Court of Sanctification?

While wading through the snow yesterday during my Sabbath constitutional, I listened to the Reformed Forum’s interview with Mark Jones about his book on antinomianism. Again, questions surrounding justification and sanctification are still in play. At one point in the discussion, in relation to the notion that good works are filthy rags, Jones remarked that good works, of course, will not stand up in the court of justification. He stopped there but that had me scratching my head. Is there a court room of sanctification? If the problem with Lutheranism and its Reformed friends is an overly forensic understanding of the gospel, then where on earth did court of (the renovative) sanctification come from?

Richard Sibbes to the rescue (from Jones’ book):

I say there are two courts: one of justification, another of sanctification. In the court of justification, merits are nothing worth, insufficient; but in the court of sanctification, they are ensigns of a sanctified course, so they are jewels and ornaments. (45)

This may help to raise the stakes of sanctification for those who for some reason want to see a grander account of salvation than justification alone, though Sibbes sounds more like the counting house than the court room. But is it not the case that the only way you get into the court of sanctification (if such a court does exist) is through the court of sanctification justification? And at the end of the day, isn’t the court of justification the one where perfection is required and where good works cannot

merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment. (CF 16.5)

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “Court of Sanctification?

  1. DGH, possible edit: “But is it not the case that the only way you get into the court of sanctification (if such a court does exist) is through the court of sanctification [edit: justification]?”

    Like

  2. Again, questions surrounding justification and sanctification are still in play.

    A truism if there ever was one (emoticon).

    Reading my first freshly minted forensics feels like I just had a quality Stone IPA for the first time. It’s smooth and sitting well. Even if it’s only Monday.

    Cheers, Darryl.

    Like

  3. David VanDrunen led off the WSC annual conference on Sanctification. He opened reading Luke 7:36-50, emphasizing verse 47:

    “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

    He then made the statement that sanctification is the evidence or fruit of justification.

    Me: not another court of law, not another judgment or test one must pass for salvation. The law knows only one passing grade > complete and perfect obedience from perfect and right motives. Upon the solid rock I stand… In sanctification all our works, no matter how Spirit-inspired, fail that standard. Yet all those that God justifies in Christ, he sanctifies.

    DVD: (to paraphrase)… Justification is what piety (sanctification) rests upon.

    WCF Chapter 16 – Of Good Work
    6. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

    Like

  4. “In short, I affirm, that not by our own merit but by faith alone, are both our persons and works justified; and that the justification of works depends on the justification of the person, as the effect on the cause.” (John Calvin, Acts of the Council of Trent with the Antidote)

    Like

  5. good works cannot

    “merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come”

    Ben Franklin was raised Calvinist, and agreed with this part.

    I do not think that thanks and compliments, though repeated weekly, can discharge our real obligations to each other, and much less those to our Creator. You will see in this my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting to merit heaven by them.

    By heaven we understand a state of happiness, infinite in degree, and eternal in duration. I can do nothing to deserve such rewards. He that, for giving a draft of water to a thirsty person, should expect to be paid with a good plantation, would be modest in his demands, compared with those who think they deserve heaven for the little good they do on earth.

    OTOH, he had no patience for those whose faith was lifeless, so much that in his

    http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/63/Dialogue_between_Two_Presbyterians_1.html

    he slipped in

    In the present weak State of humane Nature, surrounded as we are on all sides with Ignorance and Error, it little becomes poor fallible Man to be positive and dogmatical in his Opinions. No Point of Faith is so plain, as that Morality is our Duty, for all Sides agree in that. A virtuous Heretick shall be saved before a wicked Christian: for there is no such Thing as voluntary Error.

    Therefore, since ’tis an Uncertainty till we get to Heaven what true Orthodoxy in all points is, and since our Congregation is rather too small to be divided, I hope this Misunderstanding will soon be got over, and that we shall as heretofore unite again in mutual Christian Charity.

    [Elsewhere he cites Paul: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.”]

    Like

  6. Bavinck,–”The gospel realizes itself in a way which fully honors man’s rational and moral nature. It is based on the counsel of God, yes, and nothing may be subtracted from that fact…. But that will is not a necessity, a destiny, which imposes itself on man from without, but is, rather, the will of the Creator of heaven and earth, One who cannot repudiate His own work in creation or providence, and who cannot treat the human being He has created as though it were a stock or stone…. This accounts for the fact that the gospel, which really makes no demands and lays down no conditions, nevertheless comes to us in the form of a commandment, admonishing us to faith and repentance. The gospel covenant is pure grace, and nothing else, and EXCLUDES ALL WORKS. It gives what it demands, and fulfills what it prescribes. The Gospel is sheer good tidings, not demand but promise, not duty but gift.”

    Augustine—-give what you command, and command what you will

    mark: God ordains sin, so it is often the case that God does NOT give us to do what God commands. The law is not the gospel, grace is not the law, and the ability to keep the law is not grace. It’s much too late for sinners to keep the law in order to be justified and sanctified. Those who are already justified saints are commanded to obey the law.

    the duke-pitt game calls

    Like

  7. Brother Martin Luther, Master of Sacred Theology, will preside and Brother Leonhard Beier, Master of Arts and Philosophy, will defend the following theses before the Augustinians of this renowned city of Heidelberg in the customary place. In the month of May, 1518.

    Distrusting completely our own wisdom, according to that counsel of the Holy Spirit, “Do not rely on your own insight” [Prov. 3:5], we humbly present to the judgment of all those who wish to be here these theological theses, so that it may become clear whether they have been deduced well or poorly from St. Paul, the especially chosen vessel and instrument of Christ,

    The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him.
    Much less can human works which are done over and over again with the aid of natural precepts, so to speak, lead to that end.
    Although the works of man always appear attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins.
    Although the works of God always seem unattractive and appear evil, they are nevertheless really for good and God’s glory.
    The works of God (we speak of those which he does through man) are thus not merits, as though they were sinless.
    The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they would not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.
    By so much more are the works of man mortal sins when they are done without fear and in unadulterated, evil self-security. To say that works without Christ are dead, but not mortal, appears to constitute a perilous surrender of the fear of God. Indeed, it is very difficult to see how a work can be dead and at the same time not a harmful and mortal sin.
    Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope be present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work.
    In the sight of God sins are then truly venial when they are feared by men to be mortal
    Free will, after the fall, exists in name only, and as long as it does what it is able to do, it commits a mortal sin

    Like

  8. Some just can’t resist throwing the ball back into our court.

    “The Lord sanctifies and He justifies.” (That’s in the Bible somewhere)

    “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…” I don’t see anything in there about our need to help Him do that.

    In fact…He actually does it in spite of our ‘help’…not because of it.

    Like

  9. From Bullinger’s 2nd Helvetic Confession, chapter 16 – Of Faith and Good Works, and of Their Reward, and of Man’s Merit…

    GOD GIVES A REWARD FOR GOOD WORKS. For we teach that God gives a rich reward to those who do good works, according to that saying of the prophet: “keep your voice from weeping,…for your work shall be rewarded” (Jer. 31:16; Isa., ch. 4). The Lord also said in the Gospel: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Matt. 5:12), and, “Whoever gives to one of these my little ones a cup of cold water, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (ch. 10:42). However, we do not ascribe this reward, which the Lord gives, to the merit of the man who receives it, but to the goodness, generosity and truthfulness of God who promises and gives it, and who, although he owes nothing to anyone, nevertheless promises that he will give a reward to his faithful worshippers; meanwhile he also gives them that they may honor him. Moreover, in the works even of the saints there is much that is unworthy of God and very much that is imperfect. But because God receives into favor and embraces those who do works for Christ’s sake, he grants to them the promised reward. For in other respects our righteousnesses are compared to a filthy wrap (Isa. 64:6). And the Lord says in the Gospel: “When you have done all that is commanded you, say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty” (Like 17:10).

    THERE ARE NO MERITS OF MEN. Therefore, although we teach that God rewards our good deeds, yet at the same time we teach, with Augustine, that God does not crown in us our merits but his gifts. Accordingly we say that whatever reward we receive is also grace, and is more grace than reward, because the good we do, we do more through God than through ourselves, and because Paul says: “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (I Cor. 4:7). And this is what the blessed martyr Cyprian concluded from this verse: We are not to glory in anything in us, since nothing is our own. We therefore condemn those who defend the merits of men in such a way that they invalidate the grace of God.

    Like

  10. mark mcculley
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
    Brother Martin Luther, Master of Sacred Theology, will preside and Brother Leonhard Beier, Master of Arts and Philosophy, will defend the following theses before the Augustinians of this renowned city of Heidelberg in the customary place. In the month of May, 1518.

    Distrusting completely our own wisdom, according to that counsel of the Holy Spirit, “Do not rely on your own insight” [Prov. 3:5], we humbly present to the judgment of all those who wish to be here these theological theses, so that it may become clear whether they have been deduced well or poorly from St. Paul, the especially chosen vessel and instrument of Christ,

    Fascinating. Whose theological theses? Did they just land from Mars? Did he find them on some golden plates, perhaps?

    There’s a lot of fudging the language in here. It’s sort of claiming the Holy Spirit without actually claiming the Holy Spirit. It still admits there’s “deducing” going on, but that’s the product of reason. [I suppose “deducing” makes a claim to being more objective than “interpreting,” but that’s rather a semantic distinction without a difference.]

    Like

  11. This quote is familiar to many, yet it’s worth considering again…

    “If your preaching of the gospel of God’s free grace in Jesus Christ does not provoke the charge from some of antinomianism, you’re not preaching the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ.”
    ― D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

    To paraphrase Michael Horton from his talk at the conference I linked to above:

    The charge of antinomianism doesn’t equal the reality of antinomianism.

    Like

  12. Is there a court room of sanctification?

    I still like what follows from the lecture 3 transcript:

    Listen, again, to Thomas Boston.

    This Antinomian principle that it is needless for a man perfectly justified by faith to endeavor to keep the law and do good works, is a glaring evidence that legality is so engrained in man’s corrupt nature that until a man truly comes to Christ by faith, the legal disposition will still be reigning in him. Let him calm himself into what shape or be of what principles he will in religion, though he run into Antinomianism, he will carry along with him his legal spirit which will always be a slavish and unholy spirit.

    Like

  13. And yet still more from the directly above:

    Ralph Erskine, one of the Marrow Men, once said that the greatest Antinomian was the Legalist. And, as you know, you can put it the other way around that the greatest Legalist is very often the Antinomian. Why? Because both distort the grace of God and both distort the grace of God and fail to recognize it in the law of God. And very often you will discover that men who are Antinomians are men who have fled to Antinomianism and yet have never escaped the ghost of the covenant of works to which they have been married in their former bondage in Legalism. In their spirits they have never been divorced from the law of God as a covenant of works and so they seek to abandon the law of God all together.

    Like

  14. I certainly agree that the neonomian turns out to be antinomian. To think that one can produce “sanctification” and other blessings by something extra infused into us in addition to what God has done in Christ is to not yet fear God as the Holy One who demands perfection. The anti-antinomians tend to be mercenaries, putting themselves on another level because of what they think they have been enabled to do, and thanking their god that they are not like other sinners.

    Mike Horton—“The fear of punishment and hope for rewards as a motivation for Christian holiness is a disastrous pattern of thinking.”

    But Jones disagrees—“The Christian life is a both-and not an either-or on the matter of motivation”
    (Antinomianism, P and R, 2013, p 73 And if you read his book, Jones will explain that the “orthodox” and “classic” theologians agree with him and disagree with Horton. Jones has a check list for “classic” and “extra rewards for extra effort” is on the list.

    Ephesians 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

    Like

  15. Andrew,

    Great quotes! What are we comfortable with?

    “In their spirits they have never been divorced from the law of God as a covenant of works and so they seek to abandon the law of God all together.”

    Are we comfortable with the fact that we don’t… and never will in this life live up to the standard of even one command? In one sense, Yes… and yet in another, No! Not that we don’t feverntly wish that we could truly obey… but that we, still sinners, are now at peace with God through Christ our Savior… who has justified us and made us willing, by the Holy Spirit, to walk in faith unto (towards) obedience, yet(!) still with much limitation and imperfection, not looking to ourselves for the evidence of our salvation, but “looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

    Let’s not kid ourselves as to our present capabilties and the inherent qualities of our works before God’s judgment seat. Rather tremble, and in faith look to the throne of grace, to which Christ implores us to approach. We have no other avenue of salvation.

    Like

  16. Jones, p 91—“he often states things in an either or way….”
    p 92–“the antinomians are led into this view by fear of popery…”
    p 93—“there are two kinds of punishment…evangelical punishment leads to sanctification”
    p 95–“God was never happier with His Son than when He was angry with Him”. Jones concludes that the pattern of Christ means that God is angry with the justified for their sins.

    I reject the analogy between a present purgatory (sanctification by threats of punishment) and God’s legal wrath against the Son for the imputed sins of those who are now justified. If future “sanctification by works” is the necessary evidence of a past justification, only the labels have changed, and there is no safety in what Christ has already done in His death and resurrection.

    DGH—But is it not the case that the only way you get into the court of sanctification (if such a court does exist) is through the court of justification? And at the end of the day, isn’t the court of justification the one where perfection is required…

    Anti-antinomians think the most basic problem today is “hyper-grace” They worry that those who keep looking at the perfect obedience of Christ will not be so keen to look at (and do something about) their own lack of obedience. They see us as too content (and even “relaxed”) when we confess that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake.

    The law-gospel-law sandwich is not making perfectionist claims but it IS warning that an “unbalanced” focus only on imputation and justification will get in the way of fixing the culture. So the sandwich has “perspectives in tension” and law on both sides to protect the gospel in between.

    Like the Galatian false teachers, the law-gospel-law teachers tend not to deny the imputation “equation”.. But they also advocate a mysterious “synergism” of work (100% ours, 100% God’s).

    The apostle Paul is the other person in the Galatians controversy. The apostle Paul also thinks some in the other party may not be Christians. If you —– ,“Christ will be of no profit to you.”. If you want extra by what grace causes you do, you get nothing.

    If justification is by grace but sanctification is by works, then Christ died in vain for sanctification? No, that’s not how the apostle sees it. If any part of our salvation is by our Spirit-enabled works, then Christ died to NO purpose.

    The apostle is not a “perspectives” kind of guy. “Well, some Lutherans are a little more “gospel awake” but others of us wave the banner for something a little more neonomian and pietistic……”

    Like

  17. Jack, have you read Jones yet?

    p 127—“The complacent love of God is not static, but can increase or decrease based on our obedience or disobedience.”

    p 129–“The realities of the new covenant should never cause us to live with an under-realized eschatology, whereby Christians are assumed to be not much different–apart from a sentence that has passed on them–than an unbeliever…There is a decided difference between sin in an unbeliever and sin in a believer.”

    mark: But it does not seem that the difference to Jones is that the sin of the believer is not imputed to us!

    Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

    The anti-antinomians concludes:

    1. The wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience, and we know who they are because they continue to sin, and even on purpose.
    2. In reality it makes no sense that God is going to punish the condemned non-elect for these sins and not also punish the justified elect for the same sins. Not all Christian suffering is for sins but lots of it is. But it’s not legal suffering.
    3. Therefore, the anti-antinomian concludes that the justified elect don’t commit these sins, or at least not for long, and never on purpose.

    I thank God for another gospel, one in which Christ’s life in justified sinners gives us assurance that sin shall not be our master, because we are not under law but under grace. This gospel teaches us to fear God and God’s law, because we know that not even Christ in us causes us to satisfy God’s law and we trust in the obedience of Christ (even to death) as that alone which answers the demands of God’s holy law.

    Yes, those who are without Christ are under the wrath of God for the very same sins which we continue to commit. Our hope is not that we are no longer covet, but that there is no condemnation for those sinners who are in Christ Jesus.

    Like

  18. Jack, have you read Jones yet?

    Mark, I still have a day job, 5 and a half days a week to be exact… The queue of already purchased books is long. Jones will have to wait. Good comments!

    Like

  19. D. G. Hart
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
    Jeremy, why?

    Exactly. Couldn’t have put it better meself. Yet another penetrating question as only you can penetrate, DGH. 😉

    Like

  20. Andrew Buckingham
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
    Is there a court room of sanctification?

    I still like what follows from the lecture 3 transcript:

    Listen, again, to Thomas Boston.

    This Antinomian principle that it is needless for a man perfectly justified by faith to endeavor to keep the law and do good works, is a glaring evidence that legality is so engrained in man’s corrupt nature that until a man truly comes to Christ by faith, the legal disposition will still be reigning in him. Let him calm himself into what shape or be of what principles he will in religion, though he run into Antinomianism, he will carry along with him his legal spirit which will always be a slavish and unholy spirit.

    Good one, AB. “Not Guilty” before the law is not the same as “innocent.”

    Like

  21. We do have many Arminian antinomians with us today who teach that the Holy Spirit takes over the agency from Christians so that Christians have no duty to obey the law of Christ. Those who teach the “exchanged life” fall into this category, people like Steve McVey, Malcolm Smith, Andrew Farley and Paul Ellis.

    The tolerant Anglican J I Packer is rightly intolerant to this kind of antinomianism: “With regard to sanctification, there have been mystical antinomians who have affirmed that the indwelling Christ is the personal subject who obeys the law in our identity once we invoke his help in obedience situations, and there have been pneumatic antinomians who have affirmed that the Holy Spirit within us directly prompts us to discern and do the will of God, without our needing to look to the law to either prescribe or monitor our performance.

    Packer: The common ground is that those who live in Christ are wholly separated from every aspect of the pedagogy of the law. The freedom with which Christ has set us free, and the entire source of our ongoing peace and assurance, are based upon our knowledge that what Christ, as we say, enables us to do he actually does in us for himself. So now we live, not by being forgiven our constant shortcomings, but by being out of the law’s bailiwick altogether; not by imitating Christ, the archetypal practitioner of holy obedience to God’s law, but by … our knowledge that Christ himself actually does in us all that his and our Father wants us to do.”

    Packer is certainly right to criticize any “hyper-grace”t which either denies or is ignorant of Christ’s SATISFACTION OF THE LAW for the elect. But in a day when those who teach penal satisfaction by Christ’s death for the elect alone are known not as “five point Calvinists’ but as “scholastics” living in the past, we also need to say that not all ideas denounced as “hyper” are really antinomian.

    Instead of throwing together all accusations of antinomianism into one convenient “package”, we need to look at the identifying descriptions one by one, to see which are accurate and which are not. For example, the distinction between law and gospel is not “antinomian”, because the Bible itself tells us that “law is not of faith”.

    Like

  22. @DGH – Church courts can only judge based on word and deed, so it could be cast as a “courtroom of sanctification” – obviously imperfect as the men that they consist of are as well.

    Like

  23. The two quotations are from Packer’s introduction to the Jones book. I basically agree with Packer, but Jones is not talking about “exchanged life” Arminian mystics. Jones is attacking from the Banner of Truth side those from the Westminster California side because of their law-gospel antithesis. Jones does not mention the volume “The Law Is Not of Faith”, but I do think they are the ultimate target (not Tullian or Lutherans like Forde). Jones does this by attacking John Cotton for putting imputation before faith.

    For example on p 6, Jones writes that “Melanchthon changed his mind and agreed that the gospel alone was able to produce evangelical repentance…He came to a ‘Reformed’ view of the gospel, which included the whole doctrine of Christ, including repentance…”

    For Jones, the “full gospel” is not about a distinction between law and gospel “defined narrowly as pure promise”, but instead has conditions and sanctions

    Neonomians use “put to death the deeds” (Romans 8) to say that morality is needed for final salvation. But what if the phrase means that our deeds don’t count to get us justified and sanctified? To go back to Romans 6, why sin more because you won’t get more grace that way. But also, why sin less because you still won’t get more grace that way.

    Does God love some of His children more because they obey Him better than His other children? If God loves all the justified the same (so that every blessing comes in Christ), what sanctions and incentives will get us off our lazy behinds to do more? But if gratitude won’t get us busy, what will do it?

    Is God pleased with mercenary motives? Not, I obey you because of your love, but I obey you so you will love me more than yesterday (and more than other Christians)?

    Like

  24. Good one, AB. “Not Guilty” before the law is not the same as “innocent.”

    I steal from the best, Tom. Sinclair Ferguson is a man whose sandalsdevotional writings I’m not worthy to untieblog on.

    Like

  25. “The Holiness Wars: The Antinomianism Debate” by Michael Horton – excerpts:
    __________________________________________

    “Literally ‘against law,’ antinomianism is the view that the moral law summarized in the Ten Commandments is no longer binding on Christians. More generally, antinomianism may be seen as characteristic of human rebellion against any external authority. In this sense, ironically, we are by nature antinomians and legalists since the Fall: rejecting God’s command, while seeking to justify ourselves by our own criteria. The modern age is especially identified by the demand for freedom from all constraints. “Be true to yourself” is the modern creed. The rejection of any authority above the self, including obvious biblical norms, is as evident in some denominations as in the wider culture. Antinomianism may also be understood in relation to its opposite, neonomianism, which is the view that the gospel is basically just a new law presenting new requirements for the Christian life, even necessary to win God’s favor.

    “In technical terms, however, antinomianism has referred historically more to theory than to practice. For the most part, few of those suspected of this heresy have been charged with dissolute lives, although the concern is that an error in doctrine will inevitably work itself out practically.

    “While there have been some true-blue antinomians in church history, the charge is often made by those tilting in a more neonomian direction against faithful, apostolic, evangelical preaching. For example, despite the fact that Lutheran and Reformed churches have gone on record against antinomianism in no uncertain terms, that has not kept them from being accused of holding at least implicitly to antinomian tenets. It is therefore important to appeal directly to the Reformation confessions of faith….

    “It can be as difficult for their followers as for prominent preachers and theologians themselves to submit to the consensus of a whole body rather than to promote their own distinctive teachings, emphases, and corrections. Those who were raised in more legalistic and Arminian backgrounds may be prone to confuse every call to obedience as a threat to newly discovered doctrines of grace. The zeal of those who are converted from a life of debauchery or perhaps from a liberal denomination may boil over into legalistic fervor. As at the Jerusalem Council, representatives came to Nicaea, Chalcedon, Torgau, Dort, and Westminster with idiosyncrasies. Yet they had to make their case, participate in restrained debate, and talk to each other in a deliberative assembly, rather than about each other on blogs and in conversations with their circle of followers. Muting personal idiosyncrasies in favor of a consensus on the teaching of God’s Word, these assemblies give us an enduring testimony for our own time. Nothing has changed with respect to how sinners are justified and sanctified. There has been no alteration of God’s covenantal law or gospel.

    “If the growing charges and countercharges of antinomianism and legalism continue to mount in our own circles, may God give us good and godly sense to recover the wisdom of our confessions as faithful summaries of biblical faith and practice. And may the Spirit direct us to the fraternal fellowship of the church’s representative assemblies for mutual encouragement and correction.”

    Like

  26. Jones does not have a “narrow” gospel like Mike Horton but a “large gospel” like Garcia and Gaffin. Therefore, Jones affirms a ‘”friendly law” and a gospel that threatens, both at the same time! Jones denies that this path is a result of Barth’s confusion of law and gospel, and instead of crediting John Murray and Daniel Fuller, Jones goes back to the puritans.

    Thomas Shepherd, p 51—“As the gospel exacts no doing, that thereby we may be just, so the gospel requires doing when by Christ Jesus we are made just….though the gospel commands us as much as the law, yet it accepts of less, even the least measure of sincerity and perfection mixed with the greatest measure of imperfection.”

    But Jones explains that this is not neonomianism because he’s not talking about justification but about sanctification, which also is a gospel indicative.

    Thomas Manton, p 52–“They err that tell us that the gospel is no law…God accepts of such a measure of obedience as answers to the measure of sanctification received…”

    Jones, p 54—“The antithesis between the law and the gospel ends the moment someone becomes a Christian. As Richard Gaffin explains….The law is no longer my enemy but my friend…”

    mark: And also along with this new relation to law comes a “large commanding gospel”, with threats included, with fear of permanent perishing if we do not keep covenant conditions for salvation given in Romans 2., in Romans 8:4, in Romans 8:13, and in Matthew 5:20.

    Like

  27. Jones, p 45—At issue is the way in which some use the law gospel distinction as a hermeneutic, and how Lutheran and Reformed theologians have differed on this distinction…I had hoped that Horton would speak to this….

    Lane Kesiter–one tiny disagreement I have is with regard to the Horton/Garcia exchange in the Confessional Presbyterian Journal last year. Horton’s article was designed to address the hermeneutical issue of the law/gospel distinction in relation to reading Scripture. It was never designed to address the issues that are but tangentially related vis-a-vis legalism and antinomianism.

    Horton–they had to make their case, participate in restrained debate, and talk to each other in a deliberative assembly, rather than about each other on blogs and in conversations with their circle of followers. Muting personal idiosyncrasies in favor of a consensus on the teaching of God’s Word, these assemblies give us an enduring testimony for our own time.

    Mark: And I had hoped that Jones would openly react with what Horton has already taught for many years.

    WCF VI. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned;[11] yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly;[12] discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts and lives;[13] so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin,[14] together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of His obedience.[15] It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin:[16] and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve;

    mark: not the threatenings of a “large gospel” but of law…

    and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law.[17] The promises of it, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience,and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof:[18] although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works.[19] So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourages to the one and deters from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law: and not under grace.[20]

    mark–and also a man’s doing is no evidence of his being under grace, and not under law. As Walter Marshall explains, we don’t know if we are doing good until we first know if we are good trees, in a justified state before God. We don’t sin to get more grace. We don’t not sin to get more grace.

    hart—But is it not the case that the only way you get into the court of sanctification (if such a court does exist) is through the court of justification?

    Like

  28. So what’s the dirt on the Jones book?

    The kooks were dancing around praising the book before it was published, they usually do this and then don’t bother reading more than two paragraphs.

    Like

  29. Knowing that you have no moral righteousness is a necessary (but not sufficient) part of knowing that you are forensically righteous

    There are those who know they are sinners, but don’t yet know that they are justified

    But there are none who are now justified who don’t know yet that they have no moral righteousness

    Christ’s righteousness will always be the only righteousness of the justified elect

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.