Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Let's Think about Romans 6:23 in Its Context for a "Gospel Presentation"

Just a few months ago, I gave analysis to an online podcast type video plan of salvation done by Kurt Skelly (pt. 1, pt. 2).   My purpose was to show the perversion of the gospel found among independent Baptists.  Men accept it, and they shouldn't.  Here's my paragraph from my analysis about what he said about Romans 6:23:
Romans 6:23 doesn't tell how to "receive the gift of eternal life."  Skelly though tells you that receiving the gift of eternal life is "trusting Jesus as your Savior," that's how you receive it. Romans 6:23 doesn't say that, but it is what Skelly reads into the verse.  Since "receiving the gift of eternal life" is "trusting Jesus as your Savior," then how do you "trust Jesus as your Savior?"  You "call upon the name of the Lord to be saved," which means "praying a scripted prayer to trust Jesus as your Savior."  This instruction follows from something that wasn't in the verse in the first place.  The first step isn't biblical and then none follow from the other.  If someone does any of what Skelly teaches, it's because he trusts what Skelly is telling him is true.  He's not starting with the Bible, but with Skelly.
My point for this post isn't again to deal per se with Skelly's presentation.  Many men use Romans 6:23 in a "Romans Road" of salvation, but they are likely not thinking about what Romans 6:23 means.  You will not get the right interpretation of Romans 6:23 by pulling it out of its context.

Romans 6:23 works in a plan of salvation.  It does.  Usually it is used for the second point in the plan, something about the "penalty for sin."  The penalty for sin is "death," and someone turns to Romans 6:23, which says, "the wages of sin is death."  There we go.  It works.  The wages of sin is death. That is true.  Do we know what Romans 6:23 is saying though?  Most, I believe, couldn't care less about that.  They like how it reads, so they can use it like they want.  It comes in very handy for them for what they want with it.

In Skelly's presentation, he also parked on the "gift of God" aspect of Romans 6:23, to turn salvation into "asking for a gift."  You ask for a gift and God gives it.  That is false.  That's not salvation, but it is a common turn from Romans 6:23 that many in evangelicalism, fundamentalism, and independent Baptists take.  I get it too.  They want to simplify the plan to the extent that they get professions, that is, they get results.  People want to receive a gift.  The idea that it is a gift is very appealing to someone, so this offer brings more often a positive response.

The idea here is, isn't God good?  He wants to give you a gift.  How could you refuse a gift from God?  And guess what?  The gift is eternal life.  Who wouldn't want eternal life?  Come on!  Take the gift!  How can you refuse the best gift ever, eternal life, when God wants to give it to you?

I'm pretty sure that the statistics, the percentages, on prayers prayed go exponentially upward with this approach.  Who do you think wants to accept a gift?  About everyone.  If the gift is eternal life, who wouldn't want to have that?  No one.  People use Romans 6:23 because it seems to sit there right on a proverbial platter for using it in that way.  Someone doesn't have to receive his wages for sin, because instead he could just take this gift of eternal life.   This simplifies salvation and provides the lure for asking for the gift, which is praying the prayer.  The whole process of which I speak is very horrible.  Horrible is bad.  Very horrible is worse.  I can't use enough "very" in front of horrible.

Is Romans 6:23 about salvation?  It isn't in its context, unless you are including sanctification as an aspect of one's justification, which is true.  Sanctification comes out of justification, and since that is true, Romans 6:23 could be about salvation, but in a technical sense it is not.  Romans 6:23 is speaking to already saved people.  They are already justified.  The audience of a Romans 6:23 is saved people and Romans 6:23 is helping those already saved people in a church at Rome in their sanctification.  The Apostle Paul wants the saved audience in Rome to understand how they are to live the Christian life.

The believers in the church at Rome had a problem in their sanctification that Paul dealt with in Romans 6.  Many through the centuries since Romans 6 was written have had a similar problem to the church at Rome.  Salvation was by grace, but they interpreted or used their grace in the wrong way.  They misunderstood grace as it applied to their own practical righteousness, its relationship to their Christian living.

Paul writes about the righteousness of God in Romans.  Righteousness comes by grace through faith, which is the gospel.  The righteousness that comes by grace through faith should also be lived for a Christian.  Salvation doesn't stop for a Christian when he is justified. He keeps being saved by grace, which keeps producing righteousness.  However, he also needs to cooperate with the salvation through the gospel.  He has a responsibility to keep living by grace through faith the life of righteousness to which he has been saved.

I'm only going to go as far back as the previous few verses (vv. 20-23) in Romans 6 in order to understand verse 23 in its context:
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The people to whom Paul is speaking "were the servants of sin" and "free from righteousness" (v. 20). They "are now ashamed" (v. 21) of that former state and practice.  When they were "the servants of sin," what fruit did they have from that?  Their fruit, which was sin, led to its end, which was "death" (v. 21).  Now that they are in a different state since their justification, "being made free from sin, and become servants to God" (v. 22), they have their "fruit unto holiness" (v. 22).  That means they live a life after the nature of God, which is righteousness.  The end of the former fruit, sin, was death, and the end of their present fruit, righteousness, is "everlasting life" (aionios zoe, v. 22).

Romans 6 explains why someone would not live in sin even though he has saving grace in his life. To sum it all up in v. 23, death is the payment or wages of sin.  The servant of sin has earned through his works, his evil deeds, the wages of sin, which is death.  He was paid what he deserved.  The servant of righteousness, the servant of "Jesus Christ our Lord," who has Jesus as His Master, doesn't earn eternal life.  He receives it by grace through faith, so it is a gift of God.  Death is a wage of sin and "eternal life" (aionios zoe, v. 23, identical to "everlasting life") is a gift of God.  The former is earned and the latter is not.

Upon faith in Christ, God set a man free from his slavery to sin, the end of which is eternal life.  He doesn't serve sin anymore, which is why he has eternal life.  Servants of sin die and servants of righteousness live.  If someone takes Romans 6:23 in its context, he can't separate it from repentance, habitual righteousness, the fruit of holiness, and Jesus Christ our Lord.  Someone should know that if he is a servant of sin, he doesn't have the gift of eternal life.  The end of the fruit of holiness is everlasting life.

Let's say you know someone who is living in habitual sin.  You ask him if he is saved?  He says, "Yes, because I received the gift of eternal life."  According to Romans 6:23, the gift of eternal life is a life of holiness.  He isn't living a life of holiness.  He obviously doesn't have the gift of eternal life, because that is slavery to righteousness that keeps on going right into eternity.  The life and the righteousness or mutually inclusive.

To pull the language "gift of God" out of Romans 6:23 and then say it teaches to pray to God and ask Him for the gift of eternal life misses or more likely twists or perverts the entire point of Romans 6:23.  The slavery to sin is the problem.  Slavery to sin is the habitual practice of sin.  A person practicing sin is earning the wages of sin, which is death.  Obviously, the person no longer a slave to sin, because of the gift of God, practices holiness, which end is eternal life.

32 comments:

Gary said...

I have been "screamibng" about this for years. I never use Rom. 6:23 for evangelism because the context won't allow it. Obviously, the first 22 verses are addressed to Christians, as is all of ch. 7 and 8. We do unbelievers a great disservice by using verses out of context. Thank you for giving us an honest evaluation of this misuse.

Jeff Voegtlin said...

Kent, the more I've thought about this verse and the idea of eternal life and how it is related to salvation, I'm thinking that eternal life is an "extra" to the "transaction."

Coming from the human perspective, in salvation, I turn to Jesus (who is both Lord and Christ) in faith and repentance; God accepts me in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, pardons my sin, and renews fellowship with me. In order for me, a human, to fellowship with God, I need to have a spiritual, that is, heavenly, that is, eternal life. God gives me eternal life, making it possible to have fellowship with Him now and for eternity.

I'm not sure all of that is entirely accurate, but I think it is closer to the truth than what IFBs, myself included, have often believed.

I guess I'm thinking that salvation should not be focussed so much on the individual getting eternal life as much as on receiving forgiveness and pardon by recognizing God's true place in their life and changing their mind/heart/will about Him.

Does any of that need correction? Thanks,

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jeff,

What you are saying is true. Eternal life is qualitative as it is quantitative. Eternal life is a life of righteousness, serving the Master, Jesus, with the fruit of holiness. It's good to think about. Thanks for commenting.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary,

Thanks.

Jim Camp said...

Forgive me from going slightly off topic,

Romans 6: 1-14 deal specifically with habitual sin (continue in sin, live any longer therein), excused by grace abounding. This is answered clearly by the fact that we are dead to sin, & are to recon this as fact in our life.
6: 15-23 is specifically about "shall we sin" excused by not being under the law.
Robertson has it as a slip back to our former servitude, an occasional act of sin as opposed to a life of sin dealt with in vs. 1-14.
So I am certainly open to all help, for I lose the logic of it.....
Vs. 16 - The master you serve produces your outcome - sin / death, obedience / righteousness
Vs. 17 - The Romans had chosen to obey from the heart, that form of doctrine I think is referencing the gospel.
Vs. 18 - Their salvation made them free from sin & a servant of righteousness.
Vs. 19 - In a similar manner as they once yielded to sin & iniquity, they should now yield to righteousness, which is unto holiness (sanctification)
Vs. 20 - Before salvation they were enslaved to sin & free from righteousness
Vs. 21 - The fruit of that life was shameful & the end of it is death
Vs. 22 - Their new fruit is holiness (sanctification), & ends in everlasting life

Please forgive the intensity of my denseness. I don't see how this answers the question of sinning with the excuse of not being under the law???
I see how it answers explains we are under a new master, which produces new fruit, & that the old fruit in our life was shameful & lead to death, but I still can't find my way thru the fog.

Thanks for any help.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Gary,

Unless I'm mistaken, Pastor Brandenburg's point was that somebody who is living a wicked life has not received the gift, and cannot comfort himself with Romans 6:23. I do not believe that his analysis proves that it is illegitimate to use Romans 6:23 in evangelism. People who are wicked will receive the wages of their sin, spiritual death. It is like Romans 8:13 – those who do not mortify will receive spiritual death.

Pastor Brandenburg, do you agree?

Bill Hardecker said...

I use Rom. 6:23 in evangelism frequently. I understand the context of Rom. 6 and that it is about holiness. I don't think context precludes it's usefulness in evangelism, though. I don't think this post is saying that, neither. My disagreement has to do with an earlier comment by my friend, Pastor Webb. Rom. 6:23 has so much to say in a single verse that it really stands, in my estimation, as a magnificent verse. You have a triple contrast: Sin (personified, which personification begins in ch. 5:21) vs. God, wages vs. gift, and death vs. eternal life. A common understanding is that one gets death because of sin - they read: "the wages FOR sin" which is true, but the verse didn't say that. It says the "wages OF sin." Sin is personified as a master, a dominator, a ruler. Serve sin and sin will ration or stipend or pay death. Thankfully, sin's dominion or rule or lordship is graciously cancelled by the God through the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, serve God (through Christ) and He graciously gifts us with eternal life. Salvation is not so much a choice between Heaven or Hell, as it is a choice between sin and God. Who would you have reign over you?

Bill Hardecker said...

By the way. I regret to say, but need to say, that I assumed that Gary is Pastor Gary Webb. If it is, then my comments remain. If not, then, I apologize to "Gary" and to Pastor Webb. I ask for both of your forgiveness. If Gary happens to be Gary Webb, then, hello from the beautiful rolling hills of South Central, PA. If it isn't Pastor Webb then, hello, I too, like you, appreciate this post and the misuse of Rom. 6:23.

Lance Ketchum said...

Yes, the context supports that the "wages of sin is death" to the Christ-life being produced in the believers life (Romans 6:11-13). The gift of eternal life is the present gift of the Christ-life produced through grace enabling of the indwelling Spirit through full surrender. The text is about the practical sanctification of a yielded believer in synergism ("fellowship") with the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello,

I almost 100% sure that "Gary" is not "Gary Webb." I said, "Thanks, Gary" because I didn't want to read into his comment without saying the same things that some of the others are saying to him. I also was interested if others would make a comment to him.

He doesn't use Romans 6:23. There are other verses to use to make the point people usually do from Romans 6:23, so if he doesn't use it, because he doesn't want to take it out of context, I didn't want to spend time arguing with that.

Is there an argument to use it? Yes. The wages of sin is still death. That's almost exclusively the point I take from it, when I do use it in evangelism, but accompanied with many other verses on the penalty for sin.

It is true, as Thomas was writing, that the point of my post is to show that the actual message of Romans 6:23 contradicts the typical false gospel that is preached, using Romans 6:23 to get there. That is almost entirely the point of my post. I wasn't writing it to encourage people not to use Romans 6:23.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jim,

I'm heading out somewhere, but I don't mind interacting with your comment, but it will take more time than I have, and so I can't answer it right now, because of time. I'll come back later.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Lance,

I agree.

Gary said...

Sorry for any confusion regarding who I am. I am not Gary Webb. I pastored the same church, which I planted, for 37 years in NW Washington state before going into pulpit supply. I appreciate all the comments to my original comment. My response would be the old line about a text without a context is a pretext. Paul certainly did not have evangelism in mind when he wrote this verse.

I agree that the death spoken of in v. 23 is spiritual death. Every time a believer sins, he is spiritually separated from God in fellowship. That is spiritual death. He is not living out the benefits of eternal life, which is the life of Christ in us, Who indwells us. cf. John 17:3, I John 1:1-5; 5:20. See also Col. 1:28; II Cor. 13:10.

The sin issue of unbelievers is not dealt with in Rom. 6-8.

Again, thanks for the input on my comment.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Gary,

I agree that Romans 6 is written for believers for sanctification. It's a major point of my post, albeit not the main point. However, I see v. 23 different than what you are saying. I can't explain "death" as a "break from fellowship with God" there, even for believers. The unbeliever, the slave to sin, is the one who suffers the wages of sin.

V. 23 is axiomatic, and it functions as the summation of the entire argument. If a person is a slave to sin, it works to death, and I believe it is eternal death as opposed to everlasting life, not loss of fellowship. Somebody gets just what he deserved in the end. I don't want to be on the slave to sin end of the scenario. I want to be in the gift of God, eternal life, end.

For everything that God does in justification, I have to cooperate with what God is doing, and I can because of His gift.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Gary and Lance,

Could you please give me the clear, unambiguous text that says that believers--saved people--suffer spiritual death whenever they sin? I can give you ones that say that lost people are in a state of spiritual death. Where are your texts?

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thomas,

What about what Lance wrote reads like he believes that "death" is a spiritual death of the believer, i.e., separation from God? I read that in Gary for sure, but I tried to see it in Lance's comment (after reading your comment), but I didn't see it.

I'm with you that that "death" is not some kind of death for a believer. I didn't read that in Lance though, unless I was missing something in technical language that you could read, because of your reading.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Lance said:

the "wages of sin is death" to the Christ-life being produced in the believers life (Romans 6:11-13).

But the death is spiritual, eternal death in the lake of fire. The Christian does not in any way experience the "death" of 6:23, except for physical death.

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thomas,

You must be implying that he is implying that death is loss of fellowship for the believer. I guess I would need a little more explanation from him to make that conclusion. The eternal life is the Christ life produced in a believer, abandoned by the unbeliever, left to the wages of sin. That's the most generous view of what he said, but it's possible that he is saying what you are saying, I would agree. I'll await that.

Bill Hardecker said...

Lance,
I have only ever heard pro-Keswick leaning speakers use the term "Christ-life." I believe that what they mean by the phrase is that Jesus Christ lives the Christian's life for him. The Christian is therefore passive, that is, non-active in the process of sanctification. If and when the "Christ-life" takes place in a believer's life then who is to blame for his subsequent sins?

KJB1611 said...

Here is a study of the Keswick view of Galatians 2:20 and Colossians 3:4:

http://faithsaves.net/galatians-220/

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi,

That's why I asked if there was technical language. I recognize Keswick unbiblical teaching, but I don't recognize the technical language of Keswick like Billy brought into his comment.

I actually don't imagine Lance being Keswick, so it would really, really surprise me. I've never met him in person, but I read his gospel tract and it is very, very not Keswick. But when I asked for technical language, I didn't find out until Billy mentioned some. Without knowing that technical language, I stand by the statement I've made about what he wrote.

I'll await finding out what he means by Christ-life. That doesn't stick out to me, because I'm assuming I have the life of Christ by faith, which is eternal life. That's how I read it.

I skimmed the Thomas article and it still seems different than what Lance wrote. He didn't say Christ was living the life. Maybe he means that, but I see surrender to the Holy Spirit in there, which is not let go and let God. Again, I'll await.

Gary said...

Kent and all,

I am rather surprised to hear your perspective on the spiritual death of Rom. 6:23. I was taught in both Bible college and seminary (both Fundamental Baptist) that believers can and do experience spiritual separation from God in fellowship whenever we sin. It is the standard view. Otherwise, one would have to argue that spiritual death as a result for sin pertains to unbelievers but somehow stops being a wage for believers.

I am asked to a clear verse to prove my position. How about Rom. 6:23! When we as believers sin, we return--in a sense--to conditions we had before being saved. Let me illustrate:
According to James 4:1ff, when we as Christians become world-lovers, we become again God's enemies...a pre-conversion, pre-reconciliation condition. We're still saved but treated as God's enemy because of the hostility we have created with our friendship with His enemy-the world.

In a similar way, when we as Christians sin, we experience the condition of spiritual separation from God in fellowship. Rom. 6:23 has nothing to do with the second death. It is exclusively pertaining to the state/condition of our lack of progress in sanctification.

Again, those of you who are arguing for using 6:23 for evangelism are obliterating the context of the verse and the purpose for which Paul wrote it. It is addressed to Christians about Christians, not to unsaved about how to be saved.

Hopefully, this clarifies my viewpoint.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Gary,

I believe Romans 6:23 is most often misused in evangelism, which is why I wrote the post. I'm not saying, however, that it can't be used, because I believe that the argument is from the end of the one a slave to sin is death.

Putting that aside for a moment, because it isn't my purpose to argue for using Romans 6:23 in evangelism, I want to speak to this one idea that Romans 6 says that believers face the wages of sin. We have to see Romans 6 in the context of the rest of scripture on this. God's Word won't contradict itself.

Ephesians 2:5, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ." "Hath quickened," aorist tense, completed action. If it is completed action, then believers have no prospect of death anymore.

Even clearer is Jesus in John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
"Is passed from death unto life." Perfect tense, metabaino, action completed in the past, ongoing results. These are the same words, thanatos, death, and zoe, life, as in Romans 6:23. When someone believes in Jesus Christ, he can't go back to spiritual death again. He is eternally alive spiritually.

I've not heard what you are teaching before. If I were to go to any place to defend it, except that I don't think this passage does defend it, it would be James 1:15, "sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." I don't believe the point in James 1:15 is about believers or unbelievers, just that all sin ever produces is death. 1 Corinthians 11 and 1 John 5:16 say that they produce physical death for a believer.

Once a believer has spiritual life, he can't go back to spiritual death. That is permanent. I could argue that even further than what I did above.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Can we not also say that sin does not "finish" the believer, only the unbeliever, in James 1:15, because the believer puts sin to death, not the other way around, Romans 8:13-14?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thomas,

I think it is true, what you are saying. Sin, brought to completion, brings forth death. In other words, sin might fall short of that completion, and not bring forth death, because of the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. However, one could also argue that physical death finishes everyone in that kind of axiomatic way, and thanatos is used for physical death as well. It doesn't say anything about life, zoe, though. Where the Bible does say something about it, it says that one doesn't go back to spiritual death once he's received spiritual life.

SCH said...

Kent and Thomas - Is it safe to say that those who are regenerate do not need to be concerned about sin killing them? Does Romans 6:23 imply this? I apologize if it seems like i'm just reiterating you point but I think you are teaching truth and want to understand it more fully. When Gary wrote, " It is addressed to Christians about Christians, not to unsaved about how to be saved." it confused me. Why?


Thank you.

Stephen

KJB1611 said...

Dear Stephen,

Yes, no believer will get spiritual death as the wages of his sin. Christ took that in his place, and he gets the gift, eternal life, Hallelujah!

Gary said...

May I try one more time to clarify this important matter. First of all, KJB1611, how can you say that sin doesn't pay wages of death when Rom. 6:23, clearly written to believers, says that it does. May I encourage you to read the verse again in its context. True, eternal life is the present possession of all believers, but remember that someone can be dead and alive at the same time, as Paul declares in I Tim. One of the four axioms of death is that one can be alive physically and dead spiritually, regardless of their relationship to God.

On that point, we must be clear as to what death is, because we all learned it in Bible college, seminary or sitting in church. Death is separation. Physical death is separation of the soul and spirit from the body which everyone will experience unless raputred first.

Spiritual death is separation from God in two ways. For the unbeliever, it is separation from God in relationship. For the believer, it is separation from God in fellowship.

Again, sin pays wages to whoever sins, regardless of one's spiritual condition. Wages are the consequences one reaps for one's actions. One cannot argue that sin pays wages of spiritual death only to the lost, but stops paying wages of spiritual death once we're saved. You may want to review Gal. 6:7-8, where Paul declares in another way that choices have consequences. If we sow to our sinful nature, we reap corruption. What is corruption but a metaphor for death, as Paul notes in I Cor. 15.

Please keep in mind that when a believer sins, he erects a wall of separation in fellowship with God. Sin is the barrier. That separation--in fellowship only--is spiritual death...spiritual separation. Death is separation. Separation is death.

Sin is divided into three categories: 1. Sin Guilt/condemnation, which results in physical death. cf. Rom. 5:12. 2. The Sin Nature, which results in spiritual death. Rom. 6:23, and others. 3. The Sinful acts, which results in the Second Death. cf. Rev. 20. When Adam sinned, he potentially received all three. Spiritual death the moment he sinned, physical death when he died, and he would have reaped the Second Death had he not accepted God's sacrifice.

When Christ died on the cross, He died for all three aspects of sin. Now, if a believer still has a sin nature, that sin nature, emphasized all through Rom. 6, especially v. 1-14, noted by the articular use of sin, that sinful nature still pays wages of loss of fellowship for us. That's separation between us and God. That's spiritual death.

Well, I've rattled on long enough. I'm sure there are bigger fish to fry on Kent's blog than this one, but I at least wanted to take one more stab at trying to make sense of it all.

Blessings to each of you.

SCH said...

Thanks Thomas.

I guess it reads like a dumb question - i wanted to run my expression by you because you initially noticed the problem in what was being said. I think I'm just rather stunned to see someone claiming that the only class of people to whom Romans 6:23 applies are those who don't at this point or ever again have to be concerned about spiritual death. It seems way off. (I agree with Kent that it doesn't tell HOW to be saved - just is a link in the chain of proof that salvation is desirable)

Stephen

Lance Ketchum said...

The issue before us in Romans 6:1-23 has to do with what is known as Federal Headship. In the text, we have two different Federal Headships before us.

1. The Federal Headship of the first Adam and the condemnation of all those that descend from that Federal Headship and the complete corruption of the life of every individual that continues to live under that Federal Headship, including the redeemed.
2. The new Federal Headship of Jesus Christ, the “last Adam,” and the salvation of all those that descend from that new Federal Headship “in Christ” “by grace through faith.” The baptism with the Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit creates a new union under the new Federal Headship of Christ. This union is eternal and is positionally complete “in Christ.” Practically, this new union makes the production of God-kind righteousness possible through the filling of the Spirit or “the unity of the Spirit” as the saved believer completely yields his will to the indwelling Spirit of God.

Lance Ketchum said...

These two Federal Headships are the subject matter of the perfectionism teaching (positional, progressive, and permanent sanctification/perfection) of the Apostle Paul that begins in Romans 5:1 transitioning from the doctrines of the propitiation of God and the justification of believers and going through Romans chapter 8. The subject matter then is picked up again in Romans chapter 12 and goes through the end of the epistle.
The first aspect of the believer’s perfection/sanctification “in Christ” is positional. This means that in the Federal Headship of Christ through the New Birth into the New Creation every “born again” believer has such an intricate and intimate union with Christ that everything that has already happened to Christ actually has happened to the believer positionally. Under the Federal Headship of the first Adam through procreation, all of us are sinners by nature, condemned, and hopelessly spiritually dead in trespasses and sin. Under the new Federal Headship of the last Adam, Christ Jesus, all believers through the New Creation have positionally been crucified with Him, died with Him, buried with Him, are resurrected/glorified with Him, and are already seated with Him at the right hand of the Father.

“1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance {perfect confidence} of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete {pleroo; another Greek word referring to a full or finished work} in him {in that you have been positionally immersed into the New Creation and the “body of Christ” by the baptism with the Holy Spirit}, which is the head {new Federal Headship of the last Adam} of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism {Spirit baptism; I Cor. 12:13}, wherein {in that Spirit baptism into the New Creation “in Christ”} also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened {positionally resurrected and glorified} together with him, having forgiven {gratuitously pardoned} you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it {vicariously; I Peter 2:24 & 3:18} to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:1-15).

Lance Ketchum said...

When we speak of the doctrine of Federal Headship, the common term is Lordship. However, this term is usually understood to refer to the Lordship of Christ in that He is God. As the title Lord is applied to Jesus the Christ, it is used in relationship to His theanthropicity (the union of God and man through the incarnation).

In the context of the Christ-life of Romans chapter six through eight, this is synergistic and not monergistic. This is the meaning of the Greek word translated "fellowship" in the KJB. Understanding this is actually an answer to the false teachings of both Calvinism in Calvin's progressive justification (chapter 14 of his Institutes) as opposed to progressive sanctification and Keswick's and Wesley's second blessing theology.