A Prevailing Power

John Owen from his A Display of Arminianism:

“The second part also may be reduced to these two heads:—First, Whether Christ did not make full satisfaction for all their sins for whom he died, and merited glory, or everlasting happiness, to be bestowed on them upon the performance of those conditions God should require? Secondly (which is the proper controversy I shall chiefly insist upon), Whether Christ did not procure for his own people a power to become the sons of God, merit and deserve at the hands of God for them, grace, faith, righteousness, and sanctification, whereby they may be enabled infallibly to perform the conditions of the new covenant, upon the which they shall be admitted to glory?” (A Display Of Arminianism, Ch. 9: “Of the death of Christ, and of the efficacy of his merits,” pp. 88-89, Old Paths Gospel Press; underlining mine).

John Owen articulates the damnable heresy of salvation conditioned on what God infallibly enables the sinner to do. This teaching of Owen posits the Holy Spirit enabling sinners to save themselves by meeting conditions instead of giving all the glory to Jesus Christ as the One who ALONE met the conditions. Instead of the elect being admitted to glory based SOLELY upon the preceptive and penal work of Jesus Christ (see Romans 10:5 and Galatians 3:10-14), Owen has the elect admitted to glory due to their being

“enabled infallibly to perform the conditions of the new covenant.”

Owen does not realize that faith is an immediate and inevitable FRUIT or RESULT of eternal life that Jesus Christ freely bestows on those for whom He died. Owen thinks that faith is a CONDITION rather than a FRUIT of salvation. Owen thinks this because, he, being

“ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish [his] own righteousness, did not submit to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Romans 10:3-4).

John Owen thinks the condition is “faith” when in reality the condition is a PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS that answers the inexorable demands of God’s law and justice. Since Owen is ignorant of the SOLE CONDITION being the PROPITIATING BLOOD and IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS of Jesus Christ in fulfilling God’s prescriptive and penal demands (Romans 10:5 and Galatians 3:10-14), he necessarily seeks to establish his own condition.

Owen’s teaching is that God “enables infallibly” the elect sinner to establish his own righteousness by meeting the condition of “faith.” Owen (and those who believe like him) may attempt to evade charge with the following self-righteous sophistry:

Although salvation itself is NOT freely bestowed, the condition upon which this salvation is suspended, IS freely bestowed.

For the heretical conditionalists the world over, that careful and curious qualification makes it all better. John Owen and those of like-mind submit NOT to the everlasting righteousness established by Jesus Christ, but to the righteousness that they are “enabled infallibly” to establish. Many Calvinists presume in Owen’s profanation of Jesus Christ’s blood and righteousness, a mighty and prevailing power that is able to overcome the truth of Romans 4:4, 10:3-4, and 11:6.

Owen’s soteriology — his Death of Death in the Death of Christ — is qualified (and thus nullified) with his word that Christ procures power to enable the performance of conditions, INSTEAD OF His penal and preceptive work on the cross being the SOLE condition.

“Little children, it is a last hour, and as you heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have risen up, from which you know that it is a last hour” (1 John 2:18).