Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
The Glory Has Departed
Lutheran book boxes sent to two African seminaries -
In Part 1 of this short topical message series, this emeritus Christian pastor described as best he could (under the circumstances and time constraints) the false “Christian” teaching of “universal objective justification.” Hence, I will not repeat myself. Please access that topical message if you have a difficult time with understanding this Part 2:
First of all, the Universalist teaching of “objective justification” presents a false security. No matter what the behavior of the person; all is [supposedly] forgiven. Why [according to them]? Because all has been forgiven. Why has all been forgiven? Because Christ suffered and died and rose from the dead for the purpose of bringing forgiveness to all human [souls] beings. And, the Universalists think they have it all figured out how this forgiveness to everyone, is effected. Somehow they overlook what the blessed Christian Reformer, Martin Luther, stated in his explanation of the words of the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed:
“……..In which Christian Church He [the Holy Spirit] daily and richly forgives sins to me and all believers…….”
Remember Jesus encounter with Nicodemus in John 1:1-21 – in context? Being “born from above” just doesn’t entail Christian Conversion; it entails what comprises that conversion – “the forgiveness of sins!” And, what did Martin Luther say about “the forgiveness of sins?” He said:
“Where there is the forgiveness of sins; there is life and salvation.”
By being born from above by God, the Holy Spirit’s initiating activity; brings with that, the forgiveness of sins. Hence, genuine spiritual “life” is conveyed – the “salvation” of one’s soul; and heaven to come. [Titus 3:5] I quote from Luther’s Catechism [CPH – 1943]:
163. What is the work of the Holy Ghost?
The Holy Ghost sanctifies me, that is, He makes me holy, by bringing me to faith in Christ and by imparting to me the blessings of redemption (Sanctification in the wider sense includes everything that the Holy Ghost does in me.)
419 – But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
Universal objective justification’s false sense of spiritual security is fostered at a young age
When children are being taught in their Christian parochial schools the Universalist message; their behavior bends in the same direction. When they are disobedient to their parents; unruly; bully other classmates; - that, is okay. All is forgiven. No need to be sorry; no need to repent; not even a need to ask God for help in loving one’s neighbor. Only thing needed; that is, to be reminded of Christ’s all encompassing sacrifice for sin. Jesus died for all these untoward behaviors. Therefore, all is well! Children (and, for that matter), adults don’t need to feel bad; because they are already forgiven and acquitted of their sins against their fellowman. There is no need to experience contrite sorrow over sin as King David did over his sins, as expressed in various Psalms; especially Psalm 38:1f and 51:1f.
Secondly,the teaching of universal justification not only entails a false sense of security; it conveys afalse hope. Why? Because the emphasis to trust God, is removed. Rather, the [false] emphasis is on reminding oneself about what Christ did on the Cross – atoning for the world’s sins. It becomes a mental thing; not a faith and belief thing; not reliance upon God, Christ and His Holy Spirit, but reliance upon the work of remembering and assenting to the universal objective justification formula:
“Jesus died for my sin; I am therefore forgiven; there is no need to trust God; no need to fight the good fight of faith as the Apostle Paul did; because we are better than that 1st Century Neanderthal.”
Hence, the following Scripture means little to the universal objective justification enthusiast:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith……” - 2 Timothy 4:7
Third, for adults, personal faith is something unneeded. It’s easier to faithfully attend church services and be told that your sins are forgiven, partake of the Lord’s Supper; and go home. Why bother with trusting Christ throughout the week for even the most mundane details of one’s life? It’s so much easier to repeat the mantra Universalist formula that “Christ has forgiven me,” than to actually trust Christ, Himself.
Fourth, to the one who embraces universal objective justification, - that, belief in Christ’s Atonement to continually make one right with God, 24/7, becomes an automatic ritualistic rosary type of assurance. This ritualistic rosary type comfort does not engender personal belief and faith in Christ, but rather a non spiritual reliance upon formula. That formula is that “Jesus died for all my sins. Jesus takes all my sins away.” “Jesus died for all my sins. Jesus takes all my sins away.” “Jesus died for all my sins. Jesus takes all my sins away.”
However, this rosary ritualistic type of [false] assurance grasped by objective justification enthusiasts erodes the reliance upon the continued life giving Word of God. Jesus stated to his disciples:
"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." John 15:3
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, and then are ye my disciples indeed..." John 8:31
Jesus never stated that “if you continue in your particular belief regarding My crucifixion atonement, then are you my disciples indeed.” No, he did not. He would not. Christ desires that His disciples place their present and continuing trust in Him; not His past crucifixion death that was offered to all for the forgiveness of sins.
Furthermore, it has been my experience with some universal objective justification enthusiasts that they eventually end up accusing those who disagree with them, of being “synergistic.” In other words, that others and I believe and teach that a person can, in participation with God, affect one’s right standing with Him. They will even outright suggest and / or say that those who disagree with them, are attempting to help secure for themselves, their own right standing before God; forgiveness; and belief in Christ.
It is very difficult, if not impossible for universal objective justification theorists, to conceive that a person’s Christian faith is that person’s personal faith – and, at the same [paradoxical] time, totally the faith of Christ, imparted to that person, initiated and bestowed upon that soul, by God’s grace through the operation and power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:8;9 ; John 3:1-21
Finally, in summary, the objective justification belief detracts from theexercise of personal faith. Objective justification belief becomes to its enthusiastic follower disciples as those who claim that they’ve “made a decision for Christ.” Objective justification enthusiasts, like those who claim they made a decision for Christ, are as those who keep going back to the altar to recommit “their” decision to follow Christ. In essence “their” discipleship to Christ is not by God’s grace through faith; but, a one-way relationship with God, on the merits of their “good work” of reminding themselves that Christ’s sin sacrifice to bare the sins of the whole world is their entrance pass into heaven, regardless of faith.
To these hell-bent universal objective justification adherents, having the faith of Christ, is inconsequential; because they have replaced the order set by Scripture of grace through faith, alone. Instead, they supplant the grace of God through faith with their machination over-emphasis of God’s grace and Christ’s Atonement for all human sin at the expense and exercise of personal faith. They then, [sadly and pathetically] go on the warpath accusing those who believe in God’s grace through faith, of being anti-Scriptural; anti-Christian; and even anti-faith. Sometimes they are difficult to follow, as they become ambiguous and even blind to various Scriptures which don’t fit within the framework of their rationalistic presuppositions. Oftentimes, it is best to leave them alone.
Friend, - if you have been caught up in this false and destructive teaching of “universal objective justification; I pray that God, the Holy Spirit turn you from that destructive teaching which ends up insulting His Holy Spirit who is the author of saving faith. The reliance upon the teaching of universal objective justification not only insults the Third Person of the Trinity [Triune God], but this damning false notion and teaching molests genuine faith that only God the Holy Spirit can initiate and foster within the individual’s soul.
Finally, it is my continued hope and prayer that all you who would read and hear this message; that you would come to faith in Christ. That faith can only come about by His means; not some fixed and ritualistic doctrine of reminding oneself of Christ’s atonement sacrifice, and going through the prescribed weekly church service motions.
The Bible tell us that the faith required to rescue one’s soul from sin and eternal death comes by way of His written revelation. Don’t allow yourself and your family to be subject to a church service cycle of only being told you are the subject of Christ’s forgiveness; and, all will be well. That simplistic message is a half-truth. And, deception is best wrought when half-truths are employed and accepted; hook, line and sinker.