will expand on the Doctrine of the Atonement

Is Arminianism Heretical? (An analysis and guest post from James Quiggle)

Is Arminianism Heretical? (An analysis and guest post from James Quiggle)

Many Calvinsts are quick to damn those who hold to Arminianism as heretics, but are they really? In this fascinating essay, Visiting Professor James Quiggle, a frequent and beloved guest, here, endevors to answer this question with technical precision and Christian charity.

Is Arminianism Heretical?

I understand Calvinism and Arminian soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). I am qualified to render an opinion on Arminianism as to heretical or not. If the details of theology are not your thing, keep reading anyway. We also need to look at some history.

Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) developed his soteriological views in opposition to the supralapsarianism order of God’s decrees (respecting salvation) which were developed by John Calvin (1509–1564) and others, of what today is known as high Calvinism.

In the supralapsarian order of God’s decrees (respecting salvation) an election to both salvation and to reprobation is the first decree. The supra- order is: decree to elect to salvation and reprobation (damnation); decree to create; decree to permit the fall; decree to send Christ to redeem those elected to salvation; decree to send the Holy Spirit to effect salvation.

Here is the significance: in the supralapsarian order no human being was seen by God as a sinner when God elected some to be saved and some to be damned. The supralapsarian order is based solely on God’s sovereignty, at a time in the order of God’s decrees when no human being was seen by God as a sinner. The Arminian view of soteriology was developed to oppose the supralapsarian view that non-sinners were elected to reprobation (eternal damnation).

The “Five points of Arminianism” were developed a few years after Arminius’ death by his followers, as a means to systematically express their disagreement with the, at that time, prevailing supralapsarian view. The Synod of Dort and its Canons (doctrines) were a direct response to the Arminian five points. Is it important? The Synod thought so, they took seven months (Nov 1618 – May 1619), and 154 open-to-the-public sessions (and many side conferences), to discuss the issues.

The “Five Points of Calvinism” were developed *after* the Synod, based on their Canons. The ideas were in the Canons, but not stated in five points. Those five points *do not* express supralapsarianism, but express an order of God’s decrees that came to be known as infralapsarianism. (Both the Arminian five points and the Canons of the Synod of Dort are available online.) (BTW, the earliest known, documented use of the acronym TULIP was 1905.)

The word “lapsarian” means “after the lapse.” The “lapse” is the fall of humankind into sin. The word “supra” means “above, before.” “Supralapsarian” means “before the lapse, i.e., God elected some to salvation and others to damnation before the fall into sin. The word “infra” means “below, after.” Infralapsarian means “after the lapse,” i.e., God elected some to salvation after the fall into sin. There is no election to reprobation in infralapsarianism.

The infralapsarian order of God’s decrees is this: decree to create; decree to permit the fall; decree to elect some to salvation (no election to reprobation); decree to provide a redeemer for the elect; decree to send the Holy Spirit to effect salvation.

There is third order in Calvinistic soteriology, the sublapsarian order: decree to create; decree to permit the fall; decree to provide a redeemer; decree to elect some to salvation; decree to send the Holy Spirit to effect salvation.

Supra- sees no person as a sinner when God decreed his election. The significance of infra- and sub- is God saw all persons as sinners before he elected some to salvation, and left others are they were, as non-elect sinners. The difference between infra- and sub-, is when God decreed to provide a redeemer in relation to the decree of election. In infra- the redeemer is provided after election. In sub- the redeemer is provided before election.

Many Calvinists’ opposed the supra- election to reprobation, is why the infra- and sublapsarian views were developed. Is the difference between sub- and infra- important? Yes, in infra- the benefits of Christ’s propitiation of God for sin are directed only toward the elect. In sub- the benefits extend to all humankind: mercy and common grace to all human beings; salvation to the elect. As the Synod of Dort stated: Christ’s propitiation was sufficient for all, efficient to salvation for the elect.

Calvinistic ”Unconditional Election” is sometimes described as “God elected on the basis of his free grace.” No, “free grace,” aka, sovereign grace, is the consequence of election, not the basis of election. Here is genuinely biblical Unconditional Election: God chose some to salvation for no reason explained in the Scripture—we don’t know why.

The unconditional election of some to salvation but not others was not based on any merit or lack of merit in the person, thus not based on foresight of who would or who would not believe. God chose for reasons known only to God that suited his purpose in creating. The choice was neither arbitrary nor unjust: God viewed all persons as sinners before electing some to salvation, choosing to leave others as they were. Election does not prejudice God against the non-elect; they could be saved if they would come to God with faith in God and his testimony as to the way of salvation. They are not saved because they desire their sin more than a relationship with God.

The Arminian “Conditional Election” was not specifically written to oppose sovereign grace, but to oppose the supralapsarian election to reprobation. The Arminian view of election is known as “foresight election”: God foreknew who would believe and then elected those people to salvation. The Arminianism “Conditional Election,” naturally opposes supralapsarian election to salvation and election to reprobation. But Arminian “Conditional Election” also opposes the infralapsarian, sublapsarian, and biblical views of unconditional election.

Arminian soteriology does believe salvation is by God’s grace, but they differ from Calvinism in how that grace is applied. In Calvinistic salvation God’s prevenient grace (Ephesians 2:8) is applied to specific individuals whom God elected to receive that grace. That prevenient grace is efficacious to save: every sinner receiving God’s efficacious grace will infallibly believe.

In Arminian salvation, God’s prevenient grace (Ephesians 2:8) is applied indiscriminately to everyone. That prevenient grace makes it possible for anyone to choose to believe. In Calvinistic soteriology, prevenient grace is necessary because sin makes the sinner unable to believe to salvation. In Arminian soteriology, prevenient grace makes salvation possible for all, sin does not make the sinner unable to believe, so anyone can believe, or not believe, as he or she chooses.

With that historical and theological background, I can now accurately state the thing in common between any system of Calvinistic soteriology (supra-, infra-, sub-) and Arminian soteriology. In both Calvinism and Arminian views of salvation, Christ propitiated God for sin, God elected, and God must give prevenient grace (Ephesians 2:8) for a sinner to be saved. Thus both soteriologies agree sinners are able to be saved. But both differ significantly in the details of how a person is saved.

If, **which it is not**, the differences between Calvinism and Arminian soteriology were the only defining quality between heretical and not heretical, then the Arminian soteriology is not the biblical soteriology. But, and this is important, neither is the high Calvinism supralapsarianism. Both are wrong for different reasons. In Calvinistic supralapsarianism God is a monster who arbitrarily elects to damnation people who have not sinned. In Arminian soteriology God is not the sovereign God who initiates salvation but the helpless God who responds to the choices of his creature.

What is biblical soteriology?

Unsaved sinners have Total Inability to initiate their salvation, because the sin attribute dominates every aspect of human nature;

God, for reasons not stated in the Scripture, chose to give some sinners his gift of Prevenient Grace, Ephesians 2:8, thereby effecting the means to their salvation; there is no corresponding election to reprobation;

God’s gift of prevenient grace is Efficacious Grace: it infallibly accomplishes the end for which it was given, which is the salvation of the chosen sinner;

Christ’s all-sufficient Propitiation of God (aka: atonement) for all human sin has benefits to all humankind (mercy, common grace), but is efficient to salvation only toward those whom God chose to receive its merit by his Efficacious Grace, through the person’s faith in God and God’s testimony; this is known as Limited Redemption;

All those whom God has saved will Persevere in the faith by faith to the end of life and beyond, because each is and will be endlessly maintained by the merit of Christ’s propitiation through God’s Efficacious Grace.

Or: Free Will Dominated by Sin; Christ’s All-sufficient Propitiation; Limited Redemption by Election; Enlivened by Efficacious Grace; Faith that Receives Salvation; Perseverance in the Faith by the Faith to the End.

Is the Arminian view of salvation heretical? No, but just barely. Arminian soteriology teaches God elected some to salvation, that salvation occurs because Christ propitiated God for sin, and God gives prevenient grace to salvation. The Scripture opposes other aspects of Arminian soteriology. But any soteriology that teaches salvation of the sinner through the forgiveness of sins based on the propitiation of Christ, which Arminianism does, cannot be judged wholly heretical.

Thoughts on Soteriology (Guest Post)

Thoughts on Soteriology (Guest Post)

Visiting Professor, James Quiggle has offered us another excellent and thought provoking article, this time an excerpt from one if his books…

A Doctrinal Statement on Soteriology

(From “My Doctrine as a Dispensationalist,”

(James D. Quiggle.)

Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). For human beings to be saved God must convict the sinner of his/her sin and give the sinner his gift of grace-faith-salvation, Eph. 2:8. For a person to be saved he/she must respond to God-given conviction of sin and believe God and God’s testimony as the means by which God’s grace in salvation is to be accessed. Every salvation is by grace through faith, without personal merit (works) but Christ’s merit alone, Eph. 2:8–9.

Election. The choice of a sovereign God, 1) to give the gift of grace-faith-salvation to effect the salvation of some sinners, and 2) to take no action, positive or negative, to either effect or deny salvation to other sinners. The decree of election includes all means necessary to effectuate salvation in those elected. God’s decree of election ensures the salvation of the elect, but does not prevent any non-elect sinner from coming or willing to be saved. God will act savingly toward any who choose to seek him and come to him for salvation (Rom. 10:13; Eph. 1:4; Rev. 22:17).

Propitiation. Christ alone propitiated God for the crime of sin. Propitiation is the satisfaction Christ made to God for sin by dying on the cross. Christ’s propitiation fully satisfied God’s holiness and justice for the crime of sin. Christ’s propitiation was of infinite merit, because his Person is of infinite worth (unlimited atonement/propitiation). The application of Christ’s merit to overcome the demerit of sin and save a soul is applied through the election God decreed before he created the universe, and is personally applied by each sinner through saving faith in Christ in response to God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation (limited redemption). Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the saved sinner so that he/she eternally stands uncondemned before a holy God, Rom. 8:31.

Salvation is when God rescues a sinner out of the state of spiritual death and delivers him or her into a permanent state of spiritual life. Salvation is the remission of sin’s guilt and penalty by the application of Christ’s infinite merit, which is gained by receiving God’s gift of grace-faith-salvation through the means of personal faith in God’s revealed means (way) of salvation. In this New Testament age salvation occurs when a sinner repents of his or her sins and believes on Christ as their Savior: Acts 2:38; 3:19–20; 11:18; Rom. 3:22–26; 10:9–10, 13; Gal. 3:22; 1 Pet. 1:21; 1 John 3:23.

Justification. A believer is permanently positionally justified in Christ: declared not guilty in Christ, Rom. 8:1. In salvation the believer is freed from the penalty of sin, the dominion (power) of sin, the desire for and pleasure of committing sin, and at death (or rapture) from the presence of sin, for eternity. At the moment of salvation the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in the believer’s soul, John 14:17; Acts 10:44–48; 1 Cor. 6:19, regenerating human nature. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the now-believing sinner, and a new principle of life, holiness, is added to the believer, Eph. 4:24, becoming the dominating principle in his/her human nature, 1 Thess. 4:7; 1 Cor. 3:17b; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 1:15–16. The believer has been empowered to say “No,” to temptation to sin, and enforce that choice.

Sanctification. A believer is permanently positionally sanctified in Christ: declared holy in Christ. A believer is called to experiential sanctification: personal holiness and righteousness of life and to perform and maintain good works which God has prepared beforehand (Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 2:21; 5:26; Rom. 12:1; Titus 2:14; 3:8). He/she is empowered to resist sin’s temptations, live a holy life, understand the Scripture, worship, obey, fellowship with, and serve God. God hears and answers his/her prayers, and he/she perseveres by faith in the faith to lead a holy life, looking toward resurrection and eternal life in God’s presence.

Predestination. God’s decree to conform the believer to be like Christ according to certain aspects of Christ’s spiritual character and physical form (Rom. 8:29–30; 1 John 3:2), and to place the believer in the legal position of God’s son and heir (Eph. 1:5, 11), so that the believer has an inheritance from God and is God’s heritage.

Perseverance. The saved are kept eternally saved by the merit of Christ in the covenant between the Father and the Son that formed the New Testament church, Heb. 2:11–13; 10:9, 14, 17–18. God gives the grace of perseverance to overcome all spiritual and physical obstacles to faith and thereby believers continue by faith in the faith all the way through the end of physical life and into eternity. Believers are those persons who receive and use the God-given grace of perseverance. Those who do not persevere in the faith by faith were never saved. (Heb. 10:12, 14; Eph. 2:8–9; John 10:9, 27–29; Rom. 4:22–25; 5:1, 10–11, 18–19; 8:1; Heb. 10:17–18.)

The unsaved. Sinners who reject Christ throughout their mortal life are eternally lost. (Rom. 5:12–21; 1 Cor. 2:14; Rev 20:15). Their location after physical death is hades, there to wait in constant torment until the Great White Throne judgment (Luke 16:23; Rev. 20:11–15).

A Look at the Ordo Salutis (Guest Post)

A Look at the Ordo Salutis (Guest Post)

Our favorite visiting professor, James Quiggle, has once again brought us a very thought-provoking and interesting lesson. Below he takes us on a look at the ordo salutis…

The phrase “Ordo Salutis” is Latin for “order of salvation.” The Ordo Salutis is a theological construct attempting to place the works of God in salvation into a rational sequence of events.

The Ordo Salutis as generally accepted has two variations.

Election — Calling — Regeneration — Salvation — Justification — Adoption — Sanctification — Perseverance — Glorification.

Election — Calling – Salvation — Regeneration — Justification — Adoption — Sanctification — Perseverance — Glorification.

The difference in the variation is just this: does regeneration precede salvation, or does salvation precede regeneration.

Salvation is the result of the exercise of faith. Regeneration is typically viewed as the changes in human nature caused by the Holy Spirit as a result of salvation. The regeneration of human nature might be defined as the attributes of human nature, which were jumbled and wrongly prioritized by the sin attribute, are normalized, which is to say, godliness is restored to human nature through the godly attributes of holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, etc. The believer is given new wants and new desires. His/her human nature is re-prioritized toward God.

The difference in the two Ordo Salutis above is an effort to answer the question, “What is the origin of saving faith?” Now, without question, the ultimate origin of saving faith is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8. But some believe saving faith is the result of regeneration, while others believe regeneration is the result of saving faith.

Let me set aside the finer details (the ongoing debate) of those two points of view, and say there is some truth in each. There is an undeniable, and unalterable, and therefore inevitable principle that both views acknowledge, but neither view specifically answers. That principle is expressed in several locations in the New Testament, but stated clearly at 1 Corinthians 2:14. The principle is: the unsaved person cannot understand spiritual things.

That being the case, how does the unsaved person come to a necessary understanding of sin, the Savior, and salvation? The gospel in its simplest form is, “I am a sinner, the risen Jesus Christ is my Savior”: my sin, Jesus the Savior, my salvation from sin. But those spiritual concepts are “foolishness” to the unsaved person. He/she is incapable of understanding. Yes, the Holy Spirit brings conviction of those three necessary concepts, but he does not work in a spiritual vacuum. The sinner is unable to understand. The thing needed is the ability to perceive spiritual things.

In the here and now of the mortal unsaved life, the penalty of unforgiven sin is separation from the spiritual life of God, which is to say, spiritually “dead.” Spiritually dead means the ability to perceive spiritual things is in the unsaved person grossly dulled, “dead” in trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1. Of course, the unsaved soul is not spiritually unresponsive; that is not what spiritually dead means. To be spiritually dead is 1) to lack the ability to understand spiritual things, and therefore 2) unremitting rejection of spiritual things as foolishness. In the context of salvation, the unsaved person is unable to discern the things the Holy Spirit teaches as necessary to believe for salvation.

How may that understanding be gained? Through the ability to perceive (understand) spiritual things. I believe spiritual perception is a faculty of human nature, an ability designed into the human soul by God. Sin renders that faculty grossly dulled, unable to comprehend spiritual things; hence 1 Corinthians 2:14. In the unsaved sinner the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception is “dead.”

What, then, must take place so the sinner is able to understand? My answer is the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception must be made alive for there to be understanding of spiritual things. How is this done? We return to the Ordo Sautis.

I think the regeneration that precedes salvation is partial (not a particularly good word, but the best I can do). I believe the gift of God (Eph 2:8) enlivens the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception so the spiritual issues of sin, the Savior, and salvation may be understood, and saving faith exercised. Then after the exercise of saving faith, the entire human nature is regenerated.

With that understanding, I see the Ordo Salutis as:

— Election

— Calling (through the Gift of God which enlivens the soul’s faculty of spiritual perception)

— Salvation

— Positional Justification

— Positional Sanctification

— Regeneration (of the entire human nature)

— Adoption (as son and heir)

— Perseverance (Experiential Sanctification)

— Glorification.

I have put the elements of the Ordo Salutis in what I believe to be a more reasonable order. Regardless of the order of salvation, the believer is saved to be a new creation in Christ Jesus.

The New Covenant (guest post)

The New Covenant (guest post)

The following is a guest post from our favorite guest, James Quiggle

The New Covenant

Proposition One: there is a New covenant yet to be inaugurated between YHWH and national ethnic Israel.

Predicted. Jeremiah 31:31–34.

Yet future, “The days are coming.” The most likely timing is the Davidic-Messianic-Millennial Kingdom.

Not yet effective for national ethnic Israel, Romans 11:26–27.

Only with national ethnic Israel: house of Israel; house of Judah.

Unlike the Mosaic Covenant, which Israel could not keep.

A covenant YHWH keeps: “And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

A covenant of salvation: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts”; “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

An individual salvific relationship with YHWH. “They shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares YHWH.”

The Holy Spirit indwelling implied. “No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord.’”

Proposition Two: There is a New covenant currently in effect for the New Testament church.

Stated. Hebrews 10:16–17.

Predicted. John 3:3, 5, 6, 8; 14:25; 15:26.

Fulfilled. John 20:22; Acts 2:3; 1 Corinthians 6:19.

The New covenant for the NT church is made in Christ’s propitiation (i.e., his eternal high priesthood). Hebrews 2:10–17; 7:11–28; 10:5–14.

A covenant of salvation: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts”; “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

An individual salvific relationship with YHWH. They shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares YHWH.”

The Holy Spirit indwelling stated, John 14:25; 15:26; 1 Corinthians 6:19, et al. “No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord.’” The New Testament church is indwelt by the Holy Spirit now. National Ethnic will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit in the Davidic-Messianic-Millennial Kingdom.

Now in effect for saved Hebrew and gentile, i.e., the New Testament church. Hebrews 10:19–21. Not now in effect for national ethnic Israel.

Dispensational principle: National ethnic Israel and the New Testament church are two separate and independent people groups in God’s purpose, plans, and processes, though they have intertwining destinies. The New Testament church is not part of or an adjunct of national ethnic Israel, nor a participant in the kingdom or land covenants, nor a participant in most provisions of the Abrahamic covenant.

There is nothing contrary to Scripture preventing each people group from having an independent New covenant relationship with God in Christ, currently active for the New Testament church, yet-future for national ethnic Israel.

That the provisions of a New covenant are currently active for the New Testament church but not active for national ethnic Israel argues two independent covenants. The similarities are adequately explained by God’s purposes for both groups.

Conclusion: the yet-future New covenant stated in Jeremiah is not the New covenant regulating the New Testament believer’s relationship with God in Christ. They are similar, because God’s purpose is both salvific and fellowship with all his saved people. They are not the same because a) one is not in effect; b) one is in effect; c) the New Testament church is not Israel.

For contrary arguments see, Miles, “What is Dispensationalism,” pages 114–119.