How Can the Righteousness Be In Heaven, if Christ is In Your Heart?
I agree about our absolute need for the new birth. What some of us have said is that this “regeneration” should not be defined as “union” and it should not be given priority over God’s imputation of righteousness. We have said that the Spirit does not do the imputing. We have asked for a definition of “union”.
But I am asked this question: “Where is heaven that we are to look to? God is everywhere an especially in the hearts of His people.”
I guess that covers it. Nothing more needs to be said. No need to speak of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, No need to speak of the ascension of the Lord Jesus, and the real absence of the humanity of Christ until the second Advent. Even if you aren’t Zwinglian, or Calvinist, even if you are Lutheran, we can’t only talk about “God everywhere”. We need to be Christocentric.
The Holy Spirit is Christ’s gift to the church. Christ baptises the elect with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not baptize the elect into Christ. The elect in Christ are legally joined to the redemptive-historical merits of Christ by God’s imputation.
In heaven, Christ sits. Why? Because the work that saves Christ has finished. But why waste your time on what Hebrews when all you know and need to know is that “God is everywhere”?
Hebrews 9:28–”Christ, HAVING BEEN offered ONCE to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save them that eagerly await Him.”
What sense could that make? If Jesus Christ is simply everywhere, who cares if He comes again, since we have Him by His Spirit already in our hearts? Please pay attention. I am not denying that Christ indwells the hearts of those who have been justified, but I am\ suggesting that we talk about Christ’s kingdom without placing the present time into competition with what Christ got done at the cross.
Of course folks don’t deny that things like atonement and justification are part of the gospel. Of course they would sign the
Westminster Confession paragraphs on justification. Sure, they agree with that basic overall “Reformed” position, so no need for them to keep talking about that stuff when they can instead talk about their experiences.
Whether I am talking to a five year old or to a old old man on his death bed, I don’t want this “God anywhere and everywhere.” I want “Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord who was handed over
because of our trespasses and raised because/in order to our justification.” (Romans 4:25).
Romans 5 (love in our hearts through the Spirit who has been given us) begins with peace with God by means of justification. Justification is not the Spirit’s gift. The Spirit is God’s gift to the justified elect. Romans 5:9– “We have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.”
I look to heaven, not simply because the God-man who died with the imputed sins of all the elect has ascended there, but also He is coming from there. And these historical events are not below my navel or under my chest. The righteousness by which the justified REIGN is NOT a righteousness imparted (or infused) in us by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 5:17 explains that those who receive (by imputation, like the guilt of Adam is received) “the free gift of righteousness REIGN in\ life through the one man Jesus Christ”. Romans 5:21 continues the theme into Romans 6. “Grace reigns through the righteousness” of that one man. Romans 6:9–”death no longer has dominion over Christ. For the death HE died HE died to sin, once for all.”
Christ’s triumph over the powers, Christ’s kingdom, none of this can or should be set over against His finished work of righteousness. The Holy Spirit is Christ’s gift, and it is not the Holy Spirit baptizing in Romans 6.
There are many who agree, sure the legal is part of “union”, but when it gets right down to it, they think the atonement and justification is somehow less real and true than what’s happening in their hearts.
Romans 8:10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit is alive because of righteousness.
I won’t take the time to do the full exegesis, but nobody is denying that Christ is in the justified elect, nobody is denying that this happens by the Spirit alive in the justified elect, but the point in question concerns the righteousness. Is that righteousness what you think God is doing in you? Or is that righteousness what God did in Christ’s satisfaction of the law? What is the “righteousness of faith” in this context?
Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith says: Do not say in your heart, who will ascend into heaven (to bring Christ down), or who will descend (to bring Christ up from the dead). The word (about what? is the news about what Christ did to satisfy the law?) is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.