Jeffrey Meyers – Baptism and the Forgiveness of Sin

“Personally, I would like to see us out from under the straightjacket of the Westminster standards.” — Jeff Meyers

In their Letter of Concern (LOC) to the Missouri Presbytery calling for an investigation of Federal Visionist Jeffrey Meyers, the signers of the LOC concluded, among other things, that Meyers “affirms that baptism effects a saving, covenantal union with Christ.”  Some of the evidence they provided in support of their conclusion were:

TE Meyers teaches that “God formally unites a person to Christ and to His covenant people through baptism into the triune Name” (JFVP, 5). He also states on the Biblical Horizons Blog (1/28/2008), “Baptism unites us to Christ and therefore makes us participate in the circumcision of Christ.” And, “Baptism unites us to Christ so that we can be said to have died and to have risen with him.”

TE Meyers teaches that this covenantal union unites all who are baptized to Christ in a saving way.  “All who are baptized into the triune Name are united with Christ in His covenantal life” (JFVP, 7).

TE Meyers describes this union with Christ that all the baptized are brought into as partaking in the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection. He states, “We affirm not only that Christ is our full obedience, but also that through our union with Him we partake of the benefits of His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement at the right hand of God the Father” (JFVP, 5). TE Meyers also stated that “All who are baptized into the triune Name are united with Christ in His covenantal life.”

TE Meyers teaches that this saving union with Christ can be lost. “All who are baptized into the triune Name are united with Christ in His covenantal life, and so those who fall from that position of grace are indeed falling from grace” (JFVP, 7, cf. CD, 12/15/2007).

You would think Meyers popish ex opere operato doctrine of baptism would be enough to raise at least some concerns with the MOP investigative committee.  Instead they concluded “there is insufficient evidence to raise a strong presumption of guilt that TE Meyers is teaching contrary to the Westminster Standards in his views on baptism” and the “MOP determines to be false the reports claiming TE Meyers’ views on baptism are heterodox.”

I think rather than the LOC spreading false reports, the reason the MOP did not concur with the LOC’s findings is because they 1) share Meyers’ sacramentalism and Romanish view of baptism, or, 2) they just don’t care.  Either way the MOP’s failure at this point demonstrates a complete lack of discernment in their examination of Meyers.

One of the main reasons that the MOP gave for dismissing the findings raised in the LOC was context.  They wrote:

Context, emphasis, purpose, and considering the full corpus of a [sic] what a person has written and taught are all crucial factors in accurately interpreting the meaning of his individual statements.

For those who have been following this series we have taken the MOP’s admonition to heart as we’ve examined the “full corpus” of Meyers’ participation on the Wrightsaid Yahoo group.  We have seen that there are many places where his teachings places him not just outside of the PCA’s confessional standards, but outside of the Christian faith in general.  In this post we turn once again to Meyers view of baptism as the instrumental cause of our union with Christ and the forgiveness of sin.   As we’ll see in his answers to Christopher Hutchinson,  for Meyers the norm and not the exception is that “God forgives sins and grants new life in baptism.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

#4652
From: Jeff Meyers <jeffmeyers@…>
Date: Sat May 22, 2004 5:21 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Gospel Message

On May 22, 2004, at 6:37 PM, Christopher A Hutchinson wrote:

The Phillipian jailer example actually gets to some of what I was speculating about regarding the dangers of trying to imitate the NT church in every instance.  Few of us would baptize a household the same night the head of household came to faith.

I would.  We don’t because we’ve gotten away from the Bible’s covenantal perspective.  You asked if I would baptize a whole tribe if their leader converted.  I answer, yes, if the leader has the authority to insure that all of his people will receive instruction in the faith/

And in fact, most of our  churches do not us allow us to practice private baptisms except in  extraordinary cases.  But an earthquake and the presence of an apostle is an extraordinary case.

Nah.  Ananias, for example, wasn’t an apostle, just a pastor; and he baptized Paul immediately (Acts 22).  After Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus, Pastor Ananias says to him, “Arise, be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”  It’s pretty certain that the reason baptism was offered immediately is because the forgiveness of sins is attached to the action.  When were Paul’s sins forgiven?  When was he “converted”?  On the road to Damascus or in Damascus when Ananias poured water over his head in the name of the triune God?  The text is pretty clear.

Now, one might reasonably extrapolate from Acts that we ought to  baptize  at the very next public worship service, but once we have gone there,  why  not go a bit further and allow the church some more reasonable amount of  time to evaluate a man’s faith and allow him to understand exactly what  he is getting into, i.e. counting the cost, as Jesus counsels?

How is this a reasonable extrapolation?  Name one place in the NT–anywhere–that even suggests that baptism must take place in a public worship service.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think it’s wrong to do it in the assembly.  In fact, I think it is quite helpful, but there’s no biblical evidence that it was done in worship services during the apostolic age.

I think this is a reasonable adjustment to the biblical narrative in our post-apostolic era.  Otherwise, if we want to be “truly biblical” in this  manner, then we must baptize converts within hours of their confessions.

Exactly what we should do.  The tradition is wrong.

And if a man has genuine faith, and providential death occurs before  his  baptism, he is still going to heaven, even as the thief on the cross and elect infants dying in infancy.

Sure.  Let God take care of the exceptions.  We don’t do theology by exceptions.  Normally God forgives sins and grants new life in baptism.

What else can Matt. 28, Acts 22:16, John 3, Rom. 6, 1 Cor. 12, Col. 2, 1 Peter 3, etc. mean?  By the way, NTW is pretty consistent about this.

Look what he has to say about all of these passages.

JJM

[All emphasis mine, all heterodoxy Meyers]

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61 Comments on “Jeffrey Meyers – Baptism and the Forgiveness of Sin”

  1. theoldadam Says:

    God commanded baptism.

    So it follows that if He wants to save people in it, He certainly is free to do so.

    And He is free to save apart from Baptism as well.

  2. Sean Gerety Says:

    No doubt oldadam, but would you say it’s the norm and would you agree that forgiveness of sins is attached to the action of baptizing someone?

  3. theoldadam Says:

    Yes. But only because the Bible says so.

  4. Sean Gerety Says:

    The Roman church/state would agree.

  5. Hugh McCann Says:

    PCA’s standard (in part):

    I. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in the newness of life. Which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.

    VI. The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.


  6. Sean,

    Your bolded text should be the nail in the coffin against Meyers. But as you say the MOP either shares Meyers heretical views or (because of personal feelings) don’t care about knowing Meyers views.

  7. Hugh McCann Says:

    Of Lutheran Baptism:

    …6] In these words you must note, in the first place, that here stand God’s commandment and institution, lest we doubt that Baptism is divine, not devised nor invented by men. For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself, so also I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat. 7] For it is of the greatest importance that we esteem Baptism 8] excellent, glorious, and exalted, for which we contend and fight chiefly, because the world is now so full of sects clamoring that Baptism is an external thing, and that external things are of no benefit. But let it be ever so much an external thing, here stand God’s Word and command which institute, establish, and confirm Baptism. But what God institutes and commands cannot be a vain, but must be a most precious thing, though in appearance it were of less value than a straw…

    10] For to be baptized in the name of God is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself. Therefore, although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless truly God’s own work. From this fact every one may himself readily infer that it is a far higher work than any work performed by a man or a saint. For what work greater than the work of God can we do?

    …[49] That the Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ is sufficiently proved from His own work, namely, that God sanctifies many of them who have been thus baptized, and has given them the Holy Ghost; and that there are yet many even to-day in whom we perceive that they have the Holy Ghost both because of their doctrine and life; as it is also given to us by the grace of God that we can explain the Scriptures and come to the knowledge of Christ, which is impossible without the Holy Ghost. 50] But if God did not accept the baptism of infants, He would not give the Holy Ghost nor any of His gifts to any of them; in short, during this long time unto this day no man upon earth could have been a Christian. Now, since God confirms Baptism by the gifts of His Holy Ghost, as is plainly perceptible in some of the church fathers, as St. Bernard, Gerson, John Hus, and others, who were baptized in infancy, and since the holy Christian Church cannot perish until the end of the world, they must acknowledge that such infant baptism is pleasing to God. For He can never be opposed to Himself, or support falsehood and wickedness, or for its promotion impart His grace and Spirit. 51] This is indeed the best and strongest proof for the simple-minded and unlearned. For they shall not take from us or overthrow this article: I believe a holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.

    52] Further, we say that we are not so much concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not; for on that account Baptism does not become invalid; but everything depends upon the Word and command of God. 53] This now is perhaps somewhat acute, but it rests entirely upon what I have said, that Baptism is nothing else than water and the Word of God in and with each other, that is, when the Word is added to the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith be wanting. For my faith does not make Baptism, but receives it. Now, Baptism does not become invalid even though it be wrongly received or employed; since it is not bound (as stated) to our faith, but to the Word.

    {From Luther’s Large Cathechism}

  8. theoldadam Says:

    The Roman Church got a LOT wrong. But NOT everything.

    We don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Of course, the Roman Church’s understanding of baptism is a bit off in that they believe it only covers original sin. After that, you are in the hands of the Church and they will distribute to you the necessary grace…as they see fit. WRONG.

  9. Hugh McCann Says:

    From the Anglican Infant Baptism Rite:

    DEARLY beloved, forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin: and that our Saviour Christ saith, None can enter into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerate and born anew of Water and of the Holy Ghost: I beseech you to call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of his bounteous mercy he will grant to this Child that thing which by nature he cannot have; that he may be baptized with Water and the Holy Ghost, and received into Christ’s holy Church, and be made a lively member of the same.

    Then shall the Priest say:
    Let us pray. ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who of thy great mercy didst save Noah and his family in the ark from perishing by water; and also didst safely lead the children of Israel thy people through the Red Sea, figuring thereby thy holy Baptism; and by the Baptism of thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ, in the river Jordan, didst sanctify Water to the mystical washing away of sin: We beseech thee, for thine infinite mercies, that thou wilt mercifully look upon this Child; wash him and sanctify him with the Holy Ghost; that he, being delivered from thy wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ’s Church; and being stedfast in faith, joyful through hope, and rooted in charity, may so pass the waves of this troublesome world, that finally he may come to the land of everlasting life, there to reign with thee world without end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen…

    Then shall the Priest speak unto the Godfathers and Godmothers on this wise:
    DEARLY beloved, ye have brought this Child here to be baptized, ye have prayed that our Lord Jesus Christ would vouchsafe to receive him, to release him of his sins, to sanctify him with the Holy Ghost, to give him the kingdom of heaven, and everlasting life. Ye have heard also that our Lord Jesus Christ hath promised in his Gospel to grant all these things that ye have prayed for: which promise he, for his part, will most surely keep and perform. Wherefore, after this promise made by Christ, this Infant must also faithfully, for his part, promise by you that are his sureties, (until he come of age to take it upon himself,) that he will renounce the devil and all his works, and constantly believe God’s holy Word, and obediently keep his commandments…

    Then shall the Priest say:
    SEEING now, dearly beloved brethren, that this Child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ’s Church, let us give thanks unto Almighty God for these benefits; and with one accord make our prayers unto him, that this Child may lead the rest of his life according to this beginning…

    Then shall the Priest say:
    WE yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this Infant with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own Child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy Church. And humbly we beseech thee to grant, that he, being dead unto sin, and living unto righteousness, and being buried with Christ in his death, may crucify the old man, and utterly abolish the whole body of sin; and that, as he is made partaker of the death of thy Son, he may also be partaker of his resurrection; so that finally, with the residue of thy holy Church, he may be an inheritor of thine everlasting kingdom; through Christ our Lord. Amen…

    {1662 Book of Common Prayer}

  10. Sean Gerety Says:

    I’m glad you admit that Meyers has more in common with the Roman church/state than he does with any even remotely P&R denomination, much less the PCA. That was the point after all.


  11. Seems like the Anglican rite is not much better than the RC rite. It’s no wonder that Anglicans are FVers and NPPers.

    Old Adam: Baptism does NOT take away original sin.

  12. Hugh McCann Says:

    From Rome:

    1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.50 The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth…

    1277 Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord’s will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism.

    1279 The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ.

    1280 Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual sign, the character, which consecrates the baptized person for Christian worship. Because of the character Baptism cannot be repeated (cf. DS 1609 and DS 1624).

    1282 Since the earliest times, Baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit; children are baptized in the faith of the Church. Entry into Christian life gives access to true freedom…

    {From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed.}

  13. theoldadam Says:

    Baptism covers all sin. Read Romans 6.

    “We are to consider ourselves dead to sin”

    or

    “We are to consider ourselves dead to most sins.”

  14. Hugh McCann Says:

    From the Orthodox baptism rite:

    The Blessing of the Baptismal Waters

    The Priest reads aloud:
    …We confess Your Grace; we proclaim Your beneficence; we do not hide Your Mercy…
    DO YOU YOURSELF, O LOVING KING, BE PRESENT NOW ALSO THROUGH THE DESCENT OF YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AND HALLOW THIS WATER. And give to it the Grace of Redemption, the Blessing of Jordan. Make it a fountain of incorruption, a gift of sanctification, a loosing of sins, a healing of sicknesses, a destruction of demons, unapproachable by hostile powers, filled with angelic might; and let them that take counsel together against Your creature flee there from, for I have called upon Your Name, O Lord, which is wonderful, and glorious, and terrible unto adversaries.

    And he signs the water thrice, dipping his fingers in it; and breathing upon it, he says:
    LET ALL ADVERSE POWERS BE CRUSHED BENEATH THE SIGNING OF YOUR MOST PRECIOUS CROSS.

    We pray You, O Lord, let every airy and invisible specter withdraw itself from us, and let not a demon of darkness conceal himself in this water; neither let an evil spirit, bringing obscurity of purpose and rebellious thoughts, descend into it with him (her) that is about to be baptized.

    But do You, O Master of All, declare this water to be water of redemption, water of sanctification, a cleansing of flesh and spirit, a loosing of bonds, a forgiveness of sins, an illumination of soul, a laver of regeneration, a renewal of the spirit, a gift of sonship, a garment of incorruption, a fountain of life. For You have said, O Lord: “Wash, and be clean; put away evil from your souls.”

    You have bestowed upon us regeneration from on high by water and the spirit. Manifest Yourself, O Lord, in this water, and grant that he (she) that is to be baptized may be transformed therein to the putting away of the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and to the putting on of the new, which is renewed according to the Image of Him that created him (her).

    That, being planted in the likeness of Your death through Baptism, he (she) may become a sharer of Your Resurrection; and, preserving the Gift of Your Holy Spirit, and increasing the deposit of Grace, he (she) may attain unto prize of his (her) high calling, and accounted among the number of the first-born, whose names are written in Heaven, in You our God and Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be all Glory and Might, together with Your Eternal Father and with Your All; Holy, Good, and Life; creating Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

    …The Prayer of Confirmation:
    Blessed are You, Lord God Almighty, Fountain of Blessings, Sun of Righteousness, Who made to shine forth for those in darkness a light of salvation through the manifestation of Your Only-Begotten Son and our God, granting unto us, though we are unworthy, blessed cleansing in Holy Water, and divine sanctification in the Life; effecting Anointing; Who now also has been well-pleased to regenerate this Your servant newly illuminated through Water and Spirit, giving him (her) forgiveness of his (her) voluntary and involuntary sins: do You Yourself, Sovereign Master, Compassionate King of All, bestow upon him (her) also the Seal of Your omnipotent and adorable Holy Spirit, and the Communion of the Holy Body and Most Precious Blood of Your Christ; keep him (her) in Your sanctification; confirm him (her) in the Orthodox Faith; deliver him (her) from the Evil One and all his devices; preserve his (her) soul, through Your saving fear, in purity and righteousness, that in every work and word, being acceptable before You, he (she) may become a child and heir of Your heavenly Kingdom.

    For You are our God, the God of Mercy and Salvation, and to You do we send up Glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

    …Priest says the Prayer:
    You that through Holy Baptism have granted forgiveness of sins to this Your servant, bestowing on him (her) a life of regeneration: do You Yourself, Sovereign Master and Lord, be pleased that the Light of Your countenance evermore shine in his (her) heart; maintain the shield of his (her) faith against the plotting of enemies; preserve in him (her) the garment of incorruption, which he (she) has put on undefiled and unstained; preserve in him (her) the Seal of Your Grace, being gracious unto us, and unto him (her) according to the multitude of Your compassions, for glorified and blessed is Your all-honorable and majestic Name: of Father, and of Son, and of Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

    {From the Greek Orthodox Service of Holy Baptism}

  15. Hugh McCann Says:

    The Lutheran, Anglican, Roman, and Orthodox catechism & rite quotes are simply to show (however hastily and incompletely) that Mr Meyers’ views comport better with these communions, than with his own Presbyterian denomination.

    OldAdam: Have ye not been born anew, man?

    LT: ‘Your bolded text should be the nail in the coffin against Meyers. But as you say the MOP either shares Meyers heretical views or (because of personal feelings) don’t care about knowing Meyers views.’

    Or, the MOP maybe is just gutless and/ or clueless.


  16. “Or, the MOP maybe is just gutless and/ or clueless.”

    To that extent, I would question their salvation.

  17. theoldadam Says:

    I’m born again, anew, every day!

  18. Sean Gerety Says:

    I certainly wouldn’t go that far Pat. I know plenty of Christians who are cowards or clueless or both. I would however question the spiritual fitness of any presbytery that would exonerate Jeff Meyers.

  19. LJ Says:

    Old Adam: I’m born again, anew, every day!

    Hey, my grandfather had a goose on his farm that he used to say that about. To that goose, every day was a new world! Darn thing used to sit under the drip of the barn when it rained; never could figure out why.

    Cheers,
    LJ

  20. theoldadam Says:

    Good goose story!

    Isn’t that the way the Christian faith works though?

    It isn’t a one time event that happened way back when…it’s a living, relationship. We wander off, and He leads us home. We sin and are forgiven…over and over and over.

  21. LJ Says:

    >Good goose story!

    Isn’t that the way the Christian faith works though?

    It isn’t a one time event that happened way back when…it’s a living, relationship. We wander off, and He leads us home. We sin and are forgiven…over and over and over.<

    Yeah, but I don't think that goose ever quite figured it out. At least not before he got his "goose" cooked!

    Why, now that I think about it, that old goose was kinda like the Lutherans (tee hee)! Just kidding a little.

    Blessings,
    LJ

  22. Hugh McCann Says:

    Nay, Old Man!

    Not yet ‘saved’ as regards the physical body, but legally saved by Christ at the cross, and justified by his blood.

    But we’re not repeatedly ‘saved’ as in delivered daily from God’s wrath. That was accomplished once for all his chosen.

    Ephesians 2:4-7 ~ God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

    Romans 8:30 ~ Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    Titus 3:7 ~ That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    Romans 5:1f, 8-11 ~ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God…

    But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

  23. Hugh McCann Says:

    And from Hebrews 9:11-15, 24-28 ~ But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

    For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance…

    For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

  24. theoldadam Says:

    Save your “NAYS” for St. Paul who reminds us that “we are BEING SAVED…”

    It’s not an event…it’s a process. Thanks be to God that He is in charge of the process.

  25. Hugh McCann Says:

    And, finally, from Hebrews 10:1-13 ~ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

    Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

    Above when he said, “Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;” Then said he, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

    But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

    For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified…

    ~ Happy day, happy day; when Jesus washed our sins away! ~

  26. Hugh McCann Says:

    Show me your unbelieving semi-justifed folly from St Paul, OldMan.

    Otherwise, save your affirmation of an incomplete, uncertain salvation for the pope and the devil.

  27. Sean Gerety Says:

    theoldadam, your confusion on this issue is even more profound than I first suspected. Maybe you should check your translation. KJ has the passages in 1 Cor translated as follows:

    “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

    “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish….”

    Beyond that, Jesus said in John 5; 24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Notice the past tense.

    Perhaps you haven’t been born again after all if you think your justification is a process. In that case your tag is tragically fitting.

  28. LJ Says:

    Old Adam: It’s not an event…it’s a process. Thanks be to God that He is in charge of the process.

    It depends upon whether you are referring to justification or sanctification. Salvation includes both, one is an “event” judicial, forensic, one time, and entirely “outside of us” or, as my favorite Lutheran once referred to it, “an alien righteousness.”

    Sanctification is sort of a “process” and, you are right on, God is in control of that process!

    Or, I could just write: “What Hugh said ….”

    LJ

  29. theoldadam Says:

    Don’t you have a Bible?

    Do you not know the language of persevering, of running the good race, of being saved?

    Google it, McCann..if you can…

  30. LJ Says:

    Or, “What Sean said …”

  31. Hugh McCann Says:

    OA, I am waiting for you to produce one verse of Scripture to make your case. The silence on your side is deafening…

  32. Hugh McCann Says:

    For the saints/ believers:

    1 Cor. 1:30f ~ Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

    1 Cor. 6:11 ~ ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

    But for those not believing the gospel:

    Rom. 2:8f …unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.

    1 Cor. 6:9f ~ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you…

    One is either one camp or the other. There is no tertium quid!

  33. theoldadam Says:

    Your ignorance is revealing. I am busy working. Bit I’ll get you your EXACT Scripture verses since you have NEVER heard of them before.

    Stunning.

  34. Hugh McCann Says:

    Thanks, OldAdam.*

    BTW: I have quoted Paul at length. You might read and think about those passages, too.

    * Ye must be born again, man! The old man cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

  35. LJ Says:

    Old Adam: Your ignorance is revealing. I am busy working. Bit I’ll get you your EXACT Scripture verses since you have NEVER heard of them before.

    I’ll throw in my two cents worth and bow out.

    Sir, you are in way over your head. It would be good for you, and I mean that in an encouraging way, to listen to Hugh and Sean and take in what they write. These men are sound theologians. It’s not about them being right and you wrong – not in the least. It’s about your salvation, which is of utmost importance, believe it or not, even to them.

    LJ

  36. theoldadam Says:

    Thanks for all of your Christian love!

    When Paul thought about salvation, he saw it as a word with three tenses. It meant a past event, a present experience, and a future hope. “We were saved,” he says in one place (Rom. 8:24), “We are being saved,” he says in another (I Cor. 15:2), and “we shall be saved,” he says in a third place (Rom. 5:9). In Romans 5:1,2 all three tenses are expressed: “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast (rejoice) in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” Salvation is a concept which covers all of life.

  37. LJ Says:

    Old Adam:

    Are you implying justification and progressive sanctification leading to glorification?

    LJ

  38. theoldadam Says:

    As a Lutheran, I believe that sanctification is part and parcel of our justification…God does it ALL.

    But this is work that He accomplishes all throughout our life. NO ladders to climb for us (as in Catholicism).

  39. LJ Says:

    As a Lutheran, I believe that sanctification is part and parcel of our justification…God does it ALL.

    Woops, I was afraid of that. Do you have a definition of justification? And also one for sanctification? Also, what does “part and parcel” mean?

    You stated earlier that the RCC got lot’s wrong, but not everything. Is this (blurring the distinction between justification and sanctification) one of the “things” they got right?

    LJ

  40. LJ Says:

    Additionally, no one here would disagree that “God does it all.” Why did you add that to your previous statement, vis., “… I believe that sanctification is part and parcel of our justification …”?

  41. theoldadam Says:

    We are justified (made right with God) by grace through faith. Even this is not our own doing for as St. paul tells us, “faith is a gift of God.

    Sanctification, or growing in Christ, is not our work either (unless one is a Roman Catholic or cerrtain brands of Evangelical). It too is a work that the Holy Spirit does in us.

    “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…”

  42. Sean Gerety Says:

    Oldadam, seeing you think sanctification is “part and parcel” of justification and happily conflate the two, I can completely understand why Lutherans and the RCC have healed the mortal wound in recent years along with producing joint statements on justification. Also, just to be clear no RC believes there are ladders to climb either. Like you they say it’s all by God’s grace working through faith.

    Luther is spinning in his grave.

  43. LJ Says:

    Ok, so you agree that justification, along with M. Luther, is a forensic one time judgment (by God) making the sinner right with God? And sanctification, growing in Christ, is a life-long endeavor whereby we work out our salvation because it is God who is working in us? Sanctification is basically the Christian life, right?

  44. theoldadam Says:

    A little bit of me and a lot of God is semi-Pelagianism and IS Roman Catholic to the core…and is ladder climbing.

    Sanctification is God’s work in us.

    It is a lifelong process that we DO NOT accomplish, God does it all.

    Thanks for the discussion.

    I have some errands to run and have to leave my comp-u-tater.

    Later!

  45. LJ Says:

    Oldadam: A little bit of me and a lot of God is semi-Pelagianism and IS Roman Catholic to the core…and is ladder climbing.

    I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. But what your are saying is very confusing. Are you saying that you, and God, are semi-Pelagian?

    Confused. You stress over and over that ladder climbing is NOT the gospel. So, I want to believe that you are NOT semi-Pelagian. But your words are confusing. Which Lutheran Synod are you a member of?

    I’m not yet convinced that your really intend to combine justification and sanctification. Please don’t prove me wrong!

    LJ

  46. The Other Jonathan Says:

    So do the reformed believe in progressive justification? I remember it being taught but i thought it was just theonomic nonsense.

  47. theoldadam Says:

    One for the road…

    I’m not a semi-Pelagian. I do not believe in a cooperative effort towards my salvation between God and myself. He does it all and gets ALL the credit.

    Ciao!

  48. Hugh McCann Says:

    Wow!

    OldSteve,

    You’re not being true to your own testimony:

    ~I am a Lutheran layman who had searched for many, many years to find the truth about what God expected from me.
    ~I tried jumping through all the religious hoops and read all the latest books. There was always something for me to do… and then another thing, and another. I felt like I was never quite there.
    ~Then I heard, for the first time in my life, the gospel for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, proclaimed to me, in it’s [sic] fullness and clarity, with no qualifications, no strings attached. Nothing left for me to do.
    ~It hit me like a ton of bricks! Beautiful, life changing, freedom giving bricks!
    ~No more religious ladders, no more biblical principles for Christian living, no more of me having to do… anything!
    ~Christ has done it all! True freedom, won by my Lord, for me. And all I have to do is… nothing!
    ~It is so wonderful and liberating, that I want to share this Good News with everyone that I can.

  49. The Other Jonathan Says:

    Oh-yeah and pointing to the LWF for a major source document would be like me pointing to the WCC as the governing body of the reformed. You might wanna try again Sean.

  50. The Other Jonathan Says:

    Sorry it should’ve read progressive sanctification.

  51. theoldadam Says:

    You guys are killing me! I have got to run…

    but I couldn’t let that one go.

    Are you hearing anything that I am saying?

    I’m saying exactly what you quoted me saying above!

    No religious projects, God has done it all, and now I (we) are free, in Christ.

    The game is NOT over…but God IS DOING IT ALL! He will keep me until the race is over. What do I have to do, other than to trust that is true? NOTHING!!!

    OK. That’s it. gotta run…

  52. LJ Says:

    Oldsteve: http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/what-the-gospel-isand-is-not/

    I think a little patient clarification on your part would be helpful. Some of the terms you use or how you are using them is confusing, at least to me.

    I scanned your Blog and you appear very definitive that works, your works, cannot save you; and relieved that God alone is the Author of your salvation. Well and good! But your statement about justification and sanctification is confusing and to my knowledge not doctrinal Lutheranism; unless you come from one of the very liberal sects of Lutheranism. That’s why I asked to which Synod you belonged.

    I for one would like to extend the right hand of fellowship to you. But I hope you understand how important the issue of justification is to Presbyterians and, I should add, to all true believers. After all, that is the “hinge” upon which the true faith swings! You must know that your namesake would agree were he here to participate in the blog discussion.

    Maybe when you have a little more time you might consider patiently clarifying some things for me.

    Thanks and until then,
    LJ

  53. Hugh McCann Says:

    OMS,

    You’re not true to Lutheranism. To quote Rod Rosenbladt (LCMS):

    “…justification of the sinner before God has to do utterly with what Christ accomplished *for* us, outside of us, on the cross. And the justification of the sinner before God has nothing to do with what he might (and indeed does) accomplish *in* us…

    “What saves is Christ’s vicarious death and his righteousness imputed or reckoned to us as if it were really ours. Correlatively, what is *not* sufficient to save us is something done within us — even done within us by his grace, even faith in Christ!

    “… the Reformation’s emphasis is on Christ and his death, *not on our faith* in Christ and his death. When the Scriptures and the Reformers used the words “through faith,” they did not mean “on the basis of faith.” The justification of the sinner is solely on the basis of Christ’s cross, Christ’s shed blood, and Christ’s resurrection for our justification…” (*Emphases*, R.R.’s.)

    From the booklet, *Christ Alone*, pp 19-22, Crossways Books.

  54. Hugh McCann Says:

    OMS,

    You say, “You guys are killing me!” We’re only trying to help you kill your old Adam! 😉

    That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.(Eph. 4:22)

    Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.(Rom. 6:6)

    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.(Gal. 2:20)

    For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.(Col. 3:3)

  55. Hugh McCann Says:

    OMS,

    The texts you referenced are not contradictory.

    But neither do they teach a “process of salvation,”
    nor “an ongoing salvation or justification,”
    much less that “sanctification is part and parcel of our justification”!*

    Nor are any of us “born again, anew, every day!”

    Rom. 8:24 ~ For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

    1 Cor. 15:2 …and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain.

    Rom. 5:9 ~ Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.**

    Rom. 5:1f ~ Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    *Definitive sanctification is part and parcel of salvation, however: 1 Cor. 1:2 & 30; 6:11; Heb. 2:11; 10:10 & 14. What you seem to be describing is ongoing growth in godliness/ holiness/ Christ-likeness, or “progressive sanctification.”

    **Also, 1 Thes. 1:10 ~ Jesus …delivers us from the wrath to come. And, 5:9 ~ God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  56. Hugh McCann Says:

    Other Jonathan,

    John Murray had a helpful essay on the sadly neglected biblical doctrine of definitive sanctification: http://www.the-highway.com/definitive-sanctification_Murray.html

    I believe that most in the Reformed world teach that sanctification can be described as a process (progressive growth in godliness/ holiness/ Christ-likeness) or a declaration.*

    I do not know about the Lutherans in this area.

    *As I said above: Definitive sanctification is part and parcel of salvation: 1 Cor. 1:2 & 30; 6:11; Heb. 2:11; 10:10 & 14.

  57. The Other Jonathan Says:

    Sorry for the confusion. When i hear progressive I think of works sanctification which is what I was taught.

    “I believe that most in the Reformed world teach that sanctification can be described as a process (progressive growth in godliness/ holiness/ Christ-likeness) or a declaration.*

    Isnt’ that exactly what the oldadam is saying?

    “Sanctification, or growing in Christ, is not our work either (unless one is a Roman Catholic or cerrtain brands of Evangelical). It too is a work that the Holy Spirit does in us.”

    But then with statements like this

    “Also, just to be clear no RC believes there are ladders to climb either. Like you they say it’s all by God’s grace working through faith.”

    It would seem to me that what I was taught about works sanctification was right, atleast according to the reformed.


  58. “I certainly wouldn’t go that far Pat. I know plenty of Christians who are cowards or clueless or both.”

    Really. The Bible associates cowardly with unbelieving: “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Rev.21:8.

    And not being able to discern the true gospel from a false one again suggests that one doesn’t know what the true gospel is. Paul had doubts (was perplexed)about the Galatians who accepted a false gospel: Gal.4:20.

  59. Hugh McCann Says:

    O.J.,

    Justification is God’s declaration that we are reckoned as righteous as Christ. Sanctification can be used in the 2 ways I listed.

    Please read the Murray article and the Westminster Conf. of Faith Chap 13 ‘Of Sanctification’:
    ~I. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

    II. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence arises a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

    III. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.~

    As well as WCF Chap 16 ‘Of Good Works’!

    Also the Belgic Conf., Art. 24: The Sanctification of Sinners:
    ~We believe that this true faith, produced in man by the hearing of God’s Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a “new man,” causing him to live the “new life” and freeing him from the slavery of sin.

    Therefore, far from making people cold toward living in a pious and holy way, this justifying faith, quite to the contrary, so works within them that apart from it they will never do a thing out of love for God but only out of love for themselves and fear of being condemned.

    So then, it is impossible for this holy faith to be unfruitful in a human being, seeing that we do not speak of an empty faith but of what Scripture calls “faith working through love,” which leads a man to do by himself the works that God has commanded in his Word.

    These works, proceeding from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable to God, since they are all sanctified by his grace. Yet they do not count toward our justification– for by faith in Christ we are justified, even before we do good works.

    Otherwise they could not be good, any more than the fruit of a tree could be good if the tree is not good in the first place…~

    AND, for our Lutheran friend(s), from Smalcald Article 24 ‘Of the Mass’:
    ~…Christ’s passion was an oblation and satisfaction, not for original guilt only, but also for all other sins, as it is written to the Hebrews, 10, 10: We are sanctified through the offering of Jesus Christ once for all. Also, 10, 14: By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. [It is an unheard-of innovation in the Church to teach that Christ by His death made satisfaction only for original sin and not likewise for all other sin. Accordingly it is hoped that everybody will understand that this error has not been reproved without due reason.]

    Scripture also teaches that we are justified before God through faith in Christ, when we believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake…~

    AND, Article 6, ‘Of New Obedience’:
    ~Also they teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruits, and that it is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God’s will, but that we should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. For remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith, as also the voice of Christ attests: When ye shall have done all these things, say: We are unprofitable servants. Luke 17, 10. The same is also taught by the Fathers. For Ambrose says: It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving remission of sins, without works, by faith alone.~


  60. […] – Jeffrey Meyers – Baptism and the Forgiveness of Sin […]


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