More and More United to Christ? More and More Justified?

Posted December 14, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: faith, union with Christ

Tags: , , ,

Heidelberg Caatechsim Q.76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?

A. It is not only to embrace with believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal; but also, besides that, to become MORE AND MORE UNITED to his sacred body, by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us; so that we, though Christ is in heaven and we on earth, are notwithstanding “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone” and that we live and are governed forever by one spirit.

Mike Horton, Justification, volume 2, (New Studies in Dogmatics , p449—Union with Christ is not actually an element in the order of salvation but an “umbrella term” for the order as a whole.

Horton, p450—“The Holy Spirit grants us faith to be united to Christ.”

Horton, p451—“Union is not a goal but the source”

Horton, p455–“There is no union with Christ which is not union with the visible church”

Horton, p467–Calvin goes beyond Luther by stressing the more and more
aspect of salvation

Horton, p471—” Logical priority does not determine basis”

Horton, p487—“the goal of union”

Horton—-“a person can become a member of the covenant of grace without truly embracing the word that is preached. All persons in the covenant are to be threatened with the consequences of apostasy. Some belong to the covenant community and experience thereby the work of the Spirit through the means of grace and yet are not regenerate.. Thus we have a category for a person who is in the covenant but not personally UNITED BY LIVING FAITH to Jesus Christ”

Nathan J. Langerak— “Cnsequent conditions” are new conditions of
salvation imposed on the saved person because the person is now saved.”

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

Does “living the gospel” equate to attending the true visible church in order to receive grace by means of the sacrament? Is it possible to be justified before God without being united to the true visible church? Is the Protestant Reformed Church (which denies that the gospel is an offer) the true visible church? Is the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (which insists that the gospel is an offer) the true visible church?

This essay is not mainly against the idolatry of “the church” or thinking you have to go to “the church” in order to get water, in order to have something to believe in, in order to receive and continue to receive grace. God has not predestined “the church” to be the “means of grace”, but that’s not my concern now.

My argument instead is that we are either in Christ or we are not. There is no such thing as being “more united” to Christ because of eating the “sacrament”. There is no such thing as being more and more united to Christ. We are either sanctified and set apart in Christ or not. We were elected in Christ or not. If we were not elected in Christ, then Christ never died for our sins and we will never be placed in Christ’s death and justified. If we were elected in Christ, then Christ died because of our sins (Romans 4:25), and when God gives the elect the reward of Christ’s death by means of legal imputation, these elect are justified and will be resurrected to life.

Romans 5:17 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 through one righteous act there is life-giving justification…21 as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, RESULTING IN LASTING LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The one who is justified now is not only legally free from some sins but from ALL SINS

John 5:24 As many as who hear My word and believe Him who sent Me has lasting life and will NOT COME UNDER JUDGMENT but HAS PASSED from death to life. 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.

I think that John 5: 24 shows that there is no process of justification. Justification is NOT something you have more or less. Being placed into Christ’s death is NOT something that increases or decreases. But if you confess that “union” comes before justification, and if you say thaat “union” increases, I think the likely result will something like a Lutheran “justified again every day” (or some days not justified, when you don’t attend the sacrament, or when you don’t have faith at the sacrament).

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

This is NOT a “two aspects” justification. This is NOT a “progressive justification”

If you have been placed into Christ’s death, then you will not need more grace when you sin than when you don’t sin. Being in Christ’s death does not give you the grace of sinning less so that you need less grace. You either have Christ’s death as your death or you do not have Christ’s death as your death.

Benjamin Keach, The Biblical Doctrine of Justification Without Works, Solid Ground Books, Birmingham, Alabama USA, 2007, p 80—“ “Once we are justified, we need not inquire how a man is justified after he is justified. By that righteousness of Christ which is out of us, though imputed to us, the Justice of God is satisfied; therefore all Works done by us, or inherent in us, are excluded in our Justification before God.”

Romanists say that justification includes progress in holiness. The Reformed say that nobody can be justified without “the double grace” of progress in holiness.
What’s the practical difference?

Beale, New Testament Biblical Theology, p 516—My view is compatible
with Snodgrass (Justification by Grace–to the Doers:An Analysis of the
Place of Romans 2 in the Theology of Paul) who holds that justification excludes ‘legalistic works’ done to earn justification but INCLUDE an evaluation of IMPERFECT works done by us through the Spirit…

I keep asking. Does being “united” to Christ mean that the distinction between promise and demand is removed in such a way that those justified today still need to be justified tomorrow by the “consequent” instrumentality of works done after one is justified? Now that we are “united” to Christ,is the promise of the gospel no longer any different from the demand of the law that we do what God says to do in order to stay “united” to Christ or to be “more united” to Christ?

Those who teach that “union with Christ” is an “umbrella term” which includes all the blessings in no particular order almost always end up saying that faith comes in order before “union with Christ” and that “union” comes in order before God does any imputing. Some of these “Reformed” folks are so Arminian that they make it sound like God only imputes your sins to Christ after you “execise your faith” and consent to the offer and then after that you are “united to Christ by working faith”. And most of them who say that “union” means all the blessings end up defining “union” as only the one blessing which they say is “the presence of the person of Christ in you” before God ever does any imputing.

They insist that it is “antinomian” to deny that faith comes first in the order of salvation before “union with Christ” and the presence of Christ indwelling internally in our eternal souls.

I agree that there are antinomians who deny that the gospel commands faith.

Romans 1:17 The righteous will live by faith

Antinomians teach that it is only Christ who lives by Christ’s faith and that Romans 1:17 is not about anybody else believing

But this real antinomianism is no excuse for NEONOMIANS who say that faith includes works, or who say that faith is righteousness.

Yes, antinomians are wrong to say that sinners are justified beforeand without faith. But it is not wrong to say that God imputes Christ’s death to the elect (those are the only ones whose sins were imputed to Christ) in order to the work of the Holy Spirit creating in the elect faith in the gospel.

Antinomians say that sinners are justified regardless of their faith in Christ.
Antinomians argue that saying that we can’t be justified without faith
in the gospel means a salvation not by grace

But Romans 4:16 This is why the promise is by faith, IN ORDER THAT IT
BE ACCORDING TO GRACE

Antinomians teach that our faith should be in Christ’s faith

But Romans 6:17 teaches that not only is Christ the object of faith
but that Christ is present in power to create OUR FAITH IN CHRIST.

Romans 6:17 you obeyed from the heart that gospel doctrine to which
you were transferred

Galatians 2:16 no one is justified by the works of the law but by
faith in Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 28:16 as many as who believe on Him will not be put to shame

Nobody who bothers to read this essay should say that I deny that faith in Christ is not necessary for justification before God. What I deny is that God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect sinner comes only after God has already come to indwell the elect sinner by Christ’s Spirit.

The Reformed Confessions teach (but do not prove) that regeneration must come before imputation. These confessions also incorrectly teach that what God imputes (after regeneration, they say) is not the death of Christ but instead
that the law-keeping of Christ is imputed. These Confessions teach that Christ’s death is not the righteousness to be imputed, but rather His incarnate law-keeping. No hope in Christ’s death alone, they say.

And the death of those who do not consent to the “Reformed free offer” (consent in order to be united to Christ) is not they say the punishment for sin because they say that you have to exist to be punished and therefore they say that those who do not consent to God’s law (which for them ultimately the same as God’s gospel) must continue to sin forever and never die.

BUT THE PRIORITY IN JUSTIFICATION MUST ALWAYS GO TO CHRIST’S DEATH IMPUTED.

The reward of Christ’s death is not grace for Christ but justice for Christ

The reward of Christ’s death (righteousness) will be given to all the elect

The reward of Christ’s death (righteousness) is grace for all for whom Christ died

I Peter 1:18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way
of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like
silver or gold, 19 but with the precious BLOOD of Christ, like that of
a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 CHRIST WAS CHOSEN before the ages
but was revealed at the end of the ages for you 21 who through Christ
are believers in God, who raised Christ from the dead and gave him
glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

II Peter 1:1 To those who have obtained a faith of equal preciousness
with our faith through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus
Christ.

Many Reformed folks seem to think that if you don’t use certain words like “merit” or “earning” or “justification”, you can teach that there is MORE “sanctification” and MORE adoption and MORE assurance by means of your efforts and works. They teach that,after you are a watered Christian, then there is no more antithesis between faith and works, or between law and gospel

Richard Gaffin, by Faith not by Sight, p103–“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. With the gospel and in Christ, united to him, the law is now my friend.”

In reponse to Gaffin, there was no grace before Adam’s sin and no need for grace. The tree of life in the garden was not the church, nor was that tree an “offer” to be given lasting life by means of not sinning. The law commandment—if you sin, you surely die—was NOT the gospel. But God’s command was a real threat, NOT that sinners would live forever in torture in some place separated fro God. God’s ccommand to Adaam was a threat of DEATH

Second, again in response to Gaffin, law still accuses of sin after Adam’s sin. Even after we become Christians, even after we are in Christ’s death by God’s legal imputation, Christians still sin and their sin is still sin. This sin is against law, even though their sin no longer brings them into condemnation and death.

There are NOT two kinds of works, one of which kind of works gains you MORE AND MORE blessings. The blessings of salvation come to the justified elect, not because of ANY KIND OF works.

The blessings of salvaton only come to those for whom Christ died, after God places them into Christ’s death.

Gaffin and many others (including Mike Horton) teach that it’s not only Christ’s death (because of sins) which justifies. They teach that Christ’s resurrection enables us to have faith which enables us to have “union” which they desecribe as an internal energy indwelling inside us which changes our inner disposition. They deny that God imputes Christ’s death to the ungodly unregenerate.

They keep teaching that Christ’s rightousness is only imputed after “union” and that “union” is only after the faith.

I keep asking –how do you get faith to receive Christ inside you if this internal Christ (by His Spirit) is not already inside you?

If “union” whereby the Spirit gives us Christ is for all practical purposes some kind of “regeneration”, and if regeneration is an ongong process, how is it that any “justification” coming after this “union” could possibly be EITHER OR? Either you are now justified or you are not now justified!

The order that puts faith before union and union before imputation results in justification as a process. Not only do you have MORE AND MORE “union” and MORE AND MORE “sanctification”, but you have MORE AND MORE justification. You have justifciation of those who are already supposedly justified.

Moo, (“Justification in Galatians”, p 172, Understanding the Times)—”Nor is there any need to set Paul’s “juridicial” and “participationist” categories in opposition to one another (see Gaffin, By Faith Not By Sight, p 35-41). The problem of positing a AN UNION WITH CHIRST THAT PRECEDES THE ERASURE OF OUR LEGAL CONDEMNTION…….. CAN BE ANSWERED IF WE POSIT, WITHIN THE SINGLE WORK OF CHRIST, TWO STAGES OF “JUSTIFICATION”, one involving Christ’s payment of our legal debt–the basis for our regeneration–and SECOND OUR ACTUAL JUSTIFICATIONn-stemming from our union with Christ.”

Bradley Green, Covenant and Commandment, IVP, 2014, p 63—-“ SOME think that Christ’s work must be kept totally and utterly sequestered from Abraham’s work and from our work. But it is not necessary to say that there are no conditions where grace reigns. Does it not make more sense to simply say that within a gracious covenantal relationship God moves his covenant people to obey him more and more?

Faith is NOT our “consent or assent to the offer”. God commands all sinners to obey the gospel. We must not change the gospel so that we falsely teach that Christ died in some way for all sinners. Christ never needed to die for anyone in order to command everyone to believe the gospel.

My first concern in this essay is to ask for definition of “union with christ”. Indeed, I think we need to stop using the expression and always be more specific. Those God loves are elected IN CHRIST from before the ages. This is the beginning and source of eveything. But the phrase “union with Christ” is often used to talk about “Christ in us”. Almost always the distinction between “us in Christ” and “Christ in us” is not spelled out, but the assumption is that the Spirit of Christ has to be in us before we can be legally placed into Christ’s death. Instead of teaching that Christ’s resurrection is because of the certain justification of all for whom Christ died, is is more often mistakenly taught from Romans 4:25 that Christ’s resurrection is in order to our justification and therefore the power that raised Christ from the dead needs to work to regenerate us inside beore God can impute Christ’s death to us.

It is mistakenly taught from Ephesians 2 that resurrection with Christ is regeneration. But Ephesians 2 teaches a legal identity with Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ’s resurrection was not Christ’s regeneration. Christ’s death was a result Christ’s legal condemnation (for imputed sins). Christ’s resurrecton was a result of the certain legal justification of all for whom Christ died.

Marcus Peters gives us the false (normal) order: “We are not united to Christ because we have been justified. It is quite the other way around: we are justified because we have been united to Christ, who is himself our justification.”

https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-union-with-christ/

EITHER you are dead or you are not, but the argument is that, yes you
are either married or not, but that married people get closer and
closer (or not). If these Reformed theologians don’t have Bible texts that say what their confessions say, they just repeat the confession. HC 76 BUT
ALSO BESIDES THAT that, to become MORE AND MORE UNITED to his sacred
body, by the Holy Spirit, who dwells both in Christ and in us.

This teaching about a process of justification, part of which depends on God-enabled grace-enabled working on our part is not something new. It goes all the way back to Augustine and the beginning of the false sacramental Roman “church”.

Augustine–There is a sense in which faith is rightly distinguished from works,
because there are two different kinds of works. There are works that “appear good” but do not refer to Christ, i.e. do not have love of Christ as their source and end or goal. But there are other works that are truly good, because they have love of Christ as their source and goal. Faith is of the latter sort of work, because faith works by love, and has Christ as its source and goal.

Machen, Notes on Galatians, p178–”You might conceivably be saved by works or you might be saved by faith, but you cannot be saved by both. It is ‘either or’ here not ‘both and’. The Scripture says it is by faith. Therefore it is NOT works.”

Machen– “According to modern liberalism, faith is essentially the same as ‘making Christ master’ of one’s life…But that simply means that salvation is thought to be obtained by our obedience to the commands of Christ. Such teaching is just a sublimated form of legalism.”

Machen– What good does it do to me to tell me that the type of religion presented in the Bible is a very fine type of religion and that the thing for me to do is just to start practicing that type of religion now?…I will tell you, my friend. It does me not one tiniest little bit of good…What I need FIRST of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but
knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the
question that I ask of you. I know your exhortations will not help me.

But as Horton suggested, the Reformed also have a “more and more”. Not only Calvin but Machen has a SECOND thought. “The works which Paul condemns are not the works which James condones. ”

Gaffin and Moo and Beale and Norman Shepherd now quote Machen’s second thought. Horton quotes Machen’s first thought without ever mentioning what Gaffin and Mooe and Beale teach.

I agree with Cunha (The Emperor’s New Clothes) that justification is NOT BY WORKS. Justification is not by works before justification, and not by works after justification I reject “process justification” . I reject “justified but continuing to be justified” I reject “justification not yet justification.”

Rick p—“Why would I put myself through the ordeal of discipline, sacrifice, and sweat, much less risk-taking business endeavors, if I can have a wonderful life without working for it?”

https://heidelblog.net/2014/05/berkhof-on-the-necessity-of-good-works/

http://www.presenttruthmag.com/archive/XXXII/32-3.htm

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Reformed Baptist Jimmy Demoss Wants Less Gospel and More Works to get Rewards

Posted November 2, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: arminians, election

Tags: , , ,

On the first page of his “Gospelism Exposed”, Jimmy Demoss refers to some “Primitive Baptists who did not believe that one had to believe the gospel to be saved”. For the rest of his 102 page rant against those who put too much emphasis on the gospel, Demoss attempts to define the gospel in terms which would leave out from the gospel each and every one of the “five points”

Therefore if you deny total depravity and insist that “divine activity” depends on human ability, Demoss would say that this has nothing to do with the gospel “you have to believe to be saved”. Therefore if you believe that God’s election is based on the human condition of believing, Demoss would say that this has nothing to do with the question of which gospel you need to believe.

John 10:26 Jesus: But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.

But Demoss believes that, even if you reverse this and believe that “people are not sheep because they don’t believe”, this still has nothing to do with the gospel you need to believe. Demoss teaches that the sheep of Jesus do not necessarily listen to or obey the gospel Jesus preached . Sure, Jesus said, if you are elect you will believe, and if you are not elect you will not believe. Demoss denies that anybody who believes the gospel needs to agree with Jesus about that. First of all, Demoss teaches that you can completely disagree with Jesus and say instead that “you become a sheep because you believe”. Second, and this is what Demoss most
continually stresses, if you are lost, you should only pay attention to what is taught in the book of Acts (not in the gospel of John).

Demoss teaches that, whatever gospel may be taught by Jesus in the gospels, or by the apostles in the epistles, the lost should only pay attention to the gospel found in Acts. Without speculating about all his motives for his dogma about “only in Acts”, we have to ask where the Bible teaches “the gospel for the lost is only in one place” and “the gospel for the non-lost is found in other places”. Is Demoss a dispensationalist, with one gospel for some people, and another gospel for another time and place and people? Does Demoss so hate the doctrine of unconditional election that Demoss deceives himself that the doctrine of unconditional election is not to be found in the book of Acts?

Does Demoss believe that Christians after they are “saved” (justified before God?) move on to some second stage where they don’t need the gospel anymore, and that these “already saved” people only need the law in order for them to engage in “the human activity” which will bring them “greater rewards”? Does Demoss think that once Christians are “saved”, they then have to prove to themselves (and others) that
they got saved by believing “the gospel for the lost in Acts”?

Does Demoss think that the way Christians get assurance (and rewards!) is to obey enough of God’s law? How much of God’s law does one have to obey to prove to yourself that you believed the gospel? Is it enough obeying the law to live as right as most of the other people in your church? Or would be better to focus on your sins and to wonder about yourself (and others) if you are living well enough to be sure that you believed (the gospel for the lost)? Was Demoss himself “saved” by means of a gospel found only in the book of Acts?

Mr Demoss writes as an arrogant and self-righteous man of religion. Not only does he think that he’s living right enough to know that he is saved but he seems to think that everything in the Bible (besides the
book of Acts) is only for mature well grown second stage Christians like himself.

John 9: 34 “You were born entirely in sin,” the Pharisees replied, “and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw the sinner out

Here’s the gospel Jesus taught in John 10:3 The sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.

Demoss believes that you can completely reject any idea of God’s effectual calling and still believe the gospel (for the lost in Acts). Where Jesus teaches that His sheep will listen to Him, Demoss teaches that we become sheep by believing a different gospel than Jesus taught, one that leaves out election—, whatever Jesus said is law or something not necessarily for today, but not good news for a lost sinner, according to Demoss. While lost sinners may not recognize the voice of Jesus, they have another gospel in the book of Acts which will not be so complicated (ie, offensive) to them.

In John 10, Jesus teaches that He will only die for the sheep and that the sheep will only believe His gospel because they are His sheep for whom He died. But this kind of thing, while it may be accepted in some advanced theology class for people like Demoss who like to study books, this kind of talk about election being about who Jesus died for, is ruled out by Demoss as being a suitable gospel for lost people to ever need to hear.

John 10: 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me,15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.

Demoss believes that you can (and should) be ignorant about any idea of Christ having died only for the sins of elect, and this will make it more possible for you to believe (the gospel for the lost in Acts). In fact, the gospel Demoss wants sinners to hear does not get into any doctrine about what Christ’s death means or about atonement or propitiation which justly pays for sins, so that it would be unjust for those sinners (the sheep) to pay for their sins. Demoss wants to have a different gospel than Jesus teaches in John 10, a gospel that only tells the fact that Christ died and rose again. This is why Demoss writes 102 pages against “Gospelism”. He writes, “this is the name I gave this group because of its almost complete emphasis on the gospel”. But then Demoss adds—“or what they claimed was the gospel”.

It seems to me that Jimmy Demoss is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, he wants to say, if you agree that Jesus died and rose again, then you are saved if after that you live right. But on the other hand, Demoss suggests that “this group” believes what they claim is the gospel but what is not the gospel. Does this mean that, if we believe the gospel taught by Jesus in John 10, we are not believing
the gospel and therefore we are not saved (since we have the wrong gospel?)

Demoss cannot seem to say that straight out—these people are lost because they believe the false gospel. To say that, he might have to talk more about what is the doctrine of the true gospel. Instead, Demoss switches to the idea that those in this “group” are not living right. The people in this group are wanting to sin, which is why they have this different gospel about Jesus dying only for the sheep. Thus Demoss writes “many of these people have a little or no connection to a Christian church and have no accountability.”

Instead of telling us that we have a false gospel and teaching us what the true gospel is, Demoss focuses on living right. And it doesn’t matter if you belong to a Methodist or a Lutheran or a freewill church, it’s still a Christian gospel church and if you don’t belong to a church, then you are not living right.

On page 106 (almost to the end of His many pages on how we are all going to be judged according to our works, on the basis of works), Demoss lists several areas in which “people in this group” are not living right. Have I believed enough, these guys must think. For Demoss, this question is not about “is the nature of my saving faith such that it causes me to live and work enough”. Demoss is not being critical about the nature of our faith (as in, are we too dogmatic or too doubtful). Demoss is thinking that saying that Jesus dying only for the sheep is “too much” and so Demoss turns that objection to the object and content of our faith into the accusation that a gospel which includes election is “too much”.

You can say, Jesus died for everybody and that includes everybody, and that “gospel” won’t make anybody ask themselves if they “believe enough”. You can say, well I don’t know but I just feel in my heart that “Jesus died for me”, and Demoss would not object, because that’s not too much for him (even though the Bible never tells any sinner by name before they believe that Christ died for them personally).

But if you agree with the gospel Jesus in John 10 that Jesus died for the sheep, then that’s way too much for Demoss. In point of fact, it’s not enough. Many sinners do believe that Jesus died only for the
elect, and still are not believing the gospel, because along with that truth of His death only for the sins of His elect, these sinners add to that the condition of God causing them to live right. So instead of asking “do I believe in election” (which Demoss rejects as part of the gospel), these sinners instead “do I live right enough to know that I believe” So Demoss fakes some kind of pity for us, with an hypothesis that we can’t be sure that we believe this “extra gospel” about election. But in reality, Demoss is accusing those “in the group” of not living as well as he and those in his church live. He won’t say directly that we have a false gospel. Instead, he wonders if “we observe all the things Jesus commanded”.

Demoss is not asking if we imitate Jesus by not answering evil with evil. Demoss is wondering about us because we have no “affiliation” to a church (like his or the Methodists or some club where there is accountability and dues). DEmoss explains that the gospel is “not enough…The Shepherd does more-much more” (106). But Demoss is not talking about Jesus the Shepherd of John 10, the one who dies only for
the sheep and the one whose gospel the sheep hear. Instead , when Demoss talks about the Shepherd, he is talking about “the elders of the church”. If you are not a member of a church, or if your church does not have elders, Demoss warns, then Jesus dying on the cross is not enough. How are you going to live right, if you are not a member of some church. And if you don’t live right, how are you going to know if you really believe the gospel (the gospel for the lost in the book of Acts)?

You were not Born with your Wedding Clothes on—Dressed in His Righteousness

Posted October 12, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: atonement, death, imputation, union with Christ

Tags: , ,

You can’t add your own righteousness to God’s righteousness. You have to have your own clothes taken off. You have to be dressed in Christ’s righteousness alone. You can’t wear both kinds of clothes at the same time. It’s all or nothing, not some of both.

Our faith is that what Christ did outside us is now our wedding dress. Our wedding dress is not inside us. Our wedding dress is outside us. Our wedding dress is Christ’s death.

Our Justification is not the righteousness. The Righteousness is Christ’s death. The righteousness is the wedding dress. Those who wear the wedding dress are justified.

Genesis 3: 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and MADE FOR THEMSELVES loincloths

Genesis 3: 21 The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them

Matthew 22:10 So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests.11 But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot and throw him out.”

Isaiah 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, I will exult in my God. For God has clothed me with garments of salvation, God has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

The gospel of Zechariah 3 3 Now Joshua was dressed with clothes with shit on them as he stood before the Angel. 4 So the Angel of the Lord spoke to those standing
before Him, “Take off his shitty clothes!” Then the Angel said to Joshua, “See, I have removed your guilt from you, AND I will clothe you with splendid robes.

the law of Zechariah 3 7 “This is what the Lord of Hosts says: IF YOU walk in My ways and keep My instructions, you will both rule My house and take care of My courts.

Philippians 3—in order to gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ,

I want to write about our need to be dressed in Christ’s righteousness. We need to have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. The word “righteousness” is not a magic word. The word needs definition and explanation. The word imputation also need definition and explanation. Even though the righteousness of Christ comes to us By God’s imputation, we also receive God’s righteousness through faith in Christ. Christ is not a magic word. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us to understand who Christ is and what Christ has done because the Holy Spirit does not cause us to believe a gospel we do not understand.

The Holy Spirit causes to us understand the difference between God’s righteousness (God’s character and nature) as DEMANDING righteousness in God’s LAW and God’s Righteousness (as something gained in history by Christ’s death) as REVEALED IN THE GOSPEL. The righteousness of Christ imputed to the elect is Christ’s death for all the sins (commission and omission) of the elect.

The Holy Spirit causes us to understand the difference between law and gospel. “You got to live right” is law. There is a difference between God demanding righteousness and God then (in history, good news) accomplishing once for all time the one act of obedience that SATISFIES God’s demand. Christ’s death for the elect is God’s gift for the elect not in order to get God to love the elect. “Elect” means God’s loved. Christ’s death for the elect is God’s grace to the elect because God loves the elect. Because God loves the elect, Christ died for the sins of the elect to satisfy God’a law.

There is a difference between “imputation” as declaration only and imputation as “declaration after transfer” . We declare God to be just, not because we make God to be just, but because God IS just. We don’t have to transfer anything to God for God to be just and for us to declare that God is just. God is ALWAYS ALREADY JUST. And we say so.

Romans 3:3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though everyone were a liar, as it is written, “ in order That you be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

I Peter 3:4 Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, 15 but honor and justify and set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

I don’t want to get sidetracked with these “theodicy” (justify God) texts. But the point is that we declare that God is just because God IS just. We declare Christ Lord because Christ IS Lord.

Romans 3: 25 God presented Christ as a propitiation through faith in His BLOOD, to DEMONSTRATE His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.

My point is simple. God is declared justified, because God is and always has been completely just in the way God does everything, including when God declares some sinners to be righteous. God imputes some sinners as righteous, but God cannot and does not do this without putting those sinners in wedding clothes. God is sovereign but God cannot and will not declare any sinner to be righteous until and unless God transfers to them Christ’s death as their righteousness.

We don’t have to transfer anything to God for God to us to declare that God is just. But God does have to bury us (place us) into Christ’s death as our righteousness in order for God to declare us righteous.

We need to avoid a confusing false gospel in which God is only sovereign and not just in God’s character or in God’s salvation of sinners. God is BOTH just and justifier of the ungodly. The death of Jesus was not merely one way (among many) God could have saved the elect. God does NOT justify by sovereignly causing us to live right

Luke 16:15 And Jesus told them: “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is abomination in God’s sight.

Proverbs 17:15 Justifying the guilty and condemning the just— both are abomination to the Lord.

It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t look just. Some sinners get away from their sins. Other sinners sin the same sins, and don’t get away from their sins. Not only the punishment but the guilt of elect sinners is taken away before God by God’s propitiation. God made propitiation (satisfied wrath) by Christ’s death, and this is Christ’s righteousness. Since this does not seem fair, many false gospels teach that you can increase your own blessing and grace by adding onto Christ’s righteousness some additional clothes of your own. Add your own righteousness to Christ’s righteousness ( maybe not for justification but for assurance and other blessings)

Romans 10:3 They disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Many false gospels would say–we don’t disregard Christ’s righteousness. We don’t disregard Christ’s death. We only add to that righteousness by living right, and even our living right is from God, even our living right is imparted righteousness infused from God because God enables us to be better than other sinners.

But the Bible teaches that you can’t add your own righteousness to God’s righteousness. You have to have your own clothes taken off. You have to be dressed in Christ’s righteousness alone. You can’t wear both kinds of clothes at the same time. It’s all or nothing, not some of both.

Galatians 2:21 do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

If your hope and your assurance is found in you living right, you will be thrown out, because you are not yet dressed in the only wedding clothes that God’s righteousness (law) demands. The only wedding clothes accepted are Christ’s righteousness (the gospel—the death of Christ given by God’s imputation).

Now, you may say, this sound complicated, and besides-why does it have to be so all or nothing? Are you saying that only some few people are dressed in Christ’s righteousness? Yes. Are you saying that if a person does not understand and believe in Christ’s righteousness, there is some some doctrinal reason that these people ought to be ashamed of “living right”? Yes, they are despising Christ’s death. If you hope to get any (or extra) blessing by what they do, then you are despising Christ’s righteousenss.

I am not going to ask you questions about how right you are living. Instead, I am going to say that, no matter how you are living, if you DO NOT YET BELIEVE THE GOSPEL, YOU ARE NOT YET JUSTIFIED. if you do not know anything about God’s righteousness, in its demand (law) or as God’s gift imputed (gospel), then you are not yet declared righteous before God. And if you are not yet declared righteous before God, then you are still in your sins, still as you were born, “condemned already” . Your not knowing the gospel yet is not the cause of your condemnation, but your not knowing the gospel yet is evidence of your present condemnation.

Romans 10:3 They disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes

If you do not yet know the gospel, then you are not yet submitted to God’s righteousness. And if you are not yet submitted to God’s righteousness, then you are trying to build and add on your own righteousness. I tell you with fear of God—-NOBODY is going to be adding their own righteousness onto Christ’s righteousness. If you are still trying to build your own righteousness, you do not yet have Christ’s righteousness imputed. Those who do not believe the gospel are not yet dressed in Christ’s righteousness. Christ’s righteousness is the end of law. Law always defines what sin is, no matter if you believe or don’t believe the gospel But Christ’s righteousness (death imputed) is the end of the law requirement FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS to everyone who believes.

It is not your believing the gospel that is the righteousness. It is not your believing the gospel that causes God to impute Christ’s death to you. It is not your believing the gospel that causes God to justify you.
But God has not justified anybody who does not believe the gospel. The promise of the gospel is not that you are elect and the promise of the gospel is not that you will believe, but the promise of the gospel (which we teach to anybody and everybody) is that those God dresses in Christ’s righteousness are taught the truth and given understanding of who God is and how God justifies. The gospel is NOT that you personally are justified. Believing the gospel is believing the gospel promise that those who believe are justified before God.

Some of us who don’t want to add on our own righteousness tend to focus only on God’s sovereignty, so much so that we don’t talk about God’s justification. But God’s sovereignty alone is not the gospel. We also need to talk about God’s law demanding righteousness. We need to talk about God’s gospel revealing (by the power of the Holy Spirit) Christ’s righteousness, which is the death of Christ as the end of the law “for righteousness” (for those who believe) Our shit is still shit. Our sin is still sin. The law lawfully used defines the sins of the justified elect. Our justification does not depend on us deceiving ourselves about how much less we are sinning. Either we are justified before God or we are not. Either we know and believe the gospel or we do not.

If God can sovereignly justify you apart from satisfying justice by Christ’s death, then God can sovereignly justify you apart you from you knowing the gospel truth about the atonement. But God cannot and will not.

But if God’s nature is such that God will not save any elect sinner apart from Christ’s death,(and God’s nature IS such) then it is also God’s nature that God will not save any elect sinner apart from them knowing the truth about the justice and effectiveness of the atonement. God will not save by means of a falsehood about the Atonement. Telling the Truth about the Atonement is NOT “adding to the gospel”

Certainly the Lord Jesus Christ did many wonderful things. Jesus resisted Satan’s three temptations. Jesus obeyed the law of Moses.Jesus kept the Ten Commandments. But there is one thing only that Jesus “accomplished” which is the wedding dress of righteousness. Christ died one time only as the only Priest and Sacrifice to obtain and bring in this righteousness. Christ’s death is not “obedience to the law”. Christ’s death is satisfaction of the law (the law requires obedience or death, the law does not say that death is obedience, but the gospel in Romans 5 teaches that Christ’s death is obedience that brings justification.)

When the sin of Adam is transferred to every human person (not when they are teenagers but when they are born), this transfer of guilt is not good news. United to Adam by his guilt transferred to us, we are born “condemned already” and because of that we share Adam’s nature. When the righteousness of Christ (Christ’s death) is transferred to us, this is the good news. On our very inside, we believe the gospel. Having been taught the truth of the gospel, we know and assent to the gospel and we hope in the gospel. We cannot “un-believe the gospel”. Our believing that we ourselves are dressed in Christ’s righteousness is not something different from our believing the gospel. Our faith in the gospel is not our righteousness. Our faith is that what Christ did outside us is now our wedding dress.

Our wedding dress is not inside us. Our wedding dress is outside us. Our wedding dress is Christ’s death at one time in one place, not here, not now, but back then when Christ died as the sin offering for all the sins of the elect.

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 our trespasses and raised up because of our justification.”

Christ’s death is counted to us. Our faith is not counted to us as righteousness. Because our faith is NOT righteousness

GOD COUNTS ACCORDING TO TRUTH. God will count Christ’s death as the righteousness for all for whom Christ died.

Our Justification is not the righteousness. The Righteousness is Christ’s death.
The righteousness is the wedding dress. Those who wear the wedding dress are justified.

When God counts Christ’s death to us (buries us into, places us into Christ’s death),then and only then does God declare us righteous (justify us)

Justification happens when God imputes Christ’s righteousness to the elect. Justification happens when God dresses us in Christ’s righteousness.

The word Imputation means two different things. One, the transfer, God’s legal sharing of what belongs to another. God counts the death of Christ as all the doing required by the law. Christ’s death is accomplishment. Christ’s death was Christ willing to die. Christ”s death was active obedience to God. Two, the word imputation means God’s declaration based on truth. We are not “living right” to make up the needed difference. Nothing more is needed for our wedding dress than Christ’s death. We still sin against God’s law. But there is no condemnation to those of who are in Christ Jesus. Because we need no more and no other righteousness before God.

Christ’s death is enough. More than Christ’s death is too much and therefore not enough—-if you are still finding assurance in the way you live, then you are not yet dressed in Christ’s righteousness.

Romans 8: 1 no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus…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… as a sin offering,

The law is not the gospel. The law cannot be lived anymore than the gospel can be lived. But we are commanded to obey both law and gospel. We are commanded to live by truth of the gospel. Obeying the gospel is not the same thing as obeying the law.

Romans 1:16 “the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes”

Romans 6: 17 “But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to”

1 Corinthians 1:18. “The doctrine of the cross is to us who are saved the power of God”

I Thessalonians 2:13 When you received the message about God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the message of God, which works effectively in you believers.

II Thessalonians 2:10 They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

God Did Something New, The Lamb was Slaughtered to Bring in the Righteousness (Something that is a Something)

Posted September 3, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: death, imputation

Tags: , , ,

question from a reader of this blog (ET) —“This preacher says that the righteousness is not referring to God’s essential attribute of righteousness, but is referring to the merits of Christ because Christ obeyed the law and also satisfied the penalty of breaking it. Is the righteousness of Christ one thing or two things or many things? Was Christ’s circumcision His righteousness? Was Christ’s water baptism His righteousness?”

Daniel 9: 24 Seventy weeks are decreed
about your people and your holy city—
to bring the rebellion to an end,
to put a stop to sin,
to wipe away iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,

Revelation 21: 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist;
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things have passed away.
5 Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.”

It was not Jesus Christ obeying laws given to Adam and Moses that will save elect sinners
It was Christ’s death that will save elect sinners

Christ’s death was not a revelation of something which always was
Christ’s death was something new in history

A different book was opened, which is the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered

Some of those who talk a lot about God’s sovereignty also talk quite a bit about God’s “timelessness”. To hear them proclaim, you would think that the elect were always saved, and never in Adam or needing to be justified. If their speculations about “timelessness” were correct, then the “righteousness” in their gospel would be something Christ always had, and that “righteousness” would not be something new that was “brought in” when Christ died once for all time.

Because if the gospel is about “timelessness” or even about “infinity”, then it makes no sense to talk about a one time sacrifice, in which Christ did not have the “righteousness” which saves the elect until Christ died to obtain that righteousness by propitiation by death. If there is only some “eternity”, then that timeless idea is either “past eternity” (protological eternity) or “future eternity” (eternity after time) . But in any case “eternity” has nothing to do with “News” or anything which ever happened in history.

And if the elect were always justified, and if God always had the righteousness, then the idea of “imputation” is nothing more than God pretending to do something. If there is no before or after, then the idea of some kind of “righteousness” which can be transferred to persons is really a something which is not a something (not a liquid gas or solid, not an objective thing at all).

And if the something is not a something, then why bother to ask if this “something” is legally shared in time or legally shared timelessly(always transferred, always justified, always shared with the Surety.)? If there is no objective “righteousness” gained by Christ’s death, in the sense that it wasn’t there before and now it is there, what’s the point of talking about when God “imputes” that righteousness?

In that case, you would never need to make any distinction between “the righteousness” and “justification” (as in, God justifies based on the righteousness) and instead simply confuse the two words. You could simply say that “justification is righteousness” and “righteousness is justification”, because in reality “the righteousness” is not something new in history. Indeed, because by implication the preacher is telling the gospel story as if the elect were always righteous and always justified because Christ was always righteous and His death was not something new in history that “brought in ” some new righteousness.

But let me say it positively. Christ’s Death IS the Righteousness. Christ’s Death WAS Something New in History. Christ’s death IS not only disclosing something which always was. The words “made” and “became” mean that Christ was not merely explaining Moses or Abraham. Nor was Christ merely replacing Adam.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God MADE Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, in order that we would BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

Jeremiah 33: 16 In those days Judah will be saved,
…and SHE will be named The LORD Our Righteousness.

Jeremiah 23:6 Judah will be saved,
This is what HE will be named:
The LORD Our Righteousness.

Judah is only named Lord our righteousness IF AND WHEN SHE is legally united to HE who is the Lord our righteousness

I Corinthians 1:30 But it is from God that you are in Christ Jesus, who BECAME God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness

Do you boast in Jesus obeying laws given to Adam and to Abraham and to Moses? Or do you boast in Christ’s death as the righteousness Christ did not have until Christ died?

We become the righteousness. We were not always justified.

Christ became the righteousness. Christ’s attribute of righteousness (always) is not the same as Christ’s death (once in time)to satisfy righteousness for the elect.

Why do so many preachers define the gospel as being about “a combination of death and the righteousness”? They cannot imagine the death of Christ as enough righteousness either because they cannot think of the “righteousness” as something new in history or because they cannot really make much sense of Christ (or anybody) really dying in history. Even if “timelessness” does not mean for them “the eternal pre-existence of souls”, they do think of all humans after birth as living forever, either in heaven or hell. And therefore it troubles these folks to think of the death of Christ—whatever else happened, they know for sure that Christ was never actually dead. Most of them don’t think that Christ went to “infinite torment” after His death. Most of them seem to think that Christ went to “infinite torment” before He died and then immediately straight to heaven. They say things like “the spiritual death was the real death” which by implication means that the physical death either was not real or at least was not ‘the righteousness”.

In any case, it’s not clear for these preachers that the “infinite torment of Christ” (though they would never doubt that this is what the Bible teaches even if they can’t find the text) is the same as “the righteousness”. They preach Christ’s death AND the righteousness, but what is “the righteousness ? is the “righteousness” something that God always had or is the “righteousness” something gradually accomplished over time as Christ obeyed the 612 laws given through Moses? Since nobody is answering that question, perhaps nobody should be asking that question.

John 1: 14
The Word became flesh
and lived among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
18 The One and Only Son—
the One who is at the Father’s side—
The Son has revealed the Father

God was not always the creator
but God was always the Father, God was always the Son, God was always the Spirit

The incarnation was not only an instrument of revelation
The incarnation was revelation.
The incarnation is something new that happened in history.
Christ was not always incarnate, but now Christ is permanently incarnate, from now on also human.
Christ did not have the righteousness when Christ was born and sucked on his mother’s breasts, but when Christ died on the cross, Christ obtained a permanent redemption.
Christ did not have that permanent redemption before Christ died.
Christ rose from the dead because Christ had obtained that solid effectual and permanent righteousness.

The justification of the ungodly is a declaration based on Christ’s death as law-satisfaction. 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

Romans 6:17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that doctrine you were transferred to, 18 and HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED FROM SIN, you became enslaved to righteousness.

One of the reasons that so many preachers are not glorying in Christ crucified is that they keep adding “Christ keeping the law” in as the “righteousness” which is imputed, and they do not see Christ’s death as that which gives an elect sinner adoption, justification and regeneration. Some of them argue that, since Christ’s death did not give us God’s election, then it’s also not Christ’s death which gives us all the blessings of election, but rather that it’s Christ “doing what Adam should have done” which is the righteousness imputed.

They see election as what determined for whom Christ kept the law. They see election as what causes sinners to accept Christ’s keeping of the law. But they do not teach God’s election as having chosen Christ to die for the elect alone as the only way TO BRING IN righteousness for them. Why are they adding complication to Christ’s death as the gospel? I think one possible reason is that many don’t see death as the main problem we sinners have. Instead they think “separation from God” is more basic, because they assume that “the wages of sin is death” does not mean that any human sinner ever really dies but instead that some sinners will live forever being tortured by God. They think the satisfaction of this “separation” is “God being close enough and present enough to torture” the separated person. In the case of Christ, they figure, since the Son is infinite, the substitutionary torture can be infinite and yet done in hours or days. In the case of the non-elect, they reckon, God’s justice will never be satisfied, therefore the torture will never end because the torture will never be infinite enough.

But who really says these things? Who bothers to think about such questions? Wouldn’t it simply be better to stick to the gospel and have no fellowship with those who deny future infinite torture for the non-elect? Maybe we all agree that the “infinite torture” of the non-elect will never take away their sins, but that’s what we also had coming to us, and if some odd people won’t agree to that, then forget about them and let’s agree that the elect are saved not by what they do but by the DOING AND DYING of Christ. Let’s agree that the “righteousness” of Christ is not only His death but also His doing what Adam and Moses were supposed to do. And let’s not get into the question if Christ finished that doing before His resurrection, or if His Christ is still doing the work.

Let’s not even get into the question if Christ always had the righteousness. But if God is timeless, then “the righteousness” cannot be something new in history, cannot be something Christ did not always have before. I mean,it all depends on how you look at it. And some of these preachers have four different perspectives (realms) on justification and the rest of salvation. They can not only tell you how humans see it but they can also proclaim how God sees it. And only rude persons would interrupt them on the way to the back of the church to ask any more questions.

There is the permanent sin which can never be forgiven (Mark 3:29).
There is the permanent weight of glory compared with our present historical affliction (2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 5:10).
There is the permanent house (resurrected body) in the heavens which Christ will bring to us when Christ comes to earth compared to our present body (2 Corinthians 5:1).
There is the permanent destruction the lost will face at Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
There is the permanent judgment that will take place after the resurrection of the dead (Hebrews 6:2).
There is the permanent redemption secured by Christ’s death. Hebrews 9:12, “Christ entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing a permanent lasting redemption.”
As a a permanent lasting punishment does not mean punishing forever but punishment which is final, even so permanent lasting redemption does not mean that Christ is and will be redeeming forever, but rather that by one death, Christ has obtained a redemption which is complete and final. Like a punishment which cannot be reversed, this redemption for the elect cannot be reversed.

This permanent redemption is not the payment of a price without a guarantee that those paid for will be freed from guilt and its consequence death. Biblical redemption secures freedom for each particular elect person so that when that specific person will be (or has been, for example Abraham) joined to Christ’s death, and justified from sin and no longer under law and death.

If death is not our problem, then Christ’s death and resurrection is not the gospel solution. But the Bible good news is that Christ’s death executed by the occupying Roman empire as a falsely accused criminal is the greatest and most valuable SOMETHING that ever HAPPENED IN HISTORY. By that death all the elect shall be given to believe in that death as that which frees us from death. Death is the power of the guilt of our sins.

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

I Corinthians 1: 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

Unless we have imputed to us the righteousness that Christ got by His death, we do not have the righteousness which exceeds that of the Pharisess

Galatians 2:21 if righteousness comes by our living by law, then Christ died for no purpose.

If righteousness comes by Christ’s obeying the law, then Christ’s death was for what purpose? What was the purpose of Christ’s physical death if that death is not the righteousness? What was the purpose of Christ’s “spiritual death” if that death is not the righteousness? And while you are answering questions, what is “Christ’s spiritual death”? Is it some time when Christ really became a sinner and lost his faith in God? If our faith in Christ “has nothing to do with the gospel”, so that it’s the “faith of Christ” which is the gospel instead, is the “spiritual death of Christ” the part where Christ had faith or the part where Christ fell into despair? And if these are mean unfair questions to ask, when are you going to stop talking about the “spiritual death of Christ” or about “the faith of Christ”?

Revelation 6: 15 Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

Revelation 7: 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.
They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 13: 8 All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAUGHTERED
Revelation 20: 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. But another book was opened, which is the book of life,
Revelation 21: 5 Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new…7 only those written in the Lamb’s book of life will enter

Christ slaughtered is the new thing! Christ slaughtered is the righteousness!

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

will that preach?
is it true?

Do you boast in Jesus obeying Moses? Do you boast in Jesus replacing Adam? Or do you boast in Christ’s death as the righteousness Christ did not have until Christ died?

We become the righteousness. We were not always justified

Christ became the righteousness. Christ’s attribute of righteousness is not the same as Christ’s death to satisfy righteousness for the elect

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, in order that we would BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

I Corinthians 1:30 But it is from God that you are in Christ Jesus, who BECAME God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness… as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.

Philippians 3: 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus…

Do we glory in Christ’s circumcised heart by which Christ obeyed the law?
Do we boast and glory in Christ’s bloody death, the anti-type and fulfillment of circumcision and all the Old Testament sacrifices

Jeremiah 9:22 human corpses will fall
like manure on the surface of the field,
like newly cut grain after the reaper
with no one to gather it.
Boast in the Lord
23 This is what the Lord says:
The wise man must not boast in his wisdom;
the strong man must not boast in his strength;
the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth.
24 But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me—
that I am the LORD showing faithful love
and righteousness on the earth

God never commanded Adam to die for the sins of others. Being punished by the law is not the same as obeying the law. But does that mean I should not boast in the death of Christ but instead glory in Christ’s law-keeping? I disagree with the following quotation from Charles Spurgeon—“The promises in the Word of God are not made to suffering; they are made to obedience. Consequently, Christ’s sufferings, though they may remove the penalty of sin, do not alone make me the inheritor of the promise. “If You will enter into life,” said Christ, “keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). It is only Christ’s keeping the commandments that entitles me to enter life. “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable” (Isaiah 42:21). I do not enter into life by virtue of His sufferings –entering the enjoyments of the life eternal must be the result of obedience.”

Christ did not buy a gift card for you or the Holy Spirit to use or not use–all the elect decide to believe the gospel

Posted August 20, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: election, imputation

Tags: , , ,

II Corinthians 2: 14 God through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Christ in every place. 15 To God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are BEING SAVED and among those who ARE PERISHING.

Biblical grace is not ONLY about God empowering the elect to choose and decide to believe the gospel. Biblical grace is ALSO about God having chosen which guilty sinners for whom Christ would die. But biblical grace is also about these same guilty sinners, all those for whom Christ did, being given not only the ability but being caused to choose and to decide to believe the gospel.

No guilty sinner will be given “the power to the contrary”. No guilty sinner will be given the ability to choose or not to choose to believe the gospel. All ELECT guilty sinners will for sure decide to believe the gospel.

All sinners are born guilty, from the imputed guilt of Adam alone, and this includes the elect who are born guilty in Adam and therefore also born not believing the gospel, born not able to believe the gospel.

God has chosen that all humans will be born guilty, but God has also chosen that elect humans will come to believe the gospel. Elect humans will believe the gospel, because Christ died for elect sinners, and all the sins of the elect have been imputed to Christ.

No elect sinner will die in unbelief of God’s gospel. Therefore Christ did not die imputed with the sin of final unbelief by any elect sinner. Rather, Christ died so that no elect sinner will die in unbelief of the gospel. Christ’s death not only paid for sins but also purchased the faith in the gospel which God imparts to every elect sinner so that every elect sinner chooses to believe the gospel.

Christ will be honored and glorified. Christ did not purchase God the Holy Spirit a kind of gift card by which God the Holy Spirit now decides “who will be in the church” or “who will be on the elect team”. All for whom Christ died will most certainly repent of their false gospels and believe the true gospel.

Even though God has already imputed all the future sins of the elect to Christ, God did not impute the sin of final unbelief of the gospel by any elect sinner. The reason for this is that no elect sinner will die in final unbelief.

God has not already imputed the death of Christ to every elect sinner. When God does impute the death of Christ to an elect sinner, that sinner is NOT given the ability “to GO EITHER WAY”. When God imputes Christ’s death to an elect sinner, that sinner WILL BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.

A sinner who does not yet believe the gospel is a sinner to whom God has not yet imputed Christ’s death.

Election has nothing to do with salvation—false

Therefore, salvation is nothing but election–false

Therefore, salvation is election but not justification or regeneration–false

Election and justification and regeneration are all part of salvation by Christ: true

The gospel has nothing to do with election–false

The gospel is only about God’s sovereignty and not about God satisfying the law–false

The gospel is only about what God already did outside the ungodly sinner–false

The gospel is not only about what God did but also about God causing elect ungodly sinners to believe the gospel

The gospel is not gospel for those God never causes to believe the gospel

Not believing the gospel is not a CAUSE of condemnation, because not believing the gospel is EVIDENCE of condemnation. But not believing the gospel is not evidence of our ALWAYS BEING CONDEMNED. Elect sinners who do not now believe the gospel WILL come to believe the gospel. Elect sinners who are now condemned in their sins WILL BE JUSTIFIED BY GOD. All the elect are always elect, but the elect are not all justified yet.

ROMANS 5: 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have NOW received reconciliation

God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel

Some sovereign grace preachers today, in reaction to Arminians (salvation without election, salvation conditioned on the sinner’s choice, have begun to teach that “all the elect were justified eternally” or that “all the elect were justified as soon as Christ died”.

“God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel”. Saying that alone does not say other things, so some of these preachers say “don’t say that about God imputing Christ’s death– say only the other things.”

Because 1,for them that sounds too close to telling people the wrong idea that God imputes because sinners believe the gospel.
Because 2, for them they want to say “righteousness” is imputed (not only the death) because for them the death pays off justice for sins but death does not satisfy law by keeping sabbath and the other stuff Jesus did

But I don’t agree with these “all at the same time” preachers. I still teach “two legal states”—those who believe God’s gospel have been imputed with Christ’s death

I certainly don’t think that Christ died for some sinners who never ever get imputed with Christ’s death. But not all the sinners for whom Christ died have been placed into that death YET. It’s not the Holy Spirit using a credit card who places some elect sinner into Christ’s death. It’s certainly not the elect sinner who places her self into Christ’s death.

I don’t agree with the rhetoric of these preachers that, as soon as Christ satisfied justice for sins, those sins can no longer be counted against any of the elect, even if those elect persons have not yet been born.

These preachers ask—if we all agree that you don’t find out if you are elect until after you believe the gospel, why can’t we then also agree that we find out after we believe that we were already justified?

My answer to that question I have given above.

We are NOT justified before God until we believe the gospel.

The Bible does not teach two different justifications, one that God does out of time, and then another justification (which is only in our head and which only tells us that we were already really justified!)

God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel.
A sinner who does not yet believe the gospel is a sinner to whom God has not yet imputed Christ’s death.

Now that God has imputed Christ’s death to you, two things—you believe the gospel and you are justified— not one of those things without the other, not one of those things before the other

The same preachers who tell us we can’t know about God and time also like to tell us that God does not justify in time. But if God does not justify in time, how can it be true that Christ propitiated for sins in time?

To say that God never counted sins to Christ is just as bad as saying God still counts sins to Christ

Carl Trueman, p 91–“The Protestant doctrine of justification by imputation was always going to be criticized as tending toward eternal justification. In placing the declaration in God’s will, not in the qualities or the faith of the one justified, it was argued (by Richard Baxter) that any necessary connection between justification and any chronological factors had been decisively abolished”.

Romans 6 Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Christ. 10 For in light of the fact that Christ died, Christ died to sin once for all time

Once in time for all time, Christ’s propitiation was finished and done, and now in time God imputes that propitiation (reconciliation) to elect sinners.

Romans 5: 17 speaks of “those who receive the free gift of righteousness” and how they reign in life through the one man Christ Jesus. This receiving by imputation is not the same thing as the sinner receiving by believing. (John 1:12-13). But those who receive Christ’s death by God’s imputation do receive the gospel by faith God gives on the basis of Christ’s death (II Peter 1:1)

The receiving of Christ’s righteousness (His death)by imptutation is not the same as the righteousness. The imputation is not necessarily at the same TIME as when Christ earned the righteousness by his death. God declaring the elect to be joint-heirs with Christ in that righteousness is not the same as the righteousness. There is a difference between the imputation and the righteousness.

Our continuing for the rest of our lives to believe the gospel is not the righteousness. But neither is God’s imputation, nor the indwelling of Christ which follows that imputation, the righteousness.

The Holy Spirit does NOT “baptize all believers into one body.” (I Cor 12:13 correctly quoted) –”in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” The text does not say that the Holy Spirit is the baptizer, or the “agent who unites us to Christ”.

Since the Holy Spirit gives faith to the elect, many folks teach that the faith given to the elect unites them to Christ. But the elect were elected by Christ and in Christ. And it is by God’s imputation with Christ’s death that the elect pass from guilt in Adam to faith in the gospel and justification by Christ’s death.

The Holy Spirit is NOT selecting individuals to be on the team. God the Trinity already (before the ages) elected individuals to be saved from God’s wrath.

I Corinthians 5:14-15– “one died for all, therefore all have died, and Christ died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but who for themselves for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

We can think about a “for” which is not substitution. I can score a basket for my team, without any idea that I am the only one playing the game. I score the basket for the sake of others on my team, and not only for myself, but that does not mean they do nothing and I do everything. In II Corinthians 5:14-15, it is not the “for” which get us to the idea of substitution. What gets us to substitution is “therefore all died”.

It is a MISTAKE to reference the “died with” to a “faith-union” given by the Holy Spirit. The idea is NOT that Christ died one kind of death and as a result the Holy Spirit selects and unites some to “the church”.

The idea of “therefore all died”, the idea of “legal union with Christ’s death” is NOT that the Holy Spirit becomes the agent of that death, and selects who will be on the team. But in the double-speak of those who believe in election but not in the gospel of Christ’s death being that which is the basis of justification, Christ only died to have a team of “those who would believe” (what the object of belief is not usually said).

In the complicated world of “election created by the Holy Spirit”, there is no free will and the credit for your deciding to be on the church team is given to the Holy Spirit. But the Romans 6 idea of “died with Christ”, the II Corinthians 5:15 idea of “therefore all died” is that Christ died to propitiate God’s wrath because of ALREADY IMPUTED SINS, and that in time this death is imputed by God to the elect.

The elect do not (and did not) die this kind of death. Their substitute replaced them and died the death for them. Christ alone, in both His Deity and His Humanity, by Himself, without the rest of humanity (some of them did the killing part, but Christ chose to die), died this death. Christ the Elect One died the death required to make certain tht the elect were going to one day be justified.

Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”.

Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith in Christ.”

Robert Haldane, p 194–“there are some who, strongly impressed with the great evil of making faith a work, have plunged into a contrary extreme, as if justification were independent of faith, or as if faith were merely an accidental or unimportant thing in justification. This also is a great error. Faith is as necessary in justification as the sacrifice of Christ itself, but necessary for a different purpose.”

Are You a Success When It Comes to Sanctification?

Posted July 15, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: death, resurrection

Tags: , ,

Has your life so far been a success?

At least, is your life finally now a success?

More successful than your parents?

Less successful than your children?

Do you think that “merely” surviving (still existing) is success?

If we read other people’s obituaries to find out what the dead persons did wrong, we should remember that we also are going to die, despite any success we have in eating and exercise. (s every other person’s death (besides ours) really a suicide—they made bad choices?)

-Pharisees have an explanation–unlike me, those other were merely existing, even before they died they were not really living. But I am a success. I myself am really living, not faking it. I am the real thing.
My practical personal righteousness (not for justification but for sanctification and assurance of final justification) exceeds that of the Pharisees.

—-
Our future deaths do not change the imperatives (poor people are too stupid to eat right like I do)

But grace does not mean that we will have success with the imperatives

Grace does not mean that there are no more imperatives

“Should have”—- “Could not” is not an excuse

The gospel is not an excuse for failure and sin

But that being said (and really meant , the gospel of grace is the only solution for failure and sin

Only resurrection is the solution for death

“Successful aging” does not provide a solution to prevent death.

Cherry picking soundbite proof texts out of the bible is not the means for success either.

Philippians 4: 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

but see also

Philippians 3: 10 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

2 Corinthians 13:4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are WEAK IN HIM, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

2 Corinthians 4: 10 We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, in order that the life of Jesus also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life will also be revealed in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us

This does not mean that Jesus is still dying.

Jesus is NOT still dying, not even in us.

We have either been placed in Christ’s death or we have not.

We are not in the process of being placed into Christ’s death.

We have either been sanctified or not.

Some of the elect have been sanctified, and some of the elect have not yet been sanctified.

II Thessalonians 2: 13 But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning[f] God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.

Jesus Christ acted for His own glory. But we are not to act for our own glory. Jesus by His death obtained His own justification. We do not obtain our own sanctification. Jesus does not “help us” to obtain our own sanctification.

Hebrews 12: Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are thine.
Remold them, make us, like thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
a beacon to God, to love, and loyalty.
Are ye able? Still the Master
whispers down eternity,
and heroic spirits answer,
now as then in Galilee.

Justified just as i now am
But the future second aspect of my justification depends on my lifestyle

Now i am more sanctified than I was, but now I also have the ability to become even more sanctified

Do you remember that song from some hymn books that says–yes we are able—so many think we (after we get justification out of the way) are able to help God produce our sanctification. We give God all the credit for enabling us to obey as well as we do, and we never claim to obey perfectly–so grace helps us, and then grace cuts us some slack and at least we are a little bit more successful than we were yesterday. We have gradual success , notonly because we are allowing God to transform us each day but also we ourselves are killing sin in us. We are not merely permitting the Holy Spirit to mortify sin in us. WE DO IT.

Ferguson, p 106—if you are led by the Holy Spirit, then you are not under law IN THE SENSE THAT YOU ARE NOT UNDER CONDEMNATION. But you are under the law in the sense that “for whatsoever you sow, that you shall reap.” The more we offer ourselves to the Spirit, the more fruit of the Spirit we will produce. God has given us provisions for victory, and made it possible for us to be more than conquerors

Sinclair Ferguson, Devoted to God, p 107 the Holy Spirit will deliver you from a lifestyle in which you find yourself constantly coming under the condemnation of the law

You and also the Holy Spirit keep you from sinning, and not sinning keeps you from condemnation

Is the new covenant God writing the Ten Commandments on our hearts?

Reformed—God has not changed the law (except God has de-consecrated the temple and the Jews, and now consecrated our children)

question—after God writes the Ten Commandments on our hearts, do we then obey the Ten Commandments?

Sinclair Ferguson, p 182, Devoted to God—“But when they come to Christ, the law that had formerly been a burden they felt unable to carry now seems transformed. It’s almost as though the law itself is carrying them, and not the other way around. What was their burden has now become their pleasure.

Almost….

Ferguson, 221–Is your “knowledge” merely informational” or is yoiur knowledge transformational?

In us, but also through us, by our efforts also

John Murray–“God works in us and we also work. But the relation is that because God works we work” His understanding of progressive sanctification entails that man cannot claim anything good “in and of himself”. “What the apostle is urging is the necessity of working out our own salvation, and the encouragement he supplies is the assurance that it is God himself who works in us” (Murray, 149).

But unless John Murray assumes the command to be given only to those who have the ability to perform the command in some sense, then the ability of the regenerate is not relevant.

“God’s working in us is not suspended because we work, nor our working suspended because God works. Neither is the relation strictly one of co-operation as if God did his part and we did ours so that the conjunction or co-ordination of both produced the required result” (Murray). Murray would see both full divine participation and full human participation in the sanctification process. This is synergism

I agree with Ed Boehl (The Reformed Doctrine of Justification- notice the critical preface in which Berkhof claims Boehl is too Lutheran).

Boehl–“If conforming into the image of Christ is truly the work of the Holy Spirit alone, then it is difficult to claim a a new ability, in the regenerate man. The regenerate man is not given an improved ability from the Holy Spirit to obey God. This position does not deny that the regenerate man bears fruit. Nor does it deny that the Holy Spirit sometimes enables the believer to overcome sin. However, it not the case that this is an ability found within justified sinners.”

Why do so many Reformed say that the Sabbath has been fulfilled but also that the Sabbath has not yet been fulfilled?

Maybe some of the reason is that they think they were born in the covenant before they had been justified yet.

And maybe some think that those who have already been justified have not yet lived a lifestyle that will escape condemnation when the second not yet aspect of justification arrives.

Ferguson–you cannot have Christ as your Saviour without having the Spirit as your leader. And being led by the Spirit will deliver you from a llfestyle in which you constantly find yourself coming under condemnation of the law Devoted to God, p 107.

I Peter 2: 24 He Himself bore our sins
in His body on the tree,
so that, HAVING DIED TO SIN
we would live for righteousness

245—Haldane holds the view that the only sense in which Paul could say that “Christ died to sin” is that he died for sins imputed. Haldane–“Our Lord never felt the power of sin, and therefore could not die to the power of sin?” Smeaton held a similar view–dying to its guilt.

246 Ferguson—My view however is that Christ died to Sin as a power. He died for sin but also to the dominion of sin. In Christ therefore we have died to sin’s reign as well as its guilt.

Mark McCulley— Haldane and Smeaton and Hodge argue that the power of sin is the guilt of sin.

Ferguson—Slaves, masters, “freed from sin” is the language of the marketplace not the legal courts. Paul is not dealing with justification from guilt as our motivation.

Ferguson, p 256, Devoted to God —“Only when we know the proportions of Christ’s deliverance. will Paul’s imperatives strike home and we know that we CANNOT go on living as though we were subjects of sin’s reign.”

Mark Mcculley: So, if we don’t see it the way Ferguson and John Murray see it, then we are not really Christian, because it turns out that we can and do live a lifestyle that is condemned by the law? But if we live a lifestyle that is not condemned by the law, only then, and as we continue to live that way, will we know that Christ died to sin for us, and that we are Christians?

I guess success is always relative. You could always have more success. If you wanted to.

God’s Election is not Based on God’s Justice

Posted June 3, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: covenants, election

Tags: , , , ,

A Calvinist Attempting to Explain God’s election—“God the Son procured His Father’s favor” (Sonny Hernandez, High Calvinism, p 91)

This is wrong. It’s backwards. God’s favor for the elect resulted in God’s redemption given by God the Son In His death as satisfaction of God’s law

God’s election is not based on God’s foresight of Christ’s death for the elect
Christ’s death for the elect is based on God’s favor to the elect in Christ

God’s election is not because of God’s justice
God’s election shows God’s nature
it’s not only God’s sovereignty and God’s justice that show God’s nature

Romans 8: If God is for us, who is against us?
32 God did not even hold back His own Son
but God gave the Son up for us
how will God not also with giving the Son give us everything?
33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?
God is the One who justifies.

John 3: 16 “For God loved in this way–God gave His One and Only Son, in order that as many as who believe in the Son will not perish but have lasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn but to save through the Son

Since God has never had any love or mercy for the non-elect, the non-elect have no additional guilt for “how they react to God’s love an mercy”. But like the elect were when they elect were born, the non-elect are born already guilty before God

Whatever God ordains is not good, because God also ordains evil. This is why we need to know God’s law, because God’s nature is not only revealed in the gospel but also in divine law. We can’t take “the inductive” approach to history to know what’s good for us to do. Matthew 26: 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed

“As it is written”. Even as prophesy is fulfilled, sin is sin and will be punished as sin by death, either the death of Christ or by the death of the non-elect.

Thomas Boston–The Mosaic covenant could never be said to be a covenant of works when it has such mercy in it to sinful men Mark Mcculley—The Mosaic covenant is not a republishing of the covenant of works because there was never any “covenant of works” with Adam published in the first place. God never proposed (plan a) to Adam that Adam could gain justification and lasting life by works. God the Father never proposed to God the Son that God could gain justification for anybody apart from Christ’s death

God’s election is not based on some idea of “a covenant of works” or “a covenant of grace” between God the Father and God the Son.

If you say that there is only one “the covenant of grace”, and that the Mosaic covenant is an “administration of the covenant of grace”, of course you can’t say that the Mosaic law is a covenant of works—– put most of the Jews out of “the covenant of grace” sure, but never put out infants, let them have water (baptism as “means of grace”) because it’s merely a different form of the grace of circumcision…

1. The Bible never says a time would have come when Adam could stop keeping the covenant of works.

2. The Bible never says a time would come when Christ could stop keeping the covenant of works.

3. Therefore Christ is still keeping the covenant of works.

4. OR there is NO “covenant of works” in the Bible for Christ, because Christ’s death (one act of obedience) purchased all the blessings of salvation for all those for whom Christ died.

Matthew 21: 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing its[l] fruit. 44 Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces. But on whoever the stone falls, the stone will grind them to powder!”

A backwards dispensational interpretation–The kingdom of God will be taken away from the Americans and given to the nation of Israel.

a Reformed covenant theology—-The only children of Abraham are those in the sacramental church. Abraham has no other children except those watered by the visible church. The kingdom of God has been taken away from Jews merely by natural generation from Abraham, and the kingdom has been given to us, and to our children by natural generation. But when our children by natural generation are watered by the visible church, they are children of Abraham

Matthew 27: 25 All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!

David Gordon—-“John Murray and his followers believe that the only relation God sustains to people is that of Redeemer. I would argue, by contrast, that God was just as surely Israel’s God when God cursed the nation as when God blessed it. God’s pledge to be Israel’s God, via the terms of the Sinai administration, committed God to curse Israel for disobedience just as much as to bless her for obedience. In being Israel’s God, God sustained the relation of covenant suzerain to her. God did not bless or curse any other nation for its covenant fidelity or infidelity. In this sense, God was not the God of other nations as he was the God of Israel. (p 120 “By Faith Alone”)

Donald Macleod—”It was no part of the work of Christ to make God love us, The very fact of his being on earth at all was proof of the divine love. The business of the atonement, therefore, was to propitiate the God who already loves us: to lay the foundation for an advocacy directed towards him specifically as Father (1 John 2: 1). God unequivocally requires such propitiation, but in the last analysis God also provides the propitiation and God even becomes the propitiation.

The Father elects us in Christ because of the Father’s love for Christ. The Father elects us in Christ because of the Father’s love for elect sinners.

God’s justice in Christ is NOT the cause of God’s love, but it is the necessary means of God’s love.

The death of Christ is not the cause of God’s election in love.
God’s election in love is the cause of the death of Christ.
Jesus, the incarnate Son of God in human flesh, is the foundation of election by being Himself the object of election.

I Peter 1:20 Christ was foreknown /elected before the creation of the world but was revealed at the end of the ages for you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Christ from the dead and gave Christ glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Bavinck—As a reaction against this came the development of anti-neonomianism, which had justification precede faith, and antinomianism which reduced justification to God’s eternal love…But the gospel mentions no names and does not say to anyone, personally: Your sins have been forgiven. Therefore it is not proper for any man to take as his starting point the belief that his sins have been forgiven.

According to Antinomians, justification was nothing else than the love of God which is not concerned about the sins of man, which does not require atonement in Christ, and which only needs to be proclaimed in order to enable man to believe. Faith to the antinomians is nothing but a renouncing of the error that God was ever the enemy of the elect.

Bavinck—If one says that “justification as an act immanent in God” must of necessity be eternal, then it should be remembered that taken in that sense everything, including creation, incarnation, atonement, calling, regeneration, is eternal. Whoever would speak of an eternal creation would give cause for great misunderstanding. Besides, the proponents of this view back off themselves, when they assert strongly that eternal justification is not the only, full, and complete justification, but that it has a tendency and purpose to realise itself outwardly. This amounts really to the usual distinction between the decree and its execution.

The counsel of God and all decrees contained therein as a unit are without doubt eternal “immanent acts”, but the external works of God, creation, preservation, governing, redemption, justification, etc., are in the nature of the case “transient acts.” As works they do not belong to the plan of God’s ordering but to the execution of God’s plan.

There is much that we know that we don’t know (“negative theology”) But we should avoid saying that only God the Father elects, and avoid saying that God the Son does not give law or create or choose. We should not leave out God the Holy Spirit

The history of the execution of God’s reveals who God is

We can’t just “soundbite” —as in, “salvation is really all about God’s purpose”

Any “covenant” is cut in history

The new covenant is not the Abrahamic covenant

Israel is never simply Israel (we have to keep still paying attention to the different senses of the Israel ) and NOT say “well we have our spiritual eyes on now and read the OT in terms of what our “one covenant of grace” system already thinks it know about God (Father Son and Holy Spirit)

I am a “federalist”, but “federalism” does not depend on “the covenant of works” and “the covenant of grace” Federalism does not depend on a covenant between the Father and the Son. Federalism is two Adams, two legal representatives God the Son depends on God the Father to be God the Son in the same way that God the Father depends on God the Son to be God the Father. As God, God the Son is equal to God the Father and in no way subordinate. As human, God the Son is necessarily subordinate to God the Father.

Palmer Robertson—“The eternal intention of God to redeem a people to himself certainly must be affirmed, but to speak concretely of an intertrinitarian ‘covenant’ with terms and conditions between Father and Son mutually endorsed before the foundation of the world is to extend the bounds of scriptural evidence beyond propriety.”

Letham– “To describe the relations of the three persons in the Trinity as a covenant, or to affirm that there as a need for them to enter into covenantal arrangements is to open the door to heresy. The will of the Trinity is one; the works of the Trinity are indivisible. For all the good intentions of those who proposed it, the construal of the relations of the three persons of the Trinity in covenantal terms is a departure from classic Trinitarian orthodoxy.”

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