Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Passive Obedience’

Dagg BK 7 Chapter III

When the Scriptures speak of Christ’s blood as the ground of our justification, his obedience is supposed: and, on the other hand, when his obedience is mentioned, his sufferings are supposed. His obedience to the precepts of the law would not have sufficed, if he had not also endured its penalty: and if, while enduring his sufferings, he had not loved God with all his heart, his sacrifice would have been polluted. A lamb without spot was needed; and perfect obedience was therefore necessary to render his offering acceptable. His active and passive obedience are both necessary to make a complete salvation; and when only one is mentioned in the Scriptures, the other is supposed.

In being made under the law, Christ became our substitute; and his obedience and sufferings are placed to our account, as if we had personally obeyed and suffered, to the full satisfaction of the law. We are thus justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us: “He who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”[77] Our sins were imputed to Christ when he died for them; and his righteousness is imputed to us when we receive eternal life through him. He was treated as if he had personally committed the sins…..

Read the entire article at Founders Ministries.

The Most Important Question One Can Ask!

By Roger Duke

“Of Justification”

There are many important questions that should be asked concerning the possible paths one’s life should take. These questions must be considered, especially in the light of “characteristic … key events … which compose the essential[s] of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, … morality”3 and even death. No one single question is more important than: How can a sinful person be in right standing with a Holy God? This “must ever be a question of intense interest.”4 It is fundamental to any contemplative and sober-minded person—especially one concerned with their soul’s ultimate destination. It can be asked in theological parlance; “How can [a righteous] God justly account an ungodly [hu]man righteous[?]”5 It is profoundly, pointedly personal; “How can I be right with or just before God?”6 The Baptist Catechism simply asks: “What is justification.”7 This article will seek to shed light on this Bible truth from The Baptist Confession of Faith,8 and…..

Read the entire article at Founder’s Ministries.

John Owen on the Imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience

by Michael Brown

Introduction

In 1677, when John Owen (1616-1683) published his book, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ; Explained, Confirmed, and Vindicated, the Protestant doctrine of justification was still engulfed in controversy. “In my judgment,” said the English Calvinist, “Luther spake the truth when he said, ‘Amisso articulo justificationis, simul amissa est tota doctrina Christiana.’ And I wish he had not been a true prophet, when he foretold that in the following ages the doctrine hereof would be again obscured.”[1] As a Reformed theologian, Oxford University Vice-Chancellor, and Congregationalist pastor, Owen defended the Protestant and confessional doctrine of justification against Arminianism, Socinianism, and Roman Catholicism.[2] Indeed, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith was primarily a repudiation of these three positions, particularly Socinianism.

These were not, however, Owen’s only opponents on this subject. While Protestants in the seventeenth-century generally understood the formal cause of a believer’s justification to be the imputed righteousness of Christ, not all agreed on the precise definition of that imputed righteousness. At the Westminster Assembly (1643-1649), for example, the majority believed that the imputed righteousness of Christ included both Christ’s active and passive obedience. A small minority, however, affirmed the latter but denied the former. Among these were the Assembly’s first prolocutor, William Twisse (1578-1646), and the theologian Thomas Gataker (1574-1654).[3] While Owen was not present at the Westminster Assembly, he was nevertheless fully committed to the majority view….

Read the entire article here.

Romans 1:17 & the imputation of God’s inherent righteousness?

by Hershel L Harvell Jr.

A few weeks ago I blogged an article which was entitledThe ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media,” you can read that article here, which consists of three parts. In part three I made mention of a minister friend, of whom I respect and love, which had a problem with the term ‘eloquence,’ as used by ministers to describe one who is fluent in the scriptures. You can read that article here.

My minister friend and I, even though we are friends on Facebook, usually interact on Linkedin. Whatever quote I place up on Facebook, I also place on Linkedin, Tumblr, and Twitter. My friend usually finds fault with my quotes, but does not interact with them on any other platform except for Linkedin and because Linkedin is like Twitter, in that it restricts the amount of characters one can use in a post, then I have to place my reply here, because my wordpress posts also blog to Linkedin when they go out.

Even though my minister friend is a particular Baptist, nevertheless he finds fault with much of what is held to within particular Baptists and Reformed Baptists circles and finds fault with much that is written in historic Reformed creeds and confessions. For instance, even though both the Westminster Confession[1] and the 1677/89 London Baptist Confession[2] state that, “The moral Law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof,” nevertheless this he rejects. (I hope I did not misrepresent him here, but believe that I have stated his view correctly, namely, that he rejects a moral law which all men are obligated to obey).

The controversial point on which I am writing now, has to do with the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer once he is regenerated and places faith in Christ. I placed up an article several days ago entitled, “Justification and Imputation,” wherein the writer of said article stated, “he died the death and bore the wrath of God that we deserved. This is the imputation of Christ’s passive obedience in which he freely submitted to the Father by becoming the atoning sacrifice for our sins,” and again, “From his birth to his death, he was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. We failed. He did not. We disobeyed. He perfectly obeyed the Father. Thus we are declared righteous based on his merits alone by the imputation of his active obedience.

Whereby my minister friend commented on this article, “The Bible does not teach imputation of obedience but of righteousness. His obedience (which cannot be separated into “active and passive”) was the foundation of the imputation of His righteousness.

My response was: “What righteousness would be imputed to the sinner, if it is not the obedience of Christ which he wrought by keeping the law for us?” and then I quoted the 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith whereby it states: “Those whom God Effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing Righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting, and accepting their Persons as Righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone, not by imputing faith it self, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their Righteousness; but by imputing Christs active obedience unto the whole Law, and passive obedience in his death, for their whole and sole Righteousness, they receiving, and resting on him, and his Righteousness, by Faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.[3] I also stated that the article is not separating the righteousness which has been imputed to us, into active and passive, but is distinguishing them, or distinguishing what Christ has wrought for us, namely in his living an obedient life in our stead, and then dying on the cross in our stead and that the Bible teaches both his active obedience and his passive obedience.

Whereby my minister friend responded: “The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the saints, not obedience. The confessions are wrong. The Bible does not teach obedience to be imputed……He was born under the law, was obedient to the Father in all things. As man, He earned the right (as being without sin) to stand in our place. As God, He imputed His divine righteousness to us that we could be reconciled to God.

In the above comment my minster friend stated that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the saints, not Christ’s obedience, yet turns around and states that Christ was born under the law, and was obedient in all things, whereby he earned the right to stand in our place. Wherein I believe that he is saying that Christ’s perfect obedience to the law does nothing towards an imputed righteousness, but only makes Christ worthy to stand in our place on the cross and worthy to pay the penalty for our sins. And by so doing, as God, He imputes His divine righteousness to us.

My final comment was and I am paraphrasing: “Ok, I will look into that more brother. Though I am settled in my mind that what Christ wrought in obedience to the law, in our stead, was the righteousness imputed, nevertheless I will give your view some thought and study, for I am open minded and am still learning and still reforming. God bless.

You see I am fair in dealing with individuals on social media. I am also fair in dealing with individuals in person. I am willing to consider a view and to search a view out. I try to be as the Bereans were and search the scriptures to see if these things be so. However, it is hard to search a view out, which cannot be found. (When I say it can’t be found, I mean that the view that Christ’s inherent righteousness, as God, is imputed to the believer upon regeneration and believing in Christ by faith, cannot be found. However, there are some that deny an active obedience of Christ, which is imputed to the believer after regeneration and accepting Christ by faith. These groups will be listed at the end of this article). I have many commentaries (when I say many, I mean many: which will be shown by quoting Puritans that some have probably never heard of) and I have found absolutely no one who holds the view that Christ’s inherent divine righteousness is imputed to the sinner. Therefore, to say that the confessions are wrong, then he is also saying that everyone in the history of the Church was wrong, seeing that I can find no one who states that the inherent righteousness of Christ, as God, was imputed to those who possess faith. So this is the crux of the matter. This is the decisive, pivotal point on which this disagreement hinges. Is the righteousness imputed to us a righteousness which Christ merited or was it Christ’s inherent divine righteousness as God? When we use the term sola fide we are saying that justification is by faith alone in the righteousness of Christ alone. But what is meant by the righteousness of Christ alone? This is what we shall look into in the remaining part of this article.

To begin, I will quote from R. C. Sproul:

“Christ’s mission of redemption was not limited to the cross. To save us he had to live a life of perfect righteousness. His perfect, active obedience was necessary for his and our salvation. He earned the merit of perfect righteousness, not only for his own humanity, but for all those whom he redeems. Christ perfectly fulfilled all demands of the law, meriting by his active obedience the blessing promised in the old covenant.”[4]

Is the above quote Biblical? Can we find any place in scripture which teaches that Christ’s obedience was the merit which justifies us? Of course we can.

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.

Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

In the verses above we see a contrast between the offence of one, namely Adam, with the obedience of another, which was Christ. Whereas Adam’s actions brought judgment upon all of humanity, Christ’s perfect obedience in his life and death brings justification of life on all who place their faith in him. Where Adam failed in keeping God’s law, Christ succeeded. These two verses are reiterating the same thing, yet are using different words to state the same thing. Repetition was common among Hebrew writers in order to emphasize what was being said. Thus Paul uses the words ‘righteousness of one‘ in verse 18 and in verse 19 uses the words ‘obedience of one.’ This is speaking of Christ’s work. His obedience or righteousness is a free gift. Calvin says on Romans 5:19:

“For the meaning is — As by the sin of Adam we were alienated from God and doomed to destruction, so by the obedience of Christ we are restored to his favor as if we were righteous.”[5]

John Owen says on these verses: In this place, [Rom. v.] ὑπακοή, verse 19, and δικαίωμα, verse 18, are the same, — obedience and righteousness. “By the righteousness of one,” and “by the obedience of one,” are the same. But suffering, as suffering, is not δικαίωμα, is not righteousness; for if it were, then every one that suffers what is due to him should be righteous, and so be justified, even the devil himself. The righteousness and obedience here intended are opposed τῷ παραπτώματι, — to the offence: “By the offence of one.” But the offence intended was an actual transgression of the law; so is παράπτωμα, a fall from, or a fall in, the course of obedience. Wherefore the δικαίωμα, or righteousness, must be an actual obedience unto the commands of the law, or the force of the apostle’s reasoning and antithesis cannot be understood. Particularly, it is such an obedience as is opposed unto the disobedience of Adam,— “one man’s disobedience,” “one man’s obedience;” — but the disobedience of Adam was an actual transgression of the law: and therefore the obedience of Christ here intended was his active obedience unto the law; — which is that we plead for. And I shall not at present farther pursue the argument, because the force of it, in the confirmation of the truth contended for, will be included in those that follow.[6]

But is this righteousness ‘from God’ or ‘of God?’ Here we turn to Romans 1:17:

Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Here it is manifestly clear that the righteousness which is revealed is from God. It is not his inherent righteousness, wherein God is righteous, but is called his righteousness because it originates from him. It is God’s method of saving sinners. Let us look at the Greek word which was translated ‘righteousness‘ here:

Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the NT– righteousness- δικαιοσύνηdikaiosunē

1) in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

1a) the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God

1b) integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting

2) in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due

Part of Speech: noun feminine

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary-righteousness- δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunēdik-ah-yos-oo’-nay

From G1342; equity (of character or act); specifically (Christian) justification: – righteousness.

Vincent’s Word Studies δικαιοσύνη γὰρ Θεοῦ ἐν ἀυτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται).

Rev., more correctly, therein is revealed a righteousness of God. The absence of the article denotes that a peculiar kind of righteousness is meant. This statement contains the subject of the epistle: Righteousness is by faith. The subject is not stated formally nor independently, but as a proof that the Gospel is a power, etc. This word δικαιοσύνη righteousness, and its kindred words δίκαιος righteous, and δικαιόω to make righteous, play so important a part in this epistle that it is desirable to fix their meaning as accurately as possible.

John MacArthur– Better translated, “righteousness from God.” A major theme of the book, appearing over 30 times in one form or another, righteousness is the state or condition of perfectly conforming to God’s perfect law and holy character. Other terms from the same Gr. Root also occur some 30 times and are usually translated “justified,” “ justification” or similarly. Only God is inherently righteous (Deut. 32:4; Job 9:2; Psalm 11:7; 116:5; John 17:25; Rom. 3:10; 1 John 2:1; Rev. 16:5) and man falls woefully short of the divine standard of moral perfection (Rom. 3:23; Matt. 5:48)…..Rom. 3:21– This righteousness is unique: 1) God is its source (Is. 45:8); 2) it fulfills both the penalty and precept of God’s law. Christ’s death as a substitute pays the penalty exacted on those who failed to keep God’s law, and His perfect obedience to every requirement of God’s law fulfills God’s demand for comprehensive righteousness.[7]

So by these definitions we see that the righteousness that is from God is that righteousness by which he justifies his elect. It is Christ’s righteous deeds wherein he fulfills the law in our stead. It is the merit of Christ, which is given to us, so that we are as righteous as Christ himself. If Christ’s inherent righteousness, as God, is the righteousness imputed to us, then Christ did not have to live for thirty-three years on this earth before he died in our stead to pay the penalty of the law for us. He could have just came to the earth, as a man, and go straight to the cross. Therefore, when we say that we are saved by works, then we are saying that we are saved by the works of another, namely, the works or merit of Christ. My minister friend stated that Christ earned the right, as man, to stand in our place. So he distinguishes what Christ done in his humanity from what Christ does as God. He only allows what Christ earned or merited in obedience to the law, as only being applied to himself, so that he earns a merit that only benefits his humanity and makes him worthy to die for mankind. Yet, when it comes to the righteousness which is imputed to us, my minister friend then turns to Christ’s divinity and insists that Christ’s inherent righteousness as God, is the righteousness imputed to us. But why make this distinction. I mean if you are going to hold the view that Christ’s inherent righteousness as God is the righteousness imputed, then why not also hold to the righteousness of God as being that righteousness that would make Christ worthy to stand in our place without having to live under the law. I mean if it is Christ’s righteousness, as God, that is imputed, then his righteousness, as God, would have given him the right to stand in our place. However, the law would not be satisfied. Someone had to obey the law perfectly in our stead, in order to inherit the blessing promised in the covenant or law, and this Christ done on our behalf.

Now I will quote from men throughout the history of the Church in order to show that the righteousness which is imputed to us, is not Christ’s inherent righteousness, but that righteousness or merit which he obeyed the law in our stead.

Martin Luther– Here, too, “the righteousness of God” must not be understood as that righteousness by which he is righteous in himself, but as that righteousness by which we are made righteous (justified) by Him, and this happens through faith in the gospel. Therefore, Blessed Augustine writes in the sixteenth chapter of his book On the Spirit and the Letter. “The righteousness of God is that righteousness which he imparts in order to make men righteous. Just as that is the Lord’s salvation by which he saves us.” He says the same thing in the ninth chapter of the same book. The righteousness of God must be distinguished from the righteousness of men which comes from works—as Aristotle in the third chapter of his Ethics clearly indicates. According to him, righteousness follows upon and flows from actions.[8]

Augustine– Romans 3:21 Does this then sound a light thing in deaf ears? He says, “The righteousness of God is manifested.” Now this righteousness they are ignorant of, who wish to establish one of their own; they will not submit themselves to it. Romans 10:3 His words are, “The righteousness of God is manifested:” he does not say, the righteousness of man, or the righteousness of his own will, but the “righteousness of God,”—not that whereby He is Himself righteous, but that with which He endows man when He justifies the ungodly. This is witnessed by the law and the prophets; in other words, the law and the prophets each afford it testimony. The law, indeed, by issuing its commands and threats, and by justifying no man, sufficiently shows that it is by God’s gift, through the help of the Spirit, that a man is justified; and the prophets, because it was what they predicted that Christ at His coming accomplished. Accordingly he advances a step further, and adds, “But righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ,” Romans 3:22 that is by the faith wherewith one believes in Christ for just as there is not meant the faith with which Christ Himself believes, so also there is not meant the righteousness whereby God is Himself righteous. Both no doubt are ours, but yet they are called Godʹs, and Christʹs, because it is by their bounty that these gifts are bestowed upon us. The righteousness of God then is without the law, but not manifested without the law; for if it were manifested without the law, how could it be witnessed by the law? That righteousness of God, however, is without the law, which God by the Spirit of grace bestows on the believer without the help of the law,—that is, when not helped by the law.[9]

John Gill– For therein is the righteousness of God revealed,…. By the righteousness of God“, is not meant the essential righteousness of God, the rectitude of his nature, his righteousness in fulfilling his promises, and his punitive justice, which though revealed in the Gospel, yet not peculiar to it; nor the righteousness by which Christ himself is righteous, either as God, or as Mediator; but that righteousness which he wrought out by obeying the precepts, and bearing the penalty of the law in the room of his people, and by which they are justified in the sight of God: and this is called “the righteousness of God”, in opposition to the righteousness of men: and because it justifies men in the sight of God; and because of the concern which Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have in it. Jehovah the Father sent his Son to work it out, and being wrought out, he approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to his elect: Jehovah the Son is the author of it by his obedience and death; and Jehovah the Spirit discovers it to sinners, works faith in them to lay hold upon it, and pronounces the sentence of justification by it in their consciences.[10]

Albert Barnes’ Is the righteousness of God δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦdikaiosunē Theou.. There is not a more important expression to be found in the Epistle than this. It is capable of only the following interpretations.

(1) Some have said that it means that the attribute of God which is denominated righteousness or justice, is here displayed. It has been supposed that this was the design of the gospel to make this known; or to evince his justice in his way of saving people. There is an important sense in which this is true (Romans 3:26). But this does not seem to be the meaning in the passage before us. For,

(a) The leading design of the gospel is not to evince the justice of God, or the attribute of justice, but the love of God; see John 3:16; Ephesians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 John 4:8.

(b) The attribute of justice is not what is principally evinced in the gospel. It is rather mercy, “or mercy in a manner consistent with justice,” or that does not interfere with justice.

(c) The passage, therefore, is not designed to teach simply that the righteousness of God, as an attribute, is brought forth in the gospel, or that the main idea is to reveal his justice.

(2) A second interpretation which has been affixed to it is, to make it the same as goodness, the benevolence of God is revealed, etc. But to this there are still stronger objections. For

(a) It does not comport with the design of the apostle’s argument.

(b) It is a departure from the established meaning of the word “justice,” and the phrase “the righteousness of God.”

(c) If this had been the design, it is remarkable that the usual words expressive of goodness or mercy had not been used. Another meaning, therefore, is to be sought as expressing the sense of the phrase.

(3) The phrase “righteousness of God” is equivalent to God’s “plan of justifying people; his scheme of declaring them just in the sight of the Law; or of acquitting them from punishment, and admitting them to favor.” In this sense it stands opposed to man’s plan of justification, that is, by his own works: God’s plan is by faith. The way in which that is done is revealed in the gospel. The object contemplated to be done is to treat people as if they were righteous. Man attempted to accomplish this by obedience to the Law. The plan of God was to arrive at it by faith. Here the two schemes differ; and the great design of this Epistle is to show that man cannot be justified on his own plan, to wit, by works; and that the plan of God is the only way, and a wise and glorious way of making man just in the eye of the Law. No small part of the perplexity usually attending this subject will be avoided if it is remembered that the discussion in this Epistle pertains to the question, “how can mortal man be just with God?” The apostle shows that it cannot be by works; and that it “can be” by faith. This latter is what he calls the “righteousness of God” which is revealed in the gospel.

To see that this is the meaning, it is needful only to look at the connection; and at the usual meaning of the words. The word to “justify,” δικαιόω dikaioō, means properly “to be just, to be innocent, to be righteous.” It then means to “declare,” or treat as righteous; as when a man is charged with an offence…..That the phrase is to be understood of the righteousness which Christ has procured by his obedience and death, appears from the general sense of the original term δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunē. Mr. Haldane in a long and elaborate comment on Rom 3:21, has satisfactorily shown that it signifies “righteousness in the abstract, and also conformity to law,” and that “Wherever it refers to the subject of man’s salvation, and is not merely a personal attribute of Deity, it signifies that righteousness which, in conformity with his justice, God has appointed and provided.[11]

Robert Haldane– The word rendered ‘righteousness,’ Romans 1:17, and in the verse before us, signifies both justice and righteousness; that is to say, conformity to the law. But while both of these expressions denote this conformity, there is an essential difference between them. Justice imports conformity to the law in executing its sentence; righteousness, conformity in obeying its precepts, and this is the meaning of the word here. If these ideas be interchanged or confounded, as they often are, the whole scope of the Apostle’s reasoning will be misunderstood. In various parts of Scripture this phrase, ‘the righteousness of God,’ signifies either that holiness and rectitude of character which is the attribute of God, or that distributive justice by which He maintains the authority of His law; but where it refers to man’s salvation, and is not merely a personal attribute of Deity, it signifies, as in the passage before us, ver. 21, that fulfillment of the law, or perfect conformity to it in all its demands, which, consistently with His justice, God has appointed and provided for the salvation of sinners. This implies that the infinite justice of His character requires what is provided, and also that it is approved and accepted; for if it be God’s righteousness, it must be required, and must be accepted by the justice of God. The righteousness of God, which is received by faith, denotes something that becomes the property of the believer. It cannot, then, be here the Divine attribute of justice, but the Divine work which God has wrought through His Son. This, therefore, determines the phrase in this place as referring immediately not to the Divine attribute, but to the Divine work. The former never can become ours. This also is decisive against explaining the phrase as signifying a Divine method of justification. The righteousness of God is contrasted with the righteousness of man; and as Israel’s own righteousness, which they went about to establish, was the righteousness of their works, not their method of justification, so God’s righteousness, as opposed to this, Romans 10:3, must be a righteousness wrought by Jehovah. As in 2 Corinthians 5:21, the imputation of sin to Christ is contrasted with our becoming the righteousness of God in Him, the latter cannot be a method of justification, but must intimate our becoming perfectly righteous by possessing Christ’s righteousness, which is provided by God for us, and is perfectly commensurate with the Divine justice…..The death of the Son of God serves to magnify the law, by demonstrating the certainty of that eternal punishment, which, if broken, it denounces as its penalty. There are no limits to eternity; but when the Son of God bore what was equivalent to the eternal punishment of those who had sinned, He furnished a visible demonstration of the eternal punishment of sin. But if nothing beyond the suffering of the penalty of the law had taken place, men would only have been released from the punishment due to sin. If they were to obtain the reward of obedience, its precepts must also be obeyed; and this was accomplished to the utmost by Jesus Christ. Every command it enjoins, as well as every prohibition it contains, were in all respects fully honored by Him. In this manner, and by His sufferings, He fulfilled all righteousness…[12]

John OwenFrom the foregoing general argument another does issue in particular, with respect unto the imputation of the active obedience or righteousness of Christ unto us, as an essential part of that righteousness whereon we are justified before God. And it is as follows:— “If it were necessary that the Lord Christ, as our surety, should undergo the penalty of the law for us, or in our stead, because we have all sinned, then it was necessary also that, as our surety, he should yield obedience unto the preceptive part of the law for us also; and if the imputation of the former be needful for us unto our justification before God, then is the imputation of the latter also necessary unto the same end and purpose.” For why was it necessary, or why would God have it so, that the Lord Christ, as the surety of the covenant, should undergo the curse and penalty of the law, which we had incurred the guilt of by sin, that we may be justified in his sight? Was it not that the glory and honour of his righteousness, as the author of the law, and the supreme governor of all mankind thereby, might not be violated in the absolute impunity of the infringers of it? And if it were requisite unto the glory of God that the penalty of the law should be undergone for us, or suffered by our surety in our stead, because we had sinned, wherefore is it not as requisite unto the glory of God that the preceptive part of the law be complied withal for us, inasmuch as obedience thereunto is required of us?[13]

Arthur W. Pink The “righteousness of Christ” which is imputed to the believer consists of that perfect obedience which He rendered unto the precepts of God’s Law and that death which He died under the penalty of the law. It has been rightly said that, There is the very same need of Christ’s obeying the law in our stead, in order to the reward, as of His suffering the penalty of the law in our stead in order to our escaping the penalty; and the same reason why one should be accepted on our account as the other… To suppose that all Christ does in order to make atonement for us by suffering is to make Him our Saviour but in part. It is to rob Him of half His glory as a Saviour. For if so, all that He does is to deliver us from Hell; He does not purchase Heaven for us” (Jonathan Edwards).[14]

Elnathan Parr– The righteousness whereby we are justified in the sight of God, is called often by Paul “The righteousness of God”:

1. Because it is given us of God

2. Because it is approved of God

3. To distinguish it from man’s righteousness Romans 10:3

4. To these I add, because it is a most perfect righteousness, even such a one, with which God himself can find no fault with

5. Because it was in; and performed by a person, which was God…….

In Paul’s time the question was, Whether our own works, or the satisfaction of Christ, severally or jointly, were the cause of meritorious justification….But now the Papists go further, and call the whole doctrine into question……They say that our opinion is absurd, as that a man should be justified by so light a thing as faith, without satisfaction for our faults…..We answer, that we teach satisfaction, but performed by Christ, not by ourselves….[15]

Andrew Willet– There is a justice of God, wherein he is righteous and just in himself: as Psalm 11:7 ‘The righteous LORD loveth righteousness,’ but this the apostle speaketh not of: the essential justice of God is not communicated to us by faith. There is a justice distributive in God, whereby he rendereth to every man according to his works: Origen understandeth this justice of God: but this is not the justice, whereby a man is justified to salvation, for if the Lord should mark what is done amiss, no man should be able to abide it Ps. 130:3…..Theodoret understandeth the perfect justice of Christ, whereby he satisfied the wrath of God for our sins, and accomplished our redemption: and this perfect justice of Christ is revealed in the gospel, but the apostle speaketh evidently of such justice, whereby a man is justified before God, which is not that perfect justice inherent in Christ, but the applying unto us by faith,….because by his obedience we are justified.[16]

I could keep quoting comments from theologians of the past, however, I believe that these will suffice to show that the righteousness of Christ which is imputed to those who place faith in Christ, is that righteousness or merit of Christ, whereby he kept the law in our stead. This is called Christ’s active obedience. I will now briefly list several groups who deny the active obedience of Christ.

Arminianism

The doctrine of Christ’s active obedience has usually been denied by Arminians. One of the primary groups to which Owen argued against in his ‘The Doctrine of Justification by Faith,’ was of the Arminian persuasion and he argued for the doctrine of Christ’s active obedience over and against the corrupt views held by that system. The other two positions Owen refuted with this same treatise was Socinianism and Roman Catholicism. So well known was Owen’s opposition to these three positions, that on his tombstone in Bunhill Fields, London, are inscribed the audacious words, “The Arminian, Socinian, and Popish error, those Hydras, whose contaminated breath, and deadly poison infested the church, he, with more than Herculean labour, repulsed, vanquished, and destroyed.”

Louis Berkhof states that the Arminian view of justification only places man “in the position of Adam before the fall.”[17]

Calvinism

Some within the Reformed community, particularly writers associated with the Federal Vision theology, have objected to the traditional formulation of this doctrine, because of its basis in the covenant of works and the idea of merit. James B. Jordan argues that the “transformation… achieved by Jesus was not something ‘earned’ like a weekly allowance.[18] “What is transferred to the believer is not Jesus’ “works and merits” but his “glorified and resurrected life in the Spirit.[19]

Dispensationalism

Some who hold to a dispensational hermenutic deny the doctrine of Christ’s active obedience. On what basis did God impute or “put” righteousness on our account? The basis is the sufferings of Christ on the cross, according to some dispensationalists like Charles Ryrie.

“The sufferings of Christ in His death have been labeled His passive obedience in classical Protestant theology. This passive obedience stands in contrast to Christ’s active obedience which refers to the obedience exhibited during His lifetime. . .. The sufferings of Christ’s life, though real, were not atoning…. Strictly speaking, then, only the sufferings on the cross were atoning. It was during the three hours of darkness when God laid on Christ the sins of the world that Atonement was being made”[20]

Above and beyond that most dispensationalists hold to an Arminian soteriology. All one has to do is go to Dallas Theological Seminary’s website and view their statement of beliefs and they will see that they affirm that faith precedes regeneration.[21]

New Covenant theology

Some adherents of New Covenant Theology have also been critical of this imputation, on the basis that the sinless life of Christ merely qualified him to be the perfect substitute on behalf of humanity. Christ’s keeping of the law proved that he was righteous, rather than making him righteous.[22]

Thus we see that those who reject the view of Christ’s imputed righteousness, contained in the terms ‘active’ and ‘passive’ obedience, have deviated from classical orthodox theology. Those who reject this doctrine can be placed in one of the groups above or into one that is similar to those above.

I will end this article with a quote from J. Gresham Machen:

As he lay dying, J. Gresham Machen, the American Presbyterian theologian, sent a final telegram to his friend John Murray containing the words, “I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.[23]


Footnotes:

[1] The Westminster Confession of Faith- Of the Law of God, ch. 19, point 5.

[2] The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith- The Law of God, ch. 19, point 5.

[3] The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith- Of Justification, ch. 11, point 1.

[4] R. C. Sproul- Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, MI., 1995, p. 104.

[5] John Calvin- Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translated by Henry Beveridge, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. 2008, (2.17.3) p. 342.

[6] John Owen- The Doctrine of Justification by Faith- Chapter XII. The imputation of the obedience of Christ unto the law declared and vindicated

[7] The MacArthur Study Bible- By Word Publishing, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1997, Commentary on Romans 1:17 & Rom. 3:21, pgs. 1692-1693; 1698.

[8] Luther Lectures on Romans edited by Wilhelm Pauck- The Westminster Press, John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky., 2006, p. 18.

[9] Augutine- On the Spirit and the Letter, Chapter 15 [IX.] The Righteousness of God Manifested by the Law and the Prophets, Commentary on Romans 3:21-22, Downloaded from the internet, https://wisdomhomeschooling.com/images/courses/continuedgreatbooks/augustineonthespiritandtheletter.pdf

[10] John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible- Romans 1:17

[11] Albert Barnes’- Notes on the Bible, Comment on Romans 1:17.

[12] Robert Haldane- Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, Comment on Romans 3:21.

[13] John Owen- The Doctrine of Justification by Faith- Chapter XII. The imputation of the obedience of Christ unto the law declared and vindicated

[14] Arthur W. Pink- Doctrine of Justification- Chapter 5- Its Nature

[15] Elnathan Parr- The Works of that Faithful and Painful Preacher Mr, Elnathan Parr Bachelor in Divinity, Minister in Suffolk, London: Printed by G. P. for Samuel Man, dwelling in Paul’s Churchyard, at the Signo of the Swanne, 1633, Commentary on Romans 1:17.

[16] Andrew Willet- Hexapla, That is, A Sixfold Commentary upon the Most Divine Epistle of the holy Apostle S. Paul to the Romans, Printed by Cantrell Legge, Printer to the University of Cambridge, 1611, Commentary on Romans 1:17.

[17] Berkhof Systematic Theology, 515.

[18] James B. Jordan, “Merit versus Maturity: What did Jesus do for us?” in Steve Wilkins and Duane Garner (eds.), The Federal Vision (Monrone: Athanasius, 2004), 158.

[19] Jordan, “Merit versus Maturity,” 195.

[20] (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, Colorado Springs: Chariot Victor, 1999, p. 282).

[21] Article VII—Salvation Only Through Christ…’We believe that the new birth of the believer comes only through faith in Christ’……..Article VIII—The Extent of Salvation…’We believe that when an unregenerate person exercises that faith in Christ’ https://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinal-statement/

[22] Examining the Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ by Geoff Volker and Steve Lehrer.

[23] John Piper, J. Gresham Machen’s Response to Modernism

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus enough to get you to Heaven?

March 30, 2016 1 comment

Here’s some good news, God is holy, perfect and righteous! Here’s some bad news, in and of ourselves we are not! Here’s even worse news, if ever we are to get to heaven and avoid God’s judgment we must be like Him, perfectly holy (1 Peter 1:16). But this is impossible! Not one of us is as righteous, perfect and holy as God. As Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “– there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.”

So, how then can any of us get to Heaven? Are you ready for this? With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). The best news is that God Himself, knowing the helpless and hopeless mess we were in, came to earth and lived and died in our stead. He was perfect in our place. He lived as if he were us. Now His perfect righteousness is imputed (reckoned) to the believer. We are now perfectly holy in the eyes of God. That’s the power of the Gospel.

Also, Christ Jesus went to the cross and took responsibility for our sins by offering Himself as a sacrificial substitute for us. There, at the cross, Christ poured out His blood and absorbed the wrath which our sins justly deserved. He was buried, rose again on the third day and after 40 days, He visibly and bodily ascended into Heaven there to appear in the presence of God for us. He now guarantees that we who believe on Him will be completely and entirely saved. Is this enough for you?

Now before you say, “Yeah I know that,” let me ask, have you any other scheme of getting to Heaven other than resting entirely on the doing and dying of Jesus? Is He alone enough? Or, are you trying to supplement the work Christ did in His life and death? Are you attempting to add something to the gospel? Maybe it’s something like your performance as a Christian? Can you and do you rest in Christ alone? Is your hope built on Christ alone? Is Jesus enough?

If you are trying to impress God with anything other than the shed blood of Jesus, give it up. Jesus must be enough! He does not need our worthless contributions to bring us to Heaven! He is our only qualification for heaven; He is enough. There’s nothing you can do to save yourself.

I love the following illustration. I often use it when ministering….. Ebenezer Wooten an earnest but eccentric English evangelist of another generation once held meetings in a tent on the village green at Lidford Brook. The last service had been conducted, the crowd was leaving, and the evangelist was busy taking down the tent. A young fellow approached the preacher and rather casually asked, “Mr. Wooten, what must I do to be saved?”

“Too late!” said the evangelist, in a matter of fact way, as he glanced up at the inquirer. “You’re too late, my friend, way too late!”

This startled the young man causing him to quickly lose his apparent indifference. “Oh, don’t say that, Mr. Wooten! Surely it isn’t too late just because the meetings are over?”

“Yes, my friend,” answered the evangelist, looking the young man straight in the eye, “it’s too late! You want to know what you must DO to be saved, and I tell you that you’re hundreds of years too late! The work of salvation is done, completed, finished! It was finished on the cross; Jesus said so with the last breath that He drew! What more do you want?”

Then and there the truth dawned upon the young man. There was nothing for him to do! The Lord Jesus had perfected and finished the work of Salvation at the cross. That is, there was nothing for him to do but to accept the Saviour and His redemptive work as a free gift. The person and work of Jesus was enough! Nothing needed to be added.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

No Creed But the Bible?

November 2, 2015 1 comment

John Piper was asked by a podcast listener if he subscribed to the 1689 Confession of Faith? Here are five points that he made against the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith:

 

 
Now here is the deal with the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. I didn’t choose to go that route, even though it is a good, solid, Reformed Baptist version of the Westminster Confession. And there are several reasons why. Here they are:

1) The language is somewhat foreign. Its vocabulary is like reading the King James Version. And I think it is probably a mistake to try to enshrine that today as the one if you expect families to use it without any updated form.

2) While I am able to affirm that Genesis 1 refers to literal 24-hour days, I had a hard time thinking that I should make that a matter of confessional faithfulness to Christianity, and so I stumbled over that section.

3) The understanding of the Sabbath is, perhaps, more rigorous and narrow than my understanding of the implications of Jesus’s teaching about the Sabbath.

4) There are certain historic categories of theology, like the covenant of works and others, that have proved useful, but you might wonder: Shall I make that the structure of the theology I am going to present?

5) This is going to sound so piddly — and yet you can’t be piddly in a confession — little things like saying that bread and wine are prescribed in the Lord’s Supper. Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that wine was used in the Lord’s Supper. That comes as a shock to a lot of people. It doesn’t say that is what was used.

Now I suspect it was. I suspect it was wine, but it always uses the term cup or fruit of the vine and, therefore, if you get into a knock down battle and say we are going to settle this confessionally and you go to the 1689 Confession, it is going to say wine is what you are supposed to use. And I would say: Well, that is just unbiblical, because that is not what the Bible says, even though that is totally legitimate and maybe even preferable, but not at all required.

To read the entire audio transcript, click here.

To download the audio, click here.

 

 

My response to Piper:

1) The language of the1689 Confession is not foreign to the average reader of today. It is fairly simple in its explanation of the doctrines in which it confesses. That is not to say, that the average reader today, doesn’t need to study a little history of the Church because the confession does use certain words that affirm the truth, over and against the errors that tried to creep in during church history. But this is also true of the scriptures contained within Holy Writ. Unless one studies the historical setting of the Bible, then the reader will not grasp certain things in which the Bible states. So if, the average reader of today, struggles with the confession, then it is certain that they haven’t studied any church history and probably hasn’t studied any Biblical history. Of course, there are modern versions of the 1689 Confession, in modern language, and so Piper’s objection right here is absurd and ridiculous.

2) Piper has a hard time thinking that the 24 hours days of Genesis should by a matter of confessional faithfulness to Christianity. But why does he think that? Is he saying that whatever God states in scripture shouldn’t be a matter of confessional faithfulness to Christianity? To deny what God says in scripture is to deny scripture. Many, for the sake of not trying to look like the Bible is outdated or is ignorant concerning creation, have chosen to try and harmonize the scriptures with the obscure data of fallen man’s so-called science. Paul warned Timothy of this in 1 Timothy 6:20, whereby Paul said, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called…” So I say, if someone gets Genesis wrong, then they get all of scripture wrong. Genesis lays the foundation for the rest of Biblical revelation. And if you notice several of his remaining objections are points that can be cleared up by studying the book of Genesis.

3) Piper also has a problem with the 1689 on its doctrine concerning the Sabbath. Yet the Sabbath, is part of the Moral law, and is contained within the ten commandments. These ten commandments where given on Mt Sinai, and are the totality of what is contained in the moral law. However, these ten commandments were revealed before Mt Sinai when God wrote these commandments on the heart of man at creation. We see that most of these commandments were broken in Genesis and God judges those who broke them.

4) Piper also seems to have a problem with the covenant of works. Yet, if one does away with the covenant of works, then they do away with Christ’s sacrifice. What law did Christ fulfill? Why did Christ have to die in our place, if no covenant was broken? If you do away with the doctrine of the covenant of works, then you do away with justification.

5) Finally Piper has a problem with the 1689 because it speaks of wine being used in the Lord’s supper. He states that wine is unbiblical and that it was probably only the fruit of the vine which was used at the Lord’s supper. You would think that someone who was a Pastor for as many years as he was, that they would not be so ignorant concerning such a matter as this. The Lord’s supper took place between March and April, seeing that the Passover was a movable feast. The harvesting of grapes took place in late October. Now how does Piper propose that the Jews preserved grape juice for six months? Welch had not yet been born. Once new wine was bottled, it started the fermentation process.

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2-Chapter 2-The Gospel-What it is and What it Does

CHAPTER 2-THE GOSPEL-WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT DOES

Paul was called by the Lord to be a foreign missionary, and is known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. As he lay on the ground on the Damascus road, Christ said to him, Get up, for I am sending thee to the Gentiles: “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (#Ac 26:18). After his conversion, commission, and baptism, Paul preached Christ in the synagogues of Damascus, proving Jesus to be the very Christ to the discomfiting of the Jews. Because of a plot to kill him, the Apostle goes to Arabia for a season, returning to Damascus, and three years later going to Jerusalem. For the second time, Paul is told that he is to go far hence to the Gentiles; that the people of Jerusalem will not receive his testimony. In obedience to this call, Paul blazes a trail deeper and deeper into heathen territory. He wants to preach the gospel where Christ was not named, so that he might not build upon another man’s foundation. In this spirit of a pioneer he wants to go to Rome and then to Spain. He wants converts at Rome as well as among the Gentiles. He is not ashamed to preach the Gospel anywhere, although he knew it would be met with scorn and contempt. However, he did not expect to preach in vain, and so he says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ; …”(#Ro 1:16).

To understand the audacity of these words we must listen to them with the ears of a Roman. Here was a little insignificant Jew with his head full of notions about another Jew whom the Roman governor had delivered to be crucified in order to satisfy other Jews and keep order in the province. This was what the natural Roman would think about Paul and his message. But Paul knew that he had good news which would bring salvation to every one who would believe it.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL

We are fortunate to have a direct Scriptural statement of what the gospel is, but for the sake of clarity, and by way of amplification, we shall treat the question both negatively and positively.

NEGATIVELY:

1. The Bible is not the gospel. This is entirely too vague and general as a definition of the gospel. The Bible does indeed contain the gospel, but it contains other truths also. All Bible truth is not gospel truth. In the Bible there is truth about law and sin and death and judgment and numerous other things that are not the gospel. One may preach the gospel. Many think the Old Testament is the law and the New Testament is the gospel. But the truth is that both law and gospel are found in both Testaments. Some of the finest gospel texts are in the Old Testament, while some of the strongest law texts are in the New Testament. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is full of the gospel; from this chapter Philip preached Jesus to the eunuch and he was saved. Paul and others had only the Old Testament from which to preach the gospel.

The law should be preached, just as all the Bible should be preached. The law, properly preached, will reveal to men that they are sinners and slay their self-righteousness. For this purpose Christ preached the law to the rich young man: “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” (#Mt 19:16), and to a certain lawyer “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (#Lu 10:25). By the law is the knowledge of sin. Paul did not know that he was a lost sinner until he saw what the law required: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died” (#Ro 7:9). The law tells man what he ought to do; the gospel tells the sinner what Christ has done. The law condemns the best man; the gospel justifies the worst man. The law makes demands; the gospel bestows blessings. The law deals in justice: the gospel deals in mercy. The law belongs to the covenant of works; the gospel belongs to the covenant of grace.

2. Baptism is not the gospel. Paul clearly differentiated between baptism and the gospel when he said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (#1Co 11:17). He reminded the Corinthians of the few he had baptized, and then to the church as a whole he said, “I have begotten you through the gospel” (#1Co 4:15).

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are not saving sacraments, but preaching symbols. They do not procure salvation, but proclaim salvation through Christ. They are not saving acts, but contain a saving message in symbol or picture. Baptism does indeed wash away sin symbolically or figuratively, but the blood of Christ washes it away actually. Baptism has its place in the Christian life, but it must not become a substitute for the blood of Christ as an object of faith or trust.

3. The Church is not the gospel. Joining the church is not the same as believing the gospel. One should believe the gospel before joining the church.

4. The new birth is not the gospel. The new birth is an experience- -a work wrought in us; the gospel is the good news of something done for us. The gospel is objective light (#2Co 4:4); the new birth gives subjective light so that the gospel can be savingly understood: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (#2Co 4:6); “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (#Joh 3:3). The gospel is the story of what Christ did on the cross; the new birth is what the Holy Spirit does in us when He imparts life to us. Justification is the result of Christ’s death for us “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;” (#Ro 4:24); regeneration is the effect of the Holy Spirits work in us. Justification is life imputed; regeneration is life imparted.

5. Repentance is not the gospel. Repentance is what the sinner must do to be saved; the gospel is what Christ has already done for our salvation. “Repent ye and believe the gospel.” Here repentance and the gospel are differentiated. No man is saved by faith in his repentance; he is saved by faith in the gospel.

6. Faith is not the gospel. The gospel is the object of faith. Saving faith is in the gospel. Faith does not save; it is faith in the gospel that saves. We do not have a perfect faith to be saved, but there must be a perfect gospel.

POSITIVELY:

1. The gospel is good news. The acid test of a gospel message: is it good news to bad men? The gospel is for sinners; it is the revelation of the righteousness God has provided through Christ for the unrighteous: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (#Ro 1:17).

2. The gospel is good news about a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. “For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (#Ac 4:12). Men are not saved by doing this and that, or going here and there; they are saved by coming to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has so graciously said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (#Joh 6:37). Salvation is not a matter of geography. There is not a safe spot from the wrath of God anywhere. Salvation is not in bodily flight; it is in heart trust in Him Who is our passover, sacrificed for us.

3. The gospel consists of certain historical facts with a certain and particular theory or explanation of those facts. The facts are given us in #1Co 15:3,4: “…Christ died for our sins…; was buried, and…rose again …” Or as Paul puts it in #Ro 4:25: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”

The least part of a fact is the visible part of it, and has no meaning without an explanation, and so Paul not only gives the facts but also explains them. The mere fact that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified is no more the gospel than that the two criminals were crucified beside Him. It is the explanation of the facts that makes His death the gospel rather than their deaths. His death was the death of Christ, the Son of God, and it was for our sins.

Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins. What does that mean? Some claim that it merely means that Christ died on our behalf, but not our Substitute. They insist that we should have no theory of the atonement, but with a little investigation we find that such people have a theory of the atonement. Let them tell us how Christ could die on our behalf—-how His death could save us-unless He died as our Substitute to render satisfaction to Divine justice for our sins. For His death to save us, it must cancel our guilt before the law of God, and how could it cancel our guilt unless He suffered for the guilt that was ours? He suffered, the Just for the Unjust, and how could this be unless He suffered in our room and stead? Christ dying as a martyr for a good cause, or as a mere example of faithfulness unto death, or as a gesture of love to conquer the human heart, would in no sense redeem sinners from the curse of the law. Divine justice calls for Divine punishment, and the only way the sinner can escape judgment is for Christ to bear the punishment due the sinner. Those who deny blood atonement worship a god different to that of the Bible, and practice a religion different to that of the Bible.

WHAT THE GOSPEL DOES

In a word, it saves all who trust it. And the gospel to be trusted is what Christ, the Son of God, did in laying down His life for our sins and taking it up again for our justification. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (#Ro 1:16) is usually made to mean that the preaching of the gospel has power to convert sinners, that is, to make believers. But this is not what the verse says. It is the power of God to or for believers. It presupposes a believer. The gospel saves believers, but it has no power to make believers. The preaching of the gospel is the means of making believers, for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We repeat, that the preaching of the gospel is the necessary means to faith, for “how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” If sinners are saved, the gospel must be preached to them as the means to faith and resultant salvation. However, there is a difference between means to faith and the power for faith. The power to make believers is in the effectual call of the Holy Spirit. Paul preached Christ crucified indiscriminately to the Jew and Greek. To the natural Jew such a gospel was a stumbling block, and to the natural Greek it was foolishness; but the called, both Jews and Greeks, saw the wisdom and power of God in the plan of salvation through a crucified Christ.

The apostle is not writing about the power of his preaching, but of the power of what he preached. What he preached, Christ crucified, had power to cancel the sin-debt. We sing “There is power in the blood,” by which we mean that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin. That which is shameful and foolish to the masses is the very thing God uses to save sinners. What Christ did in death and resurrection has power to cancel the sin-debt. The gospel was provided by God; it was not a human expedient. God put His Son to death; He laid on Christ our iniquity. We are not saved because men killed Jesus: that was murder. We are saved because He was striken, smitten of God, and afflicted. God sacrificed His own Son for our safety. Amazing and sensational?— yes! But we must remember that sin is terrible in its nature and effects, and nothing but a sensational remedy will avail.

ILLUSTRATION

Here is a man who has committed murder for which the penalty is death by hanging. The murderer was acting as the tool of another man who, himself, was under sentence of death, with no provision for pardon. But the law allows a substitute for the murderer. The substitute is found and is hanged in the murderer’s place out of love for the doomed man. Now the death of the substitute cancels the guilt of the murderer and sets him free. It is the power of the court and also power with the court. The court is satisfied with the death of the substitute and the guilty man goes free. It is the power of the court and also power with the court that is satisfied with the death of the substitute and the guilty man goes free. To interpret this parable: man became a sinner against God as a dupe of the devil, who was already a sinner under sentence with no provision for pardon. The Divine law allowed a substitute for the human sinner. The Son of God gladly gave Himself as the sinner’s substitute, suffering, the Just for the unjust, that the sinner might not perish in his sins.

BENEFICIARIES OF THE GOSPEL

Paul says, “To every one that believeth.” The death of Christ does nobody any good who scorns it and refuses to trust it. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (#Joh 3:36).

A fuller discussion of saving faith must be reserved for a later article the Lord enabling. However, there is space for a few words here and now. There is so much that passes for faith, that we must be on our guard lest we mistake what saving faith is. Saving faith is something more than the mere assent of the mind to a proposition, however true; it is heart trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Saving faith is not being satisfied with self; it is being satisfied with what Christ did on the cross for our salvation. One who is once satisfied with Christ will never be satisfied with anything else.

The value of faith depends upon the worth of its object. If I trust an object or a person that cannot or is not willing to save me, then my faith has no value—-it is vain faith, however strong. Faith itself may be dangerous, as well as saving. It is safe to trust the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is both willing and able to save. He is able to save because He is alive. No dead person can be a real Saviour, and must not be an object of faith. It is the office of a priest to make sinners right with God. Old Testament Priests could not make sinners right with God because of two things; they could not continue as priests, and they did not have saving sacrifices to offer—-the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin. But Christ continues forever, and hath an unchangeable priesthood: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (#Heb 7:25). Here is ground for saving faith, and a challenge to strong faith. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

“HALLELUJAH! Jesus saves me;
Oh, the sweet and precious story!
I will give Him all the Glory,
And adore His love to me.

“HALLELUJAH! Jesus hears me;
When in prayer His throne addressing,
While in faith I seek His blessing,
Then His smile revealed I see.

“HALLELUJAH! Jesus leads me;
I will doubt His promise never,
But believing, followed ever
Him who gave His life for me.

“HALLELUJAH! Jesus keeps me;
In the Rock He safely hides me,
Every comfort He provides me,
Never friend so dear as He.”

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2

The Wednesday Word: I know I am a Christian

August 12, 2015 1 comment

How Do I Know I’m a Christian?

I know I am a Christian because the Eternal God became a man for me (1 Timothy 3:16).

I know I am a Christian because it was promised that Christ Jesus, the God/Man, would save me (Matthew 1:21).

I know I am a Christian because Christ lived for me and credited all to me (1 Corinthians 1:30).

I know I am a Christian because Jesus became a wrath offering for me (Romans 3:25).

I know I am a Christian because Christ has given the gift of eternal life to me (John 10:28).

I know I am a Christian because Christ Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has never lost a sheep (John 18:9).

I know I am a Christian because Christ Jesus is the Lawyer who has never lost a case (John 10:27-30).

I know I’m a Christian because Jesus is the leader who has never lost a battle (Hebrews 2:10).

I know I am a Christian because I have been justified… declared not guilty (Romans 5:1).

I know I am a Christian because I have been reconciled unto God by the death of His Son (Romans 5:10).

I know I am a Christian because Christ Jesus redeemed me. He bought and paid for me at the cross (Ephesians 1:7).

I know I am a Christian because Jesus Christ was buried for me (I Corinthians 15:4)

I know I am a Christian because Jesus Christ rose from the dead for me (1 Corinthians 15:4)

I know I am a Christian because Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven for me (Luke 24:50-51).

I know I am a Christian because Jesus was made a surety of a better testament for me (Hebrews 7:22).

I know that I am a Christian because, Jesus Christ sat down in cosmic authority for me (Hebrews 10:12).

I know I am a Christian because Jesus Christ, my High Priest, ever lives to make intercession for me (Hebrews 7:25).

I know I’m a Christian because Christ Jesus intercedes to ensure all the benefits of His death are applied to me (Hebrews 7:25).

I know I am a Christian because Jesus Christ ever lives to save me to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

I know I’m a Christian because his intercession for me is always a sweeping success. The Father always hears the Son (John 11:42).

I know I am a Christian because Christ Jesus is the Author of my salvation. He began it (Hebrews 12:12).

I know I am a Christian because Jesus is also the finisher of my salvation. He will finalise it! (Hebrews 12:12).

I know I am a Christian because nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

I know I am a Christian because the Bible declares; “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8: 33-34).

I know I am a Christian because by one offering He (Christ) has perfected forever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).

I know I am a Christian because Jesus has purged my sins (Hebrews 1:3).

I know I am a Christian because my sins are forgotten (Hebrews 8:12).

I know I am a Christian because my sins are put away (Psalm 103:12).

I know I am a Christian because my sins are behind His back (Isaiah 38:17).

I know I am a Christian because my sins are cast into the depth of the sea (Micah 7:19).

I know I am a Christian becausethe Lord Yahweh has said, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions formine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

I know I am a Christian because Christ Jesus has promised to come back for me (John 14:3)

I know I’m a Christian because;
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Saved to the Uttermost: Part 2

‘Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.”—Hebrews 7:25.

Here is some excellent news; Christ Jesus, our great High Priest, has been entrusted with full authority and power to save all for whom He died. He is able to save to the uttermost. Many a doctor has wanted to save a patient, but has not been capable of doing so. Many parents have been willing to transfer the suffering of their child to themselves, but were unable to. The will was there, but there was no ability. Do we think Christ is like that?

Here’s the gospel truth; the Lord Jesus is not merely willing to save; He doesn’t just try to save or do His best to save, but He actually saves to the uttermost all who come to God by Him.

Christ Jesus succeeds where everyone else fails! He saves to the uttermost. He saves with an all-sufficient omnipotence. He takes us at our worst and saves us completely … or as one old-time Irish preacher used to say, “He saves us from the guttermost to the uttermost.”

Because He saves to the uttermost, He sacrificed Himself on Calvary. Because He saves to the uttermost, He made full satisfaction for our sins. Because He saves to the uttermost, He intercepted the wrath of God which was headed straight at us. Because He saves to the uttermost, He rose from the grave. Because He saves to the uttermost, He ascended into Heaven. Because He saves to the uttermost, He now makes constant intercession for us.

 

He is the Great High priest who saves to the uttermost.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of guilt.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of condemnation.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of damnation.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of death.

He is able to save to the uttermost!

 

What a staggering gospel. At the cross, Christ was the victim, at the resurrection He was the victor. Christ died, Christ has risen, Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father and ever lives to make intercession for us (Romans 8:34). He saves to the uttermost! Having obtained eternal redemption for us at Calvary, He now applies the blessings of His accomplishments from the Holy of Holies. He is alive with the power of an endless life and thus guarantees that we will realize the full benefits and blessings of His sacrifice. He ever-lives and because of that endless life we have the pledge that we will be saved to the uttermost by Him.

As the Hymn writer wrote,

 

“Five bleeding wounds He bears, received on Calvary;

They pour effectual prayers they strongly plead for me;

“Forgive Him O forgive,” they cry,

“That ransomed sinner must not die.”

 

Christ saves all who come to God by Him. He saves completely with an exhaustive, all-encompassing salvation. The Christ of the cross is now the High Priest and King of Heaven. He is perfectly suited to those who cannot save themselves because He is able to save to the uttermost. Christ Jesus died on the cross, but unlike the priests of the Old Covenant, his death did not signal a cessation of His ministry. Christ Jesus rose from the dead and entered glory as our great High Priest. In Him, we are presented before the Father. He is the guarantee that we will never perish. He saves to the uttermost!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

We are currently in the United States, preaching Christ Crucified, and telling people of our growing gospel work in Ireland, the UK and other areas. We are asking Lord to raise up additional partners to join with us in our on-going gospel crusade. Please pray that we find more people to stand with us financially.

Feel free to forward the Wednesday Word to your friends and family. Also, feel free to, without changing the content, post or blog etc this material. 

The Wednesday Word: Saved to the Uttermost

The Wednesday Word: Saved to the Uttermost

 

‘Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.”—Hebrews 7:25.

One of the biggest words in our language is the word, “Uttermost.” It has been said that, ‘no one has ever seen the uttermost nor travelled there. We have mapped the earth, pinpointed the stars and measured the distances between the planets, but in spite of all our learning and knowledge no one has ever located the uttermost!’

The uttermost is like the horizon; it’s always further on. Our understanding of God’s love is like that. Just when we think we have begun to understand it, we see that He loves us to an even deeper degree than we have yet imagined. He loves us to the uttermost! We read in John 13:1, “Having loved his own he loved them to the end (literally, to the uttermost). His love is always greater than we can fathom. He has lavished His amazing love upon us yet, in our experience, its fullest extent, the uttermost, is always farther on.

When we look at Christ’s incarnation and life on our behalf, we glimpse a measure of His love for us, but we are so spiritually dull that it remains only a glimpse. When we look at the cross we continue to receive a sight of His love, but again we can’t grasp its fullest extent because the complete appreciation of His love is always further on. We are loved to the uttermost, but we have not yet arrived there in our understanding. Much as we grasp the wonderful things of the gospel, we are faced with a love that is greater than our comprehension, a love that is always further on. It’s a love to the uttermost!

Notice how in Hebrews 7:25 that we have a Saviour who not only loves us to the uttermost, but who also saves to the uttermost. I’m not sure why some people insist that Jesus can save us and then lose us for the Scripture is clear …He saves us to the uttermost. He has wonderfully accomplished our salvation and now, as our ever-living High Priest, He richly applies that same salvation to His blood bought possession.

 

He is able to save to the uttermost!

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He did not save himself (Luke 23:35).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He died as though he were us (Galatians 2:20).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He loved us and paid for us with His blood (Revelation 5:9).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He has an endless priesthood (Hebrews 7:15-17).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He appears in Heaven for us (Hebrews 9:24).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because, as He appears in Heaven, He presents Himself with His blood (Hebrews 9:12).

He is able to save us to the uttermost for He is applying the blessings of eternal redemption to us (Hebrews 9:12-15).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because he ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).

 

That same Priest, who died on the cross, is alive never to die again. That same Jesus, who was buried in the tomb, is risen. He ever lives to ensure that His purchase is saved to the uttermost. He alone, plus nothing, is our salvation, and we rest our faith on Him alone. He is the crucified and risen Lord, the Master of all. He alone is our ever-living High Priest who saves to the uttermost.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

Please forward the Wednesday Word to your friends and family.

Please feel free to, without changing the content, post or blog etc this material