For Terry Rayburn

Now forgive me if this is a book.  I didn’t want it to be a book but I just couldn’t seem to pare this down.

 

So Terry according to your statement this is what it isn’t about:

1. It’s not a question of whether Christ obeyed the Law perfectly. Of course He did.

2. It’s not a question of whether Christ imputed His righteousness to us. Of course He did. That’s Biblical Justification.

3. It’s not a question of “denying Active Obedience”. Of course Christ “actively obeyed”.

So I’m not going to spend time on whether or not Christ kept the law, or whether his righteousness is imputed to us. And I’m not going to spend time on whether or not you believe that Christ actively obeyed. I’m going to assume you also believe that Christ passively obeyed too. (You can dissuade me of that if that is incorrect.)

So what we are going to discuss is this:

1. Was it Christ’s OBEDIENCE that was imputed to us, or was it’s Christ’s RIGHTEOUSNESS that was imputed to us? The Bible clearly teaches that it was His RIGHTEOUSNESS.

2. Did Christ ACHIEVE or GAIN or EARN or EVENTUALLY HAVE this righteousness to impute to us? No! He was always righteous. In eternity. In the womb. At birth. Throughout His life on earth. To say less is to dishonor Him.

3. Then why is His Life of obedience, His perfect Active Obedience, so important? Because it DEMONSTRATES His righteousness, this righteousness that He always had, and that He imputed to us.

So starting with number three: “Then why is His Life of obedience, His perfect Active Obedience, so important? Because it DEMONSTRATES His righteousness, this righteousness that He always had, and that He imputed to us.”

This is what Paul says: Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 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. (emphasis mine)  (Romans 5:18-19 ESV)

So Paul equates Christ’s act of righteousness that came through obedience as that which justifies us. Which is contrary to what you are asserting Terry, according to you all of Christ’s obedience was to demonstrate that he was righteous.

You also see this from Isaiah:

Isaiah 53:11 (ASV) “He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many [Active]; and he shall bear their iniquities [Passive].”

This is again speaking of Christ’s act of obedience resulting in the justification of the elect.

Now lets take a look at another verse:

But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. (emphasis mine)

(Matthew 3:15 ESV)

So this is the classic moment when John baptizes Jesus whose righteousness is he fulfilling? If what he is doing isn’t for us then who was it for?

Number two: “Did Christ ACHIEVE or GAIN or EARN or EVENTUALLY HAVE this righteousness to impute to us? No! He was always righteous. In eternity. In the womb. At birth. Throughout His life on earth. To say less is to dishonor Him.

Now see Terry what I see here is that you seem to be confusing Christ’s holiness with Christ’s righteousness. In the Bible righteousness is characterized by two word groups, tsedek in Hebrew and dikaios in Greek. Both the Greek and Hebrew terms are used to translate righteousness and justice. Wayne Grudem puts it this way: “God’s righteousness means that God always acts in accordance with what is right and is himself the final standard of what is right”. (Systematic Theology Wayne Grudem page 203) Do you see this Terry? God’s righteousness is how he acts.  It’s based upon his character which is holy. Holiness is Christ’s inherent character righteousness is how he acts because he is holy.

Number one: “Was it Christ’s OBEDIENCE that was imputed to us, or was it’s Christ’s RIGHTEOUSNESS that was imputed to us? The Bible clearly teaches that it was His RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Again Terry I’ve got to point out we’re not talking about imputing Christ’s obedience, none of us ever said that and that isn’t what’s pointed out in either Machen’s article that I posted or Jeremy’s posts. What we are saying is that Christ as our representative did for us what we couldn’t do, what Adam failed to do. And that was obey God perfectly. Jeremy said much the same thing when he posted here.

So Jesus as the new Adam fulfilling the Law applied the merit he earned to us, indeed Luther’s definition of grace was God’s undeserved favor and merit. Where came that merit if not by the obedience of Christ?

Any way Terry I’m going to end this as I began: 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. (Romans 5:19 ESV) Christ’s obedience results in our righteousness.

Peter Nelson.

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3 Comments

Filed under Gospel, Theology

3 responses to “For Terry Rayburn

  1. Peter,

    You wrote, “…Terry I’ve got to point out we’re not talking about imputing Christ’s obedience, non of us ever said that…”

    Please don’t take offense. But it’s clear that you don’t even understand your own side’s point. So how could you understand mine?

    Look at these quotations:

    “…obedience of Jesus Christ, which is imputed to us” (Calvin-influenced French Confession, Article XVIII)

    “…imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ…” (Westminster Confession, Ch. XI of Justification)

    “…not only the active obedience of Christ,…but also that the holiness of his human nature is imputed to us for justification.” (John Gill, Sermon 37: The Doctrine Of Justification, By The Righteousness Of Christ,
    Stated And Maintained)

    “That which Christ, the mediator and surety of the covenant, did do in obedience unto God, in the discharge and performance of his office, that he did for us; and that is imputed unto us.” (John Owen, Works, vol 1 [Carlisle, Banner of Truth Trust: 1992] Page 384)

    So, Peter, you are not even defending the classic “Active Obedience Imputation” argment at all, which clearly states that Christ’s Active Obedience WAS impurted to us.

    Which makes me ask, what ARE you defending?

    I’m not confusing God’s holiness and His righteousness, as you say. I’m merely saying that Christ, as God and Man was ALWAYS righteous.

    You wrote, “God’s righteousness is how he acts.” That’s completely without Biblical support. You even put a spin on Grudem’s comment, which correctly says that God always acts rightly. But Grudem’s point is that the REASON He always acts rightly is because He IS right (righteous), not that His acts ARE His righteousness. The Lord would be righteous even if He never ACTED.

    As my quotes above indicate, the classic argument, passed down primarily from Westminster, is that Christ’s Active Obedience was imputed to us. I simply believe that is Biblically wrong. If you agree that it is wrong, great.

    What was actually imputed to us was the righteousness of Christ that He ALWAYS had, as God, and as man, from birth. This righteousness was SHOWN or DEMONSTRATED by His perfect sinless life, and obedience to the Law.

    Blessings,
    Terry

  2. Terry with all due respect did I quote the Westminister Confession? Did I quote John Gill? Did I quote Calvin? No I quoted scripture, please deal with the scripture. Please show to me that Paul was wrong when he said that: Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 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. (Romans 5:18-19 ESV)

    I’m not here to defend the confessions I’m here to defend the scripture.

  3. However, let me state that as a Reformed Baptist I hold this:

    GOD freely justifies the persons whom He effectually calls. He does this, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins and by accounting them, and accepting them, as righteous. This He does for Christ’s sake alone, and not for anything wrought in them or done by them. The righteousness which is imputed to them, that is, reckoned to their account, is neither their faith nor the act of believing nor any other obedience to the gospel which they have rendered, but Christ’s obedience alone. Christ’s one obedience is twofold-His active obedience rendered to the entire divine law, and His passive obedience rendered in His death.Those thus justified receive and rest by faith upon Christ’s righteousness; and this faith they have, not of themselves, but as the gift of God.

    John 1:12; Rom. 3:24; 4:5-8; 5:17-19; 8:30; 1Cor. 1:30-31; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; Phil. 3:8,9.

    The faith which receives and rests on Christ and His righteousness is the sole means of justification. Yet it is never alone in the person justified, but is invariably accompanied by all other saving graces. Nor is it a dead faith, for it works by love.

    Rom. 3:28; Gal. 5:6; Jas. 2:17,22,26.

    By His obedience and death Christ paid in full the debt of all those who are justified. By the sacrifice of Himself in His blood-shedding on Calvary, and His suffering on their behalf of the penalty they had incurred, He fully and absolutely satisfied all the claims which God’s justice had upon them. Yet their justification is altogether of free grace, firstly because Christ was the free gift of the Father to act on their behalf; secondly because Christ’s obedience and His satisfying the demands of the law was freely accepted on their behalf; and thirdly because nothing in them merited these mercies. Hence God’s exact justice and His rich grace are alike rendered glorious in the justification of sinners.

    Isa. 53:5,6; Rom. 3:26; 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 1:6,7; 2:7; Heb. 10:14; 1 Pet.1:18,19.

    From all eternity God decreed to justify all the elect, and in the fullness of time Christ died for their sins and rose again for their justification. Nevertheless they are not justified personally until, in due time, the Holy Spirit actually applies to them the benefits of Christ’s Person and work.

    Rom. 4:25; Gal. 3:8; Col. 1:21,22; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Pet. 1:2.

    God continues to forgive the sins of all the justified.They can never lose their justification; but they may, by reason of sin, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure; in which case, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg God’s pardon, and renew their faith and repentance, God will not usually restore to them ‘the light of His countenance’.

    Ps. 32:5; Ps. 51; Ps. 89:31-33; Matt. 6:12; 26:75; John 10:28; 1 John 1:7,9.

    Believers in Old Testament times were justified in precisely the same way as New Testament believers.

    Rom. 4:22-24; Gal. 3:9.

    But my intention again was to argue from scripture not from confession if you want to argue from the confession then by all means we’ll start from there.

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