A Quick Word on Ezekiel 18: Delighting in the Death of the Wicked

Ezekiel 18:1-4
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

Ezekiel 18:5-9
“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.

Ezekiel 18:10-13
If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

Ezekiel 18:14-18
“Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

Ezekiel 18:19-20
“YET YOU SAY, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Ezekiel 18:21-24
“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

Ezekiel 18:25-29
“YET YOU SAY, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

Ezekiel 18:30-32
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

The Jews who had been carried off in captivity into Babylon were claiming that they had been carried off, NOT BECAUSE OF THEIR SINS, BUT RATHER BECAUSE OF THE SINS OF THEIR PARENTS. “The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

They were claiming that God is unjust, because they claimed He was punishing them for the previous generation’s sins. They were claiming that He didn’t care about people repenting and obeying His commandments, because He just wants to kill those whom He counts wicked. That’s why He was punishing them for their parent’s sins.

God’s answer is no. You were carried away for your own sins! I am not punishing you for your father’s sins, I am punishing you for your sins. I want you to behave justly and obey My laws.

God had warned them of this earlier in Ezekiel, in chapter 3.

Ezekiel 3
16 And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for[d] his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. 20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”

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Another Brief Word on Tolerant Calvinism

sincere

A man without the knowledge and understanding of who, when, what, where and why will always inject himself into the answers. Even if he is not thought to ask the questions who, when, what, where and why, he will always deduce that he is the who and the cause and the why.

A man sits in a pew somewhere listening to a preacher tell him that all he needs to do in order to be saved is believe Jesus died for him. Okay, he thinks. I’m fair game, I’ll believe it. How does this man not then go home assuming that he did something to make Jesus’ death work for him?

Under all false gospel schemes, redemption is taught and treated as a possibility rather than an already accomplished fact. In other words, under all false gospel schemes, Christ died for everyone in order to make it possible for everyone to be redeemed. By this token, Christ’s death is seen as introducing a condition that must be satisfied by the proselyte in order to meet the requirement necessary for redemption. Under the average Evangelical scheme, this condition consists of a free will decision made by the proselyte to “accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior”.

The Evangelical comes away believing that he has been saved from the punishment of eternal condemnation by his decision to “accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.” At his side stands the tolerant Calvinist, who insists that this belief constitutes an albeit flawed; but still nevertheless, genuine faith. He believes it genuine faith, because even though it is wrong-headed and unscriptural, it is still at least sincere.

Thus, while we see the average Evangelical counting his decision as the cause of justification, we see the tolerant Calvinist counting sincerity as the cause of justification.

Sonny Hernandez Is Fake News

Four years ago the term, fake news, entered the English lexicon.  It has since become a staple to describe any and every format of media-based opposition to the nation’s current political administration.  In 2017, Collin’s Dictionary named it “word of the year.” Currently,  not a day goes by that it is not mentioned in some capacity somewhere in social media.

 

Prior to fake news the term most commonly used was,  yellow journalism.  Yellow journalism is defined as kind of news reporting that presents poorly researched or illegitimate stories.  This type of journalism is often grounded in sensationalism or crude exaggeration for the purpose of selling more product.  However, it has also sometimes been used to sway  public opinion and generate political change (such as in the case of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”).

 

The term yellow journalism was derived from the yellow ink some of the more notorious newspapers used at the turn of the twentieth century.  Headlines that were clearly sensationalized and exaggerative were printed in yellow.  Today the ink is always black, but the effect remains the same.

 

The sensationalized tactics used by yellow journalists are not isolated to the world of politics and social justice.  No, sadly these tactics are also used by some Christians; and not only against non-Christians, but more often than not against other Christians.  Take for example, Sonny Hernandez and his organization, Reforming America Ministries.

 

Sonny is just as at home in sensationalism as a spider is in its web.  He weaves together sensational fabrications and logical blunders like a huntsman stitches together the silken  filaments of her threaded trap.

 

Consider for example, the article appearing on Sonny’s blog, entitled “Is Denying Hell a Gospel Issue?”  The link to the article is here:
https://www.reformingamericaministries.com/single-post/2019/01/31/Is-Denying-Hell-ECT-a-Gospel-Issue-A-Response-to-the-Anti-Hell-Acolytes-and-Their-So-Called-Christian-Supporters

 

Sonny begins his yellow article with these words:

 

“Is denying the biblical doctrine of Hell a Gospel issue? Well, that depends who you ask. If you ask an anti-Hell heretic, one who affirms either soul sleep, conditional immortality, or annihilationism, they will tell you that it is not. If you ask a so called Christian or hireling pastor who spends more time listening to their anti-Hell internet buddies, they will tell you the same argument that anti-Hell heretics use. But if you ask a Bible believing Christian, one who affirms the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture, you will undoubtedly hear that denying the biblical doctrine of Hell is not only a Gospel issue, it is heresy!”

 

From the start Sonny’s uses a pair of logical fallacies to weave the first threads of his yellow article.   First, he uses a false either/or (also called a No True Scotsman fallacy).

 

Sonny commits a false either/or by insisting that his readers are either A) a Christian who affirms the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture, and therefore holds to eternal conscious torment, or; B) a heretic who denies the inerrancy of Scripture, and therefore holds to conditional immortality.

 

What about C) though? A Christian who affirms the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture, and therefore holds to conditional immortality?

 

Sonny’s first threads beg the question right from the start.  He assumes his position before he has proven it.  He assumes the Bible teaches that hell is eternal conscious torment (ECT).  He assumes this without first proving it.   He assumes no true Christian would deny this, but he assumes this without having proven it.

 

His false either/or is built upon an assumption; that is, that no heretic would agree with him.  In point of fact, this is a false assumption though.

 

Consider, for example, the fact that Roman Catholics believe hell is indeed a place of ECT (eternal conscious torment).  Yet Roman Catholics also deny the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture!  According to Sonny’s line or reasoning this is impossible, and yet here it is anyway.  The problem from the start then lies not with Christians who hold to conditional immortality, but rather with Sonny’s line of reasoning.

 

Had Sonny been more logically consistent, then he would have concluded that no true Christian believes hell is a place of ECT, because Roman Catholics believe hell is a place of ECT, and Roman Catholics deny the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture.  Of course, this still is not really truet but it is far more logically consistent than Sonny’s argument is.  thanks

landmine
The second silken strand Sonny weaves in his opening paragraph comes in his first sentence.  “Is denying the biblical doctrine of Hell a Gospel issue?”

 

The problem with this bit of yellow blogging is that those who hold to conditional or conferred immortality (CI) do not deny the Biblical doctrine of Hell.  What they deny is that the Bible’s doctrine of Hell is one of ECT.

I say again for the benefit of those folks who have been caught by Sonny’s yellow web of sensational lies.  Conditional or conferred immortality does not deny Hell.  What it denies is that the Bible teaches us that Hell is what the Roman Catholic Church has said it is; what, in fact, Sonny says it is.

What Sonny should have asked is this; is denying the doctrine of eternal conscious torment a gospel issue?  After all, this is his point of contention. Not that CI denies the Biblical doctrine of hell, but that it denies that the Biblical doctrine of hell is one that ascribes to eternal conscious torment.

Sonny didn’t say this though. Instead, by failing to account for what CI’s actually say rather than what he has clearly assumed they say, Sonny has unwittingly pieced together a logical bomb that is going to shortly blow up in his face. Intellectual honesty, sir; it pays to be intellectually honest.

Sonny continues:

“Please note that anti-Hell heretics are deceptive in trying to justify their heresy: they will deny the biblical teaching of “everlasting conscious torment” [ECT], and accuse Christians who believe in the sufficiency of Scripture—which patently affirms ECT—of adding to the completed and saving work of Christ. Additionally, anti-Hell heretics will say that the biblical teaching of Hell [ECT] is not a Gospel issue.”

This sort of bombastic, rapid fire string of logical fallacies presented one right after the other is a fault I have found in only one other writer; Dr Robert Morey.  I have never written a piece on any of Morey’s work, because to be blunt, there was never anything of interest to write about.  Any piece I might have published would have been consumed entirely with exposing Morey’s very long litany of logical fallacies present in everything he ever published.  The man’s ability to refute himself without realizing it was truly breathtaking.

I find the same to be true of Hernandez.  Note how he begins his second paragraph, with an ad hominem attack and blatant untruth.

I invite anyone to scour my articles with a fine toothed comb searching for a single instance where I charge believers who hold to ECT with adding to the completed and saving work of Christ.  I am confident no one will find a single instance of it, because I have never claimed such a thing and do not believe it is true.  How could I?  After all, Sonny rightfully acknowledges that those who hold to CI do not believe it’s a gospel issue.

But wait a minute, how could that be?  On the one hand, Sonny acknowledges that folks who hold to CI do not believe it’s a gospel issue.  This is the subject of his article.  He wants to prove to us that CI is indeed a gospel issue.

Yet on the other hand, he also falsely accuses folks who hold to CI of accusing believers of adding to the saving work of Christ.  How in the world then could they accuse believers of adding to the saving work of Christ if they are saying it’s not a gospel issue?

Sonny has not only libeled everyone who holds to CI, but he has also refuted his own assertion.  Wow, talk about self-sabotage.

Like Morey, who was notoriously blind to the logical landmines canvasing the landscape of his own irrational arguments, Sonny appears eager to step on every one of them.

Sonny is the one accusing people who hold to CI of adding to the completed work of Christ. They are the ones who are insisting that it is not a gospel issue. It is Sonny who is insisting it is. And yet, Sonny accuses them of making it a gospel issue, while also criticizing them for not making it a gospel issue.  He cannot seem to make up his mind which way he wants to go.

Sonny continues —

“By this logic, anti-Hell heretics are free to embrace all kinds of aberrant doctrines like women preachers, denial of Satan, etc.—especially since they will argue that these aberrations have nothing to do with the completed and saving work of Christ. This makes me think how easy it is for compromisers to deny the inerrancy of Scripture by appealing to this kind of fallacious argument. For men that believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, which has clearly outlined the teaching of Hell as everlasting conscious torment, they will not compromise on this matter.”
Uh-oh.  That look on your face when that guy who so far seems unable to think his way out of a paper bag starts trying to lecture the audience on logic.

First, women preachers do indeed have nothing to do with the saving work of Christ.  After all, the gospel is not women preachers.  The gospel is instead Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God incarnate, accomplished the redemption of His elect by offering His body to God at the cross as a sacrifice for His people’s sins.  Where in that good news is there any mention of women preachers?

I reject the unbiblical idea that women can be preachers, but what does this have to do with the completed, saving work of Christ?  And yet Sonny deigns to accuse CI of adding to the completed work of Christ.

In addition to this, Sonny’s argument does not reasonably lead to the conclusion that folks who insist the Bible teaches CI rather than ECT therefore also insist the Bible advocates women preachers and the impersonal, non-existence of Satan.  Sonny’s sloppy line of reasoning follows closely in line with the militant Atheists who irrationally insist that the denial of evolution must necessarily constitute the denial of all science, technology and modern medicine.  It’s just simply absurd.

Sigh.
Sonny continues —

“For the record, I do not believe anything can be added to the meritorious work of Christ to be saved . . .”

Well apparently you think women preachers and Satan’s personal existence can be added to the meritorious work of Christ, Sonny, because you just told us that a few sentences ago.  Have you already forgotten what you wrote?

“Salvation rests on the righteousness of Christ alone that is imputed to His elect.  But this does not mean that an individual who affirms this conviction may arbitrarily reject biblical doctrines like Hell . . .”

Arbitrarily.  Did you catch that, dear reader?  Arbitrarily.
No CI would ever have arrived at their conclusions about Hell through careful Bible study.  No way, jose.  Nuh-uh, they had to instead have arrived at arbitrarily.  That is, they had to have stuck one thumb high up in the air and then told themselves, whatever strikes me fancy is what me’s is gunna think.
jarjar

I think we’ve had enough of Sonny’s foolishness.  Should you be interested enough to find out what folks who hold to CI actually think, then I suggest you start here:

https://cornbreadandbourbon.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/eternity-in-hell-or-forever-dead-part-1-is-everyone-immortal/

Sonny is fake news.   He is yellow journalism at its worst, because the subject of his sensationalist attacks are Christians.   Like the proverbial spider spinning a web of deceit, Sonny exhibits not one instance of intellectual honesty.   He has failed utterly to do his homework by carefully reading and considering the arguments proposed by his opponent.   I found this to be all too typical practice of one Robert Morey.   It appears that in the wake of Morey’s recent death, Sonny Hernandez has assumed his idiotic place.

A sudden light on Marmion broke:–
“Ah! dastard fool, to reason lost!”
He muttered; “‘T was nor fay nor ghost
I met upon the moonlight wold,
But living man of earthly mould.
O dotage blind and gross!
Had I but fought as wont, one thrust
Had laid De Wilton in the dust,
My path no more to cross.–
How stand we now?–he told his tale
To Douglas, and with some avail;
‘T was therefore gloomed his rugged brow.–
Will Surrey dare to entertain
‘Gainst Marmion, charge disproved and vain?
Small risk of that, I trow.
Yet Clare’s sharp questions must I shun,
Must separate Constance from the nun–
Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!

No Moral Improvement in Romans 6

Romans 6 is not about better outward morality. Romans 6 is a continuation of Romans 5. Remember, there are no chapters and verses in the Greek text.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?”

The natural man is incapable of understanding the questions. He thinks the apostle is asking about outward morality, because the natural man counts his outward morality as righteousness. Outward morality has nothing to do with the apostle’s questions though.

The apostle is not asking, shall we continue practicing bad outward morality so that grace might abound? The question would be ridiculous, because he already knows we cannot stop practicing bad outward morality (see the description of himself in chapter 7).

“What shall we say then?” he asks.

Say to what? About what? Answer: chapter 5.

Romans 5
“15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

Since this is the case, since the free grace of God abounded to the many who had died in the one man’s trespass, shall we continue in the one man’s trespass so that grace will abound even more?

The apostle answers.

Romans 6
2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

We too. We TOO. We too? We too like who? Like Christ!

“5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

The natural man thinks “newness of life” means improved outward morality. This does not hold though. “We TOO.” Christ did not walk in improved outward morality. He needed no improvement, because He already had perfect outward morality. He had perfectly obeyed God’s law. Therefore, the newness of life He walked in, and in which we TOO walk, cannot be improved outward morality. It must instead be something else.

“6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.”

Christ had been set free from sin. Yes, you read that right. Christ had been set free from sin by His resurrection.

Remember, Christ had been imputed with His people’s sins. He died in judgement for those sins. His death had been an act of perfect obedience though, and His sacrifice had been fully acceptable to God. When He rose from the dead, He rose forever free and clear of the just condemnation for sin. This is His newness of life, and those who have died and risen with Him also receive this newness of life.

“8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

The natural man cannot understand this

Romans 12:1-2 Holy and Acceptable to God

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The apostle grounds his appeal in God’s mercy fully expressed in the propitiatory sacrifice of His Son at the cross.  That is, “I beseech you brethren,” he says, “by the mercies of God.”

In other words, what he beseeches is not something that can be performed for the purpose of meriting God’s mercy.  It can only instead be the consequence and result of having already received God’s mercy.  “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God.”

What he beseeches is also grounded in this same fullest expression of God’s grace.  That is, he beseeches the brethren to present their bodies holy and acceptable to God.  Notice he does not beseech them to present their bodies a sacrifice that is being made acceptable to God or that is progressing more and more in God’s holiness.  No, their bodies have already been made as holy and as acceptable to God as they could ever be.  They were made so by the mercies of God.

In opposition to this, the natural man understands the appeal to mean he is to sacrifice, or that is kill, the immoral behavior he wants to do in order to present his outward morality to God as an offering that is acceptable and holy.  The natural man thinks in this way he will earn God’s mercy by establishing his own righteousness.

It is this self-righteous way of thinking that the apostle instructs the brethren not to conform to.  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Here again, the natural man thinks of transformation as transformation of outward morality resulting in righteousness established and mercy merited.  But this is not how the brethren have learned Christ.

Ephesians 4:17-22
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind

I like how the KJV puts this.  “The former conversation of the old man.”  The natural man dialogues with himself.  Jesus told us as much in the account of the two men who went up to the Temple to pray.  The Pharisee, standing proud and arrogant, “prayed thus with himself,” saying, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”

The natural man dialogues with himself.  He tells himself that he is better than other men, because he has more outward performance than they do.  Like Cain, he prays to himself and congratulates himself for having successfully grown a garden full of righteousness that is better than his neighbor’s.

But you brethren, you who are the new man, you have not so learned Christ if so be ye have heard Him.  You have learned instead that Christ has fully and forever redeemed His elect.  You have learned that by His cross alone you have been made holy and acceptable to God.  This is the only way a person can prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God is, because the cross of Christ is actually God’s good and acceptable and perfect will, and Christ alone has accomplished it.

The Practice of Sin (1 John 3)

1 John 3:4-10
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

Earlier in his first letter, John tells us that anyone who says they have no sin is a liar and the truth is not in them. In the second chapter he tells us that we know that we have come to know Christ if we keep His commandments. Here in the third chapter he tells us that anyone who is born of God cannot sin. What is John getting at?

To answer this question, John draws a comparison between Cain and the one who practices sin.  Cain sought to establish himself in righteousness by the work of his own hands.  God had demanded the offering of a blood sacrifice.  This sacrifice did not redeem, but it did typify the blood sacrifice Christ offered to God on behalf of His elect.   Cain’s brother, Abel, offered a blood sacrifice in this respect from the first fruit of his flock.  This showed that he understood his need for Christ’s sacrifice.  Cain though, offered some vegetables he had managed to grow with much toil and sweat.

The Scriptures tell us that God had no regard for the work of Cain’s hands, and this angered Cain.  It angered him also that Abel would not take his side against God.  So Cain rose up against his brother Abel and murdered him while they were in the field.

The only righteousness God accepts is Christ’s sacrifice. To practice this righteousness is to rest from all our works of righteousness and rest in His sacrifice alone for  righteousness.  This is what Abel did, but not what Cain did. Cain had no regard for Christ’s sacrifice, because he did have regard for the sacrifice of the work of his own toil and sweat instead.

Self righteous people think of righteousness the same way Cain did, so they read passages like 1 John 3 with respect to their performance.  They think outward morality, the work of their own toil and sweat, is righteousness.  They think God is unjust not to accept their work.  This self righteous way of looking at works trains these folks to assume that the sin John is talking about is poor outward morality.

Self righteousness is the sin John is talking about though.  Self righteousness was Cain’s sin.  Everyone who practices self righteousness practices lawlessness. This sounds like a contradiction to the ears of the self righteous, because if anything they think they have more law rather than none. This is why self righteousness is so deceptive though.  It sounds right to the natural man, but the end thereof is the way of death.

The holy law’s standard of righteousness is absolute perfection. We cannot satisfy this standard. No man can, self righteous or not. No man can keep the law perfectly. This leaves the self righteous man without a place to rest from his works.

Anyone who looks to their performance for righteousness is lawless. They are lawless, because they are living by a law that is not God’s law.  God has no regard for any other law than His own.  The man without a place to rest sets up his own law in opposition to God’s. This is why he is lawless.  God’s law demands perfection, but no one can perfectly obey. The self righteous man knows this, so like Cain, he sets up another standard that he can obey, and this he calls righteousness.

Those who rest in Christ’s sacrifice alone for righteousness are not lawless, but nor are they legalists.  They rest for righteousness in the Christ whose sacrifice has fully and forever satisfied the perfect standard of God’s law.  They do not look for righteousness in  themselves and their futile attempts to obey the law.

I Am Antinomian?

Psalm 119:160 
The sum of Your word is truth, and
every one of Your righteous rules
endures forever.

1 Corinthians 4:6
I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written

All truth is propositional.

Another way to say this is, everything true is a proposition.   Not every proposition is true, but everything true is a proposition.  This implies that no truth is emotional, mystical or experiential.

God’s word is all truth.  The Bible alone is God’s word.   The Bible is a book of propositions.  Therefore, every truth is a proposition; or as I began this essay, all truth is propositional.

Truth is not something that can be felt, experienced or mystically apprehended.  This means truth can only be understood, misunderstood, agreed with or disagreed with.  It cannot be emoted, experienced or mystically apprehended.

John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

As all other texts of Scripture are propositions, so also John 1:1 is a proposition.  It is a true proposition, because it is the word of God.  It cannot be felt, experienced or mystically apprehended.  It can only be understood, misunderstood, agreed with or disagreed with.

This is essential to understand, because starting with the serpent in the garden of Eden, the enemies of truth have insisted that faith is not only intellectual assent.   What they mean is  truth is not only propositional.  They are telling us truth is also emotional, mystical and experiential.

As I mentioned, this assertion by the enemy began with the serpent.  It began when he told the woman in the garden that God’s proposition cannot be trusted.

God had revealed a proposition to Adam.

Genesis 2:16-17
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree in the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

This is a proposition.  It could not be felt, experienced or mystically apprehended.  It could only be understood, misunderstood, agreed with or disagreed with.

In opposition to God’s proposition, the serpent communicated another proposition to the woman.   His proposition implied that God’s proposition was a lie.

Genesis 3:4-5
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

The woman found herself confronted with two opposing, contradicting propositions.   The first, a proposition spoken from the mouth of God; and the second, a proposition communicated by the serpent.

Rather than agreeing with God’s word that God’s word is all truth, the woman instead cast about for another way to know truth.  She turned her eyes towards the tree and used sensory experience to divine truth.

Genesis 3:6
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.

The woman cast about for a way to judge between God’s proposition and the serpent’s proposition.   What she found was another proposition, but its source was her own sensory experience.

God’s truth tells us the woman looked upon the tree and saw that it was good for food, and saw that it was a delight to the eyes, and saw that it was to be desired to make one wise.  Rather than agree with God’s proposition, she instead used her eyes to find another proposition.

Knowledge had not ceased to be propositional simply because the woman had used sense experience to divine knowledge.  Truth and knowledge can only be propositional.  This is the way God has created us.  We are created in His image.

The woman had disregarded God’s propositional truth, and had in its place erected her own proposition which she had gleaned by means of her senses.   God had said, don’t eat or you will die.  But her eyes had said, you won’t die because it’s good for food and able to make you wise.

Today, despite the fact that God’s truth says we are justified apart from works; nevertheless, the enemies of truth tell us that we have no right to this assurance if we do not see works in our behavior.

These enemies are telling us that God’s propositions are not the only truth.   They are telling us that truth must be discovered by means of our emotions, our senses, and even mystical experiences.

These enemies of the truth have a proposition they favor:  “Faith is not mere intellectual assent.”

But faith can only be intellectual assent, because all truth is propositional, God’s word is all truth, and God’s word is entirely propositional.  Therefore, faith can only be intellectual assent.  It can be nothing else.

In fact, this even goes for the Son of God Himself.  Christ is propositional.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

In the Greek, Word is “Logos.”  Logos can be translated as word, sentence, logic, and proposition.   We really ought to start reading the text like this way too.   “In the beginning was the Proposition, and the Proposition was with God and the Proposition was God.”

Christ is communicated to us entirely by propositions.  We have never seen Him, handled Him, heard Him.  Even if we could, the propositions we would glean from what we see, hear and touch would not be the truth.  They would be as erroneous as the propositions the woman in the garden gleaned by way of her senses.  After all, the disciples saw, heard and handled Him, yet Peter still argued that He would not die.

The Proposition only told the truth about Himself to twelve men.  He called these men His apostles.  He instructed these men to teach everyone else the truth about Himself which He had communicated to them in propositions.

Today, we have the written testimony of these twelve men.   Their written testimony tells us all the propositions that are true about the Proposition and which He Himself communicated to the men in propositions.  To insist that we can do anything but agree or disagree with these propositions is to lie.

The only way I can know that I have peace with God is by making sure the propositions I agree with are the same propositions of the gospel contained in God’s book of propositions.  There is no other way.

If I root around in my behavior, searching for whatever propositions I can use my eyes to tell me are true, then I am going to come away with a lie, because the first proposition of God’s word is God’s word alone is all truth.  “Do not go beyond what is written.”

I can find no truth in my behavior, no truth in my experiences, no truth in my emotions.  My behavior can tell me nothing true about my behavior.  My emotions tell me nothing true about my emotions.

I am not a sinner because I observe sin in my behavior.   Rather, I am a sinner, because that’s what the word of God says I am.  God’s word alone is all truth.

God’s word says I am justified by God and have peace with Him apart from works. I am sanctified apart from works. I have been redeemed apart from works.  My sin has been put away apart from works.  I am a child of God apart from works.  If I agree with God these propositions  are true, then why would I look to my works for assurance that I have peace with God?

The only thing I can look to is God’s word.   Is His word true?  Yes, it is.  His word is all truth.  Then all I can do is say amen, I agree with His propositions.

The enemies of truth do not detest this because they are confused about the nature of truth.   They know truth is propositional.   Rather, they deny this because they do not like God’s proposition.  They disagree with Him.

There are only two kinds of people who approach God.  Those who approach seeking to hear Him justify them for their conduct and behavior;  and those who seek to receive from Him mercy and pardon by His grace.  Only one kind of person is received by God, and it isn’t the first group.

The enemies of truth despise this, because their eyes are turned inward towards their works, and from their works they have divined a proposition that states they are holy and getting holier.  They insist this proposition is the truth, and they will have none of that stuff about looking to God’s grace alone for mercy and pardon.

Because these enemies of truth have divined from their own behavior a proposition they count as true, they cast a disapproving glance our way, then judge us guilty of unbelief for our behavior.

The truth is we are unbelievers of their proposition.  We don’t believe their proposition is true.  We believe God’s propositions are true.

So when these enemies of truth call us things like Antinomian, recognize the truth that they call us this, because we do not agree with the proposition which they have divined from their own behavior.   Ignore their accusation, and then tell them what truth really is.