Sunday, December 15, 2013
More on Pelagianism
With all the talk about heretics and false teachers/teachings on the Internet, I am surprised that no one has picked up on Pelagianism. Pelagianism is creeping into many areas of Christianity without notice. Yet, if someone disagrees with us doctrinally, we call them out and label them as heretics. I am puzzled by this. I am not going to go into all the doctrines of Pelagianism, but will summarize here what they believe in, so the rest of what I write will make sense; 1. They do not believe in original sin, 2. They believe a person can lose their salvation, 3. They believe a person is responsible for their sin, 4. They believe that salvation is two-fold- faith in the finished work of Christ and obeying the commandments. My personal opinion is that they are reacting to those who profess to be Christians who say that once we are saved, we can do whatever we want and still go to heaven. First of all, that kind of thinking is wrong. It's not Biblical. The Bible doesn't teach us that we can come to Christ in repentance and faith, then go out and do whatever we want. I almost can't imagine anyone really believing that doctrine, but since Paul had to deal with it in Romans 6, it really does happen. One thing I want to point out is that a Pelagian's understanding of what sin is, is different from what a Calvinist, for example, believes. The Bible teaches that sin comes from the heart. Here is what Jesus says about the things that defile a man, 'For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.These are what defile a person." Matthew 15:19,20 ESV Pelagians think that sin is the big bad things we do. They don't see the pride in their hearts as sin, so therefore they think they don't have sin. Or homosexuality. That, of course, would be sin. The thing that seems to be missing from both the Pelagians and those who would hold to the belief that a person could come to Christ in repentance and faith, then do whatever he or she wants and still be saved, is simply one thing; the new heart. When a person comes to Christ and is born again, he or she receives a new heart. Not just a new heart, but also the Holy Spirit lives inside now. The Holy Spirit gives the believer the power to live a Godly life. The new heart provides the desire to live a Godly life. If a person is very sick, and there is a special, expensive medicine that can make him well, and someone gives him that medicine, he is not going to take the medicine and pour it down the drain (unless something is seriously wrong with his mind!). No, he will prize this medicine. He will be grateful for it. He will use it wisely so it will work. He will protect it from being lost or stolen. This is normal behavior for something we cherish. If a person is truly saved, he or she will treasure the Gospel. We will be grateful for the Gospel and for what God has done for us when He sent His Son, 2,000 years ago to become the atonement for our sins. We will not treat this carelessly because it will be precious to us. Pelagians don't understand the value of the Gospel. They believe we are responsible for our sins. If we sin, we need to stop sinning (I am not saying we should continue in sin. We cannot deliver ourselves from sin.). If Pelagians are right, then we aren't able to come to God until we show that we are ready by cleaning up our act first, then come to God. Sure, we can clean up the outside of our cups, like the Pharisees did. This is what the Pelagians do. They clean up the outside of the cup, but they don't realize that the inside is what's dirty. God looks at our hearts. Man only sees the outside. That's why we need a new heart. So, today's lesson is simply that we need a new heart. Many Christians miss this concept and try to make up for it by being extra good or trying harder. Jesus lived a perfect life and died a death that we should have died. Our sin is that bad before God. God did what only God can do for us in our helpless state. We can't fix it. But yes, we can repent of our sins, and God will grant us repentance when we see the ugliness of our sin and turn to Him.