Sunday, September 16, 2012

Part 1: The false teaching which molests the faith of Christians

The false teaching of "universal objective
justification" can be very deceptive. But, at the
same time, it can be very obvious. At any rate, 
the divine revelation warns us to "take heed what
you hear."  Mark 4:24 
What is a major false teaching which molests the faith of Christians?

"Universal objective justification" is that false teaching which makes Christ's Atonement [Cross sacrifice] and subsequent Resurrection, a “be all” and “end all.” The false teaching essentially says that because of Christ’s all-encompassing sacrifice for human sin; that (by that action) God wiped the “world’s slate” free from sin and its eternal consequences.

Therefore, God no longer holds against the individual sinner, his sins. And, since, by Calvary’s supreme sacrifice, Christ made full satisfaction [atonement] for all human sin; past, present and future; therefore the individual sinner is acquitted of God's eternal judgment on account of his sins against God, his fellowman and all of God’s commandments.

This teaching comprises a forensic and judicial aspect. It is philosophical in nature and not practical. It’s a simplistic tool (devoid of faith) of explaining certain Scriptures which don’t jive with other Scriptures. But, that does not matter to these Universalism enthusiasts; because the Scriptures which deal with faith, belief and the Holy Spirit, are only sub level Scriptures subservient to this almighty pedestal universal [objective] justification teaching of God’s acquittal of the sinner by Christ’s sacrifice.

How is this this false Universalism teaching disseminated?

Elementary age school children are very 
impressionable.  Most of them learn very quickly.
They are the young and innocent targets of the
Universalism's teaching which minimizes and / or
ignores the importance of teaching God's Law as
both a curb and rule.
First of all, it is disseminated from youth up. Christian elementary (parochial) schools seed this teaching from pre-school on. Children are continually reminded that Jesus loves them no matter what they do; no matter how bad they've been. Coupled with this [eternal security type of "sovereign immunity" environment] there is little if no teaching about sorrow over personal sin; repentance over it or faith and belief. The central teaching always returns to the forgiveness aspect; without any personal responsibility taught and laid upon the child. If faith is even mentioned, it is pushed into the background as it isn't something of necessity or something to be cherished. This web author and emeritus pastor has documented such at his [own] grandson's school. This parochial school is a fine Christian school and much better alternative than a public school; but, the central teaching of the Christian Faith is diminished as Luther modeled it be taught, - grace through faith; and that we are justified (before God) by faith alone:

"Pastor Nathan Bickel on UOJ in WELS......."

Secondly, this Universal justification teaching is subtly and weekly reenacted in umpteen Christian church services. Sung (“liturgy”) portions have the congregation singing: "Oh Lamb of God; you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us....." [Note: Mind you - "take away" – is not the best translation from the New Testament Greek; rather - "take up; bare"] This part of the liturgy (singing worship service), in some churches, follows the congregational assembly, confessing their sins in the corporate confessional prayer; followed by the pastor's announcement of forgiveness to them, - i.e., “in the stead and by the command of the Lord; ‘I forgive you all your sins.’”

A church member who couldn't make it to the bitter
end of the sermon. Why? Perhaps, one reason, is 
that so many Christian sermons are predictable and
Universalist in nature. Why make the effort to hear
when one isn't challenged to exercise God-given 
faith? Why bother, when one is supposedly already
forgiven by God; and when all one has to do is show
up and give money to the church? 
Next, the attending church members hear the "universal objective justification" enthusiast, pastor's sermon; laced with an average sermon’s usual illustrations; sometimes one, in particular (right at the beginning) which is carried throughout the sermon as a non Scriptural theme, from the beginning, to the bitter end of the homily.

During the sermon the pastor expresses the “UOJ” (universal objective justification) "forgiveness" part. This aspect is especially appealing to the church member who puts on his Sunday best foot forward after neglecting God all week in his work, home environment and entertainment play. This grabs his particular attention as he then can forget about buying all those winless lottery tickets which weekly frustrates him as he covets his neighbors' and others' financial successes.

As the sermon winds down and the church member looks at his cell phone digital time; he readies himself to rise from his pew seat. This is about the point where the pastor ends the sermon appealing to the church member to do something. After spending most of the sermon time preaching cheap Universalism grace to the audience; the pastor quickly finishes off his sermon by exhorting his church members to proclaim "the universal forgiveness message" to (their) neighbors that God has forgiven them their sins. This is how church members are to be Christian witnesses in their local sphere of influence; at work and in the marketplace; – especially their next-door neighbors.

Can you imagine telling some of your troubled, agitating and harassing neighbors that God has already forgiven them of all their sins? I know one thing. If I would do that with certain of my neighbors; - that (simplistic) message would only reinforce their recalcitrant untoward (sinful) behaviors! In short, Christian witness to the Universalist, is reduced to a formula driven pronouncement - not a Holy Spirit / Scriptural led and driven type of witness.

Following the sermon, congregational members receive the Lord's Supper (Communion). Translation: (with the aforementioned context) - i.e, they are good to go for the rest of the week; or, until they repeat the same, two week's later, suited up in their Sunday best.

The Universalism (objective justification) teaching doesn’t mesh with Christ’s encounter with the Jewish religious leaders of His day

John 8:1f – Jesus to the religious Jews

Jesus speaks very plainly with these unbelieving Jews. [John 8:1f] He tells them point blank that they will not be going where He will be going. He ends up telling that that they will be damned in their sins if they do not believe that He is the promised Messiah.

Artist pic of Peter preaching to fellow Jews at
 Pentecost urging them to repent and to be baptized.
Acts 2:37;38;39
Acts 2:1f – Peter’s Sermon

Fast forward now, to Peter speaking, after the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. [Acts 2:1f] I think that it can be assumed that in this crowd were some of the same unbelieving Jews whom Jesus had encountered. Peter directs his sermon to this (non-born from above) unbelieving crowd.

What did the Holy Spirit blessed, Apostle Peter, say to these unbelieving Jews?

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. [Acts 2:37-41]

Keep in mind what Jesus had said to these same Jews or similar unbelieving Jews:

"Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." - John 8:23-24

Now, please tell me - you who advocate and promulgate universal objective justification; how could these Jews ever "die in their sins" if they were [had been] forgiven and acquitted of the eternal judgment of those sins by Christ's Atonement and subsequent [certifying] Resurrection? Please don’t tell me that Christ had not been sacrificed as yet; and, had not risen from the dead yet - because the Apostle Peter encountered some of these same Jews, and / or similar unbelieving Jews, following Christ's (sacrifice) death and resurrection.

Furthermore, why would these [supposed] “universally justified” [acquitted of their sins] Jews, need to be preached to by the Apostle Peter? [Acts 2:1f] Why would they need to "repent?" Why would they need to be baptized to wash away sins of which they had been supposedly "acquitted?" [Been, absolved of; forgiven] Why would the Apostle Peter earnestly urge them to "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins," if they had [already] possessed God's (previous) acquittal?

Jesus encounter with Nicodemus

Look now at John 3: 1-21 – a chapter with which universal objective justification adherents have a difficult time. In fact, I haven’t witnessed them touching this string of passages [verses] in context. They won’t; else they would have to acknowledge personal belief [faith] and the Holy Spirit’s paramount role and activity creating that faith:

John 3:3 – “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Note: “Born again” is not the best translation for "again." Better yet, is “born from above.” Or, "born, anew"]

"....Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit....." - John 3:5-8 - [KJV]

Now, we have the “transitional verse:”

"Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?" - John 3:9

Artist's pic of Moses urges the sinful Israelites
to gaze upon the brazen serpent to be saved 
from the poisonous snakes. Please note the 
whole section of the Gospel of John 3:1-21 
and how it relates to Scripture's teaching of
"justification by faith, alone."  Please note this
website's:  "The Righteous - A Summer Snippet 
Of The Christian Message" to help in 
understanding the importance of faith 
and believing.
It is here where Jesus ends up telling Nicodemus “how” all this takes place:

".....And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:14-15

The “individuals” who, looked up at that brazen serpent, did not die from their poison snake bites, because they heeded the instruction of Moses [Numbers 21:8-9]. And, in like manner, those, who, in faith, believe in Christ, [looking to him] will not spiritually die; but have eternal life! How does this take place? Back up to the previous verses and the whole account of Jesus and Nicodemus.

See also: Acts 8:37 – what Philip tells the Ethiopian eunuch about believing. Also: Acts 16:30-31 ; Hebrews 10:39 ; 1 John 5:1 ; 1 John 5:11-13

The falsehood promulgated by Universalism Justification Disciples is compounded because they do not understand the Holy Spirit’s work in the sinner and His “time-line.” They, rather, make up their own, when explaining how a human soul is justified [made right / forgiven / acquitted by God]

I like what the post Martin Luther protestant reformer, stated:

“Although Christ has acquired for us the remission of sins, justification and sonship, God just the same does not justify us prior to our faith. Nor do we become God's children in Christ in such a way that justification in the mind of God takes place before we believe.”

[Abraham Calov - as he is quoted in: Apodixis Articulorum Fedei, Lueneburg, 1684

Amen.

Note: Part 2 is to follow the above topical message:


Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simpleworship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins

Related Scriptures

Repentance - Luke 15:11-32 ; Luke 19:1-10 ; Luke 23:39--43

Salvation - John 1:12-13 ; James 1:18 ; Matthew 16:17 ; Ephesians 2:4-5 ; Ephesians 2:8-10 ; 1 Peter 1:3 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; Colossians 1:20-21 ; John 3:5-8 ; John 6:65 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ; Romans 8:29-31 ; Romans 9:15-18 ; Titus 3:3-7 ; Philippians 2:13 ; 1 John 5:4 ; 1 Peter 1:5 ; Hebrews 2:3

See also: John 3:1-21 ; Titus 3:5 ; Ephesians 2:8-10 ; John 1:12;13 ; 1Corinthians 2:12 ; 1 Corinthians 6:11 ; 1 John 5:1

Please note the above Scriptures - The saving of one's soul, is entirely, the work of the gracious Good Lord.

Also:


The Grace of Repentance - thechristianmessage.org/2012/07/

Cheap Grace is a Worthless Substitute for a Faith That Saves
_____________________________________

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- an in-depth view of Isaiah 53:1-12 and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Please Note: Topical Christian Messages, by subject


Pastor (Emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship formatare not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages and related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

3 comments:

  1. Nate,
    I have always understood that Christ's atoning work is objectively sufficient for all people of all time (objective justification)but does not negate individual repentance and being justified by faith (subjective justification). It's like God paid for everyone's potential forgiveness like putting the money in the bank, but the only way one benefits is by cashing the check through repentance, receiving forgiveness by faith, daily repenting and living the faith as a child of God, thereby receiving the benefits. This is never to be taken for granted or assumed as universal blanket justification either prior to true repentance or for those who fall away from the faith or for those who reject the faith or take it lightly.
    Your brother in Christ,
    Tim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tim,

      What you say, reminds me of one of what one famous Protestant reformer stated about Scripture's teaching of "justification by faith alone," often trumpeted by Dr. Martin Luther:

      "Although Christ has acquired for us the remission of sins, justification, and sonship, God just the same does not justify us prior to our fatih. Nor do we become God's children in Christ in such a way that justification in the mind of God takes place before we believe."

      Abraham Calov - "Apodixis Articulorum Fidei, Lueneburg, 1684

      Delete