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#36956 - Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:49 PM Inherent righteousness of Christ  
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Peter Offline
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I have been in discussion with a gentleman on one of the blogs I post at this was his latest comment regarding the active/passive obedience of Christ:
Quote


Three things the issue IS NOT:

1. It’s not a question of whether Christ obeyed the Law perfectly. Of course He did.

2. It’s not a question of whether Christ imputed His righteousness to us. Of course He did. That’s Biblical Justification.

3. It’s not a question of “denying Active Obedience”. Of course Christ “actively obeyed”.

===============================
Three things the issue IS:

1. Was it Christ’s OBEDIENCE that was imputed to us, or was it’s Christ’s RIGHTEOUSNESS that was imputed to us? The Bible clearly teaches that it was His RIGHTEOUSNESS.

2. Did Christ ACHIEVE or GAIN or EARN or EVENTUALLY HAVE this righteousness to impute to us? No! He was always righteous. In eternity. In the womb. At birth. Throughout His life on earth. To say less is to dishonor Him.

3. Then why is His Life of obedience, His perfect Active Obedience, so important? Because it DEMONSTRATES His righteousness, this righteousness that He always had, and that He imputed to us.


Here’s another exegetical slant that may shed light:

The Old Covenant sacrifice lamb needed to be “without blemish”. Only such were worthy to be sacrificed for the sins of the people.

They had to be examined to SHOW that they were without blemish, right?

Question: Was the little lamb without blemish BEFORE it was examined? Answer: Yes! It’s examination only SHOWED it to be so.

Likewise, Jesus SHOWED Himself to be a worthy sacrifice by His life of obedience. But was He worthy BEFORE He showed it? The Scriptures say yes.

So when you said in your previous post, Jeremy, “By meeting the requirements of that law, He is a worthy sacrifice…”, I would amend it to say, “By meeting the requirements of that law, He SHOWED Himself a worthy sacrifice.”


I'd be interested to read your responses to this assertion.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
#36957 - Tue Jun 19, 2007 3:53 AM Re: Inherent righteousness of Christ [Re: Peter]  
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Boanerges,

The gentleman you quote seriously errs in his second positive assertion:
Quote
2. Did Christ ACHIEVE or GAIN or EARN or EVENTUALLY HAVE this righteousness to impute to us? No! He was always righteous. In eternity. In the womb. At birth. Throughout His life on earth. To say less is to dishonor Him.


The Scriptures stand against this assertion:
Quote
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Hebrews 5:8-9, ESV)

The perfect obedience of the Lord Christ throughout all the sufferings, trials and temptations of his life were necessary, not to perfect his own righteous standing before God, but to qualify him as the one who could impute to us the righteousness he thus merited.

Quote
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15, ESV)

Christ had to take on flesh for reasons too numerous to expound here, but one was certainly to enable him to be truly tempted to sin and truly resist the devil in our stead. Adam failed in this regard and Jesus succeeeded; had he never come in flesh, or died as a baby or any time prior to the fultillment of his ministry, as the gentleman asserts, he would most certainly have remained righteous, but it would have been of no benefit to us who believe.

Quote
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him (Philippians 2:8-9, ESV)

Again, God required the active obedience of Christ in its lifelong, real-time execution, as an essential aspect of his mediatorial office.

Quote
For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19, ESV)

The gentleman insists that the imputed righteousness of Christ is merely demonstrated, and not really produced, by his earthly obedience. This passage speaks far differently. The two cannot be bifurcated. Real, moment-to-moment, tested, lifelong, loving, faithful obedience had to be lived by Jesus in order to qualify him as the savior we needed.

Quote
John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. (Matthew 3:14-15, ESV)

The necessary righteousness was not merely inherent, it had to be--and was--fulfilled in a fitting manner to accomplish salvation.

Quote
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5, ESV)
It was necessary that the law of God, the expression of his own character in the form of commandments which men are bound to obey, be really and perfectly obeyed by Christ, over the course of time as a real man, not merely potentially on the basis of his inherent righteousness.

Of course he was always righteous before God and needed to add nothing to that righteousness to always remain so. But the Father's will was for his Son to obey as a man, and the righteousness resulting from that obedience--his "active obedience" coupled with his "passive obedience"--is what constitutes our covering before God.

Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress (part 2, stage 3) says it wonderfully:
Quote
Now I saw in my dream, that they went on, and Great-Heart before them. So they went, and came to the place where Christian’s burden fell off his back and tumbled into a sepulchre. Here then they made a pause; and here also they blessed God. Now, said Christiana, it comes to my mind what was said to us at the gate, to wit, that we should have pardon by word and deed: by word, that is, by the promise; by deed, to wit, in the way it was obtained. What the promise is, of that I know something; but what is it to have pardon by deed, or in the way that it was obtained, Mr. Great-Heart, I suppose you know; wherefore, if you please, let us hear your discourse thereof.

MR. GREAT-HEART: Pardon by the deed done, is pardon obtained by some one for another that hath need thereof; not by the person pardoned, but in the way, saith another, in which I have obtained it. So then, to speak to the question more at large, the pardon that you, and Mercy, and these boys have attained, was obtained by another; to wit, by him that let you in at the gate. And he hath obtained it in this double way; he hath performed righteousness to cover you, and spilt his blood to wash you in.

CHRISTIANA: But if he parts with his righteousness to us, what will he have for himself?

MR. GREAT-HEART: He has more righteousness than you have need of, or than he needeth himself.

CHRISTIANA: Pray make that appear.

MR. GREAT-HEART: With all my heart: but first I must premise, that he of whom we are now about to speak, is one that has not his fellow: He has two natures in one person, plain to be distinguished, impossible to be divided. Unto each of these natures a righteousness belongeth, and each righteousness is essential to that nature; so that one may as easily cause that nature to be extinct, as to separate its justice or righteousness from it. Of these righteousnesses therefore, we are not made partakers, so as that they, or any of them, should be put upon us, that we might be made just, and live thereby. Besides these, there is a righteousness which this person has, as these two natures are joined in one. And this is not the righteousness of the Godhead, as distinguished from the manhood; nor the righteousness of the manhood, as distinguished from the Godhead; but a righteousness which standeth in the union of both natures, and may properly be called the righteousness that is essential to his being prepared of God to the capacity of the mediatory office, which he was to be entrusted with. If he parts with his first righteousness, he parts with his Godhead; if he parts with his second righteousness, he parts with the purity of his manhood; if he parts with his third, he parts with that perfection that capacitates him to the office of mediation. He has therefore another righteousness, which standeth in performance, or obedience to a revealed will; and that is what he puts upon sinners, and that by which their sins are covered. Wherefore he saith, “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Rom. 5:19.

CHRISTIANA: But are the other righteousnesses of no use to us?

MR. GREAT-HEART: Yes; for though they are essential to his natures and office, and cannot be communicated unto another, yet it is by virtue of them that the righteousness that justifies is for that purpose efficacious. The righteousness of his Godhead gives virtue to his obedience; the righteousness of his manhood giveth capability to his obedience to justify; and the righteousness that standeth in the union of these two natures to his office, giveth authority to that righteousness to do the work for which it was ordained.

So then here is a righteousness that Christ, as God, has no need of; for he is God without it: Here is a righteousness that Christ, as man, has no need of to make him so; for he is perfect man without it. Again, here is a righteousness that Christ, as God-man, has no need of; for he is perfectly so without it. Here then is a righteousness that Christ, as God, and as God-man, has no need of, with reference to himself, and therefore he can spare it; a justifying righteousness, that he for himself wanteth not, and therefore giveth it away: Hence it is called the gift of righteousness. This righteousness, since Christ Jesus the Lord has made himself under the law, must be given away; for the law doth not only bind him that is under it, to do justly, but to use charity. Rom. 5:17. Wherefore he must, or ought by the law, if he hath two coats, to give one to him that hath none. Now, our Lord indeed hath two coats, one for himself, and one to spare; wherefore he freely bestows one upon those that have none. And thus, Christiana and Mercy, and the rest of you that are here, doth your pardon come by deed, or by the work of another man. Your Lord Christ is he that worked, and hath given away what he wrought for, to the next poor beggar he meets.

But again, in order to pardon by deed, there must something be paid to God as a price, as well as something prepared to cover us withal. Sin has delivered us up to the just curse of a righteous law: now from this curse we must be justified by way of redemption, a price being paid for the harms we have done; and this is by the blood of your Lord, who came and stood in your place and stead, and died your death for your transgressions: Thus has he ransomed you from your transgressions by blood, and covered your polluted and deformed souls with righteousness, Rom. 8:34; for the sake of which, God passeth by you and will not hurt you when he comes to judge the world. Gal. 3:13.

CHRISTIANA: This is brave! Now I see that there was something to be learned by our being pardoned by word and deed. Good Mercy, let us labor to keep this in mind: and, my children, do you remember it also. But, sir, was not this it that made my good Christian’s burden fall from off his shoulder, and that made him give three leaps for joy?

MR. GREAT-HEART: Yes, it was the belief of this that cut those strings that could not be cut by other means; and it was to give him a proof of the virtue of this, that he was suffered to carry his burden to the cross.


In Christ,
Paul S
#36958 - Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:28 AM Re: Inherent righteousness of Christ [Re: Peter]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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Quote
Boanerges' antagonist said:
2. Did Christ ACHIEVE or GAIN or EARN or EVENTUALLY HAVE this righteousness to impute to us? No! He was always righteous. <span style="background-color:yellow">In eternity.</span> In the womb. At birth. Throughout His life on earth. To say less is to dishonor Him.

I see no need to add to what Paul_S wrote in response but I would like to point out an error which may have some part in this person's erroneous view(s). "Christ" did not exist in eternity! The "Son" existed in eternity, He being God of very God. And it was the "Son" who humbled Himself and took upon Himself human flesh; aka: "Jesus <the Christ>". This person has erred in confusing the two natures of Christ and attributing to the God-man what belongs to the "Son".

Secondly, although the "Son" is inherently and eternally righteous/holy. And, the "Christ" <Jesus> was conceived and born with an inherent righteousness, as was Adam. Yet, as Paul_S, quoting the Scriptures has shown, it was incumbent upon the Lord Christ to submit to and keep the law of God perfectly throughout His entire life. Should He have failed at any point whatsoever, then that perfect righteousness would have been ruined and no salvation would have been possible for any. In short, the "Christ" of necessity had to pass the test which Adam failed to do in order that a perfect righteousness could be imputed to those who were in destitute of it and were guilty of being under the just wrath and condemnation of God.

In His grace,


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

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#36959 - Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:48 AM Re: Inherent righteousness of Christ [Re: Paul_S]  
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Peter Offline
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Thank you those are excellent responses however, if you will allow me to continue to be the advokato de diablo this is also put forward:

Quote
Non-merit theologians believe this: Salvation was always a free gift from a God that never related to
any of his children as an employer, but always and only as a Father. Had Adam been glorified, it would
have been by living by faith – like you and me. The Father would have given this eschatological blessing in time (just like I will give my son the gift of a car if he lives the next 16 years or so by faith).
Living by faith for Adam was different, considering he had no sin nature. Any sin for him, was the most high-handed of sins. So he needed to remain sinless, which was no biggy for him.
So when Adam fell, we incurred the guilt of sin and need to be restored to sinlessness. Like merit
theologians, non-merit theologians believe sacrifice takes care of sin. Non-merit theologians believe
Jesus didn’t earn anything from God, but lived by faith. He persevered to the eschatological blessing
Adam never got. This happened at his resurrection. So, in union with the *risen* Lord, we have that
eschatological blessing that merit-theologians need IAO to get to. Non-merit guys just don’t need IAO
to get there. Non-merit guys have Jesus’ resurrection accomplishing what merit-guys have his “active
obedience” accomplishing: the eschatological reward. And both have his passive obedience (death and
suffering on the cross) taking away sins.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
#36960 - Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:53 PM Re: Inherent righteousness of Christ [Re: Peter]  
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Adam was given a command, which, if he disobeyed, was to be punished by the curse of death; by analogy, had he obeyed, he would have been rewarded with the blessing of life -- NOT because Adam was inherently worthy, but because GOD had made the promise. Adam disobeyed. Christ by His death frees us from guilt, and by His obedience to the Law He "EARNS" the reward of life which Adam failed to earn. That is why the grave COULD NOT HOLD HIM for because of His obedience Jesus now possesses ETERNAL LIFE IN HIMSELF.

Jesus might have been merely an unblemished Lamb, after all, God shielding Him from all of Satan's temptations, or having Him sacrificed immediately upon birth -- but that would not have gained eternal life for the elect because it would not have constituted the obedience necessary to earn the reward of life. It would have restored us to sinlessness, true enough, but we would yet be corruptible as was Adam. For there was yet a TREE OF LIFE remaining for Adam in the Garden had he continued under obedience to the command given him.

Last edited by CovenantInBlood; Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:21 AM.

Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#36961 - Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:48 AM Re: Inherent righteousness of Christ [Re: CovenantInBlood]  
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Peter Offline
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Quote
CovenantInBlood said:
Adam was given a command, which, if he disobeyed, was to be punished by the curse of death; by analogy, had he obeyed, he would have been rewarded with the blessing of life -- NOT because Adam was inherently worthy, but because GOD had made the promise. Adam disobeyed. Christ by His death frees us from guilt, and by His obedience to the Law He "EARNS" the reward of life which Adam failed to earn. That is why the grave COULD NOT HOLD HIM for because of His obedience Jesus now possesses ETERNAL LIFE IN HIMSELF.

Jesus might have been merely an unblemished Lamb, after all, God shielding Him from all of Satan's temptations, or having Him sacrificed immediately upon birth -- but that would not have gained eternal life for the elect because it would not have constituted the obedience necessary to earn the reward of life. It would have restored us to sinlessness, true enough, but we would yet be corruptible as was Adam. For there was yet a TREE OF LIFE remaining for Adam in the Garden had he continued under obedience to the command given him.


Well in my last dealing with this guy he said as he departed:
Quote
This is perhaps the core of the issue. I contend there is NO Scripture that indicates that He EARNED righteousness for anyone.

Why?

Because He always had it. And He “fulfilled” that righteousness, that is, demonstrated it, by His Active Obedience to the Law, and His so-called Passive Obedience at the Cross


In my dealings with him he never dealt with the idea that a "reward" was promised to Adam if he obeyed, he basically ignored it completely. Mainly I believe because if he did acknowledge that it was true it would wipe out his entire premise. So he ignores it and continues on in his idea of a merit less salvation.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
#36962 - Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:19 AM Re: Inherent righteousness of Christ [Re: Peter]  
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Paul_S Offline
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Boanerges,

A final thought to expand one aspect of the excellent response from CovenantInBlood above.

I would guess--and it is just that, having never encountered them before--that these "non-merit" advocates would argue that since righteousness cannot be accrued/earned/merited via obedience by any sinner, it must follow that righteousness could never be accrued/earned/merited via obedience by the innocent, specifically Adam and Christ. But this argument falls apart when it is remembered that all of God's dealings are covenantal in nature, and an essential element of covenant is the agreement upon

blessing/reward for obedience to/fulfillment of the covenantal obligations

and

curse/punishment for disobedience to/annulment of the covenantal obligations.

So when Romans 3 and 4 and Galatians 3 and Ephesians 2 necessarily emphasize the sinner's utter inability to merit righteousness via obedience, the covenantal language of the rest of scripture informs us that it is indeed by covenantal obedience that our righteousness is obtained, namely, the covenantal, active-not-merely-inherent, perfect obedience of the Lord Christ.


In Christ,
Paul S
#36963 - Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:04 AM Re: Inherent righteousness of Christ [Re: Paul_S]  
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Quote
Paul_S said:
I would guess--and it is just that, having never encountered them before--that these "non-merit" advocates would argue that since righteousness cannot be accrued/earned/merited via obedience by any sinner, it must follow that righteousness could never be accrued/earned/merited via obedience by the innocent, specifically Adam and Christ.


Paul,

You are spot on. I have encountered these "non-merit" types before. They have inherited Barth's error in which the fundamental problem in the relationship between man and God is not so much man's sinfulness as his creatureliness.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.

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