Imputation and Merit in Wilkins

This post will deal with his responses to declarations 3 and 4. Declaration 3 has to do with the imputation of Christ’s active and passive obedience as Christ is our representative Head. Wilkins really tries to soft-pedal the active obedience theology. One wonders why he said “I agree completely,” and then says in effect that he doesn’t agree completely. As I have said before, the imputation of Christ’s active and passive obedience is clearly taught in the Confession and LC. All of this hoopla about Chad Van Dixhoorn’s work doesn’t change that one iota. Besides, most people who have looked at his work do not realize that his position is that the WS do teach the imputation of Christ’s active and passive obedience. They stop at his research involving chapter 11, and the “pulling the punch” of the word “whole.” But the divines, when they voted, overwhelmingly voted in favor of the word. Why it was not included in the final version is a mystery, but as Jeff Jue notes in his excellent chapter in Justified In Christ, we cannot conclude with Daniel Kirk that the reason the word “whole” was struck from the Confession was that the document was a compromise document. There is simply not enough evidence to conclude that. Furthermore, question 70 of the LC informs our understanding of WCF 11. Those who deny the imputation of Christ’s active obedience have split Christ’s obedience, and Christ is no longer whole. Besides, as Hodge notes in his ST, Christ’s passive and active obedience is not separable. Even His passive obedience is active (“He lays down His life”), and His active obedience is also passive (He deliberately went to Jerusalem to suffer). The truth that is preserved in the active’passive distinction is that Christ satisfied all the demands of the law for us. He both took on the guilt of our sin to Himself, and He earned eternal life for us.

This brings us to his response to number 4, where Wilkins has gone off the deep end. Wilkins’s theology here has an enormous problem: why did Jesus have to live 33 years on earth? If He already had His Father’s favor as a Mediator, then there would be absolutely no reason for Him to endure one second of humiliation beyond the cross and tomb. Why the rest of His life? The emphasized phrase in the previous section indicates where Wilkins went astray. Wilkins asserts that Jesus already had the favor of His Father. That’s true, as Jesus is God’s Son. But in coming to earth, Jesus took on Himself the role of Mediator. As Mediator, He did not already have the favor of God as regards the people of God. If He did, then there would be no reason for the cross and resurrection, since Jesus would already have had what He came for: the salvation of His people. But in order to obtain for His people the remission of sins, and the right to eternal life, Jesus had to earn it by His perfect obedience to the law in every respect, as well as His suffering of the law’s just demands against sinners. Jesus was not justified by faith. He was justified by works. His vindication was the resurrection. The way the committee understands the term “merit” is plainly about Christ’s obedience to the law, and its implications for the believer. 

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137 Comments

  1. stewart said,

    August 28, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Lane, do you believe Jesus had any kind of faith? Did he keep the law by faith? Wasn’t his ability to overcome the temptations of Satan in the wilderness an excellent display of faith in His father?

  2. Dean said,

    August 28, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Mr Wilkins

    “I affirm that Christ obeyed God at every point throughout this life and that His obedience is absolutely necessary for our salvation.”

    What specifically did He obey and why was that necessary for our salvation?

    “This is not to say that His work doesn’t have infinite and inherent worth or that it is beyond anything any mere human could have before God.”

    What specific work do you have in mind? Why didn’t you say work(s)?

    “We are enabled by God’s grace to share in the favor He has by being united to Him.”

    Christ was already in favor before his incarnation. Why didn’t Jesus simply parachute down on Good Friday and nail himself up on the cross? As important as fulfilling prophecy is to this discussion please eliminate that aspect from the answer.

  3. kjsulli said,

    August 28, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Stewart, re: 1,

    Red herring and equivocation. What was the instrument by which Jesus obtained the promised reward? Faith or obedience? Do you think unfallen Adam would have obtained the reward of life sola fide, or would it have been by his continued obedience?

    Unfallen Adam and Jesus were not sinners. They COULD NOT have had faith in the same sense that redeemed sinners do. Why? Unfallen Adam had a righteousness of his own; likewise Jesus. When we speak of justification by faith alone, it is precisely because we are sinners who do not have a righteousness of our own, and need an alien righteousness to answer for us.

  4. August 28, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Good point, kjsulli.

    I am always baffled by such questions by our FV friends (“Did Adam have faith? Did Jesus have faith?”). Are we to believe that, if Jesus did have faith, that therefore his justification by faith and obedience is simply the prototype for ours?

    Is he a Savior or merely a good example to follow?

  5. stewart said,

    August 28, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    No Red herring. It was a sincere question, and I think you answered it for me.
    But just so I’m understanding you here. You’re saying that it’s totally out of order to say that Jesus was faithful where Adam was not?

  6. Dean said,

    August 28, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Stewart

    Adam’s covenant of works included an aspect of grace. It would have been by faith(fulness) that he would have obeyed.

    Jesus’ covenant of works included an aspect of grace. He demonstrated His faithfulness to His Father by obeying.

    Here it stops. Christ’s was not providing an example in His faith(fulness) for us to follow. He provided the WAY.

    We are conceived and born in sin. We need the imputation of His active and passive obedience. This imputation does not get us back into the garden of Eden now the slate is wiped clean and now we have to follow Christ’s example of faith(fulness). It is finished! There is NOW no condemnation.

    This distinction is best understood by comparing it to what Lusk says:
    “One interpretive problem Reformed readers of Wright face is that he insists passages that speak of “God’s righteousness” (e.g. Rom. 3:21) do not refer to “imputed righteousness” But this should not be confused with a rejection of imputation altogether. Wright points out that it is a category mistake to say that God’s righteousness is imputed to us. Rather, we need a perfect human righteousness that pleases God. “God’s righteousness”, as we will see below, primarily refers to God’s attribute of covenant faithfulness and/or acts of covenant faithfulness”

    WRONG WRONG WRONG

  7. stewart said,

    August 28, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Psalm 143

  8. Dean said,

    August 28, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Yes Psalm 143:2 does illustrate what I am saying very well. “Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no one living is righteous.”

    No living person no matter how sanctified they are is intrinsically, inherently, personally, perfectly righteous.

    We are certainly conforming into His image but no body will direct God’s eye to themselves as the grounds of their justification. If you do then He will say depart from me I NEVER knew you.

  9. kjsulli said,

    August 28, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Stewart, re: 5,

    A “red herring” is something that draws attention away from the issue at hand. The issue is not whether Jesus had faith. The issue is whether Jesus obtained the promised reward by faith or by works. You are misdirecting the issue, and you’re equivocating by making “faith” and “faithfulness” direct synonyms.

    Do you affirm or deny that Jesus, as Mediator, was called to OBEY the law of God in order to obtain the promise of eternal life?

  10. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    “Do you affirm or deny that Jesus, as Mediator, was called to OBEY the law of God in order to obtain the promise of eternal life?”

    Since the law never offers eternal life (glory) for those who obey it, I’d have a hard time figuring out how Jesus was called to get eternal life by obeying the law. The law was his humiliation, not glory.

    The law promised curse for those hung on a tree. Jesus was called to be cursed by the law on our behalf. But earn eternal life from the law? You’ll have to give more biblical support.

    Abraham and his Seed were to receive an inheritance by Promise, not by earning it through works.

  11. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    I’ll say about the best Lane has come up with are the hermenutical rules (which I have a hard time believeing are expressions of the text other than good heuristic rational rules) on the 10 commandments from which Lane infers that if you get hell for disobedience, you get eternal life for obedience.

    But I can spank my kid for failing to clean his room, without saying he’ll merits his inheritance by keeping his room clean

  12. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    “There is NOW no condemnation.”

    Active obedience answers the issue of condemnation now? Since when?

    Passive obedience has always been construed to cover the guilt and condemnation we face as sinners. Passive obedience alone is enough to say “no condemnation”. isn’t it? Didn’t the cross pay for all our sins?

  13. Dean said,

    August 28, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    “Shortly before he died (January 1, 1937), Dr. J. Gresham Machen sent a final telegram to his friend Professor John Murray. The words of the telegram were these: ‘I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.’” This was all that was written in the telegram.
    “The Active Obedience of Christ – No Hope Without It!” by John Samson http://www.reformationtheology.com/2006/11/the_active_obedience_of_christ.php

  14. Robert K. said,

    August 28, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    >”Since the law never offers eternal life (glory) for those who obey it, I’d have a hard time figuring out how Jesus was called to get eternal life by obeying the law. The law was his humiliation, not glory.”

    If Jesus didn’t get put to death an innocent man – which includes his following the law to a ‘t’ in his life on earth – his suffering on the cross would have meant nothing. He would have been no different than any thief being crucified. He had to be born an innocent man, and he had to be nailed on the cross still an innocent man. The spotless Lamb. That is His righteousness that is imputed to us. His innocence. Not only His suffering.

  15. Robert K. said,

    August 28, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    >”Since the law never offers eternal life (glory) for those who obey it, I’d have a hard time figuring out how Jesus was called to get eternal life by obeying the law. The law was his humiliation, not glory.”

    This is just petulance. Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:12; the Tree of Life and the probationary nature of the Covenant of Works; eschatological glorification as needing a necessary act of God; Adam was not in the state of eschatological glorification, etc., etc.

    I’ll leave your language alone (“Jesus was called to get eternal life…” Jesus was not in our position, pduggie.)

  16. Kyle said,

    August 28, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    pduggie, re: 10,

    Since the law never offers eternal life (glory) for those who obey it, I’d have a hard time figuring out how Jesus was called to get eternal life by obeying the law.

    Is it really this difficult to understand? Fallen men ARE NOT in the same situation as was UNFALLEN ADAM and SINLESS JESUS. The relation of God’s law to unfallen Adam and to sinless Jesus IS NOT EQUIVALENT to its relation to sinners.

    The law was his humiliation, not glory.

    “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him” (Phil. 2:8-9). You cannot divide His active obedience from His passive obedience, as though His suffering was all that mattered! His suffering is MEANINGLESS without His perfect obedience. The very reason He was adequate-even more than adequate-to stand in our stead is His perfect obedience to the law of God, which WE failed to uphold, not only individually, but corporately in Adam. We fell BECAUSE OF DISOBEDIENCE TO THE LAW. Christ’s sufferings, especially on the cross, remove the penalty from over our heads. But Christ was raised to eternal life, and we will be raised in Him to the same, because of HIS OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW.

  17. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    “If Jesus didn’t get put to death an innocent man – which includes his following the law to a ‘t’ in his life on earth – his suffering on the cross would have meant nothing. He would have been no different than any thief being crucified. He had to be born an innocent man, and he had to be nailed on the cross still an innocent man. The spotless Lamb. That is His righteousness that is imputed to us. His innocence. Not only His suffering.”

    Totally agree

  18. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    “I’ll leave your language alone (”Jesus was called to get eternal life…” Jesus was not in our position, pduggie.)”

    It wasn’t my language, it was kjsullis “Do you affirm or deny that Jesus, as Mediator, was called to OBEY the law of God in order to obtain the promise of eternal life?”

    As mediator, he certainly WAS in our position. Not much of a representative or mediator, otherwise

  19. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    If you do the law, you will live. But noone does the law. Jesus did the law, yet died.

    But the law is silent on the matter of life after DEATH when the DEATH is brought by the law. Resurrection life was from promise, not law.

  20. Kyle said,

    August 28, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    pduggie, re: 18,

    As mediator, he certainly WAS in our position. Not much of a representative or mediator, otherwise

    Our sinfulness is laid on Christ as our Mediator. It is not as though Christ lived the life of a sinner. He lived the life of a Man, the life all of us should lead but fail to; and He suffered the sufferings all of us should suffer as a result of our failure. Both these aspects come bound together in our justification. Were it not so, we should either still have the penalty to suffer or still have the law to obey so as to complete our salvation.

    And re: 19,

    If you do the law, you will live. But noone does the law. Jesus did the law, yet died.

    Jesus died IN OUR STEAD. He did not die because of some inherent property of the law. Not as though Adam would have died anyway if he remained obedient to the law, is it?

  21. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    “Fallen men ARE NOT in the same situation as was UNFALLEN ADAM and SINLESS JESUS. The relation of God’s law to unfallen Adam and to sinless Jesus IS NOT EQUIVALENT to its relation to sinners.”

    I never said they were. The law was made for sinners, after all (1 tim). Oddly though, you cite Phillipians 2 to show how Christ obeyed the law for us, when 2:5 says we’re supposed to do likewise. hmmm….

    “You cannot divide His active obedience from His passive obedience, as though His suffering was all that mattered! His suffering is MEANINGLESS without His perfect obedience.”

    I’m not dividing them. The suffering of the cross was the most focussed form of obedience Jesus performed. Even obedience to law, as such. But that Jesus was made under law was an excruciating humiliation. And Jesus suffered having to obey and fulful the law for us.

    “But Christ was raised to eternal life, and we will be raised in Him to the same, because of HIS OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW.”

    As long as we understand that obedience to be an intrinsically humiliating act, with no strict merit of its own, and that it was the willing humiliation of the Son that caused God to bestowed the promised inheritance in faithfulness to himself, I have no quibble,

  22. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    “Jesus died IN OUR STEAD. He did not die because of some inherent property of the law. ”

    Au contraire:

    “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” and “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”

    Christ had the Spirit descend on him *before* he resisted the devil in the wilderness.

    “Not as though Adam would have died anyway if he remained obedient to the law, is it?” No, he would have had adamic earthly life. But the Law didn’t promise him the life of the Second Adam (1 cor 15)”

  23. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    In Fisher’s catechism he asks the following. I find it interesting that the legal requirement for God to grant resurrection for obedience to law is not mentioned

    “Q. 23. What was the necessity of Christ’s resurrection?

    A. It was necessary in respect of God, in respect of Christ himself, and in respect of us.

    Q. 24. Why was it necessary in respect of God?

    A. Because, since he is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, it was necessary that he should not be the God of a dead, but of a living Redeemer: for he is “not the God of the dead, but of the living,” Matt. 22:32.

    Q. 25. Why was the resurrection of Christ necessary with respect to himself?

    A. Because, having fully paid the debt for which he was incarcerated, justice required that he should “be taken from prison and from judgement,” Isa. 53:8; and that, since he purchased a kingdom by his death, he should rise again to possess it, Rom. 14:9.

    Q. 26. Why was it necessary with respect to us?

    A. Because, “if Christ be not risen, our faith is vain, and we are yet in our sins,” 1 Cor. 15:17.”

  24. August 28, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    Paul,

    (1) Why did Jesus have to be born under the law?
    (2) What did Jesus mean when He said He came to fulfill the law?
    (3) What does Paul mean when he says, in Romans 5, that through one
    Man’s obedience we obtain eternal life?
    (4) What does Moses mean when he said “do this and live?” (I realize that
    this could be answered in a book or two!) Isn’t this a clear statement
    that God promised life (eternal life) to those who fully obeyed the
    moral law (whether you think there was moral law prior to Sinai or not)?
    (5) Why did Jesus need to be born under the law? (oh yeah, I already
    asked you that one–but it seems so important in this discussion I
    thought I would ask again.)

  25. Robert K. said,

    August 28, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    As long as pduggie has the virus of false piety fueling his insistence that there is no merit in any dealings with God, in pre-fall Adam or Jesus doing the works of the law (as if pduggie is in the same state and condition as pre-fall Adam and Jesus) he will continue to be petulant on these points of doctrine. The thing is, though, I don’t sense he understands why the Federal Vision leaders insist on holding to the same views. They do it because their target is justification by faith alone. pduggie doesn’t have a grasp of the basics of Reformed Theology to see this angle of attack or to see the objective of the attack itself.

  26. pduggie said,

    August 28, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Sigh.

    There’s merit, only the improper kind though.

  27. August 28, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    pduggie, you’ve stepped on a land mine by quoting Fisher’s Catechism. Please notice the questions under Question 27:

    Q. 11. What law was Christ made under as our surety?

    A. Although he gave obedience to all divine institutions, ceremonial and political, yet it was the moral law, properly, he was made under, as our Surety, Gal. 4:4, 5.

    Q. 12. How does it appear to have been the moral law he was made under?

    A. Because this was the law given to Adam in his creation, and afterwards vested with the form of a covenant of works, when he was placed in paradise; by the breach of which law, as a covenant, all mankind are brought under the curse, Gal. 3:10.

    Q. 13. Was Christ made under the moral law, as a covenant of works, or only as a rule of life?

    A. He was made under it as a covenant of works, demanding perfect obedience, as a condition of life, and full satisfaction because of man’s transgression.

    Q. 14. How do you prove this?

    A. From Gal. 4:4, 5 — “God sent forth his Son — made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law:” where it is obvious, that Christ behoved to be made under the law, in the very same sense, in which his spiritual seed, whom he came to redeem, were under it; and they being all under it as a covenant, he behoved to be made under it as a covenant likewise, that he might redeem them from its curse, Gal. 3:13.

    Q. 15. What would be the absurdity of affirming that Christ was made under the law as a rule, and not as a covenant?

    A. It would make the apostle’s meaning, in the forecited passage, Gal. 4:4, 5, to be, as if he had said, Christ was made under the law as a rule to redeem them that were under the law as a rule, from all subjection and obedience to it; which is the very soul of Antinomianism, and quite contrary to the great end of Christ’s coming to the world, which was “not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it,” Matt. 5:17.

    Q. 16. Why is Christ’s being made under the law, mentioned as a part of his humiliation?

    A. Because it was most amazing condescension in the great Lord and Lawgiver of heaven and earth, to become subject to his own law, and that for this very end, that he might fulfil it in the room of those who were the transgressors of it, and had incurred its penalty, Matt. 3:15.

    Now you are most welcome to buy into the fanciful speculations and tinkerings of James Jordan, Pduggie, but let us not pretend that this is historic Reformed theology. The Catechism says that Jesus was under the moral law – as a covenant of works in our stead.

    As if you haven’t embarrassed yourself enough, Pduggie, let me quote from the Catechism some more:

    Q. 28. Does God do any more in justification than freely pardon all our sins?

    A. Yes; he likewise accepts us as righteous in his sight, Eph. 1:6.

    Q. 29. Why is the accepting us as righteous joined with pardon, in justification?

    A. Because, though among men a criminal may be pardoned, and neither declared righteous nor received into favour, yet it is not so with God; for whom he forgives, he both accounts their persons righteous in his sight, and receives them into perpetual favour, Rom. 5:8-10.

    Q. 30. How can a holy and righteous God, whose judgement is according to truth, accept sinners as righteous without a perfect righteousness?

    A. He accepts them as righteous only for the righteousness of Christ, which is perfect, and becomes truly theirs through faith, Jer. 23:6; Isa. 45:24.

    Q. 31. By what right does the surety-righteousness become theirs?

    A. By the right of a free gift received, and the right of communion with Christ.

    Q. 32. How does it become theirs by the right of a gift received?

    A. In as much as Christ’s righteousness being made over in the gospel, as God’s gift to sinners, it is by faith actually claimed and received; hence called the GIFT of righteousness, Rom. 5:17.

    Q. 33. How does Christ’s surety-righteousness become theirs by right of communion with him?

    A. In as much as sinners being united to him by faith, have thus communion or a common interest with him in his righteousness, Phil. 3:9.

    Q. 34. When is it, then, that, according to truth, God accepts us as righteous in his sight?

    A. When Christ’s surety-righteousness is actually reckoned ours, and we made the righteousness of God in HIM, 2 Cor. 5:21:upon this account precisely, and no other, are we accepted of God as righteous; the righteousness of GOD being UPON all them that believe, Rom. 3:22.

    Q. 35 What is the matter of our justification, or that for which we are justified?

    A. The RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ only; hence he is called, “The Lord our Righteousness,” Jer. 23:6.

    Q. 36. In what does the righteousness of Christ consist?

    A. In the holiness of his human nature, his righteous life, and satisfactory death.[42]

    Q. 37. Can law or justice reach the person who is under the covering of the surety righteousness?

    A. By no means; for “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? — It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again,” Rom. 8:33, 34.

    Q. 38. Is the righteousness of Christ meritorious of our justification?

    A. Yes; because of the infinite dignity of his person; for, though he “took upon him the form of a servant, yet, being in the form of God, he thought it no robbery to be equal with God,” Phil 2:6, 7.

    Q. 39. How is the righteousness of Christ commonly divided?

    A. Into his active and passive obedience.

    Q. 40. What is his active obedience?

    A. The holiness of his nature and righteousness of his life, in full and perfect conformity to the whole law, without the least failure, either of parts, or degrees of obedience to the end, Matt. 5:17, 18.

    Q. 41. What is his passive obedience?

    A. His satisfaction for sin, by enduring the infinite execution of the curse, upon him in his death, Gal. 3:13, to the full compensation of all the injuries done to the honour of an infinite God, by all the sins of an elect world, Eph. 5:2.

    Q. 42. Why does his satisfactory death, as well as his righteous life, get the name of obedience? Phil. 2:8.

    A. Because his sufferings and death were entirely voluntary, and in most profound submission to the commandment which he had received of his Father, John 10:18.

    Q. 43. What is the formal cause of our justification, or that by which Christ’s righteousness is made ours?

    A. It is its being imputed to us, Rom. 4:6.

    Q. 44. What is it to impute Christ’s righteousness to us?

    A. It is God’s accounting or reckoning it to us, as if we had obeyed the law, and satisfied justice in our own persons, and dealing with us accordingly, Rom. 4:4; 8:4; 2 Cor. 5:21.

    Q. 45. Upon what ground or foundation is Christ’s righteousness imputed to us?

    A. Upon the ground of his representing us from eternity, and our union with him in time, Isa. 53:5.

    Q. 46. What necessity is there for the imputation of Christ’s passive obedience?

    A. Because without the imputation of it, we could have no legal security from eternal death, Rom. 5:9.

    Q. 47. What necessity is there for the imputation of Christ’s active obedience?

    A. Because without the imputation of it, we could have no legal title to eternal life, Rom. 6:23.

    Q. 48. If Christ, as man, gave obedience to the law for himself, how can his active obedience be imputed to us?

    A. Though the human nature, abstractly considered, be a creature, yet never subsisting by itself, but in the person of the Son of God, the acts of obedience performed in it were never the acts of a mere man, but of him who is God-man, Mediator; and, consequently, acts of obedience, not for himself, but for us, Gal. 4:4, 5.

    Q. 49. If Christ’s active obedience be imputed to us, are we not released from any obligation to yield obedience to the law in our own persons?

    A. We are only released from an obligation to yield obedience to the law as a covenant of works, not released from obedience to it as a rule of life, Gal. 2:19.

  28. Kyle said,

    August 29, 2007 at 12:10 am

    pduggie, re: 22,

    I never said they were.

    Are you deliberately obtuse? You said the law never offers eternal life for those who obey it, including Jesus. But it doesn’t offer eternal life to those who “obey” it because they DON’T actually obey it. That’s the Apostle’s argument in Rom. 2-3! His argument is SENSELESS unless a true and perfect obedience to the law does have the reward of life. Jesus doesn’t fall into the category of sinful mankind. Jesus doesn’t fall into the category of those who are UNABLE to fulfill the law.

    The law was made for sinners, after all (1 tim).

    Very clever. I guess unfallen Adam was a sinner, too; he also was given a LAW, after all. “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.” That is paradigmatic of all law!

    Oddly though, you cite Phillipians 2 to show how Christ obeyed the law for us, when 2:5 says we’re supposed to do likewise. hmmm….

    I guess we have to die on a coss for our sins, too. After all, it was “obedience to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Wow, everything’s becoming clearer thanks to your marvelous exposition of the Scripture!

    As long as we understand that obedience to be an intrinsically humiliating act, with no strict merit of its own, and that it was the willing humiliation of the Son that caused God to bestowed the promised inheritance in faithfulness to himself, I have no quibble,

    LIFE IS THE REWARD FOR OBEDIENCE; DEATH IS THE PENALTY FOR DISOBEDIENCE. Repeat that about fifty-thousand times until it sinks into your skull. Jesus was the SECOND ADAM, not the trillionth fallen man. He was not incapable of meeting the REQUIREMENT OF OBEDIENCE which God set forth to obtain the PROMISED REWARD, in which Adam FAILED. Yes, humility is part and parcel of it; Adam did not remain humble, choosing instead to exalt himself by disobeying God, and so God humbled him. Christ humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the law, and so God exalted Him. Humility leads to exaltation.

    Re: 23,

    “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” and “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”

    This is supposed to prove . . . what, exactly? Christ became “A CURSE FOR US.” IN OUR STEAD, IN OUR PLACE. Jesus willingly suffered the law’s death penalty on our behalf. He did not die for His obedience to the law, He died for OUR DISobedience.

    Christ had the Spirit descend on him *before* he resisted the devil in the wilderness.

    So I suppose He was never tempted at all prior to His baptism, eh?

    “Not as though Adam would have died anyway if he remained obedient to the law, is it?” No, he would have had adamic earthly life. But the Law didn’t promise him the life of the Second Adam (1 cor 15)”

    And the Tree of Life was merely ornamental.

    Finally, re: 24 . . . well, read 27!

  29. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:01 am

    “I guess unfallen Adam was a sinner, too; he also was given a LAW, after all. “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.” That is paradigmatic of all law!”

    That’s not actually confessional. The “special command” is positive arbitrary law and is distinguished from the moral natural law.

  30. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:04 am

    “I guess we have to die on a coss for our sins, too. ”

    That’s silly. Jesus example is dying for *others*, not for himself. We take up our cross, but not for our own sins.

  31. GLW Johnson said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:13 am

    David G.
    As the British would put it,” Jolly good show, Ol’Chap!” Pduggie ran away from that one rather quickly!

  32. Dean said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:27 am

    “Jesus example is dying for *others*, not for himself. We take up our cross, but not for our own sins.”

    That certainly is silly.

  33. Dean said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:28 am

    HE IS NOT AN EXAMPLE

    HE IS THE WAY

  34. stewart said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:43 am

    Dean said: (“Jesus example is dying for *others*, not for himself. We take up our cross, but not for our own sins.” That certainly is silly.)

    1 John 3:16 “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

  35. pduggan said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:52 am

    He is an example AND the way. You don’t read Philippians 2 as any kind of example? That’s explicit from Paul.

  36. Dean said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Stewart and pduggan

    As Christians who have union with Christ by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone we will do good works. Good works are not optional. Good works are ABSOLUTELY essential. They MUST be done. For we are his workmanship created unto good works.

    Please both answer the following two questions:
    How do we do good works?
    WHY do we do good works?

  37. pduggan said,

    August 29, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Fisher: “He was made under it as a covenant of works, demanding perfect obedience, as a condition of life, and full satisfaction because of man’s transgression.”

    Clearly, Fisher supports the view that the CoW was a gracious life-for-obedience promise. It would be better for you if he could prove that the CoW was a glorified life for obedience contract. In arguing that Adam was promised life, fisher resorts to this proof

    “The promise of life is included in the threatening of death; “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die:” which necessarily implies, If thou dost not eat thereof, thou shalt surely live, Gal. 3:12.”

    Which doesn’t answer the question about gaining transfigured glorified life, and is really weak, arguing from silence. And Romans 7:10 (in Fisher’s next question) doesn’t mention eternal glorified life either.

    question 29 is more to the point, with Jesus words to the rich young man promising eternal life to those who keep the commandments. But the stumbling block for the man wasn’t the kind of “do this get that” contractual aspect too often emphasized in CoW discussions, but the need to die to himself and sell everything he has.

  38. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 9:07 am

    But see what fisher says next!

    BQ
    “Was there any proportion between Adam’s obedience, though sinless, and the life that was promised?
    A. There can be no proportion between the obedience of a finite creature, however perfect, and the enjoyment of the infinite God, Job 22:2, 3 — “Can a man be profitable to God? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or, is it gain to him, that thou makest thy way perfect?”

    Q Why could not Adam’s perfect obedience be meritorious of eternal life?
    A. Because perfect obedience was no more than what he was bound to, by virtue of his natural dependence on God, as a reasonable creature made after his image.

    Q 32.: Could he have claimed the reward as a debt, in case he had continued in his obedience?
    A. He could have claimed it only as a pactional debt, in virtue of the covenant promise, by which God became debtor to his own faithfulness, but not in virtue of any intrinsic merit of his obedience

    Q. 33. What then was the grace and condescension of God that shined in the covenant of works?
    A. In that he entered into a covenant, at all, with his own creature; and promised eternal life as a reward of his work, though he had nothing to work with, but what he received from God, 1 Cor. 4:7.

    34. Did the covenant of works oblige man to seek life upon the account of his obedience?
    A. It left man to expect it upon his obedience, but did not oblige him to seek it on that score; but only on account of the faithfulness of God in his promise, graciously annexing life to man’s sinless obedience, Matt. 19:16.EQ

    I heartily agree, only questioning whether eternal life was actually in view in Genesis 2.

    It seems to me that this language is all to the good of saying that Adam was to inherit eternal life, not receive it as wages in exchange for an equal value of works, which is a distortion that “merit” language has brought into reformed theology (Kline, et al.) Sometimes distortions happen and old paradigms need to find better expression. I’d guess that most Free Offer men today are happy to see John 3:16 as part of the offer (D A Carson?), even though guys like Gillespie and Rutherford kept thinking it could only be “world of the elect”

  39. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Witness Kyle’s shock at the thought that the thirty prior years of perfect obedience, of which we are told nothing, is weightless compared to 2 things the Gospel DOES tell us Jesus did, which are submitting to baptism and identifying with us (thereby receiving the Spirit), and his achievement of resisting the Devil’s temptation in the wilderness (which is matched by Adam’s failure to resist Satan in the Garden. Something Kline gets right (too right, he makes it the ONLY content of Jesus active obedience) and even Robert K has got right.

    “He did not die for His obedience to the law, He died for OUR DISobedience.”

    My point is he died to the law through the law, and we share in that death on the cross. Even though obedient, the law cursed Jesus, because he was our representative. His willingness to undergo such humiliation though Son of God is why the Father granted him resurrection, and we share in that resurrection, and follow his humiliation as an example.

    Christ receives a promised inheritance because he suffers the precepts of the law and the penalty. He is the Son, faithful in all the house, and does not earn an inheritance as a wage. We receive the inheritance in union with him through the Spirit.

  40. Kyle said,

    August 29, 2007 at 9:11 am

    pduggie, re: 30,

    The “special command” is positive arbitrary law and is distinguished from the moral natural law.

    I didn’t say that the “special command” is indistinguishable from the moral law. But forget it. The substantive point is this: the moral law is rooted in the eternal character of God, and unfallen Adam was bound to it, although he was not a sinner. This IS confessional:

    W.C.F. XIX

    I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.

    II. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables: the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.

    So your flippant reading of I Tim. 1:9 is anti-confessional.

    That’s silly. Jesus example is dying for *others*, not for himself. We take up our cross, but not for our own sins.

    What Paul is teaching is for us to have the same MIND OF HUMILITY that Christ had. We are to be like Him in His humility, looking out for the good of others (v. 4!). This in no way vitiates what I said earlier, that part and parcel of Christ’s work on behalf of us was His perfect obedience to the law of God, and for this humble obedience, God exalted Him.

  41. Sean Gerety said,

    August 29, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Since the law never offers eternal life (glory) for those who obey it, I’d have a hard time figuring out how Jesus was called to get eternal life by obeying the law.

    Just to add my two-cents, the law DOES offer eternal life for those who obey it.

    Rom 2:13; . . . for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

    The catch of course (something men like Kinnaird, Gaffin and others seem not to grasp) is found in James: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”

    Consequently, we’re all left with Rom. 3:20; “ . . . because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”

    The exception of course is Jesus Christ, who, by his obedience to the law and by his sacrificial death He has achieved eternal life for all of those given to Him by the Father. He gave His life as the perfect sacrifice for those given to Him by the Father in order to expiate their sins. Without Christ’s perfect obedience to the law His sacrificial death would have saved no one.

    Not sure why this was hard to figure out? Probably due to the error of your first premise. Things usually go wrong right at the beginning.

  42. Dean said,

    August 29, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Sean G

    “The catch of course (something men like Kinnaird, Gaffin and others seem not to grasp) is found in James:”

    Gaffin and Kinnaird both believe in justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    Gaffin and Kinnaird both believe that our good works are not the grounds of our justification but they are in accordance with our union with Christ.

    Gaffin and Kinnaird both believe that our goods works are a fruit and evidence of faith.

    Gaffin and Kinnaird both believe in the imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ.

    Because of these reasons GA reversed the charges against Kinnaird. Because of this no charges have been brought against Gaffin.

  43. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Doers of law will be justified, but they won’t be justified because they were doers of law.

    And those who are justified will also be glorified, but to confuse justification and glorification seems to me as significant as the confusion of justification and sanctification.

  44. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 11:05 am

    [believing] Gentiles, who have not the law by nature, DO the things of the law.

    Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

  45. Dean said,

    August 29, 2007 at 11:18 am

    All

    “It is with great comfort that I now rest in the bosom of the true Jerusalem Above, the Mother of us all, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and it with a great sense of gratitude to the FV communities, Christ Church and Rev. Wilson in particular for showing me the road of the sacramental life that eventually lead me there.” Title: On How The Federal Vision Made Me Catholic

    http://wishfullthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/08/on-how-federal-vision-made-me-catholic.html

    WOW! This stuff is poison!

  46. Mark T. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    That is a very clear and well-written essay that states directly what the FV leader hint at but refuse to say.

    Thou sayest well.

  47. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    from the link:

    “To be sure I was taught not to believe the Roman doctrine that Christ was physically present in what I received. I was taught that baptism surely did not forgive the sins of the recipient, but I was lead to believe that something spiritual and gracious was taking place in these sacraments.”

    standard reformed teaching

    “It was not the grace that made us stand holy in Christ. This was the one thing it categorically could not be.”

    standard reformed teaching

    “To further confuse the issue, there was the weekly statement of absolution that Pastor Wilson gave from the pulpit in the liturgy. We would pray a corporate prayer of confession and Pastor would tell us, in his position of authority as a minister of God, that the confessed sins of God’s people were forgiven.

    I clung to this statement through some of the darkest nights of my soul in my quite disreputable college days. ”

    = faith in God’s promises, received by faith (” I clung to this statement”)

    Lutherans have said the same to me.

    “This statement was also quite distinct from the variation on the same theme that I received at the OPC community of which I was later a member. The statement there was more along the lines of “God, broadly speaking, forgives the sins of the elect.” There was no personal reassurance that my sins were forgiven.”

    Really awful. That’s all the OPC has to offer?

    “These were the only places where I sensed the reality of God’s grace, and yet I was being told that it was faith, not these signs that were conferring it.”

    Sounds confused. It’s not faith, or the signs that confer grace but God.

    “Yet I knew my faith to be so weak! If it was the greatness or sincerity of my faith that upheld the process, I knew myself to be damned.”

    Also confused. He clung to the promises, then he had faith!

    I also don’t recall any FV teaching to the effect that it is the ” greatness or sincerity of my faith that upheld the process”

    “I had been taught for so long to lean on the reality of the sacraments in the FV community with a huge hanging caveat of “Not Really”.”

    Wierdly, it seems that if the FV had said what it is *accused* of saying, he *wouldn’t* have found rome after departing the FV church he was in.

    “Some FV communities even go so far as to employ sacramentals like the sign of the Cross and observe the Church calendar to a certain degree. Such imitation of the true Church can convince parishoners at FV communities that they are really partaking in the fullness of the Church, just without the Romish ‘heresies’. After all, they are employing the practices of the early Church.”

    oooh, the calendar. virtually universal in the PCA and OPC. Read a lutheran/roman dialogue some time and you’ll see the romanist making the same arguments.

  48. Dean said,

    August 29, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    From Doug Wilson’s Blog

    RE: FV made me Catholic

    “First, let it be known that I had and have a real affection for Matt. But as he referred to his time here in Moscow on his blog, that was during his “quite disreputable college days.” If we needed anyone to provide a good example of someone who was not listening to our teaching and direction, Matt would certainly qualify. He clearly was affected by his time here, but that is not because he understood it.”

    Thank you Doug.

  49. August 29, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    “If we needed anyone to provide a good example of someone who was not listening to our teaching and direction, Matt would certainly qualify. He clearly was affected by his time here, but that is not because he understood it”

    In other words, a certain FV church was throwing a big bash of a party squarely on a 1″ wide fence. Everyone was dancing and having a good time, and Wilson instructed everyone not to fall off on *that* side of the fence. Now when a few people went and fell off *that* side of the fence, Wilson replies “see, he didn’t listen to us.”

  50. Mark T. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    The good news is that this kid escaped Moscow; the bad news is that he ended up in Rome. Next stop Hell.

    I wish that, for just once, Wilson would take responsibility for the malignant influence he has on the souls in his care.

  51. stewart said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Mark, do you have any souls in your care?

  52. stewart said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    “The good news is that this kid escaped Moscow; the bad news is that he ended up in Rome. Next stop Hell.”

    This blog should be called The Puritan Board 2.0.

  53. Josh said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    This blog should be called The Puritan Board 2.0.

    Now. THAT’s a compliment! Go big PB! Keep up the good work, Brother Lane!

  54. Tim Wilder said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Re: 50

    ““If we needed anyone to provide a good example of someone who was not listening to our teaching and direction, Matt would certainly qualify. He clearly was affected by his time here, but that is not because he understood it””

    It is not just the critics that don’t understand the FV. It is the followers as well!

  55. Anne said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Re: #49

    Okay, I’m blind as the proverbial bat, apparently, for I cannot find DW’s response on his blog anywhere.

    Where is it?

  56. Anne said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Re: #55

    LOL! Innit the truth? It’s a fine howdy-do when not only those who reject the FV’s theological distinctives fail to understand it, but those who really buy into them don’t understand ‘em either.

    A most confusing mess of doctrinal pottage, t’would appear.

  57. greenbaggins said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Welcome, Josh. Yes, it is the finest compliment this blog has ever received.

  58. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Really? I got banned by the puritanboard for the links on my webpage.

  59. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Please identify the non-protestant teaching that Matt says he received from Moscow.

  60. stewart said,

    August 29, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    “I got banned by the puritanboard for the links on my webpage.”

    Wow! You got banned because of your links? What…do they have private investigators or something? LOL

  61. Anne Ivy said,

    August 29, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Ah. Thanks! Hadn’t thought about it being in the comments on an unrelated post.

    Blind as a bat, not a doubt about it.

  62. greenbaggins said,

    August 29, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Paul, do you have corroborative evidence for this? Are you sure it isn’t because you have demonstrated a marked preference for FV teaching, which is not something the PB allows?

  63. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Can’t corroborate. Though that never stopped you from accepting all kinds of testimony on your blog before, Lane :-)

    I suppose that that’s what would be said, though I distinctly recall that the main evidence thrown in my face was my links, not so much my posts. When I was on I was in a much more “question asking” position than I am now.

    FWIW.

  64. greenbaggins said,

    August 29, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Just because it’s posted here doesn’t mean it’s accepted. Those are two different things it would be well for all readers of this blog to remember.

  65. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    oops. my bad. I was initially SUSPECT because of my links, but thrown off because I wanted to discuss Jordan’s view of genesis and death.

    My posts were “viral” in terms of theology, with an “undertaste” :(

  66. Robert K. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    In the fall-out of this thread: pduggie’s quiet flame-out with the Fisher catechism; another Federal Visionist swimming the Tiber, and in the midst refers to Rome as the Emerald City, a statement of deep, unintended truth-telling:

    >>The Wizard is one of the characters in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Unseen for most of the novel, he is the ruler of the Land of Oz and highly venerated by his subjects. Believing he is the only man capable of solving their problems, Dorothy Gale and her friends travel to the Emerald City, the capital of Oz, to meet him. Oz is very reluctant to meet them, but eventually they are granted an audience. Every time the Wizard appears in a different form, once as a giant head, once as a beautiful fairy, once as ball of fire, and once as a horrible monster.

    Eventually, it is revealed that Oz is actually none of these things, but rather an ordinary, American man who has been using a lot of elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful.”<< -Wikipedia

  67. Dean said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    pduggie

    You want to discuss Jordan on death and creation?

    ‘someday God would give him permission to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, and that on that day he would die. The Tree of Knowledge, then, not the Tree of Life, was the eschatological tree, the tree of promise. The Tree of Knowledge would end Adam’s first phase in life.’

    Wrong because:
    Introduces the possibility of human death apart from sin in contradiction to Rom 5:12 and Rom 6:23.

    Views death as a positive element rather than the arch-enemy of the people of God (I Cor 15:54:58; Rev 19:20 & 20:14)

    Adams real sin then was that he acted too quickly for God and eat of the tree before God’s time.
    “The Federal Vision and the Covenant of Works” Dr. J.V. Fesko Geneva OPC

    What more needs to be discussed?

  68. stewart said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Here is my favorite Puritan Board post of all time.

    http://www.puritanboard.com/showpost.php?p=104370&postcount=20

    Keep at it, Lane, and you’ll be at their level one day.

  69. greenbaggins said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    Stewart, this post of yours doesn’t deserve an answer.

  70. Josh said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Meanies!

  71. stewart said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Lane, don’t get angry. You’re the one who took my comparison as a complement I’m just saying that if you want to be like the PB, then you’ve got to start working highly nuanced theological terms like “bloodsuckers” and “vampires” into more of your posts.

  72. greenbaggins said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Oh yes, that one comment is completely paradigmatical for the 1,000 plus people on PB. I don’t talk that way, except to you.

  73. greenbaggins said,

    August 29, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    ;-)

  74. stewart said,

    August 29, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Isn’t C. Matthew McMahon one of their admins?

  75. Mark T. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    pdougie requests,

    Please identify the non-protestant teaching that Matt says he received from Moscow.

    I’ll take a stab at that, as long as pdougie concedes that teaching, or instruction, includes much more than a set of credos delivered once a week during a Sunday sermon, which the young man stated very clearly when he wrote,

    I wish to deal rather with the ethos of the movement and specifically that way of leaning into religion that I learned at Christ Church. (emphasis original)

    He understood exactly what Wilson was saying and he took it to its logical conclusion. Or, put another way, he knew exactly what Wilson was not saying, i.e., “You must be born again,” or “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin,” etc.

    The priests of Rome emphasize grace through sacraments. Protestant ministers teach grace through faith. In this case, the the teacher stressed the sacraments as the two things necessary for some kind of metaphysical grace while he refused to point his student to Christ by faith.

    And Pope Doug will not point men to Christ because he will not share his glory with another. Therefore he points men to pseudo-grace ministered through sacraments dispensed by him, the anointed one, Doug Almighty. And his disciples love to have it so.

    Thank you.

  76. Mark T. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Here’s the best analogy in the post written by Wilson’s disciple:

    Like the mystical field in The Wizard of Oz, it is easy to fall asleep when you are so close to the Emerald City.

    To which I say, “Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain.”

    Thank you.

  77. Tim Wilder said,

    August 29, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Re: 65

    “I suppose that that’s what would be said, though I distinctly recall that the main evidence thrown in my face was my links, not so much my posts. When I was on I was in a much more “question asking” position than I am now.”

    That was when suddenly every Reformed forum had a FV member show up and begin to ask “questions” designed to raise doubts about any criticism of the Federal Vision. The Federal Vision people say that this was all a big coincidence; there was not a plan or coordination.

  78. tim prussic said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Mr. T., You write: “The priests of Rome emphasize grace through sacraments. Protestant ministers teach grace through faith.”

    Has God given the church a visible means of grace or hasn’t he? Are Word and Sacrament efficacious by the work of the Holy Spirit? Finally, are Word and Sacrament the ordinary means of the Spirit to apply Christ’s redemption to the elect?

  79. tim prussic said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    ‘Twould seem to me that the Reformed Protestants (of the Calvinist variety) have generally taught that redemptive grace comes to faith (instrumental means), that grace is ministered to faith by Word and Sacrament (occasional means) according to the power of the Spirit (efficient cause), and that the source of grace is Christ.

  80. Sean Gerety said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    Dean, you’re wrong about both Gaffin and Kinnaird. However, you are right about the powerful testimony of the linked blog you provided.

    And make no mistake in thinking I am a rouge convert, twisting the teachings of the FV to get where I’ve arrived. The ranks of Catholics from FV origins is growing by the day. Someone recently supposed on Rev. Wilson’s blog that the natural destination of the FV was either to complete fragmentation or to Eastern Orthodoxy, but I maintain that, not by a natural progression in their presbyteries but by a grassroots movement among those of my and following generations, will be to the Catholic Church . . . The true home of all Christians and the natural home of FV Christians, both because of their Western nature and their commitment to real truth is the Catholic Church. I pray for their reunion.

    How many of these little testimonies are really needed? I think this is the third in just a few months that I’ve read and of course there are many more. Bryan Cross’ reply to Lane is another.

    This is the fruit of the FV.

  81. Robert K. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    Tim, the way you press the issue is comical because it just puts everything back to the Romanist/Protestant divide. You’re on the former side. Reformed Christians are on the latter. You want regeneration by priestcraft (which is what the devil wants to give you). Protestants know regeneration occurs, when it does, by the Word and the Spirit.

  82. Robert K. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    >>Tim, the way you press the issue is comical because it just puts everything back to the Romanist/Protestant divide. You’re on the former side. Reformed Christians are on the latter. You want regeneration by priestcraft (which is what the devil wants to give you). Protestants know regeneration occurs, when it does, by the Word and the Spirit.

    To add to the above. The difference between the two is with the priestcraft man is demanding to be in control. But with regeneration God is in control. And it is the Word itself (the seed that the sower sows) that the Holy Spirit primarily works with. It is also what Romanists put on their banned books list (a fact so amazing in history a person has to be dead asleep to entertain Rome for even a micro-second).

    A Christian becomes a prophet, a priest, and a king. Visual parables in the form of ritual don’t develop that. In fact, the only way a Christian is a prophet is by having the Word of God in understanding and being able to speak and act from it. A complete possession of the Word of God in memory, will, and understanding is what a Christian is to have. Jesus said over and over ‘have you not read’.

    Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin all three had one major thing in common: knowing that their first and primary task was to proclaim the actual Word of God to all within their sphere of influence. That meant, going through, book by book, the actual Bible publicly. Zwingli knew this was the only way the city he had in his responsibility would change. Not by polemics or debate or priestcraft, but by hearing the LIVING Word of God. Calvin made his preaching through every word of the Bible his main work in Geneva. Luther translated the Word of God for this very reason. We think of them as debaters and polemical writers and so on, and this primary activity of proclaiming the Word of God book by book that they consciously knew was the most important thing they could do is forgotten.

    The call that is potentially effective is the Word of God.

    Now it is high time to awake out of sleep. Rom. 13:11

  83. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    So everyone agrees with Fisher’s caveats on merit in the covenant of works, which make it gracious that God accepted works as conditions of receiving a great promise?

    great!

  84. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    “Introduces the possibility of human death apart from sin in contradiction to Rom 5:12 and Rom 6:23.”

    1. Rom 5:12 and 6:23 are descriptive of what IS in a world where Adam fell.
    2. John 12:24 posits a fall-free reason for death.
    3. Death is an enemy because of the fall. “deep sleep” is a “horror” in Genesis 15, but not is Genesis 2.
    3.5 Don’t we need to become dead to sin? Don’t we need to be willing to die for our wives, as Christ did for the church?

    4. “Adams real sin then was that he acted too quickly for God and eat of the tree before God’s time.”

    Mostly. That’s what the text teaches. God gave adam ALL trees in genesis 1, which proves that the prohibition was temporary. Huge numbers of Reformed commentators have agreed that the prohibition was temporary. Do you dispute that? Adam seizes something (temporarily) off limits. What’s wrong with seeing it as that?

  85. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    Calvin also wanted weekly participation in the Eucharist in Geneva. He never got it.

  86. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Mark T apparently doesn’t think Lutherans are protestant ministers.

  87. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Its too bad that that guy left the FV, with its powerful sacraments, like baptism where the grace of it is effective for the entire life, not just at the time of its administration, for catholicism where the saved can put impediments in the way of baptism and destroy the grace of it.

  88. Robert K. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    >4. “Adams real sin then was that he acted too quickly for God and eat of the tree before God’s time.”

    So Federal Visionists not only want to change the WCF, but they want to Stalinize the serpent (that old dragon the devil) out of the picture of Genesis 3.

    Federal Vision leaders are common liberal theologians. They are as blind as any who are without the Spirit to guide them are blind. Their followers like pduggie here, dogged a water carrier thought he is, are just silly.

  89. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Adam’s sin was to 1) listen to his wife 2) obey the serpent 3) reject God’s authority and 4) take fruit that wasn’t his to take, since it was temporarily prohibited.

    Satan tempted Christ with similar temptations, including taking food before his fast was over, and gaining the kingdoms of the world prematurely, before God was willing to give them to him as an inheritance.

  90. Robert K. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you, pduggie Turretin.

  91. Kyle said,

    August 29, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    pduggie, re: 38,

    Re: 38,

    Clearly, Fisher supports the view that the CoW was a gracious life-for-obedience promise. It would be better for you if he could prove that the CoW was a glorified life for obedience contract.

    Why would that be better? By what principle was Adam to be rewarded with life? A principle of faith or a principle of obedience? Then by what principle was Christ to gain the reward of life for His elect? A principle of faith or a principle of obedience? I don’t recall where anyone here denied any measure of grace in the Covenant of Works (and I may have missed it, but I surely don’t recall it). But what I have been getting at, anyway, is that the presence of grace in the Covenant of Works does not somehow overrule or do away with the principle of obedience which was the condition Adam (and the Second Adam) was required to meet so as to gain the promised reward. In other words, the promised reward was not bestowed as a matter of “free grace”! None of this was ever to say that Adam’s works could ever have been commensurate with the reward, as though Adam’s works would ever have been of equal value; never the less, the reward was to be earned only on the basis of full and perfect obedience, as God Himself ordained, in much the same way a child might earn an reward from his parents for completing the assigned chores. A “pactional debt,” as Fisher calls it.

    Re: 40,

    Witness Kyle’s shock at the thought that the thirty prior years of perfect obedience, of which we are told nothing, is weightless compared to 2 things the Gospel DOES tell us Jesus did

    Shock? I was not “shocked.” How does my rhetorical question even convey “shock”? I was pointing out a simple truth which you seemed to want to deny or lay aside completely. I have no doubt the temptation in the wilderness was far greater and is much more important then the myriad lesser temptations He faced as a child and young man. But the fact of the matter is that every moment of Jesus’ incarnation has been on behalf of His elect, including the 30 years before His being anointed Messiah. Every moment of His humiliation contributed to our salvation.

    Christ receives a promised inheritance because he suffers the precepts of the law and the penalty.

    Because He OBEYED the precepts of the law, on our behalf, and suffered the penalty, on our behalf.

    Do you affirm the imputation of the active obedience of Christ? If so, what does such imputation accomplish?

  92. Kyle said,

    August 29, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    More gems from Fisher, under Q12:

    Q. 41. Did not Christ’s doing and dying abrogate this covenant of works?
    A. No; it fulfilled both the precept and penalty of it, Rom. 10:4.

    Q. 44. What may we learn from this doctrine?
    A. It teaches us, that eternal death comes by the breach of the covenant of works in the first Adam; and that eternal life comes only by the fulfilling of the same covenant by the second Adam, Rom. 5:19.

  93. Robert K. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    To everybody here who take biblical doctrine seriously: take the time to read Calvin’s Institutes 3.12. Robert L. Reymond calls it “one of the most powerful and awesome chapters in the entire Institutes.” Reymond writes this in his book The Lamb of God in the very context of these vain and wicked attacks on justification by faith alone and all the attacks that attend on that (denying the active obedience of Christ, perverting understanding of the Covenant of Works, etc., etc.).

    We must never forget, Calvin writes, that the doctrine of justification is: “…concerned with the justice not of a human court but of a heavenly tribunal, lest we measure by our own small measure the integrity of works needed to satisfy the divine judgment. …In the shady cloisters of the schools anyone can easily and readily prattle about the value of works in justifying men. But when we come before the presence of God we must put away such amusements. For there we deal with a serious matter, and do not engage in frivolous word battles.”

  94. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Why are we asking “by what principle” something is rewarded in the first place? Tell me “by what principle” an inheritance is awarded and I’ll answer you w.r.t adam.

    I’ll admit what I’m doing is arguing two issues. 1) the place of the law in the CoW system 2) Eternal life in the CoW system.

    The lack of textual foundation for this in the Genesis text is the sticking point for me.

    Convince me that Adam was to merit life from obedience to law, and I still have difficulty with seeing the life from obedience as glorified life. Convince me that Adam was to receive glorified life from the covenant, and I have more difficulty seeing the covenant as involving mere conformity to law.

    A child might “earn” a reward for some task. But he doesn’t “earn” the whole inheritance. That would make his inheritance a wage.

    “God became debtor to his own faithfulness” is the key. God is not a debtor to Adam, as an employer is to the faithful employee.

    “Because He OBEYED the precepts of the law, on our behalf, and suffered the penalty, on our behalf.”

    Hebrews says he learned obedience through the things he suffered. You can’t divorce the suffering (passion) of being obedient under the law from the obedience.

    “Do you affirm the imputation of the active obedience of Christ?”

    Yes, though I’m questioning its role in gaining “eternal life” as opposed to mere acceptance with God.

    Humiliation:
    1. Christ suffers the penalty on our behalf and our sins are covered.
    2. Christ obeys the law on our behalf, and we are acceptable in God’ sight

    Exaltation:
    3. Christ is raised from the dead on our behalf and we gain the Spirit (=legal title to eternal life) and newness of resurrection life now and will be raised to glory in the future. This last one is “much more” than 2. In one sense it’s part of justification, but only broadly considered. In a confessional sense, it seems justification only is 1&2, but somehow includes resurrection life without spelling out how

  95. Robert K. said,

    August 29, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Rev. 22. Traditional Text. The whole counsel of God gives us understanding of the Tree of Life and who has access to it. Glorified man has access to it. Eschatological glorification is necessary to access the Tree of Life. Adam in the Garden was not in a state of glorification. God would have given him glorification if Adam had obeyed the command.

    “What we inherit in the second Adam is not restricted to what we lost in the first Adam: it is much rather the full realization of what the first Adam would have achieved for us had he remained unfallen and been confirmed in his state.” – Geerhardus Vos

  96. pduggie said,

    August 29, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    There is no evidence in Genesis that God restricted access to the Tree of Life before the fall. On the contrary, he restricts it afterward, and allows them (gen 1 all trees period) (genesis 2: all trees, except the tree of knowledge)

    I agree with the Vos quote

  97. Kyle said,

    August 29, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    Why are we asking “by what principle” something is rewarded in the first place?

    Because you deny the principle, “LIFE FOR OBEDIENCE,” which is the nature of the Covenant of Works, which is also the foundation upon which the Covenant of Grace is built. This is standard Reformed systematics.

    Hebrews says he learned obedience through the things he suffered. You can’t divorce the suffering (passion) of being obedient under the law from the obedience.

    I’m emphasizing the point that His OBEDIENCE, and not His suffering alone, is essential to our redemption. I am not separating them; the two MUST go hand-in-hand. One without the other leaves us half-redeemed, which is to say, damned in any case. Rather, you have trouble owning up to the importance of Christ’s OBEDIENCE, except as perhaps merely ancillary to His suffering, because you deny the “LIFE FOR OBEDIENCE” principle, a LAW-WORKS principle, inherent in the Covenant of Works (i.e., you essentially deny the Covenant of Works).

    Convince me that Adam was to receive glorified life from the covenant, and I have more difficulty seeing the covenant as involving mere conformity to law.

    Whoever said “MERE” conformity? Saul the Pharisee was “merely” conformed. “Mere” conformity is a fiction; it is not conformity at all.

    Humiliation:
    1. Christ suffers the penalty on our behalf and our sins are covered.
    2. Christ obeys the law on our behalf, and we are acceptable in God’ sight

    Still hung up on Phil. 2? “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him”!

  98. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 12:22 am

    >”There is no evidence in Genesis that God restricted access to the Tree of Life before the fall. On the contrary, he restricts it afterward, and allows them (gen 1 all trees period) (genesis 2: all trees, except the tree of knowledge) I agree with the Vos quote.”

    Well, there kind of is more evidence that Adam hadn’t eaten of it than that he did. Gen. 3:22 certainly can be read much more friendly to the fact that Adam had yet to eat of the Tree of Life than that he had. And the Book of Revelation is Scripture too, pduggie (see above). You and Federal Vision are disdainful of God’s Word here. You mock the whole counsel of God. To be Reformed you have to have a high valuation for the Word of God, pduggie. Liberal theologians not only have a low valuation for the Word of God they in fact hate the Word of God and want to turn it into what their vanity, worldly pride, and self-will demand that it be. You seem sort of half innocent, but also half mischievous in what you’re doing, pduggie. Whatever your case is you’re in with a bad crowd.

  99. tim prussic said,

    August 30, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Re #84: Mr. K., why must you oppose the written/preached word to the visible word? I gladly affirm the primacy of the ministry of the written, but especially the preached word over the visible word. Those following Calvin have always spoken of the church’s ministry in terms of word and sacrament. Do you diverge from historic Calvinism because of your Reformed-Baptist mindset? I ask again: why must you oppose the written/preached word to the visible word? What God hath join together, let us not put asunder.

  100. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 12:51 am

    You very well know I’ve been writing about the Word of God proclaimed. I say it that way because that is what is needed. It is the Word of God itself that makes the call that is potentially effectual. Your idea of the Word preached is what Calvin mocks in his 40th sermon on Ephesians and mocks using as example the papists’ style of priestcraft in mumbling a few formulas and saying the Word has been preached. You’ve revealed that if you’re not an out and out Romanist, Tim, that is at least where your sympathies lie. I’m a Protestant. When I and Calvin talk about the Word proclaimed we aren’t talking about your devilish priests with their priestcraft and intonation of priestly verbal formulas, we are talking about the living – the living – Word of God. It is the Word of God proclaimed that makes the call that is potentially effectual. As I said above: Zwingli knew this and practiced it, Luther the same, and Calvin the same. Romanists burn bibles and comically put the Bible on their list of banned books. Protestants give their lives to bring the Word of God to people. Federal Visionists come along and mock all that and say let’s give another look at the papist way of doing things.

    It’s disgusting, and it’s deadly. You’ll never fool this Christian, but I fear you’re currently fooling others. May your reward be just.

  101. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 1:04 am

    I just read #84 where Tim says I’m pitting the reading of the Word to the preaching. Well, I wasn’t. And the only reference to reading the Word came from the mouth of Jesus Christ.

    For the record: the Word proclaimed is what calls and potentially effectually calls God’s own. The Word gotten into memory, will, and understanding requires, as Jesus Himself said over and over: “Have you not read?” Line upon line, precept upon precept. Literally eating and digesting the Word of God (another biblical metaphor). Romanists – and Romanist sympathizers – mock and downplay the reading of the Word of God.

    (Exercising a godly patience…)

  102. GLW Johnson said,

    August 30, 2007 at 6:00 am

    This most recent convert to Rome from the FV really should not come as a surprise to anyone who can read between the lines here. A number of converts to Rome have tipped their hats to Norman Shepherd, who has expressed his desire to help bridge the expansive and gapping chasm created by the Reformation over the doctrine of Justification by reconfiguring it in such a way that the distinctive ‘Lutheran’ insistance on ‘sola fide’ receeds into the background and his newly minted ‘covenantal’ framework is erected so as to allow for the Roman Catholic insistance on the role of ‘good works’ to play a instrumental role in the final justification. By the way, NT wright has been equally busy in this enterprize as well, calling his doctrine of justification the ralling point of around which both Protestant and Roman Catholic can unite. Now lets review this a little bit-Norman Shepherd and NT Wright……Federal Vision…converts to Rome…hmmmm, just a coincidence?

  103. Mark T. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Gary,

    You have just explained the connection between Shepherd and Rome, but how do you account for the connection between Moscow and Eastern Orthodoxy?

    Thank you.

  104. GLW Johnson said,

    August 30, 2007 at 6:20 am

    Mark T
    Wilson was a classics major in college and he looks Greek?

  105. pduggie said,

    August 30, 2007 at 7:08 am

    Which protestant said this

    “”Hence it is well described as a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water, for through the Word Baptism receives the power to become the “washing of regeneration,” as St. Paul calls it in Titus 3:5. … Thus faith clings to the water and believes it to be Baptism in which there is sheer salvation and life …””

    “”He always [the Christian] has enough to do to believe firmly what Baptism promises and brings — victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, God’s grace, the entire Christ, and the Holy Spirit with his gifts. In short the blessings of Baptism are so boundless … Now here in Baptism there is brought free to every man’s door just such a priceless medicine which swallows up death and saves the lives of all men. To appreciate and use Baptism aright, we must draw strength and comfort from it when our sins or conscience oppress us, and we must retort, “But I am baptized! And if I am baptized, I have the promise that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body.”

    “For here in the sacrament you receive from Christ’s lips the forgiveness of sins, which contains and conveys God’s grace and Spirit with all his gifts, protection, defense, and power against death and the devil and all evils”

    “Furthermore, a sacrament not only reveals; it confers. Through Word and sacrament, God actually gives that which he promises in his gospel — forgiveness of sins, freedom from the tyranny of sin and eternal life. The sacraments not only testify to or signify divine activity in salvation, but are part of that divine redemptive activity”

  106. pduggie said,

    August 30, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Kyle, all Sin is is transgression of or a lack of conformity to the law of God. You have conformity to law and no transgression you have no sin and therefore have met its demands, right?

  107. pduggie said,

    August 30, 2007 at 7:17 am

    So your argument is

    1. If Adam had permission to eat from the tree, he must have eaten immediately
    2. Adam didn’t eat by the time he fell
    Therefore Adam did not have permission to eat from the tree

    premise 1 is faulty.

    And your argument from Revelation is

    1. God grants the tree of life to glorified people
    Therefore, god ONLY grants the tree of life to glorified people.

    Revelation takes place after the fact of the fall. It can’t very well answer the counterfcatual question of what would be the case without a fall.

    If everyone’s in jail, it doesn’t prove freedom to go to Hawaii only exists for people who have gone to jail and come out.

  108. GLW Johnson said,

    August 30, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Well, now that advanced copies John Piper’s new book on ‘The Future of Justification and NT Wright’ are circluating, it was only a matter of time before we would see Mark Horne’s typical measured response.

  109. pduggie said,

    August 30, 2007 at 8:04 am

    Since Robert’s existence is centered around bringing railing accusations I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he ignores the express word of God in favor of his own fancies or things he needs to support his aberrant theology. But this is the third time now (clearly a trend! We’ll see more and more of this as RKism continues to mutate) that RK has said that the express words of the bible should be taken in the opposite sense.

    “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

    Somehow, this means that Adam must also not eat of the tree of life.

    We know what biblical character tried to raise questions about the precise nature of the prohibitions God made. He was also an accuser.

  110. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 8:49 am

    >Somehow, this means that Adam must also not eat of the tree of life.

    pduggie, your faceplants are only outdone by your emptiness (and increasing dishonesty). Play your game of FVist shadow-boxing with someone else.

  111. greenbaggins said,

    August 30, 2007 at 8:55 am

    RobertK, enough already! Pduggie may be an FV afficiando, but he is one of the more intelligent ones. And he is still asking questions. Good ones. Stop treating him as if wasn’t a foeman worthy of the steel.

  112. Mark T. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 9:12 am

    pdougie writes,

    We know what biblical character tried to raise questions about the precise nature of the prohibitions God made. He was also an accuser.

    Do not forget, dear pdougie, that he is also a divider of the brethren, sowing discord wherever he may.

    Thank you.

  113. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Green Baggins I had signed off with my computer then started it back up because I wanted to give pduggie (I guess his name is Paul?) a different kind of comment. As I stated earlier I sense Paul is half-innocent and half-mischievous with all this (as opposed to the FV leaders who seem to be corrupt to the bone unfortunately). I actually have to disagree with you on Paul’s questions. They may be good ones the first time he asks them, but the 78th time they are something different. Perhaps I should assume by the nature of your defense of him that he is young. So be it, that’s not something I can know. I do know he’s doing more than asking questions. Asking questions is what pomo liberals do as a tactic in desconstructing and debasing things that have far more value than they are able (or willing) to see. He is also attempting to teach and turn people from the most crucial basics of the faith towards what can only be termed spiritual death. I don’t see his questions as being as innocent as you see them. But anyway I just wanted to say to Paul: God bless, young man (middle-aged man, elderly man, wherever you stand), and may God grant you conscience to turn from your current ways and may He grant you ability to see the truth in His time.

  114. tim prussic said,

    August 30, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Mr. K., re. post #102: The funny thing is that I’ve drawn my terminology in my past two posts (101 & 81/80) are drawn from the WCF and Calvin. I’m not quite sure what you’re after by opposing the preached/written word with the visible word (that is, the sacraments). I asked you that twice before and the best answer you gave was this: “It is the Word of God itself that makes the call that is potentially effectual.”

    If you’re saying that the word preached is the primary and initial means of calling the elect to salvation, I agree. If you’re saying that the preached/written word is itself effectual, I disagree. The preached, written, and visible words are all equally effectual of themselves, which is to say, they’re compleletly ineffectual. The word (in any form) is only effectual by the power of the Spirit.

    Also, on a more personal note, it would be nice if you would quit dismissing my ideas as popish and read me more carefully/charitably. Were you to do that, we’d make much better headway in our conversations. So that there are no mistakes, Mr. K., I am Reformed, I hold the five solas and the Reformed confessions (esp. the Westminster Standards), I’m a licensed preacher of the gospel in a Reformed/Presbyterian body, and my presbytery has examined me SPECIFICALLY with reference to Federal Vision and found me fully orthodox and confessional. Can we proceed from there?

  115. Dean said,

    August 30, 2007 at 10:58 am

    pduggie

    I am rather skeptical of the probationary aspect of the COW. I believe Adam would have had to have perfect and perpetual obedience. I understand the arguments but I am not convinced.

    I would disagree with many FV critics with such an emphasis at the COW. When push comes to shove Adam working would have included an aspect of grace. I am very uncomfortable with the term “merit” as it applies to Adam. I think the word “merit” in reference to Adam tends to get stretched too far for my tastes.

    I have no problem using merit to discuss the second Adam. Mainly because I see Jesus’ work was infinitely harder than Adams. Adam only had to love the Lord with all of His heart soul mind and strength. Of course he failed but in comparison to Jesus’ work it was relatively easy. Jesus’ had to love the God with all of His heart soul mind and strength and sustain God’s hellish hatred for the elect’ sins.

    When I compare Jesus’ temptation with Adam’s temptation there is no comparison. Jesus’ flesh was weak after fasting for 40 days this aspect is missing with Adam. Jesus had the temptation of sin around him Adam did not.

    I look at the temptation in the wilderness to be a dry run for His temptation in his passion. I seriously doubt the physical torment of dying on the cross was that big of a deal to him. He had willingly starved himself for 40 days to help Him so that he would not give in to the pain. That part he had prepared Himself for.

    What really separates Adam from Jesus is that Adam did not have to endure God’s anger for sin. The sinless one now had to endure God’s anger for my sins. I could not satisfy God’s anger for ONE of my sins if I spent 100,000,000,000,000 times itself in hell. Yet on the cross Jesus satisfied God’s anger for all my sins and all the elect also.

    That is worthy of merit. In my mind this certainly fits the definition of merit. Superior quality or worth; A quality deserving praise or approval; To earn; deserve

    Additionally, Adam was a human and I am uncomfortable with human merit, but Jesus was divine and I have no problem with Jesus merit because He was divine. Jesus could tell God I earned it. I deserve the soul whose sins I paid for.

    If you are uncomfortable with Jesus keeping the law and having eternal life I will agree with you. I am a little uncomfortable separating the passive and active obedience. When Jesus willingly actively purposefully lived a perfect life I am not really amazed that much. But when He willingly actively purposfully endured my hell for me on the cross I am amazed. This was the will of God for him. This was the law for Jesus. Adam did not have this aspect of the law.

    It is precisely because Jesus willingly, actively, and purposefully fulfilled God’s purpose for Him that I am now free from God’s law. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” is no longer true for me. My soul will enter directly to heaven and live forever because of Christ’s active and passive work together.

    It is useful for me not to think about active obedience primarily as keeping the ten commandments. That was how he was qualified Himself to be the sinless substitute. However, active obedience in my understanding is doing the will of the Father and following that even until death.

    His passion was active. “. . . I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. . .” (John 10:17-18)

    Belgic Confession #22 We believe that God, who is perfectly merciful and just, sent his Son to assume that nature, in which the disobedience was committed, to make satisfaction in the same, and to bear the punishment of sin by his most bitter passion and death. God therefore manifested his justice against his Son, when he laid our iniquities upon him; and poured forth his mercy and goodness on us, who were guilty and worthy of damnation, out of mere and perfect love, giving his Son unto death for us, and raising him for our justification, that through him we might obtain immortality and life eternal. This does not separate active from passive.

    If you are having a hard time separating his active from his passive I have no problem, but do not deny the active aspect in its importance for eternal life.

    Reformed theology may have divided the active from the passive too much but do not deny the active role in securing eternal life.

    I hope this was helpful.

    This is something I could not do in an eternity in hell.

  116. greenbaggins said,

    August 30, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Actually, Paul is older than I am (not sure by how much). As I said, he has definite affinities with the FV. However, that does not mean we cannot answer his questions, rather than beating up on him. Let’s save that for the church courts, where it will be done decently and in good order (and it won’t be beating up: rather, it will be defrocking, Lord-willing). Innocent the questions may not be, but that still does not mean they aren’t good questions. Maybe you think you’ve answered them to your satisfaction. I have seen you rail more often than actually answer the questions. I am by no means defending the FV, as my posts abundantly show. And I am not suggesting “dialogue” in the sense of giving way on our position (Trail has a brilliant comment on this: he said that a mediating position far more often gives more to the position it is mediating *towards* than the position it is coming *from*). I am saying, let’s have cool-temperature logic, and cool-temperature exegesis, cool-temperature historical studies. By all means, destroy the FV position. I’m all for it. But let’s do it as being under control, and not on steroids. Let’s give the FV’ers nothing to complain about in our treatment of them, while simultaneously razing their position to the ground. It will be far more effective, and far more persuasive.

  117. Tim Wilder said,

    August 30, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Can you defrock a Sunday school teacher? I didn’t think that 10th Presbyterian issued then frocks.

  118. Tony S said,

    August 30, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Regarding Wilkin’s reponse to declaration 4: There’s no contradiction between saying that Jesus Christ did not have to earn the Father’s favor for himself and that he came to die in order to satisfy divine justice and secure favor for his people. From the fall to the cross Christ in his office as mediator was in favor with Father otherwise Adam would have been immediately destroyed if the Son were not mediating God’s wrath on the ground of his future life, death, and resurrection.

  119. Sean Gerety said,

    August 30, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Actually, Paul is older than I am (not sure by how much).

    I’m pretty confident just about everyone here is older than you Lane ;-)

  120. greenbaggins said,

    August 30, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    You’re probably right, as I’m only 29.

  121. tim prussic said,

    August 30, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    HA! I am 30 today, pastor …. young buck!

  122. greenbaggins said,

    August 30, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    HB, Tim.

  123. tim prussic said,

    August 30, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks! I was gunnin’ fer that!

  124. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    TIM PRUSSIC WRITES:
    >”If you’re saying that the word preached is the primary and initial means of calling the elect to salvation, I agree. If you’re saying that the preached/written word is itself effectual, I disagree. The preached, written, and visible words are all equally effectual of themselves, which is to say, they’re compleletly ineffectual. The word (in any form) is only effectual by the power of the Spirit.”

    When I write “potentially effectual” it really couldn’t be any more clear.

    DEAN WRITES:
    >”I am rather skeptical of the probationary aspect of the COW. I believe Adam would have had to have perfect and perpetual obedience. I understand the arguments but I am not convinced.”

    Then look at it this way: God knew Adam would fall, so it is a mute point from the point of view of God’s plan. But glorification and the fact that Adam was not in a state of glorification is not a mute point. The New Testament informs our understanding of God’s plan re what occurred in the Garden. Liberal theologians go to the origin of the river, change the course a micro-inch, so that by the time the river flows down into crucial doctrine such as justification it is miles wide of the mark.

  125. tim prussic said,

    August 30, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    Mr. K., good enough. So if the efficacy of the word is by the Spirit and so the efficacy of sacraments, then our only here quibble might be with their respective ministries. Can we agree that the same promises of God are held forth in both word and sacraments? If so, how about the same covenantal curses in both? If we can agree that both word and sacrament have the same covenantal function with reference to promises and threats. Then we can move on to the differences between their ministries. Whaddya say?

  126. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    >”Mr. K., good enough. So if the efficacy of the word is by the Spirit and so the efficacy of sacraments, then our only here quibble might be with their respective ministries. Can we agree that the same promises of God are held forth in both word and sacraments? If so, how about the same covenantal curses in both? If we can agree that both word and sacrament have the same covenantal function with reference to promises and threats. Then we can move on to the differences between their ministries. Whaddya say?”

    Promises mean nothing without regeneration. The call that is potentially effectual is the proclaiming of the Word of God. Not ritual.

    There’s a reason the Beast called the Roman Catholic church burned the Word of God and kept it from people on pain of torture and death but called everybody to ritual baptism all day long…

  127. Dean said,

    August 30, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Robert

    “Then look at it this way: God knew Adam would fall, so it is a mute point from the point of view of God’s plan. But glorification and the fact that Adam was not in a state of glorification is not a mute point.”

    And to that I give a hearty AMEN

  128. tim prussic said,

    August 30, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Mr. K., we’ve lost traction.
    Are not promises publicly and objectively proclaimed in word and sacrament? The promises are subjectively obtained by a person by faith and only the regenerate have faith. Now, with that in mind, can we agree on the content of #127?

    I’m impressed that you oppose the preaching of the word to ritual. Is the preaching of the word not quite ritualistic? Do we not gather at least weekly and do the same things on the same order? The content varies week to week and sermon to sermon, but it’s all quite ritualistic, as corporate worship is and should be. Why such antipathy against ritual? I can understand opposing MERE ritual, but not all ritual.

  129. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    Where is the church building Jesus built? He walked the land proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

    The Word of God is not confined to a physical church building. The call that is potentially effectual is not: “Enter this church building!” It’s repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. It’s Jesus saves. It’s the convicting and liberating living Word of God.

    Here’s what I’m not allowing you to do: talk about covenant and promises sans admitting what effects regeneration when regeneration IS effected. The Beast system is all about corralling humans into buildings and throwing rituals at them. The last thing the Beast wants is for those human beings to become regenerate, effectually called – born again – by the Word and the Spirit, and for this reason the Beast speaks of the Word as ritual and piously intoned formula in the process of practicing priestcraft ritual. Roman Catholics took this to the limit, burning the Word of God and torturing and burning any who would bring the Word of God to people.

    Again:

    There’s a reason the Beast called the Roman Catholic church burned the Word of God and kept it from people on pain of torture and death but called everybody to ritual baptism all day long…

  130. Robert K. said,

    August 30, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    One more time:

    There’s a reason the Beast called the Roman Catholic church burned the Word of God and kept it from people on pain of torture and death but called everybody to ritual baptism all day long…

  131. tim prussic said,

    August 30, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Robert, you’re impossible. Have a nice night.

  132. Kyle said,

    September 1, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    pduggie, re: 108,

    Kyle, all Sin is is transgression of or a lack of conformity to the law of God. You have conformity to law and no transgression you have no sin and therefore have met its demands, right?

    And Saul the Pharisees had “mere” conformity, which as I said, is no conformity at all, because it doesn’t go to the HEART of the matter, which is the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The implication that you have made is that we who insist on the obedience principle of the covenant of works would have Adam fulfilling the obligation by a “mere” conformity, a mere outward obedience. Wrong! The covenant could only have been fulfilled with the entirety of Adam’s being actively glorifying God in every breathing moment. Adam failed. Where he failed, Christ succeeded, on our behalf.

  133. pduggie said,

    September 3, 2007 at 11:41 am

    “The implication that you have made is that we who insist on the obedience principle of the covenant of works would have Adam fulfilling the obligation by a “mere” conformity, a mere outward obedience.”

    Nothing of the sort was intended. Mere conformity means mere heartfelt conformity, since the moral law includes the heart attitude as well. To merely confrorm to the moral law means to get to the heart as well.

    My point is that I’m not sure that God offered eternal life for that “mere” conformity to moral law. I question whether Adam’s heartfelt pure obedience to moral law would have given Adam Spirit-filled transcendent eternal life. Jesus willingness to die on the cross I GUESS you could construe as fulfillment of “moral law” (do whatever God says), but instead it looks an awful much like something more than mere heartfelt obedience to moral law. For Abraham, willingness to offer his son up to death was proof that Abraham was willing to take the promise from God by faith (not works) and trust in God’s resurrection power.

  134. kjsulli said,

    September 3, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    pduggie, re: 135,

    Jesus’ death on the cross fulfilled specifically the penal aspect of the law; His perfect obedience the preceptive aspect. Certainly it is more than obedience to the moral law only; Jesus had to obey the entire Mosaic law as well. Additionally, He voluntarily offered Himself up as a sacrifice, to nullify the law’s curse. But what is it you intend to convey in saying that this looks like more than “mere obedience to moral law”? You are not implying that Jesus was “justified by faith alone,” like Abraham, are you?

  135. pduggie said,

    September 3, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Well, the promise was made to Abraham’s Seed, which is Christ. So the referent in Galatians 3 is Christ. Abraham received the promise for the Seed “not by law”. If the inheritance for the seed were by Law, it wouldn’t be by promise.


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