The Spirit is Life BECAUSE OF Righteousness
Romans 8: 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
John 16: 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Romans 5:19 calls events in history “being constituted”. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were appointed sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be appointed righteous.”
Notice, first, that “the many” are the elect in Christ. Like I Corinthians 15, Romans 5 is not talking about the non-elect who are also constituted sinners by Adam’s disobedience. The same exact number who are chosen in Christ were also all born legally dead in Adam and appointed sinners. Even though they are elect in Christ, they are born into this world needing Christ and needing life.
Trying to understand these imputation events in Romans 5 without talking about election is impossible, but almost everybody tries to do it. They end up changing God’s freely GIVEN salvation into something caused by sinners actively “receiving”, even though “receive” in Romans 5:17 is passive and does not refer to the consent of sinners.
Man does not become a sinner by consenting to Adam’s sin, and the elect in Christ do not become appointed righteous by consenting to Christ’s obedience. The elect in Christ become righteous by imputation. This legal event results in new birth, but it does not include new birth.
Why does this distinction matter? Even if you agree with me that sinners are made guilty in Adam by legal imputation,why does it matter? Don’t I agree that the moral corruption of sinners is the immediate result of the imputation of guilt? Am I just being picky, just arguing for argument’s sake?
NO! If the only problem elect sinners have is corruption and inability to believe, then the only need they have is for the Holy Spirit and the new birth. Then it finally does not matter what Christ did, and it certainly makes no sense to argue about for whom Christ did it.
If “life” in the Bible is ONLY about the ability to believe God’s testimony about the Son, then the good news is no longer what the Son did or did not do, but the good news instead becomes our believing, and being careful to give God all the praise for our believing.
But we need more than the life to believe. We need legal life by God’s judicial declaration based on God’s judicial sharing to the elect of what Christ did for the elect alone.
I agree that new birth is necessary, but it is a logical result and not a condition of God’s imputation of Christ’s death.. The elect don’t become united to Christ by believing. Nor do the elect become united to Christ by water baptism.
The new birth does not unite the elect to Christ. The Holy Spirit does not unite the elect to Christ. God unites the elect to Christ by judicial declaration. Romans 4:17, “God gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things which do not exist.”
The Bible gives first place to Christ and what Christ got done judicially. To look to Christ in us and to life in us (given by the Holy Spirit) is to look away from the testimony about what Christ has done at the cross and in His resurrection.
I Corinthians 1:28-30, “God chose even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no flesh can boast in the presence of God. God is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
It is not faith that made God the source of life. It is not the Holy Spirit who made God a source of life. God not only chose the elect in Christ; in time God also judicially declares the elect to have life in Christ.
Having Christ and having life is a result of God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect. If the elect could have life and Christ before that imputation, it would be too late for the imputation and there would be no need for the imputation or for the merits of the death which is imputed. After God’s imputation, the ungodly elect become godly and receive the Holy Spirit and the new birth. But if they could get the Spirit and life without the righteousness, they would not ever need the righteousness. Romans 8:10, “the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”