Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What God Requires, Christ Provides
...The Lord Our Righteousness

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."
-
Matt. 5:17, 20

"For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." -Rom. 5:17


I have posted a few comments on a thread at Jimmy Akin's blog on the issues of Francis Beckwith's defection from biblical Christianity to Romanism; and asking them to define their doctrines and truth claims from the Word of God alone. I would encourage you to read this exchange. You'll notice as I did, that Jimmy's picture on his main page looks like he is wanting to be in country music. "The Catholic Cowboy" would be a great pseudonym for him... His first single? "My Akin Breakin' Heart" of course :-).

How faithful the Lord is to use us for His glory as weak and inadequate as we are, beloved. To God be the glory that He allows us the humble and joyous pleasure of serving Him. I had the privilege to minister in song yesterday morning and wrote this song before the service began. It's not as great an accomplishment as it may sound, for the vast core of the lyrics is from an old Isaac Watts song based upon Philippians 3:1-11. My only contribution was adding a chorus and the music. I hope to be able to share the music with you sometime later this week. May it encourage you as you prepare for Resurrection Sunday in a few weeks and mostly in the finished propitiatory work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and His triumph over sin, death, Satan, and the grave.

In His unfailing love,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14


"Jesus My Lord, He Is Enough"
Lyrics by Watts/Camp, Music by Camp

V1 No more, my God, I boast no more of all the duties I have done;
I quit the hopes I held before to trust the merits of thy Son.

V2 Now for the love I bear His Name, what was my gain I count my loss,
My former pride I call my shame, and nail my glory to His cross.

He is enough in life and death
In joy and sorrow, toil and rest
Complete in Christ, I am content
Jesus my Lord, He is enough


V3 Yes, and I must and will esteem all things but loss for Jesus' sake
O may my soul be found in Him, and of His righteousness partake.

He is enough in life and death
In joy and sorrow, toil and rest
Complete in Christ, I am content
Jesus my Lord, He is enough


V4 The best obedience of my hands dares not appear before Thy throne;
But faith can answer Thy demands by pleading what my Lord has done
.
He is enough in life and death
In joy and sorrow, toil and rest
Complete in Christ, I am content
Jesus my Lord, He is enough
Jesus my Lord, You are enough


The 1999 document, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration" (signed by many leading Evangelicals including Sproul, Packer, Kennedy, Carson, Hayford, MacArthur, McCartney, Swindoll, Lucado, Stott, Ankerberg, Neff, Stowell, Stanley, etc.) states:
"God's justification of those who trust in 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."

"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 on 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."

John Piper writes:
“Justification cannot come through the law (see Gal. 2:21; Acts 13:38-39). Each of us-every single human being (see Rom. 3:10-12, 19-20)-has failed to do what God's law requires of us (Gal. 3:10; 6:13; cf. James 2:10). But to understand what God requires, we must see what Christ provides. In his mercy, God has provided his Son as a twofold substitute for us. Both facets of Christ's substitution are crucial for our becoming right with God. These facets are grounded in the twin facts that (1) we have failed to keep God's law perfectly, and so we should die; but (2) Jesus did not fail—he alone has kept God's law perfectly (see Heb. 4:15) —and so he should not have died. Yet in his mercy God has provided in Christ a great substitution—a "blessed exchange"—according to which Jesus can stand in for us with God, offering his perfect righteousness in place of our failure and his own life's blood in place of ours. When we receive the mercy God offers us in Christ by faith (see Acts 16:31; 1 Tim. 1:15-16; 1 Pet. 1:8-9), his perfection is imputed—or credited or reckoned—to us and our sinful failure is imputed—or credited or reckoned—to him. And thus Jesus' undeserved death pays for our sin (see Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Rev. 5:9); and God's demand for us to be perfectly righteous is satisfied by the imputation or crediting of Christ's perfect righteousness to us. "If justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose" (Gal. 2:21). But "God has done what the law ... could not do" (Rom. 8:3).

2 Corinthians 5:21 is one of Scripture's most powerful affirmations of the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the account of those who believe in him: "For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." There is a great deal that can be said about this verse but, when all is said and done, perhaps Charles Hodge has summed up its import best:
There is probably no passage in the Scriptures in which the doctrine of justification is more concisely or clearly stated than [this]. Our sins were imputed to Christ, and his righteousness is imputed to us. He bore our sins; we are clothed in his righteousness... Christ bearing our sins did not make him morally a sinner... nor does Christ's righteousness become subjectively ours, it is not the moral quality of our souls... Our sins were the judicial ground of the sufferings of Christ, so that they were a satisfaction of justice; and his righteousness is the judicial ground of our acceptance with God.

All of this then means, as Hodge goes on to say, that "our pardon is an act of justice"—an act based on Jesus having borne our sins (see 1 Pet. 2:24)—and yet it "is not mere pardon, but justification alone"—that is, our forevermore standing as righteous before God because we are clothed with Christ's perfection—‘that gives us peace with God.’”

The Testimony of Scripture
  • "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputed not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." Psalm 32:1-2
  • "And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Philippians 3:9
  • "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:19
  • "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption:" 1 Corinthians 1:30
  • "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Romans 3:24-28
  • "And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification." Romans 4:22-25
  • "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" Romans 5:1
  • "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness of everyone that believeth." Romans 10:3-4
  • "Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Romans 5:18-19

George Whitefield says,
“How the Lord is to be man's righteousness, comes next to be considered.

And that is, in one word, by IMPUTATION. For it pleased God, after he had made all things by the word of his power, to create man after his own image. And so infinite was the condescension of the high and lofty One, who inhabiteth eternity, that, although he might have insisted on the everlasting obedience of him and his posterity; yet he was pleased to oblige himself, by a covenant or agreement made with his own creatures, upon condition of an unsinning obedience, to give them immortality and eternal life. For when it is said, "The day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die;" we may fairly infer, so long as he continued obedient, and did not eat thereof, he should surely live. The 3rd of Genesis gives us a full, but mournful account, how our first parents broke this covenant, and thereby stood in need of a better righteousness than their own, in order to procure their future acceptance with God. For what must they do? They were as much under a covenant of works as ever. And though, after their disobedience, they were without strength; yet they were obliged not only to do, but continue to do all things, and that too in the most perfect manner, which the Lord had required of them: and not only so, but to make satisfaction to God's infinitely offended justice, for the breach they had already been guilty of. Here then opens the amazing scene of DIVINE PHILANTHROPY; I mean, God's love to man. For behold, what man could not do, Jesus Christ, the son of his Father's love, undertakes to do for him. And that God might be just in justifying the ungodly, though "he was in the form of God, and therefore thought it no robbery to be equal with God; yet he took upon him the form of a servant," even human nature. In that nature he obeyed, and thereby fulfilled the whole moral law in our stead; and also died a painful death upon the cross, and thereby became a curse for, or instead of, those whom the Father had given to him. As God, he satisfied, at the same time that he obeyed and suffered as man; and, being God and man in one person, he wrought out a full, perfect, and sufficient righteousness for all to whom it was to be imputed.

Here then we see the meaning of the word righteousness. It implies the active as well as passive obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. We generally, when talking of the merits of Christ, only mention the latter, — his death; whereas, the former, — his life and active obedience, is equally necessary. Christ is not such a Savior as becomes us, unless we join both together. Christ not only died, but lived, not only suffered, but obeyed for, or instead of, poor sinners. And both these jointly make up that complete righteousness, which is to be imputed to us, as the disobedience of our first parents was made ours by imputation. In this sense, and no other, are we to understand that parallel which the apostle Paul draws, in the 5th of the Romans, between the first and second Adam. This is what he elsewhere terms, "our being made the righteousness of God in him."

John Piper again writes: "The historic Protestant view of the Bible’s teaching is that the basis of our hope for acceptance with God and eternal life is the provision of Christ for both pardon and perfection. That is, He becomes our substitute in two senses: In His suffering and death He becomes our curse and condemnation (Galatians 3:13; Romans 8:3); in His final suffering and death, and in His whole life of suffering and righteousness, He becomes our perfection (2 Corinthians 5:21). His death is the climax of His atoning sufferings, which propitiate the wrath of God against us (Romans 3:24-25); and His death is the climax of a perfect life of righteousness—God’s righteousness’—imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4:6, 11 with 3:21-22; 5:18-19).

Sometimes these two aspects of Christ’s atoning work are spoken of as His active and passive obedience. This language may sound confusing since Christ was mistreated badly and suffered during His active life, and He was very active in His obedience as He suffered the last gruesome hours of His death. But if we recognize these ambiguities, there is truth to be seen in these terms the way the have been used.

For example, William G.T. Shedd writes, “By His passive righteousness is meant His expiatory sufferings, by which He satisfied the claims of justice, and by His active righteousness is meant His obedience to the law as a rule of life and conduct. It was contended by those who made this distinction, that the purpose of Christ as the vicarious substitute was to meet the entire demands of law for the sinner. But the law requires present and perfect obedience, as well as satisfaction for past disobedience. The law is not completely fulfilled by the endurance of penalty only. It must also be obeyed. Christ both endured the penalty due to man for disobedience, and perfectly obeyed the law for him; so that he was vicarious substitute in reference to both the precept and the penalty of the law. By His active obedience He obeyed the law, and by His passive obedience He endured the penalty. In this way His vicarious work is complete.” History of Christian Doctrine, Vol. 2 (New York, T.&T. Clark, 1863), p. 341.

John Wesley observed, “But as the active and passive righteousness of Christ were never, in fact, separated from each other, so we never need separate them at all, either in speaking or even in thinking. And it is with regard to both these conjointly that Jesus is called ‘The Lord Our Righteousness.’” John Wesley’s Sermons, Sermon #20, “The Lord Our Righteousness,” preached at the Chapel in West Street, Seven Dials on Sunday, November 24, 1765.

John Murray is very helpful here in making the proper use of the language of active and passive obedience. “The term ‘passive obedience’ does not mean that in anything Christ did was He passive, the involuntary victim of obedience imposed upon Him… In His sufferings He was supremely active… Neither are we to suppose that we can allocate certain phases or acts of our Lord’s life on earth to the active obedience and certain other phases acts to the passive obedience. The distinction between the active and passive obedience is not a distinction of periods. It is our Lord’s whole work of obedience in every phase and period that is described as active and passive, and we must avoid the mistake of thinking that the active obedience applies to the obedience of His life and passive obedience to the obedience of His final sufferings and death.

“The real use and purpose of the formula is to emphasize the two distinct aspects of our Lord’s vicarious obedience. The truth expressed rests upon the recognition that the law of God has both penal sanctions and positive demands. It demands not only the full discharge of its precepts but also the infliction of penalty for all infractions and shortcomings. It is the twofold demand of the law of God which is taken into account when we speak of the active and passive obedience of Christ. Christ as the vicar of His people came under the curse and condemnation due to sin and He also fulfilled the law of God in all its positive requirements. In other words, He took care of the guilt of sin and perfectly fulfilled the demands of righteousness. He perfectly met the bother penal and the preceptive requirement of God’s law. The passive obedience refers to the former and the active obedience to the later.” John Murray, Redemption—Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, MI; William B. Eerdmans, 1953), pp.20-22. -John Piper, Counted Righteous in Christ (Wheaton. IL; Crossway Books, 2002) pp. 123-124.

(An encore presentation)

28 comments:

Unchained Slave said...

Steve,
I appreciate these posts. Understanding Justification comes through BOTH the life and death/resurrection of Christ is important.

Quite frankly though many of your posts are too deep for me, that is they delve into levels of theology that theologians debate. I am not a theologian. I do not speak, read or write Greek and Latin. I am a simple man.

Your 3/14 post “Who Cares Anymore” laments that we are not concentrating on spreading the Gospel. In the comments section you lamented that so few people commented on the article.

You followed the article with “Sixteen Short Sermons…What must I do to be saved?”
It was an excellent article - articulating some basic understandings of the nature of ‘conviction’.

Then it was back to theological discussions about ‘Emergent Theology’, ‘Passive and Active Obedience’, and this article that, though good, to me is more theological than practical. In that there are no tools of evangelism, and it is not an essay on ‘practical Christian living’ - living daily for my Lord Jesus Christ. If there is, I missed it - again, I’m a simple man.

Do you have another blog - where you - dedicated to sharing the gospel of salvation - have a series of articles that addresses the ’12 - Points’ of the ‘Gospel Presented’ from ‘Who Cares Anymore’?

I care, passionately, about sharing the “Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for Salvation…” (Ro. 1:16)

I don’t know Mr. Mclaren. I don’t know his work. I know from this blog that he preaches another gospel… I do not care. There is nothing I can do to change Mr. Mclaren except pray.
What I can do is share the Gospel of Christ…
Tools like the ’12 - Points’ are tools that I can use, today…

If you have such a blog, please point me to it.
I really enjoy your work - I’m seeking the ‘most practical’ parts of it.
What I’m talking about is, if I was curious about the Gospel as an unsaved person, or I was a ‘baby’ Christian, where would you send me… reading here I’d be totally lost.

Thank you,
In Christ,

Unchained Slave

Rusty said...

what can I say to that but Amen?

Puritan Belief said...

There is a lot of great writing here. If yourself or another wanted to answer the following that would be great.

1. In relation to Matt 5:17 you opening verse. Did Jesus abolish the law for you? or does it still stand for you?

2. Do you think scripture says that the righteous life of Christ is imputed to the Christian and the works he did are credit to us. hence we are declared righteous?

3. Does God look at you and see the righteous life of Jesus or does he look at you and see you righteous without spot wrinkle or blemish?

Paul said...

Thanks Steve,

The post has stretched my thinking, so I thank you for that. I know understand the significance and necessity of the righteous life that Christ lived. If He had came down to earth at 33 years of age and died at the cross 3 days later would have been any righteousness to impute to our account? I think not.
When the elements of the Lord's Supper are taken do you think that the Bread (His body given) speaks to us of His life, whereas the Wine (His blood) speaks to us of His death? Therefore we can see the differentiation of the elements and the necessity of both.

Paul said...

"would have been" should be "would there have been".
"I know understand" should be "I now understand"

Matthew2323 said...

Romans 5
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Apostle Paul links both the life and the blood of Christ to our reconciliation!

Paul said...

Joseph,
I have not taken offence.

If Christ had gone straight to the Cross would we be in the same position as we are now? (As He lived a life that fulfilled all righteousness - note: Matt 3v15)

Additionally I rather think He did not say "my body which is broken for you," - his body was not broken.

SJ Camp said...

Matthew2323:

Keep quoting Scripture - it is the best defense. And this is one of the great chapters in the Bible that defend the orthodox view.

Steve
2 Cor. 5:21

Paul said...

We perhaps should take note of what was said in the blog.... "We affirm that Christ's saving work included both his life and his death on our behalf ... We declare that faith in the perfect obedience of Christ by which he fulfilled all the demands of the Law of God on 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." ... thus we see affirmed here the absloute requirement for a righteous life of the one who would be our Saviour.

SJ Camp said...

Puritan Belief asked:

1. In relation to Matt 5:17 you opening verse. Did Jesus abolish the law for you? or does it still stand for you?

SC - He fulfilled the Law for me. Rom. 6:14, "For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace." And, Rom. 3:31, "Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law."

PB wrote:
2. Do you think scripture says that the righteous life of Christ is imputed to the Christian and the works he did are credit to us. hence we are declared righteous?

SC - Christ's righteousness is imputed to us in justification (2 Cor. 5:21) and what constitutes that righteousness is the Lord Jesus in incarnation fulfilling the Law of God and all righteousness through His active obedience; as well as through His passive obedience fulfilling the justice, holiness and wrath of God that burns against me and my sin on the cross. He is the perfect High Priest, Mediator, and Divine Substitute in propitiation, justification and imputation. (Psalm 5:5; 7:11; John 3:36; Romans 3:24; Romans 8:30; Romans 4:5-8; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; Romans 5:17-19; Philippians 3:8, 9; Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; Romans 5:17).

PB wrote: 3. Does God look at you and see the righteous life of Jesus or does he look at you and see you righteous without spot wrinkle or blemish?

SC - To your second part, that is in the eschaton - glorification. I am a new creation incarcerated in unredeemed flesh who still waits for the redemption of the body (Rom. 8:23). I still sin, don't you? I have not arrived in my sanctification, have you? But now: "for me to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21).

To your first part: God sees the righteousness of Christ imputed to me; and because I am in Christ I have eternal life and peace with God. I am a new creation; I am regenerated and have been crucified with Christ (Titus 3:5-7; Gal. 2:20).

BUT, I also stand in grace; and have unshakable confidence in Him for I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2). In fact, that reality is so sure, that it is a helmet of hope of salvation that guards me against the attacks of the Devil himself (Eph. 6:17; 1 Thess. 5:8).

I am declared righteous; not yet made righteous. Again, that will occur in glorification: "Rom. 8:29-30 "For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified."

Jude 24 "Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy."

Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Matthew2323 said...

Joseph,

I do not see how the context of Romans 5 would lead you to believe that “life” is referring to the resurrected life. If you could provide some reasoning for this it would be most helpful. Perhaps Hebrews 2 will be provide some more insight.

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
5 Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 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.
10 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. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Yours in Him,
Matthew

Puritan Belief said...

Steve:
I enjoyed your answers Steve they are well thought out. Rather then answer in a debate format addressing you point by point. I will answer the questions as well.

(Dear Readers please read referenced verses especially when my words are not clear.)

1. In relation to Matt 5:17 the opening verse. Did Jesus abolish the law for you? or does it still stand for you?

Yes, he has abolished the law for me and all the Sanctified (Saints). For I am not under law but under grace.(Rom 6:14) No law stands against me or ordinance for that matter, they have been nailed to the cross or abolished. (Col 2:14,Rom 10:4) Jesus DID NOT abolish the Law for the unbeliever for it still stands even stronger then ever. For unbelievers are not under grace and have no excuse but to fulfill the law (1 Tim 1:9) and daily the Lords wrath burns against them for transgressing it.

We are under the law of Christ which is written in our hearts and minds. (Heb 10:16, Heb 8:10) Not only this every Christian fulfills the law for we are in Christ and He is in us. (John 14:21), If this would not be so we could never inherit eternal life (Heb 12:14)


2. Do you think scripture says that the righteous life of Christ is imputed to the Christian and the works he did are credit to us. hence we are declared righteous?

No, Scripture never talks like this. When the scripture says we have "Christs Righteousness" it does not mean that we are credited for his righteous life. It simply means that BECAUSE of his righteous life and death our sin gets transferred (imputed) to Christ and dealt with by his perfect sacrifice once and for all (Heb 10:10) (never done again or need to be done again). His righteousness that is imputed/transferred to us is his declaration that we stand without spot or wrinkle meaning without sin (Eph 5:27). This was His doing not our own and hence we have "Christs Righteousness" We are now right with God for we stand without sin.(Rom 4:8) We can boldly approach him (Heb 4:16) and freely by His grace we have access to the throne room of God.

3. Does God look at you and see the righteous life of Jesus or does he look at you and see you righteous without spot wrinkle or blemish?

When God looks at you and he sees Jesus and his righteous life then what happens if he stops tricking himself and sees you as you are? Still sinning and transgressing? (1 John 1:8)

The Lord looks at the Saint and see's them as righteous.

The Lord has communion with us (John 17:11) isn't this amazing. He is not tricking himself into having communion with Jesus by seeing us as if we were His Son but it is actually us that he sees and he is justified to see us this way for he has rightly dealt with our Sin through his Son at Calvary. This is how he sees us without Spot or wrinkle. HE SEES US LIKE THIS NOW. We are Glorified in this NOW. Before our new birth the Lord could never have communion with us and was at enmity with us.


You asked the question am I sanctified. My answer is Yes (Hebrews 10:14)

Do I still sin: Yes,(1 John 1:8) and I hate when I do this for my flesh wages war against the very Spirit of Jesus inside me. who will free me from this body? (Gal 5:17)

Best regards Steve may we uplift Jesus in our writings here.

Kind Regards

Puritan Belief said...

When shall we be glorified?

One final note:
It was said:
"I am declared righteous; not yet made righteous. Again, that will occur in glorification: "Rom. 8:29-30"

I am not so sure. I believe the Lord makes us righteous and glorifies us in the new birth. I would see that verse Rom 8:29-30 saying this.

John 17:22
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

the glory of Christ is to be partaken of now as well as later. Stephen had it when his face shone like an angel. So do many Christians. I would not be so quick to put all these wonderful truths in a future dispensation.

I am not saying we are full of the Lords Shakina (?Spelling) glory all the time but I do believe that he does give it to his saints at different times.

I believe this glory wrought in Christ is to be yearned for and desired greatly by Christians right now even while we go through tribulations.

MarieP said...

Joseph,

If Christ's life did nothing towards the righteousness imputed to us, then how is the law really fulfilled? Doesn't the law not only require not doing sin ("do not steal...") but also require doing good ("love the Lord thy God...")? And are we not lacking in original righteousness? Isn't our own righteousness as a filthy garment before God?

Bhedr said...
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MarieP said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MarieP said...

joseph said...

"Why do you want to have the law involved in something God said was apart from law? If the inheritence is based on law it is no longer based on promise.(be that vicarious or personal)"

My point is that Christ fulfilled the law on the behalf of God's elect. Not only did Christ's atonement satisfy the wrath of God towards the elect, but Christ's righteousness (ie His passive and active obedience to the law) is placed upon their account.

Do you agree that all natural man is under the wrath of God? Romans 1:18-20 says:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Do you believe that there is a law that has been broken?
James 2:10- "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."

Because of original sin, we all inherit a sin nature, and are thus condemned (Eph 2, Rom 5). Natural man remains condemned by the law.

But, Christians are no longer condemned by the law. Instead, we are heirs of the righteousness that comes by faith (Phil 3:9). Nothing we did earned this. Nothing we can do can add to it. Why is this? Because Christ has satisfied the wrath of God against the law-breaking of the elect. Also, Christ has fulfilled the law for His elect. This includes the negative and positive requirements of the law. You cannot understand justification without understanding the law, since justification is a forensic term.

Rom 5
15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.
17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I see that Piper and Spurgeon are two of your favorite authors. How is what I am saying different than what they are saying? Do you agree with them on the topic of justification and the imputation of Christ's righteousness?

MarieP said...

joseph wrote:

"Justification is not in need of the law to be in operation because it is according to promise. (Rom.4)"

Romana 4:15 says, "for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation."

To quote John Murray:

"Without law, there would be no sin, for sin consists in the transgression of the law. In our sinful situation, therefore, there is always transgression of the law and it is this transgression that evokes the wrath of God. The sequence of the thought is: law existing, sinful men transgressing law, the wrath of God provoked to exercise by transgression. Paul's enunciation of this is condensed; that is why he says, 'the law works wrath': it works wrath only, however, because of the transgression.

"This consideration that law works wrath is pertinent to the hypothesis which Paul had stated in the preceding verse. For if it is the wrath of God that the law works, then there cannot be by law the favour which faith and the promise presuppose; by law the context of faith and promise is eliminated, the opposite comes nto operation, and faith and promise are thus made void"

John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (Eerdmans, 1997), 144.

The law can never justify us. However, that does not mean that there is not a law that we have transgressed.

SJ Camp said...

Joseph You said, "Justification is in no need of Sinai to work." What?

The Apostle Paul disagrees with you dear brother:

"Rom. 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Rom. 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Rom. 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Rom. 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Rom. 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Rom. 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Rom. 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Rom. 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Rom. 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Rom. 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Rom. 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Rom. 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

AND...

Rom. 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Rom. 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom. 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. Rom. 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Rom. 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. Rom. 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Rom. 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Bhedr said...

Joseph is right Steve. Who did Noah and Abraham have to lead them to believe?

God himself!

Truly the law is the Schoolmaster to convict, but God does not and has not always used the law to convict men of unbelief-the factory of sin. He can use his Holy Spirit and his word...words like..."He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."

Phew! thats enough for me. It is good to smell the law and be convicted and condemned by it, but if one cannot believe that this simple truth saves, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." then one needs to sniff on the law a little longer and feel its sindging heat so that he can enter that dark chasm to see that this truth and this truth alone will tear down the wall of unbelief. I will agree then that the law is good that way, but it is the Holy Spirit and the word of God in his goodness that opens mens eyes.

One does not need to balance a wrathful God with a sweet one. Either one will know the one or the other. He cannot know both. If one rests his hopes on the Law then one will know the God of wrath, but if one believes on the Lord Jesus Christ in childlike faith then he will never know the God of wrath...only the sweet one, which is who he is as it is man who causes God to be a God of wrath. He has no pleasure there as he has met those demands on His only begotten son.

My desire now is to flee the Law and to follow the Shepherd. I find no hope in the driest fig leaf of the law. In fact I am terrified of it.

MarieP said...

Joseph said:
"Was justification given (forensically) to Abraham? Yes. Was the law in effect? No."

A brother pointed this passage out to me, and I'd like you to respond to it:

2 Peter 2
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;
5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;
7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men
8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),
9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment

Were not the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah under the condemnation of the law?

Marcia said...

Quite frankly though many of your posts are too deep for me, that is they delve into levels of theology that theologians debate.

I hear you, unchained slave.

I want to learn, and I have learned a lot here through these posts.

I guess I have to question whether God meant for it all to be so complicated, though, or are we the ones complicating it?

I don't speak or read Greek or Hebrew. I don't know a whole lot of history of canons and thesis and theology.

Can a person just pick up a Bible in English and read it and be saved?

Or do we really have to debate all of this reformed or arminian, justification, law, fifteen kinds of tribulation, etc.? Because I don't understand all of that, and, well, I'm pretty smart.

What of the average Joe? What about the folks whose daily life doesn't allow them to spend time reading Spurgeon and Pink and, well, Camp or Challies? Are folks here going to call them out and say they are hellbound, as they have to others?

I'm not criticizing anyone or trying to start trouble; these are sincere thoughts I have. Isn't Jesus, and His cross, and the example He set, supposed to be enough, or do I really need to know all of this other stuff?

gigantor1231 said...

Marcia and Unchained Slave

In a nut shell, what is being said here is Christ did all the work that needed to be done in order to obtain your salvation and there is nothing left for you to do!!! So what do we have to do to be saved, in reality absolutely nothing, He draws us Jn. 6:44 and opens our eyes and gives us the gift of faith to repentance. We have no part in our salvation and nothing to boast in. This is a stumbling block to the jews who believe that fulfilling the law is the road to salvation and foolishness to the greeks who believe that the attainment of wisdom and knowledge is the path to salvation.
So, is this easy and cheap grace? In no way. When you understand that He has done this all for you on your behalf then you will find that all else is meaningless in comparison and you will want to bear the fruits that He has called you to bear.

Kacy said...

Hi Steve,

Here are a few Scriptures to meditate on as well:

"You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." --James 2:24

"So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. -- John 6:53-56

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." --Matthew 25:31-46

I bring these passages up because they seem to be pointing to more than mere sola fide for salvation. Is faith necessary for salvation? Yes! However, Scripture also points to the necessity of good works and partaking of Christ's body and blood.

This com box is too small for a lengthy discussion, but I beleive that one is saved through union with Christ. This is granted to us by grace based on the merits of Christ--His LIFE, DEATH, and RESURECTION. This union produces faith, hope, and love within the believer. But the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:13).

I find it ironic that you desire a scriptural defense of the Catholic position while quoting Scripture plus those within the Protestant/Reformed tradition (Piper, Whitefield, and Murray). You indeed use Scripture + tradition, same as any Catholic. The difference is that your tradition is much newer.

I've typed all this to say that the Catholic position is Biblical. I became Catholic after a careful study of Scripture. I think the burden of Scriptural proof for Sola Fide rests on the Protestant. Where in the Bible are the words "faith alone?" I've shown one place (James 2:24).

Pax Christi,
Kacy

P.S. Please do not call Catholicism "Romanism." This is an out-dated, inaccurate, polemical term. The title Roman Catholic actually refers to a particular rite within the Catholic Church. There are many rites including the Melkites, the Armenians (not Arminians), the Byzantines, etc. The Catholic Church is the universal Church, with all rites union with the pope and united in theology.

gigantor1231 said...

Kacy

While it is true, 'a man is justified by works and not only by faith alone' james 2 24, the greater truth is that vs 14 'what use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?'
vs 17 'even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.' So faith without works is dead!' Does this imply that faith in Christ alone is not enough? Does it imply that it is our works in conjuction with faith? The answer to both questions is emphatically no. Why? Because those works that you refer to are a fruit of one that is truly saved, those that are truly saved obey the commands of the Lord and they are not burdensome to him/her. In other words, if you see one who claims to be a Christian and there are no works in them, no fruit of works, then they most likely do not know Christ, their faith is dead because it was never alive to begin with.
What you beleive and what the Catholic church teaches is a gospel of salvation and works, in other words salvation is attained in part by works. What the true Gospel of Christ teaches is that eph. 2 8,9 'for by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.' So, either this passage is in contradiction with James, by your definition, or faith alone saves and works is the fruit that springs from that true faith. True faith produces good works, good works do not produce true faith. Case in point is the Catholic Church's Mother Teresa, who did many good works but she denied Christ as the only way to salvation, John 14 6 'I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.' When Teresa was questioned as to why she does not preach the gospel to those that she ministers to she replied that 'if she could help a hindu, or buddhist, or muslim to be a better person in their religion that was good, because if they were sincere in what they beleived then that is their way to God.' This is a very tragic thing. One would have to question the authenticity of ones salvation when they deny Christ as the one and only way to God, the only path to salvation, but such have been the teachings of the Catholic church and it's followers.

donsands said...

kacy,

I'm sure Steve will respond to your comment. I hope you don't mind if I share as well.

I was a Catholic.
I Am now a Protestant.
God saved me in 1984, and I went back to the Catholic Church for two years.
The Bible helped me see the errors in the Catholic Church.
Praying to Mary, and even praying to others.
Baptism as a sacrament that actually regenerates.
Penance or Confession is how are sins are forgiven.

All these teachings I came to believe and know, as man's teachings, and not Scripture.

But the bottom line is that salvation is 100% of God. He saves completely.
Christ died for me, and His body on the Cross bore all my sins, past, present, and future.
His atonement was once and for all. Heb. 10:14

And one last verse to share. This verse covers grace, faith and works, and how these work together in God's loving salvation.
"For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselfs: it's the GIFT of God:
Not by works [effort], that no man should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has ordained before that we should walk in them." Eph. 2:8-10

We're not saved by acheiving, but receiving.
Not by our race, but grace.

All for Jesus.

Aizhen said...

I'm not a debater. I never have been. So I won't debate.

I just wanted to tell you that your approach to Catholics is so wrong. You make fun of Jimmy for his appearance, is that a loving thing to do? I have read your comments and you seem to have no concern at all for changing minds. You just want to show how right you are and how smart. You don't care at all about the people you're calling Romanists.

In addition you never responded to the arguments of other people. Instead you set up your own straw men and attacked them, quoting from random sources rather than actually engaging the other people. "You worship Mary! That is wrong! I win! QUOTE SCRIPTURE TO PROVE I'M WRONG, SUCKERS!" Do you expect anyone to consider your arguments, let alone be convinced, when you're obviously not listening to them?

Joel said...

I just wanted to tell you that your approach to Catholics is so wrong. You make fun of Jimmy for his appearance, is that a loving thing to do? I have read your comments and you seem to have no concern at all for changing minds. You just want to show how right you are and how smart. You don't care at all about the people you're calling Romanists.

That last part, I think, is untrue, Aizhen. Steve genuinely believes that Catholics are unsaved (because they're Catholic), and he would like to see them saved. (It sounds like a no-brainer, but I've known Protestants who wouldn't, or if so, you can't tell from their discourse.) He gets snide in his posts, but he's invariably gracious to Catholics in the comment fields.

Steve, I started to follow the thread earlier, and left off on when you said that Dr. Beckwith wasn't speaking in concert with the Tridentine position. Although I didn't hear the show, it appears to me that Dr. Beckwith is a good deal more familiar with Trent than you are. I've seen you cite a little piece of Trent out of context on this blog many times, but that snippet seems to be the extent of your understanding of the council.

Moreover, the assumption that Catholics deny or downplay the authority of the Bible didn't hold up as well at Jimmy's place as it does here. His readers tend to be a Biblically savvy lot, as much or more so than most Protestants, and I thought some of the answers they gave you were excellent. You were being a wise-elbow, and they answered you with considerable respect.