Archive for the ‘faith’ category

More and More United to Christ? More and More Justified?

December 14, 2018

Heidelberg Caatechsim Q.76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?

A. It is not only to embrace with believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal; but also, besides that, to become MORE AND MORE UNITED to his sacred body, by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us; so that we, though Christ is in heaven and we on earth, are notwithstanding “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone” and that we live and are governed forever by one spirit.

Mike Horton, Justification, volume 2, (New Studies in Dogmatics , p449—Union with Christ is not actually an element in the order of salvation but an “umbrella term” for the order as a whole.

Horton, p450—“The Holy Spirit grants us faith to be united to Christ.”

Horton, p451—“Union is not a goal but the source”

Horton, p455–“There is no union with Christ which is not union with the visible church”

Horton, p467–Calvin goes beyond Luther by stressing the more and more
aspect of salvation

Horton, p471—” Logical priority does not determine basis”

Horton, p487—“the goal of union”

Horton—-“a person can become a member of the covenant of grace without truly embracing the word that is preached. All persons in the covenant are to be threatened with the consequences of apostasy. Some belong to the covenant community and experience thereby the work of the Spirit through the means of grace and yet are not regenerate.. Thus we have a category for a person who is in the covenant but not personally UNITED BY LIVING FAITH to Jesus Christ”

Nathan J. Langerak— “Cnsequent conditions” are new conditions of
salvation imposed on the saved person because the person is now saved.”

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

Does “living the gospel” equate to attending the true visible church in order to receive grace by means of the sacrament? Is it possible to be justified before God without being united to the true visible church? Is the Protestant Reformed Church (which denies that the gospel is an offer) the true visible church? Is the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (which insists that the gospel is an offer) the true visible church?

This essay is not mainly against the idolatry of “the church” or thinking you have to go to “the church” in order to get water, in order to have something to believe in, in order to receive and continue to receive grace. God has not predestined “the church” to be the “means of grace”, but that’s not my concern now.

My argument instead is that we are either in Christ or we are not. There is no such thing as being “more united” to Christ because of eating the “sacrament”. There is no such thing as being more and more united to Christ. We are either sanctified and set apart in Christ or not. We were elected in Christ or not. If we were not elected in Christ, then Christ never died for our sins and we will never be placed in Christ’s death and justified. If we were elected in Christ, then Christ died because of our sins (Romans 4:25), and when God gives the elect the reward of Christ’s death by means of legal imputation, these elect are justified and will be resurrected to life.

Romans 5:17 how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness REIGN IN LIFE through the one man,Jesus Christ…18 through one righteous act there is life-giving justification…21 as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, RESULTING IN LASTING LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The one who is justified now is not only legally free from some sins but from ALL SINS

John 5:24 As many as who hear My word and believe Him who sent Me has lasting life and will NOT COME UNDER JUDGMENT but HAS PASSED from death to life. 25 I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

I think that John 5: 24 shows that there is no process of justification. Justification is NOT something you have more or less. Being placed into Christ’s death is NOT something that increases or decreases. But if you confess that “union” comes before justification, and if you say thaat “union” increases, I think the likely result will something like a Lutheran “justified again every day” (or some days not justified, when you don’t attend the sacrament, or when you don’t have faith at the sacrament).

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

This is NOT a “two aspects” justification. This is NOT a “progressive justification”

If you have been placed into Christ’s death, then you will not need more grace when you sin than when you don’t sin. Being in Christ’s death does not give you the grace of sinning less so that you need less grace. You either have Christ’s death as your death or you do not have Christ’s death as your death.

Benjamin Keach, The Biblical Doctrine of Justification Without Works, Solid Ground Books, Birmingham, Alabama USA, 2007, p 80—“ “Once we are justified, we need not inquire how a man is justified after he is justified. By that righteousness of Christ which is out of us, though imputed to us, the Justice of God is satisfied; therefore all Works done by us, or inherent in us, are excluded in our Justification before God.”

Romanists say that justification includes progress in holiness. The Reformed say that nobody can be justified without “the double grace” of progress in holiness.
What’s the practical difference?

Beale, New Testament Biblical Theology, p 516—My view is compatible
with Snodgrass (Justification by Grace–to the Doers:An Analysis of the
Place of Romans 2 in the Theology of Paul) who holds that justification excludes ‘legalistic works’ done to earn justification but INCLUDE an evaluation of IMPERFECT works done by us through the Spirit…

I keep asking. Does being “united” to Christ mean that the distinction between promise and demand is removed in such a way that those justified today still need to be justified tomorrow by the “consequent” instrumentality of works done after one is justified? Now that we are “united” to Christ,is the promise of the gospel no longer any different from the demand of the law that we do what God says to do in order to stay “united” to Christ or to be “more united” to Christ?

Those who teach that “union with Christ” is an “umbrella term” which includes all the blessings in no particular order almost always end up saying that faith comes in order before “union with Christ” and that “union” comes in order before God does any imputing. Some of these “Reformed” folks are so Arminian that they make it sound like God only imputes your sins to Christ after you “execise your faith” and consent to the offer and then after that you are “united to Christ by working faith”. And most of them who say that “union” means all the blessings end up defining “union” as only the one blessing which they say is “the presence of the person of Christ in you” before God ever does any imputing.

They insist that it is “antinomian” to deny that faith comes first in the order of salvation before “union with Christ” and the presence of Christ indwelling internally in our eternal souls.

I agree that there are antinomians who deny that the gospel commands faith.

Romans 1:17 The righteous will live by faith

Antinomians teach that it is only Christ who lives by Christ’s faith and that Romans 1:17 is not about anybody else believing

But this real antinomianism is no excuse for NEONOMIANS who say that faith includes works, or who say that faith is righteousness.

Yes, antinomians are wrong to say that sinners are justified beforeand without faith. But it is not wrong to say that God imputes Christ’s death to the elect (those are the only ones whose sins were imputed to Christ) in order to the work of the Holy Spirit creating in the elect faith in the gospel.

Antinomians say that sinners are justified regardless of their faith in Christ.
Antinomians argue that saying that we can’t be justified without faith
in the gospel means a salvation not by grace

But Romans 4:16 This is why the promise is by faith, IN ORDER THAT IT
BE ACCORDING TO GRACE

Antinomians teach that our faith should be in Christ’s faith

But Romans 6:17 teaches that not only is Christ the object of faith
but that Christ is present in power to create OUR FAITH IN CHRIST.

Romans 6:17 you obeyed from the heart that gospel doctrine to which
you were transferred

Galatians 2:16 no one is justified by the works of the law but by
faith in Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 28:16 as many as who believe on Him will not be put to shame

Nobody who bothers to read this essay should say that I deny that faith in Christ is not necessary for justification before God. What I deny is that God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect sinner comes only after God has already come to indwell the elect sinner by Christ’s Spirit.

The Reformed Confessions teach (but do not prove) that regeneration must come before imputation. These confessions also incorrectly teach that what God imputes (after regeneration, they say) is not the death of Christ but instead
that the law-keeping of Christ is imputed. These Confessions teach that Christ’s death is not the righteousness to be imputed, but rather His incarnate law-keeping. No hope in Christ’s death alone, they say.

And the death of those who do not consent to the “Reformed free offer” (consent in order to be united to Christ) is not they say the punishment for sin because they say that you have to exist to be punished and therefore they say that those who do not consent to God’s law (which for them ultimately the same as God’s gospel) must continue to sin forever and never die.

BUT THE PRIORITY IN JUSTIFICATION MUST ALWAYS GO TO CHRIST’S DEATH IMPUTED.

The reward of Christ’s death is not grace for Christ but justice for Christ

The reward of Christ’s death (righteousness) will be given to all the elect

The reward of Christ’s death (righteousness) is grace for all for whom Christ died

I Peter 1:18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way
of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like
silver or gold, 19 but with the precious BLOOD of Christ, like that of
a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 CHRIST WAS CHOSEN before the ages
but was revealed at the end of the ages for you 21 who through Christ
are believers in God, who raised Christ from the dead and gave him
glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

II Peter 1:1 To those who have obtained a faith of equal preciousness
with our faith through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus
Christ.

Many Reformed folks seem to think that if you don’t use certain words like “merit” or “earning” or “justification”, you can teach that there is MORE “sanctification” and MORE adoption and MORE assurance by means of your efforts and works. They teach that,after you are a watered Christian, then there is no more antithesis between faith and works, or between law and gospel

Richard Gaffin, by Faith not by Sight, p103–“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. With the gospel and in Christ, united to him, the law is now my friend.”

In reponse to Gaffin, there was no grace before Adam’s sin and no need for grace. The tree of life in the garden was not the church, nor was that tree an “offer” to be given lasting life by means of not sinning. The law commandment—if you sin, you surely die—was NOT the gospel. But God’s command was a real threat, NOT that sinners would live forever in torture in some place separated fro God. God’s ccommand to Adaam was a threat of DEATH

Second, again in response to Gaffin, law still accuses of sin after Adam’s sin. Even after we become Christians, even after we are in Christ’s death by God’s legal imputation, Christians still sin and their sin is still sin. This sin is against law, even though their sin no longer brings them into condemnation and death.

There are NOT two kinds of works, one of which kind of works gains you MORE AND MORE blessings. The blessings of salvation come to the justified elect, not because of ANY KIND OF works.

The blessings of salvaton only come to those for whom Christ died, after God places them into Christ’s death.

Gaffin and many others (including Mike Horton) teach that it’s not only Christ’s death (because of sins) which justifies. They teach that Christ’s resurrection enables us to have faith which enables us to have “union” which they desecribe as an internal energy indwelling inside us which changes our inner disposition. They deny that God imputes Christ’s death to the ungodly unregenerate.

They keep teaching that Christ’s rightousness is only imputed after “union” and that “union” is only after the faith.

I keep asking –how do you get faith to receive Christ inside you if this internal Christ (by His Spirit) is not already inside you?

If “union” whereby the Spirit gives us Christ is for all practical purposes some kind of “regeneration”, and if regeneration is an ongong process, how is it that any “justification” coming after this “union” could possibly be EITHER OR? Either you are now justified or you are not now justified!

The order that puts faith before union and union before imputation results in justification as a process. Not only do you have MORE AND MORE “union” and MORE AND MORE “sanctification”, but you have MORE AND MORE justification. You have justifciation of those who are already supposedly justified.

Moo, (“Justification in Galatians”, p 172, Understanding the Times)—”Nor is there any need to set Paul’s “juridicial” and “participationist” categories in opposition to one another (see Gaffin, By Faith Not By Sight, p 35-41). The problem of positing a AN UNION WITH CHIRST THAT PRECEDES THE ERASURE OF OUR LEGAL CONDEMNTION…….. CAN BE ANSWERED IF WE POSIT, WITHIN THE SINGLE WORK OF CHRIST, TWO STAGES OF “JUSTIFICATION”, one involving Christ’s payment of our legal debt–the basis for our regeneration–and SECOND OUR ACTUAL JUSTIFICATIONn-stemming from our union with Christ.”

Bradley Green, Covenant and Commandment, IVP, 2014, p 63—-“ SOME think that Christ’s work must be kept totally and utterly sequestered from Abraham’s work and from our work. But it is not necessary to say that there are no conditions where grace reigns. Does it not make more sense to simply say that within a gracious covenantal relationship God moves his covenant people to obey him more and more?

Faith is NOT our “consent or assent to the offer”. God commands all sinners to obey the gospel. We must not change the gospel so that we falsely teach that Christ died in some way for all sinners. Christ never needed to die for anyone in order to command everyone to believe the gospel.

My first concern in this essay is to ask for definition of “union with christ”. Indeed, I think we need to stop using the expression and always be more specific. Those God loves are elected IN CHRIST from before the ages. This is the beginning and source of eveything. But the phrase “union with Christ” is often used to talk about “Christ in us”. Almost always the distinction between “us in Christ” and “Christ in us” is not spelled out, but the assumption is that the Spirit of Christ has to be in us before we can be legally placed into Christ’s death. Instead of teaching that Christ’s resurrection is because of the certain justification of all for whom Christ died, is is more often mistakenly taught from Romans 4:25 that Christ’s resurrection is in order to our justification and therefore the power that raised Christ from the dead needs to work to regenerate us inside beore God can impute Christ’s death to us.

It is mistakenly taught from Ephesians 2 that resurrection with Christ is regeneration. But Ephesians 2 teaches a legal identity with Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ’s resurrection was not Christ’s regeneration. Christ’s death was a result Christ’s legal condemnation (for imputed sins). Christ’s resurrecton was a result of the certain legal justification of all for whom Christ died.

Marcus Peters gives us the false (normal) order: “We are not united to Christ because we have been justified. It is quite the other way around: we are justified because we have been united to Christ, who is himself our justification.”

https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-union-with-christ/

EITHER you are dead or you are not, but the argument is that, yes you
are either married or not, but that married people get closer and
closer (or not). If these Reformed theologians don’t have Bible texts that say what their confessions say, they just repeat the confession. HC 76 BUT
ALSO BESIDES THAT that, to become MORE AND MORE UNITED to his sacred
body, by the Holy Spirit, who dwells both in Christ and in us.

This teaching about a process of justification, part of which depends on God-enabled grace-enabled working on our part is not something new. It goes all the way back to Augustine and the beginning of the false sacramental Roman “church”.

Augustine–There is a sense in which faith is rightly distinguished from works,
because there are two different kinds of works. There are works that “appear good” but do not refer to Christ, i.e. do not have love of Christ as their source and end or goal. But there are other works that are truly good, because they have love of Christ as their source and goal. Faith is of the latter sort of work, because faith works by love, and has Christ as its source and goal.

Machen, Notes on Galatians, p178–”You might conceivably be saved by works or you might be saved by faith, but you cannot be saved by both. It is ‘either or’ here not ‘both and’. The Scripture says it is by faith. Therefore it is NOT works.”

Machen– “According to modern liberalism, faith is essentially the same as ‘making Christ master’ of one’s life…But that simply means that salvation is thought to be obtained by our obedience to the commands of Christ. Such teaching is just a sublimated form of legalism.”

Machen– What good does it do to me to tell me that the type of religion presented in the Bible is a very fine type of religion and that the thing for me to do is just to start practicing that type of religion now?…I will tell you, my friend. It does me not one tiniest little bit of good…What I need FIRST of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but
knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the
question that I ask of you. I know your exhortations will not help me.

But as Horton suggested, the Reformed also have a “more and more”. Not only Calvin but Machen has a SECOND thought. “The works which Paul condemns are not the works which James condones. ”

Gaffin and Moo and Beale and Norman Shepherd now quote Machen’s second thought. Horton quotes Machen’s first thought without ever mentioning what Gaffin and Mooe and Beale teach.

I agree with Cunha (The Emperor’s New Clothes) that justification is NOT BY WORKS. Justification is not by works before justification, and not by works after justification I reject “process justification” . I reject “justified but continuing to be justified” I reject “justification not yet justification.”

Rick p—“Why would I put myself through the ordeal of discipline, sacrifice, and sweat, much less risk-taking business endeavors, if I can have a wonderful life without working for it?”

https://heidelblog.net/2014/05/berkhof-on-the-necessity-of-good-works/

http://www.presenttruthmag.com/archive/XXXII/32-3.htm

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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

Your believing will not Cause you to be Born Again

July 1, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why would you not want to breathe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Were You Born Justified and Then Later “Saved”?

June 12, 2017

There are preachers who teach the sovereignty of God who teach that God can justify (and has already justified) sinners who God has not taught the gospel. While these preachers assure us that these justified people will know and believe the gospel some day they also teach teach that God’s sovereign justice means that all the elect are justified before and without believing the gospel.

When these preachers teach that there are only two states, they are not talking about the difference between justification and condemnation. To them, the difference between “not being able to acceptably worship God” and “being saved” is NOT the difference between before and after justification. The eternal justification preachers teach that “saved” means “have learned the gospel”. They don’t think “saved” means “justified before God.”

Those who now think they are “saved” can talk about how other people “thought they were saved before they were saved until they were saved” But it turns out that some of these people think they were born justified before they knew the gospel. They think they were justified before they were “saved”. They think they were justified back when Jesus finished dying on the cross.

Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith…

God has not yet forgiven any sinners who God has not yet taught the gospel.

II Corinthians 4: 6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ

The truth of the gospel is not only God’s sovereignty but also God’s righteousness. This means that the gospel is not only about the justification of the elect sinner but also about the justification of God.

Palm 116:11—“I said in my alarm, ‘All mankind are liars’” The gospel gives all the honor and glory to God. In the gospel God is justified, and sinners who still don’t believe the gospel are still condemned. We see this in Romans 1:25 . All of us have been people who “exchange the truth for a lie”.

To pass over from condemnation to justification is to learn the gospel in which one’s confidence is not in what God’s sovereignty does in you but rather in what God has done in Christ outside you. Christ only died for the elect. Christ only died for those who will believe the gospel. One of the blessings of the gospel is that God teaches the elect the gospel and causes them to believe the gospel. Those who were once slaves of sin “become obedient from the mind to the standard of doctrine to which they are committed” (Rom 6:17) so that there are “things of which you are now ashamed” (Rom 6:21).

Before you were justified You may have already believed in God’s sovereignty and also been ashamed of immorality, without ever knowing God’s gospel about justification. The Cains of this world are ready for a self-examination and contrast in terms of their morality or their assent to God’s sovereignty. But as long as they have not come to the light of the gospel , they still love darkness and their evil deeds are still charged against them.. (John 3:19)

It is idolatry to only know a God who is sovereign. The true God is also righteous.

Psalm 51:4-6—“Against you have I sinned and done what is evil, so that you are justified in your words and blameless in your judgment…Behold you delight in truth…” Two things go together: God tells the truth, we were born in the wrong.

II Thessalonians 1: 6 It is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you 7 and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t OBEY THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS

II Thessalonians 2: 10 They perish because they did not accept the love of THE TRUTH IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE THE TRUTH but enjoyed unrighteousness.

The gospel is good news for the elect, but not without also being first bad news. The gospel does not tell the elect that they are elect. The gospel does not tell the elect that they are already justified. The gospel does not tell the elect that all the elect are already justified. You can call it “law before gospel” if you wish. But part and parcel of justifying God (and trusting God’s true gospel) is taking sides with God against our-selves. Before justification, God and us can’t both be right. God is right, and we are wrong.

If we ever get to thinking that God is so sovereign that God justifies elect sinners before teaching them the gospel, then we takes sides against what the Bible teaches about the difference between election, atonement, and justification. We should not only confess that God is going to get God’s way, that God is going to win. We need to learn to confess that the way God acts in history . God justifies God in history (by means of Christ’s death in history) God justifies his elect in history. Believing the gospel is not a condition for God placing the elect sinner into Christ’s death. Believing the gospel is not a condition for God imputing Christ’s death to the elect sinner. But believing the gospel is also not the “evidence and result” of having been born justified, All those who do not yet believe the gospel are not yet justified. And all those who are justified before God believe the gospel.

Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood THROUGH FAITH. This was a demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just AND the justifier of the one WHO HAS FAITH IN JESUS

Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

God is true. God is God. To be ignorant of the righteousness of God (His attribute, not only Christ’s saving work and gift) is to an idolater, to be one who still does not know the true God. Romans 3:3 tells us that God’s faithfulness proves that God is the true God. Isaiah 42:3—“He will faithfully bring forth justice.” Isaiah 45:19—“I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness. I did not say to the seed of Jacob, seek me in vain. I the Lord speak the truth. I declare what is right”.

Many who teach the sovereignty of God speak of “blessed inconsistency” instead of realizing that knowledge of how God justifies is wonderful knowledge of God!

Many who teach the sovereignty of God also engage in rationalizations and self-deceptions. They tell us, “well at least our being justified before we know the gospel shows us the sovereignty of God. We can’t be bothered to look back to any passing from death to life. Why bother with talking about before and faith in the gospel, or about “when in condemnation” or “before justification”. Since the Arminians confuse faith with Christ’s righteousness, we won’t make that mistake. We will exalt the sovereignty of God by teaching that justification is independent (before and without) God teaching us the gospel

But God is not a respecter of persons. God takes sides with Himself, against all those not yet imputed with Christ’s death. The only elect sinners that God has already justifies are those God has placed into the death of Christ.

Romans 8:10–”but if Christ is in you.., the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

II Peter 1:1, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Romans 4:24 Righteousness will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was handed for our trespasses (past and future) and raised for our justification (past and future)

ROMANS 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who WERE ONCE slaves of sin HAVE BECOME obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, HAVING BEEN justified from sin, HAVE BECOME slaves of righteousness.

Romans 16:7 “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners. They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles,and they were also in Christ before me.” Christ being in us is not the same reality as us being in Christ, and the Apostle Paul does not say that these other elect were born again before him. Paul say they were “in Christ” before him. That’s not the new birth or election. That’s justification

God is not some neutral arbitrator. God is one of the parties in God’s lawsuit against sinners. The God we have offended by being sinners (exchanging truth for idolatry) is the God who will judge all sinners.

Eternal justification preachers falsely reason from the fact that God’s imputation of Christ’s death is before faith to a conclusion that God’s justification is also before and without faith in the gospel. But the imputation of Adam’s sin and condemnation are two distinct matters, and condemnation is the result of God’s imputation of Adam’s sin.

God’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ is distinct from God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect (Romans 6 baptized–not water, not with the Spirit– into the death). Eternal justification folk have nothing to say about justification in the before and after of Romans 6 and Ephesians 2. T

They tend to assume that Galatians 2 (despite its context) is not talking about justification (freedom from guilt, positive legal standing in Christ) but about the new birth (learning the gospel).

God’s imputation of Christ’s death results in God’s effectual calling, faith and justification. God’s declaration of justification is not apart from God’s creating hearing by faith in God’s gospel.

Cunha, p 83—” To say that faith is merely an awareness of justification that has occurred prior to faith is to define faith in a way that is foreign to Scripture….

David Clarkson, Of Faith, p 75—Faith at first relies on Christ, not as one that has pardoned my sin, but as one through whom pardon is to be obtained. The persuasion that sin is pardoned is a consequence of faith. Faith is not the persuasion that my sin is pardoned.

James Haldane, The Doctrine of the Atonement, p 115–”When does the act of justification take place? In time or before time? Like every other purpose of God, justification was God’s purpose before the ages, and like the act of creation, justification is an act carried out in time. We may as well talk of eternal resurrection as talk of eternal justification,”

Romans 8: 12 We are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die.

Believing a false gospel is flesh, and if you believe a false gospel, you are going to die. Being immoral is flesh, and if you believe and confess the true gospel, you believe and confess the forgiveness of your immorality (past and future)

You will notice that I have not talked about the nature of faith and assurance. I cannot talk about everything all at once. I don’t make distinctions between me “really believing” and other people “only having their heads stuffed with intellectual doctrines”.

My question is about the object of knowledge. What is the gospel? Does the gospel tell us that all the elect are already justified? No, it does not. Does the gospel tell us that being “saved” is not justification but the new birth? No, it does not. Does the gospel tell us that Christ’s righteousness is Christ keeping the law Adam and Moses were supposed to keep? No, the gospel is about Christ’s death as the basic difference between those who will be justified and those who will not be justified. All for whom Christ died will be justified.

Chuck E. Cheese Tokens–Does your church PAY OUT with SACRAMENTAL CURRENCY?

May 10, 2017

“I said it was only a bread-god.’ The priests were wroth that I so contemned their god.”

Calvin (3:2:24) —-Christ is not outside us but dwells within us. Not only does Christ cleave to us by an indivisible bond of fellowship, but grow MORE AND MORE into one body with us, until He becomes completely one with us

Luther– “Christ daily drives out the old Adam MORE AND MORE in accordance with the extent to which faith and knowledge of Christ grow. For alien righteousness is not instilled all at once, but it begins, makes progress, and is finally perfected at the end through death (“Two Kinds of Righteousness,” LW 31: 299)

Doug Moo–There is no need to set Paul’s “juridicial” and “participationist” categories in opposition to one another (see Gaffin, By Faith Not By Sight, p 35-41). The problem of positing a union with Christ that precedes the erasure of our legal condemnation before God ( making justification the product of union with Christ) CAN BE ANSWERED IF WE POSIT, WITHIN THE SINGLE WORK OF CHRIST, TWO STAGES OF “JUSTIFICATION”, one involving Christ’s payment of our legal debt–the basis for our regeneration–and second our actual justification.” (Justification in Galatians”, p 172, Understanding the Times)

Heidelberg Catechsim Q. 76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?

A. It is not only to embrace with believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal; BUT ALSO, BESIDES THAT TO BECOME MORE AND MORE UNITED TO HIS SACRED BODY, by the Holy Spirit, who dwells both in Christ and in us; so that we, though Christ is in heaven and we on earth, are notwithstanding “flesh of his flesh:….

Austrian economics (Mises) teaches that “If people value something, it has value. if people do not value some­thing, it does not have value. There is no intrinsic about it.”

If you define church by its “sacraments” and define sacrament not as your remembering but as God (through the church) handing out grace, then the distribution by your church of the “means of grace” is the way your church “pays out”.

Although there is no objective grace from God in what your church does, if you think that its sacrament has value for you, then you will try to find a church with an “ordained minister” (with a “vocation” as “called by God”) in order for you to receive “more and more” union with the presence of Christ.

Many people think that, if there is no sacrament, there is no church. They also think that If there is no ordained preacher to hand out grace in sacraments), there is no church

When you have a birthday part for your grandchildren at Chuck E Cheese, they give you “tokens” which you can use to play the games at Chuck E. Cheese. The tokens have no value anywhere else, but you can use them play skee ball and shoot baskets while you eat junk food at the party. In this sense, the sacraments in your church function as its “money”.

The basic difference between sacramental churches is how much your faith is involved in your obtaining grace from the sacrament. Though Lutherans teach that your “faith alone” along with their sacrament will give you grace from God, Lutherans also teach that their sacrament will give more and more curse to those who do not believe in the sacrament.

The Reformed tend to teach that only those who believe in the sacrament get to go to heaven and eat Jesus. The Reformed teach that God is NOT PRESENT in the sacrament for those who don’t believe in the sacrament, but even the Reformed also teach that some people end up dead because of the sacrament, because unbelief “eats and drinks judgment” .

John Calvin—“The integrity of the sacrament lies here, that the flesh and blood of Christ are not less truly given to the unworthy than to the elect believers of God; and yet it is true, that just as the rain falling on the hard rock runs away because it cannot penetrate, so the wicked by their hardness repel the grace of God, and prevent it from reaching them

Unlike the Roman Catholic church, the sacramental protestants do not teach that the church makes certain Christ’s presence in the sacrament. The sacramental protestants teach that the word of God (as preached by ordained preachers) guarantees the objective sanctions of the sacrament.

For the Protestants, the sacraments are not about us (taking or eating or remembering). For the Protestants, the sacraments are about the ordained preachers. While these Protestants mock “memorial societies”, they claim that “the church” (defined by ordained preachers) is the “living body of Christ”.

Though Lutherans teach that the humanity of Jesus is now everywhere present, they also teach that the humanity of Jesus shows up on earth in a specific time and place predictably when an ordained preacher is involved. Unlike the Lutherans, the Reformed teach that the humanity of Jesus is present only in heaven, but the Reformed teach that those who believe in the sacrament will at certain times and places (where there are ordained preachers) be taken up to heaven to be more and more with Jesus.

For the Reformed, the preachers are necessary but not enough—to nourish on Jesus you need faith in the sacrament and this faith will make the distance between heaven and earth disappear (at certain times and places, where ordained preachers are present). So it’s never only your faith, and it’s never only the preachers. But the Reformed church pays out in grace if you believe that the sacrament is a means of grace. And if you don’t believe that the sacrament gives grace, then you get nothing.

John 3: 8 The wind blows WHERE IT PLEASES and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

John 4: 19 “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain,yet you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father NOT on this mountain and NOT in Jerusalem…..an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 20: 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

If a basketball team “puts in a lot of effort” but still loses, where is the value? If something has no value to you,, it has no value, unless somebody else values it enough to pay you for it. It really does not matter how much “work was put into it”.

People often value things that have no value to God.

Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”

Philippians 3: 8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider those things shit, in order that I gain Christ 9 and be found in Him

Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Sacramentalists don’t trust liberals because as traditionalists they rightly connect suspicion of the nation-state with skepticism about preachers and the church. The majority culture always opposes any attempt of the “sects” to judge what the gospel is, without the authority of other people, including the catholic creeds.

Forget trying to know what the gospel is and who is a Christian, and instead come to the sacrament where the preacher will tell you personally that the grace is “for you” (even though it won’t be if you don’t believe in the sacrament)

Calvin- Institutes 4:17:5 For there are some who define the eating of the flesh of Christ, and the drinking of his blood, to be, in one word, nothing more than believing in Christ himself. But Christ seems to me to have intended to teach something more express and MORE SUBLIME in that noble discourse, in which he recommends the eating of his flesh—viz. that we are quickened by the true partaking of HIM, which he designated by the terms eating and drinking, lest any one should suppose that the life which we obtain from him is obtained by simple knowledge. For as it is not the sight but the eating of bread that gives nourishment to the body, so the soul must partake of Christ truly and thoroughly, that by his energy it may grow up into spiritual life. According to them, to eat is merely to believe; while I maintain that the flesh of Christ is eaten by believing and that THIS EATING is the fruit of faith…the Lord was pleased, by calling himself the bread of life, not only to teach that our salvation is treasured up in the faith of his death and resurrection, but also, by virtue of true communication with him, his life passes into us and becomes ours, just as bread when taken for food gives nourishment to the body.

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. Reformed Protestants don’t worry about mortal sin but about whether they have true saving faith—so they seek conversion. Luther points to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me.

Since I was born to a Canaanite family.I come with faith alone, without water, without clergy, without Christian parents, without promises to those born in the covenant, and also DENYING THAT I will or can come more and more near by agreeing with the tradition about the “real presence.”

When Jesus passed the bread around the table during that Passover before His death, was the bread ontologically identical to the substance of the living body that was doing the passing?
His body was doing the passing, but was it also being passed out? .Jesus said– “this is” my body…

Even if you do what you believe (because you believe), and “choose life”, there is no life in the law

January 23, 2017

There is no life in the law of Moses. There is no life in the law of Christ.
There is only life in the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Many who preach sermons in churches could preach the very same sermon in synagogues, because they preach the law and not the gospel. They confuse the law with the gospel, because they think that doing the law brings life. Make your choice, these preachers tell us. Believe the law and then do the law, and if you don’t do the law that means you don’t believe the law.

Deuteronomy 30:11 Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is NOT TOO HARD FOR YOU, nor is it too far away. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and DO IT ?” 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and DO IT” 14 No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to DO 15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 IF YOU OBEY the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and DOING his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live…. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.

But this choice is not as simple as it sounds, which is why legal preachers also cut themselves (and those who listen to them) some slack. They assure us that we need not live by the letter of the law. They say we can choose life and gain life by doing what the law says but at the same without our relying on our believing and on our doing what the law says. We should remain humble and thank God for helping us do the law. We should not sit in judgment those who don’t do the law well, so that others will not judge us when we don’t do the law better.

These preachers have no good news for sinners like me. These preachers have no good news for people like me who are still very unbelieving.

When Jesus preached in a synagogue, Jesus preached about Himself, not about our doing the law. Of those who are guilty before the law , all those for whom Jesus died (the elect) will be freed from that guilt and given life.

Matthew 11: 8 those who wear soft clothes are in kings’ palaces.

Luke 4: 16 Jesus entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me
to proclaim freedom to the captives

Luke 4: 25 But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them—but to one widow outside of Israel. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had serious skin diseases, yet not one of them was healed —only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged.29 They got up, drove Jesus out of town, and brought Him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl Jesus over the cliff.

These who come in soft clothes to the synagogues are not offended at the idea of a new perspective in which they become more inclusive and welcome others to do the law with them. But those in soft clothes in the synagogues get angry when anybody “narrows the covenant” to only those sinners whose hope is not in doing the law but in election by grace. Those in soft clothes in synagogues reject any notion that their own children and other family members will not be given enough grace to do enough of the law to receive life.

Deuteronomy 27: 26 Cursed is everyone who does not DO ALL the things written in the book of the law'”

John 3:19– “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their DOING was evil. 20 They do not come to the light, lest their DOING be exposed.

“All who depend on DOING the law are under a curse” (Galatians 3:10).

Those who pursue life by doing and obeying the law also accept the consequences of disobeying law. We are all born condemned, even before we do anything good or bad.
Whether we think we are pursuing life by doing or not, we are all born condemned, with no hope except in the gospel.

Hebrews 6:1– “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God”

Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Faith in the doctrine of Christ’s death and resurrection can be referred to as obedience in the sense that when we believe in Christ we are doing what God command everybody to do. Thus is why the Scriptures sometimes speak of “obeying the gospel.” But doing the law is not faith in the gospel (Romans 3:28). Since whatever is not faith is sin (Romans 14:23 ) , some have concluded that “works of the law” does not refer to failure before the law in general, but rather to a specific kind of sin–the sin of trying to earn life from God by doing the law. But we are all born condemned because of Adam’s sin and also because of all our sins, not only because of the sin of trying to gain life by law. Even though there was never grace for the non-elect, the non-elect also are born condemned before they did anything good or bad, and before they ever attempted to gain life by doing the law. Romans 9:11 For though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything GOOD OR BAD, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works. Law doing is not simply acts one does without faith. “Works” are “anything we do, whether good or bad.”

Romans 3:19 “The law speaks to those who are under the law, in order that every mouth be silenced, and in order that the whole world be held accountable to God. 20 For ‘no human being will be justified in his sight’ by doing commanded by the law. Through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

Jesus has redeemed His elect people from the curse of the law “by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13)

Galatians 3: 12 The law is NOT of faith, rather “The one who DOES them shall LIVE by them.” (Leviticus 18:5)

The logic of “if” is the logic of “or”.

Galatians 2:21 if righteousness and life came through doing the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Christ died for a purpose (all for whom Christ died will be saved) OR righteousness is through our doing the law. No synthesis possible. Christ did not come to help us to get around that antithesis

Galatians 3:18 For IF the inheritance comes by DOING the law, the inheritance does NOT come by promise

Galatians 3:21 For IF a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by doing the law.

Romans 3: 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded.

If our doing the law brings life, then trusting only in Christ’s death is excluded. Faith in Christ’s death and resurrection means “not doing the law”

This is why we cannot say that doing the law because we believe gives us life. We do not receive or keep life by doing the law.

John 7:19 “Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law.”

Acts 13: 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died, was laid beside his ancestors, and experienced corruption 37 but Jesus who God raised up experienced no corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man Jesus forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; 39 by this Jesus each and every person who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

II Corinthians 3: 7 Now if the ministry of death, in letters on stone tablets, came in glory so that the people of Israel could not gaze at the face of Moses because of the glory, a glory now set aside, 8 how much more will the ministry of the Holy Spirit come in glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of justification abound in glory! 10 Indeed, what ONCE HAD glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory. 11 if what was SET ASIDE came through glory, much more has the PERMANENT come in glory!

Thomas Boston’s Offer—Grace is a Right Even for the Non-Elect But God won’t Enable Them to Accept It

March 18, 2016

Two peculiar doctrinal statements were especially at the heart of the Marrow controversy. The first concerns the preaching of the gospel to all men indiscriminately—what the Marrow men describe as the “offer” (rather than the “call”). According to the Marrow theology, in the preaching of the gospel God in Jesus Christ, “God moved with nothing but his free love to mankind lost, hath made a deed of gift and grant unto them all, that whosoever shall believe in this his Son, shall not perish, but have eternal life” .

As confusing as the language is, specifically, the phrase, “deed of gift and grant,” it is evident that the statement intends to teach God’s would-be love to all humans who hear the preaching on the condition that they believe. Implied in this statement is the doctrine that Christ died for all humans without exception. The church must “go and tell every man, without exception, that here is good news for him! Christ is dead for him! and if he will take him, and accept of his righteousness, he shall have him”.

The language is odd . “Christ is dead”? And Christ is dead for every human who hears the gospel? Not: “Christ died for every human.” But: “Christ dead for every human.” Contrast this confusing statement concerning the extent of the atoning death of Christ the clear language of the Canons of Dordt— For this was the sovereign counsel and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby He confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father, etc. (Canons of Dordt, 2.8).

If what orthodox Reformed theology regards as the external call of the gospel is, in fact, a gracious deed of gift and grant of Jesus Christ to every human who hears the gospel, , Christ must have died for all mankind lost, for every human without exception.

This fundamental statement of the Marrow theology is false on its very face. Christ is not dead! He is not dead in relation to anyone, including the elect. He died, in the past. But Christ is NOT dead. Christ is alive, having risen from the dead. In order to introduce into Reformed churches the doctrine of universal atonement (in support of their heretical teaching of the “offer”), without exposing themselves to the charge of teaching universal atonement, as would have been the case had they explicitly stated that the church may say to every human, “Christ died for you,” the Marrow men resorted to linguistic subterfuge: “Christ is dead for you.” This is despicable theology,

The Canons of Dordt make plain that the “offer” does not mean a gracious effort on God’s part to save all who hear, in view of a love of God for all hearers and with the desire to save them all. Head one of the Canons confesses the eternal non-election of some humans in a
hatred of God for them. Head two confesses that Christ died for the elect alone, according to God’s lasting love for them. Heads three and four confess that the saving call of the gospel, that which has its source in God’s election, is for some hearers of the gospel, not for all without exception.

With regard to the Marrow’s assertion that the gospel is a deed of gift and grant to all who hear, head two of the Canons teaches that Christ “purchased” for the elect, not only forgiveness and eternal life, but also faith itself (Canons 2.8).

The non-elect unbeliever does not have a warrant to believe in Jesus Christ. He does not have the ability. But neither does he have the right. Faith in Jesus Christ is a privilege, a right earned for the elect by the death of Jesus. “Warrant” implies right. The non-elect hearer
of the gospel has the DUTY to believe in Jesus, but he lacks both the ability and the right. This truth demolishes the theology of the Marrow.

If God in the gospel lovingly offers salvation to all humans without exception, on the ground of Christ’s death for everyone, Christ is not the whole savior. But the sinner himself, by his acceptance of the offered Christ, is instrumental in his own salvation. Indeed, the whole Christ is dependent upon the sinner’s acceptance. The Arminians call this acceptance “free will.” And the Marrow Calvinists call this acceptance “regeneration followed by instrumental faith”. But in both cases, Christ is not the savior because what God does to make the sinner accept Christ is the most fundamental part of salvation.

According to Thomas Boston. the offer is God’s gracious gift of Jesus Christ to all who hear the gospel, including those who are not saved by the gospel. It is not a gift to effectually save anybody, but in such a way as to make Jesus available to all those God predestined to be in the same room with gospel preaching. . Boston uses the example of the gift of money to a poor man: “Even as when one presents a piece of gold to a poor man saying, ‘Take it, it is yours’; the offer makes the piece really his in a sense nevertheless, while the poor man does not accept or receive it, it is not his in possession, nor hath he the benefit of it; but, on the contrary, must starve for it all, and that so much the more miserably, that he hath slighted the offer and refused the gift”

Boston comments— This giving, which in light of I John 5:11 is certainly gracious on God’s part, does not, however, put anyone in possession of eternal life. It merely makes it possible for humans to take possession”of eternal life. This giving of eternal life by God in the offer is not to and for the elect, but to and for all who hear the gospel, including those who may be reprobate, and perish. The party to whom eternal life is given by the offer is not the election only, but mankind lost.” In the offer, there is a giving of Christ and salvation to many where there is no receiving, for a gift may be refused.”

http://commongracedebate.blogspot.com/2016/05/review-of-whole-christ.html