A Response to a Legalistic Arminian Rejection
The following is a response to the web page of the Alton Copeland: Pastor
of Church of God,
of the Doctrine of Eternal Security
located at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/4346/message2.html
who advocates a Legalistic Arminian position.
The red is a response by Steve Amato of the
Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
Eternal Security is one of the most prevalent false doctrines of today.
It causes men to believe that they can sin and live any way they please;
yet be saved and eternally secure.
There is a true security for the saints, but we must live right to
keep eternally secure. To be eternally secure we must stay in the
grace of God.
This is a misconception confusing Free Grace Theology
with the Biblical concept of Eternal Security. The distinctions of various
positions on these issues can be viewed at http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/fgospel.html
This is what I call Legalistic Arminian theology.
It is performance-based salvation contrary to the gospel.
"Now when a man works, his wages are not credited
to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not
work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as
righteousness." Romans 4:4,5
Consider the false teaching of eternal security. If this is true, a saved
man is no longer a free moral agent. The devil would be a fool to tempt
a man to sin, if after he was saved he was eternally secure and could not
backslide. There would be no reason for the devil to ever come around again.
He would be wasting his time. Man is still able to make choices after he
is saved. He is still able to choose whether or not to serve God.
Joshua said, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you
this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served
that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"
Here the presumption is that in order to be saved,
one must not sin. One must perfectly obey the commandments of Christ. This
is the concept of righteousness by the law that Paul often speaks of in
contrast to the righteousness which is of faith.
The Bible says in Genesis 3:24, that Adam and Eve were created in the
moral image and likeness of God; yet the commandment of God gave Adam the
power of choice. Through Adam's will, he chose to disobey God and he fell
from grace. We need to take heed that we do not fall. When we consider
these things, we see that there is no scriptural validity in the eternal
security that false religion teaches. Christ does not condone sin
in the saved, while condemning it in the unsaved. That is foolish
thinking. God will not condone sin in anyone.
The word "saint" means a holy person. God condemns sin in any individual,
regardless of what they profess, or who they are. If they are committing
willful transgressions, they are sinners and outside the grace of God.
As long as we cooperate with God and His plan, our salvation is eternally
secure. If we no longer follow the divine mind and plan of God, we are
not going to make heaven our home. This is a life of submission. We live
right whether we are at church or at home with our family. We do not act
differently when we are with the saints. God demands holiness all
of the time.
This again confirms that the author promotes the
idea that to be saved you can't sin. So logically, every time you sin,
you lose your salvation.
Whatever God demands, it is up to you and I to do it.
We should not be a hypocrite or a reproach to the church. We can be a hindrance
to others as well as ourselves spiritually. We have to be serious. If there
was ever a time when man needs to be serious and reign over sin, it is
the day in which we live. You must bring yourself under subjection. God
will give you the grace and power to hold steady and stay true. He
expects you to live as the Word of God teaches you to live, or you will
not go to Heaven.
Alton then follows with a list of verses that
he feels supports the Legalistic Arminian position.
This is righteousness by the law. To those who
hold this idea, I would ask the same as is asked in the New Testment: "DO
YOU PERFECTLY LIVE AS THE WORD OF GOD TEACHES?" If not, then according
to your own words "you will not go to heaven". These concepts are often
advocated by the self-righteous who lack the humility and conviction of
sin necessary to believe the gospel. They are like those of the "circumcision"
who add on to the requirements for salvation.
These I deal with in my eternal security study
guide at: http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/etsec.html
The basic mistake that such people make in
interpreting the Bible on this subject is to ignore the obvious contradition
between their performance-based salvation concept and the idea of eternal
life being a free gift. They end up with the idea that forgiveness of sins
is a free gift that you have to work for. Secondly, they fail to understand
the concept of the Perseverance of the Saints, which resolves the contradictions
The Berean Christian Bible Study