Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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Monday, 20 April 2015

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible's article on Regeneration contradicts the Perseverance of the Saints

Within The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible article on Regeneration, the following paragraph is found: The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper reflect this twofold meaning of regeneration. The one is a rite of initiation, administered only once, as a sign of the new birth that happens only once. The other is a rite of nurture, signifying the way in which our souls are nourished and refreshed by feeding on Christ as the true food and drink of eternal life. It must be administered frequently, because the new life within us is still created, dependent life that will wane and die if not refueled and sustained.

The last sentence of this paragraph makes reference to the Believer's 'new life' waning and dying and needing to be refueled and sustained by the Lord's Supper to avoid this happening. The sentences states: It [ie. The Lord's Supper] must be administered frequently, because the new life within us is still created, dependent life that will wane and die if not refueled and sustained. [Emphasis mine]

There are two points worth considering from this statement:

1. This new life can wane and die. The 'new life', that a believer has, is life brought about by the sovereign, instantaneous, act of God. It is the life of God in the soul of man. It is life that the dead sinner previously didn't have, but now does have, as a result of the gracious work of God the Holy Ghost. The dead sinner has been born of God.

How then can this 'new life' wane and die in any circumstances? This is contrary to the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints? For the 'new life' to wane and die is Arminian theology, not Reformed theology.

It is worth remembering that the 'Perseverance of the Saints' depends, not on what the saint does, but entirely on what God has done and is doing. The 'Perseverance of the Saints' is a perseverance of God in His love and grace toward His people. It is never something which depends upon human power or activity.

Sadly, it is the case that true believers may, and do, fall into sin and backslide. In this sense the new life may 'wane'. But if truly born of God, and a partaker of the new life that is in Christ, that new life can never 'wane and die'.

2. The new life is dependent life. The 'new life' is identified earlier in this article with the work of the Holy Spirit. What exactly is this 'new life' dependent upon? Is the 'new life' dependent upon something in us or something we do? As it is divine life, surely it exists of itself. It is life created and supported by the Lord alone. Peter teaches that we are the partakers of the divine nature, Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, 2 Peter 1:4. In what sense then is it dependent life?

Is this 'new life' dependent upon the frequent observance of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper? It would seem so, to some degree, from the context of this statement in the Study Bible. This statement seems to be teaching that this 'new life' is dependent upon being refueled and sustained by the frequent administration of the sacrament.

The 'new life' is evidently dependent upon something, according to this statement. If not the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, then it must be something else. If this statement is not suggesting that the 'new life' is dependent upon the Lord's Supper, then what is the purpose of this sentence and its connection to the dependent 'new life'?

If the 'new life', in a regenerated sinner, is dependent on the sacrament, then, this is a form of sacramentalism? Protestants believe that the observance of the Lord's Supper is necessary only in the sense that is obligatory because it is commanded in Scripture. Not because the 'new life', which we possess by virtue of the new birth, is dependent upon the administration of this sacrament.

To say that the continued existence of the 'new life' is dependent upon a believer having the sacrament administered to them and being 'refueled' by it, in order to be sustained, is not accurate. This makes the continuance of the new life dependent upon what the saved sinner must do.

The Westminster Confession of Faith has a whole chapter on the Perseverance of the Saints. It is chapter 17: Of the Perseverance of the Saints:

Section I – They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

Section II – This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own freewill, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

Section III.–Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalise others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves
.

The 'new life' certainly needs nurtured, and that comes about by the means of grace, of which the Lord's Supper is one. But this 'new life' cannot die and is not sustained by the Lord's Supper. The thought of this new life waning and dying is horrendous to even contemplate!

Why therefore does The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible teach that it can?

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