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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, April 02, 2010

Fw: Imputed Righteousness Versus Transformational Righteousness

The following exchange took place by e-mail. As you can see, the members of the new Anglican Church in North America are as deficient in their understanding of the law and gospel as any liberal. For all practical purposes there is no difference. Most people are naturally born as pelagians. All the emphasis is on our holiness, our good works, our "transformation." Although it is true that the Protestant Reformers emphasized sanctification as much as anyone else, they were careful to establish justification by faith alone as the only ground and basis for our salvation. Sanctification follows from justification and not the other way around! Putting the cart before the horse is a good indication of heresy. The bottom line is that the vilest sinner can receive a full pardon the very moment he or she believes, apart from any subsequent good works. Good works are the evidence of true conversion and not the cause, ground or basis of our justification.
Charlie

Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 10:11 PM
Subject: Re: Imputed Righteousness Versus Transformational Righteousness

You wrote: "You think transformation trumps justification by faith alone."

Come on, Charlie, that is not what I wrote and not what I believe! Please re-read what I actually did write. It is amazing how you miss my very clear points. I said that they are inseparable--- one does not trump the other. You jump to conclusions without reading the whole thing.

No leader of the Reformation ever said that disobedience or lack of love or fruitlessness was unimportant. Just that it all starts with grace, and then faith (that grace makes possible). Obedience, fruit, and love follows. Inevitably, if the faith is real. No one in heaven will be untransformed. What does that tell you?


Is your faith real? Or are you just good at spouting words that suggest faith? Only God knows... I sure don't.


On Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 9:08 PM, Charlie J. Ray <cranmer1959@hotmail.com> wrote:
Bruce,

The Protestant Reformation was over this very issue. You think transformation trumps justification by faith alone. It does not. Transformation = sanctification. Our justification is objective and absolutely perfect because of Christ's active obedience (sinless life) credited to us and because of his sacrifice/atonement/propitiation for our sins on the cross. The fact is justification is ABSOLUTELY OBJECTIVE and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with our sanctification. Justification is a forensic declaration of not guilty and we receive a full pardon the moment we believe. Transformation is inherent in the heart and is absolutely IMPERFECT and therefore can NEVER be the basis or ground for our justification before God now or in the final judgment. Sanctification is infused in the heart and is the result of a true and lively faith.


The 39 Articles clearly say that good works naturally proceed from a "true and lively faith." However that is not the same thing as saying that justification is transformational or that our good works justify us. They do not. They are merely the "evidence" of a true and lively faith and are as evident as the fruit on a tree. Your problem is you want to say that your Anglo-Catholic friends are saved because they do good works. The bottom line is conservative Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics are as lost as the liberals who live in gross immorality. Scripture makes it plain that only those who trust in Christ alone for salvation will be saved. It is true that if there is no "true and lively faith," I.e. a living faith that shows evidence of true conversion, then there is no justifying faith present either. But that is not the same thing as saying that good works contribute anything at all to our justification before God. Sanctification is relative and progressive and always falls short of the mark of 100%. God does not grade on a curve. He expects you to be ABSOLUTELY SINLESS. If you sin even by thinking a sinful thought, you deserve hell. This is why salvation is ALL of grace from beginning to end.


In fact, it is your works righteousness that actually leads to antinomianism. When the focus is on you and your own goodness the next thing you know you don't need God's mercy anymore. You have crossed over from grace to Phariseeism. And that leaves you focusing on this life, on this present culture, and the here and now rather than on eternity. The real question is not how good are you but have you trusted in Christ and Christ alone to save you apart from your own good works or merits? If not, then you are lost. It's as simple as that.



I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8 ESV)



yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:16-20 ESV)


The fact that you are accusing me of antinomianism or lawlessness shows that I'm preaching the Gospel. Those who truly preach the Gospel are continually accused of antinomianism, although it is not true.


The irony here is that I uphold a higher moral standard than David Virtue who thinks that trans-sexuals are somehow justified in mutilating themselves. This is the beginning of the same liberalism you're protesting against.


It really does astonish me that you are 63, have graduated from an allegedly "reformed" seminary (Fuller), and you still do not have a "confessional" understanding of the doctrines of grace. Luther himself said that the true church stands or falls with the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Justification by faith alone is also taught in Articles 9-18 of the 39 Articles.



"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:10-14 ESV)



Until you come to see how sinful you are, Bruce, your soul is in danger of hell fire. There is absolutely nothing you contribute to your own salvation. It is completely a gift of God.


The peace of God be with you,


Charlie


Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:1-4 ESV)



Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:22 PM
Subject: Re: Imputed Righteousness Versus Transformational Righteousness



The two are intimately connected. I am sure you agree with this: No one who is sanctified has not already been justified. Yes, it all starts with justification by grace though faith.



I submit that everyone who is ultimately saved will have been both justified and sanctified. You seem to want to diminish and devalue sanctification beyond what scripture indicates.


(By the way, no one ever in my 63 years, except you, has ever accused me of being an RCC supporter.)


In the past, you have over-reacted to any hint of criticism by getting personal and rude. I hope that won't happen now. But that will not stop me from telling the truth: you are out of balance theologically.


I agree with your view of justification, it is very on target scripturally. However, you clearly want to avoid the other half of the issue that scripture also teaches. Your anti-catholic bias has blinded you; it has gotten in the way of your acceptance of the whole truth. I am not saying that the RCC view is more right than the Reformed view, it is not. But true ultimate reformation must incorporate both truths (justification and sanctification) to the degree that scripture does. No more, no less.


I can provide a lot of scriptures that make a very big deal about obedience (or "fruit of the spirit" or love) as vital to confirming the salvation process (John 15). Works don't save, but spiritual fruit confirm the reality of the faith that does save. "Saying" you have faith is a work that will not save. Having real faith always results in transformation and good works. (It is God working in us.) So faith and transformation are intimately connected and cannot be separated.


By the way, it is TEC that does not believe in the value of transformation: "God loves you just the way you are. Come and be accepted." But I hear the Word of God say, "Yes, I love you just the way you are, but I love you too much to leave you that way. Submit yourself to My transformational process."


Without faith, we can't get started, but faith is not the end of the process, it is only the beginning (1 Cor 13).



On Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 10:58 AM, Charlie J. Ray <cranmer1959@hotmail.com> wrote:

Well, no. It is not half right. It is 100% right. Sanctification and justification are distinct from each other. We're talking about justification, not sanctification. To confuse the two is to become Roman Catholic. I would suggest that you read Articles 9-18 in the 39 Articles and also read Cranmer's sermon, Necessary Doctrine: Justification by Faith Alone.
Charlie



Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: Imputed Righteousness Versus Transformational Righteousness



Absolutely correct:


From God's grace.....Christ's work at the Cross provided legal, forensic, imputed righteousness, which we must receive by faith.


But only half right: If such 'faith' does not change our hearts and if it does not transform our lives, then it was never real; we never really believed and received the gracious gift of forgiveness and Holy Spirit Life. Scripture is very clear about this as well. There are hundreds of scriptures to back this up (far more than for Paul's teaching on imputed righteousness, which I also believe).


- Bruce




On Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 9:31 AM, Charlie J. Ray <cranmer1959@hotmail.com> wrote:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.




2 comments:

John said...

There is so much here not found in the bible it's hard to even know where to begin, but I'll pick on one. Where does it say in the bible that justification is always 100% but sanctification is always imperfect?

No verse says that. And if you want to just make an assertion that justification is perfect because God did it, well, every second verse mentioning sanctification says that God does that too.

Charlie J. Ray said...

http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2009/07/chapter-four-teaching-of-articles-iii.html

John, it is appalling that those in Eastern Orthodoxy have such a limited knowledge of Holy Scripture. Scripture over and over tells us that we are sinners (Romans 3:23) and that Christ is sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Not only so but the Apostle Paul clearly says that he himself still struggles with sin (Romans 7).

God's standards are 100% obedience (Matthew 5:17-20). Anyone who falls short of that mark is deserving of hell. Paul has already established that all do fall short, even after conversion (Romans 3). So if Christ is 100% obedient and you are not, where does that leave you? (1 John 1:8-10).

Justification is imputed to us on the basis of Christ's active obedience in living a sinless life and on the basis of his dying for our sins and bearing the penalty for our sins in our place. (Romans 4; Galatians 2:16-21).

For further clarification you can refer to the Belgic Confession and proof texts and the Westminster Confession with proof texts.

Charlie

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