Jun 12, 2012

Damned for not Believing Christ died for you - Nathaniel Holmes (1599-1678)

Here is an example of horrific false teachings among reformation era ministers. We find here the close relation of two false doctrines: Hypothetical Universal Redemption and Duty-Faith. Holmes implies that Christ died for every man's common nature and that men under the gospel are threatened and damned for not believing that Christ died for them. Hebrews 7:25 exposes this error in that Christ does not offer or intend to save anyone apart from His everlasting intercession. Notice, Holmes's consistent train of thought in running with duty-faith (duty-faith must make room for an offered universal atonement).

"For further clearing of what has been said, this question would be followed whether election and redemption are not somehow opposite? for election is expressed but of some, redemption is offered to all. To which we answer, though we touch on it afore. That though redemption itself, be in the first act larger than election: viz., in Christ dying in the common nature of man, not in that of angels, and thereby brings human nature near to salvation, than the common nature of angels, so that man’s nature in general, is saveable, where the wicked angels are not (“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham, Heb. 2:10, which is but the renewing of that covenant with Adam, Gen. 3:15). For otherwise men under the gospel, could not be justly damned for unbelief, but would be threatened for not believing a lie, namely that Christ died for them, when as in no sort he did. But this distinction of Christ’s dying for the common nature, solves that difficulty, shows what interest all men haver in Christ’s redemption, and the fault of them to whom it is made known, not in claiming it and closing with it. I say, though, in this first act, redemption seems of greater latitude than election, yet in the last and ultimate act they are equal; which is the last act is to make particular persons (that are only saveable in the common nature) to be actually saved in their particular persons, which is done by Christ’s special act of Mediatorship, viz., Intercession, John 17:20, “I pray for them which shall believe on me,” whereas the other saveability is done by Christ’s common act of mediatorship of making atonement by death. So that evenly to an hair2 those only that are elected, are effectually redeemed. For though in God’s election there be no necessary compulsion, yet there is in it a necessity of infallibility, of infallibility else God should not know what would befall his own purpose. Yet not compulsion, and, therefore, we must not charge upon election which belongs not to it. As that non-election does effect and force us out of salvation. We must not confound God’s decree, and the execution of his decree, or cut off the rest of the links of God’s predestination, namely, vocation, justification, conformation to Christ, &c., Rom. 8, from the first act of election choosing of some, and so on the contrary. For non-election cannot damn us, unless we refuse vocation, &c.3" -Nathaniel Holmes

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions