Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiness – How Lost

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” [Hebrews 10:39 ESV]

“You will be faithful and have a clear conscience. Some people have made a mess [shipwreck] of their faith because they didn't listen to their consciences.” [1 Timothy 1:19 CEV]

“Holiness is voluntary. It is a moral state. But a moral action implies freedom of choice.” [B. T. Roberts]

Problem with Calvinism: “No one is praised or blamed, rewarded or punished, for that which could not possibly be avoided. But the holy are rewarded, the unholy are punished.” [BTR]
1. “A voluntary state may be lost.” [BTR]

a. Choice to go the right direction also means choice to go the wrong direction.

b. Wesley likened our “conscience” to a glass.

c. FACT: “none can make shipwreck of faith who never had it. These, therefore, were once true believers: yet they fell not only fully, but finally; for ships once wrecked cannot be afterwards saved.” [John Wesley]

“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, [5] and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, [6] and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.” [Hebrews 6:4 – 6]

2. “He who has walked in the way of holiness for a season, may yield to temptation and turn aside.” [BTR]

a. It makes sense that the longer someone walks in holiness… the more likely they stay in holiness (practice)… but there is no guarantee.

b. “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” [1 Corinthians 9:27]

1.) The word “discipline” comes from the image of a boxer being trained (beaten) by leather gloves with brass knuckles. It means to hit below the eye (cheek).

2.) “Under control” is a word used for subjecting a vanquished enemy to slavery.

3.) The desires of the flesh are an enemy with which we must constantly contend with, watch, and keep subjected.

3. Question: Can one lose the blessing of entire sanctification and still retain the blessing of justification?

a. “When one falls into actual sin he loses both justification and sanctification.” [BTR]

1.) The individual becomes a “sinner.”

2.) Must confess sins and seek pardon.

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, [20] let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” [James 5:19 – 20]

b. PROBLEM: James is talking about someone who wanders from the truth… It’s theological not behavioral.

1.) “Truth” is Jesus… stop believing.

2.) Reverted back to when they were a “sinner” (someone disconnected from God through unbelief).

3.) We are talking about someone who has deliberately rejected Jesus’ provision of salvation.

[Scripture is clear that when one does “lose” salvation… they can never be brought back (as John Wesley pointed out).]

4. How does one lose the blessing of entire sanctification? (outside directly falling into sin)

a. By giving way to doubts and unbelief.

1.) We walk by faith, not sight… when we walk by sight it is giving in to doubts and unbelief.

2.) A main motivator in this dynamic is fear… (Ill. Peter on the water). Fear comes when we take our eyes off Jesus and look at the storm.

b. Failure to confess our faith. (Witness)

1.) By holding silent to what God has done for us…

 2.) By not telling others of the salvation possible in/through Jesus.

“Such a person in losing the blessing of holiness has not lost his justification… it is not necessary that he should throw up all profession of religion and begin anew.” [BTR]

5. The connection between justification and holiness.

a. “Without any degree of holiness one cannot be in a state of salvation. He who is destitute of holiness is not justified.” [BTR]

b. Roberts claims 1 Corinthians 6:11 (“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” ESV) is in order of how God works.

1.) Problem: this puts justification AFTER sanctification.

2.) Positionally this is backwards to the rest of Scripture….

So Paul is probably suggesting this is “Experiential.” (In other words we don’t actually experience the full weight and blessing of our justification because of the continual struggle with sin. After we are entirely sanctified we experience the blessing of that justification.]

c. Once sin had no more dominion over the believer… then one understands, appreciates, appropriates the full blessings of justification.

d. “Obedience” is the “elephant in the room.” Someone who is saved will obey because that is who they are (new creature/creation).

1.) The observation is that someone who is NOT obedient is not saved.

2.) If possible for them to be “saved” (again) means they were NEVER saved in the first place…

3.) Or is there a possibility that we can still sin but still retain our salvation while losing the blessing of our position of salvation and sanctification?

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