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Featured N.T. Wright and Justification

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Piper, Dec 8, 2023.

  1. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    BINGO! AMEN! SPOT ON! HALLELUJAH! :)
     
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  2. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    This is part of the problem to which Wright alluded (they confuse Paul's words that we are saved by faith and not works with justification).
     
  3. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    What Paul said can be confusing:

    13 …the doers of the law shall be justified...Ro 2

    20 ...by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified... Ro 3

    ...but this is not apples and apples; the one is in the spirit, the other is in the letter.
     
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  4. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Which shew the work of the law written in their heart
     
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  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    This is where I believe N. T. Wright excells over the Reformers.

    He insists that justification is not forgiveness but rather God's declaration of those who have been forgiven and are "in Christ".

    Therefore salvation is by faith and not of works, but justification is the declaration of God upon those who are "in Christ".
     
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  6. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    ZACTLY!
     
  7. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    Why not just save time and not even look at the opinions in the first place but just read scripture. But then there would be no reason to be on here.

    That's the point I was making. I put out the Reformers position in post 18 with the express challenge for everyone to read it and evaluate it. I have not seen anything from that post shown to be wrong. If there is then have at it. I don't mind. That's why I put it up. But honestly, if it is OK to disagree with them - isn't there at least the possibility that some of us have looked at them carefully, and skeptically, and in the end found them sound?
     
  8. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Because understanding Scripture includes exploring the meaning of Scripture to the intended audience. That is the issue here.

    Wright says that the ancient Jews believed they were justified as a birthright.

    If we look at Scripture then we come to the same conclusion (remember the exchange between Jewish leaders and Jesus concerning them belonging to the synagogue of Satan, and Paul's explanation that not all Jews are true Jews?).
     
  9. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    Don't derail the thread but Ephesians 2:8-9 directly contradict what you just claimed. In addition, your quoting James without understand the idea of "can that faith" save him proves once again that you are a walking example of why commentaries and the idea of listening to others are important in understanding scripture.

    In addition, the post #18 explains the Reformed position on faith alone being the instrumental cause of our justification and how that in salvation when faith occurs you also have a genuine change in the person which does indeed always and infallibly result in a changed life and in works. Also in post #6 I pointed out that the idea of faith alone is over done by reformed types - especially when it comes to the practical meaning of the phrase. I happen to be a big fan of Baxter and have actually read his work on justification and understand where he and you are coming from. But I am just saying that after carefully comparing what Baxter said vs the Reformed theologians I think the reformed guys were right in this case. I have questioned them and found them right. The reformers were trying to make sure you don't get the works and search for purity mixed up with the meritorius cause of our salvation which is Christ only. Obviously they failed in that.
     
  10. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Actually, it doesn't (it reinforced what Wright was speaking of).

    You are taking "justification" to be another word for "salvation".

    The point is that justification is God declaring those who have had their sins forgiven and are "in Christ" are justified.

    Ephesians 2:8–10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.



    You asked for a rebuttal of the reformed position. You have provided it here. "Justification" is not the same word as "salvation".
     
  11. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    @JonC. That's what I said in post 18. Notice that there I said you had to be "in Christ". The reformers did not teach that you could be declared righteous in a forensic manner and not be "in Christ". They also taught that this was appropriated by faith. As for confusing justification with sanctification, remember that I said in post 18 that this was a system and that the Holy Spirit is the initiator and facilitator of all of it. Therefore one must follow the other. I do not believe that justification without sanctification is possible and neither did the reformers.

    By the way, do you and Ky realize that Owen and some of the Reformers taught a type of double justification, not like the Catholics but that there was a justification before men that by necessity would follow justification by God and would be manifested at the day of judgement. What happens is that then the "what if" starts and if broken into fragments the Reformers can be questioned in this area. Baxter and some of the others tried to short circuit this and just include some works in the mix to make it more cohesive. All I'm saying is that while I applaud what Baxter was trying to do, it was not necessary, if you look at the reformed position carefully. It lacks nothing, and gives nothing away to anyone as far as a gentile who is coming to Christ. Maybe you are right about Wright knowing more about ancient Jews than the reformers but does that matter?
     
  12. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    As I said, it's all explained in post 18 which is the most concise reformed position I have seen. Go back and look. One thing follows the other. It is incorrect to interchange the terms for a general audience but for a reformed person it works because one thing always follows another and it's driven by the infallible Holy Spirit. Once started, the other will and must follow. So I'm still waiting for a rebuttal of the reformed position but I will try to be more precise with my language in the future.
     
  13. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I mean that you rejected @kyredneck 's post that no passage states we are justified by faith alone by providing a passage that states we are saved by faith alone. Those are not the same things, but very often we see them used interchangeably.
    I am not talking about confusing justification with sanctification. You exchanged "salvation" for "justification" in your argument against @kyredneck .

    But this is a point where the Reformed tradition departs from Wright's comments.

    Wright does not place sanctification as a requirement of justification. Sanctification is a process (we are still in the process of being confirmed into the image of Christ). But justification is a declaration that we are positionally in Christ (we are a New Covenant people).

    I am not saying that any of these positions are lacking. I already stated that they are complete. This includes the traditional Reformed position.

    But Luther's position was that justification means being made right in the sight of God. Owen defined justification as "to acquit" (The Doctrine of Justification by Faith). Eveson equates justification with salvation (TGC article). Sproul views justification as used by Paul as salvation or making one just while as used by Janes as showing one is just.

    I do not understand how that can be said to be in agreement with Wright's comments that justification is not salvation, is not forgiveness, and is not God making one just but a declaration that one has been forgiven and is a part of His people.
     
  14. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Not, it doesn't work. If that were true then "salvation" could be used as a substitute for "sanctification" as well.

    Redemption, salvation, justification, sanctification and resurrection are different words, different doctrines, although certainly related.

    If you doubt that replacing salvation with justification because one follows another then consider doing the same with sanctification. The gospel is the power of sanctification for all who believe.

    It does not work.
     
  15. percho

    percho Well-Known Member
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    Relative to my post, the work of Christ, unto obedience unto death, even the death of the cross is the faith of justification.

    for as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners: so also through the obedience of the one, shall the many be constituted righteous. <just G1342] Rom 5:19
    Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Rom 5:10 justified from G1342
    Being therefore justified by [0ut of] faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; Rom 5:1 from G1342

    Biblical or not?
     
  16. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    @JonC. I don't know why you want to go off in this direction. Ephesians 2:8-9 is saying salvation. That closes the argument that Ky brought up. "Salvation" included the whole set of things that includes Faith, Justification, Sanctification and Glorification. If you are reformed you could even add decrees of God and election. But let's not get into that here. Salvation is interchanged with justification in common language but there is no point in arguing the issue.

    If you have any desire to get back to Wright, I think that the controversy with him is that he, like Baxter, conflates the two. Don't take my word for it, just read the article above which compares the views of Baxter and Wright. I think the complaint is that with Wright you have a view of justification as being placed into a covenant with God, like the Jews were, and then there were the requirements of attempting to do works and keep the law as a help in maintaining that relationship because that is part of the covenant agreement.

    What I was saying earlier is that the reformers were so careful to make sure we all understood the importance of Christ's work alone as the grounds or cause of our justification and yet teach the absolute necessity of sanctification and good works for someone so justified. Baxter said that a Christian was put into a new covenant where the requirements were sincere obedience to the law as explained by Christ and the sanctions were milder also. Some people are getting that from Wright although I haven't read him enough nor have I seen that posted yet on this thread so maybe that is an unfair assessment.

    If you wish to go into teacher mode and begin to critique every word I say instead of discuss the original subject of the thread go ahead but post 18 is still what I think a good example of the complete yet concise reformed view and has not been refuted by anything on here so far.

    Some say regarding Baxter, that he modified his stance somewhat and got more in line with reformed justification but I really don't know. I do know he was concerned with the libertinism he saw among fellow soldiers who were supposed to be good Calvinists and this was what made him go off initially. Like I said earlier, I am a huge fan of Baxter and really benefit from his practical writings. I am inclined to think the same of Wright if possible but don't really know at this point. But as of now, I think the explanation of the whole process of our salvation is best explained by the mainstream Reformers rather than Wright or Baxter, or Arminius or Wesley for that matter.
     
  17. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    This 1689 BCF says God Justifies,
    "not by infusing righteousness into them",
    but when they are first Pardoned from their sins.

    So, prior to Justification, they are first Pardoned from their sins
    "but by pardoning their sins and accounting
    and accepting them as righteous",


    then the Righteousness of Christ is imputed to them
    and His Righteousness becomes their righteousness

    and they are then, Justified.

    1689 BAPTIST CONFESSION OF FAITH
    IN MODERN ENGLISH


    Chapter 11- Justification


    1. Those God effectually calls he also freely justifies.1

    He does this, not by infusing righteousness into them
    but by pardoning their sins and accounting
    and accepting them as righteous.2

    He does this for Christ’s sake alone
    and not for anything produced in them or done by them.3

    He does not impute faith itself, the act of believing,
    or any other gospel obedience to them as their righteousness.

    Instead, he imputes Christ’s active obedience
    to the whole law and passive obedience
    in his death as their whole and only righteousness by faith.4

    This faith is not self-generated; it is the gift of God.5

    1 Romans 3:24; 8:30.
    2 Romans 4:5–8; Ephesians 1:7.
    3 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; Romans 5:17–19.
    4 Philippians 3:8, 9; Ephesians 2:8–10.
    5 John 1:12; Romans 5:17.

    2. Faith that receives and rests on Christ
    and his righteousness is the only instrument of justification.6

    Yet it does not occur by itself in the person justified,
    but it is always accompanied by every other saving grace.
    It is not a dead faith but works through love.7

    6 Romans 3:28.
    7 Galatians 5:6; James 2:17, 22, 26.


    3. By his obedience and death,
    Christ fully paid the debt of all those who are justified.

    He endured in their place the penalty they deserved.

    By this sacrifice of himself in his bloodshed on the cross,
    he legitimately, really, and fully satisfied God’s justice on their behalf.8

    Yet their justification is based entirely on free grace,
    because he was given by the Father for them,
    and his obedience and satisfaction were accepted in their place.

    These things were done freely, not because of anything in them,9
    so that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God
    would be glorified in the justification of sinners.10

    8 Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Isaiah 53:5, 6.
    9 Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
    10 Romans 3:26; Ephesians 1:6,7; 2:7.


    4. From all eternity God decreed to justify all the elect,11
    and in the fullness of time Christ died for their sins
    and rose again for their justification.12

    Nevertheless, they are not justified personally
    until the Holy Spirit actually applies Christ to them at the proper time.13

    11 Galatians 3:8; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Timothy 2:6.
    12 Romans 4:25.
    13 Colossians 1:21, 22; Titus 3:4–7.


    5. God continues to forgive the sins of those who are justified.14

    Even though they can never fall from a state of justification,15

    they may fall under God’s fatherly displeasure
    because of their sins.16

    In that condition, they will not usually
    have the light of his face restored to them
    until they humble themselves, confess their sins,
    plead for pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.17

    14 Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:7, 9.
    15 John 10:28.
    16 Psalms 89:31–33.
    17 Psalms 32:5; Psalms 51; Matthew 26:75.


    6. In all these ways, the justification of believers
    under the Old Testament was exactly the same
    as the justification of believers under the New Testament.18

    18 Galatians 3:9; Romans 4:22–24.
     
  18. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    K. You've made a point.

    Lol, no, the passage perfectly substantiates my claim:

    What Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
    8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
    9 not of works, that no man should glory.

    What Ephesians 2:8-9 DOES NOT say:
    8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith ALONE; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
    9 not of works, that no man should glory.

    I reiterate my challenge:
    We've been here before Dave, and I understand James perfectly well, from scripture in lieu of commentaries of other men's opinions:

    "...the works that James was talking about in his epistle:

    27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. Ja 1
    15 If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food,
    16 and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? Ja 2

    ...are the same works we're all going to be judged by.

    The just:

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
    36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    The unjust:

    41
    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels:
    42 for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;
    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Mt 25

    Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith."

    ...and if you're sticking with the namby-pamby 'explanation' that James was referring to a justification before men, this justification is BEFORE CHRIST, NOT MEN"

    And, in no way am I derailing this thread. N.T. Wright actually contributed to my conclusions on 'justification' years ago.

    Perhaps you think scripture should not be important in these debates, only commentaries of other men's opinions?
     
    #58 kyredneck, Dec 10, 2023
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2023
  19. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying, "man that worketh evil"
    has something to do with being Justified for SALVATION, or not?

    Are you saying, "them that by patience in well-doing"
    has something to do with being Justified for SALVATION,or not?

    Are you saying, "every man that worketh good"
    has something to do with being Justified for SALVATION, or not?

    Are you saying, "the doers of the law shall be justified"
    has something to do with being Justified for SALVATION, or not?

    Are you saying, "by works a man is justified, and not only by faith"
    has something to do with being Justified for SALVATION, or not?

    Justification is that instantaneous, everlasting, gracious, free, judicial act of God, whereby, on account of the merit of Chris's blood and righteousness, a repentant, believing sinner is freed from the penalty of the law, restored to God's favor, and considered as possessing the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ; by virtue of all of which he receives adoption as a son.

    1. THE AUTHOR OF JUSTIFICATION
    God is the author of justification. Man has nothing to do with his justification, except to receive it through the faith that the Holy Spirit enables him to exercise. The Scripture declares: "It is God who justifieth (Rom. 8:33).

    Again we read: "Being justified freely by his (God's) grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3.24).

    Christ can be said to justify us only in the sense that He paid the redemptive price.

    II. THE CAUSE AND GROUND OF JUSTIFICATION DIFFERENTIATED.
    It is only in the courts of the land that "cause" and "ground" find acceptable use as synonyms. In a suit in the courts a cause of action means the same thing as a ground of action.

    Elsewhere they are not to be confused, and most especially are they not to be confused with respect to justification.

    Strictly speaking, the cause of an action is the agent, force, motive, or reason by which, or because of which, the action is effected or produced. Insofar as it is proper to speak of a mediate cause, the reference here is to the ultimate or originating cause.

    Ground, as used here means foundation, basis, that upon which something rests for Support.

    With these definitions before us we are prepared to observe that the love of God, giving rise to His grace and mercy, is the cause of our justification; while the death of Christ and the atonement wrought thereby is the ground of our justification.

    That the love of God is the cause of our justification is made crystal clear in the two following passages: "But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us . . . hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:4,6).

    "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).

    But God could not consistently ground our salvation on His love, because love of itself could not consistently overlook our sinfulness.

    The justice of God, arising from His holiness, had to be satisfied.

    Thus it was necessary that love provide a righteous basis for our salvation. Rom. 3:25,26 tells in beautiful and striking language how that basis was provided.

    Out of love, God sent Christ to die that He might save sinners and remain just.

    Christ was a "propitiation." A propitiation is that which propitiates. To propitiate is to appease, conciliate. A beautiful picture of the appeasement and conciliation that takes place in justification is given us in Psa. 85:10-

    "Mercy and truth are met together;
    righteousness and peace have kissed each other."


    What is the ground of this reconciliation? The mere love, mercy, or grace of God?

    Nay. These must find a ground, a righteous basis, before they can become effective in man's pardon; otherwise mercy would violate truth and the righteousness of God would be set aside.

    The ground of this reconciliation is the propitiation or atonement made by Jesus Christ. The only people who will take issue with this statement are those who deny that Christ rendered a proper, real, full, exact, and absolute satisfaction to retributive justice by suffering in full the penalty of the law that believing sinners deserve to suffer in Hell for their sins. Such people will find the ground in the sovereign love and mercy of God or in something done by the sinner.

    III. THE MEANS Of JUSTIFICATION
    Faith in the blood of Christ is the means of justification.
    See Acts 13:89; Rom. 3:24,250; 5.1,9; Cal. 2:16.

    It is well to note from these passages that the faith by which we are justified is not faith in the love, grace, and mercy of God; but faith in that which the love, mercy, and grace of God have provided, that is, the blood of Christ.

    This fact throws further light upon the foregoing discussion.

    It is by faith that justification is applied and made experimental.

    It is thus that we come into the enjoyment of the benefits of Christ's atoning death.

    Faith, as we have noted previously, has no merit in and of itself.

    It is not a full hand bestowing, but an empty hand receiving.


    Exercising faith is inward obedience.

    It is because of this fact that the Scripture alludes to
    "the obedience of faith" (Rom. 16:26),
    obedience to the gospel (Rom. 10:16: 11 Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:17),
    "obeying the truth" (1 Pet. 1: 22),
    and obeying "from the heart that form of doctrine (Rom. 6:7).

    But this is not meritorious obedience.

    It is as fully without merit as is the act of a beggar in eating food that has been given him. Justification is by faith for the following reasons:

    1. That it might be by grace. Rom. 4:16.

    2. That boasting might be excluded. Rom. 3:27.

    3. Because by faith we are identified with Christ in the same manner that we were identified with Adam by the natural birth. Acts 13:39

    4. Because faith "worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6)
    and is the medium by which Christ dwells in our heart& (Eph. 3: 17-19; Gal. 2:20) and by which we are progressively changed into the image of Christ in our lives (Rom. 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:18); and thus we are prevented from "turning the grace of God into lasciviousness" (Jude 4).

    There is no conflict between James and Paul
    on the matter of justification by faith.

    Paul used the Greek word "dikaioo"

    to mean "to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous,
    or such as he ought to be,"


    while James used the same word

    to mean "to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous
    or such as he ought to be."


    Paul says that Abraham was justified, in the sense that he uses the term, before circumcision (Rom. 4:9,10);

    while James says that Abraham was justified, in the sense he uses the term, when he offered Isaac.

    Reference to Gen. 17 reveals that Abraham was circumcised a year before the birth of Isaac, which is recorded in Gen. 21.

    Isaac was approximately twenty-five years old at the time Abraham offered him.

    Thus is seen that Paul and James were not talking about the same thing.

    For other cases where the Greek word is used in the same sense in which James uses it, see Matt. 11:9 and I Tim. 3:16.

    Moreover note that James affirmed with Paul that

    "Abraham believed God,
    and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness"
    (Jas. 2:23).
     
  20. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    No. I quoted Jesus, Paul, and James from scripture. Not commentaries on Reformed dogma, but scripture.

    I suppose you miss the gist of "in the spirit not in the letter". It's okay Alan, most others do also.


    I sooo agree with JonC here:
     
    #60 kyredneck, Dec 11, 2023
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2023
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