Monday, December 15, 2008

...the gospel of Jesus Christ - an evangelical celebration

an encore presentation

In light of the importance of the doctrine of the imputation of the complete righteousness of Jesus Christ in justification consisting of His active and passive obedience in His sinless life and vicarious substitutionary propitiatory sacrifice on the cross, here is a profound biblical statement that a wide diverse group of evangelical leaders (listed below) affirmed in 1999 called, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ."

If you have never read it, it is a must read. THIS is a defining statement worth reviving in light of today's contemporary evangelical culture that has all but abandoned biblical Christianity and forsaken essential truths pertaining to justification by faith alone. We need a new Reformation beloved... and may it begin with each of us.

Here I Stand!
2 Cor. 5:21

For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish
but have eternal life.

--John 3:16

Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.

--Isaiah 12:5

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is news, good news: the best and most important news that any human being ever hears.

This Gospel declares the only way to know God in peace, love, and joy is through the reconciling death of Jesus Christ the risen Lord.

This Gospel is the central message of the Holy Scriptures, and is the true key to understanding them.

This Gospel identifies Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel, as the Son of God and God the Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, whose incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension fulfilled the Father's saving will. His death for sins and his resurrection from the dead were promised beforehand by the prophets and attested by eyewitnesses. In God's own time and in God's own way, Jesus Christ shall return as glorious Lord and Judge of all (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Matt. 25:31-32). He is now giving the Holy Spirit from the Father to all those who are truly his. The three Persons of the Trinity thus combine in the work of saving sinners.

This Gospel sets forth Jesus Christ as the living Savior, Master, Life, and Hope of all who put their trust in him. It tells us that the eternal destiny of all people depends on whether they are savingly related to Jesus Christ.

This Gospel is the only Gospel: there is no other; and to change its substance is to pervert and indeed destroy it. This Gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.

All Christians are called to unity in love and unity in truth. As evangelicals who derive our very name from the Gospel, we celebrate this great good news of God's saving work in Jesus Christ as the true bond of Christian unity, whether among organized churches and denominations or in the many transdenominational co operative enterprises of Christians together.

The Bible declares that all who truly trust in Christ and his Gospel are sons and daughters of God through grace, and hence are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

All who are justified experience reconciliation with the Father, full remission of sins, transition from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, the reality of being a new creature in Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. They enjoy access to the Father with all the peace and joy that this brings.

The Gospel requires of all believers worship, which means constant praise and giving of thanks to God, submission to all that he has revealed in his written word, prayerful dependence on him, and vigilance lest his truth be even inadvertently compromised or obscured.

To share the joy and hope of this Gospel is a supreme privilege. It is also an abiding obligation, for the Great Commission of Jesus Christ still stands: proclaim the Gospel everywhere, he said, teaching, baptizing, and making disciples.

By embracing the following declaration we affirm our commitment to this task, and with it our allegiance to Christ himself, to the Gospel itself, and to each other as fellow evangelical believers.

The Gospel
This Gospel of Jesus Christ which God sets forth in the infallible Scriptures combines Jesus' own declaration of the present reality of the kingdom of God with the apostles' account of the person, place, and work of Christ, and how sinful humans benefit from it. The Patristic Rule of Faith, the historic creeds, the Reformation confessions, and the doctrinal bases of later evangelical bodies all witness to the substance of this biblical message.

The heart of the Gospel is that our holy, loving Creator, confronted with human hostility and rebellion, has chosen in his own freedom and faithfulness to become our holy, loving Redeemer and Restorer. The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14): it is through his one and only Son that God's one and only plan of salvation is implemented. So Peter announced: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). And Christ himself taught: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

Through the Gospel we learn that we human beings, who were made for fellowship with God, are by nature - that is, "in Adam" (1 Cor. 15:22) - dead in sin, unresponsive to and separated from our Maker. We are constantly twisting his truth, breaking his law, belittling his goals and standards, and offending his holiness by our unholiness, so that we truly are "without hope and without God in the world" (Rom. 1:18-32, 3:9-20; Eph. 2:1-3, 12). Yet God in grace took the initiative to reconcile us to himself through the sinless life and vicarious death of his beloved Son (Eph. 2:4-10; Rom. 3:21-24).

The Father sent the Son to free us from the dominion of sin and Satan, and to make us God's children and friends. Jesus paid our penalty in our place on his cross, satisfying the retributive demands of divine justice by shedding his blood in sacrifice and so making possible justification for all who trust in him (Rom. 3:25-26). The Bible describes this mighty substitutionary transaction as the achieving of ransom, reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, and conquest of evil powers (Matt. 20:28; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 3:23-25; John 12:31; Col. 2:15). It secures for us a restored relationship with God that brings pardon and peace, acceptance and access, and adoption into God's family (Col. 1:20, 2:13-14; Rom. 5:1–2; Gal. 4:4-7; 1 Pet. 3:18). The faith in God and in Christ to which the Gospel calls us is a trustful outgoing of our hearts to lay hold of these promised and proffered benefits.

This Gospel further proclaims the bodily resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus as evidence of the efficacy of his once-for-all sacrifice for us, of the reality of his present personal ministry to us, and of the certainty of his future return to glorify us (1 Cor. 15; Heb. 1:1-4, 2:1-18, 4:14-16, 7:1-10:25). In the life of faith as the Gospel presents it, believers are united with their risen Lord, communing with him, and looking to him in repentance and hope for empowering through the Holy Spirit, so that henceforth they may not sin but serve him truly.

God's justification of those who trust him, according to the Gospel, is a decisive transition, here and now, from a state of condemnation and wrath because of their sins to one of acceptance and favor by virtue of Jesus' flawless obedience culminating in his voluntary sin-bearing death. God "justifies the wicked" (ungodly: Rom. 4:5) by imputing (reckoning, crediting, counting, accounting) righteousness to them and ceasing to count their sins against them (Rom. 4:1-8). Sinners receive through faith in Christ alone "the gift of righteousness" (Rom. 1:17, 5:17; Phil. 3:9) and thus be come "the righteousness of God" in him who was "made sin" for them (2 Cor. 5:21).

As our sins were reckoned to Christ, so Christ's righteousness is reckoned to us. This is justification by the imputation of Christ's righteousness. All we bring to the transaction is our need of it. Our faith in the God who bestows it, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is itself the fruit of God's grace. Faith links us savingly to Jesus, but inasmuch as it involves an acknowledgment that we have no merit of our own, it is confessedly not a meritorious work.

The Gospel assures us that all who have en trusted their lives to Jesus Christ are born-again children of God (John 1:12), indwelt, empowered, and assured of their status and hope by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 7:6, 8:9-17). The moment we truly believe in Christ, the Father declares us righteous in him and begins conforming us to his likeness. Genuine faith acknowledges and depends upon Jesus as Lord and shows itself in growing obedience to the divine commands, though this contributes nothing to the ground of our justification (James 2:14-26; Heb. 6:1-12).

By his sanctifying grace, Christ works within us through faith, renewing our fallen nature and leading us to real maturity, that measure of development which is meant by "the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). The Gospel calls us to live as obedient servants of Christ and as his emissaries in the world, doing justice, loving mercy, and helping all in need, thus seeking to bear witness to the kingdom of Christ. At death, Christ takes the believer to himself (Phil. 1:21) for unimaginable joy in the ceaseless worship of God (Rev. 22:1-5).

Salvation in its full sense is from the guilt of sin in the past, the power of sin in the present, and the presence of sin in the future. Thus, while in foretaste believers enjoy salvation now, they still await its fullness (Mark 14:61-62; Heb. 9:28). Salvation is a Trinitarian reality, initiated by the Father, implemented by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit. It has a global dimension, for God's plan is to save believers out of every tribe and tongue (Rev. 5:9) to be his church, a new humanity, the people of God, the body and bride of Christ, and the community of the Holy Spirit. All the heirs of final salvation are called here and now to serve their Lord and each other in love, to share in the fellowship of Jesus' sufferings, and to work together to make Christ known to the whole world.

We learn from the Gospel that, as all have sinned, so all who do not receive Christ will be judged according to their just deserts as measured by God's holy law, and face eternal retributive punishment.

Unity in the Gospel
Christians are commanded to love each other despite differences of race, gender, privilege, and social, political, and economic background (John 13:34-35; Gal. 3:28-29), and to be of one mind wherever possible (John 17:20-21; Phil. 2:2; Rom. 14:1-15:13). We know that divisions among Christians hinder our witness in the world, and we desire greater mutual understanding and truth-speaking in love. We know too that as trustees of God's revealed truth we cannot embrace any form of doctrinal indifferentism, or relativism, or pluralism by which God's truth is sacrificed for a false peace.

Doctrinal disagreements call for debate. Dialogue for mutual understanding and, if possible, narrowing of the differences is valuable, doubly so when the avowed goal is unity in primary things, with liberty in secondary things, and charity in all things.

In the foregoing paragraphs, an attempt has been made to state what is primary and essential in the Gospel as evangelicals understand it. Useful dialogue, however, requires not only charity in our attitudes, but also clarity in our utterances. Our extended analysis of justification by faith alone through Christ alone reflects our belief that Gospel truth is of crucial importance and is not always well understood and correctly affirmed. For added clarity, out of love for God's truth and Christ's church, we now cast the key points of what has been said into specific affirmations and denials regarding the Gospel and our unity in it and in Christ.

Affirmations and Denials
1. We affirm that the Gospel entrusted to the church is, in the first instance, God's Gospel (Mark 1:14; Rom. 1:1). God is its author, and he reveals it to us in and by his Word. Its authority and truth rest on him alone.

We deny that the truth or authority of the Gospel derives from any human insight or invention (Gal. 1:1-11). We also deny that the truth or authority of the Gospel rests on the authority of any particular church or human institution.

2. We affirm that the Gospel is the saving power of God in that the Gospel effects salvation to everyone who believes, without distinction (Rom. 1:16). This efficacy of the Gospel is by the power of God himself (1 Cor. 1:18).

We deny that the power of the Gospel rests in the eloquence of the preacher, the technique of the evangelist, or the persuasion of rational argument (1 Cor. 1:21; 2:1-5).

3. We affirm that the Gospel diagnoses the universal human condition as one of sinful rebellion against God, which, if unchanged, will lead each person to eternal loss under God's condemnation.

We deny any rejection of the fallenness of human nature or any assertion of the natural goodness, or divinity, of the human race.

4. We affirm that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, the only mediator between God and humanity (John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5).

We deny that anyone is saved in any other way than by Jesus Christ and his Gospel. The Bible offers no hope that sincere worshipers of other religions will be saved without personal faith in Jesus Christ.

5. We affirm that the church is commanded by God and is therefore under divine obligation to preach the Gospel to every living person (Luke 24:47; Matt. 28:18-19).

We deny that any particular class or group of persons, whatever their ethnic or cultural identity, may be ignored or passed over in the preaching of the Gospel (1 Cor. 9:19-22). God purposes a global church made up from people of every tribe, language, and nation (Rev. 7:9).

6. We affirm that faith in Jesus Christ as the divine Word (or Logos, John 1:1), the second Person of the Trinity, co-eternal and co-essential with the Father and the Holy Spirit (Heb. 1:3), is foundational to faith in the Gospel.

We deny that any view of Jesus Christ which reduces or rejects his full deity is Gospel faith or will avail to salvation.

7. We affirm that Jesus Christ is God incarnate (John 1:14). The virgin-born descendant of David (Rom. 1:3), he had a true human nature, was subject to the Law of God (Gal. 4:5), and was like us at all points, except without sin (Heb. 2:17, 7:26-28). We affirm that faith in the true humanity of Christ is essential to faith in the Gospel.

We deny that anyone who rejects the humanity of Christ, his incarnation, or his sinlessness, or who maintains that these truths are not essential to the Gospel, will be saved (1 John 4:2-3).

8. We affirm that the atonement of Christ by which, in his obedience, he offered a perfect sacrifice, propitiating the Father by paying for our sins and satisfying divine justice on our behalf according to God's eternal plan, is an essential element of the Gospel.

We deny that any view of the Atonement that rejects the substitutionary satisfaction of divine justice, accomplished vicariously for believers, is compatible with the teaching of the Gospel.

9. We affirm that Christ's saving work included both his life and his death on our behalf (Gal. 3:13). We declare that faith in the perfect obedience of Christ by which he fulfilled all the demands of the Law of God in our behalf is essential to the Gospel.

We deny that our salvation was achieved merely or exclusively by the death of Christ without reference to his life of perfect righteousness.

10. We affirm that the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead is essential to the biblical Gospel (1 Cor. 15:14).

We deny the validity of any so-called gospel that denies the historical reality of the bodily resurrection of Christ.

11. We affirm that the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone is essential to the Gospel (Rom. 3:28; 4:5; Gal. 2:16).

We deny that any person can believe the biblical Gospel and at the same time reject the apostolic teaching of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. We also deny that there is more than one true Gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).

12. We affirm that the doctrine of the imputation (reckoning or counting) both of our sins to Christ and of his righteousness to us, whereby our sins are fully forgiven and we are fully accepted, is essential to the biblical Gospel (2 Cor. 5:19-21).

We deny that we are justified by the righteousness of Christ infused into us or by any righteousness that is thought to inhere within us.

13. We affirm that the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified is properly his own, which he achieved apart from us, in and by his perfect obedience. This righteousness is counted, reckoned, or imputed to us by the forensic (that is, legal) declaration of God, as the sole ground of our justification.

We deny that any works we perform at any stage of our existence add to the merit of Christ or earn for us any merit that contributes in any way to the ground of our justification (Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).

14. We affirm that, while all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and are in the process of being made holy and conformed to the image of Christ, those consequences of justification are not its ground. God declares us just, remits our sins, and adopts us as his children, by his grace alone, and through faith alone, because of Christ alone, while we are still sinners (Rom. 4:5).

We deny that believers must be inherently righteous by virtue of their cooperation with God's life-transforming grace before God will declare them justified in Christ. We are justified while we are still sinners.

15. We affirm that saving faith results in sanctification, the transformation of life in growing conformity to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification means ongoing repentance, a life of turning from sin to serve Jesus Christ in grateful reliance on him as one's Lord and Master (Gal. 5:22-25; Rom. 8:4, 13-14).

We reject any view of justification which divorces it from our sanctifying union with Christ and our increasing conformity to his image through prayer, repentance, cross-bearing, and life in the Spirit.

16. We affirm that saving faith includes mental assent to the content of the Gospel, acknowledgment of our own sin and need, and personal trust and reliance upon Christ and his work.

We deny that saving faith includes only mental acceptance of the Gospel, and that justification is secured by a mere outward profession of faith. We further deny that any element of saving faith is a meritorious work or earns salvation for us.

17. We affirm that, although true doctrine is vital for spiritual health and well-being, we are not saved by doctrine. Doctrine is necessary to inform us how we may be saved by Christ, but it is Christ who saves.

We deny that the doctrines of the Gospel can be rejected without harm. Denial of the Gospel brings spiritual ruin and exposes us to God's judgment.

18. We affirm that Jesus Christ commands his followers to proclaim the Gospel to all living persons, evangelizing everyone everywhere, and discipling believers within the fellowship of the church. A full and faithful witness to Christ includes the witness of personal testimony, godly living, and acts of mercy and charity to our neighbor, without which the preaching of the Gospel appears barren.

We deny that the witness of personal testimony, godly living, and acts of mercy and charity to our neighbors constitutes evangelism apart from the proclamation of the Gospel.

Our Commitment
As evangelicals united in the Gospel, we promise to watch over and care for one another, to pray for and forgive one another, and to reach out in love and truth to God's people everywhere, for we are one family, one in the Holy Spirit, and one in Christ.

Centuries ago it was truly said that in things necessary there must be unity, in things less than necessary there must be liberty, and in all things there must be charity. We see all these Gospel truths as necessary.

Now to God, the Author of the truth and grace of this Gospel, through Jesus Christ, its subject and our Lord, be praise and glory forever and ever. Amen.


Committee and Endorsing Lists:

The Drafting Committee: John N. Akers, John Ankerberg, John Armstrong, D.A. Carson, Keith Davy, Maxie Dunnam, Timothy George, Scott Hafemann, Erwin Lutzer, Harold Myra, David Neff, Thomas Oden, J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, John Woodbridge

Confirmed Endorsing Committee (as of May 19, 1999)
Eric Alexander, C. Fitzsimmons Allison, Bill Anderson, J. Kerby Anderson, Don Argue, Kay Arthur, Myron S. Augsburger, Theodore Baehr, Joel Belz, Henri Blocher, Donald G. Bloesch, Scott Bolinder, John Bolt, Gerald Bray, Bill Bright, Harold O.J. Brown, Stephen Brown, George Brushaber, David Cerullo, Peter Cha, Daniel R. Chamberlain, Bryan Chapell, David K. Clark, Edmund Clowney, Robert Coleman, Chuck Colson, Clyde Cook, Lane T. Dennis, David S. Dockery, Stuart Epperson, James Erickson, Tony Evans, Jerry Falwell, Sinclair Ferguson, Dwight Gibson, Wayne Grudem, Stan N. Gundry, Brandt Gustavson, Corkie Haan, Mimi Haddad, Ben Haden, B. Sam Hart, Bob Hawkins, Jr., Wendell Hawley, Jack W. Hayford, Stephen A. Hayner, D. James Kennedy, Jay Kesler, In Ho Koh, Woodrow Kroll, Beverly LaHaye, Tim LaHaye, Richard Land, Richard G. Lee, Duane Litfin, Crawford Loritts, Max Lucado, John MacArthur, Marlin Maddoux, Bill McCartney, David Melvin, Jesse Miranda, Beth Moore, Peter C. Moore, Pat Robertson, John Rodgers, Adrian Rogers, Doug Ross, Joseph F. Ryan, John Scott, David Short, Ronald J. Sider, Russell Spittler, James J. Stamoolis, Charles F. Stanley, Brian Stiller, John Stott, Joseph Stowell, Stephen Strang, Charles Swindoll, Joni Eareckson Tada, Thomas E. Trask, Jim Henry, Roberta Hestenes, Oswald Hoffman, R. Kent Hughes, Bill Hybels, Kay Cole James, David Jeremiah, Arthur P. Johnston, Howard Jones, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Kenneth Kantzer, T.M. Moore, Richard J. Mouw, Thomas J. Nettles, Roger Nicole, Luis Palau, Earl R. Palmer, Hee Min Park, Phillip Porter, Paul Pressler, Ray Pritchard, Robert Ricker, Augustin B. Vencer, Jr., Paul L. Walker, John F. Walvoord, Raleigh Washington, Greg Waybright, David F. Wells, Luder Whitlock, Bruce H. Wilkinson, David K. Winter and Ravi Zacharias


Steve Sensenig said...

Wow, joseph wrote quite a post there! :) I, too, was a bit curious about the Gal. 3:13 reference with regard to the life of Christ. As joseph pointed out, that verse only refers to the death of Christ.

Puritan Belief said...

We need a new Reformation beloved... and may it begin with each of us.

Great point, A reformation centered and purely around uplifting the one True God our Lord Jesus Christ.

Points 13 & 14 & 15 did not satisfy me and left me wanting. The negatives after the declaration I enjoyed though.

I have had my say in previous comments so I will leave it here.

4given said...

Joseph, Steve and Mike... than YOU rewrite it and send it to me. Because I bet all 3 of you would come up with something to be nitpicked at. (Ex Animo)
THese men are not trying to replace the Word of God.
In light of the easy-believism and watered down Gospels out there... this is a FAR CRY from them...
Perfect? No. And I bet they know that.
But this is, besides the very Word of God, one of the best man-prepared summarized presentations of the Gospel I have read.
Point me elsewhere if I am wrong... and seriously, consider rewriting it for me.

donsands said...

2 Cor. 5: 19-21

I enjoyed reading this emmensely. My heart aches for the purity and the simplicity of the Gospel.
This statement was excellent. It declares the Gospel. And it's the Gospel that is the power. There are so many perverted gospels. Affirmations like this truly help.

I also pray there would be a reformation, and that God's Truth would go forth in a more powerful way than we could have ever imagined for our generation, and generations to come.
A declaration like this is a wonderful thing indeed. But do we really believe all that was written here?
I wish it were so.
Side note: (I met Scott Hafeman at a Jonathan Edwards Institute Conference. He is an excellent teacher, and a humble servant of the Lord).

Thanks Steve. I appreciate this post. All for the Gospel.

4given said...

Oops, I did not mean to write Joseph, STEVE and Mike. I meant to write Joseph, Puritan Belief and Mike.

4given said...

Oh... and Steve sensenig... i guess I did mean that Steve.

I need coffee.

Mike Ratliff said...

Lisa, you must be clarivoiant. I haven't posted yet, yet you knew what I said. :-)

I agree, we do need a new Reformation.

4given said...

"clarivoiant"... scary. No. Just sleep deprived and decaffeinated.

So does this mean, Mike, that you are going to rewrite it?

Mike Ratliff said...

Nope. However, I would like to say that I do appreciate Steve Camp's dedication to presenting these important theological points. The Church desperatly needs this new Reformation. Agreed?

4given said...

God preserves me so that I can in turn persevere so I will thus be "reforming" and "conforming" to the end of my days, God-willing, for His glory alone.

Steve Sensenig said...

4given wrote: Oh... and Steve sensenig... i guess I did mean that Steve.

Huh? My question about Galatians 3:13 was genuine, and not just picking something apart. If someone says "We believe XYZ" and then puts a Scripture reference or references in parentheses, that verse or verses is/are taken to be support for XYZ.

In this case, it referenced both the life and death of Jesus, but then gave one reference: Galatians 3:13 which only refers to his death.

Is that not a fair point to make?

steve :)

Bhedr said...

Hey Steve said nitpicking is the way we learn so even if we nitpick the nitpickers then methinks we still be nitpicking.

A fellow nitpicker:-)

donsands said...


The paramount issue is the genuine Gospel. Baptismal mode is important, but not essential. The Essentials of the Gospel: Scripture alone, Grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, and for the glory of the Triune God alone.

I appreciate all the good debating going on. It makes me go to the Bible. And to look at Church history as well.
How I wish the Gospel was a "fire-brand" in my soul. I pray the Lord would fire His Church up like never before in the histroy of His gospel going forth.
May we once again turn this world upside down with the good news of Christ! All for the Cross!

Puritan Belief said...

I have a better statement of belief that I don't believe needs to be rewritten. It is far superior to this one and is superlatively excellent in comparison. (Click on my name)

Puritan Belief said...

I believe the Lord made it so that the moment men start formalising their beliefs in this fashion, It starts to fall apart. This is because scripture is discerned by the Spirit not by the letter.

Kind Regards

Gordan said...

Wouldn't the following verse represent a pretty definate statement from Scripture that Christ began to take upon Himself the full weight of our sinfulness long before the Cross?

Isaiah 53:4 says,

"Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted."

If that's all we had on that, we might well be tempted to say this is speaking about the cross, for that is surely where bystanders thought that Jesus was smitten by God himself.

But the apostolic testimony is quite enlightening. Matthew tells us that this prophecy was "fulfilled" long before the crucifixion, in Christ's acts of divine mercy toward the sick and demonized, in Matthew 8:17.

Who would argue with Matthew? Clearly Christ was, even at that time, "taking" our infirmities and "baring" our sicknesses, which are tokens of sin and death, right?

In addition, another passage to consider is the "Kenosis" of Phillipians 2:5-11. The Greek word for "making himself of no reputation" in 2:7 is Kenoo. Apparently (I'm not a Greek scholar, but I can read Kittle's and Vine's, etc...)this word is about being poured out, like a drink offering. The implication would seem to be that Christ's sacrifice began at the incarnation, and not merely at the cross. He emptied himself, and that was for our benefit, not his.

God bless.

donsands said...


Yes. I mistook you; sorry about that.

4given said...

Steve S.... re-read what I wrote and tell me where I said it wasn't a fair statement? Find out what "Ex Animo" means and then get back with me.
If you have not guessed by now, I like nitpickers. They are the ones I learn the most from. Oh yeah... I forgot. On the blogosphere, you have to S-P-E-L-L everything out.
Here goes. I am jestfully sarcastic. I try to hold back. And at times I TOTALLY forget that some don't get sarcasm and I forget to cover all bases and write something like ("I was being sarcastic") so as to avoid misunderstandings. It gets worse when I have not slept and had caffeine.
So, forgive me for not being more clear. "It is a clear and fair point to make, Steve." Is that better?

When I put a link to this post I wrote: ...
A word of advice...

And WOW!!! "bhder"... you, like, said that so profoundly better than I could have ever!!!

4given said...

And yep, Puritan Belief, you do have the best statement of faith I have EVER READ... that is why I made clear that this post is "one of the best man-prepared summarized presentations of the Gospel I have read."
I did not say it surpassed sola scriptura!!! (Oh.... I am being jestfully sarcastic here... chuckle, chuckle)

4given said...

I wrote: "So, forgive me for not being more clear. "It is a clear and fair point to make, Steve." Is that better?"

Actually I was not being clear enough... it should say "Steve S."

I think I shall now take my own advice and quit posting comments until I get some rest. ha.

("ha." means I am laughing... sort-of)

Steve Sensenig said...

4given, I am laughing right now! Those are some funny comments! :)

Forgive me for not getting the jest. I just haven't read enough of your posts to know yet. I'm sorry.

I'll learn! (And I actually had plenty of coffee before posting. Hmmm)

steve :) (that's steve s....hehe)

Mike Ratliff said...

From the post - quote "We deny that the witness of personal testimony, godly living, and acts of mercy and charity to our neighbors constitutes evangelism apart from the proclamation of the Gospel." unquote

That one cuts like a knife doesn't it? However, when our Christianity devolves into sentimentality, isn't that exactly what our lazy, soul-led hearts think we are doing by BEING the only Bible those lost people all around us will ever read?

Very few lost people are saved by reading the Bible. They are saved when they are preached the Gospel as God regenerates their hearts so they can believe and be justified. Our part is to do affirmation 18.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

Puritan Belief said...


"And they shall NOT TEACH EVERY MAN HIS NEIGHBOUR ... For all shall know me, from the least to the greatest" Heb 8:11

I think you summarised these points up beautifully 4given: "best man-prepared summarized presentations of the Gospel"

"... But the natural man receveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" 1 Cor 2:14

It was said here:
"and seriously, consider rewriting it for me."

Am I anyones priest that I should instruct them? NO, I will certainly not write some statements and get man to put his signature to them for more weight. This means nothing.

Terry Rayburn said...

Relevant to our "Active Obedience" discussion, I think the 13th Affirmation borders on blasphemy:

13. “We affirm that the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified is properly His own, which he achieved apart from us, in and by His perfect obedience.”

There are no scriptures that indicate that Jesus
a. was ever NOT righteous
b. ever BECAME righteous
c. ever GREW in righteousness
d. was ever anything BUT righteous.

In other words, although it's absurd to envision Christ dying for us as an infant -- because God had many other plans and purposes for His life -- yet He was just as righteous then, as at age 33. He was just as much in right standing with His Father, and just as sinless, both as God and man.

Solas, amigos,

Mike Ratliff said...

Hey brother Terry,

In the context of your last post how do you interpret the following passage?

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7-10 ESV)

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

4given said...

Puritan Belief wrote: "I think you summarised these points up beautifully 4given: "best man-prepared summarized presentations of the Gospel"
And then quoted:
"... But the natural man receveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" 1 Cor 2:14

My response: I think these "men" prepared this "man-prepared" summarized Gospel laboriously, prayerfully and with much desire to honor the Lord being guided by the Spirit of God, but also as men knowing they are mere men, fully aware that nothing they write can measure the innerrancy of scripture, but yet spiritually discerning far more than any man has thus been capable, especially in light of the easy-believism, watered down Gospel. (okay, now breathe... for that was a run-on sentence.) In otherwords, I must of not been clear again, because I meant that in a good way towards what the Lord accomplished through them ... you interpreted it as a slam.
(Classic blameshifting... I can no longer use the decaf-sleep-deprived excuse... it must be the blonde hair or perhaps the blonde dye has permeated the brain.)

Mike wrote: "Very few lost people are saved by reading the Bible. They are saved when they are preached the Gospel as God regenerates their hearts so they can believe and be justified. Our part is to do affirmation 18."

My response: I AGREE.

I always look forward to what Steve Camp posts... and what all you nitpickers have to say. It merely causes me to go to the scriptures more. ha.

Mike Ratliff said...

Lisa said,

"I always look forward to what Steve Camp posts... and what all you nitpickers have to say. It merely causes me to go to the scriptures more. ha."

Absolutely, Amen!

donsands said...

I agree with #13.
Jesus was a man. Though he was also God. His humanity was 100% human without sin. He obeyed the Father completely, by the grace of God. Heb. 2:9
As a young man, He grew in wisdom and maturity with God's favor. Even in the garden, where His passion began, and all the way to the Cross, our Lord fulfilled the holy and good law of God.

He loved the Father with a perfect love. "I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love". John 15: 10 Jesus even said, "Therefore My Father loves Me, BECAUSE I lay down My life that I may take it again". Jhn 10:17 (I heard Sinclair Ferguson teach on this verse, and it was eye opening).

In His humanity our Lord obeyed the Father. He said, "Not my will, but yours be done".
(This is such holy ground we are on).
Jesus was tempted like no man was ever tempted, yet he did not sin. He obeyed all the Father asked Him to do.
These temptations of our Savior are for us very encouraging, for he understands our weaknesses and sympathsizes. Heb 4:15
Surely our Lord was born the Holy and Righteous One! Amen.
From His circumcision to His final breath He obeyed, and fulfilled all righteousness, even being baptized by John. What a Lord we do serve!

"But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption" 1 Cor. 1: 30.

Mike Ratliff said...


Well said. I agree as well.

Terry Rayburn said...

I'm not sure what part of Heb. 5:7-10 you are asking me about, but I assume it's either the "learned obedience" part, or the "made perfect" part.

In both parts (and in most Bible interpretation of unclear passages), it helps if you can first determine what it DOESN'T mean, based on clearer passages.

In this case, we know that "learned obedience" can't mean that there was a time in Jesus' life when He DIDN'T obey. Being sinless, He always obeyed.

I think we also have to admit that the meaning is somewhat mysterious, but it seems that it refers to learning ABOUT obedience, as opposed to learning HOW to obey. That is, He gained human insight into obedience from His suffering.

In that same context, “made perfect” CAN'T be a reference to becoming righteous, as though Christ was at any time NOT righteous. I believe it’s a reference to the completion of His mission in His death, burial and resurrection, since it’s immediately followed by “…He became…the source…of eternal salvation.”

I appreciate your vigorous doxology. I don't ever want to pick nits so rabidly as to forget whom we're speaking of...our Great and Glorious Savior, who not only died and rose again on our behalf, but is now our Life. He who lives in us and has become one spirit with us, our Friend, Brother, and Lord.

I'm confused by your agreement with #13, which says that Christ "achieved" righteousness, considering that you then say joyfully, "Surely our Lord was born the Holy and Righteous One!"


4given said...

If you do a google search called "simple Gospel" you may shudder at what you find. I love the Gospel. I love my Lord and Saviour and His precious Word. As I have told others, I am not easily offended... but if you start blaspheming my Saviour... that offends me. Among the spewish choices under that google search, I found this one from MacArthur. The Reality of Sin: The Simple Gospel

4given said...

I was not implying MacArthur's was a spewish choice... his is the only one that was not.

donsands said...


I see Jesus as the Holy One promised to us, His people, Jews and Gentiles. He is Abraham's Seed. He is the Last Adam.
He is the Man, who would live a righteous life, and defeat sin, by obeying the law of God. By not giving in to temptation. He did all he did by the grace of God the Father, the same as we do. However,His humanity was the perfect humanity, because He was born of a virgin, and He was not conceived in sin, as we are.
I see our Lord as an obedient servant of God the Father, and thereby fulfilling all righteousness, and conquering sin, and also the Messiah, the Holy One. He is both, just as He is both God and Man. These are great mysteries to us.

One more Scripture: "Jesus answered, Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. ... And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying, 'This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'." Matt. 3: 15, 17

My point, as in John 10:17, is that the Father was pleased by His Son's obeying Him. There is so much there to ponder. But Jesus as a Man lived a righteous life for me and you. And His righteousness is imputed to us.

"..if God merely declared us to be forgiven from our past sins, that would not solve the problem entirely, for it would only make us morally neutral before God. ... We must ... move from a point of moral neutrality to a point of having positive righteousness before God, the righteousness of a life of perfect obedience to Him. ..He must declare us to have the merits of perfect righteousness before Him." -Wayne Grudem
"..He has covered me with The Robe of Righteousness (Isa. 61:10)
I see your point in all this Terry. I simply put, see jesus as the Holy One, who lived a obedient life to His father, which merited Him the human righteousness we need to be justified.
In His grace and peace.

Gordan said...

Terry, I appreciate your concern for not blaspheming.

But how is it blasphemy to say that the One who was eternally righteous came among us and did righteously? How does it dishonor him to suggest that he actually did things that justify the title of Righteous?

As a man, if I happen to do a manly thing, that doesn't mean I wasn't a man previous: it merely means I did something that is consistent with my nature. So if we say that Christ earned the judgment of righteousness in His life in the flesh, that doesn't imply He wasn't inherently righteous beforehand.

donsands said...

Also, Jesus, as a Man, lived a righteous life without sin, because he had to, in order to fulfill Scripture, however, His obedience was done in His free will, and because He loved the Father.
Simply: He is Righteous, and He lived a righteous life.

donsands said...

I agree.
You said what i struggled to say, in the way I wanted to say it.

In His joy.

donsands said...


Could the Lord have been born and lived a totally different life, without sin of course, and then simply be put to death? Would this have satisfied the Father?

Just trying to understand where your coming from.

I see 2 Cor. 5:21 as saying His righteousness, (which He lived), is imputed to us, and our sin is imputed to Him.
Also 1 Cor. 1:30.

Puritan Belief said...

Gordon & donsands
relating to 13

You need to look at this false statement in regards to Christs righteouesness.

which he achieved apart from us, in and by his perfect obedience

And then ask yourself at which moment did Jesus achieve righteousness?

If the answer to this has been made plain to you, you would be asking different questions.

If I was to hazard a guess I would say that point 13 was formulated with Romans 5:19 in mind. "so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." But they forgot the context Romans 5:18 namely "one act of righteousness was justification that brings life..." Hence the faulty premise that his righeous life achived for Him rightousness. And secondly and much worse that it is His life that is credited to us as righteousness and finally the faulty conclusion that this is the sole ground of our justification.

The truth is far more simple:

1. Took our sin, (impute sin 2 Christ)
2. Dealt with it (act of righteousness)
3. Makes us righteous (Many will be made righteous)

It also said we are DECLARED RIGHTEOUS. This falls short BIG TIME unless you make it clear that we are MADE RIGHTEOUS NOW! How can you declare anyone righteous unless they already are?

The text says 'the righteousness of God in Christ' not 'the righteousness of Christ in obedience.' Nicely put


You wrote:

... our Great and Glorious Savior, who not only died and rose again on our behalf, but is now our Life. He who lives in us and has become one spirit with us, our Friend, Brother, and Lord.

AMEN!! 100 times clearer then any of these scholars points because it exalts Jesus 100 times higher.

I don't say this because you said it but because I find it declared all throughout the word of God.

donsands said...

puritan belief,

That's a strong statement, to say this is a false statement. Is R. C. Sproul then a false teacher?

I disagree with you. I see the Scriptures say Christ was my righteousness, and my sin bearer.

I truly believe the Bible states double imputation, and that this doctrine brings as much glory to our Savior and Lord as the way you interpret the Bible.

May the lord continue to humble us, and help us to be gracious and honest in our debate.
In His mercy and truth.

SJ Camp said...

I want to interject some thoughts at this point in the discussion.

1. In regards to one comment on Hebrews 5:7-9 which says, "During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals, with loud cries and tears, to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Though a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him."

The context is incarnation "during His earthly life." In the flesh, He was fully God and fully Man. The theanthropos - the God-Man. But as Son of Man, though God of very God, "He offered prayers and appeals, with loud cries and tears..." What a picture of our Lord in incarnation. He struggled, he prayed, he wept, His agony voiced itself in loud cries, etc. The object of this verse (v. 7) and the two following is, to show that the Lord Jesus had that qualification for the office of priest to which the writer of Hebrews had referred in Heb. 5:2.

"Perfected" here is not to be misconstrued to that which is imperfect. That is not the comparison to be drawn here. "Perfected" is in relation to completed--fully completed. As in Heb. 2:10, it means He perfectly fulfilled the role and office of High Priest (Heb. 2:17-18) and therefore "became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him."

2. Joseph: The righteousness imputed to us is not just an inherent righteousness that the Lord possessed from all eternity past. Read and study Romans 5:12-17. From what I have read here of your comments, you are not seeing in redemptive history the correlation between the First Adam and the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45) and what is needed for our redemption. Three things: perfect obedience; a perfect sacrifice; and a perfect High Priest. The Lord Jesus Christ was all three: He lived a sinless holy life (Heb. 4:15; 7:26; Matt. 3:13-15; 5:15); He was the spotless Lamb of God (Isaiah 53); and He was the perfect High Priest (Heb. 1:3; 2:17; 6:19-20; 9:14ff).

My dear friend, Dr. James White, wrote last year when addressing this issue in relation to the Carmen Christi found in Phil. 2:5-11 and articulated in the 1689 LBCF. James said, “...[the 1689] very clearly asserts the unified righteousness of Christ. What I mean by this phrase is that one cannot cut the righteousness of Christ our divine substitute into sub-parts while maintaining the whole: while everyone can and should distinguish between the active and passive obedience of Christ (obviously, His perfect life can be distinguished from his perfect death, but not separated there from), if our union with Christ by the electing decree of God is complete so that we have His unified righteousness not just a part of it.

Just as we must distinguish between the divine and the human in Christ, we are precluded by the unity of His person from dividing them up so as to make two persons. The Incarnation creates one Person with two natures; likewise it produced one perfect righteousness, which cannot be divided up into “that which only Christ has and the elect do not receive” and “the portion given to believers.”

There is no question of our union with Him in His death, but if our union is only in His death then whence is our life? Does this not make our union with Christ an almost temporary addition rather than a true union? So, when I speak of the unified righteousness of Christ, I am referring to His righteousness in the fullness expressed by the entirety of His incarnate life and death, echoing the emphasis found in Paul in the Carmen Christi: “And having entered into human existence,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death one dies on a cross.”

3. Terry: A loving word of caution: be circumspect when you throw out terms like "blasphemous" when referring and responding to a point on the 1999 document. Men like R.C. Sproul, D.A. Carson, David Wells, Sinclair Ferguson, John MacArthur (who drafted or assisted in drafting this document) I realize are all just men; but they have applied themselves as men of God to years of careful and serious study of God's Word over decades of ministry. When you casually say that this 13th point "borders on blasphemy" - you better be prepared brother to demonstrate it biblically--for otherwise, you are undermining the faithful ministry that each of these men represent.

Once again, are these men infallible in all what they affirm? Of course not. But, I know each of these men to be teachable, godly, faithful expositors and exegetes of God's Word over years and years of ministry and you don't easily dismiss that weight of authority.

Anyone is free to disagree with what I write or post on this blog--the dialogue and discussion taking place here is vital and needed in the body of Christ. BUT, when you use the language you did, you are making a serious charge against them and you better be able to clearly, and without equivocation, back it up biblically or, and I say this respectively to you, remain silent. In addition, if they have introduced blasphemous error as you suggest, then they are guilty of being factious and need to be admonished (Titus 3:9) and called to repentance. (I refer to what Don just posted... surely you and others are not suggesting that these men are false teachers are you?)

When trying to make your case, you include unfound silly things like, "In other words, although it's absurd to envision Christ dying for us as an infant -- because God had many other plans and purposes for His life..."; you ultimately reveal that you still don't understand this issue at its most foundational level.

4. The 13th point is biblical--let's look at it:
13. We affirm that the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified is properly his own, (Phil. 3:9; Rom. 5:17, 21; 10:4) which he achieved apart from us (Matt. 3:13-15; 5:17-20), in and by his perfect obedience (Gal. 4:4-5; Heb. 4:15)). This righteousness is counted, reckoned, or imputed to us by the forensic (that is, legal) declaration of God (2 Cor. 5:21), as the sole ground of our justification (cp, Gal. 2:16; 3:24; Rom. 3:24; 5:1,9; 1 Cor. 6:11).

5. Very Important
I will be posting later today part five of this series that I think will answer many of the questions you all have raised here. BUT let me encourage some you guys, for the most part, what YOU have been posting here is not in accordance with the orthodox view biblically, theologically, doctrinally, or historically. Be very careful with your words and what they assert.

Mike Ratliff said...

When I posted the comment from Hebrews 5 for brother Terry I was hoping that someone would mention exactly what Campi said above. Jesus is God. Jesus incarnation as a Man did not diminish his diety at all. However, He is also complelty Man. He had to live life as a Man here in this sinful environment in perfection as a MAN so that He could be our propitiation. He became our High Priest because of that. That means we now have access to the throne of grace.

Again, I uphold Affirmation 13 as well as the rest.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

4given said...

"...Every really great Christian utterance, it may almost be said, is born in controversy. It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of truth."--J. G. Machen
A “love” greatly unknown

4given said...

I praise God for the boldness God has provided you, Steve Camp, to "take a stand against error."

Steve Sensenig said...

Steve Camp wrote: in and by his perfect obedience (Gal. 4:4-5; Heb. 4:15)

Neither of the Scriptures referenced there mention anything about active obedience being part of the righteousness imputed to us. What am I missing, Steve?? Why are these "proof texts" being listed when they don't even mention the topic being "proofed"? (Yes, I know the proper word is "proven"...)

Hebrews 4:15 is referring to His qualification as High Priest. I don't think anyone here is arguing against that at all.

Galatians 4:4-5 refers to God's timing of the Incarnation, the virgin birth, the requirement of the Law when Jesus was born, the fact that He came to redeem us from being under the Law, and our position with "full rights" (NIV) as sons. None of those points are under debate here.

I'll try to patiently wait for the next installment in this series. Hopefully that will have some clear biblical evidence for this belief.

Now, one thought that came to me with regard to the "achieved" clause in this 1999 statement: It is possible (at least to my eye) to read this that what is "achieved apart from us" is actually the imputation, not His own righteousness. Does anyone else see that?

It wouldn't change the question about the following clause ("in and by..."), but would at least get us away from the possible problem of Christ having to achieve righteousness itself.

In other words, Jesus did not achieve righteousness, He achieved the imputation of righteousness to us.

What do you think, Steve? Do you think that may be what the writers of this document were saying? If that is what they are saying, it's not the best grammatically, because the antecedent of "which" should technically be "righteousness", but I just wondered if maybe the prepositional phrases between "righteousness" and "which" caused them to use "which" to refer to the actual clause "by which we are justified". (In which case, the first "which" refers to "righteousness", and the second "which", to which I refer, does not.)

Uh oh....this has become a "which" hunt now! ;)

By the way, pointing out a statement as false (if, indeed it is) does not make the originator of the statement a false teacher, in and of itself. It shows their fallibility and humanity.

If we say that pointing out a statement and saying it is false amounts to labelling people as a "false teacher" (which is a strong label in Scripture), then we would never be able to question anything that is taught. Either these guys are fallible (in which case, they could very easily be mistaken on a point) or they're infallible (making them God). To come down on someone for saying that the statement is false...well, I think you get my point. Was this 1999 statement "ex cathedra"? ;)

steve :)

4given said...

I am so confused now... I thought I had this down... so who, who gets to be crowned "King of the pickers of the nits"???

When the tension gets thick... someone has to make you all breathe.

donsands said...

steve s,

I'm almost certain that R. C. Sproul would teach double imputation. I have heard him teach it before. Perhaps this will help with the "which" theory.

As far as making false statements; I agree to a point. But to say a doctrinal statement of this magnitude is false is quite another thing, don't you think.
I may disagree with Tim Lehaye's eschatology on the Rapture, but to say it's a false statement would be going to far for me, and this wouldn't be an essential doctrine. Do you agree?

Excellent input Campi. Can't wait until your next post.
"Now this is His name by which he shall be called:

SJ Camp said...

Joseph: You said, "The view that you say is Biblical has been called heretical for many years,by many people."

This is Blogging 101. You can't just make a statement like that without proof.

-Show me textual, historical examples and to use your word, I want to see "many" examples of this over "many" years of redemptive history.

-They must show in their writings not just where they disagree on imputation of righteousness consisting of His sinless life and atoning sacrifice on the cross, but where these "many" consider it to be "heretical."

-And you must resource recognized orthodox biblical theologians from church history--no skewed "fringe experts" allowed.

Steve S: Some good thoughts you shared. A brief response:

1. Heb. 4:15 is part of active obedience "tempted in all points as we yet without sin." This not only qualified Him as High Priest, but was part of fulfilling the Law--He never sinned--and by nature was impeccable. Gal. 4:4 being "born under the Law" historically goes to not just a time designator, but actually having to then live perfectly in accordance to that Law (which we all recognize that He did fully and without error).

The Law demanded perfect obedience to all its claims; He fulfilled it and all righteousness in His sinless life lived. And yes! - the totality of His sinless life lived in the flesh; that He is the spotless Lamb of God as the unblemished once for all sacrifice; and the sinless High Priest to offer the sacrifice in the Holy of holies (the cross) when He was "pros ton theon" (face to face with the Father - (Heb. 2:17) as our propitiation IS His active and passive obedience.

2. As to "false statements being pointed out..." You are right; saying someone made a false statement doesn't necessarily mean they are insinuating that person is a false teacher.

BUT, the point is someone just can't make the claim about another absent of citing the Word of God to demonstrate that the other person's statements are indeed false. One must clearly show where someone has departed from the canon of Scripture to call a statement blasphemous or false--especially if the one they are challenging has proven themselves to be orthodox as a pastor/teacher for several decades of trusted ministry.

In this case, a more prudent and wise manner to approach that kind of claim would be: "I think that ______ has asserted a claim that does not line up with Scripture even though I have come to respect the years of faithful ministry that _______ has demonstrated from the Word of God. I don't have any Bible to quote to prove that their statement(s) were false, but as a good Berean I am studying this issue to gain wisdom to see if in fact their claims are biblical or not."

That may be a tad lengthy, but it certainly is accurate to our discussion here. It also shows humility, respect, and a desire to seek out the issue biblically.

Don lasts comment really sums it up--well said brother!

Guard the truth,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Jeremy Weaver said...

The other aspect of the life of Christ that faith looks at and appropriates is the submissive, obedient humiliation that Christ the Lord showed the Father throughout His whole life. For although our salvation is due above all to the obedience Christ showed in His death, the rest of His life is not excluded:THROUGHOUT HIS WHOLE LIFE He took on the form of a servant. The Apostle Paul includes the entire submissive humiliation of the Son from the beginning to the end when he says in Philippians 2[:8], "He humbled himself and became obedient tot he Father to tthe point of death, even the death of the cross."-Caspar Olevianus

Bhedr said...

He may have been brought up in obedience and grew in favor with both God and Man. this truly is a mystery..still I think Terry is correct to note that nowhere in Scripture to we find that he acheived righteousness. He was already righteous.

Try to be objective and remember that even the men who drew up this draft may even be guilty of what they say here:

>Through the Gospel we learn that we human beings, who were made for fellowship with God, are by nature - that is, "in Adam" (1 Cor. 15:22) - dead in sin, unresponsive to and separated from our Maker. We are constantly twisting his truth, breaking his law, belittling his goals and standards, and offending his holiness by our unholiness, so that we truly are "without hope and without God in the world" (Rom. 1:18-32, 3:9-20; Eph. 2:1-3, 12). Yet God in grace took the initiative to reconcile us to himself through the sinless life and vicarious death of his beloved Son (Eph. 2:4-10; Rom. 3:21-24).<

As you said Terry...Sola Scriptura.

Bhedr said...


At times we are all guilty of it, so we should consider this. None of us are above correction.

Jesus had to fulfil the Law and the Prophets so that all signs would point to him, but had he not died on the cross then our plight would have been hopeless. All of his other acts of obediance help us hear.."Hear Ye Him." but the do not Atone for our sin.

Except a corn of wheat fall and die it abideth what Jesus said.

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the Garden, the tree they ate of it was alive and beautiful, but it was their death when they believed Satan that they would not die and took the first bite.

The cross is a dead tree and lifeless and full of death and offense, yet when we simply believe it to be our life and eat of the flesh and drink of the blood of Christ, believing on Him and this act alone as the corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, then our Old Adam that ate of a fruitful pleasant life seeming tree dies and we pass into life at the One point.

This will happen no where else. If we do not accept our life there at His death then we will never live. We must rest there and then our spirits will be set free from the tomb by the same {Zoe} Life that raised Him from the tomb. His Zoe.


Of all men here I respect Lutzer the most, but even he is not perfect. This is why I don't go for creeds because men that hail the Pope are on here too. Having said that It is a near acurrate creed, yet indeed politics will always have to play in such a diverse group of men.

Mike Ratliff said...

I do believe that there is some confusion about the work of Christ on our behalf.

The problem is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. His is God. That means He is perfectly Righteous for that reason. He was incarnate as a Man so that as one of us He could live a perfect sinless life in order to prove to be the perfect sacrifice to take the place of sinners. (1 Peter 3:18) He “learned” obedience to the Father as a MAN. As God this is not an issue, but as a MAN He had to live a life in perfect obedience to the Law fulfilling perfect Righteousness (Matthew 5:13). His temptations and suffering took place to confirm His humanity with all of its sufferings. Through it all, He was perfect. This Righteousness was proven in the fire of suffering AS A MAN! Therefore, at salvation, the saved have THIS Righteousness imputed to them (Romans 3:24-26). The shedding of His blood was the suffering that PROVED His Human Righteousness. By the shedding of it, He became our propitiation. However, His Human Righteousness is imputed to us just as it was our Human Unrighteousness that was imputed unto Him on the cross. It could never have been His God Righteousness that is imputed unto us. This is why He had to be incarnate as a Human. If not, then why did He have to become Human to begin with?

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

Jeremy Weaver said...

By that life of spotless perfection, then, Jesus acquired for His people a positive righteousness which is imputed to them and which secures for them life in heaven. All that Christ has done and suffered is regarded as having been done and suffered by them. In Him they have fulfilled the law of perfect obedience, as also in Him they have borne the penalty for their sins. By His passive obedience they have been rescued from hell; and by His active obedience they are given entrance into heaven.-Loraine Boettner

Mike Ratliff said...

doxoblogist - Excellent quote! The excellent Loraine Boettner!

Jeremy Weaver said...

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
(Gal 4:4-5)

In these verses we can see that Paul makes a special point of saying that Christ was born under the law, in order that we who are also under the law might be redeemed. In chapter three of the same book, Paul tells us what it means to be under the law;

...For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them."
(Gal 3:10-12)

Being under the law means being governed by the law. Without obeying the law there is no life. Clearly all have broken the law.
It is for this reason then that Christ was born 'under the law'. He was born to fulfill the requirements of the law for us.
By meeting the requirements of that law, He is a worthy sacrifice to deliver us from curse of the law by undergoing the curse, and to make us heirs of the promises.

On the other hand, without that active obedience, we have no worthy sacrifice to deliver us from the curse, nor do we have the adoption as sons, by which we are given access to the heavens.-Jeremy Weaver

Terry Rayburn said...

The most recent comment that Terry made on this post was taken in part from the comment he made on "The Active and Passive Obedience of Jesus Christ..." post. Since that blog thread appears to be "dead" and perhaps his comment there was left unread, I am re-posting it here (with his permission, while he is unavailable) so that it can be read in its full context--Michele

Terry said:

I've been absent awhile, first from busyness, then from taking Campi up on thoroughly reading the Owen treatise (too convoluted and based on circular assumptions, not Scripture).

Campi wrote: "You are a dear brother in the Lord and I appreciate you greatly."

Likewise, my friend.

Campi wrote: “ all our discussion so far, nowhere have you demonstrated that Christ's inherent righteousness by virtue of His nature from all eternity past, is the righteousness that is imputed to us in justification."

I rejoice that in this statement, you are at least giving evidence that you understand what I am saying about the righteousness of Christ which is imputed to us. It is eternal and didn't have to be "achieved" as the 1999 gospel Affirmation incorrectly puts it (Affirmation #13).

In other words, although it's absurd to envision Christ dying for us as an infant -- because God had many other plans and purposes for His life -- yet He was just as righteous then, as at age 33. He was just as much in right standing with His Father, and just as sinless, both as God and man.

After all, it was the "lambs", not the “sheep”, slain for atonement under the Old Covenant, having been BORN qualified (without spot or blemish). And it was the Lamb of God who was slain for justification and redemption under the New Covenant, having been BORN qualified (without spot or blemish).

I think it can readily be demonstrated that it's that eternal righteousness (not some "achieved-by-obedience" variety) which is imputed to us in justification for at least two reasons:

1. "Christ's" righteousness is virtually interchangeable with “God’s” righteousness.

Rom. 1:17, ”For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith…”

Rom. 10:3, ”For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”

2 Pet. 1:1, …by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Was God’s righteousness eternal, or did it need to be achieved? Surely, eternal. And it’s this righteousness which is referred to as a GIFT in Rom. 5:17, “the gift of righteousness…through the One, Jesus Christ.”

2. There are no scriptures that indicate that Jesus
a. was ever NOT righteous
b. ever BECAME righteous
c. ever GREW in righteousness
d. was ever anything BUT righteous.

So whatever purposes there were in Christ’s fulfilling the Law, which He certainly did, it clearly WAS NOT to “achieve” righteousness.

The more I think about it, in light of scripture, the more I think that the 13th Affirmation of the 1999 Gospel Affirmation borders on blasphemy. It is as follows:

13. “We affirm that the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified is properly His own, which he achieved apart from us, in and by His perfect obedience.”

To say that Christ “achieved” righteousness, for which the Committee, of course, gives no scripture, implies that He was either unrighteous before His birth, or born unrighteous.

I would love to pose the following question to the signers of the 1999 Affirmation:

“Do you think that Christ had to achieve His righteousness, or that it was inherent in Him always, eternally as God, and from conception as man?

I would wager that 75% of them, having not been tipped off to their inconsistency, would answer, “Righteousness was inherent in Him always, eternally as God, and from conception as man.”

And they would be correct, and therefore have wrongly signed the Affirmation.


Bhedr said...


Dude...friend we agree as in your post on your blog it is stated that this righteousness of the law is fulfilled for *us*...mankind.

We agree!

What Terry is trying to wake us up to is this.... and let us read it again.

>We affirm that the righteousness of Christ by which we are justified is properly his own, which he achieved apart from us, in and by his perfect obedience. This righteousness is counted, reckoned, or imputed to us by the forensic (that is, legal) declaration of God, as the sole ground of our justification.<

They are saying that this "acheived righteousness" was imputed to us and is our SOLE ground of justification. Wow! this is week my friend. Terry is right to challenge this. They don't even leave room for the fact that Christ was already righteous but claim that this acheived righteoussness is our sole ground for justification.

Even before John baptised Jesus he said, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."

Jesus said, "If you do not believe that I AM(YHVH), you will perish in your sins." and "Before Abraham was...I AM."

again, I heartily agree with Terry once again. You amaze me sometimes at how discerning you are, but this challenge has shown us how weak creeds are in stacking against Scripture. As of right now on this sight I think for every one hundred words of other men and creeds and books, there is 1 verse of scripture.

Bhedr said...

Clearly the fulfilment of the Law bears witness that only the Spotless lamb of God could atone for our sin. It is His eternal life that gives us life. Not the rules and regulations that he followed to a perfect T. That bore witness to us that he truly is the eternal one and the only one that could atone for our sin as He himself is eternal and spotless. Forever righteouss. He was begotten by God...he did not become God at John the Baptists baptism and slowly acheive a righteousness that could atone for us. This borders on some liberal teaching I have heard that denys the Virgin Birth, but I won't make that accusation. I just think many of us aren't thinking this through as so many times I have been guilty of this. I am Pigheadr the Bhedr:-)

SJ Camp said...


1. I said only "recognized orthodox biblical authors" because that is the framework you posted your comment. Your words were that "many" people over "many years" considered this teaching of the active and passive obedience of Christ to be "heretical." I am still waiting...

2. You listed four or five authors, but gave no quotes or Scripture to support your claims.

3. You said, "His blood (He Himself Slain in the shedding of His blood)alone is the propitiation for our sins not His obedience. That is the most outright error I've read on this blog yet."

Where is this quote posted?

4. It is unfortunate that you still don't understand this issue and you're not taking the opportunity I am affording you on this blog to learn.

2 Cor. 3:5

SJ Camp said...

bhedr: You said, "...he did not become God at John the Baptists baptism... This borders on some liberal teaching I have heard that denys the Virgin Birth, but I won't make that accusation."

You just did.

No one has asserted your imagined words here. Stay on topic and stay accurate.

Col. 1:9-14

Bhedr said...


That was about as much on topic as your friend calling Terry a Jehovah's Witness, nevertheless I will play by the rules you say.

But the bottom line is...if Jesus Had to achieve righteousness, then at what point was he not?

Bhedr said...

I understand the point you are trying to make Steve and the point the Authors of this creed, but I am still surprised that you can't see the abscence of the greater element. The diety of Christ and His Person of righteousness and that the works of the Law were a result of that not because of the Law.

If you follow this thinking to its fullest extent then we can deny the existence of original sin in the first Adam and make a case that we are not born in sin but achieve it.

Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die....

I implore you to think about this.

donsands said...


Amen. and Amen. Scripture Alone! And I'm certain R. C. Sproul, Scott Hafemann, Erwin Lutzer, Timothy George, and James Packer would all say Amen. and Amen. I'm not acquainted with the others. But these men of God are sold out for the Truth of God's Holy Word.

Thought that may help you understand where they are coming from, and Steve Camp, and others on this blog, as well as myself.

And we all believe, with a godly fear, and a love for the Savior, that the Scriptures teach Christ's imputation to us of His righteousness, and our sin being imputed to Him. 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21.

SJ Camp said...

bhedr: You wrote: "the diety of Christ and His Person of righteousness and that the works of the Law were a result of that not because of the Law."

Once again, where do you get this assertion attributed to anything that I have posted on my blog? No one has affirmed that here. The inherent, eternal, perfect, holy righteousness of Christ did not result because of the Law--the Law was a reflection of and resulted from His righteousness (Ex. 20). It as God's visible standard of righteousness for sinful man.

But what you clearly fail to understand biblically, is that in Christ's humanity, He had to fulfill the Law and its demands and all righteousness through His sinless life lived (Matt. 3:15-16; Matt. 5:17 - HIs active obedience) and that His once for all atoning vicarious substitutionary sacrifice on the cross was a propitiation for the sins of the elect (Heb. 2:17 - His passive obedience); whereby He took our sin, its penalty and guilt; and the wrath of God that burns against our sin, so that we may have peace with God forever (Rom. 5:1). That is justification. There is no justification without the imputation of His righteousness to us--and that occurs by faith.

That is what this 1999 statement affirms; the great Confessions of our faith affirm; these men who signed the 1999 affirm; and most importantly, what the infallible, inerrant Word of God affirms.

To reject that, is to reject orthodox biblical Christianity on this issue.

2 Cor. 5:21

Jeremy Weaver said...

A few questions for the 'anti-active obedience':-) commenters before bed time,
Do we all believe that our sin was imputed to Christ?
Was that sin only our inherent sin nature or our sin nature AND each and every sin we commit?
Does it not follow then that Christ's imputed righteousness must also include His righteous works done in the flesh?

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others...We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2Co 5:10,11,20,21)

donsands said...

Good words Steve. I just now reviewed the original post and I thought I'd share this for meditation. I know i need to.

"Doctrinal disagreements call for debate. Dialogue for mutual understanding and, if possible, narrowing of the differences is valuable, doubly so when the avowed goal is unity in primary things, with liberty in secondary things, and charity in all things."
A fine exhortation for us all. For His glory and honor.

SJ Camp said...

Doxo and Don: Very good words, thank you.

Some additional quotes from others on this important issue:

"Those whom, God effectually calls he also freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them as their righteousness, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God" – WCF Ch 11

“Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner” (L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 513).

"The phrase in ipso (in him) I have preferred to retain, rather than render it per ipsum (by him,) because it has in my opinion more expressiveness and force. For we are enriched in Christ, inasmuch as we are members of his body, and are engrafted into him: nay more, being made one with him, he makes us share with him in every thing that he has received from the Father." (John Calvin Commentary on 1 Cor 1:5)

"This calling is an act of the grace of God in Christ by which he calls men dead in sin and lost in Adam through the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, to union with Christ and to salvation obtained in him." (Francis Turretin)

"Objectively, this righteousness is provided “in Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:25–26 describe Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice on the cross as a payment for sin, Through this death God demonstrates His righteousness not only as the just God, but as the God who justly justifies sinners. Prior to Christ’s death a question could be raised about this. How could God justify Moses and not Pharaoh? Both were sinners. Both lacked the righteousness that God requires. Verse 35 explains that the sins of Moses (and all Old Testament believers) were “passed over” by God, awaiting their full payment in the death of Christ. Now that Christ has died, that question has been answered forever and, by the cross, God has demonstrated that He is both personally righteous and that He righteously justifies those who have sinned.

The law requires death for lawbreakers. This is its curse under which all sinners naturally find themselves. By enduring God’s wrath against our sin Christ has redeemed sinners from “the curse of the law” having become a “curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). This secures the just forgiveness of our sins because our sins have been justly punished.

But the law reveals that not only does God require the punishment of sin, He also requires perfect righteousness. This was His requirement of man before the fall and it has not changed since the fall. Therefore, the justification that is found in Jesus Christ is accomplished not only by His sacrificial death but also by His representative life. This is Paul’s argument (as we have already seen) in chapter 5 of Romans. The “one Man’s righteous act” (5:18) and “one Man’s obedience” (5:19) are references not merely to the death of Jesus but to the whole of His work, including His obedient life. Just as the act of breaking the law brought judgment on all who are in Adam, so the act of keeping the law brings justification to all who are in Christ. And this justification comes through His perfect righteousness being imputed to us."
(Dr. Tom Ascol)

The above quotes span the past 500 years of redemptive history.

Heb. 7:26

4given said...

WOW... you are nearing triple digit comments in this post.

I enjoyed the compilation of excellent quotes and so appreciate the earnest striving for sola scriptura.

Terry Rayburn said...

First, we've been gently admonished to be careful in our choice of words. I agree. However, I believe I was more careful than my detractors in this case.

I was careful to say that #13 bordered on blasphemy. My detractors un-carefully in various ways indicated that I said that #13 was blasphemy. (BTW, I said "bordered" because #13 strongly implies that Christ had no righteousness prior to "achieving" it. If one were so bold as to say that, well then, what would you call it?)

I was careful not to malign the signers of the 1999, in fact giving at least 75% of them the benefit of the doubt that they wouldn't even agree with #13 if they knew what it implied. My detractors un-carefully indicated that I was calling the signers blasphemers or false teachers, or had no respect for them, which is of course, not true.

I have been careful to respect the persons disagreeing with me, while seeking to make a scriptural case. My detractors have un-carefully equated me with being a Socinian, a JW, Unorthodox, and foolish.

Gordon wrote: "Terry, I appreciate your concern for not blaspheming. But how is it blasphemy to say that the One who was eternally righteous came among us and did righteously? How does it dishonor him to suggest that he actually did things that justify the title of Righteous?"

Your swatting the wind, here. I more than agree that He was eternally righteous and came among us and did righteously. I more than agree that He actually did things that justify the title of Righteous. Amazing that you would think I said otherwise.

mike ratliff wrote: doxoblogist - Excellent quote! The excellent Loraine Boettner!

The Boettner quote may sound good, but it’s no substitute for the Apostle Paul, who said, “…even so through ONE ACT of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” (Rom. 5:17) Instead it's the same old Confessional formula.

It reminds me of trying to explain believer baptism to a Paedo-baptist. No matter how many clear scriptures you hold before them, or how much you show the lack of opposing scriptures, the same creedal/confessional/famous theologian old saws are dragged out until everybody is tired.

Matthew 3:15, referring to Jesus' baptism as "fulfilling all righteousness" is really the single thin thread on which the whole "active obedience imputation" case is made. Yet I think the verse is being parroted, rather than freshly examined. Eisegesis (putting meaning into) instead of exegesis (drawing meaning out of). Where in the verse itself does it indicate that Christ “achieves” righteousness? Isn't His obedience in baptism rather an example of proving/demonstrating/authenticating His eternal righteousness?

We agree that the Scripture clearly teaches the obedient life of Christ, under the Law. But that doesn’t detract from His eternal righteousness, but rather proves/authenticates/demonstrates it. And so we shouldn't deny that His Eternal Righteousness was imputed to us in our justification.


Terry Rayburn said...

doxo wrote: "Do we all believe that our sin was imputed to Christ?
Was that sin only our inherent sin nature or our sin nature AND each and every sin we commit?
Does it not follow then that Christ's imputed righteousness must also include His righteous works done in the flesh?"

At first glance this looks like a logical argument, but it doesn't actually follow.

Our sins were indeed imputed to Christ, because our sins were what was dealt with in His sacrifice. He did not, however, become a sinner by nature, so our sin nature was not imputed to Him.

We, in addition to His death on the cross, were also crucified in Him, by which our sin nature was done away with, allowing us to be given a new nature by God.

Christ's righteous works not only were not imputed to us, there was no need for them to be imputed to us, because His eternal righteousness was quite enough, having been proved/demonstrated/authenticated by His righteous works. Our sins were forgiven, our old man put to death, and the inherent eternal righteousness of the God/Man imputed to us as a gift.


Jeremy Weaver said...

Joseph said,
"If He appears before the Father as a law-keeper, then His blood is unnecessary. Law giving life? Since when?"

Since "the one does them shall live by them".
It is important to see what Paul actually says in Galatians 3. First, he says everyone who does not do all of the law is under the curse of the law.
Second, he says that keeping the law cannot justify.
Finally, he says that everyone who perfectly keeps the law will live.
If the law does not justify, then how can we live by the law?
Because the one who does the law has no need of justification. He is not under the curse of the law.
Everyone has broken God's law in Adam. Adam's sin as our head has been imputed to us and has damned us all to hell before we even come out of the womb.
So then, we need a new head, a 'new Adam'. One who will live a perfect life of obedience under the law. We have such a one in the person of Christ. One who lived a life of obedience and as such can be our head.
"But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Heb 2:9-10)

Terry said,
"Our sins were indeed imputed to Christ, because our sins were what was dealt with in His sacrifice. He did not, however, become a sinner by nature, so our sin nature was not imputed to Him."

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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 might walk in newness of life. 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. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
(Rom 6:3-6)
These are the verse you refer to, I assume. I will concede that point for the time being for the sake of the main thrust of my argument in those questions.

Chrsit's inherent righteousness as God cannot save man. It is a different kind of righteousness that is needed to save man. It is a righteousness that fulfills the laws demands for us. This is Jesus focus in His ministry, it seems.

John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented.(Mat 3:14-15)

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.(Mat 5:17-18)

BTW, Terry, Could you email me some stuff on the New Covenant that is informing your position on imputation, if there is any? Thanks.

Steve Sensenig said...

Wow, a lot of text here to digest! I haven't had time to formulate any detailed replies, but I have to say that several on here have been articulating my thoughts anyway, so it hasn't been real necessary.

This whole discussion really begs a very critical question: When the term sola scriptura is claimed here, what does it mean? Because it really appears, as Terry has tried to point out, that there is a lot more stock being put in what people have said about Scripture, than what Scripture says itself.

Steve Camp, you could settle this debate once and for all by spelling out for us the following, using Scripture only:

1. Is the active obedience of Jesus part of the imputation of righteousness to us? (Note that the question is not asking if the righteousness of Jesus is imputed to us. No one here is arguing against that. Note also that I am not asking if Christ obeyed the Law completely. No one is arguing against that, either. We see Jesus' obedience, and we see that righteousness is imputed to us through the cross. Show me where it shows the same kind of correlation between the active obedience and the imputed righteouness. The cross aspect is clear, and we all agree on that. So, show us the clear correlation for the other, too.)

2. Why is this interpretation considered an "essential" doctrine of such weight that you believe it is cheapening the Gospel or whatever it is that you believe is so important about it? (Note that I'm asking for Scripture that shows the importance of it, and the necessity to demean any other interpretation. I'm not asking what other men have said about its importance. For example, 1 John tells us why it's so important to believe that Jesus came in the flesh -- to not believe it is to have the spirit of antichrist. I'm looking for the same weight put on this doctrine of the active obedience being part of the imputation of righteousness)

A bonus question that does not require Scripture for the answer (because it's not a question that can be answered by Scripture) is: Why it is such a horrible thing to re-examine the writings and teachings of others and come to a different conclusion? You can't on the one hand encourage people to be Bereans, and then not allow them to say, "I don't agree with this conclusion."

This repetitive appeal to "orthodox" beliefs and 500 years of history, etc., is getting very tiresome because it avoids the real issue which is: What does the Scripture itself say? If Scripture requires creeds and confessions in order to tell us what Scripture meant to say, then Scripture is not sufficient, and sola scriptura is lost completely.

If you cannot make your point from Scripture, without redefining words like "one act", or without appealing to what others have said (who either haven't referenced Scripture in their point, or, as in the case of the 1999 document, have referenced Scripture that actually does not support their point at all), then I think you have two options:

1. Admit that you (and the others you quote) might be mistaken on this point (Note that I am not calling you a false teacher), or

2. Admit that your faith is not based solely on Scriptural revelation, but on the confessions, creeds, and other theological writings that have been collected over the centuries.

Steve, hear me very clearly on this: I respect you. I have great respect for your ministry. I have great respect for your musical ministry, and for the heart of service which you have shown and continue to show in these endeavors. I believe your motives are pure. I believe that your heart is in the right place. I do not believe you are a heretic, nor a false teacher. But alas, I believe you are mistaken in this instance, and unable to see the fallacy in your approach to the issue.

I do hope that you will humbly consider the points that are being made here, and at least respect the fact that those of us who are using Scripture here are using it in a way that attempts to be very true to Scripture. Our desire is not to remain true to the Reformers or to any other pastor, theologian, writer, etc., unless they are true to the Word itself, too. Our first desire is to stay true to the Word and what it says. To the extent in which the Word clearly states something, we want to hold to that clearly. To the extent in which the Scripture is not explicit about something (like Active Obedience being imputed as part of the righteousness), we are content to allow for disagreement.

Quite honestly and respectfully, I think that this position is much more deserving of the label sola scriptura than yours -- at least on this issue.

I appreciate you, Steve, and respect you. I hope that we can find some common ground in this.

For the glory of God alone,
steve :)

SJ Camp said...

Terry: You were not careful my brother--you were irresponsible. Saying, "was careful not to malign the signers of the 1999, in fact giving at least 75% of them the benefit of the doubt that they wouldn't even agree with #13 if they knew what it implied" does not demonstrate humility but pride. You are arrogantly asserting that these gifted men of God are ignorant because "they wouldn't even agree with #13 if they knew what it implied." Do you think these faithful men of God who have served the Lord faithfully in Word and life really did not know what they were signing and what it meant? My brother... that is pride and let's not mask it here as compassion.

Secondly, no one called you a JW, Socinian, etc. Your logic and unbiblical beliefs on these matters are rooted in some of the same things as those groups are. They were said by comparison, not literally. BUT, you did plant the seed here that the signers of the 1999 statement were false teachers and that what they signed bordered on blasphemy.

Do you realize Terry that your beliefs on this issue are aberrant and not in keeping with biblical orthodox Christianity? The church you attend does not affirm your views; the FIRE organization removed a church from their membership over this issue; and that your beliefs are rooted in NCT and NPP?

Joseph: I am still waiting for your long list of orthodox biblical writers throughout hundreds of years of church history that deny the active and passive obedience of Christ in imputation and call it specifically as you stated, heretical.

The Basic Issue:
To Terry, Joseph, Bhedr, etc. You still haven't grasped the basic fundamentals surrounding the issue here and its importance. For if you had, I am convinced that you would agree with the Scriptures and with the orthodox views presented historically.

The issue is not the Law saving anyone; or that Christ's inherent righteousness that He has possessed by nature is deficient; or that He had to earn more righteousness so that the Law could somehow be imputed to us... Ridiculous.

The question is what does God require from man so that His justice, holiness and wrath can be satisfied and that we could have a right standing with Him for eternity?

Because man is incapable by his own efforts and merits (Is. 64:6) of satisfying God, man needed a perfect substitute, a perfect life lived, a once for all perfect sacrifice given, and a faithful perfect High Priest to go beyond the veil into the holy of holies to offer it. Christ fulfilled, as our divine substitute, every one of those things. And He did this not for Himself, but for us--for those that were given to Him in eternity past by the Father (2 Tim. 1:8; Titus 1:1; Eph. 1:4-14; John 17).

You are doing the efficacy of that righteousness imputed to us when you deny that His sinless life lived has merit to us; when in fact God requires perfect obedience to the Law to satisfy Him (Matt.5:17).

The Lord Jesus Christ just didn't die for us on the cross providing a way of salvation and is now in glory waiting to see who will "choose" Him in the future... He actually redeemed His elect there including the O.T. saints who had gone before and the N.T. saints that followed. That is the profound truth of Roms. 3:21-26 (BTW, the only passage in the N.T. that mentions all five solas).

Christ died for God first and foremost and satisfied God on our behalf in every way that He needed to be satisfied so that He could come to sinful men without violating His holiness and His justice. And Christ, as our divine substitute, was imputed with the fullness of our sin, guilt, its penalty and wrath against our sin and the sinner; His perfect righteousness lacking nothing is imputed by grace through faith to His elect. He was treated on the cross as if He lived our life; and we were treated as we had lived His life. That in a nutshell is the great doctrine of imputation in justification.

We were not made righteous as some of you have wrongly asserted (that is the bane of Romanism); but we were declared righteous and clothed with His perfect righteousness. God was so fully satisfied with the complete propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, that the temple veil was torn in to signifying the fulfillment of all that God demands for sinful man to have a right standing before Him, that the old covenant and its practices was done away with. IT IS FINISHED our Lord cried... amen?

To deny the imputation of His active obedience in our redemption is to, in your skewed theological position, leave God unsatisfied and to deny in redemption what fully constitutes our justification in Christ by imputation of His full and perfect righteousness.

None of you have "detractors" on this blog... only those who are deeply concerned for your blatant disregard for sound doctrine on this crucial area of biblical truth and theology.

Col. 1:9-14

Steve Sensenig said...

Steve C: By your comments, do you mean, then, that you do not believe I am approaching this from a Berean attitude? You are answering me by pointing out what others on this thread are doing. Am I being lumped in with the others, too?

If not, how can we have constructive dialogue on this?

steve :)

SJ Camp said...

Steve S:

First of all, I do thank you for your words and for the way in which you expressed them. You are representing the right tone and asking the right questions in this discussion. I appreciate you very much.

1. I know that there is lot of information here but if you take the time to read it all I have already answered those questions from the Word of God; it is what this blog is dedicated in doing.

Scriptural truth is not given in isolation. We are to "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." (Heb. 13:7). Even biblically, no writer acts in isolation; for in part, what makes Scripture unique is that it is its own greatest commentary. It is axiomatic truth--self-attesting truth and the writers are citing each other in various portions of holy writ. Furthermore, it was written by 40 plus authors over hundreds of years without error and they all agree saying the same things. It is one of the many proofs that the Bible IS God's Word--that He wrote it-- and not the product of man (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:16ff).

What other biblical orthodox believers have affirmed throughout two thousand years of church history matters Steve. Because what some are affirming here cannot be traced biblically or historically as to orthodoxy--it is a 'new" teaching. And that is dangerous brother.

As to your bonus question:
I have repeatedly encouraged, as you know, for people on this blog to being faithful Bereans (Acts 17:9-11) carefully examining anything anyone would teach. BUT, that is not what some here are doing. They are using language that plants the seeds of discord and false accusations against men of God who have rightly divided the Word of God for decades.

No one that has asserted the aberrant views of denying the full righteousness of Christ in imputation have made their case biblically, theologically or historically. When someone is attacking essential doctrine (and what makes this essential doctrine is that a right understanding of the doctrine of justification by faith alone is the heart of the gospel--imputation being a key component of Atlas of all other doctrines) with something "new" they have devised or read; the burden of proof is on them to "make the case." And they have not.

Sola Scriptura clearly affirms the imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ in imputation as I have demonstrated on this blog. Think of it, in order to believe their "new" assertions, you have to literally deny hundreds and hundreds of years of sound doctrine and biblical truth clearly exposited and based on what--a flawed 'mini-catechism' by one of the bloggers here? I don't think so.

Steve Sensenig said...

By saying "how can we have constructive dialogue", I mean that sincerely. I want to have constructive dialogue, and want to know if it is possible to do so at this point.

steve :)

Steve Sensenig said... edited your comment while I was posting my responses....let me re-read your comment again and see if it changes my feelings! :)

SJ Camp said...

No Steve I am not lumping you in with all the others. You have demonstrated a Berean attitude and a genuine desire to examine this issue biblically and I thank you for it.

Constructive dialogue, which I believe for the most part we have been having, comes from examining several biblical texts on this issue; digging into their meaning through proper exegesis; investigating what other sound men of God have affirmed throughout church history; and then in light of all that evidence, weighing what "new" teachings some are now affirming against the backdrop of sound theology.

This must be done in humility, patience, charity and truth.


Steve Sensenig said...

Steve, you changed that comment quite a bit, and I think that it is possible to continue to have dialogue on this. But in order to have sufficient dialogue, I'm curious if it is even possible for you to consider that other teachers might be misguided or mistaken (after all, they likely have read the same commentaries you have, so the same "evidence" just gets rehashed again and again)?

I'm not asking you to say that they're wrong on this point, but would there be even the possibility that this discussion could lead you to see a different position in Scripture?

If not, I'm still willing to be sharpened by you, but it's not necessarily a fair dialogue if one is coming at it assuming that he must be right.

Does that make sense? Steve, thank you for your gracious response. I'm very relieved to see that you appear to understand my spirit and heart in this. We disagree on the heart and tone of some of the others here, but maybe some good can come of this?

steve :)

SJ Camp said...

Thank you Steve. You wrote:"after all, they likely have read the same commentaries you have" I don't think that Calvin, Turretin, Luther, Knox, the WCF, 1689 LBCF, etc. have read the same commentaries as I have--but that is kind of you to suggest :-).

As I initially said to you Steve, let the nitpicking continue if anyone is sincere in wanting to know the truth on any issue pertaining to faith and practice. I am never offended by sound inquiry. Bring it on man...

This is a trust and stewardship issue for me as the founder of this blog and to those men of God that I am personally accountable to who faithfully read this blog and its comments that I rightly divide the Word and represent sound doctrine. I am not speaking for myself here in what I post. And that responsibility I take seriously.

1 Cor. 4:1

Steve Sensenig said...

Steve, you wrote (in our one-on-one almost realtime public conversation!):

I am not speaking for myself here in what I post. And that responsibility I take seriously.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that. Could you explain a bit more? Are you writing someone else's thoughts? Are you writing as a representative of some organization or local church?

I think that's significant, because if it means that you have to maintain a "party line", then the discussion will not be able to be true iron sharpening iron.

steve :)

SJ Camp said...

Steve S: I am simply saying that I am accountable to other men of God that examine what I teach, write, sing, preach by the standard of Scripture. There is no "party line" here as you suggest.

IOW: I am not a lone ranger Christian.

Late for church...
Acts 2:42ff

joseph said...

Romans says that it is "apart from law that God's righteousness has been manifested.." (Rom.3:21)
God's righteousness and the law are not one in the same.
The law set forth the righteousness that God was requiring of men. It was not the totality of the righteousness of God.
Don't you see that we have a greater position, and a greater weight of profound righteousness imputed to us than that of a legal code?
I ask for one clear verse teaching the imputation of active obedience.
Please, just one. I'll sincerely look at it with prayer and study.
So far there has not been one offered.
I never said,'hundreds of men over hundreds of years.'
I'll stay where I know you truly believe we should, in the Word of God.
Sure, I read all the great Puritans and such, but not with such a wide beak as I might have years ago. They are great men, and there are great men today. But remember if Luther had only quoted the historically orthodox and recognized men, we would have a different world today. Huss and others would have been shot down by Luthers peers as 'Johnny-Come-Lately fringe heretics.'

Jeremy Weaver said...

Give me one clear verse teaching the Trinity. You can't look to one verse to learn theology. You have to look at the whole testimony of Scripture. I'm not going to proof-text. I have already put forth an orthodox interpretation of several Scriptures.

I'm done.
If Scripture, Creeds, Church History and reason are not enough, then I can't continue the discussion.
I will add that Solo Scriptura is not the evangelical doctrine. It's Sola Scriptura. Not Scripture alone in a vacuum, but Scripture governing reason, creeds and confessions.

Uncialman said...

I'm in between services right now at my church office so this will be very brief:

Joseph, you just proved Doxoblogist's point. :o)

What you quoted does not "prove" the fullness of doctrine found in the tri-unity of the Godhead.

bobby grow said...

Luther had an interesting take on this passive/active righteousness dichotomy being discussed here, note Geoffrey Bromiley on Luther:

"Another aspect of God's righteousness is that God himself is shown to be righteous in his saving work. . . . In this sense God can even be said to be justified by us when we accept his righteousness and truth. This is what Luther calls God's passive righteousness. This passive righteousness, however, is 'our active justification by God,' for he regards the words which justify his words as righteousness. . . . The principle may thus be stated that God 'is justified when he justifies, and when he justifies he is justified.' God's passive righteousness is also active righteousness, and as such it is the same as faith in him, for the fact that we declare him righteous is his gift, and by the same gift he regards us as righteous." (Geoffrey Bromiley, "Historical Theology: An Introduction," 229)

So from Luther's perspective there is a "chiastic" relationship between the two--God's "passive" righteousness is "revealed" in the "economy" of His self-disclosure to man (at the cross); and as man is quickened by such righteousness--this in turn becomes the "active" righteousness in the heart of man through which man is then able to recognize God's righteousness in the first place. Ultimately righteousness in this framework is not dichotomized in the way some on this comment thread are trying to do; i.e. "active" is presupposed by God's "passive" righteousness. Christ is God's revelation of His passive righteousness to man--when man finds union with Christ--active righteous is realized as the heart of stone is replaced with a heart of flesh (II Cor 3; Ez 36).

In Christ,
Bobby Grow

Bhedr said...

"But the free gift is not at all to be compared with the trespass{His grace is out of porportion to the fall of man}. For if many died through one mans falling away(his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God's grace and the free gift{that comes} through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for{the benifit} of many."

Romans 5:15- Amplified Bible

"For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more{certain}, now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved(daily delivered from sin's dominion) through His [resurrection] life. Romans 5:10- Amplified Bible

Why did Jesus have to fulfil the Law and the Prophets? To show that he is true and every man is a liar. HE IS MESSIAH! We are not and never were expected to be. The Law was made to prove his righteousness...not ours.

His eternality and only His eternality can save us. The Law and the Prophets pointed to the exaltation of one Being and that is Jesus Christ. Yeshua. YHVH-Self-Existant One. Jesus/Yeshua means...Self-Existant Eternal Saves. Man has no claim on anything that belongs to God alone. He grants His righteousness to the one who simply believes on His name and trusts in He Himself alone.

"So that jus, {Just} as sin has reigned in death, [so] grace(His unearned and undeserved favor) might reign also through righteousness (right standing with God) which issues in eternal life through Jesus Christ(the Messiah, the Anointed One) our Lord." Romans 5:21

Where is his righteousness imputed to us in faith and only faith?

Here and here alone.

"Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step and falling away] led to condemnation for all men, so one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men."

Romans 5:18

I don't see how to get around that verse neither do I wish to get around that verse as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets belongs to God alone and the Cross is where He chose to give Himself to me as a gift. I happily and readily receive Him on His terms of Grace, which is a most unbelievable splendid truth that I happily believe.

Do you understand that the Law and the Prophets could have only been to prove one person and one person alone? That is the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world. How hard it is to imagine that the eternal God has imputed to me His righteousness. Nothing can ever seperate me from this righteouness. I can never fall away from him as Satan did because of it as Lucifers righteousness was of lesser beauty.

Bhedr said...

Hey Steve,

Would you consider taking time to visit Bobby Grow's ground floor theology? I think you will like his site.

I am sorry to have offended you in anyway, please understand that I get as Zealous as you at times and forget that I am Pigheader the Bhedr.

My bane is my ADD shoot from the hip self. Nevertheless I think there are some things to be considered out here.

By the way, James White is a wonderful contender against Rome and I am very thankful he is out there.

I would say Bobby Grow is of the same ilk and caliber of your friend James. A very able theologian, whom I am learning from still.

Steve Sensenig said...

doxoblogist: I will add that Solo Scriptura is not the evangelical doctrine. It's Sola Scriptura.

I may be way off base here, but if I am correct, the difference between "solo" and "sola" is gender. The reason the doctrine is labeled as "sola scriptura" is because "scriptura" is feminine, therefore the adjective/noun gender agreement requires "sola" instead of "solo". There is no distinction in meaning as you imply in this comment.

Either way, "sola" means "sola", and if you start adding other things to it, it ceases to be "sola".

I fail to see the difference between this kind of reasoning (i.e., Scripture + creeds + confessions + teaching of godly men + ...) and the heavily (and rightly so) criticized practice of the Roman Catholic Church of Scripture + Teaching of the Church.

Would someone please explain the difference to me?

steve :)

Steve Sensenig said...

If anyone is interested, read this Wikipedia article about Sola Scriptura and tell me if this isn't exactly what is happening in this thread and the other (now dead) thread on Active/Passive Obedience.

steve :)

SJ Camp said...

Steve S. No. It's not the same thing at all. BTW; Sola Scriptura means that it is the final rule and authority for all matters of life and godliness. It doesn't mean that you are not to read from men of God who have studied God's Word, taught God's Word, exposited God's Word, etc.

BUT, we are to measure all things by the standard of Scripture so when aberrant teachings such as "denying the active and passive obedience of Christ" raise their ugly heads, we can not only recognize them as error, but correct with patience those who believe such things.

bobby grow said...

Steve S. said:

"I fail to see the difference between this kind of reasoning (i.e., Scripture + creeds + confessions + teaching of godly men + ...) and the heavily (and rightly so) criticized practice of the Roman Catholic Church of Scripture + Teaching of the Church."

Steve, do you follow the dispensational or cov./amil approach to interpreting scripture?--in answering this question you might answer the question you posed above.

Protestants are driven by interpretive tradition as much as Rom. Cath. and Orthodox--it's just that the latter two have an ecclesiological framework that overtly recognizes "tradition" as a part of their interpretive strategy--while the former, us Protestants are unwilling many times to recognize our adherence to the same--the functional outcome is that we both end up subsuming scripture with our interpretive tradition making the two indistingushible. The advantage the Rom. Cath. and Orth. have, is at least they recognize the role tradition plays within their system--us protestants naively don't--which, IMO, leads to sectarianism. I see "tradition" as authoritative in a subsidiary sense--subsidiary to scripture--some tension here indeed.

SJ Camp said...

Steve S. Also, the difference is that Romanism is a false religion. It would be like trying to prove or disprove a teaching by appealing to the Book of Mormon or the Quran.

BUT to appeal to orthodox men of God who have written about the Bible is appropriate to do (1 Tim. 4:12-16; Neh. 8:8).

Understand the difference?

These are good questions and I appreciate them, but let's stay on theme here.


SJ Camp said...

Bobby: Thank you for posting and for your comments.

As to Luther: The "chiastic" use of terms here doesn't necessarily apply on this theological issue. The active/passive issue, as you know, is in regards to imputation in our justification as it relates to Christ fulfilling the Law and all righteousness in incarnation AND His propitiatory work satisfying God as the perfect Lamb and faithful High Priest in His once for all sacrifice as our divine substitute on behalf of the sins of the people (Heb. 2:9-18).

BUT, the interchangeableness of terms that you suggest "Christ is God's revelation of His passive righteousness to man--when man finds union with Christ--active righteous is realized as the heart of stone is replaced with a heart of flesh (II Cor 3; Ez 36)" I do not see Scripture subscribing to this thought--Christ in His person is not described as such biblically. But, I do understand the meaning behind how you used the terms. A moot point in this discussion; for the issue is not the harmonization of the terms, or taking poetic license in a "chiastic" use of the text of Scripture, but the truth of the terms as Scripture defines them.

Interpretive Tradition
The following is a brief annotated outline of applied hermeneutics in the exegetical process posted recently by a dear friend of mine, Pastor Jerry Wragg who served with Dr. MacArthur for many years at Grace Community Church and that I have served with in ministry as well:

(1) Identify the literary genre.
The exegete must first understand what type of biblical literature is being studied. From the Old Testament to the New, biblical authors penned the revelation in differing prose. The Bible student must consider how meaning is conveyed differently through history, narrative, prophecy, poetry, epistolary, wisdom, etc. Many interpretive errors today stem from a general failure to grasp the particular kind of material under study.

(2) Identify the pericope.
After a thorough working knowledge of the flow of a passage from one context to the next, the exegete must clearly mark the smallest pericope with which to work. Without this step one runs the risk of missing pivotal transitions of thought intended by the author.

(3) Isolate lexical and syntactical hinges, synthesize, and principlize.
At this point several key disciplines must be carefully implemented: (a) Form a block diagram to distinguish main and subordinate clauses; (b) Isolate and study all parts of speech to determine the precise contextual nuance of words and phrases; (c) Solve text-critical problems with comparative grammatical and contextual evidence; (d) Formulate an exegetical outline of the main propositional principles given by the author, and their implications for the original audience; (e) Weigh conclusions against other thorough exegetical scholarship for fine tuning; (f) Synthesize the work into brief paragraphs, explaining the proposition and rhetorical function (how the proposition is developed) of the author’s arguments; (g) From the implications intended for the original audience, formulate general theological principles from which timeless implications may be drawn. Admittedly, this final step is more than challenging. It requires the exegete to determine if a principle given for an ancient audience has contemporary implications. The diligent student must take care to begin with larger, overarching principles and work toward potentially specific parallels. The literary genre and historical context are great safeguards against extrapolating a contemporary mandate where it was never intended.

(4) Study and clearly establish the theological implications of the text.
Once the text’s meaning and implications has been determined, the exegete must be able to clearly articulate how the passage contributes to a biblical-theological framework. The theological implications of the passage should be cogent and consistent with the whole of scripture.

(5) Develop a clear outline of principles for teaching and preaching.
The exegetical process is now complete and ready for the application of homiletics.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Delete this if you must for topical reasons, but I think it is important relating to the discussion.

Steve S.,
Sola Scriptura has been thrown around here as if we all should bow to the person who invokes it (exageration intended).
However, there is a real distinction to be made between Sola and Solo Scriptura. 'Solo' Scriptura carries the idea that an individual may interpret Scripture by his own private judgment apart from the context of the universal church, creeds, and other helps.
Sola Scriptura is also one source theory of revelation, where Scripture is interpreted by a rule of faith. This is the position of the early church in the first three centuries and the position of the Reformers.
This postition recognizes Scripture as the 'norm that norms all norms'(Al Mohler)
In other words, creeds, reason, and the church are used to interpret Scripture, but Scripture itself regulates all other forms of doctrine.

That is why I, (and Campi?) refer to other sources of authority. Not because they have authority over Scripture, but because they help us interpret Scripture properly.
For further info, see, The Shape of Sola Scriptura by Keith Mathison.

donsands said...

Some Scriptures to ponder if you like.

"Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie." Rev. 22: 14-15

Jesus is the only One to keep the commandments of God. No one else has. He was the perfect obedient Servant.

"And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the linen is the righteous acts of the saints." Rev. 19:8

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me in the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with a robe of righteousness!" Isa. 61: 10

My salvation is completely in Him, for Christ is my righteousness, sanctification, wisdom, and redemption! 1 Cor 1: 30
He's done it all. He made us co-heirs with Himself. He's our elder Brother. We have the same Father. He left nothing undone. I am undone of such a great mercy.
Have a blessed week in the Lord's grace and mercy.

Mike Ratliff said...

This is comment 115. :-) That is, unless someone beats me to posting this. :-) I have reread most of this. I reread the comments on mine and others comments. Brother Terry's and Brother Josepeh's comments were interesting in rebuttal, but really changed nothing. I am still 100% in agreement with these 18 affirmations.

Jesus Christ walked this Earth as the God-Man. 100% God and 100% Man. I see in these discussions confusion about that. I pray for God to give us knowledge, wisdom and discernment in understanding this.

Bhedr said...

Who isn't Roman any more on these blogs? I guess I've been guilty of throwing that around on others as well of accusing others and being accused of that by others.

'Bout as much as Sola Scriptura Doxo.

I think its about time for Steve to get the blue Eucharist Ice-Cream trucks back out.

Steve Sensenig said...

mike ratliff wrote: Jesus Christ walked this Earth as the God-Man. 100% God and 100% Man. I see in these discussions confusion about that.

I don't think anyone was debating this at all. If that's what you found in re-reading it, then some of us have done a very poor job at communicating!!!

steve :) (comment #117?!?!)

bobby grow said...

Steve Camp: Hello, thanks for your response! All chiasmus is, is a literary devise--that's pretty much all I was noting relative to Luther's maxim.

I do agree that Luther is talking about something a little different than the discussion here--but there is over-lap. Luther seems to be emphasizing internal righteousness--which is what obedience to the law is all about; contra the "righteousness" exemplified by the Pharisees (Mt 23). I'll bow out of this part of the discussion now :). I find discussion surrounding a dichotomy between so called passive/active obedience curious--this seems to be an "understood" reality communicated by the scriptures--excuse me for my befuddlement :-).

As for tradition--I agree, the principles you provide are sound hermeneutical principles. Don't get me wrong, I believe in the "clarity" (both inner and outer) of the scriptures--and I follow the LGH (with the "L" doing double duty, i.e. "literal" and "literary" :). The conundrum I'm pointing to above is that when the "Protestant" exegete follows the LGH--and ends up with disparate interpretations relative to the same passage under consideration--I wonder, "why is that"? I would argue it's because our exegetical interpretations, as Protestants, are being informed by a particular theological tradition (i.e. disp. or Cov., etc.). When we fail to recognize that we as Evangelicals have interpretive traditions--we are in danger of functionally following the lead of the "Protested" (Roman Cath), by subsuming scripture with my particular interpretive tradition (realizing the assumption that my particular tradition is believed to be reflecting scriptures communication). You don't see this as a problem, Steve?

Mike Ratliff said...

Steve S.

If everyone here agrees with that then why is there so much disagreement over Jesus' actions in the atonement? There should be none, yet I see some stressing the God side of Christ over the Human side and vica-versa. Affermation 13 is correct because it doesn't do that. It stesses both correctly.

4given said...

Steve Capm wrote: "Sola Scriptura means that it is the final rule and authority for all matters of life and godliness. It doesn't mean that you are not to read from men of God who have studied God's Word, taught God's Word, exposited God's Word, etc."
"BUT to appeal to orthodox men of God who have written about the Bible is appropriate to do (1 Tim. 4:12-16; Neh. 8:8)."

AMEN and AMEN!!!!!!!!
I am not a cheerleader by far. But this is a much needed clarification here.

Steve Sensenig said...

Steve Camp wrote: Sola Scriptura means that it is the final rule and authority for all matters of life and godliness. It doesn't mean that you are not to read from men of God who have studied God's Word, taught God's Word, exposited God's Word, etc.

I would actually agree with this statement 100%, Steve. And maybe I should be more clear in my position on this, so that we don't end up with a false dichotomy.

I absolutely believe that we can gain from, learn from, be enlightened by, and in so many ways benefit from other writings. That's why I'm here reading your blog! ;)

But, at the risk of beating a dead horse here, it is the weight being given to the other writings that is of concern to me.

Steve, in several different comments, you have thrown up red flags, in rather dramatic terms, about reaching a conclusion that differs from all of these men.

Now, obviously, reaching a conclusion that differs from all of these men is something to weigh in, as you explained in the outline of applied hermeneutics. But the question then becomes, how much weight do we give it?

What I am hearing (and please help me understand if this is wrong), is that you can study the Scriptures for yourself, but if you disagree with "the scholars", you are wrong.

It's highly probable that's not what you think you are saying, but it really comes across that way.

You said that those who are presenting a "new" thought have not presented a biblical case. I'll admit that it's hard with several different threads of thought going on in this discussion, but there have been several biblical points raised that I'm not convinced have been given a fair hearing.

One case which I don't feel has gotten answered here is the justification for redefining the term "one act" as meaning "several acts". Proper exegesis, as you know, Steve, necessitates dealing with the text that is there. To redefine a word, regardless of how others have chosen to redefine it, needs strong justification from 1) immediate context, 2) broader context of the book, 3) even broader context of the entire Scripture.

So, I think it would be very, very fair to ask you to spell out the exegesis with which you have come to the conclusion that "one act" means "several acts" to the extent of "one act" meaning a lifetime of obedience. And I'm asking for that now.

(For those who might misunderstand, please note that I am not asking for proof that Jesus obeyed completely. That truth is one on which I agree. I am talking specifically about the use of the term "one act" to define His entire life of obedience. Please don't respond with evidence of Jesus' obedience only.)

Properly defending the interpretation that "one act" really means "several acts" does not mean saying that others already have defined it as such, or that for hundreds of years, it has been understood as such. Somewhere along the line, it had to have come from strong, proper exegesis, or it deserves to be rejected, regardless of how "popular" it has been. Would you agree with that?

I'm also not saying that the exegesis has to be your own, Steve. Feel free to quote others, to the extent in which you are actually showing the process by which they have demonstrated the legitimate redefining of "one act", not just their conclusion to that effect.

Is that fair? I think it is, but if you don't, please help me understand why it is not.

steve :)

donsands said...


"..but certainly teaches imputed righteousness"

We agree on this much.
My point is that the linen robes of righteousness which are given to us the Lord's perfect obedience to His Father; from being circumciced on the eighth day, to observing every ordinance of God throughout His perfect righteous life.
We disagree here, and there's no need to take it any further. I understand your thinking.

I believe Jesus died for my sins. His precious blood and holy death cleansed me from my blasphemies, self-centered pride, and all my sins of commision, as well as all my sins of ommision; not thanking Him, not worshipping Him, etc.

As I said in earlier comment: "My salvation is complete in Him, for Christ is my righteousness, sanctification, redemption, and wisdom." 1 Cor. 1:30

SJ Camp said...

Joseph: Matt. 3:15-16; Matt. 5:17; Gal. 3:10-12; 4:4-5; Rom. 3:21-26; Heb. 4:15; 7:26.

The imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ in His sinless life and once for all propitiatory death and bodily resurrection for our justification is complete lacking nothing.

When you stated a few days ago that there are "many from many years that consider this heretical" you have yet to address though challenged many times. You don't come on my blog sir and make assertions like this and walk away without owning it.

Your failure and silence to produce one quote from any of your "many" that specifically demonstrates your views reveal what I had assumed.

Do not post again on this thread until you can substantiate your views with many from many years that say the orthodox view of the active and passive obedience of Christ is heretical--and that is from recognized orthodox men.

There is no drive-by posting allowed on this blog.

2 Cor. 5:21

Steve Sensenig said...

Steve Camp wrote to joseph: Do not post again on this thread until you can substantiate your views with many from many years that say the orthodox view of the active and passive obedience of Christ is heretical--and that is from recognized orthodox men.

Forgive a little bit of (hopeful) levity here, but I had to chuckle as I read your ultimatum, Steve. You want quotes from "recognized orthodox men" saying that the orthodox view is heretical? If they are "recognized orthodox men", then surely they will hold to the orthodox view, right? ;)

For some reason, that struck me as rather humorous. It's like saying, "I want to see quotes from people saying that Jesus is not the means of salvation, and these quotes need to be from Bible-believing, born-again believers in Jesus Christ." ;)

Just thought I'd try to lighten things up a bit by pointing that out :)

steve :)

Steve Sensenig said...

Steve Camp, I examined those passages that you referenced at the start of your latest post to joseph. I think that I might be starting to catch a glimpse of where this "Active Obedience" imputation is coming from. Let me see if I'm saying this correctly:

1. Our righteousness is imputed to us based on the righteousness of Christ.
2. The Law must be kept in order to satisfy the Father.
3. Christ fully kept the Law, fulfilling it, rather than abolishing it.
4. Because He did not abolish the Law, the requirement of the Law-keeping still stands for us today.
5. Our righteousness, however, comes "apart from the Law"
6. Therefore, we conclude that the satisfaction of the Law is imputed to us through the full obedience of the same Law by Jesus in His earthly life.

Is that close to the progression you see in your exegesis? I'm really trying to understand the progression needed to get to the doctrine of Active/Passive.

If the above progression is not correct, in what way is it incorrect? Feel free to shorten or expand or reword it so that I can get this.

If we can agree on how you are arriving at your conclusion, then I think we can be more profitable in our discussion and evaluation of it. For the record, at this point, I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with the above progression, but am trying to build an understanding of your position.

steve :)

Terry Rayburn said...

First, I want to apologize for any tone that was less than gracious and loving. I particularly address this to my friend and brother, Steve Camp. Friendship and fellowship in the Lord demand more than just scoring points -- Luther, Erasmus, Knox, etc., notwithstanding...MAN were they mean, sometimes! :)

Having said that, for those who may not know, both JW's and Socinians teach that Jesus was not God. I, on the other hand, not only know that Jesus is God, but base roughly half of my argument against the imputation of "active righteousness" on that very fact.

Since Jesus is God, there could be no point in His existence as God or Man in which He was not righteous.

1. Question: If we all agree on that statement, that is, that Jesus was never NOT righteous, as God or man, why was any other righteousness, other than His inherent internal righteousness needed?

2. Most of the other half of my argument against the imputation of "active obedience" comes from such verses as Rom. 5:18 which speaks of the "one act of righteousness" by which we are justified. Steve S. has rightly brought us back around to this pivotal point by asking how "one act" can be made "many acts". I look forward to anyone's answer to that.

3. One final point, which is a little technical, but I think offers some biblical insight into the obedience issue:

In Matt. 5:17, Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."

This is often read as if it said, "...I did not come to abolish but to obey." Yet great insight is given into the actual meaning by Luke 24:44, which reads,

..."These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

From this we see that the fulfillment of the Law He was speaking of referred to the fulfillment of the whole Torah, or Books of Moses, in their Messianic prophetical sense, since the same was said of the Prophets.

That's not to say that He didn't also OBEY the Law in every jot and tittle, the natural course of an eternally Righteous One, born under the Law, but the obedience is not the direct issue here.

Obedience was both the sign and authentication of the Lamb of God, who did indeed obey "even unto death, the death on a cross". And it's in this death on a cross that He accomplished the "one act" by which we are justified throught the imputation of His eternal internal righteousness.


SJ Camp said...

Joseph It is what you said brother and I am only holding you to what you claimed. When you make statements like you did, they have meaning and consequence.

YES. I expect you to honor your statement or apologize for it; or stop posting here.

This one quote does not suffice your words that "there are many..."

Steve S. If you read carefully dear brother, those were Joseph's terms--he claimed there were "many" through "many years" that deemed the orthodox view of imputation that we are discussing here to be "heretical." I am simply holding him to his own words. The humorous thing is that yes, he would have to produce those quotes from credible orthodox sources. BUT he cannot; why? they don't exist.

I understand that he was misspeaking - it happens. But, again, no drive-by posting allowed here. Anyone can say anything they want on a given topic, but they must "play the man" and make the case or be silent. That is fair, equitable, charitable, and honoring to the Lord.


SJ Camp said...

Joseph: Who was this professor; did he hand this out supporting Newell's comments; and when did he serve at Master's--what year?

"We have no connection with a Christ on earth and under the law." Do you really believe this?

Secondly, let's be clear here, I have always represented the Scriptures in all my posts--that is a mainstay of this blog; but you have asserted something different.

You said, "BTW, what do the verses you gave have to do with imputation and justification through the law?" I have never said this nor do I believe this. Do you still not understand this issue dear brother?

Col. 1:5

SJ Camp said...

Joseph: You said, "For authors that consider this view heretical: Newell, Richie, Macintosh, Zeller,MacDonald, Kelley."

But to date, all your research biblically and historically has provided only one brief quote from one of these authors. I've asked you for the prof's name at Master's and when he served there, but so far you've delivered bupkis. So, is all you have to offer here?

There is no angst or source of any angst here brother. I don't know why guys like you always make tone the issue, when you're exposed for not having the goods when challenged.

BUT, I have been very patient to interact with several of you on this issue when it seems that you don't even comprehend the basics of this issue as of yet. You were content to boldly say that "The view that you say is Biblical has been called heretical for many years,by many people." You made that statement brother--all I am asking is that you prove it or apologize for your misspeak. I know that seems unreasonable to you or that it must be driven by some "angst"; but on this blog we don't just throw out sound bites like you did and then get upset or frustrated if someone actually holds us to our words.

Make the case Joseph; and if you can't I'll understand for you will be attacking orthodoxy, but, then please stop posting here until you can, or cast your sound bites elsewhere.

The blogosphere is full of opportunities for drive-by posters--just not this one. This discussion is too serious for that...

2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

Joseph: You said, "Life does not atone. Even a sinless life. It must be poured out in death, then raised up in glorified life."

I agree!!!

I have not asserted anywhere that a sinless life alone is sufficient for atonement. Of course it must be poured out in death and in resurrection. But at the same time, you cannot assert that death alone atones without the sinless life lived.

The issue here is that both His sinless life lived AND the perfect sacrifice given on the cross culminating in His resurrection is what secures and provides our justification. And in that, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ by obedience and sacrifice is imputed to us by faith.

I think we may have just agreed on something...


Bhedr said...

Doxo said>Christ's inherent righteousness as God cannot save man. It is a different kind of righteousness that is needed to save man.<

Steve Camp makes this argument agains Terry as well.

This is why I am trying to distinguish what I believe from what you guys believe. Of course He was 100% both God and man, but this is the thinking that deeply concerns me. The idea that some kind of righteousness apart from God's eternal righteousness can save.

Is this true? Is this biblical?

Peter asked Jesus, "Who then can be saved?"

"With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible!"

This statement by Jesus is accurate. It is biblical and any hammer that tries itself against this anvil will ultimately fail.

When the rich young ruler left. The rich young ruler just got done telling Christ he had kept the whole law and then Christ told him that if he was to be "Perfect" then he should go and sell everything and give it all to the poor and then follow him. This command transcends the Law. Yes we are told to love God with all the heart, but no where in the Law is man specifically told to do this.

Grace is on a totally different plane then the Law. They are two separate entities. they do not mix. Grace left the throne of Heaven and the nano-second he was birthed into this poor world of sin He was as ever righteous more than the Law ever could hope to be as he had given everything including himself. To say that man can be raised to that level and is required to meet that demand is to try to seize what the rich young ruler wished for. It cannot be seized. that is why it is only a gift and set apart from the Law as the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came from Christ alone.

Another makes the argument that Christ's blood was human blood and that is what is needed to save us. No! this is not biblical either. his blood is the very Blood begotten of God the Father Himself. This is the blood needed to save. The word became flesh. Proverbs calls us to drink of the wine of wisdom. In John we are told to eat and drink his flesh. this comes by believing on His name. I reject the Roman way!

He became a human to communicate to us that only He can save. Jesus Christ is the firstborn of a totally different creation that was intended to never fail God as Adam did. To restore us to the legal demands of the law is to only re-establish the old Adam. Those filthy rags were destroyed at the cross. Under the Accusations of Satan God responded by telling him basically, "I'll go you one better and clothe him with my righteousness."

To say that Christ had to earn the right as one commentator put it on Chad Bressons post is to say God owed us redemption. To say that he needed to achieve righteousness is to look past the righteousness present in the only Begotten of the Father. He did not have to earn the right to redeem us. Again, He proved his righteousness as Messiah and grants His righteousness as a gift. You cannot look for the demands of the law as the rich young ruler tried to do. I find this mind boggling as it was Chad Bresson who once cautioned me to never even remotely infer sin as the fire passed between the two sacrifices.

The Law is a lesser glory as Christ is the greater glory. This is made clear in scripture.

You will find no hope in the righteousness of the law apart from the inherent righteousness of Christ. Accept the curse there at the cross of your old Adam and live in the resurrected life of the Saviour.

To say that the New Nature is somehow forged by the works of the Law is to try to fit new wine into old wineskins. It is impossible.

New wine needs a new wineskin and only the eternal righteousness of God can do this and save man to the uttermost.

Bhedr said...


Jesus said he gives a New Command...To Love one another *As I* have loved you.

This cannot be done through the law as even the old remnant of that law summed up the Law and Prophets, but what is totaly new in nature is the fact that this command cannot be fulfilled by the legal demads of the Law. It is impossible.

The only way to love one another as Jesus loves us is to receive His grace. There is no other way.

Nada. No legal righteousness can fulfil that command. I challenge you to show me how.

donsands said...


I have a few Scriptures that came to mind from reading your thoughts.

"Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
Has then what is good become death to me? ....For we know that the law is spiritual, ... For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, ... and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ...therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 7: 12-14; 13:9-10
The commandment says, 'thou shall not covet", and the rich young ruler was full of covetousness. Jesus command well taken.

" ..a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, 'Teacher, what shall i do to inherit eternal life?'
He said to him, 'What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?
So he answered and said, 'You shall love the Lord ... and your neighbor...'
And He said to him, 'You have answered rightly; do this and you will live'" Luke 10: 25-28

I have some thoughts on this. How do you read these Scriptures? If you want to share. Surely you have no need to.

Bhedr said...


Of course we know he was coveteous, we all are. But that is still not the issue. God commanded him to love others with the love he loves us with. It was impossible for the rich young ruler and it is impossible for the Old Adam of all races and religions.

Don't miss this:

".....if you would enter life, keep the commandments." Matthew 19:17b

"The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me." Romans 7:10

You see the inscripted law is the law of sin and death to us. The law of the spirit is life. Grace.

Again, please answer the challenge somebody. Jesus said the Law and the Prophets all hung on the golden rule. Jesus transcended that rule and made it impossible outside of the law of the Spirit by saying...Love one another "As I* have loved you. This law cannot be fulfilled outside of the inherent eternal righteousness of God that was already present when God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.

No human can demand anything from that. It is His and His alone. that is why it must be of grace and grace alone. Not the law of the tablets.

Again, Jesus lived a sinless life because he was already righteous and proved it by meeting the demands of the law.

That is why he told the Scribe he was not far from the kingdom when siting the two greatest commands. Not far is not close enough. Only grace fulfils the Love others *As I*commmand and meets us there at the cross, so that we can live by the Spirit of life in the resurrection.

Bhedr said...

BTW Donsands>therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 7: 12-14; 13:9-10<

Thanks. Of all men just made the strongest case that the inherent righteousness of God fulfills the law.

God *is* Love. Agapeo only comes from Him. He never acheived that. He is that.

donsands said...

Here's my thoughts on these verses: The law is holy, good, just, and spiritual.
Jesus said to the lawyer, if you love God with all your heart and love your neighbor with all your heart as well, you shall inherit eternal life. Amen. So be it.

The law is spiritually holy and good, and if you obey it you shall have eternal life is what our Lord says to us even today. Amen. So be it.
Some say, "Alright, I can do that". Others, say, "He doesn't really mean that, we can just do the best we can". And others say, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Luke 18:13

No man can fulfill the law, and we agree on that. We need someone to do this for us, and we disagree here.
I believe Jesus Christ, by the grace of God did this for us, His elect. He is our righteousness. 1 cor. 1:30; 2 Pet. 1:1

BTW, have you read Steve's latest post. It is a solid answer to all your questions, I would think.
I'll be praying for us both.

Steve Sensenig said...

Steve Camp, did you happen to miss my comment where I attempted to spell out my understanding of your logical progression that leads to a doctrine of imputed righteousness through both active and passive obedience?

I know you've had to answer others, but I wondered if maybe mine just got lost in the shuffle. Prior to that, I was asking you to demonstrate the exegesis which leads to a redefinition of "one act" to mean "several acts".

Did I miss an answer somewhere? :)

steve :)

Bhedr said...

Thanks for your response Donsands.

Of course I don't know how to get around the verse you yourself cited. Love fulfills the law.

God's love alone. I really rest in the fact that the rich young ruler didn't understand this as Jesus asked him prior to the discourse...why do you call me good, there is none good but God."

I rest in grace being the only answer. I cannot love outside of His grace. I love him because He first loved me. Agapeo is God. It always has been. The whole plan of redemption revealed this. He did not earn redemption for us...he revealed what already was before the foundation of the world.

YHVH....I Am That I Am. There is not getting around that. Some may try but God will win out in the end. I don't have to prove his case for him.

Hey guys I really have enjoyed this whole thread. It solidifies my hope in God's inherent righteousness. His Agapeo. His grace alone. What peace it is to rest in.

I think we all agree on this. Glory alone to God.

Going to bed. Wifey says I been bloggin to much.

BTW Steve, You are a gifted songwriter and singer and I know our Lord is glorified by both your heart and voice.

gbfluteman said...

While I appreciate the document in it's affirmations (and denials) of certain beliefs, I must ask why the belief in a literal Hell was not considered important enough to include in this document. Just a thought.


DavidinAlba said...

Intersteing discussions and some varied and well thought out opinion, it had me thinking of my own take on this.
I think your call for a "New Reformation" is a bit late, but I may not be able to confirm that to you at this time. However, if you imagine the reformation being in regard to conciousness rather than doctrine or dogma, then you may share a train of thought with me.
In regards the Gospels, it would seem that you refer to the accepted "new testament". I will take the King James' as my ref. I will say little in regard to this as this is not a forum for such a lengthy matter. Holy scripture, be of whatever origin one chooses is holy scripture to the reader, when, and if his mind is prepared to understand, he or she will, of this there is no doubt. Many people proffess to be learned men and women in regard to holy scripture and as such offer interpretations of such and present these as being of the same divine inpsiration as the document of origin. A dangerous expansion of the ego I would venture.

I would suggest this is a matter best left to the Holy Spirit, for the holy spirit alone is the decider in such matters.If by the will of god, or by your works, by which you shall be known, you do come "face to face" with the essence of the divine,you will have very little difficulty in sorting the wheat from the chaff in regards to holy text.
By all of your efforts, as evengelists, apologists, critics and others, the "word" will be known, so for this you have my admiration and my gratitude. May the light of the divine which shines within all of us, be your guide.

Psalm said...
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