Posted tagged ‘Romans 6’

Christ did not buy a gift card for you or the Holy Spirit to use or not use–all the elect decide to believe the gospel

August 20, 2018

II Corinthians 2: 14 God through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Christ in every place. 15 To God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are BEING SAVED and among those who ARE PERISHING.

Biblical grace is not ONLY about God empowering the elect to choose and decide to believe the gospel. Biblical grace is ALSO about God having chosen which guilty sinners for whom Christ would die. But biblical grace is also about these same guilty sinners, all those for whom Christ did, being given not only the ability but being caused to choose and to decide to believe the gospel.

No guilty sinner will be given “the power to the contrary”. No guilty sinner will be given the ability to choose or not to choose to believe the gospel. All ELECT guilty sinners will for sure decide to believe the gospel.

All sinners are born guilty, from the imputed guilt of Adam alone, and this includes the elect who are born guilty in Adam and therefore also born not believing the gospel, born not able to believe the gospel.

God has chosen that all humans will be born guilty, but God has also chosen that elect humans will come to believe the gospel. Elect humans will believe the gospel, because Christ died for elect sinners, and all the sins of the elect have been imputed to Christ.

No elect sinner will die in unbelief of God’s gospel. Therefore Christ did not die imputed with the sin of final unbelief by any elect sinner. Rather, Christ died so that no elect sinner will die in unbelief of the gospel. Christ’s death not only paid for sins but also purchased the faith in the gospel which God imparts to every elect sinner so that every elect sinner chooses to believe the gospel.

Christ will be honored and glorified. Christ did not purchase God the Holy Spirit a kind of gift card by which God the Holy Spirit now decides “who will be in the church” or “who will be on the elect team”. All for whom Christ died will most certainly repent of their false gospels and believe the true gospel.

Even though God has already imputed all the future sins of the elect to Christ, God did not impute the sin of final unbelief of the gospel by any elect sinner. The reason for this is that no elect sinner will die in final unbelief.

God has not already imputed the death of Christ to every elect sinner. When God does impute the death of Christ to an elect sinner, that sinner is NOT given the ability “to GO EITHER WAY”. When God imputes Christ’s death to an elect sinner, that sinner WILL BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.

A sinner who does not yet believe the gospel is a sinner to whom God has not yet imputed Christ’s death.

Election has nothing to do with salvation—false

Therefore, salvation is nothing but election–false

Therefore, salvation is election but not justification or regeneration–false

Election and justification and regeneration are all part of salvation by Christ: true

The gospel has nothing to do with election–false

The gospel is only about God’s sovereignty and not about God satisfying the law–false

The gospel is only about what God already did outside the ungodly sinner–false

The gospel is not only about what God did but also about God causing elect ungodly sinners to believe the gospel

The gospel is not gospel for those God never causes to believe the gospel

Not believing the gospel is not a CAUSE of condemnation, because not believing the gospel is EVIDENCE of condemnation. But not believing the gospel is not evidence of our ALWAYS BEING CONDEMNED. Elect sinners who do not now believe the gospel WILL come to believe the gospel. Elect sinners who are now condemned in their sins WILL BE JUSTIFIED BY GOD. All the elect are always elect, but the elect are not all justified yet.

ROMANS 5: 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have NOW received reconciliation

God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel

Some sovereign grace preachers today, in reaction to Arminians (salvation without election, salvation conditioned on the sinner’s choice, have begun to teach that “all the elect were justified eternally” or that “all the elect were justified as soon as Christ died”.

“God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel”. Saying that alone does not say other things, so some of these preachers say “don’t say that about God imputing Christ’s death– say only the other things.”

Because 1,for them that sounds too close to telling people the wrong idea that God imputes because sinners believe the gospel.
Because 2, for them they want to say “righteousness” is imputed (not only the death) because for them the death pays off justice for sins but death does not satisfy law by keeping sabbath and the other stuff Jesus did

But I don’t agree with these “all at the same time” preachers. I still teach “two legal states”—those who believe God’s gospel have been imputed with Christ’s death

I certainly don’t think that Christ died for some sinners who never ever get imputed with Christ’s death. But not all the sinners for whom Christ died have been placed into that death YET. It’s not the Holy Spirit using a credit card who places some elect sinner into Christ’s death. It’s certainly not the elect sinner who places her self into Christ’s death.

I don’t agree with the rhetoric of these preachers that, as soon as Christ satisfied justice for sins, those sins can no longer be counted against any of the elect, even if those elect persons have not yet been born.

These preachers ask—if we all agree that you don’t find out if you are elect until after you believe the gospel, why can’t we then also agree that we find out after we believe that we were already justified?

My answer to that question I have given above.

We are NOT justified before God until we believe the gospel.

The Bible does not teach two different justifications, one that God does out of time, and then another justification (which is only in our head and which only tells us that we were already really justified!)

God imputes Christ’s death to those who believe God’s gospel.
A sinner who does not yet believe the gospel is a sinner to whom God has not yet imputed Christ’s death.

Now that God has imputed Christ’s death to you, two things—you believe the gospel and you are justified— not one of those things without the other, not one of those things before the other

The same preachers who tell us we can’t know about God and time also like to tell us that God does not justify in time. But if God does not justify in time, how can it be true that Christ propitiated for sins in time?

To say that God never counted sins to Christ is just as bad as saying God still counts sins to Christ

Carl Trueman, p 91–“The Protestant doctrine of justification by imputation was always going to be criticized as tending toward eternal justification. In placing the declaration in God’s will, not in the qualities or the faith of the one justified, it was argued (by Richard Baxter) that any necessary connection between justification and any chronological factors had been decisively abolished”.

Romans 6 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

Once in time for all time, Christ’s propitiation was finished and done, and now in time God imputes that propitiation (reconciliation) to elect sinners.

Romans 5: 17 speaks of “those who receive the free gift of righteousness” and how they reign in life through the one man Christ Jesus. This receiving by imputation is not the same thing as the sinner receiving by believing. (John 1:12-13). But those who receive Christ’s death by God’s imputation do receive the gospel by faith God gives on the basis of Christ’s death (II Peter 1:1)

The receiving of Christ’s righteousness (His death)by imptutation is not the same as the righteousness. The imputation is not necessarily at the same TIME as when Christ earned the righteousness by his death. God declaring the elect to be joint-heirs with Christ in that righteousness is not the same as the righteousness. There is a difference between the imputation and the righteousness.

Our continuing for the rest of our lives to believe the gospel is not the righteousness. But neither is God’s imputation, nor the indwelling of Christ which follows that imputation, the righteousness.

The Holy Spirit does NOT “baptize all believers into one body.” (I Cor 12:13 correctly quoted) –”in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” The text does not say that the Holy Spirit is the baptizer, or the “agent who unites us to Christ”.

Since the Holy Spirit gives faith to the elect, many folks teach that the faith given to the elect unites them to Christ. But the elect were elected by Christ and in Christ. And it is by God’s imputation with Christ’s death that the elect pass from guilt in Adam to faith in the gospel and justification by Christ’s death.

The Holy Spirit is NOT selecting individuals to be on the team. God the Trinity already (before the ages) elected individuals to be saved from God’s wrath.

I Corinthians 5:14-15– “one died for all, therefore all have died, and Christ died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but who for themselves for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

We can think about a “for” which is not substitution. I can score a basket for my team, without any idea that I am the only one playing the game. I score the basket for the sake of others on my team, and not only for myself, but that does not mean they do nothing and I do everything. In II Corinthians 5:14-15, it is not the “for” which get us to the idea of substitution. What gets us to substitution is “therefore all died”.

It is a MISTAKE to reference the “died with” to a “faith-union” given by the Holy Spirit. The idea is NOT that Christ died one kind of death and as a result the Holy Spirit selects and unites some to “the church”.

The idea of “therefore all died”, the idea of “legal union with Christ’s death” is NOT that the Holy Spirit becomes the agent of that death, and selects who will be on the team. But in the double-speak of those who believe in election but not in the gospel of Christ’s death being that which is the basis of justification, Christ only died to have a team of “those who would believe” (what the object of belief is not usually said).

In the complicated world of “election created by the Holy Spirit”, there is no free will and the credit for your deciding to be on the church team is given to the Holy Spirit. But the Romans 6 idea of “died with Christ”, the II Corinthians 5:15 idea of “therefore all died” is that Christ died to propitiate God’s wrath because of ALREADY IMPUTED SINS, and that in time this death is imputed by God to the elect.

The elect do not (and did not) die this kind of death. Their substitute replaced them and died the death for them. Christ alone, in both His Deity and His Humanity, by Himself, without the rest of humanity (some of them did the killing part, but Christ chose to die), died this death. Christ the Elect One died the death required to make certain tht the elect were going to one day be justified.

Romans 3:22 –“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe”.

Romans 4:13–“the promise did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith….

Phil 3:9–“and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that righteousness which comes through faith in Christ.”

Robert Haldane, p 194–“there are some who, strongly impressed with the great evil of making faith a work, have plunged into a contrary extreme, as if justification were independent of faith, or as if faith were merely an accidental or unimportant thing in justification. This also is a great error. Faith is as necessary in justification as the sacrifice of Christ itself, but necessary for a different purpose.”

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The Holy Spirit Does NOT Baptize Us Into Christ

December 2, 2016

In Romans 6, Paul describes being baptized into Christ, with no mention of the Holy Spirit in the chapter. Romans 6:7 gives as its answer to antinomianism not a new enablement by the Holy Spirit which allows us not to sin (so much) Romans 6:7 is about being justified from the power of guilt because of legal identity in Christ’s death is about the indicative of being united to Christ in His death.

All the New Testament texts teach that Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit, and NONE of the texts teach that the Spirit is the agent who places the elect into Christ. Should the texts be understood (even if they don’t say) that “John baptizes with water, but Jesus baptizes with both water and the Spirit, and (also) the Holy Spirit is the one who baptizes when Jesus baptizes ”

So when Jesus baptizes with the Spirit, it’s really the opposte of that, so that the Holy Spirit baptizes with Christ?

I agree that it is not possible to receive Christ without receiving His Holy Spirit, but that in no way proves that the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ. We should not assume that the “reality” of regeneration by the Spirit has priority over God’s legal imputation with Christ’s death “We have have been baptized into Christ” is NOT about the water ritual. The baptism on view in I Peter 3 and Colossians 2 and Romans 6 Is NOT ‘an outward sign of an inward change”. Water does not fulfill the type of physical circumcision…

One, I am not giving “the baptist view”. Most baptists I know are as likely to assume that “baptism” means water as any paedobaptist. (See for example, though I like Robert Haldane’s commentary, his remarks on Romans 6.)

Two, I believe in Holy Spirit baptism, but Holy Spirit baptism does NOT mean that the Spirit “baptizes into” Christ, at least not so far as any Bible text teaches. I Cor 12:13 correctly translated reads –”in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” The text does not say “by the Spirit” or teach that the Holy Spirit is the baptizer. The I Cor 12:13 agrees with the other six Spirit baptism texts in teaching that Christ is the agent who gives the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not give Christ, and the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in Romans 6. Yes, even Many credobaptists assume that the Holy Spirit is the agent in Romans 6, but they also wrongly agree with paedobaptists who assume that any text with the word “baptism” must have reference to the work of the Spirit and read that idea into Romans 6 and Colossians 2 and I Peter 3.

Do you assume that there’s water somewhere (at least implied) in Romans 6 and in Colossians 2 and I peter 3? There is no text anywhere that talks about “baptism by the Spirit”. These three specific texts a. don’t refer to water but instead to something that actually saves and b. don’t refer to the Spirit or to the new birth. All three texts are about legal identity with Christ’s death. They don’t use the word “imputation”, but their legal context has nothing about the Holy Spirit or regeneration (or water).

I never teach that Romans 6 or Colossians 2 or I Peter 3 are about the Holy Spirit. I teach that the three texts are NOT about water. If not water, then what? Not water, but the Father’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect. I agree that other “baptism” texts ARE about water, and about some texts, I might still be agnostic. But we need to stop assuming “water” or “water as a reference to the Spirit”. That paradigm does not fit the biblical evidence.

Christ, who was far off, is brought near by the news of the gospel (Romans 10:8), and united to the elect when God credits them with His righteousness (which is the value and merit of Christ’s death) and effectually calls them. The elect don’t first get Christ and then get His death . The elect cannot first “put on Christ”, and only after that get “baptized into His death”. Being placed into Christ’s death is in order to being in Christ and then having Christ in us. Being baptized into Christ in Romans 6 (which is NOT regeneration by the Spirit, which is NOT baptism by the Spirit) is another way to talk about God’s imputation. And this means that Christ baptizing the elect with or into the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13) is not first in the appllication of salvation to an individual sinner.

Berkhof—-“It is sometimes said that the merits of Christ cannot be imputed to us as long as we are not in Christ, since it is only on the basis of our oneness with Him that such an imputation could be reasonable. But this view fails to distinguish between our legal unity with Christ and our spiritual oneness with Him, and is a falsification of the fundamental element in the doctrine of redemption, namely, of the doctrine of justification. Justification is always a declaration of God, not on the basis of an existing (or future) condition, but on that of a gracious imputation–a declaration which is not in harmony with the existing condition of the sinner. The judicial ground for all the grace which we receive lies in the fact that the righteousness of Christ is freely imputed to us.”

Cal Beisner— “First, the term baptism did not mean, primarily, a ritual application of water. Second, commentators argue in two ways that in Romans 6 baptism does not denote the rite: (a) consistent application of that sense in the immediate context (verses 1-10) would yield the conclusion (contrary to other passages of Scripture) that all, without exception, who undergo the rite are regenerate, converted, justified, sanctified, and finally glorified, and (b) Paul himself, who certainly views circumcision and baptism as type and antitype (Colossians 2:11-12), had already written in the same epistle that it was not the rite of circumcision but the spiritual reality designated by it….

p 324 http://www.ecalvinbeisner.com/freearticles/AATConclusion.pdf

Paul Helm—Is not the granting of Christ’s gifts also a work of Christ? Is this giving not something that Christ does? Giving us gifts is not atonement, Giving us gifts is the result of atonement. But in giving justification Christ is at work.

Bavinck: Christ took on himself the task of really and fully saving his people. Christ will not abdicate as mediator before Christ has presented his elect– without spot or wrinkle – to the Father. The application of salvation is not less an essential constituent of redemption than Christ’s acquisition of salvation. Take away its application and redemption is not redemption. Christ continues his prophetic, priestly and royal activity. The application of salvation is Christ’s work. By an irresistible grace Christ gives himself and his benefits to his own. (Reformed Dogmatics, 3-523)

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. First, 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 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 NOT 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’S 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 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.

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….

Christ Is Not and Never was Under Grace

July 29, 2016

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. Christ’s people are under grace.

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, 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) They tell us that justification was in Romans chapter five and that chapter six must be about something more 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.”

Smeaton—We Died When He Died—Don’t Reduce Substitution Into Participation

May 1, 2016

Smeaton, The Apostles Doctrine of the Atonement : To understand what is meant by dying with Christ, we need to see the connection between the previous chapter and Romans 6. In Romans 5:12-19 Paul described our standing in Christ, and then he added “where sin abounded, grace much more abounded.” Anticipating the objection that would be made to such a view of God’s grace, Paul says, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” and then he rejects that thought with total abhorrence of the idea.

But not content with his mere “God forbid” rejection of the thought, he then goes on to prove that this type of perversion of grace could not logically follow for a reason which touches the deep elements of God’s moral government, and makes it totally impossible. Paul argues from a fact-the great objective change of relation that comes from dying with Christ.

We need to ask, then, what Paul means by these expressions that he uses, on which he makes his point so strongly (verse 12): “dying with Christ”, “dying to sin”, “buried with Christ”, “crucified with Christ”. One particular verse of Scripture will give us a key to the meaning of the above phrases: For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 2 Corinthians 5:14

In this passage, Paul uses two expressions interchangeably; that is, “He died for all”, and “all died in Him.” He is describing the same thing from two different points of view. The first of these expressions describes the vicarious death of Christ as an objective fact. The second phrase speaks of the same great transaction, in terms that indicate that we too have done it. So then, we may either say, “Christ died for us”, or “we died in Him.” Both are true. We can equally affirm that He was crucified for us, or we were co-crucified with Him.

We are not referring here to two acts-one on Christ’s side and another on ours. Rather,we have but one public representative, corporate act performed by the Son of God, in which we share as truly as if we had accomplished the atonement ourselves.
It is a mistake to not carry Romans 5 into Romans 6. If we carry the thought of the representative character of the two Adams from the one chapter into the other, then the difficulty vanishes.

All men sinned in the first man’s act of sin; for that public act was representative, and all Adam’s offspring were included in it. From God’s perspective, there have been but two men in the world, with the two families of which they are the heads; there have been just two public representatives. The idea of Christ being our Surety and the representation of His atonement as the act of “one for many”, run through this entire section of Romans. But the passage we are studying (Romans 6:1-8) contains one difference as compared with other passages, and that is that here we are described as doing what our representative did.

Let us notice the expressions used in Romans 6:1-8: It is said that “we died to sin (verse 2). As this phrase is misunderstood quite requently, we must discover what it really means. It frequently occurs in the writings of Paul in different forms, and it always alludes, not to an inward deliverance from sin, but to the Christian’s objective relation. It means that we are legally dead to sin in Jesus Christ.

This is made very clear by two other expressions occurring in the section. The first of these passages applies the same language to the Lord Himself; for He is said to have died to sin once (verse 10). Now the only sense in which the Sinless One can be regarded as dying to sin, is that of dying to its guilt, or to the condemning power which goes along with sin, and which must run its course wherever sin has been committed. He died to the guilt or criminality of sin when it was laid on Him. He certainly did not die to sins indwelling power.

The second of these phrases shows that this dying was the meritorious cause of our justification. “He that is dead has been justified from sin” (verse 7). The justification of the Christian is thus based on his co-dying with Christ; that is, we are said to have died when Christ died, and to have done what Christ did. The words undoubtedly mean a co-dying with Christ in that one corporate representative deed; that is, they mean that we were one with Christ in His obedience unto death, just like we were one with Adam in his disobedience.

Christ’s death to sin belongs to us, and is as much ours as if we had born the penalty ourselves. And the justification by which we are forgiven and accepted has no other foundation. It is noteworthy that Romans 5 describes all this in the third person, whereas Romans 6 describes it in the first person, and from our own share in it.

Paul also says in this section that our old man is crucified, or co-crucified with Him. The entire section of which this is a part is to be regarded not as an exhortation, but as the simple statement of fact; this passage does not set forth anything done by us, but something done on our account, or for our sake, by a Surety, in whose performance we participate.

It might be asked, “can’t we understand that these statements designate two separate actions, one done by Christ, and a similar or parallel one by us?” NO. The acts are not two, but one, described from two different points of view. There is not one crucifixion on the part of Christ, and a second, parallel and similar but different, crucifixion on the part of His people. There is but one corporate act—the act of “one for many.”

But what is the old man that is said to be co-crucified with the Lord? Does not this refer to our inward corruption? NO it does not. Such an explanation is untenable, as it would make the expression synonymous with the next clause which is not only bad theology but also inept reasoning. Instead, the first clause is made the condition of the second.

The old man is crucified in order that the body of sin (sin within us, or the flesh) be destroyed. Now there must be a difference between the two clauses, as the former is in order to attain the latter. The old man said to be crucified with Christ, is therefore our standing “in Adam”, which is terminated so that we have a new relationship to God in the crucified Surety.

To summarize, Romans 6:1-5 says we have been crucified with Christ, which tells us that our standing has changed from being “in Adam” (with its curse and condemnation) to being “in Christ” (with all of its blessings and benefits). The first five verses of Romans 6 are statements of fact, then verse 6 is an exhortation, so a one-sentence summary is, “because we were crucified with Christ, we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

But to bring even more clarity to the mind of his readers Paul says we were baptized into His death (verse 3). Christ is presented to us as laden with sin, and satisfying divine justice; and baptism, as a symbolical representation, shows our connection with Him, or rather our participation in that great corporate act which Jesus did on the cross, in the place of all His people.

We are seen as having done what He did, and to have done what He did, and to have undergone what He underwent, to satisfy divine justice. The symbol of baptism teaches this, and Paul tells us the fact that it was a baptism into His death, an emblem of oneness with Christ, or fellowship with Him in His death to sin (verse 10).

The death was the price of the life. The one was the cause, the other was the unfailing reward or consequence. The apostle declares that not only was the death of Christ a substitution in our place, but that the consequences of it being a substitution are that we may be said to have done what He did. And, because of our oneness with Him, we are discharged from sin as a master.

The Glory of the Atonement

There is only one “Good Death”, and all other Deaths Are our Enemy

July 8, 2014

If you were to look at the top two shelves of books beside my desk, you would see nothing but books about death. How We Die, by Nuland. The Gift of Death, by Derrida. Death and Eternal life, by John Hick. Immortality and Resurrection, by Oscar Cullman. The Denial of Death, by Ernest Becker. From Grave to Glory, by Murray Harris. The list goes on and on. My mother is 81 years old. My father is 88 years old. I think a lot about death.

I hear a lot of talk about death being a blessing for Christians. The idea seems to be that death is no longer our enemy after we become Christians. Many follow the Roman Catholic tradition is teaching that death is what takes us to either purgatory or to heaven. In this tradition, there is no need for Jesus Christ to return to earth, because death will supposedly take us to Christ in heaven.

But the Christian hope is not our own deaths. Our hope is not going to heaven, but the Resurrected Christ one day coming back again to earth and raising us from our death. Our hope is not our dying. Our hope is Christ’s death. There is only one “good death” and that death is not our death but the death of Christ as the righteousness which satisfies all the demands of the law. Our hope is not our death, but legal identification with Christ’s good death. There are not two “good deaths”, but only one “good death” and that’s why “imputation” is so important

Romans 6 is about Christ the public representative of the elect first being under death “for” the elect, in their place, as their replacement, as their substitute.

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. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

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 “good death” as the complete satisfaction of God’s law. Christ after His resurrection is now no longer under law and therefore now no longer under death.

The death of the justified elect is that VERY SAME legal death. The resurrection (present and future) of the justified elect in Romans 6 is the result of Christ’s justification from being under law and death. There is only one “good death”, and that was Christ’s death.

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 a death like his, the death of the elect is also a death to the guilt of sin. And this is what Romans 6:7 teaches: “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 transformation by grace and by the Spirit so that the justified elect cannot habitually sin (or that their new nature cannot sin) They tell us that justification was in chapter five and that chapter six must be about something more if it’s to be a real answer to the question “why not sin?”.

But Christ was never under the power of habitual sin or any sin, and the death of the elect is not their own death or their own dying. The death of the elect in Romans 6 is the same one “good death” which Christ Himself died.

Romans 6:10, “For the death He died He died to sin.” When the elect consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God, they think of themselves as dead to the guilt of sin. Death to the guilt of sin means justification and life before God.

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 Spirit and our believing the gospel. But it is not believing which frees the elect from the guilt of sin. Our hope is being legally joined to Christ’s “good death”. Romans 6 teaches that being “baptized into” Christ’s death is what frees the justified elect from guilt. Romans 6 does not teach that the Holy Spirit is the one who puts us into the “good death”. The gift of the Spirit is a blessing which results from having been placed into Christ’s ‘good death”.

Make no mistake. I know that some deaths are worse than others. We all have to die, but some of us die quickly. Others of us are given just enough notice to say and do the things we want to with regards to our family and friends. And then others of us will go through great suffering, many medical procedures, with much pain and expense, for ourselves and for those we love. Some of us die young, and others of us die after we are so old that our health is bad and we would rather be dead already. It is not good to die, but since we all have to die, sometimes it is better for us to die sooner rather than later. And though we submit to and recognize God’s sovereignty over life and death (which is one reason we do NOT kill or cause other humans to sacrifice their lives), we simply do not now see why God thinks it’s better for some of us to die later rather than sooner (and others of us to die “early”). We do not have to deny that God does all things “on time” to confess that we do not understand why God has some of us live so much longer than others live.

This “variety” in death applies to both Christians and non-Christians. Even bigger is the difference between the death of a Christian who has a real hope of resurrection, and a non-Christian who has no such hope. In both cases, we all have to die. Unless we are still living when Jesus Christs returns, we all will be dead for a while. But even in death the Christian is “in Christ” and this means that even our dead humanity in legally joined to Christ’s living humanity so that Christ has the right to our resurrection.

But the “catholic” tradition teaches an instant consciousness after death for Christians and a trip to heaven, all without a body. From the phrase in James, “the body apart from the spirit is dead”, the tradition infers that “the spirit apart from the body is alive.”

John 5: 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, as many as hear my word and believe him who sent me has the lasting life of the age to come… They do not come into judgment, but HAVE PASSED FROM DEATH TO LIFE. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to 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 as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the graves will hear his voice 29 and come out…

Instead of recognizing from Genesis 2 that “souls” are “living beings”, the tradition begins with the idea that “souls” are non-material spirits with consciousness that can nevertheless be seen and heard. Thus the tradition reads John 5 as saying that it’s only the bodies which will come out the graves. It can’t be the persons, the tradition explains, because it already knows that “souls” go straight to heaven. Thus the teaching that Christians have a “good death” of their own. Thus the teaching that all humans have an immortality of their own, and that no human ever really dies. Thus the teaching that Christians don’t really have a “good death”, because their death is not really death.

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

We will not precede them. They will rise first. This is NOT about “never-dying souls” of dead Christians getting into heaven before we do. Leave your dead body behind. Do not pass go. Get a new body in heaven now, as soon as you die, and before they even bury your old body. No, none of that is the hope. Nor is our hope some experience of disembodied consciousness That is a stoic hope for those who fear human emotions so much that they think mainly of control. Duty and law become so important to them that they entertain a gnostic hope for triumphal worship before and without
Christ’s second coming. I could say that in a more gentle way—“over-realized eschatology” leaning toward preterism—-but I think it’s important to see that there is no hope outside of the one “good death” of Christ. There is no hope in our own dying, or in our own law-keeping, but only in Christ’s death which has completely satisfied the law.

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

The non-elect will also be raised on that day but only to come into judgment, and then to perish in the second death. But the justified elect will be raised and “shall not come into judgment” but will from then on, in the lasting age to come, be with the risen Christ with bodies like his glorious body.

The “catholic” tradition causes folks to read “those who have fallen asleep” as “those bodies which sleep”, because people thinks they already know that “perfected souls” are already ascended to heaven and now worship 24/7 without sleep.

John 3: 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that as many as believe in him shall have the life OF THE AGE TO COME. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that as many as believe in him should not perish but have the life of the age to come.

The tradition presumes that all the saints who have died the first death have only died in their bodies and that their “souls” have already ascended to heaven. ( The orthodox tradition does not teach that these “souls” were pre-existent and descended from heaven.) So presumably the promise of “not perish” is only about the bodies, because the tradition knows that “souls” can never die or perish, no matter what God did in giving His Son, no matter what Christ did in being lifted up on the cross.

The tradition of intermediate hope of conscious souls in heaven immediately at death is not taught by the Bible, but is contradicted by what the Bible teaches in defining “living being” (Genesis 2:7) or describing the “good death” of Christ (“pouring out his soul, Isaiah 53).

The Bible says, wait and be patient. But the tradition says instead: the people left living behind wait, but the Christians who die get a ‘good death” which is not really death but which gets them right away to conscious worship (until presumably all that is interrupted by needing to go with Christ to earth for earthly things, like resurrection, judgment, other Christians, and bodies.)

Hebrews 12: 18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

The tradition ignores the “ye have come” for the sake of what it thinks will happen in our own “dying”. “First comes the perfecting of our souls when we die”. Even though the tradition does not teach that the “blood that speaks” (be it that of Abel or Christ) is literal, it is sure that disembodied “souls” are now not only conscious but already perfected and glorified. Neither does the tradition understand “consuming fire” in a literal way.

The tradition acts as if “soul” is not a “thing that has been made”. Does this mean that our bodies can be shaken (having being created) but that our “spirits” (souls) cannot be shaken?

”God will put forth upon that soul that has left the body a concentration of his sanctifying grace and power that will immediately complete the work of conforming the soul to the moral likeness of Christ.” The tradition has no understanding of the one “good death” of Romans 6, and so it ignores the forensic (Christ died under the law, we died with Him, we are not under the law) meaning and displaces that forensic meaning with an “in us” idea of some “definitive” regeneration in which we don’t sin (much) anymore (like we used to).

That “in us” view cannot account for the “one and only one good death” teaching of Romans 6. Christ had no need for the Spirit to conform him to the pattern of Christ. Our death with Christ to the guilt of the law is NOT brought about by our conformity to Christ. The death of the elect to the guilt of the law is the same as Christ’s good death to the guilt of the law. There is only the one “good death”, and that only belongs to the elect by imputation. The only death which takes the sting out of our own deaths, the only hope is Christ’s “good death”.

I certainly agree that dead Christians do not sin anymore after they die. But that is no reason to claim that our own death is our hope. Nor is it reason to deny that death is our enemy. Indeed, I doubt very much that even the non-elect will continue to sin after their second death, even though they most certainly will sin as they gnash their teeth at the judgment which has not yet come. But agreeing that dead Christians no longer sin has nothing to do with proving that their conscious spirits are now in worship in heaven. Nor does it prove that our own deaths are now good deaths.

Who is the dead person? Presumably, according to the tradition, the dead person is not the body, because the body is merely only something the person has. Is the “immortal conscious soul” the person? Or does the person also “have a soul”? If so, what is the person who “has a soul”? And where is that person, when the body sleeps and the “soul” worships?

Spurgeon writes about John 17: “You bend your knee in prayer and say ‘Father I will that thy saints be with me where I am.’ Christ says, ‘Father I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.’ Thus the disciple is at cross-purposes with His Lord. The soul cannot be at both places; the beloved cannot be with Christ and with you too….You would give up your prayer for your loved one’s life, if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the opposite direction.”

What does “realize the thoughts” mean? Must we agree with what Spurgeon is preaching, even though it has no logic? Should we stop taking our children to the doctor, because that might be in “cross-purposes” with what Jesus wants? Or should we only think this way, after our loved ones die, but not before they die? Why would that timing matter? And to replay my previous question–are we praying for their “souls” to be with us, or is it our desire for them as persons to be with us? Is Christ praying for their persons or only for their “souls”?

The presumption of the tradition is that the way to be “with Christ” is “instantly at death”. The tradition evades any sense of the resurrection being the hope which is “far better” in Philippians 1 or II Corinthians 5. The tradition rejects any idea of a time-lag between “departure” and conscious life with Christ at the resurrection. Even though the tradition will concede that “nakedness” is not the way that the Bible speaks of glorification, it still assures us that our comfort is “largely” based on a desire for instant conscious nakedness before God as soon as we die.

Christ said: “to be with me where I am”. The tradition presumes that this means heaven as soon as we died, and ignores the hope of Christ coming to earth to be with His (then resurrected) people. The tradition ignores the wait involved in hope, so that no Christian gets to glory before another Christian, so that we not precede each other. The tradition presumes that the “sleep” of I Corinthians 15 and I Thessalonians 4 is not about the real us (our persons), but only about the “bodies we have”.

According to the tradition, Stephen’s prayer (Acts 7) to “receive my spirit” means that Stephen the person never really died. The tradition expects beatific vision as soon as a Christian dies, and argues for this based on a vision Stephen had before Stephen died. Because Stephen prayed, “receive my spirit”, the tradition assumes that his means that Stephen had a never dying spirit. Stephen the person didn’t really die. Only his body did.

The Lord Jesus prayed, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. (Luke 23:46, Psalm 31:5). Does this mean that Jesus the real humanity of Christ person never died either, but only part of his humanity, that is, only his body? I certainly do not begin to understand the incarnation or the mystery of Christ’s death, which is why I am not about to explain it on the basis of a “never-dying soul” so as to prove that the humanity of Christ really did not die. I do not question the unceasing nature of the “hypostatic union” of Christ’s two natures, but I do not presume to explain it by assuming that the real humanity of Christ never died. To the contrary, my only hope is the “good death” of Christ.

I Timothy 6:13 “I charge you in the presence of God, WHO GIVES LIFE to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach UNTIL THE APPEARING of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 WHO ALONE HAS IMMORTALITY, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and lasting dominion. Amen.”

While we could not say that “Christ lives in us” when we are dead, nevertheless even then (when we will have died and be dead) we will continue to be legally “seated in the heavenlies” by means of our federal relation to Christ, whose humanity is now absent from us and living in heaven. Christ indwells us now, lives in our humanity now, but when we are dead, the hope that the Holy Spirit will transform us from death is not based on any idea of the Spirit having now already transformed us so that we already are immortal. In our “theology of glory”, the glory has not yet come for us and we must die and wait for Christ’s coming, with a hope not based on what has now been put in us but a hope for future transformation and resurrection based on Christ’s own death and resurrection.

Romans 8: 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, HE who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies THROUGH HIS Spirit who dwells in you.

Hebrews 13:20– The God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the lasting covenant

“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.”