Monday, September 14, 2009

A View of The Law & Justification

"When God gives orders and tells us what will happen if we fail to obey those orders perfectly, it is in the category of what the reformers, following the biblical text, called "law." When God promises freely, providing for us because of Christ's righteousness the status he demands of us, this is in the category of "gospel." It is good news from start to finish. The Bible includes both, and the reformers were agreed that the scriptures clearly taught (contrary to many forms of dispensationalism) that the Law (whether Old or New Testament commands) was not set aside for the believer. Nevertheless, they insisted that nothing in this category of "Law" could be a means of justification or acceptance before a holy God.

The Law comes, not to reform the sinner, nor to show him or her the "narrow way" to life, but to crush the sinner's hopes of escaping God's wrath through self-effort or even cooperation. All of our righteousness must come from someone else--someone who fulfilled the Law's demands. Once we have been stripped of our "filthy rags" of righteousness (Is.64:6), our "fig leaves" through which we try in vain to hide our guilt and shame, only then can we be clothed with Christ's righteousness. First comes the Law to proclaim judgment and death, then the Gospel to proclaim justification and life. One of the clearest presentations of this motif is found in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians." Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, For more on the Doctrine of Justification Click HERE


verandoug said...

This man is indoctrinated with unscriptural teaching of Calvinism that needs to be thrown in the trash. Total depravity is the the T in TULIP.

Galatians was a book to correct the idea that the ordinances of the Law could produce righteousness. So with that in mind, we shouldn't try to come up with Christian ones either such as a hat can cause you to become submissive to your husband. That is not even in the ballpark of what Paul was trying to explain there. Circumcision was a great doctrine to point out because it was a hallmark of Judaism. Most other laws paled in comparison to that one which is why these Judaizers were trying to get people to be circumcised to be saved.

Paul says in Chapter 5:19-21, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." This reaffirmed that the works of the flesh were not acceptable to God and that you aren't getting in if you are led by your flesh.

That is where the problem lies - in the flesh. What God's Spirit does is to change our condition so that we are Spirit led. The flesh in and of itself is not evil. We can enjoy sex for example, in God's framework.

Jesus was created like we are in every point. Heb. 2:16-18, Romans 8:3. Jesus was not born with God DNA. He didn't have the nature of angels. He had a nature like Abraham's. He was born with human DNA and the fullness of the Godhead in His Spirit. He walked out a human life - the one that you and I have to walk out - without sin. Following this train of thought logically, Calvin's conclusion that man is born sinning would mean that Jesus was born sinning and that simply cannot be. Children are born with a clean slate and a clear conscience but their weak flesh will eventually cause them to CHOOSE to sin. The spirit of man is willing but the flesh is weak and drags us down. That is what Paul is describing in Romans 7. He is explaining what it was like to try to be righteous under the Law not his struggles with sin as a Christian. If he was struggling with sin as a Christian then why does he clearly teach that Christians don't sin? They are dead to sin in Romans 6. They are no longer a slave to sin. Jesus told us that we have to be like those children. We have to get back to having a clear conscience and it is possible through the power of His Spirit.

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 2 Cor. 1:12

I use that argument all the time with atheists who want proof. I have a clear conscience. That's my testimony. :-)

Many blessings!


Mike said...

What a Christian believes about this verse determines much about your Christian experience.
"Romans chapter seven, particularly passages such as, "The good that I would, I do not. And that which I abhor is that which I do...Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?"...
this is either before Paul was saved or his experience after he met the Lord. I beleive its after conversion you obviously believe this cannot be the normal Christian experience.My question to you is WHEN you next sin what will you say, I think it will prove simply that you are still in a struggle with sin to think otherwise is not realistic unless you don't know what sin is. And did you read the whole essay or not or just want blast me. Note that Romans 7 comes after Ro. 6 which I have had memorized since the Bill Gothard days. No, I have concluded, the best explaination for the normal Christian experience can be found in the doctrine of the Reformation.
Mike ;-)

verandoug said...

There is no question that a Christian, especially a young one, will have slip ups and sin. Heb 6. But the perspective you are teaching, where someone as old in the Lord as you and I are, sin should not be a way of life. From the perspective of sin NOT being a daily part of a Christian's life by grace through faith, that scenario fits many passages of Scripture that would otherwise not fit such as 1 John 3.

Anyone can repent. As long as there is breath in you, you can repent. Thank God! You don't need to keep on sinning or feel that because you let God down, there is no hope. There is always hope. But if you have the mentality that it doesn't matter, you are not living in the freedom that these men preached because you are still enslaved by sin. Fighting sin all day long is not freedom.

Part of the whole message these men were preaching was that grace would free them from sin allowing them to come into the presence of a Holy God.

Let's put your understanding to the test. Firstly, the main theme in this letter is to explain the transition from the old covenant to the new covenant. You sort of have to read the whole thing to understand his bottom line point. This is not an intellectual dissertation either. It is a letter meant to be read by common folk who were trying to sort things out.

So with that in mind, the reason I point out Romans 6 is that it doesn't fit the conclusion one would have if they read Romans 7 alone. Plus, he begins Romans 7 by saying that he is speaking to people that know the Law. He gives an analogy of this transition being like a wife whose husband has died. Now she is free to marry another. Then he says this, "For when we WERE (past tense) in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter."

Then he explains that the Law is not sin but it brings sin to life in us. The problem he outlines in his point on having this battle going on is that he does delight in the law. His spirit man wants to do the law, but he can't do it because he is brought under captivity to sin.

Notice too that he says that he was alive without the law once. When did that happen? Wasn't that as a Pharisee?

My question to you is WHEN you next sin what will you say, I think it will prove simply that you are still in a struggle with sin to think otherwise is not realistic unless you don't know what sin is.

I don't have to choose to sin, Mike. I don't have to lust. I don't have to lie, cheat, steal, take God's name in vain, etc. I can be led of the Spirit instead of that which is what the next part of this letter states.

"For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

The idea that he is claiming that he struggles daily with sin under what he said in Romans 6 and 8 no longer makes sense. He is telling us in Romans 7 how he struggled to be righteous under the Law. But his flesh kept bringing him into captivity to sin. Now in Christ, he no longer lives according to the flesh.

And did you read the whole essay or not or just want blast me.

My heart wasn't to "blast you." I hope you didn't look at it that way.
I didn't read it to the end. I read a ways down the page.

the best explanation for the normal Christian experience can be found in the doctrine of the Reformation.

I am putting all those things anymore to the test because it is obvious that not everything holds water.


Mike said...

You misunderstand me if you think I'm saying its OK to go and live a life of sin, and where you get the idea that Calvin teaches that I don't know! And I am not a total "Calvinist" but I do feel you are entrenched in a kind of moral ism that can only produce frustration & despair ultimately, as this kind of moral ism or "legalism" did to me.Do you think that when I talk about sin I'm only talking of scandalous sins like adultery, pornography, steeling, drunkenness and the such, that's not what I mean when I say we still struggle against sin, although there are Christians that do struggle in those areas, no what Im saying is what about slander & gossip, anger, jealousy, judgemental ism or sins of omission. These in the eyes of God are as scandalous maybe not to us Christians but they are to God because they are the religious sins of the pharisee and we tend to be blind to them. I do believe like the essay stated,
"The reformers really believed that the Christian life was a life simul iustus et peccator-- simultaneously justified and yet sinful, and that we would remain in this tension until death."
I will say again to deny that tension in your own life is just to be kidding yourself. That is why the Gospel becomes so important as Ferguson says,"The Glory of the Gospel is that God has declared Christians to be rightly related to Him in spite of their sins" He's not saying its ok go out and sin your right with God but he is saying as a true believer Christ paid for those failures you encounter put your hope in Christ who died for that sin and keep moving on.

verandoug said...

How do we become righteous, if the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom? 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Galatians 5

Mike said...

Good question! Could it be that we need the righteousness of Christ. For me these kind of verses cause me to look at the cross and Christs finished work. The 11 verse of 1 cor 6 says such were some of you but you were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus even if a Christian struggles or stumbles in those areas that will not disqualify him from salvation if he is truly born again, I think Paul is referring to a settled life style with no intention of dealing with their sin remember Corinth was a pretty wicked city with a long history. Gal. 5 is referring to the law and trying to keep it in order to be justified when Paul lists the deeds of the flesh we are all partakers of to some extent, Paul does not let anyone off the hook on that. In the 6 chapter he talks about someone being caught in one of those sins of the flesh should be restored I believe that is referring to a christian just like I believe Ro7:19 does. I think you are closer to Calvin and Luther on some of these things then me! Luther said we are stirred to good works by the Spirit and we should do them but they in noway contribute to your salvation or standing with God. That is not an exact quote but is out of his commentary on Galatians. whose righteousness do we want to stand before God with my own or Christs I think we both agree Christs and that is the only righteousness that God recognises. I could say more but my daughter keeps calling for me to get her from school.

Anonymous said...

Dad I need to take notes from your blog... I really think you need to be some sort of a teacher.

verandoug said...

So what does this mean then:

Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15

This passage right here indicates that our actions and eternal life are so connected as to not be able to separate the two. We as believers will be judged for our deeds. We aren't off the hook because Jesus died for our sins.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 1 John 5:2-4

Under your present understanding, you are saying that God's commands are impossible to keep. Over and over, these guys said the opposite. The key is FAITH. I reread Romans yesterday and for the first time, I think I understand Romans 12. My understanding of that passage was clouded by Mr. Gothard's teaching on motivational gifts. I realize that Paul is giving us a picture of what it looks like to walk in the Spirit.

A perspective of sinning daily falls more in line with Calvin's irresistible grace argument. IOW, God places this irresistible grace on us and we are controlled. I don't believe that. I believe there is a responsibility in us that continues because of our own freewill to choose. So to suggest that we play no role in these decisions is ludicrous.

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31

The Holy Spirit does something in our lives that changes our condition from being flesh driven to being Spirit led. Most people are taught that our condition didn't change and so we sin daily. John tells us that keeping His commandments is not burdensome. Jesus said His yoke was easy and His burden was light.

A great question came up today on Reasons to Believe's podcast series called, "I Didn't Know That."

The part that concerns our discussion is about the last 11 min. They answered a question that has come up before for me, "What about lying to protect the life of say a Jew in Nazi Germany?" I thought they gave an excellent response. I have had a similar thing come up for me personally where in order to avoid sin, I had to do something that I wouldn't normally do. That is what it means to be led of the Spirit of God. I mean, I would try at all costs not to lie. But I think at the moment, you have to do what is right.

I appreciate your letting me dialogue with you on this. I am trying to write about it. If I don't communicate this correctly, it is going to be a fail.


Mike said...

I listen to the teaching on lying to the Nazi's and I would agree with his take on it. I would lie to save my child's life as would you, on your point on Heb 10
I believe it is referring to people who have heard and seen the truth of the Gospel and rejected it I don't believe it is a particular choice of sin and specifically this scripture is referring to the Jews having seen clearly that Jesus was the Messiah and chose to put their trust back in the Mosaic law. There no longer remains salvation in the law its only through Christ, thats what I beleive it means, check this link as a more detailed explaination of generally my thinking and conviction on the subject. I don't agree with Mcarthur on everything but I think he's got this pretty good.


Dad said...

Thanks Tay!!
Luvu Dad

verandoug said...


One thing that John M does quite frequently is to dismiss certain passages of Scripture as irrelevant for us especially in the NT. Hebrews is a prime example.

There is no way to read Hebrews 10 and somehow walk away believing that he is speaking of getting back under the Law.

He starts out exhorting the brethren (that's you and me) to draw near with a true heart, hold fast to the profession of our faith etc.

For if we sin wilfully AFTER that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

He is actually making a comparison between those who were judged under the Law and saying that the punishment for troddening under foot the Son of God is more severe than what those people got who were judged under the Law.

MacCarther and Dallas Theological are so off until it is ridiculous. It's like they're making it up as they go. If something doesn't fit into their reformist theology, they find a way around it by Xing out passages.

I stopped listening to him years ago when I heard him discount the baptism of the Holy Spirit because it is not for us today because the perfect has come - The Bible. How ridiculous.

Doug would like to know if you would like to go out preaching with their team at Fantasy Fest in Key West at the end of October.


Mike said...

Will I have to carry a sign and megaphone preaching all homosexuals are going to hell. If not I might consider it. I'll preach that Christ died for them and loves them despite their sin, and it's the love of Christ that leads to repentance.Tell Doug I miss preaching with him at the Krome Detention Center and Youth Hall but he's a little to radical for me now. If he used Ray Comfort tactics I would seriously consider it. About John Mcarthur he has loosened up quite a bit about Charismatics he actually has some of them preaching in his church now a days.

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