This post is my thinking on this video on John 8:34-36 at Paul’s Passing Thoughts.

He spends a lot of time on the “Pauline” theory that the law provokes to sin, from Romans 7.  Now, I think the only way sin can use the law to provoke people to sin is this: If you think you’re going to hell already, you will not try to live right, but rather you will say “Well, I’m going to hell anyway, so why not commit another sin?” But you know what is even more powerful than “the law” for this purpose? The theory of predestination!

Calvinist pastor: Ut, sorry, you’re non-elect so you’re going to hell no matter how you live.

Lay Calvinist: Well then I’m going to go rape, murder, and steal.

But again, if you think you’re going to heaven no matter how you live, you will also not avoid sin!

Calvinist pastor: Good News! You’re elect so you’re going to heaven no matter how you live!

Lay Calvinist: Well then I’m going to go rape, murder, and steal.

So it gets you coming and going.  And even if you reject predestination but accept OSAS, you end up with this problem.

Now as for the Law, nothing Jesus says in John 8 blames the law in any regard. Rather, as in verse 47, he puts the blame on people not listening to God. I think Paul (in Romans 7) is speaking not accurately of what the law actually does according to the OT but of what the Pharisees misunderstood the law as meaning. Probably Paul found it convenient to try to reach people where they were, embracing their misconceptions, rather than correct all their misconceptions. [Or, on second thought, its something else because Paul is clearly fighting an uphill battle to convince people of that idea.] But Jesus doesn’t accommodate in that way, which explains to me why Jesus just says “he who practices sin is a slave of sin” without putting out any theory that its the law’s fault, but rather actually blames it in John 8:47 on them not listening to God.  Jesus blames the person, while Paul blames God’s law.  Don’t you dare impute Paul’s doctrine to Jesus!  But, heh, if you want to overcome Paul’s doctrine by imputing Jesus’ doctrine to Paul, by all means, go ahead. 🙂

Now, I have a bit more to say:

That was concerning the middle of the video.  Now let’s talk about the beginning of the video.

Paul D has framed this in a way that’s like “unless you prove to be a good Christian, you were never ‘in’.”  Thus, neither baptism (scriptural) nor the sinner’s prayer (unscriptural) can put one ‘in’ Christ, per his view.  Whether you are ‘in’ or not is a the result of your final life, i.e. final justification, per his view (which makes his view the same as what he condemns under the name of Progressive Justification, so far as I can tell).  But if only he could let go of OSAS, he would be able to accept what the scriptures say concerning how baptism puts one ‘in’ Christ (Galatians 3:27, for example) without having to affirm that someone who is baptized but who afterwards practices sin habitually stays ‘in’.  After all, Jesus says that any branch in him that does not bear fruit is cut off, doesn’t he? That’s in John 15.  How is a branch that wasn’t ‘in’ to begin with cut off and “cast forth” as if it were actually ‘in’ before being cast out if it in fact were not ‘in’?  So the problem is the doctrine of OSAS, which yes, I realize, as a Baptist it will take him 50 years to study himself out of. But OSAS is the problem.

As to the actual text of John 8 being discussed, when Jesus says “He who practices sin is a slave to sin” this has no reference to any of the odd Pauline ideas about the Law causing people to sin or any idea that Jews who actually kept the Law at that time were slaves of sin. Verse 47 is clear “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”  That is, they don’t care about the Law at all; they’re only nominal Jews.  Well, that’s why they were slaves of sin, same as nominal Christians, and same as Calvinists who listen to John Piper and Al Mohler rather than to God: they are slaves of sin because they don’t listen to God.