Right, when justifcation is linear, or progressive, we live and function within the process. That means what we do or don’t do has to be qualified as a “work” or not a work or a “faith alone work.” See that problem? It’s all works. (PD at PPT in Tweet, Tweet: Calvinism Simply Explained in the comments)
I can see that, but at the same time I can see that OSAS is false. So the solution is not to view justification as once saved always saved, but to view it merely as what makes one acceptable for entry into the covenant essentially like the New Perspective guys say. Justification = being made an acceptable candidate for baptism, and this is done by faith and confession of faith alone. Then in baptism you receive the remission of sins and the Holy Spirit, and so long as you don’t persist in wilfull sin you have the continual cleansing of Christ’s blood from that point on. What’s so hard about that?
Its plainly taught by every New Testament writer, even Paul. I’m dropping the antipaul stuff, because honestly, he doesn’t teach anything the Baptists and other Calvinists have accused him of. I see that more and more every time I use Paul to beat your false doctrine of OSAS, again. Its a question of terminology. The Reformers defined “justification” according to the normal meaning of the Latin justicia, but Paul didn’t write in Latin, nor did he even use the term in the normal usage of the Greek dikaiosis. Paul’s meaning is sufficiently clear when he uses the story of Abraham to illustrate justification. Abraham was not saved by faith alone. Abraham was justified by faith alone in the sense of being made acceptable for entry to a covenant with God. And then, just as soon as he was acceptable for such entry, he entered the covenant with circumcision as the sign of the covenant. Paul explains all that. In like manner, believing in Christ justifies us only in the sense of making us acceptable for entry into the New Covenant, and then in baptism we enter it. If this were not the case, there would be no progression from Romans 4 to Romans 6….and yet anyone can see there is such a progression.
So to clarify, we are no longer seeking justification once we’re baptized. And therefore there is no need to be afraid of works. But this doesn’t mean OSAS. To lose one’s salvation is not to be unjustified…you can go to hell justified. If you believe in Christ but become a murderer, you no longer have eternal life abiding in you, despite that you were still made acceptable for entrance into the covenant, and despite that you may have already entered it. You can always remedy the problem by repentance anyway, because you’ve entered. If you hadn’t entered, you’d still need to be baptized to enter. But since you’ve entered already, you don’t need that again.
And if you keep in mind the fact that faith in Christ is what initially saved you when you were baptized, and that in baptism your old sins were washed away, then you won’t fall into the problem that Peter talks about of forgetting that your sins were washed away. And if you don’t forget that, you won’t be trying to save yourself by works, although you will recognize that if you don’t walk in the light as Jesus is in the light you will lose the continual cleansing of his blood and therefore you cannot just start persisting in wilfull sin and think you’re still saved. What’s so hard about that?
All of the above is a comment I published on that blogpost at PPT,
which is probably not approved yet. I should have in that comment included a reference to Hebrews 10:25-27:
Not ceasing to assemble together as is the practice of some, but exhorting each other so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we persist in wilfull sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins [for us], but a fearful expectation of judgement and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries [of the gospel].
In other words, just like John’s passage in 1st John about walking in the light and having a continual cleansing of Christ’s blood if we do, this passage gives us the other scenario: if you persist in wilfull sin after becoming a Christian, you lose the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice (until you repent). That the author in Hebrews (probably Barnabas) means Christians and not just people who heard the gospel but haven’t accepted it yet is clear from the subject at hand, namely that is speaking of those who cease assembling with
the church the saints (don’t want anyone to think I mean the “institutional church”) in verse 25. There is no way to defend OSAS in view of that passage.
The above system is perfectly clear from the majority of the New Testament, and clear enough even in Paul if you stop reading him through a Lutheran/Calvinist lens.
Now, some clarification on what I mean by “I’m dropping the antipaul stuff, because honestly, he doesn’t teach anything the Baptists and other Calvinists have accused him of.” I mean I’m no longer going to accuse him of intentional heresy, but rather take the position that he intends to write the truth and the reason he sometimes seems to be teaching outright heresy is because he’s a crappy writer. In other words, I still don’t consider him infallible or inerrant. Honestly, in all the above, we don’t even need Paul to explain any of that. Drop the word “justification” and all of it is abundantly clear from the rest of the New Testament. The constant wrangling on this subject is only necessary because of Paul’s misuse of the word “justification” in a sense that is not proper to that term, and a few incautious off-the-cuff statements he makes here and there, and because of the fact that evil men and seducers wax worse and worse in latching on to Paul’s misstatements and use them to try and twist the whole New Testament. I will no longer attack Paul, but at the same time I maintain my position that the Pauline Corpus can at best be viewed as Deutero-Canon, and that one must interpret it by forcing it into harmony with the rest of the New Testament, primarily the Gospels and Acts, and not the other way around. To start with Paul and force the rest of the New Testament to agree with your interpretation of Paul is the sure road to heresy. You must start with the Gospels and Acts, and force Paul to agree with them.