've mentioned before that I am a member of the Fellowship of Reformed Evangelicals (FIRE). That organization has a very simple doctrinal statement that is Baptistic and Calvinistic but broad enough to include Sabbatarians and non-Sabbatarians; pre-, post-, and a-millennialists; congregationalist and elder-rule churches; and people of varying opinions on most secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues.
Four or five years ago a question arose within FIRE about the nature of the righteousness that is imputed to those who believe. Is it specifically Christ's righteousness, or is it the righteousness of God generally considered as an ethereal modality? Was Christ's perfect, lifelong obedience as a man born under the law (sometimes referred to as his "active obedience") any part of the righteousness that is imputed to us, or are we saved by His death on the cross ("passive obedience") alone?
What follows is a document I drafted in response to that controversy. If I recall correctly, this document was never formally adopted or published anywhere, because the conflict within FIRE was resolved by a simple appeal to the existing doctrinal statement. But the draft document enumerated several biblical reasons I am convinced Christ's whole life and deathand not His death onlywas an essential aspect of the atonement He provided for us. I decided to post the document here because I think lots of Pyro-readers might benefit from the abbreviated outline of key biblical issues related to the question of Christ's active obedience.
As noted in the closing paragraphs below, I'm not entirely happy with the way classic Reformed theology bifurcates the obedience of Christ into two parts. But I'm convinced it is a far more egregious error to adopt any doctrine that suggests our justification simply overthrows or eliminates the relevance of God's law rather than fulfilling it. I also think it is absolute folly to deny that Christ's lifelong obedience to the law has anything to do with the righteousness imputed to those who are united with Him by faith.
Here's the draft document: