The New Heaven and the New Earth Part 4
Repentance is a change of mind about Christ ( SGS 96, 99).2 In the context of the gospel invitation, repentance is just a synonym for faith ( SGS 97–99). No turning from sin is required for salvation ( SGS 99).
The whole of salvation, including faith, is a gift of God ( SGS 96). But faith might not last. A true Christian can completely cease believing ( SGS 141).
Saving faith is simply being convinced or giving credence to the truth of the gospel ( SGS 156). It is confidence that Christ can remove guilt and give eternal life, not a personal commitment to Him ( SGS 119).
Some spiritual fruit is inevitable in every Christian’s experience. The fruit, however, might not be visible to others ( SGS 45). Christians can even lapse into a state of permanent spiritual barrenness ( SGS 53–54).
Only the judicial aspects of salvation—such as justification, adoption, imputed righteousness, and positional sanctification—are guaranteed for believers in this life ( SGS 150–52). Practical sanctification and growth in grace require a postconversion act of dedication.3
Submission to Christ’s supreme authority as Lord is not germane to the saving transaction ( SGS 71–76). Neither dedication nor willingness to be dedicated to Christ are issues in salvation ( SGS 74). The news that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead is the complete gospel. Nothing else must be believed for salvation ( SGS 40–41).
Christians may fall into a state of lifelong carnality. A whole category of “carnal Christians”—born-again people who continuously live like the unsaved—exists in the church ( SGS 31, 59–66).
Disobedience and prolonged sin are no reason to doubt the reality of one’s faith ( SGS 48).
A believer may utterly forsake Christ and come to the point of not believing. God has guaranteed that He will not disown those who thus abandon the faith ( SGS 141). Those who have once believed are secure forever, even if they turn away ( SGS 143).
Repentance is not essential to the gospel message. In no sense is repentance related to saving faith ( AF 144–46).4
Faith is a human act, not a gift from God ( AF 219). It occurs in a decisive moment but does not necessarily continue ( AF xiv, 107). True faith can be subverted, be overthrown, collapse, or even turn to unbelief ( AF 111).
To “believe” unto salvation is to believe the facts of the gospel ( AF 37–39). “Trusting Jesus” means believing the “saving facts” about Him ( AF 39), and to believe those facts is to appropriate the gift of eternal life ( AF 40). Those who add any suggestion of commitment have departed from the New Testament idea of salvation ( AF 27).
Spiritual fruit is not guaranteed in the Christian life ( AF 73–75, 119). Some Christians spend their lives in a barren wasteland of defeat, confusion, and every kind of evil ( AF 119–25).
Heaven is guaranteed to believers ( AF 112) but Christian victory is not ( AF 118–19). One could even say “the saved” still need salvation ( AF 195–99). Christ offers a whole range of postconversion deliverance experiences to supply what Christians lack ( AF 196). But these other “salvations” all require the addition of human works, such as obedience, submission, and confession of Jesus as Lord ( AF 74, 119, 124–25, 196). Thus God is dependent to some degree on human effort in achieving deliverance from sin in this life ( AF 220).
Submission is not in any sense a condition for eternal life ( AF 172). “Calling on the Lord” means appealing to Him, not submitting to Him ( AF 193–95).
Nothing guarantees that a true Christian will love God ( AF 130–31). Salvation does not necessarily even place the sinner in a right relationship of harmonious fellowship with God ( AF 145–60).
If people are sure they believe, their faith must be genuine ( AF 31). All who claim Christ by faith as Savior—even those involved in serious or prolonged sin—should be assured that they belong to God come what may ( AF 32, 93–95). It is dangerous and destructive to question the salvation of professing Christians ( AF 18–19, 91–99). The New Testament writers never questioned the reality of their readers’ faith ( AF 98).
It is possible to experience a moment of faith that guarantees heaven for eternity ( AF 107), then to turn away permanently and live a life that is utterly barren of any spiritual fruit ( AF 118–19). Genuine believers might even cease to name the name of Christ or confess Christianity ( AF 111).
Those who will be redeemed and enter heaven are those who are dissatisfied with their hopeless, lost condition and crave God’s righteousness with every part of their being.
Spiritual thirst can never be slaked by what humans find, conquer, obtain, or desire. Rather, as a part of God’s being with us, he provides water from the fountain of the water of life; and no payment is sought—not because the water of life is of little value. Indeed, it is the only remedy to slake human spiritual thirst. But the price for this purchase has already been paid with the death of the Lamb, and consequently the water of life is now free to those who thirst for it.
But it is an insult to Christ, by no means to be endured, for a man to say, that the elect of God are saved by Him, provided they take diligent care of themselves. In this manner, that protection of Christ is rendered wholly precarious and doubtful; against which, however, Christ himself declares, that the devil and all the machinations of hell shall never prevail. Christ himself promised, that He would give eternal life unto all those that were given unto Him of the Father. And He testified, that He had been a safe keeper of them all up to the day on which He thus promised: and that ‘none of them was lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled.’ (John 17:2 and 12.) In another place He declares, that the elect of God are in his hands, and that no one shall pluck them out: because God is mightier than the whole world. If, then, eternal life is certain to all the elect; if no one can be plucked from the hand of Christ; if they can be torn away from Him by no violence, no desperateness of assault; if their salvation stands in the invincible might of God; what a brazen and audacious brow must Pighius possess, to attempt to shake such a certainty and security as this?
The new heaven and the new earth await believers and the final hell awaits resurrected unbelievers. For believers, it will be a universe of eternal happiness as they dwell forever in the glorious presence of God. For unbelievers, it will be a terrifying place of unbearable torment and unrelieved misery away from God’s presence (2 Thess. 1:9). The choices men and women make in this life determine in which of those realms they will live forever.