Hi this is our Blog on Grace. We hope and pray that the Grace of God will flood into your life like it has ours. A good place to start is to listen to the mp3 messages, they will not only turn your world around, you will feel like you have just been saved all over again!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Wayne's World...(29Sep08)

The One Thing - Daily Devotional From Joseph Prince Ministries
 
Our Help In Time Of Need  
 
Hebrews 4:16
16Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
 
If you are facing a challenge right now, I want you to know that you have a standing invitation from your heavenly Father to come boldly to the throne of grace to "obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need".
 
The phrase "help in time of need" means that you get healing when you are sick, provisions when you are in lack, restoration when your relationship with a loved one breaks down, and favor when news of job cuts or bad prospects are rife.
 
"Pastor Prince, how can I come boldly when I have been a lousy Christian?"
 
You can come boldly because you come to God by the blood of Jesus Christ and not by how you have lived your life. So whenever you come into God's presence, you don't have to be afraid that your sins will be exposed because the blood of Jesus has removed every one of them. God does not see even one speck of sin in you because He sees only the blood of His Son, which has been shed for your total forgiveness and acceptance.
 
My friend, when you have failed and need mercy, God's Word assures you that you will find mercy when you come boldly to God. Mercy means that you don't get the bad things you deserve, such as condemnation, poverty, failure, loss and even death.
 
And mercy is not the only thing that you will obtain when you come boldly to God. You will also find grace. Grace means that you get the good things that you don't deserve, such as health, protection, anointing, favor, good success and life more abundant.
 
So come boldly to the One who loves you passionately, unconditionally and with an undying love. Come boldly to Him who knows everything about your situation and has the solution. He has wisdom far beyond that doctor you highly respect, that lawyer you greatly honor and the best experts you can consult. Beloved, come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in your time of need!
 

Friday, 26 September 2008

Wayne's World...(26Sep08)

John Piper...From His book "Counted Righteous in Christ...Should we abandon the imputation of christs righteousness pg 41.42
 
"By imputation i am reffering to the act in which God counts sinners to be righteousness through their fath in Christ on the basis of Christs perfect "blood and righteousness", specifically the righteousness that Christ accumplished by His perfect obediance, life and Death.Its the provision for both pardon and imputed perfection.
In other words, Christ has become our substitute in two senses.In suffering and death he becomes our curse and condemnation. (Galatians 3:13 Romans 8:3). And in His suffering and life he becomes our perfection (2 Cor 5:21). On the one hand, his death is the climax of his atoning sufferings, which propitiate the wrath of God against us. (romans 3:24-25); on the other hand, his death is the climax of a perfect life of righteousness imputed to us (2 Cor 5:21 Romans 4:6, 11 with 3:21-22  5:18,19.)"
 
John Piper
 
page 125
"not only should He (jesus) be honoured as the one who died to pardon us, and not only should he be honoured as the one who soverignly works faith and obediance in us, but he should also be honoured as the one who provided perfect righteousness for us as the ground of all our accecptance and endorsement by God."
 
Piper argues that Gods dealing with us is as if we have always been perfectly obediant, as Jesus was. This is imputed righteousness.
 
Jesus got what we deserved...guilt, condemnation, wrath, seperation, curse suffering...though he did not deserve it.
 
We got what he deserved...accecptance, forgiveness, imputation of righteousness(viewed as always perfectly obediant).
 
John Piper argues that christ not only pardons us but perfects us. ie gives us His perfect righteousness.
 
We are now clothed in righteousness, and this is how the father sees us.
We cannot offer God any of our own righteouness, or progress in our rightesness...any effort to do so, would be efforts of self righteousness. How can you progress or improve Christs perfect life on your behalf?
 
Our righteouness in not imputed to us, coz we have none, we have never lived righteouss."there is no-one righteouss, not even one".
 
God relates to us based on the performance of Jesus on our behalf.
 
If you disagree...read Pipers argument...it's a great book.


Sunday, 21 September 2008

Wayne's World...(21Sep08)

Keeping a "texture of sanity" in an insane world.
Wayne Duncan
 
Friends one thing that is certain…in this life you will have trials. We will all go through challenging times in our lives.
 
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.
 
He did not say..if you have trial..but when you have trials…I want to ask this question which we will answer at the end .
 
Why were trials a joy for him?
 
Not to depress you but there will be times when our circumstances, and the worries of life will feel like they are pressing in on us. These times are certain, and cannot be avoided in the sense that things will come, and trials will come. Sadness and loss will happen. These things take on many forms.
 
It could be political instability, like our current situation in South Africa, with our president resigning, and the instability and vulnerability that comes with that.
 
There is living with the threat of crime and violence in our land.
 
There may be living with the pain of divorce you're going through.
 
There could be the pain of an unsaved love one.
 
There could be desperate need or great loss financially.
 
There could be the devastation of loosing a loved one.
 
You could be trusting for a miracle in your body.
 
You could have an uncertain future.
 
A theology of sanity would be helpful, but we need a secure hope, an anchor for the soul. An anchor that will sustain our hearts and spirits and minds in every situation.
 
I'm going to try bring light to your life. Point you to one who can lift and carry your load.
 
Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
 
So Jesus promised us rest…the question then is how do we enter that rest?
 
1)       Have faith in Gods great love.
 
If we understand how much God loves us it will change us forever. When we understand that he is our father in heaven. That he loves and cares for us. That no loving father would ever desert a child. No father would let His child go hungry. No loving father would ever leave a child hopeless, He would never abandon His beloved child.
 
Faith is a big deal in our Christian life. It is a key to many victories. The greatest key to confidence in faith, is understanding His love for us.
 
2)       The gift of righteousness.
 
There can be few things more reassuring to the heart than to know, we are in right standing with God. This is life and light to the weary soul. When all of life presses in, when all seems dark, we have a place, a shelter where love and warmth and acceptance are guaranteed. It's His great acceptance of us. He will never close His ear to you, he will never look away from you, and never turn you away.
 
We need not burden ourselves with much work and performance to win approval with God, we have eternal acceptance through Jesus blood.
 
The tragedy is that in addition to many of life's challenges, many also live with the pain of "trying" to be right with the father. Oh what joy and strength it is to the weary soul to know, "Jesus earned our peace".
 
3) "You are what you eat".
 
This point speaks to the feeding of the soul. We are a lot like computers really. If you load a computer game, what will be available for you on the computer?...a computer game.
 
If you load a virus, what will the computer have?...a virus.
 
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
 
There are many interpretations around this scripture, but I'm sure we can all agree on this aspect.
 
If you meditate and fill you head and heart with junk…you will think about junk!
 
If you fill your heart and mind with goodness, and love, and righteousness, and faith…you will think good thoughts.
 
So we need to guard what we "feed on". It may be helpful to go on a diet of things that steal your joy. Go on a good news diet. It's not helpful to meditate on all the crime, and killings, and murder in our land. If you meditate on these things you will become depressed, sad. You may even loose your joy.
 
The enemy would love for us to loose sight of the cross. He would love us to become distracted with the "things of this world"…
 
II Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
 
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
 
What do you think is the enemy's strategy? How does he want you to feel? What does he want to release in your life?
 
The answer is fear…when we move into fear, we've moved out of the will of God. We must immediately repent.
 
Fear is crippling, fear destroys faith. Fear produces nothing good. We can never be in total victory when operating from a place of fear.
 
God want us to have faith, the enemy wants us to fear.
 
Meditation on Goodness produces faith, mediation on the bad stuff, produces fear.
 
Fear is not believing in God.
 
Not believing in his promises, or his love, or his Fatherhood, or His goodness etc…
 
All sin is birthed in unbelief.
 
Which brings me to point 4
 
4)Repent
 
Now most of us conjure up pictures of weeping and remorse when we talk about repentance. But repentance for me is a tremendously exciting. Repentance is changing our minds. We repent and change our minds. We must think God thoughts.
 
Re-again
 
Pent- penthouse/high places
 
We must regain the high places. We must change our thoughts, until we think about the situation the way God does.
 
So I love repentance. Repentance brings much joy and peace.
 
5) With repentance comes the presence of God. This is so key…so important. His presence has the power to sustain us through anything!
 
We find the previous points of faith, and "gift of righteousness", and the love of our father God position ourselves for the presence of God…
 
Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
 
Repent, throw off unbelief, God is faithful to wipe it away…then comes the glory…the presence.
 
In His presence is fullness of Joy. In His presence is all you need. It's where you find love…where you find peace…where you find hope. It's the place of miracles and power. The place of divine encounters with a living God. It's the place where everything else becomes insignificant in caparison to Him, and being in Him. Experiencing this refreshing is the nectar of life. It's the sweet spot. It is the only solution for permanent sustained victory over fear, and loss and trials. He has promised to never abandon us, leave us or forsake us.
 
Friend if you learn nothing else, learn to finds his presence. Unlock that door. The keys are plainly set before you. The gift of righteousness through Jesus, and  faith. Now we have confidence before Him.
 
So throw off the junk, and all that hinders the presence. If it's habits, deal a death blow. If its thinking change it. This is repentance we adjust ourselves, and position our hearts to receive WHAT HE LONGS AND LOVES TO GIVE US.
 
The great son…"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and the things of this world will become strangely dim, in the light of His glory and Grace"               
 
At the beginning of this preach I asked,
 
Why were trials a joy for him?
 
The answer is this. If you consider life, the only place we can find sustained life, and joy and victory is in God. In trials we have no were else to turn but to the father. Here we find all we need. Here we are satisfied. Here is life, and life to the full.
 
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid
 
II Corinthians 1:4He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
 
II Thessalonians 1:7 and to give rest with us to you who are troubled, at the revealing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with the angels of His power,
 
 
 

 

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Wayne's World...(18Sep08)

You Are Perfect In God's Eyes   
The One Thing - Daily Devotional From Joseph Prince Ministries
 
Hebrews 10:12, 14, KJV
12But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God... 14For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
 
God sees you with no flaw, spot or imperfection, so honor His Word and the finished work of His Son by saying, "Amen!" Don't doubt your perfection in Christ.
 
To see yourself as far from being perfect is not modesty, but a failure to understand the perfect sacrifice that Jesus has made for you.
 
The Bible tells us, "For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified". Did you get that? You have not only been sanctified, that is, made holy, but by the same offering of His body, you have been perfected. You are both holy and perfect in God's eyes!
 
Your sins have been purged perfectly. Today, Jesus is seated at His Father's right hand not because He is the Son of God (although that is true), but because His work of purging your sins is completely finished and perfect!
 
So instead of being conscious of your sins, which is to have an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22), you can have a perfect conscience, a conscience that is free from the guilt and condemnation of sins.
 
When you find yourself conscious of your sins, just say, "Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your wonderful work at the cross. It is a perfect work that has removed all my sins completely.
 
"Holy Spirit, thank You for convicting me of righteousness, not my own, but God's righteousness given to me as a gift. Keep on convicting me in the days to come, reminding me especially when I fail that I am still the righteousness of God in Christ."
 
My friend, God sees you perfect without any spot of sin. He sees you covered in the beautiful white robes of His own righteousness. He treats you like a righteous man because that is what He has made you. So expect good things to happen to you because blessings are on the head of the righteous! (Proverbs 10:6)
 
 

Wayne's World...(18Sep08)

Grace - the Most Overused yet Abused Word in the Christian Dictionary?

Enter the word "Grace" into
Google and it will discover around 289, 000, 000 sites for you. The first site is Channel 4's popular show, 'Will and Grace' closely followed around 9th in the list by John MacArthur's 'Grace to You' Ministries. Oh sure. Grace is a popular word. You can't move in Christian circles without bumping into it. "By His grace .. Grace church ... grace and peace to you ... may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God ... Grace Ministries" and so on and so on.

I have been reading Galatians with the help of Prof Gordon Fee and I've been amazed at how utterly angry Paul was with the legalists that he met. Paul really hated legalism! Small wonder that Terry Virgo can marvel in the lavish grace of God and say, "
How powerful grace is that it can take an embittered legalist, a murderer and set him free to say, 'By the grace of God I am what I am!" (p91). Clearly it takes something as powerful as grace to deliver one from something as evil as legalism! So this morning on this glorious Sunday, I want to join Paul in a bit of hating legalism and enjoying grace.

1. Galatians is an EXPERIENTIAL not POSITIONAL book.

So says Fee. "
Thus the argument is not basically along positional lines that one has right standing with God ("is justified") by faith alone, rather it is especially along experiential lines, that by faith one has received the Spirit and that the Spirit and Torah observance (= 'works of law') are absolutely incompatible" (GEP, p369). So in other words, Spirit = Freedom. Torah or Law = Slavery. Fee says again, "For Paul, the gift of the Spirit along with the death and resurrection of Christ meant the end of the time of Torah" (p369 - emphases mine).

For Paul then, Spirit-life is absolutely essential to Christian living, and I think Fee would not be mad at me for deriving that Spirit-life is just as essential for banishing legalism and enjoying and basking in the grace of God. Why else would Terry Virgo write, "Paul wants you to appreciate that not only Christ's great work of crushing condemnation through His Cross, but also His life-imparting power that comes to you by the indwelling Spirit who, by His power, fulfills in you what the outward law could not fufill" (GLL, p133 - emphases mine).

Surely therefore, those who call themselves charismatics should be especially in interested in this book! What a poor testimony to the power of the Spirit to meet a legalistic charismatic! Gordon Fee wrote that Paul's whole argument in Galatians, "runs aground if this appeal is not also to a reception of the Spirit that was dynamically experienced" (GEP, p383).

2. Grace is an ONGOING not AUTOMATIC experience.

Fee said, "For Paul all is not automatic. One must sow to the Spirit (6:8) and be led by the Spirit (5:18) ... thus the Spirit not only stands at the beginning of Christian existence, but is the key ingredient to Paul's understanding of the whole of that existence" (GEP, p370). I do appreciate that there is much talk abroad of unity around the gospel and therefore much talk indeed of the gospel. This is a good thing. We are indeed 'all one' in Christ. However my concern is that we do not get caught up in the latest fad and spend our time with Bunyan standing gazing at the wicket gate ... or the Cross. Or wherever.

Christian life doesn't know much of standing and "gazing" to me. Bunyan was so right to make it clear that we are on a journey and these truths must run with us. Therefore the dynamic of the Spirit to Paul, and to Fee is not just for the beginnings of Christian life. But for "the WHOLE" of that existance and our existance. Small wonder then that Gordon Fee calls "being filled with the Spirit" - the ULTIMATE imperative.

To quote Terry Virgo again, "Grace should never lead to passivity but to outrageous adventure, a lifestyle that baffles those who play safe. It threatens the status quo not only of tentative religion but also of cynical unbelief" (GLL, p185). Terry said earlier that grace sets us FREE from the fear of condemnation! Grace assures us that God has FULLY accepted us! But again unsurprisingly for Terry Virgo - he too sees our mobility as essential. "He calls you to go with good news for the nations".

3. Legalism therefore is a MALIGNANT CANCER not a BENIGN FAULT!

Terry Virgo said of the legalists in Philippi, "Paul's dismissive attitude is amazing, regarding them as he does as "dogs" and "evil workers" (Phil 3:2). Why else would Paul be so disturbed with the Galatians? He found something good to say about, even the Corinthians! Michael Eaton wrote, "Law produces a judgemental atmosphere. It tends to condemn you and you condemn everyone else. Law tends to produce a guilt-laden atmosphere. Paul has one word for all of this; DEATH! The law kills!". Terry Virgo said in a sermon, "Condemnation is a WORK OF DARKNESS! It doesn't work! It has no power to change!".

It is interesting that Paul has some very practical instruction for the Galatians near the end of the letter, that I am not now suprised is included. (Galatians 6:1-3). "Restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness". Fee wrote, "You should restore a fallen brother or sister remembering your own susceptibility to temptation". John Calvin is a little more forward about it.

"Ambition is a serious and alarming evil. But hardly less injury is frequently done by unseasonable and excessive severity which, under the plausible name of zeal, springs in many instances from pride and from dislike and contempt of the brethren. Most men seize on the faults of brethren as an occasion of insulting them, and using reproachful and cruel language. Were the pleasure they take in upbraiding equalled by their desire to produce amendment they would act in a different manner. We must not shrink from a testimony against sin, neither must we omit to mix oil with the vinegar" (Commentaries, p171).

Fee says again, "It is exactly our common vulnerability that causes people of the Spirit to restore the fallen rather than kick them while they are down, as many of us are so prone to do" (GEP, p462).

I wonder if any preacher would say about legalism, "Be ever killing it or it will be killing you" - just as John Owen said about sin. Because legalism IS sin. And it is all the more hateful to God because it is fuelled by pride. Or it is as a preacher I heard once said not so long ago, "The height of self-arrogance".

Conclusion: So what?

1. Fee said, "The coming of the Spirit was a dynamic, experienced reality ... For the ongoing life that Christ has afforded through His death and resurrection, the Spirit is the key to everything; conversion, ethics, community life, miracles, revelations, eschatology. Without the Spirit there simply is no genuinely Christian life" therefore our pursuit of Him and His indwelling and filling of us must be far far more than simply "acknowledging" His empowering work.

2. I think we must be very careful what names we adopt for ourselves. Terry Virgo once prayed at the Brighton Leaders Conference, "Let our doctrines adorn our name". Do we attach the word "Grace" to ourselves? Well then let us be extremely careful how we live. Because the world is watching - and doesn't particularly care initially about our name. They are watching our actions. It is incredible however how quickly they notice if a hint of legalism, or judgementalism appears among people who wear the name "Grace" as their banner.

I think there was more understanding among non-Christians for the shutting down of Stoneleigh Bible Week than there was among Christians! I told a number of my non-Christian friends about it when it happened and I was amazed by how many said, "Well - you call yourself 'New Frontiers' don't you?!".

3. Grace is an ongoing adventure but a daily quest. "Keep yourself in the love of God". I have come to realise that being as prone to this hated legalism as I am, I must avail myself of every means of grace that God has made possible! It's not enough to sing a beautiful "grace" chorus such as "The Grace of God upon my life" and then hope for the best! Terry Virgo said, "This liberty has not only to be celebrated but fought for, as the letter to the Galatians demonstrates" (GLL, p106).
 

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Bertie in Ballito

 
 Invitation

Everyone is invited to listen to a message given by Bertie Britz. Bertie is an Evangelist from Cape Town who has extensive experience with outreaches into numerous countries.

Bertie's message will cover the following aspects:

  • Jesus as our Savior and the forgiveness of sin.

  • Freedom from ancestral worship.

  • Freedom from fear, depression and anxiety.

  • Financial freedom.

  • Freedom from past disappointments.

Also, Bertie's ministry includes healing and we encourage those who are struggling with any type of illness, to come along.

Bertie's intention is to carry-out extensive outreaches into the surrounding areas. We therefore encourage everyone, from all churches to attend, to gain a full understanding of this ministry. We need to support these outreaches as part of our commission and calling. We have scheduled events.

Venue: Conference Room, Salt Rock Hotel, Salt Rock.

When: Friday 26th September 18H30 to 22H00

Saturday 27th September 09H30 to 11H00

We sincerely encourage everyone who needs a clearer understanding of the above to attend. Jesus Christ paid a really high price for our Freedom and His many promises. God is always good!!

Please forward this on to everyone!!

Should you require any further information, please email us at info@dynamicministries.com or call Nick 072-425 2776 and Ant 074-140 1247.

Thank you

Kind Regards

Will Rogers

Bertie in Ballito

Hey Guys
Here are some pics of Bertie doing what he does best.
Remember to join us in Salt Rock at the end of the month.
Love
Gregg

Monday, 15 September 2008

Bertie in Ballito


Bertie Britz, champion of Grace and evangelist who also has
a healing ministry, will be in Ballito at the end of this month.

Venue: Salt Rock Hotel

Date:

  1. Friday 26 September 2008 from 18h30 to 22h00.

  2. Saturday 27 September 2008 from 09h30 to 11h00.

Hope to see you all there.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Salvation

 
H3444 ישׁוּעה
yeshû‛âh
yesh-oo'-aw
Feminine passive participle of H3467; something saved, that is, (abstractly) deliverance; hence aid, victory, prosperity: - deliverance, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.
 
H8668 תּשׁעה    תּשׁוּעה
teshû‛âh  teshû‛âh
tesh-oo-aw', tesh-oo-aw'
From H7768 in the sense of H3467; rescue (literally or figuratively, personal, national or spiritual): - deliverance, help, safety, salvation, victory.
 
H3468 ישׁע    ישׁע
yesha‛  yêsha‛
yeh'-shah, yay'-shah
From H3467; liberty, deliverance, prosperity: - safety, salvation, saving.
 
H3467  ישׁע
yâsha‛ yaw-shah'
A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor: -  X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.
 
G4991 σωτηρία
sōtēria
so-tay-ree'-ah
Feminine of a derivative of G4990 as (properly abstract) noun; rescue or safety (physically or morally): - deliver, health, salvation, save, saving.
 
G4992 σωτήριον
sōtērion
so-tay'-ree-on
Neuter of the same as G4991 as (properly concrete) noun; defender or (by implication) defence: - salvation.
 

 

Tuesday, 09 September 2008

Power of Prayer

Hi All
 
Our wonderful friend and sister Nerina is still in her fight with cancer and
starts yet another course of Chemo.
 
Please would all who read this blog speak life into her body and for the
spirit that is sustaining that cancer to flee.
 
Also please pray the following scripture over her:
Mat 14:14  And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
 
Mar 5:34  And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
 
Psalm 20
 
Love and Peace
Gregg
 

Love Louisa...(9Sep08)

 
I want to share a dream I had recently. I spoke about it at church and Lez and Ant said they would like a copy if you can forward it to them. They said Rob Rufus may be interested as well.
 
I dreamt that men, women and children of all ages were dressed as warriors and fighting a war. Some were locked in stocks, others were tied on very high stakes. Some were fighting on the ground. The fighting was intense but it was a war of words. People were fighting for and standing for what they believe in. The phrase rulers of the world -those in influence, kept on coming up. The fighting was intense but it seemed as if the 'believers' were losing the battle. Although those opposing the stand were mocking and persecuting the 'believers' they were taking in what was said and what was happening and had a grudging admiration for their stand.
 
But then the "believers on the ground became despondent because they began to feel that they were losing the battle had no influence and were beginning to doubt and were impatient for something to happen. So they started to make things happen. They made fake wings, put them on their backs, so that they could look more 'spiritual'. Even though those on the high stakes could 'see' into the future they also succumbed and made wings too. I recognised Rob as one of them.
 
Those opposing them  looked at them in disgust, disappointed they walked away. 
 
I believe this is a warning not to become despondent and to be tempted to act in the flesh and not in the spirit. Ground is been gained although at times it doesn't feel like it. Much will be lost if we try and make things happen!
 
I'm not sure if this is relevant but most of the women were in the kitchen washing dishes while the fighting was going on.
 
Lots of love
Louisa

 

Monday, 08 September 2008

What God Requires, Christ Provides

By John Piper with Justin Taylor
 
The gospel that Paul defended in Galatians is under serious attack today, in part by some who insist that they are evangelical Protestants. In the September/October issue of Modern Reformation magazine (which we encourage you to buy and read), Piper spells out more fully exactly what God's good news in Christ is. He argues that what God requires regarding human law-keeping, Christ provides, through becoming our substitute in two senses.
 
If justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal. 2:21)
 
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." ... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. (Gal. 3:10, 13)
 
Historically, Protestants have believed that the Bible teaches that our salvation depends on what Christ has accomplished for our pardon and our perfection. We accept by faith his substitution for us in two senses: in his final suffering and death, he was condemned and cursed so that we may be pardoned (see Gal. 3:13; Rom. 8:3); and in his whole life of righteousness culminating in his death, he learned obedience so that we may be saved (see Heb. 5:8-9). His death crowns his atoning sufferings that propitiate God's wrath against us (see Rom. 3:24-25; 5:6-9), but it also crowns his life of perfect righteousness—God's righteousness —that is then imputed to us who believe (see 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-22; 4:6, 11; 5:18-19).
 
God provided in Christ what God demanded from us in the law. But today this good news that Christ is not only our pardon but also our perfection is under serious attack. Here I hope to show not only that the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's righteousness is biblical but why we should defend it.
 
The Problem of the Law
Three times in Galatians 2:16, Paul tells us that no one can be justified —no one can be made right with God—by "works of the law." In context, this phrase refers most naturally to deeds done to obey Moses' law. (Note the parallels between "the Book of the Law" and "works of the law" in Gal. 3:10, and between "the law" in Rom. 3:19, 20 and "works of the law" in Rom. 3:20. In both Gal. 3:10 and Rom. 3:19-20, the term "law" refers to the Mosaic law; so the phrase "works of the law" naturally picks up that meaning.)
 
In its narrow, short-term design, the law that God gave to the Israelites through Moses demanded perfect obedience of the Pentateuch's more than 600 commandments in order for the Israelites to receive eternal life (see Lev. 18:5; Deut. 32:45-47; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10, 12). In this way, it upheld an absolute standard of childlike, humble, God-reliant, God-exalting perfect obedience that is in fact due from all of us—and thus provided the moral backdrop without which the Pentateuch's sin-atoning provisions (and ultimately Christ's sacrifice) would be unintelligible.
 
Yet the Israelites were uniformly sinful and hostile to God (see Exod. 33:1-3; Acts 7:51). They did not—and indeed could not (see Rom. 8:7) —submit to him. Consequently, the law's effect on sinful Israel, when she was confronted with its hundreds of commandments, was awareness of latent sin (see Rom. 7:7), increased sin through deliberate violation of God's holy, righteous, and good commandment (see Rom. 7:12-13), and the multiplication of transgressions (see Rom. 5:20; 4:15). All of this was part of God's design for the law: "[The law] was added for the sake of transgressions" (Gal. 3:19); "The law came in so that the transgression would increase" (Rom. 5:20). The law cannot give life (see Gal. 3:21); rather it kills by multiplying sin (see Rom. 7:5, 8-13).
 
The law's deadly design and effects are sufficient to warrant Paul's statement in Galatians 3:12—"The law is not of faith"— especially in view of what he says eleven verses later: "Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law . . . . But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian" (vv. 23, 25). This does not mean that there was no faith before Christ (see Rom. 4) but, rather, that there was no faith explicitly in Christ before Christ came. The law's function, in the long view, is to prepare God's people for Christ's work, even as its short-term function is to imprison its recipients in sin (see Gal. 3:22-23). The narrow, short-term aim of the law is to kill those who come in contact with it because it is primarily "commandments" (see Rom. 13:8-9; Eph. 2:15) that require perfect obedience but that cannot themselves produce this obedience independently of the Spirit who "gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6).
 
What God Requires, Christ Provides
Justification cannot come through the law (see Gal. 2:21; Acts 13:38-39). Each of us-every single human being (see Rom. 3:10-12, 19-20)-has failed to do what God's law requires of us (Gal. 3:10; 6:13; cf. James 2:10). But to understand what God requires, we must see what Christ provides. In his mercy, God has provided his Son as a twofold substitute for us. Both facets of Christ's substitution are crucial for our becoming right with God. These facets are grounded in the twin facts that (1) we have failed to keep God's law perfectly, and so we should die; but (2) Jesus did not fail—he alone has kept God's law perfectly (see Heb. 4:15) —and so he should not have died. Yet in his mercy God has provided in Christ a great substitution—a "blessed exchange"—according to which Jesus can stand in for us with God, offering his perfect righteousness in place of our failure and his own life's blood in place of ours. When we receive the mercy God offers us in Christ by faith (see Acts 16:31; 1 Tim. 1:15-16; 1 Pet. 1:8-9), his perfection is imputed—or credited or reckoned—to us and our sinful failure is imputed—or credited or reckoned—to him. And thus Jesus' undeserved death pays for our sin (see Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Rev. 5:9); and God's demand for us to be perfectly righteous is satisfied by the imputation or crediting of Christ's perfect righteousness to us. "If justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose" (Gal. 2:21). But "God has done what the law ... could not do" (Rom. 8:3).
 
2 Corinthians 5:21 is one of Scripture's most powerful affirmations of the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the account of those who believe in him: "For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." There is a great deal that can be said about this verse but, when all is said and done, perhaps Charles Hodge has summed up its import best:
 
There is probably no passage in the Scriptures in which the doctrine of justification is more concisely or clearly stated than [this]. Our sins were imputed to Christ, and his righteousness is imputed to us. He bore our sins; we are clothed in his righteousness... Christ bearing our sins did not make him morally a sinner... nor does Christ's righteousness become subjectively ours, it is not the moral quality of our souls... Our sins were the judicial ground of the sufferings of Christ, so that they were a satisfaction of justice; and his righteousness is the judicial ground of our acceptance with God.
 
All of this then means, as Hodge goes on to say, that "our pardon is an act of justice"—an act based on Jesus having borne our sins (see 1 Pet. 2:24)—and yet it "is not mere pardon, but justification alone"—that is, our forevermore standing as righteous before God because we are clothed with Christ's perfection—"that gives us peace with God."
 
This Doctrine Is Under Attack
Today, this precious doctrine that Christ's perfect keeping of the law is imputed to those who have faith in him is under attack in unexpected places. I have recently written a book, entitled, Counted Righteous in Christ: Should We Abandon the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness?, that attempts to explain and defend it exegetically. But why would a pressured pastor with a family to care for, a flock to shepherd, weekly messages to prepare, a love for biblical counseling, a burden for racial justice, a commitment to see abortion become unthinkable, a zeal for world evangelization, a focus on local church planting, and a life goal of spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ, devote time and energy to the controversy over the imputation of Christ's righteousness? And why should you—pastor, elder, schoolteacher, engineer, accountant, firefighter, computer programmer, and homemaker —take the time to work through an issue like this? In the rest of this article, I will explain why I have taken up this issue. My reasons are personal, but in fact they apply to all who wish to glorify Christ, contend for the faith, and edify the saints.
 
For the Sake of My Family: Marriage
I have a family to care for. My marriage must survive and thrive for the good of our children and the glory of Christ. God designed marriage to display the holy mercy of Christ and the happy submission of his church (see Eph. 5:21-25). Here the doctrine of justification by faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ can be a great marriage saver and sweetener.
 
Marriage seems almost impossible at times because both partners feel so self-justified in their expectations that are not being fulfilled. There is a horrible emotional dead end in the words, "But it's just plain wrong for you to act that way," followed by "That's your perfectionistic perspective" or "Do you think you do everything right?" or by hopeless, resigned silence. The cycle of self-justified self-pity and anger can seem unbreakable.
 
But what if one or both partners becomes overwhelmed with the truth of justification by faith alone—and especially with the truth that in Christ Jesus God credits me, for Christ's sake, as fulfilling all of his expectations? What happens if this doctrine so masters our souls that we begin to bend it from the vertical to the horizontal and apply it to our marriages? In our own imperfect efforts in this regard, there have been breakthroughs that seemed at times impossible. It is possible, for Christ's sake, simply to say, "I will no longer think merely in terms of whether my expectations are met in practice. I will, for Christ's sake, regard you the way God regards me—complete and accepted in Christ— and thus to be helped and blessed and nurtured and cherished, even if, in practice, you fail." I know my wife treats me this way. And surely this is part of what Paul calls for when he says that we should forgive "one another, as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph. 4:32). There is more healing for marriage in the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's righteousness than many of us have begun to discover.
 
For the Sake of My Family: Children
Then there are our children. Four sons are grown and out of our house but not out of our lives. Every week there are major personal, relational, vocational, and theological issues to deal with. In every case, the fundamental question is, What are the great biblical truths that can give stability and guidance here? Listening and loving are crucial. But if they lack biblical substance, my counsel is hollow. Touchy-feely affirmation will not cut it. Too much is at stake. These young men want rock under their feet.
 
My daughter Talitha is six years old. Recently she decided that we as a family would read through Romans together. She is just learning to read and I was putting my finger on each word. At the beginning of chapter five she stopped me in mid-sentence and asked, "What does 'justified' mean?" What do you say to a six year old? Do you say, "There are more important things to think about so just trust Jesus and be a good girl?" Or do you say that it is very complex, and even adults are not able to understand it fully, so wait to deal with it when you are older? Or do you say that it simply means that Jesus died in our place so that all our sins might be forgiven? What I did was to tell a story, made up on the spot, about two accused criminals, one who actually did the bad thing, and the other who did not. The one who didn't do anything bad is shown, by all those who saw the crime, to be innocent. So the judge "justifies" him—he tells him he is a law-abiding person and so can go free. But the other accused criminal, who really did a bad thing, is shown to be guilty, because all the people who saw the crime saw him do it. But, then, guess what? The judge "justifies" him, too! He says, "I regard you as a law-abiding citizen with full rights in our country" (and not just as a forgiven criminal who may not be trusted or fully free in the country). Here Talitha looked at me, puzzled.
 
She couldn't put her finger on the problem, but she sensed that something was wrong. So I said, "That's a problem isn't it? How can a person who really did break the law and do something bad be told by the judge that he is a law keeper, a righteous person, with full rights to the freedoms of the country and that he doesn't have to go to jail or be punished?" She shook her head. Then I went back to Romans 4:5 and showed her that God "justifies the ungodly." Her brow furrowed. I told her that she has sinned and I have sinned and we are all like this second criminal. And when God "justifies" us he knows we are sinners who are ungodly and law breakers. And I asked her, "What did God do so that it's right for him say to us sinners: you are not guilty; you are law keepers in my eyes; you are righteous; and you are free to enjoy all that this country has to offer?"
 
She knew it had something to do with Jesus and his coming and dying in our place. That much she has learned. But what more did I—or would you—tell her now? How we answer that question depends on whether we believe in the imputation of Christ's righteousness. If we do, then we will tell her that Jesus was the perfect law keeper and never sinned, but did everything the judge and his country expected of him. We will tell her that when Jesus lived and died, he was not only a punishment bearer but also a law keeper. We will say that, if she will trust Jesus, then God the Judge will let Jesus' punishment and Jesus' righteousness count for hers—Jesus will have been punished for her and he will have obeyed the law for her. So when God "justifies" her—says that she is forgiven and righteous, even though she was not punished and did not keep the law—he does it because of Jesus. Jesus is her righteousness and Jesus is her punishment. Trusting Jesus makes Jesus so much her Lord and Savior that he is her perfection as well as her pardon.
 
Thousands of Christian families never have conversations like this. Not at six or sixteen. We do not have to look far, then, to explain the church's weakness and the fun-oriented superficiality of many youth ministries and the stunning drop-out rate after high school. But how will parents teach their children if the weekly message they get from the pulpit is that doctrine is unimportant? So, yes, I have a family to care for. And because I do, I must understand the central doctrines of my faith—and understand them so well that they can be translated to fit children of any age. As G. K. Chesterton once wrote, "It ought to be the oldest things that are taught to the youngest people."
 
And There Are Weekly Messages to Prepare
This also explains why this issue matters to me when I have weekly messages to prepare and a flock to shepherd. My messages need to be saturated with biblical truth—brimming with radical relevance for the hard things in life—and they must help my people to be able to preach the gospel to themselves and their children day and night—the full, rich, biblical gospel, as it unfolds in the New Testament, and not as it is quickly and simply summed up in a pamphlet. My people need to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus (see 2 Pet. 3:18) so that they have strong roots for radical living, sweet comfort in troubled times, and serious answers for their children.
 
Justification and Biblical Counseling
I love biblical counseling. There is so much brokenness and so much sin that seems intransigently woven together with forms of failing family life and distorted personal perspectives. This does not yield to quick remedies. After several decades of watching the mental health care system at work, I am less hopeful about the effectiveness of even Christian psychotherapy than I used to be. No one strategy of helping people possesses a corner on all wisdom. But more than ever I believe that the essential foundation of all healing and all Christ-exalting wholeness is a soul-penetrating grasp of the glorious truth of justification by faith, distinct from and yet grounding the battle for healthy, loving relationships. Good counseling patiently builds the "whole counsel" of God (Acts 20:27) into the heads and hearts of sinful and wounded people. At its center is Christ our righteousness.
 
Justification and a Passion for Evangelism
Why devote time to defending the imputation of Christ's righteousness when there are so many unreached groups and millions of individuals who have never heard the gospel? I mention two things.
 
First, over the past twenty years of leading a missions-mobilizing church it has become increasingly clear that "teacher-based" church planting and not just "friendship-based" church planting is crucial among people with no Christian history. In other words, doctrinal instruction is utterly crucial in planting the church.
 
This is unsurprising, since embedded in the Great Commission is the command to teach new disciples to observe all that Christ has commanded us (see Matt. 28:20), and since Paul planted the church in Ephesus by reasoning daily for two years in the hall of Tyrannus, "so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord" (Acts 19:10). Doing missions without deep doctrinal transfer through patient teaching will not only wreck on the vast reefs of ignorance, but will, at best, produce weak and ever-dependent churches. Therefore, pastors who care about building, sending, and going churches must give themselves to building sending bases that breed doctrinally deep people who are not emotionally dependent on fads but who know how to feed themselves on Christ-centered truth.
 
Second, Paul develops the doctrine of justification in Galatians and Romans in ways that show its absolutely universal relevance. It crosses every culture. It is not a tribal concept. In Galatians he writes, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us... so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles" (Gal. 3:13-14). Christ's obedience is universal in its scope and significance. It is not just for Abraham's posterity but also for Adam's posterity— in other words, for everyone. This is also the point of comparing Adam to Christ in Romans 5:12-19.
 
Truth-Treasuring Church Planting
If I want to see local churches planted from our church and others, why invest so much time and energy in defending and explaining this doctrine? Because there are enough churches being planted by means of music, drama, creative scheduling, sprightly narrative, and marketing savvy. And there are too few that are God-centered, truth-treasuring, Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, cross-focused, Spirit-dependent, prayer-soaked, soul-winning, and justice-pursuing, that have a wartime mindset that makes them ready to lay down their lives for the salvation of nations and neighborhoods. A blood-earnest joy sustains churches like these—and it comes only by embracing Christ crucified as our righteousness. As William Wilberforce said, "If we would... rejoice in [Christ] as triumphantly as the first Christians did, we must learn like them to repose our entire trust in him and to adopt the language of the apostle, 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Jesus Christ' (Gal. 6:14), 'who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.'" (1 Cor. 1:30)
 
The Truth That Makes the Church Sing
Of course, the question of whether we should believe in the doctrine of Christ's imputed righteousness must finally be answered exegetically from biblical texts and not because of its practical value or historical precedent. That is what the major part of Counted Righteous in Christ attempts. But we would be myopic not to notice that abandoning this doctrine would massively revise Protestant theology and Christian worship. It would eliminate a great theme from our worship of Christ in song. Recognizing this at least clarifies the issue and shows its magnitude, even if it cannot settle it.
 
The imputed righteousness of Christ has inspired much joyful worship over the centuries and informed many hymns and worship songs. It has cut across Calvinist/Arminian, Lutheran/Reformed, and Baptist/Presbyterian divides. For example,
 
"And Can It Be" (Charles Wesley)
 
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown through Christ my own.
 
"The Solid Rock" (Edward Mote)
 
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
 
"We Trust in You, Our Shield" (Edith Cherry)
 
We trust in you, O Captain of salvation--
In your dear name, all other names above:
Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,
Our prince of glory and our king of love.
 
"O Mystery of Love Divine" (Thomas Gill)
 
Our load of sin and misery
Didst thou, the Sinless, bear?
Thy spotless robe of purity
Do we the sinners wear?
 
"Thy Works Not Mine O Christ" (Isaac Watts)
 
Thy righteousness, O Christ,
Alone can cover me:
No righteousness avails
Save that which is of thee.
 
Let Christ Receive All His Glory!
My overarching life goal is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. More specifically, the older I get the more I want my life to count in the long term for the glory of Christ. In America, there is an almost universal bondage to the mindset that we can only feel loved when we are made much of. Yet the truth is that we are loved most deeply when we are helped to be free of that bondage so that we find our joy in treasuring Christ and making much of him. I long to see our joy—and the joy of the nations —rooted in God's wonderful work of freeing us to make much of Christ forever. This was Paul's passion: "It is my eager expectation and hope that... now as always Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death" (Phil. 1:20).
 
This is my passion, and I pray it will be my passion until I die, which means that I am jealous for Christ to get all the glory he deserves in the work of justification. I am consequently concerned that recent challenges to this doctrine rob him of a great part of his glory by denying that he has become for us not only our pardon but our perfection, that he is not only our redemption from sin but our righteousness, and that he not only bears the punishment for our disobedience but also performs and provides our perfect obedience. Current challenges to justification obscure (not to put it too harshly) half of Christ's glory in the work of justification by denying the imputation of Christ's righteousness and claiming that the Bible does not teach this great doctrine. Recognizing this, Francis Turretin wrote that imputation "tends to the greater glory of Christ and to our richer consolation, which they obscure and lessen not a little who detract from the price of our salvation a part of his most perfect righteousness and obedience and thus rend his seamless tunic." Jonathan Edwards echoed this: "To suppose that all Christ does is only to make atonement for us by suffering, is to make him our Savior but in part. It is to rob him of half his glory as Savior."
 
I do not believe for a moment that any of those who represent the challenge I am opposing aim to dishonor Christ. I believe they love him and want to honor him and his Word. But I believe the mistake they are making will have the opposite effect. The doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ bestows on Jesus Christ the fullest honor that he deserves. He should be honored not only as the one who died to pardon us, and not only as the one who sovereignly works faith and obedience in us, but as the one who provided a perfect righteousness for us as the ground of our full acceptance and endorsement by God. I pray that these "newer" ways of understanding justification that deny the reality of the imputation of divine righteousness to sinners by faith alone will not flourish and thus that the fullest glory of Christ and the fullest pastoral helps for our souls will not be dimmed.

Sunday, 07 September 2008

Wayne's World...(7Sep08)

Propitiation…The centrality of our peace.
 
Wayne Duncan
 
The great exchange…
 
The central truth…the life changing realization. The demonstration of Gods love. The centrality of the gospel. The heart of grace.
 
"Apart from the central truth, the death of Christ cannot be adequately understood." Grudem.
 
I believe we must understand this. We miss this we miss the gospel! Sadly many have lost this wonderful truth.
 
Today we are going to look at propitiation…
 
You may say pro piiii  tiii what?
 
Were going to look at three aspects of it.
 
The scriptures.
 
The definitions.
 
The theology.
 
Then we will ask the question…what does this mean to me?
 
The scriptures….
 
John 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
 
1John 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
 
We see here
 
1)     We can sin…
 
G264 ἁμαρτάνω hamartanō
ham-ar-tan'-o
Perhaps from G1 (as a negative particle) and the base of G3313; properly to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), that is, (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) to sin: - for your faults, offend, sin, trespass.
 
2)            God does not want us to sin
 
3)            When we do, Jesus is our defense. He comes to our defense. Even before we repent or confess he defends.
 
4)            He (Jesus) deters Gods anger to the cross and his sacrifice.
 
5)             All the world sins have been forgiven.
 
 
 
God is love.
 
1John 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
 
1John 4:10  Herein, is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us,and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
 
1John 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
 
This outrages act, was a demonstration of Gods great love to us. Yes he did it to wipe away sins. But the main reason God did all this was to demonstrate His love John 3 16..for God so loved!!
 
1John 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
 
1John 4:13  Hereby,  know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
 
1John 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
 
1John 4:15  Whosoever, shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
 
1John 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
 
1John 4:17  Herein, is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
 
1John 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment., He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
 
1John 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.
 
What we see here is many things what I want you to see is that God loves you. We have confidence before Him. We can live without fear towards Him. We can have boldness on the day of Judgement, coz we know he loves us.
 
We must understate that we cannot propitiate ourselves. Jesus is our propitiator.
 
There are only two ways for us to propitiate ourselves…
 
We could a) live a perfect faultless life. We can never do this:
 
Romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the lawand we have already failed here!
 
Or b) bear the full extent of Gods wrath upon us for all our sin…ummm no thanks!
 
Praise God there is a third option…we can accept the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf.
 
Where wee see propitiation in these verses this is the Greek word.
 
G2434  ἱλασμός hilasmos hil-as-mos'
atonement, that is, (concretely) an expiator: - propitiation.
 
So we se in some translations propitiation and in some others we see atonement. They seem to be used interchangeably, by have slightly different translations in the English.
 
Propitiation focuses on wrath appeased and favour released in its place.
 
Atonement focuses on the resulting one ness with God. The resulting reconciliation.
 
Both are correct.
 
The definitions:
 
PROPITIATION:
Propitiation /Pro·pi`ti·a´tion/ (?), n. [L. propitiatio: cf. F. propitiation.]
 
1. The act of appeasing the wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person; the act of making propitious.
 
2. (Theol.) That which propitiates; atonement or atoning sacrifice; specifically, the influence or effects of the death of Christ in appeasing the divine justice, and conciliating the divine favor.
 
He [Jesus Christ] is the propitiation for our sins. 1 John ii. 2.
 
ATONEMENT:
Atonement /A·tone´ment/ (?), n. 1. (Literally, a setting at one.) Reconciliation; restoration of friendly relations; agreement; concord. [Archaic]
 
By whom we have now received the atonement.
Rom. v. 11.
 
He desires to make atonement
Betwixt the Duke of Gloucester and your brothers.
Shak.
 
2. Satisfaction or reparation made by giving an equivalent for an injury, or by doing of suffering that which will be received in satisfaction for an offense or injury; expiation; amends; -- with for. Specifically, in theology: The expiation of sin made by the obedience, personal suffering, and death of Christ.
 
When a man has been guilty of any vice, the best atonement be can make for it is, to warn others.
Spectator.
 
The Phocians behaved with, so much gallantry, that they were thought to have made a sufficient atonement for their former offense.
Potter.
 
Atonement /A·tone´ment/, n. -- Day of Atonement (Jewish Antiq.), the only fast day of the Mosaic ritual, celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month (Tisri), according to the rites described in Leviticus xvi.
 
The  theology:
 
Wayne Grudem…Systematic Theology.
 
Chapter 27 THE ATONEMENT pg 574-575
 
"As Jesus bore the guilt of our sins alone, God the father, the mighty creator, the Lord of the universe, poured out on Jesus the fury of His wrath: Jesus became the object of intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin Which God had patiently stored up since the beginning of the world."
 
Grudem's definition of propitiation;
 
" A sacrifice that bears the Gods wrath to the end and in so doing changes Gods wrath towards us into favour"
 
Lets just look at this for a moment…It is deeply and intensely profound!
 
A sacrifice…
 
Bearing Gods wrath…
 
To "its end"…there is no more wrath left…God is now satisfied!
 
The NIV study bible puts it like this pg 1948
 
"Gods holiness demands punishment for human sin. God therefore out of love sent his Son to make substitutionary atonement for the believer's sin. In this way the fathers wrath is satisfied; his wrath against the Christian sin has been turned away and directed towards Christ."
 
Turned into favour!
 
Grudem says " These sins simply mean that Jesus bore the wrath of God against sin."
 
And "Apart from the central truth, the death of Christ cannot be adequately understood."
 
Please understand this, Gods wrath for your sin, His anger, his disappointment and the punishment you should receive, fell on Jesus on the cross. If you were to come under His wrath, you would not be able to bear it.
 
How do I apply this to myself…Grudem again
 
" The New testament emphasis on the completion and finality of Christ's sacrifice of Himself for us has much practical application, because it reassures us that there is no more penalty of sin left for us to pay. The penalty has entirely been paid by Christ, and we should have no remaining fear of condemnation or punishment"
 
This application is profound..
 
How many times have we thought or been taught…if you sin, you'll incur Gods wrath and anger. God will punish your behaviour…you better fear Him and live holy or you'll reap the penalty from God!
 
We need a mind shift, we cannot appease Gods anger to sin, this requires a sacrifice. Jesus did it. Our good behaviour does not deter his Righteous anger., and we do not become righteous through obedience. Were righteous based on His obedience on our behalf.
2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The cross does it. You must understand in order to satisfy God anger you must never ever do anything wrong…it's the only way.  Under Gods holy standard one mistake would incur his wrath…
James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Thank god for the cross. How many of us need a renewing of the mind here. We still feel if I just do this well, or that well…God will be happy with me. He is already more that thrilled with you. Coz when he looks at you, all he sees is Jesus.
 
No friend. Jesus bore Gods anger to the end, his anger is satisfied in Jesus sacrifice. Propitiation happened. A great exchange of anger and intense rage, for radical favour and unconditional love.
 
God has done this for every one in the world, when we believe it, we receive it.
 
The great exchange. Gods anger and punishment exchanged for His love and favour.
 
Now we live free from condemnation…it fell on Jesus.
 
We live free from punishment…it fell on Jesus.
 
We live free of fear…perfect love cast out all fear.
 
Free from separation from God…he was separated for us.
 
What does this mean to me?
 
We are atoned. Made at-one with God. We can love and enjoy Him. He can love and enjoy you. All the walls of separation are down. Jesus paid the price, we might go free. Now we live from here. We life from this place. Living any other way will have no victory. No intimacy, no power. We drink here from his love, peace, joy and righteousness. Through this great sacrifice, we access life, and life to the full. From this place we live with confidence to approach the throne of His grace. From this place we live by the spirit, knowing our loving father is guiding and leading us every moment of every day. From this place we love, from this place we worship and serve willingly. His great love and goodness our divine motivator. We know now we can access His love and power and presence at any moment, because we have confidence before Him. Now we have peace, now we have boldness. Now we want to come to Him. Why coz we know we will find love. His anger is burnt out, his favour now burns. Now we can live in faith, now we can believe God. What a great God and what a great saviour! Thank you Jesus. Lets worship Him.
 

 
 

Thursday, 04 September 2008

Wayne's World (4Sep08)

Sanctification and righteousness by the law.
Fact or fallacy?
 
Wayne Duncan
 
There has been some debate of late regarding the process of sanctification. Some maintain that once saved by grace, you now "work out your salvation" and sanctification by using the law and the commandments of the new testament, as the new standard. This study looks specifically at the law component. The next study will deal with the commandments of the New Testament as the standard/new law.
 
In his book "Living Under Grace", Michael Eaton addresses this issue (chapter 30 page 131-133). He shows where it came from in theological history, actually who it came from, and suggests the relevancy of this doctrine.
 
Michaels book is a series of preaches he did through Romans 6 and 7:1-25
ISBN 0-85009-703-7
 
This section is from Romans 7:4
 
"Before we continue to unpack the principles in this radical statement (you died to the law Romans 7:4), it would be helpful to look at a difficulty that has sometimes been caused by this "dying to the law". It has sometimes cause difficulty, because in the story of the church there has been a tendency to drift into moralism. When Paul spoke about "the law", he was talking about everything that came to us through Moses. He said that we have died to the entire Mosaic system. It is not a way of justification or sanctification.
 
This doctrine of freedom from the Mosaic Law and life under the grace of God was soon forgotten. One does not have to go very far into the story of the church before you find little grasp of the grace of God in Jesus. Within a century the church became full of moralism, more than full of grace. The great Augustine had a grasp of the grace of God but even he never quite went back to the apostle Paul with regard to the teaching about "the law".
 
In the thirteenth century a theologian named Thomas Aquinas was powerfully influential and wrote Summa Theologiae (a summery of theology), which included many pages on "the old law", the law of God given on Sinai. Thomas Aquinas formulated a doctrine of law using as the framework the thought of the Greek Aristotle, plus Paul and Augustine.
 
He divided the law into three. The moral laws are the principles of right and wrong. For Aquinas they are the same as the "natural law", the basic law on everyone's conscience which can be deduced by unaided reason without the need of God word.. The ceremonial  laws are the Old Testament legislation about sacrifices and holy days and so on. Aquinas thinks this part of the law is abolished, and is "not only dead, but deadly". Then there are the judicial laws which are regulations concerning justice which were special to the nation of Israel. He taught that judicial laws are "dead since they have no binding force but are not deadly", and that if a ruler imposed them he was not guilty of sin. 
 
Thomas Aquinas, like all theologians between Paul and Luther, taught that all were "justified" before God by the good works of the new nature God's grace works in us. The law helps to guide our good works (said Aquinas) the "old law" of Moses has permanent value to guide us in righteousness even though parts of it have been abolished. Thomas Aquinas had no idea of Paul's teaching that Christ's righteousness is "reckoned" ours when we believe in Jesus. His teaching became the basis of Roman Catholic doctrine.
 
At the time of the reformation in the sixteenth century the gospel-preachers discovered the gospel of the Bible and especially of Paul. They discovered that justification was not at all by our own godliness but was by the righteousness of Jesus being reckoned ours. They saw clearly what Paul meant when he said we are not "justified by the works of the law". So they rejected the teaching of Aquinas and others that justification comes by a mixture of faith and love and other aspects of godliness including law keeping. They said salvation comes by Jesus' righteousness being given to us, and that is grasped by faith only. However they accepted the divisions into three.
 
The teaching of the gospel-preachers that we are justified only by faith scandalized the Catholics. "You are saying that we do not have to obey the law of God" they said. "Your so called gospel encourages sin". Sound familiar?
 
The sixteenth century gospel-preachers replied, "Well, we are free from the law as a way of justification, but we still have the law (that is Aquinas' moral law) as a way of sanctification." This idea became dominant and Paul's teaching that we have died to the law in order to bear fruit to God (that is in order to be sanctified!) was missed. It became the habit among Christians to talk about "the law" but mean only certain bits of the law of Moses (actually less than 1% of it!) and to say that this was a "rule of life" for the Christian.
 
We now need to ask the question, "How much of the traditional teachings of the churches grasped hold of Paul's teachings?" And the answer is: Not much! Most of it is Aquinas more than Paul!
 
The time is ripe for us to take a step nearer to the Bible than ever before. We can stand on the shoulders of great men who have preceded us, and we shall learn things they did not see and yet they have helped us. "The law" is a case in point.
 
Paul quite clearly teaches that we have died to the law in order to be fruitful towards God. Is "being fruitful" justification or sanctification? It is sanctification. We died to the law "in order to live unto God" (Gal 2:19). Is "living unto God justification or sanctification?  Clearly these verses say we have died to the law, not just in the matter of justification but with regard to our total relationship to God. Paul makes precisely this point to the Galatians. Having begun with the Spirit he asks, are you now going back to Mosaic law-keeping? The Galatians were already saved! They were wanting to turn back to the Mosaic Law as a means of being holy. It is this as Paul denounces as turning back to the flesh.
 
The truth is: we have to die to the law altogether! We have to relate differently to God if we are to be fruitful, if we are to "live to God". At our point in the history of the church we must be ready to go beyond Calvin, behind Thomas Aquinas, behind Augustine, and back to Paul back to Jesus, back to walking in the Spirit. We shall fulfill the law, but we shall do so by walking in the Spirit" Michael Eaton 
 
This is amazing teaching and groundbreaking research by Michael Eaton. He has read over 4000 books on reformed theology, and is an authority on Greek and Hebrew. Which does not mean he has the truth, it just means he is a gift to the body.  It's amazing to me that it can be pinpointed through history where this moral law theology came into our belief system. I would ask Aquinas where he got the authority to dissect Gods holy law, and decide what parts are relevant and what parts are not. He/we have no authority to do that. Not that it matters, were dead to the law! For justification and sanctification.
 
On a personal note I don't subscribe to the "now prove your salvation/work it our/keep laws/commands for sanctification and holiness, and if you don't your not right with God and fall under a curse "type" of Christianity. I think what's important here is that there is a choice of theology available for Christians. I think we should have the freedom to make that choice without being branded heretics. It's ok to discuss theology and thrash it around, it strengthens our beliefs, and deepens our knowledge and hunger for the word. It seems many reputable theologians around the world believe we are free from the law (all of it), that we are saved, justified and sanctified apart from the law. Surely we are free to believe this too?  It may even be what the scriptures say!
 
"Paul's teaching is that if you walk in the spirit deliberately, we shall fulfill the law accidently"
Michael Eaton…
 
Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law 21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe
 
Righteousness apart from the law, and apart from observing the law.
 
Rom 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
 
Made righteous by His obedience on our behalf.
 
Rom 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
 
Righteous requirements of the law are fully met in us.
 
II Corinthians 5:21:God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
 
He bore our sin so we can be righteous. Sinning does not remove our righteousness, our sin fell on Him, and our sins are no longer counted against us, they were counted against Him.
 
Rom 4:5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
 
The gospel is clear. Jesus lived the perfect life on my behalf. He fulfilled the law on my behalf. He was obedient on my behalf. I'm made righteous by believing through faith in what Jesus did for me.  We are not sanctified or made righteous by observing the law, it's by faith and faith alone.
 
Sanctification is a co-operation with the holy-spirits working in us…it's the progressive work of Him in us and us yielding to Him. It has nothing to do with the Mosaic Law.
 
Gal 2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"