Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Quick Response to Jesse Morrell: A correction on Justification by Faith Alone

"There is virtually no doctrine that I abhor, detest and reject more strongly than the reformed doctrine of "Justification In Sin." To teach that God "legally declares you righteous" while you actually remain unrighteous is nothing more than a denial of the power of the gospel itself. It is "another gospel" and nothing less. And the sister doctrine, the denial of the attainability of entire sanctification or holiness in this life, is equally abhorrent and false. Nothing is further from gospel truth than the lie of perpetual sinfulness or the unavoidability of sinning." Jesse Morrell.

This is the claim of pelagian heretic Jesse Morrell and a very serious misrepresentation of Justification by Faith Alone.

Both Calvinists and Arminians despite their differences hold to original sin and justification by faith alone and equally hold Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian beliefs to be outside of orthodoxy.

I myself hold to the Arminian perspective as my readers and viewers on YouTube should already know, but this is for those who have started reading for the first time.

Let's correct the strawmen that has been erected here.

First, Justification by Faith alone is a legal declaration before God that you have been cleansed and made right with him. When a person accepts Christ after being quickened, he is acquitted and he is cleansed from sin. Works do not contribute to your salvation. Salvation is by grace, and we are secure in Christ IF we remain in him. There is a difference between trusting in Christ for salvation and doing works as GRATITUDE to him and using your works as a means to get to heaven and be right with God.

No one who holds to justification by faith alone should or will ever say that you can remain unrighteous delibrately. To quote the words of Keith Thompson: "Justification is by Faith Alone, but that faith is never alone, we are not anti-nomian". I would also recommend people to check out Thompson's response to another pelagian heretic known as Kerrigan Skelly on certain points that were made by him called "Kerrigan Skelly's Invalid Denial of my Pharisee Charge": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya8a12doebQ

While Morrell is rightly concerned about moral decay and laxity, his misrepresentation of justification by faith alone, as well as his belief that you can be perfect in this life now, is not excusable.

Second, Those who teach Justification by Faith alone, be they Calvinist or Arminian, both acknowledge that those who are justified before God, do not seek to live in sin.

You must also take into consideration that there is a difference between FALLING INTO sin and PRACTICING sin. Those who have been justified and seek to follow Jesus no matter the cost, while they stumble, they seek to correct their wrong doing, not brush it to one side like it was nothing and not care.

Holiness is an ONGOING process. A believer who has been in Christ for decades can look back on his life and see day by day that he is conformed more and more to Christ's image. His sanctification is not instant, it's a process. The righteous believer seeks to follow Christ and emulate him, though the task isn't easy and the person must submit to the demands given to him by the Holy Spirit.

Anti-nomianism and those who adhere to that teaching are false brethren who PERVERT justification by faith alone, not confess it. To say that justification by faith alone when it's PROPERLY understood leads to moral laxity and "perpetual sinfulness" or even to lead many to "teach that God "legally declares you righteous" while you actually remain unrighteous", is a distortion on the part of Morrell.

Paul himself admitted his faults and shortcomings but BY NO means did he excuse them. No one who teaches justification by faith alone advocates that one can live in sin and still be justified, since one who is justified seeks after God in repentance and faith.

"2 Corinthians 12:6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

"Romans 6:6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

Teachers of justification by faith alone will shout Amen and agree with this text. Why assume that those who believe in the biblical doctrine of justification means that they endorse sin? They do not endorse sin. Morrell should know better than to misrepresent the position of his opponents.

Furthermore note the following statement in 1st John:
"1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us."

We can see here that those profess belief in Jesus and yet continue in their sin, namely practicing it, remain in darkness and will not be saved and the exhortation to Christians not to return to the sinful ways of this world.

We also notice that Christians have a struggle with sin, not embracing it, but striving against it. However, due to being imperfect, we fail and need to recognize our errors and return to Jesus. Hence, Pelagians cannot claim a sinless perfection now, since all individuals (with the exception of Jesus) make mistakes and slip up sometimes and that by confessing our sins and repenting we can carry on by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As said before, there is a difference between falling into sin and practicing it.
1. Verses 5-7 make it clear that Christians are not to profess faith in Christ AND live in sin
2. Verses 8-10 make it clear that Christians make mistakes and STUMBLE into sin, not practice it and need to get up again.

Even the book of Proverbs hint at this.

"Proverbs 24:15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous,
    do not plunder their dwelling place;
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes."

While a proverb is generally true, putting that issue aside, what is the point that is being made? Righteous men make mistakes, they seek to correct those mistakes and carry on the straight path.

Morrell and Skelly are in serious trouble if they don't recognize that they themselves stumble and make mistakes. Very...serious...trouble.

May God grant the pelagians and semi-pelagians repentance.

Answering Judaism.

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