Pro-Life, Rhetoric, and Obama

For those who might be interested, here are four resources that speak to a Two-Kingdom perspective on our current political climate:


Mike Horton: How Pro-Life Are You?


Don Eberly: The Common Good and Common Grace


Jason Stellman: Tender Conscience of King Obamalech


Lee Irons: A Plea To Tone Down The Rhetoric

Gospel Reveals More of God’s Justice

Thomas Goodwin:    “…for in the gospel, and works of redemption, they came to see all that they saw before; and this more clearly and largely, wherein they see more power in Christ, ‘the power of God,’ 1 Cor. 1:24. In raising himself up from death to life, declared with power thereby to be the Son of God, Rom. 1:4, and also the exceeding greatness of his power in raising us up also, Eph. 1:19, as might easily be shewed greater than in the creation.

“Wherein they likewise see a greater and clearer instance and manifestation of his justice, in putting to death his own Son, taking on him to be a surety for sin, than if a world of worlds had been damned for over. And in that his Son also, they came to see a greater and more transcendent righteousness than ever appeared either in the law or is inherent in the angels; for if all their righteousness were put into one, it could but justify themselves, it could not satisfy for the least breach of the law in another. But in the gospel, and work of redemption, we see a righteousness of that breadth that is able to cover the sins of millions of worlds; of that length that it reacheth to eternity, and no sin in God’s people can wear it out or nullify the virtue of it.




Dead to the Law in Christ

The gist of it…Gentiles don’t have THE “written code” (Rom.2:27) but have THE “work” of the law on their heart, that is, no codified law of words but a functionality of right/wrong at work. There is a momentum within each and every person that reflects something of His maker’s original design, which is testified to by even their conduct (albeit not perfect) as its natural reaction to common injustice is retribution. Their consciences also bear witness to this reality in their inner man, though they do not credit God for such.

Those in Adam continue living according to the remnants of the first covenant made with man, that broken covt of works. Hence, fallen humanity limps along a path with some semblance of righteousness, and yet no law of Canaan or conscience will provide what it demands. These laws do not grant life but relentlessly demand what sinners cannot possibly render. Thus, *God did what the Law could not*, and He keeps on doing something within His people, even when they needlessly turn back to shadows and faded glory in hopes of becoming what they are.

God help us to understand that, what is obsolete (Mosaic covenant) is never to be resurrected, for it finds it’s end and incarnation in Chirst himself, the mediator of a better covenant.


Heart of Natural Law

Question:What exactly is written on the hearts of Gentiles in Romans 2? The entire Mosaic law or just part of it?”

Answer:  The Gentiles (all unbelievers) have a standard of righteousness (alluded to in Jn.16.8ff) written on their hearts, which is the *functional equivalent* or “work” (“Do this and live!”) of the Moasic order.

v12 All […Gentiles] who have sinned [which is ALL Gentiles] without the law [of Moses] will also perish without the law [of Moses]

v13 …the doers of the law [Law of Conscience (Gentiles) & Law of Moses (Jews)] who will be justified.

v14 …Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a LAW TO THEMSELVES, even though they do not have the law.


v15 They show that the WORK of the law is written on their hearts, while their CONSCIENCE also bears witness…


* More to come….


Right, apart from Law

“a righteousness from God has been made known apart from law.” (Rom.3.21)

CARSON:  Paul’s point…is that now, with the death and resurrection of Jesus, a righteousness from God has been made known apart from the law – covenant, the Law of Moses.  This does not mean that such righteousness was unanticipated.  Far from it:  “the Law and the Prophets” (i.e., holy Scripture) had testified to it, had borne witness to it.  In other words, “the righteousness of God” that has come to us through Jesus appeared independently from the law – covenant, but nevertheless the old law — indeed, the entire Hebrew Bible — bore witness to it and anticipated it.

Every Particle

Calvin:   Since we see that every particle of our salvation stands thus outside of us, why is that we still trust or glory in works?”

G’M:  Why?  Because since the Fall (by Design) we’re naturally wired for establishing justice independent of God and others.  Hence, the Gospel fastened hard upon our minds is the only daily remedy whereby we are both repelled by and rectify sin.

True Salvation is Entirely of God

Marshall:  “When you are truly saved, you rely totally on the merits of Christ’s blood, and not upon any works of your own. Faith is not a work that procures the favor of God because it is an act that is so righteous in and of itself. Faith is simply a hand that receives a gift, it is the eating and drinking of Christ Himself.”

God’s life-giving breath, the Gospel!

Clark:  “The faith, which apprehends Christ, is created through the preaching of the gospel. In this testimony God the Spirit is at work convicting sinners, drawing and uniting them to Christ for justification only by the imputed righteousness of Christ (sola imputata obedientia Christi) and working sanctification in them.”

Peace the World Can’t Give

Piper:  “[A]s Hodge goes on to say, that “our pardon is an act of justice”—an act based on Jesus having borne our sins (see 1 Pet. 2:24)—and yet it “is not mere pardon, but justification alone”—that is, our forevermore standing as righteous before God because we are clothed with Christ’s perfection—”that gives us peace with God.”

Merit: Right of Passage

Kline: “The ultimate refutation of (non-meritorious) theology is that it undermines the gospel of grace. All the arguments…to prove that Adam could not do anything meritorious would apply equally to the case of Jesus, the second Adam. …Moreover, the parallel which Scripture tells us exists between the two Adams would require the conclusion that if the first Adam could not earn anything, neither could the second. But, if the obedience of Jesus has no meritorious value, the foundation of the gospel is gone. If Jesus’ passive obedience has no merit, there has been no satisfaction made for our sins. If Jesus’ active obedience has no merit, there is no righteous accomplishment to be imputed to us. There is then no justification-glorification for us to receive as a gift of grace by faith alone.”

Center Of It All

Irons: “I agree that Paul’s doctrine of justification is not the center of his theology. The center of Paul’s theology is the gospel of God’s Son (Rom 1:1-2), centered on the cross and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:3-4). But in order to explicate what Christ has done for us in his death and resurrection, the doctrine of justification plays an absolutely essential role. The primitive Palestinian church confessed that “Christ died for our sins.” Paul the theologian came along and fleshed out what that means: He died and rose again so that the guilt of our sins might be removed and that we might be made legally fit to have a share in the inheritance.”

Necessary distinctions…

Sum of Tim Suffield thoughts:

We are often taught that we’re “justified by faith”
but, if not clarified, it’s a false statement.

We are justified by our faith, yes;
but moreover, justified through our faith.

WORKS = relying on one’s self
FAITH = looking outside ourselves and our faith,
a looking unto God alone to do the saving work.

FAITH = an acceptance and a certainty of salvation…
– not by our act of faith
– but by an act of grace.

We are then…
– not just ‘justified by faith’
– but ‘justified by grace through faith’!


“If justification is secured on the ground of works and as a matter of simple justice (as in the pre-redemptive covenant), glorification will not be by grace. And if justification is by grace through faith (as it is under the gospel) glorification will not be by works. Therefore, with respect to God’s total dealings with the first Adam and (in the eternal covenant of the Father and Son) with the second Adam, the operative principle is works not grace and God’s response to obedience is one of justice, no more, no less. To suggest that God’s reward might have been something less than was proffered is to suggest that God might have acted unjustly.” [emph. — mm]M.G. Kline


“An encounter with Satan was a critical aspect of the probationary crisis for each of the two Adams and to enter into judicial combat against this enemy of God and to vanquish him in the name of God was the covenantal assignment that must be performed by the servant of the Lord as his “one act of righteousness.” And it was the winning of this victory of righteousness by the one that would be imputed to the many as their act of righteousness and as their claim on the grant of the kingdom proffered in the covenant. ” [emph. — mm]M.G. Kline


“Indeed, the principle of works forms the foundation of the gospel of grace. If meritorious works could not be predicated of Jesus Christ as second Adam, then obviously there would be no meritorious achievement to be imputed to his people as the grounds of their justification-approbation. The gospel invitation would turn out to be a mirage. We who have believed on Christ would still be under condemnation. The gospel truth, however, is that Christ has performed the one act of righteousness and by this obedience of the one the many are made righteous(Rom.5.18-19)….”M.G. Kline

[emph. mine — mm]


Grace everywhere = Works everywhere

Dug up part of a conversation on the Yahoo! BT List.

Music to my ears!

W.K. Howard:

“Some of us believe a glaring weakness in some areas of reformed RHBT is a failure to affirm the Covenant of Works with Adam and in the Mosaic economy. This isn’t merely a systematic problem, but a BT-exegetical one, IMHO. Salvation history isn’t merely a story of God’s love and grace, but also of his forensic justice.”

Chad Bresson’s reply:

“Preach it, brother! This is one of the reasons I was seeking BT questions for a revamped Bible exam. I am finding more and more candidates coming out of various seminaries who want to inject grace into the covenant of works. A system with grace everywhere winds upbeing a system of grace nowhere and works everywhere.”