Monday, July 12, 2010

God is inflexibly just, and His law makes inexorable demands that Christ satisfied

In my studies of justification and atonement over the past few months, I have come to the following summarizing conclusion: We must take the highest and most exalted view of God's glorious, holy character, and His perfect, eternal, immutable Law. Our understanding of every area of life--economics and history, no less than soteriology and ecclesiology--must begin with the assumption that God is absolutely sovereign over every square inch of reality, and His Word is sufficient for all areas of life and thought.

We exalt Christ, the cross, and the Gospel, when we affirm that God's Law-Word makes demands on every speck of our existence--physical and material, as well as spiritual and intellectual. God is sovereign over all individuals and entire nations, no less than over churches and families. Furthermore, we are utterly incapable of rendering satisfaction to His requirements of perfect, perpetual, and personal obedience in every word, thought, deed, and motive. We must utterly renounce all confidence in ourselves and place all faith alone in the person and work of Christ alone, the very God of very God and very man of very man: His work of active obedience secures a perfect righteousness that is imputed to us, the spotless garment in which we must be clothed, as the ground of our acceptance with God; through His passive obedience, our sins are reckoned to Christ at God's sovereign tribunal, and Christ has paid the penalty for every violation.

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:" (Philippians 3:8-9).

"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10).

Christ has removed our guilt, or liability to punishment that accrues to our violations of God's Law; He has appeased God's wrath through the provision of the Father's great love in sending His Son to drink down every drop of divine justice; He has reconciled us to God by bearing our sins in His own body; and He has redeemed us out of bondage to sin, condemnation, Satan, the world, and death. Christ alone satisfies God's righteous standards through His penal substitutionary atonement, as the Father did not spare Him so that He could spare us.

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is now seated at God's right hand, ruling as the Prince of the kings of the earth, and making intercession day-by-day as the Advocate for His people. Having performed His priestly function of offering Himself to God as a perfect, spotless sacrifice of infinite value when He shed His own blood and died for us, Christ rose again to ascend into glory and reign as the exalted Victor over history and throughout all eternity.

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).

"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:5-6).

1 comment:

  1. I think you have a wrong view of imputation:

    In my study on this topic of imputed righteousness, the Greek term “logizomai” is the English term for “reckon/impute/credit/etc,” (all terms are basically equivalently used) and when I look up that term in a popular lexicon here is what it is defined as:

    QUOTE: “This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.”

    The lexicon states this term first and foremost refers to the actual status of something. So if Abraham’s faith is “logizomai as righteousness,” it must be an actually righteous act of faith, otherwise (as the Lexicon says) “I am deceiving myself.” This seems to rule out any notion of an alien righteousness, and instead points to a local/inherent righteousness.

    The Lexicon gives other examples where “logizomai” appears, here are some examples:
    Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude [logizomai] that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

    Rom 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted [logizomai] as a gift but as his due.

    Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon [logizomai] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Rom 8:18 For I reckon [logizomai] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    Notice in these examples that “logizomai” means to consider the actual truth of an object. In 3:28 Paul ‘reckons’ faith saves while the Law does not, this is a fact, the Law never saves. In 4:4 the worker’s wages are ‘reckoned’ as a debt because the boss is in debt to the worker, not giving a gift to him. In 6:11 the Christian is ‘reckoned’ dead to sin because he is in fact dead to sin. In 8:18 Paul ‘reckons’ the present sufferings as having no comparison to Heavenly glory, and that is true because nothing compares to Heavenly glory.

    To use logizomai in the “alien status” way would mean in: (1) 3:28 faith doesn’t really save apart from works, but we are going to go ahead and say it does; (2) 4:4 the boss gives payment to the worker as a gift rather than obligation/debt; (3) 6:11 that we are not really dead to sin but are going to say we are; (4) 8:18 the present sufferings are comparable to Heaven’s glory.
    This cannot be right.

    So when the text plainly says “faith is logizomai as righteousness,” I must read that as ‘faith is reckoned as a truly righteous act’, and that is precisely how Paul explains that phrase in 4:18-22. That despite the doubts that could be raised in Abraham’s heart, his faith grew strong and convinced and “that is why his faith was credited as righteousness” (v4:22). This is also confirmed by noting the only other time “credited as righteousness” appears in Scripture, Psalm 106:30-31, where Phinehas’ righteous action was reckoned as such. This is confirmed even more when one compares another similar passage, Hebrews 11:4, where by faith Abel was commended as righteous.