Christ Is Not and Never was Under Grace

Christ was under law. Christ is no longer under law

Adam’s guilt is imputed to the elect until Christ’s death is imputed to the elect.

The elect in Christ are under condemnation until God justifies them.

The elect in Christ are under law until the elect are under grace

Christ was under law. Christ is no longer under law but Christ is still not under grace because Christ’s death satisfied the law. Christ’s people are under grace.

Romans 6: 9 we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Christ. 10 For in light of the fact that Christ died, Christ died to sin once for all time

Christ was never under grace and is still not under grace. Christ was under the law because of the imputed sins of the elect. Romans 6 is about Christ’s condemnation by the law and His death as satisfaction of that law. Christ after His resurrection is no longer under law. Christ’s elect, after their legal identification with Christ’s death, are no longer under law.

The death of the justified elect is the SAME legal death that Christ died. The “definitive resurrection” of the elect in Romans 6 is the result of being set apart with Christ (and His death) from being under law.

Christ was never under the power of sin in the sense of being unable not to sin. Christ was always unable to sin. The only way Christ was ever under the power of sin is by being under the guilt of sin. The guilt of the elect’s sin was legally transferred by God to Christ. Christ’s death to sin was death to the guilt of sin, and since the elect are united with His death, the death of the elect is also a death to the guilt of sin. Romans 6:7: “For one who has died has been justified from sin.”

Yet many commentators tell us that “set free from sin” must mean the elect’s definitive transformation by the Holy Spirit so that the justified cannot habitually sin (or that their new nature cannot sin) They tell us that justification was in Romans chapter five and that chapter six must be about something more if it’s to be a real answer to the question “why not sin?”. But Romans 6 does not talk about Christ or His people not habitually sinning. Romans 6 locates the cause of “sin not reigning” in “not being under the law”

Christ was never under the power of habitual sin , and the definitive death of the justified elect is His death.

Romans 6:14 does not say, For sin shall not be your master, because the Holy Spirit has changed you so that you cannot habitually sin, but only occasionally and always with repentance. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not by your master, because you are not under law but under grace.”

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7 Comments on “Christ Is Not and Never was Under Grace”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Machen explains why Jesus was not a Christian—-“In the first place, it will be said, are we not failing to do justice to the true humanity of Jesus, which is affirmed by the creeds of the Church as well as by the modern theologians? When we say that Jesus could not illustrate Christian faith any more than God can be religious, are we not denying to Jesus that religious experience which is a necessary element in true humanity? Must not Jesus, if He be true man, have been more than the object of religious faith; must He not have had a religion of His own? The answer is not far to seek. Certainly Jesus had a religion of His own; His prayer was real prayer, His faith was real religious faith. His relation to His heavenly Father was not merely that of a child to a father; it was that of a man to his God. Certainly Jesus had a religion; without it His humanity would indeed have been but incomplete. Without doubt Jesus had a religion; the fact is of the utmost importance.

    Macehn—But it is equally important to observe that that religion which Jesus had was not Christianity. Christianity is a way of getting rid of sin, and Jesus was without sin. His religion was a religion of Paradise, not a religion of sinful humanity. It was a religion to which we may perhaps in some sort attain in heaven, when the process of our purification is complete (though even then the memory of redemption will never leave us); but certainly it is not a religion with which we can begin. The religion of Jesus was a religion of untroubled sonship; Christianity is a religion of the attainment of sonship by the redeeming work of Christ.

    —J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, New Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), 78

    the OPC Report Philippians 2 (lines 796 ff)
    “Federal Vision proponents have argued that Philippians 2 rules out the notion of merit in regard to Christ’s obedience, because in 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.”

    Mark Jones—“Divine grace is not merely God’s goodness to the elect in the era of redemptive history. … Divine grace is a perfection of God’s nature, and thus a characteristic of how he relates to finite creatures, even apart from sin. In the garden, the grace of God was upon Adam; in the “wilderness,” the grace of God is upon his Son, the second Adam. God’s graciousness may be summarized simply as what he is in and of himself.”

    Richard Gaffin, by Faith not by Sight, p 103–”The law-gospel antithesis enters NOT BY VIRTUE OF CREATION

    ….. but as the consequence of sin…The gospel is to the purpose of removing an absolute law-gospel antithesis in the life of the believer…With the gospel and in Christ, united to him, the law is no longer my enemy but my friend.”

    Paul Helm—“We may note that one thing that the Amyraldian proposal does is to weaken connection between the plight of the race in the fall of Adam. For now the responsibility of each of the non-elect comes simply from hearing and not receiving the message of grace.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    the claim is
    1. we don’t make timing an issue before we even start talking, we will say—even if you make timing an issue, we agree that you are brothers
    2. but if you don’t agree that we are brothers , then at that point we might have to question if you are brothers
    3. but remember, you say, you (not us) are the ones who made the issue. all we did was teach that the elect were justified at the same time (a timeless eternity) that they were elected
    4. we never said to anybody that Christ Himself was never under the wrath of God, we only said that the elect were never under the wrath of God
    well, let me ask you, was Christ the elect one, ever under the wrath of God? Was Christ himself in history ever under the condemnation of the law?
    maybe you just want to talk about the “application” of the atonement, but it’s impossible to say that the atonement was applied to all the elect before history, without also talking about Christ having completed the atonement. Did Christ complete the atonement before history? if Christ had already died for all the elect in some timeless eternity, then when was Christ ever under the wrath of God? If Christ had already died for all the elect before history, then why was His incarnation and death in redemptive history necessary?

  3. markmcculley Says:

    grace to the elect was not grace to Jesus Christ
    Christ did what He was obligated to do to save His elect
    Christ by His death satisfied law and purchased blessings

    to save those the Father gave Him, the Son had a duty to die for them
    quid pro quo

    Isaiah 53: 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors

    Hebrews 1: 9 –“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
 THEREFORE God, your God, has anointed you
 with the oil of gladness beyond your companions” (Psalm 45:7).

    Romans 4: 4 Now to him that works the reward is not counted grace, but what is due

    John 10: 17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life in order to take it up again.

    John 15: 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

    John 17: 4 I have glorified You on the earth
    by completing the work You gave Me to do.
    Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence

    yes, the Father loves the Son

    but also the Father will give the Son what the Son is due

    the Father loves the Son because the Son gives the Father what the Father is due

    2 Peter 1: 17 For when the Lord Jesus Christ received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory:
    This is My beloved Son.
    I take delight in Him!

    Isaiah 42 “This is My Servant; I strengthen Him,
    this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
    I have put My Spirit on Him;
    He will bring justice to the nations.
    2 He will not cry out or shout
    or make His voice heard in the streets.
    3 He will not break a bruised reed,
    and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
    He will faithfully bring justice.
    4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged
    until He has established justice on earth.

    John Gill— Christ was the object of his Father’s love from before the ages, and was loved by the Father on various accounts; first and chiefly, as his own Son, of the same nature with him, equal to him; and also as Mediator, engaging for, and on the behalf of his chosen people; and likewise as he was clothed with their nature, and even in his state of humiliation; and not only as obedient to his will, and doing what was pleasing in his sight, but likewise as suffering in their room and stead, and he loved him on this account. The bruising of the Son was a pleasure to the Father, not for the sake of that itself, but because hereby God’s counsels and decrees were accomplished and the salvation of his people obtained. The Son laying down his life on this account, was well pleasing to his Father.

    God loves elect sinners contra-conditionally— loves them contrary to what the sinners deserve . God the Father does not love God the Son that way

    Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of the lasting life of the age to come based on God the Father being just to God the Son.

  4. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Jack Kilcrease—Forde’s position is that God created the world through the brutality of biological evolution. And so death, violence, and strife are not the result of the Fall, but are built into creation. T

    Forde says he is unwilling to naturalize death and take away the connection with sin but Forde comes very close to the Gnostic notion of the conflation of creation with the Fall. Forde calls the traditional understanding of the Fall “a theology of glory.”

  5. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Tianqi Wu— I first came across Matias in 2015 on Facebook in some group discussions. At that time, he proclaimed that all elect were justified at the cross by Christ’s faith.

    The biggest issue was not about timing of justification, but about what the justifying righteousness was. He emphatically denied that Christ accomplished the justifying righteousness by satisfying Law. Of course, he did not deny the need to die for sins – which he agreed to be a satisfaction of Law – but he did not think it was enough.

    Some “positive righteousness” beyond death for sins was needed, and it must not be a “righteousness of Law”, but a “righteousness of faith”. This he found in Romans 3, “the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ”, which he understands as saying Christ’s believing/trusting in God the Father as he was dying on the cross was the justifying righteousness.

    Initially I thought this was another version of “imputation of active obedience”, But I was wrong.
    First, he denied any imputation involving legal transfer. This explains why he insists the elect are justified at the cross. If there is no legal transfer, then justification must happen simultaneously as the accomplishment of righteousness.

    Moreover, the denial of legal transfer also means he must read “Abraham believed God, and God imputed it to him unto righteousness” as not involving any legal transfer of righteousness of another, but about God’s recognizing Abraham’s own character righteousness in believing/trusting.

    Second, he next connected “Christ’s faith” that he found in Romans 3 to “Abraham’s faith” in Romans 4.
    This is a strange move, since the focus of Romans 4 is justification of the ungodly, which Christ has no need for himself, though some parts of it is talking about inheritance of the world, which could indeed to apply Christ’s own faith, as the seed of Abraham.

    But even worse – and making clear his idea – he applied Ephesians 2:8 to Christ – “saved by grace through faith….

    Remember he rejected any imputation involving legal transfer – not only the legal transfer of righteousness from Christ to elect, but also the legal transfer of sins from elect to Christ. 
    Instead, he believed that Christ was made sin in a real, ontological way. Lest I’m putting words in his mouth, here’s a quote of a follower of him, who was in essential agreement with him at that time (pardon the neologisms):
    “This entailed Jesus sacrificing himself to Positioner (‘God’) in his humanity. The faith (with which his humanity had been equipped from its creation in Mary’s womb) by which he submitted to that which Positioner would do to him on the stake (‘cross’) was the gift, in bounteous magnanimity (‘grace’), of Positioner to him. It proceeded from his human spirit which pertained to his humanity from its inception.
    He being the Abraham, probity (‘righteousness’) of Positioner (‘God’) was ascribed to his faith specifically when he was in uncircumcision (‘foreskin’), namely, in those three hours of darkness when he was made Adamic-breath/shortcoming (‘sin’) by Positioner (‘God’), for Positioner’s chosen. His human faith per se, the faith of Positioner’s chosen, is probity (righteousness) of Positioner because it is in total agreement with the mind of Positioner, nonetheless it was specifically ascribed such, namely probity of Positioner, by Positioner throughout those three hours of darkness.
    All the regenerate have the mind of Anointed which, being of faith, was always fixed solely on that three hour sacrifice and fully convinced that Positioner would give his approbation to it by raising him, Jesus Anointed, from the dead, his having been spiritually circumcised upon the stake; the Adamic-breath/shortcoming (‘sin’) having been removed, in the three hours of darkness, from him, and from every son, for ever.”
    Here one already sees a grave error: Christ’s humanity was made sin ontologically, and elect’s humanity became righteous ontologically, by an ontological union of the two.
    (I had to double-check this one because Matias was a staunch defender of the intrinsic impeccability of Christ’s human nature. But perhaps he defended that precisely in order to teach this “ontologically made sin”, as the work of Christ. )
    But there is another related, subtler, yet equally grave error: Christ was a recipient of God’s grace. This explains his insistence that Christ’s faith – his “right-mindedness” – is the righteousness, in contrast to any “righteousness of Law”, which he abominates as “works-mongering”. He is misapplying the Pauline category of “grace/faith vs law/works” to Christ himself in his work of redemption!
    This view has far-reaching consequences. It overthrows Law as the standard of true righteousness, because now even the very mention of a righteousness of Law is disdained as “works-mongering”.

    Moreover, this view insists upon th righteousness of “faith” as the true righteousness in God’s sight, so effectively it only casts down the Law as inferior, “legalistic” in order to erect a new, more “spiritual” law. Thus, the Pauline category of “grace/faith vs law/works”, is short-changed into a dichotomy of “being (character) vs doing (works)”.
    Yet this is not the end. By viewing Christ as a recipient of God’s grace, and by focusing on the character righteousness of Christ’s human faith, the way is opened for a view of purely human Christ. In 2016, this is what Matias had to say about the deity of Christ:
    “It just so happened there was no sinless man on earth for God to use as reconciler, so he had to furnish one, by sending the divine Word to assume manhood, impeccable, sinless.”
    Did you see? For him at that time, the divine identity of Christ was purely accidental, not actually contributing to the work of redemption, because it was all about the “right-mindedness” of Christ’s humanity.
    In fact, he was quite consistent – his Christology was already equally faulty at this point in time. He had already rejected the Eternal Sonship of Christ, in favor of Incarnational Sonship of Christ. For him at that time, the Mediator and Son of God is the man/humanity rather than Word/God. This, of course, is kenoticism and Nestorianism!

    Actually, I wonder if he ever accepted orthodox Christology, since he did not seem to have a concept of Person-Nature distinction. He kept pointing out that Christ’s death occurred in human nature, as if the divine nature and human nature are two persons, Word and man, rather than in one eternal self-same person, so that the man IS the Word. This, again, has very much to do with his rejection of Eternal Sonship, which is the link between the pre-incarnate Word and the man Christ Jesus.
    At the same, his faulty soteriology causes him to see no need for a sin-bearer who is more than a creature. If the Law – the one that obligates all creatures perpetual obedience to the Creator and eternal damnation at a single breach – is not the standard of true righteousness, but true righteousness is more “spiritual”, a matter of “grace/faith”, then God would not require or even want a “total satisfaction of Law and justice” that no creature is capable of, but would be pleased  instead with faith from a sinless, impeccable creature.

    At last, he arrived at the “logical conclusion”: the full denial of th
    e deity of Christ. In a post from this year, he explains in what sense Jesus is a “god”:
    “So, Jesus the Messiah/Anointed is a man/human being, not “God” as this capital G term is defined in dictionaries etc. But as the male human being (Acts 17:31 that he is he is a THEOS, a strong/mighty leader (think of a “ruler”, “potentate”), in his own right, and by the very same token he is an elohym, even more so than Moses ever was an elohym to pharaoh. The Messiah is THEOS and ELOHYM in virtue of his mediatorial accomplishment, having been highly esteemed, honoured, and exalted by Yhuh/Yhwh, his heavenly Father, the Creator, “the only true Elohym/Theos”. Hence, the Messiah is a human theos/elohym — strong-leader — as the mediatorial master/lord and Messiah-king of his people. ”
    1 John 2:23 Everyone denying the Son does not have the Father. The one confessing the Son also has the Father.

    • markmcculley Says:

      When the false gospel says that Christ’s death has “sufficiency” to make an offer to every sinner, at the same time that false gospel is teaching that Christ’s death is not sufficient to cause any sinner to become justified bfore God. The false gospel denies that Christ’s death purchased regeneration or faith because the false gospel thinks that would make regeneration and faith something not grace but something God owed to Christ because of Christ having purchased regeneration and faith. Like the Socinians, the false gospel says that grace must not be bought by Christ’s death or it is no longer grace.
      And so the false gospel says–trust God, not God’s justice. Trust Christ in His present resurrection status, not Christ for what His death did by way of propitiation and purchase.
      The false gospel teaches that only Christ’s status as justified and resurrected are imputed to elect sinners.. The false gospel denies that died by objective justice for specific sins and that this death is imputed to elect sinners.
      The false gospel teaches that Christ represented every sinner. So does the false gospel teach that Christ at some point stopped representing some sinners? Or does the false gospel teach that Christ represented every sinner, right up until the time most of them perish?
      It’s a requirement of God’s justice that everyone for whom Christ will become justified. This is God’s debt to God. This is God’s obligation to God to be the God who is just.

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