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Salvation by faith

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, read more. For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

Justified in the Spirit | Peter Leithart

But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.


In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. All rights reserved. Most Relevant Verses. This they held even while maintaining that the soul is specially created out of nothing in every case.

By glossing over the supernatural nature of a creation out of nothing, and emphasizing terms that tend to imply propagation from the substance of the parents such as communication of depravity, etc. While this might explain albeit poorly inherited depravity, it does nothing to explain the kind of union in Adam that involves a sharing of the responsibility for his sin.

Therefore, the realistic mode of thinking was eventually dropped in favor of the nominalistic federal representation. What began with the idea of men being held justly responsible for a sin that we all owned by our shared action in Adam became the idea that men are sovereignly held responsible for a sin that is as alien to us as is the righteousness of Christ. The Reality versus the Federal Construct The answer is to apply the old realistic mode of thinking regarding Adamic union to our union with Christ.

To be spiritually baptized into Christ is to be joined to Him so that the new believer and Christ are one spirit, and the result of this is that the new believer is joined to or, baptized into His death.

Justified in the Spirit

When the Holy Spirit indwells the man, He creates a new man by joining the spirit of the man to the Spirit of Christ. In fact, the believer is so identified with Christ that he is considered to have been crucified with Him. The meaning of the word, justification , is clearly forensic legal. The answer is found in our union with Christ. We are joined to Christ in reality to the extent that we gain His identity in the eyes of justice.

However, when we are joined to Christ, we are not joined to the extent that either is lost in the other. The union is sufficient to make us one with Christ in the eyes of justice, but the righteousness that is now ours remains the righteousness that He lived and not any righteousness that we live out or accomplish—in that sense it is still an alien righteousness. This infused identity is the substance and reality which our prior justification had in view. It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?

As therefore accusation and condemnation occur only in a trial, so also justification. Nor can it be conceived how God can be said to condemn or to justify, unless either by adjudging to punishment or absolving us from it judicially. Christ stands in us. Failure to apprehend this fact of reality is what caused N. But that these are distinct, both the nature of the thing and the voice of Scripture frequently prove.

But, again, the forensic sense is not necessarily the putative, nominal sense. This righteousness is apprehended by faith insofar as it is faith that brings the indwelling Holy Spirit and union with Christ. What is imputed to anyone by a mere gracious acceptation, that is not really paid, but is considered as paid; but what is imputed on account of a true payment made by another supposes the thing to be paid. Unless the Surety and the debtor are so united as to become one man in the eyes of justice, it remains but a mere gracious acceptation that the payment of the Surety is accepted in the place of the debtor.

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Justice has no place for such gracious acceptation. In order for the exacted payment to be applied to a particular sinner, there must be a real union between the two. A justification of the ungodly cannot be made by infusion, but by imputation. For although he that is justified does not remain wicked, but is renewed by the grace of Christ, he cannot be said to be justified by that renovation which is the effect following justification, not the cause which precedes it.

Justification of the ungodly cannot be made by infusion, but it is made by an indwelling spiritual union. Although justification is prior to union with Christ, it cannot be adequately understood apart from union with Christ. Rather, justification is grounded on the absolute certainty of the divinely promised salvific union with Christ for those of faith. Justification is legal forensic , and thus it is seemingly putative. However, it is grounded in a union that is real and substantial, even when that union is in the future.

Justification provides the initial legal judgment of our salvation, but the union with Christ provides the substance and reality of our salvation—the ground and basis for our justification. In most marriages, property entails joint ownership. Now, if a woman comes into the marriage with a debt like a college debt , the husband assumes that debt. It becomes their debt it can also be described as his debt , even though the husband did not incur that debt.

So, by virtue of the marriage union between husband and wife, the debts and the assets are transferred. In a very similar way, when the believer becomes united to Christ by faith, a new legal situation results with transfers happening. The problem with most nominalistic [federal] analogies is that they work with financial but not criminal debt. Only financial debts are transferable.


Keister also stated:. Now, let us be clear here. The Protestant doctrine should never be formulated in such a way that union with Christ, for instance, has an internal change happening in the believer that thereby becomes the basis for the imputation.

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It happens by the instrumentation of faith. I disagree. Union with Christ does indeed happen within the believer, and is an internal change—from the absence of Christ to His presence, and from alienation to union with Him. This union occurs as a fact of substantial reality and it happens within the believer—and it is the only solid ground of our justification. Faith is only instrumental for the purpose of bringing this vital, salvific union.

Samuel J. He also understood why the idea of a shared identity through spiritual union with Christ is so consistently ignored. He states:. Hence the necessity of ignoring the doctrine, in its relation to justification. On the contrary, the union, which is constituted by virtue of the transmission of the nature, itself conveys a proprietary title in the moral and legal relations of the head; whilst the efficient principle which thus unites, is also fruitful in effects appropriate to the nature whence it flows.

At the same time, the power by which the union is in these cases severally wrought produces likeness to the head. Our righteousness comes not from our good works but from our gaining of a proprietary title to the righteousness of Christ who is in us. We died to our old identity and gained one in Christ, and now we have gained His human experience to our credit, just as if we had lived His life from manger to grave.

His blood does not cleanse us only at conversion, but ever cleanses us as we go along—and this is exactly how it cleanses! It is His humanity that allows the mutual identity—that allows His experiences to be credited to us. This union is unhindered by any misfitting of different natures. Christ took on the nature of a man specifically to be able to identify in union with men and thus to save them. Otherwise, there could be no identifying union, since His divinity alone and our sinful humanity alone could never be united darkness has not union with light.

Through the divine nature of the Holy Spirit, the Person of Christ is put in us, and to that Person inseparably belongs both His humanity and His divinity. To be joined to Christ in us is to be joined to all that He is, both His human and His divine natures. The Reformed emphasis on the putative forensic aspect of justification comes out of a resistance to the Catholic works-justification; but the realism-to-nominalism trajectory has eroded the union-with-Christ aspect.

As Baird criticized Hodge and those like him :. And do we not see the results of such a trajectory when the best explanation we can come up with in the face of Catholic arguments is to appeal to the analogies of marriage and adoption? It was brought back at the Reformation, and then gradually abandoned again, and—as I see it—as the truth was corrupted again.

But since the Reformers did not fully abandon the nominalism of Catholicism from the start, then the erosion began from the beginning. At least Augustine consistently held his realistic principle, since he often defended the prospect of propagation of the soul; while most of the Reformers were implicit realists but were explicit creationists. Nominalism may have served well to mark us off from Catholicism, but it will never win many Catholics. It is a denial of the significance of reality to the justice of God, which is inherently contradictory, since the very idea of justice is wrapped up in truth, and truth must correspond to reality to be truth.

All their arguments against legal fiction will fall away at that. The same objections to justification apply to atonement. One man cannot die in the place of another unless the two men can somehow be made one within substantial reality. The fact is that while thinkers may incur guilt for thinking what they should not, no Thinker can make anyone else guilty merely by thinking—or righteous, for that matter. Reality exists regardless of any thoughts or lack thereof regarding it. If it did not, Christ would not have needed to die. God could have just chosen to view Him as if He had died. But the fact is that instead of merely viewing reality in His mind as if it matches what His justice requires, God actually does what is necessary to change reality to suit His justice. My objection is to what the theology of the Western Church became as it moved away from Augustinian realism and toward a contractualized nominal federalism.

By moving back from that, a deeper understanding of the mystical union within us can be found by parallel. Christ is not merely interceding at the right hand of God in heaven, but rather, He is the Intercessor WITHIN, standing in us on earth and reaching to the court of heaven! Imputation happens only within the mind and not within substantial reality. Even a man may impute guilt or righteousness to another man merely by accounting him so. When a jury finds a defendant guilty, they have imputed guilt to him. What seems to be in dispute is whether or not God can look to something other than His own thoughts on which to ground that accounting.

We have an ownership in what Adam did because we were in union or, in singularity with him while he did it. But what is missed is that we are not generated or, propagated out of Christ; rather, we are regenerated or, united into Christ. We gain an ownership in what Christ did not because we were in His loins when He did it; but rather, we gain an ownership in what He did because we gain the very Spirit of Christ to indwell and become part of our very being.

We were not in singularity with Christ on the cross, but the Christ to whom we are now joined was in singularity with the Christ who was crucified, since He is one with Himself. This means, therefore, that not only did Christ die, not only was he buried, not only did he rise from the dead, but also all who sustain the relation to him that baptism signifies likewise died, were buried, and rose again to a new life patterned after his resurrection life. No fact is of more basic importance in connection with the death to sin and commitment to holiness than that of identification with Christ in his death and resurrection.

There are two questions, therefore, which require some discussion. First, what is this efficiency, in reference to sanctification, residing in the death and resurrection of Christ? And, second, when did believers die with Christ and rise again to newness of life? We are compelled to reach the conclusion that it is by virtue of our having died with Christ, and our being raised with him in his resurrection from the dead, that the decisive breach with sin in its power, control, and defilement has been wrought, and that the reason for this is that Christ in his death and resurrection broke the power of sin, triumphed over the god of this world, the prince of darkness, executed judgment upon the world and its ruler, and by that victory delivered all those who were united to him from the power of darkness, and translated them into his own kingdom.

So intimate is the union between Christ and his people, that they were partakers with him in all these triumphal achievements, and therefore died to sin, rose with Christ in the power of his resurrection, and have their fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

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What Murray misses is the fact that believers were not united with Christ at the time of His death, but that we were retroactively made partakers with Him in His death when we were put in Him by Him being put into us.