When the Scriptures call you to the faith, they call you to believe that Jesus is your Savior.

Not just that He CAN Be your Savior.
Not just that He is the Savior of those who believe.

They call you to believe that Jesus ALREADY IS your Savior.
Jesus has forgiven the sins of the entire world. (John 1 and 3, 1 John 2). He is the Savior of all men (1 Tim 4:10) and has justified all men (Romans 5:18). This justification is received through faith (Romans 3).
Jesus desires the salvation of all (Ezekiel 33:11, Matthew 23:37), and wins salvation for all (Ephesians 2), but not all are saved.

There is a tension here.
The tension can't be resolved by saying Jesus didn't actually die for everyone or speaking of salvation as a possibility but not a reality. The tension can't be resolved by denying the plain meaning of the Scriptures.
It can only be resolved by recognizing a distinction that we Lutherans often refer to as objective justification vs. subjective justification.

In Christ's death and resurrection, all men are justified. They are declared innocent of sin in the eyes of God.
But this declaration is only received through faith. That is, we only possess the gift that Christ won for us through faith.
It's like the soldier who hides in a cave and cuts himself off from communication with his generals. When the peace treaty is signed, but he doesn't know about it, is the soldier still at war?

Objectively, no. The war is over.
But subjectively, for him, yes, the war is still being fought. He does not know he has peace, so the peace that exists does not belong to him.
So it is with us and God. The war is over. Jesus has objectively conquered Satan and destroyed our sins. All who believe receive this peace.

Those who don't believe don't.
We will see this on the Last Day.

Believers won't ask to be judged according to their works, but according to the merits of Christ. Unbelievers will demand to be judged according to their works.

This is the point of the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
And God will give each of them what they want.

He will judge believers according to the merits of Christ and declare them worthy of eternal life.

He will judge unbelievers according to their own works, show them that they have none, and condemn them.
In other words, unbelievers will demand to be treated as though Christ did not die for them. God will oblige. Believers will ask to receive the righteousness that has already been given to them. God will oblige.
But God giving unbelievers the no-merits-of-Jesus they want does not mean Jesus did not win salvation for them or that what He won was not quite salvation. The Bible says this as clearly as it says that all men are sinners.
In summary, Jesus has saved you. He has justified you and given you the right to dwell with Him in His kingdom forever.

Don't settle for a half-Gospel that tells you Jesus can be your Savior or that Jesus might be your Savior.

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More from @HansFiene

22 Mar
I'm a Lutheran, not an Evangelical. But from this outsider's perspective, it seems that the problem with "purity culture" in Evangelicalism is not actually with the idea of sexual purity itself but with Evangelicalism's Gospel anemia.
Guilt-ridden Christians need to get rid of their guilt. God gives them the Gospel and the Sacraments to do exactly that.
When your heart is grieved because of your sins, God wants you to look to your baptism where you were washed in the waters of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit and find peace in the forgiveness that still flows for you there.
Read 20 tweets
4 Mar
A quick thread: One of the better examples of neo-anti-nomianism in contemporary Lutheranism I've come across is the debate of what disqualifies a man from the office of the ministry. Here's how that debate goes.
I argue that men who have been caught up in public sin and scandal are disqualified from the ministry. Even if they have repented, the temporal consequences of their sin remain and they cannot be restored to the office, for the sake of the sheep.
Others argue that, because this man was repentant, he should be restored to the office of pastor. After all, if we won't restore him to that office, we're saying that his sins aren't really forgiven!
Read 9 tweets
4 Mar
To be a Christian is to believe God created countless stars and galaxies in order to make you His own child through the blood of Christ. It's to believe that, in God's eyes, you are the center of the universe.

Gentlemen, love your children in a way that makes this believable.
The saddest argument for atheism that I encounter is "how can you possibly believe that some big, powerful God created everything just to be with you?"

It's very easy for me to believe. It's just a bigger, more powerful version of how my dad loves me.
It's not a coincidence that men with a father shaped hole in their hearts frequently become atheists. They have fathers who abandoned their mothers, were unfaithful to them, were absent, or abusive.
Read 11 tweets
2 Mar
I see a lot of folks dunking on this. Matt is a polemicist, to be sure, but permit me to offer a few thoughts as a biological parent, foster parent, and adoptive parent. Let me start off with a few assertions.
1. There is always trauma and harm when a child is not raised by his biological father and mother.
2. The best way to minimize that trauma is to place a child into a household that offers him what he has lost--a loving father and mother.
3. Because single parent households or same-sex households cannot offer a child both a mother and father, they will not reduce trauma or benefit the child as much as a mother-father household.
Read 25 tweets
2 Mar
If you are not opposed to surrogacy, you are not a conservative.
I don't care what your position is on guns or foreign policy or blah blah blah.

If you think exploiting poor women by renting their wombs and then separating them from the child they bore is fine, you are opposed to conserving one of the most basic and sacred things of all.
If you see someone's else's body and/or genetic material as a commodity that can rent or purchase to manufacture the child you desire, you believe in dehumanization, not freedom.
Read 4 tweets
22 Feb
The "we need to stay in lockdown even after the vaccine" people are not driven by science. They're consumed by the crippling fear that comes from never having contemplated your own mortality.

And we need to take all of their cultural/political influence away.
I've said it before and will say it again. People who have made peace with the fact that they will one day die cannot share a society with those who haven't. We will destroy each other.
Fauci needs to be put into cultural exile. His disciples likewise. We cannot have a functioning society until the "oh no, there's a 10% chance that a vaccinated person might give a disease with a 90+% survival rate to someone" people are shamed into silence.
Read 4 tweets

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