The resurrection of Christ:
1. Proves that Jesus is God.
2. Proves that Jesus has the power over sin and death.
3. Proves that God the Father approved fully the sacrifice of His Son and therefore secures our justification. (Romans 4:25)
Therefore, if Christ is not raised, we are still dead in our sins, our faith is in vain and we are people to be most pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Soli Deo Gloria.
“Look more at justification than sanctification. In the highest commands consider Christ, not as an exacter to require, but as a debtor, an undertaker, to work in you and for you. If you have looked at your resolutions, endeavors, workings, duties, qualifications, etc., more than at the merits of Christ, it will cost you dear.”
— Thomas Wilcox
Honey out of the Rock
(HT: Of First Importance)
“If you desire to be justified before God, you must either bring to him a perfect righteousness of your own, and wholly renounce Christ; or else you must bring the perfect righteousness of Christ, and wholly renounce your own.”
From the Marrow of Modern Divinity.
Enjoy this outstanding lecture by the late John Gerstner as he compares the Biblical understanding of justification by faith alone to the Roman Catholic heresy and the modern day easy-believism.
We just finished up another episode of Puritan Voices last week and our focus was on the importance of the gospel in the believer’s life. Much of our emphasis really came down to sanctification and how the believer should “preach the gospel to themselves” on a constant basis and through this we can achieve true sanctification. Over the last year or so, I’ve followed authors who promote this idea of “gospel-centered sanctification” but the more I really look deeply into this teaching it seems to improperly promote a resting faith in both justification and sanctification without the call to the believer to pursue sanctification through an active faith as a result of regeneration. Are we straying from the Biblical truths that our holiness and sanctification stems from our union with Christ (John 15) through a real change in our heart and dispositions? There are clear imperatives in Scripture to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Gospel-centered sanctification teachings seem to fall short in handling those imperatives. Have we forgotten that Christ is the vine and we are the branches and apart from Him we can do absolutely nothing? I believe so and therefore we must be very careful in how we proclaim what is commonly called gospel-centered sanctification. It has some validity to be sure. We as Christians should preach the glorious gospel to ourselves but neglecting the reality of regeneration is not being faithful to what Scripture teaches as a whole with regard to progressive sanctification, in my humble opinion.
I’ve been an advocate of this teaching for quite some time, but after really looking deeper into what Scripture says I believe it to have shortcomings with regards to the right understanding of faith’s role in progressive sanctification and a neglect to recognize Christ Himself and our union with Him as the core of our sanctification and not resting faith. (Faith is essential in sanctification. I’m not denying that. But’s it’s important to realize the type of faith being discussed.) For example, it’s important to recognize that justifying faith is resting faith [in Christ], and sanctifying faith is active faith. The Christian life is one of constant rest, and constant labor. (James 2; 1 John 3:3-9)
Don’t get me wrong. I commend those who rightly proclaim the joy and necessity for believers to preach the gospel to themselves. I need to preach the gospel to myself constantly! There is great truth in this gospel-centered focus and it is where the Church needs to be. But, we must not neglect the full counsel of Scripture and the duality of a faith that rests and a faith that acts. Both must be proclaimed in a healthy balance. Like the old hymn writer put it, “trust [passive faith] and obey [active faith] for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.”
I commend a most excellent article by Calvin Beisner on his critique of this particular element of Sonship Theology where he does an outstanding job of explaining the errors in this teaching as well as pointing us in the right direction. May God’s Word prevail and may we be kept by His power rightly diving the Word of truth!
Eager to get your thoughts on this topic.
Here’s the link to Calvin Beisner’s article in pdf format.
Here is an article by Joel Taylor that also focuses on this issue.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Lord, my sin, it grieves me so.
How I long for my Lord to come.
Bless my God who clothes me bright,
wraps me pure in heaven’s Great Light.
Spotless Lamb made sin for me,
God great Judge, just always be.
Sealed on high with Christ’s great Pledge,
never more will death I dread.
One with Him I stand secure,
Safe in Triune hands I’m sure.
Christ’s great merits givn’ to me,
I now hear God say, “Whom I’m pleased.”
I long to see the skies burn bright,
with heaven’s hosts all clothed in white.
See the King, His victory won,
Come, pure Bride behold the Son.
From Christ My King on High
“… and behold, a voice out of heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
Oh the grace of our God! Not only did God demonstrate His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ came and died for us but even here at the baptism of our sin Substitute God graciously offer words of grace and comfort to the ears that will hear. I agree with Martin Luther that these words of Scripture and the spoken words of God from heaven were not for the benefit of Christ. Christ needed no encouragement of His sonship – that has been a reality for all eternity and forever will be. There is no doubt that these glorious words are for those who heard and for us today to remind us and assure us of glorious truths.
God is pleased in Himself. Only His righteousness can satisfy His holy requirements. Because of His perfect holiness, anything less than His righteousness demands punishment for it falls short of the His glory. Perfect righteousness is the requirement for God – nothing less. Oh to hear the sweet words from heaven that there in that water is God in the flesh – very God in whom the Father is well pleased. There is no spot or blemish in Jesus Christ.
To be married with Christ – to be found in Him through repentance and faith allows our hearts to hear the same words from the Father. That through the miracle of regeneration and adoption into the kingdom through Christ we are seen by God as having His absolute perfect righteousness. A true believer can also share in the heavenly herald of “in whom I am well pleased” because of that glorious union with Christ. The believer becomes and will always be well pleasing to the Father only because of the glorious imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. For “He made Him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf so that we may have the righteousness of God in Him”. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Oh to rejoice in the glorious doctrinal truths of Scripture! Do we truly take the time to simply meditate on the glorious truth that “God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son”? A world that hates God and covered with sin. And when we come to the reality that one sin against God is infinitely worse than all worldly tragedies combined the magnitude of Christ choosing to come to save His bride is astounding. Isn’t it time we truly put amazing back into grace?
Let us also treasure this great truth and realize that if we are in Christ, not one thing we do good or bad changes are legal standing with God. Our performance (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with our justification. Christ and His performance has everything to do with our justification. What an amazing truth. And when we rightly understand this grace we will seek to live for Christ and seek to mortify sin all the more. For “how shall we who have died to sin continue to live in it?”
May we rejoice that in Christ we are safe and secure. The cross is truly the “double cure” as the hymn writer sings. Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension not only save us from the penalty of sin, which is God’s wrath and eternal damnation, but also from the power of sin – a changed life being progressively sanctified to be made more and more into the image of the very One who saved us. Because of Christ, and all because of Christ God is well pleased. There is peace between God and man all because of the merit of the Lamb who was worthy to be slain.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30
“Has Christ perfected and completely finished all His work for us? How sweet a relief is this to them that believe in Him against the defects and imperfections of all our services. There is nothing finished that we do: all our duties are imperfect. Oh there is much sin and vanity in the best of our duties; but here is the grand relief, and that which answers to all our doubts and fears upon that account: Jesus Christ has finished all His work, though we can finish none of ours; and so, though we be defective, poor, imperfect creatures in ourselves, yet we are complete in Him. (Col. 2:9-10) Though we cannot perfectly obey, or fulfill one command of the law, yet is “the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us that believe.” (Rom. 8:4) Christ’s complete obedience makes us complete, and without fault before God. It is true, we ought to be humbled for our defects, and troubled for every failing in obedience; but we should not be discouraged, though multitudes of weaknesses be upon us, and many infirmities compass us about in every duty: though we have no righteousness of our own, yet, of God, Christ “is made unto us righteousness;” and that righteousness is infinitely better than ours: instead of our own, we have His. Oh, blessed be God for Christ’s perfect righteousness!” – John Flavel (from the Fountain of Life, pg. 429)
In his autobiography Seen and Heard, itinerant Scottish evangelist James McKendrick tells of the glorious conversion of George Mayes, known for miles around as the most outrageous sinner in his district. When McKendrick returned some time later to the area where Mayes lived, however, he found him in a troubled state of soul. “I don’t seem to feel as I did,” George lamented. “George”, said McKendrick, “if you had a shilling in your pocket and felt wonderfully happy, would the shilling be worth fifteen pence because you felt happy? “No,” said George. “Well, how much would it be worth?” “Just twelve pence,” he answered. “And suppose, if you were miserable and had a shilling in your pocket, would it only be worth nine pence because you are miserable?” Again, George responded, “No.” “How much then?” asked McKendrick. “Just twelve pence,” said George. “Well do you see your joy does not add to the value of the shilling, nor your misery take from its value, and that it is worth twelve pence no matter how you feel?” “Yes, that is what I believe,” George replied. “Then tell me – is it your happy feelings or the blood of Christ that puts your sins away?” “Oh it is the blood of Christ,” George responded. “Then don’t you see that when you are happy you are not more safe, and when unhappy you are not less safe? It is the blood of Christ that puts your sins away, and makes you safe, and keeps you safe all year round,” Kendrick concluded. To this we can say “Hallelujah!”
Christian, are you looking inside for confidence? You will never have it! Even the massive anchors of ocean vessels will do no good if they are cast inside the hold. They must be cast outside of the ship! Cast your anchor on Jesus Christ! Put all your trust in Him! His righteousness alone is your confidence and your hope.
- Charles Leiter from Justification and Regeneration