Malcolm Smith–“God works his work in you, which is the work already accomplished by Christ.
John Crowder– “God didn’t save you so you could do good. God saved you so you could be dead and then God could work through you. God does not want to you try to work. God is only pleased with what Christ does, God does not help you. God does things for you”. (Mystical Union, 2010)
Richard x–“It wasn’t me, it was the grace of God that was with me and there is no me, at least there is no me which does anything acceptable to God.”
If soundbites like the three above make you think the grace of God is being exalted, then you need to begin to ask some more questions. It is not some present work which is our Propitiation, and there is no need to confuse our present working with God’s present working.
If God gives us faith, does that mean the faith must be perfect, and if the faith is perfect, does that mean that we are not those who are believing, and does that mean it is God in us believing for us?
If God gives us faith, does that mean that God gives us a new nature, and does that mean that the new nature is not us, and does that mean that we still can’t do anything acceptable or pleasing to God, because we are still the old nature and God is the new nature?
Hebrews 13: 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God…
Romans 7:4 –You have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
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?”
The idea of the “exchanged life” is that we “let go and let God”. But we need to remember human agency. God’s sovereignty does not mean that God believes the gospel for us. God causes us to believe the gospel.
God’s sovereignty does not mean that God is doing what we do. God is not sinning when we sin, and God is not obeying when we obey. God causes us to obey. and that is different from saying that God obeys for us.
Hearing Christ preached is not the same thing as Christ Himself preaching.
The Bible does not command us to empty ourselves so that Christ will then do the believing and obeying in us and for us. The Holy Spirit does not replace us, nor does being in Christ and Christ being in us mean that Christ replaces us.
Even though Christ alone replaced us in the one and only Propitiation, Christ is not now replacing us, and we should never confuse what we do or don’t do with what Christ is doing or not doing.
The work of God in us is not the same as the death of the God-man mediator. In His unfinished work, Christ continues to intercede for us, but this intercession is not the same work as His death for us. In His unfinished work, Christ will come to raise us from the dead and to glorify us, but this future work is not the same as His completed death for us.
Philippians 2:13 describes us as willing and working, and it does not deny our agency by EQUATING our work either with Christ’s already accomplished death or with Christ’s present work in us by His Spirit.
Some antinomians deny that faith (in Gal 2:16, 3:22; Romans 3:22,26; Phil 3:9; Ephesians 3:12 ) is the human act of believing. But when I look at all the texts together, I see clearly that faith often means the human act of an individual elect person hearing, understanding, and believing the gospel.
Here’s the question. Is Christ the subject or object of faith? The view I oppose says we should read all these verses as saying, “Christ’s faith.” Faith is God’s gift to the elect, but Christ does not believe for us. Christ makes us both able and willing to believe the gospel so that we do believe the gospel. Christ indwelling in us does not believe for us,. When the elect become justified by God before God, these elect hear and understand and believe the gospel.
Even some who agree that the elect need to believe the gospel still insist that “faith” in these texts means “Christ’s faith”, either in the sense that Christ is the source of my faith, or in the sense of Christ Himself believing. But no other texts refer to the act of Christ believing, unless these debated texts do.
James 2:1 tells us, “show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” Christ is the object of faith, and our faith is in/toward Christ and not toward His act of believing.
Romans 3:3 refers to God’s faithfulness, not to God believing for us or believing in us. “Does their unfaithfulness nullify the faithfulness of God?
Romans 3:25,26. “God put forward Christ as a propitiation by his blood to show God’s righteousness, to be RECEIVED by faith.” The receiving in this text is the human act of believing. Yes, God is faithful to His law and therefore just, but God does not justify all sinners but only of those sinners who have faith in Christ and His propitiation. This language no more makes faith the condition of salvation than John 3:16 does.
God does not love everybody. God only loves the elect, and the elect are identified as those who believe the gospel. There is no reason not to talk about election in John 3 or Romans 3, but also there is no reason not to talk about “as many as” believe the gospel.
II Peter 1:1,“ To those who have obtained faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 13: 20 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good so that YOU DO HIS WILL, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”