2]In his opening statement Ronnie wrote this about Rom. 10:4-9 (par. 25)
"Righteousness is for everyone who believes"(v.4). Not only that, but he goes on to distinguish between the righteousness that is achieved by works and one that is achieved by faith. The righteousness of law (v.5) says "do these things", the righteousness of faith(v.6) says "believe in your heart"(v.9). There is only one that has "done those things" and achieved the former righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now for the rest of us we can only attained this righteousness by the latter means, which is faith. Again we see no mentioning of works to achieve this righteousness, but instead only faith or faith alone.
Paul doesnít mention believing in your heart as a one-time event where Christís righteousness is credited to oneís account. Ronnieís presumption reads that into the text:
Rom.10:5Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it. 6But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (Dt. 30:11-12) (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach) (Dt. 30:14); 9because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
3]Paul doesnít say, ďAt the time you believed, you were justified by faith alone and got Christís righteousness imputed to your account.Ē Entirely missing. Ronnie presents belief for justification as not a process. Paul doesnít say this in Rom. 10. Confessing and believing isnít a one-time event, but ongoing. Thus justification is a process. As Paul writes in 1 Cor. 15:3I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, 2 by which you are saved, if you hold it fast--unless you believed in vain.
4]One must hold fast to that belief, and act in accordance with that belief, in order to be saved. It isnít a one-time event. Ronnie reads much into Romans that Paul doesnít imply. Paul knows it is possible to have believed in vain.
Besides that error, Ronnie has Paul in Romans 10 twisting where he is quoting from (Deuteronomy 30:6-14) to prove a point totally at odds with the context of Deuteronomy:
5]6And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live..... 8And you shall again obey the voice of the LORD, and keep all his commandments which I command you this day.... 10if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.11"For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' (Rom. 10:6-7) 14But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Rom. 10:8,10)....16If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you this day, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live.
6]Paulís words in Romans are taken from a response in Deuteronomy 30 to the command to keep the commandments and love the Lord. Notice that where Paul draws from, and is the righteousness based on faith, God says that the salvific faith includes keeping the commandments which isnít too hard and is the cause of salvation. Ronnie says it is too hard. God says one will love the Lord your God with your whole heart and soul, (as Jesus said one can do for salvation). Ronnie says it is too hard (Opening Statement, Par. 3). The choice to keep the commandments and live, is part of the righteousness of faith that Paul speaks of in Romans 10. Unless Paul twists Scripture to teach faith alone. An inspired writer, Paul doesnít do that.
7]Ronnie in his first rebuttal (par. 1-3) selectively quotes from the WCF on sanctification (not justification) showing that he believes that holiness is important and says that it destroys my presentation of the errors of his position. However, if you read what I wrote, his objection is irrelevant to what I presented. I originally wrote:
Ronnie will argue that good works are important, and even necessary to show that we indeed are saved, but can never be the grounds of our justification. Ironically, this view actually makes Christ's death insufficient to cleanse us from sins' bondage.8]I didnít say that holiness wasnít important to his position. I said that he unbiblically separates justification from sanctification. His only grounds of justification is a declaration of God, not on what that declaration does in the man itself. He has been arguing that the whole debate and now trying to divert from that fact that this cleansing, or making righteous, isnít intrinsic to the cause of justification. God is unable to cleanse us sufficiently. That is why his confession (WCF) says on justification:
9]Chapter 11, section 1: Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous;not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone10]Ronnieís grounds of justification is a declaration only. He calls us righteous, even though we arenít righteousness enough to face God, and even the good works that we do are linked with defilement. This can only be, because his Sonís blood is insufficient to cleanse us before Godís judgment, as Ronnieís own Confession proclaims!!! We must be 'covered over.' That is what I meant and maintain. The Bible, on the other hand says that in his grace, our works are sufficient to stand judgment, as those become grounds of justification (Mt. 25:31-46, Rev. 20:12-13). Paul writes in Romans 2:6-76For he will render to every man according to his works: 7to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; In every judgment scene (as given in this debate) those works are grounds of going to heaven or going to hell. According to the WCF, everybody would go to hell. The WCF disregards Paulís words as under grace, these works indeed merit eternal life and do endure the severity of Godís judgment. They are instrumental to justification. No judgment scene in the Bible reflects Ronnieís proposition.
Chapter 16, section 5:but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they canít endure the severity of God's judgment.
11]Ronnieís critique of my section on divine sonship (par. 4-7) uses Scriptures irrelevant to the issue. He argues from Rom. 5:9 and other Scriptures that in justification we are saved from Godís wrath, as though that refutes my position. As though I argue that we donít need to be saved from Godís wrath. Of course we need to be saved from Godís wrath and outside of Godís grace we would be condemned. I agree so Ronnieís quotation is totally irrelevant, arguing against a position that I donít espouse. Of course divine sonship only comes into play (My opening statement, Par. 2) when we are justified so Ronnieís argument is of no effect.
12]What does come into play is that our relation with the Father is intrinsic to justification, not a forensic relationship. Justification is an inheritance and conditional, Rom. 8:13-14,17:
13 for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. We inherit the kingdom of heaven, but we must cooperate, put to death the deeds of the flesh, or we wonít live. We must suffer with him. It is conditional.
13]Ronnie says his concept of adoption is superior because we are guaranteed future adoption as sons and quotes Rom. 8:23 as proof (par. 19). This can only be seen when ignoring the prior 22 verses in Romans 8 (especially vv. 10-17 which makes the inheritance as conditional) and ignores the verses after, where we have hope for salvation, and if guaranteed, there would be no reason for hope (see Romans 8:24-25).
In any Father-Son relationship, a son can disinherit himself. Jesus speaks of the prodigal son who disinherited himself by leaving the Father, when he left him, was termed lost and dead (Lk. 15:24, 32), until he repented and came back to the Father. The Father didnít say: ďYou acquitted criminal, you were always alive even when you left me.Ē
14]Opposed to Luke 15 and Romans 8, Ronnie argues that sonship is unconditional and isnít the basis of justification (Par. 6):
It is then that the loving Father-Son relationship begins and endures throughout eternity. It is ironic that Matt takes exception with my view of a forensic justification, but extols his view of a Father-Son justification yet you will find nothing of a Father-Son relationship in his judgment section below. The section is filled with condemnations, acquittals, punishment, and rewards based on a set standard. Where is the Father-Son relationship in this?Ronnie argues that no sin can separate us from God despite Paul in Romans and Jesus in Luke telling us otherwise. He must have totally missed the point of my judgment section when I cited Mt. 25:31-46 on this:
31"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne...34Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35FOR I WAS HUNGRY and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me
15]Jesus gives the criteria for entering the kingdom of heaven. He uses the words inherit the kingdom. Inheritance of the kingdom is that of the Father bestowing the reward of heaven to the sons for their work that they had done on earth. The reward is heaven!!! Those who did good works went there. Those who didnít went to hell!!! Ronnie must have missed it. Yet Ronnie writes at the end of his first rebuttal (par. 21):
Matt seems to think quoting a verse that speaks of judgment according to works refute justification by faith alone. What logical reason leads Matt to the conclusion that they both cannot be true?16]I quote 15 verses of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 because here is criteria in judgment where yes there is a judgment of acquittal and condemnation, but the basis for this is the Father rewarding his sons heaven based on good works. Condemnation is based on a lack of good works. The logical reason is that at the very moment when people are sent to their eternal destiny, works were the ultimate decider, and in the context of inheritance, is the language of Father and Son. Jesus didnít say, Ďwelcome, acquitted criminal who was assured of your salvation when I acquitted you, and looked at my own righteousness, acquired through faith alone, and these works get you extra rewardsí. Faith alone is never the decider in any judgment scene, and Ronnie just saying that it doesnít affect his position doesnít make it so. Works are an instrumental cause (Rev. 20:12-13; 22:11-12; Rom. 2:6-13; Mt. 7:16-25; Mt.16:24-27; Jn. 5:28-29, 1 Cor. 3:10-17; 2 Cor. 5:10). My position is logical because the instrument of condemnation/salvation is given and faith alone is nowhere to be found. In fact, the goats even call him Lord, (Mt. 25:44), apparently believing faith alone was sufficient.
17] Paul in several places also gives criteria that shows where ones actions gives the separation. This is done in the context of inheritance. 'Inheritance' is language of a Father bequeathing to a Son a reward of heaven. Scripture uses the language of inheritance not only in the judgment scene of Matthew 25:31-46, and in Romans 8, but also 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:19-22, Eph. 5:3-7. In these places, where Paul gives criteria for the separation of those going to heaven from those going to hell, it is the actions of people that determine this. For example, Galatians 5 says:
19Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness...21envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
Ronnie has used Galatians to allege Paul teaching faith alone while Paul has only condemned living by works of the law. Paul here speaks in the language of inheritance, which is the language of Father rewarding the son with heaven for obedience and condemnation based on misdeeds. He warns Christians that if they sin mortally, they disinherit themselves from God's kingdom. Not merely about less rewards. This doesn't fit Ronnie's theology.
18]Ronnie argues (Par. 11) that Acts 16:31 refutes me and Ďsettles the matterí and says I think I am wiser than the Holy Spirit. He argues I disagree with Paul when he answered in reply to the jailerís question on what he must do to be saved:
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will saved, you and your household."
If this Ďsettles the matterí, where does Paul say, Ďonce you believe in me, you get Christís imputed righteousness credited to your account and your salvation is guaranteed. Belief now guarantees your salvationí. How come Paul nowhere even hints that? Remember, as we saw earlier that one must hold fast to that belief, or else it is possible to believe in vain (1 Cor. 15:2). Justification is an ongoing process even in belief. The imputing of Christís righteousness to oneís account is found nowhere in the Bible, yet that serves as the basis for Ronnieís whole system and is utterly lacking in Acts 16. In fact implied in Paulís answer is that we must act on that belief. We know that Jesus says that one must believe and be baptized to be saved (Mk. 16:16), and here in Acts the jailer and his whole family are baptized (Acts 16:31-35) right at the point of salvation. Belief and a baptism is a normative package of salvation and one normally canít exclude one without the other. Baptism is no mere demonstration to others, but right at the point of salvation. This is in Acts where earlier Peter said that one must repent and be baptized in order to get sins forgiven (Acts 2:38; See Paul in Acts 22:16).
19]This same question on salvation is asked several places. Here were Jesus and Peterí answers:
Mt. 19:17And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments."20]These answers donít fit faith alone theology. Ronnie in his opening statement unbelievably tried to use Matthew 22:37 as proof for faith alone, by saying Jesus told them to do something that they couldnít do (Love God and neighbor, both ongoing processes and things we must do) without Jesus himself giving Ronnieís solution. Jesus said to enter life they must keep the commandments, an ongoing process. Peter answers this same question by saying one repent and be baptized. Does Acts 16:31 (which we saw doesnít present Ronnieís view anyway) cancel out all these passages and render them moot? No. The correct view encompasses all these passages (repentance and baptism, belief, keeping the commandments, Loving the Lord and Neighbor are all necessary instruments of salvation). My position encompasses all these answers whereas Ronnie must not only read something into Acts 16:31 that isnít there, but exclude or downplay all these other passages.
Mt. 22:37(See Luke 10:25-28) And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Acts 2:38And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
21]Ronnie attempts to highlight John 5:24 for faith alone purposes (par. 12-13):
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Jesus emphasizes the importance and truthfulness of what he is about to say by prefixing His statement with the words, Truly, truly. Of course Matt must downplay the very truth that Jesus is emphasizing to make his theology fit together.Alleging that I am downplaying this passage is ridiculous. I argue that Faith and works are necessary for salvation. Ronnie argues that faith alone is sufficient to credit an imputed righteousness to oneís account so that works arenít instrumental to salvation. I donít argue works alone, so the fact that Jesus notes that faith is a grounds of salvation I highlight, donít downplay. Par. 13 is totally in error. However, a verse taken out of context is a pretext for anything, and the context is that other grounds for condemnation/salvation are also given in this very passage when Jesus says:
John 5:28for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
22]Jesus shows works as a cause of salvation. Ronnie quotes me quoting the passage but absolutely fails to interact with this fact. We know that people who believe, can sometime in the future do bad. If believers do bad (sin mortally), they wonít have the resurrection of life. Only if they do good: Works are instruments of salvation.
Jesus says in Luke 8:33: And the ones on the rock are those who when they heard the word, received it with joy: but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Jesus knows in John 5:24 that it is possible to believe only for a while. Endurance is necessary.
23]The apostle John writes: 1 Jn3:10By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother..13Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
John says that we must do right to have life. Passing from death to life (as in John 5:24) isnít the guarantee that Ronnie gives, because John warns that if we hate somebody sufficiently, we lose eternal life (compare to Mt. 5:22). We can thus pass back out of life.
24]Ronnie writes (Par. 16):
Matt still hasn't given any proof of a justification as a durative process.In my extensive documentation from Abrahamís (David also) life, (Gen. 12, Heb.11; Gen. 15, Rom. 4; Gen. 22, James 2), which Ronnie tried to hijack for his own purposes, justification was shown to be a process (My first rebuttal, par. 15-17, 20-21). As we will be judged for all our works, which determine our final destiny, and they arenít one-time events, by definition justification is a durative process. More passages which prove this include:
2 Cor. 2:15For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved.
1 Pet. 3:21Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Tim. 4:16Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Matthew 10:22and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
1 Tim. 6:18They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, 19thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed.
25]Be among those being saved. Baptism currently saves us. Hold fast to teaching and I will save myself. If not, I wonít be saved. He who endures will be saved. One will take hold of salvation by doing good works (not faith alone). If justification is a past event appropriated through faith alone, good works couldnít take hold of eternal life in the future. Faith alone would have already done that in the past. Justification is past, present, and future.
Peter writes about qualities being necessary for salvation such as self-control, godliness and steadfastness, etc. (2 Pet. 1:5-8). These things must be added to faith: 9For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; 11so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To enter the kingdom of heaven, one must add these qualities or else one will fail. This shows that a)Faith alone is insufficient and b)This entrance into heaven is conditional and reflects a process. These Scriptures show justification a process and Ronnieís presumption false.
(My response to Ronnie on James 2 will have to hold until my final rebuttal).