Dear John …

piper2

The two-tier scheme of salvation that posits initial justification by faith (or baptism) and final salvation on the last day by works done by faith, is a lie. Yet, this is exactly what is being advanced today by everyone from John Piper, to Doug Wilson and his Federal Vision friends (yep, they’re still around), to the big boy on the block, the Rome state-church.  That’s because all those who are justified by belief alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone will enter heaven completely apart from any works they will ever do  — no exceptions –and Jesus Christ our surety guarantees it.  Consider the following for R. Scott Clark:

It is being argued by some prominent evangelicals, who identify themselves as Reformed, that salvation is in two stages. They say that the first stage of salvation is justification by grace alone, through faith alone on the basis of Christ’s righteousness imputed. In their scheme, however, there is a second stage. This is where things become complicated.

Many who have read or listened to these teachers have only heard or read them speaking about the first stage of salvation and have assumed (as I did) that they are orthodox. This reading of their doctrine ignores, however, what these teachers are actually saying. It ignores the rest of what they are saying. In their scheme, justification by grace alone, through faith alone is only stage one. There is a stage two. Here is where the problems begin. The proponents of this view speak of “final salvation through works” (see the resource page below). So, in their view, there is an initial salv

ation and a final salvation. For them, our justification by grace alone, through faith alone, is just the beginning of the story.

This is not a way that the Protestant Reformers spoke about salvation nor is it the way that the Reformed Churches, in their confessions, speak about salvation. Following the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8–10, they taught and confessed “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God, not from works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Paul there clearly makes faith the instrument of our salvation and contrasts it with works. These are two distinct principles, faith and works (Rom 11:6). Further, Paul knows nothing of two stages of salvation. Paul did not say, “For you are initially saved through faith alone but you will be finally saved through your works. That thought never entered his mind.

The source of this two-stage doctrine of salvation is neither Paul nor the Reformers. It is Rome and some ostensible evangelicals who are dissatisfied with the Reformation account of Scripture. Rome says that we are initially justified through baptism but only finally justified by grace and cooperation with grace, which they call sanctification. In their scheme, we are only as justified as we are sanctified and we are never sufficiently sanctified in this life. Therefore, according to Rome, we are never actually justified in this life. They have formally condemned as presumptuous anyone who says that they are now justified by grace alone, through faith alone.

Some evangelical revisionists have, over the years, adopted and adapted this two-stage scheme and tried to tie that wagon to the Reformation. In so doing, they have created a kind of theological Frankenstein’s monster. Under their view, we are out on bond, provisionally free but awaiting trial. In their scheme, Christ has made it possible for us to be saved but he has not actually accomplished our salvation. We have yet to do our part, which will be part of the instrument of our “final salvation.”

That should satisfy no one who knows his Bible or his Reformed catechism.

Read the full article here.

 

 

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