‘He hath made us accepted in the beloved.’ Ephesians 1:6
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 3:21–4:8
The Arminians say our being accepted before God, if I understand it aright, is also an acceptance in our graces. This is the English of their doctrine of falling away. When a man walks worthily, God accepts him; if he walks sinfully, then God accepts him no more. Those of you who like this way of being accepted, may choose it; for my part, I feel there is nothing can ever satisfy the craving of my spirit but an acceptance which lies utterly and wholly out of me, and only and entirely in Christ Jesus. Why, brethren, we should be accepted one day and non-accepted the next; no, more, we might be accepted one minute and non-accepted the next. If it lay in anything whatever in our walk, or in our work, we should be in the covenant and out of the covenant fifty times a day. But I suppose the Arminians have a difference between sin and sin. Surely, they must have the old Romish distinction between venial and mortal sin; for if sin puts a man out of Christ, I wonder when he is in, since we are sinning day by day. Perhaps there is a certain quantity of sin required to do it; then that is only the old Romish dogma revived; some sins, mortal on the Arminian theory, so as to put a man out of grace, and other sins venial, so that they can keep in grace and sin too. I glory in my God that I know-
‘Once in Christ in Christ for ever,
Nothing from his love can sever.’
If my good works had put me into Christ, then my bad works might turn me out of him; but since he put me in when I was a sinner, vile and worthless, he will never take me out, though I am a sinner vile and worthless still.
For meditation: There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), because no one can draw them out of his hand (John 10:28–29; Romans 8:35,38–39) and he has promised never to drive them out (John 6:37).
Sermon no. 471
21 September (1862)