If Our Sin Keeps God From Blessing Us, Then It’s Not Christ’s Death which Blesses Us

I do know that people who profess to believe that Christ died only for the elect also teach “common grace”.  Of course these folks don’t tend to talk much about particular atonement. But their claim is that God has a “grace” for people for whom Christ never died. They claim there is a grace which is not based on the effective forensic death of Christ.

Christ’s death is not common for every sinner, because Christ’s death does not make salvation conditioned on what sinners do with grace. Because Christ’s death is not only about sovereignty but also about justice, because Christ’s death is about not only punishment but also about imputed guilt, Christ’s death has the uncommon result of entitling every elect person to all the benefits of salvation.

Elect sinners might be somewhat wary of any talk of being entitled to anything, since we know that we are still always sinning, but it is simply boasting in Christ. if we think that our sinning somehow makes us any less entitled to all salvation blessings, then we will also falsely come to think that our not sinning will bring us extra rewards. If our sinning or not sinning comes into the equation, then what Christ did is not enough.

Any false gospel which says that Christ died in common for every sinner but that not all these sinners receive a common salvation is logically saying that Christ’s death is not enough for any sinner. Not only logically, but in their existential experience, all those believing the false gospel are practical legalists. Whatever they may say or think, they sincerely believe that what Christ did is not enough and they think they need to get busy.

This is the paradox: every self-righteous person who makes the death of Christ common also feels guilt for not doing more and better. Those who profane Christ’s death are objectively guilty before God, not simply because of what they feel or think about Christ, but because they are not in Christ. Only in Christ, and not in our lack of self-righteousness, do we find entitlement to all the blessings of salvation. God’s justice to Christ demands the salvation of all for whom Christ died. God’s justice to Christ is finally no different from God’s justice to all those God has chosen in Christ.

Whether a person is looking to include in their gospel a return to the Jewish temple (the Hebrews context) or to include in their gospel a death of Christ common enough to offer to every sinner, that person is not glorying in the blood of Christ alone. Christ Himself was sanctified by His blood, which is the blood of the covenant. The Hebrews 10 warning is not saying that an apostate experienced grace or resisted grace. Non-elect sinners always resist God, but they do not resist God’s grace.

The false gospel does not want to talk about election, and so it cannot talk about either redemption or security for the elect. It can only talk about security on the condition of faith. Some with the false gospel say you can have security because of your faith, and then lose your faith and your security. Others with the false gospel say that faith is like getting a tattoo that cannot be removed, and that even if you lose your faith, you can be secure. But all in the false gospel are agreed in profaning the death of Christ. All in the false gospel say that Christ died for every sinner, even those who add that Christ died with extra purposes for the elect.

All in the false gospel say that Christ is the mercy seat for every sinner. According to this common mercy, many die unjustified but none die without mercy. They say that God would have and could have and did have mercy on all sinners, at least until they died. They say that Christ in His death showed mercy to every sinner, but that such mercy was not enough alone to save any sinner.

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6 Comments on “If Our Sin Keeps God From Blessing Us, Then It’s Not Christ’s Death which Blesses Us”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    “Consider the Noahic covenant: The death penalty mentioned in Genesis 9 was not merely an a-religious means of maintaining law-order…. The cross has eliminated all sacrifices because no sacrifice is left except Christ Exclusively (Hebrews 9, 10)…. Human sacrifices by means of the death penalty are abrogated….” Mark McCulley, Studies in History and Ethics (1982), p. 68.

    We have with us today a standard for holiness which falls far short of the example in the politics of Jesus. Assuming that the only way to become involved is through traditional politics like voting, pious “non-resistants” warn us against any “particularly Christian” concern with material realities.

    I think there are two major reasons for this: (1) a refusal to take seriously other people’s profession to be Christian; and (2) a sacred/secular distinction which assumes that the Cross has nothing to say about the death penalty.

    We are warned that it is foolish “to attempt to persuade the unsaved to live like Christians. They cannot do it.” We are even told that “the job of the sinner is to sin.” Therefore, the sinners are to fight wars and execute the death penalty instead of us who are Christians.

    This is a strange kind of substitutionary double-ethic. Even though God ordains that non-Christians will “take our place” in doing the “dirty” work, that is no reason for us to approve what they do or to call what they do good. The “Calvinist” who assumes that the pagan “inability” to understand and obey Jesus is somehow an excuse ends up thinking like an Arminian when it comes to “responsibility and ability”.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    jack miller— For God to be just he abides by the verdict of very law he set forth for man. No double jeopardy fot the elect, those who believe in Christ, for whom He met all the demands of the law. You are free from the law’s curse (its promise being out of reach for sinners) declared over sinners. You are free from the eternal consequences of your sins. Really free. What do you WANT to do? You’ve been set free from the guilt, shame, and penalty of your sins. But what if I CHOOSE to sin? There really is no other kind of sinning. You are are moral AGENT and all your sins are accounted as originating with you the sinner. So being a sinner you will continue to choose, at times, to sin. But again… He paid the price with his blood to set you free from their consequences. And you may notice that you actually now have or own, by his Spirit, an interest in him. O man, what do you want to do? You can walk in the path of more sinning, but then I would have to ask “why?”… or you can seek to stumble along and struggle, at times, as one WANTING to follow and walk in a manner worthy of him, your Lord and Savior, knowing that he IS with you and you are his. And he being just and faithful will not abandon you.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    the distinction between “merits in and of themselves” and “merits”

    Lutzer, Moody church—“The works we do after our conversion do not have merit in and of themselves. They only have merit because we are joined to Christ. Also, we should not think of God as our employer who has a legal obligation to pay us….Your Eternal Reward, 1998, p 14)

    But Lutzer does assure us that we will get paid, if we work the right way, with the right motive. And the pay will be getting a better job, with more responsibility on the new earth”

    Is the new earth material? or is the new earth “Spirit-controlled” or both?

    if you don’t pick it up, you might be cleaning toilets on the new earth.

    Gloria Copeland–God knows where the money is, and God knows how to get the money to the people with faith

    Joyce Meyer—If you stay in your faith, you are going to get paid. I am now living in my reward.
    Lee Irons—-God’s freedom must be maintained, but not at the expense of the divine perfections (i.e., wisdom, goodness, justice, holiness, truth, and rationality). God does not act arbitrarily, for all his actions are expressive of and delimited by his attributes….A covenant is the revelation of God’s justice. It follows, therefore, that (we) must reject the distinction between condign and congruous merit. The problem with this distinction is that congruous ex pacto merit becomes gracious when it is placed by way of contrast beneath condign merit as something less than full and real merit. Thus, grace inevitably enters the definition of congruous merit.

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

  4. markmcculley Says:

    one way some folks try to protect justification by merely grace
    is to allow some notion of “merit in sanctification”
    the blessings we get from God are given in Christ
    the blessings are rewards to Christ, but grace to us
    the blessings are not grace to Christ,and the blessings are not “less than strict” rewards to us
    so “rewards of grace” is a contradiction, either way you look it
    whether you are thinking of Christ’s death as supererogation (justice demands rewards)
    or whether you are thinking of our works after “sin is removed from them” so that they “kind of” merit reward
    all grace to us
    all reward to Christ
    OPC Report on Justification—At least two “Federal Vision” proponents [James Jordan, Lusk] have argued that Philippians 2 rules out the notion of merit in regard to Christ’s obedience, because in Philippians 2:9 Paul uses the word echarisato, which etymologically derives from the word for “grace,” charis, to describe God’s giving the name above every name to Christ. This indicates, they claim, that the Father exalted the Son not meritoriously but graciously.
    This argument as it stands fails, however. One reason it fails is its fallacious reasoning that etymological derivation determines the meaning of a word apart from context. The context of Phil 2:5- 11 shows that MERIT CANNOT BE ELIMINATED from Paul’s teaching here. The context is one of “work rendered and value received.”The Father exalted the Son because the Son perfectly fulfilled his course of obedience. The Son obeyed, therefore the Father exalted him.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    John Murray, The Covenant of Grace— How then are we to construe the conditions of which we have spoken? The continued enjoyment of this grace and of the relation established is contingent upon the fulfillment of certain conditions. For apart from the fulfillment of these conditions the grace bestowed and the relation established are meaningless. Grace bestowed implies a subject and reception on the part of that subject. The relation established implies mutuality.

    But the conditions in view are not conditions of bestowal. They are simply the reciprocal responses of faith, love and obedience, apart from which the enjoyment of the covenant blessing and of the covenant relation is inconceivable….Viewed in this light that the breaking of the covenant takes on an entirely different complexion. It is not the failure to meet the terms of a pact nor failure to respond to the offer of favorable terms of contractual agreement. It is unfaithfulness to a relation constituted and to grace dispensed. By breaking the covenant what is broken is not the condition of bestowal but the condition of consummated fruition.”

    It should be noted also that the necessity of keeping the covenant is bound up with the particularism of this covenant. The covenant does not yield its blessing to all indiscriminately. The discrimination which this covenant exemplifies accentuates the sovereignty of God in the bestowal of its grace and the fulfillment of its promises. This particularization is correlative with the spirituality of the grace bestowed and the relation constituted and it is also consonant with the exactitude of its demands.

    A covenant which yields its blessing indiscriminately is not one that can be kept or broken. We see again, therefore, that the intensification which particularism illustrates serves to accentuate the keeping which is indispensable to the fruition of the covenant grace.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Some of those who assume that everybody to whom they talk is a Christian tend to also speak of “sanctification” as a second blessing you can get by doing things the right way.But the mystical antinomians have the opposite problem. They think that, doing things the right way means not doing anything at all.
    The “exchanged life” antinomians put pressure on us to have a crisis experience to claim God’s supposed promise that God will live our lives for us. The idea of the “exchanged life” is that we “let go and let God”. But the threat is always that, if there is a problem, the fault is ours for not “letting go” enough. Instead of trusting in Christ’s death as our consecration (Hebrews 10:10-14), we are supposed to trust in Christ’s “vicarious incarnation and resurrection” or in the “power of His resurrection life in us”
    We need to remember human agency. God’s sovereignty does not mean that God believes the gospel for us. God causes us to believe the gospel.


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