Grace Community Church (San Antonio, Texas) November 15, 2014 – Tim Conway: Men’s Systematic Theology Study #5

Using Robert Reymond’s “A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith” as the supplementary textbook after the primary text, the Holy Scriptures.  Please check the GCC Livestream channel for future classes’ streaming availability.

Today’s class: Chapter Three, Part 1.

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David Wells: That Which Applies To God Is Also Identified With Christ

“If Yahweh is our sanctifier (Ex. 31:13), is omnipresent (Ps. 139:7–10), is our peace (Judg. 6:24), is our righteousness (Jer. 23:6), is our victory (Ex. 17:8–16), and is our healer (Ex. 15:26), then so is Christ all of these things (1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 1:27; Eph. 2:14). If the gospel is God’s (1 Thess. 2:2, 6–9; Gal. 3:8), then that same gospel is also Christ’s (1 Thess. 3:2; Gal. 1:7). If the church is God’s (Gal. 1:13; 1 Cor. 15:9), then that same church is also Christ’s (Rom 16:16). God’s Kingdom (1 Thess. 2:12) is Christ’s (Eph. 5:5); God’s love (Eph. 1:3–5) is Christ’s (Rom. 8:35); God’s Word (Col. 1:25; 1 Thess. 2:13) is Christ’s (1 Thess. 1:8; 4:15); God’s Spirit (1 Thess. 4:8) is Christ’s (Phil. 1:19); God’s peace (Gal. 5:22; Phil. 4:9) is Christ’s (Col. 3:15; see Col. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; 4:7); God’s “Day” of judgment (Isa. 13:6) is Christ’s “Day” of judgment (Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:16; 1 Cor. 1:8); God’s grace (Eph. 2:8, 9; Col. 1:6; Gal. 1:15) is Christ’s grace (1 Thess. 5:28; Gal. 1:6; 6:18); God’s salvation (Col. 1:13) is Christ’s salvation (1 Thess. 1:10); and God’s will (Eph. 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:3; Gal. 1:4) is Christ’s will (Eph. 5:17; see 1 Thess. 5:18). So it is no surprise to hear Paul say that he is both God’s slave (Rom. 1:9) and Christ’s (Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:10), that he lives for that glory which is both God’s (Rom 5:2; Gal. 1:24) and Christ’s (2 Cor. 8:19, 23; see 2 Cor. 4:6), that his faith is in God (1 Thess. 1:8, 9; Rom. 4:1–5) and in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:22), and that to know God, which is salvation (Gal. 4:8; 1 Thess. 4:5), is to know Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).”[19]

Reymond, R. L. (2003). Jesus, Divine Messiah: The New and Old Testament Witness (p. 430). Fearn, UK: Christian Focus Publications.

[19]David F. Wells, The Person of Christ (Westchester, Illinois: Crossway, 1984), 64–5.

William Hendriksen: Justification And Sanctification – Distinct, But Never Separate

“Justification is that act of God the Father whereby he counts our sins to be Christ’s and Christ’s righteousness to be ours (2 Cor. 5: 21). It is the opposite of condemnation (Rom. 8: 33 , 34). It implies deliverance from the curse of God because that curse was placed on Christ (Gal. 3: 11–13). It means forgiveness full and free (Rom. 4: 6– 8). It is God’s free gift, the fruit of sovereign grace, and not in any way the result of human “goodness” or “accomplishment” (Rom 3: 24; 5: 5, 8, 9). It brings peace to the soul (Rom. 5: 1), a peace that passes all understanding. It fills the heart with such thanksgiving that it produces in the life of the believer a rich harvest of good works. Hence, justification and sanctification, though ever distinct, are never separate but stand in the closest possible relation to each other (Rom. 6: 2; 8: 1, 2). [19]” (emphasis in the original)

White, James R. (2007-05-01). God Who Justifies, The (pp. 75-76). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[19] William Hendriksen, 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus (Baker, 1989), 393.

White, James R. (2007-05-01). God Who Justifies, The (p. 76). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

William Hendriksen: The Differences Between Justification And Sanctification

“Justification is a matter of imputation (reckoning, charging): the sinner’s guilt is imputed to Christ; the latter’s righteousness is imputed to the sinner (Gen. 15: 6; Ps. 32: 1; Isa. 53: 4– 6; Jer. 23: 6; Rom. 5: 18, 19). Sanctification is a matter of transformation (2 Cor. 3: 17, 18). In justification the Father takes the lead (Rom. 8: 33); in sanctification the Holy Spirit does (2 Thess. 2: 13). The first is a “once for all” verdict, the second a life-long process. Nevertheless, although the two should never be identified, neither should they be separated . They are distinct but not separate. In justifying the sinner, God may be viewed as the Judge who presides over a law court. The prisoner is standing in the dock . The Judge acquits the prisoner, pronouncing him “not guilty but righteous.” The former prisoner is now a free man. But the story does not end here. The Judge now turns to that free man and adopts him as his son, and even imparts his own Spirit to him (Rom. 8: 15; Gal. 4: 5, 6). Here justification and sanctification touch each other, as it were; for, out of gratitude, this justified person, through the enabling power of the Spirit, begins to fight against his sins and to abound in good works to the glory of his Judge-Father. Good works never justify anyone, but no truly justified person wants to be without them (Eph. 2: 8– 10). [17]

White, James R. (2007-05-01). God Who Justifies, The (pp. 74-75). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[17] William Hendriksen, Galatians (Baker, 1989), 98.

Louis Berkhof: The Differences Between Justification And Sanctification

“1. Justification removes the guilt of sin and restores the sinner to all the filial rights involved in his state as a child of God, including an eternal inheritance. Sanctification removes the pollution of sin and renews the sinner ever-increasingly in conformity with the image of God.

2. Justification takes place outside the sinner in the tribunal of God, and does not change his inner life, though the sentence is brought home to him subjectively. Sanctification, on the other hand, takes place in the inner life of man and gradually affects his whole being.

3. Justification takes place once for all. It is not repeated, neither is it a process; it is complete at once and for all time. There is no more or less in justification; man is either fully justified, or he is not justified at all. In distinction from it sanctification is a continuous process, which is never completed in this life.

4. While the meritorious cause of both lies in the merits of Christ, there is a difference in the efficient cause. Speaking economically, God the Father declares the sinner righteous, and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies him. [16]“

White, James R. (2007-05-01). God Who Justifies, The (p. 74). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[16] Systematic Theology (Eerdmans, 1982), 513-514

James White: Justification Is A Legal Declaration, Not A Moral Description

From The God Who Justifies.

“In the Old Testament, the term “to justify” is often used in the judicial sense, that is, in the context of the court of law. Given the parallels that exist between Paul’s use of the same words to describe justification by faith in the very contexts that define the doctrine we are examining, we should look carefully at some of the key passages. We’ll examine both the NET and the NASB.

Exodus 23: 7

Keep your distance from a false charge— do not kill the innocent and the righteous , for I do not justify the wicked. (NET)

Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for I will not acquit the guilty. (NASB)

Clearly the context of Exodus 23 is legal. The preceding verses include instructions on lawsuits and general exhortations to justice and honesty. In this one verse we have judicial terms such as “false charge,” “acquit,” and “guilty.” We also see the key word used twice— once as a substantive (“righteous” or “just” in the phrase “do not kill the innocent and the righteous”) [5] and once as a verb (“ justify” or “acquit” in the phrase “justify the wicked”). [6]

In the first phrase God’s law says that the innocent or the righteous are not to be killed. Obviously, this does not mean “those who are sinlessly perfect” but rather those who are innocent or righteous in the eyes of the law. This is a legal, not a moral, description.

But even more important is the second phrase, “I do not justify the wicked. Some might think this is contradictory to Paul’s description of God as the one who does justify the ungodly (Romans 4: 5), yet such would involve ignoring the context of the two statements. God, in His justice, does not “justify the wicked.” He justifies the ungodly in His mercy and grace, and only on the basis of the work of Christ that satisfies the demands of His absolute holiness and justice. In this passage, God is stating simple justice: He will not justify the wicked.

But what does this mean? It’s obvious that God is not saying He does not internally change the nature of wicked men into that which is objectively pleasing to Him— this He does. The context in this passage is forensic, that is, legal. God is saying He will not declare a wicked man to be righteous , for such would be a perversion of justice. God does not do this in justification by faith, either: Christ’s substitutionary death is the sole basis of his declaration. This use of the verb “justify” is clearly a forensic, legal declaration regarding an individual’s standing before God and His law.

5 In Hebrew, צַרּיק, and very importantly in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (which was the Bible of the New Testament church), known as the Septuagint (often abbreviated LXX), δίκαὶον.

6 אַצְרּיק, and in the LXX, δικαιώσεις.

White, James R. (2007-05-01). God Who Justifies, The (pp. 61-62, 76). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Wilhelmus à Brakel – Humility, Part 6: Means To Learn Humility

From The Christian’s Reasonable Service.

Means to Learn Humility

Therefore, if you desire to be humble, it is needful for you to learn this. It does not issue forth spontaneously, and love for this virtue will also not engender it unless an effort be made in this respect and one makes use of the means which are fit for this. There are three books from which we may learn humility.
First of all there is the book of sin. Examine yourself continually in the light of your falling into sin. If you take note of your falling into sin, your goal being the humbling of yourself, you will learn experientially that you are polluted, impure, wicked, atheistic, and abominable in your heart, which time and again brings forth like deeds. You thus have no reason for complaints when God brings affliction upon you, nor when men despise you, for you know yourself to be ten times more despicable than they deem you to be. You are thus neither worthy of being the recipient of the least mercy of God nor of the least favor of men. It is thus that David learned to be humble — as is to be observed in Ps 51. It will also render you humble.
Secondly, there is the book of crosses. However bitter and distasteful the cross may be, it nevertheless teaches humility if we take but proper notice of it. From it we shall learn how disagreeable, unbelieving, and impatient we are, all of which are fruits of pride. We are instructed thereby about the righteousness and sovereignty of God toward His creatures in punishing sin. It removes the pride of heart, makes it subdued and pliable — especially if it is a cross of long duration, and if we can neither avoid it nor find delight in other things. David therefore called “being chastised” being oppressed: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes. I know, O Lord … that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me” (Ps 119:71,75). Therefore, submit yourself to the rod and to Him who has appointed it, and you will become humble.
Thirdly, there is the book of God’s benefits and blessings. On the one hand they will humble us when we consider our ingratitude in failing to end with them in the Lord with a lively heart. They also teach us our inability to use them well, for we need strong legs to bear up under days of prosperity. The receipt of benefits renders some unhappy and they are happy when they may lose them. On the other hand, however, a believer will be deeply convinced of his unworthiness upon receiving special benefits. In humility of heart he will say with Jacob, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth” (Gen 32:10). When the Lord rejoiced the heart of David, he said, “And I will yet be more vile than thus” (2 Sam 6:22).