Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 16, 2021

“How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified …?”

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 10:26-31.

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.  Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said:  “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.”  And again, THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Hebrews 10:26-31.

———————–

First of all, let us consider Scriptures that may help us understand what may be the nature of “sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth”, particularly because we know that we all do continue to sin.

“You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them.  But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD;  and that person shall be cut off from among his people.  Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off;  his guilt will be on him.’”  Numbers 15:29-31.

Thus, there is a distinction between sinning unintentionally and sinning “defiantly” by which he is “blaspheming the LORD” and “has despised the word of the LORD”.

This “blaspheming the LORD” reminds us of the following Scripture.  “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him;  but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.”  Luke 12:10.

“Though the wicked is shown favor,
He does not learn righteousness;
He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness,
And does not perceive the majesty of the LORD.” Isaiah 26:10.

The wicked may sit in the church pew next to the righteous and hear the same word of the LORD, and in this sense is “shown favor”, but the wicked does not perceive the majesty of the LORD nor the LORD’s zeal for His people. But, the righteous believes what the LORD has done for His people and are at peace. Consider the following Scripture which follows and which also includes such language of the fire which consumes (devours) God’s adversaries (enemies).

“11 O LORD, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it.
They see Your zeal for the people and are put to shame;
Indeed, fire will devour Your enemies.
12 LORD, You will establish peace for us,
Since You have also performed for us all our works.” Isaiah 26:11-12.

Finally, in considering what is meant by “sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth”, we are reminded:  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required”.

“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.  From everyone who has been given much, much will be required;  and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”  Luke 12:47-48.

WILL ARMINIANS BE SAVED?

I realize that even posing this question may seem arrogant to the reader, but even if this question is not expressed, many churches and leaders think that they are the keeper of the keys to heaven.  Each group tends to scoff at another group in front of them who they think are too liberal and let too many people think that they are in the kingdom, and yet they will criticize the group behind them as being too conservative and too strict and too narrow-minded and too not caring.  Each group on the spectrum thinks of themselves as moderate and true.  So, hopefully the reader will be patient with me.  

So then, will Arminians be saved?  As true Calvinists, our simple answer is “Yes, if they are God’s elect.”  But, Scripture says more, much more, and warns us of false prophets and misleading claims to be saved.  Scripture exhorts us to distinguish the good from the bad “by their fruits”.  See Matthew 7:15-23.

Because Scripture does not specifically include Arminian doctrine in any of its passages concerning doctrine, I can only give my opinion as to whether or not Arminians are saved.  Yet, I do think it is a good question to tackle.  We need to determine how important it is to believe in the doctrine of salvation best summarized by Calvinism.  Scripture warns us to not be complacent about our salvation, to “enter by the narrow gate”, so we will tackle this difficult question.  “AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS ARE SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?”  1 Peter 4:18.

I certainly think some (or maybe even many) Arminians will be saved.  There are some “Arminians” who may be taught but do not believe enough of the Arminian doctrine.  They may be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine,” as stated in Ephesians 4:14, but not “fall from the faith”.  I think I have been in this class in my travels between various Protestant churches where Arminianism was taught, and even today I struggle to avoid the subtle influences of Arminianism and stay true to Calvinism.  I struggle to avoid the temptation of seeking to be perfected by the flesh.  I struggle to hear with faith.  See Galatians 3:1-5.  Thus, I think that there are “Arminians” who believe or teach Arminianism from lack of understanding of Scripture but who, through God’s grace, will be refuted by knowledge of the truth and who will repent and come to the truth.

But, I also think that there are some Arminians who stubbornly believe or teach Arminianism in “vain worship of God” and are not truly saved.  They cling to “free will” and their own feelings of justice above Scripture and stubbornly hold to their belief that their God would not unconditionally elect certain people to salvation.  They cling to their own image of God that fits their own sense of “free will” and justice.  To the God revealed in Scripture, they declare:  “That is not the God I serve!”  

Thus, they meet the descriptions in Scriptures above by continuing to sin defiantly and by continuing to despise the word of the LORD which shows all that the LORD has done for His people including despising “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement”, “Irresistible Grace”, and “Preservation of the Saints” (also known as “Perseverance of the Saints”), the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

However, whether we are an Arminian or a Calvinist, Scripture does exhort us to not be complacent about salvation.  For one example, we are told to add moral qualities to our lives so that we “make certain His calling and choosing you”. 2 Peter 1:5-11.

But, we may claim that we love the Lord!  Will having a zeal for God be enough to be saved?  Paul states that for the Jews, zeal was not enough – “For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  Romans 10:2-3.

Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven;  …  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord’ did we not prophecy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”  Matthew 7:21-23.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14.

The point of the foregoing is to show that salvation is not easy.  We should not be complacent, certainly not as an Arminian, and not even as a Calvinist.  We should seek the truth and the soundest doctrine and follow all of Scripture with all of our mind, heart, and soul.

Proverbs 2:4-5 generally exhorts us to seek for wisdom as one would seek for silver.  If we are to so seek for wisdom with all of our heart, how much more should we seek the true doctrine of salvation with all of our heart!!! 

“4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:4-5.

Scripture does not tell us to be casual about our faith or doctrine.  Scripture does not use words like “moderation” or “tolerance” or “love and acceptance” for describing how we should handle doctrine.  Just the opposite, Scripture pounds the table repeatedly that we should seek God, love and serve Him, “with all of our mind, heart, and soul”. Deuteronomy 4:29:  “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”  (Emphasis added.)

We should seek the soundest doctrine as we would seek silver or hidden treasure.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46.

Consider the following stern warning!

“5 Thus says the LORD,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5-7.

Arminians will deny being like this man who trusts in mankind, but the Arminian trusts in his “free will” to be the determining factor as to whether or not he will be saved.  He chooses Christ through his “free will”.  He keeps his faith through “his free will”.  He turns away from the LORD of Scripture Who unconditionally elects and declares:  “That is not the God I serve!”

On the other hand, the Calvinist trusts in the LORD alone to handle all the points of salvation.  The Calvinist continually seeks the LORD and focuses on the LORD and His works.  Salvation is not a joint accomplishment between God and man to the Calvinist.  The Calvinist knows that if salvation was dependent even as little as 1% on himself, that he would not be saved.  He truly trusts in the LORD alone for his salvation and attributes his salvation to God’s grace alone.

I think today’s Scripture of Hebrews 10:26-31 applies to Arminians who steadfastly continue to hang on to Arminianism despite receiving knowledge of the truth of Calvinism.  They hang on to the false doctrine that Jesus died for everyone (“Universal Atonement” – The Third Point of Arminianism) and they love to speak about the power in Christ’s blood.  But, Arminians realize that their doctrine forces them to conclude that Christ’s blood (as they claim, shed for everyone) by itself did not save, “purchase”, or “redeem” anyone, because they admit that most people are not saved.  Arminians claim that it is up to man to generate his own faith through his own free will in order to make Christ’s blood effective to save.  They claim that the only difference between the saved and the unsaved is not Christ’s blood, because everyone gets the blood, but rather the only difference is whether or not a certain individual will generate his own faith through his own free will to make the blood effective.  According to this logic of these Arminians, man’s faith, not Christ’s blood, is the determining factor as to whether or not one will be saved.

Because Arminians talk about the blood all the time, it is true that in a sense they are trampling it, not in the sense of being hateful to it but in the sense of treating it as ineffective by itself, like the description in Matthew 5: 13:  “…if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

In contrast to the Arminians, there are those who did not receive the knowledge of truth as stated in Hebrews 10:26.  That person is not sanctified, so to speak, as is stated in Hebrews 10:29.  That person does not talk about the blood of Christ.  Rather, this Hebrews 10:26-31 Scripture is a special warning to those who received or were exposed to knowledge of the truth and were sanctified so to speak but nevertheless denied the power of the blood and insulted the Spirit of grace.  

Finally, think of a situation in which your father took you out to a very expensive dinner and even left the tip in addition.  However, you did not think that the tip was sufficient so you add your $5 to the tip.  Wouldn’t your father be insulted that you thought that what he did for you was not enough?  Likewise, Arminians insult God by their doctrine that believes that the blood of Christ is not enough, they feel that they must add their own tip of faith.  The Calvinist thinks of their own faith as a gift from God obtained by God’s elect through Christ’s blood;  the Arminian thinks that faith is their own gift to God which is necessary to secure salvation.

“3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
4 “Trust in the LORD forever,
For in God the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4.


Categories

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: