Thursday, December 13, 2012

Four Components of Justification


The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord tells us:

To the article of justification [. . .] belong and are necessary only the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and faith, which receives this in the promise of the Gospel, whereby the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, whence we receive and have forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life.”

If one examines this citation carefully, he will note four key components which are necessary (and only necessary) to the article of justification:

  1. The grace of God.
  2. The merit of Christ.
  3. The promise of the Gospel.
  4. Faith.
Put another way, without any one of these four components, there is no justification.  This is not to say, of course, that all four of these items are dependent on each other for existence.  The grace of God exists independent of the merits of Christ; the merits of Christ exist whether or not the Gospel is proclaimed.  And all of these exist regardless of faith.  But, by way of analogy, just because eggs, flour, and sugar exist independent of one another, if they are not combined and baked, they are not a cake.  So too, without faith, neither the grace of God, nor the merit of Christ, nor the promise of the Gospel are justification, though they are certainly realities independent of each other.

Consequently, while faith does not bring the merits of Christ or the grace of God into existence, it does receive the Gospel promises that they empower, thus constituting the totality of the justification article.  


The result of these four components working in tandem is also expressed by the above quote:  “The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, whence we receive and have forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life.”

Faith does not bring the righteousness of Christ into existence any more than it brings the grace of God and the Gospel promises into existence.  But without faith, one does not receive imputation of righteousness, forgiveness, reconciliation, sonship, and heirship to eternal life.  These all certainly exist and are the merits of Christ whether or not there is faith to receive them, but they are not the property of the individual regardless of faith.  They are simply what the article of justification says:  the merits of Christ.  They become the property of the individual when he becomes one with Christ in the Holy Laver.  But until one is clothed with Christ in those waters of life, "the 
wrath of God abides on him" and he is “condemned already” as the third chapter of St. John tells us.  A lack of faith means the opposite of justification; it means condemnation.

In light of this, it seems apparent that all men are neither justified nor righteous in God's sight without faith; how could they be, since they have never had faith and remain under God's wrath and condemnation?  

Thus it is evident that faith justifies and is imputed for righteousness.  And yet, we cannot by our own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord, much less come to Him.  This is because faith is the gift of God.  The Holy Spirit comes to us in the Blessed Means of Grace - the Holy Gospel - and works faith in our hearts.  This faith is not something we do, but is something God does in us.  It saves not because we choose Christ, but because He chose us.   Thanks be to God!

43 comments:

  1. From the Christian Book of Concord:

    69] Now we will show that faith [and nothing else] justifies. Here, in the first place, readers must be admonished of this, that just as it is necessary to maintain this sentence: Christ is Mediator, so is it necessary to defend that faith justifies, [without works]. For how will Christ be Mediator if in justification we do not use Him as Mediator; if we do not hold that for His sake we are accounted righteous? But to believe is to trust in the merits of Christ, that for His sake God certainly wishes to be reconciled with us. The wrath of God cannot be appeased if we set against it our own works, because Christ has been set forth as a Propitiator, so that for His sake, the Father may become reconciled to us. But Christ is not apprehended as a Mediator except by faith. Therefore, by faith alone we obtain remission of sins, when we comfort our hearts with confidence in the mercy promised for 81] Christ's sake. Likewise Paul, Rom. 5:2, says: By whom also we have access, and adds, by faith. Thus, therefore, we are reconciled to the Father, and receive remission of sins when we are comforted with confidence in the mercy promised for Christ's sake. The adversaries regard Christ as Mediator and Propitiator for this reason, namely, that He has merited the habit of love; they do not urge us to use Him now as Mediator, but, as though Christ were altogether buried, they imagine that we have access through our own works, and, through these, merit this habit, and afterwards, by this love, come to God. Is not this to bury Christ altogether, and to take away the entire doctrine of faith? Paul on the contrary, teaches that we have access, i.e., reconciliation, through Christ. And to show how this occurs, he adds that we have access by faith. By faith, therefore, for Christ's sake, we receive remission of sins. We cannot set our own love and our own works over against God's wrath.

    86] But since we receive remission of sins and the Holy Ghost by faith alone, faith alone justifies, because those reconciled are accounted righteous and children of God, not on account of their own purity, but through mercy for Christ's sake, provided only they by faith apprehend this mercy. Accordingly, Scripture testifies that by faith we are accounted righteous, Rom. 3:26. We, therefore, will add testimonies which clearly declare that faith is that very righteousness by which we are accounted righteous before God, namely, not because it is a work that is in itself worthy, but because it receives the promise by which God has promised that for Christ's sake He wishes to be propitious to those believing in Him, or because He knows that Christ of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. 1:30.

    113] But faith, properly so called, is that which assents to the promise [is when my heart, and the Holy Ghost in the heart, says: The promise of God is true and certain]. Of 114] this faith Scripture speaks. And because it receives the remission of sins, and reconciles us to God, by this faith we are [like Abraham] accounted righteous for Christ's sake before we love and do the works of the Law, although love necessarily follows. 115]Nor, indeed, is this faith an idle knowledge, neither can it coexist with mortal sin, but it is a work of the Holy Ghost, whereby we are freed from death, and terrified minds are encouraged and quickened. 116]
    http://www.bookofconcord.org/defense_4_justification.php

    ReplyDelete
  2. Using a time line that stretches from everlasting to everlasting, could you please identify the precise population of men that each key element of justification entails at any given point in history? For example, does the grace of God eternally pertain to no men, all men, the elect, or some other subset of the human population? Is the grace of God with regard to men an immutable attribute of God? If not, how does the grace of God change over time? Similarly, does the merit of Christ have time and population limits? With regard to faith and the promise of the Gospel, what are their time frames and population limits, if any?

    Thanks for any response you may care to give. I recognize these are difficult and, perhaps, impossible questions to answer.

    Daniel Gorman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Gorman,

      As you rightly point out, the topics we are addressing are difficult and, in some respects, beyond comprehension. Nonetheless, insofar as God has Divinely revealed them to us, I will attempt to answer your questions:

      "Using a time line that stretches from everlasting to everlasting, could you please identify the precise population of men that each key element of justification entails at any given point in history?"

      The grace of God is an immutable attribute of God, for He is not a man that He should change, nor does His attitude toward man ever change. His grace exists from eternity to eternity.

      While, in a sense, Christ was "slain from the foundation of the world," nonetheless Christ was slain in time, and His merits were accomplished after millennia of this world's endurance. Nonetheless, the promise of the Gospel offered Christ's merits as a future event before the Word became Flesh, rather than a past event as it is offered now. Regardless, when the promise of the Gospel is offered and received by faith, this faith is imputed as righteousness to the believer.

      Ergo, the merits of Christ and the promise of the Gospel are offered to all men from the Fall until the Parousia. Faith is created and sustained by the promise of the Gospel from the same time period; however, it obviously is only possessed by believers. Because faith is the work of God and not of man, the fact that some have faith while others do not is a Scriptural paradox and unexplainable.

      I will end there for now. Please feel free to follow-up as need be.

      Delete
    2. Which, if any, of the four key components of justification were not given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9)?

      "For before the time of the world, before we existed, yea, before the foundation of the world
      was laid, when, of course, we could do nothing good, we were according to God’s purpose chosen by
      grace in Christ to salvation, Rom. 9, 11; 2 Tim. 1, 9....Thus this doctrine affords also the excellent, glorious consolation that God was so greatly concerned about the conversion, righteousness, and salvation of every Christian, and so faithfully purposed it [provided therefor] that before the foundation of the world was laid, He deliberated concerning it, and in His [secret] purpose ordained how He would bring me thereto [call and lead me to salvation], and preserve me therein." FC, SD, Election

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
    3. Faith, obviously, was not given before the creation of the world. Regardless, God foreknew those He would give faith and elected them in light of the same. How this all works is paradoxical and not fully understood short of Sacred Scripture.

      Delete
    4. "Given" in the sense of being ordained of God before the creation of the world. Is the faith of the elect ordained of God before the creation of the world (predestination) or is faith something God foreknows He will give the elect in time (intuitu fidei)?

      If the former, are the elect heirs of all four essential elements of justification before the creation of the world? If the latter, are the elect heirs of at least the grace of God, the merits of Christ, and/or the promise of the Gospel before the creation of the world?

      And what of the non-elect? Which essential elements of justification are they heir to, if any?
      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
    5. Predestination and election intuitu fidei are not mutually exclusive tenets. My confession is the same as that of N. Hunnius:

      "We claim with regard to predestination of the children of God to eternal life that God has chosen us in Christ, namely, insofar as we have been foreseen as going to cling to Christ steadfastly with sincere faith. This is not because faith or steadfastness is a work of our powers, but it is only the work of God which works in us through especial measn and from which a person can leap back through his own wickedness" (Diaskepsis Theologica; III. 2, § 520, p. 247; 1626; 2001 by Reprisintation Press; As quoted in http://www.freewebs.com/luteranos/ELECTIO%20INTUITI%20FIDEI%20FINALIS,%20EX%20PRAEVISA%20FIDEI%20FINALIS.pdf).

      I think that Titus 3:5b-7 puts your heirs/justification questions into the best context: "According to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

      We become heirs according to the hope of eternal life by grace through faith in Baptism. That's what the Scripture says.

      The non-elect are not heirs to anything but condemnation and eternal wrath.

      Delete
    6. N. Hunnius: "We claim with regard to predestination of the children of God to eternal life that God has chosen us in Christ, namely, insofar as we have been foreseen as going to cling to Christ steadfastly with sincere faith."

      God electing us only "insofar as we have been foreseen as going to cling to Christ steadfastly with sincere faith" is contrary to FC, SD, Election, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49.

      Daniel Baker "We become heirs according to the hope of eternal life by grace through faith in Baptism. That's what the Scripture says."

      Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5; AC, II. Did God merely foresee we would be born of water and the Spirit and enter heaven? Or, did Almighty God eternally ordain that the elect would be born of water and the Spirit and enter heaven before the foundation of the world?

      Daniel Baker: "The non-elect are not heirs to anything but condemnation and eternal wrath."

      If the non-elect are heirs to nothing but condemnation and eternal wrath, why did God eternally predestinate that all men are truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ? "God in His purpose and counsel ordained [decreed]: 1. That the human race is truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ..." FC, SD, Election

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
    7. "God electing us only "insofar as we have been foreseen as going to cling to Christ steadfastly with sincere faith" is contrary to FC, SD, Election, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49."

      I do not see how this is the case, nor, apparently, did the likes of Hunnius, Gerhard, and even Walther.

      "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5; AC, II. Did God merely foresee we would be born of water and the Spirit and enter heaven? Or, did Almighty God eternally ordain that the elect would be born of water and the Spirit and enter heaven before the foundation of the world?"

      It is certainly true that our predestination is "a cause which procures, works, helps, and promotes our salvation and what pertains thereto" (par. 8). But this truth is not supposed to be separated from Christ or considered outside of Him:

      "Christ, as the only-begotten Son of God, who is in the bosom of the Father, has announced to us the will of the Father, and thus also our eternal election to eternal life, namely, when He says, Mark 1:15: Repent ye, and believe the Gospel; the kingdom of God is at hand. Likewise He says, John 6:40: This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son and believeth on Him may have everlasting life. And again [John 3:16]: God so loved the world, etc. [that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life]. . . . Therefore, whoever would be saved should not trouble or harass himself with thoughts concerning the secret counsel of God, as to whether he also is elected and ordained to eternal life, with which miserable Satan usually attacks and annoys godly hearts" (par. 67, 70).

      You finally ask, "If the non-elect are heirs to nothing but condemnation and eternal wrath, why did God eternally predestinate that all men are truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ?"

      I'm afraid that the context of your last citation is all out of sorts. After all, the Solid Declaration also says elsewhere: "The unbelieving and unconverted . . . person is not reconciled with God" (VI:8). No, the part of the SD that you excerpt is merely saying that those who are redeemed and reconciled are so through Christ, which is the entire point of the Election article, as stated in par. 65: "This eternal election of God is to be considered in Christ, and not outside of or without Christ."

      Delete
    8. Daniel Baker: "I do not see how this is the case, nor, apparently, did the likes of Hunnius, Gerhard, and even Walther."

      One definition of "insofar as" is "inasmuch as". If you are willing to accept that definition, I am willing to withdraw my negative comment on the Hunnius citation.

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
    9. To the best of my knowledge, "insofar as" and "inasmuch as" are synonymous, so I'm not sure what distinction you're drawing. They both mean "to the extent that." Care to clarify your point?

      Delete
    10. The two terms are synonymous. However, the primary definition of "insofar as" is "to the extent or to the degree that" whereas the primary definition of "inasmuch as" is "because of the fact that".


      The "to the extent or to the degree that" definition implies that God foreknows the justifying faith of the elect by a contingency. The "because of the fact that" definition implies that God "foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will".


      "THIS, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to know: That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, "Free-will" is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. . ." Bondage of the Will, M. Luther

      The "intuitu fidei" controversy is primarily a Reformed style debate over the order of God's Decrees. The anti-"intuitu fidei" faction strays into Calvinist territory when it teaches irresistible grace and/or preservation of the saints. The pro "intuitu fidei" view strays in Arminian territory when it teaches free will and/or contingent faith.

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
    11. If election is not intuitu fidei, then it seems to me that we must claim an irresistible grace and/or "once saved, always saved." Still, even the fidei is entirely the work of God. This is when we start entering paradox and are best served by letting Scripture speak for itself. God desires all to be saved. God freely offers faith to all. Those who do not have faith are not saved and are not forgiven in this world or the world to come, but rather stand condemned already and are under God's wrath. I think it's best to leave it at those simple definitions rather than delving too deeply into election, which - as you rightly point out - tends to be an exercise in Reformed thought.

      Delete
    12. Thank you so much for this worthwhile discussion.

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
  3. I'm sure the blog owners will answer you questions. This is my confession.

    God is in complete control and His will is done.

    God would have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the Truth. This grace of God in which he would have all men come to faith in Christ extends to everyone. The grace of God in which men’s sins are forgiven by the atonement of Christ extends only to those who have received the gracious gift of the righteousness of faith in Christ alone, worked by the Holy Spirit solely through the Means of Grace alone. (Galatians 5:4, Christ is become no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.)

    Christ died and atoned – paid for – the entire worlds sins. (Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.) It is a result of man’s sinful human reason to say that since God laid the whole worlds sins on Christ they must then have been taken off of the world. (John 8:24, I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.)

    It is God alone who calls, gathers, enlightens and saves the whole Christian Church on earth. (Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will) (Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.)

    God is perfectly loving and perfectly just as He as decreed both Love and Justice are to be.

    It is man alone who rejects Christ and the Gospel promise. (Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!)

    God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. (Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?)

    Cont...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cont...

    It is God alone who works Godly contrition over sin and Faith in Christ solely through the Means of Grace – Word and Sacrament. (Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.) (John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.)

    Scripture therefore is clear that it is God’s will that is done when individuals come to faith in Christ and are thereby forgiven of all sin, received into God’s grace, receive the adoption of sons and receive eternal life.

    Scripture doesn’t tell us why God allows some people to reject the Gospel and thus remain in their sin – having not obtained Christ as Mediator between themselves and God’s wrath and judgement over their sin. It is clear though that individuals reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    It is a sin assume or extrapolate something from Scripture that is contrary to the perfectly harmonious Scriptures. Examples of this would be “If God says this then it must mean…” when God did not say that and it is contrary to the rest of Scripture. A specific example is, “If God would have all men to be forgiven of their sins through the death and resurrection of Christ then it must mean that He has forgiven all men their sins”

    To venture into the unrevealed will of God is sin. It is sinful arrogance to think that man can determine God’s unrevealed will. Once it is shown that God’s will pertaining to something is not clearly revealed we remain faithful to God’s Word when we allow it to remain that way and teach accordingly.

    Mr. Gorman asks:
    Is the grace of God with regard to men an immutable attribute of God? God does not change. Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

    Similarly, does the merit of Christ have time and population limits? Scripture and the faithful Christian Book of Concord teach that Christ is received as Mediator against God’s wrath over man’s sins through faith alone – note Galatians 5:4 quoted above. Outside of faith alone in Christ, His merits are not imputed to anyone and therefore neither does God see anyone in Him who is not in Him through faith. Between the moment of conception and the time of death and God’s judgement is the time an individual has to receive the merits of Christ through faith alone which is worked graciously by the Means of Grace alone – Word and Sacrament. Without faith in Christ men remain condemned and under God’s wrath over their sin. John 3:36 (God’s wrath remains) and John 3:18 (unbelievers are already condemned by God).

    Most of this you’ve read in the discussions concerning Justification on LutherQuest.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Note also that those who confess the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification have contrary definitions of the following words than is taught in Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions:

    Gospel
    Faith
    Grace
    Unforgivable sin
    Atonement
    Justification
    Redemption
    Reconciliation
    Many

    These definitions are critical to properly establishing agreement on the Chief article of Christian faith - Justification.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Brett Meyer: "This grace of God in which he would have all men come to faith in Christ extends to everyone."

    Does this grace have a beginning or an end? You opined that the grace of God is immutable: "God does not change."

    Brett Meyer: "Scripture doesn’t tell us why God allows some people to reject the Gospel..."

    Do some people reject the Gospel because God allows them to?

    Brett Meyer: "Between the moment of conception and the time of death and God’s judgement is the time an individual has to receive the merits of Christ through faith alone which is worked graciously by the Means of Grace alone – Word and Sacrament."

    Strictly defined, is the timeline for all four essential elements of justification from the moment of conception to the time of death? Or, do certain aspects of the grace of God and the merits of Christ transcend that time period?

    Daniel Gorman

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry to interrupt...

    Brett said above: "The grace of God in which men’s sins are forgiven by the atonement of Christ extends only to those who have received the gracious gift of the righteousness of faith in Christ alone, worked by the Holy Spirit solely through the Means of Grace alone."

    If I am not mistaken, this is particular Grace. Lutherans believe in universal grace in that God's grace extends to all men.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Brett said above: "The grace of God in which men’s sins are forgiven by the atonement of Christ extends only to those who have received the gracious gift of the righteousness of faith in Christ alone, worked by the Holy Spirit solely through the Means of Grace alone."

    A case could be made for limited atonement as well by that statement...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Daniel, would you be willing to state your contention/confession and we can discuss the specifics of that?

    Joe, UOJ teaches Universal Grace in that the whole world of unbelievers have been received into God's grace, ie: have been forgiven all of their sins in Christ before and without the Holy Spirit graciously working Godly contrition over their sin and faith in Christ alone through the Means of Grace alone. LCMS Pastor Rolf Preus contended for this same teaching on LutherQuest in 2008 when he stated that the forgiveness of sins is by God's mercy alone and not by faith in Christ alone.

    I wrote, ""He forgives sins, not because he is merciful, but because Christ's righteousness is applied to us through faith."

    Rolf replied, "You are wrong, Brett. God forgives sins because he is merciful. The publican prayed, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." Jesus said that he went home justified.
    When you reject objective justification, you have no real atonement
    or redemption. You have no gospel. When you make the truth of
    the forgiveness of sins contingent on faith, you destroy forgiveness,
    faith, indeed the gospel itself."
    January 18, 2008

    As has been contended before this is a false teaching. Scripture clearly rejects this in Galatians 5:4, "Christ is become no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." verses 5&6, "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

    UOJ teaches that the whole unbelieving world has been received into the grace God through Christ even though the unbelieving world is still alive to the Law, being under the Law and therefore remaining under the wrath and condemnation of God they stand outside of the grace of God which is in Christ. This is faithful to Scripture's teaching concerning Christ as Mediator and received as Mediator through the righteousness of the Holy Ghost's faith alone (as quoted in the recent posts below).

    Scripture states in Galations 5:4 Christ is of no effect to those who do not have faith in Him. UOJ teaches contrary to Scripture by declaring that God has declared the whole unbelieving world forgiven before and without faith in Christ - all that remains is that they believe they've been forgiven.

    Joe states, "A case could be made for limited atonement as well by that statement..."
    Joe, atonement doesn't mean what the doctrine of UOJ teaches - that by Christ's payment for the world's sins God the Father has forgiven the whole unbelieving world of those sins.

    Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions clearly teach that the Atonement is Christ's perfect and accepted payment for the entire worlds sins. Because of that perfect payment all righteousness resides in Christ and not apart from Him.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Brett Meyer: "Daniel, would you be willing to state your contention/confession and we can discuss the specifics of that?"

    My contention/confession is that the BOC is a correct exposition of scripture. I'm trying to explore Daniel Baker's topic essay to determine if it consistent with the BOC and scripture. Perhaps, I should wait for him to response to my comments, if he wishes.

    I do believe you should reconsider your contention that God allows some men to reject the Gospel. It is not God's gracious will that anyone reject the Gospel. Also problematic is your dividing the grace of God into two parts, one that is extended to all men and one that is extended to some men. Please read FC, SD, Election, for the heavenly doctrine.

    Daniel Gorman

    ReplyDelete
  11. Daniel, when an individual hears God's Word and has Godly contrition over their sin and trust alone in Christ for the forgiveness of those sins - is that something that they did or what God has done in them?

    Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,..."

    Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

    Clearly having Godly contrition over sin and faith in Christ alone is a gift and working of God alone and cannot be contributed to man. Why then do some reject God's Word, are not repentant and do not believe in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and salvation?

    Certainly the rejection of God's Word is solely attributable to man.
    Luke 13:34b, "...how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!"

    Therefore God alone converts man and also allows man to reject the Gospel. Help me by sharing the Scriptural or Confessional statements that teach contrary to what I'm confessing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You state, "Also problematic is your dividing the grace of God into two parts, one that is extended to all men and one that is extended to some men."

    It's not a matter so much of dividing God's grace into two parts. Maybe I could have worded that better. I confess that God's grace is singular. What I'm saying is that UOJ teaches falsely concerning God's grace. Distribution of the Gospel promises through the Means of Grace is by God's grace. That of itself though does not mean that unbelievers have God's grace. To be in God's grace requires God given faith in Christ alone. Galatians 5:4 confirms this is true because those who do not have faith in Christ alone are not in His grace. UOJ teaches that the whole unbelieiving world has been received into God's grace for the forgiveness of their sins. This is wholely false and contrary to Scripture and the Confessions.

    I hope this clarifies.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions clearly teach that the Atonement is Christ's perfect and accepted payment for the entire worlds sins. Because of that perfect payment all righteousness resides in Christ and not apart from Him." Brett, this is objective justification.

    "...when an individual hears God's Word and has Godly contrition over their sin and trust alone in Christ for the forgiveness of those sins..." This is sanctification...I have wondered if you are confused over the two doctrines at times...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Brett Meyer: "Therefore God alone converts man and also allows man to reject the Gospel. Help me by sharing the Scriptural or Confessional statements that teach contrary to what I'm confessing."

    God alone converts man; however, the fact that some men are not converted is not because God allows them to reject the Gospel (free will). "it is nothing but error and blindness in regard to this article what the scholastic doctors have taught, namely...that man has a free will to do good and omit evil, and, conversely, to omit good and do evil." SA, III, I.

    Natural man's rejection of the Gospel is not because God grants to natural man the free will to reject. From conception, natural man is in bondage to sin, death, and devil and he cannot do otherwise than to reject the Gospel: "since the Fall, man inherits an inborn wicked disposition and inward impurity of heart, evil lust and propensity; that we all by disposition and nature inherit from Adam such a heart, feeling, and thought as are, according to their highest powers and the light of reason, naturally inclined and disposed directly contrary to God and His chief commandments, yea, that they are enmity against God, especially as regards divine and spiritual things. For in other respects, as regards natural, external things which are subject to reason, man still has to a certain degree understanding, power, and ability, although very much weakened, all of which, however, has been so infected and contaminated by original sin that before God it is of no use. 4. The punishment and penalty of original sin, which God has imposed upon the children of Adam and upon original sin, are death, eternal damnation, and also other bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal miseries, and the tyranny and dominion of the devil, so that human nature is subject to the kingdom of the devil and has been surrendered to the power of the devil, and is held captive under his sway..." FC, SD, Original Sin

    You are assigning contradictory wills to God (will to allow some men to reject the Gospel versus God's revealed will to save all men through the call of the Gospel). "However, that many are called and few chosen is not owing to the fact that the call of God, which is made through the Word, had the meaning as though God said: Outwardly, through the Word, I indeed call to My kingdom all of you to whom I give My Word; however, in My heart I do not mean this with respect to all, but only with respect to a few; for it is My will that the greatest part of those whom I call through the Word shall not be enlightened nor converted, but be and remain damned, although through the Word, in the call, I declare Myself to them otherwise. Hoc enim esset Deo contradictorias voluntates affingere, that is: For this would be to assign contradictory wills to God. That is, in this way it would be taught that God, who surely is Eternal Truth, would be contrary to Himself [or say one thing, but revolve another in His heart], while, on the contrary, God [rebukes and] punishes also in men this wickedness [this wantonness, this dishonesty] when a person declares himself to one purpose, and thinks and means another in the heart..." FC,SD, Election

    Daniel Gorman

    ReplyDelete
  15. "...allows man to reject the Gospel." doesn't preclude the fact that men are by nature completely corrupt having no good in them, having no ability to choose good - in fact all their works are evil.

    To ascribe the BOC's condemnation of "it is nothing but error and blindness in regard to this article what the scholastic doctors have taught, namely...that man has a free will to do good and omit evil, and, conversely, to omit good and do evil." SA, III, I. - to what I've written and confessed is incorrect.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What SA, III, I, is saying is that natural man has no ability to choose good or evil.

    Daniel Gorman

    ReplyDelete
  17. Daniel, you clearly have a grasp of the Christian Book of Concord. In light of Scripture and the BOC what is your confession concerning the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification as it is being taught in the Lutheran Synods and the heart of the Gospel, the chief and central article of their religion?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I reject any formulation of UOJ which is contrary to scripture and the BOC whatever the source. The sheep judge their shepherds.

    Daniel Baker has responded to my questions. I will carefully evaluate his comments against scripture and the BOC.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Does that mean you know of a UOJ formulation that does not contradict Scripture or the BoC? In which case such formulation you do not reject then?

    I ask this because I read your reply and it does not strike as an unequivocal reply.

    LPC

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sorry, I wanted to answer the question as best I could without needlessly straying from the topic. But I now see my answer as being related to the topic.

    The only UOJ formulation I accept is AP, IV, 103. How AP, IV, 103 can be reconciled with FC, SD, III, 25, is germane to the topic of this thread (i.e., How God "forgave to all sin which no one could avoid" when all do not have "the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and faith, which receives this in the promise of the Gospel").

    Daniel Baker's analogy of four separate cake ingredients is an oversimplication of FC, SD, III, 25. The four components of justification are all necessary but they are also interrelated in ways we do not fully understand. My questions regarding timeline are an attempt to better understand how the components of justification are interconnected.

    Daniel Gorman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Gorman,

      By way of analogy, I would argue that faith is not so much flour, sugar, or eggs, but rather the mechanism by which they are combined and baked into a cake. The individual ingredients all exist, but until they are baked, they are no cake.

      All that to say that I fully cede and recognize that each "component" is different and plays a role, the intricacies of which we cannot fully comprehend outside of what is revealed in the Sacred Scriptures. Of course, analogies always fall short, and I certainly don't suggest that we enter this cake analogy into any official theological compendium. Regardless, I think it is useful and necessary to admit that, without faith, there is no "justification," even though the other elements OF justification are extant. That is the overall point of the analogy.

      Delete
    2. I agree that, without faith, there is no "justification". But I'm not sure the other three components are completely divisible from the faith that God wills for all men.

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
    3. Faith is not something that always exists. Faith may be offered to all, but it is not something that is worked in all. I agree that, in the context of justification, the three components are not divisible from faith. But outside of justification they must be, lest faith be responsible for bringing them into existence.

      Delete
    4. The Holy Spirit brings faith into existence. Simultaneously, the Holy Sprit enlightens men to receive the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the promise of the Gospel. The four components of justification are therefore indivisible.

      In the context of their potential for the justification of all men, are the four components divisible? If so, in what way?

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
    5. I'm not sure what you're asking, since I just said: "in the context of justification, the three components are not divisible from faith."

      Delete
    6. And I agreed. I was asking "in the context of the potential for the justification of all men". Does God truly desire that He justify all men? Has God done everything necessary for the justification of all men (all four essential components)? Was Luther wrong when he wrote? "The God Incarnate, then, here speaks thus—"I WOULDand THOU WOULDST NOT!" The God Incarnate,—I say, was sent for this purpose—that He might desire, speak, do, suffer, and offer unto all, all things that are necessary unto salvation, although He should offend many, who, being either left or hardened by that secret will of Majesty, should not receive Him thus desiring, speaking, doing, and offering: as John i. 5, saith, "The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." And again, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." Bondage of the Will

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete
    7. I agree with that citation from the Blessed Reformer. I also agree that God truly desires to justify all men.

      Delete
  21. Mr. Gorman, do you agree with the UOJ formulation that is taught by the Lutheran Synod which you are in fellowship with. Your conversation to this point seems unnecessarily cryptic. Are you the Daniel Gorman who is a longtime member and commentor on Lutherquest?

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am a contributor on LQ. My only confession is the BOC. I am not bound by any other formulation (e.g., 1932 Brief Statement, This We Believe, etc.). Could we get back to the topic now?

    Daniel Gorman

    ReplyDelete
  23. Mr. Gorman,

    Thanks for being candid in your admission what you believe.

    So you find UOJ as a label or concept in the BoC? Well this is where I would disagree and we have indeed encountered each other at Extra Nos before if I recall. In my mind, UOJ even as a label is improper to use for Ambrose in AP IV, 103 is being taken out of context in that quote, so for me, there is no articulation at all of UOJ neither in Scripture nor the Confession when you take what UOJ means.

    LPC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does context change "all" to "some"?

      Daniel Gorman

      Delete