The Nine Declarations Exposited

Jason Stellman is doing a stellar job expositing the Nine Declarations of the PCA report. Don’t miss it.

Psalms and Prophets, part 3

The next passage that Leithart deals with is Psalm 94. Leithart’s point here may be answered quite easily. He argues that “an appeal for God to judge the wicked is an appeal for Him to do something about the wicked, and an appeal to God to establish ‘righteous judgment’ is an appeal for Him to do something to save His people” (p. 220, emphasis original). His point here is that God does not mouth a verdict without action being the result. We can agree with this in every particular. What is not clear is how this affects his argument. No redefinition of justification to include definitive sanctification is necessary as a result of this point. God’s declaration has results: we have a changed status. Of course God’s declaration does something. In justification, we are de jure and de facto free from all condemnation. And that guarantees the verdict on the final day. (Aside: This is the problem with N.T. Wright’s formulation of final judgment on the basis of a life lived. Does this raise the possibility in Wright’s formulations that one can be truly justified, and yet not achieve final justification? If initial justification is based on Christ’s Person and Work, and it guarantees the final justification, then doesn’t Christ’s Person and Work ground our final justification as well? On the one hand, Wright says that initial justification is the final verdict brought into the present; on the other hand, he says that the bases of final and present justification differ. These statements cannot both be true. If one is simply the other, then they must have the same basis) As Leithart himself says, God’s Word is performative. Has any Reformed scholar since the Reformation been ignorant of this principle? How does that prove that the deliverance from sin that justification effects is anything other than a deliverance from the condemning power of sin only? Romans 8:1 sums up the consequence of justification: we are free from all condemnation. Freedom from the power of sin is part of sanctification, and is always imperfect in this life.