Sunday, August 8, 2010

R.J. Rushdoony: God is sovereign and determines the standards of judgment and grounds of forgiveness

"Forgiveness in Scripture is juridicial: it means charges dropped because satisfaction has been rendered. It can also mean charges deferred for the time being, as in Christ's word from the cross, concerning the Romans soldiers, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34). ...

"But even as true confession is unto God, so true forgiveness is also from God and on His terms. The church can administer God's forgiveness, but it cannot forgive on its own. Humanistic confession has been replacing the Christian, even as humanistic forgiveness has increasingly supplanted God's.

"God, as Creator and governor of all things, is the absolute lord or sovereign over all. His judgments are total and final because He alone is God, and all final reckonings are in His hands. This is the premise of Christian confession. We confess to God because He alone can grant us full absolution and forgiveness through Christ, and He alone can renew us and create a clean heart in us."

-R.J. Rushdoony, The Cure of Souls: Recovering the Biblical Doctrine of Confession (pp. 39-40)

"Cheap forgiveness means a cheap view of sin, and also of the atonement. Sin, being so costly in God's sight that it required the death of the incarnate Son of God, cannot be treated lightly by men. Moreover, because all sin is against God's law, sin cannot be dealt with in terms of how we feel about it, but must rather be dealt with in terms of what God says about it" (Ibid., p. 68).

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can you forgive yourself?

I have heard pastors say that we must forgive ourselves. However, I have not heard where this concept is found in Scripture.

God forgives us on the basis of Christ's penal substitutionary satisfaction in making atonement. And why do we need forgiven? Because we have violated God's Law, which is to say that we have committed cosmic high treason against the majesty and holiness of the sovereign, eternal, immutable, and supreme Ruler of the universe.

Sin is not a matter to be dealt with lightly, and neither is God's righteousness. God will render just judgment to everyone, and He will by no means clear the guilty. Our sins must have been imputed to Christ and He must have paid the penalty, suffering the curse through His infinite sacrifice on the cross, in order for us to secure an abatement of God's just judgment and punishment.

We are not free to set our own law by which to judge ourselves or to come to terms with our own violations, easing the guilt of our consciences, by means of our own invention. God alone sets the standard, and all sins are ultimately against Him. He alone can make provision for the removal of our guilt through the penal substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.

Do not look to yourself -- anything wrought within you, performed by you, or pronounced at your own tribunal. You may not forgive yourself. Unless Christ has satisfied God's justice pronounced against you -- and you receive and rest in Him alone through faith alone, repudiating every rival plan of pardon and acceptance before God -- you have no hope. Dressed in Christ's righteousness alone, you can be faultless to stand before His throne.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Francis Turretin: Justification by faith alone is of the greatest importance

This [doctrine of justification by faith alone] must be handled with the greater care and accuracy as this saving doctrine is of the greatest importance in religion. It is called by Luther “the article of a standing or a falling church.” By other Christians, it is termed the characteristic and basis of Christianity—not without reason—the principal rampart of the Christian religion. This being adulterated or subverted, it is impossible to retain purity of doctrine in other places. Hence Satan in every way has endeavored to corrupt this doctrine in all ages, as has been done especially in the papacy.

-Francis Turretin, "Institutes of Elenctic Theology," 2:633. (Quoted by Morecraft in "Authentic Christianity," vol. 2, p. 954.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Joe Morecraft: Christ by His blood satisfies, atones, propitiates, reconciles, and redeems

The only source of satisfaction, atonement, propitiation, reconciliation and redemption with reference to God is through the shedding of sacrificial blood. The word, “sacrifice,” is directed to the need created by the guilt of our sin. “Propitiation” refers to the need that arises from the wrath of God against sin. “Reconciliation” refers to the need arising from our alienation from God because of sin. And “redemption” or “ransom” is directed to the slavery to which our sin has consigned us.

-Joe Morecraft, "Authentic Christianity," vol. 2, pp. 73-74