Two Non-Confessional Narratives Which Make Faith the Righteousness

Does faith also depend on “union”? Or does “union” depend on faith”? Has “union” changed between the old covenant economies and the incarnation of Christ?

1, Is faith the righteousness, or is the obedience of Christ even to death (outside us) the righteousness?
2, Are we the imputers, or is God the imputer?

Two non-confessional views of justification are held by many “Reformed” people. The first (compatible with Osiander) view is that faith really pleases God so that God forgets the believer’s sins. The curse for sin is not a judge passing a death sentence or an offended king showing his wrath, but a father letting his wayward son learn the hard lesson, so that the son will finally give up on himself, remember the father’s goodness, and come home. The acts of salvation in history are therefore God’s means of reminding men his mercy, of which the death of Christ is the supreme revelation. In this view, the one and only sin becomes unbelief of the “offer” of the gospel.

The second non-confessional view is that faith “appropriates” the presence of Christ and that results in the death of Christ covering believers from God’s judgment. In the Passover: the elect themselves applied the blood of the lamb to their houses and escaped the plague of death. In this view, “Christ is dead for you”, and the death of Christ is sufficient enough to make an offer but not enough to cover any sin, unless one first appropriates by faith “union with Christ” to themselves.

I am not saying that either of these views deny the fact that God’s election decided for whom Christ would die. I am saying that the atonement does not have decisive priority in these two false narratives. In both views, faith becomes the condition of “union” and “union” the condition of imputation. Since we are the ones who believe ( I agree with human agency in faith), these views make us the one who impute the righteousness to ourselves. And for all practical purposes, this makes faith our saving righteousness. In the case of Gaffin and Jones, this makes future works of faith our saving righteousness—I am united to the risen Christ and the same gracious power which enabled him to obey will also enable me to obey.

What’s the difference between “nomist” and “neonomian”? What’s new (not flat) and changed about now? Is it that we have a new ability to obey? is it that we in the new covenant are “united to Christ” and they were not back before the resurrection? I am still looking for an answer to that question from the “unionists”

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2 Comments on “Two Non-Confessional Narratives Which Make Faith the Righteousness”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    I certainly agree that belief in the gospel is not merit. The law is not of faith but about our merited demerits. The gospel is not about Christ’s faith but about the merit of Christ’s death.

    Matt Perman: “God’s law defines what is righteous and what is sinful. That which conforms to the law is righteous, that which violates the law is sinful. Since faith in Christ is not a “work of the law,” it must follow that faith in Christ as Savior is not a requirement of the law but of the gospel. This means that faith in Christ is not a morally virtuous thing (as loving our neighbor, telling the truth, etc. are), for virtue is that which accords with God’s moral law. Gospel faith is not commanded by the law, and so is not a virtuous entity.”

    Matt Perman–“What do we make of Romans 14:23 that “whatever is not of faith is sin”? …It seems best to understand Paul as using faith in a broader sense than he does in Romans 3 and 4. By faith in 14:23 Paul means the belief that a certain behavior is right. Paul is not using faith in the sense of believing in Christ for salvation. But even if Paul were speaking of saving faith in Romans 14, it would not follow that faith and obedience are the same thing.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    If saying that Christ’s law keeping is imputed to us by God helps us to say that faith is not the righteousness imputed, that’s a good thing

    2 if it helps us to say that faith is not obedience to the law, that’s a good thing

    law goes with works, not with faith—–grace goes with faith, not works

    but 3. most of the people (and confessions) which teach imputed law-keeping also teach that this imputation takes place only after faith, and that it depends on faith–in other words, that God imputes righteousness (which is not faith) on the basis of faith, which means that a. faith is not a result of the righteousness and b. that “exercising faith” is still more important that the righteousness and c. that regeneration by the Holy Spirit is more important (and first) before the righteousness

    so what has been gained?

    but 4, does the Bible really teach that Christ’s incarnation, His resurrection, His water baptism, His physical circumcision, His life long suffering (to name only five acts) are imputed to the elect? If so, where does the Bible teach this?

    5. are His resurrection and incarnation Christ’s obedience to the law? If so, what law?

    6. The law taught death as retribution for sin. The law did not teach righteousness (and life) as a result of death


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