Posted tagged ‘eternal justification’

Questions for the “Never Not Justified” Preachers

April 24, 2017

Here are some questions for the “never not justified” preachers

1. After Christ’s death is imputed to you, are your sins still sins?

2. Do you think Christ’s death was imputed to you as soon as Christ died and before Christ was raised from the dead?

3. Do you think your sins were not imputed to you as soon as your sins were imputed to Christ, and was this before Christ died?

4. If “eternity” was before time, how is “eternity” now in the past?

5. If Abraham’s sins were imputed to Abraham even while Abraham was justified and if Abraham’s sin were only NOT imputed to Abraham when those sins were imputed to Christ. do you think that none of your sins have ever been imputed to you?

6. Do you think your sins were imputed to Christ when Christ was conceived? If so, does this mean that you were justified when Christ became also human?

7. Do you think that your sins were imputed to Christ just before Christ began to pray in the garden? If so, does this mean that you were justified just before Christ began to pray in the garden?

8. Do you think that your sins were imputed to Christ just before the three hours of darkness? If so, does this mean that you were justified before Christ died on the cross?

9. If you were justified before Christ died, why did Christ need to die?

10. If Christ satisfied God’s justice for the sins of the elect in three hours of infinite suffering, why did Christ need to become incarnate (or was Christ human but not mortal)?

11. Do you know if anybody agrees with all of your answers to the ten question above?

12. If nobody agrees with your answers, does that mean your answers are wrong or does it mean that the questions don’t matter?

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 first imputed to Him or borne by Him when He hung on the cross, but in and with the assumption of man’s nature, or, more precisely, in and with His mission.

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. 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. They who evacuate of their true significance these deep words, “ bears the sins” will not have Christ as a sin-bearer.

As Soon As God Credits Christ’s death to you, God also Justifies You

September 4, 2016

Romans 5: 9 Much more then, since we have NOW been declared righteous by His BLOOD (death), we WILL BE saved through Him from wrath.

Romans 5: 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

In reaction to justification conditioned on the sinner, some Lutherans are teaching that all sinners are now born justified. In reaction to justification conditioned on the sinner, some “sovereign grace” preaches are teaching that God’s wrath is never personally on elect sinners.

Romans 5 does not specifically say that “all sinned in Adam”. Nor does the chapter ever use the word “imputation”. But the sin of verse 12 is not the result of death. The death is the result of “because all sinned”. We look to the context to see how it is that the “all” sinned. “All” sinned because of the representative sin of Adam.

Adam was our substitute. We don’t need to sin ourselves to be condemned to death. We are condemned to death because Adam sinned for us, as our representative. We are not guilty based on our corruption. Corruption is mediated to us because we are guilty. We sin but before that we were already constituted sinners.

Romans 5:13 “for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”

It’s not only infants who died who did NOT sin like Adam. Everybody who died after Adam’s first sin but before the Mosaic law was given did NOT sin like Adam. Yet because of Adam’s sin and Adam’s representation, all these people died.

Not all born in Adam stay in Adam
all chosen in Christ are born in Adam
not all born in Adam are chosen in Christ
some born in Adam stay in Adam
some born in Adam are justified in Christ

Romans 6 describes two legal states, one of which is “free from righteousness”. Christ’s death has not always been credited to elect sinners. Every elect sinner was once “free from righteousness”. God will not accept us into His presence based on something in us, not even based on something God has put in us. If we have not yet been legally justified by God, we are “free from righteousness”. Romans 6 defines being in “new man” (the new creation) in terms of God legally being placed into the death of Christ. Once God credits us Christ’s death, we sinners are justified before God.

Romans 6: 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by BAPTISM INTO DEATH….5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be[ in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body be abolished, IN ORDER that we no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died has been justified from sin. ”

Christ was under law , Christ is no longer under law

Adam’s guilt is imputed to the elect until Christ’s death is imputed to the elect.

The elect in Christ are under condemnation until God justifies them.

The elect in Christ are under law until the elect are under grace

Christ was under law , Christ is no longer under law but Christ is still not under grace because Christ’s death satisfied the law.

Romans 6: 9 we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death NO LONGER rules over Christ. 10 For in light of the fact that Christ died, Christ died to sin once for all time

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, as soon as God credits them with Christ’s death, are no longer under law. The death of the justified elect is the SAME legal death that Christ died.

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 as soon as the elect are imputed by God with His death, the death of Christ justifies them from the guilt of sin and removes God’s wrath from them.. Romans 6:7: “For one who has died has been justified from sin.”

The word Imputation in the Bible describes two different actions. Fist, sometimes the word imputation describes the transfer, the legal sharing of what belongs to another. Second, the word imputation describes God’s declaration about persons who legally share in either Adam’s condemnation or Christ’s death.

Elect sinners are born personally under the wrath of God, guilty in Adam. As soon as God credits these sinners with Christ’s death, God at once also declares them justified. Elect sinners need to be justified. Elect sinners are justified by God putting them legally in Christ’s death. Elect sinners are justified when God declares them to be just because of having placed them into Christ’s death. God says they are now justified because they really are now legally just because of now being in Christ’s death.

Romans 5:9 “Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.” The elect were born guilty, condemned, not justified. The righteousness by which the elect reign and which leads to life is not what God works in us. The righteousness by which the elect reign is Christ’s death imputed. Like they once legally shared in Adam’s act of sin, now the justified elect legally share in Christ’s one act of righteousness.

Guilt to Adam, then corruption. Righteousness to the elect, then regeneration. So many people have that wrong, even people who believe in sovereign predestination. Augustine, for example, thinks of sovereign regeneration as the righteousness. But we “federalists” say that it would NOT be just for God to give us corruption from Adam until first God legally gave us Adam’s guilt. We are born unable to please God because we are born guilty. We are born “free from righteousness” because we are born under God’s wrath for Adam’s sin imputed.

Romans 5:17 we “receive” the free (for no cause) gift of righteousness, not by our faith, but passively, by God’s imputation. The IT imputed is not our faith, because the righteousness (the death of Christ for the elect) is the IT which is imputed.

Regeneration cannot be before God’s imputation of Christ’s death, or the efficacy of Christ’s death would be made to depend on regeneration and faith. Regeneration and faith are necessary, but not as conditions of God’s joining the elect to Christ’s death. Romans 6 teaches God baptizes us (not with water) into death (Christ’s death).

Regeneration and faith are necessary results of God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect . Romans 8:10—“The Spirit is life because of righteousness.” God’s legal transfer of the elect’s guilt to Christ did take place in many cases thousands of years before or after God credits them with that death and justifies them. This justification, when it does happen, is not the result of the life which results from justification.

By being legally placed into Christ’s death, the ungodly BECOME no longer guilty before God. They BECOME in Christ the righteousness of God. To be in Christ does have the result of Christ being in the justified. There is a difference between being justified in Christ and Christ being in the justified. The difference is that justification is not based on Christ within but on what Christ’s finished death outside the elect, before or after the elect’s justification.

The legal life of the justified is based on what Christ’s death accomplished outside the elect. The merit of that death, the righteousness of that obedience to death, is not something inside the elect, like the new birth or faith. The righteousness is in heaven, not in Christ’s person separated from His work, and not in Christ’s work separated from His person. It is a righteousness outside the justified sinner which God counts as the righteousness of the justified sinner

II Corinthians 5: If One died for all, then all died. 15 And He died for all so that THOSE WHO LIVE should no longer live for themselves. When II Corinthians 5:15 identifies “those who live”, that indicative situation of being alive is not about the experience of new birth. When II Corinthians 5:14 teaches that “all died”, the legal state of being dead by Christ’s death is not about regeneration. John 5:24, “He does come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

Elect sinners are born under the wrath of God, But once God credits them with Christ’ death, these sinners becomes justified before God and will NOT be justified by works at some future judgment. Only the non-elect will be judged according to their works because only they will still be legally dead before God’s throne. The non-elect will be judged on the basis of works; in accordance with works the non-elect will receive what is their due (Romans 4:4). But elect and justified sinners have legal life now as a gift. They will not be judged, because they have been judged in Christ’s death. Their guilt was transferred to Christ and they were justified when they were joined to Christ’s death for their guilt. On that final day, it will be too late for anybody to be justified.

If one puts justification after life, it’s too late for justification. If one puts justification after a person’s new birth, then the justification is conditioned on the new birth and that’s not biblical justification. If one puts justification of a sinner some time after God credits a sinner with Christ’s death, what is the nature of that justification?

Romans 6:17 But thank God that, although you USED TO BE slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to… 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness….

Then and Now.

July 28, 2016

Can the justified but not yet regenerate do good works? BAD QUESTION.

There are NO Justified sinners who are not yet believers in the gospel. This means that there are NOT Justified Sinners who are not yet regenerate. There are NO regenerate sinners who are not yet believing the gospel.

Luke 6: 3 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thorn bushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.”

I have questions for those who teach “eternal justification”. Is a new legal state not enough to make good works possible?

If the elect are never under the wrath of God, how could there be such a thing as a new legal state for the elect?

Was there ever a new legal state for Christ?

Does Christ’s death to sin mean that Christ became corrupt fallen flesh but then later was “infused” with the divine nature? God forbid.

Does Christ’s death to sin mean that Christ by being in the environment of the world and of the old covenant age needed a deliverance from “the flesh” or even from the physical body? Once more, God forbid.

What does it mean that Christ died to sin? It means that the law of God demanded death for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ. As long as those sins were imputed to Christ, Christ was under sin, Christ became under law, Christ was under death.

Now death has no more power over Him? Why? Because the sins are no longer imputed to Him, but have been paid for and satisfied. The gospel is not only about God justifying, but also about God being justified when God justifies.

But what does the atonement and justification have to do with our doing good works?

is it really regeneration (not the legal state) which decides if we are good trees producing good fruit and offering acceptable works?

Romans 6:17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, 18 and having been liberated from sin,

mark asks—having been justified, or were you always that? having been regenerated?

Romans 6:17 you BECAME enslaved to righteousness.

mark asks—does “enslaved to righteousness” mean “justified,” or were you always that? or does “enslaved to righteousness” mean “having been regenerated?

“live” does not equal “regeneration’
“new creation” does NOT equal “regeneration”\
eternal life is not the new birth

John 5:24 “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.

John 5: 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.

I Corinthians 5:14 “one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh”.

“Those who live” means those who are JUSTIFIED. The category of “we died” is not about a change of nature but about an imputed legal reality leading to a change of legal state.

The new man is not gradual transformation. it’s an either or—- this legal state or that legal state. The new is not continually caused by infusion or a “sacramental feeding on Christ” but by God’s imputation of what God did in Christ in His death and resurrection.

God the Father is the Imputer of God the Son’s Righteousness. God gives one of His elect faith when God imputes Christ’s Righteousness to his or her person. Before this act of imputation occurs that sinner is in a “STATE OF CONDEMNATION” and a “servant of sin”.

Romans 6: 17 But God be thanked, that ye WERE the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine whereto ye were delivered
18 Being THEN made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

“BEING THEN” not BEFORE THEN!” Under that form of doctrine God imputed His Sons Righteousness to your person and your STATE WAS FOREVER CHANGED from a state of guilt and condemnation ( having sins imputed to you) to a glorious STATE OF JUSTIFICATION, NOT GUILTY, JUSTIFIED by Christ’s Righteousness imputed to you THEN. Sin never again being imputed to you, your STATE was forever changed BY GOD.

Those who hold to this false doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s Righteousness to the elect in a timeless eternity do not deny the necessity of God not only purposing a thing but also actually accomplishing this purpose by Christ’s incarnation and death and resurrection. But logically their position on the eternal justification of elect sinners should also teach the eternal justification of Christ Himself. If indeed elect sinners were never under the wrath of God, then how could it be said that Christ was ever under the wrath of God for the sins of the elect imputed?

If elect sinners were justified in eternity, then these elect never needed to be placed into Christ’s death. And if Christ Himself was eternally justified, and never came under God’s wrath, then Christ Himself never needed to die under the law.

Eternal purpose was not enough. Christ took into union with His Divine nature that perfect, sinless humanity. Christ became incarnate in time, not in some timeless eternity. Christ in time came under the condemnation of the law for sins imputed. Christ in time by His death and resurrection was justified in time, not only in God’s purpose or God’s timeless eternity.

God’s imputation is so real and legal , that when the Father imputed the sins of the elect to Christ , THEN Christ who was innocent was accounted GUILTY, and God the Trinity was JUST and RIGHT to pay Christ the Subtitute the wages of their sins. Christ became the PROPITIATION to God’s justice for their sins, so much so that none for whom Christ died can or will perish.

Romans 6: 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 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.

All the Elect in Christ Elected At the Same Time and Will be Glorified at the Same Time but they are NOT Called and Justifed at the Same Time

July 13, 2016

Hebrews 11: 39 All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us

II Timothy 1: 9 God has saved us and called us
with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace,
which was given to us in Christ Jesus
before the ages began.
10 his has now been made evident
through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
who has abolished death
and has brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel.

II Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for SALVATION THROUGH FAITH IN Christ Jesus.

II Timothy 4: 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom

Christ’s sheep have always been sheep but they have not always been “saved”.
There are those who teach that God’s elect were saved and objectively given every blessing before the ages. But in order to explain (away) many Bible texts, they say that elect sinners are always justified before God but simply have not “experienced” it yet. Thus they claim that none of the elect were ever under the wrath of God, but until they become regenerate, these elect in their conscience (but not before God) think by mistake that they are under the wrath of God.

But think about this attempt at a distinction between what’s a fact before God and the psychology of what’s going on in the heads of the sheep. The distinction depends on saying that regeneration is NOT an objective fact before God before the ages began, but that justification IS an objective fact before God before the ages. These folks are saying that some blessings (like the life of new birth) are not in fact given by God before the ages began. They agree that some of the elect don’t merely think they are not born again yet, because they agree that God does not give the new birth to all the elect at the same time. And yet these folks insist that justification before God is something which is a fact for all the elect at the same time, which they say is the time before time.

Yes, justification is before God, justification is God’s legal declaration and not a change inside the elect sinner. Justification is not the regenerating effectual call, because the effectual call changes a totally depraved elect sinner into a sinner who now believes the gospel. But this difference between justification and regeneration does not prove that justification is given to all before time, while effectual calling is given to individual elect sinners one by one, from time to time. Justification and the effectual call are both salvation blessings, but they are not the same blessings. None of those who have placed into Christ’s death are glorified or immortal yet, but all of those who have been justified by Christ’s death are also at the same time effectually called by the gospel. Righteousness demands life (Romans 8:10)

While these confusing preachers may begin by claiming that, if you have one blessing, then you already have all blessings of salvation, these same preachers also argue for a great time lag between God’s imputation of righteousness ( Christ’s death) and the effectual call which results. Yes, the effectual call is something that the sheep experience, and God’s imputation and legal declaration are outside the sinner, but this does not make effectual call an objective fact before God for all time. The sheep are not really effectually called before or without hearing and believing the gospel.

And the sheep are NOT justified before God until God places them into Christ’s death by legal imputation. Even though their specific sins (past and future) were all already imputed to Christ, Christ’s death is imputed to the elect in time, and this legal identity is not an objective fact until God declares it to be so. Abraham was not justified before God before the ages began. Abraham was born ungodly, and under the wrath of God. Abraham was justified before God only when God declared Abraham to be just based only on Christ’s death. Romans 4: 10 “In what way then was righteousness credited to Abraham? —while Abraham was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while Abraham was circumcised, because Abraham was justified while he was uncircumcised.”

So first the preachers add a “then” into II Timothy 1 to make it read “saved, then called, so calling is not the salvation”. But then second the same preachers add the word “experience” into Romans 10:13 to make it read “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved in EXPERIENCE”. And thus they teach that salvation is not an experience, when they want to talk about justification, but then agree that salvation is an experience when they want to talk about calling. But before that they said that calling was not “salvation”. And they don’t use the word “justification” because they want to (sometimes, when it suits them) equate the word “salvation” with “justification”. Thus they don’t much use the word “justification”. So first they say calling is not salvation, but then they also say that all blessings are salvation and that the sheep already have all the blessings before they are born.

We need to define the word “saved”. There are confusing preachers who prefer paradox to explanation and definition. Instead of saying that “salvation” includes election and effectual calling and glorification, they like to say that election is salvation but then also say that we need to be saved by the power of the gospel. In this way, they not only equate election and justification, but they stop talking about justification and begin to talking as if “salvation” was nothing but the effectual calling.

They are willing to say that some of the elect have not yet been effectually called but they are not willing to say that any of the elect are not yet justified. For all practical purposes, this means they stop talking about justification. They say that if God has purposed that an elect person receive all the blessings of salvation, then that means the person now already has all those blessings. Thus they say that all the elect are not only already justified but already glorified. They confuse the legal right to the life of the age to come with already having immortality. But then they contradict themselves by saying that not all the elect have been effectually called yet. Though they claim that all the elect have all blessings, they agree that some of the elect have not been yet received the blessing of effectual calling. .

Thus they say the elect in Christ were “saved” before the ages began, but then they say that the elect are not “saved” until they hear preaching. What they need to do is make a distinction between God’s purpose to obtain and give blessings, and then make a distinction between Christ obtaining the blessings (by His death and resurrection in time) and then God imputing (legally giving) these blessings to the elect, both to Abel and to all the elect who have not been justified. But instead they teach that all the elect have already been justified, and that all the elect were justified before the ages began.

Christ died once for all time does not mean that Christ was actually slain before the ages began. It means that it was God’s purpose before the ages began that Christ would die one time in time once for all time, and in this way obtain the objective righteousness by which God justifies the elect. We need to make a distinction between election in Christ as a blessing of salvation and justification in Christ as a blessing of salvation. None of the elect have yet been glorified, but that blessing of salvation will be given because of God’s purpose for it to be given and because Christ by His death and resurrection has obtained that blessing for all the elect.

II Timothy 1: 9 does not say that God has already saved all the elect. II Timothy 1:9 teaches that God has saved US and called US. Since not all the elect have been called, not all the elect have been saved. All the elect will be called, and all the elect will be saved. Election is not the only salvation. Calling is not the only salvation. II Timothy 1:9 does not say that God has saved some, and THEN called some. Calling is part of salvation, not something different from salvation. Calling is not all of salvation. But neither is election all of salvation. God’s purpose to save is not all of salvation, because it’s Christ’s death and resurrection which obtains salvation. Christ’s death and resurrection is not all of salvation, because God’s legal placing of the elect into Christ’s death is also salvation. God’s imputing the elect with Christ’s obtained righteousness is part of salvation.

It’s not the truth to say that “God saved us before the ages”. It’s not the truth to say that “Christ saved us 2000 years ago”. All those who have been set apart by God’s election will be saved in time all at the same time when they are glorified when Christ comes back again. Glorification is also part of salvation, and therefore it’s true to say that all those who have been saved by election have not yet been saved by glorification. Instead of looking at one isolated text like II Timothy 1:9-10 and then adding words to it (like “then” called) that are not in the text, it would be better to consider other verses in Timothy and see that “salvation” means different blessings in different texts.

I Timothy 4: 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will SAVE both yourself and your hearers.

If all the elect are already saved before the ages, what sense does it make for Timothy to be told to “save” himself and others? Is it true that Timothy needs to believe the gospel? If the elect are justified apart from faith in the gospel, then there is no need for Timothy to believe the gospel and no need for Timothy to continue to believe the gospel. If the elect are justified apart from faith in the gospel, then there is no need for other sinners to hear Timothy teach the gospel. But “salvation” means more than one blessing in the Bible. When these preachers claim that saying that “faith in Christ is a work” (so believe in Christ’s faith instead) they are rejecting the Bible’s own distinction between salvation through faith and salvation through works. Faith is not works. Faith in Christ’s death is not a work. Faith in Christ’s death is not the same thing as faith in Christ’s faith.

The same preachers who teach eternal justification because they claim that “justification is just as eternal as election is eternal” also say that there is no salvation apart from a sinner hearing the gospel from a preacher. But even though justification is permanent once a person is justified, this does not mean that a person has always justified. Yes, those who have been elected in Christ have always been elect, but permanent election is not the same blessing as permanent justification. Instead of confusing contradictions which say that “the saved have not been saved”, we need to learn the different blessings of salvation.

These preachers need to explain what they mean by the “laying on of hands”. Does this having to do with the OT priests laying hands on the animals as a “means of grace” to those depending on these priests for access to God? Does the “laying on of hands” have to do with an apostolic succession in which certain charimastic powers are transferred from preacher to preacher? If you have to hear the gospel from a preacher and not from God giving you an understanding from reading the Bible, then does the preacher you hear the gospel from have to have heard the gospel from a preacher? If you are going for a Roman Catholic/ Landmarker succession thing, what if you go back seven preachers and find out that the seventh preacher only heard a teacher but not a preacher—somebody without hands put on, somebody not adept in soundbites?

We need to consider the context of Timothy and see that “salvation” cannot be reduced to election before the ages, and also to see that justification is not given to the elect before the ages.

I Timothy 6: 14 I charge you to keep the command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 God will bring this about in His own Time. He is the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings,
and the Lord of lords,
16 the only One who has immortality,
dwelling in unapproachable light;
no one has seen or can see Him,
to Him be honor and eternal might.

Hebrews 9: But now the Messiah has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring SALVATION to those who are waiting for Him.

Instead of claiming that God has no time or that God is timeless, preachers need to submit to what I Timothy 4 teaches about obeying God’s commands until Christ’s second coming. Instead of claiming that we are already immortal (or that all humans are already immortal, bound to live somewhere, in hell or in heaven) , preachers need to submit to what I Timothy 6 teaches about only God being immortal. We sinners did not always exist, and none of us are immortal yet, because not even the elect will be given immortality until Christ “brings salvation” with Him at His second coming and our Resurrection.

Matthew 5: 10 Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11 “You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. 12 Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Notice that Matthew 5 does not teach that the elect are already in heaven. Nor does it teach that the elect will be in heaven someday. Nor does it teach that some Christians will be rewarded and other Christians will not. Christ is now in heaven, our reward is in Heaven, and Christ is our Reward. Christ is not going to stay in heaven but is coming to dwell with us and to “bring salvation” to us. Matthew 5 does not say we shall be blessed but that we are blessed but this does not eman that Christ has already glorified us or that Christ has already brought us all the blessings of salvation.

II Timothy 2: 12 if we endure, we will also reign with Him;
if we deny Him, He will also deny us

I find it interesting that these very same preachers who are teaching “eternal election is eternal justification” so that “election is salvation” are the very same people who also like to say that “non-election is not condemnation”. But when they say this, they have to change their soundbites so that “election is not salvation but only unto salvation”. They they quote CD Cole—“Election is not the cause of anybody going to hell, for election is unto salvation (2 Thessalonians 2: 13). Neither is non-election responsible for the damnation of sinners. Sin is the thing that sends men to hell, and all men are sinners by nature and practice. Sinners are sinners altogether apart from election or non-election. It does not follow that because election is unto salvation that non-election is unto damnation. Sin is the damning element in human life. Election harms nobody.”

Those who refuse to give explanations like to have their cake and also eat it. On the hand, they like to reduce salvation to God’s sovereignty and equate election with justification ( and don’t talk about justification or Christ obtaining righteousness by being imputed with guilt). But on the other hand, when it comes to explaining the non-salvation of the non-elect, these same preachers don’t want to talk about God’s sovereignty but only about God’s justice.

But guilt is not enough for destruction, because you also have to be non-elect. The elect are also born guilty in sin, under the wrath of God, but all the elect will pass from guilt to justification. But these preachers deny that the elect are ever guilty, and they minimize any idea that Christ was imputed with the guilt of the elect, and in that way obtained justification for the elect. And these same preachers deny that non-election is any factor in some sinners not being saved.

Romans 9: 11 For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good OR BAD, so that God’s purpose according to election would stand— 12 not from works but from the One who calls

The confusing preachers who teach that non-election is no factor in the destruction of sinners also tend to teach that Adam’s sin imputed is no factor in the condemnation of sinners. They say that the non-elect are condemned only for their own sins, and not for the sin of Adam Thus they teach 1. that the elect are never ever condemned, and never pass from guilt to justification
(the two seed in the spirit idea from primitive baptists, the children of the woman)
And they teach 2. that the non-elect are not born condemned, are not condemned until they themselves sin

If we are saved by Christ’s faith, and not by means of faith in Christ, when did the “faith of Christ” happen—-did Christ have vicarious faith for the elect before time began? In the purpose of God, Christ was slain and crucified before the ages, but it was not until once for all time that Christ obtained permanent redemption for all the elect, both for those who had already been justified and also for those who would be justified.

If those who do not yet believe the gospel are already justified, there is no way to judged saved and lost by the gospel

Romans 4: 23 Now “righteousness was imputed to him” was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. Righteousness WILL BE IMPUTED TO US WHO BELIEVE in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 The Lord was delivered up because of our trespasses and raised because of our justification.

Henry Mahan—“When did this righteousness Christ brought in come to you? You don’t have this righteousness imputed to you before you believe the God of the gospel.”

There is a difference between the righteousness of Christ’s death, its imputation, and the justification which follows imputation. The righteousness of the death is the value God puts on the death. When that righteousness is legally shared with an elect person, that elect person passes from death to life and is justified. There are no justified persons who do not yet believe the gospel. This does NOT make faith in the gospel to be an “instrumental cause” of God’s imputation.

There is a difference between sin and the guilt of sin and the corruption of sin. The guilt of sin counted against a person causes a person to come under condemnation and the result of that is death.

John 5: 24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and BELIEVES Him who sent Me HAS the lasting life of the age to come and will NOT COME UNDER THE JUDGMENT but HAS passed from death to life.

Two Headships, not “Two Natures”

January 28, 2014

Gill claims that the elect can be both in Adam and in Christ at the same time. How? Gill claims this can happen because Christians have “two natures”.

Instead of seeing “two states” as mutually exclusive (either or), Gill thinks Christians are in both Adam and Christ, at one and the same time, and from before the ages.

I would agree that the elect are elect in Christ from before the ages. But Gill claims that the elect are justified in Christ from before the ages. Gill also thinks that Christians are still in Adam until they die physically, in both Adams until their resurrection.

Instead of saying that “union” in all aspects means “justification”, I would ask for a definition of what kind of “union” we are thinking about. Does “union” cause justification? Or does justification bring about legal union? Does imputation create a bond which puts us into Christ and His death? See the word “baptism” in Romans 6 and Galatians 3:27.

But Gill thinks that the elect are justified in Christ and condemned in Adam, at one and the same time, both before and after the new birth.

Only one person has “two natures” and that person is Christ. The “two natures” theory says that the natures correspond to the “old man” and the “new man”. See II Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:9-10.. But the “old” and the “new” do not stand for “two natures”. Instead, there are two states–the old man is the elect sinner before God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness to them, the new man is the elect sinner after God’s justification.

I certainly agree that justified Christians still continually sin, but the language of “two natures” is not the Bible way to talk about that. We need to talk instead about two “federal headships” or “two states”. But it’s not consistent for those who teach that all the elect were justified at one time before the ages (or at one time at the cross) to talk about “two states”. The Primitive Baptists and the Strict Baptists not only talk about “eternally justified unregenerate unbelievers” but also put the emphasis not only justification but on the “two natures”.

The justified elect transition from being part of the old creation to being legally part of the new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, new creation! The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Galatians 6:15 “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but new creation.”

When I think of the “new creation”, why do I think of justification, and not only about regeneration? Well, I ask, why do so many Calvinists about “two natures”? Where does the Bible talk about the new creation being a new nature?

Where does the Bible talk about “union with Christ” being a new nature? Why don’t we draw the line between the justified and the condemned?

I am not denying the new birth or the absolute necessity for it. But the new birth is not “union with Christ” and that it does not result in something called “the new nature”. The “new man” has to do with a change in legal state.

II Corinthians 5:14 “one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh”.

“Those who live” means those who are justified. The category of “we died” is not about a change of substance or nature but about an imputed legal reality.

The new man is not gradual transition by infusion or transformation; it’s an either or—- this legal state or that legal state. The new is not continually caused by a “sacramental feeding on Christ” but by God’s imputation of what God did in Christ in His death and resurrection.

Only for those now in Christ legally has the old has passed. For some of the elect, God has already declared the legal verdict. One day, at the resurrection, there will be visible evidence of that verdict.

Carol Hoch Jr: The background of the “new creation language is Isaiah 43:16-21, Is 65:17, and Is 66:22…Should “he is” be supplied in II Cor 5:17 a? No–if any person is in Christ, new creation. To insert “he is” in 5:17 wrongly narrows the scope of the new creation to an individual. , p 161

The Significance of Newness for Biblical Theology: All Things New, Baker, 1995

John R. W. Stott, Men Made New: An Exposition of Romans 5-8 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1966), 45: “This is the crucifixion of our our ‘old self’. What is this ‘old self’? Is it not the old nature. How can it be if the ‘body of sin’ means the old nature? The two expressions cannot mean the same thing or the verse makes nonsense.

The ‘old self’ denotes, not our old unregenerate nature, but our old condemned in Adam life—Not the part of myself which is corrupt, but my former self. So what was crucified with Christ was not a part of us called our old nature, but the whole of us as we were before we were converted. This should be plain because in this chapter the phrase ‘our old self was crucified’ (verse 6) is equivalent to ‘we…died to sin (verse 2).”

The crucifixion of the “old man” refers to a definitive break with the past in Adam and is something God declares to be true of the elect when God justifies them by imputation. God transfers the justified elect from the headship of Adam to the headship of Christ. The justified sinner is separated legally from the community of Adam by being placed into the death of Christ to sin.

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices 3:10 and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it.

The “new man” in Colossians 3 refers to a new social structure where there is “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.” The “new man” in Colossians 3:10 is NOT something inside an individual.

In Ephesians 2:15, the Jewish elect and the Gentile elect have been justified and reconciled, and together in Christ they form the “new man” which is a new redemptive-historical society in which all have free and equal access to God and are seated with Christ in the heavenlies (2:5-6).

Romans 6:6 is also about the two headships of Romans 5:12-21.15 The “old man,”must be who the elect were “in Adam,” that is, in guilt, death and judgment. The “old man” is not a sinful nature, not immaterial corruption.

Romans 6 says that the old man “was crucified with Christ.” But how can that be? We were not there at the cross but that is the time to which the past tense refers. The “with Christ” language relates the elect to to the redemptive history of Christ. Romans 6 is NOT talking about new birth or Christ indwelling us individually, even those events result from justification. Those legally joined to Christ’s body are “dead to sin” in the same way that Christ became “dead to sin”, by means of legal union, justification.

“All You Have to Do is Accept It”, but there is no Substitute to Receive It For You?

December 22, 2013

Matthew 1: 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Alec Motyer, p 251, From Heaven He Came—Isaiah’s “Behold, my servant shall succeed” matches the great cry, “It is finished (John 19:30) and forces us to ask what “finished” means in John and what “succeed” means in Isaiah. On any “open-ended” view of the atonement–that is, that the work of Christ only made salvation possible rather than actually secured salvation–“finished” only means “started” and “succeed” only means “maybe, contingent on God contributing something else “in” the sinner

Isaiah 53: when his blood/life makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his blood/life to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Clergy who condition salvation on the sinner talk out of both sides of their mouths. First, “all you have to do is receive it”. But and However, then “receiving it will cost you everything for the rest of your life.”. First, there was “for you a substitute”. But and However, there is “no substitute to receive it for you” and His substitution won’t work without your receiving and accepting it. God is “open in order for us to be open to God.”

Yes, it’s true that nobody is justified before they believe the gospel. But the question we need to face is—WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? Jesus Christ, not every year, not every week, but one time, for all time, once in history was a substitute but only for “his people”. “His people” are the elect,those whom the Father gave the Son to die for. All “his people” will come to believe the true gospel and be justified. The death of Christ as a substitute for His people not only puts away their sins but legally guarantees that these elect won’t need a substitute to believe the true gospel for them, makes sure that these elect themselves believe the true gospel.

Philippians 1: 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

Romans 5:11 “We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the atonement.”

Many today teach that the only reconciliation which really matters is our “receiving which applies again today ” Christ’s death. They teach that Christ died as a substitute for many who will not believe the gospel and who will perish.

It’s one thing to say that Christ’s death is good news, and another to say WHY Christ’s death is good news. Christ’s death saves not only because of God’s sovereign will but also because of God’s justice.

The difference between the “but it’s on you to receive it” folks and those who teach that many do not believe because they are not Christ’s sheep (John 10) is NOT about the need of the Spirit’s work or faith in the gospel. Those who believe the true gospel do not disagree about justification being through faith. We do NOT teach that the elect are free from condemnation before being “baptized into Christ”. We do deny that either water or the Holy Spirit “baptizes” us INTO Christ. Legal identification into Christ is by God’s imputation.

Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too will walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like His.

Our resurrection is both like and unlike Christ’s resurrection. Our resurrection is unlike His in that we still have a future resurrection to come. But our resurrection is like His because His one resurrection counts legally as our resurrection when God places us into Christ and His resurrection.

Our death is both like and unlike Christ’s death. His death is unlike ours because His death was because of the imputation of our sins to Him. Our death is unlike His death because our death is His death. We die in the sense that His death is legally transferred to us. Christ died without remorse or repentance and only because of our sins. And the only way we are already dead now, before we die our own deaths, is when God counts Christ’s death for us legally.

“We have been united with Christ in a death like His” Even though there was a transfer going both ways, the death of Christ is the only death that ultimately matters. Even though Christ died only because of our sins, and even though we died only because He died, that one death counts for all who have come to believe the true gospel.

The elect are not justified as soon as Christ bore their sins. Romans 6 teaches us that the elect must be placed into Christ’s death. Until the elect are “baptized” into Christ’s death, they remain under the wrath of God.

Some accuse us of thinking there is no need for faith. They claim that it is not logical for us to teach such a need for faith. If the substitution has already been made, then all for whom it was made should logically already be justified. If the righteousness has already been obtained, then all for whom it was earned should logically already be justified by it.

We do NOT teach justification apart from faith. Neither do we teach that faith is a mere recognition that we were already justified.

What is it that those who make the accusations are teaching about Christ’s death? Even though clergy like Andrew Fuller agree that Christ died to gain faith for the elect, even though they agree that even our receiving is God’s gift aloe, but they make this purchase of faith to be the only thing that is limited about Christ’s death The “but some don’t receive it ” folks do not want to teach that Christ’s substitution under God’s wrath was limited only to the sins of the elect. They can correctly say that they teach “limited atonement” but they do NOT teach that Christ’s propitiation for sins was limited to “His people”

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Carl Trueman’s Essay on John Owen and the Timing of Justification

September 30, 2013

I quote from Carl Truman’s essay on John Owen and the timing of justification in the Westminster Seminary collection Justified in Christ.(ed by Oliphant, 2007)

Carl Trueman, p 91–“The Protestant doctrine of justification by imputation was always going to be criticized as tending toward eternal justification. Late medieval theologians (nominalists, occasionalists) had used the distinction between God’s absolute power and God’s ordained power to break the necessary connection between the priority of actual righteousness and God’s declaration that a particular person is justified. In placing the declaration in God’s will, not in the intrinsic qualities of the one justified, it would be argued that any necessary connection between justification and any chronological factors had been decisively abolished”.

mark: In other words, since “synthetic” (the imputation of another extrinsic factor) justification is not about what’s happening in the sinner now, why not say that all the elect were justified at one time, either at the cross, or before the beginning of the ages? This is what Baxter accused John Owen of doing, of simply “announcing in the gospel” that the elect had already all been justified. That’s not what Owen did, but Baxter said he should do that to be consistent. Baxter wanted to get “chronological factors” into the equation, because Baxter wanted to make “intrinsic conditions” a factor in justification.

mark: The assumption of Baxter, and even of most Protestants, is that if you remove the chronological changes (inner transformation), then you only have an appeal to God’s bare sovereignty, and then you might as well say that God justified all the elect at the same time, or even all of them before the beginning of time. But justification is NOT a matter of God’s bare sovereignty but also a revelation of God’s righteousness, and God’s justice demands that God impute in time to the elect the death which Christ earned in time for the elect. If all you have is bare sovereignty, then there is no need for imputation in time, and also there is really no need for Christ to die to satisfy justice.

John Owen used to agree with the nominalists (John Calvin on this particular question) that the death of Christ was not strictly necessary, but then John Owen changed his mind. Owen concluded that justification is not only a matter of God’s declaring the elect to be just (while yet sinners). But neither does justice demand that “justification be imputed” to all the elect at one time, either when Christ’s righteousness is actually accomplished, or when God decrees the death of Christ. Owen concluded that justice demands a connection between Christ’s death and the imputation of that death, but it does not demand that the death be imputed at the same time to all the elect. It’s not “justification” which is imputed. It’s Christ’s righteousness which is imputed.

Carl Trueman, p 92—Samuel Rutherford saw eternal justification as the foundation of an antinomian trajectory in English Puritan thought which was also connected to the sinister calls for the most un-Presbyterian tenet, liberty of conscience in religious matters. Others were quick to say that eternal justification subverted the need for the moral imperatives.”

mark: while I also oppose eternal justification (as did John Owen), it’s not because of the two reasons given above. First, I am for voluntary churches and religious liberty. Second, even though I oppose any notion of justification by “bare sovereignty” unrelated to law-satisfaction and Christ’s righteousness, I do oppose justification based on what God does intrinsically in the sinner, so any affirmation of justification by imputation (such as mine) is going to be accused of “cutting the nerve that leads to morality”. My response to that is that the motive for obedience to moral commands should not and cannot be to make justification “fitting” ( as Jonathan Edwards and his contemporary followers would have it). The motive for obedience is gratitude for a present justification and a faith that every blessing will be given to those who are already in Christ.

Carl Trueman, p 93–“Baxter claims that if Christ has paid the actual price for our sins, as Owen argues in The Death of Death (1647), then this payment is not refusable by God, nor is it possible that there could be a chronological delay between payment of the debt and the dissolution of the debt, since it is either paid or not paid, thus all the elect are already justified in Christ, and thus faith can only fulfill a mere epistemological function whereby the elect come to acknowledge that which they are already, namely, justified.”

mark: Notice that this is not what Baxter himself advocates. It’s what Baxter is accusing Owen of believing, or needing to believe, if Owen were consistent. This is really rich in a way, because Baxter is saying that Owen would not be following strict justice if Owen allows a time lag between Christ’s death as payment for sins and the actual forgiveness of sins, but Baxter himself has rejected any notion of strict justice, substituting a”new law” (neo-nomian) whereby God accepts something less than strict justice, namely, the chronological changes of moral improvement in the life of the one to be justified. It’s as if Baxter is saying, let me show you that not even Owen is being strictly just, so strict justice is not the issue. Baxter accuses Owen of not being just, while at the same time Baxter makes no claim that his own view is strict justice.

Owen would agree that justice demands that “the payment is not refusable” but would not agree that this demands the justification of the elect sinner at the very same time payment is made.

Carl Trueman, p 95–“Owen argues that it is crucial to understand that God’s desire to save is prior to the establishment of the covenant of redemption, and thus to any consideration of Christ’s satisfaction. Thus Owen precludes any notion that Christ’s death in any way changes the Father’s mind or buys his favor. Owen calls attention to the fact that Christ’s death, considered in abstraction from its covenantal context, has no meaning as a payment. The force of this is to focus attention on the will of God as teh determining factor in the economy of salvation. The positive relationship of Owen’s theology to voluntarist/Scotist trajectories of medieval thought is here evident.”

mark: so yes, Owen is “nominalist” in that Owen does affirm the sovereignty of God, and does make a distinction between Christ’s death and the imputation of Christ’s death chronologically. But Owen never appeals to “bare sovereignty” without any righteousness. Owen teaches that Christ’s death is not merely one possible way that God could in sovereignty save, but the only way, the necessary way, the just way. And, even though Owen makes a distinction between Christ’s death and the imputation of that death, Owen is clear that God must in justice impute (in time) Christ’s death to all for whom Christ died. The payment is not “refusable”. This is not a matter of arbitrary law-less sovereignty, because it’s a question of righteous sovereignty. Baxter thinks the only thing that can make justification of sinners just is intrinsic change (not perfect, not strict justice) in the sinner. Owen thinks the only thing that can make the justification of sinners just is Christ’s death and the imputation of that death.

Carl Trueman, p 96—“Owen claims that that the union of Christ with the elect in his atonement is not actual direct participation but that it must be understood in terms of federal representation. The imputation of sin to Christ is thus not strictly parallel to the imputation of Christ’s death to sinners. This is because it is not simply incarnation which is the foundation of salvation, but the covenant which lies behind the incarnation and which gives gives the incarnation meaning to salvation.”

mark: yes, but let me change one word, for the sake of clarity. It it is not simply incarnation which is the foundation, but the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God which lies behind the incarnation and which gives the incarnation meaning to salvation. God does not save simply by might and sovereignty. God also saves by God’s justice. Christ became incarnate under God’s law. Christ’s righteousness was Christ’s just payment to God’s law for the sins of the elect imputed. And justification in time is God’s just counting of this just payment by Christ.