But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—witnessed by the law

I deny that Adam was “under a covenant of works”. I don’t even say that Christ was “under a covenant of works”? For many Reformed Baptists, my denials are equivalent to saying that justified sinners are to be saved by their own works. At the least, they think denial of “the covenant of works” amounts to saying that God saves sinners without satisfying God’s law.

But here’s the problem with that “either/or” approach to those who deny “the covenant of works”. I do agree that Adam was under law. But I do not think Adam “could have earned life” from the law. I do think that Adam did earn death for all sinners. And I do think that Christ did earn life for all elect sinners. Many who teach “the covenant of works” argue that I can’t say that Christ earned life unless I agree that Adam “could have” earned life.

But here’s the thing I say that people on both sides of the “could Adam merit” question won’t say. I say that Christ earned life for the elect by Christ’s death. On one side, many like Norman Shepherd and John Murray deny that Adam could merit from the law, because they say Adam was under grace even before Adam’s sin. On the other side, many like Meredith Kline and Mark Karlberg deny that Christ could merit life from His death, because they insist that Christ only merited life “by keeping the law”

I do think that Christ kept the Mosaic law. As the person who is now both God and human, Christ keeping the Mosaic law was not optional for Christ. I am not saying that keeping the Mosaic law “qualified” Christ to save. But I am saying that Christ’s death (as the one who has now become also human) is what satisfied God’s law and earned all the blessings of salvation for all those in the new covenant (all those ever in the new covenant are elect).

I am not saying that Christ’s death satisfied “the covenant of works”. I am saying that Christ’s death satisfied God’s law. I don’t equate God’s law with “the covenant of works”. As a matter of fact, those who affirm “the covenant of works” also are not saying that Christ’s death satisfied “the covenant of works”. What they end up saying is that Christ keeping the Mosaic law is what satisfied “the covenant of works”. They say it was not Christ’s death but His acts of obedience (like circumcision) which satisfied “the covenant of works”. Throw in Christ’s water baptism and some other things Christ did (not commanded perhaps in the Mosaic law) and they think that’s the part that gets us to where we are saved not by our law-keeping but by Christ’s law-keeping. In any case, they keep telling us that Christ’s death was not enough to satisfy the “covenant of works” without Christ’s going back to do what Adam should have done. (Strange to say, what Adam should have done sounds like “Adam should have kept the Mosaic law”. But in this process, “the law” gets divided up into “substance and administration accident”, or into “moral vs ceremonial”)

if all this sounds way too complicated for you, ask yourselves what you think the “righteousness” is that God justifies to the elect. Is that righteousness Christ’s death or is that righteousness Christ’s law-keeping? If you don’t want to bother to answer that question, why go on so long about Christ’s righteousness imputed being the gospel?

Romans 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed

Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Romans 3:31 is often used to support “use of the moral substance of the Mosaic law” as the standard of conduct for justified Christians. But in context, Romans 3:21-31 is the clearest foundation possible for the doctrine of a definite (not only sovereign but also just) atonement, because Romans 3:31 teaches that Christ’s death was a law-work, a satisfaction of law for the sins of the elect. Christ’s death was a penal substitution, a propitiation. Propitiation means that the law must be faced. Paul’s gospel does not substitute one kind of righteousness for another kind of righteousness. The gospel is not about an “end-run” around the law. The righteousness of the gospel comes by Christ taking the law head-on, satisfying its curse by His death. But folks on both side of “the covenant of works” question don’t think Christ’s death is enough, and mostly on both sides they don’t talk about Christ having only died for the sins of the elect.

Romans 3: 21 But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—witnessed by the law

Paul cannot let the fact that the gospel is “apart from the law” as regards sinners and the law obscure the equally important truth that Christ’s death is a righteousness that satisfies law. Many Calvinists only talk about election and regeneration and not about Christ’s death as specific only for the elect. And even when most Calvinist talk about the extent of Christ’s death (for whom?), these Calvinists still explain Christ’s death only in terms of God’s sovereignty and NOT in terms of God’s justice. But the nature of Christ’s death under law is such that all for whom Christ DIED must in time be placed under grace and not under law. It would be UNJUST if any for whom Christ be in the end left under condemnation. But most Calvinists either deny or never teach that God imputed the specific sins of the elect to Christ.

I agree with John Owen—“No blessing can be given us for Christ’s sake, unless, in order of nature, Christ be first reckoned unto us… God’s reckoning Christ, in our present sense, is the imputing of Christ unto ungodly, unbelieving sinners for whom he died, so far as to account him theirs, and to bestow faith and grace upon them for his sake. This, then, I say, at the accomplishment of the appointed time, the Lord reckons, and accounts, and makes out his Son Christ, to such and such sinners, and for his sake gives them faith.”. 10:26

Galatians 3: 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— (Deuteronomy 21:23)

Christ is not only God but also human (and Jewish) The Sins of the elect were counted to Christ, then Christ paid the debt owed to the justice of God’s law, and Christ even paid to purchase faith and all other blessings for these elect

I hate to be put on either side of “the covenant of works” debate. Most of those now denying “the covenant of works” are saying that Christ was under grace so they can confuse law and grace for Christians. John Murray and Norman Shepherd have been followed up by Banner of Truth puritans like Mark Jones who tell us we need to pick a side—agree to the covenant of works, or say Christ was under grace. And then Jones (with others) says that Christ being under grace means being under both law and grace because law and grace are not opposites. And then Jones (with others) says that Christ being under both law and grace means that we also are under law and grace.



Jones, p 21— “If Christ is our mediator, our union with him means not only that we must be holy (i.e., necessity), but also that we will be able to be like him (i.e., motive)… “Whatever grace we receive for our holiness first belonged to the Savior (John 1:16). There was a perfect synergy involved in Jesus’ human obedience and the Holy Spirit’s influence…Following this pattern, although man is completely passive at the moment of regeneration, he cooperates with God in sanctification.”

Mark Jones–Man exercises faith in order to receive the saving benefits of Christ’s works of impetration… Good works a necessary part of our perseverance in the faith in order to receive eternal life. Good works are consequent conditions of having been saved.

Nathan J. Langerak –What Mark Jones means by “consequent conditions” is that they are new conditions of salvation imposed on the saved person because the person is now saved. No benefits applied before faith is exercised? Is not faith itself applied before it is exercised? What about regeneration?”


Mark Jones– Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2). Does this mean “favor” as many English translations suggest? Or should we translate the Greek as “grace”? God may be “gracious” to Jesus – not as though Jesus sinned – because God is gracious to his creatures. How much more to his beloved Son? God showed favor to his favorite Christ’s human nature was sanctified and filled with graces (Gal. 5:22).


Bavinck: “If humans in general cannot have communion with God except by the Holy Spirit, then this applies even more powerfully to Christ’s human nature” (RD, 3:292).

Mark Jones explains that people like me (who deny Christ’s law-keeping imputed) are like

“Gataker and Vines, who used Anselm’s argument to reject the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Christ’s death was supererogatory and therefore his death merited eternal life. They argued Anselm’s point that Christ’s obedience is required, but his death is not required. But Goodwin argued that the Assembly must grant the assumption of the Anselmians that Christ, in his humanity, was obliged to fulfill the law. However, for Goodwin, Christ, as the God-man, had a unique dignity and so was not obliged to keep the law in the same way a creature is, especially since his law-keeping was voluntary.

Mark Jones—Daniel Featley also held that Christ’s hypostatical union meant that he was freed from the obligation of the law. True, Christ had a human nature, but he was not a human person. The dignity of the person, which in the case of Christ is infinite, alters his relationship to the law. As a result, Goodwin and Featley argued that since Christ was not obliged to obey the law but did so anyway, he must have been doing so on behalf of his people. Goodwin’s position was that Christ’s obedience to the law was not an ontological necessity but rather a functional necessity by virtue of Christ’s pretemporal agreement with the Father to fulfill the law on behalf of sinners. [“a non-indebted work”] Adam did not come freely, hence his obedience was “indebted,” unlike Christ’s, which was not indebted. Therefore the parallel breaks down at that point concerning merit between the two Adams.

Mark Jones–Merit must be something that is not owed: Christ freely came to obey in our place, hence it was not owed. Adam did not freely make the decision to place himself under the law of the covenant of works. Adam was upheld by the Spirit in the Garden, but it was not his Spirit. Merit should proceed from the powers of the one who deserves it: Christ relied upon his Father’s grace – the grace of the Holy Spirit – but, ontologically speaking, the will and essence of God are one, and therefore Christ’s merit proceeded “from the powers of the one who deserves it.” The rewards given to Christ for his meritorious obedience were of use to him because of the glory that would come to his name. God is jealous for his glory, so when Christ merited glory there was no threat of God sharing his glory. Finally, the rewards given to Christ are proportionate to the work he performed. Adam’s reward would have been far greater, assuming we say that Adam would have been granted heavenly life, than what he “worked for”.

Mark Jones—Adam’s obedience WAS MADE POSSIBLE not because he obeyed simply in his own strength, but also because Adam had assisting grace from God. William Ames argues that Adam persisted in the garden by grace and that “grace was not taken from him before he had sinned.” The acts were Adam’s, but that does not mean that he did not receive power from God

Mark McCulley asks—So Adam did not sin because God took away grace, because God took away grace because Adam sinned? This sounds like Arminius and Amyraut, like Wesley and Andrew Fuller.

Amyraut—“Sin seems to have changed not only the whole face of the universe, but even the entire design of the first creation, and if one may speak this way, seems to have induced to adopt new councels”

Mark Jones– Some Puritans were not altogether keen on the use of “works” and “grace” as the principal designations of these two covenants for the simple reason that “there was very much of Grace and Favor in both.” Personally, I don’t have a problem with the two-covenant schema described as a covenant of works and a covenant of grace, but we shouldn’t assume that the covenant of works was devoid of grace. Patrick Gillespie –Even though in the covenant of works the condition was obedience and the reward resulted from works, even that Covenant was a Covenant of Grace. God freely endued man with all the habits of Grace in perfection”
Mark Jones– What does Bryan Estelle mean by meritorious grounds”and how can fallen sinners merit anything, even corporately in relation to temporal blessings? Those who want to affirm “ex pacto merit” should, if they wish to maintain agreement with the Reformed orthodox of the seventeenth century, also be comfortable with (and perhaps insist upon) pre-Fall grace.

Mark Jones– “The definition of grace as God’s favor in the place of demerit is, I believe, wrong-headed because Christ received God’s grace. Christ was also endowed with the habits of grace in order to keep the terms of the covenant. In order to keep the Adam-Christ parallels, we must not abandon the concept of GRACE GIVEN THEM BOTH but actually affirm it. It has been a peculiar oddity that some assume that the parallels between the two Adams means that Adam could not have received the grace of God because Christ did not. But this view is based on the fatal assumption that God was not gracious to Christ in any sense.”

Mark McCulley—Mark Jones is saying that Christ was under grace, therefore it was not strict justice that satisfied God’s law by Christ’s death. Mark Jones is also saying that Adam was under grace, therefore grace failed Adam. I don’t know which one of these two statements is worse!

The gospel is not about an “end-run” around the law. The righteousness of the gospel comes by Christ taking the law head-on, satisfying its curse by His death. But folks on both sides of “the covenant of works” debate don’t think Christ’s death is enough, and mostly on both sides they don’t talk about Christ having only died for the sins of the elect.

Romans 3: 21 But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—witnessed by the law

Paul cannot let the fact that the gospel is “apart from the law” cancel out the equally important truth that Christ’s death is a righteousness that satisfies law. Romans 3:31 We uphold the law. Many Calvinists only talk about election and regeneration and not about Christ’s death as specific only for the elect. Most Calvinist talk who ever dare talk about the extent for whom Christ died still explain Christ’s death only in terms of God’s sovereignty and NOT in terms of God’s justice. But the nature of Christ’s death under law is such that all for whom Christ DIED must in time be placed under grace and not under law. it would be UNJUST if any for whom Christ be in the end left under condemnation. But most Calvinists either deny or never teach that God imputed the specific sins of the elect to Christ.

Romans 6:7 a person who has died is justified from sin… we died with Christ… we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. 11 So you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.


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12 Comments on “But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—witnessed by the law”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Amyraut—“Sin seems to have changed not only the whole face of the universe, but even the entire design of the first creation, and if one may speak this way, seems to have induced to adopt new councels”


    So many folks think grace is required first before God can command anything.

    William Lane Craig, In Pinnock, the Grace of god and the Will of Man, p 157—-“God desires and has given sufficient grace for all people to be saved. If some believe and others do not, it is not because some received prevenient grace and some did not.”

    Wesley, Working Out Our Own Salvation—“Allowing that all persons are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing that there is no man in a state of nature only. There is no man, unless he has quenched the Holy Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace he has.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Lee Irons both show how Kline rejected the equation of “covenant” with “grace”

    Lee Irons— “Kline clearly rejects the voluntarist position that all merit is based upon God’s free and gracious condescension to make himself a debtor to man’s finite works. The voluntarist definition of merit presupposes that “a distinction is to be made between the inherent value of a moral act and its ascribed value under the terms of the covenant.” The covenant becomes a way, therefore, of CIRCUMVENTING STRICT JUSTICE, making possible the arbitrary acceptance as meritorious of that which is not actually meritorious.”

    Irons—“The voluntarist seizes on the notion of a voluntary condescension expressed by way of covenant. Precisely because of this tacit capitulation to the intellectualist definition of merit as true merit, the voluntarist definition of merit, by contrast, must be qualified as a lesser merit that cannot even exist apart from God’s gracious acceptation. Declaring a pox on both houses, Kline teaches that “God’s justice must be defined and judged in terms of what he stipulates in his covenants.” The covenant is the revelation of God’s JUSTICE. ”

    Irons—Kline’s insight is not altogether new. For although the Westminster Confession’s opening statement on the covenant employs the language of the via moderna, we believe
    that the Confession’s overall system of doctrine supports the covenantal nature of creation.
    The Confession speaks of “the holy nature and will of God,” as a covenant (WCF XIX.1-3; WLC # 93, 95). Furthermore, the Confession, when dealing with the imago Dei, states that Adam and Eve had “the law of God written in their hearts” (WCF IV.2), thus strongly suggesting that man was constituted n a covenantal relationship with God as he was created….the covenant of works cannot be viewed as a superadded, voluntary condescension in addition to creation, but must be inherent in the very fact that man was made in the divine image. When WCF VII.1 is read in this broader context, it begins to appear more and more like a vestigial organ whose surgical removal would not jeopardize the continued vitality of the larger organism….”


    Mark Karlberg—-According to the view of Gaffin and Strimple (summarized in their endorsement of Merit and Moses), there is no works-principle functioning in the covenant God made with Israel through Moses. This means that the sole principle governing the old covenant is the principle of (saving) grace, identical to what is the case in the new covenant. What the Murray school of interpretation must conclude, to be theologically consistent is to say that believers under the new covenant are likewise subject to both the blessings and the curses of redemptive covenant in accordance with (non-meritorious) good works…..

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Luke 9: 30 Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.

    John 3: 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up

    John 12: 32 As for Me, if I am LIFTED UP from the earth I will draw all people to Myself.” 33 He said this to signify what kind of death He was about to die

  4. markmcculley Says:

    did God save the Gentiles by breaking the law or by ending the law

    did Christ save anybody without satisfying the law?

    people who won’t be content with Christ’s death being Christ’s righteousness

    are not only agreeing with us all that Christ did no sin

    People who won’t be content with Christ’s death being Christ’s righteousness
    are saying that what Christ was commanded to do was not different from what Adam was commanded to do

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Those who teach Christ’s law-keeping as the righteousness revealed in the gospel remind us that the Bible does not say “die to live” . Even when Jesus says lose your life in order to save your life, they
    explain, Jesus is not saying die to live. Rather, it’s do and live.
    And the death of Jesus is not his doing, they claim.

    Galatians 3:10 it is s clear that no one is justified before God by
    the law, because the righteous will live by faith. 12 But the law is
    not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live
    by them. 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by
    becoming a curse for us

    Thus we understand that it is clear that no one is justified by
    becoming cursed or by having a Surety cursed. The righteous live by
    faith in Christ’s doing the law. Christ did not only have faith for
    us. Faith does not satisfy the covenant of works. Christ did not
    only repent for us. Repentance does not satisfy the law for us.
    Christ did not only die for us. Death does not satisfy the covenant of
    works. The ones who do these things will live. Therefore, Christ did
    these things so that we could have faith not in our doing the things
    but in Christ doing the things.

    Or so we are told.
    Galatians 3:21: For if a law had been given that was able to give
    life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law

    Thus we understand that a law has been given, which if obeyed by
    Christ, gives life to Christ’s elect. The righteous have no hope for
    life in Christ’s death (but only the remission of sins) . The righteous have hope for life in Christ obeying the law, and that law gives life.

    Or so we are told
    Romans 7: 10 The commandment that was meant for life resulted in death for me.

    Thus we understand that the commandment was not meant to point to or to demand Christ’s death, because life is not a result of death
    because.law is meant to by obeyed and life is meant to be given
    because law is obeyed. Which is why we have no hope for life except Christ’s keeping law be imputed to us.

    Or so we are told
    Romans 3:27 Boasting is not excluded by a law of works but only by a law of faith.

    Thus we understand that the law of faith is faith boasting in Christ’s
    keeping the law of works, because boasting in Christ’s death as curse would not honor the life we obtain by Christ keeping the law.

    Or so we are told
    Romans 3: 28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart
    from the works of the law.

    Thus we understand that a man is only justified by faith in Christ
    doing the works of the l;aw.

    Or so we are told
    Romans 3: 31 Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely
    not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

    Thus we understand that the law can never be upheld only by demanding death or by not giving life. Rather, we understand that the law can only be upheld if our faith is not in our faith or doing but also only if our faith is in Christ’s doing the law and not in Christ’s death. (alert)

  6. mark Says:

    Reformed people think that the cross without “active obedience imputed” is doing an end-run around the law
    Reformed person—Many people tend to think that when the Father sent the Son to die on the cross to forgive sins, he was in some sense “breaking the law.” Like, because of Jesus, God is letting our law-breaking somehow slide. The god preached in this kind of scenario can only forgive sins by in some way compromising his holiness. In other words, he sort of tips the scales towards his mercy and away from his righteousness. A lot of Christians tend to think of God’s work like that — bending the rules. He sacrifices one part of his self (holiness) in order that we might take advantage of another (love).
    Reformed person—God has declared that he will by no means clear the guilty So God instead makes guilty people righteous! But to do this in a way that is just, God must make a righteous person guilty. And he accomplishes this, the Bible reveals, by punishing our sin by punishing his son Jesus. In this way, all sin is accounted for. Whether by the wrath of hell or by the wrath of the cross, every single sin is accounted for. When you do a bit of “reverse engineering” on the atonement, you can see that it wouldn’t be very loving at all for God to have broken his own laws to save us. An atonement made by a law not perfectly satisfied is no atonement at all. If God broke his law to save me, I am not saved.
    Mark—sounds good, correct? It is good. But because the person is confessional Reformed, he can’t stop there, but goes on to add vicarious law-keeping into the mix. Sure, all wrath for the sins of the elect have been taken care of by Christ’s death. But then however, there are still the sins of omission, the sin of not doing what Adam was supposed to do to earn his own immortality. Despite all the talk of the cross, that additional merit is not added to the equation by the Reformed formula. Because, at the end of the day, the law given to Adam did not demand anybody’s death, and even if you die, or if somebody dies for you, the law still expects you to produce.
    Reformed person—The Christian God is both just and justifier, not only forgiving sinners but also by making them righteous not by their obedience (because they could never obey well enough) but by Christ’s obedience, which is perfect and thus perfectly fulfills the perfectly holy law of God. Christ’s perfect obedience to the law of God is considered as my own perfect obedience to the law of God.

    mark mcculley—So much for Christ and Him crucified. Nothing but the blood for them means no hope

  7. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Is the end of the law by Christ’s sacrificial death or is the end of
    the law by God’s sovereign will?

    God’s sovereign will was to satisfy the law by Christ’s death.

    God forgiving the sins of God’s elect was not by means of “above the
    law” (illegal) sovereignty..

    God’s not imputing the sins of the elect to the elect is by means of
    God’s imputiing those sins to Christ so that Christ became
    permanently also human and died for those sins.

    Why did Abraham keep offering animal sacrifices? Because those
    sacrifices did not work? No. Those animal sacrifices were never
    supposed to bring in the righteousness. But those anmial sacrifices
    kept working to remind sinners of the need for that righteousness to
    be brought in (by the death of Christ in the

    The “first” (the animal sacrifices” cannot be taken away until the
    “second is established”

    The “second” is not Christ’s keepimg the laws given to Abraham and
    Moses. “The second” which is “established” is by Christ’s death in
    the flesh. The other sacrifices are taken away in order to establish
    Christ’s death as the one and only necessary (and sufficient for the
    elect) sacrifice.

    Hebrews 10: The animal sacrifixces of the Abrahamic covenant ——
    can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they
    continually offer
    year after year. 2 Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being
    offered, since the worshipers, once purified, would no longer have any
    consciousness of sins? 3 But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of
    sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and
    goats to take away sins.
    5 Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said:
    You did not want sacrifice and offering,
    but You prepared a body for Me.
    6 You did not delight
    in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings.
    7 Then I said, “See—
    it is written about Me
    in the volume of the scroll—
    I have come to do Your will, God!”

    8 After He says the above, You did not want or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings (which are offered according to the law), 9 He then says, See, I have come to do Your will. He takes away the first to establish the second.

    Now that there is only sacrifice that works. Christ’s death does not
    work for everyone. Nobody makes Christ’s sacrifice work for them.

    Every sinner needs Christ’s sacrifice, but Christ did not die foir many sinners

    Hebrews 10:20 He has opened for us a new and living way through the curtain (that is, His flesh

    Hebrews 10 26 For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries

    I John 4:2 Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in
    the flesh is from God.

    2 John 1:7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not
    confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh

    John 1:14 The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw His glory, the glory as the Only Begotten Son from the Father,

    Romans 8:3 God condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son IN FLESH like ours under the guilt of sins imputed

    Romans 1:3 God’s good news concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh 4 and who has been declared to be the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead

    1 Timothy 3:16 The mystery of godliness is great: God was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory

  8. David Bishop Says:

    Your article is very helpful in explaining how we uphold the law.

    I am stuck on Romans 4:25 though. He was raised for our justification. I take Romans 1:4 to be telling us that His law obedience was at least included in the grounds for His resurrection. If so, how do you resolve Rom 4:25? I mean to say, if His law obedience was included in the grounds for His resurrection, and He was raised for our justification, then how could His law obedience not be included in the righteousness?

    • markmcculley Says:

      parallel–died because of our sins imputed—-this is the most important description of the nature of the atonement, not its limited extent (while saying sufficient also in some way). Christ’s death is because of guilt imputed. Christ’s resurrection is because the death in itself is enough righteousness to justify those who were already justified (Abraham) and all those who will be justified. So the resurrection is the necessary result of reconciliation obtained, even if that reconciliation has not yet been received by imputation by all the elect. This is not to deny that all Christ did was vicarious, nor does it deny Christ’s present intercession for those who are justified. But all these things are not the righteousness obtained and imputed.

      the righteousness is His death —Romans 5: 18 So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for all the elect, so also through ONE RIGHTEOUS ACT there is life-giving justification for all the elect . Romans 3: 25 God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His BLOOD, to demonstrate His RIGHTEOUSNESS. If you look back in Romans 4. Abraham’s faith was not in Christ’s law-keeping—-he believed in God, who gives life to the dead

      • David Bishop Says:

        Hebrews 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to SAVE HIM FROM DEATH, and he was heard BECAUSE OF his reverence.

        Gill wrote:
        “Because the reward of life is promised not to suffering, but to doing; the law says, Do this and live; it promises life not to him that suffers the penalty, but to him that obeys the precept. ‘There never was a law’, as an excellent divine observes, ‘even among men, either promising or declaring a reward due to the criminal, because he had undergone the punishment of his crimes.’ Christ’s sufferings and death being satisfactory to the comminatory, or threatening part of the law, are imputed to us for justification, that so we may be freed and discharged from the curse, and hell, and wrath. But these, as they do not constitute us righteous, do not, properly speaking, entitle us to eternal life; but the active obedience, or righteousness of Christ, being imputed to us, is our justification of life, or what gives us the title to eternal life.”

        On the one hand Gill says yes, Christ’s death is imputed to us for justification, “so that we may be freed and discharged from the curse, and hell, and wrath”. But then on the other hand Gill says that this does not constitute righteousness. In other words, according to Gill, being freed and discharged from God’s wrath and the curse of the law does not give us the title to eternal life.

        How do you resolve Hebrews 5:7? It seems to be saying that it was Christ’s law obedience that saved Him from the grave, thus entitling Him to eternal life.

  9. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Gill is wrong. We should not interpret Hebrews 5 by Gill’s construct (or any of the rest of the Bible).

    “Being saved from death” is not “not dying because of law-obedience”. Jesus was not saved from death by not dying. Jesus was saved from death by resurrection. God raised Jesus from the dead. God heard the prayer of Jesus before death asking for resurrection from death.

    God does not need to satisfy justice in order for God to love His elect, but God’s character is such that God does not justify or forgive God’s condemned elect without satisfying justice.  Jesus Christ who is God served God by His death satisfying God’s justice.
    Jesus did not become a substitute for the elect by becoming corrupt.  The elect were born corrupt because they were born guilty. But Jesus did become a substitute for the elect by taking the guilt and punishment of their sins.

    God owes us nothing.
    God is not served by humans, humans are served by God—  Jesus is both human and God

    Mark 10:45–The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

    Acts 17: 22 Paul– “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is God served by human hands, as though God needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things

    Romans 11: 35 Who has ever first given to God and then has to be repaid?

    Isaiah 64: 4 God acts on behalf of those who wait for God

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