Law/Gospel Yet Again

Wilson responds to my post here. I would say that Wilson’s post definitely clarifies some issues on where Wilson stands on the law/Gospel issue.

First of all, I agree with Wilson that there is an aspect of the law/Gospel distinction that is in the heart of a person. I would disagree that the law/Gospel distinction is not also in the text. What Wilson says is “promises and imperatives” I interpret as Gospel and law respectively. Of course the law looks differently to a non-believer than to a believer. In the former situation, the law is the enemy. In the latter situation, the law is our friend. However, that does not change the law into the Gospel. One is reminded of T. David Gordon’s critique of Rich Lusk’s comment on this (Lusk had said that the Mosaic law was simply the Gospel in pre-Christian form): “This strikes me as analogous to saying: ‘Early-1944 Hiroshima was simply a Japanese city in pre-nuclear form.’” (See _By Faith Alone_, pg. 119).

Wilson hones in on my use of the word “use.” Wilson defines “use” as “It means that the same passage applies differently to different people in different situations.” However, later on he says, “We cut through all the confusion if we allow that there is a CoW use (for those under the law) and a CoG use (for those not under the law).” Does this not undercut his use of the term “use?” The latter sentence would seem to require fixed, exclusive categories (i.e., those under the law cannot use the law in a CoG sense, and vice versa). This is a tad confusing. Or is Wilson saying that the three uses are fluid in their application, whereas the categories he has introduced are fixed? Are not the three uses of the law biblical? Were the Westminster divines misreading Scripture?

I must confess that this sentence made no sense whatever to me: “Those not under the law are constantly reminded of their sinfulness by the holy law of God, and so the first use of the law applies to them provisionally, but not really and actually.” What is Wilson trying to avoid by using this qualification?

The similarity between the Garden and Sinai is paraphrased by Wilson as follows: “‘Always do what God says, the way He says to do it.’ That applies both in the Garden, and on the mountain.” To me this is a bit vague. Would it not be more accurate to say that God commanded Adam to love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love his neighbor as himself? Surely, to love God in this way would have been to obey the one prohibition given to Adam, and to obey the cultural mandate given to him. Also implicit in the Garden (though not difficult to see) is that the purpose for which God put Adam in the Garden must have been told to him. God put him there to tend the Garden (see Beale’s excellent book on what this means) and to guard it (presumably against intruders; again, see Beale, and now Fesko). FV’ers are fond of pointing out that the prohibition was the only command given to Adam, and therefore Adam didn’t have the moral law given to him as a Covenant of Works. But this is not true. The cultural mandate was given to Adam, as was the prohibition, as was the implicit command in the purpose statement of Genesis 2:15. Plainly, Adam’s motivation for doing these things was to be love for his God, and love for his wife (hence the moral law). By good and necessary consequence…

One point that keeps on cropping up in these discussions is the Tree of Life. I have no problem with saying that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Life in the Garden. Nor do I have any problem saying that it was a sacramental tree. But where I stick is in the inference usually drawn from this: that Adam could not have obeyed to obtain something further. The problem here is the assumption that, in the critics’ position, the Tree of Life symbolizes everything for which Adam was to strive. It doesn’t. 1 Corinthians 15 makes that very plain (again, see Fesko, building on Gaffin, for this argumentation). Adam would have obtained not “maturity,” but the glorified body. The glorified body was not symbolized by the Tree of Life. 1 Corinthians 15:44b (note: NOT verse 44a, which is still talking about the post-Fall corpses of believers) refers to the Adamic pre-Fall body (as is decisively proven by the fact that Paul proof-texts Genesis 2:7, which would be completely out of place if verse 44b was talking about the post-Fall body). Paul says that the pre-Fall body of Adam always pointed towards the glorified spiritual (not non-material!) body. This is that for which Adam was to obey the Covenant of Works and merit (by pact, not in any other way but agreement) not merely “eternal life,” as the WCF says, but a specific form of eternal life: the glorified body.  

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58 Comments

  1. Keith LaMothe said,

    October 31, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Perhaps if he lived today Owen would have written “The use of Use and the use of the Law” ;)

  2. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2007 at 11:58 am

    LOL

  3. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Admitting, for sake of argument, he would have obtained the glorified body for the efficient cause of his obedience.

    1. Would obedience have been the principal cause, or an instrumental cause?

    2. Would he have obtained *God* via the same cause?

    God is our greatest good. Can God be attained by the efforts of unfallen man?

    Many critics agree with you that the Tree of Life did not symbolize all Adam was to move towards. The Tree of Knowledge was there too, after all.

  4. jared said,

    October 31, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Lane,

    The last section of this post could almost come straight from the lips of Jordan, at least in as much as his contribution to The Federal Vision is concerned:

    I have argued that the gift promised in the Adamic Covenant was not “life” as such, but glorified and kingly life on the other side of some kind of death and resurrection. I have argued that Adam was called to maintain a daily life of faith-filled obedience to God until God saw fit to grant him this transfiguration.

    Thanks for the book recommendations, Fesko looks particularly helpful and right up the alley where I want to eventually pursue grad-work.

  5. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Paul,

    The WS describe Adam’s obedience as the condition. I don’t think that necessarily fits either principal cause (God must be the principal cause as the one who would grant eternal life upon Adam’s course of obedience), nor instrumental (which does not necessarily have similarity in kind with the thing to which it is an instrument). I think that pactum merit is the best way to describe Adam’s hypothetical obedience. Condign and congruent merit are both ruled out, of course, in Adam’s case.

    However, I do not think that Adam would ever have been allowed to eat of the tree of KGE. This is why: I interpret Adam’s original creation as being far higher than he was after the Fall, and in need of no maturity. He needed glorification, not maturity (this is where I differ from Jordan’s position). Further, the “knowledge” I interpret to be “deciding what good and evil is.” The knowledge which Adam and Eve craved was not knowledge that they did not possess. They already possessed it. They knew what good and evil was because God had told them what it was. The knowledge is rather the autonomous decision to make for oneself the rules of good and evil. It was that which Adam and Eve wanted. They wanted to play God. They already were like God, knowing good and evil in the sense of knowing what it was. This is why I prefer to interpret Genesis 3:22 as “Look, mankind *had been* like one of us, knowing good and evil…”

  6. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Jared, that’s sort of an answer for you, as well, although I would agree with some of what Jordan says in that particular quote (though I disagree with almost all of the article).

  7. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Was Adam given the task of judging angels?

    Are we given the task of judging angels?

    What happened to us inbetween?

    I prefer to read Gen 3:22 like everyone else, and draw my conclusion about what adam did and did not have from that text.

  8. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Weren’t their “eyes opened”?

  9. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Adam would have judged angels, because the state into which he would have been introduced upon his obedience is the exact same state into which we will go because of the obedience of Christ.

    Doug Green taught me this interpretation of Gen 3:22, and Andre LaCocque was the first to advocate it (as far as I know). It makes far more sense than the traditional interpretation, which makes God somehow seem peevish, as if “Oops. Mankind has become too much like us. We’re going to have to shove him down again.” Read according to my interpretation, the statement becomes a statement full of grace. It would indeed be terrible for mankind to live forever in a state that is *not* like God. After all, don’t we call this thing the Fall? How is it a Fall if mankind has become *more* like God than he was before?

  10. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Man’s cheif end included judging angels, certainly. But as made, naturally, he was not a judge of angels. He needed SOMETHING to judge angels.

    I’d argue that “maturity” is a perfectly good term for what he’d need.

    He was naked, NOT as way too many reformed people state “clothed with glory and honor” Its bizzare how many people see Adam as “clothed” with glory, even though the texts emphasized their nakidity.

    I commend to you William Wilder on adam’s nakedness and need for clothing

    http://studycenter.net/documents/Investiture.pdf

  11. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    No, glorification only is what would make Adam higher than the angels in being. Maturity would not involve a change of state as glorification would.

  12. Sam Steinmann said,

    October 31, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I think that what Wilson is saying is the standard Reformed position on warnings. The law’s standard–fail this and die–is one giant warning; it applies only hypothetically to the elect.

  13. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Doesn’t Galatians 3 talk about being under tutors and governors until coming into the inheritance the son comes into exiting minority?

  14. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    minority – > majority is a change of state

    higher in *being*?

  15. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Galatians 3 is not talking about Adam, but about the progression from fallen man to redeemed man.

  16. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    That’s not right, because Christ comes as one made under the law, and Adam was also under the law unfallen. Christ comes as a servant, and suffers under the law, lower than angels, without his inheritance, and then dies and comes to his mature inheritance, having learned obedience, and being given a name above every name.

  17. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Christ comes at the point where Adam *fell,* not the point where Adam *began.*

  18. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    There a relation between the natural body and the spiritual body like seed and plant which comes from seed. A seed dies to become the plant, but a seed also matures to become a plant.

  19. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    17: That’s not entirely right in the covenant of Works scheme, where Jesus comes and fulfills the original Covenant of Works with Adam.

  20. Weston said,

    October 31, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Where do you get that FVers say Adam would not have obtained something further by faithful obedience? To the contrary, I’d say the FV position requires this in a way that the anti-FV position doesn’t, even if some of them (like you) include this feature because you had good teachers like Doug Green.

    The FV position is that Adam would, by faithful obedience, grow to maturity and God would eventually glorify him with greater honor and status. A faithful son gets driving privileges when he turns 16 and *they are a gift* from his father. This hints at the real difference between the FV position and yours:

    We believe the glorification that God didn’t give unbelieving Adam and did give faithful Jesus was always a gift of grace, as Philippians 2:9 tells us. It wasn’t wages earned.

    Also, Galatians 3 is talking about a son, not an enemy. Sons are accepted already. Galatians 3 tells us about how a loving father puts his son under tutors in order to teach him to rule the household when he is older and ready to be *glorified* with ruler status. Sound familiar?

  21. October 31, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    testing

  22. October 31, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Lane, all of my posts are going to never-neverland today.

  23. October 31, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    testing (having technical difficulties today)

  24. pduggie said,

    October 31, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    The glorified state we’re talking about also needs to be realized as the fruition of God as our reward.

    Adam can’t demand that God give him Himself as his just deserts because that would be contrary to the nature of God as creator over the creature.

    God’s pact with adam is not a way for adam to get a way to demand God give himself as his just deserts either.

    As God can only be received as gift, God arranges it so that faithful humble obedience will result in God gifting himself to man.

    When the master of a feast calls you from the lowest place and puts you at the higher place, that’s a GREATER honor than just getting the seat assignment because of your natural standing. You receive that as a gift from the host.

  25. October 31, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Here is where I will begin.

    However, that does not change the law into the Gospel.

    What is the Gospel? The catechism tells us that Jesus is offered to us in the Gospel. How is he? Were one to ask most (if not all) Christians this their answer would reflect the truncated view of this doctrine (i.e “Jesus died for my sins). In fact, all that hullaballoo back in the 80s (ahhhhh, the 80s…Mr Mr, Yazz, Don Henley..oh, sorry) about “making Jesus LORD” is completely superfluous with the Reformed solas.
    So, how is Jesus offered to us in the Gospel? He is offered to us in the Gospel as the King to whom we must submit and who will defend us from our enemies, our Prophet to whom we must lend our ears and hearts, and our Priest who has made propitiation for us. This is the Gospel. In fact, those first two are “law” and the last 1/3 is….law too. Is it not? Believe (imperative) on the LORD Jesus Christ and you will be saved. It’s all law. But when you obey, you find that you are free and have been made a son.

  26. October 31, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Maybe I should quote the catechism so you’ll believe me.
    WSC 85 What does God require (What? Law in the Gopspel) of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin? A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires (Uh, Law) of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance (Law)unto life,(1) with the diligent use (Law,yet again) of all the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption.(2)

    (1)Acts 20:21
    (2)Prov. 2:1-5; Prov. 8:33-36; Isa. 55:3

  27. jared said,

    October 31, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    *observations* in that last paragraph.

  28. jared said,

    October 31, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Wow, I’m not entirely sure how I managed to manipulate time like that…

  29. October 31, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Oh,

    Thank you.

  30. jared said,

    October 31, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Ah, the time stamp is read from my computer; odd.

  31. jared said,

    October 31, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Lane,

    Jordan puts a lot of emphasis on Genesis 1:29 as evidence that Adam and Eve were given (i.e. promised) the Tree of Knowledge; why should it be excluded? He agrees with you that Adam and Eve already knew the difference between good and evil for they had been made in His image. So, from this is it clear that the Tree of Knowledge would impart something other than what they already had, something over and above that knowledge they had in virtue of being created in God’s image. As Jordan says in the essay, “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not designed to teach Adam and Eve right from wrong.” (emphasis original) He also says that it is an error think “it was the avoidance of the fruit that would bring about an increased understanding of good and evil, of right and wrong. As we shall see, however, ‘knowledge of good and evil’ has a particular meaning that must be associated with actually eating the fruit. The prohibition was temporary. Holding off from the Tree of Knowledge was a form of fasting. When God was ready, man would be allowed to eat and acquire ‘knowledge of good and evil’ in a special sense.” Jordan will go on to argue that the knowledge imparted by the fruit of this tree has to do with authority and passing judgment; “Evidence for this interpretation comes right from the context itself, for in Genesis 1 and 2 it is God who repeatedly passes judgments: ‘God saw that it was good’; ‘God saw that it was very good’; ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’” He concludes that the Tree of Knowledge doesn’t deal primarily with moral knowledge (which they already had), but with judicial knowledge (which only God had at the time).

    Jordan’s view here makes the deceit of the serpent even more potent (and cunning). The serpent tempts, “… you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” What impact does such a temptation make on one who is already like God (made in His image) and already knows good and evil from a moral/spiritual standpoint? “Infants, such as Adam and Eve were, do not have the wisdom to know good and evil in this judicial sense (Deut. 1:39),” says Jordan; and this comports with the outcome of the story. Adam and Eve are enticed by the serpent’s words, a clear indication that they were not ready to receive the knowledge the forbidden fruit would impart. Nothing in these three chapters of Genesis can support the position that Adam and Eve were never going to partake of the fruit; if anything Gen. 1:29 is flatly opposed to such a position. I think maybe Jordan is more insightful here than you give him credit for? Where is he mistaken in his argument?

    You say, “The knowledge which Adam and Eve craved was not knowledge that they did not possess. They already possessed it. They knew what good and evil was because God had told them what it was. The knowledge is rather the autonomous decision to make for oneself the rules of good and evil.” but I don’t see how you can make that argument from the text, or from the rest of Scripture. The result of getting the knowledge imparted by the fruit made them aware of their nakedness, why would they not be aware of this previously if it was knowledge they already had? Having eaten the fruit they are endowed with the capacity to judge good and evil and they have become self-conscious. The first things they do with this newly acquired knowledge is judge themselves and each other and, guess what, they fall short. Jordan’s section on “Shame and Glory” is quite helpful here, he notes that Adam and Eve were never intended to be naked permenantly; “we have to notice that God Himself is robed in a glory cloud whenever He appears in the Bible. Human beings, as the images of God, would also wear garments of glory and beauty.” We see this further evidenced in the example of the resurrected Jesus and in John’s vision of those saints already in heaven: “The true garment is glory added to nakedness. We see this in the transfigured and resurrected body of Jesus. Jesus left behind His garments on the cross and in the tomb, but He was not naked… These garments, these ‘coverings’, make up for what is lacking in the immature human consciousness.”

    At any rate, I don’t intend to “harp” Jordan’s view(s) on you, Lane; rather I’m curious as to why I should be condemning him outright when he seems to be making some very solid obersvations. I really do appreciate this interaction between you and Wilson, it’s helped clarify a number of issues for me regarding this whole controversy.

  32. October 31, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    testing (technical difficulties)

  33. October 31, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    Jared,

    Thank you for that refresher. After reading Jordan ad nauseum it clicked and I am thoroughly grateful for solving my “tree of knowledge” dilemma. The usual suspect “The knowledge is rather the autonomous decision to make for oneself the rules of good and evil. It was that which Adam and Eve wanted. They wanted to play God.”(#5) always tasted like AnheiserBusch or, or more like the water from Laodacia. Anyway, it also seems to coincide with Jesus’ temptation as an allurement for pre-mature enthronement.

    Per Lane’s comment #9, I’ve always appreciated Waltke’s irony-esque reading. God mocks (not unlike Psalm 2), “Look, man is ‘now like one of us’….”

  34. Robert K. said,

    October 31, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    BlackandTan, in the Gospel God gives freely what He demands. Learn the difference between the law of works and the law of Christ. Faith is a grace given by God.

    You say you’ve read much Jordan. Change tack and read some Reformed theology.

    First read the Word of God and put yourself in the territory where the Spirit regenerates. Give yourself a chance. The Word of God is the wildcard in the event of regeneration. You have to engage it though.

  35. tim prussic said,

    November 1, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Pastor Lane, when I was an undergraduate, I went down to WTS Cal for a preaching seminar. I loved it. One notable thing to me was the non-stop thrust of red-hist preaching and the Law/Gosp distinction (LGD). I remember numerous professors (Horton foremost among them) affirming that EVERY SCRIPTURE is either Law or Gospel. The the LGD was made an absolute and controlling hermeneutic. It was one of the first (if not the first) questions one was to ask when coming to a text. Do you agree with this?
    Me? I think it’s true to say that the LGD exists in the text and that it certainly finds application within the individual coming to the word, but I don’t see it as absolute and controlling in the sense mentioned above.

  36. Roger Mann said,

    November 1, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    19: That’s not entirely right in the covenant of Works scheme, where Jesus comes and fulfills the original Covenant of Works with Adam.

    I’ve heard this repeated many times, but it’s not correct to say that Jesus fulfilled “the original Covenant of Works with Adam.” First, Christ was never under the covenant of works. The covenant of works was made with the first Adam, who represented his natural seed (all mankind). The covenant of grace was made with Christ, the second Adam, who represented all of His spiritual seed (the elect): “The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed” (WLC 31). Thus, they are two separate covenants with two separate covenant heads. Second, the condition of the covenant of works was perfect obedience to God’s law, with the promise being eternal life. The condition of the covenant of grace was perfect obedience to God’s law and voluntarily suffering the curse of the law on behalf of God’s elect people, with the promise being redemption, the gift of the Spirit, saving faith, justification/eternal life, sanctification, resurrection/glorification, etc. Again, they are two separate covenants with different conditions and different promises.

  37. pduggie said,

    November 1, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Fine Roger. I hear lots of people telling us Christ fulfilled the CoW on our behalf.

  38. pduggie said,

    November 1, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    jaerd and B&T:

    Good points.

    KoGaE, when gained from the tree, means something more like standing to judge.

    We see Abraham involved in “decision making” with God about Lot and Sodom, as the prophets like Amos do as well. Abraham asks if the Judge of all the earth will do right, and it turns out that his Seed IS the judge of all the earth, and does right by coming and dying to gain as a man the wisdom (the cross is the wise foolishness of God) required to be the judge of all the earth.

    I suppose one could accuse Solomon of “playing God” when he renders his wise decision about the baby, but the text approves it instead, and its God’s answer to solomon’s prayer. No text indicated that it was “good” to tell someone to kill a baby to resolve a dispute, Solomon had to have mature insight/wisdom (provided by submission to God) to come to that conclusion.

  39. Roger Mann said,

    November 1, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    20: We believe the glorification that God didn’t give unbelieving Adam and did give faithful Jesus was always a gift of grace, as Philippians 2:9 tells us. It wasn’t wages earned.

    Two questions:

    1) How do you figure that Jesus’ glorification was “a gift of grace” when the context of the Philippians’ passage clearly states that it was because He “became obedient [“under the law” Gal. 4:4] to the point of death?”

    “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…” Philippians 2:8-9

    2) How do you figure that Jesus’ glorification wasn’t the result of “wages earned” when Scripture specifically states that “obedience” to the law results in a “debt” from “wages” earned?

    “Now to him who works [obeys the law], the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.” Romans 4:4

  40. Roger Mann said,

    November 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    34: Yes, Paul, it’s a common mistake (one that I’ve also been guilty of in the past). That’s why I was pointing it out. It wasn’t meant as a criticism, but rather as a point of clarification.

  41. pduggie said,

    November 1, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    1) The disproportionality involved Plus that textually, Phil 2:9 says “graced” ( charizomai) in the greek.

    2) Paul is arguing with a Jew who is under the mistaken impression that his obedience to God is like work that he does to earn wages. But Paul says, “NOT so, if you’re thinking like that, that means you’ve unwittingly decided you’ve placed God in your debt, and all good Jews know that cant happen, so get with it and realize your theological mistake.”

    or at the least, one can question whether the “works” under consideration in Romans 4:4 are in the universe of discourse that includes anything Paul would attribute to Jesus obedience. Can we find Paul calling what Jesus does “works”? Ever? Maybe there’s a place I’m forgetting.

  42. Roger Mann said,

    November 1, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    1) The disproportionality involved Plus that textually, Phil 2:9 says “graced” ( charizomai) in the greek.

    There’s no “disproportionality” involved. God promised to glorify Jesus upon His successful fulfillment of the terms of the covenant; Jesus successfully fulfilled the terms of the covenant; therefore God glorified Jesus as He had covenantally bound Himself to do. There’s nothing “disproportionate” with that.

    In Phil. 2:9 charizomai contextually means “gave,” “given” or “bestowed,” as it is translated in every reputable English version of the Bible that I’m aware of. The passage (and the rest of Scripture) doesn’t even hint that Jesus’ glorification was given as a gift of “grace.”

    Paul is arguing with a Jew who is under the mistaken impression that his obedience to God is like work that he does to earn wages. But Paul says, “NOT so, if you’re thinking like that, that means you’ve unwittingly decided you’ve placed God in your debt, and all good Jews know that cant happen, so get with it and realize your theological mistake.”

    That’s a classic example of eisegesis. Paul makes a quite straightforward assertion, contrasting the righteousness of works/law (cf. Rom. 10:5) with the righteousness of faith/grace (cf. Rom. 10:4, 6-13): “Now to him who works [obeys the law], the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:4).

    Can we find Paul calling what Jesus does “works”? Ever? Maybe there’s a place I’m forgetting.

    Off the top of my head, I’m not sure if Paul does or not. But Jesus most assuredly states that His glorification is on the basis of His completed work. That’s good enough for me!

    “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You…I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do [i.e., perfectly obeyed the law]. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:1-5

    It looks like Jesus was “glorified” on the basis of His works after all, just like Phil. 2:8-9 plainly states.

  43. pduggie said,

    November 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    “In Phil. 2:9 charizomai contextually means “gave,” “given” or “bestowed,” as it is translated in every reputable English version of the Bible that I’m aware of. The passage (and the rest of Scripture) doesn’t even hint that Jesus’ glorification was given as a gift of “grace.””

    That begs the question

  44. Jeff Cagle said,

    November 1, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Granted that χαριζομαι means “gave” without any necessary hint of reward.

    But the διο at the beginning of the sentence logically connects the action that Jesus took (humbling himself to the point of death on the cross) and the action that God took, giving the name above every name. Above and beyond the connecting word used, the obvious reversal of state (humiliation to exaltation) links these two actions together, with the one as the ground for the other.

    So we might quibble over whether it merits the term “merit”, but I think we can all agree that there is a quid pro quo, yes?

    Jeff

  45. pduggie said,

    November 1, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    But what Jesus receives is disproportional to the terms. Its inheritance, not wages.

    Its a mistake to say that a name above every name and high exaltation is an equal exchange for a equivalent service. NOTHING is due to service and humiliation, because otherwise they’re not servile or humiliating.

    God promises a disproportionate gift, and he gives it, but not in equal measure to the terms (then it isn’t a gift), but in trueness to himself as superabundant giver. And Silva (IIRC) argues that giftedness is implied in Phil 2:9

    Its not eisegetical. It’s perfectly reasonable to read Paul’s comments as a parenthetical remark on the way wages function to contrast it with grace in the courser of his argument, without establishing that There is no necessary compelling rationale in the text to believe Paul intends his statement about wages to reflect the actual theology of obedience to law.

    Even if I’m wrong, its still undemonstrated that Paul sees Jesus as providing wage-work obedience to law.

    John speaks of the work. You interpolate “works of obedience to law” but that’s not warranted. And its not necessarily commensurate with Paul’s usage. John tells us Jesus said that the “work of God” is to believe in the one who was sent. Plug that into Romans 4 and all kinds of problems result.

  46. November 1, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    #31

    Thank you, Rabbi.

  47. Roger Mann said,

    November 1, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    40: That begs the question.

    And that is just a silly statement. It hardly “begs the question” to point out that the context determines the meaning of a word in a given passage. Get serious. What’s illogical (a non sequitur to be precise) is to argue that since “graced” is one possible translation of charizomai, therefore Jesus was glorified as a gift of “grace.” That’s not a “good and necessary consequence” by any stretch of the imagination.

  48. pduggie said,

    November 2, 2007 at 6:44 am

    Well I already pointed out the logic of the passage that points to disproportionality. Its not equal exchange. In THAT context, “gifted” means “gifted”.

    But maybe I’m missing your meaning, and you’re complaining that I’m talking about “grace” as in favor in the face of demerit. Clearly, I’m not, since we’re talking about Jesus. But I am talking about gifts, and disproportionality.

    The use of the phrase “gift of grace” is not in contrast to demerit, but simply in contrast to equal exchange.

  49. Andrew Duggan said,

    November 2, 2007 at 7:42 am

    42: pduggie wrote:

    John speaks of the work. You interpolate “works of obedience to law” but that’s not warranted. And its not necessarily commensurate with Paul’s usage. John tells us Jesus said that the “work of God” is to believe in the one who was sent. Plug that into Romans 4 and all kinds of problems result.

    Sorry, but Scripture is not some sort of collection of simultaneous equations that you can just take one phrase from John and just plug it into a sentence from Paul. In fact, Paul, it could be argued that doing so is an abuse of a means whereby God makes himself known, in this case His Word.

    Have you considered the possibility that the reason why “all kinds of problems result”, is because your word/phrase substitution method is invalid? Shouldn’t exegesis be a little more thoughtful than just plug-and-play substitutions?

  50. pduggie said,

    November 2, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Also to clarify why I think it begging the question, I think that at best (for your position) the context is silent w.r.t the question of a disproportionally gifted or proportionally earned reception of exaltation. So the terminology of charizoma on its own is important to determine the thrust of what’s in view.

    charizomai is used elsewhere in Phil. to refer to gifts as well.

  51. pduggie said,

    November 2, 2007 at 7:55 am

    I agree Andrew. I’m trying to point out just that problem. When Jesus says he has done the work the father has given him to do, it is not at all apparent that his meaning of work is “hot swappable” :-) with the meaning of work in Romans 4.

  52. Roger Mann said,

    November 2, 2007 at 9:17 am

    42: But what Jesus receives is disproportional to the terms.

    The “terms” of the covenant (set by God Himself!) determine what is proportional, not your own personal opinion. If God agreed to glorify Jesus upon successful fulfillment of the “terms” of the covenant (the “work” He gave Him to do), then Jesus’ glorification is not only proportional but is owed to him as His due. It’s a matter of simple justice — and the charge that the reward is “disproportional” (as if there is some higher standard by which God is held accountable) blasphemes God’s justice. It’s equivalent to arguing that God is unjust to send a man to Hell (eternal death) for violating His law, because the punishment (which is eternal) is so “disproportionate” to the transgression (which is temporal). “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God?” (Rom. 9:20).

    “Instructive for the concept of justice is the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16). In particular, it illustrates the point that in administering a work contract, the amount of the stipulated wages is irrelevant to the question of justice. Those who worked the full day challenge the owner of the vineyard when they discover that the same pay they received was given to others who labored fewer hours. But they were rebuffed by the reminder that their employer had dealt with them exactly as their work covenant prescribed. To honor the covenant commitment was justice. Similarly, the higher rate of pay received by the others did not transform that transaction into one of ‘grace.’ It too was a payment of what was ‘right’ (v. 4). It was simple justice, no more, nothing other than justice” (Kline, “Covenant Theology Under Attack”)

    NOTHING is due to service and humiliation, because otherwise they’re not servile or humiliating.

    So, if you hire a man to clean your toilets and mop your floors (a “humiliating service” no doubt) for $15 an hour, you don’t think you owe him $120 at the end of an 8 hour work day? I’d love to see how that one turns out for you in a court of law, when the guy sues you for withholding his wages that are “due.” The point is, if “humiliating service” is part of the terms of an agreed upon covenant, then the reward is owed as what is “due” when the terms have been met.

    Its not eisegetical. It’s perfectly reasonable to read Paul’s comments as a parenthetical remark on the way wages function to contrast it with grace in the courser of his argument, without establishing that There is no necessary compelling rationale in the text to believe Paul intends his statement about wages to reflect the actual theology of obedience to law. Even if I’m wrong, its still undemonstrated that Paul sees Jesus as providing wage-work obedience to law.

    The text itself (Rom. 4:4) is pretty straightforward and unambiguous. What you are trying to make it say has to be read into it. Furthermore, since Paul consistently teaches that perfect obedience to the law results in “righteousness,” “justification” and “life” (Rom. 2:13; 7:10; 10:5; Gal. 3:12; etc.), the principle that “Scripture interprets Scripture” compels the rationale that when Jesus perfectly obeyed the law He earned “righteousness,” “justification” and “life” as the reward for His obedience. Indeed, no other reasonable conclusion can be drawn from Paul’s clear statement that God “‘will render to each one according to his deeds‘: Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; But glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:6-11). Note well that the reward for “continuance in doing good” is “glory, honor, and immortality” — precisely what was given to Jesus as the reward due for becoming “obedient to the point of death” (Php. 2:8-9). Eternal life/glorification is the reward due for fulfilling the law, just as eternal death/damnation is the penalty due for violating the law. You can’t have one without the other. God’s justice demands nothing less! And since “there is no partiality with God,” the reward that is due Jesus for fulfilling the law must be given to Him, or else God would be unjust and a liar (this is the absurdity that the FV heresy leads to!). If you insist on denying that God glorified Jesus “according to His deeds,” you’ll have to answer to God for that slander, not to me!

    John speaks of the work. You interpolate “works of obedience to law” but that’s not warranted. And its not necessarily commensurate with Paul’s usage. John tells us Jesus said that the “work of God” is to believe in the one who was sent. Plug that into Romans 4 and all kinds of problems result.

    Jesus said: “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me…” (Jn. 17:4-5). You’re not seriously arguing that the “work” the Father gave Jesus to do was merely a singular act of obedience that was unrelated to the law are you? You’ve got to be kidding! At the most, one could argue that the “work” Jesus fulfilled entailed more than simple obedience to the law (working miracles, healings, casting out demons, etc.). But since Jesus was “born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5), the “work” given to Him by the Father most certainly included His works of obedience to the law (that’s a “good and necessary consequence” by the way, not an “interpolation”)! If it didn’t include His works of obedience to the law (active and passive), then on what basis did He redeem us?

  53. Roger Mann said,

    November 2, 2007 at 9:50 am

    45: Well I already pointed out the logic of the passage that points to disproportionality. Its not equal exchange. In THAT context, “gifted” means “gifted”.

    I refuted the “disproportionality” argument in my last post, #49. So the context provided by Php. 2:8 still stands unchallenged.

    The use of the phrase “gift of grace” is not in contrast to demerit, but simply in contrast to equal exchange.

    Show me where Scripture uses the phrase “gift of grace” apart from demerit (which I’m not sure exists) and in contrast to “equal exchange,” and you may have somewhat of a point. But you’d still be flying in the face of the context provided by Php. 2:8 (and a host of other scriptures), so it doesn’t really mean a whole lot in and of itself.

  54. Jeff Cagle said,

    November 2, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I’m confused about what’s at stake here.

    It’s clear that Jesus obeyed the Father.

    It’s clear that his obedience is the basis for our justification.

    So if someone uses the word “earns” or “merits” to describe that situation, why should that be objectionable?

    I mean, I understand that some might take the term “merit” to mean something Anselmian, as if Jesus piled up a bunch of righteousness credits and then shoved them across the table to us. I can fully understand why we might not want to create precisely that picture: because it conveys a picture in which ethical norms and righteousness exist apart from God.

    But that’s NOT the only way that “merit” can be legitimately used. So what would be so wrong with using the word “merit”, or “earn”, and then clarifying in further words what that meriting or earning *means*?

    It seems like the right course of action is to put boundaries on how the Confession’s CoW should be interpreted (namely, that Jesus’ merit should be interpreted in the context of a covenant with the Father and in the context of being a blameless sacrifice), not to deny it entirely. No?

    Put another way: The law exposes the fact that we are subject to God’s wrath and heightens my guilt before Him. Jesus’ sacrifice propitiates God’s wrath on our behalf, as a satisfaction of my guilt under the law.

    Why then would it be wrong to say that Jesus earned my justification?

    Jeff

  55. R. F. White said,

    November 2, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Lane,

    To reinforce your point about the law of Mt Eden and the law of Mt Sinai–I find it instructive that the love commandment was violated by Cain, according to the apostle John in 1 John 3. He hated both God and his brother; he was required to love both. I don’t suspect any of us would propose that the love commandment as only given after the fall.

  56. R. F. White said,

    November 2, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Lane,

    As to whether the covenant of works was about Adam earning life, I would start by saying that Adam was blessed with this benefit at his creation. Yet, lest I be misunderstood, Adam had a future and final state of life into which he had to enter. As you pointed out, in light of 1 Cor 15, we can say that Adam’s obedience would have enabled him to move from his first, natural, earthly, protological state to his second and last, spiritual, heavenly, eschatological state. In other words, it seems to me that Paul is clear: Adam was not created in a final, eschatological state of life. There was a level of life for Adam yet to come and, in that sense, the covenant of works actually was about Adam earning life, albeit of an eschatological sort. As you and others know, Murray and Vos have both written helpful comments on this point.

  57. greenbaggins said,

    November 3, 2007 at 10:28 am

    Dr. White, as you say, Adam already “eternal life” if he obeyed. But he did not have eschatological life. We need to distinguish clearly between simply staying in the state in which he was created, versus entering the final glorified-body state. I agree.

  58. R. F. White said,

    November 3, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    Your post on the Kuyper quote reminds me that the rest-from-work was one expression of the level of life that he did not have at his creation.


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