Pristine Grace

The Lie of Arminianism
by Anthony Lawson

    The Gospel is about Christ and His accomplished cross work including his merits to earn a righteousness that he imputes to his people. Many will be upset when it is said that Arminianism is a lie and a false gospel, but let's see how it is so in 6 major areas.

    First, Arminianism is a lie because the imputed righteousness of Christ is the heart of the Gospel and this truth is not understood in Arminiamism. Paul says that the Gospel is the revelation of Christ's righteousness (Rom. 1:16-17) and to be either ignorant of or not submitted to that righteousness is to be lost as Israel was (Rom. 10:1-3). In this vein we must realize that the Scriptures teach 3 imputations, 1st. the imputation of Adam's sin to all mankind (Rom. 5:12-14; 1 Cor. 15:21-22); 2nd. the imputation of sin of God's people, his elect, to Christ (Lev. 16:20-22; Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21); and 3rd. the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the election of grace (Isa. 53:11; Rom. 4:6-8). Christ earned this righteousness through fulfilling the law for his people, thus enabling God to be both the justifier of his people, through imputing righteousness to them, and a just God, through satisfying his law and justice (Rom. 3:26). Arminianism rejects this truth because 1. they do not see righteousness as the heart of the gospel; 2. they point to man's faith as the fulfilling of righteousness rather than Christ's work; and 3. they do not believe that Christ had to "earn" righteousness to satisfy God's law and justice.

    Secondly, Arminianism rejects the total depravity of man, showing itself to be a lie of Satan. The Scriptures are replete with passages relating to man's inability to come to God in faith or to stand before God in his own righteousness because man's righteousness is nothing but filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). Adam, standing as the representative head of mankind, sinned (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-7) and as a result all mankind is born in sin and stands guilty before God, first by imputation (Rom. 5:12-21) and then by character and conduct (Psa. 51:5; 58:3; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9). Man is born in slavery to sin (John 8:34; Rom. 6:20; Tit. 3:3), indeed he is dead in sin (Eph. 2:1). Being dead in sin, man in his natural state, a state of condemnation and wrath (Eph. 2:3; Rom. 5:18), cannot repent, come to Christ and believe the Gospel (Jer. 13:23; John 6:44,65; 1 Cor. 2:14). Arminianism is deceived by the lie of freewill, hence cannot see his need to have imputed sin removed by imputed righteousness (Rom. 4:6-8).

    Thirdly, the false gospel of Arminianism is seen in its denial of God's elective choice of His people to be completely by his sovereign grace and mercy and totally unconditional in respect to man. Many Arminians outright deny any type of election at all, while others claim that God's election is conditioned on man's faith that he exercises by freewill, a faith that is foreseen by God's omniscience. The Scriptures are utterly against such notions. First and foremost, God does have an election of Grace (Matt. 11:27; Rom. 8:28-30,33; 11:28) and God's election is based in his sovereign purpose, will, mercy and good pleasure (Eph. 1:4-5; 2 Tim. 1:9) and is unto salvation (Acts 13:48; 2 Thess. 2:13). God's chosen ones, his elect, were chosen from before the beginning of creation (Eph. 1:4; Rev. 13:8) without regard to anything in them, not their works or their free will (John 1:12,13; Rom. 9:11-13,16; 2 Tim. 1:9). In election God purposed to save his people through the work of Christ, through a righteousness he established. This gospel truth is utterly abhorred in Arminianism.

    Fourthly, the gospel truth of Christ's coming as a substitute and surety to establish a righteousness for the elect through the merits of Christ's effectual, definite and particular atonement to satisfy God's law and justice is denied by the Arminian heresy of universal or general atonement. The scriptures teach that Christ came to accomplish a work (Isa. 55:11; 2 Cor. 5:21), that work was to secure righteousness (Rom. 3:24,25; 5:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Pet. 2:24), make an atonement for sin (Isa. 53:5,6,8,10,11) thus making reconciliation (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Eph. 2:15-16; Col. 1:21-22). This work was accomplished for the elect alone (John 6:35-40; 10:11,14-18,24-29). If the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished redemption, established righteousness for the entire world then the entire world would have to be saved. Christ's satisfaction of law and justice demands the salvation of those that Christ died, God is obligated, because he obligated himself through the work of his son, to seek and to save his election of grace. The Arminian atonement doesn't accomplish anything for any specific person, it does no good for the person who is condemned to the lake of fire, such an atonement is a blight to the character of God. The Arminian christ and his atonement needs to be rejected and repented of, trusting in such a christ and in such an atonement is idolatry.

    Fifthly, the Arminian exalts man and his supposed freewill to such a height that man can resist the effectual working of the Spirit in conversion. As was shown man in his natural state cannot come to God of his own, he has no righteousness of his own to commend him to God, and hence has not the power to resist the workings of God in the redemption of his people. To the contrary the work of the Spirit is a sovereign work (John 3:3-8). It is a work that effectually brings about regeneration (Ezek. 36:26,27; John 1:12,13; Tit. 3:5) issuing forth in faith and repentance (Acts 11:18; 13:48; 16:14; Eph. 2:8,9; 2 Tim. 2:25,26). God's call in conversion is an effectual call, one that is accomplished (Rom. 8:30; 9:23,24; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 2:9) and is only revealed to the elect (Matt. 11:25-27; Luke 10:21; John 6:37,44,45,64,65; 1 Cor. 2:14). This effectual calling is carried out through the message of the Gospel, a message that Arminianism is both ignorant of and unsubmitted to (Rom. 1:16,17; 10:1-3), again showing itself to be a false gospel.

    Sixthly, and lastly, Arminianism, denying such truths as Christ's established righteousness satisfying God's law and justice, man's imputed and inherent depravity, God's sovereign and unconditional election of grace, Christ's efficacious atonement made for the elect alone, and the sovereign calling of God through the message of the Gospel, denies that God preserves his people in salvation. Such a notion is a complete denial of God's faithfulness and of God's character. A person could ultimately lose their salvation only if salvation was based upon the works of man, but as it has been shown, salvation is not based on anything in, through, or by man, but on the work of Christ to establish a righteousness for his people. Indeed the scriptures show that the elect will preserve in salvation (Matt. 18:12-14; John 3:16; 10:27-30; 1 Cor. 1:7-9; Eph. 1:5,13,14) and that preservation is based upon the work of Christ alone (John 6:35-40; Rom. 5:8-10; 8:35-39).