Archive for July 19, 2013

Do you want Grace or Justice?

July 19, 2013

Christ’s death, no hope in anything else
Christ’s death, no righteousness without it

God’s grace is either possible or always effective. If grace is only possible, then salvation is not by grace, but rather by works.

God’s grace is either according to justice or it is not. If grace is only non-just, then grace is only about the sovereignty of God and not about the justice of God. But if God’s grace is not only about what God “can do” but what God has done in Christ, then God’s grace is not about what you “can have if you accept it”.

The next time somebody asks you if you want justice or grace from God, remember that God never gives grace without justice. Our only hope is Christ’s death as the justice for all for whom God has grace. God only has grace for the elect and we know that because Christ’s death only satisfied God’s law for the elect. Christ already did justice for only the elect because God has never had grace for any but the elect. And this is the only gospel there is for everybody.

I quote from Chuck Swindoll’s definition— “Legalism is the belief that God does not act of grace but acts out of justice in giving his favor.” He calls it “unmerited favor”. Missing from this “gospel” is the righteousness the God-man obtained by His death for those God favors. Yes, the Bible teaches God’s love for the elect. But the Bible has no either/or between grace and justice, because God is both just and also the justifier of elect sinners.

When God justifies the ungodly elect, God is not justifying the better performers OR the better non-performers. God is not justifying on the basis of faith and works, but God is also not justifying on the basis of faith alone. When God justifies the ungodly elect, God is acting out of justice to Jesus Christ and to the Trinity by crediting these elect with the righteousness the incarnate God-man obtained by His death for the elect in history.

This righteousness is not simply God’s inscrutable “act of grace”. Christ’s death was perfect satisfaction of God’s law for all those who will be in the new covenant (the elect) and there is legal solidarity between the elect who need this righteousness and Christ whose death JUSTLY earned this righteousness.

Are YOU willing to define your gospel and then to have it judged by the Christian Scriptures? You are not submissive to God’s authority if you don’t want to be questioned about your teaching. I am not saying we should spend all our time arguing and debating. But unwillingness to be tested (according to the Scriptures) is arrogant and dangerous.