Archive for the ‘resurrection’ category

Being Human Does Not Mean Being a Sinner

April 23, 2017

I Corinthians 15: 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead:
Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption;
43 sown in dishonor, raised in glory;
sown in weakness, raised in power;
44 sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual.

47 The first man was from the earth
and made of dust;
the second man is[n] from heaven.
48 Like the man made of dust,
so are those who are made of dust;
like the heavenly man,
so are those who are heavenly.
49 And just as we have borne
the image of the man made of dust,
we will also bear
the image of the heavenly man.

How did Adam sin in the first place without being a corrupt sinner?
I don’t know

But I do know that Jesus became also human and is still also human
without ever sinning or even being able to sin

“being able to sin ” does not define “being human”

to be “human” is to be “in the image of God”

Does this mean that God has always been “human” like?

Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. 13 God the Father has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. 14 We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in God the Son.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
16 For everything was created by God the Son,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through the Son and for the Son
17 God the Son is before all things,
and by Him all things hold together.
18 God the Son is… the firstborn from the dead,
in order to come to have
first place in everything.
19 For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in the Son
20 and through the Son to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Romans 6 is about Christ the public representative of the elect first being under condemnation, being under sin and death. 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, but the life he lives he lives to God.

Christ was never under grace and is still not under grace. Christ was under the law because of the imputed sins of the elect. Romans 6 is about Christ’s condemnation by the law and His death as satisfaction of that law. Christ after His resurrection is no longer “under law”. Christ’s elect, after their legal identification IN TIME with Christ’s death, are also no longer “under law”.

The death of the justified elect is the SAME legal death that Christ died. The “definitive resurrection” of the elect in Romans 6 is the result of being set apart with Christ (and His death) from being under law.

Christ was never under the power of sin in the sense of being unable not to sin. Christ was always unable to sin. The only way Christ was ever under the power of sin is by being under the guilt of sin. The guilt of the elect’s sin was legally transferred by God to Christ. Christ’s death to sin was death to the guilt of sin, and since the elect are IN TIME united with His death, the death of the elect is also a death to the guilt of sin. Romans 6:7: “For one who has died has been justified from sin.”

Docetism Says that Jesus was Not Really Human and Did Not Really Die

October 6, 2016

When Jesus was a baby, He didn’t sleep all that well at the beginning. The baby Jesus kept waking up his mom

Jesus was tortured to death, but Jesus is not still being tortured, and Jesus was not tortured for three days after He died.

Jesus had told his disciples that He would not be asking the Father to save him “from this hour,” because it was “for this reason” that he had “come to this hour” (John 12:27). What Jesus did ask was that the Father glorify his name, and the Father answered: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again,”

Jesus told them that this voice had spoken for their sake because the time had come for “the judgment of this world, “when the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when Jesus was “lifted up from the earth,” he would “draw all people to himself. That was his way of indicating the kind of death he would die In the garden of Gethsemane, Peter drew his sword in an effort to protect Jesus from arrest, but Jesus told him: “Put your sword back into its sheath,” because Jesus willed: “to drink the cup that the Father has given me” (

Calvin said that the physical death of Jesus would not save anybody, Calvin said it was God’s torture of Jesus that saved but Calvin also said that the torture was before Jesus died

Calvin: “If Christ had died only a bodily death ,it would have been ineffectual. No—it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God’s vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment.” 2.16.10.

Calvin–“Nothing had been done if Christ had only endured corporeal death. In order to interpose between us and God’s anger, and satisfy his righteous judgment, it was necessary that he should feel the weight of divine vengeance. Whence also it was necessary that he should engage, as it were, at close quarters with the powers of hell and the horrors of eternal death. … … Hence there is nothing strange in its being said that he descended to hell, seeing he endured the death which is inflicted on the wicked by an angry God. It is frivolous and ridiculous to object that in this way the order is perverted, it being absurd that an event which preceded burial should be placed after it. But after explaining what Christ endured in the sight of man, the Creed appropriately adds the invisible and incomprehensible judgment which he endured before God, to teach us that not only was the body of Christ given up as the price of redemption, but that there was a greater and more excellent price—that he bore in his soul the tortures of condemned and ruined man. ”

Calvin argued, that In ADDITION TO his physical suffering, Christ endured an “invisible and incomprehensible judgment” and paid “a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible moments of a condemned and forsaken man.” 2.16.10.

Calvin does not deny the physical death of Christ but Calvin assumes that Christ went straight to heaven, and Calvin adds something else to the human physical death of Christ. Some today teach that there would be “no hope without” vicarious law-keeping imputed ADDED TO Christ’s human physical death. Calvin taught that it was the pre-death sufferings of Christ which really made the propitiation, and NOT the human physical death.

What happens to the “Calvinist extra” (deity not united to humanity) if Christ’s deity is present in two places, not only with His dead body but also with his “human spirit in heaven”? Why object to Lutheran ideas about the ubiquity of the humanity (by communication of attributes with the deity) once you have agreed to humanity present with deity in two places?

F F Bruce–One symptom of the docetic tendency appears in the description of our Lord’s manhood as ‘heavenly humanity’…Writing in 1901, W. B. Neatby said, ‘A year or two ago I heard an address from a Brother of the Open Section, who actually taught that Christ did not die from crucifixion, but by a mere miraculous act. Or C. F. Hogg’s pamphlet, The Traditions and the Deposit: ‘What He did not know, He knew that He did not know’

http://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/ffb/humanity_bruce.pdf

Smeaton, Atonement As Taught By Himself, p 78—The Son of God took sin upon Him, and bore it simultaneously with the taking of the flesh, nay, in a sense even prior to the actual fact of the incarnation. The peculiar character of the Lord’s humanity, which was, on the one hand, pure and holy, and yet, on the other, a curse-bearing humanity, plainly shows that in some sense He was the sin-bearer from the moment of His sending, and, therefore, even prior to His actual incarnation.

Smeaton–And when it is said that God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, we have the very same thing…Sin was borne by God, not alone in the sense of forbearance, but in such a sense that it was laid on the sin-bearer, to be expiated by the divine Son. Thus the Lamb of God appeared without inherent sin or taint of any kind, but never without the sin of others. The sin of man was not firsti mputed to Him or borne by Him when He hung on the cross, but in and with the assumption of man’s nature.

Smeaton—The very form of a servant, and His putting on the likeness of sinful flesh, was an argument that sin was already transferred to Him and borne by Him; and not a single moment of the Lord’s earthly life can be conceived of in which He did not feel the harden of the divine wrath which must otherwise have pressed on us for ever.
Because He bore sin, and was never seen without it, it may be affirmed that the MORTALITY which was comprehended in the words, “Thou shalt surely die”—that is, all that was summed up in the wrath and curse of God,—was never really separated from Him.

Smeaton–As the sin-bearer, He all through life discerned and felt the penal character of sin, the sense of guilt, not personal, but as the surety could realize it, and the obligation to divine punishment for sins not His own, but made His own by an official action; and they who evacuate of their true significance these deep words, bears the sins” allowing Christ to have no connection with sin, and only dwelling on His purity and spotless innocence as our example—they who will not have Him as a sin-bearer—are the most sacrilegious.

There are dangers to describing sin as corruption instead of guilt, because guilt is cause of inability. There is great error in describing “made sin” as the “spiritual death” of Christ. Christ did not become corrupt, and Christian do not become righteous by infusion or by imparting (one more extra nature ) but by God’s legal imputation. …..

If Christ died spiritually, then Christ Needed to be Regenerated

Glenn Peoples—many reject the view that Jesus atoned for sin by suffering in hell after death . The problem, however, is that they still assume that the punishment for sin is suffering the wrath of God in the form of torment, and so the solution, whatever it is, is assumed to be that Jesus suffers that torment somewhere, either on the cross or in hell – and since it wasn’t in hell it was on the cross.

Did Jesus Talk more about Gehenna than He did about the Kingdom from Heaven?

January 18, 2016

http://rightreason.org/2010/did-jesus-preach-hell-more-than-heaven/

Walvoord—All the references to gehenna, except James 3:6, are from the lips of Jesus Christ himself…” [ “The Literal View” in William Crockett (ed.), Four Views on Hell (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 19-20.]

Glenn Peoples—“all the instances” of gehenna, in the Gospels actually amounts to very few. As it is a very Jewish word (a Greek term derived from a Hebrew word referring to the Valley of Hinnom),

Matthew 7:19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Glenn Peoples– I’m inclined to think that it’s not even a reference to the afterlife, but to the false teachers in Judaism who are going to be cut out of the kingdom in a judgement culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem. But – in spite of no obvious indicators in the context – let’s say that it’s a reference to punishment in the afterlife. If that’s what it is, then bear in mind that there’s also teaching here about acceptance in God’s kingdom too—“the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 13:30, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” In verses 44 and 45 Jesus gives a couple more parables of the kingdom of heaven where only the positive side is mentioned. Then in the same chapter, in verses 47-50, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a fishing net that caught good and bad fish. The good fish are kept and stored, but the bad fish are thrown away. Jesus says that this is like the way the evil will be thrown into a “fiery furnace.”

In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast…. Most of the people in the story get to remain at the wedding banquet. But the king orders his servants to take one guest and “cast him into the outer darkness.”

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), two of the master’s servants, who used what he had given them wisely, are told to enter the joy of their master. The last one is sent “into the outer darkness.”

At the conclusion of the story of the sheep and goats, we read of the two types of people, “and these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into the lasting life of the age to come,

That’s five examples, plus the four contexts where the actual word gehenna is used, so we have nine in total. For three years of public teaching, nine times is not very often. Jesus taught on final punishment, but he didn’t say about it what many evangelicals believe about it.

It would hardly be fair to do a search for a subject in the letters of John and a search for a subject in the Gospels to see who cared more about a subject– John or Jesus! Jesus taught more about most of the things that he taught about than he did about hell, things like showing love to our neighbor, for example, or the importance of concern for the poor and outcast, the way we use money, or even the historical judgement of God that was about to come upon Jerusalem.

Glenn Peoples–“It’s a very Stoic sounding approach—not only did Jesus talk more about hell than other people, but also Jesus talked more about hell than about the kingdom of resurrection and lasting life and His gift of the forgiveness of sins, The beatitudes of Matthew 5 alone would tip the scales heavily. Then we have the treasures in heaven that \in Matthew 6, in others Gospels we have the party thrown for the returned prodigal son…””

Mark McCulley: Preachers (often more into rhetoric than truth) beat their chests and say, “I don’t like it either but it’s the truth.” Most of the preachers, including the “Reformed”, justify it all by saying that God also desired the salvation of the non-elect, and that Jesus was “available” to everybody but that “hell was the default” unless you “accepted Jesus”. Saying that Jesus talked about the destruction of the non-elect more than Jesus talked about resurrection life is NOT THE TRUTH!

Jesus talked more about gehenna than the apostle Paul did because the apostle Paul never talked about gehenna. But almost every reference by Jesus to gehenna in Matthew’s Gospel is coupled with a reference to entrance into the kingdom. Repent, the kingdom is at hand! So the count is about even between blessing and curse when we add up the texts that do refer to gehenna. But there are plenty of other texts that refer to God’s gift of salvation to the elect. For example, the non-elect are not even mentioned in texts like Romans 5 or in Romans 3:22-24. When we think of “judgment”, we must not only think of the condemnation of the non-elect but also about the fact that God’s justification of the elect is also “judgment”

John 5:21 And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to anyone He wants to. 22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal 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. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

The death of Jesus is never called “sleep”

January 13, 2016

Jesus died but did not perish. The death of Jesus is never called “sleep”. Those who die outside of Christ will perish on judgment day. Those who die in Christ will sleep until Jesus comes and raises them from the dead.

The punishment for sin is death, not only what happens before death. The wages of sin is death. The soul that sins shall die. The degrees of infinity thing does not impress me much, if people who talk about that are saying 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 He do so 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 the suffering before the 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 (nominalist) 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?

Since there will always be more to repay, does “I will repay” mean that “I will have never repaid”?

If duration of the pain is the real punishment, why is there any need to die after that punishment is done?

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

Either Dead in Christ or Not

March 10, 2015

Galatians 5: 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus HAVE CRUCIFIED THE FLESH with its passions and desires

If we were to ever become dead in Christ

It would not have been us who did it
it would be by God’s imputation

If we were to ever become dead in Christ
We would count in a new way and not hang our future
On a divine life in us

If we were to ever become dead in Christ
We would count as loss
What we used to count worship

If we were to ever become dead in Christ
We would have had it Done to us
Death is suffered

If we were to ever stand still in Christ
What we would have lost is making outcomes
Depend on God causing us to obey

We do not hope for righteousness
We hope because of righteousness
Having passed from death through a death imputed

Died with Christ” (or “died in Christ”) means Christ died instead of the justified elect, but the result is that the person the elect used to be, that person is dead, over with, done trying to help build their own righteousness. That old person is not here now anymore. The justified elect person has nothing to gain by their works. And nothing to lose.

Galatians 2: 19 For through the law I died to the law, in order to live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives with regard to me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Being crucified with Christ and living now in the flesh by faith are two sides of the same thing—you can’t put on the new without putting off the old. The Romans 6 baptism into the death is NOT God’s imputation of the sins of the elect to Christ—-God’s baptism of the elect into the death of Christ is the same as God’s imputation of Christ’s death (Christ’s righteousness) to the elect.

I Corinthians 1:25 For the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it (the gospel) is the POWER of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

I Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God

Is Your justification Still a Work in Process, both In You and In Heaven? (Mark Jones and Gaffin)

June 14, 2014

In his preface to the new Presbyterian and Reformed edition of Gaffin’s By Faith Not by Sight, Mark Jones confuses John Cotton’s position oo faith and justification. Mark Jones falsely identifies Cotton teaching imputation before faith with Cotton teaching justification before faith.In A Faire and Easy to Heaven (1978, p43), William Stoever quotes Cott0n: “We must be good trees before we can bring forth good fruit. If then closing with Christ be a good fruit, we must be good trees before we can bring it forth. And how can we be good trees, before we be engrafted into Christ?”

Cotton was not teaching that anybody can be justified before or without faith. Cotton was denying that faith is something the elect have before or without God’s imputation of Christ’s death to these elect. The apriori assumption for Jones and Gaffin is that faith is a condition of what they they call “union”. What they call “union” is a condition for their view of “justification”, a view in which justification continues to have “not-yet” aspects, so that final justification is conditioned on continuing works of faith.

Gaffin and Jones insist on faith before “union”, but if their logic holds, then “union” also has “not-yet aspects”, which are conditioned on the “not yet” aspects of “faith after”. Thus they have an incomplete union and an incomplete justification.

It is a CONTRADICTION to say that all of God’s acts depend on “union”, and then to turn around and also say that “union” depends on faith. Does faith also depend on “union”? Or does “union” depend on faith” While Gaffin and Jones never clearly define “union”, it seems like they think that we receive the “personal presence” of Christ inside us BEFORE we receive the benefit of Christ’s finished work. In other words, since Jesus is now the Holy Spirit in redemptive history, for Gaffin and Jones (and for Sinclair Ferguson and many others), this is read to mean that we must obtain possession of Christ as a person not only before we are justified but also before God will impute Christ’s righteousness to us.

(Despite all their focus on the priority of redemptive history, Ferguson and Gaffin and Jones are not clear about how any of this changed between the old covenant economies and the incarnation of Christ.)

There are many unanswered questions about this “not yet” paradigm which are ignored in Gaffin’s little book. If there is some sense in which those who have been justified are not yet justified, is there also some sense in which God has not yet imputed all the sins of all the justified to Christ? Since the absence of “works of faith” is seen by Gaffin as not only a lack of evidence of final justification but also as the means by which many who have been “baptized” will instrumentally fail to be finally justified, how do the sins (or non-works) of the not-yet completely justified factor into their final justification? Is there a difference between good works and faith, or between sins and lack of faith and works?

If faith is a condition of “union”, and if faith is yet incomplete and uncertain (as far as one individual is concerned), does that not mean that “union” is also incomplete? How does a person get faith before they are united to Christ? If a person has to get faith before they can get the personal presence of Christ, how does a person get this faith? How can “calling” be a condition of the “union” but not a benefit of the “union”?

If the gift of faith is not given to us based on Christ’s righteousness (as taught in 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), but instead the righteousness of Christ is given to us based on union, and that union is based on faith, and that faith is still always incomplete, how can anyone now think that their sins have already been imputed to Christ or that Christ’s righteousness has already been imputed to them? if our justification by God is in some sense future, does that not mean that our baptism into Christ’s death is still in some sense future?

Jones acts as if he all who disagree with Gaffin are antinomians who do not even know the difference between impetration” and ‘application”. Jones writes: “Faith marks the transition from being in a state of wrath to being in a state of grace”. “Marks” is an interesting word choice here, because Jones avoids the word “cause” while at the same time assuming that the “application” is created by faith. (Norman Shepherd and others use the same word when they say that water baptism “marks” the transition).

But my big question here concerns the main factor in the transition from wrath to favor, between the two states. While Gaffin and Jones claim that it’s faith which marks the transition, I agree with John Cotton (and Berkhof, and Bavinck and many others) that it’s God’s imputation of righteousness to the elect individual which marks (Causes!) the transition.

Sure, we  agree to a distinction between impetration and application. But is the application the gift of faith before and apart from God’s imputation? is the application (calling by the gospel to faith) before and apart from God legally placing the elect into Christ’s death? (Romans 6) Why must we agree that Gaffin and Jones that we receive the personal presence of Christ in us before we are legally planted in Christ’s death? I get that Gaffin and Jones are insisting on this priority, but I do not get where they have argued convincingly for the priority.

Why would they want to say that the person of Christ is more important than the work of Christ? is it because they want to say that the present work of Christ (now as resurrected and as the Spirit) is more important than the past work of Christ? (death by law as a satisfaction for the all future sins of all the elect) Is their priority on the present work because they don’t think justification is complete yet? Since they don’t seem to think faith and union are complete yet either, why are they so eager to say that Christ in us is “union” and thus “the cause of all other graces”, when they themselves are saying that our faith is the cause of “union”? Since our faith has not worked and persevered completely, how then could our “union” be complete? How then could Christ be personally present in us already completely?

It really is ironic when Jones claims that “the Lutheran view” ends up “attributing to justification a renovative /transformative element”. First, Jones still has not defined either union nor sanctification, but he seems to be equating “sanctification” with ethical renovation. Second, if we were to say that God’s imputation results in or causes ethical renovation, that is NOT saying that imputation is the renovation. It’s saying that renovation is a result, not the imputation. Imputation is one thing, the renovation is another thing.

I am seeing this accusation more and more, and it makes no sense. God’s legal declaration in imputation (based on Christ’s death) results in many blessings, including regeneration and the work of the Holy Spirit. But that does not confuse the Spirit’s work (or regeneration) with imputation. In fact, it makes the distinction plain. On the contrary, to start with undefined “union”, which consists of Christ’s personal presence but which is somehow before God’s imputation, is the ordering which opens the way for “union” as a renovation. If Christ can enter your heart before Christ’s righteousness is imputed to you and as the “condition” for that imputation then taking place, then what you have is something taking place in us before any legal transfer by God of the results of Christ’s past work. It seems like some kind of “renovation” is happening, merely by Christ’s presence, which is supposedly more important than Christ’s death or at least which does not depend on Christ’s death.

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.

We all believe in a distinction between what Christ did (impetration) and the application of that. But the application is by God’s imputation, and Jones and Gaffin want to put something else into the application first before God’s imputation. And I cannot help thinking that the reason they point to Christ’s present resurrection instead of to Christ’s past righteousness (either imputed already to a sinner, or not) is because they think of our justification as a process which still depends on our faith, with faith as defined as that which changes us, with faith defined even as that which unites us to Christ and that which keeps Christ united to us.

Gaffin follows his mentors John Murray and Norman Shepherd in taking Romans 2:13 to be describing Christians. Jones agrees, and continues to label John Calvin’s reading of Romans 2 as the “hypothetical” view.  I myself argue for the  “empty set” view (nobody will be justified by works),  What I see is that old covenant members Ishmael and Essau (along with many others) by their sin earned God’s wrath Romans 5:20 “Now the law came in to increase the trespass”

So, instead of Jones complaining about  those who introduce “hypothetical merits” into Romans 2. I will complain about him suggesting that some really are saved (by doing the law the right way) in Romans 2. Romans 2 is teaching that nobody is justified by doing the law, no matter which way they do the law. I quote Paul Helm: “On the Gentile Christians view, while Paul argues that all are under the just judgment of God, the section 2.1-16 is not a direct contribution to that argument, but…takes us forward to the last judgment, and …. to some people who are under grace and not under the law – Gentile Christians). But such a claim might simply be a begging of the question at issue….It is only a reasonable assumption if Paul has in mind Gentile Christians, which is precisely the issue we are considering.”

http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2011/07/romans-2-and-3-one-step-at-time-dear.html

Jones is caught in between saying that what Gaffin has written is nothing new but also saying that everybody in the Reformed tradition now needs to say it the way that Gaffin says it. But to say even this much is to agree that not all Reformed people say it or have said it the way Jones wants it to be said. But instead of leaving the diversity as it is, Jones wants to argue that we must not anymore like Luther said it, and that Calvin never did say it that way. First, Reformed folks never taught law-grace antithesis to that extreme. Second, and also, now is the time for Reformed folks to stop teaching law-gospel antithesis to that extreme.

For example, Jones writes “the idea that Christ’s resurrection and justification is also our resurrection and justification are also our resurrection and justification is not a recent invention. Of course, and the idea that Christ’s death is our death is not a recent idea either. It’s in Romans 6. and the idea that Christ’s death becomes our death by God’s imputation is not a recent idea either, but Jones now wants to say that union with Christ the person must come first before this imputation of Christ’s death to us. Does this mean that union with Christ the person must come first before our resurrection and our justification come to us? Do the resurrection and the justification come to us by imputation? Or do the resurrection and the justification come to us “by the union” and not by imputation? Does the resurrection come to us “by faith” and not by God’s imputation? Is God’s imputation to us of Christ’s righteousness only after faith? If this faith does not come from God’s imputation, and if this faith comes before “union”, how does this faith come to us?

I am having difficulty seeing why all Reformed folks have to agree to say it Gaffin’s way. But part of the problem is that Gaffin is still not giving arguments about why the link between redemptive history and the order of application must put faith in priority to imputation. Sure, we all know the difference between impetration and application, and we all know that Romans 6 (and Colossians 2, with the other texts) is not only talking about Christ’s new life but also about our new life, but all that being the case, why is it that we must put the focus on Christ as the personal life-giving Spirit now instead of talking about Christ’s completed righteousness. as some Reformed folks used to do?

Gaffin’s thesis is that there is a future aspect to the justification of an individual sinner. His assumption is that it is faith (not election nor imputation) which unites a sinner to Christ and thus to the benefits/power to do the works necessary for the not yet aspect of justification.

Since it is the same God who gives us the faith who gives us the works, therefore it seems right to Gaffin to condition our final justification on the faith and works of the sinner. Faith works yes, but also work believes. Gaffin does not tell us which gospel must be the object of the faith which unites to Christ. Does that gospel ever mention that God imputed only the sins of the elect to Christ? Nor does Gaffin tell us how imperfect works would have to be to miss out on the not-yet aspect of justification so that those once in (Christ and covenant) might still be condemned.

Gaffin: “Typically in the Reformation tradition the hope of salvation is expressed in terms of Christ’s righteousness, especially as imputed to the believer…however, I have to wonder if ‘Christ in you’ is not more prominent as an expression of evangelical hope…” p 110

Gaffin wants both faith in Christ’s past work and also in Christ’s present work in us. He cannot place all his hope in what Christ already did to satisfy the law for the elect, because part of his hope is a “sanctification” defined as a power over against sin despite our “incomplete progress, flawed by our continued sinning”.

Gaffin does not deny but affirms many correct things about imputation. For example, on p 51, he lists 3 options for the ground of justification. A. Christ’s own righteousness, complete and finished in his obedience…B. the union itself, the fact of the relationship with Christ…c. the obedience being produced by the transforming Spirit in those in union. Gaffin rightly concludes that “the current readiness to dispense with imputation” results from taking the last two options as the ground of justification.

But Gaffin always has his not yet. That’s the way he keeps it all gray. Though we are justified now, Gaffin still teaches a justification by sight, ie by works. Instead of reading the “according to works” texts as having to do with the distinction between dead works (Hebrews 6:1,9:14) and “fruit for God” (Romans 7:4), Gaffin conditions assurance in future justification on imperfect but habitual working. Instead of saying that works motivated by fear of missing justification are unacceptable to God, Gaffin teaches a final justification which is contingent on faith and works.

Gaffin teaches an “unbreakable bond between justification and sanctification” in the matter of assurance and hope for future justification. (p 100) Yes, faith (in which gospel?) is the alone instrument, he agrees, yes Christ’s finished righteousness is the alone ground, he affirms, but at the same time and however, works factor in also. Just remember that these works which factor into your assurance come from God working in you and not from you.

I hope that critics of Gaffin will not make the mistake of identifying him with N.T. Wright who denies imputation. I also agree with Gaffin that the gospel is not only about what Christ did outside of the elect for the elect. The gospel is also about the effectual call which results from election in Christ and Christ’s work for those elect . One evidence of effectual calling is that the justified elect do not put their assurance in their “bearing fruit for God”. To work for assurance of future justification is to “bear fruit for death”.

Gaffin, By Faith, Not By Sight, p 38

From this perceptive, the antithesis between law and gospel is not an end in itself. It is not a theological ultimate. Rather, that antithesis enters not be virtue of creation but as a consequence of sin, and the gospel functions for its overcoming. The gospel is to the end of removing an absolute law-gospel antithesis in the life of the believer

Gaffin, lectures on Romans, on 2:13:

That judgement decides…the ultimate outcome for all believers and for all humanity, believers as well as unbelievers. It’s a life and death situation that’s in view here. Further, this ultimate judgement has as its criterion or standard, brought into view here, the criterion for that judgement is works, good works. The doing of the law, as that is the criterion for all human beings, again, believers as well as unbelievers. In fact, in the case of the believer a positive outcome is in view and that positive outcome is explicitly said to be justification. So, again the point on the one side of the passage is that eternal life… depends on and follows from a future justification according to works. Eternal life follows upon a future justification by doing the law.

Gaffin, By Faith, Not by Sight, p 106—IN book 3 of his Institutes (The Beginning of Justification and its Continual Progress), Calvin explains “We must have this justification not just once but must hold it it throughout life.” Justification is bound up with Christ’s present ongoing intercessory presence, in the sense that our remaining in the state of justification, depends on this unfailing intercession. His presence in that place of final judgment is the effective answer….Christ is the living embodiment of that righteousness…and as such he continues to work for the justification of God’s already justified elect….Because of this intercession they cannot and will not ever fall from the state of justification.”

What Righteousness Is Near To Your Heart?

May 16, 2014

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith says: Do not say in your heart, who will ascend into heaven (to bring Christ down), or who will descend (to bring Christ up from the dead). The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.

The word about what? Is the word about what’s in your heart or is the news about what Christ did to satisfy the law for the elect?
Christ sits now in heaven Why? Because the work that saves us Christ has finished.

Hebrews 9:28–”Christ, HAVING BEEN offered ONCE to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, NOT TO DEATL WITH SIN but to save them that eagerly await Him.”

What sense could that make? If Jesus Christ is simply everywhere, who cares if He comes again, since we have Him by His Spirit already in our hearts? Please pay attention. I am not denying that Christ indwells the hearts of those who have been justified, but I am
suggesting that we talk about Christ’s kingdom without placing the present time into competition with what Christ got done at the cross.

Nobody is “denying” that atonement and justification are part of the gospel. They have signed the Westminster Confession paragraphs on justification. Sure, they agree with that basic overall “Reformed” position, so no need for them to keep talking about that stuff when they can instead talk about their experiences of having improved and of now being a good influence on the world.

As for myself , whether I am talking to a five year old or I am an old man on his death bed, I don’t want this “God anywhere and everywhere.” I want “Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord who was handed over because of our trespasses and raised because/in order to our justification.” (Romans 4:25).

Romans 5 (love in our hearts through the Spirit who has been given us) begins with peace with God by means of justification. Justification is not the Spirit’s gift. The Spirit is God’s gift to the justified elect. Romans 5:9– “We have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.”

I look to heaven, not simply because the God-man who died with the imputed sins of all the elect has ascended there, but also He is coming from there. And these historical relaities are not below my navel or under my chest. The righteousness by which the justified REIGN is\ NOT a righteousness imparted (or infused) in us by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 5:17 explains that those who receive (by imputation, like the guilt of Adam is received) “the free gift of righteousness REIGN in life through the one man Jesus Christ”. Romans 5:21 continues the theme into Romans 6. “Grace reigns through the righteousness” of that one man. Romans 6:9–”death no longer has dominion over Christ. For the death HE died HE died to sin, once for all.” The Holy Spirit is Christ’s gift, and it is not the Holy Spirit baptizing in Romans 6.

There are many who agree, sure the legal is part of “union”, but when it gets right down to it, they think the atonement and justification is somehow less real and true than what’s happening in their hearts.

Romans 8:10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Nobody is denying that Christ is in the justified elect, nobody is denying that this happens by the Spirit alive in the justified elect, but the point in question concerns the righteousness. Is that righteousness what you think God is doing in you? Or is that righteousness what God did in Christ’s satisfaction of the law? What is the “righteousness of faith” in the context of Romans 4 to chapter 10?

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith says: Do not say in your heart, who will ascend into heaven (to bring Christ down), or who will descend (to bring Christ up from the dead). The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.