Sunday, February 1, 2015

Salvation Not By A "Personal Relationship" With Jesus

Most certainly sinners are not strictly saved by a "personal relationship" with Jesus (no "Oprah-like-relational-gospel" when it comes to salvation from sin) unless that relationship is truly grounded upon the finished work of Christ's blood-shedding death for sins upon the cross and his perfect obedience to the Law both of which are imputed by God to you, a condemned rebel and sinner. But then, if that were the case you would be extolling something very different, i.e. the amazing grace of God extended to you in the blood of Christ -- Jesus's perfect obedience to the Law in your place (of which Law you have fallen miserably short), his death-payment on the cross for your sinful violation of that Law, and his glorious resurrection from the grave -- securing your salvation from the wages of your sin. Yes, this would be your testimony rather than some emphasis on "a personal relationship" with him...
In a loud voice they were saying: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Rev. 5:12)
And they overcame [Satan] because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death. (Rev. 12:11)


  1. Richard Muller---"Use of the language of personal relationship with Jesus often indicates a qualitative loss of the traditional Reformation language of being justified by grace alone through faith in Christ and being, therefore, adopted as children of God in and through our graciously given union with Christ. Personal relationships come about through mutual interaction and thrive because of common interests. They are never or virtually never grounded on a forensic act such as that indicated in the doctrine of justification by faith apart from works – in fact personal relationships rest on a reciprocity of works or acts. The problem here is not the language itself: The problem is the way in which it can lead those who emphasize it to ignore the Reformation insight into the nature of justification and the character of believer’s relationship with God in Christ.

    Such language of personal relationship all too easily lends itself to an Arminian view of salvation as something accomplished largely by the believer in cooperation with God. A personal relationship is, of its very nature, a mutual relation, dependent on the activity – the works – of both parties. In addition, the use of this Arminian, affective language tends to obscure the fact that the Reformed tradition has its own indigenous relational and affective language and piety; a language and piety, moreover, that are bound closely to the Reformation principle of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. The Heidelberg Catechism provides us with a language of our “only comfort in life and in death” – that “I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ” (q. 1). “Belonging to Christ,” a phrase filled with piety and affect, retains the confession of grace alone through faith alone, particularly when its larger context in the other language of the catechism is taken to heart.

    (“How Many Points?” Calvin Theological Journal, Vol. 28 (1993): 425-33

  2. Faith in the gospel is not merely "evidence" of personal justification, because there has to be faith in the gospel before you personally are justified. The gospel is NOT that you personally are justified. The gospel is that NOT all sinners are justified but on "condition"---- at the same time, faith is not saying well i believe and then step two i find out if I am personally justified because involved in believing the gospel is believing the promise that those who personally believe are personally justified----this does not make believing a "condition"