Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Origins of UOJ

I need to bare my soul, be honest and say something on this.

Ichabod has done research on the origins of UOJ, what is known in our circles as universal objective justification. This is the teaching that everyone is being treated by God as righteous since the Cross, be they believe it or not.

Briefly, there is evidence that the concept came from the author George Christian Knapp from Halle University which happens to be the turf of pietism. This concept is contained in his book Lectures in Christian Theology 1833. Apparently this influenced the USA Synodical Conference leaders, that is, if one notes the date and timing. There are more things I could say to its contents, for example, it is advocating inward looking evidence for justfication, which is enthusiasm, but I won't go into that right now.

In section 113, p. 317, it says...


1. The Universality of this Benefit
It is universal as the atonement itself; vid. 111, II.If the atonement extends to the whole human race, justification must also be universal--i.e., all must be able to obtain the actual forgiveness of their sins and blessedness on account of the atonement of Christ. But in order to obviate mistakes, some points may require explanation. Justification then is universal,


*[This is very conveniently expressed by the terms objective and subjective justification. Objective justification is the act of God, by which he profers pardon to all through Christ; subjective is the act of man, by which he accepts the pardon freely offered in the gospel. The former is universal, the latter not. Tr]


N.B. italics are not mine. Notice where the words 'objective' and 'subjective' are introduced by the translator.

At first I thought UOJ was the same as UOA (universal objective atonement) because I for one believe that the latter is the Biblical teaching, Christ died for sinners, the propitiation of the sins of the world. But UOJ says God is treating all righteous be they have faith in Christ or not, for this happened 2000 years ago.

Take at one advocate of UOJ arguing for its justification...


Franz Pieper, along with Georg Stöckhardt, Herman A. Preus, Jacob Aall Ottesen, U.V. Koren, Adolph Hoenecke and others, recognized the greatness of the doctrine as taught by C.F.W. Walther. And it started with the Lutheran doctrine of Justification- Objective and Universal!

"That’s nice" says the world, "but of course you must believe first before you can be justified. You must remember the great Lutheran tenet, ‘justification by faith.’

"No, I believe what Dr. Pieper taught- there is a justification that exists before faith, before believing it, for all. That is called the universal/objective justification.

"Well, surely you would not discount faith in the order of salvation, would you?" says the world.

I would eliminate faith as a requirement that makes justification true. That would be making faith a work of mine. The Bible teaches that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law. Thereby is the teaching of faith upheld for it teaches the object of saving faith, the vicarious satisfaction worked by Christ.


Today I object (or am skeptical) with UOJ (a bit of pun) terminology. I am not so sure about this concept and taxonomy. I believe this confuses categories and has disastrous effects.

Just take a look at the Knapp quote, that is what he was doing, confusing the atonement with justification. The latter is the treating or the reckoning sinners as righteous but if we look at the term 'justification' it is always connected with faith in the Gospel, in that Atonement. You reject that Atonement/ the Gospel then you are not justified. UOJ imples a double justification - one at the Cross or Resurrection and then one when you believe, yet this leads to confusion and philosophical conundrums (why are there people in hell if they have already been declared righteous?). I see the Bible speaking of justification at the point of faith; Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, not before...Rom 4:22-25

Also theBible teaches no faith means no salvation - cf Mk 16:16. God brings the Means of Grace to us - Word and Sacrament so that we might be justified when the means of grace, creates faith in us.

Faith is a condition, but it is not a condition we meet in ourselves, rather it is a condition that God creates in us through promising the Gospel of Christ's payment of sacrifice, telling us Christ has answered for us - done, finished. We are capable of rejecting this Gospel when it is brought to us by Word or Sacrament and so we are not justified when we reject it. For this reason the BoC admonishes us to stick be/exposed to the Means of Grace - Word and Sacrament as found in the Scriptures that faith might be continually created and strengthened in our hearts.

My opinion is that UOJ leads to disastrous effects and no, it is not just a matter of semantics. I believe this is the one behind the romancing that is happening with Lutherites moving to Rome or Constantinople. I will not be surprized if those who have left have this in their psyche. For after all, if everyone is saved/justified anyway the rest is just fiddling with semantics, they all pan out to be the same in the end. It does not matter if anyone gets the categories wrong all are justified anyway (which is functional universalism).

Isn't that the reason why we have the Reformation is because of categories ? Wasn't the issue about the mixing categories - justification confused with sanctification? Same thing here, I reckon.

See what I mean?

I want to hear from you.

22 comments:

takingthoughtscaptive said...

GREAT post, L.P., that really does a good job of bringing out the nuance of UOJ versus UOA and pointing out its danger and total lack of biblical support!!!

Coming from a Calvinistic background, when first studying Lutheran theology, I poured over the BOC. It was only later that I read about UOJ in American Lutheran writings. My first response was, "Clearly they're referring to the extent of the atonement [good Calvinist categories] and not actually talking about justification." I thought these writings were using familiar terms in ways different from what I was used to.

But no! Like you, it took time for me to see the intended difference and recognize it as false teaching.

Thanks to you and Ichabod (whose blog I also read) for getting to the source of this, dare I say, heretical teaching!

May God continue to richly bless you!

T.C.

Anonymous said...

With his rejection of the Lutheran Confessions' teaching on Justification, Greg Jackson is one of the biggest 'fauxlutherans' of all. Objective Justification doesn't fit with his logic, so he simply pretends it doesn't exist in the Confessions. It makes him just what all who were trained as liberals desire to be: 'new' and 'different'--i.e., with a novelty to 'sell'.

L P Cruz said...

T.C.

Thanks for commenting. Thanks for understanding my position on this.

The counter by UOJ proponents is that it makes faith a work, but if one looks it is also they that have the same problem, it is because they have the same answer to the question why people are not in hell, - because of no faith.

In the BoC and by Scriptural implication, any faith so called that allows a man to boast about it is not the same faith that the Bible speaks about because faith has its root - the Gift.

God bless you too as you blog.

Oh BTW, that feature on Calvinistic sense of pride is spot on. I will come back to comment.

LPC

L P Cruz said...

A.

I do not know where he rejected the BoC, can you perhaps state in where BoC exemplifies UOJ?

BoC to me undoubtedly believes in UOA and JBFA, but of course, you can not find 'objective atonement' as a term there but you can not escape, it teaches man is justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

UOJ is justification without faith and without means of grace and hence, enthusiasm. But please examine the evidence from Knapp. The origin of distinctions such as objective/subjective is striking to me.

Both UOJ and UOA does create faith in the heart.

My worry is that UOJ creates faith but that faith is founded on universalism, it makes conversion meaningless.

LPC

L P Cruz said...

Ohh I wanted to add, when I came to Christ, I came with the understanding that as a sinner he came to pay for me, I did not come with the understanding that God was already treating me as righteous.

I was conscious of me being a doomed and condemned wicked sinner but that Jesus took my place of punishment. I was not conscious that I was treated righteous in the first place.

Frankly I think that if God were already treating me as righteous in the first place, there was no need for me to come to Christ, all the means of grace would be irrelevant.

LPC

Jim Pierce said...

"Frankly I think that if God were already treating me as righteous in the first place, there was no need for me to come to Christ, all the means of grace would be irrelevant."

Hi Lito,

Thanks for the good article. The Lutheran Confessions do teach OJ. Take a look at Smalcad Articles, Article 1 for example. There you will read that Jesus "alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29)" and "All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works or merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25). Also read the Epitome, Article III and note the language over Christ's work meriting righteousness for us (OJ) and how that is received in faith and credited to us by God (Subjective Justification).

One thing that strikes me odd about the idea that Christ's atoned for the sins of the world, but His death is not sufficient grounds for a divine declaration that Christ's work on the cross reconciled (forensic justification) ALL the world; is that when Christ said it is finished, it must not have been because apparently, not only does faith receive justification, but it creates it, if we are to believe that Christ's work on the cross hasn't really "sealed the deal" for our salvation. In other words, Christ's death isn't sufficient legal reason for the Father to absolve the entire world of sin; treating us ALL as if we are worthy of salvation because of Christ's perfect sacrifice on the cross.

Christ's atonement for sin means much more than His paying for a debt. His sacrifice also means that God has been reconciled to the world and He now looks upon ALL as something worthy of salvation through Christ. That is objective justification.

L P Cruz said...

Thanks Jim,

Our understanding (and differences) here I believe is still growing.

I see evidence that Justification is not the same as the Reconciliation (Atonement). Again, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, not before.

I too look at the BoC, I find a different result. For example let us go back again to Rom 3:25. How is this gift of justification received? Unless it is received it is not possessed.

But first before it is received it has to be delivered first - this is the ministry of reconciliation given to God to us believers to do- see 1 Cor 5:20-21. It says " so that in him" in v.21. This phrase is critical IMHO.

How does God put us in Christ? - by Word and Sacrament! I am in Christ because I have been baptized into Him, he gives me his body and blood and eat it.

The treasure of atonement lies in a heap, and it benefits no one unless it is distributed by the HS to us, through Word and Sacrament. He distributes these through us, the channel of his blessings.

My question is that UOJ puts all as being in Christ already even before the means of grace comes along. This is contrary to the FC and SD which encourages us to look for certainty in the Word and Sacrament.


I think UOJ wants us not to have faith in our faith, this is correct and good. It tries to fix this problem but it introduces a new one and in the process, it winds up encouraging us not to have faith at all.

Everything has been done at the Cross, no questions about that. Yet the ministry of the HS is not yet finished today, he is still busy going to sinners telling them that Jesus died for them and has done all - all is ready and prepared. Similarly our job is still not finished today.

A Christian is like Abraham, in that he also believes the promise of God. For Abraham - God came to him telling him God will provide a Lamb the Christ for him - an atonement. He believed that. What if Abraham said - thanks very much, but no thanks? Would he be justified or would he incur the wrath of God?

Today, God comes around to the sinner and tells him, Christ has come already to pay for your sins, for which you deserve to be condemned to hell,. The Bible says that with faith in this promise, God's attitude to that sinner is changed, he reckons to him righteousness of Christ, because it is holding to the righteous one.

This is the doctrine of imputation. My sin was imputed to Christ 2000 years ago, but the imputation of his righteousness to me happens at the point of faith in my space and time, created by Word and Sacrament.

UOJ says both imputation of sin and imputation of righteousness happened 2000 years ago making the necessity of faith today irrelevant. Further to make it a necessity it has to introduce double justification concept. I do not see any warrant for such a concept.


LPC

Jim Pierce said...

"My question is that UOJ puts all as being in Christ already ..."

I don't understand OJ as teaching this at all and I think it is a critical misunderstanding. Those who have received justification, by faith, are in Christ. God is desirous that ALL would come to salvation, and that is why all the world is seen by our Father, because of Christ's work on the cross, as worthy of salvation (OJ). The world has been absolved of sin because of Christ. Don't you believe Christ was punished on the cross for all the sins of the whole world past, present, and future (was he just punished for the believers sins)? Don't you believe that God sees the world as now worthy of salvation because of what His Son has done (the Father's wrath has been appeased)?

"UOJ says both imputation of sin and imputation of righteousness happened 2000 years ago making the necessity of faith today irrelevant. "

This is incorrect for the very reasons you state regarding Abraham's faith. The whole world doesn't receive the gospel message. Some will reject the idea that through Christ their sins have been forgiven. In fact, they will see that as foolishness. "Why would God absolve the world of sin, freely?" they ask. JBFA is wholly relevant here, because where there is no justification objectively provided by the Son, there is none to be had even by faith. You are left with the law and your own good works striving towards unattainable righteousness. Only the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world could have provided justification for all (OJ); so that all might be saved if that free gift is received in faith.

So, yes, we deserve hell and no we don't have to go to hell because in Christ our debt has not only been paid (atonement), but because of His death on the cross God and the world have been reconciled, the sins of the world have been absolved and God sees us as worthy of salvation (OJ). However, sadly, some will go to hell because they reject the legal declaration freeing them from the eternal death they rightly deserve. The doubt of these people will condemn them. Unlike Abraham, they will not receive the gift given to them by faith.

L P Cruz said...

Let me, add...that the problem of having faith in faith disappears if we understand what justification is not and what faith is not.

I contend that justification is not something that happens inside of us, rather it is something that happens in the heart of God, extra nos.

I contend that faith by Biblical definition does not look at itself but at the gift. If I am holding on a million dollars, I am not busy looking if my hand is still there or are my finger nails clean or in tact etc, in fact I am not even conscious of my hand, I would be so pre-occupied by the million dollars sitting on my hand rather than the hand itself.

Thus,, God makes us look at the payment of Christ, this is what the Word and Sacrament do.

We do not have to be anxious (so I should think) if we are justified or look at our faith if it is existent, rather what is it we confess?

Jesus is the Christ, the propitiator for our sins.

L P Cruz said...

Jim,

Sorry I may be misunderstanding you. I need to be clear first on what you are arguing for. We are not then talking about the atonement then.

Are you arguing for the validity of universal objective justification?

You only use OJ as oppose to UOJ so I want to ask - do you believe that the whole world has been declared righteous at the Cross?

Or at the Resurrection? which is which for you.

Do you also believe that there is double justification - one at the Cross or at Jesus' Resurrection, and then one at point of faith?

LPC

Jim Pierce said...

"You only use OJ as oppose to UOJ so I want to ask - do you believe that the whole world has been declared righteous at the Cross?"

Because of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, the whole world is now seen as worthy of salvation by God. That is, the world has been "made even" (justified) because of what Christ did on the cross. This is what I see as OJ.

"Do you also believe that there is double justification - one at the Cross or at Jesus' Resurrection, and then one at point of faith?"

No. That would be a confusion of what was done for ALL sinners and what has been done to me because of receiving salvation in faith. Christ died so that ALL are reconciled with God (including me and you), but not all receive this free gift as their own.

So, how about an answer to my questions above? Don't you believe Christ was punished on the cross for all the sins of the whole world past, present, and future (or was he just punished for the believers sins)? Don't you believe that God sees the world as now worthy of salvation because of what His Son has done (the Father's wrath has been appeased)?

L P Cruz said...

Jim,

In a way you are speaking about UOJ and in a way you are not.

But I am not sure what you are arguing for - I asked if you believe the whole world has been declared righteous 2000 years ago.

You said...
Because of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, the whole world is now seen as worthy of salvation by God. That is, the world has been "made even" (justified) because of what Christ did on the cross. This is what I see as OJ.

But this is more than OJ this is UOJ.

If the whole world has been justified on the Cross then there is another justification that happens at point of faith. You should be asserting this, and agree there are two justifications in your understanding. Why? look at your answer, the event of justification happened 2000 years ago, yet there is another justification, you assert when it is received...

If justification happens only when received then justification can not have happened before it is received which you assert.

So, how about an answer to my questions above? Don't you believe Christ was punished on the cross for all the sins of the whole world past, present, and future (or was he just punished for the believers sins)? Don't you believe that God sees the world as now worthy of salvation because of what His Son has done (the Father's wrath has been appeased)?


Absolutely I believe!!!.

But this is categorized as Atonement/Reconciliation and not Justification to me.

At the Cross God has been reconciled to me, but am I reconciled to him? God is not at war with me, but that does not mean I am not at war with him. I can still be at war with him if I reject that peace offer and hence, he will give me what I want.

In your system I see you equating justification with atonement which I have pointed Knapp and UOJ proponents are doing which they should not do.

Atonement/Propitiation - is Jesus coming to the Father and appeasing his wrath.

Justification - is God declaring the sinner righteous on account of Christ.

Atonement happens without our faith.

Justification happens through faith in that Atonement.

Can you see the distinction? and to quote Dr. Tom Baker - Theology is the Art of Making Distinctions.

(but of course I do not imply he agrees by my opposition to UOJ, I am only quoting the truth that theology involves making distinctions).

LPC

Jim Pierce said...

Lito,

"At the Cross God has been reconciled to me...."

What does this mean?

"Atonement/Propitiation - is Jesus coming to the Father and appeasing his wrath. "

What does it mean that God's wrath has been appeased? Does this only apply to believers?

Jim Pierce said...

I should also add that I am not using the term "universal objective justification" because I don't think the word "universal" describes anything more than what "objective" conveys in meaning. Either Christ died and the whole world is reconciled to God which would be an objective (forensic) act, or He is not reconciled to everyone in the world.

L P Cruz said...

Jim,

What does it mean that God's wrath has been appeased? Does this only apply to believers?

This means that God's peace is there to human beings - all human beings, because they all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No this does not only apply to believers, it applies to the whole world 1 John 2:1-2.

However, God's peace is located in one spot - as one fine theologian (from your Synod) said - it is not out there floating in space, it is located in one person and work - Jesus the Christ.

Universal and objective are not the same and I am glad things are a bit clearer now.

If you must use objective/subjective, the Atonement is always Objective, but Justification is always Subjective. The BoC does not formulate doctrines using objective/subjective however, we will not find such expositions employing these terms.

The Gospel says God is reconciled to you through Christ - God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, he provided atonement and so between God and Christ, God is now at peace with the human race but his peace is located in Christ - thus outside of Christ - there is no appeasement.

The ministry of reconciliation has been committed to us with the help of the HS. He uses us to announce that reconciliation to other human beings, through Word and Sacrament, as these are given - dispensed/administered to the sinner, God in his wisdom creates faith in the heart of the sinner. The sinner of course can say - not true - I need no reconciliation or may say, thanks very much, I can do that job of reconciling myself nicely, I do not need Jesus for that, at that point - the sinner remains in the wrath of God, because he refuses to be grafted into Christ.

I see it this way - God is in Christ, but human beings per se are not in Christ, hence the HS is still in the business of bringing human beings to Christ so that they might be in Christ. He brings them to Christ by Word and Sacrament - Law and Gospel.

UOJ says or teaches that all are righteous 2000 years ago be they believe it or not, be they in Christ or not.

Please examine the proof presented for the origins of UOJ, that terminology only emerged in American Lutheranism, the old Lutherans from Continental Europe before Synodical Conference never used or taught such a term. The ones that used them were from Pietistic Lutherans who have dubious teachings on the means of grace.

Knapp being Pietistic was influenced by Rationalism, hence his summation was a blunder, equating Atonement and Justification making Justification universal too.

Knapp is quoted happily by Unitarian-Universalists. They love his rendition of Christian theology because they see basis of what they see as the "good news".


LPC

Jim Pierce said...

Lito,

Happy thanksgiving! I pray God's blessings on you and yours.

"If you must use objective/subjective, the Atonement is always Objective, but Justification is always Subjective."

I'll have to see if I have more time later to add more, but for now I wanted to quickly respond to the above before leaving for service.

I see the atonement and OJ as two sides of the same coin. What Jesus did on the cross was more than pay the debt of sin for the world. He also reconciled the world to His Father and subsequently the sins of the world were taken away (absolved) just as we read in John and this is objective justification. It is a declaration about where the denizens of the world stand in relation to God through Christ. If you want to call that "objective atonement" and claim it is not OJ, that's fine but then this becomes simply a matter of semantics.

I have to leave for church now. Have a great day!

Jim Pierce said...

I want to add that there is only one justification and that is what was accomplished by Christ on the cross; it is extra nos (OJ). "Subjective Justification" is not a second act of justifying anyone. Rather, the term describes receipt of justification through faith. That is how I understand this all.

L P Cruz said...

Jim,

Have a great day too as you catch up today with family - happy thanksgiving.

What did you serve today? I know you are a busy body in the kitchen. I have read your recipes.

If you want to call that "objective atonement" and claim it is not OJ, that's fine but then this becomes simply a matter of semantics.

Yes Jim, I would rather stick to Biblical terminology and distinction. Sometimes when concepts are reduced to the same things when they are not similar at all, leads to turmoil and confusion.

This is what happened 500+ years ago. Rome mixed justification with sanctification, calling sanctification reduced to justification. Today Lutherans who have moved to Rome - cry the same things - it was just semantics.

Justification is the act of God declaring the sinner righteous, this only happens through faith in Christ's finished work.

Lutheran scholars of the Continental kind have also maintained that distinction. For example, Stuhlmacher made a distinction between reconciliation and justification.

only one justification and that is what was accomplished by Christ on the cross;

This illustrates negatively my point - this means by that statement above that man has been justified without faith, which is universalistic in implication.
Thus Faith is superfluous.

Yet, my point in Romans 3/4/5 is that justification is always connected with faith. Read Rom 5:1-2. Notice how faith is involved.

Abraham believed God and it was reckoned/counted as righteous, not before faith, but at faith.

Perhaps it has not hit home yet, but for the likes of T.C. and myself watching the implications of this, it hit home with us, that UOJ is not a Biblical category/teaching.

LPC

Jim Pierce said...

Lito,

Yep, I have been busy in the kitchen. I actually have two thanksgiving dinners to cook. One tonight and one tomorrow. So, I have been busy prepping for tonight and will repeat tomorrow. Tonight's dinner is pretty light... only cooking for 4. We are having seared poussin (young chicken under 2 lbs), yellow squash, roasted fingerling potatoes, and a green salad.

Tomorrow I am cooking for 8 to 10. I am roasting a 12 lb. turkey. It will be accompanied by garlic mashed yukon potatoes, green beans and julianne carrots in a light butter sauce, green salad, pumpkin pie, and much more.

I will likely need to come back and debate more with you praying that using my brain will burn calories! :)

Ok, on to the topic... it seems to me you are combining the atonement and OJ; meaning you may be inadvertently missing what is happening with reconciliation. In 1 Jn. 2:2 we read that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. God was in Christ reconciling the world (not just believers) to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19) and "not counting their trespasses against them". Indeed, because of what Christ did the debt that stood against us was forgiven being nailed to the cross (Col. 2:13-15). That is more than simply satisfying a debt, but it is the complete removal of the debt... here in the US we call it "debt forgiveness" and see this happening with some pretty large corporations. ;-) Reconciliation is a restoration of a relationship that was lost, Lito. The scriptures are clear that the death and resurrection of Jesus not only pays for sins, but cancels the debt of sin for the whole world, and He has reconciled the world to Himself "not counting their trespasses against them". Isn't that forgiveness? Doesn't 2 Cor. 5:19 tell us that such has happened for the whole world?

Mind you, that is NOT universalism and we have been around this block before on the WT. The claim that those who believe in OJ are universalists is a paper tiger argument. The opponent to OJ is perhaps not understanding forensic justification (OJ). The world is pronounced "not guilty" because Jesus, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the WORLD (not just believers), had all of our sins nailed to the cross with Him!

Do you believe in two reconciliations? The world is reconciled with God at the cross, and then you are reconciled again upon faith? If so, what would you call that? "Objective reconciliation" and "subjective reconciliation" perhaps? Do you believe in two atonements? The sins of the world are atoned for on the cross, but your sins aren't atoned for until you have faith?

Anyway, the point is that the pronouncement of "not guilty" which allows for reconciliation between God and the world means that exactly that. God doesn't fool around and say the sins of the world are paid for, being forgiven, and then takes that away with the other hand. Either Christ has paid in full for ALL sin and the world is justified before God, or only some of the sins of the world have been paid for; namely only the sins of those who have faith. The point of OJ is that there is a legal declaration that ALL sins have been paid for and the debt forgiven for the whole world. The scriptures are clear on that, I think. However, we can't participate in that forgiveness unless the declaration is heard and received in faith.

If there is no legal declaration... "debt paid in full for the world", then there can be no justification for the individual. Do we really believe that our faith provides the justification? That it is our faith that reconciles us with God? Or, is it that faith receives justification provided to all? That faith receives God's work to restore us with Him? I obviously believe in the later.

Sorry, I have to run and won't be able to edit for errors above. Have a happy thanksgiving! God's blessings to you, Lito.

L P Cruz said...

Jim,

I realize you are busy.

... it seems to me you are combining the atonement and OJ; meaning you may be inadvertently missing what is happening with reconciliation

Actually Jim that is precisely what I am not doing, I am the one not combining atonement with OJ!

Remember Jim, I am the one that is keeping the categories separate. I am surprized that I am the one understood to be collapsing the the categories. Please read my posts again.

Do you believe in two reconciliations? The world is reconciled with God at the cross, and then you are reconciled again upon faith? If so, what would you call that? "

This is what I believe - at the Cross, God has been reconciled to me. But as I said that does not mean I am reconciled to God - for precisely that is what St Paul has encouraged the Corinthians - 2 Cor 5:20 "We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God".

So there are two senses of reconciliation - There is no more problem on God's side, what remains is on my side (the sinner's side) hence, 2 Cor 5:20. The ministry of reconciliation is still happening, it is still on going - we still do and have to give Word & Sacrament. If I am already reconciled to God then there is no more need of them.

I think it is, with respect, you who is collapsing atonerment with justification.

Goodness, Jim - the Bible says Jesus is the author and finisher of faith, why does he need to author this to us.

What divides unbelievers from believers? Isn't it faith?

Your statments say that all have been justified already at the Cross and hence just receive it by faith - so there are people in hell whom God has already treated as righteous but because of lack of faith drops them to hell. COrrect?

In my description of what is going on such conundrum never happens. I do not have that dilemma. The people in hell are there baecause they have not faith, not that Jesus did not die for them but because God could not declare them righteous because they rejected the atonement, they rejected his peace offering, his reconciliation. God could not declare them righteous for Christ's sake.


If I am caught red handed by the police over-speeding and brings me to the judge with the camera reading of my speed, the judge will ask me how do i plead? Do I plead not guilty or guilty? Say I plead guilty and then the judge forgives me saying I find fault in you but I am letting you go home.

Does that mean the reason I was sent hoem is because I am not guilty in the first place? What is the need for forgiveness if you are not guilty anyway?

God forgiving my sins at the Cross of Christ(atonement) is not the same as God treating me as righteous(justification). Precisely that I am not righteous....that is why I need his forgiveness.

If I catch my son, stealing my money and I confront him, when I let him go am I treating him as if he has not violated my person? Not necessarily - when I let him go, I am supressing the justice I wanted to give him, I am suppressing my anger.

Forgiveness (of guilt) and justification (because you are innocent) are not the same thing.

The first happens in God's space and time, the latter happens in your space in time.

Again Jim, review our doctrine of imputation. There are two imputations, first our sins imputed to Christ (Atonement -2000 years ago). The other the imputation of his righteousness to us (Justification - happens in our space and time). People are in hell because the latter never happened to them. Yes they have been atoned for but they rejected that atonement so are not in heaven.

Lastly, would you agree with this...
"The difference between general[universal] justification and the more common usage of the term justification can be expressed as follows. The latter takes place precisely upon the appropriation of the former.

Do some cooking, we have plenty of time later. But I hope you have fun with friends and family, bro.

Thanks,

LPC

Jim Pierce said...

Hi Lito,

I was reading through your response and your latest installments on this topic, and I hope you don't mind my saying... I really don't have much more to respond with other than repeating myself and I think we both don't want that. ;-)

Thank you for the dialogue and I appreciate reading your thoughts on this topic.

In Christ,

Jim

L P Cruz said...

Jim,

A wise man knows the right time to quit.

Even Jesus stopped speaking in front of the Sanhedrin after some time.

I hope the posts have been of some help.

LPC