Hearing God’s Verdict, Passed from Guilty to Justified before God, by Tianqi Wu

The Christian’s confidence before God is not in how much they’ve done for Jesus or learned about Jesus, but in a verdict of “no condemnation” bearing the authority of the Great King that they’ve heard by faith.

This present verdict of “no condemnation” (on the believing sinner) REPORTS a past accomplished death (of a penal substitute) as the judicial ground for the verdict. Unless the verdict declares that the just retribution due to the sinners on its “pardon list” has been satisfied (in the execution of their full sentence on the substitute), a word of “unconditional pardon” from the King would be at best “paradoxically held in tension” with the many equally unconditional words of condemnation from the same King, and a fearful expectation of the wrath to come would remain, as there is no effectual propitiation that could purify the guilty conscience.

A “good news” without a revelation of the righteousness of God is powerless to save those believing it, because the Good News of God’s grace is a promise of eternal life to the believer based on the imputation of a righteousness revealed in it. If the message does not reveal a real righteousness, it can’t be the Good News, since it presents nothing to be imputed to its believers that grants them life.

Romans 3:16-17 The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing, because IN IT the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.

Romans 4:5 To the one not working, but believing on Him justifying the ungodly,. the object of their faith is counted unto righteousness.”
But the REPORT of a finished righteousness is not the entirety of the VERDICT. A
fter learning the reasons of God’s justice in the justification of the elect sinner, there still remains the concern: on whom does God pass the verdict, “your sins are forgiven on account of these things reported”?

This concern is addressed by the Good News in the simplest yet most powerful way. The Good News IS the verdict passed by God on the ones believing in it, because the doctrine of “Justification by Faith” means that the Good News of Christ carries the same LEGAL authority to release sinners from condemnation as Christ’s own voice on earth.

Matthew 9:6 the Son of Man has authority on earth to remit sins

John 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son. Truly, truly, I say to you, The one who hears my word, and believes the One who has sent Me, has everlasting life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

If the MESSAGE of the cross is not recognized as God’s verdict passed on the believer, then we would have to find the verdict of God ELSEWHERE (e.g. introspection, comparison of works with other people, clergy’s words or “sacraments”.)

The “eternal justification”  error is that the verdict was passed “at the cross” and is “in God’s mind from eternity” and the “good news” is simply a revelation of this verdict from the past (or eternity). This alternative “good news” also says “Justification by Faith”, but only in the sense that that past justification is revealed to the believer in this “good news”, informing that believers had already always been released in that past justification, which gives peace to his conscience.

How is this not a different “good news”? The reason some people consider this a “secondary matter” is that they do not view the Good News as the VERDICT that reports the judicial ground of the verdict, but only as the REPORT of the judicial ground of the verdict. But the fact remains that this alternative “good news” is a counterfeit verdict, and thus a different “good news”.

John 5: 24 Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has lasting life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life

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9 Comments on “Hearing God’s Verdict, Passed from Guilty to Justified before God, by Tianqi Wu”

  1. Mark Mcculley Says:

    There are three main errors of this article by Kraft which he teaches:
    1) the idea that there is no difference between God’s decrees and the execution of these decrees; the idea of time has no relevance at all to God, 2) the elect are justified from eternity and were always
    viewed with love, and thus 3) the elect were never under the wrath of


    Looking further at Scripture, we see that unregenerate people, EVEN
    believers at one time before their conversion, were at one time
    children of wrath just like the rest of mankind (Eph. 2:1-3). It is
    the plain teaching of Eph. 2:1-3 that believers before conversion were under the wrath of God. But we would go back to the gist of our first issue for now — the conflation and collapse of God’s decrees made in eternity past with the execution of these decrees in time.

    According to Rom. 8:29-30, believers are mentioned to be ‘foreknown (foreknew)’, ‘predestined’, ‘called’, ‘justified’, and ‘glorified’. All of these verbs are in the aorist tense, which is normally
    shorthand for simple past tense for beginners in Greek (an
    oversimplification of the facts). Regardless, because of this, the
    verbs when translated into English are translated into the past tense.

    Now, if God’s decrees made in eternity past are the same as the
    execution of these decrees, then aren’t all the decrees of God already executed so to speak? If so, aren’t all believers already glorified now on earth, and therefore believers are not only considered
    righteous, they being glorified are actually righteous now? If such
    were the case, aren’t all believers sinless? But of course, for
    Bible-believing Christians, 1 Jn. 1:8-10 exists, which functions as
    the proposition that accomplishes the refutation through reductio ad
    absurdum of the nonsense coming out from this conflation of God’s
    decrees and the execution of them.

    Philosophically, such an error would also logically create the specter
    of a denial of sequences in time, ironically having more to do with
    Zeno’s ideas denying motion than Scripture. For if “whatever God
    declares, it’s accomplished the movement He says it”, then since God decrees many things, they must all be accomplished when God
    decrees them. So since God decrees that for example a person named John will believe in the Gospel, I guess John must have believed in the Gospel from eternity past since God’s decrees are made in eternity past? But this is the kind of theological hubris that a denial of the idea that God’s decrees are executed in time creates

  2. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Vos—Not that Christ was the basis or meriting cause of election, as if the reconciling love of the Father could only have been active because of the surety of Christ. Scripture teaches us above all that Christ with His incarnation, His mediatorship and everything connected with it must be regarded as a gift of God’s electing love. Thus one must not say that God’s love cannot rest on the elect except in Christ’s righteousness. . For Christ Himself as Mediator was a gift of that love
    Donald Macleod—it is a misunderstanding of the doctrine of the
    atonement to suppose that according to it God deals with all men in
    justice but with only some in mercy. For according to the doctrine of
    limited atonement the elect do not experience God’s justice as it
    concerns them, for it is satisfied by the atonement of Christ for
    them. All are liable to punishment for their sin, but only some are
    punished since the elect are ‘punished’ in Christ their substitute.

    So it is not that some experience both love and justice while some
    experience justice only. It is rather, according to the doctrine, that some experience love, some justice, neither both and each one or the other. The inequality is thus symmetrical, and the incidence of divine love and justice does not provide the least reason for supposing that those who hold this view hold that justice is essential to God while love is arbitrary,

    Click to access 03-2_47.pdf

  3. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Micah 7: 18 Who is a God like You,
    removing iniquity and passing over rebellion
    for the remnant of His elect inheritance?
    God does not hold on to His anger forever,
    because God delights in faithful love.
    19 God will have compassion on us.
    God will vanquish our iniquities.
    God will cast all our sins
    into the depths of the sea.
    None of us are born immortal. All of us are born guilty

    Micah 6:8 The Lord has told you what is good
    and what it is the Lord requires of you:
    to act justly,
    to love faithfulness,
    and to walk humbly with your God.

    THEN was then, and THEN there will be a different future

    Micah 5: Bethlehem Ephrata
    you are small among the clans of Judah;
    One will come from you
    to be ruler over Israel for Me.
    His going out  is from the ages  long ago
    3 Therefore, He will abandon them UNTIL THE TIME
    when she who is in labor has given birth;
    THEN the rest of His brothers will return
    to the people of Israel.
    4 He will stand and shepherd them
    in the strength of Yahweh,
    They will live securely,
    for THEN His greatness will extend
    to the ends of the earth.
    5 He will be their peace.
    When Assyria invades our land…

  4. Mark Mcculley Says:

    What difference does the gospel make if you are justified before God before and without believing the gospel

    tolerant Calvinist—“Evangelical Arminianism is self-contradictory, and that reduction in intellectual sophistication for a popular audience actually saves it from being heretical like Classical Arminianism. ”

    Some sins are mortal, and other sins are less so?  Some sins are actually the means by which God justifies?

    Tolerant Calvinist—“Belief in false doctrines is a sin, but this sin is hardly damning. For just as one is not perfect in holiness of life while on this earth, how can one expect any and all believers to be perfect in holiness of doctrine

  5. Mark Mcculley Says:

    “As we have said before, and now I say again, If anyone preaches a gospel beside what you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:9)
    Tianqi Wu—If “eternal justification” is true, then why would you even care about the anathema of this verse? It doesn’t matter anyways…
    If God has already (or even had always) “seen” a person justified prior to their coming to faith in the true gospel, then what’s the urgency of “getting the gospel right”?
    When Jesus says, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”, does that mean the unbelieving elect were already FREE in the most important sense, namely their LEGAL state, and they only need to know the truth of that objective freedom, in order to be freed in their own minds?

  6. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Romans 6:10-11 For in that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives to God. So also you count yourselves to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Tianqi Wu–Can there be a time lag between the change of legal state and the change of heart? Can a person have a changed legal state without a changed heart at the SAME time? The text does not allow for it.
    Paul says BEFORE we were converted, we were SLAVES OF SIN. Paul also says IF we have been joined to Christ’s death, then we are not under Law, but UNDER GRACE.
    There is no room for a “justified” but “unconverted” person, because there is no such a thing as being “under grace”, “dead to sin”, “alive to God” but still a “slave of sin”.
    This exposes the fundamental falsehood of certain versions of “gospel” that are now tolerated under the name of “different views on timing of justification”:   They have a form of godliness but deny the power of the gospel

  7. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Tianqi Wu–What is “eternal justification / justification at cross” etc but a SYSTEMATIC speaking peace to those who do not yet know God, Christ, or the gospel – who are declared by the Bible to be still under condemnation, under curse, under law, not under grace, not joined to Christ’s death, not belonging to the Christ raised from dead, not having life in the name of Christ?

    Unconditional election and just effectual atonement are essential parts of the gospel. Justification by faith is also an essential part of the gospel. Would anyone tolerate “difference on timing” of election and atonement? Why would one think that they can tolerate difference on timing of justification, without changing the gospel?

  8. Mark Mcculley Says:

    The Bible distinguishes but does not separate by time the legal state and the spiritual condition of a sinner.

    Romans 9:9 But you are not in flesh, but in Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has NOT the Spirit of Christ, this one is NOT His.
    10 But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF righteousness.

    Tianqi Wu–The Bible makes a distinction between the accomplishment and the LEGAL application of redemption. The blood of the sacrifice must be sprinkled on the people for them to be cleansed (Hebrews 9:18-23). The elect must be baptized into Christ’s death for them to be justified (Romans 6:3-7).

    Some, in an attempt to defend “justification at cross”, understand the language of “we died with Christ” to mean that the elect were baptized into Christ PRIOR TO the completion of His death, so that when He died, the elect died with Him. In this view, the elect were not legally placed into a FINISHED death, but were already legally in Christ as He was dying on the cross.

    This changes the nature of Christ’s death on the cross from a substitutionary sacrifice, made by the holy Lamb apart from the presence of sinners, to a corporate (collective) death in the body of a legal representative, in which the legal subject of death is no longer Christ alone but Christ legally joined with the elect sinners. Instead of Christ dying by Himself to redeem His church in order to legally join Her to Himself, this view has Christ already legally joined with His unredeemed church, dying as one corporate person on the cross.

    Contrary to this false confusion, Christ died in His own person FOR the elect’s sins laid on Him, and when the elect are baptized into that death, they are COUNTED as having died that Law-satisfying death – though they were not legal subjects of this death in its accomplishment – and are therefore justified, set free from condemnation, and legally joined to the resurrected Christ.

    In the gospel error of “justification at cross”, the legal mechanism for justification of sinners (“baptism into Christ’s death”) is misunderstood as a legal mechanism for Christ’s accomplishment of redemption. This an example of a confusion of how the Savior did His WORK of redemption with how sinners receive the BENEFITS of redemption – a confusion I suspect to lie behind the very appeal of the idea of “justification at cross”. “

  9. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Did Christ’s legal status ever change? Was He always
    legally guilty for His people’s sins? Or was He legally guilty only
    for a period of time (from His conception to His death) ?”

    gospel error answer—As man (in His human nature) Christ did change. We know that for a time Christ  was forsaken by the Father because of sin. But God sees me today is the way He has always seen me in Christ. How to explain this? I do not know!”

    1. Is Christ two persons, one person God and the other person human?
    2. Or is Christ one person, now both God and human?
    3. Is Christ always forsaken by the Father?
    4. Was Christ never forsaken by the Father?
    5.  Or is there a difference between Christ being always elect and
    Christ being once under the guilt of sin?
    6. If so, why can’t there be a difference between elect sinners being
    always elect and elect sinners being born under condemnation?

    Romans 6: 9-10 Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death NO LONGER rules over Christ 10 Christ DIED TO SIN once for all time

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