But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—witnessed by the law

Posted February 16, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: atonement, covenants

Tags: , , , ,

I deny that Adam was “under a covenant of works”. I don’t even say that Christ was “under a covenant of works”? For many Reformed Baptists, my denials are equivalent to saying that justified sinners are to be saved by their own works. At the least, they think denial of “the covenant of works” amounts to saying that God saves sinners without satisfying God’s law.

But here’s the problem with that “either/or” approach to those who deny “the covenant of works”. I do agree that Adam was under law. But I do not think Adam “could have earned life” from the law. I do think that Adam did earn death for all sinners. And I do think that Christ did earn life for all elect sinners. Many who teach “the covenant of works” argue that I can’t say that Christ earned life unless I agree that Adam “could have” earned life.

But here’s the thing I say that people on both sides of the “could Adam merit” question won’t say. I say that Christ earned life for the elect by Christ’s death. On one side, many like Norman Shepherd and John Murray deny that Adam could merit from the law, because they say Adam was under grace even before Adam’s sin. On the other side, many like Meredith Kline and Mark Karlberg deny that Christ could merit life from His death, because they insist that Christ only merited life “by keeping the law”

I do think that Christ kept the Mosaic law. As the person who is now both God and human, Christ keeping the Mosaic law was not optional for Christ. I am not saying that keeping the Mosaic law “qualified” Christ to save. But I am saying that Christ’s death (as the one who has now become also human) is what satisfied God’s law and earned all the blessings of salvation for all those in the new covenant (all those ever in the new covenant are elect).

I am not saying that Christ’s death satisfied “the covenant of works”. I am saying that Christ’s death satisfied God’s law. I don’t equate God’s law with “the covenant of works”. As a matter of fact, those who affirm “the covenant of works” also are not saying that Christ’s death satisfied “the covenant of works”. What they end up saying is that Christ keeping the Mosaic law is what satisfied “the covenant of works”. They say it was not Christ’s death but His acts of obedience (like circumcision) which satisfied “the covenant of works”. Throw in Christ’s water baptism and some other things Christ did (not commanded perhaps in the Mosaic law) and they think that’s the part that gets us to where we are saved not by our law-keeping but by Christ’s law-keeping. In any case, they keep telling us that Christ’s death was not enough to satisfy the “covenant of works” without Christ’s going back to do what Adam should have done. (Strange to say, what Adam should have done sounds like “Adam should have kept the Mosaic law”. But in this process, “the law” gets divided up into “substance and administration accident”, or into “moral vs ceremonial”)

if all this sounds way too complicated for you, ask yourselves what you think the “righteousness” is that God justifies to the elect. Is that righteousness Christ’s death or is that righteousness Christ’s law-keeping? If you don’t want to bother to answer that question, why go on so long about Christ’s righteousness imputed being the gospel?

Romans 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed

Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Romans 3:31 is often used to support “use of the moral substance of the Mosaic law” as the standard of conduct for justified Christians. But in context, Romans 3:21-31 is the clearest foundation possible for the doctrine of a definite (not only sovereign but also just) atonement, because Romans 3:31 teaches that Christ’s death was a law-work, a satisfaction of law for the sins of the elect. Christ’s death was a penal substitution, a propitiation. Propitiation means that the law must be faced. Paul’s gospel does not substitute one kind of righteousness for another kind of righteousness. The gospel is not about an “end-run” around the law. The righteousness of the gospel comes by Christ taking the law head-on, satisfying its curse by His death. But folks on both side of “the covenant of works” question don’t think Christ’s death is enough, and mostly on both sides they don’t talk about Christ having only died for the sins of the elect.

Romans 3: 21 But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—witnessed by the law

Paul cannot let the fact that the gospel is “apart from the law” as regards sinners and the law obscure the equally important truth that Christ’s death is a righteousness that satisfies law. Many Calvinists only talk about election and regeneration and not about Christ’s death as specific only for the elect. And even when most Calvinist talk about the extent of Christ’s death (for whom?), these Calvinists still explain Christ’s death only in terms of God’s sovereignty and NOT in terms of God’s justice. But the nature of Christ’s death under law is such that all for whom Christ DIED must in time be placed under grace and not under law. It would be UNJUST if any for whom Christ be in the end left under condemnation. But most Calvinists either deny or never teach that God imputed the specific sins of the elect to Christ.

I agree with John Owen—“No blessing can be given us for Christ’s sake, unless, in order of nature, Christ be first reckoned unto us… God’s reckoning Christ, in our present sense, is the imputing of Christ unto ungodly, unbelieving sinners for whom he died, so far as to account him theirs, and to bestow faith and grace upon them for his sake. This, then, I say, at the accomplishment of the appointed time, the Lord reckons, and accounts, and makes out his Son Christ, to such and such sinners, and for his sake gives them faith.”. 10:26

Galatians 3: 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— (Deuteronomy 21:23)

Christ is not only God but also human (and Jewish) The Sins of the elect were counted to Christ, then Christ paid the debt owed to the justice of God’s law, and Christ even paid to purchase faith and all other blessings for these elect

I hate to be put on either side of “the covenant of works” debate. Most of those now denying “the covenant of works” are saying that Christ was under grace so they can confuse law and grace for Christians. John Murray and Norman Shepherd have been followed up by Banner of Truth puritans like Mark Jones who tell us we need to pick a side—agree to the covenant of works, or say Christ was under grace. And then Jones (with others) says that Christ being under grace means being under both law and grace because law and grace are not opposites. And then Jones (with others) says that Christ being under both law and grace means that we also are under law and grace.

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/04/can-humans-merit-before-god-2.php

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/is-the-sanctification-of-a-christian-like-the-justification-of-christ/

Jones, p 21— “If Christ is our mediator, our union with him means not only that we must be holy (i.e., necessity), but also that we will be able to be like him (i.e., motive)… “Whatever grace we receive for our holiness first belonged to the Savior (John 1:16). There was a perfect synergy involved in Jesus’ human obedience and the Holy Spirit’s influence…Following this pattern, although man is completely passive at the moment of regeneration, he cooperates with God in sanctification.”

Mark Jones–Man exercises faith in order to receive the saving benefits of Christ’s works of impetration… Good works a necessary part of our perseverance in the faith in order to receive eternal life. Good works are consequent conditions of having been saved.

Nathan J. Langerak –What Mark Jones means by “consequent conditions” is that they are new conditions of salvation imposed on the saved person because the person is now saved. No benefits applied before faith is exercised? Is not faith itself applied before it is exercised? What about regeneration?”

https://rfpa.org/blogs/news/the-charge-of-antinomianism-3-against-an-unconditional-covenant

Mark Jones– Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2). Does this mean “favor” as many English translations suggest? Or should we translate the Greek as “grace”? God may be “gracious” to Jesus – not as though Jesus sinned – because God is gracious to his creatures. How much more to his beloved Son? God showed favor to his favorite Christ’s human nature was sanctified and filled with graces (Gal. 5:22).

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/04/merit-could-adam-merit-anythin.php

Bavinck: “If humans in general cannot have communion with God except by the Holy Spirit, then this applies even more powerfully to Christ’s human nature” (RD, 3:292).

Mark Jones explains that people like me (who deny Christ’s law-keeping imputed) are like

“Gataker and Vines, who used Anselm’s argument to reject the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Christ’s death was supererogatory and therefore his death merited eternal life. They argued Anselm’s point that Christ’s obedience is required, but his death is not required. But Goodwin argued that the Assembly must grant the assumption of the Anselmians that Christ, in his humanity, was obliged to fulfill the law. However, for Goodwin, Christ, as the God-man, had a unique dignity and so was not obliged to keep the law in the same way a creature is, especially since his law-keeping was voluntary.

Mark Jones—Daniel Featley also held that Christ’s hypostatical union meant that he was freed from the obligation of the law. True, Christ had a human nature, but he was not a human person. The dignity of the person, which in the case of Christ is infinite, alters his relationship to the law. As a result, Goodwin and Featley argued that since Christ was not obliged to obey the law but did so anyway, he must have been doing so on behalf of his people. Goodwin’s position was that Christ’s obedience to the law was not an ontological necessity but rather a functional necessity by virtue of Christ’s pretemporal agreement with the Father to fulfill the law on behalf of sinners. [“a non-indebted work”] Adam did not come freely, hence his obedience was “indebted,” unlike Christ’s, which was not indebted. Therefore the parallel breaks down at that point concerning merit between the two Adams.

Mark Jones–Merit must be something that is not owed: Christ freely came to obey in our place, hence it was not owed. Adam did not freely make the decision to place himself under the law of the covenant of works. Adam was upheld by the Spirit in the Garden, but it was not his Spirit. Merit should proceed from the powers of the one who deserves it: Christ relied upon his Father’s grace – the grace of the Holy Spirit – but, ontologically speaking, the will and essence of God are one, and therefore Christ’s merit proceeded “from the powers of the one who deserves it.” The rewards given to Christ for his meritorious obedience were of use to him because of the glory that would come to his name. God is jealous for his glory, so when Christ merited glory there was no threat of God sharing his glory. Finally, the rewards given to Christ are proportionate to the work he performed. Adam’s reward would have been far greater, assuming we say that Adam would have been granted heavenly life, than what he “worked for”.

Mark Jones—Adam’s obedience WAS MADE POSSIBLE not because he obeyed simply in his own strength, but also because Adam had assisting grace from God. William Ames argues that Adam persisted in the garden by grace and that “grace was not taken from him before he had sinned.” The acts were Adam’s, but that does not mean that he did not receive power from God

Mark McCulley asks—So Adam did not sin because God took away grace, because God took away grace because Adam sinned? This sounds like Arminius and Amyraut, like Wesley and Andrew Fuller.

Amyraut—“Sin seems to have changed not only the whole face of the universe, but even the entire design of the first creation, and if one may speak this way, seems to have induced to adopt new councels”

Mark Jones– Some Puritans were not altogether keen on the use of “works” and “grace” as the principal designations of these two covenants for the simple reason that “there was very much of Grace and Favor in both.” Personally, I don’t have a problem with the two-covenant schema described as a covenant of works and a covenant of grace, but we shouldn’t assume that the covenant of works was devoid of grace. Patrick Gillespie –Even though in the covenant of works the condition was obedience and the reward resulted from works, even that Covenant was a Covenant of Grace. God freely endued man with all the habits of Grace in perfection”
.
Mark Jones– What does Bryan Estelle mean by meritorious grounds”and how can fallen sinners merit anything, even corporately in relation to temporal blessings? Those who want to affirm “ex pacto merit” should, if they wish to maintain agreement with the Reformed orthodox of the seventeenth century, also be comfortable with (and perhaps insist upon) pre-Fall grace.

Mark Jones– “The definition of grace as God’s favor in the place of demerit is, I believe, wrong-headed because Christ received God’s grace. Christ was also endowed with the habits of grace in order to keep the terms of the covenant. In order to keep the Adam-Christ parallels, we must not abandon the concept of GRACE GIVEN THEM BOTH but actually affirm it. It has been a peculiar oddity that some assume that the parallels between the two Adams means that Adam could not have received the grace of God because Christ did not. But this view is based on the fatal assumption that God was not gracious to Christ in any sense.”

Mark McCulley—Mark Jones is saying that Christ was under grace, therefore it was not strict justice that satisfied God’s law by Christ’s death. Mark Jones is also saying that Adam was under grace, therefore grace failed Adam. I don’t know which one of these two statements is worse!

The gospel is not about an “end-run” around the law. The righteousness of the gospel comes by Christ taking the law head-on, satisfying its curse by His death. But folks on both sides of “the covenant of works” debate don’t think Christ’s death is enough, and mostly on both sides they don’t talk about Christ having only died for the sins of the elect.

Romans 3: 21 But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—witnessed by the law

Paul cannot let the fact that the gospel is “apart from the law” cancel out the equally important truth that Christ’s death is a righteousness that satisfies law. Romans 3:31 We uphold the law. Many Calvinists only talk about election and regeneration and not about Christ’s death as specific only for the elect. Most Calvinist talk who ever dare talk about the extent for whom Christ died still explain Christ’s death only in terms of God’s sovereignty and NOT in terms of God’s justice. But the nature of Christ’s death under law is such that all for whom Christ DIED must in time be placed under grace and not under law. it would be UNJUST if any for whom Christ be in the end left under condemnation. But most Calvinists either deny or never teach that God imputed the specific sins of the elect to Christ.

Romans 6:7 a person who has died is justified from sin… we died with Christ… we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. 11 So you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

https://jamesward.bandcamp.com/track/isaiah-53-he-shall-be-satisfied

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Resurrection is not Ascension to Heaven

Posted January 7, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: death, resurrection

Tags: , ,

John 3: 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.

Christ is there, and in that sense absent from here, and we are not there or going there.

John 5: 24 “I assure you: As many as who hear My word and believes Him who sent Me have the lasting life of the age to come and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.

This is passing from condemnation to justification.

Romans 6 explains how Christ Himself began in condemnation for the imputed sins of the elect, and then satisfied for those sins, and was vindicated and justified—now dead to sin and death.

John 5: 25 “I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And the Father has granted the Son the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

This is passing from being unable and unwilling to believe the gospel to being born (from above)
If we say “born again”, the contrast is between our first birth in corruption, with no will to believe God.

Christ Himself was born as “also human now”, but never born with any possibility of not believing or doing what God does or commands to be done.

John 5: 28 Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out—

Notice that the text does not say that only our bodies (or souls) come out of the graves. We ourselves come out of the graves, on the last Resurrection day, when Christ comes to earth again a second time.

Christ Himself was raised in this way, coming out of the grave, as the first-fruits of we who will come out of the graves on that last day.

I Corinthians 15: 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished…. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep

I Corinthians 15: 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death.

Romans 5: 17 Since by the one man’s trespass,DEATH reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18 So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation …., so also through one righteous act there is LIFE-GIVING justification… just as sin reigned in DEATH, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in the lasting LIFE of the age to come through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Those who have now already been justified NOW HAVE the lasting life of the age to come, but they do not yet have immortality. Those who are born condemned into this world include the elect, but none of them has been given the “second death” yet. Those who are justified will never be given the second death, but those who remain condemned will not only be ruined or excluded but will terminally die, permanently perish. John 3: 16 “For God gave His One and Only Son, so that as many as who believe in Him will NOT perish but have lasting life. John 3:36 the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God REMAINS on him.”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and to the ages.”

I Corinthians 15:45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

Romans 1 Paul a servant of Christ Jesus called to be an apostle set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Now Christ is seated in heaven (Acts 2:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:13). None of the justified elect are now in heaven.

Psalm 110:1–”The Lord says to my Lord; Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Except in their representative, the justified elect do not share God’s throne and do not sit at God’s right hand. The heavenly glory Christ had enjoyed in the Father’s presence before His incarnation has now been “crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death. (Hebrews 2:9)

Christ was first resurrected (the first-fruits) and then He ascended to heaven. Sitting there at the right hand, Christ does not simply wait but intercedes for the justified elect Romans 8:34–“What judge will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus who died, and more than that, was raised to life, who indeed is at the right hand of God, and who is pleading our cause?”

An ascent directly into heaven from the cross without a resurrection would be Plato’s pagan idea of death as the release of an immortal soul. But going to heaven is not resurrection. Gnostics teach going to heaven without resurrection. Gnostics teach that the only resurrection is going to heaven. Some of these gnostics are preterists, but most of them simply do not think straight about the need for the second coming of Christ.

They also hold onto unbiblical ideas about what “soul” is. Since they do not know that the living soul is body plus breath (Genesis 2:7), they tend to think of the “immortal soul” and they cannot deal with reality of Christ the servant pouring out His soul unto death (Isaiah 53). Since they change Christ’s death into “spiritual death”, they also tend to confuse Christ’s bodily resurrection with His ascension (“going to heaven.”)

Some “not going to think about it” preachers go so far as to say that Christ’s “spiritual death” (which some locate “in the time before time”) is the real and effective death. They say that the physical death is only a demonstration of that timeless before time “real spiritual” death. Other preachers do not go as far as that, but they prefer talking about Christ’s “infinite soul suffering” instead of the death Christ died in history which was demanded by God’s law for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ.

Acts 3:15–”You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead.

Ephesians 1:20 describes God’s mighty power “which He exercised in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and enthroned Him at His right hand in the heavenlies.” See also I Peter 1:21, 3:22; Ephesians 4:8-10; and I Timothy 3:16 (“He was taken up into glory”)

https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1116142239324

We are citizens of heaven who are not going to heaven, because heaven is coming here. Now we are a colony of heaven, with the law of Christ FROM heaven. To paraphrase George Steiner (My Unwritten Books, p 122): The Christian does well to keep a very loose relationship to any one place. If he is forced to resume his wondering, he will not regard this experience as a lamentable chastisement. It is also an opportunity. There is no society not worth exploring. And no nation not worth leaving if we need to. Exile means exodus, and new beginnings. Let us survive, if we survive, as guests among men. We will not kill them, but if they kill us, our hope is that the earth belongs to the Lord, and the Lord will resurrect us, even from death.

Updike, Self-consciousness, p 215—-Paul rejected the Gnostic idea that the resurrection had already taken place (II Tim 2:18) and in I Cor 15;14 rebuffed doubters within the early church—if Christ be not rise, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain, The church insisted no less firmly than modern materialism that the body is the person, and taught the resurrection of the dead.

Updike–If we picture the afterlife at all, it is heretically as the escape of something impalapable—the essential “I—from this corruptible flesh, occurring at the moment of death and not “at the last trump”. The thought of a long wait within the tomb afflicts us with claustrophobia and the fear of being lost forever. Where is our self during the long interval?. The winged heads on Puritan tombstones do not represent ascended angels but souls hovering in that abyss between death and resurrection. The idea that we sleep for centuries and centuries without a flicker of dream, while our bodies rot and turn to dust and the very stone marking out graves crumbles to nothing, is terrifying.

Updike–Every attempt to be specific about the afterlife, to conceive of it even the most general detail, appalls us. Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe. We cannot imagine a Second Coming that would not be cut down to size by the televised evening news.

The Priority of Christ’s Second Coming–Notes for a Watch Night New Year’s Eve

Posted January 6, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: resurrection

Tags: , ,

The apostle Paul’s desire was to be with Jesus not by dying but by the second coming of Jesus. Paul’s cry of “Maranatha!” (1 Cor. 16:22) echoes the closing prayer of Scripture, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20). “Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have the lasting life of the age to come , and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:40)

In the age of the old covenants, Christ’s people were looking for His first coming. In the new covenant, Christ’s people are looking for His second coming

We individual Christians are often separated from each other now. We don’t even know now many sinners who will be gathered with us one day in the body of Christ. But we know that all who are justified before God by Christ’s death will all be resurrected together when Jesus comes again

Acts 2:23 Though Jesus was handed over according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Jesus to a cross and kill Jesus. 24 God raised Jesus up, ending the pains of death….David says of Him:

I saw the Lord ever before me;
because He is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart was glad,
and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope,
27 because You will not leave me in Hades
or allow Your Holy One to see decay.

29 “I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David. David is both dead and buried, and David’s tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since David was a prophet, David knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing this in advance, David spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah:
He was not left in Hades,
and His flesh did not experience decay.
32 “God has resurrected this Jesus.

Hebrews 11: 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.

Hebrews 9: 26 now Christ has some one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, the judgment— 28 so also the Messiah, HAVING BEEN offered ONCE to bear the sins of many, will APPEAR A SECOND TIME, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

Jesus not only came to earth but became incarnate.
When Jesus comes again to earth, He will already be incarnate—is now and forever incarnate.

Is the second coming part of the gospel?
Can you deny the second coming and still believe the gospel?
Can you not know about the second coming and still believe the gospel?

I Corinthians 11:25 after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood.DO THIS, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, YOU SAY the Lord’s death UNTIL HE COMES

I Corinthians 15: 17 And if Christ has not already been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins and those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished…20 But Christ has already been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep….each in his own order–Christ, the first fruits. Afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ.

Romans 6: 5 Since we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death,we WILL certainly also be in the likeness of His RESURRECTION.

Romans 6: 8 Since we died with Christ, we believe that we WILL also live with Him,

Romans 8: 11 He who raised Christ from the dead WILL also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.

I John 3:2 We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.

Did Abraham believe a gospel in which the Messiah was coming to earth?

Or did Abraham only believe a promise about some of his children always owning the land?

John 8: 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?” 54 “If I glorify Myself,” Jesus answered, “My glory is nothing. My Father—you say about Him, ‘He is our God’—He is the One who glorifies Me.55 You’ve never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don’t know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he WOULD SEE MY DAY. Abraham saw my day and rejoiced.”

Abraham and Job and David maybe did NOT see the difference between Christ’s first and second coming?

Job 19: 25 But I know my living Redeemer,
and He will stand on the dust at last.
26 Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in[l] my flesh.
27 I will see Him myself;
my eyes will look at Him, and not as a stranger.

Luke 2:27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus,
Simeon took Jesus up in his arms, praised God, and said:
29 Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in PEACE as You promised.

34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed– 35 and a SWORD will pierce even you— the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”

Every king and politician has opposition, but this King has everybody (all of us) for His enemies—He reveals the thoughts of our hearts
Will Mary also be an enemy of Jesus? Or is the sword for Mary to see all His enemies?

Luke 2: 36 There was also a prophetess, Anna
Hannah, favored one….SHE WAS OF GREAT AGE, a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple complex, SERVING God night and day with FASTING AND PRAYERS. 38 At that very moment, she came up and began to THANK GOD and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the REDEMPTION OF JERUSALEM

Psalm 2: Why do the nations rebel
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand,
and the rulers conspire together
against the Lord and His Anointed One:
3 “Let us tear off their chains
and free ourselves from their restraints.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord ridicules them.
5 Then the Lord speaks to them in His anger
and terrifies them in His wrath:
6 “I have consecrated My King
on Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 I will declare the Lord’s decree:
He said to Me, “You are My Son;
today I have become Your Father.
8 Ask of Me,
and I will make the nations Your inheritance
and the ends of the earth Your possession

Psalm 22 But I am scorned and despised by people.
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me;
they sneer and shake their heads:
8 “He relies on the Lord.
let the Lord rescue him.”
9 You took me from the womb,
making me secure while at my mother’s breast.
10 I was given over to You at birth.
You have been my God from my mother’s womb.
Many bulls open their mouths against me—
lions, mauling and roaring.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are disjointed;
my heart is like wax,
melting within me.
15 My strength is dried up like baked clay;
my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You put me into the dust of death.
16 A gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones;
people look and stare at me.
18 They divided my garments among themselves,
and they cast lots for my clothing.

Psalm 110–This is the declaration of the Lord
to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand
until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

1. Jesus was not saved from dying, because Jesus did die. 2. Jesus was saved from death after Jesus died. 3. Jesus did not die spiritually. 4. Jesus never needed to be saved after “spiritually dying” 5. Jesus was saved THROUGH death.

Romans 6: 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised FROM THE DEAD, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all

1. Jesus died because of the sins of the elect imputed. 2 Jesus was not saved from having a human body. 3. Jesus was saved from being dead by His bodily resurrection

I Corinthians 15: 23 But each in his own order—Christ first, afterward at His coming those who belong to Christ.

The elect are justified through Christ’s death when God imputes that death to them.

Romans 4:25 died because of our sins, and raised because of our justification

If all the elect were not going to be justified, then Christ would not have been raised, but Romans 4:25 does not prove that all the elect have been justified

http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=65

2 Cor. 5:8, in context
1. The hope expressed in the context is that of resurrection (2 Cor. 4:14);
2. The “earthly tent” is our present mortal body (5:1a);
3. The “building from God” , the “lasting house in heaven” (5:1b) is our future resurrection body;
4. The clothing metaphor (2-4) elsewhere is used of the resurrection (1Cor. 15:53-54);
5. The “swallowing up” of the “mortal” by “life” (5) occurs at the resurrection (1Cor. 15:54);
6. It is in anticipation of this hope that we “groan” (2,4 c.f. Rom. 8:22f);
7. Paul’s use of such terms as “naked” (c.f. 1Cor. 15:36-27 with 42 and following) and “unclothed” describe the intermediate state and it is clear from the passage under consideration that Paul does not desire to be in this state (3,4) despite how Paul’s Greek contemporaries thought.

http://kenfortier.com/site/images/dickinson/XXXV%20No%2011.pdf

In 2 Corinthians 5 , Paul does not want “nakedness”. He wants the body from heaven, which is the resurrection body. And Paul’s not going to get that body until Jesus comes again. If Jesus does not come again, if there is no resurrection, then we would all perish.
I Corinthians 15: 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished

Until the day of Christ’s second coming arrives, dead Christians sleep, which means that they are dead. It does not mean that only their bodies are dead, because their minds are also dead until resurrection. Genesis 2:7 teaches that dust plus breath (life from God) results in a “living soul” ( a living person).

The one thief asked to be remembered (favored) on the last day, in paradise. But Jesus promised him that very day, that the thief would enter the kingdom on that day. It’s not only a matter of “moving the comma” but a matter of remembering where Jesus was when Jesus died that day. Acts 2 clearly tells us that Jesus was in Hades (Sheol, the grave), and so we need to think about what the thief asked and what Jesus answered.

Moses and Elijah were not alive at the Mount of Transfiguration—if they were, then there would be no need for Jesus to come again or for them to be raised from the dead. If Moses and Elijah did not have bodies, how could they be seen by the disciples? Was it a vision, or was it a separate resurrection so that Abraham and Moses do not have to wait for that day with the rest of us? (read Hebrews 11:39-40)

These two old songs are simply not biblical—
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there”

(The Old Rugged Cross) “Then He’ll call me some day, to my home far away….

Calvin—the conclusion usually drawn is, that believing souls were shut up in an intermediate state or prison, because Christ says that, by his ascension into heaven, the place will be prepared. But the answer is easy. This place is said to be prepared for the day of the resurrection; for by nature mankind are banished from the kingdom of God…. we will not enjoy this great blessing, until he come from heaven the second time. The condition of the fathers after death, therefore, is not here distinguished from ours.

https://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom35.iv.i.html

If Spiritual Death Would Save, No Need for the Birth of the Baby Jesus

Posted December 11, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: death

Tags: , , , ,

Hebrews 2: 14 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death Jesus would destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil— Jesus does not reach out to help any angels, but to help some of Abraham’s children . 17 Therefore, Jesus had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest to serve God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Mystery in the Bible is not something which has no explanation, Mystery in the Bible is information now revealed. What was not taught in the Abrahamic covenant about incarnation and imputation is now explained in the New Testament. John Owen–Believers were saved under the old covenants, but not by virtue of the old covenants. Sinners perished eternally under the old covenants, but by the curse of the original law to Adam. No man was ever saved but by virtue of the new covenant, and the mediation of Christ in that respect. http://andynaselli.com/carson-mystery-and-fulfillment

Peter Anders—The mystery of the incarnation is in the reality of the communication of attributes between the two distinct natures in the unity of the one person of Jesus. The trinitarian distinction is the conceptual key that opens the door for the understanding of God himself as freely relating to humanity in the incarnate person of Jesus. Jesus is the only mediator through which God and humanity meet in true solidarity. The more human we try to make God, the less we need the incarnation. But the more we acknowledge the radical otherness of God, through the affirmation of the divine impassibility, the more we will worship Jesus Christ who is the incarnation of God, God with us…

Smeaton, Atonement As Taught By Himself, p 78—The Son of God took sin upon Him, and bore it simultaneously with the taking of the flesh…Sin was borne by God, not alone in the sense of forbearance, but in such a sense that it was laid on the sin-bearer, to be expiated by the divine Son. Thus the Lamb of God appeared without inherent sin or taint of any kind, but never without the sin of others. The sin of man was not first imputed to Him or borne by Him when He hung on the cross, but in and with the assumption of man’s nature, or, more precisely, in and with His mission.

Smeaton–Because He bore sin, and was never seen without it, it may be affirmed that the mortality which was comprehended in the words, “Thou shalt surely die”—that is, all that was summed up in the wrath and curse of God,—was never really separated from Him. As the sin-bearer, He all through life discerned and felt the penal character of sin, the guilt, not personal, but as the surety could realize it, and the obligation to divine punishment for sins not His own, but made His own by an official action

The gospel teaches about and explains a glorious transfer, but that transfer is not a transfer of depravity. Christ was not imputed with the depravity of the elect, but with their guilt. Even though depravity is part of the punishment for imputed guilt, Christ was not imputed with depravity but with guilt. There are dangers to assuming that sin needs to be described as corruption instead of guilt, because our guilt is the cause of our inability and corruption. There is great error in describing “made sin” as the “spiritual death” of Christ. Christ did not become corrupt, and Christian do not become righteous by infusion or by imparting (one more extra nature ) but by God’s legal imputation. There is great danger in describing sovereign grace “salvation” as being born again. The elect become justified not by new birth but by means of Christ’s physical death—his blood poured out—his soul poured out.

Isaiah 53: Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he POURED OUT HIS SOUL UNTO DEATH
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Romans 8:3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. God condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh LIKE ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:3 teaches that it is God the Father who condemns sin in the flesh. While it was indeed in the flesh of his Son that God condemned sin but it was not only in his Son as incarnate, but in his Son as a sacrificial sin-offering.. God condemned sin by passing judgement on his Son.

Not all born in Adam stay in Adam
all chosen in Christ are born in Adam
not all born in Adam are chosen in Christ
some born in Adam stay in Adam
some born in Adam are justified in Christ

Romans 6 describes two legal states, one of which is “free from righteousness”. Christ’s death has not always been credited to elect sinners. Every elect sinner was once “free from righteousness”. God will not accept us into His presence based on something changed in us, not even something God has done in us. If we have not yet been legally justified by God, we are still “free from righteousness”. Romans 6 defines being in the “new man” (the new creation) in terms of God legally being placed into the death of Christ. Once God credits us Christ’s death, we sinners are justified before God.

Donald Macleod, Christ Crucified, IVP, 2014—Human nature after the cross remains as it was before the cross. If Christ healed our humanity by taking our humanity, then Christ was crucified by the very nature he had healed. According to some, Christcondemned sin by saying no to the flesh and living a life of perfect faith, worship and obedience. But this would mean that the condemnation of sin did not take place on the cross

Tobias Crisp—Had Christ not made a full satisfaction to the Father, Christ himself must have perished under those sins that Christ did bear; but in that Christ went through the thing, and paid the full price, as Christ carried those sins away from us, so Christ laid those sins down from himself. So that now Christ is freed from sin, and we are freed from sin in him. Christ was freed from sin imputed unto him and laid upon him, when Christ died. We were freed from sin as Christ takes our sins off from our shoulders, and has carried them away. “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden.” That is, with sin. And what follows? “AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.” As long as the guilt of sin is upon the shoulders, so long there is no rest. Therefore this doth necessarily import, that Christ must take away the power of the guilt of sin before the law, in order that we have rest. Christ Alone Exalted, Volume 1,

Tobias Crisp–Iniquity is laid on Christ, as well as the punishment of iniquity; “He was made sin for us.” Sin is a debt, Christ is a surety. The debt of sin, as Christ is a surety, is as really Christ’s, though not his own contracted, AS IF Christ had really contracted it himself– Sins his own by imputation; so legally and really Christ’s own, that God will not impute these sins imputed to Christ unto others ” 2 Corinthians 5:19. Christ Alone Exalted, Volume 2, page 20

Letham–Christ’s humanity was NOT entirely like ours. Christ does not identify with us to the extent of being himself a sinner. Christ has a peculiar distance from our own performance, does not follow our path, and always has an “estrangement from us”. Some Scholars oppose the idea that Christ took into union a nature like Adam’s before the fall. However, this is not the only alternative. Christ lived in a state of humiliation, sinless and righteous but with a nature bearing the consequences of the fall in its mortality, its vulnerability and its suffering—but not fallen. Furthermore, the NT witness is that the incarnation is a new creation, the start of the new humanity, not a reform of the old. Christ is the second Adam, not the first.

http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/review/the-incarnation-of-god-mystery-of-gospel-foundation-of-evangelical-theology

If Jesus died spiritually, then Jesus Needed to be Regenerated. But Jesus was not born in order to be regenerated. Jesus was born to die for the sins of the elect and be resurrected. Jesus did not become corrupt when Jesus was born. Jesus did not need to be born again after Jesus was born.

Jesus, like the Old Testament types, offered His BODY as a sacrifice: Who his own self bare our sins IN HIS OWN BODY on the tree. (I Pet. 2:24).

Being put to death IN THE FLESH, Jesus was quickened by the Spirit (I Peter 3:18).

Christ hath suffered for us IN THE FLESH. (I Peter. 4:1).

And you…has He reconciled IN THE BODY OF HIS FLESH through death (Colossians 1:21-22).

I am the living bread which came down from heaven…and the bread that I will give is MY FLESH, which I will give for the life of the world (John 6:51).

we are sanctified through the offering of the BODY OF JESUS once for all time (Hebrews 10:10).

“Destroy this temple, and in three day I will raise it up,” we are informed that”…he spake of the TEMPLE OF HIS BODY” (John 2:19-21).

“This is my BODY which is given for you” (Luke 22:19)

But many famous people continue to teach us that it’s really the “spiritual death” of Jesus which saves. Calvin was one of these people.

Calvin—Nothing had been done if Christ had only endured corporeal death. In order to interpose between us and God’s anger, and satisfy his righteous judgment, it was necessary that he should feel the weight of divine vengeance. Whence also it was necessary that he should engage, as it were, at close quarters with the powers of hell and the horrors of eternal death…Hence he descended to hell, seeing he endured the death which is inflicted on the wicked by an angry God. It is ridiculous to object that in this way the order is perverted, it being absurd that an event which preceded burial should be placed after it. But after explaining what Christ endured in the sight of man, the Creed appropriately adds the invisible and incomprehensible judgment which Christ endured before God, to teach us that not only was the body of Christ given up as the price of redemption, but that there was a greater and more excellent price—that he BORE IN HIS SOUL THE TORTURES of condemned and ruined man. (“Institutes of the Christian Religion.” Book 3:Chapter 16.)

Prosperity teacher Kenneth Hagen—Physical death would not save you from your sins. When Jesus tasted death for every man, that’s spiritual death.

Word of Faith teacher Kenneth Copeland: “Jesus did not pay for your sins on the cross. He paid for your sins in hell. His going to hell paid for your sins.” The idea is that Jesus must live in hell for a while in order to die “spiritual death” to pay for sins which were not paid for by His physical death on the cross.

John Piper– “My God, my God”, it is what takes place in THIS MOMENT that delivers us from hell. This agony, this scream, is what delivers all those who turn from their sin and trust On the cross, Jesus experienced hell for all of us. And because He did, Heaven awaits all those who turn from their sin and trust in Him. He screamed the ‘scream of the damned’ [i.e., “forsaken me”] for us. Listen, this scream should should have been my eternal scream.” Resolved Conference 2008. Session 11 – The Cry From the Cross. Min 46:35)

If Jesus completed the atonement by “spiritual death” before Jesus died, then why did Jesus die? If you deny that Jesus’ death atoned for sins, then your mistake is just as important, whether you relocate the atoning work to some period of suffering before the death of Jesus or to some period of Jesus living in torment after his death. Either way, you’re saying that the death of Christ did not atone for sin, and by inference that means that the conception, the birth, the incarnation of Jesus did not matter.

We can learn many things about the mystery reveled in the new covenant from the nature of the Old Testament sacrifices. The essential requirement for a sin-offering was that it had to be pure and sinless in order for God to accept it as a suitable substitute. The sin-offerings remained even in death MOST HOLY to God. Jesus knew no sin. Jesus became sin legally by imputation, but Jesus did not become unclean nor did Jesus commit any sins of His own. Teaching that Christ Himself became a sinner or needed to be born again is NOT teaching the fulfilling or satisfying of the law but instead it’s trying to bypass the law. It’s trying to ignore the law and calling that ignoring the law grace and atonement.

“If there were no distinction between the nature of corrupt man and original sin, it must follow that Christ either did not assume our nature, because He did not assume sin, or that, because He assumed our nature, He also assumed sin. Both of these ideas are contrary to the Scriptures. Inasmuch as the Son of God assumed our nature, and not original sin, it is clear from this fact that human nature, even since the Fall, and original sin, are not one and the same thing, but must be distinguished. (Lutheran Solid Declaration )

Erich Phillips explains the heresy in Christology which teaches Christ himself was as sinner. ,—Paulson interprets the communicatio idiomatum not as God the Son sharing in human nature, but sharing in human sin (92). He interprets the Patristic dictum, “What was not assumed cannot be healed,” in the same willfully twisted way: “what Christ assumes from sinners is their sin” (103). As if I wanted my sin to be healed! No, I want to be healed of my sin! That is what the dictum actually means. How could Christ make a fitting sacrifice of Himself, if taking Human Nature meant taking Original Sin? Paulson’s result is nothing short of appalling. How did Jesus save us? By breaking the Law Himself: Christ goes deeper yet into flesh to take our sin and acknowledged sins as his own, that is, he confessed them. This is like a man whose son has committed a crime, and out of selfless love the father steps in to take the punishment, but then goes so far that he irrationally comes to confess this crime so vehemently that he believes he has committed it—and as Luther famously said, “as you believe, so it is.” …

Paulson teaches that Christ came to believe that his Father was not pleased with him, thus multiplying sin in himself just like any other sinner who does not trust a promise from God. …Then finally in the words on the cross, “My God, my God…” Paulson teaches that Christ made the public confession of a sinner, “why have you forsaken me?” Confessing made it so, and thus Paulson teaches that Christ committed his own, personal sin Paulson—-Christ felt God’s wrath and took that experience as something truer than God’s own word of promise to him (“This is My Son, with whom I am well pleased”). Christ committed his own, personal sin.”(104) That’s exactly how Paulson defines Original Sin in another part of the book: “It is to receive a word from God in the form of a promise, and then to accuse God of withholding something of himself—calling God a liar” (152). (Paulson defines sin as against grace, not as sin against law.)

Erick Phillips asks–And how is this supposed to work salvation for sinners, that the spotless Lamb should join them in the mud? Paulson argues that by identifying so deeply with human beings as to take their sin and actually experience the act of sin, that Christ confessed not just that He was a sinner, but that He was every sinner, the only sinner. The result of this confession, for some reason, was that “once the Law accused Christ, it looked around and found no other sin anywhere in the world and suddenly, unexpectedly, when Christ was crucified, its proper work came to a halt” (110). It is not clear at all by what principle this works. It seems a bizarre and inadequate theory to prefer to the Substitutionary Atonement, but this is what Paulson means when he says that Christ “fulfilled the law

http://pseudepigraph.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Paulson-Review-E.-Phillips.pdf

Romans 16: 25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long AGES 26 but has NOW been disclosed

I Corinthians 15:51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, THEN shall come to pass the saying that is written:

Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O grave, where is your victory?
O Hades, where is your sting
56 Now the sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.

Christ’s becoming incarnate (still to this day) did not mean becoming corrupt or unbelieving or sinful. Christ’s becoming incarnate was for the purpose of the imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ and then Christ’s one time historical death as satisfaction for those sins. Us becoming justified before God does not mean our becoming regenerate members of Christ’s body. The elect becoming justified means becoming legally dead to the power of the law in terms of the power of guilt

Donald Macleod–We may say that Christ died as our representative, our surety and our substitute, but the only fact that can explain the substitution itself is that we and He were federally one. The Father gave us to Him; He (voluntarily and willingly) accepted us; and He kept us and saved us. In the mystery of eternal communion with the Father and the Spirit the Son took full responsibility for the sins of His/Their people; undertook to answer for them and to do all that their remission required.
The whole point of the sacrifice of Christ is to lay a foundation for the intercession. This means that the primary movement of the atonement must be God-ward. If Christ’s intercession is God-ward (1 John 2:1) then the hilasmos on which it is based must be God-ward as well. This is fatal to all subjective theories of the atonement. The Intercessor seeks God (in accordance, of course, with the Father’s own eternal predisposition) to forgive the sins of which His people stand accused; to provide for their needs; and to receive their praise.

None of this is compatible with the idea of an intercession or atonement of which the purpose is to change us; or, more precisely, to change our views of the divine character.The Liberal argument is fatal to its own cause. If God is prepared to forgive us only on condition that we change our minds about His character, what kind of God is God? What kind of Judge is God: one whose final verdict and sentence depend on what the accused think of God?

The orthodox doctrine was moral at its very core: forgiveness must be grounded in equity, and equity is secured by the vicarious death of Christ. But if the structures of the moral universe presented no impediment to remission – if it was simply a matter of the divine sovereign will – then it was unspeakably churlish of the Almighty to require any kind of atonement: particularly an atonement which had as its object changing men’s minds about Himself.

Reduced to its basic point , the Abelardian view amounts to `Love me: or else!’

The incarnation and Death of Christ was an outrage! Why did the wrath of God abide on the Sinless One? on God’s only Son? How could God’s wrath result in death elsewhere than where God’s wrath is deserved?

`If God the Son could or needed to turn the mind of the Father, then God is not of one mind, and neither are the Son and the Father one.’ The atoning death is the result of God’s love, not the cause of God’s love.

Remission of sins is the removal of guilt, criminality and blameworthiness—-`a position and relation towards God in which His wrath would be undue, unrighteous, impossible.’ This is the position of the justified sinner. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, the justified sinner is not merely `let off’. In Christ, the moral universe has no more right to strike the justified sinner down that it has to topple the Almighty from His throne.

The Moral Influence Theory (that Christ died to impress upon us a sense of the divine love) and the Rectoral Theory (that Christ died to cause us to experience a sense of divine justice) are, both of them, false as explanations of the way that the death of Christ actually atones. The death of Christ atones by its God-ward effect.

http://www.donaldmacleod.org/?p=166

The Priority of Christ’s Death

Posted November 12, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: atonement, baptism, election, union with Christ

Tags: , , , ,

Why do I keep writing each month on this blog? Why do I care? What’s it really about? What I most care about is God imputing elect sinners with Christ’s death. To me, all my contention is not only about “justification priority”. It all comes down, for me, to “atonement priority”.

Yes, I am against “ecclesiology” becoming the gospel (whether it’s NT Wright or Carl Truman dismissing the “Zwinglians”) But my basic concern is that Christ’s atoning death is outside us sinners. Atonement is not what happens in us experimentally. God’s imputation of Christ’s atonement is not the atonement. The gospel is first of all about Christ’s death for the sins of the elect imputed. If it’s not about that, it’s not the gospel. I object to any idea that we believe in Christ “as a person” without knowing something about the nature of Christ’s atonement. I object to the “experimental” focus on “more and more heartfelt trust” because that “in me” displaces the good news about the the success of Christ’s death.

The atonement has to be defined.—propitiatory offering, satisfaction of God’s law

WCF—“The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice of himself, which he, through the eternal Spirit, ONCE OFFERED UP up to God, hath fully SATISFIED the justice of His Father; and PURCHASED, not only reconciliation, but everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all THOSE WHOM THE FATHER HAS GIVEN UNTO HIM. ”

Whatever it is that joins us to Christ’s atonement (even if it’s “personal presence” as the unionists say), is not the atonement, and is not the object of faith. Christ’s righteousness was obtained once for all time, and is not being accomplished by the Holy Spirit regenerating us or indwelling us. In that sense Christ’s “finished work” has priority over the present intercession or the coming Resurrection Day. God’s present work is based on God’s work already done in Christ. This is not to deny the necessity or importance of the Holy Spirit but to say that Christ gives the Holy Spirit. It is not the Holy Spirit who gives Christ.

The law-gospel antithesis is not about saying the law is not necessary. The law-gospel antithesis is about saying that the gospel is not the law. The gospel is not about the sinner’s unfinished and incomplete obedience to the law. The “unionists” oppose this as “false polarization”. But to include the works of Christians into the final declared justification is to include the works of Christians into the “atonement”.

There has always been a view among some Reformed that they can teach “the indicative of what Christ has accomplished” without addressing the question of the extent of the atonement. But the nature of Christ’s righteousness cannot be clearly taught without saying that only the sins of the elect were imputed to Christ.

If Christ in some sense bore the sins of sinners who are eventually not justified, then Christ’s death cannot be taught as that which totally satisfies the demands of God’s law in a “complete” atonement” . Not talking about Christ’s death in terms of election (but only in terms of “covenant”) results in a very GRAY “now but not yet ” gospel which brings into the mix ( in our conscience and before God) books of the works of sinners (enabled somewhat by the Holy Spirit) .

Calvin — “When in scripture death only is mentioned, everything peculiar to the resurrection is at the same time included, and that there is a like synecdoche in the term resurrection.” (Institutes 2:16:13)

Fesko—“The resurrection does more than prepare its object for undergoing the judgment. The resurrection of the church is not the anticipation of the issue of judgment, but is de jure the final judgment.”

1 Timothy 3:16 “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.”

If you are going to put your hope in two kinds of righteousness, it certainly would make sense to have two aspects of justification. But there is only one justification, and it is based on Christ’s death (and resurrection).

How was Christ justified? Not by becoming born again by the Holy Spirit. Christ was justified by satisfying the righteous requirement of the law for the sins imputed to Christ. Christ was justified by His death. Christ needed to be justified because Christ legally took the guilt of His elect, and this guilt demanded His death. Christ was not justified because of His resurrection. Christ’s resurrection was God’s declaration because of Christ’s death.

Romans 6:9–“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.”

Christ was declared to be just, not simply by who He was as an incarnate person, but by what Christ had done in satisfaction to the law. No righteousness was shared to Christ from others, because Christ earned His own justification by His own death. Romans 4:24-25 –Righteousness will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was handed over because of our sins and raised because of our justification.

The legal value and merit of Christ’s death is shared by God with the elect sinner, as Romans 6 says, when they are placed into that death. So there’s only the one righteousness. In the case of the justified elect, Christ’s one death is legally shared with them by God, and this one death is enough, because counted to them that one death completely satisfies the law for righteousness. (Romans 10:4)

Romans 6:7–“For one who has died has been justified from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

The Norman Shepherd (“federal vision”) problem creeps in when people begin to think that since Christ was justified by what Christ did, then the elect also must be justified by what they are enabled to do. But there are NOT two justifications, one now by imputation, and another in the future, where we will be justified like Christ was. We are ONLY justified by what Christ did, and NOT by what Christ is now doing in us. Christ is not to be justified by what Christ will do, because Christ has already been justified by His obedience to law (even to death)

Hebrews 9: 26 now Christ has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (27 as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, the judgment) 28 so also the Messiah, HAVING BEEN offered ONCE to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

When Hebrews 9:28 tells us that Christ “appears a second time not to deal with sin,” this is not a denial of a future judgment after death for the non-elect. The Triune God will deal with the sin of the non-elect.

The point of Hebrews 9:28 is that the sins of the elect have already been dealt with once at the cross. This was not a provisional dealing with, the efficacy of which is yet to be determined by what God does in some of the sinners for whom Christ died.. Even the elect sinner’s faith in the gospel is a result and not a condition of Christ’s past dealing with sin and God having placed that sinner into Christ’s death.

Hebrews 9:26-28 depends on this one time dealing with sins in the past. The point is eliminated by those who teach that Christ was given for everybody and that sins now are dealt with by the Holy Spirit’s giving to some what was done for all. https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=111514231124

Our faith does not impute Christ’s righteousness to us. Nor does God wait for our faith before God imputes Christ’s righteousness to us.

What is imputed to us? Christ’s atonement is imputed to us. It’s not the present status and work of Christ which is imputed to us. It’s the merit of Christ’s finished work of law satisfaction which is imputed to us. “Merely” Christ’s atonement. “Only” Christ’s righteousness.

I am not interested at all in any “common grace” or “prevenient grace” in which “baptism” fails to save those joined to Christ’s death.

“therefore all died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14 Smeaton—Paul uses two expressions interchangeably; that is, “He died for all”, and “all died in Him.” Paul is describing the same thing from two different points of view. The first of these expressions describes the vicarious death of Christ as an objective fact. The second phrase speaks of the same great transaction, in terms that indicate that we too have done it. So then, we may either say, “Christ died for us”, or “we died in Him.” Both are true. We can equally affirm that He was crucified for us, or we were co-crucified with Him. We are not referring here to two acts-one on Christ’s side and another on ours. Rather,we have but one public representative, corporate act performed by the Son of God, in which we share as truly as if we had accomplished the atonement ourselves.

Theopolis Institute– “Baptism didn’t fit nicely in an order of salvation chain in Reformed theology. But now that we understand baptism to bring one into union with Christ, it means the person baptized has all the benefits of Christ as long as he abides and remains in that union.”

Gaffin — “Paul does not view the justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification of the believer as separate, distinct acts but as different facets or aspects of the one act of incorporation with the resurrected Christ….
“A person is engrafted into union with the resurrected Christ. As a result of this union, one is justified, adopted, sanctified, glorified–and all the other benefits of this union—at the moment one has faith in Christ. BUT“…for Paul the justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification of the believer are future as well as present.”

Theopolis Institute—Most people are taught in Reformed churches to think linearly about salvation but “…if ‘washing’ on which ‘regeneration’ is directly dependent in Titus 3:5, refers to BAPTISM, then what Romans 6:3 teaches concerning BAPTISM as a sign and seal of incorporation with the resurrected Christ, and so the implications of that incorporation, will have to be brought to bear. Soteriology didn’t simply have “implications” on ecclesiology. Soteriology is ecclesiology. To be BAPTIZED into the Christian church is to be BAPTIZED into Jesus Christ. Historically, Reformed theology had a significant amount of ambiguity over what BAPTISM accomplished. If BAPTISM justified the child then, the child would be in the “golden CHAIN” and couldn’t fall away. Yet, the fact remained that many who are baptized did (and still do) fall away.

https://theopolisinstitute.com/the-changing-face-of-reformed-theology/

As I have argued many times in this blog, nobody gets away from “causal relationships” between “links”. One side can say the other side has “links” and their own side is “organic” (no causes, no links) but then they assume that “union” means “Christ in us” has priority and then they have to answer the question about what “causes” union. Does the Spirit’s gift of faith cause the union, or is the Spirit’s gift of faith the result of union? If the Spirit baptizes us into Christ, is that “Baptism” that which is administrated by church clergy? One side can accuse the other side—you look within, we look outside, but if neither side is pointing to Christ’s finished atonement outside us but instead pointing to “more and more indwelling and enabling”, they are both looking at the life of sinners, of Christians, instead of looking to Christ’s death.

Most Lutherans and Reformed folks are NOT looking to Christ’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ. Many of them are telling us to “look to our baptism”. Some Reformed and “sovereign grace” folks seem to think that God saves without the gospel. Some even have the patronizing sectarian idea that “others are not as well well taught ”…

Do we need to know the nature of the atonement to know the gospel? Yes. Do we need to know the extent of the atonement to know the nature of the atonement? Yes. If we think that the nature of the atonement is what God does by grace “in us”, does knowing the extent of such an “atonement” teach us the gospel? No.

Christ’s atoning death is outside us sinners. God’s imputation of Christ’s atonement is not the atonement. Whatever it is that joins us to Christ’s atonement (even if it’s regeneration or indwelling or “personal participation” as the unionists say), is not the atonement , and not the object of faith. The gospel is about Christ’s death for the sins of the elect imputed. I object to the objection to “different links” because “union” tends to turn out to always mean “ Christ in me” instead of “I died in Christ” or I am “justified in Christ”. The “union” party often does not deny but simply displaces the good news about the justice and the success of Christ’s death.

Beale—“initial justification and consummative justification (twofold justification) are grounded in believers’ union with Christ, the former coming by faith, and the latter through the threefold demonstration of the bodily resurrection, evaluation of works, and public announcement to the cosmos.” (525 NTBT)

Westminster Confession, Chapter 3: VI. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

Without the clear teaching (in the WCF) about redemption for the elect only, the propitiatory offering (Ephesians 5) will continue to be seen (as it is by “evangelicals”) as something conditioned on what God does in the sinner. God has offered to God a righteousness in Christ so that God’s justice requires each person for whom Christ died be given all the blessings of “salvation”, including the effectual call and faith in the true gospel.

Machen: From the cold universalism of the Arminian creed we turn ever again with a new thankfulness to the warm and tender individualism of …the gospel. Thank God we can say, as we contemplate Christ upon the Cross, not just: “He died for the mass of humanity, and how glad I am that I am amid that mass,” but: “He loved me and gave Himself for me; my name was written from all eternity upon His heart, and when He hung and suffered there on the Cross He thought of me, even me, as one for whom in His grace He was willing to die.

If we go back behind NT Wright and Gaffin (meeting with Federal Visionists, Faith not Sight) or even Daniel Fuller and Cranfield (the law misunderstood) we get to Norman Shepherd “The prophets and apostles viewed election from the perspective of the covenant of grace, whereas Reformed theologians of a later day have tended to view the covenant of grace from the perspective of election. The result of this, is that the reformed preacher no longer says “Christ died for you” – but, when these words are construed, not from the point of view of election, but of the covenant, then The Reformed evangelist can and must say on the basis of John 3:16,”Christ died for you.”

http://basketoffigs.org/NewPerspectives/Jones.htm

But Christ did not die “for you”. Christ died only for the elect. You cannot know if you are elect until you believe the gospel. And the good news is that Christ died only for the elect, and this is good news because the death of Christ really really did take away the sins of the elect (both guilt and punishment). Does this mean that elect people don’t sin? No. It means that their sins are paid for in advance. I realize that this is not good news for most people who describe themselves Christian. They want a religion that really makes people better than they otherwise would be. But the good news (only for those who believe the gospel is that our salvation is not conditional on our ever in this age getting any better.

Jeremiah 32:40 “I will put fear of Me in their hearts so they will never again turn away from Me.”

Letter to My Local Pca Pastor

Posted October 13, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: atonement, election, liberals

Tags: ,

Last night I went to see Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames, a program co-sponsered by you and your congregation. What I saw and heard was a false gospel and a false Christ.

The cross was presented as something that the devil did to Jesus. There was no presentation of “sin” as that which demands the justice of God so that God gives the Son to satisfy justice for the sins of His people.

The cross was presented in the first five minutes as something that MADE NO DIFFERENCE at the end. Since it was clearly said several times that Jesus died for every person, nobody in the audience could conclude that the difference between saved and lost was Christ’s death on the cross.

(Big deal! he died for those in hell too)
Time after time, the difference was said to be what the listeners did. So there was no good news at all last night, but only commands to believe in a false Christ and a false gospel.

In the end Satan gets people for whom Jesus died. That ideas brings dishonor and reproach to Jesus and His work. Care you more for the approval of other clergy persons than do you do for the honor of Christ?

The entire presentation was one long appeal to the flesh, to the natural mind. Sample statements:
You all got a “knower”.
You got to humble yourself.
You got to have the courage to say the prayer.
It’s up to you in the next 60 seconds.
He’s the path, but you are the chooser.
You got to really mean it.
If you will stand up, you will be a “special person”.
God will not throw it in your lap.
It’s God’s gift, but your accepting the gift is the difference.
If you say this after me, your name will be written in the book.
And most infamously: “just do it!”
And then people clapped when they did it.

And I cried.

Before I was converted, I was more theologically sophisticated than other folks, and I would have been “righteously offended” . But I cried, helpless, not knowing what to do or to say. “God, do you want me to stand up and interrupt when they say that Jesus died for those who go to hell?” Maybe I should have. I don’t want to be a fatalist. I don’t want to shirk my responsibility to the truth. But then again, I want people to be offended at the gospel, not at me. It wasn’t my meeting. It wasn’t my church. It wasn’t my Christ who was being “pitched”.

The trouble is that you don’t preach the gospel because you don’t preach particular redemption. Thus you avoid the offense of saying that the difference between saved and lost is the death of Jesus (and that all those for whom Jesus died will be brought to faith in the true gospel and saved from the sin of idolatry involved in believing the false gospel.)

You may on occasion talk in code language that reassures some people that you believe what the WCF says about particular redemption. But you avoid the antithesis. Thus you avoid the truth. You agree that you only have another interpretation but speak peace to those who say that God is neither wise nor holy nor just in saving all for whom Jesus died.

I think you tolerate and sponsor what you really believe. If you think of Heaven’s Gates as the gospel, or even as “pre-evangelism”, then you do not really believe the gospel. “Unconditional grace” without preaching the just and effective death of Christ is not the gospel, but merely lawlessness. Romans 1:17–“in the gospel a righteousness is revealed”…

What was “sin” in the presentation? Doing drugs, social drinking, not going to church, and, ultimately, not accepting Jesus. But Romans 10:3 teaches us that it is sin to try to establish our own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God is not out there to be taken at people’s discretion.

The righteousness of God demands that those for whom Christ died will not only stop hating God and His righteousness but also that all of the elect be forgiven for their sin of hating God and His righteousness. When you abridge the gospel, you substitute your own wisdom for that of God.

What am I to do when nineteen clergymen say to the town in which I live that this is the gospel? I am not a pessimist: I do not believe that Satan ultimately rules even this present age. . But I know that Satan is behind the presentation I saw last night. Satan does not wear a red cape. He substitutes a false gospel for the real one and calls it grace

Must Grace Have Been Bestowed on your Children before you can teach them God’s law?

Posted October 4, 2017 by markmcculley
Categories: covenants, election, piper

Tags: , , , ,

Was Esau born in the covenant of grace, but then later lost his justification in Christ and therefore failed to “enter heaven”?

Hebrews 12: 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 14 Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord. 15 Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many. 16 And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for one meal.

God’s wrath is not an expression of God’s love. God’s wrath is not a response to human bad response to God’s grace. Those who are justified are no longer under God’s wrath. And those still under God’s wrath were born condemned, already under God’s wrath. God’s wrath for the non-elect is not subject to change

For the promise is for you in spite of yourself, as many Jews as the Lord our God will call, in spite of them being Jews, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect. The promise is for your children, as many children as the Lord our God will call, in spite of parents, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect. The promise is for all who are far off, as many non Jews as the Lord our God will call, in spite of them being born outside any covenant, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect

Since our duty is not based on our ability, the soundbite from Augustine (give what you command, and command what you will) is wrong if it’s understood to say that Christians now CAN obey the law at least enough to make it “congruent” or “fitting” (Jonathan Edwards) for God to bless us. The Augustinian soundbite is also wrong if it is used to imply that God in neo-nomian fashion now lowers the standard of the law to the level of what we in the new covenant are now gifted to do IMPERFECTLY.

The law is not the gospel, grace is not the law, and the ability to keep the law is not grace. It’s still too late for justified sinners to keep the law in order to “enter heaven” Those who are already saints are commanded to obey God’s law but not as a condition of covenant blessing.
Romans 5:20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.

Freedom from the law by Christ’s death imputed is necessary before we do any good works or worship acceptable to God

Those who reduce all post-fall covenants to one covenant of grace tend to say that their children need to have been born in grace in order to be taught the law. Like the Arminians who assume that the duty to believe the gospel implies the ability to believe the gospel, these like John Murray work their way from assumptions about the new capacity of regenerate disposition to denial of antithesis between law and grace for those born “in the covenant”

Mark Jones–When I ask my children to obey me in the Lord should I get rid of the indicative-imperative model for Christian ethics?

There is one divine standard, in this new covenant age, according to which both believers and non-believers are accountable. There are not two different standards. The commandment for children to obey their parents shows no distinction of believers and non-believers, and neither does the commandment to parents to raise their children according to God’s Word.

http://www.apoorwretch.com/2014/06/baptist-answers-to-pca-pastor-mark.html

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leithart/2017/10/baptists-talk-babies/?

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/06/daddy-am-i-really-forgiven.php

http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/rite-reasons/no-20-daddy-why-was-i-excommunicated/

Do Christians and Their Unbaptized Children Pray to the Same God?

https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/does-teaching-someone-the-bible-make-them-a-christian/

Mark Jones—“Divine grace is not MERELY God’s goodness to the elect in the era of redemptive history. … Divine grace is a perfection of God’s nature, even apart from sin. In the garden, the grace of God was upon Adam.”

John Murray, The Covenant of Grace— “The continued enjoyment of this grace and of the relation established is contingent upon the fulfillment of certain conditions. Grace bestowed implies a subject and reception on the part of that subject. The relation established implies mutuality. The conditions in view are not conditions of bestowal. They are simply the reciprocal responses of faith, love and obedience, apart from which the enjoyment of the covenant blessing and of the covenant relation is inconceivable….the breaking of the covenant is unfaithfulness to a relation constituted and to grace dispensed. By breaking the covenant what is broken is not the condition of bestowal but the condition of consummated fruition.”

Richard Gaffin, by Faith not by Sight, p 103–”The law-gospel antithesis enters NOT BY VIRTUE OF CREATION..but as the consequence of sin…The gospel is to the purpose of removing an absolute law-gospel antithesis in the life of the believer…”

Gaffin— Having been called effectively involves having been regenerated, but the two are not identical. The exercise of the Spirit’s energies in calling produces an enduring change… marked anthropologically by a new and lasting disposition inherent in them, what Scripture calls a new “heart.” That is, at the core of my being, I am no longer against God and disposed to rebel against his will but, now and forever, for him and disposed in the deepest recesses of whom I am to delight in doing his will….The Holy Spirit’s work in the justified ungodly does not MERELY consist of an ongoing countering activity within those otherwise only disposed to be thoroughly resistant and recalcitrant. The definitive change MAINTAINED in believers by the Spirit provides a stable basis WITHIN THEM for renewing and maturing them according to their inner selves (2 Cor. 4:16). The Reformed use of “habitual” to describe this irreversible change, seems appropriate and useful. ”

http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=141

Leithart–“God can and does reward appropriate (albeit imperfect) human response. God’s unmerited love, then, does not nullify reciprocity. . . . God’s love is bestowed prior to conditions and is undeserved, yet there are conditions for its continuance”

Leithart: The big difference between the word and baptism is that the word offers God’s grace to everyone-in-general while baptism declares God’s favor TO ME . Baptism wraps the gift of forgiveness and justification and puts MY NAME on the package. Like the gospel, BAPTISM REQUIRES a response of ENDURING faith. Faith involves believing what baptism says ABOUT YOU…The self-imputation of “righteous” is based on the baptismal declaration that we are “justified from sin” by union with the death and resurrection of Jesus. And I can’t, of course, live a life of unbelief and disobedience, and expect baptism to rescue me at the end. Such a life would betray my baptism….. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/evangelicalpulpit/2014/11/no-sacraments-no-protestantism/#ixzz3L1NmJLfk

Wesley, Working Out Our Own Salvation—“Allowing that all persons are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing that there is no man in a state of nature only. There is no man, unless he has quenched the Holy Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace he has.”

John Piper–How then can I say that the judgment of believers will not only be the public declaration of our differing rewards in the kingdom of God, according to our deeds, but will also be the public declaration of our salvation – our entering the kingdom – according to our deeds? When some deeds are exposed at the judgment as a person’s way of life, they will be the evidence that their faith was not transforming and they will not be saved.” (Future Grace, p 366)

Mike Horton: To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership, then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to exercise faith and persevere in faith to the end? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator. The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ.”
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/13/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton/

Here are several good responses to the related ideas that duty implies ability, or that ability eliminates distinctions between teaching children law and assuming that grace bestowed is necessary to teach children law.

Engelsma: Mike Horton affirms that God promises saving grace in Christ to every baptized baby. This is the same as to affirm that God promised saving grace to Esau in his circumcision. This affirmation implies that God failed to keep His promise. God’s promise failed. Grace is resisted. Grace is ineffectual. The reason, they will say, is the unbelief of Esau. Whatever the reason, grace does not realize itself in one to whom God is gracious. Regardless of the reason for grace’s impotence, the teaching is heretical. If God promises saving grace to both Esau and Jacob, as Horton affirms, but the promise fails because of Esau’s unbelief, then the conclusion necessarily follows that grace succeeded in the case of Jacob, only because of grace causing Jacob to accept grace.”

Tom Nettles—”The idea of universal atonement is not demanded by the Bible at all, but is often assumed as an inference drawn from a no-grace-no-justice assumption…. The piggy-backing of grace onto the command to believe the gospel does not come from the Bible.”

Mark Seifrid— “The Law speaks even to us who are regenerate as fallen human beings. Being a Christian means again and again, in all the trials and temptations of life, hearing and believing the Gospel which overcomes the condemnation pronounced on us by the Law and by our own consciences in which that Law is written….But according to the puritan perspective, Law and Gospel do not address the believing human being in radically different ways, but only in differing degrees according to the measures of “grace” present within them. …. The embedding of the Law within grace qualifies law’s demand—while the Law works the death of sinners, it has a different effect on the righteous. The puritans regards the “flesh” is present as a power that exerts partial influence on us.

http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/sbjt_102_sum06-seifrid1.pdf

Paul Helm—“One thing that the Amyraldian proposal does is to weaken connection between the plight of the race in the fall of Adam. For the Amyraldians the responsibility of each of the non-elect comes simply from hearing and not receiving the message of grace.”

Lee irons—”Their principle (that all types must typify grace and cannot typify the works principle) would rule out Adam from being a type of Christ. And what about the types prefiguring the day of judgment throughout the OT? For example, Noah’s flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt, the conquest of the Canaanites, the expulsion of Israel from the land in the exile. These are not symbols of grace but of wrath.”

Steve Yang– Murray argues that those who crucified their old self with Christ are no longer under the dominion of sin (Romans 6). He says that “it is wrong to use these texts to support any other view of the victory entailed than that which the Scripture teaches it to be, namely, the radical breach with the power and love of sin which is necessarily the possession of every one who has been united to Christ. Union with Christ is union with him in the efficacy of his death and in virtue of his resurrection – he who thus died and rose again with Christ is freed from sin, and sin will not exercise the dominion” (143). Murray further writes, “the Christian] must reckon himself to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ his Lord. It is the faith of this fact that provides the basis for, and the incentive to the fulfillment of, the exhortation, ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body…’” (146).

Murray’s usage of Scripture, however, has failed to prove that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit necessarily changes a person in a progressive sense. His usage of Romans, for instance, is unwarranted for the reason that he assumes that by “the dominion of sin” Paul has an ontological change in mind. However, when Paul wrote “so you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11) the verb he chose to use was logi,zesqe, which means to “consider”, to “count”, to “credit” or to “reckon”. Such a verb is not used in an ontological sense, but in a positional sense. Paul also uses this very verb to describe the manner in which Abraham was counted righteous by God God accounted, or declared, Abraham righteous even though Abraham ontologically wasn’t. Murray’s usage of this passage undermines his own assumptions by reaffirming the positional aspect of God’s blessings.

The freedom from the dominion of sin, which Paul speaks of, is the freedom from the condemnation of sin and from the guilt of falling short of the law’s demands. Whereas Murray would seem to suggest that sanctification is conforming to the law (by the Spirit’s help), Paul’s claim is that “we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, IN ORDER TO serve. Whereas Murray would suggest that being freed from the dominion of sin means that the believer has newly attained ability to keep the law, Paul, on the contrary, suggests that such freedom means Christians are absolved from the law’s demands. All the law could do is condemn, kill, and destroy. And it is for this very reason that in Rom. 7:7 Paul anticipates the objection that “doesn’t such a view suggest that the law is sin?” the view that the freedom from the dominion of sin only means that the Spirit aids us in obeying the law would never draw one to raise the objection that the law is sin (in fact, quite the contrary). If one were in line with Pauline theology, one would have to expect answer to similar objections in which Paul faced. The fact that John Murray does not seems to attract such objections only suggests that John Murray is not reading the Apostle Paul correctly.

Stoever, A Faire and Easy Way, p 64 – Cotton professed himself unable to believe it possible for a person to maintain that grace works a condition in him, reveals it, makes a promise to it, and applies it to him, and still not to trust in the work. If a person did not trust in the merit of the work, he would at least be tempted to trust in the right of it to the promise, and he probably would not dare to trust a promise unless he could see a work.