The nominal Calvinist of today has a superstitious and over-simplistic understanding of justification, the same superstition which is pervading much of the remnant. It is a seeming intelligent way of reasoning, and yet... it nullifies scriptural commands. According to a superstitious reasoning about salvation - “in Christ alone apart from works” - biblical commands, warnings, promises, behaviors, prayers, and heart-conditions are nullified. These over-simplistic statements need to be challenged by scripture and held in conformity thereto, no matter how “illogical” it feels to our deceitful hearts (Jer. 17:9).
Do you mean to say that you can go to heaven without, as Jesus said, "keeping My works unto the end" (Rev. 2:26)? Do you believe the Church of Thyatira would have gone to heaven if they didn’t keep the “works” of Christ unto the end” (Rev. 2:26)? What about the “works” of the other Churches (Rev. 2:2, 9, 13, 19, 26, 3:1, 2, 8, 15)?
"And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:" - Rev. 2:26
"I know thy works..." - Rev. 2:2, 9, 13, 19, 26, 3:1, 2, 8, 15
Do you believe the Church of Sardis would have gone to heaven if Christ did not find their “works perfect before God” (Rev. 3:2)? Would Sardis go to heaven if they failed to, “be watchful” (Rev. 3:2), “remember” (Rev. 3:3), and “walk” (Rev. 3:4)? For Sardis, are these “works” gaining or losing approval before God, upon which hinged their eternal standing? What about the “somewhat” that Christ had “against” the Church of Ephesus (Rev. 2:4), or, the “few things against” Pergamos (Rev. 2:14), and the “few things against” Thyatira (Rev. 2:20)? Do you deny that Christ does “give unto every one of [us] according to [our] works” (Rev. 2:23)?
"Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God." - Rev. 3:2
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." - Rev. 2:4
"But I have a few things against thee..." - Rev. 2:14
"Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee..." - Rev. 2:20
Do you mean to say that I can go to heaven even if I don’t, like Paul, “work out [my] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Php. 2:12)? If I didn’t do this “work” (by the grace of God in Christ) would I still be approved before God? Are you saying that “faith which worketh by love” avails to nothing (Gal. 5:6)? Do you mean to say that I should never “labour” that I “may be accepted of [Christ]” on Judgment Day (2 Cor. 5:9)? Are you saying that I need not "run" so as to win the prize, because Christ already ran (1 Cor. 9:24-27)? Are you saying that if I do not "run", I will still win the incorruptible crown of eternal life (1 Cor. 9:25)? Are you saying that I should not set my heart on running that I might obtain the crown, because running takes into consideration whether or not I will be approved before God on Judgment Day – a thing which, you say, I need not do?
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." - Php. 2:12
"Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." - 2 Cor. 5:9-10
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." - 1 Cor. 9:24-27
Are you saying that I need not ever fear losing my everlasting life (my approval before God) if, when I am tried, I am near fainting instead of enduring unto the end (Rev. 2:10, Heb. 3:6, 14; Heb. 4:1; Rom. 11:21-22; Jn. 15:1-7)? Are you saying that a man should never have “patient continuance in well doing” so as to “seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Rom. 2:7)? Are you saying that I need not “fight” to “lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:12)? Are you saying that Christ will finally Judge my approval before the LORD without reference to or mindfulness of blood-bought and Spirit-empowered works, as indicators of saving faith?
"...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." - Rev. 2:10
"For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;" - Heb. 3:14
"To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:" - Rom. 2:7
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." - 1 Tim. 6:12
Are you saying that "the sheep" would have gone to heaven (been approved before God), even if they never, as Christ said, “gave”, “took”, “clothed”, and “visited” (Matt. 25:35-40)? Are you saying their approval has no reference to what they have “done” (Matt. 25:40), and that a Christian is in sin if they are mindful for what they must do, in this way, so as to be approved on Judgment Day? Are you saying that a man does not need to continue to believe in the Gospel, that he might be approved before God on Judgment Day? Are you saying that the Rich Man of Mark 10 could go to heaven, even if he did not sell all that he had and give it to the poor (Mark 10:21)? Are you saying that the rich Christians of 1 Timothy 6:17-19 will go to heaven even if they do not “do good”? Are you saying that these rich Christians will go to heaven even if they are not “rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate”? Are you saying that it is a sin to “do” anything that we might “lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:19)? Then why are these Christians commanded to do all these things, “that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:19)?
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matt. 25:40
"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." - Mark 10:21
"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." - 1 Tim. 6:17-19
Would Paul have gone to heaven if he did not bring his body under subjection (1 Cor. 9:27)? Was it a sin for him to say that he would have been a castaway (one who is disapproved at final Judgment), if he failed to bring his body under subjection? Are you saying that I should never “hear” the sayings of Jesus Christ and do them, being minded that “whosoever heareth these sayings” and “doeth them”, will pass the trial of final Judgment (being “founded upon the rock”)? Are you saying it is a sin to fear a great fall on Final Judgment if I am one who “heareth” the “sayings” of Jesus and “doeth them not” (Matt. 7:26)? Are you saying that I need not ever “take heed” (1 Cor. 10:12, Luke 21:34) to myself, after I am regenerated, “lest at any time [my] heart be overcharged with surfeiting [over-eating], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that Day come upon [me] unawares”, to the end that I am “accounted” unworthy “to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk. 21:34-36)? Are you saying that I should never fear perishing if I fail to do the Spirit-empowered work called, “Watch therefore and pray always” (Lk. 21:36)? Would you say that, in all these ways, God judges a man’s faith and approval before God, “without works” (James 2:20)? Would you say that Abraham or Rahab were finally justified (or declared righteous at final Judgment) in some other way than “by works” (James 2:22, 24, 25)?
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." - Matt. 7:24-27
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." - 1 Cor. 10:12
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." - Lk. 21:34-36
"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" - James 2:20
"Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." - James 2:24
Indeed, it is by Christ's life and righteousness alone we can be justified or find approval before God, but God doesn't examine our experience of "Christ's life and righteousness" in a singular sense - only in a PAST TENSE relationship that we have by testimony. Salvation is past, present, and future. Therefore, in reckoning with the saints, the LORD looks at our relationship with Christ's life and righteousness TODAY - if we are abiding in Christ by an ongoing faith and repentance as we look to our Messiah who is alive in glory, being much more saved by His life (Rom. 5:8-10; Heb. 12:1-2, 15; Jn. 15:1-7). The Scriptures explicitly teach the ongoing work of salvation in true believers. Namely, that salvation is experienced in the past through conversion (regeneration) and at present in the same terms - through being crucified, resurrected, baptized, and quickened through the putting on of Christ. Accordingly, if our experience of salvation at present is found faulty by God, the LORD will reckon with us in terms of perfection, blamelessness, holiness, sanctification, spotlessness, and blemishes.
I am not debating if there is anything else other than Christ who justifies sinful men, but I am contending against an over-simplistic understanding of that justification - in how it is discerned by God and experienced by us in the past (as we relate to what Christ accomplished on the Cross), presently and progressively (as we relate to God today based upon what Christ did on the Cross), and finally (because Christ will be vindicated at final Judgment through what He did at Calvary, and also in our individual lives presently and progressively, for we are His workmanship), according to the Scriptures.
Don't be angry with a poor minister for weeping over them who will not weep for themselves. If you laugh at me I know Jesus smiles. I am free from the blood of you all. If you are damned for want of conversion, remember you are not damned for want of warning. YOU ARE GOSPEL-PROOF; and, if there is one place in hell deeper than another, God will order a gospel-despising Methodist to be put there. God convert you from lying a-bed in the morning! God convert you from conformity to the world! God convert you from lukewarmness! Do not get into a cursed antinomian way of thinking, and say, "I thank God, I have the root of the matter in me! I thank God, I was converted twenty or thirty years ago; and, though I can go to the public-house, and play at cards, yet, I am converted; for once in Christ, always in Christ." Whether you were converted formerly or not, you are perverted now. Would you have Jesus catch you napping, with your lamps untrimmed? Suffer the word of exhortation. I preach feelingly. I could be glad to preach till I preached myself dead, if God would convert you. I seldom sleep after three in the morning; and I pray every morning, "Lord, convert me, and make me a new creature today!" - George Whitefield