“The Lord is coming back for a bride without blemish or wrinkle not a whore.”
This quote was taken from a conversation I was having recently with a couple of Lordshippers who were priding themselves on their efforts to clean themselves up after justification. Oh sure, they didn’t phrase it that way. They said that unless one is progressively being sanctified, then one is not a Christian. They swore over and over that they weren’t teaching words religion, but when it came down to brass tacks, according to them, you need works if you’re going to get to heaven. Faith alone is not enough according to them.
What are these works that one needs in order to verify justification? Unclear, but they were sure that one needed works and less sin to confirm and verify justification.
This statement was made by one of them in response to the claim that salvation was by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
I find it amazing how sinners can point the finger at other sinners and assume that the sinner they are currently pointing the finger at is somehow more of a sinner than they are. Actually, it’s really not amazing at all, it is a product of spiritual blindness.
Seriously though, how can you ever look at sin tainted works and say to yourself “yeah, I’m saved.” I’m doing “better” therefore that must mean that God saved me. I’ll keep working to make sure though…” Or, “you teach Christ alone? You’re just looking to find an excuse to hang onto to your favorite sins.” Or, “what sins do you have in your life that you’re still trying to protect and hang onto.” Give me a break. As if you’re not a rotten sinner yourself. Now, I’m not making an excuse for sin, or suggesting that because we are sinners it is ok that we sin. What I am saying is that it is hypocritical to look at another person to accuse of them of perverse motives to continue in sin when that’s all you do as well-sin. No one ever loves God or neighbor perfectly. Guess what? That’s sin worthy of death. But Lordshippers never want to talk about that. They just want to talk about the big bad sins-homosexuality, murder and adultery. As if failing to love God perfectly is a small, over-lookable sin, and adultery is a big bad sin.
These guys clearly were unfamiliar with this text-“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV
Notice who is doing the action toward the church. It is Christ. He loved her; He gave Himself up for her; He sanctified her; He cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. To what end? So that HE can present her to Himself in splendor, without spot of blemish, spot or wrinkle, or any imperfections, that she might be holy before Him.
In light of this text, let’s revisit the quote above-“The Lord is coming back for a bride without blemish or wrinkle not a whore.” Who makes her without blemish or wrinkle? According to the text it is Christ. Nothing in there about cooperation with men. Nothing in there about men making efforts. Nothing in there about a partnership between Christ and His Bride. It’s all Christ and His work. Who makes her blameless and not a whore? It is Christ. Look at the benediction from Jude, a very similar text-
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”Jude 1:24-25 ESV
There it is again-it is Christ who presents the elect blameless before the presence of God.
My question to the progressive sanctification folks out there-does Jesus need help? The text makes it clear that it is His work alone that makes His Bride blameless and holy, and yet I hear all the time that unless you’re progressing in sanctification or holiness, that you’re not a believer.
Is what Jesus did at the cross deficient? Or is it like a starter pack? Something to get you started on your way to having your own righteousness? Is there something that His death didn’t do? If one is holy by imputation of righteousness and one is sanctified by the cross, how can one progress in these things? Did Jesus simply bring my account back to zero and now I need to put in good works? Does Jesus need me to help Him save me?
These are the questions that logically arise from the satanic doctrine of progressive sanctification. It is an attack on the gospel and an attack on the finished work of Christ. It is alleging that Christ did only enough to have God declare you righteous…by bringing your account to zero. Now, (with the help of the Spirit of course) you need to add to Christ’s work, and when you’re finally sanctified…then you’ll die and go to heaven. Friends, this is blasphemy.
Christ did it all! He did everything necessary to bring His chosen people to salvation. He never required their help. He never asked for their help. He never asked for their cooperation. He saved them by His atoning work on the cross.
The natural man cannot believe this. It is folly to him. He can’t get his mind around the idea that Christ did everything necessary to save His people with no input or cooperation from them. The reason for this is because he is dead in trespasses and sins. It is God who must make one alive in order to believe that Christ is the sole difference between life and death. It is God who must teach one the truth regarding what He has accomplished in Christ.
These progressive sanctification guys think they believe the gospel. They assume that they do. But they don’t. They believe a false, works based, conditional gospel where somewhere alone the chain, salvation is conditioned on something that they do or don’t do. That is the mark of an unbeliever-someone who still thinks that their salvation is a cooperation with God.
Indeed, it is possible and likely that the fallen unregenerate sinner will believe a false gospel requiring something from them to be saved. And it is within the capacity of the fallen human mind to believe a false gospel. What is not within the capacity of the fallen unregenerate mind is to believe the true gospel. It doesn’t matter if they can spout off the 5 points. It doesn’t matter if they call themselves Reformed. It doesn’t matter if they acknowledge the sovereignty of God in salvation. If they think that salvation is a cooperation between them and God at any level, they have not yet been converted.