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Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace discuss A quote by Michael Horton. in the Theology forums; Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter Notice what matters here, a new creation. The New Creation is a part of the Gospel as I understand it. It ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    Notice what matters here, a new creation. The New Creation is a part of the Gospel as I understand it. It is not in total the Gospel but the Gospel is made up of parts that make a whole.
    It occurred to me after my last post that this might also be something you were driving at: the announcement of the Gospel includes an announcement that the new world has begun, and of course those who already partake in the palingenesis show the reality of this new beginning - though not perfectly, as even the exhortations and rebukes addressed to us indicate. And the Gospel reality is to shape our lives, and increasingly does so. But living as becomes the Gospel is still different from presenting ourselves as part of the Gospel message, or from using the phrases "live" or "become the Gospel". What I would like to see is an explanation of how to say, "I am the Gospel" and "We preach not ourselves" while sincerely meaning both.

    I hear what Paul and Matthew are saying, and it's very informative; and I'm not commenting about Dr. Horton at all, since I don't follow him or know much about him. I'm just trying to figure out what you are saying, and why you like a phrase I don't.
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    "Christ died for our sins," said the primitive disciples, "according to Scripture; he was buried; he has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." From the beginning, the Christian gospel, as indeed the name "gospel" or "good news" implies, consisted in an account of something that had happened. And from the beginning, the meaning of the happening was set forth; and when the meaning was set forth then there was a Christian doctrine. "Christ died" - that is history; "Christ died for our sins" - that is doctrine. Without these two elements, joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity."

    Machen wrote this in "Christianity and Liberalism" and that is I believe what Horton et. al. are getting at. The Gospel, the good news is that Christ died for our sin, was buried and rose again on the third day. That is what makes the difference - that is the message. Believe that and be saved. I do not believe that Horton et. al. are driving a division between orthodoxy and orthopraxy but rather are speaking against the all too common exchange that is presently taking place in people's mind between this history and doctrine on one hand and the life that flows for receiving that truth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    What I would like to see is an explanation of how to say, "I am the Gospel" and "We preach not ourselves" while sincerely meaning both.
    Exactly, brother! I was thinking the same...I don't think you can...

    ---------- Post added at 10:38 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:14 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    How can there be a Gospel if we are not? You can't remove humanity from it or it isn't.
    Was the Gospel still the Gospel before any of us believed it? If it was, then there's the answer to your question.

    "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people" Revelation 14:6

    Albert Barnes expounds:

    Having the everlasting gospel. The gospel is here called everlasting or eternal,

    (a) because its great truths have always existed, or it is conformed to eternal truth;

    (b) because it will for ever remain unchanged--not being liable to fluctuation like the opinions held by men;

    (c) because its effects will be everlasting--in the redemption of the soul and the joys of heaven. In all the glorious eternity before the redeemed, they will be but developing the effects of that gospel on their own hearts, and enjoying the results of it in the presence of God.
    Revelation - Chapter 14 - Barnes' Notes on the New Testament on StudyLight.org
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    I recently came across a quote by Dr. Horton that troubled me a bit on Facebook. I have some agreement with it. But I had some concern with it. I don't have access to the whole article so I can't be sure I truly understand it in its full scope. But here it is.

    "We must never confuse Christ's work with our own. There is a lot of loose talk these days about our 'living the gospel' or even 'being the gospel,' as if our lives were the good news." Michael S. Horton (Quoted Jan/Feb 2011 Modern Reformation Magazine pg 14)
    I listened to the radio program they did on this very topic. The program was The Great Commission Survey. If you'll listen to the program I think you'll understand and fully agree with his point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by InSlaveryToChrist View Post
    The Gospel IS the love of God in Christ. "Herein is [the Gospel], not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

    The emphasis is on GOD's love for us, NOT OUR love for Him and others. This is, I think, the very essence of what Horton is trying to communicate to us by neglecting such phrases as "live the gospel," or "be the gospel," because they emphasize OUR love for God, and not GOD's love for us. So, OUR love IS NOT the Gospel, GOD's love IS the Gospel.
    You have missed the boat.... This isn't about our duty to obey the law or love Christ. It is about what God is doing in us to obey him.

    I am going to post the blog article by Mark Jones so you will read it and understand what I am trying to say. He said it much better than I can.

    This article says exactly what I am trying to express. Thanks Rev. Winzer for linking us to it.

    In Light of the Gospel » Blog Archive » The Gospel and Sanctification


    Gospel Sanctification
    Mark Jones
    What is the gospel? Even in Reformed theological circles today the answer to that question is answered differently. The very idea that the gospel not only promises but commands may seem to some a departure from Reformed theology. Yet, the great Scottish theologian, Samuel Rutherford upholds the position that the gospel both persuades and commands. Concerning the “commanding” nature of the gospel, Rutherford writes: “it both commands, (as the Law doth) and with a more strong obligation of the constraining love of Christ…so here be no differences at all” (Spirituall Antichrist, II.122). John Davenant, a British delegate to the Synod of Dort, argues similarly: “The law, because it regards man as created by God in uprightness of nature, requires good works to be done in the strength of nature; but the Gospel, because it regards man as fallen, requires good works from the justified; but to be done, not by the strength of nature of free will, but from infused grace” (Treatise on Justification, 1:288).
    Rutherford elsewhere affirms that the law and the gospel require the same obedience (Pt. II.7). Indeed, “positively”, they are not contrary to one another. “Perfect obedience, which the Law requireth, and imperfect obedience which the Gospel accepteth are but graduall differences” (II.8). Furthermore, “the Gospel abateth nothing of the height of perfection, in commanding what ever the law commandeth in the same perfection….In acceptation of grace, the Gospel accepteth lesse than the law, but commandeth no lesse” (Pt. II.8). (Maybe Rutherford was thinking of Acts 14:15b?). Rutherford’s position can also be located in theologians such as William Perkins and John Owen.
    How can Rutherford maintain such a position? He, like many of his contemporaries, understands Paul’s law-gospel contrast not to be primarily that of command versus promise, but instead a redemptive-historical contrast. But there is more than that.
    We need to understand that the gospel is really about Christology first and foremost. Reformed Christology places a stress on the organic relationship between Christ’s person and work; he is prophet, priest, and king; and all of these offices relate to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is to say, the Gospel is the whole Christ, his person and his work, and our receiving the whole Christ by faith. More than that, Reformed Christology has historically placed a great deal of emphasis on the role of the Spirit in relation to Christ. Hence, Christology informs our pneumatology and vice versa. Paul’s Christology is Paul’s pneumatology; and these two aspects are integral to the gospel (see 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 3:17-18). The Spirit’s work in us is actually Christ’s work in us and for us (Rom. 8:9).
    Now, we might possibly come to the conclusion that the gospel is only about “Christ for us”, which some might take to mean: “Christ died for the penalty of our sins; thus the gospel is synonymous with justification by faith alone, that is, the gospel is a forensic declaration that lies entirely outside of us.” Or, you may have heard it put this way: “what Christ has done for us is Christianity; what he does in us is his own business, but what he’s done for us is Christianity. The Reformers really believed, and their followers really believed, that nothing that happens in me is the gospel…the gospel is external. It has to do with Christ dying for me.” However, not only is that not the case for some of our finest Reformed theologians, but such an idea certainly flies in the face of the biblical evidence.
    The gospel certainly is “Christ for us”, but that does not mean that that does not include “Christ in us”, something the great English Puritan theologian Thomas Goodwin was careful to point out (see below).
    Some theologians have typically distinguished between three works of God: immanent (e.g. the Father electing in eternity), transient (e.g. the Son dying in time), and applicatory (the Spirit applying the merits of Christ’s work). The scope of the gospel involves God’s immanent, transient, and applicatory works. This not only provides a wide scope to the nature of the gospel, but also enforces a fully Trinitarian understanding of salvation.
    Thomas Goodwin elaborates on this idea. The concept of “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) occupies a central place in the gospel. Basing his exposition of the gospel on Colossians 1:3-23, Goodwin shows that “the gospel does not only thus convey the Holy Spirit to you, to dwell in your forever, clotheth you with this righteousness, enableth you with open face to behold God…I say the gospel doth not only do all this, but it changeth you into the same image, from glory to glory” (Works, 4:329).
    The distinction between “Christ for us” and “Christ in us” is certainly helpful; but, we should be careful to note that “Christ in us” really is “Christ for us”. Indeed, Goodwin argued that “the main sum and substance of Christianity then is, that Christ be revealed in us, and not only to us; that you come to have Christ by application in and to your souls; Christ brought down into your heart….All, then, that God works upon you savingly, from first to last, is a discovery of Christ, some way or other, in you. It is either the knowledge of his person, or it is a conformity to him…and this I call the sum or substance of our religion” (4:345-46). The gospel includes all soteric blessings, including those that are “in” us (e.g. sanctification & glorification).
    I believe this is vitally important. In my experience, there is a tendency that I have noticed in some Reformed churches to view the gospel as co-extensive with justification. Thus, sanctification becomes the “response” of the believer to the gospel. In other words, sanctification can be viewed as simply “gratitude” on our part. Some who adopt this view recoil in horror at the thought that good works are necessary for salvation, particularly if they make justification synonymous with salvation or the gospel synonymous with justification. In connection with this, Richard Gaffin has made the following point:
    “With such a construction justification and sanctification are pulled apart; the former is what God does, the latter what we do, and do so inadequately. At worst, this outlook tends to devolve into a deadening moralism. What takes place, in effect, is the reintroduction of a refined works principle, more or less divorced from and so in tension with the faith that justifies. These self-affirming works, those self-securing and self-assuring efforts, so resolutely resisted at the front door of justification, creep back in through the back door of sanctification” (BFNBS, 76-77). (Incidentally, the sharp Lutheran antithesis between “law” and “gospel” appears to have been partly responsible for the rise of pietism.)
    Gaffin adds: “Sanctification, first of all and ultimately, is not a matter of what we do, but of what God does. As the best in the Reformation tradition recognizes, it (sanctification), no less than our justification, is a work of his grace” (BFNBS, 77). And, that really is good news.
    As Berkouwer noted, “the path of good works runs not from man to God, says Paul, but from God to man” (Faith & Sanctification, 191). Are we really prepared to say that our obedience is not part of Paul’s gospel message when we recognize that our good works have been prepared in advance for us to do?
    These emphases are necessary because Christ died to make his church holy (Eph. 5:25-27; 1 Peter 2:24; Col. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:15). Herman Bavinck notes the importance of sanctification: “To understand the benefit of sanctification correctly, we must proceed from the idea that Christ is our holiness in the same sense in which he is our righteousness. He is a complete and all-sufficient Savior. He does not accomplish his work halfway but saves us really and completely. He does not rest until, after pronouncing his acquittal in our conscience, he has also imparted full holiness and glory to us….[Evangelical sanctification] consists in the reality that in Christ God grants us, along with righteousness, also complete holiness, and does not just it impute it but also inwardly imparts it by the regenerating and renewing working of the Holy Spirit until we have been fully confirmed to the image of his Son” (Reformed Dogmatics, 3:248).
    Justification answers to God’s righteousness; sanctification answers to his holiness. “Hence, the two are equally necessary and are proclaimed in Scripture with equal emphasis….Justification and sanctification…grant the same benefits”, namely, “the entire Christ” (RD, 3:249). And the entire Christ is the entire gospel, which brings me back to my initial contention that the gospel really is about Christology and all that that means, which includes “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
    For Thomas Goodwin this was actually a source of comfort: “that whatsoever glory, and whatsoever riches of Jesus Christ the gospel lays open, it is all yours, it is all in you, and for you” (4:337). By making the gospel not simply about “Christ for us”, but also “Christ in us”, Goodwin actually heightens the Christological glories of the gospel by making a similar point to the one made by Gaffin above:
    “if I act anything, it is not I, but the grace of Jesus Christ in me…If I be sanctified it is not grace, so much as Christ, is made sanctification. The truth is, that as a man still grows up more and more gospelised in his spirit, so Jesus Christ is in him, and works out all things else, till there be nothing but Christ in him…” (4:339).
    All of this is to suggest that just because many in the church today have a faulty idea of “living the gospel”, we need not over-react to this principle by making the gospel to be totally outside of us. Such an idea would have been foreign to Thomas Goodwin, and I’m sure the Apostle Paul. Based upon the above, any charge of moralism towards those who make the gospel larger than simply justification by faith is utterly groundless. Indeed, in my opinion, moralism is best avoided when the gospel includes the whole Christ, who is both for and in us, the hope of glory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    What I would like to see is an explanation of how to say, "I am the Gospel" and "We preach not ourselves" while sincerely meaning both.
    I think I am being a bit misunderstood. I think I am also being a bit taken out of context. I am not the Gospel. I am a part of the gospel. I can be gospel truth and light to others.

    Thanks Ruben for bringing this passage to light. In fact it is the very next verse that makes me say what I am trying to express.

    (2Co 4:4) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    (2Co 4:5) For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

    (2Co 4:6) For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    (2Co 4:7) But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

    (2Co 4:8) We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;

    (2Co 4:9) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

    (2Co 4:10) always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

    (2Co 4:11) For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

    (2Co 4:12) So death is at work in us, but life in you.

    (2Co 4:13) Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak,

    (2Co 4:14) knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

    (2Co 4:15) For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

    (2Co 4:16) So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

    (2Co 4:17) For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

    (2Co 4:18) as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
    The essence of the Gospel lives in me by the Spirit. The Spirit of God by grace (Remember, I don't hold to the pinheaded view that grace is just unmerited favor) is influencing me to exhibit the life of Christ, His love for those he died for, and life that is new and changed. He continues to exhibit this work of Christ's anointing as Prophet, Christ's Priesthood, and Christ's Kingship in our lives and through our lives.

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    I thought Mark Jones' article was very good too; but I still wouldn't say "I am a part of the Gospel". I didn't mean to misrepresent you: but if someone is told to "be the Gospel" (not just "part of the gospel) at some point the obeyed imperative produces an indicative.
    So what meaning do you give to "We preach not ourselves"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    I thought Mark Jones' article was very good too; but I still wouldn't say "I am a part of the Gospel". I didn't mean to misrepresent you: but if someone is told to "be the Gospel" (not just "part of the gospel) at some point the obeyed imperative produces an indicative.
    So what meaning do you give to "We preach not ourselves"?
    The same as I would here....

    (Gal 2:20) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    (2Co 4:10) always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

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    But the two verses say two different things, Randy: you can't say they mean the same thing, though what they do mean is consistent. If you can spell out what you see as the connection between them, that would be helpful. Do you, for instance, think that Paul did not preach himself in the same sense that he no longer lived?
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    We are to be the light unto the World Ruben. We are not that Light but we are light unto the World. So yes, in the sense that Galatians and this go together, "that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."

    I still like the old KJV... I can't help it.

    (2Co 4:10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

    (2Co 4:11) For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

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    I don't mean to be thick, Randy, but I still don't feel like you're explaining what it means, and I'm hesitant to import my own meaning into it, because you do like a phrase that I find to be more trouble than it's worth.

    Christ is the Light of the world. The church is the light of the world. No one disagrees. So what does the church do? It points to the totality of Christ's person and work. In what it is and does, the work of Christ is evident (sometimes more, sometimes less); but while there is no salvation outside of the invisible church, and outside of the visible church ordinarily no possibility of salvation, that is not because the church is the saviour or the gospel, but because the church is the sphere created by the saving activity of Christ, the agency that proclaims the gospel of Christ. The gospel is at work in us; but as Machen put it, the gospel is not some principle that has been discovered, but an event: one located and bounded in history by the Virgin Mary, by Pontius Pilate. And while I can stake my soul on that event, and while I can explain that it was the most important thing ever to happen, and while I can even say that I'm partaking of a world that began with that event - yet that event would be quite true, and quite sufficient to save sinners, without me: which is why I am uncomfortable, without even entering into the background that Paul provided for the phrase, encouraging anyone to "be the gospel". If you consider what some people mean by it, of course, then it's downright horrifying.
    I doubt I can make my point of view any more clear.
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    And I have tried to do the same. I have tried to be clear also. Just because some abuse the language doesn't make it poor language. It seems we are at an impasse also. Maybe Rev. Winzer can help me understand.

    As Mark Jones made this point....
    All of this is to suggest that just because many in the church today have a faulty idea of “living the gospel”, we need not over-react to this principle by making the gospel to be totally outside of us.

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    Dear friends,

    Please note that the passages of Scripture being quoted refer to the gospel in its objective, formal import. If some deny it, I do not. In my preaching I have sought first and foremost to proclaim the historical Jesus, to set forth "the faith," and to require acceptance and belief in doctrine. If people do not know about Christ they certainly do not know Christ Himself. But all this is the "form of doctrine." The gospel is not only an historical fact; it is also to be personally appropriated. The form of doctrine is be obeyed from the heart by the grace of the living God. By means of the work of the Holy Spirit the elect are given the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, i.e., the external word becomes an inward reality. The faith to be believed becomes the faith by which we believe. The form of sound words, WHAT is believed, properly relates to its substance, and the soul knows WHOM it has believed. Any preacher who confines the gospel to historical fact is distorting the gospel as equally as the person who denies the gospel is historical fact.

    I am sorry that a sound phrase is being perverted by others. But by your own admisssion, the very word "gospel" is being perverted also; are you going to insist that we relinquish that term? If not, then I see no reason why a sound phrase like "living the gospel" should be disowned, especially when it expresses something essential to the nature of the gospel which is being undermined today.
    Yours sincerely,
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    I'm new to the site and your issue being dealt with,I have nothing to add but I will thank everyone for your earnest effort and input on the subject. I will think upon this more than I have up to this time. I know it's mind bending work pounding these things out so I commend you all for your Berean spirit. May the Lord keep us in unity while we define what that unity of thought is that consist in Sound Doctrine in Scripture.
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    Romans 5:8 "But GOD demonstrates His own love toward us,in that while we were still sinners,Christ died for us."
    1 Corinthians 15:10 "May all be found guilty of this text especially this part," but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of GOD which was with me."
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    We must never confuse Christ's work with our own. There is a lot of loose talk these days about our 'living the gospel' or even 'being the gospel,' as if our lives were the good news." Michael S. Horton (Quoted Jan/Feb 2011 Modern Reformation Magazine pg 14) .

    Mr. Horton is right on. I am not the gospel. Christ's work for sinners is. And me living "the gospel" is not the gospel. The gospel is Christ's work for sinners like me and you.
    D.L.Cox
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrim2 View Post
    We must never confuse Christ's work with our own. There is a lot of loose talk these days about our 'living the gospel' or even 'being the gospel,' as if our lives were the good news." Michael S. Horton (Quoted Jan/Feb 2011 Modern Reformation Magazine pg 14) .

    Mr. Horton is right on. I am not the gospel. Christ's work for sinners is. And me living "the gospel" is not the gospel. The gospel is Christ's work for sinners like me and you.
    Wow, you just added a lot to this conversation. And no one is confusing Christ's work with our own. Go back reread the thread. Comments like this just make me wonder. Did you just read a few posts and then comment? You possibly read a few posts. I don't know. You might as well have made the second post after my original post. Do you really want to go back to the first page of discussion and redo the whole thread again? All your comment reveals to me is that you didn't take time to read what was going on nor did you try to understand what was being said. Well, maybe you just didn't want to interact with the things said in the thread. I don't know. But I don't want this thread to start all over again. And that basically is what your post does. It goes back to post number 2.
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    Dear brother Randy, how does your own post add anything to the conversation? Our brother D. L. simply was expressing his thoughts on the matter. Why do you assume he hasn't read the thread? Why do you upbraid him for simply making a statement that others have made as well? We may disagree on whether or not our lives are part of the definition of the Gospel, but both you and I would agree that the Gospel produces a peaceable spirit, especially toward our brethren, even as they disagree with us!
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    Marie,

    Please, He didn't interact with anything that has been truly brought to light in this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrim2 View Post
    The gospel is Christ's work for sinners like me and you.
    Is that an exclusive definition? Do you not believe that the gospel also has reference to Christ's work in sinners? Says Dr. Calvin, "the whole excellence of the gospel depends on this, that it is made life-giving to us by the grace of the Holy Spirit." Again, "Observe, that the design of the gospel is this -- that the image of God, which had been effaced by sin, may be stamped anew upon us, and that the advancement of this restoration may be continually going forward in us during the our whole life, because God makes his glory shine in us by little and little."
    Yours sincerely,
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    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post

    I would gladly give the same benefit of the doubt if I did not think the systemic reconstruction of the reformed law-gospel distinction was behind the rejection of the phrase. The fact is, these gentlemen are thinking through their theology and making it consistently apply to the whole range of doctrinal loci.
    For those defending Horton's disparagement of the term "living the gospel", I would urge you to pay attention to Rev. Winzer's key observation here. You need to be thinking about what lies behind Horton's problem with the term. Rev. Winzer is onto it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvdm View Post
    For those defending Horton's disparagement of the term "living the gospel", I would urge you to pay attention to Rev. Winzer's key observation here. You need to be thinking about what lies behind Horton's problem with the term. Rev. Winzer is onto it.

    1. The phrase “the gospel” (τὸ εὐανγγέλιον) occurs more than forty times in the New Testament.

    2. In the four gospels the phrase τὸ εὐανγγέλιον is consistently that which is preached; that which is to be believed.

    3. In Acts and the Epistles this same pattern is predominant.

    4. Of the multitude of the imperatives in the New Testament which direct Christian duty [e.g. “Owe no one anything except to love one another” (Rom 13:8); “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mar 16:15) etc.] there is not one which directs him to “live the gospel.”

    5. Nowhere in the N.T. is anyone commended for “living the gospel.”

    6. Nowhere in the N.T. is anyone rebuked for not “living the gospel.”

    7. The phrases “live the gospel” or “living the gospel” appear nowhere in the New Testament.

    8. There is no exegetical basis in the Word of God for passing the phrase “living the gospel” off as a biblical construct. It is rather something read into the text by theologians.

    9 Some theological constructs are helpful, as far as they go. The construct “living the gospel” however defies precise definition and rather than being a helpful tool, it seems to me to be a veritable minefield threatening attempts to construct a truly biblical doctrine of the Christian Life which we are called to live (Romans 12:1, 2 Corinthians 5:15), and in the process muddies the intent of the biblical portrayal of “the gospel” as that “testimony that God has given of His Son. (1Jn 5:10)”
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbcbob View Post
    2. In the four gospels the phrase τὸ εὐανγγέλιον is consistently that which is preached; that which is to be believed.

    3. In Acts and the Epistles this same pattern is predominant.
    The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (2:111) states, "euaggelion, as used by Paul, does not mean only the content of what is preached... For in the very act of proclamation its content becomes reality, and brings about the salvation which it contains. 'The gospel does not merely bear witness to salvation history; it is itself salvation history.'"

    Andrew T. Lincoln (Word Commentary on Ephesians, 39), states, "The truth of this apostolic message is shown in what it accomplishes, for it is the message which has effected the reader's salvation -- 'the good news of your salvation' ... The good news effects a rescue operation, a deliverance from spiritual death, from God's wrath, from bondage to evil powers, sin and the flesh."
    Yours sincerely,
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  23. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbcbob View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mvdm View Post
    For those defending Horton's disparagement of the term "living the gospel", I would urge you to pay attention to Rev. Winzer's key observation here. You need to be thinking about what lies behind Horton's problem with the term. Rev. Winzer is onto it.

    1. The phrase “the gospel” (τὸ εὐανγγέλιον) occurs more than forty times in the New Testament.

    2. In the four gospels the phrase τὸ εὐανγγέλιον is consistently that which is preached; that which is to be believed.

    3. In Acts and the Epistles this same pattern is predominant.

    4. Of the multitude of the imperatives in the New Testament which direct Christian duty [e.g. “Owe no one anything except to love one another” (Rom 13:8); “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mar 16:15) etc.] there is not one which directs him to “live the gospel.”

    5. Nowhere in the N.T. is anyone commended for “living the gospel.”

    6. Nowhere in the N.T. is anyone rebuked for not “living the gospel.”

    7. The phrases “live the gospel” or “living the gospel” appear nowhere in the New Testament.

    8. There is no exegetical basis in the Word of God for passing the phrase “living the gospel” off as a biblical construct. It is rather something read into the text by theologians.

    9 Some theological constructs are helpful, as far as they go. The construct “living the gospel” however defies precise definition and rather than being a helpful tool, it seems to me to be a veritable minefield threatening attempts to construct a truly biblical doctrine of the Christian Life which we are called to live (Romans 12:1, 2 Corinthians 5:15), and in the process muddies the intent of the biblical portrayal of “the gospel” as that “testimony that God has given of His Son. (1Jn 5:10)”
    Brother, there have been many texts in this thread which commend those who live the gospel and rebukes those who refuse to obey the gospel. The Mark Jones article supplies more texts demonstrating the same point that the gospel envisions/effects justification and sanctification. Consider also Philippians 1:27, which exhorts us to "conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ" and 2 Thess.1:11-12: "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling and that by His power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    I doubt you really want to insist that the exact phrase "living the gospel" be found in the Bible, or that it must meet some exacting standard of "precise definition". For if that were the case, there would be many confessional doctrines we would could reject out of hand as "something read into the text by theologians".
    Mark Van Der Molen
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    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    I am sorry that a sound phrase is being perverted by others. But by your own admisssion, the very word "gospel" is being perverted also; are you going to insist that we relinquish that term? If not, then I see no reason why a sound phrase like "living the gospel" should be disowned, especially when it expresses something essential to the nature of the gospel which is being undermined today.
    Mr. Winzer, I've appreciated your insightful posts on this thread, and I just wanted to clarify one point. I have seen you defend "live the gospel" but not "be the gospel": is that omission deliberate? Because it is the latter phrase that troubles me, whereas it is not too hard to see how the first is patient of a good interpretation.
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    Thank you Bob. I understand the context of your point and find my self in agreement with it. I think I also understand that there is a life, of obedience, faith working in love, that flows out of the gospel. I cannot see how there can be equivocation with all do respect to all on the board.
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  26. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    I have seen you defend "live the gospel" but not "be the gospel": is that omission deliberate? Because it is the latter phrase that troubles me, whereas it is not too hard to see how the first is patient of a good interpretation.
    "Be the gospel" is non-sensical. We hear the challenge repeatedly stated, "live what you believe;," so there is no difficulty in transferring that to the gospel insofar as it is believed. But we never hear the challenge, "be what you believe." Besides, you are what you believe anyway: as a man thinketh in his heart so is he. So it's something of a tautology to say "be what you believe."
    Yours sincerely,
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    Thank you, Mr. Winzer, that's a helpful expansion. If you had the inclination to comment on how Dr. Machen distinguishes the law as a principle from the gospel as an event in his sermon on Romans 6:23 in God Transcendent I would be pleased to hear your thoughts.

    For those who have been reading this thread, but not the sidebar thread, let me quote a very helpful post from over there:

    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    It is not just living in light of the gospel; it is living the life the gospel brings. The gospel is more than a message; it is the power of God unto salvation. Life and immortality are not only proclaimed but "lit up" by the gospel. The gospel does not only proclaim facts about a person; it also reveals that person to the heart of the believer. How can one espouse a spiritual realism of faith in the sacrament and deny it in the word to which the sacrament is always tied? "Christ who is our life;" "for me to live is Christ;" "the life that I now live in the flesh, etc." Any teaching about the gospel which denies the "real" and "transformational" nature of the gospel is not worthy of the name "reformed."
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    I just read the cover title of the newest Baptist Times newspaper, and it made me think of this thread:

    "Doing God in the Workplace"

    A Brit wrote that, but that sounds downright heretical!
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    Hmm.. It's been suggested here by some that the Law-Gospel distinction is at the heart of the issue. If such is indeed the case, then I think that it might be profitable for us, especially those who are just tuning in, to revisit some of the past threads that discussed the matter:

    What is the Reformed view of Law/Gospel?
    "Believe!" Law or Gospel?
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    Josh, I think you may have posted these comments on the wrong thread...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D. View Post
    Josh, I think you may have posted these comments on the wrong thread...
    I think you are right! **blush**
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    I must admit some of the reason I started this thread is to point out the differences between our understanding of what the Gospel is. There is a difference between Luther and Old Presbyterians or the old Puritans in my understanding. The Puritans and older Presbyterians had a fuller view of the Gospel than Luther and some of our Modern Day theologians in my estimation. At the same time I see I have caused some consternation and confusion in my posting. I am not the best communicator in the world.

    Maybe my problem here is that it is poor on my part in how I am using the terms. Maybe it is because of the difference of epistemology in my culture compared to others. But when I hear or say be the gospel, as I have heard for years, I hear the charge to live out the Gospel message. Be a part of the message of sacrifice and love for sinners as I am commanded to imitate Christ in His work. In other words I am called to be a picture of Christ and participate in His work. Live the Gospel message as it is befitting to my calling from Christ himself.

    Doing God in the work place? The preciseness of the language is definitely not there. Doing God is yet to be defined. I imagine that a reading of the article would show us how the gentleman would have us interpret it. But to be on the charitable side of things I would interpret that as a charge to do God's will in the work place. I would understand it as a challenge to be a light and glorify God that others might see our good works and glorify God on the day of their visitation. BTW, the title sounds like it is a title to make one inquire. When I took writing in College and High School the preciseness of the title of an article was not to be expected as much as it's ability to pull a possible readers inquiry toward reading the article. That was a principle we learned. That is probably what is done in relation to what Marie is pointing us to look at.

    Thanks for your patience guys.
    Randy

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    Randy, thank you for this post as it has caused me to really think about these things. I also had to go back and look at the old posts on the Law/Gospel distinctions. They were very informative as I have really been enjoying Horton`s work but am being careful not to just assume lock, stock and barrel, his accuracy on this. I am confused but in a seemingly good and inquisitve manner.

    I still find myself unmoved in my initial position but cautious.
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    I had an acquaintance say this to me and I agree... I reworded it to fit the context here.

    They are re-working covenant theology, specifically the Mosaic, which in turn affects their turn toward a more Lutheran sharp Law/Gospel *dichotomy* {not just a "distinction"}. Hence, any discussion that even hints at the believers' work in sanctification {"living the gospel?oh horrors!}} causes them to overreact into thinking that we are discussing works righteousness. They want an impermeable wall between law and gospel. Unfortunately for them, the Reformed Confessions don't speak like that.
    I didn't start seeing this until I started to look at how one defined the Gospel within the last few years. I do believe the above statement to be true. The old Presbyterians and Puritans had a much fuller defined understanding of the Gospel message than Luther and some of our modern day theologians. I am still wrestling with it as this subject also permeates into other areas in my estimation as you can see by my earlier posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrim2 View Post
    The gospel is Christ's work for sinners like me and you.
    Is that an exclusive definition? Do you not believe that the gospel also has reference to Christ's work in sinners? Says Dr. Calvin, "the whole excellence of the gospel depends on this, that it is made life-giving to us by the grace of the Holy Spirit." Again, "Observe, that the design of the gospel is this -- that the image of God, which had been effaced by sin, may be stamped anew upon us, and that the advancement of this restoration may be continually going forward in us during the our whole life, because God makes his glory shine in us by little and little."
    Matthew,

    Let me see if I can distinguish where I believe you take issue with this statement.

    I was listening to the WHI today and the hosts said very clearly, in so many words, that the Gospel doesn't tell us to do anything but only announces facts. As I read what you are saying, you take issue with the notion that one simplify the term "Gospel" to simply mean indicative or "what Christ has accomplished...."

    As the Canons of Dordt note:
    Article 5: The Mandate to Proclaim the Gospel to All

    Moreover, it is the promise of the gospel that whoever believes in Christ crucified shall not perish but have eternal life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be announced and declared without differentiation or discrimination to all nations and people, to whom God in his good pleasure sends the gospel.
    In other words, the Reformed Confessions do not simply treat the Gospel as an announcement of what Christ has done but the Gospel includes a command to repent from sin and to believe and there are said to be those who "...obey not the Gospel...."

    Can we agree that your first problem is that you think that the Gospel is more than mere announcement? The Gospel has indicatives (John's herald, Christ's miracles, death, resurrection) but it also includes imperatives (...God calls all men everywhere to repent and believe on Christ....).

    On that note, I think what you're trying to point out is that the Gospel creates the obedience it commands. That is that the Gospel announcement does not merely call upon the resources that a dead man does not possess but grants life to those who the Holy Spirit resurrects by its message or leaves men in greater judgment for ignoring the command of the Gospel.

    Next step: It seems that the Gospel has two aspects to it. It appears there is a pattern of kerygma in the preaching of Christ and the Apostles that has a limited content to those outside the household of faith. Christ seemed to limit his explanations to parables and some of the "inner teaching" when he was alone with His disciples. The epistles also seem to form a body of literature that assumes its hearers have been transported from the wisdom of this age to the wisdom of the age to come. In other words, the teaching is often "interior" and assumes the person is converted.

    There's a real sense, then, where the continual sanctification of the believer is "Gospel work". That is, there is first the aspect of the Gospel that initially converts when the person is "in the world" and then there is the aspect of the Gospel that continues to sanctify the believer and mortify the flesh. Romans 6 is "Gospel" for instance because it speaks about Christ's power over death and sin and the union a believer enjoys in union with Him. It's a call to be who we are in Christ and a reminder that we are not slaves. As we "consider" many realities of our citizenship we are transformed by the renewing of our minds and made holy. Thus it is, repeatedly, that the Gospel reminds us to do things in keeping with who we have been recreated for. Again, it contains indicatives (you have been united to Christ in His death and resurrection) and imperatives (consider yourselves....)

    So, a few thoughts or questions:

    Do you think it's useful to distinguish between gospel as an announcement to the world that is still in blindness with a reduced content that consists of the historical facts along with a command to repent and believe on the one hand and the further indicatives and imperatives of the Gospel that we instruct those who have been transported from death to life on the other?

    Am I reading you correctly that the major problem that you have is that Gospel, as used by some, limits its definition to a single aspect of what the Gospel is and ignores its other aspects?

    Finally, if we can agree on what kind of content the Gospel is, let's consider the idea of "living the Gospel". As I see it, we have two connotations with this term:
    1. Some use it in the sense that we live lives that are consistent with those who believe the Gospel. Living the gospel, in this sense, still means that the Gospel is not precisely to be identified as the believer but as something the believer trusts in and has been transformed by in a demonstrable way.
    2. Others increasingly use it to make their life itself the content of the Gospel ("Preach the gospel always, If necessary use words." ~ St. Francis of Assisi.) There is a confusion that the actions of the believer or the dramatic lifechange of the person become the content. People speak of testimony today as "I used to smoke crack and was miserable but now I'm a happy, well adjusted person..." as the Gospel.

    In other words, I think we would agree that the Gospel is always preachable content in the sense of words about Christ's work and its implications to men, women, boys, and girls. I think we can also agree that, while the Gospel creates that transformation in men and women, the fruit always needs to be distinguished from that which actually gives life to the fruit.
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    Rich, you have provided clear analysis and pointed questions. I will try as best I can to answer those questions so as to bring out my main concerns.

    Do you think it's useful to distinguish between gospel as an announcement to the world that is still in blindness with a reduced content that consists of the historical facts along with a command to repent and believe on the one hand and the further indicatives and imperatives of the Gospel that we instruct those who have been transported from death to life on the other?
    On one level, yes; to ask an unbeliever to walk worthy of his calling would essentially be a covenant of works since he has no grace with which to walk. The one duty incumbent on an unbeliever is to repent and believe the gospel. However, on another level, I don't believe that means reducing the content of the gospel. Law for an unbeliever is pure law. Every duty preaches the need of a Saviour to him. Every promise of the gospel sweetly draws him to the Saviour. Meanwhile he should be hearing the doctrines of grace in their fulness, and realising that his own calling is altogether of grace, not of works, lest any man should boast. Alot of the problem with modern Calvinism is the result of reduced content. Unlike previous centuries, we are seeing people converted Arminians and having to undergo another conversion to Calvinism. This is terribly detrimental to the individual believer and to the work of the church because it means there are all kinds of hybrid patterns of discipleship.

    Am I reading you correctly that the major problem that you have is that Gospel, as used by some, limits its definition to a single aspect of what the Gospel is and ignores its other aspects?
    Our reformed soteriology is very plain -- justification and sanctification are distinct yet inseparable works. If justification alone is the message of the gospel then from where do we derive the message of sanctification? The justification only definition of the gospel separates justification from sanctification. Pure reformed theology always taught that we are justified by faith; that faith is an exercise of a quickened man, that a man is quickened by the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit quickens a man by creating a new principle of holiness within him; hence justification cannot be separated from sanctification even though they must be held to be two very different things. My concern is that this teaching of a justification only gospel is antinomian, not reformed, and can only have disastrous consequences if it is accepted. Hugh Binning states, "Christ came not only to spread his garment over our nakedness and deformity, but really and effectually to be a physician to save our souls, to cure all our inward distempers. The Gospel is not only a doctrine of a righteousness without us, but of a righteousness both without, for us, and within us too; 'that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,' etc. Christ without, happiness itself without, cannot make us happy till they come in within us and take up a dwelling in our souls." We have so many miserable professing Christians because their souls are not being healed. Their justification really is a legal fiction because it is not accompanied by sanctification.

    In other words, I think we would agree that the Gospel is always preachable content in the sense of words about Christ's work and its implications to men, women, boys, and girls. I think we can also agree that, while the Gospel creates that transformation in men and women, the fruit always needs to be distinguished from that which actually gives life to the fruit.
    Yes; I think we, as in you and I, agree on that. As this thread has demonstrated, however, there is clearly a difference of opinion regarding whether the gospel creates the transformation. As always, I am refreshed by our kindred spirit. Blessings!
    Last edited by MW; 01-11-2011 at 05:19 PM.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."
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  37. #117
    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
    Semper Fidelis is offline. 2 Timothy 2:24-25
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    Matthew,

    Thanks for the responses.
    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Semper Fidelis
    Do you think it's useful to distinguish between gospel as an announcement to the world that is still in blindness with a reduced content that consists of the historical facts along with a command to repent and believe on the one hand and the further indicatives and imperatives of the Gospel that we instruct those who have been transported from death to life on the other?
    On one level, yes; to ask an unbeliever to walk worthy of his calling would essentially be a covenant of works since he has no grace with which to walk. The one duty incumbent on an unbeliever is to repent and believe the gospel. However, on another level, I don't believe that means reducing the content of the gospel. Law for an unbeliever is pure law. Every duty preaches the need of a Saviour to him. Every promise of the gospel sweetly draws him to the Saviour. Meanwhile he should be hearing the doctrines of grace in their fulness, and realising that his own calling is altogether of grace, not of works, lest any man should boast. Alot of the problem with modern Calvinism is the result of reduced content. Unlike previous centuries, we are seeing people converted Arminians and having to undergo another conversion to Calvinism. This is terribly detrimental to the individual believer and to the work of the church because it means there are all kinds of hybrid patterns of discipleship.
    Perhaps I'm reading too much in your response but I was simply trying to make sure I sorted out for onlookers that the term "Gospel" is used broadly in the Scriptures. It seems to me that some limit the aspect of the Gospel to the first aspect I highlighted. I wasn't advocating that the Gospel be limited to the historical indicatives but pointing out that there are imperatives even in the Acts gospel presentation and also noting that the Epistles use Gospel in a way that broadens out its use considerably. Paul seems to refer to much of Romans as "my Gospel". That presentation of the Gospel shifts to much more explanation of the implication of the historical facts that the herald announces.

    Maybe I'm not being clear but my point was to try to show that there is a sense in which the Gospel has an "open air" quality to it of announcing the historical events of Christ and His work along with a call to repentance and faith. In addition to that quality, I was trying to note that the Gospel has an "how you give explanation to those who have come inside the Church" quality to it as well. I never intended to limit the Gospel inside the Church to say that there are things you should only be teaching the converted if that's what you thought I was implying.

    Bottom line: I was trying to put my finger on what I think you might have a problem with and that is that some limit "gospel" to the open air announcement and even take away from that aspect by insisting that the commands of the Gospel (repent and believe) are not really Gospel at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by armourbearer View Post
    Our reformed soteriology is very plain -- justification and sanctification are distinct yet inseparable works. If justification alone is the message of the gospel then from where do we derive the message of sanctification? The justification only definition of the gopel separates justification from sanctification. Pure reformed theology always taught that we are justified by faith; that faith is an exercise of a quickened man, that a man is quickened by the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit quickens a man by creating a new principle of holiness within him; hence justification cannot be separated from sanctification even though they must be held to be two very different things. My concern is that this teaching is antinomian, not reformed, and can only have disastrous consequences if it is accepted. Hugh Binning states, "Christ came not only to spread his garment over our nakedness and deformity, but really and effectually to be a physician to save our souls, to cure all our inward distempers. The Gospel is not only a doctrine of a righteousness without us, but of a righteousness both without, for us, and within us too; 'that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,' etc. Christ without, happiness itself without, cannot make us happy till they come in within us and take up a dwelling in our souls." We have so many miserable professing Christians because their souls are not being healed. Their justification really is a legal fiction because it is not accompanied by sanctification.
    I hope you don't think I believe otherwise. I'm reading Owen on Sin and Temptation again. One of the most freeing things for me has been getting the message in my bloodstream that Christ, the Stronger Man, has plundered. I was just telling a group at Church on Sunday that I often hear that the motivation for Christian service is gratitude for the free grace that has been given us in Christ. On the one hand, I cannot argue that gratitude motivates me but it also assumes that gratitude then impels me to act on my own steam. Rather, I believe, Romans 6:1-11 (among other places) makes abundantly clear that our union with an indestructible life is the "engine" that impels. It is not "Rich is grateful and obeys" but "Rich is grateful and obeys because he is united to an indestructible life" and "Rich battles sin because sin as power has been put to death on the Cross with Christ." That's Gospel.
    Rich
    Ruling Elder, Licentiate, Under Care, Hope of Christ Church (PCA), Northern VA
    Student, New Geneva Theological Seminary

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  38. #118
    MW
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    Rich, I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I was taking issue with anything you said. As I noted at the top of my post, these are my concerns in general, not objections to anything you wrote. I can recall reading some material of yours on the book of Romans and I was left in no doubt as to your understanding and commitment to the reformed view of sanctification. I think it is the fact that Romans is fundamental to our spiritual pilgrimage which gives us a mutual understanding on the points under discussion. Not too many people today recognise the depth of Romans as "the gospel." In fact, there are not very many who will accept the sense of accountability which lay on the apostle's heart to articulate the gospel the way that he did. Again, I note with gratitude the kindred spirit we share in these things.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."
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  39. #119
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    Semper Fidelis is offline. 2 Timothy 2:24-25
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    Thanks Matthew. I didn't doubt your kindred spirit. I just wanted to ensure I was understanding your concern precisely.
    Rich
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    The distinction between “Christ for us” and “Christ in us” is certainly helpful; but, we should be careful to note that “Christ in us” really is “Christ for us”. Indeed, Goodwin argued that “the main sum and substance of Christianity then is, that Christ be revealed in us, and not only to us; that you come to have Christ by application in and to your souls; Christ brought down into your heart….All, then, that God works upon you savingly, from first to last, is a discovery of Christ, some way or other, in you. It is either the knowledge of his person, or it is a conformity to him…and this I call the sum or substance of our religion” (4:345-46). The gospel includes all soteric blessings, including those that are “in” us (e.g. sanctification & glorification).
    Does Mark Jones really regard the knowledge of Christ as distinct from conformity to Christ? I can hardly agree this is Biblical;

    “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

    “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

    The message is clear and glorious; the more we grasp of the beauty of Christ, the more we conform to His image! Christ's glory is such a powerful glory that it constrains us to be changed in our very nature!
    Samuel
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