Pristine Grace

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by Scott Price

The following is a quote taken from Dr. John Robbins forward to Dr. Gordon H. Clark's book, Faith and Saving Faith, on page vi-vii:

"The difference between Judas and the other disciples is not that they had a "personal" relationship with Jesus and he did not, but that they believed, that is, assented to certain propositions about Jesus, while Judas did not believe those propositions. Belief of the truth, nothing more or less, is what separates the saved from the damned. Those who maintain that there is something more than belief, are, quite literal, beyond belief." Jan 31, 1983

Several things run through my mind when the issue of conversion is brought up. One is the idea of what is called "cold, dead, orthodoxy, or doctrine". There is no such thing! People may be cold and dead but not truth or true doctrine. Do a word study on the word "doctrine" and you'll soon find it is vital and that God holds it in high regard.

Secondly, people say you arrive at doctrine through Christ not Christ through doctrine. My question is how can a person come to Christ unless they are taught certain doctrines about this Christ. Can a person savingly come to a christ who is not God, who is a sinner, who did not resurrect, who did not bear their sins on the tree, who did not come in the flesh, who is a bastard child of a Roman solider, etc.? You can not just go up to a person who knows nothing about Christ and tell them to believe on Christ and let that person fill in his own blanks. The blanks are DOCTRINE and God uses doctrine as a means so faith can logically, rationally, intellectually willingly, lovingly, irresistibly, grab a hold of the Christ DOCTRINALLY explained. Of course this will not happen until the Holy Spirit reveals this Christ spiritually and grants faith to the person.

These same folks cry that you must trust Christ not doctrine. You must believe in HIM, not doctrine ABOUT him. The above explanation should take care of the same argument. Some of these statements are made by people too lazy to put forth their effort to try to insure their congregations any doctrinal purity. Maybe some do not want their "authority" challenged when doctrinal details are questioned.

Some of the time people giving these arguments say it is their job only to declare the gospel and not their job to explain it. Without explanation of the gospel there will be much trouble. People will be free to develop their own perverted conclusions if there are no barriers doctrinally explained to guide them. The Spirit of God uses means to convert sinners. In other words they need to know what the gospel is NOT as well as what gospel is.

Part of what the gospel is NOT is salvation by going about to establish a righteousness of your own. This is something that is missing today: a repentance of self righteousness. If the imputed righteousness of the LORD JESUS CHRIST (HIM) is the only ground of salvation that demands our justification then this means our own righteousness not only forms no part of the ground of our salvation but must be hated and repented of.

Today in some Calvinistic circles self righteousness is not exposed as evil but sometimes is encouraged through legalism. Touch not, taste not, handle not based assurance is promoted. Sincerity replaces doctrine. Unity replaces truth. Cute little sayings replace theology. Works get added to grace. Christ's character is dishonored. Man's pride is exalted. Dung and filthy rags somehow are now on the same playing field as grace. How did this happen? A distain of the doctrine that we are supposed to promote and not suppress. It comes from trying to trim the sharp edges off the offense of the gospel by removing words such as "ALONE" from doctrinal statements.

Both salvation and true assurance is in the object of our faith, HIM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Repent daily from all else as any hope of salvation or assurance and we will have the peace that only HE can give.