Archive for December 22, 2013

“All You Have to Do is Accept It”, but there is no Substitute to Receive It For You?

December 22, 2013

Matthew 1: 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Alec Motyer, p 251, From Heaven He Came—Isaiah’s “Behold, my servant shall succeed” matches the great cry, “It is finished (John 19:30) and forces us to ask what “finished” means in John and what “succeed” means in Isaiah. On any “open-ended” view of the atonement–that is, that the work of Christ only made salvation possible rather than actually secured salvation–“finished” only means “started” and “succeed” only means “maybe, contingent on God contributing something else “in” the sinner

Isaiah 53: when his blood/life makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his blood/life to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Clergy who condition salvation on the sinner talk out of both sides of their mouths. First, “all you have to do is receive it”. But and However, then “receiving it will cost you everything for the rest of your life.”. First, there was “for you a substitute”. But and However, there is “no substitute to receive it for you” and His substitution won’t work without your receiving and accepting it. God is “open in order for us to be open to God.”

Yes, it’s true that nobody is justified before they believe the gospel. But the question we need to face is—WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? Jesus Christ, not every year, not every week, but one time, for all time, once in history was a substitute but only for “his people”. “His people” are the elect,those whom the Father gave the Son to die for. All “his people” will come to believe the true gospel and be justified. The death of Christ as a substitute for His people not only puts away their sins but legally guarantees that these elect won’t need a substitute to believe the true gospel for them, makes sure that these elect themselves believe the true gospel.

Philippians 1: 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

Romans 5:11 “We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the atonement.”

Many today teach that the only reconciliation which really matters is our “receiving which applies again today ” Christ’s death. They teach that Christ died as a substitute for many who will not believe the gospel and who will perish.

It’s one thing to say that Christ’s death is good news, and another to say WHY Christ’s death is good news. Christ’s death saves not only because of God’s sovereign will but also because of God’s justice.

The difference between the “but it’s on you to receive it” folks and those who teach that many do not believe because they are not Christ’s sheep (John 10) is NOT about the need of the Spirit’s work or faith in the gospel. Those who believe the true gospel do not disagree about justification being through faith. We do NOT teach that the elect are free from condemnation before being “baptized into Christ”. We do deny that either water or the Holy Spirit “baptizes” us INTO Christ. Legal identification into Christ is by God’s imputation.

Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too will walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like His.

Our resurrection is both like and unlike Christ’s resurrection. Our resurrection is unlike His in that we still have a future resurrection to come. But our resurrection is like His because His one resurrection counts legally as our resurrection when God places us into Christ and His resurrection.

Our death is both like and unlike Christ’s death. His death is unlike ours because His death was because of the imputation of our sins to Him. Our death is unlike His death because our death is His death. We die in the sense that His death is legally transferred to us. Christ died without remorse or repentance and only because of our sins. And the only way we are already dead now, before we die our own deaths, is when God counts Christ’s death for us legally.

“We have been united with Christ in a death like His” Even though there was a transfer going both ways, the death of Christ is the only death that ultimately matters. Even though Christ died only because of our sins, and even though we died only because He died, that one death counts for all who have come to believe the true gospel.

The elect are not justified as soon as Christ bore their sins. Romans 6 teaches us that the elect must be placed into Christ’s death. Until the elect are “baptized” into Christ’s death, they remain under the wrath of God.

Some accuse us of thinking there is no need for faith. They claim that it is not logical for us to teach such a need for faith. If the substitution has already been made, then all for whom it was made should logically already be justified. If the righteousness has already been obtained, then all for whom it was earned should logically already be justified by it.

We do NOT teach justification apart from faith. Neither do we teach that faith is a mere recognition that we were already justified.

What is it that those who make the accusations are teaching about Christ’s death? Even though clergy like Andrew Fuller agree that Christ died to gain faith for the elect, even though they agree that even our receiving is God’s gift aloe, but they make this purchase of faith to be the only thing that is limited about Christ’s death The “but some don’t receive it ” folks do not want to teach that Christ’s substitution under God’s wrath was limited only to the sins of the elect. They can correctly say that they teach “limited atonement” but they do NOT teach that Christ’s propitiation for sins was limited to “His people”

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”