Saved By His Precious Blood

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rippon, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I have long appreciated James Packer . His book "A Quest For Godliness" remains a favorite of mine . Chapter 8 is the title of this thread . Packer details some aspects of John Owen's classic " The Death Of Death in the Death of Christ" . I will , with the permission of Crossway Books , quote some sections from this fascinating chapter .

    ... Owen shows with great cogency that the three classes of texts alleged to prove that Christ died for persons who will not be saved ( those saying that he died for 'the world ', for 'all' , and those thought to envisage the perishing of those for whom he died ) , cannot on sound principles of exegesis be held to teach any such thing ; and , further , that the theological inferences by which universal redemption is supposed to be established are really quite fallacious . The true evangelical evaluation of the claim that Christ died for every man , even those who perish , comes through at point after point in Owen's book . So far from magnifying the love and grace of God , this claim dishonors both it and him , for it reduces God's love to an impotent wish and turns the whole economy of 'saving' grace , so-called ( 'saving' really is a misnomer on this view ) , into a monumental divine failure . Also , so far from magnifying the merit and worth of Christ's death , it cheapens it , for it makes Christ die in vain . Lastly , so far from affording faith additional encouragement , it destroys the scriptural ground of assurance altogether , for it denies that the knowledge that Christ died for me ( or did or does anything else for me ) is a sufficient ground for inferring my eternal salvation ; my salvation , on this view , depends not on what Christ did for me , but on what I subsequently do for myself .


    It is safe to say that no comparable exposition of the work of redemption as planned and executed by the Triune Jehovah has ever been done since Owen published his . None has been needed . Discussing this work , Andrew Thomson notes how Owen 'makes you feel when he has reached the end of his subject , that he has also exhausted it'. That is demonstrably the case here . His interpretation of the texts on the points of issue is sure ; his power of theological construction is superb ; nothing that needs discussing is omitted , and ( so far as this writer can discover ) no arguments for or against his position have been used since his day which he has not himself noted and dealt with . One searches his book in vain for the leaps and flights of logic by which Reformed theologians are supposed to establish their positions ; all that one finds is solid , painstaking exegesis and a careful following through of biblical ways of thinking . Owen's work is a constructive , broadbased biblical analysis of the heart of the gospel , and must be taken seriously as such . It may not be written off as a piece of special pleading for a traditional shibboleth , for nobody has a right to dismiss the doctrine of the limitedness , or particularity, of atonement as a monstrosity of Calvinistic logic until he has refuted Owen's proof that it is part of the uniform biblical presentation of redemption , clearly taught in plain text after plain text . And nobody has done that yet .

    From "A Quest For Godliness : The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life " by J.I. Packer copyright 1990 , pages 135,136 . Used by permission of Crossway Books , a division of Goodnews Publishers , Wheaton , IL 60187 www.crossway.com
     
  2. ReformedBaptist

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    Awesome post Rippon. I am currently working through Owen's book mentioned here, and possed his complete works. The Death of Death in the Death of Christ will be the first thing I have read of Owen. Also, recently published by Soli Deo Gloria, I HIGHLY recommend Owen's work entitled, "Biblical Theology: The History of Theology from Adam to Christ." The definition Owen gives of Biblical Theology is worth the price of the book alone.

    Packer's intro to this work you mention is worth the price of book alone!

    RB
     
  3. TCGreek

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    I have this volume, Rippon good stuff. Also, Packer's four volumes of shorter writings is a great collection to get. I'm only missing the three volume: "Honoring the Written of God."
     
  4. Dan V.

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    Well stated! I'll be copying this for later usage!

    Dan V.
     
  5. Rippon

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    Whether we call ourselves Calvinists hardly matters ; what matters is that we should understand the gospel biblically . But that , we think , does in fact mean understanding it as historic Calvinism does . The alternative is to misunderstand and distort it . We said earlier that modern evangelism , by and large , has ceased to preach the gospel in the old way , and we frankly admit that the new gospel , insofar as it deviates from the old , seems to us a distortion of the biblical message . And we can now see what has gone wrong . Our theological currency has been debased . Our minds have been conditioned to think of the cross as a redemption which does less than redeem , and of Christ as a Saviour who does less than save , and of God's love as a weak affection which cannot keep anyone from hell without help , and of faith as the human help which God needs for this purpose . As a result , we are no longer free either to believe the biblical gospel or to preach it . We cannot believe it , because our thoughts are caught in the toils of synergism . We are haunted by the Arminian idea that if faith and unbelief are to be responsible acts , they must be independent acts ; hence we are not free to believe that we are saved entirely by divine grace through a faith which is itself God's gift and flows to us from Calvary . Instead , we involve ourselves in a bewildering kind of double-think about salvation , telling ourselves one moment that it all depends on God and next moment that it all depends on us . The resultant mental muddle deprives God of much of the glory that we should give him as author and finisher of salvation , and ourselves of much of the comfort we might draw from knowing that God is for us .

    From "A Quest For Godliness : The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life" by J.I. Packer , copyright 1990 , page 137 . Used by permission of Crossway Books , a division of Good News Publishers , Wheaton , IL 60187 www.crossway.com
     
  6. TCGreek

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    (Emphasis added)

    Somehow, the majority of us cannot get this. I cannot read Romans or the first three chapters of 1 Corinthians or the first two chapters of Ephesians without this sweet message of the gospel: God chose me unconditionally; Christ died; sovereign grace rescued me; faith was a gift to me. Christ's death accomplished something; it accomplished the definite salvation of the elect.
     
  7. Rippon

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    TCG : I like your conciseness !
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    Good to see that still, 500 years later, Owen is still not refuted. :thumbs:
     
  9. Rippon

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    RB , your math is a bit off ( though you said it with good intentions ) . Owen's classic was published in 1647 -- which was 360 years ago . The KJV came out 396 years ago . Let's see , 500 years ago Martin Luther was a young man of 24 years . John Calvin ( a big influence on Owen ) was born in Noyon , France in 1509 .
     
  10. ReformedBaptist

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    Ok, 500 years ago give or take 140 years. :laugh: :laugh: Thanks for the correction!
     
  11. Rippon

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    And when we come to preach the gospel , our false preconceptions make us say just the opposite of what we intend . We want ( rightly ) to proclaim Christ as Saviour ; yet we end up saying that Christ , having made salvation possible , has left us to become our own saviours . It comes about in this way . We want to magnify the saving grace of God and the saving power of Christ . So we declare that God's redeeming love extends to everyone , and that Christ has died to save everyone , and we proclaim that the glory of divine mercy is to be measured by these facts . And then , in order to avoid universalism , we have to depreciate all that we were previously extolling , and to explain that , after all , nothing that God and Christ have done can save us unless we add something to it ; the decisive factor which actually saves us is our own believing . What we say comes to this -- that Christ saves us with our help ; and what that means , when one thinks it out , is this -- that we save ourselves with Christ's help . This is a hollow anticlimax . But if we start by affirming that God has a saving love for all , and Christ died a saving death for all , and yet balk at becoming universalists , there is nothing else that we can say . And let us be clear on what we have done when we have put the matter in this fashion . We have not exalted grace and the cross ; we have cheapened them . We have limited the atonement far more drastically than Calvinism does , for whereas Calvinism asserts that Christ's death , as such , saves all whom it was meant to save , we have denied that Christ's death , as such , is sufficient to save any of them . We have flattered impenitent sinners by assuring them that it is in their power to repent and believe , though God cannot make them do it . Perhaps we have also trivalised faith and repentance in order to make this assurance plausible ( 'it's very simple -- just open your heart to the Lord ...' ) . Certainly , we have effectively denied God's sovereignty , and undermined the basic conviction of true religion -- that man is always in God's hands . In truth , we have lost a great deal . And it is , perhaps , no wonder that our preaching begets so little reverence and humility , and that our professed converts are so self-confident and so deficient in self-knowledge and in the good works which Scripture regards as the fruit of true repentance .

    From "A Quest For Godliness : The Puritan View of the Christian Life " by J.I. Packer , copyright 1990 , pages 137,138 . Used by permission of Crossway Books , a division of Good News Publishers , Wheaton , IL 60187 www.crossway.com
     
  12. Rippon

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    Listen-up !

    It is from degenerate faith and preaching of this kind that Owen's book could set us free . If we listen to him , he will teach us both how to believe the Scripture gospel and how to preach it . For the first : he will lead us to bow down before a sovereign Saviour who really saves , and to praise him for a redeeming death which made it certain that all for whom he died will come to glory . It cannot be overemphasised that we have not seen the full meaning of the cross till we have seen it as the divines of Dort display it -- as the centre of the gospel , flanked on the one hand by total inability and unconditional election , and on the other by irresistable grace and final preservation . For the full meaning of the cross only appears when the atonement is defined in terms of these four truths . Christ died to save a certain company of helpless sinners upon whom God had set his free saving love . Christ 's death ensured the calling and keeping -- the present and final salavation -- of all whose sins he bore . That is what Calvary meant , and means . The cross saved ; the cross saves . This is the heart of true evangelical faith ; as Cowper sang :

    Dear dying Lamb , Thy precious blood
    Shall never lose its power ,
    Till all the ransomed church of God

    From "A Quest For Godliness : The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life " by J. I. Packer . Copyright 1990 , page 138 . Used by permission of Crossway Books , a division of Good News Publishers , Wheaton , IL 60187 www.crossway.com
    Be saved to sin no more .
     
    #12 Rippon, Sep 8, 2007
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  13. skypair

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    Just one little detail I bet he missed --- the resurrection of the lost. Unless their sins are forgiven, there is no other court. They ought have been thrown into the "lake of fire" with death and hell there having been done nothing else on their behalf.

    Instead, all their sins were forgiven except their unbelief. And that unbelief will be turned to "bowing of the knee" before Christ.

    skypair
     
  14. skypair

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    Do you believe in the doctrine of "conversion?" It's the biblical doctrine that says that we must repent before we are regenerated or saved. Is that repulsive to you? That we must forsake self and bow the knee to Christ before we will be saved? That those who chose to do so ARE saved?

    From what I am reading here so far, your Calvinism is the "sit and soak" variety. As long as you are in the right place (good Calvinist church) reciting the "Apostle's Creed," taking communion, etc. -- oh, and "The Lord's Prayer" at least once a service -- you are a saved, regenerate believer.

    skypair
     
  15. skypair

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    IOW, "No dear child -- don't enter that door that says 'Salvation' on it.

    Come over here and wait in line for this door to open, the one that says 'Election.' It will open by-and-by and you just enter with these nice folks who also believe it will open soon."


    skypair
     
  16. skypair

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    Wow! Imagine the cross even being noticed between the "glorious banners" that are strung up on either side of it!

    Oh, the lengths MEN will go to to frustrate and obfuscate the purposes of God!! :praying:

    skypair
     
    #16 skypair, Sep 9, 2007
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  17. David Lamb

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    Skypair, why do you insist on doing this? Over and over again, various people have told you that the people you call Calvinists do indeed believe in conversion, in the need for repentance, and that we definitely do not believe that sinners are to just sit back and wait to see if God will save them, yet you continue to respond in such a way as you have yet again here.

    Besides, you then go on to imply that a calvinist church must be a liturgical church.

    Do you know, I have not "recited the 'Apostles' Creed'" since before I became a Christian, when I used regularly to attended very liturgical services in the Church of England. Then, we had to face the "altar" when we recited the creed, and nod our heads when the name of Jesus was uttered. Such unbiblical nonsense has not formed part of my worship since I was converted. (Not, I should add, that there is necessarily anything unbiblical in the words of that creed, merely in the idea of reciting it parrot-fashion).

    Very occasionally (I mean less than once a year), the Lord's Prayer has been used in services I have attended as a Christian, but even on those rare occasions, it was not merely "recited".

    If by "taking communion" you mean "partaking in the Lord's Supper, then yes we do that, but not in order to become Christians (as you seem to imply by your phrase "sit and soak") but because we are Christians.

    If anyone on this Board was actually saying that salvation was to be achieved by such things as reciting the "Apostles' Creed," taking communion, and reciting "The Lord's Prayer" at least once a service, I could understand why you write as you do, but no one (at least to my knowledge, which I know is far from perfect) has asserted such things. Please, stop telling us what we believe and then arguing with your own definitions of our beliefs.
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    Well said brother. :thumbs:
     
  19. Rippon

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    Skypair has been grounded !
     
  20. TCGreek

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    I think so too!
     

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