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If God gives us faith, does that mean that the faith is perfect and that we are not those believing

February 1, 2017

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.”

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Trust and Duty–the written commands of Christ our Creator, Lawgiver and Lord Husband

December 17, 2016

Those who are not yet justified in Christ CANNOT obey God or offer God any acceptable sacrifices. Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”

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”

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also 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. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear FRUIT FOR DEATH.”

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

Those now outside of Christ cannot do any good works. But those who believe the gospel are obligated to obey the written commands of Christ our Creator, Lord and Lawgiver.

Hebrews 13: 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 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.

I Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”

Romans 12 I appeal to you therefore, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

II Timothy 3– But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud … ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good,… reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people..All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching.. for correcting, for training in righteousness

Matthew 11:29 Take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I john 5 2 This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. 3 For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, 4 because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.

I Corinthians 7: 22 For as many as who are called by the Lord as a slave are the Lord’s free person Likewise as many as who are called as a free person are Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price. Do not become slaves of others

I Corinthians 9: 19 Although I am a free person and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the Mosaic law, like one under the Mosaic law—though I myself am not under the Mosaic law —to win those under the Mosaic law. 21 To those who are without the Mosaic law, like one without the Mosaic law—NOT BEING WITHOUT GOD’S LAW BUT BEING IN CHRIST’S LAW….

Galatians 6: 2 Carry one another’s burdens. In this way you will fulfill THE LAW OF CHRIST…each person should examine their OWN WORK, and then they will have a reason for boasting in themselves alone, and not in respect to someone else

Romans 6: 18 Having been justified from sin, you became ENSLAVED TO righteousness… just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity… now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification….22 since you have been liberated from sin and have BECOME ENSLAVED TO God, you have YOUR fruit, which results in sanctification[—and the end is the life of the age to come

Romans 7: 4 You were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, in order to BELONG TO ANOTHER—to Him who was raised from the dead—in order to BEAR FRUIT FOR God… 6 we have died to what held us, in order to SERVE….

Romans 8: 9 if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not BELONG TO CHRIST…

8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, and by the Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father!”

8:21 the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children

Galatians 6: 13 You were called to be free… don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but SERVE one another through love.

David Bishop—“If grace makes me angry, if the law of Christ makes me angry, then I have not been converted. I don’t get upset at Christ’s commandments. I get upset with the sinner-exalting attempt to use Christ’s commands as a means to establish self righteousness. I get upset at the lie that people who attempt such wickedness are Christians. I don’t get angry at our Creator and Redeemer’s law. I delight in Christ’s word revealed, I see Christ’s holiness in His commands, and my sins against Christ’s law drive me again and again to Christ to thank Him for grace and to confess His glory in my salvation.”

http://media.sermonaudio.com/articles/da-9201593255-1.PDF

David Bishop—-“Another form of Antinomianism is found in the teaching of those who say we are justified by the absence of any law altogether. They tell us that because there is no more law to condemn us, therefore we are righteous. Notice, it’s not that because Christ died for us as the reason why we are righteous. These antinomians say it’s because there is no more law to condemn us which is why we are righteous. They tell us it is impossible for Christians to sin; because, after all, there is no more law to sin against. Some of them even interpret the words “not under law but under grace” to mean that no law was ever satisfied by Christ’s death

David Bishop–Antinomianism undermines the true grace of God by eliminating justice from the gospel. It does this is by placing the blame with God’s law rather than with the sinner. It is true, as revealed to us in Romans 5, we would have not known what coveting was had the law not said do not covet. But this does not mean the law was wrong to say do not covet. No, the law was good and holy and just to say this. The problem was not with the law. Rather, the problem was and always is with us. We are sinners. Not only do we attempt to say—I have done enough of the law to make the difference. But we also on top of that sin against the law—we do what the law says not to.do. We don’t do what the law says to do.

https://cornbreadandbourbon.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/studies-in-hebrews-part-19the-lords-discipline/

Idolaters are Seekers, but Jesus Finds the Elect

December 1, 2016

Romans 3: 11 As many as who believe on Him will not be put to shame,12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For as many as who callon the name of the Lord will be saved.14 But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him?

Romans 10: 16 But all did not obey the gospel.

Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message?

17 faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

The gospel about Jesus Christ is not about a generic theis, which would not offend anybody in a synagogue. Inoffensive sermons attempt to assimilate Jesus into some universal non-sectarian idea of doing good and being content.

Acts 17: 6 While Paul was waiting in Athens, he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So Paul reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with those seeking God and in the marketplace every day .Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers argued with him. “May we learn about this new teaching you’re speaking of? 20 For what you say sounds strange to us, and we seek to know what these ideas mean.”21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but seeking something new. 22 Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. 23 For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

Romans 3—why not say, just as some who slander claim we say, “Let us do what is evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved! 9 What then? Are we any better?Not at all! Both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin,
There is NO ONE righteous, NOT EVEN ONE.
11 There is no one who understands;
there is NON ONE WHO SEEKS GOD.
12 All have turned away;
all alike have become useless.
There is no one who does what is good,
NOT EVEN ONE

Romans 9: 30 Gentiles, who did NOT SEEK righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But Israel, seeking for righteousness from the law, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. 32 The righteousness of the law is NOT found by faith but found instead BY WORKS.

Many Jews stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: Look! I am putting a stone in Zion in order for them to stumble over and a rock in order for then to trip over,

Law “kills us” not oonly by making us thinking of more things to do wrong that we would not have thought of before. The law also kills us by being used by idolaters (all of us by nature) to try to justify ourselves before God. We think–I did the law right, or I did enough of the law right.

David Gordon –The qualification works-and-not faith in Gal 3:10-13 is parallel to the qualification works and not faith in Romans 9:32. When Paul asks why the Jews did not attain unto the Torah, his answer addressed the NATURE of the law- covenant (Torah demands perfect obedience), not the nature of the PURSUIT of the law-covenant.”

John 7: 3 His brothers said to Jesus, “Leave here and go to Judea so that the world and the church can SEE Your works For no one does anything in SECRET while he’s seeking PUBLIC recognition. Show Yourself to the world.

john 7: 6 Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I testify about it—that its works are evil.

John 7: 19 He who SEEKS the glory of the One who sent Him is true….Yet none of you keeps the law! Why do you want to kill Me?”

John 7: 33 Then Jesus said, “I am only with you for a short time. Then I’m going to the One who sent Me. 34 You will seek for Me, but you will NOT FIND Me; and WHERE I AM, YOU CANNOT COME

Acts 17: 24 The God who made the world and everything in it—He is ….NOT served by human hands, as though God needed anything, since God Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. … God appointed the boundaries where people live. 27 God did this in order that they PERHAPS seek God, and PERHAPS reach out and find God, though God is not far from each one of us. ..31 God has set a day when God is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man God has appointed. God has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Jesus from the dead.”

Are You One of Those Doctrine Persons?

February 6, 2015

Doctrines as Reasons for Joy

there’s this person who did a work
and before you know if that work was for you,
you must know and agree with the doctrine
of what He did

if you don’t know what the person did,
you know neither the person
nor if that person
did anything for you

commitment to the imperative
to know the person cannot come
before we know the indicative
of what he got done

since we are children of Abraham
remember that Abraham knew what the seed had to do
Abraham knew that he himself was not going
to bring in the righteousness

one result of election
is submission to the doctrine of righteousness
obtained by Christ for the elect alone
and then imputed by God

the test of the exodus out of the false gospel
is not our testimony that
“we know the person”
the same person the crowd knows

we are not called to a tragic imperative
“to know the person” without knowing which person
the sheep don’t follow the wrong
person with the wrong doctrine

i still want to know,
how did a nice man like Jesus
get himself killed
if it was not the offense of his doctrine?

yes, it’s fact He died
but there are many possible options
to explain that fact,
and these doctrines divide

they hated His doctrine
so much they wanted Him dead
but that was a long time ago

and now the person comes into our hearts
and now there is so much more immorality
let’s worry about that
and not be so anxious about
Him being king of our doctrine

let’s gather
around a person
they say, giving reasons
why their doctrines are not doctrines
and thank their god they are not
like those doctrine persons

for this Christ was born
it’s the reason Christ came
to satisfy the divine demand
for death

and without the doctrine of that death
there will be no justifying
the gospel itself the power of salvation

Home is Where We are Together

November 6, 2014

I Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

My son got married this summer. He and his new wife are moving into a new apartment this weekend.  We had some questions about where they would live. Would they live near her parents’ place? Would they live near where Kevin’s professional juggling partner lives? Where would their home be?  But “home” for them is where Kevin and Laura are together, wherever that is.

The majority of professing Christians (and true Christians also!) think that they are going home to heaven when they die.  I like to ask them my questions. If you thought death would actually cause you to “lose consciousness”, would you fear death (more than you do already)? Why should we eagerly hope and wait for the second coming of Christ (the next time without sins, Hebrews 9:28) or for the resurrection, when instead we could simply eagerly wait for death to take us home without ever “losing consciousness”?

This majority says that Christians are people who go to heaven as soon as we get dead, no resurrection required. On the other hand, I think the dwelling place of God will be with humans on earth.  I think that Christ ascended to heaven in order that He could come by His Spirit and prepare His people as His dwelling place.   .

I Corinthians 15: 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death

I Corinthians 15: 45 And 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, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord[ from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

The last Adam was a living being like the first man Adam, but Christ has NOW BECOME the life-giving Spirit.  We who are now already “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 3:20) will one day (when Jesus our Priest and King comes to earth the second time) be changed and glorified and given immortality.

I know where my home is. Right now it’s a little “starter” townhouse my wife and I moved into 20 years ago. Home is where my wife and I are together. I hope to move somewhere else besides this house, perhaps to some place even smaller. But wherever my wife and I are together, there is home.  If indeed the dwelling place of those humans who are redeemed is up in heaven, that will be home. On the other hand, if the dwelling place of God is with humans on this earth, when Christ returns, that will be home.  “We will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

How is it that Christ will “bring with him the dead in Christ”?  The Thessalonians text tells us. We will not precede them. The dead will rise first. This is NOT about “never-dying souls” of dead Christians getting into heaven before the rest of us do. Leave your dead body behind. Do not pass go. Get a new body in heaven now, as soon as you die, and before they even bury your old body. No, none of that is our hope. Nor is our hope some experience of disembodied consciousness (like The Matrix) where we can engage in uninterrupted worship. That is a stoic hope. That is a hope for “positive thinkers” who know enough not to deny that they keep sinning, but who do deny that they have in them any fear of the first death.

I think this stoic hope suits those who put on a “Sunday show”, not only for church and for others but for themselves, because they fear human emotions so much that they like to think mainly in terms of power and control. They entertain a gnostic hope for a triumphal worship before and without

1 Christ’s second coming
2 the resurrection
3 the judgement
4 the old body raised and given immortality

Look! I agreed that those with this view are in the majority. I even stipulated that, even if they are correct, the most important thing is that we will be home with God, and not like we are now in this present evil age (Galatians 1).  I did not promise to not argue for my position!  My position is that, even though the end of the ages has come, the age to come has not yet come for us, and will not until Christ comes and we are raised from death and glorified even from the presence of sins.

I Thessalonians 4: We will not precede them because they will be raised first. Not because they go to heaven first, but because they will be raised first.

Human persons, elect and non-elect, justified and condemned, will not be left in the graves. But now they wait in the graves, and then the elect will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and clothed with immortality. Then “the dead in Christ will rise first. Only then, at His coming will those saints who are alive and remain be caught up together with dead saints [all at once, at the same time)] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air as He comes to earth. This meeting is not to go back to heaven, but the coming of heaven to earth. Thus “we shall always be with the Lord.”

The non-elect will also be raised on that day but only to come into condemnation, and then to perish in the second death. But the justified elect will be raised and “shall not come into judgment” (that already happened for them at imputation and justification) but will from then on, in the age to come, be with the risen Christ with bodies like his glorious body.

I Corinthians 10:11 These things are written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages has come.

Galatians 1:4 Our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself up for us in order to deliver us from this present evil age.

Ephesians 1: 20-21 the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…has seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come

Ephesians 2:22 you  are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
John 3:13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man

Hebrews 9: 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the ages; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 10: 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Was Circumcision God’s Ineffectual Grace to Ishmael?

October 11, 2014
Romans 9: 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
What follows needs a sarcasm alert.

Circumcision was not a sign of Ishmael’s faith. For Ishmael, circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant righteousness. Circumcision was a sign that Ishmael was commanded to believe the gospel. if Ishmael had not been circumcised, Ishmael would not have had any obligation to obey the law by faith. or to have believe in the gospel with works commanded by the law..

In circumcision, God takes the initiative with Ishmael. God speaks favor to Ishmael in circumcision and Ishmael “could and should have” responded in faith to God’s wooing. If Ishmael had not been a covenant child , if Ishmael had not been circumcised, then Ishmael would have had to be banished from the household as one cut off from the covenant. But because Ishmael was circumcised, Abraham was able to be a faithful parent to Ishmael.

Did Ishmael, possess any advantages by receiving the sign of circumcision? Was God’s goodness to Abraham heightened because of God’s grace also to Abraham’s son Ishmael? Does our “so great a salvation” terminate only upon isolated individuals, or does our salvation include a promise of eternal life (or alternatively greater covenant curse than common condemnation) to our infants? .

Is God less good to our children in this new administration than God was to Ishmael? If Ishmael was better off for receiving circumcision even if Ishmael ultimately perished, are our children (even if non-elect in the decree) better off for being watered? Was the sign given to help covenant children or hinder them? Denying our children water denies them a blessing from God.

If you disagree that water is a blessing, then your problem is with God commanding infants and Ishmael to be circumcised because you must agree that this circumcision was grace to Ishmael, even if circumcision did not result in Ishmael’s justification before God. That was not God’s fault but Ishmael’s fault, because circumcision was God’s grace and we know that.

Because really the distinction between law and grace is not very useful, except when it comes to saying that circumcision was grace and not law. At that point the distinction is useful. And also when it comes to saying that Ishmael sinned against grace and not only against law. Ishmael was blessed with circumcision even if that did not work out for Ishmael having lasting life in the age to come.

So the distinction between law and grace is not that useful, except maybe for talking about those born outside the covenant. As Mark Jones has explained, those not in the covenant cannot be commanded to believe the gospel. And those not in the covenant cannot be commanded to obey the law. Because obeying the law is finally not so very different from believing the gospel. And that’s why we must raised our infants under the gospel and not under the law.

Because if we tell our infants that they are forgiven, then they are forgiven. And if we tell our infants that their works are good and acceptable to God, then indeed their works are good and acceptable to God. And if we don’t tell our children that they were born under grace then we would have to tell them they were born under the law, and in practical real life the distinction between under law and under grace is not that useful in parenting.

So we tell our infants that they are born under grace and loved by God. and at least that way they are sinning against grace, and if they are not under grace there is nothing to tell them, because there can be no law if there is no grace. and when you think about it, law is grace and grace is law, at least for those in the covenant. Abraham was able to raise Ishmael in the covenant, and that is good because outside the covenant there is no such thing as law or sin.

Galatians 4: 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son.

Genesis 21: 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”
Genesis 17: 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Genesis 17: 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

Is Obeying the Law the Same Thing as Trusting God?

October 5, 2014

Matt Perman—Since works of the law are not faith (Romans 3:28) and whatever is not faith is sin, many  theologians (like Dan Fuller) generally conclude that works of the law are therefore sin. They argue that “works of the law” refers not just to sin in general, but rather to a specific kind of sin–the sin of trying to earn from God. They often point to Romans 4:6: “to the one who works his wage is not reckoned as a favor but as what is due.” From this passage  they infer that “works of the law”–are things that are done in our own strength with a view to earning merit from God in the sense of doing God a favor such that God is obligated to return the favor.

Faith can be referred to as obedience in the sense that when we believe in Christ we are doing what God tells us to. Thus is why the Scriptures sometimes speak of “obeying the gospel.” But “doing what God tells us to do” is not the definition of obedience to the law.  Moral obedience does not simply mean “doing what God says” but doing what is virtuous. Faith in the gospel is not love for our neighbor.

Romans 9:11-12 …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, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘the older will serve the younger.’”

“Anything good or bad” explains the term “works.” Consequently, “works” are “anything we do, whether good or bad.” Works are not simply acts one does without faith or to put God in one’s debt. Rather, “works” is a term used to refer to human behavior in general. This behavior can then be classified as either obedience or disobedience.

Since faith in Christ is not a “work of the law,” it must follow that faith in Christ as Savior is not commanded in that moral standard. Faith is not a requirement of the law but of the gospel. This means that faith in Christ is not a morally virtuous thing (like telling the truth, etc), for virtue is that which accords with God’s moral law. Gospel faith is not commanded by the law, and so faith is not a virtue.”