Clark Quick Quote

Any ethic to prove acceptable must, at least in my opinion, provide room for one principle among others, which Kant would sure to deny, viz. each individual should always seek his own personal good.  Such a principle is usually designated egoistic, and egoism usually carries unpleasant connotations.  Yet when unnecessary implications are avoided and misunderstandings removed, it is my opinion that egoism can withstand criticism. A universalism, like [Jeremy] Bentham’s for instance, finds embarrassment in considering the possible incompatibility of an individuals’ good with the good of the community.  Kant, representing a different system, is forced to resort to elements discordant with the rest of his philosophy when he considers the possible conflict between an individual’s good and the same individual’s duty.  It is true Kant attempts to harmonize duty and good by providing a Deus ex machina to reward duty, but he makes hope of that reward immoral.

Christ on the other hand, did not think it immoral to seek one’s own good.  If you judge that Hebrews 12:2, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,” does not warrant any conclusion as to the nature of Christ’s motives in undertaking the work of redemption, still we think we can insist that both Christ and the Apostles made abundant use of hope and fear in appealing for converts. So if anyone reproach Christianity as being egoistic and based on fear, partially, ask the objector if fear and self-interest are or are not worthy motives for preferring orange juice to carbolic acid for breakfast. The Bible appeals directly to fear and self-interest; it teaches that absolute destruction awaits him who rejects Christ; and it also teaches that although the Christian my have temporary tribulations, he ultimately loses nothing but gains everything in accepting Christ.

Kant and Old Testament Ethics, 1932

UPDATE:  Here is an excellent related piece by Brandon Adams on self-interest.


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44 Comments on “Clark Quick Quote”

  1. Kris Jones Says:

    Thanks for that, Sean. By the way, did TF re-publish the source book for that quote? I am curious because I have in my family philosophers of the Kantian kind and I would like to answer some of the assertions regarding the normative qualities of Kant’s system. I have Clark’s “Thales to Dewey”, so I should first go to that, but I am, at heart, a collector so when I saw “1932” I began to salivate like some Pavlovian pup…
    Or maybe some of your readers might respond.

  2. speigel Says:

    Essay is reprinted in “Essays on Ethics and Politics” found here: http://www.trinitylectures.org/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=77

  3. Sean Gerety Says:

    It also can be found as an appendix to John Robbins’ Without a Prayer: Ayn Rand and the Close of Her System.

  4. Hugh Says:

    Interestingly, Piper and Edwards say similar things.

    It is in our best interest to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness!

    GHC reminds us here* of Matt. 10:28.

    *”The Bible appeals directly to fear and self-interest; it teaches that absolute destruction awaits him who rejects Christ…”

  5. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    I know you guys regard C.S. Lewis as not being genuinely Christian, but here’s a link to his famous sermon “The Weight of Glory” where he makes the same observation that Clark does.
    http://www.verber.com/mark/xian/weight-of-glory.pdf

    I also know that you guys think that John Piper has heretical tendencies. But here’s a link to his book “Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist” where he builds on both Lewis’ and Edwards’ insights.
    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/OnlineBooks/ByTitle/1594_Desiring_God/

    Both radically changed my life when i was a young Christian.

    Btw, while I’m a Van Tillian, would anyone know a Scripturalist and/or Clarkian review and critique of John Piper’s book “Future Grace”?
    sample of the first 3 chapters:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/OnlineBooks/ByTitle/1729_Future_Grace_Sample/

  6. Sean Gerety Says:

    Btw, while I’m a Van Tillian, would anyone know a Scripturalist and/or Clarkian review and critique of John Piper’s book “Future Grace”?

    Hi Annoyed. You came to the right place. See John Robbins’ review of FG at:

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/197a-PiedPiper.pdf

  7. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    Sean, thanks for the link. I’ve browsed that article by Robbins before but not thoroughly yet. I will this weekend. However, I recall that he doesn’t do an in-depth review of Piper’s book. Also that Robbins seems to imply that we don’t receive rewards for good works (by God’s grace) done after justification. Yet, many Reformed theologians have said that we do. For example, John Gerstner (building on the work by Jonathan Edwards and puritans before even him) has said the following:

    Christians will receive rewards in heaven for every one of their imperfect “good” works for a very good reason. Those post-justification good works are not necessary for heaven because Jesus Christ purchased heaven for those in Him by faith. The works are necessary to prove the genuineness of professed faith but they are not necessary for earning heaven. They are real “works of super-erogation,” if you wish. Anyone who goes to heaven does so for the merit of Christ’s work alone, apart from any merit in any and all of his own works of obedience. If faith could exist apart from works, which it cannot, the believer could go to heaven without ever doing one good work. As it is, he goes to heaven without one iota of merit in anything and everything he does. But every post-justification good work he ever does will merit, deserve, and receive its reward in heaven.

    You protest, “But post-justification works have sin in them, and therefore cannot merit any reward.” You forget that their guilt of sin has been removed. Moreover, do you dare impugn the justice of God by saying that He would “reward” what did not deserve reward? (P.S. I confess my own and Augustine’s past error in using the oxymoron: “rewards of grace.”)

    In conclusion, faith, as union with Christ, possesses Christ’s righteousness which justifies perfectly forever. Being true faith, it is inseparable from works which contribute zero to justification. But being unnecessary for heaven (which Christ’s merit alone purchases), works are meritorious and the Christian is now to leap for joy because every one of his weakest of works will deservedly receive an everlasting reward in heaven.

    http://www.apuritansmind.com/justification/GerstnerJohnJustification.htm

    Or as Augustine said, rewards are “God’s crowning His own gifts” (paraphrase). That is, rewards are God blessing the works we do by the power of His grace.

    That’s the premise of Piper’s book Future Grace and his strange sounding phrase “conditional unmerited grace”.

    Anyway, I’ll read Robbins’ review. While I have some disagreements with the late (and beloved) Dr. John Robbins, I’ve learned a great deal from his writings and audio files. I do know some of the (IMHO) minor problems with Piper’s theology. I’m sure Dr. Robbins will explain why they’re probably more serious than I think.

  8. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    Here’s a quote from Calvin’s Institutes book II chapter 3 section 11 where Calvin seems to affirm that we are rewarded for faithfulness with more grace as Gerstner and Piper have said. “For, besides teaching that our gratitude for the first grace and our legitimate use of it is rewarded by subsequent supplies of grace, its abettors add that, after this, grace does not operate alone, but only co-operates with ourselves. As to the former, we must hold that the Lord, while he daily enriches his servants, and loads them with new gifts of his grace, because he approves of and takes pleasure in the work which he has begun, finds that in them which he may follow up with larger measures of grace. To this effect are the sentences, “To him that has shall be given.” “Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things,” (Mt. 25:21, 23, 29; Luke 19:17, 26). But here two precautions are necessary. It must not be said that the legitimate use of the first grace is rewarded by subsequent measures of grace, as if man rendered the grace of God effectual by his own industry, nor must it be thought that there is any such remuneration as to make it cease to be the gratuitous grace of God. I admit, then, that believers may expect as a blessing from God, that the better the use they make of previous, the larger the supplies they will receive of future grace; but I say that even this use is of the Lord, and that this remuneration is bestowed freely of mere good will.”

    I would also highly recommend Erwin Lutzer’s book “Your Eternal Reward: Triumph and Tears at the Judgment Seat of Christ”. While he’s a Dispensational Calvinist who has Non-Lordship Salvation tendancies, he makes a good case that rewards are according to works. He even quotes some Reformers and Reformed confessions. Having Non-Lordship tendancies he as similarities to Clark’s views on saving faith (which I respectfully, but honestly classify as Sandemanian).

  9. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    typo correction: “Having Non-Lordship tendancies he as [“HAS” not “AS”] similarities to Clark’s views on saving faith (which I respectfully, but honestly classify as Sandemanian).”

    Also, I find it interesting that in that quote from Calvin he coincidentally uses the phrase “future grace” (though, obviously not in the exact sense that Piper does. That would be anachronistic). Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Piper quote’s that passage in his book. I’ve only browsed his book. Okay, I promise not to post any more unless Sean or someone else wants me to. I don’t want to hog the blog.

  10. Sean Gerety Says:

    I don’t know how you can “respectfully” classify anyone as Sandemanian, but to classify Clark that way is simply a slur. You’re obviously ignorant of both what Clark taught and what the Classites believed.

    Secondly, I thought Robbins was perhaps a bit harsh on the poor Pied Piper until I read FG for myself. While I tried to read it in terms of progressive sanctification, it was painfully strained and simply became impossible. The book is even worse than Robbins makes it out to be. Further, while I appreciate you trying to wrap Piper in the Reformed mainstream, the person you really need to cite in light of Piper’s FG is Neolegalist Daniel Fuller.

  11. qeqesha Says:

    Sean,
    “While I tried to read it in terms of progressive sanctification, it was painfully strained and simply became impossible. The book is even worse than Robbins makes it out to be”

    My experience too, with Piper’s “Future Grace”. Even the phrase, “Future Grace” I found at odds with my reformed understanding of grace. It is some sort of novelty. Grace to me is what God has done for us in and by Christ. Piper’s, “future grace” is conditional. In it, Piper knocks a strawman he calls, “the debtor’s ethic”. All in all, FG is jejune if not down right misleading.

    Denson

  12. Hugh Says:

    Dear A-P,

    Thanks for Calvin quote.

    And, I recall the late John Gerstner really riling up the crowd in San Diego at a Ligonier conf. in the mid-90’s over his pretty intemperate speech on supererogation. R.C. Sproul had to dedicate time in his next message to trying to spin Gerstner’s gaffe.

    I challengingly wrote to Dr. Gerstner much to his chagrin, for I found his talk seemingly super-arrogant and veering too close to Rome. He was then having to scale back his workload, as he was nearing death. We never really hammered out our differences, but it was an interesting argument!

    The Gerstner quote you found is MUCH more measured and reasonable. Thank you for honoring his memory. Few stood as firmly as he against Rome. He’d never have signed the blasted Manhattan Declaration. (Oops, fast gettin’ off topic!)

    So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’ (Luke 17:10).

    Hugh

    P.S. Didn’t Metallica do “Enter Sandeman”?

  13. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    I didn’t mean to call Dr. Clark himself a Sandemanian, only his particular views on faith. Since two of you have read “Future Grace” and tried to read it in light of progressive sanctification yet still found it problematic, then I’m gonna have to read the book for myself. Maybe it is that bad. From the little i know about Daniel Fuller’s views, it does sound like he’s a neo-legalist. Btw, here’s a quote from Philip Melancthon, tell me what you guys think.

    We teach that good works are meritorious-not for the forgiveness of sins, grace, nor justification (for we obtain these only by faith) but for other physical and spiritual rewards in this life and in that which is to come, as Paul says (1 Corinthians 3:8), “Each shall receive his wages according to his labor.” Therefore there will be different rewards for different labours…There will be distinctions in the glory of the saints.

    -as quoted in “Your Eternal Reward” by Erwin W. Lutzer [footnote states “Quoted in Iosif Ton, “Suffering, Martyrdom and Rewards in Heaven” (Th.D. diss., Evangelische Theologische Facutiet, Haverlee/Leuven, Belgie, 1996), 477.]

  14. Sean Gerety Says:

    Not a big Melancthon fan, but the quote seems unobjectionable to me.

  15. Hugh Says:

    Sean,

    Is the difference between Clark’s and some false views of faith a matter of the propositions to be believed? This is how I recall _Faith & Saving Faith_, tho’ it’s been a while since I read it.

    An non-elect Arminian can assert/ believe that Christ died for all mankind, thus wrongly dividing 1 Cor. 15:3f.*

    A demon knows that Christ died and rose again, but he also knows that Jesus did not die for him.

    But only an elect, regenerate person can rightly assert/ honestly believe that Christ paid for HIS sins.

    The critical phrase is Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:3 ~ “for our sins” ~ not those of all mankind, not those of demons, but only for those of God’s chosen folk.

    Thanks,
    Hugh

    * Could not an unregenerate man wrongly believe that Christ died for him along with all the world? The man would be believing the false notion of a universal atonement, and thus, that he also had to add to Christ’s work with a “free will decision,” a prayer, or some other good deed in order to secure salvation. And thus, he’d not truly be believing 1 Cor. 15:3f, the gospel.

  16. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    Hugh, as a Calvinist, I strongly lean toward Limited Atonement/Particular Redemption. However, I’m not personally dogmatic about it. But say it is true. Then based on your question, can there be Arminians who are elect and yet who assent to the true propositions of the true Gospel if he believes that Christ died for all human beings who ever has or will live? Or is the extent of the atonement not part of the Gospel? I would say no. I don’t think that the extent of the atonement is an essential part of the Gospel message. And so, it seems to me that you would have to agree if you would allow for Arminians to be elect. If so, then your appeal to their mistaken views on the extent of the atonement would seem to not be grounds upon which he could be said to not have assented to the correct propositions of the Gospel.

  17. speigel Says:

    To note, Clark believed that Arminians, true Arminians, are saved under what Machen called “blessed inconsistency.”

  18. brandon Says:

    Annoyed Pinoy,

    Robbins seems to imply that we don’t receive rewards for good works (by God’s grace) done after justification.

    I’m not sure what you are referring to here. Perhaps you are confused about what Piper teaches, and thus confused about what Robbins is arguing against?

    I would encourage you to read Piper’s book before defending his view. He is not simply talking about rewards. He is talking about eternal life being conditional based upon our obedience. Piper is very explicit that he means much more than just rewards are at stake in the final judgment:

    Fourth, when we stand before Christ we will be judged according to our deeds in this life. ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10). [he also cites Matt 16:27 and Rev 22:12]… Is the aim of this judgment to declare who is lost and who is saved, according to the works done in the body? Or is the aim of this judgment to declare the measure of your reward in the age to come according to the works done in body? The answer of the New Testament, if you interpret carefully, is: both. Our deeds will reveal who enters the age to come, and our deeds will reveal the measure of our reward in the age to come.” p363

    “How then can I say that the judgment of believers will not only be the public declaration of our differing rewards in the kingdom of God, according to our deeds, but will also be the public declaration of our salvation – our entering the kingdom – according to our deeds? The answer is that our deeds will be the public evidence brought forth in Christ’s courtroom to demonstrate that our faith is real. And our deeds will be the public evidence brought fourth to demonstrate the varying measures of our obedience of faith. In other words, salvation is by grace through faith, and rewards are by grace through faith, but the evidence of invisible faith in the judgment hall of Christ will be a transformed life.” p.364

    “The parable of the talents in Luke 19:12-27 teaches the same thing… What this parable teaches is the same thing Paul taught, namely, that there are varying degrees of reward for the faithfulness of our lives. But it also moves beyond that and teaches that there is a loss not only of reward, but of heaven, for those who claim to be faithful but do nothing to show that they prize God’s gifts and love the Giver. That’s the point of the third servant who did nothing with his gift. He did not just lose his reward, he lost his life…. The second purpose of the judgment is to declare openly the authenticity of the faith of God’s people by the evidence of their deeds. Salvation is owned by faith. Salvation is shown by deeds. So when Paul says (in 2 Cor 5:10) that each ‘[will be recompensed…according to what he has done,’ he not only means that our rewards will accord with our deeds, but also our salvation will accord with our deeds.
    Why do I think this? There are numerous texts that point in this direction. For example, Paul refers to the ‘revelation of the righteous judgment of God,’ and then says, ‘[God] will render to every man according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality [he will render] eternal life; but to those who… do not obey the truth… [he will render] wrath and indignation.” In other words, the judgment is according to what a person has done. But here the issue is explicitly “eternal life” versus “wrath and indignation” (Romans 2:5-8)….
    …In other words, when these deeds are exposed at the judgment as a person’s way of life, they will be the evidence that their faith is dead and he will not be saved. As James said, ‘Faith without works is dead’ (James 2:26). That is what will be shown at the judgment. … In other words, the way one lived will be the evidence whether one passes through judgment to life or whether one experiences judgment as condemnation.” p366

    Richard Philips wrote an excellent two part post arguing against Piper’s future justification according to works, yet defending the idea of a future reward.

    http://www.reformation21.org/articles/five-arguments-against-future-justification-according-to-works.php

    http://www.reformation21.org/articles/five-arguments-against-future-justification-according-to-works-part-ii.php

    (Philips’ argument is actually against Wright, but all of it applies to Piper as well. Though he recommends Piper’s book at the end of his articles, when I emailed him to ask him why when Piper disagrees with his very premise, he told me he didn’t really read Piper’s book before recommending it)

    And, for what it’s worth, Mark Karlberg, a Van Tillian, published a review of “Future Grace” that makes all the same points as Robbins. I can’t find the article online or anywhere to buy, but the summary I have read makes many if not all of the same points as Robbins’ essay.

  19. Hugh Says:

    Dear Annoyed,

    Wow! That’s a mouthful! BTW: By definition, a ‘Calvinist’ affirms the limited atonement.

    To answer: ‘…can there be Arminians who are elect and yet who assent to the true propositions of the true Gospel if he believes that Christ died for all human beings who ever has or will live?’

    Do not the true propositions of the gospel include Christ dying in order to save HIS people from their sins, per Matt. 1:21?

    ‘Or is the extent of the atonement not part of the Gospel? I would say no. I don’t think that the extent of the atonement is an essential part of the Gospel message. And so, it seems to me that you would have to agree if you would allow for Arminians to be elect.’

    An elect Arminian repents of his Arminianism.

    ‘If so, then your appeal to their mistaken views on the extent of the atonement would seem to not be grounds upon which he could be said to not have assented to the correct propositions of the Gospel.’

    The extent of the atonement is essential. The non-elect Arminian (Pelagian, etc.) believes that Christ died to save all men and leaves the decision up to us.

    (Example: Rick Warren can embrace Barack Obama as a Christian, since both affirm that Jesus died for their sins. In their theology, he died for all mankind.)

    The born-again believer realizes that he had no decision in the matter (John 1:12f), but was compelled to believe by God the Father (John 6:44, 65).

    With an ‘unlimited’ or ‘universal atonement,’ one would have to do something in order to be saved. The ‘atonement’ in that system is insufficient, and hence, something the sinner could do would need be added. Very bad, this.

    Hence, faith becomes either insufficient or a work itself. Both of these are fatal errors.

    The gospel is that Christ died FOR OUR SINS according to the Scriptures, that he was buried and that he rose again according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3f).

    Again, I emphasize that how one understands ‘for our sins’ indicates whether one is believing the gospel of God’s grace, or one of self-salvation (‘auto-soteriology’) — conditioned ultimately not on sovereign grace or election, but upon one’s decision, prayer, ‘yieldedness’ or other work of the flesh. Very bad, this!

    All blessings,
    Hugh

    P.S. Der Speigel (et. al.): From G.A. Chan ~ http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=124 ~ ‘Are Arminians Christians? [R.C.]Sproul answers, “ ‘Yes, barely.’ They are Christians by what we call a felicitous inconsistency” (25). Another theologian thinks that Arminians are saved by “blessed inconsistency.” But what is to prevent the equally possible, and perhaps more Biblical, conclusion, that Arminians are lost by cursed inconsistency? Did not the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, curse everyone, even an angel, who teaches a false gospel? (See Galatians 1:8, 9.) Arminianism has a false gospel; it is not Christianity; and if a member of an Arminian church makes it to Heaven, he does so despite his church’s teaching, not because of it. There may be some Christians in Arminian churches, just as there may be some Christians in Roman Catholic churches, but they are Christians despite their churches’ teachings.’
    ~ http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=124 ~

  20. speigel Says:

    @Hugh:

    I was stating Clark’s belief, not my own. I believe Robbins also agreed with Clark.

  21. Hugh Says:

    It comes down to definitions. A dyed-in-the-wool, recalcitrant, unto-the-death Arminian is non-elect. He believes the lie that he needed to add to Christ’s work to be saved.

    That
    (1) he had the ability to “choose Christ,” i.e. the ability to choose to believe the gospel,
    (2) God chose him b/c of his foreseen faith,
    (3) the death of Christ makes salvation posible for all, certain for none,
    (4) grace is resistible, and thus,
    (5) he could ultimately fall away.

    An elect Arminian (like an elect Romanist or J.W.) will eventually be regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit, and believe unto salvation that Christ died for all his sins, and that nothing he could do contributes one iota to his salvation.

    That
    (1) he is totally depraved,
    (2) he is chosen by God’s grace alone,
    (3) Christ died to procure salvation for his people,
    (4) God’s grace is irresistible, and
    (5) Christ certainly saves his people!

    I don’t think JR was trying to contradict Clark in publishing Chan, just giving a clarification, the other side of the “inconsistency.”

    Yours,
    Hugh

    Hugh

  22. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    You all might be right about your critiques of Piper’s “Future Grace”. I admit I haven’t read it yet. So, you guys can ignore the rest of my post. But if you’re interested, here are my views on the subject. I’m always open for correction.

    Btw, Piper has also written a book in defense sola fide and of Christ’s imputed righteousness titled, “Counted Righteous in Christ”. He’s also written a critique of N.T. Wright’s views on final justification titled, “The Future of Justification”. Both books are freely downloadable at his website (see links below). Have any Clarkians reviewed those books? If so, any links?

    Brandon, I don’t see anything wrong with the quote of Piper’s book you posted since while we’re “justified by faith alone (faith being the sole instrument of justification), it’s not by a faith that is alone”. As Sproul has said, “sola fide” is theological shorthand for justification by the perfect works of Christ alone (apart from any of our works). Yet, all those whom God justifies, God also always santifies (assuming the person lives long enough to peform graciously enabled works). So, in that sense to get to heaven we “need” works. Needed NOT “for” justification, but because they are the necessary results (fruits and evidence) of it. Salvation has many aspects including election, regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification. Therefore it can be said that we need works for (final) salvation and entrance to heaven, even if we don’t need them for justification; meaning gaining the RIGHT to heaven (which is purchased by Christ alone and received sola fide). Here’s an analogy. Say to get on a cruise you need to purchase a ticket that stains your hands when you hold it. Your brother (representing Christ) purchases the ticket for you in advance and gives it to you. Now at the entrace of the boat all you would need is the ticket to enter. Yet, if you really had the ticket in your hand, your hands would also be stained.

    Also, while faith is not the causal grounds of/for justification, it is still a condition of/for justification (normatively, since we’re not talking about dying infants or the mentally handicapped).
    In that sense, works can ALSO be said to be a “**necessary** condition [not a **sufficient** condition]” for entrance to heaven. The only grounds or cause of justification is the imputed righteousness of Christ alone received by faith alone.

    See Ronald W. Di Giacomo’s great blog about how many Reformed folk misunderstand the difference between “conditions (necessary vs. sufficient)”, “causes”, and “grounds” here:

    More Confusion over the “Covenant of Grace” and “Conditions and Causes” http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2006/04/more-confusion-over-covenant-of-grace.html

    A Quick Elaboration on Conditions, Logical Order and Causes http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2006/04/quick-elaboration-on-conditions.html

    I like the following A.W. Pink quote,

    “Let it be said in conclusion that the justification of the Christian is complete the moment he truly believes in Christ, and hence there are no degrees in justification. The Apostle Paul was as truly a justified man at the hour of his conversion as he was at the close of his life. The feeblest babe in Christ is just as completely justified as is the most mature saint. Let theologians note the following distinctions. Christians were decretively justified from all eternity: efficaciously so when Christ rose again from the dead; actually so when they believed; sensibly so when the Spirit bestows joyous assurance; manifestly so when they tread the path of obedience; finally so at the Day of Judgment, when God shall sententiously, and in the presence of all created things, pronounce them so.- The Doctrine of Justification http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Justification/just_10.htm

    I pretty much agree with his statement. Though, I’m not sure about Pink, Brine, and Gill’s views on the doctrine of Eternal Justification.

    The books by Piper I mentioned can be downloaded at the following links http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/OnlineBooks/ByTitle/1592_Counted_Righteous_in_Christ/

    “http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/OnlineBooks/ByTitle/2480_The_Future_of_Justification/

  23. brandon Says:

    He’s also written a critique of N.T. Wright’s views on final justification titled…

    Have you read the book AP? He does not disagree that there is a future justification. He just quibbles about the particulars. If you read Philip’s critique of Wright’s future justification, it all applies to Piper’s view as well.

    have any Clarkians reviewed those books?

    In regards to “Counted Righteous” I don’t know of any particular reviews. It is a good book, but Piper does not connect imputation to covenant theology (because he rejects covenant theology), thus Piper cannot adequately defend IAO. This is a critique you will hear of the book across Reformed circles, not just Clarkian.

    As for Piper’s book in response to Wright, I don’t know of any particular Clarkian reviews.

    I have a related post on my blog if it’s a topic you would like to continue discussing. I don’t want to derail the topic of the original post here. http://contrast2.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/john-pipers-justification-according-to-works/

    You can also find a very good critique of Piper’s (and Gaffin, whom he relies on) view in J. V. Fesko’s chapter on the final judgment in his book “Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine”

    I think you may also be able to find the Mark Karlberg article I mentioned before in his book “Gospel Grace.”

    So, in that sense to get to heaven we “need” works. Needed NOT “for” justification,

    Yes, this is the standard argument, but it is terribly wrong. The assumption is that something other than justification is required to “get to heaven.” Yes, we will absolutely work if we have saving faith, but those works are irrelevant to whether or not we will enter heaven. See John Gill’s excellent essay The Necessity of Good Works Unto Salvation Considered

    Here’s an analogy. Say to get on a cruise you need to purchase a ticket that stains your hands when you hold it. Your brother (representing Christ) purchases the ticket for you in advance and gives it to you. Now at the entrace of the boat all you would need is the ticket to enter. Yet, if you really had the ticket in your hand, your hands would also be stained.

    1. That’s a rather strange analogy 😉
    2. Whether or not your hand is stained is irrelevant to if you get on the boat. Whoever is checking tickets will check the ticket, not your hand. You will enter by the ticket alone, by faith alone, not by your stain. Piper argues that whoever is checking tickets will actually ignore whether or not you have a ticket in your hand (because it is invisible) and instead will look to see if your hand is stained.

    Also, while faith is not the causal grounds of/for justification, it is still a condition of/for justification (normatively, since we’re not talking about dying infants or the mentally handicapped).
    In that sense, works can ALSO be said to be a “**necessary** condition [not a **sufficient** condition]” for entrance to heaven.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! No one so far has been willing to admit that your scheme makes works the instrumental cause. It’s a terribly unbiblical view, but I appreciate your honesty.

    I don’t know if Sean wants us to continue this thread here or move it elsewhere, but I would be happy to continue working this out with you if its something you honestly want to discuss.

  24. brandon Says:

    and, btw, Gill dismisses Giacomo’s invalid argument in the article I linked

  25. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    brandon said,

    Piper argues that whoever is checking tickets will actually ignore whether or not you have a ticket in your hand (because it is invisible) and instead will look to see if your hand is stained.

    I believe God will “examine” both as God inspected Sodom and Gomorrah via the angels before bringing his (temporal) judgement/rewards on those cities. In a similar way, it was *after* Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac that God said “**NOW** I know that you fear God”. It’s not like God didn’t know all along the reality of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah (being omniscient) or that Abraham really feared God (since God already inspired faith in Abraham and also ordained that His testing of Abraham would refine his faith and produce evidential works).

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! No one so far has been willing to admit that your scheme makes works the instrumental cause. It’s a terribly unbiblical view, but I appreciate your honesty.

    I never intended to say or imply that my views would make works an instrumental cause of justification. I believe that faith alone does that. However, it might be that if I took my views to their logically necessary inferences, it would. I want to be Biblical more than defending any theological tradition. If the Bible taught that works were a cause of justification, I’d believe it. But my reading of Scripture has lead me to believe that faith alone is the instrumental cause of justification, while at the same time works (normatively speaking) are a condition of (final) salvation.

    There is a sense in which we have been saved (past tense) from the penalty of our sins in justification; are being saved (present tense) from the power of sin in sanctification; and will be saved (future tense) from the presence of sin and from the fallen world in glorification (i.e. entrance into heaven/eternal state).

    I agree with this quote from Calvin’s Institutes,

    The fact that Scripture shows that the good works of believers are reasons why the Lord benefits them is to be so understood as to allow what we have set forth before to stand unshaken: that the efficient cause of our salvation consists in God the Father’s love; the material cause in God the Son’s obedience; the instrumental cause in the Spirit’s illumination, that is, faith; the final cause, in the glory of God’s great generosity. These do not prevent the Lord from embracing works as inferior causes. But how does this come about? Those whom the Lord has destined by his mercy for the inheritance of eternal life he leads into possession of it, according to his ordinary dispensation, by means of good works (III.14.21).

    Though, admittedly I got that quote from an article by FVist Rich Lusk http://www.hornes.org/theologia/rich-lusk/the-tenses-of-justification

    In all honestly, 15 years ago before the whole FV movement started and when I was a relatively new Evangelical passages like Rev. 19:8 and Matt. 22:12 caused me to doubt the Evangelical doctrine of sola fide and to consider that something like the Catholic position of justification by faith AND works was true. But I’m finding that SOME of the things that FVists are saying “jive” with many of the conclusions I’ve come to independantly (I’m a Reformed Baptist so don’t really keep up with the whole Federal Vision, NPP, Auburn Avenue stuff). Conclusions which can account for the passages Catholic use or allude to without actually teaching justification by faith and works.

    And while some FVists are basically admitting that they now reject sola fide and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness alone for our right to enter heaven, not all of them are doing so. Even then, just because some of what they’re saying is false, doesn’t mean all of what they’re saying is false. We don’t reject the doctrine of the Trinity just because Catholics believe it. We accept or reject what Catholics (or anyone else) believe in only so far as (to the degree) they match or don’t match the teaching of Scripture. From the little I’ve read, I think *some* of the things that FVists have said represent a more exegetically comprehensive systemazation of Scriptural teaching and don’t necessarily contradict historic Reformation theology.

    I’m willing to discuss this topic here so long as Sean doesn’t mind. Thanks for the discussion “brandon” and all 🙂

  26. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    oops, I forgot to end the Calvin quotation with an ending blockquote tag. I think you all can figure out where the Calvin quote ends. I wish this blog had the feature some blogs have of previewing a post so that you can correct any mistakes before you permanently post it. Some even allow for you to delete your own recent post. http://www.triablogue.blogspot.com does both (I believe).

  27. Sean Gerety Says:

    I’m willing to discuss this topic here so long as Sean doesn’t mind. Thanks for the discussion “brandon” and all

    Knock yourselves out. Play nice. 🙂

  28. brandon Says:

    AP, my objection can be reduced to something rather simple. Our justification is the verdict of the final judgment brought forward in time and rendered here and now. If that is the case, then we will not be judged twice. There will be no double jeopardy for the saints on the last day. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

    That verdict is rendered prior to and apart from any good works. If you want to argue that our good works play a role in some “future” justification, then you must deny that our “present” justification saves us from hell. You cannot have it both ways.

    In regards to Rev 19:8 and Matt 22:12 – you can’t have it both ways. Either the bride is clothed in her own righteousness or she is clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Which is it?

    Gen 3:21; Is 64:6; Zech 3:1-5; Is. 61:10; Lk 15:22; Rev 3:19 all point to our robe as an imputed righteousness.

    I don’t know Greek, but the KJV renders Rev 19:8 as “the righteousness of the saints,” which would clearly teach that our robe, Christ’s righteousness, is our righteousness (cf. 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 3:9). A quick look shows that “righteousness” vs “righteous deeds” is a translation decision from one greek word “dikaiwmata”
    http://net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Rev&chapter=19&verse=8

    Charles Hodge, commenting on Romans 5:18, notes:

    It will be remarked, from the manner in which they are printed, that the words judgment came, in the first clause of this verse, and the free gift came, in the second, have nothing to answer to them in the original. That they are correctly and necessarily supplied, is obvious from a reference to ver. 16, where these elliptical phrases occur in full. The construction in the clauses (krima) eiV katakrima and (carisma) eiV dikaiwsin zwhV, is the same as in ver. 16. Judgment unto condemnation is a sentence of condemnation, and the free gift unto justification is gratuitous justification. The sentence is said to be di enoV paraptwmatoV, through the offense of one, and the justification is di enoV dikaiwmatoV, through the righteousness of one. In ver. 16, this word dikaiwma is rendered justification, because it is there in antithesis to katakrima, condemnation; it is here properly rendered righteousness, because it is in antithesis to paraptwma, offense, and because what is here expressed by dikaiwma is in ver. 19 expressed by upakoh, obedience. This explanation is consistent with the signification of the word which means a righteous thing, whether it be an act, a judgment, or an ordinance. In Revelation 19:8, ta dikaiwmata twn agiwn is correctly rendered the righteousness of the saints.

    http://www.reformed.org/master/index.html?mainframe=/books/romans/rom_5b_hodge.html

    For more on 19:8 see http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/forums/topics/thread/?id=4485

  29. Hugh McCann Says:

    My Greek is tres rusty, but isn’t “righteousnesses” a possible translation since δικαιώματα is plural?

    None of these agree w/ me, however :

    MSG © biblegateway Rev 19:8
    The linen is the righteousness of the saints.

    NASB & NKJV © biblegateway Rev 19:8
    …the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

    NIV © biblegateway Rev 19:8
    Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.

    NLT © biblegateway Rev 19:8
    Fine linen represents the good deeds done by the people of God.

    NRSV © bibleoremusRev 19:8
    …the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Also, which is chicken and which is egg?

    Is the fine, clean, bright linen *accounted* as our righteous deeds, or are our righteous acts *reckoned* to be fine, clean, bright linen for us?

    Isaiah 64:6 ~ “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…”

    But his, now they’re a different story:

    ‘Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.’ (Zech. 3:3ff.)

    Hugh

    Therefore judgment is turned backward, and justice stands afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. ~ Isaiah 59:14 ~

  30. Hugh McCann Says:

    Brandon’s pointed us to his last post’s last link (to Shep Fellowship), where commentators say that Rev. 19:8 is about CHRIST’S righteousness, imputed to us.

    This: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Rev. 19:7f),

    is reminiscent of this, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Rev. 3:18.)

  31. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    Sean said,

    Knock yourselves out. Play nice.

    Sean, you sure you aren’t a paradox loving Van Tilian like me? Which is it? Are we to “play *nice*” or “knock [ourselves/each other] out”? heh heh

    brandon said,

    Our justification is the verdict of the final judgment brought forward in time and rendered here and now.

    Agreed.

    If that is the case, then we will not be judged twice. There will be no double jeopardy for the saints on the last day.

    My views are developing and so I’m not always dogmatic about specifics. And so, the second “justification” might be more of a “vindication” for the sake of a watching creation (all elect/non-elect mankind and angelkind). Just as Jesus said that wisdom is “justified” (i.e. vindicated) by her children, so our good works will vindicate us in proving that we truly were the elect of God, the justified of God, the sanctified of God, the obedient of God, the people/persons of God. I’m thinking in terms of the implications of what Pink said (even if he didn’t mean it this way).

    “…finally so at the Day of Judgment, when God shall sententiously, and in the presence of all created things, pronounce them so.” – A.W. Pink

    In regards to Rev 19:8 and Matt 22:12 – you can’t have it both ways. Either the bride is clothed in her own righteousness or she is clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Which is it?

    In Rev. 19:8 the linen garment is GIVEN to the Bride. That is, God by His Holy Spirit empowers us by His grace to perform good works which will receive reward (which you agree with even if you reject Rev. 19:8 as symbolic of that). I guess the real problem is with how you take Matt. 22:12. Notice that the wedding guest was invited and he **responded** to the invitation (which I assume the Lord meant to be analogous to a faith response). If the garment of Matt. 22:12 isn’t supposed to represent good works, what then?

    Gen 3:21; Is 64:6; Zech 3:1-5; Is. 61:10; Lk 15:22; Rev 3:19 all point to our robe as an imputed righteousness.

    Agreed, but Scripture also teaches God works our works in us and that we are to “work out” our salvation.

    “…WORK OUT your SALVATION with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” – Phil. 2:12c-13 NASB (bold mine)

    “LORD, You will establish peace for us, Since You have also performed for us all our works.”- Isa. 26:12

    God is not only going to honor the Work of Christ *for* us on the Cross for our justification, but also honor the Work of the Holy Spirit *in* us performed through us in sanctification. In the former we’re declared righteous when we first believe, in the latter we’re vindicated as righteous at the day of judgment.

    I don’t know Greek, but the KJV renders Rev 19:8 as “the righteousness of the saints,” which would clearly teach that our robe, Christ’s righteousness, is our righteousness (cf. 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 3:9).

    The King James has, ” And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

    The Bible uses many metaphors to teach the multi-faceted nature of truth. Yes, there’s a sense in which Christ’s righteousness clothes us. Yet, there’s another sense in which the bride “makes herself ready” (Rev. 19:7) with the linen garments given to her. It’s “clean and white” (v. 8) because Christ has made it clean. As Paul said,

    “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”- Eph. 5:26-27

    Christ isn’t washing His own righteousness in that passage. The sense of the passage is that of Christ washing the metaphorical wedding garment of His bride, not her naked body since the removal of *spots* and *wrinkles* makes more sense if it were the washing of a garment than a dirty face.

    Sometimes the various metaphors Scripture uses don’t fit together because they weren’t meant to. Often because specific metaphors are meant to teach something different from other metaphors. So for example, Jesus describes hell as a place of fire, yet Jude speaks of it as a place of darkness. How can a place of fire be dark? Obviously, in this case, the different metaphors weren’t meant to be connected together to make an exact literal picture. Is Christ’s righteousness a “robe” as Isaiah says, or a “breastplate” as Paul teaches (assuming Paul didn’t mean our own righteousnss, which he might have)? The answer is both. In the same way, there might be two senses in which we are clothed with righteousness (one by Christ’s and the other by the works we perform by Christ’s grace). In fact, it was not uncommon in Jewish culture to have an inner and outer garment. In which case, there might be an inner linen garment and outer robe. So, in this instance there need not be a conflict. Most modern translations translate Rev. 19:8 more like the NASB as “righteous acts of the saints.” because the Greek word used is in the plural. It can be translated “righteousnesses“.

    Charles Hodge, commenting on Romans 5:18, notes:

    Your quoting of Hodge is actually proving my point. Sinners aren’t only judged guilty for Adam’s sin, but ALSO their OWN sins. In which case, why can’t there be a sense in which Christians are judged and declared righteous on account of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us and a later vindication of our righteousness on account of the actual righteous deeds we do (by God’s grace of course)?? Wouldn’t you agree that it’s enough for non-elect infants who die to go to hell because of Original Sin even if they never personally sinned? But if they had grown up to perform their own sins, wouldn’t they be more guilty before God? Conversely, the elect who die immediately after exercising justifying faith go to heaven even when they haven’t performed one single righteous act. But if they did live on to perform their own good works (done via grace), wouldn’t they receive greater rewards? That’s where Gerstner’s Evangelical “supererogatory works” come into play.

    I’m responding to the posts as I’m reading them. I just read that Hugh McCann has also pointed out that the Greek word for “righteousness” or “righteous deeds” is in the plural.

  32. brandon Says:

    Thanks for the reply AP,

    he **responded** to the invitation (which I assume the Lord meant to be analogous to a faith response).

    So you think that faith is not enough and that someone can have faith and yet be turned away on the last day?

    The garment does represent good works, specifically, Christ’s good works imputed to us. I’m not really sure why that is so difficult to understand in this passage.

    Agreed, but Scripture also teaches God works our works in us and that we are to “work out” our salvation.

    Work out, not work for.

    My views are developing and so I’m not always dogmatic about specifics. And so, the second “justification” might be more of a “vindication” for the sake of a watching creation (all elect/non-elect mankind and angelkind)…. That’s where Gerstner’s Evangelical “supererogatory works” come into play.

    I appreciate that you’re still developing your understanding. So am I. However, you should try to be clear in what you are saying. I think you are still confused about what Piper teaches and thus about what Robbins is critiquing. Can you please provide the quote of Robbins arguing against the idea of future rewards? I don’t see it anywhere. I think you are misreading the argument. Please re-read my initial comment. I think I have been very clear in what I am arguing against.

    You started out defending Piper, who argues that this “future justification” is not simply a manifestation to the world of who is already saved (a vindication), but is actually the very trial that will determine our eternal fate. Again, please refer to the links I have already provided, particularly Richard Philips, who argues for future rewards and against future justification (and I actually recommend his mp3 over the blog post http://www.reformedresources.org/digital-audio/justification-and-the-final-judgement-mp3/)

    just read that Hugh McCann has also pointed out that the Greek word for “righteousness” or “righteous deeds” is in the plural.

    Yes, and the translators of the KJV were aware it was in plural, and so were James Fausset & Brown when they said:

    Greek, “righteousnesses”; distributively used. Each saint must have this righteousness: not merely be justified, as if the righteousness belonged to the Church in the aggregate; the saints together have righteousnesses; namely, He is accounted as “the Lord our righteousness” to each saint on his believing, their robes being made white in the blood of the Lamb.”

    The point is that Rev 19:8 is not excluding Christ’s imputed righteousness.

    Christ isn’t washing His own righteousness in that passage. The sense of the passage is that of Christ washing the metaphorical wedding garment of His bride, not her naked body since the removal of *spots* and *wrinkles* makes more sense if it were the washing of a garment than a dirty face….

    …Sinners aren’t only judged guilty for Adam’s sin, but ALSO their OWN sins.

    Believe it or not, I don’t disagree with you. I actually recently argued this very point at length elsewhere. I had a realization that I had been incorrectly thinking of imputation more along the lines of “instead of” rather than “counted to.” I was having a hard time reconciling how we are judged for Adam’s sin and our own when my mistake hit me.

    So yes, I agree with you (at least at this point in my thinking) that the work that Christ does in us can be added to the work that Christ has done outside of us. And the reason our works can be counted as good, even though we are sinners, is because, as you have shown with Eph 5 and other passages, Christ purifies our works to remove any stain of sin, and then presents them as pure.

    However, I still maintain that these added works are irrelevant as to whether or not we will enter heaven, and that is what the debate is about. Piper says without these works “there will be no final salvation.” We enter heaven because of Christ’s work alone, received through faith alone, apart from any works of our own. We may have more works added to our account throughout our life, but these added works are not conditions for eternal life. Phillips states it rather well when he says:

    When we consider the many biblical descriptions of the appearance of Christ’s people on the day of judgment, not one involves Christ embarrassing or chastising believers, much less condemning them, whose demerits are all cleansed by his blood: all is gracious praise and reward of what Christ has himself done in and through us….Believers in Christ await only a final reward: an award ceremony at which his faithful servants receive crowns to place before his feet.

  33. Brandon Says:

    the second “justification” might be more of a “vindication” for the sake of a watching creation (all elect/non-elect mankind and angelkind). Just as Jesus said that wisdom is “justified” (i.e. vindicated) by her children, so our good works will vindicate us in proving that we truly were the elect of God, the justified of God, the sanctified of God, the obedient of God, the people/persons of God.

    Just a quick note on a couple of problems I have with this view:

    1) If we are “justified” or vindicated in the eyes of a watching world, then it is the watching world that must do the judging. If they are rendering the verdict, then they are also judging.

    2) If, however, you are simply saying that God is declaring us righteous, so that His pronouncement is known by all, then you still have a problem because this should simply be a re-proclamation of the previous declaration. In other words, if the grounds of the declaration change (works, not faith alone), then it is not the same declaration.

    Furthermore, this is supposed to be for the manifestation of the mercy of God. This is not for the manifestation of the goodness of the elect, but just the opposite. The LBC states it this way:

    The end of God’s appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice, in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient

    But if this “future justification” of the elect is determined by our works, it will be a manifestation of justice, not mercy.

  34. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    Sorry for the delay, I’ve been busy at work and home. But here’s my response:

    brandon said…

    So you think that faith is not enough and that someone can have faith and yet be turned away on the last day?

    I don’t subscribe to the Sandemanian definition of faith as mere assent. I hold to the historic Reformational views of faith being more than mere assent. As you know, some Reformed theologians have made the following distinctions regarding genuine justifying faith. They distinguish between notitia, assensus, and fiducia. Luke 8:13 seems to deny that mere assent is equivalent to saving faith (that is, unless we reject the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints; which neither of us want to do). Jesus says these people “believe for a while”. The fact that these people had the seed of the Gospel planted in the “rocky soil” of their lives refutes any claim that these people really didn’t assent to the true propositions of the Gospel. It was *the same seeds* that were planted 1. in the good soil, 2. on the road, 3. rocky soil, 4. and among thorns. Also, if justifying faith is mere assent, then there’d be no way of accounting for nominal believers. Surely there have been people who knew and assented to the basic (and in some instances advanced) propositions of the Gospel who have nevertheless apostacized and remained in that state till death.

    The garment does represent good works, specifically, Christ’s good works imputed to us. I’m not really sure why that is so difficult to understand in this passage.

    I can’t tell in that passage where there’s any indication that it specifically represents Christ’s righteousness.

    Work out, not work for.

    I agree with what you mean, but it seems the Bible means more than that. Why else would it say we should do this “with fear and trembling”? While we don’t work *for* our justification, we work “for” our final salvation in the sense that if we live long enough for us to have been able to perform good works, we better have. Otherwise our profession of faith was false. Our grace enabled works may be a *condition* for our final *salvation* (not final *justification*) even if it’s not a cause of our final salvation.

    I think you are still confused about what Piper teaches and thus about what Robbins is critiquing.

    I admitted at the start that I haven’t read Piper’s books en toto as well as admitting that therefore I can’t say whether I totally agree with him or not. All I’m saying is that there are some statements that Piper has made which (apart from their context) I could agree with by themselves. I can only, and do only speak for myself.

    Can you please provide the quote of Robbins arguing against the idea of future rewards?

    I didn’t flat out say that Robbins rejected the idea that rewards will be in proportion to (according to) works. I told Sean “…Robbins seems to imply [in his critique] that we don’t receive rewards for good works (by God’s grace) done after justification.” So, I was wondering if he did or not.

    You started out defending Piper, who argues that this “future justification” is not simply a manifestation to the world of who is already saved (a vindication), but is actually the very trial that will determine our eternal fate.

    If that’s really Piper’s position, then I’ll have to think about that. At present, I don’t think I’m ready to go that far (if that’s what Piper really means). I think the purchase price for our entrance to heaven is Christ’s perfect righteousness alone.

    The point is that Rev 19:8 is not excluding Christ’s imputed righteousness.

    I agree it doesn’t exclude it, I just question whether that passage is referring to it. My reading of it is that it isn’t. Btw, I read JFB’s commentary on that passage before post I posted it to you. Same with John Gill and Adam Clarke.

    “…Christ purifies our works to remove any stain of sin, and then presents them as pure.”

    I agree. Gerstner says it in that article I mentioned (and posted the link of). And I think Calvin has made similar statements in his Institutes also.

    However, I still maintain that these added works are irrelevant as to whether or not we will enter heaven, and that is what the debate is about. Piper says without these works “there will be no final salvation.”

    I wonder was Piper would say about the thief on the cross. Maybe the thief had an opportunity to do a good work. I suspect his statement about asking Jesus to grant him entrance into the Kingdom is a statement of someone who’s already regenerate and believing. In which case, it could be considered a “good work”. But hypothetically, someone could hear the Gospel and believe it right before he died and not have opportunity to do any good works. For example, someone could have a heart attack right after believing. I suspect Piper would also agree that this person would also enter heaven because of what I (rightly or wrongly) believe his stance to be on initial justification. In which case, the dispute between him and us (or just you) is just semantics.

    You quote Philips,

    When we consider the many biblical descriptions of the appearance of Christ’s people on the day of judgment, not one involves Christ embarrassing or chastising believers, much less condemning them, whose demerits are all cleansed by his blood:…

    I agree when it comes to true believers (i.e. those truly regenerate). But I believe there are unregenerate “believers” (if you will). That is, those who have merely assented to the Gospel but never truly believed (because not granted true saving faith). Christ does judge those “believers”. In one of the parables, not all received a “well done good and faithful servant”. One (representing many others) was cast into outer darkness (Matt. 25:30). There are various perspectives from which to view our gracious state.

    1. God’s unchanging omniscient and infallible perspective.
    2. our fallible perspective (prior to Judgment Day);
    3. the fallible perspective of others (prior to Judgment Day).
    4. our own (now rendered) infallible perspective on Judgment Day (as revealed by God)
    5. the (now rendered) infallible perspective of others (i.e. all created rational agents) on Judgment Day (as revealed by God).

    Prior to Judgment Day, our perspective (of ourselves or of others) can never be philosophically certain since there’s always the logical possibility that we’re self-deceived (at least at the present time) or mis-interpret other people’s profession and behavior as genuine (when in fact they are currently blatant hypocrites or self-deceived (albeit sincerely so). Does that mean my position on Assurance necessarily contradicts the WCF/LBCFon Assurance? No, since they aren’t addressing philosophic (apodictic) certainty. Since, they admit that even genuine believers can lose their sense of assurance after having attained it. Btw, I’m sure you’ll agree that we need to make a distinction between objective (theological and/or metaphysical) *Security* with subjective (psychological) *Assurance*.

    1) If we are “justified” or vindicated in the eyes of a watching world, then it is the watching world that must do the judging. If they are rendering the verdict, then they are also judging.

    Not at all. Just because the crowd during the Olympics are watching, it doesn’t mean that they are the judges. They are watching to find out what the judges’ verdicts are. Once the judges have declared a verdict, the crowds need to accept it as authoritative.

    2) If, however, you are simply saying that God is declaring us righteous, so that His pronouncement is known by all, then you still have a problem because this should simply be a re-proclamation of the previous declaration. In other words, if the grounds of the declaration change (works, not faith alone), then it is not the same declaration.

    It’s not either/or. It’s both/and. We (our persons) are judged righteous because of the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, and our (claimed) profession of faith is vindicated as being genuine/true because of our works.

    But if this “future justification” of the elect is determined by our works, it will be a manifestation of justice, not mercy.

    Well, it’s a “justification” in the sense of “vindication”. In both cases we’re declared righteous. But in the former we receive the righteousness that alone can merit entrance to heaven. In the latter, it’s a declaration that we both have received that righteousness AND that our works have demonstrated that we have. Also, while our (beneficial) rewards can never be based on strict merit (since they are always tainted with sin), they are still according to and in proportion to (both in quality and quantity) the works we perform by grace (which we agree were prepared for us in advance according to Eph. 2:10). There are issues of merit and justice that I’m still learning about and so I won’t really delve into them. Issues about the difference between congruous and condign merit, of distributive justice et cetera.

  35. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    Another possibility is that Piper’s views on initial justification contradicts his views on final justification. In which case, he should change his views so that there’s internal consistency (either toward his initial or final view of justification)

    In an earlier post you (brandon) said…

    In regards to “Counted Righteous” I don’t know of any particular reviews. It is a good book, but Piper does not connect imputation to covenant theology (because he rejects covenant theology), thus Piper cannot adequately defend IAO. This is a critique you will hear of the book across Reformed circles, not just Clarkian.

    What’s “IAO”?

    I didn’t know Piper rejected Covenant Theology. I thought he affirmed it. I thought that because of the influence of Daniel Fuller (and his book Unity of the Bible), his (Piper’s) views of the Covenant was a form of Covenant Theology which lead to his flirting with neolegalism because [he [following Fuller?], seems to sometimes identify faith with faithfulness/works. My views on the Covenants similar to Reformed Baptist Fred Malone’s views as described in his recent book in defense of credobaptism. Though, I’m still forming my views on the Covenant. I’m also attracted to New Covenant Theology.

    brandon, if there’s anything you’ve said that you think I didn’t respond to (or fully), just repeat them and I’ll deal with them. Thanks for the chat 🙂

  36. Hugh Says:

    Our AP correspondent said: ‘Maybe the thief had an opportunity to do a good work. I suspect his statement about asking Jesus to grant him entrance into the Kingdom is a statement of someone who’s already regenerate and believing. In which case, it could be considered a “good work”.’

    Truly, say I. The thief bore witness of Jesus to his fellow felon, after having berated him. He also prayed as you indicate, asking for Christ’s redeeming mercy. Both good works, yes?

    Whatever we do for the King, whatever reward(s) we earn through our post-regeneration labors, we will say that, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.”

    Our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags. HIS are glorious and noteworthy.

    Let’s talk up his works, and do ours for his glory, and let him sort out who gets what for what. He is gracious and he is fair. We can trust the Judge of all the earth to do right.

    As for faith, AP, I commend to you Clark’s _Faith and Saving Faith_ and not the reformed traditionalists.

    Ironically, Monergism today sent me an ad for AW Pink on saving faith (w/ forward by J. MacArthur!). Argh!

    Please read Robbins’ article, “Justification and Judgment” @ Trinity Foundation.

    With love in Christ,

    Hugh

    ~~~~

  37. Sean Gerety Says:

    Please read Robbins’ article, “Justification and Judgment” @ Trinity Foundation.

    I was going to suggest that. Thanks Hugh.

  38. Hugh Says:

    So, Annoyed & Brandon,

    I guess the question is: Will Piper’s inviting Rick Warren to speak @ Desiring God in October finally be rewarded as a good work, or is it worthy of “many stripes”?

    Hugh

  39. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    Please read Robbins’ article, “Justification and Judgment” @ Trinity Foundation.

    I searched on the website. I can’t find it. Maybe it’s no longer available. But, I’ll keep looking.

    Btw, I’ve read 1/2 of _Faith and Saving Faith_. I’m planning on buying _What is Saving Faith?_ (which is a combined edition of two books, _Faith and Saving Faith_ and _The Johannine Logos_”).

    Hugh said…

    Whatever we do for the King, whatever reward(s) we earn through our post-regeneration labors, we will say that, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.”

    Yes, that passage suggests to me that our works do not contribute to our justification (i.e. in the sense of that which is required to make us acceptable to God and gain worthy entrance to heaven).

    I don’t know very little about Rick Warren other than that he wrote that “famous” book and that he’s not Reformed. So, I can’t comment on him or his theology very much. He might be a genuine Christian for all I know.

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/

  40. Hugh Says:

    Mini word study from the Apocalypse:

    Rev 3:4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

    Rev 3:5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

    Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

    Rev 4:4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.

    Rev 6:9,11 …I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne… Then they were each given a white robe…

    Rev 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude… standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes…

    Rev 7:14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb…

    Rev 19:8b …the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.

    ~~~~

  41. brandon Says:

    AP,

    Sorry for the delay, I’ve been busy with work. It might be a while before I can get back to you

  42. Annoyed Pinoy Says:

    No problem. We’re all busy 🙂

  43. hannah Says:

    Hi,

    I really like your blog because it’s right on! Great picture too of the sheep and wolf. Sad, but true. Please keep up the good work.

    Speaking of the PCA, someone mentioned that their communion remembrance is quite hokey at Tenth Presbyterian. The following is an excerpt from their site. It’s their communion service “remembrance”. But, it takes the remembrance too far. Do you think we’re missing something?

    People: It seals to us the benefits promised through His death on the cross and His
    resurrection from the grave.
    Pastor: The Lord’s Supper is God’s pledge of good will and grace toward us in the
    gospel.
    People: It nourishes our faith, restores our hope, renews our love, and empowers us
    to live for Christ.


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