Posted tagged ‘crossway’

Apart From Works for Justification, By Works for Sanctification?

February 2, 2011

Josh Moody avoids writing about the topic of Jesus dying only for the elect. Since he is not teaching that glorious doctrine, he Is teaching that Jesus did die for everybody.

If you think that kind of antithesis is unfair, then I will use one of Moody’s analogies: if you can’t go by train (because the train doesn’t go there), you have to go by car, and you can’t go by train and by car at the same time.

Since the only kind of atonement revealed in the Bible is definite and effectual (for the sheep, and not for those who will not believe, John 10), then there is no atonement revealed in the Bible for everybody, and you can’t have it both ways, no matter what John Stott or Martyn Lloyd-Jones or anybody tried to do.

You can say all matter of true things about the difference between justification and sanctification (and I have no doubt that the false teachers in Galatia did so), and still avoid the offense of the cross being A. for the elect alone and B. being alone effectual, being the difference, since Christ’s death was not for everybody.

You can say that Christ died for everybody and still not be a “Romanist” who confuses justification and sanctification. If Christ’s death was the righteousness intended and obtained for everybody, then it’s not His justifying death but our “sanctification” which must make the ultimate difference. And if that is so, we need to be very afraid.

Moody writes: “Nobody comes along and says that you don’t need faith. They just say it’s not faith alone. But if it’s not faith alone, then it is faith plus law; and if it is by law, then it is no longer by promise; then it is no longer by faith. The message of faith and works is really a message of work; it is simply legalism” (p157)

Let me say something different. Nobody comes along and says that justification is not by grace. They just say that our “sanctification” is caused by our cooperation They also say (or leave it implied) that Jesus died for everybody but that it doesn’t work unless the Spirit causes you to add works to your faith.

But if Jesus died for everybody, then it is that death PLUS you being changed so that you both believe and work, and if the difference of the new covenant is “sanctification”, then the promise is not about Christ alone or His death alone.

If “sanctification” is not about the one offering of the one body of Christ in death for the elect, then “sanctification” gets changed to being about your being changed (so that grace is not cheap and Jesus is King).

The message of His justifying death plus your “sanctification” by message is really at the end a message about you.

Harold Senkbeil, “In its most blatant form heresy claims that we must place our own good works into the balance to give us a favorable standing before God. Its subtle form seems more attractive. God does all the work in justification, but we finish the work in our sanctification.

“We may be declared right by God’s judicial decree through faith alone, but then it is up to us to perform the works of love and obedience that true holiness requires. This error makes justification merely the first stage of sanctification. God get us on the path of holiness and then we continue. God starts and we finish…”Justified; Modern Reformation Essays on the Doctrine of Justification, p96