alien righteousness

The Differences between Rome (infusion) and Geneva (imputation) in Justification (2)

Part one. Question: Do we really know what they (the Catholic church) believe in and why we can’t compromise the differences for the sake of unity? Well,  Michael Horton assistant pastor at  Santee United Reformed Church and professor at Westminster Seminary California  on the White Horse Inn a few years ago,  answers that question below:

Answer: (this took me a couple of hours to transcribe, dude.)

“In the first week of October 1997 a coalition of individual Roman Catholics and evangelical protestants issued a joint statement of their common understanding of the Christian Gospel titled The Gift of Salvation. It was an earnest attempt to state the message of salvation in language acceptable to errors of the Protestant Reformation and to answer some of the objections that were raised to an earlier document known as Evangelicals and Catholics Together produced by many of the same people. On the surface this new statement published Christianity Today seems greatly improved and to some respects it is. However we are profoundly distressed by its assertions and omissions which leave it seriously flawed. We understand it to be expressed in terms consistent with historic Roman Catholic theology while failing adequately express the essential Protestant understanding of the Gospel and we plead with our fellow evangelicals not to be deceived by this new and initiative but instead hold firm the doctrine of Justification by Grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone which is the biblical Gospel. Now the first of these two documents Evangelicals and Catholics Together was a call to the Christian world to form a united front against the destructive influences of secular culture and such areas as ethics, statism, and the relativism of truth. In the context of this call to co-belligerency in the common sphere of cultural life which we hardly endorse, Evangelicals and Catholics Together affirmed a unity of faith among Roman Catholics and Evangelicals. Included in this common faith was an affirmation that we are Justified by Grace through faith because of Christ. Now many Christians were unsettled by that affirmation chiefly because in historic controversy between Protestants and Roman Catholics regarding the doctrine of Justification by faith alone, Sola Fide. Pleas were made to the signatories to provide greater clarity to this matter. The second document attempts to do this, unlike the first [document] the Gift of Salvation, the second document tries to clarify the unity of faith that was asserted earlier it emphasizes the grace of God and salvation, the atonement of Christ, and the gift of Justification is received through faith, but there is nothing new about in this language for the Roman Catholic perspective; Rome has always maintained it that salvation is based upon grace upon the work of Christ and upon faith. The council of Trent called faith the initiation, foundation, and root of Justification. The Gift of Salvation clearly acknowledges that Justification is central to the Scriptural account of Salvation. What is striking about this document is the joint affirmation by the signatories that quote “We understand that what we affirm here is an agreement with what the Reformation traditions have meant by Justification by faith alone, Sola Fide.” This statement would seem to indicate that the co-signers agree in affirming the biblical doctrine of Sola Fide if such is the case we rejoice. However although it is said that certain affirmations are in an agreement with Sola Fide, Sola Fide itself is not stated. The Gift of Salvation says that 1.) Justification is received through faith 2.) Justification is not earned by good works or merits of our own 3.) Justification is entirely God’s gift  4.) In Justification God declares us to be His friends on the basis of Christ’s righteousness alone and 5.) Faith is not merely intellectual assent, but the act of the whole person issuing in a changed life. Now each of these points agrees with Sola Fide, yet separately and together they fall short of both the biblical and Reformation doctrine of Sola Fide which is our concern. Well why do they fall short? Central and essential to the Biblical doctrine of Justification and to Reformation doctrine of Sola Fide is the concept of the imputation of the Righteousness of Christ to the believer. Historically Rome has always contended that the basis of Justification is the righteousness of Christ, but it’s a righteousness infused into the believer rather than being imputed to him. This means that the believer must cooperate with and assent to that gracious work of God and only to the extent that Christ righteousness inheres in the believer will God declare that person Justified. Protestants disagree pointing to the critical difference between infused righteousness and imputed righteousness. Sola Fide affirms that you are Justified on the basis of Christ’s righteousness for us which is accomplished by Christ own perfect act of obedience apart from us not on the basis of Christ’s righteousness in us. So the good news of the Gospel is that we do not have to wait for a righteousness to be accomplished in us before God counts us as Righteous in his sight. He [God] declares us to be Just on the basis of Christ’s imputed righteousness. Without the imputation of righteousness the Gospel isn’t Good News because we could never know if we are standing before God in a Justified therefore a saved state, we’ll have to wait for some ultimate but by no means guaranteed salvation; the Gospel just isn’t Good News if believers made face thousands of years in purgatory before they come at last to heaven. Toward the end of the Gift of Salvation the signers acknowledged that there are questions that require further and urgent exploration, among these are purgatory, indulgences, merit, and the language of imputed righteousness as well as the salvation of non-Christians. But if the matter of imputed righteousness remains on the table for further discussion, not to mention purgatory, the matter of indulgences and a need for human merit of some kind the Reformation doctrine of Justification is not being affirmed in the document whatever it may claim. Thus, the document is either dangerously ambiguous, meaning whatever either side wants it to mean or is deliberately deceptive. The historic controversy over imputed versus infused righteousness is a vital, essential matter that posits irreconcilable views of Justification. The difference between inherent righteousness no matter how acquired [Roman Catholics] and being Justified by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness alone [Protestant, Christian] doesn’t admit to compromise, nor do we view it as a matter that provokes as the [Roman Catholic] document puts it “A needlessly decisive dispute.” We [Christians] see it as the heart of the Gospel without which the Gospel is not true Gospel at all. The signatories have been careful to declare that they are not speaking for their respective communities but from and to them. But it must also be recognized that they are speaking about their communities; we want no one in those communities to be misled into thinking that what’s affirmed in the Gift of Salvation is the historic doctrine of Sola Fide. In the discussion that followed the release of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together one of the participants in the drafting of the document repeatedly said that the parties to the declaration agreed to the words of the document but understood their meaning differently. Well when this occurs we maintain that the agreement isn’t really agreement and that the declaration of unity is at best misleading, and at worse fraudulent. Attempts to bring harmony through ambiguous formulas were attempted in the past most notably the Diet of Ratisbon in 1541 on this occasion Rome switched from Sola Fide a novelty to arguing that it was always the position of the church. Nevertheless, the agreement at Ratisbon quickly unraveled over the issue of imputed versus infused righteousness. At Ratisbon the difference between the Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrines seem to resolve itself into this one point, and even on this, both sides had some views in common; it seemed that there was no radical or irreconcilable difference between them, yet when they came to explain what they meant by their choice of words it became obvious that they were contending for two opposite and irreconcilable methods of Justification one by an inherent the other by an imputed righteousness—one by the personal obedience of the believer, the other by the vicarious obedience of Christ. One by the on going work of the Spirit within us, the other by Christ finished work for us. Ratisbon demonstrated that there can be no honest compromise between the Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrines of Justification, therefore any agreement made on the basis of mutual concession can only be made by using ambiguous expressions and can amount to nothing more then a meaningless truce sure to be broken by either party as soon as the subject is brought again into serious discussion. The true legacy of Ratisbon was not unity but the anathemas of the Council of Trent 1545 to 63. Seven months of deliberation were devoted to the doctrine of Justification in the sixth session, and the end result was to pronounce anathemas on Protestant teaching. Sadly, the canons and decrees of Trent still form the clearest expression of the official Roman Catholic doctrine of Justification as evidence by the recent Catholic catechism. The effort of some recent Roman Catholic theologians to distance themselves from Trent and dialogues with representatives of other communions have nevertheless not altered official Roman Catholic teaching. The irony that while Evangelical and Catholics Together express concern over the relativisation to truth in our day it has lead in the Gift of Salvation to a relativising important truth of all, namely the Gospel itself. At least some of the Roman Catholic signatories of these two documents have declared their continuing allegiance to the teaching of the Council of Trent as they should if they are truly Roman Catholics. The Gift of Salvation declares that quote that “faith is not merely intellectual assent but the act of the whole person involving the mind, the will, and the affections issuing in a changed life.”  We agree that faith is not merely intellectual assent and that saving faith includes the whole person and that it issues in a changed life, but this formula fails to address the actual controversy about saving faith, the Reformers believed that we are justified by faith alone because only faith receives and rests upon the imputed righteousness of Christ alone and appropriates his righteousness as our sole grounds of our acceptance by God. True faith is immediately effectual in securing Justification, though faith works by love and produces the fruits of righteousness, its Justifying efficacy is due solely to its embracing Christ. Saving faith according to the Bible is not only a necessary condition but is sufficient condition for Justification. Rome declares that a person could have such faith without being justified if a person commits a mortal sin, such sin deemed mortal because it kills the grace of Justification even if faith remains intact. Thus, Rome teaches that one can have faith without Justification which is a clear and persistent denial of Sola Fide.    We are also distressed by the Gift of Salvation speaks about evangelism, the document says quote “We commit ourselves to evangelizing everyone. We must share the fullness of God’s saving truth with all including members of our several communities. Evangelicals must speak the Gospel to Catholics and Catholics to evangelicals.”  Now on the surface this sounds like statement that Evangelicals should endorse, but it’s another case of ambiguity one which tends to undermine evangelical missionary efforts and dominantly Roman Catholic countries and elsewhere. Evangelizing here does not mean preaching the Gospel with a view to converting those who hear because to preach the Gospel to Roman Catholics would mean proclaiming it to those who are already within the church and therefore are already in the process, in Roman Catholic theology there could be nothing else, of being saved. True heirs of the Reformation insist that evangelizing means preaching the Gospel of Christ all sufficient atoning work to lost people in the churches as well as outside of them so that they might repent of their sin, trust Christ alone for their Salvation and not perish in God’s judgment. Sadly, the publication of Evangelical and Catholics Together and now the Gift of Salvation has provoked a severe controversy within the ranks of professing evangelicals. It has divided evangelicals from evangelicals. To the degree it has done this it has disrupt much of the unity once enjoyed by evangelicals and has revealed the unity that we thought we had was not as deep as we believed. Many of us have been engaged in ministry for years and have had a policy for cooperating with evangelicals of many different communions and persuasions. We are deeply committed to the cause of evangelical unity. We believe that one of the great strengths of historic evangelicalism has been the ability to set aside nonessential differences as we work together for a common mission, but the heart and soul of that unity has been and must remain our unswerving commitment to Christ and His Gospel. We believe that indeed it is the Gospel that is the power of God for Salvation. Unity apart from the Gospel is not Biblical unity. In these troubled times we dare not compromise the Gospel in the slightest degree. We celebrate not only the common Gospel we share as Evangelicals but we honor the communion of saints particularly those who for the sake of the Gospel in all ages have endured persecution, suffered want and deprivation, and have given there lives for the sake of and in defense of the Gospel. Our times require the same commitment. We believe that there is value in dialogue with Roman Catholics and other groups, but we protest against declaring that evangelicals and Roman Catholics share a common faith and mission as long as crucial issues related to Justification, such as quote “Imputation, the normative status of Justification and relation to all Christian doctrine, and diverse understandings of merit, reward, purgatory and indulgences, Mary and devotion and the assistance of the saints in the life of salvation, and the possibility of salvation for those to who have never been evangelized…” remains unresolved. We are concerned about the flock of Jesus that it may not be confused or misled by ambiguous views of the Gospel. We are concerned about the missionary enterprise of evangelicals as they bring the Gospel to the nations. We are concerned for the task of the evangelism being convinced without the evangel there is no authentic evangelism. We agree with the Reformers that Justification by faith alone is the article by which the church stands or falls and is indeed the article in by which we stand or fall. We stand together on these truths. We call on all true evangelicals to stand with us. ” -Michael Horton Commentary on the Roman Catholic Debate.  (Bold mine).

36 Responses to “The Differences between Rome (infusion) and Geneva (imputation) in Justification (2)”

  1. Nick

    Hi, me again (haha).

    I have a few comments:

    1) Horton says: “we do not have to wait for a righteousness to be accomplished in us before God counts us as Righteous in his sight”

    This seems a bit of a misunderstanding of the Catholic position. Trent quite plainly teaches infused righteousness is the ‘formal cause’ of our justification; you either have it or you don’t. A formal cause is what makes something what it is, so one is righteous by definition if they have righteousness (infused) in their soul. A red wall is red precisely because it has the color red painted on it, just as a Christian is righteous precisely because they have righteousness in them.

    One of the most serious difficulties I see in imputed righteousness is that the only place it’s really mentioned is in Romans 4, which is quite odd for such an important concept. But even then problems arise when one realizes the term ‘impute’ isn’t even actually in Romans 4. I’d go into the actual Greek term Paul uses here, but I’m sure you’ve already seen my case.

    The next thing to consider is the “righteousness of God the Father” which Paul frequently mentions. This righteousness is the Father’s not by means of meriting it, but due to it being a quality of the Divine Nature. Thus this righteousness cannot be ‘imputed’, because it’s not a ‘legal righteousness’.

    2) Horton goes onto say: “Without the imputation of righteousness the Gospel isn’t Good News because we could never know if we are standing before God in a Justified therefore a saved state, we’ll have to wait for some ultimate but by no means guaranteed salvation”

    This is an unfair charge I’ve seen thrown at Catholics from the start of the Reformation. The idea of ‘absolute assurance’ is simply bogus. Nobody knows if they will persevere to the end, but it’s even worse in Calvinism where one doesn’t even know if they are elect in the first place, they must assume they are (but an assumption rules out assurance by definition). What is most troubling is that Calvin taught something called “evanescent grace” in which he says God causes some people to think they are saved and even act saved but never really were in the first place! This very issue is so problematic to the Reformed side that it was key in leading me away from becoming Calvinist.

    Horton was right in the fact these issues are critical enough that there can be no middle ground or compromise between the Catholic and Protestant camps.

    Reply
    • Peter Chen

      Nick,

      I did not know that this comment was left unanswered until now. It is good to think about these things, so I take the time to write you back.

      Horton did not use the exact Roman Catholic terms, but his point is clearly referring to the teachings of Rome. He simple fly the term to “a righteousness to be accomplished in us” and you rather like the term “infused righteousness”. That is what Trent teaches an infused righteousness as that which results in justification. A change that results in the person doing good works and ultimately becoming personally perfectly righteous, only then is the person declared righteous by God. The problem is that that is wrong.

      Regarding Romans 4. The Bible is the word of God, if it says one teaching of the bible so clearly as the work of Jesus that saved the lost sinner, rather than an infused work done at infancy and then the person works the Romans system of merits to earn righteousness, that resulting in a hopeful salvation, but after thousands/millions of years in purgatory (only if you did not do a “mortal sin” that would kill the infused grace. in this case you would go to hell). The issues is not just one doctrine, but the entire way of salvation as the bible teach. From what I can see from the Bible is that the Bible does not teach this Roman Catholic system of grace (making the Romans sacramental system) plus works (the sinner perfectly working that system), and only maybe then justification. The Bible teaches a certain and sure foundation founded on the finished work of Jesus. Jesus is the savior, and not merely the one who made the systems available for man to work. Jesus saves the sinner apart from the works of man, so that man has nothing that he is able to boast about.

      If you want more verses, sure there are. For example:

      2 Corinthians 5:21
      He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

      Philippians 3:9
and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

      The point is that the entire Romans system is not taught in the Bible. Romans 4 is just one aspect of the finished work of Jesus as credited to the account of the sinner saved by grace.

      It is not just Romans 4, but Romans 3-5. In fact the entire way of salvation was already introduce in Romans 1:17 where Paul build up the case.

      Romans 1:17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
      18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
      19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

      Paul moves from everyone knowing God, to everyone being subject to the wrath of God, therefore everyone is guilty and has no excuse. Gentiles and Jews have no excuse. That is the entire world.

      Romans 3:9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:
      “There is no one righteous, not even one;
      11 there is no one who understands;
      there is no one who seeks God.
      12 All have turned away,
      they have together become worthless;
      there is no one who does good,
      not even one.”
      13 “Their throats are open graves;
      their tongues practice deceit.”
      “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
      14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
      15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
      16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
      17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
      18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

      Everyone is declared guilty under the law of God. No one is able to obey the law of God. Everyone is guilty.

      Romans 3:20 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

      Nick, it seams to me that the Romans system of grace plus works (obedience to the law) is being rejected by Paul. The law makes one conscious of ones sins, and does NOT save or as Paul put it, “no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law”. Because that was not the intent of the law. The intent of the law was that “through the law we become conscious of our sin.”

      Paul takes that entire time to tell us the problem, then with that moves on to talking about the law as never intending to be the means of justification, Paul goes on to talk about the righteousness coming from God to be “given” to sinners and received by faith.

      Romans 3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

      Before even getting to Romans 4. Paul already clearly does not teach the Romans system of merits and works, sacraments, pennants, prayer to Mary of any of that that goes for the Roman system of past or present.

      Surely God the father is righteous, and so the Bible does talk about the righteousness of God in that sense. But Paul here says, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Note that this is a righteousness that is “given” to people. What does the “this righteousness” refer back to? Just the verse before, “the righteousness of God”.

      Sinners are not saved by their works, but by grace apart from works from the sinner (or as the Reformers would say “by grace alone”). As Paul put it, the law only makes us guilty (Rom 3:19-20), therefore, “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” However, this grace does not come from NO works what so ever, but “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood”. Because of Jesus’ finished work of atonement, God the Father can be just as he justifies sinners who have faith in Jesus.

      Paul anticipates the Roman catholic (and other work salvation systems) object several times in the book of Romans. “But where is works?”

      Romans 3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

      Believing sinners are “justified by faith apart from the works of the law” before there can not be any boasting. In the Roman system, boasting remains. However, accordion to the word of God, God’s way of salvation by grace, All boasting is “excluded”.

      Now, let us consider your objection that Reformed position does not result in assurance of salvation. It seams to me that your changing of words indicate your own misunderstanding of what we believe. The issue is not that if any individual has the ability to know his own election or justification in of himself. The issue is the way of salvation as described by the Roman System of grace (making the sacramental system) and works (sinners working the Romans system) result in peace with God. Or the Reformed position of God’s Grace apart from humans work, but rather on the finished work of Jesus, result in peace with God. Surely, it seams clear to me anyways, that when sinners are part of those working for their salvation by the means of the sacramental system, the sinners are going to hell. Remember, we are talking about “sinners” after all. There is NO assurance in the Roman system at all, because the weakest link is that though the Father may send the Son to die for a system of sacraments, and the Roman church stays open 24/7 to make it available. sinners can never keep themselves clean enough to not commit an intentional sin. If the Roman Catholic truly see that sin is any unclean action or thought, or lack of doing what one should be doing, then that Roman Catholic has to stay in the confessional 24/7, to confess every sin. When he would have to stay in the confessional until death, because while the Roman Catholic is in the confessional, he is not doing the good things that he should be going (James 4:17). But he can not get out of the confessional to do them because every “good” works is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). No. There is NO peace for the sinner in the Roman system.

      But the good news is that the Romans system is not the Biblical way of salvation found in Jesus and written in God’s word.

      Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
      6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
      9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

      Peace with God, and reconciliation to God achieved for sinners by the finished work of Jesus. All by God being graces to lost sinners who believe the promise of God. The good news is that nowhere in that is the Romans system of works or humans works of any kind, but entirely grace alone. That is why believing sinners have assurance, because their right standing with God is entirely the work of God. For as Paul says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

      Nick, I hope one day, you may come to rejoice with us in the saving grace of the triune God, who saves sinners by His grace alone, or rather who saves sinner by Himself alone.

      Reply
    • Peter Chen

      Nick,

      Hum, anything from there that is an answer to what I wrote you about? Please feel free to copy from your writing that is directly related to what I wrote about. If it does not deal with what I wrote, then what is the point?

      Reply
      • Nick

        You wrote a lot, too much to address in one post. But that link I gave you was a relatively short but strictly Biblical look at many of the presumptions you have when approaching Romans and justification that I don’t think are actually biblical.

        It does no good to toss verses around since it’s more about the framework in which we’re coming from. For example, you basically assert that Catholics deny that “Jesus saves the sinner,” but that doesn’t do anyone any good unless we know and it’s proven what “Jesus saves the sinner” means specifically. For example, I assume you’re speaking of Christ’s Active and Passive Obedience is how He saves…but my article shows why these dont fit Scripture’s testimony.

      • Peter Chen

        Nick,
        In your link, you have comments on “concepts”, however what I presented to you was the context of Paul’s teaching in Romans 1-5. I don’t think you are dealing with Paul’s train of thought, thus you did not deal with what I wrote about in the context. That was why I asked you to deal with what I wrote about rather than just provide a link. I could just as well provide a link to a book written by a Christian and ask you to read that. It maybe seen as a copout, and we would not be talking.

        Frankly your link opens up a can of worms (too many things need responding to and all of it is off the above subject). I hope you don’t think badly of me for only commenting that way about your link, because that link is not dealing with Paul’s train of thought in Romans 1-5 of what I wrote above. When you want to deal with what Paul was teaching in Chapters 1-5 of Romans — the point I thought you where attacking and that I was writing in response to, then please write back regarding it.

        Regarding “Jesus saves the sinner”, yes, I do hold to the Active and Passive Obedience of Christ as the way Christ Jesus saves, but you are mistaken if you think that was the point of what I was saying. The context of what I way saying (I thought to be clear enough, but I can always try better) was that the Roman system of merits can’t even hold that Jesus is a Savior. Sure enough in the Roman system, Jesus makes the meriting system available for people to claim/accumulate the grace provided by Jesus in the sacramental system, but Jesus does not save the person. The person uses the system to save himself. Jesus is claimed by Rome to be the maker of the system of merits, and that done graciously, but the sinner has to use the system to save himself. If Rome want to call that grace, then is it not God being gracious (no works) to the sinner. It is God graciously making the system for the sinner to use/work. If Rome want to claim that Jesus saves people by making the system of merit, then sure. But Jesus is not the savior of the people, but he makes the system of merits so that sinners can try to use it to save themselves/works. Jesus can’t even be rightly called “Savior” in the Roman system, Jesus is only a great provider. The Roman system robs Jesus of his title as “Savior” as if He really does save those whom He died for. “NO!” Rome says. Jesus only died to make the system of works so sinners can go to the church to use the system to save themselves. Man is made their own saviors in the Roman system.

        I know Roman Catholics don’t know their way of salvation well enough to say it that way, and those who do would not make it so clear. If you do not agree, then please feel free to write back and correct me.

        I hope that point is clear. But the main issue I wrote about is Paul’s train of thought in Romans 1-5, if Paul teaches that Roman sacramental system of grace plus works. Will you be willing to respond to that?

  2. Inwoo

    Nick,

    As we discussed some time last year especially in your dialogue with Josh, your working under a monocoventatlism that Horton describes in his book, Covenant and Salvation. So this of course effects your doctrine of Justification by grace through faith because of Christ alone, in turn effecting the active and passive obedience which are clearly found in Scripture. Your Gospel as mentioned in the discussions a while ago is a new law. That is your theological frame that you are stating. You have no distinctions where in Scripture these distinctions are clearly made.
    You allegiance is to the pope, and the Roman magisteriam.

    Again your Gospel is a new law which is mo Gospel at all.

    Reply
    • Nick

      Hi,

      Let me start off by applying your same claim you make against me to your own covenantal claims: “You have no distinctions where in Scripture these distinctions are clearly made.”

      The only sense in which I see the term “Covenant” used in a soteriological context in the Bible is that of the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant – no place in Scripture is a “covenant of works” taught, at least not that Paul was concerned with. If you believe otherwise, that Paul *clearly* laid down a Covenant Of Works versus CovenantOfGrace, then please list the passages. Stating that the Mosaic Law contained a “works principle” implying a recapitulation of the CoW is not enough.

      All my uses of the term “covenant” are explicitly Biblical (i.e. the Mosaic and New). In saying that my Gospel is a “new law,” there’s nothing unbiblical about it *properly* understood, for Christ has new laws and demands for His followers that didn’t apply earlier in history.

      You also said: “active and passive obedience which are clearly found in Scripture”

      Oh really? What are the top three passages in Scripture that “clearly” teach Active Obedience?

      It’s not enough to just assert the Catholic side doesn’t have Scriptural proof if the same demand can be asked of you. With that in mind, if those distinctions and teachings aren’t found in Scripture, then it’s your framework that wont fit.

      As for my allegiance to the Pope, well sure, but this is taking into account I’ve also studied Scripture and not found these Protestant ‘distinctives’ taught in them.

      Reply
  3. Inwoo

    There are typos I am thumb tapping on a itouch. Put an r in your and change the m to an n. And put an alone to Grace and faith. Did you check out Covenant and Salvation by Horton?

    Reply
  4. inwoolee

    Nick,

    I wrote a reponse, but I have to write it over again, because the blog went back and erased it, ahhh. Anyhow.

    We are beginning to sound like a broken record, and by the end of this conversation you will probably recycle the same bad news. Most of things that you mentioned have already been discussed in the previous conversations last year

    Here https://iustitiaaliena.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/the-role-of-law-in-the-covenant-of-grace/#comments

    And

    Here https://iustitiaaliena.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/michael-hortons-960-page-systematic-theology-is-coming-out-in-100210/

    I think Peter’s response was legitimate, he gave you verses which I believe you just dodged, correct me if I am wrong.
    You said in your comment on January 6th 2011: [quote] “But even then problems arise when one realizes the term ‘impute’ isn’t even actually in Romans 4.”

    “Though hardly motivated by doctrinal concerns, Erasmus had pointed out these lexical inconsistencies even before Luther. Obviously, being made righteous. By itself, the latter term does not require the evangelical doctrine of justification, but it does render erroneous the Vulgate’s translation and therefore the interpretation of justification as moral transformation. A number of Roman Catholic New Testament scholars (italics mine) have pointed out in recent years that dikaioo has to do with a legal vindication. (footnote: See for instance Joseph Fitzmeyer [a Roman Catholic New Testment exegete], “The Letter to the Romans,” and the “The Letter to the Galatians,” in the The Jerome Biblical Commentary (ed. Raymond S. Brown, Jospeh Fitzmeyer, and Roland E. Murphy; Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968), esp. 241-44 and 303-15 respectively.) The lexical definition of to be justified is “to be cleared in court,” (footnote: See BDAG, 246-50)…it is even true in relation to the Old Testament (sadaq and cognates), and can by amply attested. That significant consensus can be reached on this point even among thoe who stand in some critical relation to the Reformation interpretation demonstrates that we are quite far from witnessing the destruction of a forensic definition of justification (The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims On the Way by Michael Horton, page 631. Published in 2011).

    Still quoting Horton:

    “But in this case it is different: God does not justify those who work for it but only imputed righteousness to those who trust in the justifier of the ungodly. David is another example of one “against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (v. 8). Abraham could not even count his circumcision as the instrument of his justification before God (vv. 9-12). “But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (vv. 23-25).

    In Galatians 3, with the contrast between “the works of the law” and hearing with faith,” Paul repeats the quotation from Genesis 15:6. “Counting as” or “being counted as,” logizomai eis, is also found in Romans 2:26; 9:8 and 2 Corinthians 12:6, as well as Acts 19:27 and James 2:23. Although the term does not appear in Romans 5, the idea is evident throughout Paul’s comparison and contrast between Adam and Christ. Under Adam’s headship, many are justified and made alive. These passages unmistakably teach that the righteousness by which the believer stands worthy before God’s judgment is alien: that is, belonging properly to someone else. It is Christ’s righteousness imputed, not the believer’s inherent righteousness—even if produced by the gracious work of Spirit…

    …the Westminster Confession [Presbyterian and Reformed church’s confession] above, the clause is added that not only works “done by us” but even works “wrought in us” –by the Holy Spirit –are excluded from justification. Far from denying the Spirit’s work within us, the Confession is simply saying that this is not justification.” [End quote, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, pgs. 635-636, 2011].

    Horton goes on quoting New Testament giant, scholar D.A. Carson,

    “More specifically, Carson draws our attention to the parallelism in Romans 4:5-6: ‘In other words, ‘justifies’ is parallel to ‘credits righteousness’; or, to put the matter in nominal terms, justification is parallel to the imputation of righteousness.’ (D.A. Carson, “The Vindication of Imputation,” in Justification: What’s at Stake, 49) And it has to be an “alien righteousness, since “God justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5); he credits righteousness apart from works (Romans 4:6)…

    Still Horton quoting Carson:

    In Philippians 3, it is clearly not an inherent righteousness. “In 2 Corinthians 5:19-21, we are told that God made Christ who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. It is because of God that we are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us righteousness (and other things: 1 Corinthians 1:30). Passage after passage in Paul runs down the same track.” (Carson, 72) (Horton, 640).

    Quoting Horton still:

    “Paul appeals to the examples of Abraham and David (especially in Romans 4 and Galatians 2-4). In fact, the familiar prophecy of Isaiah 53 describes this imputation or exchange. The suffering Servant bears our sins, suffers in our place, and by his righteous act “shall…make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities” (v. 11). Our sins are put on his account, and his righteousness is credited us. In Zechariah 3, there is the prophecy of Joshua the high priest in the heavenly courtroom, with Satan as the prosecuting attorney and the Angel of the LORD as his defender. Although condemned in himself, Joshua has his filthy clothes removed and is arrayed instead in a spotless robe. All of these passages flood the New Testament’s testimony to Jesus Christ as the “the LORD…our righteousness” (cf. Jer. 23:5-6; 33:16, with 1Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Nothing remains to be done; all has been accomplished for us by Christ, and in him we are already holy and blameless before the Father.

    Far from denying the subjective transformation of the new birth and sanctification, the classic evangelical view points to its only possible source. As with all sound teaching in Scriptures, the goal of the doctrine is to being us to doxology [praise to God], giving all praise to God with nothing left for ourselves. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:31-35).

    However, perhaps the best image in the New Testament for justification comes from Jesus’ parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee. “The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I think that you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even left up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (Luke 18:10-13). Luke introduces this parable as intended by Jesus for “some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt” (v. 9). Clearly, Jesus saw the problem of the religious leaders as self-righteousness, which bore fruit of course in exclusionary practices. Furthermore, the Pharisee and tax collector both “went up into the temple to pray” (v. 10), so the contrast was not between some works (circumcision and dietary laws) and others. Finally, the Pharisee even thanked God for his righteousness, tipping his hat to grace (v. 11). Nevertheless, the tax collector asked for mercy rather than for an approval of his righteousness. “I tell you,” Jesus concluded this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other” (v. 14). (Horton 646, brackets and bold mine for emphasis). [end quote]

    You said on February 24th 2011: [quote] “The only sense in which I see the term “Covenant” used in a soteriological context in the Bible is that of the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant – no place in Scripture is a “covenant of works” taught, at least not that Paul was concerned with. If you believe otherwise, that Paul *clearly* laid down a Covenant Of Works versus CovenantOfGrace, then please list the passages. Stating that the Mosaic Law contained a “works principle” implying a recapitulation of the CoW is not enough.” [End quote]
    And Josh Lim responded on January 27th 2010:

    [quote] Nick,

    Based on your stringent requirements, I wonder if you can even see biblical warrant for the Trinity. No one said that the phrase “covenant of works” is stated in Scripture. The doctrines are claimed to be found in Scripture, not the precise terms. Now I know you don’t deny the Trinity, and I know that you’re not so naive as to think that particular doctrinal terms must be present in order for a doctrine to be biblically sustained, so I’m a little confused as to why you’d use such bad argumentation. And I thought Protestants were supposed to be the ‘biblicists,’ not Roman Catholics. These are strange times we live in. . .
    If you want to see some arguments for republication and for a pre-fall covenant of works I can recommend some books. Agree or disagree, but at least have some substantial arguments.
    Josh [end quote]

    And you said in replying to him on the same day:

    [quote] Josh,
    I can see Biblical warrant for the Trinity (Mat 28:19; 1 Cor 12:4-6, etc), though I’m aware the term itself doesn’t appear the concept surely does.
    I might have been unclear in my post, I wasn’t looking for exact terms for such things as “covenant of works.” The only specific term I was looking for is when it is identified as “the Law” (which I hold to be referring to the Mosaic Law or sometimes the Pentateuch in general).
    When someone speaks of the “law and gospel distinction,” they need to make sure their terms correspond to Biblical usage. The only Law I see Paul focused on is the Mosaic.
    I’d be happy if you recommended some books, I’m looking to buy The Law is Not of Faith soon.
    My point is simple: If someone wants to allege the law (as Paul speaks of it) applies to something other than Moses, they need to prove it from Scripture. [end quote]
    And Josh replied on the same day last year:

    [Quote] Nick,

    Gotcha.
    Well, at least part of the argument links the Mosaic law (specifically, the decalogue) to natural law (Rom. 1:18-21; 2:15). In that sense, even if the “Law” sometimes refers specifically to the Mosaic law (and I see no reason why not), that Mosaic law is a republication, as it were, of the natural law of God that existed in the original covenant between God and Adam. In Romans, Paul exposes both the Jew and Gentile as being condemned under the law (the Jews by the more explicit Mosaic law, the Gentiles by the law “written in their hearts”).

    I don’t think every instance that Paul uses the term “law,” he’s necessarily referring to the Mosaic Law (again Rom. 2:15). It is not uncommon for same word to be used in manifold ways–in cases where the meaning of a term is unclear, context should be the judge.

    Anyway, “The Law is not of Faith” is a good place to start. David VanDrunen’s book on natural law is another place. And for exegetical arguments on republication you can go to Kline’s
    “Kingdom Prologue.” [end quote].

    This is what I mean when we are sounding like broken records.
    To be consistent and this is unrelated to the point for it is not a tit for tat, but curious where is purgatory in the Scriptures, and the Mary as the co-mediator in the Scriptures? Or are we Protestants not “understanding” correctly Catholic theology?
    You said on February 24th, 2011: [quote] “In saying that my Gospel is a “new law,” there’s nothing unbiblical about it *properly* understood, for Christ has new laws and demands for His followers that didn’t apply earlier in history.”
    There are huge problem when you say that the Gospel or the Good news is a new law. The Gospel is not the law and the law is not the Gospel. The Gospel is a new law because you do not distinguish the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. What do hear when you go to the early of chapters of Genesis? What do hear when you go to Romans 5?

    Side note that is related: Also there is a Pauline logic between Romans 5 and the beginning of Romans 6. Romans 5 tells you of the radical nature of the Gospel.

    Tullian stated in an interview that I listened to regarding Romans 5 and 6, he is so right on. Tullian states regarding Romans 5 and 6:

    Transcribed: “You have this remarkable Chapter, Romans chapter 5 where Paul was literally talking about the radical nature of the Gospel, the outrageous mercy of God, and God’s grace. And then in Chapter 6 verse one he anticipates this question “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” Now he goes on to to say “By no means!” and he corrects that assumption, however the very fact that he would say what he did in chapter 5 is that he understands what leads people to ask the Romans 6:1 question tells you something about the radical nature of the Gospel.” -Tullian Tchividjian.

    The audio is here: http://wscal.edu/resource-center/resource/surprised-by-grace

    Not only Tullian hears this in Paul but theologians in the past as well like the Marrow men and a lot of others, but he words it so well in interview, “however the very fact that he would say what he did in Chapter 5 is that he understands what leads people to ask the Romans 6:1 question tells you something about the radical nature of the Gospel.” I was thinking this as well, but I could not find the words to say it (but that’s a side note), but wow, good observation and good stuff.

    Ok moving along now, you said:

    [quote] “You also said: “active and passive obedience which are clearly found in Scripture”
    Oh really? What are the top three passages in Scripture that “clearly” teach Active Obedience?” [end quote]

    I don’t think you understand what your denying, but maybe you do. I am not going reinvent the wheel, here’s Scott Clark regarding the Active obedience of Christ for his chapter titled, a great chapter. I am on a mac and don’t have my Greek fonts in there, so the Greek is not shown, but it is in that section of the chapter as appeared on this blog, also the footnotes might not be pasted (if you want the footnotes, I will past them separately). Here’s the section from the chapter Do This and Live: Christ’s Active Obedience as the Ground of Justification in the book Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry (which is a great book, worth your time which I recommend you get and read):

    THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF CHRIST’S OBEDIENCE
    According to Rom 1:18–2:16, the divine demand for obedience has existed since before the fall. From creation (Rom 1:19) the divine attributes and requirement for justice have been manifest (fanero,n). The phrase in 1:20, avpo. kti,sewj ko,smou frames the discussion in terms of Adam and the fall. Even in paradise, the demands were unequivocal and the standard unforgiving: “You may eat from any tree in the garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The day you eat of it, you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17). The essence of the law (2:6) is that God shall “give to each man according to his works kata. ta. e;rga auvtou/ (“according to his works”). In this case, the formal “doing” required by the law was abstinence, but the material obedience was loving God and obeying him completely.
    Those who lived under the Mosaic system, will be judged accordingly (2:12–13) and (in 2:15) those who did not, shall face judgment on the basis of the “law written on their hearts” (tou/ no,mou grapto.n evn tai/j kardi,aij auvtw/n), but they are substantially identical. All humans live under the same law, “do.”
    Because the moral law issues from the divine nature, Jesus was categorical about its demands, its unbending nature and constitutional function. Not a “yod or dot shall pass from the law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:18–19). Whoever tries to “loose” (lu,sh|) the law or teaches other that the requirements of the law have been relaxed will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. The law must be “accomplished” and “fulfilled” (v.18), it must be “done.” What the law requires must be performed (v.19). To the self-righteous lawyer, he did not say, “Do your best,” but rather, “do this and live” (Luke 10:25–28).
    Paul says that the one “having done” (poih,saj) righteousness (Rom 10:5) shall live “by the law” (evk Îtou/Ð no,mou). This is why it is “not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified” (Rom 2:13; emphasis mine). This is how Paul interprets Deut 27:26: “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do (poih/sai) everything which is written in the book of the law’” (Gal 3:10). This “doing” is essential to understanding the perfect performance of his law which God expects of his image-bearers. The demand is not only for the absence of sin, or even just punishment for sin but also for positive performance of all requirements.
    Our Lord summarized his entire earthly missio by saying that, as the Son, he was “unable (ouv du,natai) to do” anything on his own initiative. He does only “what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). To John the Baptist he declared that he had come “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt 3:15). Righteousness was something he had to do. Inaugurating formally his threefold office at his baptism was part of that fulfilling. To hungry disciples he declared “”My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34). Note well the key terms in this verse: i[na poih,sw. Jesus did not say he came to “trust” his Father, though he certainly did, but he said he was sent to “do” his Father’s will and to “fulfill his work” (teleiw,sw auvtou/ to. e;rgon).
    This is also why Jesus did not simply appear in history as an adult and promptly die, nor did he obey the law only as preparation for his passion. Rather, we should say with the Heidelberg Catechism 37 that he suffered “all the time he lived on earth,” and in so doing he accomplished all the obedience I owed (Heidelberg Catechism 60). Christ was born “under the law” (Gal 4:4), to redeem those under the stoicei/a (Gal 4:3), i.e., those “under the law.” God the Son became incarnate for the purpose of performing the demands of the law (Jn 6:38–40; 17:3–6; Gal 4:4–5).
    This is how we should read Rom 5:12–21. According to Paul, there are two heads of humanity, one disobedient and the other obedient. Sin and death entered the world through Adam, the first head of all humanity (v.12). He broke the law (v.13). His disobedience became the instrument through which death entered the world.
    The of disobedience o` prw/toj a;nqrwpoj (“the first Man;” 1 Cor 15:47) creates an expectation concerning remedial obedience to be performed by “o` e;scatoj VAda.m” (“the final Adam;” 1 Cor 15:45). Thus, Paul says, “through the obedience of the one” (dia. th/j u`pakoh/j tou/ e`no.j) the many, i.e., those who are united to Christ through faith alone (Gal 2:16), “shall be constituted righteous” (di,kaioi katastaqh,sontai). We are declared righteous, because Jesus’ obedience was that dikai,wma and met the terms of divine justice.
    Paul’s grammar, contrasting the calamity that came diV e`no.j paraptw,matoj (“through the one unrighteous act”) or dia. th/j parakoh/j, (“through the disobedience”) and the dikai,wma (“righteous act”) of another is particularly pointed here. The force of this contrast is to establish a forensic frame of reference. The events in view are justification and condemnation.
    There is discernable logical progression in these verses from the general to the particular, from cost/benefit of gift/trespass in v.15 to obedience/disobedience in v.19. . In vv. 15 and 16 Paul contrasts the para,ptwma (“transgression”) and parakoh/j (“disobedience”) with the ca,risma\(“grace”). Adam brought penalties and death, but Jesus brought gifts (dwrea,) and life. The legal and logical basis for the gifts which accrue to believers is Christ’s u`pakoh/ (obedience).
    In v.16 the nature of the gifts (dw,rhma) and graces (ca,risma) come into focus. The end of the gifts is our dikai,wma (justification). In v.17, what Christ earned is described as “the gift of righteousness” (dwrea/j th/j dikaiosu,nhj).
    In v.18 Paul is a more precise about how the penalty was incurred and how the benefit was acquired. The penalty was incurred by “one act of disobedience” (diV e`no.j paraptw,mato). The benefit was accrued by “one act of obedience” (e`no.j dikaiw,matoj). Both phrases express instrumentality. Both use abstract nouns concerning legal unrighteousness and righteousness. Both refer to historical actions by historical persons, not to the divine decree. Adam’s “act” was “unto judgment” (eivj kata,krima), but Christ’s “act” was “unto righteousness of life” (eivj dikai,wsin zwh/j). In v. 19, Jesus’ one act is specified as his u`pakoh/ (“obedience”).
    The case for the IAO is further strengthened when one considers that Paul does not compartmentalize Jesus’ obedience chronologically or logically. He does not describe Christ’s obedience as if it began only at Golgatha or on the cross. “Obedience” characterizes Jesus’ entire existence, just as Adam’s entire life to that point is characterized by his “disobedience.”
    This same logic also appears in Phil 2:8. Paul’s appeal to redemptive history comes in the service of moral argument. He grounds his parenesis in the gospel of the obedience of Christ. Jesus humbled (evtapei,nwsen) himself and this humiliation began with the incarnation: “having been found in human form” (kai. sch,mati eu`reqei.). The Son came to be “obedient” (u`ph,kooj), all the way to the holocaust of the cross. For Paul, Christ’s crucifixion was not the totality of his obedience, it was its consummation. This the force of the grammar and meter of the last clause of v. 8: me,cri qana,tou( qana,tou de. staurou/ (“unto death, even the death of the cross”). In the context (Phil 2:1–4, 12–17) Paul’s exhortation is most compelling if the model obedience to which appealed was vicarious. Just as Jesus poured himself (evke,nwsen) out as a drink-offering for us (Phil 2:7), so Paul is being poured out (spe,ndomai) and so ought we to be (2:17).

    The second to last paragraph of this section Scott Clarks chapter is one of the worthy things to note: Christ was active in his passive obedience and passive in his active obedience. Keep in mind, both the passive and active obedience articulates the entirety work of Christ for the sinner. They are two aspects of Christ’s obedience with a constant interpenetration of the two. Horton paraphrasing Calvin, stated “From the moment He became an embryo, Jesus began to win our redemption.” “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” (John 17:4), as Christ himself said, “It is finished.”

    As Clark mentioned in the section above, here it is again:

    From the Heidelberg Catechism 37:

    What do you understand by the word, “suffered?”
    That all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, He bore, in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race;1 in order that by His passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice,2 He has redeemed our body and soul from everlasting damnation,3 and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life.4 Isa 53; 1 Tim 2:6; 1 Pt 2:2-4, 3:18; 2 Rom 3:25; 1 Cor 5:7; Eph 5:2; Heb 10:14; 1 Jn 2:2, 4:10; 3 Rom 8:1-4; Gal 3:13; Col 1:13; Heb 9:12; 1 Pt 1:18-19; 4 Jn 3:16; Rom 3:24-26; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 9:15

    And Heidelberg Catchism #60 (which is the greatest question
    and answer in the whole wide world).

    How are you righteous before God?

    Only by true faith in Jesus Christ:1 that is, although my conscience accuses me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them,2 and am still prone always to all evil;3 yet God, without any merit of mine,4 of mere grace,5 grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction,6 righteousness, and holiness of Christ,7 as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me;8 if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.9
    1 Rom 3:21-28; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9; Php 3:8-11; 2 Rom 3:9-10; 3 Rom 7:23; 4 Dt 9:6; Ezek 36:22; Tit 3:4-5; 5 Rom 3:24; Eph 2:8; 6 1 Jn 2:2; 7 Rom 4:3-5; 2 Cor 5:17-19; 1 Jn 2:1; 8 Rom 4:24-25; 2 Cor 5:21; 9 Jn 3:18; Acts 16:30-31; Rom 3:22, 28, 10:10

    You said: “As for my allegiance to the Pope, well sure, but this is taking into account I’ve also studied Scripture and not found these Protestant ‘distinctives’ taught in them.”

    When you mean allegiance to the Pope what do you mean, you interpret the way that he interprets Scripture? Well I mentioned that because you had that on your website last year, so I was thinking that magisterial authority might have some influence in the way that you read scripture. Correct me if I am wrong, does the current Pope have the last word? Is he infalliable? The First Vatican Council in 1870 began Papal infallibility is this still a binding dogma for Catholics today?

    To be honest, I like talking about this stuff. And to be frank, I am not looking forward to you recycling the same bad news. In love man, I would want you to not rest on that Gospel as a new law (which is no Gospel and not found in Scripture), do not rest in yourself, your working, but rest in Christ finished work, rest in the Gospel for sinners of free grace, “and to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” It is an alien righteousness, not a righteousness of your own (Philippians 3), it is Christ perfect righteousness imputed to this sinner. I am looking forward to hearing that news, hearing the law and the Gospel distinguished properly and preached this Sunday in what Christ has done for me.

    Reply
    • Nick

      Ok, where to start with all this? We can agree there is no sense in going in circles or recycling old news…so it would seem the real question is, what are the absolute essential issues that we get hung up on?

      Skimming over those two links you gave, I can see there isn’t much new either side can add, with the exception of the fact I’m more studied upon the subject (including reading The Law is Not of Faith). And one ‘advantange’ of this is that in that book I was able to find quotes to the effect that for Paul the term nomos (law) almost always refers to the Mosaic Law Covenant, with few exceptions. I cannot emphasize the importantace of the quote I gave today on my earlier post of the quote from Page 249, which explicitly states (esp by Dr Moo) the popular Reformed use of the term “law” is not what or how Paul used the term nomos.

      As for your claim that I ‘dodged’ Peter’s verses, my intent wasn’t to do so, and I explained my reasoning. What he was essentially doing is quoting long passages of Scripture, without any exegesis, intermixed with a lot of ‘preaching’, but that’s not the same as forming an argument/case. When it includes comments like this, “it seams to me that the Roman system of grace plus works (obedience to the law) is being rejected by Paul,” then there’s even bigger problems, for it means total unawareness of key issues I’ve struggled to get across in the past so that neither side is misrepresented. It’s no secret that I make properly identifying the term nomos a major part of these discussions. In the quote here (i.e. saying that the Catholic system = grace + ‘works of the Law’ ), failure to properly identify nomos results in a false charge against the Catholic system and even a totally wrong framework by which to understand Paul.

      You then went onto quote me regarding my objection the term “impute” doesn’t appear in Romans 4, and followed up that quote with a long list of scholars. But the problem with that response was that it totally misidentified what I was talking about: the scholars you quote were talking about another issue, the term dikaioo, not the term logizomai (which I was speaking about). Interestingly, I’ve still yet to find any Protestants doing an in-depth analysis of the term logizomai – despite the fact Paul uses the term logizomai about 30 times. How come Protestant scholars will analyze the NT usage of the term dikaioo as it’s found throughout the NT but they wont do the same with the term logizomai?

      Interestingly, of the long list of quotations you gave, Horton did gloss (and I emphasize the term gloss here) over the term logizomai:
      “In Galatians 3, with the contrast between “the works of the law” and hearing with faith,” Paul repeats the quotation from Genesis 15:6. “Counting as” or “being counted as,” logizomai eis, is also found in Romans 2:26; 9:8 and 2 Corinthians 12:6, as well as Acts 19:27 and James 2:23. Although the term does not appear in Romans 5, the idea is evident throughout Paul’s comparison and contrast between Adam and Christ. Under Adam’s headship, many are justified and made alive. These passages unmistakably teach that the righteousness by which the believer stands worthy before God’s judgment is alien: that is, belonging properly to someone else.”

      If you and others would want to examine just this paragraph, I think much good would come out of this talk. Let’s just look at the verses he lists where logizomai appears: Rom 2:26, 9:8, 2 Cor 12:6, Acts 19:27. Just so you know, the term appears 40 times in the NT (including elsewhere in Rom 2:3, 3:28, 6:11, 8:18, 8:36, 14:14), so looking at those examples would be an even more revealing point.

      After the massive Horton quote, you quote a prior discussion of me and Josh, in response to my request yesterday for you to show me the “clear” proof in Scripture of a ‘covenant of works’. You concluded with “This is what I mean when we are sounding like broken records.” I understand what you’re getting at, but just look back over what you just quoted. Did Josh give me “clear” Scriptural proof? His argument revolved solely around a single verse, Romans 2:15, to argue the “Mosaic law is a republication, as it were, of the natural law of God that existed in the original covenant between God and Adam.” Now is that strong and clear proof of a covenant of works? That Rom 2:15 could (not even for sure) be speaking of natural law? I don’t think that’s a strong argument at all. And if you read that old discussion a bit further, you’ll see me delving into specifics on this, including trying to get Josh to see the nomos Paul was fundamentally concerned with was the Sinai Covenant.

      You went onto say: “There are huge problem when you say that the Gospel or the Good news is a new law. The Gospel is not the law and the law is not the Gospel. The Gospel is a new law because you do not distinguish the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. ”

      But here we see a root problem in all this, and that’s an equivocational problem of not properly distinguishing the term nomos. You’re speaking as of “law” means “covenant of works,” when that’s never been demonstrated to be a Scriptural use of nomos – and my quote from The Law Aint Faith explicitly says that’s not how Paul uses nomos. When I said it’s acceptable to say the Gospel is a new law (NOT a new ‘covenant of works’ or anything like that), I said such based on texts like Gal 6:2 which speak of the new teachings of Jesus as the “law of Christ” (which is why I said this isn’t wrong to do when “properly understood”).

      You asked: “What do hear when you go to the early of chapters of Genesis? What do hear when you go to Romans 5?”

      I don’t hear anything about a “covenant of works” in either of those, nor the notion of nomos applied to the Garden. As I noted in my old talk with Josh: Romans 5:13, 20 says:
      “for before the [Mosaic] law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses…”
      The point there is that Romans 5 itself, right in the midst of talking of Adam, Paul only applies nomos to Sinai, which undercuts the notion Paul is focused on a ‘covenant of works’ starting with Adam.

      Your side note comment of Tullian was interesting, but not so relevant as to shift focus onto it right now since – in my opinion – it would just add one more big topic into this mix before we can settle upon basic stuff like nomos.

      As far as I can tell, this response is 1.5 pages long as of this point, and I know both of us would prefer our responses to remain reasonable length so as to not get bogged down. Given that, I’ll conclude this response by addressing your last major point: You quoted me quoting your original response to me when you claimed active obedience is clearly taught in Scripture and I asked for your top three passages for active obedience. Your response consisted of turning to Clark for that information.

      Clark basically focused his argument on this: Rom 5:12-21, with heavy emphasis on the term “obedience” in 5:19. I’ve heard this before, but the problem is he’s essentially assuming this must be obedience primarily/exclusively of the “active” sort, not the “passive.” Yet the very parallel text he quotes which is one of the other two times the term “obedience” is applied to Christ, Phil 2:8, the context is clearly that of “obedience unto death on a Cross” – which if you think about it is fundamentally Passive Obedience. On top of that, you quote Heidelberg Catechism #37, yet this is plainly only speaking of sufferings, i.e. Passive Obedience…not the ever elusive Active Obedience.

      At the risk of going on to three pages long in this response, I’ll comment on your appeal to Heidel Q#60, here seems to be the relevant part:
      “[God] imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,[Rom 4:3-5; 2 Cor 5:17-19; 1 Jn 2:1] as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me [Rom 4:24-25; 2 Cor 5:21]”

      If you look at those verses the Heidelberg referenecs, Romans 5:19 (Clark’s primary verse) isn’t even mentioned for active obedience. Further, if you look at what is quoted, none of them speak on active obedience either. Rom 4:3-5 merely mentions ‘righteousness’, while 1 Jn 2:1, 2 Cor 5:17-21, and Rom 4:24-25 are all speaking on Christ’s Passive Obedience (and Resurrection). So again, despite the call for “active obedience,” none of those verses say such a thing.

      Reply
      • inwoolee

        These questions will not deflect from our Mosaic law covenant question, but I believe that these questions are legitimate, questions I mentioned in the last post that you did not answer:

        1.) Where is purgatory found in the Scriptures, and the Mary as the co-mediator found in the Scriptures?

        2.) When you mean allegiance to the Pope what do you mean, you interpret the way that he interprets Scripture? Well I mentioned that because you had that on your website last year, so I was thinking that magisterial authority might have some influence in the way that you read scripture. Correct me if I am wrong, does the current Pope have the last word? Is he infalliable? The First Vatican Council in 1870 began Papal infallibility is this still a binding dogma for Catholics today?

        Thanks,
        Inwoo

      • inwoolee

        And I also have a request, on your blog, can you make the comment box open on your opening essay so we can comment?

      • inwoolee

        In regards to imputation how do you go around 2 Corinthians 5:21?

  5. Nick

    I’m pressed for time at the moment, so I’ll have to respond later, but I wanted to make one quick point.

    While a lot of this can seem like ‘repeating ourselves’ from last year, there are some differences from last year, notably that I’ve studied the topic of republication a lot more and was able to read the book of the year on this subject: The Law is Not of Faith.

    I consider one of the most important claims of the book to be found on page 249:
    “Few contributions to Pauline studies in the last several decades are more important than the now widely recognized lexical reality that for Paul, [ho nomos] means ‘the Sinai covenant’ far more consistently than it means anything else. As Douglas Moo has said: ‘What is vital for any accurate understanding of Paul’s doctrine of law is to realize that Paul uses nomos most often and most basically of the Mosaic law.‘ That is, Paul uses the term very differently than the term later came to be used in Christian theology, ordinarily to denote something like Gods’s demand. Again, Moo is right to correct this notion: ‘As we have seen, the Reformers, as most theologians today, use ‘law’ to mean anything that demands something of us. In this sense, ‘law’ is a basic factor in all human history; and man is in every age, whether in the OT or NT, confronted with ‘law.’ What is crucial to recognize is that this is not the way in which Paul usually uses the term nomos.’

    This confirms the heart of my claims that Paul wasn’t fundamentally focused on any other law or covenant than the Mosaic Law Covenant.

    Reply
  6. inwoolee

    Hey Nick,

    You said, Paul wasn’t fundamentally focused on any other law or covenant than the Mosaic Law Covenant”

    Questions: Are you referring to Romans 3:20, 28; Gal. 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10?

    When you are referring to the Mosaic law Covenant are you
    referring to the ceremonial law?

    Reply
    • Nick

      Hi,

      Yes, I’m referring to texts like Romans 3:20,28; Gal 2:16; 3:2,5,10, etc. The term ‘nomos’ here is referring to the Mosaic Law Covenant.

      By the term Mosaic Law, I am NOT referring to the ‘ceremonial’ law only, rather I AM referring to the entire Mosaic Law (e.g. ceremonial, moral, civil).

      Reply
      • inwoolee

        So you say it is not only the civl or the ceremonial, but the whole law, correct?

  7. Nick

    Re: Peter Chen’s comments on February 26, 2011 at 1:17pm

    My point was it’s not going to be easy giving narratives on Paul’s train of thought in Romans 1-5 if we don’t have certain concepts firmly in place before hand. That is because you’re whole reading of Rom 1-5 is conditioned in what you assume to be Paul’s train of thought, when this isn’t a given. One is going to interpret Romans 1-5 very differently if they don’t already believe imputation, active obedience, etc, etc. Someone is going to interpret “Jesus is savior” very differently if he doesn’t believe in those concepts. Also, as I noted with inwoolee above is that your comments were mostly done in a ‘preaching’ manner, not an apologetics one. You quoted long passages with your own understanding and simply said Catholicism was wrong. But I pointed out you were operating under some flawed assumptions, such an an incorrect and equivocal use of the term nomos. And if we cannot agree or figure out what nomos refers to, then we cannot properly interpret Paul.

    My comments were intended to save us both the head ache of having to read and write super long responses repeating ourselves because we’re speaking different languages on key terms like ‘law’.

    Reply
  8. Nick

    Re: Inwoolee February 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    You asked a series of questions, which I’ll try to briefly answer so as not to go too far off topic.

    You asked: 1.) Where is purgatory found in the Scriptures, and the Mary as the co-mediator found in the Scriptures?

    I can’t think of the verses right now, but one for purgatory is 2nd Maccabees (which is why Luther threw the book out), and Mary as co-mediator isn’t a Catholic doctrine to my knowledge.

    You asked: 2.) When you mean allegiance to the Pope what do you mean, you interpret the way that he interprets Scripture? Well I mentioned that because you had that on your website last year, so I was thinking that magisterial authority might have some influence in the way that you read scripture. Correct me if I am wrong, does the current Pope have the last word? Is he infalliable? The First Vatican Council in 1870 began Papal infallibility is this still a binding dogma for Catholics today?

    Allegiance to the Pope means submitting to whatever he authoritatively teaches. The highest (but not exclusive) level of Papal teaching is Infallibility, which is a doctrine Catholics must obey.

    You asked: And I also have a request, on your blog, can you make the comment box open on your opening essay so we can comment?

    I originally closed those boxes so people wouldn’t interfere with the debate in progress. The concluding essay comment boxes were left open so people could share their thoughts after reading the whole debate. To go back and open all those comment boxes for all my debates would be tedious.

    You asked: In regards to imputation how do you go around 2 Corinthians 5:21?

    I think two important points are in worth mentioning here. First, Paul was well aware of the term ‘impute’ (Greek Logizomai) and used it 30 times in his work. He even used it in 2Cor5:19, indicating he was aware of the term even as he penned 5:21. The fact is, he doesn’t use logizomai in 5:21 (or any similar passage), so to read it assuming ‘imputation’ is dubious. Secondly, 5:21 is speaking of Christ’s suffering and death, not His “active obedience,” so even if the “great exchange” were read into this, it would be lacking exegetical basis for imputing His “active obedience” to the sinner. A third point, just for kicks, is that “the righteousness of God” isn’t a legal status.

    Reply
    • inwoolee

      I’ll get back to you, I have to run (in the rain). The fact that Paul uses it in 2Cor5:19 supports Paul’s over all thought 2 Corinthian 5:21 in its context. Just as in Romans 4 to Romans 5.

      Reply
      • Nick

        That logic doesn’t work, since Paul’s use of ‘impute’ in 5:19 has nothing to do with the standard categories of imputing Christs righteousness to us, imputing our sin to Christ, or imputing Adam’s guilt to us. All 5:19 says is that in light of Christ’s Cross, God wont reckon sin to us, but that’s simply in light of being forgiven.

    • inwoolee

      Nick you said: That logic doesn’t work, since Paul’s use of ‘impute’ in 5:19 has nothing to do with the standard categories of imputing Christs righteousness to us, imputing our sin to Christ, or imputing Adam’s guilt to us. All 5:19 says is that in light of Christ’s Cross, God wont reckon sin to us, but that’s simply in light of being forgiven.

      A Quote from Fesko and Carson (not a “list” of scholars, but two scholars) on this passage, I believe is appropriate, helpful in clearing things up to your objection:

      Fesko:

      In verse 19 of [2 Corinthians 5]Paul explains how God reconciled the world to himself.
      Given the word order, Paul emphasizes that God was “in Christ” reconciling the world to himself. How did God accomplish this reconciliation in Christ? G.K. Beale notes that the subtext to 2 Corinthians 5-7 is Isaiah 40-66, Beale writes:
      ‘Therefore the complex ideas found in 2 Corinthian 5:14-21 can already be seen in Isaiah 40-66 it is plausible to suggest that the “reconciliation” in Christ is Paul’s way of explaining that Isaiah’s promises of “restoration” from the alienation of exile have begun to be fulfilled by the atonement and forgiveness of sins in Christ.”
      Hence God accomplished the reconciliation through atonement, by not counting (me logizomenos) the sins of the world against them (v. 19b). This is the first part of how God reconciles the world to himself. Again, we are clearly in the realm of soteriology at this point… It is the message of “not counting their trespasses,” or forgiveness, that God has entrusted to the apostles.

      There is, however, a second portion of the message of reconciliation which Paul speaks in verses 20-21. In verse 20 Paul implores the Corinthians to heed the message of the apostles and to be reconciled to God. Paul then, for a second time, explains how God reconciles the world through Christ: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (v. 21). Here we see that when God forgave sin, he did not simply write it off. Rather, he made Christ “to be sin who knew no sin.” Now this is an important point in Paul’s argumentation thus far—God placed the sin of the world upon Christ. Did Jesus actually commit sin? No. This would contradict Paul’s statement that Christ “knew no sin.” The impeccability of the Messiah is attested not only in the NT but also in the literature of second-temple Judaism (Heb. 4:15; Pss. Sol. 17.40; Test. Judah 24:1 Test. Levi 18.9) So, then in what way did God make “him to be sin”? The answer lies in imputation, or Paul’s use of logizomenos in verse 19.

      God does not impute the sin and guilt of the world to those who are guilty, those who are actually sinful. He instead imputed the guilty and sin of the world to Christ, one who is sinless. There is a second half to this reconciliation equation, which is amply illustrated in the structure of verse 21 (fig. 7). [see the original post above, there is the picture of figure 7 that Fesko is talking about].

      Fig. 7. Structure of 2 Corinthians 5:21 (see the picture above on the main post).

      The second half of the equation is the imputation of the righteousness of God, in Christ, to the world, made clear by the parallel structure of the verse…
      Beale argues that recent NT scholarship, specifically the work of O. Hofius, places Isaiah 53 as the specific subtext behind 2 Corinthians 5:21. Beale writes that “Hofius’ proposal should be judged as plausible with respect to 2 Corinthians 5:21, since the combined ideas of a sinless penal substitute, the imputation of sin to a sinless figure to redeem a sinful people and the granting of righteousness are uniquely traceable to Isaiah 53:4-12.” We see the dual ideas of forgiveness and imputation, for example, when we read “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:11)…God imputes his righteousness in Christ, which means the righteousness of Christ to those who are saved.
      Moreover, this conclusion fits the overall thrust of Paul’s argumentation. He and the other apostles share in the sufferings of Christ in their ministry and implore the Corinthians not to eschew their labor because God has entrusted to them the message of reconciliation. What is the message of reconciliation? That God imputed his own righteousness to them in Christ.” [end quote].

      Ok here is Carson:

      [start quote] Several Pauline texts contrast, in one way or another, righteousness that comes through the law with righteousness that comes through faith in Christ.47 For instance:

      What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of
      knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them
      rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is by faith in Christ—the righteousness that
      comes from God and is through faith. (Phil 3:8-9, emphasis added)

      Here, transparently, the righteousness that Paul seeks is not inherent, that is, it is
      not his own. Nor does it consist in faith; rather, it comes through faith (dia_
      pi/stewj) or is “based on faith” (e0pi_ th?= pi/stei).

      This righteousness is explicitly said to be God’s: that is, it is alien to Paul. Although the language of imputation is not used, we find ourselves in the same conceptual world as in Romans 3—4.

      The language of 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 is also instructive. “God was reconciling
      the world to himself in Christ [or: God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself],
      not counting [imputing] men’s sins against them. . . . God made him [Christ]
      who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness
      of God.” Explicitly, then, Paul speaks of the non-imputation of our sins to ourselves—
      that is, God refuses to count up to our account what is in fact there—on
      the ground that God made Christ, himself sinless, to be sin for us. True, the text
      does not explicitly say that God imputes our sins to Christ, but as long as we perceive
      that Jesus dies in our place, and bears our curse, and was made “sin” for us, it is extraordinarily difficult to avoid the notion of the imputation of our sins to him.
      To this thought, Paul then adds the words, “so that in him we might become
      the righteousness of God.” If there were no other passage treating these themes, it
      would be possible, just barely, to read this as follows: “Our sins are imputed to
      Christ, who by his death expiates them, so that we might become righteous.” In other
      words, there would be no hint of the imputation of righteousness to believers. But
      three things stand against such a reading.

      First, Paul’s treatment of these themes elsewhere (though we have merely glanced
      at Rom 3—4 and Phil 3:8-9) affirms that God credits righteousness to the ungodly.
      It is entirely natural to take the last clause of 2 Corinthians 5:21 the same
      way. It would be entirely unnatural in the context of 2 Corinthians 5 to say that
      this “righteousness” which we “become” is in reality faith that is imputed to us as
      righteousness; Genesis 15:6 is not in play.

      Second, within 2 Corinthians 5:19-21, the thought that our sins are imputed to
      Christ commends itself as a parallel to the notion that righteousness is in turn imputed
      to us. What might be thought by some to stand against such a view is that
      this righteousness is explicitly said to be God’s righteousness, not Christ’s righteousness.
      I shall return to this in a moment, but even so the opening clause of verse 19
      must not be overlooked: God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, or “God
      was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.” All sides recognize that what “God”
      and “Christ” do in the New Testament can sometimes be distinguished. It is commonplace to observe that the Father commands and the Son obeys, never the reverse;
      the Son dies on the cross, the Father does not (we disown patripassianism). Before
      we retreat too quickly into such distinctions, however, the distinctions themselves
      must be distinguished. The first—that the Father commands and the Son obeys—
      pertains to their roles relative to each other. Similarly, in certain acts the Son may be
      shown to be the Father’s agent, not the reverse: New Testament writers can speak of
      God creating all things (e.g., Acts 14:15; Rev 4:11), or of Christ creating all things
      (e.g., Col 1:15-20), but sometimes of Christ or the Son or the Word being God’s
      agent in creation (e.g., Jn 1:2-3), never of the Father being the Son’s agent in creation.
      These sorts of distinctions, then, pertain to the respective roles that the Father
      and the Son enjoy relative to each other. But the second—the Son dies on the cross, and
      the Father does not—is rather different. In this distinction, the Son does something
      that the Father does not do, precisely because what the Son is doing is made possible
      by his humiliation and incarnation. In this regard, there are numerous things that
      the Son does that the Father does not do; there are no texts that tell us that everything
      the Son does, the Father also does. But the New Testament writers take some
      pains to affirm the reverse: all that the Father does, the Son also does. The locus classicus
      of this theme, of course, is John 5:16-30, but the same theme is implicit, for
      instance, in the ease with which New Testament writers take Old Testament texts
      that refer to Yahweh and make them refer without hesitation to Jesus Christ. It is
      understandable, of course, that New Testament writers should take pains to say that
      Jesus does all that God does, and refrain from saying that the Father does all that
      Jesus does. Yet once the point is observed, one cannot leap from our careful avoidance
      of patripassianism to the conclusion that although God imputes [his] righteousness
      to us, Christ does not impute [his] righteousness to us. For in the case of patripassianism,
      we are denying that the Father does everything the Son does, if what the
      Son does is conditioned by the incarnation, while in the case of imputation the action
      is fundamentally God’s, and everything the Father does the Son also does.48
      This is all the more important, then, when we recall the opening words of this passage.
      Whether we understand the word order to support “God was in Christ, reconciling
      the world to himself,” or “God was reconciling the world to himself in
      Christ,” what God was doing is then fleshed out in a particular way. On the one
      hand, God made Christ who had no sin to be a curse for us: here the distinction
      between God and Christ turns absolutely on the peculiar role of Christ in his death,
      though even here it is God who “made Christ” be a curse for us (as it is God, in Rom
      3:25, who “presents” Christ as a propitiation). On the other hand, all this takes
      place so that “in him [i.e., Christ] we might become the righteousness of God.” The
      “in him” phrase doubtless reflects the “union with Christ” theme about which I’ll
      say more in a moment. What should be clear, however, is that on the basis of the
      parallels just advanced, it is difficult to imagine why this righteousness should be understood to be “the righteousness of God” and not the righteousness of Christ.
      Third, the text does not say that, owing to the non-imputation of our sins to us,
      or owing to the imputation of our sins to Christ, we become righteous (i.e., the adjective),
      but that in Christ we become the righteousness of God (i.e., the noun). On first
      glance, this is an astonishingly awkward locution. I shall return to it in a moment.
      (7) In this final heading, I want to broaden the aperture again, draw together
      some Pauline considerations not yet explored and respond to one or two objections.
      First, Paul does not think of sin and evil primarily in legal terms. The origin of
      evil is bound up with rebellion, with idolatry, with the de-godding of God (cf. Rom
      1:18—3:20). What draws down God’s wrath, above all things, is the obscenity of
      competition—for there is no God but God. That is why in Paul’s thought sin and
      death reign from Adam to Moses. The law makes sin transgression; it does not create
      an evil that was not already there by virtue of our rebellion, by virtue of our
      idolatry. It is vital to understand this if we are to grasp the sweep and power of
      salvation in Christ Jesus. That is why Seifrid, in an unpublished letter, is not too
      strong when he comments on Garlington’s insistence that the Old Testament does
      not demand utter righteousness, utter holiness:

      I shall not here pursue his [Garlington’s] dilution of the demands of the mosaic covenant
      by appeal to a certain understanding of “perfection” except to note that he
      stands at odds with Paul, James, the author of Hebrews, Jesus, the prophets of Israel
      and Moses himself. Other than that, he is in perfect agreement with Scripture. He
      doesn’t understand that our acts of sin are expressions of unbelief and the desire to
      annihilate God. This desire resides in all our hearts. If it were not there, we would
      sin no more. The Law merely exposes us for what we are. He should let it do its work,
      because apart from it Christ’s work means nothing.
      Sin is more than the breaking of rules (though the “rules” clarify and help to quantify
      the horrendous breach of idolatry). If the first commandment is to love God
      with heart and soul and mind and strength (Mk 12:28-34; cf. Deut 6), the first sin
      is the failure to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength. The first sin
      is therefore not a matter of doing something, so much as of not doing something.
      It is not only a positive evil; it is the failure to do a positive good. As a rule, the less
      clear we are on the horrendous odium and multi-faceted comprehensiveness of human
      idolatry, the less clear we will be on what the cross achieved and on our desperate
      need for a Redeemer.

      Second, I cannot too strongly emphasize how often Paul’s justification language is
      tied to “in Christ” or “in him” language—yet this brute fact, far from clarifying
      matters, has sometimes merely muddied the waters.
      On the one hand, justification is, in Paul, irrefragably tied to our incorporation
      into Christ, to our union with Christ. Thus, as we have seen, in Philippians 3:8-9
      Paul wants to be found in him, not having a righteousness of his own. In 2 Corinthians
      5:19-21, we are told that God made Christ who had no sin to be sin for us, so that
      in him we might become the righteousness of God. It is because of God that we are in
      Christ Jesus, who has become for us righteousness (and other things: 1 Cor 1:30). Passage after passage in Paul runs down the same track. If we speak of justification or
      of imputation (whether of our sins to Christ or of dikaiosu/nh being credited to us)
      apart from a grasp of this incorporation into Christ, we will constantly be in danger
      of contemplating some sort of transfer apart from being included in Christ, apart
      from union with Christ. [end quote]

      http://s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-documents/carson/2004_vindication_of_imputation.pdf

      Reply
      • Nick

        Thank you for that Fesko/Carson list of quotes, but I think they demonstrate my claim rather than yours.

        Notice the logical fallacy present in both accounts you give, appearing in the form of: since v19 says sins are not counted towards us, well then, they must be counted towards someone else, namely Jesus v21.

        This argument is non-sequitor.

        Quote Fesko: So, then in what way did God make “him to be sin”? The answer lies in imputation, or Paul’s use of logizomenos in verse 19. God does not impute the sin and guilt of the world to those who are guilty, those who are actually sinful. He instead imputed the guilty and sin of the world to Christ, one who is sinless.

        See this? It’s a jump to conclusions to assume ‘no sin imputed to us’ must mean ‘that sin imputed to Christ instead’.

        Quote Carson: True, the text does not explicitly say that God imputes our sins to Christ, but as long as we perceive that Jesus dies in our place, and bears our curse, and was made “sin” for us, it is extraordinarily difficult to avoid the notion of the imputation of our sins to him.
        … If there were no other passage treating these themes, it would be possible, just barely, to read this as follows: “Our sins are imputed to Christ, who by his death expiates them, so that we might become righteous.” In other words, there would be no hint of the imputation of righteousness to believers. But three things stand against such a reading.

        This admission is even more revealing, for Carson says the text doesn’t say this and rather this is being read into the text based on other considerations. The fundamental error in all this is that the Bible never says anywhere that sins are imputed to Christ, and Paul never uses logizomai like that, so such is exegetically dubious from the start.

        Carson later actually brings up an important point which I think actually self-traps himself regarding the “righteousness of God”. Carson argues that this phrase properly applies to the Father and Son, but if so how does the Father have this righteousness that is supposed to be the “active obedience” of Christ?

  9. Nick

    Yes the whole law…the law is a unified body and cannot be kept in parts. A faithful Jew cannot choose to keep only certain rules or aspects

    Reply
    • Nick

      The problem is there is an incorrect tendency and history of Protestants to misinterpret nomos in Paul to think it means other than what it really does (e.g. the covenant of works). Rather, if Paul is only referring to the Mosaic Law Covenant (as a whole) then his thesis isn’t about anything Covenant of Works related, and rather his thesis is about how the Jews and Gentiles can be fully reconciled as one body and nothing to do with ‘working one’s way to Heaven’.

      Reply
      • inwoolee

        Paul is speaking of the whole law, and in that whole law is talking about ceremonial and the moral law, but most importantly about the Moral law given the context in Galatians and Romans.

        Paul did not merely criticize the Judaizers because they wanted to impose the ceremonial law on Gentiles. He also attacked them because they compromised the truth of the Gospel. This is evident in Galatians, also as we see in Acts 15 in the Jerusalem Council “But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1). The Judazier were attempting to secure eternal life by virtue of their own works and goodness instead of trusting solely in the completed work of Jesus Christ on their behalf. “Their focus on good works inevitably led to boasting, for if eternal life is obtained by virtue of one’s good works, the the person who performs the good works deserves praise and honor for accomplishing such a remarkable feat.”

  10. Nick

    inwoolee you said:
    This is evident in Galatians, also as we see in Acts 15 in the Jerusalem Council “But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15:1). The Judazier were attempting to secure eternal life by virtue of their own works and goodness instead of trusting solely in the completed work of Jesus Christ on their behalf.

    I don’t think you’re reading the situation properly: you’re reading passages like Acts 15 to be equating “Mosaic Law” with “good works in general,” when that’s incorrect. If so, then the ‘ceremonial’ law of Moses (e.g. circumcision) would be equivalent to ‘good works’ the Christian would still need to do, even if not for justification. See the problem with your framework?

    Let me summarize the problem:

    1) Was circumcision a ‘good work’?

    2) If yes, then why aren’t Christians still called to get circumcised as one of the many good works?

    3) If no, then how can Paul be speaking of ‘good works in general’ or even the moral law?

    This, to me, exposes the faulty premise in assuming Paul is contrasting ‘faith’ to ‘good works’.

    Reply
  11. inwoolee

    Nick,

    Wow, no offense, but you like to twist things. When you were a kid did you read a lot of choose your own adventures?

    Circumcision was a sign of the Abrahamic covenant, and according to Acts 15:1 men from Judea were teaching that one had to be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul’s point in Galatians is simple, we are not saved by circumcision. We are not saved by our works. But solely on Christ finished work for the sinner. “For if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:21)Paul in justification is contrasting faith and works clearly in Galatians. Are Judaizers legalists? Yes they are.

    Why I put Acts 15:1 was to make the case that this was the main issue in Galatia. Is one saved through the works of law or through faith in Christ Jesus?

    The quote under the “quotations” in my response was from Schreiner, where he is paraphrasing Luther versus the Roman Catholic exegetes who stated that the works of the law in Paul were only of the ceremonial law.

    Well let me get this straight there is no “good” in our good works, our works are as filthy rags that do not merit anything. The men from Judea are saying that in order to be saved one has to be circumcised. The issue was whether Gentiles needed to become Jews and follow the Jewish ceremonial laws in order to be Christians “but also that they were required to keep the whole Mosaic law as well, for circumcision represented a commitment to observe the law.” The Judaizers are going in the route of the whole law to be saved (not only the ceremonial law of circumcision but the whole law) thinking that it will merit their justification.

    10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. (Galatians 3:10).

    Reply
    • Nick

      I think you’re missing the point of my argument: the Judaizers were pushing circumcision (among other othings), yet if circumcision is not a ‘good work’ or even part of ‘natural law’, then the thesis that Paul was opposing “faith” to “works in general” or “faith versus good works” flops since circumcision isn’t a “work in general” or “good work” (in the sense of morality).

      Reply
  12. inwoolee

    Taken from Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry in Robert Godfrey’s chapter titled “Faith Formed by Love or Faith alone?

    Paul readily acknowledged that Jews enjoyed certain priorities and privileges in redemptive history (Rom 1:16; 3:1-2). He went on to argue, however, that in a fundamental sense Jews and Gentiles were in exactly the same situation before God. Paul stressed that point in part to refute his critics, who were constantly teaching superiority of Judaism and insisting that Gentiles needed to become Jews.

    In contrast, Paul declared that Jews and Gentiles were in the same situation. They both have law and they both were obligated to live by it. Obviously, the Jews had the law in the Torah, but Paul belabored the point in Romans to make clear that Gentiles also know at least something of the holy will of God. The Gentiles know the truth (1:18, 25), they possess knowledge of God (1:19, 28), and they have derived understanding from creation (1:20) or from nature (1:26). Gentiles know the righteous decree of God (1:32), and indeed they have the law written in their hearts (2:14-15).

    …His [Paul’s] basic point was simply this: the Jews have the law, the Gentiles have the law, and they are all obligated to live according to the law that they have. He went on to conclude that everyone would be judged according to the law that they had, in terms of how their lives measured up to the law.

    In his discussion in Romans 2, Paul recognized that those who broke the law would be judged by it and that those who kept the law would be vindicated by it. Some interpreters get so lost in the forest looking for trees that they actually seem to think that Paul was arguing that some people could keep the law and be vindicated by it. Unless Paul lost his mind somewhere between Romans 1 and Romans 3 he could not be saying that. In Romans he repeatedly taught the universality of human sin and destituteness (1:18, 20, 28-29; 2:12). Paul summarized all that he had been teaching in Romans 1-3: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23 ESV). Paul did not add a footnote to this statement: “Except those who actually keep the law and therefore are vindicated by it.” It is a violation of logic, clear thinking, theology, and exegesis not to allow Paul’s conclusion in Romans 3 to determine what he is arguing in Romans 2. In Romans 2, Paul spoke hypothetically about being vindicated by the law. Certainly, anyone who kept the law would be vindicated by the law. Certainly, anyone who kept the law would be vindicated by it, but could anyone keep the law? The conclusion in Romans 3 was crystal clear–no one could: “None is righteous…no one seeks for God…no one does good” (3:10-12 ESV). All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Paul concluded: “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (3:23 ESV).

    Is the law good? Of course it is (7:12). By its very goodness, however, the law shows sinners their sin and inability to be righteous. By contrast, the gospel, as Paul taught in Romans 1-3, is this: sinners who do not and cannot have a righteousness of their own can find righteousness in another: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it” (3:21 ESV). The good news is t hat God has provided a righteousness of his own apart from the law and all of its demands.

    Is the “righteousness of God” that is “apart from law” really apart from the whole law? Is the “law” (3:21) equivalent to the “works of the law” (3:20, 28)? Many clever interpreters, from the ancient church period until the twentieth century, argue that the “law” and “works of the law” here in Paul are just part of the law. These works of the law are the ceremonial requirements of the law, such as circumcision, dietary laws, or special holidays. These interpreters argue that no one can be justified by those ceremonial works of the law, but they say that one can be justified by the moral law. They deny that Paul was talking about the moral law when he rejected works of the law. They ignore in their interpretation the comprehensive character of 3:21 and the contrast Paul repeatedly drew between faith and law (3:27-4:6). For Paul, works of the la and the law are indeed synonymous in Romans 3, but the works of the law are the moral works of the law as well as every other kind. Calvin demonstrated this very effectively in Institutes 3.11.20. Jonathan Edwards also argues that case brilliantly and convincingly in his treatise “Justification by Faith Alone.” Paul has argued that God will judge our works by the law to determine whether they are good, acceptable, and deserving of reward (4:2). The contrast Paul made in 3:27-31 is between a righteousness that comes by the law and a righteousness that comes from Christ and is received by faith alone. Paul really could not be clearer. Paul indeed taught that faith stands alone in receiving justification from the work of Christ (3:24-26). Justification is not received or maintained by any kind of working, any kind of moral improvement, or any kind of sanctifying development.

    Reply
    • Nick

      This quote from Godfrey represents the typical mixing up of ideas that I’m pointing out need to be kept clear.

      For example, he says in your quote of him above: “In contrast, Paul declared that Jews and Gentiles were in the same situation. They both have law and they both were obligated to live by it. Obviously, the Jews had the law in the Torah, but Paul belabored the point in Romans to make clear that Gentiles also know at least something of the holy will of God.”

      Here he is bordering on equivocation: the nomos Paul focuses on is the Torah, and things like circumcision only apply to the Torah, so the gap cannot be closed between the Mosaic nomos and whatever the Gentiles lived by – they’re two different animals.

      Later Godfrey says: “They deny that Paul was talking about the moral law when he rejected works of the law.”

      I nor any other informed person teach this: Paul almost always meant the entire Mosaic Law when speaking of nomos. This indicates Godfrey is busily refuting a straw-man argument.

      Reply
  13. inwoolee

    Take also a look at Galatians 5:3, and since you got Law is not of Faith read Baugh’s chapter on Galatians 5:1-6.

    Also take a look at Hosea 6:7 and since you got Law is not of Faith read Byron Curtis’ chapter on Hosea 6:7, I don’t know how you could get around that.

    To keep us current on Hosea 6:7 you stated last year in the past discussion:

    I said: “Nick, I have been following the conversation. You haven’t made your case. Please explain Hosea 6:7.

    The mosaic covenant is a republication of the covenant of works.”

    You said:

    I am looking into the Hos 6:7 thing, but the problem now is your posts are getting buried in a thread that is too long and at it’s end (as Josh and I have said enough for one thread).

    The short and only answer I will give (on this thread, that is) is that Hos 6:7 can be taken various ways, non of which demand a ‘covenant of works’ interpretation.

    1) The term “Adam” here can simply mean men/man/etc.

    2) If Adam, the ‘covenant’ here need not be the same, but rather means ‘each has transgressed the respective covenants I gave them’. The ‘covenant’ here as far as Israel goes is first to be understood as the Mosaic, as that is what they are repeatedly said to have transgressed.

    3) The ‘covenant’ with Adam is largely undefined, and with the extents, conditions, and promises lacking cannot be of any value in appealing to it. (end quote)

    Your a Biblical positivist right (no offense) ? If you are there you go Hosea 6:7. I can’t take any of your three points. If you want read Curtis. Claims 1-3 are found wanting.

    The tone of this post might be misinterpreted, face to face is the best. I went to Kinkos and printed out the past and present conversations, and you are dodging way too much, and sorry to accuse you, but you lay at times confusing false dichotomies. There are presuppositions here, I need to see how you read Genesis 3, what happened there?

    Reply
    • Nick

      I have read the Hos 6:7 chapter in the Book “The Law Is Not of Faith” and he allows my points to stand. In fact, the reason why this chapter is the LONGEST in the book is because so many scholars over the years have said all kinds of interpretations are possible of this, with the ‘covenant of works’ being merely one of many possibilities.

      All throughout the chapter Curtis admits the difficulty of interpreting and possibility of other interpretations, which makes Hos 6:7 of no practical use. Just take a look at his concluding sentence on p209:

      “Hosea 6:7 thus provides PERHAPS UNEXPECTED SUPPORT for the ‘republication’ thesis.”

      Is that a strong and established conclusion? Hardly. He openly and frankly admits the reading is only a possibility, and this is just “perhaps” and “unexpected” meaning few if any people in history ever made such a connection.

      And look at his opening comments on page 170:

      “Does Israel’s prophetic literature support the republication thesis? … … Hosea 6:7 is PERHAPS the great exception, and is PERHAPS the only Old Testament text that explicitly connects the person of Adam to the biblical covenants.”

      Is this the talk of someone confident in their thesis? That’s a pretty dubious thesis to be trying to support, especially when he digs in he quotes various scholars saying this isn’t about Adam the person at all but rather a town. Building one’s thesis on a bunch of “perhaps” statements isn’t scholarly at all.

      Reply

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