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Thread: active/passive obedience

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    active/passive obedience

    I have been reading the articles that Ian posted on the Two seeds thread on the imputation of the Active vs. the Passive obedience of Christ and what exactly is imputed to us regarding our 'righteousness'.

    Active obedience: The perfect obedience of Jesus Christ to the Mosaic Law.

    Passive obedience: Christ's sacrificial death by which He paid the penalty for the sins of the elect.

    I don't believe I have ever heard or studied the issue this way. One side is saying that the passive obedience (Christ's sacrificial death) is all that the believer needs to have a righteous standing before God, also claiming that the scripture doesn't attest to Christ's perfect obedience to the law as something that is imputed to the believer.

    Is there a dual aspect to the imputation of Christ's death and obedience to the law as something that God required for our being righteous before Him?

    I think the bottom line understanding of what they were saying that I came away with was that the death of Christ (passive obedience imputed) is sufficient in all ways, the obedience to the law (active) was because He was sinless and it of coarse took a sinless man to atone for the sins of the elect.

    I know this isn't a new theory or doctrine but is it clear exactly what scripture does teach?

    For instance: Romans 5:19 'For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous', (one act of obedience, the cross)??

    Obedience to the law or obedience by the death? The claim is that it is making a theological mountain out of a theological molehill because Christ's death is all that the believer needs imputed to be justified and righteous.

    Is this a major issue doctrinally?
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen
    Is this a major issue doctrinally?
    It can be... It seems to me that this is another difference that can be seen between Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology. Generally most Covenant Theologians would agree that the active obedience is imputed while NCT whould not. This would boil down the the issue with the law again.

    The main reason NCT wouldn't agree is that by imputing the active obidience in minimizes christ death in some way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen
    For instance: Romans 5:19 'For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous', (one act of obedience, the cross)??
    I think this verse is a key verse to consider. Through what Disobedience were many made sinners? and Through what Obedience were many made righteous? The first is Adam's sin of eating of the forbidden fruit and the second is Christ's death on the Cross. So one act each time with Adam and then with Christ.

    Forester07

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Thanks for the reply Forester07.

    I have continued to read and went to the web site also mentioned by Ian and found it to be informative as well. I am in the process of looking into the creedal statements on this issue.

    I don't believe I had ever heard the obedience of Christ split like that into two categories, passive and active. My thought was exactly the same as one of the questions asked in the article.......

    "Why can't we put the active and passive obedience of Christ together under one heading...Christ's imputed obedience that makes us righteous"

    The answer to that was that there was no text that teaches that the active obedience of Christ is imputed to us, only the passive. So I guess a study of the issue is at hand for me.

    Thanks again! Maybe Ian will read this and have some comments on the subject.
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by Forester07
    The main reason NCT wouldn't agree is that by imputing the active obidience in minimizes christ death in some way.
    My response to that is if the active obedience of Christ is not imputed to the elect, you have no Gospel. Sure, Christ atoned for the sins of His people and they were pardoned, but what good is it if they don't have an alien righteousness? I depart from modern day NCT theologians (most are neo-calvinists anyway) and side with traditional reformed calvinism on this topic. I agree with you Eileen, all of Christ's obedience was imputed to the elect.

    I disagree with Forrester that Rom 5:19 speaks only of Christ's death. John Gill, (Dr. Voluminous) wrote in his body of divinity... Read up, cause this is golden
    There are some divines that exclude Christ’s active obedience from being any part of the righteousness by which we are justified: they allow, that it is a condition requisite in him, as Mediator, which qualifies him for his office, and that without it his death would not have been effectual and meritorious. But they deny that this obedience strictly and properly speaking, is the matter of our justification, or that it is imputed to us, or reckoned to us, as ours: they suppose that Christ was obliged to this obedience as a creature for himself, and that it was unnecessary to us, because his sufferings and death were sufficient for our justification. On the other hand, I firmly believe, that not only the active obedience of Christ, with his sufferings and death, but also that the holiness of his human nature is imputed to us for justification. The law requires an holy nature, and perfect obedience, and, in case of disobedience, enjoins punishment. Through sin, our nature is become unholy, our obedience imperfect, and so we are liable to punishment. Christ has assumed an holy human nature, and in it performed perfect obedience to the law, and suffered the penalty of it; all which he did not for himself, but for us; and unto us it is all imputed for our justification. He is of God, made unto us, that is, by imputation, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. (1 Cor. 1:30) Wisdom may stand in general for justification, because there is in it such a manifest display of the wisdom of God; and the other three may be considered as so many parts of it. Sanctification may intend the holiness of his human nature; which is that law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which frees from the law of sin and death. Righteousness may signify his active obedience, by which many are made righteous; and Redemption may express his sufferings and death, whereby sin was condemned in the flesh, and so the whole righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us. I shall now very briefly give some reasons why, I think, Christ’s active obedience, in particular, as well as his sufferings and death, is imputed for justification.

    1. Because all that must he imputed for our justification, which the law requires, and without which it cannot be satisfied. Now, let it be observed, that the law, before man had sinned, only obliged him to obedience; since his fall, it obliges him both to obedience and punishment; and, unless its precepts are perfectly obeyed, and its whole penalty endured, it cannot be satisfied; and unless it is satisfied, there can he no justification by it. If Jesus Christ, therefore, engages, as a surety, to make satisfaction to the law, in the room and stead of his people, he must both obey the precept of the law, and suffer the penalty of it; his submitting to the one, without conforming to the other, is not sufficient; one debt is not paid by another; his paying off the debt of punishment did not exempt from obedience, as the paying off the debt of obedience, did not exempt from punishment. Christ did not satisfy the whole law by either of them separately, but by both conjunctly by his sufferings and death he satisfied the threatenings of the law, but not the precepts of it; and, by his active obedience, he satisfied the preceptive part of the law, but not the penal part of it; but, by both, he satisfied the whole law, and magnified it, and made it honourable, and therefore both must be imputed for our justification.

    2. Because we are justified by a righteousness, and that is the righteousness of Christ. Now righteousness, strictly speaking, consists in actual obedience; it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments, Deuteronomy 6:25. Christ’s righteousness lay in doing, not in suffering. "All righteousness is either a habit, or an act; but sufferings are neither, and therefore not righteousness: no man is righteous because he is punished; if so, the devils and damned in hell would he righteous, in proportion to their punishment; the more severe their punishment, and the more grievous their torments, the greater their righteousness must be; if there is any righteousness in punishment, it must be in the punisher, not in the punished." If then we are justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, it must be by his active obedience, and not merely by his sufferings and death; because these, though they free us from death, yet they do not, strictly speaking, make us righteous.

    3. Because we are expressly said to be made righteous by the obedience of one, (Rom. 5:19) which is Christ. Now by obedience, in this place, cannot be meant the sufferings and death of Christ; because, strictly speaking, they are not his obedience, but flow from it, as has been observed. Besides, the antithesis, in the text, determines the sense of the words; for if, by one man’s actual disobedience many were made sinners, so, by the rule of opposition, by one man’s actual obedience, many are made righteous.

    4. Because the reward of life is promised not to suffering, but to doing; the law says, Do this and live; it promises life not to him that suffers the penalty, but to him that obeys the precept. "There never was a law, as an excellent divine observes, even among men, either promising or declaring a reward due to the criminal, because he had undergone the punishment of his crimes." Christ’s sufferings and death being satisfactory to the comminatory, or threatening part of the law, are imputed to us for justification, that so we may be freed and discharged from the curse, and hell, and wrath. But these, as they do not constitute us righteous, do not, properly speaking, entitle us to eternal life; but the active obedience, or righteousness of Christ, being imputed to us, is our justification of life, or what gives us the title to eternal life.

    5. Because Christ’s active obedience was performed for us, in our room and stead, and therefore must be imputed to us for justification. If it should he said, that Christ, as a creature, being made of a woman, and made under the law, was obliged to yield obedience to that law for himself; I answer, that he assumed human nature, became a creature, subjected himself to the law, and obliged himself to yield obedience to it, not for himself, but for us; not upon his own, but our account; to or for us a Child is born, a Son is given; (Isa. 9:6) and if Christ only in his sufferings, and not in his obedience, is given to us, we should not have a whole Christ given us, only a suffering Christ, not an obeying one.
    I hold to a modified form of CT which is extremely similar to NCT but not entirely. I still believe in a covenant of grace (the OC was not a covenant of grace but a law covenant - a covenant of works) and that the active obedience of Christ was imputed to the elect.

    Anyway to repeat what Gill said, the best point he made was that the law requires a PERFECT obedience, and without it we would not be found righteous. Christ fulfilled every aspect of the law on behalf of His people ACTIVELY and PASSIVELY. To take away from this is a very bad thing in my opinion.
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    I disagree with Forrester that Rom 5:19 speaks only of Christ's death. John Gill, (Dr. Voluminous) wrote in his body of divinity... Read up, cause this is golden
    I don't quite agree with what I said either. I was mainly stating what most NCT people say. I personally am still studying the issue to see where I stand. Thanks for the quote by John Gill he is an awesome theologian to study.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    Anyway to repeat what Gill said, the best point he made was that the law requires a PERFECT obedience, and without it we would not be found righteous. Christ fulfilled every aspect of the law on behalf of His people ACTIVELY and PASSIVELY. To take away from this is a very bad thing in my opinion.
    That makes sense to me. I am wondering though that since Christ Fulfilled the law is it still necessary for us as new covenant believers to have a imputed law keeping. I am struggling with the fact that since the old covenant was a "do this and live/ don't do this and die" type covenant and the new covenant is not like this do we need Christ's Imputation of the law keeping which He did under the old covenant. It would seem to me that since we are under the New covenant we wouldn't necessarily need law keeping imputed to us because God through Christ has declared us righteous. Wouldn't Christ's Sacrifice (His Payment of our sins) do the trick. If our sins are gone why do we need perfect law keeping which was a requirment under the Mosaic Covenant. Does that make any sense. How do you see this Darth Gill? By the way I love your site.

    Forester07

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    My response to that is if the active obedience of Christ is not imputed to the elect, you have no Gospel. Sure, Christ atoned for the sins of His people and they were pardoned, but what good is it if they don't have an alien righteousness? I depart from modern day NCT theologians (most are neo-calvinists anyway) and side with traditional reformed calvinism on this topic. I agree with you Eileen, all of Christ's obedience was imputed to the elect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill

    I never like disagreeing with you Brandan as I feel we have a shared love of the truth. However as I posted the links to those articles and as you have expressed your disagreement with the position taken in those articles I feel I must give some response.

    I agree with those articles that the so called “active obedience” of Christ to the law is not imputed to the elect as their justifying righteousness. Why? Because as the articles show this position is not taught in the scriptures. The idea is based upon very few texts with the main one being Romans 5:18-19. But Romans 5:18-19 does not clearly state that vicarious law-keeping is the obedience mentioned – rather the context in Romans 5 is Christ’s death – see verse 8. The KJV rendering of verse 18 gives a wrong impression of what the verse is meaning by saying “the righteousness of one”. An alternative rendering is given in the margin of the KJV (demonstrating a difference of opinion among the translators) and that is more literal. Verse 18 ought to read:-

    “Therefore as by one offence judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by one righteous act the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”

    The contrast is between the one offence of Adam which caused the fall and the one righteous act of Christ seen in His death which justified us. The contrast is NOT between Adam’s whole life - as though he was always disobedient – and Christ’s whole life, but between two specific acts done by each.

    These points are sufficiently argued in the article I linked to so I won’t labour them but refer you again to that article. Please read it with an open mind, comparing carefully with what scripture actually teaches. Note also that the men who wrote this article used to accept the CT position on this but were encouraged to look again at scripture to see if it was really taught and they found that scripture really doesn’t teach the idea of vicarious law-keeping. Christ’s death was vicarious for us, not His life. The link again is: http://www.ids.org/pdf/imputation.pdf

    Anyway to repeat what Gill said, the best point he made was that the law requires a PERFECT obedience, and without it we would not be found righteous. Christ fulfilled every aspect of the law on behalf of His people ACTIVELY and PASSIVELY. To take away from this is a very bad thing in my opinion.

    Thanks for Gill’s thoughts Brandan. However I found his reasoning here lacking. He provided little scriptural proof but just ‘logic’ which I believe is flawed – and I say that cautiously because I have much respect for Gill but on this point I believe he, like others is wrong. ‘Active obedience imputation’ is an idea which sounds straightforward and has therefore been accepted and repeated by many divines without sufficient comparison with what scripture really teaches. It was not the position of all the Reformers, especially Luther. You just won’t find it in his writings. You will find the phrase “Christ’s righteousness” (same with Calvin) but you won’t find that expounded as being his vicarious law-keeping for us. Luther and Calvin place our justification wholly in the death of Christ because of sins forgiven. We are ‘justified by the blood’. Not by the blood and the life. To be justified by the blood, having our sins blotted out is AS IF we had lived in perfect obedience to the law - the end result is the SAME. No sin. Therefore we are righteous because we are justified by the blood.

    Just to make a few things clear here….

    I do believe that Christ lived a perfect life under the law. He had to in order to be a perfect sacrifice for us, and in that sense His life was for us. Also He had to in order to magnify the law and make it honourable. His life proved that man’s sin was in no way a fault in the law but because of his own sinful nature. Christ’s life absolved the law of any unjust blame from men. They can’t blame the law for their sin (even though experimentally the law revives and fuels their sin, nevertheless sin is at fault, not the law). Romans 7:12-13.

    I also believe that through Christ’s death righteousness is imputed to us. There is absolutely no disagreement about the fact of imputed righteousness. We are made the righteousness of God in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21. See also Romans 3:21-22 and Romans 4:6-7.

    However the point is, what is that righteousness imputed to us? How was it wrought? At the cross or in Christ’s life? I say at the cross, by an act of Christ’s faith, in our being united with Him in death and His taking our sin away (which he was made) that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

    “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” Romans 5:28.

    That verse is true if we are justified by Christ in His death by that act of HIS faith (His death). It is not true if justifying righteousness also contains the ‘active obedience’ of Christ because we are then partly justified by the deeds of the law. One may answer that the context of this verse is ‘our deeds of the law’ but I reply that that is not stated in the passage. The verse is categorical – a man is justified without the deeds of the law. Likewise see Galatians 2:16 or Romans 3:20 and 21. The righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested. How? By the faith of Jesus Christ in His death that we might be justified by faith (His), by grace (3:24), by His blood (5:9).

    Consider Romans 4:6-7. Paul quotes David who describes the “blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works”. How does God do that? The answer is in verse 7 “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

    So by ours sins being covered (by the blood of Christ) God imputes righteousness to us. We are reckoned righteous if our sins are covered. No sin in us must mean we are righteous. You are one or the other, either a sinner or righteous. There is no ‘middle ground’. You can’t have sins covered by the blood leaving you in some ‘neutral’ state requiring some ‘positive’ righteousness (Christ’s law-keeping life) to then be imputed. The very covering of your sins means that in God’s eyes you HAVE NO SIN, therefore you ARE RIGHTEOUS. How? By being united to Christ. We are not righteous in ourselves as such (in the same way that sin isn't judged and taken away in us but in our Substitute), but being united with Christ in His death (and thereafter) our sin is taken away, we die in Christ, and we become the righteousness of God in Him, risen to life again in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 again.

    The law demands either complete obedience or death. If you fail to obey it then the penalty is death. What the law does not demand is BOTH, and that is the fundamental flaw in the idea of vicarious law-keeping. This view thinks that if the penalty is paid we can’t be righteous as we haven’t ‘positively’ kept the law. But the point is that Christ’s death wasn’t merely a PENALTY. He didn’t just die in our stead, but He was made sin and bore our sins, that He MIGHT TAKE THEM AWAY. In Christ our sins were punished until they were no more. His blood covers our sins, so that God no longer sees them. Then what does God see? Us in Christ – righteous. (Also, we died with Christ, having a sinful nature which could only be taken away by actual death, but we also rise with Christ in His resurrection)

    I repeat: It is important to understand that there can only be two states in which man is – either a sinner or righteous. If our sin is taken away, by being judged against a righteous standard (eg. the law) then we have no transgressions against that standard and are thus to be seen as having obeyed that standard.

    An example: A man is created like Adam innocent, but placed under one law, that of “thou shalt not eat oranges”.

    He lives his life until the age of 28 never having eaten an orange – he is therefore righteous according to that law. But then at age 28 he eats one orange, but never ever repeats that ‘sin’. Now he is a sinner, having transgressed that law. Now if one (Christ) came and died in his place and took that sin away, what would than man be? A sinner or righteous? The one sin of eaten an orange has been blotted out and forgiven. Therefore that man is considered to have lived his whole life without ever having eaten an orange. So is he righteous according to the law? Yes he is. Why? Because that sin of his was blotted out, so that he has now no sin imputed to him. He is seen as having never transgressed the law, as if his life had been one of perfect obedience.

    Now in that example did the one who died for that man – Christ – need to also have lived a perfect life against that law and impute HIS life to the man who sinned? Well, Christ needed to live a perfect life in order to die in the man’s place as a perfect substitute, but His own law-keeping does not need to be imputed because the bearing away of the man’s one transgression is enough to blot that sin out and declare the man righteous.

    The point is the standard against which our sins are judged in our Substitute. If we have broken the law in every point (and we have) but Christ bears all our sins and they are judged against that law, each sin being consumed by the wrath of God and blotted out under the blood of Christ, then we are left having no sins, no transgressions against that law. Thus we are righteous according to it. Thus the righteousness of the law is fulfilled. How? Well read Romans 8:3-4:-

    “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
    That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

    How is the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us? By Christ’s own law-keeping being imputed to us? Well the verse simply doesn’t say that. It says “God sending his own Son…. Condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us”. It is by the condemnation of sin in Christ’s flesh. By His death alone.

    One may ask: “But what of our union with Christ?” Well we are made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21). Righteousness is indeed imputed to us – why? Because “He was made sin for us”. He bore our sin away, and we become the righteousness of God in Him. But why do we need to be ‘in Him’ if his bearing our sins away leaves us righteous? Well:-

    1.Christ was made our sin BECAUSE we were united with Him in His death. It was because of that union that He became our sin.

    2.Whereas SINS (those deeds we commit which flow from a sinful heart) were borne by Christ and washed in the blood, SIN ITSELF (that sinful nature which we ARE) cannot simply be borne away. It must be completely consumed under God’s wrath – burnt up. Our old man had to actually DIE. Therefore we died with Christ. Our old man was actually crucified with Him on the cross (Galatians 2:20). But we rose again with Christ on the third day - we are now risen in Him. We live, but not us, but Christ liveth in us. Hence HE is our life, eternal life, and HE is our righteousness – our sin being consumed in our old man which was crucified and ‘burnt up’ like the scapegoat outside the camp, and our sins borne away and washed by His blood. But now united to Christ in His death, like Eve taken out of Adam’s side in His deep sleep, we are now one with Christ and what He is, we are, therefore we are the righteousness of God in Him.

    Do I have no gospel because I disagree with vicarious law-keeping? Of course I have a gospel. The Gospel of Christ is based upon His vicarious atonement, God’s justification of sinners through the death of Christ, through the blood of Christ, through His being made sin that they might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Why does Paul stress Christ and Him crucified in 1 Corinthians 1-2? Because the death of Christ is what justified us.

    Notice that all the New Testament passages speak of the ‘righteousness of God’. They do not use the phrase the ‘righteousness of Christ’ or ‘the righteousness of the law in Him’ but ‘the righteousness of God’ or ‘the righteousness of God in Him’. The righteousness manifested by Christ in His death for sinners transcends that demanded by the law. It is a righteousness which has at its heart the eternal love of God for His people, seen in Christ voluntarily giving up His life for them. The law never demanded such love, such grace. The law demanded love, yes, but not at the expense of one life. Not to die as a substitute in the place of others. This is only seen in the Gospel, it is what is at the heart of God’s own righteousness nature and it is revealed by Christ’s death in the place of sinners.

    Did Christ live a perfect life according to the law though? Of course He did. But was He any more righteous at the end of His life than the beginning? Was anything being ‘wrought out’ by His obedience in His life, or was it simply demonstrating how righteous, how perfect He was? Surely the latter. Christ did not produce some merit by not killing or not coveting. That simply demonstrated His perfection. He never would have broken the law. The law MEASURED Him and could find no fault in Him. But was Christ showed was how righteous HE IS. His being made under the law simply showed that. Through Christ’s death we become united to Him and are therefore the righteousness of God in Him.

    We are not justified by the works of the law (so cannot be justified by Christ’s vicarious law-keeping) but by the faith of Christ (ie. His sacrificial death in our place, an act of His faith). It is Christ’s death which manifested the righteousness of God, hence we are justified by that death and that righteousness is imputed to us because we are judged against it and all sin is taken away. No spot or blemish is to be found in the elect because Christ took all their sin and sins away in His own body on the tree. See Romans 4:6-7 again.

    I won’t add any more but would refer readers to the article linked to. I think it handles scripture well and although I might add and clarify some other aspects I think enough is said in that article for the time being. I don’t really have the time to discuss the issue much but just wanted to stimulate though and further Bible study by providing the link. Please read that article and compare scripture. Is ‘vicarious law-keeping’ really taught in the Bible? I think not.

    In Grace,
    Ian

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ….
    For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
    Romans 1:16-17
    "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" John 1:17

    www.graceandtruthonline.com

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Here is an article on this subject.


    http://www.reformedonline.com/view/r...0Obedience.htm

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Hello all:

    Just a quick note prior to me going into a meeting. WHy does an issue like this have to be an "either/ or" and not a "Both/and?" The Incarnation, Life, Death, and Resurection of our Glorious Lord are all glorious. To elevate one without the other does an injustice to the Will of God. The Resurection of our Lord is only talked about on Easter Sunday. Which I believe the celebration of Easter is the worse thing that happenned to our Lords Resurection. We have been raised with Him, and only live as Resurected sheep once a year. Let us not diminish :"passively" or "actively" any portion of Christ.

    More later brothers and sisters

    Grace and Peace

    Lion

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Ian Potts. I have read your view. There seems to be something to it. It sounds plausible, and you have stated it carefully. But as of now I am not prepared to embrace it. I would have to be convinced without any doubt of its scripturalness. In the meantime I ask how your view (if I may call it your here) treats the verse in 1Corinthians 1 which says Christ was "made" (lit. was caused to become; ginomai being the verb, not poeioo) wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption?

    My belief has been concerning this verse that Christ was caused to become, by way of sovereign Divine imputation at the cross, all those things to His elect in an absolutely efficacious and saving manner so as to from that point on constitute them everlastingly righteous in the sight of the thrice holy God. What seems to me to have been made over to the elect by way of imputation, which was legally possible due to eternal decretive union between God the Son and the chosen, was 1) Christ in His holy sinless humanity ("holiness"), and 2) Christ's law-fulfilling righteousness, and 3) Christ's redeeming blood which blotted out their sins. Would you call this "another gospel"? Or partially another gospel?

    Then I would say I believe you understand the term "deeds of the law" erroneously. In Romans and Galatians where Paul specifically uses this term it is in the Greek "works of law", no articles. I positively believe in those contexts it does not refer to Christ, but to sinners, whoever. That it refers to "works of law" of sinners. It means that ungodly sinners are not and are not able to be justified before God by or through or based on their personal efforts at fulfilling a law (in sight of God Almighty), any law. Christ Jesus the Nazarene did in His own character and conduct perform "THE works of THE law", vicariously on behalf of those He foreknew in Himself. Christ established a perfect Law-Righteousness for a people by His perfect obedience to the Law of God. It was not a righteousness involving legal efforts, because He did it in and by Faith, His own faith/faithfulness/trust, not from a motivating principle of legalism, legal fear. Thusly the Scripture calls Christ's established righteousness "a righteousness of faith", i.e. a faith-righteousness. Salvation of elect sinners is not conditioned on their personal works performed in obedience to a law [any law (standard of obedience/righteousness) whatever one can imagine], but exclusively on their Surety in His sinless holy person, His sin-remitting blood/death, and law-fulfilling obedience/faithfulness.

    As I see it to say that there was no need of an imputation of a law-fulfilling obedience to the elect in order to their full justification before God "maketh void" or "abolishes" LAW (Rom. 3:31). In Rom. 3:31 Paul uses NOMOS without the article, thus "law", not "the law". It makes fully sense that the anarthrous NOMOS here has the sense of "legal accountability". Thus "Are we, then, abolishing legal accountability through the faith (the Gospel- and Pauline scheme of justification before God, viz. in and by and through Christ alone at the cross)?" Which means that practically I am charging this view of yours with antinomianism, it at least reeks of it. Inasmuch as the Gospel of Christ according to Paul upholds and maintains legal accountability he is able to say to his own rhetorical question "mee genoito" - "perish the thought!" (dynamic equivalence for the literal "not may become"). The Pauline and New Testament Gospel upholds legal accountability because it dogmatically maintains that a law-fulfilling and -satisfying righteousness had to be established and rendered to God - the Author of the Law, in order to the saving justification of the elect before His holy eyes. This the elect in their own character and conduct were not able nor enabled to do, but their Surety rendered it for them in their behalf, and God by Himself sovereignly imputed it to their legal accounts, apart from instruments, at His cross-death. This truth of Paul's and the Scripture the much praised Reformer Luther did not believe. Nor have I come across any other "Reformer" for that matter who would have held it. The same goes for the vast majority of "calvinistic" authors and preachers and "doctors" and "divines" etc. past and present, they have not stood in this truth, which is seen when examining their writings. Rather they have believed and taken pleasure in "THE Lie", "THE un-righeousness" (cp. 2Thes. 2). And for those of them that have passed away from our midst already and who held this falsehood to the end I can but say with the Scripture that their damnation is just.

    May God, if it should please Him, bring some one reading this to diligently inquire after and thirst and hunger after "THE righteousness" (Matt. 5:6), and such an one shall be fed of God in due time.


    Harald

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Some brief responses here…

    Quote Originally Posted by lionovjudah
    Hello all:
    Quote Originally Posted by lionovjudah

    Just a quick note prior to me going into a meeting. WHy does an issue like this have to be an "either/ or" and not a "Both/and?"

    Well scripture should guide us on this, not what we feel ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be. Justifying righteousness is what is under discussion and the question is: was it wrought for us in Christ’s death, or also in His life? What scripture teaches is what we want to know.


    The Incarnation, Life, Death, and Resurection of our Glorious Lord are all glorious. To elevate one without the other does an injustice to the Will of God.

    Indeed they are all glorious and I would desire to take nothing away from any, or wrongly elevate any aspect above the other. However scripture gives focus to certain aspects, and teaches us that certain things were done and are true of one aspect which are not true of another. It was not in His incarnation at Bethlehem that Christ was made sin for us and suffered the wrath of God against that sin. We do not preach ‘Christ incarnate’ as such, but ‘Christ and Him crucified’. Now the latter fact implies that Christ WAS incarnate. And without the resurrection our faith would be in vain. Yet scripture focuses the attention upon the cross for that was where Christ died for His people, where He justified them by His blood. That takes nothing away from other aspects of His life but simply teaches us where He justified us, where He made atonement, where His blood was shed, where God judged sin in Christ in order to take it away. 2 Corinthians 5:21 is about Christ’s work on the cross, not His life.

    The Resurection of our Lord is only talked about on Easter Sunday. Which I believe the celebration of Easter is the worse thing that happenned to our Lords Resurection. We have been raised with Him, and only live as Resurected sheep once a year. Let us not diminish :"passively" or "actively" any portion of Christ.

    Whatever the rights or wrongs of Christmas or Easter it is obvious that the ‘world’ makes so much more of Christmas than it does of Easter. And it dates our calendars from the birth of Christ, not His death.

    Yet in the mind of God the death of Christ is the ‘centre-point’ of history. That was what He came into the world to do, to die in the place of sinners. That was what His work was centred on, His death. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.

    Gill mentioned about obedience and how Christ’s death doesn’t show His obedience, but His life did. But Christ’s real work was His death – that fulfilled the will of the Father. It is this which is spoken of in Hebrews 10:9-10 “Lo I came to do thy will O God… By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once”. That is Christ’s act of obedience as mentioned in Romans 5:18-19.

    For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
    2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
    3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
    4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
    5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
    6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
    7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
    8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
    9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
    10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
    12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
    13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
    14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
    Hebrews 10:1-14

    I don’t seek to diminish any portion of Christ. But I do see His work on the cross as being that work by which we are justified, and I believe that justifying righteousness was manifested by Christ’s work of faith seen in His death. In fact I actually feel that the ‘active obedience’ view diminishes the righteousness which is imputed to us. It claims that it is the righteousness of the law as wrought by Christ in His lifetime, but I believe that scripture differentiates between the righteousness of the law, and the righteousness of faith (see Romans 10) and that the “righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested” (Romans 3:21) in the Gospel, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ”. This is a righteousness which far transcends that earthly righteousness demanded of men in the flesh by the Mosaic law. The righteousness which is imputed to us through Christ’s justifying death is the “righteousness of God in Him”, a righteousness which is heavenly, of the heavenly man, the Second Man, the Last Adam which makes all His people fit for heaven, fit not merely for everlasting life in this earthly realm (as Adam would have had if he hadn’t fallen) but eternal life in the heavenly realm in the very presence of God. This glorious aspects of the Gospel is so often missed by that teaching which brings Gospel righteousness as revealed in the New Covenant back down to the level of the righteousness of the law as seen in the Old Covenant. The Gospel is so much greater than the law, and what Christ brings in for His people is so much more perfect than was ever seen from the Old Testament revelation.

    But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9


    Now briefly to Harald’s question:-

    In the meantime I ask how your view (if I may call it your here) treats the verse in 1Corinthians 1 which says Christ was "made" (lit. was caused to become; ginomai being the verb, not poeioo) wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption?

    Well that verse is in the context of the whole of chapter 1 of Corinthians. In that chapter Paul shows that the preaching of THE CROSS is to those that perish foolishness, but to us which are saved it is the power of God (v18). He shows that the preaching Christ crucified is to the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness (v23) but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

    Hence the wisdom of God is seen in the preaching of the cross, in preaching Christ crucified. Paul concludes his arguments by showing how God uses the foolishness of such preaching to call the foolish, base, weak, nothings of this world, to salvation, that no flesh should glory in his presence. And he ends by saying:-

    “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom: righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30.

    Notice how I have translated that – the KJV says ‘wisdom and…’ as though Christ is made four things to us. The better translation is that He is made unto us wisdom in three respects (the preaching of Christ being the wisdom of God, hence Christ is made unto us wisdom, as seen in the preaching of Christ crucified): righteousness, sanctification and redemption. All three a result of His death, all three wrought for us in His death. Righteousness, sanctification (or being set apart to holiness in Him) and redemption.

    The whole focus of the passage, and how we read verse 30 is in the context of preaching CHRIST CRUCIFIED. There is no mention of His life. The focus is the preaching of the cross. The preaching of Christ Crucified - the Wisdom of God. At the cross Christ is made unto us RIGHTEOUSNESS. This fits perfectly with 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”. Where? At the cross.

    ‘Made’ here carries the same idea. It is through our being united supernaturally with Christ at the cross that this ‘creative’ process of God begins. Christ was made sin. He was made our sin, through our union with Him. He then bore that sin away under the judgment of God, until at the end of three hours in the dark no sin was left in Him and He said ‘It is finished’. Then, there being no sin in Christ, Him being dead, but then rising on the third day, we rose in Him, having His righteousness. He was made sin, and we are made the righteousness of God in Him, because He took our sin away.

    But that righteousness is the righteousness of God in Christ. Not a wrought out legal righteousness. Of course Christ kept the law and the law found nothing wanting in Him, but He was as righteous at the beginning of His life as He was when they nailed Him to the tree. His law-keeping life didn’t add one iota to that perfect righteousness with which He was born. The law measured Him every second of every day of His earthly life and found no fault in Him. But no righteousness was ‘wrought’ by that. The whole idea is a misnomer. Yes, He was in His human nature, but even so He was as perfectly righteous the moment He was born in that nature as He was 30 years later. He was born with a heavenly righteousness as the Son of God, and as a man could do nothing but live righteously – His life as a man under the law showed forth His righteous nature. It is that righteousness by which our sin was judged in Him as our substitute. All that sin was taken away and all that is left to be seen in us is perfect righteousness, as we are united with Christ. We are ‘made the righteousness of God in Him’.

    Does this take away from the righteousness of the law? Not at all. Christ had the righteousness of God in Him. His life under the law was found to be righteous – the law found no fault in Him at all. Our sin is judged according to the same standard of righteousness (which exceeds that of the law) and we have that righteousness imputed to us. Hence we have a higher righteousness than that of the law. The law is fulfilled in every way – it could find no fault in the Saviour and will find no fault in us, as we are in Him. But this righteousness was ‘wrought’ upon the cross by Christ being made our sin and taking that sin away that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Him.

    Harald, this is not Antinomianism. I do not take away from the law as our sin was indeed judged against that law in the Saviour on the tree. It was also judged against that even higher standard of God’s own divine righteousness, as revealed in the GOSPEL (Romans 1:17). But that law was FULFILLED through God condemning sin in the flesh. See Romans 8:3-4. The law does NOT have to be fulfilled for us in BOTH vicarious substitutionary death and LAW-KEEPING. It is one or the other. Either we keep it or are condemned by it. Christ took our condemnation and took our sin away. The law can no longer find a single fault in us because Christ took our sin away – it is as if we kept every single precept of it. The law is fulfilled for us in the death of Christ, which is why Paul insists on the preaching of Christ crucified – that is the heart of the Gospel.

    But I have stated before that Christ lived a perfect life under the law. The law found no fault in Him. He magnified the law and honoured it. There is no taking away from the law or its righteousness here, so the charge of Antinomianism is unfair.

    Righteousness could not be ‘wrought’ in Christ’s life as it can only be ‘wrought’ where it is not. Just as light cannot be ‘created’ where there is perfect light, so righteousness cannot be wrought where there is already perfect righteousness. But light can be shone in darkness, and darkness can be taken away. Likewise Christ was made pitch black by our sin, but the wrath of God consumed all that blackness of sin until nothing was left but the pure brilliance of the light of the righteousness of God in Christ. Hence righteousness was ‘wrought’ for us at the cross, by Christ’s death, an act of faith, so fulfilling verses such as Romans 3:21-22 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ.”



    Antinomian? Another Gospel? Folks, when someone says something that does not seem to be what you have been taught or understood previously, be hasty about throwing out accusations. Go to scripture, think about it prayerfully, see if these things be so or not. If at the end you still feel a brother to be in error then try to correct him from those scriptures. But test by scripture. Many of this forum have come to change their views over time on certain truths as the Lord has taught them. We should always be testing things by scripture.

    I will leave things here. I really don’t have time to debate much on here, and yet I often find that whenever I post something it opens up a whole topic and folk want to quiz me on the subject. I am sure the topic will throw up many questions in your minds and I can assure you that there are answers to those questions, but alas I lack the time to debate them. I apologise to all if you are hoping that I will answer your points but I really must refrain. However I would encourage all to look at this matter in the light of scripture. Read the ARTICLE I linked to (http://www.ids.org/pdf/imputation.pdf) as it discusses many scriptural passages well. I did not come to my persuasion rashly or quickly but have a settled assurance that it accords with Holy Writ. But may we test all things by scripture.



    In Grace,
    Ian
    "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" John 1:17

    www.graceandtruthonline.com

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Ian. Thank you for your reply to me. I hope to take time and read it carefully, and hopefully understand as I ought.

    I agree that one ought to test all things by the scripture, to see whether they be so. And not cling to commonly accepted views which eminent men may have held to just for the sake of their being commonly accepted.

    In the meanwhile I would inquire of you, whether you still insist that Luther the Reformer taught the same gospel as Paul, whether Luther was a teacher of the truth of God as respects justification before God?

    Harald

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Ian:

    You provide excellent points and I enjoy reading them. Thank you for the 50 bucks for me to say that.

    But I have stated before that Christ lived a perfect life under the law. The law found no fault in Him. He magnified the law and honoured it. There is no taking away from the law or its righteousness here, so the charge of Antinomianism is unfair.
    Just as this does nto take away from the Law or its rightousness, Christs perfect obedience to all of Gods commands does not take away from the cross if taught within the confines of the Holy Writ.


    When the convenant of grace was determined from eternity between Father and Son, it was perfect obedience of ALL that was required. The first covenant was made between God and Man, the Covenant of Grace was between the Father and Christ. He is in our stead for ALL. The Law of Mediation, Christ being our Mediator, Is the crux of this discussion. As our mediator, what was required. We needed a spotless Savior, not one taint of sin, we needed shedding of blood, for without there is no remission, we needed a resurection to perform constant intercession for His children. All of these were imputed to all believers.

    Aother meeting brithers and sisters.

    Lion

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrester07
    That makes sense to me. I am wondering though that since Christ Fulfilled the law is it still necessary for us as new covenant believers to have a imputed law keeping. I am struggling with the fact that since the old covenant was a "do this and live/ don't do this and die" type covenant and the new covenant is not like this do we need Christ's Imputation of the law keeping which He did under the old covenant. It would seem to me that since we are under the New covenant we wouldn't necessarily need law keeping imputed to us because God through Christ has declared us righteous.
    Quote Originally Posted by Forrester07
    Wouldn't Christ's Sacrifice (His Payment of our sins) do the trick. If our sins are gone why do we need perfect law keeping which was a requirment under the Mosaic Covenant. Does that make any sense. How do you see this Darth Gill? By the way I love your site.
    I know you're not saying this forrester, but I've heard a lot of people say, "The law was abolished, we are now under grace." This is not true!!! This is totally contrary to the Scriptures. It is true that Christ fulfilled the law, but it still stands as strong as it ever did. It was not abolished - and every child of God meditates on the law and he delights in it. If not for the law, they would not have known what sin was - the Bible refers to the law as the "schoolmaster unto Christ." It still has its strict requirements as well as demands a strict penalty. If not for Christ, we would still be under that law. All men are under obligation to God as their Creator - and that obligation includes obeying all biblical precepts. Christ fulfilled every aspect of the law in His life but He also fulfilled the PENALTY aspect of the law in His "passive obedience" as theologians call it. (There was nothing "passive" about what Christ did if you ask me. He was actively engaged in dying for His Bride!). He came to REDEEM US from the CURSE OF THE LAW. It is true that the law was only given to OC israel, but even the gentiles were not without law. Every person alive today knows by nature what is right and what is wrong.

    Believers are not opposed to the law by any means. Grace does not free an individual from law - Christ's people are not free to act however they please - instead it establishes His law over them - Christ does this freely. He has written the law on the heart of every believer. And by doing this He establishes His kingdom by making them His subjects. I know the killing power of the law! It's awful! And I also recognize how important it is for it to be fulfilled on my behalf. Without that substitute I have no hope. Christ has done this for every one of His sheep. While I look to Christ's work of "passive obedience" on the cross, I look to His entire life as it were done for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harald
    Which means that practically I am charging this view of yours with antinomianism, it at least reeks of it.
    Antinomianism means to be "against law." In defense of Ian, I think you should graciously give him more opportunity to explain himself before we sling this charge at him. I know what it's like to be called an antinomian - I often face this charge - and I don't like it. This is a term that is used WAY too much in condemning free grace believers, so I would be cautious before firing off this charge.
    This is my signature.

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Darth Gill,

    I would agree with most of what you said in your last post. Do you have any scriptural support for you conclusions on holding to the active imputation of Christ's Righteousness. Through reading and studying the scriptural support for the other side it seems to me that they make sense using the scriptures they use. I'm still undecided at this point on the issue but it seems to me that scripturally the case is stronger for not holding to an active imputation.

    Forester07

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    I found this quote from John Piper who supports the Active imputation of Christ's Righteousness. What do you guys think of his Arguement for it? It is from his book "Counted Righteous in Christ"
    Forester07
    D
    OES CHRIST’S “ONE ACT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS” REFER TO HIS LIFE OF OBEDIENCE?
    Now what does Christ’s “one act of righteousness” (5:18) andhis “obedience” (v. 19) refer to? I do not think the historic doctrineof the imputation of the righteousness of Christ depends onproving that these phrases refer to the entire life of Christ’s obedience. I do think that this is in fact what Paul means, but thereally crucial and more important thing at stake in the controversyis whether any of Christ’s “obedience” or “act(s) of righteousness”are imputed to us. In other words, does Paul teach adoctrine of justification that includes the imputation of a divinerighteousness—namely, Christ’s? So I am much more eager toshow that the imputation of Christ’s divine righteousness (asopposed to impartation) is what Paul teaches than I am to provethat Paul thought of the entire life of Jesus as included in the “actof righteousness” in Romans 5:18 (ESV).Gundry denies that Christ’s one act of righteousness is “inclusiveof both his life and his death.
    ”That one act of righteousness does not include Jesus’ previous lifeany more than Adam’s contrastive one transgression included asubsequent life of sinning. Contextually, Jesus’ one act of righteousnessrefers to his dying for the ungodly, dying for us whilewe were still sinners, shedding his blood for our justification, andreconciling us to God through his death—period. (II, 15)
    He gives several “data” in support of this view. I will mentionthem and give brief responses to show why I don’t find themcompelling.First, Gundry calls attention to “[the references earlier inRomans 5 to Christ’s] dying for the ungodly, dying for us whilewe were still sinners, shedding his blood for our justification, andreconciling us to God through his death [vv. 6-11].”In other words, Christ’s death has been the focus of Christ’sobedience in Romans. This would only be compelling if weassumed that the atoning aspects of Christ’s death provide all that goes into giving us a right standing with the Father. But infact we saw above that Romans 4 develops a view of justificationthat encompasses more than blood-bought pardon. Itencompasses the imputation of God’s righteousness.58 Second, Gundry argues from “the absence of any contextualindication that Christ’s obedience included his previous life ofobedience to the law.”To this I would give four responses.First, does not the word “obedience” in Romans 5:19 with-out any limitation itself provide that clue? Gundry gives theimpression that it is easy and natural to picture Christ’s death asa single act of obedience. But is it? Were there not many acts ofobedience in Jesus’ final days and hours? Are we to think of theobedience of Gethsemane, or the obedience when the mob tookhim away, or the obedience when he was interrogated, or theobedience when he was crowned with thorns, or the obediencewhen he was flogged, or the obedience when he was nailed to thecross, or the obedience when he spoke words of love to his enemies,or the obedience when he offered up his spirit to his Father?Is not Gundry treating the death of Christ as a unified act involvingmany acts of obedience? If so, then it seems arbitrary to drawthe line at some point in the final hours or days of Jesus’ lifeand say that the obedience before that hour was not part of therighteousness that “leads to justification” (v. 18) or part of the“obedience” that constitutes many righteous (v. 19).Second, the word translated “act of righteousness” in verse 18,ESV (dikaiwvmato~, dikaiømatos) is used in Romans 8:4 to refer, inthe singular, to the entire scope of what the law requires: “. . . sothat the requirement (dikaivwma) of the Law might be fulfilled inus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to theSpirit.” This suggests that in Paul’s mind the “one act of righteousness”that resulted in our justification may well refer to theentire obedience of Jesus viewed as a single whole—as one greatact of righteousness—rather than any single act he did in life.Third, keep in mind the parallel between verses 16 and 18. Inverse 16 Paul spoke of the “free gift [of righteousness]”59 that“brought justification.” In verse 18 he speaks of “one act of righteousnessresulting in justification.” So we should adjust ourthinking to see the righteousness and obedience of Christ as a gift.Then we should keep in mind the contextual demand that this giftof righteousness is the positive counterpart to the sin of Adam,which was imputed to those who are in him. This shows us thatit is not arbitrary or foreign to the context to see the obedience of Christ as a gift that is imputed to us, resulting in justification. Infact, I think Paul wrote this entire paragraph to make this point.Fourth, any act of disobedience or unrighteousness in Jesus’life would have disqualified him from being our righteousness (orour substitutionary sacrifice), not just disobedience at the end ofhis life. In Matthew 3:15, at his baptism, Jesus said to John theBaptist, “In this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”So from beginning to the end in his ministry Jesus was fulfillingone great “requirement of righteousness” (which is probablywhat dikaiwvmato~ [dikaiømatos] means in Romans 5:18).Third, Gundry points out “the extremely scant attention thatPaul pays elsewhere to Christ’s previous life, and the extremelyheavy emphasis that Paul lays elsewhere on the death of Christ.”The theological importance of the perfect life of Jesus doesnot depend on any extensive treatment of that life. And I haveno quarrel that the death of Jesus has central stage in Paul’s theology and is the climax and consummation of Christ’s obedience,so that it receives greater attention.Further, Gundry refers to “the present antithetical parallelwith Adam’s transgression, which hardly refers to a whole life ofsinning but refers instead to the original sin in Eden.”This is not compelling because in the nature of the two cases(of Adam’s disobedience and Christ’s obedience) something differentis called for to bring about the result. For Adam, one singlesin brought condemnation immediately, so that the rest of hislife was lived under that condemnation as the penalty of it. Hedid not have to live a life of disobedience to bring condemnationon himself and his posterity. But this is not the case with Christ’sobedience. A period of obedience in Jesus’ life that was followedby any act of disobedience would have disqualified Christ as theground of our justification. Therefore the very nature of the twocases demands that Adam’s disobedience be singular and Christ’sobedience be cumulative.Finally, Gundry observes “the singularizing of both Adam’stransgression and Christ’s act of righteousness by the modifier‘one.’”This is not significantly different from the preceding observation,and I have given my essential answer to it there and inthe answer to his second observation above. I will simply addhere John Murray’s answer to a similar objection:
    If the question be asked how the righteousness of Christ couldbe defined as “one righteous act,” the answer is that the righteousnessof Christ is regarded in its compact unity in parallelism with the one trespass, and there is good reason for speaking of it as the one righteous act because, as the one trespass is the trespass of the one, so that one righteousness is the righteousness ofthe one and the unity of the person and his accomplishment mustalways be assumed.60
    I conclude then from Romans 5:12-19 that there is goodexegetical warrant for seeing here a righteousness of Christ thatis imputed to sinners who believe. This righteousness is the ground of their justification.


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    Re: active/passive obedience

    It does appear that Piper is becoming more biblical on the topic of justification. His latest stuff has looked much better than the heresies he has published in the past. I have a borrowed copy of his book, "The Passion of Jesus Christ" that I've read from recently.

    Here is a quote that I liked -
    He was "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8). His death was the pinnacle of his obedience. (emphasis mine) This is what the Bible refers to when it says, "By the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:19).

    Therefore, Christ's death became the basis of our pardon and our perfection. "For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). What does it mean that God made the sinless Christ to be sin? It means our sin was imputed to him, and thus he became our pardon. And what does it mean that we (who are sinners) become the righteousness of God in Christ? It means, similarily, that Christ's righteousness is imputed to us, and thus he became our perfection.

    May Christ be honored for his whole achievement in suffereing and dying! Both the work of pardoning our sin, and the work of providing our righteousness. Let us admire him and treasure him and trust him for this great achievement. (The Passion of Jesus Christ, John Piper, [Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2004] pp. 40-41)
    I think there is a lot of truth in Ian's words here - I do believe the righteousness that is imputed to the elect is if you will more fully expressed in Christ's death. But I do believe real damage is done if we neglect the imputation of "active obedience" to sinners. If we do that, I believe we can lose the Law and Gospel antithesis in our teachings.

    Forrester07, I'll provide a biblical basis for my position, but I believe the article posted by Lion gave ample evidence. Also, Harald's post on the subject I believe was brilliant bringing into play the "vital union" of Christ to His people.
    Quote Originally Posted by harald
    which says Christ was "made" (lit. was caused to become; ginomai being the verb, not poeioo) wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption?

    My belief has been concerning this verse that Christ was caused to become, by way of sovereign Divine imputation at the cross, all those things to His elect in an absolutely efficacious and saving manner so as to from that point on constitute them everlastingly righteous in the sight of the thrice holy God. What seems to me to have been made over to the elect by way of imputation, which was legally possible due to eternal decretive union between God the Son and the chosen, was 1) Christ in His holy sinless humanity ("holiness"), and 2) Christ's law-fulfilling righteousness, and 3) Christ's redeeming blood which blotted out their sins.
    Christ is EVERYTHING to the believer. He is EVERY ASPECT of the believer's salvation. When asked, "what is your sanctification?" The answer? Christ! When asked, "what is your righteousness?" Answer: Christ! "what is your wisdom?" Christ! We have a salvation wholly outside of us (p.s. - I'm not denying regeneration or anything like that). When the Father looks upon His people - He sees Christ. And that includes all of His works of righteousness. Talk about a GLORIOUS SALVATION! What a magnificient robe His people do wear.

    I'll write more later as I find time. I'd much rather participate in this discussion than the foolish one on "multiple wives!"
    This is my signature.

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    What a treasure of posts here for study, thank you to each one for so much input on this subject. I have never studied the full realm of these issues so I have much to learn.

    It's funny, but every time I read here on this thread the scripture that continually comes to my mind is the one quoted in your last post Brandan by Piper: Phil 2:6....and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross"
    And....I had the exact same thought, it was the pinnacle of His obedience, and is the focus, even as Paul says "For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

    Every perfect, righteous step that He took lead to Calvary and so I agree at this point that to contemplate His 'active obedience' cannot be a harmful thing at all but one to rejoice in, however the "passive obedience" of the cross is and evermore where our eyes are focused, for.....

    Heb 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    I will continue to read with awe the knowledge and wisdom that is here and by it will grow in Grace and in knowledge.
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Thanks for the interaction. I'm still as undecided as ever though. I see merits to both sides an am still honestly searching for what the bible shows to be true. The one arguement that makes me lean toward not having an active righteousness imputed in from the Paper by Steve Lehrer and Geoff Volker. http://www.ids.org/pdf/imputation.pdf Here is the section:



    Before we can begin to discuss the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, we must consider Christ’s passive obedience. The great reformed theologian Louis Berkhof believes that the passive obedience of Jesus Christ imputed to the believer has limitations as to what it does for the believer: “…if He (Christ) had merely paid the penalty (for the believer), without meeting the original demands of the law (for the believer), He would have left man in the position of Adam before the fall, still confronted with the task of obtaining eternal life in the way of obedience. By His active obedience, however, He carried His people beyond that point and gave them a claim to everlasting life.”
    4 If only the passive obedience of Christ is imputed to the believer, according to Berkhof, this would not give him eternal life. He would have to obey God perfectly and earn eternal life on His own. The man who only has the passive obedience of Christ imputed to him would be in a spiritual Switzerland— stuck in neutral. Is the distinguished Louis Berkhof right? We don’t think so. Rather than turning to another brilliant theologian to give a contrary opinion, let’s consider what Scripture actually says that Jesus accomplished by His death on the cross— His passive obedience. Hebrews is a great book to turn to when considering the passive obedience of Christ because it is the book of the Bible that spills the most ink concerning Christ’s sacrificial work. Hebrews chapter 10 extols the greatness of the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ in contrast to the repetitive but ineffective sacrifices offered by the Levitical priests:

    Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:11-14).

    This passage speaks only about Christ’s priestly sacrifice for the sins of His people. It says nothing about His righteous life. The sacrifice of Christ or the imputation of the passive obedience of Christ does two things for the believer. First, it makes the believer perfect—that is the believer is viewed as though he had obeyed the law perfectly (v. 14a). Second, it purchases a work of the Spirit in the life of the believer that guarantees that he will grow in holiness (v. 14b). Our concern here is for the perfect status the believer is given because of the imputation of the passive obedience of Christ. In the context of the book, "perfection" is referring to the state of moral innocence that allows one to be accepted by God—to stand in the presence of God and to approach Him boldly for grace and mercy in times of need. Consider the verses that immediately follow the passage above:

    The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. "And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:15-22).

    The one priestly sacrifice of Christ on the cross is identified here as the New Covenant. It gives us complete forgiveness of our sins—past, present, and future—making us perfect in God’s eyes. Christ’s passive obedience imputed to us allows us into the very presence of God! Notice that there is no mention of the active obedience of Christ anywhere and yet the passive obedience of Christ is said to be the sum and substance of the New Covenant and a guarantee that those who get this passive obedience imputed into their account are right with God, perfect—justified. What more could you possibly need to have eternal life? If God loves you and welcomes you into His presence because of Christ’s vicarious death and if no sin can ever be charged against you because of Christ’s sacrifice, then what more is necessary for God to fully accept you and to give you eternal salvation?

    The paper goes on with another example but this makes the point i'm having trouble with. This Arguement makes sense to me. How do you guys understand this.

    Forester07

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    I was interested to read in Forester’s quote from Piper the following:-

    Now what does Christ’s “one act of righteousness” (5:18) and his “obedience” (v. 19) refer to? I do not think the historic doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ depends on proving that these phrases refer to the entire life of Christ’s obedience. I do think that this is in fact what Paul means, but the really crucial and more important thing at stake in the controversy is whether any of Christ’s “obedience” or “act(s) of righteousness ”are imputed to us. In other words, does Paul teach a doctrine of justification that includes the imputation of a divine righteousness—namely, Christ’s? So I am much more eager to show that the imputation of Christ’s divine righteousness (as opposed to impartation) is what Paul teaches than I am to prove that Paul thought of the entire life of Jesus as included in the “act of righteousness” in Romans 5:18 (ESV).

    Piper is fair here in stressing that the crucial point is whether we believe in the imputation of a divine righteousness (as opposed to impartation or salvation by our own works).

    That keeps things very much in perspective. Both ‘sides’ (as it were) here believe that we are justified by Christ’s work, not ours, that we have a divine righteousness imputed to us. Neither side in any way is claiming that justification rests upon the works of man, nor does either side in any way deny that Christ lived a perfect life and fulfilled the law in every way.

    So as far as the fundamentals of the Gospel is concerned there is agreement on both sides. Charges of ‘Antinomianism’ or ‘Another Gospel’ against those of us that deny that Christ’s life is IMPUTED to us as part of justifying righteousness are without foundation because we do believe that we are justified by God alone, by having a divine righteousness imputed to us, and we do believe that the law was fulfilled by Christ. We simply believe that His fulfilment of the law in its precepts was for Himself in order to be the perfect sacrifice for sinners, and in order to magnify and honour that law before God and man, and that His fulfilment of the law in its penalty was for the elect in His death. Indeed this is a ‘lawful use of the law’ for one can be a substitute for another under law by taking their punishment, but not by ‘vicarious law-keeping’. Consider carefully.

    But Piper is right to draw attention to what is most important in the discussion. In the past I have been accused of heresy for my position over this which is a ridiculous charge. Particularly considering that most of the Reformers held to the same position. The teaching on ‘active obedience’ came in later, particularly when it was set down doctrinally in the 1600s by such people as John Owen and the Westminster Assembly. But Owen in his treatise on justification has to admit himself that the Reformed Divines of his time were split in their viewpoint on this issue. I quote him here:-

    “That which is of real difference among persons who agree in the substance of the doctrine, may be reduced unto a very few heads; as,--

    (1.) There is something of this kind about the nature of faith whereby we are justified, ………

    (2.) There has been a controversy more directly stated among some learned divines of the Reformed churches (for the Lutherans are unanimous on the one side), about the righteousness of Christ that is said to be imputed unto us. For some would have this to be only his suffering of death, and the satisfaction which he made for sin thereby, and others include therein the obedience of his life also.The occasion, original, and progress of this controversy, the persons by whom it has been managed, with the writings wherein it is so, and the various ways that have been endeavoured for its reconciliation, are sufficiently known unto all who have inquired into these things…


    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    I think there is a lot of truth in Ian's words here - I do believe the righteousness that is imputed to the elect is if you will more fully expressed in Christ's death. But I do believe real damage is done if we neglect the imputation of "active obedience" to sinners. If we do that, I believe we can lose the Law and Gospel antithesis in our teachings.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill

    May I ask just what damage is done Brandan? How do we lose the Law/Gospel antithesis?

    The concept of vicarious law-keeping has very little Biblical support. Even the passages which are quoted in support of the idea don’t spell it out. It ‘could’ be there, but equally it could not. To build such a doctrine on so few texts is questionable. For example the MAIN passage quoted for support is Romans 5:18-19. Yet all that speaks of is ‘one act of righteousness’ and the straightforward and most honest reading of that is in contrast with Adam’s one act of disobedience, therefore the ‘one act of righteousness’ is Christ’s death on the cross. If His whole life is meant it would say ‘many acts of righteousness’ would it not?

    Such passages must be read in the light of other scriptures. And if Romans 5 is read in its context of chapters 3 – 5 which teach the doctrine of justification it will be seen that all the references regarding our being justified, and of imputed righteousness are based on the work of Christ upon the cross.

    Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
    But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
    Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”

    Romans 3:20-22


    Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
    Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
    To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
    Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
    Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    Romans 3:24-28

    “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
    Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
    Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

    Romans 4:6-8

    “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
    Romans 4:13

    “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
    And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
    Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
    But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
    Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for [because of] our justification.”

    Romans 4:21-25

    “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
    Romans 5:1

    “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
    For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
    But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
    For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” [i.e. saved from wrath because of Christ’s risen life, being risen in Him]
    ”And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

    Romans 5:6-11

    That sets the context which leads into the latter part of chapter 5. Every mention of justification (and therefore justifying righteousness) is in regard to the death of Christ. “Justified by his blood”. Contrast is made between faith and law works. No mention is made of Christ’s law-keeping life.

    So why, having read in 5:9 that we are “justified by his blood” or in 5:10 that we are “reconciled by the death of his Son” would we then read in 5:18 of that “one act of righteousness” and think of it as anything other than this death? Implying that this includes the whole ‘active obedience’ of Christ’s life is simply reading into the text what is not there, and what has NOT been expounded in any way in the chapters leading up to that point. And chapters 3-5 of Romans represent Paul’s teaching on justification. What follows in chapters 6-8 are the results of that work, with various rhetorical questions posed and answered by Paul.

    My reason for questioning the whole idea of ‘active obedience imputation’ is simple – I can’t find it taught in scripture.

    Forrester07, I'll provide a biblical basis for my position, but I believe the article posted by Lion gave ample evidence. Also, Harald's post on the subject I believe was brilliant bringing into play the "vital union" of Christ to His people.Christ is EVERYTHING to the believer. He is EVERY ASPECT of the believer's salvation. When asked, "what is your sanctification?" The answer? Christ! When asked, "what is your righteousness?" Answer: Christ! "what is your wisdom?" Christ! We have a salvation wholly outside of us (p.s. - I'm not denying regeneration or anything like that). When the Father looks upon His people - He sees Christ. And that includes all of His works of righteousness. Talk about a GLORIOUS SALVATION! What a magnificient robe His people do wear.

    I agree with much of these points and do believe that Christ is my sanctification, my wisdom, my righteousness. But Christ’s ‘keeping the law’ did not make Him righteous. It simply demonstrated what He ALREADY WAS. Christ WAS righteous, He was born righteous, He ALWAYS WAS righteous, HE EVER WILL BE righteous. It is that divine righteousness of God in Him that is imputed to us. 2 Corinthians 5:21.

    Christ’s obedience in His lifetime did not ‘produce’ a righteousness. It showed forth that righteous nature He already had. The only ‘obedience’ of Christ which ‘wrought’ a righteousness was His obedience in dying on the cross because THERE He became united with His Bride, and her sins became His. In order to make her perfect Christ had to bear those sins away under the wrath of God. That He did in His hours of suffering as He drank the wrath of God, according to God’s righteousness against that sin. At the end no sin was left and His bride was seen as being completely righteous in Him for all her sin was gone. Consumed, burnt up, taken away. Thus that which was black, dark, vile was taken away to leave only that which is perfect, white, righteous – the righteousness of God in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:32. How is the bride justified? She is “justified by his blood”.



    Quote Originally Posted by harald
    Ian. Thank you for your reply to me. I hope to take time and read it carefully, and hopefully understand as I ought.
    Quote Originally Posted by harald

    I agree that one ought to test all things by the scripture, to see whether they be so. And not cling to commonly accepted views which eminent men may have held to just for the sake of their being commonly accepted.

    In the meanwhile I would inquire of you, whether you still insist that Luther the Reformer taught the same gospel as Paul, whether Luther was a teacher of the truth of God as respects justification before God?

    Harald

    God bless you in your reading and understanding Harald. May He alone be our teacher.

    Regarding Luther, it is not my judgment that matters Harald. I am not able to test another man’s heart. Luther isn’t here, I can’t talk to him to form a good conclusion. All I can go on is what is left on record from the history of his life and in his writings. And all I can say is that FROM MY READING of Luther (which is not all of him and in which I may be mistaken, or understand him wrongly) I believe he taught much truth. I believe he emphasised faith in contrast to works salvation. I don’t think he meant that ‘our’ faith justifies us as though it is our work (and not a work of the Spirit in us, a fruit of the Spirit), and nor do I think he meant that it isn’t Christ’s work on the cross that justifies us. I believe he meant that and that our faith (of the Spirit) looks to that work and rests upon it. But his emphasis in his writings may give a different impression, but I think that is because he was focussed on the contrast between the Papal teachings of works salvation and faith. He lived, and wrote, in very different times to ours.

    But ultimately Harald that is simply my ‘understanding’ of Luther. I may be wrong. Of more importance is whether I understand scripture aright and believe the truth myself. For that I look to God alone to be my teacher and I feel sure that He is and will be for the Spirit will lead us into all truth regarding God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

    I must go – I said before I lack the time to discuss this but I just wanted to reply to a few points. I leave it here for now. May God open up His word to all His people and point them to Christ alone for Salvation,

    In Grace,
    Ian
    "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" John 1:17

    www.graceandtruthonline.com

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    P.S. Just a few more thoughts on this matter which I meant to write in my previous post but forgot...

    When looking for the scriptural support for the teaching of the imputation of Christ's active obedience it is important to remember that we are looking for those passages which teach about justification and the imputation of righteousness. There is absolutely no disagreement about the fact that Christ was made under the law and lived a perfect life under that law. Verses can certainly be found which teach that Christ was obedient in all things in His lifetime as one who lived under the law. But those passages do not relate that life or obedience to justification - that's the point. The key word is VICARIOUS. Is Christ's law-keeping life imputed to us?

    In the passages of scripture which DO speak of justification and imputed righteousness (eg. Romans 3-5, Galatians etc.) there is no clear teaching on the relation of Christ's life to justification. Every clear reference to justification regards the cross - eg. "justified by his blood". Also, passages such as Hebrews 10 which speak of Christ's obedience, and His coming to do the will of the Father are with regard to His death. That passage clearly shows that Christ's obedience there was in His one sacrifice. The chapter contrasts that with the Levitical priesthood and their many sacrifices which never took away sin. But Christ's one sacrifice did! And by that we are justified.

    Brandan has mentioned about Christ being all to us. Our wisdom, our sanctification, our righteousness. That is very true, but when we speak of God seeing us in Christ, and of Christ being our all, we must be clear about what we are meaning. Certainly our new life in the new man of grace is Christ in us (Galatians 2:20). We have eternal life because He IS eternal life. We are the righteousness of God in Him. We are united to Him like the bride is to her husband. But nevertheless is the bride actually the same person as her husband? She is united to him, one with him in the marriage bond, as one flesh. But nevertheless they are two, who have become one. We don’t become Christ – we are still us, yet one with him. A mystery, but true. Much as God is a triune God – One God in Three Persons. But each person is distinct – the Spirit is not the Father. The work of the Son is not attributed to the Spirit or the Father. Each has His own work. The Father elected a people and gave them to Christ. Christ died for that people, not the Father. The Spirit regenerates that people in their lifetime – that is the Spirit’s work. Yet all three are one in that wonderful union of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

    So our unity with our HUSBAND does not mean that we are the same person or have done all that He has. What is His becomes ours (eg. sonship, divine righteousness, eternal life) but we don't become the husband, we are the bride of the husband, one with Him, yet distinct. Christ died in the place of sinners and took their sins away. We, as His Bride, died with Him. But we didn’t take sin away – HE DID. We didn’t make atonement – HE DID. We aren’t the Saviour – HE IS. We died with Him, yes, but it was OUR SIN which He took away. He is the Saviour, we aren’t – we are the saved. Likewise, though we know we are in Him, and we are made the righteousness of God in Him we should not think that because of our unity that we have DONE ALL THE THINGS HE HAS DONE. We didn’t die vicariously for others. We didn’t touch the eyes of blind men and make them see. We didn’t call out to Lazarus to come forth from the grave. We didn’t calm the tempestuous sea. So the idea that because of our union with Christ His keeping of the law was done vicariously for us, as though we did it because we are His bride is somewhat suspect reasoning. Just because we are united with Christ does not mean that we have done all that Christ has as though we are HIM. We have the place of sonship, we are sons of God but we are not THE Son of God. So many blessing are ours in Christ but we are not actually HIM. We are His bride, and we were betrothed to Him from eternity but we actually came into union with Him at the cross, as pictured by Eve being taken out of Adam’s side in the deep sleep, so the Bride is taken out of Christ’s side in His death. It is in His death that we are united with Him, we die with Him, our sin becomes His, and He takes it away. And then in His resurrection we rise again with Him having His eternal life. Hence all scripture centres justification and justifying righteousness upon the cross.

    “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” 1 Corinthians 1:18.

    May I just encourage again one and all to look into the scriptures to see what they really teach regarding justifying righteousness. Not what they teach about Christ's obedience in His perfect life, but what they teach about justification, about imputed righteousness. I have read many things by various writers on the subject of the ‘active obedience’ of Christ yet in all I have read the same verses are quoted (eg. Romans 5:18) which really don’t support the idea. Rather the idea is read into those verses. From my reading of scripture all the attention with regard to justification is in the work of Christ upon the cross. That act of faith in which He was united with His people, became their sin, and took their sin away that they might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    “For he hath made him sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”.
    2 Corinthians 5:21.

    In Grace,
    Ian
    "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" John 1:17

    www.graceandtruthonline.com

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