Archive for the ‘election’ category

Chosen According to God’s Foreknowledge, or Do You Find that Too Arbitrary?

April 13, 2018

1 Peter 1- To the temporary exiles dispersed chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8: 28 We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to God’s purpose. 29 For those God foreknew God also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Election (being chosen) is discrimination. Election is not a result of a meritocracy.

1. I am not intrinsically less lovable than you

2. what does “intrinsic” mean?

3. Was God less likely to love and elect rich and smart people?

I Timothy 2: God wants them to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Does the sovereignty of God mean that God can and does save sinners even while not teaching them the truth or making salvation involve the sinners ever repenting of the false gospel? NO.

Ephesians 1:9 God has MADE KNOWN to us the mystery of God’s will, according to God’s good pleasure that God planned in Him 10 for the fulfillment of the ages

God elects from all categories

Does God elect more from the category of the poor than from the category of the rich? Does the Bible say that?

Even though we don’t know why God elects one and not another, we know that God makes two kinds of vessels from the one lump. God’s love is not arbitrary but personal

What does “arbitrary” mean?

What’s the opposite of “arbitrary”

Deconstruction locates assumed binary oppositions, with one side of the “other” h parasitic upon its “opposite side” . After the binary (justification, not sanctification, or sanctification, not justification) is set up on the presupposition that the first term must be preserved by reference to the second term We inverse the value system of this binary by showing that the prior term depends upon the second term for its existence This inversion has the effect of calling into question the binary. We push towards dissolution of the terms as they have been structured.

Is the word “natural” the opposite of “arbitrary”?

Is “intrinsic value” the opposite of “arbitrary value”?

Is justice blind and therefore “arbitrary”?

Is election not blind and therefore “not arbitrary”?

If all sinners are disabled, why does God then harden some of these already disabled sinners?
Even if you say that God only “leaves the disabled where they are”, why does God not equally enable all those who are disabled?

God not only discriminates but also disables.

God is always righteous, and therefore God never adjusts to us or need to adjust

Was Christ’s death plan B? Was Christ’s death “arbitrary”. Could God have justified the elect without Christ’s death? Could God have justified the elect without Christ’s incarnation? NO NO NO

1. if righteousness comes through the new birth, then Christ came for nothing

2. if righteousness comes through Christ’s “infinite separation from God”, then there was no need for Christ to become incarnate and die

John Owen–“The fruits of the death of Christ are reckoned as of debt. He for whom a ransom is paid has a right unto his liberty by virtue of that payment”. God declares a value to the death of Christ that is not different from the intrinsic value of the death of Christ. God’s imputation is according to truth. Those God places into Christ’s death are justified.

The Lombard/ Synod of Dordt formula of sufficient for all but efficient only for the elect allows for universal atonement and then a uniting to that universal death by faith. That way you can tell everyone that God loves them but that it is the faith given by the Holy Spirit that calls the elect to that universal death. It is therefore the faith and regeneration that has priority over the death of Christ.

Proclaiming that Christ died for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ by God is saying something different than the Dordt formula. This puts the priority on the death for the elect alone. The ultimate cause of faith is the death imputed not the Spirit uniting to the death. The sinner does not impute his sins to Christ after the Spirit regenerates, nor does the Spirit impute the sins of sinners to Christ. God the Father imputed only the sins of elect sinners to Christ by legal declaration.

I deny that God “could have” willed to forgive without Christ’s satisfaction by death.

Lee Irons—“The voluntarist seizes on the notion of a voluntary condescension expressed by way of covenant. The voluntarist definition of merit is qualified as a lesser merit that cannot even exist apart from God’s gracious acceptation. But God’s sovereign covenants are the revelation of God’s JUSTICE. ”

http://www.upper-register.com/papers/redefining_merit.pdf

God’s justice demands the justification of all for whom Christ died

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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.

Only Dying Would Not Be Enough Righteousness?

March 14, 2018

Galatians 2:19 For through the law I have died to the law.

Romans 6: 6 We died with Christ in order that sin’s dominion over us would be abolished…because a person who has died is justified from sin’s claims… 9 We know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that Christ died, Christ died to sin once for all time.

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

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/christ-offered-his-death-to-god-one-time-only/

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/jesus-is-coming-in-the-future-but-not-to-make-anymore-sacrifice-for-sins/

God has protected and will protect God’s elect from God. God’s wrath was appeased at only one time and at one place by the propitiation finished not in Christ’s life and suffering, but accomplished by Christ’s death . Romans 5:9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath

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

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

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

But many false gospels teach that Christ’s death was not the reason some have faith in the gospel. The Lutherans teach that Christ died for all, but agree that not all have faith.
https://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2010/06/what-is-sin-martin-luther-not-having.html

The Calvinists teach that Christ died only for those who believe, but most of them are not teaching that it’s Christ’s death which causes those who believe the gospel to do so. Most of the Calvinists are only teaching that regeneration causes those who believe the gospel to do so. Of course that is true, but if you ask them why some are regenerate and others are not, they will not refer you to Christ’s death for the elect. Instead, most Calvinists will refer you to Christ’s law-keeping righteousness. and then on top of that, they will even teach that you have to believe the gospel in order to get God to impute to you that law-keeping righteousness. And none of this is about Christ’s death, because they don’t equate Christ’s death with Christ’s righteousness.

Even though propitiation comes before (or after) the justification of a sinner, and these are distinct events, it’s still true that all for whom propitiation was made will be justified. The Lutherans (and the free grace anti–Lordship people at the Grace Evangelical Society) are saying that there is one unforgivable sin, are teaching that there is no propitiation ever for the sin of “unbelief of the gospel”

I don’t see how we criticiZe this false gospel without talking about “timing”. It’s the connection between atonement and justification that some eternal justification folks are after—whenever one happens, the other happens, even if both are “timeless”. Those who teach atonement and justification at the same protest any time gap between the atonement and justification (to make the point that the atonement is actual not potential), but they are not bothered by the time gap which says that an elect person can be born justified from God before God and yet still be unregenerate for a long long time.
https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/no-time-lag-after-imputation-of-christs-righteousness-until-regeneration/

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/impetration-the-death-of-jesus-bought-satisfaction-of-justice-only-for-the-elect-not-only-application/

Calvinists tend to teach that Christ only died “for those who would come to faith”. This not only sounds different than saying “died only for the elect”, but it really is different because it’s teaching that Christ’s death only acts negatively, taking away sins. It’s teaching that Christ’s death still does not get you to a positive justification—all are propitiated for , but not all are justified because not all are given “positive righteousness”.

But who does that remind you of? It reminds me of every preacher who says that Christ’s death was not enough to obtain justification, and that for justification, we need also Christ’s law-keeping. How many preachers say “his death and His righteousness”, as if His death were not His righteousness? How many preachers say “His righteousness” but not defining what that righteousness is?
I am not trying to equate the “no hope without the law-keeping” preachers with the Lutherans and the Arminians who say that Christ made propitiation for all sinners. We all agree that Christ was sinless, and not disobedient to God’s law. But these groups are also saying that Christ’s propitiatory death was not the reason some have faith in the gospel. The Lutherans teach that Christ died for all, but agree that not all have faith. The Calvinists teach that Christ died only for those who believe, but most of them are not teaching that it’s Christ’s death which causes those who believe the gospel to do so.

Most of the Calvinists are only teaching that regeneration those who believe the gospel to do so. Of course that is true, but if you ask them why some are regenerate and others are not, they will not refer you to Christ’s death for the elect. Instead, most Calvinists will refer you to Christ’s law-keeping righteousness. and then on top of that, they will even teach that you have to believe the gospel in order to get God to impute to you that law-keeping righteousness. And none of this is about Christ’s death, because they don’t equate Christ’s death with Christ’s righteousness.

I don’t know if it’s chicken or egg, or which idea leads to the other idea, but many of these preachers also are dogmatic that “only destruction” or “only “perishing” or “only death” is not enough punishment for the non-elect. Some even say that the righteousness of the gospel would mean nothing to them if they thought the righteousness only saved them from destruction or perishing. So they re-define destruction and perish as meaning infinite torture that never ends. Instead of some permanent second death for the non-elect, they re-define death to mean never-dying but continuing to sin and to be tormented. The mere death of the non-elect is not enough for them.

Chicken. Egg. I don’t know if it was their philosophical intuition about what the non-elect deserve and “have coming” which came first, or if their first though was a docetic explanation which denies that Christ can really die. But either way, they fail to see that the death of the non-elect will never satisfy God’s wrath in the way that Christ’s death appeased God and expiated the sins of the elect to protect the elect from God. That philosophical soundbite about Christ being tortured for an infinite amount of time because He is God is not something you read in the Bible. You have to read that “tortured forever” INTO the Bible. Even though we don’t understand how Christ can be both God and human, we believe that Christ IS both God and human, and as the mediator of the new covenant, Christ’s death (one time, one place) is enough righteousness for all the elect. Christ did not only die for all those who believe the gospel. Christ died only for the elect and only for all the sins of the elect. Christ’ death did NOT bring in a righteousness infinite enough for all the noon-elect also (if only they would take it). Christ died only for those who will actually be justified before God.

When Lutherans and Calvinists and Arminians get their eyes off Christ’s death and start talking about Christ’s infinite law-keeping, it often turns out that their notion of Christ’s righteousness is not infinite enough to take care of one sin, the sin of not believing the gospel. Sure, they say the righteousness is infinite, but since you did not believe (or stopped believing), then the infinite righteousness will not be enough for you, and this means that the second death will not be enough for you either—-you will have to be tortured forever, and that means that there will never be a time when there will be no more dying. Dying you will continue dying, and it will never be enough, and death will always continue as God’s enemy.

Christ died enough for the elect to some time in their lives give them the faith to understand and believe the gospel. Even these elect were born under the wrath of God, but Christ’s death not only is enough to take away their sins (past and future) but Christ’s death DOES take away the condemnation and wrath for all their sins. And since Christ’s death is Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s death has purchased for all these elect the gift of the Holy Spirit (from Christ) so that each sinner for whom Christ died will come to believe the gospel before Christ’s coming or before they die.

Acts 2: 25 For David says concerning him,
“I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens

I Corinthians 15: 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last ENEMY to be ABOLISHED is DEATH. 27 For God has put everything under His feet

Revelation 21: 3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne
Look! God’s dwelling is with humans
God will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.
4 God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will no longer exist;
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,
because the previous things will have passed away. 5 Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.”

https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/but-now-apart-from-the-law-gods-righteousness-has-been-revealed-witnessed-by-the-law/

The degrees of infinity idea does not make much sense, but it allows preachers to say that the non-elect being punished are never quite punished enough, even when they are punished more than others.

David Wells, Christianity Today, March 20 1987 — “If God is as good as the Bible says, if his character is as pure, if his life is as infinite, then sin is infinitely unpardonable and not merely momentarily mischievous. To be commensurate with the offense, God’s response must be correspondingly infinite. Annhilationism instead looks instead for a finished, finite, temporal response. An infinite response, however, is what we see happening at the cross. Was Jesus annihilated? Jesus could exhaust infinite punishment because he himself was the infinite God? Jesus did not bear a punishment MERELY LIKE that which sinners deserved. Jesus did not bear a death that was MERELY ANALOGOUS to theirs..”

Mark: To be “commensurate”, is Jesus still dying on the cross and will Jesus die on the cross forever?

If Jesus is not still dying on the cross, how is His death even LIKE that of non-elect people dying but never getting dead?

Where does the Bible talk about “infinity”? And where does the Bible talk about Christ’s suffering before His death being “infinite”? When did the “infinite punishment” of Jesus begin and when did it end?

If Christ only suffered an equivalent of “eternal torment in Hell”, does that mean that God’s grace arbitrarily (merely, only) “accepted” the punishment of Christ as the same?

Since the punishment of the non-elect will never be finished, does that mean that the punishment of the non-elect will never be infinite?

Does “I will repay” mean that “I will have never repaid”?

If duration of the torment is the real punishment, why is there any need to die after that torture is done, and would not death be the end before more needed punishment?

If the punishment is never done, so that the condemned can never die, why does the Bible teach that the wages of sin is death?

When you translate, the result is a translation.

When you destroy, the result is destruction.

When you finish dying, you are dead.

If you never finish dying, you are not yet dead.

http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2016/04/the-unsaved-in-hell-would-want-to-be-annihilated-to-end-their-suffering-why-this-statement-completely-misses-the-point/

http://rethinkinghell.com/audio/meta/notes/demler_handout.pdf

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

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

Must Grace Have Been Bestowed on your Children before you can teach them God’s law?

October 4, 2017

Was Esau born in the covenant of grace, but then later lost his justification in Christ and therefore failed to “enter heaven”?

Hebrews 12: 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 14 Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord. 15 Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many. 16 And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for one meal.

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. God’s wrath for the non-elect is not subject to change

For the promise is for you in spite of yourself, as many Jews as the Lord our God will call, in spite of them being Jews, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect. The promise is for your children, as many children as the Lord our God will call, in spite of parents, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect. The promise is for all who are far off, as many non Jews as the Lord our God will call, in spite of them being born outside any covenant, for the elect alone and not for the non-elect

Since our duty is not based on our ability, the soundbite from Augustine (give what you command, and command what you will) is wrong if it’s understood to say that Christians now CAN obey the law at least enough to make it “congruent” or “fitting” (Jonathan Edwards) for God to bless us. The Augustinian soundbite is also wrong if it is used to imply that God in neo-nomian fashion now lowers the standard of the law to the level of what we in the new covenant are now gifted to do IMPERFECTLY.

The law is not the gospel, grace is not the law, and the ability to keep the law is not grace. It’s still too late for justified sinners to keep the law in order to “enter heaven” Those who are already saints are commanded to obey God’s law but not as a condition of covenant blessing.
Romans 5:20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.

Freedom from the law by Christ’s death imputed is necessary before we do any good works or worship acceptable to God

Those who reduce all post-fall covenants to one covenant of grace tend to say that their children need to have been born in grace in order to be taught the law. Like the Arminians who assume that the duty to believe the gospel implies the ability to believe the gospel, these like John Murray work their way from assumptions about the new capacity of regenerate disposition to denial of antithesis between law and grace for those born “in the covenant”

Mark Jones–When I ask my children to obey me in the Lord should I get rid of the indicative-imperative model for Christian ethics?

There is one divine standard, in this new covenant age, according to which both believers and non-believers are accountable. There are not two different standards. The commandment for children to obey their parents shows no distinction of believers and non-believers, and neither does the commandment to parents to raise their children according to God’s Word.

http://www.apoorwretch.com/2014/06/baptist-answers-to-pca-pastor-mark.html

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leithart/2017/10/baptists-talk-babies/?

http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/06/daddy-am-i-really-forgiven.php

http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/rite-reasons/no-20-daddy-why-was-i-excommunicated/

Do Christians and Their Unbaptized Children Pray to the Same God?

https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/does-teaching-someone-the-bible-make-them-a-christian/

Mark Jones—“Divine grace is not MERELY God’s goodness to the elect in the era of redemptive history. … Divine grace is a perfection of God’s nature, even apart from sin. In the garden, the grace of God was upon Adam.”

John Murray, The Covenant of Grace— “The continued enjoyment of this grace and of the relation established is contingent upon the fulfillment of certain conditions. Grace bestowed implies a subject and reception on the part of that subject. The relation established implies mutuality. The conditions in view are not conditions of bestowal. They are simply the reciprocal responses of faith, love and obedience, apart from which the enjoyment of the covenant blessing and of the covenant relation is inconceivable….the breaking of the covenant is unfaithfulness to a relation constituted and to grace dispensed. By breaking the covenant what is broken is not the condition of bestowal but the condition of consummated fruition.”

Richard Gaffin, by Faith not by Sight, p 103–”The law-gospel antithesis enters NOT BY VIRTUE OF CREATION..but as the consequence of sin…The gospel is to the purpose of removing an absolute law-gospel antithesis in the life of the believer…”

Gaffin— Having been called effectively involves having been regenerated, but the two are not identical. The exercise of the Spirit’s energies in calling produces an enduring change… marked anthropologically by a new and lasting disposition inherent in them, what Scripture calls a new “heart.” That is, at the core of my being, I am no longer against God and disposed to rebel against his will but, now and forever, for him and disposed in the deepest recesses of whom I am to delight in doing his will….The Holy Spirit’s work in the justified ungodly does not MERELY consist of an ongoing countering activity within those otherwise only disposed to be thoroughly resistant and recalcitrant. The definitive change MAINTAINED in believers by the Spirit provides a stable basis WITHIN THEM for renewing and maturing them according to their inner selves (2 Cor. 4:16). The Reformed use of “habitual” to describe this irreversible change, seems appropriate and useful. ”

http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=141

Leithart–“God can and does reward appropriate (albeit imperfect) human response. God’s unmerited love, then, does not nullify reciprocity. . . . God’s love is bestowed prior to conditions and is undeserved, yet there are conditions for its continuance”

Leithart: 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 self-imputation of “righteous” is based on the baptismal declaration 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….. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/evangelicalpulpit/2014/11/no-sacraments-no-protestantism/#ixzz3L1NmJLfk

Wesley, Working Out Our Own Salvation—“Allowing that all persons are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing that there is no man in a state of nature only. There is no man, unless he has quenched the Holy Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace he has.”

John 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? When some deeds are exposed at the judgment as a person’s way of life, they will be the evidence that their faith was not transforming and they will not be saved.” (Future Grace, p 366)

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, 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 fall under the covenant 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.”
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/09/13/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton/

Here are several good responses to the related ideas that duty implies ability, or that ability eliminates distinctions between teaching children law and assuming that grace bestowed is necessary to teach children law.

Engelsma: Mike Horton affirms that God promises saving grace in Christ to every baptized baby. This is the same as to affirm that God promised saving grace to Esau in his circumcision. This affirmation implies that God failed to keep His promise. God’s promise failed. Grace is resisted. Grace is ineffectual. The reason, they will say, is the unbelief of Esau. Whatever the reason, grace does not realize itself in one to whom God is gracious. Regardless of the reason for grace’s impotence, the teaching is heretical. If God promises saving grace to both Esau and Jacob, as Horton affirms, but the promise fails because of Esau’s unbelief, then the conclusion necessarily follows that grace succeeded in the case of Jacob, only because of grace causing Jacob to accept grace.”

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.”

Mark Seifrid— “The Law speaks even to us who are regenerate as fallen human beings. Being a Christian means again and again, in all the trials and temptations of life, hearing and believing the Gospel which overcomes the condemnation pronounced on us by the Law and by our own consciences in which that Law is written….But according to the puritan perspective, Law and Gospel do not address the believing human being in radically different ways, but only in differing degrees according to the measures of “grace” present within them. …. The embedding of the Law within grace qualifies law’s demand—while the Law works the death of sinners, it has a different effect on the righteous. The puritans regards the “flesh” is present as a power that exerts partial influence on us.

http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/sbjt_102_sum06-seifrid1.pdf

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.”

Lee irons—”Their principle (that all types must typify grace and cannot typify the works principle) would rule out Adam from being a type of Christ. And what about the types prefiguring the day of judgment throughout the OT? For example, Noah’s flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt, the conquest of the Canaanites, the expulsion of Israel from the land in the exile. These are not symbols of grace but of wrath.”

Steve Yang– Murray argues that those who crucified their old self with Christ are no longer under the dominion of sin (Romans 6). He says that “it is wrong to use these texts to support any other view of the victory entailed than that which the Scripture teaches it to be, namely, the radical breach with the power and love of sin which is necessarily the possession of every one who has been united to Christ. Union with Christ is union with him in the efficacy of his death and in virtue of his resurrection – he who thus died and rose again with Christ is freed from sin, and sin will not exercise the dominion” (143). Murray further writes, “the Christian] must reckon himself to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ his Lord. It is the faith of this fact that provides the basis for, and the incentive to the fulfillment of, the exhortation, ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body…’” (146).

Murray’s usage of Scripture, however, has failed to prove that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit necessarily changes a person in a progressive sense. His usage of Romans, for instance, is unwarranted for the reason that he assumes that by “the dominion of sin” Paul has an ontological change in mind. However, when Paul wrote “so you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11) the verb he chose to use was logi,zesqe, which means to “consider”, to “count”, to “credit” or to “reckon”. Such a verb is not used in an ontological sense, but in a positional sense. Paul also uses this very verb to describe the manner in which Abraham was counted righteous by God God accounted, or declared, Abraham righteous even though Abraham ontologically wasn’t. Murray’s usage of this passage undermines his own assumptions by reaffirming the positional aspect of God’s blessings.

The freedom from the dominion of sin, which Paul speaks of, is the freedom from the condemnation of sin and from the guilt of falling short of the law’s demands. Whereas Murray would seem to suggest that sanctification is conforming to the law (by the Spirit’s help), Paul’s claim is that “we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, IN ORDER TO serve. Whereas Murray would suggest that being freed from the dominion of sin means that the believer has newly attained ability to keep the law, Paul, on the contrary, suggests that such freedom means Christians are absolved from the law’s demands. All the law could do is condemn, kill, and destroy. And it is for this very reason that in Rom. 7:7 Paul anticipates the objection that “doesn’t such a view suggest that the law is sin?” the view that the freedom from the dominion of sin only means that the Spirit aids us in obeying the law would never draw one to raise the objection that the law is sin (in fact, quite the contrary). If one were in line with Pauline theology, one would have to expect answer to similar objections in which Paul faced. The fact that John Murray does not seems to attract such objections only suggests that John Murray is not reading the Apostle Paul correctly.

Stoever, A Faire and Easy Way, p 64 – Cotton professed himself unable to believe it possible for a person to maintain that grace works a condition in him, reveals it, makes a promise to it, and applies it to him, and still not to trust in the work. If a person did not trust in the merit of the work, he would at least be tempted to trust in the right of it to the promise, and he probably would not dare to trust a promise unless he could see a work.