Banner

"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Contributors

  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

    top250.jpg

    Community Websites

    Monergism Books on Facebook

    Blogroll

    Latest Posts

    Categories

    Archives

    Ministry Links

  • « Sola Scriptura (Part 1) by Pastor John Samson | Main | The Marks of Cult »

    When Does Justification Take Place?

    Question: Mr. Hendryx, is justification predicated upon our confession? Do we have to do something before were justified? Can this not be misconstrued as a work of man that God condescends to? Where in the order of salvation does justification occur in relation to a person's confession. When does it take place in a person's life. I'm trying to teach the ordo salutis and I am kind of stuck on this. Does justification come before, during or after a profession of faith in Christ?

    Answer: Outstanding question. Lets be clear, it is Christ who justifies, not our faith. We boast in His grace to save, not our faith. But yes, the Scripture does assert that when the Holy Spirit unites to to Christ we appropriate the redemptive blessings of Christ (the alien righteousness) through faith. The Spirit uniting us to Christ and our faith are concurrant, yet it is the Spirit who illumines our mind, regenerates and unites to Christ as that which spiritually enables us to exercise faith. The texts, Acts 17:30 & 1 John 3:23, teach that we are commanded to repent and put our trust in Jesus Christ if we are to receive forgiveness. This, of course, does not imply the moral ability of the natural man to believe, so faith is not itself the cause of justification, but rather the grace of Jesus Christ is. We are justified, the text says BY GRACE through faith (Eph 2:8). Faith only takes hold of (appropriates) Christ and what He has accomplished. Grace is, therefore, ultimate while faith is only penultimate. Clearly the Bible specifically affirms that justification occurs at the same time we exercise faith (see Rom 3:28, Rom 5:1; Gal 2:16; Gal 3:8). So to answer your question, I believe a very good case can be made that justification actually occurs, in a historical sense, during a persons' confession (or belief). Justification, therefore, does not precede our confession. Prior to our confession, the Scripture says we were "by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." (Eph 2:3) There is indeed an experimental aspect to what Christ has accomplished for all time. Col 2:11-14 says,

    "In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.

    But since faith itself is the gift of God (Eph 2:8, Phil 1:29, 2 Tim 2:25, John 6:65), and since man is by nature morally incapable to draw from his own resources to reach God, apart from the Spirit, then faith cannot possibly be misconstrued as a work of man. God must first disarm our natural hostility, that is ....work the grace of regeneration (the new birth) in us that we would see with new eyes and believe with a new heart .... so regeneration (which makes us spiritually aware) precedes faith (John 1:13; 1 John 5:1) and is actually what gives rise to faith and the desire to please God. Thus, faith is not something produced by the will of unregenerate man (Rom 9:16. John 1:13). As the Cambridge Declaration confesses, "faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature."

    Some everyday examples of this could be understood as follows: A newborn baby has to breathe in order to live. Does this mean that the infant gave birth to himself? No, it does not follow. Lazarus obeyed the command of Christ to come out of the grave. Does this mean that he had the natural power to get up? Of course not. Jesus healed a blind man and he was able to see. Does the use of his eyes constitute a "cooperation"? No, because he could not have used his eyes unless Jesus did a supernatural work to change their very nature first. Can a farmer just throw seed on fallow ground and hope to have a full harvest? No, he must first plow up the fallow ground. Similarly, our stony heart will not believe unless they are first made flesh. We are commanded to believe and repent, and commanded to "come to Him" ... something we must do in order to be justifed in His sight ... but Jesus also says, "no one will come to me" (John 6:65). That is no one will come to Him UNLESS God takes the initiative to do something supernaturally or we would never have the moral capacity or desire in ourselves to do so. An unspiritual man does not engage in spiritual activity. We must first be born again. No where in the Bible is being "born again" spoken of in the imperative (or as a command). The new birth rather is something God does that we MAY believe. Flesh gives birth to flesh, Spirit gives birth to spirit, Jesus said. No one can see or enter the kingdom of God unless they are born again, according to our Lord.

    So the objections you may receive from your study need to be answered by scripturally showing the nature of man in his unregenerate state. That is, he/she is a person who does not have the Holy Spirit. A man without the Spirit does not understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14). Our preaching will fall on deaf ears unless the Spirit accompanies the gospel to open the ears of deaf unbelievers. This is because we are naturally deaf to spiritual things. When objections come, ask simply if a person can believe the Gospel apart from the work of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Thes 1:4, 5).

    J.W. Hendryx

    Posted by John on February 10, 2006 02:24 PM

    Comments

    John,
    I must respectfully disagree with you only in the way this is being explained. I believe as John Gill that we have to look at Justification in different ways. In other words Objective and Subjective. Yes, at conversion we relize our reconciliation and Justification, but other scripture tells us we were justified by His blood and reconciled by His death. We also must understand in the mind of God the lamb was slain and we were made exceptable and placed in Christ before the world was formed (Eph. 1)And as you quote the famous verse of wrath, I put the following example forward:

    Let us examine the full context of the passages being cited:
    Eph 2:1-7 NASB And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, (2) in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. (3) Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. (4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (7) so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

    If verse 3 is removed from its context and used by itself, it can appear as if Paul is teaching that regenerated Christians were at some point "children of wrath", that is, God's wrath. Because they did not believe in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, God directed His wrath toward them "even as the rest".

    Yet, this interpretation directly ignores the very next two passages:
    Eph 2:4-5 NASB But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

    God loves the elect "even when they are dead in their transgressions", and prior to being "made alive together with Christ". God loves the elect before regeneration just as He loves them after regeneration. In fact, God has always loved the elect, even before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-5).

    Paul begins the chapter by describing the experiential state of the unbeliever: "walking according to the course of the world", "living in lusts of the flesh", "indulging desires of the flesh". Any regenerated Christian can attest to their having walked in such a way before regeneration. Paul describes the experience of the elect prior to regeneration; he is not making a statement concerning God's viewpoint, but man's viewpoint in verse 3. Extending this idea, "children of wrath" is an experienced condition of the elect, not an objective position before God.

    The ultimate display of love is manifested in God sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross for wretched men (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9). Are we to believe that God hated those for whom He died on the cross? God forbid! Paul clearly teaches otherwise:
    Rom 5:7-8 NASB For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    While we were yet sinners (experientially "children of wrath"), God demonstrated His love for us in Christ's death. God has never hated His elected children!

    From Bornagain.net

    Just as it states in Ephesians that we were placed in Christ we also see in other scripture we were seperate from Christ. How can this be. This is how I understand Justification.

    Thank you for your faithfulness and articles.

    John

    John Gipson

    Thank you for your kind response. I am familiar with John Gill's view of these things and I do appreciate many of his excellent insights. We must remember to consider the context of the questioner, who was speaking of the ordo salutis, not so much when God considered him justified..

    you said >>>>Are we to believe that God hated those for whom He died on the cross? God forbid!

    John. Not hated, No one ever said this.... ... but indeed we did justly deserve His wrath. God is not an automaton or a machine. He can love those who are under His wrath and that is the very reason why He sent His son to save them in time from His wrath. Saved by God from God!!! I believe it isa faulty (imho) premise that those who have a different view than you must be forced to believe that God's "hates" those who are under His wrath.

    I agree with you that God loved his elect in Christ from eternity and from His perspective the were justified. However, I disgree with any interpretation that they are therfore justified, in time, prior to the work of the Spirit applying the work of Christ to them. God makes a covenant to solve this problem in time. Apart from uniting us to Christ by the Holy Spirit in history we indeed justly deserve the wrath of God. Would you argue that prior to belief we do not deserve God's wrath?

    If the elect are justified prior to faith then what is the point of believing? If they are already just, it would be totally unnecessary. But we all know that God uses historical means to accomplish his eternal purposes.

    God is not contained by time (part of His creation) so this is not an issue for Him ... but it is for us. God is both imminent and transcendent. Some scholasticism fails to look at the Scripture multi-perspectivally and only uni-dimensionally. Some look at it only from God's perspective (hypercalvinists) and some only from man's (Arminians), but God often reveals some of both to us in the Text and so we should also speak this way, I believe. Calvinism (as opposed to hypercalvinism and Arminianism) takes into account the whole counsel of Scriputure. we should stay close to the text and speak of happenings from various perspectives. Many misunderstandings come when one party speaks of the issue from the upper story and the other from the lower story .. but both have validity in the proper context.

    Election itself does not save anyone, but is a blueprint of the covenant that the Father makes with the Son to redeem (in time) those he has set his affection on for eternity. I believe this is why we can both be justly deserving of God's wrath and yet he still love us. I appreciate much of John Gill's work but I simply cannot agree with with persons who take this point and exclusively see man as justified from eternity, but fail to speak of it in time as well....and I am not alone. The majority of Reformed exegetes would part with that position.

    It also gives me pause to see the justified from eternity ONLY view really only presented on the web and elsewhere, by those who lean toward hypercalvinism. That alone does not disqualify it, of course, since that would be an ad hominem argument but it should make us sit up take notice at least, imho.

    John,

    Thanks for your kind response.

    If we begin to ask "when" a sinner is justified, then we have removed the question from eternity/objectivity and thrust it into history/subjectivity. Subjective justification cannot be defined without first recognizing the audience. There are as many potential audiences as there are minds. These include God (Rom 4:2, Gal 3:11), the justified man (Rom 3:28, Rom 10:10), other living men (Jam 2:24,25), all of creation (Rom 8:19, 2 Tim 4:8).

    Certainly the most important audience is God. One might ask "when is a person justified in God’s sight?" Because subjectivity is timely, we must look for a timely event that justifies the sinner before God. This of course is the Lord Jesus Christ’s death upon the cross.

    Rom 4:25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

    Rom 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

    The historical event of Jesus Christ’s death was the point at which God the Father’s wrath was appeased (Rom 3:25, 1 John 4:10, Col 2:14). It was the working out of the eternal decree, by which all saints are counted righteous before God.

    Subjective justification has a second important audience, which is the elected sinner. One might ask "when is a person justified in his own mind?" Once again, because subjectivity is timely, we must look for an historical event that justifies the sinner before his own mind. This point is God given faith. Faith, which is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1), is the "letter in the mail" which tells the sinner that he is righteous before God on account of Christ’s finished work.
    Rom 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified [present tense] by faith apart from works of the Law.

    Faith does not effect one’s position before God - this is the sole territory of Christ’s effectual work. Faith is subjective to the mind of the believer and affords him a view of his righteous standing in Christ before God.

    Gal 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

    Faith says to the man, "you are just in Christ!"

    Christ’s work says to God, "they are just in Me!"

    Faith depends on the work of Jesus Christ, whether faith looking forward (OT saints) or faith looking backward (NT saints). Faith is hinged upon the cross, which is hinged upon God’s eternal decree. Subjective justification before man requires subjective justification before God, which depends on God having decreed His eternal purpose to be fulfilled. Kyle

    Thank you
    John Gipson

    John Gipson:

    you said >>>>If we begin to ask "when" a sinner is justified, then we have removed the question from eternity/objectivity and thrust it into history/subjectivity. Subjective justification cannot be defined without first recognizing the audience.

    The person who originally asked me the question was not asking from God's perspective, but it was a question about the ordo salutis and how to explain the application of grace to those from an Arminian background who may not believe regeneration precedes faith. This is definitely a question about history and time and space ... not God's eternal decree. So context of whether this was objective or subjective was already established by the questioner.

    I agree ,,,What God sees from his perspective and what we see are entirely different. But you made no such distinction in your original reply to me, only stating that what I said was flat incorrect. Then I wrote that we have to view the Bible multiperspectivally, from both God's perspective and mans. So it is not wrong to say that we are justified when the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ in time. We live in a time space world and to this is the way it is for us.

    you said >>>>>Faith does not effect one’s position before God - this is the sole territory of Christ’s effectual work. Faith is subjective to the mind of the believer and affords him a view of his righteous standing in Christ before God.

    Agreed! of course it doesn't effect ones position before God, the grace of Jesus Christ does ... Faith is merely a witness of the work of grace that Christ has already done in someone in uniting them to Himself. But grace applied in history is what gives rise to that faith. I have no problem with your "subjective" and "objective" differentiation model, but I believe this is the same thing I was saying about seeing things perspectivally. So in this you and I are agreed.

    you said >>>>Faith depends on the work of Jesus Christ, whether faith looking forward (OT saints) or faith looking backward (NT saints).

    indeed also what I said in my original essay. The work of Christ is a necessary precursor to faith in the soul of the elect. Faith is not produced by our unregenrated human nature. We are united to Christ by the Holy Spirit. Faith doesn't make this happen, it is the infallible and immediate result of it. I am sure you and I would agree here as well.

    The grace of Jesus Christ is primary.

    Thanks John. I was not wanting to say you were flat wrong with what you said and I do apologize if it sounded that way. The issue I wanted to address is that Arminians and new christians get very confused with the idea that justification is by faith without understanding all things associated with justification. I know you have limited space and time to answer but scripture does state justification from both God's perspective and ours. It seems to me to make things make more sense. Yes I do indeed think we deserved wrath by nature in time. But was there ever a time we were destined for Hell. No, and I know you believe that. God does not change so we were never destined for wrath. I hope that made sense.

    Thanks John for your response and I won't eat up any more of your time. God bless you.

    John Gipson

    Believers are indeed justified and glorified eternally and in time.

    The elect were justified before the earth was formed. In time, they (the elect) will ALL ultimately come to the Lord according to His will.

    (Eph. 1:4,11; Rom. 8:29-30)

    John

    >>>Believers are indeed justified and glorified eternally and in time.

    Yes indeed we all agree about this. The lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. The covenant of grace therefore, is the ground of every sinners salvation from the fall of Adam onward.

    But the questioner was not asking about whether we were justified in eternity, but in the order of salvation where does justification fall.

    Shalom

    Sorry, perhaps I'm a little dense, but it still hasn't clicked with me how that regeneration can take place before one is justified. I know faith is God's gift of grace, and you assure us that the grace of justification is post our exhibiting the grace of faith, but if we're regenerated before we're justified, how is this reconciled?

    John D.

    That is an important question.

    The grace of Jesus Christ is mult-faceted, and does not merely consist of justification. Regeneration is also a redemptive blessing of Christ. The gift of faith does not come from a void but is one aspect of what Christ came to do for us because we could not do this for ourselves. "the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." (Rom 8:7)

    What we believe the Scriptures teach is that at the moment we are regenerated, we see the beauty and excellency of Christ, something an unregenerate person is incapable of doing. The gift of faith has to include a new desire and that means a new nature. When we are hostile to God by nature, that is not something we can change from our own resources. 2 Cor 2:14 says that a natural person cannot understand spiritual things. In fact spiritual things are foolishness to unspiritual man.

    Verse 12 says, Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God --that is, Jesus Christ and the gospel.

    Without the mind of Christ we cannot know Him. Without the Holy Spirit illumining our darkened minds, opening our blind eyes, unplugging our deaf ears we simply will not believe. Our natures must be changed.

    John 6:65 says that no one can come to Christ [believe on Him] unless the father grants it. and 6:37 says All the father gives to the SOn will come to him.

    verse 6:63 explains how this happens "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing"

    John 1:13 likewise says those who believe "were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

    "Born of God" is the same as regeneration. We were born again not because we exercised our will but were born of God that we might believe. Belief is not what makes us right with God, Jesus is. Belief is the result of Jesus changing our heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

    No one believes while their heart is still stone, while they are hostile to God by nature ... that is why Jesus said to Nicodemus, that one must first be born again if he is to see and enter the kindgom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit gives birth to spirit.

    The gift God gives us includes a change of our disposition. We do not need to be improved but need to be totally new.

    This is the historic positon of the Reformation which is believed by Luther, Calvin, Edwards the Puritans, Augustine, Spurgeon etc... Only in the last century has the church turned toward a synergistic gospel which believes that we can believe the gospel while still unregenerate.

    The will is in bondage to sin. Meaning that our affections are always for sin, unless Christ does a work of grace in us that enables us to believe. Faith is something we do, not something God does, and the only way we do this willingly is if we are born again. Faith sees the beauty and excellency of Christ and desires Him also recognizing that we have no hope in ourselves.

    An unregenerate person, by definition deos not have the Holy Spirit. Ask yourself, can a person believe the gospel apart from the Holy Spirit?

    Hope this helps
    John

    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" 1 Peter 1:3


    I happen to be going through a discussion specifically on this topic. The eternity vs time issue does cause brain cramps at times. The way I find it "easier" to look at is picturing eternity as a circle around a linear line which represents time. God is eternal and therefore is before, during and after our event of justification. But only with the view of the cross is this ratified. When justification in Eternity is presented as happening before creation, this is mere sophistry. When it is viewed with no beginning nor end, intersecting at all points at the cross, this is acceptable. Justification happenned at the cross. Before faith. Faith is a fruit of justification. There are numerous scriptures that speak of reconciliation happenning at the cross of Christ. Reconciliation happened because of justification. And Paul states this is because of Christs blood. I am not a particular baptist who heretically speak that some of Gods elect with never experience the faith of God in them. But God does not wait to justify His elect until the Holy SPirit gives them the gift of faith. This is like paying off my car, but the bank telling me I have to wait for the title. Scripture explicitly states that the elect were imputed/justified/reconciled at the time of Christs death. Samuel Trott has an excellent refutation of EJ in a letter he wrote to Beebe I believe. IT can be found here:

    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Lake/8890/grace/trottsjustification.html

    And Ken Wimer is spot on at Shreveport Grace church's website.

    http://www.shrevegrace.org/


    J.P>:

    you said>>>> "But God does not wait to justify His elect until the Holy SPirit gives them the gift of faith."

    Lets put our faith aside for a moment. Are you saying that God's elect are justified in a historical sense prior to the Holy Spirit uniting them to Jesus Christ? The application of redemption is not the result of our faith, but I would argue that it is a result of being united by the Spirit to Christ. A person must be "in Christ" to be justified. This occurs by a gracious historic act of the Spirit in time/space.

    It seems that such a view which leaves this historic element out could lead to non-Trinitarian theology.

    JH:

    John it could lead to that if the Spirits work of regeneration/faith is completely overlooked. Yes the Spirit brings to our conscious what has already been fully accomplished at the cross. But God justifed all His elect past, present, future at the cross. Just because i am unaware of my justification does not make me unjustified. To say Justication happens at reg/faith is equal to saying God still holds His elect under condemnation and guilt when it was already paid for. Adams sin is imputed prior to any knowledge of it, therefore we can conclde our justification is accomoplished before it is brought to our knowledge.

    God reconcilled His elect at the cross. Look at Romans 5 please:

    9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

    10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    Objective Justification happed here.


    5:16
    Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
    5:17
    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
    5:18
    And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
    5:19
    To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

    He cannot be reconcilled to anyone whom He has not justified.

    I hope this clarifes my position. AS I mentioned before, I do not leave out the work of the Holy SPirit in us, but what happens in us does not justify us. It is what the tiune God did at the cross that does.

    And BTW. I believe the vital eternal union of the elect in Christ.

    Did you read Trotts letter to Beebe and wimers writing?


    J.P.

    There is such a thing, I believe, as the application of redemption. No one here believes what happens "in us" justifies us. We are not Roman Catholics. We are justified, rather, because we are united to Christ. It is not an infusion or something that makes us righteous but we are declared righteous because we are brought into union with Christ, who lived the life we should have lived and died the death we deserved. We are counted righteous because we are united to him, not because of something done in is .. so we agree in part. Regeneration rather, is what is done in us and this by itself does not justify us even though it is part of work of redemption.

    you said this>>>>"To say Justication happens at reg/faith is equal to saying God still holds His elect under condemnation and guilt when it was already paid for."

    I can partly follow your argument here. If someone served time in prison for you, you would not have to serve that sentence, but in our case, the judge only declares it to our account when we are brought into union with Him. So while it may have been for us particularly, it is not granted us until we are "in Christ".

    When we are not in union with Christ, as was the case prior to the work of the Spirit, you cannot therefore say, in a historical sense, that we are declared righteous. God, of course, sees the end from the beginning but in time/space we must be united to Christ to be declared righteous. The imputation of His righteousness to us may happen in eternity in God's eyes, but historically it is a declaration as the result of our union.

    You quoted"

    5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    So, help me to understand, are you confessing that those who the Spirit has not brought into union with Christ are "in Christ"? The words 'in Christ" and our "union with Christ" are synonomous.

    It is important I believe not to try to speculate and speak as the Bible speaks which means we should speak of our justification variously both in time and in eternity. Something appears to be missing from whole counsel of Scripture when we speak of justification only from one perspective. Do not the Scriptures speak from various perspectives

    "a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified." Gal 2:16

    God indeed declares that the lamb was slain before the foundation of the world but he also speaks from our perspective that there is an actual time that we are united to Him by the Spirit. For example:

    "...in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    If you believe that the unregenerate are "in Christ" prior to union with Him then you and I will just have to disagreee.

    Anyway, thanks for the discussion.

    JH: We do not have to part ways so quickly. I would not treat such a subject as this with a flippant hit and run approach. I appreciate your thoughts and have benefited from your writings.

    AS far as our union with Christ. Scripture states the elect were given to Christ as part of the Covenant of Redemption. Sheep are always sheep. and goats are always goats and neither can cross the gulf. Perhaps the distinction lies in my understanding of the Spirits work in experimentally bringing the sinner, loved by God from everlasting to the realization that only by the grace of God one is what one is.

    God loved his people, and chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world. He loved them when they were dead when we were enemies of God. And he will love them forever. This is the union I speak about. Now to temper this, union does not equal justification. Hence, this union is the root that our justification flows from. Which scripture speaks about happening by His blood. At the cross. If I have eluded I am a confesser of EJ, I apologize becasue I am not per se' There is an eternal aspect to it, but Scripture overwhelmingly speaks of our justification at the cross, at Calvary.

    I see you did not address Romand 5. I connected that with 2 Cor because they speak of reconcilliation. Now until someone can explain to me how God could be reconciled with a person whom He has not justified, I am left with no other choice to believe this Justification happenned at the moment of reconciliation, which scripture states came through His precious blood.

    Eternity Past:

    1) Union in Christ
    2) Chosen in Christ
    3) Loved with an everlasting love


    Cross
    1) Guilty
    2) Imputed/justified/reconcilled


    Experimentally (experimentally)
    1) Regenerated Immediate without means
    2) faith
    3) Gospel conversion


    Like I said, if God holds a sinner under condemnation, while the penalty was already satisfied by Christ, this is an unfair God.

    J.P.

    Grace and mercy to you dear brother. You said: the "Spirits work in experimentally bringing the sinner, loved by God from everlasting to the realization that only by the grace of God one is what one is."

    In my understanding the Spirit does not merely bring us to a "realization" but actually brings us into union with Christ.

    From your perspective are those justified from eternity united to Christ (in Christ) even when they are unbelievers? Can an unbeliever be united to Christ?

    you said >>"if God holds a sinner under condemnation, while the penalty was already satisfied by Christ, this is an unfair God."

    The father elects us in Christ. But election itself does not justify. Election is merely a blueprint of what Christ accomplishes for us, which we are brought into union with in time by the Spirit. This means there is a time the elect are not yet in union with Christ. This does not mean God does not love us even when we deserve condemnation. So it does not make God unfair. We must be brought into union with Christ's satisfaction which, of course, will infallibly take place.

    Perhaps I misunderstand you but I frankly see no need for gospel preaching or conversion the way you understand justification. If the elect are already just then really what is the point? Who cares if they "realize" they are just or not? It almost sounds Barthian. BArth was a universalist and believed we should preach the gospel to all so they would realize they were already saved. I know you are not a universalist but the "realization" part has similarities, imho.

    The reason for conversion is that God declares us just in Christ when the Spirit actually brings us into union with Him. We are not declared just while still outside of Him.

    I understand your position, just disagree. There are aspects of what you say are true and we agree, only I think these aspects do not express the whole truth the way Scripture does. I wish I had more time to go into this more deeply but I am way too busy. It is not about being flippant, if you can imagine, there is a great deal of work involved with my family and ministries...

    It appears that the greatest difference in our positions is that I believe God uses means to accomplish His ends ... where your position appears to have no need of means. I cannot fathom a church which has a position like yours has much of a missions program, though I could be wrong about that....

    Solus Christus
    John


    JWH:

    I did not mean you were flippant, I did not want you to think I was!!! Anyway, this subject is much to grand to hash out in a blog. Suffice to say we do differ. I will offer one more comment and also thank you for your kind responses.

    The Triune Godhead all have distinct roles in our salvation. But do each have a role in each part? I am not convinced of this.

    13: But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

    Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

    In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

    I posted these 3 verses to show you where I get my understanding John. The Father elects (union in Christ)

    The son redeems us (Justification/imputation) by His blood

    The Spirit Regenerates us and converts us to a saving knowledge of the Truth.

    I will end here. Thank you for the time John. And Grace and Peace to you and yours.

    JPK

    John G. and JP

    I understand you believe that the Trinity have distinct roles in salvation but one of the main issues I see with the justification from eternity position is that it has aspects that are strikingly non-Trinitarian. For example, in your view many of the elect who are justified from eternity, do not have the Holy Spirit. They have Jesus but not the Holy Spirit. However, the Scripture makes plain that the Trinity works together and not at cross-purposes so that when one person of the Trinity takes action the others are intimately involved. But in this case, the justification from eternity only folks are saying the prior to the work of the Holy Spirit, the unbeliving elect are united to Christ. That is, united to Christ apart from the Holy Spirit. This is severely problematic. It is the Spirit who unites us to Christ. Can we have an unspiritual union with Christ? Simply Nonsense.

    I do appreciate the discussion but this is no small theological error.

    So if I am understanding you correct you are saying there is no union to christ before conversion? I ask you about adoption then. Would you not have to be in union to be a child or son of God? For example:

    Divine adoption, or sonship, took place before any work of Christ was wrought in time, for any of the sons of men; it was before his incarnation and birth; forasmuch then, or because "the children are partakers of flesh and blood", the children of God, who are so by adopting grace; therefore "he also", Christ, "himself took part of the same"; for though the nature he assumed was what was in common to all mankind, yet he assumed it with a peculiar view to the children of God, the spiritual seed of Abraham; whose nature he is said to take, and for whose sake he was the child born, and the Son given, (Isa. 9:6; Heb. 2:14, 16) and in consequence they must be the children of God before Christ suffered and died; and, indeed, he suffered and died for them under this character, considered as the children of God by adopting grace; for he died not only for the elect of God among the "Jews, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad"; that is, those who were already the children of God by adopting grace, who were scattered throughout the whole Gentile world.

    This relates to the gathering of all the elect in one, in Christ, in the dispensation of the fulness of times; when Christ suffered as their Surety, Head, and Representative; and when they were all considered as the children of God, whether in heaven or on earth, and whether among Jews or Gentiles, (Eph. 1:10; John 11:51, 52) and in order to bring these many sons to glory, it became him to be made perfect through sufferings, and that through his redemption of them thereby, they might receive, actually in their own persons, the adoption before provided for them, as before observed; see (Heb. 2:10; Gal. 4:5).(Taken from John Gill on adoption)

    I am not sure who JP is but I do not believe there is a seperation of the Trinity. They all are involved in all aspects of our salvation all the way from the everlasting covenant.

    John Gipson

    John G:

    We affirm that there is no unspiritual union with Christ. It is the VERY nature of an unbeliever that he is unspiritual, i.e. does not have the Spirit of Christ. To say that our union with Christ is void of the Holy Spirit is contradictory. On the one hand you believe that unbelieveing elect are united to Christ but on the other you acknowledge they do not have the Holy Spirit. Huh? So the unbeliving elect are united to Christ even without the Holy Spirit? I.e. an unspiritual union.

    The perspective of union with Christ occurs in eternity for God, but for us it is in time. Eternity and time meet concurrantly. And since we view things from time there is an actual time when we are not united to Christ.

    What John Gill said in your uquote is irrelevant to this question. We all agree the Jews were saved by shadow of the cross that does not take time into account. When they are united to Christ by the Spirit, God declares them just because they are in Christ and counted righteous in Him. The issue is when were in time/space they UNITED to Christ? Union with Christ is spiritual, not unspiritual. The Holy Spirit brings us into union with Him in time. We may be elect in Christ from eternity from God's eternal view ...but it is the Spirit who brings us into union with Christ in time so that we are declared righteous in Him. It is error to speak are is we were also outside of time as well and should therefore present the gospel as if we somehow are only "realizing" that we are already justified. The Bible does not speak to us in this way. It may give glimpses of God and eternity but commands us to herald the gospel and command all men everywhere to repent and believe for the forgivenss of sin. There is no need to do so if they already are.

    The hypercalvinistic view is no small error, imho, and one of the greatest ways to throw water on the fire of world missions and evangelism. A historic reality.

    It is like a friend of mine who asked me that since it is God's decree that there are bad churches out there, we should probably do or say nothing about it because it is God's will. But the Scripture gives us a different picture. We expose bad doctrine because this is his revealed will to us even if he decreed it to take place otherwise. We are not to pry into God's decree and determine how to share the gospel from there. God not only decrees the ends but also the means...He uses means (prayer, preaching etc.) to accomplish His ends. We cast forth the seed of the gospel to which the Holy Spirit germinates, so to speak. Regeneration is also a redemptive blessing from Christ on the cross. Union occurs in eternity for God, but for us it is in time. Eternity and time meet concurrantly.


    I agree that we in time do not relize our union. I do not understand your comment of an unspiritual union. If we are made acceptable in the beloved before the foundation of the world my claim is that in God's mind all things are complete in Christ. Why you would want to claim this buzz word Hper-calvinist that is thrown around carlesly by so many people today I don't know. Justification in Eternity is a view many good reformed men have held, Kersten, Hoeksema, Gill, etc. Thank you

    John Gipson

    Rom 4:25, (KJV), Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

    Rom 4:5, (KJV), But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Now John according to what you said we would have to be Godly before we are justified.

    Rom 8:30, (KJV), Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    As you know this passage is all in the past tense. This would be all the elect. We have not been glorified yet in time but in God’s mind we are.

    "I do not understand your comment of an unspiritual union."

    The word 'spiritual' explicitly means the Holy Spirit. Only pagans use the word spiritual to refer to something other than the Holy Spirit. Are unregenerate people spiritual or unspiritual? Do unbelievers have a spiritual union with Christ or not? If so, does an unbeliever have the Holy Spirit? If not why not? These are questions you should ask yourself.

    Also, I agree 'hypercalvinism' is not a term to ever throw around loosely, and I did not do this in this case. Gill and Hoeksema are well-known hypercalvinists. They have lots to offer but they both must be read with discernment, especially with doctrines which they fail to see the whole counsel of Scripture. Like Arminians, hypercalvinists take hold of a couple of proof texts and and milk them for all they are worth and fail to see Biblical balance and whole counsel, imho. I am sorry if this has caused offence but it is what I and most of the church have historically believed.

    With respect I strongly disagree with you and John Gill on this issue. You are my brother in Christ and I have great respect for you but your view on this issue, imho, falls off one side of the horse, as Luther used to say. I am sure you think I am wrong as well. Well lets move on then.

    Solus Christus

    Thanks John. I do disagree that they were well know hypers but as you say we are brothers in Christ and I will admit that I am what is considered High Grace and I do not believe in 2 wills of God or that God desires the salvation of any except the elect. I do believe in missions and evangalism as far as the apsotles commanded repentance and not a pleading. Thank you for your patience. I always keep my mind open for errors that I may have and always pray that God would keep me in His truth. I only drill on issues like this because it is the only way I can check and be sure of my doctrine. I value other mens Opinions and always listen and check what the word says. Even though I don't think you have convinced me of error in my view I leave with a prayer that God will bless Monergism.com and I will always refer it to new christians.

    John Gipson

    No worries John G. Glad you stopped by to talk. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you and your family.

    J.W. Hendryx

    GOD BLESS. I have been blessed by this conversation, God has saved the new man in me and the battle still rages with the old man Romans 7, But my soul has been saved since thwe foundation of the world.

    Post a comment

    Please enter the letter "m" in the field below: