14 September 2009

Active Obedience Revisited

by Phil Johnson



'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 death—and not His death only—was 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:

FIRE's doctrinal statement explicitly affirms the imputation of Christ's righteousness as the ground of justification:
We believe the elect, who are called by grace, are justified in the sight of God on account of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is received by faith alone.

Also expressly affirmed in the FIRE statement of faith (under the heading "Christ Our Representative") is the principle of Christ's active obedience, meaning that Christ's whole lifetime of perfect conformity to God's law was an integral part of the vicarious work He did for His people:
We believe that God sent His Son into the world, conceived of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, unchangeably sinless, both God and man, born under the law, to live a perfect life of righteousness on behalf of His elect people. (emphasis added)

The doctrine of Christ's active obedience is currently under attack on several fronts:
  • It is a favorite target of those who advocate the so-called "New Perspective on Paul" (an increasingly popular position influenced by the writings of Anglican Archbishop N. T. Wright).
  • In 2001 a controversial article by Robert Gundry appeared in Christianity Today claiming "the doctrine that Christ's righteousness is imputed to believing sinners needs to be abandoned." (That article prompted a fine defense by John Piper in his book Counted Righteous in Christ).
  • The principle of Christ's active obedience has long been rejected by many in the mainstream of traditional Scofield/Dallas dispensationalism.
  • Norman Shepherd (whose controversial teaching seeks to modify the standard Reformed definition of sola fide) argues against the role of Christ's active obedience in our justification.
  • And the principle of Christ's active obedience has also lately been renounced by some of the proponents of "New Covenant Theology."

FIRE remains committed to the truth that Christ's lifetime of legal obedience was an essential aspect of his vicarious work on behalf of the elect. We affirm this doctrine not because of any doctrinaire commitment to Reformed tradition, creeds, or theological systems, but because we are convinced it is biblical. Here is a summary of some of the chief biblical reasons for holding fast to this doctrine:

  1. In Matthew 3:15, Christ explicitly said His baptism was necessary "to fulfill all righteousness." Those who deny Christ's active obedience are in effect claiming that nothing but the absence of sin and guilt is necessary to fulfill all righteousness. Of course, Christ was completely devoid of any sin or guilt; yet He insisted on undergoing John's baptism (symbolic of repentance) in order to "fulfill . . . righteousness." On whose behalf did He submit to this ordinance? Clearly He did not do it for His own sake. He had no need of repentance. But He was identifying with—and substituting for—His people. That is why He rendered an obedience that was by no means obligatory for His own sake, and yet He regarded it as necessary.
  2. Romans 10:4 says "Christ is the end ["telos"—the completion or the goal and fulfillment] of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." To deny the role of Christ's active obedience is to teach that the law and Christ's relationship to it are utterly irrelevant to the reckoning of righteousness to believers.
  3. In other words, those who deny Christ's active obedience are teaching that redemption is accomplished by the setting aside of the law's absolute demands, not by Christ's perfectly fulfilling the law on our behalf. That overturns the clear teaching of Christ in Matthew 5:17: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
  4. Second Corinthians 5:21 teaches that Christ's righteousness is imputed to believers in exactly the same sense that our guilt was imputed to Him. In other words, justification involves a double imputation: Just as our violation of the law was imputed to Christ, His fulfillment of the law is imputed to us. Any other view destroys the parallelism of that verse.
  5. Romans 5:19 clearly teaches that Christ's obedience is the ground of our righteous legal standing. Since a single act of disobedience makes a person disobedient by definition and sets the full weight of the law against him (James 2:10), the "obedience" of Christ in this context must include the whole course of His lifetime of obedience to God.
  6. A host of other verses also make legal obedience (not merely forgiveness) essential to true righteousness. "And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us" (Deuteronomy 6:25; cf. Psalm 15:2; 106:3; 119:172; Proverbs 12:17; Isaiah 58:2; Romans 6:16; 8:4; 10:5). The distinction often made between "active" and "passive" obedience does not nullify this point: righteousness and obedience are inextricably linked in Scripture. A perfect righteousness clearly requires something more than just the forgiveness of sin.
  7. To deny the role of Christ's active obedience in justification is to distort what Paul meant when he described believers as "in Christ"—united with Him in such a way that our very life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We are clothed in His perfect righteousness—not merely stripped of our guilt (Isaiah 61:10). Indeed, Christ is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30). Furthermore, Christ's "righteousness" consists not merely in His sufferings, but in all his actions (1 John 2:29).
  8. Philippians 2:8 suggests that Christ's obedience only culminated in His death. The full scope of the obedience He rendered on our behalf was manifest in His whole life, not merely in His dying. See also Romans 8:3-4.
  9. Christ became man for us, not for Himself (2 Corinthians 8:9); and therefore the obedience He owed to the law was for us, not for Himself (Galatians 4:4).
  10. Scripture teaches that God's own righteousness involves numerous positive elements—His goodness, His love, His mercy, and so on. So God's righteousness (Romans 10:3) is certainly something more than merely the absence of guilt.
  11. The law's promise of life to those who obey would seem to be pointless if Christ somehow obtained life for us without obeying the law on our behalf. Why else would the law promise life for obedience (Leviticus 18:5; Ezekiel 20:11; Luke 10:28)? Note that the law promises life not to the one who suffers, but to the one who obeys. If Christ's active obedience has no relevance to our justification, those promises would add up to nothing but an empty, pointless bluff.
  12. The context of Philippians 3:9 makes clear that the ground of the believer's justification is an alien righteousness, not any degree of righteousness we obtain for ourselves. To deny that this is the righteousness of Christ is to diminish His unique role as our proxy, our mediator, and our substitute.

There are also several important theological reasons for affirming the role of Christ's active obedience in our justification:

  1. Denying Christ's active obedience sets one on a course that inevitably leads to a minimalist, downgraded view of justification. That is why so many of the leading critics of "active obedience" have concluded (quite logically, given the arguments they employ) that nothing positive is imputed to believers at justification. They teach instead that justification is nothing more than the forgiveness of sins, period. That kind of justification would leave believers with no better standing than Adam had before the fall.
  2. To portray justification as forgiveness only without any positive imputation is to undermine the biblical doctrine of the atonement. That view actually contains an echo of the Socinian argument, by claiming that merit is unnecessary where you have satisfaction.
  3. Some who deny the vicarious efficacy of Christ's active obedience have embraced a principle that is inherently antinomian. The law of God did not need to be fulfilled on our behalf, they say. It was simply overturned and abolished. Thus they relegate the law of God to complete irrelevancy as far as redemption is concerned.
  4. Others who deny the vicarious efficacy of Christ's active obedience teach a kind of neonomianism. They make the believer's own legal obedience a condition of final justification. This is a form of works salvation.
  5. Justification is a richer, fuller concept than forgiveness. (Christ Himself was "justified in the Spirit"—1 Timothy 3:16.) Justification is a declaration that God regards the believer as fully righteous, perfectly faithful, wholly acceptable to Him. It is not merely an edict that the believer is free from the penalty of sin. To eliminate the declaration of righteousness from our concept of justification (or to tone it down by redefining it as a pronouncement of forgiveness only) is to miss the profoundest aspect of the biblical doctrine of justification (Romans 3:22; 4:6, 11, 22-25; 1 Corinthians 6:11; see also Isaiah 54:17; Daniel 9:24). In effect, any denial of the efficacy of Christ's active obedience renounces the very heart and soul of Reformation theology.

For all those reasons we regard any denial of Christ's active obedience as a serious and significant departure from orthodoxy. It diminishes the biblical meaning of justification, waters down the biblical definition of righteousness, and attenuates the biblical doctrine of substitutionary atonement.

While we see a legitimate distinction that can be made between Christ's active and passive obedience, we deny that these aspects of Christ's obedience can be bifurcated in any way that makes one or the other unnecessary. The righteousness of Christ is a seamless garment. We refuse to divide what should not be divided. When Scripture speaks of Christ's obedience as the ground of our justification (Romans 5:19), it clearly comprises all the obedience He rendered to God (cf. Hebrews 5:8).

Therefore it is our strong conviction that Christ's perfect life of obedience as a man was rendered to God on our behalf, and that any denial or diminishing of this truth that is a disavowal of the plain meaning of the FIRE statement of faith.


Phil's signature

50 comments:

J♥Yce said...

1 Peter 1:19 & Treasury of Scripture Knowledge correlating verses?

Sorry about the delete ~ referenced incorrect title.

Reformed and Renewed said...

godly obedience as I have come understand it has to be consistent, ongoign and assisted by Repentance. Really good article.

vimto1 said...

Like other topics I sometimes wonder what polemical element there is in Reformed positions. In this case (perhaps)the need to distance ourselves from the Catholic doctrines with their emphisis on the sufferings of Christ.

Having got the truth of substitutionary atonement we then narrow ourselves down to nail the truth to the cross without regard for the condition of the active obedience of Christ without which the cross would lose it's power.

Surely Christ lived and died for the Gory of His Father and the salvation of our souls.

Thank you for the continued sense and sensibilites of this site.

Luke said...

"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."

Piper identifies this as one of the key differences in the current debate about Justification. It's good to see this specific issue getting blogtime.

I recommend The infinite Merit of Christ by Craig Biehl.

DJP said...

Thanks, Phil. What a good, solid study.

Minds me of the fact that some (all?) of the church's best defining work has been done in response to challenges. Like, oh... Galatians!

Chad V. said...

Honestly, if one forsakes the imputation of Christ's active obedience then one forfeits the right to call one's self a Christian. It's that simple.

Scott Shaffer said...

Thanks Phil.

Can you give some links or references to classic dispensationalists who reject the necessity of Christ's active obedience?

olan strickland said...

Amen and very well said Phil!

"Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law" (Romans 3:31)

donsands said...

What a thorough teaching. Thanks. Very edifying, and Christ glorifying.

neur0n said...

Scott Shaffer,
perhaps this link will be useful
Vicarious Law Keeping"
(please don't hold me accountable for the scandalous page title.

Mike Riccardi said...

Really beneficial, Phil. I thought of this discussion yesterday in church as we sung the opening lines of "On Christ the Solid Rock."

My hope is built on nothing less,
than Jesus' blood
(passive) and righteousness (active).

Sam Chevre said...

This is a debate I've been trying to sort out for a while.

Does "imputation of the active obediance of Christ" (with which I think I would agree) imply "sanctification is a work of God alone, just as justification is" (with which I pretty strongly disagree)?

It seems that the two are often closely linked.

Jugulum said...

DJP,

Yes, I love the summary line: "Heresy is the seed of orthodoxy."

Or the more accurate (but clunkier) version:
"Heresy is the seed of the clear articulation of orthodoxy."

Phil Johnson said...

Sam: "Does "imputation of the active obediance of Christ" (with which I think I would agree) imply "sanctification is a work of God alone, just as justification is" (with which I pretty strongly disagree)?"

No, not at all. The imputation of Christ's obedience pertains to justification, not sanctification.

Chad V. said...

Phil

Actually, wouldn't it be right to say that in a particular sense it does? Not in regard to our progressive sanctification but in the sense that Christ is our sanctification 1 Cor1:30, 1 Cor 6:11. Wouldn't it follow that our having been sanctified by our union to Christ the imputation of his total obedience is precisely what fits us to approach the Throne of Grace with boldness and is the bed rock of the the priesthood of the believer? That aspect of sanctification, the fact that we are sanctified, that is we are made holy in the sight of God is entirely the work of God.

Jugulum said...

Chad,

It sounds like you're talking about the difference between the systematic theology definition of "sanctification", as opposed to the wider range of ways that "sanctified" is sometimes used in Scripture.

We talk about sanctification as the work of progressively transforming us. The "present" part of "being saved". But the Bible also talks about how we "were" sanctified, which is a different sense.

It looks like Phil was using the term in the systematic-theology sense.

Chad V. said...

I understand, but I think the sense that I brought out is equally critical and many Christians either overlook it or are unaware of it altogether. Paul makes the distinction to the Corinthians so I thought I'd ask about it.

Johnny Dialectic said...

A careful and well laid out study here, though in the end I do find Lehrer and Volker ("Examining the Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ") more persuasive. Many of the interpretive moves in this post are less than clear: e.g., telos as "completion" rather than "end"; "made sin" as opposed to "sin offering" (see, e.g., NIV footnote; cf. Septuagint OT usage). Still, much fodder for study, which is a good thing.

olan strickland said...

Without the active obedience of Christ there would have been no resurrection and therefore no justification. Our justification is an impossibility apart from the resurrection but Christ's resurrection was an impossibility apart from His active obedience.

To divorce the active obedience of Christ from His death and resurrection is to distort the gospel. The only sense in which the death of Christ can be substitutionary is for the life of Christ to have been in sinless fulfillment of the precepts or priniciples of the Law.

Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes because He is its fulfillment and completion and not its nullifier. This is precisely why the apostle Paul said that we do not nullify the Law through faith but actually ESTABLISH it!

Scott Shaffer said...

neur0n,

Thanks for the link. I've visited this particular site before. I haven't had time to read the entire link, but I did notice the following:

The 1999 document entitled, The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration (signed by many leading Evangelicals including Hybels, Hayford, MacArthur, Robertson, McCartney, Swindoll, Lucado, Stott, Ankerberg, Neff, Stowell, Stanley, etc.) expressly states:

God's justification of those who trust in him, according to the Gospel, is a decisive transition, here and now, from a state of condemnation and wrath because of their sins to one of acceptance and favor by virtue of Jesus' flawless obedience culminating in his voluntary sin-bearing death.

It later adds:

We affirm that Christ's saving work included both his life and his death on our behalf (Gal. 3:13). We declare that faith in the perfect obedience of Christ by which he fulfilled all the demands of the Law of God on our behalf is essential to the Gospel. We deny that our salvation was achieved merely or exclusively by the death of Christ without reference to his life of perfect righteousness.

Clearly, this statement perpetuates the erroneous idea that our justification is based upon Christ's legal obedience in life as well as His death and resurrection.


I found it interesting that the document they cite was apparently endorsed by Chuck Swindoll former DTS president, John Stott, and John MacArthur. I'll wade through the link later tonight.

donsands said...

""made sin" as opposed to "sin offering""

That is an interesting inspired verse for certain.

Christ was made sin. Why did Paul, through the Spirit leave out the word offering?

I think because Christ's atoning Death was more than simply an offering. He was made a curse for us.

The depth and width, and height, and vastness of the meaning of the Cross is beyond comprehension in one sense, and yet the simplicity of our sins being imputed to Jesus, and His righteousness being imputed to us is 20-20 vision for me.

Craig and Heather said...

I think God picks my brain and then prompts other bloggers to write.

Often I contemplate the oh-so-fine line between working out my salvation and working for salvation.

And the concept that only those who keep God's commands will be able to be with Him eternally has been a difficult aspect of scripture to really wrap my mind around. It was really frightening because I was left saying the same thing as the disciples. "Then, WHO could possibly make it?"

The only conclusion I could make was that because Jesus DID fulfill the Law, God must somehow accept His perfect obedience as a substitute for my own imperfect attempts at doing the right thing.

Until recently, I had not heard about the concept of "double imputation". There is a Youtube clip of RC Sproul explaining the exchange. And watching it caused a light to finally go "on" in my own mind. He made the concept so simple--and the explanation made perfect sense!


If Jesus only paid the price for my sins, I would have a clean slate. But my righteousness still would not surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees.

How to accomplish this seemingly impossible task? The second transfer of Christ's perfect obedience to my own account!!!!!

With man, it is impossible to enter the Kingdom. But God made a way through Jesus Christ :o)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IapqqQ45Q4w&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fonmysoap-box.blogspot.com%2Fsearch%2Flabel%2FRC%2520Sproul&feature=player_embedded

ezekiel said...

Is the amplified version giving me the wrong impression? It reads to me as sanctification being something completed or past tense just as justification does. Is this wrong?

John 17:19

Hebrews 2:11

Hebrews 10:10

Chad V. said...

ezekeil

There is a sense in which your observation is true. See also 1 Cor 6:11. By justification we are made holy in the sight of God. In that sense sanctification is a one time act. We are fully sanctified in the sight of God by Christ's finished work.

There is another sense in which we are growing in sanctification, as we grow in personal holiness being conformed more and more to the image of Christ.

Sir Aaron said...

I don't really understand the logic of those that deny that Christ's lifelong obedience to the law has anything to do with the righteousness imputed to us (believers). It seems to me to be straightforward that it has everything to do with it.

Mike Riccardi said...

I'm with you, Aaron. And on top of that, I can't figure out why anyone would want to deny such good news.

greglong said...

Mike and Aaron,

Because that's what they believe the Bible teaches. See the link neur0n posted above.

Sir Aaron said...

Greglong: I read the article nueron posted, and I still don't get their logic.

They ascribe an incorrect reason as to why Jesus' obedience to the law was important.

ezekiel said...

Thanks Chad V!

olan strickland said...

Sir Aaron: I read the article nueron posted, and I still don't get their logic.

That's because what they are teaching is illogical and unbiblical. In their attempt to establish faith they nullify the Law in contradiction to Romans 3:31 and in the end become antinomians.

Chad V. said...
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Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donsands said...

Thanks for that great video of Dr. Sproul Heather, or Craig maybe. Excellent. Very edifying.

I agree with Phil's excellent teaching of the Scripture's in this post.

But perhaps this deep subject of Scripture is a hazy area, and we need not separate over the disagreements here.

Just thinking out loud.

Others stand on Scripture as well, and disagree.

" I believe passionately that scripture must be the judge of all our traditions, no matter how venerable, and that the way ‘imputation’ has developed as a particular major theme in some protestant theology may be one of those traditions that needs reassessing in the light of scripture itself (not just of what our traditions traditionally tell us that scripture says!)." NT Wright

Craig and Heather said...

Thanks for that great video of Dr. Sproul Heather, or Craig maybe. Excellent. Very edifying.

You are very welcome!


Guess I should remember to sign my comments.

Heather

Chad V. said...

donsands

This doctrine is precisely what the Reformers separated from Rome over.

greglong said...

Chad V says:

It usually comes from either a hatred for God's law or a love for their own righteousness. Either one is as bad as the other.

Why must you ascribe the worst possible motives to those with whom you disagree? Do you REALLY think that all who hold the opposite position only do so because they hate God's law or love their own righteousness?

Why could it not be that they really believe that is what the Bible teaches?

lawrence said...

Excellent article.

Sir Aaron said...

Pushing aside that active obedience is imputed to us, isn't active obedience required to be the perfect sacrifice? Don't first need the active obedience before the passive obedience is possible?

olan strickland said...

isn't active obedience required to be the perfect sacrifice?

Yes indeed! This was the purpose of the virgin birth of Christ so that the active disobedience of Adam would not be imputed to Him so that He could achieve active obedience and become the perfect sacrifice.

Christ was born of a woman (without the agency of a man), born under the Law.

It is on the basis of Christ's active obedience that He was raised from the dead proving Him to be righteous and His death sacrificial and proving God to be just in all His dealings.

Phild with joy said...

First time posting
Thanks so much for your articles.
A real blessing.

Just read this at "against heresies blogspot"

Hope it is on topic

- Two brothers were talking one day. One of them had made a great success of his business career and had amassed a fortune. The other brother had made one bad decision after another and in the end racked up debts that he had no way of paying for.

One day, as they are talking together, the brother with the debts tells the other of his folly and shame.

The millionaire brother takes out his cheque book and asks "How much do you owe?" He then writes out a cheque and hands it to his brother and says "all your debts are cleared."

Taking hold of the cheque, with a lump in his throat, the other brother says "how can I ever find words to express how much your kindness means to me."
And yet, as wonderful as this would be, it is not enough to adequately illustrate the gospel.

Revisit the scene:

One day, as they are talking together, the brother with the debts tells the other of his folly and shame. The millionaire brother...paused...and said "let's swap bank accounts. I will take your debts and you may have all my riches."

That is the gospel.

Hope it helps
Phil

Chad V. said...

graglong

Notice I said usually. Perhaps I could have said often . It's not a universal assertion. There are those who are simply learning and wrestling with proper doctrine.

But there are those whose very profession is to make a studied rejection of the truth and seek to undermine it. That's the focus of the post and that's the focus of my comment.

greglong said...

(You might think by the way I've posted in this thread that I disagree with Phil. I'm not sure that I do. But I want the "other side" to be fairly represented here.)

Sir Aaron wrote:

Pushing aside that active obedience is imputed to us, isn't active obedience required to be the perfect sacrifice? Don't first need the active obedience before the passive obedience is possible?

You're somewhat confusing the issue. Some of those who disagree with the perspective Phil presented here do not deny Christ's "active obedience" (as many have pointed out, the distinction of "active obedience = sinless life" and "passive obedience = death" is not biblically warranted). In fact, what you said, is exactly what they believe--that his sinless life was necessary for Him to be the perfect sacrifice for sins.

However, they believe that a man is not justified by the works of the Law--even by one who kept the Law completely--but only the death of Christ (Rom. 3:25; 4:5; Gal. 2:16; 3:11).

But Phil's article raises some great points, and is very helpful.

olan strickland said...

greglong: However, they believe that a man is not justified by the works of the Law--even by one who kept the Law completely--but only the death of Christ (Rom. 3:25; 4:5; Gal. 2:16; 3:11).

But Greg, don't you see that this statement and reasoning nullifies the Law rather than establishes the Law in an attempt to establish faith? What is this group doing with Romans 3:31?

Even Romans 3:25 does not lend any credence to the argument against Christ's active obedience to the Law being necessary for our justification because the word used in that verse for propitiation is the same word used for mercy seat in the O.T. Inside the Ark of the Covenant was the unbroken Law illustrating that the Sacrifice would fulfill and keep perfectly the Law for those who hadn't.

The apostle Paul was showing those who thought that he was preaching against the Law that in reality he wasn't and that faith doesn't nullify the Law but establishes it. Any faith that doesn't establish the Law isn't Biblical saving faith!

No man is justified by works of the Law and he can't be because he can't keep the Law being a sinner. But that doesn't mean that we aren't justified by faith in the One who did uphold the Law. It is on this basis that faith establishes the Law just as Romans 3:31 says.

Chad V. said...

greglong

First off, I want to apologize if you took personal offense at my comment. I assure you it wasn't directed at you and the words may have been ill chosen given the fact that we are clearly having a discussion with people who hold the contrary view to whom I would not wish to ascribe such motives.

So I'll take it down. At least future readers wont be de-railed by it.

Those texts you cite are in the context of sinners trying to be justified by their own obedience to the law. What is righteousness except obedience to God's law? Now does not the bible also say it is not the hearers of the law who shall be justified but the doers of the law? Rom 2:13

No one can be righteous before God without being obedient to the law. Christ's death would only make us forgiven, but not righteous. How can we be united to Christ, be in Christ but not partake of the very thing which makes him righteous?

Ploughed Ground said...

What do we do about people who are Hyper Calvinists yet deny it (Hoeksema followers). Sovereign Grace Baptists in the mould of Gill who rubbish the Synod of Dordt and claim to be '5 pointers'. Landmarkists that claim to be God's people yet hate the name 'Reformer'. and people whom claim Christ on paltalk.com yet act out of nastiness, meaness to the lost and crucify Arminians by banning and dotting.

Johnny Dialectic said...

greglong, very well stated and respectful objections.

Stefan said...

Olan:

Thanks for your comments here. I had a couple of "aha" moments reading what you wrote.

Chad V. said...

ditto

Chad V. said...

Olan said;

"Any faith that doesn't establish the Law isn't Biblical saving faith!"

Precisely.

brooks456 said...

You mentioned that many of the tradition that comes from the Scofield/Dallas dispensationalism reject the teaching about active obedience. What do the professors at the Master's Seminary teach about this issue? Does the Master's Seminary have a position about this in their doctrinal statement?