If I Don't Open the Car Door for My Wife . . .

Do I risk dissolving the marriage?

This was a question I considered after reading an interview with our favorite neo-anti-antinomian, Mark Jones about his book on antinomianism. He uses this example to make his point about personal holiness improvement:

I need to be told to love my wife more. I remember being in South Africa and my friend rebuked me for not opening the car door for my wife. He was saying, “show love to your wife.” But he didn’t say, “Mark, I want you to look to your justification right now” in the hopeful expectation that I will suddenly realize that I need to open the door for my wife. And he didn’t say, “Mark, you aren’t looking to our justification because if you were you would have opened the door for your wife.” If he said that I’d think he was a weirdo. Sometimes in the Christian life we can give a rebuke without having it die the death of a thousand qualifications; and the rebuke can work wonders.

That makes a lot of sense but it is hardly a slam dunk for union with Christ or the simultaneity of justification and sanctification. Plus, would Mark think a friend weird if he said, “Mark, you aren’t looking to your union because if you were you would have opened the door for your wife”? But haven’t the pro-union folks make claims almost that odd, as if looking to our union is going to solve the charge of antinomianism?

The problem with Mark’s sensible point is that it comes with a not-so-qualified one, namely, an implicit threat:

Like Turretin, Owen affirms that good works are the necessary path believers must walk to final salvation. This is in keeping with Westminster Larger Catechism, Q & A 32, which speaks of good works as “the way which [God] hath appointed them to salvation.” WCF 16.2 speaks of “their fruit unto holiness” leading to the end, which likewise reflects the relationship between means and end.

Where is the language to say that yes, works are necessary but not in the sense that if you don’t open the car door for your wife you lose your salvation marriage? If the forensic character of marriage won’t let my wife divorce me for not being polite, can’t the imputed righteousness of Christ cover a multitude of sins? I sure hope so. Sometimes even the missus does also.


110 thoughts on “If I Don't Open the Car Door for My Wife . . .

  1. Opening doors as showing love? Who knew! I suppose lowering standards for “law” leads to lowing standards for “love” too.


  2. Ah yes, the low standards of the town of Morality – glad to have brothers like you playing Evangelist to the likes of Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Mr. Legality, Civility and the Obedience Boys.


  3. If the forensic character of marriage won’t let my wife divorce me for not being polite, can’t the imputed righteousness of Christ cover a multitude of sins?

    Nail driven home…

    And why is it that straw man arguments are always being made. Who says “look to your justification” in order to know a of particular duty in loving God or neighbor? It’s a mischaracterization of the priority of the forensic over the renovative.


    I would fain know, from those who pretend that man meets God with some righteousness of works, whether they imagine there is any kind of righteousness save that which is acceptable to Him…
    …For since perfection is altogether unattainable by us, so long as we are clothed with flesh, and the Law denounces death and judgment against all who have not yielded a perfect righteousness, there will always be ground to accuse and convict us unless the mercy of God interpose, and ever and anon absolve us by the constant remission of sins.

    I get that Jones and union-priority guys are concerned the forensic-priority guys are undervaluing the call to obedience. But are they ever concerned that they might be overvaluing the quality of even their best obedience and thus undervaluing Christ’s work for them as the only basis for acceptance by God of their obedience?


  4. Don’t calls to obedience (logically?) culminate in demands for proof of obedience. And if so, doesn’t that subordinate faith to sight (contra Paul)?


  5. So…if I don’t open the car door for wifey and when she just stands there looking expectantly, if I just say, “Is your arm broke [Hoosier colloquialism]?,” I am forever doomed?


  6. pro-union folks? are their some who are anti-union? (believers I mean) Isn’t that the whole reason and hope of our existence
    He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 1 John 5: 12


  7. Some of us are pro “defining union”.

    Berkhof– (from his systematic, p 452)
    “It is sometimes said that the merits of Christ cannot be imputed to us as long as we are not in Christ, since it is only on the basis of our oneness with Him that such an imputation could be reasonable. But this view fails to distinguish between our legal unity with Christ and our spiritual oneness with Him, and is a falsification of the fundamental element in the doctrine of redemption, namely, of the doctrine of justification. ”

    “Justification is always a declaration of God, not on the basis of an existing (or future) condition, but on that of a gracious imputation–a declaration which is not in harmony with the existing condition of the sinner. The judicial ground for all the grace which we receive lies in the fact that the righteousness of Christ is freely imputed to us.”

    unionist— The benefits of Christ’s saving work are received only insofar as Christ Himself is received

    federalist—: Christ Himself is received by the ungodly elect only insofar as these ungodly elect are imputed with Christ’s righteousness.

    unionist–: Justification is a legal benefit of a personal reality.

    federalist— The personal indwelling of Christ is a benefit of the legal reality of God’s imputation.

    unionist— God justifies us because we are joined to Christ.

    federalist–: God joins us to Christ when God imputes to us (while we are ungodly) the righteousness of Christ. God joins us to Christ because God imputes to us the death of Christ.

    unionist— In Philippians 3, we are only imputed with righteousness because we are found in Christ.

    federalist—: In Philippians 3, we are only found in Christ because of the righteousness imputed.

    unionist— Berkhof thinks that justification cannot be the result of any existing condition in the sinner, not even an intimate, vital, spiritual, person union with Christ. This strikes me as enormously confusing.

    federalist—Unionists think that both the atonement and justification are fictions unless the incarnation means that all sinners are already in some kind of union with Christ before legal imputation. This strikes me as an universalism which removes the reality of God’s justice in giving Christ as a propitiation for sins legally imputed.


  8. Did you open the door enough?

    Or did you only begin to open the door?

    Does your having opened the door the one time mean that you will continue to open the door?

    Dan Fuller (the Unity of the Bible) quotes Jonathan Edwards: “We are really saved by perseverance…the perseverance which belongs to faith is one thing that is really a fundamental ground of the congruity that faith gives to salvation…For, though a sinner is justified in his first act of faith, yet even then, in that act of justification, God has respect to perseverance as being implied in the first act.”

    Richard Gaffin, p 102, By Faith Not by Sight,–“This expression obedience of faith is best taken as intentionally multivalent…In other words, faith itself is an obedience, as well as other acts of obedience that stem from faith.”


  9. Elder brothers may reluctantly let you in the front door by faith alone, but then some time after the party, they also will let you out the back door if your faith is still alone. If your faith is still in Christ’s death alone and not also in your “obedient faith”, they just have to ask— what have you done for your wife lately?

    Sure, I married you for love, but now I want you to open that door and show me our new big house with the bird nests in the big back yard.

    I am not denying that a husband could do more door opening. I also agree that a husband SHOULD do more. There is always more! But how much does a husband have to do in order to show himself and his wife that he really married the wife in the first place? And then also, how much more must a husband do to keep the wife, so he can stay with the wife?

    Are we still on probation with our wives, and with Jesus? if we leave out this idea that “union” is not yet complete, so that justification is not yet complete, will that “antinomianism” cause us husbands to begin to think that there’s no need to love our wives anymore? Is the only way to get us to keep opening doors the “beauty of covenantal threats”?

    Romans 4:4—“To the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due”. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has elected some sinners in Christ and will bless all those in Christ with every spiritual blessing.


  10. marriage depending on simultaneous…..???

    Gospel Reformation Network Affirmations and Denials

    Article IV – Union with Christ and Sanctification
    • We affirm that both justification and sanctification are distinct, necessary, inseparable and simultaneous graces of union with Christ though faith.
    • We deny that sanctification flows DIRECTLY from justification, or that the transformative elements of salvation are MERE consequences of the forensic elements.

    my questions

    1. Who is the Gospel Reformation Network? Does it have ecclesiastical and sacramental authority?

    2. Why is it a problem to deny that “sanctification” flows from justification, as long as “sanctification” results (flows)?

    3. Is the problem that “justification” is defined, but that “sanctification” and “union” are not?

    4. What does “sanctification” mean in Hebrews 10:10-14?

    5. What does “union” mean? Is “union” non-forensic? Is “union” both forensic and non-forensic?

    6. Once you have defined “union”, will you consistently use the word “union” in the way you once defined it? Will you be only thinking of “union” as a result “flowing from” faith?

    7. If “faith-union” is a result of faith, and if faith is a result of regeneration, where do faith and regeneration come from?

    8. Is the problem with saying that “sanctification” results from “justification” the fact that we are either justified or we are not? Are we not also either “united to Christ” or not?

    (Please define “union”. Do you mean “in Christ”? Or do you mean “Christ in us”? Is there a difference in those two phrases? Why do you say “union” when you could be saying “in Christ” and “Christ in us”?)

    9.When you deny that “sanctification” is a “mere consequence” of the forensic, did you mean to deny that “sanctification” is a consequence of the “merely forensic”? What do you have against “merely” or any “sola” which points to Christ’s earned (outside) righteousness imputed to the elect?

    10. Is the point of the Gospel Reformation Network denial that “union” is not forensic or is the point that it is not “merely forensic”? Is this a question-begging point?

    11. If “sanctification” is “more than” than a “mere consequence”, does that mean that “sanctification” is also more than a result of “union”, so that “sanctification” is in someway identical to “union”, or at least a necessary “condition” for “union”?

    12. Does “union” flow from merely the transformative elements? If union is transformation, and union must come before justification, how is it that God is still justifying the ungodly?

    13. If becoming children of God only means being born again so that we are freed from the power of corruption, what is the need for those who are no longer ungodly to be justified or adopted?

    It’s too late now to tell us that the order of application should not matter so much, since you insisted on denying that “justification” was a result of “sanctification”


  11. a., sorry but one of the reasons the union with Christ meme gets a little old is because it is so capacious to the point of being vapid (but every square inch may also get you up in the morning).

    If I “have” Christ, the word to describe this is not union typically but possession.

    So are you advocated “possession of Christ”?

    Or try a verse that has “in” in it.


  12. I (heart) mcmark. Well said. If our regeneration and union with Christ is not based on Christ’s death for us, then hasn’t God laid aside His Law? Why are we born spiritually dead? Is it not because of Adam’s sin? Why are we separated from God / “outside” of Christ, if not for the same reason? Wouldn’t God’s grace be capricious, if He were to regenerate us and unite us to Christ, without reference to Christ’s cross & righteousness for us? Isn’t LIFE the reward for RIGHTEOUSNESS? How can the forensic not have priority?? “And you, who were DEAD in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made ALIVE TOGETHER with him, HAVING FORGIVEN US all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” – Col 2:13-14.


  13. I think part of the difference is a disagreement about where the motive power for change comes from. In the example Mark gave, all he needed was a little instruction in how to love his wife. Tell him what to do, and sure enough he will do it. He seems to think that obedience is relatively easily within his grasp as a sanctified human being. And that is how he thinks about God’s law: show me the hoops and I will jump through. If I fail, point out again what I should have done. No real heart transformation is needed – after all, if anyone is in Christ they are new creation.

    But what do you say to people who cannot “just keep the law”? To people like me, who know exactly what I should do, but repeatedly fail to do it – even as a Christian? What if the reason I’m not opening the door for my wife is not because I don’t know that I should but because I don’t really want to love her right now? Just opening the door for her in that situation is not only not keeping the law but may be the very opposite (and is not necessarily going to result in her feeling loved – my wife is very perceptive; she’s much more likely to say, “Don’t open the door if you don’t mean it”).

    On the other hand, if I genuinely love my wife passionately then I will be motivated to find out whether she would like me to open the car door for her (not all women do). So, sure, there is a place in our sermons for application of the law: “Loving your wife may mean opening the car door for her”. I do that all the time when I preach. But the primary focus must be Christ crucified as our only hope in life and in death. In my experience, that is what God generally uses to change peoples’ hearts and lives. Hence Thomas Chalmers great sermon, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” We preach the priority of justification not because we are somehow against sanctification but because that is how we see the Holy Spirit accomplishing sanctification.


  14. dgh—If I “have” Christ, the word to describe this is not union but possession.

    have you been so long with mark jones, and still not understood the “vital” significance of the distinction between “right to” and “possession of”

    sure, you might alreadyhave a right to the blessings, but to “claim them”, you need to get busy—the Spirit will enable you to “try harder” and “do more”—-mark jones says so in the interview you referenced above

    Mark Jones like to “balance” his fondness for “justification” with some weirdness of his own

    consider these quotations:

    “my wife drives when we are together, so I now make her open the door for me”

    “Emphasis on justification will ultimately harm the doctrine. if justification is everywhere, it is no where.”

    “…I am in a lot of trouble as a preacher as a moralist because on his account I am a moralist. In fact almost all of my friends IN THE MINISTRY are in big trouble…..”

    as Jones said…


  15. reminding (ourselves) of these things and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 2 Tim 2: 14

    Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3 3 -11


  16. But if a “classic mainline Reformed” person puts the word “hyper” in front of grace and warns about “hyper-grace” or “hyper decretalism”, then Mark Jones can explain how Barbara Duiguid is if not antinomian at least Lutheran……

    First, in the Preface, Duguid raises the question, “What if growing in grace is more about humility, dependence, and exalting Christ than it is about defeating sin?” (p. 18). This is a false dichotomy. Humility requires the mortification of our vicious pride. Dependence requires the mortification of our innate self-dependence. Just loving Christ is not enough; to love him we must mortify other loves (self, the world, etc.). When we love Christ WE ARE ABLE TO mortify our sin; and as we do so we are better ABLE TO love Christ.

    Second, Duguid critiques the idea that sanctification is 100% God and 100% us. She calls this “poor math” and “poor theology” (p. 124). Why? Because God always does his 100% perfectly, which means the reason we are failing is entirely our fault! She may be right about the poor math, but her critique of the theological truth is less than compelling…. Not only Gaffin but also many REFORMED LUMINARIES FROM THE PAST, such as Jonathan Edwards (“But God does all, and we do all”) and Charles Spurgeon (“paradoxes are not strange things in Scripture, but are rather the rule than the exception”), note the “mysterious math” of sanctification.

    Third, Duguid’s suggestion that God cannot be disappointed in you (p. 48) or your level of sanctification is not only unfaithful to the Bible and the Westminster Confession (11.5), but also Newton – the person who she is allegedly following (cf. Works, 2:488-89, 598, 3:625, 6:322, 467).

    There is a sort of “hyper-decretalism” that runs throughout the book (e.g., pp. 125, 205). Duguid affirms that “spiritual growth is not up to us” (p. 48) – a statement that is open to potential misunderstanding. The New Testament is filled with imperatives commanding us to “grow spiritually” (2 Peter 1:5; 3:18; Eph. 4:15; 1 Peter 2:2)…

    Her point that God cannot be angry with us (p. 210) is an idea gaining popularity in some Reformed circles. Duguid contends that the Father does not punish us for our sin, “nor is he angry with us” (211). True, God is not angry with us IN THE SENSE THAT HE IS ALWAYS ANGRY WITH US OR TO THE POINT OF condemnation (Rom. 8:1); but that does not mean that he is never angry with his children or that he never punishes them for their sins….

    John Flavel distinguishes between “vindictive punishments” and “paternal castigations” – the latter, not the former, are true of Christians. John Calvin speaks of God being “wondrously angry” towards his children, not because he is disposed to hate them, but because by “frightening” them he humbles his people and brings them to repentance.

    The idea running throughout Duiguid’s book that God is not disappointed in our sanctification rings hollow. This contention emanates from the “hyper-decretalism” mentioned above – a sort of fatalism. Indeed, God is not disappointed in our justification. And God is never frustrated in his purposes for us. But God may be disappointed in our holiness if we go through seasons whereby we presume upon his grace, neglect the ordinary means of grace, or sin willfully and grievously. When I repent I’m in a real sense disappointed in my lack of holiness – and rightly so! If God is never disappointed in his child’s lack of holiness, then he isn’t actually a very good Father (see Heb. 12), and we are not actually responsible agents in our Christian life.

    Fourth, Duguid also presents a misguided view of the Holy Spirit’s goal in our sanctification. She contends that if the Holy Spirit’s “chief work” in sanctification is making us more and more sin-free, “then he isn’t doing a very good job”; after all, she claims there are unbelievers who are “morally superior” to Christians (p. 30). This view makes a mockery of the New Testament’s teaching on the moral difference between Christians and non-Christians (see Col. 1:21-22; Eph. 2:1-10; Rom. 6; 8:1-14),

    In connection with this, the book contains some rather strange statements, particularly page 29. Consider the following: “If the sovereign God’s primary goal in sanctifying believers is simply to make us more holy, it is hard to explain why most of us make only ‘small beginnings’ on the road to personal holiness in this life” (p. 29). What, then, is the point of sanctification if it is not being made more holy (i.e., like Jesus)?


  17. “Or try a verse that has “in” in it.”

    and DGH, I choose to receive this solely as love (rather than presuming distain) from you!


  18. Thank you Dr. Duguid…

    Wisdom/insight alert…

    But what do you say to people who cannot “just keep the law”? To people like me, who know exactly what I should do, but repeatedly fail to do it – even as a Christian? What if the reason I’m not opening the door for my wife is not because I don’t know that I should but because I don’t really want to love her right now? Just opening the door for her in that situation is not only not keeping the law but may be the very opposite (and is not necessarily going to result in her feeling loved – my wife is very perceptive; she’s much more likely to say, “Don’t open the door if you don’t mean it”).


  19. @ Mark Mcculley.
    Very VERY good sir.

    Just as physical life has vital signs without which any claims to it’s existence lack all credibility, so also does new life in Christ.

    1st John 3:
    “4-Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5-You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6-No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7-Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8-Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9-No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10-By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
    Modern translations like the ESV I am here quoting, do a much better job of handling the Greek verbs than the King James which makes it sound like Christians never sin. (not so at all) Here we have John saying in a nutshell that the children of God and the children of the devil are readily discernible by whether they PRACTICE sin or righteousness. The NASB renders it “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious”.

    Someone whose belief, life, speech, attitude and actions are habitually and unrepentantly in conflict with the biblical standard as a normative way of life IS NOT A CHRISTIAN or John’s a liar.


  20. Iain,

    That’s a gross mischaracterization of my views. And you missed the point entirely that I was trying to make.

    Mark Jones


  21. No discussion of sin and human motivation seems complete without some reference to Augustine. The below is from Peter Brown’s irreplaceable biography. And no, I’m not calling anyone a Pelagian except Pelagius, and Julian of Eclanum. My point in quoting is to show that the emphases in these matters have to be placed very carefully lest we insult our Lord’s finished sacrifice or terrorize consciences.

    “[Pelagius] and his supporters wrote for men ‘who want to make a change for the better.’ He refused to regard this power of self-improvement as having been irreversibly prejudiced; the idea of an ‘original sin’, that could make men incapable of not sinning even more, struck him as quite absurd. He was annoyed by the way in which Augustine’s masterpiece, the Confessions, seemed merely to popularize the tendency towards a languid piety.” (343)

    “The Pelagians, with their optimistic views on human nature, seemed to Augustine to blur the distinction between the Catholic church and the good pagans; but they did so only in order to establish an icy Puritanism as the sole law of the Christian community.” (351)

    “The basic difference between [Augustine and Pelagius], however, is to be found in two radically different views on the relation between man and God. It is summed up succinctly in their choice of language. Augustine had long been fascinated by babies: the extent of their helplessness had grown upon him even since he wrote the Confessions; and in the Confessions, he had had no hesitation in likening his relation to God to that of a baby to its mother’s breast, utterly dependent, intimately involved in all the good and evil that might come from this, the only source of life. The Pelagian, by contrast, was contemptuous of babies. There is no more pressing admonition than this, that we should be called sons of God. To be a ‘son’ was to become an entirely separate person, no longer dependent on one’s father, but capable of following out by one’s own power, the good deeds that he had commanded. The Pelagian was emancipatus a Deo; it is a brilliant image taken from the language of Roman family law.” (352-3)

    “What [Augustine] criticized immediately in Pelagianism was far less its optimism about human nature, as the fact that such optimism seemed to be based upon a transparently inadequate view of the complexity of human motivation. The two men disagreed radically on an issue that is still relevant, and where the basic lines of division have remained the same: on the nature and sources of a fully good, creative action. How could this rare thing happen?” (372-3)

    “Men choose in a way more complex than that suggested by the hallowed stereotypes of common-sense. For an act of choice is not just a matter of knowing what to choose: it is a matter in which loving and feeling are involved. ‘The understanding flies on ahead, and there follows, oh, so slowly, and sometimes not at all, our weakened human capacity for feeling.’ Men choose because they love; but Augustine had been certain for some twenty years, that they could not, of themselves, choose to love. The vital capacity to unite feeling and knowledge comes from an area outside man’s powers of self-determination. ‘From a depth that we do not see, comes everything that you can see.’ I know, O Lord, that the way of a man is not in his power; nor is it for him to walk and direct his own steps.’” (Jeremiah 10.23, B, 375-6)


  22. True, God is not angry with us IN THE SENSE THAT HE IS ALWAYS ANGRY WITH US OR TO THE POINT OF condemnation (Rom. 8:1); but that does not mean that he is never angry with his children or that he never punishes them for their sins….

    John Flavel distinguishes between “vindictive punishments” and “paternal castigations” – the latter, not the former, are true of Christians. John Calvin speaks of God being “wondrously angry” towards his children, not because he is disposed to hate them, but because by “frightening” them he humbles his people and brings them to repentance.

    Mark, fair enough on the qualification for God’s anger toward his own (though “grieved by” still seems better). But what about punishment? Isn’t “chastised” a better portrayal? Otherwise it’s hard to see how penal substitution doesn’t become compromised, i.e. Christ took only partially our punishment and God is only partially satisfied by it and we must supply the balance of suffering, etc.


  23. Zrim,

    I’m afraid I won’t be interacting here. I have no problem with what you say. I think I make clear what I *mean* by punishment. Reformed writers use the word “punish” a lot wrt believers.

    Besides the fact that what Professor Duguid says in his comments goes against Reformed orthodoxy and their understanding of the law, he has read my own comments poorly, and attributes a view to me that sounds basically Pelagian.



  24. Mark, thanks for dropping in. OLTS is where I like to loiter..

    Since I can’t leave you a comment, thought I would say thanks for this, here on this thread.

    So, thanks! It’s a great post, I mean it.

    And prayers for you and your ministry,


  25. “hypocrite”

    thanks for calling this out, DGH; for all your poo-pooing about Jesus imitation, you seem to be trying to do so anyway making His same heart judgments.

    re: union; ‘in’ ness; possession…
    I only know I realize Jesus is in the Father and the Father in Jesus and Jesus in us; the glory which the Father has given Jesus, Jesus has given to us that we may be one, just as They are one; Jesus in us and the Father in Jesus, that we may be perfected; and the one who loves Jesus will be loved by the Father and Jesus too will love us and show Himself to us; and anyone who loves Jesus will obey His teaching; and the Father will love us; and the Father and Jesus will come to us and make their home with us. John 17:22-23;14:20-23


  26. Mark, the Reformed writers of Heidelberg and Westminster? But I don’t see “punishment” wrt believers in those documents. i.e. “God is not angry with us…but that does not mean…he never punishes them for their sins…”


  27. Zrim,

    I thought I was clear: I am using punishment not in an eternal sense, but temporal sense. We often use the word that way, even with our kids: “I will punish them for stealing cookies…” My kids can’t even spell chastisement. And several English translations use the word “punish” in Hebrews 12:6. Surely you can see that I’m using “punishment” synonymously with “chastisement”.

    The believers in the Corinthian church experienced punishment for their sins: some got sick, others died. But, they got sick and died in the Lord, I trust.

    I even say “vindictive punishments” are not true of Christians.

    Perhaps I could be forgiven for thinking you are looking to make an issue for no reason?

    Matthew Henry: “God punishes his people now, to prevent their eternal woe.”



  28. Mark, but why use a word that needs qualifications and synonyms, so much so that one could forgive a hearer for being confused by “God has punished Jesus instead of you for your sin and it is finished” with one ear and with another “God is punishing you for your sin.” Well which is it? Perhaps you think I’m looking to make unnecessary trouble for you, but can you see how saying “chastisement” when you mean “chastisement” and “punish” when you mean “punish” makes some sense? It may not make a speaker seem erudite and versed, but doesn’t comforting a sinner without any confusion seem more important?

    Punishing kids for stealing cookies makes temporal sense. Saying Jesus has exhausted our eternal punishment but not our temporal punishment does not. When Jesus says it is finished, I take that to mean God’s wrath against me is fully satisfied, eternally and temporally, and that all that remains in response to my abiding sin is for God to simply chastise me in order that I might conform to the likeness of Jesus.


  29. maybe you could compromise and use the word ‘scourge’, for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges every son whom He receives Heb 12:6

    Scourge (3146)(mastigoo from mástix = plague, whip, scourge) means literally to flog; the scourge was first a whip used as an instrument of punishment and then figuratively came to mean to punish severely or to drive as if by blows of a whip. In this context the use is figurative entailing any suffering which God ordains (He is sovereign and He either sends it or He allows it) for His children, remembering that whatever He sends or allows is always designed for our edification and maturation not our destruction. God’s chastisement includes not only His “whipping” us, so to speak, for specific transgressions with the idea of remedial not retributive intent, but also the entire range of trials and tribulations which He providentially ordains and which work to mortify sin and nurture faith ultimately serving to conform us to the image of His Son


  30. DG Hart: “A monergistic understanding of sanctification or union is of no great help in the Christian life the way it is commonly explained, as if a rebuttal to Rome’s charges of antinomianism. If union is the work of the Spirit, as is sanctification, how can Protestants claim that these doctrines or realities become motivations for good works? Rome’s logic was that once God does it all in salvation, a believer has no reason to be virtuous. Of course, Protestants rightly respond that the work of the Spirit is a reality that is conforming believers more to the image of Christ. Good works are inevitable such that those that are justified are also sanctified. ”

    dgh: “But conformity to the image of Christ is not the work of a believer. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. In which case, Rome’s accusation stands. The Spirit-wrought nature of salvation in the Protestant scheme has an antinomian impulse and appearance because good works are not the substance or catalyst for any of the blessings of Christ’s work.”


  31. Sticking with this, personally:

    Andrew B
    Posted September 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
    Gee, guys, heady stuff. Making me pull out my Fesko as soon as I get home from work. In it, he writes: Namely, it is imperative that we hold together imputation and union with Christ, the priority of the legal-forensic over the transformative, all of which are relational. One might fight that same line here, and more:

    From here, we can identify three concepts that we must understand to have a proper understanding of the relationship between union with Christ and justification: (1) that the legal aspects of our redemption are relational; (2) justification is the legal aspect of our union with Christ; and (3) that justification is the ground of our sanctification.

    Here also is a good read.

    Pointing out stuff you guys already know,


  32. (Sh)a(ne), sure, but careful, I think Mark might accuse you of looking to make an issue for no reason. I think we’re just supposed to read him and shut up about it.


  33. “Even under the best of conditions, talk about sanctification in any way apart from justification is dangerous. It has a tendency to become a strictly verbal exercise in which one says obligatory things to show one is “serious about it” but little comes of the discussion. Perhaps one feels sanctified just by talking impressively about it. The result of such talk is what I like to call “the magnificent hot-air balloon syndrome.” One talks impressively about sanctification, and we all get beguiled by the rhetoric and agree. “Yes, of course, we all ought to do that,” and the balloon begins to rise into the religious stratosphere solely on the strength of its own hot air.”

    “It is something like bragging about prowess in love and sex. It is mostly hot air and rarely accomplishes anything more for the hearers than arousing anxiety” –Forde , and be careful of him because Forde denies the wrath of God and rejects penal substitution, but it doesn’t mean a Lutheran can’t be right about something http://pastormattrichard.webs.com/Forde_Sanctifcation.pdf

    Ellul—after all has been said, what has been done?


  34. when YOU are a bad reader and a bad writer, YOU make an issue where there could be a happy diversity, but my first word should be the last word on the subject…..

    p 75, Jones—“Turretin argues that all in glory will be equally happy. However, Jonathan Edwards disagrees. In his sermon on “The Portion of the Righteous”, he argues not only for degrees of glory, but also for different degrees of happiness. Moreover, he claims that the degrees of glory will be in ‘some proportion to the saints’ eminency in holiness and good works.while on earth”

    Edwards, 2:902—“Every vessel that is cast into this ocean of happiness is full, though there are some vessels larger than others….”


  35. “On the other hand, if the whole of salvation is attributed to the grace of Christ, man has nothing left, has no virtue of his own by which he can assist himself to procure salvation. But though our opponents concede that man, in every good deed, is assisted by the Holy Spirit, they nevertheless claim for him a share in the operation. This they do, because they perceive not how deep the wound is which was inflicted on our nature by the fall of our first parents.”
    – The Necessity of Reforming the Church by John Calvin


  36. ” We, again, though we deny not that man acts spontaneously, and of free will, when he is guided by the Holy Spirit, maintain that his whole nature is so imbued with depravity, that of himself he possesses no ability whatever to act aright. ”
    – The Necessity of Reforming the Church by John Calvin


  37. call no man good

    Those who try harder and make more effort to open the door are no more sanctified than any other justified saint

    Holy or not. The “larger vessels” are not more holy than other justified sinners.

    Mark Jones—-Rutherford asks the question, whether Christ should be more loved for justification or sanctification? Rutherford claimed to love Christ more for the latter, because “it is greater love in him to sanctify than to justify….Let a sinner, if possible, lie in hell for ever. If God makes him truly holy, and lets him stay there burning in love to God, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, hanging on to Christ by faith and hope, then that is Heaven to that saint in the bottom of hell.


  38. McMark,

    That last quote is wonderful false dilemma – as if one should ask, “Would you prefer death by drowning in acid or burning at the stake?”


  39. To be fair to Mark Jones, he doesn’t think that Rutherford’s question and answer are good. He rightly believes that both are important. He even quotes Anthony Burgess positively as saying that the doctrine of justification, unlike any other, inclines God’s people to increased humility and self-emptiness, “for by this we are taught even in the highest degree of our sanctification, to look out of ourselves for a better righteousness.” Nice to hear him affirming the priority of justification in this way, which suggests that at least some of the differences are differences of emphasis rather than substance. (In other words, I don’t think he’s a pelagian, nor did I suggest it in my previous comment; our differences have to do with what believers may attain to in this life, not unbelievers. Seen John Newton’s letter on this topic).


  40. Rock of Ages by Toplady
    Wesley and Ryle cautioned us that Toplady
    1. was ‘antinomian”
    2. didn’t really understand Wesley

    I am very much for putting the remarks of Mark Jones in their larger context. Augustinian Romanists are also anti-Pelagians who give the divine credit for their works of faith.

    1. Jones has read Duiguid clearly enough to see that Duigid rejects the WCF, and “their” understanding

    2. Jones accuses Duguid of being a poor reader

    in sum, the other guy is a very poor communicator, but despite that, it seems that the other guy has communicated clearly enough for Mark Jones to know that she’s dangerous

    In his introduction to the second edition of Gaffin’s By Faith, not by Sight,

    Mark Jones– “The position that faith followed (imputation) was not typical of Reformed thought in his day but rather was ASSOCIATED WITH antinomianism. Any view that posits faith as a consequence of imputation (John Cotton) is not the typical Reformed position.”

    Mark Jones—”The Lutheran view that justification precedes sanctification..ends up attributing to justification a renovative transformative element.”

    Mcmark asks—-Mark Jones is dogmatic that “union” precedes imputation, and that “faith” precedes “union”. Does that not end up attributing to “union” a renovative transformative element? Does that not end up attributing to “faith” a renovative transformative element? Is Christ’s death imputed to the elect on the basis of the Holy Spirit’s work of giving faith that really works?


  41. The soundbite from Augustine (give what you command, and command what you will) is simply wrong if it’s understood to say that Christians now CAN obey the law It is often the case that God does NOT give us to do what God commands. Justified sinners do not keep the law in order to sanctified. Those who are already saints are commanded to obey the law. Those who are not yet saints are commanded to obey the law. Even those who are non-elect are commanded to obey the law. Duty does not depend on ability. Being anti-Pelagian is necessary but not sufficient for telling the truth of the gospel.

    Only in Christ’s satisfaction of the law by death will anyone find no condemnation.

    Calvin: “Furthermore, we believe that it is impossible to keep the law of God, but that the law simply reveals our duty; it is for each one to read his condemnation therein.


  42. nate-do you prefer to now stop beating your wife or are you still ….

    —as some puritans like to say, do you want purgatory later or do you want purgatory now? Do you want the Romanist intermediate state or would you prefer “the practical syllogism” for now? Let us stipulate that it’s not you working but the Holy Spirit enabling you to work, but then let’s see you get busy—are you really opening the door for your wife often enough to prove to yourself that …..

    also let me stipulate—i only agree with the classic and mainline parts of any puritan I quote to show that I am correct….


  43. Iube quod vis et da quod iubes from Augustine has to be understood as alien righteousness, not as an explanation of how Christians actually keep the law. It is kept for us. Augustine’s quarrel with P. was the same as Paul’s with the Judaizers. Telling men they are saved apart from works does not remove but rather establishes the only valid motivation for seeking God.

    Machen explains it like this in Christianity and Liberalism:

    1. receive grace
    2. be justified
    3. keep the law

    P. –
    1. receive grace
    2. keep the law
    3. be justified


  44. Iain,

    Again, what you said in your first comment was wrong, hasty, and needs to be publicly recanted. You read, it seems to me, only a partial quote that Dr. Hart quoted in this post, but not the whole answer in the original interview. If you did, you would not have said the things you did, which have been similarly interpreted by others in the same way that I did.

    Plus, I have serious reservations about your own comments. But this is not the forum for a debate.



  45. We do not have to make Augustine a Protestant on justification, in order to put our hope in an extrinsic righteousness, in which the requirement of the law is fulfilled by Christ’s death for the elect. Our hope is legal solidarity in Christ’s righteousness.

    David Noe: Augustine’s quarrel with P. was the same as Paul’s with the Judaizers. Telling men they are saved apart from works does not remove but rather establishes the ONLY valid MOTIVATION for seeking God.

    mcmark: Amen to that, but there are many today who worry about only having one motive for obedience. They not only like the beauty of threats but also in their concern that we not be so “sola” when it comes to motives, they are keen to minimize the motive of gratitude for justification already received.

    ps—let me also make it clear that all those people who have agreed with me are correct and as for those who are not this is not the time or the place to point that out but they know who they are and since there is a comment box here and now maybe they could say sorry for calling people in their own denomination antinomians and “hyper-decretalists”….


  46. Making Augustine a Protestant would be anachronistic. But I do claim, with Calvin, noster Augustinus totus est (he’s all ours), and want to stress that therefore we must not stray from his emphases.


  47. Mark,
    I daresay you are right that much of what I say in commboxes is “wrong, hasty and needs to be publicly recanted.’ Whether or not it is true in this particular case, it is certainly true of my heart in general. If you only saw the thousands of much more scurrilous things that I dream up and thankfully never post! I don’t say that lightly, either: it is an indicator of the profound depth of remaining sin in my heart, sin so foul that nothing less than the death of the Son of God could take away its stain. This is serious breach of God’s holy law.

    I would also agree that the internet is not always a great place for debate. So don’t debate me, counsel me. What would you say to me, as a desperately wicked sinner who has made only small beginnings on the road to holiness after a lifelong journey as a Christian? What should I look to, when the law shows me again the depth and awfulness of my heart? Should I tell my Presbytery that I am unfit for ministry? There is nothing that I have said here that would surprise them. Should I doubt my salvation? Should I imagine God constantly angry and disappointed with me (for I am constantly sinning – this example is but one of a myriad of my failings)?

    Finally, do you think it surprising if I tell you that my appreciation of the glory, holiness and beauty of God in Jesus has grown alongside my deepening awareness of my sin these past 50 or so years? I am more grateful for the gospel, more amazed at Christ’s perfect obedience in my place, and more desirous of the day when I shall finally be freed from sinning – in heaven, though not before. Does that make me an antinomian?


  48. I’m with you, Iain the Druid, but please know that both you and Br’er Jones are a bit much on the emotionalism and experientialsm for the average cranky OLer’s liking, many of us having been burned by that in American revivalism. Still, keep it up – – interesting stuff.


  49. Just as in Justification and Sanctification the forensic precedes the renovative, so it is with adoption and the Spirit’s work. The basis for the giving and operation of the Spirit in our lives is the legal (i.e., forensic) status we have with God – our Adoption:

    Galatians 3:26

    for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

    Galatians 4:6

    And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (emphasis mine)

    The basis of the sending and [subjective] renovating work of the Spirit in us is our adoption – a legal declaration of our status with God. And even more so, the primary purpose of the Spirit in both sections on adoption (Romans 8 / Galatians 3-4) is to remind us that we are children of God (i.e., to bring us back to the forensic aspect), not to remind us that we are indwelt by the Spirit:

    Romans 8:15-16

    For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

    It is by returning us to our legal standing that we press forward into our Christian life – we never leave that legal foundation, that precedes the subjective, renovative work that God brings about in our lives.


  50. Counsel from Mark Jones, perhaps not for the death bed: “Good works were necessary for Jesus if he was to be justified…. good works are likewise necessary for our salvation–though, unlike the case with Jesus, not for our justification.” (p 76, Antinomianism)

    On p 22-23, Mark Jones argues from the fact that Christ obtained salvation “bestowed on conditions”, that we too must obtain “sanctification” in the same way, bestowed on conditions. Instead of talking about the merits of Christ’s death as satisfaction of God’s law, Jones focuses on Christ’s living by faith, which was obeying the law, to get to the idea of our also living by faith, which then comes to mean our obeying the law.


  51. “Because you are sons”, but the other teachers in Galatia still want to ask if you really are sons, and remind you that forensic facts can be made more or less sure depending on if you have enough faith to be circumcised…..sure, we don’t deny the forensic, but we want to see some marks in you—and Paul said—they want to put you in slavery but the marks are not in those false teachers….

    Mark Jones argues from the fact that Christ learned obedience and “increased in favor with God” as Christ was perfectly obeying the law to the idea that sinful Christians will also begin to sin less and thus be more loved by God. From this, Jones goes on to the puritan idea of sanctification by punishment in this life, purgatory now instead of after death. . Jones call this “evangelical punishment” (p 93, Antinomianism )

    Mark Jones argues from the propitiation (the Trinity’s wrath on the Son for imputed sins) to the idea that God loving us means that God will be angry with us. From the conclusion that “God was never happier with the Son than when God was angry with the Son” (p 95), Jones reasons that God loves us less when we obey the law less and thus make God more angry with us.

    But using Christ’s life of atonement as the analogy for the Christian life misses out on the gospel news of the Christians being legally united to Christ’s death. Romans 6:16, not under the law but under grace. Romans 7:6, you died to the law.

    No, that’s not denying that God’s laws command Christians. It’s NOT antinomian. “Not under the law for future condemnation” is gospel.


  52. Iain,

    I am not about to counsel you here on a blog. It is getting weird now. I’ve asked repeatedly now for you to recant your initial comment about my theology.

    Instead, you’ve admitted what an evil heart you have in general, but you can’t seem to bring yourself to admit that this heart of yours was acting inappropriately when you described my theology in such an unfortunate manner (that showed you hadn’t initially bothered to read the full quote).

    If this is the practical outworking of your theology, I want nothing to do with it.

    MJ (last comment)


  53. …And there is the cause of the burn out that CW mentions – one opens up – the other kicks him in the nuts while he’s down and then everything is awkward and no one knows what to do.

    After you catch your breath – Dr. Duguid, your commentary on Numbers was fantastic, actually recommended to me from an obedience boy lieutenant. Dr. Jones, never mind that was your last post.


  54. Mark, I have a history of saying “I’m not coming back until 2015” in September of 2014, only to post another 1000 comments during the remaining months. Just sayin’, I’ve been there.

    I’ve also gone through my bout with John Owen (Communion with the Triune, Kelly Kapic introduction, can you say “wow”), so I’ve kind of lived in your “meet the puritans” world.

    I’m however inclined more towards the Escondido folks (great article here if you are interested.

    Treat OL like a twitter feed, and just comment as you desire. No need to feel afraid of what these guys will do. Words can be powerful, but again, think twitter.

    Last night’s Episode of the Wire had the uncle counseling the cousin, “don’t you write anything!” Yes, I’m back in season 1, episodes 2 or 3. I have a long way to go…

    So there’s wisdom in keeping silent, granted. Some verses in proverbs come to mind..

    All about me, there it is. I could also mention golf, but that’s another story.

    I’m out.


  55. Why is Dr. Jones so sensitive about mischaracterizations of his views?

    From what it seems to me, he’s openly mischaracterized the views of others, with hardly any wink of humility. He didn’t even demonstrate how he was mischaracterized, he just said he was, and it needs to be recanted, ending the sentence with a last comment.

    I’d be curious to know how he was mischaracterized? Was it any worse than how Tullian (to name just one example) has been mischaracterized?


  56. Justin, is this was neo-Puritanism gets us, over-sensitivity and repeat stomp offs? If so, I want nothing to do with it.


  57. “Andrew: A man’ after mine own heart”

    thinking wanting to be a man after God’s own heart is more desirable.

    “What does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart? It means your life is in harmony with the Lord. What is important to Him is important to you. What burdens Him burdens you. When He says, “Go to the right,” you go to the right. When He says, “Stop that in your life,” you stop it. When He says, “This is wrong and I want you to change,” you come to terms with it because you have a heart for God. When you are a man after God’s heart, you are deeply sensitive to spiritual things. Second Chronicles 16:9 explains it this way: “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His”. What is God looking for? He is looking for those whose hearts are His—completely. That means there are no locked closets. Nothing’s been swept under the rugs. That means that when you do wrong, you admit it and come to terms with it. You long to please Him in your actions. You care deeply about the motivations behind your actions. God is not looking for magnificent specimens of humanity. He’s looking for deeply spiritual, genuinely humble, honest-to-the-core servants who have integrity. Listen to some of the synonyms for this Hebrew word thamam, translated “integrity”: “complete, whole, innocent, having the simplicity of life, wholesome, sound, unimpaired.” He always focuses on the inward qualities, like the character of the heart . . . those things that take time and discipline to cultivate.” Chuck Swindoll


  58. Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” stop commenting on Darryl’s blog— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

    RAV (Revised Andrew Version™)


  59. a.,

    i suppose i was trying to make a funny, given I share some of MJ’s proclivities to comment about no further commenting.

    I will endeavor to stop commenting about stopping commenting. A vicious circle, that last sentence.

    To help you out:

    Mark Jones
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid I won’t be interacting here

    I’m just glad he showed up here, it’s a fun place to hang out, no?


  60. Andrew – it was nothing about you, I just saw a thought to comment on, independent of you.

    Jack Miller:
    Someone: I really desire to desire what the Lord desires for me
    You guys: but do you MEASURE UP to that desire to desire?
    You guys: NO you don’t – you pious hypocrite
    You guys: so quit desiring what you do not measure up to; quit thinking it, talking about it, and don’t even pray about it
    You guys: Just always remember and think about how you are a miserable failure of a sinner and always will be*.
    You guys: I am only saying this to be an encouragement to you .

    *(despite the fact that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in you)


  61. @ a.

    Having fun putting words in another’s mouth? I asked two simple questions. Did those question somehow rule out that it is a good thing to desire and pursue a heart after the Lord, as in the summary of the law? It is certainly my desire, aim, and prayer. But also, I readily acknowledge my lack in both desire and execution.


  62. @ a.

    And I should add… too often I don’t even readily acknowledge my lack… indeed, a miserable offender who has been saved by grace through faith in Christ and yet one who seeks with much limitation to live in a manner worthy of the him who bore my sins.


  63. a quotes Chuck Swindoll:

    What is God looking for? He is looking for those whose hearts are His—completely. … He’s looking for deeply spiritual, genuinely humble, honest-to-the-core servants who have integrity. Listen to some of the synonyms for this Hebrew word thamam, translated “integrity”: “complete, whole, innocent, having the simplicity of life, wholesome, sound, unimpaired.”

    Does “a” stand for Arminian? For arrogant?


  64. a.,

    And to think that the man after God’s own heart committed adultery and covered it up, and murdered the gal’s husband.

    David is our model because of Mephibosheth (think Merciful) and less his moral high-ground


  65. Yes Nate I really appreciated Kevin’s post, and also why David was also great is nicely summarized here http://www.gotquestions.org/man-after-God-heart.html

    First, David had absolute faith in God. Nowhere in Scripture is this point better illustrated than in 1 Samuel 17 .

    Second, David absolutely loved God’s law. Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David is credited for writing over half of them. David repeatedly mentioned how much he loved God’s perfect Word. We find a beautiful example of this in Psalm 119:47-48

    Third, David was truly thankful. “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 26:6-7). David’s life was marked by seasons of great peace and prosperity as well as times of fear and despair. But through all of the seasons in his life, he never forgot to thank the Lord for everything that he had. It is truly one of his finest characteristics. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4, ESV).

    Fourth, David was truly repentant.The mighty fall hard, and David’s fall included adultery, lying and murder. He had sinned against God and he admits it in 2 Samuel 12:13: “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’” But admitting our sin and asking for forgiveness is only half of the equation. The other half is repentance, and David did what we should all do: repent of our sins. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance to God: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” (Psalm 51:1-2).


  66. a.

    But why must you have piety with a capital P? “Absolute” and “True”. I don’t believe we should be indifferent about the nature of our repentance or faith et. al., but that this kind of construal of piety (a la. Mark Jones & door openings) tends towards naval gazing:

    “Is my faith absolute?”
    “Do I absolutely love God?”
    “Am I truly thankful?”
    “Am I truly repentant?”

    Honestly, no to all of the above.

    It’s this kind of “you better or else” kind of piety that tends to dishearten instead of strengthen. As D.G. points out, yes, works (faith, repentance love, and thanks) are necessary, but how we motivate people into them makes a world of difference.


  67. a., I went to your linked article and saw the concluding remarks you left out: “In conclusion, David demonstrated his faith seemingly on a daily basis which pleased the Lord. Throughout his life his faith would be tested on a grand scale and in the final analysis he passed most of the tests. David also loved God’s law and he sought to follow it as best he could. He spent many days meditating on it and trying to apply it to his own life. He knew that God’s law had the power to change lives if it was followed to the letter. Another important character trait that David exhibited was that he had the attitude of gratitude and was very thankful for his life. During his life he had all sorts of trouble, but David thanked God every day no matter the circumstances. And, finally, David was truly repentant. Let us not forget that he was a man just like us who sinned on a regular basis. But, despite his sin, he always loved God and sought to repent of those sins. He is a role model for all of us sinners who need to repent earnestly. David was indeed a man after God’s own heart.”

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/man-after-God-heart.html#ixzz3QguQzbIL

    The entire article has nothing about the coming Messiah as David’s only hope. Is it our faith or the object of our faith that saves us? It seems as though the Psalms have an awful lot to say about our Lord Jesus Christ and David’s hope in Him.

    “David had absolute faith in God.”

    “David absolutely loved God’s law”

    “As followers of Jesus Christ, we would do well to follow David’s lead of offering praise through thanksgiving to our Lord on a daily basis.”

    The language of absolute seems awfully strong. Our faith is often weak and frail. When the article does mention Jesus, the priority is for us to “follow David’s lead…” What if “absolute” is too strong for me? Am I an antinomian? What if I, like Jack, sense my failure to love God’s law and I should and to execute that love? How well must I follow David’s lead when Messiah is not offered up in this article? What if I’m not “truly repentant…” enough?

    The conclusion you did not quote includes the following: “He knew that God’s law had the power to change lives if it was followed to the letter.” I suspect some of us around here may have trouble with “law” in the commanding sense giving one “…power to change lives if it was followed to the letter…” And “to the letter…”…Really?

    What if with the Heidelberg Catechism I confess and believe that Holy Spirit “works in me by the Gospel…” things like “true faith” and “hearty trust…” and that I do not believe the law of God, in the narrow, commanding sense has POWER to change my life or that of others? Am I an antinomian?

    21. What is true faith?

    True faith is not only a sure knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Spirit works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.


  68. forgot to include I also appreciate God’s summary: God He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘ I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’ Acts 13:21-22

    Brad: in answer to your post I will just say 1) It’s okay to talk about obedience and even David’s example. God wants us too. Don’t worry, I attest to the fact without Jesus we can do nothing and He is our only Lord and Savior and 2) I adore God for granting me the law of the Spirit, the royal law of liberty- It is the Spirit who testifies to me about all your ‘concerns’ here and everything else and may we all rely on Him more and more as He develops in us the mind Christ which, in fact we already have.

    Praise to our Great God and King! May we seek to trust and honor Him in all we do.


  69. …relying more and more on Him…which could be a scary prospect – laying out the whole word of God to ourselves and to others for Him to do His work by the Spirit ..a scary prospect…. as R. Scott Clark said in a post yesterday –a ‘ boss’ may not be prepared for a demotion.
    (in this case, bosses who may want to control mind intake of the whole counsel of the word of God)


  70. Romans 8:2 is NOT about the interior work of the Spirit on the heart, as in Jeremiah 31, or Romans 2:29. Romans 8: 2 is NOT about the letter/spirit contrast found in II Cor 3:6 or Romans 7:6–

    Octavius Winslow comments on Romans 8:2 — “ The evident design of the Apostle is, to furnish an argument in support of the leading proposition he had just laid down, namely, the believer’s deliverance from condemnation. There is clearly a connection between that declaration and the passage under consideration. “For the law of the Spirit of life.”

    By some expositors, the “law of the Spirit of life” is interpreted of the influence or control exerted by the Spirit of God over the minds of the regenerate, emancipating them from the curse and tyranny of sin, and supplying them with a new authoritative enactment for their obedience and regulation, as those whose course is guided by the Spirit. “The law of sin and death,” is by the them interpreted as the contesting power of sin, leading to death and condemnation; having its throne in the heart, and from its governing and despotic power, maintaining a supreme and dire sway over the whole moral man. The freedom, therefore, which the law of the Spirit of life confers upon those who are bound by the law of sin and death, is just the supremacy of one principle over the force of another principle: the triumph of an opposing law over an antagonist law.

    Winslow—But the interpretation which we propose for the adoption of the reader, is that which regards the “law of the Spirit of life,” as describing the Gospel of Christ, frequently denominated a “law”- and emphatically so in this instance- because of the emancipation which it confers from the Mosaic code, called the “law of sin and death,” as by it is the knowledge of sin, and through it death is threatened as the penalty of its transgression.

    In the preceding chapter, we were led to regard all who were outside of Christ, as under a present, and as exposed to a future condemnation. Not less awful is the condition of the unconverted, as depicted in the passage before us. Reverse the state of the believer and you have the exact
    state of the unbeliever. Is the believer in Christ a free man? The unbeliever is a slave. Is the believer justified? the unbeliever is condemned. Is the believer a reconciled son? The unbeliever is a hostile rebel. Between these two conditions there is no neutral ground. You are, my reader, either for Christ, or you are against Christ.

    But in what sense is the believer “free from the law of sin and death?” “Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to those who know the law) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband, so long as he lives ; but if the husband is dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.” The believer’s union to Christ, represented under the figure of a marriage covenant, frees him from the condemnatory power of this law.

    He looks not to the law for life; he rests not in the law for hope; he renounces the law as a saving covenant, and-in his marriage to Christ- he brings forth fruit unto God. Not a single precept of that law, from whose covenant and curse he is released by this act of freedom, is compromised. All its precepts, embodied and reflected in the life of Christ- whose life is the model of our own- appear more clear and resplendent than ever they appeared before. The obedience of the Lawgiver enhanced the luster of the law, presenting the most impressive illustration of its majesty and holiness that it could possibly receive.

    The “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” is forensic, used in God’sWord to designate the Gospel of Christ. “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No;but by the law of faith.” In this sense we hold that the word is used in the Romans 8:2 text, to designate the Gospel of the blessed God, as the great instrument by which the freedom of which we have spoken is obtained.”


  71. a.

    in answer to your post I will just say

    Then just say that. “More and more” is not the same as “Absolute”


  72. It’s very nice and re-assuring to see someone who is assured of himself his salvation speaks to ‘confidently’ to his brothers in Christ.


  73. Hi all– I noticed that Zrim refered to “a.” as “Shane”…. I always psot under my actual name “Shane” or “Shane A.” or “Shane Anderson” or something to that effect. So…. “a.” isn’t me. Thanks!

    Also if you want to interact with the real me: Twitter: @Shane _A7 or @reformation101

    I only read OL when I’m interested or irritated by the topic, and I rarely read the comments unless CW links to them.

    Love to all the OL clan…


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