Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Definitive Biblical Statement on Law and Gospel for Home Fellowships

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on February 5, 2016

Originally published April 24, 2015

TANC Ministries, 2015   

Whatever form of Protestantism you are talking about, and Calvinism in particular, its Achilles’ heel is the law. Protestantism cannot pass the true gospel test because of its position on law, and this is not hard to understand.

Andy Young, an associate of TANC ministries, said something in last year’s 2014 conference that is probably true for the most part: “The law is for sanctification.” Right, because the law is in no wise for justification. We are justified apart from the law (Romans 3:21) and “apart” means exactly that. The fact that the law will judge people in the end is a separate issue altogether.

The apostle Paul makes all of this easy to understand in Galatians chapter 3. But first, let’s use that same chapter to establish what we mean by the word “law.” The word is used interchangeably with many other words, including “gospel”, to refer to the Bible. So, Andy was merely saying that the Bible is for sanctification, or in other words, Christian living. Andy was talking in context of sanctification for the Bible has no stake in justification, and again, the fact that the Bible will judge people in the end is another issue. Yes, the Bible defines justification (Rom 3:21, Gal 4:21); yes, the Bible testifies to the truths regarding justification, but the law does not justify.

Note the following from Galatians 3:

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Notice that Paul uses the word “law” and “Scripture” interchangeably. The law, “holy writ,” “the word,” “the gospel,” “the Scriptures,” “the law and the prophets,” etc. are all terms that refer to the Bible which is a full orbed statement by God regarding Himself, mankind, and reality. Statements like this: “We are not bound by the law, or else we’d have to live under every aspect of the law including not wearing blended fabrics and not eating shrimp and bacon” reveal a fundamental ignorance in regard to what the law is.

Protestantism falls on this one basic principle: law is the standard for righteousness. This makes the salvific work of Christ two-fold: He died to pay the penalty for our sins, and came to fulfill the law for us in order to make us righteous. That’s gross heresy. That’s an egregious false gospel. Hence, you have two kinds of Protestants: one camp that understands the position and professes it, and the other camp who also confesses it, but has not thought out the ramifications. This includes Baptists, Methodists, and many others. Baptists parted ways with the Reformers on baptism, but have never repented of making the law justification’s standard.

Yes, Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law and to not end it, but then we have the apostle Paul writing that Christ in fact did come to end the law, so does the Bible contradict itself? By no means.

Here is the problem: by design, Protestants don’t interpret the Bible in context of sanctification and justification, and again, that is by design. Why? Because Protestantism is founded on the idea that sanctification is merely the progression of justification. This also goes hand in glove with the idea that the law is justification’s standard. Hence, the law must continue to be fulfilled perfectly to keep the saints justified. This results in the confused theological train wreck we call Protestantism.

When the law must be continually fulfilled perfectly as a standard for justification, the law cannot be used for love because now you have fused love and justification together. This is why churches lack love; the maintaining of justification and love are confused. In the Bible, love is absolutely synonymous with obedience. Unfortunately, Protestantism makes obedience a justification issue. Obedience is not a justification issue—it’s a love issue. That’s why there is so much love-bombing in your churches; true love is stifled because it is confused with justification. The vacuum is then filled with empty words and programs. People are in bondage to the law in Jesus’ name and their pain is medicated by praise bands, personality cults, and the splendor of institutional temples.

The fulfillment of the law in Jesus’ name is a huge problem—there is no law in justification regardless of who keeps it. Who keeps it is not the issue, the law is the issue. Here is the theses of Paul’s argument in Galatians 3: Only God can give life through faith alone in the promise. What is the promise? It was a promise made to Abraham and Christ that Israel and the Gentiles would be blessed with eternal life, and that Christ would be resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit in order to make that possible:

Galatians 3:15 – To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

So in other words, if Christ came to also fulfill the law, the Promise is fulfilled by law, and not God’s promise made to Abraham. By the way, this term, “the promise” is a major biblical term referring to the gospel. In regard to justification, Christ came for one reason: to end the curse of the law:

Galatians 3:10 – For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

If we still rely on the works of the law, we are under a curse; again, it doesn’t matter who keeps it. Paul spent most of his ministry trying to hammer this point home. Here, he makes it clear that the law was not part of the original promise, and once a covenant has been ratified, nothing can change it. If Christ fulfilled the law in our stead, that is clearly an addition to the original covenant of promise—that’s Paul’s specific point.

But now Protestants once again protest that the key is a perfect fulfillment of the law which only curses those who cannot keep it perfectly. Christ’s perfect obedience to the law is then imputed to us. In light of this chapter in Galatians, this position is fraught with problems. Clearly, it’s still an addition to the original covenant. Also key is who the promise is made to; ie., the descendants of Abraham which include the Gentiles, and Christ Himself. Paul emphasizes that there is only ONE seed (verse 16). Why?

“Seed” is key. The Greek word refers to offspring. Christ was part of Abraham’s lineage, and is only ONE seed—there is not more than one seed. Christ died to end the curse of the law by dying to pay the penalty of sin, and then waited (in a manner of speaking) in the grave for the promise that was also made to Him: “the promised Spirit.” The Spirit raised Christ from the grave:

Romans 8:11 – If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Ephesians 1:19 – and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,…

The promised Spirit is major here. This is the new birth. This promise of the Spirit accomplished three universe-shaking objectives: it enabled mankind to follow Christ in literal death and resurrection, baptized Jews and Gentiles into one body, or family of God, cancelled judgement and condemnation, and set God’s children free to aggressively love.

The idea that Christ fulfilled the law in order to satisfy justification usurps the Spirit’s role in the promise. God elected the means of salvation, Christ died, and the Spirit baptizes. God initiated salvation, Christ paid the penalty for sin, and the Spirit regenerates. We are not justified by the law, we are justified by the new birth:

Romans 4:20 – No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (ESV 2001).

Galatians 3:1 – O thoughtless Galatians, who did bewitch you, not to obey the truth — before whose eyes Jesus Christ was described before among you crucified?

2 this only do I wish to learn from you — by works of law the Spirit did ye receive, or by the hearing of faith? 3 so thoughtless are ye! having begun in the Spirit, now in the flesh do ye end? (YLT).

Notice the idea of completion reflected by the Greek and properly translated by the YLT. We don’t receive the Spirit and His work on the installment plan when we believe; the new birth is a complete work. Hence, the new birth, or the Spirit’s baptism is what makes us righteous or justified, not the law.

Again, God set forth the plan of salvation: Christ died to end the law, and the Spirit regenerates us and helps us in our progression of holiness. We are born of the Spirit and resurrected as holy babies born of God, and grow up in holiness (1Peter 2:2). The baptism of the Spirit is therefore twofold:

Romans 6:1 – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 7:1 – Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Colossians 2:8 – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 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, 12 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. 13 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, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Why would Christ fulfil the law and then die to end it? Why would Christ’s perfect obedience to law be imputed to us when it is no longer valid? Why would Christ fulfil the law for those who die with Him and are no longer under that law? Why would Christ fulfil a law that has nothing to say to us? (Romans 3:19). When Paul states, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse” (verse 10), that means any works of the law period, not just what we perform, but any works of the law period. The covenant of promise WAS NOT RATIFIED BY THE LAW THAT CAME 430 YEARS LATER. What could possibly be more evident? If Jesus kept the law perfectly as part of the gospel, that still ratifies the original covenant of promise.

But all of this is not even Paul’s primary argument. His primary argument is that only the Spirit can give life. His argument is that only the resurrection of the new birth gives life. If the law has any part in justification, then the law can give life and there is more than one seed. Consequently, only God can give life and now there is a co-life-giver. That’s Paul’s argument exactly.

11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

Life, justification, faith alone in the promise, and the new birth are all mutually inclusive while the law and justification are mutually exclusive—that’s exactly what the apostle Paul is saying.

Also, if law has anything to do with justification at all, we inherit eternal life by being born again into God’s family by the fulfillment of the law and NOT promise:

18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

Someone may argue, “But Jesus keeps the law perfectly!” So what of it? It’s still inheritance by the law and not promise. Again, and again, the original covenant was not ratified by Jesus’ perfect law-keeping. Here is what we must come to grips with: Protestantism is predicated on a juvenile perception of law and gospel.

16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

As an aside while on the subject of covenants: this whole idea of Jesus fulfilling the law plugs into the ever popular Covenant theology. This is the idea that Christ came to obey the law perfectly in order to restore the original and supposed covenant of works with Adam. But the Covenant of Promise was not made with Adam, it was made with Abraham. Compounding this glaring error is the citation of Genesis 3:15 to make a connection between Adam’s disobedience and Christ’s obedience to the law. But in that verse, it is the serpent that is being addressed and not Adam. Usually, when you make a covenant with someone, as with Abraham, it’s made with the person you are talking to. In essence, it claims that God made a covenant with the serpent.

Regardless of all of the splendor and glory affiliated with religious academia, it is found wanting in embarrassing proportions. The laity must stop listening to these people and start reading the Bible for themselves.

But with all of this said, “Why then the law?”(verse 19). However, which law is Paul referring to when he presents this anticipated question in verse 19? There are two laws: one known as, “the written code” (Colossians 2:14), “the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2), “the law of sin” (Romans 7:23), simply “the law” in many places, “the letter” (2Cor 3:6), “ministry of death” (2Cor 3:7), “ministry of condemnation” (2Cor 3:9), “the record of debt” (Col 2:14), and “the first covenant” (Hebrews 8;13).

The second is known as: “the law of the Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2), “the law of my mind” (Romans 7:23), “the law of liberty” (James 1:25), “the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2), and because love fulfills the whole law (Romans 13:8-10), it can be rightly called “the law of love.”

In verse 19, Paul is referring to the first law. It only condemns and judges, but that’s not its only function by far.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

What’s this saying? First, it’s saying that the first law has no function for believers after Christ died on the cross to END the law. And Christ did come to end the law of sin and death. Christ didn’t come to merely cover sin with His own righteousness, He came to end sin by ending the law (Romans 3:19,20, 4:15, 5:13, 7:6,8, 10:4, 1Tim 1:9, Gal 2:19).

Secondly, the first law covered believers until Christ died on the cross. The first law was an atonement for sin; all of the sins of Old Testament believers were imputed to that law, and then it was ended by Christ. The person who believes on Christ dies in baptism, and is no longer under the law that he/she sinned against (Romans 7:1ff). This would also include believers who were deceased at the time.

In regard to Old Testament believers that were dead during the time of Christ’s ministry on earth, Old Testament believers were captive under the law until Christ died to end the law. Therefore, they were in Sheol/Abraham’s bosom/Paradise/Hades. When Christ died, He went there and preached to the captives and took the thief on the cross with Him. When the Spirit resurrected Him, He also resurrected those in Sheol and set the captives free. They and their sins were held captive by the law until Christ died to end it. Remember, King David said, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption” (Psalm 16:10). As a testimony, Christ sent many of them to walk around Jerusalem. Texts that help sum up all of these points are Ephesians 4:7-10 which also references Psalm 68:18, Luke 16:22, Matthew 27:51-53, and Colossians 2:13-15.

Thirdly, the first law still has a function in the scheme of things. The old covenant of the law is passing away, but is not ended for the unbelieving. “Under grace” did not end “under law” (Romans 6:14). The first law still holds sin captive because all sin is against the law (1John 3:4). Yes, for those who don’t repent, the law will judge them in the end. To the degree that they violate the law, they will be punished eternally.

But there is a sense in which the first law also serves a purpose of covering as it formally did for those under grace. When a person is saved and born again, they die and are no longer culpable to the law—the law is also ended for them at that time. Their sins are taken away and cast as far as the east is from the west. Again, Christ did not come to cover sin, he came to take sin away. The first law is grace in waiting. All sin is imputed to it, and it stands ready to be ended for each and every person who chooses to follow Christ in death and resurrection.

Now, what about the other law—the law of the Spirit of life? Let there be no doubt, there is a law that is under grace. It is the law of love. We have been released from the condemnation of the first law, and are now free to aggressively serve the law of Christ:

Romans 7:4 – Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

In the same way that one sin formally violated the whole law (James 2:10), one act of love fulfills the law of Christ (Gal 5:14, Rom 13:10). Love covers a multitude of sin (1Peter 4:8). We are sanctified with the word of truth (John 17:17). The Christian life is faith WORKING through the obedience of love (Gal 5:6), and love is synonymous with obedience (John 14:15).

If a professing Christian is not truly bearing fruit for God as an expression of true love for truth, God, and others, he/she has a flawed view of the law’s relationship to the gospel.

What is sapping the power of Christianity in our day is misguided fear. When the ending of sin is confused with the idea of covering, excessive introspection ensues  for fear that we are not living by a convoluted Protestant system of faith-alone works so that the perfect obedience of Christ will continue to be imputed to our Christian life.

In contrast, there is no longer any condemnation for those in Christ and fear has to do with judgement (Rom 8:30, 1Jn 4:16-19). Those mature in love cast away fear. They are free from the condemnation of the law and free to serve Christ in aggressive love.

Who will deny that the overwhelming preoccupation of Protestants is sin and not love while any appearance of good works is held suspect? Where there is not freedom to love without fearful introspection, love will not thrive.

Sanctification Transformation

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on January 5, 2016

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~ Romans 12:2

The word “conformed” that Paul uses with the Romans is the Greek word συσχηματιζω (soo-skay-ma-tid-zoh). You should be able to recognize the word “schema” from which we get words like “schematic”. Engineers would be familiar with a “schematic” diagram. It is a pattern to follow. The word here literally means to be patterned-together with.

Now the people of Rome would certainly be familiar with patterns. In the textile industry or clothing industry, one works with patterns for making clothes. And when one thinks of patterns for clothes, uniforms come to mind; uniforms of Roman soldiers, perhaps; something else people in that culture would be very familiar with.

What a perfect illustration Paul uses to make his point! Do not let yourself be patterned together with this world. Do not let the world put you into its uniform. Instead, Paul refers to the “renewing of the mind.” This is an expression referring to the new birth. When someone is born again, his mind has been renewed – he is a new creature! That new mind should cause a transformation in the way that person conducts his life.   He should not be just like everyone else in the world. He should be different and distinct.

More than that, he has been set free from the condemnation of the law so that he may show love to God and to others. The rest of Romans 12 talks about that very thing. This is the process of Sanctification!

Andy

TANC 2014 Andy Young, Session 1: Anybody Remember Grammatical Historical Teaching?

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on August 15, 2015

Originally published November 13, 2014

Power Points 

Be Ye Holy for I am Holy

Ok, welcome to Session 1 on Understanding Sanctification.

In my opinion, the hardest part about doing any sort of topical study is finding a starting point.  I would much rather take a passage of scripture and teach through that in context, and just let the passage say what it says.  What makes a topical study of the Bible so difficult is that there is always a danger of proof-texting.  We have to always make sure that we are aware that we unconsciously bring a bias with us, wherever that bias comes from, it could be from our parents, what out parents taught us, could be from a particular church denomination that we grew up attending, or maybe our worldview, whatever influenced that.  There are things in our life that shape us and we end up having a particular bias when it comes to interpreting scripture.  So when it comes to studying a particular topic or doctrine, we have this tendency to seek out passages that fit in with our bias.  This is called proof-texting.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with proof-texting.  In fact, many of the scriptural truths we hold dear we can directly site a specific verse or passage that teaches that.  For example, if I were to ask you, what must a person do to be saved, what are some verses that immediately come to mind?

Acts 16:31

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Romans 10:13

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:9-10

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

John 3:14-18

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Now these are all good verses, and the reason these are good proof-texts is because the context is pretty straightforward.  And the big danger with proof-texting is ignoring the larger context.  For example, if someone were to ask me about how to be saved, one verse I would not use as a proof text is Acts 27:31.  Anyone know that verse?  “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” That’s a good salvation verse, isn’t it?  Now I know that’s a silly example, but don’t laugh, I have heard of people teaching on this passage and making all kinds of metaphors out of the ship and trying to turn this into a salvation passage.  But I use this to show you how easy it is to take a verse out of context.  We have to make sure we are very careful to understand and interpret a verse or passage within the larger context.

So in these sessions dealing with sanctification, we’re going to be turning to a lot of scripture.  We’re going to spend a lot of time looking up verses and passages of scripture dealing with sanctification, and I’m going to be very careful and methodical to make sure we keep the context straight, that we understand the larger theme of where these verses fit in with the rest of scripture, and so hopefully we’ll avoid this danger of proof-texting.

In this first session I want to lay the ground work for the other sessions, so I’m going to spend a lot of time defining terms.  That will become our premise for the rest of the study on Sanctification.  It is important to understand the distinction between Sanctification and Justification.  It is important to keep that distinction.  Sanctification is an act that happens to those who are already justified; those who are already declared to be righteous.  No, not just declared righteous, made righteous by belief in God, belief in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the Biblical standard for righteousness; belief in God.  So because Sanctification is subsequent to Justification, I am going to be specifically addressing those who are already saved.  If you have already believed in Christ for your salvation, I am speaking to you today.  These sessions will apply specifically to you.  Nothing I have to say applies to someone who is unsaved.  I am speaking directly to believers.  In other word, little to nothing I have to speak about applies to Justification.  Justification has already been accomplished in your life, now we’re moving on to Sanctification.

So having said all of that, I’m going to use this first session to define our terms.  What is Sanctification?  More importantly, what is a Biblical definition of Sanctification?  Then our second session, we’ll explore sanctification in the Old Testament and it’s relationship to the Law, and I want to consider the idea, that if God wants me to be holy, then why do I still sin?  And then in the last session on Sanctification we will examine the question of, is there any merit to good works, and we will even examine the Biblical source of assurance for the believer.

So let’s get started on some terms.  What is Sanctification?  What does it mean to be Sanctified?  Before we can address those questions, we need to understand what Sanctification has to do with relation to holiness.  We know that God is holy.  The Bible teaches that holiness is one of God’s attributes.  So as creatures made in the image of God, can we exhibit holiness?  Are believers really holy?  The verse that I’ve chosen to use, sort of as the theme for these sessions on Sanctification is 1 Peter 1:16.  Why don’t we start there.  Go ahead and turn to 1 Peter.  And actually I want to start with verse 14.

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [way of life, how you conduct yourselves]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

And this last part here in verse 16 like I said is what I have chosen as the theme for these sessions.  Peter uses the esxpression, “because it is written,” he is actually making reference to the Law.  Peter is actually quoting the exact phrase found in Leviticus 11:44, 45.

Now some things I want you to notice about the grammatical structure of this passage here in 1 Peter.  Please notice all of the verbs in this passage, all of the action words, they are all in the imperative mood.  Imperative mood means it is a command.  An order.  Holiness is not optional.  It is a command.

Secondly, not only are all the verbs, all the actions, not only are they commands, they are in the active voice.  Active voice means that the subject performs the action.  The opposite of active voice is the passive voice.  In passive voice, the subject is the recipient of the action, or the subject has the action performed upon him.  Notice the active voice in all of these commands

do not fashion yourselves – you don’t fashion

be ye holy – you be holy

Notice the subject performs the action.  You.  You are performing the action.  This is different from passive voice.  If these commands were in the passive voice it would read something like:

do not be fashioned – do not allow yourself to be fashioned. Or;

be made holy – allow yourself to be made holy.

Taking this even one step further, if we look specifically at this phrase, “be ye holy”.  This phrase in the Greek looks like this.  It’s pronounced:

αγιοιγενεσθε “hag-ee-oy gin-ess-theh”

The word I have underlined here is the imperative form of the word:

γινομαι – “gin-oh-my” –  to cause to be; to become (reflexive)

This is a linking verb that is the equivalent to our English word “is”, and all the forms it takes- am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been.

So not only is this verb in the active voice, the word itself is causative in its very meaning.  This phrase could actually read, “cause yourself to become holy.”  Or, “make yourself holy.”

The third thing I want you to consider from this passage is, who is the audience?  Who is to perform this command to be holy?  Let your eyes go up to the beginning of the chapter.  To whom is Peter addressing this letter?  Who is supposed to be holy?

King James says – the strangers scattered throughout all these regions of Asia Minor.  Who would that be?  In the Greek this would read as pilgrims of the dispersion.  That is an expression that is used other places in scripture to describe displaced ethnic Jews.  These are Jews who did not return to the land of Israel following the Babylonian and Assyrian captivity.  They dispersed, and settled here and there throughout this region.  We also know from reading the books of Acts and from Galatians chapter 2 for example, that Paul’s ministry focused on the Gentiles, and Peter’s ministry focused on the Jews.  Galatians 2 uses the expression the gospel of the uncircumcision vs. the gospel of the circumcision.

So what we have here is Peter writing this letter addressed to these Jews of the dispersion, but what’s more important is that they are believers.  And that is what I really want us to see here.  Peter is writing to believers.  More than that, these commands here in verses 14-16 are issued to believers.  He is exhorting believers to not fashion themselves after their former life.  The believer is commanded to be holy.  The believer is to cause it to happen, actively, make it happen, not to passively wait for it to happen to him.  And I want this to be our underlying theme of these sessions.

As we go through these sessions, keep this in the forefront of your mind at all times, this is what we as believers are commanded to do.  We are not to live our lives the way we used to.  Not fashioning ourselves after the former life.  And by the way, that is the exact same word the apostle Paul uses in Romans 12:2, where he says be not conformed to this world, “soo-scheme-ah-tid-zo”.  This is where we get the word “schematic”.  You’ve probably heard of a schematic diagram.  For electrical engineers a schematic is a pattern to follow.  And that’s what the word means, having to do with a pattern.  We don’t pattern our lives after this world, we don’t follow the pattern of our old behaviors.  As believers we are to be holy as God is holy.

And if God in His word is commanding us to do it, then we must be able to do it, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in a God who would tell us to do something that we can’t do.  And if you don’t believe that, then I’m sorry, then you and I don’t believe in the same God.

Believers are called to holiness.  Now what is holiness?  That’s a word that has a lot of mystique about it.  Very ethereal.  We hear it, we think we know intrinsically what it means and we throw it around, but we have a hard time explaining it.  Well, let’s define these terms.  How does the Bible define holiness?  Let’s start at the beginning.  Surprisingly, the word “holy” doesn’t even appear in the book of Genesis.  The first occurrence of the word “holy” in the Bible appears in Exodus 3:5.

Exodus 3:5

“And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

קדשׁ – qôdesh – ko’-desh

Strongs dictionary defines it as a sacred place or thing.  Ok, well, that doesn’t tell us very much.  There is a parallel word for holy in the New Testament.  The first use of the word holy in the NT is

Matt 1:18

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

A couple more places where this is found, and I’m not going to look all of these up, but

Matthew 4:5

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,”

Matthew 7:6

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

This word in the Greek for holy is

αγιος – “hag-ee-oss” – sacred.

Again, still a pretty abstract concept.  Let’s set out to de-mystify these concepts.  Bring it from the abstract to the tangible.   Let’s see if we can nail it down a little more.  To better understand what holiness is, let us examine the opposite of holiness.  In scripture, the opposite of holy is profane.  Now profane carries with it a different meaning than what we understand in our modern usage of the word.  When we hear the word profane we usually think of profanity, like foul language.  So in the modern usage of the word, profane has the idea of evil, or foul, or sinful.  But that is not what the word means as it’s used in scripture.  In scripture profane simply means, common, ordinary, or everyday.  Run-of-the-mill.  No-frills.  Just like all the rest.

Now when you consider profane in this aspect, scripture presents all kinds of contrasts between that which is holy and that which is profane. The Old Testament is full of these contrasts.  Here are just a few of them:

Holy vs. Profane

Leviticus 20:3

And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.

Leviticus 21:6

They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.

Leviticus 21:7

They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.

Leviticus 22:2

Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 22:15

And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the Lord;

Leviticus 22:32

Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord which hallow you,

Ezekiel 22:26

Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference [discernment] between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

Ezekiel 44:23

And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Amos 2:7

That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name:

Over and over again we have this contrast presented to us.  So if we understand then that profane is that which is common, or ordinary, or just like all the rest, and we understand that holy is the polar opposite of profane, then holy would be that which is not profane; that which is not common, that which is not ordinary, that which is not every-day, that which is not just like all the rest.

God said to Israel, when you profaned My name among the heathen, you made Me to be just like all the other gods.  When you profaned my temple, you made it like any other ordinary building.  I am no longer holy.  You caused me to be patterned after just like everything else.  I am no longer in that place where I deserve to be, because I am God, I am Jehovah.  I am not like all the rest.  I am higher than all the rest.  In fact, there are no others.  I am the only one.  I am that I Am!  I am the self-existent One!  That’s what My name means.  Do not profane it!  Do not make it just like all the rest!

This distinction between holy and profane is very helpful when it comes to us understanding why holiness is important in the Christian life.  Because if we are believers, then we are the adopted children of God.  If we are believers then we have identified with Christ.  We are righteous as He is righteous.  Sin has been taken away.  So then why would we live a life that profanes our Father?  Why would we live a life, why would our behavior be common, ordinary, why would our behavior be just like everyone else?

God is out of the ordinary, and He wants His people to be like Him.  In fact, He made it possible when He saved us.  Sin was taken away.  Our old man was crucified with Christ, and now we live in newness of life.  Our lives should be out of the ordinary.  Our lives should not be characterized by that which is just like everyone else in this world.

So, after we have gone through all of that, do we have a Biblical definition of holiness that we can work with?

Holy – a place or thing which is distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else.

Now those are words we can understand.  Those are words we can wrap our minds around and sink our teeth into.

Now that begs the question, what determines if something is holy?  What is it that makes something holy?  And this is where the relationship with sanctification comes into play.  If we as believers are commanded to be holy, our holiness then is effected through the process of sanctification.  In fact that could be a good starting place to define Sanctification.  We could say that:

Sanctification – the process whereby the holiness in the life of the believer is effected.

But let’s not leave it there.  Remember, our goal is to have a Biblical understanding of these concepts.  So let’s go back to God’s word and see how the scriptures define Sanctification.

Now while the word holy did not appear until the book of Exodus, the word sanctify appears early on in the book of Genesis.  The first instance of “sanctify” appears in

Genesis 2:3

“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

קדשׁ – qâdash – kaw-dash’ – to be clean; to make, pronounce, or declare clean.

Notice that, the basic definition of sanctification has to do with cleansing.  If you wanted to substitute the word clean for the word sanctify in Genesis 2:3 it would read:

“And God blessed the seventh day, and cleansed it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Now let me put our word for holy back up here for a moment.

Holy – ko-desh

Sanctify – kaw-dash

There is a great similarity between these two Hebrew words.  In fact they are both taken from the same root word.  What we have here is a very close relationship between cleansing and holiness.  The fourth commandment is what, remember the Sabbath day to keep it, holy.  Remember our definition of Holy?  Why was the Sabbath day holy?  Why was the Sabbath day distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else?  It was holy because God cleansed it.

Ok, how about the New Testament?  The first instance of “sanctify” in the NT is found in

Matthew 23:17

“Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?”

αγνος – “hag-noss” – clean

Now just like I did in the Hebrew, let me put up the word for holy in the Greek.

Holy – “hag-ee-oss”

Sanctify – “hag-noss”

Again, look at the similarity of the two words.  And just like in the Hebrew, these two words in the Greek are taken from the same root.  The same relationship appears in the Greek between these ideas of cleansing and holiness.

So now that we understand this relationship between holiness and cleansing, we can take the meaning of the word Sanctify, and combine it with the meaning of holiness, and we can come up with what I believe is an accurate, Biblical definition of Sanctification.

Sanctification – the process of cleansing for the purpose of making a place or thing distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everything else. (or the purpose of making something holy)

So we have our definitions.  We’ve established the ground work, the foundation from which we can build.

If you remember at the beginning of this session I asked the question, as creatures made in the image of God, can we exhibit God’s attribute of holiness?  I would say that according to scripture, the answer is a resounding, YES!  We are able to.  We are able to be distinct from that which is common, ordinary, or just like everyone else.  We are able to behave that way.  We are able to pattern our lives that way.

So, now that we have a premise to build on, in session two, we’ll take a look at how this all worked out in the Old Testament under the law, and the relationship of Sanctification to the law.  We’ll expand on this idea of cleansing and the relationship between cleansing and Sanctification and holiness in the life of a believer.

Do we have time for any questions or comments?

A Definitive Biblical Statement on Law and Gospel for Home Fellowships

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 24, 2015

TANC Ministries, 2015   

Whatever form of Protestantism you are talking about, and Calvinism in particular, its Achilles’ heel is the law. Protestantism cannot pass the true gospel test because of its position on law, and this is not hard to understand.

Andy Young, an associate of TANC ministries, said something in last year’s 2014 conference that is probably true for the most part: “The law is for sanctification.” Right, because the law is in no wise for justification. We are justified apart from the law (Romans 3:21) and “apart” means exactly that. The fact that the law will judge people in the end is a separate issue altogether.

The apostle Paul makes all of this easy to understand in Galatians chapter 3. But first, let’s use that same chapter to establish what we mean by the word “law.” The word is used interchangeably with many other words, including “gospel”, to refer to the Bible. So, Andy was merely saying that the Bible is for sanctification, or in other words, Christian living. Andy was talking in context of sanctification for the Bible has no stake in justification, and again, the fact that the Bible will judge people in the end is another issue. Yes, the Bible defines justification (Rom 3:21, Gal 4:21); yes, the Bible testifies to the truths regarding justification, but the law does not justify.

Note the following from Galatians 3:

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Notice that Paul uses the word “law” and “Scripture” interchangeably. The law, “holy writ,” “the word,” “the gospel,” “the Scriptures,” “the law and the prophets,” etc. are all terms that refer to the Bible which is a full orbed statement by God regarding Himself, mankind, and reality. Statements like this: “We are not bound by the law, or else we’d have to live under every aspect of the law including not wearing blended fabrics and not eating shrimp and bacon” reveal a fundamental ignorance in regard to what the law is.

Protestantism falls on this one basic principle: law is the standard for righteousness. This makes the salvific work of Christ two-fold: He died to pay the penalty for our sins, and came to fulfill the law for us in order to make us righteous. That’s gross heresy. That’s an egregious false gospel. Hence, you have two kinds of Protestants: one camp that understands the position and professes it, and the other camp who also confesses it, but has not thought out the ramifications. This includes Baptists, Methodists, and many others. Baptists parted ways with the Reformers on baptism, but have never repented of making the law justification’s standard.

Yes, Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law and to not end it, but then we have the apostle Paul writing that Christ in fact did come to end the law, so does the Bible contradict itself? By no means.

Here is the problem: by design, Protestants don’t interpret the Bible in context of sanctification and justification, and again, that is by design. Why? Because Protestantism is founded on the idea that sanctification is merely the progression of justification. This also goes hand in glove with the idea that the law is justification’s standard. Hence, the law must continue to be fulfilled perfectly to keep the saints justified. This results in the confused theological train wreck we call Protestantism.

When the law must be continually fulfilled perfectly as a standard for justification, the law cannot be used for love because now you have fused love and justification together. This is why churches lack love; the maintaining of justification and love are confused. In the Bible, love is absolutely synonymous with obedience. Unfortunately, Protestantism makes obedience a justification issue. Obedience is not a justification issue—it’s a love issue. That’s why there is so much love-bombing in your churches; true love is stifled because it is confused with justification. The vacuum is then filled with empty words and programs. People are in bondage to the law in Jesus’ name and their pain is medicated by praise bands, personality cults, and the splendor of institutional temples.

The fulfillment of the law in Jesus’ name is a huge problem—there is no law in justification regardless of who keeps it. Who keeps it is not the issue, the law is the issue. Here is the theses of Paul’s argument in Galatians 3: Only God can give life through faith alone in the promise. What is the promise? It was a promise made to Abraham and Christ that Israel and the Gentiles would be blessed with eternal life, and that Christ would be resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit in order to make that possible:

Galatians 3:15 – To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

So in other words, if Christ came to also fulfill the law, the Promise is fulfilled by law, and not God’s promise made to Abraham. By the way, this term, “the promise” is a major biblical term referring to the gospel. In regard to justification, Christ came for one reason: to end the curse of the law:

Galatians 3:10 – For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

If we still rely on the works of the law, we are under a curse; again, it doesn’t matter who keeps it. Paul spent most of his ministry trying to hammer this point home. Here, he makes it clear that the law was not part of the original promise, and once a covenant has been ratified, nothing can change it. If Christ fulfilled the law in our stead, that is clearly an addition to the original covenant of promise—that’s Paul’s specific point.

But now Protestants once again protest that the key is a perfect fulfillment of the law which only curses those who cannot keep it perfectly. Christ’s perfect obedience to the law is then imputed to us. In light of this chapter in Galatians, this position is fraught with problems. Clearly, it’s still an addition to the original covenant. Also key is who the promise is made to; ie., the descendants of Abraham which include the Gentiles, and Christ Himself. Paul emphasizes that there is only ONE seed (verse 16). Why?

“Seed” is key. The Greek word refers to offspring. Christ was part of Abraham’s lineage, and is only ONE seed—there is not more than one seed. Christ died to end the curse of the law by dying to pay the penalty of sin, and then waited (in a manner of speaking) in the grave for the promise that was also made to Him: “the promised Spirit.” The Spirit raised Christ from the grave:

Romans 8:11 – If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Ephesians 1:19 – and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,…

The promised Spirit is major here. This is the new birth. This promise of the Spirit accomplished three universe-shaking objectives: it enabled mankind to follow Christ in literal death and resurrection, baptized Jews and Gentiles into one body, or family of God, cancelled judgement and condemnation, and set God’s children free to aggressively love.

The idea that Christ fulfilled the law in order to satisfy justification usurps the Spirit’s role in the promise. God elected the means of salvation, Christ died, and the Spirit baptizes. God initiated salvation, Christ paid the penalty for sin, and the Spirit regenerates. We are not justified by the law, we are justified by the new birth:

Romans 4:20 – No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (ESV 2001).

Galatians 3:1 – O thoughtless Galatians, who did bewitch you, not to obey the truth — before whose eyes Jesus Christ was described before among you crucified?

2 this only do I wish to learn from you — by works of law the Spirit did ye receive, or by the hearing of faith? 3 so thoughtless are ye! having begun in the Spirit, now in the flesh do ye end? (YLT).

Notice the idea of completion reflected by the Greek and properly translated by the YLT. We don’t receive the Spirit and His work on the installment plan when we believe; the new birth is a complete work. Hence, the new birth, or the Spirit’s baptism is what makes us righteous or justified, not the law.

Again, God set forth the plan of salvation: Christ died to end the law, and the Spirit regenerates us and helps us in our progression of holiness. We are born of the Spirit and resurrected as holy babies born of God, and grow up in holiness (1Peter 2:2). The baptism of the Spirit is therefore twofold:

Romans 6:1 – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 7:1 – Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Colossians 2:8 – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 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, 12 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. 13 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, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Why would Christ fulfil the law and then die to end it? Why would Christ’s perfect obedience to law be imputed to us when it is no longer valid? Why would Christ fulfil the law for those who die with Him and are no longer under that law? Why would Christ fulfil a law that has nothing to say to us? (Romans 3:19). When Paul states, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse” (verse 10), that means any works of the law period, not just what we perform, but any works of the law period. The covenant of promise WAS NOT RATIFIED BY THE LAW THAT CAME 430 YEARS LATER. What could possibly be more evident? If Jesus kept the law perfectly as part of the gospel, that still ratifies the original covenant of promise.

But all of this is not even Paul’s primary argument. His primary argument is that only the Spirit can give life. His argument is that only the resurrection of the new birth gives life. If the law has any part in justification, then the law can give life and there is more than one seed. Consequently, only God can give life and now there is a co-life-giver. That’s Paul’s argument exactly.

11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

Life, justification, faith alone in the promise, and the new birth are all mutually inclusive while the law and justification are mutually exclusive—that’s exactly what the apostle Paul is saying.

Also, if law has anything to do with justification at all, we inherit eternal life by being born again into God’s family by the fulfillment of the law and NOT promise:

18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

Someone may argue, “But Jesus keeps the law perfectly!” So what of it? It’s still inheritance by the law and not promise. Again, and again, the original covenant was not ratified by Jesus’ perfect law-keeping. Here is what we must come to grips with: Protestantism is predicated on a juvenile perception of law and gospel.

16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

As an aside while on the subject of covenants: this whole idea of Jesus fulfilling the law plugs into the ever popular Covenant theology. This is the idea that Christ came to obey the law perfectly in order to restore the original and supposed covenant of works with Adam. But the Covenant of Promise was not made with Adam, it was made with Abraham. Compounding this glaring error is the citation of Genesis 3:15 to make a connection between Adam’s disobedience and Christ’s obedience to the law. But in that verse, it is the serpent that is being addressed and not Adam. Usually, when you make a covenant with someone, as with Abraham, it’s made with the person you are talking to. In essence, it claims that God made a covenant with the serpent.

Regardless of all of the splendor and glory affiliated with religious academia, it is found wanting in embarrassing proportions. The laity must stop listening to these people and start reading the Bible for themselves.

But with all of this said, “Why then the law?”(verse 19). However, which law is Paul referring to when he presents this anticipated question in verse 19? There are two laws: one known as, “the written code” (Colossians 2:14), “the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2), “the law of sin” (Romans 7:23), simply “the law” in many places, “the letter” (2Cor 3:6), “ministry of death” (2Cor 3:7), “ministry of condemnation” (2Cor 3:9), “the record of debt” (Col 2:14), and “the first covenant” (Hebrews 8;13).

The second is known as: “the law of the Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2), “the law of my mind” (Romans 7:23), “the law of liberty” (James 1:25), “the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2), and because love fulfills the whole law (Romans 13:8-10), it can be rightly called “the law of love.”

In verse 19, Paul is referring to the first law. It only condemns and judges, but that’s not its only function by far.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

What’s this saying? First, it’s saying that the first law has no function for believers after Christ died on the cross to END the law. And Christ did come to end the law of sin and death. Christ didn’t come to merely cover sin with His own righteousness, He came to end sin by ending the law (Romans 3:19,20, 4:15, 5:13, 7:6,8, 10:4, 1Tim 1:9, Gal 2:19).

Secondly, the first law covered believers until Christ died on the cross. The first law was an atonement for sin; all of the sins of Old Testament believers were imputed to that law, and then it was ended by Christ. The person who believes on Christ dies in baptism, and is no longer under the law that he/she sinned against (Romans 7:1ff). This would also include believers who were deceased at the time.

In regard to Old Testament believers that were dead during the time of Christ’s ministry on earth, Old Testament believers were captive under the law until Christ died to end the law. Therefore, they were in Sheol/Abraham’s bosom/Paradise/Hades. When Christ died, He went there and preached to the captives and took the thief on the cross with Him. When the Spirit resurrected Him, He also resurrected those in Sheol and set the captives free. They and their sins were held captive by the law until Christ died to end it. Remember, King David said, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption” (Psalm 16:10). As a testimony, Christ sent many of them to walk around Jerusalem. Texts that help sum up all of these points are Ephesians 4:7-10 which also references Psalm 68:18, Luke 16:22, Matthew 27:51-53, and Colossians 2:13-15.

Thirdly, the first law still has a function in the scheme of things. The old covenant of the law is passing away, but is not ended for the unbelieving. “Under grace” did not end “under law” (Romans 6:14). The first law still holds sin captive because all sin is against the law (1John 3:4). Yes, for those who don’t repent, the law will judge them in the end. To the degree that they violate the law, they will be punished eternally.

But there is a sense in which the first law also serves a purpose of covering as it formally did for those under grace. When a person is saved and born again, they die and are no longer culpable to the law—the law is also ended for them at that time. Their sins are taken away and cast as far as the east is from the west. Again, Christ did not come to cover sin, he came to take sin away. The first law is grace in waiting. All sin is imputed to it, and it stands ready to be ended for each and every person who chooses to follow Christ in death and resurrection.

Now, what about the other law—the law of the Spirit of life? Let there be no doubt, there is a law that is under grace. It is the law of love. We have been released from the condemnation of the first law, and are now free to aggressively serve the law of Christ:

Romans 7:4 – Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

In the same way that one sin formally violated the whole law (James 2:10), one act of love fulfills the law of Christ (Gal 5:14, Rom 13:10). Love covers a multitude of sin (1Peter 4:8). We are sanctified with the word of truth (John 17:17). The Christian life is faith WORKING through the obedience of love (Gal 5:6), and love is synonymous with obedience (John 14:15).

If a professing Christian is not truly bearing fruit for God as an expression of true love for truth, God, and others, he/she has a flawed view of the law’s relationship to the gospel.

What is sapping the power of Christianity in our day is misguided fear. When the ending of sin is confused with the idea of covering, excessive introspection ensues  for fear that we are not living by a convoluted Protestant system of faith-alone works so that the perfect obedience of Christ will continue to be imputed to our Christian life.

In contrast, there is no longer any condemnation for those in Christ and fear has to do with judgement (Rom 8:30, 1Jn 4:16-19). Those mature in love cast away fear. They are free from the condemnation of the law and free to serve Christ in aggressive love.

Who will deny that the overwhelming preoccupation of Protestants is sin and not love while any appearance of good works are held suspect? Where there is not freedom to love without fearful introspection, love will not thrive.

Are Christians Truly Righteous? Yes, Because Jesus DID NOT Die for All of Our Sins

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 17, 2015

The weak sanctification/kingdom living among Christians is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the new birth. Once again, I was involved in a debate last week with several professing Christians who understand the new birth to be an idiom for our sins being covered rather than ended. Rather than being made, or recreated righteous, we still have sin that separates us from grace and requires an “imputation” of an “alien righteousness.” Our sins are only covered and we remain fundamentally unchanged.

Per the usual, the debate included Baptist pastors and missionaries which of course is completely terrifying. Wonder why your little Baptist church is dying a slow death? A false gospel perhaps?

Ask many professing Christians if Christ died for our present and future sins and they will look at you like it is the stupidest question they have ever heard in their whole life, but this is indicative of the overall ignorance concerning the true gospel among professing Protestants.

Christ came to end the law, and where there is no law there is no sin. Christ only died for sins that are under law. When you are saved you are no longer under law—there is no penalty to be paid for any sin that is not under law.  That is the legal aspect, but it is also the reality of being.

The new birth puts the old person to death with Christ. A dead person is no longer under law. And where there is no law there is no sin. All sin is against the law; that is, the law of sin and death. That law no longer applies to the believer for two reasons: Christ ended it on the cross, and a dead man is no longer under the law. What happens when the Police find out a suspect is dead? Case closed. This is along the exact same line of argument Paul makes in Romans 7.

But there is also a resurrection. Even though the body of sin has been brought to nothing, and those who have died have ceased from sin, the soul of the believer is quickened (regeneration) and now is free to “serve another.” Who is the new person now free to serve? His/her new master, the law of the Spirit of life. The law is now our guide to love God and others—it cannot condemn us. We were indifferent to the law when we were under it and it was condemning us, but now we love it (see Psalms 119).

If Christ died for our present and future sins, we are still under the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death is not ended—we are still under it, and in fact, Christ’s death needs to be applied to any present or future sin we commit—we are therefore not under grace.

This denies the new birth. We have not ceased from sin because we never really died with Christ. The sin we presently commit is not merely family sin that can bring chastisement from our Father—that sin can actually condemn us. There is still condemnation for those who love God.

A verse often quoted to refute the literal new birth and the ending of the law of sin and death is 2Corinthians 5:21.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (KJV).

The idea in citing this verse is that the only righteousness we have is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. Christ not only came to die for our sins, but instead of ending the law of sin and death, he came to obey it perfectly so that His obedience (righteousness) can be credited to our account because we are not literally righteous and fall short of obeying the law of sin and death perfectly. 1John 1:9 is often added to 2Corinthians 5:21 to make the case.

Moreover, this perfect obedience and His death must be reapplied to any new sin we commit against the still active law of sin and death. Hence, any obedience to the law done by us can only bring about death—we are not free to serve the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2).

So, we have no righteousness of our own, and are not recreated righteous. We only have the righteousness of God, who is also Christ, so being interpreted: we are not righteous or recreated, but merely covered by the righteousness of Christ. “In Christ” means that the righteousness of God and the righteousness of Christ are the same thing.

This idea not only turns the true gospel completely on its head for a number of reasons, but 2Corithians 5:21 is saying the exact opposite.

“In Christ” means that Christ made it possible for God to recreate believers as truly righteous beings through the baptism of the Spirit. Christ died on the cross so that we could die with Him and no longer be under the law of sin and death. Christ died for us so that we could die with Him. Christ was then resurrected by the Spirit so that we could be resurrected with Him as new creatures that are truly righteous. This is what 2Corithians 5:21 is saying.

The two words translated “made” in said verse are two different Greek words. The first in regard to Christ being made sin is the word poieō which, for the most part is the idea of assignment or appointment. The meaning has a wide use and is ambiguous. Not so much with the word ginomai used in regard to us being made the righteousness of God. The word means to make something, or create something completely. For example, this is how the word is used in Matthew 4:3…

If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.

“Become” is the same word, and how it is used is obvious. Satan wasn’t demanding that Christ declare the stones to be loaves of bread in some kind of forensic declaration, he was demanding that Christ recreate the stones as bread. Nor was this going to be a gradual process of transforming the stones into bread, but would have been a final complete act. Get the picture?

2Corinthians 5:21 is simply stating that Christ made it possible for God to recreate us to be the same righteousness that defines our Father because we are truly born of Him—that’s the gospel.

paul

%d bloggers like this: