Archive for the ‘atonement’ category

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)

May 12, 2018

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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Are the “Two Ways of Being in the Covenant” Hirelings really “For You”?

March 15, 2018

Philip Cary—Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without obeying a command to believe.

Philip Cary– For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe). It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me.

Lutherans are not the only ones who don’t talk about election. Most Reformed clergymen only talk about some “for you covenant” and never tell the truth that all for whom Christ will receive all the blessings of salvation. They sign their Westminster Confession but they do not preach it.

WCF– To all those for whom Christ has purchased redemption, He does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same;making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mysteries of salvation;effectually persuading them by His Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by His word and Spirit;overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenantal election.

Scott Clark— The Federal Vision theology posits two parallel systems: the system of the decree, which they render MERELY THEORETICAL and the system of baptismal union with Christ, which is their operative theology….Some people just don’t understand the Reformed distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of the covenant of grace.

Why do Reformed clergymen “pose” as if everybody listening to their sermon and receiving God’s “sacrament” by means of their “keys” is an exile from the world and a Christian? These pseudo-Reformed are so brave that they refuse “to speak to the church as if were the world” , but they don’t mind using water to baptise the infant world into God’s church. For this the clergymen “have cover”—they are not really doing it, God is doing it. The church is not really doing it. The Church is not deciding who the church is (the church is God’s incarnate body doing it– and the presbytery–in theory–decides who the presbytery is)

But why not use the “for you” to explain and justify splashing water on the heads of infants without professing Christian parents? Why not use the “for you” to open up the possibility of water as the means of salvation to pagans who are not children? Why not go back into Reformed history to say that the Lord’s supper has efficacy as the means of converting those halfway in or out of the “for you”? You don’t have to go back to a “Christian state” to get back to a “Reformed parish” in which everybody gets the “sacrament.”

The Pseudo-Reformed hirelings say, let’s keep the right balance and just preach the texts without talking about election so that we can make EVERYBODY feel guilty for killing Jesus and then after the law has been read, we say “for you and your children”. The Reformed false gospel (not straight universalism but “two ways of being in the covenant”) depends on individuals already “in the covenant of grace” then agreeing with Jesus that Jesus died for them. They think that God’s “for you” even appeals to the part of us which refuses explanations we don’t like.

“Two ways of being in the covenant” thinks of election and definite redemption as two different truths, because it teaches “covenant love for you” and propitiation for the elect as two different truths. Not so the Scripture! John 10 does not say that the good Shepherd loves the goats so that they can become sheep . John 10:12 says that “he who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

The preacher who teaches two ways of being in the covenant flees from God’s expiation/propiation and God’s election because they are hired hands and care nothing for the sheep.” How do we know the Shepherd loves the sheep? “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Does this mean that the Shepherd dies “for you” as a representative of the goats in the covenant along with the sheep? No. The Shepherd is not only the leader, not only the first to die. The Shepherd dies as a substitute for the sheep and only for the sheep. Because the Shepherd dies, the sheep do not die. John 10 does not separate Christ’s love and Christ’s death. Christ loves those for whom Christ died. Christ died for those He loves.

Christ died “for everybody in the covenant”. No, Christ did not, not if you are not talking about the new covenant but only about some covenant that you can first be in and then be out. John 10 does not say, “If you believe.” John 10:26, “But you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice.”

It’s not, if you believe, then those in the covenant in one way will be in the covenant both ways. . Ok, Ok, the “two ways of being int the covenant” explain, we also believe in election. We too know that John 10:29 tells how “My Father has given them to me”. We just don’t happen to talk about that when we are talking about being in “the covenant of grace”, which is something different from Christ’s loving the elect and dying for the elect.. When we talk about Christ’s love, we stay with “for you” and don’t get into the business of them not being able to trust the gospel if they are not elect. Christ knew who was not elect, but we don’t

I agree that we don’t know who is not elect. Just because a person does not now believe the true gospel does not mean that person never will believe. But if they don’t profess to believe the gospel, we can know that they are not yet in the covenant “in some preliminary provisional way”.

Any person who will one day believe the true gospel is already a sheep. Christ already loves them, and Christ already died for them. We can and should say that without leaving the door open for those who teach that Christ died for everybody in the covenant in which there are two ways to be in….

If we do not say that Christ died for the elect and not for the non-elect, those who climb in by being born will be telling people that salvation blessings all depends on “if you trust In Him”. Instead of saying that Christ died only for the elect, they will change that to say that “Christ died only for those who believe”. And if you think those two statements are identical, explain to me why you always say “for those who believe” instead of “for the elect for whom Christ died”. The two statements are not the same, and you need to be honest enough to explain why you prefer to talk about the different statement (those who believe) instead of “all those for whom Christ died”

Westminster Confession of Faith —To all those for whom Christ has purchased redemption, He does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same
If we don’t talk about Christ’s death and election at the same time, we ourselves will be heard preaching a love that depends on God enabling the sinner to make that Christ’s death work. But the truth is that WE DON’T MAKE CHRIST’S LOVE WORK.

My main point is not the motives of the “two ways of being in the covenant” clergyman. Surely some of them are hirelings who know they won’t be kept long enough to get their pension if they talk about Christ not dying for the non-elect. Most of them “sincerely” share with the Lutherans the same false gospel that teaches Christ’s death as having an universal “intent” conditioned on a sinner’s continuing in faith.

My main point is that Christ’s love always means that Christ has satisfied God’s justice for those God loves! Christ’s love meant Christ’s death for those God loved, and that love is decisive. That love is not one factor among many. Christ’s love is about a death which propitiated the wrath of God against elect sinners for their sins. God’s love is not ever over against God’s wrath. God’s love gave Christ some elect individuals, and not for one moment did that love ever mean some other “possibility” for these elect individuals. There are not two ways of being in the new covenant of which Christ is the mediator.

John 3:16 says “He gave His only Son, that as many as believe in Him would not perish but have lasting life.” God did not give His Son, so that everybody “could” believe in Him. God gave His Son, so that THE INDIVIDUALS WHO DO BELIEVE in Him will NOT PERISH. God did not give His Son for them because they would believe in Him. Nor is the only thing going on in the giving of the Son the purchasing of faith for the elect, even though that is one of the great blessings of the Son’s death. . I Peter 1:21, “who through Him are believers” and II Peter 1:1, “to those who have been given a faith as precious as ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” The death of Christ does not make appeasement of God’s wrath possible if other factors fall into place. The death of Christ is the punishment required by God’s law for the sins of those God has given Christ. Do you reject God’s explanation? God requires the death. Never ever has God loved one individual sinner without God also requiring the death of Christ for that sinner.

Equivocation Explains that There is no Explanation— the “For You” the Corporate Everybody or Individuals?

March 12, 2018

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Scott Clark, if he were being straight, would need to use the word “corporate” every time he says “and your children”. But Scott Clark writes out of both sides of his mouth. Scott Clark teaches that there are “different ways to be in the covenant”. Scott Clark speaks differently to “federal visionists” than Scott Clark speaks to credobaptists. Goldilocks understands and explains how the two other beds are different from his “just right” bed. One bed is different because it’s too hard. The other bed is different because it’s too soft. Therefore the two different beds are in substance the same bed. Therefore, according to Scott Clrk, the “covenantal Arminian” problem is not a paeodobaptist problem but really a credobaptist (or Lutheran) problem.

Scott Clark– We do not believe that in baptism the Spirit necessarily brings infants to new life. That is the doctrine of the papists, the confessional Lutherans, and others but it is not the teaching of the Reformed churches

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenantal election.

Scott Clark—The Federal Visionist conflates the eternal decree with the external administration of the covenant of grace. Paedocommunion and the doctrine of baptismal regeneration are errors but they are also really only symptoms of this underlying problem. The Federal Vision theology posits two parallel systems: the system of the decree, which they render MERELY THEORETICAL and the system of baptismal union with Christ, which is their operative theology.

Scott Clark–My Baptist friends have a very difficult time UNDERSTANDING the Reformed understanding of the distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of the covenant of grace.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

For Scott Clark, perhaps,the distinction between decree and “really in the covenant” is “mere theory”.

https://heidelblog.net/2018/03/baptists-and-federal-visionists-together/

https://theopolisinstitute.com/baptism-impasse-baptists-vs-presbyterians-part-ii/

Scott Clark accuses credobaptists of “individualism” when it suits his argument. But when he’s watering a baby, the “promise for you” stays individual and personal, without mention of conditional corporate negative sanctions . “And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for a lasting possession, and I will be their God”

When Scott Clark is arguing from the land promises to Abraham’s children to the idea that the new covenant includes both elect and non-elect, Scott Clark neither refers only to Jesus the one and only child of Abraham or to the individuals who believe the gospel that Abraham believed. Instead Scott Clark starts talking “corporate”.

Scott Clark—“Spilsbury-cast the Abrahamic covenant individualistic terms. On its own terms, the Abrahamic covenant was a promise that entailed a corporate outward administration….”

Scott Clark writes: “Fundamentally, baptism is to strengthen our faith, not replace it. It is a seal to THE INDIVIDUALS WHO BELIEVE, that what baptism promises is actually true of them.” (p 8, “Baptism and the Benefits of Christ”, Confessional Presbyterian 2, 2006)

Greg Bahnsen agreed—“The signs of the covenant, whether circumcision or baptism, declare the objective truth that justification comes only by faith in God’s promise. Circumcision and baptism are NOT an INDIVDIUAL’S personal, subjective testimony to having saving faith for himself. So, those who are in the visible church but not elect are nevertheless within the covenant of grace but under its curse.”

But Leithart explains differently from both Bahnsen and Clark: “The big difference between the word and baptism is that the word offers God’s grace to everyone-in-general while baptism declares God’s favor TO ME . Baptism wraps the gift of forgiveness and justification and puts MY NAME on the package. Like the gospel, BAPTISM REQUIRES a response of ENDURING faith. Faith involves believing what baptism says ABOUT YOU . The baptismal declaration is that we are “justified from sin” by union with the death and resurrection of Jesus. And I can’t, of course, live a life of unbelief and disobedience, and expect baptism to rescue me at the end. Such a life would betray my baptism

ttps://heidelblog.net/2018/03/engaging-with-1689-6-john-spilsbury-contra-infant-baptism/

https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/heidelcast-i-will-be-a-god-to-you-and-to-your-children

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”? Let’s bring some Lutherans into the discussion.

“Luther is applying predicates to individuals (members of the Church) which Scripture explicitly applies to the whole (the Church). Is this analogy per synecdoche necessarily wrong?”

http://www.pseudepigraph.us/2018/03/11/martin-luther-faith-unites-the-soul-with-christ-as-a-bride-is-united-with-her-bridegroom/

The “for you” does not comfort the Lutheran if it’s not for everybody, therefore for the Lutheran the “for you” IS for everybody (in church who hears the preacher)

But this “for everybody” would mean a “proposal of marriage kind of promise”, therefore “for everybody” means Christ died for all sinners but now it’s up to you and the Holy Spirit.

Against both Scott Clark and the Lutherans, I am so “rationalistic” that I want to deconstruct the Lutheran Forde’s stupid explanation about the DIFFERENCE between “theology about the cross” and “theology of the cross”

Forde is not the only sacramentalist who has a theory about how “sacraments” work “for you” without God teaching you a “theory” or an “explanation” about how Christ’s death worked.

Forde’s explanation depends on a difference between fact and value/ meaning. Forde’s theory rejects anything in the Bible that sounds like the “marketplace”. So long “redemption”.

“Something has happened” apart from your “freewill”. To Forde and many other Lutherans this means that we still don’t know how God thinks and why Christ died because of sins.

“Christ has your sins and Christ is not going to take your sins back and yet somehow, without the preacher and the splash of the water, you still might not have life?”

“You are being saved”, but yet somehow in the end, maybe you won’t be saved

Because Forde and many other Lutherans are offended at what the Bible says about propitiation, they explain that the offense of the cross is that we don’t have an explanation. They explain that the offense of the cross is that God doesn’t have an explanation.

(sarcasm alert)

If you reject their explanation (which exempts itself from being an explanation), then these “for you” preachers have an explanation for that as well. You must be “rationalistic” and have a moral problem with God’s raw sovereignty . Their ad hom accusation, the law of the explanation that there is no explanation, explains— you want to protect yourself from God and so that’s why you talk about propitiation. Unlike these folks who have agreed with God that they are the most foolish and therefore the least foolish, if you are still talking about propitiation, then everybody likes hearing about how the cross satisfies justice, people really like to eat up that stuff about God’s wrath, because anybody who talks about God’s wrath is still into “free will” and they think they control God’s wrath with their explanations. But the “for you” preachers are maybe not so popular because they bravely keeping telling people that God loves them? And since they have the courage not to have an explanation, they bravely talk out of both sides of their mouth—for you corporately, but also for you individually. For you, but not necessarily in decretal election, perhaps only in covenantal election, but these preachers are so brave that they don’t get into detailed explanations. And these preachers are so bold and so foolish that they transcend other people’s foolish doctrinal stuff, and stick with what’s “pastoral”. It wouldn’t be prudent for them to teach universalism. But it does not harm anybody if they keep saying “for you”, because surely nobody interprets that language in terms of free will. God does the sacrament. We humans don’t do the sacraments by our free will. Therefore if we stop showing up for the splash of water and the sermon of absolution, that’s on us, but it’s not “freewill”

(end of sarcasm, I think)

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Forde’s law says that Christ’s death cannot be explained or justified by law. Forde disagrees with Romans 4:25 that Christ was raised from the dead because of the justification of sinners. Forde’s reason for Christ’s resurrection is that there is no reason, and Christ being risen is lawlessness.

Forde has his own explanation for Christ’s death–we killed him.
God didn’t plan the death for the sake of God’s justice (forget Romans 3:25)
Forde turns Christ’s death into law–you all killed him.
Then Forde confuses law with gospel—therefore since you all killed him, Christ died “for you”, for everybody

And if you don’t agree with Forde’s explanation, he has some more accusations against you
1. you must prefer Christ dead to Christ, since you think the death was so necessary.
2. if you think the Son removed the wrath between you and the Father, then you must think the Father did not send the Son, you must think that the Father only loves you because of the Son, you must think there must now be a separation between the Father and the Son, because you used to (foolishly) think there was a separation between the Father and you, because of your sins
3. Forde accuses all who disagree with his theory about Christ’s death of being people who think their “assent by their freewill to propositions” is the “currency that buys off God”

Forde puts the “others” into Arminian mode, but he denies being universalist. So what keeps the “for everybody” of Christ’s death from working foreverybody? Not our freewill, but our not hearing the preacher and getting the splash of water and swallowing Jesus in the sacrament?

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Anti-individualism is the reigning ideology in the academy in our day (but not in the rhetoric of politicians) . Even many “self-help” books end with the exhortation to find fulfillment by finding community. We meet together to be “challenged” again for being too concerned about ourselves alone.

We are reminded that “He loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20) does not eliminate the greater truth that “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2). Since me does not rule out us, then us does not rule out them. And since nobody talks about elect and non-elect, the truth that Christ died for His sheep cannot be understood as denying that Christ died also for goats. So Arminian evangelicals tell us.

Election yes, but not when we are talking about Christ’s death, and certainly not when we meet as a church!

The pseudo-Calvinists who will not talk about election when they are talking about Christ’s death and love. They will only say, “if you put your trust in Him,” and will not spell out the antithesis between sheep for whom Christ died and goats for whom Christ did not die. They doubletalk about God’s love. On the one hand, everyone listening to them is regarded as one of the “us” who Christ loves. On the other hand, listeners are being warned that Christ’s love depends on them “putting their trust in”. At issue here is not only the extent of Christ’s love but the nature of Christ’s love. If Christ’s love is often unrequited, then even His love for those who love Him back is of a very different nature than the biblical love which never lets go of any God gave His Son.

It does no good to say that God “took the initiative”, or even that God “loved the unlovely”. In our own relationships, one of us takes the first steps. But if the other person does not respond to the first love, it amounts to nothing. If Christ’s love is an initiative which depends on our response, then Christ’s love amounts to nothing. Galatians 2:20 does not say that the Son of God loved you and gave Himself FOR YOU. Nor does the text give clergy the authority to extrapolate that God loves you and gave Himself for you. Rather, the next verse says “if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” If Christ’s love depends on you the law of putting your trust in Him, then Christ’s love amounts to nothing and His death was for no purpose.

McGregor Wright, late author of No Place for Sovereignty—-When Francis Schaeffer”s writings were introduced to the well meaning, well doing, young, evangelical it went down the throat like mother’s milk. “Calvinist” was questionable and, at best, risky business. Nobody wanted to connect Schaeffer with “Calvinist”, and “Presbyterian” was a dangerous label as well. Just ask Bill Bright what is important to Chrstianity and that will be Schaeffer’s Evangelical Credential. All the things Schaeffer said were said out of the “evangelical” megaphone. Everybody looked at Schaeffer and then looked at each other and said “A OK!

McGregor Wright asked Schaeffer why, as a confessing Calvinist, he would teach “a version of ‘free will’ that looked much like Arminianism. Schaeffer said he wanted students to clearly see that Christianity is different from “the ‘determinism’ emphasized in the psychology and sociology courses of the secular campus.” Writing in The Bible Today, (A Review of a Review, Oct 1948) Schaeffer said, “It is not apart from the Holy Spirit, nor could it be possible without the predestination of the Sovereign God” and referred to the woman at the well as “one of the elect.” But Bryan A. Follis in Truth with Love; The Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer notes in reference to Schaeffer’s 1948 article: “It is fascinating to note that by 1963 the reference to “predestination” and “the elect” had been dropped and that by 1968 the sentence referring to God’s mercy in saving men had been cut out. Was Schaeffer becoming more rationalist? Was Schaeffer becoming more Arminian? Follis, writing favorably on Schaeffer, answers that Schaeffer was just tailoring his speech to his audience.

https://douglasdouma.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/francis-schaeffer-pseudo-calvinist/

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

The false gospel (not universalism but Arminianism) depends on individuals among the corporately loved agreeing with Jesus that Jesus died for them. They think that God’s “for you” is an appeal to the part of us which refuses explanations we don’t like but that God finds us lovely when we hate God’s explanations

Pseudo-Calvinists think of election and definite redemption as two different things, because they think of love “for you” and propitiation for the elect as two different things. Not so the Scripture! John 10 does not say that the good Shepherd loves the goats so that they can become sheep . John 10:12 says that “he who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

The preacher who claims to be too brave for explanations flees from God’s expiation and God’s election because they are hired hands and care nothing for the sheep.” The good shepherd does not act like the hired man. The hired man’s love amounts to nothing. How do we know the Shepherd loves the sheep? “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Does this mean that the Shepherd dies “for you” as a representative of the goats along with the sheep? No. The Shepherd is not only the leader, not only the first to die. The Shepherd dies as a substitute for the sheep. Because the Shepherd dies, the sheep do not die. John 10 does not separate Christ’s love and Christ’s death. Christ loves those for whom He dies. Christ dies for those He loves.

Christ died “for everybody”. No, He did not. John 10 makes this clear and simple. It does not say, “If you put your trust in and believe.” John 10:26, “But you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice.” It’s not, if you put your trust in me and hear my voice , then you will become my sheep. Ok, Ok, the Pseuo–Calvinists reason, we also believe in election. We too know that John 10:29 tells how “My Father has given them to me”. We just don’t happen to talk about that when we are talking about Christ’s loving and dying. When we talk about Christ’s love, we stay with “for you” and don’t get into the business of them not being able to trust if they are not elect. Christ knew who was not elect, but we don’t

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

I agree that we don’t know who is not elect. Just because a person does not now believe the true gospel does not mean that person never will believe. Any person who will one day believe the true gospel is already a sheep. Christ already loves them, and Christ already died for them. But we can say all that without leaving the door open for those who teach that Christ died for everybody. If we do not say that Christ died for the elect and not for the non-elect, those who climb in other ways will be telling people that it all depends on “if you trust In Him”. If we don’t talk about Christ’s death and election at the same time, we ourselves will be heard preaching a love that depends on the sinner to respond.

My main point is not the motives of Lutherans and Pseudo-Calvinists Surely some of them are hired men who know they won’t be hired if they talk about Christ not dying for the non-elect. Most of them “sincerely” have the same false gospel that teaches Christ’s death as having an universal “intent” conditioned on a sinner’s faith. My main point is that Christ’s love amounts to everything! Christ’s love meant death for those God loved, and that love is decisive. That love is not one factor among many. Christ’s love is about a death which propitiates the wrath of God against elect sinners for their sins. Christ’s love is not over against God’s wrath. God’s love gives Christ some elect individuals, and this is not ever ever ever for one moment something separate from God’s love which gives Christ to die for these elect individuals.

John 3:16 says “He gave His only Son, that as many as believe in Him would not perish but have lasting life.” God did not give His Son, so that everybody “could” believe in Him. God gave His Son, so that THE INDIVIDUALS WHO DO BELIEVE in Him will NOT PERISH. . God did not give His Son for them because they would believe in Him. Nor is the only thing going on in the giving of the Son the purchasing of faith for the elect, even though this is true. I Peter 1:21, “who through Him are believers” and II Peter 1:1, “to those who have been given a faith as precious as ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The death of Christ does not make appeasement of God’s wrath possible if other factors fall into place. The death of Christ is the punishment required by God’s law for the sins of those God has given Christ. Do you reject God’s explanation? God requires the death. Never ever has God loved one individual sinner without God also requiring the death of Christ for that sinner. Never has Christ loved one sinner without Christ also needing to die for that sinner.

Does the “for you” include “everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.“? Revelation 13:8.

The ideology current in the academy warns us that we won’t be ethical if we focus on individual names in a book. Even though there are some Arminians left around who are pleading with individuals to write their names in that book, most religious people today are put off about rejoice about names in a book. The current idea is not to argue about the significance of names when God loves everybody, but to move on to the matter of ethical community. Surely the kingdom of God does not consist of God’s will in terms of an election of individuals!

Talking about guilt being appeased only makes people feel more guilty, and this time not with the Father but guilty toward Jesus for having killed Jesus. The Arminian evangelicals say, keep the faith and don’t become universalists. And the Pseudo-Calvinist hirelings say, let’s keep the right balance and just preach the texts without talking about election so that we can make EVERYBODY feel guilty for killing Jesus and then after the law has been read, we say “for you and your children”.

The false gospel, in all its forms, has enough guilt for everybody. This is the irony of what is supposed to be good news. Even if there are no sentimental songs about killing Jesus, whenever you tell a person that Jesus had to die for them and did die for them, but then deny that this is enough to take away their guilt if they don’t put their trust in it, you have just pushed that person further into self-righteousness. Either, they think, even though I am guilty of all those sins and Jesus had to die for them, at least I am not guilty anymore of not putting trust in. Or perhaps, they think, God depends on us all . People who don’t explain can explain can argue that this kind of epistemological self-awareness is not real, but I think this attitude is in the very air we breathe. It is not individualism gone bad but an idolatry of the self.

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Jason Stellman, before he switched from being a pseudo-Calvinist to being a Roman Catholic, explained that “God never deals with us as individuals” (Dual CitiZens, p 9) I do not agree. I disagree that, when we hear Christ preached, we then hear Christ preaching. (p 13) I disagree that we hear an official “minister” absolving our sins, that we hear Christ forgiving our sins. Who is hearing the “for you” ? Are the non-elect not hearing, because they don’t care about their sins? If so, then does the “for you” comes\ back again to the faith of the hearers? When you hear the “you are forgiven” by the “minister”, for long after that are YOUR sins forgiven?

Is it “pietist” or “sectarian” to warn people that the New Testament is written only to “as many as” are individually Christian? Why go on pretending that everybody listening to the sermon and observing the sacrament is an exile from the world and a Christian? Many pseudo-Calvinists are so brave ( and don’t forget– more foolish than all other foolish) that they refuse “to speak to the church as if were the world” , but they don’t mind using water to baptises the infant world into the church. But these so very brave preachers have cover—they are not really doing it, God is doing it. The church is not doing it. The Church is not deciding who the church is (like those baptists do, because the church is God doing it. )

But why not use the “for you” to explain and justify splashing water on the heads of infants without professing Christian parents? Why not use the “for you” to open up the possibility of water as the means of salvation to pagans who are not children, and about the supper being converting for those halfway or out of the “for you”?

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

Philip Cary—Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without even the effort to obey a command to believe. For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe). It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me.
https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/clinging-to-externals-weak-faith-and-the-power-of-the-sacraments/

Does “For you” mean “corporate everybody” or does “for you” mean “individual persons”?

The Lutheran “us” claims to be everybody, but for Lutherans, it’s not the death for “us” which saves anyone, because what saves anyone is present faith. Present faith, present salvation, and losing faith is losing salvation, and Christ’s satisfaction of the law has nothing to do with any of it. But the situation is not different among the Reformed, despite the claim of Scott Clark and Ferguson to be different from the federal visionists, they also use the “for you” to have a conditional covenant which is not governed by the truth of election.

Ferguson—Shepherd writes that “The prophets and apostles viewed election from the perspective of the covenant of grace, whereas Reformed theologians of a later day have tended to view the covenant of grace from the perspective of election”(p 60). The result of this, it is argued, is that the reformed preacher no longer says “Christ died for you” – but, when these words are construed, not from the point of view of election, but of the covenant, then “The Reformed evangelist can and must say on the basis of John 3:16, Christ died for you.”

Does this mean that Shepherd was saying “for you” to the church, but not to those outside the church? If so, was Shepherd making the church the object of evangelism?

Ferguson: Shepherd appears to adopt the view of the prevailing academic critique of the covenant theology of the seventeenth century (forcefully presented decades ago by Perry Miller), which suggests that the doctrine of covenant somehow makes God’s secret counsels less harsh. We ought therefore to look at covenant, and not at election. This analysis, both historically and biblically we reject… To use Shepherd’s own citation – the fact is that some passages, e.g. Ephesians 1:1-14, do employ the mode of looking at covenant from the viewpoint of election. Indeed, in that passage it is necessary for the reader to look for covenant in the context of election..” For Shepherd, we ought to speak to people “not in terms of decretal election or reprobation” but rather “in terms of their covenant faithfulness.”

http://www.misterrichardson.com/fergusonbr.html

Not of Works: Norman Shepherd and His Critics, by Ralph Boersema, p 151 quoting Cornelius Venema—“Norman Shepherd’s strength is his insistence on the conditionality of the covenant. The covenant of grace is conditional in its administration. To view salvation in terms of God’s electing grace would make it impossible to do justice to human responsibility and to ward off antinomianism.”

It is not proper, therefore, to set up a dichotomy whereby according to God’s secret will, election or justification cannot be lost, but according to our covenant perspective they may be lost. The statements cited show a tendency to use typically Calvinistic language with respect to the level of God’s secret will, but in the level of “covenant perspective” to use typically Arminian language (Christ died for you; the elect may become reprobate). There is even the notion that Ephesians 1:1–14 does not “function as canon” in relation to God’s unchangeable decree of predestination, but functions as canon only within that “context of the covenant” where “election” maybe lost. This is a misreading of the doctrine of God’s incomprehensibility. That doctrine does not mean that the perspicuously revealed grace of God in election and justification can be regarded as changeable on the covenant level. Meredith G. Kline, Robert D. Knudson, Arthur W. Kuschke, David C. Lachman, George W. Marson, W. Stanford Reid, Paul G. Settle, William Young to the Trustees of Westminster Theological Seminary (December 4, 1980), 5.

Turretin—“The Election of Christ as Mediator should not be extended more widely than the Election of men who are to be saved, so that he was not destined and sent for more than the elect” (Paragraph 19).

Shepherd’s Call of Grace, published by Presbyterian and Reformed and endorsed by Richard Gaffin, p 83—-“To look at covenant from the perspective of election is ultimately to yield to the temptation to be as God.

p 84—“God has wrought a finished and complete redemption, and so salvation (and not merely the possibility of salvation) is offered without equivocation to all…. The Calvinist frequently hedges on the extent of the world, because the saving love of God revealed in the atonement is only for the elect….The Reformed evangelist can and must preach to everyone on the basis of John 3:16 –Christ died to save you.

p 89—“John 15 is often taught by distinguishing two kinds of branches. Some branches are not really in Christ in a saving way. Some are only in Him externally…If this distinction is in the text, it’s difficult to see what the point of the warning is. The outward branches cannot profit from it. because they cannot in any case bear genuine fruit. And the inward branches cannot help but bear good fruit. The words outward and inward are often used in the Reformed community…to account for the fact that the covenant community includes both elect and non-elect. But when Paul uses the terms Romans 2:28-29 , he is not referring to the elect and non-elect. The terms define the difference between covenantally loyal Jews and disobedient transgressors of the law.”

Clair Davis—”Election is not really about evangelism and what we should say then. I think this is the answer that pulls us together, the one that helped Whitefield and Wesley keep on working together, actively evangelizing together.”

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenant election.

https://theecclesialcalvinist.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/hyper-inerrancy-and-the-sectarian-impulse/

http://heidelblog.net/2015/04/shepherdite-theology-covenantal-arminianism/

Doug Wilson — Baptists must view their child as ‘the newly arrived Amalekite sitting sullenly off to the side in his high chair’

Sinclair Ferguson —The paedobaptist covenantal principle enables parents to teach their children in home, Sunday School and congregational worship to pray with theological consistency ‘Our Father in heaven…’

Becoming Reformed and taking sides against Jones and Piper does not keep folks from locating the gospel in Christ’s incarnation instead of Christ’s death for the sins of the elect.
https://www.heartandmouth.org/2017/12/21/remember-calvinists-god-became-man-men-women/

Since Sinclair Ferguson and John Murray have enforced “the Marrow” as the standard shibboleth which says that we can’t deny God’s universal love for all sinners without denying the duty of all sinners to believe, it’s very common now to reject a federal atonement for the sake of an universal atonement “for you” which then gets distributed by the Holy Spirit to only some for whom Christ became incarnate. Instead of election in Christ giving us Christ’s death, the Marrow paradigm insists that the incarnation is for every sinner and then the Holy Spirit “mystically unites” us to Christ’s incarnate person (and then the Holy Spirit gives some of us what Christ did for all of us)

Mark Karlberg review of The Holy Spirit. By Sinclair B. Ferguson. Contours of Christian Theology. Gerald Bray, general editor. Downers Grove, IL, 1996 Ferguson’s model relativises the definitive aspect of soteric justification, the once for-all act of God reckoning sinners righteous in his sight by means of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. In precisely what sense does justification (as one of many benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection) await future consummation? The crux of the new theology lies in its repudiation of the classic Protestant law/ gospel distinction. There is no place in Ferguson’s theology of the covenants for this antithetical contrast with reference to the history of God’s covenant dealings with humankind. Ferguson knows of only one covenant of grace in creation and redemption . For Ferguson, in respect to godliness the indicative and imperative operate within the context of the single covenant of grace, before and after the Fall.. http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/42/42-3/42-3-pp477-555_JETS.pdf

But this confusion of law and gospel is consistent with anybody (Karlberg or Scott Clark or Horton) who teaches that all post-fall covenants are administrations of “the covenant”. if your children need to hear the “for you” of the gospel before they can be commanded with the “for you” of the law, then the difference between Westminster California and Ferguson, Gaffin, and Westminster Philadelphia is not an explanation that removes the “two sides of the mouth” equivocation of “for you” or “for you and your children”

The Marrow says “Christ is dead for you”, but the Marrow does not and cannot say that “Christ’s death purchased faith for you.” The Marrow men has moved God’s imputation of sins to Christ into the present and put all the focus on the Holy Spirit, so that the “application” of the death has become the “atonement”, so that it is denied that God has already imputed the sins of a sinner to Christ (or not). So speudo-Calvinists sound just like Lutherans and Arminians on the extent of the atonement, and what’s left of their Calvinism is only about “regeneration before faith” and also (to be Confessional about it) “regeneration before faith means that you faith is not alone but will produce enough change in you to prove to you that you believe”. But they are all teaching in some sense an universal (and thus unjust) atonement–no sins imputed yet, with the sinners being enabled to “to place you trust in Jesus, so that His death become your punishment also.

Without explanation, “his death becomes your punishment”. Explanation would b rationalistic. Explanation would expose the contradictions. Stay with the equivocation of “for you”.

https://heidelblog.net/2009/11/the-solution-to-a-great-lot-of-problems/

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/01/the-marrow-part-1.php

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

February 16, 2018

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.

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/04/can-humans-merit-before-god-2.php

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/is-the-sanctification-of-a-christian-like-the-justification-of-christ/

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?”

https://rfpa.org/blogs/news/the-charge-of-antinomianism-3-against-an-unconditional-covenant

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).

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/04/merit-could-adam-merit-anythin.php

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.

https://jamesward.bandcamp.com/track/isaiah-53-he-shall-be-satisfied

The Priority of Christ’s Death

November 12, 2017

Why do I keep writing each month on this blog? Why do I care? What’s it really about? What I most care about is God imputing elect sinners with Christ’s death. To me, all my contention is not only about “justification priority”. It all comes down, for me, to “atonement priority”.

Yes, I am against “ecclesiology” becoming the gospel (whether it’s NT Wright or Carl Truman dismissing the “Zwinglians”) But my basic concern is that Christ’s atoning death is outside us sinners. Atonement is not what happens in us experimentally. God’s imputation of Christ’s atonement is not the atonement. The gospel is first of all about Christ’s death for the sins of the elect imputed. If it’s not about that, it’s not the gospel. I object to any idea that we believe in Christ “as a person” without knowing something about the nature of Christ’s atonement. I object to the “experimental” focus on “more and more heartfelt trust” because that “in me” displaces the good news about the the success of Christ’s death.

The atonement has to be defined.—propitiatory offering, satisfaction of God’s law

WCF—“The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice of himself, which he, through the eternal Spirit, ONCE OFFERED UP up to God, hath fully SATISFIED the justice of His Father; and PURCHASED, not only reconciliation, but everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all THOSE WHOM THE FATHER HAS GIVEN UNTO HIM. ”

Whatever it is that joins us to Christ’s atonement (even if it’s “personal presence” as the unionists say), is not the atonement, and is not the object of faith. Christ’s righteousness was obtained once for all time, and is not being accomplished by the Holy Spirit regenerating us or indwelling us. In that sense Christ’s “finished work” has priority over the present intercession or the coming Resurrection Day. God’s present work is based on God’s work already done in Christ. This is not to deny the necessity or importance of the Holy Spirit but to say that Christ gives the Holy Spirit. It is not the Holy Spirit who gives Christ.

The law-gospel antithesis is not about saying the law is not necessary. The law-gospel antithesis is about saying that the gospel is not the law. The gospel is not about the sinner’s unfinished and incomplete obedience to the law. The “unionists” oppose this as “false polarization”. But to include the works of Christians into the final declared justification is to include the works of Christians into the “atonement”.

There has always been a view among some Reformed that they can teach “the indicative of what Christ has accomplished” without addressing the question of the extent of the atonement. But the nature of Christ’s righteousness cannot be clearly taught without saying that only the sins of the elect were imputed to Christ.

If Christ in some sense bore the sins of sinners who are eventually not justified, then Christ’s death cannot be taught as that which totally satisfies the demands of God’s law in a “complete” atonement” . Not talking about Christ’s death in terms of election (but only in terms of “covenant”) results in a very GRAY “now but not yet ” gospel which brings into the mix ( in our conscience and before God) books of the works of sinners (enabled somewhat by the Holy Spirit) .

Calvin — “When in scripture death only is mentioned, everything peculiar to the resurrection is at the same time included, and that there is a like synecdoche in the term resurrection.” (Institutes 2:16:13)

Fesko—“The resurrection does more than prepare its object for undergoing the judgment. The resurrection of the church is not the anticipation of the issue of judgment, but is de jure the final judgment.”

1 Timothy 3:16 “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.”

If you are going to put your hope in two kinds of righteousness, it certainly would make sense to have two aspects of justification. But there is only one justification, and it is based on Christ’s death (and resurrection).

How was Christ justified? Not by becoming born again by the Holy Spirit. Christ was justified by satisfying the righteous requirement of the law for the sins imputed to Christ. Christ was justified by His death. Christ needed to be justified because Christ legally took the guilt of His elect, and this guilt demanded His death. Christ was not justified because of His resurrection. Christ’s resurrection was God’s declaration because of Christ’s death.

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, but the life he lives he lives to God.”

Christ was declared to be just, not simply by who He was as an incarnate person, but by what Christ had done in satisfaction to the law. No righteousness was shared to Christ from others, because Christ earned His own justification by His own death. Romans 4:24-25 –Righteousness will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was handed over because of our sins and raised because of our justification.

The legal value and merit of Christ’s death is shared by God with the elect sinner, as Romans 6 says, when they are placed into that death. So there’s only the one righteousness. In the case of the justified elect, Christ’s one death is legally shared with them by God, and this one death is enough, because counted to them that one death completely satisfies the law for righteousness. (Romans 10:4)

Romans 6:7–“For one who has died has been justified from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

The Norman Shepherd (“federal vision”) problem creeps in when people begin to think that since Christ was justified by what Christ did, then the elect also must be justified by what they are enabled to do. But there are NOT two justifications, one now by imputation, and another in the future, where we will be justified like Christ was. We are ONLY justified by what Christ did, and NOT by what Christ is now doing in us. Christ is not to be justified by what Christ will do, because Christ has already been justified by His obedience to law (even to death)

Hebrews 9: 26 now Christ has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (27 as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, the judgment) 28 so also the Messiah, HAVING BEEN offered ONCE to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

When Hebrews 9:28 tells us that Christ “appears a second time not to deal with sin,” this is not a denial of a future judgment after death for the non-elect. The Triune God will deal with the sin of the non-elect.

The point of Hebrews 9:28 is that the sins of the elect have already been dealt with once at the cross. This was not a provisional dealing with, the efficacy of which is yet to be determined by what God does in some of the sinners for whom Christ died.. Even the elect sinner’s faith in the gospel is a result and not a condition of Christ’s past dealing with sin and God having placed that sinner into Christ’s death.

Hebrews 9:26-28 depends on this one time dealing with sins in the past. The point is eliminated by those who teach that Christ was given for everybody and that sins now are dealt with by the Holy Spirit’s giving to some what was done for all. https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=111514231124

Our faith does not impute Christ’s righteousness to us. Nor does God wait for our faith before God imputes Christ’s righteousness to us.

What is imputed to us? Christ’s atonement is imputed to us. It’s not the present status and work of Christ which is imputed to us. It’s the merit of Christ’s finished work of law satisfaction which is imputed to us. “Merely” Christ’s atonement. “Only” Christ’s righteousness.

I am not interested at all in any “common grace” or “prevenient grace” in which “baptism” fails to save those joined to Christ’s death.

“therefore all died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14 Smeaton—Paul uses two expressions interchangeably; that is, “He died for all”, and “all died in Him.” Paul is describing the same thing from two different points of view. The first of these expressions describes the vicarious death of Christ as an objective fact. The second phrase speaks of the same great transaction, in terms that indicate that we too have done it. So then, we may either say, “Christ died for us”, or “we died in Him.” Both are true. We can equally affirm that He was crucified for us, or we were co-crucified with Him. We are not referring here to two acts-one on Christ’s side and another on ours. Rather,we have but one public representative, corporate act performed by the Son of God, in which we share as truly as if we had accomplished the atonement ourselves.

Theopolis Institute– “Baptism didn’t fit nicely in an order of salvation chain in Reformed theology. But now that we understand baptism to bring one into union with Christ, it means the person baptized has all the benefits of Christ as long as he abides and remains in that union.”

Gaffin — “Paul does not view the justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification of the believer as separate, distinct acts but as different facets or aspects of the one act of incorporation with the resurrected Christ….
“A person is engrafted into union with the resurrected Christ. As a result of this union, one is justified, adopted, sanctified, glorified–and all the other benefits of this union—at the moment one has faith in Christ. BUT“…for Paul the justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification of the believer are future as well as present.”

Theopolis Institute—Most people are taught in Reformed churches to think linearly about salvation but “…if ‘washing’ on which ‘regeneration’ is directly dependent in Titus 3:5, refers to BAPTISM, then what Romans 6:3 teaches concerning BAPTISM as a sign and seal of incorporation with the resurrected Christ, and so the implications of that incorporation, will have to be brought to bear. Soteriology didn’t simply have “implications” on ecclesiology. Soteriology is ecclesiology. To be BAPTIZED into the Christian church is to be BAPTIZED into Jesus Christ. Historically, Reformed theology had a significant amount of ambiguity over what BAPTISM accomplished. If BAPTISM justified the child then, the child would be in the “golden CHAIN” and couldn’t fall away. Yet, the fact remained that many who are baptized did (and still do) fall away.

https://theopolisinstitute.com/the-changing-face-of-reformed-theology/

As I have argued many times in this blog, nobody gets away from “causal relationships” between “links”. One side can say the other side has “links” and their own side is “organic” (no causes, no links) but then they assume that “union” means “Christ in us” has priority and then they have to answer the question about what “causes” union. Does the Spirit’s gift of faith cause the union, or is the Spirit’s gift of faith the result of union? If the Spirit baptizes us into Christ, is that “Baptism” that which is administrated by church clergy? One side can accuse the other side—you look within, we look outside, but if neither side is pointing to Christ’s finished atonement outside us but instead pointing to “more and more indwelling and enabling”, they are both looking at the life of sinners, of Christians, instead of looking to Christ’s death.

Most Lutherans and Reformed folks are NOT looking to Christ’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ. Many of them are telling us to “look to our baptism”. Some Reformed and “sovereign grace” folks seem to think that God saves without the gospel. Some even have the patronizing sectarian idea that “others are not as well well taught ”…

Do we need to know the nature of the atonement to know the gospel? Yes. Do we need to know the extent of the atonement to know the nature of the atonement? Yes. If we think that the nature of the atonement is what God does by grace “in us”, does knowing the extent of such an “atonement” teach us the gospel? No.

Christ’s atoning death is outside us sinners. God’s imputation of Christ’s atonement is not the atonement. Whatever it is that joins us to Christ’s atonement (even if it’s regeneration or indwelling or “personal participation” as the unionists say), is not the atonement , and not the object of faith. The gospel is about Christ’s death for the sins of the elect imputed. I object to the objection to “different links” because “union” tends to turn out to always mean “ Christ in me” instead of “I died in Christ” or I am “justified in Christ”. The “union” party often does not deny but simply displaces the good news about the justice and the success of Christ’s death.

Beale—“initial justification and consummative justification (twofold justification) are grounded in believers’ union with Christ, the former coming by faith, and the latter through the threefold demonstration of the bodily resurrection, evaluation of works, and public announcement to the cosmos.” (525 NTBT)

Westminster Confession, Chapter 3: VI. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

Without the clear teaching (in the WCF) about redemption for the elect only, the propitiatory offering (Ephesians 5) will continue to be seen (as it is by “evangelicals”) as something conditioned on what God does in the sinner. God has offered to God a righteousness in Christ so that God’s justice requires each person for whom Christ died be given all the blessings of “salvation”, including the effectual call and faith in the true gospel.

Machen: From the cold universalism of the Arminian creed we turn ever again with a new thankfulness to the warm and tender individualism of …the gospel. Thank God we can say, as we contemplate Christ upon the Cross, not just: “He died for the mass of humanity, and how glad I am that I am amid that mass,” but: “He loved me and gave Himself for me; my name was written from all eternity upon His heart, and when He hung and suffered there on the Cross He thought of me, even me, as one for whom in His grace He was willing to die.

If we go back behind NT Wright and Gaffin (meeting with Federal Visionists, Faith not Sight) or even Daniel Fuller and Cranfield (the law misunderstood) we get to Norman Shepherd “The prophets and apostles viewed election from the perspective of the covenant of grace, whereas Reformed theologians of a later day have tended to view the covenant of grace from the perspective of election. The result of this, is that the reformed preacher no longer says “Christ died for you” – but, when these words are construed, not from the point of view of election, but of the covenant, then The Reformed evangelist can and must say on the basis of John 3:16,”Christ died for you.”

http://basketoffigs.org/NewPerspectives/Jones.htm

But Christ did not die “for you”. Christ died only for the elect. You cannot know if you are elect until you believe the gospel. And the good news is that Christ died only for the elect, and this is good news because the death of Christ really really did take away the sins of the elect (both guilt and punishment). Does this mean that elect people don’t sin? No. It means that their sins are paid for in advance. I realize that this is not good news for most people who describe themselves Christian. They want a religion that really makes people better than they otherwise would be. But the good news (only for those who believe the gospel is that our salvation is not conditional on our ever in this age getting any better.

Jeremiah 32:40 “I will put fear of Me in their hearts so they will never again turn away from Me.”

Letter to My Local Pca Pastor

October 13, 2017

Last night I went to see Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames, a program co-sponsered by you and your congregation. What I saw and heard was a false gospel and a false Christ.

The cross was presented as something that the devil did to Jesus. There was no presentation of “sin” as that which demands the justice of God so that God gives the Son to satisfy justice for the sins of His people.

The cross was presented in the first five minutes as something that MADE NO DIFFERENCE at the end. Since it was clearly said several times that Jesus died for every person, nobody in the audience could conclude that the difference between saved and lost was Christ’s death on the cross.

(Big deal! he died for those in hell too)
Time after time, the difference was said to be what the listeners did. So there was no good news at all last night, but only commands to believe in a false Christ and a false gospel.

In the end Satan gets people for whom Jesus died. That ideas brings dishonor and reproach to Jesus and His work. Care you more for the approval of other clergy persons than do you do for the honor of Christ?

The entire presentation was one long appeal to the flesh, to the natural mind. Sample statements:
You all got a “knower”.
You got to humble yourself.
You got to have the courage to say the prayer.
It’s up to you in the next 60 seconds.
He’s the path, but you are the chooser.
You got to really mean it.
If you will stand up, you will be a “special person”.
God will not throw it in your lap.
It’s God’s gift, but your accepting the gift is the difference.
If you say this after me, your name will be written in the book.
And most infamously: “just do it!”
And then people clapped when they did it.

And I cried.

Before I was converted, I was more theologically sophisticated than other folks, and I would have been “righteously offended” . But I cried, helpless, not knowing what to do or to say. “God, do you want me to stand up and interrupt when they say that Jesus died for those who go to hell?” Maybe I should have. I don’t want to be a fatalist. I don’t want to shirk my responsibility to the truth. But then again, I want people to be offended at the gospel, not at me. It wasn’t my meeting. It wasn’t my church. It wasn’t my Christ who was being “pitched”.

The trouble is that you don’t preach the gospel because you don’t preach particular redemption. Thus you avoid the offense of saying that the difference between saved and lost is the death of Jesus (and that all those for whom Jesus died will be brought to faith in the true gospel and saved from the sin of idolatry involved in believing the false gospel.)

You may on occasion talk in code language that reassures some people that you believe what the WCF says about particular redemption. But you avoid the antithesis. Thus you avoid the truth. You agree that you only have another interpretation but speak peace to those who say that God is neither wise nor holy nor just in saving all for whom Jesus died.

I think you tolerate and sponsor what you really believe. If you think of Heaven’s Gates as the gospel, or even as “pre-evangelism”, then you do not really believe the gospel. “Unconditional grace” without preaching the just and effective death of Christ is not the gospel, but merely lawlessness. Romans 1:17–“in the gospel a righteousness is revealed”…

What was “sin” in the presentation? Doing drugs, social drinking, not going to church, and, ultimately, not accepting Jesus. But Romans 10:3 teaches us that it is sin to try to establish our own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God is not out there to be taken at people’s discretion.

The righteousness of God demands that those for whom Christ died will not only stop hating God and His righteousness but also that all of the elect be forgiven for their sin of hating God and His righteousness. When you abridge the gospel, you substitute your own wisdom for that of God.

What am I to do when nineteen clergymen say to the town in which I live that this is the gospel? I am not a pessimist: I do not believe that Satan ultimately rules even this present age. . But I know that Satan is behind the presentation I saw last night. Satan does not wear a red cape. He substitutes a false gospel for the real one and calls it grace

Your believing will not Cause you to be Born Again

July 1, 2017

John 3:18 The one who believes not is condemned ALREADY

John 3:36 The one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God REMAINS on them

Not all sins, not all sin, was laid on the Savior
But every sin which was laid on Christ has been paid for by Christ’s death
No sin is paid for by our believing

The believer who points to their believing and says that this believing made peace
is not yet believing the true gospel.
Different believers believe different gospels

Even if you don’t think your believing is the righteousness,
if you believe that Christ’s righteousness was for everybody
then you certainly don’t think it’s Christ’s righteousness which saves those who are save

I Peter 2:24 who his own self bore OUR sins in his body on the tree
I Corinthians 15 Christ died FOR OUR SINS according to the Scripture

The gospel is not about how God COULD save somebody
The gospel is about how God WILL save all for whom Christ died
The gospel is not about sinners already being saved before they believe
The gospel is not about sinners being saved without knowing or believing.

The gospel is about Christ having been imputed with all the sins of those God loves
The gospel is about Christ’s death one time taking away God’s wrath for those sins
The gospel is about God imputing Christ’s death to the elect and giving them faith in that death as the righteousness which will give every blessing of salvation

II Peter 1:1 Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ:To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Christ’s blood means Christ’s death
Christ’s righteousness means Christ’s death
satisfies God’s wrath against sins

God does not buy God’s love for His people
God’s love for God’s people is the reason God buys His people
Christ’s righteousness pays for God’s people

Romans 5:8 But God proves His own love for US in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! 9 Much more then, since we have NOW been declared righteous by His blood, we WILL BE SAVED through Christ from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the DEATH of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, WILL WE BE SAVED by His resurrection

Ephesians 1:7 in Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to His grace

All for whose sins Christ died were first objects of God’s love
God’s elect are not loved because they believe
God’s elect believe the gospel only because of God’s grace

Those who believe the gospel are free from condemnation
passed from death to life
but NOT because they believe and NOT because God always saw that they would believe
believing the gospel is a gift of grace purchased by Christ’s death

Romans 8: If God is for us, who is against us?
32 God did not even hold back His own Son
but handed Him over for US all;
how will God not also ( along with His Son) GIVE us everything else?
33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?
God is the One who justifies.
34 Who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus is the One who died,
but even more, has been raised;
Christ Jesus also is at the right hand of God
and intercedes for us.

All for whom Christ died will in time believe the gospel
the gospel is not that Christ died for all sins and all sinners
you can’t know if Christ died for you until after you believe the gospel

But how can you believe if you don’t know first if Christ died for you?
The gospel is not that Christ died for you
Christ died for the specific sins of the elect as propitiation for those sins

Those who believe the gospel are those for whom Christ died
NOTHING IN THE BIBLE SAYS THAT CHRIST DIED FOR ANYBODY WHO NEVER BELIEVES THE GOSPEL

Hebrews 9:12 Christ entered once into the holy place, HAVING OBTAINED PERMANENT REDEMPTION for US

But how can you believe if you don’t know if God will give you believing?

how can you take a breath without knowing if God will give you another breath?

Why would you not want to breathe?

why would you insist on knowing that Jesus died for you before you would believe?

Would you like it better if Jesus died for everybody even though not everybody will be saved from God’s wrath?

Would you like it better if at least your believing was not a gift God gives also along with the death of Jesus?

Would you like it better if it was not the death of Jesus that made the difference but instead your believing?

would you like it better if God loved those who will perish under God’s wrath just as much as God loved those who God will save?

Would God be more righteous to you if Christ’s death was not enough to turn sinners into those who believe what God says about Christ’s death?

would God be more righteous to you if God did not care what you believe about believing making the difference?

Does Christ’s righteousness depend on what you do with that righteousness?

II Corinthians 5: 17 If anyone is in Christ, there is new creation. Old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 18 Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us to serve the reconciliation: 19 In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against THEM , and God has committed the message of reconciliation to US. 20 Therefore, WE are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through US. WE plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”