Archive for the ‘baptism’ category

Cursed by Abraham’s Covenant of Grace? Scott Clark Keeps on Begging the Question – The Covenant Not only the Elect but Some of the Non-Elect?

April 9, 2019

Reformed folks need to flatten all post-fall covenants down to one covenant. Even though they are reluctant to water teenagers and adults who they suspect do not believe the gospel, they want to keep holding onto their own baby baptisms by continuing to water infants and little children related to some adult joining their “church”, which “church” they flatten into one group (excluding those groups who won’t water babies) they call “the church”

Scott Clark — Four times the Lord expressed his covenant promise or the covenant of grace (they are synonyms)

mm—since “the covenant of grace” is something made up by Reformed sacramentalists, “one covenant of grace” turns out to be the same thing as the idea that God only made one promise to Abraham.
Scott Clark will concede some distintion between the Mosaic covenant and the Abraham covenant, but this is only in order to equate “the one covenant of grace” with “the covenant of Abraham”. And even when it comes to the Mosaic covenant, Scott Clark wants to keep his Confessional langauge about the Levitical sacrifices being one “administration” of “the covenant of grace”. It’s not clear if Scott Clark thinks this means Christ’s sacramental presence was available (on conditions) to those who used the animal sacrifices preacticed by Moses and Abraham.

Scott Clark — The NT appeals to Genesis chapters 12, 15, 17, and 22 as examples to explain to NT Christians the nature of the covenant of grace. Such use of Abraham only makes sense on the ASSUMPTION that Abraham and we are members of the same covenant

mm—-Assumption is the correct word. Scott Clark begins to beg the question by saying that no other view (than his, which is not the same even as other Reformed folks who talk about the Mosaic covenant in equal terms as administrations of “the covenant of grace”)

Scott Clark — Abraham was united by grace alone through faith alone, to Christ by the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

mm–Not one Bible text teaches that the Holy Spirit puts us or anybody in Christ. Not one Bible text teaches that the Holy Spirit puts Christ in us. But the Reformed Confession teach this. But the Bible teachss that election in Christ puts the elect in Christ. God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect puts them into Christ’s righteousness and thus into justification. Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit to the elect means that Christ is indwelling the elec . But reformed folks prefer not to talk about election, and would rather talk about “the covenant”. “Election” practically to them means that “my physical children begin life in the covenant” and theefore we never have to talk about non-election. We can simply assume that everybody present is a child of Abraham and a child of the covenant. “You are here. You are us”

God promised Abraham lots of land
God did not promise you or us lots of land

God promised Abraham that one of his children would be Jesus

God did not promise you or us that one of your children will be Jesus

There is not going to be another Jesus

The God of Abraham is living
but like David, Abraham himself is not now living, not anywhere, not even in hades or paradise

Abraham is dead
Abrahm needs to be resurrected
Abraham needs Jesus to come back to earth so that the “firstfruits” will be raised also from the dead
Abraham believed in resurrection

Scott Clark continues to carciature those who disagree with him. Scott Clark continues to beg the question, by equating one gospel with one “the covenant” and one “the church”. Instead of seeing the animal sacrifices and types in the Abrahamic covenant as only pointing to Christ, Scott Clark keeps assuming those types are pointing to the nature of “church” and of “the covenant”. Since there is only one gospel, he argues, we can’t have a new covenant, therefore we can only have one “the covenant of grace”

I am not so sure that we should say that Adam or Melchizedek are Abraham’s children. Galatians does not only point to the covenant with Abraham. Galatians speaks of “before faith came” and “after faith came”.

Galatians 3:14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that WE receive the promised
Spirit through faith.

Not only the one child is Abraham’s child. Galatians 3: 22 the promise by faith in Jesus Christ is given to THOSE WHO BELIEVE. 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we would be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 but children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then YOU ALSO are Abraham’s children

Saying that there is only “the one church” is like saying that there is only the one Israel—-what does it mean to say that?

Is the one Israel Christ himself, and has nothing to do with any distinction between those who know and believe the gospel and those who do not know and believe the gospel?

Is the one Israel a collective (not one person but one group)—all who believe the gospel are one?

Is the one Israel all the physical children of the specific genealogical line between Jacob and Christ, and therefore “one group” that includes both some of those who believe the gospel and some who don’t believe the gospel?

Ephesians 4: 4 There is one body and one Holy Spirit—just as you were
called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one
baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all
and in all. 7 Now grace was given to EACH one of US according to the
measure of Christ’s gift . 8 Because Psalm 68 says:
When He ascended on high,
He took prisoners into captivity;
He gave gifts to people.[

Scott Clark— Why Abraham and not Noah? after all, the covenant of grace was first announced to and through Noah (Genesis 6:18).

So was Noah a child of Abraham?

Scott Clark—The New Testament focuses on Abraham, however. in the history of redemption after Abraham, the Holy Spirit uses the promises given through and to him as the pattern (the paradigm) to explain God’s grace during the period of the temporary national covenant with Israel. Also, Paul appeals to Abraham because of the particular challenge he faced, namely helping Jewish and Gentile Christians to understand that they were both heirs of and participants in the same covenant of grace. Were Abraham merely a father of NT Christians or were the Abrahamic merely a covenant of grace and not the covenant of grace, then Paul’s entire case is changed considerably.

mm–In begging the question, Scott Clark uses the word “merely” quite a bit (at least he doesn’t use the trendy word “robust”) Scott Clark gives us false alternatives–“the covenant of grace” or “merely the father of believers”? Answer one, the only covenant of grace which is mediated by Christ’s death and which gives justification is the new covenant—Christ’s death was for those of all time elected to justification. Answer two, no Abraham was not merely the father of believerss, and nobody says that about Abraham. Not either or, but also. Abraham was also the father of Christ. Abraham was also the father of all physical Jews. Abraham was the father of the specific Jews who were in the bloodline leading to Christ (Isaac, not Ishmael). This does not mean that only the Jews in that genealogy were justified before God. This does not meaan that all the Jews in the genealogy were justified. Ishmael may have been justified. Isacc may not have been jusified.

Paul applies the typology of Isaac’s birth in Romans 9 to teach that justification before God is rooted in God’s sovereign election apart from works –“not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” Romans 9 does this by showing that Isaac’s physical birth was according to God’s sovereign election and that Jacob’s selection as the one through whom the Abrahamic Covenant would continue.

https://www.the-highway.com/articleFeb98.html

Romans 9:6 “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Here Paul is not distinguishing between two groups within Israel, the justified and the conemned. od’s covenant promises to these two groups are not the same. Some of ethnic Israel gets to serve in the genealogy of Jesus Chrsit. This those whos sered this way are not necessarily ” saved”. And ethnic Jews not in the gegnealoy of not necessarily “not saved” There are different promises to differnt groups within the group. Not only is there a diffrence between being in the genealogy and not being in, but also ultimtely a DIFFERENT DIFFERENCE between being elect to justification or not being.

God did not make one lump and then leave the rest, God made two lumps

Romans 11:1 I ask, then, has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Philippians 3 If anyone else thinks they has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised as a child of Abraham the eighth day; of the nation of Israel.

Contrary to what many Jews commonly thought, ethnic Israel as a whole was not chosen for justification before God but for service. Not only the Mosaaic covenant but also the Abrahaamic covenant has promises to physical Israel These promises had to do only with the role of the nation in God’s historical plan of redemption. Their election to be children of Abraham was utilitarian, like creation or redemption from Egypt, not like redemption from the guilt of sin before God . Something in one of the promises to Abraham can be a “type or picture” of some other promise to Abraham. Those who believe the gospel are pormise lasting life. Those who get to escape Egypt are not all promised lasting life. The children of those who have lasting life are not promised lasting life. Many Jews themselves thought that any kind of election involved the promise of justification for individuals, but they were mistaken. Scott Clark is wrong to confuse the covenants, and wrong to confuse the promises. Scott Clark’s confusion is elierate because Scott Clark denies that those who won’t water babies are part of “the true church”.

Scott Clark– Rejection of the status of Christian children continues to perpetuatea principle of radical discontinuity between Abraham and the Christian, i.e. a radical principle of discontinuity in the history of redemption . This denial of the fundamental unity of THE COVENANT OF GRAACE as symbolized in the administration of the sign and seal of the covenant of grace to covenant childre, is serious enough to warrant saying that any congregation that will not practice infant initiation (baptism) into the administration of THE COVENANT OF GRACE is not a church. Sacerdotalism is where the thing signified (salvation) is completely identified with the sign (e.g., baptism or the Supper). The minister becomes a priest dispensing salvation. This approach almost always turns THE COVENANT OF GRACE into a covenant of works. The recipient is said to receive salvation provisionally from the use of the sacrament but that salvation must be retained by cooperation with grace (conditions).

https://rscottclark.org/category/reforming-evangelicals/

Scott Clark is Goldilocks, perfectly balanced and patronizing to all on both sides, both theonomists and credobpaptists.

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

Scott Clark–The opposite error is to divorce salvation from the signs, so that the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments lose theirimport. When the Word and sacraments become marginal, what matters is the quality of one’s religious experience more than what the Reformed call “the due use of ordinary means.”

Scott Clark explains how God the Holy Spirit makes Christians by means of Arminianism but that it takes time to become “Reformed—“You said to yourself, “Okay. I am Reformed.” You are not alone. You have joined a tradition with roots as old as Scripture and as deep as the great Christian tradition This does not mean that we do not appreciate other traditions or learn from them. Because we have, as it were, a place to stand, we have the freedom to engage openly and honestly with other traditions.

mark–In anything I have ever read in print, Scott Clark has NEVER engaged honestly or even good-naturedly with Lutherans or anabaptists (who Scott Clark defines the people who killed magistrates in Munster)

Scott clark: When people leave modern evangelical Christianity for Reformed theology, piety, and practice they sometimes imagine that can simply add their new understanding of salvation to their earlier theology, piety, and practice

mark–Having never repented of baby baptism or of the false gospel of Arminianism, Scott Clark assumes that he and others were already Christians when they were Arminians. Scott Clark just wants you to move on gradually , notw from the Arminian false gospel https://www.agradio.org/it-takes-time-to-become-reformed.html

There are some who, when they find out that the bus is going the wrong direction, walk toward the other end of the bus. Scott Clark welcomes to the true church those who come from churches that were never true churches. Neither water nor repentance required.

Scott Clark– I cannot see how those congregations that deny baptism to the children of believers can be regarded as true churches, since they lack one of the marks. I am happy, however, to come out out of church into the common or out of the rooms and into the hallway to talk with folk from other traditions, e.g., Baptists, Pentecostals, and Dispensationaists There is one standard for the Western church prior to the Reformation and another standard after. Once the Word had been recovered, the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, there is no excuse to corrupt the administration of baptism by denying
it to the children of believers.

Scott Clark not only assumes that baptists are stupid, but assumes that if they ever get less stupid, then they will all agree with him.

Scott Clark–Baptists have a very difficult time even UNDERSTANDING the Reformed understanding of the distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of THE COVENANT OF GRACE

Despite being identified as “new covenant”, John Piper followss the “one covenant of grace” view of his mentor Daniel Fuller when it comes to exegeis in his book on Romans 9, The justification of God. Piper attempts to read justification before God content into all the different blessings described in Romans 9:4–5. Piper concludes that “each of the benefits listed in 9:4, 5 has saving, eschatological implications for Israel,” and then proceeds to try to explain why such benefits were not enjoyed by all Jews. In a smilar way, Piper has informed us that he believes all that Arminians believe, plus some more extra, without any thought of antithesis or contradiction. Piper teaches a general atonement for “you and us” but also wants to add that Christ’s death otains other blessings for the elect. No wonder Piper welcomes those with only baby water into his “membership”

His friend at Southern Baptist Seminary, Tom Schreiner agrees with Piper saying that “the word of God has not failed”—refers to God’s promises to justify his people Israel.

What act of election is intended in Rom9:11—13—an election which determines the destiny of individuals to obtain the lasting life of the age to come , or an election which MERELY assigns to individuals and nations the roles they are to play in history

Those who equate the covenant with Abraaham as THE COVENANT OF GRACE view all of the post-fall covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New) as various “administrations” of the same covenant. Then they argue that all these covenants which they make one covenant) are all made with NOT ONLY THE ELECT BUT ALSO WITH SOME OF THE NON-ELECT

But even the Westminster Longer Catehcism 31 Answers: The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

The elect to be ethnic Jews? The elect to be in the genealogy of Christ? The elect to be justified before God?

Scott Clark would argue that he is nothing like the “mono-covenantalists” like Doug Wilson and other theonomists. In some situations, Scott Clark boasts in making a distinction between the Abrahamic and the Mosaic covenant, even though Scott Clark agrees whtat national and land promises were made to Abrahaa, Scott Clark also boasts in not only having THE COVENANT OF GRACCE, but also ‘the covenant of works” (once in force, or stll in force, it means he’s not “mono-covenantal) But Scott Clark is not as much diferent from Doug Wilson as he claims. Scott Clark confuses his ecclesiology (they are not a true church) with the gospel itself, which means that his false gospel is about grace helping people keep the conditions of assurance “staying in the covenant”, because Scott Clark has already agreed that THE COVENANT OF GRACE INCLUDES NOT ONLY THE ELECT BUT ALSO WITH SOME OF THE NON-ELECT

Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenant election. But we do not drag the decrees down into our understanding of history — we let God unfold His unchangeable decrees throughout the process of all history. The content of the ultimate decrees is none of our current business, although we cheerfully acknowledge that the decrees are really there and that they have an unchanging content.”

This is what I mean by “begging the question” . These guys think it’s “catholic” and large of them to “let God “reveal in the Bible that there is a decretal election. When Doug Wilson “understands” that we can’t understand decretal election, he fails to make a distinction between knowing that there is such an election, and knowing who is elect. While the Bible does not tell who is elect, God does reveal that all the elect and only the elect will believe the gospel. But Doug Wilson “understands” the gospel as that which does not talk about decretal election. The “some of the non-elect are in the covenant” false gospel does not tell the good news about Christ having only died for the decretally elect, nor does that anti-gospel tell the good news about the decretally elect hearing and believing the true gospel.

The ultimate way we can tell people that the gospel is “outside of you” is to tell them that the gospel they MUST believe excludes even this believing as the condition of salvation. The only basis for justification for the elect is Christ’s death for the elect. No debated language about the objectivity of “covenant” or “sacraments” should be allowed to obscure this gospel truth. Unless you preach that Christ died only for the elect, no matter how
“confessional” you are, you will end up encouraging people to make faith into that little something that makes the difference between life and death!

When the Bible talks about God’s love, it talks about propitiation. I John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” If all we only stipulate that the appeasement of wrath will not work without our faith, then it’s not enough to add on that God sent His son to purchase our faith. The nature of the cross as a propitiation will not be proclaimed. Instead a James Boice (sermons on Psalm 22) will turn the gospel into law, and tell sinners that the atonement was for them but they “ruined” it for themselves.

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”(p 60, call of Grace). 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.”

mark: Does this mean that Shepherd was saying “for you” to the “one true church”, but not to those outside the one covenant and one church? Was Norman Shepherd making “the true church” the object of evangelism?

Mike Horton: To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership (693), then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to exercise faith and persevere in faith to the end? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they FAALL UNDER THE COVENAANT CURSE without Christ as their mediator. The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/kingdom-covenant-michael-horton/

MM—Either you are justified or you are not justified. If you are justified now, you don’t need to be justified. If you are not justified now, then you need to be justified. You either are already elect or not, but even if you are elect, if you don’t know the gospel yet, then you are not justified yet. And no peacher should be giving aassurance that you are justified. Not should any preacher be giving you assurance that you are now part of the “true church” or a member of THE COVENANT OF GRACE.

If this were a simple case of knowing (or not knowing) the antithesis between imperative and indicative, I think we could talk clearly about the difference between the gospel and the command for all sinners to believe the gospel. But when a proclaim-not explain “anti-rationalist agenda” is added to the law gospel distinction by means of the archetypal vs ectypal shibboleth, the ambiguity introduced includes the idea that God’s command to believe the gospel is also God’s desire that the non-elect (already in “the covenant”) believe the gospel. And then comes the “not yet the eschaton” and “our imperfect works” which
will supposedly figure into “more assuraance” and the “final aspect” of justification.

some final sarcasm—When the clergy rhetoric says “nothing to do with your beleiving” and that “the snow is for you”. they can always make qualifications. This is both true and not true. There are two senses of justification but only one justification. And then also—there are two kinds of righteousness, not only the death but also the law-keeping, butin a snese only one righteousness.

Some clever “ministers” will not say “it snowed for you” but they will say that “the snow is for you”. These “anti-Rationalists” oppose those who reduce the God of the Bible to “mental propositions” To really be rational about the need to “appropriate in the endd” the snow, we need to understand that our sovereign God is also free to reveal that God had nothing to do with non-election and even now wants the non-elect to become elect. At least some of the non-elect are already born into “the covenant”

This is why Horton and Shepherd explain that “the snow is promised to everyone in the covenant of grace” but also say that those who do not believe in the snow will receive the curses of the covenant of the covenant of grace. “Given the necessary chasm between God and the creature, all revelation is necessarily an accommodation.” Thus the anti-rationalists claim for themselves a “theology of the cross” and accuse others as those who glory in their own rationalism. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/reformed-theology-vs-hyper-calvinism/

All I am saying is that the snow gets gray. If we were to say that “it snowed for you”, that would be too abstract and impersonal. But if we say that “the snow is for you”, that opens up space for “winsom wooing” and lets sinners know that they are responsible for their own history. Get to “the true church” and the means of grace on time.

Scott Clark brings different terms to the debate—archetypal and ectypal theology—but is simply resorting to the old distinction between God’s hidden and revealed will to dispel the charge that the well-meant offer posits two contradictory wills in God. But this distinction between God’s hidden and revealed wills does not help to explain or mitigate the sheer contradiction involved in teaching that God desires to save the non-elect.

This effort to relieve the tension of the contradiction in which the offer involves gets us nowhere. The will of God to save only some, not all, is not hidden but revealed. It is found in every page of the Scriptures. It is Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 22:14. God has chosen only some (“few”) to be justified in distinction from the others (“many”). The distinction leaves us right where we were before the distinction was invented: they are teaching that God has two, diametrically opposite, conflicting wills.

Those who believe the gospel know God as a God who only ever loves the elect and hates the non-elect not because they have peered behind revelation and seen God’s archetypal or ectypal knowledge directly, but because God has revealed this truth to us through the gospel found in the Bible It was not about “having a preacher” who told us —you are justified, now believe you are justified.

http://www.prca.org/prtj/April2012.pdf

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Becoming Reformed means Accepting Roman Catholics as True Church and not Repenting of Infant Baptism

April 1, 2019

Becoming Reformed these days has nothing to do with teaching that Christ died only for the elect. The Reformed clergyman may on occasion teach that election helped you to believe in the false Christ who died for everyone. But the Reformed not only don’t teach elecction on Sunday morning. They don’t teach at any time that God only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ.

Instead the Reformed teach that Christ’s death has “infinite and sufficient” potential for all sinners. Instead of teaching election, the Reformed teach “infant baptism” The Reformed teach that even the water adminstered by the “Roman Catholic Church” has saving efficaccy, not necessarly at the time of the watering, but at some later point.

it is not a problem for Reformed people to accept the infant baptism of the “Roman Catholics” because even if they don’t agreethat the “Roman Catholics” teach the gospel,the Reformed teach that they and their children become Christians without hearing and believing the gospel. They take the “sovereignty of God” to mean that God does not need the gospel as a means to save sinners.

Though they accept Arminianism as one “good enough gospel”, though they accept Roman Catholicism as gospel, it’s not that big a deal to them, because many of the Reformed think that Christians are Christians already without conversion or gospel. Along with the rest of ritual Christendom, the Reformed believe that water baptism is not something they do but rather something that God does. They believe that, even though God is sovereign, God does not save apart from water baptism. (Even though they say they don’t do the baptism but that God does, the reformed will offer to baptise you, on the condition that you have not already been baptised by some other group –Roman Catholics, Arminians, whatever just so long as they said the word Trinity).

Even though they argue that infant baptism is much better in showing inability and passivity, the Reformed will also boast about “we do baptism for adults also” but only in the cases when the Roman Catholics or somebody else didn’t baptise you as a baby first. Then the Reformed brag about how tolerant and “catholic” they are—-since they teach the potential saving efficacy of infant baptism, they don’t ask for “re-baptism”, but will even offer you “second-rate” adult baptism if you haven’t had the best kind (infant baptism).

So in most cases “becoming Reformed” has nothing to do with election or the nature and extent of Chrsit’s death. “Becoming Reformed” meaans learning a word that is not in the Bible—the word “sacrament”–and then being indoctrinated that water baptism is something that God does to bring salvation.

No, they are not saying that water baptism automatically brings salvation. A few of them, some of the Reformed, will even mumble something about the “grace of baptism” possibily bringing a “greater curse” on those “in the covenant”. Though they are not teaching that water baptism immediately causes their children to become Christian, they do think their children should be thought of as Christians, not because of any evidence that they have heard or believed the gospel, but because the parents and “church” had God Himself baptise them with water.

the song says
Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had Father Abraham

The Bible says that not all Israel is Israel
Not all the children of Abrahaam are children of Abraham
Many children of Abraham do not believe the gospel
The Bible is very very clear that not all the children of Abraham are children of Abraham .

John 8:37 I know you are children of Abraham, but you are trying to kill me
John 8:56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced
John 8:59 They picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex

Abraham is not the father of us all. Abraham is the father of many physical children, and some of those physical children believe the gospel. Some of those physical children were the fathers of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself was one of the children of Abraham.

Abraham is the father of many physical chudren.
And Abraham is the father (in another way) of all those who believe the gospel.
And Abraham is the father (in yet another way) of one child, who is Jesus Christ (not a person who believes the gospel, but the person revealed in the gospel)

Abrahaam is not exactly like Moses, but like Moses, Abraham is promised children, a land and a nation. So when we say that Abraham is our father, we are not saying that Abraham is the mediator of the new covenant. Abraham was justified before God a long time before Christ died, and it was Christ’s death imputed by God to Abraham that caused Abraham to be justified.

John Owen–We must grant distinct covenants, rather than merely a twofold administration of the same covenant. We must do so, provided always that the way of reconciliation and salvation was the same under both. But it will be said, ‘if the way of reconciliation and salvation is the same under both, then indeed they are the same for the substance of them is but one.’ And I grant that this would inevitably follow, if reconciliation and salvation by Christ were to be obtained not only under the old covenants, but by virtue of the old covenants, then they must be the same for substance with the new covenant
But this is not so; for no reconciliation with God nor salvation could be obtained by virtue of the old covenants, though all believers in the gospel were
reconciled, justified, and saved, by virtue of the promise, while they were under the old covenants

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

The new covenant is not the same as the Abrahamic covenant There is only one gospel, but there are many different ccovenants. The elect justified before Abraham was born had Christ as their new covenant mediator, because Christ’s blood (Christ’s death) in the future was the cause not only of their justification but also the cause of their faith in the one and only gospel

Since Abraham had two sons, did you ever consider that there was more than one promise to Abraham and that not all the promises to Abraham were to all of Abraham’s children? Wasn’t one of the promises to Abraham in Genesis 17 a threat about being “cut off from the covenant”?

The song says
I am one of them and so are you
So let’s all praise the Lord.
Right arm!

We can and should teach the gospel to our children without teaching them they are already Christians. It is not an advantage to assure children that everybody singing a song is a child of Abraham, It is necessary at some point to teach our children that not all of us believe the gospel. Those who do not yet believe the gospel should not be assured that they are children of Abraham.

Was Esau born in the covenant of grace, but then later lost his justification in Christ? No. God’s wrath is not an expression of God’s love. God’s wrath is not a response to human bad response to God’s grace. Those who are justified are no longer under God’s wrath. And those still under God’s wrath were born condemned, already under God’s wrath. The promise of the gospel is for as many as who believe the gospel. The promsie of the gospel is for as many physical chidren of Abraham as the Lord our God will call, for the elect among the Jews and not for the non-electamong the Jews. The promise is for your children, as many of those children as the Lord our God will call, in spite of parents, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect.

Tom Nettles—”The idea of universal atonement is not demanded by the Bible at all, but is often assumed as an inference drawn from a no-grace-no-justice assumption…. The piggy-backing of grace onto the command to believe the gospel does not come from the Bible.”

God does NOT promise saving grace in Christ to every baptized baby. God did NOT promise saving grace to Esau in his circumcision. To say that we are all Abraham’s children is to imply that God failed to keep God’s promises. One reason for this confusion is failure to see that God made not only one promise but many differnt promises. God’s grace is NOT ineffectual. The reason for not being justified, some will say, is the unbelief of Esau. Whatever the reason, many of the Reformed are claining a “common grace” that does not save some of those to whom God is gracious. Regardless of the reason they give for grace’s impotence, the teaching is heretical. If God promises saving grace to both Esau and Jacob but the promise fails because of Esau’s unbelief, then the conclusion follows that grace succeeded in the case of Jacob, only because of grace causing Jacob to accept grace.

Paul Helm—“One thing that the Amyraldian proposal does is to weaken connection between the plight of the race in the fall of Adam. For the Amyraldians the responsibility of each of the non-elect comes simply from hearing and not receiving the message of grace.

the songssay
Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them and so are you
So let’s all praise the Lord.
Right arm, left arm!

Just because you hear the same preacher, or attend the same visible church, this does not mean that I can say that “you” believe the gospel. And if you do not yet know the gospel, then you are not yet believing the gospel as Abraham did, and you are not yet Abraham’s children.

the song says
Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them and so are you
So let’s all praise the Lord.
Right arm, left arm, right foot!

Augustine not only taught election but taught the right of the “church” to have heretics killed—- “The field is the world, and the world is the church. Compel them to come into the covenant”

and we who reject infant baptism respond: The earth is the Lord’s, and only the Lord can give life. Your water is not God’s water, and your water does not bring life.

Augustine: We bring both wheat and tares into the broad church, and the Lord in the end will show the difference.

We who will not accept “Roman Catholic” infant baptism respond—The field is the world, and the church is NOT the world. The church is not our children but only those God causes to believe the gospel.

Augustine: But original sin is removed, and regeneration given by infant baptism.

We who reject “infant baptism” in response to the Reformed—–We know that you love Augustine but do not teach water regeneration, but nevertheless you do teach the future saving efficacy of infant baptism. We deny that the Abrahamic covenant aand the new covenant are one and the same covenant. God made some promises to Abraham that God did not make to Moses, but our justification comes from neither the Mosaic nor the Abrahamic covenant because We trust Christ the mediator of the new covenant for our justification. The new covenant is not for those who believe the gospel and their children. The new covenant is only for those who believe the gospel. There is only one gospel, but making all the covenants the same is something you made up so that you would not have to repent of infant baptism and so that you could keep your own “Roman Catholic” baptism.

By baptizing the infants of believers, but not infant grandchildren (to a 1000 generations!) of believers, the Reformed stop halfway between the old and the new covenants. They put the “carnal seed” in the covenant but stop the ethnic inheritance at the second generation. I am reminded of Jonathan Edwards refusing the second generation the Lord’s Supper. The trouble with moderation is knowing when to stop!

Of course not all the Reformed are agreed on the reasons they won’t repent of infant baptism. Some say that “biological descent from Abraham is never a sufficient reason for one to expect new covenant blessings.” But the Reformed still say that Biological descent (household faith) IS ONE REASON to expect that their children will be justified.

Even though “church discipline” sounds to them like a non-objective “anabaptist legalism” kind of thing, some of the Reformed do “believe in church discipline”. They “abhor a nominal church.” Conservative Reformed folks only baptize infants of the first generation. Unlike liberal Anglicans who approve indiscriminate infant baptism, some serious Reformed now attempt to determine if parents are believers before they will baptize their children. In this way, they attempt to avoid a nominal church by looking for conversions but at the same time also avoid John the Baptist’s water.

They will not not repent of their infant baptism, and for them to be baptised as those who now believe the gospel would for them a tragic rejection or tradition and Christendom. In the name of tolerance, they will not tolerate the idea that “Roman Catholic” infant baptism was nothing before God. The Reformed are very much like those who hung on to the idea of everybody being circumcised. Even though the Bible nowhere teacches that infant water baptism comes in the place of circumcision, infant water baptism is the way the Reformed hang on to circumcision and to the idea that all covenants are the same covenant. Instead of circumcision being a type pointing to Christ’s death, they have circumcision as a ceremony pointing to the ceremony of infant water baptism.

The animal sacrifices of the old Covenants were NOT “the means of graace” by which T believers “accessed” Christ’s forgiveness. Christ was not sacramentally present in the blood of bulls andd goats. Nor is Christ “sacrmentally present” in the Lord’s Supper of the new covenant. Sacrifices during the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants served a function different from their role as types of the gospel. God required the physical children to make sacrifices every day and additional sacrifices on special days in order that God would continue to bless them with land and many children . If the sacrifices were not made, the physical children of Abraham would be cursed. If they were made incorrectly, their priests would be killed

Romaans 9: It is not as though the word of God has failed… not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s children. On the contrary, your children will be traced through Isaac….The children of the promise are considered to be the children…11 For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to election would stand 12 not from works but from the One who calls… 13 As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.
14 What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 15 For God tells Moses:
I will show mercy
to whom I will show mercy,
and I will have compassion
on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture tells Pharaoh:
I raised you up for this reason
so that I woul display My power in you
and that My name be proclaimed
18 So then, God shows mercy to those God wants to show mercy, and God hardens those God wants to harden.

The Reformed want to talk about infant baptism. The Reformed don’t want to talk about election. If the Reformed have any practical use for election, it serves to imply (wihout specific argument) that election means that their children are promised something by God that other sinners are not promised.

I am not saying that you need to find out if you are elect before you can believe the gospel. To the ccontrary, I am saying that you need to find out what the gospel is before you can believe the gospel.
I am saying that you are not going to know what the gospel is unless you know that the sins of the elect were imputed to Christ.
If you believe in the Christ who died for everybody, then you do not yet believe in the true Christ revealed in the true gospel

John 3:32 The One who comes from heaven testifies to what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His testimony. 33 The one who has accepted His testimony has affirmed that God is true. 34 For God sent Him, and He speaks God’s words…God gives Him the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands. 36 The one who believes in the Son has lasting life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God REMAINS on them.

John 5: 24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes HIM WHO SENT ME has lasting l life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.

The Son loves the Father and shows the Father everything the Son is doing.

John 5:19 Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works than these so that you will be amazed. 21 And as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to anyone the Son wants to give life .
John 5: 27 And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is Son of Man.

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.”

Justified From Sin

March 1, 2017

All Christ’s elect will one day be Justified by God from guilt because of Christ’s life taken as the satisfaction of God’s law. Justification is a declaration, not a transformation. Justification is a declaration based on Christ’s death as law-satisfaction. Justification is a declaration not based on our transformation, because justification is not a declaration based on a fiction

I Corinthians 7: 22 For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s free man. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price. Do not become slaves of men

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

Acts 13:38 Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, 39 and everyone who believes in Him is JUSTIFIED FROM everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses

Christ was never under the power of sin in the sense of being able to sin. Christ was always unable to sin. The only way Christ was ever under the power of sin is by being under the guilt of sin. The guilt of the elect’s sin was legally transferred by God to Christ.

Christ’s death to sin was death to the guilt of sin, and since the elect are united with a death like Christ’s death (the very same death!), the death of the elect is also a death to the guilt of sin. This is what Romans 6:7 teaches: “For one who has died has been justified from sin.” Yet many commentators tell us that “set free from sin” must mean the elect’s gracious transformation by the Holy Spirit so that the justified elect cannot habitually sin .They tell us that justification was in chapter five and that chapter six must be about something more if it’s to be a real answer to the question “why not sin?”.

But Christ was never under the power of habitual sin or any sin, and the death by which the elect are justified is HIS DEATH. Romans 6:10, “For the death He died He died to sin.” When the elect consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God, they think of themselves as dead to the guilt of sin. Death to the guilt of sin means justification before God and God’s satisfied law Sin loses its legal power over us after there is no more law guilt credited to us

I Cor 15: 56
Now the sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.

Colossians 1;13-14 God has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”

Revelation 12–The salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Messiah
have NOW COME
BECAUSE the ACCUSER of our brothers
has been thrown out:
11 They conquered the ACCUSER
BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not love their lives
in the face of death.

The accusations of guilt against the elect are not set aside or erased without satisfaction of God’s law. The blood of the Lamb, Christ’s death, satisfies God’s law concerning all the guilt of all the elect, and when God justifies the elect, God places the elect into this satisfaction.

God justifies the elect throughout history at various points of time, some before Christ even established and brought in an everlasting righteousness and others after that one time only offering to God by God. With the once in time permanent sacrifice of Christ for His people. Christ gave His life to God. Not only sinners but God took His life. God the Son gave His life for the elect. God gives each elect person individually this perfect righteousness by imputing Christ’s death once to their account, which results in their permanent justification at once before God.

Being placed into Christ’s death, Romans 6 is NOT God’s imputation of sins to Christ

Being placed into Christ’s death is God’s imputation of Christ”s death to the elect. This “baptism by imputation” takes place sometimes before and sometimes after Christ’s death.

Colossians 2: 11 You were also circumcised in Him with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh,in the circumcision of the Messiah. 12 Having been buried with Him in BAPTISM, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Romans 6:3 all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in order that we too wil walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been JOINED WITH HIM in the likeness of His DEATH ,we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body[ be abolished, so that we are no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is JUSTIFIED FROM SIN

Justification is a declaration, not a transformation. Christ was not morally transformed by His death and resurrection. Christ had no need for moral transformation. The vindication declared by Christ’s resurrection is BECAUSE OF JUSTIFICATION. Christ died one time only because of imputed guilt and now justification is a declaration based on Christ’s death as law-satisfaction. Justification is a declaration not based on Christ’s moral transformation and is not based on the moral transformation of Christ’s elect, because justification is not a declaration based on a FICTION. And the notion of some imperfect moral transformation satisfying God’s law is a FICTION.

I Peter 3: 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We cannot assume water in every “baptism” in the Bible . I Peter 3 and Colossians 2 and Romans 6 are not about water baptism. There is a BAPTISM WHICH SAVES and that is God’s legal placing of the elect into Christ’s death (and thus into justification) Water does not save anybody in I Peter 3, but “baptism” does save in I Peter 3 , which means that “baptism” in I Peter 3 is not water. Baptism in I Peter 3 is not in the Holy Spirit or by the Holy Spirit , but by context in reference to death (water judgment, ark, Noah)

One Circumcision–Circumcised by Christ in Christ’s circumcision–

July 3, 2016

Tianqi Wu– We are in a dead end Law problem with no other hope except for Christ’s satisfaction of law. There is no other solution apart from Christ’s death being counted as our death, so that it becomes a fact that we legally died when Christ died.

Christ’s death was a legal accomplishment. Christ’s death was Christ’s great work. The imputation of the elect’s sins to Christ and the imputation of Christ’s death to the elect are two different imputations

Romans 6: 6 For we know that our old self was CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST in order that sin’s dominion over the body be abolished, in order that we be no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is justified from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9 because 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 time—- 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin

The elect become crucified by Christ when God places them into Christ’s death.

Galatians 2: 19 For through the law I have died to the law, in order that I live for God. I have been CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST 20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives with regard to me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Colossians 2: For IN CHRIST all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and IN CHRIST you have been brought to fullness. Christ is the head over every power and authority. IN CHRIST you were also CIRCUMCISED with a circumcision NOT performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were CIRCUMCISED BY CHRIST, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

The Baptism which saves the Christian is not with water or even with the Holy Spirit. The baptism into Christ’s death is being placed into “the circumcision of Christ”. Christ’s circumcision is not His new birth but His death .

“Christ’s circumcision” is not “by the Spirit” but His death. There are different baptisms, some in water and some in/with the Holy Spirit, but NO “baptism by the Spirit”. But to be circumcised by Christ in Colossians 2 is not baptism with the Spirit but to be legally identified with Christ’s death.

The Colossians 2 identification or “union” (in Christ) of elect sinners is not about the Holy Spirit in us , because “the circumcision of Christ” is His death and God’s “baptism” (Romans 6) places us into Christ’s death. :

Galatians does NOT say that

1. circumcision was both law and gospel

or 2 that circumcision has been fulfilled both as law and promise

so that 3, as gospel, circumcision has been fulfilled by regeneration and mysterious indwelling of the Holy Spirit (not fulfilled by the righteousness of Christ’s death)

so that 4. as law, circumcision with hands has been fulfilled by water baptism with hands.

Neither Galatians nor Colossians teach any of these four assumptions.

Mike Horton—”Covenant theology doesn’t teach that the covenant of grace itself is “breakable” (67). God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. … The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ with all of his benefits. …..To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? ”

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton

Romans 9:7 “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his children.”

Are these warnings law or gospel? Are they warnings to Ishmael that he many not have ever “really internally” been part of the covenant but only “externally” related to “the covenant”? Is it a possibility that many who enter the covenant are not promised they will be kept in the covenant?

Although the signs have changed, are we still in the same “the covenant” and therefore it’s possible that the law or gospel questions have not changed.

As law,circumcision with hands has been fulfilled by water baptism with hands?

So we don’t do circumcision with hands anymore, when we do water with hands?

Like law, water baptism is done by human hands is not our decision but God’s command and claim on Ishmael and Esau. So paedobaptists know that, even if they don’t know yet if it’s law or gospel? So there’s no need now to find out if God’s oath is about law or gospel? And as long as we live, we can’t ever find out if we are Isaac or Ishmael? Both were heirs of the covenant? Both received the promises of the conditional covenant?

In God’s act of water baptism, as in the preaching of the universal “offer”, God pledges His commitment to us who are “in the covenant”. But is that commitment law or gospel? Is that commitment the same for each and every person “in the covenant”? Even if it turns out that little Esau is never justified, it certainly feels good to think that Esau has been promised the same grace as Abraham has. Of course, if that means of grace turns out to be ineffectual in the face of human failure to meet conditions, then some of us begin to wonder about the nature of the grace promised.

Do we regard our babies as born under the law or do we assure them they are already not under the law? Do we cling to God’s promise to work by His Spirit to keep Esau in “the covenant” in which he was born, or do we have to fall back on some desperate notion of forensic imputation (with resulting conversion) in which every person begins life under condemnation and outside the new covenant? Even though we want to maintain God’s freedom in election (perhaps God will maintain that freedom for Himself), and we do not deny election. we see no need to mention election when we could be emphasizing “the conditional covenant” instead.

Colossians 2 and Romans 6 are parallels. Why does Paul use the “baptized into the DEATH” language in Romans 6 instead of talking about “inward circumcision of the heart” as Paul did in Romans 2? You can say, well Paul in Romans 6 didn’t use the word “imputed”. But Romans 6:7 does say “justified from sin” even though the people who want to read inward regeneration by the Holy Spirit into Romans 6 are so convinced that Paul has “moved on” from justification that they insist that 6:7 should read “freed from sin” and that it JUST HAS TO BE MORE than justification, because THEY JUST KNOW THAT THE POWER OF SIN IS MORE THAN GUILT, and they just know that the answer to “why not sin” CAN’T MERELY BE “NOT UNDER THE LAW”.

As long as you are saying that “possibly” Romans 6 is about being in the Spirit and not about Christ’s death ALONE, as long as you are saying that Romans 6 is also “possibly” about water with hands so that “baptism” in Romans 6 is possibly not about Christ’s death ALONE but also possibly about the new birth which gives faith, then you can say well “possibly” since infants were physically circumcised then “possibly” physical circumcision is the outward part of “saving circumcision” which means that “possibly” water baptism done with hands is the anti-type which fulfills physical circumcision even though the water is not the part that saves…

But none of that “possibly” is a logical inference from what Colossians 2 actually says. Why doesn’t Paul use the inward/outward language of Romans 2 in Colossians 2

Water does not replace physical circumcision in Colossians 2. That’s an assumption read into the text. Many commentaries (Bruce, Dunn, Garland, O’Brien) understand the “circumcision of Christ” as metaphor for Christ’s death by crucifixion. Two different circumcisions doesn’t work in the context of Colossians 2. It’s the same circumcision, both for Christ and for the elect, Christ’s one death. Our death is His death, not some other death done in us. It’s not Christ died and then we died. It’s we died when Christ died (by means of imputation) . Two different deaths don’t work in Romans 6. It’s one death. Being legally placed IN Christ’s death results in regeneration, faith, and justification.

Stephen Walton—Romans 6:7 reads “For one who has died has been set free from sin”. The verb translated “set free” is the perfect passive of dikaioo, which everywhere else in Paul is translated “justify”. Almost all the English translations that I have been able to check translate it as some variation upon “set free” in Romans 6:7 This is because Protestant commentators have traditionally seen a shift from justification in chapters 1-5 to “sanctification” in chapters 6-8; from release from the penalty of sin in 1-5 to release from the power of sin in 6-8.

The best translation is “has been justified from sin”. This interpretation is powerfully argued by Robert Haldane in his 1839 commentary, and by John Murray and John Stott. It has recently been defended by Peter Jensen….

In his Romans commentary, Thomas Schreiner argued that dedikaiotai “is not MERELY forensic in verse 7… The use of the verb in this context, however, suggests that righteousness is MORE THAN FORENSIC for Paul”. However, in Paul Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, Schreiner changed his mind and argued for the interpretation given here.

The evidence against the traditional view (found in Calvin for instance) and for the Haldane–Stott-Jensen reading is overwhelming. In every other case where Paul uses the verb dikaioo,it is normally translated “justify”, in the sense of “declare righteous”. This creates an extremely strong presumption in favor of translating it to mean “declare righteous” in Romans 6:7. We would need very strong lexical and contextual evidence to translate it otherwise, and such evidence is not forthcoming.

Secondly, a few verses later when Paul wishes to speak of having been set free from slavery to sin, he uses the verb eleutheroo in v18…. Third, the lexical evidence is against “set free” as part of the semantic range of dikaioo. Liddell & Scott do not list it as a possible meaning, and Louw-Nida lists Romans 6:7 as the only place in the New Testament where it has this meaning[39]. BAGD (1957) lists Acts 13:38 as a possible example where dikaioo is followed by apo plus a genitive noun, as in Romans 6:7. However, in this case a forensic reading seems to make equally good sense, if not better.

Therefore, to translate dedikaiotai in Romans 6:7 as “having been set free” is completely arbitrary. The only possible reason for it would be if “having been justified” made no sense in context, and “having been set free” made very good sense. .. However, the forensic interpretation makes very good sense in context, and enables us to see how being freed from the penalty of sin also releases us from the power of sin.

If the traditional interpretation of verse 7 is correct, it simply restates verse 6 in rather confusing and unclear terms However, if the interpretation of verse 7 that I have offered is correct, it gives the grounds of Paul’s statement in verse 6: the believer who has been crucified with Christ has been freed from the power of sin because a person who has died (with Christ) has been justified from sin – that is, freed from its penalty.

This reading is confirmed by 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. Here Paul speaks in substitutionary terms of Christ dying on behalf of the all (huper panton, verse 15), and of reconciliation between God and believers being effected by the “great exchange” that took place on the cross, resulting in righteousness for Christians (v 21). In verse 14 he writes that “one has died for all, therefore all have died”. The result of Christ’s act of dying as a substitute for all believers is that the beneficiaries of his death are considered to have died. Here dying with Christ is surely seen in forensic terms… The assurance of salvation that comes from Christ’s death and the free gift of justification, far from encouraging complacency, encourages the believer to live a life that is not selfish, but centered on someone else: God. On this basis, Paul can exhort his readers to live as people who have been freed from sin (Romans 6:18-23).

http://www.theologian.org.uk/doctrine/penalsubsocialtrans.html

No One Time Justification? The Efficacy of Water

January 21, 2016

Alastair Roberts –For Baptists the grace signified in water baptism is typically understood to be grace already received: For Baptists, water baptism is predominantly retrospective, looking back to a salvation largely completed.

http://www.reformation21.org/articles/infant-baptism-and-the-when-of-baptismal-grace.php#sthash.SNY6T0Ud.dpuf

mark—So Roberts thinks that there is a “not yet aspect to justification” not only for infants but for all of us, because he agrees with the Lutherans that God’s justification happens again every day, and the “old man” has to pass from death to life over and over again, and that what causes this is the continuing “efficacy of water baptism”

Roberts—“The force of the grace of adoption summons thee adopted to live out of that grace and not to turn their backs on it. Adoption is never only a completed event of the past, but is an enduring reality enjoyed by those who continue to receive it. Adoption is much less about its initial reception than it is about its lifelong reception. The faith water baptism calls for is not present faith so much as future faith.”

Roberts—-“The magisterial Reformers presented a higher and more efficacious doctrine of water baptism than their Roman Catholic interlocutors.”

Roberts–“The Canons of Trent reveal that, the grace of water baptism being easily forfeited by sinners who failed to persevere in it, it was necessary to supplement its grace with that of another sacrament–penance. The result was the diminishment of water baptismal grace within the sacramental economy. Beyond giving an initial impetus, water baptism was swiftly substituted for by other sources of grace.”

mark—Roberts is saying that the Reformed are not like that, not just looking for the water to wipe out original sin, but believing that the water will continue to have “efficacy”. But this “efficacy” of water will be conditioned on the sinner, not so much on the sinner not sinning, but on the sinner continuing to believe as a condition of remaining in the covenant.

Roberts—“The grace water baptism signifies is neither chiefly a grace already received nor merely a grace limited to the time immediately following the reception of the sacrament.”

Roberts—Tertullian argues that the delay of water baptism should be preferred, especially in the case of young children and the unmarried, who are particularly vulnerable to temptation and falling from water baptismal grace.

mark—But it is not yet quite politically correct in some Presbyterian denominations to talk about “being justified every day” or the “not yet aspect of justification” so often people who believe in that refer to “salvation” or “sanctification” as being the “not yet”. Roberts talks about “adoption”

Roberts—“Martin Luther’s resistance to the ‘linear model’ of the Christian life, with an one time conversion followed by progress beyond that point. Luther maintained that we never move beyond the point of water baptism. . Conversion is an ongoing reality in the Christian life, a continual act of going back to water baptism as the beginning. The efficacy of water baptism day after day makes death and resurrection a reality that has not yet been fully accomplished IN US.”

Roberts–“The magisterial Reformed were concerned to emphasize that the grace of water baptism is the grace of a promissory seal, with an efficacy that extends throughout our lives. ”

Roberts—“The force of the grace of adoption summons thee adopted to live out of that grace and not to turn their backs on it. Adoption is never only a completed event of the past, but is an enduring reality enjoyed by those who continue to receive it. Adoption is much less about its initial reception than it is about its lifelong reception. The faith water baptism calls for is not present faith so much as future faith.”

mark—But the “efficacy” of the water continues to depend on the condition of faith. And this means that ‘effectual grace” can later turn into “:effectual curse”. No antinomian “eternal security” here.

Not only is the efficacy of the death of Christ distributed by means of the efficacy of water baptism but the efficacy of water baptism continues to be dependent on the object of your faith, but the object of your faith is your continuing faith, which you believe is not totally alone, which faith you believe continually exists in you along with your hating sin and loving God (enough).

Meredith Kline–The newness of the New Covenant does not consist in a reduction of the Covenant of Redemption to the principle of election and guaranteed blessing. Its law character is seen in this, too, that it continues to be a covenant with dual sanctions….There is no reason to regard Jeremiah’s description of the New Covenant as a comprehensive analysis or to exclude the curse sanction from a place in New Covenant administration.”

Mike Horton—”To be claimed by water baptism as part of God’s holy field comes with THREATS as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. HOW CAN THEY FALL UNDER THE CURSES OF A COVENANT TO WHICH THEY DID NOT BELONG? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet the instrumental A condition is that they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator.”

Jonathan Edwards: “We are really saved by perseverance…the perseverance which belongs to faith is one thing that is really a fundamental ground of the congruity THAT FAITH GIVES TO salvation…For, though a sinner is justified in his first act of faith, yet even then, in that act of justification, God has respect to perseverance as being implied in the first act.”

Mark asks– How could we possibly give thanks, when the future hangs in the balance and depends on our future acts of faith?

John Piper—”The Bible rarely, if ever, motivates Christian living with gratitude…Could it be that gratitude for bygone grace has been pressed to serve as the power for holiness, which only faith in future grace was designed to perform?… some popular notions of grace are so skewed and so pervasive that certain biblical teachings are almost impossible to communicate. For example, the biblical concept of unmerited, conditional grace is nearly unintelligible to Christians who assume that unconditionality is the essence of all grace.”

mark—Piper’s Future Grace teaches works not only as evidence for us and other people but works as evidence for God

Piper—“How then can I say that the judgment of believers will not only be the public declaration of our differing rewards in the kingdom of God, according to our deeds, but will also be the public declaration of our salvation – our entering the kingdom – according to our deeds? The answer is that our deeds will be the public evidence brought forth in Christ’s courtroom to demonstrate that our faith is real. And our deeds will be the public evidence brought fourth to demonstrate the varying measures of our obedience of faith. In other words, salvation is by grace through faith, and rewards are by grace through faith, but the evidence of invisible faith in the judgment hall of Christ will be a transformed life.” (Future Grace, p 364)

Several times Paul listed certain kinds of deeds and said, “those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In other words, when these deeds are exposed at the judgment as a person’s way of life, they will be the evidence that their faith is dead and he will not be saved. As James said, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). That is what will be shown at the judgment. (Future Grace, p 366)

http://oldlife.org/2014/09/gratitude-basis-obedience/

http://www.meredithkline.com/klines-works/by-oath-consigned/

Meredith Kline—By circumcision, the sign of the consecratory oath of the Abrahamic Covenant, a man confessed himself to be under the juridical authority of Yahweb and consigned himself to the ordeal of his Lord’s judgment for the final verdict on his life. The sign of circumcision thus pointed to the eschatological judicial ordeal with its awful sanctions of eternal weal or woe. In the case of a covenant with the fallen sons of Adam, their nature as covenant breakers from their youth would seem to preclude any outcome for the divine ordeal other than condemnation. Yet the very fact that Cod makes a covenant with such subjects reveals that along with justice the principle of redemptive grace is operative here with its totally new and unpredictable possibilities. The covenant is a law covenant but it is a redemptive law covenant.

John Fesko —“Even though we can talk about a distinction between the visible and the invisible, or between the external and internal, why should we have to choose between water and the Spirit (Word, Water and Spirit, p 241, “Baptism as Covenant Judgment)

mark—Most people don’t say “water baptism”, because the Bible does not say “water baptism”, but then most people also add that “baptism” in the Bible is always water and many of the paedobaptists (and some of the “Reformed Baptists”)teach that there is a “sacramental union” between water as the sign and the “efficacy” as the thing signified.

And then almost all of them say that the water baptism of John was about the Holy Spirit, and therefore baptism by Jesus and by the church is about both the water and about the Spirit, but NOT about legal identity with Christ’s atoning death or about justification.

And then they explain there is one gospel only, there is only one church, and therefore the baptism by John is not water only and the baptism by Jesus is not with the Spirit only

And in this way they know that it’s not Jesus who baptized with the Holy Spirit, but rather that the Holy Spirit “baptizes us into Christ” and so we know that water baptism is not about Christ’s death or righteousness but about the Spirit uniting us to Christ’s righteousness .

John Fesko, 322— “It is unnecessary to choose between water baptism and Spirit baptism”

And then Fesko on the same page (322) finds it necessary to conclude (without arguments) that Spirit baptism is not God’s imputation. Fesko also explains that baptism (both water and by the Spirit) is NOT Christ’s giving the Spirit, because the Westminster Confession teaches us that Spirit baptism is the Spirit giving us Christ by uniting us to Christ by faith.