Thursday, 3 April 2014

Thursday April 3, 2014 Daily Scripture Society of Evangelical Arminians

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal 2:19-21).


Union with Christ is the doctrine that gives coherence to Arminian theology, and makes it Christocentric. Salvation itself, that is, the whole of soteriology, is founded entirely "in Christ." Anyone "in Christ" experiences the full benefits of salvation, and anyone outside of Christ does not have even the least portion of salvation. 

Integral to the doctrine of union with Christ is that the person united with Christ shares Christ's new life. This passage (Gal 2:19-21), along with Rom 6, conveys that through union with Christ, a person shares both Christ's death as well as Christ's new life. Because of union with Christ, Paul is able to say that he lives, or that he experiences new life, by faith. 

All this goes counter to Calvinism which teaches that a person must first be raised to new life in order to believe. Ignoring the breadth and depth of the newness of life, Calvinists argue that regeneration precedes faith. Nonsense! No one experiences the new life of Christ apart from faith. If you want to be partakers in Christ's resurrection, you must believe. Only through union with Christ do you share Christ's death and resurrection, and only through faith is anyone united with Christ. For God so loved the world that ... whoever believes in him ... has eternal life.

All salvific benefits are wholly located "in Christ" and it is only by faith that we have gained access solely into this grace in which we now stand (Rom 5:2).


jim kerr ن said...

Paul didn't choose to believe. Christ chose to reveal Himself to Paul. God is sovereign over salvation; humans are spiritually dead and cannot choose to be reborn. An orphan doesn't choose to be adopted; the clay doesn't choose to be a vessel of mercy; the sheep doesn't choose the shepherd.

Tom Torbeyns said...

"No one experiences the new life of Christ apart from faith."

This nails it! :-)

Clan Lockhart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clan Lockhart said...

Faith is an action of the will, of placing faith in a person. This requires, at some level, a choice. Yes, God (or more specifically, Christ) choose to reveal Himself to Paul, but that revelation then demanded a response - a response of faith that Paul chose to put forth.

jim kerr said...

Really, Clan? Do you, at any level, choose to believe 2 + 2 = 4?

James M. Leonard said...

Certainly Paul believed, and he urged others to believe, and to continue in the faith. Paul makes no point to the effect that he had no other choice. In an ordinary world, this amounts to Paul having a choice, that through the Spirit's persuasion, he chose to cry out to Christ for salvation.

God is indeed sovereign over salvation. He sovereignly chooses to save those who believe.

Humans are indeed spiritually dead, and they can only come to Christ through the miraculous enabling of the Spirit.

Adoption is through union with Christ, which is through faith. Anyone who puts their faith in Jesus is adopted.

New life comes through union with Christ, which is through faith. Anyone who believes receives eternal life.

jim kerr said...

James M. Leonard: You're not thinking deeply enough and are simply repeating your traditional dogma.

The human mind has no ability to "choose" to believe--it is not an operation of volition. One simply believes or does not; it is entirely out of one's control. If it were volitional, then you could also "choose" to stop believing in, or to believe something different from, what you consider true.

Here's an experiment to show how little control you have over your ability to believe: For the next hour and a half, believe that you can make yourself invisible to others. Then go outside without your clothes on and see if you're embarrassed.

I believe you'll find this impossible.