Archive for October 3, 2014

Where is that Objective Righteousness Which Saves Us?

October 3, 2014

Christ’s death is not obedience to the law. Christ’s death is satisfaction to the law. Christ’s death is not abrogation of the law.

Jeremiah 23: 6 This is what He will be named: The Lord Our Righteousness.

Jeremiah 33:16 Judah will be saved and this is what she will be named: the Lord Our Righteousness

I saw Jesus at the Father’s right hand. ‘There,’ I said, ‘is my righteousness!’ So that wherever I was or whatever I was doing, God could not say to me, ‘Where is your righteousness?’ For it is always right before him. I saw that it is not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was brought in by Christ. Now my chains fell off indeed. and I lived sweetly at peace with God.

Now I could look from myself to him  I saw that my precious hope was indeed in a very safe trunk, not in me but in Christ my Lord. Now Christ was all: my righteousness, sanctification, redemption.

— John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

In heaven, Christ sits. Why? Because the work that saves Christ has finished. But why waste your time on that point,  when all we need to know is that “God is everywhere”?

John 16: 8 When the Holy Spirit comes, the Holy Spirit will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me;

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 or the future into competition with what Christ got done at the cross.

Folks don’t deny that things like atonement and justification are part of the gospel. They agree with the Westminster Confession paragraphs on justification. Sure, they agree with that basic overall “Reformed” position, but there is no need for us 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.”

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.

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”?

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.