Category Archives: Imputation
Paul writes in Romans 4:25 that Jesus was “delivered up for [διά] our trespasses and raised for [διά] our justification.” A stunning statement that locates our justification in the resurrection of Christ.
On this passage Geerhardus Vos (1862—1949) wrote:
“… it remains worth observing, that the Apostle has incorporated this idea of the resurrection in his forensic sceme. It seems a pity that in the more prominent associations of our Easter observance so little place has been left to it [the forensic]. The Pauline remembrance of the supreme fact, so significant for redemption from sin, and the modern-Christian celebration of the feast have gradually become two quite different things. Who at the present time thinks of Easter as intended and adapted to fill the soul with a new jubilant assurance of the forgiveness of sin as the guarantee of the inheritance of eternal life?” [The Pauline Eschatology (P&R 1930/1994) p. 153]
- Richard Gaffin, Resurrection and Redemption (P&R).
- Vos, essay: “Paul’s Eschatological Concept of the Spirit,” in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos (P&R).
- Vos, sermon: “A Sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:14”
“If our churches are going to be renewed and become what God has called them to be, then individual members of the church must be taught to build their lives on the foundation of the truth that they are justified before God by faith, not on the basis of their own performance, but by claiming the righteousness of Christ as the only ground for acceptance. That means that they must see clearly the holiness of God, the depth of their sin, and the sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. It is this doctrine of justification by faith through grace which must be embraced, not just at the beginning of the Christian life, but every day we live.”
- J. Stafford Carson in Justified in Christ: God’s Plan for us in Justification, edited by K. Scott Oliphint (Christian Focus: 2007), p. 191.
Evangelicals and Mormons Together?
After your heart rate returns to normal, know that this is not real. At least not yet. Gary L.W. Johnson warns in a new book, By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification (Crossway; 2007) that EMT may be just around the corner. In his chapter, Johnson responds to a 1994 book by Keith Fournier entitled A House United: Evangelicals and Catholics Together: A Winning Alliance for the 21st Century (NavPress; 1994). Fournier claims to be a both Evangelical and Roman Catholic. Johnson responded by writing,
“According to him [Fournier], an evangelical is one who knows Christ as Savior and Lord and tells others about him. If this is all it takes to be considered one of today’s evangelicals, we should prepare ourselves to be accosted by evangelical Mormons or Moonies, each clamoring to be recognized at such. And why not? They can easily subscribe to Fournier’s definition…” (By Faith Alone, p. 194).
And that’s exactly what’s beginning to happen. Johnson uses the Fournier book as a backdrop to introduce a newer book by Robert Millet a Mormon professor at BYU. His book is titled, A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (Eerdmans, 2005) and is endorsed by Richard Mouw, the president of Fuller Seminary. Mouw, a professed Calvinist, wrote the foreword and afterward. He writes, “a genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ does not require that we have all our theology straight” (195). Of course he is right that our relationship with God (thankfully) does not wait until “all our theology” is straight. But Paul is also clear that getting the essential doctrines of the gospel wrong is to be a “foolishly-bewitched-fool” (Galatians 3:1-4).
If the mainline evangelical community backs away from a clear public defense of the gospel and fails to uphold the doctrine of a sinner being made right with God through justification (the legally imputed righteousness of Christ) alone, it’s not a stretch to think Evangelicals and Mormons will eventually come together, too. Al Mohler closes the book with these words: “We can only hope and pray that contributions like this important volume can help to awaken evangelicalism to its doctrinal peril. Otherwise, nothing genuinely evangelical will remain of evangelicalism” (208).
Beneath the Greek references and complex debates this book is a great reminder of the gospel’s simplicity and that makes it a great reminder how, apart from God’s sovereign grace, we walk around in the rut of this world, blindfolded to gospel of life. Oh, how we all need God’s illuminating grace to break into our spiritual blindness and raise our dead hearts! Thank you Jesus!
Check it out for yourself. By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification is a collection of articles by writers like David Wells and Al Mohler on the topic of justification. They discuss current controversies over the gospel and deal with E.P. Sanders, James D.G. Dunn and N.T. Wright (just like the Crossway release earlier this year, Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness by Brian Vickers).
Title: By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Jusitification
Authors: Gary L.W. Johnson and Guy P. Waters, editors
Reading level: 3.5/5.0 > moderately difficult
Dust jacket: no
Topical index: yes
Scriptural index: yes
Text: perfect type
Price USD: $17.99/$12.99 from Monergism
ISBNs: 9781581348408, 1581348401
Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation
by Brian Vickers
Few topics are more central to a right relationship with a holy God than the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ for undeserving sinners. But few issues are more hotly contested in recent years. As Ligon Duncan writes, “The historic reformational doctrine of imputation is under serious duress in our day. Interestingly, it is often evangelical, Protestant, biblical studies scholars who have the doctrine in their sights.”
The solution is a historical, theological and exegetical look at imputation and a fairly new book from Crossway, Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation by Brian Vickers does this. Vickers tackles the confusing teachings of N.T. Wright, E.P. Sanders, James D.G. Dunn and affirms,
“A synthesis of Paul’s teaching leads to the conclusion that Christ’s righteousness is, after all, imputed to believers. A variety of themes merge in such a way as to establish that the righteousness that counts before God and is by faith can be nothing other than Christ’s righteousness. From various texts is it evident that when discussing justification Paul speaks of, among other things, God’s actions through Christ on behalf of sinners, who though undeserving are forgiven and declared righteous as a free gift from God on the basis of Christ’s substitutionary death. Christ as the second Adam, the covenant head of his people, and the first fruits of the harvest, obeys the will and command of God, and his obedience results in a right standing before God for those identified in union with him. This righteousness is appropriated by faith, which, as the instrumental means of justification, effects their union with Christ” (p. 232).
Title: Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation
Author: Brian Vickers
Reading level: 4.0/5.0 > advanced > some Gk./Heb.
Dust jacket: no
Topical index: no (person index)
Scriptural index: no
Text: perfect type
Price USD: $14.99 / $11.99 at CBD
ISBNs: 1581347545, 9781581347548