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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A love greater than God's?

Posted by Gary on October 17, 2006

Some years ago I had a conversation with a man who maintained that salvation could be lost. As we talked I asked him if he thought it imaginable that he could disown one of his daughters. He said that he couldn’t imagine disowning them, even for the worst of actions on their part. I then asked him if he thought he had a love greater than God’s, “Could it be possible that you would love your child so much that you would never disown them yet you hold that God would disown a child of His?”

I wish I could say that our conversation changed his mind, it didn’t but I do remember that this point seemed to make him think. I know that on the surface Arminians would never want to claim that they have a greater love than God, but that certainly is what many of them believe. Why is it that our mistaken brethren cannot apply their own parenthood to the question of our salvation?

I pastor a church with many people who have adult children and many grandchildren. In many instances, these parents are being grieved by the behavior of their children, yet one thing is obvious, their love for their children remains.

I am sure that the Arminian response to my post would be that the parent/child relationship with God is not primarily flesh and bone but spiritual (yes, true) and that the issue in our relationship with God is one of righteousness (true again). This is just where the Arminian goes wrong, he is right to maintain that our relationship with God is one based upon righteousness but where does our righteousness come from? Is it not from Christ?

The fact that Christ is our righteousness is the very reason that God will never disown His children, we did not become His children by our righteousness and we do not remain His children by our righteousness.

So often we hear the cry that the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints encourages sinfulness, the charge is that teaching people that God will never disown them gives them license to do whatever they want. Enough of this straw man, the person who believes he can sin at will and who desires to do so needn’t ask if he can lose his salvation, he has never had salvation to lose.

I wonder if it has ever struck the Arminian that those who have held the Calvinistic position most staunchly in later Church history bore the title “Puritans”. I find it amusing that we are told that the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints leads to sinfulness when those who believed in it lived such holy lives that they earned a title that linked them to purity, not sinfulness.

We are never to be presumptuous concerning our relationship to God, but thank God that our relationship with Him is irrevocable and safe because we are righteous in Christ and in Christ are dearly loved as children.

(By the way, if you would like some help understanding the Calvinistic position of the Perseverance of the Saints you would be greatly helped by reading “The Forgotten Spurgeon” by Iain Murray. In this book Murray catalogues Spurgeon’s battle with Arminians, it contains a masterful refutation of Arminian theology).

Comments

3 Responses to “A love greater than God's?”
  1. Bill says:

    The vast majority of Arminians do not believe they can lose their salvation. Which denominations are you citing here?

  2. Gary says:

    Dear Bill,

    By definition, a denomination can only be Arminian if it holds that salvation can be lost. If a person or group doesn’t believe salavation can be lost they are not Arminian.

    Arminianism rests upon five pillars(Calvinism’s five points were a response to these five pillars). I would suggest you do a search for the word “Remonstrance” which were the five points that the followers of James Arminius submitted to the Dutch church and that the church responded to with five corrections.

    One of the five pillars of Arminianism is the belief that one can fall from grace and lose their salvation. It is not an optional position for someone who holds the title Arminian.

  3. Bill says:

    I’ll check into that. Thanks for the clarification.

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