Adam was righteous and the justified elect are righteous, but there’s a Difference (not vicarious law-keeping but Christ’s death is the Difference)

Adam was righteous and the justified elect are righteous, but there’s a difference

The difference between Adam and us is not that we sin—both Adam and we sin

Neither Adam nor us is glorified yet

Before Adam ever sinned, Adam did not have Christ’s death as punishment for his future sins

Before we were imputed with Christ’s death, we did not have Christ’s death as punishment for our future sins

But after sinners are justified by Christ’s death, they have Christ’s death as the final and permanent punishment for all their sins

Before Adam sinned, Adam was already on probation under the law

After sinners are justified by Christ’s death, that death imputed means they are not still on probation

So we do NOT “have to” (no hope without it) say that it’s Christ’s obedience to his mother that is the righteousness by which we are justified?

The difference between Adam before justification and after justification is Christ’s death

Was it Christ’s obedience to his mother that is the righteousness imputed? No. Christ’s death is the difference.

If we are pardoned of the sin of not having done what is required to “fulfill all righteousness”, then no “sin of omission” can be counted against us

I don’t believe that Adam “could have earned immortality” for himself or for others

I disagree with John Owen-“We deny that the death of Christ is imputed unto us for our righteousness. By the imputation of the death of Christ our sins are pardoned and we are delivered from the curse of the law, but we are not esteemed righteous except by the fulfilling of the commands of law or the obedience to the law.”

John Owen- (Volume 5 on Justification) – we being sinners, we were obnoxious both unto the command and curse of the law. Both must be answered, or we cannot be justified. And as the Lord Christ could not by his most perfect obedience satisfy the curse of the law, “Dying thou shalt die;” so by the utmost of his suffering he could not fulfill the command of the law, “Do this, and live.” Passion, as passion, is not obedience, — though there may be obedience in suffering, as there was in that of Christ unto the height. Wherefore, as we plead that the death of Christ is imputed unto us for our justification, so we deny that the death of Christ is imputed unto us for our righteousness. For by the imputation of the sufferings of Christ our sins are remitted or pardoned, and we are delivered from the curse of the law, which he underwent; but we are not thence esteemed just or righteous, which we cannot be without respect unto the fulfilling of the commands of the law, or the obedience by it required. The whole matter is excellently expressed by Grotius

John Owen is saying that Christ’s death is not Christ’s merit.
John Owen goes on to accuse all who see Christ’s death as the fulfillment of the law’s requirement of bringing in their own personal righteousness as that which entitles them to positive inheritance (not merely forgiveness of sins)

John Owen is saying that Christ’s death can only take away the old clothes and leave us naked (“neutral”)
John Owen is saying that Christ’s death cannot be our “new clothes”, our new “dress of righteousness”.

John Owen is teaching that only obedience to precepts can be the righteousness, and thus teaching that “Christ’s law-keeping” (not His death) is our imputed righteousness.

His philosophical argument is that Adam was not under both the obligation of punishment and the obligation to “do acts of law-keeping while on probation to obtain immortality (and release from probation)

But no matter how many times Owen repeat this theory (in different ways, with different words time and time again), he has not proven that Adam was promised freedom from law and probation, based on a limited time of doing.

It’s true that Adam was not under BOTH obligations, death as punishment and obeying God’s law to live.

But this means it’s true that Adam was never commanded to die
Christ came to die.
Christ came to do what Adam was never commanded to do.
Christ came to die.
Adam was not promised immortality,
Don’t sin, don’t die.
Don’t eat from the tree, don’t die.

And notice that the sin of Adam is not “failure to do what you need to do to gain immortality”
The sin of Adam is breaking the law.
The sin of Adam is not “sin of omission”.
Except in the sense of “omitting to not eat from the one tree.”

There is no reason to think Adam did not eat from the tree of life, but even if Adam omitted to do that.
Adam was not obligation to eat from the tree of life.

The “covenant of works” theory teaches a ”hypothetical gospel” in which Adam supposedly “could have” earned righteousness for others by keeping the law. One clear way to say that the law is not the gospel is to say that the it was not the gospel for Adam either. But the “covenant of works” is not inherent to the law/gospel antithesis

So if only the death of Jesus is the righteousness, what does it matter if Jesus obeyed his mother? My answer 1. if Jesus had sinned, then His death would have been for Himself not for others 2. It is good and right to do what God commands even if our obedience does not “bring in the righteousness” (or need to). Christ’s obeying his mother is the right human thing to do, not a “qualification to become the Surety”

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13 Comments on “Adam was righteous and the justified elect are righteous, but there’s a Difference (not vicarious law-keeping but Christ’s death is the Difference)”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    At least the “covenant of works” guys believe in the justice of God, and that’s just as necessary and important to the gospel as believing in God’s sovereignty.

    When I was lost, I believed in God’s sovereignty but I did not believe in the justice of the atonement, in the necessary right of the elect to be saved by Christ’s death intended for them. So I like the emphasis of the “covenant of works” folks on justice.

    Let me say it this way. The federal visionists (Norm Shepherd, James Jordan, Leithart) all oppose the “covenant of works” and also “active obedience”. Does this mean that I need to support the “covenant of works” because I oppose the federal visionists? No.

    The bigger problems (even with Westminter West) are ” common grace” and the “free offer”, because both ideas teach that God’s love is also for the non-elect

    The Protestant Reformed (Herman Hoeksema) deny the covenant of works, but they do make distinction between law and gospel. We don’t need a covenant of works in order to believe in the justice of God. It was Adam’s duty not to sin, so no profit in obedience, no supererogation in it, no extra in it, nothing to store up in it, so no matter how long Adam can keep from sinning, still today-one sin, then he dies. He can’t earn immortality not even in the long-term.

    Don’t think Piscator is guilty as is often assumed. I know that some of this debate is motivated by an agenda to identify the “moral law” with the Mosaic economy and the Ten Commandments. That in itself is no reason to reject the idea that the death forgives and that the vicarious lawkeeping does the positive, but it does always include the question. Which law did Christ keep? Sure, He was born under the Mosaic law? Does that mean that the promise of life is fulfilled in Christ’s keeping of the Mosaic legislation? Or must we say that Christ was on an unique mission from God, in a specific “covenant of redemption”, with duties only given to HIm and which could only be done by Him?

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/the-denial-of-the-active-obedience-of-christ-piscator-on-justification/

    Piscator says that Paul excludes all of our works from justification “whether they be done by the strength of free will or by grace.” Consequently, Piscator could readily agree with theWestminster Confession of Faith XI.1 that says that God does not justify sinners “for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness.”

    What, then, is the source of man’s righteousness? It is Christ’s satisfaction imputed to the believer. “God accepts Christ’s satisfaction for the elect…imputes the same unto them; and thereupon receives them into favor, and adopts them for sons and heirs of eternal life.” Many objected to Piscator’s view –they said that to have forgiveness of sins is not the same as being accounted righteous. They said that to have forgiveness only is to only be back where Adam began before sin.

    If Christ’s active obedience is not accounted as our righteousness, then how can Christ be our righteousness? Piscator responds that when sins are forgiven, someone is counted not only as not having done any sins but also as having done all things required. “Man’s justification consists in remission of all sins: and therefore not only of sins of committing,but also of sins of omitting.” Piscator would not agree that if only Christ’s passive obedience is imputed to us, then we ourselves must supply positive righteousness. Rather, once Christ’s satisfaction is imputed to us, we are in a state of having done everything required because our sins of omission are forgiven. Thus, for Piscator, the source of our righteousness in justification is only Christ’s satisfaction imputed to us.

    Piscator emphasizes that faith itself is excluded as a part of our righteousness before God. The consequence is that all of our works are excluded from our justification. While Christ’s satisfaction imputed to us is the sole source of our righteousness, we are by nature unrighteous. Further, even the righteous acts that we do after grace and faith are excluded from our justification, which, according to Piscator, continues to rest solely in the satisfaction of Christ imputed to us. He argues against Bellarmine that all of our works are excluded from our justification before God. He argues from the fact that Paul “speaks of works in general, whether they be done by the strength of free will or by grace,because Romans 4 speaks of Abraham’s works, those which he had done of grace and faith” Even those works that flow out of faith are clearly excluded from our justification. .”

    What are the results of this justification? For Piscator, we are not only forgiven of our sins, but we also have a right to eternal life, for when someone is justified, God “receives them into favor, and adopts them for sons and heirs of eternal life.” The reason why this can occur, according to Pisactor, is because God has said, “Do this, and you will live” (Lev. 18:5, Mt. 19:17, Gal. 3:12). “It comes about that he to whom God forgives sins, is so accounted as if he had not only committed nothing which God has forbidden in his law, but also omitted nothing of that which he has commanded: and therefore, as if he had perfectly fulfilled the law of God.”

    The comparison between Adam and Christ is that the guilt of Adam’s one act of disobedience is imputed to the elect and that the righteousness of Christ’s one act of obedience is imputed to the elect. Adam and Christ were NOT born under the same law. Christ was born under the Mosaic law, but Adam was not. Christ came to die to win immortality for the elect. Adam was threatened with death for disobedience, but was never promised immortality no matter what he would ever do

  2. Linus Daniel Says:

    “For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1Pe 2:21-24

  3. David Bishop Says:

    THE DEATH THAT IS OUR LIFE
    by Gary Shepard

    When we look at what happened when Adam disobeyed God’s command and at all that was required under the law of Moses, it is obvious that only one thing will satisfy in the matter of
    sin . . . death.

    “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:”
    (Heb 10:28)

    It is not the death of a sinner, but the death of a sinless victim in the place of the sinner that saves from sin. Otherwise the sinner must face endless, eternal death! Thus, the glad tidings of the gospel to sinners in need of mercy: It is Christ that died. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.

    “God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”

    Only our death in the Substitute can separate us from our sin, can satisfy God, and only our resurrection in Him can give us life. Blood is shed from the beginning of the Bible to the end, and it pictures the blood of the everlasting covenant which Christ shed for His people when He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. This is the preponderance of Holy Scripture and here are a few verses:

    Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

    Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

    Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

    Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

    Let men talk of a vicarious law-keeping by Christ if they will, but let me rest in the law-satisfying of Christ which He accomplished for His people in His death! Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, because His death is the righteousness of God.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2007/03/28/the-denial-of-the-active-obedience-of-christ-piscator-on-justification/

    Piscator says that Paul excludes all of our works from justification “whether they be done by the strength of free will or by grace.” Consequently, Piscator could readily agree with theWestminster Confession of Faith XI.1 that says that God does not justify sinners “for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness.”

    What, then, is the source of man’s righteousness? It is Christ’s satisfaction imputed to the believer. “God accepts Christ’s satisfaction for the elect…imputes the same unto them; and thereupon receives them into favor, and adopts them for sons and heirs of eternal life.” Many objected to Piscator’s view –they said that to have forgiveness of sins is not the same as being accounted righteous. They said that to have forgiveness only is to only be back where Adam began before sin.

    If Christ’s active obedience is not accounted as our righteousness, then how can Christ be our righteousness? Piscator responds that when sins are forgiven, someone is counted not only as not having done any sins but also as having done all things required. “Man’s justification consists in remission of all sins: and therefore not only of sins of committing,but also of sins of omitting.” Piscator would not agree that if only Christ’s passive obedience is imputed to us, then we ourselves must supply positive righteousness. Rather, once Christ’s satisfaction is imputed to us, we are in a state of having done everything required because our sins of omission are forgiven. Thus, for Piscator, the source of our righteousness in justification is only Christ’s satisfaction imputed to us.

    Piscator emphasizes that faith itself is excluded as a part of our righteousness before God. The consequence is that all of our works are excluded from our justification. While Christ’s satisfaction imputed to us is the sole source of our righteousness, we are by nature unrighteous. Further, even the righteous acts that we do after grace and faith are excluded from our justification, which, according to Piscator, continues to rest solely in the satisfaction of Christ imputed to us. He argues against Bellarmine that all of our works are excluded from our justification before God. He argues from the fact that Paul “speaks of works in general, whether they be done by the strength of free will or by grace,because Romans 4 speaks of Abraham’s works, those which he had done of grace and faith” Even those works that flow out of faith are clearly excluded from our justification. .”

    What are the results of this justification? For Piscator, we are not only forgiven of our sins, but we also have a right to eternal life, for when someone is justified, God “receives them into favor, and adopts them for sons and heirs of eternal life.” The reason why this can occur, according to Pisactor, is because God has said, “Do this, and you will live” (Lev. 18:5, Mt. 19:17, Gal. 3:12). “It comes about that he to whom God forgives sins, is so accounted as if he had not only committed nothing which God has forbidden in his law, but also omitted nothing of that which he has commanded: and therefore, as if he had perfectly fulfilled the law of God.”

    The comparison between Adam and Christ is that the guilt of Adam’s one act of disobedience is imputed to the elect and that the righteousness of Christ’s one act of obedience is imputed to the elect. Adam and Christ were NOT born under the same law. Christ was born under the Mosaic law, but Adam was not. Christ came to die to win immortality for the elect. Adam was threatened with death for disobedience, but was never promised immortality no matter what he would ever do

  5. markmcculley Says:

    There are different levels of righteousness
    Adam was righteous but could lose it, Adam had righteousness but with probation

    Those justified by Christ’s death have a righteousness which won’t be lost, and are not under law for condemnation of justification. Their probation is over, and they have title to lasting life

    1. Adam couldn’t get to the permanent righteousness level no matter how long continuing to not eat from the one tree
    2. Adam couldn’t get to the permanent righteousness level by Adam’s death
    3. Christ could and did obtain that second level righteousness (which eliminates any possibility of second death) by His death

    4. Though the first Adam could not obtain salvation by his death, the second Adam did by His death, and this not only because Christ is one person, both God and human, but because of his human sacrifice of Himself to death by Himself as human priest
    it’s very important that we agree with those who teach “covenant of works for Adam” that those justified in Christ have a better righteousness than Adam

    But there’s no reason to say that Christ got this righteousness by obeying Moses

    Where does the Bible say that Christ’s death only gets us to the righteousness Adam had when created

    Where does the Bible say that Christ’s death by itself cannot get us to the righteousness which brings faith in the gospel and all the other blessings of salvation inheritance

  6. markmcculley Says:

    The Lord Jesus was not saved from dying. The Lord Jesus died because of sins imputed.

    The Lord Jesus was saved through His death as satisfaction of the law.

    The elect are justified through His death when God imputes that death to them.

    The Lord Jesus was saved through death by His resurrection from the dead.

    Romans 4:25 died because of our sins, and raised because of our justification

    if all the elect were not going to be justified, then Christ would not have been raised

    but the verse does not prove that all the elect have been justified

    not all the elect were even born when Christ was raised

    and all the elect are born condemned in their sins, not yet justified

    notice the parallel—Christ died because of our sins, even though some of our sins are still future, we are still sinners

    future sins are imputed to Christ (by God the Trinity, which means by the Father, also by Himself to Himself)

    now, go back to the other side of the parallel, raised because of our justification

    future justifications (and past justifications (like those of David and Abraham) are the reason that Christ was raised

    the elect will be justified because of Christ’s death

    Christ’s resurrection already happened because of the justifications (future and past) of all the elect https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/the-priority-of-christs-death/

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Sproul—if you were only imputed with Christ’s death alone, you would be innocent, but not righteous

    Sproul–He obeys the Law perfectly, receives the blessing, and not the curse

    Jesus was not cursed for the elect?

    https://www.theaquilareport.com/jesus-and-his-active-obedience/

    Hebrews 5: 7 During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. 8 Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. 9 After He was perfected, He became the source of permanent salvation for all who obey Him

    Hebrews 10:10 By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all time

    By “double imputation” I do not mean that Christ’s death is not enough and that added to the death, we need to be imputed with his “vicarious law-keeping” .

    Sproul—Because now Jesus is not acting in His baptism for Himself, but for His people.

    mark—Sproul is assuming the water of John the Baptist. Sproul is not thinking about Christ’s death itself being called a “baptism”.

    Sproul–And if His people are required to keep the Ten Commandments, He keeps the Ten Commandments.

    mark—His people in the Mosaic economy were not only the elect but included the non-elect. His people in the new covenant are the elect alone, and nobody is now required to keep the Mosaic Ten commandments, even though Jesus Himself was required to keep (and did keep) the Ten Commandments.

    Sproul—If His people are now required to submit to this baptismal ritual, He submits to it in their behalf.

    mark: The Mosaic law did not command the water baptism done by John the Baptist, and not all of the elect were ever required to be water baptized by John the Baptist. There is a difference between commanding somebody to baptize with water, and commanding people to be water baptized. It’s important that Jesus became incarnate, that he was physically circumcised, that He had faith, and that He rose again. But that does not mean that all these acts that Jesus did vicariously are imputed to the elect.

    Sproul–Because the redemption that is brought by Christ is not restricted to His death on the cross. We’ve seen that in the work of redemption God didn’t send Jesus to earth on Good Friday and say, “Die for the sins of your people and that will take care of it.”

    mark: Sproul can’t be bothered to think that the gospel is about Jesus dying only for the sins of the elect imputed to Jesus. Because, whatever the people who buy his books and pay to attend his conferences think about election, Sproul does not think that the death of Jesus will take care of saving them. Sproul does not think the cross is enough without other things added to that.

    sproul No. Jesus not only had to die for our sins, but He had to live for our righteousness. If all Jesus did was die for your sins, that would remove all of your guilt, and that would leave you sinless in the sight of God, but not righteous.

    mark–Sproul is not dealing with Romans 6 or any other text which teaches being placed into Christ’s death. Sproul is saying instead that Christ’s death is not Christ’s righteousness. When Sproul teaches that Christ’s death is not what God uses to declare the elect righteous, then Sproul is also teaching that legal identification with Christ’s death alone would still leaves sinners “under the law”. Since the law identifies acts of omission as also sins, Sproul is teaching that Christ’s death is not even enough to leave anybody without sins imputed

    Sproul—You would be innocent, but not righteous because you haven’t done anything to obey the Law of God which is what righteousness requires.

    Mark–We have seen already that the law did not require the water baptism of John the Baptist. Nor did the law require death. But Sproul counts the water baptism of John as one among many thing Christ did which will count as our righteousness. And Sproul does NOT count Christ’s death as any part of our righteousness.

    Sproul—This doctrine is in great dispute right now particularly among dispensational thinkers, which I find extremely, extremely unsettling.

    Mark– Actually, this is not good reporting, because many Dispensationalists not only teach that we are under the Ten commandments but also teach vicarious law-keeping. Most of the current objections to “vicarious law-keeping” come from the “federal vision” and “new perspective” wings of Reformed paedobaptist theology. Believe me, it “unsettles” me to take the same side that NT Wright and Norman Shepherd take about the question of “vicarious law-keeping”, but I object to the logic of Sproul which carries us away from the meritorious finished death of Jesus, and which simply repeats the party-line without argument from Scriptures.

    Sproul–if you remember the covenant with Moses, everybody who fulfills the Law receives the blessing, those who disobey the Law receive the curse. What does Jesus do? He obeys the Law perfectly, receives the blessing, and not the curse. But there’s a double imputation that we will look at later at the cross, where my sin is transferred to His account, my sin is carried over and laid upon Him in the cross. But in our redemption, His righteousness is imputed to us—which righteousness He wouldn’t have if He didn’t live this life of perfect obedience

    Mark: It seems I can’t talk about ‘double imputation” because I will not be understood as saying anything about the elect being placed in the death of Christ. Nor will I be understood as teaching God’s imputation of Christ’s accomplished reconciliation (Romans 5;11, 17 receiving the reconciliation). Instead of talking about the death being imputed, Sproul assumes that the “righteousness” is not the death, and talks about this “righteousness” as being imputed. And he does not talk much at all about the fact that a. only the sins of the elect were already imputed to Christ or b. that the death of Christ was only for the sins of the elect. Instead the language of Sproul can even be used by those who think that “his people” are the ones who decided to join the elect, and who think that the “righteousness” is some infinite general fund of law-keeping

    https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/god-does-the-imputing-on-both-sides-of-double-imputation/

  8. markmcculley Says:

    Romans 6: 6 We died with Christ in order that sin’s dominion over us would be abolished…because a person who has died is justified from sin’s claims… 9 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 Christ died, Christ died to sin once for all time.

    Hebrews 7: 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he DID THIS ONCE FOR ALL WHEN HE OFFERED UP HIMSELF

    God has protected and will protect God’s elect from God. God’s wrath was appeased at only one time and at one place by the propitiation finished not in Christ’s life and suffering, but accomplished by Christ’s death

    Romans 5:9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath

    For many preachers, what appeases the wrath of God is not Christ’s death, but Christ’s suffering before His death, and they also teach that Christ creates this positive righteousness not by His death, but by His perfect keeping of the Ten Commandments.

    Everything Christ did was vicarious, for His elect people (not for all created humans). This is something different from saying that everything Christ did is imputed to the elect when they are justified. Christ’s resurrection is not imputed to the elect. Christ’s faith is not imputed to the elect.

    Not everything Adam did is imputed to us. That does not mean that Adam’s other sins don’t matter. But only Adam’s first sin is imputed to us. And Christ’s death is His accomplishment, His one act of obedience. To change the one act into many acts is to read Mosaic law-keeping into the gospel (and usually into Adam’s situation before sin). God made Him to be sin who knew no sin. To be made sin is to be under the law for the guilt of the elect. To become the righteousness of God in Christ is to be be protected and justified before God by God’s identification of the elect with Christ’s death for the sins of the elect.

    But many false gospels teach that Christ’s death was not the reason some have faith in the gospel.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    The righteousness revealed in the gospel is not our own justification but Christ’s death accomplished for the elect alone in satisfaction of God’s righteous character.

    Romans 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because the gospel is God’s power for salvation to as many as who believe the gospel 17 For in the gospel God’s righteousness is revealed

    Hebrews 11—assurance is not the cause of assurance of things not seen

    Hebrews 11–assurance is not the result of assurance of things not seen

    The things not see are true and will be true, even if we don’t believe them and have no assurance of them.

    Our believing the gospel is a result of Christ’s righteousness accomplished

    Our believing the gospel is not a result of our having already always been justified

  10. markmcculley Says:

    The object of faith is not “I was justified by God from eternity”

    The object of faith is not “I by experience really knew that I was a sinner and therefore knew that I was regenerate”

    The object of faith is the truth of the gospel revealed in the Bible

    “I was justified from eternity” is not a truth revealed

    “I was justified from eternity” is not the gospel

    Gill–“But righteousness must exist before it is received”

    1. Abraham received Christ’s righteousness before Christ obtained it by Christ’s death.

    2. Christ’s death did not always exist, because the purpose and the fulfillment are not the same

    3. Receiving the righteousness is NOT ‘receiving the truth that I was justified from eternity”

    4. It is not true that anybody was justified from eternity.

    5. Receiving the righteousness by faith is not the same as “receiving my justification” or that “I was already always justified”

    6. “The righteousness” (Christ’s death) is not the same as “my justification”

    I deny that anybody is justified who does not believe the gospel

    I deny that anybody is regenerated who does not yet believe the gospel

    No sinner has always been a child of God
    Sinners are not justified when they are elected by God.

    I Peter 1: According to His great mercy, the Father has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—will result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, YOU BELIEVE IN HIM and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving salvation, the goal of your faith 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that would come to you searched

    John 5: 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, as many as hearsmy word and believes him who sent me have the lasting life of the age to come. They do not come into judgment, but HAVE passed from death to life.

    Philippians 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith

    Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood THROUGH FAITH. This was a demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one WHO HAS FAITH IN JESUS

    Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

    I Thessalonians 1: 6 It is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you 7 and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t OBEY THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS

    I Thessalonians 2–unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. 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 truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, in order to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ

    some people (Philpot, Gadsby, Gill) claim experiences in which they found out they were never condemned and they got assurance of eternal justification—-something a lot more than head knowledge doctrine of gospel , they preach …. but Romans 6: 17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to

  11. markmcculley Says:

    If saying that Christ’s law keeping is imputed to us by God helps some to say that faith is not the righteousness imputed, that’s a good direction by means of a bad doctrine

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

    But most of the people (and confessions) who 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?

    The answer is NOT to deny that those imputed with righteousness “receive through faith “the righteousness.

    The debate about the active obedience being imputed can be a distraction from OTHER MORE IMPORTANT DOCTRINES

    1. It’s a distraction from Adam’s sin imputed to humans. Wright does not have any place in this theology for original sin as Adam’s original guilt. Who does? We should be talking about that more.

    2. It’s a distraction from the sins of the elect being imputed to Christ. This is the main thing. This is more important even that saying that Christ’s death is only for the elect or saying the Christ’s death is effective to save all for whom He died.

    I didn’t see this when I was lost. Of course it’s true that, if God only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ, then Christ only died for the elect (and that this death is effective). But we need to think not only about Christ’s successful death but also about God’s righteousness and the justice of Christ’s death.

    Focusing on “active obedience” can sometimes distract from this. Because lots of folks who get heated up about the new perspective never talk about Christ’s just death for the elect only.

    3. It’s a distraction from the truth that justification is not conditioned on faith as its instrumental cause. After all these folks like John Piper fight with Wright about faith not being the “active obedience”, then they turn around and say that God counts the faith (the apology) as the righteousness, and teach that the righteousness is “appropriated” by the condition of faith.

  12. markmcculley Says:

    The debate about the active obedience being imputed can be a distraction from OTHER MORE IMPORTANT DOCTRINES

    1. It’s a distraction from Adam’s sin imputed to humans. Wright does not have any place in this theology for original sin as Adam’s original guilt. Who does? We should be talking about that more.

    2. It’s a distraction from the sins of the elect being imputed to Christ. This is the main thing. This is more important even that saying that Christ’s death is only for the elect or saying the Christ’s death is effective to save all for whom He died.

  13. markmcculley Says:

    There is yet something more required; it is not enough that we are not guilty, we must also be actually righteous,—not only all sin is to be answered for, but all righteousness is to be fulfilled. By taking away the guilt of sin, we are as persons innocent; but something more is required to make us to be considered as persons obedient. I know nothing to teach me that an innocent person shall go to heaven, be rewarded, if he be no more but so. Adam was innocent at his first creation, but he was to ‘do this,’ to ‘to keep the commandments,’ before he entered into ‘life:’ he had no title to life by innocency. This, then, moreover, is required, that the whole law be fulfilled, and all the obedience performed that God requires at our hands. This is the soul;s second inquiry; and it finds a resolution only in the Lord Christ: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life,’ Rom v. 10. His death reconciled us; then we are saved by his life. The actual obedience which he yielded to the whole law of God, is that righteousness whereby we are saved; if so be we found in him, not having on our own righteousness which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God by faith. Phil. iii. 9. This I shall have occasion to hand more at large hereafter.

    JOHN OWEN, Works, 2.105.


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