Paul's Passing Thoughts

Was Abraham Only Declared Righteous? Or Was He Really Righteous?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 11, 2018

ppt-jpeg4The Protestant gospel is predicated on the total depravity of the saints and everything good about said “believer” only being a “legal declaration.” In Protestant orthodoxy, that is, if you know what it really is, all good remains outside of the “believer.” Faith is defined, again, according to orthodoxy, as a perception (illumination) that enables one to see the depths of their depravity as set against God’s holiness. So, saving faith is only an ability to see, but not do. Any ability to do good would be a “righteousness of your own.”

In other words, Protestantism calls for a strict dichotomy between good and evil with all good being from above. Martin Luther defined the Reformation’s philosophy on this in his Heidelberg Disputation which we had a lengthy series on and it will not be revisited here.

Hence, the real reason for the Reformation: Rome began to adopt the idea that righteousness was infused into the believer. Griping about  indulgences and the such was all pretense and a reason that peasants could relate to, but was far from being the real reason for the falling out with Rome. If you are paying attention, evangelicals promote this idea routinely…because it is factual.

Here at TANC, we are confident that we have the New Covenant relationship between law and gospel nailed down pat, but are still searching for how it fits together with the Old Covenant, which in fact, was an atonement, or mere covering for sin. But does that mean the OT saints were not really righteous as a state of being? And does it matter?

Yes it matters because if Abraham’s righteousness was only a, “reckoning” (a legal declaration), we find contradiction in many New Testament statements and a segue for the Reformed position which denies the new birth. More than likely, a more complete understanding of the new birth is needed. TANC is all about a collective effort of the laity to reclaim true biblical truth from the Protestant dark age. A basic understanding of true biblical justification is a good start, but much more work needs to be done. Let the discussion/debate commence.

One of the key ideas promoted in our day as to why Rome drifted away from dualism follows: they misinterpreted the words used to describe the justification of mankind as a state of being rather than an accounting term, or a mere legal declaration. However, even if righteousness is framed as something deposited into our account, that means we own the money. According to Protestant logic, righteousness is only recorded in the bank ledger but the money really isn’t in there. In a court context, God judges us righteous based on what Christ did, but it’s not really true. To Rome’s credit, they had a problem with this and still do; to their discredit, the new birth only qualifies the “believer” to get progressive salvation from the Church. But I must say, their belief in infused righteousness is closer to the truth than Protestantism, so if you must stay in the institutional church, at least go Catholic who at least believe in the new birth but misapply it. In both cases, it is clearly institutional progressive salvation.

The gospel is both simple and complex. Simple as an introduction to the way of salvation, but also complex so that study of how its complexities fit together confirm its truthfulness. Also, the Bible is primarily for sanctification, and life isn’t all that simple. In our seeking for truth, and that journey to increase our knowledge of life and godliness, we shouldn’t be overly concerned with what we don’t understand. We set aside that of which we are sure of, and build the rest on those principles that are concrete. When we know something is true definitively, future understanding will build on top off that. So, when we come across a piece of the puzzle we don’t understand, we can know that it will eventually fit in somewhere. Secondly, biblical statements that seem contradictory must bow to the definitive building blocks that we know are true until the right equation is figured out. Thirdly, when understanding is stalled, it is important to reexamine, or better said, double-check  presuppositions. Fourthly, learn to use interpretive questions such as…”Does the existence of sin under the Old Covenant for both saved and unsaved necessarily mean that righteousness was only a declaration, and how does that relate to what the new birth is?”

  1. Collect objective truths and build on that foundation.
  2. Future truths must submit to what is more objective.
  3. Review presuppositions from time to time.
  4. Ask interpretive questions.

And a final word on word study. The Greek this, the Greek that; the Hebrew this, the Hebrew that. Here is a great help with the word study tools we have in our day. Let’s use this “reckoning” (Abraham was “reckoned” or only declared/considered righteous) issue as an example. Using tools like E-Sword to ascertain the raw definition of the word is a good starting point, but what you can also do with E-Sword is right click on the word and it will show you how the word is used in the rest of the Bible. That’s huge. That will tell you what was really meant by the word’s use in context.

Here is what I found in the final analysis, especially in regard to how the word is used in other New Testament passages, and working from Paul’s quotation from Genesis in Galatians. The word is most often used in regard to a true assessment, or an assessment that is assumed to be true.

I contend that using the Protestant concept of imputation to assert the following is very problematic: “OJ Simpson may be guilty of murder, but that is totally irrelevant because he was declared innocent in a court of law. But our declaration is better because it is based on someone else’s righteousness that is imputed to us.”

This ministry has pontificated extensively on how that turns the true biblical gospel completely upside down.

At some point in this ministry, I knew definitively that righteousness was not based on perfect law-keeping. During that time, I was asked, “What then, defines righteousness?” I had to say I didn’t know, at that point, I simply knew it wasn’t the law. Later, the obvious in broad daylight was discovered, “we cannot sin because His seed remains in us.” The basis for righteousness is the new birth; we are God’s literal offspring. Being His literal child, regardless of anything, makes us righteous as a state of being.

Interpretive question: Could an OT believer be righteous as a state of being, but not yet a family member? Are particular relationship status’ particular to dispensations? Was an OT saint God’s “friend,” but not yet a family member? Was the adoption yet future upon Christ’s death?

Eventually, the answer to this question will be discovered as well, as the Spirit leads us in all truth. And by the way, the Spirit leads us, not John Piper, or any other notable one of the Protestant personality cult.






One Response

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  1. John said, on April 12, 2018 at 8:00 PM

    This is a profound article with great and enigmatic (I sounded like a Wiccan there for a second) points and thoughts. All I can add at this stage is that there had been Jews (Israel) and the rest before Jesus came and God was made accessible to everyone who called on the name of Jesus. And yet, and it’s somewhere in the book of Kings or so, I have read that the denizens of an Israeli city had to open their hearts and homes to a foreigner (not a Jew) should he come by looking for this and that. That tells me something too. God does not hate people. Why hate someone you’ve created? Why hate it on purpose?

    Anyway, a great piece, and I believe the Gentile/Jew distinction plays a role somehow.


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