Posted tagged ‘antinomianism’

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.”

Click to access 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 We don’t do what the law says to do.

Stop Your Doing is NOT the Gospel

September 18, 2015

The new evangelical often has an either/or mindset. Either the fundamentalism we left, or what we are now. The truth is that there are many false gospels, many ways to be lost, and just because you have rejected one wrong way does not mean that you now believe the true gospel.

When one has abandoned the scoldings of “first legalism” (no wine or TV) for the moral pep talks of “ordinary attendance in a confessional community” preachers, one has only exchanged one form of moralism for another.

The evangelical who used to be a fundamentalist now often thinks that grace means that theological doctrine doesn’t matter when it comes to saved and lost.

In a “covenant of grace” where grace is conditional but not merited, it’s not helpful to judge individuals saved or lost based on their gospel doctrines.

Unless we tell all people without exception, without respect of persons, that God demands a perfect righteousness and that God provided this righteousness only for the elect, then we still have a man-centered legalistic cult. It may be a happier kind of cult. But it still is not submissive to God’s gospel.

But don’t I understand that “covenant of grace” people are given grace to meet the conditions? And in the PCA (as opposed to Reformed Baptist) set of conditions, it all begins with the Chuck Swindoll idea that God does not demand righteousness but only the faith to “not-perform”.“

“Start stopping your doing”

Where the old legalism said that it was saved because it out-performed others, the new legalism claims to have done it the right way now by not doing, and to have performed not-performing where others were still trying to perform. Very often in both cases the finished death for the elect of Jesus Christ is not even in the picture

Is the law- Gospel Antithesis Boring? The Jones Book on Antinomianism

January 29, 2014

Instead of throwing together all accusations of antinomianism into one convenient “package”, so that “one idea leads to the other” . we need to look at the identifying descriptions one by one, to see which are accurate and which are not.

For example, we do not deny that the distinction between impetration and application in order to affirm application by God’s imputation and to affirm impetration for the specific sins of the elect alone, so that this propitiation must in justice be applied to the elect so that the then justified elect are justified from these sins. In short, the antithesis between law and gospel is NOT “antinomian”, because the Bible itself tells us that “law is not of faith”.

Jones (Antinomianism, 2013, P and R) does not mention the Westminster Seminary California volume “The Law Is Not of Faith”, but I think they are the ultimate target of his fury.. Jones even links John Cotton with “antinomianism” because Cotton understood God’s imputation to be before faith, and a cause of faith. (But see II Peter 1:1, Galatians 3-4, given the Spirit because of being sons, Romans 8:10, life because of righteousness.) Along the way, Jones provocatively accuses those in the “Sonship” faction as giving “boring…messages each week when they have a sort of systematic theology that they need to declare every Lord’s day”. (p 118).

Let me say that I am at least equally bored with those who make everything to be about “union with” the resurrected Christ so that we Christians “can and will” now do what Christ did. These folks who keep repeating “threefold union” always take almost no time to forget union by election or by imputation, so that they can run back to “union by faith” or “union by the Spirit” or to “Christ in us” instead of “us in Christ”, which they did not deny but which they never stop to talk about.
It’s very much like those who speak of “threefold sanctification”, in which they do not deny that, in biblicist terms, sanctification is an either or and based on being in Christ’s death or not (Hebrews 1o, sanctified by the blood), and in which they do not deny that “sanctification is by the effectual call and hearing of the gospel by the Holy Spirit in believing the gospel about what Christ did (II Thess 2:13), but then from on, nothing but a “conditional sanctification” which depends on our cooperation and effort. To believe the gospel is the same as obeying the gospel. To live by faith is to do what Jesus says to do. Some of us are doing it. You are not doing it. Yes, I am bored with moralist preaching. It doesn’t seem to me very different from Arminian preaching.

On p 6, Jones writes that “Melanchthon changed his mind and agreed that the gospel alone was able to produce evangelical repentance…He came to a ‘Reformed’ view of the gospel, which included the whole doctrine of Christ, including repentance…” For Jones, the “full gospel” is not about a distinction between law and gospel “defined narrowly as pure promise”, but instead has conditions and sanctions

Since our duty is not based on our ability, the soundbite from Augustine (give what you command, and command what you will) is wrong if it’s understand to say that Christians now CAN obey the law (or if it is used to imply that God in neonomian fashion now lowers the standard of the law to the level of what we in the new covenant are now gifted to do).

It is often the case that God does NOT give us to do what God commands. The law is not the gospel, grace is not the law, and the ability to keep the law is not grace. It’s still too late for justified sinners to keep the law in order to sanctified. Those who are already saints are commanded to obey the law.

Martin Luther’s cautions in the Heidelberg Disputations need to be heard!

The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him.

Although the works of man always appear attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins.Although the works of God always seem unattractive and appear evil, they are nevertheless really for good and God’s glory.

The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they are not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.

To say that works without Christ are dead, but not mortal, appears to constitute a perilous surrender of the fear of God. Indeed, it is very difficult to see how a work can be dead and at the same time not a harmful and mortal sin.

Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope be present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work.

Free will, after the fall, exists in name only, and as long as it does WHAT IT IS ABLE TO DO, it commits a mortal sin

Accusations of antinomianism against those of who give priority to imputation do not prove the reality of our being against the law. To say that only Christ could or has satisfied the law is to properly fear God. Neonomians turn out to be antinomians. To think that one can produce “sanctification” and other blessings by something extra infused into us in addition to what God has done in Christ is to not yet fear God as the Holy One who demands perfection. Many experimental puritans put themselves on another level because of what they thought they have been enabled to do, and thanked their god that they are not like other sinners.

Jones makes many provocative and condescending statements, as if to say that those who disagree with him have not read the historical documents in question. The most irritating claim he makes is that he’s correct because of a better Christology.

His Christology consists of equating the justification of Christ with the sanctification of a sinner. Denying the idea of a “covenant of works” in which Christ obeyed law to earn merits, Jones also denies the idea of substitution so that our works are not necessary for salvation. Jones accepts substitution FOR JUSTIFICATION ONLY, but on the other hand, like the Galatian false teachers, Jones equates “living by faith’ with obeying the law, and argues along with Richard Gaffin and Norman Shepherd that our living by faith means our works and our obeying the law.

On p 22-23, Jones argues from the fact that Christ obtained salvation “bestowed on conditions”, that we too must obtain “sanctification” in the same way, bestowed on conditions. Instead of talking about the merits of Christ, he speaks of Christ’s living by faith, which was obeying the law, to get to the idea of our also living by faith, which then comes to mean our obeying the law.

On p 24, Jones argues from the fact that Christ “was not left to His own abilities but was enabled by the Spirit” to not only question the language of “covenant of works” but to say that we Christians are enabled by the Spirit “to cooperate with God in sanctification. Except for the emphasis on sanctification instead of justification, the conclusion is no different from that of NT Wrights—don’t be so Christocentric, because the work of the Spirit in us is Christ’s work also for our final justification.

Jones wants to throw all he calls “antinomian” into one package. So if you deny that the sanctification of the Christian is progressively increased by works and obeying the law, Jones then equates that with the antinomians who deny the agency of the Christian, who say that Christ believes in us for us, or obeys in us for us. You will find that kind of language in the Arminians of the “exchanged life” view, and also occasionally in some of Tullian’s (or Steve Brown’s) language, but it is simply wrong to equate the position of what Jones calls the “imputative” view with the “mystical union” view.

Jones, even though he points out the distinction between the imputative and the mystical, still tends to collapse a distinction between law and gospel into the idea that Christians are not agents who are commanded to obey the law. The distinction between law and gospel does not deny the function of law to command, but as antithesis it also does not confuse the justification of Christ (by obeying the law, whether you say “covenant of works” or not) with the assurance of justification of Christians. The distinction between law and gospel agrees that Christians are agents commanded to obey, but it refuses the idea of “cooperation” in which we have the Spirit’s agency in us enabling our agency. Gaffin and Schreiner can call this 100% God and 100% man all they want but the math still adds up to synergism.

Jones argues those who don’t agree with him haven’t read and understood the puritans and the antinomians. But he also argues that he has a better “more robust” Christology. “Good works were necessary for Jesus if he was to be justified…. good works are likewise necessary for our salvation–though, unlike the case with Jesus, not for our justification.” (p 76) Jones claims that those of us with a “justification priority” have reduced the gospel to justification, but he has reduced substitution only to Christ’s impetration (ignoring the imputation of the substitution) and has introduced synergism and our obeying the law into the application and assurance of final salvation.

Dismissing the law-gospel antithesis for a “large commanding gospel” hermeneutic does not answer all Christological questions. The distinction between impetration and application is important, but that distinction is only as good as the definition of the two terms. In the matter of “application”, Jones puts all the focus on the agency of the Spirit (with our conditional cooperation) and none on God’s imputation of what Christ did in propitiation. In the matter of “impetration”, Jones puts all the focus on Christ’s active obedience (living by faith) but none on the idea of “sanctification by the blood”, so that holiness is a function of Christ bearing the guilt of the elect.

This is a very provocative book. When Jones reports that Gill rejects Rutherford’s claim that God loves Christians more if they obey more, Jones does not attend to the arguments of Gill, but simply rehearses Rutherford’s conclusions and calls into questions if Gill even understands what Rutherford was saying. p 84)

Jones argues from the fact that Christ learned obedience and “increased in favor with God” even as Christ was perfectly obeying the law to the idea that sinful Christians will also begin to sin less and thus be more loved by God. From this, Jones goes on to the puritan idea of sanctification by punishment in this life, purgatory now instead of after death. . Jones call this “evangelical punishment” (p 93)

Jones even argues from the propitiation (the Trinity’s wrath on the Son for imputed sins) to the idea that God loving us means that God will be angry with us. From the conclusion that “God was never happier with the Son than when God was angry with the Son” (p 95), Jones reasons that God loves us less when we obey the law less. But using Christ’s life of atonement as the analogy for the Christian life ( something Norman Shepherd and Richard Gaffin like to do) misses out on the gospel news of the Christians being legally united to Christ’s death. Romans 6:16, not under the law but under grace. Romans 7:6, you died to the law.

Jones even claims that the answer to Romans 6 proves that the antinomian question should never come up. Instead of seeing that the teaching of Romans 3-5 (the two imputations, the two headships) leads to the question of Romans 6, Jones claims that “Paul’s teaching of definitive and progressive sanctification” prove that “Paul could hardly be accused of antinomianism.” (p 121) I certainly agree that Paul was not antinomian. In Romans 3:2-8, Paul even responds to the accusation by affirming the condemnation of antinomians. But for Jones to claim that Paul had a “large commanding gospel” in which the question should not be asked is to ignore not only the context but the content of Romans 6, which teaches that Christ was ‘alive to sin” (because of imputed sins) and that Christians are justified from sin (6:7) because the power of sin is the power of the law over a person “alive to sin” (guilty before God, as Christ was by imputed sin).

Those who speak of “definitive sanctification” often assume that their own definition of sanctification is what we find taught in Romans 6. But Romans 6 shows that being united to Christ’s death sets the elect apart by means of legal identification with Christ. The reason sin shall not reign is NOT that “we will practice less and less sin”. The reason sin shall not reign over those sanctified by Christ’s death is that they are now no longer under the law.

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.

We need to believe and trust on Christ, instead of merely copying “the faith of Christ” . 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 with Christ’s death, are 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 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.”

Yet many commentators tell us that “set free from sin” must mean the elect’s definitive transformation by the Holy Spirit so that the justified cannot habitually sin (or that their new nature cannot sin) or so that they sin less over time. They tell us that justification was in Romans chapter five but that chapter six is not about justification but about sanctification and union and final salvation.

Without questioning each other. more and more people seem to agree that Romans 6 must be about something “more than imputation and justification” if it’s to be a real answer to the question “why not sin?”. But Romans 6 does not talk about Christ or His people not habitually sinning. Romans 6 locates the cause of “sin not reigning” in “not being under the law”. Christ was never under the power of habitual sin , and the definitive death of the justified elect is His death.

Romans 6:14 does not say, For sin shall not be your master, because the Holy Spirit has changed you so that you cannot habitually sin, but only occasionally and always with repentance. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not by your master, because you are not under law but under grace.”

Christ also died to purchase every blessing, including the giving of the Holy Spirit and our believing the gospel. But it is not believing which frees the elect from the guilt of sin. What’s definitive is being legally joined to Christ’s death. (Also, Romans 6 says “baptized into” not “baptized by the Spirit into….)

Bavinck—” The gospel, which really makes no demands and lays down no conditions, nevertheless comes to us in the form of a commandment, admonishing us to faith and repentance. The gospel covenant is pure grace, and nothing else, and EXCLUDES ALL WORKS. It gives what it demands, and fulfills what it prescribes. The Gospel is sheer good tidings, not demand but promise, not duty but gift.”

Jones is Augustinian in the sense that he has not much time for a distinction between what God does in us and what God already finished outside us in Christ. Even when it comes to Christ’s priestly work, the emphasis is on Christ’s present intercession and not his “death to sin” and the federal imputation of that death to those under Christ’s headship.

Augustine–“give what you command, and command what you will.” Jones—“Christians CAN answer to the demands of the law in their justificaton …AND ALSO THE GOSPEL DEMANDS OF THE LAW in their sanctification by the Spirit. (p 53) Since our duty is not based on our ability, the soundbite from Augustine is wrong if it’s understand to say that Christians now CAN obey the law ( or if it is used to imply that God in neonomian fashion now lowers the standard of the law to the level of what we in the new covenant are now gifted to do) . It is often the case that God does NOT give us to do what God commands. The law is not the gospel, grace is not the law, and the ability to keep the law is not grace. It’s still too late for justified sinners to keep the law in order to sanctified. Those who are already saints are commanded to obey the law.

Is Abrogation of the Law the Gospel? No, We Uphold the Law

September 10, 2012

Christ’s death is not obedience to the law. Christ’s death is satisfaction to the law. Christ’s death is not abrogation of the law .

Jeremiah 23: 6 This is what He will be named: The Lord Our Righteousness.

Jeremiah 33:16 Judah will be saved and this is what she will be named: the Lord Our Righteousness

Romans 3: 25–This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles
also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”

The law is not the gospel. The gospel is not the law. The gospel, however,  IS ABOUT THE SATISFACTION OF GOD’S LAW.. Though law and gospel are not the same thing, they are not opposed because they never claim to have the same function.

Law says what God demands. Gospel says how Christ by his Death (one act of righteousness) satisfied that demand for the elect. The law never offered life off probation:. only one sin would put Adam and his seed under its curse, and no matter how many acts of obedience to the law, the law could never promise everlasting life.

The antithesis does NOT understand Romans 10:4 in terms of abrogation. The “end of the law” is Christ’s death. Romans 6: 7 a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9 because 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 He died, He died to sin ONCE for all time. There is no remainder left for the Spirit enabled Christian to do. The gospel says DONE. The gospel does not say “to be done by the life of Christ in the elect”.  But neither does the gospel say– “no  need for Christ to have ever satisfied the law by his death.”

teele and Thomas, Romans: an interpretative outline: “In order to free believers from the guilt or condemnation of sinChrist gave Himself as a sacrifice for sin, and thereby legally put sin away and thus freed His people from its guilt. As a result of Christ’s sacrificial work, the just requirement (demand) of the law has been fulfilled (fully met) in those who are joined to His death.”

Charles Hodge—-“Romans 8:3 refers to the sacrificial death of Christ and to the condemnation of sin in Him as the sinners’ substitute, and Romans 8:4 refers to justification by Christ’s death in satisfaction of the law.”

Tom Nettles, By His Grace and For His glory—-The idea of an offer based on infinite sufficiency for all sinners involves a shift in the understanding of the sacrificial death. Although Jesus’ death is spoken of as His obedience–and though the concepts of reconciliation and propitiation are defined as activities accomplished in the Father’s setting forth God the Son–when the notion of sufficiency for the non-elect arises, the emphasis shifts from the Son’s death to what Christ actively accomplished

Lee Irons—The obedience of Christ cannot be reduced to the perfect life of Christ, as if it excluded his death. For Christ’s death, Paul teaches in Romans 5:18, was “the one act of righteousness” antithetically parallel to the one transgression of Adam. As he says in Philippians 2:8, Christ was “obedient unto death.”

Many people tend to think that when the Father sent the Son to die on the cross to forgive sins, he was in some sense “breaking the law.” Like, because of Jesus, God is letting our law-breaking somehow slide. The god preached in this kind of scenario can only forgive sins by in some way compromising his holiness. In other words, God sort of tips the scales towards his mercy and away from his righteousness— bending the rules. God sacrifices one part of his self (holiness) in order that we might take advantage of another (love).

But the true God has declared that he will by no means clear the guilty So God instead makes guilty people righteous! But to do this in a way that is just, God must make a righteous person guilty. And he accomplishes this, the Bible reveals, by punishing our sin by punishing his son Jesus. In this way, all sin is accounted for. Whether by the second death of the non-elect or by the wrath of the cross, every single sin is accounted for. It wouldn’t be very loving at all for God to have broken his own laws to save us. An atonement made by a law not perfectly satisfied is no atonement at all. If God broke his law to save me, I am not saved.

Christians sin, and therefore their “fulfillment of the law” (see for example, Romans 13) cannot ever satisfy the law. But the law will not go unsatisfied. There is no antinomian bypass around the law.

The law, once satisfied by Christ’s death, now demands the salvation of all the elect, for whom the law was satisfied. God the Father would not be just, and God the Son would not be glorified, if the distribution of the justly earned benefits were now conditioned on the imperfect faith of sinners. Yes, faith is necessary for the elect, but even this faith is a gift earned by the righteousness of God in Christ’s work.

This is how the law/gospel antithesis explains Romans 3:31 (no, we uphold the law). The law is not nullified but honored by Christ. The only way that its requirements will ever be fully satisfied in the elect (Romans 8:4) is by the imputation of what Christ’s death

If the law were the gospel, even saying that there’s law (in the garden and now) would be “legalism”. But God is a legalist against legalism. God has told us that the law is not the gospel and that it never was the gospel. Romans 11:5—“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is not on the basis of works; otherwise grace would not be grace.”

The legalist identifies law and gospel, and then reduces the demand to including what the Spirit does in the elect. But what God does in us (by grace) must be excluded from the righteousness, because Christ’s righteousness is Christ’s death as
satisfaction of God’s law.

The comparison between Adam and Christ is that the guilt of Adam’s one act of disobedience is imputed to the elect and that the righteousness of Christ’s one act of obedience is imputed to the elect. Adam and Christ were NOT born under the same law. Christ was born under the Mosaic law, but Adam was not. Christ came to die to win immortality for the elect. Adam was threatened with death for disobedience, but was never promised immortality no matter what he would ever do.

The elect who have been justified have died to law when they are placed into the death of Christ, a death to law because of law. If on top of the death taking away sins, Christ’s law obedience also needs to be imputed, then isn’t this saying instead by the death the elect are brought to a new life under law, which then needs to be vicariously kept by Christ?

The guilt of the elect imputed by God to Christ is not the same as the guilt of Adam imputed by God to all humans, but the nature of the imputation of guilt is the same in both cases. We must teach an external (judicial) imputation. The most basic solution to all our problems is not a regeneration of our insides (though that is necessary for other reasons, for example, so that we hear and believe the gospel), because the most basic problem we have is that apart from the the death of Christ, God counts everyone’s sins against them.

Emphasis on the external and forensic must have priority when we consider II Corinthians 5:21. “Become the righteousness of God in Christ” is about having an external righteousness imputed to us. Because that is so, the “made sin” of the first part of the verse must be seen as about external guilt being imputed to Christ.

In other words, if the first part (made sin) is about some “inner corruption”, then 1. that says that Christ needed to be born again. God forbid! but 2. it would say that our righteousness is something found in us, or something in our faith, or something in Christ indwelling us.. The gospel is first of all about LOOKING to Christ outside us..

This is not denying that regeneration is important, but it’s saying that the miracle of the new birth a result of God’s legal imputation. Romans 8: 3 For God HAS DONE what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.

This doesn’t mean that Christ’s obedience to the law prior to His death is of no consequence. II Corinthians 5:21 explains that “he made him to be sin who knew no sin” . This assumes that Christ kept the law before His legally being put under the law for the sins of the elect imputed to Him. Even before His death, Christ “knew no sin”. So that’s not unimportant. But the penal satisfaction for the elect comes by Christ’s death which is what satisfies God’s law.