A Tale of Two Johns

John Calvin and John Wesley, of course!

Continuing on Spiritual Warfare, let us now turn to responsibility and consequences. With the outworking of life as a reflection of that warfare, and active actualization of the battle between principalities and saints, where does personal outcomes as a result of individual actions fit in?

The Reformed premise of saving grace is that it is not of us: ” For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8 (NASB). We can not save ourselves, even a little bit, so what implication does this have in living in the world after He has called us to Himself?

We have already seen that we are actively involved in the divine struggle. Looking at the principalities involved, and our human affinity for the world of Natural Man, if we do not subscribe to the Perserverance of the Saints (the P in TULIP), we are in big trouble indeed.

Those who know that salvation is not of ourselves, but of the Lord, also know from Scripture that “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand;” John 10:27-28 (NASB). Thus they can rest in the knowledge that in the ongoing battle they are safe in His arms for eternity, worldly outworking notwithstanding.

For those who take the Wesleyan view, and see a human role in salvation, and more importantly a human role in maintaining that state, there are big worries and loads of jeopardy.

Since we are born to sin, and for all intents and purposes can not help ourselves in this regard, requiring His quickening in order to consider the promise of salvation other than foolishness, then even once we are His how could we maintain that state if any of the responsibility was ours? Clearly we could not, and we would be in constant danger if the end should approach at the wrong moment.

Thankfully, it is all of Him alone (Solus Christus), through His Grace alone (Sola Gracia). Since His will can not be thwarted, we as believers shall preserver into Glory.

Now, does the fact that the Wesleyan does not believe this mean that he, once saved, is in any actual jeopardy? The Wesleyan would likely say yes, but the answer must of course be no.

To say yes one must assume that there is an ongoing battle in progress of the actual salvation and that the believer participates actively in its determination. This is clearly wrong.


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