If Guilt "Causes" Corruption . . .

. . . why can’t innocence “cause” moral renovation?

Article 9 of the French Confession of Faith (in which Calvin played a large role) affirms: “We believe that man was created pure and perfect in the image of God, and that by his own guilt he fell from the grace which he received, and is thus alienated from God, the fountain of justice and of all good, so that his nature it totally corrupt.”

This assertion, which implies the priority of the forensic to moral degeneracy, only makes sense of the idea that man was created with a good and upright nature. If Adam’s guilt proceeded from corruption then his original nature could not be perfect and pure.

So why is it a problem to talk about a similar relationship between the forensic and the renovative in the remedy for sin, namely, salvation? Why is it wrong to assert that the removal of guilt, the declaration of innocence, causes or results in the removal of corruption?

Of course, the language of causality is a bit rough and simplistic — but no more rough or simplistic as saying that union with Christ “causes” justification and sanctification. Actually, in a monergistic scheme, God is the cause of every part of salvation. But in trying to discern the relationship among the aspects of salvation, asserting the priority of the forensic to the renovative does not appear to be an obvious problem or error. It would seem actually to follow symmetrically from the doctrine of the fall.

This would seem to be the point of the Belgic Confession, Article 24, which says that without justifying faith, men “would never do anything out of love to God.” It also asserts: “For it is by faith in Christ that we are justified, even before we do good works, otherwise they could not be good works any more than the fruit of a tree can be good before the tree itself is good.”

(Disclaimer: this post is not necessarily the view of the NTJ or its editors. What are blogs for?)

58 thoughts on “If Guilt "Causes" Corruption . . .

  1. I agree that the forensic needs to take priority over the renovative. To deny this is to have at least one foot off the Protestant landscape. We have nothing if we do not have, first and foremost, that peace with God which comes through the forgiveness of our sins. However, I’ve never viewed union with Christ as being strictly rennovative. I’ve always seen it as having both (distinct yet inseparable) forensic and rennovative aspects, but with the forensic as foundational for the renovative.

    In this regard, I think the better analogy would not be to move from the effects of the fall on Adam himself to believers united with Christ, but rather from the race as naturally united with Adam and believers as mystically united to Christ. Those “in Adam” receive both his guilt and his corruption, while those “in Christ” receive both his righteousness and his life. The priority in each case is given to the forensic, but we nevertheless receive both through union, whether natural on the one hand, or mystical on the other.


  2. DG,

    This is exactly right. Both the French/Gallic and the Belgic (which was heavily dependent upon the French) teach the logical priority of the forensic to both corruption and sanctification.

    It’s not a problem, so long as we’re all talking about progressive sanctification, which is the traditional and confessional way of speaking about sanctification.

    The question or problem is definitive sanctification. We’re all proponents of union with Christ, but those who who hold to definitive sanctification ascribe to it a special role in their doctrine of the existential aspect of union with Christ and thus this said to be great breakthrough in Reformed theology.


  3. I hope I’m not mistaken, it sounds like some are not 100% on board with that breakthrough in Reformed theology aka as the special role of definitive sanctification. How refreshing to read blog post favoring the classic Reformed forensic formulation. I’ve grown weary at the barrage from some of the idea that failing to ascribe a special role to definitive sanctification in a believer’s existential union with Christ one is tantamount to denying there is any union with Christ.at all. Thanks.


  4. That is a great point… Is it just me or is the fact that the Federal Visionists/NPPers base their rejection of imputation on a similar union schema a little bit scary? Or the fact that Dr. Gaffin said in a recent interview that Gratitude as the response to grace sanctification was not enough?! – talk about going against historic Reformed constructs of the H.C. and the epistle to the Romans.

    Is it just me or does it seem like the underlying idea behind this renovative/synergistic union as the basis of justification and sanctification is that we need more to be sanctified then just the forensic, we need some new type of sacramentalism/existential-“break through” to spurn our people on to good works?


  5. I’ve been recently introduced to this question of the logical priority of justification to sanctification. It seems to me that Vosian eschatology and our doctrine of the covenant of works has a lot to say to this, but maybe I’m mistaken by it. Please tell me if I am…
    If we must fulfill the covenant of works before we advance into the eschatological state, justification must take priority. We cannot become a new creation until the fulfillment of that covenant is imputed to us. If we place ‘new life’ before justification, we minimize the importance of the covenant of works by either putting eschatological life prior to justification or talking about the new birth bringing us into the Adamic state of probation. Furthermore, how can God shower us with the blessing sanctification when He has not yet judged us to be righteous in His eyes?!
    I found Horton’s “Covenant and Salvation” to be helpful on this, but I left it quite confused. I didn’t understand how calling was different from, and preceded, justification… I’m planning on reading Part II again pretty soon.

    Dr. Clark, I don’t understand your final statement regarding definitive sanctification and how this plays into union with Christ. Could you recommend some reading for me?


  6. Timothy,

    There is more to salvation than the forensic. Sin is a twofold problem requiring a twofold solution. Dr. Gaffin was making the point that gratitude is not enough to deal with the problem of sin’s corruption. To say that it is would be to reject the work of God in sanctification by making it an entirely anthropocentric work. This is a far cry from the Federal Vision and NPP.


  7. Dr. Clark,

    Why is it wrong to say that a man may be justified (forensic) and definitively sanctified (i.e. have a radical break with sin) simultaneously on account of union with Christ? This is not the same as saying that God is therefore justifying godly men. We still have a bad record when He justifies us. If we affirm that God demands perfect obedience, and I certainly do affirm this, then why can’t someone affirm justification, definitive sanctification (Romans 6), and Adoption as simultaneous blessings that come to us in union with Christ. We, in the Reformed churches, have historically affirmed and vehemently defend the priority of regeneration to justification, but isn’t there a transformative element to regeneration? Isn’t regeneration the Spirit wrought removal of a principle of corruption and the implanting of a new love for God? Giving someone a new heart sure sounds transformational. So, if we affirm this, why is it wrong to affirm that God gives ungodly, hell deserving sinners a perfect record of righteousness and a radical breach from sin simultaneously. I would certainly agree that justification as a saving benefit has logical priority because nothing can be added to it. Definitive sanctification is the once and for all breach with sin that leads to the work of God’s Spirit in progressive sanctification. It is perfect in one sense, and imperfect in another. I suppose that I am comfortable saying that progressive sanctification flows from definitive sanctification but not from justification. Can you or Dr. Hart help me understand what is wrong with this formulation. I am not asking this with any argumentative motives. Just a genuine desire to learn.


  8. I struggle with putting definitive sanctification (Romans 6) into the doctrine of forensic justification. That seems to compromise the forensic nature of justification if we include the transformative radical breach of the power of sin within it. As I understand it definitive sanctification actually protects the forensic nature of justification.


  9. Nick and Camden, I hear you both saying there is more to salvation than the foresnic. On the one hand, I agree; there’s also faith, repentance, worship — the list goes on. On the other hand, the way you say there’s more it sounds like you’re saying the forensic isn’t enough. That’s why it seems like union is trumping justification, because union gives us everything we need, justification only part. That really doesn’t fit with this business of “no longer facing condemnation.” Am I wrong to think that Christ’s righteousness is all I need? Or is there more righteousness available that will finally make me right with God? (I’m not trying to bait you, but I am pointing out the way some of us hear the defenses of union.)

    On def. sanct., it may be what the Bible teaches, but it is not what the Reformed creeds teach. Nick, what you attribute to def. sanct. used to be what the Reformed churches attributed to justification — sanctification is premised upon justification. That’s why I quoted the Belgic Confession. So if you’re right, and you may be, it would be good at least to revise our standards.

    But before you do, I think you need to figure out, as Camden suggests, the confusion of the forensic and the renovative in def. sanct. If def. sanct. breaks the power of sin, the bondage of depravity, isn’t that a legal transaction? I’m no longer a slave to sin but a slave to Christ. I don’t see how that change doesn’t stem from payment for the guilt of my sin. In other words, def. sanct. is slippery. Sometimes it appears to function forensically, sometimes renovatively. Why can you be slippery with def. sanct. but it’s a violation of category integrity if someone talks about just. and the forensic driving the renovative?

    Fixing the corruption of sin is still work that needs to be done. But that’s what sanctification does. So it used to be we had justification and sanctification, with clear distinctions like that in WLC 77. But now we have justification, def. sanct., and progressive sanct., with no WLC 78 to determine the categories. Our creeds and systematic theologies have yet to catch up (nor am I sure they should — but I’m willing to listen.)

    Either way, your comments seem to detract from the wonder of justification. I know that is not your intention. But it would help if you could say how great the forensic is before saying there is so much more to the forensic.


  10. These are the questions worth asking those who embrace definitive sanctification:

    Is there really anything new that the doctrine of “definitive sanctification” brings to the table?

    First, if what it describes is legal and forensic, then how is it describing something that isn’t already covered by our doctrines of justification and adoption?

    Second, if what it describes is renovative, then how is it describing something that isn’t already covered by our doctrines of effectual call and regeneration at the inception of the Christian life?

    Third, isn’t it true that this is really just Murray, in one of his worse moments, engaging in theology by word study? Even though the lexeme “sanctification” is used in Romans 6 in a way that is not anticipated by our systematic locus “sanctification,” does that mean we have to invent a new systematic category for it? In other words, can’t our other systematic loci already account for the way the word “sanctification” is used in Romans 6 without our needing to introduce “definitive sanctification” to our stock categories?


  11. Could we speak of a definitive sanctification in the sense of a beginning (or alpha point to quote Gaffin) to progressive sanctification and grounded on justification? I’m thinking of the flow of Romans 8:1-4 (i.e. no condemnation for those in Christ, because they have been transported to the realm of life giving Spirit. And if you’re in the life giving Spirit, it means God has already fulfilled the righteous requirment of the law in Christ) Desperately trying to have my cake and eat it here.


  12. Dr. Hart,

    I, in no way, ever want to detract from the glorious truth of justification by faith alone. I stand perfect in Christ Jesus, only because of His righteousness imputed to me, and received by faith alone. Amen to this amazing truth! I will never add anything to the finished work of Christ on my behalf. Justification is the primary source of my assurance, not my inconsistent sanctification. I will never be more or less righteous before God on account of my justification. But, if justification is legal and not transformative, how can it include a radical break with the power of sin? Christ does not simply declare me to be righteous, He also gives me a personal holiness. That seems to rest more properly in the realm of sanctification. To be honest, I am more willing to accept what Murray calls “definitive sanctification” as being an aspect of regeneration than as an aspect of justification. One of my good friends, who studied Puritan theology under John Gerstner, has argued that what I call “definitive sanctification” the Puritans believed to be simply one aspect of regeneration. If he is correct, I don’t necessarily think that our confessions need to be refined to make room for something that have historically understood to have been a part of a related, transformative spiritual blessing. I am willing to read anything you have for me to read on this subject. Again, I have much to learn and would love to study this out further.

    With regard to B.C.’s statement:

    “Even though the lexeme “sanctification” is used in Romans 6 in a way that is not anticipated by our systematic locus “sanctification,” does that mean we have to invent a new systematic category for it? In other words, can’t our other systematic loci already account for the way the word “sanctification” is used in Romans 6 without our needing to introduce “definitive sanctification” to our stock categories?”

    I do believe that lexical use determines systematic categories. If the Bible explicitly uses the word we translate as, “sanctification,” in a way that does not fit the category, “progressive sanctification,” then we need to determine the category to which it belongs. If the word does not fit into the “progressive sanctification” category, but it is the same word in the original language, then we need to discern its use by the context (e.g. “justification” in Paul and James are different categories). While I think Murray was wrong on things like his rejection of the “covenant of works,” I do not think he was altogether off on this one. On my part, I have to wrestle the the use of the word “justfied” in Romans 6:5: “He who has died has been “justified” from sin…” This may be a scriptural proof of what Dr. Hart is asserting, about sanctification flowing from forensic justification, but I am not yet fully convinced.” I think this is a much more complicated discussion than it sometimes comes across on the blogs. Just some thoughts. Please feel free to offer correctives to what I have said above.


  13. Camden,

    Yes, I agree there is more to salvation than the forensic aspect but the present experience of our overcoming sin is based upon resting in Christ’s imputed righteousness and our gratitude is what that present renovative aspect looks like. So, to say Gratitude is not enough is to attack the Reformed confessions consensus on the matter. It is interesting to see that if Dr. Gaffin is right, that we need an understanding of definitive sanctification in order to experience present renovation, then what happened to everyone before this doctrine came about? Placing our present experience of sanctification in the forensic, does not make it anthropocentric but Christocentric and extra nos.

    Where does the Belgic Confession Art 24 place the priority in sanctification by implicitly referring to the Roman argument that justifying faith makes us lazy? It speaks of man’s sanctification being done after the manner of justifying faith, “causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin.” It sure sounds like the forensic has priority over the renovative. Heidelberg Catechism Qs 32, 43, 86 place our experience of sanctification in the imputed righteousness of Christ. Question 115 says there is no perfection until the life to come. It is not within us to keep the ten commandments but it is within the righteousness of Christ to die to sin and be conformed to His image. (also see WSC XIII, 3 and WLC Q 77)

    Also, see in the Second Helvetic Confession XV, 6 how it speaks of James’ epistle and its coherence with Paul. “Abraham declares his lively and justifying faith by works.”

    It is also interesting to see the passage quoted by the Second Helvetic, which is Gal. 2:20-21. “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…” D A Carson showed that the construct in the Greek is unusual here in that in can rightly be translated “Christ lives FOR me”, pointing to the forensic work of Christ being seen in Paul’s deeds. Paul’s life lived is by faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ. Righteousness in sanctification comes by Christ living for us and us resting in Him, that is the form of the renovative which is not perfect by any means in this life. Just because someone may in fact agree with Imputation does not mean he means the same thing as the Confessions. It is like taking Paul Tillich at his word that he believes in justification by faith alone. (Not to say that they a parallel views)

    If I am misunderstanding the position you are purporting, then please let me know. I am hoping to be wrong in my representation of this view.


  14. Nicholas,

    I guess in some ways your example of the word “justification” actually confirms my point: We don’t have two distinct systematic loci called “justification” even though Paul uses the word one way, and James uses it another way.

    That’s exactly what I’m trying to say about “sanctification.” The word being used more than one way doesn’t mean we need just as many categories in systematics, does it? Sure, that particular use of “sanctification” found in Romans 6 needs to fit somewhere into our systematics (i.e., our ST needs to account for this use), but the problem I have is with creating a new category out of thin air, if in fact it already fits into an existing one (such as regeneration, as you mentioned).


  15. Nick: you’re old enough to call me Darryl. DG is easier to spell. Really you are.

    I appreciate your concern not to minimize the importance of justification. But I’m still left wondering why you think justification only goes so far, that it doesn’t involve personal holiness. I grant that justification is foresnic, though I’m not sure how anyone could insist that it has no transformative power, or say that if it does, it falls prey to Roman Catholic teaching. Certainly the Council of Trent didn’t think that the Protestant doctrine of justificaiton was close to their view.

    But by emphasizing the forensic nature of justification and keeping it seemingly so far removed from me and my own holiness, I wonder if you have made the alien righteousness of justification so alien that it doesn’t do much if anything for my personal holiness. But that’s not what Heidelberg says (one reason for quoting Heidelberg, aside from its clarity and beauty, is also that it was the catechism on which Van Til and Vos cut their theological teeth):

    Question 60. How are thou righteous before God?
    Answer: Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ; so that, though my conscience accuse me, that I have grossly transgressed all the commandments of God, and kept none of them, and am still inclined to all evil; notwithstanding, God, without any merit of mine, but only of mere grace, grants and imputes to me, the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ; even so, as if I never had had, nor committed any sin: yea, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me; inasmuch as I embrace such benefit with a believing heart.

    That sure sounds like the imputed righteousness of Christ is really my righteousness — “as if I had accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me.” I don’t think that’s a legal fiction. Justification is real and personal.

    Now, of course, justification is not the only benefit of salvation. Again, Heidelberg is very good, even on the matter of faith, in showing how faith involves more than justification:

    Question 32. But why art thou called a Christian?
    Answer: Because I am a member of Christ by faith, and thus am partaker of his anointing; that so I may confess his name, and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him: and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life and afterwards I reign with him eternally, over all creatures.

    Faith isn’t just about obtaining Christ’s righteousness for me. Faith also unites me to Christ so that I live a life of holiness.

    But Heidelberg is also clear on why faith needs to be the alone instrument of our justification and not confused with our personal righteousness (which it seems to me is what happens when trying to insert sanctification as the benefit of our personal holiness so close to justification, even before it). At the same time, Heidelberg is not at all squeamish in talking about necessity of personal holiness as the inevitable fruit of justifying faith:

    Question 86. Since then we are delivered from our misery, merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?
    Answer: Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit, after his own image; that so we may testify, by the whole of our conduct, our gratitude to God for his blessings, and that he may be praised by us; also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith, by the fruits thereof; and that, by our godly conversation others may be gained to Christ.

    Question 87. Cannot they then be saved, who, continuing in their wicked and ungrateful lives, are not converted to God?
    Answer: By no means; for the holy scripture declares that no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or any such like, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    The bottom line here is that I read you calling for a solution to a problem that I don’t recognize in our tradition. At the same time, when I look carefully at the union formulations, I have questions and am confused. Instead of fixing something, union and def. sanct. leave me confused.

    Thanks for your consideration.


  16. Nick: it depends on the flavor of the cake. Would that alpha point be the eternal decree, the resurrection of Christ, or when I walked down the aisle? Doesn’t union have those three times in view?


  17. I’m new-ish to Reformed theology. Ever since reading Robert Reymond, I assumed that definitive sanctification was standard fare among the Reformed. It seems not! I’ll need to go back to the books. Thanks for this.


  18. I have much more to say in response but I’ll keep it to this at the moment.

    If def. sanct. breaks the power of sin, the bondage of depravity, isn’t that a legal transaction?

    Dying to sin and being raised to new life as we are in our union with Christ in his death and resurrection is transformative. If you die, you haven’t simply made a transaction – you’re transformed to a new condition.


  19. Darryl,

    I am trying to understand where the catechism questions you mention above contradict what I am saying. I agree that we are PERFECTLY righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. I am willing to go so far as to say that I am constituted righteous on account of His righteousness being imputed to me, and that He was constituted a sinner because of my sin imputed to Him. But that justification comes from my being united to Jesus. How can I be justified in Christ without being united to Christ? How can I say that I died with Him if I was not united to Him. This is where Dr. Gaffin’s three kinds of union formulation seems helpful. I am united in Christ from before the foundations of the world when God the Father chose me IN Him. I am united to him in the outworking of the salvation that He purchases for me in redemptive history (i.e. the historia salutis), and I am united to Him in time when I believe “into” Him. It seems that we may differ as to when we are united to Christ. It is faith that unites us in this third stage of union. It is the same faith that justifies us. Now the question seems to be, “Are we united to Christ by faith and then justified, or are we justified by faith and then united.” I struggle to see how adopting either view destroys a justification that is by faith alone. Yes, I am saying it is by a faith that unites us to Him so that we may have His righteousness IMPUTED to us. But to say that you are justified by faith in Christ without union to Him leaves me asking the question, “How then is it imputed to you?” How does the righteousness of Christ come to a person with a representative union with that person? Now, the point of what I am trying to say is that the same faith that justifies us in union with Christ also sanctifies us in union with Him. They are two distinct blessings that come to us from the same Christ. And it is faith, not justification, from which they flow. They come to us by virtue of our faith unto union with Him. Again, I am more than willing to be corrected on this, and I hate the Federal Vision theology that denies the all sufficiency of a once for all perfect imputed righteousness to which nothing can be added. But, I do not understand where the danger is in saying that every blessing comes to us by virtue of our believing INTO Christ. I hope this clarifies some of what I am saying.

    I also want to affirm that I believe in a priority of justification in the ordo salutis because it is a once for all finished act that lies at the heart of the Gospel. I affirm with Luther, Calvin and the Reformers that it is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls.


  20. I’ll bite.

    BC: First, if what [“definitive sanctification”] describes is legal and forensic, then how is it describing something that isn’t already covered by our doctrines of justification and adoption?

    As you can see above, the space covered by “justification” is not standard. At minimum, justification is a forensic declaration of “righteous!” But Dr. Hart suggests that it might also be the start of moral regeneration, which is not agreed to by all.

    In systems that do not use justification to fill that role, something like definitive justification is used to describe the start of moral regeneration.

    DS is not forensic in the legal sense, but “definitive” in the transformative sense, because it corresponds to the indwelling of the Spirit, after “having believed” as Eph. 1.13 puts it. And because the sealing of the Spirit is a guarantee, He therefore forecloses our sanctification; we have died to sin, we will be glorified.

    B.C.: Second, if what it describes is renovative, then how is it describing something that isn’t already covered by our doctrines of effectual call and regeneration at the inception of the Christian life?

    Well, effectual calling occurs before faith, so you can see that DS has no overlap there.

    But with regeneration, it’s tricky, because the meaning of the word “regeneration” shifted between Calvin and now. For Calvin (see Inst. 3.3), regeneration was equivalent to what the Confession describes as repentance unto life, and it occurs after faith.

    In later reformers, “regeneration” refers to the initial change of heart that causes one to respond in faith to God’s call. (J.I. Packer uses it in this way, and my memory is that Robert Reymond does, and my faint memory is that the usage goes back to Turretin — but I’m really uncertain about this).

    Interestingly, the Confession uses the term ‘regeneration’, but it’s not one of the major categories in the Confession’s soteriology. This may or may not reflect the relative Scriptural silence on the term “regeneration.”

    IMO, we need some term to describe the transformative sealing of the Spirit after faith that causes death to sin and repentance unto life.

    If DGH wants to call that something “justification”, then he would be in fine (Lutheran 😉 ) company to do so. But he might be open to the charge of make justification something more than forensic. (Actually, I think he’s trying to forge some new ground: the forensic *is* transformative — but I wonder how he accounts for the sealing of the Spirit then).

    B.C.: Third, isn’t it true that this is really just Murray, in one of his worse moments, engaging in theology by word study?

    His treatment of DS does not strike me as meriting the charge. His methodology was much more exegetical and much less word-studyish.

    I rather think that he’s trying to return to Calvin’s categories, but that he doesn’t want to use the word “regeneration” to describe what Calvin was describing because the term had changed meaning in the interim.

    And again, I think he’s trying to fill in the content of what it means to be sealed by the Spirit so that one dies to sin in action as well as in legal status.

    Jeff Cagle


  21. That sure sounds like the imputed righteousness of Christ is really my righteousness — “as if I had accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me.” I don’t think that’s a legal fiction. Justification is real and personal.

    Christ’s righteousness is your righteousness, but it’s a transaction that occurs “on the books” as it were. If by “personal holiness” you mean that it’s really your possession, then yes, justification affects personal holiness. However, if you mean that justification changes your condition – transforms you, not simply in state or standing but in constitution/makeup/(grasping for the appropriate word) then I think you’re straying from a traditional, confessional formulation.

    Let me ask a question to isolate the concern: Are believers sanctified by faith?


  22. Oddly, UX fixes a lot of problems for me. So I wonder whether we are looking at the same picture and describing it differently, or whether we (each) have not fully thought out the picture, or whether we are really seeing two slightly different pictures.

    For example:

    To my mind, UX solves neatly the problem of analytic v. synthetic justification.

    Does the Father declare us righteous despite our sin (and thereby entail God in “legal fiction” as the RCs allege that we teach), or does He declare us righteous because we *are* righteous (which would place us in need of prior sanctification)?

    On the horns of this seeming dilemma, the RC church has kept many a soul from JBFA.

    UX solves this problem with forensic headship. We are righteous because we are in the Righteous One. Our justification is synthetic, but not on the basis of our own prior sanctification.

    Not to re-iterate stuff you’ve heard millions of times, but I really like that solution!

    Jeff Cagle


  23. Nick,

    Thanks for this. I think it should go a long way at clarifying what you are and are not wanting to say. If I understand you correctly, I agree entirely with how you’ve put it.


  24. Nick, I too offer up my thanks. But the original post was not about the priority of union. I don’t even think I brought up union. I asked about the relationship between the foresnic and the renovative and wondered why it’s so wrong to talk about the former doing something about the latter. Then you respond by affirming the priority of union and just. and sanct. as two distinct benefits.

    I’m not denying union. I’m questioning a view of def. sanct. that makes it apparently have to do work that Christ’s righteousness received by faith alone won’t do. (See also my answer to Camden, which is about to come.)


  25. Camden, why is my forensic life only on the books, removed from me in some court of law. Don’t I live in a covenantal relationship to God all the time. Isn’t that stamped on my being? Isn’t that why Paul can say the law of God is written on the hearts even of unbelievers? So if the books get changed, and I live in the ever present reality of those books because I am a coventantal creature all the way down, why is the forensic something that is only happening “over there” away from me?

    While I’m at it, the refusal of intermingling the forensic and the renovative may make certain theological sense, but when applied to the person and what’s really me, it seems to suffer from a rather mechanical psychology.

    On faith and sanctification, my first response is to say that the Westminster Shorter Catechism only talks about faith in connection with justification, not with adoption or sanctification.


  26. But Jeff, you’ve only pushed the question back to election. How did you get in the righteous one? What was the basis for that? Why did God choose Jacob but not Esau? Can you explain how union with Christ solves that one?


  27. The bottom line here is that I read you calling for a solution to a problem that I don’t recognize in our tradition.

    The problem is that justification deals with the guilt of sin. If that’s the end of the story, we are still (and will forever continue to be) corrupted. Of course we stand before the Lord without fear of condemnation, but we still have to face the daily temptations of the flesh. If you’re looking for cash value, isn’t that where it’s at? Don’t you want a salvation that deals with the totality of sin? Sure you do!

    That’s why I say that sanctification is a necessary part of salvation. Now I’m not anticipating that you disagree, but I’m attempting to demonstrate an aspect of the problem and the practicality since that doesn’t seem to be apparent.


  28. From WCF 14.2 – But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.

    I think it’s proper to say that faith is the instrument of justification and sanctification. Justification is not the instrument of sanctification. I believe Acts 26:18 testifies to this: “that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'” If we’re sanctified by faith, this pulls the transformative off the forensic line and roots it in faith, by which we are united to Christ.


    WLC 69 What is the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ? A. The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in their justification,(1) adoption,(2) sanctification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their union with him.(3)

    I understand this to be saying that sanctification manifests union with Christ.


  29. Here’s an additional quote from the Reformed tradition for good measure:

    17. Through faith we are sanctified unto obedience to the law. Just as Christ by his righteousness intercedes on our behalf with the Father, that with him as our sponsor we may be reckoned as righteous, so by participation in his Spirit he sanctifies to all purity and innocence.

    – Calvin’s Catechism (1538)


  30. Camden, forgive me if I’m appearing to be thick (or maybe even being thick), but I don’t see how sanctification — either definitive or progressive — solves the problem you identify. You say we still face daily temptations after justification. But do those temptations go away with sanctification? Hardly. We don’t get to perfection until glorification. But all along the way, we have the perfect righteousness of Christ, imputed by faith alone, that conforts us even when we give in to daily temptations. We also, it should be added, have that perfect righteousness when we do good works, because as our confessions teach unanimously, our good works are as filthy rags.

    So when you talk about a salvation that deals with the totality of sin, again, how does justification fail to cover the totality of my guilt and remaining corruption?

    This language of a total salvation to which sanctification contributes does sound like justification only takes you so far. How much farther can it take us if it is the only basis by which we can stand before God on judgment day and not face condemnation. My sanctification isn’t going to do it. It’s Christ’s perfect righteousness that will, which comes through faith alone.


  31. Camden: Thanks for the quote from WCF 14. But you will concede, I hope, that when the Standards address Sanctification explicitly, faith does not appear, not in WCF 13, WLC 75, or WSC 35. Also, it is commonplace in the Reformed confessions to speak of “justifying faith.” No such construction exists for sanctification.

    I’m not sure why this is important and I’m willing to see the intimate connection between justifying faith and sanctification. I am curious why it seems to be so important to you.

    I’m also not sure what the point about sanctification manifesting our union with Christ says about being sanctified by faith. As I replied to Nick, my original post was not about union but about the relationship between justification and sanctification, and particularly the relationship between the forensic and renovative, which some insist cannot be made prior.

    Again,it occurs to me as I think about the forensic as such a part of my being, having the law written on my heart, living in a covenantally suffused created order, that the foresnic is at the core of my being. Another way of stating this is that my conscience is at the core of my being (and it occupies a large part of Reformed thinking about worship, church power, biblical authority). So when I am justified, and no longer face condemnation, my conscience is clean. And I know from personal experience how liberating and possibly even renovative it is to know that I am not guilty. It really does make me want to do everything possible to maintain my innocence.

    The importance of conscience comes through especially well in the Belgic Confession on both justification and sanctification:

    That is enough to cover all our sins and to make us confident, freeing the conscience from the fear, dread, and terror of God’s approach, without doing what our first father, Adam, did, who trembled as he tried to cover himself with fig leaves.

    “In fact, if we had to appear before God relying– no matter how little– on ourselves or some other creature, then, alas, we would be swallowed up.” Art. 23

    “Moreover, although we do good works we do not base our salvation on them; for we cannot do any work that is not defiled by our flesh and also worthy of punishment. And even if we could point to one, memory of a single sin is enough for God to reject that work.

    “So we would always be in doubt, tossed back and forth without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be tormented constantly if they did not rest on the merit of the suffering and death of our Savior.” Art. 23 (BOTH ARE EXCERPTS)

    So not only is a clear conscience crucial to justification, but it may actually be pivotal to a change of our inner most self that changes who we are and what we do. In fact, a clean conscience seems to me to be the fix to the problem you identify as the ongoing effects of sin. I have a free and clear conscience because of Christ’s righteousness. I continue to be tempted to sin and even sin. And yet my conscience is still clear and I have confidence in God’s love and assurance of his favor because of Christ’s perfect righteousness. If I had to worry about overcoming corruption after receiving the entire righteousness of Christ, then in the words of Belgic, I’d always be in doubt, tossed to and fro.

    This is why the way I look at it, justification is rock solid. Sanctification is imperfect. Where am I supposed to look for confort and for forgiveness?

    Why doesn’t this fix the problem?



  32. Jeff, how is DS not forensic if it is supposed to remove the power of sin? Doesn’t the power of sin stem directly from the law and its claims on me? And isn’t the penalty of sin part of its power — Death?

    BTW, I don’t think I’m doing anything novel with justification. Please see my response to Camden a few minutes ago regarding the importance and centrality of conscience in salvation for one reason why this might be so. But I’ve been wrong before.


  33. Darryl,

    I agree that justification and sanctification have a relationship. but I am not sure I think justification is the “cause” of sanctification. I am agree that justification proceeds sanctification, and has priority on account of its being an once for all “act” of God’s grace, whereas sanctification is a “work” of God’s Spirit. It doesn’t seem to me that the Divines saw sanctification flowing out of justification, but rather from the Spirit of God. I do agree with you however, that our justification is the principle grounds of our assurance and that it encourages our sanctification. Again, I would agree with the Guilt, Grace, Gratitude grid provided we say that Gratitude is simply referring to the motivation of our holiness, and not to the inner working of sanctification. Do you agree?


  34. Darryl,

    You *continually* look to and receive Christ in faith as he is offered in his Gospel for comfort and forgiveness. But in doing this you are united to Christ and become one with him. This is how justification comes to you. Our looking to Christ for forgiveness and assurance is no one time event: it occurs continually through our participation in the means of grace.

    Calvin, Institutes, 4.1.21:

    Nor by remission of sins does the Lord only once for all elect and admit us into the Church, but by the same means he preserves and defends us in it. For what would it avail us to receive a pardon of which we were afterwards to have no use? That the mercy of the Lord would be vain and delusive if only granted once, all the godly can bear witness; for there is none who is not conscious, during his whole life, of many infirmities which stand in need of divine mercy. And truly it is not without cause that the Lord promises this gift specially to his own household, nor in vain that he orders the same message of reconciliation to be daily delivered to them. Wherefore, as during our whole lives we carry about with us the remains of sin, we could not continue in the Church one single moment were we not sustained by the uninterrupted grace of God in forgiving our sins. On the other hand, the Lord has called his people to eternal salvation, and therefore they ought to consider that pardon for their sins is always ready. Hence let us surely hold that if we are admitted and ingrafted into the body of the Church, the forgiveness of sins has been bestowed, and is daily bestowed on us, in divine liberality, through the intervention of Christ’s merits, and the sanctification of the Spirit.

    Notice particularly the last sentence, wherein both the “intervention of Christ’s merits” and the “sanctification of the Spirit” are mentioned. Calvin does include both aspects in the forgiveness of our sins: the former with regard to guilt, the latter with regard to corruption. It is important that the forgiveness of guilt does seem to take primacy of place for him, but this does not thereby make cleansing from corruption a non-essential. Both come to us through our faith/Spirit wrought union with the risen Lord, and it is looking to him in faith as he is offered in his word and his sacraments that gives us assurance that God is for us in him.

    And, after all, Paul did call “Christ in you”, not “Christ outside of you” the “hope of glory” (Col 1.27).


  35. Jonathan: Personally, I think you are overreading Calvin’s phrase “sanctification by the Spirit.” This is from a section where the topic is the church. I’m not convinced he is using sanctification there in a technical sense. And when you look at his Geneva Catechism, I wonder if he would really put sanctification the way you are reading him. (In fact, he doesn’t even address “sanctification” proper in his catechism. He addresses it more under the subject of Good Works, and has the following questions about the relationship of faith, forgiveness, and good works.

    121. But after God has once received us, are the works which we do by His grace, not pleasing to Him?
    Yes, they are, in that He generously accepts them, not however in virtue of their own worthiness.

    122. How is that? Are they not accepted as worthy, seeing that they proceed from the Holy Spirit?
    No. For there is always some weakness in them, the weakness of our flesh, through which they are defiled.

    123. By what means, the, are they made acceptable?
    It is by faith. That is to say, that a person is assured in his conscience that God will not examine him harshly, but covering his defects and impurities by the purity of Jesus Christ, He will regard him as perfect.

    Even our good works will not suffice by the work of the Spirit. They still need the perfection of Christ’s righteousness. Only the basis of Christ’s righteousness does my conscience get relief because my own personal righteousness, even when wrought by the Holy Spirit, are worthy of a harsh judgment.


  36. This is where the eschatological aspect of soteriology is so important. God isn’t finished with you when you’re justified. There is so much more to come. Does that mean we don’t have hope in the here and now? Does that mean that we need to contribute to Christ’s work and earn our salvation or our continued covenant membership? May it never be!

    In Christ, God has provided a solution to all of our problems. You are correct in saying that we still deal with the temptations of this flesh in this life. I’m emphasizing the point that one day our sanctification will be complete. I understand glorification to be the capping off of that process. I can’t help but think we’re speaking from two sides of an eschatological divide. You’re emphasizing the here-and-now – I’m emphasizing and speaking of the consummated reality that will one day come to fruition. We can’t pull the pin on the eschatological perspective. If we forget that, we’ve truncated the work of Christ and its application to us by the Spirit.


  37. Nick: my original post was trying to do two things. First, it was trying to establish the priority of justification to sanctification. Maybe the point should be that sanctification is derivative of justification, since that is how the Second Helvetic Confession seems to put it in Chap. 15.

    “it is necessary for us to be righteous before we may love and do good works. We are made truly righteous, as we have said, by faith in Christ purely by the grace of God, who does not impute to us our sins, but the righteousness of Christ, or rather, he imputes faith in Christ to us for righteousness. Moreover, the apostle very clearly derives love from faith when he says: “The aim of our command is love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5).”

    And maybe in answer to Camden on faith and sanctification it is proper to say that justification is by faith, sanctification is by love.

    Second, I was trying to move justification closer to me and my authentic self than looking at it simply as a legal transaction that takes place in some cosmic courtroom. The language of “cause” is likely not useful unless we have the scholastic distinctions in mind, but I continue to wonder about the resistance to looking at justification as bound up with the inner working of my person, and therefore a clear conscience functioning as the well-spring of my new identity as a believer.

    Third, I was trying to say that the forensic colors how we look at moral renovation in salvation. Again the Second Helvetic Confession puts this well in the following from ch. 16.

    “we do not think that we are saved by good works, and that they are so necessary for salvation that no one was ever saved without them. For we are saved by grace and the favor of Christ alone. Works necessarily proceed from faith. And salvation is improperly attributed to them, but is most properly ascribed to grace. The apostle’s sentence is well known: “If it is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. But if it is of works, then it is no longer grace, because otherwise work is no longer work” (Rom. 11:6).”

    In sum, I was trying to understand why some appeart to put the forensic in an air-tight container that must not be the cause of moral renewal. As I said earlier, I’m not sure anyone can safely seal off the conscience from the will like that and it seems artificical to insist that the conscience has no bearing on the redirection of the will.

    Now, am I denying that the Spirit is the cause of sanctification? Of course not. Nor am I denying that Christ is the cause of justification when I say we are justified by faith any more than you are when you say that union produces justification and sanctification. We are all appealing to certain doctrines as highly significant in our teaching about salvation. But none of us, I hope, would actually be saying that an idea, a doctrine, is the cause of any aspect of our salvation.

    (Which means that I don’t think it is fair to accuse those who defend the centrality of justification as saying that it “causes” sanctification in some mechanical way. If this is a fair construction, then it is equally fair to say that the advocates of union’s centrality are saying that union “causes” justification and sanctification. Both “causes” would seem to deny the “fundamental” cause of salvation.)


  38. Darryl,

    Perhaps. But that wasn’t the main point of why I brought up the passage from Calvin. My point was in response to the question: “where do I look for comfort?” My answer is that you look to *Christ* in faith, not necessarily simply to your justification (understood as a one time declaritive divine act). Calvin’s point is that we stand in need continually of the forgiveness of our sins (at least from our perspective), and that we are to continually look to Christ in faith as he is offered in his Gospel (word and sacraments) for assurance. By this faith we are united to him (through the Spirit), and with this union comes freedom from both guilt and corruption.

    And for this to be the case we must really participate in Christ. I think this theme comes out most clearly in Calvin’s writings on the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments. Such as, for instance, in Inst. 4.17.5, when he speaks of God fulfilling inwardly that which he designates outwardly:

    Once for all, therefore, [Christ] gave his body to be made bread when he yielded himself to be crucified for the redemption of the world; daily he gives it when by the word of the gospel he offers it for us to partake, inasmuch as it was crucified, when he seals such giving of himself by the sacred mystery of the Supper, and when he inwardly fulfills what he outwardly designates.

    As I see the matter (and as I read Calvin), freedom from guilt provides the forensic foundation, for in this way God is favorably disposed toward us so that he might show that mercy by which he cleanses us from sin’s corruption (Rom. 5.1). However, this doesn’t make the latter any less necessary in the grand scheme of the application of redemption than the former.


  39. Darryl,

    I’m also not sure what the point about sanctification manifesting our union with Christ says about being sanctified by faith. As I replied to Nick, my original post was not about union but about the relationship between justification and sanctification, and particularly the relationship between the forensic and renovative, which some insist cannot be made prior.

    I see union with Christ as germane to this discussion since you asked if guilt causes corruption. I’m approaching the question from the standpoint of the question “Does the forensic cause the renovative?” I’m answering “no” to the latter. The reason being that as far as Scripture and the Westminster Standards are concerned, I understand sanctification to be more immediately rooted in the same faith that justifies. It is that very faith that unites us to Christ – we have a faith-union. So, if sanctification is more immediately tied to faith and faith is how we’re united to Christ, it seems to follow that the renovative is not caused by the forensic. Ergo, both flow from union with Christ, not one from the other.


  40. These side bar or more interactive responses are really hard to follow. So I’m going to be boring and respond on the main thread.

    Camden: your wrote that the eschatological dimension of salvation is important, and that we may be talking past each other about the nature of salvation here and now versus what is to come. I do not disagree with what we have now will one day be complete. I do think that glorification is a different benefit from sanctification, but maybe that is quibbling (or maybe not because sanctification keeps eating up more and more of the ordo salutis — it now claims the “alpha and omega” of salvation).

    Still, I think the appeal to eschatology is confusing for two reasons. Calvin was not Vos or Ridderbos. The Pauline eschatology came some four centuries after the Reformation. To equate Calvin’s view of union with Vos’ reading of Paul is anachronistic. In other words, Calvin and the Divines were not eschatological the way that Vos and Ridderbos became.

    Second, your comment originally about the problem that union fixes — the double problem of sin and the double benefit of union — was not an eschatological problem. As I read it,it was a problem in the hear and now. But now you say that union reflects the eschatological.

    You wrote: “You’re emphasizing the here-and-now – I’m emphasizing and speaking of the consummated reality that will one day come to fruition. We can’t pull the pin on the eschatological perspective. If we forget that, we’ve truncated the work of Christ and its application to us by the Spirit.”

    I find this confusing. I thought we were talking about the here and now. Isn’t the ordo here-and-now?


  41. Jonathan: you wrote: “Calvin’s point is that we stand in need continually of the forgiveness of our sins (at least from our perspective), and that we are to continually look to Christ in faith as he is offered in his Gospel (word and sacraments) for assurance. By this faith we are united to him (through the Spirit), and with this union comes freedom from both guilt and corruption.”

    Sorry to be so consusable, but I thought forgiveness was a forensic category. I agree that we are continually in need of forgiveness and the emphasis on sanctification among some Reformed seems to forget this important aspect of Reformed piety. (Which may explain why for all of the talk about union with Christ we have seen little recovery of Calvin’s sacramental theology in Reformed circles.) But you seem to be suggesting that we get forgiveness with sanctification also. As I just wrote to Camden, sanctification does seem to be swalling up most of the benefits of redemption.


  42. Jeff, you said that forensic headship (I’ve never heard of that before) solves the dilemma posed by Rome. All I was trying to say was that behind forensic is another question, namely, what is the basis for our being chosen to be united to Christ? I’m not saying that we are chosen because of some kind of intrinsic righteousness. I’m saying that a dilemma still exists for your view of union — why are we chosen? You seemed to suggest that union worked everything out neatly. I am saying that nothing can work out the eternal decree neatly.


  43. Camden, thanks for your explanation of the importance of union and faith. I can see the point you’re making. But why then do the Standards not mention faith in the answers or chapter on sanctification? Also, why do the Reformed creeds overwhelming speak of faith as justifying faith? I’ve never seen a reference to sanctifying faith.

    BTW, the order of union in relation to regeneration, effectual calling and faith is not consistent in the Reformed Creeds.

    Art. 24 of the Belgic Conf. reads: “We believe that this true faith, produced in man by the hearing of God’s Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a “new man,” causing him to live the “new life” and freeing him from the slavery of sin.”

    So faith causes regeneration in that view. I see that you can say from this that we are sanctified by faith also. But it is apparent here also that faith is doing for the Belgic Conf. what union is doing for you.

    The French Confession makes a similar point in Art. 22: “We believe that by this faith we are regenerated in newness of life, being by nature subject to sin. Now we receive by faith grace to live holily and in the fear of God, in accepting the promise which is given to us by the Gospel, namely: that God will give us his Holy Spirit. This faith not only doth not hinder us from holy living, or turn us from the love of righteousness, but of necessity begetteth in us all good works.”

    Again, faith seems to be doing what you say union does. Also, neither the Belgic or French Confessions mention union with Christ.

    Saying that faith of necessity begets good works is exactly what the Reformed tradition has said about the relationship between faith and works, between justification and sanctification.

    So again, I’m left wondering what needed to be fixed in this formulation?


  44. Darryl,

    If you mean that I am making forgiveness in some way contingent upon sanctification, I assure you this is not the case. I thought I was clear that forgiveness is the forensic foundation for renewal, though both come via union with Christ by faith.


  45. Darryl,

    I appreciate the point you make about the confessions always speaking of faith as “justifying faith” and never really as “sanctifying faith.” I will mull this over while I am in Scotland. Thank you also for a diligent use of the confession and catechisms!


  46. DGH: But why then do the Standards not mention faith in the answers or chapter on sanctification? Also, why do the Reformed creeds overwhelming speak of faith as justifying faith? I’ve never seen a reference to sanctifying faith.

    Is this not a reference to sanctifying faith?

    WCoF 14.1-2: 1. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.

    2. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.



  47. Jeff, not to be too literal, but the phrase “sanctifying faith” to my knowledge does not appear in the Reformed creeds and catechisms. The phrase “justifying faith” does regularly. That may not mean anything. But it may.

    I’m not trying to infer that sanctification is unrelated to saving faith. I am simply trying to note that when the phrase “justifying faith” is used in connection with good works, it is generally the case that JF produces good works. So again, it seems in the ballpark (at least my home park) to consider the forensic as prior to and a parent to moral renovation.


  48. Hey Camden,

    I see your point. I think it is an important one, but I’m not sure it is always the case that “If you die, you haven’t simply made a transaction – you’re transformed to a new condition.”

    I’ve always thought that this was the case, but what about if you’ve “died to [the law]…so that you may belong to another” and “are released from the law” (Rom. 7.4-6). You can also see this in Paul’s language in Gal. 2 that He “through the law died to the law, so that he might live to God”.

    I’m not an expert on the history of interpretation of these passages, but it does lend credence, at least, to the idea that “dying to the law” is forensically charged language dealing with a person’s relationship to the law as foundation for sanctification, or “new life”. They are not unconnected, it seems to me, in Paul’s argument for holy living in light of the being “released from the law”.

    Now, maybe, the question is whether one includes these passages as part of Paul’s teaching on “definitive sanctification” that begins the progressive OR the forensic context that makes sanctification, definitive or progressive, logically inevitable. These are some important questions.



  49. Hey Nicholas,

    I’ve been chewing on your words for sometime and wrestled with it myself. I don’t know if this will shed any light, but it helped me to think about the issue. Here is a very helpful way of looking at the priority of the forensic to the transformative from A.A. Hodge on the ordo salutis:

    “The imputation of the guilt (just liability to punishment) of Adam’s apostatizing act to his whole race in common leads judicially to the spiritual desertion of each new-born soul in particular, and spiritual desertion involves inherent depravity as a necessary and universal consequence. In like manner the imputation of our sins in common to Christ lead to his spiritual desertion (Matt. 27:46), but his temporary desertion as a man by the Holy Ghost lead in his case to no tendency however remote to inherent or actual sin, because he was the God-man. [By consequence, the imputation of Christ’s righteous to us is the necessary precondition of the restoration to us of the influences of the Holy Ghost, and that restoration leads by necessary consequence to our regeneration and sanctification.]”

    I guess you have to consider the ramifications and relationships of the two-fold effects of Adam’s sin to the human race that sets the stage, at least, for some kind of priority for the two-fold benefits of the second Adam for the salvation of the elect. This helped clear things for me, at least.

    If the imputation of Adam’s sin is the basis for our subsequent pollution and enslavement to sin, then it would seem, possible, that the imputation of Christ’s sin would be the basis for our sanctification, whether that be definitive or progressive. It would be interesting for me to go back and read if Prof. Murray sees the same relationship in “The Imputation of Adam’s Sin”.



  50. Oops! Forgive my careless typing. I meant “Christ’s Righteousness” in the last paragraph. Can someone amend that post? I shouldn’t post when I’m this tired. My apologies


  51. Tim, please be so kind as to send to my email (or post in this blog), the reference to D.A. Carson’s understanding of the Greek preposition “en” as also meaning “for”. I’m currently researching this meaning in other Pauline uses of the same preposition. In fact, it is found in Galatians 2:20 twice, with the same instrumental meaning of “for, or by”. “Christ lives FOR me”; and “the life that I now live, I live by (“en”) in the Son of God”. So it would be helpful to have Carson’s reference.


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