Protestants frequently say that we need no longer do anything to be saved. They claim, for example, that Abraham was saved before he did anything. Then, the question is, what happened between Gen 12 and Gen 15 or 22, whichever you prefer as the point of Abraham’s justification? Was that just filler in the Old Testament? By no means! (Read more).
According to Heb 11:8,
Hebrews 11:8 King James Version (KJV)
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Abraham came to faith in Gen 12:1-4,
but according to Romans 4:3 he was not justified until Gen 15:6.
Romans 4:3King James Version (KJV)
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
And according to James 2:24, Abraham is further justified in Gen 22:1-18.
James 2:20-22King James Version (KJV)
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
So, it took a long time for Abraham to be justified.
But Scripture also says:
2 Corinthians 4:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
St. Paul says we are justified (i.e. renewed) day by day. That sounds like a long process. One that lasts a life time.
1 Samuel 13:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.
1 Samuel 16:13King James Version (KJV)
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
God justifies David twice in 1 Samuel.
2 Samuel 12:7-13 King James Version (KJV)
7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. 11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
Then he loses his justification when he sins by adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, then begs forgiveness and gets it back.
In the New Testament, all the Apostles and disciples were justified by Jesus Christ and then they fell away when He was arrested by the Jews. Then they came back when He rose again from the dead.
Yeah, it sounds to me like justification is a process. A lifetime process.
The Protestant doctrine of imputation is that God declares someone to be innocent who is not, in fact, innocent.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this what Protestants claim happened with Abraham when Scripture says?
6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Because, if Abraham was declared innocent when God declared him righteous, why is is that Abraham did not receive the promise?
Hebrews 11:39King James Version (KJV)
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
Nor was he made perfect:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
So, if the righteousness of Christ was “imputed” to him in Gen 15:6, why didn’t he go to heaven when he died? Why did he not receive the promise when he died?
Here’s why. Because the Spirit of Jesus Christ was not given until Christ died upon the Cross. That is why. Scripture says:
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Protestants proclaim to save themselves by their faith alone. God doesn’t make that proclamation. Protestants say that about themselves.
Here’s the difference. Protestants claim they are saved like Abraham. God saw his faith and credits him righteousness. Read that again. God sees his faith and credits him righteousness.
But God is out of the picture with Protestants. They claim faith and credit themselves righteousness. Abraham didn’t do that. Abraham didn’t say, “I’m saved by my faith alone! You’re not saved! And you’re not saved! But I’m saved!”
Abraham simply obeyed God because of his mighty faith. And Scripture says:
Rom 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Hebrews 12:22 King James Version (KJV)22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Gen 15:6 “He believed and it was credited to him as righteousness”,
“Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.”
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Hebrews 11:39New International Version (NIV)39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,
John 7:39 New International VersionBy this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.