So That We Don’t Have To, Warnock’s Raised With Christ

Review of Raised With Christ, by Adrian Warnock (Crossway, 2010)

British preacher Adrian Warnock makes a very sloppy path toward his argument for the baptism with the Spirit being a second experience for Christians.  He does raise some good questions about the connection between the death and resurrection of Christ, and left me with several texts to keep pondering. For example, I Peter 1:11 tells us of the Spirit’s prediction of “the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.”  I Peter 3:21 speaks of an “appeal for a good conscience, through the resurrection.”

The point is that the gospel is not the death without the resurrection, or the resurrection without the death.  The good news about one is good news about the other.  Warnock quotes Calvin to this effect:  “When in scripture death only is mentioned, everything peculiar to the resurrection is at the same time included, and that there is a like synecdoche in the term resurrection.” (Institutes 2:16:13, p 75 in Warnock).

Mr. Warnock does well to give us the Ephesians 4:8 quotation of Psalm 68: 18—“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men. In saying, He ascended, what does it mean but that he also descended…?”   Warnock: “Paul explains that, in the one word ‘ascension’, the descent from heaven is implied.”   But Warnock never quotes or comes to terms with the idea of John 3:13:“ No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.”  To think about this would jeopardize his traditional assumptions about immortal souls (p243, in his very messy chapter on “our resurrection bodies”.

The Arminian-Calvinist “middle-camp” (p205) assumptions of Warnock’s gospel come into clear view in his chapter on Romans 4:24–raised because of our justification or raised in order to and for the purpose of our justification?: I do not come to this discussion as an advocate of eternal justification or of justification
at the cross (and resurrection).

Warnock begins badly by asserting that “Jesus’ resurrection was not a result of our justification” (p121) because our sin was not a result of His death. If death is a result of sin, the parallel would be to say that His resurrection is a result of the justification of the elect, even if that is a future justification.

On p 124, Warnock writes: “The answer is that God was displeased
with the sin (imputed) that Christ was bearing but remained pleased
with Jesus’ infinite goodness, which was greater than the sin.” This
is NOT how the apostle Paul explains the requirements of justice.

The sins demand not some philosophical (and non-biblical) idea of some “infinity” or “equivalent”. The sins demand death. The death of Christ was God’s justice, God’s wages for all the sins of the elect.

On p 126, Warnock writes: “The resurrection was necessary to allow the credit of Jesus’ righteousness to be shared with us, for it
demonstrated that the credit was greater than the debt.” But to glory in the cross is to see that the death of Christ cancels the debt for all the elect when they are placed into that death. Romans 6:9-10 are RESURRECTION VERSES: “We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has any dominon over him. For the death he died , he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. “

The reason that the debt of the sins of elect cannot hold Christ is
not some “greater credit”. The reason that the debt of the sins of the elect cannot hold Christ is Christ’s death. Christ died to sin. This does not mean that Christ was born again. And Romans 6 is not talking about our being born again either.

The Triune God caused Christ to die because the Triune God by legal
imputation already did or did not lay the sins of each sinner on
Christ. And this in turn means ONE that Christ is no longer imputed
with those sins, because He has died once for them and will not die
again. It means TWO that it is not sinners (nor their faith nor
their apology) who give their sins to Christ. God gave the sins of
the elect to Christ already, and God already did not give the sins of
the non-elect to Christ.

And you may say— this is all well and good, and I don’t disagree, but we don’t need to say it. The Bible doesn’t say it that way, and we can understand the Bible well enough without saying it that way.  Let us see. Think of a parallel text to Romans 6:9-10. Think of II Corinthians 5:15, which is a text Warnock references on p128. “One has died for all, therefore all have died, and he died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 

Now Warnock has made a very good point about these verses earlier on p 75:  one time Paul writes “died for all” but then at the end he writes “for their sake died and was raised” and so this means that when one is mentioned, the other is implied. I agree.

So what’s my problem with p 124? Am I just another “watch blogger” (p66)? No doubt I will report Warnock on his (p59) one-sided deal in which he “offered God his sinful heart and God gave me His righteousness.  No doubt I will report his confusion about if it’s two or three things being imputed as the righteousness: sometimes it’s the death and the life, sometimes it’s the greater credit of the life, and then finally it’s three things, including a Piper (but not a Bible) quotation to the effect that the resurrection itself is imputed. (see p126).   And I could ask: so perhaps also the intercession is imputed? Is the birth also imputed?  And maybe even is it the person, and not only his work, which is imputed, even if not in the context of what God’s law requires? 

But see Romans 8:3—“What the law could not do, God did by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin-he condemned sin in the flesh.”

Back to II Corinthians 5:15 and the gospel about Christ’s death being the death of those who will be justified.  This is the thing that Warnock does not say, and cannot say. And the reason he cannot say it? He cannot say it because he says something else, and this becomes clear in the next chapter on union with Christ (resurrected with Jesus).  Already on p 124, he has written “so that our guilt COULD now be taken away, and we COULD be counted righteous.”  This “might or might not be” continues in the chapter on union.  On p141, Warnock explains: “Jesus suffered the penalty due our sins so that we do not have to.”


That’s the same false gospel I have been hearing all my life.  All our lives we have been hearing Arminianism, and most people who profess to be Christians profess that what Jesus did (in death and resurrection) sets up a plan which makes it possible for you to give him your sins and then for Him to save you.  And this is the false gospel Warnock proclaims also, even though he boasts of being on the cutting edge of the young, restless and reformed.   He not only professes to have been saved because he believed the (Arminian) gospel.  He still teaches that same Arminian gospel. Or, as Piper has explained it, these people believe not only Arminianism but more!

II Corinthians 5:15 does not teach that Christ died for our sins so that we don’t have to; it says that those for whom Christ died also died with him.  That is substitution, and you cannot teach substitution without confusion unless you describe which sinners Christ died for.

If Christ died for every sinner but some of these sinners will perish,  then that may be a substitution but it not a saving substitution.  II Corinthians 5:15 does not use the word “elect”, but the only other way to understand the identity of the “for” and the “with” is to teach an universalism in which every sinner has died to sin and will be justified.

I think most “middle-camp” tolerant Calvinists would rather live as practical de facto universalists then  dare talk about election in connection with II Corinthians 5.  They want a future judgment for  the elect, even while they quibble with NT Wright about that not being a future justification.   They fear as antinomian any good news which teaches that the elect have already died to judgment when Christ died for them. (See John Fesko’s wonderful book on Justification).  

Another advantage for most “middle camp” evangelicals in not talking about election in II Cor 5 is that they can take the phrase “live for Him who died for them” and use it to lay duties on every sinner they meet. But there is no point in talking about any such duties until a sinner has obeyed the true gospel and repented from the dead works of the false gospel.

Warnock tells us (p141) that “we are saved not only by believing the fact that Christ died for our sins, but by union with the crucified and risen Savour.”  But it is NOT a fact of the gospel tells any particular sinner that Christ died for their sins.  The gospel  does not tell sinners who the elect are; the gospel tells sinners about the elect.   It IS a fact that there was one kind of “union” of the elect in Christ so that already at the cross, long before (or after) they are justified, Christ paid by death for their sins. Faith does not make this aspect of the union happen.

Warnock seems to assume  that God-given faith does make this aspect of the union to happen. That’s why he thinks of giving Jesus his sins. On p 217, when he argues for the giving of the Spirit as a second blessing to be experienced after believing the gospel,  he writes: “ it would be circular to interpret ‘believe and you will receive a work of the Spirit automatically without you being aware of it’, the main effect of which is to cause you to believe.”

His unquestioned assumption is that God-given  faith is the cause of the first salvation.  But the answer to  expose his assumption we read in Galatians 3:13 (which he quotes on p 219)—“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that they would receive the Spirit through faith.”   As Bruce McCormack has so ably pointed out ( What’s At Stake in Justification), regeneration does not precede justification in this redemptive-historical text.  If union is by legal imputation, the forensic  is the cause of the life and efficacy of faith connected with justification.

The Galatians 3 text does not start with believing to get justified, and it does not end with believing more to get the Spirit more.  Galatians 3 starts with “before your eyes Christ publicly portrayed as crucified.”  The opposition between works of the law and hearing by faith has everything to do with the object of faith legally constituting those who then hear.   Yes, there is a promise of the Spirit through faith, but that is because first “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law” SO THAT this will happen. Not so that it might happen, if conditionally….

I run long, and I wanted to briefly describe Warnock’s brief for the Lloyd-Jones view of the experience of the Spirit.  I will not critique that view here, but glimpse at some of the John Piper quotations he strings together. On p 218, “If you assume we believed, why don’t you assume we received the Holy Spirit? ….You talk as if there is a way to know we’ve received the Holy Spirit different from believing… A person who has received the Spirit knows it not just because it’s an inference from his faith in Christ.”

On the Galatians 3 text, Warnock argues: “the Spirit is received by faith. THEREFORE, Paul can’t simply be referring to the Spirit’s role in bringing in faith.” (p219) As we have seen, Paul is referencing Christ crucified and redemption from the law, and not simply faith and receiving the Spirit.  The “therefore” does not therefore really make a coherent argument.  Piper again: “for the NT people, the Holy Spirit was a fact of experience. For many Christians today it is fact of doctrine….Don’t expect to notice any difference; just believe that you have experienced the Spirit.”    There are lots of other soundbites, but I will spare you “it” in this review.

One last thing, which you would think that I as an adventist who teaches “conferred immortality” would have majored on—Warnock’s assumption that all “souls” are immortal. He even has a terrible Spurgeon soundbite for support. P 243: “The resurrection of the dead is something different from the immortality of the soul: that every Christian believes with the heathen, who believe it too… Every mortal man who ever existed shall not only live by the immortality of his soul but… the very flesh in which he walks on earth is as eternal as the soul…”  Spurgeon seems to contradict his own idea of “mortal man”. For sure, he has no clue  that the soul that sins shall die.  He has no idea that the body and the spirit together make up the “soul”. (Genesis 2:7)

When Warnock attacks those who teach “Soul sleep”, he seems not to recognize that his label is a question-begging libel against those who  with the Bible define the soul as the person who “sleeps”. Though at one point he contrasts David who stayed dead with Christ who didn’t  (Acts 2), Warnock assumes what he needs to prove and that is that “raised with Christ” in Ephesians 2 (and Colossians 3) means that immortal spirits are now in heaven. Instead of glorying in the Resurrected One who has Gone ahead as our “public person” (as the old “federal theology” put it), Warnock settles for an over-realised (and Platonic, Roman Catholic, pagan) eschatology.

But that’s enough name-calling from this old “watch blogger”!

Mark McCulley

Third blizzard, winter, 2010

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9 Comments on “So That We Don’t Have To, Warnock’s Raised With Christ”

  1. Can I just say up front that although I was not going into detail about reformed doctrine in this book, I am a five-pointer. You can search my blog for a defense of TULIP. Some of the quotes you cite were certainly not intended to be taken in the way you are taking them.

    By the way I genuinely do welcome this interaction as such discussions of what we do mean by what we say is very helpful. I dont see all this by the way as a “watch blogger” comment

    I was kinda assuming a whole bunch of teaching as I wrote this book.

    Where maybe you and I might part company is that I am with Spurgeon in perhaps not massively emphasizing certain reformed truths in preaching the gospel at least at times in order to avoid misunderstanding to the unsaved hearer (NB that is not the same thing as saying I would never preach reformed truth to a group of unbelievers).

    A few more specifics. RE page 59, the context there is that I am speaking about my OWN experience of what happened. This is of course not what “really” happens. See for example this quote “We feel that we are choosing to respond to Christ’s call, and yet it is God himself who is at work in us, changing us on the inside and causing us to be bornagain.” page 134

    Also see the whole of that chapter really where I
    teach a reformed view of regeneration which basically requires all other Calvinistic doctrines.

    I do believe that the righteous life of Jesus (really just another way of saying his righteousness) is imputed to us, and that this is possible because of the death and resurrection of Jesus and that we
    are counted as those who have died and raised with Christ.

    I DO believe that the elect are already dead to sin and are already righteous. (see my stuff on limited atonement on my blog) I think that when Paul uses this language in Corinthians he is referring to
    Christians as the “us” and that to be honest in many parts of my book when I speak of “us” I am referring to Christians.

    My use of the word “could” was intended to refer to a causality, rather than any uncertainty. Ie instead of really meaning “make possible” I do mean “make certain”. I didn’t want to say so that we “would” because I was talking about the idea that without the cross salvation was impossible, rather than the certainty of our salvation if that makes any sense?

    Also, we can screw ourselves up in knots about the order of salvation, but Paul says that we are saved by faith and this is not of ourselves but a gift of faith.

    I think what I am trying to do often in this particular book is talk about things from our perspective here on earth in the time-continuum rather than eternally (where I fully agree we were
    chosen IN CHRIST before the foundation of the world)

    I stand by my interpretation of Galatians 3 as referring to receiving the Spirit in the same way that Acts does, and actually being one of many strong verses that suggest it is a distinct experience from
    faith. Would be fun to interact more with you about the complete argument for that.

    Hard to come back at you on the intermediate state stuff as you don’t go into much detail of where you get your perspective from.

    • markmcculley Says:

      aw:Though I was not going into detail about reformed doctrine in this book,
      I am a five-pointer.

      mark: Although I have not followed your blog, I assumed that you were. Like Boice and Piper and LLoyd-Jones, you write in enough code words to make Calvinists think you are one of them and yet not offend the Arminians. You certainly avoid the offense of the cross.

      Like Piper, you think the death obtains faith for the elect. But the gospel which you teach as the object of that faith is the same false gospel as that of the Arminians. I do appreciate
      a response, which is more than I got from Driscoll on my Amazon review of his Arminian Death book.

      aw:You can search my blog for a defence of TULIP. I was kinda assuuming a whole bunch of teaching as I write this book. Where maybe you and I might part company is that I am with Spurgeon in perhaps not
      massively emphasising certain reformed truths in preaching the gospel at least at times in order to avoid misunderstanding.

      mark: One of your problems is your distinction between “Reformed truths” and the gospel. To the extent that it’s Reformed but not the gospel, I
      don’t much care to be sectarian. Ie, if it’s infant sacramental baptism and one ahistorical covenant of grace and a sovereignty of some spheres to
      ignore the Sermon on Mount, then forget about the Magisterial Reformation. But on the other hand,
      there is an antithesis between the five Arminian lies and the true gospel which reveals the true God.
      I want to think that you have read enough John Owen to know this. But you have been confused by folks like Spurgeon and LLoyd-Jones who think it’s more gracious of God to save people with a false gospel than with a true gospel.
      The effectual call is not a matter of reading more books. And the nature of the atonement is not the optional “cherry on top” of some common conditional gospel.
      The silence and the code words which can be read two ways do not prevent misunderstanding. As I indicated in my review, when you are not telling the whole truth, the half truth that you tell instead gets in place of the truth. This is clear when you write about II Cor 5, for there you sound very much like the four pointer Douty. Even though you have stuff somewhere about the extent of the atonement, it does not effect your exegesis so you end up sounding like RT Kendall or Lloyd-Jones on the nature of the atonement.

      aw:My use of the word “could” was intended to refer to a causality, rather than any uncertainty. Ie instead of really meaning “make possible” I do mean “make certain”. I didn’t want to say so that we “would” because I was talking about the idea that without the cross salvation was impossible, rather than the certainty of our salvation if that makes any sense?

      mark: no, the more times I read it, the less sense it makes. If you mean “make certain”, then your editor needed to help you to say that. Otherwise, it might or might not get “appropriated”. Hey, Wal Mart has an offer and enough products for anybody who decides they want them. This is an atonement in which God is not the imputer, and in which no specific sins were ever legally charged to Christ.

      I warn of this not out of some strict confessionalism: I am baptist not reformed. But I see a steady retreat from even forty years ago on the five points. There’s no antithesis. People are seen as only confused, but not as ignorant of the gospel, not as enemies of the gospel. Even though I am not a charismatic, I am not a puritan either. I want to rejoice. But I cannot rejoice in confusion, in weasal words that get read both ways and sell more books. I cannot rejoice in alliances with Lutheran universal atonement and sacramental grace. I cannot rejoice in the purgatory of CS Lewis.

      I can rejoice in texts like I Peter 2:24-“He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, SO THAT we HAVE DIED to sin and live to righteousness.” Of course there is pacifist imperative in the context, but the verse is the indicative: the death of Christ caused the death of the elect (to sin and to law). The death of Christ did not potentially make something possible.

      aw:Also, we can screw ourselves up in knots about the order of salvation, but Paul says that we are saved by faith and this is not of ourselves but a gift of faith.

      mark: I am not hung up on the order. I very much like Fesko’s reading of the combination of the history of redemption (raised now but not yet) along with the order of application. But I resent it very much when guys like Gaffin say that the ordo doesn’t matter, but then dogmatically goes on to assume that faith causes the union, and then defines this union in such a way that the foundational cannot be forensic. Or denies regeneration in secret (metaphysical substantial) only to bring it back under the cover “union” when is assumed to be about Christ in us, rather than us in Christ legally.
      It’s like infralapsarians saying that the difference doesn’t matter, but then insisting on the justice of the infralapsarian difference! You can’t have it both ways: if the ordo doesn’t matter, then don’t be insisting that faith is the “instrumental cause”.
      I made myself clear. I agree that faith in the true gospel comes in connection with justification. I agree with “through faith”. Faith is the immediate effect of righteousness imputed. If ordo doesn’t matter to you, then that should be ok with you.

      aw:I think what I am trying to do often in this particular book is talk about things from our perspective here on earth in the time-continuum rather than eternally (where I fully agree we were
      chosen IN CHRIST before the foundation of the world)

      mark: I agree that there was a “rather than” in your book. You carefully avoided the doctrine of eternal election in Christ. But worse, then you made common cause with the Arminian perspective on the gospel: you don’t have to, if you…. Please don’t equate Arminian logic with being in time. Please notice that you are choosing not to value the practical import and good news of election.

      aw:I stand by my interpretation of Galatians 3 as referring to receiving the Spirit in the same way that Acts does, and actually being one of many strong verses that suggest it is a distinct experience from faith. Would be fun to interact more with you about the complete argument for that.

      mark: sure. I certainly object to L Jones gathering up all these experiences from people with the false gospel (Wesley, Moody etc) and then using that to interpret the Scriptures. But that’s not the main issue with me. I want you to see that you are assuming “union/salvation because of faith” instead of “redemption by the crucified one and the result faith/not works” as is taught by Galatians chapter three. I would encourage you to read that important essay by Bruce McCormack. Or read the older Carl Braaten on “the problem of the relationship between faith and justification.” There’s a lot of thinking about this on this blog.
      After we agree on the same gospel, then we have the luxury to talk about the experience of the Spirit, about pacifism, about the intermediate state etc.

      aw:Hard to come back at you on the intermediate state stuff as you don’t go into much detail of where you get your perspective from.

      mark: Actually, I wrote plenty enough for you to think about. One, what is the “soul” in the Bible? Two, where does the Bible ever say anything about immortal souls or about the non-elect being immortal after the second death.
      I am not Seventh-Day Adventist or Jehovah Witness. I believe that the non-elect will be raised from the grave and then perish in the second death. Those who teach no resurrection from the death for the non-elect are sometimes called “annhilationists”, even though that is not a Bible word like “perish” and “destruction” and “second dead”. But I myself do teach a resurrection from the dead for the non-elect, but also deny that the non-elect continue to sin forever to the glory of God. Many call this “conditional immortality”, but I believe that immortality is an unconditional gift by God to the elect on that day.

      Many preachers just want to find a label for a thing, and then tell you not to think about it or discuss it. They will even tell you that their way of saying things is gospel and nothing but gospel, even when they talk about “the immortal soul” and “going to heaven”. They even want to be able to preach “imputed righteousness”, without ever explaining if Christ’s death is that righteousness. Is Christ’s righteousness doing the stuff that Adam was supposed to do? Or is Christ’s righteousness His death? Did Christ even really die? What does “death mean”? They don’t want to talk about these questions. They just want to keep saying that the way they tell the old story is the gospel and any other way is something else.

      • markmcculley Says:

        If you read enough of what I wrote, it will be obvious that I know that most people calling themselves Calvinists would accept Adrian as a Calvinist. They quote each other, and do not suspect each other’s assumptions.

        DA Carson can glory in telling people that Christ died for them (and denigrate McGregor Wright for disagreeing) in his terrible Difficult Doctrine of Love book and almost nobody says a peep and he is welcomed to speak at conferences on Reformed theology. So Adrian should not worry about the mainline not thinking he ismainline.

        But I think it only takes one of us to say that the emperor has no clothes (but we better look at our own clothes before we say anything).

        I don’t repent for letting some cessationist folks know where Warnock is headed with his argument. I also credit him for making a good point: if you say death, you are saying also resurrection. If you say forgiveness, you are also saying justification. If you say passive obedience only, you are saying active obedience also. I liked this point. I am not boxed into a reformed confession.

        Even though I think Adrian got mixed up on Romans 4:25–if death is result of sin, then resurrection can be a result of justification, especially in light of Isaiah 53 context, I still granted the possibility that he was right on the exegetical conclusion: “for the purpose of”–Moo agrees in his commentary.

        In the interests of support for the idea that reference to the death also means the resurrection, let me give you a quotation from Seifrid’s Christ Our Righteousness:p 142—“There are important reasons for rejecting the thought that the obedience saves simply as a human act. In the first place, Paul understands the resurrection of the crucified Christ as the focal point of faith. Christ’s death is salvific only in conjunction with his resurrection. (Romans 5:10 will be saved by his life is resurrection, not active obedience)… Paul never speaks of the gospel of Jesus, only of the gospel of Christ, an expression in which his resurrection and exaltation come into view…Access to God (Eph 3:12 is inherently bound up with Christ’s resurrection….”
        or Seifrid, p71–In Rom 4:17-18,21, Paul speaks of the resurrection from the dead as the immediate effect of justification…Paul is thinking of the enactment of that verdict in our resurrection.

        But Warnock did botch it somewhat with his “infinite credit” greater than the debt stuff, which is where he forgot the needed context of law. Law, I say, not covenant of works…

        But by way of summary, let me say to any mainline “Calvinist” (4 pointers they think). It would be easier for you to keep drinking the koolaide. Keep quoting each other—sure, there is a little divide here or there about sealing and the baptism, but Lloyd Jones went his entire life without once teaching that the death of Christ is definite and effective only for the elect, and you are all fine with that.
        As dean Carl Trueman (Westminster Seminary) informs us, even though he knows where John Owen and Tobias Crisp have the goods on Allan Clifford’s 4 pointer arguments, Amyraldianism has never been regarded as a heresy by the Reformed.

        Trueman might be right. It sure makes me glad that I am not Reformed. I rejoice in the God who has put me on the margins. The world of “comfort with the basic Billy Graham gospel” has been crucified to me. I hate it. I have no desire for it. And the world in which that false gospel thrives hates me. Hint: the best way to deal with me is to simply de-friend me.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    What I Wrote About Gaffin’s By Faith Not By Sight (Oakhill School of Theology Series)

    future justification by works: how many and how good?, September 13, 2006

    Amazon Verified Purchase
    Gaffin’s thesis is that there is a future aspect to the justification of an individual sinner. His assumption is that it is faith (not election) which unites a sinner to Christ and thus to the benefits/power to do the works necessary for future justification. It is God who gives the faith; it is God who gives the works; therefore it seems right to him to condition justification on the faith and works of the sinner.

    Gaffin does not tell us what gospel must be the object of the faith which unites to Christ. Nor does he tell us how imperfect works would have to be to miss justification and be condemned.

    Gaffin: “Typically in the Reformation tradition the hope of salvation is expressed in terms of Christ’s righteousness, especially as imputed to the believer…however, I have to wonder if ‘Christ in you’ is not more prominent as an expression of evangelical hope…” p110 Gaffin of course wants to say both things as his hope. Part of his hope is sanctification defined as something other than justification from sin, but as power over against sin despite our “incomplete progress, flawed by our continued sinning”.

    Gaffin says many good and right things about imputation. For example, on p51, he lists 3 options for the ground of justification. A. Christ’s own righteousness, complete and finished in his obedience…B. the union itself, the fact of the relationship with Christ…c. the obedience being produced by the transforming Spirit in those in union. Gaffin rightly concludes that “the current readiness to dispense with imputation” results from taking the last two options as the ground of justification.

    But Gaffin always has a but, a not yet. Though we are justified now (because faith in something, even Arminianism, unites us now to Jesus), Gaffin still teaches a justification by sight, ie by works. Instead of reading the “according to works” texts as having to do with the distinction between dead works (Hebrews 6:1,9:14) and “fruit for God” (Romans 7:4), Gaffin conditions assurance in future justification on imperfect but habitual working.

    Instead of saying that works motivated by fear of missing justification are unacceptable to God, Gaffin teaches a justification which is contingent on faith and works.

    Gaffin follows his mentors John Murray and Norman Shepherd in taking Romans 2:13 to be describing Christians. The hope for future justification is not Christ’s death, resurrection, and intercession alone: challenging any law-gospel antithesis, Gaffin teaches an “unbreakable bond between justification and sanctification” in the matter of aasurance and hope for future justification. (p100)

    Yes, faith (in which gospel?) is the alone instrument, he agrees, yes his finished righteousness is the alone ground, he affirms, but at the same time and however, works factor in also. Just remember that these works which factor into your assurance come from God working in you and not from you.

    I recommend the reading of this book, so that critics of Gaffin will not make the mistake of identifying him with N.T. Wright who denies imputation. I agree with Gaffin that the gospel is not only about what Christ did outside of the elect for the elect; the gospel is also about the effectual call which results from election in Christ and Christ’s work for those elect in Him (and by Him). One evidence of effectual calling is that the justified elect do not put their assurance in their “bearing fruit for God”. To work for assurance of future justification is to “bear fruit for death”. Romans 7:5
    mark mcculley

    • markmcculley Says:

      Paul on Justification and the Final Judgment

      J. V. Fesko


      In recent years there has been much controversy surrounding the exact
      relationship between justification by faith alone and the final judgment.
      Most who attempt to solve this puzzle do so through a well-worn path:
      Paul’s understanding of the law. While it is certainly important to
      establish Paul’s understanding of the law, it seems that few take into
      account the nature of the final judgment itself. There appears to be an
      unchecked assumption regarding the final judgment, namely that the
      parousia, resurrection, and final judgment are separate events. Given this
      presupposition, it is only natural that interpreters would examine the
      final judgment in isolation from the other events of the last day.

      It is the thesis of this essay, however, that the way to find the
      relationship between justification and the final judgment lies not only in
      Paul’s understanding of the law but also in the nature of the final
      judgment itself. More specifically, this essay will argue that the final
      judgment is not a separate event on the last day but is part of the single
      organic event of parousia-resurrection-final judgment. In other words, the
      final judgment is the resurrection. I will support this thesis by: (1)
      exploration of the significance of Christ’s resurrection, noting its
      paradigmatic and forensic nature; (2) exploration of the resurrection of
      the church, or those who are in Christ, noting its forensic nature; (3)
      confirmation of the resurrection-final judgment as one event in connection
      with the resurrection of the inner and outer man; and (4) exploration of
      the relationship between justification and the resurrection-final judgment,
      looking at the crucifixion and how justification relates to the

      The Resurrection of Christ

      Paradigmatic for the Church

      Whenever one considers the resurrection, it is important to begin first
      with the resurrection of Christ, as it is paradigmatic for believers. We
      see the paradigmatic nature of the resurrection of Christ when Paul calls
      him “the firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18; cf. Rev. 1:5). Christ is, of
      course, the firstborn of many brothers (Rom. 8:29). The connection between
      the resurrection of Christ and the church is especially evident when Paul
      calls Christ “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor.
      15:20b). That Christ is the firstfruits, imagery based in the Old Testament
      feast of weeks (Lev. 23:9-22), means that his resurrection is: (1) prior in
      temporality; (2) a representation of the same quality or character; and (3)
      a promise or pledge of more of the same kind to come.[2] In this regard,
      Geerhardus Vos notes that “the resurrection of Christ is prophetic of that
      of all believers.”[3] Given, then, the paradigmatic role of Christ’s
      resurrection, we must explore the nature of his resurrection to understand
      the nature of our resurrection.

      Resurrection as Forensic Declaration: Righteousness and Sonship

      What often receives little attention regarding the resurrection of Christ
      is its declarative or forensic character. Many see the resurrection as an
      important event, the physical raising of Christ from the bonds of death.
      Yet, they fail to recognize the forensic and judicial significance of
      Christ’s resurrection. The first place we see the forensic emerge in
      connection with the resurrection of Christ is in the opening verses of
      Paul’s epistle to Rome: “Concerning his Son, who was descended from David
      according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power
      according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead,
      Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.1:3-4). Historically, Reformed interpreters
      have explained these verses in terms of Christ’s ontological constitution:
      that Christ was descended from David according to the flesh refers to his
      humanity, and that he was raised from the dead refers to and is evidence of
      his deity. Charles Hodge (1797-1878), for example, argues that when Christ
      was “declared to be the Son of God” that “Son of God is not a title of
      office, but of nature, and therefore Christ cannot be said to have been
      constituted the Son of God.” He goes on to state, “when Christ is said to
      be constituted the Son of God, we are not to understand that he became or
      was made Son, but was, in the view of men, thus determined.”[4] This is
      essentially the view of John Calvin (1509-64) and is also vigorously
      defended by B. B. Warfield (1851-1921).[5]

      Vos has offered a different and more convincing exegesis of Rom. 1:3-4. Vos
      takes into account the sarx-pneuma antithesis as representative terms of
      the two major epochs in redemptive history, the two-age structure dominated
      by Adam and Christ (1 Cor. 15:45; Rom. 5:12-21).[6] Vos notes the parallel
      structure of Rom. 1:3-4:



      κατὰ σάρκα
      kata sarka
      (according to the flesh)

      κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης
      kata pneuma hagiōsynēs
      (according to the Spirit of holiness)

      ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ
      ek spermatos Dauid
      (from the seed of David)

      ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν
      ex anastaseōs nekrōn
      (by [his] resurrection from the dead)

      Vos explains that by “the twofold kata the mode of each state of existence
      is contrasted, by the twofold ek, the origin of each. Thus the existence
      kata sarka originated ‘from the seed of David,’ the existence kata pneuma
      originated ‘out of the resurrection from the dead.'” Based upon this
      exegesis Vos concludes, and rightly so, that, “The resurrection is to Paul
      the beginning of a new status of sonship: hence as Jesus derived His
      sonship, kata sarka, from the seed of David, He can be said to have derived
      His divine-sonship-in-power from the resurrection.”[7]

      In other words, the resurrection of Christ is not merely the
      acknowledgement of the divinity of Christ, but rather the inauguration of
      the eschatological creation as well as the declaration of Christ’s sonship,
      the royal enthronement of the Messiah (cf. Ps. 2:7). This means that the
      resurrection is not simply an event but is invested with forensic
      significance. We find confirmation of this conclusion in Paul’s first
      epistle to Timothy when he writes: “He was manifested in the flesh,
      justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations,
      believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16; modified ESV).
      Though Paul does not specifically mention the resurrection, when we compare
      this verse with Rom. 1:3-4, we see that the resurrection is in view,
      especially with Paul’s reference to Christ being “justified” (ἐδικαιώθη,
      edikaiōthē) in the Spirit. Hence we may say that Christ’s resurrection
      constituted not merely his conquest of death but also his justification,
      the declaration that he was God’s son as well as that he was righteous. The
      forensic element is also present in another text that deals with the
      resurrection of Christ.

      In Rom. 4:25 Paul states that Christ was “delivered up for our trespasses
      and raised for our justification.” Recall that Paul has elsewhere stated
      that, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are
      still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). In other words, if Christ remains dead
      in the tomb, then the powers of sin and death have not been conquered and
      Christ’s crucifixion was legitimate, for the wages of sin is death (Rom.
      6:23).[8] Concerning Christ’s resurrection, therefore, Vos explains:
      “Christ’s resurrection was the de facto declaration of God in regard to his
      being just. His quickening bears in itself the testimony of his
      justification.”[9] Once again we see the declarative, or forensic,
      connected to the resurrection of Christ. In fact, given Paul’s statements
      in Rom. 1:3-4, 4:25, and 1 Tim. 3:16, we may say that the resurrection of
      Christ is not only the laying of the cornerstone of the eschatological
      creation but at the same time the declaration of Christ’s righteousness and
      sonship. We must keep this dual-forensic aspect of Christ’s resurrection in
      the foreground as we move forward to consider the resurrection of the
      elect, as Christ’s resurrection is paradigmatic for the elect.

      The Resurrection of the Elect


      In Romans 8:23 we read that we, “Who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
      groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of
      our bodies.” Here Paul explicitly relates the forensic category of adoption
      to the redemption of the body, or the resurrection from the dead (cf. Luke
      20:35).[10] It is also important that we note that believers have the
      “firstfruits of the Spirit,” which is essentially synonymous with the word
      arrabōn, which Paul uses to describe the indwelling presence of the Holy
      Spirit as guarantee or pledge of the believer’s future resurrection (2 Cor.
      5:5; Eph. 1:4). Romans 8:23 means that we will be declared sons of God by
      the resurrection of our bodies, when what is sown perishable is raised
      imperishable (1 Cor. 15:42-44). Just as Christ was declared to be the son
      of God by his resurrection, those who are in Christ will likewise be
      declared to be sons of God. Vos notes that, ” ‘Adoption’ is by parentage a
      forensic concept; yet it fulfills itself in the bodily transforming change
      of the resurrection.”[11] The forensic element of righteousness is also
      connected to both Christ’s and the believer’s resurrection.


      When we consider that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), then those who
      are raised from the dead are quite obviously innocent of sin—they are
      righteous in the sight of God. One place where the
      righteousness-resurrection link surfaces is when Paul compares the
      resurrection to being clothed: “For in this tent we groan, longing to put
      on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found
      naked” (2 Cor. 5:2-3). Paul does not want to be naked on the day of
      judgment; to be naked is to be in the state of shame and guilt. The
      resurrection of the believer, then, is akin to putting on clothing so that
      one is not found naked on the day of judgment. So, then, just like Christ,
      the believer’s resurrection is his de facto declaration of righteousness
      because death has no claim upon those who are righteous (1 Cor. 15:55-57).


      When we consider the evidence, we are irresistibly led to the conclusion
      that the resurrection is not simply raising people from death but rather is
      an event wrapped in forensic significance: for those who are in Christ the
      resurrection is the declaration of their sonship and righteousness just as
      it was for Christ. This is not a unique conclusion. Vos has previously

      In the resurrection there is already wrapped up a judging-process, at least
      for believers: the raising act in their case, together with the attending
      change, plainly involves a pronouncement of vindication. The resurrection
      does more than prepare its object for undergoing the judgment; it sets in
      motion and to a certain extent anticipates the issue of judgment for the
      Christian. And it were not incorrect to offset this by saying that the
      judgment places the seal on what the believer has received in the

      Yet we might go one step further than Vos in this regard by concluding that
      the resurrection of the church is not the anticipation of the issue of
      judgment, or the de facto declaration of judgment, but is de jure the final
      judgment. As Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) writes, “The resurrection of the
      dead in general, therefore, is primarily a judicial act of God.”[13] Stated
      simply, the resurrection is not the penultimate event prior to the final
      judgment; the resurrection is the final judgment. This proposition might
      cause some to recoil at first, as many conceive of the resurrection and
      final judgment as separate events, especially those coming from a
      premillennial (dispensational or historic) background. Yet, an exploration
      of the various Pauline texts concerning the nature of the last day will
      confirm the conclusion that the resurrection and the final judgment are one
      in the same.

      Confirmation of the Resurrection-Final Judgment Thesis

      There is confirmation of the thesis that the resurrection and final
      judgment are one and the same event when we consider: (1) being raised with
      Christ according to the inner and outer man; (2) the immediacy of the
      transformation of the body; and (3) the extent of the resurrection.

      Being Raised with Christ: Inner and Outer Man

      We must first correlate the resurrection with the fact that those who place
      their faith in Christ have already been raised and seated with him in the
      heavenly places (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 2:6). In other words, through the
      believer’s mystical union with Christ, he is already ruling over the
      creation with him. Were a person guilty of sin and worthy of condemnation,
      he would neither be raised with Christ nor seated with him in the heavenly
      places. We have been raised, of course, according to our inner man. Our
      outer man is wasting away and awaits the redemption of the body, the
      resurrection (2 Cor. 4:16-5:5). The resurrection of believers, then, is
      simply the visible manifestation or revelation of those who are already
      raised with Christ. The resurrection is the raising of the outer man of
      those who have already been raised according to their inner man. To this
      end Paul writes: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the
      revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19). The revelation of the sons of
      God occurs, not after the final judgment, but at the resurrection (Rom.
      8:23). What about the immediacy of the resurrection?

      Immediacy of the Resurrection Transformation

      The apostle Paul is quite clear that the resurrection transformation of
      believers is something that occurs in an instant: “In a moment, in the
      twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and
      the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor.
      15:52). The immediacy of the resurrection transformation is in contrast to
      at least one idea that was extant in first-century Jewish literature. In
      the Syriac apocalypse of Baruch (ca. AD 100), there is the pattern of
      resurrection → judgment → glorification. In other words, the resurrection
      of the dead involves no transformation of the righteous. Rather, the dead
      are raised in exactly the same state as they died. It is only after the
      final judgment that the righteous are transformed (see 2 Bar. 50:2-51:3).
      The pattern is clear, glorification occurs after the final judgment
      according to this opinion. Yet, Paul clearly states that those who are in
      Christ are immediately transformed and receive their glorified bodies. What
      about the extent of the resurrection?

      The Extent of the Resurrection

      The extent of the resurrection is another element that confirms its final
      judgment status. We see in several places in Scripture that the
      resurrection is for both the people of God and those outside the covenant.
      We read, for example, in the prophet Daniel: “But at that time your people
      shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.
      And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to
      everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan.
      12:1b-2). It appears from this statement that the resurrection is a
      judgment unto itself, in that as the earth yields up the dead there is
      already a known separation between the righteous and the wicked.[14] It is
      not, as we saw above, resurrection → judgment → glorification but rather
      even before the resurrection the status of those who rise from the dead is
      already known. Once again resurrection is coterminous with glorification
      for some whereas judgment is coeval with resurrection for others. We find
      this same pattern in Christ’s teaching on the resurrection: “Do not marvel
      at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his
      voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life,
      and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John
      5:28-29; cf. Luke 14:14). There is, prior to the resurrection, knowledge of
      the final outcome of history. This knowledge, however, is not simply one
      rooted in the decree of election but rather in inaugurated eschatology.

      It is true, God has foreknowledge of who will be raised to life and death
      based upon his sovereign decree of election (Eph. 1:11-12; Rom. 9:1-24).
      Yet at the same time when we consider the two-age structure of redemptive
      history and that the eschatological age has begun, we must recognize that
      not only have the blessings of the age to come been revealed but so have
      the curses. Paul echoes the teaching of Christ when he notes that the
      propagation of the gospel has a twofold effect: salvation and judgment (2
      Cor. 2:16-17). If the gospel is the in-breaking of the eschatological
      blessings of the age to come for those who believe, then for those who
      refuse to believe the gospel there is the in-breaking of the eschatological
      wrath of God: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does
      not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name
      of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).[15] Based upon the in-breaking of the
      eschaton with the first advent of Christ, Jesus can say: “Now is the
      judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out” (John

      Paul also attests to the revelation of God’s eschatological wrath in the
      present when he writes: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
      against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their
      unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18). Given the in-breaking of
      the eschaton, the resurrection is not the penultimate step before the final
      judgment but instead is the final judgment in that it visibly reveals what
      has come with the first advent of Christ: the righteous are instantaneously
      clothed in immortality, they receive a glorified body, and the wicked are
      raised but are naked, they are not glorified. God need not utter a word;
      the condemned status of the wicked is immediately evident as is the
      justified status of the righteous.


      If believers are already raised with Christ according to their inner man,
      then they simply await the resurrection of their outer man. The
      resurrection transformation of the body is immediate, as Paul says it takes
      place in the twinkling of an eye. This immediacy therefore precludes a
      commonly assumed pattern of resurrection → final judgment → glorification
      but instead demands that we recognize that resurrection and glorification
      are simultaneous events. The resurrection transformation, however, is only
      for those who are in Christ. The wicked are also raised but are not
      transformed. Given the immediacy of the transformation of the righteous and
      the non-transformation of the wicked, the resurrection is the final
      judgment in that it reveals what has already occurred with the beginning of
      the eschaton in Christ’s first advent, the redemption of those who are in
      Christ and the condemnation of those who refuse to believe.

      The final judgment, therefore, is not a separate event following the
      resurrection but rather an aspect of the one organic event of
      resurrection-final judgment. This conclusion is not unique as others have
      argued that the events of the last day are one. Berkhof states, “All the
      great Confessions of the Church represent the general resurrection as
      simultaneous with the second coming of Christ, the final judgment and the
      end of the world.”[17] Similarly, Hodge writes, “the general resurrection,
      the second advent, and the last judgment, are contemporaneous events.”[18]
      Likewise Bavinck observes that, “The resurrection and the last judgment are
      intimately associated as in a single act.”[19] Given these conclusions, we
      may now proceed to explore the relationship between the resurrection-final
      judgment and the doctrine of justification.

      Resurrection-Final Judgment and Justification

      As we take the gathered data on the nature of the resurrection-final
      judgment and correlate it to the doctrine of justification, a clear picture
      emerges, one that is not encumbered by unnecessary tensions created by some
      formulations. We must consider two things, namely the crucifixion of Christ
      and the already-not-yet, as we briefly formulate the relationship between
      the resurrection-final judgment and justification.

      First, one must recognize that the crucifixion of Christ is an
      eschatological event, in that Jesus did not merely suffer for the sins of
      his people, though he certainly did that. Rather, Christ drank the cup of
      the Father’s eschatological wrath on behalf of his bride, the elect. The
      wrath of the final judgment that is due to the elect is poured out in the
      present upon Christ in his crucifixion. In this regard, then, we can say
      that the elect have already passed through the final judgment in the
      crucifixion of Christ. Vos takes the next step and explains the connection
      between the crucifixion and justification when he writes, “the Apostle made
      the act of justification to all intents, so far as the believer is
      concerned, a last judgment anticipated.”[20] Therefore the believer’s
      declaration of righteousness in the present has eschatological
      significance, as it brings the verdict of the final judgment into the

      This brings us to the second point, namely relating justification to the
      already-not-yet. There are both conservative and liberal theologians who
      straddle justification over the already-not-yet structure of redemptive
      history. Some argue that if there is an “already” of justification, it must
      be the verdict in the present, but there must also be a “not yet” of
      justification, which entails some sort of judgment either on the basis of
      or according to works. N. T. Wright argues that there is a present and a
      future justification, and that the future justification is on the basis of
      the good works of the believer.[21]

      Only those who are justified are raised according to their inner man. On
      the final day, the eschatological verdict that is passed in secret in the
      present, is revealed through the resurrection of the outer man. The
      resurrection reveals who is righteous. On the final day, when Christ
      returns, the righteous are immediately transformed. Again, without God
      uttering a single syllable, the righteous will be able to look around them
      and know immediately who has been declared righteous and who is wicked.
      There is no future aspect of justification but rather only the revelation
      of the verdict through the resurrection. Or, we may say that justification
      is “already,” and what remains “not yet” is the revelation of the verdict
      that has already been passed on the basis of the life, death, and
      resurrection of Christ, which the believer possesses by faith alone.


      Current explanations of the relationship between justification and the
      final judgment fall short because they fail to account for the judicial
      nature of the resurrection. They fail to see the paradigmatic nature of
      Christ’s resurrection and recognize that as Christ was justified in his
      resurrection, so too the believer will be justified in his own
      resurrection. By maintaining the all-important connection between
      justification and resurrection, we preserve the sola gratia, solus
      Christus, and sola fide of justification, as believers are raised, not
      because of their own works, but solely because of the works of Christ. The
      sole sufficiency of Christ in justification is guarded because the Spirit
      raises dead men, those who can do nothing. As the inner man was raised, so
      too is the outer man. In this regard, then, with the apostle Paul not only
      must we look to the crucified Christ in our justification, but even more so
      to the resurrected and justified Messiah.


      [1] This is material taken from a chapter by John Fesko in The Doctrine of
      Justification by Faith, published by P & R Publishers.

      [2] Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New
      International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000),

      [3] Geerhardus Vos, Grace and Glory, rev. ed. (1922; repr., Edinburgh:
      Banner of Truth, 1994), 167.

      [4] Charles Hodge, Romans (1835, rev. ed. 1864; repr., Edinburgh: Banner of
      Truth, 1989), 19.

      [5] See John Calvin, Romans and Thessalonians, Calvin’s New Testament
      Commentaries, trans. Ross Mackenzie, ed. David W. Torrance and T. F.
      Torrance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), 16-17; B. B. Warfield, “The Christ
      That Paul Preached,” in The Works of B. B. Warfield, vol. 2, ed. Ethelbert
      D. Warfield, et al. (1929; repr., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981), 235-54; cf.
      Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., Resurrection and Redemption: A Study in Paul’s
      Soteriology (1978; Philipsburg: P&R, 1987), 100.

      [6] Geerhardus Vos, “The Eschatological Aspect of the Pauline Conception of
      the Spirit,” in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter
      Writings of Geerhardus Vos, ed. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. (Philipsburg: P&R,
      1980), 104.

      [7] Vos, “Eschatological Aspect,” 104; see also Gaffin, Resurrection,
      98-112; John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, New International
      Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968), 10.

      [8] Gaffin, Resurrection, 116; G. C. Berkouwer, The Work of Christ, trans.
      Cornelius Lambregtse (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), 190.

      [9] Geerhardus Vos, Pauline Eschatology (1930; repr., Grand Rapids:
      Eerdmans, 1994), 151; similarly Murray, Romans, 156-57.

      [10] Murray, Romans, 308; Vos, “Eschatological Aspect,” 104, n. 24.

      [11] Vos, Pauline Eschatology, 152.

      [12] Vos, Pauline Eschatology, 261.

      [13] Herman Bavinck, The Last Things, trans. John Vriend, ed. John Bolt
      (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 133.

      [14] Similarly C. D. Elledge, “Resurrection of the Dead: Exploring Our
      Earliest Evidence Today,” in Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a
      Biblical Doctrine, ed. James H. Charlesworth, et al (London: T & T Clark,
      2006), 28.

      [15] See D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, Pillar New Testament
      Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 207; Herman N. Ridderbos, The
      Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary, trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids:
      Eerdmans, 1997), 139-40; see also Bavinck, Last Things, 138.

      [16] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, New International
      Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 597;
      Ridderbos, John, 437-39; Carson, John, 442-43.

      [17] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (1939; repr., Grand Rapids:
      Eerdmans, 1976), 720-21.

      [18] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (1873; repr., Grand Rapids:
      Eerdmans, 1975) 847.

      [19] Bavinck, Last Things, 132.

      [20] Vos, Pauline Eschatology, 55.

      [21] N. T. Wright, Romans, New Interpreters Bible (Nashville: Abingdon,
      2005), 580.

      • markmcculley Says:

        Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p154

        “Much light falls on the forensic significance of the resurrection of
        believers from a comparison with the case of Christ’s resurrection. Through
        his exalted state, produced by the resurrection, we have a perpetual
        witness of the continuous status of righteousness in which He exists.

        To say that forgiveness of sin procured through the imputation of Christ’s
        merit constitutes only the initial act in the Christian life, and that
        thereafter, the slate being wiped clean, there is no further need for it,
        all being thenceforth staked on the sanctification, is, apart from all
        other criticism, wrong, because it ignores the forensic righteousness as a vital factor in the exalted state of the Savour.

        In the matter of
        justification, Paul directs his gaze not only to the cross retrospectively,
        but likewise upward to the glorified existence of Christ in heaven, where
        all the merit of the cross is laid up…”

  3. markmcculley Says:

    When the Westminster Confession speaks of “being baptized by the Spirit into one body”, that confession has zero biblical support. Christ is the one who baptizes into and with the Spirit. Neither I Corinthians 12: 13 or any other text says that the Spirit baptizes into one body. Look at Ephesians 4 and all the other texts you think teach that,

    Check out your most trusted commentaries on I Corinthians 12—not by the Spirit, but with or into the Spirit, as in the other NT references. Ephesians 4:8 quotes Psalm 68: “when he ascended on high, he gave gifts to men.” Every reference to “baptism with the Spirit” (including I Cor 12:13) has Christ as the one who gives the Spirit, not the Spirit as the one who gives us Christ. Effectual calling by God the Father does not assume that it’s the Holy Spirit who includes us into Christ.

    In Mark and John, the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus “will baptize in (the) Holy Spirit”; while in Matthew and Luke, he “will baptize with Holy Spirit and fire”. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus Christ during his baptism, and Christ was anointed with power (certainly this is not a baptism by the Spirit into Christ). The phrase “baptized in the Holy Spirit” occurs two times in Acts, first in Acts 1:4-5 and second in Acts 11:16. Luke 24:49, “I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high”.

    Matthew 3:11: …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”
    Mark 1:8: …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”
    Luke 3:16: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”
    Luke 24:49: …stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (see fulfillment in Acts 2).
    John 1:33: …the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
    Acts 1:4-5: …you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…”
    Acts 2:14-18: …I will pour out my Spirit…” (quoting Joel 2:28-29).
    Acts 8:14-17: …prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit…”; …as yet the Spirit had not yet come upon any of them…”; …they received the Holy Spirit…”; …the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands….”
    Acts 9:17: …Jesus…has sent me…that you may…be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
    Acts 10:44-48: “The Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word…”; …the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out…”; …people who have received the Holy Spirit…”
    Acts 11:15-16: …the Holy Spirit fell upon them…”; …you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…”
    Acts 19:1-6: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit…?”; …the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied…”
    1 Cor 12:13: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free…”

    Even if it could be proven that at least one adult child born to one parent professing to be a Christian was a regenerate adult, that would not be a reason to conclude that all adult children born to parents professing to be Christians are part of the new covenant or part of the visible church. Even if it could be proven that at least one infant born to one parent professing to be a Christians was a regenerate infant, that would not be a reason to water all infant children born to parents professing to be Christians.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    God has not yet justified any of the elect to whom God has not yet baptized into Christ’s death

    justification does not depend on our faith or understanding in the gospel
    but nobody is justified without faith and understanding the gospel

    the Holy Spirit is not here first, to then give us faith and to then give us Christ

    God’s legal imputation gives us Christ’s death and Christ’s death gives us Christ and then faith and access

    God does not change, but God’s external relation to the elect changes when the elect are justified

    there is no legal safety in Christ before an elect person legally shares in Christ’s death

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Tipton—The declaration of righteousness is not prior to the imputation o f righteousness, either logically or temporally, because the declaration takes into account the constitutive act of imputation; and the transaction of imputation is situated within the broader reality of union with Christ by Spirit-wrought faith.

    Tipton-The Westminster Standards do not make the declaration of justification logically prior to either Spirit-wrought union, on the one hand, or the faith that lays hold of Christ and receives his imputed righteousness, on the other hand. Instead, the declaration of righteousness is situated concretely within Spirit-forged faith-union, and a faith that lays hold of Christ and his imputed righteousness.

    Tipton–Neither the declaration of righteousness nor the imputation of righteousness is logically prior to union with Christ by faith, but com es to the believer only in terms of that union which is by faith.

    John Murray–“Justification does not consist in that which is reflected in our consciousness; it consists in the divine act o f acquittal and acceptance. And it is precisely this that is by faith.”1

    Tipton then goes on to say that we should not locate the judicial ground for the believer’s union with Christ in the forensic benefit of the believers justification. But nobody is saying that. What we forensic priority folk are saying is that the ground is not the Holy Spirit’s uniting or giving faith. The ground of the gift of the Spirit and of faith is Christ’s death. Christ gives the Spirit, and the Spirit does not give Christ. Tipton is saying the opposite of that.

    Tipton—It is not merely in the atoning death o f Christ that we find the judicial ground for the believer’s justification by faith alone in union with Christ; it is also found in the resurrection of Christ as justified. It is the God-approved resurrection righteousness of Christ (imputed to m e by faith alone), that stands at the tribunal o f divine justice on my behalf.

    mark–What does “imputed to me by faith alone” mean? Does it mean that my faith is what gives me Christ and his righteousness? That cannot be, because faith comes to us through Christ’s righteousness. (II Peter 1:1) What does “imputed to me by faith alone” mean? Does it mean that I am not the imputer, and that God needs to wait for me to impute Christ’s death to me? That cannot be, because unless God places me into Christ’s death, then Christ’s death will not justify me and give me faith in the gospel? If it was up to me or to my faith to impute Christ’s righteousness to me, you might as well say it’s up to me to decide if Christ is going to die for me or not. But Christ already died for me (or not) because Christ already did not die for the non-elect.

    The objective righteousness is the resurrection-validated righteousness of Jesus Christ (1 Tim 3:16), and just in light o f this we can make sense o f Paul’s language that Christ was “raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25).

    John Murray, “Appendix A: Justification in Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968)–” Scripture’s uniform testimony is that believers are justified by faith alone in Christ alone. I would challenge Berkhof precisely at the point regarding scriptural support for his notion that the declaration of righteousness before the tribunal of God logically precedes faith-union with Christ. Scripture does not teach that the declarative aspect of the believer’s justification logically precedes faith and union with Christ by faith.

    John Murray–There have been good protestants who have maintained that this faith is not the antecedent o f justification but the consequent, that we do not believe in order to be justified but we believe because we have been justified, and that the faith referred to is the faith that we have been justified. The witness of Scripture does not appear to bear out this view o f the relation of faith to justification.

    .. . We cannot believe that we are justified until we are first justified.
    The faith by which we are justified is the initial and primary act o f faith in Jesus Christ by which in our effectual calling we are united to Christ and invested with his righteousness unto our acceptance with God and justification by him .

    Tipton–A dogmatic distinction that makes the declaration o f righteousness logically prior to union with Christ by faith, no matter how noble in its motivation, clouds the precious biblical truth that believers are justified only by faith alone in their Spirit-effected union with Christ. The Scriptures teach that believers are clothed with the righteousness of Christ only as they are ingrafted into him by a Spirit-wrought faith. The declarative act of justification takes squarely into account this Spirit-wrought union, and the attendant imputation of Christ’s righteousness that is received by faith alone within that union. The God-approved, resurrection-validated righteousness of Christ obtains before the tribunal of divine justice for me (active aspect). Yet that righteousness is mine only by faith in my Spirit-wrought union with Christ (passive aspect). Christology in Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1, An Exercise in Biblical Theology, Lane Tipton in Resurrection and Eschatology, Gaffin Fetschreft

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