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Thread: active/passive obedience

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    I've been racking my brain all day and night thinking about this, and I think I've come up with a "logical" proof against those who argue for solely passive obedience. Tell me what you think!

    I really have difficulties with segregating the obedience of Christ into "active" and "passive" and prefer to think of the death of Christ as the pinnacle of His obedience. All of Christ's obedience is imputed to the elect! I don't see a major distinction in the Scriptures between active and passive - it's there, but it's not a major theme (the distinction). Christ is the end of law for righteousness (Rom 10:4), and He eliminated the penalty due to the law. You could say this was completed in His death (a true statement), but His death had a view to His obedient life. His "passive obedience" is nothing without His "active obedience". So in a sense, the imputation of righteousness wrought through "passive obedience" wraps up and packages "active obedience" as well! Does that make sense?

    Let me try to put it in simpler terms.

    1. Imputation of Christ's Righteousness occurs at the cross (Christ's passive obedience).
    2. Passive obedience is a result of active obedience because Christ's act of passive obedience was impossible without His work of active obedience.
    3. Therefore, you must conclude that righteousness is wrought through both the active and passive obedience of Christ.
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Thanks for the thoughts Dr. Gill they have made me think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    All of Christ's obedience is imputed to the elect!
    I still have not found any definate scripture that says this. Where is His active obidience imputed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    You could say this was completed in His death (a true statement), but His death had a view to His obedient life. His "passive obedience" is nothing without His "active obedience". So in a sense, the imputation of righteousness wrought through "passive obedience" wraps up and packages "active obedience" as well! Does that make sense?
    It kind of makes sense but again I have been unable to pull it out of scripture. I would definitely agree that without Christ's Active obedience there couldn't be a passive obedience. However, this doesn't mean the Christ's Active righteousness is imputed to us. If I can find it in the scriptures I will definitely agree with this view but I haven't yet. That is the point of the article section I posted in my previous post. There is no scriptural evidence to support an the imputation of Christ's Active righteousness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    Let me try to put it in simpler terms.

    1. Imputation of Christ's Righteousness occurs at the cross (Christ's passive obedience).
    2. Passive obedience is a result of active obedience because Christ's act of passive obedience was impossible without His work of active obedience.
    3. Therefore, you must conclude that righteousness is wrought through both the active and passive obedience of Christ.
    I follow what you are saying and again it kind of makes sense. Christ's active righteouness allowed Him to be able to perform His passive righteousness. Christ's Passive obidience couldn't be done unless Christ completely fulfilled and kept the Old covenant law (active obidience). This all makes sense and I agree with it completely. However this doesn't say what is actually imputed to Christians. The way I see it and how my logic flows on this issue: Christ's death on the cross justifies sinners completely. Christ's Righteousness in imputed to us while our sin is imputed to him. Christ's perfect law keeping proved that he was able to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins that God's law demanded. The active and passive righteousness are tie together because one couldn't happen without the other. However since the active righteousness leads to the passive righteousness as the ultimate one act of righteousness wouldn't that mean that all we need is the Passive righteousness imputed in order to be justified. It seems to me that by requiring the imputation of the active righteousness it is saying that Christ's death as the perfect sacrifice is not enough but we also need His perfect law keeping imputed as well. That in my mind deminishes Christ's ultimate sacrifice. I see Christ's perfect Lawkeeping as very important for the fact that if He didn't keep and fulfill the law He wouldn't be able to be the perfect sacrifice and his passive obidience would be worthless. I would think that the active righeousness pertains more to Christ being an acceptable sacrifice to God. Christ's Blood (refering to his passive obidience) covers our sins and washes us white as snow. Scripture always talks about Christ's death on the cross is what saves and justifies. It never once talks about the perfect life of christ as our justification. What do you guys think? Am I completly off? I'm open to correction.

    Forester07

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    The lamb that was offered under the old covenant sacrifice was not accepted for how it had lived behaved or anything like that, but that it was to be with out blemish. Hence the spottless lamb of God presented himself for our sins, it was not by the law keeping of Jesus Christ that the righteousness of God was brought in, it was brought in by the faith of Jesus Christ, it was not a legal righteousness, it was a Divine righteousness it was wrought with out the law, and it was with out the works of the law,Galatians 2;21: I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by Forester07
    Thanks for the thoughts Dr. Gill they have made me think.

    I still have not found any definate scripture that says this. Where is His active obidience imputed?
    I think Rom 5:19 is fairly clear

    Rom 5:19b, "...so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous;"

    "obedience" to what? The law...

    I believe this obedience is in reference to the law of God, because vs. 13 and 20 refer to the law. Rom 5:13, For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom 5:20, Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivor Thomas
    The lamb that was offered under the old covenant sacrifice was not accepted for how it had lived behaved or anything like that, but that it was to be with out blemish. Hence the spottless lamb of God presented himself for our sins, it was not by the law keeping of Jesus Christ that the righteousness of God was brought in, it was brought in by the faith of Jesus Christ, it was not a legal righteousness, it was a Divine righteousness it was wrought with out the law, and it was with out the works of the law,Galatians 2;21: I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
    Agreed.. Christ's righteousness is much greater than obedience to the law. But He put Himself under the law as a representative of His people. Without Him putting Himself under the law and fulfilling every aspect of it, we would STILL BE UNDER IT. He fulfilled it on our behalf and represents the obedience that WE need.
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Another thing -

    1 Jn 3:16, (KJV), Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

    There was nothing "passive" about that obedience!
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Here's a good quote from Pink's, "The Satisfaction of Christ"

    3a. By obeying the precepts of it, and answering all that it requires. Does it require an holy nature? it has it in him, who is "holy, harmless, and undefiled;" does it require perfect and sinless obedience? it is found in him, who did no sin, never transgressed the law in one instance, but always did the things which pleased his Father; and who has declared himself "well pleased for his righteousness sake," and with it; and that as wrought out for his people by his active obedience to the law, which is so approved of by God, that he imputes it without works for the justification of them (Rom. 4:6; 5:19). Nor is it any objection to this doctrine that Christ, as man, was obliged to yield obedience to the law for himself, which is true; but then it should be observed, that as he assumed human nature, or became man, for the sake of his people, "to us," or for us, "a child is born;" so it was for their sake he yielded obedience to the law. Besides, though he was obliged to it as man, yet he was not obliged to yield it in such a state and condition as he did; in a state of humiliation, in a course of sorrow and affliction, in a suffering state throughout the whole of his life, even unto death; for the human nature of Christ, from the moment of its union to the Son of God, was entitled to glory and happiness; so that its obedience to the law in such a low estate was quite voluntary, and what he was not obliged unto: nor is it to be argued from Christ’s yielding obedience for his people, that then they are exempted from it; they are not; they are under the law to Christ, and under greater obligation to obey it; they are not obliged to obey it in like manner, or for such purposes that Christ obeyed it, even to justify them before God, and entitle them to eternal life.
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    More good stuff from Pink
    The active obedience of Christ to the law was required as the meritorious condition upon which the Divine favor and the promised reward of the Covenant might come upon all whose Surety He was. We must never attempt to separate between the active obedience and the passive sufferings of Christ, either when contemplating His mediatorial work, or when considering the effect of that work upon the covenant-standing of His people. Christ’s vicarious obedience is an intrinsic part of that "righteousness" which He wrought in our stead, and which is imputed to us as the ground of our justification. All that Christ did on earth He did as Mediator. He was acting in our stead just as truly when He was obeying God as when He was enduring His wrath. It is in reference to both of these conjointly that He is designated "the Lord our righteousness" (Jer. 23:6).It needs to be pointed out that the "obedience" of Christ is not to be restricted to what He wrought prior to the Cross, nor are His "sufferings" to be limited to what He endured during the crucifixion and immediately preceding it. No, He suffered all through His life, and obeyed throughout His dying. "The whole earth life of Christ, including His birth itself, was one continued self-emptying, even unto death. His birth, and every moment of His life, in the form of a servant, was of the nature of holy sufferings. Every experience of pain during the whole course of His life, and eminently in His death on the cross, was, on His part, a voluntary and meritorious act of obedience. He lived His whole life, from His birth to His death, as our Representative, obeying and suffering in our stead, and for our sakes; and during this whole course, all His suffering was obedience, and all His obedience was suffering. The righteousness which He wrought out for His people consisted precisely in this suffering and obedience. The righteousness of Christ, which is imputed severally to each believer, as the ground of his justification, consists precisely of this suffering and obedience. His earth life as suffering cancels the penalty, and as obedience, fulfills the precepts and secures the promised reward of the law; but the suffering and the obedience were not separated in fact, and are inseparable in principle, and equally necessary to satisfy the law of the covenant and to secure the salvation of the elect" (A.A. Hodge).
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    The law was a school master that led to Christ. as Christ he always has been Christ, he was Christ at birth he always was sinless at any given time he fullfilled the law he did not have to work to keep it. The law came by Moses Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.It was the obedience of faith of the Son OF God that fullfilled all the righteous requirement of the law of God. Ivor Thomas...

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    I was reading online an article in favor of only the imputation of the 'passive obedience' of Christ and it was excellent. There was a partial quote taken from the book Faith Alone p. 103 by R.C Sproul which I don't know if I can verify or not but this is what he was quoted as saying......

    "the cross alone, however, does not justify us"

    Boy, I'm going to really have to study and pray on this one as that seems to go against everything I believe, everything I read in scripture and everything I have been taught. Isn't that kind of a scary sentence? Like I said early on, I haven't been taught the splitting of the obedience into passive and active and don't remember that ever being mentioned. Also, this one sentence above may have a totally different 'look' if read in context.

    The discussion on both sides has great merit because we know that Christ was obedient in all things unto the Father, but at this point I too cannot find the imputation of His law-keeping in scripture, however that doesn't mean that it isn't implied. That is what I will have to come to by faith.

    A great teaching thread! Thanks!
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen
    I was reading online an article in favor of only the imputation of the 'passive obedience' of Christ and it was excellent. There was a partial quote taken from the book Faith Alone p. 103 by R.C Sproul which I don't know if I can verify or not but this is what he was quoted as saying......

    "the cross alone, however, does not justify us"

    Boy, I'm going to really have to study and pray on this one as that seems to go against everything I believe, everything I read in scripture and everything I have been taught. Isn't that kind of a scary sentence? Like I said early on, I haven't been taught the splitting of the obedience into passive and active and don't remember that ever being mentioned. Also, this one sentence above may have a totally different 'look' if read in context.

    The discussion on both sides has great merit because we know that Christ was obedient in all things unto the Father, but at this point I too cannot find the imputation of His law-keeping in scripture, however that doesn't mean that it isn't implied. That is what I will have to come to by faith.

    A great teaching thread! Thanks!
    Eileen, you will find that many "teachers" do have a tendency to separate the "cross" from Christ's obedience to God. It does not surprise me that anyone would say such a thing!

    I don't know, but in my opinion, to separate Christ's obedience into passive and active is the same as to trying to separate His human and divine nature!
    He obeyed God actively and passively and that is expressed in His words in the cross, specifically these two addresses to the Father:

    Father why has thou forsaken me
    and Into thine hands I commit my Spirit.

    I have to read on to this thread and get a little background on it. But I am not suprised at all that some well known teachers would say such a thing.

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    I agree with much of what Milt says here. I do not believe there is such a thing as Christ's passive obedience. He was always active. I've always enjoyed this sermon and I believe Rev. Hanko explains it well here: http://www.prca.org/sermons/matt27.33-34.html

    Theologians distinguish between Christ's active and His passive obedience. His passive obedience, they say, refers to the fact that He bore and endured passively all that was laid upon Him for our sakes. He went, as the prophet Isaiah says, like a lamb to the slaughter, making no protest - passively enduring shame, and reproach, and spitting, and beating, and finally, even death itself, for our sakes.



    His active obedience, so it is said, refers to the fact that He went to His cross willingly. That He brought His own body to the sacrificial altar. But the suggestion is made, sometimes, that His active obedience ended with His being nailed to the cross, and that the hours He hung there were hours in which He passively suffered the punishment for sin - that His obedience was no longer active, and so, indeed it would seem. But that is not really correct. All Christ's obedience was active, even when He was hanging on the cross. He did not just passively endure all that suffering, but actively took it upon Himself.

    Even while He hung on the cross He was active, busy, doing what was necessary for our salvation. Especially that was true in the giving of His life. For all that Pilate did and for all that the leaders of the Jews did, it was still true, as Jesus Himself reminds us in John 10, that no man took His life from Him. He gave it. He laid it down, actively. He poured out, as we sometimes say, His own blood as a sacrifice for sin. He poured it out drop by awful drop. Every drop that fell was a conscious and deliberate act of His own. And when finally He was ready to die, He determined the moment of His death and He gave His life to His Father with the words: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." He did not die like us - not like us, who always have our life taken from us, but He gave it, gave it into the hands of His heavenly Father.

    And He was doing that already here when He refused that wine mingled with myrrh. By that act He was saying us, and to all who will understand: "I must give My life. I may not go to the cross drugged and insensitive, but must feel the anguish and the pain, and above all must drink and taste every bitter drop of the cup of Jehovah's wrath, and must know what I am drinking. I may not just hang here passively, enduring My suffering, but must take it all upon Myself, and feel it to the uttermost. There is no other way that atonement can be made for the sins of My people."

    That is Christ's active or willing obedience. And we must understand what that means and especially that even the hours on the cross were characterized by such willing and active obedience. He did not just resign Himself to His suffering and say: "Thy will be done," but willingly, even eagerly, He took all this shame and sorrow and death upon Himself - embraced it for our sakes - knowing that thus, and thus only, might atonement be made. When we realize that, then we begin to understand what Paul says in Ephesians 2 when he talks about the immeasurable love of God. It is immeasurable, is it not? When you think of our Lord Jesus Christ not merely going to the cross, but going willingly, going in such a manner as we've described, to suffer all these things, it's almost more than you can bear to think about.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    I’ll just make a few replies to some points raised here which I hope will be helpful. But I don’t intend to reply much more as I haven’t the time to debate the issue. I would encourage folk, as I have said before, to look into the scriptures to seek out the truth on justifying righteousness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    I've been racking my brain all day and night thinking about this, and I think I've come up with a "logical" proof against those who argue for solely passive obedience. Tell me what you think!
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill

    I really have difficulties with segregating the obedience of Christ into "active" and "passive" and prefer to think of the death of Christ as the pinnacle of His obedience. All of Christ's obedience is imputed to the elect! I don't see a major distinction in the Scriptures between active and passive - it's there, but it's not a major theme (the distinction).

    I just want to be clear here, I don’t like the concepts of “active” and “passive” obedience either. Christ’s death was anything but “passive”. The terminology is false and takes away from the suffering of Christ upon the cross. I try to avoid using these terms as much as possible.

    But where did the terms come from? Who invented them? Well, those theologians who put forward the idea of vicarious law-keeping - such people as Dr John Owen. In order to draw attention to the law-keeping life of Christ as also being imputed to the believer they decided to describe that as “active obedience” and His death as “passive obedience”. So, if we don’t like the terms (and I don’t) these are the men to complain to.

    Christ is the end of law for righteousness (Rom 10:4), and He eliminated the penalty due to the law. You could say this was completed in His death (a true statement), but His death had a view to His obedient life. His "passive obedience" is nothing without His "active obedience". So in a sense, the imputation of righteousness wrought through "passive obedience" wraps up and packages "active obedience" as well! Does that make sense?

    Where it doesn’t make sense is when you slip in the concept of the imputation of righteousness. Of course His death (passive…) was dependent upon His perfect life (active). That simply isn’t in dispute – we all agree. The question is rather, what is the righteousness that is imputed? Where was it ‘wrought’?

    Let me try to put it in simpler terms.

    1. Imputation of Christ's Righteousness occurs at the cross (Christ's passive obedience).
    2. Passive obedience is a result of active obedience because Christ's act of passive obedience was impossible without His work of active obedience.
    3. Therefore, you must conclude that righteousness is wrought through both the active and passive obedience of Christ.

    What we have got into here is the application of logic to try to defend a concept. Rather than finding actual scriptural backing, solid support from the scriptures, you have attempted to reason out the issue. But that isn’t really the way one is going to come to an understanding of truth in the matter. I don’t decry logic or sensible reason but it must be Spirit-led, and it must be according to scripture. If scripture plainly teaches that we are “justified by the blood” (Romans 5:9) and then gives a verse that says “by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19) the latter verse must be understood in the context of those other clear verses regarding justification. Obedience here clearly refers to the death of the Son (5:10) and therefore that justification brought in by his blood.

    Your 3 step logic above Brandan is based on a presupposition – which is that Christ’s obedient ‘steps’ are what constitute the righteousness imputed to us, and I think that is where your misunderstanding lies. If we consider Christ's life to be 10 steps of obedience, with the final step being the cross, you are reasoning that if that 10th step is imputed to us as justifying righteousness, and it is dependent upon the previous 9 steps, then surely those previous 9 steps should also be imputed. That is reasonable. I understand your logic. But the question is: do any of those 10 steps constitute the righteousness imputed?

    No they don’t. It isn’t the acts of Christ, these 10 steps (or even the last 10th step) which are themselves imputed to us. It is not the ‘10th step’ itself but WHAT CHRIST BROUGHT IN BY THAT STEP. It is not Christ’s obedience to the Father in dying for sinners which is imputed to us as righteousness, but it is BY THAT OBEDIENCE that justifying righteousness was wrought at the cross and imputed to us.

    Can you see my distinction here? You have made the ‘cause’ the ‘effect’. Verse 19 says “… so BY THE obedience of one shall many be made righteous”. That obedience was the cause which produced the effect of many being made righteous. That obedience ITSELF isn’t the righteousness (the effect) which is imputed. It is what was done by that obedience. It is, as it were, what Christ DID on the cross which is imputed to us, not His DOING OF IT.

    So what was done, and what IS imputed?

    Well, at the cross Christ and His people became united in order that Christ might be made their sin and take it away.

    “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6:6.

    “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.

    That is what happened at the cross. By our being united to Christ in His death He was made sin. Being made sin, standing before God in the place of sinners, God poured out His Holy wrath against that sin. This did not happen in Christ’s life – it happened at the cross. This is how righteousness is ‘wrought out’ in us.

    Before the cross we are entirely sinful – we have no righteousness in us. Before the cross Christ is entirely righteous – He knew no sin.

    But at the cross we became united. Being joined mysteriously together our sin became Christ’s, that we might made the righteousness of God in Him. But we could only be made that righteousness if Christ took our sin away. So in those hours in the dark Christ gradually took our sin away. It didn’t happen instantly – it took hours, and that was effectively an eternity of suffering contracted into those hours. But in that suffering our sin was being taken away. How was that done? By being judged against that perfect standard of righteousness which is required in order for us to have eternal life and to dwell with the Father. That is the divine righteousness of God.

    This is higher than the righteousness of the law. Indeed our sins were judged against the law, and the penalty of the law was met in Christ. But if that was the only righteous standard by which our sin was judged then it would merely place as back to the position of the original Adam – free to live endlessly in this present world. But it would not give us ETERNAL LIFE nor enable us to enter those heavenly realms where the Father dwells. No, for that our sin needed to be judged by an even higher standard, the Righteousness of God Himself. That righteousness was manifested in us, in our Substitute, at the cross, as Christ suffered for us, by an act of His faith. This is what is meant in Romans 3:21-22:

    “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”

    That is the standard by which our sin was judged. As it was judged, as it was consumed under the wrath of God it was taken away, out of sight. There was no longer any sin left in the Substitute to condemn, and therefore no sin left in us. All our sin was taken away. As we have no sin left in us (at the cross remember – we obviously in time still have the sinful flesh in us, but that has been spiritually judged and taken away at the cross), that sin being judged against the standard of the righteousness of God, then THAT righteousness is IMPUTED to us, it is reckoned to our account. If we have no sin according to that standard of righteousness, no variation from it, no deviation from it, then we must have that righteousness.

    THAT is justifying righteousness. It was wrought out for us in the Saviour at the cross by our sin being burnt up under God's wrath, by the blood being shed. It is a divine righteousness, revealed in the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17), manifested in the Saviour, without the law (ie. apart from law) (3:21), during His hours of suffering in our stead. Because of our union with Him, our old man is crucified with Him (6:6), yet we then rise again with Him (6:7-6:10) in eternal life being the righteousness of God in Him. It is Christ’s death which took away our sin, hence we are justified by the blood (5:9), reconciled by the death of God’s Son (5:10). We have faith in that blood which is the propitiation for sin (Romans 3:25). It is in that death, in the shedding of the blood that God declared His righteousness (3:25), that he might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (3:26).

    Justifying righteousness is the righteousness of God, without the law, manifested by the death of Christ for His people, an obedient act of His faith (Romans 5:18-19). It is not based upon Christ’s law-keeping but was wrought by His work of faith in which He took us into union with Himself at the cross that he might take away our sin, being made sin to suffer for it and to consume it, burn it up, take it away, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. That righteousness is a divine righteousness which Christ ever had – it was not ‘wrought’ by his law-keeping in His life (it couldn’t be because no man is justified by the works of the law – either by themselves, or by Christ’s works of the law, see Galatians 2:16 or Romans 3:20). But it was manifested in us in union with Him in His death as our sin was taken away.

    This is what is consistently taught in Romans and elsewhere (eg. Hebrews). All the attention is upon the cross for that is where justifying righteousness was manifested in God’s people as they died with Christ, and is imputed to Him. We are justified by the blood.

    “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ,
    even we have believed in Jesus Christ,
    that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,
    and not by the works of the law:
    for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
    Galatians 2:16

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    I think Rom
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    5:19 is fairly clear

    Rom 5:19b, "...so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous;"

    "obedience" to what? The law...

    I believe this obedience is in reference to the law of God, because vs. 13 and 20 refer to the law. Rom 5:13, For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom 5:20, Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound

    Is this obedience to the law? No, that isn’t what is meant here. What is meant is the obedience of faith, as a result of the hearing of faith, which is seen by Christ willingly laying down His life for the sheep (in which He certainly was judged by the law and so fulfilled it however).

    Verses 13 and 20 do not set the context as being law in verse 19 at all Brandan. The context is the death of Christ (5:6, 5:8, 5:10) and being justified by the blood of Christ (5:9).

    Then begins a comparison of the two Adams. In verse 12 we read of the fall of Adam and what his fall brought in – sin and death. There follows from verse 13 to 17 a parenthesis with regard to that. It is IN THAT parenthesis that law is mentioned in relation to the fact that law was not always in the world (ie. between Adam and Moses) and yet sin was, and despite the fact that some sinned under law, and some did not have the law, it nevertheless was still sin and death reigned. This reference to the law has nothing whatsoever to do with the nature of the obedience mentioned later in verses 18 and 19.

    In verses 18 and 19 we have the comparisons between the two acts of the two Adams. Firstly Adam’s offence, or fall, by which all men fell into condemnation, and secondly Christ’s (the Last Adam’s) one righteous act (meaning his death on the cross, 5:6-5:11) which brought in justification for all His posterity.

    What do we read next? Verse 20, almost as an aside. It says “MOREOVER the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” The wording here shows that law was NOT the context in verses 18 and 19 as such. ‘Moreover’ the law ENTERS, almost by the bye. It comes in along side, as a sort of side issue. And what effect does it have? That the offence might abound.

    It is clear from the wording ‘moreover the law entered’ that the law is not at the heart of the obedience mentioned in verse 19.

    I'll make just one final point about the translation of the words ‘disobedience’ and ‘obedience’ in verse 19. I believe the word in the Greek for each has the root meaning of ‘hearing’. The word translated disobedience on Adam’s part is to do with him hearing amiss, or ‘refusing to hear’ , ‘refusing to listen’ to God’s command. The word translated ‘obedience’ on Christ’s part is to do with hearing aright, hearing by faith. The wording is used to draw the attention to the fact that Christ’s death was a result of His faith. He heard God’s word, He was attentive to it, believed it, submitted to it, and went to the cross by Faith believing that the Father would lay upon Him all the sins of the elect and raise Him from the grave the third day. See Hebrews 12:2.

    So you can see that by translating the word ‘obedience’ (the effect as a result of the cause of hearing aright) the English reader can tend to think of obedience in a legal sense – obedience to the law. But the Greek carries more of an impression of hearing God’s word, believing it, and doing a work of FAITH. That is the emphasis of the one act of obedience which Christ did (Romans 5:18-19). It was a work of faith, not law. Compare with Galatians 3:2 “…received ye the Spirit by the WORKS of the law, or by the HEARING of faith?” A similar thing is meant in Romans 5:18-19. Christ heard the Father by faith and submitted to the Father’s will. It was that hearing, and consequent obedience which led to our justification, whereas Adam refused to listen, questioned God’s words (consider Eve beguiled by the Serpent who said “hath God said?”) and fell into sin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    Agreed.. Christ's righteousness is much greater than obedience to the law. But He put Himself under the law as a representative of His people. Without Him putting Himself under the law and fulfilling every aspect of it, we would STILL BE UNDER IT. He fulfilled it on our behalf and represents the obedience that WE need.

    The point is where does scripture say that Christ fulfilled the law in its precepts ‘on our behalf’ as our ‘representative’ in order to impute that law-keeping to us?

    I have no disagreement with the fact that Christ was made under the law, or that he kept it. Nor do I disagree with the fact that the law has to be kept, Christ had to be sinless, in order to be the perfect Lamb to be sacrificed. But I would say that He could do ‘nothing but’ keep the law as He WAS (and IS) sinless. His righteous nature which He was born with meant that He would inevitably live a life which kept the law. But where does scripture teach that justifying righteousness is based on that law-keeping? It doesn’t.

    The meaning of Romans 8:4 “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us” is given in Romans 8:3 “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”. THAT is how the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us – by sin being condemned in the flesh ie. in Christ’s death.

    I leave the subject here. Forester, Ivor and Eileen – I agree with much that you have written and I commend your faithfulness to scripture. We must base our understanding upon the scripture.

    I believe this is the sort of truth which is not come in to by reason or debate, but ultimately by the Spirit’s guidance in the scriptures – by His revelation. Let us look into the scriptures to see what they really teach. I would be glad to listen if someone can show me from the scriptures if and where I err on this, but from my own reading I just can’t find the idea of vicarious law-keeping taught there. May God be our guide.



    In Grace,
    Ian


    BTW Eileen – do you have a link to that article you were reading online?
    "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

    I must admit I'm a stubborn old donkey that won't move on a subject until he sees it. I've learned through study in the past that vicarious law keeping is truth. I think I see the Scriptures that support it as well as the logic as well as I look to the wisdom of all of my favorite theologians (they all agree). If I'm going to change on this issue, it will take some time. So thanks for your comments Ian - I will think about them over the coming months and years

    Let's look at the nonsense I've believed in the past: freewillism, ufo theology, reincarnation, becoming a "god", dispensationalism, "rapture ready", speaking in "tongues", charismaticism, modern day "Apostles", contemporary rock music in "worship", tithing, presbyterianism, pentecostalism (2nd blessing), justification based on faith instead of Christ (piperism), Christ's death sufficient for everyone (fullerism), Gospel is an "offer", common grace, duty-faith, progressive sanctification, etc....

    All of these awful evil doctrines, the Lord graciously led me out of in time.. I sure think I'm right about this, but if I'm not - I hope to be led out of error here as well.

    In Hope,
    Brandan
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    I agree with much of what Milt says here. I do not believe there is such a thing as Christ's passive obedience. He was always active. I've always enjoyed this sermon and I believe Rev. Hanko explains it well here: http://www.prca.org/sermons/matt27.33-34.html
    I agree completely with Charles and Milt - I've been trying to put it into words, but they've done a good job. Christ "laid down" His life for His sheep. There is nothing passive about that!
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    I do think the problem lies in the fact that 'someone' saw fit to categorize the obedience of Christ into active and passive at some point in history. Perhaps that was never intended in scripture itself..and undoubtedly that is why I was never taught that specifically. I can't ask my lifelong pastor the why...he has truly 'gone home', so I will continue to study this issue. The totality of it may be that we should never categorize the obedience of Christ, but someone has so we must study the issues because of that.

    I found the article posted by WB (I haven't had time to read the sermon yet), interesting in that Christ's active obedience was defined as His willingness to go to the cross, there was no mention of His law keeping.

    I have appreciated all of the posts here, and for myself will continue on in study, willing to be taught by the Spirit in all things and willing to be corrected as well. Thanks to all of you.

    The link to the article I found very helpful is from a 'dispie' site and is:

    www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/vicarlaw.htm
    "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

    Here is a blog entry by a Covenant Reformed guy critiquing the article by IDS.

    http://www.rustypth.com/072504.htm
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    I want to add my thoughts again. I haven't read of this anywhere - this is truly "off the cuff" so to speak.

    First of all, thank you Ian for contributing much to this thread. I'm not going to directly quote you as I don't have time for much dialogue. I'm busy studying this issue right now and have read both of the articles by IDS (the initial one and the one defending the doctrine after being kicked out of FIRE).

    As one who has a hope that Christ has made satisfaction for me believes the Bible is very simple. I believe the Gospel is simple - very easy to understand. It is written in common every day language, and when the Saints of God read it, the truth it contains is revealed to them.. I believe most of the complicated problems presented on this forum are because men have made it as such. And one of the reasons I have a problem with Ian's view is because it complicates things. So does the traditional reformed understanding now that I think about it. Let me explain.

    The Bible never speaks of "active" or "passive" obedience. It speaks of Christ's obedience - period. Christ was obedient - even to the point of death. He was obedient to the will of the Father. He was obedient to the law of the Old Covenant. He was obedient in all things. He was obedient even in death. He was active in every aspect of obedience as He is GOD the ALMIGHTY!

    I refuse now to separate any aspect of this obedience and make any distinction. Christianity in my opinion is about Christ being a SUBSTITUTE for His sheep, an exhange of His life for His Bride.

    Eph 5:25, (KJV), Husbands, love your wives (live for them), even as Christ also loved the church (lived for the church), and gave himself for it; (This passage alone condemns the teaching of the "polygyny" thread.)

    When He laid down His life for the church, the "great exchange" took place. This passage speaks of more than just dying for the Church, but of loving the Church - and this is more than a feeling, but something that was done for it. When He "gave himself for it", I believe He at every point of His life was giving of Himself. Now I believe this passage refers to His death, the point is made that Christ's relationship to the Church is the same as a husband and wife. A husband is to be giving of himself to his wife in all manner of life - even in death. There is a union between the husband and the wife - they are made "one" flesh - the husband represents the wife in all that he does. My job is my wife's source of income. My house is my wife's house. My child is also my wife's child. The same is true of Christ and His Bride. They were joined together in ETERNITY. There was a vital union that took place in the Eternal decree, and from before the foundation of the world, Christ was joined to the Church. All that Christ did in life was for His Bride in the same way that all that a husband does in life is for his wife.

    There was no need for Christ to be made righteous by the law as He was already spotless. It was not for His sake that He put Himself under the law to become "righteous". Yet He put Himself under the law for His Church - He was giving of Himself in these actions (being born, circumcision, living sinlessly, etc...) Christ's obedience to the entire law was a demonstration of His righteousness! It is precisely CHRIST'S righteousness (not by law keeping) that is the only righteousness that could be accepted and is accepted by God, and it is this righteousness that is imputed to the elect at the cross. All of Christ's people have been clothed with this righteousness and God forbid that we view it as just Christ's obedience to the law, or His obedience in death, but as our Husband's righteousness! Everything He did was for His Bride! He is everything to His Church! When the Father looks upon the Church, He sees Christ! He joined them to Him in eternity and has always viewed them as perfectly righteous because they are ONE - vitally joined together.

    Christ had absolutely no reason to put Himself under the law for His own sake as many "evangelicals" claim today. He is God - and needs no justifying whatsoever. From all eternity, He has been perfectly righteous. But He did put Himself under the law - and He did this as a representative for His Bride - because this was the Father's will. In order to redeem His people from the law, He had to put Himself under that law.

    Gal 4:4-5, (KJV), But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

    Question to Ian - does this passage mean only redeem them from the curse of the law? There is no mention of any penalty at all. Why cannot this passage mean to redeem from obligation and curse? How can being "under the law" in this context mean only the penalty and not the obligation?

    Now modern day theologians have separated the obedience into two separate categories, "passive", and "active". All are guilty of doing this - on both sides of the issue. If it were not for this division, I doubt we'd even be having this discussion. But because the division exists, things have now become complicated, and the simplicity of the Gospel has been distorted.

    Simply put, the Gospel is about Christ giving of His life for His Bride, and He gave of His life from His birth until His death. It is about an exchange of His life for His Bride. Not only did He die for His Church, but He lived for His Church. His filthy bride's awful life of sin was imputed to Him, and His life of righteousness was imputed to His Bride.

    Children of God, listen up! I have some words for you! Don't look to Christ as only your substitute in death; but look upon Him as your representative in everything! When Christ died, His people died with Him. They were put on that cross and crucified. When He was resurrected, His people were resurrected. When He lived, His people lived. When He obeyed the law, His people obeyed the law. He now resides in Heaven - His bride is represented there as well! Christ represents His people in everything!

    Ok, well I'm all excited now!!!!
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    Re: active/passive obedience

    This is a Quote- A substitutionary life time lived by proxy on behalf of another, is downright illegal. But the payment of a penalty, fine, or debt, on behalf of a condemned defaulter, or bankrupt, is altogether gracious. And it has this advantage over the former scheme: it is acceptable in the eyes of the law. In Christ the former would have been absolutely unlawful. But of a truth the latter brought in everlasting righteousness. Then did Christ, as some would claim, keep the law for others by works of supererogation? If this were so, on the one hand the Judge of all the earth would be made to connive at what was illegal; and on the other, righteousness must appear to come by the law on a basis which the law could never accept. But Paul does not frustrate the grace of God by such unlawful fiction:his language is:'If righteousness come by the law , then Christ is dead in vain. Gal.2:21. ... John Metcalfe .... end of quote Ivor Thomas

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    Re: active/passive obedience

    A friend of mine on paltalk said the following: "Christ did not live His life a private person any more than He died a private person."
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