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.

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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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Adam was righteous and the justified elect are righteous, but there’s a Difference (not vicarious law-keeping but Christ’s death is the Difference)

Posted May 12, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: atonement, imputation

Tags: ,

Adam was righteous and the justified elect are righteous, but there’s a difference

The difference between Adam and us is not that we sin—both Adam and we sin

Neither Adam nor us is glorified yet

Before Adam ever sinned, Adam did not have Christ’s death as punishment for his future sins

Before we were imputed with Christ’s death, we did not have Christ’s death as punishment for our future sins

But after sinners are justified by Christ’s death, they have Christ’s death as the final and permanent punishment for all their sins

Before Adam sinned, Adam was already on probation under the law

After sinners are justified by Christ’s death, that death imputed means they are not still on probation

So we do NOT “have to” (no hope without it) say that it’s Christ’s obedience to his mother that is the righteousness by which we are justified?

The difference between Adam before justification and after justification is Christ’s death

Was it Christ’s obedience to his mother that is the righteousness imputed? No. Christ’s death is the difference.

If we are pardoned of the sin of not having done what is required to “fulfill all righteousness”, then no “sin of omission” can be counted against us

I don’t believe that Adam “could have earned immortality” for himself or for others

I disagree with John Owen-“We deny that the death of Christ is imputed unto us for our righteousness. By the imputation of the death of Christ our sins are pardoned and we are delivered from the curse of the law, but we are not esteemed righteous except by the fulfilling of the commands of law or the obedience to the law.”

John Owen- (Volume 5 on Justification) – we being sinners, we were obnoxious both unto the command and curse of the law. Both must be answered, or we cannot be justified. And as the Lord Christ could not by his most perfect obedience satisfy the curse of the law, “Dying thou shalt die;” so by the utmost of his suffering he could not fulfill the command of the law, “Do this, and live.” Passion, as passion, is not obedience, — though there may be obedience in suffering, as there was in that of Christ unto the height. Wherefore, as we plead that the death of Christ is imputed unto us for our justification, so we deny that the death of Christ is imputed unto us for our righteousness. For by the imputation of the sufferings of Christ our sins are remitted or pardoned, and we are delivered from the curse of the law, which he underwent; but we are not thence esteemed just or righteous, which we cannot be without respect unto the fulfilling of the commands of the law, or the obedience by it required. The whole matter is excellently expressed by Grotius

John Owen is saying that Christ’s death is not Christ’s merit.
John Owen goes on to accuse all who see Christ’s death as the fulfillment of the law’s requirement of bringing in their own personal righteousness as that which entitles them to positive inheritance (not merely forgiveness of sins)

John Owen is saying that Christ’s death can only take away the old clothes and leave us naked (“neutral”)
John Owen is saying that Christ’s death cannot be our “new clothes”, our new “dress of righteousness”.

John Owen is teaching that only obedience to precepts can be the righteousness, and thus teaching that “Christ’s law-keeping” (not His death) is our imputed righteousness.

His philosophical argument is that Adam was not under both the obligation of punishment and the obligation to “do acts of law-keeping while on probation to obtain immortality (and release from probation)

But no matter how many times Owen repeat this theory (in different ways, with different words time and time again), he has not proven that Adam was promised freedom from law and probation, based on a limited time of doing.

It’s true that Adam was not under BOTH obligations, death as punishment and obeying God’s law to live.

But this means it’s true that Adam was never commanded to die
Christ came to die.
Christ came to do what Adam was never commanded to do.
Christ came to die.
Adam was not promised immortality,
Don’t sin, don’t die.
Don’t eat from the tree, don’t die.

And notice that the sin of Adam is not “failure to do what you need to do to gain immortality”
The sin of Adam is breaking the law.
The sin of Adam is not “sin of omission”.
Except in the sense of “omitting to not eat from the one tree.”

There is no reason to think Adam did not eat from the tree of life, but even if Adam omitted to do that.
Adam was not obligation to eat from the tree of life.

The “covenant of works” theory teaches a ”hypothetical gospel” in which Adam supposedly “could have” earned righteousness for others by keeping the law. One clear way to say that the law is not the gospel is to say that the it was not the gospel for Adam either. But the “covenant of works” is not inherent to the law/gospel antithesis

So if only the death of Jesus is the righteousness, what does it matter if Jesus obeyed his mother? My answer 1. if Jesus had sinned, then His death would have been for Himself not for others 2. It is good and right to do what God commands even if our obedience does not “bring in the righteousness” (or need to). Christ’s obeying his mother is the right human thing to do, not a “qualification to become the Surety”

Chosen According to God’s Foreknowledge, or Do You Find that Too Arbitrary?

Posted April 13, 2018 by markmcculley
Categories: election

Tags: , , ,

1 Peter 1- To the temporary exiles dispersed chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8: 28 We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to God’s purpose. 29 For those God foreknew God also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Election (being chosen) is discrimination. Election is not a result of a meritocracy.

1. I am not intrinsically less lovable than you

2. what does “intrinsic” mean?

3. Was God less likely to love and elect rich and smart people?

I Timothy 2: God wants them to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Does the sovereignty of God mean that God can and does save sinners even while not teaching them the truth or making salvation involve the sinners ever repenting of the false gospel? NO.

Ephesians 1:9 God has MADE KNOWN to us the mystery of God’s will, according to God’s good pleasure that God planned in Him 10 for the fulfillment of the ages

God elects from all categories

Does God elect more from the category of the poor than from the category of the rich? Does the Bible say that?

Even though we don’t know why God elects one and not another, we know that God makes two kinds of vessels from the one lump. God’s love is not arbitrary but personal

What does “arbitrary” mean?

What’s the opposite of “arbitrary”

Deconstruction locates assumed binary oppositions, with one side of the “other” h parasitic upon its “opposite side” . After the binary (justification, not sanctification, or sanctification, not justification) is set up on the presupposition that the first term must be preserved by reference to the second term We inverse the value system of this binary by showing that the prior term depends upon the second term for its existence This inversion has the effect of calling into question the binary. We push towards dissolution of the terms as they have been structured.

Is the word “natural” the opposite of “arbitrary”?

Is “intrinsic value” the opposite of “arbitrary value”?

Is justice blind and therefore “arbitrary”?

Is election not blind and therefore “not arbitrary”?

If all sinners are disabled, why does God then harden some of these already disabled sinners?
Even if you say that God only “leaves the disabled where they are”, why does God not equally enable all those who are disabled?

God not only discriminates but also disables.

God is always righteous, and therefore God never adjusts to us or need to adjust

Was Christ’s death plan B? Was Christ’s death “arbitrary”. Could God have justified the elect without Christ’s death? Could God have justified the elect without Christ’s incarnation? NO NO NO

1. if righteousness comes through the new birth, then Christ came for nothing

2. if righteousness comes through Christ’s “infinite separation from God”, then there was no need for Christ to become incarnate and die

John Owen–“The fruits of the death of Christ are reckoned as of debt. He for whom a ransom is paid has a right unto his liberty by virtue of that payment”. God declares a value to the death of Christ that is not different from the intrinsic value of the death of Christ. God’s imputation is according to truth. Those God places into Christ’s death are justified.

The Lombard/ Synod of Dordt formula of sufficient for all but efficient only for the elect allows for universal atonement and then a uniting to that universal death by faith. That way you can tell everyone that God loves them but that it is the faith given by the Holy Spirit that calls the elect to that universal death. It is therefore the faith and regeneration that has priority over the death of Christ.

Proclaiming that Christ died for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ by God is saying something different than the Dordt formula. This puts the priority on the death for the elect alone. The ultimate cause of faith is the death imputed not the Spirit uniting to the death. The sinner does not impute his sins to Christ after the Spirit regenerates, nor does the Spirit impute the sins of sinners to Christ. God the Father imputed only the sins of elect sinners to Christ by legal declaration.

I deny that God “could have” willed to forgive without Christ’s satisfaction by death.

Lee Irons—“The voluntarist seizes on the notion of a voluntary condescension expressed by way of covenant. The voluntarist definition of merit is qualified as a lesser merit that cannot even exist apart from God’s gracious acceptation. But God’s sovereign covenants are the revelation of God’s JUSTICE. ”

http://www.upper-register.com/papers/redefining_merit.pdf

God’s justice demands the justification of all for whom Christ died