The Justification Transposition

Breaking Bad - Justification TranspositionIn the last post I shared some of my thoughts on the sequence of events in salvation. I compared these events to a chemical reaction in which a person that is condemned to death is transformed into a person that is reconciled and made alive.

Dead & Condemned → Alive & Reconciled

This process is started when grace is applied, giving us the Grace Reaction.

The last post also presented the chain reaction as it is understood in Reformed theology. That reaction looks like this:

Dead → Grace → Regeneration → Faith → Justification → Reconciliation

Examining the equation above we were left with the question: is it possible for someone to be born again (regenerated) prior to having their sins forgiven (justification)?

While the various aspects of salvation occur faster than the combustion of methane/oxygen (see video in last post), it can be helpful to slow things down and evaluate the steps based on their logical order.

Faith and Justification

There is little debate that faith logically precedes justification.  In Romans 4:1-5, Paul explains that Abraham was justified (credited as righteous) based on having faith. Continue reading

The Grace Reaction

Breaking Bad - Grace Reaction - EditA chemical reaction is a process that transforms the starting substances so that they have properties that are different than those prior to the reaction. These reactions can be graphically represented using a chemical equation.

As an example, methane and oxygen after the chemical reaction of combustion produces carbon dioxide and water. This is represented by the following equation:

CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O

The arrow in that equation represents numerous steps that occur before we end up with our two final products.

This is what that looks like:

Can you tell that school has started?

Interesting, but you might be wondering what this has to do with theology? Recently, I have been thinking through salvation, particularly on the sequence of events that allow a sinner condemned to death to experience reconciliation and new life. The more I thought on this, the more I started to see it as the Grace Reaction. Of course in theology this concept is more commonly known as the ordo salutis. Continue reading

Augustine Evolving Views on God’s Sovereignty (Part 2)

We have been examining Augustine’s changing views on faith, free will, and God’s sovereignty. His original views on these topics evolved from a synergistic model (where God and man cooperate in coming to faith) to a monergistic model (God alone causes man to come to faith) that became the foundation of Reformed theology.

In the last post we delved into Augustine’s interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:3-4 based on what he wrote in from The Spirit and the Letter, written in 412 AD.Saint_Augustine_Portrait

In summary:

  • free will was given to us by God when He created us. Our free will was able to choose between faith and unbelief.
  • God desires all the people He created to be saved, but this desire is constrained so that people maintain their ability to freely choose to be saved. Our consent is required in order for God to save us.
  • The reality that all people are not saved does not thwart God’s will since it is also His will that those who remain in unbelief will perish. Only those who remain in unbelief and escape the penalty would truly thwart God’s will.

Before we consider his revised interpretation using quotes and observations from the Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love written 10 years later, I want to address the idea that Augustine did in fact change his mind. Continue reading