Why Remain Amongst Them?
By Curt Wildy
True Christian faith does not amount to merely reading the Bible, even those portions that pertain to free and sovereign grace, and agreeing with it. True Christian faith is something that you experience by God’s grace, in light of the finished work of Christ, through the effectual working of the Spirit, in accordance with the Truth set forth in God’s word. True Christian faith is something that you work out, something that God works out in you, throughout your sojourn here in this wicked world. It is not simply about believing truth (in the sense of assenting to it); it is about living truth. One does not have true Christian faith because they logically assent to core biblical precepts; nor does one have true faith based upon some strong emotional experience(s) that lie apart from a God-given faith (a faith that is harmonious with vital scriptural truth), for the experience of the will-worshiper is mere delusion. True faith exists when Christ, who is True, manifests Himself in your life — throughout your life.
When we do that which is wrong, or fail to do that which is right, God is showing us our nature. He is showing us what we are in ourselves without him. Yet, when we do that which is good in His sight (and that, only by His grace) it is Christ Himself, manifesting Himself, in us. When we think of true love, long-suffering, compassion, forgiveness, mercy — we should never think of it as something that God merely gives to us, imparts to us, or enables us to do. When our light shines before men, it is not us that is shining but Christ – Our Light – shining in and through us. Whatever good we do in this world (though no good done by us seems good in our own sight), whatever good we do should be seen as our Lord manifesting Himself, His goodness, His holy attributes, in and through empty vessels. The Lord gets all of the glory, we get none. All of our glorying must lie in the fact that we, by His grace alone, have been given power to know and understand the Lord and to both behold and experience His great salvation.
A true Christian is one who has been experimentally emptied of self as it pertains to any hope of salvation. They are those who have received that which is most needful for truth faith – God-given, spiritual life! We read in John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” The word “power,” exousia, means “strength, ability, and authority;” it stems from the Greek word for “existence.” You must first be given spiritual existence, spiritual life, to have the strength, ability, and authority required to become (experimentally) the sons of God. Where does that life come from? That Life was both hid in Christ and it is Christ, even from before the world was. What is an initial evidence of this new life? What was the evidence throughout the New Testament and before? What is the evidence of life in a newborn or in any human being? The most basic evidence is true need. Those who truly followed the Lord needed Him! Where else could they go for forgiveness, mercy, and hope? Who else could they turn to for grace, peace, joy, and salvation? What other source would there be for spiritual food, drink, raiment, and security? They were emptied of self and thus they experientially needed HIM. What need does a corpse have? None whatsoever! But what need does one that is living have? The answer is obvious; they need everything required to sustain that life. For the Christian, that everything necessary is Christ Himself.
Now the degree to which a Christian experiences that felt sense of need may vary but they all feel it. At what time they feel that deep sense of need, and how often they felt it, may also vary — but they all feel it! How openly that need is displayed before others will vary (which is why we must never judge others based upon the ‘depth of their experience’) but God is in control of all. The Lord ordained that the woman with the alabaster box of ointment would have more of an open display of her need than Lydia had (at least as revealed in the Bible). The Philippian Jailor had more of an open display of his need than the Ethiopian Eunuch. Saul, after being blinded, had more of an open display of his need than James the Apostle had. We can rest assured, however, that they all knew their need — they all knew in their very (spiritually existing) being what they were by nature, what they deserved by nature, the righteousness of God in giving them what they naturally deserved, and the mercy and grace of God alone that would spare them from the wrath to come. Their mouths were stopped concerning what they could do to “get saved;” what decisions they made “for Christ,” what they chose to “let God do,” what ritual they must perform, etc. They were stripped of all works of mind, word, and deed and forced to look upon Christ, and Him alone, for everything necessary for their spiritual existence and well-being. In their heart, all Christians bow before the Lord, look to Him and His atoning work, and declare “in Him, and Him alone, lies my hope. I have done nothing and can do nothing, the Lord is my everything.” They desire that all praise and glory fall upon Christ Himself, wanting none of it to fall upon them, their sayings, their choosings, or their doings. They want no aspect of sinful self mixed with the perfection and beauty of Christ and His completed work.
But what of the Arminian? Does he know anything of this? Has he been emptied of false notions of creature strength and ability? Are they trusting purely in the Lord with no attempt to add to (which, in reality, is to detract from) His all-sufficient propitiatory work? Does the Arminian consistently say, “Lord, I have no strength to do anything good in and of myself; give me strength; if it be thy will, cause me to do that which is right in your sight?” Or does the Arminian speak often about what he has done for Christ, what God has done for him (usually in the temporal, material, emotional sense), what you must do to “get saved,” what you must do for God, and what you better not do if you want to “stay saved.” Is the empty “Oh Lord, help me Jesus” prayer concerning the cares of this world (the same cares shared by all mankind) anything like the cries for help that stem from a broken and contrite heart — one that has been given a true sight of their sin, combined with a small glimpse (albeit a nigh-overwhelming one) of the holiness and righteousness of God. Is the “Yes, thank you, Lord” of the will-worshiper for material or temporal “blessings,” relief over family problems, the victories of their favourite sports teams, etc., anything like the thankfulness that the true Christian has (or more accurately, has been given) which seeks to praise God — not just for the temporal benefits of this life but for that ‘O so great salvation’ that the Lord has bestowed upon us, in Christ (even those of us who least deserve it). Is our praise over His inner workings in us and His mighty work of redemption for us? Is our sorrow over the inner workings of lust and sin in us and the outward ills it begets amongst us? Can the Arminian truly identify with the experience of a true, quickened, child of God? Is his sorrow over sin sorrow for sinning against God or merely sorrow for letting himself and others down and sorrow over the consequences of said sin? I have never met a will-worshiper yet who can truly identify with the experience of saved sinners and I am utterly skeptical of those who profess grace and yet claim to have met such a one. I think it far more likely that they are too blind to true Christian experience to be able to judge rightly on such matters.
This leads us to the question how does a Christian walk with a will-worshiper? How does he unequally yoke himself in spiritual matters? How does he call another his father — thus, dishonouring his Father? How does he speak peace, peace where there is no peace? How does he see the sword coming, refrain from blowing the trumpet, fail to warn the deluded Arminian, and then not expect to have the will-worshipers’ blood on his hand? How does he further blind the freewiller in his error and expect to not fall into the same snare himself? The answer is simple, Christians (if they are true) do no such things. Christians can and will fall into sin. Christians can be inconsistent in many areas of their lives and understanding. Christians can err in many things. Yet, no Christian is going to confuse the Arminian idol with their own God. No Christian is going to sure-up the false refuges of those bound for hell. No Christian is going to deny their God by spiritually embracing those who hate Him. Some will cry, “what of Solomon, what of Peter, what of the faithful amongst the Galatians?” What of them? When looked at carefully, none of them embraced will-worshipers as fellow-saints in Christ. Although their particular transgressions were serious, they all repented of them; they did not continue on making excuses for them. They did not continue to lie to the wicked and say “it is well, it is well, with your soul.” So to point to Solomon, or to Paul, or to the Galatian (true) believers, etc. (as grounds for vile spiritual compromise) is to seek an excuse for wickedness that cannot be found! We are called to “come out of her my people;” there is no reason to remain amongst those modern-day Judaizers who are too blind to see the difference between the God of grace and the God of dead works. Sure we are to witness in love; sure we are to seek the best for those who (known or unbeknownst to them) have a need; but there comes a point wherein, if they will not abide sound doctrine, we must shake off the dust of our feet and move on. We are never called to stay in an ungodly assembly so that we can continue to witness to those therein; we are called to “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Remaining in a false church in the hopes of pulling some out with you will work about as well for you as it did for Lot when he was warned to flee Sodom. Are there exceptions? Quite possibly. However, the rule is clear and we should obey it. Leave wicked assemblies; the man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition — reject. This is biblical, this is right, and this is just. It is also loving and merciful for nothing done by man is more damning to a soul than helping another remain in their delusion by either lying to them or by continuing to give them the appearance that all is well (spiritually) with them, or between you and them. Warn once, warn twice, thereafter… why stay? Why remain amongst them?
Remember the initial point at the start of this post. The true Christian is one not by head-knowledge, not by mere doctrinal agreement, but by God-given faith preceded by God-given life and followed by a Spirit-wrought felt sense of spiritual need. Those who insist on staying in such churches; those who insist on embracing will-worshipers as brethren in Christ; those who continue to fortify the false refuges of false brethren, are those who have head-knowledge of grace; they can mimick the experiences of true saints, but they are utterly devoid of spiritual understanding. If they knew the True God, they would not religiously embrace those who hold to another. If they spiritually, and not just carnally, valued free and sovereign grace, they would not bid god speed to those who would trample it under their feet. This is not merely a matter of being “consistent” as some would erroneously argue; this is a matter of being faithful, by God’s grace, to Him, His people, and His word. There is no greater devil than those that come as angels of light and ministers of righteousness. There is none more vile than those who say peace, peace, where there is none. There is none so deceptive as those who come with a gospel, a “grace ministry,” so close to the truth that it can fool even the elect (for a season). But once the wolf in sheep’s clothing reveals himself to be a wolf — why would any Christian be foolish enough to embrace him as one of the sheep? It makes you wonder which is worse, the deceiver or those who are willingly, and unrepentantly, deceived. Heed God’s warning; do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Sit under no fool who cannot tell the difference between the Arminian idol and the True God! Sit under no vain babbler who will call the will-worshiper his “fellow brother in Christ” unto that will-worshipers eternal destruction.
To God be the glory!