Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Luke 13:3 and the Analogy of Faith

If there is such a thing as a timely salvation it is easily understood that there must be a timely judgment alongside of it. If evangelical faith and repentance are only meant to save us from temporary dangers then the failure to acquire them must usher in only a temporal condemnation from the Lord. It is for that very reason that the Primitive Baptist grid used to twist those passages in the Bible which teach some conditions or necessities for salvation must also give an answer to those passages which speak of judgment coming upon those who fail to meet them. These too must be understood in a temporal light.

Case and point is the judgment declared upon the Jews by Jesus in Luke 13:

"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (v.3)

It is the almost universal opinion within this system that no eternal threatening is under consideration in this passage. Jesus is impressing upon the people that if they feel to repent they shall experience some temporal damnation.

Matthew Henry writes on this passage (emphasis mine - KF):

"Some lay emphasis upon the word likewise, and apply it to the destruction that was coming upon the people of the Jews, and particularly upon Jerusalem, who were destroyed the Romans at the time of the passover, and so, like the Galileans, they had their blood mingled with their sacrifices; and many of them, both in Jerusalem and in other places, were destroyed by the fall of walls and buildings which were battered down about their ears, as those that died by the fall of the tower of Siloam. But certainly it looks further; except we repent, we shall perish eternally, as they perished out of this world."

Henry mentions how some view that the temporal destruction of the Jews at the hand of Romans is under consideration, but rightly asserts that it must be carried further than that. If we employ the simple rule of letting scripture interpret scripture, we will see how this is so. If it be true that repentance is not necessary for salvation, then there can be no other passages in God's Word which teach otherwise. In like manner, every passage which declares judgment upon the impenitent must be considered as speaking solely of temporal damnation. Applying the analogy of faith, let us see if such a position is feasible.

The Psalmist David records the attitude of God towards sin:

”God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors." (Ps. 7:11-12)

If repentance is not required for salvation, then one will find these words a mighty challenge. Since I know the heresy of conditional time salvation well, I know that there are but two alternatives to get around this passage, and that is to assert a temporal judgment is under consideration, or to assert that the unregenerate sinner must repent on the subconscious level. The latter is ridiculous, and is simply the consequence of following a grid which has gone to extremes at the thought of conditions, yet at times must surrender that there must atleast be some "subconscious conditions" for salvation, a point I have always found humorous.

As pertains the first alternative, can we imagine that David is informing us that if the regenerate elect who are not “converted” fail to repent, then they can be assured that God is whetting his “temporal sword” and has his “temporal bow” at the ready? No one doubts that God chastises His people but this is not under consideration here, for the passage is not directed to some fictional class of “unconverted regenerates” but the WICKED, which must necessarily refer of men in their fallen state. It is to the unregenerate sinner that these words are directed! Therefore, the wickeds’ turn from his way must be connected to that salvation which involves deliverance from that condition! Regeneration, which is when repentance is wrought (Jer. 31:19; Acts 11:18, Luke 15:17-20)!

The words of Paul to the Greeks at Athens also serves as a good supplement that Luke 13 is speaking of eternal judgment. He warns:

”And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

It is important to note how the Apostle does not say that God commands only his regenerate children to repent but rather all men, which is something in itself against the opposers of duty-faith. He speaks of a day in which God will judge the world in righteousness. What other purpose could the Apostle have in mentioning such a day if it were not for the express purpose of teaching that the failure to repent was to be declared guilty on this day? Will God punish temporally on the day of judgment? It is absolutely clear to one not completely blinded that the necessity of repentance is here demonstrated. The Primitives need to exchange the premise which says that all conditions should be dropped in the optional time salvation bucket for the Biblical teaching which says that whatsoever is required is provided (Compare Acts 5:31).

And then we have Romans 2 as our witness:

"But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:” (2:5-10)

Who can imagine that a temporal judgment is under consideration here when the Apostle’s business is to show in this portion of his letter that the whole world is guilty before God? Unless men are changed into such characters which obey righteousness and truth, then eternal wrath is their doom.

In light of these passages it is most evident that Luke 13:3 is no mere threatening only of temporary damnation. The analogy of faith will not allow it.

1 comment:

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Brother Kevin:

The use of the word "all" in the text is detrimental to the view that Christ has the A.D. 70 destruction in mind. All the unrepentant Jews did not die in the A.D. 70 destruction.

Further, the "perishing" cannot be simple death, for all come to this anyway, whether they repent or not.

Further, repentance is necessary for being forgiven of sins. "Repent ye therefore and convert that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refresing shall come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3: 19) The times of refreshing refer to what will take place when Christ returns.