Posted tagged ‘law and grace’

By Means of Christ’s Death or By Any Means God Decides?

September 3, 2017

Grace bypasses our works. The gospel is not grace plus works enabled by grace. The gospel says–grace OR works. It’s not grace for justification and salvation, but works for the other stuff. Either you support yourself, or you live by grace.

If God already decided to forgive some sins and some sinners, does it matter if God has also decided to forgive sins by means of Christ’s death or not by means of Christ’s death?

Does it matter if God uses Christ’s death as wrath and law satisfaction? Or is God by nature only sovereign, so that Christ’s death tells us nothing about God’s nature or about it being necessary for God to satisfy His justice for those God forgives?

If we agree that Christ’s death saves, does it matter if we agree about the meaning of Christ’s death? By means of Christ’s death or by any means God decides?

Romans 3: 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ Jesus as a propitiation ( through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness)

Galatians 2: 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Hebrews 1: 3 After making purification for sins, Christ sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Hebrews 7: 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he DID THIS ONCE FOR ALL WHEN HE OFFERED UP HIMSELF.

Hebrews 9: 25 Christ did not offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. 26 Otherwise, Christ would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now Christ has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself

Hebrews 10: 10 we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all…12 This man, after offering one permanent sacrifice for sins, sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Christ is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. 14 By one offering Christ has perfected those who are sanctified.

It’s not grace for justification and salvation, but works for the Christian life. It’s not grace for justification but works for raising your family. It’s not grace for justification but works for making money and keeping that money safe from your enemies. Either you support yourself, or you live by grace. Either you lean on the lasting arms of God or you lean on your own sufficiency to add something to the mix.

Romans 1: 17 The righteous will live by faith

Romans 3: 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ Jesus as a propitiation ( through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness)

Romans 4:16 The promise is by faith, in order that the promise be according to grace, to guarantee the promise.

Galatians 2:20 The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing

if anybody is first in the new covenant and then out, then God is neither sovereign nor just (to Christ, whose death paid for all the blessings of salvation

Romans 4: 4 Now to him that works the reward is not counted grace, but what is due

Romans 8:32 “God the Father did not even spare or keep back His own Son but handed over His Son for us. How then will God the Father not also WITH THE SON GIVE us everything

John 10: 17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life in order to take it up again.

John 17: 4 I have glorified You on the earth
by completing the work You gave Me to do.
Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence

Yes, the Father loves the Son
But also the Father will give the Son what the Son is due
The Father loves the Son because the Son gives the Father what the Father is due

2 Peter 1: 17 For when the Lord Jesus Christ received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory:
This is My beloved Son.
I take delight in Him!

Isaiah 42 “This is My Servant; I strengthen Him,
this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
I have put My Spirit on Him;
He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry out or shout
or make His voice heard in the streets.
3 He will not break a bruised reed,
and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
He will faithfully bring justice.
4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until He has established justice on earth.

Grace to the elect was not grace to Jesus Christ
Christ did what Christ was obligated to do to save His elect
God the Son by His death appeased God’s wrath and purchased blessings

To save those the Father gave Him, the Son had a duty to die for them

Isaiah 53: 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many

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We Don’t Care About Your Motives, Just So You are Against Sin, Secularism and Obama?

November 11, 2013

William Blake

The Moral Virtues in Great Fear

Formed the Cross & Nails & Spear

And the Accuser Standing By

Cried out Crucify Crucify

If Moral Virtue was Christianity

Christ’s Pretensions were all Vanity

Conservative “Christians” tend to be identified with a prescribed set of practices rather than with ideas and doctrines about what God did in Christ.

Hearing the gospel is not about how much we make ourselves do or how much we can make ourselves believe. Faith is the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ causing us to look to Jesus Christ so what we depend on what Jesus Christ already did by His death and resurrection so that we do not depend on what we believe that Jesus Christ is doing in us and in our church.

Grace is not for the nice people who are living right. Grace is not what causes us to live right. None of us lives right yet. Grace is not useful the way parents and politicians want it to be. Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus Christ has already done enough so that we don’t have to con ourselves into believing that God has to “show up” every Sunday in the presence of authorized clergy?

For freedom Christ has made us free. We don’t have to have Jesus “warm up our hearts” in our daily quiet time. Romans 6 even says we don’t even have to sin to get more grace. Romans 5—we stand in grace. What are we going to do, now that we know that our doing is not what causes God to bless us?

But surely there’s got to be more to life than “merely” that, doesn’t there? More than “only” not having our sins imputed to us? At the end of the day, I say, NOT SO MUCH. Who in our day cares about not having sins credited to them? Who cares about that? Can’t we now get over that basic fact, and get on with it, and concern ourselves now with moral progress? Our sins are not counted against us. Do you hear that anymore? Who in our age now is so selfish and individualistic to still care about if their sins are counted against them? I Am.

But isn’t it dangerous for God to not count our sins against us? Maybe it’s so, maybe it’s not. Maybe there’s a not yet aspect of our justification in which God’s work in us by the Holy Spirit will be brought in as an additional factor, so that we can now still have various different motives, including the beauty of threats and the loss of assurance, and whatever else that works to get us on the move… NO NO NO.

But wouldn’t it be better now, in the present fight against secularism and liberalism, to not “rock the boat” about grace, and accept the “tension” between grace motives and other motives? So what if some works are not done from a clean conscience but done in order to keep the conscience clean, why rock the boat just because grace happens to work for you? Can’t we get along with people who operate out of different motives?
And the accusers appeal to us, if you really believe in grace, they tell us, you should get alone with the rest of us, with other doctrines, with other motives. Some Christians, they tell us, are

Many today warn us–yes, grace and gratitude is one complex of motives, but don’t forget to balance that with other motives

Do we address the people in church as if they have been believing some form of the gospel all along? “Close as in horseshoes”? Or do we say—some or all of you may need to be reconciled. Nobody is born reconciled. Let’s not presume. Let’s not beg the question.

Jerry Bridges, p 34, Transforming Grace—“if you are trusting TO ANY DEGREE in your own morality, or if you believe that God will somehow recognize any of your good works as a reason for your salvation, you need to seriously consider if you are truly a Christian.”

The Law Was Not the Gospel for Adam, but Christ’s Satisfaction of the Law is the Gospel for Us

October 9, 2013

The real point of the law-gospel antithesis is not “conflict”. It is non-identity. The law is not the gospel. The gospel is not the law. The gospel, however, is about Christ’s satisfaction of God’s law for God’s elect. 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 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 the life of the age to come.

The law-gospel antithesis does NOT understand Romans 10:4 in terms of abrogation. The “end of the law” is Christ completing all that the law demanded, so that 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”.

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.

The law, once satisfied by Christ, now demands the salvation of all the elect. 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 or works of elect 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. 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 earned. “

If the law were the gospel, even saying that there’s law (in the garden and now) would be “legalism”. But the law is not the gospel and it was never 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.

The “covenant of works” theory teaches a ”hypothetical gospel” in which Adam supposedly “could have” earned righteousness for others by keeping the law. One clear way to say that the law is not the gospel is to say that the it was not the gospel for Adam either. But the “covenant of works” is not needed for us to keep the law/gospel antithesis, which antithesis is biblical and important.

Romans 8:3-4 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,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Smeaton, Apostles Doctrine of the Atonement, p 178–”Romans 8:4–That the righteousness of the law would be fulfilled in us. That is so like another expression of the same apostle, that the two passages might fitly be compared for mutual elucidation (II Cor 5:21). This expression cannot be referred to any inward work of renovation; for no work or attainment of ours can with any propriety of language be designated a “fulfillment of the righteousness of the law”.

The words, “the righteousness of the law,” are descriptive of Christ’s obedience as the work of one for many (Romans 5:18). This result is delineated as the end contemplated by Christ’s incarnation and atonement, and intimates that as He was made a sin-offering, so are we regarded as full-fillers of the law…”

Moo comments on 8:4 in NICNT, p482—”Some think that Christians, with the Spirit empowering within, fulfill the demand of the law by righteous living. However, while it is true that God’s act in Christ has as one of its intents that we produce fruit, we do not think that this is what Paul is saying here.

First, the passive verb “be fulfilled” points not to something that we are to do but to something that is done in and for us. Second, the always imperfect obedience of the law by Christians does not satisfy what is demanded by the logic of this text. The fulfilling of the “just decree of the law” must answer to that inability of the law with which Paul began this sentence. “What the law could not do” is to free people from “the law of sin and death”–to procure righteousness and life. And it could not do this because the “flesh” prevented people from obeying its precepts.

The removal of this barrier consists not in the actions of believers, for our obedience always falls short of that perfect obedience required by the law. As Calvin puts it, “the faithful, while they sojourn in this world, never make such a proficiency, as that the justification of the law becomes in them full or complete. This must be applied to forgiveness; for when the obedience of Christ is accepted for us, the law is satisfied, so that we are counted just.”

If then the inability of the law is to be overcome without an arbitrary cancellation of the law, it can only happen through a perfect obedience of the law’s demands. See Romans 2:13 and our comments there.

In the last part of Romans 8:4, the participial clause modifying “us” is not instrumental—”the just decree of the law is fulfilled in us BY our walking not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”–but descriptive, characterizing those in whom the just decree of the law as ‘those WHO walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Paul does not separate the “fulfillment” of the law from the lifestyle of Christians. But this does not mean that Christian behavior is how the law is fulfilled….”

Steele and Thomas, Romans: an interpretative outline: “In order to free believers from the guilt or condemnation of sin, God sent His own Son into the world (in a nature like man’s sinful nature, but not itself sinful. See Heb. 2:14-18; 4:15). Christ 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 Him. This of course is because of the fact that what Christ did, He did as their substitute or representative, and it is therefore counted (imputed) to them as if they themselves did it. (8:4)

Charles Hodge: one’s interpretation of Romans 8 verse 4 is determined by the view taken of Romans 8:3. If that verse means that God, by sending His Son, destroyed sin in us, then, of course, this verse must mean, “He destroyed sin in order that we should fulfill the law” — that is, so that we should be holy (sanctification). But if Romans 8:3 refers to the sacrificial death of Christ and to the condemnation of sin in Him as the sinners’ substitute, then this verse must refer to justification and not sanctification.”

John Gill: “internal holiness can never be reckoned the whole righteousness of the law: and though it is a fruit of Christ’s death, it is the work of the Spirit, and is neither the whole, nor any part of our justification: but this is to be understood of the righteousness of the law fulfilled by Christ, and imputed to us; Christ has fulfilled the whole righteousness of the law, all the requirements of it; this he has done in the room and stead of his people; and is imputed to them, by virtue of a federal union between him and them, he being the head, and they his members; and the law being fulfilled by him, it is reckoned all one as it was fulfilled in, or if by them; and hence they are personally, perfectly, and legally justified; and this is the end of Christ’s being sent, of sin being laid on him, and condemned in him. The descriptive character of the persons in Roman 8:4 is the same with that in Romans 8:1.”