Romans 1:17 God’s righteousness is not an offer, God’s gospel is power to salvation

Romans 1: The gospel is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes… For in the gospel God’s righteousness is revealed

Modern universalists dismiss any need for sinners to believe the gospel so they tell us that “the faith of Christ” is what Christ did before Christ died. These universalists teach us that Christ’s incarnation and resurrection and indwelling are the righteousness revealed and have nothing to do with any satisfaction of God’s law for selected elect sinners. These “grace, no law” antinomians sound much like Agricola.

But, on the other hand, most professing Calvinists respond to this law-less universalism by teaching that God’s righteousness is only an OFFER which depends on God giving us faith to “access it”. just like the Arminians, these professing Reformed don’t teach that only the sins of the elect were imputed by God to Christ. Instead, like the Arminians, they teach that Christ’s death doesn’t work for you unless you believe in it. These “faith is the condition of union and union is the condition of justification folks” tend to define faith after conversion in terms of fidelity and good but imperfect works

Even though these professing Calvinists agree that your believing in the gospel is the result of Christ’s death, they also explain Christ’s death as something which makes it possible for anybody to be saved. Like the Arminians, these professing Calvinists deny that faith is a work, but have no problem saying that the Holy Spirit gives faith in a false gospel teaching that Christ died for every sinner.

Don’t believe in anything that depends on your believing in it. If you believe the true gospel, your believing is only a result of Christ’s death for those God has elected in Christ. There is no “tension” or “dialectic” here between God’s sovereignty and your need and duty to believe the gospel. The gospel you need to believe does not assure you in particular that you will believe or that your sins were imputed to Christ. The gospel you need to believe instead assures you that each and every sinner God elected and for whom Christ died will believe the gospel which has election as good news. The power of the gospel teaches us to not leave election out of the gospel. We learn to repent of any thought of assurance in the gospel for those who deny or remain ignorant of God’s election of sinners in Christ. God only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ, and Christ only died for those sins.

You don’t necessarily need to hear law before you hear gospel. Your own natural idea of what sin is does not come close to being the reality of what it means to be a sinner. The gospel itself can and does teach sinners about the sin of self-righteousness. When we learn what it takes to satisfy God’s law, then we learn that our own attempts to satisfy the law with our faith or our works is nothing but self-righteousness. Our own attempts to thank God for enabling us to believe God in order to enable God to save us are then revealed as the very worst kind of rebellion against God.

Psalm 98: The Lord has made His victory known;
He has revealed His righteousness
in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered His love
and faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth
have seen our God’s victory.
4 Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.
5 Sing to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and melodious song.
6 With trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn
shout triumphantly
in the presence of the Lord, our King.
7 Let the sea and all that fills it,
the world and those who live in it, resound.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the mountains shout together for joy
9 before the Lord,
for He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world righteously
and the peoples fairly.

Psalm 143: Do not bring Your servant into judgment,
for no one ALIVE is RIGHTEOUS in Your sight.
4 My spirit is weak within me;
my heart is overcome with dismay…
I am like parched land before You.
my spirit fails.
Don’t hide Your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to DEATH
Because of Your name, Yahweh,
let me LIVE.
In Your RIGHTEOUSNESS deliver me from trouble

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5 Comments on “Romans 1:17 God’s righteousness is not an offer, God’s gospel is power to salvation”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Some claim to vote ” not as Christians but as humans”.

    Some need to explain the clay as not being in regard to the clay’s “default sinfulness” or the clay as “human creatures but not sinners”. But I don’t think that question is an infralapsarian or supralapsarian issue

    Sin or no sin, God makes two kinds of vessels, not just one while leaving the other.

    “The vessel of wrath” did not become so by reason of them being different from the vessels of mercy. Sin or no sin, they were no different except by God making them different.

    “Before they did good or evil” does not equal “before “God decreed that Adam would sin on their behalf”.

    Before they did good or evil, Adam sinned the sin that God imputed to them.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    II Thessalonians 2: 10 They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness. 13 But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through SANCTIFICATION BY THE SPIRIT AND THROUGH BELIEF IN THE THE TRUTH . 14 He CALLED you to this THROUGH OUR GOSPEL,

    “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures” — James 1:18.

    “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever” — 1 Peter 1:23.

    “The word of God, which effectually works in you that believe” — 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
    “The gospel of Christ — is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes” — Romans 1:16.

    “The word, or doctrine of the cross, is to us who are saved the power of God” — 1 Corinthians 1:18.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    George Ella–“Repentance must come first. When God grants repentance, then we may speak of faith in the gospel but not before.”

    John Gill—“The gospel is a pure declaration of grace. The gospel has no command but all promises. ”

    Gill then attempts to escape Acts 17:30 by making it common natural repentance but not gospel repentance. Ella and Gill are both wrong to deny that God commands everyone to believe the gospel.

    John Calvin—Those who think repentance precedes faith instead of flowing from faith as the fruit by the tree (repentance being produced by faith) have never understood the nature of faith.

    Luke 17: 10 “In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves. We have only done our duty.’”

  4. markmcculley Says:

    The gospel is information, but not only information, but also the power of God unto salvation.

    The law is instruction about right and wrong, but not only a neutral standard, but also the power of God unto accusation.

    In the death of Christ, we see that the law has the right to condemn sinners. The law was right to say that the sins of sinners deserve death.

    Romans 1: The gospel is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes… For in the gospel God’s righteousness is revealed

    Romans 3: 25 God presented Christ as a propitiation[… to demonstrate God’s righteousness in order that God would be both just and justifier of the sinner who has faith in Jesus.

    Romans 4: God declares the ungodly to be righteous

    Romans 5:6 Christ died for the ungodly.

    I Corinthians 1: 18 The word, or doctrine of the cross, is to us who are saved the power of God

  5. markmcculley Says:

    The “for you offer” is a legal fiction.

    Philip Cary—. Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without even the effort to obey a command to believe. For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe). It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me.

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