Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Take on the Support of Same Sex Marriage

I'm not writing on same sex marriage in this post.  It's my take on the "support" for it.  This is opinion.  It's what I think.  I'm not saying "I know" this opinion is true.  It's only an opinion.  However, since it is my opinion, I think it is right.  It would be tough to prove me wrong.

Have people's minds really changed quickly in just a few years?  I think people have changed.  They are more accepting of same sex marriage.  It would be worth it to talk about why people are changing.  I don't think they have changed to the extent we are hearing.  I believe those reports are for the purpose of swaying people.  It is a propaganda technique, called bandwagon.  I believe that the reporting on the support, on people's minds being changed, is for the purpose of influencing people's thinking about it.

Here's what I think people are thinking.  I believe a huge majority are against it.  I believe this majority doesn't like it.  They don't support it.  They don't want it.  However, they'll put up with it.  Where we're at, more than people being for it, is that people care less.  It's not that they don't care at all, but they do care less.  So when someone asks them if they support it (if that's how the question is asked in a poll), I think they say it's fine.  They aren't saying they approve.  They are saying that they are not opposed to it, that is, they aren't going to do anything to stop it.  "If that's what these people want to do, then let them do it.  I'm not going to stop it."  That's what I'm talking about.

The people being polled don't want to fight about it.  They don't want the conflict.  They don't want to have to deal with it.  In a sense, this is the actual homophobia.  The people that support it, despite being against it, are those who are actually afraid, as I would understand people being afraid (or phobic).  Some might say the people I'm talking about are more libertarian.  I would say they're just fearful.

Even people who are against it are more afraid to be against it.  They don't want to be bothered by it.  They don't want to get near it.  They don't want to to have prove that they aren't bigots or that they don't hate people.  If they say they're against it, they see a big waste of time in their futures.  It's a similar reason why people aren't friendly sometimes.  They think that if they are friendly, they'll be taken advantage of.  It's like getting eye contact with a homeless person, somebody with one of those card board signs.  If you get eye contact, you'll be approached.  If you don't look at him at all, just stare straight forward or away from him, he'll more likely leave you alone.  I think this is where people are at with the same-sex marriage.

The in-your-face brand of politics of sodomites is a form of terror.  Terrorists want to change your habits.  They want you to be afraid.  The sodomites for the most part want to make you afraid.  Their most avid supporters, the powerful ones who take up their cause, will do the same.  If you don't support them, they will make your life miserable for you.  If you argue with them, they won't play fair.  It will almost never be a civil discussion.  You are going to be dragged into the mud if you get into it with them.  And if you don't go into the mud, you probably lost the debate.  One comparison is playing a Big East team in the NCAA tournament.  If you are going to survive against certain college basketball teams, you better get ready to get bumped, have someone with his hands on you, to get shoved around a little.  You might not like that brand of basketball.  It may not be how you want to play, but if you try to play the style you like, you'll lose.  You've got to push back and make it a little ugly, just like they do, or you lose.  Instead of doing that, people will just not play, and it is understandable.  They won't even get involved in the game.  They'll just give the opinion, or something acceptable, that will enable them to keep going along like they want.  Their comfort is more important to them than fighting about this.

I feel the pressure the Supreme Court feels.  They can't even come across like they want to make a legal argument.  If they hint that some legal argument they are making will result in a less popular judgment for homosexuals, they think they'll be savaged in some way.  It's one reason I think that Clarence Thomas just stays quiet in oral arguments.  He doesn't need to talk in them.  He's enough of a man that he doesn't have to have his opinion heard.  He can keep it to himself until the vote.  Why mess around with it?  Why give the media fodder to take out of context to make him look like who they want him to be?

On a side note, Anthony Kennedy's little forays into protecting the children of "homosexual parents" makes me sick.  I'm thinking, "Please shut up."  You aren't protecting those children by allowing them in homosexual homes.  Not only are they not the parents, but as everyone knows, they are missing one role in the parents, which as studies have been done, everyone knows that's worse for kids.   Of course, that's an important way to look, like you care about children.  And there's Anthony Kennedy for you.  I don't believe he cares about those children when he hints at those points, that the media love quoting.

Do you know who people say that they like?  They say that they like people who mind their own business.  People like it when other people mind their own business.  Allowing same-sex marriage means, I'm just minding my own business.  I think that's how people think.  They're not being nosy.  Same-sex marriage?  Sure.  It's none of my business what other people want to do.  And they feel sort-of self-righteous about leaving other people alone.  They, my friend, mind their own business.  Let's give everyone a big pat on the back who leaves everybody else alone.

There's a kind of contradiction going on with privacy.  People expose themselves more than ever through social networking, and yet they feel less privacy than ever.  People feel more intruded upon than ever, because of google, credit cards, online banking, identity theft, street cameras, government surveillance, drones, all of that kind of thing.  People have this contradictory, schizophrenic desire both to be famous and also to have their privacy.  They really do relate.  Here's how.   They coexist around one idea:  elevation of self.  Self being famous and self not being inconvenienced in any way.   Part of the latter is, "I'm so important, I can't be inconvenienced, ya know."  Which is, of course, why you've got twitter and facebook.  You don't want people knowin' too much about you.  What it really is with same-sex marriage is a certain type of inconvenience.  They don't want to support it, but they don't want people thinking they don't support it.  It's a tough call.  It's part of the pressure, the terror, it's all related.

I'm saying "support" isn't support.  People don't "get" same-sex marriage.  They don't "get" what people like about it.  What they do "get" is that it is unnatural.  Despite articles (like one that I read today in the NY Times) that say it's natural because certain same-sex snails get together, with great common sense, they still don't get it.    And when they start thinking about it in a way to try to "get" it, they start feeling sick to their stomach.  Since it isn't natural, the direction it takes is like making your koolaid with your toilet water.  Toilet water stays in the toilet.  You get your koolaid water out of the tap.  Making koolaid out of toilet water is about like same-sex marriage.  Why does anyone want to drink his koolaid out of the toilet?  I don't get it.  Who would act like they get it?  And yet they will on same-sex marriage, because they want to mind their own business.  To each his own.  What might people do to you who already drink koolaid out of the toilet?  Maybe you don't want to find out.

Friday, March 29, 2013

“The just shall live by faith”— A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 8

The New Testament confirms the Old Testament doctrine that, as evidenced in the paradigmatic example of Abraham,[i] the “just shall live by faith.”[ii]  The quotations of Genesis 15:6 and Habakkuk 2:4 in the New Testament emphasize different aspects of the truth taught in the Old Testament text. Before the specific New Testament texts are examined, a general overview of New Testament teaching about the just, about life, and about faith will be conducted in subsequent posts.  First, the following very helpful quotes by Warfield will be reproduced:

It lies on the very surface of the New Testament that its writers were not conscious of a chasm between the fundamental principle of the religious life of the saints of the old covenant and the faith by which they themselves lived. To them, too, Abraham is the typical example of a true believer (Romans 4; Galatians 3; Hebrews 11; James 2); and in their apprehension “those who are of faith,” that is, “Christians,” are by that very fact constituted Abraham’s sons (Galatians 3:7; Romans 4:16), and receive their blessing only along with that “believer” (Galatians 3:9) in the steps of whose faith it is that they are walking (Romans 4:12) when they believe on Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead (Romans 4:24). And not only Abraham, but the whole series of Old Testament heroes are conceived by them to be examples of the same faith which was required of them “unto the gaining of the soul” (Hebrews 11). Wrought in them by the same Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:13), it produced in them the same fruits, and constituted them a “cloud of witnesses” by whose testimony we should be stimulated to run our own race with like patience in dependence on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Nowhere is the demand of faith treated as a novelty of the new covenant, or is there a distinction drawn between the faith of the two covenants; everywhere the sense of continuity is prominent (John 5:24, 46; 12:38, 39, 44; 1 Peter 2:6), and the “proclamation of faith” (Galatians 3:2, 5; Romans 10:16) is conceived as essentially one in both dispensations, under both of which the law reigns that “the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). Nor do we need to penetrate beneath the surface of the Old Testament to perceive the justice of this New Testament view. Despite the infrequency of the occurrence on its pages of the terms “faith” [and] “to believe,” the religion of the Old Testament is obviously as fundamentally a religion of faith as is that of the New Testament. There is a sense, to be sure, in which all religion presupposes faith (Hebrews 11:6), and in this broad sense the religion of Israel, too, necessarily rested on faith. But the religion of Israel was a religion of faith in a far more specific sense than this; and that not merely because faith was more consciously its foundation, but because its very essence consisted in faith, and this faith was the same radical self-commitment to God, not merely as the highest good of the holy soul, but as the gracious Saviour of the sinner, which meets us as the characteristic feature of the religion of the New Testament. Between the faith of the two Testaments there exists, indeed, no further difference than that which the progress of the historical working out of redemption brought with it.

The hinge of Old Testament religion from the very beginning turns on the facts of man’s sin (Genesis 3) and consequent unworthiness (Genesis 3:2-10), and of God’s grace (Genesis 3:15) and consequent saving activity (Genesis 3:4; 4:5; 6:8, 13f.). This saving activity presents itself from the very beginning also under the form of promise or covenant, the radical idea of which is naturally faithfulness on the part of the promising God with the answering attitude of faith on the part of the receptive people. Face to face with a holy God, the sinner has no hope except in the free mercy of God, and can be authorized to trust in that mercy only by express assurance. Accordingly, the only cause of salvation is from the first the pitying love of God (Genesis 3:15, 8:21), which freely grants benefits to man; while on man’s part there is never question of merit or of a strength by which he may prevail (1 Samuel 2:9), but rather a constant sense of unworthiness (Genesis 32:10), by virtue of which humility appears from the first as the keynote of Old Testament piety. . . . [F]rom the very beginning the distinctive feature of the life of the pious is that it is a life of faith, that its regulative principle is drawn, not from the earth but from above. Thus the first recorded human acts after the Fall—the naming of Eve, and the birth and naming of Cain—are expressive of trust in God’s promise that, though men should die for their sins, yet man should not perish from the earth, but should triumph over the tempter; in a word, in the great promise of the Seed (Genesis 3:15). Similarly, the whole story of the Flood is so ordered as to throw into relief, on the one hand, the free grace of God in His dealings with Noah (Genesis 6:8, 18; 8:1, 21; 9:8), and, on the other, the determination of Noah’s whole life by trust in God and His promises (Genesis 6:22; 7:5; 9:20). The open declaration of the faith-principle of Abraham’s life (Genesis 15:6) only puts into words, in the case of him who stands at the root of Israel’s whole national and religious existence, what not only might also be said of all the patriarchs, but what actually is most distinctly said both of Abraham and of them through the medium of their recorded history. The entire patriarchal narrative is set forth with the design and effect of exhibiting the life of the servants of God as a life of faith, and it is just by the fact of their implicit self-commitment to God that throughout the narrative the servants of God are differentiated from others. This does not mean, of course, that with them faith took the place of obedience: an entire self-commitment to God which did not show itself in obedience to Him would be self-contradictory, and the testing of faith by obedience is therefore a marked feature of the patriarchal narrative. But it does mean that faith was with them the precondition of all obedience. The patriarchal religion is essentially a religion, not of law but of promise, and therefore not primarily of obedience but of trust; the holy walk is characteristic of God’s servants (Genesis 5:22, 24; 6:9; 17:1; 24:40; 48:15), but it is characteristically described as a walk “with God”; its peculiarity consisted precisely in the ordering of life by entire trust in God, and it expressed itself in conduct growing out of this trust (Genesis 3:20; 4:1; 6:22; 7:5; 8:18; 12:4; 17:23; 21:12, 16, 22). The righteousness of the patriarchal age was thus but the manifestation in life of an entire self-commitment to God, in unwavering trust in His promises.

The piety of the Old Testament thus began with faith. . . . Faith, therefore, does not appear as one of the precepts of the law, nor as a virtue superior to its precepts, nor yet as a substitute for keeping them; it rather lies behind the law as its presupposition. Accordingly, in the history of the giving of the law, faith is expressly emphasized as the presupposition of the whole relation existing between Israel and Jehovah. The signs by which Moses was accredited, and all Jehovah’s deeds of power, had as their design (Exodus 3:12; 4:1, 5, 8, 9; 19:4, 9) and their effect (Exodus 4:31; 12:28, 34; 14:31; 24:3, 7; Psalm 106:12) the working of faith in the people; and their subsequent unbelief is treated as the deepest crime they could commit (Numbers 14:11; Deuteronomy 1:32; 9:23; Psalm 78:22, 32, 106:24), as is even momentary failure of faith on the part of their leaders (Numbers 20:12). It is only as a consequent of the relation of the people to Him, instituted by grace on His part and by faith on theirs, that Jehovah proceeds to carry out His gracious purposes for them, delivering them from bondage, giving them a law for the regulation of their lives, and framing them in the promised land into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. In other words, it is a precondition of the law that Israel’s life is not of the earth, but is hid with God, and is therefore to be ordered by His precepts. Its design was, therefore, not to provide a means by which man might come into relation with Jehovah, but to publish the mode of life incumbent on those who stand in the relation of children to Jehovah[.] ((“The Biblical Doctrine of Faith,” Warfield, in Biblical Doctrines, vol. 2 of Works)

Summarizing the evidence of the New Testament, Warfield writes:

By means of the providentially mediated diversity of emphasis of the New Testament writers on the several aspects of faith, the outlines of the biblical conception of faith are thrown into very high relief.

Of its subjective nature we have what is almost a formal definition in the description of it as an “assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It obviously contains in it, therefore, an element of knowledge (Hebrews 11:6), and it as obviously issues in conduct (Hebrews 11:8, cf. 5:9; 1 Peter 1:22). But it consists neither in assent nor in obedience, but in a reliant trust in the invisible Author of all good (Hebrews 11:27), in which the mind is set upon the things that are above and not on the things that are upon the earth (Colossians 3:2, cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Matthew 6:25. The examples cited in Hebrews 11 are themselves enough to show that the faith there commended is not a mere belief in God’s existence and justice and goodness, or crediting of His word and promises, but a practical counting of Him faithful (Hebrews 11:11), with a trust so profound that no trial can shake it (Hebrews 11:35), and so absolute that it survives the loss of even its own pledge (Hebrews 11:17). So little is faith in its biblical conception merely a conviction of the understanding, that, when that is called faith, the true idea of faith needs to be built up above this word (James 2:14ff). It is a movement of the whole inner man (Romans 10:9, 10), and is set in contrast with an unbelief that is akin, not to ignorance but to disobedience (Hebrews 3:18, 19; John 3:36; Romans 11:20, 30, 15:31; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 4:2, 6; 1 Peter 1:7, 8; 3:1, 20; 4:18; Acts 14:2; 19:9), and that grows out of, not lack of information, but that aversion of the heart from God (Hebrews 3:12) which takes pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:12), and is so unsparingly exposed by our Lord (John 3:19; 5:44; 8:47; 10:26). In the breadth of its idea, it is thus the going out of the heart from itself and its resting on God in confident trust for all good. But the scriptural revelation has to do with, and is directed to the needs of, not man in the abstract, but sinful man; and for sinful man this hearty reliance on God necessarily becomes humble trust in Him for the fundamental need of the sinner—forgiveness of sins and reception into favour. In response to the revelations of His grace and the provisions of His mercy, it commits itself without reserve and with abnegation of all self-dependence, to Him as its sole and sufficient Saviour, and thus, in one act, empties itself of all claim on God and casts itself upon His grace alone for salvation.

It is, accordingly, solely from its object that faith derives its value. This object is uniformly the God of grace, whether conceived of broadly as the source of all life, light, and blessing, on whom man in his creaturely weakness is entirely dependent, or, whenever sin and the eternal welfare of the soul are in view, as the Author of salvation in whom alone the hope of unworthy man can be placed. This one object of saving faith never varies from the beginning to the end of the scriptural revelation; though, naturally, there is an immense difference between its earlier and later stages in fulness of knowledge as to the nature of the redemptive work by which the salvation intrusted to God shall be accomplished; and as naturally there occurs a very great variety of forms of statement in which trust in the God of salvation receives expression. Already, however, at the gate of Eden, the God in whom the trust of our first parents is reposed is the God of the gracious promise of the retrieval of the injury inflicted by the serpent; and from that beginning of knowledge the progress is steady, until, what is implied in the primal promise having become express in the accomplished work of redemption, the trust of sinners is explicitly placed in the God who was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). Such a faith, again, could not fail to embrace with humble confidence all the gracious promises of the God of salvation, from which indeed it draws its life and strength; nor could it fail to lay hold with strong conviction on all those revealed truths concerning Him which constitute, indeed, in the varied circumstances in which it has been called upon to persist throughout the ages, the very grounds in view of which it has been able to rest upon Him with steadfast trust. These truths, in which the “Gospel” or glad-tidings to God’s people has been from time to time embodied, run all the way from such simple facts as that it was the very God of their fathers that had appeared unto Moses for their deliverance (Exodus 4:5), to such stupendous facts, lying at the root of the very work of salvation itself, as that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God sent of God to save the world (John 6:69; 8:24; 11:42; 13:19; 16:27, 30; 17:8, 21; 20:31; 1 John 5:15), that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14), and that as His children we shall live with Him (Romans 6:8). But in believing this variously presented Gospel, faith has ever terminated with trustful reliance, not on the promise but on the Promiser,— not on the propositions which declare God’s grace and willingness to save, or Christ’s divine nature and power, or the reality and perfection of His saving work, but on the Saviour upon whom, because of these great facts, it could securely rest as on One able to save to the uttermost. Jesus Christ, God the Redeemer, is accordingly the one object of saving faith, presented to its embrace at first implicitly and in promise, and ever more and more openly until at last it is entirely explicit and we read that “a man is not justified save through faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16). If, with even greater explicitness still, faith is sometimes said to rest upon some element in the saving work of Christ, as, for example, upon His blood or His righteousness (Romans 3:25; 2 Peter 1:1), obviously such a singling out of the very thing in His work on which faith takes hold, in no way derogates from its repose upon Him, and Him only, as the sole and sufficient Saviour.

The saving power of faith resides thus not in itself, but in the Almighty Saviour on whom it rests. It is never on account of its formal nature as a psychic act that faith is conceived in Scripture to be saving,—as if this frame of mind or attitude of heart were itself a virtue with claims on God for reward, or at least especially pleasing to Him (either in its nature or as an act of obedience) and thus predisposing Him to favour, or as if it brought the soul into an attitude of receptivity or of sympathy with God, or opened a channel of communication from Him. It is not faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ: faith in any other saviour, or in this or that philosophy or human conceit (Colossians 2:16, 18; 1 Timothy 4:1), or in any other gospel than that of Jesus Christ and Him as crucified (Galatians 1:8, 9), brings not salvation but a curse. It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but Christ that saves through faith. The saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith or the attitude of faith or the nature of faith, but in the object of faith; and in this the whole biblical representation centres, so that we could not more radically misconceive it than by transferring to faith even the smallest fraction of that saving energy which is attributed in the Scriptures solely to Christ Himself. This purely mediatory function of faith is very clearly indicated in the regimens in which it stands, which ordinarily express simple instrumentality. It is most frequently joined to its verb as the dative of means or instrument (Acts 15:9; 26:18; Romans 3:28; 4:20; 5:2; 11:20; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Hebrews 11:3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31); and the relationship intended is further explained by the use to express it of the prepositions e˙k (Romans 1:17; 3:26, 30; 4:16; 5:1; 9:30, 32; 10:6; 14:23; Galatians 2:16; 3:7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 27, 28; 5:5, 1 Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 10:38; James 2:24) and dia¿ (with the genitive, never with the accusative, Romans 3:22, 25, 30; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:16; 3:14, 26; 2 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 6:12; 11:33, 39; 1 Peter 1:5),—the fundamental idea of the former construction being that of source or origin, and of the latter that of mediation or instrumentality, though they are used together in the same context, apparently with no distinction of meaning (Romans 3:25, 26, 30; Galatians 2:16). It is not necessary to discover an essentially different implication in the exceptional usage of the prepositions e˙pi÷ (Acts 3:16; Philippians 3:9) and kata¿ (Hebrews 11:7, 13; cf. Matthew 9:29) in this connexion: e˙pi÷  is apparently to be taken in a quasi-temporal sense, “on faith,” giving the occasion of the divine act, and kata¿ very similarly in the sense of conformability, “in conformity with faith.” Not infrequently we meet also with a construction with the preposition e˙n which properly designates the sphere, but which in passages like Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 appears to pass over into the conception of instrumentality.

So little indeed is faith conceived as containing in itself the energy or ground of salvation, that it is consistently represented as, in its origin, itself a gratuity from God in the prosecution of His saving work. It comes, not of one’s own strength or virtue, but only to those who are chosen of God for its reception (2 Thessalonians 2:13), and hence is His gift (Ephesians 6:23, cf. 2:8, 9; Philippians 1:29), through Christ (Acts 3:16; Philippians 1:29; 1 Peter 1:21; cf. Hebrews 12:2), by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 5:5), by means of the preached word (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:2, 5); and as it is thus obtained from God (2 Peter 1:1; Jude 3; 1 Peter 1:21), thanks are to be returned to God for it (Colossians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:3). Thus, even here all boasting is excluded, and salvation is conceived in all its elements as the pure product of unalloyed grace, issuing not from, but in, good works (Ephesians 2:8-12). The place of faith in the process of salvation, as biblically conceived, could scarcely, therefore, be better described than by the use of the scholastic term “instrumental cause.” Not in one portion of the Scriptures alone, but throughout their whole extent, it is conceived as a boon from above which comes to men, no doubt through the channels of their own activities, but not as if it were an effect of their energies, but rather, as it has been finely phrased, as a gift which God lays in the lap of the soul. “With the heart,” indeed, “man believeth unto righteousness”; but this believing does not arise of itself out of any heart indifferently, nor is it grounded in the heart’s own potencies; it is grounded rather in the freely-giving goodness of God, and comes to man as a benefaction out of heaven. . . 

[H]e who humbly but confidently casts himself on the God of salvation has the assurance that he shall not be put to shame (Romans 11:11; 9:33), but shall receive the end of his faith, even the salvation of his soul (1 Peter 1:9). This salvation is no doubt, in its idea, received all at once (John 3:36; 1 John 5:12); but it is in its very nature a process, and its stages come, each in its order. First of all, the believer, renouncing by the very act of faith his own righteousness which is out of the law, receives that “righteousness which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God on faith” (Philippians 3:9, cf. Romans 3:22; 4:11; 9:30; 10:3, 10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 5:5; Hebrews 11:7; 2 Peter 1:1). On the ground of this righteousness, which in its origin is the “righteous act” of Christ, constituted by His “obedience” (Romans 5:18, 19), and comes to the believer as a “gift” (Romans 5:17), being reckoned to him apart from works (Romans 4:6), he that believes in Christ is justified in God’s sight, received into His favour, and made the recipient of the Holy Spirit (John 7:39, cf. Acts 5:32), by whose indwelling men are constituted the sons of God (Romans 8:13). And if children, then are they heirs (Romans 8:17), assured of an incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance, reserved in heaven for them; and meanwhile they are guarded by the power of God through faith unto this gloriously complete salvation (1 Peter 1:4, 5). Thus, though the immediate effect of faith is only to make the believer possessor before the judgment-seat of God of the alien righteousness wrought out by Christ, through this one effect it draws in its train the whole series of saving acts of God, and of saving effects on the soul. Being justified by faith, the enmity which has existed between the sinner and God has been abolished, and he has been introduced into the very family of God, and made sharer in all the blessings of His house (Ephesians 2:13f.). Being justified by faith, he has peace with God, and rejoices in the hope of the glory of God, and is enabled to meet the trials of life, not merely with patience but with joy (Romans 5:1f.). Being justified by faith, he has already working within him the life which the Son has brought into the world, and by which, through the operations of the Spirit which those who believe in Him receive (John 7:39), he is enabled to overcome the world lying in the evil one, and, kept by God from the evil one, to sin not (1 John 5:19). In a word, because we are justified by faith, we are, through faith, endowedwith all the privileges and supplied with all the graces of the children of God. (“The Biblical Doctrine of Faith,” Biblical Doctrines, Warfield, vol. 2 of Works)

This post is part of the complete study here.


[i] Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23.

[ii] Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38;  ÔO . . . di÷kaioß e˙k pi÷stewß zh/setai.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Absence of Shame in This Country

Is anyone out there, like me, unhappy about the way sodomy and sodomites are being treated in this country?  Do you like that it has become of an exalted status actually to call yourself a homosexual?  People are acting like homosexual marriage is just matter of fact, nothing new, of course acceptable.  What has occurred, as they tell us, is that people just weren't smart enough or scientific enough to realize that sodomite marriages really were always normal.  In 1996 when 84 U. S. senators voted for the Defense of Marriage act, to define marriage on a federal level as only between a man and a woman, that was either because of animus, a fancy legal term for hatefully hurtful to others, malicious, or they were just stupid.  Those are the two choices.  And then before that, when you would have had 100 senators vote for it, 100 years ago, those people were really, really ignorant of this social issue.  It wouldn't even come to a vote, because it would be a joke to even think about it.  This is supposed to be a very light thing to throw away biblical beliefs, a Judeo Christian culture.  The people being shamed are the people who are believing on this like the so-called "greatest generation," those people would have believed.  They are hateful or stupid, two choices.  No shame for the sodomites, but shame for anyone who doesn't think they should get everything that they want.  This is amazing to me.

I watched some RCP video clips while eating lunch, and I see Bill O'Reilly say that the compelling argument in the same-sex argument is on the homosexual side.  Why?  Americans, Bill O'Reilly, speaking for the "folks," says just want to be treated like everybody else.  That's what it is to be an American, people to be treated like everyone else.  Does he really believe that?  Of course not.  He doesn't think everyone should be treated the same way.  Not everyone.  Child pornographers shouldn't.  Thieves shouldn't.  Polygamists shouldn't.  The "compelling" argument is that sodomites want to be treated like everyone else.  On the other hand, O'Reilly says that the argument against is just Bible thumping.  Going to the Bible is shameful, to O'Reilly, but saying, "I just want to be treated like everyone else," that's compelling.  Anyone of you compelled by that?

Sodomites wanting to marry is like your toddler wanting the sugar cereal every time he goes to the grocery store.  He wants the cereal.  You say, "no," and he doesn't like it.  He's sad.  You feel bad.  You give it to him.  No, you hold strong and you don't give it to him, because it isn't right.  We can judge right and wrong.  Not everyone gets what they want.  Sodomy once got imprisonment.  People believed it was wrong.  Why?  Because our laws are based upon the Bible.  We think that some things are wrong.  How do we judge whether these things are wrong?  We use a standard, an objective standard, the Bible.  That is Bible thumping.

We can use another standard, natural law, or common sense.  That will work too.  Sodomites can't reproduce.  They're behavior is against nature, i.e., they haven't been plumbed that way.  The female goes with the male and the male with the female.  Just because that's simple doesn't mean it's stupid.  There's a reason those terms are used in plumbing.   Having a "mom" and "dad" the same sex are not good for children.  They say the studies are inconclusive so far.  All of these are common sense, natural law.  We've made decisions based on those things, or using the Bible in the past, and you weren't stupid or had some phobia if you thought that way.  Now you are said to be the stupid one.

When you see these pictures outside of the Supreme Court building, and you see the normal couple, man and woman -- they look normal.  You see the sodomite couple, and they look like weirdos.  That's not a problem with you.  Don't feel like it's a problem with you.  They're weirdos. That's not fear.  It isn't a phobia.  It isn't a psychological problem.  They're weirdos.  The only people who don't see them as weird are also weirdos -- maybe less weird, but still weird.  Because the country is trying to make weirdness normal, the country is going weird.  Very weird.  I'm writing this to encourage and as well for commiseration.  I don't care what anyone says about it.  I don't care how "cool" they are with homosexuals.  I don't care if they know some homosexual, who is cool.   "He's, ya know, just like everyone else, and even nicer than heterosexuals, I know." I'm not saying that a homosexual can't do anything right.  I know some myself.  I live essentially in the capital for homosexuality.  I know them.  I'm nice to them.  People should be nice to people.  But I think they're weird.  I'd be glad to talk about how weird their lives are. They are strange.  Not one that I've ever met is normal.  Before I ever find out they're homosexual, I already know something's wrong.  Accepting weird has become normal, and that's what's weird.

One of the reasons, I know, that some don't want to deal with the homosexuals, is because they are afraid of them.  They will key your car.  They will hurt you.  They will spit on you.  They will curse at you.  They will hurt your possessions.  They will try to make life miserable for you.  Everyone knows that.  If there is a phobia, that's it.  You don't want to have to deal with how they will deal with you.  To avoid that, you keep quiet.  No one should be mean to them.  But I refuse to keep quiet on what I think of the sin.  It is sin.  It's evil.  It's wicked.  It's perverse.  I don't think I'm obligated now to tell you how bad fornication and adultery and divorce and incest are.

I read both transcripts of the oral arguments in the Supreme Court.  It amazes me how much men have to tip toe with this to act like it's normal.  I know that half of them don't think it is normal.  They do say things that clue you into this.  Clarence Thomas says nothing, but I'm quite sure he thinks that homosexuals are perverse.  One of the clues is the mention of political power used to change public opinion.  Roberts at least said that.  I also think it is obvious that a few of the justices are looking for ways to hold back the floodgates.  They think it is inevitable that people will just accept the behavior, so they are looking at the legal ways to slow it down.  I get that reaction.  They think that by acting like it is abhorrent will somehow backlash on them.  It will drive things the wrong direction.  That's where the power is today.

For instance, no one is going to make an anti-homosexual movie today.  No one.  But many, many will produce movies that make people look evil for being anti-homosexuality.  Many.  And if it has even a tiny bit of production value, it will be looked at for an award.  This is in fact where bullying is at today.  Bullying is what is occurring to the opposition of homosexuality.  If an actor or actress came out and publically called it a perversion, their career would be over.  If you say you love it, that you want it, and promote it, it is a career enhancer.  Tell me if I'm wrong. This is where we are at.  And yet evangelicals are the biggest movie goers in the country.  Do you see what's happening?

Alright, I'm done venting for the time being.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rampant Fake Spirituality

I'll be writing more about the same-sex marriage case.  I read the SCOTUS oral arguments.  They were very interesting.  I'd like to break it down with some commentary.  I've also read experts' take on what they think that what they said meant as to a clue to their decision.  Most focused on Anthony Kennedy, again, as the deciding vote.  I will add here to what I wrote on Monday, that there is a third possible decision in light of further reading.  The court could refuse to decide on the appeal, and homosexual marriage would occur in California without making a major ruling.  Some people think this is what the ruling will be, because of some things Kennedy said in the hearing.  Alright, now to the post.


In addition to a number of other issues that Paul dealt with in the epistles, one was a problem of a false type of spirituality, that was either something fake or something real, yet the latter not the same spirit as was being claimed; therefore, also fake.  Satan, the world system, and men in general have had almost two thousand years to refine and supplement where the spiritual deceit was in Paul's day.  We should not think that New Testament churches could not be prey to widespread fake spirituality.  The conditions are more conducive than ever.

I've been preaching through 1 and 2 Corinthians on Sunday mornings for some time now, and this is my second lifetime trip through.  Nothing has struck me more on this recent occasion than the influence of a fake spirituality on the church at Corinth.  Because fake spirituality was promoted at the college from which I graduated and many of its affiliating churches, it was a difficult struggle for me for many years to sort through this.  It's hard to see when you are a part of it.  Questioning fake spirituality to professing Christians goes about like the questioning of same-sex marriage to secularists.  Yet, when Paul had to leave his old life, he didn't take baby steps, but he went straight to counting it as dung.

The evangelicals and fundamentalists, who speak strongly against the Charismatic movement, can be especially prey to fake spirituality, since they think they've got that potential deceit covered.  When Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times, Peter rejected the possibility that was true.  I don't expect people to admit that they've got a problem.  They'll just attack me instead.  One said to me recently was that I was just chasing after windmills, a Don Quixote reference.  We would all do better to deal with the actual arguments, the evidence, than to evaluate the state of mind or the motives of the messenger.  As I said in the previous paragraph, this is what makes it tough.  Fake spirituality is as personal as lip prints and criticism akin to tearing up the front lawn.

Paul deals with fake spirituality all over 1 and 2 Corinthians, but in 2 Corinthians 5 he talks about it right in the middle of a section in which he explains how he prepares himself for death.  He continues with confidence, despite persecution, because he possesses the right way of thinking about death.  Because of the influence of fake spirituality, Paul took the time to deal with a wrong view related to death.  His desire for losing his old body, or first physical body, what he calls a tabernacle or tent in v. 1, was not because he wanted to be "naked" or "unclothed," that is, bereft of any body, to be only spiritual without a body.  He wanted a new building not made with hands, not no building, or in other words, he wanted an eternal body.  Greeks could easily support the idea of losing a body, because of their view of spirituality.  They saw having a body as the problem.  Death to them could alleviate that problem, like it would today with a Buddhist, who sees himself at death being sucked up into pure spirit, what the Buddhist hopes for.

Chapter 15 in the previous inspired epistle dealt with a fake spirituality.  Corinthians rejected bodily resurrection for a purely spiritual one.   They were willing to shuck the glorified body under pressure of Corinthian spiritualists.  Paul saw the glorified body as the end of his sanctification, the glorification that he mentions at the end of Philippians 3, when his vile body would be fashioned like unto Jesus' glorious body.  In the quest to be like Christ, the physical and the spiritual harmoniously interrelate.  Like Paul wrote to them in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, that they're bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that they glorified God in their bodies.  God wants to be glorified in a body.  Jesus glorified God in His body.

Certainly the Charismatic movement is fake spirituality.  I'm not talking about that right now.  People think they've got fake spirituality beaten, because they're not Charismatics, even though you'll also notice a unique acceptation of reformed Charismatics today among the strong opposition to Charismaticism.   And then you've got the fake spirituality of revivalism, which is big, all over, and influential in churches that think they reject revivalism.  I'm not talking about that either.  I am talking about a couple of the influences of fake spirituality that are perhaps more subtle, but rampant and dangerous.  They are likely related to Charismaticism and revivalism, but not officially a part of either.

God is a Spirit, so fake spirituality should be a concern.  It was a major subject for Jonathan Edwards as he diagnosed spirituality in the colonial period of America.  While expressing fundamental aspects of Christianity, John commanded to "test the spirits."  People are being fooled spiritually.  I want to talk about two ways.

First, I see a fake spirituality relative to the one fooling Corinthians within the gospel-centered movement of evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  Recently, a book was written by evangelicals on modesty.  The immodesty of evangelicals has gotten bad enough even for them.  They want to do something about it, but fake spirituality hinders an attempt to dress modest.  Their own book description starts with "Modesty is about freedom, not about rules."  Here's the whole blurb:

Modesty is about freedom, not rules. Does that seem off? What we mean is that what you say or do or wear is not really the point, not ultimately. In a sense, we don't even care what you choose. But we care a lot about why you make the choices you do regarding clothing or speech or behavior. Because what really matters here is your heart. The point of this book is that true modesty does not come from following a list of rules. It flows naturally from a solid grasp of the gospel. That means modesty doesn't need to look the same from one person to another. It's about your motivations, not your wardrobe.

You can't separate modesty from rules.  The physical body is clothed by physical fabric.  Too little fabric is immodest.  Uncovered body parts are immodest.  This detachment of the spiritual from the physical is akin to what Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 5.  Alright, the words "naked" and "unclothed" are not related there to modesty.  However, you're not more spiritual by deemphasizing the physical.  The physical is not bad.  You don't get to a more spiritual state by practicing a form of Christian ying-yang.

Our conscience warns us based upon its highest perceived standard.  The conscience needs perceived standards to work properly.  It doesn't help to remove those out of fake spirituality.  The prodding, picking pain of conscience, accusing and warning, is not the working of legalism.  It is a tool God created to protect from moral destruction.  Rules and standards of modesty are necessary for modesty.  It is "spiritual" to have them.

Passages that talk about modesty talk about real clothing items.  When nakedness is explained in scripture, actual body parts are mentioned.  God replaced too skimpy leaf coverings with better covering animal skin ones.

The detachment of physical standards from the spiritual sprouts from a fake spirituality.  You've got a spiritual problem if you won't cover up.  It is spiritual to care what you choose to wear.   What really matters in modesty is not your heart, but whether you've got enough clothes on or not. An unsaved person can dress modest.  He is dressing modest if he follows biblical teaching.  If he has scriptural standards or rules, and the professing Christian doesn't, the Christian isn't more modest just because he believes the gospel.

The above kind of talk, applied to many different areas, is rampant now in evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  Under the influence of it, someone may think he is spiritual, when in fact he is not.

More to Come

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Supreme Court Decisions on Same Sex Marriage

I'll be writing more in the series on the Tell-Tale Passages for Soteriology, to add to parts one, two, and three of last week.  I also want to write a post about rampant fake spirituality in churches.  Stay tuned on that.  But this week some decisions will be heard in the United States Supreme Court.  Read what I wrote on below in 2010.


The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear a couple of cases this week on the subject of same-sex marriage (SSM).  What Is Truth writes opinions about public events based upon the Bible.  What I hear more than anything is that public opinion is shifting on this subject at a dramatic pace.   In the Gallup poll in 1996, 68% opposed SSM.  In the 2012 Gallup poll, 48% opposed it.  A Washington Post/ABC News Poll says that in 2004 55% opposed and 41% supported, while in 2013 36% opposed and 58% supported.  They tell us as well that young people are the large majority of those who support it.  People's opinions have changed in America, and I believe that.

One case deals with my home state of California, the attempt to overturn Proposition 8, which added the definition of marriage of a man to a woman to the state constitution.  Marriage is a state issue and California made opposite sex marriage as legal as it can get in the state by putting it in its constitution.  Then the ninth circuit federal appeals panel of three judges ruled by a split decision to overturn the citizens of California and the state constitution.  On August 4, 2010, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violated the constitution of the United States.  On April 6, 2011, Judge Walker told reporters that he was homosexual.  The case is now called Perry versus Brown, and was a constitutional challenge to the denial of a marriage license to Kristin Perry with Sandra Stier.   Brown is Jerry Brown, governor of California, who chose not to defend Proposition 8 in court.  Official proponents of Proposition 8 were allowed to intervene to defend the Proposition.

What's the SCOTUS going to decide?  When people start relating their decision to public opinion, shouldn't that send off warning signals?  The SCOTUS is supposed to be apolitical.   However, here are two choices.  One, it could rule against Perry on behalf of Proposition 8, arguing that marriage is not a federal issue, but a state issue.  That would be a powerful ruling, yet with what would seem to be some complicated ramifications that I'll mention later.  Two, it could argue that Perry's constitutional rights were violated and make same-sex marriage legal across the United States.  Most are comparing this to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that legalized abortion everywhere in the United States.  I don't see any possibilities but those two choices.  I don't think the conservative majority in the Supreme Court, even with the libertarian-esque, Justice Anthony Kennedy, would make marriage a federal issue either by opposing or supporting same-sex marriage.   By either a 5-4 or 6-3 vote, the SCOTUS will send the decision back to the states to decide.  Many look to the statements by Anthony Kennedy in this article and even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in this article as predicting a win for Proposition 8.

This week the SCOTUS will also hear arguments over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed into federal law in 1996.  The challenge to that law in the court relates to the death of a lesbian army staff sergeant killed in Afghanistan, and the rights of her "same-sex spouse" to be notified of her death and to receive the flag that would drape over her coffin.  It is called United States v. Edith Schlain Windsor, In Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer.

As with so many of these types of cases, the petitioners are arguing based upon the equal protection clause of the fourteen amendment, contending that their right to marry is being violated.   Same-sex marriage supporters would say they should be given equal "rights" to marry as "opposite-sex" couples.

I'm sure someone has either written or commented that there will still be an issue with same-sex marriage, even if the SCOTUS upholds Proposition 8 in California.  This is the complicated ramification of it being a state only issue that I mentioned above.  What happens when same-sex couples, married in states where it is legal, move to a state where it is illegal.  Will their status, as "married," be protected?  If the definition of marriage is different in one state as it is in another, marriage becomes more than a state issue.  Perhaps this is a tension that the country will have to deal with.   Same-sex couples may not be recognized as married by opposite-sex only states.  Let's say a same-sex couple travels to New York, is married, gets its married license, and then moves back to their original state, where same-sex marriage is not legal.  They won't be considered to be married where they live.  I predict that this ramification will result in a sooner than expected ruling on this issue.  The way things are going now, I think that the Supreme Court in the near future will make same-sex marriage the law of the land.

These cases are as important as any SCOTUS decisions in the history of the United States.  They will remembered for years to come.   If you are a Bible-believing Christian like myself, you understand the spiritual implications of such a decision to the future of the United States in light of Romans 1.


How could American opinion be changing so quickly on this issue?  Americans have lost trust in the Bible as an authority.  I've written a lot on this here at What Is Truth.  The Bible is clear about homosexuality.  People aren't born that way.  There is no same-sex marriage.  It is sin like fornication, adultery, murder, and stealing.   It is worse than certain sins, because it is an abomination (Lev 18:22).  It is disgusting to God, personally offensive, rebellion in the most fundamental way again Him.  More and more issues are becoming disputed.   Even church people aren't sure of the Bible's inspiration, inerrancy, or preservation.  They aren't sure that we know what the Bible means with any certainty.  Christian leaders at even conservative institutions argue now regularly and with acceptance that we should turn almost any belief outside of the gospel into a non-essential.  This is where this treatment of scriptural teaching leads us.  We can't come down with any conviction on something so simple and so certain.  If we aren't sure about authority, then we're sunk anyway.  I think we're sunk anyway, but it's still worth fighting.

Furthermore, being accepting of homosexuals is seen as loving.  It is judged as compassionate.  It is a church growth technique.  It will "help" your gospel preaching.  If you remove preaching against homosexuality as necessary, you can have "greater opportunities" to see more people saved.  This is a new measure in evangelicalism today, actually finding some sympathy among even fundamentalists now too.   That's not all.  Christians are afraid.  They don't want to be persecuted for a stand in this area.  They don't want to be judged as "hating homosexuals" or "homophobes," so they leave it out.  This fear is the real cause of the silence.   Equivocation masquerading as nuance says that we don't want to single out homosexuality when there are a whole lot of other sins that people are committing, who even call themselves Christians.  On top of all of that, there is more effeminacy in churches than ever.   The churches don't want to reject the acceptance of their own children and potentially turn them off to the things of the Lord.  Older folks think their kids might be upset if they come out too hard.  This is likely the influence of worldly culture on their thinking.  It's not politically correct to oppose homosexuality in the culture.  You're a bully if you do.  Being a bully doesn't seem like the Christian way to be.

Homosexuality, at its root, is a rebellion against God's creation.  God created male and female.  God ordained marriage as between one man and one woman.  Today Christians are questioning the creation account in Genesis 1-3.  An evolutionary way of thinking is going to undermine teaching against homosexuality.  The word homosexual itself justifies the behavior.  It makes the behavior seem like an alternative, if not an acceptable one.  Sodomy and sodomites are old time words.  Those make it clear that the behavior is not a part of divine design, but sin.  They are not words often heard any more because of societal pressure.

Perhaps as much as anything, movies and television and music have affected change in people's thinking.  The entertainment industry is full of sodomites.  They make the behavior look acceptable.  Christians were once vary wary of Hollywood.  It was wrong to go to movies.  Then came television, then videos.  Christians had to decide about those.  Resistance eroded and now Christians are the biggest movie attenders in the country.  If you don't think this has had a major effect, then you don't know what's going on.  Even if you like movies, you've got to admit they aren't the best influence on your life.   They are a battle for Christians and the truth.

We know the Bible condemns homosexuality, but scripture can't be used to argue in a secular court.   What is the best legal argument against same sex marriage?  What can be used to stop it in the courts?  It would be worth trying to stop, but how do we do that?


The best legal argument against same-sex marriage, I believe, is the polygamy argument.  I heard Douglas Wilson make it recently in a debate against Andrew Sullivan on whether same-sex marriage is good for society.  I didn't think that Wilson did very well in the debate, because he didn't show enough on how bad same-sex marriage is for society.  However, as a legal argument, I thought it was very good.

Here's the argument.  If polygamous marriage (or even beastial  or under-aged marriage) is illegal, then we are determining the definition of marriage by the direct object.  "Marriage is when a man marries ______________________."  We've already outlawed polygamous marriage, so that is a legal precedent.  We have already ruled on behalf of the single direct object, opposite gender only fits into the blank.  Marriage is marriage and we change marriage by changing the direct object.  We can't legalize same sex marriage without opening the door for further changes.  I think that is the best legal argument.

The way they'll argue against it in the Supreme Court, I believe, will be based on the tenth amendment.  "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."  Marriage is not a power delegated to the federal government, nor is it prohibited by the states.  Just the opposite, it is a state issue.  People will have to decide in each state whether it should be allowed or not.


Marriage for most of history had pretty much been mutually exclusive from homosexuality.  The interest in marriage is new.  What is it?  It is an attempt to legitimize the behavior.  If the court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, it legitimizes socially the behavior.  The trend toward marriage pursues the opportunity to make it look normal.  Before it was deviant, not it is not just acceptable, but real.  They're real couples, real marriages, just like any marriage.  I would say that it is more than attempt to legitimize homosexuality, except that I don't think it is anything but that.  If it was economic or financial, that could be attained through civil unions that fall short of marriage.  Homosexuals want acceptance from everyone, whether everyone likes it or not.  They want people to tell them that their urges are natural and understandable.  They don't want to be outcasts or to be considered sinful.  When we as a society tell them they are OK, this is a pivotal moment.  It is akin to the religious leadership of Israel rejecting Jesus Christ.  It's a watershed, where we've reached the backside on the slope toward destruction.

Our social institutions are reaping the seeds of moral relativism.  At a root level, it is faithlessness.  It is a foundational epistemological problem.  How do we know what we know?  We know by faith.  Our culture has rejected faith.  Without faith, it is impossible to please God.


I could have predicted that few would comment on this post.  It's generally a no-brainer to my audience.  Why show support?  It's that obvious.  Here I am in the middle of the day and other things occurred to me, so I'm going to add.

What got me to write more here is what I'll call the "Roe Factor."  Roe v. Wade brought passion to the issue more than it would have.  If abortion was kept a state issue, I believe the issue would have decompressed.  Instead, it was sent into high pressure.  Same with same-sex marriage in these cases.  I don't think the SCOTUS justices will want to escalate the passion on this issue by overturning a state constitutional amendment.  That won't help with support for same-sex marriage overall.  It will make people very angry.  Just a prediction.  The justices won't want to repeat the mistake of Roe.

The other additional thought is that I don't believe the polls exactly.  You have these polls and then you have elections where 39 states have banned same-sex marriage.  It just doesn't jive.  I think public opinion is changing quickly, but something is the matter with the polls.

Friday, March 22, 2013

“The just shall live by faith”— A Study of the Relationship of Faith to Salvation in its Justifying, Sanctifying, and Glorifying Fulness, part 7

Abraham had faith accounted to him for righteousness.[i]  Jehovah testifies concerning the “servants of the LORD” that “their righteousness is of me,”[ii] for, rather than having as their judicial standing the filthy rags of their own righteousness (Isaiah 64:6), they can testify:  “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,[iii] as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). With Abraham, believing Israel can testify that the Messiah, the “king” who is the “righteous Branch” from “David,” is “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,”[iv] by whom they are “saved” (Jeremiah 23:5-6), for this righteousness of the Messiah who is both Jehovah and the truly human Son of David is imputed to them (Jeremiah 33:16), and they are justified, legally declared righteous, not through their own deeds, or on the ground of faith, faith being only the instrument for the receipt of Divine righteousness,[v] but rather on the ground or basis of the imputation of the righteousness of the Messiah alone.  Every animal sacrificed by the people of God in the Old Testament, in its foreshadowing of the shedding of Messianic blood (Isaiah 52:15), testified to the fact that neither personal merit, including any alleged merit in the act of faith itself, could be a satisfactory ground for the acceptance of the saint;  rather, “it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11), for “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).  Thus, “in the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory” (Isaiah 45:25), as they look to Him and are saved (Isaiah 45:22) through the merit of Jehovah’s “righteous servant” who will “justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”[vi]  While it is certain that the people of God in the Old Testament were inwardly transformed because of their relationship to Jehovah (Psalm 1),[vii] nonetheless the foundational reason why they were frequently denominated as “just” or “righteous”[viii] was imputed righteousness, based on the substitutionary sacrifice of the Messiah they anticipated in expectation, as typified and exhibited in the sacrifical system.

Commenting on Genesis 15:6, Calvin notes:

And truly faith does not justify us for any other reason, than that it reconciles us unto God; and that it does so, not by its own merit; but because we receive the grace offered to us in the promises, and have no doubt of eternal life, being fully persuaded that we are loved by God as sons. Therefore, Paul reasons from contraries, that he to whom faith is imputed for righteousness, has not been justified by works (Romans 4:4). For whosoever obtains righteousness by works, his merits come into the account before God. But we apprehend righteousness by faith, when God freely reconciles us to himself. Whence it follows, that the merit of works ceases when righteousness is sought by faith; for it is necessary that this righteousness should be freely given by God, and offered in his word, in order that any one may possess it by faith. To render this more intelligible, when Moses says that faith was imputed to Abram for righteousness, he does not mean that faith was that first cause of righteousness which is called the efficient, but only the formal cause; as if he had said, that Abram was therefore justified, because, relying on the paternal loving-kindness of God, he trusted to His mere goodness, and not to himself, nor to his own merits. For it is especially to be observed, that faith borrows a righteousness elsewhere, of which we, in ourselves, are destitute; otherwise it would be in vain for Paul to set faith in opposition to works, when speaking of the mode of obtaining righteousness. Besides, the mutual relation between the free promise and faith, leaves no doubt upon the subject. (Commentary on Genesis 15:6)

Those who are in this manner[ix] the just—those who have been received imputed Messianic righteousness as the sole judicial and legal basis for their justification, and at the same moment also been given a principle of holiness that results in obedience in life—receive the promise in Habakkuk 2:4 that they shall not die (Habakkuk 1:12), but live.[x]  The verb to live is used[xi] most commonly of life in this world,[xii] but it is also used of living forever,[xiii] of life through the future resurrection (Isaiah 26:19), and of spiritual life in the walk of the people of God in their current earthly pilgrimage (Deuteronomy 8:3).  The noun for life[xiv] possesses a similar range of usage, referring to physical life,[xv] spiritual life (Deuteronomy 30:6), resurrected life (Daniel 12:2), and eternal life (Genesis 2:9; 3:22).  All these senses of life are, in any case, related,[xvi] as spiritual, physical, and eschatological death are related.[xvii]  Those who will receive life in the resurrection of the just, and will inherit the Millenial kingdom and the new heavens and earth, are those who receive the spiritual blessing of eternal life (Ezekiel 37).  Those only of the descendents of Jacob who will rise in the resurrection of the just, enjoy life in the Promised Land in the Millenium, and eternal life forever, are those who are true Israel, those who are united to the ultimate Prince of God, the Messiah who rose to new life on the third day.[xviii]  Those who seek Jehovah rather than idols live[xix] long in the land and receive eschatological life, rather than being cast out of the land in Divine judgment in this life and being cast out of the Lord’s presence eschatologically to experience everlasting torment.  Spiritual life before God, which includes both fellowship with God on earth through the resurrection and in all future ages to eternity, was generally associated in Israel with a long and prosperous physical life and the promise of life in the Millenial kingdom.[xx]  True Israel, rather than being eschatologically “cut off” from the people of God under Divine judgment,[xxi] received life in all of its physical, spiritual, and eschatological blessings.  The just partake of physical blessings in this age, spiritual life now, life in the resurrection of the righteous, and life in the Millenial and eternal states.

This post is part of the complete study here.


[i] h∂q∂dVx.  The complete list of references is: Genesis 15:6; 18:19; 30:33; Deuteronomy 6:25; 9:4–6; 24:13; 33:21; Judges 5:11; 1 Samuel 12:7; 26:23; 2 Samuel 8:15; 19:28; 22:21, 25; 1 Kings 3:6; 8:32; 10:9; 1 Chronicles 18:14; 2 Chronicles 6:23; 9:8; Nehemiah 2:20; Job 27:6; 33:26; 35:8; 37:23; Psalm 5:8; 11:7; 22:31; 24:5; 31:1; 33:5; 36:6, 10; 40:10; 51:14; 69:27; 71:2, 15–16, 19, 24; 72:1, 3; 88:12; 89:16; 98:2; 99:4; 103:6, 17; 106:3, 31; 111:3; 112:3, 9; 119:40, 142; 143:1, 11; 145:7; Proverbs 8:18, 20; 10:2; 11:4–6, 18–19; 12:28; 13:6; 14:34; 15:9; 16:8, 12, 31; 21:3, 21; Isaiah 1:27; 5:7, 16, 23; 9:7; 10:22; 28:17; 32:16–17; 33:5, 15; 45:8, 23–24; 46:12–13; 48:1, 18; 51:6, 8; 54:14, 17; 56:1; 57:12; 58:2; 59:9, 14, 16–17; 60:17; 61:10–11; 63:1; 64:6; Jeremiah 4:2; 9:24; 22:3, 15; 23:5; 33:15; 51:10; Ezekiel 3:20; 14:14, 20; 18:5, 19–22, 24, 26–27; 33:12–14, 16, 18–19; 45:9; Daniel 9:7, 16, 18; Hosea 10:12; Joel 2:23; Amos 5:7, 24; 6:12; Micah 6:5; 7:9; Zechariah 8:8; Malachi 3:3; 4:2.  q®dRx appears in: Leviticus 19:15, 36; Deuteronomy 1:16; 16:18, 20; 25:15; 33:19; Job 6:29; 8:3, 6; 29:14; 31:6; 35:2; 36:3; Psalm 4:1, 5; 7:8, 17; 9:4, 8; 15:2; 17:1, 15; 18:20, 24; 23:3; 35:24, 27–28; 37:6; 40:9; 45:4, 7; 48:10; 50:6; 51:19; 52:3; 58:1; 65:5; 72:2; 85:10–11, 13; 89:14; 94:15; 96:13; 97:2, 6; 98:9; 118:19; 119:7, 62, 75, 106, 121, 123, 138, 142, 144, 160, 164, 172; 132:9; Proverbs 1:3; 2:9; 8:8, 15; 12:17; 16:13; 25:5; 31:9; Ecclesiastes 3:16; 5:8; 7:15; Isaiah 1:21, 26; 11:4–5; 16:5; 26:9–10; 32:1; 41:2, 10; 42:6, 21; 45:8, 13, 19; 51:1, 5, 7; 58:2, 8; 59:4; 61:3; 62:1–2; 64:5; Jeremiah 11:20; 22:13; 23:6; 31:23; 33:16; 50:7; Ezekiel 3:20; 45:10; Daniel 9:24; Hosea 2:19; 10:12; Zephaniah 2:3. qyî;dAx appears in: Genesis 6:9; 7:1; 18:23–26, 28; 20:4; Exodus 9:27; 23:7–8; Deuteronomy 4:8; 16:19; 25:1; 32:4; 1 Samuel 24:17; 2 Samuel 4:11; 23:3; 1 Kings 2:32; 8:32; 2 Kings 10:9; 2 Chronicles 6:23; 12:6; Ezra 9:15; Neh 9:8, 33; Job 12:4; 17:9; 22:19; 27:17; 32:1; 34:17; 36:7; Psalm 1:5–6; 5:12; 7:9, 11; 11:3, 5, 7; 14:5; 31:18; 32:11–33:1; 34:15, 19, 21; 37:12, 16–17, 21, 25, 29–30, 32, 39; 52:6; 55:22; 58:10–11; 64:10; 68:3; 69:28; 72:7; 75:10; 92:12; 94:21; 97:11–12; 112:4, 6; 116:5; 118:15, 20; 119:137; 125:3; 129:4; 140:13; 141:5; 142:7; 145:17; 146:8; Proverbs 2:20; 3:33; 4:18; 9:9; 10:3, 6–7, 11, 16, 20–21, 24–25, 28, 30–32; 11:8–10, 21, 23, 28, 30–31; 12:3, 5, 7, 10, 12–13, 21, 26; 13:5, 9, 21–22, 25; 14:19, 32; 15:6, 28–29; 17:15, 26; 18:5, 10, 17; 20:7; 21:12, 15, 18, 26; 23:24; 24:15–16, 24; 25:26; 28:1, 12, 28; 29:2, 6–7, 16, 27; Ecclesiastes 3:17; 7:15–16, 20; 8:14; 9:1–2; Isaiah 3:10; 5:23; 24:16; 26:2, 7; 29:21; 41:26; 45:21; 49:24; 53:11; 57:1; 60:21; Jeremiah 12:1; 20:12; 23:5; Lamentations 1:18; 4:13; Ezekiel 3:20–21; 13:22; 18:5, 9, 20, 24, 26; 21:3–4; 23:45; 33:12–13, 18; Daniel 9:14; Hosea 14:9; Amos 2:6; 5:12; Habbakuk 1:4, 13; 2:4; Zephaniah 3:5; Zechariah 9:9; Malachi 3:18.  The verb qådDx appears in: Genesis 38:26; 44:16; Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 25:1; 2 Samuel 15:4; 1 Kings 8:32; 2 Chronicles 6:23; Job 4:17; 9:2, 15, 20; 10:15; 11:2; 13:18; 15:14; 22:3; 25:4; 27:5; 32:2; 33:12, 32; 34:5; 35:7; 40:8; Psalm 19:9; 51:4; 82:3; 143:2; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23; 43:9, 26; 45:25; 50:8; 53:11; Jeremiah 3:11; Ezekiel 16:51–52; Daniel 8:14; 12:3.

[ii]             Isaiah 54:17:  :h`DOwh◊y_MUa◊n y™I;tIaEm M¢Dt∂q√dIx◊w hOªDwh◊y y°édVbAo ·tAlSjÅn taÓø

[iii] yˆn¡DfDo◊y hä∂q∂dVx ly¶IoVm oAvY‰y_yéd◊gI;b ‹yˆn‹AvyI;bVlIh y§I;k y$Ahøla`E;b ‹yIvVpÅn l§EgD;t hGÎOwhy`A;b cy∞IcDa cw¬øc

[iv] …wnáéq√dIx —h¶DOwh◊y.

[v] Genesis 15:6’s statement há∂q∂dVx wäø;l Dh¶RbVvVjÅ¥yÅw could be translated, “and He reckoned it to him, [namely], righteousness.”  The “it” (Dh¶) is an anticipatory suffix (cf. GKC 131m), indicating that what was reckoned was “righteousness” (há∂q∂dVx)—substituting the feminine noun há∂q∂dVx for the feminine verbal suffix to which it refers, the sentence would be translated, “and He reckoned righteousness to him.”  The specific noun righteousness, not faith itself or the previous clause h¡D`OwhyèA;b N™ImTaRh◊w,  is the referent of the “it,” as in Ezekiel 3:21 the verbal suffix   in qy#î;dAx wâø;t√rAh◊zIh “if thou warnest him, the righteous” anticipates the noun qyî;dAx, or in Ecclesiastes 2:21 the anticipates w$øqVlRj in w$øqVlRj …w…n∞RnV;tˆy, “he shall give it, his portion.”

[vi] Isaiah 53:11; cf. 52:13-53:12.

[vii] This fact is evidenced in the context of vast numbers of passages that speak of the righteous.  Affirmations equivalent to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 or Galatians 5:19-21 fill the Old Testament.

[viii] Genesis 6:9; 7:1; Habakkuk 2:4, etc.

[ix] Life, both in the land during this age and in the eschaton, is also promised to those who are the just by perfect inherent personal righteousness, Leviticus 18:5; Nehemiah 9:29; Ezekiel 20:11, 21;  however, only the sinless and virgin-born Servant of the Lord has ever fulfilled the Law by His perfect obedience and so merited life in this manner, while His perfect obedience is imputed to the believing sinner freely through Immanuel’s substitutionary death (Isaiah 7:14; 53:12; 55:1-3).

[x] hyj. Genesis 3:22; 5:3, 5–7, 9–10, 12–13, 15–16, 18–19, 21, 25–26, 28, 30; 6:19–20; 7:3; 9:28; 11:11–26; 12:12–13; 17:18; 19:19–20, 32, 34; 20:7; 25:7; 27:40; 31:32; 42:2, 18; 43:8; 45:7, 27; 47:19, 25, 28; 50:20, 22; Exodus 1:16–18, 22; 19:13; 22:18; 33:20; Leviticus 18:5; 25:35–36; Numbers 4:19; 14:38; 21:8–9; 22:33; 24:23; 31:15, 18; Deuteronomy 4:1, 33, 42; 5:24, 26, 33; 6:24; 8:1, 3; 16:20; 19:4–5; 20:16; 30:16, 19; 32:39; 33:6; Joshua 2:13; 5:8; 6:17, 25; 9:15, 20–21; 14:10; Judges 8:19; 15:19; 21:14; 1 Samuel 2:6; 10:24; 20:31; 27:9, 11; 2 Samuel 1:10; 8:2; 12:3, 22; 16:16; 1 Kings 1:25, 31, 34, 39; 17:22; 18:5; 20:31–32; 2 Kings 1:2; 4:7; 5:7; 7:4; 8:1, 5, 8–10, 14; 10:19; 11:12; 13:21; 14:17; 18:32; 20:1, 7; 1 Chronicles 11:8; 2 Chronicles 23:11; 25:25; Nehemiah 2:3; 4:2; 5:2; 6:11; 9:6, 29; Esther 4:11; Job 7:16; 14:14; 19:25; 21:7; 33:4; 36:6; 42:16; Psalm 22:26, 29; 30:3; 33:19; 41:2; 49:9; 69:32; 71:20; 72:15; 80:18; 85:6; 89:48; 118:17; 119:17, 25, 37, 40, 50, 77, 88, 93, 107, 116, 144, 149, 154, 156, 159, 175; 138:7; 143:11; Proverbs 4:4; 7:2; 9:6; 15:27; Ecclesiastes 6:3, 6; 7:12; 11:8; Isaiah 7:21; 26:14, 19; 38:1, 9, 16, 21; 55:3; 57:15; Jeremiah 21:9; 27:12, 17; 35:7; 38:2, 17, 20; 49:11; Lamentations 4:20; Ezekiel 3:18, 21; 13:18–19, 22; 16:6; 18:9, 13, 17, 19, 21–24, 27–28, 32; 20:11, 13, 21, 25; 33:10–13, 15–16, 19; 37:3, 5–6, 9–10, 14; 47:9; Hosea 6:2; 14:7; Amos 5:4, 6, 14; Habakkuk 2:4; 3:2; Zechariah 1:5; 10:9; 13:3.

[xi] The division below is not meant to be comprehensive.

[xii] Genesis 5, 11; 12:13; 19:19; 20:7.

[xiii] Genesis 3:22; Psalm 22:26.

[xiv] yAj. Genesis 2:7, 9; 3:14, 17, 22, 24; 6:17; 7:11, 15, 22; 9:3; 23:1; 25:7, 17; 27:46; 42:15–16; 47:8–9, 28; Exodus 1:14; 6:16, 18, 20; Leviticus 18:18; Numbers 14:21, 28; 16:30, 33; Deuteronomy 4:4, 9–10; 5:3; 6:2; 12:1; 16:3; 17:19; 28:66; 30:6, 15, 19–20; 31:13; 32:40, 47; Joshua 1:5; 4:14; Judges 8:19; 16:30; Ruth 3:13; 1 Samuel 1:11, 26; 7:15; 14:39, 45; 17:55; 19:6; 20:3, 21; 25:26, 29, 34; 26:10, 16; 28:10; 29:6; 2 Samuel 1:23; 2:27; 4:9; 11:11; 12:5, 21; 14:11, 19; 15:21; 18:18; 19:7, 35; 22:47; 1 Kings 1:29; 2:24; 3:22–23, 25–27; 5:1; 8:40; 11:34; 12:6; 15:5–6; 17:1, 12, 23; 18:10, 15; 21:15; 22:14; 2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6; 3:14; 4:30; 5:16, 20; 25:29–30; 2 Chronicles 6:31; 10:6; 18:13; Psalms 7:6; 16:11; 17:14; 18:47; 21:5; 23:6; 26:9; 27:1, 4; 30:6; 31:11; 34:13; 36:10; 38:20; 49:19; 55:16; 56:14; 63:4–5; 64:2; 66:9; 69:29; 88:4; 103:4; 104:33; 116:9; 124:3; 128:5; 133:3; 146:2; Job 3:20; 7:7; 9:21; 10:1, 12; 24:22; 27:2; 33:30; Proverbs 1:12; 2:19; 3:2, 18, 22; 4:10, 13, 22–23; 5:6; 6:23; 8:35; 9:11; 10:11, 16–17; 11:19, 30; 12:28; 13:12, 14; 14:27, 30; 15:4, 24, 31; 16:15, 22; 18:21; 19:23; 21:21; 22:4; 27:27; 31:12; Ecclesiastes 2:3, 17; 3:12; 4:15; 5:17, 19; 6:12; 7:2; 8:15; 9:3–4, 9; 10:19; Isaiah 4:3; 38:12, 16, 20; 49:18; Jeremiah 4:2; 5:2; 8:3; 12:16; 16:14–15; 21:8; 22:24; 23:7–8; 38:16; 44:26; 46:18; 52:33–34; Lamentations 3:53, 58; Ezekiel 5:11; 7:13; 14:16, 18, 20; 16:48; 17:16, 19; 18:3; 20:3, 31, 33; 33:11, 15, 27; 34:8; 35:6, 11; Daniel 12:2, 7; Hosea 4:15; Amos 8:14; Jonah 2:7; 4:3, 8; Zephaniah 2:9; Malachi 2:5.

[xv] Genesis 2:7; 7:15; Deuteronomy 12:1.

[xvi]             Cf. Deuteronomy 30:6, 15, 19-20; Ezekiel 3:18, 21; 18:17-32; 20:11.  Compare also Numbers 21:8-9 & John 3:14-16;  also Joshua 6:17 & James 2:25; Hebrews 11:31.

[xvii] Cf. Genesis 2:9, 17.

[xviii] Hosea 6:2; 1 Corinthians 15:4; cf. Job 19:25-27.

[xix] Amos 5:4, 6, 14.

[xx] Cf. Deuteronomy 5:33; 6:24; 16:20; Psalm 34:12-14; 41:2; Proverbs 3:2.

[xxi] Cf. Exodus 30:33, 38; 31:14; Leviticus 7:20, 21, 25, 27; 17:4, 9; 18:29; 19:8; 20:17, 18; 23:39; Numbers 9:13; 15:30; Isaiah 53:8; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 14:2; also Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; cf. Psalm 125:5.