Archive for September 2018

God Did Something New, The Lamb was Slaughtered to Bring in the Righteousness (Something that is a Something)

September 3, 2018

question from a reader of this blog (ET) —“This preacher says that the righteousness is not referring to God’s essential attribute of righteousness, but is referring to the merits of Christ because Christ obeyed the law and also satisfied the penalty of breaking it. Is the righteousness of Christ one thing or two things or many things? Was Christ’s circumcision His righteousness? Was Christ’s water baptism His righteousness?”

Daniel 9: 24 Seventy weeks are decreed
about your people and your holy city—
to bring the rebellion to an end,
to put a stop to sin,
to wipe away iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,

Revelation 21: 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist;
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things have passed away.
5 Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.”

It was not Jesus Christ obeying laws given to Adam and Moses that will save elect sinners
It was Christ’s death that will save elect sinners

Christ’s death was not a revelation of something which always was
Christ’s death was something new in history

A different book was opened, which is the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered

Some of those who talk a lot about God’s sovereignty also talk quite a bit about God’s “timelessness”. To hear them proclaim, you would think that the elect were always saved, and never in Adam or needing to be justified. If their speculations about “timelessness” were correct, then the “righteousness” in their gospel would be something Christ always had, and that “righteousness” would not be something new that was “brought in” when Christ died once for all time.

Because if the gospel is about “timelessness” or even about “infinity”, then it makes no sense to talk about a one time sacrifice, in which Christ did not have the “righteousness” which saves the elect until Christ died to obtain that righteousness by propitiation by death. If there is only some “eternity”, then that timeless idea is either “past eternity” (protological eternity) or “future eternity” (eternity after time) . But in any case “eternity” has nothing to do with “News” or anything which ever happened in history.

And if the elect were always justified, and if God always had the righteousness, then the idea of “imputation” is nothing more than God pretending to do something. If there is no before or after, then the idea of some kind of “righteousness” which can be transferred to persons is really a something which is not a something (not a liquid gas or solid, not an objective thing at all).

And if the something is not a something, then why bother to ask if this “something” is legally shared in time or legally shared timelessly(always transferred, always justified, always shared with the Surety.)? If there is no objective “righteousness” gained by Christ’s death, in the sense that it wasn’t there before and now it is there, what’s the point of talking about when God “imputes” that righteousness?

In that case, you would never need to make any distinction between “the righteousness” and “justification” (as in, God justifies based on the righteousness) and instead simply confuse the two words. You could simply say that “justification is righteousness” and “righteousness is justification”, because in reality “the righteousness” is not something new in history. Indeed, because by implication the preacher is telling the gospel story as if the elect were always righteous and always justified because Christ was always righteous and His death was not something new in history that “brought in ” some new righteousness.

But let me say it positively. Christ’s Death IS the Righteousness. Christ’s Death WAS Something New in History. Christ’s death IS not only disclosing something which always was. The words “made” and “became” mean that Christ was not merely explaining Moses or Abraham. Nor was Christ merely replacing Adam.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God MADE Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, in order that we would BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

Jeremiah 33: 16 In those days Judah will be saved,
…and SHE will be named The LORD Our Righteousness.

Jeremiah 23:6 Judah will be saved,
This is what HE will be named:
The LORD Our Righteousness.

Judah is only named Lord our righteousness IF AND WHEN SHE is legally united to HE who is the Lord our righteousness

I Corinthians 1:30 But it is from God that you are in Christ Jesus, who BECAME God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness

Do you boast in Jesus obeying laws given to Adam and to Abraham and to Moses? Or do you boast in Christ’s death as the righteousness Christ did not have until Christ died?

We become the righteousness. We were not always justified.

Christ became the righteousness. Christ’s attribute of righteousness (always) is not the same as Christ’s death (once in time)to satisfy righteousness for the elect.

Why do so many preachers define the gospel as being about “a combination of death and the righteousness”? They cannot imagine the death of Christ as enough righteousness either because they cannot think of the “righteousness” as something new in history or because they cannot really make much sense of Christ (or anybody) really dying in history. Even if “timelessness” does not mean for them “the eternal pre-existence of souls”, they do think of all humans after birth as living forever, either in heaven or hell. And therefore it troubles these folks to think of the death of Christ—whatever else happened, they know for sure that Christ was never actually dead. Most of them don’t think that Christ went to “infinite torment” after His death. Most of them seem to think that Christ went to “infinite torment” before He died and then immediately straight to heaven. They say things like “the spiritual death was the real death” which by implication means that the physical death either was not real or at least was not ‘the righteousness”.

In any case, it’s not clear for these preachers that the “infinite torment of Christ” (though they would never doubt that this is what the Bible teaches even if they can’t find the text) is the same as “the righteousness”. They preach Christ’s death AND the righteousness, but what is “the righteousness ? is the “righteousness” something that God always had or is the “righteousness” something gradually accomplished over time as Christ obeyed the 612 laws given through Moses? Since nobody is answering that question, perhaps nobody should be asking that question.

John 1: 14
The Word became flesh
and lived among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
18 The One and Only Son—
the One who is at the Father’s side—
The Son has revealed the Father

God was not always the creator
but God was always the Father, God was always the Son, God was always the Spirit

The incarnation was not only an instrument of revelation
The incarnation was revelation.
The incarnation is something new that happened in history.
Christ was not always incarnate, but now Christ is permanently incarnate, from now on also human.
Christ did not have the righteousness when Christ was born and sucked on his mother’s breasts, but when Christ died on the cross, Christ obtained a permanent redemption.
Christ did not have that permanent redemption before Christ died.
Christ rose from the dead because Christ had obtained that solid effectual and permanent righteousness.

The justification of the ungodly is a declaration based on Christ’s death as law-satisfaction. Romans 6: 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death NO LONGER has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died HE DIED TO SIN once for all

Romans 6:17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that doctrine you were transferred to, 18 and HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED FROM SIN, you became enslaved to righteousness.

One of the reasons that so many preachers are not glorying in Christ crucified is that they keep adding “Christ keeping the law” in as the “righteousness” which is imputed, and they do not see Christ’s death as that which gives an elect sinner adoption, justification and regeneration. Some of them argue that, since Christ’s death did not give us God’s election, then it’s also not Christ’s death which gives us all the blessings of election, but rather that it’s Christ “doing what Adam should have done” which is the righteousness imputed.

They see election as what determined for whom Christ kept the law. They see election as what causes sinners to accept Christ’s keeping of the law. But they do not teach God’s election as having chosen Christ to die for the elect alone as the only way TO BRING IN righteousness for them. Why are they adding complication to Christ’s death as the gospel? I think one possible reason is that many don’t see death as the main problem we sinners have. Instead they think “separation from God” is more basic, because they assume that “the wages of sin is death” does not mean that any human sinner ever really dies but instead that some sinners will live forever being tortured by God. They think the satisfaction of this “separation” is “God being close enough and present enough to torture” the separated person. In the case of Christ, they figure, since the Son is infinite, the substitutionary torture can be infinite and yet done in hours or days. In the case of the non-elect, they reckon, God’s justice will never be satisfied, therefore the torture will never end because the torture will never be infinite enough.

But who really says these things? Who bothers to think about such questions? Wouldn’t it simply be better to stick to the gospel and have no fellowship with those who deny future infinite torture for the non-elect? Maybe we all agree that the “infinite torture” of the non-elect will never take away their sins, but that’s what we also had coming to us, and if some odd people won’t agree to that, then forget about them and let’s agree that the elect are saved not by what they do but by the DOING AND DYING of Christ. Let’s agree that the “righteousness” of Christ is not only His death but also His doing what Adam and Moses were supposed to do. And let’s not get into the question if Christ finished that doing before His resurrection, or if His Christ is still doing the work.

Let’s not even get into the question if Christ always had the righteousness. But if God is timeless, then “the righteousness” cannot be something new in history, cannot be something Christ did not always have before. I mean,it all depends on how you look at it. And some of these preachers have four different perspectives (realms) on justification and the rest of salvation. They can not only tell you how humans see it but they can also proclaim how God sees it. And only rude persons would interrupt them on the way to the back of the church to ask any more questions.

There is the permanent sin which can never be forgiven (Mark 3:29).
There is the permanent weight of glory compared with our present historical affliction (2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 5:10).
There is the permanent house (resurrected body) in the heavens which Christ will bring to us when Christ comes to earth compared to our present body (2 Corinthians 5:1).
There is the permanent destruction the lost will face at Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
There is the permanent judgment that will take place after the resurrection of the dead (Hebrews 6:2).
There is the permanent redemption secured by Christ’s death. Hebrews 9:12, “Christ entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing a permanent lasting redemption.”
As a a permanent lasting punishment does not mean punishing forever but punishment which is final, even so permanent lasting redemption does not mean that Christ is and will be redeeming forever, but rather that by one death, Christ has obtained a redemption which is complete and final. Like a punishment which cannot be reversed, this redemption for the elect cannot be reversed.

This permanent redemption is not the payment of a price without a guarantee that those paid for will be freed from guilt and its consequence death. Biblical redemption secures freedom for each particular elect person so that when that specific person will be (or has been, for example Abraham) joined to Christ’s death, and justified from sin and no longer under law and death.

If death is not our problem, then Christ’s death and resurrection is not the gospel solution. But the Bible good news is that Christ’s death executed by the occupying Roman empire as a falsely accused criminal is the greatest and most valuable SOMETHING that ever HAPPENED IN HISTORY. By that death all the elect shall be given to believe in that death as that which frees us from death. Death is the power of the guilt of our sins.

Romans 6: 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death NO LONGER has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died HE DIED TO SIN once for all

I Corinthians 1: 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished

Unless we have imputed to us the righteousness that Christ got by His death, we do not have the righteousness which exceeds that of the Pharisess

Galatians 2:21 if righteousness comes by our living by law, then Christ died for no purpose.

If righteousness comes by Christ’s obeying the law, then Christ’s death was for what purpose? What was the purpose of Christ’s physical death if that death is not the righteousness? What was the purpose of Christ’s “spiritual death” if that death is not the righteousness? And while you are answering questions, what is “Christ’s spiritual death”? Is it some time when Christ really became a sinner and lost his faith in God? If our faith in Christ “has nothing to do with the gospel”, so that it’s the “faith of Christ” which is the gospel instead, is the “spiritual death of Christ” the part where Christ had faith or the part where Christ fell into despair? And if these are mean unfair questions to ask, when are you going to stop talking about the “spiritual death of Christ” or about “the faith of Christ”?

Revelation 6: 15 Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”

Revelation 7: 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these people robed in white, and where did they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” Then he told me: These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.
They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 13: 8 All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAUGHTERED
Revelation 20: 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. But another book was opened, which is the book of life,
Revelation 21: 5 Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new…7 only those written in the Lamb’s book of life will enter

Christ slaughtered is the new thing! Christ slaughtered is the righteousness!

Romans 6: 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death NO LONGER has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died HE DIED TO SIN once for all

will that preach?
is it true?

Do you boast in Jesus obeying Moses? Do you boast in Jesus replacing Adam? Or do you boast in Christ’s death as the righteousness Christ did not have until Christ died?

We become the righteousness. We were not always justified

Christ became the righteousness. Christ’s attribute of righteousness is not the same as Christ’s death to satisfy righteousness for the elect

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, in order that we would BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

I Corinthians 1:30 But it is from God that you are in Christ Jesus, who BECAME God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness… as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.

Philippians 3: 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus…

Do we glory in Christ’s circumcised heart by which Christ obeyed the law?
Do we boast and glory in Christ’s bloody death, the anti-type and fulfillment of circumcision and all the Old Testament sacrifices

Jeremiah 9:22 human corpses will fall
like manure on the surface of the field,
like newly cut grain after the reaper
with no one to gather it.
Boast in the Lord
23 This is what the Lord says:
The wise man must not boast in his wisdom;
the strong man must not boast in his strength;
the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth.
24 But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me—
that I am the LORD showing faithful love
and righteousness on the earth

God never commanded Adam to die for the sins of others. Being punished by the law is not the same as obeying the law. But does that mean I should not boast in the death of Christ but instead glory in Christ’s law-keeping? I disagree with the following quotation from Charles Spurgeon—“The promises in the Word of God are not made to suffering; they are made to obedience. Consequently, Christ’s sufferings, though they may remove the penalty of sin, do not alone make me the inheritor of the promise. “If You will enter into life,” said Christ, “keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). It is only Christ’s keeping the commandments that entitles me to enter life. “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable” (Isaiah 42:21). I do not enter into life by virtue of His sufferings –entering the enjoyments of the life eternal must be the result of obedience.”

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