Banner

"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Contributors

  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

    top250.jpg

    Community Websites

    Monergism Books on Facebook

    Blogroll

    Latest Posts

    Categories

    Archives

    Ministry Links

  • « The Importance of Jesus' Fulfilling All Righeousness For Us | Main | Why does God allow so much suffering and evil? »

    Sufficiency vs. Necessity

    The central difference between Reformed and non-Reformed theology is that the former affirms that Jesus Christ is SUFFICIENT to save to the uttermost while later believes that while Jesus is NECESSARY, but He is NOT SUFFICIENT. The Reformers never charged Rome of believing one could be saved apart from grace. That wasn't the debate. The debate of the Reformation was never ever about the necessity of grace, it was about the sufficiency of grace. Reformed Theology emphasizes more than anything else, the sufficiency of Christ in salvation. There is nothing more essential to its position and this is what sets it apart from other all other theologies.

    The word "sufficient", in this case, means that Jesus Christ meets all the conditions for us that are necessary for our salvation, not only some of the conditions. It further means what Jesus does for us on the cross meets all of God's requirements for us, including giving us the new heart which is needed to believe and obey (Ezekiel 36:26).

    Evangelicalism broadly believes in an insufficient Jesus whose love is conditional, that is, that we must first meet a condition if He will help/love us. Can you imagine a parent who saw their toddler run out into traffic and first required them to meet a condition before the parent would run out to save them from oncoming traffic? No, no, no... parental love is unconditional and would run out at the risk of their life to save the child regardless of the child's will at the time because the parent loves his child and knows better than the child what is good for him/her. If this is true about love in everyday life, how much more is it true of God. No person would say that the parent who required the child to first meet a condition was more loving. That is why the argument about the necessity of free will to have true love is fallacious. In the Bible, God gives conditions, but in Jesus He meets all the conditions for us.

    “God knows we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace he requires no more than he gives, but gives what he requires, and accepts what he gives.”
    ― Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed

    JWH

    Posted by John on December 16, 2012 12:42 PM

    Comments

    I love this post Brother John. I should have asked first for permission to post on my WordPress blog. If there is a problem, I would remove it immediately. Continue His Great Work, May He continue to always bless you and yours.

    Yes, great stuff. May I re-post as well?

    Hi, and thanks for your notes of encouragement. Feel free to post and it you could please cite the original source. Thanks and regards.

    John
    Monergism

    Thank you Brother John for allowing re-posts. I always give the source with an active link to the blogs or websites. God Bless,,

    I'll be passing the link along...as well as quotes.

    Richard Sibbes says "Evangelicalism broadly believes in an insufficient Jesus whose love is conditional, that is, that we must first meet a condition if He will help/love us. On the other hand D.A. Carson says "Onece God is in connection with his own people-usally this means he has entered into a covenant-based relationship with them-then his love is often presented as conditional". Contradictory statements between "Sufficiency vs. Necessity".

    Philip,

    Thanks for your input. The first quote is for those who have not come to faith in Christ and Carson's for those who have already come to faith.

    Let begin from there... God's electing love for his people is unconditional (Eph 1, 4, 5). He does not love us because we meet some condition. I am 100% certain Carson would agree with this. He saves us because Christ has met all the conditions for us. AFTER salvation there still are no conditions to maintain our just standing before God. So if by "love" Carson means that he no longer loves those he is in a covenant relationship with if we do something disobedient, then Carson is dead wrong.But I am sure this is not what he is saying. I have not seen the context.

    ON another note...the first quote is not by Richard Sibbes.

    U can check it in D.A. Carson's book 'The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story' in Pg 137.BakerBooks. After going thru it let me know. If Carson is wrong who is going to correct him is my question.

    U can check it in D.A. Carson's book 'The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God's Story' in Pg 137.BakerBooks. After going thru it let me know. If Carson is wrong who is going to correct him is my question.

    Hi Philip, I don't believe you've proven that Carson has contradicted himself, or worse yet contradicted the scriptures. For sake of argument (because I have not read the book with the quotation you've cited from him) let's say he did contradict the scriptures regarding Christ's sufficiency or necessity regarding salvation. Then he would be in error.

    Daniel

    U r not following my thoughts. what u want me to prove. please read the post by John. My point is "there no central difference between the reformed and non-reformed" factions. The quote I have taken from Carson five views on God's love is favouring the non-reformed faction. Their is nothing to prove Carson is worng by me. The reformed doctrine proves Carson is wrong. And I m not convinced by ur argument.

    I understood John's post as saying a difference between Reformed and non-Reformed folk regarding "soteriology" is sufficiency vs. necessity. Or if you'd like monergistic salvation vs. synergistic salvation.

    "Evangelicalism broadly believes in an insufficient Jesus whose love is conditional, that is, that we must first meet a condition if He will help/love us." John wrote this in regards to "salvation," nothing more nothing less.

    Non-Reformed doctrines of soteriology cannot agree with the statement that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone (sufficiency, not necessity) without being at odds with the core of what they say the believe regarding salvation. So there is definitely a difference.

    I don't care too much if the Reformed doctrine proves Carson wrong, but rather if the scriptures prove him wrong. There are a few issues where I'd likely be outside of the Reformed traditions as well and it's no biggie for me, as long as my conscious is bound by the scriptures.

    Post a comment

    Please enter the letter "z" in the field below: